One More To Go…

imageIt’s the end of the Autumn term tomorrow and I have just one lesson left. At 12.30 I will be out of that door faster than I’ve moved in a while, and on Saturday you will be able to find me, just like Daisy here, fast asleep under a warm duvet.

It’s been a long term. The assessments have been completed, the concerts have finished and I am knackered. I attempted to try and write a list of everything I had achieved over the last four months and after two sides of A4 paper had been filled I gave up – it’s easier just to say that it’s been intense, busy and, at times, extremely stressful, and I’m looking forward to the opportunity to take a little bit of time to get myself together again.

However, this week has been particularly rewarding. My students absolutely nailed their performances throughout the various awards assemblies, the atmosphere in the lessons has been lovely, and I was recognised for some of the work that I have done in the last few months. It doesn’t matter how old you are, sometimes it’s just nice to be praised by people that you respect.

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I also received a lovely surprise in the post from my very good bloggy friend. Jolene, from Valley Girl Gone Country was one of the first connections I made when starting my blog in 2013, and she has become a friend and confidante that has helped me through some difficult times. I returned home after a long day to find a package waiting for me, containing a lovely card, a very sweet cat ornament for my tree and a little felt stocking. We live thousands of miles away from each other, and she took the time to send me something that made my day. Jolene, you’re a legend – the card is on my shelf, the ornament is on the tree and the stocking in above my fireplace… Thank you x

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Aside from a few last minute Christmas cards, I think I’m pretty much prepared for next week. The decorations are up, the presents are wrapped, the food has been ordered in preparation for having dinner at my sister’s house and I’m ready to spend a few days snuggled up on the couch with The Bloke and the fluff monsters. It will be the first Christmas in years where my family and I will sit around the table and hopefully enjoy each other’s company – the strained and volatile relationships that have marred every celebration as long as I can remember have been improved by my sister’s wedding a few months ago – we were almost forced to spend time together and it had a very positive effect on us all. I’m actually looking forward to having a Christmas that I’ve always envied of others, and with the addition of my new brother-in-law (who is also a music teacher) I’m sure that it’s going to be a nice day.

I also have a few meals planned with friends who are spending the festive season in other parts of the country, starting with tomorrow night at my favourite tapas restaurant (after I’ve got thoroughly sloshed at the German Market with my colleagues).

We don’t celebrate Thanksgiving here, so this is the time of year where I am thankful. I’m thankful for The Bloke and the life that I share with him and the cats in our home, good friends and a supportive family, however disfunctional we can be at times, that I can spend my Christmas with. There are so many that aren’t as lucky.

What about you guys? Are you prepared for the holidays?

You can also find me on Twitter and Tumblr @suzie81blog

 

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The World is Going Mad

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I awoke to hear of the awful news of the events  in Peshawar yesterday. Seven Taliban attackers wearing bomb vests cut through a wire fence to gain entry to a Peshawar’s Army Public School, which has a mixed cohort of boys and girls from civilian and military backgrounds, before launching an attack on an auditorium where children were taking an exam.

Gunmen then moved from room to room at the military-run school, shooting pupils and teachers at random where they found them in a siege that lasted eight hours. Eventually, all seven of the attackers were killed, and hundreds of people were evacuated. In total, at the time of writing, at least 132 children and 9 staff were killed.

This follows the siege in Sydney earlier in the week, where two civilians were killed after being held hostage, along with seventeen others, at a Lindt cafe in the city.

The world is going mad.

Tonight, my thoughts are with those who have lost their lives and those who have been affected by the tragedies…

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How To Decorate Your Man During the Festive Season

2014 has certainly been the year of the beard and photographer Stephanie Jarstad has taken this hairy celebration to a whole new level. While supporting Movember she created a project that would continue to highlight men’s health and prostate cancer awareness in the form of DecemBEARD, photographing festively adorned men in all their fuzzy glory. The results are superb.

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Like what you see? You can purchase pictures of these bearded lovelies and more from Stephanie’s Etsy store in the form of Christmas cards and poster prints.

What about you guys? Do you decorate your loved ones during the holiday season?

You can also find me on Twitter and Tumblr @suzie81blog, and don’t forget to check out my Facebook page http://www.facebook.com/suzie81speaks.

Photo Credits: Stephanie Jarstad

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#SundayBlogShare

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It’s the weekend, which means only one thing – today is my #SundayBlogShare party on Twitter! It’s the eighth consecutive party and I’ve been overwhelmed by how quickly it has grown, with nearly a thousand posts being shared last week!

Everyone is welcome to participate – you don’t have to follow Suzie81 Speaks or its associated social media accounts, there are no limits on the amount of posts that you share and you don’t need to have a specific theme to your blog or the links that you share. Simply tweet your link with the hashtag #SundayBlogShare and enjoy! Meet hundreds of other bloggers, retweet their posts and build your own Twitter following!

The rules are simple and easy to follow:

1. #SundayBlogShare is a happy place. Anything that contains racist, homophobic and/or sexist material will be removed and reported.

2. Blog posts only! No inspirational quotes, links to book promotions on Amazon or porn.

3. Share the #bloglove! Follow, retweet and enjoy lots of posts from blogger all over the world. However, don’t be desperate enough to beg for or demand retweets and follows from others.

You can also include my Twitter handle @suzie81blog and I can easily retweet you!

The party is on all day – you are welcome to join us at anytime throughout Sunday!

Looking forward to seeing you all there! Feel free to reblog, tweet the link and invite your friends!

You can find me on Twitter and Tumblr @suzie81blog and don’t forget to check out my Facebook page http://www.facebook.com/suzie81speaks

 

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2014: A Blogging Review

2014 is almost over, and it has been a roller coaster of a year. My blogging endeavours began in April 2013. I was experiencing a difficult time in my personal life and as I have always found writing therapeutic, starting a blog seemed to be the perfect solution.

Twenty months later, Suzie81 Speaks has grown above and beyond all expectectations and has become the most effective form of therapy that I have ever received. I have built up a community of over 9,000 followers and hit the 300,000 view mark earlier this month. This year in particular has been wonderful – I have been featured on Mumsnet several times (which I find amazing considering the fact that I don’t have children), I was lucky enough to be invited to a blog community meet up in Birmingham a few months ago and #SundayBlogShare, my weekly Twitter party that I started in October now has hundreds of participants every week. Above all, I have been able to communicate with a truly amazing group of people from all over the world, some of whom are now email and Facebook friends.

The process has been a huge learning curve, predominantly because I knew nothing about blogging when I started. Suzie81 Speaks does not have a theme or a niche – I like to have the freedom to write about whatever topic I am interested in at the time. Consequently, I have created a collection of varied and eclectic posts. I like to take the opportunity to review these regularly, deleting and editing where necessary, and recently I have created buttons for some of my favourites which you can see in the sidebar. I wanted to be able to share with you some of these with you – you are welcome to click on the images that take you directly to the post.

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What about you? What have been your favourite posts from your blog over the last year? If you wish to share a link, you’re welcome to do so in the comment section below!

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You want a piece of me? It’s Showtime

suzie81speaks:

This is Karen, my friend’s cousin. At the age of 25, she has been diagnosed with cervical cancer. This is only her second post, but I wanted to share her story with you… There’s plenty of you to show her some blog love!

Originally posted on quarter-life cancer:

On Tuesday 9th of December, I got into a taxi. I was driven to central London, ready for the 7pm screening of ‘Time’s Up, Bitch.’

Just to clarify, that’s ‘time’s up’ for my tumour, not myself. I had a radical trachelectomy, which is the removal of the cervix, surrounding tissue and lymph nodes. Oh and Mr Ind also scraped off the top part of my vagina as well, just to be safe. Whilst he’s in there, eh? This blog entry is dated the 13th of December, which means they didn’t lose me on the operating table. So I’m using my iPad and typing this out very slowly with my right hand, from my hospital bed. I didn’t have my left hand amputated by the way, there are just 3 cannulas poking out of it.

Before continuing with the black comedy routine, I want to say thank you to everyone who has read…

View original 1,354 more words

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Santa Hats and a Sober Tree

imageI think I enjoy the build up to the festive season more than the actual day itself. The German Market arrives in the city centre, encouraging us to consume enormous sausages (!!),  hot gluhwein, crepes and pofferjies covered in Nutella, and endless craft based crap that we didn’t realise that we wanted until we saw it. Carols and festive songs appear in all the stores and on every television advert. I get to buy presents for everyone and celebrate with my favourite people. Work finishes for a few weeks. I love it. I love the excitement, the decorations that appear, the atmosphere. Aside from the occasional hot, sunny days that the UK receives every summer, this is absolutely my favourite time of year.

I decided to join in the festive spirit and decorate our tree. The Bloke and I bought a fake one (due to the fact that the cats would attempt to eat a real one) about five years ago from Argos, and each year we diligently take it out of it’s box and joke about the fact that it looks drunk. He set it up and put the lights on it while I was away at my mother’s house ready for my return on Sunday, but as I was feeling rough I didn’t tackle it until yesterday evening. Amidst the box of random decorations that we have collected over the years I discovered something that would provide me with hours of entertainment…

I found the Santa hats.

Two years ago I purchased three small Santa hats for the cats, and I consider the fact that I was able to get a photograph of all three of them sitting together and wearing them to be one of my greatest achievements of that year. Sadly, I lost one of the cats earlier in the year at the age of nineteen, so I decided that The Bloke needed to take her place instead (with an adult sized one, of course – we wouldn’t want him looking stupid, would we?). On went the hats, and out came the camera.

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All of them were less than impressed, particularly Daisy when I decided to double my fun.

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I eventually stopped laughing, The Bloke stopped rolling his eyes and I got my decorating on. I tried to spend a little more time on it than in previous years, attempting to space them all equally, colour coordinating etc, and after a few catastrophes with bits of tinsel and standing on a few stray decorations that had fallen on the floor, I stepped back to admire my masterpiece.

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“What do you think?” I asked The Bloke. He turned his head to one side.

“Yup.”

Cheers for that dear. Upon closer inspection, it actually wasn’t too bad – for once my little tree seemed to be… Sober!

Win!

 

What about you guys? Have you got any silly traditions within your family during the holiday season?

You can also find my on Twitter and Tumblr @suzie81blog and don’t forget to check out my Facebook page http://www.facebook.com/suzie81speaks

 

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