January Round Up: An Exciting Month for Suzie81 Speaks and Advertising Opportunities

imageJanuary is usually the most depressing month for me – after the excitement of my birthday, Christmas and New Year’s Eve I often find that the start of a new year leaves me feeling as dull and cold as the weather.

I decided to approach 2015 with a positive outlook and  just one goal for the year: to take the risk. As Suzie81 Speaks does not have a theme or a niche, my posts have been eclectic and have reflected the thoughts and feelings I have experienced and the events happening at the time. I shared some blogging hints and tips for new bloggers, my ideas for beating the January blues, my thoughts on how to build self-esteem and confidence and highlighted a beautiful story that proved that there is still hope for humanity. I decided to have a bit of fun and shared stories of my dating disasters and experiences of working behind a bar. I also edited some of my photography – something that I haven’t done in a long time – and posted a beautiful poem written by Roger McGough. I have been amazed at the response that I have received to these and some of my earlier posts – my ‘Tale of a Sociopath’ post continues to be shared on StumbleUpon, two of my posts were featured on the Sits Girls ShareFest and Mumsnet Bloggers promoted my post on Fox News’s ridiculous report about the Muslim population of Birmingham as their ‘Blog of The Day.’

I also made a little promise to myself that I would develop the connections and friendships I have formed and give other members of the blogging the world an opportunity to promote themselves. I found that I had been falling behind with the comments that I received, and now instead of posting something on a particular day, I try and take the time to reply to every single one on the blog and all of the social media links that are connected with it. I have continued to host my weekly #SundayBlogShare on Twitter, which I started three months ago, and have been delighted that hundreds of people now participate every week, with over a thousand posts being shared. This week I am pleased to announce that I have a guest host for #SundayBlogShare – Gene’O from Sourcererblog (who was instrumental in the promotion of #SundayBlogShare in the early stages) has kindly agreed to look after you all this Sunday. (For those of you that are interested in participating, there will be a post later today with the information and rules).

While I made no resolutions, I decided to take Suzie81 Speaks to the next level and started advertising for sponsors. I had no expectations of the sort of response I would receive, if any at all, but within hours I was contacted by a number of bloggers. Consequently, over January I have featured both Jolene from Valley Girl Gone Country and Helena from Helena Turbridy and have been delighted by the feedback that I have received from them – both have seen a huge increase in their traffic… Even more amazing, February sponsorship is completely full and even spaces for some of March (and even a space in July) have been booked. Awesome.

Finally, to add the cherry on the proverbial cake, I was offered an really exciting opportunity the other day, which has cemented my decision to take the risk.

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My family, my friends and, of course, The Bloke has been absolutely wonderful throughout it all. As always, the blogging community has also been there every step of the way. I’ve been blessed to have received so much support from people that I consider to be friends and have been able to meet lots of new people who have taken the time to make me laugh, encourage me and have contributed to one of the best months I have had in a long time. Thank you.

Are You Interested in Being Featured on Suzie81 Speaks?

I have decided to expand this further and offer opportunities for sponsored one-off promotion for WordPress bloggers. Each Sunday, (when my own stats usually exceed over a thousand views during the day), as well as hosting #SundayBlogShare, I will feature a WordPress blog as the ‘Blog Of The Day.’ This will include a single post about the blog, a reblog of one of your posts and promotion through #SundayBlogShare. While I obviously can’t guarantee a huge increase in your traffic and/or following, I know that my sponsors have informed me that they have indeed seen quite a significant rise in their stats on days where I have promoted their posts.

For those of you who are interested in being my ‘Blog Of The Day,’ here are my details:

Cost: £9.00. This may seem like an odd number, but I have had to add on a little extra to cover the PayPal charges. (Please take into account that conversion rates may change in countries outside of the UK).

January Stats (at the time of posting): 17,265 views

Followers: 10,425 (6,126 on WordPress, 4,179 on Twitter and 120 on Tumblr). I also have 221 followers on my Facebook page. All are growing on a daily basis.

If you wish to be featured, please email me at suzie81blog@hotmail.co.uk

 

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

 

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The Right Place At The Right Time

 

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I’ve been extremely lucky in that, throughout my life, people and opportunities have appeared at a time when I needed them most. Today was no exception.

I made a decision a while ago that I was going to take the risk, and it is my mantra and theme for 2015. The concept of risk to me is a rather alien one – I’ve always played it safe and followed the path that I believed to be expected of me rather than seeking out something that I actually wanted. As I look at my life, I am appreciative that I have a wonderful relationship, a supportive family and amazing friends and every evening I return home to be greeted by two little cats, a warm house and a cupboard of food. I’m lucky, and I would say that, in general, I’m happy.

However, as I age I become more conscious of the fact that life is short. With that in mind, I have decided to make an enormous change in my life and how I choose to live it, and I’m currently experiencing lots of feelings of elation and excitement, swiftly followed by anxiety, guilt and self-doubt. It has been an emotional roller coaster.

A random conversation with someone today has led to a huge development and opportunity that I hadn’t previously considered as I didn’t believe it was available to me. I found myself in the right place at the right time and talking to the right person – it has arrived at exactly the right time and has cemented that fact that what I am doing is the right thing.

The feelings of doubt still haven’t left and I’m not expecting them to for a while, but at least I know that I have the support of the ones I care the most about. I might fall flat on my face, but at least I can say that I tried.

After all, isn’t that what life is all about?

What about you guys? Has a chance conversation or meeting changed your direction in life?

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

 

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Tales From Behind The Bar

imageWarning: This post contains adult content

Of all of the jobs I’ve held over the years, one of my favourites was working behind the bar in pubs and nightclubs. Any job that involves having to deal with the British public, particularly when alcohol is involved, is always challenging, but despite it being a physically and mentally exhausting job, I loved it. I loved the staff, the interaction with the customers, the music and the atmosphere – it was almost like being paid for a night out.

I found that the same characters appeared in every establishment – the permanently drunk and often abusive regulars who assumed that their regularity commanded special treatment over everyone else, the fighters, the snobs who looked down on the staff because they were in a service job, the business wannabes who were trying to impress their boss by buying expensive rounds whilst loudly guffawing at a poor joke that their colleagues were making, the coin tappers, the ‘oi I’m next’ impatient men in their early 20’s, the underage, the people who became incensed when they were refused service despite the fact that they could barely stand up by themselves, the men who would try and chat up the staff in an attempt to get served quicker, the homeless who would sneak in to use the toilet and would block them with truly enormous poops (requiring a ‘poo stick’ to unblock them)… It was a truly glamorous job at times.

However, ten years since I last stood behind a bar, there are still a few characters that are still memorable.

Miller Man: This guy turned up every Friday night with a different beautiful woman on his arm each week, despite having a face like a badgers arse. He ordered two bottles of Miller, then spent the rest of the evening feeling his date up in the corner. I came to the conclusion that he possessed one of three things: an incredibly charming personality, massive wallet (highly unlikely considering that he only bought two bottles of beer each night) or a massive… ahem… mini Miller Man hiding down below.

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Hot Chocolate Man: He was short and stumpy and always ordered a hot chocolate without marshmallows. We didn’t serve marshmallows and told him so – it was a Wetherspoons – but he continued to order the same thing every time he came in. He also happened to be one of the biggest drug dealers in the area.

The Angry Men: A couple of men, who were incensed at being removed, decided to steal a 4×4 from the car park outside and smashed it through the front doors of the nightclub. Thankfully, nobody was hurt, but the club went into lockdown and we were all moved into the main room in the middle of the dance floor.

Mr Pervert: This man seemed to think that my boobs were trained in pouring pints. It wasn’t uncommon for men to order their drinks whilst staring at my chest, but this guy made it obvious. In fact, he never looked anywhere else during the entire process – he may as well have just shoved his face in between them. I initially thought he may be slightly autistic, but when I saw him making eye contact with his friends, I realised that he was just a perve.

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The Eternal Cryer: She would arrive each week looking beautifully made up, she would be smiling and laughing with her friends and obviously in the mood for a good night out. However, every time I saw this woman at the end of the night she was crying – her make-up had run down her face and she was snotting on the shoulder of one of her friends. Clearly she couldn’t handle her alcohol – it made me wonder why she bothered to put make-up on in the first place.

Stan the Eunuch: Stan was my favourite bouncer – he was 6’8″ and despite looking very intimidating (mainly due to the fact that he was built like a brick sh*t house) he was a true gentleman, that is, until he had to remove someone from the club. Stan had balls of steel in both a literal and metaphorical sense – one of his party tricks was feeling no pain when kicked in the nuts. He wasn’t wearing any form of protection (don’t ask me how I know that). I tried it – he didn’t even flinch. I’m convinced he was a eunuch.

The Urinator: One guy at the end of the night seemed to take ages when ordering his drink. I found out later that his delay was caused by the fact that he was busy urinating down the front of the bar and couldn’t multitask by talking at the same time. Classy. I really enjoyed cleaning that up at three in the morning…

Mr E: He arrived every Saturday night and despite being searched on a number of occasions it was clear that he took lots of  ecstasy. He spent the entire night every week dancing around like a frog-in-blender (arms and legs everywhere) and sweating profusely, only stopping to down pints of water at a time before returning to the dance floor.

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Miss No Knickers: I don’t care what size somebody is, but I always think that it is important to dress for your body type and look classy. This woman was beautiful, but her outfit of choice was a neon Lycra mini-skirt, a bra and a pair of shoes. That was it. Let’s just say that when she bent over it was obvious that she had forgotten to put underwear on, and unfortunately she liked to bend over a lot. One of the greatest things I’ve ever heard came from my colleague, who promptly yelled ‘pull your skirt down, you’re winking at me!’ during one such instance. I almost died laughing.

The Guitar Man: He clearly had mental health issues and walked into the pub regularly with a guitar on his back, usually shouting about something. He couldn’t play the guitar, he just liked to carry it around. I still see him occasionally in Birmingham City Centre. He’s still carrying the guitar and still shouting. It makes me wonder what sort of support he is getting…

The British Chippendales: We hosted them for a performance one night at the club, and at the time I was working in the VIP section where they were ‘preparing’ themselves. At the tender age of 18, I saw far more of those men than anyone who had paid to see them that evening, and I have never looked at an elastic band in the same way again.

imageMr Tips: The British are not renowned for their tipping generosity. However, the same guy would order a bottle of Coca-Cola at the end of the night, which cost £1.70 at the time, he would hand me a £20 note, told me to keep the change and walked away. I chased him down on a few occasions to try and give him most of his change back – the usual tip we received was £1.00 a time – but he always insisted that it was fine. I liked him. I liked him a lot.

What about you guys? Do you remember any characters from your places of employment  over the years?

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

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Want to Increase Your Traffic? Join My #SundayBlogShare Twitter Party!

imageI have received quite a few new followers over the last few weeks and wanted to get the message out about my #SundayBlogShare Twitter parties – I started it about two months ago and I’ve been delighted with the enormous response that it has received, with hundreds of bloggers participating each week, sharing over 1,100 posts. At the end of December I decided to be a bit more serious about it and registered it with Twubs to my Twitter handle, so the hashtag is now mine! Last Sunday was the busiest yet, with lots of new bloggers joining for the first time.

It’s a simple process – post your blog links to Twitter using the hashtag #SundayBlogShare and enjoy! If you include my Twitter handles (@suzie81blog or @SundayBlogShare) in your post I can retweet it for you too! Your posts can cover any topic and you don’t have to follow my blog or any associated social media accounts. You can participate if you have been blogging for days, months or years and it’s a brilliant opportunity to develop your social networking skills and boost your traffic and following. I have received hundreds of messages from people that saw their traffic increase immediately.

I will remind everyone again each week but here are a few rules for everyone who wishes to participate.

1. #SundayBlogShare is a happy place. Racist, sexist and homophobic propaganda will not be tolerated, and if you disagree with the content of a post it should be done in a polite and respectful manner.

2. Blog posts only. NO Amazon book promos, company promos, music promos, inspirational quotes, newspaper articles, random selfies of you drinking coffee, Justin Bieber fan promotion etc… you get the idea.

3. No pornographic images are allowed.

4. Do not use it as an opportunity to demand follows and retweets from others, but feel free to retweet posts that you like. Be generous with this – the more you retweet, the more likely you will get them in return!

5. Don’t go overboard with the amount that you post… If the Twitter feed is just a list of your own posts, you’re doing it too much. Post a few, spend some time reading and retweeting others and then come back later to post again.

6. Hashtag spamming is not allowed. For those of you who participated last week, you’ll be aware that because of the popularity of the hashtag, there was a high level of spam from people who used it as an opportunity to post hundreds of links within an hour, clearly using the hashtag to spam potential clients. I have contacted Twitter and Twubs, and hopefully the matter has been resolved, but if this sort of thing appears tomorrow I would really appreciate it if you would block and report them. Don’t engage with them, just block and report.

It starts each Sunday morning and will end at midnight. I’m in the UK, so you will need to work out times for whichever country you live in. This may mean that some of you may be participating on Saturday, or going into Monday, but please use the same hashtag…

Looking forward to seeing you there!

You can find me on Tumblr @suzie81blog and I’d love it if you would hop on over to my Facebook page and give it a cheeky ‘like.’ http://www.facebook.com/suzie81speaks

If you would like to follow me on Twitter, my account is @suzie81blog.

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Dating Disasters – Run Away!

imageWe’re all individuals and we all have our own little quirks and insecurities that collectively contribute to our uniqueness. I have plenty – I accepted these years ago and make no apologies for them – they are part of my own character and personality, and while there are things that I would like to change about myself I generally like the person that I am.

When we meet new people and start to develop relationships, it is often the case that we try and ‘hide the crazy’ during the initial months – the honeymoon phase of getting to know a potential life partner is all about giving the best impression possible and it’s rare that we will show our vulnerabilities and share our deepest, darkest secrets. It’s only when we start to truly relax with someone that the real us starts to emerge.

Unfortunately, that also means that we see the hidden crazy in the other person too.

It’s a bit of a long standing joke between my friend and I that he brings out the crazy in women. He’s never had any trouble meeting beautiful women, and initial impressions of them all have been that they are intelligent, successful and lovely people. However, after a few months these women have turned into needy, insecure and game players.

I haven’t had much experience in the world of dating – I’ve been in a long term relationship with The Bloke for years and haven’t had that many boyfriends (in my opinion anyway) before him. Most of them, except one, were nice, caring men who treated me well. However, that doesn’t mean that I haven’t seen my fair share of quirks, liars and downright crazy in my short-term relationships.

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1. I was dumped by a guy without warning. He let me know that he no longer wanted to be in a relationship with me by putting the phone down on me when I rang his house. No explanation. It transpired later (when his friend told me) that he was annoyed that I’d told a mutual friend that he was upset that his dog had died. I still don’t know how to respond to that.

2. I went on a weekend away with a boyfriend. We had a lovely first day – we explored the area, had a laugh, ate a gorgeous meal and I was relaxed and happy when we returned to the hotel. I was, however, shattered, and wanted to go to sleep. When I told him I wasn’t ‘in the mood’, he had a tantrum: a full blown, stamping his feet toddler tantrum. Genuinely, he stamped his feet on the floor. I went to sleep, and we returned home the following day in silence.

3. An ex-boyfriend hated the way I ate. I eat with my mouth closed and don’t make any noise, but he claimed that he could hear every chew that I made and refused to be around me if I ate anything that had any form of crunch to them.

4. I really liked a guy that I met through a mutual friend. After flirting for a while, we kissed. He stopped, looked me right in the face and said “I’m sorry, I’m gay.” This was the first time he’d told anyone. He was in his 30’s and had worked with my friend for several years, who had no idea. He chose the exact moment he kissed me to ‘come out.’ While I’m always pleased to hear somebody has the courage to do this, I’d have preferred it if he’d mentioned something sooner.

5. I was asked out by an extremely attractive man when I was in college and couldn’t believe my luck. On our first date he picked me up in his car, and I noticed that he had tapes (I’m showing my age here) of Britney Spears and Les Miserables on his dashboard, which he said were his sister’s. It was eventually revealed that the car actually belonged to his girlfriend.

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6. An ex-boyfriend HAD to make sure that the toilet paper was placed on the holder in a particular way, and would get agitated if it wasn’t to his liking.

7. I was excited to go on a second date with a man with whom I’d enjoyed a wonderful first. I bought a new outfit and spent ages getting ready, making sure that everything was perfect to the last minor detail. He took me to a Needle Museum. Yes, I spent two hours wandering round a museum dedicated to the history of sewing needles in a pair of knee high boots, a short skirt and a halter-neck top. He then complained how bored he was all the way round. While I don’t wish to sound ungrateful that he wanted to try something new and he had put effort in, it would have been much better if he hadn’t been so bloody miserable during the whole thing.

8. A man that I had started dating started texting me one night, asking where I was. I was at home, and told him as such, but he didn’t believe me. He bombarded me with text messages for half an hour, accusing me of seeing somebody else (which I wasn’t), and only stopped when I threatened to call the police. The following day, at SIX IN THE MORNING, he knocked on my front door, offering a Tupperware box of homemade vegetable soup as an apology. I simply closed the door.

9. I had been in a relationship with a man for a few months, during which he had been the perfect gentleman. I went to his apartment one evening for dinner and he had cooked a beautiful three course meal. However, when he brought me out the starter he whispered something in my ear. I didn’t hear him at first, and asked him to repeat it. This was genuinely the conversation I had with him.

Him: There you go my little b*tch.

Me: What?!

Him: You’re my little b*tch. You’re going to be a good little girl aren’t you. Eat up, little b*tch.

Apparently, this was his idea of sexy talk. It wasn’t mine – every internal alarm bell I had went off. I left immediately and never spoke to him again. He genuinely didn’t know what he had done wrong.

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10. An ex and I broke up because he had started to sit outside my workplace in his car all day and started to get quite possessive and clingy. After we separated he turned up at my friend’s house that she shared with her partner in tears. He ended up staying for a cup of tea, he put some shelves up for them and left. MY FRIEND LIVES TWO HUNDRED MILES AWAY FROM HIM AND HE HAD ONLY MET HER ONCE BEFORE. He drove two hundred miles so he could cry on my friend’s shoulder. She, and I never heard from him again, although a mutual friend informed me that he’s got three kids now.

11. An ex was looking after my cats for the day. When I got home that evening, he proudly presented me with a newspaper article that he had written about the cats experiences, complete with photographs and captions. He was 21 years old at the time.

12. And finally, the ultimate: a man that I was in a relationship with, who I was in love with, was conducting a relationship with me while his girlfriend of three years was travelling around Australia. I was unaware of this, and when I found out, I got rid. The girl moved back in with him upon her return, completely oblivious of the relationship that I had experienced with him.

What about you guys? What dating disasters have you experienced?

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

 

Posted in Humour | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 78 Comments

Duped By the Weatherman

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There are two words that are guaranteed to make any teacher in the UK excitedly poke their head up from their piles of marking: Snow Day.

The weather here is predominantly dull for about nine months of the year. We are susceptible to lots of rain, flooding and occasional storms, but heavy snow is rare in the Midlands, usually appearing for a few days, or at the very most, a week. You’d think that it would make little difference to people’s daily lives, but the beauty of living in the UK during sudden snow storms and blizzards is that we are totally unequipped to deal with them, and so the country comes to a complete standstill. Roads become innacessible, schools and businesses close and thousands of people get the day off work, much to the annoyance of the parents of our students – many who see us as being glorified babysitters. My school has an efficient heirarchical system in which phone calls are made when closures happen to ensure that staff are notified that they can put their jammies back on and go back to bed. My friend and I have a ritual when we get ‘the call’ – one of us will send the other simple text message: ‘Pub. 11.00am. Lunch’ and we have done this on every snow day we have had for the last ten years.

Therefore, you can imagine the excitement that appeared when the weather report predicted the sudden arrival of six inches of snow. The report happened on Sunday, with the weatherman eagerly explaining that the snowfall was expected at 7.00pm on Tuesday night and was supposed to  continue until Wednesday evening, and consequently for the last few days I have heard many discussions about potential plans for the day and ‘snow dances’ that need to be done in advance.

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Tuesday arrived and I was constantly looking up at the sky. There were clouds, it was certainly cold enough… It was looking good! At 6.00pm it happened – I looked out of the window and big flakes of snow were falling and the car already had a nice little snowy blanket on the roof. I did my happy dance around the living room (to which The Bloke rolled his eyes) and then carried on with the rest of my evening.

This morning I awoke and excitedly jumped up like a little child on Christmas Day to look outside…

Nothing. Zilch. Nowt. Not a speck of snow anywhere. Instead, it was dark and raining heavily.

Gutted. Screw you Mr Weatherman

What about you guys? Have you been let down by the weather?

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

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A Moment in Time

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I love photography, taking pictures of every aspect of my daily life and I have thousands of them stored on my computer. The Bloke bought me a beautiful Canon camera a few years ago and since then I have started to learn how to edit and develop my favourite images. However, some of the best pictures that I have taken recently has been with my iPhone – it’s easy to quickly take a snapshot of a particularly special moment and I savour the memories that are stored forever in that single image.

This one was my favourite from last year. It was the final day of the school term, I had visited the Christmas market with some of my colleagues, indulged in hot Bailey’s with marshmallows and had just met The Bloke. We were meeting a friend for a meal in a pizza restaurant in Brindley Place, Birmingham and as we were walking over the bridge I stopped to take this picture on the bridge overlooking the canal. It was a cold but clear evening, everything was lit up with beautiful lights and decorations and there were hundreds of people walking around, armed with lots of bags and huge smiles on their faces.

It was a thoroughly enjoyable evening – we had lovely food, great conversation with a valued friend and The Bloke and I returned home to a warm house, sleepy cats and an evening of cuddles on the sofa under a blanket.

It’s the little things that make life worthwhile…

What about you guys? What are your favourite recent photographs?

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

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