New Year, New Resolution? Hell yeah!

We’ve all seen it when January 1st comes around – everyone and their cat (sometimes literally, why do people make their pets accounts?!) posting a ‘New Year, New Me’ status on Facebook or uploading an inspirational picture to Instagram listing everything they want to change about themselves or their lives. Then what follows that? The negative Nancy’s of the world announcing how they hate all of the new year posts and how resolutions always fail, how they are nonsensical and to be discouraged.
The latter makes me mad. I want to go on record and say I am officially a New Years Resolution maker, and sometimes breaker. I enjoy the beginning of a new year and the feeling that you can start a fresh and have a ‘clean slate’.

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I’m back in business, baby.

Please do not adjust your screen, yes this is a new Just Hollie post. I’M BACK BITCHES!

As you are aware, it’s the beginning of the new year and everyone is going all ‘new year, new me’. Well, I know you thought I was clearly above such things but newsflash I’m just as basic as everyone else and have been taking a long hard look in the mirror as one tends to do at this time of year. And do you know what I saw? Someone who, through no real fault of their own, lost their way and gave up the hobby they loved because well, ‘real life’ got in the way.

Below are a couple pictures of me recently, just in case you’ve forgotten the mug behind what you’re reading!

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A January of the dry kind

It was December when I had the idea of joining the movement of people not drinking in January. It was early December and I had a whole month of merriment ahead of me. Smugly I signed up through ‘Just Giving’, creating a page telling everyone how I was not going to touch a drop of alcohol for the entirety of the first month of 2017.

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As I write this it’s the 11th of January. Now, I didn’t think I had a problem. I thought I would breeze through January and I turned my nose up when people told me I would never do it. A month without alcohol – surely only real alcoholics wouldn’t be able to do that. How bloody wrong was I; I’m not sure if its the social aspect of drinking with friends in a pub or the association of relaxing with a glass of rosé after a hard day of work that I miss or simply that I just really like the taste, but its hard going! I am genuinely surprised at how much I am missing having a cheeky beer whilst watching the football with Dan or being able to even put red wine in my Bolognese! It was Daniel’s birthday on the 6th of January and we went into the city for a couple of drinks and a meal at the Jamie’s Italian in Norwich. It certainly saved us money with me being designated driver, taxis don’t come cheap, but as we went to the brilliant ‘Belgian Monk’ (a pub which serves tens of different Belgian beers) I really was a sourpuss about the situation. I think it is like anything, the minute you ban yourself or you are told you can’t have something, you instantly want it. I would quite often volunteer myself to be the driver on a night out just for ease and to save a bit of cash and not think twice, it’s funny how the brain works it really is.  Continue reading

Pre-Christmas body panic, sorted.

It’s about this time of year that I go into pre-Christmas panic. What do I mean by that? Well, so far I have a night out in Newcastle with the bestie planned, my works Christmas party, a day out to Harry Potter Studios with my other half and then there is Christmas itself, followed by New Years. Oh and a week after that, Daniels birthday. You may have guessed what these all have in common – there will be pictures and lots of them! Yes, it was about 3 weeks ago I came to the realisation I am TOTALLY out of shape and looking more like a Christmas pudding than a present anyone would want to unwrap. The novelty of having short hair has long warn off and I pray to my follicles daily to hurry up with growing it back.  It is safe to say my confidence is at a pretty low point right now.
But, this isn’t a post to say oh look how fat and down in the dumps I am, it is me announcing to the world (well, the small fabulous section of the world who read my blog *love you*) that I am doing something about it; a little for encouragement and a lot so I have to follow through and can’t go back to my current ways. So if i’m not on Twitter in a week or so’s time saying how great I feel since I started being more active and eating right, hunt me down!

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Hygge? I’d rather Eat, Pray, Love!

I’m currently writing this on a crisp, cold October morning and I have been looking online at the current craze for ‘Hygge’. It is the Danish art of being at one with yourself and living in a comforting, cosy state. Think nights in with candles, blankets and being very ‘present’ in your state of happiness. It is said that more and more Brits are after this state of living – maybe in retaliation to the ever presence of the internet and fast paced lives – we are trying to learn to slow down, live in the moment and to do more of what makes us happy. Giving ourselves daily hugs in the form of maybe an extra long winter walk, coming home to that roast beef you fancy and a big glass of wine because why not? I’m so glad this is becoming a thing because I must say, it is something I am good at. I think it is this internal contentment which keeps me very grounded and no matter what happens to me in my life, I’m always ok. So this is something I am keen on everyone learning and its fab, but while you are all doing it through hygge, I found it another way. Cue Eat,Pray,Love…

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Elizabeth Gilbert changed my life and has continued to do so little by little every time I sit down to watch the amazing film that is Eat,Pray,Love. Elizabeth is the lead role in her own creation (played on screen wonderfully by Julia Roberts) and as with most great films Eat,Pray,Love started as a book. Unlikely for me, I actually watched the screenplay before I read the book and even more unlike me – I prefer the film! It is all about how Elizabeth was unsatisfied with her cookie cutter life in America and how she needed to go off and (for want of a less cliched term) ‘find herself’ through food, religion and sometimes men – all whilst travelling Italy, India and Bali. This film has everything that I could possibly want and will always be my number one choice; It has the most gratuitous scenes of beautiful parts of the world I have always wanted to go but still haven’t managed to get to unfortunately, alongside amazing food, religion, spirituality and culture.

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‘Chelsea-on-Sea’

Or Burnham Market to you and me, is one of the single most lovely places I have had the pleasure of visiting in the UK. It is nicknamed ‘Chelsea-on-Sea’ mainly because of the amount of Londoners who have chosen to make this Norfolk village their home, or at least second home. It is easy to see why it has gained this name after spending a few hours here – there are Range Rovers aplenty, complete with glamorous looking women sporting a blowdry and Mulberry arm candy (me, jealous? Never). That being said, it has all the charm of a typical North Norfolk village with its flint houses, quaint independent shops and a beautiful church. There is something magical about this part of the country, I fully intend to retire there, as close to Holkham beach as possible!

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Going public with blogging 

I’m hoping you can help me. I can’t decide whether to ‘go public’ with my blog or keep it as a secret between myself and you beautiful followers/readers.
Here’s the thing: I love blogging/writing and always have done, but not everyone ‘gets it’. I have a seperate Instagram for my blog, I have a seperate Twitter and only my close friends and family know I actually do it. When I first set up Just Hollie I really wanted it to be ‘my thing’ and a way of channelling my passion for writing into something that could also help me grow as a person and hopefully I could get some new experiences from it, which so far has been the case and I am 100% over the moon about that. I now write for a local magazine regularly and I really feel that I am ready to take it all up a notch. The only thing I keep thinking about is whether to put some sort of announcement on my private facebook page or not, so every Tom, Dick and Harry I went to school with/have worked with/is a friend of a friend knows about it or not? Continue reading

#CancerConversations

Recently, I was approached by the guys and gals over at Big C (Norfolk/Waveney based cancer charity) to be a social media and blog ambassador for their summer campaign #CancerConversations. Naturally, like so many others, I would do anything I can to support these amazing causes so jumped at the chance to write a post for them. I had a few different ideas when it came to how to approach this post and what I could possibly write that would help people open up about cancer and talk about it more; as it is ultimately the aim of this campaign. What could I say that could help? Then I thought about Claire*.

I was 19 years old when I first met Claire. It was a hot afternoon in the salon I worked in at the time and in strolled this glamorous woman, full of confidence and pizzazz. She worked in a shop in the middle of town and truth be told, I had never really heard of Big C until this point. I never did ask how old Claire was but I would guess late 50’s, with all of the spirit of a 21 year old. From then on, sometimes with myself and sometimes with colleagues, Claire would come in weekly to get a blowdry for her new bob we gave her and have a natter. Normally she would come on a break from work, or sneak in early getting someone else to open up for her so she could have her weekly treat. Continue reading

The importance of good friends 

I think you have all probably established by now if you read my blog that I am a bit of a homebody – quiet, bookworm, your typical introvert. But rewind 3 days back to the weekend and you would never know – laughing, telling jokes and confidence were the order of the day! What changed? I was with my best friends.

Lauren and Grant have been my best mates since I was 14 years old (scary!) and I truly think that having them there throughout the different stages my life has had in the last ten years has stopped me going insane! This isn’t to say that they don’t sometimes drive me insane but I do love them so much! From the time my horrible ex boyfriend cheated on me and Lauren was straight round with a shoulder to cry on, to the time Grant suprised me with a trip to the theatre for my 24th birthday, they are always there. Continue reading

Buying a house for the first time

Shit, 35 years, how old will I be when it ends?

That was what was going through my head when I first received my mortgage offer for the cute little house myself and Dan are lucky enough to have bought. Somehow getting a mortgage doesn’t seem so scary when all you’ve done is think or talk about it – seeing it written down and signing up to 35 years of repayments however is terrifying! Despite the fear, it is the best thing I have ever done and am so proud of myself; At the time of buying I was a 23 year old homeowner, something I never thought I could achieve! So, with that in mind, I am writing this post to walk you through some of the process of being a first time buyer, busting some myths and also letting you know that if you are saving for a house, yes you can do it!  Continue reading