Two Years? Happy Blogiversary To Me!

imageToday is my two year blogiversary. Two years. While I follow blogs that have been around five times longer, I can’t believe how quickly the time has flown.

Two years ago, I was in a very different place. The Bloke and I were going through some difficult times – he had lost his father and his best friend within a year, we were experiencing major problems with our neighbours and I was finding my job extremely difficult. I was suffering from anxiety and depressed. Writing has always been therapeutic, and The Bloke suggested that I start a blog as a way of being able to exorcise the demons that plagued my thoughts on a regular basis.

It turned out to be the best decision I have ever made. I was instantly addicted – spending hour after hour pouring out everything I could think of into this little space of the the Internet. Within the first few weeks I had written about fifty posts.

Over the last two years, life has continued to be a rollercoaster of highs and lows. We moved house twice in just over six months, my beloved cat died, my other cat was diagnosed with diabetes, I spent a week in hospital with a kidney infection and a virus and I became desperately unhappy at work. On the positive side, my little sister got married, my family and I were able to repair relationships that had been fraught and strained for years, we now have a lovely landlord, nice neighbours and are fully settled into our home, we’ve had many wonderful evenings with friends, seen films, shows, been on visits to London, and after years of being conflicted about my profession I made the decision to finally take the risk and quit, handing in my resignation just a few weeks ago.

The blogging community has been with me every step of the way, and never in my wildest dreams could I have imagined just how much Suzie81 Speaks would grow and develop. With over 390,000 views, 11,600 followers, a successful weekly hashtag party on Twitter, monthly sponsors and lots of comments every day, blogging has become a part of my daily life. I’ve been Freshly Pressed, featured on Mumsnet and The Sits Girls on several occasions, one of my posts went viral on Facebook and I’ve loved every minute of it! It has given me confidence, self-belief and the motivation to change things for the better. Better still, I have met people from all over the world that I would now consider to be my friends. People who have listened, empathised and have gone out of their way to offer support, particularly during extremely difficult periods of my life.

To those people (and I make no apologies for the potentially vomit inducing sentiment), thank you for everything.

As a chance to give back, I am hosting a blogiversary party this Saturday. For those of you who wish to participate, simply check out the link below by clicking on the image:


Hope you can join me then!

You can also find me on Twitter and Tumblr @suzie81blog and don’t forget to check out my Facebook page

Looking for new blogs to follow? Why don’t you check out my sponsors – you can find their links in the sidebar of this page

A Year of Blogging: Suzie81 Speaks



Last week marked the official anniversary of Suzie81 Speaks. Brace yourself, this is going to be a long one!!!

I’ll start with some numbers:

Followers: 5,000

Views: 192,000

Comments: 12,000

Posts: 700 (but this is now 300 as I deleted over half of everything I had written)


After years of writing in journals, I followed The Bloke’s advice and set up a WordPress account. This little blog started as simply Suzie81 – my name and the year I was born – and served as the opportunity to share the various thoughts and anxieties that had been swamping my brain for a long time. The response and support that I received was immediate and life changing, and within a year I have not only met some fantastic people (you know who you are), but I have now have the direction in life that I had been so desperately seeking before. I purchased a domain name, changing it to ‘Suzie81 Speaks,’ set up an additional Facebook, Twitter and Tumblr and the most exciting thing of all is that I have been asked to write for a monthly online magazine (more on that later)…

In celebration of my year anniversary and to channel my inner narcissism, I posted a competition a few weeks ago. I invited people to ask me any question (within reason), with the winner being awarded two weeks worth of free advertising on my blog. I also promised that I would answer every question and include links to the blogs of every person who took part.

I had a brilliant response. I’ll announce the winner at the end… Here goes!

If you weren’t a teacher what might you be? (Perspiring Poet)

I would definitely be working with animals. If I knew then what I know now I would have gained qualifications in animal care.

If you were stuck on a CD for two weeks, which desert island would you be? (Steve Says)

The one owned by Richard Branson – CD or island. This was the best I could come up with – I attempted to think of a response for two weeks and my brain started to hurt.

If you were writing a novel what would your opening and closing sentences be? (Andrew Seal)

She laughed at the sheer arrogance of his words. 

Maybe next time she’ll ask for more.

How long is a short piece of string? (Fearless Leader)

Infinitely long. I think. My brain hurts.

Who in your life has influenced you the most? How did they do it? (Jolene)

My mum. Of course, it has to be my mum. I haven’t always agreed with her at the time but inevitably she’s usually been right. How did she do it? Sheer persistence, support and large bouts of nagging.

In your opinion, what do women want? (mommyx4boys)

To be happy. I think that’s all what anybody wants. Ooh, and a footrub after a long night of wearing high heels.

What do you find most rewarding about teaching? (Heron There & Everywhere)

When a student is able to do something that they didn’t think they would be initially capable of.

If you won the lottery, what three things would you do with it? (Michelle)

I’d set up a no-kill animal sanctuary for all types of animals, with a vetinary surgery attached.

I’d set up a scholarship programme for under-priveleged kids to be able to go to university without ending up in thousands of pounds worth of debt.

On a selfish note, I’d travel the world.

What’s the worst thing you’ve ever done? (Father At 54)

The father of a girl that I knew as a teenager was in the army and had been sent away to another country. She wasn’t particularly nice to me and after months of standing nasty comments from her I told her that her dad had joined the army to get away from her. I apologised, but twenty years later, I still feel guilty for saying that.

A box of books you just packed away takes a tumble and lands directly on your big toe and you respond by saying: a) ouch! b) f*&# c) BIEBER, you bastard! d) other (please state) (Sandra)

B. Definitely B. Every time. Little Miss Potty Mouth always appears during such incidents.

What has been the best piece of advice someone has given you, and how did it impact your life? (Rebecca Meyer)

Don’t tell anyone anything that you wouldn’t want the whole world to know. There’s only a few people that I trust and I don’t tell people secrets as I’ve been hurt by others in the past.

Mark Twain once said that “the two most important days in your life are the day you are born and the day you find out why.” Obviously you have already been born, so my question to you is have you found out why? (adropofno5)

Occasionally I’ll have glimmers of what I know I want to do, but as yet I can’t honestly say why or what my purpose in life is…

Think Dr. Who. If you were able to time travel, (without changing past, present or future) where would you go? (Biker Chick 57)

I’d travel to the Washington Mall and witness Martin Luther King Jr give his ‘I Have a Dream’ speech, I’d go to the early 1960’s and watch the Beatles in concert at The Cavern in Liverpool before they became ridiculously famous, I’d go back to 1985 and attend Live Aid at Wembley Stadium, I’d go back to the early 1990’s and spend more time with my Grandfather, I’d go back to the Party in the Park concert where The Spice Girls gave their first concert and this time actually get their autographs (I couldn’t be bothered last time because I didn’t think they’d end up being more than one hit wonders – those autographs would be worth a fortune now) and I would go to the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II.

What has been your favourite moment while working as a teacher? (A Girl With a Piano)

Honestly? There are two moments. The week of the performance of a musical that the kids gave – they were incredible, and the day I left my previous school.

What do value about being a story-teller? (makaedelee)

The opportunity to share what I think and what I believe I know. I love the process of planning what it is that I am going to write, and I love the satisfaction I get when somebody else reads it and enjoys it.

As a teacher, do you think it’s more effective to be lenient or demanding with your students? Or something in between? (Rose F)

New teachers are always told not to smile until Christmas. I think that’s bollocks. Smile, be approachable, friendly and have a good sense of humour, but the most important thing is to have clear, consistent boundaries with sanctions if they are crossed that the students know and respect. There are times when it is possible to be lenient, but I often think that leniency shows a weakness of character with some students. Being fair is more important. Don’t take any nonsense from them.

If you were chosen as leader of Planet Earth what rules or laws would you make or change to help the entire human race? (Phil)

Saying that I would ban religion is against human rights but I do think that religion and religious persecution is an enormous factor in conflicts around the world, and I would prevent religion from being used as a way to discriminate against another. I would legalise gay marriage across the entire planet. I would ban the fur and animal trade, and testing on animals. I would pay women the same as men in every profession. I would enforce fair payment of goods from around the world and make sweatshops illegal. I would have countries near the sea build wind turbines for power. I’d get rid of every countries nuclear weapons.

Oh wow, you’ve opened a can of worms on this – I’m actually going to create a post instead later…

If there was only one book you could take with you to a remote island where you would be for a couple of years and where you would have no access to other reading material of any sort, what would that one book be? (Cathi)

I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings – Maya Angelou. I’ve read it so many times that I had to buy another copy as I wore my first one out. Beautiful book.

Who are your favourite authors? (Tina Bakes Bread)

Maya Angelou, Bill Bryson, Primo Levi, Sue Townsend and, of course, Roald Dahl.

Would you rather travel back in time or into the future (Kim at Awkward Laughter)

I’d definitely rather travel back in time. I like not knowing the future and there are so many events that I wish that I could have experienced.

motivated Thank you so much for all your questions. And the winner?  Steve Says. I couldn’t think of a witty enough response to his question – it was awesome. So, congratulations Steve, you have won two weeks of advertising on my blog starting from the first week in May!

Thank you so much for all your support over the last year – you’ve been a wonderful group of people to meet! Here’s to another year of blogging!

Don’t forget that you can also find me on Twitter and Tumblr @suzie81blog