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Why do we carve pumpkins on Halloween? Traditions are odd aren’t they? Every year on the 31st of October we all dress up like idiots, drink a little too much and buy over 5 million pumpkins just to carve a face in them but do you know why? I did a bit of research to figure out why we decide to slice, dice and scoop poor pumpkins in the name of Halloween every year. Unsurprisingly the story of ‘Jack-o-Lanterns’ is surrounded in folklore and rumour but what we do know is that the name Jack-o-Lantern comes from 17th century Britain where…

Staff and students at Bangor University are queueing up to join Sign Language courses provided at the University. Through the University’s Widening Access Centre, the decision was made to provide a number of Deaf Awareness and 10 week Introduction to Sign language courses to staff and students. “One way of counteracting any possible discrimination felt by the estimated 254,000 deaf people in the UK  is to ensure that as many barriers as possible are removed for them. Providing access to training for our own staff and students is one small step that we can make to this end,” says Widening Access Centre…

Last December, Wales welcomed 50 Syrian refugees, a small number in comparison with the 1.6 million who fled to Europe in 2015. Still, it shows that the crisis concerns everyone and that it actively shapes our society. The overwhelming number of people waiting at the borders of Turkey is a major challenge for the EU, and it is struggling to act consistently. Some countries such as Germany opened their borders, while others argue that the refugee influx should be curbed. The summer of 2015 saw the highest immigration influx in Europe since WWII as people fled Syria’s chaotic territory. The…

If you’re looking for the perfect time to go skiing, February is probably your best bet. This is one of the best months as it is nowhere near as cold as January,  yet still chilly enough to enjoy a hot chocolate. If you don’t take to the cold too well however, wait until March and you can actually sunbathe whilst skiing. Flying into Innsbruck, Austria is quite spectacular, weaving through huge, stunning mountains, the glistening snow, and rocky peaks look close enough to touch. The Tirol region is known for Austrian folk traditions, historic sites, such as the Imperial…

Despite the long-held scepticism regarding Valentine’s Day and commercialism, I believe that as long as we are devoting a day each year to our mothers, our fathers and our anniversary of birth, we are also entitled to devote one day a year – if not the other 364 – to our significant others, be that romantic partners or best friends… And what better way to celebrate that than by travelling the world. Although a cliché, the Lovelock Bridge in Paris is a classic, as long as you’re not too superstitious: with concerns over the bridge collapsing, your lock may be…

Helpfulpeeps is a newly developed social networking site and app. Starting in Bristol but rapidly spreading, making appearances in 50+ countries thus far. It is a site that facilitates helping. You sign up for free and type in a message asking for help, whether music lessons or a lift to the doctors. If you don’t need any help then you can browse through the feed to see if there is anyone out there that could benefit from your help. At no point is money involved. The core values are that of community, sharing, human connections, and karma. Real old school.…

The Wings and Wheels of Wolverhampton, Dawlish, Manchester, and Shoreham airplays have all been cancelled following the Shoreham crash that caused the death of 11 people last year in August. Due to the accident, the Civilian Aviation Authority (CAA) had to review safety rules and many said they needed more time to adjust. Edward Hiller, managing director of landowners Mostyn Estates Ltd, which organises Llandudno air show said: “A number of factors have led us to this decision. The key one being the recently published CAA regulations following the accident at Shoreham last summer. We will need to review how…

Reykjavik was recently ranked as the number one city destination by Trip Advisor and I can now confirm this to be a very reasonable decision. On arriving at Reykjavik – Keflavik airport, a forty minute bus ride from the city, I was immediately struck by the snow, having missed out on a Yorkshire White Christmas. There was a lot, and what struck me the most was the sheer normality of it. Whilst England would have been halted still, this country seemed to thrive off it, with hunks of snow indicating lanes of traffic and thus forth. This was evident…

It’s that time of year again when we get to spread the love. It’s not always that easy though, not when money is tight. There’s that pressure that seems to come with Valentine’s Day too, that you need to go above and beyond to show someone how much they truly mean to you. Some of the nicest, most meaningful things come from the heart and it is precisely for that reason that Valentine’s Day can be more personal and romantic if you just put a bit of thought into it, however late you get around to celebrating the day. Gifts…

What could be more romantic than Rome? Bursting with the idea of love, from the heart-fluttering views of the skyline at Janiculum Hill, to the renaissance architecture and luscious gardens in Villa d’Este. If, like me, you haven’t found a love worth taking there, you can fake it and accept a rose from a true Italian salesman. Visit the 18th Century Trevi Fountain at night and wish for love. Take charge and follow your wish by indulging yourself with an extra scoop of peach ice-cream. Perch on the Spanish Steps and watch love go by: family, friends, food in the…

In the run up to Valentine’s Day this year, the BBC have aired some short, online exclusive clips called Funny Valentines. They give us some insight into what various comedians, such as Sara Pascoe and Bill Bailey, think of this iconic day of love. Out of the eight short episodes that BBC Iplayer aired, the three that I would recommend are as follows:  episode four by Modern Toss called Lady and the Fly. If you are a fan of animation this will be a favourite of yours too. The story is one of unrequited love, where a fly is in…

If you’re looking to head further afield from Bangor, Liverpool is a bustling city that offers lots of ‘Christmassy’ opportunities. In a couple of hours you can be in the heart of the city to do some vital Christmas shopping and make the most of the vast range of shops. From John Lewis, Hollister and Pandora in Liverpool One, to Jack Wills, Kurt Geiger and MAC in the Met Quarter; Liverpool offers something for everyone. Unwind from a busy day of shopping by taking a trip to the Christmas markets situated on Lord Street, Paradise Street and Church Street where…

For me, the best places to travel to over Christmas are ski resorts. My favourite spots have been Val Thorens and Andorra, but there are so many more places for non-skiers. St Moritz in Switzerland has a beautiful lake, the perfect site for winter walks. It also has a bobsleigh track for those interested in lessons. Zermatt in Switzerland also has a winter walking trail, and, with the highest cable car in Europe at 3883 m, it’s got amazing views over Mont Blanc and Monte Rosa. For those interested in culture, the town of Kitzbühel in Austria dates back to…

1.       Visit Sydney for the infamous Opera House or try the bridge climb over Harbour Bridge. A cheaper option is to climb the south-eastern pylon—only $13 and you’re allowed to bring your camera. Have a barbeque on Bondi Beach or try the Bondi to Coogee cliff walk. Less than an hour out of Sydney are the breath-taking Blue Mountains, perfect for a weekend hike. 2.       Byron Bay is the perfect hippie spot, full of weed smokin’ and tightrope walkin’. Visit the Main Beach and walk along to the lookout point, or go to the unofficial…

Vienna, an unusual city. Full of grandeur and tradition with modernity melding from every vicinage. I remember thinking – after I dived into Cafe Phil escaping a snow storm, sat on reclaimed art-deco furniture, surrounded by an array of literature, jazz and gentle tapping on laptops – that it’s my favourite cafe in Vienna. Outside the window it looked like a typical Viennese snow globe, especially when two women ran past in swirling ball gowns. Of course Vienna is famous for its Ball Season, hosting over 450 balls per year with 2,000 hours of dancing, the tradition still thrives in…

As university comes to an end and everyone starts to leave students residence to go back home for the summer, I now know how it feels to be that international student who lives on campus throughout summer. Nonetheless, spring is here and temperatures are hitting as high as 35 degrees along with the swarm of flies that constantly follow you wherever you go, and after six months here I have finally seen my first spider: a huntsman, extremely big and venomous looking, but completely harmless. You’re bound to find them everywhere, from the kitchen to one casually crawling along the dashboard…