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

Quick and Easy Nutella Brownie Cake

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Those of you who follow me on Pinterest may have noticed the amount of things I regularly re-pin on my ‘Desserts’ board. In fact, I can quite easily spend hours salivating over beautiful recipes, making a promise to myself that one day, I would actually bother to try them.

Unfortunately, I’m no Nigella, and while I can cook the basics, baking has never been something I have been particularly successful with. The Bloke, however, thoroughly enjoys it and our cupboards are filled with various trays and things that I have no idea what they do…

That is, until I discovered a recipe for brownies that used only three ingredients – a jar of Nutella (which I can eat just with a spoon), eggs and flour. Bargain. However, as I was following the recipe I found that my own attempts looked nothing like the pictures, so I added my own additional ingredient.

Thirty minutes later, I discovered that my ‘brownies’ had in fact turned into the most beautiful sponge I had ever made. Light, fluffy, gorgeous… Even The Bloke was impressed when I proudly presented him with a large piece, smothered in more Nutella and topped with mini-marshmallows and chopped hazelnuts.

I’ve since tried it twice more, and each time I get the same result, so I thought I’d share it with you. Continue reading

Questions I’ve Been Asked Today

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It’s been an interesting and enjoyable day mainly for the fact that I have had some opportunity to observe students as they complete their work, which something that I rarely get to do. I’ve been covering an outstanding teacher who is away on jury duty, and the classes have been an absolute dream to work with – silently getting stuck into every task with enthusiasm, asking intelligent questions and reflecting what they have learnt at the end without any prompt. If I’m being honest, it’s one of the best working days I’ve ever had, and if every day could be like this I wouldn’t have quit in the first place!

However, the kiddies still like to keep me on my toes, particularly as I’m walking past them in the corridor, by asking me a whole host of random questions… I thought it might be a fun idea to keep a note of them.

Here’s just a sample…

What’s a cobbler?
How do you spell raisins?
Is Scotland in Jamaica?
Do you like Justin Bieber?
So, if you paid into a pension and the company went bankrupt, would you get your money back? (I was quite impressed with that one)
How much do you get paid?
Are you wearing eyeliner?
Are you going out with Mr…?
Do you like my shoes?
Have you heard of MAC?
Are you teaching us today? (I always have to bite my tongue and stop myself from answering this with ‘No, I just thought I’d come and stand outside your classroom for the fun of it…’)
Why can’t we do cooking today? (We were in a history room).
What did you get for Christmas?
Have you got a hamster?
Who’s David Bowie?
What’s an exhibition? (I’d told students I’d been to the Bowie Exhibition in 2014)
(All by one student) How many years are in a century? So, does that mean we’re in the 21st Century or the 22nd Century? How old am I going to be in the 23rd Century?(My response to the last question was simply ‘dead.’)

What about you guys? Been asked any random questions that have made you smile today?

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 Romance of Ghostbusters and McDonalds…

imageI was in the staffroom this morning when my friend Steve walked in to say hello. It was his final day at work as he and his lovely wife, Kirsty, have decided to move down to the coast to live the surfing dream that they have sought after for a long time. I’ve got to know them over the last few years and they’re an absolutely adorable couple… and they love cats as much as I do. Continue reading

He-Man and Fairy Wings

Childhood toys that I miss

This month’s NaBloPoMo is all about examining the past, present and future, and I like the idea. I’ve been doing a lot of self-reflection over the last six months and I find it useful to reminisce occasionally – it often serves as a reminder as to how far I have come.

Yesterday’s post about my stuffed toy elephant, while it wasn’t planned, seems to tie in with today’s theme of childhood toys.

As an adult I’m a sucker for all things cute and fluffy – cuddly toys being no exception. However, as a child of the 80’s I was obsessed with cartoons and the action figures that came with it. It was predominantly a female household – my father being completely outnumbered by mum, my two sisters and I, but toys were never gender specific for us. He-Man, She-Ra and Thundercat figures adorned my bedroom, along with the She-Ra ‘Princess of Power’ Palace and Lion’O’s large plastic ‘Sword of Omens,’ complete with a central circle that lit up when you pressed a button on the handle. Combined with my epic fairy wings and an Inspector Gadget watch that I got as part of a McDonalds Happy Meal (I always wanted to be Penny and was regularly disappointed that our Beagle, Patch, didn’t possess the skills that Brains had), I was an unstoppable force of awesomeness that saved the world regularly. Indeed, my mother still reminds me of the times she walked past my room to find me saying ‘And then Skeletor had an idea…’ I’m not entirely sure what his idea was – I have no recollection of it – but he was certainly a crafty so-and-so.

However, despite being thoroughly spoilt throughout my childhood, there was one toy that I always wanted: a porcelain doll. I had plenty of dolls already – ones that talked, wet themselves, others that came with makeup so I could paint their face – but porcelain dolls were in a different league. I thought they were pretty, with beautiful delicate faces and curly hair. I loved their little dresses and matching hats. My friend has several, and I always remember the jealousy that ensued whenever I went to her house, particularly as I wasn’t allowed to touch them.

In preparation for this post, I googled ‘porcelain doll’ to remind myself of what it was that appealed to me. I now know why my mother never bought me one..

They’re bloody terrifying.

Dont believe me?

A porcelain doll

 

See! Terrifying!

With their soulless eyes, deathly pale skin and blank expressions, I can imagine that deep in their little petticoats they are hiding weapons of mass destruction to use when they take over the world. I can only imagine the nightmares that would have followed should I have had little Pollyanna staring at me from the top of my bookcase.

I think I’ll stick with He-man and my fairy wings…

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.

Bleurgh: It’s Snot Been a Pleasant Week!

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Daisy took full advantage of the blanket and cuddled my leg… Bless…

I often see and hear jokes about ‘man flu,’ where men are deemed to be weak and pathetic at the slightest hint of a cold. I actually find the term quite demeaning – in my household, it’s totally the opposite – The Bloke will get up as normal and soldier on, whereas I will retreat to my bed, sniffling and feeling sorry for myself for several days until the worst of it has passed.

I haven’t been ill in a long time – I certainly can’t remember the last point where I had a severe cold, so when my sister arrived to stay last Monday night and quickly announced ‘I think I’m coming down with something,’ I didn’t really think anything of it. However, I was a bit worried on Wednesday when I started to feel a little off. I carried on, hoping it would go away, until Friday night when I ached all over, was full of a cold and had developed a nasty cough. Unfortunately, it hit at the worst possible time – I’m supposed to be running a half-marathon in a week’s time and I’ve got plenty of exciting things planned, and I didn’t want it to be spoiled.

It has pretty much ruined the last half-week of blogging, as every time I have attempted to write I have ended up with a huge headache. I’ve spent the majority of the time wrapped up in several fluffy blankets, dosing myself up with paracetamol and cough medicine, snoozing my way through several episodes of The Flash (which I’ll now have to watch again) and being cuddled by a sympathetic cat. So, now it has begun to clear slightly, I have a lot to catch up on. I’ve been to the 25th anniversary performance of the Birmingham Royal Ballet, I’ve been asked to test a sample of products by Organique in Birmingham and I’ve got a restaurant review, on top of updating everyone on my Pinterest progress, replying to comments and reading the hundreds of posts that I have missed both in my reader and through #SundayBlogShare.

Looking forward to catching up with you all! Hope you’re all doing well!

You can find me on my Facebook page http://www.facebook.com/suzie81speaks, and don’t forget to check out my Pinterest page http://www.pinterest.com/suzie81speaks and my Instagram page http://www.instagram.com/suzie81speaks.

 

12 Reasons Why You Should Give Me Some Facebook Love…

Why you should give me some Facebook love

A little while ago, I realised that my Facebook page was in need of some love. I started to build it up, and gained a little success with drawing new viewers to my blog by sharing my posts. However, I’ve found that it has been completely neglected recently and needs a new breath of life…

It’s always quite embarrassing when trying to promote ourselves. As bloggers, lots (NOT ALL, but lots) of us want our ramblings to be read, shared, commented on, and as my views have increased I have had to resist shouting it from the rooftops when I have written a post that I am proud of. However, there is no point in being coy about this: this is blatant self promotion.

Here is the link to my page:

http://www.facebook.com/suzie81speaks

Still not interested?

1. It’s a great way to catch up on some of the posts that you may have missed. I also find it easier and quicker to communicate with non-WordPress bloggers there…

Need more reasons?

2. I don’t post Instagramed pictures of everything that I eat.

3. I don’t indulge in sharing too much information. You won’t hear about it when I go to the toilet. Unless something really exciting has happened when I’ve been in there.

Don’t forget… http://www.facebook.com/suzie81speaks

4. I don’t post cryptic messages that are clearly meant for someone without actually writing their name.

5. While I am in a long term relationship, you won’t be subjected to constant pictures of me and The Bloke. Unless The Bloke is doing something stupid. Then I’ll tell you all about it.

6. I don’t believe myself to be a sporting pundit, and don’t post constant quotes about the performance of different teams.

7. I don’t post pictures like this:

Who creates this nonsense?

Who creates this nonsense?

8. You won’t receive any Candy Crush requests from me.

Remember… http://www.facebook.com/suzie81speaks

9. I won’t litter the page with pictures of me relaxing on a beach and drinking a cold beverage when I’m on holiday, just to remind you that you’re still at home in the cold… much. Ok, I’ve done that once in two years. But it was a lovely beach.

10. I do have a reasonable pop culture knowledge and a sense of reality, so won’t get Star Wars and Transformers mixed up in my posts or comments:

Oh dear...

Oh dear…

11. I don’t post up pictures of myself crying in a mirror to show that I’m not just upset, but I’m REALLY UPSET.

12. I like to share things that are intellectually stimulating. For example, did you know that the knots in my bedroom door look like Sid from Ice Age? Don’t believe me? You’ll have to visit my page to see!

Ok, admittedly, there are occasionally pictures of cats, but before you go running for the hills, they are pictures of MY cats, who are awesome. Clearly worth your time. There are also posts about music, life, love, beauty, friendship, family, teaching, parenting and mental health. It’s all Suzie, all of the time!

To give my page some much needed attention, here is the link again. Looking forward to seeing you there!

http://www.facebook.com/suzie81speaks

You can also find me on Twitter and Tumblr @suzie81blog, and don’t forget to hop on over to my Pinterest page http://www.pinterest.com/suzie81speaks and my Instagram page http://www.instagram.com/suzie81speaks

The Tale of Big Willy…

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During our trip out to Blackpool at the weekend we went inside the famous Coral Amusements. My mum was desperate to play the racehorse game that we played on day trips when I was in my teens and she was excited to find one right in the corner…

Fifteen minutes and about £15.00 later, both my mum and I had won several times and were given a choice of cuddly toys as prizes. As she wanted some to give to her beloved dogs when we got home, she chose a large and a small Om Nom from Cut the Rope.

It was then that we realised that we would have to carry the bloody things around for the rest of the day. Sh*t.

Luckily, the smaller one fit in my handbag, but the big one was so huge that my mum had no choice but to carry it round by its antennae. I found it hilarious, and she was quite self conscious about it after a while, particularly when children started to point it out.

“I feel like I’m carrying it by it’s willy!’ she kept saying.

And thus their names were born: Big Willy and Little Willy.

Throughout the day, Big Willy had several adventures…

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Enjoying the view from Central Pier

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Taking a selfie with me and mum

Even Little Willy joined in the fun at one point:

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Little Willy enjoying a cheeky drink at the station…

When we finally got home (after a two hour journey took three and a half hours), Big Willy met Max, my mum’s springer spaniel. Big Willy liked Max very much.

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Max meets Big Willy

However, it wasn’t reciprocated, and their brief relationship was over in a flash as he was shredded over the floor before moving onto Little Willy.

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Goodbye Big Willy…

Goodbye Big Willy. Goodbye Little Willy. It’s been emotional…

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

 

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

How To Fail at Being a Brit

With the birth of a new princess, the countdown to Queen Elizabeth II becoming the longest serving monarch in history and the upcoming General Election, the country is in the throes of analysing and celebrating all that is British.

However, according to how we are stereotypically portrayed around the world, I am clearly failing at being a Brit:

12 Reasons Wy I am Rubbish at Being English

1. I have good teeth, and I go to the dentist. They are’t brown or crooked, they don’t stick out and I have them all, unlike the snaggle-toothed lovelies that are always shown on the television.

2. I don’t live in London. It always makes me smile when I am abroad, and their response when they find out that I’m English is “ooh, where in London are you from.” Contrary to popular belief, England is made of millions of towns and cities that are nowhere near London. While I love the city, I live over a hundred miles away.

3. I don’t live in a castle. I live in a little terraced house with a small garden – it’s my own little castle but hardly along the same scale as Windsor. I don’t think I would like to live in a castle anyway – the heating bills alone would be a bitch.

4. I don’t know the Queen, nor am I best friends with Prince William. I am very much a royalist, but I don’t have Prince Harry’s phone number. I’m sure they’re lovely, and I’m certain that if we lived down the road from each other we would be popping round to each others houses all the time, but I have never met any of them. I have, however, met Prince Edward when some of my students did a performance for him. Nice bloke. He seemed a bit quiet, but I bet he’s a scream after a couple of pints.

5. I don’t own a Union Jack item of clothing. However, if I did, I wouldn’t be camping outside a hospital whilst wearing it, waving banners and screaming at television cameras, waiting for a baby to be born.

6. I don’t use red telephone boxes. In fact, it’s very rare that you’ll see any British person using these to make a phonecall. This serves as a place for urinating after a drunken night out, or for tourists to have their photographs taken in.

7. I don’t like tea. My father and grandfather had an obsession with the stuff and would spend their days making endless cups. I, however, think it tastes like socks. Don’t ask me how I know that.

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8. I have never watched an episode of Downton Abbey. Try not to fall off your chair. Dame Maggie Smith is a legend, but it just doesn’t interest me.

9. I don’t speak like Dick Van Dyke in Mary Poppins, nor like a member of the Royal Family. I grew up in the north of England, which means that I have quite a thick Lancashire accent. If you want to gain an idea, watch a Peter Kay stand up show on YouTube – he is from the same town as me. Common. As. Muck.

10. I’m not a snob. I don’t care how much money you earn, where you’re from and what you own. If you’re an arsehole, you’re an arsehole, whether you’re a rich or poor arsehole.

11. I don’t like football, or come to think of it, cricket or golf. My sister and father are huge Manchester United fans, I grew up near the Bolton Wanderers Stadium, I can tell you what offside is and of course, I’ll watch the World Cup matches. However, I will roll my eyes when I hear the word ‘soccer.’ Take heed.

12. I think English cuisine is lovely and I am more than willing to try food from all over the world. Yes, I have been known to chow down on a face-full of fish and chips in my time, but I have also eaten lots beautiful food at restaurants all around the country. And, to be fair, if you can’t eat a Yorkshire pudding or a crumpet with a smile on your face and a glow in your heart then there is something wrong with you…

13. I can’t queue. I hate them, as I always seem to get stuck between the impatient woman who is tutting, huffing and loudly complaining, and the man with a cold who keeps sneezing into my hair. Where possible, I’ll go away and come back when the queue has gone. Unless I’m queuing to get into a Bon Jovi concert. I never mind queuing for that.

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14. I have never worn a bowler hat and I don’t carry a large black umbrella around with me. Nor has anyone I have ever met. In fact, the only people that I have ever seen wearing them are characters in 1950’s films. Oh, and Matt Smith…

What about you? What stereotypes are assumed about you because of your nationality?

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