A Moment in Time


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

A Question of Beauty



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.


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).


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.


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.


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:


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



A Children’s TV Presenter: A Compliment?



“Being in a relationship with you is like going out with a children’s TV presenter.”

The Bloke once said this to me in passing in the early stages of our relationship, and of all the ways I have been described by others over the years, this was by far the most unique. When I asked for an explanation, he couldn’t give me a detailed answer, just that I reminded him of one.

Editors note: For those of you under the age of thirty and living outside of the UK, the remainder of this post is going to make little sense.

I’ve pondered the meaning of this statement for years. I don’t have children and haven’t watched children’s television for years, so as part of my research I turned to the CBBC channel for help.

What I discovered was horrifying. On the screen was a woman with a face that had been contorted into a ridiculous smile, wittering utter rubbish about flowers and donkeys whilst wearing a waterproof in such bright colours that I had to repress the urge to put my sunglasses on. To add insult to injury, I was then patronised by the same woman who showed me her bathing suit and a towel and asked me to guess where she was going.

And then, I was introduced to Mr Tumble. Oh dear lord, Mr Tumble. The only explanation for Mr Tumble is that the must have been large amounts of LSD involved in his creation. While his alter ego, Justin, seemed to actually be a nice enough bloke, if a bit extreme, Mr Tumble made me want to jump into the screen and punch him repeatedly in the face.

Is that the way The Bloke saw me? Loud? Overly enthusiastic about everything? Talking in rhyme and in a voice like a bingo announcer? Saying ‘hahaaaa!’ at everything?


In my day (here is where I make myself feel really old), there were only two presenters that cut the mustard. Phillip Scofield and Andi Peters. Both presented their shows from ‘The Broom Cupboard,’ a tiny room where the walls were adorned with paintings and pictures that had been sent in by the viewers, and both had brilliant sidekicks – Phillip had Gordon the Gopher, and Andi had Edd the Duck. They were witty, hilarious and warm in their presenting skills (which is probably the reason why they are both highly successful and respected TV presenters and producers today), and they had guests! They weren’t patronising, they didn’t ask stupid questions, they gave us information and spoke to us as human beings. I had a huge crush on Phillip – it must have been the knitted sweaters…

The question remains, which sort of children’s TV presenter am I? The patronising, overly enthusiastic one with a eccentric fashion sense, or the witty, charming and informative one.

I like to think it is the latter…

What about you? What is the best description of yourself you have ever received?


You can also find me on Twitter and Tumblr @suzie81blog

Revisiting My Youth… and Wishing I Hadn’t

Cheri Lucas Rowlands/The Daily Post

Cheri Lucas Rowlands/The Daily Post

Loneliness is an interesting feeling, particularly when it isn’t evident that you’re living a lonely existence.

One of my biggest blogging regrets is that I didn’t start one sooner. I have always kept journals from a young age and I have boxes that are filled with notebooks full of the ramblings of my younger self.

As an experiment I thought that it would be a fun idea to return to those notebooks for the first time in years and revisit my youth. I’ve seen quite a few inspiring posts based upon a similar concept and I invisaged that I would be able to glean some insightful content that would make me smile and remind me of happy memories of my life, experiences and of who I used to be.

I wish I hadn’t.

I have always believed myself to be content with my own company, proudly stating this on many occasions. However, what struck me about those diary entries was just how lonely I was. I have been known to rant on my little blog, but the rants that I discovered in those notebooks were of epic proportions. I hated everyone and everything. I was heavily in debt, I couldn’t afford to heat my house or eat properly and I was angry at the situation I had got myself into. Large amounts of the pages were taken up with financial charts that were designed to resolve my circumstances and pay everything off, but they never seemed to work. I was bored, I hated my job, my family, my friends. I wrote the same things again and again, and it never seemed to occur to me that I needed to change things if I wanted the situation to get better. I was man obsessed and desperate for affection – I had written about my ‘feelings’ for male acquaintances that I only have moderate recollections of now and I spent pages and pages quoting my favourite romantic movies and creating imaginary scenarios in my head where my knight in shining armour would rescue me. I wasn’t living, but merely existing, and despite being surrounded by lots of people, I felt completely and utterly alone.

There was one particular paragraph that made me stop and stare.

‘I procrastinate and talk utter sh*te to myself over and over again, making false promises to myself and those around me that I never follow through with, getting through life from day to day and not really achieving anything. At the end of each day I sit, alone, on my uncomfortable couch in a messy house watching inane programmes on the television until the early hours of the morning that only serve to make me want to believe that life is like the movies…’


Admittedly, my existing memories of that particular time weren’t great, even before I decided to read the diaries – things were tough – but to my recollection other times had been far tougher and my current recollections were nowhere near to the level that I had recorded on those pages. As I read more and more I started to become frustrated with myself at my words, my hatred, my anger. I saw those words from the point of an outsider – I wanted to jump into them, slap myself and point out all the good things that I had in my life. I had a job, a house, pets, friends and a family, however disfunctional. I had everything.

While I can look back at that period of my life through seemingly rose tinted spectacles as the person that I am now, my words told me that I was lost and unhappy and yet couldn’t give a reason as to why. I wasted so much time wanting things for my future, when I should have been living for the present. I rang my mother and told her what I had discovered, and her response put everything into perspective:

“You may not feel this way now, but you must have needed to write it down at the time, so in a way it was a positive thing for you…”

She was right, as she always is. I did need it. As my blog serves me with an outlet to vent, to talk, to discuss, so did those journals. I needed to put pen to paper and release everything into the open.

I took those pages and shredded them. Hundreds of them. And with each piece of paper that was destroyed, I told myself that I am not that person anymore.

Hopefully, I never will be again.

You can also find me on Twitter and Tumblr @suzie81blog

A Dented Bucket List


I love Bucket Lists – lists of things that we wish to achieve/see/do before we die – and last year I spent hours creating the ultimate Bucket List that combined all the smaller ones that I have made over the years. I’ve made a good start on it too and have been able to cross quite a few things off…

However, I was inspired when I saw the idea of the ‘Dented’ Bucket List, created on the RawrLove blog in support of the much missed Rarasaur, who had suggested the idea herself. I decided to create my own – focusing on things that I would never deliberately see and do, things I never hope to experience and things that I have experienced already but would have been on the list. These are not meant to be judgemental towards anybody else and their lifestyles, they are based purely of personal preferences and are in no particular order.


1. Cage dive with Great Whites. Not even if there was money involved. Never. Ever.

2. Have to start my life again from scratch with almost nothing.   

3. Live through the coldest two weeks of the year without gas or heating under a duvet, with just 25 pence in my bank account.

4. Wear fur.

5. Attend a bullfight.

6. Do drugs. I’ve never tried any of them aside from cigarettes and alcohol because I’ve never had an interest to and never will – it’s something that has never appealed to me.

7. Buy and/or listen to Justin Bieber’s music.

8. See Justin Bieber in concert.


9. Go camping. 

10. Skydive. I have a terrible fear of heights and flying, and so the two combined are even worse. While it appears on a lot of Bucket Lists that I have read, it will never appear on mine.

11. Bungee Jumping. See number 10.

12. Lick anything from someone else’s belly button.

13. Complain about having a job. While I may complain about my workload on occasions, as most people do, I have never, and will never, lose sight of the fact that I have a good job and I am very lucky to work there.

14. Watch Twilight again. There’s two hours of my life I’ll never get back.

15. Eat boiled egg. Eww. The smell is enough to make me feel sick.

16. Spend the night in a haunted building. I don’t see the point in scaring myself for fun.


17. Be ‘too old’ to do something.

18. Lose sight of the importance of a good friend.

19. Perform on stage in a play. I have recurring nightmares about being in front of an audience and not being able to member my lines.

20. Make The Bloke wear a matching outfit, unless it’s fancy dress.

21. Get another perm. I looked like a blonde reject from an ‘Annie’ audition.

22. ‘Grow up.’

23. Pose naked. Nobody needs to see that. I envisage people running away and screaming ‘my eyes! My eyes!’…

24. Forget. Forgiveness is one thing, forgetting is a whole different matter.

25. Expect anything from anyone.


What about you? What would be on your dented bucket list? I’d love to hear your ideas!

You can also find me on Twitter and Tumblr @suzie81blog





Great Expectations


I dislike the idea of expectation. To expect something suggests a sense of entitlement and this can often lead to disappointment.

In the last thirteen years there have been only two things that have remained unchanged and constant in my life: my bank details, and my little cat. Everything else is different. My family, my friends, the place that I live are different. Indeed, I am different.

As I was growing up I had a simple, if somewhat naive plan. I was going to go to university, become a session musician, get rich, get married, buy a house, have children and live happily ever after. I did everything that was expected from me, in what could have been deemed to be a socially acceptable order. I didn’t make waves or cause problems. I was a good girl.

What I discovered is that even the best laid plans do not always come to fruition. At the age of 32 I find myself working as a music teacher. I live in the UK’s second biggest city with my long-term, long-suffering partner and our three cats in a rented property, and I’ve moved house six times in ten years. I have no savings (thanks to astronomical vets bills over the last year) and I’m not rich. My parents are divorced and I haven’t seen or spoken to my father in twelve years.

I realised that I wasn’t cut out to be a professional musician – the competition for performing roles was too high, and if I am being brutally honest I was devastated because I simply knew that the profession wasn’t the right one for me. My expectations of what my life was going to be were dashed, and I was left feeling disappointed and lost. However, hard work, a little bit of luck and being in the right place at the right time gained me a teaching role, and it was through this that I met my partner.

No, my life isn’t what I expected it to be. It’s far better.

I work in a profession that I enjoy, where I get good results and have a great relationship with the students. My mother is my closest friend and a constant source of support. I have fantastic friendships with genuine people and a relationship with a man who has supported me throughout it all. I am not financially rich, but I don’t want for anything. I’ve eaten good food, drank good cocktails and listened to fabulous bands in concert. I have been able to travel a little and see places and things that I could only have dreamed of when I was creating my life plan all those years ago. While the trials and tribulations have been tough, the journey has been exciting, I have worked hard and I love the idea of not knowing what is going to happen next.

I have few expectations from life, and make no apologies for this. Of course, I have dreams and little goals that I set myself, but I can only expect from life what I am willing to put into it. Always hope, always work hard, but never expect.


The Sound of Silence: Twelve Hours Without Media

I’ve always thought that I was quite comfortable with the sound of silence – I enjoy time in my own company and often find that my most productive moments are when I am by myself.



I decided that I was going to try a little experiment while I’m still recovering from my hospitalisation last week – I intended to spend just 12 hours with no electronic media whatsoever, the purpose being to examine what life would be like on a more simple level and to discover exactly how comfortable I am with the sound of silence. That meant no TV, phone, music, computer, laptop, iPad, Internet, DVD’s, Blu Rays, cameras, Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, WordPress, Instagram, iTunes, apps, games consoles – instead I would have to find other things to occupy my time. I also set myself a rule that small naps would be permitted, as I often indulge in afternoon naps at the weekends, but sleeping for the majority of the day wouldn’t be allowed. The Bloke would be in with me for a part of the day, but for the rest of it he would be off doing other things, so aside from any quick conversations that we would have the majority of the day would be spent in silence. I was going to start at 6.00am and finish at 6.00pm and was quite looking forward to it. It was only going to be for twelve hours… Easy! Right?

Here was my day. Note: there would be photographs accompanying this but as I wasn’t allowed to use my camera I had to use google images post challenge.

6.00am: I woke up in a positive frame of mind and went and injected my diabetic cat. Normally, I would follow this by checking my blog, Facebook, Twitter and Tumblr and I was surprised by the immediate feeling of loss that washed over me when I realised that I wasn’t allowed to do so. So, what to do instead? TV? Nope, that wasn’t allowed either. I suddenly felt very tired and went back to bed.

8.00am: I got up, had some breakfast, put some washing in, put my clean clothes away and vacuumed the upstairs part of the house.


Anne Taintor

9.00am: I decided to start the monumental task of sorting out the piles of paperwork and useless junk that have been lying around the house since we moved in. I put all my old bills into a bag for shredding, I collected all my tickets and cards together for my scrapbook, sorted out my bookshelves and piled up all the books I knew I wasn’t going to read again ready to go to the charity shop. I then (finally) unpacked the last two boxes that were left over from the move. I couldn’t believe the sheer amount of pointless crap that I had insisted on packing and bringing with us. I was ruthless – I obviously hadn’t missed the items in those boxes and so I got rid of the lot.

11.00am: The Bloke and I went to the charity shop with the items that we had collected – he insisted on accompanying me just in case I passed out as I am still quite light headed at times. We also called at the bank and deposited the change that I had bagged from around the house – it worked out that we had £11.00 lying around, which we used to treat ourselves to some snacks for this evening.

12.00pm: I put another load of washing in and made lunch. I have to admit, by this point I was starting to get a little bored. Normally, my chores would be completed with music playing in the background, and I was growing increasingly frustrated with my own thoughts – my brain started to wander to deadlines at work, or play random snippets from songs on a loop and after a morning of this I found that I was craving the TV, just for something to take my mind off the increasingly negative thoughts I started to have. I had some playtime with the cats, who had spent a lot of the morning following me around (until I got the vacuum cleaner out) and it was quite amusing to see Daisy stalking a rubber mouse on the floor.

12.30pm: I got out the vacuum cleaner again and set to work on downstairs, much to the cats annoyance. I tidied up, organised the side and coffee tables, put more of my washing out and started to get stuck into little jobs that I had been avoiding for a while. I started to get stronger urges to turn the TV on, despite the fact that I knew that there was very little on (daytime TV is shocking in the UK unless you’re into property or antique programmes).

2.00pm: I decided to have a nice hot bath. Normally, I would put on a playlist of relaxing songs, but instead I had to lie in silence, which I didn’t enjoy. I got a book and started to read, realising that it had been six months since I had last done so, and I had forgotten just how much fun it was. A quick glance in the mirror revealed that my eyebrows had grown out so much that they were beginning to take over my face, so after locating my tweezers I managed to sort them out, following this with a long, overdue pedicure.


Debbie Ridpath Ohi

4.00pm. I was bored. My chores were done, I was too weak to go outside again, I’d had a bath, read some of my book, tidied the house, played with the cats and organised my paperwork. I had started to experience an intense craving to get out my iPad and write something down, and the strangest thing was that it was a similar craving to what I had experienced when I was quitting smoking – it was a physical, intense urge to do something that I knew I shouldn’t be doing. I decided to follow a similar approach to what I did when getting rid of cigarettes (I got an electronic cigarette) – I substituted the iPad with a notebook and a set of greetings cards and I did something that I haven’t done for years – I wrote a letter to my friend. When we were at university my friend and I used to write to each other all the time and I have kept all her cards and letters in a shoebox. It suddenly occurred to me that during my first two years at university I lived in the Halls of Residence without a TV, the Internet, or a computer, and so I used to write her lots of letters to pass the time at weekends when I couldn’t afford to go out. The more I thought about it, the more I remembered how peaceful life was – some of my happiest memories are of sitting in bed on a Sunday morning, reading a book.

As soon as it turned 6.00pm, and I had cooked dinner and sorted out the cats, the first thing that I did was grab my iPad, switch on the TV and start to write. While it was only a short experiment, it has been valuable in that it has allowed to catch up on lots of chores that needed to be finished, reminded me of my love of reading and writing letters, and more importantly, it has taught me a few things about myself.



1. I am not as comfortable with the sound of silence as I initially thought. My brain goes into overdrive when there is nothing to occupy it and has a tendency to visit the darker and more anxious times I have experienced, and I have subconsciously used the sounds of the TV and music to block it out.

2. I still believe that I am comfortable with my own company, but found that this ‘alone’ time is actually spent chatting to people on various social networks and not actually by myself.

I was surprised at how reliant I am on technology for entertainment. So, I am able to take something from this lesson and in the future I am going to take a little bit of time to put everything down, turn everything off and embrace the sound of silence.

What about you guys? Do you ever take the time just to do nothing? Can you cope with the sound of silence?

You can also find me on Twitter and Tumblr @suzie81blog


Written in response to the Weekly Writing Challenge.

Things I Wish I Had Known At 16 Years Old, 16 Years Later

The challenge of focusing on different perspectives is a difficult one – I don’t possess a creative fictional brain and spent a lot of time attempting to imagine various situations from the perspective of contrasting people, to no avail.

However, the sad news that I have received this week has prompted me to reflect on life a little, and I found myself thinking about the me of 16 years ago. This me was a very different person to the me that I know now, and there are lots of things I want to say to that 16 year old, with her frizzy blonde hair, her insecurities and her weaknesses. I thought I knew everything. I had a plan – where I was going to go, what I was going to do and how I was going to do it – and if my 32 year old self could travel back in time I would give the 16 year old me a good slap and a lesson in naivety. However, hindsight is a wonderful thing…


Straighteners didn’t exist back then. Neither did sunglasses apparently…

These are the things I wish I had known at the age of 16, 16 years later.

How to say no. There have been many decisions made for me during my lifetime and it took me until my late 20’s to learn how to say ‘no’ and tell others what I actually wanted for my own life. Learning this at 16 could have potentially saved me hours of boredom and dissatisfaction.

How to simply let it go. I spent most of my 20’s harbouring futile resentment and hatred towards people and situations that were out of my control. Meanwhile, while I was crying and feeling sorry for myself, they were out living their own lives without thought for anyone but themselves.

How to appreciate a moment. I have lost count of the amount of times I haven’t taken the time to step back and enjoy something beautiful.

Not to take the lives around me for granted. My grandfather, one of the nicest, most kind-hearted men I’ve ever known, passed away when I was 16 and to this very day I miss him dearly. One of my biggest regrets is not taking more time to find out about him, his life and his experiences. It was nearly 13 years after he passed that I researched my family history and found things that he could have explained further.

How to value my own opinion more than the opinions of others. At the age of 16 the slightest unkind word would send me into a spiral of self-doubt and worry. While these doubts still plague me from time to time, I can now trust my own judgement that what I am doing is right for me, and despite my many flaws and faults I can look at myself in the mirror and be proud of who I am.

How to hold my tongue during a heated argument. At times I have been ruthless when angry and have said things that I will never be able to take back, regardless of how many apologies I have made.

The value of money. I’ve wasted thousands over the years on nonsensical things and have nothing to show for it. Indeed, if I had saved the money that I have spent on cigarettes since starting my smoking habit at the age of 16 I would be able to put a large deposit down on a house, or be able to travel the world at least once.

How to appreciate that the love of a friend is just as important (and in some situations more so) as the love of a partner. While I am not the sort of person who abandons her friends for a relationship now, I have neglected friendships for the sake of a man on several occasions in the past and have had to work hard to regain them.

To understand that, regardless of the subject, my mother was, and still is, right about everything. 

What about you? What one piece of advice would you give to your 16 year old self? 

You can also find me on Twitter and Tumblr @Suzie81blog

Written in response to the Weekly Writing Challenge




When I saw the Weekly Photo Challenge was about the idea of beginning, there was one particular photograph that sprang to mind, despite the fact that the quality of the picture is poor.

For those of you that have followed this blog for a while, you’ll know that I adore my three cats – Wobbly (yes, that’s her name, yes, I know it’s a stupid name, but it suits her – long story), Poppy and Daisy. Poppy and Daisy were accidental pets – I never intended on having two more cats.

At work another teacher informed me that her mother’s cat had given birth to three kittens and asked if I wanted one of them to keep Wobbly company. I thought it was a nice idea, so I asked if I could have the ginger one. The following day I was told that the ginger kitten had passed away and was offered the other two as a pair – they had grown really close and the owners didn’t want to seperate them. I agreed to have a look at them and so the teacher brought them round to my house.

In a heavy duty carrier bag.

I was horrified – they were five weeks old, which was far too young to be away from their mother, they had blue eyes, fleas and were in a mess. I instantly told her that I would have the two of them, asked her to leave and immediately took them to the vets. I wanted to report her mother to the RSPCA but there wasn’t any way I could get the details of her address.



The next few weeks were spent administering various types of medication, and these pictures were taken a week or so after they had settled in – the beginnings of chewed wires, stolen food, smashed plates, scratched furniture and legs, hairballs, vomit, 12 hourly injections… and a beautiful friendship that I can’t imagine ever being without. Daisy looked hilarious at first, closely resembling Yoda from Star Wars due to her enormous ears. Thankfully, she grew into them and they are both now happy and generally healthy cats (although Daisy has diabetes). Ironically, Wobbly hates both of them and often will refuse to go anywhere near them, despite the fact that she has lived with them for the last seven years…


Poppy at 6 weeks


Fluffy I am

I never spoke to the teacher again.

You can also find me on Twitter @Suzie81blog

A Brand New Me?

ImageI had a post already finished and saved for the end of the year. I had spent hours creating it, reviewing the events of the last twelve months, setting targets, thanking people and creating resolutions in which I would commit to becoming a brand new me.

There’s nothing new about this: every year I make myself the same promises to improve myself. I always start positively, excited about the potential of what the new year brings. However, after a few weeks, inadvertently, life gets in the way, and I find myself falling back into old habits. This is then made far worse that I mentally chastise myself for not completing something, which leads to a negative feeling about the start of the year.

There are lots of things that I’m sure are frustrating about me.

  • I’m the queen of procrastination and if I can find a way to create a shortcut I will use it.
  • I repeat myself.
  • I bore my friends and family with knowledge of pointless facts and information about celebrities.
  • When a song that I adore is played in public I have a habit of singing along loudly to it.
  • I sometimes don’t think before speaking and have had to explain myself after accidentally offending someone.
  • I am useless at replying to text messages and missed phonecalls, and I always forget my friends birthdays.
  • I hate washing up and so The Bloke has to do it.
  • I can sometimes be extremely negative, get stressed easily and have to work hard to control my temper.
  • I’m messy and disorganised.
  • I am incapable of doing anything in moderation.
  • I change my mind a million times a day.
  • I worry about silly things.
  • I am hopeless at saving money.
  • I have a nasty addiction to all foods that are bad for me, eat enormous quantities of it and then get upset when I can’t fit into my favourite items of clothing.
  • I can’t stand adverts in between television programmes and will channel hop for hours.
  • I make plans and later have a lack of motivation to follow them through.

I’m glad I do all these things. I’ve worked hard to get to this point and they are all part of what makes me… me.

I like me, and the people that I care about do as well (at least, I hope they do). I can look at myself in the mirror at the end of each day and know that I have done my best, and in my opinion that’s all that matters.

I’d love to be a thinner me, a richer me, a more intelligent me – I think most of us would. However, my hope for 2014 is that I am a happy me.

I was reminded of this song the other day by my bloggy friend, Kaela, which I thought would be appropriate to share at the point.

I hope you have a happy you, too! Happy New Year!

Written in response to the Daily Prompt.

Image credit: pinkchocolatebreak.com
Video credit: Pharrell Williams