Why Millenials Love Succulents…


Last weekend, I repotted my succulents. This wouldn’t be so unusual, except for the fact that I am renowned for being the least green-fingered person. And I don’t own a garden. Despite coming from a family of passionate gardeners, I’ve never even managed to keep a basil plant alive for longer than it takes to make the bowl of pasta it’s garnishing. To make matters worse, our flat is south facing with many large windows lining the front. This means that anything placed in the living room is instantly fried, whilst anything placed in the kitchen at the back is tortured with a critical lack of sunlight. But, after being handed a money plant to look after last year, I’ve discovered that succulents are unkillable. And it’s not just me who loves them, they line the shelves and desks of my friends and work mates, too. It would seem that millenials bloody love succulents…. But why?! 

They don’t die 

Millennials are battered with rejection for most of their lives. Whether it’s a mortgage application or a job interview, we’re exposed to it, a lot. I’m sure we’ve all been there, arriving home from another unsuccessful interview, car has a flat battery, fridge is empty… “and now my plant has diiiieeedd”, we’ve wailed. Not with succulents. No death, no rejection. 

They love neglect 

The best thing about succulents is we can be proud of our ability to keep them alive, whilst knowing that all we do is leave them be. Gone away for the weekend and forgotten to water them? They love it! Succulents thrive on neglect, so we can get on with that 50 hour working week without guilt…

They don’t need a garden 

Simple. Succulents thrive whether placed outdoors or indoors. So line your window sills, your bookshelves and fireplaces with succulents, and rejoice in overpriced urban living! 

They reproduce 

So many millennial couples are becoming proud plant parents. “Look, another baby!” I exclaimed to my other half last week. “I’m so proud of you”, he said, watching me carefully transfer tiny aloe vera sprouts to new pots. My aloe vera was gifted to me by a friend at work whose plant propagated. And when my babies are big enough to fly the nest, I will be regifting to family and friends, whether they want plants or not. Christmas presents sorted. 

They look great 

Succulents come in so many different shapes, sizes and colours. Some of them flower, some of them bloom. Some are miniature and some will take over your flat in a matter of days. They’re simple, they match any decor, and they look even better planted in mismatch pots and bowls and mugs picked up in charity shops. And millennials love charity shops. 

Top succulent tips! 
1. Don’t overwater. Let your soil get super dry before giving them a good soaking

2. Porous rocks placed in the bottom of your pots will help keep them hydrated for longer

3. Stick them in the sunniest spot in your house and let them fry

4. Repot your babies and look like a pro. Just break them off, and pop them in fresh soil

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Words // Writing Competitions 2017

  • Dinesh Allirajah Prize for Short Fiction – closes 31.10.2017

Welcomes entities on the theme ‘Cafe Stories’. Free to enter. First prize £500, with 10 shortlisted stories to be published in the Dinesh Allirajah ebook. More details here.

  • I Must Be Off Travel Writing Competition – closes 31.07.2017

Free to enter until 31st May, then €3. Prizes €200 and €50. More details here.

  • Wasafiri New Writing Prize 2017 – closes 14.07.2017

Welcomes entries for fiction, poetry and life writing. Winner in each category will win £300, plus publication in Wasifiri Magazine. More details here.

  • Reflex Fiction Prize – closes 31.05.2017

Flash Fiction from 180 – 360 words. Prizes £1000, £500 and £250. £7 to enter. More details here.

  • Dragonfly Tea Short Story Competition – closes 31.07.2017

Any story on the theme of ‘Journey’. More details here.

  • Henshaw Competition – closes 30.06.2017

Welcomes short stories on any subject up to 2000 words. Prizes £100, £50, £25 and publication online. £5 to enter. More details here.

  • Wells Festival of Literature – closes 30.06.2017

Three prizes for poetry, short story and a book for children. £750, £300 and £200, plus a local writing prize of £100.  More details here.

Books // My weekend reading

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How to Connect with Nature

by Tristan Gooley

I’ve been picking my way through this book since I found it in Oxfam Books Knutsford after Christmas. It’s the perfect book to pick up and read a quick chapter, with some nice illustrations and easy to read excerpts. I’ve had a couple of books from the School of life series, which are all written by experts and philosophers in a really accessible way – with loads of different topics to choose from. As we were going camping this weekend, it was a no-brainer for me to take this book, and attempt to connect with nature on a more physical level. The good thing is, you don’t need to be a hardcore survivalist to enjoy this piece of work. It’s aimed at making nature more open and accessible to everyone, even city dwellers like myself. The book begins by highlighting how we have lost touch with nature, and rather than lamenting it and blaming those of us who have office jobs, offers gentle tips and advice on how we can reconnect.

There are little techniques and exercises to try along the way, such as switching on our senses and listening and smelling the world around us. Or to head out on a blindfolded walk to see how much more notice about our surroundings. Thanks to this book, I even know the direction of the prevailing wind! Still didn’t help me to pitch the tent in a non-windy spot, though…

I love how gently informative this book is. It’s not in your face philosophy that reprimands you for losing touch with nature. Rather it’s an ambling exercise in getting back in touch, encouraging us to do more, notice more and feel more. I’ll definitely be dipping in and out of this one for a while to come.

Words // Copenhagen Breakfast

Finding Hygge in a Danish Pastry

13055533_1763839860519752_8439251573630312193_nSpotting the black and white sign above the pokey doorway we dive down into Meyers Bageri. We’re on a quest to discover Danish hygge and we have an inkling that we might just find it in one of Copenhagen’s finest bakeries. There’s barely room in the tiny Nørrebro shopfront for both of us, yet somehow there’s a queue of four or five people eagerly awaiting service. The panic sets in as it gets closer to our turn and we still haven’t decided what we’re having. There are trays upon trays of pastries and buns, and they all look and smell unbelievably tempting. “What’s good for breakfast?” we ask, unashamedly in English. The girl behind the metre long counter smiles that impossibly kind Danish smile and points to a freshly baked batch of cinnamon pastries on display in the window. “These are good, and filling too” she replies. We nod – sounds great – and she swiftly bundles two rolls up into a brown paper bag, flipping the bag to close the top and taking a handful of our coins. We don’t care how much.

Stepping out onto Jægersborggade, we cross over onto the sunny side of the street and over again to Assistens Kirkegard. The yellow walls of the graveyard offer up a pair of understated iron gates, and we find ourselves off the bicycle laden streets and into the peaceful green of the park. It’s a beautiful blue morning in late April, and birds are beginning to chatter as the rest of Copenhagen wakes up around the gardens. Seeking out the plot of Søren Kierkegaard we take a pew on a bench opposite the final resting place of Denmark’s resident thinker. Blossom falls gently at our feet, and we sip at the paper cups of piping hot coffee we picked up to see us through our walk to the bakery.
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The anticipation is too much, and we rip open the bag to get to the good stuff inside. The pastry is layered beautifully, with deep red ribbons of cinnamon running through like the pattern on a snail’s shell. They’re still warm. Taking our first bite, the taste gets better as the mouthful goes on. Cinnamon and sugar has crystallised on the bottom of the bun, leaving a sticky, toffee-like goo that we lap up like nectar. We smack our lips and lick our fingers. We look at each other and grin. Reaching the middle of the pastry and we’re supping at pools of liquid chocolate, oozing from the soft and squidgy heart of it. Heaven. The best pastry we’ve ever had.

Pausing for a moment we relish the fresh morning air blowing in from the coast. Brushing pastry flakes off our knees, we’ve found our hygge and are ready to continue our journey into town. “Onwards?” I say. Onwards we go.