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Kim Willis from Phoenix Features accepts the award of Feature of the Year from Tony Gallagher, Editor in Chief of the Sun.

Oh look it’s me! Here I am accepting my award for ‘Feature Story of the Year’ at the NAPAs, my industry’s answer to the Oscars. It is a great privilege to get to write about so many amazing people and when I was writing this particular story, I knew it was something extra special. Writing for Fabulous Magazine, I described how SuperDad Gary had taken sole custody of his son after breaking up with his ex. As if that wasn’t amazing enough, the baby had various behavioural problems and was diagnosed with foetal alcohol syndrome, as a result of the mother drinking through the pregnancy. There is no cure and it lasts a lifetime.

While organising custody, Gary found out that this child is not his biological son. Did he run? No he did not.

I’m so proud of Gary and so pleased with the story we worked hard on. I shall include it below.

It was a lovely awards ceremony in London and I got to catch up with lots of my editors. Usually there’s an air of doom and gloom for the future of our industry, but this year things felt different. There was talk of stable readership figures and healthy budgets. So, perhaps I don’t have to retrain as a yoga teacher just yet…

 

 

 

All the night’s winners for the various categories.

Gary’s story in Fabulous

 

The week of Trump

Categories: Blog, debate, family, hot topic, life changing
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goldfish jumping away from city for go to tropical beachWell, this is a strange week in a strange year in a strange new world. Trump has become President of the USA, the UK voted for Brexit, numerous wonderful icons have passed away in what seems to be a devastating year for the planet. Today we awoke to the news that the talented and poetic Leonard Cohen passed away. His songs have filled my home with warmth on many an occasion and I’m devastated to hear of his loss, so soon after his most recent, incredible album.

So what next for the world? Trump doesn’t believe in climate change. I worry for our planet, for the people and animals who live in it. I guess we just keep our heads down, keep doing what we do and hope that there is enough beauty, kindness and wonder left in the world to keep it spinning.

istock_000013663657smallWhoopsie! Somehow it’s been a while since I blogged. Summer raced by, autumn dug it’s heels in. And here we are, hello October! Halloween will be whooshing past pronto and we’ll be all eyes on Christmas.

Well, actually, in mag land it’s been Christmas since August. We really do start planning and writing our Christmas stories in August, which might sound even worse than hearing a Christmas carol in a supermarket in September, but it’s not that bad. It’s lovely to organise the Christmas issues in advance and I’ve been writing up some truly lovely festive pieces. By the time Christmas actually arrives, we’ll be working on Mother’s Day!

Paper ball forming a lightbulb, white background

I don’t know where the time goes… but here we are! Since I last blogged, we’ve gained and lost the New Day, the ‘good news’ newspaper from the people who brought us the Mirror and the People. It was a lovely idea but sadly it would seem investors didn’t give it the space and time it needed to grow a fanbase. After 11 weeks, Britain’s first new newspaper in yonks disappeared as quickly as it had arrived.

And while we’re lamenting the demise of a great publication, this month sees us wave goodbye to Prima’s Baby and Pregnancy magazine. A progressive, informative, well designed magazine that sadly could not keep up with the changing face of print journalism. Another one bites the dust! But we’re still here and so are a great many magazines and newspapers. Let’s hope that continues, because here at Phoenix Towers, we love to write and really don’t want to have to get a real job…

BRATTjay1Well it’s a very exciting time in the world of journalism. For years rumours have swirled that no one reads print journalism anymore and indeed we’ve seen some of our favourite titles disappear. Remember Zest? More? She? Great magazines, gone to magazine heaven in the sky. Then there was the News of the World – bad times.

But now? Now there’s the New Day – a brand new newspaper from the team who bring us the Mirror and the People. It’s a gorgeous newspaper, the stories are laid out in a clean, crisp way. Reading it feels all exciting. I’m honoured to see one of my stories in today’s issue, one of the very first issues of the paper. (It’s been on sale for about a fortnight now)

There’s also a new fitness magazine out called Fit and Well. How apt – perhaps the world of print journalism is indeed fit and well. I do hope so – I love to write and don’t ever want to stop!

Another week has flown by – busy as we ever are writing about the wonderful women we write about! We’re gearing up for Valentine’s Day, Mother’s Day and the leap year, here at Phoenix. We’re writing about love, love and more love.
We’ve written a wonderful story about a teen mum who decided to parent by doing the exact opposite of what her parents had done. Neglected and denied praise or cuddles as a child, she’s given her children a foundation of support, love and encouragement. As a result, they are thriving, charming, adorable kids. This will be published soon and we’ll be raving about it again then – it’s a wonderful, feel good story.

Talking of wonder-mums, we’ve also written the story of Tracey and her THREE sets of twins, all naturally conceived. So that’s six children, all twins. I can’t imagine anything more terrifying, but Tracey and her husband have taken it all in their stride. We sold Tracey’s story to the Sunday Mirror and it’ll also appear in That’s Life soon… and beyond!

Supermums of the world: get in touch today! Let’s celebrate you.

Notebook on a wooden tableSomehow, Christmas happened. Then somehow stole January and now, it’s February 2016 and we’ve hardly had time to write and thank Santa! The new year brings some incredible new stories. We’ve been writing about parenting with the story of Kelly, the amazing mum of triplets who were all diagnosed shortly after birth with varying degrees of cerebral palsy.

We’re shared stories of women thanking those who saved their lives and those who gave them the greatest gift of all time. We tackled tough subject matter in miscarriage and looked at how important blood donations are in saving lives across the country. (seriously: give blood)

It’s been a wonderful start to a wonderful year. Expect lots of herbal tea, notebooks and flowers to continue to inspire Phoenix Towers!

Matite colorateWe’ve had a flurry of stories published this week and it’s been great to see so many of our stories come to fruition in such quick succession. Leona and Rachael have starred in the Mirror, explaining the brilliant reasons they didn’t quite make it to consummating their marriages. You can read about that here. Then we had weight loss star Vikki telling Best Magazine how she’s shed the pounds since last Christmas – that one is still on the shelves for a few more days so don’t miss it!

The incredible story of SuperMum Sarah, who adopted Amy, a child living with the lifelong burden of Foetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (her birth mother drank heavily during the pregnancy) – is out in Pick Me Up this week. And news just in – Sarah used her payment from the magazine to buy her fiance an engagement ring, so it’s a very happy day today!

And finally, the brilliant, fun story of Taylor-Rae, who splashes the cash on someone very special – click here to find out who, in this week’s Sun Newspaper.

Creative Writing ConceptIt’s officially winter and here at Phoenix Towers, the heating is on full blast, the kettle is on constantly and the slippers have come out of the box marked ‘Wear In Winter.’ We’ve been writing some great stories this week. Putting together a feature about newlyweds going on adventures, we hunted high and low on the world wide web for a couple who had volunteered in Africa, and thanks to the wonders of Google, eventually found a beautiful couple who eschewed the usual beach / cocktail / sunbathing honeymoon in favour of three months observing lions, zebras and elephants in their natural habit in Thanda, South Africa. It was an absolute joy to find and interview this lovely couple who have made it their married mission to raise awareness about animal welfare. I look forward to sharing their story with you soon.

We love hearing stories about people volunteering, both in their own community and in developing countries. So if you’ve been on an adventure with a charitable twist, please do get in touch today and let us write about you!

pencil and paper with My Story words near cup of coffee on blue wooden table

We really do get to write about the most wonderful people in the world. Like young Florence, a little lady with a big smile, a smile that’s been seen all around the world. Her beautiful story will be seen in Take a Break soon, and guaranteed, it’ll make you smile too!

We’ve also been writing about Foetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder, which is what happens to babies when the mother drinks excessively during pregnancy. It’s certainly a startling and sad prognosis for a child and one that we’re raising awareness of in a few upcoming magazines. More on this to follow.

And also this week, we’re looking for women who look better now than they did 20-odd years ago, through weight loss, surgery, fitness and adventure. So if you fit the bill for that one, please do get in touch and sell your story with us today.

Thank you!