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

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.

Auchterarder-Sunset-Just-Hollie

 

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.

Continue reading

Moving to Scotland – A New Chapter for Just Hollie

Merry Christmas one and all! Can you believe that it’s the 24th of December as I write this – where has this year gone?! If you read my blog post about my recent wedding you’ll already know there has been a lot of change in my life, but I have more to tell you about, so grab a cuppa (or mulled wine) and let’s catch up.

Just Hollie, moving home

I’ll start from the beginning; around this time last year my husband started travelling up to Glasgow for work around once a month, sometimes less. I won’t tell you exactly who he works for and where for obvious reasons, but he’s in the corporate world where travelling for work isn’t uncommon so we didn’t think too much about it at the time. He was enjoying his work and liked going up on the odd occasion to Glasgow and that was that really. Fast forward a couple of months to around the March/April time and there I was cooking dinner for us both one weekday evening, when Hubby comes home from work with a rather unexpected question. ‘You know I’ve been working with the team in Glasgow a lot recently and going up there for work, well how would you feel about moving to Scotland together permanently?’ – he’d been offered a job in the office he’d been visiting and wanted to take it. It was an opportunity he couldn’t pass up and would be great for his career – the only hurdle for him was convincing me! To be honest, it wasn’t completely out of the blue or a huge surprise, we had a feeling his job was heading that way but all of a sudden it felt real and actually, really bloody exciting. I had no hesitation in saying yes to the move because I had felt that my 9-5 wasn’t right for me any longer for a while and I was really ready for a life shake up too. So that was that, it had been decided quite easily and we were moving to Scotland! I don’t think he could believe how easily I had said yes and that I was willing to move to a different country for him, but we were getting married and I love him to bits – it was a good move for both of us and a chance for us to carve out our own little piece of the world away from where we grew up. Continue reading