Weiners and whatnot: I went to Vienna

General, travel

If you follow me on instagram (@avocamilla), you’ll be well aware of the fact that I am currently on a little holiday in Vienna, Austria. We had a week off of vet school and we thought, why not?



Vienna is a spenny country so what follows is a list of things we did, which were within budget. Enjoy.


YOU CAN ATTEND THE OPERA FOR 3 EUROS: standing room tickets are 3 euros each. Yeah, you heard me. It’s 100% worth it for the experience. Get there 80 minutes early and  BAM, you’re in! We saw a production of Lucia de Lammermoor, which was tragic (I think), and very cool to see. So opera, tick.


Sofia and Tiani!

FREE WALKING TOUR: don’t pay, like, 30 euro for a guided tour. Go on a free walking tour – you see all the major landmarks of the city, and hear their history, for free, baby! The site we used is: https://www.goodviennatours.eu 


SCHONNBRUNN PALACE: Ok so this one is a bit different – you have to pay an entrance fee to see inside. But you can totally get a student discount and it’s quite nice to look around? I mean, I enjoyed the history and the audio guide, plus there’s loads of paintings worthy of classical art meme content to laugh at. The GARDENS are amazing and DEFINITELY worth visiting, also there is a huge monument you can climb up to, where you can see the whole city. The gardens also have a zoo, and several botanical gardens. It’s pretty neat. We spent a whole afternoon here.


HUNDERTWASSER HOUSE: a cool area of crazy architecture to go visit! There’s also a “village” complex with cute shops and funky cafes. I liked this a lot.


NACHSMARKT: pretty rad. Lots of interesting things to look at and sample. Very colourful, and a man told my friend that she looked like shakira.


Okay so here is where it gets crappy.

  • the university botanical gardens (not the ones at the palace), are free, but there was NO PLANTS.
  • the state library is gorgeous, but you have to pay a lot to get in, and you can’t touch any books.
  • the street art passage in the Museums Quartier is non-existent. We travelled for an HOUR to try finding it, only to discover it consists of a single bridge.
  • The fun fair was NO FUN, as everything closed at 7pm.
  • climbing the 379 stairs of the tallest tower – fun, but, at the top, you can’t actually….see anything. Is the climb worth it?

Middle ground: if you are a horsey person, then attending the morning training session of the Spanish Riding School in Vienna is AMAZING, and worth the money (again there is a student discount). I LOVED it. Sofia and Tiani, however, were not so keen – they implied that dressage training was not so fun to watch if you didn’t understand why trotting on the spot was so impressive.


2 Places really stood out to me:

1 is the Tian bistro (NOT it’s sister michelin star restaurant). It is all veggie, and the food is bloody AMAZING. Like, so so so good. Also I loved the decor.

2 is the Simply Raw bakery. I had multiple foodgasms in there. Oh my lord. Their smoothie bowl was to die for, their raw cupcake was so creamy and delicious. Genuinely – I hate raw food that masquerades as real food, with ingredients like blended cashews or whatever…but this, this was amazing. I can die happy now.


Oh, we also went to cafe Hawlka, which is a famous meeting spot for artistes of old. It’s a busy spot to visit, and has a yummy vegetarian strudel to try; but if you can’t get in, don’t worry too much.

Overall, I loved the city. It was full of light, and so many interesting things to do. If I would come again, I would like to visit the chocolate museum, and maybe the Freud museum – but I think we did a good job of seeing pretty much every main site that the city has to offer.


Remember to drink wine this week.



Running and recovery – can exercise be a helpful tool in recovery from an eating disorder?

fitness, General, Mental Health, travel

Let’s pretend that it’s not been like nine years since I wrote anything, and carry on as normal, yes? 

I was listening to a running podcast the other day (I don’t remember which one exactly), and it got me thinking. The host had this guest on, and they were talking about the prevalence of eating disorders amongst “athletes” – i.e. people who train professionally.

I could not relate in any way to the actual “athlete” part of it (my coach said this or that or whatever, when I was training for this big event…), as I am totally not an athlete (I just like running), but what really resonated with me was that instead of saying that you can’t have had an eating disorder and have a normal relationship with exercise: they said that it can even HELP you in your recovery. At least, that’s what I took from it.

LOOK IT UP: https://trainbrave.org 

Cafe culture, crepes, and the course: what’s Zagreb like, Cam?

General, travel, Uncategorized


It’s been a hot minute since we last spoke, certainly. I did MEAN to keep in touch, but I sort of had fifty hours of class a week and no free time – so even though I WANTED to say hi, I just didn’t have the bloody time!

However, maybe you don’t care and did not, in fact, notice my absence. (Although if that’s the case – why are you reading this?)

I’m writing to you now from a very trendy urban cafe in FULHAM, LONDON! That’s right baby, it’s LONDON TIME!!! I am absolutely amazed, thrilled, overjoyed, ecstatic, and whatever other synonyms for “great” you can think of, to be home. Well, in my home country, at least.

Living abroad is very much like living at home. You get used to it – like any new place, it becomes home. But when I was riding the tube yesterday, looking at all the graffiti’d London concrete in the pouring rain, I couldn’t stop smiling. This is what I know. This is home. This washed-out, chilly, grey country where the people hold the doors open for you and I can listen in on their awkward conversations in familiar accents – is home for me.

Home is my sister wearing her cashmere jumpers, mug of coffee in hand. Home is hot tea from a proper mug, that somehow just doesn’t taste the same outside of England? Home is the boring familiarity of the greens and browns of the countryside, the comforting concrete grey of the pavements. It’s the smell of the curry my dad makes, the sound of my mum’s telly in the morning. It’s all the boring, crappy stuff that goes on that you didn’t even think about before. Little things – smells and sights and sounds that mean you’re totally, and utterly, home.

I’m smiling so much now, writing this, through a headache induced from tiredness and the feeling that the world is spinning just slightly faster than its normal speed.

Zagreb might be home for me now, and I love it to bits; but it’s not the country I grew up in.

(Reminder that this is just home for me – the place you consider home might not be a place, it might be a person or a thing or even somewhere you’ve never been!)

Anyway, deep thoughts aside, I wanted to tell you about my first term away.

Working 9 to 5: things Dolly Parton never mentioned

General, Mental Health

Good morning, friends!

Wow, it’s been a wild three weeks. Turns out that vet school doesn’t leave much (any) free time for doing things that are fun, like writing blog posts or sleeping. 

After speaking to various family members in a panic about my lack of time for myself/ exercise/ relaxation –  things that are very important to me as a highly-strung kind of person – the overwhelming opinion was that I need to

make time.

I shit you not! 

City of light (prose)


So this is it. Welcome home. Welcome to your new life. Welcome to the unknown.

The thing is, you packed your bags and left the country and said your goodbyes, but you didn’t really think about what you were doing. Where you were going. It was just another  link in the chain of events that string your life together. Just another brick in the wall.

But you got here, you made it and it was busy, so busy and yes it was strange but it was good strange, not bad strange, and you fit into the city like you fit into most places; without a struggle. This is home but not yet home. It’s home in the future, not the present.

Cities and strange places and strange coffee and strangers asking you all kinds of strange questions that you don’t understand and strange roads with strange drivers that come at you from the wrong side. A mistake, maybe?

Sounds you’re not used to – the last trams rattling through the city, car alarms in the night, children playing in the park. Car horns beeping all day long. Cigarette smoke and the smell of fresh bread.

And then – clean streets, lined with trees. Sipping coffee and cocktails in the rain. Dogs barking in the park, children playing. Interesting cafes and corners and nooks to explore. New spaces to discover. A bookshelf stacked high, a cake-stand to admire. My legs are getting stronger, day by day. I pace the wide streets of what I am beginning to think of as “my” city.

A home that wasn’t mine but is now, a bed that wasn’t mine but is now, a desk that wasn’t mine but is now. My photographs on the walls. My food in the cupboard. My washing on the line, my neighbours to observe. Space I am slowly fitting in to.

My life, stretched thin, seen through the looking glass. Dismal days of rain and work followed by sun upon sun upon sun. A vase full of sunflowers in my bedroom, like always.

I sit and draw, or I write, and let these golden days and final rays of summer sun flow through me. I try and think of the future, about how valuable these precious moments are, seconds before the scale tips once more and again, I’ll be learning. Striving. Academic pressure and all that comes with it. Change is good. Stasis is safe. How to choose?

A strange city, indeed, full of strange versions of myself that I can see only vaguely as manifest through the years.

Out with the old, in with the new. Sunflowers, like always. But growing, and rising, too.

C x

Flight mode: types of people at the airport and my travel tips 📦


Travelling is, of course, the epitome of “fun.” Plane rides are meant to be exciting news for you, an experience of relaxation and enjoyment with the knowledge that for six or seven hours, you are expected to do no more than lie back and r e l a x.

Have you EVER tried to relax whilst someone in the seat in front of you has laid themselves almost horizontally in your lap? Or the person next to you is overly-ambitious with their allocated armrest space? Or the relentless pinging of the loudspeaker system telling you that the seatbelt signs are now ON…. no wait! They’re off again! And on again! And off again! Just as you’re starting to drift off, neck cricked at an unnatural angle and legs crammed into the footwell, then BAM, it’s the snacks trolley, and you can’t sleep through THAT. 

I do NOT, in any way, shape or form, find travelling “relaxing.” Airports suck, I always get spots and everything seems to be covered in a weird filmy haze of sleep deprivation and general confusion.

Want to buy a designer handbag? A suitcase??? (Who buys their luggage AT THE AIRPORT?) a special panini offer at 4am??

Also, the people in airports really freak me out. It’s like there’s this dividing line between those going Full Glam and those going Major Sloth.

Now, Full Glam individuals are easily identified by their thick make-up (to cover the dark circles and aforementioned airport spots), and usually high heels as well. They have their hair majestically twisted into ringlets or ironed straight, for that really casual, just-rolled-out-of-bed look. These people are usually smug, and should not be approached under any circumstances.

And then there’s the rest of us. The Major Sloth parade.

The bleary-eyed, deathly pale troops that have rolled out of bed at 2 in the bloody morning to get on this crappy plane when in reality, we wish we could just teleport. There’ll be a high percentage of pyjama tops and no bras, a stained sweatshirt and a hastily-packed rucksack. Some of us may have put mascara on in an attempt to go Full Glam, but it just makes us look like pandas, and smears unattractively in our undereye creases.

Anyway, I’m sat in an airport right now, so I thought I’d share with you my tips for lessening this pain 

1. ALWAYS PACK A HAIRBRUSH. I REPEAT: ALWAYS PACK A HAIRBRUSH. Honestly if your hair is tangle-free, your trip is likely to follow suit. 

2. DON’T! Forget your headphones. Listening to the churning noise of the aeroplane engine is A. Boring and B. always makes me feel nauseous for some reason. Oh, and C. It’ll drown out the voices of the screaming kids/ snoring men around you. But don’t forget to remove them so you can ask the flight attendant for a large g&t.

3. Get as much sleep as you can the night before, if you have to get up early to catch your flight. If you can get 4 hours, you’ll probably be okay. Any less than that, and you’ll be bursting into tears when the check-in lady tells you to enjoy your trip.

I know that this is a hard one, but it IS do-able! E.g the day before I had to get up at 2am, I got up early so I would be tired and fall asleep earlier, and exercised during the day. Thus, by 9pm, I was all ready for bed!

Even if you don’t sleep on the plane, you can still try close your eyes and let your body rest, even if your mind doesn’t :). I find this comforting! 

4.  Starbucks is your friend. You need SUGAR. I don’t care if you’re on a diet, the only way you’re going to function is by ordering a large mocha-frappalappacino with extra vanilla syrup. It’s positively REVITALISING.* **

* But don’t overdo it on the caffeine, otherwise you’ll end up with, like, heat palpitations and stuff, and that’s not cool.

** ALSO don’t forget that healthy sh*t has sugar in it, too. So you can fuel up on orange juice or grapes or something. If you like. 🍋

5. I’m gonna say it – don’t eat too much! It’s so tempting to cronch cronch the entire time you’re travelling, just for something to do, but if you go overboard with it, you’ll just feel sluggy and bloated. May I recommend that you graze on light snacks, rather than a roast dinner, if you’ve got a long and arduous journey ahead of you?

My airport time is when I like to try out new snax, usually. That and BAKED GOODS. Mmm.

Anyway, whether you’re a Full Glam individual with sass and time to spare, or a Major Sloth who just wants a soft blankie and to lay down for a while, I got u. 

I feel your pain.

But the journey is only a small part of the trip, and you can recover usually after one night’s rest.

Those are my thoughts, written from Amsterdam Airport. I’ve already been travelling for 7 hours and I’m feeling pretty groggy.

However – adventure awaits!

^^^ This is a really nice playlist and includes a few songs about travelling! I’d recommend it for your journey 🙂

Love and nasty aeroplane coffee,


Boofs and Borks – My Life At The Kennels!

Animalz, Uncategorized

Ey-Up, pals. (As we say in Yorkshire).

Seeing as I’m only working two more days at my job in a kennels near my home, I thought I’d share with you some of my experiences.

First of all, this. 


This is how the noise of  that many dogs boofing and borking hits you at 8am every morning. That, and, well, the smell of them.

Overwhelmed, you stumble in and squint at the schedule. (It’s 8am. I am NEVER in a good mood.)

Whoever’s due to go home that day needs to be put out first. Right. You make your way down the parallel line of kennels, down the corridor until you find the right dog, trying to read your boss’ writing.

“Ah. There you are… Brick? That can’t be your actual name, can it?” Whatever. You take the dog out and hope for the best. (Turns out he’s actually called Butch.)

We have four outside fields at work, so that four dogs can be let out at one time. This means that we work in patterns of four – four kennels get cleaned in one fell swoop.

On that note – 

I mean, does anyone really like dog poo? 

Sorry, I had to say it.

I’m totally un-squeamish, having spent much of my life up to my ankles in horse/ dog/ monkey/ elephant, uh, dung. Clothes/ shoes/ person can be washed, no biggie.

But even I have to say, I have succumbed to the occasional retch at the stench coming from over fifty dogs left snoozing overnight, some with better control over their bowels than others.

Image result for dog poo funny

After all, you are there to look after the animals, you remind yourself, as you stare dismally into the brown river snaking its way under your feet. You wonder if insurance or advertising or something generally less hard on the nostrils would have been a better career choice.

Just… breathe through your mouth or something. Get rid of it… pronto…

And it’s worth it, it really is, when you bring the dog in and it looks better in a nice clean kennel, in it’s fresh bed, with breakfast and a new bowl of water on the side. It makes the dog happy! 


My pal, doin a smile for me! 11/10 good boy. 

They’ll have a quick perimeter check of their room and then come back to you, hoping for a quick ear scritch-scrotch before you move on. “Thanks for tidying my room, mom!” 

Therefore, it’s worth doing just for that. You stroke their silky heads and floppy ears and smile a bit, revelling in the feeling of having done something for another living creature that has contributed to the mental and physical wellbeing of that animal. 




So you stifle your yawns and wipe the sweat off of your temples and drag/ try and cling on to four dogs per block, your arms feel like they’re halfway out of their sockets and then you pick up two full buckets and try and tell yourself that no-one in the history of ever has had their arms fall off from lifting heavy things so just stop being a big baby, okay?

You throw down the water, you clean the kennel, you put the bed in, you fill up the water, you bring the dog back and swap it for another eager face who’s nose is poking out of the kennel front, wanting sO BADLY to be next because they just can’t hold in that pee any longer.

There was this lovely Labrador we had in, who was so high-energy and crazy and so desperate to go out: but he was well-trained enough that he would hold his pee until he had one paw out the door and then, about two feet from the nice grass, he would relieve himself with a sign and an ingratiating grin. Sorry mum, I didn’t want to pee in my room,  but I just couldn’t wait! 

A* for effort there, lil man.

It might not make the front pages of a national newspaper, but seeing my doggos and kittens (read: mostly chubby, grumpy old cats) happy and loved and looked-after (and yes, I think of them as “mine”, now) whilst their owners are away, makes me so happy I could burst.

Looking after animals is what makes me feel joy. I genuinely believe that it’s my life’s purpose.

But in the same way, working with animals isn’t for the faint-hearted.

It’s messy and smelly and high-pressure. If you mess up, the animal takes the toll of that, and that’s not fair.

You work so hard, and it’s not for yourself but for them. And you’ll try every day, to work harder, to give them a little bit more of your time and attention. Because they’re nothing but good, and you want to do everything you can for them.

You don’t change the world by taking care of animals, not always. It’s not all rhinos and elephants and “cool” stuff, though that’s often what is advertised. Sometimes it’s poop-scoopin’ and feeding and making sure the animals in your care are happy.

And that, to me, is enough.

Animals are – so good. 🙂


This is my favourite dog from the kennels. Shh, don’t tell the others! She’s a real cloud and so gentle and kind. 


Love and lots of boofs and borks,





Accessible Anthropology


Good morning, pals. I haven’t posted in a  while – but I’m getting there. Trying to make a habit of it I guess!

Today I’d like to share some of what I’ve learned the last 3 years with you, during my time studying at Durham.


Sassy grad smile 😀 

I picked anthropology as my degree, mostly because it was fairly close to the top of the list of subjects available. (I’m only sort of joking.) Anyway, I had no idea what it was, and it looked interesting.

Anthropology, as a discipline, is recognised and categorised into four main branches:

  • Socio-cultural 
  • Biological or physical 
  • Archaeological 
  • Linguistic 

Now, I don’t want to get into the nuances of each field, right here, right now. I’m only going to focus on one topic.

My degree is in biological anthropologyBiological anthropology focuses mostly on:


Image result for brachiation

and Paleoanthropology.

Image result for human evolution


In my first year I was taught by a wonderful woman named Trudi. Trudi was pretty crazy, but provided the best possible introduction to a subject I previously knew next to nothing about.

Wearing a smock, she’d waltz into the lecture theatre and transport us almost immediately into a world full of bones and unsolved mysteries. She introduced us to the subject thus: 

Seven million years ago, the line between primatology and paleoanthropology becomes, well, slightly blurred.

What is a primate? 

Aside from being #mymates (sorry), primates are what we know as monkeys and apes.

What is paleoanthropology?

Paleoanthropology is slightly more tricky. If we take “paleo” to mean “old”, and “anthropology” to mean “human”, then we get, well, “old humans.” And that’s basically what it is. Looking at how and why and when humans developed from primates.

Having established this, biological anthropology suddenly becomes a frighteningly broad area of study. It’s primates and evolution and a story with barely any answers.

Who am I? You ask, and I really can’t tell you. 

Perhaps you swung from the trees with Orrorin, 6 million years ago.

Perhaps you cracked nuts with Paranthropus, whilst Lucy sat nearby and made her tools.

Maybe you painted cave art with the Neanderthals in France, or made spears with Homo heidelbergensis in Germany.

It’s just…. we don’t know.

And that’s what makes the subject so fascinating!

In this series of short writings entitled “Accessible anthropology”, I’ll be explaining our evolutionary history as best I can. It’ll probably be horrendously biased and unfactual at points, but I’ll try to make it as interesting as I can.

Actually, that’s a lie. I don’t need to “make” it interesting. It already is!

Imagine thinking you only had one relative and then…discovering an entire, crazy family.

For better or for worse, we’re in this together.

Screen Shot 2018-08-19 at 10.45.57.png

I have Australopithecus afarensis tattooed on me. 

Love and skeletons,


It Aint Easy… Bein Wheezy (please someone relate to me dear god)

fitness, General

Yes, you read that right.

No, I’m not trying to be funny, I’m actually Having An Issue.

Imagine being into exercise, just for a bit, right? Like, you’re really enjoying it, pootling along nicely, pushing yourself and feeling GOOD about yourself (it’s about TIME, y’all).

(I’m actually eating brownies as I write this so no I am not life goals yet.)

But then imagine your lungs just, like, not working? Filling up with phlegm instead?*

*(I didn’t say this wouldn’t be overly-graphic and gross.)

The problem 

As you’ve probably guessed from my many, many rants about this, I am asthmatic. I have been an inhaler-sucking, wheezy and incapable individual for, well, as long as I can remember. I don’t particularly mind having asthma – I’m used to it by now – but it can be so ANNOYING.

(E.g. when I can’t walk up a flight of stairs without stopping at the top to catch my breath.)


Anywayyyy *collects self*,  um, asthma is an inflammatory condition which affects a person’s airways.

In short, when I try to breathe, my lungs flip out and all the little tubes inside of them, start to swell up (see pic below).


Do I need to caption this? Really? 

This has the knock-on effect of making it harder and harder to breathe. 

Currently, there isn’t a cure for asthma, but there are medications you can take, which essentially force the airways to relax, making it easier to breathe again.

Now, there are different things that can trigger this tightening of the airways. The NHS (link at the end of this article), clearly defines the most common triggers. But more simply, asthmatic conditions are usually the result of either:

  • allergies, or
  • exercise.

I am an allergic asthmatic, which basically means that whenever I breathe air, my lungs find something to complain about. (Seriously, ask my housemates. They’re all like Cam, how do u even function? Answer: I DON’T KNOW.)




IN THEORY, I shouldn’t be affected by exercise.

Sooo… why can’t I run 5k (AKA the shortest distance you can run properly), without sounding like a dyING GOAT? 

I swear to you, I pinky promise (and we all know that’s serious business), that I am fit, and active, and train different parts of my body/ muscle groups on rotation.

I am CONVINCED that my LUNGS are the PROBLEM, HERE. *Scowls at chest*. 


The solution ? 

Ummm… as yet, I don’t really have one.

I do set my breathing to my pace, from the minute I start running (breathe in for 2 strides, out for 2 strides).

I do warm up before setting off, as that kind of primes the lungs.

I do breathe in through my nose, out through my mouth (I have read that this is the best way to get nice, moist air into my lungs. Ew.)

And god knows, that I really don’t run fast.

Any advice, or sympathetic experiences, or exercises I can do to help would be much, much appreciated. 

I know it’s not really that bad, and I wrote this dramatically because, well, it’s more fun to write that way.

But it’s really disheartening when you want to make progress and you just… can’t find a way through. 

Running is my exercise-prozac. It’s my empowerment. I’d love to be able to call myself a runner one day.

Here’s hoping that maybe we (the asthmatics), can figure something out?

Screen Shot 2018-08-08 at 17.41.39.png

me, taking pics of my self for the ‘gram, even tho I’m being nebulised. maybe i should review my priorities? 


( ^^ link to NHS page on asthma).

Love and wheezes,

(and I apologise for my ranting)