Six Ideas for May

Enjoy some birdsong, head out on a bike ride, and grow a hedge – get busy and enjoy the month ahead with our ideas for May:

Listen to the dawn chorus

International Dawn Chorus Day is observed every year on the first Sunday of May, reminding people globally to take the time to listen to the birds as they sing to start the day. The day was first celebrated in 1987 when local broadcaster Chris Baines invited family and friends to celebrate his birthday by listening to wildlife waking up at Moseley Bog in Birmingham, and since then the annual event has seen people waking early to hear the birdcalls.

As with many celebrations at the moment, public events aren’t possible, but International Dawn Chorus Day can be observed by throwing open your windows at around 4.30am to hear the birdsong. Head to the RSPB website to find out more about identifying what British birds you might be able to hear.

Pack your meals with tomatoes

British Tomato Fortnight begins on 24th May: Brits eat around 160g of tomatoes per person per week – that’s around 100 classic British tomatoes a year, a number which is low compared to other European countries (britishtomatoes.co.uk). Tomatoes are the major dietary source of lycopene, the pigment that gives them their red colour; it’s also present in watermelon, pink grapefruit and papaya. Lycopene is an antioxidant, and research shows that it can protect the body from damage from free radicals. Though more research is needed for conclusive proof, lycopene has been linked to a lower risk of heart attacks, and cancer prevention. Celebrate British Tomato Fortnight with a recipe that makes tomatoes the star, like a gazpacho or a shakshuka.

Get on your bike

The British weather is never entirely predictable, but May is usually a pretty nice month. Late spring, with plenty of sunshine but before the temperatures get too hot, is a perfect time to go on a long bike ride. As long as COVID-19 restrictions allow it in your area, grab a bike, pack your bike to make the most of the good weather. If you don’t have your own bike, many cities and large towns have public bike share schemes that allow you to pick up a bike at a hub. If you live in a smaller town or village, a quick Google search should throw up some independent options for temporary bicycle hire.

Support your local businesses

Over a year after businesses had to shut down completely due to COVID-19, it’s hopeful that here in the UK, by the end of May, we will be well on our way to re-establishing something that looks like normal life. As we start venturing out once again, it’s important to recognise and support the small businesses in your local area that haven’t been able to trade as normal. If you can, seek out your local bookshop and head in for a chat with the bookseller, and make your purchase there instead of online. Stop by the small coffee shop instead of using the drive-through of the multi-national company. Pass by the huge supermarket and head to the nearest farm shop to do your weekly veg shop. Local businesses will love you for it!

Create a wildlife haven in your garden

Garden Wildlife Week begins on 31st May, so why not take the opportunity to make your garden a haven for the local critters, as well as somewhere for you to destress and unwind? One of the best things you can do to support wildlife is to grow a hedge. The decline of hedgerows, due to development, changing in farming practices and mismanagement, is identified as a major factor in the decline of many wildlife species. Nesting birds, butterflies, and small mammals such as dormice and hedgehogs use hedges as a habitat, and they also provide food and shelter for many animals. Hawthorn, blackthorn and hazel are good options for a hedge; go to the Wildlife Trusts website to find out more about planting one to help the wildlife in your garden.

Bake some biscuits

National Biscuit Day on 29th May is the perfect excuse to enjoy a sweet snack with a cup of tea, but what is your biscuit of choice? Research carried out last year by pollsters Perspectus Global found that the UK’s favourite biscuit is the chocolate digestive, with more than two-thirds of biscuit-loving Brits putting it in top spot.

When it comes to vegan biscuits and cookies, we are lucky enough to be able to find some accidentally vegan options amongst the big brand and supermarket offerings. But the best way to ensure you know something is vegan is to make it yourself! Try this delicious recipe for Vegan Chocolate Chip Cookies that will make it hard to stop at just one!

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