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It’s Been a While…

It’s been so long since I last posted on my blog. The reason is that I haven’t been doing anything particularly postable. I’m going to go ahead and blame the pandemic for this.

As frustrating as it is not being able to travel abroad, it seems to have really inspired me to see what’s on offer in the UK, when I probably wouldn’t have otherwise. It’s been a long 10 months not being able to travel properly, so I’m really looking forward to getting away in July, even if it isn’t abroad.

I’ve been on a couple of short trips already this year to Edinburgh and Norfolk. To summarise, Edinburgh was lovely but whilst I was there it featured that bizarre rule which allowed you to eat inside but not drink alcohol, which was annoying. When I went to Norfolk I stayed in Kings Lynn which I personally wouldn’t recommend, although the hotel was great, the rest of it was questionable. Whilst in Norfolk, I drove to Cromer and Great Yarmouth which are everything you can expect from British seaside towns and I will say no more.

I visited Liverpool and York at the end of last year too. There was a covid curfew in Liverpool and the tier system was in full force which made it difficult to get seated in bars and restaurants. I visited Knowsley Safari while I was there though, which was fabulous to be honest. York was really good, I’ve been many times before and I will happily go many times again.

I’ve finally booked my next adventure to Cornwall. That didn’t sound right… It’s somewhere I’ve wanted to visit for a while and since we aren’t allowed to leave the UK just yet, what better opportunity than now. Cornwall is 7.5 hours from Newcastle, where I live, so I’ve planned a road trip. I’m going to be in Cornwall for 3 days but the actual duration of the road trip is going to be 7 days. I’m in the process of buying my first house, so understandably I’m trying to keep spends on other things down. This is why I’ve decided to use Air BnB for the first time. I’ve used it to book all of the places I’ll be staying. I’ve picked some really random and ‘unique’ places so the trip should be interesting.

I haven’t been on my Life Of Hols Instagram since November last year but I plan on restarting it, now that travel is a bit more doable. Although I’ve never done this before, I’m going to try and record as much of the Cornwall road trip as I can, primarily using my Instagram as a platform to share it. Failing this, I’ll be sure to upload lots of pictures!

7 Things That I Would Tell My Younger Self

People seem to be taught from a young age that the culmination of their existence will be achieved when they find love and have their ‘happy ending’. Well this is an unrealistic ideal, and completely inaccurate. Why not focus on the important things instead, like building your career, or living your best life with your friends? 

I swear relationship red flags should be a topic that is taught in school. It’s less than ideal when you weren’t aware of such things and you develop a tendency to attract every narcissist, sociopath and psychopath within a five mile radius. Regardless, I’ve since been educated by the miracle of experience. I think it is important to express gratitude regularly. I have never felt such inner strength, happiness and contentment as I do right now. I am so grateful for all of my experiences, including the negative ones. They have truly shaped the person I am today.

So here are seven things I have recently learned that I would tell my younger self, if I had the chance:

  1. Trust your instinct 

If something doesn’t feel right then it probably isn’t. Anxiety is your body’s way of telling you something is not right. It is an instinct which has been a part of the human anatomy since humans were primates. It is used to sense danger. Do not ignore this. If you are in a situation that is causing you anxiety that you never had before, get out. Your body and mind are very advanced, do not ever let anyone tell you it is your own mental health problems that are to blame. Do not doubt yourself. You survived perfectly fine before and you will be perfectly fine again. 

  1. Appreciate your friends 

I have only just recently grown to truly appreciate my friends. I always loved them, but in the past six months I have fell in love with their loyalty, support and attitude. Women are truly the strongest and most precious things we have on this planet and I am so glad to be one, and to have so many amazing ones around me. Listen to these people, they know what’s best. Hearing an outside perspective and actually considering it, rather than being in denial is such an imperative move. Don’t hide things you suspect are wrong from friends. I stopped doing this with one particular friend and I am so glad I did because she was able to offer a trustable outside perspective, whilst I was being told I was imagining things. If it wasn’t for her I believe I’d still be stuck. 

  1. Do not doubt yourself 

Nobody knows you better than you, no matter how much they claim to. It is difficult when someone who is supposed to love you repeatedly tells you that your perception of reality is completely wrong. Being consistently told that your needs are wrong or too much can really make a person doubt themselves too. If a person is evidently uninterested in your needs, just leave. There is no point sticking around waiting to see if they will become interested in your needs. They either care, or they don’t. Just remember, you know yourself, you know what’s real and you know what isn’t. 

  1. Never ever forget who you are 

Trying to be a certain way to keep someone happy is damaging to an infinite extent. Doing this is so detrimental to the health it leaves you feeling like a shell of your former self. Something that has really motivated me lately has been how much I feel like Hollie again. My nearest and dearest have told me of the change they have seen in me. I have went back to being me after I really thought she was lost. I lost my sense of self to the anxiety and depression I had been experiencing. Don’t live your life on an emotional rollercoaster led by another person’s mood. It will be thoroughly draining. 

  1. Forgive yourself 

You can take all of the blame as much as you want it still won’t fix a bad situation. The most important yet difficult lesson is learning to forgive yourself. It’s so much easier to turn inward and beat yourself up about everything, especially when you’ve been involved with a person who readily encourages you to do this, only so that they don’t have to take any accountability for their own actions. Not realising sooner, or staying too long is not a flaw. It shows you cared and were being loyal, and that is an extremely positive attribute. Be kind to yourself and good things will come. You, like all of the other loving and genuine people out there deserve happiness and should never settle for any less. 

  1. The only person you ever truly need is you

It’s strange how a person can convince another to believe they need them. You do not need anyone. This isn’t to say break off all connections with loved ones. Healthy relationships with others enrich your existence, but everything you ever need, or will need, you have right within yourself. It may feel like you need a person now and survival would be difficult, or perhaps impossible without them, but this belief is an illusion which can be used as a basis to maintain control. For this reason, it’s easy to feel stuck in a situation, especially if you have been ground down until you feel dependent. 

  1. Know your worth

It is challenging to realise your worth when your self esteem has taken a battering. I found my worth by looking at my friends and my family. When everything was going to shit, I looked around me and saw all of these happy, friendly faces who genuinely loved me for who I am. They pulled me out of such a dark place and I would never be able to express my gratitude for that in words. 

Sometimes when you’re in it, it seems like a dark place you’ll never escape from, but you’ll make it and be so glad you kept going. Be proud of yourself always, you are stronger than you will ever appreciate. Spend your time with people who make your mind calm, not those who cause you to overthink. Do not ever let someone tell you it is all you. You know deep down what you deserve and don’t ever settle for less. Everything you need is within.  There is no urgency or necessity to ‘make things work’, as soon as something doesn’t feel right or it doesn’t make you happy, get the f*ck out. 

Hols Goes To Marmaris

Despite the Covid-19 pandemic making it look like an impossibility back in March, I managed to successfully survive my second holiday abroad of 2020. I went to Turkey with my best friend and it was absolutely brilliant.
The airport and airline staff are very strict about everyone wearing masks at all times, but as soon as you leave the airport, masks become somewhat part of an act to uphold whenever police pass. To be honest, I expected nothing less. The taxi driver from the airport had his mask round his neck, and we soon discovered from his attempt at explaining in Turkish, that the procedure there was to basically just pop them on should we encounter any police. Most other people had them tied round their arm, just in case.
When we got to our hotel, it seemed pretty basic and the hotel room safe was located downstairs in the reception area, so we were reluctant to use it. When we were shown to our room, we soon realised that we definitely would have to use the safe, because the doors were paper thin and if someone so pleased, they could probably just walk straight through it, even at an average pace.
We arrived quite late so we just put our bags down and went straight out. We headed towards Marmaris beach, which is where all of the bars are. I am really trying to narrate this for you as best I can, but to be honest we went into a bar called Batman and I can’t remember a great deal after that.
The next day however, we woke up surprisingly early and went down to the beach for breakfast at about 9am. We went back to the hotel pool after getting a few pictures on a swing in the sea. One of the bar staff came over to us and showed us some pretty interesting pictures of us in the pool from the previous night and it started to make sense why I had woke up soaking wet.
We got chatting to a really nice woman who was staying at our hotel with her young daughter. She invited us to go to a bar called Tigers with her at 3pm, so we went and met her there. When we arrived there was quite a bit of laughter followed by some more interesting footage of us dancing like actual lunatics on the stage which we also couldn’t recollect. I honestly would have put money on that I’d never been in that bar in my life. Then just to top it off another barman came over with a bar bill of 98 lira which we apparently ran off without paying the night before. So far so good.
When we were in bars there was absolutely no music allowed to be played after 12am and no one seemed to break this particular rule. The police were always patrolling near the beach so whenever the bar staff got the signal, the entertainment on the stage and people standing up dancing would be asked over the microphone to kindly sit down and act natural. All of the staff would then position their masks over their face until the police had cleared the vicinity.
Anyway, aside from that wild first night and my kidneys nearly packing in by the third day, I had a cracking time. Turkey is a really beautiful place which when I sobered up for five minutes, I noticed. We went on a boat trip where I jumped off the side and I really enjoyed swimming in the sea. Prior to this holiday, I’d avoided swimming in the sea as I didn’t realise I could swim as well as I can. I saw a lovely sunset on that boat which I enjoyed with my sixth bottle of corona.
There are some really nice restaurants in Marmaris too. We kept revisiting this one called Pukka because the food was just delightful. The people are really friendly in Marmaris and I don’t just mean the Turks. We met some really nice Brits too, everyone we spoke to was lovely. I was ready to come home by the end of the week because of all of the drinking and late nights, but I would love to revisit. I can’t wait ’til there are more destinations I can travel to without restrictions, hopefully before the end of the year!

A Lockdown Epiphany

It’s all fun and games starting a blog until you get writer’s block after after writing your first post. There’s so much information and encouragement on the internet in regards to starting a blog, and how to write your first blog post. Someone should really add some content to advise how to go about writing your second one. 

I’ve been trying to avoid writing about lockdown at all costs because of how much the whole concept makes me cringe at this stage. But since this is a current occurrence in my life, I feel it would be inappropriate to not bring it up. 

When lockdown was first announced I will not deny, I had a couple of panic attacks. I had just left a job I’d been in for nearly three years and was about to move into an industry that I’d never worked in before. I was in the office for just one day of my new job, before being sent home to work remotely. It has been a huge challenge learning a brand new job from home, having very little guidance. I’d like to say I’m getting there, but my self doubt tends to overrule this. 

I think people who are waiting for things to ‘go back to normal’ want to give up on that. We are in a moving process and there has been some huge changes to life as we once knew it. It is an impossibility to revert to what we used to be and more importantly, why would you want to? A lot of people have taken this change and time we have been granted and utilised it, others have chosen to ignore the opportunity and wish it away. Wish for normality to return, but why? 

We have seen such a shift in society and community throughout this pandemic. People have came together and showed each other support in ways I’ve never witnessed before. It has been a roller coaster for everyone and I’m certain it’s not over. I think it is so important that we take what we can from the cards which we are dealt. I have learned from this lockdown that you can’t escape inevitable change and must instead utilise opportunities that change provides.

Back in March I was presented with time I’d never noticed I had before. The fast paced life I once knew suddenly slowed down and became calm. I have had a lot of time to think and grow over these past few months. Before lockdown was declared I felt like I was stuck in a rut of going to work all week and then drinking all weekend. I felt sad and anxious from Sunday to Thursday of most weeks. This was a waste of my life and I hope to never return to such a place. 

This pandemic has given me the chance to see things clearer. It has given me the chance to enjoy walking, when I used to drive even the shortest distances. I have woken up on a Sunday without a hangover and experienced having time to think straight, and be mindful, without the effects of substances clouding my judgement. I have spent weeks with my mam and sister, which I would have never given myself the chance to do, had it not been forced upon me, but I am so glad it was. 

Now that lockdown has began to lift somewhat, being able to enjoy the summer with friends in gardens and outside rather than inside bars has been a great experience. I love how creative businesses have become to overcome lockdown barriers. Some of the bars in Newcastle have been filling up two pint milk bottles with beer for customers to take away, which is just iconic. The pubs and restaurants are back open this Saturday and I am curious to see how this is going to pan out. I personally think it will be absolute mayhem attempting to enforce social distancing rules on a bunch of drunk people. I have a friend that for every pint she drinks, gets one inch closer to my face while we are talking, and I’m sure she’s not the only one that alcohol has this effect on.

To be honest, I have saved a fortune from pubs and restaurants being closed for the past four months, as this is where I used to spend at least 70% of my wage. I am not in any hurry to resume this problematic behaviour. I think a lot of people will be desperate for a taste of normality, but I think many others will have realised how much enjoyment they can get from the comfort of their own home. I can see many people continuing to enjoy the new normal, by socialising with friends in their gardens. I think the novelty of visiting bars may dwindle. Perhaps just wishful thinking for my bank account’s sake.

Hello & Welcome! My First Blog Post

So, here it is. I’ve finally started my blog. I’ve been thinking about starting a blog for a long time now, but haven’t before taken the plunge. I often overthink things to the point of talking myself out of it completely, a flaw of mine. So anyway, I have such a passion for writing and I feel like I have a lot to say, so this could be an ideal platform for me to express myself. Who knows, I may inspire someone…or potentially just really piss people off. Sometimes people laugh or enjoy what I say, other times people just find me obscenely offensive. There really is no in between. 

My aim with this blog is to not necessarily have a specific niche, but rather discuss anything and everything in the Life of Hols. I like to experience new things and go to places I’ve never visited before so that is likely to be the basis for my blogs. I absolutely love learning and as I go through life I aspire to learn as much as I can from the people I meet and the experiences I have. I would like to share things which I feel may be beneficial to others who may be in or end up in similar situations to what I have been in.

Last year I graduated with a master’s degree and it was one of the best things I’ve ever done. If it was financially possible I would continue to do degree after degree. I had an ambition to work in digital marketing as I found this seems to be the area I excel in at the moment. I had so much self doubt and put at least 50 job applications forward and had many interviews and continuously got knocked back. However, earlier this year, I landed my first digital marketing job. I still doubt myself so much and I am very hard on myself but I suppose when I see these things written down, I haven’t done too bad so far.  

Before ‘Lockdown’ began, I had many holidays planned for 2020, probably too many. I was going to use that as an opportunity to start a blog and write about my experiences in these different places. I still plan to do this however unfortunately my travel adventure blogs will have to be halted until 2021, or whenever the powers that be allow us to restore life as we once knew it. When I do begin blogging about places I visit I intend on giving some honest reviews. It’s all quite uncertain at the moment as to what my blog will specifically be about, but I am ready to start the journey and find out. I think this strongly reflects where I am at in my life at present. I think being twenty-something is a very unsettling, but brilliant time of life. Who knows what’s round the corner? It’s intriguing, yet terrifying.