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

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

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

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

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

A Blog Party and Massive Bullet Journal Giveaway!

There’s a few things that are well overdue for properly celebrating, particularly my five year blog anniversary and millionth view, so I decided that today, a Blog Party is needed. I haven’t held a blog party in quite a while. I enjoy hosting them – it’s a great way to catch up with lots of blog posts that I have missed out on and allows others to connect with other members of the community and it is open to everyone…

However, as an added bonus, I am also hosting an epic Bullet Journal giveaway competition in which participants have the chance to win an amazing Bullet Journal Starter Kit, worth £40! The kit contains:

  • A Moleskine Dotted Bullet Journal
  • Three Pigma Micron fineliners in sizes 2, 4 and 8
  • A set of four Stabilo pastel highlighters
  • Three Paperchase washi tapes – red and purple flower, champagne glitter and black polka
  • Four Paperchase Polaroid style postcards

Note: There is only ONE Bullet Journal set to be won. Unfortunately, the giveaway is only open to UK participants due to the cost of postage, but the blog party is open to everyone… Continue reading