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

All of my blog posts can be found at and to read my published work visit my portfolio.

Adulthood Non-fiction Observations Writing

A lock down anthology: when this is all over…

The other day I made time to sit down and read through Writing Magazine. Inside was a lovely idea from Jan Moran Neil for a lock down anthology. It will be called When this is all over… she welcomes a selection of poetry and prose of no more than 200 words. ‘Your thoughts, wishes, hopes, reflections on this time.’

Here’s mine…

When this is all over I will appreciate more. A trip to town, a mini-break at the beach, a hug, a social gathering, dinner with those you see the most, and dinner with those you see the least. I will certainly notice nature a lot more and allow it to bring me much happiness whenever I am down. The natural and pure. Children and mothers, wildlife, the trees, birds, grasses blowing in summer breeze, colours of lavender fields and smells of pollen.

I will enjoy sleep because I now know what it is to be deprived of it. On days when I feel on top form and full of energy I will give thanks, for so long I have been run down during lock down. Clear skin showing my radiance as oposed to spotty stress. A spring in my step and a smile on my face rather than clumping along with a frown.

Never again will I moan about slowness under pressure while waiting in queues. Instead I will understand the meaning of pressure and give the staff a break. I will try not to worry about money. I will endeavour to be kind.

When this is all over I will appreciate the freedom we can so easily be denied. Lock down 2020 – back to basics, simplicity and a love for life.

Now try yours…

Adulthood Non-fiction Observations Writing

A healthy amount of lone time…

(NB. I wrote this two weeks ago)

Today, so far, has been bloody lovely. My friends have gone away for the weekend and said I was welcome to their house. Having worked another exhausting week surrounded by people (lovely, but people) I took them up on this offer without a thought.

Sometimes you just need to clock off from life.

It is 1pm and I have spent every minute of this day alone. Apart from a couple of texts, fewer than my usual, I have been alone in every aspect of the word. When I lay there in bed this morning I thought how happy I felt to be able to enjoy this amount of lone time. Realising not everyone is this lucky due to either never getting a window of alone time to enjoy or fighting with their inner demons for each second of it, I count my blessings and realise how lucky I am.

It’s been the laziest morning I’ve had in a long while, but also one of the best.

I woke at 8am and gave myself a further thirty minutes sleeping time because it’s Sunday and I felt reckless. I then read The Wind In The Willows chapter 1 because an article in Writing Magazine suggested we all do this during lock down. A chapter a day, he said, will boost our spirits. It certainly lifted me up.

With my second cup of tea, having devoured a lemon and saltana danish (naughty), I continued reading another book I have on the go and one which I am LOVING. The Olive Tree by Lucinda Riley – check it out.

I rose. Showered. Popped to work to check the ice cream machine which had been put together by me yesterday hadn’t completely exploded everywhere. A mess I do not wish to have to deal with at 6am tomorrow morning. Warmed up some pasta and spotted that my bottle of white had just about enough left in it for a glass.

Don’t worry, it’s past 12pm.

I poured myself a glass and now I sit writing, listening to the wind, totally at peace and absoloutly loving this day!

A healthy amount of lone time and it felt so good.

(NB. I finished reading The Olive Tree yesterday and I would recommend. I also continue to read a chapter of The Wind In The Willows for a pick me up during these mad times.)

All blog posts can be found at and to read my published work visit my portfolio.

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

I had a plan on a sunday

So in the UK the lock down is starting to be eased a little. All over the news there are various stories of the ways in which countries are easing things in a desperate attempt to get back to some sort of normality.

Whether I agree or disagree with each government’s approach (I honestly think it’s the hardest thing to control) we stuck by the rules and had a socially distanced barbecue planned for the weekend. This meant that it was my first Sunday with a plan in over two months. Wow.

As I showered at 1pm having done some productive things but mostly worked on my tan while reading my book in the garden, a thought came to me.

How was I rushing? How had life already come to being rushed again?

Throughout lock down my social media feeds have been swarmed with boredom but also people noticing things. Many have noticed how much time is in a day once you’re off the mad rush that is working life.

They have noticed nature, people, things about themselves that passed them by before. It has appeared as a wonderful revelation and one that most will want to stick in life post lock down. Yet, day one in getting back to some form of functioning society and I am struggling to find the time?!

Sunday is the one day a week that I get to experience lock down. For the past two months (though working a little on some) my Sunday’s have noticably been the slowest day of the week.

I have enjoyed slow mornings. Getting up slowly has been luxurious and enjoying a warm beverage before it has turned cold due to me becoming preoccupied with a matter of higher priority at work has been great. It really is the little things

It has been liberating to realise that I don’t know what time it is or where I have left my phone or having no limits to an acceptable time to relax with a large glass of red.

Even on mornings when I have crammed lots of writing and reading and planning in, feeling positive and productive, I will look at the clock to find it is only midday.

Truthfully, Sunday’s have become a beautifully happy blur like that feeling in between tipsy and drunk. You don’t quite know what’s going on and you’re gradually beginning to lose control, but it feels just lovely.

There I was on a Sunday with a plan. For the first time I had to rush. I had an hour to get ready and still struggled. My day suddenly felt exceedingly short.

I consider myself fairly organised and good with time management but there I was, failing. I’m not too sure how it happened, but maybe life post lock down won’t be slower.

Maybe modern life and the way we’ve shaped it can’t be slower. Or maybe we just need to find time amidst the chaos to give ourselves a mini lock down experience in stopping, appreciating, noticing and loving life.

[inserts hands in air emoji]

Hindsight is a wonderful thing, isn’t it?

Non-fiction Observations Stories Writing

In a crazy world where good things happen.


This little snippet happened early on when we were all trying to figure out what lock down meant and if what we were living through was reality or some horrible nightmare. We’ve now realised we won’t be waking up, it’s real, but I feel this sums up the beautiful innocence of children.

A lady and her daughter who are now regulars were piling up their shopping on the counter. Piles and piles of goods. The mother was telling me how she simply can’t face going to the supermarket so our shop would be her shop for the duration. I thanked her for that.

The goods kept on stacking up and I commented on how helpful her daughter was being who was getting things she was asked to get and also packing everything into the bag once I’d totted up. I was extra thankful for this as my packing skills are beyond appauling.

The two of them were chatting away while shopping and the little girl said, “Mummy, can we please go to the park?”

My heart sank. How can you begin to explain to a little girl of no more than five years old.

“Sorry darling but the park is closed.”

“But that man is walking his dog on it so it can’t be closed,” she quite rightly replied.

“He’s allowed to do that.”

The girl’s confused expression made the whole situation even sadder and harder to understand. Oh, the beautiful innocence of children.

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

Adulthood Non-fiction Observations Stories Writing

In a crazy world where good things happen.


Ever tried to write two novels at one time? I think I may have just taken on the challenge.

Initially I struggled to find the time to read during lock down, let alone write. Work has been so busy and my breaks were mostly spent coming to terms with what just happened. As if I’d been hit by something very hard and my whole perception knocked right out of whack.

Eventually I gave up trying to understand everything going on in the world and instead dedicated most of my time in my breaks to reading. That way my brain can shut off completely. It’s a great escape, particularly when the books I am reading are brilliant.

I finished Marian Keyes’ latest novel Grown Ups at the weekend and loved every page. Now I have started The Butterfly Room by Lucinda Riley and I am really enjoying it. It’s set locally to me in Southwold, Suffolk, so I can relate to the place (somewhere I’d love to be right now) and I can also relate to some of the characters as well.

While reading just now I came up with an idea for another novel. A total light bulb moment and a very cliche way to say my novel began if ever I am interviewed about my work.

I tried to find a way to entwine it into the novel I’m half way into writing, but it simply wouldn’t work. They are too different. So, I started a note page on my phone and when I next find time (difficult, but I will make it happen) I’m going to attempt to juggle writing two novels at once.

Lock down is doing wonders for my inspiration! Watch this space . . .

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

Adulthood Non-fiction Observations Stories Writing

In a crazy world where good things happen.


At risk of sounding big headed, I’m proud. The more I hear about and witness the challenges many people are facing with the current situation of the world, the prouder I feel.

It’s kind of gone by me unnoticed how at risk myself and my colleagues are each day that we show up to work. I forget because of the sheer business of the place. I naturally wash my hands like I’ve never washed them before (listening to instructions given to us early on) and busy about, but until someone comes in with a full blown mask to remind me, I almost forget in my little bubble that Coronavirus exists. Well, kind of. You know what I mean…

I see people petrified to come in, people scared to work, people paranoid about the two metre rule, people getting very cross about other people’s actions.

While we’re taking it very seriously and doing everything we can for the safety of our staff and customers, every now and then I feel really proud.

An NHS worker was in with a badge on and my boss, who was serving her in the Post Office, thanked her for all she is doing. Her reply was “and thank you too.”

Says it all.

We are all in this together.

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

Adulthood Non-fiction Observations Recommendations

Isolation: best of a bad situation 4-6

As promised here are some more ideas to make lock down/isolation/social distancing/ all of those things we are currently living through more bearable.

Candles/ Incense

Creating a calm space is always healthy but more so now. Sometimes lock down has made me feel stressed because I am able to think about what is happening and think too much about everything else. Sometimes I even feel a little trapped. By lighting the many candles in my room and an incense stick, my room becomes a calm, peaceful space and I think, quite frankly, I could stay there forever!


I have always harped on about how important music is to me and how I couldn’t live without it and this has remained the case during these mad times. At the beginning of the lock down, I was running at the weekend and, occasionally if I felt totally reckless, in my breaks. It was great. I was getting some exercise in, increasing my heart rate but also it was a release for my mind and my soul.

Bad knees soon put a stop to this but on walks (if without company) and always while walking to and from work each day I listen to music and I really appreciate that feeling of feeling alive.


Reading allows me to lose myself entirely. I escape into another world where, though problems potentially are many, they aren’t mine and they aren’t real. That reminds me, I must finish my book and get onto the next in the pile!

NB* since scheduling this post last week I have finished said book Grown Ups by Marian Keyes and it’s a brilliantly, feel-good, entertaining, hilarious, relatable and also heartbreaking read. I have begun The Butterfly Room by Lucinda Riley which is great so far (will let you know how I get on).

Any book recommendations welcome and I’ll keep them coming your way too.

Over and out.