Homemade Guinea-Pig Pouches

After bringing Newt and Hazel home, I purchased two little beds for them to cozy up in – a cavy cuddle sack and cavy cuddle cup. This was obviously no longer going to be enough when I got the surprise of three extra piggies! I initially put in some towels and old pillow cases, but once I knew that two was turning into five, I needed something more comfortable and permanent.

 

Taking inspiration from the cavy snuggle sacks available to purchase in pet shops and online, as well as the old pillow cases and leftover fleece from the lining of their cage, I decided to just make my own!

I’m basing these for my guinea pigs, but of course these can be used for any small pets.

 


 

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You will Need:

  • An old pillow case
  • Fleece (enough to cover the whole inside of the pillow case)
  • Needle and thread (or a sewing machine)
  • Scissors

 

Step 1

Cut you pillow case in half, as this gives the perfect size for the guinea pig to snuggle up into, but not get lost in the fabric! For each of the halves, if needed, sew up one end so that there is only one opening.

I like to use old pillow protector covers from Manchester Collection, as they are a little thicker than normal pillow cases, and adds that extra warmth. I believe I got these for around $5 each.

Step 2

Turn your pillow case inside out, so that the side you want as the outer of the pouch is now on the inside.

Measure and cut enough fleece so that it covers both sides of the inner of the pillow case. Fleece is great to use for small animals, as the urine soaks right through it, which stops it from becoming wet. I picked up my fleece from Spotlight, and around $20 covered enough for 4 pouches. Plus they have so many designs to choose from –  from plain colours to cute little patterns that I could match to my guinea pigs (I had to get the watermelon pattern, one of their favourite treats!)

Step 3

Match the side of the fleece you don’t want on DSC_0098display against the inside of the pillow case. Start by sewing the edge of the fleece to one side of the case opening. A sewing machine would be much more efficient here, but if you don’t have one like me, a needle and thread is fine (it may not look as neat, but it still does the job).

Continue sewing around all the edges – you can either cut the fleece in half again, and sew the edges in a square pattern on each side of the case.
Or keep it whole, not having to sew the fleece to the middle edge. Make sure you sew all corners of the fleece directly to the case, as it stops the fabric from being pulled out too much.
(The only negative for these ways is that it makes it harder to dry, as the bed is a lot thicker. Alternatively, you can stitch it so that the fleece is only sewn on at the opening, and can be fully turned inside out and made thinner)

 

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Step 4

Once all the fleece as been sewed on, turn the case inside out so that the fleece is on the inside and pillow case is in it’s original form.

Fold back the inside of the case just around the edges, so that the fleece is showing around the opening of the pouch – this helps it to keep it in this shape, and is easier for the animal to get inside.


And that’s it!

(I do hope my instructions made sense – it might sound confusing, but once you get it, it’s super easy!)

Care –
Each morning and evening I spot clean any mess from the guinea pigs cage, such as wet hay, droppings, urine, etc. This includes inside their beds.

While it’s easier to keep cages clean with fleece, t’s also important to wash this bedding regularly. I tend to do this once a week in summer, and every 2 weeks in winter (as it takes longer to dry in the colder weather, and I don’t want them to be without beds – however, I still like to air them out for a bit).

After shaking out any excess hair, I soak the bedding/cage lining in warm water and a guinea pig safe washing powder (something that is non irritant to skin). I then wash it in cool water to remove any excess soap. Then I hang it out dry, and if it’s quite warm this should only take a couple of hours.
Make sure it’s completely dry before placing back in the cage, as you don’t want the guinea pigs to get sick from a cold.

 

I think that the cavy snuggle sacks available for purchase are really cute (and much better crafted than mine), but the thing I like about the homemade ones is that they are much larger. So if more than one guinea pig wants to get inside, they can snuggle up together 🙂
Plus, I was able to save money.

Here’s a little photo shoot of my piggies enjoying their warm pouches. Once they settled in the pouches together they turned into such models!

 

 

 

Let me know in the comments what sort of bedding you use for your small animals – do you purchase it, or make your own?

Jess xx

 

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Girl Online – A trilogy by Zoe Sugg

Zoe Sugg is an inspiration of mine for many reasons, one being her love of books and releasing her own series.

Girl Online is a trilogy, with 2 sequels following, tilted Girl Online: On Tour, and Girl Online: Going Solo. I obviously can’t talk too much about the plot as it develops, without ruining the whole series, so I’ll just give you a synopsis of the first book.

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This is the story of Penny, who runs a blog under the secret name ‘GirlOnline’. Penny is a sufferer of anxiety and panic attacks, and uses her online platform as a place of comfort and support. Due to her mother’s wedding planning business, Penny and her family travel to New York, where she meets a gorgeous musician called Noah. 

I wish I wrote about the books when I originally read them, the first one being published in 2014, as the story isn’t as fresh. Yet, I have just finished reading the third book in the series, so I’m writing a post about the trilogy overall.

 

Firstly, I did feel that this book was aimed at a younger YA audience, in both writing style and story line, maybe high school age. However, I don’t mean that in a negative way. I’m 23 years old, and young adult books are my favourite style. Sometimes I prefer to read books that are less complicated, and I can just enjoy as a nice story. Despite it being a simpler read, the series still contained twists in the plot, important story lines, and was overall a engaging read.

I soon became very invested in this story, and struggled to put it down. I found mysef wanting to stop my everyday activities just to find out what happens next, and read the first one in just over a week I think. In fact, I think Zoe did this quite well. I remember the first book finished in a way that made me so frustrated (in a good way) because I needed to know what was going to happen next! For me, that makes a really good book.

Something that I really loved about the books, is that it tapped into a younger version of myself. I felt the emotions that Penny would have been feeling about Noah. I got excited from the adventures they went on, and got warm and fuzzy when Noah did something sweet for her. Not gonna lie, I would totally date Noah 😛 It’s definitely the kind of love story I would have dreamed of happening to me as a teenager!
Parts of the story even made me smile or laugh out loud.

Additionally, the mental health aspect of the books was something I could easily relate to. I think it was really great that Zoe incorporated something that she suffers with in her everyday life, as a part of her fictional work, and showed ways in which Penny would learn to deal with her anxiety and panic attacks.
This was one of the first novels I read that spoke about mental health, such as anxiety, and it was comforting to know that the way I felt was normal, even if that was through a fictional character.

Other themes that I thought we really good in the series, is how it touched on content that most teenagers would be experiencing – family drama, friendship, and school.
I also appreciate how Zoe portrayed the ‘internet generation’. How a lot of the older generation may look at young people always being anti-social on their phones and computers, when there is so much more to it. We can use the internet to socialize, share our thoughts and feelings, and learn.

Lastly, the importance of doing things for yourself. Throughout the series, Penny learns to put herself first and focus on her own happiness. Of course, you should be supportive of your friends and family, but you need to remember that your health and happiness is important too.

I think the main thin that helped make everything better was choosing to work on me before anyone else. How can you be truly happy with someone else when you aren’t in the best place you can be for you?

Penny – Girl Online: Going Solo

 

I also want to mention how this series was part of the motivation to try writing again. All my life I have loved reading, and always felt a bit lost if I didn’t have a book on the go. One of my dreams was also to publish my own book one day, and I was often writing my own stories at home or for class. After knowing that Zoe had the same dream, and seeing her work hard and achieve it, I regained that goal.

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Zoe shows such a passion for reading and writing, and I think it’s really great that as such a big online personality, she is advocating how great reading is! She even has her own Book Club through WH Smith, which you can find out more about here and here.
As such a big fan of her, I was also very happy when I got a singed edition Girl Online: Going Solo. You can read about the little fangirl moment I had in the bookshop here!

 

I really enjoyed reading the Girl Online series. I do wish it was around when I was a teenager, as I think it would have been really helpful for me, however I appreciate it just as much. Overall, would give each book a rating of:
Girl Online ★★★★
Girl Online: On Tour ★★★
Girl Online: Going Solo ★★★☆

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Have you read this series? What were your thoughts of it? Let me know in the comments, I would love to chat with other fans of the books 🙂

Jess xx

Related Links:
Zoella – YouTube
Zoella – Blog

I actually started writing about my views on the controversy surrounding this book being written by a YouTuber and that Zoe got help writing it, but decided to delete it. Everyone is going to have a different opinion, and at the end of the day that stuff really didn’t bother me. I enjoyed the book, and that’s what my post is about 🙂

Zoo Anger

I wanted to draw attention to something I’ve noticed a bit lately, and that is how some people can be really disrespectful at zoos.

I want to emphasize that this is not in reference to young children getting excited at the zoo, these kids were a little older and should have known better (or be taught by their parents). And of course this is not in reference to all children, I love kids!

 

I went to the Zoo yesterday with my family, which was an overall enjoyable day. However two incidents made me quite frustrated and upset.

The first was while watching the orangutans. I was kneeling on the ground while this younger orangutan was throwing paper and rolling around, which was a lovely moment to watch. A young child then came screaming in, started trying to open then door to the pen, and then proceeded to bang against the window where the orangutan was. He was banging against it very loudly, and started screaming out to the animal. What is so frustrating about this situation, is that he was not told off by his parents, being definitely old enough to be told how this would be scary for the animal. Of course, you never know family situations, it just seemed to me that they really didn’t care.

The second incident was in the butterfly house – a warm greenhouse filled with exotic plants and hundreds of butterflies. There were these three girls, I would say young teenagers, who were being incredibly disrespectful. They were opening the gates into the gardens and standing up on the bars, and jumping up and trying to ‘clap’ and ‘hit’ the butterflies. It is encouraged not to pick them up, but if you’re still or hold your hand out, there is a chance that they will land on you if they like. I honestly could not believe how these girls, who were more than old enough to know better, were acting! (Thankfully, a young man told them off, saying how this was cruel towards the butterflies – my faith in humanity was restored)

 

Obviously not everyone has the same love and appreciation for animals, I would just hope that if you are going to the zoo, you actually have an interest in seeing them. I think some people forget, even though those animals are in enclosures, they still deserved to be treated with respect! We are lucky enough to live in a time where a lot of zoos are progressive, providing the animals with care, where we can see them in a replica of their natural habitat. (I wrote about why these kinds of zoos should be seen in a positive light, after watching an insightful documentary, which you can read hereHowever, just because they are in captivity, we are not superior to them.

To me, zoos are places for conservation, breeding programs, and providing us with more knowledge about the world’s animals. They are not a place we can go to gawk at the creatures behind a fence.

 

Sorry for the negative rant post, I just needed to get my anger and frustrations out.

Have you had any similar experiences while out in public? Let me know.

 

To leave it on a more positive note! I was lucky enough to witness two elephants showing love towards each other when they were put in their sleeping area. They reached their trunks through the bars of the other’s pen, and nuzzled at each other! It was such a sweet moment, and I felt very fortunate to see these magnificent creatures behaving this way.

Jess xx