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…

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.

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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FAQ

#319: Interview someone — a friend, another blogger, your mother, the postman — and write a post based on their responses.

Since I’ve left it so late to interview someone, I’ll have to fabricate this ever so slightly (based on today’s events). My interviewee’s are my family and after showing them the How To Train Your Dragon 2/Norway video projects I’ve been working on all week, I asked for their thoughts.

The general consensus was that I’d shown huge improvement from the two junkets I completed in my two and a half year career with the magazine, which was lovely to hear. I was told that I should be really proud considering I wrote, produced, presented and edited the entire thing – and I haven’t even had any training in this field!

Six of one, half-a-dozen of the other

#253: Write a six-word story about what you think the future holds for you, and then expand on it in a post.

Success, happiness, travel, love and family. 

OK… so I cheated. I couldn’t work out a suitable story that would sum up my future in six words – it will be interesting to see how other bloggers approached this one-line challenge. However, the words included are things that I hope my future holds… and no doubt everyone else wants similar things. Thinking back to the Luxurious blog prompt from the weekend, everyone measures things differently. So, where I’ve listed success, I would class myself as successful when I secure either a writer/sub-editor role within a company I love – anything above, for example owning my own publication, would be a bonus! This theory applies to the other words, too. Happiness is something that comes and goes, but everyone hopes that there will be more happiness than sadness in their lives – although, thankfully, I’m someone who finds happiness in the smaller things. Travel is an obvious one… who doesn’t want to discover new parts of the world in their life?! And then there’s love and family, which kind of come hand in hand.