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

Cinema City Norwich & The Dining Rooms

Everyone has their own favourite genre of film whether it’s sci-fi, horror or a good old rom-com. One of mine happens to be biographical films about famous figures, I love knowing about the childhood and life of people before they were the people we know and see in the spotlight. The best ones I’ve seen are The Theory of Everything about Stephen Hawkin, Bohemian Rapsody about the incredible Queen and, as of last Friday night, Tolkien. I was lucky enough to be gifted two tickets, one for myself and one for my partner, to see the new film about the creator of Lord of the Rings – the brilliant J.R.R. Tolkien.

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But these weren’t any old cinema tickets, they were for a viewing at Cinema City, Norwich. I love this cinema with a passion, it is one of the countries Picture House cinemas – a small chain of special buildings which are a world away from the big cinemas you may be used to visiting. Fewer screens, better food and drink, special events and a better atmosphere all mean I would always choose a Picture House cinema. This being said, better snacks to keep you busy whilst watching the film isn’t always a good thing as I found out – my lovely fiancé Daniel decided on some rather posh looking pork scratchings without thinking about the crunch factor! Cue waiting for noisy parts of the film for him to crunch his food and trying to stifle our laughs as we realise the ridiculousness of the situation – lesson learnt haha! I myself skipped the snacks but did have a delicious glass of rosé whilst watching the film, a welcome step up from a tango ice blast I must say! I have reviewed this cinema previously, a few years ago, so you may already know its a favourite of mine – and it just keeps getting better.

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Recipes for the health conscious – Buy Whole Foods Online

It’s been a while since I’ve shared my own recipes for you all rather than reviewing other people’s food, so when Buy Whole Foods Online kindly sent me some ingredients to try I jumped at the chance to get the creative juices flowing! If you’re anything like me and spend hours browsing health food stores and love healthy, natural ingredients then you have to check out the Buy Whole Foods Online website – they have all kinds of ingredients in bulk, everything you could ask for – I literally have to stop myself buying everything on their site!!
I would just like to tell you a little about the company before sharing my recipes for their beetroot powder and juniper berries, as they have a lovely back story. BWFO was started in 2007 by two cousins who loved whole, healthy foods, and their first office was a garden shed! The two men worked from a shed developing the company for 4 years, before finally moving into larger premises in 2011. The business is now more as you would imagine a global enterprise to be, running from a large warehouse in Ramsgate and is growing all of the time! It’s such an inspiring story, I wish I had the patience and drive to do something like that but unfortunately for me if something isn’t an overnight success, I give up pretty quickly – something I’m working on.

Below I have two amazing (if I do say so myself) recipes for you using ingredients from Buy Whole Foods Online – I would love to hear from you if you do recreate these yourself – send me some pictures or tag me @justhollieblog on both Instagram and Twitter!

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