Sarah Billington's Blog

December 13, 2014

Picture Grumpy cat (www.grumpycats.com), aka Tardar Sauce A couple of days ago, I was getting a cat. I can't tell you how excited I was to give someone who needed it a loving home. And when it comes to pets, I have 30-years proven experience in loving the heck out of them.

Today, I HAVE a cat (!!!), but I'll talk about that more in later posts.

There are a lot of things to think about when preparing to bring an animal into a new home. Like humans need stuff, like a bed, fridge, toilet, etc., so too do pets. It's been a long time since I had a cat and the list of purchases to make before the new arrival even set foot into the house surprised me.

If you're surprising a family member with a cat for Christmas, or bringing a cat into your family at any time of year, make sure you're prepared before they arrive. You have a lot of shopping to do ahead of time so you'll need to think of some good hiding places.

YOUR SHOPPING LIST
 
DIET
Food bowlWater bowlGood quality (vet-grade) dry food (good quality, otherwise they risk costly oral health issues down the track) Wet food (optional - did you know they generally don't hold any nutritional value, it's all in the - good quality - dry food? Me either!)
AMENITIES
Bed/blanket/somewhere warm to sleep that is their ownLitter boxCat litterCat litter scooper (for scooping out ... you know)Grooming brushCollar (and if you know what you're calling him/her already, name tag as well!)
RECREATION
Scratching post (if you don't want your furniture or carpet shredded!), preferably a tall one so that the cat can get a full stretch, which they LOVEToys (cats may sleep a lot, but just like us they do need some mental stimulation, especially when left alone for extended periods. Otherwise MISCHIEF MAY ENSUE.)
Phew! A lot more to think about than you realised, right?

Now you are ready to bring home your new cat.
I'll share how my experience went with you next time!

xoxo, Picture
 •  flag
0 comments
like  • 
Published on December 13, 2014 15:07 • 4 views
The end of ear music mash-up is here! 

So what have been your favourite new songs of the year?

What songs did you like to begin with but have been so over-played by the radio, store radios (this is a thing, isn't it retail workers and heavy shoppers?) or by yourself that you can't stand it anymore?

Last year I loved Roar by Katy Perry but it was all over every radio station and by the end of its run I was gritting my teeth and demanding the station be switched or song skipped, much to my Katy Perry-loving friends' dismay.


This year, that song is Shake It Off by Taylor Swift. They seem to play it a couple of times an hour on the top 40-playing radio stations around here.

On the flip side, I wasn't that into Air Guitar by McBusted when I first heard it, as it felt like a step backward for them, but I've heard it a couple more times now and it's grown on me. It's a pretty rockin' track.

I want to hear yours, though!

Loves and loathes. Go! Picture
 •  flag
0 comments
like  • 
Published on December 13, 2014 14:30 • 4 views

December 7, 2014

Picture I heard of podcasts years ago but didn't really get what they were, except for radio hosts saying that you could catch their show again on their podcast. Radio on-demand, or something.But I know some intelligent people with worldy interests who are really into podcasts, and not so much into top 40 music or pop culture (I forgive them), so it got me curious.

Now that I have a job which involves a lot of driving, I wanted to listen to something in the car other than the same ten songs on every radio station and the same news bites. So I downloaded a podcast app (Podcast Mania, if you're interested) and let it recommend a bunch of podcasts to start me off.

I'd heard a lot of buzz about Serial, but nothing much about it, so I decided this would be my introduction to the world of podcasts.

And boy, it's been a good one.

Serial is an investigation into a true crime case from the 90s in which a teenage boy, Adnan Syed, has been sentenced to jail for murdering his ex-girlfriend.

He's now 34, and still in prision right now.
But there are people who don't think he ACTUALLY did it, so the Serial host and her team are investigating.

I gotta tell you, it's fascinating, hearing real police interviews and court testimonies from the case, current conversations with friends and witnesses fifteen years later, re-enactment and discussion of events and how time lines just don't seem to match up, and conversations with Adnan himself from prison.

The narrator is trying to keep things balanced, she does fluctuate between thinking that Adnan DID murder Hae when she comes across evidence that seems rather damning, but ultimately, her gut instinct seems to be that he didn't do it.

It seems that someone else may have murdered Hae, they are still out there, and no one is looking for them. And Adnan has been in prison for 15 years for their crime.

Ultimately, I don't know how satisfying an ending the series can have - it's real life after all - and just because she THINKS he didn't do it doesn't mean he's going to be able to walk free in real life, no matter how much her listeners may want it.

But I'll definitely be tuning into to see what happens.
Picture
 •  flag
0 comments
like  • 
Published on December 07, 2014 10:52

A photo posted by Zoe (@zozeebo) on Aug 8, 2014 at 3:30pm PDT

This is Zoe Sugg. I'd never heard of her until yesterday, but it seems that I'm in the minority here, because millions upon millions of people have.

She is a super-famous 24-year-old British Youtuber (like Poppy!) under the name Zoella, with over 6.5 million subscribers who recently released her debut young adult fiction novel, Girl Online.
It has had a truly epic first week of sales.
According to the Daily Mail, we're talking 78,000 copies have made their way into avid reader hands. In one week.
J.K Rowling and Dan Brown didn't achieve that sort of success that early, and the sales figures have E.L James's debut week beat five times over.

It's a great story. The book sounds cute and I'm stoked for her success, I'm stoked for ANYONE to achieve such success, but I was surprised that the several news articles I read about her didn't appear to be quite so enthusiastic.

No. She is accused of having utilised a ghost writer. It's quite the scandal and mainstream media seems cheesed off about it.

But I don't understand what the big deal is. Sure, it would be wonderful if she had written the book herself and hadn't just been approached because of her ready-made audience, the plot sounds like it's based on her life, after all, but how many other famous people have hired ghost writers to completely write, or at least help with writing, their novels? Do you really think Snooki wrote her best seller herself? How about the Kardashians? The second I saw their novel Dollhouse on the shelves I knew they couldn't have written it, not because I don't believe they could possibly be good at it, but because writing is time consuming and doesn't make great TV. Between parenthood, travel, photo shoots, appearances, running a clothing store chain, clothing lines, fragrances, endorsements, and starring in their countless, never ending reality shows, where would they have found the time?
Nicole Richie, Hilary Duff, Lauren Conrad and even the youngest of the Kardashian klan, Kendall and Kylie, have young adult fiction novels out - the same genre as Sugg's - with the help of a ghost writer, but I don't remember there being quite as much moral outrage toward them as I have seen Zoe Sugg receive through traditional media this week.
Picture Maybe it's because of the book's immediate smash hit success that people are feeling a little indignant that it's due more to her name on the cover than her own words on the page.

But don't forget, it's not like James Patterson writes his own books anymore - it's just his name on the cover. Nancy Drew and Sweet Valley High were written by a team of ghost writers, too. Did it make them any less enjoyable?

And film studios are doing the same exact thing capitalising by picking up best-selling fiction franchises and turning them into blockbuster movies because the fans are already there. It's easy money. Who DOESN'T want easy money?

It can be hard for writers without a known name to break into the industry on their own, especially when there are celebrities taking the attention, but it's all part of the business. And they weren't always celebrities. Zoella started with 0 subscribers on day one and has built her way to success just like we're all trying to do.

As I said above, I think Girl Online looks cute and I look forward to reading it, regardless of who wrote it.

I'd love to know your own thoughts. Picture
 •  flag
0 comments
like  • 
Published on December 07, 2014 04:44 • 2 views

December 3, 2014

I come from a family of insane dog lovers, so when my sister came across this online she had to share it with all of us.

If you are one of us, start your weekend off right, like I did, and enjoy some spectacular dog fetch fails. Enjoy.

 •  flag
0 comments
like  • 
Published on December 03, 2014 15:37 • 2 views

December 2, 2014

You know Buzzfeed, right? I feel like most people are going to be "yeah, duh," but I am ready to be surprised at the number of people who are like, "Buzz-whaaaat?"

I love Buzzfeed. News mixed with lists full of funny gifs.

But the things I like the best lately are their videos. I've been caught a couple of times on Youtube where I finish watching one and then the next one starts and that sounds interesting and it's only 2 minutes so I'll just watch that and then the next one starts and oh no this one looks interesting or funny too, and then the next one starts...

They do videos on anything and everything, from social situations to life hacks to science to comparing a whole plethora of situations, like things that Taylor Swift does that would be weird if you did them.

They're quick little vids generally no more than 5 mins, and the crew in front of the camera are normal and fun. Okay, they're also a little bit kooky. Like we all are!

The thing I think I like the best about the Buzzfeed vids is that they celebrate the weird and awkward in all of us.

They're onto you, you weird and awesome devil, you.

Here's a couple to get you started. Picture
 •  flag
0 comments
like  • 
Published on December 02, 2014 10:44 • 3 views
I can't believe it's been nearly six months since I last blogged. I was still overseas in the middle of a whirlwind adventure.

And what an adventure it was.

I'm home now, back in Australia and settled down with some new projects on the go (writing ones but not necessarily book writing ones) and a burning desire to get a cat. If you're my friend on Facebook I'm sure you could have figured that out by yourself.

I'm going to be more active on the blog now. I'm not necessarily going to be talking about me so much, but about things I've come across that I think are cool or funny, or touching or sad, or just important and need more people to know about them.
There's probably going to be a lot of opinions about TV and movies and funny animal videos and a bit of a celebrity gossip, interspersed with news. Are you all down with that?

I think the world and the people in it are fascinating creatures (but I'll be honest, I am a pop culture addict so I can't help it if that's a big focus) and I want to share what I've found all with you.

If you find something that is awesome/funny/touching/important, then please share it with me! 

I'm totes interested. For reals.
Picture Picture
 •  flag
0 comments
like  • 
Published on December 02, 2014 02:39 • 6 views
I can't believe it's been nearly six months since I last blogged. I was still overseas in the middle of a whirlwind adventure.

And what an adventure it was.

I'm home now, back in Australia and settled down with some new projects on the go (writing ones but not necessarily book writing ones) and a burning desire to get a cat. If you're my friend on Facebook I'm sure you could have figured that out by yourself.

I'm going to be more active on the blog now. I'm not necessarily going to be talking about me so much, but about things I've come across that I think are cool or funny, or touching or sad, or just important and need more people to know about them.
There's probably going to be a lot of opinions about TV and movies and funny animal videos and a bit of a celebrity gossip, interspersed with news. Are you all down with that?

I think the world and the people in it are fascinating creatures (but I'll be honest, I am a pop culture addict so I can't help it if that's a big focus) and I want to share what I've found all with you.

If you find something that is awesome/funny/touching/important, then please share it with me! 

I'm totes interested. For reals.
Picture Picture
 •  flag
0 comments
like  • 
Published on December 02, 2014 02:39 • 1 view

November 29, 2014

So, I have to talk about The Walking Dead.  Picture This post is going to be about the Season 5 finale (mid-season finale? finale-finale? IDK) so if you're a Walking Dead fan and you haven't seen it yet, then this is not the post for you.

Do not read this post. Not until you've seen it and then you have my permission. It's not going to be super spoilery, but it is a little.

So my friend Dean and I, when we were house mates before I traveled the world, we used to watch Walking Dead together. Every week. Without fail.

Now that I'm back and living half an hour away, we have grand plans of watching it together, but are both exhausted after work and make excuses not to have to leave our own couches. We didn't have to when we lived together, because it was the same one.

So since we didn't watch the finale together and he saw it before me, without his asking nor wanting me to, I live texted my reactions so it would feel like he was there. He may have been (was) still at work at the time. I'm sorry. (I'm really not.)

Here goes.

First reaction: Wow. Rick sure has changed from the beginning. Shoots a guy to shut him up. No remorse. He's turned into the bad guy, huh.

The priest is a tool. "Don't leave me out here!" You wouldn't have been out there if you hadn't have snuck out in the first place.

Michonne is such a bad ass with her katana.

What happened to zombies stretching to the horizon? What a wasted opportunity for awesome.

Finally Maggie cares that her sister is alive (or just basically thinks about her sister)

Whoa. Kind shocked Beth just pushed that guy into the zombie pit.

Did I miss Carol waking up and being happy to see Beth? Did that happen last week? Not at all?

Omg...

Aw Daryl...

:( The end.

(end credits)

Omg ffs Morgan's still on his little stroll.

Morgan has just been walking in the woods for the entire season, huh. There you have it. What were YOUR thoughts about the episode? Does this about sum it up?

Oh, and Dean has not texted me back.

If you've never watched The Walking Dead... well watch this. It's nothing like it but it sure is funny. Picture
 •  flag
0 comments
like  • 
Published on November 29, 2014 22:37 • 8 views

November 28, 2014

So, I have to talk about The Walking Dead.  Picture This post is going to be about the Season 5 finale (mid-season finale? finale-finale? IDK) so if you're a Walking Dead fan and you haven't seen it yet, then this is not the post for you.

Do not read this post. Not until you've seen it and then you have my permission. It's not going to be super spoilery, but it is a little.

So my friend Dean and I, when we were house mates before I traveled the world, we used to watch Walking Dead together. Every week. Without fail.

Now that I'm back and living half an hour away, we have grand plans of watching it together, but are both exhausted after work and make excuses not to have to leave our own couches. We didn't have to when we lived together, because it was the same one.

So since we didn't watch the finale together and he saw it before me, without his asking nor wanting me to, I live texted my reactions so it would feel like he was there. He may have been (was) still at work at the time. I'm sorry. (I'm really not.)

Here goes.

First reaction: Wow. Rick sure has changed from the beginning. Shoots a guy to shut him up. No remorse. He's turned into the bad guy, huh.

The priest is a tool. "Don't leave me out here!" You wouldn't have been out there if you hadn't have snuck out in the first place.

Michonne is such a bad ass with her katana.

What happened to zombies stretching to the horizon? What a wasted opportunity for awesome.

Finally Maggie cares that her sister is alive (or just basically thinks about her sister)

Whoa. Kind shocked Beth just pushed that guy into the zombie pit.

Did I miss Carol waking up and being happy to see Beth? Did that happen last week? Not at all?

Omg...

Aw Daryl...

:( The end.

(end credits)

Omg ffs Morgan's still on his little stroll.

Morgan has just been walking in the woods for the entire season, huh. There you have it. What were YOUR thoughts about the episode? Does this about sum it up?

Oh, and Dean has not texted me back.

If you've never watched The Walking Dead... well watch this. It's nothing like it but it sure is funny. Picture
 •  flag
0 comments
like  • 
Published on November 28, 2014 22:37 • 1 view