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.


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

Adulthood Non-fiction Observations

Some things I’ve learnt in the pandemic…

This year is so strange, isn’t it? When it all began I was so sure it’d be over by now. Instead, I’m chilling with my dog, listening to it all over the news and not allowed into my bedroom because my sister is working from home. This virtual existence is odd. A new job and she’s hardly met any of her colleagues…so so odd.

Trying my best to cling tightly onto the good bits, here are some lessons I’ve learnt during the pandemic.

1. How to complain

And I’m getting so good at it. Back when things were normal I was the worlds worst at complaints. I would cower and crumble within seconds and then retract my complaint and allow companies to walk all over me.

Fast forward to the ‘new normal’ and I’m shit hot at complaining. Everyone just blames COVID-19 and while I sympathise to a certain extent, there HAS to be a line. Poor service is poor service and I’m rocking the complaints!

2. How lucky I am

This is always a good thing to remember but this pandemic has highlighted it hugely for me. My life has been busy, work takes over my days and my dreams at night, I’m tired, haven’t done much at all and don’t wish to for fear I’d have to self isolate for 2 weeks which just isn’t feasible. However walking home the other day from an hour at my friends drinking wine and watching the dogs play, i just reminded myself of how truly lucky I am. It was raining. Pouring. But still I felt so so lucky.

3. I’m a sucker for sales

Let’s face it, I’m not spending money on anything else. I was the first to blow £50 with ease at the pub on my way home from another expense. This has stopped. At the beginning I was frequently bulk buying wine. This is still the case but I’m finding myself receiving parcels in the post and then a light switch goes off in my head and I vaguely remember ordering another thing I don’t need online (blame the wine).

4. Healthy life style living in countryside

I have 100% gained COVID pounds and the scales are becoming less liked daily. I don’t get it. At Christmas each year I work stupid hours at a rate of knots, still drink gallons of alcohol and always, ALWAYS lose half a stone or more. This year is different.

In attempt to help the situation I’m doing little things in walking a longer way to work to get the steps in, always making sure I exercise more on my day off and trying to (mostly) eat better. While I’m still drinking too much wine which is something I’m not yet ready to sacrifice, I do feel healthier for these tiny efforts. Each time I walk I feel thankful for the health benefits of living in the countryside and I take in that extra clean country air.

Adulthood Non-fiction Observations Writing

Less time, more grateful

There’s no doubt about it, this year has denied us all of time. I’m currently watching the news and feel it is never ending. France now on the quarantine list. The Netherlands. We’ve got to grip onto any positivity.

As lock down eases, I am certainly feeling more and more grateful for the time I have.

For about three months my life was like groundhog day. It still is to a certain extent, but I am now able to do a lot more (and not feel guilty about leaving the house) on my days off. Or should I say day and a half. Well, now we are opening longer on Saturdays it really is one day.

While I get tired and stressed about where I can fit in any writing, I am quickly realising that any free time I have is precious and I am constantly learning how to spend it better. I won’t feel guilty if my entire two hour break is spent with my nose in my book. Sometimes I manage to read, listen to a podcast and write a few words of my next book. On those days I am winning but sometimes one thing is enough and I will just relax and read. I even watched a glimpse of daytime TV the other day. No guilt.

On Sunday, while loving life and deeply appreciating time to myself and away from work, I still found myself fighting against a ticking clock. How? I had one plan to meet friends at 4pm. 4pm. I had hours to fill.

A deep sleep and a bit of reading in the early morning led to a speedy shower and rushing all the morning routine before leaving the house. Tesco time was limited as I had also planned a walk in the arvo. Lunch was deliciously fast and my beer was interrupted by being needed elsewhere. The walk was speedy (it was bloody hot) but lovely and drinks went on all night.

My night ended with the words “Harriet, you’ve got to be up in 5 hours!!!!” and onto the week ahead, speedy gonzales.

It is so true that this life is too fast paced and we cram so much in. It is also true that knowing we have less time leads to being more grateful, so grateful for the time that we have.


H x

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Adulthood Non-fiction Observations Writing

In a year I would say

I have listened to so many podcasts lately. Mostly to pass the time but also to settle my mind away from work and the current world situation. Therefore, I can’t remember on which I heard this suggestion but it was of someone talking about writing themselves a letter, a year on.

I have thought about it a lot lately: What advice would I give?

In a year I would definitely say worry less.

This will probably continue for some years because I have been telling myself to worry less forever now. I worry about everything. From how I left a conversation, to basic manners, to taking something someone said and blowing it way out of proportion, to where I am going to be in ten years time. I’m a born worrier but some day I hope things will improve, with age…like wine!

“Don’t worry about the future. Or worry, but know that worrying is as effective as trying to solve an algebra equation by chewing bubble gum.”

Next year I would probably say appreciate now.

Living in the moment is something we all fail at sometimes and something that is so healthy for the soul. We can’t change the future. Plans are good but never certain. I notice that when I do stop and appreciate the very moment I am living in a sense of relief and happiness always washes over me.

Don’t judge before you know.

Again, this is an important thing that I tell myself quite frequently and something I hope I get better at in time. It’ll be so much less of a headache for me. When I get wound up about somebody’s actions, it helps when I stop and think about how little I know about them. Even those you think you know best may be struggling with something that you don’t have a clue about. It’s better for everyone and easier on your blood pressure levels to appreciate this and therefore not to judge.

See the bigger picture.

Too often I get too involved with the insides of my head. Be it worry, anger, frustration, sadness – it escalates quickly. I’ll be at work and the tiniest thing will wind me up. It then doesn’t take long for this feeling to elevate. Yet if I take a moment to ground myself and notice the bigger things around me, the issues I’m facing never seem very big at all.

I will always say you’re doing ok.

Because we are, we always are. All of us. Even when you think you aren’t, you most definitely are. Another podcast I listened to recently was an interview with Alain de Botton. He gave his beliefs with regards to stoicism and stated that the worst thing that can happen to anybody ever is death and none of us seem to have trouble dying, the physical act of it, so we’re always going to be ok. Blunt but true.

Obviously I also have much more specific and personal pieces of advice I would give to myself so I may write that in a more private letter to myself. However, I thought what a good idea this activity is and I’m sure it’ll help many of you too if you try it? It’s an interesting concept.

Adulthood Non-fiction Observations Writing

Since when did our world get so busy?

Since when did our world get so busy? Since when did we struggle to find time? Time has always been the same length. So tell me, what happened to mine?

Since when did we start having to set reminders; to text back, to wake up, to go out to dinner, to put things away. How did life get too manic that when we finally manage to stop we don’t know what to say.

Since when did we wish for things to slow down so much that we get home and lock the doors just to escape for a while.

If someone asks us to help out in the evening, we struggle to find the energy to go that extra mile.

Since when did work engulf us and every other aspect just have to fit in? To the point where we have to book a holiday and force ourselves, force ourselves to give in.

Since technology, since globalization, since everything got faster and easier and more complicated.

All these wonderful developments in this wonderful world that are all going to end up simply hated.

It has forced us to speed up, it has forced us to cram everything into the shortest spaces of time. It has forced us to find ways out to a simpler life and a bit of peace of mind.

Sometimes, just sometimes, take a slo-mo moment from your day. Perhaps don’t even stop just slow down and notice all the good around you in so many ways.

Notice friends, notice nature, notice family, notice pets, notice sounds, notice how it feels to be alive.

It is almost too much, so often too much, but what most of us want is easy and for easy we must strive.

Adulthood Non-fiction Observations

Things adulthood forces you to do:

Adulthood. A whirlwind. While we’re all tirelessly trying to get by with the notion of an alcoholic beverage at the end of each day, I thought I’d cheer everybody up by showing that you’re not alone. Here are things that adulthood forces us all to do (I’m sure of it). I really hope I’m not the only one.

Set an alarm for a fifteen minute nap

Moan about being tired

Procrastinate by doing chores to avoid other adult responsibilities

Want to go to bed earlier

Moan about being tired

Cancel on social events

Celebrate when a friend cancels on social events

Drink too much

Work so hard your eyes turn blurry

Moan about being tired

Enjoy the little things more

Appreciate the outdoors

Talk to people who bore you

Talk to pets like they are human

Do anything to shut off the mind

Keep on learning every day

Moan about being tired

Worry about the future when there’s nothing you can do about it

Feel fully satisfied after ticking three things off the to do list

Stay at the pub for “just one more”

Realise that health, happiness and love are everything

Moan about being tired

Treat half a day off as a fortnight away in paradise

Embrace those long road trips

Embrace time to yourself

Listen more

Moan about being tired

Notice the beauty of the world around us

Find yourself “just being polite” frequently

Give up on looks and focus on fun

Scream at the moon and at the waves

Enjoy life

Moan about being tired

Adulthood might be hard, tiring and testing, but it also makes up the majority of the time that most of us are lucky enough to spend on earth and it is great!


Go compare, we compare

I found myself the other day reading a friends notebook. It is from thirty years ago when she was the age I am now and I was reading it on a Friday night. I was shattered from the week and had consumed enough wine to sink a large ship, but decided against the pub. There I was thirty years on and thinking “I should be out. I should be doing what she was doing in 1986. I shouldn’t be sitting in bed about to get stuck into another chapter of my book. What is wrong with me?”


I’m the worst for comparing myself to others and thinking that I should be doing this or shouldn’t be doing that, but the above scenario inspired this blog post because my thought process was ridiculous! Nobody is telling me that I should be out on a Friday night – well, they do if I stay in and tell me I should stay in if I go out – but for some reason I felt a wave of comparison wash over me.

Social media is a huge problem on this front because I could be having a lazy weekend after a hectic week at work and a long string of busy weekends when I see on my friends’ insta-stories that they’re out at some festival or a party on a boat. At that point the FOMO kicks in, bad.

Yet I never get sad when someone is engaged or upset when I hear another friend has landed themselves a cracking new job in London, so I’m certainly not saying that social media is totally to blame. No, in these circumstances I’m very happy for them being a positive take on the new virtual platform that takes up so much of our lives. It does remind me though of what I’m not doing and for a minute – occasionally longer – makes me question the route I am choosing to take so again I start to compare.

The mind is a crazy thing!

I think the message I am taking away from my thoughts is to care less (easier said than done). To care so much about others and be happy for them in everything that they do but to care less in comparison to myself.

Yes, I am 24. I love to party, I often get too drunk and fall over, I love wine, I adore day drinking in the sun and sometimes I kiss multiple guys at once or flirt with them purely to get a drink.


However, I also love sleep, get tired, enjoy time to myself, nights in, quiet days, radio 4, reading, long drives, country music.

Basically I am human and don’t necessarily follow the crowd of my peers. Whether it is right for my age or wrong, it is what I enjoy so I am going to keep on doing it.

Most people don’t judge and mostly it is all inside my head. It’s either that or they judge to a hilarious level and one week say I should be doing one thing then the next I should be doing the total opposite.

At the end of the day, and in the words of an (very) old singer who’s song I like – it’s MY LIFE – go ahead with your own life and leave me alone!


14 small snippets of life advice from a rookie…

never start a day without a caffeinated beverage

toe nails look better painted

avoid replying to a text or beginning a new text conversation after getting into bed at night or getting out of it in the morning, particularly if it’s risky, your head won’t be in the right place

always have a glass of water by your bed (especially if you’ve been drinking alcohol)

in-date milk is a staple to your fridge contents and an ingredient to tea, and tea is life

always make time to read, listen to music and learn new things from interesting people

stop, breathe and think before immediately turning to anger

hold onto memories – take lots of pictures, keep a diary or pin them down somehow

notice the little things all around you; the birdsong, the colours, the smell of the air

if it is sunny, GET OUTSIDE

sometimes (a lot of the time) it’s better to say absolutely nothing

listen to those with more experience than yourself

always have a supply of chocolate/ wine

whatever you decide to do, make sure it makes you happy