Putting the World to Rights over Hummus

This evening my friend took me for an early birthday meal at Damascena, a Syrian cafe in Birmingham that offers all sorts of mezze platters and flatbreads. I’d never been there before, the food was lovely and as I shovelled rather tasty hummus and halloumi into my face it was a great opportunity to catch up and see how life has been since she got married earlier in the year.  Continue reading

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A Visit to East Croydon and Crystal Palace

After my awesome afternoon experiencing a street art tour in Shoreditch with my bloggy friend, Tiffany, I headed on over to Victoria and caught a train to East Croydon to meet another bloggy friend: Donna, the creator of Jot to Jot. We connected a few years ago online and have met several times in person since (she even came to my wedding), and since the birth of her little girl last December I had been promising to visit.

It only took nearly a year. Better late than never I suppose! Continue reading

The Annual Bloggers Bash 2019: The Bash is Back!

The Bash is back! Yes, preparations and planning are under way for the 5th Annual Bloggers Bash, to be held in Central London on 15th June 2019! And this year we have a brand new website which will serve as the hub of all things Bash and Bash Awards! Check it out here:

http://www.annualbloggersbash.com

I’ve been to every single event, I’m now on the committee and I credit the first Bash as being the catalyst for giving me the confidence to make the (rather scary) leap into blogging as a career. I’ve made friends through this event that I now see and speak to regularly in real life, and it is the highlight of my blogging year.

Never heard of the Annual Bloggers Bash? Continue reading

Lunch at the Rose Villa Tavern

The Rose Villa Tavern, takes from their Instagram page

I received a text on Sunday morning:

Fancy going to the Rose Villa Tavern for lunch today?

I love waking up to texts like that.

Located on Warstone Lane in the Jewellery Quarter, the pub is part of the popular Bitters and Twisted venues and is a refurbished Grade II listed building with ornate stained glass windows, an old fashioned casual vibe, function room and a beer garden. In contrast, it serves a contemporary American style menu, a wide selection of beers and ales and fabulous cocktails. I’ve been to the Rose Villa Tavern on several occasions in the late afternoon and evening when it was quite busy, so I was interested to see whether it was any different during a weekend lunchtime. Continue reading

A Wonderful Week and a Wedding

Last week was wonderful.

The Bloke and I watched Matilda on Monday night at the Birmingham Hippodrome. I’d heard endless good things and was intrigued to see how it transferred to the stage, and in many ways it didn’t disappoint. The set was incredible, the songs and choreography were great and some of the actors in particular (Bruce Bogtrotter, Miss Trunchbull and Miss Honey) were fabulous. However, it wasn’t completely my thing – I’m an enormous RENT freak and the shows that I have enjoyed the most have much more of a rock inspired content (Rock of Ages being one of my favourites) and while the child actors were certainly talented, I found it difficult to totally understand their dialogue at times. There was also a technical hitch in the second half which caused the show to be suspended for a little while, so by the time it finished it felt excessively long. It’s certainly something that I’m glad we had the opportunity to watch, but probably not something that I would rush to see again.

Continue reading

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

Victor: The Second Eden East Novel from Sacha Black

I always like to promote the accomplishments of members of the blogging community, and I was delighted to see that Sacha Black (author, blogger and brainchild of the Annual Bloggers Bash) launched her second fiction novel – Victor – yesterday. I was on a writers retreat with her a little while ago when she was in the process of finishing the final draft of this, and I learned so much about how much it takes to create a novel from scratch just by listening to her conversations with the others authors… mind blowing.

Victor is the second novel in her Eden East Fantasy YA Fantasy series, following Sacha’s best-selling debut fiction novel, Keepers.

Victor by Sacha Black

When Eden East kills someone, she expects them to stay dead. It’s only polite, after all.

Exhausted from battle and finally bound to her soulmate, all Eden wants to do is attend university and spend time with Trey. When her demon-ex, Victor, suddenly returns from the afterlife, Eden’s convinced he’s out for revenge. The last thing she expects is for him to ask for help, especially when he’s being controlled by evil forces.

But when an enchanted lock and key go missing, she’s no longer sure who she can trust. If Eden can’t find them in time, not only will her life, and her heart, be torn apart, the very world she lives in could be destroyed – forever.

Victor will transport fans of The Red Queen, The Young Elites, and The Lunar Chronicles to a world unlike any other… Continue reading

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

Getting My Mojo Back

National Writing Day

It’s National Writing Day and for the first time in almost a month I actually have the urge to write… I was having a discussion with a bloggy friend a while ago and he talked about needing to get his mojo back. That’s exactly what my problem has been – my mojo up and left without saying goodbye.

I haven’t properly been near the blog for almost a month aside from to share my stuff for my daily checklist – the longest period of time spent away from it since starting Suzie Speaks just over five years ago. It wasn’t necessarily a planned break, I just found that I had nothing to say, the Black Dog stayed around for longer than usual and it did me good to get away from everything involved with it, instead spending some time on the new(ish) project that I have been working on.  Continue reading

A New Phase for The Bloke and Learning to Work Backwards

It’s been an interesting few weeks. I decided to focus my attentions on areas outside of my blog primarily and get a fresh perspective on various aspects of life that weren’t as positive as they should have been. I was full of ideas of where I could go and what I could do, and started by feeling motivated.

And then I got drunk, and it ended up being far more therapeutic than anything that I had planned. Continue reading