Printables: Eurovision Bingo 2019

It's BACK! By popular demand, here are this year's printable Eurovision bingo cards.

I've deliberately made them black and white and easy to read (well as easy as possible) so you can print them out without using a ton of ink, if you wish.

There's a mix of things - some are pretty much guaranteed to happen, some will probably happen multiple times, and some will need a bit of attention to spot.

I *think* if I've got this right, you should be able to score a full house by the end of the main show, even before all the voting starts.

Parental guidance: Probably a 12A rating, there's a mention of bondage in there. Amish bondage.

To play along, just print out (or write out by hand) as many of the above bingo cards as you need. If you need more than four, just write out some extras by moving some of the squares into different positions.

All four cards have the same squares, just in different places - so if you're drinking along, don't worry, you'll all be equally rat-arsed by the time the horror of the voting begins.

If you're still thirsty for more, here's the Eurovision Voting Drinking Game:

The Eurovision Voting Drinking Game

Choose a country. Usually this is the country whose song you liked the most, but it's a free choice. You can choose the same country as someone else, but if you want to all choose different countries, that's fine too.

(If there's anywhere near 26 of you, you might want to make it a sweepstake and draw countries out of a hat instead of choosing them yourself.)

God only knows what your country will score, so feel free to apply any of these rules:
  • Drink when you score 12.
  • Drink when you score 8 or more.
  • Drink when you score anything at all.
  • Drink when you score nothing.

You probably won't want to apply ALL of those rules, unless you're really up for some punishment.

If it's not going well, feel free to incorporate these BONUS RULES:
  • Drink when the UK scores 12.
  • Drink when the UK scores 8 or more.
  • Drink when the UK scores anything at all.
  • Drink when the UK scores nothing.

And in the unfortunate event that you foolishly CHOSE the UK or drew the poor Brexity sods out of the hat, or in any event if you want more reasons to drink, you can also take a shot if:
  • There's a massive delay on any country's live results video link.
  • Any country's celeb is beyond awkward or makes a terrible, terrible joke.
  • The UK's results are read by someone you really, really hate.
  • The winning country becomes massively obvious.

Finally, the BONUS BONUS ROUND, drink as much as you want of whatever you've got left if the voting has stopped making any sense to you and/or the country that had clearly won looks in danger of losing once they start throwing in the results of the 'national juries'.

Summer holiday cover for copywriters

It's not easy when you're a freelancer going on holiday - everything costs double, once to pay for it, and once in lost earnings. If you've got a copywriter going on holiday - or you ARE a writer going on summer holidays - I'm more than happy to step in even just for a few days or a few weeks.

A lot of freelance writers are stay-at-home parents, so when the whole family isn't staying at home, that can mean you need a writer for summer holiday cover, or potentially for up to six weeks for school holiday cover.

I'm a self-employed freelance writer who works from home, but I don't have any kids to take care of over summer, and I already went on vacation in June, so I won't be away for any length of time between now and September.

On top of that, I don't have any minimum contract - and that is in terms of word count, monetary amount and length of time - so if you just need one page, article or blog post covered while your normal writer is away on holiday, don't be afraid to get in touch, we can work it out on a totally ad hoc basis.

How much does summer holiday cover for a copywriter cost?

Again, I'm flexible. I know you'll often have prices already agreed with your regular writer who is going to be away for summer, or if you ARE a writer, you might be looking to outsource copywriting holiday cover without ending up out of pocket.

The bottom line is, I will attempt to work within your normal budget, or at least offer a compromise if that's not up to my usual rate. For small businesses and individuals especially, I always try to come up with a way of giving you what you need within budget.

So if you need school holiday cover for a copywriter, I'm here and ready to help - just email me to check my availability and let me know what you need (including word count and the rate you normally pay, if it's possible and appropriate to let me know).

Outsourced holiday cover for writers

If you're a writer going on holiday, I'm interested in taking on your regular orders as interim holiday cover for freelance writers - us self-employed types need to stick together!

As long as you're not subject to a contract that prevents you from outsourcing, I can take on as few or as many pages as you need, and again, I'll try to work within the normal rate of pay you charge.

We can work out delivery - whether you're happy for me to directly liaise with your client, or you'd prefer to handle delivery yourself, for example if you'll have an internet connection in the evenings and don't mind spending a few minutes 'at work' during your summer break.

This will usually work best if you have examples of previous work for the same client, as I can then mimic your writing style, tone of voice, choice of topics etc. But again, we can figure it out, if you decide to use me as your outsourced copywriter for the school holidays.

Get in touch

I'm easy to contact. My details are on my Contact Me page, or to the side of this page. Twitter is a good way to get in touch on a more informal basis, for example if you don't need holiday cover for a regular writer right now, but don't want to forget about me.

Emails are always welcome, and I receive an immediate notification through to my phone, so if you need urgent cover for a writer who has gone on holiday without any warning, or you've left it late to arrange holiday cover for your copywriter, email me and I'll reply to you as soon as I can.

Summer is a great time of year for families, and it should  be the time to take a break without having to worry about work. This isn't easy for freelancers, and the school holidays can be quite disruptive if your regular writer has kids to keep busy and entertained - I don't have kids, I'll be working through the summer months, and I'm here to help if you need it!

How to stop virus/hack (AKA Last Visits Official spam app)

You may have seen a particularly pernicious piece of spam circulating on Twitter, in the form of the virus (although it's not really a virus, as I'll explain in a moment).

You can recognise spam tweets as they contain this image.

The virus/hack is one of those 'see who follows you' types of website and claims to tell you exactly who has viewed your Twitter profile recently.

Although it isn't a virus - because it doesn't install malware directly on to your computer - and it isn't a hack either, because it doesn't illegally access your account, it's still not immediately obvious how to fix a infection.

But if you've been hacked by (also known as 'Last Visits Official') you are not alone - the Twitter widget below gives an idea of just how many spam tweets this app is putting out.

How to delete virus

Remember, is NOT actually a virus. You don't need to run any antivirus software, app or program to remove - you just need to deactivate it in your Twitter settings.

To do this, go directly to or on the Twitter website, click on your circular profile icon at the top-right and then choose Settings and privacy and then scroll down and click on Apps.

If you have been hacked by, somewhere in the Apps list there should be something that is - it might be listed under that name or it might be listed as Last Visits Official, or something similar.

Click to Revoke access and the spam app will no longer have access to post tweets onto your personal Twitter profile.

If you want, there should also be a link to Report Last Visits Official/ as spam, which will help to get it deactivated by Twitter once and for all.

A lot of guides on how to remove Last Visits Official also recommend changing your password, once you've revoked access and deleted the spam tweets from your profile. I don't personally think this is necessary - it's just a Twitter app/extension, not an actual hack - but it's up to you if you want to be confident that nobody has unauthorised access to your account.


The short version:

  • On Web Twitter, go to Settings then Apps.
  • Revoke access to or Last Visits Official.
  • Optional: Report the app to Twitter.
  • Optional: Delete the spam tweets it has posted to your profile.
  • Optional: Change your Twitter password for maximum security.

Ten Years a Writer

September 18th 2006 was my first day as an agency-based online news correspondent - my first day as a professional writer.

It was not, of course, my first day of being a writer at all; I'm 33 now and have been writing stories for close to 30 years. I taught myself to read before anyone else knew I could do it, and by the end of infants school there was a hand-stitched copy of one of my stories in the classroom's mini-library area.

You might imagine I've had a clear idea of what I wanted to do with my life, based on that, but it hasn't been easy. At A-level there were no creative writing classes, no after-school writing clubs, and it was only a last-minute decision that saw me switch from Geography to English Language.

At university I didn't make that decision in time, and wasted two years studying Physics before I realised I needed to switch. In a sense I'm glad of that, as the BA Language, Literacy & Communication degree programme I ended up studying was fantastic and I use what I learned from it every day in my writing and in life in general.

Charlotte Woods gave me the opportunity to join the programme, and Steve Jones - perhaps more than anyone in my further and higher education - made me feel like I had something special. Alex Baratta and the incomparable Ludovica Serratrice (probably the cleverest person I've ever met, and far far better at English grammar than I will ever be) made learning feel worth it again after years of it feeling like a chore. Three years taught me most of what I now value and built my confidence hugely - and gave me everything I needed to start writing as a profession.

My agency days weren't always easy either, as many of you already know. The first year or two were fantastic though. The office was quite new, and there was a real sense of building something together. John Mills knocked the last rough edges off of my writing, and Richard Pattinson offered moral support when it was needed. Both were (and still are) legends; neither will be matched in my career. Several of my favourite people are former colleagues from those days, and I'll always be grateful for knowing just how productive I can be when facing an impossible task against an unreasonable deadline.

I lasted (almost) five years - until June 30th 2011 - and have been self-employed since July 1st of that year, which means my five-year freelancerversary passed this summer. But today feels much more important: proof that whether employed or self-employed, permanent or contracting, I've got what it takes to flourish as a writer, a jobbing word-merchant for hire.

This has been a completely self-indulgent post because, after all, I'll only have maybe four or five decade anniversaries (I'm sure there's a specific word for that...) during my career, and this is my first. Although if I'm honest, I still sometimes miss making Chicken McSandwiches four days a week instead.

The Pedantulum Swings

There is a curse among copywriters - the inability to read anything without automatically proofreading it, too.

If you are friends with any writers, you'll know how hard we find it not to point out every punctuation, spelling and grammar mistake we see in newspapers, ad copy, even blog posts.

"Why do you do that?" people ask us. "Why don't you just ignore it?"

Well, y'know when you're listening to the radio in the car, and you drive under a bridge, and Adele goes:

"Never mind, I'll find CKKKRRKWWWKRR you-ooou..." ?

That's what it feels like inside our heads when we hit a grammatical speed bump. It's like static interference blocking out the message of the text; like the water jump in the steeplechase of the page.

Just as you or I might not notice one wrong note in a concerto (unless you happen to be a concert pianist, in which case I apologise...), many people can probably skim over a typo or an incorrect word choice without really noticing it.

But writers work with words every day, and we love them. And inside our hearts, there's this little pendulum marking out the metre of everything we read - tick tock, tick tock, nouns, verbs, phrases, clauses, all carefully constructed and sequenced to make the page sing.

And then you see 'stationary' instead of 'stationery', or 'forego' instead of 'forgo', or (more commonly) 'there' instead of 'their'.

Sometimes you get a really bad sentence and it's akin to the piano lid falling on the pianist's fingers - there's just no way to ignore it.

I call this the pedantulum, the rhythm of righteousness, the discord of truly dismal writing. It clocks us off balance good n proper, and no mistake.

So don't judge us too harshly for being pedantic - you have no idea how loud the proofreader within is screaming each time we see 'accomodation' or a 'desert menu' or 'food alergies'...


Forgive the glitchy handwriting, this was written at 4am as fast as I could get the words down on paper...

Our footsteps will always echo in the places where we ran
hand in hand, feet flying, unafraid that we might fall
or pull each other to the ground.

Over grass we flew, over cobbles and concrete,
down the lane, across the street,
each somehow leading; neither, never, behind.

No broken flags to trip us, no bollards to block our way,
but a clear run, on and on,
out of the town and into the fields.

And there, a slip;
a sudden relaxation of my grip,
a hand once full, now empty.

You lead us now, my love,
down cobbled lanes into leafy glades,
always one step ahead
while I, behind, reach to take your hand once more.

My footsteps will always follow in the echoes of your own.

But you lead us now; look ahead, my love,
and never turn to look behind,
never, neither, try to find
my hand with your own.

My feet fly, never to fall, waiting for the day you soar
and climb within my reach.

Hand in hand, I will lift you higher, unafraid
while beneath us, in the places where we ran,
our footsteps will always echo.

'Echoes', December 9th 2015, 4:16am.


A modern ballad to the perils of getting dressed on a cold winter day...

(Skip to 1m 05s to sing-alonga-Henderson)

No matter how hard I try
I can't push my feet inside
If I can't break through
There'll be no stockings for you

It's so cold, I was freezin'
That's why, there's a reason
My manual dexterity's gone
Now I've got these mittens on, oh

Do you believe in tights after gloves?
I can feel my toes inside them now
But I really don't think I can pull them up, no

Do you believe in tights after gloves?
I can feel my feet inside them now
But I really don't think I can pull them up, no

Well I know that I'll get through this
And I know I'll get them on
I'm not freezing anymore
No I'm not freezing anymore
I'm not freezing anymore
I'm not freezing anymore

Do you believe in tights after gloves?
I can feel my feet inside them now
And I'm starting to think I can pull them up, oh

Do you believe in tights after gloves?
Do you believe in tights after gloves?