2017; A year of brunching, reviewed

Who invented the word brunch, does anyone know? Also, did they invent the action of brunching along with the word, or was someone continually having a late breakfast and thought sod it, I’m going to make this a thing that everyone does?

Whoever it was and whatever the answer is, I would like to meet them and possible hug and/or kiss them because I f’ing love brunch. So much so that last year, it became an obsession.
I would now like to share this information with you so that I can say ‘I did it for the blog’ rather than ‘I did it because I’m a habitual and borderline addicted brunch attendee’ and someone invents some sort of brunch rehab and makes me attend. (I’ll say noooo, noooo, no).

First of all, I’ll keep it local – Earsham Street Cafe.

I have posted about the cosy cafe in my hometown of Bungay before in this post, so I won’t bore you too much BUT I would like to mention polenta (not something I write everyday!).
As many of you know, I stopped eating meat and dairy recently so when visiting this cafe back in the autumn, I ordered the veggie breakfast. I knew it would be lovely as their food is always top notch, myself and Daniel visit regularly, but never in my life had I had polenta before until now. What.A.Game.Changer. It was in the form of a fried/baked ‘polenta cake’ and was heaven on the palate. Sometimes you do worry that when you order a vegetarian or vegan option of a breakfast they will literally just take the meat and eggs off and not put much thought into it but I really would recommend this one to all fellow non meat eaters. I am going to start replicating this at home occasionally; if you’re interested I will post a step-by-step recipe?

http://www.earshamstreetcafe.co.uk/

Earsham street breakfast

I’m taking you slightly further afield now to Stokes High Bridge Cafe, Lincoln.

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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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My gym bag wishlist

If you follow me on Twitter (@JustHollieBlog) you will have seen me gushing about the fact I joined my local gym this week *yayy*! I have joined gyms before but always the cheapest one I could find and this meant not really enjoying it and inevitably stopping going. So this time I have joined one which includes classes in my membership and I really feel this has given me a boost – they’re so much more fun than just slogging it out on a treadmill for 45 minutes on your own. I also go with some friends from work and we really spur each other on and give each other ideas of new things to try. As you can probably tell, I’m feeling real motivated and positive about exercise at the moment, long may it last is all I can say! I know it isn’t a huge amount but I have lost 4 pounds in the week since joining and that is just the kick up the bum I need to keep going. I am also hoping to enter a local 10k run next week when entries open, Run Norwich. This will be the third time the city has put on the event, I ran in the first one in 2015 and it’s such a fab one to do. The route goes all throughout the centre of the city and looking at the sights distracts from the torture of the run haha! The 10k is in August so I have got a while to get my running groove back (read come out of hibernation) but with that and the gym, hopefully I’m gonna boss this fitness thing this year! Eeeepp!

But here’s the thing, with going to the gym 4/5 times a week and running too – I haven’t got enough gym clothes to wear! Excuse to buy new sassy kit? I think so!! There are so many bits I want to buy over the next few months (money tree anyone? Would be gratefully received) I thought I would share my wishlist with you all so you can too drool over it!

At the top of my wishlist is literally every piece from Charlotte Crosby’s activewear range with InTheStyle.com. I am an unashamed fan of Geordie Shore – I know it’s trash but it’s addictive trash – and I think Charlotte has done really well to transform herself from ladette to gym bunny and her designs are lush! I have only recently discovered In The Style and their prices are great, so it would be rude not to treat myself, right? This range is selling out fast so I’m going to buy these asap!

You can’t squat with us vest – £12.99

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Scarlett & Mustard

Every now and then you come across something which excites you and makes you feel like you want to tell everyone you know about your little find. This is how I felt when I first came across Suffolk company Scarlett & Mustard. I was walking around a local food fayre in 2015 when I saw a stall advertising dressings and sauces with really jazzy packaging which made me gravitate toward their wares. After many a taste test (we all know the drill at a food fayre, aren’t they just the best places in the world) I decided I was going to purchase some truffle oil and a lime and mint curd from a company which was new to me called ‘Scarlett and Mustard’. Oh.My.Gosh is all I have to say – the truffle oil was packed full of amazing truffle flavour and was great value for money and the curd was absolutely to die for. If you haven’t ever tried either of the latter I would suggest popping on over to the Scarlett and Mustard online shop and buying asap because words cannot describe how delicious they were.

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So bearing that in mind, can you imagine how giddy I was when I arrived home one day to find new Scarlett and Mustard products to get my sticky little paws on! They kindly sent me one of their rapeseed oils infused with dill and also a peppery chilli rapeseed oil to test and share. I quickly got to work (oh what a hard life) and knocked up some food so I have some recipes to share with you lovely lot!

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The first oil I tried was the ‘Peppery Chilli Rapeseed Oil’ which is made with spicy piquant chilli and is right up my street! I am totally the sort of person who puts chilli sauce on everything and anything, I love spice, so I was extra excited to try this. It is fairly hot so if you can’t take too much heat maybe use sparingly but aside from that, drizzle away! I used it like this… Continue reading

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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Rooftop Gardens

Every now and then something lands in your inbox which makes you squeal in such a way people look at you like you’re mad. I had one of those moments when I received the mail inviting me to the VIP & Press launch of Rooftop Gardens, Norwich. I had been following the progress of this new bar and restaurant on Twitter for quite some time and had really been looking forward to trying it – I had never been to a roof top bar anywhere, let alone so close to home!

The new Rooftop Gardens is situated in Rose Lane, on the top (6th) floor of The Union Building, which used to be an Aviva office. The rest of the building is mainly office space which are being used by all sorts of local businesses, I believe you can still enquire about letting one if you are interested – they look very swanky! It is also home to Train with Core which is a private gym and also hair salon Edge Norwich; Couple this with the new Rose Lane car park which recently opened and it has brought a previously somewhat neglected part of the city to life, something I love to see.

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As the lift rose to the top floor on Thursday evening for the launch party, you could hear the buzz before the doors even opened, it sounded promising to say the least. I was greeted by a very handsome waiter who handed me a glass of the most beautiful Argentinian red wine as I walked through the door – instantly I was sold! The atmosphere was a mix of sophisticated schmoozing and relaxed fun, it made you feel like you were somewhere quite special yet not uptight or stuffy in the slightest. The dress code seemed to be fairly glam, it would be the perfect place to go for a first date or a drink with your partner due to the mood lighting and chance to snuggle up in the outside area, very romantic!

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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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