Thoughts for Manchester

I was awake at 3.00am and was horrified at the events in Manchester, my home city, last night. At present, 22 people have died and 59 have been injured after what is thought to be a suicide bomber detonated an explosive in the foyer at the Manchester Evening News (MEN) arena after an Ariana Grande concert had ended. The arena has a capacity of 18,000 people, and most of the audience in attendance were children, teenagers, young adults and their families. It’s the biggest loss of life in a terrorist attack since 7/7, and there are already children confirmed among those who have been killed. Children.  Continue reading

Eurovision 2017 – Go Lucie!

Normally I begin my Eurovision preparations several weeks before the contest. Aside from Christmas Day and the final day of the academic year before the summer starts, Eurovision is one of my annual highlights, but this year it has almost sneaked up on me. I was away during the first semi-final so was unable to watch it live, so The Bloke and I watched the two semi-finals on Thursday and Friday night. I must admit, I was a little disappointed – there isn’t one song from the other countries that really stands out for me and there are lots of similarities in staging and outfits (half of the women seem to be white wedding dress style clothing). Continue reading

Why Children are Not Invited to Our Wedding

 

Why children aren't allowed at our wedding

It’s six months until my wedding day and while I have a few things still on my list to tackle, the large things are now booked and organised. Most of it (despite some of the horror stories I have heard over the years from friends and articles I have read online) has been an exciting experience. However, one thing that I found difficult was the guest list.

Why?

Because children are not invited to our wedding, including my own niece.

The Bloke and I don’t have children of our own. I have a very small family – mum, two sisters, one sister’s long-term boyfriend, a brother-in-law and a niece, who will be 10 months old on the day of the wedding. The Bloke’s family is considerably larger, but don’t have young children – the youngest are older teenagers, so it wasn’t a family issue to consider. However, my friends have lots of them. Continue reading

40+ Useful Ideas for Self Care

Useful ideas for practicing self care

Things have been a little on the stressful side recently, and those who follow the blog regularly may notice that I haven’t posted much of my own content. With wedding planning, a biopsy followed by stitches (everything is fine and all-clear thank goodness, but it was a little worrying at the time), a truly horrific day of supply teaching (without being melodramatic, I think it was the worst day in over eleven years of working in schools that I’ve ever had) and the general daily tasks that needed completing there has been more than a few occasions where I have found myself a little overwhelmed.

In an attempt to try and overcome the anxiety and general cloudiness that fills me whenever I reach certain panic levels, I have actively indulged in self care – any voluntary activity that helps to maintain my mental, physical and emotional health. This isn’t just ‘hygge’ – they have involved numerous things that I enjoy simply because they make me feel better and I have taken the time to be mindful of them as I am doing it. Continue reading

A Nice Easter Break

It’s back-to-work for many after the Easter holidays today and, as always, I have an enormous sense of relief that I didn’t have to drag myself out of bed.

The Bloke took a few weeks off work to coincide with the holidays, so I took a break away from the blog. I still maintained my Pinterest and Twitter social media management and my Facebook group, but decided not to write any posts until I actually had something to say. Continue reading

Things I’ve Learned in Four Years of Blogging

Blogging advice

Today marks the four year anniversary of Suzie Speaks.

Four years, 838 posts (if you don’t count the hundreds that I’ve deleted), a collective following of nearly 19,000 people, nearly 780,000 views, the biggest blogging hashtag of the weekend, an amazing Facebook group and three awards.

Since starting the blog I have quit my job, got engaged, gained a brother-in-law and gorgeous squidgy niece, travelled, attended events, reviewed everything from restaurants and cocktail bars to theatre shows, hotels and products, made a whole bunch of new friends and experienced things that I could only have dreamed of in what I consider to be my previous life. What an unbelievable journey.

The blog began as a simple online journal – an outlet to try and calm the stress and anxieties I was experiencing at the time. There were no expectations or dreams, just a desire to write. However, as my blogging knowledge grew, I found a community, started to develop promotional strategies, learned a great deal about social media and, as a result, now have a whole list of things that, if I could go back and start again (not that I would want to, mind you), I would do differently. Continue reading

Blog of the Day: Ashley Rader and Blog Genesis

Do you need help with growing your blog? Social media, affiliate or content marketing? What about web development?

Meet Ashley Rader, the creator of Blog Genesis. She’s living my blogging dream –

Building blogs and websites, and growing them into successful businesses has afforded me a freedom and flexibility that I never dreamed would have been possible.   I work from home and I get to be around for my kids – able to attend school functions and sporting games and dance recitals and all of those special moments – moments that I know will be gone all too soon.

Creating her first website back in 2004, Ashley developed her SEO skills to grow her website to spot #3 on Google for an extremely competitive search phrase – and with that, came her first million dollar year. Fast forward a few years and she came to the painful realization that she had put all of her traffic and marketing “eggs” into the SEO basket.  When Google made some changes to their ranking algorithm, she lost almost all of her rankings – and with it, all of her traffic – and income. Continue reading

Ghosts of Students Past

Yesterday I received a Facebook message from a friend that I haven’t spoken to in a while. We met through a project – the school that I worked at did an annual concert with an orchestra and he was the composer for the music that we performed.

He now works for my former University that is currently moving to a new building. When he was cleaning out some of the cupboards, he found this:

Continue reading

Thank Goodness for the NHS

On Tuesday I noticed a small lump and some pain behind my ear. Combined with the fact that I thought I had a urinary tract infection and I needed to get a mole checked, I thought it might be a good idea to go and book an appointment at the doctors yesterday to have a bit of an overhaul and deal with everything all at once.

An hour later I was sitting in A&E at the local hospital, with a strong antibiotic prescription for the UTI, an immediate referral for suspected mastoiditis (acute infection of the mastoid bone at the back of the ear) and I’ve been referred to a dermatologist in the next week as the mole ‘needed urgently looking at.’ Continue reading