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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The launch of The Little Horse Box

Flowers – check. Venue – check. Dress – check. Drinks served from a horse box converted into a beautiful bar – check?!

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I’m not getting married, but if I was, I would totally be interested in what I’m about to tell you. There is a new business which launched this week by a wonderful woman local to me here in Norfolk, called The Little Horse Box. This is exactly what it says on the tin, it is a horse box but it has been converted into the perfect mobile bar ready to serve your guests until their hearts desire (or they drink the horse box dry) and they travel all over the country, so even if you are reading this and you don’t live near me, read on! I really do love supporting local businessmen and women so I am happy to be able to tell you about Liddy and help her launch this great venture. I admire people who follow their dreams and are brave enough to throw themselves into a new opportunity, it is so inspiring to see ideas grow into a successful business! So, if you like what you see and you are interested in hiring the horse box, do let her know as I can really see the bookings flying in, so best get in there fast! It is available for hire all throughout the year so even if you aren’t having a summer wedding or event (they don’t just cater for weddings, they can serve at most types of occasions) you can have a slice of this shabby chic heaven. I recently spoke to Liddy, the owner of The Little Horse Box to get to know her better and find out a bit more about it, here is what she had to say… Continue reading

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

A week on ‘The Military Diet’

Whatsapp message – ‘Have you heard of The Military Diet?’ It was Lauren (of blog Lauren Paige Art and Design and my bezza) and she knew just how to get my attention. Ever since around the age of 14 I have been interested in health, fitness and food and Lauren has been the same. We would play squash after school, stick on a workout dvd on a weekend and make healthy dinners as often as we could. This interest hasn’t wavered in the years that followed and although I may not be as slim as I once was, I still love food and nutrition. This is exactly why I was interested to try this ‘fad’ diet (as some might call it) with her when she suggested it, to see if you really could as the website claimed ‘lose ten pounds in a week’. *Spoiler* I didn’t, I lost 4.  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

Turtle Bay comes to Norwich!

Thursday nights: normally pretty uneventful right? It’s not quite the weekend yet, it’s a school night and the usual highlight is 7.30 when Jack Branning enters my life again for half an hour. But ohhhhhh no not this week my friend, I went to my first press preview dinner! Ahh! From the second I received the email to the moment my bum hit the seat in the new restaurant in Norwich I could not believe that people actually wanted my opinion on something and went out of their way to get it! It was a real need to pinch myself moment that I am actually a ‘real’ blogger these days and I love it, so thank you everyone who reads my posts, over the last few months I have loved my start on my writing journey!

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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