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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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….

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!

My comeback

So a lot has happened over the last twelve months….

  • I moved into a flat in central London with people I’d never met before;
  • I left National Geographic Kids after being headhunted to work on a new children’s magazine;
  • I began exploring life and all that it has to offer…

Moving anywhere can be stressful – but trying to find a place in London that isn’t going to leave you penniless is a different kettle of fish entirely. That said, even though it may have taken me a while, I finally found a three bed flat in the heart of London, near Angel, that I have fallen in love with. I feel like I’ve found friends for life with my flatmates, which is so lucky, as moving in with people I hadn’t known before could have turned out very differently.

Not long after moving in, I was headhunted for a new children’s magazine that had not even published it’s first issue. Yet again I was faced with another risky decision. Did I stay in a job that I could do with my hands tied behind my back or did I take a leap of faith and jump straight into an unknown magazine in the hope that it would be a success (and that becoming an official Staff Writer was something I could succeed in too)? I took the latter option and it turned out to be one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. The Week Junior launched in November and has been going from strength to strength ever since, becoming Britain’s fastest growing children’s magazine. I’m so proud to be part of such an amazing team at Dennis Publications and couldn’t imagine myself working anywhere else.

I’ve also come to realise over the past year that you don’t have to live your life in a box… or worry about ticking anyone else’s boxes for that matter. People are entitled to be who ever they want to be and shouldn’t have to answer to anyone for it. Unfortunately, there will still be times where someone doesn’t agree, or doesn’t think that your decision is a wise one… but you know what, it’s my decision to make and if it doesn’t turn out well, then that’s my mistake and is something I will learn from. After all, that’s how people grow, by making their own mistakes. It’s just not possible to learn from someone else’s. Plus if you find out that someone doesn’t like you for one reason or another, then quite frankly that’s their problem. As RuPaul says in her song, Sissy That Walk… “Unless they paying your bills, pay them b*tches no mind.”

Woah… that got deep for a second. Back to business…

Since a new month is now on the horizon, I wanted to begin regularly blogging again and not just posting sporadic reviews. So, to help get me back into the swing of things, I’ve decided to take up the below 31 Day Blog Challenge. In 2014, I took part in the 365 Days of Writing Prompts challenge from WordPress and absolutely loved it. It was also so nice to see how fellow bloggers had approached each prompt, so if you’re completing a similar challenge this May, let me know as I’d love to check it out.

So until the next time, enjoy life and keep living the dream!

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I have confidence in me

#327: Are you good at what you do? What would you like to be better at?

Yes, I believe I am the best at what I do! I’ve managed to teach myself so many things in order to complete my job, as I haven’t received any official training, thus needing to educate myself. For example, I’ve never been taught how to edit video junkets (or just video footage in general), but I had to teach myself how to do it – especially for my most recent Norway/How To train Your Dragon 2 project!

Check out my cool junket interview with the Head of Character Animation for this amazing film, Simon Otto!

Doing this project has made me realise just how much I want to become a full time Video Editor – if possible with both Producer and Presenter responsibilities, as I absolutely love it! And so if anyone has any tips for me on how I can make this dream into a reality, please do get in touch!

Love to love you

#320: What do you love most about yourself? What do you love most about your favorite person? Are the two connected?

Love is such a strong word… Does anyone really ‘love’ something about themselves?! When I really think about it however, I guess the thing I most like is my ability to hold myself in every situation I am in. Whether it’s at a networking event, an event in which I am representing the magazine by myself, taking office phone calls or even in any of the junkets I’ve done. I’ve always been told that I come across extremely well (albeit slightly posh!).

To now be asked about my favourite person is a bit tough – my family are my favourite people and I couldn’t possibly decide. So, what I most love about these people are that they are always there for me and never fail to cheer me up.

Is there a link… I would have to say yes. I know people say it all the time, but these people really have made me who I am today. My confidence and desire to succeed in this world stems from these guys – I will only ever want to make them proud of me.

As seen on T.V.

#296: Write a script for a late-night infomercial — where the product is your blog. How do you market yourself? What qualities do you embody that other “products” don’t? What are the benefits of reading your blog?

Late-night advert… Read all about it!

FYI… I tried to think of this during my lunch break but we’re on press deadline and my brain is frazzled. I planned to write it this evening, but after eating, I just keep nodding off. Can hardly keep my eyes open! Maybe another time…