The Big Move; An Update on Life in Scotland

Just Hollie Enjoys the Winter Sun

Hello, you. It’s been a minute since I wrote my last blog post on my big move from Norfolk to Scotland (read here if you don’t know what I’m talking about) so I thought you might like to know how I’m getting on!

I cannot believe that it has been 3 months already, I don’t think a period of time has ever seemed to pass so quickly in my life – however if you’d have asked me at the beginning of February I would’ve said it felt like January lasted a year. I won’t pretend it’s been all sweetness and light since we’ve been here, because it hasn’t. December was a breeze, we moved in easily enough, got settled and the Christmas decorations went straight up making it feel instantly like home. I hadn’t started work yet so time was my own and I enjoyed walking into town most days and getting the usual things ready for the festive period. Christmas and New Year were lovely, with us spending the 25th of December on our own as a couple for the first time (it was odd, but nice!) and then travelling down to the Midlands to spend New Year with family. So far so good. Then January came, I started work, the temperature dropped and the lack of sunlight really started to hit me.

It may sound dramatic but I thrive on sunshine – I think I may have mentioned this before once or one hundred times – but it really is true. I didn’t realise before moving up North that they get even shorter days here in the winter, which was bad news for me as I already loathed that time of year back home in Norfolk. I think during December it was a bit of a novelty and I was distracted with the festivities, but January didn’t come easy. Nor did February come to think of it. I know the word gets flung around SO much these days, but I experienced the worst and very real anxiety of my life the last couple of months. Mental health isn’t something I would say I have struggled with much in my life, and I know I’m lucky in that respect, however for around 8 weeks I thought I was going mad and really started to worry. I had a Fiat 500 which I was attempting to drive in the worst rain and wind I’ve ever experienced and driving country roads daily which I’ve never liked; I’d convinced myself I was unsafe and started to dread stepping into my car to get to work. Luckily my husband is THE best man on earth, and quickly swapped out my tiny car for a Jeep Renegade – meaning I didn’t feel like I was going to take off into a field or skid to my death on black ice everyday. That may sound extreme, but I was honestly driving at 20 mph as I was convinced the roads were covered in ice (they weren’t). I was checking the weather on 4 (yes, 4!) different apps around 10 times a day to check if it was going to be icy or if snow was forecast – I was losing my mind over the weather, I’d become obsessed, checking and worrying about it constantly. I don’t know where this fear of the weather came from but I think it’s change related – I was in Scotland, so if snow was forecast obviously it’d be 5 foot and I wouldn’t be able to travel. If it was -1 degrees then obviously because I’m now in the Highlands it would mean the roads were dangerous and I was risking my life travelling. This was of course not the case and it’s simply the unknown, the change and my own head taking a thought and latching onto it in an unhealthy way. The driving fear coupled with a new job, where my office doesn’t have windows, was making my anxiety 100 times worse as I was convinced each day I was going to step out at 5pm to a winter wonderland. It was making me ill. It didn’t help that we’ve had two (or is it three?) named storms since we’ve been here too, making it the worst winter weather-wise for years. The wind whipped at our house, making noises we aren’t used to, all adding to my already frayed nerves. 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.

dry-january

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