Kylie Minogue and a Brand New Month

Last night I watched the Kylie Minogue set at Glastonbury on TV. I love music – my degree is in the subject – and it has been one of the biggest influences throughout most of my life, but while I’ve been to see plenty of my favourite bands live in concert, I’m not a fan of festivals and generally don’t watch them.

However, I’ve got a soft spot for Kylie. I adored her as Charlene in Neighbours in the late 80’s, absolutely wetting myself with excitement when Charlene married Jason Donovan’s ‘Scott.’ So much so, in fact, that I wanted to walk down the aisle to the song that was used during the wedding scene – ‘Suddenly’ by Angry Anderson – when The Bloke and I were planning our wedding a few years ago. He wasn’t impressed with the idea, but it still remains one of my favourite songs. Continue reading

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Suzie… Speaks!

Blog profile PicA little while ago, I told you about my terror when asked to participate in an interview for a podcast with my friend Tom and his co-host, Gemma (who is a published author in her own right).

Well, despite my initial reservations, I had an absolute blast, and now I’m pleased to announce that the podcast is available to listen to on ThankBookFor.com. There are two versions – the full, 50 minute interview, and a condensed 30 minute alternative.

It was a strange experience to hear my own voice talking back at me – in my own head I sound very different – but all I could think about was how much I sounded like my sister… That’s no bad thing, but I can understand what people mean when they say “ooh, you’re not from around here!” when they meet me for the first time. Continue reading

Organising the Memories

imageI think that one of my first ever posts focused on the amount of things that I have collected over the years. I’m the last person that could ever be considered to be houseproud, but while I’m by no means a hoarder in the typical sense, I have noticed that this collection is growing steadily larger as time goes by.

I spent some time this morning trying to get some sort of idea of what things I actually have – it’s been two years since my last major declutter, which was when we last moved house, but I had no idea of just how much that I’ve added to the pile since then. My attempt to tidy up has resulted in me trashing large areas of the house – The Bloke will be delighted when he gets home I’m sure!

The thing is, they’re mainly small items that I keep for their sentimental value and the memories that they evoke, particularly when it comes to places I have visited. Tickets, objects, cards, keyrings – I have box after box of things that are just, well, in a box. It seems completely pointless to keep them, and yet I can’t bring myself to throw them away. I’ve kept every birthday and Christmas card I’ve ever received from my mother since I was about ten years old, every card that The Bloke has ever given me, all the letters I was sent when my oldest friend and I went off to different universities, postcards, maps… I have a set of tiny ceramic clogs from Amsterdam, a dreidel from the Holocaust Museum (one of the most moving experiences of my life) and a token from one of the Smithsonian Museums in Washington D.C. , a Little Brown Bag from Macy’s in New York, a tiny Eiffel Tower, a map of The Louvre and a napkin from Laduree in Paris, a decorated wine glass that my mother gave me on my 30th birthday. I have show tickets and programmes, certificates, tube tickets, even children’s books that I have repurchased after they were sold at a car boot sale when I was a teenager. Continue reading

How to Avoid the Blogging Bubble

Blogging bubbleI never see you on my blog any more…

I received a message from one of my oldest bloggy friends the other day.

The message hadn’t been sent in a nasty or malicious way at all – he was one of the first online friends I made I first started Suzie Speaks almost three years ago and we’ve kept in touch ever since – I value his opinion and it made me take a step back and think.

He was absolutely right.

And then, as if the blogging universe was trying to give me a sign, I read this post by the ever lovely Hugh from Hugh’s Views and News.

Indeed, over the last few months I have fallen prey to what I like to refer to as ‘the blogging bubble‘ – the point where bloggers focus solely on their own little space of the Internet and forget about the potentially millions of similar spaces out there, just waiting to be explored.

Three years ago, I was in a very different place. The blog was a way of coping with a very difficult time, and I churned out post after post of whatever was in my mind at a particular moment, mainly in an effort to mentally establish some sort of order in what seemed like a big mish-mash of nonsense that seemed to be permanently floating around in my brain. My writing was inconsistent and, at times, erratic, but it was solely for me and me alone. Continue reading

Why I Shouldn’t Be Allowed to Speak in Public

imageAs a teacher I can quite happily talk in front of large groups of children without feeling fazed at all, but the mere thought of having to speak in front of adults makes me shudder. Quite simply, I genuinely don’t care what the kids think of me, but I’m very intimidated by the judgements of people of my own age.

As a result, my experiences of public presentations are littered with embarrassments. There was the time when I asked a group of parents to ‘feel free to take a sh*t’ instead of ‘seat,’ the time I forgot where the fire escapes were at the beginning of a concert and effectively pointed to a large window during my audience welcome, and let’s not forget the time I was asked to give some flowers to a prominent conductor on behalf of the orchestra I was playing in, only to drop them off the side of the stage on my way up to hand them to him. This meant I had to walk all the way round to the bottom in front of the audience and give them to him from the floor. Continue reading

A Snapshot of Me

A snapshot of me and my blog

When I tell someone that I have a blog, it’s pretty much guaranteed that I am asked the same question every time:

What do you write about?

The problem is, I’ve never quite been able to think of a suitable response. I don’t have a niche – I prefer to write about whatever subject I choose whenever I feel inspired to do so – and this means that I have written travel, lifestyle, beauty and food posts without actually falling into any one of those categories.

So, what do I write about?

I realised that in a few days I will have been blogging for two-and-a-half years, amassing a collection of about five hundred posts (and deleting almost as many along the way). In an effort to try and figure out how to answer this question, I took a look through my archive, attempting to find some sort of commonality, but to no avail. It’s simply a collection of various musings – or as I like to refer to it: ‘random crap.’

However, I was reminded of a guest post that I had done for Hugh over at Hugh’s Views and News earlier in the year. I was experiencing a bad bout of Bloggers Block, and struggled to develop any form of idea of what to write about. Eventually, I decided to get together a group of thoughts from a whole selection of posts as an overview of what this little blog is and what I stand for, and as my little milestone approaches, I’d like to take the opportunity to share an updated version of it again.

This is what I write about. This is a snapshot of me, in just a single post.

1. The people with the best advice are usually the ones with the most problems.

2. You know when you’re a teacher when regardless of where you are – shopping, the cinema, in a restaurant, or worse still, at the beach on holiday – you’ll almost always hear ‘Hi Miss/Sir!’ and instantly know that a student is standing behind you. The event of this happening is far more likely when you’re wearing your scruffiest clothes and haven’t washed your hair.

3. The cliché phrases that I have often heard spouted by so many people over the years have never made any sense to me. I just nod and smile.

4. If you are undecided about two options, flip a coin. Your instinct will tell you which one you’re secretly hoping for when you feel happy or disappointed with the result.

5. These sentences didn’t exist in my vocabulary when I was at university:
I’ve just binge-watched the entire series on Netflix.
I’m going to put that on Facebook later.
I saw it on Breaking Bad.
I unfriended them the other day.
I’ve just rented it from iTunes.

6. If I were to write a ‘recipe of me,’ would it be wrong just to write ‘Bloke, cats, Mojito?’

7. No good apology will ever contain the word ‘but…’

8. Of your 99 problems, 86 of them will inevitably be completely made up nonsense and will result in unnecessary stress for no logical reason. These will undoubtedly surface at 3am when you have an important event at work that day.

9. Life is too short not to get drunk in a costume. I only wish I was still thin enough to fit into my She-Ra costume. That costume rocked.

10. Somebody found my blog recently by typing ‘marine send back soiled dirty feet.’ This troubles me.

11. Note to self: you may know all the dance moves to Beyoncé’s ‘Single Ladies.’ However, your version closely resembles a frog in a blender. Stop doing in on the dance floor – people are beginning to pity you.

12. We don’t owe anyone explanations. The act of explaining ourselves is often an attempt to justify our actions to another person, as if a decision needs validation. We don’t have to explain ourselves for the way we choose to live, who we choose to live with and the priorities that we have.

13. Can you refer to yourself as a ‘professional writer’ if you have never been paid for writing something?

14. When someone says that they will be there as soon as they can and currently are still waiting for a taxi, they often really mean that they still haven’t got dressed and can’t find their handbag.

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

16. Before you are twenty-three, you should know how to look after yourself and keep you and your home clean, cook from scratch, be financially knowledgeable (even if you have very little money yourself), and appreciate your own company.

17. I dislike the idea of expectation. To expect something suggests a sense of entitlement, and this can often lead to disappointment.

18. It’s been over eighteen months, but I still miss my little friend.

19. Over the last thirty-three years, my mother hasn’t just had the job of parent and PA (the job she actually gets paid for). She has taken on the role of taxi driver, teacher, therapist, chef, cleaner, maid, waitress, hairdresser, tailor, party planner, nurse and personal ATM. How lucky I am.

20. Don’t base the quality of your interaction on the numbers another blogger has. I remember in my first few months of blogging I attempted to speak to someone on Twitter who had thousands of followers, and they shot me down as a little newbie pretty quickly. I’ve never forgotten that. I also know of several who will go out of their way to support the more popular bloggers, but are very ignorant of newer ones.

21. In my twenties I holidayed in 18-30 resorts with the sole purpose of drinking as much as possible. In my thirties I like to go ‘somewhere quiet’ where I can relax and take beautiful pictures of the scenery and architecture.

22. Surprise gestures make me happy. Lots of people I know dislike surprises, but I love them – I often receive little surprises from my nearest and dearest and they always make my day!

23. When travelling to Barcelona, work out in advance what it is that you really want to see, and where possible, book tickets online before you go as there are enormous queues and long waits for the main attractions. For example, we arrived at La Sagrada Familia early, but had to queue for about half an hour to buy a ticket and then waited a further three hours before we were allowed in as there were timed entrance spots. It may be also useful to take a guidebook and print off maps of the areas you wish to travel to in advance – we had to buy a map when we were there and soon discovered that it was poorly labelled and many of the sights were in the wrong place.

24. The weirdest thing that I find attractive in a person is the way they drive their car. Despite being in my thirties, I’ve never passed my driving test, so have always been in the passenger seat. I notice when someone drives in a relaxed (but safe) way, and I’ve always found that sexy.

25. The good has not outweighed the bad for a long time. Today, I took the risk…

What about you guys? What sort of category do you fall into?

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, my Pinterest page http://www.pinterest.com/suzie81speaks and my Instagram page http://www.instagram.com/suzie81speaks

 

How to Create a Successful About Page

About page

When I discover a blog for the first time, it’s rare that I will look at the posts on the home page. Instead, I will usually click straight onto the About page, as this will hopefully tell me about the author and the general theme of the blog itself. If I’m pressed for time, I’ll often make a quick decision based upon what I see there as to whether I wish to delve further. They are also a place where I will go if I want to ask a blogger a question that isn’t related to any of their posts.

Today I noticed that a number of people had clicked on my About page and came to the realisation that it is in need of some serious updating, particularly as the rest of my blog has undergone a huge transformation recently, and I have gained a number of new followers.

In order for me to do this, I had to think about what to include, and with the process came a whole list of ideas of things that I look for when snooping around other peoples efforts. So, before I update my own, I thought I would add to my ‘Blogging Advice’ series and discuss tips for creating a great About page… Continue reading

Me, Myself and I #3

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As a further opportunity to share a little about yourself and find out about your fellow bloggers, here is the third installment of ‘Me, Myself and I,’ a weekly collaboration I have started with the lovely Sare over at Diary of a Teachaholic. After the fun of the Bloggers Bash at the weekend, it’s slightly late – we usually post these around 12.00pm every Sunday. For further information about the link up, simply click here.

It’s my turn to ask the questions this week… Continue reading

Annual Bloggers Bash: Anxiety Girl Strikes Again!

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As this post appears, I will be in London, hopefully meeting a whole bunch of lovely UK bloggers for the Annual Bloggers Bash. I’ve scheduled it to publish during our meeting time so none of them can read it until afterwards. I will have undoubtedly spent a long time getting ready, I will be tired from exploring the city and being a tourist with The Bloke yesterday, and I will be feeling slightly bloated as I will have eaten my way through the Premier Inn buffet breakfast in an effort to calm my nerves…  Continue reading

Me, Myself and I #2

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As a further opportunity to share a little about yourself and find out about your fellow bloggers, here is the second installment of ‘Me, Myself and I,’ a weekly collaboration I have started with the lovely Sare over at Diary of a Teachaholic. For further information about the link up, simply click here.

It is Sare’s turn to ask the questions this week…

1. Why did you start blogging?

I was experiencing a difficult time in my personal life. As I had always enjoyed writing, The Bloke suggested that I start a blog, and the rest is history really. It’s a very addictive hobby with a wonderful network of support, and it has been the best form of therapy I have ever had! Continue reading