Sometimes, People Surprise Me: Noisy Neighbour Update

Last night I was in a bit of a mess. We had been subjected to excessive noise from our new neighbours, and because of the awful experience we have had in the past I ended up having a full blown anxiety attack.

I decided to bite the bullet and spoke to one of the lads this morning. I timed it so I caught up with him when he was leaving the house for work and asked him (in my most disgustingly nice and polite voice) if he had a few minutes. I explained about what had happened at the previous house and why this still has such an impact on us now. Continue reading

The Happiness of Pursuit: A Lesson from Hector

imageHappiness.

Ask those around you what their ultimate goal or ambition is and most will inevitably give the same answer: to be happy.

It’s something that everyone seems to aim for, and yet, nobody can give a specific definition as to what happiness actually is, predominantly because it means something different to each individual. It can’t be measured or compared. I see endless amounts of blog posts about it on a daily basis – where to look for it, how to find it, lists of advice and projects to achieve it. Indeed, I’ve done a number of these sorts of posts myself. I also have no doubt that I could visit my local bookstore or go online and find thousands of books on the same thing. So many of us, myself included, are constantly reflecting on our existence and making a conscious effort to examine the levels of happiness we feel in a specific moment or a period of time in our lives. Continue reading

Twenty-One Things That Make Me Happy

It’s been all doom and gloom here lately, so I thought I would take the opportunity to adopt my inner Monty Python, look on the bright side of life and think about the things that make me happy:

1. Running. I haven’t been for a while, but I always enjoy being able to run around the park with some sort of heavy metal music blasting in my ears.

2. Surprise gestures. Lots of people I know dislike surprises, but I love them – I often receive little surprises from my nearest and dearest and they always make my day!

3. Spontaneity. An unplanned evening often turns out to the most interesting. Continue reading

Moving On

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It’s always difficult when people decide to move on and the process can often be a very painful experience. A good friend of mine is in the process of making the decision whether to leave her boyfriend – the biggest part of her life for a number of years – and I sat with her tonight as she considered whether to accept a tenancy on a new house, alone. We went through the pros of staying, of which there were quite a few – it was cheaper, she wouldn’t have to move etc, and then we looked at the cons. There was just one: she was miserable.

That was enough to tell me how she was feeling, and that leaving was probably a more obvious choice. Of course, I didn’t say that at the time – it has to be her decision – but ultimately happiness should be the key factor when deciding most things. Sometimes, this can be found in the removal of toxic people from our lives, however painful it may seem at the time.

I’ve experienced several breakdowns in relationships and friendships over the years. Some were quite a slow process – no angry words were exchanged, but over time the once regular phonecalls and meet-ups gradually petered out. It’s a shame, but it’s an unfortunate fact of life that as people grow, sometimes this means growing apart from each other. Others, however, were hurtful, nasty and immediate. I’ve been the instigator of some. I remember telling a very self-centred and needy former friend after a number of incidents where she was rude and belittled me and those around me that the main reason why she had no friends, no boyfriend and no job was not because of all the ridiculous excuses that she offered, it was because she wasn’t a very nice person. I also remember finally leaving my sociopath ex-boyfriend after years of dealing with emotional abuse. I haven’t spoken to any of them since, and I’ve never regretted either decision.

I’ve also been on the other side of the proverbial coin, where I have had friendships taken away without my consent, or even my knowledge for a while. There’s a scene that always springs to mind from one of my favourite films, ‘Beaches,’ where Hillary (Barbara Hershey) deliberately ignores CC (Bette Midler), despite years of close friendship, after being aggrieved by something that CC has said to her. After Hillary’s life falls apart, she returns to CC, who angrily responds by yelling “You took your friendship away without discussing it with me!” I can relate – I’ve had friendship decisions made for me without so much as a discussion, with them deliberately trying to hurt me on purpose because I had supposedly hurt them by accident. The younger me found this very difficult to deal with and I always desperately tried to make things better – apologising for things I hadn’t done, accepting being treated badly as ‘penance’ for a situation I had apparently caused… I should have simply had ‘doormat’ tattoed on my forehead.

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As I’ve aged, however, I generally take things a little more in my stride. I may not be perfect – I’ve yet to meet anyone who is – but I know that I’m a good person. The people that I choose to have in my life mean a lot to me and I will go above and beyond for them whenever they need it, having done so on endless occasions. If somebody decides that my presence is a negative one and they need to move on, then so be it. Inevitably, I know I live a good life and I am thankful to be surrounded by people that are there when I need them and when I don’t. These are the people that matter.

I hope that my friend makes a decision that she’s happy with, whether she stays or leaves, and above all, I hope that she is able to move on from her current situation.

After all, there are always far better things ahead that the ones we leave behind.

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

 

Fabulous Friday Five for February

As February draws to a close, I took a little time to reflect on the last few weeks. It’s been tough – I’ve been in hospital, the cat is ill and required an enormous amount of vet treatment that I couldn’t afford and we found out that we are going to have to move again after only six months of living in our new house. However, February has also been a positive month, particularly in my little blogging endeavours, so I thought I would take the opportunity to share the five things that have been fabulous.

1. Suzie81 received it’s 100,000th view a week ago. This in itself was a monumental achievement and it exceeded any expectations that I had when i started this blog 10 months ago. I decided to bite the bullet and share a few of my posts with my friends on Facebook, most of whom had no idea that I actually had a blog to begin with. They shared one of my posts – ‘Why Being a Stay at Home Parent is the Toughest Job in the World…’ which was viewed several thousand times and ended up being featured on ‘Mumsnet,’ which was amazing! Since then I decided to share one of my older posts, ‘How To Know When You’re a Teacher’ and it has been picked up and shared over 3,000 times, giving me and extra 20,000 views in the last week. It’s still going – I have been boring The Bloke to death with daily updates and I have become a stat obsessive, checking it at least ten times a day. It’s so exciting!!! Every morning I wake up with this facial expression…

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I’d also like to say a massive ‘thank you’ for all the lovely awards that I have been given over the last month, but more on that in a future post.

2. My school underwent a very tough and intense OFSTED. I was seen by one of the inspectors and was awarded an ‘Outstanding.’ This was the third one that I have been given in a row and as a ‘well done’ The Bloke gave me a beautiful Pandora bracelet to celebrate – I’m spoilt rotten!

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3. I have been reminded yet again what amazing family and friends that I have. When I was taken to hospital my mum and sister drove half-way down the country to be with me, some of my friends came to visit me, my work colleagues sent me a beautiful bunch of flowers, and my mum spent the weekend at my house after I was discharged. During my recovery I have been inundated with messages asking how I am, with offers of support if I need anything. When I found out about the house move my friends offered to lend me money and help me move. I’m extremely blessed and once I get all this stress out of the way I am determined to show them how grateful I am and how much they mean to me.

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4. The housemove has meant that I have been able to get myself a little more organised – I have been able to be ruthless and give lots of books, CD’s and clothes to my local charity shop. I received a letter from them to tell me that my stuff has raised £50 so far, so this gave me a warm fuzzy feeling.

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5. And finally, I have been really pleased to see the fantastic response to the campaign to help Merbear, a fellow blogger, who suffers from Fibromyalgia and is a risk of losing her house. After reading a heartbreaking post by the lovely Merbear, who I have only had the pleasure of meeting recently, Zoe started a donation fund to highlight her plight. After only a few days she has managed to raise over $1,100, which is just unbelievable. If you can, please share her story – let’s get everybody involved! If you wish to donate, simply click here – no amount is too small! It has restored a little faith in humanity for me, and proved that the blogging world is one of the most supportive that I have ever had the pleasure to be part of.

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For those of you who may have missed them, these are my Five Favourite Posts from February, simply click the image to be taken to the post.

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21 Little Pleasures in Life

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A Fat Disney Princess

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Stop Apologising for Yourself!

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Why Being a Stay At Home Parent…

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My Love/Hate Relationship With Facebook

Hope you have a lovely Friday!!

You can also find me on Twitter and Tumblr @suzie81blog

Three Reasons Why Today Has Kicked Ass…

1. After an intense OFSTED inspection I received my feedback from my observation with an extremely mixed ability Year 9 group. I was awarded an ‘Outstanding,’ making it the third in a row and the second in which I have received such an accolade from an OFSTED inspector. I was delighted – I struggle with self doubt in my profession occasionally and the rather blurry guidelines that are given and repeatedly changed means that there is a level of uncertainty of where the goal posts are. However, it’s over and done with for a while and this means I can now relax a little… My faculty has also done extremely well and I’m really pleased for them all – they’re a fantastic group of people, excellent practitioners and deserve every success…

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2. The Bloke spoilt me with a new bracelet from Pandora as a ‘well done’ – I’m a huge fan of their charms and have slowly built up my collection since purchasing my first as a present to myself for my 30th birthday. He wrote me a beautiful message in a card and gave me the bag, which I though was a charm to add to my bracelet. Instead, it was a brand new piece of jewellery from their new range. It’s absolutely stunning – I’m very lucky!

And possibly the best news of all…

3. I heard from the vets and they have ruled out feline leukaemia and lymphoma for my little friend. She’s still anaemic and has been on a diet of STEAK (she’s eating better than we are), and there is still the possibility of a tumour in her stomach, but at least for now she is doing well and doesn’t seem to be in any pain, which is fantastic.

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So, tonight I am going to thank my lucky stars that somebody up there is watching out for me and my little family, enjoy an evening of relaxation in front of the TV with The Bloke and the cats and do absolutely nothing.

Happy Friday!

You can also find me on Twitter and Tumblr @Suzie81

On The Edge: Finding My Bliss

I love the title of today’s Daily Prompt – ‘On The Edge.’ It’s certainly how I’ve felt at times this year..

There’s different coping mechanisms that I’ve developed in order to attempt to retain some form of sanity. I use them for different things and at different times – I refer to it as ‘finding my bliss.’

Long hot bubble baths – these are normally perfect in the evening after a long stressful day. Sometimes I’ll simply lie in the hot water and read a book until the water goes cold. Other times require a full pampering session: face mask, deep conditioner for my hair, exfoliation, foot scrub, bath soak… I can quite happily spend hours doing this. I always feel much better afterwards. It’s nice to be able to spoil ourselves once in a while…

Writing. I’ve said this many times before, but when I’m stressed, I like to write. Blogging has certainly decreased my stress level over the last few months. I like the anonymity of it and feel like I am able to truly discuss things that are important (or just plain silly things that I find amusing) without fear of judgement. I generally find it a very therapeutic experience.

Running. The time that I spend running varies – sometimes I’ll set myself little challenges to go further or faster and I often follow the same route. I think about things that have annoyed me that day and mentally beat it up as I move – it’s a brilliant way to release anger and aggression. Unfortunately, I hate it. Even the thought of it makes me die a little inside and I really have to force myself to put my running gear on.  However, when I’m back home, showered (and can breathe properly again) I feel euphoric (my Iron Maiden playlist also helps with this). I actually just got back from a run when the prompt was posted and I’m sitting here feeling good (albeit a bit sweaty) as I write.

Music. This is my absolute passion in life. A fabulous song at any moment is enough to lift the spirits, but I have certain songs that I will listen to in order to relax me and cheer me up. I (very occasionally) play too, but I prefer to listen. I have music playing all the time, and being a music teacher means I have the freedom to include some of my favourite music in my lessons.

A good film. As with music, a film will serve the purpose of making the world disappear for a while. I have a set group of about ten movies that I never get tired of watching. Sometimes i’m in the mood for a good ol’ fashioned ‘chick-flick’, other times I need to have an action film where people get beaten up. When things are really bad, there’s usually only one thing for it: anything that has been made by Disney or Pixar.

Karaoke. Earlier in the year my local pub held a karaoke night on Thursdays and me and the BM became regulars. We got to know everyone and it was an awesome community to be part of. Id return home happy after having a brilliant night. Unfortunately, it was cancelled after only a few months. Every Thursday, I miss it. Occasionally an opportunity elsewhere will come up and we’ll go, and it’s still a fabulous form of stress relief.

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Cuddles. Whether it’s with The Bloke or The Cats, a good cuddle goes a long way. And who could resist this little face?

Fabulous Food. Occasionally on a Friday evening me and The Bloke will go to Bar Estillo, our favourite restaurant. The food is wonderful, the cocktails are fantastic and the atmosphere is lovely. I particularly love the patatas bravas and the Amaretto Sours cocktails, with the white chocolate and dark chocolate mousses with biscotti. Can’t beat it. We always return home relaxed, rested, and usually feeling a little sick.

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Friends. A good night with good friends is always good for the soul. I wrote about this in a previous post, and I’ve included the link. I’m very lucky in that i have a wonderful group of friends and I love spending time with them – meeting for meals, drinks, going to the cinema, dancing, fancy dress… They’re certainly an entertaining bunch of people!!

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And when I’m in need of a break – I visit my mum (not that I visit her when I’m stressed – I visit her to catch up). She buys my favourite food in, we have a good chat, I have a lovely sleep and I always feel much better. Oh, and the lure of the three gorgeous (if somewhat stinky) dogs that she has helps too.

There you have it – ten ways I ‘find my bliss.’
Picture Credits:

A Proud Day To Be British

https://suzie81.wordpress.com/2013/05/11/whats-wrong-with-gay-marriage/

In May I wrote this article, questioning what all the fuss was about gay marriage. Today, same-sex marriage was officially legalised in the UK, and I couldn’t be more proud.
MPs cheered in the House of Commons as it was announced that the royal approval had been given to the new Bill, which means that same – sex weddings will legally be allowed to take place next spring. The Queen is the Supreme Governor of the Church of England and she gave her formal approval to the Bill this afternoon.
I’d like to personally pass on my congratulations to all the gay couples out there who can start planning their nuptials!!

A Glorious Weekend

image This weekend has been fabulous. The weather has been fantastic, I’ve had some lovely moments and I can’t believe it is over already! On Friday night I finished work and simply slept. I was shattered, and I’m desperately looking forward to next week being over so I can start my summer.

Saturday was spent shopping for a new dress. I found a beautiful black Warehouse dress that hides all my lumps and bumps, saw the Food Festival, and treated myself to a mango and passion fruit smoothie from Costa.

Today (Sunday), began by watching ‘Now You See Me,’ at the cinema. It was great, although it had one of those unfortunate plot twists that prevents you from watching the film again. Continue reading

A Wonderful Wimbledon Weekend

This weekend has been fabulous. After a LONG week of shows in the evening, on top of a full teaching timetable and having to do both with a really nasty head cold, I hit Friday night with a feeling of utter exhaustion and relief that the weekend was here. I certainly made sure that I enjoyed myself: 

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On Friday night I went to the pub with my friend NW for a well-deserved drink. Me and The Bloke then watched all our favourite TV shows that we’d missed over the week: Hart of Dixie, Big Bang Theory, The Apprentice, For The Love Of Dogs etc. 
 
I slept until 9.30 on Saturday morning. The Bloke brought me breakfast in bed and then went into town. My hayfever has been quite bad, so I walked to the chemist in glorious sunshine and got antihistamines. The rest of the afternoon was spent blogging and sleeping. 
 
The Bloke returned with my favourite ice-cream: Cookies and Cream Haagen Dazs I ate it whilst watching ‘OZ’, which I quite enjoyed. 
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I slept in until 8.30am on Sunday morning. I made us breakfast, and then we went to watch Despicable Me 2 at the cinemas, which was hilarious. I love the minions.
 
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We then had lunch at Frankie and Benny’s, joined NW at the pub again where we sat in the beer garden and listened to a live blues band and Formula 1 on the TV outside, returned home, put some washing out and spent the rest of the day relaxing.  
 
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To add to it further, for the first time in 77 years, a Brit, Andy Murray, won Wimbledon. Like I felt pride for our Olympians in London last year, I’m feeling the same pride for him today. He thoroughly deserved it.
 
This is what weekends are made for. This level of sunshine and heat is rare in the UK and everybody was outside enjoying themselves. The only trouble is that it makes me less than enthusiastic about work tomorrow…