Theatre, Abstract Art and a Hidden Gem

I often equate a lot of the experiences and opportunities that The Bloke and I have to  being at a bus stop… you wait for ages and then three buses all turn up at the same time.

The latter half of last week was exactly that.

On Wednesday we went to see the fabulous 9 to 5 musical at the Alexandra Theatre. What I didn’t include in my review was that we also went to the after party, during which we had the opportunity to meet the cast. I managed to have a little chat with Louise Redknapp, who was lovely and utterly stunning in person (and she hasn’t aged since the 90’s), and get a quick pic with Amber Davis. It was a weird experience – I knew that the show was coming up so I made The Bloke watch the season of Love Island that she was on so he knew who she was, but she looked completely different in person. I’m awkward at the best of times, but when you’re surrounded by incredibly talented individuals that you’ve just seen perform on stage is a little intimidating!  Continue reading

9 to 5 at the Alexandra Theatre

Yesterday The Bloke and I went to see 9 to 5 the Musical at the Alexandra Theatre in Birmingham.

Based on the 1980 hit American comedy movie, 9 to 5 tells the story of Doralee, Violet and Judy – three workmates pushed to boiling point by their sexist and egotistical boss. Concocting a plan to kidnap and turn the tables on their despicable supervisor after he blackmails them, will the ladies manage to reform their office – or will events unravel when the CEO pays an unexpected visit? While the film was released nearly forty years ago, many of the issues highlighted are still a prominent part of social commentary, particularly on the topics of equal pay and roles and treatment of women in the workplace.

Louise Redknapp as Violet Photo by Simon Turtle

Louise Redknapp plays Violet, a smart and ambitious senior office administrator and widow who is overlooked for a promotion in favour of a man that she trained. She is absolutely perfect for the role – strong, confident and self-assured with a beautiful voice and a presence onstage that demonstrates why she has had such a long and successful career as a performer.

She is joined by Amber Davis in the role of Judy, who has been forced to find a job for the first time after her husband has left her for his secretary. Made famous by her appearance in Love Island, I was admittedly a little dubious about the casting choice, but she quickly dispelled any doubts with a truly incredible performance – sweet, funny and making her own way in a new world, Davis has an absolutely sensational voice. Continue reading

Step By Step

On the 1st January I decided to work on Step One of the next part of my blogging journey, which would eventually lead to Step Two much later on. Neither Step One nor Step Two are actually needed if I’m honest, but I have seen how much more successful Step Two is once Step One has been established for a while. I was quite excited about it – I created a whole bunch of ideas of how I could build on it to make it beneficial…

…and then proceeded to ignore it.

It has been weighing on me for a while, getting heavier each day, so this morning I woke up to the dark and rain outside, had a little tantrum to myself and decided that if I achieved nothing else today, I would do this ONE THING. Just one. Continue reading

Creating a Manual Pinning Strategy on Pinterest

Disclosure: some of the links below are affiliate links, meaning, at no additional cost to you, I will earn a commission should you click through and make a purchase.

One of my big blogging regrets is the number of years that I avoided using Pinterest to help bring referrals to my posts. Pinterest is my favourite part of my daily checklist and is now the primary resource of traffic referrals, bringing in tens of thousands of views with minimal effort. I’ve even been able to expand this further and incorporate it into my Social Media Management Services – growing and developing the Pinterest accounts of others.

This is nothing in comparison to Pinterest Queen Elena Peters, who has harnessed the power of Pinterest to gain over 100,000 views a month, grow her followers in her first year alone on Pinterest from 0 to 12,000 (she now has over 23,000) and increasing her impressions to almost 3 million a month. In her first year she was able to reach one million total views on her blog and quit her job to blog full-time, continuing to earn a steady income from ads due to the high volume of traffic that Pinterest sends her every single month!

I’ve learned a lot from both her blog and in discussions with her about what she does, and now she can help you too! Continue reading

The Best Business Lunch Ever

Last month I took on a new client. I started her fitness class a few weeks before and we became friends, and this led to me helping her to develop her artwork and courses. 

The other day she invited me round to her house after the morning aerobics session for a business lunch to discuss areas of focus in September. She has a beautiful painting studio at the bottom of her (equally beautiful) garden and I was treated to a look through her artwork and sketchbooks, which are gorgeous. I’ve always admired that sort of creativity and her abstract style is one of my favourites, so it was nice to sit and go through ideas in the morning sun. 

However, what started as a business discussion turned into several hours of just enjoying being in her company, snapchatting her cat who was busy stalking squirrels from the fence, eating a rather tasty lunch and admiring the sunflowers on her table. 

Definitely the best way to spend the day!

Taking the Blogging High Road

‘When they go low, we go high…’

It’s become somewhat of a slogan for Michelle Obama, who first used the phrase during an incredible speech at the 2016 Democratic National Convention – taking the high road and doing the right thing, even when it isn’t easy. 

While Michelle may be able to rise above it, I (however much I admire her), still find it one of the most difficult things to do. Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on… well, I won’t have forgotten what you did the first time so you won’t get the chance to even think of fooling me again. 

I’m admittedly highly strung, easily rattled and have become more outspoken – even more so as I age – and as a result I find it enormously frustrating to have to keep my mouth shut and walk away when I see something that I believe to be untrue or unfair. Now that I’m self-employed I have to regularly check myself in what and how I say things because essentially, I’m on my own. 

Unfortunately, especially when working online, a thick skin and the ability to take the high road is part of the job description. It’s a confusing world to be a part of – particularly in the fact that every aspect of content creation and interaction has the ability to be edited to show the best possible side to a potential audience. This seemingly deceptive nature of blogging and accompanying false sense of security and anonymity that a computer screen provides enables a person to say whatever they want, whenever they want, often without the same fear of consequence or reciprocation that they would be held accountable for in the real world. The longer you inhabit the online world, the more common it is to witness and potentially get sucked into the self-entitlement, angst and outrage that populates the blogosphere and social media platforms on a daily basis. In fact, there are entire blogs and YouTube channels dedicated to it – ‘Drama’ content that focuses on the quarrels and spats going on between influencers. Continue reading

How to Create a Gratitude Journal That Actually Works

How to Create a Gratitude Journal that Actually Works

Be thankful for what you have; you’ll end up having more. If you concentrate on what you don’t have, you will never, ever have enough – Oprah Winfrey

It’s easy to become bogged down in minutiae, particularly during days when even the smallest of things doesn’t go as planned. As someone who naturally adopts a ‘glass-half-empty’ perspective on life when things don’t go my way, I find it difficult not to get pulled into a wave of negative energy that affects my mindset and how I function.

In an effort to try and gain a more positive perspective in my day-to-day life, I started to fill out a gratitude journal of all the beautiful things that I have to be grateful for, and I discovered that it was an incredible helpful tool to boost my mindset on even the most difficult of days. Actively forcing myself to focus on the positive has indeed had a positive impact on my perception of how I live and work. Continue reading

Complacency and An Extended Blogging Break

At the beginning of August I felt fired up and motivated. My head was spinning with ideas about what I could do and achieve over the month and I had a whole bunch of plans as to how I was going to move forward. 

It lasted two days. 

It wasn’t intentional, but I ended up having an extended blogging break. I tried to convince myself that it was needed, but the truth of it was that I simply couldn’t muster up the enthusiasm to post anything on a regular basis. After six and a half years and thousands of articles the mental burnout was real. Continue reading

Singing in the Rain at the Alexandra Theatre Review and Interview

Last night The Bloke attended the Press Night of Singing in the Rain at the Alexandra Theatre. Additionally, I was lucky enough to be able to interview the lead actor in the show (who happens to be an ex-student).

Singing in the Rain is this years’ Stage Experience production, which every year sees over 100 of the brightest young talent from across the Midlands put on a professional show. In just two weeks, with the support of professional industry creatives and technical staff, a full scale production is brought to life on stage. Previous Stage Ex alumni include Brummie comedian Joe Lycett (who performed for several years in the scheme) and musical theatre star Liam Doyle, who went on to leading roles in West End hits such as Wicked, Mamma Mia and Legally Blonde. Continue reading

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Stats

At the time of publishing, Suzie Speaks has received over 1,200,000 views. Here are my readership stats:

  • WordPress: 11,000 +
  • Twitter: 8,900
  • Facebook: 800 +
  • Pinterest: 10,300 +

Of all of the blogging regrets that I have, my lack of knowledge when developing my blog and hesitation when setting up my social media accounts are the biggest. Why? Continue reading