My New Obsession… Love Island!

When it comes to ‘reality’ television, I lost a lot of interest in it years ago. I remember avidly watching Big Brother and X Factor for the first three seasons, I got into TOWIE and Made in Chelsea for a while, and watched a season or two of I’m a Celebrity, but other than that my only regular viewing has been of the Real Housewives franchise, and that’s mainly because there isn’t anything else on the TV at 5.00pm which is when it is generally shown on Freeview. Continue reading

A TV Offer!


I received a message via my Facebook page last week.

‘Have you got married yet.’

I didn’t recognise the name, so I simply responded with the fact that I hadn’t and that the wedding is in October. After a quick conversation it became apparent that the person messaging me worked for a TV production company that were creating a programme for a main channel here in the UK about different weddings. Turns out, she found out that I was getting married through my blog and we had a lovely chat about our current stages in our wedding planning, as she is getting married a few weeks before me. Continue reading

Reputations: What My Students Can Learn From Katherine Heigl


It has been widely reported that actress Katherine Heigl is a diva. While I am always distrustful of entertainment-based stories in the media, a recent interview given by Grey’s Anatomy and Scandal creator Shonda Rhimes appears to confirm this, at least regarding her behaviour when on the set of Grey’s Anatomy, stating that “there are no Heigls” allowed on the set of Scandal and that she doesn’t “put up with bulls–t or nasty people [anymore].”

The friendship the pair originally had turned bad in 2008 when Heigl withdrew herself from contention in the annual Emmy Awards because of what she felt was poor writing on the show, stating:

“I did not feel that I was given the material this season to warrant an Emmy nomination and in an effort to maintain the integrity of the academy organisation, I withdrew my name from contention.” At the time, the remark was seen as a criticism of Rhimes.

Rhimes has since become one of the most powerful television producers in Hollywood.

Heigl has recently responded to Rhimes’s remarks during an interview with Mario Lopez for the Hollywood Reporter. It has been called an apology, although a closer examination of this appears to be more of an acknowledgment of Rhimes’s feelings towards her rather than her own behaviour:

“The last one with Shonda . . . it sucks. I am sorry that she feels that way and I wish her nothing but greatness and I have nothing negative to say about [her],” she continued. “I’m a big fan of her work. I watch Scandal every week and so I’m sorry she’s left with such a crappy impression of me. I wish I could do something to change that. Maybe I will be able to someday.”

However, regardless of the way in which we choose to consider the meaning behind her response, it seems that Heigl may have learned a valuable lesson: don’t kick people on the way up, as you may need those very same people on the way down.


This is what I have been trying to teach my students. Reputation is everything. A good reputation leads to glowing references either on paper or word of mouth and this can sometimes be the deciding factor in which a candidate is offered a job. The world is a very small place and it’s often as important who you know rather than what you know. Apathy, laziness and rudeness will affect the opinions that others have of you. Katherine Heigl’s behaviour has affected her reputation and potentially lost her contracts in the future – it seems to have certainly ruined her chances of returning to Grey’s Anatomy anytime soon despite the fact that she has expressed an interest in this.

I work in an excellent school and enjoy a good working relationship with most of my students, but there was one in particular at the very beginnings of my career that I will always remember as being the most difficult, challenging and on occasions aggressive student that I have ever had the privilege of working with. For two years he was my nemesis, challenging my behaviour management skills to extremes. He was, and is, the only student to make me go home and cry from frustration. He was a very intelligent young man, he had extremely supportive parents, he didn’t possess any diagnosed learning or behaviour difficulties (which was investigated fully by many organisations during my time with him) and he was more than capable of doing the work. There was just one reason why he didn’t get the work done – he simply didn’t want to, and he was quite open in the fact that he felt that education was a waste of time as he was going to become a professional console game player – he was going to test computer games for a living. He became rude and arrogant, frequently telling me and other teachers that his parents paid my salary and therefore I should do as he said. He mocked other students’ answers to questions, calling them derogatory names when he thought we weren’t in earshot. On his Geography GCSE paper he decided to answer the questions by drawing rude pictures and writing sarcastic comments.

The day he left, I wished him good luck through gritted teeth. His response:

“Don’t worry Miss, you’ll need it more than me. At least I’ll never have to see you again.”

I had to walk away before I said something that I would have got into trouble for.

Two years later, I was sitting in my classroom during a free lesson, and who should walk in but my nemesis. As confident as the day he had left, he strolled over to my desk, greeted me and sat down.

“I was wondering if you could write me a reference? I have a job interview and I need someone who will give me a reference before they interview me.”

I was gobsmacked and he must have picked up on this because he followed his question with:

“Don’t worry, I’ve changed now, so you won’t need to give me a bad one.”

I suggested that he go and find his form tutor. His response?

“You’re the third person that said that. I can’t ask her because I told her to f*ck off and called her a b*tch on the last day. Oh well, see you later.”

Off he went, and thankfully I have never seen or heard from him since. His form tutor is not the sort of person to hold grudges and would have written him the reference, but I secretly loved the fact that he knew that he had burned some bridges.

I’ve told this story to many of my students over the years (leaving out the curse words), but even now I still have to deal with young people who will be leaving full-time education next year and don’t seem to realise how their current behaviour will affect their future. There are many things that they can learn from this and Katherine Heigl’s situation that may help them when they step out into the big wide world.


Leave your personal feelings at home. It isn’t a question of being two-faced or false, it’s being able to conduct yourself in a positive, professional manner even if the very sight of one particular person makes your blood boil. Don’t bad mouth these people to anyone else – you are allowed to have any opinion of someone in the same way they do about us, but keep it to yourself.

Stop the negativity. Stop complaining that you can’t do something, that you won’t do something, that something is pointless. There are lessons to be learned from every activity, every opportunity, every experience.

Remember that there is a difference between confidence and arrogance. Confidence is being self assured in our own capabilities. Arrogance is possessing a self-inflated sense of importance, often without justification. I know that I am a good teacher, but that doesn’t mean I consider myself to be a better teacher than my colleagues. I ask them their opinions and I take their advice. I learn from them.

Don’t forget to be grateful for opportunities given to you and the people who make it possible. Say thank you. Don’t ask for or accept someone’s help and then throw it back it their face later on. It’s guaranteed that they won’t help you again.

Take responsibility for your own behaviour. Of course, we all meet people that are going to dislike us, sometimes without a valid reason, but often opinions are formed about us based on our actions. If you accept the times when you are in the wrong, avoid blaming others and actually offer a sincere apology, it is more likely that they will respect you, even if it doesn’t change their opinion of you.

Don’t expect others to tolerate poor behaviour forever. Most will accept a few instances of someone being an idiot, but eventually they will decide that they have had enough and move on. As a teacher, I always try and move on and start each new lesson with a clean slate, but the real world is not so forgiving.

Be consistent, and follow through on things that you have promised. If you say that you’re going to do something, do it. Don’t make promises that you can’t keep.

Avoid living in a bubble, and remember that you are not the only person that exists. The world does not evolve around you. Take time to involve yourself in the lives of others in a positive way – offer to help them, listen, understand and support.

Be nice! We all have our bad days, but if you can greet those around you with a smile and a positive message it is more likely that they will want to be in your company and even help out when needed.

Finally, remember that everybody, regardless of who they are and what they do should be treated with respect until they give you reasonable cause to think otherwise. Nobody is beneath you. As I repeatedly tell my students: don’t be nasty to the ‘boffins,’ the ‘nerds’ and the ‘geeks’, as it’s likely that one day you’ll be working for one.

What about you guys? What builds a good reputation?

You can also find me on Twitter and Tumblr @suzie81blog, and don’t forget to check out my Facebook page


Why I Hate Reality TV


It’s Saturday night and I’m being forced to watch an awful TV programme in which a group of Z list ‘celebrities’ are attempting to impersonate famous singers to try and win £10,000 for the charity of their choice. The charity focus is designed to hide the fact that it’s a cheap, tacky re-make of a show that existed in the 1990’s, and they’ve officially run out of new ideas. I wouldn’t mind, as the participants can actually sing, but they sound nothing like the person they are trying to emulate, making the show pointless.

I hate reality TV and talent competitions. Actually, ‘hate’ is quite a loose term. I loathe it. Detest it. Abhor it. I avoid it at all costs.

I never used to feel like this. Years ago, programmes that were based on reality competitions were the highlight of my week. The very first series of ‘Popstars,’ in which the band ‘Hearsay’ was formed from the eventual winners was riveting, and I remember my whole family excitedly waiting for the final line-up to be revealed.


When ‘Big Brother’ hit the screens in the UK it initially went unnoticed. However, as time passed it became a phenomenon, helped by the exploits of ‘Nasty Nick,’ and his game-playing tactics in the house. The winner of the first series was Craig, a down-to-earth builder who donated all of his £70,000 winnings to Joanne, a girl with Downs Syndrome who needed an operation. He became one of the most recognised faces in the country, and has managed to carve out a decent career in his trade.

Years later, reality TV has taken on a different dimension entirely. There are two main categories: talent-based competitions and documentary formats.

Talent shows bombard our screens – ‘X Factor,’ ‘Britain’s Got Talent,’ ‘So You Think You Can Dance?’ ‘The Voice,’ ‘Dancing On Ice,’ ‘I’m A Celebrity,’ and ‘Strictly Come Dancing,’ are just a few that have been shown in the last decade. Reality documentaries follow ‘celebrities’ around as they live their privileged lives. ‘Real Housewives,’ ‘The Only Way Is Essex,’ ‘Jersey Shore,’ ‘Geordie Shore,’ ‘Keeping Up With The Kardashians,’ and ‘The Hills,’ are just a few examples, and aside from ‘Made In Chelsea,’ (which I watch occasionally when there is nothing else on, much to the annoyance of The Bloke) I can honestly say that I haven’t watched any of them with any regularity or interest – I like to have background noise while I’m working.

There are several things that particularly irritate me:

1. Sob stories: Introductory stories of contestants will usually tell the story of a loss that they have faced. They’ll go into the audition and then we see them crying and praying with their Nan when they are successful, accompanied by the instrumental version of Take That’s ‘Rule The World.’

2. Talent and/or integrity is not necessarily a requirement: A weirdo generally stands more of a chance of getting through in a reality competition because they will provide more of an entertaining line-up. Don’t believe me? Check out Wagner and Jedward on the UK X Factor. It is also not required for a reality documentary format – the perfect example being Honey Boo-Boo. She may be a child, but she is a precocious little moron and it annoys me that she gets publicity when there are children her age who genuinely possess an outstanding talent and aren’t afforded the same opportunities because they know how to conduct themselves like a normal human being.

3. The false praise: I’ve lost count of the amount of times where I’ve seen a judge praise an AWFUL, eardrum bending performance just for the sake of the viewer. While I dislike Simon Cowell, I respect him for his occasional honesty when he informs contestants that they are crap.

4. The same formula: regardless of the subject of these competitions, each follows exactly the same format. Compete, fight, bitch, squabble, one person leaves.

5. They just keep going and going: each series of reality TV programmes always become more extreme. Awkward situations and fights are deliberately caused to make more interesting viewing, and the shows are edited to make conflict seem far more intense than they actually are. Participants almost become caricatures of themselves.

6. Documentary formats aren’t ‘reality,’ they’re set up and scripted, and poorly acted with it.

I think I’ll stick with working through my DVD collection – at least I know they’re going to keep me entertained. Or I could just go and pull all my fingernails out one by one.

Image credit:

What about you guys? Do you love or loathe reality tv?

You can also find me on Twitter and Tumblr @suzie81blog


29 Things That Television Has Taught Me.


1. Walking down the street in Carrie Bradshaw’s outfits will make people think I am a style icon and try and emulate my fashion sense.

2. Teenagers in America, particularly in Stars Hollow and Capeside, posses a mastery of complex vocabulary. I work with hundreds of teenagers every day and if I can get a ‘nah, man!’ out of them I’m doing well.

3. New York City is an affordable place to live and all apartments there are beautifully decorated and spacious.

4. It is possible to be in the vicinity of the murder of hundreds of people in Cabot Cove, New York and Ireland, and not once be considered a suspect. Jessica Fletcher is a master criminal.

5. The louder the TV chef, the more unhealthy the food.

6. The bumbling idiot will always have a beautiful wife.

7. Your best friend will forgive you for kissing his girlfriend after you have sat in a box and thought about what you did.

8. There are seven basic erogenous zones.

9. James Woods likes candy.

10. It is possible to live solely on junk food and coffee and maintain a supermodel figure without doing any exercise.

11. A wanted criminal can be found anywhere in the world with just a partial fingerprint, a reflection in a window and a few random clicks. Ultimately, they are going to be linked to a terrorist group.

12. Groups of friends from High School will go to the same college, and will be accompanied by one of their teachers and reception staff.

13. I am a bad person. I should be donating to the RSPCA, NSPCC, Red Cross, UNICEF, the WSPA and the Humane Donkey Society. I should also be sponsoring a snow leopard, a tiger and several children across the world.

14. A criminal with a machine gun can miss their target a million times. However, a policeman with a Glock will get a perfect shot every time, and never run out of ammunition.

15. Parents will never notice if a boy puts a ladder up to their teenage daughters window at night.

16. Doctors are hot. Super hot. With perfect hair.

17. He is NOT the father.

18. All locks can easily be picked with hair grips.

19. Spies can travel across the world in less than five minutes without any form of jet lag.

20. Heartbroken women who have just ended their relationship will always go back to the place where she and her ex first met.

21. Emotional breakdowns will cause somebody to walk about in the rain, without an umbrella.

22. The same group of friends will be able to sit on the same couch at the same table every time they visit.

23. Despite the fact that all the evidence a law enforcement officer or amateur sleuth has against a suspect is purely circumstantial, the suspect will admit their crime in the end and give full explanations as to why they did it.

24. When in jail, it is a good idea not to insult the chef’s food.

25. The underdog usually gets the girl in the end.

26. Childbirth is quick and newborns emerge looking about five months old and fast asleep.

27. When given the choice of a career opportunity of a lifetime and a relationship that has failed repeatedly, the relationship will always win.

28. Large couches should never be placed against the wall.

29. It is possible for beautiful women to go to sleep, get up, go to work for a full day and then out to a party at night without once having to do their hair and make up – this automatically remains perfect at all times.


What  about you guys? What things have you learned from the television?

You can also find me on Twitter and Tumblr @suzie81blog and don’t forget to find me on Facebook and Pinterest

Saved By The Bell

As a child and then as a teenager there were certain TV programmes in the summer holidays that my sisters and I simply had to watch before we did anything else that day.

One of these was ‘Saved By The Bell.’ I discovered recently that the last episode was aired 20 years ago, and so I thought that I would write a little tribute.  We watched it from the very first episode, and followed it right through to the very end of the ‘College Years’, including all the specials and the culmination of Zack and Kelly’s Wedding. Continue reading