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World of Wings

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I  purchased 2 tickets for ‘World of Wings’ last month for my boyfriend and I when I saw a deal pop up on Groupon. I had never been before; even though it was just outside my hometown. I had always known it was there so I thought I would pop along and see what it was like.

 

The birds were absolutely tremendous and so majestic: I hadn’t expected them to have such a wide range of birds on display – you definitely get your money’s worth! I was overwhelmed by all of the different species of owl, eagles, buzzard, vultures, kestrel, falcons, parrots and so much more! There was far too many to remember (hence why I took so many pictures). In particular, there was a Grey Crowned Crane who is currently endangered and my heart just broke when I discovered this. It is such a wonderful and stunning bird and I just can’t quite believe that it could end up extinct!

We spent our first half an hour walking around taking photographs of all of the beautiful birds and reading about their diets, habitats etc. on their display board directly in front of them. It was really educational actually!

 

At 12pm they hosted a flying session with some of the birds and we went along to that. The weather started off beautiful and then, unfortunately, it became miserable so we didn’t stay for the full allocated hour. However, we did get to see two of the birds fly and it was absolutely incredible to watch them. One of the birds even flew over and was directly beside me!  The crowd have a lovely sitting place to enjoy watching the birds and I can just imagine the atmosphere on a lovely summers day! It started raining really heavy and my boyfriend and I were soaked right through so we decided to pop in to the café for a bite to eat and a heat!

The Cabin Café was lovely. I had a ham and cheese panini and coleslaw and it went down a treat! The coleslaw was delicious! As we sat and enjoyed our lunch the sun appeared again but we were soaked right through by this point and just wanted to get home after our lunch. The café is cosy and sweet. It reminded me of holiday! (Do you know what I mean?)

I had a splendid day at World of Wings and I would definitely love to go back in the future! They host lots of events on different occasions and also have reptile days too I believe and you can have a go at holding a snake or a lizard! They have an adorable kids play area and good parking facilities. It’s in an aloof and tranquil area which is fabulous for the birds! I do feel sorry for them, right enough, being held ‘prisoner’ at an attraction however they are well looked after: they get flying sessions, fed well and trained appropriately. It is an honour to go and visit such majestic birds and actually stand face to face with a bird of prey!

If you want to check out World of Wings click HERE. You can book tickets, just have a shimmy at the birds and you can also contact them too and just let them know how beautiful their birds are and that they’re doing a fabulous job!

What do you think guys? Does that sound like something you would enjoy? What was your favourite bird from my photos? (Sorry there was so many)!

Charlene McElhinney

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Interview with a Publisher: Hannah Billie Perry

 

Interviewee: Hannah Billie Perry

Occupation: Marketing and PR Assistant at Pavilion Books Co. Ltd

 

How did you find contacts and start putting yourself out there?

I used Twitter a lot! Twitter is a great tool for you to connect with people in the publishing industry, as well as hearing about different opportunities. I’d really recommend following @pubinterns, run by my friends Emma and Chloe. They publish a list each week of the different work experience, internships and entry-level positions available, as well as tips for how to write your cover letter and more. For myself personally, I followed and interacted with people who do the sorts of jobs that I was looking for – it’s amazing how much industry knowledge you can pick up online!

What could I be doing now to achieve your career in the future?

If you’re at university, I’d recommend trying to get some office experience under your belt. This doesn’t have to be anything to do with publishing – being a receptionist, for example, is great experience for learning how to interact and conduct yourself in a work setting. I’d also recommend looking for work experience early, as many programs are often booked 6-9 months in advance. 

What are some of the main reasons that a publisher would reject someone’s work?

The biggest one, I think, is when the book just isn’t right for the company. I work in a non-fiction publishing house, and the amount of fiction manuscripts that turn up on our editors’ desks is just incredible. Apart from anything, it shows that you clearly haven’t researched the company, and publishing folk don’t tend to like that! Other than that, a manuscript might be rejected if it’s not easily marketable, or just plain isn’t very good.

What has been the biggest struggle of your career?

Getting my first job! I did lots of internships and placements, but the hardest thing to do is always to bridge the gap between intern and employee. Persistence and the ability to not take setbacks too hard is key.

What has been the most rewarding moment of your career thus far and why?

Last summer I got to work at YALC (the Young Adult Literary Convention that runs every year as part of LFCC), with the publishing house I was with at the time. I got to meet a huge number of bloggers and book enthusiasts that I’d been chatting to for ages online, and it was really great! It made me realise how right it was for me to stick with interning to get to where I wanted to be. Other than that, managing Jacqueline Wilson’s fan mail when I was interning at PRH made my eleven-year-old self pretty happy!

Lastly, if you could give one tip or piece of advice to an aspiring writer, what would it be?

You want to write? Write. Don’t think about it, don’t make long, lengthy plans, just grab a piece of paper, a pen, a quiet spot, and DO IT. Good luck!

 

Thank you so much to Hannah Billie Perry for answering some questions & for giving an insight in to the industry from her perspective! It was a pleasure to work with you, Hannah!

You guys can follow Hannah on twitter by clicking HERE.

 

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‘All The Bright Places’ book review

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I have been putting off this book review for weeks now because I’ve just not been able to bring myself to think about it or talk about it yet. Isn’t it crazy how a book can do that to you?

All The Bright Places tells the story of two young adolescents who are both troubled in their own way. Violet lost her sister, her best friend, in a car crash and she hasn’t been the same ever since. Finch, the ‘freak’ at school, saves her and begins to show her the meaning of life and helps her to laugh – and love – again. They become inseparable and embark on ‘wandering’ together for a school trip (and for leisure). Until one day Finch begins to retreat into his own little world and cuts everyone off – even Violet. Finch is mentally disturbed and tends to lock people out when he is feeling miserable. He doesn’t want to be saved; but Violet yearns to save him and help him the way he helped her.

Finch is quirky, comical and mysterious and I have never adored a character in a book as much as I did Theodore Finch. He is a character that will stay with me always.

This is my first time reading a Jennifer Niven novel and I will certainly be reading more in the future. I have already purchased ‘Holding Up The Universe’ and I can’t wait to immerse myself in this too.

Overall, do I recommend this book? 110%. Would I read it again? Without a shadow of a doubt. Will this book make you cry? Yes. Just being honest.

If you’ve read All The Bright Places let me know your thoughts! Have you read any other Jennifer Niven books? Would you read this book?

Get a copy of All The Bright Places here.

I love hearing from you guys!

Charlene McElhinney

 

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Me Before You (book & film review)

 

I have just this minute finished watching the film adaption of ‘Me Before You’ – following finishing the book several hours before. I am currently an emotional wreck. Why do I do this to myself?

Me Before You tells the story of a man, Will Trayner, who is paralysed from the neck down and will remain in a wheelchair for the rest of his life following a tragic accident. He is unhappy with his quality of life as he used to be outdoorsy, adventurous and free. Now he is not able to change himself, eat by himself or do anything without attention or assistance. Louisa Clark comes along, a bubbly, naïve and eccentric girl, who is the burst of happiness and fresh air that Will’s parents believe he needs. They employ her to be his ‘carer’ but it is more for the company for Will that they want her for. Louisa soon finds herself falling in love with Will; and the feeling is mutual on his part too. Their relationship blossoms. But Will doesn’t want to be here anymore. He is tired of everything. He just wants to be put out of his misery. Although they embark on adventures and Louisa shows him what sort of life he could lead with her: Will this be enough for Will?

The book was a tremendous read; it was slow placed, eloquent and eye-opening. Will and Lou were fabulous characters and I just longed for them to be together throughout the whole story. Jojo Moyes is a fantastic writer and I sincerely look forward to reading more of her books in the future.

The film was a wonderful adaption of the book. The casting was perfect for Will and Lou. I bawled my eyes out through the majority of the scenes in the film as I knew what to expect towards the end. The chemistry between them was so magical and precious and it was beautiful to witness. I can’t believe I watched the film so soon after reading the book: Why do I put myself through such things?

I can’t believe I’ve only just discovered Me Before You. My good friend, Flora, introduced me to it when she brought the book in to college for me a few weeks ago and told me she knew I would like it. I am indebted to her for introducing me to such a marvellous book. It’s one that will stay with me always.

Highly recommend.

Have you read Me Before You? Have you seen the film? What are your thoughts on it?

Love

Charlene McElhinney

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Melancholy Mind: Official Launch.

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I am now officially a published author/poet. It feels surreal.

Last night I done a live stream on Facebook, Instagram and announced on Twitter, Snapchat and across all of my social media platforms that my book is now officially available to the world. It is currently available in paperback form but hopefully by next week it will be available on Kindle and on eBook too.

Melancholy Mind is a book that I have been working on, and pouring my heart and soul in to, for the past while. It is a collection of Poetry on the subject of Mental Health. It deals with the reality of Mental Health (from my own experience), medication, insomnia, loving with depression, causes and symptoms, coping and ‘recovering’. It is raw, emotional and candid.

You can pick yourself up a copy by clicking here: Melancholy Mind.

Feel free to use the #MelancholyMind hashtag on Instagram, Twitter & Facebook to join in on the conversation. Also feel free to search it on GoodReads and update your progress as you make your way through the book.

I have been so excited to reveal this exciting news to you guys and I just want to thank each and every one of you for your endless support & abundant encouragement.

Lots of love

Charlene McElhinney

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My first experience of laser tattoo removal

Let’s begin with a photograph of the tattoo that I am currently going under the laser to have removed.

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I was 15(ish) and I guess when you’re 15 and you have the opportunity to get a tattoo then nobody can talk you out of it really. At the time I was very passionate about my faith and this seemed relatively appealing – so I just went for it. Now that I’m 20 I wish that I had just waited. But hey, you must make your own mistakes to learn from them, right? You may be gobsmacked to know that the reason I am actually undergoing this laser tattoo removal process is because I plan on getting a cover up tattoo – a professional one! One that I have thought about carefully that will be getting done in a proper tattoo parlour.

You may be wondering why I would put myself through this process just to get another tattoo in the exact same place; well, it’s simple, I just want it done right. I am fed up of looking at this on my wrist every day… I just want something I can look at and feel generally happy and content with. And this isn’t doing it for me.

Let’s get to it. I’m now going to share a few pictures from today’s laser removal experience so if you’re a bit squeamish I recommend looking away now, scroll past or close off my blog completely (you don’t hear many bloggers saying that, do you?)

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…Not exactly the most attractive thing you’ve seen in your life right? Both of these photographs were taken within the first hour of having it done. It’s been about 7 hours now and the bleeding has calmed down and it’s just really swollen  (and stinging like I’ve just been brutally attacked by every wasp in the biggest wasp hive you could ever imagine after attempting to obliterate it). Ok that was probably a slight exaggeration but it’s nothing like getting a tattoo, that’s for sure, getting a tattoo is a breeze. This ain’t. But it’s quick so that’s a positive! I was literally sitting down for less than 5 minutes and it was over. You need to wear a cool set of sunglasses (you know, like the ones the dentist gives you to wear?) so at least if I needed to shed a wee tear I could have discreetly! ha!

I’m really good at handling pain. In fact, I quite enjoy it, especially the feeling of getting tattooed. But this. This was a whole other kettle of fish altogether. This wasn’t enjoyable; it was tolerable. For someone who isn’t great at dealing with pain then I really don’t suggest putting yourself through laser surgery. Just being honest guys. Thank me later. 

I got my laser tattoo removal done at Fleur De Lis in Glasgow, St Enoch. This is where my brother & I tend to go for our tattoos. It was quick, easy & the staff are super friendly and make you feel comfortable the moment you step foot in the parlour. This is where I’ll be going for my cover up tattoo a few months down the line (providing my current tattoo heals quickly) so I’ll be sure to keep you all up to date.

Have you ever had a tattoo removed? Or laser surgery for anything else? I would love to hear your stories.

Until next time

Charlene McElhinney

 

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Just another ‘down’ day…

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Picture taken by me in Ayr last year

It’s a beautiful day outside (which is a rarity in Scotland) and I’ve spent the day cooked up inside.

I’m having a ‘down’ day.

This post is going to be a total contrast in comparison to my previous few posts, where I have been keeping positive and sharing an abundance of good news with you all, this is a whole other kettle of fish all together.

I wasted the whole day. It’s 15:07 and I’m still sat in my pyjamas; I haven’t ate a thing and I’ve barely moved. I have felt mentally and physically exhausted the whole day. I’m so angry with myself as I had loads planned for today. I was going to get up, be productive, go a run, maybe go to the shops and get something nice for lunch, I was going to read a book, work on some college stuff and at least put my face on and get dressed. I couldn’t. I remember at 10am I sat and stared at the door, which was ajar, and it annoyed me for almost two hours and yet I couldn’t bring myself to get up and close it. It’s not laziness. I don’t know what it is. I am aware it’s my Mental Health causing me to lock myself away again but I can’t do anything about it.

My mind has been driving me crazy today – the negative thoughts have been constant and haven’t gave me a break. They have been telling me I’m rubbish at everything, that I’m not going anywhere, that I’ve let myself go, that people don’t like me, that I’m a mess, that I’m an inconvenience and so on and so forth. It’s been draining. Really draining. From 12-3pm I slept. I wasn’t tired but I slept anyway (anything to stop the negative thoughts for a while). I’ve woke up feeling exactly the same. This is why I’m writing this post.

It’s important to know that if you suffer from Depression you are not always going to be constantly low but it’s not something that ever goes away. Let’s just say I’ve been having a good spell lately and that this ‘down’ day has hit me like a ton of bricks. I wasn’t expecting it and that’s why it’s been so difficult. I forgot how to deal with the down days. I didn’t know what to do with myself.  And it’s been dreadful.

There is so much I wanted to do today and I’ve just wasted it. Completely wasted it. I’m so annoyed at myself but there was nothing I could do to try and give myself a push or change my mind-set. Nothing at all.

I hope tomorrow is a bit better for me.

 

Love

Charlene McElhinney

 

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