18 May 2015

Eurovision 2015!

Yes, it's that time of year again.

Image source

As you may, know, I'm into Eurovision.

This year, it's even better than ever because, as part of the 60th anniversary of Eurovision, Australia has been invited to participate as a reward for our devotion to this musical institution! And as an added bonus, we get to vote!

Given the increased importance of this year's event for Australians, I decided to do something I have never done before to prepare myself. I watched the preview videos. Yes, every single one. So you are now reading my most researched blog post ever.

I was very pleasantly surprised by the quality this year. Last year's contest was a little disappointing to me, so much so that I did not purchase the 2014 CD to add to my collection of 2013, 2012 and 2002 competition songs. This year, my faith in Eurovision has been restored and the 2015 CD will be on order soon!

As well as most of the songs being ones I would happily listen to again, there are still a few non-English speaking countries singing songs in their country's native language! Thank you! Part of Europe's beauty is its rich cultural diversity and it has so many beautiful languages which are not showcased because they'd rather try to grab votes by singing in English. I get it, more people understand and connect with the lyrics if it's in English. But in my opinion, a huge cultural and linguistic opportunity is lost every year in doing so. Rant over.

Before I rank the entrants according to my preference, let me just say that Guy Sebastian was a fantastic choice to represent Australia at Eurovision. I intended to rank his song highly even if it was crappy, but I did not need to artificially rank him - he'll do us proud.

I preface the following ranking with the comment that I only watched each preview video once and over a few nights, so some of the middle order could be moved around. I could also change my mind after watching the performances. But without further ado, here are my preview rankings of the 2015 Eurovision Song Contest entrants!

  1. Italy:  "Il Grande Amore" sung by Il Volo - I'm sorry Guy, I really wanted to put you first and Italy second according to my personal allegiances, but here's the thing(s): three Italian men singing in Italian in operatic voices, with an obvious sense of humour in their filmclip which re-enacts love scenes in "Ghost", "Spider-Man" and "Back to the Future"!!! It's like they know me.
  2. Australia: "Tonight Again" sung by Guy Sebastian - bloody brilliant! Catchy, awesome, all the good things about Guy. Lots of fun, great filmclip too. It will be a party onstage on the night.
  3. Hungary: "Wars for Nothing" sung by Boggie - beautiful voice, beautiful song, beautiful harmonies, beautiful message.
  4. Spain: "Amanecer" sung by Edurne - powerful, moving and sung in Spanish - yay!
  5. Lithuania: "This Time" sung by Monika Linkytė and Vaidas Baumila - so catchy, fun, full of laughter and niceness.
  6. Albania: "I'm Alive" sung by Elhaida Dani - catchy song, great acoustic guitar intro, powerful pleasant voice. 
  7. Azerbaijan: "Hour of the Wolf" sung by Elnur Huseynov - powerful ballad, great voice, my kind of song.
  8. Iceland: "Unbroken" sung by Maria Olafs - beautiful song, catchy, great voice. A hit!
  9. Russia: "A Million Voices" sung by Polina Gagarina - anthem alright!
  10. Norway: "A Monster Like Me" sung by Mørland and Debrah Scarlett - yes, great duet!
  11. Greece: "One Last Breath" sung by Maria Elena Kyriakou. - great powerful song, key change , love ballads.
  12. Denmark: "The Way You Are " sung by Anti Social Media- so catchy, just great.
  13. Romania: "De La Capat / All Over Again" sung by Voltaj - just wow, I may have wiped away a tear.
  14. Estonia: "Goodbye to Yesterday " sung by Elina Born and Stig Rästa - really good duet. Clever, not overpowering. 
  15. Austria: "I Am Yours" sung by The Makemakes - good slow rock sound, love the piano.
  16. Poland: "In the Name of Love " sung by Monika Kuszyńska - moving, beautiful, especially when you read the back-story.
  17. Ireland: "Playing with Numbers" sung by Molly Sterling - I really liked this song, it shouldn't be this low on the list except that I like the ones above it too. I'd like to hear more of Molly in future.
  18. Malta: "Warrior" sung by Amber - great voice, powerful song.
  19. Israel: "Golden Boy" sung by Nadav Guedj - EUROVISION! Not just another pop song, but one with a bit of flavour from the country it represents, YES!
  20. France: "N'oubliez pas" sung by Lisa Angell - very nice, great voice and you can count on the French not to sing in English!
  21. Slovenia: "Here for You" sung by Maraaya - catchy, cool indie pop.
  22. San Marino: "Chain of Lights" sung by Anita Simoncini and Michele Perniola - sweet, like high school musical with Italian accents.
  23. Portugal: "Há Um Mar Que Nos Separa" sung by Leonor Andrade - I liked the chorus, the language, but as a package it seemed to lack something.
  24. Montenegro: "Adio" sung by Knez - yay, another song sung in the country's language!
  25. FYR Macedonia: "Autumn Leaves " sung by Daniel Kajmakoski - I liked this.
  26. The Netherlands: "Walk Along" sung by Trijntje Oosterhuis - catchy, love the guitar, I think this will grow on me the more I listen to it.
  27. UK: "Still In Love With You" sung by Electro Velvet - catchy, loved the sound and scat.
  28. Belarus: "Time" sung by Uzuri and Maimuna - I didn't like it much at first but the violin was incredible and by the end, I was humming the catchy chorus.
  29. Germany: "Black Smoke" sung by Ann Sophie - confident performance but the song didn't really stand out in my opinion.
  30. Georgia: "Warrior" sung by Nina Sublatti - not bad, ok.
  31. Czech Republic: "Hope Never Dies" sung by Marta Jandová and Václav Noid - good duet, doesn't stand out though.
  32. Armenia: "Face the Shadow" sung by Geneology - different. I like the idea of a person in the group from each continent all linked by their Armenian heritage. The song may grow on me.
  33. Sweden: "Heroes" sung by Måns Zelmerlöw - cross between Mumford and Sons and Crash Test Dummies.
  34. Cyprus: "The One Thing I Should Have Done" sung by John Karayiannis - nice, but boring.
  35. Switzerland: "Time to Shine" sung by Mélanie René - cliché, uninteresting. Credit, though, that the singer wrote her own song.
  36. Serbia: "Beauty Never Lies" sung by Bojana Stamenov - I wanted to like it, but it was boring.
  37. Moldova: "I Want Your Love " sung by Eduard Romanyuta - b grade pop song. Boring.
  38. Latvia: "Love Injected" sung by Aminata - tried too hard, disjointed, not my thing.
  39. Belgium: "Rhythm Inside" sung by Loïc Nottet - boring.
  40. Finland: "Aina Min Pitää" sung by Pertti Kurikan Nimipäivät- I'm just not into Finnish punk. At. All.
So there you go, some food for thought. Now I'm looking forward to watching the performances in the contest. Not sure if I'm hard core enough to get up at 5am on a work day to watch the first semi-final though...

13 May 2015

A Cuppa Curve-Ball

We've started a new Wednesday morning routine whereby the two big MissyMoos go to morning OOSH at school. It's my attempt at a staged approach to when they'll have to be in morning OOSH twice per week next year when my office relocates further from home.

The perk this year is that I get to work early one day per week. Instead of heading straight to the office to start my day, though, I'm claiming that extra half hour for myself. It means that one morning each week, I sit at a café with a cup of coffee, something to eat and some writing time before I set foot in the office.

This new routine has only just started - last week was the first week. It was glorious! I had a small amount of time, but I made it worthwhile, gathering my thoughts and making some progress on the chapter I'm currently writing for the sequel to Returning.

So this morning, I was pumped for more. You can probably imagine my dismay when I was informed that the coffee machine was broken.

Feeling hungry and a little lazy, I didn't really want to go out to a different café. If I'm honest, I also felt a little sorry for the girl who was having to break the news to the steady stream of patrons in need of caffeination.

So I opted for English Breakfast tea.

As you know, tea is not often my hot drink of choice. But I thought about the wonderful wise words a friend of mine often speaks (check out her awesomeness here) about relinquishing control and just going with things. So I didn't order my tea begrudgingly; I ordered it with a smile. And when it arrived, it was so cute, with a little teapot, gorgeous cup and cute little milk pourer.

I found myself quite pleased that I hadn't moved along elsewhere in search of a coffee. In the end, I rather enjoyed it. As an added surprise to myself, when I got to the office, I didn't automatically go to the kitchen to make a cuppa. I rather enjoyed the tea taste and didn't want a coffee taste in my mouth (I know, who am I?)

Funny how a cuppa curve ball positively affected my morning ... because I let it. Maybe I'll order teas by choice at cafés now from time to time.

11 May 2015

10th Wedding Anniversary

A few weeks ago, Hubby and I celebrated our 10th wedding anniversary.

We had two nights away together - the first time in a long time we have had two consecutive nights MissyMoo-free when we weren't juggling work commitments.

To add to the romance, we stay at the same place, in the same room which we were in when Hubby proposed to me.

Fireplace in sitting area

We didn't actually put the fire on though, just admired it.

Courtyard at the back of the room

And it was called the "Library Suite" - be still my beating booklover's heart!

Had to take a photo of the cheese plate (or what was left of it when I remembered to take a photo)

We had a wonderful time together, reconnecting without the MissyMoos, as a couple, rather than as parents. Doing fun things, having laughs and eating great meals.

The dessert from our degustation menu meal with matched wine - very fancy!

It was so nice to be running on our own time, not having to do anything or be anywhere, just relaxing and enjoying each other's company.

It won't be another 10 years before we do something like that again :-)

I had to leave them a little souvenir - it is the "Library Suite" after all!

09 May 2015

Happy Mother's Day Eve

I'm getting in early, because if I don't say it now on the blog, it won't be said. (Tomorrow, blogging won't be on the brain).

I hope all mums, grandmothers and carers of all descriptions have a wonderful day tomorrow and I especially wish a happy day to my own Mamma who (still) does so much for me and loves us with all her heart.

I have no plans whatsoever, except to have a little lie-in including cuddles with the MissyMoos when they give me their creative delights first thing in the morning.

Grocery shopping was done today so it doesn't have to be done tomorrow. So now my slightly sniffly children are being sent to bed and I am enjoying a glass of pink bubbles on Mother's Day Eve!

07 May 2015

Francesca's Festa of Favourites: May 2015

Francesca Writes Here

Surprised? Yes, this post is up rather early in the month if you're judging by the past few months' efforts. Although, if you delve a little deeper into history (for example August 2013), you'll see that I used to post at the start of the month. The reason for that is, of course, to give all you lovely blog readers and writers plenty of time to link up. I mean, too bad if you stumbled upon an incredible piece of writing on the 2nd of the month and I didn't open the linky up until the 24th. Incredible as the post was, it's unlikely you would remember to add it with the whole nuisance of life getting in the way.

Thanks to those of you out there who are supporting this linky. The numbers of people other than myself linking posts is trending up! This is great for so many reasons, one being that it is introducing me to new blogs ☺

Here are the April favourites for your reminiscing pleasure.

My favourite favourite for April was written by Robin at Robin Kramer Writes. Robin wisely wrote about how so much of our lives are measured and that sometimes we can feed this measurement into our self-worth, when it should not dictate that at all. Check out Robin's post: "The Benefit of Not Measuring".

So that was April. Now let's look to May.


"Festa" in Italian means "party"(and, if you look around this blog long enough, you'll see that I'm a fan of throwing Italian words around). This is a place where you can add links to your favourite posts for May 2015, but here's the difference: they don't have to be posts you've written (but they can be). You can link to any post from May 2015, written by you or anybody else. 

Have you read or written something moving, funny, informative or otherwise awesome? Link it ☺

There are no rules here - it's pretty laid back. There is no obligation to read and comment on all the posts if you link up, but of course you can if you want to.

If you've linked a post or had one of your blog posts linked by someone else, you're welcome to add the Festa button to your blog. Hashtag is #frafesta for social media sharing.

Time to get linking. It's open all month. I'm looking forward to reading your May marvels.

04 May 2015

A Little Bloggy List...

She's got a little list,
She's got a little list, 
And they'll none of them be missed,
The'll none of them be missed.

Every time someone mentions having a little list, that ditty pops back into my head - a song from a musical I was in back in high school. It's funny what stays with you...

Anyway, I have digressed before even beginning.

Somewhere in this collection of piles of mess which is my house at the moment, there is a little notebook containing a list of blog post ideas. I have a feeling it may have been borrowed by a MissyMoo given it also holds a list of Premier's Reading Challenge books which we own and can be read without prior preparation (i.e. organising a trip to the library in my now extremely precious spare time). The fact that I need this list of blog post ideas at all demonstrates the shift that blogging has taken, from "integral to the adult interaction part of my life" as it was a few years ago, to "that thing I have online which nobody reads any more because I post on average only once per week" (that statement probably hasn't done my Kidspot chances any favours...).

The fact that I remember that I still have a blog is a positive thing. So is the occasional thought which enters my mind of "that could go on the blog" when I'm doing something interesting.

Trouble is, when I sit down to the computer, my mind goes completely blank.

Time to find that notebook.

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