My Cat is a Jerk

One of his more ‘special’ expressions…

It’s International Cat Day and normally I would be joining in with the thousands of people sharing adorable pictures of their little furry companions across social media today along…

However, my cat is not particularly adorable this week. In fact, he’s a bit of a jerk.

I’ve had Poppy for over twelve years. He (yes, I know it’s a girl’s name – I thought he was a girl until he suddenly sprouted boy bits a few months after I rescued him, and by that point the name had stuck) came to me in a bag along with his sister after a horrible start in his little life. They were five weeks old, far too young to be away from their mother and in a mess – fleas, ear mites, stomach problems – I still can’t believe that they survived the first few months. He was so small that he still had blue eyes and could fit in the palm of my hand. Continue reading

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Weekly Word Challenge: Happy

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I have been wanting to create a community challenge for Suzie81 Speaks for some time now – I have gained a following of wonderfully talented and creative people  decided that the best way to do this would be through a weekly word challenge – I will post a new word every week on Sunday at 7.00pm – with today being slightly different as it is the first challenge.

Happiness. There are a million posts published every day that focus on the idea of being happy – what makes us happy, how to achieve it, why we need to be happy in our lives…

For the first ever weekly word challenge the theme for this week is ‘happy.’ How you respond to the word is entirely up to you – here are some suggestions.

1. Create a list of things that make you happy.

2. Recall the happiest events of your life to date.

3. Create a poem that reflects on the word.

4. Share photographs of things that have made you happy recently.

5. Write a ‘how to’ guide on how to be happy.

6. Create a short story.

Once you have finished your post, include the link back to this page so others can see it or post it in the comments section. If you wish to place this badge on your blog or on the page, feel free! The challenge will remain open all week and anybody can participate whether they follow Suzie81 Speaks or not! Each Saturday I will reblog some of my favourites… It will be a brilliant opportunity for you to gain more traffic and followers!

Enjoy! Share with your friends! I’m looking forward to seeing what you create!

You can also find me on Twitter and Tumblr @suzie81blog and don’t forget to ‘like’ my Facebook page http://www.facebook.com/Suzie81speaks

Small Christmas Hats = Rather Grumpy Cats

The biggest achievement in my sad little world last year was the fact that I managed to get all three cats in Christmas hats for a long enough time where I could take a photograph. Since we moved house I have lost the hats, so as part of my prep for Christmas this year I thought I would post last year’s pictures. I know, I know… Cat lady alert…

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Sleepy Daisy – ignore the mess in the background I was in the middle of wrapping presents…

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Wobbly

And the ultimate…

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All three… Not the happiest kitties I’ve ever seen…

Poor things… Made me smile though!!

Things to Be Thankful For

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I refrained from writing these thoughts down on my blog and instead made a list in my notebook to be saved for a later date as I felt that perhaps this post was a little early and these reflections should be saved for New Year (and the realisation that all my American and Canadian friends would be doing the same in a few weeks during Thanksgiving, which we don’t celebrate here in the UK), but yesterday I read an absolutely gorgeous post by Dara from The Clearout about the birth of his baby girl and it tipped me over the edge (in a literary sense – please check out ‘Want To Change the World?’ – I reblogged it.) Suddenly the small list had turned into a five-page epic and I was desperate to collate them all on here to share with you.

My initial opening sentence was going to be ‘This year has been a difficult one‘ and when reflecting on the events of the last ten months as a proverbial ‘big picture’ I suppose it has. I have been so focussed (focused? I’m still confused) on the negative aspects of life that I often forget to pause and give thanks for the continuously good things. These are the things that I think most of us forget to be grateful for. Continue reading

What’s In A Name?

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 Technically, her name is Lucy. When I first got her from the RSPCA I referred to her as my little ‘Bob’ (inspired by a Blackadder episode) and somehow it has morphed from ‘Bob’, to ‘Bobbly’, to ‘Bobbly Wob’ and has remained as ‘Wobbly’ for years. She’s registered at the vets as Lucy as I can’t bring myself to actually tell them what she’s really called. It’s a silly name, I’m sure she’s inwardly face-palming (or face-pawing) herself every time she hears it, but she responds to it anyway. Somehow though, it suits her. My friends and family have become used to it and ask ‘How’s Wobbly?’ without even thinking about it.
Today I came across an article about unusual pet names for dogs and cats from a pet insurance company and it made me smile. There are some truly great names… These are some of my favourites:
Sir Knuckles da Dragon
Winnie The Poodle
Wanksta
Squatter
HotRod Woofington
Poopie Boy
Pumpkin Head
Dong Dong
Hank The Tank
Captain Underpants
Agador Spartacus
Chue Man Foo
I adore the idea of a dog being named ‘Captain Underpants’ – i’d love to hear that being shouted out at the park…
I’ve included the link to the website. I’m pretty sure ‘Wobbly’ would be in there too…

My Ultimate Bucket List

I posted my original Bucket List a few months ago, and then reblogged it the other day. However, when I re-examined it I realised that, in fact, it was actually quite lame. I’m normally quite proud of what I post, but I felt that I hadn’t done it justice, so I’ve decided to do another one and spend a little more time on it. The resulting list is a combination of the list I set myself ten years ago and further goals that I have set myself.

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Life 

1. Get married.
2. Have a child.
3. Work part time (I start this in September).
4. Even if it’s just once, I’d like to get down to my ideal weight and wear a dress from Karen Millen.
5. Learn sign language fluently.
6. Learn to drive (I’m 31, it’s about time I did!)
7. Make some money through blogging, however small.
8. Take a photography course.
9. Accept the past, come to terms with it and move on (although if an opportunity presents itself to tell her what you think of her, take it).
10. Volunteer at an animal sanctuary.
11. Complete the London Marathon.
12. Complete the Birmingham half-marathon.
13. Find a pen-pal.
14. Volunteer at a hospice.
15. See dolphins swimming in the wild.
16. Go to a PostSecret seminar.
17. Ride a Segway.
18. Spend a day with animals at the zoo.
19. Donate money regularly to charity.
20. Play on stage at the Albert Halls. (Achieved 2000)
21. Get highlights.
22. Buy a house.
23. Spend the weekend at a spa and have lots of treatments.
24. Learn to speak French fluently.
25. Sleep in a castle.
26. Get a manicure.
28. Take a boat ride down the Seine, Paris  (Achieved 2010) 

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Artwork, Artefacts and Objects 

30. Alexandros of Antioch: Venus de Milo – Louvre, Paris  (Achieved 2010)
31. Gheeraerts the Younger – Queen Elizabeth I, National Portrait Gallery, London (Achieved 2013)
32. Da Vinci: Mona Lisa – Louvre (Achieved 2010)
33. Vermeer: Woman Holding a Balance – National Gallery, Washington. (Achieved 2010)
34. Hogarth: Shortly After the Marriage – National Gallery, London (Achieved 2012)
35. Van Gogh: Flowers – National Gallery, London (Achieved 2012)
36. Van Gogh: Wheat Field with Crows, Van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam (Achieved 2010)
37. Picasso: Les Demoiselles d’Avignon – MOMA (Achieved 2010)
38. Matisse: Dance 1 – MOMA (Achieved 2010)
39. Pollock: One:Number 31 – MOMA (Achieved 2010)
40. Da Vinci: The Last Supper – Milan
41. Van Eyck: Portrait of Giovanni and His Wife – National Gallery, London
42. Van Eyck: Man in a Red Turban – National Gallery, London
43. Whistler: Arrangement in Grey and Black: The Artist’s Mother – Musee d’Orsay, Paris
44. Degas: L’Absinthe –  Musee d’Orsay, Paris
45. Renoir: Luncheon of the Boating Party – Phillips Collection, Washington
46. Manet: A Bar at the Folies – Bergere – Courtauld Institute of Art Gallery, London.
47. Seurat: A Sunday on La Grande Jatte 1884 – Art Institute of Chicago.
48. Degas: The Tub –   Musee d’Orsay, Paris
49. Munch: The Scream – National Gallery, Oslo
50. Klimt: The Kiss – Österreichische Galerie, Vienna.
51. Kandinsky: Composition VIII, Guggenheim, New York.
52. Hopper: House by the Railroad – MOMA, New York
53. Hopper: Nighthawks – Art Institute of Chicago
54. Wood: American Gothic – Art Institute of Chicago
55. Picasso: Guernica – Madrid
56. Wyeth: Christina’s World – MOMA
57. Antennae from Twin Towers, Newseum, Washington (Achieved 2010)
58. Berlin Wall, Newseum, Washington  (Achieved 2010)
Bayeux Tapestry (Achieved 2006) 
59. Greyfriers Bobby  (Achieved 2013) 

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Travel 

62. Philadelphia. (Achieved 2010)
63. Washington D.C. (Achieved 2010)
64. Amsterdam. (Achieved 2010)
65. Naples. (Achieved 2012)
66. Pompeii. (Achieved 2012)
68. Ben Nevis.
69. Gamble in a casino in Las Vegas.
70. Vancouver.
71. Rome.
72. Tokyo.
73. San Francisco.
74. Barcelona.
75. Prague.
76. Auschwitz.
77. Mardi Gras in New Orleans.
78. Florence.
79. Los Angeles.
80. Yosemite National Park.
81. Mount St. Helens.
82. Niagara Falls.
83. Bora Bora.
84. Travel on Route 66.
85. Machu Pichu, Peru.
86. Hawaii.
87. Barbados.
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Buildings, Monuments and Landscapes 

88. Empire State Building (Achieved 2010)
89. Statue of Liberty (Achieved 2010)
90. Times Square (Achieved 2010)
91. Ground Zero  (Achieved 2010)
92. Strawberry Fields (Achieved 2010)
93. Central Park (Achieved 2010)
94. Coney Island  (Achieved 2010)
95. Lincoln Memorial (Achieved 2010)
96. Jefferson Memorial (Achieved 2010)
97. Korean War Memorial (Achieved 2010)
98. Arlington Cemetery (Achieved 2010)
99. Philadelphia Museum of Art steps (Achieved 2010)
100. Eiffel Tower (Achieved 2010)
Sacre Coeur (Achieved 2010)
101. Notre Dame Cathedral (Achieved 2010)
102. Pont L’Archeveche  (Achieved 2010)
103. Trocadero, Paris  (Achieved 2010)
104. Arc de Triomphe (Achieved 2010)
105. Pere Lachaise Cemetery  (Achieved 2010)
106. Montmartre Cemetery  (Achieved 2010)
107. American War Cemetery, Normandy (Achieved 2006)
108. Disneyland, Paris (Achieved 1999)
109. Anne Frank Annex (Achieved 2010)
110. Edinburgh Castle (Achieved 2013)
111. Edinburgh Zoo  (Achieved 2013)
112. Trafalgar Square  (Achieved 2010)
113. Houses of Parliament  (Achieved 2010)
114. Westminster Abbey. (Achieved 2009)
115. St Marks Square, Venice  (Achieved 1992).
116. Tower Bridge
117. Harry Potter Studios
118. London Zoo.
119. St. Paul’s Cathedral
120. Tower of London
121. Neuschwanstein Castle.
122. Graceland.
123. Grand Canyon.
124. Hoover Dam.
125. Uluru.
126. Sydney Opera House.
127. Walk of Fame, Hollywood.
128. Rodeo Drive.
129. Go to Burning Man.
130. Petra, Jordan.
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Places Of Rest (slightly macabre I know)
140. Voltaire  (Achieved 2010)
141. Marie Curie  (Achieved 2010)
142. Pierre Curie  (Achieved 2010)
143. Chopin  (Achieved 2010)
144. John F. Kennedy  (Achieved 2010)
145. Jackie Kennedy Onassis  (Achieved 2010)
146. Bruce Lee.
147. Jimi Hendrix.
148. Frank Sinatra.
149. Elvis Presley.
150. Sid James.
151. Kenneth Williams.
152. Jacqueline Du Pre.
153. Audrey Hepburn.
154. James Dean.
155. Charlie Chaplin.
156. Shakespeare.
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Food
157. Eat at The Ivy in London.
158. Eat at Heston Blumenthal’s restaurant, ‘The Fat Duck.’
159. Cook a three course dinner party for my friends.
160. Learn how to bake cakes properly, without them collapsing or burning.
Books, Films and Shows
161. The Mouse Trap (Achieved 2013)
162. We Will Rock You (Achieved 2009)
163. Rocky Horror Show (Achieved 2010)
164. Grease (Achieved 2000)
165. Chicago (Achieved 2006)
166. Footloose (Achieved 2006)
167. Fame (Achieved 2006)  
168. Watch the entire Harry Potter films consecutively.
169. Watch the entire Lord Of The Rings films consecutively. (Achieved 2011)
170. Read ‘House Of Pi’.
171. Read ‘The Tenderness Of Wolves’.
172. Read the entire Lord Of The Rings Trilogy. I’ve attempted it three times and never got past the first ten pages.
173. Watch Back To The Future without falling asleep.
All photographs are my own and fully copyrighted, as is the article.
I’d also like to include this one, from ‘My Tropical Home.’ I found it really interesting!
Hope you enjoy – it’s taken me a while!