Social Media: When Teachers Become The Targets

It was reported in the news today that the number of teachers facing abuse via social media has more than doubled over the last year, with staff being subjected to personal and professional insults and pictures and videos of them being uploaded without their consent. Worse still, 40% of this online abuse came from parents.

Only two days ago, a picture of a very attractive maths teacher went viral – one of his students at UCL had discovered that he also worked as a model and the student had taken a picture in the classroom and uploaded it to his social media sites. It seemed to be taken in a light-hearted manner and jokes were being made about suddenly developing an interest in algebra, but I was really annoyed on his behalf. The poor teacher may have been absolutely mortified. The question I asked that day to my Facebook friends was this: Continue reading

Paris Adventures


The Eiffel Tower, taken from the Bateaux Mouches

Paris was a surprise trip for The Bloke. I’d been a few times before when I was in my late teens on various college trips, but they had only been for a day each time we went. I knew that he’d always wanted to visit, so six weeks before the summer in 2010 I booked five days in a little hotel near Montmartre and got some great deals on flights. I was so excited. The initial plan was to tell him that we were going to London for the weekend and then when arriving at the station for Birmingham International Airport (the London bound trains always stop here) I was going to reveal our actual destination, but he attempted to buy train tickets for London in advance to save some money, so I was forced to tell him a little earlier than I wanted to.

Paris is beautiful. Everything about the city is stunning – the food, the architecture, the history, the people – if I ever won the lottery I have promised myself that I will buy a tiny little flat so me and The Bloke can go there for half the year. It’s sophisticated, romantic and exciting – I’m a little in love with the place and I was really excited about the opportunity to see it again.


A view of Paris from the Eiffel Tower

As we knew it was probably the only time for the forseeable future that we could visit, we crammed in as much as we possibly could into those five days and we were lucky that the weather was gloriously hot throughout the trip. I worked out how to navigate the metro system, which was fairly easy as it is almost identical to the London Tube, but was a little intimidated by the travellers that jumped on the trains to play music and ask for money, even though they were incredibly talented. We went up the Eiffel Tower (which is never a pleasant experience for me as I have a real issue with heights), saw the Sacre Coeur and walked right up to the top of the steps to see the fabulous views, we toured Notre Dame Cathedral, The Pantheon, Concorde, we walked down the Champs Élysées to the Arc de Triomphe, we stood at the Trocadero at dusk to see the Eiffel Tower light up (The Bloke didn’t know about this and his look of surprise was an absolute delight when it happened), walked through the Jardin de Luxembourg, saw the Moulin Rouge, travelled down the Seine on the Bateaux Mouches and at night we sat by the Seine and watched the sunset over the Eiffel Tower.




Inside the Pantheon

I think my favourite experience of all was the Bateaux Mouches – we were able to travel down the Seine on a tourist boat and were given information about the different buildings as we passed by. The weather was gorgeous, the breeze was beautiful and we were able to relax and enjoy the beautiful views.


Jim Morrison’s grave, Pere Lachaise

While this may seem quite morbid to some, we also visited Montmartre and Pere Lachaise Cemeteries where we saw the graves of Nijinsky, Berlioz, Rossini, Jim Morrison, Edith Piaf, Stephane Grappeli and Chopin. As we approached Jim Morrison’s resting place we were greeted by some die-hard The Doors fans, wearing The Doors t-shirts and playing their music. It wasn’t what I expected – it was quite small and unnassuming and it was hidden away in the middle of lots of graves, although it was adorned with flowers and notes. A friend who had visited the week before told me that someone had placed a bottle of Jack Daniels on the grave when she was there. We spent a ridiculously long time looking for the grave of Maria Callas, only to find that it had been moved several years ago.


Attempting to see the Mona Lisa

We also had to visit the Apple store below the Louvre. The Bloke is an ICT Technician and is an enormous fan of all things Apple and quietly stood in the store with his iPod trying not to show how giddy he was. We visited The Louvre and saw the Venus D’Milo and what must have been thousands of beautiful paintings. This was the first time I had visited and had recently developed an interest in art history thanks to becoming friends with a lovely art teacher at work, and I was desperately looking forward to seeing the Mona Lisa. However, attempting to get to it was about as difficult as getting to the front row of a Bon Jovi concert – it was extremely busy and I had to be quite rude and push my way through to see what was essentially a much smaller painting than I had imagined. After I we left I realised that we missed the Botticelli. Gutted. However, as we walked back towards the Champs Elysees I saw this, which cheered me up:



Sometimes, I can be incredibly childish!!


Notre Dame Cathedral

At the back of Notre Dame on the Pont de L’Archeveche it has become a tradition for visiting couples to put ‘love locks’ on the bridge. They write their names on a padlock, clip it to the fence and drop the keys in the Seine. After locating a hardware store (which is more difficult than I originally thought), The Bloke and I carved our initials into a small silver lock and clipped it onto the bridge – it was incredibly romantic, even more so that it was his suggestion.

It’s a perfect excuse to go back and see whether it’s still there…

You can also find me on Twitter @suzie81blog

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…


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



And the ultimate…


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

Poor things… Made me smile though!!

The Best Children’s Halloween Costumes Ever


As I seem to be in the Halloween spirit, I decided to investigate some potential ideas for costumes. I came across this picture of a child dressed as Edward Scissorhands which I thought was just fabulous, so I thought I’d share with you some others that I discovered.

Napoleon Dynamite

ImageAnna Wintour – Vogue Editor

ImageBatman (pic copyright of themclellans.Flickr)

ImageChinese Take-Away Box

ImageThe Flintstones

ImageChief Brody

ImageSun Maid Raisins



Stay Puft

ImageHarry Potter


The Cutest Lobster Ever


Edward Scissorhands and the Queen of Hearts

ImageI loved all of these (although I must admit I was a little disturbed to see a few pics of children dressed as characters from ‘A Clockwork Orange’). They’ve certainly given me a few ideas!!

Monday Morning Musings and Thanks

After The Bloke and I spent yesterday packing I find that I am spending the first part of Monday morning sitting in my front room surrounded by boxes, packing tape, newspapers and bubble wrap. In my very first post I commented on the amount of ‘stuff’ that I own, but it was only when I started to organise all my worldly possessions and box them up that I realised exactly how much I’ve collected over the years. Twelve years ago, when I moved to the city to start univeristy, everything I owned could fit into the back of a car. I remember the day that I got my unconditional offer acceptance letter – I went straight out and bought myself a frying pan, a plate, bowl and cutlery from Woolworths in Bolton Town Centre (I’m showing my age here) and all these years later I am going to have to spend the day finding a large hire van to transport everything across to our new home next week. Continue reading

Blogging Tips: The Sequel

I was going to call this post ‘Empire Strikes Back‘ as it is the sequel to something that I wrote a while ago (Blogging Tips), but then realised that it made no sense whatsoever to do so.

I’ve recently been getting lots of writers who are new to blogging that are asking for tips and advice. I’ve only been doing this myself for about five months and therefore hope that you don’t feel patronised by this, but rather than writing the same thing repeatedly I thought I would add to my previous list and create a complete post that may assist others when starting out. Please note: this is not a definitive way to blog – these are just tried and tested ideas that have proven to be successful for me. As always, I’d love your comments, feedback and feel free to reblog if you feel it is at all useful to you.

1. Contrary to other’s opinions on blogging, it isn’t necessary to have a theme ie. you don’t have to focus on fashion, or food, or films. Write about what you’re genuinely interested in and don’t concern yourself with the possibility that some readers may not share similar interests. Your passion and enthusiasm for a subject will always be evident in your writing style.

2. Write as frequently as possible – the more you write, the more opportunities the blogging community will have to see your musings. I try to visit my blog daily, although this has been every few days as of late due to work, moving house and sick pets. It takes lots of time to build it up and at weekends I can easily spend HOURS writing. However, remember that quality is always better than quantity.

3. Make sure that what you write is presented in a way that will entice others in. Punchy titles, interesting pictures and well-written paragraphs will not only spark initial interest, it will encourage people to follow you. While i’m on this subject, make sure that you do your best to credit any images and text that you have used that isn’t your own – I’ve seen quite a few examples where bloggers have enraged a photographer by using their pictures without permission.

4. This may sound a little snobbish, but make sure that what you post is well – constructed and well – written. Proof read things before you post them. It doesn’t have to be the ‘Queen’s English’ or of Ph.D quality, but don’t write as though you would text or answer your own jokes with ‘lol’ mid sentence. I instantly switch off after the first few sentences if they are poorly written.

5. Follow various challenges. I participate in the Daily Posts  ‘Daily Prompts,’ every ‘Weekly Photo Challenge,’ and post examples of my writing on the weekly ‘Community Pool.’ It is a fantastic group to follow – they have wonderful writing and photography suggestions with over 50,000 members that are participating in the same challenges and I’ve found it a great place to read fellow bloggers ideas. I also like to particpate in ‘A Word A Week Challenge‘ hosted by Sue and Susie Lindau’s Travel Theme.


6. Take the time to visit other people’s blogs. Don’t go through every blog you find and ‘like’ something without reading it. If you genuinely are interested by what somebody has written, comment and let them know that you enjoyed it. Follow them if you feel that their blog is entertaining. Get to know them a little.

7. Share the work of others. Reblogging a post that you thought was well – written takes thirty seconds, but it provides the opportunity for others to view blogs that they may not necessarily see. I have a ‘Sunday Share’ where I highlight blogs that I enjoy reading and I host a monthly ‘blog party’ which allows people to share their favourite posts from their blog. This has also increased the traffic I’ve had both to my blog and others.

8. Don’t become obsessed with your stats. This may seem a case of ‘pot calling kettle’ as I check my stats daily, but you’ll find over time that they become less important. If you lose followers don’t allow yourself to be disheartened – I’ve lost quite a few, but I’ve gained several thousand and these are the people that matter.

9. Appreciate the people who take the time to comment and leave advice on your blog. While I haven’t been brilliant this over the last few days, I usually try to thank every person that has commented as it means a lot to me – they’ve made me laugh, cry (tears of joy I must add) and made feel much better about myself. I’ve been lucky to have met some wonderful people on here and now often receive e-mails and Twitter updates from some of them which is always lovely.

10. Use other social networking sites to promote your blog. I have opened a seperate Twitter and Tumblr account and although it is still in its early stages I have gradually started to include my posts and increase my following.

11. Invite Guest Bloggers to write a post for you. It’s a brilliant opportunity to allow talented writers to share their stories with others. I’ve done this many times and I still have quite a few lined up for the next few weeks…

12. Like any internet venture, protect yourself. Don’t put your personal information or photographs on your blog and don’t allow people to have access to your email address, your personal facebook and twitter or give out your home address unless you feel absolutely comfortable with it.

13. Be honest in your writing. Don’t be scared about telling your readers how you feel about something. I initially started my blog in an attempt to get rid of lots of issues that have been plaguing me for a long time and while I felt a little uncomfortable at first about sharing my true feelings and experiences, the feedback and support that I received was incredible. I call it my ‘WordPress Therapy’ and it has indeed been a truly therapuetic journey.

14. Most importantly, enjoy yourself! WordPress is a wonderful community that allows bloggers from all over the world to be able to meet, support, share, laugh and cry together.

Hope you find this useful! Happy Blogging! You can find me on Twitter @suzie81blog and Tumblr suzie81blog

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