Tuesday, 29 May 2012

The Cheese Rap

So, I wrote a rap this week. It's about cheese.

You're probably going to need some more information to make sense of those statements.

Recently my friend Hannah and I started making videos and uploading them to YouTube. Yes, I realise that not long ago I claimed that I was far too boring to consider doing this but apparently I've changed my mind. Anyway, we decided to start sending each other weekly challenges (we've now done one each), partly because we live in different parts of the country and don't get to see each other often enough, and partly because apparently we like making fools of ourselves.

I'm not going to lie - part of the reason I'm writing this bloglet is because I'd quite like the view count on our videos to reach double (or even triple!) figures - it's always a nice feeling when someone takes an interest in (and hopefully enjoys) something I've made ...


I'm also writing this bloglet because I think it's really important that we all occasionally do something which challenges ourselves.

So my first challenge was to write and perform a rap about cheese.

Now, admittedly, I had plenty of time to write this rap and I wasn't performing it to a live audience - just a camera lens in my bedroom - and I was able to edit out any mistakes that I didn't want in the final video, but I still found it pretty tough because I'm really REALLY not into rap music. At all. Everything I know about rap could probably fit onto a post-it note, so the idea of having to write my own rap and then actually share it with people, was a little unnerving.

But I did it.

I'm certainly nothing that Eminem or 50 Cent need to worry about (they're still current, right?) but I'm pretty proud of myself for having a go. And I suppose that's the point I'm trying to make here - that if we can't occasionally dress up and rap about cheese in our bedrooms while wearing a pair of 3D glasses 'accidentally' taken from the cinema, then really what's the point of it all?

No, wait ... the 'challenge yourself' thing ... yeah, that's the point I was trying to make. If that happens to involve dressing up and rapping about cheese, then all the better!

Monday, 28 May 2012

Kreativ Blogger

Apparently I'm a Kreativ Blogger. It says so right there. Yep.

I'll be honest with you; I had absolutely no idea what this meant until very recently. After a minimal amount of research, I learnt that the Kreativ Blogger award is a little nod to your blogging efforts: someone who reads and enjoys your bloglets ('bloglets' = 'blog posts' - I'm determined to get this term used more widely) wants to give you a metaphorical pat on the back. At least, that's how I'm interpreting it.

It also seems to be an opportunity to:
- point people towards blogs they may not have visited before, and, more importantly -
- talk about yourself for a bit.


So, there are some rules. (I know, rules are usually boringy-snoringy, but there are only four.)
1. Thank and link back to the awarding blog.
2. Answer the seven questions.
3. Provide ten factoids about yourself.
4. Hand this on to seven others.

So first of all, thank you Danielle at Sweet Tea Reads for sending the award my way. I really appreciate the gesture. I still think of myself as being pretty new to blogging, so it's hugely flattering when someone I've never met enjoys reading my blog and takes the time to comment regularly. Thank you.

1. What is your favourite song?
What, ever? In the history of the world?
I'm not very good at choosing absolute favourites; it makes me kinda nervous because I might pick the wrong thing. With songs, particularly, I find that my favourite changes all the time. I tend to find a song/album that I adore, listen to it over and over again, and then find something I like even more.

Shut up, I am so not stalling in giving an answer!

Okay, fine. Favourite song at the moment, because I'm still in a Eurovision mood, is Euphoria by Loreen

2. What is your favourite dessert?
*Sigh* Another favourite.
Treacle tart ... no strudel ... no profiteroles ...

3. What do you do when you're upset?
Cry ...?

4. What is your favourite pet?
Out of the animals we've ever had - rabbits. They're so damn cute. I'd love to have cats though.

5. Which do you prefer: white or whole-wheat?
What a random question. Whole-wheat I suppose.

6. What is your biggest fear?
Drowning. I can swim but the thought of being underwater and not being able to get to the surface for air terrifies me.

7. What is your attitude mostly?
Optimistically laid-back. Unless bad grammar/spelling is involved - then get angry and smashy, like the Hulk.

1. I studied Latin and Ancient Greek at university and if there's a chance to tell someone about a word with origins in either language, I'll take it. Even when they don't want to know.

2. I just started vlogging with my friend Hannah. We'll probably be YouTube stars by next week.

3. I think that iPhones are better than most other phones but I refuse to own one.

4. I have never been to the southern hemisphere.

5. I used to want to be ambidextrous (comes from the Latin, means 'right-handed on both sides' - sorry lefties!) I tried to teach myself to write with my left hand for a while.

6. I can name all 50 states of America despite having never lived there.

7. I have never broken a bone but I always wanted to, just so I could have people sign a cast.

8. I secretly quite like cricket despite not understanding most of the rules.

9. I'm really bad at listening to song lyrics properly. If I don't know the lyrics to a song, I'll just sing what I think they should be. Hence, for quite a few years, every verse of The 12 Days of Christmas ended with "... and a party ginger pear tree."

10. I currently teach Latin.

Sarah at 'The Ugly Bug Ball'
Hannah at 'See The Thing About That Is'
Philly at 'The View From Here'
Becky at 'Feeling Skittish'
Laura at 'Daily Dodo'
Jo at 'In Which We Start Anew'
Maryann at 'It's Not All Gravy'

Saturday, 26 May 2012

Saturday Song: Dancing Lasha Tumbai

Today is the day.

It's finally here.

I hope you're all doing happy dances.

I certainly am.

Yes folks, it's that time of year again. Time for the wonderfully bizarre and often insane EUROVISION SONG CONTEST!

For anyone not fortunate enough to have Eurovision in their lives, it is, as the name suggests, an annual song competition between European countries. Well, in theory. In reality it's become more about politics and voting for your neighbouring country (oh, what a surprise, Cyprus - you've voted for Greece) but we won't get into all of that today.

I didn't actually know this, but apparently the competition started in the 1950s (with only 7 countries competing) when Europe was rebuilding itself after WWII as a way to bring countries together to participate in a light entertainment programme. What a genuinely lovely idea, huh?

Since then, Eurovision has grown massively in popularity, and now there are two semi-finals before the final in order to cut down the number of countries taking part. It's something my sister and I have grown up watching and each year we love it a little bit more, which made choosing just one song for today's Eurovision themed Saturday Song rather tricky.

After much deliberation, I'm going with a fairly recent song from the 2007 contest because I think it demonstrates beautifully what Eurovision is all about:
- Sparkly/shiny outfits
- Ridiculous dancing
- Hearing music not sung in English (although this song, like the majority of Eurovision songs, does contain some English)
- Insanely catchy tunes (which you may well find yourself humming later in the day)
- General confusion about what is going on (why does he have breasts?)
- Having crazy amounts of fun despite looking like a wally

Maybe this time next year I'll be able to use a song from the 2012 contest.

Bet you're looking forward to it already!


Okay, so despite the title of this bloglet being Saturday Song (in the singular) I just can't pass up the opportunity to share more delights from Eurovision. Here are some of my favourites (they're all brilliant in their own special way):

Waterloo (Sweden, 1974) Before my time but you've got to love a bit of ABBA.
Making Your Mind Up (UK, 1981) Still before my time but we don't often win now. Europe hates us.
Wild Dances (Ukraine, 2004) She looks like she's having the most fun ever!
Pirates Of The Sea (Latvia, 2008) Forgot this until I started this bloglet. It's pretty unforgettable really.
Fairytale (Norway, 2009) His photo is in the Bergen Aquarium. Just FYI.
Opa! (Greece, 2010) I tried to learn all the words to this one. I failed: it's all in Greek.

Tuesday, 22 May 2012

[This Bloglet Has No Title - I Was Too Lazy To Think Of One]

I'm beginning to realise I'm quite an extrovert. I like being with other people and get bored very quickly when left on my own for too long. I'm either an extrovert or still a child.

So, with the house to myself today I am obviously already bored (it's about noon while I write). Sarah left for work at about 8am. Four hours, people! I only managed four hours of being in my own company before getting bored. Geez.

In order to combat the boredom, I decided I wanted to write a bloglet. Excellent. Decision made. Problem is I didn't have anything I wanted to write about (I did actually start writing a bloglet about having nothing to write about but began to bore myself even more so aborted that one - you're welcome by the way).

Eventually I realised I could combine this wish to write a bloglet with the beautiful weather we've been having recently and went for a wander round our garden, camera in pocket. What follows are some pictures I took. Enjoy.

An orange flower I thought was pretty. I'm not very into botany so have no idea what it is (other than orange and pretty). I'm also not very into photography, hence my shadow across it. D'oh.

The family who owned the house before us had a son called Cyril. Cyril, it seems was a budding sculptor and inscribed his name into this piece of stone by our front door.

That's the wall where grass snakes like to sunbathe. Unfortunately, they weren't there today. What you're looking at is essentially just a wall. Fascinating.

This is our garage door. It's not very beautiful, I'll grant you, but that horizonal(ish) line you can see is a chalk line that my dad drew about 10 years ago. It's roughly at the height of a tennis net. Made a brilliant thud when you whacked a ball at it.

This is a hand-print. No, honestly. It's mine. It must be around 12 or 13 years old now. When we put the climbing frame up we decided to put hand-prints in the concrete round the base. I should probably have put my hand next to the print so you could see it better, but it was icky and muddy.

Everyone has sun-bleached rubber ducks sitting on a tree stump in their garden, don't they?

We have a statue. Sarah and I named her Mary. One year we covered Mary with snow.

Last year we saved a frog and left this ice cream tub near a pond so it could hop out when it was ready. Ice cream tub got left for a while and seems to have created life, in the form of moss.

Pride Rock (off of The Lion King). Probably enough said.

On that exact piece of patio (well, on a chair on top of that exact piece of patio) I fell asleep one summer and woke up to find that a bird had pooped on me. Worst nap ever.

I've often thought this would be the perfect place to put a hammock. We've never got round to it. If I was more committed to this bloglet, I would have photoshopped a hammock in there with me waving at you from it.

Just imagine I'd done it, will you? Ta!

Saturday, 19 May 2012

Saturday Song: Weight Of The World

I'm not very good at writing essays. I dislike the whole process. Thankfully I am finished with full-time education and never have to write another essay in my life if I don't want to. 

One year, while I was still in full-time education (I think it was university rather than school) I had to write two or three essays over the Christmas holiday. Obviously I left everything to the last minute and ended up having to stay up late into the night before term started to write the damn things (my own fault, I know).

Anyway, as well as being an unenthusiastic essay writer, I was also a slow essay writer. I would check the word count after every paragraph (sometimes every sentence) in the hope that I may have miraculously reached the word limit all of a sudden. While I stayed up late and plodded my way through these particular essays, I decided to treat myself after every few hundred words by listening to this song. 

Admittedly it's probably more suitable to be listening to it blasting from a car stereo with the windows down as you drive around the coast of somewhere sunny, rather than in your bedroom at 1 o'clock in the morning at a volume which won't wake up the rest of the house. But I still liked it.

Sunday, 13 May 2012


So I haven't made an appearance round these 'ere parts for several days now. Except yesterday when I posted a new bloglet. Yeah, except then.

But that wasn't actually me.

Well it was, but it was me from about a week ago when I had one of those rare moments of being organised ahead of time and I scheduled a bloglet.

Anyway, today's ramble is an excuse for why I haven't been visiting and commenting on other blogs recently. To make things more interesting, I have actually prepared two excuses. Only one is true. The other is utter poppycock. I feel kind of bad about lying to you, but it's probably okay if I tell you beforehand that I'm going to do it.

Excuse One
For about a week now we've been having yucky internet troubles in Casa del Groves which have put a stop to blogging, twitter and YouTube (basically all the good stuff). Methods for fixing this problem have included:
- Trying all cables in every possible combination
- Attempts to persuade the router to wake up by changing its view and putting it in different rooms 
- Crossing our fingers and hoping for the best
- Switching everything off and on again
- Swearing at things

Eventually, Mum and I discovered the ethernet cable under the carpet had been squished by years of us walking over it.

Ah, we'll just get a new cable then.

Nope, Dad will fix/bodge it with duct tape.

So in summary, the internet broke for a week but now it's been mended with tape.

Excuse Two
The aliens did it.

They were keeping an eye on Earth (as they always are) and noticed an unusually high amount of blogging going on last month. As you probably know, the aliens are wary about blogs. They find them so darn interesting that they have to read them all (to them, blogs are like pokemon). With all the blogging going on last month, they got so caught up with reading that they completely missed the annual space picnic they had been heading for.

Last weekend they finally finished reading, realised that they'd missed the picnic, and immediately sulked (there had been talk of someone bringing party rings). They decided to beam someone up to explain the sudden surge in blogging and yours truly was selected at random (I know, right? What are the chances?) 

Since then I've been trying to calm them down about the picnic, and convince them that we didn't distract them on purpose. I gave them a heads up that there'll be another increase in blogging next April. They said they'd take the longer but more scenic route that avoids Earth next time.

We parted on pretty good terms - I gave them some party rings for the journey home and they seemed satisfied.

Saturday, 12 May 2012

Saturday Song: Runaway Horses

It has recently come to my attention that it's quite common to blog about a particular subject or theme on a particular day of the week. I have never been this disciplined with my blog (it's called inane ramblings for a reason, folks) but I've decided to have a go at it, just for one day a week to start with.

You can still expect the same rambly, inane musings you've grown to love (admit it: it's true), but Saturdays will now see a little more structure. Each week I'll choose one song to write about and include a video of said song. It's an idea I tried out (extremely unsuccessfully) on twitter that will hopefully work much better in bloglet format.

So, without further ado, this week's song is Runaway Horses by Belinda Carlisle.

The first album I owned (on cassette!) was The Spice Girls. That must have been around 1995. Before then, when my family and I went on long car journeys, we would always listen to my dad's CDs. Apart from Meatloaf, his taste in music was pretty good (don't tell him though) and my sister and I would be allowed to choose from 5 or 6 of his albums. I don't think we ever needed other options: we always chose Belinda Carlisle.

For some reason her album became known by Sarah and myself simply as 'Doo-Doo-Dares', so whenever Mum or Dad asked what we wanted to listen to, we'd request, in unison, "DOO-DOO-DARES!" Of the whole album, Runaway Horses was always our favourite. We would insist the volume was turned up and would shout along gleefully to the chorus every time it came round.

It's weird how even now when I hear the quiet tinkly build up at the start of the song I feel excited: I feel like I'm 7 years old again and sitting in the back of my dad's car. And it's ace.

What song transports you back to childhood?

Monday, 7 May 2012


"This is your time to tell us about your A to Z experience. 
Share your pleasures, your pains, your setbacks, your gains."

Those nice people over at the A to Z challenge would like us to write about our experience. I've been kind of lazy and have just picked out a few of the questions posed on the A to Z reflections page. Let's get reflecting!

Who did you meet along the way that you found to be especially helpful or inspiring?
Maryann and Shiela were helpful (and patient) in answering questions I had about their blogs.
Jessica and Lucy often taught me something new.
Sarah was, and continues to be, inspiringly nutty.

Did you have a favourite blog post*?
Kind of putting me on the spot there. No, it's too hard to choose. I can't pick one ... you can't make me! *sulk*

Or a favourite series?
Sweet Tea Reads, which I think I only discovered towards the end of the challenge but I like Danielle's style of writing and will definitely be going back to read more in the future.

Which blogs did you discover during April that you will be returning to in the future?
Lots. I will be quite happy to go back to any and all of the blogs I've started following. Go ahead and click on my profile (or here) to see a full list. (Quick side note: if you're following me and I haven't yet reciprocated it's because either I've been lazy, or I've been thick and am unable to find the 'follow' button on your blog.)

Would you do the challenge again? Why?
This was the first time I've attempted the challenge so I didn't really know what to expect when I started. What I discovered was a fantastic sense of camaraderie among those taking part and some brilliant blogs which I will definitely be visiting regularly from now on.
From a purely selfish point of view, the challenge was also responsible for my blog views going through the roof (they're still nothing to shout about, but I was amazed at the increase), and (miracle of miracles) people actually started commenting on my blog!

So, would I do the challenge again? Do you even have to ask? 

* When are we going to adopt the term 'bloglet' officially? It's way better than 'post'.

Wednesday, 2 May 2012

It feels weird

It definitely feels weird.

Not having to post a bloglet today is an odd feeling after four weeks of trying, sometimes desperately, (I'm talking to you, end of the alphabet letters) to think of a topic for the next day. I'm not really sure what it is I will continue blogging about now. I'm also a little worried that people won't come and read my little inane ramblings now that they don't really have to.

You see, my main concern is that, without the excitement of the A to Z challenge, people will begin to realise my secret: I'm not all that interesting. (I wrote it small so that if you haven't already realised it, I'm not just blurting it out).

I will, however, endeavour to hide this little secret of mine for as long as possible and will be back on 7th May with my reflections bloglet.

In the mean time, if you're feeling a little sad that all the A to Z stuff is over, then do not despair! My friend, Hannah, who didn't quite sign up in time, is now working her way backwards through the alphabet all by herself. It would be awesome if you could go and cheer her on - she's on X today so would probably appreciate the encouragement. Nasty little letter, x ... *grumble* ....*mumble* ...