How To Train Your Dragon is back!

On 7 June, DreamWorks released the first trailer for the third installment of the animated hit fantasy series, How To Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World.

DR3_Tsr1Sheet_HiddenWorld_RGB_2SMIt’s been nine years since the first How To Train Your Dragon film flew into cinemas across the world. Two films have followed the adventures of young viking, Hiccup, and his unique dragon Toothless, as they protect the Isle of Berk and it’s people from multiple threats and it looks like it will be no different in the third and final film… well, except for Hiccup’s beard.

In 2014, I was lucky enough to be selected to travel to Norway to celebrate the release of HTTYD 2 for National Geographic Kids magazine. It was the most amazing experience, especially having not been to the country before.

I had the pleasure of interviewing the head of character animation, Simon Otto, in the Viking Ship Museum in Oslo, took part in a spot of dragon racing (thankfully whilst firmly on the ground) and even gave indoor skydiving a go to … all of which were caught on camera and published on the NG Kids YouTube channel!

How To Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World is due in cinemas next spring.

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ZSL welcomes baby tamandua!

On 31 May, London Zoo announced that they’d recently had a surprise arrival at the zoo. Meet Poco – the tiny tamandua.

Tamandua baby (c) ZSL London Zoo 1

Tamandua baby (c) ZSL London Zoo

Poco was born to proud parents Ria and Tobi (who only moved to the zoo last October as a hopeful companion). Keepers welcomed the newborn’s arrival, which took place just five months after the pair of tamanduas had been introduced. The cute Easter arrival clung to Ria’s fur but now, at two months old, Poco is beginning to venture away to explore the Rainforest Life home.

Tamanduas are nocturnal creatures, native to South America. Part of the anteater family, these mammals are impressive climbers and have tongues that can grow up to 40cm long. This species has very small eyes and poor vision, so relies on its hearing and strong sense of smell.

Tamandua baby (c) ZSL London Zoo 2

Tamandua baby (c) ZSL London Zoo

Get involved in the Great British Bee Count 2018

This year at Dennis Publishing, the company is supporting The Bumblebee Conservation Trust – a UK based charity dedicated to reversing the dramatic decline in the bumblebee population by ensuring the country is filled with suitable habitats rich in colourful wildflowers.

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uksafari.com @2009 Rosemary Lehan

Bumblebees are vital in the survival of the planet. These small striped creatures, along with other insects, are responsible for pollinating more than 80% of the crops grown for humans to eat – that’s around 400 different types of plants, including fruits, vegetables and nuts. However, our wild bee population still faces many threats from intensive farming, habitat loss and climate change.

On 17 May, Friends of the Earth launched their fifth annual Great British Bee Count. They’re encouraging the public to identify and record all of the different species of bee they spot until 30 June – of which approximately 270 have been recorded in Great Britain. To help with telling the different bees apart, Friends of the Earth have published a handy identification guide, which can be found here.

Nature: Exploring my forte

My writing career began at one of the most famous wildlife and nature titles in the world… National Geographic Kids. Now, among other pages, I’m the sole writer of the Animals and the Environment page for The Week Junior and have never been happier to provide content on such a wonderful topic that is so close to my heart.

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Every week, I research and pitch stories suitable for the Animals and the Environment section of the magazine, but since we are limited to the number of stories we can feature, many amazing tales go untold. So each week, I’m planning on sharing my favourite wildlife story to spread awareness and, overall, joy when it comes to the wonderful world of nature.

A whole new world: going freelance

I’m so excited to be back to blogging! Since becoming a full-time writer, my blog has sadly fell by the way side as I completely and wholeheartedly immersed and dedicated myself to perfecting my style of writing.

Screen Shot 2018-05-15 at 22.19.06For as long as I can remember, I have always wanted to take on freelance projects. I believe freelancing will help me develop and broaden my knowledge and experience even further, and now just feels like the right time to branch out and begin my new chapter.

Without sounding like I’m blowing my own trumpet, I have a really exciting future ahead of me. I recently got engaged to someone who’s job entails a lot of travelling so I know that freelance writing would be the perfect fit. What with wedding planning in full swing and the prospect of taking on new challenges and projects, I’ve never felt happier.

Writing for a weekly current affairs magazine has shown me that I am capable of writing about any topic in any length, whether it be full page features or news stories told in just 45 words.

On the topic of freelance projects… yesterday I received an email confirming that I had been accepted as a Standard level writer on Copify! I had submitted my CV and a sample of work over the weekend, and was surprised to have been confirmed so quickly (the website said it could take up to seven days). So I’m looking forward to getting started and being able to sink my teeth into some copywriting projects.

I’ll of course be keeping my page updated with all the exciting ventures I begin and I look forward to seeing where this takes me.

Until next time…

My first lesbian wedding, sunshine and old English gentlemen

Thankfully this week wasn’t as eventful as the previous, even if the city’s Mayor, Sadiq Khan, did declare a public health emergency following the toxic air that descended upon London.

17th – time to plan:
On a Tuesday, the team would usually need to stay much later than 5:30pm to ensure that the magazine was completed in time for the Wednesday deadline. Now, we’re getting things complete so much quicker. This allowed me to spend time researching and planning ahead for future issues.

18th – sunshine:
I noticed when I got off the tube and begun walking towards the office that the sun was shining down on my face. This brought a feeling of calm and was a nice change from the cold, rainy weather we’ve had of late.

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19th – wedding invite:

Two of my good friends, Laura and Sarah, excitingly got engaged last October. Since they’ve got lots of friends, I wasn’t expecting to be asked to go but I was overjoyed when I received an invite! There’s nothing like planning for a wedding – even if it is six months away…

20th – working from home:
To promote our magazine, The Week Junior, we had a stand at Kidzania’s Careers Week event. Logistically it made no sense to go to the office for half an hour before leaving for my 11 o’clock start, so instead I worked from home for a couple of hours and I thoroughly enjoyed it. The sun was shining, I missed the morning rush and I was able to have marmite on my toast! The little things… plus I had an absolute blast at Kidzania. I hope to work there again sometime.

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Kidzania, Westfield

I was also greatful for old English gentlemen:
Usually on the tube, people push to get on, terrified that it’ll leave without them. On my way back to the office, after working a couple of hours at Kidzania, a gentleman who was probably in his 80’s insisted that I get on the tube first even though I had been behind him on the platform. It was so kind!

21st – a decent sleep:
I decided to head home the previous night to suprise my mum as my plans had changed last minute. It was pure heaven to not have noisy neighbours above me hollering throughout the night.

22nd – slipper socks:
In the Christmas sales I treated myself to an unbelievably cosy pair of slipper socks that have the fluffiest of linings. They were practically glued to my feet all weekend as I refused to take them off!

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Not my snap – Yui Mok/PA

23rd – layers:
The increased pollution and dense fog meant that the temperature was also affected, making the morning commute a very chilly one.

Museums, paramedics and a whole lot of Netflix

So writing little and often didn’t quite go to plan… especially when I was writing daily paragraphs on my phone! I think I’ll instead publish my small daily entries on a weekly basis as a sort of roundup to what I am grateful for.

10th – good feedback:
Last week, my responsibilities were increased at work. Both my manager and editor praised me on what I’d produced that day. It’s such a fantastic feeling to know that I’m doing a good job.

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A recently published comic showing how we, at The Week Junior, put the magazine together!

11th – NHS:
After becoming unwell the moment I got into work, the HR department (who were kindly looking after me) were forced to call the paramedics. They arrived within minutes and were wonderful. They took care of me, checking all my vitals and keeping me preoccupied to bring me around quicker. It was my first experience of receiving paramedic and ambulance staff care and they were absolutely wonderful. After the medics gave me the all clear, my company kindly paid for a cab home (which was very much appreciated).

12th – Netflix:
Following the previous day’s events, I decided to stay home to let my body fully recover. Whilst recovering in bed, I finished The Vampire Diaries, The OA, watched the Sense8 Christmas Special and watched more Scorpion and The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air. What would I have done without this top streaming service?!

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13th – caring colleagues:

When I returned to work after my dodgey spell, both my team and the HR members that looked after me all showed their true colours. They all expressed their concern and asked how I was feeling, which they didn’t have to but was really nice of them. When I began to flag in the afternoon, a colleague helped me finish off my page as I just couldn’t focus.

14th – a good nights sleep:
Since the mid-week drama, I hadn’t been able to relax enough to get a decent nights sleep. Although the flat upstairs seemed to be having a Bob Marley party, I was still able to get a decent nights sleep, which was heavenly.

15th – adventures:
Exploring London with two of my good friends, we went to the Natural History Museum… in my opinion the greatest museum in the UK. We saw the Wildlife Photographer of the Year Awards, which is always so inspiring.

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16th – fresh bedsheets:

To me, there’s nothing better than climbing into bed after putting fresh sheets on following a long day at work.

Until next time….

A New Year once more… how did it come around so quickly?!

Happy New Year!

Last year, my posts were very sporadic… I discovered that becoming a writer as a full-time job, sadly made me less inclined to spend my free time sat typing away on my MacBook.

This year however, I’ve decided that I will write little and often. As well as my drag queen posts I will be writing short posts about the things I am grateful for. In today’s society, we as humans spend the majority of our time focusing on the negatives… how expensive things are, when we get stuck in traffic or (especially in the UK) the weather. I want to change that.

I will not be setting myself New Year’s resolutions this time (although I did achieve all three of 2016’s). Instead I’m going to be mindful. I’m going to appreciate every day for what it is… a day to live my life as much as possible.

1st January 2017 – Best friends:
On this New Year’s day I woke up at my best friends house after celebrating the beginning of the year at theirs.

 

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My besties, Vinnie and Tom.

 

2nd – Stress free journey:
Here in the UK, today was a bank holiday – a public holiday honouring New Year’s day (which fell on a Sunday this time). Although here at The Week Junior we had to come into work, the public holiday meant that the pavements, and more excitingly the tube trains, were gloriously empty. I wasn’t stuck in anyone’s sweaty armpit, I didn’t have to swerve to avoid dawdlers and to top it off – the sun was shining brightly in the sky. It was wonderful!
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3rd – today I was grateful for going to bed early.
Because the magazine goes to print on a Wednesday, the team would usually stay in the office until around 7/8pm on a Tuesday, but following a team shake up last year we seem to be more capable of leaving at a reasonable time. We left the office just half an hour later, which allowed me to have dinner and fall asleep much earlier than usual.

4th – touchscreen gloves!
I’d forgotten I’d ordered them over the Christmas break and now can’t imagine ever going back to normal ones. Not only can I now keep them on in the cold weather, but they also have the most divine fluffy lining. It’s the little things in life!

5th – increased responsibility at work.
To keep us writers continually learning and developing their skills, we often switch pages and this time, I have been given another page and a half!

6th – Christmas discounts!
Most people see January as the most depressing time of the year… not me! I picked the right day to shop in Debenhams as they were reducing everything to 70% off! I managed to get some fabulous bargains for this year’s parties and presents.

7th – I know I already said this at the start of the month, but it’s hanging out with best friends. I spent the weekend at their house again – we recorded some tracks, watched telly and enjoyed a Chinese takeaway.
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8th – adult colouring books.
It may not still be a big thing but I still enjoy taking some time out of my normal life to immerse myself in some therapeutic colouring. My besties bought me this unicorn colouring book (right) for Christmas and I couldn’t resist making a start, more or less, straight away.

9th – walking.
In London, there was a tube strike which closed the majority of the network forcing many people to find alternative means to get around the city. I opted to walk since the journey would only take 50 minutes and luckily, my friend from work lives close by, so we shared the journey both to and from the office together.

25/31 Why we gotta have favourites?

25. Your five favourite blogs

Since I’ve only recently come back to WordPress, I haven’t had a chance to fully explore all of the new content new bloggers have to offer. So, to make it fair, I’ll simply list the last five blogs I’ve followed…

1) Tifness

I’ve only just taken a look at Latifa’s blog in the last couple of days and I’m not disappointed. I love to travel and I love food, so this is the perfect combination! My flatmate cannot eat wheat so we are often making gluten-free recipes when we have meals together. For example, this Sunday we made deep-fried, stuffed courgette flowers; gluten free pea and asparagus ravioli with parmesan; and sticky toffee pudding with Madagascan vanilla custard… the custard is the only part of the feast we hadn’t made from scratch. So it’s safe to say, we are serious about our food! I’m looking forward to making some of Latifa’s recipes in future 🙂

2) Wilson Reviews

Jake is someone I work with at The Week Junior and it was only last week, at our 25th issue anniversary/we won Launch of the Year at the British Media Awards drinks, that I found out he was also on WordPress. He writes about the latest and greatest movies out there, as well as recommending titles that people may not already be familiar with. Just be sure not to read too many in one go, as it’ll leave you struggling to decide which film to watch first!

3) Cooking with a Wallflower

Andrea has so many amazing recipes… all of which I would like to make. Well, I should be more specific – eat! Every time the pictures manage to make my mouth water. I don’t even have to know what it is, I just want to take a bite.

4) We Love Food

I see a trend here… I clearly love food, too! What I like about Saff and Ade is that they not only write about what they eat, they also describe the atmosphere and overall experience all the while injecting humour into each post. I may or may not be using their reviews as more of a to do list since they’re mostly London based.

5) Second blog to the right

And if you don’t get this reference… what planet do you live on?! One of my other great loves is theatre. I found this blog because of their Cirque du Soleil reviews and it was only when I took a look at what they had previously reviewed, that I discovered they also love Disney and had seen the Toddlerz Ball. I can’t wait to see what’s next!

 

 

23/31 The possibilities are endless

23. Your dream job

If skill had no boundaries (an make believe was in fact possible)… my dream job would be a professional mermaid that trains dolphins underwater. But back to the real world…

If I didn’t get stressed easily, it would have to be a wedding planner. I absolutely LOVE organising things and am a hopeless romantic, so feel like arranging two peoples happy day and ensuring that everything was done to perfection would be a dream job.

If I could earn a regular income from it (or if such a role even existed), I would be a full-time junket interviewer. Over the last few years I’ve been lucky enough to interview film character designers and creators, glacier experts and even a robot cockatoo, and every single time I’ve loved it.

Again… back to the real world…

Luckily, even though I am a little stress pot at times, I am already doing my dream job. I get to write for kids every day, which (I’m hoping) is making me a better writer feature by feature. I’ve already learnt so much in the seven months I’ve been working there and can’t wait to see else the the future has in store for me!