conversation between friends

2012 in review


The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2012 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

4,329 films were submitted to the 2012 Cannes Film Festival. This blog had 25,000 views in 2012. If each view were a film, this blog would power 6 Film Festivals

Click here to see the complete report.

Olympic Sex


Look away now if you are of a fragile disposition! ok, it’s just us adults left eh? Before you get too hot under the collar or anywhere else, this post is not about athletic feats of bedroom prowess or indeed how Olympians may enjoy themselves when they are not attempting to smash world records. This is a post about blogging. Or SEO  techniques to be precise.

I’m not a fan of navel gazing, although show me a blogger who isn’t slightly obsessed with their stats and page views and I’ll introduce you to a cowboy who isn’t keen on horses. It’s ALWAYS about data!

You can insert your own caption to accompany the photo of this Olympian weightlifter!

I noticed that one of my most popular recent posts is about Twitter trolls and faeries.  On closer inspection both the words ‘trolls’ and ‘faeries’ came up as search terms. Use both together as the title of a post and ker-boom! Record views. Well, very healthy indeed.

So you see, I was just having a bit of fun with the title Olympic Sex. Pasting two words together that independently come high up in the ‘engines’, would result in even higher views if they are used together, right?

I’m no expert but there is a lot a blogger can learn about SEO, copywriting and marketing through experimentation and observation. Much more fun than reading someone else’s book I say.

Larissa Franca & Juliana Silva. Brazilian beach beauties.

sportsillustrated.cnn.com

Suzy Rigg

Conversation Between Friends: Relationship Dilemmas


You’ve heard the saying:

People come into your life for a reason, a season or a lifetime…

What does this mean for you and the relationship dilemma you are currently experiencing?

My take on this clever little mnemonic is this:

The ‘why’ relationship?

The ‘why’ relationships can feel challenging or difficult, they are easy to recognise ~ your relationship may be beset with problems and high drama, you tell yourself you can’t live with ‘em and you can’t live without ‘em!  You tend to spend a lot of your time asking yourself ‘why?’ and sighing in exasperation. This group of people generally rock up to show you something about yourself, or the way you are living your life. They almost hold a mirror up to you. Sometimes the lesson is as subtle as, ‘you deserve better than this, raise your game!’ These people can be viewed as ‘teachers’.  Sometimes they are in your life for a long time, or until your lesson is learned.  Stick with it, stay open-minded, they don’t mean to be a pain and remember in some scenarios, the teacher role could actually be you!

Summer Love

The second group, the ‘seasonal’ ones, are easier to identify. They could be holiday romances, people you went to school or college with, people who worked really intensely with on a project and them *puff* as quickly as they came into your life, they disappear. You have to pinch yourself to check it really happened. It all seemed so technicolour, intense, exciting.  In my experiences these sorts of relationships usually leave happy memories, perhaps life-changing moments in your life’s romantic road map.

It’s Forever!

The ‘lifers’ are in this group. This doesn’t mean your relationship will be plain sailing by any stretch, but there may be a feeling of precognition or deja vue on both sides, an uncanny sense of almost telepathic understanding. And for the lucky few these may also be in the relationships you marry, have children with and grow old with.  You may even meet them when you are young.

Or your relationship role might be that of an eternal Peter Pan; flitting like a butterfly from lover to lover, spreading fun, love and laughter and a sprinkling of tears on peoples’ shoulders as you fly lightly through the uniquely fascinating maze of human emotions.

Wherever you’re at, and who ever you’re with, try to enjoy the ride, learn your lessons and remember that no one can truly love you until you are 100% at peace with who YOU are.

© Suzy Rigg

Image reproduced with courtesy of  http://www.kobisiteniz.com

Beautiful Bloggers


My dear friend Kate Winthrop – AKA Winnie  blogg-ess extraordaire over at THEstyleBITE has come up with a wonderfully creative idea that really confronts the issue of female body dysmorphia. Huh? Say what?! You know, when you think you look sh*t, when actually you look like a babe and need your eyes testing.

As women, we are confronted daily with unrealistic and sometime plain offensive images of womanhood, many of which are impossible to attain or achieve because they are, well, FAKE! Digital image enhancement is just one of the methods use to trick women into believing that a new cream, lotion or exfoliator will give them perfect, younger, bouncier, firmer, skin, lips, eyes, buttocks – when all we all know deep down: some days you look gorgeous and glowing and others you look shit. No cream known to man can change this. Beauty is only skin deep anyway and I’ve seen very beautiful women – and men, who would not get past the entry buzzer of your average model agency. It’s everything to do with how you feel inside.

Beautiful Bloggers, a lovely idea

So, here’s what happens:
1. Lady-bloggers post images of themselves on THEstyleBITE blog and email in their insecurities with their pic

2. The photo (minus insecurities) gets forwarded to someone else in the project who gives constructive and positive feedback

3. THEstyleBITE editor Ms. Winthrop has full editorial control over the blog so that all comments have to be approved by her before any of the photo reviews are posted

4. This weeds out the potential for any ‘horribles’ – (we don’t like any of that here either at ‘Conversation Between Friends’)

So, those are the rules, so get involved! Simples.  A great idea, which serves as a powerful reminder to all women who are often so painfully self-critical, that others see a very different picture to the one we often see in the mirror.

So stop obsessing about your fine lines, muffin top or curvy hips, check out her site and tell someone they look fabulous today.  It will make her day :)

Visit THEstyleBITE for more info http://www.thestylebite.co.uk/

Well done doll, keep up the good work!

© Suzy Rigg

Conversation Between Friends: Dumper or Dumpee?


Friendship is like a seesaw, says  Conversation Between Friends

One of you is generally up when the other is down and vice versa. That is the real test of friendship; pushing or coaxing your friend out of their funk, or being pulled out of your bad mood – that’s lasted for about three weeks – even when you are quite happy there, being a sulk! The skill of a good friend is to know when to listen and nod and when to speak. When to laugh dryly and when to open a bottle of wine.

Some people like to hibernate when they are feeling down, associating friendship and socializing as something they do when they feel ‘up’. A good friend will know when to drag you to a lively bar andwhen to sit you down and encourage you to do that thing you have been avoiding (make the call, write the letter, fill in the application, form chose your own here).

But if YOU are always the soother, sweeper upper, Kleenex provider and wine uncorker, who cradles you when you are feeling bruised? Sometimes if the friendship see-saw is too out of balance and you are left suspended in the air for too long, you will inevitably start to feel ‘out of balance.’  You have become the ‘dumpee’.  Your friend has taken on the role of ‘dumper’ and without you realising it and you have both become stuck in this pattern.

Dumper/Dumpee: Is your friendship out of balance?

If you are the dumper, you will probably love your friend ‘dumpee’ dearly. Of course you do!! Dumpee knows more things about you than many members of your family and always seems to know just what to say and how to respond to your needs. But what about ‘dumpee’s’ needs? Huh? you say? Oh everything’s OK in their life. I’m the one with all of the problems!!

If you are reading this, you already know which one you are. Or you may have been ‘dumper’ in one friendship and now you are ‘dumpee’!

It’s OK. Friendships are fertile ground for exploring who you are and where you stand in relation to others around you. Your friend will know about the problems at work, with your partner, with your weight, with your children, your parents.

Just try to remember though that wherever you are on the seesaw, your friend is there helping you to find your equilibrium.

And you would do the same for them. Wouldn’t you?

© Suzy Rigg

Conversation Between Friends: Best Friends Forever?


This blog is called ‘Conversation Between Friends’ . The first sort of friendship I am going to talk about is woman to woman. Everyone has a different story to tell but there is one common thread – these friendships are vital to womens’ emotional wellbeing.

Conversation Between Friends:Chinese symbol for friendship

From my experience, the saying ‘people come into your life for a reason, season, or a lifetime’ does ring true! Some friends seem to come into your life to ‘teach’ you something (a reason) some of them are for a fixed period of time only, then they evaporate (a season) and thankfully some of them stick around while your life continues on its crazy backflip merry-go-round (for life).

In my early twenties, I had a great friend I used to go clubbing with, on holiday with and we were practically glued together. People mistook us for sisters and we were just fine with that (one of us is adopted, the other an only child). Then I got pregnant. Quite imperceptibly, our friendship changed. I was morphing into a woman and she was still young at heart. My pregnancy seemed to shine a light on her relationship with her boyfriend. Something deep in my psyche told me she’d had a termination. But we never discussed this.

My baby was born and she promised to send a bouquet to my London flat. It never arrived. She suggested that the neighbours in the flat below had appropriated the flowers, well that was easier to believe wasn’t it? She looked at my child and mused that she probably wouldn’t have one as good-looking as mine. In my hormonal haze, I couldn’t come up with a suitable one-liner; maybe one wasn’t required as she didn’t seem to be joking. Our riotous trip to Florida had become a distant memory, and soon so was our friendship.

I was hurt and confused: how could a friend treat you so badly? (I was to find out, as in another friendship I became the badly behaved one). But the baby years are busy, and the vacuum created by one lost friend is rapidly filled by many other mummy friends and their intriguing offspring.

I remember our daring and closeness our vanity, and shocking amounts of confidence as two young women with the world at their feet. For that, our friendship will never be forgotten.

A couple of other friendship posts you might like:

Are you the Dumper or Dumpee? http://tinyurl.com/6c624ux

Is the truth hard to take? http://tinyurl.com/69gn7op


© Suzy Rigg

Chris Brown & Chipmunk: Champion


Listen to it. The Chris Brown and Chipmunk combo: powerful, heartfelt.

Chris Brown in Mayfair, London. Credit WENN

“Some people have to learn (the hard way)

“Some people wait their turn (lifetimes, generations for justice)

“Some people have to fight (civil rights, politicians)

“Some people give their lives (record numbers of young black males die in prison, kill each other, suicide, death row..)

Here’s the video – listen for yourself – the words are heavy Champion

For me the power in this song is in rallying victory cry of young black men finally coming to terms with who they are. Between them Chris Brown and Chipmunk rap about violence, slavery, hurt, pain, oppression, mistakes, remorse. But where does this all lead them to? Victory.

MC Chipmunk, from Tottenham, London.

My hope is that all the fatherless boys who grow up to father other fatherless boys, realise that they still have the potential to be ‘CHAMPIONS!’.

Maybe I’m going in too seriously here, perhaps it’s just that catchy riff and those buff bronze bodies?

“I was born a champion”

Another post you might like: Lifeline for Ghetto Soldiers:

© Suzy Rigg

Will you buy my sweet red roses?


If you are ever in Southwark, London SE1, which is where the London Dungeons are, you must take a stroll down Hays Galleria. Go straight out of London Bridge underground station, right down Tooley Street for about seven minutes before you see the entrance to the Galleria on your left.

With lofty iron arches and a weird ironboat water feature, there are small shops and cafes that lead right down to the River Thames. Wondering back towards London Bridge tube, I stumbled across a traditional cream ‘barrow’ style flower seller in the Galleria setting up her stall.

Who will buy my sweet red roses?

 Hi, nice to see you here!” I said, “Oh thank you,” she said and told me her name was Melanie.

“How long have your been working here,” I said, “I haven’t seen you here before.”

“Well, I’m here for the first time, it’s a trial run as I’m trying to persuade Hays Galleria to set me up here permanently. There’s nothing like this here and there is a real demand for it, I sell out all the bouquets I make up,” she enthused.

Melanie posed while a passing tourist took her photograph. “Do you like flowers?” she asked, “I like roses”, I replied. I watched as she plucked and cut and arranged while we chatted. “I do hope it goes well for you, it’s great to see a traditional seller here!”

I took her photo and she handed me a beautiful bouquet, comprised of two white roses, a peach one and yellowy-red tight-lipped tulips.

“A gift for you!” she said smiling.

I smiled too, all the way home – even on the heaving tube.

© Suzy Rigg

Stand up parents, you got the job!


I enjoyed Robert Crampton’s Times piece ‘Because I say so’; an article written from the perspective of the father – still married to the mother – of his teenage son, discussing the issues of parental discipline.

The word authority seems to have morphed into something to be feared, fought against and mistrusted. Sadly, this is in part due to the miscreants that society often places in positions of authority and the impact of their abuse of that authority. Nevertheless, many authority figures fulfil just, reliable and responsible positions that are a requirement for an orderly and organised society. Police officers, members of the judiciary, clerics (you decide), teachers and parents. Whoa, parents, I hear you cry, when did they start to assume hold positions of authority? The bible tells us to ‘honour thy mother and thy father’ and many faiths and cultures have ceremonies for new parents and ‘god’ parents too. So, with all this natural and god-given authority, why are parenting classes and handbooks, courses and websites devoted to the tricky issue of parenting, in particular parenting and discipline? It’s clear that that ‘parental authority’ doesn’t equate with parental experience to enforce this authority. There really is no manual. And because every parent is as unique and individual as their children and there are so many family variations, the possibility for confusion and complexity in fulfilling parental authority is practically infinite.

Many psychologists including Jung and Freud have theorised about parenting and the parent/child relationship and one thing is clear: bold and deeply entrenched parenting patterns can run through families for generations. Whilst this is acknowledged, there is still plenty parents can do to gain or regain their parental authority. It’s not easy but when you consider that the rewards can travel down your family for future generations, the investment in time and energy is certainly worth the effort for such an important legacy.

In Robert’s words: ‘they are all sweet boys at 13. If you want them still to be sweet at 17, you have to show them who’s boss.’  From his article, I discern that his techniques for showing them who’s boss are:

  • Use your voice – saying calmly and firmly when you think something is wrong or unacceptable provides a clear, unambiguous message.

 

  • Do not negotiate – ‘because I say so’ is a vocal challenge leaving no room for manoeuvre, no bargaining is entered into, it’s just because it is.

 

  • ‘The father has failed to assert himself’ – here he is not referring to physical acts of assertion,  he is referring to standing tall,        making direct eye contact, remembering you are a parent, not friends.

 

  • Owning your role  – if you ‘give away’ your authority to school or peers, you are effectively allowing other forces (insert your own list here) to assume your authority to shape and influence your child.

Are we flying the flag for old-fashioned Victorian authoritarian parenting? No, we’re flying the flag for fully fledged badge-wearing loving parents to own and flourish in their role of raising tomorrow’s generation.  Here’s the job description: “Challenging and exciting role of caretaker for another human being, 18 year contract, full-time position, working hours 24/7, no holiday, deferred gratification with occassional flashes of intense compassion and humility. Work must be done alongside any other employment.”

Form an orderly queue.

© Suzy Rigg

Dear Friends


Le Paris, a 2010 highlight

This is a personal letter from me to you. Yes you! I would like to thank you for reading this blog, whether you have landed here from Twitter, Facebook or a random search engine – thanks for eyeballing me. This blog has been ridiculously good fun and an almost obsessional pastime for me since August 2010. Many big emotional things have happened to me during the writing of this blog between August and December, family illness, death, reunion, a love affair to name a few. None of them are on here, they are far too personal and emotional to share – yet. I have journalled them and these events may reappear in other forms as novels, documentaries or through other channels. All is possible!

A large part of blogging for many is personal diarising, some blogs are almost addictive to follow. Rather like watching soaps; someone else’s pain and passion is a form of escapism from your own. Other blogs are purely business ventures and that’s not where I’m at either, it’s kind of a half-way house and I hope it works! My choice for the moment is to use my life experiences to create something other than the experience itself, that is to shape it into something useful and hopefully meaningful.

I’m not sure you how many of you are ‘returners’ to this blog, I have yet to start on the journey of analytics! But to be honest, there is no ulterior motive behind this blog apart from a place to ‘download’ my thoughts and ideas and share them with you. It’s great to have made new friends through this medium and it’s true, writing things down really does create its own momentum in all sorts of ways! So special thanks to those who have commented and engaged with me, please continue to do so and do suggest things for me to write – I’m not precious at all!!

For the New Year, I am considering advertisements on the blog, from companies or organisations that resonate with my own values. So, no to the poker sites then! And yes to social entrepreneurs, ethical producers, not-for-profits, sustainable and ethical fashionistas and those of you are about self-improvement and spiritual advancement. Oh and yes to writers, editors, poets and that community. I will also add some friends and associates to the blogroll, yes a little long in coming but it’s nice to get to know people, where they’re coming from etc. before you rush and promote them to your readers. Reputation is everything ;-)

So thank you once again for reading for the past few months and I would like to wish you a fabulously fulfilled New Year and here’s to a long and continued conversation between friends!