The Kindness of Neighbours and Arnold, the Pot-Head Rescue Tortoise

I was too busy telling Arnold how handsome he is to take a picture, but stick a pair of shades on this one and you get the idea…

I live in a street of terraced houses on both sides. The residents are a mixture of home-owners and renters, mainly comprising of young families, professionals and retirees. Generally (aside from my next-door neighbours who appear to be in training to become the next big DJ’s) it’s pretty quiet. We say hello, put the bins out for each other, take in each other’s packages, but aside from that we all pretty much keep ourselves to ourselves.

Today, The Bloke and I heard shouting outside. A man was pacing back and forth and banging on the doors and windows in front of a house across the road, getting more and more agitated when nobody would let him in and eventually he lost his temper. He kicked down a piece of the front wall down and launched it at the door with such force that it flew open, and then he ran away. Continue reading

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A Summer Catch-Up

I was delighted at the fact that I regained some of my blogging mojo recently, only to then promptly trek up north to spend some time with family and friends for four days, most of which I didn’t have access to the internet.

A little while ago I received an invitation from some friends to meet up for a meal in Manchester. I’ve known them for twenty years, meeting them when I was sixteen and studying at sixth form college, and a few of us have kept in touch and meet up on an annual basis. I realised that it would also be a good opportunity to spend some time with my mum and sister, who I haven’t seen since before Christmas, and also arranged to meet my oldest friend (who lives in the city centre) for breakfast on the morning when I was travelling back. Continue reading

One. Million. Views.

Holy crap.

Just under five years ago (April 2013), I came home from work after a particularly bad day, created a WordPress account and hastily wrote a very short introductory post entitled ‘Stuff.’

I have a lot of stuff. When I first moved down to Birmingham to start my degree everything that I owned could be fit into the back of a Ford Escort. Now, almost twelve years later, I own everything I have except the shell of the house that I live in. This blog is an attempt to sort out the stuff that I have surrounded myself with for years… And I’m not just referring to the physical objects that are in the house…

And that’s exactly what this blog helped me to do… sort my stuff out. It has been the biggest influence in almost every aspect of life, allowing me to change my career path, discover new goals and talents, experience places and things that I could have only dreamed of in my previous existence, understand myself better, calm my demons, re-establish estranged relationships and has introduced me to some of the most inspiring, creative and incredible people from all over the world both online and in person that I would never have have the privilege to get to know otherwise. Instead of filling my house with half-finished journals, it has been my online diary and record of the unbelievable highs and struggles of my life: getting engaged and married to The Bloke, welcoming The Squidge (my niece) into the world, watching as the important people in my life get married and have children, quitting my teaching job, travel, food, reviews, hosting workshops, winning the Best Overall Blog at the Annual Bloggers Bash in London…

I only told one friend when I first started writing – I showed her one of my posts during a meal at a pizza restaurant after I’d gained about 10 followers while my heart was beating out of my chest, and after she gave me a positive reaction and boosted my confidence we had a conversation about what I could achieve with it.

“You could get a million views!” I remember her saying, and I laughed at the prospect.

And today, that’s exactly what happened – this little piece of the internet had it’s MILLIONTH VIEW…

Unbelievable.

Thank you to everyone who has taken the time to read, share, tweet, pin, advise, support… I couldn’t have done it without you!

Here’s to the next million!

2017: A Year to Remember!

Sunset at The Top of The Rock, NYC

It’s already New Year’s Eve 2017, and what a year its been! Here are just some of the highlights…

Watching my niece – Baby Squidge – develop into a little bundle of energy, with little blonde locks, bright blue eyes and a cheeky grin. Her arrival has brought my whole family much closer together…

Planning and organising the wedding and getting a kick out of creating my own centrepieces and seating cards. We also managed to save an enormous amount of money and I had a blast finding the bargains so that it was cheap, but didn’t LOOK cheap.

Meeting up with blog friends in person separately from the Bloggers Bash – staying at Sacha’s house with Sacha, Helen and Lucy then seeing Tiffany and Donna in London, meeting a bunch of my favourite bloggers in Birmingham for lunch and having Elena stay at my house for a few days when she came over from Canada. Continue reading

A Fabulous Christmas…

Christmas

Turkey and stuffing, garlic and rosemary roast potatoes, Yorkshire puddings, honey-roasted parsnips, gravy, chocolate, crisps and dips, salted caramel cake…

At the minute, I don’t think that I want to look at food ever again.

It’s been three glorious days of Christmassy fabulousness. The Bloke and I spent our first Christmas at home together – normally we individually travel and stay with our own families – and it was also our first as a married couple. I had spent weeks planning and organising so that by the time it got to Christmas Eve we didn’t have to do anything, and it paid off. Continue reading

Happy Christmas Eve!

It’s Christmas Eve, and it’s already been a day of firsts…

It’s the first time I’ve not had to travel, the first time woken up in my own home on Christmas Eve, it’s the first Christmas with The Bloke as a married couple, and I realised the other day that this was the first year that I’ve not had to organise, participate in or watch a Christmas concert or assembly since I was about eight years old… Admittedly it’s an odd feeling not to be waking up at my mum’s house with some sort of awful soap opera on the TV and two excited doggies jumping on me while I try to put various Christmas themed hats on them. Continue reading

When Suzie Met Dolph

In August the brother of my oldest friend shared an advert on Facebook for a Sci Fi convention taking place in Manchester on the 2nd and 3rd December. Now, those of you who follow the blog regularly will know that The Bloke is an enormous geek, but while I like to embrace his geekiness, the convention wouldn’t necessarily be the sort of thing I would actively seek out. That is, until I saw that one person in particular would be appearing: Continue reading

Goodbye, Jan

I never know how appropriate it is to write about these sorts of things, but as this space is my own to be able to record my thoughts and feelings, I wanted to be able to acknowledge someone very special to us.

The death of a loved one is never easy for anybody, but when it’s sudden and completely unexpected it comes as a devastating blow to everyone who knew them.

We attended the funeral of our friend this morning – a wonderful woman who had joined us at our wedding celebrations just a week before she passed away. The Bloke and I were her colleagues at my former school – she had worked as an English teacher before retiring a few years ago – and the number of friends, colleagues, staff and former students that attended (to the point where it was standing room only) was a sheer testament to how much she was loved. The amount of messages I’ve seen across social media from ex-students (many of whom had particularly difficult circumstances) demonstrates the impact that she left on them all these years later. Continue reading

The Wedding!

My napkins on each place setting

After a lovely weekend it’s back down to earth – The Bloke is now back at work for a while before we go on the honeymoon and I have returned to the the online world. It’s been more strange than I expected in the fact that it hasn’t been strange at all – I was told by numerous people that I would feel different, but I don’t at all, apart from the fact that I greet him with ‘hello, husband!’ every time he walks through the door…

The wedding was lovely. I was told to expect something to go wrong, but absolutely nothing did – our duty manager for the day, Derek, kept things running like clockwork (he’s ex-military so that helped) and everyone seemed to have a great time. Continue reading

Mr & Mrs Bloke: Suzie Gets Married!

After months of planning and organising, I put on my dress and walked down the aisle to Journey’s ‘Don’t Stop Believing’ (what can I say, I like to keep things classy…).

The Bloke looked very handsome and the day was amazing. I will do a more detailed post later this week but I wanted to say thank you for all the messages and best wishes, and share a pic that my awesome photographer sent me yesterday evening…

Mr and Mrs Bloke

A massive thank you to our fabulous photographer – Andy Vokes