It’s a funny thing, the human brain. I often wonder how it chooses which memories to store, which moments of our lives it decides to squirrel away so we can look back at it in the years to come, and which to let go, never to cross our minds again.
One memory I have – particularly vivid despite, at the time, probably seeming fairly inconsequential – is of myself and my younger brother one night, after our parents had put us to bed and assumed we were asleep, sitting on my bed, my duvet wrapped around us, our heads poked up under the curtains, our eyes gazing up at the night sky.
I am fairly certain this memory isn’t of one particular night, but more a squished up collection of all those times we found ourselves there, eyes wide as I pointed out the various constellations to him.
I’ve mentioned before that growing up I was a bit of a book-worm – I loved learning and was bullied mercilessly for it, but my brain was a sponge and I was desperate to soak up as much knowledge as I could. One of the things that really grabbed my attention and had me with my head stuck in a book for hours on end was the night sky and space in general.
In fact, my obsession with space was so strong that my friend Deborah and I gave each other nicknames for our penpal letters – she was Saturn and I was Jupiter. I can’t help but think the younger version of ourselves might have been on to something there, as Debs went on to have a couple of rings of her own and is now happily married, whilst I’m big, round and merrily drifting about.
Although a lot of the knowledge I had of space has now left my brain, replaced by song lyrics and random facts I don’t really need, my sense of wonder about it remains and whenever I find myself lucky enough to be somewhere with a clear sky and no light pollution, you will always find my head turned skywards. There’s just something about looking at the stars that gives me a sense of being grounded – almost a reminder of just how small I am and how incredible life is. It blows my mind.
Being the star-loving, sky-watching, soul-seeking person I am, when I was contacted by Star Name Registry I was pretty excited – I was going to name a star of my own.
Asked to decide which area of the sky I wanted the star in, what I wanted to name it, a date I wanted to assign to it and a personalised message to be printed onto the certificate of ownership, I had no doubt what I was going to choose. I was going to use my star as a tribute to my family.
I chose this name as when I was a kid we were often referred to as the Fordham Five, a nice little nickname but one that always gave me a little jolt as we aren’t actually a family of 5, there are 6 of us, but my sister passed away when she was 2.5 years old. Her name was Katy, and so, with the addition of her initial to the Fordham Five name that I recall so strongly from my childhood, it’s a permanent reminder of who we are as a group.
My initial thought was to have a star within Orion, as that was my favourite constellation as a kid. Even now, he’s the first thing I look for when I look up to the stars. However, I opted for Virgo as that was Katy’s star sign.
Memorable Date: 26.08.1982
Simple enough; Katy’s date of birth.
Personalised Message: “We are always a 6”
I think this is pretty self explanatory – we may have been a family of 5 growing up, but only on the outside, inside we have always been a family of 6.
(A note to be made here: I know it’s technically impossible to actually own a star because the majority of the stars we can actually see in the night sky are already dead and gone, but this is more of an item for sentiment than for the tangible “this belongs to me” element – the same as owning a part of the moon or a sliver of land in Scotland. A token present given more for the meaning than for actual ownership).
There are three different types of star you can get from Star Name Registry – Standard, Extra Bright or Binary (for two names). The star I have is one of the Extra Bright ones which means it has higher visibility. No star is ever named twice and once it’s registered to you, it stays that way forever.
The certificate of ownership arrives well-packaged, in a silver box and framed, sitting on a bed of tissue paper meaning you have to make zero effort if you’re giving it away as a gift to someone (bonus!) It also includes a Sky Atlas map which will help you to locate where in the sky your star can be found.
I think this is a really great gift to give to somebody to mark a special occasion, to remember somebody important, or to show them that you really would give them the moon and the stars if you could.
Star Name Registry have given me one Extra Bright Star to giveaway and, whether for yourself or as a present for somebody you care about, I think it’s something really special. In fact, I gave my friend’s son a star of his own earlier this year as he’s fascinated by what goes on outside of this little planet of ours and loves to look up at the stars and the moon through his dad’s telescope.
As always, I’m making this giveaway super simple to enter by way of the form below:
UK entrants only. The competition will run to Monday 18th December and the winner will be contacted by myself following this. If a response is not received within 48 hours, another winner will be chosen.
Good luck to anyone who enters!
I love the feeling of having my own little bit of the universe and next time I find myself out in the dark, gazing up at the sky above, I’ll be able to cast my eyes to Virgo and know that a little piece of my family name is out there.
* In Association with Brand *