Monday Musings for May

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It’s the first Bank Holiday Monday of May, so The Bloke and I have a day off work. We had planned to go out, but it’s cold and miserable – cue a set of fluffy blankets, the heating on and our favourite TV shows for the rest of the afternoon.

May has already got off to a great start. I spent a large amount of time revamping several sections of the blog yesterday:

In the left sidebar you’ll find a whole bunch of lovely sponsors, covering every blogging topic you can think of. If you’re looking for new and interesting blogs to follow, hop on over, check out their sites, follow and share the blog love! Are you interested in sponsoring Suzie Speaks, or being featured as Blog of the Day? Check out the Sponsorship section of my menu!

I’ve also added some of my favourite posts in the sidebar below the sponsors – feel free to check them out!

Last week I published a post about why I wasn’t going to write any more blog advice posts. Instead, I have edited the ‘Blogging Tips’ section of my menu, including some of my favourite blogging advice posts, from building traffic, using Twitter and Pinterest Group Boards, avoiding being duped by companies and general blogging thoughts and ideas that may help in the blogosphere. It isn’t completely finished (the coding started to hurt my eyes after a while), but there should be enough to get started with for now. Let me know what you think!

I have a number of posts lined up – my recent adventures at the reopening of The Body Shop, meeting Willard Wigan, a chocolate event at The Chocolate Quarter and fun with The Bloggers Parlour… It’s turning out to be a busy few weeks, and I’m looking forward to sharing it with you!

What about you guys? What are your plans for this month?

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Kindness is the Genuine Article!

I loved this post from Cher – it’s so true about the assumptions that we make of others. Please don’t like or comment on my reblog – hop on over to The Chicago Files and leave your comments there… I’m sure Cher will be delighted to hear from you!

The Chicago Files

Health and Wellness Magazine

As many of you know, I spend a lot of time on the trains here in Chicago.  I find human behavior fascinating, bewildering, and everything in between.  I wrote a post last year about assumptions; we all make them, and sometimes we are spot on.  Ah, but then there are those other times where our assumptions are simply based on habitual thoughts and beliefs we have created all by ourselves.  I know it is a good thing to ‘assume’ that meeting a stranger wearing a scary mask in a dark alley would probably lend itself well to the huge assumption that you need to get the heck out of there!

However, a lot of life is made from a judgment call in any given situation.  I was on the train a few days ago at an off-peak time.  A gentleman boarded the train toting behind him an old, disheveled suitcase…

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Blog of the Day: Meet The Chicago Files!

imageMeet Cher, an Canadian ex-pat who lives with her husband and blogs about her adventures in Chicago.

Her blog is a wide and varied mixture of her daily experiences and encounters with others, her favourite places and photographs of interesting points and hidden gems within the city. As someone who has never visited Chicago, but has always wanted to, Cher has given me a whole list of ideas of places that I would wish to visit should the opportunity ever arise. From The Lego Building, to the ‘Castle’ on Clybourn Avenue, Cher gives her readers an insight into a truly fascinating city!

It’s an easy and enjoyable read, already being recognised across a number of ex-pat blogs and networking sites, and rightly so. Continue reading

Oh My Gosh…

It’s been an amazing few days.

I won’t go into a massive amount of detail as yet – I have a whole series of posts lined up for them, but in the last three days I have attended a ‘Meet the Artist’ event with Willard Wigan, MBE, at the exclusive Colmore Club, been to the grand reopening of The Body Shop on New Street, and then this afternoon had an informal meeting with the lovely director of a networking company about building and delivering a series of workshops about blogging to local entrepreneurs, business owners, bloggers and anyone else who is interested throughout the year.

Holy sh*tballs. Little old me. Talking about blogging. To people who want to listen to me do so. (To be fair, many of my family and friends and polite enough to listen to me get on my soapbox about it, but I have noticed that their expressions often become a little glazed over after a while…) Continue reading

#TrigglyPuff

I awoke at 4am to find the hashtag #TrigglyPuff trending.

Students at the University of Massachusetts were protesting and heckling during a discussion and forum on the use of political correctness on campus.

However, it’s one person that has sparked the attention of social media, who have awarded her with the name of #TrigglyPuff, and, despite Twitter’s best efforts to censor the hashtag, it seems to be quickly gaining in popularity. Continue reading

Why I Won’t Be Writing Any More Blogging Advice Posts

imageYesterday, during #SundayBlogShare, a single tweet got my attention. It was a simple statement without a link – I can’t find the actual tweet now but it went something like this:

A blog post that isn’t about writing a blog post.

In the last twelve months or so, I’ve seen a huge increase in this type of content. Indeed, Pinterest and Twitter in particular are littered with them. There are entire blogs who are devoted to the complicated and time-consuming art of blogging. It’s the one type of post that any blogger can do, and fits with any niche or theme.

I’ve done a number of posts myself that I refer to as ‘Blog Advice’ – hints, tips and guidelines on everything from increasing traffic, understanding the insignificance of how many times a WordPress post is liked, replying to comments, and using hashtags and group boards to build a following and community – and I have based these on my own experiences of what has worked for me. At the time, it always feels like these sorts of posts always get more traffic than any other – there’s usually an immediate and positive response that is accompanied by a number of social media shares and comments.

However, upon closer inspection, they aren’t as successful as they initially appear. Indeed, within my ten most successful posts of all time, there isn’t a single blog advice post – my most popular posts are ones where I have shared a personal story or thoughts on teaching (and quitting it), relationships, pets and emotional intelligence. There aren’t even any in the top fifteen. It isn’t that I have done any less promotion on them than any other post, but it seems clear that, while they may be useful at the time, my readers aren’t as inclined to share or revisit them – once they’ve read it, they have the information they may feel that they need and don’t return to it again. Or, potentially it could mean that they thought it was complete nonsense, and were too polite to say anything… Continue reading

A Saturday Night In…

saturday-night-out-kidding-in-my-jammiesIt’s Saturday night, and I’ve got myself into a highly comfortable position on the couch, snuggled up in my jammies and fluffy blankets. It’s the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s death, it’s St. George’s Day and if any day was the day to don my England shirt and go to the pub, it would be today, but I’m having my own little personal celebration at home instead. I’ve got my headphones in as I’m listening to Steve’s Talk About Pop Music radio show, while The Bloke watches a random film with the ever lovely Jason Statham, and the cats are still snoring after stuffing their face with fresh chicken earlier in the day. I’ve made myself an Amaretto Sours too! Actually, that’s a lie – I’ve poured a load of amaretto in a pint glass, shoved some lemon juice and lemonade on top, and then tipped lots of cocktail cherries in to finish it off. The cherries are now sitting on the bottom, I’ve forgotten to put the egg white in and I can’t be bothered to get up again to sort it out, so I’m making do – it still tastes yummy regardless! I would show you a picture, but it looks like I’ve urinated into a glass… Continue reading

Notes From My Phone…

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My phone goes everywhere with me, to the point where it has almost (however pathetic it sounds) become an extension of myself. I use the note section almost on a daily basis, mainly to record potential blog ideas for a later date.

I was doing a huge update on it the other day, and as I was transferring lots of data onto my laptop I came across a whole bunch of these ideas that had been written down and then promptly forgotten. I can’t actually recall writing some of them, but I can certainly relate to the point of my life in which I must have written them:

Are students getting worse?

When me becomes we.

There’s an enormously comforting feeling in my home on a Friday night. It’s a warm and cosy evening, followed by two days of uninterrupted time. 

I know him! (Friends who have become famous and/or hugely successful). Continue reading

Nominations for Bloggers Bash Awards Are Now OPEN!

Nominations for the Bloggers Bash Awards are now open!! Read the instructions carefully – there are lots of categories to choose from… I will be attending – my hotel and train tickets are already booked and I’m so excited to catch up with my bloggy friends!

Sacha Black

Who Nominate?

We are finally on the count down to the bash, peeps.

I am so excited I really ought to be wearing a sports bra what with all the bouncing up and down.

So far we have announced the totally-off-the-chart-gorgeous venue here. Then we announced our blogger extraordinaire and guest speaker Luca here.

But now, now after months of waiting I can officially say, that nominations for the bloggers bash awards are

NOW OPEN

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Ok 2016, You Can Stop It Now…

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It’s only April, but 2016 has been brutal already. After just logging onto Twitter, I saw that Prince was trending, only to discover that he has passed away at the age of 57 (???). This comes only 24 hours after we lost British comedy legend Victoria Wood, and adds to an increasingly long and heartbreaking list of true icons who have left us this year – David Bowie, Alan Rickman, Lemmy, Paul Daniels and Ronnie Corbett to name just a few…

Right 2016, I think we’ve had enough now. You suck.

If anything happens to Jon Bon Jovi I’m not getting out of bed for the rest of the year.

RIP Prince. I’m going to go and put Purple Rain on repeat now…