Gratitude in Challenging Times


Three weeks ago I went to Manchester. I took my mum out for an early Mother’s Day lunch, booked a hotel room to myself, shopped, walked around in the glorious sunshine, admired the local street-art and caught up with some of my oldest girlie friends, where I got so squiffy that my hangover took several days to subside.

And then, the apocalypse seemingly happened.

It is always easy to sympathise, but equally as easy to be nonchalant when awful things are happening in a different part of the world. Despite the rapidly growing numbers of people affected and the increasing panic as Coronavirus cases arrived in the UK, it didn’t really hit home until the last ten days when the process of shutting everything down in Birmingham began. Continue reading

A Weekend in Manchester and Some Personal Time

It’s been a while since I blogged without purpose. I’ve missed it – the act of writing has always been therapeutic. On a personal level I’ve been busier than ever – I’ve met a whole bunch of brilliant people and my workload has reached capacity, which is amazing, but the downside of this is there’s little time for doing nothing.

I received a message from my friends from 6th form to meet up for a meal in Manchester – we have known each other for over twenty years and have stayed in contact, meeting up every so often to catch up. They’re a great group of women – all are doing well for themselves with families and jobs, and I love the fact that even though I don’t see or speak to them for months at a time, we slip back into conversation as though I had seen them yesterday.

I decided to make an extended trip out of it and booked myself into a hotel room for the night. To my recollection there has only been a single time I’ve done that during the time The Bloke and I have been together (which was when he had a minor heart operation) so the concept was somewhat of a novelty, despite the fact that The Bloke is more than supportive of any time I want to myself. Continue reading

Review: Buddy: The Buddy Holly Story at the Alexandra Theatre

Miguel Angel, AJ Jenks, Sasha Latoya, Cartier Fraser in Buddy

Last night The Bloke and I were invited to the Press Night of Buddy at the Alexandra Theatre.

Telling the story of the Texas-born rock and roll legend Buddy Holly from his meteoric rise to fame before his tragic death at the age of 22, Buddy has become known as ‘The World’s Most Successful Rock & Roll Musical,’ celebrating it’s 30th anniversary year with a 2019 – 2020 tour. Seen by over 22 million music fans since it opened in London’s West End in 1989, the show has has enjoyed extraordinary success, having played a record- breaking 4450 performances over 556 weeks on tour in the UK and Ireland, as well as 5822 performances over 728 weeks in London’s West End, winning numerous awards along the way. Continue reading

Review: Band of Gold at the Alexandra Theatre

Last night the Bloke and I were invited to the press night of Band of Gold at the Alexandra Theatre.

Written by the award-winning Kay Mellor, the nail-biting thriller was inspired by 10 months of research in Bradford and Leeds into the world of sex workers. Set in 90’s Yorkshire, Band of Gold tells the story of a group of womenCarol, Rose, Anita and Gina – as they battle to survive whilst working in a notorious red-light district. When one of their colleagues is murdered, they need to find the killer before they strike again. Continue reading

Review: The Bodyguard at The Alexandra Theatre

Last night The Bloke and I were invited to see the Press Night performance of The Bodyguard, The Musical at The Alexandra Theatre in Birmingham.

Based on Lawrence Kasdan’s 1992 Oscar nominated Warner Bros. movie starring Whitney Houstonand Kevin Costner, The Bodyguard tells the story of the complicated relationship between former Secret Service agent turned bodyguard, Frank Farmer and superstar Rachel Marron, when Farmer is hired to protect her from an unknown stalker. Each expects to be in charge; what they don’t expect is to fall in love. Continue reading

40 Before 40: The Bucket List

40 Before 40 The Bucket List

When I first left my job to become self-employed I created a Bucket List. Some of it consisted of small goals that were designed to push myself forward in my new career path, while others were seemingly far more outrageous and frivolous at the time, being included in a ‘pipe dream’ section at the end.

Rather unexpectedly I managed to complete the entire list, with the final item being ticked off after I had the chance to meet Dolph Lundgren – my ultimate celebrity crush of 30+ years – in December 2017. However, since then I haven’t really focused on major goals, instead choosing to go from day to day with little direction other than getting through the month ahead.

In November I turned 38 and so I decided that I would create a 40 Before 40 Bucket List – 40 things to see, do and achieve before I turn 40 years old – in which I have just under two years to complete. I’ve seen quite a few of them online and after a period of time of feeling like I have little direction this seemed like the perfect solution: acknowledge what I want to do… and do it. By putting it in a public forum I am making myself accountable to not only myself, but for those who read and follow Suzie Speaks regularly. Continue reading

2019: A Year in Review

As I was creating my Bullet Journal spreads at the beginning of the year I decided to incorporate a Memories and Highlights page, not only to keep track of all the positive things that I experienced, but also to serve as a gratitude list. I have diligently filled it in all year.

It turned out to be invaluable. I haven’t particularly felt like I have enjoyed this year very much and my mental health has been low at times, but being able to look at an entire page of experiences, events and things that have brought joy to my daily life has successfully served as a reminder of how much fun I’ve had and how lucky I am. Granted, there have been a few things personally and professionally that haven’t been pleasant, but these have been far outweighed by the positive.

Here are just some of the fantastic things that have happened in 2019… Continue reading

A Belated Merry Christmas

For me, Christmas dinner represents everything about the festive season perfectly. Several weeks of planning, shopping for the ingredients, a few hours of prep followed by the whole cooking with different temperatures and timing debacle… and it’s all done and finished in seemingly the blink of an eye, leaving behind an epic amount of washing up and a personal vow never to eat that much in one sitting again.

Christmas was awesome, but was over far too quickly.

Despite the minor panic in the last few days leading up to it, I somehow managed to end the day before Christmas Eve with a full fridge, wrapped presents and some clean laundry. The Bloke and I stayed at home for the third year in a row, and we decided that we would have a much more relaxed approach to the holiday, spending most of the time on the couch with the cat (who had a rather fetching new hat that he was obviously delighted with) on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, and popping in to feed Paddy (my friend’s bunny that hates me). Continue reading

Very Busy, But Apparently Doing Very Little…

A few years ago The Bloke and I were spending our first Christmas together at home as a married couple. I was beyond excited – normally we celebrated our own Christmas together a few days early, then would travel up north to be with our individual families (mine live in Bolton and his are in Sheffield) and on Boxing Day he would drive across the Pennines and meet me, where we would then drive back down to Birmingham. I spent weeks planning and organising everything – putting up the tree, writing and sending cards and presents, sorting out the food and TV schedule – and by the middle of December everything was pretty much finished, aside from the fresh produce I needed for Christmas dinner. Continue reading

Banksy in Birmingham

A new Banksy artwork has appeared in Birmingham, highlighting the plight of rough sleepers in the city in a video that was posted on his Instagram page this afternoon with the message:

God bless Birmingham.

In the 20 minutes we filmed Ryan on this bench passers-by gave him a hot drink, two chocolate bars and a lighter – without him asking for anything.

Being an enormous Banksy (and street art) fan, I immediately jumped in a taxi (after spending twenty minutes trying to figure out the location) and we headed off to the Jewellery Quarter. We were lucky – some news crews had just started to appear but as it was before the point where the school and working day had finished we were able to see it without any issues. The driver got out and came with me to take some photos too!

Banksy in Birmingham

Banksy in Birmingham

Continue reading