My Debut Single

January 6, 2008 at 3:11 pm (Italy, life, music, my links)

Whilst I was having Italian lessons my teacher thought it would be a good idea to focus my learning onto something that I have a passion for. She suggested writing a play in Italian but instead I decided to translate one of my newly written songs and then record it. It took a while to get it right because the Italian sentences turned out to be at least twice as long as the English ones (in terms of syllables) but I finally cut it down to size and recorded it along with the English version. I made a few CDs of the recordings and also added a dance version (because all good singles have a dance mix!) and these were given an Christmas presents to a lucky few. The recordings are not of the greatest quality (and the guitar seems to be a tad out of tune) but that’s what you get for doing it in a rush when you’ve never recorded yourself before and it’s coming up to Christmas! If you want to check out the English song ‘Morning Eyes’ and the Italian version ‘Lui Dorme’ along with lyrics click here! The dance version is also available at the top right of the page, called ‘Between Yesterday and Tomorrow Mix’, credit has to go to Andrew for this as all I did was provide the original music.

I’m very excited about it and would love comments or feedback (good and bad). So, please scrawl something below in the comments box or send an email to:


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Being a Tiny Bit More Organised

December 20, 2007 at 9:00 pm (life, my links)

I wanted to point you in the direction of a handy little A-Z of how to be more productive and how to get things done more easily. It’s coming in the form of one letter a week. Just about enough for me to take in at one time. Can’t stand those things that tell you how to change your life and become a better person, but you have to read through 150 pages of crap to get through it all. Here’s the link… enjoy.

The author mentions ‘tedium‘ (the company’s to-do list app.) and when I was working in an office job, I found it very easy to keep track of what I had to do by using the above program. It lets you keep track of all those things that are buzzing around in your head and personally, I find that when I write them down, I worry about them less and then just have to refer to the list whenever I need to check what needs to be done next. Tedium is great because you can have it running on your computer with or without the rest of the internet available (aka distracting you!) and I used to flick to and from it to check my daily list of tasks. Now however, I work in a restaurant and don’t have my computer on 24 hours a day. So, if I don’t turn my computer on in the morning, I don’t check what I need to get done. Hmmm…a tricky one. However, it can easily be solved if you have the internet on your phone. Hoorah! My phone died a while ago though and I am back to using my brick…grrr! So I’m thinking that I need to make checking the list part of my ‘getting ready for work routine’ and then hopefully my bits and bobs will go back to being well organised, rather than a bit last minute and sometimes forgotten!

Anyway, any ideas, let me know. thanks.

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Montebello Gamelan

August 5, 2007 at 10:32 am (Italy, music, my links)

When the decision to move to Torino was made, it seemed rather random to have chosen a city in the north that doesn’t normally attract a vast amount of tourists. I was informed, however, that nearby there was a man who had his own gamelan. After contact via email, we were invited to visit the mountains to the north of Torino, for a ‘merenda sinoira’. The area is 5 mins away from Castellamonte and is found by driving up a number of small windy roads and passages. Giovanni kindly led the way (or I don’t think we would have ever found it!) up the windy roads, past fields of corn and up some dirt tracks, until we came to a gorgeous villa in the mountains. The well decorated house (white walls with dark green doors) stands on acres of land that is made up of fields, wild areas, trees and the most impressive of gamelan pendopo I have ever seen. Having not been to Java, my knowledge of gamelan houses is fairly limited but this has to be one of the most impressive. The pendopo (in the picture above) on which the gamelan is set out, is raised on wooden struts and the top part (when it is not being played) is surrounded by a protective canvas. When we first arrived I thought it was a shame that we could not see the gamelan and hoped that we might get a glimpse later. Sure enough, Giovanni suggested that we have a look and maybe listen to some music and play along. (I found this extremely difficult as it is a different type of gamelan to the one I used to play. The Montebello Gamelan is Javanese and my gamelan knowledge is purely Sundanese.) We only had a little tinkle and did not play any instruments properly (although I did attempt the bonang solo of a Sundanese piece on the gambang) but even so it has the most amazing sound. The gamelan house is surrounded entirely by nature and open fields so the music can drift out, instead of being trapped in by walls and sometimes sounding too loud and encroaching. To sit at the foot of the pendopo whilst gamelan music was pouring out of the PA system (that is constantly set up on the platform) was one of the most relaxing things I have ever done. The views were gorgeous and the evening a general success.

We were treated to the Italian equivalent of ‘high-tea’ which consisted of a very tasty African dip, foccacia, salami sticks (that reminded me of pepperami), an Italian rice dish and we also tried some Javanese drinks. All were delicious.

My only regret is that I did not take my camera with me, so I have no photos to show you. (The photo above is taken from the website It truly is an amazing place and it is a shame that the gamelan is rarely in use. If anyone out there knows how to play Javanese gamelan and fancies a holiday to Torino then please let me know, as I would love to hear the live gamelan music drift over the picturesque Italian landscape, as I’m sure so many would if they only knew what potential it held.

Click here to listen to some Javanese gamelan. Once on the site, choose a CD from the list on the right and then ‘from the tracks’ at the top left. Then pick which track you want to listen to – easy!

(All the websites linked to and photos provided in this post are owned by Giovanni – thank you!)

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English Grammar

August 2, 2007 at 9:00 am (my links, studies)

I’m remembering how much I dislike having to know all the names of the English tenses. (I’m trying to swat up in an attempt to increase my chances of finding a job in an English language school.) I have, however, found this website, which appears to be American (and it does have a few mistakes and typos in it) and is quite helpful. I’m just putting it here so that I know where to find it again – instead of having to trawl through google each time!

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Getting things done

March 5, 2007 at 9:00 am (my links)

Unlike this title suggests I haven’t actually read the popular book with the same title, however, I have been inspired by a new online to-do list. (Yes, I know the creator but I would have been inspired regardless.)

It’s called tedium and is easy to use, funky looking and practical. Check it out…..


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Bellissimo Torino!

March 4, 2007 at 5:04 pm (Italy, my links)

Planning to go to Turin at the end of March. Sono molto …. crap I don’t know how to say excited!

Here’s a good website all about Turin, it pretty much tells you everything you could need to know.

We are also planning to stay Le Meridien – Lingotto, the old Fiat factory that has been converted into a hotel. It’s still got the old test track that they used to test out the cars before they were sold and it’s on the roof! Molto interessante!

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March 4, 2007 at 4:54 pm (my links, sign language)

Today’s BSL sign

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February 28, 2007 at 11:07 pm (my links)

This is Adrian’s blog, which is really cool but not updated very often!

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