Stuck in a Natural Disaster Zone… thanks Cyclone Debbie!

Debbie… sounds like a nice name right? How about when you add the word Cyclone to the front of it?!…I had 6 days to kill before I was planning on meeting my best friend in Melbourne, all flights and hostels were booked and I was super excited! I thought I could cram a quick farm visit in before I jetted off, so I went to stay at Sugarshine Farm Sanctuary in New South Wales (you can read about this amazing place here)

I had been at the sanctuary for 3 days when it started raining…and continued for 24 hours solid. After checking Facebook we soon realised that places around us were flooding, badly. Lismore, the local town was seriously under water and I must admit it was scary to see those images and know the rising water was in the next town! Luckily for us we were safe on the farm, we are high up so didn’t get flooded. The poor animals were grumpy because they had to chill in the barn all day but they were safe…thank god.

We took a drive into Lismore the day after the rain started and we were shocked to see the state it was in. Cars underwater, home flooded, boats driving through the town, helicopters flying overhead, I could not believe my eyes. We drove to a look out and you could see the full extent of the flooding, as far as you can see there was water, it was unbelievable and just reminded me of scenes in a movie. We drove back to the farm thankful that it was untouched, we were safe and so we’re the animals. Many homes had to evacuate and leave their pets behind with the water level rising, I can’t imagine how tough a decision that would have been for some families.

The following day we drove back into Lismore to help with the clean up, some of the water had subsided and people were starting to assess the damage done to their properties. Seeing families throw their ruined possessions onto a huge pile they’ve made on the street was heartbreaking. It was awful driving past house after house, all doing the same thing. We spent the whole day helping out that day and it was rewarding to see the difference a few helping hands can make.

The following day we headed back into Lismore to help out some more. This time we headed to the local pet shop which is owned by an elderly woman. It was overwhelming when we first pulled up, there was mess everywhere! A huge pile of damaged goods outside and a shop that was covered in mud and water. We spent all day moving damaged stock, taking fixtures and fittings off the wall, moving fridges and freezers, pressure washing the floor and removing the mud.  The lady had managed to get the cats and birds to safety but sadly the fish tanks overflowed and washed away, it was the saddest things seeing all the empty tanks. It was a huge job but thankfully there were many people helping out. This is what struck me the most – people are great and wanna help each other.I was taken back by people’s kindness and generosity, watching everyone come together to help each other out was great to see and be a part of. People were going around donating tools and new wellies to people who were helping in the clean up. Others were going round with cars full of food that they’d prepared and were handing it out. There was even a lady and her neighbour who had cooked a huge batch of curry and were dishing it up and giving it out to the volunteers, this was so incredible to see! (and it was really yummy!)3ECD669300000578-4367028-An_aerial_view_of_floodwaters_engulfing_central_Lismore_New_Sout-a-21_1490958114892.jpgBeing flooded near Lismore meant I couldn’t catch my flight to meet my best friend in Melbourne and meant that my flights and hostels would have to be cancelled and at first I was a bit bummed BUT after helping with the clean up I was happy that it had happened. I was happy to have seen Lismore, luckily I had lunch in the town one day so I got to see it before the flood took over. It was devastating to see the damage that had happened to this place but so heartwarming to see the community come together and lend a hand to get families and businesses back on their feet. I left Lismore 3 days ago and was sad to go, it’s hard knowing that it’ll be a long time before the town is back on its feet again but I know the community spirit will get them through and help the town rebuild. It’s funny how times like these really bring people together, it was an emotional week but one I wouldn’t change, I’m so glad I was there to meet the wonderful people of Lismore and lend a hand. 

Things I ♥ Thursday

So after waking up to the awful news that London had suffered a terrorist attack while I slept I wasn’t in the best of moods today. The whole thing left me feeling really…SHIT (as I’m sure it did everyone else)

This morning a song came on Spotify that I hadn’t heard before, it grabbed my attention and it reminded me how good it is when you discover something new that you fall head over heels in love with (I listened to the song 6 times in a row…) so I’ve decided to compile a list of things that I’m currently loving because A) I’ve had a shitty day and B) I love making lists…

This is the song in question – there aren’t many songs that I listen to straight away that really excite me but I LOVED this the minute I heard it. It’s by an australian band called Gang of Youths and I’m now going to download everything they have because this song can only be listened to so many times on repeat…
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Salutations by Conor Oberst is one of my fav things at the moment because…well it’s Conor Oberst so this will always make me happy!
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There has been alot of hype about Carnage and I was so excited to see it and it bloody well lived up to the hype let me tell ya! I frikkin loved it! Being vegan myself I’m always excited for anyone funny to talk about the subject because I think vegans get judged as being uptight or preachy and this film is great because it pokes fun at the subject (and vegans!) while still treating the viewer to harsh facts about the meat and dairy industry. Plus it’s absolutely hilarious, I laughed my head off! I can’t sing it’s praises enough. Give it a watch!

I have also been loving…
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I was super excited to see that Love was back on Netflix! I watched the last episode of season 2 today and it was great. It’s a comedy/drama about Mickey and Gus who are two thirty something’s who meet and try to sort their complicated lives out. It’s an easy watch and really funny too, it’s very real and I like it because it’s something a bit different.
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Now last but not least, one of my favourite things in the entire world and something that I’ve fallen back in love with in the last week, the How Did This Get Made podcast. This. is. great. It’s hosted by Paul Scheer, June Diane Raphael and Jason Mantzoukas and they review bad movies, like really bad movies. It’s bloody hysterical and well worth a watch if you like funny people talking about shitty films, it’s also good because they have tonnes of episodes so you can binge on them until your heart’s content!

Finally…this video of Ryan ‘sexy face’ Reynolds and Jake ‘the hottest of them all’ Gyllenhaal being funny certainly brightened up my day.

What have you been loving lately?! Any recommendations?

Watching Conor Oberst at the Sydney Opera House- a dream come true.

On Monday I flew across the country to see Conor Oberst, my favourite person ever, perform at the Sydney Opera House and it was an amazing day and a complete dream come true! I’ve loved Conor Oberst ever since my Dad introduced me to his music when I was 17. His music has followed me through school, college, uni, work and now my travels. Conor’s new album ‘Ruminations’ was the soundtrack to my days working on the farm, shoveling poo is alot easier when you have great music to listen to!

While I was on my travels I saw that Conor was playing in London at the beginning of February and I was gutted that I wouldn’t be able to make the show because I’d be in Australia (…I know, I know, first world problems) My Dad and I have been going to see Conor and Bright Eyes together for the last 10 years and I was sad to have to sit this one out. Well imagine my surprise, a few months later, when I’m scrolling through Facebook and see that he’s playing a show…in Sydney…at the Opera House…at the same time my Dad is here on holiday! Before I had time to really think of the practical side of things, the tickets were booked (book now, worry about flights etc later)

Monday 27th February was the day of the gig and we flew to Sydney that morning, we were so excited, Dad has always wanted to go inside the Sydney Opera House so he was excited for that too!Our seats were seven rows from the front and the view was amazing, the sound was also the best I’ve ever heard at a gig, it was incredible. Just when I thought our luck couldn’t get any better I noticed two empty seats three rows from the front, slap bang in the middle, so in the interval we moved there – even better! 
It was such a special evening and such a great memory to share with my Dad and one of our best gigs that we’ve gone to together. There aren’t many people who I’d fly across the country for but I knew this would be a night to remember and one that I couldn’t miss!

New Years Resolution: Be a better Cinephile

So…I love films. I love going to the cinema. Like seriously love it. In the UK I had an unlimited card which meant that I paid £15 a month and could go to the cinema as many times as I liked. There were times when I’d go three times a week and I saw amazing films in the four years that I had my card. I loved it!

Now I say I love films, and I really do BUT…I have a confession to make – I haven’t seen any classic’ films. Like any.

Die Hard? Nope. Dirty Dancing? Nope. Star Wars? Nope. Scar Face? Nope. Apocalypse Now?….you guessed it, big fat NOPE.

So my mission for 2017 is to watch 50 of the top ‘classic‘ films. There are multiple top 50’s, 100’s and 250’s out there but I settled on the IMDb top 50 which is….

 

1. The Shawshank Redemption (1994)
2. The Godfather (1972)
3. The Godfather: Part II (1974)
4. The Dark Knight (2008)
5. 12 Angry Men (1957)
6. Schindler’s List (1993)
7. Pulp Fiction (1994)
8. The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King (2003)
9. The Good, the Bad and the Ugly (1966)
10. Fight Club (1999)
11. The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring (2001)
12. Star Wars: Episode V – The Empire Strikes Back (1980)
13. Forrest Gump (1994)
14. Inception (2010)
15. The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers (2002)
16. One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest (1975)
17. Goodfellas (1990)
18. The Matrix (1999)
19. Seven Samurai (1954)
20. Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope (1977)
21. City of God (2002)
22. Se7en (1995)
23. The Silence of the Lambs (1991)
24. It’s a Wonderful Life (1946)
25. The Usual Suspects (1995)
26. Life Is Beautiful (1997)
27. La La Land (2016)
28. Léon (1994)
29. Spirited Away (2001)
30. Saving Private Ryan (1998)
31. Once Upon a Time in the West (1968)
32. American History X (1998)
33. Interstellar (2014)
34. Casablanca (1942)
35. Psycho (1960)
36. City Lights (1931)
37. The Green Mile (1999)
38. Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981)
39. Untouchable (2011)
40. Modern Times (1936)
41. Rear Window (1954)
42. The Pianist (2002)
43. The Departed (2006)
44. Terminator 2: Judgment Day (1991)
45. Back to the Future (1985)
46. Whiplash (2014)
47. Gladiator (2000)
48. Memento (2000)
49. Apocalypse Now (1979)
50. The Prestige (2006)

I’ve seen a handful of these films, mainly the ones which were made within the last 10/15 years but I’m determined to see them all! (…well we’ll have a think about all those Lord of the Rings films) You never know I might even up it to the top 100!

What other ‘classics‘ shall I watch?! Please comment below if there are there any that aren’t on this list that you’d recommend?

Sorry everyone…I thought 2016 was great!

So we are just over one week into the New Year and everywhere I look I keep seeing everyone bad mouthing 2016, calling it ‘the worst year ever’ and counting down the days until it was over… I feel the opposite.

2016 was great.

One day, two years ago, I decided I was sick of being stuck in a rutt, sick of doing the same things with no progression and I decided to do something fun instead. That’s when I booked my trip to Borneo to look after baby orangutans but I had 19 months to wait until I left in September 2016.

September 2016 – it felt like a lifetime away. How was I possible going to wait that long? I’m bored NOW. I want to do something new and exciting right away!

Well I did wait and 2016 came around before I knew it. I remember the feeling in January 2016, knowing I’d be leaving that year.  I started to feel really nervous, I had paid my deposit and I had also decided I would stay in Australia for a year too. I had told work and my family and friends that I was leaving home to go on this amazing trip and suddenly I got really nervous and overwhelmed.

‘Maybe I won’t go’ ‘Maybe I’ll just save towards a house instead’ ‘Will I have enough money to get there?’ ‘What happens if I don’t like it?’ ‘This is a stupid idea’ ‘What am I doing?!’

September 2016 was scary and exciting all at the same time. It was a big deal to me, I had waited just under two years for it to arrive and when it finally did and the days rolled by, I soon realised that it would be one of the best months of my life. 

2016 was the year I did saw parts of the world I’d never thought I would, I lived in the jungle, saw animals in the wild that I’d only ever seen in the zoo, learnt about new cultures, tried new things, took risks, made amazing friends, met amazing people. I can honestly say, without a shadow of a doubt that my time in Borneo were the happiest months of my life. Living without everyday stress, money worries, car problems, work issues  etc makes you realise that some things in your life need to change and that being 100% happy feels great.

2016 is over and I’m sad to see it go BUT is was a bloody great year and the stressful countdown to it was worth it and if I can take one simple thing away from it it – find what scares you and do it anyway. Take risks, you never know where they’ll take you!

2016, thanks, you were great.
…2017 lets do this!