Introducing the July Daily Gratitude Challenge

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

In times of struggle, it can often be difficult not to become permanently focused on the negative, and this year is certainly one of the most challenging periods in living memory. In a era of great change, the online world has become an even bigger cesspool of animosity and hatred.

Daily Gratitude

We all have those days when things seemingly go from bad to worse, but when reflecting we all have things to be grateful for every day, however small they may be. In an effort to inject a little positivity, I decided to set myself a Daily Gratitude Challenge for the entire month of July, and I am inviting everyone else to join in. I try to be as mindful as possible by taking the time to be grateful for the people around me, the lifestyle that I lead and the positive things that have happened in my day when filling out a Daily Gratitude Journal in my Bullet Journal. I find this enormously helpful when it feels like the world is imploding.

This Daily Gratitude Challenge is designed to be more in-depth. Instead of a sentence or two, each day will focus on things to be grateful for, with the act of writing becoming a larger part of my self-care routine. And with a sizeable following on Suzie Speaks, I am encouraging anyone and everyone to do the same. Continue reading

The New Normal

Is anybody else getting sick of the phrase ‘The New Normal,’ or is it just me?

Unfortunately, it’s the perfect term to describe how we’re living at the moment. It doesn’t necessarily provide lots of inspiration for the journal-esque blogging content that I usually create, unless you’re interested in the rather sad-looking cheese sandwich I often make myself for lunch?
Continue reading

Hints and Tips to Stay Productive When Working From Home

14 Hints and Tips to Stay Productive When Working From Home 1

I’ve been working from home pretty much every day since 2015. While at first glance it may seem like the perfect situation (and in many ways it is), but there are lots of potential pitfalls and distractions when you’re solely accountable for your own workload. Over the years I have had to remain self-motivated and develop a routine in order to be able to stay productive and keep doing it successfully.

Here are some hints and tips that I have found useful when working from home.

Set up a dedicated working area. Whether it is a small desk a the back of a room or a shed at the bottom of the garden, create an area that is solely used for work-based activities.

Have a shower and get dressed. Getting up and ready as you would do for a working day elsewhere will help to change the mindset between work and home. It’s also useful should a last-minute video chat should happen – it’s unlikely that clients or colleagues will be impressed by your pyjamas and bed hair and being ready will avoid having to quickly jump in the shower or getting changed when you’re in the middle of something.

Plan your tasks in advance. When I start the day knowing what it is that I need to be working on, I find it much easier to plan and prioritise my tasks for the day, and for this I use a Bullet Journal. I use simple trackers for daily repeated tasks that are drawn out in a simple grid form, and I fill out individual tasks in a monthly calendar layout, colouring in the boxes as I go. This saves an enormous amount of time and I find the colouring rather therapeutic. Continue reading

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