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 ūüôā

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 Рa Bachelor of Veterinary and Wildlife Science Рone 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 ūüôā
*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 ūüôā 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 ūüôā

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

Jess xx

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 Рbut 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

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 –¬†‚ÄúWe live in a world where if you break your arm, everyone runs over to sign your cast, but if you tell people you‚Äôre depressed, everyone runs the other way.‚Ä̬†
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 РBeyond 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 РA 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

Related Links:

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 ūüė¶ (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 ūüôā

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 ūüôā

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

How to make Chalkboard Label Jars on a Budget in 4 Easy Steps!

As a creative person, I often have moments when I am determined to make or change something!

I love keeping some food or bathroom products stored in a more decorate way such as old coffee jars or cute mason jars, and I have always loved the ones with chalkboard labels, so recently I decided I want to make the ones I had at home more prettier.
Now, when I wanted to do this, it was around 5pm in the evening, so I couldn’t go anywhere to get anything, and I didn’t want to wait for anything to arrive in the mail. So I thought, surely I can make my own from everything in the house.

So after searching for some free printable labels online, I decided to get creative!

This method is not only great if you only have access to things around the house, but it’s fantastic if you are low on a budget, as it basically cost’s next to nothing!

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What you will need

  • Computer/Printer
  • Jars (You can buy cheap ones from shops such as K-Mart, or simply use old coffee jars)
  • Ribbon (or decorate items of your choice)
  • Scissors
  • Sticky tape
  • Hot glue gun
  • White or Silver pen¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† _____________________________________

Step One

Find some printable labels that replicate chalkboard stickers. I googled and found The CoffeeShop Blog  website on Pinterest that offers a series of printable tags.

Step Two

Next you can either print them off and write the contents on the label with a White or Silver pen such as a sharpie to add to the rustic look, or, as I didn’t have one at home I edited the labels on Paint and typed them onto the tags before printing.

Add the labels to a Word document and adjust the sizing before printing. 

Step Three

Heat up your glue gun for 5 minutes (save time by doing this while you are printing) and use to properly secure your chosen decorations.

I decided to put the leftover ribbon from Pandora jewellery bags that were lying in my draws on the jars I would put in the bathroom

. All I did was put some glue on one end of the ribbon, stick it on the neck of the jar. Then I wrapped it around before gluing the other end. 

If you do choose to do this method make sure you work quickly, hot glue dries fast! And be sure that you have the ribbon in the desired place, unfortunately my ribbon didn’t line up as much as I wanted it too ūüė¶

 

Step Four

Cut out your printed labels and stick them on the jars. I decided to opt for sticky tape instead of the hot glue gun, as it will make it easier and neater if I want to remove and put a different label on. Plus, having the stick tape covering the label will protect the paper from becoming ruined. 

 

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All that’s left is to fill the jars with what you want. Things such as hot chocolate, marshmallows, make up pads, or bath salts go so nicely.
Now place your crafty organisational jars around your house, and see how they add just a little more character to a room!

 

 

I hope you all enjoyed this small tutorial ūüôā
Leave me a comment if you had a go yourself, I’d love to see your own take on them!

Jess xx


Related Links:


Where I got my Chalkboard labels http://www.thecoffeeshopblog.com/2013/07/coffeeshop-vintage-chalkboard-tags-1.html


*Coffee for reusable jars are available at majority of supermarkets. 

*I purchased my gold jars about a year ago at K-Mart, but you can find similar ones at just about any home-wear shops or stores such as K-Mart, Target, and Big W.

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.

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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 ūüė¶

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!

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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 Р$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)