How to Clean Your Make-Up Brushes

How to naturally clean make-up brushes.

Hi. My name is Suzie and I have a Make-Up Addiction.

A few years ago, my make-up collection consisted of a few eyeshadows, a cheap mascara and a couple of nail varnishes that were so old they had separated and gone solid. Nice. However, one afternoon I was intrigued by a YouTube tutorial about creating an effective smokey eye look, and I was instantly hooked. I watched new videos several every evening, buying products and trying out new ideas. And with it came the brushes – blending, foundation, powder, fan, contour, flat liner… It’s been an exciting new education and I’m enjoying the journey, but they are beginning to take over my desk.

One thing I’ve become particularly aware of is the importance of keeping them clean – there’s all sorts of nasty bacteria that can develop on frequently used brushes that can cause all sorts of infections, and dirty brushes aren’t as effective. Generally, brushes should be washed once a week, but avid users should aim to do them twice a week. Continue reading

Eurovision 2017 – Go Lucie!

Normally I begin my Eurovision preparations several weeks before the contest. Aside from Christmas Day and the final day of the academic year before the summer starts, Eurovision is one of my annual highlights, but this year it has almost sneaked up on me. I was away during the first semi-final so was unable to watch it live, so The Bloke and I watched the two semi-finals on Thursday and Friday night. I must admit, I was a little disappointed – there isn’t one song from the other countries that really stands out for me and there are lots of similarities in staging and outfits (half of the women seem to be white wedding dress style clothing). Continue reading

A Hen Party in Bristol

I found myself on a train up North to visit the family on Monday evening after just returning home from a two-day hen party (Bachelorette) extravaganza. I had blisters on my feet, a burn on my thumb, I’d had about six hours sleep thanks to a very hangry cat this morning who woke me up at 6am for his breakfast (and I had six hours the night before) and the hangover that I could once shake off in 24 hours in my 20’s was still going strong.

I’m not a huge fan of hen parties, but this one went really well. Four of us, including the hen, trekked to Bristol, where we were joined by nine others throughout the morning. We had been given strict instructions that there was to be no cliche items in tow – penis-shaped objects, L plates, cheap netted veils etc – but as she said nothing about other silly items I took the opportunity to put together a ‘Hen Party Survival Kit,’ complete with Disney plasters, water, chocolate, safety pins etc. We managed to start drinking (and spilling) the wine by 11am, so by the time we arrived I was already feeling a little on the squiffy side.

The afternoon was spent watching Joseph and His Technicolour Dreamcoat – something that I know well through playing the songs in various musical activities but hadn’t actually seen. It was…ok. It wasn’t for the lack of talent – the actress playing the narrator was incredible, Joe McElderry did a good job in the lead role (despite reminding me of a younger Michael Ball) and the supporting cast were all talented in their own right, but it just wasn’t my thing. I had more fun joining in the children’s vocal parts in the songs at the end – something that I don’t think the child sitting in front of me appreciated as she kept turning round and glaring at me. We went for a drink, where I discovered a cocktail that tasted like cola cube sweets, then went back to the hotel and got changed. I decided to risk it and curl my hair (previous attempts to do this have left me looking like some sort of drunken Shirley Temple), and was feeling all smug when it actually worked… until I burned the crap out of my thumb.

Plonker.

Our meal had been booked and the food pre-ordered several months ago, but when we arrived we were told by our poor waiter, James, that there had been changes to the menu and the whole order ended up being taken again. The Maid of Honour had thoughtfully decorated the room and the banter started pretty much as soon as we walked in:

Hen: What do you do, James?
James: I’m a student.
Hen: Studying what?
James: Physics and Astro-Physics
Hen: So, Science then…

That pretty much set the tone for the meal. The guy deserved a medal and credit to him, he gave as good as he got. Considering he was only 19 years old, he dealt with the group of rowdy women brilliantly and ended up making what turned out to be a three-hour event a cracking experience, throughly deserving the monster tip we gave him at the end…

And then… onto the club. I’d made the stupid decision to wear heels but thankfully the Hen had organised a private room complete with wine, spirits and mixers, and I found a spot on a large comfortable couch. It was like my dream scenario – Disoranno and lemonade on tap, my favourite cheesy songs from the 70’s, 80’s and 90’s, a bride-to-be who danced so much that we had to actually take it in turns to dance with her (depending on our music preferences) because none of us could keep up, and brilliant company. I sang, I danced, I talked utter nonsense and had a fantastic time.

Unfortunately, my feet didn’t, so the hobble back to the hotel was so painful that I looked like I’d had some sort of toilet-based accident, but it was totally worth it.

Her wedding is at the beginning of June, so it’s not long to go now. It feels like five minutes ago that she got engaged (Feb 2016) and if I know her as well as I think I do then it will be a wedding to remember!

Let’s hope that my feet recover before then…

You can also find me on Twitter and Tumblr @suzie81blog, and don’t forget to follow my Facebook page http://www.facebook.com/suzie81speaks, my Pinterest page http://www.pinterest.com/suzie81speaks and my Instagram page http://www.instagram.com/suzie81speaks

40+ Useful Ideas for Self Care

Useful ideas for practicing self care

Things have been a little on the stressful side recently, and those who follow the blog regularly may notice that I haven’t posted much of my own content. With wedding planning, a biopsy followed by stitches (everything is fine and all-clear thank goodness, but it was a little worrying at the time), a truly horrific day of supply teaching (without being melodramatic, I think it was the worst day in over eleven years of working in schools that I’ve ever had) and the general daily tasks that needed completing there has been more than a few occasions where I have found myself a little overwhelmed.

In an attempt to try and overcome the anxiety and general cloudiness that fills me whenever I reach certain panic levels, I have actively indulged in self care – any voluntary activity that helps to maintain my mental, physical and emotional health. This isn’t just ‘hygge’ – they have involved numerous things that I enjoy simply because they make me feel better and I have taken the time to be mindful of them as I am doing it. Continue reading

A Nice Easter Break

It’s back-to-work for many after the Easter holidays today and, as always, I have an enormous sense of relief that I didn’t have to drag myself out of bed.

The Bloke took a few weeks off work to coincide with the holidays, so I took a break away from the blog. I still maintained my Pinterest and Twitter social media management and my Facebook group, but decided not to write any posts until I actually had something to say. Continue reading

NOISE at The Old Rep

From up-and-coming Midlands writer and director Thomas Moran and his company presentabsence Theatre comes “a new LGBTQ+ and deaf play.” NOISE follows the lives of five first-year university students in their shared flat, in particular Evan (Nicolas Ancelin) who is deaf. The play sees the development of Evan’s relationship with flatmate Harry (Dominic Holmes) and how they both deal with his impairment.

Despite their young ages and small number, the cast light up the stage of The Old REP, bringing energy and authenticity to their characters. The group work well as an ensemble, being totally believable as housemates and friends, but this is perhaps better shown through the several examples of physical theatre and montages in which all of the cast have co-ordinated their movements to fit with one another, avoiding any slip-ups (not an easy task on The Old REP’s small stage) whilst still managing to create dynamic sequences. 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

Blog of the Day: Ashley Rader and Blog Genesis

Do you need help with growing your blog? Social media, affiliate or content marketing? What about web development?

Meet Ashley Rader, the creator of Blog Genesis. She’s living my blogging dream –

Building blogs and websites, and growing them into successful businesses has afforded me a freedom and flexibility that I never dreamed would have been possible.   I work from home and I get to be around for my kids – able to attend school functions and sporting games and dance recitals and all of those special moments – moments that I know will be gone all too soon.

Creating her first website back in 2004, Ashley developed her SEO skills to grow her website to spot #3 on Google for an extremely competitive search phrase – and with that, came her first million dollar year. Fast forward a few years and she came to the painful realization that she had put all of her traffic and marketing “eggs” into the SEO basket.  When Google made some changes to their ranking algorithm, she lost almost all of her rankings – and with it, all of her traffic – and income. Continue reading

Ghosts of Students Past

Yesterday I received a Facebook message from a friend that I haven’t spoken to in a while. We met through a project – the school that I worked at did an annual concert with an orchestra and he was the composer for the music that we performed.

He now works for my former University that is currently moving to a new building. When he was cleaning out some of the cupboards, he found this:

Continue reading

A Day in South Kensington

The other week The Bloke and I attempted to take advantage of a ticket sale from a train company. It went a little wrong, but we still decided to use the offer and have a day out in London, as we haven’t done that for a while.

We decided to spend the majority of the day around South Kensington – it’s a beautiful (and very expensive) area with several museums and it’s one of the few places in the city that we haven’t explored as much as we would like. We were on the train at ridiculous o’clock, as usual, and by the time we arrived at Euston the weather was fairly clear and sunny, so we took advantage of the early morning to get there before the madness of tube travel at the weekends began. On the way there I discovered an image on Pinterest of a ‘thin house’ on Thurloe Square, opposite the Victoria and Albert museum, so this was our starting point. We found it and then spent some time just wandering around the streets, admiring the private parks and the beautiful town houses and flats, along with the statue of Bartok, followed by breakfast in a local Pret a Manger (where I’m CERTAIN that we were sitting across from Julian Lloyd-Webber, although I didn’t have the nerve to go and say anything to him). Continue reading