A Wonderful Week and a Wedding

Last week was wonderful.

The Bloke and I watched Matilda on Monday night at 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.

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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

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

Hello, Sunshine!

What a glorious weekend we’ve just had here in the UK! After one of the most depressing and seemingly longest winter in my own living memory, we were blessed with several days of sunshine that coincided perfectly with Bank Holiday – the hottest early May Bank Holiday on record.

The Bloke and I took full advantage of it. Saturday was spent in the city, walking around, doing a bit of shopping, enjoying lunch and general people watching. Sunday was an enormous car boot sale, where we managed to clear a massive amount of clutter and enjoyed meeting lots of new people. Yesterday, The Bloke suddenly developed a rare attack of hayfever, so my friend and I got some food and a blanket together and went for a picnic in the local park. It was lovely – I haven’t had a picnic in several years so it was nice to catch up, eat nice food and walk through the woods afterwards. My laundry was done, I got some much needed exercise, I spent some valuable time outdoors and got out of the rut I often find myself in when working from home. Continue reading

A Writers Retreat

What do you get when you combine three published author bloggers and me, a converted hospital, rolling countryside, pig farms, beautiful beach huts and a spare weekend?

A self-made writers retreat.

Yes, I’ve just spent the weekend in a gorgeous house with my blogger friends Sacha, Helen and Geoff with the purpose of using some rare free-time and utilising each other’s knowledge, experience and skills to not only attempt to catch up with our writing goals, but to take the opportunity to throw a few ideas around and get some immediate feedback on what we were working on. Geoff had very kindly offered to host us at his home, which was part of a converted former hospital. Continue reading

So, What Now?

Blogging Goals

Have you ever had an ultimate goal set in your mind that you work towards for years and actually achieve it? With all of the blogging goals I have given myself over the years there was one that towered above all of the others, which was to reach my target amount of views. In the months leading up to it I worked particularly hard, incorporating every single technique at my disposal to reach that seemingly elusive number. The day I finally reached it was fabulous – I celebrated by taking the day off and spoiling myself…

…and then promptly lost all motivation. Continue reading