Highs and Lows

Nearly two weeks after we got married, it’s been a time of enormous highs and some crashing lows.

I’ve been loving all of the pictures that we have been getting from our friends and family from the wedding. Some of them are gorgeous, some are less that flattering, so I’ve been collecting them into folders and I’m going to make a montage of all the awful ones and hang it on the wall. It still hasn’t quite sunk in yet.

However, it didn’t help that two days after we got married The Bloke was told that Ofsted (the national inspection service for UK schools) would be coming to inspect the school he works at. Anyone who has ever worked in an educational institution in the UK knows that there is nothing more stressful than Ofsted – I’ve seen grown professionals reduced to tears – and as an IT Technician The Bloke receives enormous amounts of tasks and pressure from every area of the school, so he did incredibly long days and was shattered. I felt awful for him – not exactly the start I was hoping for.

We’ve been excitedly preparing for our honeymoon, getting together the last items that we will need for five days in NYC. Despite being given a large luggage allowance, we are repeating the same process that we did for Barcelona a few years ago and just taking a small, capsule wardrobe of outfits each in a rucksack that we can take onto the plane as hand luggage. We figured that it was going to be cold, we are spending most of our time being tourists and therefore we can get away with taking warm sweaters and t-shirts and just one nice outfit for something posh we have planned. It also means that there is zero chance that our bags would go missing (this has happened to me on flights before) and we don’t have to waste time at the baggage section when we land – we can just take our stuff and go. Because of the time of our flight, we’re traveling down to London and staying overnight at the airport hotel, and it’s that beautiful time of year where the lights have just gone up for Christmas so we can have a nice touristy time in our favourite city too.

We also had the opportunity to meet up with a group of Blogger’s Bash bloggers in Birmingham last weekend. We met at Bacchus, one of my favourite bars, and it was lovely getting the chance to catch up and say hello. The Bloke was in town doing some shopping so he joined us afterwards, and we indulged in lovely food and had a nice chat. I always find it strange when meeting bloggers that I have known online for years – I’ve met most of the people who were there just a few times before, but I feel I know them a little and the conversation is never boring or stunted as we all know each other’s stories from the blog posts that we read. I think they stayed for a while, but The Bloke and I had to leave early because we had to get ready for the fancy dress 40th birthday party for one of my favourite people, as you do.

The theme was film characters, so we decided that the obvious choice would be to go as Wayne and Garth from Wayne’s World, of course. I managed to find the hat and wigs from eBay and then I bought the rest from charity shops. What resulted was a Wayne and Garth that looked like they had been on a steady 10 year binge of hard drugs and alcohol. The party was fun – there were lots of friends and former colleagues that I hadn’t seen in years and some that came to the wedding but I didn’t get much chance to speak to them properly at the time, so it was great to be able to catch up with them all and find out how they were doing. I found it quite amusing that some of them didn’t recognise us because of our outfits – we were staring at one former colleague and even though she looked directly at us she walked past and The Bloke had to go over and say hello at the bar.

The other day, I was working through my social media checklist and saw I had a Facebook message. I was then greeted by a whole group of members of my Facebook group who had secretly been collectively scheming and squirrelling a donation for The Bloke and I for our wedding and honeymoon, and I was presented with an enormous sum of money. It isn’t often that I’m lost for words, but this was one of the rare occasions where I had no idea what to say, and I knew that thank you wasn’t enough. What an unbelievable surprise – we were totally gobsmacked. Em, Lorna and everyone who contributed – thanks so so so much… Yet another reason why the blogging community is a wonderful place to be, and I’m so lucky to know them!

And then, we had some devastating news. Our friend and former colleague passed away earlier this week. She came to the wedding and I spoke to her last Saturday via Facebook messenger, and on Monday of this week she had a sudden and unexpected illness and passed away a little while later. She had only retired a few years ago, was a devoted mother and grandmother and loved by everyone who worked with her – staff and students alike. It was a total shock, and I’m still reeling from it. She was such a fabulous woman – never forgot a birthday, always had a kind word and offered many (including myself on numerous occasions) a shoulder to cry on, and the outpouring I’ve seen since her passing has shown just how many lives she touched. I’m so grateful that I got the chance to see her and tell her how much she means to us before she passed, and that she saw so many of her friends. She very kindly gave us some money for the honeymoon as a gift so we’ve made a donation to the RNLI (of which she was a huge supporter) in her name and we’ll have a drink for her when we’re away.

Jan, we love you and thank you for everything that you have done for us… We’ll miss you and your friendship very much. May you rest in peace xx

I’ll be away from the blog for a while – I hope you all have a calm and peaceful time and I’ll catch up with you soon!

You can find me on Twitter and Tumblr @suzie81blog, and don’t forget to follow 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

Wedding Prep, a Birthday and Wagamama

Last week was my sister’s 30th birthday, so we made plans to meet up as a family for lunch yesterday. As my sister lives 100 miles away, I got the train up north on Saturday and stayed at her house. It was also the perfect opportunity to spend some time with my brother-in-law and Squidge (my niece) who is now 5 months old.

As always, traveling up in the afternoon is always busy, and it didn’t help that my train was severely delayed, but by the time I arrived I was met with this gorgeous face, which made it all worthwhile. Her hair is beginning to grow so she is looking less like Grant Mitchell from Eastenders now, which is always a bonus!

 

Saturday night was fairly relaxed – the delayed train and the awful traffic meant that we didn’t get home until late – and my brother-in-law was out with his own siblings so after Squidge had been put in bed my sister and I over-indulged on the snacky treats and watched our favourite chick-flick – Only You – while catching up and generally talking nonsense. To save her the time and effort of setting up the airbed I stayed on the couch (which happens to be the world’s comfiest) and enjoyed the luxury of Sky TV, which The Bloke and I don’t have. Continue reading

Baywatch, a CV Meltdown and a Busy Week

I always wake up with the intention of writing a post, but it seems that of late it hasn’t happened. It has been a busy, exciting, tiring and frustrating time, and I’ve had to focus daily on self-care activities and mindfulness in order to keep myself together at times.

The view of Yeovil

Half-term week was one of the best I have had in a while. I attended my friend’s wedding, which was absolutely perfect, and I’m delighted for her that everything went so beautifully. It was also an extra-enjoyable time for The Bloke and I for the opportunity that it provided to have an extended break away from home for a few days. As the wedding was an almost three hour drive away, we decided that it would make more sense to stay overnight in a hotel in Yeovil (that I will refer to as ‘The Town Where the Internet Goes to Die – I had no signal whatsover for the majority of the time) to avoid potential traffic chaos on the motorway and we ended up having an impromptu date day and night. Continue reading

Friday 13th, a Makeover and a Book Launch

I wouldn’t say that I’m particularly superstitious, but I wasn’t looking forward to yesterday – I had a day of supply, which is the first one since the beginning of October, and with it being Friday 13th I was anticipating that it was going to be a challenging day. My prediction seemed to be coming true when I woke up as we had some snowfall overnight, which was just enough to cause an inconvenience when getting to work…

A kitty feeling very sorry for himself

A kitty feeling very sorry for himself

Up until yesterday it had been a fairly calm week, aside from Poppy – my cat – who caused me to have two trips to the vets in a single day. He had a small lump under his jaw and after losing another of my cats to cancer, where the tumour was under her jaw, I wasn’t taking any chances. This was how it went:

Took cat to the vets
Vet wasn’t concerned about lump, but took the opportunity to give him his vaccination booster injection
Cat got upset and wouldn’t keep still
Took cat home
Cat started shivering and appeared to have a reaction to the injection
Rushed cat back to the vet
Cat suddenly perfectly fine at the vets
Took cat home Continue reading

More Than Words…

imageIt’s been a bit of a mixed week. I’ve been able to get myself and the house a little more organised in preparation for Christmas, I was in full Blogmas mode and I had plans for various different things to do that would be something to look forward to.

Unfortunately, I’ve also had to deal with a fair bit of negativity, ear bashing and downright rudeness from various areas of my life, and it really killed my blogging buzz. Hence, instead of blogging daily, as was my intention, I took more of a backseat and did more social media promo than writing until I had calmed down a bit – I never quite trust my own ability to censor myself when I’m cross. Continue reading

Birthday Shopping, an Engagement and Blogmas!

It was my birthday the other day. The Bloke and my friends were at work and I had already been spoilt with lots of lovely presents and cards (personalised notebook, Mojito lollipops, money, lovely meal, the new Caitlin Moran book, voucher, TICKETS TO SEE RENT IN LONDON), so I decided that rather than attempting to organise a get-together, I would have a day to myself. I was in Birmingham city centre by 8am, munching my way through a McDonalds breakfast, armed with a voucher and birthday money and braced myself for the chaos that descends daily in the city around this time of year.

I had a plan to race round and finish off my Christmas shopping by 10.00am. I did quite well, managing most of it by 10.30am without being run over by a baby buggy or one of those really annoying wheeled suitcases (seriously, don’t even get me started on those…) and then got myself back home armed with lots of bags and bubble tea. I plonked myself under a warm duvet in front of the TV, where me and the cat (who was tired after running around, singing the songs of his people and attacking my face at 3am) caught up on some programmes we missed last week and had a snooze. Continue reading

Housesitting…

I’m currently sitting on a ridiculously comfy couch in front of the TV at my friend’s beautiful new house. I’ve been given the Wi-Fi password, the Sky remote, money for a takeaway and some mojito lollipops (early birthday present).

This wasn’t a planned visit – my friend and her bloke have had a trip to London booked for a while to celebrate her birthday – but two days ago a couple of scumbags decided that they had nothing better to do than break in and steal thousands of pounds worth of electronics and even worse, sentimental possessions that hold more value than anything money can buy. And, for some reason, my friend’s face cream, just to rub a little salt into the wound.

Assholes. I’m gutted for them both – they have only just moved into the property and it was obvious that they had been deliberately targeted. A month before Christmas. I’m not one to wish pain and suffering on people usually, but may the burglars crotches be infested with the fleas of a thousand camels and their arms be too short to scratch. Let’s hope that karma comes back to get them. Continue reading

Crepes, Apple and a Fayre or Two

I’ve had a really nice few days.

I love this time of year – this is when I start secretly looking forward to the coming events of the next few months: The Bloke, my mum, The Bloke’s sister and I all have birthdays, the Frankfurt Market comes back to the city and I start getting my Christmas presents together. Normally I’m a lot more organised than I have been this year, but the numerous blog activities and various employment opportunities that have appeared since January have meant that my time is less than it was before, albeit much more fun! And (although I’m not going to discuss most of it yet on here), the next twelve months will mean huge changes (all for the better) for me and my family (no, I’m not pregnant, nor am I planning to be, before any of you get excited!).

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Working 9 to 5

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Well, 8.30am until 3.00pm in my case, but that would have been a less effective title.

I’ve had an absolutely amazing summer, possibly the most enjoyable ever. But, as is life, all good things must come to an end, or at least a temporary end in my case. And so it was, at 7.00am a week last Friday found myself sitting in a classroom, logging into my computer and checking my class lists for the day.

It was a shock to the system, but it wasn’t as bad as I expected. It’s been two months since I did any supply or freelance work but I’m now going to be in every day for the rest of September to cover an English timetable for a teacher who can’t start until October.

I’ve been very lucky – I normally do only a few days a week of supply if it is available, but this number of days in one go will ensure financial security until December, which will give me the opportunity to then focus more on building up the blog without having to worry about bills being paid. I’m in a great department, I have my own classroom for the first time in eleven years, and because I’m just covering the classes I am not required to plan or mark any of the work.

Awesome.

I’ve had some nice lessons with nice kids that have almost made me question my decision to leave and I’ve experienced that buzz that many teachers get when a class clicks with the information or a task that they have been given. And then, there’s been one or two that have reminded me that I absolutely made the right decision. It’s amazing how the old feelings of panic and anxiety return in these instances, even with minimal pressure. I’ve had interrupted sleep, bad dreams and I’ve gone home with stress headaches on a few days… and it’s been just over a week.

I think I need to get over myself.

In the online world, I’m finding it a little difficult to create ideas recently. I suppose that with having no niche, the idea of writing about anything and everything has resulted in an overload of possibilities, so I’m going to be spending some time attempting to get a plan together. It’s unusual for me – I like to be spontaneous in what I write – but I think a bit of structure might help. I’ve been building up my social media accounts and had fun watching a whole bunch of views come in from Pinterest on my recent decluttering post, so this has spurred me on to revisit some of my older posts and create more suitable images.

I do know, however, that I’m going to host a blog party. I’ve not done one since Valentine’s Day, and they’re always a brilliant way to meet new people and be introduced to brand new blogs. I haven’t decided on the date yet, but I’ll be certain to let everybody know when I do!

Is it wrong to be thinking about Christmas already?

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.

More Cocktails, a Pirate and He-Man

I had my final full week off of the summer, and I absolutely made sure that I didn’t waste any of it!

I met up with some of my girly teacher friends. We used to work together at the same school and over the years we’ve all moved onwards and upwards with our lives, but have still managed to keep in touch. We decided to meet for a burger and cocktail, and even though I was feeling a bit rough I knew that I’d have a brilliant time. It’s nice to sit around a table with them and catch up with what they’ve been up to – one is starting a new job, one lives and works in Spain so had come back to the UK for a visit, another has just bought a house and moved in with her partner, one is pregnant with her second child, one has spent the summer doing really awesome travel stuff and I have got engaged – so we had a LOT to talk about. They’re just nice people to be around – there’s no mean girl issues or competition – we just sit, laugh, drink and talk, and because there are so many of us there are never any awkward silences.

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