Why I take Anti-Depressants in Winter

Summer days turn into winter nights and Happy Holly turns into an old miser. So I take anti-depressants in winter.

anti-depressants in winter

I have suffered on and off with my mental health my whole life. I have seen 10 different doctors who have given me 10 different diagnoses. From Borderline Personality Disorder to “you just need to cheer up a bit”, I have been told so many conflicting things that I’ve given up asking doctors. Pretty much every year, I end up taking anti-depressants in winter.

I don’t ask them what’s wrong with me anymore – I now tell them. I go to whatever GP it is that day and tell them. “I feel blue. I haven’t been to the gym in weeks. My skin has turned to crap. I don’t want to socialise.This week I haven’t eaten more than two vegetables. No, I don’t want to harm myself. I’m not suicidal. I don’t want to go outside though.”

I think diagnosing mental health illnesses is one of the toughest jobs GPs have to do. With a 5 minute window to see each patient, and every single person’s symptoms so different, they almost never get it right. However, in the last 3 years I’ve seen a significant improvement in doctors’ responses. Especially young doctors. It seems like people under 40 just get it so much more.

My birthday is at the beginning of November.

Right after the clocks go back and it’s dark when we all get home from work, I start to withdraw from the world. I can’t remember a birthday where I haven’t had a bad period.

Don’t get me wrong, my friends and family are always amazing at making sure I have a great birthday. Not just presents or parties, but at making sure I know I’m loved and supported. I only have good people in my life.

It’s just that no matter how many people call me or text met o tell me they’re happy I made it another year, I can’t help but feel worthless and insignificant. Maybe not on my actual birthday but between bonfire night and Christmas, I generally have at least one meltdown. Lying in my bed, sobbing heaving tears until I’m almost physically sick.

anti-depressants in winter

I’m smart. I know I have a good life.

I may not be rich financially but I am in other ways. I have an amazing family, a wonderful girlfriend, and some of the greatest friends a girl could ever want. I have a nephew who thinks the sun shines out of me and now I have a puppy who thinks I’m one of the two best things on the planet.

When the black cloud creeps in, all that disappears

All the logic melts away with the tears. I turn off my phone and shut out anyone who might try to help me.

Usually after a few hours, the cloud runs out of rain and starts to dissipate. The tears start to dry. I go to the bathroom to get tissue and think how ridiculous I look, face puffy. Why have I been crying for 2 hours in my beautiful big bed? I have a roof over my head. I have more than some people could ever dream of. Get a grip, Holly.

I give myself some time to recover and either eat or sleep.These are my only comforts in winter. I just need to hide from the world andfeel nothing.

The next day will be brand new. I live life normally but every day, I take a little weight on in my soul until eventually the scales tip and I find myself in bed again. Each day / week / month / year is different.Sometimes it can be months between The Bed Day; sometimes it’s only days.

anti-depressants in winter

I have tried

Every natural remedy, yoga, walking, talking, everything. The only thing that works for me is the drugs. Having been on medication for my Asthma since I was a small child, I try to avoid talking more drugs. I have weaned myself off my asthma medication;luckily my symptoms have lessened as the years have gone by. I refuse to take any contraceptive pill anymore, no matter how bad my periods are.

This though, this is the one I have to give in to. According to the doctors, I can take up to 6 weeks for symptoms to alleviate once you start taking anti-depressants. I usually notice within a week. Not a huge difference – I’m not bounding out of bed singing musicals at the top of my voice. Just the little things. I actually go to the supermarket and buy myself a nice dinner. And actually manage to cook it. I might even enjoy it.

Within two weeks, I’ll be back in the gym. Within 3, I’ll b edoing 6am sessions and revelling in the beauty of the sunrise. By the time Christmas comes around, I’ll actually be excited for the office Christmas Party.

Though my depression is cyclical and linked in with events in my life, it is still clinical depression. What a lot of people don’t realise is that clinical depression is a physical illness, which manifests in the mind.

At its most simple,depression can be considered a chemical imbalance in the brain.

It is well documented, however, that the illnesses are most commonly triggered by a variety or combination of factors including genetics, environmental or social triggers,trauma, stress and so on.

There are arguments that depression is caused / worsened by low serotonin levels. There are also strong arguments for the reverse. The medical profession is still so early in the research stages & I’m no expert. So let’s just say depression and low levels of serotonin go hand in hand.

In the same scope of anti-biotics being able to treat a chest infection, serotonin can be very successful in treating the clinical aspect of depression. Depending on an individual’s symptoms, triggers and levels of imbalance, prescriptions of serotonin can be a great kick-start to getting back to “normal”.

For me, SSRIs (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors) just work. They alter how my body absorbs serotonin and re-balance my chemicals. The wires start to slowly untangle and I find myself laughing more often. I don’t have to force myself into the shower. I enjoy the sunshine or want to stop and take in the beauty of the autumn leaves.

anti-depressants in winter

There’s a couple of brands that don’t agree with me.

 As with any drug, there are side effects and a couple of the types don’t work for me. Just like certain types of contraceptive pills don’t work for everyone. It’s been trial and error but I’ve found what works. I won’t say which ones trigger me and which ones work because everyone is different; your choice of drug should be an educated decision between you and your doctor, not from me!

Come springtime (usually before Easter), I consult my doctor and start weaning off the medication. I could continue to take it year round but I like to give my body a chance to do things nature’s way if I can. There’s been a few years where I haven’t come off them due to events in my life at that time. But if I can come off them and not slip down the dark slope again, then I do.

“Small Talks Save Lives”

I’ve been so impressed over the last couple of years with the traction of open conversations about mental health. From social media campaigns to celebrities admitting their struggles, to programmes being implemented in schools, the face of mental health is changing.

We all know people struggle and we’re starting to talk about it. The phrase “it’s okay not to be okay” is becoming commonplace and employers are understanding the importance of being supportive. It’s hard for people who haven’t had any mental health illnesses to be empathetic but if we keep talking, tweeting and writing about our individual issues, we will help. Someone might read my symptoms and realise their colleague is struggling. Another person might watch Professor Green’s stories and finally find the courage to go to their doctor and ask for help.

If you’re struggling, the help is there. You just have to ask for it.

If you urgently need to speak to someone, the Samaritans are available 24/7 and it’s completely free. You can call them from the UK on “116123” and the Samaritan you need will be waiting at the end of the phone.

If it’s non-emergency and you’re feeling like you need help,please make an appointment with your GP as soon as possible. Remember, you won’t hit it off with every doctor you meet, the same as you won’t like every person you have to work with. So if the first one isn’t the right one, please do ask for a second. Or third. Or however many it takes to find The One. You have every right to do so and you deserve the doctor that will help you change your life.

MIND are a wonderful charity whose website is full of resources to help, along with details of your local MIND centre and the services they offer.

CALM is a mental health charity catering specifically to men. Men are more likely to commit suicide than women, yet much less likely to ever discuss their problems or ask for help. The Campaign Against Living Miserably is there to help you gents turn your worst hours into your finest.

Friends, family, co-workers, online – you never know where support can be found until you ask for it. You deserve to be happy.

Remember what Oprah says – “This too Shall Pass”.

How to Upset Bar Staff

10 Ways to Upset Bar Staff
(and guarantee you wait longer)

I have worked as bar staff for years, on and off. I thought when I became an estate agent, my days of serving a customer were over. Then I met M, and became a Pub Wife. So I still have to serve front of house, occasional evenings and weekends.

I’ve done it all. Pubs, restaurants, nightclub, coffee shop, rugby stadium, champagne reception at the Brits, you name it. I have so many fantastic memories of these times but those positive memories are all of the great people I worked with.

Not all but most bad memories are of customers. People so often forget that their servers are not just robots that produce food and drinks magically from thin air, we are people too!

When you’re out with friends and family having a good time, maybe having a few (too many) drinks, sometimes behaviour can slip. So in order to make sure you don’t ruin the day for someone else, here’s a list of things that we can’t stand, and that you can stop doing today to stop being a dick.

1 – Not knowing what you want when you get to the bar

The bar staff have rushed to get through the 4 previous orders because they can see you’re waiting, and stand in front of you. Don’t stand there looking like a deer in headlights because you came here to ask for something and you don’t know what it is. Most likely you’ll drink what you always drink. A customer asking for recommendations on brands or beers is always welcome though!

2 – Putting chewing gum / rubbish in an empty glass

You chose to have chewing gum. If you are not prepared for the disposal of your chosen gum when the time is right, that is your problem, Mr Customer. To put it into a glass makes you one of the worst types of human. The person who clears your glass away is now going to have to spend 10 minutes trying to wash it out (and probably get soaked in the process) or spear it out using a straw, so that it doesn’t go into the dishwasher and end up in someone else’s glass.

3 – Clicking / Whistling 

If you click at bar staff to get their attention, you can pretty much guarantee you’re going to wait a lot longer than you would have. Servers are humans, not animals. Clicking at them the way you would a cat or a horse is not going to entice them to you. It’s basically scientifically proven to induce amnesia, in fact, with a person simply forgetting which customer was next just from hearing the click.

4 – Being vulgar

This is mostly one for the straight men among you. Just because I work behind a bar, doesn’t mean I’m promiscuous. Even if I am promiscuous, it doesn’t mean I want to sleep with you. I might have put make up on this morning because I feel like it. I might smile at you because being friendly is part of my customer service ethic. That does not, however, invite you to make lewd comments about my body. It does not allow you to ask for my number, ask if I fancy a nightcap, ask for a “pint of you” or anything along a similar vein. 

Please, just let me do my job without the borderline sexual harassment. 

Annoy Bar Staff

5 – Forgetting your manners

Saying please or thank you won’t cost you any money but will guarantee to make a difference to the bar staff’s day. Being impolite will most likely bring negative karma to you too. Why would someone go out of their way to enhance their service to you, if you’re being rude? Please take your bad-mannered self out the door and away from me, thank you very much.

6 – Getting in the way

I’m not saying don’t stand at the bar and enjoy your drink. We welcome you to take a look at the artefacts in our site, to soak up the history and atmosphere. However, if I’m trying to walk through the pub holding 4 plates of hot food, that are probably making my arms ache and burning my skin off, dear lord Please don’t just look through me. Be kind, take a step to the side and don’t make me undertake acrobatics to get these fish & chips to table 14.

Keep Bar Staff Happy

7 – Interrupting a serve mid serve

The gentlemen I’m serving just asked me for 3 Kronenbourgs, 2 Kopperbergs, a vodka lime and soda, a vodka lemonade and blackcurrant, a mottle of Merlot with 3 glasses, 2 glasses of pinto blush, 3 fish and chips, 2 bags of chilli crisps and four portions of olives. If you interrupt with “can I just have a …” I am definitely going to forget all of the order. My customer will already have forgotten. He’ll have to ask his entire group again what they want. This will all lengthen the process, just leaving you longer to wait for your cube of ice.

8 – Sighing and moaning because you weren’t served next 

99% of the time, I’m right in who I serve next in the queue. Unlike a shop, bars don’t have an ordered queuing system. Everyone gathers at any point they like at a bar that can be anywhere up to 30 ft long. Having done my job all day and night for years, my peripheral vision and 7th sense is pretty good. Occasionally, I am wrong. I might go to the man to the left of you who arrived for seconds earlier. Maybe he was actually looking at me when I came to who was next and you were chatting to the person behind you, facing away from me. Either way, I’m just a person who isn’t perfect. I’m also a person who has to work another 9 hours on my feet. You’re the person getting to enjoy the beer I will pour for you in under two minutes. Just chill bro.

9 – Tell me how fun it must be to run a pub

As bar staff, our job is to create an environment for other people to have fun in. That does not mean our job is fun. Yes, sometimes we get to have a laugh with each other or listen to a cool new indie band or enjoy a massive glass of wine that a regular bought. The rest of the time, it’s 13 hour working days, climbing over people who won’t move, guessing that you actually wanted a vodka soda and not the lime soda you ordered, changing a barrel of cider and getting showered in sugary spray, shouting at the chefs and guessing which pie is vegan and which nuts are which. Fun is an adjective rarely used to describe our job.

10 – Try and convince us to have a lock in

It’s midnight. We’ve rung the bell for last orders 15 minutes prior. We’ve also rung the bell to announce closing time. Don’t now try and come and order more drinks. Please don’t try and ask for free drinks and a lock in. If I came to the bank you worked in at 6pm and asked you to stay open till 5pm and give me £100 cash for free, how would you respond? We’ve been open 12 hours. We were here for 3 hours before that. Please, just let us sweep up the garden, wipe down the tables, refill the fridges, stock the shelves, polish the cutlery, tidy and mop the bar and go home.

Have you ever worked in a bar or restaurant? Feel free to vent all your frustrations in the comments below! 

Keep Bar Staff Happy
10 Ways to Upset Bar Staff - Honestly Holly
10 Ways to Upset Bar Staff - Honestly Holly
10 Ways to Upset Bar Staff - Honestly Holly
10 Ways to Upset Bar Staff - Honestly Holly

23 Things About Me!

About Me!

About Me Honestly Holly

I realised recently that I’ve been writing and my readers don’t really have a clue who I am. I thought it was about time we got to know each other. I’m Holly and I’m 30. I live with my girlfriend and work in property. I’m also obsessed with the number 23, and even have it tattooed on me. That’s the basics, here’s the rest!

1

For someone with a pretty stable life, I’ve moved a lot in my 30 years! I was born in South West London and grew up in Hastings. I moved back to South West London for university. 10 years later I moved to Essex to live with the love of my life. Now we live in Wapping in East London!

2

My mum is my hero. She raised me and my brother on her own, alongside studying for her degree to become the amazing English teacher she is today. She’s a fantastic mother and friend to me. Mumma is kind, honest, accepting, funny and has the most beautiful smile!

About Me Mumma

3

I’m obsessed with pigs and sausage dogs. These are pretty much the only animals I’m not allergic to. Now we’re no longer renting, M and I intend to adopt a sausage dog by the end of the year.

4

I’m very honest. Too honest, sometimes. I always say what needs to be said. When friends come to me for advice, they come for what they need to hear, not what will make them feel better. I’m working hard on the way I say things.

5

I am a property manager for an estate agents and, when it’s busy, I love what I do. For me, the place you live is your home and the centre of your world. You start and end each day there. If something at home isn’t right, the effect can ripple and effect your whole day. My job satisfaction comes in knowing that my tenants are happy, safe and secure in their homes.

6

I have a Law Degree. As a child I always wanted to go to university to study law and become a lawyer. The latter part didn’t happen. I almost gave up on my degree, having lost complete faith in the system. I persevered and graduated – I have LLB (Hons) after my name!

7

Clueless and Legally Blonde are my top two favourite (non Disney) films. Clueless has such a great moral to it, and I get even more of the puns each time I watch it. Legally Blonde was when I fell in love with Reese Witherspoon. Her character epitomises modern day feminism and the story will live on to help women around the world for years to come.

8

I used to be a bar supervisor in a nightclub. It was amazing, working in a place where people come for the sole purpose of fun. It’s also exhausting! I couldn’t do it nowadays. I can’t function past midnight, let alone at 4am.

About Me Nightclub

9

I love to read and always have. As a kid I’d prefer being inside with a book to out in the playground. I read every night before bed now. Lying by a pool with a good book on holiday is paradise to me!

10

I’m in a relationship with a woman. Which wasn’t how I’d planned it. But this part of my life couldn’t have turned out any better. Tinder is a wonderful thing.

About Me Girlfriend

11

I love travelling but I hate flying. This faffing about driving round the runway for an hour before you take off is pure torture to me!

12

If I won the jackpot on the lottery, the first thing I’d do is hire a yacht, and take my close friends and family away for two weeks. Then I’d invest in property and renovate unloved buildings!

13

I recently moved into a flat above a pub. Once we’re settled and up & running, I’ll post about our pub. It’s really beautiful.

About Me Pub View

14

My happy place is at home with my family. Whether it’s in our flat with my girlfriend or on my mum’s sofa with my nephew climbing all over me, if I’m at home and there’s one of them near me, I’m happy.

15

I’m very easily frustrated with things I can’t do. I basically don’t like things I’m not good at. For example drawing or running. I’m rubbish at both of these things and both of them piss me off!

16

I am a feminist through and through. Male privilege is still going strong and don’t try and tell me otherwise.

17

I have always battled with my mental health. Since I was quite young, I’ve had periods of depression and anxiety. At the moment, I’m on an even keel. It’s a very quick spiral downwards but I have people in my life who know me and know my patterns. They catch me before I fall too far and help me get back on the path up again.

18

I very rarely manage to get through a meal without getting food down my front. I mean like it happens several times a day.

19

I still have my childhood teddy bears. They’ve moved every time I have. When life gets bad, or if I have to sleep alone, I still cuddle up with them in my bed. I’m not even a little bit ashamed.

20

My favourite meal in the world is my family’s spaghetti Bolognese, which has sweetcorn in it. My little brother was THE fussiest eater as a child.

21

I’m a pessimist at heart. No matter how much I try, I can’t ever fill the glass to even half full, let alone beyond.

22

I think Karamo from Queer Eye is the most genetically perfect human I’ve ever seen. I want him to be the sperm donor for our babies.

23

I will be a Spice Girls fan until the day I die. Viva Forever!

About Me Flag

23 Things About Me - Honestly Holly
23 Things About Me - Honestly Holly
23 Things About Me - Honestly Holly
23 Things About Me - Honestly Holly

Sunshine Blogger Award

Sunshine Blogger Award

There’s me, just minding my own business on a Friday when a little Twitter notification pops up. Yoohoo!

Ross has tagged you in the Sunshine Blogger Award!

Fridays don’t get much better than that. Being acknowledged for the hard work I’m putting into my blog feels just like when you dip a chocolate biscuit into tea and get the soak level just perfect. Or buttery-marmite crumpets. Just lovely.

I’m a little late posting as I’ve been absolutely manic working and preparing to move house. I’m sure most of you feel my pain of living in packing hell. I pack a box, then spend an hour looking for something. Which is, inevitably, in the packed box.

Ross is pretty much like me – just a human wiggling their way through the world, one tweet at a time. He’s honest, funny, thoughtful and his writing reads like a dream. He covers everything from equality for women’s boobs to nerdy guy stuff about comic book movies. There’s very few male bloggers in the sphere and it’s lovely to see one who has a diverse range of interests. He’s also great at showing his personality in his writing!

The Rules!

  • Thank the blogger who nominated you and link back to their blog;
  • Answer the 11 questions the blogger asked you;
  • Nominate 11 bloggers to receive this award and ask them 11 new questions; and
  • List the rules and display the Sunshine Blogger Award logo in your post and/or on your blog site.

Here’s Ross’ questions and my honest answers

If you could see any Band or Musician that has sadly passed away who would you see?

This would 100% be Whitney Houston, in her golden days. Or Amy Winehouse. (75% Whitney though). Both these women were phenomenal singers and performers. They also put on a show day in, day out, whilst struggling with a lot of internal problems. Something most of us can relate to. Plus, I love a good singalong!

What are your thoughts on Avocados?

I bloody love avocados but it’s so hard to get the perfect level of ripeness. I know that’s the most first worldly middle-class issue to have. It’s still an issue, though. Perfect in a sandwich on crusty bread. Yum.

What is your biggest pet peeve?

People with no manners. Using manners doesn’t cost a thing. Not using them can cost you a lot.

Would you rather have no hands or no feet?

No feet, definitely. You can do almost anything with your hands. Imagine trying to brush your teeth with your feet. I’m just not that flexible.

We are going to form a band, what position would take?

Front and centre. Honestly, I’m large and in charge. If I wasn’t in the actual band, I’d definitely be the manager.

What is the most influential quote you have in memory?

“Those who matter don’t mind. Those who mind don’t matter”. Don’t worry about everyone’s opinions of you. The people whose opinions matter will support you. Those people who don’t aren’t worth your time.

Which is scarier, Space or the Depths of the Ocean, and why?

The Ocean! As far as we know, there’s nothing out in Space waiting to gobble you up with gnarly teeth.

What are your thoughts on the scandalous “Reality” TV shows, such as MADE IN blah blah or Real Housewives of who knows-where?

Honestly, I used to be a big fan of the older reality shows. The Girls of The Playboy Mansion was my life when I was at uni. Now, I think it’s a bunch of garbage. It’s all staged. People are very quick to ditch their morals or dignity in favour of 3 column inches on the DailyFail website.

Morecambe and Wise or Two Ronnie’s?

Ronnies! I still think they’re hilarious, even if it is in that cringey grandad way.

If you could hang out with any Kids TV Character from your childhood who would it be?

Rosie and / or Jim. I’d happily spend my days chugging along on the old Ragdoll boat.

What Animal would you be most excited to see at the Zoo?

HEFALUMPS. Elephants are my favourite animals on the planet by far. I’ve been lucky enough to visit two sanctuaries in my time. I’ve spent hours up close and personal, plodding along. It’s the best feeling.

Honestly Holly’s Sunshine Blogger Award Questions

  1. Sunshine or snow?
  2. How do you feel about gin?
  3. Was Salem in Sabrina the Teenage Witch the best character ever?
  4. Do you ever read any news publications in actual print form anymore?
  5. Why do you blog?
  6. Should the Kardashians be put in the bin?
  7. What 1 sentence would you say to Donald Trump?
  8. Do you feel bad about how much plastic you use?
  9. Do you exercise as much as you should?
  10. What’s your favourite drink?
  11. What takes up too much of your time?

Honestly Holly’s Sunshine Blogger Award Nominations

Mia over at Blog, Mia, Blog. She’s honest, kind and loyal!

Melissa at Geek Magnifique. Mel and I were in the same English class at school. I’m in awe of where she’s gone with her writing and has even written her own book!

Louise who runs My 3 And Me. She’s a blogger who writes about being a mum and a whole host of other things, including her Tracks of My Years series of guest posts, which is just brilliant.

Hannah at As Seen in SW16. She writes about living and loving in London. She also has one of the best jobs ever!

Emma Rollason who blogs about beauty, fashion and lifestyle in a refreshingly honest way.

Chealsea who writes over on That Skint Gal. She’s sweet, funny and her pictures are great!

This babe on Love You and Them. She writes as fast as I think and everything is pink!

Jackie at Fashion Fairytale. She’s a plus-size fashion blogger who lives life and its prettiness more than me.

Antoria at Finding Satori who writes on mindfulness, self love and gratitude in a really calming way.

Katie who blogs about books on A Novel Idea. She writes on all genres of books, as well as other lifestyle topics.

Rosie who’s just started Indie Shropshire who writes about local events, lifestyle and wedding planning!

Make sure you all follow each others’ socials and get to know each other. Let’s keep this community building!

A Week in the life of Holly, Honestly

A Week in My Life - Honestly Holly
A Week in the Life - Honestly Holly
A Week in my life - Honestly Holly
A week in the Life - Honestly Holly

I have many roles in life, as do most women in 2018. I am a property manager (estate agent), a girlfriend, a daughter, a sister, an auntie, a friend, a pub wife, a blogger. Each of those roles pull me in 8 different directions and, honestly, I struggle to keep up with any of them. A week in the life of me can be so many different things!

A lot of women I know in life or follow on social media admit to feeling that they’re failing in at least one aspect of their life. The media however depicts so many famous women as sailing through life juggling all of these roles, without breaking a sweat. “Effortlessly” is a word that flies around a lot and a topic I’ve recently heard Mindy Kaling discussing openly.

 The ethos of my blog is Honesty. I try very hard not to portray on social media that I am succeeding at any of these things in life. What I want is to show the truth of myself and the life of a modern 30 year old living and working in London. I want to subvert the blogger stereotype of dreamy shots all filtered in the same dusky pink hue and show the reality of the sweat and tears involved in actually functioning as an adult in 2018. I think a “week in the life” is a great way to show normality.

 Thus, was borne “A week in the life of Holly, Honestly”. This will be a recurring feature periodically through the years. This last week has been a particularly brutal example of getting torn in all directions and an insight into the madness that is my life. It’s also been a week full of anxieties and me thinking I’ve failed at everything, as usual. We’ll start with Saturday, as this is the first day of the week after my post on a Friday.

Saturday

One of my best friends came to the pub for lunch and then we headed over to Lakeside to do some shopping and catch up. We hit up Primark with a vengeance, determined to bag myself a new foundation but they didn’t have any in my shade! Luckily, I did nab this lip crayon in Velvet Matte Dulce de Leche which is a perfect colour for me and I’m smitten with it.

I was also over the moon to see this full window ad in Primark with these beautiful women who actually have real human bodies!

 

I spent the evening fulfilling my Pub Wife duty and did a shift on the bar. We had a cracking night with a big engagement party in; everyone was in a great mood and the bride to be was super happy! Rolled into bed around 1am and was probably asleep by 130am.I spent the night worrying that I haven’t been a good enough friend of late and my dreams were riddled with images of bridges crumbling. How dramatic.

Sunday

I was up early to drop M to the pub to open, then hit the road for the 70 or so miles down to Hastings where my family live. My brother offered to cook a roast for us all for Mother’s Day which was brilliant!

I gave my mum this card from You Said It cards and she loved it! They do a great range of ‘alternative’ (read cheeky to downright rude) cards which exactly suit the humour me and my mum both have! They are great quality and offer a variety of colours for the envelopes to just suit the person receiving it! I’d like to thank You Said It for the opportunity to try their product!

I really dislike driving in the dark so I headed home around 430, picked M up on the way and went home to dinner. Then, I spent the evening frustrated that I hadn’t done enough on the blog that week. It was like I hadn’t written enough posts, engaged enough with others. M gave me a strong pep talk and calmed me down like only she knows how!

Monday

Mondays are always busy in my job. My work is people’s homes which don’t close of a weekend so there’s always loads to keep me busy on a Monday and the day just flies by!I had planned to go to the gym Monday evening but a mixture of being exhausted and M having gone to the pub after work means I ended up going home, getting dinner and settling on the sofa to plan and pay some attention to social media.Naturally not going to the gym made me feel like I’d failed. We’re going to Cape Town at the end of April. I’m not a small person by any means but I’m definitely carrying extra winter fluff and I’m not ready yet to be revealing what hibernation and winter food has added to my waistline!

 Tuesday

I really detest Tuesdays, thanks to my friend Katie. She made me realise that they’re the worst; the warm glow of the last weekend has gone and the next weekend can’t even be seen on the horizon. They always seem to take about 15 hours too.Luckily I had a busy day with inspections, furniture installations, preparing contracts, the usual. I went to a property to bleed some radiators and re-pressurise a central heating system too. Sometimes if you want things done, you just have to do them yourself!I also managed to bag myself a fire safety certificate after completing an online training course!

I never go to the gym on a Tuesday. They always leave me feeling a bit bruised and I like to just go home and snuggle under a blanket and turn my brain off.On Tuesday, Jay Z and Beyonce announced they’re bringing their new On The Run 2 Tour to the UK. I spent most of my time planning how many meals I would have to skip to buy us tickets. Conclusion – about 15 months. Sigh.

Wednesday

Attempted to go to the gym in the morning. What I actually did was turn off my alarms and go back to sleep. Later than I usually would and had to panic faff to get to work on time.I drive an hour each way every day to work so I like to keep myself entertained with a mix of the radio, my Amazon Music playlist and podcasts to keep me company on those particularly bleak days of traffic on the A13.

Amazon Music Currently has a promotion where you can get 3 months’ membership for just 99p! See the banner below for more details

Today, I chose the Women’s Hour podcast, my first time tuning in to it. Margot Robbie was on this episode, talking about her new film “I, Tonya” and I was taken aback how smart and knowledgeable she is!I managed to inspire myself to make a beautiful breakfast in lieu of going to the gym. I think this is going to be my staple in spring!

Another busy day at work, met another tenant and moved him in; another happy customer! For me, your home is the centre of your world, where you start and end every day. I get great job satisfaction knowing people are comfortable and happy in their homes!I downloaded the Preview app to try and get more organised with my Instagram posting. Apparently, I have no idea how to work it. I tried to schedule a post. It was edited beautifully, wrote a great caption and apparently scheduled it for 11am on Thursday but it didn’t post! If anyone has any tips on how to use this, please let me know!

Thursday

I MADE IT TO THE GYM BEFORE WORK ON THURSDAY MORNING. It has taken me 3 weeks to actually manage it! It was hard bloody work. I was super surprised when I left the house at 615am and it wasn’t dark! I did a short 25 minute full body kettle bell circuit, courtesy of The Food Medic and got super sweaty. I’d have liked longer but the traffic was awful, even at 630am. The A13 is the bane of my life.

I was full of energy all day and surprised I wasn’t drained. I was focused, awake, and happy. The sun shining probably contributed a lot to that too!I did a couple of inspections in the Royal Wharf development. There’s a lot of fantastic scenery in the area I work in but this creepy abandoned mill really caught my eye.

I went to the pub for dinner and to have a catch up with a few of the regular customers who had been at a funeral that day, which was bitter sweet. Getting up an hour an a half early had me knackered by the late evening so I was tucked up in bed and asleep by 1030pm, a very rare occurrence for me!

Friday

Friday was another super busy day at work! Luckily we knock off at 530pm on a Friday and the traffic wasn’t so bad. It was still light when I got home! I can’t wait for spring to bloom and the sun to be out every day. It makes such a difference!

M was out for the evening with her friend, so I had the house to myself. I attempted to make a tuna sandwich as I was so caught up in planning and reading. I failed. The lid came off the peppercorns and destroyed my dinner.

I threw a proper tantrum and ordered Indian as a replacement. I gave up on using my brain for any longer and settled in with Pitch Perfect 3 which I absolutely loved!Summary
I feel like I’ve been to a hundred places and done a hundred things but my life really revolves around 4 places. Work, home, pub and Hastings. This “week in the life” has been hectic and I’ve not achieved any of the things I wanted to. Life doesn’t always go to plan. I spent far too much time this week dwelling on my failings. I was not focusing on what I have achieved or planning what I can achieve. This is a part of my personality that I am slowly changing over time but it clearly still needs work! I very rarely feel that I am “enough”. I need to work harder on being as kind to myself as I am to others. How has your week been? What anxieties have you had? What achievements have you made?

How does a “week in the life” of you look?

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Top 10 Inspirational Women Quotes

Top 10 Inspirational Women Quotes
Top 10 Inspirational Women Quotes
Top 10 Inspirational Women QuotesTop 10 Inspirational Women Quotes
Top 10 Inspirational Women Motivational Quotes - Honestly Holly
Top 10 Inspirational Women Quotes

Here’s to Strong Women. May we be them, may we know them, may we raise them!

In honour of International Women’s Day, I didn’t just want to share this piece with you, I needed to. Women are the future! I have so many women that I look up to, especially for inspirational quotes. I could have written another ten thousand words on this, ten times over. In the interest of keeping it sweet (sorry, it’s not short by any means), here is a list of the 10 women who are currently inspiring me as a woman. I’ve included an inspirational quote from each person, what the quote means to me, and why each woman deserves to be on my list.

Helen – My Mum!

Inspirational Quotes

She always taught me that whatever I am doing, do my own best at it. Don’t compare myself to anyone else, but put your all into the things you care about!   

My mum is my rock. She’s my best friend, confidante, boost when I’m down and ego curber when I get carried away. There’s nothing in the world I can’t talk to her about, and she’s probably the only person on the planet on my wavelength. She gets just as upset about the injustices of the world as I do, as well as getting just as excited about a new gin the way I do. We have had to work at our relationship to get to where we are, and will continue to do so. I am so blessed to have such a smart, empowering, funny, kind, hard working, non-judgemental, all round wonderful woman to lead me through life! My mumma loves life quotes as much as I do!

M – My Girlfriend

I am the best at what I do, and I’m proud of it!

Most days, I can’t even find the words to describe her. She is funny, kind, smart, absolutely ridiculously beautiful, hard working, motivational, supportive… I could list 100 more adjectives and it wouldn’t be enough. She runs a million pound business without batting an eyelid. She’s an amazing chef. She’ll give the clothes off her back to see someone else be warm. She’ll run around for 12 hours at work and still come home and hold me whilst I cry. She’s bold, brave and determined. She won’t spout inspirational quotes at me but she’s made me see a future beyond next week. I live every day totally in awe of her.

Oprah Winfrey

Sometimes life cuts you down, learn from your mistakes, from the wrongs in the world; absorb that negative energy into you and use it to fuel your next success!  

Oprah Winfrey isn’t just a woman, she’s a phenomenon. She rose from birth in a poverty stricken family to being worth over $2billion dollars and receiving the Presidential Medal of Freedom. Her media prowess is second to none. Her entrepreneurial spirit, grit and determination are awe-inspiring. But the item that has put Oprah into this post is one of the many things she does to progress women in the world – her Leadership Academy for Girls in South Africa. The college came as an idea from her and Nelson Mandela and she ran all the way with it. The school is for girls who come for poor backgrounds but whose minds are rich and ambitions are high. I bet they are taught many strong women quotes too. The first graduating class members have moved onto universities all over the world! Also check out her Super Soul Conversations podcast, it’s just bloody brilliant.

Reese Witherspoon

Life is tough. Not everything will turn out gold. But those moments that do, embrace them!   

She may look like a sweet southern belle, but don’t let her demeanour lead you to think she is anything less than a beast! With 27 industry awards (and a further 48 nominations) under her belt, she’s taken the world of movies by storm since a young age. She juggles work, husband, religion, and friends, alongside motherhood and its intricacies, growing little humans into fantastic young people. She also founded and runs a clothing and lifestyle brand, Draper James, all of which is affordable and authentic to her personality. She also has her company, Type A Films, which bought us Gone Girl and Wild. Her movies are full of empowering quotes that I doubt she even realised the potential impact of. Reese realised that there are not enough diverse or positive roles for women in the industry, so she founded a production company and decided to make the films and programmes herself. She brought us Big Little Lies, and is offering us the adaptation of Eleanor Oliphant. Her work with the #TimesUp campaign, alongside Save The Children, the Children Defence Fund, and being an Avon ambassador, adds the sparkle to her already shining star!

Lena Waithe

Talking about change isn’t enough. We must speak up, we must practice what we preach, and we must stand in solidarity against the things that hold us back.

Lena is 2018’s rising star and couldn’t be more deserving. She’s best known for her role in Master of None, winning an Emmy for her writing in the show, the first black woman to do so. She’s also created the new series The Chi which is looking to be the talking point of TV for summer 2018. My reasoning for adding Lena to my list is her sheer determination to succeed and overcome all the adversity stacked against her. Being gay, black and female, there are so many chances for the industry she works in to typecast her to low level roles. She’s smashing through those glass ceilings, speaking her mind and following her dreams. There’s hope for all the young, queer, black girls out there looking for an inspirational woman and she’s their shining light!

Alicia Keys 

As I grow older, I learn from my life and it frees me from my past, letting me move to my future

Alicia Keys has been my musical idol since I got her first album when I was 14. It’s an album that has got me through many tough times. I’ve sung teary through “Caged Bird” more times than I care to remember. All her albums resonate with me in some way. None of her music sounds like anyone else, and she doesn’t care. She makes the music she does because it makes her happy; she is a strong woman and sings the truth of what is her life at the time. Her amazing music, her conquering motherhood with elegance and grace, refusal to wear makeup any longer aside, it’s her Alicia’s philanthropy that speaks to me in this list. She is co-founder and ambassador of the Keep a Child Alive foundation. She’s been passionate about educating people in Africa about Aids & HIV since a young age when she lost a close family friend to the disease. Alicia also actively participates in direct action in protests relating to educational budget cuts, war, racism, indigenous rights and women’s rights alongside her annual Keep a Child Alive ball.

Maya Angelou

Being a woman is an honour. The ability to produce life, complete the challenges we do, mother, nature, lead, with elegance and gentleness is incomparable. 

Clearly I don’t need to explain why mother Maya (as Oprah calls her) is on the list but I feel like she deserves every great word written about her. She is generally defined as poet, singer, writer, and civil rights activist but she is so much more than that. She is a mother to a son, and adoptive mother to many more. She’s been a writer, director and producer. She was a professor at a college. She was a journalist in Ghana. She’s worked with Malcom X and Martin Luther King Jnr on the civil rights movements. She has spoken out for black people too afraid to use their own voice. She has fought back on behalf of all women who have ever been victims of violent or sexual assault. She overcame poverty to grow to wealth. Her writing is basically a catalogue of inspirational sayings. She’s received over 50 honorate doctorate degrees, alongside the Presidential Medal of Freedom. All of this, with the calm, style, grace and power of the Goddess that she is, mother Maya will live on to be an inspiration for centuries!

Ellen DeGeneres

Being nice to other people really makes a change. Making a person laugh can change the course of their day, their life, and the world. 

Everyone knows and loves Ellen, fact. She has evolved with the times. She started with a stand up career in the 80s. Now she’s hosting her own international chat show now. She came out on a TV show in a time where it was not fashionable, cool, or “normal” to be out and actually proud. Another unstoppable entrepreneur, Ellen has gone to grow her several brands, building an empire beyond her published writing, comprising a a production company and a record company. She spearheads AfterEllen.com, a website for the LGBT+ community focusing on queer issues in the society, highlighting all negative and positive portrayals of queer people in the media. She’s won 30 Emmys and 20 People’s choice awards. She is one of the most decorated hosts and producers in the world. She may not be the epitome of women empowerment but for me, Ellen has made it to this list because of the same reason she has made it big – her mouth. Ellen is not afraid to say what she thinks. She may soften the blow of the blunt words behind humour. However, she addresses every topic that needs addressing, loud, proud and without apology.

Me!

Inspirational Quotes

I am a LOT. I am apologetically loud, opinionated and strong minded. Not everyone can cope with that and that’s their problem, not mine.

For me, the crux of the women’s rights movements, is to empower women. I think that has to start with Self. I spend as much time as every other woman beating myself up. I’m too loud, too tired, too lazy. Too brash, too fat, my skin is bad. I’m not a director, I don’t save the world. But actually, do you know what? I am fucking AWESOME. I am SMART. I am KIND. I am FUNNY. I am HONEST. I work HARD. I LOVE intensely. I deserve to be HAPPY.
I’m not perfect. I never will be. I do spend my days, trying to be good, make the world a better place, make people smile. So it’s taken me a long time (30 years so far) to figure it out. To love myself is the path to loving other people, and love life. It will be a hard path, and I have a lot to work on but, right now, I LOVE ME!

Betty Irene – My Nana

Inspirational Quotes

Treat people the way you want to be treated! Respect everyone if you want to be respected. No one person is superior to another!  

I was lucky enough as a child to have my nan living with us growing up. She and I had a special bond over musical films and cake. I remember even thinking doing the washing up was fun with her! She survived a divorce in a time it was till taboo, raised 2 kids, 4 grandkids, played football in the garden with my brother in her sixties, whilst waiting for the cake she and I had baked to cool.  I try every day to make her proud, and I know if she were still alive, she would just be glad that I’m happy.

Please, please, please, today, do something to recognise your own self worth.

Please comment with any women who inspire you, and why!

Disney, Friendship, Soho on a Saturday night?

Disney Movie Marathon Review
Disney Movie Marathon Review
Disney Movie Marathon Review
Disney Movie Marathon Review
We all get tagged in a post on Facebook by a friend. Sometimes once a week, sometimes once an hour. A few of the posts we’re tagged in give a minor chuckle. Most are meh. In December, my friend Emily tagged me in a post. She’s one of my closest friends and also one of the funniest people I know so I know it’s going to be a good one. The post is along the lines of “Overnight Disney Movie Marathon”. I already know I’m in.

I agree quicker than I would to a free ticket to a Spice Girls concert and forget entirely about it.

Until last weekend when it rolled around. My 30 year old self is as excited as my 7 year old self would be.

12 hours of Disney movies, back to back, at the Prince Charles Cinema in Soho. I don’t even know what films are on. Nor do I care. I love them all.

I spent all week obsessing about what to wear, what to pack, what snacks to take, whether or not I should take wine (not allowed by the cinema!).

Disney - cushions needed

Clothes were easy. I decided on stretchy jeans, layers of tops and fluffy socks. A blanket and my flight cushion were must-haves. I’m 30 now. Comfort over cool every damn day.

I recently bought a Google Pixel XL 2 and the battery is phenomenal but 12 hours is a long time and we were off to the women’s march in the morning after the marathon so I needed to be prepared. In goes the portable charger and cables.

In goes the clean pants for the morning, toothbrush, face cream, face wipes, deodorant, slippers. Water. Anything within reach, in it goes.

Disney - gotta stay clean

Snacks were a dilemma. Nothing too smelly or noisy so as not to annoy others. Nothing that needed to be warm or needed utensils. Slimming world friendly. Fruit? Veg and humus? Sandwich? I accidentally stopped in M&S on the way and got deli snacks, crackers, sweet treats and pork pies. Never go shopping when you’re hungry.

I hop on the train and head to Soho. Arriving in Soho on a Saturday night in comfy jeans, with the intention to sit and watch Disney films in fluffy socks is an odd concept that my grown-up self is conflicted with. A usual trip to Soho would involve Chinese food, gin, tequila, a tuktuk and making BFFs with drag queens.

I used to think I was super cool. I realised I’m not. I’m absolutely okay with being the kind of woman who goes to Disney marathons on a Saturday night. 

Disney - who doesn't love slippers?!

We get to the cinema, check in and get settled in our seats. My anxieties have been high this week with work and the weather but at the forefront of my mind, I’ve been worrying about tonight, for Emily. She is 6 full feet of goddess and her legs seem to take up about 4 foot of that height. How is she going to settle in to this space for 12 hours?

Luckily, the Prince Charles isn’t like your average high street cinema. It’s spacious and clean, the seats are comfy and well maintained. They charge £20 for 12 hours of Disney heaven, not £12 for every average film on the market.

I get into my comfies, get set up with snacks and drinks around me, blanket and pillow at the ready and settle myself in for a night of nostalgia.The list pops up and we’re on the way! The atmosphere is beautiful. Every person has either a blanket, slippers, Disney pyjamas or all of the above. Everyone cheers at the beginning of each film and claps at the end.

 

Disney - lineup

By 1am, I’m waining.

I didn’t have great sleep Thursday or Friday, my planned power nap was disturbed. Between around 130am and 7am, I sleep on and off, despite the bright screen and the very loud soundtracks. I’m not alone. I’m in a mass napping cult by now.

I sleep in a warm cosy Disney haze, an upgraded version of the awful sleep you get on planes. I managed to catch the first and last ten minutes of most films, with snatches in between.

The credits roll on the last film; everyone cheers and we all bundle up our nests into bags and schlep off into day light. The middle of China town at 840 on a Sunday morning is an eerie place. Bright, brash, with none of the usual beautiful sights, sounds and smells that usually embrace you as you pass through the tunnels of lanterns.

I stumble home, looking no better than someone that’s spent the weekend in a rave in a warehouse, to my warm bed, where I spend the next 5 hours sleeping with “Got no Strings” from Pinocchio pinging around my brain.

The One! 9 Reasons Not to Give Up

9 Reasons not to give up on The One - Honestly Holly
9 Reasons not to give up on The One - Honestly Holly
9 Reasons not to give up on The One - Honestly Holly
9 Reasons not to give up on The One - Honestly Holly

Growing up, I had all the same misconceptions that I think most girls do.

The One would come along nice and easy. I assumed I would date boys in high school, go to university, meet the love of my life in my last year, we would get awesome jobs, and end up married with dogs and kids in the suburbs living happily ever after.

Sunset Love The One

THIS NEVER HAPPENS

I am smart and sensible. I have a law degree and have never placed a bet on anything in my life. So how on earth was I ever foolish enough to think that the scenario above would be my life? Why would I think The One would just fall into my lap on the tube one day?
 
My path has been very different. I didn’t really date boys in high school. I went to university, dated guys that should have just been friends, made mistakes. I didn’t meet the love of my life. I never thought I would even consider giving out dating advice.
 

I am, however, living the beginning of my happy ending. I found The One.

 

I got a job I hated, changed careers, and ended up as an estate agent. Long story short, I ended up on Tinder searching for women. Years of dating and flirting with some very wonderful and some very awful people, I swiped right on the love of my life, M, at the grand old age of 28.

True Love The One

 

There were a hundred times I thought I would be alone, just in 2015.

 
I vowed off men, women, humans, and decided to devote myself to my life and trying to finally finish watching every episode of Grey’s Anatomy. People like Meredith find The One. Not people like me. I was so very wrong.
 
I won’t tell you the whole of our story; it’s Ours and special and private to us. What I will tell you is this – She is worth every bad date, negative comment, tear, bottle of rum and everything else. A week in my life is so worth it, with her by my side.
 

So here are my 9 reasons why you should keep dating and find The One:

1     Support
When the world grinds you down all week, you have someone that will hold your hand and pretend nothing is happening whilst you cry uncorrelated buckets of tears at Queer Eye for the Straight Guy, and release a week’s worth of tension.

 

2     Someone to share the burden with

You’ll have someone who will brush and blow your hair when you’re poorly and just can’t handle it. Even just having someone to split household chores with makes life just that little bit more bearable.

3     Comfort

The thought of finally getting home to slippers, pyjamas and The One will get you through your sixth hour of traffic jams in two days.

4     Excitement keeps you young

Butterflies in your stomach. Forever. So worth it.

5     Someone to share with

When you’re in a restaurant and you can’t decide between two meals, you have someone to order the other so you can try both. When you see a beautiful rainbow, you have someone to send it to.


6     A problem shared is a problem halved

There’s always someone to make you see another side to the thing you’re worrying incessantly about.

7     There’s no place like home

You’ll have someone that, no matter where you are in the world, no matter how bad you feel, when you’re with them, you are home.


8     Intimacy

Morning cuddles. A hand to hold in the cold. Kisses in the rain. Enough Said.

9     Adventure
 
That dream holiday to the Maldives you’ve always wanted? Set it for your honeymoon. The cupcake shop in your city that’s gone viral for it’s 2000 calorie all day breakfast cupcake? You have someone to share one with, who won’t judge you for wanting three. Want to try mountain climbing? Someone to catch you when you fall. 
 
I know what it feels like to go on 8 failed dates in a row. I know what it feels like to wonder if all men are vile or if all women are insane cat owners.
 
I also know what it feels like to open your eyes every morning and see this sleepy, mushed up face whose eyes light up when they see you, morning breath, smeared leftover mascara and all.
 

So please. Don’t give up on dating; don’t give up on yourself. You deserve to be loved. Your reward for all things good will come, exactly at the right time. Say yes to the man in the coffee shop. Ask the girl in the park if she wants to share a coffee. Tweet that person with the hilarious gifs that retweets you. Load that dating app and Swipe Right. Whatever avenue you want to take to date town, stride boldly and enjoy the journey!

Happy Ending The One
 

Coffee image created by Freepik