The best song EVER for Valentine’s Day

It’s that time of year where you might be looking for Somebody to Love, or asking the Universe ‘where is the Love of my Life‘?

Red roses and heart-shaped gifts bombard you wherever you go. Save Me you think, from this commercial madness. It’s a Crazy Little Thing called Love and you feel like you need to Play the Game, watching happy couples and saying ‘I Want to Break Free from this madness.’

It’s a Hard Life, walking around in a kind of Bohemian Rhapsody, wanting something more, but feeling like it’s all kind of a Bicycle Race to the finish line. But you are solo, Another One Bites the Dust, and you shout ‘I want it all!’ (before realising I’m Going Slightly Mad because everyone just stopped and stared at you).

But on this day, you must understand, there is no US, versus THEM. Loved-up couples versus stunning singles. United, We are the Champions, and it is A Kind of Magic to realise that love pulses through us all, whether we are in romantic relationships or not.

This is the good part, so Don’t Stop Me Now.

Love is all for all, despite what the brochures and hotel deals and restaurant specials tell you today. You need to Spread Your Wings and see that love is for everyone to enjoy… sure it can be between two people in a relationship who love each other, but that is not where it stops.

It’s between parent and child.

Between siblings.

Between friends.

Between work colleagues.

Between a girl and her grandparents.

Between cousins.

Between you and your pet.

It is everywhere for us to feel, and appreciate, and celebrate.

And therefore I present to you, the best most appropriate and loving Valentine’s Day song for ALL…

You’re my best friend.

I love this song so much, because you can interpret it into any way you wish today.

Happy Valentine’s Day. 💕

“You’re my sunshine

And I want you to know that my feelings are true

I really love you

You’re my best friend.”

 

When you lack hope for the New Year

I call myself a glass half-full gal.

Lately though, I haven’t really been feeling it.

Sure I run a whole gratitude blog where I post daily items of gratitude…

But I’m feeling like a bit of a fake.

Because I realised some time ago, that I wasn’t really feeling the whole ‘new year new decade new me’ business.

I wasn’t excited.

I wasn’t happy

I wasn’t even hopeful.

That realisation stunned me. Hope is one of those vital things I hold onto, the thing that keeps me going amidst troubling times and difficult days.

And don’t get me wrong, I’m not depressed or anything. I just think I’ve hoped for things before and been disappointed time and time again… and with my life in a current state of limbo…

Well, how could I be hopeful, when I didn’t know what to hope for? What to expect?

Why would I hope for anything when firstly I didn’t know what to hope for, and secondly I didn’t want to be bitterly disappointed?

I was saddened by this fact. How could I, the glass half-full gratitude girl, have fallen off the appreciation train, and wasn’t even looking forward to 2020?

So I set up a little project. Away from the public eyes of the world wide web, I started to do my own brand of gratitude, counting things to make me happy… in the privacy of my home.

Just for me, myself and I.

Call it a meditation. I lie down in bed at night and form an inventory of the day that has passed… and in my counting I find, things that I don’t tell anyone about, but things that I’m grateful for.

I’ve been doing it for less than a week now. But I’ve been making progress, and already I feel happier.

I feel more hopeful.

I am feeling more grateful again 🙂

What is the point of me telling you all this you might ask?

It’s many things.

Firstly, even positive, glass half-full people suffer from doubt and insecurity. Don’t be fooled into thinking the rose-coloured glasses through which they present their life makes them perfect… far from it.

Secondly. You can start any day you want to make your life better. You just have to decide when you want it to be better.

Third. You don’t even have to wait for a new year, a new decade… You can start any day, any second.

Life is waiting for you now, and if you keep putting personal growth and learning off, you may forever be putting your life off.

I’ve always said, you don’t need to wait for a new year. Be assured that whatever resolutions you’ve made yourself for the new year… if you find you can’t stick to them longer than a month, week or day…

You can always start again. Whenever you want.

Because every moment is a chance to try again.

Happy New Whatever-You-Want-It-To-Be.

😉

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Photo by Jared Erondu on Unsplash

The definitive Christmas song list for every man, woman and child!

So either you love Christmas carols, or you HATE them.

People get so passionate when it comes to the festive tunes. You’re either hitting the high notes with Mariah and wailing “All I want for Christmas, is YOOOOUUUUUU!” or throwing a stocking at the stereo when the song comes on the radio for the 3rd time that day… and there are still weeks before Santa arrives.

The first step is honesty here: you are not going to love every single song in the world, so why do you expect the same from Christmas carols? I love Christmas songs and yet there are many I hit skip on my compilation Christmas albums.

The trick is, knowing which songs to go for. There are daggy and possibly I’ll even say it, bad Christmas songs, just as there are amazing and happy and moving and bouncing Christmas songs.

And this is where I present my list to you – the definitive, MASSIVE and all-encompassing Christmas song playlist that will keep everyone from your 6 year-old child to your 80 year-old granny happy and joyful joyful come December 25th.

Here it goes…

First off the bat, let’s get the festive playlist started with –

“It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year!” – Andy Williams.

Oh God, I hear this in shopping centres and I just want to hug someone, really I do. It’s a classic and uplifting tune, and gets you right in that Christmas frame of mind.

The best line?:

“It’s the most wonderful time of the year

With the kids jingle belling

And everyone telling you be of good cheer…”

Ha! Nothing like someone telling you to be happy that gets you pissed right off! If that doesn’t cheer you yet, let’s move on to some…

Buble.

Oh, yes. ♥ No good Christmas song list would dare to omit a Buble Christmas tune!

He is a Christmas legend! He does Christmas specials!

I have a couple to note from him but let’s start with

“It’s Beginning to look a lot like Christmas.”

It’s a magical song with hints of whimsical Hollywood, and who can forget lines like –

“And Mom and Dad can hardly wait for school to start again.”

Oh, YES.

Next is Buble’s version of “Santa Baby.”

I preface this by saying that I’ve never really liked the Santa Baby song… anyone’s version. I’ve always found it weird that someone will be singing to Santa in what sounds like such a suggestive and sexual way…

Guys, he is like your grandad. That is just gross. 😖

But Buble, a bloke, does his own manly take on it. It has a touch of swing and cheek, and with plenty of hilarious lines like –

“Santa pally, I want a yacht and really that’s not, a lot

I’ve been a sweetie all year…”

It’s definitely worth a listen.

The last one I’ll mention FOR NOW (yes more Buble is coming so if you’re a fan you’re in for a real treat) is his own Christmas song, Cold December Night.”

It’s got the traditional bells jangling but still has a real contemporary feel to it, while still retaining that Christmas ‘I want you home’ vibe that so many songs encapsulate.

“Stockings are hung with care

The children sleep with one eye open

Now there’s more than toys at stake

‘Cause I’m older now, but not done hoping.”

We’re going to move on now, to another Christmas legend.

Yep. You know it.

How the hell am I meant to write a Christmas song list without mentioning the most commercially successfully penned Christmas song of the last few generations?

It’s, M-A-R-I-A-H. 🤩

Don’t leave! Stay with me please you’ll be glad you did.

I’m going to start with a song you wouldn’t have guessed I would…

“Oh Holy Night.”

This song is something else. Her rendition is classic Mariah, and if you don’t get goosebumps while listening to her high note in the first half, well there is something wrong with you.

From her album, go to 1:39.

Another version. Go to 2:00.

And if you’re still not sure listen to this live piece at 1:41… and then the end of the song.

“Oh night… DIVVVVIIIIIIIIINNNNNNNEEEEEEE.”

Excuse me while I wipe away my tears. 😭

Okay I’ve gathered myself now.

There you go. LIVE my friends. And so much later after it’s first release and listen to that voice!

So clean, so fresh. Wham bam thank you maam. She proves there why she is worth $320 million as of this writing.

Now, I move to the predictable piece.

Bear with me.

“All I Want for Christmas is You.”

You gotta admit, it is a catchy tune. And an awfully clever one. Did you know it took all of 15 minutes for Mariah and her co-songwriter to pen for her 1994 holiday album Merry Christmas? And it continues to amass huge royalties for her all over the world.

It is the 12th biggest selling single ever, of all time as of 2019 (read that, EVER) and because of the layering of multiple music influences within the song, is considered in part by many music critics as the reason for its international success.

Sure it’s overplayed… but personally I love it.

“I just want you for my own

More than you could ever know

Make my wish come true

All I want for Christmas is you.”

I mean the film clip is cute but also a bit cringe-worthy what with Santa (her ex Tommy Mottola) picking her up in the snow… ugh I just can’t. That whole “Santa Baby” thing rears its head and makes me uncomfy all over again.

Because of the upbeat tempo, sounds of bells ringing and Mariah hugging the dog and throwing snow in the air, it’s easy to miss the serious meaning of the song. But if you break it down and look at it on paper, you will see it actually is very simple, yet has a lot of depth.

Or… you can just hear it in a different version.

Insert Buble, again 🙂

Michael Buble does an amazing version of this song. It is soooo different – no high piercing notes, no fast beats. In his version all the words sound different yet are exactly the same, and subsequently come forth with more meaning. I for one LOVE the start of his:

“I don’t want a lot for Christmas

There is just one thing I need

I don’t care about those presents

Underneath the Christmas tree

I just want you for my own

More than you could ever know

Make my wish come true

You know that all I want for Christmas is you.”

How serious, how solemn… how sweet. There is more of a sombre tone to this one, and though I love Mariah’s classic and catchy version, I have a really soft spot for this one too.

I bet you might just be thinking of Mariah a bit differently now.

Okay, you can breathe easy, the Mariah mentions are over…

It wouldn’t be a Christmas list without a ‘Christmas special’ mention, and this one is a festive musical combination that will KNOCK YOUR SOCKS OFF…

Brace yourself – Buble and Mariah together.

Singing “ALL I WANT FOR CHRISTMAS IS YOU.”

😯😯😯

OKAY I LIED! Last one I promise.

IT’S TRUE.

Okay now we are truly done.

I’m going to try make the parentals and grandparents happy with this next lot.

We need to go back a long way so that they can rediscover the yester-years and be all teary-eyed in memory, right? Who else can do it better than Bing Crosby (coincidentally the 1st – FIRST! – biggest selling single of all time).

“White Christmas.”

It has that classic old-world feel like all good black and white movies do, and the throwback to the good ol’ days is captured in the line –

“I’m dreaming of a White Christmas

Just like the ones I used to know.”

A couple more golden oldies:

Frank’s “Let It Snow! Let It Snow! Let It Snow!”

And Elvis’ voice was made for “Blue Christmas.” This live version with Martina McBride is fabulous, and just watch the over-excitable girls in the audience about to wet themselves.

BA HA HA. Great film clip.

A couple of slow crooning ones sure, so now we’ll inject some much-needed contemporary pop to the playlist.

We all know her as the blonde-cropped, eye-covering contemporary power-belting Aussie superstar voice that has taken over Hollywood with her distinctive voice and song-writing prowess.

I can only be talking about Sia.

I didn’t know what to expect when her Christmas album came out years ago, but being fans Hubbie and I quickly snapped it up.

Everyday is Christmas features all original songs co-written by the Adelaide native. It’s huge to consider since most Christmas albums are predominantly retakes of old classics… Mariah Carey has 3 original tracks… Buble has 1…

Sia has 10 novel tracks.

They are true to Sia style and contemporary, some almost to the point that they may not traditionally sound like Christmas songs at all. She does the upbeat songs as well as the slow and melancholic ones, and two songs that show this spectrum perfectly are the slow and oddly romantic-sounding “Snowman”

And the sing-a-long favourite “Ho Ho Ho.”

Even baby girl loves this one, so a big tick in the contemporary and also child-friendly department.

I also must mention the very sweet song “Puppies are Forever”

“Puppies are forever, not just for Christmas

‘Cause they’re so cute and fluffy with shiny coats

But will you love ’em when they’re old and slow?”

Awww. What a sweet yet really serious message. Sia is a dog fan so no real surprise in that song. She has done brilliantly in creating a very different Christmas album, with her her intention for the album reportingly being that she felt there weren’t many Christmas songs around that she liked to listen to… so she made them up, of course.

Definitely a worthy Christmas album to have in your jolly itinerary.

While we’re on the subject of those making up their own songs, let’s go back in time to my teen years and re-introduce Hanson.

What? Don’t they sing Mmm Bop? Yes well that and a bazillion other tunes being prolific song writers still to this day. They have two Christmas albums (WOAH!) but it’s their first release from back in the day that many 30-somethings (emphasis, ‘somethings’) will remember to this day.

Their musical influences come from the 50s and 60s and incorporate that classic soulful and rock and roll feel, so it is no surprise that their album Snowed In shows this in spades. (Ha, my first pun!)

They have three original songs here, and two I need to make mention of – the slow “Christmas Time”

“Everybody needs a little loving, around Christmas time

Somehow you got to know you’re going to be alright…”

And the rock and roll and boppy “Everybody knows the Claus”

But they also do great renditions, and “Merry Christmas Baby” is just one of those throwbacks that pays homage to the original in a new way, really well.

While we’re in my teen genre, we need to make mention of some groups and artists that have done really daggy and soppy brilliant Christmas songs.

We’ll start with one of my teen fave’s, and sing along to Nsync’s “I Don’t Wanna Spend One More Christmas Without You”

“This is the time of year, when we learn to give

And the greatest gift, is learning to forgive…”

Sage words, especially from a guy with frosted tips.👱‍♂️

You can’t kill me, I’m a fan whose seen him at every Aussie concert! But this is such a 90s crooner… oh man.

Next up on the sickening boyband Christmas list is Backstreet Boys:

With “Christmas time.” Did you hear that lengthy “ooohhhh” at the start of the song from Brian?

Yep. Classic Christmas material.

(Am I meant to be laughing at these songs or convincing you that they’re awesome?) 

🤣

Last on the so-bad-it’s-actually-good-or-is-it series of past teen songs is Britney’s “My Only Wish (This Year)”

Oh God did you hear the opening “oh yeah yeah?” Must be a 90s thing!

“‘Cause I have been so good, so good this year

Can’t be alone, under the mistletoe

He’s all I want and a big red bow.”

Wait, what? What has the bow? 💝

Hmmm.

Moving on now… to GREATNESS.

The saddest yet perhaps one of the best Christmas songs of all time, the one that you just love to belt it out to, well…

“Last Christmas.” Another novel song idea, God this is so good. George is literally singing about being stood up, but he does it in the best 80s way, the way Wham! knew how to do so well… and the song continues to transcend genres and decades to this day and be awesome.

“Once bitten and twice shy

I keep my distance, but you still catch my eye

Tell me baby, do you recognise me?

Well it’s been a year, it doesn’t surprise me

(whispers) Merry Christmas…”

What an amazing song. Extra special points go out to this one because our beloved George passed away on Christmas day. Therefore he is forever immortalised in Christmas, for so many reasons.

Since we’re on the sad theme let’s also go serious for a moment with another powerful 80s festive tune – “Do They Know It’s Christmas?”

Here’s a fun fact for you… Do you know Bono from U2 did not want to sing the infamous line –

“Well tonight thank God it’s them, instead of you!” –

referring to the poor and starving people dying in Ethiopia. But the brainchild behind the multi-artist collaboration to raise money for the famine, Bob Geldof, told Bono that he had to sing it, as it would mean so much more coming from him.

The rest is history, and the group of fifteen or so artists and groups came together and continue to make history, with proceeds of the song apparently still continuing to help people and charities in need all over the world.

Ain’t that a good idea. Buy the single and help someone starving. Merry Christmas to both of you.

And our final sombre look at Christmas comes from another kind of UK legend… John Lennon.

“Happy Xmas (War is Over)” also often referred to as So this is Christmas, interestingly maintains a real festive feel what with the bells ringing and choir kicking in at the chorus, and of course then there is the whole “Have a very Merry Christmas” message throughout. But John injects his own brand of world self-awareness with –

“And so this is Christmas

For weak and for strong

For rich and the poor ones

The world is so wrong…”

The final lines tell us the real point behind his message “War is over, if you want it.” John was trying to save the world, with one Christmas song at a time. If you like to ponder the meaning of life and Christmas festivities then this is the song for you.

A bit of 70s you fancy perhaps? Listen to the music in the Jackson 5 version of “The Little Drummer Boy.”

All those beating drums! Well you’d expect nothing less in a song about… drums. Young Michael’s voice is so high and youthful, and this rendition is still a classic what with the increasing urgency of tone as the song moves towards the end.

And, we are nearing the end! Almost there. I told you this was a comprehensive list.

I’ve covered the old-school teens (those now, ahem, ’30-somethings’) but now I’m going to move to some artists that today’s youth will appreciate.

Chuck a couple of these on your spotify and watch their ears perk up.

Justin Bieber’s “Mistletoe.”

“With you, shawty with you…” Oh God I have to laugh. Not shorty, but shawty.

But the best line?

“The wise men followed the star

The way I followed my heart…”

Let’s move on now to some Arianna, and having heard this a few times it’s actually okay…

“Santa Tell Me” captures the Christmas teen vibe perfectly, what with oversized sweaters and a sleepover with girlfriends in her bed and the Christmas bells ringing in the background to the pop beat… perfect.

A recent addition to the contemporary genre is Taylor Swift’s “Christmas Tree Farm.” It starts off with a massive touch of classic Hollywood and blends into a festive Christmas melody to flashbacks of Taylor as a baby growing up at Christmas time… on a Christmas Tree Farm. So nostalgia is therefore definitely present. (Ha, second daggy pun!)

I’m going to keep going downwards in age and give you something to make the little tikes happy, yes? Why Christmas is mostly about them, what with Santa and presents and reindeer and being on the good list… so remember to include them when planning your music list.

I’m going to give you two classic Aussie bands that have given us two catchy and can’t-stop-singing-them songs.

(ALERT! CATCHY TUNE ALERT! CATCHY TUNE ALERT!)

The awfully catchy (I mean really catchy) “Santa Claus is coming” by popular kid’s group High-5.

Listen to this once with your child, and well… you’ll hear it a billion more times. Both on your stereo and then IN YOUR HEAD FOREVER. You’ve been warned.

(But you also want to keep them happy, so… )

“Santa Claus is coming, Santa Claus is coming

Santa Claus is coming, Santa Claus is coming

SANTA CLAUS IS COMING! SANTA CLAUS IS COMING!”

Don’t say I didn’t warn you.

The next one is from the most iconic Australian kids group of all time, who have even gained huge international acclaim and fans.

It’s The Wiggles! (baby girl’s fave!) with “Go Santa Go!”

There is a skit at the beginning of this clip if you need context, you know, to work out who these Wiggly people are… but go to 2:33 if you just want the song. The Wiggles actually have a load of Christmas songs, novel ones too, but this is a terrific one as it’s repetitive, easy for the kids to sing and dance along to as well with those Danny Zuko Greased Lightning type moves…

I’m going to throw a spanner in the works for the next one and add a Christmas parody…

Aren’t all Christmas songs parodies I hear you ask? Calm down I’m joking. If you’ve read this far clearly you are a closet Christmas lover.

I heard this at baby girl’s school Christmas concert, and well, staying in theme with Aussie kids groups, this is an Aussie kids song all about our type of Christmas:

How funny! “Aussie Jingle Bells” is so hilariously outback, that you can’t not smile at lines like –

“Jingle Bells Jingle Bells

Christmas time is beaut

Oh what fun it is to ride

In a rusty Holden Ute.”

OH! Ha ha. The vision that accompanies the song in the film clip, though overdone is actually also spot on for an Aussie Christmas, which I love.

We’re going to stay with the Aussie theme as we head into the final stretch. Why wouldn’t I mention some amazing performers that we have, who make Christmas that much more amazing with their own special versions of classic Christmas songs…

Like two incredible and iconic performers, singing together, Olivia Newton John and John Farnham.

“Baby, it’s Cold Outside.”

Why it took so long for these two to pair up I don’t know, but this song with all the to-ing and fro-ing beautifully represents their voices and the playfulness of this festive tune.

“I wish I knew how (your eyes are like starlight now)

To break this spell (I’ll take your hat, your hair looks swell)…”

I think it’s a charming and cheeky song that honestly, people got all riled up over nothing a while ago.

It’s Christmas people!

Every year I watch the TV carols on Christmas Eve, and the one star who has come into his own performing there time after time is the former Australian Idol winner and great Anthony Callea.

A reality TV winner? On this list?

WAIT. You have not heard him. Included here is the international “Ave Maria,” but if you’re from my generation (so old now) you may remember him tearing down the roof with this rendition of “The Prayer” on Aus Idol, which led to him subsequently winning that season.

He’s gone on to sing that song at carols over the years and he is just AH-MAY-ZING. Search for that song if you like song and then listen to this Christmas melody below. You’ll see why he’s become a staples at the carols and a star in his own right.

Incredible.

Staying on the carols bandwagon, and maybe I am being awfully self-indulgent by naming performers that I feel a soft spot for, but Marina Prior has been a serious carols regular for as long as I can remember, from my childhood. The opera singer has a voice of an angel, and well, you get why she gets to sing “Silent Night” here:

This is one of my favourite traditional Christmas songs. Yes, it’s slow, but as I’ve displayed in this list, just as there is an artist for each age group, so is there a time of day when you should play certain songs. And this one winds up the festive day perfectly.

And also, this list. Because I present to you the final song, and we come full circle by coming back to…

Buble.

The song I’m ending on is the target of a lot of jokes and misspellings out there, such as –

FOR LEASE NAVIDAD

FLEECE NAVIDAD, and

THE LEASE NOBBY DOT? 🤔

(Seriously!)

It’s obviously “Feliz Navidad” which roughly translated means Merry Christmas in Spanish for any people who still don’t know it.

Buble does the most beautiful duet with Thalia in this Christmas special below, and when he sings in Spanish it comes across effortlessly… his Spanish wife would be proud. 🙂

And with that, I end this MASSIVE (I told you) Christmas song list. I haven’t even started to scratch the surface of all the great Christmas songs out there, but this is a great starter and will keep you and your family and friends jolly and merry on Christmas Day.

And to that I say –

“I want to wish you a Merry Christmas,

I want to wish you a Merry Christmas,

I want to wish you a Merry Christmas from the bottom, of my heart.”

🎵🎅🤶🎄🎁❤🎶

The dark side of Christmas

Christmas has always been one of my most favourite times of the year. There are carols, festive movies, everything is red, green, gold and sparkly, and let’s face it, by December Melbourne weather is starting to show us some decent warmth.

Holidays are near, and LOVE IS ALL AROUND.

I know and I feel that to be true. But I’ve been thinking a lot about another group of people.

It’s the time of year where people start talking about a fresh start, a new beginning. More so now because we’re not just entering a new year next year, but we’re entering a new DECADE.

People don’t just get together and celebrate Christmas work parties and KK catch ups with friends… celebrations occur. The end of the year brings good news in work and school results, people use the timing of festive happiness to celebrate and bring forth happy news from other areas in their life…

All in all, this December I am seeing a lot of good news stories.

And I LOVE it.

But there are not all who love it.

And by that I mean that they are not loving anything, nothing at all.

I feel particularly this year for the people who are struggling.

There are people in hospital who don’t know how they are going to get through the month, relying on machines to help them live… let alone wasting time thinking of what New Year goals they are going to break in the second week of January.

There are people who are missing loved ones that have departed. This Christmas may be the first for them without someone they love, and seeing Christmas cards in stores and Hallmark moments being broadcast all around as the ideal Christmas with the perfect family, would make this such a hard time.

Then there are those that are estranged from family, and that all too common question “Where do you celebrate Christmas?” makes it almost a disappointment to speak that they aren’t spending it with family. Having people nosy into your personal business, isn’t the merriest of feelings.

The approaching new year also makes you reflect, and often people don’t like what they discover. Looking back at the year that has passed can make one feel like a disappointment if they feel they haven’t achieved what they set out to… the absence of a goal or achievement can be hard to swallow, and a bitter reminder that a year has been lost. Looking forward to a new year then can be overwhelming, and a fresh start mentality is difficult to focus on and is far from their mind.

This year, I am really feeling for all those who are struggling.

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Photo by Dan Meyers on Unsplash

I am not a professional, and I don’t know what to do in every difficult situation… but as a person who has gone through hard times, I can offer some personal advice…

Take every moment at a time. Don’t look too much into the future and worry about what’s to come. Just focus on doing the best you can at this point in time with what you have.

Focus simply, on gratitude. Focus on the little things, and on what you DO have. Think about the roof over your head, the comfortable bed that you sleep in, and that person who calls you because they love you. These are the things worth thinking about. These are the things that matter.

Stay off social media. Reading other people’s ‘highlight’ reels is not going to help. A word of caution: if you find yourself comparing your life against someone else’s, remember that what someone posts is just one moment in time, and it provides absolutely no backstory or context of actual reality. Most of the time these repetitive highlight reels come from serial posters, who require self-gratification in the form of constant likes and comments… that is, they are suffering for some reason and need their ego inadvertently stroked to make themselves feel better… They need the attention constantly on them or else they risk suffering a meltdown.

Feel proud that you have beautiful things that you could share, but you don’t. It’s called self-command and privacy.

And as much as I do love this festive season… this too shall pass. It all does. Just hold on. Hold on knowing that like one of my favourite quotes:

“Good times and bad times have one thing in common, they never last forever.”

Don’t be disheartened by this quote. Feel humbled you are able to grace this earth.

I hope you have a great festive season, and just remember… moment by moment.

I believe in you.

You can do it. ♥

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Photo by Josh Boot on Unsplash

 

 

‘What Does It Mean’ Monday #13 “Beta Reader”

You know, until I started my online 6 month writing course I didn’t really know what this term meant…

A beta reader? What, were they meant to make something better… using computers?

Well, kind of 😉

The term ‘beta tester’ comes from the technology/software industry, and means a group of people who try to find problems in computer software before its release.

A beta reader does the same thing… looks for problems.

A beta reader plays the role of the average reader, and is someone a writer goes to before submitting their work to a publishing house, agent or editor.

They are a test reader, and they provide the writer with useful feedback regarding plot, structure, character or anything else of importance in the novel.

Following the beta reader’s feedback it can be assumed the writer will go back to the drawing board, and continue hacking and cutting…

Which is where I am up to now. Last night I submitted my manuscript to my online writing course, and now I have my own beta readers there, about to read my novel and give me feedback on how to make it, better. 😉

Beta readers are generally amateurs which is why they give the everyday person’s point of view… therefore they do not usually charge a fee. Of course, there are those that think they can because they are more ‘professional.’

My advice would be to find someone you trust. You can find beta readers in writing workshops, courses, online forums… even, ask your avid friend and family readers. Having a wide circle of people of varying ages and interests read your story will give it a well-rounded overview.

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Photo by Aga Putra on Unsplash

‘What Does It Mean’ Monday #12 “Jump the Shark!”

We are going down the television rabbit hole with this one.

Often this phrase appears for a series, to explain that what was once popular, has started to lose its novelty and is going downhill.

The ‘jump the shark’ moment typically represents an attempt by story-writers to reignite fan interest, but almost always fails in spectacular fashion.

The actual term came from the scene in Season 5 of Happy Days, when The Fonz quite literally jumped a shark on skis. Happy Days was a popular teenage sitcom depicting life in the 50s, but after this episode things started to change and go in a more fantastical direction.

Tacky, right? Although the show lasted for several more years after that moment, the plot point didn’t get the fan attention it was after, and was never as popular or successful as its earlier seasons.

However the legacy the moment created was solely in the term that was created out of it, becoming so often-used and long-lasting, a firm part of television’s vernacular, that it’s still used to this very day in tv shows and any examples where something good takes a sudden downright turn.

Known as, the beginning of the end.

Other TV ‘jump the shark’ moments? Why I thought you’d never ask 😉

Roseanne winning the lottery in its final season.

Seinfeld’s final episode… was there ANY closure?

Felicity cutting her hair on Felicity… that mane was a character all on its own.

Dallas had a whole season that was a dream! That weak writing wouldn’t be allowed nowadays! (ahem, Roseanne???)

The Brady Bunch introducing cousin Oliver to counter their child stars getting older.

The Cosby Show introducing Olivia to counter the aging Cosby kids too (what is this ageism? Oliver, Olivia were these the same writers?)

Buffy… (murky waters for me since I AM a fan) after she died at the end of season 5, she was resurrected by her pals at the beginning of the next season and, you know, there is so many times that a mortal person can actually DIE and come back to life…

Two and a Half Men. Ashton was great as Kelso in That 70s show, but trying to replace the obnoxious and infamous Charlie Sheen was no easy feat…

Angel, my love. ♥ Season 5 was lacking and I may be persectured for this but it was partly due to the good guys taking over the offices of the evil guys, Wolfram and Hart… and Spike. It was primarily ALL HIS FAULT. (Angel forever!).

Saved by the Bell! I had to go back to the time capsule for this one, but I faintly remember as a 10 year old going “huh?” when fan favourites Kelly and Jessie went off to do other work gigs in the final season, and the producers decided to insert some random girl named Tori (who the actual F&%^??? Get away from Zack!)

Any others I’ve failed to mention? Do you agree with my findings or do you disagree?

Is there a phrase or quote you want me to investigate?

Let me know, and I’ll give it a go!

 

 

 

 

 

How to get by in life in very tiny and easy to achieve steps

Quick fixes.

Drink a caffeinated beverage. Tea, black, green or COFFEE.

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Put on loud music. Freddie Mercury Live Aid 1985.

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Look in the mirror and LAUGH at yourself. I dare you not to smile.

Look out the window. Dream.

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Take 3, slow deep breaths. Do it now.

 

Make a date.

Schedule girl time. Or boy time. Whatever tickles your fancy.

Go to the beach. Go to the forest. Go to the mountains. Connect with Mother Nature.

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Put yourself in another environment. So if you are depressed at home, go out. If you are depressed at work, well… go out. Take a sickie. Yes I am saying take a sickie (then maybe think about finding another job if you are depressed more often than not).

Watch something you love. An old tv series, movie, youtube comedy clip… put on that which makes you smile.

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Sit under a tree.

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Take a nap. Some shut-eye really can bring you clarity.

 

Self-care.

Meditate. Sit in silence and try to quiet your mind. Or let it wander. See where it leads you. Don’t get worked up over what pops up – just observe.

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Stretch. Do some yoga. There’s nothing like concentrating on the breath that takes you into a different zone.

Write it out. Have you ever done free-journalling? Sit with a piece of paper and get it all out, don’t stop for 5 minutes and keep the hand moving and the words flowing with whatever crap random shitty unusual scary thoughts come out of your head. When your 5 minutes is up, burn the paper.

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Go for a walk. Around the neighbourhood… around the shopping centre. Whatever. Walk aimlessly, and let your feet lead you.

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Long-term.

Talk to someone. A partner, friend, family member, colleague… even your cat. You think stroking their fur doesn’t help? You clearly don’t have a pet.

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Take concerted time out to make yourself happy each and every day. Make it a priority, write it on your to-do list, make it a MUST, just like eating, sleeping and hygiene are in your day-to-day.

Drink water. A lot of it. Our bodies are made up of between 50-75% water, so we need this vital substance to keep us sane and moving.

Finally, remember to keep things in perspective. At our core we are made up of atoms. Energy, air, and yet in human form all we see is hard matter. Think of all those who have come before us. Think of the future generations who will follow. Imagine the Universe. Imagine God. Just imagine Mother Nature if that is what you please.

And then see yourself as this tiny little invisible dot on the world map that is living an existence in amongst all of the shared past, present and future histories of anyone who has ever passed a breath.

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Sure, you matter. We all do. But how much do your problems hold weight?

If they still hold you down, speak to a professional. But if they seem pointless and irrelevant, take a deep breath and put up the music.

Every day is a chance to start again.

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‘What Does It Mean’ Monday #11 “Shut the Gate!”

During last week’s Bachelorette finale when the soon-to-be rejected runner-up, the man who would go on to capture the country’s collective heart when he comforted Angie on having to let him down –

PHEW!

Timm, uttered the words “shut the gate” I turned to Hubbie immediately.

“What? That’s what you say!”

Apparently Hubbie is not the only one.

This wild and free Aussie bloke, Timm, was known for his quirky and Aussie slang during this 2019 season of The Bachelorette. But no phrase struck me so much than the words he spoke then, and maybe it was because I had heard them so many times before…

But would others understand the meaning? And how would non-Aussies react if they heard such a phrase… “shut the gate!”

Like, close this?:

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Photo by Lomig on Unsplash

🤣🤣🤣

No no no.

Let me explain.

And this comes solely from my own experience with a ‘shut the gate’-r. I don’t need no google here.

Shut the gate is a phrase to mean “end of story”

“case closed”

“done deal”

“definitely!”

Typically ‘shut the gate’ adds emphasis to what is being said, so you would have a point to make and add “shut the gate” as your closing statement. 😉

It can be used in examples like –

“That song is awesome! Shut the gate!”

“Harden shut the gate on that 3-pointer!”

“Shut the gate it’s gorgeous outside!”

See if you too can use ‘shut the gate’!

Is there a phrase or quote you want me to investigate?

Let me know, and I’ll give it a go!

 

‘What Does It Mean’ Monday #10 “Keen as mustard”

Keen to know this one? 😉

The ‘Online Cambridge dictionary’ describes this phrase as meaning:

very eager and interested in everything.

Although the company Keen and Sons manufactured mustard from as way back as 1742, they did not come up with the phrase nor use it in the selling of their product.

In fact it was first recorded in text in 1672, almost a century earlier in a book by William Walker: “as keen as mustard,”

Then reappeared some years later in 1679 in F. Smith’s Clod-pate’s Ghost:

“You shall see a man as hot as Mustard against Plot and Plotters.”

But how does mustard mean we are enthusiastic and overly excitable?

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Photo by Elevate on Unsplash

You can thank the English for that. So revered their roast beef dish, that any side accompaniment that lifts the flavour and adds further taste to it should definitely be praised, right?

Mustard naturally adds zest and flavour, and therefore came to be associated with adding enthusiasm and vigour.

Ha!

Today the phrase is a simile, much like other “as ‘a’ as ‘b'” similes – the comparison of one thing with another.

Eg. as blind as a bat.

As brave as a lion.

As busy as a bee.

Do you like mustard? I’m more a mayo girl myself…

Is there a phrase or quote you want me to investigate?

Let me know, and I’ll give it a go!

 

‘What Does It Mean’ Monday #9 “Google”

When saying ‘google’ I’m talking NIL about this…

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Photo by Brett Jordan on Unsplash

And ALL about this:

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Photo by Paweł Czerwiński on Unsplash

I was thinking today of how this company name has come into our vocabulary in the strong prominence that it has, so frequently, that at any mention of a query or question, we immediately drop the phrase “I’ll google it.”

But, where did Google, get its name?

Turns out, it was a typo. Can you believe it? Google was never meant to be Google…

… it was meant to be googol.

😯

Googol, to be clear, is a mathematical term that means 10 to the power of 100; in other words, that is the number 1 followed by 100 zeroes.

This name for the search engine was meant to represent the breadth and depth of the searches possible for the new web site.

But alas, a misspelling occured. In typing in domain names for googol, Google happened instead.

They liked it.

They went with it.

(And yes I ‘googled’ that). 😂