Sunday, 24 April 2016

52 Books in 2016

 You may or may not know, but I am a huge book worm. I always have a book on the go and love nothing better than curling up and getting lost in a fictional world. Whereas I get bored with films and TV shows, books have a way of keeping me hooked in a way that no other form of entertainment can. Unfortunately last year I went through a massive reading slump and it wasn't until I started watching my friend Roisin's booktube videos, and from them the whole world of booktube, that I was really inspired to rediscover my love for reading again. To keep me on track I joined GoodReads and set myself a challenge to read 52 books in 2016, that's a book a week! Now to me, this doesn't seems like a lot as I've been known to devour 5 books in a week, but I guess it will have to make up for weeks that I'm working a lot or don't have much time to read.

As of April 24th 2016 I have read 16 books this year and have a "to read" list that is miles long! Books I have read so far include a series re-read in Garth Nix's Old Kingdom series and a part re-read in Cassandra Clare's Mortal Instruments Series (I originally read the first 4 books years ago, but never finished it, so am rectifying the situation). I have also started the Grisha Trilogy by Lee Bardugo and the Queen of the Tearling Trilogy by Erika Johansen, in which the final book is being released later this year.

My immediate "to be read" books are the final two Mortal Instruments Series books (City of Lost Souls & City of Heavenly Fire) which will then open up Lady Midnight to me, as i don't feel like I can read it until I've finished the original story. I'm also planning on finishing the Grisha Trilogy and a few other series "loose ends" such as the final book in the Sookie Stackhouse Chronicles that I still haven't read!

Do you enjoy reading? Have you set yourself a reading challenge for 2016?


Sunday, 10 April 2016

Working for the Mouse | Not So Secret Cast Member Rules


If you have followed me for a while you will know that in summer 2013 I was a cast member at Walt Disney World, so today I am going to share with you some "Rules" Disney has for employees and why most of these still apply to me today. Disney provides Cast Members with world class training and some of the things I was taught will stay with me forever.

1. The Disney Point. This is absolutely a thing. During training I was taught that we must only point or gesture using 2 fingers, as pointing with 1 can be considered rude in some cultures. I will now only ever point using 2 fingers, and I'm pretty sure most former cast members will agree that it just sticks.

2. Never say I don't know. It was drilled into us that were never to say "I don't know" to a guest if asked a question. Even if it was something we had no idea about, we had to radio the coordinators to find the answer.

3. The bend and scoop. Cast Members are encouraged to feel proud of their park both when working and when visiting as a guest, that meant picking up any litter hanging around. We were taught to do this in a particular way while walking, dubbed the bend a scoop, the name being pretty self explanatory for the action. Even though I am no longer a cast member, you will sometimes find me doing the bend and scoop in the parks while tutting and muttering about litterbugs.

4. Never break character onstage. This does not only apply to entertainment cast members, but everyone. From keeping a smile on your face to telling stories, we were all in character while on stage. Why is there a wire going from Cinderella's castle you ask? Well Prince Charming needs somewhere to hang his washing, doesn't he?

5. Disney Look. Disney are very strict on Cast Member grooming, which includes not having any visible tattoos or piercings (except 1 pair of studs in ears, female only), hair colour has to be natural and cannot show a difference of more than 2 shades (meaning no highlights or dip dyes, also dyed hair cannot have roots showing), men's hair cannot go below their ears, no extreme hairstyles, no jewelry (except a plain wedding band or religious symbols) and neat looking nails are among a few of the guidelines put in place. These are enforced, especially when becoming a new Cast Member. We were all "inspected" by a manager and if anyone was found to be not sporting the Disney Look they had to change it.

6. Make Magic. We were encouraged to always make magic for our guests. People spend thousands to come to Disney, and some may not ever make it back again, so making every moment count was key. From wishing someone a "Happy Birthday" to giving a free bucket of popcorn, it's the little things that keep people smiling during a hot, busy Florida summer.

7. Getting down to their level. Children are at the heart of Disney, and Cast Members are to treat them as equals. When talking to a child we were always to get down on one knee so we were at their level, making the child not feel talked down too, but like that are equally as important in a conversation. By making that child feel special and putting a smile on their face, it gives the parents a much needed break from a possible upcoming temper tantrum. 

Being a Cast Member really was one of the most magical experiences of my whole life and really helped me develop my skills in the workplace while giving me memories that will last a lifetime. If only I could re-live that summer again and again!

Have you ever been a Cast Member?


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