Follow your heart – There’s truth in it!

A while back I made a post titled ‘Decisions’ (which you can read here), talking about how it’s okay to change your mind, and the importance of doing what’s right for yourself, and I just wanted to write a little follow up to it 🙂

From ages six to sixteen I had my heart set on being a Vet, and around year 10, I changed my mind. Since finishing high school I have tried everything I was passionate about – teaching, dancing, and literature, but after sometime my heart just wasn’t in it. I thought that I wouldn’t find anything that would make me happy to do as a future career. Growing up I assumed that being a vet was the only career you could have helping animals, until I discovered there were so many more careers.
If you’ve read my other posts, you’ll know that animal welfare is very important to me, so working with animals as a career was always in the back of my mind.

Last year I decided I would make the decision and try to get into studying Zoology, and started by undertaking science units over the summer break to help with my chances. A Bachelor of Science (Zoology) seemed to be the most appropriate course, and I was hoping to get in mid year. My dad then informed me of a new course, commencing at the beginning of the year – a Bachelor of Veterinary and Wildlife Science – one of the career paths being Zoology. I thought there was no harm in simply applying, and giving myself more options. A few days later I was accepted!

It’s funny how things work out, because I am so glad that I’m am in this course now, as it has given me more options than I would have given myself. I can become a Zoologist when I graduate, working in animal conservation, and care and rehabilitation. However, after the 3 years, you can additionally move on to a degree in Veterinary Medicine to become a qualified vet. So I may get to the end of this course and want to continue into the Veterinary side of it, and it’s good to have that option. I would love to be a specialist vet in a zoo..

I feel like I haven’t been this happy in a long time! It sounds cliche, but I finally feel ‘right’. That I’ve chosen the right path, and this is what I was meant to do.
Of course, the course is full on – but I want to put in the hard work, because I’m working towards something that’s important to me.
As well as that, I feel happy at this Uni. I’ve made good friends, who are similar to me, plus the campus is quite small, so I don’t feel overwhelmed.

It has been a long road to get to here. Of course one side of me wishes I pursued this straight after high school, but I have had the chance to try all the things I love doing, and that what was what I wanted at the time. Those decisions have led me to where I am now. I’m thankful for all the experiences I have had that have helped me discover where I want to be in life.

I was scared to change courses once again, that I was just throwing my life away. I felt that I would never find what I wanted to do.
But I wasn’t happy, so I made a change. I cannot stress that enough.. if there is something don’t like – change it! You are in control of your own life, and you need to do what’s best for yourself. It’s taken me a while to accept this, but you need to make decisions based on your happiness, not what you think is the correct thing to do. You may make mistakes, and you may come to realise it wasn’t the right thing, but that was right for you at the time. You will change, and your life will change, and everything will turn out okay in the end. You just have to trust yourself.

 

 

I hope this has helped anyone who is in a similar situation as me, let me know in the comments if you like.

I can truly say I am looking forward to what the future holds in terms of a career, and I am so glad I listened to my heart and took a risk.

 

Uni exams have just finished for the semester, and I finally get a bit of a break! So I’m off to catch up on Attack on Titan season 2, and finish a novel I started reading ages ago!

Jess xx

 

 

Visiting Werribee Zoo & How you can fight Animal Extinction

At the end of last moth, my parents took me out to Werribee Zoo for the first time as a (very belated) birthday present. I have wanted to visit Werribee Zoo for as long as I can remember, being an African styled, open range zoo. Plus, since they announced the birth of new lion cubs, one of my favourite animals, I just had to go! I have had a love for lions and Africa since I watched The Lion King as a young kid, so I today was a very exciting day for me.

I was so excited seeing the lion family! The little cubs were so cute, the lioness’ were beautiful, and the male was just gorgeous! It was around the afternoon that we saw them, and they were all having a sleep in the sun. So unfortunately they weren’t bounding around being cute, but I was amazed none the less at seeing such beautiful creatures (we sat there for so long just watching them)

I was also very lucky to have the opportunity to do an animal encounter, and feed the giraffes! And what an experience that was! They are magnificent creatures (and even bigger than I would have imagined!) First we got to feed them acacia branches, and they were so strong! I really loved feeding them vegetables out of my hand, because you had more of a connection with them, and they were quite gentle.
The keepers also took us on a tour of other areas of the giraffe enclosure, and told us all about how they are looked after, which was really interesting.
The encounter was $50 and ran for 90 minutes – I can definitely say you get your money worth!

 

I took a lot of photos of all the beautiful animals at the zoo, so I hope you enjoy them 🙂
*The first 2, and the meerkat on the rock were taken by my dad

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I had a really lovely day out at the zoo with my family. The animals I was most excited to see were the lions and the wild dogs, as well as the new baby zebra and baby meerkats, but I loved seeing them all! I also really enjoyed going on a safari ride around the zoo, it had a nice African vibe. And of course, being so close to the giraffes was a truly amazing experience.

I also really want to mention about being a Zoo Member. I became one at the start of this year, and it costs around $7 a month (or you can pay yearly), which gives you unlimited entry to Melbourne Zoo, Werribee Zoo and Healsville Sanctuary in Victoria. I’m always happy to visit the zoo, so this definitely saves money. A well as that, money goes towards conservation and helping endangered animals. I love knowing that I am assisting such a great cause, and being a part of something I am so passionate about – all while being able to visit magnificent creatures.

Another great way to show your support is through ‘Beads for Wildlife’. By purchasing these beautiful, handmade bead products, you can support families and endangered wildlife in Northern Kenya. Such a great cause – I bought a little giraffe and my mum bought an elephant.

The least I can do is speak out for those who cannot speak for themselves 

– Jane Goodall

Jess xx


Related Links:

 

 

Guinea-Pig Update!

The last post I made about my little guinea pigs was finding out that Hazel was pregnant, and had just given birth to 3 babies – I was waiting to see what gender they were and if I was able to keep them. I just realised I never made an update on that situation!

As all the babies were girls I was able to keep them, and I now own 5! Let me introduce you to the newest addition to Newt and Hazel’s family – Kova, Cappy, and Totoro.

 

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This little grey is Totoro! She has the most loveliest coloured coat of grey and white, which is scruffy like Newt’s, and often sits very styled! She was originally going to be named Oreo, but I thought Totoro was such a cute name, as she matches the colouring of the Japanese character. She’s a bit of a quiet one, just like Hazel, but soon settles, and then enjoys a cuddle. A very gorgeous little piggy!

This here is DA6JyeSUMAAth0MCappy! She was named after a character from Hamtaro – I thought it was a really cute name, and matched her because she looked a bit like a cappybara. She was the only one who received her mothers short hair (a dream to keep clean!). Cappy is very inquisitive, and once you’re holding her, she will climb all over you to see what’s going on! If you pat under her chin she will also put her paws on you, which is so cute!

And finally, the gorgeous little bear Kova – a sligDA6JyeWUMAA2HPCht twist on the name Kovu from the Lion King. It took me a while to find the perfect name for her, but I really think it suits her. Kova is a little sweetheart, she cries a bit when you pick her up, and gets very upset when I have to trim her coat, but loves her cuddles. She takes a while to come out of her shell, but once she does she is very happy. She got the same fluffy coat as Newt and Totoro, but her mum’s colouring.

 

I am glad they are all girls, it would have been hard enough to give them up if they were all boys, but even worse if I had to give away one or two and separate them.

While I didn’t originally plan on looking after 5 guinea pigs, I am so grateful for each of them. Getting to see newborn pups and see how they all interact is great. They all have such individual personalities, and always make me laugh! I love them all.

It definitely takes more time to ensure they all get the equal amount of cuddles, and time out of the cage can be hard with 5 small pigs! However, I’m not complaining, and wouldn’t change it for the world.

Even though they are small animals, all 5 of them have had such a huge impact on my life. Not only do they make me happy, but they give more purpose to my day, and have helped me discover what I want to do in life.

 

In other guinea pig news – in my first post about them, I wrote about how I have set up their cage. I recently made a change to this and have found it much more efficient. Instead of using hay and wood chips as bedding, I have replaced it with a fleece lining. The fleece keeps the cage much cleaner as urine soaks through it, so it doesn’t became wet, and makes it much easier to spot clean daily. I simply wash it with a safe soap powder once a week (and it is very easy to dry!)
I of course still provide them with hay where there is no fleece, one half of the bottom of the cage, which they use to burrow in and as a food source.

I picked up a few meters of fleece for (I believe) under $15 from Spotlight, which I will link here. I got a pink owl patterned one for the box, and some green coloured ones for the open parts of their cage. I also place a few sheets newspaper underneath to add extra warmth.

In addition to that, as there is now 5 I wanted to provide them with more beds, and they’re actually super easy to make at home! I cut in half an old pillow case, and sewed any excess fleece all around this inside to create two homemade cavy sacks. I placed them inside their box, and they love cuddling inside them! Then pillow cases are great because they can definitely fit more than one piggy – but sometimes they get a bit cranky and want to have them to themselves..!

 

I hope you enjoyed the update! All the pigs are doing very well 🙂 Although, they probably wish the weather was a bit warmer, so they can sit out on the grass!
I am also currently in the process of putting together a little time lapse video of them, so keep and eye out for that 🙂

You can also see photos of the five piggies and Bella on my additional Instagram account.

Jess xx

Anime.. it’s Amazing

Bit of a random/nerdy post today, and not something I would usually blog about, but anime is definitely something I have always geeked out about. A lot of people would say that it’s childish to watch cartoons at an older age (who cares anyway, it’s entertainment), but I think anime can be appreciated differently as an adult. Anime shows that are aimed at an older audience contain stronger adult themes. However, my favourite thing about anime is the art style – it’s absolutely beautiful! The music is wonderful, the drawings and scenery are stunning, and all the characters are gorgeous – what’s not to love?

Watching anime was something I did quite often when I was younger. I loved shows including Pokemon, Sailor Moon (I even dressed as Sailor Venus for my Year 12 Muck Up Day), Cardcaptors, Hamtaro, OnePiece, and Digimon. It was only around last year, that I discovered how amazing adult anime is!

This isn’t a recommendation post, as I haven’t watched enough of the anime that is out there, nor do I consider myself an expert of it. It is more of review, talking about the ones I have watched, and if you wanted to begin watching some yourself.

So here’s a rundown of what I’ve recently watched 🙂 (With no spoilers!)


Death Note (2006)

This was the first older anime I watched (due to the association people made between the main characters and Dan and Phil), and it was such a good choice, because it started my love for anime again.

The show is about a boy names Light Yagami, who finds a book called the ‘Death Note’, after it has been dropped by a Shinigami (Gods of Death) into the human world. Basically any name you write within this book – dies! Light decides he wants to rid the world of all evil, and creates an alias known as Kira. There is a detective named L, who is working to put a stop to all the deaths caused by Kira.

I think this is a really great anime to start with. It has drama and suspense, and it’s dark but still contains a bit of comedy. Obviously from the title, there is a lot of death, but it’s not overly violent.
The main character contrast was also good. Light was a high academic achiever, with a bright future, and always seemed to be well presented. Although, I definitely had a soft spot for L, with his messy hair and unique habits, he always looked like he just rolled out of bed – but his mind was amazing.
With 37 episodes all up, each around 20 minutes, it’s not too long to watch. It did take me a few episodes to get into it, but after the first 4 or 5, I was ANIME3hooked!
I will say that there was parts of the anime I wasn’t too happy with, but I think the story took a good direction, with a very powerful ending.

This show had me on the edge of my seat! Whether it was because it was the first one I watched, or I just simply enjoyed it, it was most likely always be one of my favourites.

 

Sword Art Online (2012, 2014)

This story follows a boy name Kirito, who enters the newly released, Virtual Reality Massive Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Game (VRMMORPG), Sword Art Online. After a short time within the game, the players soon discover that they cannot log out; the only way is by defeating the 100th floor. Plus, if they die in the game, they die in real life! Kirito, a highly skilled player, teams up with Asuna, both determined to defeat the game.

This was an amazing anime. I felt that the story line was really compelling, and the idea
of dying in the game and real life was intense. Although, not sure if I’ll be playing VR anytime soon..images
I thought that Kirito and Asuna were both really good characters. I’ve heard that a lot of people weren’t big fans on the romance included within the show, but I felt that it was quite nice, and not over the top.

This anime is a slightly longer one, with 49 episodes and 2 seasons. It also has 4 main arcs throughout the show, which I didn’t mind as you got to see different story lines, however, I felt the first part of season 1 was the best. It was also difficult to get into the beginning of each arc, but within a few episodes, I was hooked once again.

Overall, this is a really good anime! Definitely in my top favourites.

 

Your Lie in April (2014)

Much different the the previous two shows, Your Lie in April tells the story of a young pianist prodigy named Kousei Arima. After the death of his mother at a young age, Kousei’s life became dull, and he is unable to play the piano to the same ability. He then meets another young musician; a violinist named Kaori, who brings a spark back into his life and reminds Kousei how incredible music can be.

The aesthetic of this anime is amazing! The scenery and the colouring (and all the cherry blossoms) were beautiful! It just made me want to visit Japan even more!
In only 22 episodes, it told a heartbreaking, and beautiful story. I wouldn’t class this as a favourite, but I am glad I watched it – a very powerful story about friendship and having passion in your life.

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Yuri!!! on Ice (2016)

A sports anime revolved around figure skating, this is the story of Yuri Katsuki who, after countless defeats, seems to be done with skating, until he meets Russian champion Victor Nikiforov. After performing a rendition of a routine by the champion skater, Victor agrees to become Yuri’s coach, and train him for the next season. This then causes conflict from 15-year old Russian prodigy, Yuri Plisetsky, who also asked Victor to be his coach. The show follows both of the Yuri’s training leading up to the Grand Prix series, as well as the relationships between the characters (particular Yuri. K and Victor). Yuri_on_Ice_Key_Visual

A very popular anime, this was beautiful, intense, and funny. I was so invested in the skating scenes, that I would actually gasp if a skater fell. Plus, the routines were beautifully choreographed.
Yuri Plisetsky was definitely a highlight character for me. Not only was he an amazing skater, but he was so sassy and angry – it was great! He also did have a kind side in his own away, and I loved his obsession with tiger themed clothing.

I really enjoyed watching this anime, however, the season was also only 12 episodes long, so I’m looking forward to a second season (hopefully).

 

Attack on Titan (2013, 2016)

Back to the death theme, Attack on Titan is the story of humanity fighting against giant human-like creatures, called Titans; who eat people! It focuses on the main character, Eren, along with his foster sister, Mikasa and friend Armin. Eren is determined to destroy all the Titan’s after his mother is killed, and the three of them enlist in the military, training to become Scouts and fight against the Titans.

As such a popular show, I had been meaning to watch this for so long, but was always reluctant because of how horrific and harrowing it is. However, now that I’ve watched it, it is definitely one of my favourites! I finished Season 1 in 8 days..

Season 2 has only just started airing, and there’s only so much I can say about the show without spoiling it. I made the mistake of starting season 2, meaning I have to wait weekly for episodes, which is worse when so many of the episodes end on a cliffhanger! So I’ve decided now to just wait until it’s all out, and binge watch it).

Obviously, the themes in this show are a little more confronting, but the action is so good; all the fighting scenes are intense! Also, the music is so exhilarating, I sometimes just listen to it (and attempt to sing along in Japanese). I do like a lot of the characters in this show; I think Eren is a good main character, and a lot of the female characters are quite strong (Petra and Sasha are great). However, I think Captain Levi would have to be my favourite. Most of the time he has the same moody expression, and monotone voice, and I love that. He is also a great solider.

I am currently quite obsessed with this show; definitely in my top favourites!

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There always seems to be online arguments with people saying that the Japanese/English subbed versions are better. While I think it’s great to watch them as they were originally intended, I am definitely more of a fan of the English Dub. Firstly, I think it’s because I grew up obviously watching anime in English, so it reminds me of that. Also, I really like to appreciate the story, drawing, and art of anime, something I would struggle with if I was reading subtitles. It’s definitely a personal preference.

With so many shows, where can it all be watched? I use the online streaming service AnimeLab, it’s basically Netflix for Anime!
You can access it for free, and watch shows with English Subtitles and adds, or become a premium subscriber for just $6.95 a month, which allows you access to English Dub (if available) and exclusive shows. I have been a subscriber for a while now, and think it is worth it if you’re a fan. You definitely get your money’s worth, and you’re supporting anime creators.

 

Well, that’s my little review on recent anime series’ I’ve watched. Let me know in the comments if you’re also a fan of anime, and if you’ve enjoyed any of these shows – I’d love to nerd out about them!

Now to delve into my list of anime shows to watch next..

Jess x

 

Related Links
AnimeLab

As of this post, all the shows I spoke about are on AnimeLab, excluding Yuri!!! On Ice.

*Pictures courtesy of Google Images

 

Meeting Dan and Phil!

Yesterday was a huge mix of emotions! I was finally able to meet two people who have had such a huge impact, and brought so much happiness into my life – Dan Howell and Phil Lester!

I have been a huge fan of these two dorks since 2013 (or late 2012), when I was on a gap year for my mental health, between high school and university. It was around this time I was discovering YouTubers, when I kept coming across gifs on tumblr of two entertaining (and very cute) guys.
I decided to check out their videos, and I haven’t looked back since. They were so funny and entertaining, and had so much personality and individualism. I loved their sense of humor, and how awkward and nerdy they were (just like me!)

It has been since then, that I have been waiting for them to come to Australia, where I could have the chance to meet them. I was so excited when I heard they were bringing their tour, The Amazing Tour is Not on Fire, to Australia, and I was there at 10am ready to buy tickets! I was absolutely heartbroken when meet and greet tickets sold out instantly, and by the time I had to give up on trying to get them, most of the general tickets still available were at the back. Unfortunately, when a second show went on sale, I didn’t have the money. I was so upset that I would miss out on even seeing them, and thought it would be ages before they traveled back to Australia.

So I couldn’t believe it when they announced the following year that they would be returning! Even though I really didn’t have the money, I couldn’t miss out on seeing these two people who made me smile so much. After an hour and a half, and many problems occurring with ticket sales (but that’s a whole other story!), I managed to get a hold of a meet and greet ticket – I would be meeting Dan and Phil!

Now we reach yesterday.. It’s such a weird feeling meeting people you have admired behind a computer screen for so many years. After buying tickets, I knew the day would one day come, but at the same time you feel it isn’t really going to ever happen, they would be right there. In person.

Dan and Phil’s meet and greet was first, and we were all sat down in the auditorium waiting our turn. I had met some lovely new friends, but I was becoming more nervous as time went on! After what felt like only minutes, my time to meet them had finally come..! I had a few ideas for poses, but that went out the window thanks to all my overwhelmed feelings! (hopefully next time)

So this is how it went down. Excuse the cliche and cringe!

Dan was the first I saw when I walked in, and I actually ran towards him – probably nearly knocking him over. He held his arms out and we hugged. Then I turned to Phil to hug him, and I could feel myself begin to break down. I covered my face, and then Dan offered to take the selfie, I think he could see how overwhelmed I was. I laughed and said yes, him saying that he will probably blink or something. So I stood between them and he took multiple photos, everything happened so quickly I didn’t even know what face I was pulling, and I don’t remember any exchange of the phone.

I then turned back to them and thanked them for showing me that even though I’m 23, I can still be awkward and nerdy, and be happy with myself. I turned to Phil and he looked so genuine with his head tilted to the side and such caring eyes. Dan then said not too worry as they will always be awkward for me! I then gave them each one more hug before having to say goodbye.

And here comes the awkward inner fangirl dialogue.

To be honest, I don’t really remember what was actually said by any of us – it was all just a blur of excitement and nerves! One thing I do remember is that Dan was incredibly talkative and lovely, and Phil’s hugs just made me melt. I didn’t want to let go of either of them.

I even think that I was so freaking nervous to speak to Phil, that I didn’t fully appreciate him being there enough. He also seemed quite shy. And they were tall! However, I think I had dramatized my expectations, as I was imagining them to be taller. Plus, they were both incredibly handsome in person.

I was so nervous, that I couldn’t think of anything that I had planned to say, so I’m a bit annoyed at myself for that. I think if I was a bit more confident, I would have been able to have more of a conversation with them. I hope they weren’t freaked out by how emotional I was, I would have  liked to have played itimg_9891.jpg cool, but it seems that just isn’t my style.

They also signed my DAPGO book, which somehow ended up back in my hands? Plus, I wrote them a short letting thanking them for all they have done for me, so I do hope they have the chance to read it.

I hate how quickly the whole thing was over! This massive build up, only to be over in a matter of seconds. You feel like you always have to be rushed on quickly with these things, which does suck because you do pay so much (not that Dan and Phil made me feel like that). Plus, I’ve woken up feeling quite sad this morning that it’s all over just like that, and in a way I miss them. I will say one thing though, I definitely think the TATINOF meet and greet tickets were much more justified.. but this is a positive post, so I won’t get into that.

I’m just so grateful that I had that chance to meet them both!

Oh! And their set!

While it was only 20 minutes, Dan and Phil had me smiling from ear to ear while they were on stage! They did a Dan vs Phil, which consisted of five rounds – Australian accents, blindfold drawing, guessing the marsupial mating call, the 7 Second Challenge, and wombat launching – apparently an ancient Olympic sport in Australia.

Both of them have such a great presence on stage, and put on a very entertaining performance! I was laughing so much, and truly enjoyed myself. As one of the headliners, I think  they should have had a longer set time – but at the end of the day, it could have been their decision, and I can respect that.

Love the iconic spelling mistake. And what works of art. 

On the very off chance that Dan and Phil read this, I just wanted to say the biggest thank you. Not only for being so lovely and understanding when meeting me, and for putting on a very entertaining show, but for having such a huge impact on my life. Meeting you two awkward nerds, has made this awkward nerdy so so happy! You have truly given me a happy life, and I cannot thank you enough for making me laugh and smile. You show me that even though I’m 23, I can be awkward and nerdy, and that’s okay! Watching your videos allows me to forget about my anxiety and depression, and just be happy. I love you both so much. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

(I also wrote this in a little letter I gave them, on Peter Rabbit stationary)

I hope you enjoy the rest of your time in Australia, and that you come back for your own tour real soon (particularly Melbourne) – after a much deserved break!

Being a fan of you is the most fun I’ve ever had.

Jess xx

“It’s a good thing to be strange. Normalness leads to Sadness” – Phil Lester

Related Links:
AmazingPhil
Daniel Howell 
DanAndPhilGames

Sand Cloud – Products for Marine Conservation and Being a Brand Ambassador

While scrolling through Instagram a few days ago, I noticed a page for a brand called Sand Cloud, asking for Instagram Brand Ambassadors. What stood out to me was the main goal of this company; marine conservation. I wrote to them asking if I could use my blogging platform if I was successful as a brand ambassador, and well.. here we are!

This is just going to be an introduction to Sand Cloud; what they sell and what their mission is, as I have yet to order some of their stuff. However, as soon as I have I will be making a blog post about it 🙂

 

Sand Cloud is a company creating a range of beach products featuring towels, as well as accessories ranging from tops and beanies, to water bottles, stickers, and jewellery.

Their beautifully designed beach towels vary from boho, tie dye, and simply coloured styles. They also come in different sizes including a classic rectangular shape, circular shape, and beach blankets.
As for the accessories, the designs a subtle and tasteful, while still showing support for the conservation cause.

I will go in to more detail about the products in a later post, but today I want to talk about the amazing work Sand Cloud is doing for our oceans.

 

A Californian based company, Sand Cloud believes in the importance of ocean and environmental preservation, and marine life conservation, donating 10% of their net profits to organisations (including Surfrider Foundation, Pacific Marine Mammal Centre and San Diego Coastkeeper). They are focused on creating products that raise awareness for these important issues, and spreading the message of protecting our oceans, beaches and marine life.

mission-infographic-small_1024x1024*Image courtesy of Sand Cloud*

Oceans are said to cover around 71% of the Earths surface, and as so many species reside in the water, the ocean takes up 99% of the planets living space.
I love just looking out at the sun reflecting off the water, the salty smell filling the air, cool water hitting against my ankles as my feet sink into the sand. Yet this incredible, scenic image can be destroyed with man made artefacts; oil spills, pollution, destroyed habitats, and illegal fishing.
Of course we as humans must live, but we do not need to compromise the rest of our planet to do this. Think of all the marine life that die due to being caught in, or consuming pollution; something that can be so easily avoided if we take responsibility for our actions! The earth’s oceans are such beautiful aspects of nature, and they need to be protected now, before we destroy them forever.

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I remember when I was in grade 4, my teacher chose me to be a part of an Environmental Protection Authority program. I felt so excited and important to be involved in something that raised awareness for environmental conservation. I did so much research towards it, but I can hardly remember much more than that, however reading about Sand Cloud has reminded me of it!

As I stated above, Sand Cloud is based in California, and I live in Australia. I believe in supporting worldwide conservation programs, however there is an important issue occurring right now in my own country, that I think Sand Cloud would be perfect to support.

Located off the coast of Queensland is one of the seven wonders of the natural world; the Great Barrier Reef. Stretching over 3000km, and being the only living thing visible from space, the Great Barrier Reef is a truly amazing speculation. The reef is home to more than 400 different kinds of coral, over 1500 species of tropical fish, around 200 types of birds, and roughly 20 types of reptiles.
Yet the future of the reef is under pressure, due to issues such as climate change impacts, coral bleaching, and harmful chemicals being released into our oceans.

I am hoping that maybe Sand Cloud will one day become a global organisation, and support many oceans and causes around the world. Therefore, if enough people living in Australia join to become an ambassador of Sand Cloud, we can raise awareness of this wonderful brand within our country, and help support not only oceans around the world, but ones we have in our own backyard.

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I am happy to have discovered Sand Cloud, and not only am I excited to use their stunning products, but begin writing and raising awareness about Marine Conservation.

Are you a brand ambassador for Sand Cloud, or thinking of becoming one now? Do you have a passion for or are involved in marine conservation? I would love to hear down in the comments!

Jess xx

 

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Should we close our Zoos – A Response to a Conflicting Issue

The other night, I watched (majority) of a documentary called ‘Should We Close Our Zoos?’. The topic of whether or not animals should be kept in a zoo is a heavily debated issue.
I love having the opportunity to see animals up close, and I am also extremely passionate about their welfare, so this issue has always been a conflicting one for myself. Yet, this documentary really helped clarify where I stand.

Host, Liz Bonnin, wonderfully and professionally explored both the pros and cons of zoos and aquariums, and spoke to a range of experts in the field including zoo keepers, conservationists, and primateologist Jane Goodall.
Conservation and care, versus freedom and behaviour were the contrasted ideas featured, and I can definitely understand both.

Sadly there are of course horrible sides to zoos. Footage of a giraffe being culled and fed to lions was shown in a Copenhagen zoo, and is said to be shamelessly carried out there. Yes, this is something that occurs regularly in nature, however in my opinion, not only is this a cruel practice, but is not how a zoo should be run.

They also spoke about the controversy surrounding Tilikim, the Orca famous from the documentary ‘Blackfish’. Unfortunately as I am typing this post, we have only heard a few days ago that Tilikim has sadly passed away. He died in captivity at 36 years old, half the life expectancy of a Killer Whale, apparently suffering from serious health issues. The whale was brought to seaworld after being taken off his mother as just a calf, meaning he spent his whole life away from a natural habitat and being used as a form of entertainment.

Tilikim become known after being involved in the deaths of 3 people, which is of course a terrible tragedy, but were these behavioural issues natural instinct, or a result from spending a life in captivity?

However, Zoos can be a way of protecting animals from dangers such as poachers or environmental changes, or even using science and breeding programs to save a species from becoming extinct.
Obviously comparing to the state of zoos many years ago, these places today are much kinder, and people have much more knowledge about providing sufficient living areas. Not the small, concrete cages animals were viewed in years ago.

One part of the show that really spoke to me was the critical case of the Northern White Rhino. Bonnin went and saw one of the 5 remaining Rhinos left in the world, and it absolutely broke my heart. The amazing part was that they were trying many methods such as breeding and stem cell research to try and re-populate these beautiful animals. This could not be done simply in the wild or without zoo programs.
According to other sources, there are sadly on 3 Northern Rhino’s left. We have to come to face the horrible truth that we may loose another incredible species. Action needs to be taken early, not before it’s too late!

Essentially, as started as an argument in the documentary, I am saying that zoos should be focusing on the animals best interest. Through continuing to have appropriate living areas, proper care, and being respectful to the animals, not treating them as simply a form of entertainment or viewing tool. We should be preserving all the incredible creatures that we share a planet with, and as long as animal welfare and conservation are the main priority of zoos, then I support them

If you are interested in viewing the full documentary, it is a BBC made program, and you can watch a preview of it here

Remember, we need to use our voices to help make a difference to those who cannot speak – make our zoos conservation programs, not a collection of animals to speculate.

Jess xx

*All images courtesy of Google Images*

Living with Anxiety and Depression | Mental Health Month 2016

Mental Health Month and Mental Health Week occur every year in October, the Monday just gone being Mental Health Day. While this is quite hard for me to put out on the internet, I’m not ashamed to say that I have been dealing with anxiety most of my life, and recently became a sufferer of depression.

I was officially diagnosed in 2012, my parents discovering that I may be depressed in late 2011. In terms of my anxiety, looking back now, it seems that I had been suffering most of my life. I always had trouble with social situations such as family gatherings, and often felt physically ill when being dropped off at places like dance classes. Myself and my parents had always thought I was just shy, but it is now clear that anxiety affected me from a young age.

My anxiety makes it really difficult for me to participate and deal with everyday life, and it seems that the depression is a factor of that. At times I don’t even feel I’m in control of my own body, and that I’m not truly myself. Over the years I have seen my GP, multiple psychologists, a specialist, and have been hospitalised. I have been on medication for a while now, which helps me deal a little better, but if I miss a dose or two I really feel the difference.

A lot of sufferers say that their mental illness is not who they are, and I completely understand that. However, at the same time my anxiety and depression is a part of me. I don’t want to let it control my life, but I know it’s probably something I will have to deal with for the rest of my life. I refuse to rely on medication forever, and don’t want my future be affected by feeling uneasy. But I do have a mental illness, and that’s okay.

What I am truly sick of is how people perceive a mental illness. It is just as much of an illness as a physical one, and people may have difficulty understanding that because it’s not as visible. 3 Million Australian’s are living with anxiety or depression, and it affects the suffer everyday of the life. You can feel stupid, and like a burden, because you feel it’s all just in your head, but it needs to be emphasised that a mental disorder is nothing to be ashamed of. You don’t owe an explanation to anyone.

I have experienced judgement because of this. People I have known all my life have told me I am rude or antisocial, and didn’t take the time to understand that I may be undergoing something more. I find simple everyday tasks, such as speaking to someone I know or answering the phone, a massive challenge.
Mental illness is not a choice. Depression is a chemical imbalance in the brain, not choosing to be sad. You body can show signs of being anxious without you even knowing.

It’s not laziness, or weakness. People who suffer try to live a normal life. They want to be social with their friends and loved ones, but at times it can be too hard. It’s not about ‘sucking it up’ and accepting that life is hard, they can see that, they just accept and deal with it differently. Plus, feeling as though you are not ‘really ill’ and it’s all in your head makes these feelings worse.

If there is someone in your life who suffers from a mental illness, all you need to do is be there to listen. Just a simple question of asking if they’re okay. You may not fulling understand what they’re feeling, and that’s okay. You just need to be supportive.

At the moment I feel pretty good with myself. I have been making an effort to really put myself into social situations and be productive during the day, but some days this is harder than others. Especially with depression, you tend to think that the happiness you are currently feeling isn’t real or going to last. I’m just taking one day at a time, and learning to do things for my own happiness.
Recently I have found an effective way of dealing with my depression, and that’s my guinea pigs. Looking after them gives me a purpose to my day, and they never fail to make me smile. I truly feel a lot happier since getting them, even my parents have noticed. Simply going outside and playing or cuddling my dog, Bella, can really brighten my day.
I am so lucky to have supportive people in my life who accept what I am going through, and take the time to understand and help me.

 

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Here are some of my favourite YouTube Videos that talk about Mental Illness

This video by Jack Harries spoke to me straight away, and I wish everyone could watch it. He mentions a quote taken from Kevin Breen – We live in a world where if you break your arm, everyone runs over to sign your cast, but if you tell people youre depressed, everyone runs the other way.” 
It is such a true representation of how depressed may often be perceived. It is an illness just like any other, and should be seen that way.
When I found out that someone I look up to suffers with anxiety, it made me feel like I wasn’t suffering alone. In this video, Zoe Sugg speaks out about what it’s like living with anxiety and panic attacks. Anxiety and panic attacks can stop you from living your life, and make you seem disconnected from the world, and Zoe explains that perfectly,
Zoe also wrote a blog post about Panic Attacks, which you can read here, and recent post about her Anxiety, which you can find here
Damon Fizzy helped me deal with having anxiety and depression, and I watched him constantly throughout 2012 when I was first diagnosed. He helped me when I was feeling down, or when I just needed someone to make me smile. As Damon is a experiencing something similar, he always made me feel like I wasn’t alone, I can never thank him enough for all he did for me.


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If you need Support –

Different things work for different people, and that may take some time. But know that there are so many people who care for you, and are able to offer support.

Beyond Blue – Beyond Blue is a fantastic support service. It offers a range of information for suffers, and family and friends, and it contains an anxiety and depression checklist to measure whether you may be affected.

Lifeline Australia – A Crisis Support and Suicide Prevention service offered 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. A simple chat with someone can change so much.

7 Cups of Tea – An anonymous and confidential online counselling service, that is great for if you’re feeling overwhelmed. You may need to get something off your chest, need some advice on a problem you’re having, or just want someone to have a chat too.

IMAlive – Similar to Lifeline, this is network that offers people to chat with online if you feel you are in a moment of crisis.

Sometimes you may be feeling overwhelmed and just need to escape from what your experiencing. Listening to meditation or calming sounds can really help with this.
If I’m having an anxiety or a panic attack while I’m out, I use the Smiling Mind app on my phone, which is spoken meditation to help you feel relaxed and calm.
Websites such as Calm and Soundrown are also great to help feel calmer and focused through sounds such as rain, fire, birds, ect. (and I find really help when studying too)

You can even speak to your local GP, who can also suggest options and refer you to professionals you can see.

Lastly, if you have a family member or friend you you trust and feel comfortable with; confide with them. Or something as simple as writing everything down in a book. I find if I take a moment to write down what I’m going through, I feel as though I’m getting things off my chest.

Jess xx

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Meeting Dinosaurs at Jurassic World: The Exhibition

My inner child (and 22 year old self) was very happy and exited seeing the Jurassic World Exhibition a few days ago! As a kid, I was an absolute dinosaur geek; I had a bag full of plastic dinosaurs which I use to play with outside and build houses for. So when I saw the Melbourne Museum was holding a Jurassic World Exhibition complete with giant animatronic dinosaurs, I knew I would regret not going!

Mum and I got there around lunch time, later than we would have hoped, and sessions were already selling out (it was the last few days, plus grand final weekend). We were lucky that we got tickets to the 4:30 session, and this gave us time to look around the museum. We use to come here all the time when I was younger, and I forgot how much I loved it!

We made our way to line up around 4:20, and didn’t get into the exhibition until around 5:30! The line was insane! But that did not stop my excitement..

After getting a photo looking scared on a green screen, we begin the exhibition! We all walked in a room that was set up as a simulation to appear as though we were travelling on a boat to the island. A lady on a screen was broadcasting ‘live’ and explaining to us what we can expect from the park.

The doors then opened and we were lead through the entrance of the park, and to the first dinosaur encounter; a Brachiosaurus! It was gigantic, and only showed from the neck up. The excitement definitely picked up here, and even though they were animatronics they looked so real and it made me so happy to really see them.
As you walked on, there was another dinosaur hiding in amongst the trees (I didn’t see the name of the species, but I think it might have been a Parasaurolophus)

You then walked into another room which had a Triceratops with her baby behind a fence. This is one of my favourite dinosaurs, so I was so excited to see one! It was really amazing how not only did their heads move, but their eyes blinked and they moved their legs! They were just stunning!

Next, you walked into a lab that contained eggs, baby dinosaurs, and experiments and discoveries. It looked so cool!
To exit this room, there was a door saying there was a show starting every few minutes. As you went through, you were led into a small theatre like room where the lady on the screen was talking more about the park and giving information about the t-rex species. Suddenly, a red alert went off saying that a dinosaur had escaped. The lights behind us started flashing and the door suddenly opened. Mum and I were expecting a dinosaur to break in during the suspense, but then a man poked his head around the corner and said to follow him. Definitely anti-climatic!

In this room there was a truck, and the sound of a goat. Lights started flashing and a Tyrannosaurus Rex appeared and made it’s way towards the truck. It started pushing at it, trying to get something to eat. This was a really exciting aspect of the exhibition. Mum said, even though you know it’s not real, you do feel a little scared, considering how small and vulnerable we are compared to them, and I completely agree.

The next part contained my other favourite dinosaur, a Stegosaurus. It was beautiful, and so huge! Plus, the plates on it’s back were amazing.
Then there was a light and the sound of a helicopter, followed by an appearance of the lady on the screen, saying there was another situation and everyone had to evacuate. Another carnivorous dinosaur appeared, which had been genetically created, and was acting angrily and scaring the Stegosaurus.

You then made your way between both the dinosaurs in a dark tunnel, and exited into the final room. It contained a model of a dinosaur femur, information about discoveries around Australia, and a recent bone they discovered in Victoria, which was very cool!

I was a little disappointed that we had already reached the end 😦 (mum and I even went back so we could see them one more time..)
I wanted to buy something little from the gift shop to remember this, so I got a little triceratops to go on my keys.

I am so happy I got to see this amazing exhibition, although I do wish it had gone on for a bit longer.. Plus I was so excited seeing the dinosaurs that I didn’t really read any of the information which I was a little annoyed at myself about. Also, because everything was happening you wanted to keep making your way through, so I kind of wish I had more time to enjoy it. However, I still think it was definitely worth the money, and I loved every second of it!

Because it was such an inclusive exhibition, you really felt as though you were apart of it!
I could not stop smiling through out the whole thing. I felt like a little kid in complete awe!

The environment of it was amazing, the dinosaurs were beautiful and the animatronics were incredible, and I was completely immersed the whole time. I had such a wonderful day, and loved getting to share it with my mum.

I find learning about Dinosaurs so interesting! They were truly such amazing and stunning creatures, and maybe one day I may even get to study them even more.

I also filmed the experience to edit into a little vlog, which you can watch below 🙂

Jess xx

*Photography/Footage taken by me, however all rights go to Melbourne Museum and the Jurassic World Franchise*

Guinea Pig Surprise!



A while back I made a post about my guinea pigs, Newt and Gus (which you can view here if you haven’t already). 
A few weeks ago I noticed that Gus’ stomach had become bloated. This got me worried, as bloating is very dangerous to guinea pigs. He was eating fine and passing his food, so I decided to keep a close eye on him, and if he had no improvements I would take him to the vet and find out what was going on.

I thought it could be one of two things; bloating, or Gus was actually a girl and he was pregnant! I often had a look at him, and could swear that I could feel babies. Plus his was only large in the tummy area..

So on Saturday the 3rd, I booked an appointment at the vet, and took him down to get checked out.
It didn’t take the vet long to diagnose Gus as being a girl!! And she was in fact pregnant! Of course it was a surprise, and not exactly what I wanted, as I bought Gus as a boy, but I would much rather that then him (I mean her!) being unwell. So I’m just glad she’s healthy!

I would also like to thank the wonderful vet, Candice, at Best Friends Pet Centre. It can be difficult to determine the gender of a guinea pig at a young age, and Candice was so helpful and good to us!

As I named Gus after the Fault in Our Stars, it only seemed perfect to rename her Hazel (and it matches her fur colour!)

So after that, I was anxiously checking each day to see if there were any babies. Newt was being so good, giving her space and sitting outside protecting her. Plus, it now made sense why our dog Bella got use to Newt, but never Hazel! Animals have an amazing intuition, she obviously knew!

Finally, on Thursday night, the 8th of September, when checking the guinea pigs before going to bed, I lifted up the top of their bed to see three newborn baby guinea pigs!
They were so precious! Obviously as newborn babies, they were squinting and working out how to walk, it was such a beautiful scene!
Hazel gave birth to two brown babies, with different white markings, and a grey and white one. They are so cute and tiny, and I love watching them hop around the cage and following mum! They’re currently still feeding of Hazel, but have just started eating pallets and vegetables as well, which I didn’t expect so soon.

Sadly, I now have to separate Newt and put him in the downstairs level of the cage, because he can get Hazel pregnant again. But I am planning on getting him de-sexed, so they will be back together soon. They definitely miss each other, and Newt can get a bit stressed from time to time, especially with wanting to see the babies. So I make sure to give him lots of cuddles!
I am also unsure if I will be able to keep the babies.. the pet shop I bought Newt and Hazel from (which was also the vet I took her to), have kindly offered to take them off me when they are old enough. But now I’m starting to become attached to them, and I couldn’t bare to separate them from each other, and Newt and Hazel.. However, the only way I will be able to keep them is if they are all girls, to prevent anymore surprise pregnancies! So fingers crossed.. I may have already made the mistake of thinking of some names..

So it’s definitely been an exciting two weeks in my household, and I’m enjoying this exciting and cute time with my piggies!
And I’m finally used to referring to her as Hazel, and as a girl!

I’m so proud of Hazel for giving birth to three beautiful pups, and for being a new mummy! And to Newt for being a new dad!

I love my Newty Boy, Hazel Nut, and new three gorgeous babies!

Jess xx