Self-Pity, Gratitude… and Cake

There’s nothing more inspiring than a positive person who has a goal and works relentlessly hard to achieve it. More recently I have been turning to American muscle gods for inspiration – anyone who has the ability to get up at 4am and train to that level when I can’t even manage breakfast and a coherent sentence before 10.30am deserves my upmost respect.

Today’s admiration is for Terry Crews. Not only is he a talented actor and fitness expert, but he seems to be one of the most genuinely positive and uplifting people around. I discovered a video that he uploaded a year ago on his YouTube channel, and it was some of the most profound thoughts I’d heard in a while. Continue reading

The Festering Process: How I Deal With Anger

In my experience, there are usually three ways in which people deal with anger.

The first group go from zero to sixty very quickly, let everything fly, calm down just as quickly and move on.

The second take their time – after the initial incident the rage builds and spreads over a period of days, reaching its peak long after everyone else have got on with their lives.

The third have the ability to shut off, compartmentalise and just walk away.

I am in the second group. I go from zero to sixty in about four days. It doesn’t happen often, but when something truly upsets me (and we’re not talking just a general level of minor irritation here) then I start what The Bloke refers to as ‘The Festering Process,’ during which I mull everything over to the point where I end up in such a state that even functioning beyond a certain level becomes difficult for a while. Continue reading

110+ Blog Post Ideas

Blog post ideas for when bloggers block strikes!

I’m asked all the time for ideas for blog posts and I’ve been through quite lengthy periods of Bloggers Block over the last few months, so here is a list of useful ideas that can hopefully spark a whole bunch of new posts for your blog! I’ve categorised many of them as best I can.

Blogging

1. How to start a blog from scratch.
2. Why I started blogging.
3. The origins of my blog name.
4. My blogging goals.
5. How to increase your traffic.
6. How to use Twitter/Facebook/StumbleUpon/Pinterest/Flipboard…
7. How to create a social media schedule.
8. How to use SEO effectively on your blog.
9. How to grow a mailing list.
10. A discussion about the pros and cons of dot com or self-hosted. Continue reading

Blog of the Day: A Healing Spirit

Meet Carol, the creator of A Healing Spirit!

Carol is a trained hypnotherapist and past life regressionist who lives in the San Francisco Bay area with her husband and crazy little Maltipoo. She does more than half of her regression and hypnosis work via Skype, and particularly enjoys doing workshops and small group events.

Her interest in working with healing and grief began during the peak of the AIDS/HIV epidemic when she spent more than a dozen years as a trained emotional support worker with the community. Her skills developed further during the years she served as support person to family and friends battling serious disease and facing death. Continue reading

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

Stop Dreaming and Start Doing!

Creating a new life

There’s an inspirational quote that I often see shared around on Pinterest:

If you want something bad enough, it will happen.

Nonsense. It should say:

If you want something badly enough you have to get up, create a viable plan and work hard for it.

It doesn’t have the same ring to it, granted, but it’s certainly more accurate.

Things are happy. In fact, it’s the happiest it’s ever been and I was recently reminded of how life has changed when my Facebook and Twitter timelines were filled with desperate messages from teacher friends as they went back to work after the summer. A few years ago I would have been sitting in a training or data analysis session and feeling utterly miserable. Instead, I made myself a nice breakfast, snuggled up on the couch with a blanket and the cat, watched some TV and then worked through my social media management checklist, followed by a bit of Bullet Journaling in the afternoon. Bliss. Continue reading

How to Create, Join and Use Pinterest Group Boards

Pinterest, despite all of the updates and changes that have been made over the last 9 months, is still a primary source of traffic to my blog. I took my time to join and develop my boards (and I wish I’d have done it sooner) but it remains my favourite way to share my posts and to access interesting posts that cover posts of lots of different topics.

One of the easiest ways of boosting my traffic has been the creation of my own board and joining those created by others.

Essentially, a blogging group board is like an ongoing link-up and sharing opportunity (and those of you who follow the blog regularly will know how much I like I good party). It works in the same way as all the other boards, but instead of just the creator sharing their pins, others are allowed to join the board and pin their own posts and posts from others that they have enjoyed. The more members and followers a board has, the more likely the pin will be seen and repinned elsewhere.

Each board is different, usually with specific rules depending on the creators preferences. Some are a free-for-all, ie. you can pin as many posts as you like, while some only allow one pin a day. Others ask that you share someone else’s post along with your own. Some are focused solely on a theme – blogging tips, DIY, recipes, crafts, beauty. Some have no theme at all, as long as they are blog posts. Continue reading

How to Create Flat Lay Images Using Basic Props

When I first started using Pinterest one of the things that I had to learn how to do were pinnable images. It took me a while, developing my own style over a period of time using either my own pictures or ones that were available for free on stock image sites. However, one thing that I always had difficulty in finding were what I now know as Flat Lay images – pictures taken from above of beautifully arranged objects within a specific theme.

In particular, Flat Lays are hugely popular on Instagram and are a fantastic way to tell a story. I’ve seen absolutely stunning examples of everything from travel, blogging and stationery, to clothing, make-up and food.

I’ve wanted to create my own for some time. However, I’m not a photographer. I use my iPhone and my Canon compact camera to take pictures, but my knowledge doesn’t extend past point, shoot and edit via Instagram or Canva. So, I set out to spend a minimal amount of money on some props and use basic trial and error to see what the end results would be.

And thankfully, they turned out far better than I ever could have expected! Continue reading

Things I’ve Learned in Four Years of Blogging

Blogging advice

Today marks the four year anniversary of Suzie Speaks.

Four years, 838 posts (if you don’t count the hundreds that I’ve deleted), a collective following of nearly 19,000 people, nearly 780,000 views, the biggest blogging hashtag of the weekend, an amazing Facebook group and three awards.

Since starting the blog I have quit my job, got engaged, gained a brother-in-law and gorgeous squidgy niece, travelled, attended events, reviewed everything from restaurants and cocktail bars to theatre shows, hotels and products, made a whole bunch of new friends and experienced things that I could only have dreamed of in what I consider to be my previous life. What an unbelievable journey.

The blog began as a simple online journal – an outlet to try and calm the stress and anxieties I was experiencing at the time. There were no expectations or dreams, just a desire to write. However, as my blogging knowledge grew, I found a community, started to develop promotional strategies, learned a great deal about social media and, as a result, now have a whole list of things that, if I could go back and start again (not that I would want to, mind you), I would do differently. Continue reading

On Becoming a Hermit…

Yesterday was International Happiness Day, and the blogging world was flooded with articles, images and quotes of achieving happiness.

Even without a specifically dedicated day, it’s a prominent topic. There seems to be have been a conscious movement over the last few years that focus on the ideas on mindfulness, self-care, motivation and happiness, which may be partially reactionary to the turbulent times within society, or the fact that many are beginning to realise that there is more to life than a soul-destroying 9-5. Continue reading