‘What I Shoped’ – Unusual (and Baffling) Search Engine Terms

imageSEO, or Search Engine Optimisation, is a big thing in the blogging world, and I’ve read a number of posts about how to use it to increase traffic to the blog. Over the last few years I have started to get a large amount of referrals from search engines, and I love seeing the sorts of things that people have typed in and stumbled across my blog as a result.

Some, I can explain, because I know that a few of my posts are on the first page of Google. For my post ‘23 Things You Should Do Before You’re 23,‘ which still remains as one of my most popular, I often receive things like ‘things to do before 23,’ or ‘What should I do before my 23rd?’. For ‘Nine Things That We Don’t Owe Anyone,’ I get terms like ‘I don’t owe you,’ or ‘things I shouldn’t owe people.’ Recently, with the ‘Trigglypuff‘ saga taking the internet by storm, I have received lots of terms with Trigglypuff mentioned.

However, it’s becoming more frequent that I am finding sentences that make me wonder what on earth I have been writing over the last three years. I’ve always considered this blog to be at a PG rating, with only one or two references made to adult content. However, it’s clear that a large amount of my search terms are focused on these references, so at this point I’d like to warn you that the content of the rest of this post may get a little rude… You may wish to read some of it peeking out through your fingers. Or avoid eating…
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Acts That Would Be a Better Entry for Eurovision 2016

I love Eurovision. It’s one of the highlights of my year, behind Christmas and the start of the summer holidays, and The Bloke and I make a big deal of getting in the snacky treats and alcohol and generally having a laugh at the nonsense that is spewed out each year.

Tonight we watched the #EurovisionYouDecide, the contest in which the UK votes for their favourite to represent us in the competition. The winners were ‘Joe and Jake,’ former contestants from vocal talent show ‘The Voice,’ who, while they seemed like nice people, the song wasn’t offensive (and nothing could be more offensive that the god-awful sh*t show we put forward last year) and they could sing in tune, they were lacking in what my mother refers to as ‘oomph’ – that power and presence that makes people want to stand up and yell YEEEEAAAAH when the song has finished. It was vanilla ice-cream, without the vanilla. And they were the best of a ‘meh’ bunch.

For me, Eurovision has not been a rewarding experience over the last nineteen years. We’ve tried everything, including the boyband (Blue), the world famous crooner (Englebert Humperdink), we’ve even shoved Bonnie Tyler on stage in a desperate attempt to get back into Europe’s favour. Continue reading

Why I Shouldn’t Be Allowed to Speak in Public

imageAs a teacher I can quite happily talk in front of large groups of children without feeling fazed at all, but the mere thought of having to speak in front of adults makes me shudder. Quite simply, I genuinely don’t care what the kids think of me, but I’m very intimidated by the judgements of people of my own age.

As a result, my experiences of public presentations are littered with embarrassments. There was the time when I asked a group of parents to ‘feel free to take a sh*t’ instead of ‘seat,’ the time I forgot where the fire escapes were at the beginning of a concert and effectively pointed to a large window during my audience welcome, and let’s not forget the time I was asked to give some flowers to a prominent conductor on behalf of the orchestra I was playing in, only to drop them off the side of the stage on my way up to hand them to him. This meant I had to walk all the way round to the bottom in front of the audience and give them to him from the floor. Continue reading

Throwback Thursday: Things People Say and What They Really Mean

image1. I’ll be there in twenty minutes: I still haven’t got dressed and can’t find my handbag.

2. I’ll be there as soon as I can, I’m still waiting for a taxi: See number 1.

3. It’s not really my style, but I’m sure it would look good on you: I hate that outfit.

4. Well, if that’s your decision then I’ll support you: I totally disagree with your decision but I’m not going to say anything.

5. Do you think I’m overreacting?: I don’t care whether you think I’m overreacting, I expect you to agree with me.

6. As long as he makes you happy: I think he’s a douchebag. Continue reading

This Is Why I Shouldn’t Try New Things…

imageYesterday I was feeling anxious and restless, so after occupying myself for a while I decided to try something new. I’ve never been a girly girl, often living in sweats and hoodies and generally having the fashion sense of a teenage boy, but I like occasionally taking the time to do my hair, put make up on and make an effort to look at my best.

I’ve recently found a number of YouTube videos from various beauty bloggers that give brilliant tutorials on applying striking make up, so I thought I would give one of them a go. To my surprise, it worked and when I had finished I was really pleased with the results. Continue reading

Blog Of the Day: Meet The Phil Factor!

imageMeet Phil, author and creator of The Phil Factor.

When I started Suzie81 Speaks nearly two years ago, Phil was one of the first blogs that I followed. Why? Becase both Phil (and his blog) is utterly fantastic.

His ‘About’ page made me smile:

Hi there, thanks for reading my blog. I’m The Grand Poobah of Leisure and the author of the humorous, murder-mystery novels White Picket Prisons and The Sneaker Tree as well as the humor book Fifty Shades of Phil. I’m a father of three, husband to one, and life-long smart ass to many. I’ve been well trained by my two dogs and a cat and am a loyal servant to them all. I’m an excellent ping-pong player and I make the best grilled cheese sandwiches in the world, bar none. I have a Master’s degree in Psychology and spent many years working in the field of mental health before realizing that stringing words together might be a little bit more fun. My first fiction novel, White Picket Prisons, is an ode to the life-long friends that I grew up with and still keep in touch with to this day.

However, (sorry Phil), it doesn’t quite do him justice. Phil’s posts are hilarious, intelligently written and eclectic and during my blogging adventures I have stolen more ideas from ideas from his blog than I have anywhere else. I love the fact that his it doesn’t have a niche – you never know what he is going to discuss next – and he has created a welcoming place where it is possible to talk about anything and everything without judgement.

If you do nothing else today, follow this blog – I promise that it will be time well spent.

You can also find Phil on Twitter: @ThePhilFactor

Phil’s novels, including ‘The Sneaker Tree’ is also available on Amazon and at Barnes and Noble.

Want to be featured as ‘Blog Of The Day’ to over 12,000 readers here at Suzie81 Speaks? Email me at suzie81blog@hotmail.co.uk

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

 

Run Forrest, Run! Or Maybe Not…

imageIt’s Bank Holiday Monday, and I’ve been looking forward to today. As my day off is on a Tuesday, it means that I am only working for three days this week. Winner.

After my decision to sign up for the Birmingham Half Marathon in October, I spent some of the weekend preparing to start training. I went food shopping and made a plan of healthy meals for the week, I downloaded the necessary apps onto my phone and I created an epic playlist of songs that will hopefully keep me motivated and uplifted as I’m trudging my way around the park. And yes, I included the Rocky theme. Why? Because I actually attempted to run up the same steps that he did when I visited Philadelphia in 2010, and only made it about a third of the way up before I had to stop, catch my breath and walk the rest of the way as I was so unfit, so it serves as a reminder that I need to get moving.

I decided to start with the 5K fitness plan that I have used before. After some searching, (and after going to watch Avengers: Age of Ultron at the cinema, which was awesome by the way), I located my running gear, charged my phone and did my stretches. I was surprised at how nervous I was – I’ve done this many times before, but I think that it’s different because I am actually training for something rather than just to build up my fitness levels and I have made myself accountable by letting everyone know what my intentions are. Indeed, today I was going to channel my inner Forrest Gump.

My five minute warm up walk had been fantastic. The weather was beautiful and I felt psyched, ready to pound the pavement, and I was loving the tracks that I had blasting into my eardrums. When the ‘start’ beep began, I started to jog at a leisurely pace, then walked, then jogged at the timed intervals that my app suggested. I realised that it was going to be a lot more difficult than I had anticipated, and my positive attitude quickly evaporated once I had reached the first walk/run cycle. I hated every single second of the rest of the journey. I know that my body is carrying extra weight, but I felt heavy – it seemed really difficult to lift my feet off the floor.

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Twenty -five minutes and less than two miles later, I arrived back at my door. My face was purple, I was struggling for breath and I had sweat pouring from places that I didn’t know could sweat. My legs were already giving me and indication that I am going to be a little sore tomorrow and all I could do was gasp at The Bloke and asked him to get me a glass of water while I collapsed on the couch and coughed and spluttered on an unsuspecting cat, who was rather indignant at having her sleep interrupted.

Gorgeous. Forrest Gump, I am not. Not yet, anyway.

However, it’s a start, and everyone has to start somewhere. I’ve set myself a challenge, and I’m going to bloody well do it. I just wish that it was possible to lose weight and get fit by eating chocolate and watching television instead, which would be far more fun!

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

 

An Adult? Me?!!

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When I was seven or eight years old I was asked by a school teacher the question ‘What do you want to be when you grow up?’

It was perfectly timed – I had contemplated this just a few weeks before and had made my decision after watching the film ‘Splash’ on the television.

“A mermaid,” I replied.

I don’t remember the teacher’s response, but I knew at that point that I had it all figured out. All I needed was some salt to put in my bath water, and after my tail had formed I would swim around in the ocean and eat fish. I wouldn’t have to answer to anybody, be told what to do – my life would be my own.

However, there were a few things in my carefully crafted plan that I hadn’t taken into consideration:

1. I was a proficient swimmer, but hated swimming in sea water of any kind.

2. I was (and still am) desperately afraid of a particular sea creature, to the point where pictures of these things will send me running and screaming from the room.

3. I don’t like raw fish.

Admittedly, it wasn’t the best idea I’d ever had in my life.

At the end of a lesson the other day, one of my student’s, who usually likes to keep me on my toes by asking me random questions, was complaining to a friend of his about the fact that his mother had taken his XBox as punishment for not doing his homework. He turned to me and said “Miss, I’m sick of being told what to do – I can’t wait to be an adult.” I smiled and informed him that being an adult doesn’t mean that you stop being told what to do by others. He looked a bit confused and thought about it for a while.

“So when do you get to be a proper adult then?”

Truth be told, up until that point I hadn’t genuinely given it much thought. I don’t actually see myself as being in the ‘adult’ category – I tick the 25-40 box on forms, I’ve gained all the qualifications I need to for a while, I have a full time job, I maintain my own house, I’m in a long term and committed relationship, but mentally my mind doesn’t feel like it has changed since I was eighteen. However:

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I now eat dessert even if I haven’t finished my main meal… and then some. I have my cake, and I eat another one too, because I can!

Evenings are spent wearing sweat pants and hooded sweaters – maximum comfort is needed after a long day at work.

My mother, while still offering advice when I ask for it, is no longer my legal guardian, and has her own life in which she can make her own plans without having to consider us. I can do the same.

I can have an alcoholic beverage without worrying that somebody is going to yell ‘have you been drinking?!’ at me.

I used to almost enjoy being ill as a child because my mother would look after me and I got to miss a few days of school. Now, being ill sucks – I have to look after myself. I still get to miss a few days of school, but now I return to several hundred emails and have to catch up on everything that I missed.

I’m always a little envious when I see a child walking down the street in their favourite Disney princess or superhero outfit. However, they don’t make Iron Man outfits in my size. I checked. 

Shopping for items for my house is now an exciting experience, as is buying new kitchenware.

I teach children that have mothers that are younger than I am.

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My wages used to be spent on really good things that I wanted. Now it’s spent on bills. And bills. And more bills. And cat food. 

Loud music from my neighbours annoys me.

I use specific brands of toiletries, washing detergent and fabric softener, and have been known to have discussions with my friends about it. 

I spent most of my childhood trying to extend my bedtime to a later point in the evenings. Now, the earlier I get to bed, the happier I am.

I used to constantly watch the clock during outings so as not to miss my curfew. Now, I don’t even wear a watch – I’ll get back when I get back.

I have suddenly developed an appreciation for music by The Smiths.

I worry about my credit rating.

The cupboard fairy that kept our cupboards stocked with food at my mothers house must have run away – my cupboards seem to be endlessly bare. Similarly, the laundry and ironing fairy disappeared many years ago too.

I don’t have shop assistants giving me ‘beady eye’ glances when I buy cigarettes or a bottle of wine anymore, except for one man who still asks me for I.D. even though he’s seen my passport on several occasions now.

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I suppose, looking at the evidence, I am an adult. However, I don’t think that there is an age that can be associated with adulthood, more a mentality. I’m not exactly the mermaid that I wanted to be, but I’m happy, so I’m grateful. And being an adult doesn’t stop you from occasionally participating in childhood indulgences.

So, if anyone sees a slightly overweight, 33 year old woman dressed as Iron Man and happily swinging on the swings at the local park, then that may possibly be me…

What about you? At what point did you start to realise that you were an ‘adult’?

 

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

Have you seen my sponsors? You can find their blogs in the sidebar of this page – give them a visit and enjoy! 

 

Image 1 Credit: Imgur

 

On Being Vanilla

 

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In the world of ice-cream, my friend is definitely Rocky Road with extra sauce and sprinkles. She’s striking. When she walks into a room, people don’t just notice, they stop what they are doing to stare, and some will even get up and walk over in an effort to speak to her.

The thing is, there isn’t anything specific about my friend that makes her stand out. She’s pretty, but couldn’t anywhere near be classed as model quality, she doesn’t go overboard with her clothes and make-up, she’s intelligent, but not a genius, she’s classy and well-spoken. She possesses that ‘something’ – that special X Factor quality that separates her from the pack. Even more frustratingly, she’s genuinely a very nice person and has no idea about the power that she holds. Her life, to me, seems exciting – she likes to travel and experience new things and isn’t scared of taking risks. She’s a natural leader without being bossy or rude.

I have always been, and always will be, vanilla. This isn’t said in an attempt to hunt for false compliments, it is simply fact – at the age of 33 I have had plenty of time to realise my own strengths and weaknesses. In a group of people I have never been the one to stand out from the crowd – I am that person that merges into the background, the one that blends in. I am not the risk taker – I’ve always been more of a follower than a leader.

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Vanilla is used as a derogatory term to describe someone, or their lifestyle as unexciting and conventional. Boring. I used to feel that being thought of as vanilla was a negative thing. Indeed, I used to feel a little short-changed when I was offered ice-cream and then handed vanilla. However, vanilla surprised me. I discovered that:

  • Vanilla is the second-most expensive spice after saffron.
  • It is thought to have calming effects and reduce anxiety and stress.
  • Vanilla is used throughout the baking and cosmetics industry and is often placed in certain foods to eliminate acidity.
  • Despite its labour – intensive growth and expense, vanilla remains a popular spice in the western world.
  • From the thousands of ice-cream flavours that exist, vanilla is still consistently voted as the favourite.

As I have aged, I have grown to like being vanilla. It may be a standard flavour, a basic flavour, but to me it is a dependable one that doesn’t change, and yet can be incredibly versatile at the same time in that it compliments the flavours around it. Vanilla doesn’t pretend to be anything else, it is what it is. I like my life and it’s vanilla existence.

And besides, this means that us vanilla girls get to add a cheeky topping occasionally!

What about you? What flavour of ice-cream are you?

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

Blog Of The Day: Meet The Phil Factor!

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Meet Phil, author and creator of The Phil Factor.

When I started Suzie81 Speaks nearly two years ago, Phil was one of the first blogs that I followed. Why? Becase both Phil (and his blog) is utterly fantastic.

His ‘About’ page made me smile:

Hi there, thanks for reading my blog. I’m The Grand Poobah of Leisure and the author of the humorous, murder-mystery novels White Picket Prisons and The Sneaker Tree as well as the humor book Fifty Shades of Phil. I’m a father of three, husband to one, and life-long smart ass to many. I’ve been well trained by my two dogs and a cat and am a loyal servant to them all. I’m an excellent ping-pong player and I make the best grilled cheese sandwiches in the world, bar none. I have a Master’s degree in Psychology and spent many years working in the field of mental health before realizing that stringing words together might be a little bit more fun. My first fiction novel, White Picket Prisons, is an ode to the life-long friends that I grew up with and still keep in touch with to this day. 

However, (sorry Phil), it doesn’t quite do him justice. Phil’s posts are hilarious, intelligently written and eclectic and during my blogging adventures I have stolen more ideas from ideas from his blog than I have anywhere else. I love the fact that his it doesn’t have a niche – you never know what he is going to discuss next – and he has created a welcoming place where it is possible to talk about anything and everything without judgement.

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If you do nothing else today, follow this blog – I promise that it will be time well spent.

You can also find Phil on these social media sites:

Twitter: @ThePhilFactor

Facebook: (click on the link)

Phil’s novel, ‘The Sneaker Tree’ is also available on Amazon and at Barnes and Noble.

 

Want to be featured as ‘Blog Of The Day’ to over 10,000 followers here at Suzie81 Speaks? Email me at suzie81blog@hotmail.co.uk

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