Feeling stuck in the grey grip of February? Don't despair. The darkest weeks of winter are now behind us and while it still feels cold and grey, nature is quietly waking up. Here are seven reasons to smile and wave winter woes goodbye.

1. Snowdrops return

An instant mood lifter. Seeing snowdrops is one of the first signs that winter is drawing to a close and we're on the slow, steady march towards warmer times. Keep an eye out for them in woodlands, parks and unexpected corners of your local area.

2. Lesser celandines shine

Like tiny suns bursting through the winter chill, lesser celandines paint the landscape with their cheerful yellow blooms. Look for them in parks, damp woodlands or along shady paths - their vibrant colour is a reminder that spring's arrival is just around the corner.

3. The first bursts of blossom

The sight of blossom can really help to banish the winter blues. Cherry and blackthorn are first on the scene, their white blooms are like confetti against the stark, leafless landscape. They're a cheerful reminder that spring is almost here and even more showstopping blooms from hawthorn, rowan, apple and pear are on their way.

4. Birdsong breaks the silence

The long winter silence finally gives way to a symphony of chirps and whistles. The return of birdsong is a joy, from the rich, fluted song of the blackbird to the loud, bubbling melody of the wren. Soon you'll be able to identify the summer visitors too, like the chiffchaff's repetitive "chiff chaff" and the blackcap's sweet, warbling song. Step outside, listen closely and let the birdsong fill your heart.

5. Pancake Day

It's the little things, like Pancake Day, that brighten up February! This nostalgic treat is a warm hug amidst the winter chill, reminding us of sunnier days and fresh starts. Celebrate the end of winter and welcome spring's arrival. Gather your loved ones in the kitchen, flip up a storm of golden pancakes and get creative with toppings (or enjoy them all to yourself).

6. Stars sparkle

If you love star gazing, February's skies are brimming with bright planets and celestial events you can catch with just your eyes! Jupiter rules the early evening, Venus dazzles before dawn and Mars joins the party later in the month. Look out for the Moon getting cosy with Venus on 7 Feb, Saturn on 10-11 Feb and even Jupiter on Valentine's Day. There'll be a dazzling full moon finale on 24 Feb. Bundle up and get ready for a cosmic adventure.

7. By the end of the month, we’ll have two extra hours of daylight

No more feeling trapped indoors! The shortest days are behind us, leaving space for longer walks and brighter adventures. So ditch the slippers, lace up your boots, step outside and immerse yourself in the sights, sounds and smells of the season. Spring is nearly here and it's calling you to explore.

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