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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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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A rainy bank holiday in Lavenham

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Happy Easter everyone!
I cannot believe it is the 2nd of April today, where on earth has the time between New Year and Easter gone? I hope you’re all filling your faces with chocolate, I’m currently face down in a vegan chocolate cake (you can see a pic on the ole ‘gram) – it’s the first vegan baking I’ve done and it turned out really well so expect to see more of that going forwards! Also I have to share with you lovely lot, I’m currently listening to The Weekend’s new EP ‘My Dear Melancholy’ and it’s absolutely wonderful, I’m obsessed with his music.

Anyway before I veer any further off topic, Lavenham. I don’t know if you know, but I’m a HUGE Harry Potter fan. I have been since that first book was released and I can’t step foot in Primark without leaving looking like I’ve been to some sort of convention. This was my initial reason for wanting to visit the small Suffolk town of Lavenham on Saturday. I don’t know about you but I like my Easter bank holiday weekend to be filled with walks, exploring and relaxation – often myself and Daniel will take ourselves off to a random town/city we haven’t been to before and go exploring. I had seen an article on Lavenham a few months ago and the topic was the Harry Potter film set.
The scenes in Godric’s Hollow, Harry Potter’s birthplace and house where he gained the infamous scar, were filmed in Lavenham! If you’re a fan you will know what I’m talking about, apologies if you don’t. Naturally anywhere which is anything remotely to do with Harry Potter draws me in, but it also was the pastel coloured medieval houses which I wanted to visit to see – hopefully you can tell from the pictures throughout this post why! Unfortunately the weather wasn’t the best for our visit so I will be making a beeline back there in the summer as the colours will look even more amazing in the sun. Continue reading

A love letter to Amsterdam

Amsterdam I love youuuu, oh yes I doooo.

This week I was lucky enough to have my day job fly myself and around one hundred colleagues out to the Integrated Systems Event at the RAI, Amsterdam. (I work in the professional AV industry). Whilst this doesn’t immediately sound riveting, it did allow me to pop my Amsterdam cherry so to speak and I reallyyy liked it there.

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If you’ve ever been to the ‘dam I’m sure you will agree with me that it’s easy to fall in love with; Tall beautiful buildings, canals with picturesque bridges around every corner and leggy sophisticated women on bikes gliding effortlessly on every road. The tulips, the boutiques, the coffee shops (and I mean the legit coffee shops where you drink actual coffee, I’m not into the green stuff!), the glowing red streets at night and more food than you can shake a stick at.  Continue reading

Byfords, Holt – A Birthday to Remember

I’m going to start this post with a bit of a lame excuse. I should’ve written this post approximately 2 weeks ago as it is about my birthday weekend at the start of the month (woo!). I turned 24 on the 3rd of June and ever since life has been full steam ahead. We had this gorgeous weekend away i’m about to tell you about, my day job exploded and suddenly got ridiculously busy, I joined the gym and we have been for mini breaks in London and Manchester. All this in a two week window, so I hope I am forgiven for taking my eye off the blogging ball in June. I have posted since this lovely birthday weekend but they have been short posts and I really didn’t want to rush this one as I had the best time.

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Way Down in Budapest

It was said that George Ezra had never been to Budapest when he wrote this catchy little tune; just a little fun fact for you all to start my post about this amazing city.

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So, if you follow me on any form of social media you will know that I spent last weekend in glorious happiness in Budapest, Hungary. I was lucky enough to be chosen with a great bunch of colleagues to spend the weekend there as a reward for our hard work; as much as I would love to become a full-time blogger clearly my day job isn’t so bad!! I think I am starting to get over my fear of flying as I wasn’t totally terrified and by the second complimentary gin and lemonade I was practically enjoying the flight – who’d have thought! The company had organised for us to have a lovely woman called Jude arrange the trip for us so we had a full itinerary and tour guide the whole time, which is something that definitely makes the difference to a trip – no wandering aimlessly around finding out where to go and what to do. Her job is literally to organise trips for businesses and then go on the trips with them and make sure everything is sorted and people have a good time! What a job! If anyone would like to pay me for organising their holiday and getting drunk with them for the weekend i’m totally available!

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From the moment we arrived in Pest (one side of the river is Buda and the other Pest) I really did fall in love with the place. That is not me trying to be all romantic and ‘doesn’t this sound nice to write that I fell in love with the place’ I literally instantly loved it. We stayed in Pest’s Jewish quarter and everywhere you looked you could feel the history dripping from the architecture and it has such a nice vibe it everywhere you go. Obviously the fact it was glorious sunshine the whole 3 days we were there probably did help too but whatevs. It would be the perfect place to go for a loved up weekend away with your boo, I plan to go back with Dan as soon as I can!

We got there around midday Friday and went straight to a lovely restaurant called Kiosk. Think cocktails with fresh ingredients, a menu which makes it impossible to pick just one thing to eat and an interior to make the coolest east London hipster feel like an old woman in a nightclub. I had a cocktail which had the much anticipated Hungarian tipple of Palinka in it. This stuff is a spirit like no other, it must be tried if you ever go here – just don’t smell it first before you neck it if you have a shot – you.will.gag.  However, my drink at Kiosk was a long cocktail with lemon juice, elderflower and also oddly enough, gooseberry jam. I’m such a sucker for a sweet cocktail so it’s safe to say I was in heaven at this point!

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After several cocktails and a big ole plate of pasta we headed out for a walk in the streets of Pest. As we wandered, everywhere you looked there were little bars, cafes and lanes of food stalls and they all just looked so cool. I wasn’t really expecting this as normally you don’t think of places such as Hungary as being hip and trendy (god I sound like an old woman) but it really was. If you enjoy a shoreditch vibe, head here! The buildings were stunning too, I literally got neck ache from walking around looking up so much as there was so much to gawp at! It is beautiful.

In the evening it was time for a river cruise along the Danube and man oh man didn’t I feel fancy. We had a four course meal whilst sailing down the river taking in the sights and we had a man playing an actual white piano whilst a woman serenaded us, just like on the films. It was cheesy and bloody marvellous!! A bottle of prosecco later and we were all ready to leave the boat and head on to the absolute best night out I have had in years in a ‘ruin pub’.

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If you haven’t heard of them you must google ‘Budapest ruin pubs’ right now. I am literally urging you to leave my page (BUT COME BACK) and take a look. Long story short there is a law in Hungary that if a building is abandoned anyone can take it over and set up a pub until something is done with said building. Something like that anyway. So this particular pub, Szimpla, has become a permanent fixture in Budapest and it is amazing. The buzz of the different people, the different rooms and sections, all the different music, the colours, the plants – just everything. I honestly can’t describe how good it was or why it was so good, it just was. I urge everyone to go at least once, you wouldn’t regret it. I didn’t manage to get a good enough picture to share with you as it was so dark with just fairy lights mainly and a big projector for light, apologies.

On the Saturday we spent the day in the best possible way you could ever think of for a group of English people away in the sun in Europe together – Beer biking. Once again, please google this and book immediately. So you all sit around a table on bike saddles, you all pedal the table around the streets with someone driving it and there is a beer barrel onboard which is connected to a tap and one of you stands in the middle of everyone and serves the pints. This is steered around the city and you get a tour of the place whilst getting on the beers! Also, there is a speaker on board and the driver plays whatever songs your heart desires. I don’t think I need to say anything else about this, you can imagine what a scream it was! Much to our amusement they do tend to cause traffic jams and you have to be prepared for people to video you and take pictures of you as you pass them on the street on the bike!

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I won’t go into every detail of everything that we did whilst in Budapest as I have already been going on a bit, I know. I just feel it is my duty to share with you all the amazing time I had, so you are all encouraged to go and do the same! I had never really spoken to anyone who went before I did, meaning I had no pre-conceived ideas and I was so suprised at how much I loved it.

So, I think the moral of my post is this: Get the F off my blog and onto bookings.com. Pronto.

Just Hollie xoxo