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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Procoal Activated Charcoal Exfoliating Face Scrub

Is there anything that feels more satisfying than using a face scrub? Not for someone like myself with oily, problem skin there isn’t. It was rumoured that Marilyn Monroe washed her face up to 15 times a day to keep it clean and to minimise blemishes, but I’ve got something slightly more practical for you lovely lot! (FYI Marilyn I feel you, sometimes at work my face feels so awful I could stick my head in the sink, oh to have non-greasy skin I tell ya!).

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I was lucky enough recently to be gifted a tube of Procoal’s new face scrub, which as soon as I squeezed a blob onto my hand I knew I would love. Full of gritty yet gentle pieces of pumice and charcoal which make you feel like its really doing something to your skin. These ingredients work alongside Allantoin and Calendula Oil which are the more silent skincare saviours, I can honestly say it makes your skin feel clean, glowy and makeup goes on smoother as a result. Continue reading

5 minutes that could save your life…

I’m gonna go straight in and say it; I had my first cervical cancer screening last week.
Smear, screening, sweep – whatever you call it, when was your last one?
(Boys, probably not the most relevant blog post for you but please send to sisters, girlfriends, colleagues!).

So rewinding a little here, having my first smear test was something I had been nervous about for a little while. I turned twenty five almost two years ago – I received the letter inviting me to attend my screening and honestly just point blank ignored it for at least a year. I started to feel guilty about not going when I saw the recent #smearforsmear campaign online backed by lots of different Instagram celebrities and influencers, so I plucked up the courage to book myself in alongside a recent routine contraceptive pill checkup. The other reason for me booking in was genuinely my other half nagging me to get it done and I cannot praise him enough for this. How many men do you know who would even broach the subject of cervical screening let alone actively ask you to go and have one! He’s a keeper what can I say!?

The date and time of my appointment rolled around and apprehensively I attended, sweating in the waiting room with a buzz of different questions rolling around in my head: What if it hurts? Was it weird to prune ‘down there’ for the occasion or is it courteous? What am I going to do if the nurse turns out to be a man, I don’t want a man doing it, how do I tell him? These and a host of other things ran through my consciousness but I stayed strong and walked into the room with the (female, phew) nurse when my name was called.

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Wedding series, 3: The dress

It’s been a while since I last wrote about my wedding plans (read my proposal story here and my first visit to a wedding fair back in February here) so I thought I would do a bit of an update for those of you interested!
I can’t believe my last wedding post was 9 months ago back in Feb, it honestly seems like just mere weeks ago I was writing that after my first overwhelming visit to a wedding fair. The scary thing is, it is only just longer than the distance between then and now compared to now and my actual wedding! It’s under a year to go now and I know it’s going to just fly by – really time to ramp up the planning I think, eek!

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(Quick note by the way – I struggled for pictures to put into this post as I obviously couldn’t post pics of my trying on my wedding dress, so I’ve sprinkled this with pics of my all time favourite famous wedding looks. Let me know your fav in the comments, I would love to know!)

I haven’t completely been resting on my laurels – on top of the venue and church which was all I had booked last time I wrote about this we now have a photographer, stationary, florist, DJ, decor/prop hire and most importantly I HAVE A DRESS!!! That’s really what I wanted to write about in this post today, because it’s just a dreamy as you would imagine trying on all of the beautiful dresses and prancing about like a princess! Continue reading

Rum ‘n’ Tonic – the new gin?

It’s no newsflash that I like my booze. If you follow my Instagram you’ll often see me sipping on a wine or a gin, in fact I’ve got a crisp, cold glass of white on the go whilst I write this – but until now I hadn’t really ever tried rum.

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I was kindly invited by Turtle Bay last Friday to try their new food menu but also their new Rum ‘n’ Tonic menu. They have added six premium parings to the rum menu, all slightly different but available as a single or double with a Double Dutch tonic.
Having not really drunk rum before I was intrigued and this sounded like a tasty way to try the Caribbean liquor. There are 40 rums on offer in Turtle Bay so I was pleased that the descriptions were so good on the new rum’n’tonic menu – I selected the one I wanted as it said that it had coconut and vanilla notes which are flavours I love. It was an El Dorado 3 ‘n’ cucumber & watermelon tonic and it was really tasty! I would probably ask for it as a longer drink if I were to have another one in future as I’m a bit of a wetty when it comes to alcohol and don’t like it to taste strong but other than that I would definitely go again. Don’t get me wrong it’s no replacement for a gin (my number one tipple and can’t see that ever changing)  but it really did compliment the gorgeous curry I was eating.  Continue reading

Afternoon tea, Harry Potter style

If you don’t already know, I bloody love Harry Potter.
SO when The Assembly House, Norwich, started to advertise their recent Harry Potter themed afternoon tea I was all over it. It seems they were understandably very booked up from the word go but we managed to get an 11am slot. So more brunch than afternoon tea but beggers can’t be choosers and all that.
Unfortunately the night before we (myself and my fiance Dan) were due to have our afternoon tea a few glasses of prosecco and a few more gin cocktails threw themselves down my throat (not my fault obvs) and made me feel rather fuzzy on the Saturday morning. To be honest if it was anything other than Harry Potter themed food waiting for me I would not have left the house!

I did however drag myself out of the house and managed to look half respectable for a morning at The Assembly House. If you haven’t been to this lovely place in Norwich it’s a stately home type looking building with opulent decor and feels ‘a bit posh’. It is next to the Theatre Royal in Norwich so a popular spot for a pre theatre dinner.
I must admit, this isn’t a glowing review, so apologies to The Assembly House now but I have to be truthful in my opinions on this blog!

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The Ivy, Norwich Brasserie

Monday night I was lucky enough to bag an invite to the press launch of The Ivy Brasserie in Norwich – a new restaurant opening on Tuesday 21st August in the city centre.
I have been getting excited about this swanky new restaurant opening for a couple of months now – the social media team have been very clever in teasing us with just enough  on Instagram to already make me love the place.

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The Ivy have restaurants all over England, mainly in the London area, so it was very exciting to hear that Norwich is joining the lucky cities to boast that we have one. The interior is nothing short of luxe – it is breathtaking when you walk in; the chandeliers are enormous, the floor is glaringly shiny and the atmosphere makes you want to sit up that little bit straighter, but in a good way. Continue reading

New friends in old places

Anyone reading this over the age of around 23/24 will almost definitely agree with me that it is hard to make new friends. You’ve long since left school/college/uni where you’ve either kept in touch with the friends you’ve had or you don’t (personally I have 2 people who have been my best friends since year 9 at school and everyone else are really more acquaintances). I work in an office where again, I have 2 people who I spend time with outside of work but everyone else, although lovely, live their own lives as soon as 5.15 comes around.
Don’t get me wrong I love everyone in my life, my existing friends and family, but sometimes you just think to yourself ‘is this it?’ As you grow through your twenties and early thirties I feel that you change a lot as a person and maybe the people you’ve always known aren’t quite enough anymore. People move on, move away or simply don’t share the same lifestyle as you (children, jobs etc.) so when that happens, what do you do?

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If it was a partner you were after, you could simply get yourself on Tinder, go on a few dates and eventually you’re probably going to bag yourself a new boy/girlfriend. But there is no Tinder for friends, so how do you meet people? I think if you’ve got children its slightly easier as you’ve got other mums/dads at school, at play dates and your children make friends bringing you naturally together. But I’m 26 with no children and I’m really quite shy – without putting an ad in the yellow pages I was stuck for ideas.  Continue reading