Over the last year, I’ve shared hundreds of posts containing interesting and credible information surrounding wildlife and the environment. But what goes into creating these posts?Continue reading “Preparing for 2022: A day in the life of a content creator”
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.
It’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.
Permission granted by Dreamworks to use imagery (sent via press release).
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.
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
Permission grated by ZSL to use imagery.
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.
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.
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.
For 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.
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.
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!
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.
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).
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?!
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
I’m off to this years NTA’s… again!
As a few of you may remember, last year I was given the opportunity to photograph the celebs on the red carpet at The National Television Awards in London’s iconic O2 Arena. I had so much fun and everyone I met was so friendly and not snooty in the slightest! This year, I’m heading back to the famous spikey dome near the Thames, just unfortunately without a red carpet pass. That said, it will still be a fantastic evening – who wouldn’t want to be at such a big live event and get access to the VIP after party?!
This year, I have voted for the following programmes and celebs who I’d love to see win:
* Most Popular Talent Show – I love both Strictly Come Dancing and The Voice in equal measure, but in the end I opted for The Voice as I was lucky enough to attend last years live semi-final and it was an absolute blast! Plus, Strictly won last year so I thought I’d give someone else a chance.
* Most Popular Serial Drama – Coronation Street won last year due to the outstanding performances from both Julie Hesmondhalgh (who played Hayley) and David Neilson (who plays her husband Roy). It was an incredible story line, which gripped the nation. However, this year I voted for Eastenders as it is the only soap that I actually watch properly and have done for many years.
* Most Popular Comedy – I voted for the same programme as last year, The Big Bang Theory! As many people already know, I am more or less obsessed with this show and desperately want to see it filmed live in LA. However, last year the award understandably went to Brendan O’Carroll’s cracking show, Mrs Brown’s Boys, and I wouldn’t be too surprised if they won it again this year.
* Most Popular Drama – Unfortunately, I don’t actually watch any of the nominated drama’s that made the shortlist this year (Cilla, Doctor Who, Downton Abbey and Sherlock), however I think I gave my vote to Cilla in the end as Sheridan Smith is just so talented! Last year, not surprisingly (as Matt Smith was the most incredible Doctor there has ever been!), Doctor Who beat Downton to the award, although I’m not too sure they’ll be able to do that for a second year running.
* Most Popular Drama Performance – This was one of the easier votes to give. Sarah Lancashire played the most incredible character in the BBC’s captivating programme Happy Valley. Plus, she is a superb actress anyway! That said, she is up against Benedict Cumberbatch…
* Most Popular Factual Entertainment – I’ve always been a huge fan of Paul O’Grady, so to see him scoop this award for the second year, with his adorable show For the Love of Dogs, would be absolutely fantastic! However, the popular (not with myself I must add) programme Gogglebox, where you watch people watching TV (?!?!), has somehow found itself in the ‘Factual’ category… I’m sorry, but how could this programme possibly be factual?! Unfortunately, I think this one will regrettably win.
* Most Popular Daytime – I don’t think I’ve ever seen a year where This Morning hasn’t won! Don’t get me wrong, after watching Phillip Schofield’s 24 hour live TV challenge to raise money for the Text Santa appeal last year, he is one of the greatest TV presenters on our tellies. However, even with that in mind, I decided to give The Chase my vote this year as I’ve recently really enjoyed watching it and I end up learning so much from it, too. Sorry, Schofe!
* Most Popular Newcomer – This again was an easy one for me, as I think this actress brings much needed comedy to soapland. As soon as Maddy Hill (who plays Nancy Carter) stepped onto the square – or should I say carried over the shoulder of Danny Dyer’s character – I knew she would become one of my favourites and I’m overjoyed to see that she has made the shortlist! Last year I predicted correct in this category, with ‘Enders Khali Best (who plays Dexter) scooping the award – I even had the opportunity to congratulate him at the after party!
* Most Popular Serial Drama Performance – From one Carter to another, my vote was given to Danny Dyer, who again brings so much comedic value to the show as Queen Vic landlord Mick Carter. The two together are quite the double act and even though to begin with I was rather apprehensive for Dyer’s entrance, I’m so pleased the Carter family joined the cast!
* Most Popular Entertainment Programme – This was a tricky one as all four programmes are equally great in their own right. However, I think I voted for Ant & Dec’s Saturday Night Takeaway this time because it’s the one I watch the most of. Either way, Ant and Dec have a 50% chance of winning this award as I’m A Celebrity is also nominated (and the show actually won last year, too).
* Most Popular Entertainment Presenter – Since Ant & Dec won this category last year, as well as the award above AND the 2014 Landmark Award, I decided to give my vote to the hilarious (and on many occasions inappropriate) Keith Lemon. I absolutely love Celebrity Juice and thanks to this programme, played the funniest party game with my American relatives… Don’t Show Keith Your Teeth!
* Most Popular Chat Show Host – This was another category in which I found it extremely tough to decide who to give my vote to – I literally enjoy watching every single nominee! Since they are all worthy winners, I had to alter the question slightly… “Who would I most like to meet?”. Even though I very briefly asked Alan Carr last year if he would have a picture with our Junior Photographers and thanked him for it afterwards, I’d still really like to meet the hilarious Chatty Man properly. Et voila!
* Most Popular Multichannel Programme – As I briefly mentioned a few categories ago, I find Celebrity Juice addictive and very much a feel good show, as it never fails to make me laugh! However, and this is probably the biggest however I will make on this post, it is up against the incredibly popular Game of Thrones. So in theory, it unfortunately has absolutely no chance on winning!
* Most Popular Skills Challenge Show – This was a coin flip between The Apprentice and The Great British Bake Off (not that I actually had a coin handy – typical!), as I thoroughly enjoy both. Thus having no coin to flip, I decided to vote for Bake Off as not only is Mary Berry the sweetest lady I’ll ever meet (albeit briefly at, none other than, last years NTA’s), but Mel and Sue’s comedy narration throughout is just pure genius!
* Most Popular TV Judge – Surprise, surprise, I voted for Mary Berry for this category, too! I don’t watch X Factor anymore since both Nicole Scherzinger’s and Gary Barlow’s departure, so that cut the shortlist in half right there (both Simon and Cheryl were nominated). I then dismissed David Walliams as I thought that he probably has lots of different awards for numerous things – although he does seem like lots of fun!
So those are my predictions/hopes ahead of next weeks National Television Awards – I can’t wait to see who wins! Also, if you’ve made it all the way to the end, thank you very, very much!
This post was written as a result of being invited to visit as press whilst I was working at NG Kids Magazine. Permissions given for all images used.