On Becoming a Hermit…

Yesterday was International Happiness Day, and the blogging world was flooded with articles, images and quotes of achieving happiness.

Even without a specifically dedicated day, it’s a prominent topic. There seems to be have been a conscious movement over the last few years that focus on the ideas on mindfulness, self-care, motivation and happiness, which may be partially reactionary to the turbulent times within society, or the fact that many are beginning to realise that there is more to life than a soul-destroying 9-5. Continue reading

Terms and Conditions

Those of you who follow the blog regularly will know that I travel via train fairly frequently. I’ve learned to be fairly savvy with it – I know that one of the biggest train and travel companies in particular will hike up their prices by as much as £100 for travel on the same day as booking, so making sure that tickets in advance are essential unless you want to take out a second mortgage just to pay for travel costs.

So, when they sent me an email informing them of their summer sale, with tickets on offer for £4.00 between Birmingham and London, I eagerly planned a day trip for The Bloke and I, feeling really pleased with myself for obtaining tickets for both of us for the grand total price of £16.00. Bargain.

That is, until I discovered that I’d gone and booked tickets for the opposite journeys that I wanted – I’d done London to Birmingham instead of the other way around. Idiot. Totally my fault, and I was irrationally super-angry with myself for not concentrating and making a rookie mistake.

Now, it’s only £16.00, but for the principle of it I set about getting a refund. After 5 phone calls during which I was waiting for a total of about 45 minutes and eventually resorting to Twitter because nobody answered the phone, I was informed that my tickets were non-refundable because they had been purchased in the sale. Not that this is made clear anywhere on the booking page in advance, but they got me with the fact that they had included this in their Terms and Conditions, at the bottom of a long list and buried in their website.

So, we have had to book another set of tickets, ultimately paying the same price that we would have done without the sale. I wouldn’t mind, as it was my mistake, but I am a bit cross at the fact they have made extra money from me and won’t give it back, which is always covered by the crappy Terms and Conditions. Hopefully, they can use my money (and I’m sure the money from other idiots like myself) into improving the service and getting the trains to actually be big enough to accommodate the amount of people that use them…

What about you guys? Have you ever made a mistake and then been screwed over by the Terms and Conditions?

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.

To Delete, or Not to Delete?

Social Media Management

Last year, I made the mistake of revisiting a lot of my old handwritten  journals. I have a whole stack of them – thick notebooks mainly purchased from Paperchase that have been filled with my random scribblings over the years – and in my infinite wisdom I thought it might be a nice idea to open some of them up again and read about who I was at that moment in time. It turned out to be a huge mistake – I became very quickly aware that I was an extremely bitter person and what I found were pages and pages of rambling, nonsensical anger. I decided that, while I wasn’t going to throw the notebooks away, I wouldn’t read them again. Continue reading

Adopting my Inner Sheldon

image

There’s a scene from The Big Bang Theory where Sheldon is ill. We hear “Leonard! I’m sick!” and see Leonard frantically running out of the apartment, still trying to get dressed. We quickly discover that Sheldon is particularly dreadful to be around when he is ill, to the point that his friends have a code where they hide as much as possible to avoid having to look after him.

That’s me.

I really dislike the term ‘man-flu.’ When The Bloke is ill, he gets up and carries on as normal. When I’m ill, I turn into a snivelling, snotty mess and spend most of my time complaining. Continue reading

Things I Want My Newborn Niece to Know

Advice for my newborn baby niece

My youngest sister gave birth to a beautiful baby girl today. Perfectly formed and weighing 7lb 5oz after a 40 HOUR LABOUR, Baby Squidge (as she will be referred to from now on on the blog) is the first baby and grandchild in our small family of four. As my first and only niece, these are the things that, on the day of her birth, I want her to know.

You are loved and will never be alone. No matter where you are and what you are doing, you will always have a family that you can call on for anything.

Unfortunately, you may meet people that don’t like you. You will meet people who try to validate themselves by trying to tear you down. None of it matters. Love yourself and who you are – it will be one of the greatest lessons you’ll ever learn in life. What others think of you is none of your business.

Be nice to your parents. Say thank you.

Keep the confidence of others, but don’t tell anyone anything that you wouldn’t mind the whole world knowing, unless they prove themselves trustworthy. Continue reading

How to Stop Being a Doormat

How to stop being a doormat

It’s nice to be nice. It’s nice to do nice things for others. However, when nicety is unreciprocated, taken for granted or turns into an excuse for others to be dismissive of you as a human being, then it becomes a problem.

It occurred to me a few years ago that I was held in a very different regard by others to what I had always assumed. Activities and meet-ups often involved multiple changes that would inevitably make it more inconvenient and expensive for me. I spent hours waiting for people to turn up. I was repeatedly interrupted. I was owed money. It wasn’t uncommon for me to receive messages or have conversations that began with a phrase that I have come to loathe:

Can I ask a favour?

The favour. The seemingly easy and straight-forward request that would always turn into a complicated mess and leave me feeling stressed and resentful, particularly when there was no acknowledgement or thanks afterwards. And yet, the one time I remember needing help which would have meant someone having to go out of their way, not a single person responded. Not one. Continue reading

Big Up Your Blog – My Facebook Group Launch!

I’ve been looking forward to today…

I am officially launching my Facebook page – BIG UP YOUR BLOG – and anyone who who has a blog is welcome to join!

As with many things, I only realised the power of Facebook groups a few months ago. I’d been a member of one or two for about a year, only really participating in one, and then after some inspiration I joined a few more, and then a few more, and BOOM! My connections increased massively. I’m still only in less than ten, but I decided to start my own as I have found that there are a number of groups that prevent bloggers from sharing their own links and social media accounts with each other, which almost defeats the idea of being in a group to begin with.

However, instead of it being a constant free-for-all, which usually only attracts link droppers and no interaction, I have decided to set out a weekly schedule that will help to target blog interaction and social media growth. For now, I have kept it small and simple. Continue reading

When You Plagarise Yourself…

imageI wrote up my latest Blogmas post yesterday about putting my drunken tree up and annoying the poor cat with various winter hats, and by the time I pressed the publish button, I was happy with how it looked.

Underneath my posts are links from my blog that focus on similar themes, so out of interest I clicked on a few of them to revisit things I had written a year ago – I like to do this every so often as a reminder of the progress that I have made.

It turns out, I had written an almost identical post a year ago, and the year before that. Drunken tree, cats in hats. I even used the phrase ‘positively sozzled’ in last year’s post, despite the fact that I felt I had written something quite humorous this year.

After 800 posts along with another thousand that I have deleted over the years, has it really got to the point where I am now plagarising my own work???

I think I need to get some new ideas…

What about you guys? Do you find that you write in cycles, revisiting the same topics at certain points in the year? Do you write identical posts when doing this?

Family Birthday Celebrations

imageIt’s been a really lovely weekend.

I received a package from the lovely Hugh in the mail. He had put a picture of his Christmas ducks up on Facebook and I left a comment that asked where I could get some Christmas ducks of my own. A few days later, some arrived in the mail! Thanks Hugh!

After setting off at ridiculous o’clock yesterday morning, The Bloke and I travelled up north. It was my mum’s 60th birthday and I was also meeting up with some old friends from my college years, so we were staying at my sister and brother-in-laws house. It was a good opportunity to spend some time with my sister before Baby Squidge arrives next month. Continue reading

A Girly Weekend

I’ve been looking forward to this weekend for a while.

Through the Annual Bloggers Bash, I’ve made several new friends that have developed to the point where we all communicate daily – a thread on Twitter turned into a continuous conversation that has seen us through the highs and lows of daily lives. We’ve regularly commented that we wished our houses were nearer to each other, but the other week we decided to do something about it and organise a meet-up. As a result, I found myself on a train to London this morning, preparing to navigate my way through the tube for the first time by myself and looking forward to the first girly weekend that I’ve had in a while.

As always, the train was rammed and I was lucky that I ended up sitting next to a nice girl who was on her way home after a trip to Birmingham. There were various conversations going on throughout the carriage – buying a fireguard to protect a grandchild, a child who felt travel sick and, of course, theories about future world catastrophes following the US election. There were lots of big words being thrown around, including ‘isolanistic’ (I’m not even sure if that’s a real word to begin with) and I was regretting not bringing my headphones as wasn’t something I wanted to listen to all the way to London. Continue reading