I thought I would brighten everyone’s day by talking about the light of my life: my dog, Bailey. I’ve talked about him quite a bit, but never properly introduced him.

Bailey is a 9-year-old Border collie mix we adopted in summer of 2011. I was volunteering to walk dogs at a local animal shelter when I fell in love with him and begged my parents to get him. Our family dog at the time, a Pomeranian called Coco, was getting old and I couldn’t imagine living without a furry friend. I promised my parents I would do everything for Bailey: bathe him, feed him, walk him, clean up after him… the lot. They give me a hard time now for not doing everything, but they should know that I would have promised them the moon if it meant we could take Bailey home.

He was one at the time we adopted him, so he was quite big, but not fully grown. I remember thinking his paws seemed to big for his body, but he grew into them. He was really energetic and it truly took a village to break him in. My least favorite thing was “morning duty,” where we would have to let Bailey out whenever he started barking to go to the bathroom, clean up whatever was left in his cage overnight and take him for a walk all before leaving for school by 7:30AM. Similarly, “night duty” called for another walk, feeding and play time. We (myself, my brothers and my dad) took him to puppy training where he learned a lot, the most important being an emergency recall, which we’ve used often when he went bolting out the front door and “come” wasn’t quite enough.

Fortunately, it wasn’t long before Bailey become more obedient (or rather, fearful of my dad, who ruled with an iron fist) and required less attention. Although I like to think I’m his favorite, it’s almost certainly my mom as they spend the most time together. He’s an amazing companion to her and such a sweet, loving boy towards everyone.

Two especially weird, idiosyncratic things he does is sunbathing and he “gets it.” Whenever he stands by the back door, we always ask him in a playful voice, “Are you going it get it?! What’s out there?!” and other things to get him excited and when we open the door, he runs like a bat out of hell to the corner of our yard. We’re not sure what he thinks he’s “getting,” and I don’t think he knows either. Sunbathing seems to be quite common in domestic pets, but Bailey, a black dog, does it in the harsh Arizona summer sun. Not only that, if you try to move him, he’ll try to bite you. He’s very serious about getting his tan on.

Bailey is also especially funny because he’s so intelligent and sometimes has his way of outsmarting us. For example, just recently, my dad told me that as he and my mom were getting ready to leave, Bailey was barking like mad from inside the house, as he always does. My dad demanded he go to his crate. The barking stopped for a moment, then continued from further away… he was barking from inside his crate around the corner. Naughty, naughty.

Things Bailey loves

  • Peanut butter: Of all his people food, I think peanut butter is one of his favorites. He used to go crazy for whipped cream (literally sprint into the kitchen and practically jump on the counter when he heard the can go), but for some reason, he’s grown out of it.
  • Walks and car rides
  • Swimming: As soon as he sees me in my swimsuit, he knows what’s about to happen. He spends more time running around the pool than actually swimming, but he always enters through the steps and swims to another step and splashes, barks and drinks the pool water (no matter how much I try to stop him).
  • Being dried off: I have a theory that he goes swimming just so he can be dried off. As soon as he sees a towel, he gets excited and rubs himself all over it.
  • The dog park
  • His toys: Bailey is so spoiled. Every month, he gets a Bark Box with several new toys and he plays with them all. He rips the stuffing and squeakers out when he can and my dad thinks he’s been ingesting the stuffing as he’s been ill lately. His all-time favorite toy is probably a tug rope, but he’s recently taking a liking to a really loud stuffed squeaky toy and plastic wishbone.

Things Bailey hates

  • Vacuum cleaners and hair dryers
  • Being harassed when he’s eating or in his crate: I have actually been bitten by Bailey before. He was just begging and I reached down to give him a hug and he turned around and bit me. My brother Kyle has gotten away with a lot worse, so I’m not quite sure what I did to provoke him that much!
  • My mom leaving
  • The pool guy: For some reason, Bailey cannot stand the pool guy. I think the fact that he wears a hat and sunglasses make him look like a suspicious character. Bailey goes absolutely berserk every time he comes, barking the whole way through his visit and tearing up the house trying to get the best vantage point to watch him from.

And now, for the man himself:

Bailey is adorable, smart, sweet and fun and I miss him so much, but I know he is happy at home and getting the attention he needs.


I made a Twitter poll asking if I should make a separate post about my new job rather than including it in my February In Review post and the people have spoken: yes!

As I mentioned in my January In Review post, I got hired as a part-time healthcare worker at a company in Hove called Brunswick Care. Although I have no professional experience, my mom is disabled and I have been helping her with all sorts of tasks ever since I can remember. I wasn’t entirely confident about the interview (for the lack of my professional qualifications), so I was pleasantly surprised when I was offered the position.

My position involves providing “personal care needs of service users in a way that respects the dignity of the individual and promotes independence. Care provided by care assistants is expected to include care that would reasonably be given by members of the service user’s own family.” My tasks vary from client to client based on their needs and are always subject to change. When I tell people about my position, they automatically assume that it’s exclusively elderly people care for. While I won’t reveal the exact demographic of the clients for privacy reasons, I’ll leave it at this: disabilities don’t discriminate and they can effect people of all ages.

After a short induction, I was sent on my way to complete a training packet and online course covering the basics needed for my care certification qualification. After my care packet was mostly completed, I began shadowing a few clients to understand the routine before I visit alone.

I won’t reveal too much about my clients for privacy reasons and what I do for clients vary based on their needs, but some of my tasks include: making tea, coffee and food, administering medication, light domestic chores such as dish washing, ironing and sweeping, help with toilet, shower and getting dressed and simple companionship (I literally get paid to talk to people, dreamboat). When I first arrive, I log in through the landline (remember those?) and check the communication book to see if any of the other healthcare workers or family members left anything about the client that needs attention (may be about things such as when they last used the toilet, how they were feeling during the visit, etc.) before I carry out the routine according to the plan drawn up by the client and their family and leave any other notes for the family and the company records. My visits are usually one or two hours once or twice a day depending on the client and the day. Currently, I’m working about 15 hours a week, but hope to push closer to 20 once we take on a few more clients in the coming weeks.

My most regular client is P. They live close to my house (about 20 minutes from door to door) and I usually visit once a day first thing in the morning with an extra afternoon visit on the weekends. P. is absolutely lovely (and so is their partner I see some days) and I’ve grown really fond of them and I like to think the feeling is mutual! It’s quite an easy visit and only an hour duration. Additionally, I have two more regular clients that I see up to three times a week, depending on if they need covering.

This job is a massive commitment. Maybe not exactly time-wise, but the clients rely on me to be there, so getting someone who the client is unfamiliar with to cover a shift isn’t always in the cards, even if the routine is simple. It is also seven days a week and comes with a constant flow of time sensitive e-mails, phone calls and shift covers. But even on tough days, I can walk out of a client’s house knowing I helped them life their best life and there’s no better, more fulfilling feeling in the world.

Photo by Christian Holzinger.


Another month come and gone. Can you believe it? If only January went this quickly…

The month started off strong with three gigs in three days: Trixie Mattel, Architects and Marmozets. You can read about those shows in this post.

After that weekend, lectures started again. This term, I am taking Basic and Advanced Conservation, Rewilding and Ecosystem Services and a field course module for my South Africa trip in April. My lectures are minimal, but this is the term where I really get my ducks in a row for my dissertation work this summer. For my dissertation, I will be working with the Sussex chapter of the Inshore Fisheries and Conservation Authority (I.F.C.A.) on sustainable fisheries. This month, I also presented my literature review findings to the staff of the I.F.C.A. (which was so nerve-racking) and sought feedback. I look forward to acting on that feedback and really getting the ball rolling on my dissertation soon.

I started my time as a mentor for IntoUniversity, where university students volunteer to help underprivileged students achieve their future, academic and social goals that help them towards university. I had a short induction this month and look forward to meeting my mentee soon!

I quit my cleaning job. Although I was promised to get more consistent hours after a few weeks, nothing came up. My only hours were Sunday mornings (by morning, I mean I left my house before 6AM), a 45 minute bus away from my house and only a two hour clean. I didn’t think it was worth the hassle anymore, especially since my other job is far more fulfilling and promising…

I am still at my care giving job and loving it. I will write a more in-depth post about what I do in a few days, but after some online training and workbooks, I’m now finally out there connecting with clients and helping them live their best lives!

Just yesterday… we got snow in Brighton! What a lovely surprise.

What I’m watching: Monster, Baby Driver, Primal Fear, The Good Place (season 1-2), The End of the Fucking World (season 1), RuPaul’s Drag Race: All Stars (season 3)

What I’m listening to: okay. by As It Is, You Are We by As She Sleeps, The Stories We Tell Ourselves by Nothing More, The Way Forward by Intervals, The ’59 Sound by The Gaslight Anthem, Part & Parcel by The Skints, Dispose by The Plot in You, The Blackest Beautiful by letlive., If There Is Light, It Will Find You by Senses Fail

What I’m reading: The Nightingale by Kristen Hannah

Photo by Tom Kiss.


When trying to find new blogs to follow, there are several things that make me leave and never come back.

Most of these deal breakers are pretty general, but some are catered to my taste, so don’t take things too personally.

No follow button: Seriously, what the fresh hell? This is my number one pet peeve. How are people supposed to keep up with your content? Make it happen and make it obvious. If I can’t find your follow button in five seconds, I’m gone. And make it a follow button, a lot of people are really reluctant to subscribe and have their e-mails bombarded. If you ever want to be even a somewhat serious blogger, get Bloglovin’. It’s a great way to follow blogs across platforms.

Massive chunks of text: If you’re like me and mindlessly scroll through blog posts until something pops out, if it’s not broken up in some way, nothing goes in. Not only do I break up my text posts, I bold the main ideas so people can jump around as they please.

Broken theme: While theme style is about personal choice and I try not to hold it against someone too much, a broken theme or broken theme aspects is just neglectful. It tells me you don’t look at your own blog enough to care. If you’re not sure how to fix your broken theme, use Google, get in contact with the theme creator, something. Be resourceful, you’re a blogger, damn it.

Too many pictures: If you’re posting 15+ extremely large pictures in a post to make it so I have to scroll to kingdom come to get through the text content, my fingers become wary and I get impatient. If you’re going to include pictures in the text, don’t make them too many or too big.

Not posting for months: Although I understand not being able to post for a while and there’s nothing wrong with that, I see bloggers promote their content on Twitter when they haven’t posted anything new in months. Focus on making new content instead because once people see you don’t post consistently, it may be a deal breaker.

Being too formal: You’re not texting your B.F.F. Jill. Don’t start your blog posts out with “Heyyy” or use 20 emojis. If you’re going to be familiar, at least make it somewhat professional.

Using GIFS: This isn’t BuzzFeed.

Anything “Instagrammable”: I don’t have an Instagram, I’ve never had an Instagram. If I wanted an Instagram, yes, I probably can go out and get one… I’ve been watching too much Drag Race, but you get the idea. I physically roll my eyes whenever I see posts like this. Some bloggers are so focused on documenting their experiences rather than living them and while pictures are a great way to capture memories, it shouldn’t be a priority.

Not following back: I don’t expect every single person I follow to follow me back, but if you follow bloggers through a blogging train, follow them back. That’s the whole purpose, is it not?

Too many adverts: While working with products can be a great way to earn money from your blog, a lot of the time, it seems forced. I feel like Truman in The Truman Show experiencing product placement to weirdly inappropriate levels.

On another blogging-related note, I will make writing a post about my six months in the U.K. since I moved here and will be featuring a Q&A, so send me your questions as a comment below, on Twitter or on Curious Cat if you would like to remain anonymous!

Photo by Toa Heftiba.


As I mentioned in passing, I’m going to South Africa for a marine field course in April for two weeks! My course offered several different field courses (Ecuador, Egypt, Portugal and South Africa) with most expenses paid except flights so I thought it would be silly not to.

I’ve been interested in marine biology since I was young, but never got the chance to explore the topic in detail going to a university in a landlocked state. I chose the South African marine course over the Egyptian marine field course so I would have more time to prepare and choose a project I’m really interested in. However, those on the Egypt field course had such a blast scuba diving, my jealousy part contributed to booking my own LiveAboard trip there over Christmas.

For this (and the Red Sea) trips, students like myself had to get scuba certified if they weren’t already. I got my open water diving certification with fellow students Samira and Peter at a local dive shop and went a step further and got my advanced open water certification on holiday in Egypt.

I didn’t know anything about the course except the dates until this week, where we got our syllabus and had a briefing. This trip was originally booked for Durban and Cape Town, but with the water crisis in Cape Town, we will now be based a few hours south in Hermanus but will still have the chance to visit Cape Town.

The learning outcomes of the field course are as follows:

“By the end of the module, a successful student will be able to:

1. Research, synthesise and utilise the primary scientific literature to generate zoological research hypotheses and identify appropriate scientific methods to test these hypotheses.

2. Select and apply appropriate scientific methods to collect and analyse field data to address specific research questions in African zoology.

3. Present and critically analyse zoological research findings.

The module will also develop your transferable skills in analysis and problem solving, numeracy and data analysis, written communication, oral communication, organisation and time management, motivation and independent learning, information technology, and teamwork.”

After the briefing, we were instructed to sort ourselves into buddy pairs and choose our project from four possibilities:

1. Butterflies on the reef: Categorize the foraging biology and coral associations of the different butterfly fish species in the community.

2. Predator-prey behavior: Use field observations of predators and prey on the coral reefs to identify predator-prey associations, determine foraging time-budgets for predators, and quantify the behavioral effects of predators on prey species.

3. Coral reef niches: Investigate the occurrence and health of different coral taxa and other sessile organisms at a series of different reef sites, and examine how these relate to exposure, depth and other environmental factors.

4. Homes in the reef: This project will disentangle the influence of different factors on the composition of coral reef fish communities. It will combine transect surveys of fish diversity with observations of fish locations and activity, for multiple reef sites in Sodwana Bay that differ in environmental parameters.

My preference is the fourth project, but they all seem interesting! I currently do not have a buddy, but I’m sure I will be paired with someone as equally excited for my first project choice. The team of four students compromising of two buddy pairs with two different projects (one ecological and one behavioral) will be assessed based on a group seminar on the trip about our project (30%) and a project report (70%).

In October, we were given parameters to book our flights and some useful tips. The information also included possible flight routes and costs. Our flights must:

  • Arrive in Durban midday on 7 April
  • Depart Durban for Cape Town no earlier than 14:00 on 16 April

Since I figured two weeks of field course would wear me out and drain my money, I will be promptly returning back to the U.K. once the course is over, as I suspect most of the other students will, too. We will be arriving back in the U.K. on 22 April.

Our travel and activity plans are as follows:

  • Day 1: Fly to Durban
  • Day 2: Transfer to Reef Teach, Sodwana Bay, the most southerly coral reef in the world
  • Day 3: Diving Sodwana Bay (check dives and orientation)
  • Day 4: Diving Sodwana Bay (reef survey)
  • Day 5: Diving Sodwana Bay (project dives)
  • Day 6: Diving Sodwana Bay (project dives)
  • Day 7:  Diving Sodwana Bay (project dives), transfer to Umkomaas
  • Day 8: Optional bush and boat safari
  • Day 9: Diving Aliwal Shoal or Protea Banks. Ecological transition zone in reefs with corals and algae with shark sightings (oceanic blacktip, blue and tiger sharks) and close encounters range from possible to almost certain.
  • Day 10: Diving Aliwal Shoal or Protea Banks
  • Day 11: Diving Aliwal Shoal or Protea Banks, project presentations
  • Day 12: Travel to Cape Town, transfer to Hermanus
  • Day 13: White shark cage-diving trip, marine safari trip, visit to African Penguin and Seabird Sanctuary
  • Day 14: Optional sevengill cowshark and catsharks dive in kelp forest, cape fur seal
  • Day 15: Optional blue and mako shark dive, submit project report
  • Day 16: Free day, fly back to London

As you can tell, the dives take place in a range of environments such as reef, kelp forest and shark dives. The water temperature ranges from 12-24°C (54-75°F) with 5-10 meters (16-32 feet) visibility. We are advised to look out for sea urchins, moray eels and jellyfish on our dive as wildlife hazards. “What about the sharks?!” I was thinking. Now might be the time to share with you all that my biggest (and only) phobia is sharks. Like many people who try to put my fear into perspective, the lecturers assured us that sharks aren’t that dangerous, but that doesn’t make their presence any less intimidating to me, especially when close encounters are almost guaranteed.

As I mentioned, most expenses are paid for this trip. We have to pay for flights (already done), lunch, some dinners, food in transit and optional excursions, which are £90 for the bush and boat safari and £240 for the blue and mako shark dive. I will probably do the bush and boat safari as I don’t want to drop £240 when sightings aren’t entirely guaranteed and will give me the chance to explore Cape Town.

Now, all this all sounds thrilling, but we’re constantly given reminders that this is not a holiday and we are expected to work really hard. My diving holiday was way more tiring than I could have imagined and on this trip, my brain will be working just as hard as my body.

I’m getting really excited for this trip and can’t believe it’s less than two months away now! I’m glad I’m on a course I love that can provide such opportunities and look forward to both the work and a bit of sight seeing.

Photo by Theresa Guise.