Blue Monday

Blue Monday is here again, a day claimed to be the most depressing day of the year. But amidst the January blues, non-stop Brexit coverage and threats of snow, there’s been some cracking stories in the news that you may have missed.

So to brighten up your day a little bit, here are 11 of the happiest news stories we have found from the past week and a half (in no particular order) that you may not have heard:

  1. 41 students from a state school received an offer to study at either Oxford or Cambridge this coming academic year. Brampton Manor, a state school in East London, strives to bridge the gap between state schools and Oxbridge. Many of the 41 students who’ve received an offer are from ethnic minority backgrounds.

Read more of the students impressive academic performance here:

  1. A bridal shop in Bristol has displayed one of it’s mannequins in a wheelchair in their window display. The White Collection in Portishead has received a lot of praise online for it’s ‘unusually inclusive display’.

Read more of the story here:

  1. Romeo, the world’s loneliest frog has FINALLY found his Juliet! Romeo is an exceptionally rare Sehuencas Water Frog and was long thought to be the last of his kind. But after an expedition team returned to the Cloud Forests of Bolivia they finally found a female frog of the same species.  

Read and watch Romeo and Juliet’s story here:

  1. An inclusive book shop for kids has opened in Brixton. Currently only one percent of UK books feature a protagonist from a BAME (Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic) background. This shop aims to sell just that 1%. The shop was received a wealth of support and demand for the books.  

Read more and support them here:

  1. A German artist has installed a sound installation in the Namibian Desert that plays ‘Africa’ by Toto on repeat. Max Siedentopf who grew up in Namibia, came up with the idea as he was intrigued with how popular the song has proven to be even with it being released in 1982. The installation is solar powered, so it is hoped the song will play forever!

View and listen to the sound installation here:

  1.  Jasmin Paris becomes first woman to win the ultra 268 mile run along the Pennine Way.  Jasmin Paris takes an incredible 12 hours off the previous record completing the challenge in an incredible 83 hours, 12 minutes and 23 seconds!

Read about Jasmin’s impressive accomplishment here:

  1. An adorable kitty was saved from the middle of a motorway after it was left stranded. The incident took place in Kansas City, USA. Police officer Jason Smith recorded the incident on his bodycamera.

Watch the full video here:

  1. One story that’s enough to brighten anyone’s day is Pumpkin the skateboarding bulldog! Pumpkin taught herself to skate using her paws to propel herself along the ground on her bright pink skateboard and has ended up attracting a large online fanbase with her videos being watched thousands of times. Her owner, Debra, is hoping to use Pumpkin’s growing profile to raise money for The Edward Foundation, a charity that rescues bulldogs.

Watch Pumpkin here:

  1. Monks in Japan shared lighthearted videos online of them juggling and skating under the hashtag #ICanDoThisInMonkRobes. The videos were sparked because of one monk being fined by police for driving whilst wearing his robe. The monks wanted to show their support of the man whilst having some fun. “Speaking to BuzzFeed News, Zuiho Yokoyama, the monk who started the hashtag, said that he decided to share his video because he was troubled by the news. “I wanted people to giggle and become aware of the news by sharing videos of monks who actually wear robes on a regular basis,” he said.”

Watch a compilation of the videos here:

10. A Buddhist poker player, has won £518,868 and is donating it all to charity. Scott Wellenbach is a high stakes poker player from Canada who came third in a Bahamas poker tournament walking away with £518,868. He always donates his winnings to charity and has garnered the name “the people’s hero”.

Read more on the story here:

11. And finally… a 99 year old Greta Plowman has taken up a new hobby – learning to rock climb! Greta Plowman had originally gone to the climbing centre to support her 70 year old daughter, but after watching her climb, decided that she wanted to have a go too! Her grandson, Tim Dobson, helped her scale the 6 metre (19.7ft) wall. Greta has already begun planning her next climb.

Watch adventurous Greta’s ascent here: