Lego Destruction, An Exploding Camembert and a Christmas Dinner Record

I’m serving some ‘food barrel realness’ after consuming more than my entire bodyweight in Toblerone, cheese, crisps, dip, honey roasted peanuts and potatoes over the last few days. I always find it incredulous how quickly the Christmas Eve / Christmas Day period actually goes, especially with the hype and the level of preparation that goes into the weeks (and sometimes, months) leading up to it, and yet it is already over for another year, seemingly in the blink of an eye.

Our Christmas was spent at home with the cat. I had planned our eating and viewing schedule and got most of the food ready in advance, and for the most part, it all went very well.  Continue reading

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Happy Christmas Eve!

Christmas Day is nearly upon us and I’ve just about reached the point where I think that everything is now done. It’s completely different to this time a year ago – I was so excited about our first Christmas together as husband and wife that I had planned and organised the whole thing weeks in advance – whereas this year we managed to get the cards sent out and the food bought just a few days ago. Perhaps it’s my mindset – I hadn’t been feeling the Christmassy vibe over December so most things were left until the last minute. Thankfully, when the cupboards had been stocked, the cards and presents sent and I had turned on the fairy lights, lit the candles and curled up on the couch with The Bloke it (thankfully) started to feel a little more festive.  Continue reading

Venom at the Odeon Luxe Broadway Plaza, Birmingham

I’ve heard quite a few positive things about the new Odeon Luxe Cinemas that have been opening all around the country, so it was a nice surprise when I was invited to watch the new Venom film on the premiere day at the Odeon Luxe Broadway Plaza with Westside BID. I was away from home last week, so The Bloke was more than happy to take my place instead. Here’s what he thought: 

We’ve visited the Odeon at Birmingham Broadway Plaza on numerous occasions and had rather mixed experiences depending on the film, screen and showing times. I was interested to see how the new ‘Luxe’ refurbishments would make a difference to the quality of the cinema experience.  Continue reading

Make-Up, Marco and Music

Last weekend we experienced more glorious weather and I was able to indulge of three of my favourite things: make-up shopping, lunch with The Bloke at a restaurant and Eurovision.

Awesome.

My friend is getting married at the end of July and she asked me if I would accompany her while she tried out some ideas during a makeover she had scheduled at Dior.

Ooh, go on then!

It was nice to watch the make-up artist try out some ideas, particularly as her finished look was not something that my friend would usually wear, and I ended up having a lovely chat with numerous people about make-up looks, our favourite vloggers and blogging. To be fair, it’s inevitable that a conversation in my world ends up with a discussion about blogging – it’s something that my friends have grown used to over the years.

I then met The Bloke for lunch at Marco Pierre White’s restaurant at the top of the Cube in the Mailbox. It was the first time we had visited and I had heard and read mixed reviews, so I was interested to see what was available on the lunchtime menu. Continue reading

A Stressful Cinema Experience

I’m one of those really annoying people who likes to go to the cinema and actually watch a film.

Strange, I know.

Unfortunately, a seemingly disproportionate percentage of the Birmingham movie-going population haven’t quite grasped the concept.

The other night, The Bloke and I went to watch Infinity Wars (don’t worry, there’s no spoilers). After waiting for over a year and then looking forward to it all week, we decided that (as it would undoubtedly be one of the biggest movies of all time) we would spend more to see it on an IMAX 3D screen for maximum impact, something that we’ve never done before. 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

12 Guilty Pleasures

 

It’s the little things in life that often provide me with the most amount of happiness. We all have our guilty pleasures, and I try to indulge in them as often as I possibly can… Here are some of my favourites!

1. Listening to boy bands. I’m generally an 80’s rock chick – give me a band with massive hair, leather trousers and power chords and I have to resist the urge not to do some air guitar – but I can often find myself listening to my favourite boy bands of the 90’s. I’ve seen Bon Jovi five times in concert, but it’s not often that I’ll admit that I’ve also seen Westlife, Take That and New Kids on the Block too. If the opportunity to go and scream along to Backstreet Boys songs ever presents itself in the future, I’ll be there… Continue reading

London Adventures

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The Bloke and I have very different opinions on what constitutes as ‘a holiday.’ Give me a beach, a pool, a bar and glorious sunshine and I’m happy. He needs things to see and do. I like to adopt my inner vegetable and lay like broccoli, while he’s a ‘get up and go’ type.

We both, however, have a common love of London, and we try and visit as many times a year as we possibly can. Booked in advance, train tickets are very cheap and the journey is only an hour and a half, so getting there relatively easy. There’s something about it that we both connect with – the architecture, history and the atmosphere is wonderful, and over the years we have joined the millions of tourists with our cameras to experience everything the city has to offer.

Last Saturday I was attending the Annual Bloggers Bash, so we decided to make a little mini break out of it. We booked a room at the Premier Inn near Euston Station for Friday night and got a ridiculously early train so we would have the entire day to wander around. After leaving our bags at the hotel, we arrived at the Tower of London in time for opening, and it was already packed – it seemed like half of the U.S. had the same idea as us that day.

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A panorama of the view from the central building

We spent the morning exploring the buildings in the glorious weather, looking at The Crown Jewels and the views of the city and being amused at the tourists making victory signs as they had their photographs taken in the red phone boxes. Their fascination with them always makes me smile – the British use them for urinating in and for advertising pornographic services. As is always the case, there was building work going on to maintain the architecture, so some of my photographs are blighted by scaffolding and cabins.

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The central building

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The Bloke testing his new camera

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Can’t take him anywhere…

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Looking a little more normal…

Afterwards, we went to the food section at Harrods to treat ourselves to a few things for a lunchtime picnic and then ate it in Leicester Square while we watched the street performers. We enquired about discounted tickets for a show, and after discovering that they were a little out of our price range we decided to book tickets at the Odeon to watch the new Mission Impossible film that evening. Granted, we could have seen it when we went home, but this particular cinema is where they host the premier screenings of new films and hundreds to celebrities have been there, so it was something else I could tick off my tourist list.

We went back to the hotel, checked in and promptly fell asleep for a few hours, both being shattered from being awake since 5.00am.

That evening, we went to the cinema and were promptly surprised by just how big the screen was, and the fact that it looked just like a theatre. The film was great – one of the best of the five, and aside from a silly woman sitting next to me who laughed all the way through it even in the parts that weren’t supposed to be funny, I had a great time.

As we were leaving, I picked up my rubbish from the floor and I noticed something underneath The Bloke’s chair. It was an A4 piece of paper, with a still of Tom Cruise in Top Gun. It read:

Congratulations! You have won a prize – please take this to one of our staff to claim it.

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Our prize from the cinema – bonus!

We weren’t sure whether it was a prank, but we took it to the manager in the foyer. I half expected him to laugh at me and tell me someone had put it there for a joke, but I was pleasantly surprised when he smiled and asked us to follow him to a little cupboard near the entrance. Our prize was a Guardians of the Galaxy poster and a copy of John Green’s The Fault in Our Stars. It was completely random, and looked a little awkward carrying it back on the Tube afterwards, but I was delighted – I had wanted to purchase the book anyway, and let’s face it, it’s always nice to get free stuff!

I don’t remember my head hitting the pillow that night. Despite having an afternoon nap, I was completely exhausted…

I love the fact that we have little adventures together. I can’t wait to see what Barcelona has to offer in September!

What about you guys? Have you visited anywhere recently?

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

 

The Quintessential English Baddie: Sir Christopher Lee

The casting of the villain in Hollywood movies has often had political motivation. During the Cold War the bad guys were frequently communists and sported Russian accents, after 9/11 they became terrorists from the Middle East. However, there has always been a tendency to cast British, or rather, English actors in the role of the cold, calculating, evil genius, often to counteract the all American hero.

The stereotype doesn’t exist with us Brits as a race, it’s all about the perception of the English accent and the assumption that our dialect resembles that of the Royal Family. This is known as ‘Received Pronunciation’, or RP, and can be defined as ‘the speech of educated people living in London and the south-east of England,’ often creating an air of imperialism, from a time when the British almost ruled the world.

There seems to be an unwillingness from Hollywood to cast their own in the role of the bad guy. The lead character almost always has to be seen as perfect and embodies the characteristics of the stereotypical hero. In Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves, Alan Rickman’s superb portrayal of The Sheriff of Nottingham was evil, vicious and ruthless. The hero? Kevin Costner, with his heavy American accent. In the Lion King, Mufasa and Scar are supposed to be brothers. Mufasa, the ‘good guy’, is American, voiced by legendary actor James Earl Jones. Scar, the ‘villain’ is English, voiced by Jeremy Irons. In The Avengers, a whole plethora of fantastic American and Australian actors play the lead roles, battling to save the world from the evil Loki, played by English actor, Tom Hiddleston.

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Perhaps the most quintessential bad guy of them all was Sir Christopher Lee, who sadly passed away a few days ago, with the news of his death announced today. From his earlier Hammer roles as Dracula and Rasputin, and Scaramanga in ‘The Man With The Golden Gun,’ to his more recent portrayals of Saruman in ‘The Lord Of The Rings’ and ‘The Hobbit’ films and Count Dooku in ‘Star Wars’ episodes II and III, Lee’s ability to demonstrate evil on-screen was unsurpassed. At the age of 93, with his imposing frame and that instantly recognisable baritone voice, Lee was a true cinematic legend. Of all the English baddies, he was the greatest.

Rest in Peace sir… You will be missed.

Photo credits: Sir Christopher Lee. Taken from Virginmedia.com

 

Want To Boost Your Blog? Advertising Opportunities On Suzie81 Speaks

Advertising

Are you looking to boost your blog? Suzie81 Speaks is looking to give sponsored and advertising opportunities!

There are two different types of advertising opportunities available: a monthly sponsorship space and a single ‘Blog of The Day.’

Here are a few facts about Suzie81 Speaks (of which proof can be provided if necessary on request).

  • Since Suzie81 Speaks began in April 2013 (in less than two years), I have received nearly 364,000 views.
  • Total number of views in 2013: 72,556
  • Number of views over 2014: 265,800
  • Average number of views a day in 2014: Between 600 and 1500.
  • Current number of followers: 10,900 (approx 6,200 WordPress, 4,500 Twitter, 120 Tumblr). I also have a fairly new Facebook page with 230 ‘likes,’ and it is growing weekly.

 

MONTHLY ADVERTISING SPACES

I am offering advertising spaces here on Suzie81Speaks every month for a period of four weeks (and I say four weeks because some months are longer) at a cost of £25.00

A £25.00 advertising package will last for a period of four weeks and will entitle you to:

  • A 185 x 185px button/banner in the upper right corner of the page, with a direct link to your blog/company, which is a fixed feature for every page of Suzie81 Speaks.
  • A copy of this button with a link and a short description about your blog/company will be featured in my menu system underneath the title ‘Sponsors.’ 
  • A reblog of one of your posts throughout the month
  • Introductions via social media to some of my favourite bloggers.
  • Promotion in the form of links to your blog/company during my #SundayBlogShare party each Sunday on Twitter.

PLEASE NOTE – the conversion rate from USD to GBP is 1=0.6254, which means that the total in US Dollars will be approximately $38.49

If you wish to advertise your blog for the next four weeks, please email me at suzie81blog@hotmail.co.uk where we can discuss the terms and conditions of the advertising.

 

BLOG OF THE DAY

This is available to WordPress followers only and there is a single space for one blogger every Sunday. There are two price options available:

Option 1: £9.00

  • A single promotional post about your blog with links to all of your social media accounts on Sunday afternoon
  • A reblog of a post of your choice on Sunday evening, during my highest traffic.
  • Promotional tweets to my #SundayBlogShare Twitter party during the day.

Option 2: £12.00

  • A single promotional post about your blog with links to all of your social media accounts on Sunday afternoon
  • A reblog of a post of your choice on Sunday evening, during my highest traffic.
  • Promotional tweets to my #SundayBlogShare Twitter party during the day.
  • Promotional tweets to all of the Twitter parties throughout the week that I participate in.
  • Introductions via social media to some of my favourite bloggers.

Disclaimers:

  • I cannot guarantee an increase in following, or traffic, but everyone that has been featured as Blog of The Day so far has indeed received higher views than their usual traffic.
  • I cannot (and will not) offer opportunities to any blogs that promote content that is racist, sexist, homophobic or promote any form of cruelty to animals. This includes hunting for sport and the wearing of fur for fashion.

Interested? Email me at suzie81blog@hotmail.co.uk.

Similarly, if you wish me to review products for your company, also feel free to email me at the same address.

Note: all payments are made through PayPal and are required in advance.

Looking forward to hearing from you!

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