I’ve Been Shortlisted!

It’s the start of a new day, new week and new month and the weather is glorious. As always, I know it is going to be busy over the next few weeks, but there’s something about the beginning of a month that feels incredibly motivating, even if I’m still tired from the day before…

I had some amazing news on Friday. Last month I discovered that I had been nominated for Blogger of the Year at the Birmingham Awards, with the shortlist of finalists to be announced at the end of September. I honestly didn’t expect anything would come of it – those of you who follow the blog regularly will know that I love my adopted city (having lived here for 17 years now) and write about what I experience in and around Birmingham within many of my posts, but as I don’t have a specific niche dedicated to it like many of those who have been shortlisted in previous years I didn’t think I would make it past the first round. I nervously kept checking the website on the announcement day, my heart beating out of my chest when I saw the link appear… Continue reading

Advertisements

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 Week in New York

Note: all of the images featured in this post are my own and are set as galleries – click on the images to see the full size.

The Bloke and I have just been to NYC for a week. We have visited once before on our honeymoon in November last year, but as we were there for just over four days we wanted to go back and attempt to see as much as possible that we had missed last time. We chose to go at the beginning of September – arriving on the Saturday of Labor Day weekend – with the hope that the city would be slightly quieter and the following week was back to school. 

We wanted to experience both the tourist and non-tourist places, so I spent several weeks before reading blogs and watching vlogs about everything to see and do, mapping out our activities according to each day. This wasn’t set in stone and would allow us to change each daily plan around according to the weather.  Continue reading

Start Spreading the News…

New York montage

It has been a little while since I last posted, predominantly because I’ve been on holiday in New York. The Bloke and I visited just under a year ago on our honeymoon, but as we were there for just over four days we decided to go back for an extended period of time and try and see some of the things that we missed.

It. Was. Epic.

We travelled by subway, water taxi and cable car. We saw a ridiculous amount of movie locations and sweltered in the intense heat. I ate a Cronut, gay ice-cream, pancakes, slurped on the most amazing pink lemonade and developed a rather worrying Snapple addiction. We missed an appearance by Hugh Jackman and Neil Patrick-Harris at different points, laughed (and almost cried) at Kinky Boots on Broadway and got a crick in our necks from looking skywards for so long.  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

Cheat Days and Chinese Food

The Bloke and I made a decision a few months ago to change our dietary habits. We were both in a food rut – eating poorly, snacking often and gaining weight to the the point where we were both at our heaviest and most unhealthy. 

We decided not to follow a specific plan or count calories. After watching the documentary ‘Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead’ on Netflix we were inspired by the idea of a diet of no processed food. We took it a step further based on the fact that I seem to have developed a minor lactose intolerance and The Bloke has rosacea and cut out sugar and dairy too. So, for the last few months we have eaten nothing but fruit, vegetables, nuts, white meat and fish, except for the occasional cheat day that we allow ourselves the chance to eat what we want. We usually don’t eat past 6.30pm, have extra smoothies if we are feeling particularly hungry or have food cravings, and our snacks consist of fruits, nuts and vegetables too. Instead of focusing on the idea of a ‘diet,’ we consider it to be more of a lifestyle change. Continue reading

50 Useful Tips to Boost Your Organisation and Productivity

50 useful tips to boost organisation and productivity

This post contains affiliate links, which means I receive a small amount of money if you make a purchase from any of the Amazon links included

A routine is incredibly important to productivity, motivation and organisation and a morning routine (even if you aren’t a morning person) followed by further preparation in the evening is more likely to encourage a successful day. 

Avoid focusing on the idea of perfection. There’s no such thing. Avoid getting caught up in fussing over the insignificant.

Plan your month in advance. Using a calendar, phone, diary or Bullet Journal, map out your month. I like to see an overview of everything on one page, so I create a linear list in my Bullet Journal for the entire month of dates when I have an appointment, event and a birthday to remember. I duplicate this list onto a single piece of paper that I put up on the wall at home. This allows me to see at a glance when I am free and gives me the opportunity to get ahead for times that will be busier than others. 

Create a meal plan, buy and cook food in bulk and freeze as much as possible. It’s surprising how many healthy meals can be prepared using minimal ingredients and frozen afterwards in Ziploc Freezer Bags and Food Storage Containers and even Mason Jars ready to use later. Here’s an incredibly useful list of ideas. 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

The Annual Bloggers Bash 2018

Photo by Duncan Walker

Last weekend was the fourth Annual Bloggers Bash, which was held in London. It had been nearly a year in the planning and on Saturday morning a whole bunch of bloggers descended on the George IV pub in Chiswick. Continue reading