The Big Move; An Update on Life in Scotland

Just Hollie Enjoys the Winter Sun

Hello, you. It’s been a minute since I wrote my last blog post on my big move from Norfolk to Scotland (read here if you don’t know what I’m talking about) so I thought you might like to know how I’m getting on!

I cannot believe that it has been 3 months already, I don’t think a period of time has ever seemed to pass so quickly in my life – however if you’d have asked me at the beginning of February I would’ve said it felt like January lasted a year. I won’t pretend it’s been all sweetness and light since we’ve been here, because it hasn’t. December was a breeze, we moved in easily enough, got settled and the Christmas decorations went straight up making it feel instantly like home. I hadn’t started work yet so time was my own and I enjoyed walking into town most days and getting the usual things ready for the festive period. Christmas and New Year were lovely, with us spending the 25th of December on our own as a couple for the first time (it was odd, but nice!) and then travelling down to the Midlands to spend New Year with family. So far so good. Then January came, I started work, the temperature dropped and the lack of sunlight really started to hit me.

It may sound dramatic but I thrive on sunshine – I think I may have mentioned this before once or one hundred times – but it really is true. I didn’t realise before moving up North that they get even shorter days here in the winter, which was bad news for me as I already loathed that time of year back home in Norfolk. I think during December it was a bit of a novelty and I was distracted with the festivities, but January didn’t come easy. Nor did February come to think of it. I know the word gets flung around SO much these days, but I experienced the worst and very real anxiety of my life the last couple of months. Mental health isn’t something I would say I have struggled with much in my life, and I know I’m lucky in that respect, however for around 8 weeks I thought I was going mad and really started to worry. I had a Fiat 500 which I was attempting to drive in the worst rain and wind I’ve ever experienced and driving country roads daily which I’ve never liked; I’d convinced myself I was unsafe and started to dread stepping into my car to get to work. Luckily my husband is THE best man on earth, and quickly swapped out my tiny car for a Jeep Renegade – meaning I didn’t feel like I was going to take off into a field or skid to my death on black ice everyday. That may sound extreme, but I was honestly driving at 20 mph as I was convinced the roads were covered in ice (they weren’t). I was checking the weather on 4 (yes, 4!) different apps around 10 times a day to check if it was going to be icy or if snow was forecast – I was losing my mind over the weather, I’d become obsessed, checking and worrying about it constantly. I don’t know where this fear of the weather came from but I think it’s change related – I was in Scotland, so if snow was forecast obviously it’d be 5 foot and I wouldn’t be able to travel. If it was -1 degrees then obviously because I’m now in the Highlands it would mean the roads were dangerous and I was risking my life travelling. This was of course not the case and it’s simply the unknown, the change and my own head taking a thought and latching onto it in an unhealthy way. The driving fear coupled with a new job, where my office doesn’t have windows, was making my anxiety 100 times worse as I was convinced each day I was going to step out at 5pm to a winter wonderland. It was making me ill. It didn’t help that we’ve had two (or is it three?) named storms since we’ve been here too, making it the worst winter weather-wise for years. The wind whipped at our house, making noises we aren’t used to, all adding to my already frayed nerves. Continue reading

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

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 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

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

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

Norridge Summer Wellness Event

What do you do on the eve of your 26th birthday? ‘Get on it’ to prove you’re still young enough to do so? Throw a party? Cry because you’re now closer to 30 than 20?

Whilst all of the above were tempting, I booked myself into a pop up yoga and wellness event and it couldn’t have been a better choice. I saw the Summer Wellness Event on Instagram via @norridge.popup and instantly knew I had to be a part of it.
I have been getting back into yoga for the past few months and whilst I am loving my sessions with ‘Yoga with Adrienne’ on YouTube in my living room, I do think a class every now and then is really motivating. The Summer Wellness Event was advertising yoga, meditation and energy work with raw, vegan cacao treats afterwards – you can see why I was instantly drawn to it!

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The event was ran by the Norridge girls, two lovely ladies who are still currently studying at university whilst running pop up events in the city. They have mainly held food events up until this one, with the last being a pop up cafe for the weekend in the city centre serving seasonal, delicious yet nourishing treats – and as the name would suggest, it included porridge! They wanted to expand their events by doing an evening of yoga and people coming together with good energy, finishing with scrummy food.
They really delivered, as myself and the 14 other people who attended the evening all absolutely loved it and left feeling centered and ready to take on the world with new intentions.

We began by doing around an hour of slow, mindful yoga with Cata Parrishwain who is the most calming and welcoming person you could hope to be leading a yoga class. We focused on doing what felt right for ourselves and our bodies rather than ‘perfecting’ the poses which is such a refreshing view on yoga. I have been to classes before where the instructor has literally came over and moved me into the positions because I wasn’t perceived to be doing it right but actually, you should be relaxing and enjoying the experience not bending about so much you put your back out!  Continue reading

Bowling House, Norwich

Friday night, date night?

When was the last time you went on a date with your significant other? Like a proper date – bowling, cinema, meal for two?
For me and my other half it had been a little while so I decided to take the bull by the horns a couple of weeks ago and book us in for bowling and food at the snazzy new Bowling House in Norwich city centre.

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I had seen ‘BoHo’ on Instagram and I thought it looked really cool so this seemed the perfect place to go for our date. There seems to be a trend at the moment for bars/eateries with an added activity – such as the ping pong bars you can find in some major cities and the funky crazy golf bars which seem to be popping up all over London.
I think they’re a really good idea – they would be the ideal place to take someone on a first date to break the ice!

I booked Bowling House for 7pm Friday night last week, we were having 3 games of bowling and then they book you a dinner table for the rough time they think you’ll finish. The interior has been done so well, I absolutely love the use of lighting inside and the blue colour on the walls is absolutely dreamy, I would love a room in my house that colour. The actual building is near Toys R Us in the city centre, on Dereham Road – we parked in St Andrews car park, it’s only a 2 minute walk from there.
There are 5 bowling lanes in the perfectly sized building and you pay for bowling per game, per person. Bowling varies from £5.50 – £7.50 pp and there are different offers depending on which day you go so it’s worth checking out their website before you book if you are thinking about checking them out.

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A perfect day in Sheringham

Hello you lovely bunch!

Apologies it’s been a while, doesn’t time just fly by? As always I need an extra few hours a day to fit everything in (and when I say everything I do just mean sunbathing, drinking gin and having a 3 hour window doing nothing whilst my nail varnish dries).

I hope you all had a fantastic bank holiday in England, weren’t we lucky with the weather! I follow fitness influencer Madalin Giorgetta on Instagram and she made me laugh as it was her first time in England over the bank holiday and she uploaded to her Insta stories ‘I don’t know why Brits are always complaining about the weather it’s beautiful here’ – little does she know we’ve just survived a second ice age!

My partner Dan purchased a barbecue last Friday in preparation for the family coming down for the weekend so naturally I’ve eaten nothing but barbecued Quorn sausages and griddled, smoked asparagus ever since. I shouldn’t complain, he is an amazing cook and I love to dine al fresco – if anyone has any brilliant vegan bbq recipes I would love to hear them please! I’ve heard barbecued banana is delicious but never tried it, anyone had it?

The reason I’m blogging today is I really wanted to share my bank holiday Monday with you all as we went to the nicest place and I barely knew it existed; I couldn’t face knowing other people may be missing out! We went to Sheringham Park, which is about an hour away from my house (Bungay) and it’s on the picturesque North Norfolk coast.

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