A Silent Disco on the Canal

‘Want to go to a silent disco on Friday?’

I love the random text messages I get from my friends. 

I’ve not been out and about for a while and unable to drink, so this was very much needed. My friend works for the Canal and Rivers Trust (incidentally, did you know that Birmingham has more miles of canal than Venice?), and her company was holding a silent disco in one of the lock areas last week. I’ve never been to one before, but the concept has always intrigued me – music is played through individual headphones rather than from large speakers, so while the participants still experience the feeling of being at a club or ‘disco,’ anyone without a set of headphones on can’t hear anything.  Continue reading

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It’s Party Time!

imageThis week marks my two year blogiversary, and I decided that the best way to celebrate would be to invite you all to my blog party!

It has been quite a while since I last hosted a blog party, and I absolutely love them, so I’d like you all to put on your best outfits, grab a drink (mine is a Mojito for anyone that’s interested) and get your blog on! For those of you that have never participated in one before, the rules are simple:

1. Choose your favourite post from your own blog. The subject of the post can be anything you like – blogging, food, parenting, life, travel, thoughts, photography… Note: This should be only one post at a time or it will get sent straight to the ‘spam’ folder and I may not be able to find you for a while. I don’t have an issue with you posting another link separately, but please don’t share more than three – spend the time visiting other bloggers instead.

2. Paste the link to your post in the comment section of this post.

3. Enjoy! Relax, pull up a chair, meet new people! Find new blogs, comment on their posts, be polite, courteous and respectful, follow, reblog and share. Let them know that you met them here! This is a really useful way of discovering new blogs, particularly if you have only just joined the blogging world – the general rule that I set myself when I participate is that I check out at least two or  three other bloggers…

You don’t have to follow me to participate, you don’t have to be an established blogger – you could have written just a single post – and feel free to invite your friends!

Want to discover six WordPress blogs without waiting for others to post their links? Check out my sponsors – they’re all fabulous bloggers and they would love to meet you – you can find their blogs in my sidebar, just click on the image for the link! 

You’re welcome to share this post on all of your social media accounts too! You can find me on Twitter and Tumblr @suzie81blog, and don’t forget to visit my Facebook page http://www.facebook.com/suzie81speaks

And remember…

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NOTE 1: Don’t forget to join me for #SundayBlogShare tomorrow!

NOTE 2: I’VE JUST FOUND TEN POSTS IN MY SPAM FOLDER THAT I HAVE NOW APPROVED – APOLOGIES FOR THIS!

A Party Invitation

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This week marks my two year blogiversary, and in celebration I would like to cordially invite you all to attend my blog party this weekend!

It has been quite a while since I last hosted a blog party, and I absolutely love them! It will start on Saturday (please don’t post anything here), which gives you five days to select your favourite post. For those of you that have never participated in one before, the rules are simple:

1. Choose your favourite post from your own blog. The subject of the post can be anything you like – blogging, food, parenting, life, travel, thoughts, photography… Note: This should be only one post at a time or it will get sent straight to the ‘spam’ folder and I may not be able to find you for a while.

2. Paste the link to your post in the comment section of the party post ON SATURDAY.

3. Enjoy! Relax, pull up a chair, meet new people! Find new blogs, comment on their posts, follow, reblog and share. Let them know that you met them here! This is a really useful way of discovering new blogs, particularly if you have only just joined the blogging world and when I have participated in similar things I have really enjoyed them!

You don’t have to follow me to participate, you don’t have to be an established blogger – you could have written just a single post – and feel free to invite your friends!

Feel free to share this post on all of your social media accounts too! You can find me on Twitter and Tumblr @suzie81blog, and don’t forget to visit my Facebook page http://www.facebook.com/suzie81speaks

See you on Saturday!

Back To Reality After a Wonderful Weekend

imageIt was difficult getting motivated this morning. I sat at my desk this morning, turned on my laptop and almost instantly a reminder popped up: data analysis due tomorrow. Eurgh. I like my job and I work at a good school, but after having such a brilliant weekend I was suddenly brought back down to reality with a big bump.

It was my birthday last Friday, and I’ve had a wonderful weekend of celebrations. My lovely colleagues treated me to Crispy Cremes, chocolate and cinema vouchers and they found it hilarious to all sign a One Direction card when they know how much I dislike them, which made me and my students roar with laughter when I opened it. On Friday night The Bloke and a large group of friends from all different areas of my life joined me for drinks at my local pub. It can be sometimes quite awkward when introducing groups of friends to each other, but everyone instantly connected and there was lots of laughter, some dancing and the odd spillage. I had a warm and fuzzy moment where I sat back and watched everyone as they were talking – I’m lucky to know lots of wonderful people…

Suffice to say, my hangover was of epic proportions on Saturday morning. I had woken up early as The Bloke left for the day to visit his family and couldn’t get back to sleep, so instead of wallowing in my own alcohol – laden filth I decided to make the short journey into Birmingham City Centre and attempt to make a decent start on my Christmas shopping.

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Tip: When attempting to shop in the second biggest city in the country, do so with a raging hangover. I was feeling so awful that I was in no mood for politeness and taking things easy. My headphones were in, my heavy metal music was on, my elbows were out and I was like a woman possessed. I knew exactly what I wanted and where to obtain it from, and I was in and out within two hours. I returned home with everything on my list, and had even managed to buy myself an ‘it’s my birthday and I’m brilliant so I’m going to treat myself’ present in the form of a shiny new iPhone 6, which replaced my old faithful iPhone 4 that went to the electronic heaven in the sky last week.

The Bloke returned home later that day to find me in my jammies and lying on the couch under a quilt. The hangover had subsided a little by that point, and so we spent the evening watching ‘Guardians of the Galaxy’ and eating pizza.

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Sunday was the day I had been looking forward to all week: The Good Food Show at the NEC. It has become a yearly tradition for The Bloke and I as it always falls on the weekend after my birthday and I love it. We’ve established a routine – The Bloke stands back and pretends that he doesn’t know me as I run around and grab all the free samples that I possibly can, we buy lots of cheese, chutney and products by Crimbles, we watch a show and then go home before it gets too busy to move. This year was no exception – we arrived just as it opened and almost immediately I had a potato on a stick in one hand, some cocktail sticks that had been skewered with different flavours of cheese in another and was attempting to munch my way through different olives laced with beautiful oils, herbs and garlic without dribbling them down the front of myself. Classy.

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We went to see the Hairy Bikers show (who, if you haven’t seen or heard of them before, are essentially two northern and heavily bearded chefs that ride motorbikes and create brilliant cookery programmes for British television), and I was delighted that The Bloke had managed to get tickets right on the front row. They didn’t disappoint, and even brought Louis, a contestant from the recent Great British Bake Off, to help them on stage. The food they created smelled beautiful, they entertained with their usual warmth and cheeky jokes, and I thoroughly enjoyed it.

In my infinite wisdom I decided to finish off the last of my shopping after we left. It was early in the afternoon by the time I arrived, and it was utter chaos. I managed two stores and came home. Never. Again. I’ve decided to avoid town at all costs from now on unless I can get in early. However, my shopping is now nearly completed, most of my cards are written and all I need to do is put up the tree, torture the cats with their little Santa hats that I force them to wear every year and I’m all set. My weekly Twitter party, #SundayBlogShare was being guest hosted by Gene’O @sourcererblog and he did a wonderful job, and I checked it sporadically to see lots of new participants and hundreds of posts being shared. Brilliant. Thanks Gene’O, you’re a star.

This is why getting out of bed this morning was so tough. I needed another day or two to recover.

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I also wanted to say a huge thank you to all of you who wished me a happy birthday across my social media sites. It was indeed a happy birthday, filled with lots of lovely people and experiences, and I have been thoroughly spoilt with cards and unbelievably thoughtful gifts.

So, back to reality. Anyone got a time machine they would like to lend me so I can go and do it again?

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

#SundayBlogShare

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It’s Sunday tomorrow, and that means only one thing: my #SundayBlogShare Twitter party!

I participate in several parties throughout the week – #MondayBlogs, #WWWBlogs and #ArchiveDay, and decided to start my own each Sunday to give the blogging community another chance to share their posts and meet other people.

It has turned out to be a much bigger success than even I expected – with the first two weeks hundreds of people have participated, sharing over a thousand posts and I’ve received lots of messages from bloggers who saw a increase in traffic and followers. A huge part of this was due to the promotion given by the wonderfully supportive WordPress community that I am part of particularly Gene’O @sourcererblog and Austin @Austin_Hodgens, to name a few.

The instructions for #SundayBlogShare are simple:

Tweet a link to a post from your blog.

Include the hashtag #SundayBlogShare.

Enjoy! Retweet posts from other bloggers, comment and follow! You don’t have to follow Suzie81 Speaks or it’s associated social media profiles.

To make it a positive experience, here are some simple rules for everyone to follow.

1. #SundayBlogShare is a happy place. Racist, homophobic and/or sexist comment are not allowed. If you disagree with the content of a post, do so in a polite and respectful manner.

2. No pornography.

3. You are welcome to share more than one post. However, don’t use is as an opportunity to spam by posting everything that you’ve ever written.

4. Only share blog links – while I enjoy inspirational quotes, #SundayBlogShare is not the place to post them.

5. Don’t beg for follows or retweets, but feel free to retweet others!

Looking forward to seeing you all there tomorrow! Feel free to reblog this post and invite all your friends!

You can also find me on Twitter and Tumblr @suzie81blog, and you can also find my Facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/suzie81speaks

 

Old Friends, Cocktails, Dancing and Sore Feet

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It’s the weekend – I’m happy!

One of my (many) faults is that I am useless at keeping in regular contact with people. I always have good intentions, but life gets in the way.

Luckily, I am blessed with very understanding and patient friends. 

From the age of 16-18 I completed my A Levels at a Sixth Form College that was miles away from where I lived, which required me to get four buses a day. My music class was full of talented young people and we bonded instantly. We performed in concerts, went out together in a large group, went on holiday together, stayed at each others houses and got to know each others families.

After our qualification had finished we all went our separate ways to various parts of the country, but managed to remain in contact. I was there when LR met the man that she would eventually marry, I attended their hen parties and weddings, some of them visited me in Birmingham (one of those visits was to surprise me on my 30th birthday) and I’ve travelled up to Leeds on a few occasions with them.

However, over the last few years I have been rubbish – they have consistently invited me out several times a year and I have always had to cancel at the last minute. So, when I received a message just before New Year, I was determined to go. I thought that fate was conspiring against me with the rather intense inspection I had at work, but by Saturday morning I had pulled myself together and was on an early train ‘oop North’ with my overnight bag and a feeling of excitement about the night ahead. I was staying at my Mum’s so it was a good opportunity to see her too…

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Bolton Bus Station: It’s what horror movies are made of…

As I still haven’t learned to drive, despite being 32 years old, I had arranged with one of the girls that she would pick me up at the bus station near to where we attended college, which meant that I had to undertake the same bus route that I did every day as a teenager. Standing in Bolton Bus Station by myself for the first time in 14 years was a strange experience – it’s a terrifying place and despite the total familiarity I had I couldn’t help feel a sense of utter paranoia that a mad axe murderer was going to jump out at me.

Luckily, I arrived in record time as the driver went so fast he clearly had dreams of becoming a racing car driver, I met my friend without any issues and very soon I was sitting around a table in a beautiful restaurant (which also had a dance floor – I was delighted) with a group of very glamorous, beautiful women who immediately made me realise that I was hugely underdressed. (I can never seem to get it right).

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My friend AH getting into the spirit of things…

It was a fabulous night and exactly what I needed after a very stressful week. We ate, talked, reminisced, danced and shared cocktails. I laughed so much that my face and stomach muscles hurt. I was 18 years old again – despite the fact that most of them are now engaged, married and parents to young children I found myself on the dance floor with the same people that I knew all those years ago. We were the last to leave and I arrived back at my mum’s house at about 2.30am, which I haven’t done in a long time.

I’m feeling a little delicate today, my feet are extremely sore, (despite the fact that I wore flat shoes) and I’m on a train back down to Birmingham where I plan to spend the rest of the day attempting to recover…

Hope that you’ve had a good weekend!

Don’t forget to check out the winners of my Week 2 New Year competition – their buttons are on the sidebar of the blog – this is your last chance before they change!!

You can also find me on Twitter and Tumblr @Suzie81

Done, Done and Done

ImageI’m feeling a little delicate this morning. It could be due to the annual Christmas teacher flu that I always develop on the first day of the holidays. More likely, however, it’s because I consumed quite a large amount of alcohol last night at the staff party.

It was a really nice evening – my friend and I were on a table with the canteen staff, who are hilarious, and so we spent most of the meal in hysterical fits of laughter. Everyone looked very glamorous, the food was beautiful and after some initial reluctance most of us spent the rest of the evening dancing the night away to party classics from the 1970’s and 1980’s. At one point the Principal sat next to me to say hello and I’m a little concerned that I may have been slurring when I was speaking with her, but other than that I made it through the night relatively unscathed.

ImageWhen I got up this morning I decided to get everything finished off in preparation for the next few days. The Bloke and I are spending Christmas seperately with our own families so tomorrow we are going to have our own little celebration at home. We are going to start the day by opening our presents, then we plan to watch Disney’s ‘Frozen’ at the cinema, visit the German Market as it is the last day and then when we get back I am going to cook a nice two course meal. I would normally do three, but the children at work have been very generous and I have been swamped with enormous amounts of chocolate, so it seems pointless buying a dessert. This is usually followed by ‘A Muppets Christmas Carol,’ which has become a little tradition of ours to watch on the first weekend of the holidays.

I live one road away from the main high street, so by 8.30am I had been to the local supermarket, bought the food I needed and was back home snuggling with the cats on the couch. I think I’m done – presents, cards and food are sorted, plans have been made with friends over the next few weeks and I’ve even bought a novelty sweater to wear when I visit my sister on Christmas Day. However, I have made a little pact with myself that I will never be this disorganised again in the build up to future holidays…

After several weeks of stress, I plan to spend the rest of the day relaxing and hopefully catching up on some sleep. I’m done, done and done.

You can also find me on Twitter @Suzie81blog

Image Credits:

Picture 1: Mirror.co.uk
Picture 2: keepcalm-o-matic.co.uk

Good For The Soul…

It’s 2.30am and i’m shattered. However, it’s amazing what a great night out with wonderful friends does for the soul.

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 It was MRH’s birthday, so I got really dressed up for the first time in ages. I actually wore a dress.

What I always forget is how long it actually takes to get ready for a night out – particularly when messing about with things like false eyelashes. It took me SIX attempts, and by the time I was finished I was half an hour late.

There were so many elements about this evening that made it amazing – catching up with friends that I hadn’t seen in ages, cocktails, Motown (I love Motown) and dancing so much that my feet are now throbbing. I made the decision to wear knee-high boots to provide extra support, but after several hours it made no difference…

I’m going to attempt to go to sleep, once my ears stopped ringing. Until then, I thought I’d be vain and include a selfie… It’s a bit washed out and grainy but for once I don’t resemble Waynetta Slob!!!

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