31 January 2013

I have a Goddaughter

A couple of weeks ago we took the white bus for its first road trip to visit Gran and Soot. It's great going up to visit. The MissyMoos do a lot of outdoors stuff as well as getting heaps of cousin time, as Aunty J lives only 5 minutes away.

This visit was no different with a birthday party and a baptism planned - two out of three cousins had "occasions" on the weekend. The 5th birthday party was held at a play centre on the Saturday. It was fun-filled and exciting, and it was lovely watching the kids all playing together.

You might remember the baby I was thankful for late last year? It was her baptism on the Sunday. Even more exciting was that Aunty J asked Hubby and I to be her Godparents. We've never been Godparents before, so we were honoured to be asked and to have a special part in our niece's life.

She's the family baby born after our own babies, the little one we will cherish who will always have a special place in our hearts for the special part we've committed to play in her life. The gift we bought for her (before we knew we were being asked to be Godparents!) says it all:

You are Special
image source


Linking up for Thankful Thursday with Six by the Bay:

SixByTheBay

29 January 2013

Day care tripping

Last week, MissyMoo3 (16 months) went to day care for the first time.

I've been back at work since June, but have been lucky enough to have Nonna looking after the two little MissyMoos at my home on those two days per week, so care for the little MissyMoos has been kept in the family. Now that I'm increasing my hours, day care and pre-school are taking care of the extra day.

It's three drop-offs, which will be a juggle. But we're now at the point at which we've tried different types of care at different times and we know what we're most comfortable with at each stage for our kids. So three drop-offs it will be: MissyMoo1 (6) to school, MissyMoo2 (3) to pre-school and MissyMoo3 to day care.

The day care year began last week, so although I wasn't working the extra hours yet, it was the perfect opportunity to send MissyMoo3 for a shorter day to settle her in. It went quite well. MissyMoo3 was smiling when we got there and still smiling when the teachers started talking to her. Having sent both her big sisters there at the same age, I was very comfortable with the surroundings and staff so I quickly signed her in, put her things away and showed her to the table where the other kids were sitting up for their morning tea. She wasn't too interested in the food, but she was interested in the people watching. This distracted her enough for me to stand up and step back. She looked up at me sadly when she realised I'd stepped away, but one of the teachers moved on in and distracted her while I made my escape. I lingered by the front door (out of sight) for a moment, but I didn't hear any crying so I happily walked out.

She had a good day. She got a little upset a couple of times, but was fine after a little cuddle. When we picked her up, she was happily playing outside. As for me, I was fine initially, but I really started missing her in the middle of the day. Even with her two big sisters home, the house still seemed so much quieter without her there.

Her next day will be the real test; dropping her off now that she knows she will be spending all day there. I hope it goes well...

Anyway, all the preparations for my extra work hours are done now. My work from home internet connection is functional, MissyMoo1 is ready for school, MissyMoo2 loved a casual day at pre-school last year and MissyMoo3 has been to day care. All I need to do now is make sure I bring the right files home the night before!


28 January 2013

A few funnies from our week

This past week has had quite a few bits and pieces in it. I may write a couple of future blog posts inspired by some of these but in case I don't get to it, I'll put together a list.

Milestones

  • MissyMoo1 (6) lost a top front tooth. She's very proud of her big gap now.
  • I discovered that MissyMoo3 (16 months) is cutting two molars up top, which are partly through. That's five teeth in about three weeks. She's doing pretty well, considering.
  • MissyMoo3 had her first day ever at day care.
Kidspeak Gems
  • MissyMoo1 to me: "I'm going to tickle you to death."
  • MissyMoo2 (3): "I'm going to play snakes and ladders by myself, then I'll get to have lots of turns."
Out of the blue
  • Hubby discovered a little frog in our bedroom the other night. True story. Catching it was fun. Gotta love summer :-)
  • We had to cancel our day after Australia day picnic at the park with friends because of rain :-(
  • MissyMoo3 managed to take off her nappy without being noticed. We put her in the car without realising and it wasn't until we arrived back home that I felt her wet dress ... then wet carseat ... then bare bum. Once we got inside we saw the nappy in the middle of the lounge room floor. (Should I have put this in the milestones section?)

26 January 2013

Cranky rant on what happens to be Australia Day

I thought about not blogging this and just seething about it on the couch.

But then I thought, this is my blog, the primary purpose of which is to aid my memory during these ridiculous, busy, crazy times so I can look back one day from the comfort of my quiet, empty big awesome house (one can dream) with my gin and tonic in hand and remember what life was like back in those ridiculous, busy, crazy times of having young children. I wouldn't be being honest or balanced if I wrote about all the gushy, lovey-dovey stuff and left out the I-just-want-them-to-shut-up stuff.

So here's my cranky rant, inspired by tonight.

For the first time since Christmas, we went to Mass - the MissyMoos just didn't stop. I spent the whole time disciplining them and I'm appalled at their behaviour. Then we got home, MissyMoo3 (16 months) had fallen asleep in the car and I just wanted MissyMoo1 (6) and MissyMoo2 (3) to stay quiet for a few minutes so I could get her in her cot without waking. Do you think they could manage it?

I like going to church. I like bringing the children to that environment, teaching them a little about reverence, respect, helping them to feel comfortable and part of a caring community. I also like quiet time to pray, reflect, give my spirit a little boost. But you can't do that with little kids. All I can manage is a "Give me strength" under my breath and then it's back to the kid wrangling ... quiet kid wrangling ... with an audience. Give me strength.

I'm sick of nice old ladies telling me how lovely my girls are and how fast little ones grow. I know they mean well, I know that for the most part it's true, but at that moment to my mind they were not being lovely and they can't grow fast enough. I'm sure I'll look back and think it went too fast. I'm sure I'll remember this time with rose-coloured glasses. But I'm in the thick of it now and my glasses only have the anti-fog stuff on them, not rose tinting. I know I don't have heaps of kids. Others have more. Others have them closer together. Others have kids with special needs. Others have kids who are more work. But this is me and my experience. Seven years ago, I got pregnant with MissyMoo1. Seven years I've been doing this parenting thing one way or another. Can it please just get a bit easier?!

I'm sick of listening to childless people having fun on the radio - yes triple J hottest 100 party, I mean you. 

triple j logo
image source
You with your party pics and your Twitter hashtags. Thanks for reminding me how I can't do any of that and how I spent the last few hours with ratty children while you were having the time of your lives. I'm turning off the radio.

Now the MissyMoos are in their beds. I gave them quiet cranky instead of shouting cranky and they knew I wasn't joking. I'd better go and kiss them goodnight. Then I'll pour myself a drink. Then I'll sit in silence because I'm not turning the radio on...

24 January 2013

Holiday fun and cherished thoughts

January has been a bit of blur - a twilight zone of holiday socialising peppered with a few work days to keep my feet on the ground.

We've had pool parties at friends' houses, play-dates at the park, visits with cousins and simple backyard fun.










I knew it already, but these past few weeks have helped me realise even more how happy I am with our life here, with our family and our friends.

I smile until my cheeks hurt when I think about how wonderful it is that a group of kids aged between 15 months and 15 years can all have fun together while their parents catch up and laugh until their sides hurt. I feel blessed in the knowledge that my parents are also my friends, that we enjoy each other's company and choose to spend time together, that after a few painful years, there are twinkles in all our eyes once more. My heart wants to sing at recalling a recent conversation between two six-year-old friends who want to be part of each other's families, who are "sort of cousins, because your mum is my sister's Godmother."

Precious.

SixByTheBay

23 January 2013

My Sunshine Award

Late last year, I was lucky enough to be awarded a Sunshine Award by Rita from The Crafty Expat.



I love reading Rita's blog. She blogs about crafty things, but has also had such an interesting life so far, that you really should check out her blog for yourself and read all about her. And she blogs in English, which is not her first language: formidable!

The Sunshine Award is an award given by bloggers to other bloggers.  The recipients of the Sunshine Award are: “Bloggers who positively and creatively inspire others in the blogsphere”.  The way the award works is this: Thank the person who gave you the award and link back to them.  Answer questions about yourself.  Select 10 of your favourite bloggers, link their blogs to your post and let them know they have been awarded the Sunshine Award!

After reading the description of the award, I was feeling all warm and fuzzy at the thought that Rita thought of me as somebody positive and inspiring. It isn't usually how I would describe myself, so I was pleasantly surprised, and I'm very thankful for this award, Rita!

Some questions and answers about me:

1. Favourite time of the year: Spring - it's warm enough to get outside, do things and shake off winter grumpiness, but not too hot for the little ones.

2. Favourite Movie: Cinema Paradiso. Every time I watch it, I'm transported to Sicilia.

3. What is your passion?: My family and singing.

4. Favourite colour: Pink - yes, I'm a bit girly :-)

5. Favourite time of the day: Morning. I'm generally chirpy in the morning - once there's a cup of coffee in my hand!

6. Favourite non-alcoholic beverage: Hot chocolate, mmm...

7. Favourite physical activity: Jogging. I like going at my own pace and getting a workout.

8. Favourite fruit: Mangoes

9. Favourite vacation: My ideal holiday would be one which didn't require any effort on my part. Maybe I could stay at home and have a nanny for a week for the MissyMoos!

10. Something sunshiney about yourself: I have a big smile :-))))


I'm not sure who I want to pass this onto right now, as I've been giving out Liebster awards like spam over the past few months. What I'm going to do is wait until I read something that really brightens my day, and then pass the award onto that person at that time :-)


Edit - added 28 January 2013
I'm awarding this to the following two bloggers:

With Some Grace - inspired by her happy birthday post; and
B Being Cool - inspired by her post about 50 free ways to enjoy any city.

Congratulations ladies :-)

22 January 2013

More part-time

Next week sees me increasing my hours of work. I've been working two days per week (15 hours) since I returned from maternity leave in June.

For the most part, I've liked two consecutive days per week. I think for me, it was the perfect way to return to work after having my third child. It gave me ability to concentrate on work at work, and keep up with the momentum of the first day when I continued the following day. It also meant that I still had time at home to keep on top of things with the MissyMoos and the house. Like I said, work works for me.

Although I have found it to be a good way back into the workforce, it has been full-on. As soon as I started back, I hit the ground running on a massive project. I'm still in the midst of it, but even now I look at the sheer volume of work I managed to get done in two days per week over the past few months and it blows my mind. I've tried to get the most out of my time in the office and have often left at the end of the day feeling physically drained because of how hard I had worked during the day. Yeah, it is not physical labour, but the mental energy I used actually physically tired me out.

In two days per week I have felt like I am always rushing, that I don't quite have enough time to achieve what I want to achieve in a given week. I'm not stressed, and I'm well supported with a great boss and team, but I've still felt like there hasn't quite been enough time in the working week.

So next week I begin phase 2: working 20 hours per week. As well as the two days per week in the office, I'll be doing a 5 hour day from home. (My workplace is so flexible and awesome!). It means I'll have a whole school-hours day at home, kiddy-free while the MissyMoos are in school, pre-school and day-care, to concentrate and be productive. It also means that the balance will be changing with less time to do home stuff, so I hope we manage okay. We'll soon find out!

21 January 2013

Kidspeak Gems: MissyMoo1

MissyMoo1 (6): "But Mum, on the news it said that kids need to eat a lot of Nutella."

Nice try, kiddo  :-)

17 January 2013

Limbo land

I'm feeling a bit all over the place at the moment.

It's holidays, but it's not. School is out, Hubby has just started two weeks' annual leave, but I still worked this week. We don't really have a routine at the moment, which is wonderful, except that I kind of need to at least part of the time to make sure things run smoothly around my work days.
I have one foot in the door of 2013 and one foot still cruising. It's nice in a way - having a bit of a holiday in everyday life - but it is also slightly unsettling.

Maybe that's just the way holidays are with three kids. I mean, it's never truly a "holiday" for the parents, is it? You still have to do everything, just perhaps more slowly or with less rigour.

Even though the lack of routine is making me feel a little spaced out, I'm enjoying the family time and I'm looking forward to another week of it ahead :-)

16 January 2013

Getting organised: did it work?


A while back, I created a timetable of my week in a bid to get organised and better allocate my time for housework. Some of you would have read my blog post all about it – it is currently my second most popular post of all time (although I have a feeling that my most popular post’s stats have been propped up by the spammers!).

I updated the schedule earlier in the week to suit our slightly different routine for 2013 and I thought it a good opportunity to let you know how things went.

Did it work? The short answer is: sort of.

It was a great visual aid for me to be able to see what I was doing with my time and where the opportunities were for housework and down time.

Did I stick to it? This is why the answer above was only a ‘sort of’ and not a resounding ‘yes’. I definitely tried, but I didn’t stick to it like glue. It was more of an aid for me than a strict timetable. I’m a ‘daily list’ person. The table helped me to remember the things I needed to have on my ‘to do’ list each day, so it helped to decrease the likelihood that a task would be overlooked, but it did nothing to change the fact that the task might make the ‘to do’ list but then be ignored!

It worked enough. I stuck to it enough. The fact that I’m using the idea again for 2013 is testament to that. I am hopeful that it will play its part in helping our household run smoothly this year.


15 January 2013

The art of efficient confiscation

My latest article on Aussie Mum Network is called "The Art of Efficient Conversation". You can check it out at http://www.aussiemumnetwork.com/the-art-of-efficient-confiscation.html

You may notice that the title is a play on my earlier Aussie Mum Network article. I couldn't help myself.

...
(article copied below)


Inspired by something I saw on the internet late last year (I wish I could remember exactly where it came from to give it credit), my new year commenced with a new tactic for Missy Moo indiscretions: confiscation of toys.

The new approach commenced this way: at the end of each day, my three-year-old and six-year-old daughters are required to tidy their bedrooms. After I give them an opportunity to check over their rooms, I then go in for inspection. Anything on the floor or bed is confiscated and goes into a cardboard box out of their reach. If they want to reclaim an item, they have to do a task of my choosing.



It worked so well that within a few days, their rooms were tidied almost perfectly. I then decided to apply the same tactic to behaviour, in the hope that tantrums would not escalate because of to-ing and fro-ing, that it would create discrete end to the situation. Toy gone, story over.  And so it began with the promise that the toy can be earned back with good behaviour over a defined period (for example, a specific outing).

I have found that the behaviour-induced toy confiscation has not been quite as painless as its room-tidying counterpart and it basically comes down to the emotional attachment.

With the tidy room, the children could see what was on the floor, they had an opportunity to remove it and when they didn’t, I removed it for them. Simple. Quick. Efficient.

On the other hand, when the children were being naughty, they were already emotional and there was no direct correlation in their minds between bad behaviour and confiscation of toys … yet. I found that the best way of doing it was to remove the toy quickly. Efficient. And effective, particularly when it is their second-favourite toy. (In that case it was earned back with good behaviour and everybody won).

An unexpected, but welcome benefit which I am noticing is the whittling down of toys in common areas. None of the toys which I confiscated from untidy rooms have yet been requested. Out of sight, out of mind. Maybe I’ll have to get a bigger cardboard box.

13 January 2013

Liebster awards #7, 8 & 9

Late last year, I was lucky enough to be awarded with another not one, not two, but three Liebster Awards, taking my grand total up to a whopping NINE!

Now if you've read my Liebster #6 post (go on, you'll love it - the spammers do, all those links...) you'll probably guess that I wasn't really expecting to get any more - it was like a 'final curtain call' type of post. Anyway, four days after posting that, I was awarded another Liebster by Min at Min's Mash. Then a couple of weeks later, Mrs D & Candy Bows gave me another. Lastly (but not leastly!) I received a Liebster award from Declutterbug versus Captain Stinkypants. Thank you so much to those lovely bloggers for thinking of me. I'm so sorry it has taken me this long to accept the award.

Here's something a bit different: the cool thing about this latest set of awards is that they have a prettier picture. I'm looking forward to having this one up on my sidebar:



Each of these lovely bloggers asked me 11 questions, so I will answer all 33. Get comfy :-)

Questions from Min
1. What inspired you to start a blog?
In my case, it's not what, but who. Hubby inspired me to start a blog - it was his idea anyway, as I hadn't really come across blogs before then. I was a stay-at-home mum with two MissyMoos, no paid job at that stage to think about going back to and I wanted to keep my brain functioning at an adult level. 

2. Do you have a favourite author. If so, who and why?
I don't really. I have quite a few whose books I really enjoy reading, but no stand-out favourite. If a book is a good story, well told and easy to read (in a flowing sense, not in a dumbed down sense), then I feel I've struck gold as a reader.

3. What is one interesting fact about you that you have not revealed on your blog?
I'm left-handed to write, but use scissors and bowl/play tennis etc with my right hand.

4. What was the name of your  first pet. What animal was it?
Tish, a cat.

5. Are you an extrovert or an introvert?
It depends on the situation. I guess that makes me an extroverted introvert.

6. Do you prefer summer or winter and why?
Summer - longer days, more to do. In winter, all we do is get sick.

7. What would be your choice for ultimate relaxation?
Anything child-free for a couple of hours...

8. Name the blog that you read the most and why.
The Baynhams. They're very good friends of ours :-)

9. What is yours or your family's most favourite meal to have for dinner.
Spaghetti bolognese. It's the only thing everyone eats all up!

10. Name something that made you smile in the last week?
Watching the MissyMoos splashing around with the hose this afternoon.

11. What would we find in your handbag?
Purse, notebook and pencil, tissues.


Questions from Mrs D & Candy Bows
1. Is your blog your job or your hobby?
My blog is my hobby, not my job :-)

2. Do you work from home and if so, how do you manage to work around the kids?
I currently work in an office two days per week, but in a couple of weeks time I'll be starting up with an extra day working from home. Working around the kids will be easy - they won't be home. MissyMoo1 (6) will be at school, MissyMoo2 (3) at pre-school and MissyMoo3 (15 months) at day care. The three drop-offs and pick-ups will be a task, but it will be worth it for a quiet house.

3. If you could have a whole day to yourself, what would you do?
Play guitar, sing, go out for coffee with friends and end with a nice meal out with Hubby.

4. What's your favourite quick, never fail, dinner recipe?
Fajitas

5. Are you good at saying no when you need to?
I'm okay, but I could be better.

6. What the most embarrassing situation your little ones have put you in when out and about?
Once I was walking in a crowded shopping centre holding an 18-month-old daughter on my hip, when she grabbed my nearest breast and shouted "boobies" three times. From then on we started using the Italian words for certain parts of the anatomy.

7. Are you currently following your passion?
If by my passion, you mean being super rich and travelling the world with my family, winning karaoke contests everywhere I go, then no. If my passion is working a flexible job which is interesting but still allows me to take care of my family, then yes.

8. Are you super organised or do you survive in organised chaos?
I'm usually pretty organised, but the holidays have thrown me a bit. I'm feeling a bit spaced out by the lack of routine.

9.  Have you ever moved country before?
No

10. Do you have a thermomix?
No

11. Camping, do you love it or hate it?
Liked it without kids. Never been with them, but don't see it happening.


Questions from Declutterbug versus Captain Stinkypants
1. How has blogging affected you?
It has affected me in many positive ways. I have "met" wonderful people, come to feel like part of a community (online) and have even received a couple of surprises through the exposure my blog has given me.

2. What do you do when you get some "me" time?
Blog, read.

3. Do you share your blog with family and close friends?
Of course! They're my biggest fans!

4. How often do you check your blog stats?
Daily. I'm a bit obsessive like that...

5. What inspires you to write?
Personal stuff. Things people say or do, things I do. It could be anything really.

6. How do you relax in the evening?
I don't really. In the evening, I do the housework I can't do when the little ones are awake, like ironing. Sometimes I read. Then I sleep. When I'm asleep, I'm relaxing.

7. Do you sleep with your smartphone?
No way. No way. It lives on a different level of the house! I get enough interruptions to my sleep from the kids, I don't want to be tempted by notifications on my screen in the middle of the night.

8. Name a person you admire?
My Nonna. 

9. Coffee or tea?
Coffee

10. Your dream holiday is...?
Sicily at the tail end of summer/early autumn with my family. Kids playing with cousins, granitas for breakfast, strolls in the piazza, gelato at the bar, being immersed in the delightful language...

11. In five years' time you hope to be...?
Here ... and less frazzled, because all three kids will be at school.

Thanks very much for these awards. I really appreciate that people are thinking of me when deciding who to pass these onto. 

For my part, I've decided not to pass it on this time, as I've already passed it onto quite a few blogs in the past. Although, if any of you who I've already given it to want the pink one instead, go right ahead :-)

12 January 2013

Too Close for Comfort - Clare Dowling


I bought this a few months ago from a bargain bin at a newsagency. I was initially attracted to the bright cover (shallow, I know). But more than that, when I read it was about two sisters, I decided to give it a go. I have one sister (no brothers), my daughters each have two sisters (no brothers), and the main character in my unfinished-first-draft-of-a-novel-I've-been-working-on-for-three-years has a sister (no brothers).

I'm always intrigued by sibling relationships - they can seem to differ so much between families sometimes or even at different stages in life in the same family, while still being fundamentally the same across the board in other ways. This book reflected that well.

Don't you love a book which, when you put it down part of the way through, you still can't stop thinking about the characters and wondering what will happen next? This was one of those books for me. Thankfully, I didn't have to wait too long as I was able to read it in a couple of days.

I'm very happy that this was my first book for the year. My 2013 reading has gotten off to a great start courtesy of a lovely book

And without even realising it (I didn't read the small writing at the top when I bought it), I bought an Irish book. One of MissyMoo3's (15 months) Godmothers is Irish and the other is part-Irish. I have also recently befriended a newly-arrived Irish woman at my daughter's school. Maybe my 7th-generation, 2nd fleet arrival Irish blood is coursing through my veins with renewed vigour. To be sure!!

Book: Paperback. I own it - purchased from a newsagency.
Rating: I gave this 3 stars on Goodreads.
One-liner: I'm very happy that this was my first book for the year. My reading has gotten off to a great start courtesy of a lovely book.

10 January 2013

I thought I loved you...

I thought I loved you.

I loved the way you made me feel. But it wasn't all smooth sailing. You were hard work sometimes. As time went on, having you in my life became more and more of a chore and less of a joy.

I began to doubt my love for you.

I decided to put some space between us, just to see if I could do without you, to see what effect your absence would have on me. I realised that I don't really love you.

There, I said it. I don't love you, but I need you. I can't do without you in my life. And so I have made a choice to do the work, because the end result is worth it all.

The end result is worth it. I've said it before. I can't bear wearing un-ironed clothes.

So back to the ironing board I go. What did you think I was talking about?

08 January 2013

Francesca drives a bus

Once upon a time there was a daddy, a mummy and three little girls. They all loved each other very much, until...

...they got in the car. It wasn't a small car, or a bad car. It was actually a very nice car, which Daddy and Mummy quite liked driving.



The only problem was that the three little girls got very squished in the back, particularly with their chunky child restraints. Space was at a premium, and any encroachment on said space was punished with screaming: "Doooon't!!", "Muuuuum she's kicking/pulling/scratching/pinching/leaning on me!!!"

Mummy's hand would get scratched trying to reach between the car seats to do up the oldest little girl's lap-sash belt. Daddy's hand barely fit at all. Mummy and Daddy like doing jigsaw puzzles, but prefer not to have to do them in order to fit all their little girls' stuff into the boot of the car. The two biggest little girls couldn't practise riding their bikes, as they wouldn't fit in the boot with the stroller for a trip out to the park. They're great at riding scooters, though.

Daddy and Mummy scratched their heads and began to come up with a plan. Initially, they did not want to be a people-mover family. Their family was complete - they didn't need extra seats. But after searching and searching, and thinking and thinking, they decided upon a car. Just before Christmas, the daddy, the mummy and the three little girls received a gift which improved their day-to-day lives immeasurably:


The white bus was roomy and the three little girls could not reach each other to kick/pull/scratch/pinch/lean on one another. Consequently, the volume of all voices lowered. An airy, breezy, happy mood took over the family on their outings such that they would come up with any excuse to go for a ride in the white bus.

Daddy and Mummy didn't need extra seats, but they could use them. Some people made silly jokes about having more children to fill up the bus, but Daddy and Mummy fill it with friends. The biggest little girl had a friend over to visit and they rode in the back seat together to the playground.

The end (of that chapter).

03 January 2013

Francesca's Festa of Favourites - January 2013

INTRODUCING ... (byo drumroll)...


FRANCESCA'S FESTA OF FAVOURITES!




Do you like the alliteration?

New to Francesca Writes Here in 2013 is what I intend to be a monthly link-up. 

I know, I know, in 2012 I said I wouldn't do themes after "I Spy in July". But it's 2013 now; that was so last year.

So what am I talking about? 

"Festa" in Italian means a celebration, a party. This link-up is a place where you can place links to your favourite posts in a given month, but here's the difference: they don't have to be posts you've written (although they can be). You can link to any post for the month that, for you, has been a must-read, that you're proud of, or that you think is funny.

What's the benefit? I'm lazy, so I hope that by the end of the month, it provides me with a summary of cool posts to read. If you're lazy, you can sponge off the list too :-) As I said, the intention is for this to be monthly, so there'll be a separate link-up for February, for March etc.

Now as well as being lazy, I'm also not into spending money on my blog, so I haven't used one of those super-dooper paid linky party tools. I've signed up for a free one, so I hope it works (leave a comment and tell me if it doesn't). The disadvantage of the free one is that there are no thumbnails, so you'll need to be creative with your words to get people to want to click on the link!

So, here you are, any time through January, feel free to link up posts you love.

Welcome to Francesca's Festa of Favourites!!

Francesca Writes Here

Happy New Year! Yes, I know it's already the third day of the year, but I've had two blogless days prior to today - one relaxing and one working. So here we are, back online and I'm doing my first blog post for the year about blogging :-)

As you might know, I have another blog for writing in Italian, Una Francesca Australiana.

In an attempt to simplify and streamline my bloggy experiences, I have decided to discontinue posting on that blog. I will, instead, write any Italian language posts here - after all Francesca writes here ;-) This blog is my personal blog all about me and my experiences, and attempting to improve my written Italian is part of what I do, so it makes sense to put it all in one place.

How does this affect readers of this blog? It doesn't really - except that you might see the occasional post you don't understand (or do, if you're into reading in Italian). There will also be a few Italian words in my "Topics" list, correlating with topics in the Italian language blog posts. For completeness, I will slowly copy over the posts from Una Francesca Australiana (there aren't that many). All the Italian language posts will also be tagged "scritto in italiano" for easy reference.

Cheers, here's to a blogriffic 2013 :-)
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