Blah, Blah, Blah.

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It’s almost the end of September, the leaves are starting to turn, the days are getting shorter, and the air has a much crisper edge when I leave for work in the morning now. I am now half way through the first half term of the academic year, and it has already proven to be a roller coaster of ups and downs. I’ve returned home on some occasions with a tight chest and a head that is swimming with data and deadlines, and on others I’ve had a song in my heart, a smile on my face and a buzz from lessons that have gone brilliantly. It’s an unpredictable, fast-paced profession, and no two days are the same. I have thoroughly enjoyed working with some of the new staff too, in particular my co-tutor and the NQT that I am mentoring this year. While we are of a similar age, I have several years more experience, but I love the fact that I have learnt lots of things from them already, and my NQT is so enthusiastic that he provides an enormous amount of extra-curricular support without even realising. I hope he stays that way and doesn’t become jaded by the profession, as so many are.

Unfortunately, this means that the blog has suffered greatly, and oh, how I’ve missed it! I have had to resist the urge to write, and this has meant that it has built up to the point where I am now concerned that I am blabbering, just because I can. I feel completely out of touch with all my favourite people – I must have read a total of five blog posts in the last few weeks, and I am hugely behind in my posting schedule! While I still have a ton of paperwork to do, I am absolutely intending on at least trying to catch up, so please take the opportunity to include links to your favourite posts below that I should read! I wanted to thank you, as always, for the amazing support I received after creating my last post the other day – it’s always great to know that there are those out there who can relate and offer advice without judgement. I’ve decided that I am going to stop fighting and go with the flow – it’s a fight I am not going to win, and I am only hurting myself…

My Facebook page is also a little neglected, and needs some bloggy love. Simply click the link below and give it a cheeky ‘like’ – it’s a brilliant way to connect and catch up on some of my posts that you may have missed.

http://www.facebook.com/suzie81speaks

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However, it hasn’t all been work, work, work. I had the opportunity to visit the National Pet Show at the NEC in Birmimgham last Saturday, and I was like a kid in an enormous pet store! Within ten minutes of arrival I had held an enormous grey rat, a Pygmy hedgehog, stroked a snake, a miniature horse, a very sleepy barn owl (which was amazing), an eagle owl, a sphinx cat (which felt like stroking raw chicken), a Bengal kitten, lots of dogs and watched a bunch of rabbits complete show jumping exercises. I’m an avid animal lover, and any opportunity to spend some time with them always makes me happy. My own little cats are doing well – Daisy, who is diabetic, is in good health and the vet has stopped holding her medication to ransom, which has made me feel a little relieved. I’ve had to make a few sacrifices to ensure that I can afford the necessary food and insulin she needs to stay happy, but when I see that little sleepy face every evening it reminds me that it’s entirely worth it…

I’m generally feeling a little more content than I have been in a while – my life always seems to have extreme ups and downs, but I’m getting better at being able to see them through and come out on the other side relatively unscathed. I’d like to be able to have a little more consistency, but I’m trying to see every experience as a way of building character and strength.

What about you guys? Tell me something about your recent experiences!

Posted in Daily Life | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

When Support is Needed…

In a few weeks time I am going to have to face a situation that I have almost been hiding from for the last fifteen years. While I am not going to go into details, I have found myself at this place after being manipulated into what I thought was a conscious decision to support someone else, when in fact, I have been thrown under the proverbial bus and expected to ‘deal with it’ as plans have changed.

It isn’t the first time that this has happened – I can remember lots of instances where I have gone out of my way to provide support, only to have it thrown back in my face, but I always seem to willingly go back for more. It’s a vicious cycle, and over the years I have made my feelings on the matter more than clear, but as it isn’t shared by others it is repeatedly ignored and dismissed. I’ll never forget what I was told after I had spilled my guts to someone important:

“What you have to remember is that nobody cares.”

That may be true, but I care, even when nobody else does. However, I’m tired.

I’m tired of being the one that is expected to change my way of thinking and  accommodate everyone else to keep the peace. I’m tired of being manipulated and made to feel guilty, when in fact I have done absolutely nothing wrong. I’m tired of feeling like I have to have my own back, because in this particular set of circumstances nobody else has it for me.

So, I will do as I’m told, put a brave face on and get through it as best I can. Who knows – I may end up having a fabulous time… I have my own back, and that is enough for me. However, one thing that I am certain of is that I will never allow myself to be put in this situation ever again.

What about you? Are you your own support, or is someone else cheering for you?

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14 Silly Ways To Get Over a Bad Day

suzie81speaks:

As it’s Throwback Thursday, here is a post from April. Hope you enjoy!

Originally posted on Suzie81 Speaks:

Having a bad day? It happens to everyone, but it’s important to remember that it won’t last forever. However, as I’ve had a run of bad days recently – it’s been a very emotional time – I  decided to be silly and provide you with a list of 14 ways to cheer yourself up…

1. Imagine doing this to the person who has upset you. If she can do it, we all can. (senorgif.com)

2. Have a good cry (gifs8.com)

3. Take a leisurely walk to calm your nerves (icanhasgifs.com)

4. Help yourself to something nice to eat. (ohmagif.com)

5. Work out. (Gifsoup.com)

terry crews DB dance

6. Have a nice long bath (senorgif)

7. Smile! Think about all the things you should be grateful for! (muver54.tumblr.com)

8. Look! This chocolate bar actually exists... (Mirror.co.uk)

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9. As does this mojito… (facebook)

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10. And remember, your day isn’t as bad as this person’s: (gifbin.com)

View original 92 more words

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A Question of Beauty

 

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After a conversation I had with my friend in the pub, started by the fact that he was lusting after one of the barmaids, I started thinking about the idea of beauty.

imageSamantha Brick made herself a household name in the UK a few years ago by claiming that she was victimised for being ‘too beautiful’. Consequently the backlash that she received was immediate and on an enormous scale – some chastised her for being arrogant, others accused her of not being anywhere as beautiful as she felt she was, while some simply assumed it was an April Fools joke. She made the headlines earlier last year again by proclaiming that her eating disorders had allowed her to remain skinny and that her husband would leave her if she put on weight.

I read the article and I must confess that I was among the people who, when they saw a picture of Samantha, responded with ‘really?’, – in my opinion she isn’t a particularly attractive woman (both inside and out after reading the awful things she’s written), but it did get me thinking about the role that beauty plays in our lives.

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As a woman I believe that we are under a lot of pressure to be ‘beautiful,’ despite the fact that nobody really knows what the absolute definition of beautiful is. However, I do feel that beauty is often directly linked to weight, and as women I think we put a lot of this pressure on ourselves. We can blame magazines for projecting the image that skinny is best, and yet we still continue to buy them. We idolise celebrities who are skinny, with the exception of a few, and take great delight in ripping them to shreds if they gain even a few pounds. Kim Kardashian is the perfect example of this: when she was heavily pregnant her increasing body size and shape was the subject of daily ridicule on the Internet. The poor woman must have been feeling awful about herself as it was (although I could argue here about being fame hungry and the perils of achieving it).

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I always wonder who it is we are trying to look beautiful for. I suppose, essentially, we try and make ourselves as attractive as possible for the purpose of receiving attention from potential mates, like many different species do in the animal kingdom. However, I think we as women have an unrealistic view in our minds as to what men want. Ultimately, yes, most people instantly are attracted to looks, but not all men want a skinny girl with big boobs and false eyelashes. The majority of my male friends and The Bloke want a ‘girl next door’ look, and their girlfriends are natural looking women who take care of themselves but don’t look ‘plastic fantastic’ when they leave the house.

I’m not beautiful, but I don’t consider myself to be hideous either. I’ve never been fashionable or interested in following trends, and I prefer to spend my time in jeans and hoodies. At school I wasn’t one of the popular ones – I remember that the person in my year who was considered ‘attractive’ was the opposite of me-short, skinny, brown curly hair that was moussed to within an inch of it’s life – the boys practically jumped on her whenever she walked into the room. When I went to Sixth Form I started to get a little bit of attention from the boys, but nothing of significance.

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It was only when I went to university that I started to become aware of beauty and looks. I lived with a girl who was on a fashion course. She was generally considered to be a beautiful girl – fairly short, very skinny, always wore fashionable clothing etc… And the boys loved her. She couldn’t walk down the street without someone whistling at her or stopping to stare or try to talk to her. I remember one night, as poor students, we went clubbing with £5 between us. We returned home hours later with £20, we were drunk, we’d eaten, we’d been into several clubs and we’d had a taxi home paid for us. All she did was to smile and talk to men, and they fell over themselves trying to offer her free stuff. She was gorgeous, but she knew it, and had developed the art of using her beauty to exploit men into getting her what she wanted. Her beauty afforded her an easier life than some – she bagged several rich boyfriends that paid off her debts and living expenses, and she was often given presents.

I read an article by Sidney Katz, who explored the idea that beautiful people have a better quality of life simply because of their looks. After spending time with AG, I can believe it. It leaves me questioning my own beauty and how it affects my life. For example, I’ve noticed that when I go shopping I will be treated differently depending on the way I’ve presented myself. If I’m wearing a hoodie and jeans, I’m ignored. If I go in ‘suited and booted’ with good hair and make-up on the shop assistants won’t leave me alone. I’m still the same person with the same salary, but it is assumed that I can afford more if I’m smartly dressed.

However, the issue of weight with regards to beauty is always a contentious one.

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Lots of ‘plus sized’ and curvier women naturally get very defensive about the subject of weight because of the stigma that surrounds it. I have often heard it proclaimed that there is ‘no excuse’ for a woman gaining weight, and this isn’t helped by the fact that many high street stores make it difficult to buy clothes in adequate sizes, despite the fact that the average UK size for women is a size 16. I have gained 60lbs in the last few years and cannot shop in the same stores that I used to, simply because they don’t make items of clothing that fit me comfortably, and have been demoralised when I have found a beautiful outfit that would suit my figure perfectly, only to find that the sizes made are two sizes smaller than my own. I have had comments made by people that I know, and have even been asked ‘when the baby is due.’ The truth is, I don’t consider myself to be fat, and have been embarrassed when it has been suggested that I am. The fact that I am embarrassed seems to prove to me that fat is deemed to be a negative thing.

Similarly, my naturally skinny friends have often had to justify themselves for their weight. One in particular once told me that no matter how much she eats she can’t seem to put on weight, and has been upset on more than one occasion by being informed by complete strangers that she needs to ‘eat a cheeseburger.’

Would I be living this life if I was skinnier or more attractive? Would I have a different career? Different friends? At least I can be sure that I have what I have because of me, and not because of how I look. The Bloke has seen me at my absolute worst, and still wants to be with me. And more importantly, while I would like to improve my fitness, I can still look in the mirror and be proud of what I see.

When it comes to beauty, I think that it is far more important to value your opinion of yourself than that of others. We’re all unique, and we all deserve to celebrate our lumps, bumps, small boobs, big boobs, big booty’s, skinny legs and flat butts without feeling that we aren’t good enough. I’ll leave you with a quote from the fabulous Marilyn Monroe:

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What do you think? Is beauty in the eye of the beholder? Do women create false expectations for themselves?

You can also find me on Twitter and Tumblr @suzie81blog

 

 

Posted in DPchallenge | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 29 Comments

Buy Your Own Bloody Cigarettes!

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One of my nasty habits is that I enjoy a cigarette. I’ve smoked since I was sixteen, only cutting down and quitting at times since I hit my thirties.

I’m well aware that it is one of the biggest mistakes of my life. My health has suffered dramatically – I have a reduced lung capacity, I find it more difficult to exercise and I have developed a nasty cough on occasions, and over the years I have spent thousands on my habit.

I consider myself to be a reasonably rational and intelligent person, but I’ve gained nothing from smoking, and yet still can’t seem to completely quit. It’s almost like an emotional crux, often accompanying a drink, and there’s no better feeling than lighting up and taking that first drag after a stressful few days. I love it. For those first few moments all the tension, anxiety and worries disappear with each exhale.

Most of my friends are now non-smokers, having seen sense years ago and kicked the addiction, and with the smoking laws I often find myself outside bars and restaurants alone, quietly enjoying the nicotine rush by myself. Unfortunately, this also means that I seem to have a sign above my head that says ‘Free Cigarettes’ in neon flashing lights. Sometimes I oblige, but not as much as I used to. The other day, when standing outside the pub, I was approached by no less than three people in the space of just a few minutes, all of them asking the same question:

“Excuse me love, can I pinch a cigarette?”

I responded with a simple ‘no, sorry,’ to the first three. I only had a few left, and normally I try and be reasonably polite, but by the fourth one I was getting a bit hacked off. A fourth, however, was far more blunt:

“Give us a cig, love.”

I responded with an evil look and quite a snappy ‘no,’ and he seemed quite surprised at my reaction.

“Alright love, go f*ck yourself you miserable b*tch.”

Nice.

This isn’t the first time I have had a negative reaction from a scumbag. I remember a very drunken woman yelling at me because I was a ‘tight b*tch’ and that I have an iPhone so I ‘should be able to give out a cig to someone else.’ I don’t have a problem with helping people out – I help out who I can, when I can, I give to charity, I have adopted several animals, I buy food for homeless men and women when I’m out in the city, I fundraise, I give my stuff to charity shops and I collect items every year for an amazing homeless charity. I’m not a snob, and I don’t feel that I’m better than anyone else. The problem I have is the assumption that some people have that they are entitled to something for nothing, and that it’s acceptable to approach a complete stranger and abuse them when they don’t respond in the way that they’d like. Smoking is a luxury, something that I pay for with money that I work bloody hard for, and I’m getting a bit annoyed with those that assume that everything should be given to them for free, and get nasty when it isn’t. I’d love to be able to go up to a business person and say ‘give me some money because I want a bigger TV and a foreign holiday because you earn more than me,’ but I don’t, because I have what I have and I work for it.

It isn’t just smoking. It isn’t uncommon for people to ask to borrow my phone, or ask for 20 pence (what the hell is 20 pence going to get you?). There have even been instances where I have been eating a sandwich and have been asked for the other half, or in the queue at McDonalds and asked by a very drunken man behind me to buy him a cheeseburger (?!), but the smoking thing really annoys me. Buy your own bloody cigarettes!!!

What about you? Are you often approached by people in the street asking for things? How do you deal with it?

You can also find me on Twitter and Tumblr @suzie81blog.

Posted in Thoughts | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 58 Comments

If We Were Having Coffee #4

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If we were having coffee, I would tell you that the weekend went far too quickly for my liking. I met some old friends for a meal and a drink in the town where we went to college fourteen years ago. They’re all beautiful, glamorous ladies who turned up wearing lovely dresses, and as usual I had a great time catching up with them. Almost all are new mothers to beautiful children, so a large part of the conversation was about motherhood, to which I could only offer an occasional ‘aww bless,’ but I’m really pleased for them.

I would tell you that my mum’s house felt a little strange after the death of one of her dogs last week. She still has two, and the dog was only small, but the atmosphere of the house seemed quieter and a little more empty. One of her other dogs was behaving very strangely towards me throughout, approaching me with caution and being very nervous when I stroked him, which upset me a little as I have never been cruel or raised my voice to him.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you how saddened I am at the execution of British Aid worker David Haines. While I will keep my angry thoughts to myself (and I am not going to get involved in a political discussion surrounding this), I will say that my thoughts and condolences are with his family – I can’t possibly imagine what they’re going through.

I would tell you that I am feeling a lot more refreshed, having slept for hours this afternoon, almost causing me to miss my train to return home. However, I haven’t been able to completely relax and have remained anxious for a lot of the time, so one of my tasks for this week is to research relaxation exercises and practise them.

I would tell you that I’m delighted to have access to WiFi again. My mother doesn’t have the Internet and my phone finds it almost impossible to find a connection. I’m surprised at myself at how frustrated I get after a while…

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that I’m excitedly planning for The Bloke’s birthday next month, despite the fact that he’s always a miserable bugger when facing the prospect of being another year older. I’ve bought him the Lego Ghostbusters car and a few figurines that I’ve seen him eyeing up, and hopefully that will take the focus off his age. I’ve also told him that he’s only as old as the woman he kisses, and as I’m 32 he’s got nothing to complain about!

I would share with you my recent playlist, most of which features tracks from 80’s films. I seem to be revisiting my musical youth a lot recently – you can’t beat a bit of the Footloose soundtrack!

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that I’m really annoyed with my vets. One of my cats was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes a year ago and since then we have religiously injected her twice a day with insulin and spend a fortune on special food to ensure she remains in good health. We have learned how to take her blood sugar levels regularly and her levels are good, and she is in an excellent, happy condition. However, when we went to pick up the usual two vials of insulin for the vets the other day, they told me that they have only given me one vial and they wouldn’t give me any more until I brought her in for blood tests, that apparently are compulsory every six months. This is the first we had been told about it, and nobody mentioned it six months ago. Apparently, these tests are going to cost me £100, which I don’t have, and her insulin is not going to last until next pay day. Can anyone in the UK with vet experience advise me on the legalities of holding back essential medication as a way of holding me to ransom?

I would tell you that I’ve lost 10lbs in weight since the summer. I’ve got another 50lbs to go, but I’m quite pleased about it… I will have a beach-ready body by next year. I want to go to Vegas, so I’ve got something to work towards!

If we were having coffee, I would share with you the picture of my youngest sister that appeared on my Facebook wall yesterday. She is getting married at the beginning of next month and so held her Bachelorette Party in York, a beautiful, historical city that is miles away from where my mum lives. I expected to see pictures of penis – shaped straws, drunken women in fancy dres etc. However, nothing quite prepared me for the image of my sister being straddled by a very unnattractive, completely naked male stripper. My eyeballs were bleeding – it’s something that I can’t unsee. My mum, however, thought it was hilarious. At least she’s having a good time – I hope they didn’t pay too much money for the experience – I’d be wanting my money back!

What about you? What would you tell me if we met for coffee?

 

Created by Part Time Monster, these are a series of conversational posts. They’re a great idea if you don’t wish to focus on a specific theme. Check out her blog and create your own!

You can also find me on Twitter and Tumblr @suzie81blog.

http://parttimemonster.wordpress.com/

Posted in Thoughts | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 23 Comments

Putting Things Into Perspective

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I’m sitting on a train on the way up to Manchester. It’s 7.00am – I have been awake since 5.00am, and currently resemble the closest thing to a zombie that a live human being is going to get. Despite this, I always enjoy travelling at this time in a morning – it’s quiet, there aren’t usually any screaming children and the nutters haven’t yet surfaced, so I’m enjoying the calm of the carriage at the minute.

I’m spending the weekend with my mother, who is still reeling after the death of her little dog, and tonight I am going to meet up with some friends that I made during sixth form college when I was sixteen. We’ve always kept in touch, mainly through the efforts of one or two of them, and we meet up at least once a year. Most of them are married, some have children, and over the years we’ve supported each other through our various achievements and life events. It’s nice to be around people who enjoy each others company, and it’s always guaranteed that I’ll have a good time.

I’m in need of a good night if I’m being honest – the last week has been a sea of paperwork and headaches as the new academic year has started. While it usually eases as time passes, the initial list that I find myself working through is always astronomical, and I always marvel at how calm and relaxed my colleagues seem during this period. I have managed to keep up, but don’t mind admitting that the pressure has reduced me to tears in the privacy of my own home on a few occasions.

By Friday afternoon I was feeling a little down – I was saddened by the news that a teenage scumbag had set fire to Manchester Dogs Home, resulting in the death of sixty animals (yet another reason why I don’t like people sometimes), and my friend informed me that his Nan passed away. Her death wasn’t unexpected, but I still feel sad for him and his family. If you’re reading this my lovely, you know I’m here whenever you need me.

However, when the chips are down, things always seem to happen that put me firmly back in my place and offer a little perspective.

Our school has its Open Evening next week, and my choir (who are brilliant) have been asked to perform. I have been a little worried as a few of the members of the group left at the end of last year as they had graduated, and so our numbers were down and there wasn’t the time to rehearse new starters. However, when I went to my classroom at the end of the day to start a rehearsal with the remaining students I was surprised to see all the ex-students sitting there, complete with a visitors pass and a big smile on their face. It turns out that they had heard about the performance next week and wanted to help out. I gave them a massive hug, and one of them told me that they wanted to surprise me ‘because you’re a legend Miss.’ Suddenly, the paperwork worries didn’t really seem to mean anything – THIS is what the job is about. I almost cried.

The Bloke, as always, has been pretty amazing throughout as well. Last night, after I had regaled him with the story about my choir cherubs, he told me that he was quickly going to the supermarket around the corner, and when he returned I saw that he had bought all of my favourite foods, and we cuddled up on the couch while watching NCIS: LA and talking rubbish at each other. It was exactly what I needed.

I’m lucky. I’m lucky that I have a job that (while challenging and frustrating at times) continues to give back. I’m lucky I have a lovely bloke, a family, amazing friends and the opportunity to spend time with them…

…And this morning I heard that Manchester Dogs Home has received over £800,000 in donations since the fire.

Good things will always happen during bad times.

You can also find me on Twitter and Tumblr @suzie81blog.

Posted in Life | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 21 Comments