Mirror, mirror, on the wall…

#226: Think of your blog as a mirror: what does it reveal? Consider your blog name, theme choice, design, bio, posts… what does every element tell you about yourself?

I wish I could spend longer on today’s prompt, but I’ve been setting up the NG KiDS tent at this years LolliBop festival all day and I’m absolutely exhausted!

So, in short, I think that my blog reveals that I am a very thorough and hard working individual, who has many feathers to my cap (the modern sense of the phrase of course – I haven’t been slaying any enemies recently) and who has enjoyed every element of the blogging challenge I began at the start of the year. I still can’t believe that we’re in our eighth month already, with only *let me do the math* 139 days to go until it’s 2015 and I have to decide on another challenge! How time flies!

Origin story

#214: Why did you start your blog? Is that still why you blog, or has your site gone in a different direction than you’d planned?

Since it was over seven months ago now, I’m going to guess why I started my blog… as I’m not 100% sure what the deciding factor was. I know that I wanted to develop my writing skills, as a way to help further my career in journalism/publishing. And since I couldn’t decide on a theme or topic area for my blog, I chose to partake in the 365 Days of Writing Prompts challenge from the team over at WordPress, also making it one of my New Years Resolutions – so I had to stick to it! Initially, I remember thinking that this could help me discover what I wanted to write about in the long term, but as the months have gone by, I’ve realised that I absolutely love the randomness that this challenge brings!

Never

#156: Tell us about a thing you’ll never write about.

Hmmm… that’s a toughie because this WordPress challenge covers a whole array of different topics, so something I mention now is bound to come up soon! Although, looking at the prompts I’ve rebelled against over this year, ignoring the prompts I couldn’t complete as they asked me to involve a colleague (as these types always appeared during press weeks!), the topics include choosing my favourite blog – I have too many to pick just one; writing my own eulogy – aside from it being morbid, I’d only recently lost a family member so couldn’t bring myself to even think about something like that; and politics based prompts. So basically, anything to do with politics or that have a morbid nature are a no no for me and will never have a place on my blog!

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Image: keepcalmandposters.com

Goals

#141: When you started your blog, did you set any goals? Have you achieved them? Have they changed at all?

To be quite honest, I didn’t set any goals when I started this (my first) blog! I simply wanted to create it as a method of improving my writing ability – it was to be a bonus if anyone liked it enough to follow it. All I can say, is thank goodness people have! It has given me such a confidence boost to see my stats increase day by day, through views and the occasional (much appreciated) comment 😀 I could never thank my followers enough for the support they have shown me!

I guess, when I think about it, the only goal I set in relation to this blog, was to complete 365 Days of Writing Prompts challenge without missing a single day. So far, so good! Fair enough, I have substituted some of the prompts with my own rebellious content but I have still published a post every single day, since the 1st January and I don’t plan on finishing until 31st December!

Critical eye

#112: Write about the subject you usually blog about as if you were a music critic.

Since my blogs subject is 99% determined by WordPress (the 1% accounting for my rebellious posts), it’s a bit of a strange post to be writing!

To set the scene, WordPress formed in 2003 with a very small number of fans, but in their eleven year career they have grown to be the largest self-hosted blogging tool in the world! They run both daily and weekly challenges, that can be published in either written form or with the use of photographs, which have evidently contributed to it’s success. In my opinion, I think these challenges and prompt ideas are a fantastic way of encouraging people of all ages to tap into their creative sides, regardless of whether it’s an area they visit frequently. 

Kick it

#3: What’s the 11th item on your bucket list?

I don’t actually have a physical, written down bucket list (although maybe it should be a 2014 resolution?)… it’s more along the lines of several mental post-it notes of what I want to achieve in my lifetime! My main one though is to travel to Uganda and Borneo to be face-to-face with Mountain Gorillas and Orangutans, since for as long as I can remember, I’ve had an extreme fascination with primates. I have visited Monkey World in Dorset, on several occasions (as they are a rescue centre, not a zoo!) and to show my support I have adopted Bart the chimp, donated unwanted sheets and towels as well as purchasing a paving brick for the ‘Walk of Thanks’ (which can be found near the mischievous Capuchin Monkeys!). I also got the chance to meet a hero of mine in December last year, as mentioned in previous blog posts, in assistanting Dr Jane Goodall on stage at her Roots & Shoots Awards Ceremony – I must admit, I was completely awestruck! 

… I’ll keep you updated if I do ever make a physical bucket list!

Stroke of Midnight

365 days of writing prompts: #1 Where were you last night when 2013 turned into 2014? Is that where you’d wanted to be?

As mentioned in my recent blog post ‘2013 in two thousand and thirteen words …maybe*‘, I have accepted the 365 days of writing prompts challenge set by the fabulous Editors at WordPress, in a bid to turn blogging into a happy habit. Each post will remain short and to the point so that I can keep waffling to a minimum. With that in mind, here goes …

Last night, when everybody else seemed to be out welcoming 2014, I was cosily tucked up in bed … not asleep, but in bed. Since the normal working week resumes tomorrow, I thought it was more sensible to stay in so that I could begin retraining my body to get back into the early morning routine. Admittedly, I would have preferred to have been out with friends and family, but whilst the world continued to sleep off their party head, I had already had my morning work out and completed a lot of the days housework. I’ll always opt for a great sense of achievement over a rotten hangover any day! 

So until tomorrow … have a very Happy New Year wherever you may be!

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Image: Stuffkit.com

2013 in two thousand and thirteen words … maybe*

Every New Years Eve seems to be filled with so many expectations of the year ahead; this year I’ll get my dream job, this year I’ll go on the trip of a lifetime, this year I’ll get my own place … but once again, it was just not meant to be.

Even though I didn’t achieve any of the major “reappearing” goals listed above, 2013 was filled with numerous mini-triumphs instead. I passed my driving test, albeit third time lucky, back in January on a super sunny day – every detail of the day seems to be etched into my memory for all eternity! This allowed me to finally quit retail (don’t get me wrong, I loved the staff but I was only there to fund my driving lessons). I was then free to pursue my career in journalism and publishing.

Through working at NG Kids magazine, I was lucky enough to attend the NTAs (National Television Awards) and the VIP After Party at the O2 Arena in London, which was super exciting. I even plucked up the courage to speak to David Weir, four time gold medal champion at London 2012, which was an incredible honour since my family and I were in the stadium, roaring him to victory, when he won his second gold on the 4th September (T54 1,500m). I also covered the European Premiere of Oz: The Great and Powerful; although I couldn’t feel my feet on the way home, it was most certainly an invigorating experience! I also began managing the Like it, Make it section of the magazine. This includes generating the craft idea, sourcing and obtaining all of the ingredients/materials required, planning each step, preparing a ‘here’s one I made earlier’, running the entire photo shoot on the day and finally, writing the double page spread; all on a monthly basis. It’s been hard work but it has been so much fun! Another big task for me at NGK, was that I solely arranged and organised a three day event – the Pet Expo 2013 held at Bluewater shopping centre in Kent. I thoroughly enjoyed succeeding in the challenge presented to me and subsequently enjoyed managing our stand at throughout build up, the event itself and pack down (even if a dog did decide to cock a leg on my fake ivy!). Finally, I was given the most amazing honour in being asked to present alongside Dr Jane Goodall at her Roots & Shoots Awards Ceremony. To this day, I still cannot believe that I shared the stage with such an influential and inspiring individual! Needless to say, I have begun looking into Gorilla Trek’s … to be taken in (hopefully) the very near future.

In other news … I finally created my career portfolio in the summer, in which the online version can be found at clippings.me/chloemayward (enjoy!) and it would be great to hear your thoughts! I also started networking in order to meet other journalists, I made my freelance business cards and began freelancing for various iPad magazines in my spare time. This found me at the world conference of Thor: The Dark World, held at the Dorchester Hotel. One word … breathtaking!

Aside from the Pet Expo 2013, I immersed myself into the world of events, my back up plan to journalism! Firstly, I managed the mask making section within our NGK jungle tent at the Lollibop festival, in London’s Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park. Kids certainly do come out with the funniest and most unpredictable things! Finally, towards the end of the year I became the production runner for the 12 Days of Christmas Parade, which brought Santa to Westfield Shopping Centre in Stratford. I also agreed to be a lantern bearing elf for the nine ladies dancing (since this parade had a modern twist, they were nine fantastic Bollywood dancers) – just seeing the little kids faces light up as we danced past and the fake snow feel, made the hard work all worth it! I do hope that I can take part in more events and festivals in the year ahead.

I know these are not triumphs as such, but I also travelled to Barcelona and stayed just off the famous Las Ramblas, treated my entire family to a weekend at Thorpe park in the new Crash Pad (we’re all roller coaster junkies and of course addicted to laughter), went to Pentatonix’s first London gig (if you haven’t heard of them, check out their Daft Punk medley asap) and finally went to see Les Misérables in the west end (and am still singing the entire soundtrack week after week!). So it’s been a relatively positive year!

Even though we lost a very treasured family member this year, who at the age at 104 and a half (those extra months are always important at that age) still had all of her marbles, she is now with her beloved husband. She will always be in our hearts.

Looking forward, as a 2014 New Years Resolution (that has not graced my list before), I have accepted a cool 365 day blogging challenge, where various blogging prompts are provided so that you don’t run out of ideas. However, I’ll state this now … I’ll only be completing the topics I feel comfortable in writing as I had a sneak peak at what January has to offer the other day and some of them are more personal diary entry than widely available blog post! Bring it on!

HAPPY NEW YEAR and all the best for 2014! 

For anyone who would also like to take up the 365 day challenge, it can be found here: http://dailypost.wordpress.com/postaday/ebook-365-writing-prompts/

* Confession time – OK maybe a word count of 2,013 was a bit optimistic, but I gave it a good go!