New Year, New Goals – Looking ahead to 2020

 

Happy New Year/Decade everybody! Doesn’t it feel special when not only do we creep into a new year but also a different decade? 2020 – how the heck did that happen? It doesn’t seem two minutes ago I was raising a glass of Lambrini with my Nan to see in the Millennium (I was 8 and felt trés chic with a glass of bubbles!) but when in fact that was 20 years ago, time really does fly when you’re having fun.

I always reflect like hell at the turn of the year and this one isn’t any different – if you haven’t read any of my previous posts you may not know I am a proud New Year’s Resolution maker, but this year I wanted to put together a list of goals rather than a single resolution. The idea being that I can look back in a year’s time and see if my plans worked, if they varied somewhat or if something drastically different happened. This past year has taught me that life throws surprises at you which you could never predict, so all we can do is set the best intentions but if you get a chance to do something which was never even on your radar, that’s equally as bloody brilliant (if you don’t know what I’m talking about, you may want to read my last post on moving from Norfolk to Scotland). So without further dragging it out and blabbering on, here are my goals for the year of 2020.

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Finish my Creative Writing Level 3 course, and begin my Level 4 Proofreading qualification.

I don’t think I’ve spoken about my home studies on the blog before, but they do exist! You probably wouldn’t know that I’m a keen writer in a capacity outside of this blog and plan to launch my own freelance business in the New Year (alongside my 9-5 unfortunately until it can pay the bills!). I plan to offer SEO optimised blog posts for businesses without the capacity or skills to do it themselves, I’m putting together social media courses for beginners, I’m offering written website content, articles for print, press releases and social captions – basically if it can be written, I want to be able to offer it as a service. Hence where my home study courses come in; I’ve nearly finished my Creative Writing Diploma which has been a lot of fun as well as helping me develop my skills- it has meant writing fiction and poetry as well as non-fiction genres and I haven’t done that since school! When that is finished I plan to enrol straight away on the Proofreading course, meaning this too can then be offered on a freelance basis, expanding my services. Realistically I won’t finish both courses by the end of the year but if I can be nearly there, I’ll be chuffed. Home study isn’t for everyone but personally I love learning, and as a writer I think the more you do and the more you expose yourself to different mediums, the better you get. I don’t think I’ll ever stop wanting to add to my skill set, which is something I’m proud of.

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Moving to Scotland – A New Chapter for Just Hollie

Merry Christmas one and all! Can you believe that it’s the 24th of December as I write this – where has this year gone?! If you read my blog post about my recent wedding you’ll already know there has been a lot of change in my life, but I have more to tell you about, so grab a cuppa (or mulled wine) and let’s catch up.

Just Hollie, moving home

I’ll start from the beginning; around this time last year my husband started travelling up to Glasgow for work around once a month, sometimes less. I won’t tell you exactly who he works for and where for obvious reasons, but he’s in the corporate world where travelling for work isn’t uncommon so we didn’t think too much about it at the time. He was enjoying his work and liked going up on the odd occasion to Glasgow and that was that really. Fast forward a couple of months to around the March/April time and there I was cooking dinner for us both one weekday evening, when Hubby comes home from work with a rather unexpected question. ‘You know I’ve been working with the team in Glasgow a lot recently and going up there for work, well how would you feel about moving to Scotland together permanently?’ – he’d been offered a job in the office he’d been visiting and wanted to take it. It was an opportunity he couldn’t pass up and would be great for his career – the only hurdle for him was convincing me! To be honest, it wasn’t completely out of the blue or a huge surprise, we had a feeling his job was heading that way but all of a sudden it felt real and actually, really bloody exciting. I had no hesitation in saying yes to the move because I had felt that my 9-5 wasn’t right for me any longer for a while and I was really ready for a life shake up too. So that was that, it had been decided quite easily and we were moving to Scotland! I don’t think he could believe how easily I had said yes and that I was willing to move to a different country for him, but we were getting married and I love him to bits – it was a good move for both of us and a chance for us to carve out our own little piece of the world away from where we grew up. Continue reading

Book review: Reader, I Married Me!

What would you do if you took your dog for a walk and he unceremoniously shit out another woman’s g-string? I personally would’ve throttled my boyfriend with it and had a quarter-life meltdown, but then probably would’ve picked myself right back up and cracked on with my life, probably lunging into another relationship within weeks because I have always been a ‘boyfriend person’. Obviously, I’m happily married now so it has worked well for me, but my first thought when it came to reviewing Sophie Tanner’s fabulous book ‘Reader, I Married Me’, was that I never really was single after getting my first boyfriend in high school. Chloe Usher, the main character in the fantastically feminist plot, didn’t do the obvious. Instead, she married herself on Brighton beach in a kitsch ceremony full of self-worth and happiness – sounds pretty out there, no?

Reader, I Married Me!
In her semi-biographical debut novel, Sophie Tanner writes about the story of a young woman called Chloe who has had enough of men, had enough of the seemingly perfect couples who think anything other than the ‘normal’ family set up is obviously not what a woman wants and she had certainly had enough of people telling her what she could and couldn’t do.  I found ‘Reader, I Married Me’ a funny and charming way to put the microscope over the way we live our lives, obsessed with finding the perfect partner and almost always losing a piece of ourselves in that process. The book makes you want to celebrate YOU in all of your glory but not only that, it reminds you of the importance of friendship as a form of love and that it is one we should value just as much as romantic love. Continue reading

Reclaiming Interiors

The end of a job, a wedding, and an imminent move – it’s safe to say that I’ve had quite a lot happening in the past few weeks and there aren’t any signs of it slowing down. It’s likely that I will have relocated from Norfolk to Scotland by the end of the year (if you don’t follow me on Instagram you may not know this, but we are moving North for my husband’s job). I’m one of those people who really embrace change, and I’m really excited to begin this new chapter in our lives. And that is what this is, a brand new chapter as husband and wife, out in the world by ourselves making a completely new life just for the two of us. Preparation for this new life for me is not only practical things such as bills, finding a new job and anything else a big move entails but sorting out my possessions too, and thinking to myself ‘what do I want the new Hollie to own’? I don’t know the reason why but I really feel like shaking life up and using this as a chance to be the person I really want to be – a new and improved version of Just Hollie if you like. I’ve always known how I want my life to look but now I really have had a kick up the bum to not settle for less.

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Wedding series, 4: THE WEDDING!

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Credit to a wedding guest – our photographer is doing her thing in the background!

Hi, hello, bonjour. Just me, Hollie, a married woman here. Yes, you read that right – I GOT FUCKING MARRIEDDDDDD!!!!!!
To say I’m still not over it is an understatement, newlywed highs are 100% a thing. I thought I better round off my wedding series by letting you all know how the day went and I also really wanted to give a shout out to my amazing local suppliers – so if you live in Norfolk/Suffolk and are getting married I hope you find this helpful (list and links at bottom of post).

I’ll begin with a little play by play of the day, because we were the luckiest couple ever and everything went perfectly. This includes the weather as the very next day it absolutely TIPPED it down – I’m sure you saw the reports of flooding last Sunday and probably had a back garden like a pond yourself. Could you imagine if that was the weather on your wedding day, someone was definitely looking down on me for sure!
I got ready at my home with my mum and my best friend who was also my bridesmaid – I had one adult and two gorgeous nieces walk down the aisle with me, the little ones met me at the church as my sister in law is an absolute legend and got them ready for me. The morning was chilled and calm, with me surprisingly a lot less nervous than I had anticipated being, I think when it came to the day I was actually just really excited to get going and see Daniel at the church. They won’t thank me for saying it but I think my mum and bridesmaid had more nerves than me – I found myself trying to assure them that it was going to be a fabulous day and nothing to worry about! I feel honoured that so many people close to me cared enough to have such strong emotions about our day, something I will never forget. Continue reading

Off duty ‘Luxe’

Some women are glam through and through – you could cut them open and they’d bleed diamonds. Some women, aka me, are slightly more informal and relaxed in their style and try as they might pretend they like to get dressed up, are casual to the core.
Bearing this in mind, I wanted to share with you my latest favourites from Femme Luxe Finery. You may have seen my previous post, and as part of my ongoing collaboration with the brand, I absolutely could not wait to show you my latest goodies.
This sweatshirt whooshed straight into the #1 spot in my wardrobe the second I tried it on, how amazing is this! Worn ironically into the office on a casual Friday it definitely prompted loads of compliments – I need one for each day of the week! I would recommend wearing with leggings for a comfy weekend outfit or glam up with maybe some leather trousers and heels for a bit of a different night out vibe.

The second item of clothing I wanted to speak to you about is these jeans. Now we all know how bloody hard it is to find a decent pair of jeans and I’ll be honest, when I chose these for part of this post I wasn’t expecting to love them – as nearly every pair of jeans I buy from a fast fashion website don’t quite cut the mustard. However, these are the one. Thick denim, really nice colour and they fit my waist perfectly. I don’t feel like they’re going to wear out around the crotch/inside leg like so many flimsy jeans I’ve had before have done and they’re the perfect length. What can I say, I urge you to give them a go! As you can see from the pictures, I wore these all day at a music festival and they did me proud – bravo Femme Luxe Finery and their jeans! Continue reading

Bee Natural Wax Melts, Suffolk

I had absolutely no idea what a wax melt was until the start of this year, but then I started following Mrs Hinch on Instagram; Like many others, I instantly went out and bought a burner, I was hooked. I bought a couple of Yankee Candle melts to begin with and I also purchased some of the infamous Ava May Aromas melts, both lovely but I really am trying to buy local where possible, and knew there were a few small companies in the area making gorgeous wax melts. Like some sort of internet magic, one night whilst scrolling through the ‘gram, I came across Bee Natural Wax Melts. Bee Natural instantly drew me in, they made a product I wanted, were local (Lowestoft) and their branding is absolutely a bit of me!

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Holkham Country Fair

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Horses, shooting, classic cars, tractors and delicious food – what’s not to love? This is what I was lucky enough to be surrounded with when I visited Holkham Estate recently for their annual country fair! Held over the weekend of 20th and 21st of July, the yearly spectacle of Norfolk’s finest did not disappoint on my first ever time visiting, despite the downpour of rain we were unlucky enough to have on the Saturday of the show! If you’ve never been to Holkham Estate I highly recommend it, the grandeur of the hall and the beauty of the grounds never disappoint me – belonging to the Earl of Leicester, the 25,000-acre estate really does take your breath away! Continue reading

Athleisure – Best trend of 2019?

Sports wear that you don’t have to break a sweat in? I’m there.

You may have noticed a rise in sporty looking everyday clothing and even workout inspired evening wear – you can’t walk down the street without seeing someone in leggings or joggers at the moment and I’m loving it. Up until probably the beginning of this year you would’ve felt out of place going to the shops in your workout gear but move into summer 2019 and its positively encouraged! Ever wanted to go on a night out in joggers?  Now you can!
It’s a trend that I think confuses men and divides women, you either love it or you hate it. I was slightly reserved at first but then Femme Luxe Finery sent me a lounge wear set and now I’m slightly hooked! I love that you can buy the matching sets and either wear them together or mix and match like I have in the picture below. You can style them down with trainers and a cap or dress them up with hoops, a killer pair of heels and extra sass.

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Unruly Print – ‘Learn to Lino’ workshop

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Last Friday night I was sat on the A14, stuck in traffic whilst rainclouds loomed above, but what awaited me was worth it; I was on my way to attend a ‘Learn to Lino’ lino printing workshop hosted by the talented Andy aka Unruly Print. This isn’t a usual Friday night activity for me, I haven’t done anything arty since I was allowed to drop the subject in year 9 at school, and even then what I produced was reminiscent of someone giving it a go with their eyes closed, so I was slightly apprehensive that I would be no good at lino printing. I needn’t have worried, as Andy was a brilliant teacher and actually the beauty of lino printing, I found anyway, was that the imperfections translated onto print as interesting detail and I don’t think you could really get it too far wrong.

The workshop began with Andy telling us a little about lino printing and the different tools and materials which can be used, and gave us a tour around our workstations so we could work safely and choose the type of lino we liked best to work with. It was so interesting just having a little play around with the different types of lino and the different tools you could carve your design with, the variations of designs you could make were vast! I decided to use tracing paper and trace my blog logo – forever trying to get my name out there 😉 It was fairly difficult for me to get my head around the whole concept of whether to write my words normally or back to front, because obviously you’re going to use the lino to then print your design in reverse, but luckily for me Andy is an expert and was on hand to help! Continue reading