My YouTube subscription list

Happy Mondayyyy!!

How pleased are you that it’s Monday, raining and you haven’t woken up to a money tree at the bottom of the garden?!

Me either.

But what do I do when it’s cold outside and I need a little pick me up? YouTube!

I have been slowly getting into YouTube over the past year and I now have a hefty subscription list which I wanted to share with you guys and hopefully get some recommendations back. I was reluctant to ‘follow’ YouTubers to begin with as I really thought it was something teenagers did and that they were all vlogging themselves setting farts on fire or falling over but actually, I love it.

I wish I had the confidence and the big personality it takes to start a YouTube channel – I think for bloggers/Instagrammers it provides a whole other dimension to your following and you really get to know the people behind the social profiles.
I also like the chill out factor of being on YouTube; most videos/vlogs are about half an hour long and you can just get totally lost in someone else’s life for a while. It can be inspirational, educational or anything you want it to be. Want to learn about something? YouTube it. Want to find out about a country or somewhere in the world? YouTube. Workouts, recipes, how to properly tie a tie, how to change a tyre or anything else you could ever need – YouTube.

So here are my favourites! Continue reading

Veganism and me

So you may have noticed (if you follow me on Instagram you will definitely know) that I have recently taken up following a plant based diet. This essentially means I am now a vegan, but honestly I try and tell people I’m plant based as for some reason when you tell people you’re vegan it can evoke unwanted reactions. If you too are plant based you’ll know what I mean!
But anyway, I’m vegan now and I wanted to speak to you about it a bit and about the reasons why. I’ll start from the beginning;

I used to be a vegetarian, from the ages of around 12 to 19 (I think, can’t remember specifics) and back then even at 12 I was always really health conscious and I didn’t like the thought of what meat eating did to my body. I found that the vegetarian life always presented so many more healthy options and that naturally I gravitated toward foods which were better for me. I lived off green tea, fruit, grains and lots of other deliciously healthy things.
But then at around 19 I thought I would go back to eating meat, honestly very influenced by my boyfriend at the time (toxic, awful guy!!) as he was a chef, I was impressionable and he pretty much convinced me that I was missing out by not eating meat. I was discovering my love of food and cooking at that age and I really did think that maybe I could make much more adventurous and ‘chef like’ food if I included meat. So gradually I re-introduced all meats back into my diet and actually went too far the other way and ate everything an anything and put on around 3 stone over a couple of years (he also really liked chinese takeout which naturally meant I really liked chinese takeout?! Honestly what is wrong with teenagers – girls, never let boys tell you what to do).

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Thankfully that relationship went south and shortly after I got with my lovely Daniel, whom is now my husband to be (eek!). God love this man as he encourages everything I ever want to do and always gets behind the latest ‘thing’ I’m into – trust me there have been a lot of ‘things’ – knitting anyone?
Obviously, when I first spoke to him back in Autumn last year about wanting to go back to not eating meat, he was his usual kind self and told me to go for it – on the condition I didn’t make him do the same haha! But after reading a few bits and seeing a lot online about the health benefits of veganism I decided to go balls deep and go fully vegan. I thought well I was vegetarian before, so the not eating meat thing won’t be hard for me and there are so many dairy alternatives now why not give it a go?

I never thought it would change my life in the way that it has. Not in a ‘I’m now a millionaire living in St Tropez’ kind of change but a ‘I feel happy, content and back to my true self’ kind of way. I’ve read a lot of vegans feel like this after they make the change, like it makes them feel a more rounded, true version of themselves. I’m aware of how hippy dippy that sounds, but it honestly is that case (I would’ve rolled my eyes too previously, I know). I have lost weight (a stone to date), I eat WAY more veg than I used to, I enjoy cooking more as it forces you to be a little more creative in the kitchen and I just bloody love it.

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Wedding series, 2: The planning begins…

Happy Sunday! I hope you’re all enjoying this cold but gloriously sunny day, how rubbish is it that it’s meant to become virtually arctic next week – I am SO ready for spring to rear it’s beautiful head already.

Anyway, this isn’t the BBC Weather website, I’m back with the second instalment of my wedding series.  I hoped you enjoyed reading about my engagement – now is where it starts to get serious and the seemingly enormous task of planning the damn thing begins!

It is so hard to know where to begin when planning a wedding, there are a million and one things to take into consideration and knowing which order to do them in isn’t obvious. With the logistics of it all, the colour scheme, the budget, the timeline – it can all get a bit much and you do have to be super organised. My best friend Lauren has just bought me one of those cute wedding planner books and I feel it will super seed her in the best friend stakes and not leave my side! I’ve left a few links to ones which I like below (all Insta worthy of course!) Continue reading

Wedding series, 1: I said yes…!

Now I don’t know if you’ve noticed but I’ve been leaving hints here and there that I’m currently a bride to be. By hints I mean I’ve literally added ‘Bride to be’ into my twitter bio, changed my cover photo to my engagement ring and generally spoke about it at every possible opportunity since coming back to blogging. Subtly does it.
So I have decided to put you out of your misery and announce to the world that I AM GETTING MARRIEDD! WOOP!

Since I was M.I.A last year and didn’t get a chance to tell you about the most magical evening of my life to date, I thought I would do it now. And actually, I am going to document the whole planning process in my new wedding series – I plan to update you around once a month (don’t worry, I won’t bore you with it all of the time).

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So, back to the proposal. It was special, personal, unique and everything I had always hoped it would be. Boy.Done.Good.

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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

Healthy Eating Inspiration – Books and Blogs

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, Daniel’s 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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#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 in my life 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.

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