Categories
Adulthood Non-fiction Observations

Help!

Lately I have asked for a lot of it. For things in life where I haven’t a clue and others are experts. For guidance from those more experienced, both young and old. For myself. From myself.

I have asked for help from friends and from strangers. From colleagues and customers at work when I’m trying to do too many things at once.

I’m certainly someone who struggles to accept help. I feel guilty for owing people an invaluable amount. Obviously I thank them but I feel forever I will owe them when you can’t put a price on the guidance they’ve given me.

It is a strange one isn’t it because the nature of my job is helping people. We help the elderly by delivering goods and a bit of conversation/ company along with it. We help the young by giving them jobs. We help those lost in reality by directing them and others lost within their soul by providing a sounding board in times of need.

Whenever I help someone the last thing I think is about how they are going to repay me. It is the last thing on my mind. Yet when someone helps me before they’ve even done so I’m thinking of what extravagant gift I can buy them which won’t come close to how grateful I am.

Claudia Winkleman addresses this in her book, Quite. She says ‘Here’s the thing with help. People want to do it. We get really stuck sometimes and just need to unload, to spill the dirt, to share the burden. Think about you. Do you get grumpy if someone asks for advice, if someone sends you their justgiving.com link, if a friend calls to have a little cry? Do you mind? Of course you don’t. You race round, you donate, you offer services. Help. The more you give the more you get.’

The fact of the matter is I’m so lucky to be surrounded by good people. If you surround yourself with good people then you become better and they are always willing to help.

That’s my thought for today – Happy Tuesday Everyone!

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 at the bottom of any page of my website. 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
fiction Writing

Cover reveal…

Typical author blabbing about her new release… first it appeared in my mailing list, then inside the local magazine, next we headed over on Instagram and now, here on my blog, I reveal to you the cover of Don’t Tell Jack out October 2021…………………………

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 OUT NOW. If you enjoy what you’re seeing here and are interested in following me on my writing journey as I self-publish novel number two, then please subscribe to my newsletter by filling in the form at the bottom of any page of my website. Thank you x

linktr.ee/HJMWriting

Categories
Adulthood Non-fiction Observations Writing

They had an off tasting bit of orange, they weren’t judging your life. Possibly?

I sometimes (who am I kidding) quite often question what I am doing in life. My work, my love life, the social side of things – basically everything that makes up life. Usually this happens very late at night or very early in the morning but question I do. And fret. Oh gosh do I fret.

Another magnesium and I’m usually fine!

It’s that timeline thing again. That thing you see so often all over social media and in books. It is not a race. Claudia Winkleman put it straight in her book that I wrote about a few weeks back.

IT IS NOT A RACE.

I think we all have goal posts and given the world in which we live, it is hard not to compare. I find with my writing my questioning is highlighted hugely at social gatherings when most there went to university, on to grad schemes or into a trained profession and are all very successful. I quieten when I say that I write books. I (wrongly I am sure) feel the ‘what’s the point’ eyes from those who don’t read.

Isn’t it crazy how much we make up stories that probably aren’t even true?! Try to control others actions which will have a detrimental part to play in our lives?! Mad.

Anyway I sometimes think the momentum has dried up with Dear Brannagh as I look at work at my shrine slowly browning and curling at the corners. The copies left sitting there. Everyone who wants to know has bought.

Then this happens.

I get home from work, rush to get ready for yet another hen do and receive a text from a friend looking for furniture on Facebook Marketplace. The text is a picture of my book. My book on some strangers gorgeous chest of drawers, helping to display for a sale.

I sell three copies in a day.

I recieve a message late at night from someone who quietly follows me thanking me for being an inspiration to her and encouraging her to continue her writing.

All that happens and I am back in the game.

It’s often easy to forget these things but deep down they are always there. Be strong in your decisions. Be bold with your choices and live that life for you.

Obviously be happy for others but remember that they too are also probably happy for you. They had an off tasting bit of orange, they weren’t judging your life. Possibly?

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 OUT NOW. If you enjoy what you’re seeing here and are interested in following me on my writing journey as I self-publish novel number two, then please subscribe to my newsletter by filling in the form at the bottom of any page of my website. Thank you x

linktr.ee/HJMWriting

Categories
Adulthood Non-fiction Observations

A year on, what I would say (and add)

This morning someone ‘liked’ a blog post that I had written last year in June. I had obviously had a lot more time on my hands last year or because we were only just getting used to lockdown and doing nothing when not at work, I didn’t feel so guilty. Clearly I was listening to lots of podcasts and reading lots too. Bliss.

The idea of the post I had written was giving myself advice for one year’s time. A letter to self. It was called ‘In a year I would say’ and most of it still stands.

I would still tell myself to worry less.

I’m yet to decide whether certain attributes I hold are life long or whether there is anything I can do to change them. I will most probably always be a born worrier but if I could weaken the worry a little more it would make my days far less stressful!

Enjoying the moment is still so important.

If the pandemic has done no other good (I’m sure it has) the necessity to seize the moment is a huge lesson to us all. It might be on a walk, shutting out life’s worries and focusing on the birds, the trees and all of nature that surrounds you. Perhaps it is turning your attention over from an anxious feeling to children happily playing over there, a dog enjoying a paddle in a pond, how soft your hair feels after a fresh trim.

Stop trying to change the unchangable.

There are certain things that you can’t control. Other people’s words and actions, the weather, the future, the past – I need to stop trying to.

Always take time for a pamper.

Every six weeks I get my hair cut like many women and men across the world. I have the same conversation with my friend each time saying how I’m not that fussed, my hair can wait. She always follows with the same: “take half an hour out of your day to get your hair cut, you will feel better for it!” She is always right, I always do.

Nothing (rarely) is as bad as it seems in the mind.

I’m going to use a recent example to illustrate this point. Now that things are opening up a little more my social life has been injected with plans. I am also at the age of weddings and hen dos. For three weekends on the trott I have had plans. Most involving more than three hours travel, crowds (or more people than I have associated with in over a year), new places, new people and socialising. All of which I need to get back into practise of. I was surprisingly worried before the first weekend away. I didn’t realise how stressed the thought of it would make me.

Once there I loved it. My worries instantly vanished despite Bournemouth being pretty crowded. I wore my mask where I felt necessary and kept sanitising but apart from those extra precautions I felt perfectly safe. The evening was perfect spent on the beach with games and wine. It showed that things are never as daunting as they seem and it applies for most things in life.

Don’t give up on your dreams.

For me this is writing. I go in waves of loving every aspect to my writing life to not seeing the worth in my efforts or having a really bad time of not getting much down. I’ll then receive a message from someone I have inspired, I may see my book online in a place I wouldn’t expect or a stranger comes into the shop and buys a copy. I soon pipe down and continue, determined never to give up.

Take another minute.

I wrote about this a little while ago on this blog and I feel it is SO important that I am going to write about it again. ALWAYS take another minute. “I don’t have time!” I hear you say. You do. Make time. In bed in the morning take another minute. Go a little further on that walk to take another minute. Sip for longer on your coffee break and take another minute. It is only a minute and you will notice the benefits.

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 OUT NOW. If you enjoy what you’re seeing here and are interested in following me on my writing journey as I self-publish novel number two, then please subscribe to my newsletter by filling in the form at the bottom of any page of my website. Thank you x

linktr.ee/HJMWriting

Categories
Adulthood Non-fiction Recommendations Review

Quite by Claudia Winkleman

Quite. A word that implies negativity. Not quite good enough. Sort of. Alright. But Claudia Winkleman turns that around in her fabulous non-fiction account. She puts quite as the level of expectation we should have for our lives. For our days, our experiences – everything.

Put it this way. You go out for the day. It’s a bank holiday. The sun is shining and you’ve got the next day off. Inside your mind you might picture the perfect lunch overlooking the river. Endless supplies of alcohol, the sun beaming down on your face as you enjoy every last sip. Then onto the next place.

Well. The lunch is crowded, the sun is too hot, the bevergages are bloating, everywhere is packed, things cost money. In fact the day is never perfect. But it mostly quite good.

If you went with that expectation, it leaves room for perfection, but if perfection never happens then your day was still a good day. This is what Claudia is getting at.

So many gems inside this novel I found myself noting down. The final line is one of the best ‘We’re here for five minutes: enjoy the view’ Words to live by each moment at a time.

Well worth a read. An honest account of life. It makes you feel good. It leaves you with a different outlook. And it boosts you to think you’re actually doing alright. And that alright is good enough.

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 OUT NOW. If you enjoy what you’re seeing here and are interested in following me on my writing journey as I self-publish novel number two, then please subscribe to my newsletter by filling in the form at the bottom of any page of my website. Thank you x

linktr.ee/HJMWriting

Categories
Adulthood Non-fiction Observations

Take another minute, always

One of my bugbears is always being in a rush. Or, more accurately, trying to cram so much into the little time I have that I end up running about trying to fit it all in. Stressing.

Take this morning for example. I start work at 10. I woke at 7:30. In the time between I have fit in:

  • a twenty minute workout
  • breakfast
  • a shower
  • 4 blog posts
  • feeding the cats, the dog and the birds
  • filling in the work health and safety sheet

All done in a panic because I am constantly against the ticking of the clock.

Why do I do it?!

Though I do feel good when it’s done.

The other week I was at the caravan. My favourite place. I had given myself an extra night there which is always lovely and aimed to leave at around 10:30 in the morning to get back in time for work. To get back in time for work with a little bit of time at the other end of the journey to casually bring my bags in, put a wash on and ensure the dog has a pee.

STOP!

Of course my mind went into timetable mode and I had allowed myself until 9:20.a.m. (pretty generous if you ask me). That’s right, I’d allowed myself free time to read in bed, chill, walk on the beach and enjoy the last morning before tidying up and leaving.

9:20 soon came around and I had about twenty pages left of my book that I was loving.

Do you know what I did? I took another minute. And you should too, always.

It felt amazing just to say: “sod it I will finish my book, what’s the worst that could happen?” I doubt I’d be late for work. I felt good after having finished the book. That feeling is wonderful and so much more wonderful than shutting the covers with twenty pages left to go.

I wasn’t going overboard. It wasn’t another day or even hour I was giving myself. Just a minute. A short period of time that left me feeling so smug and so fabulous.

Just one minute, always.

For links to all of my writing related stuff, my link tree is below. My debut novel, Dear Brannagh, is OUT NOW 

linktr.ee/HJMWriting

Categories
Adulthood Non-fiction Writing

One of those days

At the time of thinking about this blog post idea I was having one of those days. You know the kind. Behind before you’ve even started. Don’t know how you’ll fit everything in.

Since then my one of those days has turned into one of those weeks. Months even. Hence the lack of blog posts in March.

The nature of my job results in there being very rarely any spare time. Therefore when I’m asked, which I am fairly often, how I fit in my writing on top I struggle to understand it myself. I sort of finish a novel and think how did that happen? Obviously there is pressure and stress that comes with it but once I have the full manuscript written I think wow, I’m not too sure how that happened. It just does.

The trouble is that once the manuscript is complete and even published, the work doesn’t stop there. No, people need to know about your novel else how are they going to buy it?! That is where extra work comes in the form of social media posts, blogs, newspaper and magazine articles and everything in between.

This day was one of those days.

I was working until close but had been asked to write an article. My close is 5:30pm. The deadline for the article was 6pm. Latest.

EEK.

As usual my mind was going mad with ideas and my notes app on my phone were getting well used. This is the norm. Even after a random conversation I might get an idea for a blog post or even a novel and have to note it down before I forget. This becomes slightly difficult when I’ve had a few glasses of wine and I have to translate my badly spelled sentences.

Anyway.

Among serving customers and generally doing everything that work entails in a day that is too short (every day is too short) I came up with the bones of an article. I think we finished with about ten minutes to spare so I opened my laptop and typed faster than ever before.

Thank God for spell check.

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

As good as it gets – the supermarket

We are all very used to the idea of a trip to the supermarket being as good as it gets. Especially for the past few months it has been about all we have been legitimately allowed to do. No longer do conversations go:

“How was your week off?”

“Great, we went to Spain. It was fab.”

Instead they are more like:

“What have you been up to?”

“Quite a lot actually, I went to B&M followed by Tesco. I might pop into Sainsbury’s later.”

I know my weekly trip out of my village mostly involves a supermarket visit, collecting bits for elderly customers that we don’t sell at the shop, gathering my weekly supply of wine, seeing what other unhealthy snacks I can add to my growing stock. I’ll never lose those lockdown pounds!

It’s thrilling.

I remember in lockdown number one a year ago I went out to the supermarket for the first time after five weeks of not leaving my village. My days were just work, wine, sleep and repeat. My car somehow started which goes against all of the problems I have had with the battery since and off I went down the road. It felt so peculiar driving, leaving the village and then going in the supermarket for the first time with COVID restrictions.

Before this trip I’d never experienced queuing to get in, only entering on a green light and sanitising my hands, keys, phone and trolley before setting foot through the door. Now it is all so familiar.

However, the other day I drove to a supermarket slightly further away so that my car got a bit more of a run (battery lockdown problems) and I felt flat about going to the supermarket.

The trip that for so long has been a release. That which has been headspace away from work. A task that isn’t that difficult. No major thinking is required yet I felt flat, unwilling and totally couldn’t be bothered to trudge around yet another selection of aisles getting the same old goods and abiding by all the extra rules.

It felt difficult. I was lost. My mind was freaking out about the check tyre pressure sign coming up on my car when usually I’d just register it and carry on. It felt like the biggest problem. For a second I hated this way of living.

Mostly I’m of the opinion that everyone is in the same boat and we’re all in it together. You know, all of Bojo’s slogans in one. But on this day I felt a hint of frustration and anger. Pointless but true. I think it got on top of me and then I couldn’t find the Kievs!

So that’s my story of a recent mini meltdown. I’m writing it to you all for no other reason that to connect with others who have also experienced temporary inner screaming matches relating to this pandemic. Sometimes you just have to let it go…

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

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’m not crying, you are – Adulthood in a nutshell

I have a dear friend who always says about the importance of a good cry and no better time than the present for this to ring true. NB: This isn’t a negative post but more celebrating the goodness crying does for us all.

Being a girl, I am obviously aware of the feeling of wanting to cry for no reason. Of feeling so low like a dark cloud has come over me but nothing actually being wrong. But never before have I felt so overwhelmed as I have done recently and actually cried in the middle of the day without anyone noticing, brushed it off and got on with my day.

I now know how adults do it and can really appreciate the importance of a good cry.

Whether I can put it down to the pressures of work during this pandemic and the sheer overwhelming feeling of watching two seconds of the news, I don’t know. It certainly started during this time and in fact I’ve found it easier to cope knowing that it’s global and everyone is in the same boat.

I’ve always seen adults as so strong, but now I feel more they have to disguise their weakness. Yet crying isn’t week but more healthy.

The other day I cried in the middle of the day, cried whilst getting into my night clothes ready to enjoy the evening and cried on a mini dog walk with the happiest dog there is. Why? I’ve no idea, but boy did I feel fabulous afterwards.

As I’m getting older I certainly cry more but in a different way. When crying to release I feel stronger rather than ashamed. I cry in appreciation more and feel sincere rather than embarrassed. I cry at films and books and feel engrossed.

Crying is like the natural way of getting that first sip of wine after a stressful day. It’s like releasing your body of all tension and for a second before life starts again you feel totally and utterly free. A way of your body performing a huge sigh. Those breathing exercises so frequently performed during meditation that feel brilliant.

It’s SO GOOD. And so healthy.

I now fully understand anyone who tells me how important crying is.

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: