I Think My Cat Is Plotting To Kill Me…

It’s been a tough few weeks, and I’m grateful that I now have a week off in order to be able to recharge my batteries. That is, unless my cat, Daisy, carries out whatever murderous activity she is planning.

I had brought a duvet downstairs on Saturday afternoon so I could relax whilst catching up on the blog. I was joined by Daisy and her brother, Poppy, (yes, I know it’s a girl’s name – it’s a long story) and I expected her to curl up and go asleep like she usually does. Instead, she poked her head above the cover and just STARED at me for about half an hour. It wasn’t the cute, slightly sleepy stare that I usually receive from her either – she was clearly plotting to hurt me. Perhaps it’s in revenge for all those insulin injections I give her (she’s diabetic), or perhaps she’s just finally snapped after hearing me sing at her for the millionth time that day. There was an evil look in her eyes:

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Either way, it’s not looking good. What do you think? Is my cat plotting to kill me?

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

 

Want to Increase Your Traffic? Join My #SundayBlogShare Twitter Party!

imageI have received quite a few new followers over the last few weeks and wanted to get the message out about my #SundayBlogShare Twitter parties – I started it about two months ago and I’ve been delighted with the enormous response that it has received, with hundreds of bloggers participating each week, sharing over 1,100 posts. At the end of December I decided to be a bit more serious about it and registered it with Twubs to my Twitter handle, so the hashtag is now mine! Last Sunday was the busiest yet, with lots of new bloggers joining for the first time.

It’s a simple process – post your blog links to Twitter using the hashtag #SundayBlogShare and enjoy! If you include my Twitter handles (@suzie81blog or @SundayBlogShare) in your post I can retweet it for you too! Your posts can cover any topic and you don’t have to follow my blog or any associated social media accounts. You can participate if you have been blogging for days, months or years and it’s a brilliant opportunity to develop your social networking skills and boost your traffic and following. I have received hundreds of messages from people that saw their traffic increase immediately.

I will remind everyone again each week but here are a few rules for everyone who wishes to participate.

1. #SundayBlogShare is a happy place. Racist, sexist and homophobic propaganda will not be tolerated, and if you disagree with the content of a post it should be done in a polite and respectful manner.

2. Blog posts only. NO Amazon book promos, company promos, music promos, inspirational quotes, newspaper articles, random selfies of you drinking coffee, Justin Bieber fan promotion etc… you get the idea.

3. No pornographic images are allowed.

4. Do not use it as an opportunity to demand follows and retweets from others, but feel free to retweet posts that you like. Be generous with this – the more you retweet, the more likely you will get them in return!

5. Don’t go overboard with the amount that you post… If the Twitter feed is just a list of your own posts, you’re doing it too much. Post a few, spend some time reading and retweeting others and then come back later to post again.

6. Hashtag spamming is not allowed. For those of you who participated last week, you’ll be aware that because of the popularity of the hashtag, there was a high level of spam from people who used it as an opportunity to post hundreds of links within an hour, clearly using the hashtag to spam potential clients. I have contacted Twitter and Twubs, and hopefully the matter has been resolved, but if this sort of thing appears tomorrow I would really appreciate it if you would block and report them. Don’t engage with them, just block and report.

It starts each Sunday morning and will end at midnight. I’m in the UK, so you will need to work out times for whichever country you live in. This may mean that some of you may be participating on Saturday, or going into Monday, but please use the same hashtag…

Looking forward to seeing you there!

You can find me on Tumblr @suzie81blog and I’d love it if you would hop on over to my Facebook page and give it a cheeky ‘like.’ http://www.facebook.com/suzie81speaks

If you would like to follow me on Twitter, my account is @suzie81blog.

A Moment in Time

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I love photography, taking pictures of every aspect of my daily life and I have thousands of them stored on my computer. The Bloke bought me a beautiful Canon camera a few years ago and since then I have started to learn how to edit and develop my favourite images. However, some of the best pictures that I have taken recently has been with my iPhone – it’s easy to quickly take a snapshot of a particularly special moment and I savour the memories that are stored forever in that single image.

This one was my favourite from last year. It was the final day of the school term, I had visited the Christmas market with some of my colleagues, indulged in hot Bailey’s with marshmallows and had just met The Bloke. We were meeting a friend for a meal in a pizza restaurant in Brindley Place, Birmingham and as we were walking over the bridge I stopped to take this picture on the bridge overlooking the canal. It was a cold but clear evening, everything was lit up with beautiful lights and decorations and there were hundreds of people walking around, armed with lots of bags and huge smiles on their faces.

It was a thoroughly enjoyable evening – we had lovely food, great conversation with a valued friend and The Bloke and I returned home to a warm house, sleepy cats and an evening of cuddles on the sofa under a blanket.

It’s the little things that make life worthwhile…

What about you guys? What are your favourite recent photographs?

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

Serenity

It’s a dark and cold Friday night and after a long and busy week I’m feeling a little frazzled. The temperature outside has dropped and tomorrow’s weather forecast is predicting heavy snow.

At times like these, I like to revisit photographs that remind me of slightly warmer and more relaxed times. My favourites remind me of beautiful and serene places that I have been privileged to visit and some wonderful experiences with some of my favourite people…

The view of the Italian landscape from Pompeii, 2012

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The Seine and the Eiffel Tower, Paris 2010. The Bloke and I sat by the river and watched the sunset

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The sunset from the train home after spending the weekend with Mum

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A day spent at the spa with my friend, who had generously bought me a pampering session for my birthday

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Alexandria, near Washington D.C., 2010

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Hope you all have a relaxing Friday night!

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

 

A Lovely Christmas Eve

It’s been a lazy Christmas Eve so far at the Suzie household. Mum and I woke and had a nice breakfast, followed by half a box of chocolates, I’ve had plenty of doggy snuggles and I’ve watched lots of pointless television whilst relaxing in my jammies and under a duvet on the couch.

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During a moment of boredom I remembered that I had brought up a sequin covered Santa hat, and have been torturing the dog with it ever since. After initial indignation, Max eventually gave up and went to sleep. The resulting pictures were hilarious (for me, at least).

I’m not sure how much I’ll be able to visit the blog over the next few days, but I hope that wherever you are and whatever you’re doing, you’re happy and peaceful. May you have a lovely holiday season, filled with joy, laughter and cheer.

 

How To Decorate Your Man During the Festive Season

2014 has certainly been the year of the beard and photographer Stephanie Jarstad has taken this hairy celebration to a whole new level. While supporting Movember she created a project that would continue to highlight men’s health and prostate cancer awareness in the form of DecemBEARD, photographing festively adorned men in all their fuzzy glory. The results are superb.

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Like what you see? You can purchase pictures of these bearded lovelies and more from Stephanie’s Etsy store in the form of Christmas cards and poster prints.

What about you guys? Do you decorate your loved ones during the holiday season?

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.

Photo Credits: Stephanie Jarstad

Santa Hats and a Sober Tree

imageI think I enjoy the build up to the festive season more than the actual day itself. The German Market arrives in the city centre, encouraging us to consume enormous sausages (!!),  hot gluhwein, crepes and pofferjies covered in Nutella, and endless craft based crap that we didn’t realise that we wanted until we saw it. Carols and festive songs appear in all the stores and on every television advert. I get to buy presents for everyone and celebrate with my favourite people. Work finishes for a few weeks. I love it. I love the excitement, the decorations that appear, the atmosphere. Aside from the occasional hot, sunny days that the UK receives every summer, this is absolutely my favourite time of year.

I decided to join in the festive spirit and decorate our tree. The Bloke and I bought a fake one (due to the fact that the cats would attempt to eat a real one) about five years ago from Argos, and each year we diligently take it out of it’s box and joke about the fact that it looks drunk. He set it up and put the lights on it while I was away at my mother’s house ready for my return on Sunday, but as I was feeling rough I didn’t tackle it until yesterday evening. Amidst the box of random decorations that we have collected over the years I discovered something that would provide me with hours of entertainment…

I found the Santa hats.

Two years ago I purchased three small Santa hats for the cats, and I consider the fact that I was able to get a photograph of all three of them sitting together and wearing them to be one of my greatest achievements of that year. Sadly, I lost one of the cats earlier in the year at the age of nineteen, so I decided that The Bloke needed to take her place instead (with an adult sized one, of course – we wouldn’t want him looking stupid, would we?). On went the hats, and out came the camera.

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All of them were less than impressed, particularly Daisy when I decided to double my fun.

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I eventually stopped laughing, The Bloke stopped rolling his eyes and I got my decorating on. I tried to spend a little more time on it than in previous years, attempting to space them all equally, colour coordinating etc, and after a few catastrophes with bits of tinsel and standing on a few stray decorations that had fallen on the floor, I stepped back to admire my masterpiece.

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“What do you think?” I asked The Bloke. He turned his head to one side.

“Yup.”

Cheers for that dear. Upon closer inspection, it actually wasn’t too bad – for once my little tree seemed to be… Sober!

Win!

 

What about you guys? Have you got any silly traditions within your family during the holiday season?

You can also find my on Twitter and Tumblr @suzie81blog and don’t forget to check out my Facebook page http://www.facebook.com/suzie81speaks

 

If Suzie Were a Meme

In her most recent post, the ever fabulous ‘The Bloggess’ introduced me to a new craze on the Internet, during which the subject is required to type their first name followed by the word ‘meme’ and see what appears on Google images. I decided to jump on the proverbial bandwagon, and this is what I discovered:

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How did they know? I got my iPhone 6 the other day after my old faithful one promptly died on me after three years, and I have barely put the thing down!

 

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I’ve never given anyone cooties (or anything else for that matter), but I did turn someone gay just by kissing them about eight years ago. Well, technically he was obviously gay before he kissed me, but he did choose the exact moment we locked lips to come out. I’m always pleased for anyone who has the courage to do so, I just wish he hadn’t told me mid snog. The mutual friend that we had gone out with that night had worked with him for years, and even she didn’t know.

 

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I’m not sure why I would be annoyed at this… I’m always supportive of anyone who looks after their body. I show my support by sitting on my couch and eating crisps. I’m doing it right now.

 

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Erm… Thanks?

 

Finally, did I ever tell you how much I love SpongeBob?

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Give it a try! I’d love to see your results!

You can also find me on Twitter and Tumblr @suzie81blog, and don’t forget to check out my Facebook page http://www.suzie81speaks.com

Twitter Party: #SundayBlogShare

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It took me a long time to add social media accounts to my blog and it has always been one of my biggest blogging regrets that I didn’t start sooner, as they are now responsible for about 75% of my overall traffic. Twitter, in particular, is a great way to share my posts and ideas immediately, and there is the possibility that posts could reach thousands if promoted by enough people.

I’ve decided to do a Twitter party in which all bloggers can share their posts and meet new people. It is going to be going on all day so feel free to join in at any time. Here is what you do:

1. Choose one of your favourite recent blog posts.

2. Share the link.

3. Use the hashtag #SundayBlogShare

Enjoy!

You can also find me on Twitter and Tumblr @suzie81blog.

I Remember

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I remember the tent in the hallway, pretending that we were on holiday.

I remember the Christmas Days, sitting around the table. I remember the food, the laughter, the chatter. I remember feeling part of a unit, a team, a family.

I remember his jokes. He would always sing songs and ask me if I was ‘courting’ yet, despite the fact that I was only ten years old. I remember how much my sisters and I loved him.

I remember ‘I Won’t Send Roses’ and ‘You’ll Never Walk Alone.’

I remember the last day, where I was the only one that wasn’t crying. I remember running down the road, signed T-shirt in hand, elated that I would never have to see them ever again.

I remember the long hours, the Ajax and the boredom. I remember the embarrassment of the face paint, and footballers on Sundays. I remember the smell that would permeate my clothes and linger for hours after a shift.

I remember waiting for him to call.

I remember the smell of his aftershave on his sweater that I wore.

I remember the Miller Man, the bikini, the music and the British Chippendales. I remember the lock ins, the cigarettes and the burnt holes in the carpets. I remember the Aqua bar.

I remember the B&B and the jealousy. I remember the black dress that was totally unsuitable for the occasion.

I remember Barber, Greig, Saint-Saens and Beethoven.

I remember the letter that offered me the chance of a new life. I remember that my whole life easily fit into eight boxes.

I remember the cocktails, the dancing and the hangover.

I remember sitting in the long grass in the sun and watching them run up and down the hill, shrieking as they lost their shoes.

I remember the Empire State Building, the piano and the bag. I remember the sand, the Ferris wheel and the graffiti. I remember the sore feet, the chess and the sunburn.

I remember the feeling of being utterly alone and helpless as I walked into that room almost every day.

I remember the kiss.

I remember staring at her in the cage, and knowing that she was the one. I remember the mornings she would wake me up at 4.00am, wanting to be fed. I remember the cuddles, the TV, the snoring. I remember her face at the window every evening.

I remember the tower, the sunset, the lock on the bridge and the river. I remember the gypsies, the tambourines and the latch. I remember the graves, the maps and the language.

I remember the first young faces, staring at me with the assumption that I knew what I was doing. I remember pretending that I did, hiding my terror behind a smile and a song.

I remember lying on the beach, watching the world go by. For those short hours, responsibility didn’t exist. Fear didn’t exist. Life didn’t exist.

I remember the box on my doorstep.

I remember the answer machine messages of my song.

I remember the microphone, the mad Irish girl, the promise, the snuff and Sinead O’Connor.

I remember the superheroes, the spaghetti and the phone call. I remember the awkward waitress and the free cranberry juice.

I remember the amphitheatre, the pool and Whigfield. I remember the waterpark, and the screams that she made as she was going down the waterslide.

I remember watching as he unwrapped the paper, after I waited for nearly two months for him to do so. I remember the expression on his face.

I remember the cheque, the train journey, Varsity and her tears as she realised I was standing outside her building. I remember the text and the meal.

I remember The Villa, Skunk Anansie and the concerto.

I remember the American girl. I remember his face when I surprised him. I remember the Gap sweater, the box of twinkles and the concert. I remember the flutes, the car journey and the programme.

I remember the Eye, the sunset, the teddy bear and the city during a wonderful weekend.

I remember saying goodbye.

I remember the screaming the lyrics until my voice was sore and spilling my beer down his back in the Golden Circle.

I remember the bracelet and the cards.

I remember finally knowing. For the first time, all was clear.

I remember opening the door…

 

What about you? What memories do you have?

You can also find me on Twitter and Tumblr @suzie81blog

 

Written in response to the Weekly Writing Challenge