Book review: Reader, I Married Me!

What would you do if you took your dog for a walk and he unceremoniously shit out another woman’s g-string? I personally would’ve throttled my boyfriend with it and had a quarter-life meltdown, but then probably would’ve picked myself right back up and cracked on with my life, probably lunging into another relationship within weeks because I have always been a ‘boyfriend person’. Obviously, I’m happily married now so it has worked well for me, but my first thought when it came to reviewing Sophie Tanner’s fabulous book ‘Reader, I Married Me’, was that I never really was single after getting my first boyfriend in high school. Chloe Usher, the main character in the fantastically feminist plot, didn’t do the obvious. Instead, she married herself on Brighton beach in a kitsch ceremony full of self-worth and happiness – sounds pretty out there, no?

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In her semi-biographical debut novel, Sophie Tanner writes about the story of a young woman called Chloe who has had enough of men, had enough of the seemingly perfect couples who think anything other than the ‘normal’ family set up is obviously not what a woman wants and she had certainly had enough of people telling her what she could and couldn’t do.  I found ‘Reader, I Married Me’ a funny and charming way to put the microscope over the way we live our lives, obsessed with finding the perfect partner and almost always losing a piece of ourselves in that process. The book makes you want to celebrate YOU in all of your glory but not only that, it reminds you of the importance of friendship as a form of love and that it is one we should value just as much as romantic love. Continue reading

Reclaiming Interiors

The end of a job, a wedding, and an imminent move – it’s safe to say that I’ve had quite a lot happening in the past few weeks and there aren’t any signs of it slowing down. It’s likely that I will have relocated from Norfolk to Scotland by the end of the year (if you don’t follow me on Instagram you may not know this, but we are moving North for my husband’s job). I’m one of those people who really embrace change, and I’m really excited to begin this new chapter in our lives. And that is what this is, a brand new chapter as husband and wife, out in the world by ourselves making a completely new life just for the two of us. Preparation for this new life for me is not only practical things such as bills, finding a new job and anything else a big move entails but sorting out my possessions too, and thinking to myself ‘what do I want the new Hollie to own’? I don’t know the reason why but I really feel like shaking life up and using this as a chance to be the person I really want to be – a new and improved version of Just Hollie if you like. I’ve always known how I want my life to look but now I really have had a kick up the bum to not settle for less.

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Wedding series, 4: THE WEDDING!

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Credit to a wedding guest – our photographer is doing her thing in the background!

Hi, hello, bonjour. Just me, Hollie, a married woman here. Yes, you read that right – I GOT FUCKING MARRIEDDDDDD!!!!!!
To say I’m still not over it is an understatement, newlywed highs are 100% a thing. I thought I better round off my wedding series by letting you all know how the day went and I also really wanted to give a shout out to my amazing local suppliers – so if you live in Norfolk/Suffolk and are getting married I hope you find this helpful (list and links at bottom of post).

I’ll begin with a little play by play of the day, because we were the luckiest couple ever and everything went perfectly. This includes the weather as the very next day it absolutely TIPPED it down – I’m sure you saw the reports of flooding last Sunday and probably had a back garden like a pond yourself. Could you imagine if that was the weather on your wedding day, someone was definitely looking down on me for sure!
I got ready at my home with my mum and my best friend who was also my bridesmaid – I had one adult and two gorgeous nieces walk down the aisle with me, the little ones met me at the church as my sister in law is an absolute legend and got them ready for me. The morning was chilled and calm, with me surprisingly a lot less nervous than I had anticipated being, I think when it came to the day I was actually just really excited to get going and see Daniel at the church. They won’t thank me for saying it but I think my mum and bridesmaid had more nerves than me – I found myself trying to assure them that it was going to be a fabulous day and nothing to worry about! I feel honoured that so many people close to me cared enough to have such strong emotions about our day, something I will never forget. Continue reading

Holkham Country Fair

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Horses, shooting, classic cars, tractors and delicious food – what’s not to love? This is what I was lucky enough to be surrounded with when I visited Holkham Estate recently for their annual country fair! Held over the weekend of 20th and 21st of July, the yearly spectacle of Norfolk’s finest did not disappoint on my first ever time visiting, despite the downpour of rain we were unlucky enough to have on the Saturday of the show! If you’ve never been to Holkham Estate I highly recommend it, the grandeur of the hall and the beauty of the grounds never disappoint me – belonging to the Earl of Leicester, the 25,000-acre estate really does take your breath away! Continue reading

Athleisure – Best trend of 2019?

Sports wear that you don’t have to break a sweat in? I’m there.

You may have noticed a rise in sporty looking everyday clothing and even workout inspired evening wear – you can’t walk down the street without seeing someone in leggings or joggers at the moment and I’m loving it. Up until probably the beginning of this year you would’ve felt out of place going to the shops in your workout gear but move into summer 2019 and its positively encouraged! Ever wanted to go on a night out in joggers?  Now you can!
It’s a trend that I think confuses men and divides women, you either love it or you hate it. I was slightly reserved at first but then Femme Luxe Finery sent me a lounge wear set and now I’m slightly hooked! I love that you can buy the matching sets and either wear them together or mix and match like I have in the picture below. You can style them down with trainers and a cap or dress them up with hoops, a killer pair of heels and extra sass.

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Rum ‘n’ Tonic – the new gin?

It’s no newsflash that I like my booze. If you follow my Instagram you’ll often see me sipping on a wine or a gin, in fact I’ve got a crisp, cold glass of white on the go whilst I write this – but until now I hadn’t really ever tried rum.

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I was kindly invited by Turtle Bay last Friday to try their new food menu but also their new Rum ‘n’ Tonic menu. They have added six premium parings to the rum menu, all slightly different but available as a single or double with a Double Dutch tonic.
Having not really drunk rum before I was intrigued and this sounded like a tasty way to try the Caribbean liquor. There are 40 rums on offer in Turtle Bay so I was pleased that the descriptions were so good on the new rum’n’tonic menu – I selected the one I wanted as it said that it had coconut and vanilla notes which are flavours I love. It was an El Dorado 3 ‘n’ cucumber & watermelon tonic and it was really tasty! I would probably ask for it as a longer drink if I were to have another one in future as I’m a bit of a wetty when it comes to alcohol and don’t like it to taste strong but other than that I would definitely go again. Don’t get me wrong it’s no replacement for a gin (my number one tipple and can’t see that ever changing)  but it really did compliment the gorgeous curry I was eating.  Continue reading

Afternoon tea, Harry Potter style

If you don’t already know, I bloody love Harry Potter.
SO when The Assembly House, Norwich, started to advertise their recent Harry Potter themed afternoon tea I was all over it. It seems they were understandably very booked up from the word go but we managed to get an 11am slot. So more brunch than afternoon tea but beggers can’t be choosers and all that.
Unfortunately the night before we (myself and my fiance Dan) were due to have our afternoon tea a few glasses of prosecco and a few more gin cocktails threw themselves down my throat (not my fault obvs) and made me feel rather fuzzy on the Saturday morning. To be honest if it was anything other than Harry Potter themed food waiting for me I would not have left the house!

I did however drag myself out of the house and managed to look half respectable for a morning at The Assembly House. If you haven’t been to this lovely place in Norwich it’s a stately home type looking building with opulent decor and feels ‘a bit posh’. It is next to the Theatre Royal in Norwich so a popular spot for a pre theatre dinner.
I must admit, this isn’t a glowing review, so apologies to The Assembly House now but I have to be truthful in my opinions on this blog!

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The Ivy, Norwich Brasserie

Monday night I was lucky enough to bag an invite to the press launch of The Ivy Brasserie in Norwich – a new restaurant opening on Tuesday 21st August in the city centre.
I have been getting excited about this swanky new restaurant opening for a couple of months now – the social media team have been very clever in teasing us with just enough  on Instagram to already make me love the place.

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The Ivy have restaurants all over England, mainly in the London area, so it was very exciting to hear that Norwich is joining the lucky cities to boast that we have one. The interior is nothing short of luxe – it is breathtaking when you walk in; the chandeliers are enormous, the floor is glaringly shiny and the atmosphere makes you want to sit up that little bit straighter, but in a good way. Continue reading

Norridge Summer Wellness Event

What do you do on the eve of your 26th birthday? ‘Get on it’ to prove you’re still young enough to do so? Throw a party? Cry because you’re now closer to 30 than 20?

Whilst all of the above were tempting, I booked myself into a pop up yoga and wellness event and it couldn’t have been a better choice. I saw the Summer Wellness Event on Instagram via @norridge.popup and instantly knew I had to be a part of it.
I have been getting back into yoga for the past few months and whilst I am loving my sessions with ‘Yoga with Adrienne’ on YouTube in my living room, I do think a class every now and then is really motivating. The Summer Wellness Event was advertising yoga, meditation and energy work with raw, vegan cacao treats afterwards – you can see why I was instantly drawn to it!

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The event was ran by the Norridge girls, two lovely ladies who are still currently studying at university whilst running pop up events in the city. They have mainly held food events up until this one, with the last being a pop up cafe for the weekend in the city centre serving seasonal, delicious yet nourishing treats – and as the name would suggest, it included porridge! They wanted to expand their events by doing an evening of yoga and people coming together with good energy, finishing with scrummy food.
They really delivered, as myself and the 14 other people who attended the evening all absolutely loved it and left feeling centered and ready to take on the world with new intentions.

We began by doing around an hour of slow, mindful yoga with Cata Parrishwain who is the most calming and welcoming person you could hope to be leading a yoga class. We focused on doing what felt right for ourselves and our bodies rather than ‘perfecting’ the poses which is such a refreshing view on yoga. I have been to classes before where the instructor has literally came over and moved me into the positions because I wasn’t perceived to be doing it right but actually, you should be relaxing and enjoying the experience not bending about so much you put your back out!  Continue reading

Bowling House, Norwich

Friday night, date night?

When was the last time you went on a date with your significant other? Like a proper date – bowling, cinema, meal for two?
For me and my other half it had been a little while so I decided to take the bull by the horns a couple of weeks ago and book us in for bowling and food at the snazzy new Bowling House in Norwich city centre.

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I had seen ‘BoHo’ on Instagram and I thought it looked really cool so this seemed the perfect place to go for our date. There seems to be a trend at the moment for bars/eateries with an added activity – such as the ping pong bars you can find in some major cities and the funky crazy golf bars which seem to be popping up all over London.
I think they’re a really good idea – they would be the ideal place to take someone on a first date to break the ice!

I booked Bowling House for 7pm Friday night last week, we were having 3 games of bowling and then they book you a dinner table for the rough time they think you’ll finish. The interior has been done so well, I absolutely love the use of lighting inside and the blue colour on the walls is absolutely dreamy, I would love a room in my house that colour. The actual building is near Toys R Us in the city centre, on Dereham Road – we parked in St Andrews car park, it’s only a 2 minute walk from there.
There are 5 bowling lanes in the perfectly sized building and you pay for bowling per game, per person. Bowling varies from £5.50 – £7.50 pp and there are different offers depending on which day you go so it’s worth checking out their website before you book if you are thinking about checking them out.

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