Categories
Adulthood Non-fiction Observations

My Lockdown Google.

I think at some point this year we’ve all been in one or more of these places… GOOGLE THE CONFUSION! Here goes…

Nearest OPEN takeaway near me…

How to wear a Facemask…

Which face coverings are acceptable?

Is it acceptable to guide others on how to wear a face mask?

What are the COVID rules?

Am I allowed to leave my house?

McDonald’s breakfast times…

Weather forecast for Sunday…

Gift ideas for cancelled weddings 🙁

What is the recommended daily alcohol intake?

How many calories in a Corona beer?

What are the current COVID rules?

Am I allowed to leave my house?

Are we going into another lockdown?

Is it all too late?

Is Boris ok?

Does Trump really have Coronavirus?

Is this all a nightmare?

Am I allowed to leave my house?

How to drink tea with a visor on…

How to drink tea in a mask…

Notonthehighstreet

Amazon…BUY NOW

What did I order last night?

Am I allowed to leave my house?

(for retailers) what’s a healthy level of frustration towards someone you don’t know?

Is wine one of your five a day?

Will this ever end?

Local small business gift ideas…

Is wine an essential retailer?

Am I allowed to leave my house?

When will I get the vaccine?

Is there ever going to be any good news?

How long will this go on for?

Why did he eat a bat?

Book recommendations for lockdown?

Netflix best shows…

Is crochet difficult?

How many jigsaws in one year is the record?

Am I allowed to leave my house?

2020, we’ve all googled it!

Categories
Adulthood Non-fiction Observations

I never would have imagined

I never would have imagined a year with no contact. No hugs, no emotion, barely any guests at funerals and weddings.

I never would have imagined a year with no holidays. No travel within your own country let alone outside.

I never would have imagined a year with lots of closures. Barely going to the pub at all, no drunken memories or nights that carry on and on.

I never would have imagined a year being surrounded by it. On the news, Saturday night tv shows, in general conversation – everywhere.

We can look at it and think what is missing, what have we lost, see all that is wrong.

Or we can notice what we have gained, build up hope to continue on…

An appreciation for living in the very moment, zero planning.

Amazement at human adaptation, how everyone, almost everyone has found new ways, new avenues.

Strength in carrying on. Hope in the future.

True gratitude for the front line fighters, the NHS staff and essential workers.

‘2020 wasn’t all so bad,’ I’ve seen in many a status today,

Entering 2021 steadily and carefully because the virus hasn’t gone away.

Yet in 2020 we learnt about finding the rainbows in the storm,

We can enter the new year with this mindset, approach everything in this form.

Happy New Year’s Day, I really think, sometime soon, it will all be ok.

All blog posts can be found at https://www.harrietmills.co.uk/ and to read my published work visit my portfolio. My debut novel, Dear Brannagh, is out now.

Categories
Adulthood Non-fiction Observations Special moments

A Place That I Love

There’s this place that I go to and one that I absolutely love. It’s just down the road but it sometimes feels like a million miles away. Everything changes here everything is different. Slower. More chilled. Less stressful. I’VE WRITTEN THREE CHAPTERS. IT’S 1PM. THIS USUALLY TAKES ME TWO WEEKS…AT LEAST.

Everything about going to this place is bliss. From the moment I get into the car until I get out again once home. The journey is part of the trip. Hugely. I love podcasts but I rarely find the time to listen to them. I mean actually listen. I’ll often have one playing while I’m changing the bed or tidying up but my focus is never fully on it. Working in retail my days are full of small talk and putting on fronts no matter how I am feeling. There is sometimes nothing better than getting into the car and just listening. Driving and listening. No better way to switch off.

Yesterday I fit two brilliant podcasts into my journey. Both on Fearne Cotton’s Happy Place series and both recorded during the pandemic so, as you can imagine, both very interesting chats. One was with Robbie Williams and the other Russel Brand. If you haven’t already, go listen.

There’s no place where I am more chilled. I sleep, eat, drink, read, drink, eat, read, write. I even had a mini party the last time I was there. A party with me, myself and I. Very 2020. I sang and watched Strictly dances over and over and challenged myself to finish the bottle of wine. I did it! Of course I did.

It’s a place on the coast. The Suffolk coast. And whenever I am there, there’s no place I’d rather be.

All blog posts can be found at https://www.harrietmills.co.uk/ and to read my published work visit my portfolio. My debut novel, Dear Brannagh, is out now.

Categories
Adulthood Non-fiction Observations Seasonal

My small and local Christmas shop

This year has been different, dreadful and dire for small businesses. Month after month businesses were faced with new restrictions to work with on top of losing business altogether during each lockdown.

I remember sitting at home after a long week at work and watching the news. It was just after Liverpool were put into Tier 3 of restrictions and pubs had to close…AGAIN. I felt tired, gloomy and considered how much longer I could carry on this way. Until I heard her. Until I heard a lady on the news crying out of despair. She wasn’t asking for any more financial support from her boss because she recognised that he was in as desperate situation as her. She wasn’t asking for anything. She was just sobbing at a hopeless situation.

It brought it all into perspective and I felt grateful.

This is why this year I set myself a challenge. Christmas shopping for me in the most recent years has always been a rush. I work in retail and Christmas is our busiest time. I go to bed at night thinking about Turkeys, Hams, Fruit and Veg. By 24th December I know what half of Suffolk are having on their tables the next day, item by item. It’s so easy to head to Amazon and have everything bought within the space for three hours. But Amazon are doing fine.

This year is so different.

I decided I would start my shopping early and on each Sunday during lockdown 2.0 I spent a little time searching. I was well prepared so I wasn’t panicked and my aim was to buy EVERYTHING from small and, if possible, local businesses.

Guys, I think I’ve done it! And I am very happy with my gifts. I even received a package the other day and on the label was a handwritten message thanking me for buying from a LOCAL, FAMILY business. It made me feel warm inside.

Here are a few small businesses I’ve used if anyone is struggling for ideas:

Cocoa May

UK Inside & Out

Pom Pom Etoile

Yorkshire Blankets

All blog posts can be found at https://www.harrietmills.co.uk/ and to read my published work visit my portfolio. My debut novel, Dear Brannagh, is out now.

Categories
Adulthood Non-fiction Observations

Let me tell you about gin…

It’s not news to hear about 2020 being a year like no other where everybody is clueless, scared and drinking too much. My current book on the go is Dawn O’Porter’s Life In Pieces and I’ve just finished Piece 4 which is all about booze.

I’m not the first and so unashamed to say that yes, I have drank far too much during 2020. I think I’ve had maybe one or two full days without consuming a single drop of the good stuff – ew.

But let me tell you about gin.

Gin is a drink which I love but dip in and out of. Wine is a constant, as is beer, but my consumption of gin appears in phases. I find it a refreshing drink to have on a warm summers day and also enjoy it during Christmas time in the depths of the cold so there is no logical explanation to this, it simply just happens.

One factor which does influence my gin intake is calorie counting and a poor effort to diet. I’ve googled calories within various alcoholic beverages numerous times throughout the year and while wine is awful (ly great but bad for losing weight) it’s surprising how few or many calories certain drinks have. I’ve been known to buy a crate of Corona for the week’s consumption after discovering only 133 calories in each bottle. There’s more in Coke and I’m certainly not sticking to water of an evening.

I digress.

It is well known that gin and tonic is (I think) low in calories. This is one huge reason why I rekindled my love for it recently.

I’m lucky to have a friend, well more like family actually – let’s call him framily – who used to bar-tend in America. He takes pride in his making of beverages. With this well known fact I asked him to make me a gin and tonic the other day.

It was SO GOOD.

Refreshing, clean tasting, strong, light, everything you could ever dream of in two substantial glasses.

It’s important to take the good from this year and these drinks are definitely towards the top of the list.

It’s Friday so even the more restrained of us will probably be having a drink tonight. Make it gin. But it won’t be as good. That’s all from me this week.

All blog posts can be found at https://www.harrietmills.co.uk/ and to read my published work visit my portfolio. My debut novel, Dear Brannagh, is out 30th November:

Categories
Adulthood Non-fiction Special moments Writing

My Publishing Journey: A 2020 Publication Date

Wow. It’s all been very quiet on the publishing front and then – bam – it’s livened up.

Last week was a little bit crazy. I was doing 6 o’clock starts and leaving work at 6pm with possibly a few hours out but often that time was spent running around doing work-y things. Of course, this is the week in which I receive exciting emails for my book. Why wouldn’t it be? I find it’s like London buses my work load, it all happens at once!

It was Wednesday. I had just returned to work having sat staring at the TV not taking in what words the presenters were saying but instead contemplating how long my adrenaline rush would last and whether or not I’d survive the week. We were two important cogs of the wheel down and I was having to fill my head with more information than usual. The email came through from my publishers, and I knew exactly what it was.

My final proof certificate!!!!!!

I read the email carefully, glanced at the piles of post I needed to get through for customers who had come in during my break, and got straight back into my car to go to my printer and get it all signed off. The email stated that if I got the form filled in and sent back quickly, my book would make the Christmas market. I think signing and returning within 2 hours of receiving the email is pretty bloody quick!

That was that. Excitement again. Like no other. I couldn’t believe it and had to pinch myself that it was real and happening.

Friday. I got home and it was sunny so I had my sausage dog in his harness and we were waiting on my sister to go for a walk. Another email. This time it was my publication date!

Oh my oh my oh my…

My book is going to be published on the 30th November!!!!! It is all so very real and exciting. My support bubble are all incredible and the pre-order list is expanding fast.

A 2020 publication date might not be so bad… we shall see…

For links to all of my writing related stuff, my link tree is below. You can also find published work in my portfolio. My debut novel, Dear Brannagh, is available on Amazon along with the sequel Don’t Tell Jack. If you enjoy what you’re seeing here and are interested in following me on my writing journey, then please subscribe to my newsletter by dropping your name and email. There will be plenty of giveaways, news hot off the press and an honest insight into life as an author. Thank you x

linktr.ee/HJMWriting

Categories
Adulthood Non-fiction Observations

Honesty is the best policy, I hope you agree

Recently I’ve been feeling pretty flat yet frantic. Not drastically so just I’ve felt lower more often than I’ve felt like smiling. Anger has got the better of me and I feel so cross. All of the time.

My head is so busy yet sometimes so empty. My fretting of the future has been amplified. How am I meant to find ‘the one’ when I can’t freely go to the pub!?

I digress.

Two people very close to me were affected by COVID-19 this week, negative tests, but affected nonetheless and it hit home. The reality sunk in.

I then look to the dogs in bed beside me not knowing what’s going on in our world and happily content in theirs. Bliss.

I find it so easy to focus only on tv dramas because the issues displayed are not my own. I can easily zone into books because they too are different worlds away from the dismay of what we are living through. People are hugging, close, enjoying pub life and restaurants without guilt. Enjoying life. Normality.

But then here on our earth there are doctors and nurses in despair. Government in chaos. Decision makers ripping their hair out. Well, any that they have left.

I try to avoid the news. It’s awful. Even for five minutes.

I turn the news on to see people literally crying for their livelihood. Never knowing when it’s going to end. People feeling awful for normal social lovely things like going for a pint or for a pizza. I want to spend a Sunday afternoon enjoying a pub cooked roast and drinking plenty of wine without a tag on to track me! It’s so odd. Everything is practically illegal.

The reality that parents are struggling to put shoes on their children’s feet and food in their mouths is everywhere. It’s a crisis. It’s scary.

I know I shouldn’t feel this way because I have so much when others have so little. I should be grateful and only that. Then I am human, this is where I’m at some of the time. I soon snap out of it but occasionally I think it’s ok to let everything get on top of you, just for one second. Especially during the times we are living through.

I’ve just skipped the frustration out of my bones ready for another day, putting a jolly face on for the public who most probably also feel similar. My favourite time of the day is 6pm, sipping on a beverage in the company of great people, thinking how truly lucky I am.

There’s not too much purpose to this post except therapy for me and hopefully reassurance for others. Hopefully I’ll read over it in 6 months to a year and be happy that things have improved. Massively hopeful.

Until next time.

H x 🙂

All blog posts can be found at https://www.harrietmills.co.uk/ and to read my published work visit my portfolio.

Categories
Adulthood Non-fiction Observations

2020: shall we all just scream for ice cream?

I scream, you scream, we all scream for ice cream!

A well known phrase which, while drinking the third beer on my Sunday last week I desperately wanted to perform. I wouldn’t have stopped at the end though. Oh no. I’d have screamed and screamed and screamed until they could hear me, er, somewhere over the pond which indicates a very loud scream.

Yes, disclaimer, I’m a little tipsy writing this one.

It’s all gong a bit mental hasn’t it. I just opened the BBC news app because I’d not had / possibly missed the latest few announcements on coronavirus so wanted to see whether I’m still legally allowed to leave my home.

Wish I hadn’t.

They’re on about the £10,000 fines for disobeying the rules. It’s just gone next level but is any of it working. Like I get staying 2 metres away etc works, but are the tactics on implementing these rules working?

Anyway.

Forth beer now and I’m happy.

Since writing this, the past week has seen further restrictions and now at work we are all in visors. If you told me this time last year I’d be going to work dressed as if I’m about to operate I’d have laughed in ya face! But it’s happening.

A N Y W A Y. . .

I’m writing this partly because I was on a roll while half cut, partly because I find myself kinda funny, partly as a diary. Like a wartime diary, but not. Far from it.

Just gotta keep on keeping on, eating loads and drinking plenty. Christmas all year round. Everyday. We’ve sung about it for years!

For links to all of my writing related stuff, my link tree is below. You can also find published work in my portfolio. My debut novel, Dear Brannagh, is available on Amazon along with the sequel Don’t Tell Jack. If you enjoy what you’re seeing here and are interested in following me on my writing journey, then please subscribe to my newsletter by dropping your name and email. There will be plenty of giveaways, news hot off the press and an honest insight into life as an author. Thank you x

linktr.ee/HJMWriting

Categories
Adulthood Non-fiction Observations Writing

Where’s my 2020 diary?

2020. What even is a diary by this stage?….

I’m a sucker for a page to day diary and, under normal circumstances, would use one all the time. Every task I intend to complete each week is noted down on the day I will complete it. It helps me remain focussed and disciplined with my writing and I highlight my social life to ensure that I still have one.

This year it’s gone out the window.

No really. It possibly could have because I don’t know where it is!

The other morning I phoned the doctors for the first time in forever and booked an appointment. I’m very lucky, I know. Anyway. Although the surgery had sent me a text reminder, I felt the urge to write it in my diary as well.

My diary was nowhere to be seen. It was at this point when I realised I’d stopped bothering to use my diary months ago, I didn’t even know where it was?!

While I strive to continue balancing work and writing, I’ve given in to the fact that this year is like no other and some days I find it quite tough. Work has suddenly picked up again and at the end of last week I didn’t need to look at takings to see how busy we were, I could physically feel it in my aching eyes and wobbling legs. Everything is getting on top of us all again. It’s mental.

This weekend I have plans other than work but I’ve decided to wing it. Who needs a diary? If I put anything big in it’ll probably get cancelled anyway. More friends were meant to get married this month – cancelled.

It gets boring and so depressing for those most effected. Then I think, it’s one year. Whether it’ll be over any time soon is another matter altogether but in the grand scheme of life, it’s not a very long time.

For links to all of my writing related stuff, my link tree is below. You can also find published work in my portfolio. My debut novel, Dear Brannagh, is available on Amazon along with the sequel Don’t Tell Jack. If you enjoy what you’re seeing here and are interested in following me on my writing journey, then please subscribe to my newsletter by dropping your name and email. There will be plenty of giveaways, news hot off the press and an honest insight into life as an author. Thank you x

linktr.ee/HJMWriting

Categories
Adulthood Non-fiction Observations

2020, I took a DAY OFF

It’s Monday. Monday 7th September 2020 and I am enjoying the first day off I’ve had all year. I am bloody loving it. I’m sat here at 2:10pm with a chilled glass of white wine, sat on a recliner and feeling happy from the inside out.

It wasn’t until I heard a specialist discussing on BBC Breakfast the importance of a day off. It could only be a single day but it does the world of good. She was saying how so many front line workers; nurses, doctors etc – haven’t taken their holiday entitlement due to having no choice or having nowhere to go. It’s dangerous. Physically and mentally it is dangerous and I don’t think I realised this until now.

I knew how beneficial this day was going to be as I left on Saturday afternoon for the Suffolk coast. When I was discussing with my boss when I would return, I felt an urge push me from within against coming back to work Monday lunchtime. A full day is what I needed. A full day when I should have been working.

Of course, each week I have Sunday’s. They are the BEST. I read, listen to podcast, visit friends, drink plenty, write, do chores that I’ve missed during the week. It’s too much. I need longer to fit it all in. There is also a completely different mindset to having a day off when the rest of the world is working. I feel that brilliant feeling that I always feel when I’m at the beach, my happiest place, but I feel it amplified because I should be at work.

I should be at work, but I’m not.

I should be at work, but I’m drinking wine at 2pm.

I should be at work, but instead I’m buying toys for my dog which he loves.

I should be at work, but I’m having a McDonald’s breakfast (and only just made it in time).

I should be at work, but it started raining so I went back to bed.

I should be at work, but I finished my book.

I should be at work, but I didn’t put a bra on (and went out in public MULTIPLE times). No cares.

…It is now Friday and I am still feeling the benefits of having that extra day to myself. More time to do nothing. Seriously, if you’ve worked tirelessly this year and haven’t taken any time out, consider it. A day is sometimes all you need to recuperate and get right back to it again.

It’s 2020 and I took a day off.

For links to all of my writing related stuff, my link tree is below. You can also find published work in my portfolio. My debut novel, Dear Brannagh, is available on Amazon along with the sequel Don’t Tell Jack. If you enjoy what you’re seeing here and are interested in following me on my writing journey, then please subscribe to my newsletter by dropping your name and email. There will be plenty of giveaways, news hot off the press and an honest insight into life as an author. Thank you x

linktr.ee/HJMWriting