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Monday, 7 May 2018

Eurovision: First Impressions #4

Hey lovelies! I know that I said I would have this post up on Sunday, however I seriously underestimated how busy I would be yesterday... but YAYYY!! Today is Monday which means that there's only a day left until the first semi final of the Eurovision Song Contest! I am super duper excited to finally get the chance to see so many of the amazing artists that I've been following for months now performing live, with their new and improved Eurovision-finale-worthy staging and choreography! Even though I will be boarding a plane to Lisbon tomorrow, it still doesn't feel like it's really happening! And as ecstatic as I am now, I don't think I will have reached my full capacity on the excitement scale until I arrive in Lisboa and that Eurovision sign is there to greet me in the airport (there better be a sign, Portugal! There was one in Stockholm when I visited in 2016 so I'm counting on it!). Obviously the ESC is something that I love and thoroughly enjoy investing several months of my life into, but at this stage in the competition it gets kinda stressful too! This is because you know that some of the artists you love won't make it into the final... there are going to be tears guys; I'm an emotional wreck so I'm sure of it, haha!

If this is the first of my Eurovision impressions posts that you are reading or if you're not really all too familiar with this wonderful annual contest, let me explain a little of how it works :) This year there are forty-three countries participating, six of them automatically get a place in the final (because they are the host country or part of the group of countries that helps fund most of the Eurovision), which leaves thirty-seven countries to compete! There are only twenty places available (meaning there's twenty-six artists in the final) for the last show which will take place on Saturday 12th May, and the artists are separated into Semi final 1 or Semi final 2, with ten qualifying from each show. I hope I explained that well! So yeah, those semi finals are going to be both incredible and a nightmare to get though, and I'm crossing as many fingers as I can that my favourites all qualify! 

This post is the fourth and final one in a mini series I've written to share my opinions of each of the songs entered into the 2018 line-up. I've discussed my thoughts and feelings, and likes and dislikes, of ten songs in each post, in the order in which the songs were released/confirmed. I will leave some links to my three previous posts at the end of this for those of you who would like to read more on the subject. Today's post is going to include thirteen songs  though, since that's how many I have left to chat about. I hope that you all enjoy reading, and if you are a fan of the Eurovision, I hope that you all enjoy the show on Saturday night!! Let me know who you're favourite performer of the night was over on twitter too! 

Eurovision Song Contest 2018

31. Belgium- 'A Matter of Time' by Sennek

It's a shame that I have to start off today's review with a song that I'm not really keen on. It's not a bad song at all, it's just that it isn't to my personal tastes. I feel like this could be a popular song for the viewers at home though as it sounds very similar to the types of songs that do well in the UK charts; it has some definitely Paloma Faith vibes. But I don't listen to much of that style of music so I could be way off, haha :D The singer, Sennek (Laura Groeseneken) has a cool voice! However I feel like the song drags on a bit and this makes me a little bored. Because of this, A Matter of Time is placed towards the bottom half of my Top 43. 

32. Croatia- 'Crazy' by Franka

Oops, this is unfortunately going to be another review much like the one above! In fact, this is my least favourite entry in the whole of the 2018 line-up (sorry Croatia!). Franka Batelic is stunning and has a great voice, but the song just doesn't do her justice at all! The line 'I will remember, roses and horses in the rain' just makes me giggle because it's incredibly cliché, even for a love song! I'm really not a fan of the chorus either with the whole 'l-l-l-love', and to be the honest the entire song just doesn't have anything unique, exciting or catchy about it. What do you think of this song guys? 

33. Australia- 'We Got Love' by Jessica Mauboy

This song on the other hand is a fabulous entry! It's all about self love and not letting people make you feel like you have to change who you are, to never give up! A message to just spread love and get along with one another  This song is also powerful, especially with it representing Australia at Eurovision as in December 2017, the country finally passed the law to legalise gay marriage!! It feels like Jessica Mauboy is singing in celebration of this and that is fantastic, and makes the song even more special. I love singing along to We Got Love, it makes me feel all warm and fuzzy inside :D haha!

34. Austria- 'Nobody But You' by Cesar Sampson

This is a really good song, the lyrics are sweet and I like listening it before I go to bed, because it's chilled. Cesar has a lovely voice, and sounds even better performing live from the snippets I've seen (as hard as it is, I am avoiding watching the official rehearsal videos on YouTube because I want a surprise!). I think this song was a grower for my friends, but I loved it from the start. It makes me a little sad whenever I've listened to it over the last few days because the realisation hit that it's in Semi Final 1, with so many amazing songs and even though it's great, there's definitely ten better songs! T_T Why can't everyone make it to the finals!? 

35. Ireland- 'Together' by Ryan O'Shaughnessy 

This song is beautiful, and the first time I watched the video, I struggled to hold back tears (I'm way too emotional!). The lyrics just bring back old memories and feelings for me, but that's not necessarily a bad thing; it can be very cathartic to feel so moved by a song like that. Everyone loves having a good cry along to stuff, right? Ryan O'Shaughnessy voice is so nice! Some of you might remember him from when he was on Britain's Got Talent and The Voice Ireland. The video to this song is great, mostly because it features two male dancers, and it's very refreshing to see same-sex relationships represented in more mainstream media. It is a cute video for sure! If this song doesn't make it through Semi Final 1, I'm gonna be gutted!

36. Sweden- 'Dance You Off' by Benjamin Ingrosso

My best friends & I were so invested in the Swedish National Finals this year, watching all of the shows and even having a little get together for when the winner was announced. Honestly, Sweden's Eurovision selection shows, named the Melodifestivalen or Melfest for short, just revile those of any other country! They are amazing and extravagant and the hosts, David Lindgren and Fab Freddie, were incredible! Melfest is just like one big party (across six shows: four contests, a second chance round for some of the performers, and a finale) and even though I can't understand a word of what's being said, well other than Second Chance and Yes, haha!, it's still so fun to watch. I was super happy to see the artists Samir & Viktor come back again with another awesome song, called Shuffla, so I was kinda disappointed when they didn't win, however Benjamin Ingrosso was in my top 3 so that's not bad at all. There were so so many incredible songs in the Melfest this year, including In My Cabana by Margaret and A Bitter Lullaby by Martin Almgren. The winning song is one of those that's impossible not to want to dance along to, and the staging was something different and very visually appealing, but I'll say not more about that because spoilers! 

Eurovision Song Contest 2018

37. Norway- 'That's How You Write A Song' by Alexander Rybak 

As a Eurofan, it was impossible not to get excited about Norway's song as soon as we heard that it would be performed by Alexander Rybak. He was the winner of the 2009 Eurovision Song Contest, with an brilliant song called Fairytale. Back then, we all fell a little in love with his cheeky personality, his cute Peter Pan-esque look, and his fabulous violin playing! I was super intrigued to find out what his new song would be like, and how he would sound/look 9 years later! The first glimpse of his 2018 entry that I got was when the official music video was released, and my first impressions changed as soon as I saw a live performance a few weeks after that. That's How You Write A Song is certainly catchy, but after watching the official video, I also thought it was a little too cheesy (it reminds me somewhat of the song Chico Time, who else remembers that?) and when compared his 2009 winning song, it was just too different and I wasn't sure what I really thought of it. But eventually my faith was restored when I saw the stage performance of it, Alexander Rybak has a really great stage presence and his characteristics shrine though in the way he performs! Obviously, his violin playing is a huge bonus too! It's not my favourite song in the contest, but it's still a good one. Also Rybak doesn't look like he's aged at all :D 

38. Israel- 'TOY' by Netta 

Up until this point, there was none of those classic Eurovision songs, the kind that are extravagantly random and unusual, the type of songs that you can't help but love because they are so wacky and weird! They are one of the reasons that I got so into Eurovision, because you just don't hear them in many other places, and certainly not in a competition with such popularity and prestige (This is why Eurovision is truly amazing)! So, I felt until this song was released that we were missing something this year... but then we were all hit with this fabulous, quirky song!! It's brilliant and I loved it right away... Netta is absolutely amazing, she's energetic and fun and has one of those attitudes that I admire so much, she just doesn't care what people think and is loud and proud. Her social media is so entertaining and she's always bursting into random song, and getting others to sing along with her. It's also awesome to have a beautiful plus-size woman in the competition to represent! The song is not only filled with unique dance moves and lots of chicken sounds XD (yes, chicken sounds!), but it also has an awesome message! I have spontaneously sang 'I'M NOT YOUR TOY... YOU STUPID BOY' quite a lot lately! Me & my sister cannot resist getting up and imitating those dance moves everything we listen to the song too!  Omg and Netta also mentions Pikachu in her song so yeah she's my favourite person now :) Toy is the best song performing in Semi Final 1 for me, and I would really love to hear what everyone else thinks of this song, so please have a listen and let me know in the comments. 

39. Russia- 'I Won't Break' by Julia Samoylova

Julia Samoylova was an entrant of the Eurovision Song Contest for Russia last year, but she was banned from entering Ukraine (where the 2017 show was hosted) because of some confusing political rule that she broke by or when entering Crimea several years earlier. Crimea is a conflict zone but I don't know much more than that on the subject. I can't say that I was too disappointed about her not being allowed to enter the competition because I really didn't enjoy her song, but it's still a shame that in a competition that is supposed to be about unity and have no political involvement. I'm not sure what I think about her being banned from performing, I don't know enough about the situation or what she even apparently did to deserve being banned though so? Anyhow, with the show being hosted in Portugal this year, Julia Samoylova is back with another song and upon first hearing it, I was impressed by how much better it was from last years song Flame Is Burning. 2018's song has a touching theme and speaks to me on a personal level because of my own struggles with living with mental illness. It is good to sing along to as well. But then, I heard a very short clip of a live performance of the song and really didn't like it! She's had time though since then to perfect her vocals and staging, so it will be interesting to hear it live in Semi Final 2 on Thursday. 

40. FYR Macedonia- 'Lost And Found' by Eye Cue

Macedonia's entry was certainly a grower for me. When I initially heard it, it wasn't that I thought it was a bad song or anything, it's just that it didn't stand out to me and there were lots of other songs that I preferred. I felt, and still do despite me now liking the song a lot more, that Lost And Found sounded a little weird. By weird, I mean that it sounds like two different songs mashed together... basically the chorus and verses could almost be different songs with the way they sound! Originally, I wasn't too sure if they fit well together and couldn't stop thinking about it everytime I listened to the song, which was sort of distracting me from enjoying it. Nevertheless, I started to appreciate the song the more I listened to it, playing it loud in my friend's car and having a sing-along definitely helped! It has a great beat and instrumentals, and I can imagine it being played in nightclubs so I feel like younger viewers will enjoy it. I prefer the verses to the chorus but it's still overall a nice song. I'm looking forward to hearing it live, but it's in Semi Final 1 so I'm not sure how much of a chance Macedonia has of qualifying for the final this year.  

41. Lithuania- 'When We're Old' by Ieva Zasimauskaite 

I really like Lithuania's song! It was a nice change to have a song of this genre/sound after so many upbeat and energetic songs, and those with amazing high notes and full of strong emotion. This song is definitely not lacking in emotion though, it just illustrates it in a different way and is beautifully put together. The lyrics are meaningful and all about love, but not in a stereotypical way. The video is adorable too :) Ieva Zasimauskaite has a very unique voice, that is lovely to listen to and sets her apart from the other performers. Even though it's a calm and slow song, it is still lovely enough that it won't get lost amongst the crowd, and I've been told that it sounds fantastic live in the rehearsals so I feel like it has a very good chance of qualifying, despite it being in Semi Final 1.

42. Bulgaria- 'Bones' by EQUINOX

Bones is certainly different, and I've never heard a song quite like it in the ESC before. I recently discovered the music of a US a cappella group called Pentatonix and I'm lovin' this sort of music right now, which meant when I heard Bulgaria's entry for this year, I was very impressed! Although it's not an a cappella song, it reminds me of one because there's not too much instrumental input and the song relies mostly on the different vocal tones of the five singers, with a simplistic beat in the background. I just love it :) I really like how well the different singer's voices compliment each other, and I think it will be incredible to hear live... I can't wait! I love all of the space imagery, and the meaning behind the lyrics is nice too. I don't have much to say about this song other than I think it's epic and I am sure that it will quality!!

43. Georgia- 'For You' by Ethno-Jazz Band Iriao

The final song that was released, on Tuesday 13th March ,was from Georgia. I was super happy to discover that it was preformed in the Georgian language, bringing the number of songs sang in their native language to nine, which is fabulous. I want to see more in the future! For You is a nice song to listen to, very peaceful. I love the traditional feel of it with the ethnic sounds and instrumentals, it reminds me very much of something you might hear in a religious setting. I like how the song starts off calm with just one member of the band singing in the lead, and starts to change sound as the other members join in, adding their own unique tone to the harmony. My favourite part of the song though is two minutes in when it really picks up and the vocals get stronger, the song feels more powerful then and memorable. The seven guys that make up Ethno-Jazz Band Iriao have beautiful voices! The song will be performed in Semi Final 2, where most of my favourites from the 2018 line-up are also performing and even though Georgia's entry is lovely, I don't think it stands much of a chance when up against some of the other songs in this show. With it's unique twist on traditional music, I feel like it might not appeal to as many audiences.

So we have reached the end of my Eurovision Song Contest song reviews for 2018. There are a few songs this year that I am really not a fan of, but the majority of the songs that have been entered this time round have been great and so it has been super hard to choose which I prefer. Trying to sort my Top 10 was definitely a challenge!! These last few months have passed by so quickly, and tomorrow evening the ESC process officially begins with Semi Final 1. I still cannot believe that I will be there to witness it all. Wow! Eeeek it feels a little surreal that on Saturday we will find out who will win the entire contest; hopefully it's one of my favourites ;) I hope these posts have been a fun read for everyone, including those of my follows who don't watch the Eurovision. If I've helped you discover even one song that you enjoy, then I'm delighted :)

Thankyou for reading!

What is your favourite song that I've mentioned in this post? 
Have a listen & let me know :) 

If you watched the Eurovision finale last year, did you have a favourite song? 

As promised, here are the links to my other Eurovision 2018 song reviews: 


Saturday, 5 May 2018

Magical Maidens Pin Haul | Reviews

Hey guys! Hasn't the weather been lovely today!? Even though I'm not the biggest fan of hot weather, 1) because it effects my fibromyalgia & 2) because my wardrobe consists almost entirely of black clothing, I still enjoyed the sunshine today (mostly from the comfort of the shaded areas of my garden, haha, but still!). I had to pop into my local town centre this afternoon to pick up my eBay click & collect order... I thought it was a cool idea to purchase a Viking helmet to wear at one of the Eurovision semi finals in support of my favourite song of 2018, the Danish entry, which is all about Vikings and is just fabulous! :) Whilst I was out, I decided to make the most of it and find a geocache too, and it was such an interesting cache idea, very creative and well hidden. I ended my little outing at subway *nom nom*. Back at home, I spent the rest of my day relaxing out in the garden, playing with the dog and watching butterflies. I am so happy that I'm starting to see so many butterflies appearing! How did you all spend your day? I hope you had fun whatever you did!

Another awesome thing that happened today was that I received the most wonderful mail, including my pre-order from a super kawaii pin creator called Magical Maidens! If you've been a regular follower of mine, you'll know how much I love Studio Ghibli and so when I spotted the new Ghibli X Pokemon inspired pin collection coming soon to this great store, I couldn't resist ordering some for myself! I really wish I could have bought them all!! If you love pin badges, Japanese animation, or just all things cute, then this is a post for you. Enjoy

Magical Maidens Pins

On the adorable postcard above that I was sent along with my pins (this had a nice note from the seller on it), you can see an array of examples of the various Studio Ghibli pins that are available from Magical Maidens. There are even more  designs than these available too so you totally need to go check out their website and etsy to discover what other character pins they've created. I had been noticing more and more of these gorgeous pins popping up on my Instagram timeline, and was finding it so hard to choose which ones I wanted more!

Can you guys tell which Pokemon is also incorporated into the design of these pins? If you thought Ditto, then you are correct! These pins remind me of the Ditto transformation plushies that are available from the Pokemon centre and I absolutely adore them! I'd been putting a little bit of money aside each payday to finally add some of these marvellous pins to my collection when I noticed a special offer code... Magical Maidens were offering a free pin if you purchased five pins or more, and so I of course jumped at this chance and purchased my pins right away!! Keep reading to find out which characters I chose :)

Magical Maidens Pins

The first pin I added to my shopping cart was Calcifer, the little fire demon from Howl's Moving Castle (2004). This movie is my second favourite Studio Ghibli and Calcifer is definitely one of my favourite characters from across all of the amazing animation movies! He is so adorable, grumpy but with a big heart, and I am really happy to finally have a pin of him!! I really love the vibrant colours of this pin badge, as well as the wiggly edges/outlines of the design. I think it's super cute that Calcifer is sitting in the shovel that Sophie uses to move him around in the movie. It is a very eye-catching pin and the gold outline matches really well with the orange and yellow colouration. 

Magical Maidens Pins

Next up we have the Catbus from My Neighbour Totoro (1988), which is literally the cutest of all of the Studio Ghibli movies. It is about two little girls who move into the Japanese countryside and meet the ancient forest spirits that live there; one of them being the Catbus! It is like a bus X cat X caterpillar, which is both hilarious and adorable! It is such a random and unique creature, and I love the how perfectly this pin resembles it. Even the tiny mouse shaped headlights of the character have been included. I love the paler brown shades used for this pin, and I feel like it will go well with any outfit no matter what colour. I really like the tiny cat paw detail on the foot of the Catbus, it's so sweet! I've not seen as many Catbus pins available VS some of the more well-known Ghibli characters, so it's nice to see one this cute! 

Magical Maidens Pins

You can never have too much No Face merch in your life in my opinion! I LOVE this character & I will literally buy anything I come across featuring him, so there was no way that I would be checking out without purchasing the No Face pin! This is the only pin of this character from Spirited Away (2001) that I have seen where he's holding the gold from the movie! Without going into too much detail for those of you who might not have seen the movie yet (you seriously need to!), this character tries to bribe and trick people by offering them gold! And so it's super awesome that he's holding a pile of gold in his hands! Another thing that I like about this pin is how simplistic it is, it looks so cool just having the characters most iconic features and nothing but the gold coins to distract from his overall look, if you get what I mean. Overall, it's just a very nice pin badge :) 

Magical Maidens Pins

I'm pretty sure this little cutie was the first Magical Maidens Ditto X Studio Ghibli pin I saw and it had me lusting after the collection from then on! It's been exciting to follow the store and see all of the brilliant designs that they have come up with! Of course any Studio Ghibli set wouldn't be complete without Totoro, the character which is the logo of the company itself! He's obviously from My Neighbour Totoro, and he is a troll, a guardian of the forest and a big friendly giant basically! Am I the only one who's sad that he's not real? I wish I could give him a hug because he looks so fluffy! He is magical and can control the natural elements around him, along with his two little sidekicks, Chu-toro and Chibi-toro (I would really love to see these two as pins in the future too so I could wear all three of the trolls together!). This is another pin with a simple design, which is not a bad thing at all. Totoro is an iconic character and he is wonderful just the way he is in terms of design. I cannot wait to show him off to the world! 

Magical Maidens Pins

YAYY! I'm over the moon that Magical Maidens included a Turnip Head pin in their collection! I very rarely find pretty merchandise for this Howl's Moving Castle character, which is such a shame because he's so charming and endearing! His character is an interesting take on a scarecrow and I just think he's fabulous! This pin is so well-detailed and illustrates all of Turnip Head's best features, even down to the smallest detail like his legs and the flap on the top of his hat!! I am lovin' his bowtie, it stands out! He's in my top 10 favourite characters by Studio Ghibli, and I think he might be my best out of all of the pins I bought in my haul. When I showed my dad (who's never watched a Ghibli movie in his life by the way!) my new pins, he immediately pointed out Turnip Head as his favourite too. I think his character doesn't get as much attention as it deserves, so Thankyou Magical Maidens for creating a pin of him!! 

Magical Maidens Pins

The sixth and final pin that I chose was this Soot Sprite one! It was hard to resist it, with that huge happy grin and all of the colourful stars! These stars are actually a traditional Japanese candy called Konpeito, and they became famous worldwide amongst Japanese animation fans when they were featured on the movie Spirited Away. The soot sprites had made an appearance in other movies by the company, however they weren't focused on as key characters until we see them as the workers in the boiler room in Spirited Away. There's a scene where they are given these sweets and they are all so excited!! It's too cute! I have actually tried Konpeito myself because I was so curious about what they tasted like. You can read my review here if you're interested :) 

I love that the Soot Sprite pin has these candies in it's design because not only are they pretty but they also make me picture the adorable movie scene I mentioned everytime I look at it! I like that the shape of the Soot Sprite is also a little different than the typical design we see; this pin makes them look more like a ball of fluffy dust and adds even more cuteness to the overall look of the character! It's just another wonderful pin badge and it feels great to have it in my collection. 

Magical Maidens Pins

I wanted to show you guys this photo above because it captures how pretty the gold outlines of these pins are! They are all like that and so when they catch the light, the gold shines and makes them even more eye-catching. I've always preferred silver to gold, and I don't own many gold accessories so I wasn't sure what I would think of the gold detailing before they arrived, however I can confirm that I love love love it! I think the gold shine makes these pins look so presentable and fashionable, and it just adds that little extra something to them, especially the character pins with the more simplistic designs, like the Totoro one above. What do you guys think of the gold outline? 

Magical Maidens Pins
Magical Maidens Pins

An additional thing that I find fantastic about these pins is that they can be worn on their own because they have such bold and colourful designs that make them very noticeable, but they can also be paired up and would look fabulous together. Oh, and they also have rubber backs which I prefer, as they are less likely to rub and irritate your skin VS the traditional metal pin badge clasp. 

Magical Maidens Pins

I couldn't be more happier with my new Ditto X Studio Ghibli inspired pin badges from Magical Maidens. They are all great quality and in perfect condition, with the most beautiful designs and detailing. I think they are also such a bargain for only £7 each! At this price, I am super tempted to go back for more once my bank account has recovered after my upcoming holiday! I still cannot believe I got one of these pins for free because of the special offer, what an amazing deal! I have a mighty need to fill my life with more of the pins from this collection. I hope that you've all enjoyed having a nosey at these Studio Ghibli goodies. Do you have a favourite pin? Please let me know in the comments guys?

Thankyou for reading!

Are you a fellow pin collector?
If so, do you have a favourite pin in your collection?

Also fellow Ghibli fans, what's your favourite movie and/or character? 


Friday, 4 May 2018

Eurovision: First Impressions #3

Hi everyone! Wow, so it's already been three weeks since I shared the long-awaited Part 2 of my Eurovision Song Contest 2018 first impressions posts!! I have been super busy when it comes to preparations for travelling to Lisbon for the ESC finals, and I have been so engrossed in the excitement, that these posts just got sort of pushed to the back of my mind, oops! However, with the grand finale taking place in only a week tomorrow (OH MY GOSH!!), I thought I'd better get my head in the game and finally post my last two editions: Part 3 today & Part 4 will be up on Sunday :) I hope that you've all enjoyed this mini series of music review posts, and that I've helped to bring the Eurovision Song Contest to your attention if you'd never really heard much about it before reading my posts! It is such a wonderfully fabulous show, not only for the music but also for the artists, the community and all of the people it brings together, and friendships it helps to form, not just amongst the singers but also the fans! It really doesn't get as much hype as it deserves here in the UK, and I am determined to do my little bit to fix that, by constantly talking about it and sharing my Eurofan life with you all, haha!

I've explained all about how the contest works in my previous First Impressions posts so definitely go and check them out, but to quickly sum things up... There are 43 participating countries who have entered songs into the ESC this year. Six of them automatically go through into the finals, Portugal (because it's hosting the 2018 contest), and the UK, France, Germany, Spain & Italy (because these countries contribute the most financially to the Eurovision). The other countries will have a chance to qualify for the final in one of two semi-final shows, but only ten from each show will make it through! There will be a total of 26 acts competing to be the winner on Saturday 12th May in Lisbon, and I am so nervous and excited! So anyhow, here are my initial thoughts and feelings towards the next ten songs that were confirmed to be representing their countries at Eurovision. Enjoy! 

Eurovision: First Impressions

21. Romania- 'Goodbye' by The Humans

This song surprised me! Don't get me wrong, it started off as a lovely song and the vocals of the leader singer Cristina Caramarcu are great, however because of all of the fabulous competition up until this point, I was a little unimpressed with the first 1 minute 20 seconds of this song. But then the guitars and drums kicked in and I was like yasssss! From then on, I really enjoyed Goodbye. I am such a fan of the instrumentals involving cellos! The rock vibes of the song make it right up my street too :) As much as I like the song though, I also feel that it doesn't stand out against the other songs in Eurovision line-up and I'm thinking that Romania are not going to qualify this year, which is a shame! Have a listen and let me know what you think of this song guys. 

22. The Netherlands- 'Outlaw In 'Em' by Waylon

Here again with another country song for us is The Netherlands! When I first heard Outlaw In 'Em, I was lovin' it; mostly because we'd not seen anything like it so far this year. It is still the only song of this genre in the competition, but my opinions of it have changed a lot since my first time hearing it. As much as it appeals to my geeky side, with all of it's Wild West and bandits references, making me think of shows like Netflix's Godless, it is somewhat repetitive and just doesn't have that something that makes you feel uplifted, emotional or in the mood to party/dance, which is what for me what makes a good Eurovision song! Something that I do like about the song is Waylon's singing voice, it's memorable and something different. I still enjoy listening to it though, as I am a fan of country music with a bit of rock mixed in, and I am interested to see how it will do in the semi finals :)

23. Cyprus- 'Fuego' by Eleni Foureira 

I fell in love with this amazing song as soon as I heard it! My friend Aaron sent me a link to the music video along with a very excited message, and I could immediately see why just a few seconds into the song, haha. We were yet to have a sassy, sexy entry for 2018, and so this one rocketed into my Top 10 right away! My first reaction to the video was WOW THAT'S HOT! Eleni Foureira looks stunning, and I'm lovin' her various gorgeous outfits and all of the dancing in the official video. The song also made me laugh (in a positive way of course!), like when Eleni is laying on the floor with random fruit scattered around her. Only she could look so flawless doing that! I also love the line 'You got me pelican fly-fly-flying!' XD This song has remained a firm favourite of mine ever since! It's just one of those songs that makes you feel like you can conquer anything after listening to it. Does anyone else feel that?

24. Finland- 'Monsters' by Saara Aalto 

Finland had already confirmed that they were sending Saara Aalto to represent them at Eurovision this year. Some of you guys might recognise her name if you enjoy watching X Factor, I don't personally watch it but I do remember being shown Saara's audition by a family member and hearing that she almost won the show! The way that the Finnish national final works is super interesting, Saara performed three songs and then the country voted on which they preferred. Luckily for us, these songs were released online prior to the performance (well two were released and we had to wait ages for the third!) and so we could have a good listen before any final decisions were made. The three songs were 'Queens', 'Monsters' & 'Domino', and due to the latter two being released first, there quickly developed a Team Monsters or Team Domino amongst Eurofans. I was in Team Monsters, so I was over the moon when I found out that it had won! Although the song itself was my preferred of the two (Domino was a very close second, because it's a fantastic song), I feel like the video definitely made me like it even more. I just love all of the colours and gothic-esque extravagance! I NEED to see those dancers on the stage at Lisbon! I really do hope that the staging reflects the vibes in the video! When I saw the videos from the Finnish NF's, I wasn't too keen on Saara's outfit but there's been plenty of time for her to change it to match more with the official music video (fingers crossed, haha!). Not only is the song great for a party, but the lyrics are relatable for me as they make me think about how far I've come from how I used to be with the way I feel about myself. I am very much looking forward to seeing this live next week!

25. Estonia- 'La Forza' by Elina Nechayeva

WOW so this song is just incredible! It might not be my favourite in the line-up, but it's still up there in my Top 10 because it's beautiful! La Forza is the first song of it's kind to enter the competition and it was certainly a big wonderful surprise to me when I first listened to it! I'm so happy to see an opera song in the Eurovision, and I cannot wait to see it in the finals (I mean, how could it not qualify!?), for it to bring the genre to the attention of millions of people watching the show at home. Everything about the performance is breathtaking: the vocals, the staging, THAT DRESS!! Seriously what an epic dress, I've never seen anything quite like it! I love how the lighting projected onto the dress reacts and changes in accordance to the music itself. I am really happy that the song is performed in Estonian too... we are seeing so many songs performed in their native language this year and it's fantastic! 

26. Poland- 'Light Me Up' by Gromee ft. Lukas Meijer 

I watched the Polish national finals, the Krajowe Eliminacje 2018, straight after Melfest on Saturday 3rd March and was absolutely thrilled when Gromee & Lukas Meijer won! It was by far the best song to have entered for Poland this year, although I did also enjoy another song in the NF's called Don't Let Go by Happy Prince. Light Me Up is a super catchy song, and I really like the beat and energy of it! I could see a song like this in the Top 40 charts, and I'm sure the audience watching at home are going to love it. The vocalist, Lukas Meijer, has an awesome voice and such great charisma, especially seen in the way he interacts with the audience during the live performance of this song. Another fabulous song that of course makes it into my Top 10!

27. San Marino- 'Who We Are' by Jessika ft. Jenifer Brening 

I don't really like this song much at all, oops. Jessika Muscat has a nice voice but I don't feel like this song gave me the opportunity to appreciate it, because I didn't enjoy the way the song was performed, if that even makes sense. Music reviews are not my forte, haha. I just don't feel like the song flows well, and even though the lyrics share an important message of self love and being true to yourself, I just can't get into the song. There's also what I feel is a very random addition of a rap artist into Who We Are, that feels so out of place in my opinion, plus I think the singer than tries to be cool and dance/sing along with the rap, which just comes across like a parent trying to act cool at their kid's birthday party XD I just don't start to enjoy the song until towards the end, so for me it's one of my least favourites of 2018. There was a song in the 1 in 360 show (San Marino's National Final) which I absolutely adored and I cannot understand why this wasn't the winner! It's called Out of the Twilight by Sara de Blue. If this would have gotten through, I know that it would now be in my Top 10 *cry cry*.

28. Iceland- 'Our Choice' by Ari Olafsson

Ari Olafsson, Iceland's artist competing in the ESC 2018 is so cute and funny on social media, and I've loved watching him form friendships with the other contestants. His reaction when it was announced that he'd won the Icelandic national final was adorable :) He has a lovely voice, and the song is relaxing with a sweet and important message. It's one that you cannot help but sway along to, but for me when compared with everyone else in the line-up this year, the song is forgettable, in that it gets lost amongst the stronger songs in the competition. Aww, I hate saying that because of how nice Ari is! I think his voice is a great one for musicals and I do still like the song, however I would like to see Ari come back to Eurovision again in the future with another song that helps him to stand out and shows off his talents more :)

29. Azerbaijan- 'X My Heart' by Aisel

Okay, I just love this song! I don't fully know why, but as soon as I listened to it, I was like omg I wanna sing along! The lyrics are simple and so easy to remember, making it a catchy song. I've found myself singing 'Luna moon me up, to the to-o-op!' quite a lot since first hearing it. Most of the lyrics, like the line I just mentioned, are a little random, but I don't care, I'm lovin' all of the spontaneous space imagery! :D The song just has those feel good vibes for me, and I can't help but enjoy it. I really want it to qualify, but it's in semi final 1 (and performing first, eeek!) and as my fellow Eurofans will already know, this stage of the competition is going to be hell! So many amazing songs but only ten places... I'm scared T_T

30. Portugal- 'O Jardim' by Claudia Pascoal 

This is a pretty song, but it's really not for me. It just isn't my cup of tea. You can tell you really don't like a song when you sit down to try and write about it and you realise that your favourite thing about it is that the singer has lovely pink hair, haha! :D The song does get a little better for me when the other singer (and also the writer of the song), Isaura Santos, joins in and it's a shame we only get to hear her subtly and for a very short amount of time. I feel like this song is following in the footsteps as far as sound goes of last year's winner of the Eurovision Song Contest, Salvador Sobral. I did not like his song either... so yeah, that's all I can think of to say about this song. 

And there we have it, my thoughts on the next ten songs competing for a place in the Eurovision Song Contest. I'd love to hear what you guys think of my music reviews, and also which of these songs is your favourite and why? I cannot believe that it's all taking place next week. This last month has gone by so quickly and I'm flying to Lisbon with my two favourite people on Tuesday... yayyy! 

Thankyou for reading!

Are you a fan of the Eurovision Song Contest? 

Also, what's your favourite song preformed in a foreign language, Eurovision song or not?

Here are the links to my previous Eurovision First Impressions posts:
| Part 1 & Part 2 |


Sunday, 22 April 2018

Another Earth Day, Another Photo Diary | Earth Day 2018

Hello guys! If you didn't know it already, today is Earth Day! It is international event held each year to remind people to take care of the world around them and to each do their little bit to protect nature. On Earth Day, organisations across the globe put on demonstrations, classes, talks, workshops, etc., to help educate people on the problems impacting the natural world, and how they can get involved in conservation. There are so many things that you can do such as donating money to charities and schemes, being more 'green' in your everyday lives which entails reducing the amount of plastics you are using or the amount of electricity you use, travelling via public transport or walking sometimes instead of always using your car, recycling and reusing things, buying from renewable sources or environmentally-friendly companies, litter picking, spreading the word about projects and/or signing petitions, or taking a more hands-on approach and getting involved in volunteering. There's seriously so much you can do! Even if you feel like it's a small, insignificant thing to for example use a reusable water bottle VS always buying water from the shop, believe me it's actually really helpful to the cause and is a very constructive thing to do to contribute to protecting and preserving the planet. Whatever you can do to help, please do it :) It's all a step in the right direction. Encourage others to do it too! 

On April 22nd annually, people are encouraged to get outside and immerse themselves in nature. You could go to a park, a nature reserve, for a scroll down the street, a dog walk, or even just venture out into your garden. Go anywhere where you can be outdoors and get a close encounter with the natural world, where you can witness how beautiful it is! Appreciate it, and take note of how important it is to protect it, so that we can go on appreciating it for many years to come, so that future generations can enjoy it! It is now Spring Time and we are starting to see flowers blooming, trees are beginning to bud, all of the animals are getting active again and yesterday & today I spotted my first butterflies of the year! It's an exciting time, perfect for getting outside after a long and cold winter :) 

Earth Day 2018

Nature for many people, myself included, has a very therapeutic effect on their well-being and mental health. There is something so relaxing and tranquil about watching the tree branches sway in the wind, listening to birds tweeting, hearing the trickle of a stream flowing over rocks, being able to smell the earth all around you. I find surrounding myself with nature makes me feel free; I am so focused on all the sights and smells and sounds around me, that I barely have chance to dwell on my anxious thoughts or worries. Who else feels this way?

Today I was not having the best of days, my physical health conditions have flared up, which in turn made me feel crappy mentally, things happened throughout the day to make me feel worse and I was just so tired that I got pretty emotional. I decided that I was going to go out into the garden and attempt to calm myself. I had been outside for less than 10 minutes, listening to the garden birds and feeling the sun of my face, breathing in the scent of the air after it had been raining (which is one of my favourite smells ever!), and I already felt a little better. I was inspired as always to go and grab my camera then, to have a wander around exploring all the intricate details in my surroundings. Nature photography is one of my absolute favourite hobbies, if not my favourite! As soon as I began to focus my attention on the tiny green shoots popping out of the soil, the rain drops glistening in the sun, zooming in with my camera on the tiniest leaf to magnify all the veins and textures, I felt content and in my element as they say :) I am a bit of wild child when it comes to being outdoors, I like to walk around bare-footed, feeling the grass between my toes and in this case, the wet mud squelching under my feet, haha! I took quite a few photographs, and I thought you might like to see them so I will stop getting carried away with myself (I can literally talk about flora and fauna all day!) and show you. Enjoy! 

Earth Day 2018

Earth Day 2018

Earth Day 2018

Earth Day 2018

Earth Day 2018

Earth Day 2018

Earth Day 2018

Earth Day 2018

Earth Day 2018

Earth Day 2018

Earth Day 2018

Earth Day 2018

Earth Day 2018

Just looking back through all of the photographs I've taken today has made me feel so good :) How stunning are leaves and flowers though!? It is truly amazing how complex and detailed nature really is. All of those colours and shapes and textures! Aren't they just so much more gorgeous when they are covered in raindrops?? When the sun catches them and makes it look like they are coated in glitter. I mean just look at the photograph above, that raindrop looks like a jewel. They are the diamonds of the natural world! (not that actual diamonds aren't natural, but you know what I mean haha). I'm really proud of this photo actually, and that's another thing I enjoy so much about nature photography. I always feel so happy looking through the pictures afterwards, reliving the wonderful moments all over again :) Which is your favourite photograph and why? I'm really curious to know!

So that's my Earth Day post for this year! I almost didn't get it posted in time because I've been doing so many things this evening, after my family who were visiting & having Sunday roast dinner with us today had gone home. I'm really glad though that I made the decision to go outside when all I wanted to do was curl up in bed and binge watch documentaries. It really did make all of the difference; after spending time in nature, I felt pretty reinvigorated!  I recommend that if you're feeling rubbish that you spend some time outdoors, even if it's just for ten minutes... just sit and take in everything around you, or close your eyes and just listen. I just want to end my post by saying let Earth Day be a reminder to you to get outside more and appreciate the wonders of nature, and to make changes in your life, no matter how small, like something as simple as using reusable shopping bags VS plastic carrier bags, because it is important to look after the earth that gives us so much :) I hope you enjoyed my post & photos, and I hope you've had a lovely day!

Thankyou for reading!

Have you done anything to celebrate Earth Day today?

What was the last memorable natural thing you saw?

I'd love to hear all about it in the comments & why it was so memorable or special for you :) 

For more nature related posts, check out these below: 
| Spring Time In The Garden | Earth Day 2016 | Afternoon at Avenham Park

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