What was I saying . . . oh well let me just say this . . . meet . . .
RW: Suzie, first of all, where do you live, reside, crash, blog, basically where does The Suzie81 hang her umbrella?
SUZIE: In my head I live in a beautiful beach house on the coast. Unfortunately, my wallet hasn’t caught up with my little fantasy world and I live in a small terraced house on the outskirts of Birmingham, England’s second largest city, with The Bloke and two cats. I hate the curtains, but it’s cosy and comfortable and next to a beautiful park.
RW: You have a career that to me, one who knows, makes blogging really a chore, can you tell my Friends a bit about what you do?
SUZIE: I’m a music teacher by profession. I work with teenagers, and I’m lucky that my school is well managed, well resourced and I am surrounded by lovely staff and students. I teach my students all about music – one of my biggest influences throughout my life – how to play it, understand it, appreciate it. I try to incorporate lots of different genres and artists into the lessons, aside from anything by One Direction and Justin Bieber. They’re banned from my classroom. Oh, and Celine Dion’s ‘My Heart Will Go On.’ It’s the first song that everyone teaches themself on the piano and after eight years of listening to it I have to resist the urge to stab myself in the eyeball repeatedly.
RW: I know that your career as a teacher recently just put you in a place where writing content for your site was near impossible. I know how much you love your site and your readers, how did you handle not having the mental energy to probably even enjoy a TV show let alone write for your site?
SUZIE: I find it difficult when things get ridiculously busy as blogging is a stress relief – an outlet for any pent up frustrations that have built up during the day. However, when I’m mentally exhausted I find the best thing to do is write down some ideas and store them in my notes until later, retreat to the couch wearing a comfortable pair of jammies and watch something that makes me laugh. I then revisit ideas later when I’m in a better mood.
RW: This is going to seem like an odd question but do you ever sit back and think about living in a country so filled with history?
SUZIE: My mother and sister have always been fascinated with British history and so I have grown up being surrounded by endless books on the subject. However, it was only in my early twenties that I started to really appreciate the heritage that my country has, and over the years I have become a bit of a tourist. I particularly like London and I try and visit several times a year so I can just wander around and take everything in. I also live quite close to Stratford -Upon -Avon, Shakespeares birthplace, and I like to visit there. I’ve always been a royalist and love going to all the palaces, cathedrals and museums.
RW: Where do your blog ideas come from? Do you just sit down and it happens or does something have to spark before you sit down?
SUZIE: It varies. They can be inspired by something I’ve read, a comment that has been made or something will randomly pop into my head and I’ll write it down before I forget it. The post ‘23 Things You Should Actually Do Before You’re 23‘ was written in response to a post that really angered me. My most popular post, ‘How To Know When You’re a Teacher‘ is a collection of things that I have learnt from the experience that I and my colleagues have had in the profession. ‘No Means No!’ was created after the Santa Barbara murders earlier in the year. If I’m busy, I’ll make a note of it and write it up later, and sometimes I’ll sit at the laptop, write and see what happens.
RW: What is your blogging space like?
SUZIE: I’ve seen pictures of other people’s blogging spaces and I’ve been left feeling envious of the clean desk, the pastel coloured walls, the beautiful flowers that surround it. My space, however, consists of a couch, usually with a cat asleep at each side of me. The TV is usually on in the background. The Bloke is asleep next to me. It’s calm and quiet usually.
RW: Tell us a little about The Bloke? (Why do I for some reason think of Sex in the City and Mr. Big every time she mentions “The Bloke”?)
SUZIE: The Bloke is a legend. He’s a little older than me (he’s 45, I’m 32) and we’ve been together for four and a half years. He’s the sensible one, once comparing me to a children’s TV presenter (I’m still not sure how to take that), he’s a computer genius, a silver fox, a fabulous photographer and loves all things geeky. Believe it or not, I had no idea about the difference between Marvel and DC before I met him. I now not only know the difference, but I’ve seen all the films and live with his extensive comic collection. And his Lego, most of which I’ve bought for him.
RW: I always wanted to be Captain America as kid . . . and now really, which hero would you want to be or what power would you want?
SUZIE: I don’t have a favourite marvel superhero. However, I would love to be locked in a room with all the male members of the Avengers. They might be tough, but I’d love to see them attempt to get away from a crazed northern woman…
Confession time here folks. Why is Suzie one of my favorite bloggers? Is it the hair, the eyes, the grin? Is it her writing, her wit, her ire that shows itself at times? Well yes . . . but stay with me. It’s her Twitter account photo. She’s standing in front of, yes . . . Captain America. And I am a huge Captain America fan with my prized comic book collection item being Captain America #100. Were Suzie and I thrown together by fate? Sigh. Perhaps. And then there was that last answer.
10 Minutes Later After Comic Boy Geek Dreamdom
RW: How supportive of your blogging endeavors is
Mr. Big The Bloke in as far as getting involved maybe to help you with going certain places for photos?
SUZIE: It was his suggestion that I started the blog in the first place, but since that initial suggestion he tends to keep out of it. I read out posts to him and ask him for advice, and the general response that I get from him is ‘yeah’ and a shrug of the shoulders, because he has no idea what sort of advice he thinks I want, but I know that he is proud of me. He is very supportive when I achieve something. When I was Freshly Pressed [Professional or Hobbyist] he printed out copies of it to save… It was very sweet. I’m quite independent when it comes to content, so he doesn’t need to take me out anywhere for photos – I’ll go myself or he’ll come with me and we’ll make a day of it.
RW: Speaking of photography, you list that as one of the things you enjoy and we’ve seen evidence of that on your site, what type of camera do you use? Go ahead and baffle me with the technical mumbo jumbo. I have Friends reading this that will eat it up.
SUZIE: I’d love to have an SLR, but I have a Canon SX270 HS that works as well as many SLR’s I’ve seen. Technical mumbo jumbo? I wish I could give lots of brilliant advice about settings, but I’m still learning. My best advice? Take as many pictures as you can. In every hundred pictures I take there is usually only one or two that I would consider to be any good.
Suzie thought this wasn’t technical? She spoke in Hieroglyphics as far as I’m concerned. Why do I keep asking these ladies about their cameras? And why is it the British are the ones I keep asking? And why is the British bloggers I keep interviewing? Is it the accent? Think about that one for a moment and see if it makes sense to you.
SUZIE: Absolutely nothing. I had a Facbook page, and that was as complicated as it got. It’s been a lot of trial and error – deleting, adding, experimenting. I’ve changed my theme many times and spent a lot of time messing about with colours, fonts. I’m still not happy with my layout, but I’m getting there!
RW: You’ve been at this for over a year and have a great following, but at times you must run into those bad ‘blokes’ that just are not very nice, how do you handle a person who seems to simply comment to be a problem?
SUZIE: I’ve been lucky in that I’ve only experienced one or two negative comments (most of them being from irate women in response to a negative post I wrote about Justin Bieber), but I have had to deal with one or two men that weren’t particularly nice. One kept requesting the link to my personal Facebook page, and another, well, I’m not going to go into it but it wasn’t a pleasant experience.
RW: I’ve been lucky as well in not having any really negative feedback but even some messages sent my way about content focus hurts. What’s your advice?
SUZIE: I make sure that I blacklist IP addresses where necessary and I have my comments set so that I moderate each one first. The key is to try and not take things too personally – there are always going to be troll-like figures lurking around the Internet. It’s also important to appreciate those who take the time to leave something positive – it doesn’t necessarily mean that they have to agree with you, but followers who are polite, friendly and respectful and ones worth holding onto.
RW: I’m a content fiend just because I have no impulse control, but I know burnout is probably imminent for me, so for the brand new bloggers how often do you advise people to put out new content?
SUZIE: It depends what your blogging goals are. If you are writing for you and only you, then post whatever and whenever. However, if you are hoping to create a regular readership I think that it is more of a question of content than how often you post. Content is the key to any blog if you want it to be a success. There aren’t any rules about how often you should post – I follow blogs that post daily, weekly and monthly, but my best advice is to make sure that what you are putting out there is something that you are proud of. Of course, the more often you post, the more likely that your blog is likely to be seen, but the content needs to entice your readers to keep coming back for more.
RW: Other than my blog, which I know MUST be your favorite, what types of blogs do you like to follow?
SUZIE: All sorts! Poetry (mainly because I have the poetic talent of a walnut), craft, lifestyle, humour… This morning I read posts about running, a sleepy cat, a poem about lost love and a movie review of Guardians of The Galaxy. I like variety. The more interesting blogs are personal, well laid out and contain photographs.
Note that I included the part about me being her favorite blog after I asked the question. Can you blame me? I wonder if she will notice?
RW: Have you ever wanted to just throw your hands in the air and say “NO MORE BLOG”?
SUZIE: Never. It’s genuinely the first thing that I’ve truly been interested in doing in years. I’ve experienced blog burnout and had to give myself a break for a few days, but there has never been a point in which I wanted to give up. It has now become a part of my life – my blog is incorporated into my daily routine and I have put hours and hours of blood, sweat and tears into creating something that I’m really proud of – it would be such a waste of time to get rid of it. Change it, yes, add to it, yes, but never delete it.
RW: What’s the funniest comment that a reader has made on your blog that first comes to mind?
SUZIE: I’ve had so many that its impossible to choose the funniest of all time, but I do remember that Steve Says made a comment recently when I was talking about The Bloke, proclaiming that he was ‘my lobster.’ I haven’t seen that episode of Friends in years and it cracked me up.
GIFSoupRW: When I read your blog and look at it I get the sense of ‘professional’ in that you don’t do things haphazardly and you don’t get to crazy like I do. Where do you want your blog to lead you?
SUZIE: Honestly? I’ve no idea, but I love the possibilities. When I initially started the blog it was a form of therapy and I had no expectations, and I certainly couldn’t have predicted the direction that it has already taken me and the amazing people that I have met along the way.Now, I’m quite excited about all the things that I could do with it.
RW: I definitely agree that blogging is great therapy. Is there a book idea in the mind of Suzie, if so then would you give us a general idea about it and if you have put work into it yet?
SUZIE: I’m not a creative writer so fictional stories are never going to happen, but I have contemplated the idea of putting together a compilation of my favourite posts. The problem is that I don’t know who would be interested in buying something like that. I’d have to consider a target audience a little more…
RW: When does Suzie81 Speaks find time for her social life and what does she do during her favorite social life moments, her escape and getaway moments?
SUZIE: One word… Karaoke. If it isn’t a school night and there’s a microphone, I’m there. My best friend runs a karaoke night at the pub that he works at every Friday, so when I really need to unwind that’s where you’ll find me. My social life doesn’t really exist during the week, but I like to meet up with friends at the weekends and we’ll go for a meal, to the cinema or around to each others houses for a catch-up. If I want to escape I go out for a day trip somewhere – to the park, into the city, on a train somewhere, to the spa. I did once decide to go to Malaga for the weekend for my friend’s birthday and spent Saturday afternoon lying on the beach. As it was in the middle of term time, the flights were dirt cheap. I think I need to do that again.
RW: What is something you do that’s a hidden talent that maybe only your close friends know about?
SUZIE: I can make my stomach expand to the point where I look heavily pregnant. I stood next to my friend when she was 24 weeks and we looked the same size . . . perhaps it’s not a talent, more of a party trick . . .
RW: I can do that too . . . without trying . . . and it’s not a trick. Umm . . is Suzie a great dancer?
SUZIE: Suzie likes to think that she is, particularly after consuming her own body weight in cider. Unfortunately, comparisons have been made with a frog in a blender – arms and legs everywhere – and I don’t think that Beyonce or her backing dancers will be losing sleep anytime soon.
RW: We need a video of that, seriously. I think our followers need to start a vote on your blog for it. What’s the one talent you would like to have that you don’t?
SUZIE: Dance. Again, resembling a frog in a blender proves to be a problem.
RW: I see a pattern here. What is your favorite outfit?
SUZIE: I have a dress that I bought for my 30th birthday. It’s black, strapless and figure hugging. It’s beautiful. Unfortunately, it doesn’t currently fit (i’ve enjoyed my food a little too much recently) but I’m working on it.
RW: With ‘The Block’ in your life and the mention of the dress, what is romance to you?
SUZIE: I’m not a romantic, despite owning almost every romantic comedy on DVD from the last 20 years. While I love the idea, in reality I would be likely to laugh in The Bloke’s face if he gave me the speech from When Harry Met Sally, or stood outside my bedroom window holding a ghetto blaster above his head. We did, however, once sit by the Seine in Paris and watch the sunset behind the Eiffel Tower, and left a love lock on the bridge behind Notre Dame Cathedral. I suppose romance to me is not hugely wild gestures, it’s things that happen on a daily basis. When I got an ‘Oustanding’ in the last OFSTED inspection, he wrote me a card telling me how proud he was of me and that he loved me, presented me with a bracelet in a beautiful box, made me a lovely dinner and rubbed my feet. Yesterday, he attended a wedding with me, and sat holding my hand. He opens doors, kisses me on the top of my head as he walks past at home and tells me he loves me. My apologies to your readers, I can practically hear them vomiting into buckets as I write…
RW: Young Russell Crowe or Hugh Jackman?
SUZIE: Young Hugh Jackman. Middle aged Hugh Jackman. Fifty year old Hugh Jackman. Hugh Jackman without a shirt. Mmm… Hugh Jackman. However, the ultimate man is Dolph Lundgren. I’ve had a crush on him since I first watched Masters of the Universe when I was about six yeas old. I even have an autographed framed print of him in my bedroom. He’s a truly beautiful man.
RW: Did not see that one coming. What is your favorite comedic show to watch?
SUZIE: I love sitcoms like The Big Bang Theory and have seen every episode of Friends about thirty times, but I particularly like British comedies that have a slightly eclectic humour like Spaced, Green Wing, Blackadder and Bottom. I love live stand up shows – Eddie Murphy’s ‘Raw’ is still one f the funniest things I’ve ever seen.
Has to be one of my favorite answers ever. I loved hearing of TV shows I know nothing about. It shows me how much I don’t know about other cultures. Loved.
RW: What is your favorite scent/aroma/fragrance and why?
SUZIE: Stella by Stella McCartney. I love the stuff and make sure that it’s on my birthday list every year. I’ve been stopped in the street by people who have asked what perfume I’m wearing because I apparently smell nice. Unfortunately, there’s also a very popular brand of beer that has the same name, so on occasions I’ve had to explain that I don’t bathe in lager. Although, there’s an idea.
RW: What is your favorite beverage?
SUZIE: Mojito. Original Mojito, strawberry Mojito, raspberry Mojito.
SUZIE: Chuff. It has many uses and connotations in my world, but I like to use it in the context of ‘tighter than a gnat’s chuff.’ Take from that what you will…
Well on that note, and I am hoping Suzie was not referring to me specifically with that last one . . . I want to thank Suzie for agreeing to an interview. This one has been a long time in coming, what with her busy work schedule. I hope you all enjoyed it. I can’t believed she answered everything.
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