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:

 

 

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

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*

Melbourne Writers Festival 2016

As you most likely already know from this blog, I want to be a writer and publish my own stories in the future. This year I heard of the great event known as the Melbourne Writers Festival by discovering an author I loved was going, and knew I had to be there.

I was lucky enough to have the events I wanted to go to, happening on one Sunday of the ten day festival, and that was seeing authors Rainbow Rowell (Fangirl, Eleanor and Park, Carry On) and David Levithan (Will Grayson Will Grayson, Nick and Norah’s Infinate Playlist, The Lover’s Dictionary).

First up I went to a talk featuring both Rainbow and David, ‘YA Superstars’. Some of my favourite books are Young Adult novels, and are something I would love to write, so I found this very interesting and inspiring. However, the best part of this talk was when Rainbow and David both read excerpts from their novels You Know Me Well and Carry On, it was fantastic and hilarious! Both authors worked really well together, and it was a really intriguing talk.


Following that, I got to meet the authors and have my books (Fangirl and Will Grayson Will Grayson) signed, which was very exciting, but I was also a bit nervous!
I also wanted to make sure I could learn at least one thing from these wonderful authors.

When meeting Rainbow Rowell, I wanted to let her know that her book Fangirl showed me that even at 22, it was okay to be my geeky self. I then asked her how she uses inspiration from other works to create her own without replicating it, and she told me that when you go to write, it will all come out through yourself.
Fangirl also helped me with accepting my social anxiety, so it was wonderful being able to see the author who did that for me.


I then got to meet David Levithan, who was lovely! I discovered him through his collaboration with John Green on the novel Will Grayson Will Grayson, which I just could not put down. I asked him if he finds it better to plan a story or to just start writing and see what comes. He said that your usually one or the other, and he was giving me his perspective from both an author and a publisher. And I think I was so nervous, that I forgot his actual answer!!

Later on in the day I went to my second talk featuring Rainbow Rowell and Lev Grossman, which was all about Fantasy! I am a huge fan of fantasy stories, and would just love to write my own world one day! I really enjoyed this talk, and loved how it featured so many references to other fantasy books including Harry Potter and Narnia.
There were two notes in regards to writing fantasy books that I took away from this seminar:

  • – The Ice-Berg Theory; Just like an ice berg, the fantasy novel can have 10% of the story, and then 90% of that world that the reader doesn’t see. A good fantasy book is when the author makes reference and shows the reader that is another 90% to the world, beyond what they’re reading.
  • – A good fantasy book is not one that completely forgets about reality and creates a whole different world, but one that acknowledges reality exists and shows a world to escape that.

I also wanted to see Graham Base, who wrote some amazing books from my childhood such as Animalia and The Waterhole, but unfortunately, I couldn’t find a talk or signing he was doing on the Sunday.
But I did see Yann Martel doing his signing (but I didn’t go), who wrote Life of Pie. A really good book I studied in Year 12. He would have been very inspiring to listen to.

My only criticism about the festival would be that I think it would work slightly better if it was held like Pop Culture Conventions, at the Showgrounds or Convention Centre. I can understand Federation Square is great for the cultural side to it, and it most likely works better to hold all the talks. I just think if it would be better all held in the one place, ‘under the same roof’, and there could be book and nerdy merch stalls. That would be amazing!

Mum and I were also really excited to see the Roald Dahl exhibition, but sadly it was only about three boards with different book cover canvases..

Overall, I had a really lovely day, especially getting to spend it with my family.

I learnt a lot, and was influenced by some amazing, creative people. I do hope I can attend again next year, and meet some more of my favourite writers.

Jess xx


Related Links
My Goodreads Profile
Melbourne Writers Festival
Rainbow Rowell
David Levithan

Glitter and Great music: Troye Sivan’s Memorable Melbourne show

I’ve been a massive fan of Troye Sivan and his YouTube videos for a few years now, and when he released his first single, I knew I had to see him in concert the day he did a tour. That dream came true last Tuesday the 9th of August, as I, along with a face full of glitter, got to see the Blue Neighbourhood tour!

I was pretty happy with the seating tickets I got, as it was a good view of the stage. Plus, a new shirt to add to my tour merch collection as a reminder of the amazing night 🙂

The show opened with a combination of electropop music and red and blue lighting, followed by the supporting act Nicole Millar. I’ll be honest and say I hadn’t heard of her, until she played her well known song with Peking Duk ‘High’. She did a great performance!
After a short break (which was unusual for a concert!) Troye’s very own brother, Tyde Levi took the stage. With his upbeat DJ set, Tyde knew how to get the crowed excited, and it was impossible to sit down during it! I’m not a big club/party person, but really enjoyed dancing to that style of music in this environment. I really enjoyed Tyde’s performance, but was of course excited to finally see Troye..

The house lights changed to blue, the arena filled with smoke, and a single spotlight came up on the artist everyone was waiting to see. Troye began the show with his song Bite, his overall set containing a total of 15 songs.

Probably the most amazing moment in the show for me, was when Troye first spoke to the audience. He started by saying how Melbourne was the biggest show he had down so far, (in fact breaking the record for the biggest attendance for a music event in this arena) and how ‘little baby Troye’ would not believe how all this had happened. Following Troye for such a long time, there was such a sense of pride and happiness I felt seeing him up on that stage!

A few days before the show, Troye had asked the Melbourne crowd to put glitter on their faces and bring pride flags to the show, as it was his six year anniversary of his coming out. Troye then made a beautiful speech about his life as a young gay person, and how he has come to realise that if he shouldn’t have to change who he is. This lead into his song, Heaven, which after hearing it live has now become one of my favourite songs on the Blue Neighbourhood album. It is such a beautiful song, and became even more special hearing it sung live as Troye danced around the stage waving a pride flag.

Troye is spreading an incredible message, and is using this platform as a great way to raise awareness. While I am not gay and it is not my lifestyle choice, I one hundred percent support Troye. What gives me the right to deny someone else to be with or marry the person they love? When I found out Troye was gay, it didn’t change my opinion of him, I loved him more for the fact that he was being true to himself.

I had to film Happy Little Pill; the excitement of hearing his first official single live at his first Australian arena tour, which was done as a chilling acoustic rendition.

After leaving the stage, Troye came back to loud chant of his name by his hundreds of supporters,  to a song I was waiting to hear! Lost Boy is probably my favourite song on the album, and it was just wondrous!
He then finished his show with slightly changed version of Youth, the crowed yelling the lyrics back at him.

Not only is Troye a beautiful singer, but a truly incredible lyricist. How he represents the themes of his songs through certain wording and the way he strings them all together just amazes me. As a reader and writer, I really appreciate the artistic way Troye expresses himself through the lyrics he writes.

Just wow.
I felt so alive at this concert, and I am so happy I can add another cross to my bucket list.

I cannot even begin to say how amazing it all was. I am so proud of how far Troye has come, working so hard and overcoming so many obstacles. I can’t wait to see what bigger things the future has for this wonderful person.
It was the most spectacular night, and it felt wonderful supporting him with a face of glitter!

Jess xx

Check out Troye’s Videos here
Troye Sivan – YouTube
TroyeSivanVEVO

Gorgeous Guinea Pigs: Meet Newt and Gus

Can we just talk about how cute guinea pigs are? Their little mouths and paws, their sweet little faces, their little fluff ball bodies, their noises, and the way they like to cuddle up into you. I love them!

I have had quite a few pet piggies over the years growing up, but after a few years break, I’ve recently fallen back in love with them, and now have two cute little boys at home; Newt and Gus!

I brought Newt home first (obviously I had to buy him a good size cage, bedding, food, ect, so I couldn’t afford two. Plus, he was the only one left.). He was about 8 weeks old when I got him, and is now a gorgeous boy of about 23 weeks/almost 6 months.
Even though I was looking after him very well, and gave him lots of daily cuddles, guinea pigs are very social animals, and I hated seeing him all alone in his cage. I wanted to get him a friend as soon as possible.
I have very recently just brought home Gus (short for Augustus), at 9 weeks, who is now 12 weeks old.

The two boys seem to get on quite well! Newt is very interested in Gus, and Gus always follows Newt around. Newt has already taken to being the dominant one, and I’m hoping he will be like a big brother to Gus. They also communicate with each other a lot.
Our dog Bella is also very interested in them, and Newt often pokes his nose out of his cage to her!

Newt

Newt looks to be a cross breed between a long-haired and Abyssinian guinea pig with a tri colour patterning, I love how unique he is. Obviously at times he gets cranky or jitterish, but overall he has a very sweet personality.

Sometimes he doesn’t like to come out of his cage, but once he has he loves being held and snuggling up! His often calm temperament means that I can sit on the grass with him (still being careful to keep a close eye on him) and he’ll just eat the grass or climb up on my lap. Newt also loves licking and nibbling fingers and faces (it may be because he thinks it’s food, but I’ll stick with that he’s giving kisses!) He will nibble anything he can, and makes loud squeaks when he knows I’m making his breakfast or dinner.

Newt is such a sweet little boy, with such a gorgeous personality! I love him very much.

Gus

Gus is more of a short haired breed. He is brown with a white patch, and has a cute little Abyssinian style crest on the top of his head. And his fur is so soft!

As he is still a baby and in a new environment, he is quite shy, so his personality is still coming out. He tends to run when I try to pick him up from his cage, and he can get scared quite easily. Although, similar to Newt, once he is being cuddled he seems quite happy. Gus also loves climbing around people’s necks! If I put him on the ground, he will often climb up onto my lap (if he doesn’t want to go exploring!)

Gus is such a cute boy! I can’t wait to see what type of piggy he becomes as he gets bigger. I love him.

_____


If you too would like to own these gorgeous animals, please do your research to make sure they are the right pet for you. Not all animals suit every family, which is completely fine! Every pet deserves the best care that they can.
Here are my top tips for buying and owning guinea pigs.


Research on everything from buying to owning

There’s so much information online, and pet shops/breeders/vets will be more than happy to answer any questions you have.

Please also be aware of what you’re supporting. I got my guinea pigs from my local Best Friends Pet Supplies, where they get litters from breeders and other guinea pig owners. Sadly, some pet shops support puppy factories and cruel pet practices, and if we continue to purchase from them they will continue this cruelty 😦

Guinea pigs are big breeders! 

So if you don’t want baby piggies, keep to one gender if you have more than one in the same cage.


Reasonable size cage 

Guinea pigs need space, so make sure that you get a cage sufficient enough for your piggies to play, exercise, and places to snuggle and hide.

Also ensure that you allow time for them outside their cage (under supervision!)


Food

Like any animal, there are things piggies can and can’t eat, and with some many different sites telling you different things, make sure you understand what you shouldn’t feed them.

Light leafy vegetables have a tenancy to make them sick, and fruit should only be given in moderation due to the highness in sugar.

Always be sure that they have access to clean, cool water.

I most commonly feed my guinea pigs carrots and spinach (remove the ends/stalks) twice a day, pellets, and have fresh hay (which is great for their teeth) always accessible in the cage. I also give them a bit of fruit occasionally as a treat.


Cleaning and bedding 

Cages should be properly cleaned at least once a week, in addition to tidying up scraps and droppings often.

Spray a solution of vinegar diluted with water, and wipe with a damp cloth. Let it soak in, and dry with paper towel.

I line my cage with newspaper, followed by a layer of wood shaving bedding outside, and hay in their sleeping box.

I have also included some especially made fleece bedding from Milo and Woody to keep them warm. As well as that, I put in some old half pillowcases for them to hide and snuggle in.

I wash this at least once a week in the laundry trough, with a small amount of soap powder (this doesn’t irritate my pig’s skin, but some washing solutions do, so be careful).


Socialisation

Guinea pigs need other piggy friends to play with, so it’s much better to not have one on their own as they can get very lonely.

They also love spending time with their owners, which can really help them if they are often nervous, so make you spend time with your guinea pig and give them lots of cuddles!

 _____
 
I hope you enjoyed reading about the cute new editions to my family! If you have any further questions about owning guinea pigs, please don’t hesitate to ask and I will do my best to answer them.
Let me know in the comments if you own any guinea-pigs yourself, and any pets you have. I would love to hear about them!
Jess xx










Fleece bedding;
Milo & Woody on Etsy
        -Guinea Pig Cuddle Cups/Cavy Cup – $20
-Guinea Pig Snuggle/Cuddle sack (in Fruit Salad) – $10
Where I purchased my Cage, Wood shaving bedding, Hay, Pellets, Bowls, Water bottle, and Litter tray;

(Hay, Pellets and some of the other supplies can also be found at supermarkets)

The Little Mermaid: My first Show!


For the last 4 months or so, I’ve been involved in Windmill Theatre Company’s production of The Little Mermaid, hitting the stage from June 10th to 26th.
As I have been dancing for 17 years I have of course been involved in many performances, my dance school putting on big end of year productions. But this was my first amateur theatre show away from that, and therefore my first semi-professional show!
And what an experience it was!

I auditioned back in around November, and was selected among about 40 others to be in the 13 adult ensemble members.
I was cast as water, a rainbow fish, a seagull, a can can maid, and a lillypad.

 

 
 




Rehearsal began in February two days a week, and the whole cast and crew worked immensely hard to bring this Disney classic to life by June!

The rehearsal process was very enjoyable, and moved at a quick pace. I loved being able to enjoy dancing once again, and work towards an end result. 
The week of the first performance we had production week in the theatre, which was highly stressful due to unforeseen problems, but once we hit opening night everyone put in their all!

For the next three weeks, both cast and crew put on an incredible 11 shows, to audiences who loved it each night! We even sold out closing night, which was a great end to the season. It’s the most amazing feeling hearing the applause, having the audience enjoy and appreciate what you do. But looking out and seeing kids in absolute awe made this show even more special, I thoroughly enjoyed performing in a kids show.  We received so much positive feedback, including a 4.5 star review from Theatre People!




What an amazing experience The Little Mermaid was! I have never felt as happy as I did performing on that stage with such an amazing company night after night, and to live my Disney dreams.

This show had been a huge part of my life, especially in the last few weeks, and it’s going to be so weird not going to rehearsals or the theatre.
 

 

Biggest thank you needs to go to our director, choreographer and musical director for allowing me to be apart of this phenomenal show, and for being such an inspiration to me. To the crew for all their hard work during the process. Of course to the beautiful and talented cast I got to share the stage with. And thank you to everyone who came and supported the show! It meant so much to have all my loved ones in the audience supporting me, and hearing how much they enjoyed it! And finally, thank you to my family, friends, and fellow cast members for all the beautiful flowers and letters.

I’m so proud of every member of the company, we truly did put on an incredible show! This has been one of the greatest experiences of my life. I love being a part of amateur theatre, and I hope this is the first show of many!
Jess xx
Related Links:
*Professional stage photography courtesy of Gavin D Andrew
*
Cast shots – Sean van Geyzel

It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year

It’s finally that time of year.. that’s right, Christmas!
Each year I am itching for December 1st when I can finally sing along to Christmas carols, sit around watching both recent and old Christmas movies, and have the house smell of pine.
As Christmas is only 3 days away, I thought what better way to celebrate this festivity and excitement than to show how my family and I decorate our house.
As beautiful as a white Christmas is, one thing I love about living in Australia is that we have a hot summer Christmas! Cooking the turkey on the BBQ in the shining sun,  But that doesn’t stop me from decking out the house with warm lit candles, and covering every spare inch in fairy lights and tinsel.
First off, the tree.

 

 

As this is our family tree we don’t tend to have a theme to it but rather use all the decorations we’ve collected of the years – I like to view it as a memory tree.
I cherish the moments of Christmas morning, sitting around the tree in our pyjamas, excited to see the looks of each others faces as we open presents.

I think the mantle over the fire place looks beautiful when it’s all festive!

 

 

On the mantle I’ve just used some decorations from my childhood and some tinsel. I’ve bought some battery operated lights from Masters in ‘warm white’, for only $1.50.
All the candles shown are from Dusk. I got the gorgeous mirror reindeer display last Christmas for my mum, for only $20.

Our Christmas decorating isn’t complete without a Nativity set.

 

We picked these gorgeous Willow Tree sets from Myer.
Shepherd and Stable Animals – $74.95
The Holy Family – $74.95 

I love shopping during this time of year, purely because of how festive everything is! I would have to say that my favourite stores to go to during Christmas would have to be Myer (it has the cutest Christmas section, that always reminds me of my childhood!), Dusk, Lush, and and Bed Bath and Table. If you have these shops where you live, I would highly recommend paying them a visit at Christmas if you love feeling festive.

Dusk candles I bought a while back.


Father Christmas Bath Bomb – $6.95 from Lush

I would definitely encourage a venture into Lush and Dusk during Christmas time, the festive scents are amazing!

I picked up this Christmas Organiser from Kikki-K for $16.95, and it has been so helpful over the passed few months. I am able to jot down ideas for Christmas presents, keep track of what I’ve bought for people, and organise my decorating, cooking, cards, and dates to remember. I would definitely recommend.

 

To create this look in our hallway I just used some tinsel (which you can pick up from a grocery store for a couple of dollars), and some more $1.50 Masters lights.

I, of course, like to continue this festivity in my room as well.

What’s more perfect than a lion in a Christmas hat, and Eeyore dressed up as a reindeer?!

Nothing gets you in the festive mood than some Christmas movies and books.

I got this mini Christmas tree for only $5 at Typo last year, and just decorated it with some mini baubles from Typo for only a couple of dollars more, and a $1 star from K-Mart.
I am in love with this Aromatic Candle from Natio, which I picked up from Priceline a few months ago for only $20!

Here’s our (growing) collection of festive movies and albums, which are on repeat throughout December!

Even though the weather is warmer during Christmas in Australia, I couldn’t resist buying a festive jumper. I ordered mine from Boohoo for around $30.

To go with my jumper, I ordered these two beautiful handmade hair bows to complete my Christmas look. I picked these up from the lovely Beauxoxo, for only $10 each.

And of course, it’s not an Australian Christmas with out some festive thongs! I think we got these from Big W for only $6.

And finally, there’s nothing like some festive mugs.
I got mine from Gloria Jeans for about $10 each (yay for the festive drinks!).
I usually love to fill mine with eggnog, or at the moment I’ve been enjoying a hot chocolate with a candy cane, to give it that Christmasy peppermint.

Speaking of food, I love the whole Christmas family lunch, especially when we only have this meal once a year. Dad makes a whole heap of roast veggies, turkey, chicken, gravey, and, probably my favourite, ham. And mum whips up her amazing yearly Christmas trifle. My last desert on earth would be her trifle, it’s so good! I just love sitting at the festively decorated table with my family, wearing silly party hats and reading the corny jokes from the bon bons!



I hope you enjoyed this little festive post, and I hope that it might have inspired you 🙂 I’m now off to listen to some more Christmas Carols, and maybe make a gingerbread house!
Wishing you all a Merry Christmas, and a fantastic new year!

Caio!

Jess xx

Stores mentioned –

www.myer.com.au
www.dusk.com.au

www.lush.com.au
www.willowtree.com
www.boohoo.com
www.etsy.com/au/shop/beauxoxo
www.kikki-k.com
cottonon.com/AU/shop-by-brand/typo
www.masters.com.au
www.kmart.com.au
www.bigw.com.au

The Fault in Our Stars

Hi!

So I had been looking forward to this day for a ageees! Last Friday the 11th of July, I finally saw The Fault in Our Stars movie.
 
I first heard of John Green’s book before Christmas last year, and immediately wanted to read it. I finished it in I think just over a week, I couldn’t put it down! The Fault in Our Stars is now one of my favourite books. I love his writing style, I love the quotes, and I think the mixture of truth and romance is just beautiful. This story made me laugh, cry, and feel something. As for the characters, I think Augustus Waters is one of my favourite fictional characters. I must admit I did fall in love with him just a little bit..


 
 
Once I finally saw the trailer, I became even more excited to see this story retold on the big screen. 
Unfortunately I had no time to see the movie when it first came out, which made me even more anxious. Then finally came a day when I was free! I even dragged my parents along to show them how amazing it was.
 
The movie really did the book justice. Firstly, I think that the casting of Shailene Woodley and Ansel Elgort was perfect for Hazel and Gus, they are both incredible actors. I really loved every second of this movie, for me, the essence of the book was really captured on screen.
And I had no doubt that I would be in a mess of sobs and tears, which I was. Shouldn’t have worn make up that day..
There are two movies that I uncontrollably sob every time I see them; My Dog Skip, My Sister’s Keeper, and now The Fault in Our Stars will be on that list.
I even think my body started to get emotional, because my leg decided to cramp up really badly near the end, and I couldn’t just stand up and stretch it out or say anything, and I wasn’t going to walk out!
I still felt sad hours after the movie had finished.


 
Obviously this is hard to write about without including any spoilers. I really do recommend this book, it’s a fantastic read and will really leave an impact on you. The same goes for the movie, just make sure you bring a box of tissues!
 
I’m already hanging out for it to come out on DVD.. Especially to see John Green’s deleted scene and any extra footage of Ansel..
 
 
 
Caio!
 
Jess x