Posted in Blogging, Simple Plan

And they’re back! Again! (Like six months ago…)

2022: the year Simple Plan released the best album they’ve ever released (bar Still Not Getting Any… ‘cos reasons)! HARDER THAN IT LOOKS – released: 6 May 2022

It’s been six long years of waiting for the diehard Simple Plan fan and let me tell you, the wait was definitely worth it. Harder Than It Looks is an album that all long term fans will absolutely love. And I don’t think it’s hyperbole to state that as fact.

Author in natural habitat 26.12.2022

It’s also been probably six long months of waiting to have the mental capacity to sit down and type up this review. I was planning on posting this after I first listened to it, however, life happened. But, even after this amount of time my initial thoughts still stand.

6.05.2022 – Harder Than It Looks is a tribute to what the band has created in their twenty-plus years of being a band. I feel like the album is a mix of every album they’ve released with some songs reminiscent of Still Not Getting Any whilst others vibe off the self-titled and GYHO. There is even one track, Best Day of My Life, that feels like it hearkens back to Pierre and Chuck’s Reset days, pre-SP. And then a couple of songs that have a fresh sound that the band hasn’t done yet, but still with a hint of the past echoing through them. It’s definitely a roller coaster ride that I don’t want to get off.

The songs that I loved after my first listen all the way through: Anxiety, Iconic, Slow Motion (and of course, Congratulations and The Antidote are firm faves too).

The timing of Harder Than It Looks could not be more appropriate. It came out just when another wave of a certain little virus went through where I lived, and I was a little overwhelmed by the day-to-day life. And a certain track from this new offering spoke eloquently of where I, and many others, were positioned mentally and emotionally. Anxiety is that song. I will let the lyrics speak for themselves.

The pressure comes, I can feel it now
I’m just another tragic case of
The only one I was missing out
Comparisons I can’t escape from

All these voices circling my head
(Oh, oh, oh, oh, oh-oh)
I wish I was someone else instead
‘Cause it all just brings me down

Anxiety is killing me
All of these expectations
Are shaking up my sanity
I’m getting so tired of faking now
It’s all so much that I can’t breathe

Thеre must be something wrong with mе
Reality is killing me
It’s giving me, anxiety

Get away, get away, get away, get away
Get away from me
Anxiety, anxiety

I try to run, gotta separate
It’s everywhere, it’s all around me
I try to sleep but I’m wide awake
‘Cause every dream is filled with envy

Let’s turn everything, everything off (Turn everything off)
Don’t ever, don’t ever look back (Don’t ever look back)
Let’s turn everything, everything off (Turn everything off)
Don’t ever, don’t ever look back
‘Cause it all just brings me down

At the end of May I caught COVID-19 for the first time – yes, I’ve had it twice – and Simple Plan’s music was once again a great source of comfort, along with my faith in God, and my love for a certain composer… *cough*LinManuelMiranda*cough*. But, this post is about Simple Plan and their new album.

It’s been quite some time since I listened to the album for the first time, but here are my thoughts on the album as I listen to it for the umpteenth time, track-by-track.

Wake Me Up When This Nightmare’s Over – This track opens the whole album. The soft piano opening draws you in to listen and though it’s not a favourite of mine, it is a solid SP offering. The lyrics resonate as they can speak of specific circumstances, but at the same time are generic enough that each listener can relate it to their own circumstances – eg. “I can’t believe this mess we’re in / Tell me where do I begin? / ‘Cause it’s making my head spin / And I can just feel it.”

Ruin My Life (feat. Deryck Whibley) – Whenever the band feature other artists they always hit it right out of the park. I was never much of a fan of Sum41; however, his vocals fit well with this track. Ruin My Life is an anthem to all those bullies and naysayers who put one down in the past. An anthem to us rising above them and proving them wrong. (Sorry, I don’t mean to disappoint you, but you didn’t ruin my life.)

The Antidote – The first single the band released from the album, prior to the release. I fell in love with it from the first listen.

Million Pictures of You This is such a beautiful sappy romantic song.

Anxiety – Pierre said this song was influenced by his own journey with debilitating anxiety and that is oddly comforting. Knowing that we are not alone in our struggles (lyrics are above)

Congratulations – This track is quintessentially SP. I really don’t have the words.

Iconic – This track gets me totally pumped!

Best Day of My Life This song hearkens back to Pierre and Chuck’s Reset Days.

Slow Motion “… one of those whiteboard ideas Chuck had… idea of love at first sight. … This is gonna sound silly, but when I hear this chorus, it just makes me want to cry. I was driving…and I was sitting in my car with tears coming down my face, and I’m like, ‘What is wrong with me? I’m listening to my own music and I’m crying in my car!’”Pierre Bouvier

Two – From the general all encompassing song at the beginning to the extremely specific song about split homes this whole album is amazing. The band is not afraid to tackle difficult topics, but do it with their typical pop, rock and pop punk sensibilities with a few new flavours sprinkled throughout.

I love this album so much. I love this band so much.

Ten out of ten for always being my favourite band.

Posted in Blogging, poetry

Another Address

Heart ache


Flashes of joy like a movie reel

Laughing about food choices

Laughing when friends see

what we don’t see

Love crept up on us

I wouldn’t have it any other way

Wasn’t looking

But you came and held my heart

And I held yours



What is that?

What defines that?

Promises of staying

in health and sickness

I meant it

You didn’t quite believe it

But I stayed.

And you went home.

Another address

Real life

We are but strangers in this world

Yearning for our true home.

You have reached that place

I know where you are

That brings peace.

I still have much to do

I am not finished yet

God willing

I will do all that He has for me to do

Posted in Blogging


So, here I am at the end of another year, and I feel like it’s zoomed by. It’s been a mix of highs and lows with most of the highs being film related, and social times with friends. And the lows have mostly been work related. (Though not bad lows, just that they were challenging times, rewarding in the end though.)

I’m not even sure how to really describe this year, so instead I will share with you my annual “Best Of…” lists.

So, here goes…

Best of 2021

NB: Any music/TV shows/films mentioned here may have been released in prior years, but this is based on whether I newly discovered them this year, or they have had a big impact on me this year.

Book of the year: Once Upon a Time in the North – Philip Pullman Being able to dig deeper into Lee Scoresby’s story was such a joy, such a moving piece of work within the His Dark Materials universe.

Album of the Year: Tick Tick Boom/Encanto These two albums tie for different reasons.

Creative of the Year: Lin-Manuel Miranda – does this even need an explanation?

Band of the Year: Simple Plan (just) – to be honest they would always be band of the year…

Song of the year: Shiver – Ed Sheeran – This song is just so darn catchy

Worship song of the year: Hope of the Ages – Hillsong Worship, Reuben Morgan, Cody Carnes – this song came out at just the right time.

Christian Song of the Year: Jesus is Coming Back – Jordan Feliz – Amen!

Soundtrack of the Year: Tick Tick Boom/Encanto – I can’t choose between them as they sing to me in different ways.

Christmas Song of the Year: Merry Christmas – Ed Sheeran & Elton John – this song is just so much fun

Most Anticipated Release of the Year: Tick Tick Boom/Spider-Man No Way Home – TTB for reasons & No Way Home because I love spider-man.

Concert of the year: Johnny Young, Normie Rowe & Narelle Belle (as Karen Carpenter) – 17.12.2021

Movie of the year: Tick Tick Boom

Runner Up: Encanto

Honourable Mentions: Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings, Spider-Man: No Way Home

Movie Character of the year: Jonathan Larson

Actor of the Year: Andrew Garfield – for more reasons than one 😉
TV Show/Streaming Show of the year: The Falcon & The Winter Soldier/The Mandalorian/Home After Dark/Hawkeye

TV Character of the year: Hilde Lisko/Bucky Barnes/Mando
Sporting Moment: Sports was a thing?

Personal moments: Our new pastor and his family arrived safely in Perth at the end of November. I helped my bestie with her driving and she passed and got her Ps!

Memorable hashtags: #loveforLin #marlysinstaweek #adopteelife


Top 25 songs of the year

1. Shiver – Ed Sheeran

2. 30/90 – Cast of Tick Tick Boom

3. My Own Drum (Remix) – Ynairaly Simo feat. Missy Elliott

4. The Antidote – Simple Plan

5. Carnaval Del Barrio – Cast of In The Heights Film

6. Bad Cinderella – ALW & Carrie Hope Fletcher

7. Hope of the Ages – Hillsong Worship, Reuben Morgan & Cody Carnes

8. Surface Pressure – Jessica Darrow

9. One Name (Ek Naam) – Selah

10. Undeniable – Josh Wilson

11. Keep the Beat – Lin-Manuel Miranda & Ynairaly Simo’

12. Jesus is Coming Back – Jordan Feliz

13. One More Song – Lin-Manuel Miranda

14. Louder Than Words – Andrew Garfield, Vanessa Hudgens & Joshua Henry

15. Running Out of Time – Cast of Vivo!

16. [wonder working] – All Creatures

17. Therapy – Andrew Garfield & Vanessa Hudgens

18. Weirdo – Beckett

19. The Family Madrigal – Stephanie Beatriz, Olga Merediz & Encanto Cast

20. House of the Lord – Phil Wickham

21. Visiting Hours – Ed Sheeran

22. Swimming – Andrew Garfield, Vanessa Hudgens & Joshua Henry

23. We Don’t Talk About Bruno – Encanto Cast

24. Scars in Heaven – Casting Crowns

25. Merry Christmas – Ed Sheeran & Elton John

Bonus: Save The City – Adam Pascal & The Cast of the Rogers! Musical from Hawkeye!

The books I’ve read this year

1. Re-read – His Dark Materials 1: Northern Lights – Philip Pullman [17.12.2020 – 9.01.2021]

2. Re-read – His Dark Materials 2: The Subtle Knife – Philip Pullman [9.01.2021-5.02.2021]

3. Re-read – His Dark Materials 3: The Amber Spyglass – Philip Pullman [21.03.2021]

4. Evangelism – J. Mack Stiles [3.04.2021-4.04.2021]

5. Science in Early Childhood [5.04.2021-25.04.2021]

6. How to read the Bible for all it’s worth [2.05.2021-8.05.2021]

7. Lyra’s Oxford – Philip Pullman [9.05.2021]

8. Once Upon a Time in the North – Philip Pullman [9.05.2021]

9. Spirits of the Ghan – Judy Nunn [18.05.2021-30.05.2021]

10. Bad Clowns – Benjamin Radford [4.06.2021-5.06.2021]

11. The Historian – Elizabeth Kostova [13.06.2021-2.07.2021]

12. Where is God in a Coronavirus World? – John Lennox [11.07.2021]

13. Killer Children – Danielle Tyning [17.07.2021]

14. Serial Killers – Nigel Blundell [17.07.2021-19.07.2021]

15. Narrative Apologetics – Alister E McGrath [30.07.2021-4.08.2021]

16. Having a Mary Heart in a Martha World – Joanna Weaver [5.08.2021-7.08.2021]

17. The Bible Down Under – Meredith Lake [21.09.2021]

18. Finding God in the Lord of the Rings – Kurt Bruner & Jim Ware [10.10.2021]

19. The Story of Son – JR Ward [23.10.2021]

20. Prisoner of Night – JR Ward [23.10.2021]

21. Live Like a Narnian – Joe Rigney [3.11.2021]

22. The Royal Society – Adrian Tinniswood [6.11.2021-14.11.2021]

23. Seeing Further – Bill Bryson [14.11.2021-27.12.2021]

24. The Dogs that Made Australia – Guy Hull [28.12.2021-]

Posted in Blogging, early learning thoughts, work, working with children

The Quiet Days at Work

Savour the “Quiet Days”.  This is one of the biggest lessons I have learnt in early learning.  These days or even moments can often be few and far between, but they are as precious as the “Crazy Days”.

I used to get bored on the QDs, but after 11 years in the profession, I’ve reached a point where I can utilise them to benefit both myself, my team and the children that I educate and care for.  I haven’t quite perfected this, and I don’t think I ever will.  I do still get bored, sometimes.  It’s a work in progress.


NB: A Quiet Day doesn’t necessarily mean that there are low numbers of children; this is sometimes the case, though.

Here are the top 5 things I’ve found are beneficial to do on a Quiet Day:

  1. More one-on-one interaction with the children (on low number days)
  2. Getting to sit back and watch the children engage in their own play experiences without interruption; after all even on the days that seem quiet, quality learning is always happening.
  3. Quality team interactions
  4. Catching up with documentation and planning
  5. Cleaning jobs that don’t get done otherwise
There are evidently a lot more that can be done on a quiet day than what I’ve listed; however, those were what came to the top of my list.


I cherish the Quiet Days as they are the ones that often garner the most memorable moments for me personally.  Cuddles from the babies and toddlers; random conversations about Frozen or food with the older children; moments where I get to know my colleagues better; they are all worth the quieter moments.

What do your Quiet Days look like?

Posted in adoptee, Australian, Blogging, blogging the important stuff, film review, I don't write reviews, life, movies, my life, my thoughts, my writing, personal, Reflections

Being an Asian Adoptee in the Western World

Or: My journey as a Chinese born Australian who doesn’t see herself as Asian but, after seeing Shang Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings, I realise a part of me deep down still has some strong connection to my Chinese roots.

Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings (Gif created by me. Credit: Marvel Studios)

That is one heck of a subtitle, hey? But, this is how I felt after watching this new entry into Phase Four of the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

This is not going to be a typical review, and there will also be no major spoilers (probably), but fair warning I will be gushing a lot as my love for this film surpasses any other MCU film. Also, this post will most likely be all over the place. So please bear with me.

Continue reading “Being an Asian Adoptee in the Western World”
Posted in album review, Blogging, blogging the important stuff, Music, new music

DNA – Backstreet’s Back!

After twenty-five years this “boy” band does not disappoint. From the first note of Don’t Go Breaking My Heart to the final ring of Ok this album DNA gives me hope for the year to come. At least for the music landscape as a whole.

I must admit, I haven’t been a fan of the Backstreet Boys for as long as they’ve existed. Twenty-five years ago in 1994, I was nine years old and still listening to the music my parents listened to and hadn’t formed my own personal musical tastes as such. It wasn’t until BSB’s album Millennium was released that they really came into my radar. But, that cemented them in my mind if not quite my heart.

Every release since, I’ve waited with some anticipation for each one. But, it wasn’t until In a World Like This that I fully realised my love for this group. And now as DNA is released to the world, I reflect on the impact this group has made on my music journey as a whole.

But, before I get to that, my thoughts on the twelve tracks on this album.

  1. Don’t Go Breaking My Heart – When they released this track in the middle of 2018, I was so excited and ready for new BSB music. Though I didn’t love the song straight away, I do enjoy its strong beats and their dance moves in the music video.
  2. Nobody Else – it took a second listen of this track for me to appreciate what was being said in the song as the electronic tones jarred for me a little. But, when I concentrate on the harmonies and the lyrics, it speaks to me so profoundly.
  3. Breathe – one of my favourites on the album. BSB a capella will always be great as it showcases their harmonies so well.
  4. New Love – the subject matter of this song jarred with my sensibilities for a moment, but, it has a fun beat and a great tone to it. A good song to play in a club
  5. Passionate – this is such a catchy song, it makes me want to get up and dance, makes me feel so passionate too. Haha
  6. Is It Just Me – a more mellow track, still with a good dance beat
  7. Chances – This song. My heart. Enough said.
  8. No Place – I love the video the boys released with this song, a glimpse into their family lives. And importantly a singable chorus.
  9. Chateau – I love the simple opening with just the single vocals and keyboard chords. Then leading into the vocal harmonies. Beautiful.
  10. The Way it Was – I could imagine the boys singing this like old time crooners Jersey Boys style.
  11. Just Like You Like It – It feels like one of their songs from the Never Gone era.
  12. Ok – This song really concentrates on their harmonies and simple musical stylings with guitar and beats. And a beautiful way to round off the album

I love this album, I love how I can listen to every single track without skipping a song. It makes me think of another band that I can do that with. Simple Plan. Yes, I can’t not mention my all time favourite band, ever. Because, I think in a weird roundabout way, if I wasn’t so into 90’s pop music (of which BSB is the unofficial ambassador) when I was a tween/teenager I wouldn’t have been drawn to the pop tones of Simple Plan. And yes, they are more pop than punk, fight me.

I do believe now, in hindsight, that the Backstreet Boys have had more of a profound impact on my music journey than I used to think. Especially since I kinda had a song crush on NSYNC’s Bye Bye Bye (and It’s Gonna Be Me) for a whole year. But, Backstreet Boys has lasted. I mean, they’re twenty-five years old! We enter their twenty-sixth year as a group, and that is amazing. And their music has featured on many a playlist of mine over the last two decades. That’s a long time. Only Simple Plan comes second to that.

And I’m hoping with the release of DNA that that will continue for the foreseeable future.

Backstreet Boys are definitely in my DNA.

Backstreet’s Back, alright!