Halloween Blog Party – Sunday 30th October!

imageI haven’t hosted a blog party since February and with Halloween just around the corner I thought it would be a brilliant opportunity to create a space for the blogging community to share a few links from their blog and potentially meet new people. I always have a great time, with hundreds of links being shared, and it means that I get the chance to find new blogs to follow and catch up on some posts that I may have missed.

So, on Sunday 30th October I will be hosting a huge 24 hour blog party, starting from 9.00am GMT and finishing at 9.00am GMT on Monday 31st.

For those of you who have never participated in a blog party before, here are the rules:

1. Choose your favourite post from your own blog. The subject of the post can be anything you like – blogging, food, parenting, life, travel, thoughts, photography… Note: This should be only one post at a time or it will get sent straight to the ‘spam’ folder but please don’t share more than three overall – spend the time visiting other bloggers instead.

2. Copy the URL

3. Paste the link in the comment section of the post on Sunday 30th.

4. Blog posts only please! No Amazon pages, YouTube, Spotify or Etsy promotion – I will delete these and any further links from anyone who ignores this.

5. Enjoy! Relax, pull up a chair and meet new people! Find new blogs, comment on their posts, be polite, courteous and respectful and don’t forget to follow, reblog, tweet, pin, stumble and share.

  • You don’t have to follow me of any of my social media, but you’re welcome to!
  • You don’t have to have been blogging for a specific amount of time or have to have a certain number of followers – everyone is welcome!
  • You are also very welcome to invite your friends and you’re welcome to reblog this post too!

This is a really useful way of discovering new blogs, particularly if you have only just joined the blogging world – the general rule that I set myself when I participate is that I check out at least two or three other bloggers for every link that I leave.

Please don’t leave any links on this post – I’ll just delete them. Save them for Sunday!

Hope to see you there!

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, my Pinterest page http://www.pinterest.com/suzie81speaks and my Instagram page http://www.instagram.com/suzie81speaks.

* Dusting off my blogging mojo

Meet Katherine! She’s getting back into her blogging mojo – please don’t comment on my reblog, hop on over and say hello!

Teachezwell Blog

Hmm.  My blogging mojo disappeared between health challenges, work, and a mini-vacation.  I am trying to restore it, so thanks again to Cee for her wonderful challenges.   Yes, I just completed this challenge for LAST week, but now I’m on a roll.

What are you really glad you did yesterday?  I scheduled a post for today so I didn’t wake up with old mojo-less stuff on my blog.  Oh yeah!  I am so pleased with myself!  I already have a spiffy new post ready to pop out at 12:05 AM!  Woohoo!  I feel that mojo!

Would you prefer a one floor house or multiple levels?  I love multiple levels so I can toss everything upstairs when people come over.  Cleaning hack: use crime scene tape to keep folks from wandering.

crime scene.jpgHave you done something you truly want to do today?   Yes!  I went swimming. I…

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Lego, Steak and Waiting for the Mailman

It’s The Bloke’s birthday today, and before midday I had a bit of a bad start to the morning. While he isn’t particularly bothered about his own birthday, I like to make a fuss because he looks after me all year and I was a bit frustrated because his presents hadn’t arrived in the mail yet. I also managed to forget my purse when I went to the shop and then I burnt his birthday bacon butty, so combined with the fact that I was looking out of the window every five seconds for the postman it wasn’t exactly the day that I had planned.

He had some sort of idea as to what he was getting from me and my family as I had to tell him not to buy certain things when he was in town. However, what he didn’t know was that his main present was something he didn’t even know existed, and I had been more than fortunate to find it on eBay for an extremely reasonable price. Get this: a new and sealed (and no longer in production) Back to the Future Delorean Lego set with a spelling mistake on one of the pieces. I had been excitedly hoping that it would arrive on his birthday, along with his other gifts, and it did. So, when I heard the knock on the door I almost hugged the postman, squeaking at the poor guy about how great it was that it had turned up earlier than expected.

My favourite thing about the day is always the look on The Bloke’s face when he has no clue of what he is going to get and it takes him completely off guard. I ran upstairs, where he was still in bed (and probably still savouring the taste of his charred bacon), told him I had a surprise present that he would receive in the condition that he wouldn’t ask about cost (actually, that all sounds a little rude when I read it back), and then I placed the Lego in front of him and waited for his reaction.

I should have taken a picture. It totally made my week.


The Bloke attempting to get his Snapchat on…

It’s been a nice, relaxing afternoon. The heating went on, the rest of his presents arrived, we watched a hugely inspiring Netflix documentary on CT Fletcher (weightlifting champion and all-round amazing family man), I cooked him a steak dinner and we’re just waiting for the finale of Cold Feet later tonight. I was worried about the steak – it’s not something I’m used to cooking or eating so I read lots of Pioneer Woman recipes on steak and steak-based dishes and did my best to follow it to the letter. Thankfully, it seemed to work and he ate it (commenting that it was exactly how he liked it – medium to well done ish) and hasn’t been sick (yet) so I must have done something right…


The atmosphere remains a little sad and the house still feels strange with just one slightly less upset cat, but I think that he’s had a nice (and well-deserved) birthday. And spoiling him has cheered me up too…

What about you guys? What have you been up to?

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, my Pinterest page http://www.pinterest.com/suzie81speaks and my Instagram page http://www.instagram.com/suzie81speaks

A Lost Little Cat and a Ruined Birthday Surprise

imageI’m tired today.

I feel a little raw and bruised, mainly because of the trauma of yesterday. The atmosphere of the house is different, almost empty. Daisy’s brother, Poppy (yes, I know it’s a girl’s name – long story) settled down well last night until 4.00am, at which point I think he realised that she wasn’t there, and took it upon himself to investigate every room downstairs, crying as he went. It was quite heartbreaking to listen to – this was only the second night in eleven years that he had spent without her and he was clearly feeling lost.

He’s spent most of today being extremely quiet, fast asleep on my lap. It’s odd – normally he has a mad half-an-hour of running around, playing and making lots of noise after he’s been fed, but today he’s just… sad.

Thankfully, both The Bloke and I are off work for the next week so we have the time to be able to get him used to the new situation.

Unintentionally, this morning I also managed to ruin a massive surprise for my birthday that The Bloke has had planned for weeks. My birthday is in November, and I knew that he had something organised, but he wouldn’t tell me what it was or even give me clues as to what to wear (I’m terrible with surprises). On Facebook, I saw an advertisement for the new production of RENT that is touring the UK soon, and I got all excited about it, squeaking at him that I was going to book tickets when I next got paid (we both love RENT). Unfortunately, he then had to reveal that he had already booked tickets for one of the performances in London in December, along with a night in a hotel and train tickets. He’d even arranged for my friend to cat sit.

Bless him. I felt so guilty, particularly when I saw the disappointment on his face, but in another way it was exactly what I needed this morning to lift my spirits (after I had finished crying), and I now know that I have something absolutely incredible to look forward to. It’s funny, we have a history of accidentally ruining surprises for each other.

I’m a very lucky girl indeed. He was absolutely incredible through everything yesterday evening – I couldn’t have got through it without him.

Thank you so much for all the blog and social media messages I’ve received – every single one is appreciated and I’ll reply to them all… This is why I love the community – it’s such a caring and supportive place.

Goodbye Daisy

imageI lost another little friend today… The only bad thing about having a pet is when they leave you, and it never gets any easier.

I’ve had Daisy and her brother since they were 5 weeks old. Normally, that would have been far too young and I hadn’t intended on getting two more cats at the time, but the state that they were both in meant that if I didn’t take them in they would have almost certainly died. She was so small that she could fit in the palm of my hand and I used to laugh at her enormous ears, particularly as she looked like the love child of Yoda and Gizmo the Mogwai.

Right from the beginning she was ill and her poor start meant that her chronic stomach problems would be an issue all her life. However, she was such a sweet-natured little thing every penny spent was worth it, particularly when she started to improve and her cheeky little personality became apparent. She took to curling up underneath a fluffy blanket with me at night, she learned how to fetch items like a dog would and her favourite thing in the world would be to chase an empty crisp packet that had been folded up into a triangle (despite the fact that she had a mountain of toys) around the room. She sat patiently every holiday as I adorned her with various Christmas and Halloween hats and laughed as I took photographs. She sat at the table with us during Christmas dinner. She trusted everyone and was such a softie that every person entering the house became a target for a cuddle.

She’s been with me through everything over the last eleven years – house moves, new jobs, relationships – and despite the uncertainty of life’s ups and downs, I knew that she, along with the other two cats that I had at the time, would be the only things that remained constant. Above all, after a horrible day I knew that she would be pleased to see me.

Just over three years ago, she was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes, and since then she’s had to be injected twice a day with insulin. Combined with her stomach and digestive issues, The Bloke and I have purchased the only food that keeps her carb levels relatively low, along with needles and vials of insulin, and one of us has got up at 6.00am and arrived home by 6.00pm every single day to ensure she had her injection within a 12 hour time frame – she never missed a single one. We learned how to monitor her blood sugar levels and do blood curves to see how successful the treatment was. I learned how to spot a potential hypo (life-threatening blood sugar drop) just by looking at the expression on her face. When we’ve been away, we have been lucky to have an incredible friend who would give up her time to take over cat-injecting and cuddling duties.

We’ve often jokingly referred to her as ‘Daisy the Dream Killer,’ as it seems that whenever we have been able to save up even a small amount of money, it has had to be spent on something for her ailments. However, while it’s been an exhausting journey at times, I wouldn’t change a thing – the happiness and enjoyment that she has given me exceeds anything that money could ever buy – but it had got to the point where I could see that she was beginning to tire. Her once voracious appetite disappeared and in an effort to try and keep her going she was being fed small amounts several times a day, during which it wasn’t uncommon for her to be sick. She wasn’t an old cat by any means, being just eleven (my other cat was 19 when she passed away) but she had started to sleep more, had lost interest in playing with toys and running around, her insulin levels needed to be increased and despite the fact that we did our absolute best, her bloods still weren’t at a stable level for any consistent period of time. Inevitably, her eyesight and kidneys would have started to fail (her eyesight in particular is not as good as it was) and after watching my eldest cat deteriorate with cancer I wasn’t prepared to watch her go through something similar.

After a nasty hypo that occurred completely out of the blue a few weeks ago (which upset me far more than it did her), I had a discussion with The Bloke and we made the decision to make an appointment to say goodbye. Selfishly, I couldn’t watch her go through that anymore and despite the fact that I’m going to carry round huge levels of guilt for a while, I know that we made the right decision.

I’m going to miss her so much.

Goodbye Daisy, I hope that wherever you are there’s plenty of crisp packet toys, lots of cuddles and fluffy blankets. Thanks for being my friend.

Motherly Love – Skincare for Pregnancy and Beyond

imageA little while ago I told you that my youngest sister is pregnant with the first grandchild in the family. She’s currently at 26 weeks, and thankfully both mum and baby are doing well.

I was delighted when I was contacted by Motherly Love, a company that specialises in oils for pregnancy and beyond. Founded and created by Jan, a mother, grandmother, midwife and nurse of over 40 years, all of the oils contain natural products and are made in the UK and the packaging is 100% recyclable.

One of the biggest complaints my sister has is itching and minor pains on her stomach (mainly due to the fact that her skin is being stretched) so she tested the award winning Relaxing Bath Oil. With ingredients like jojoba, coconut, apricot and lavender, it is designed to reduce the suppleness of the skin and provide a relaxing scent at the end of a stressful day. I asked her what she thought:

It smelled lovely and it only needed a few squirts, which is great because it lasts longer than other bath oils I have tried. I spent about half-an-hour lying in the bath and I felt much more relaxed after just a few minutes. It was really effective at making the skin on my stomach feel more comfortable and I haven’t experienced as much itching, which has made me feel a little more comfortable. I’ve been quite conscious of the products that I have used during my pregnancy, but I feel confident in using the bath oil because of the natural ingredients. I like the packaging and fun design and I have been using it a few times a week- it’s definitely something that I am going to continue to use and recommend to my friends!

I was really pleased – my sister is quite selective with the make-up and beauty products that she uses on a daily basis, so this was high praise indeed, and I’m delighted that she is going to add this product to her weekly routine!

If you wish to know more about the multi-award winning Motherly Love brand, you can find their website here, and on Twitter @motherlylovexx

Disclaimer: My sister was sent a Relaxing Bath Oil at no cost, but was under no obligation to provide a positive review.

Rocky Horror, Broken Boots and a Sad Decision

It’s been a rather up and down few days.

On Friday night I went to watch the Rocky Horror Show with one of my friend’s who had a spare ticket. It’s The Bloke’s favourite show (aside from RENT) so we have seen it once before, and if I’m being honest it wasn’t something that I really understood or, dare I say it, particularly enjoyed.

However, the seats were right at the front, and even though I didn’t dress up I was surrounded by people who had gone all out to replicate the weird and wacky costumes in the show, my friends included.

The last time we went to watch it, I learned very quickly that heckling and audience participation were very much part of the show. Unfortunately, some of the people I was sitting near hadn’t quite learned what to say and when to say it, so by the end of the first half they were so drunk that they had taken to screaming profanities whenever they felt like it, which got on my nerves after a while. However, this time I was near a massive group of die-hard Rocky Horror fans who knew the show as much as the cast did, and their shouting not only made us laugh, but caught the cast a little off-guard too, resulting in some hilarious improv from the narrator, Steve Punt. The cast were incredible, and it was a thoroughly enjoyable evening.

After the show I went and harassed the very handsome actor who played ‘Brad’ and got a picture taken with him, and then we went for a drink (for once, a lemonade in my case) in the pub round the corner. Unfortunately for my friend, who was wearing a Magenta-esque outfit, complete with a bright red wig, her boots decided that they would completely disintegrate, and she left bits of rubber sole wherever she walked. True to form and as a supportive friend there was only one thing I could do – I almost wet myself laughing and took pictures of her feet as she hobbled back to the car in her short dress, tights and what was left on her feet. Hilarious.

The Bloke was visiting his family on Saturday and I ended up sleeping for a while, but I was feeling rough, and this continued into Sunday. I blame The Bloke for giving me teacher germs from the school he works at. I was a bit gutted as I wanted to go and watch my friend run the half-marathon (can you believe that it’s a year since I did it myself?), but didn’t think that standing out in the cold and rain would help me to feel any better. Thankfully, my friend smashed the course, completing it in 2 hrs and 50 mins, which is amazing!


Sadly, we recently made the decision that we’re going to have to take my cat, Daisy, to the vets and say goodbye. It’s going to be tough, but she has type 1 diabetes and even though we’ve sustained her since her diagnosis over three years ago with twice-daily insulin injections and special food, it’s only going to get worse. Last week, she had a rather bad hypo and even though I was more upset about it than she appeared to be, I can’t watch her go through that anymore. Her eyesight is beginning to get worse and inevitably her kidneys will fail, so I’d rather say goodbye now than watch her deal with pain and waste away, but it’s going to be awful. I just hope she forgives me, as silly as that may sound.

What about you guys? What have you been up to?

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, my Pinterest page http://www.pinterest.com/suzie81speaks and my Instagram page http://www.instagram.com/suzie81speaks

Book Cover Reveal – Glimpses By Hugh W. Roberts

The long wait is over – Hugh’s book cover is here and it’s fabulous! It’s released on the 9th Dec! Please don’t like or comment on the reblog – hop on over to Hugh’s place and say hello!

Hugh's Views & News

Drum roll,  please. Ta Da!

Glimpses - The new book of some of my short stories. Publication Date: Friday 9th December 2016 Glimpses – The new book of some of my short stories. Publication Date: Friday 9th December 2016

I am so pleased finally to reveal the book cover for ‘Glimpses’, my upcoming book of short stories.

Why did I choose the name Glimpses for the book? Here’s an extract from the synopsis.

‘Glimpses’ allows the reader a peek into the lives of everyday people who are about to have life lead them on an unpredicted path. From a mysterious deadly iPad app, to a hole in the fence that is not all it seems, to a strange lipstick that appears to have a life of its own, you will encounter terror, laughter, sadness, shock and many other emotions on journeys which promise a thrilling and gripping climax.

Many of the stories inside the book come from writing and photo prompts and challenges set by some…

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Baby Talk

imageI have a very small family of four, just consisting of my mum, two younger sisters and I, with no extended relatives. To say that relationships have been strained over the years is an understatement, but I’m pleased that over more recent times we’ve been able to repair our connections somewhat and are now at the point where we can all get together, have a great time and enjoy being in each other’s company. Both sisters are in relationships with good men – my youngest sister married my brother-in-law two years ago and my middle sis lives with her boyfriend – and this has been a welcome addition to the dynamics of four, strong-minded women.

Five months ago, I received a phone call from the youngest sis… She’d discovered that she was pregnant, which she was delighted about as her and my brother-in-law had been trying for a while. I asked her how far along she was, and her answer made me smile. She was only four weeks gone.

While it’s standard for most people to wait for three months before telling anyone, my sis and I are terrible at keeping things to ourselves if we’re excited about something, so she rang us almost as soon as she had found out.

She’s now 26 weeks, and despite the fact that she suffered from terrible morning-sickness for the first few months, sis and baby are both doing well. Baby, who I have taken to calling Baby Squidge (mainly because of how squidgy babies are – highly inventive, I know) is strong and healthy with a good heartbeat. Sis and my brother-in-law have been extremely organised in getting everything ready, and Baby Squidge now has a wardrobe filled with clothes, nappies and essential items, and the nursery is almost finished. We know the sex and name, (but I won’t be giving details on that) which has made it easier to buy things (although I’ve never been a huge fan of gender-oriented colours and clothing) and I’ve had a brilliant time in Baby Gap and Mothercare looking at ridiculously cute outfits for it.

As it is the first grandchild in the family, Mum is ecstatic. She’s wanted a grandchild for as long as I can remember, and as I and my middle sis have no inclination nor desire to reproduce, I think that she was possibly concerned that it wouldn’t happen. While she has tried to remain calm, I know that she has plans for the day trips that she’s going to have with it, and if I know my mum well enough, that will involve all of the things that she has missed since we were little – swimming, walks in the park, Disney On Ice… Mind you, it’s more than likely that the Baby Squidge will be asleep and my mum will be doing the activities herself anyway. She’s going to be a fabulous grandmother.

However, my middle sis and I have never been around babies before, and we’re both admittedly a bit concerned about what on earth we are going to do with it if we’re looking after it. For now I’ve decided that anything involving bodily fluids ie. dirty nappies and sick will be a brilliant opportunity for mum to do her thing, and instead I’m going to take the cuddles. Unfortunately, I don’t think I’m going to get away with doing that for very long!

I do know this though:

1. It will know all of the words to Journey’s ‘Don’t Stop Believing.’

2. It will watch He-Man, She-Ra and Thundercats whenever I’m around (none of this Peppa Pig nonsense).

3. It will know The Tiger Who Came to Tea and all of the Beatrix Potter stories.

4. It will be dressed up in an awesome outfit every Halloween and Christmas (my sis has already tried to veto this idea, but she has to leave it with me at some point and when she isn’t there she can’t stop me).

5. Between us and my brother-in-laws lovely family, it will be the most loved, spoilt and cuddled that any baby has ever been.

So, our little family is growing, and next year will be some of the biggest changes we’ve had for a while. Baby Squidge will be here and The Bloke and I are getting married.

Auntie Suzie and Uncle Bloke. I like the sound of that. Let’s just hope for The Bloke’s sake that it doesn’t develop an interest in his Lego sets…

What about you guys? Any advice?

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, my Pinterest page http://www.pinterest.com/suzie81speaks and my Instagram page http://www.instagram.com/suzie81speaks