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 and to read my published work visit my portfolio. My debut novel, Dear Brannagh, is out now.

Adulthood Non-fiction Observations Writing

Where I’m at…

I couldn’t think of a blog topic this week. I think it is because my head is so busy. It makes no sense really as I’d have thought the busier my head, the more ideas flowing about. In fact it is the opposite. I have nothing.

Instead I thought it would be an interesting exercise to write down where I’m at. A stream of conscious style piece. My exact thoughts and feelings at the very moment.

Here goes…

Today I am in a good place. I’m feeling positive despite the news. Having just enjoyed a lovely cuppa accompanied by a slice of raspberry flapjack, I am feeling very content.

The week has been busy so far. We’re not even half way through and I’ve written an article for publication in a glossy mag, organised a giveaway and not completely failed at wrapping some presents on top of working full time. Not bad.

It’s birthday week. I’m feeling good about my twenty seventh trip around the sun. Being twenty five has been different to say the least. A global pandemic would make it somewhat different, obviously, but there have been plenty of good bits.

  • The summer was hotter than usual.
  • I noticed more, especially the birds and nature.
  • Appreciation has been a constant throughout.
  • My managerial development has come on.
  • I’m a published author!

Bring on twenty six.

I am on my break from work and as soon as I got in I put my sausage dog in his harness and took him for a walk. He’s in training. Though he is almost two. He gets very anxious about walking on his own. Put another person or dog into the mix and he is immediately fine but alone he is terrified. I’m trying to fix this. We didn’t get very far at all but we got further than the last time. Progress. Positive progress is what it is all about.

I have a longer break today and it is lovely. There we go with appreciation again. I’ve not had a day off in over a year which I think has made me more grateful for time off. Time out. Even just an hour to myself is total bliss.

I’m reading Us Three by Ruth Jones. It is a great escape. A huge page-turner. Perfect for these times. I have plenty of break left today so I think I’ll continue to indulge in escapism. I love reading and I love books.

There, that’s where I’m at.

All blog posts can be found at and to read my published work visit my portfolio. My debut novel, Dear Brannagh, is out now.

Adulthood Non-fiction Observations Seasonal

Happy Love Day

Valentines day can be lovely. Huge bouquets of flowers, champagne for breakfast and a celebration of the many strong relationships out there. #couplegoals

It can also be sad, lonely and make you feel sick to the stomach. I have heard people in long term healthy relationships wretch at the gushy messages they see or extravagant presents for this commercial celebration.

I’m pretty chill about being single because for the past few years I’ve been working on myself. I now can say I feel I’m better at being me than ever. I’m happier in my own skin and not relying (too much) on others to make me happy – the healthiest way to be. Yet on valentines day afternoon I found myself avoiding social media due to the constant stream of soppy status’ and displays of perfection.

While scrolling and inwardly weeping – mostly due to the fact that my car battery was flatter than a flat thing and I had spent my entire weekend trying to fix it – I found a few gems hidden among the gush. One was from Fearne Cotton. Another from Dawn O’Porter. A third from Charlie Mackesy and all were expressing the same, wonderful idea.

‘Today I’m celebrating all the love in my life,’ said Fearne. ‘The family, the friends, the special people who turned up later down the line, the ones I can’t see or hug.’

This is just it. Everyone has a little love in their hearts. Some more than others but everyone has something. Even, heaven forbid, those who are ‘on their own’ at valentines. And this year this notion is more important than ever. I’m going to celebrate love on valentines day for years to come. Even when I’m in a relationship I will continue to think of it as a day to celebrate treasured relationships that portray, Charlie Mackesy’s words, love in all its forms.

Happy Love Day for a week ago to you all. Love wins, always.

All blog posts can be found at and to read my published work visit my portfolio. My debut novel, Dear Brannagh, is out now.

Adulthood Non-fiction Observations Stories Writing

How my subconscious influences my writing

So far I have been receiving great feedback after my debut novel, Dear Brannagh, was released. In fact, so many who I least expected to enjoy it have phoned me with glowing reviews. Men and women of all ages have become gripped into the life of Mary Carter. This is everything that a writer asks for.

One particular piece of feedback that is cropping up on loop is how I have written about so many different life experiences. Ones that I’m not meant to know about aged twenty-five.

“If you were fifty,” one man said, “then fair enough. You might have been through events that you describe or know of someone close to you who has. The fact that you are only twenty-five years old makes it so much more remarkable.”

I think I just absorb. I’m a huge listener. Much like my dad. If we’re sitting at a bar we would much prefer to be listening to those telling stories rather than the spotlight being on us telling them.

Until dad gets drunk and starts with the wide mouth frog joke!

It might sound odd because I write for a living (almost) but I really do listen to everyone in all walks of life. My day job involves conversing with so many different people every day. On my travels and during university I met all sorts of people from all sorts of backgrounds. My subconscious, as with everyone, is alive and I find it fascinating how much of this comes out when writing a novel.

Of course, I interviewed people and literally asked their experience but I think that a lot of it comes from the conversations I have had in the past unknowingly being stored within my subconscious brain.


So often I am reading back over my work and I can pinpoint where certain phrases or analagies come from. For example, I can remember giving my fingers a break once while writing about Mary struggling over the loss of her mum. She twiddles her ring on her finger as I did but for a very different reason.

It is very fascinating indeed.

All blog posts can be found at and to read my published work visit my portfolio. My debut novel, Dear Brannagh, is out now.

Adulthood Non-fiction Observations

The Irish Influence

I have a lot of Irishness in my life. My first boss was Irish, my second boss is Irish and my debut novel is filled with Irish people and references. I have many friends who are Irish, some of the best ones – they are Irish. On my travels I met so many lovely Irish people. There is something so special about the Irish.

I love them.

Their positivity…

It is infectious and I find that time spent with lots of Irish people provides that boost to continue with a positive outlook. Not slating the English, but we do have a tendency to be more negative or jump to the worst conclusions. Irish always see the best or can tip a bad situation on it’s head and look at it more clearly.


It just oozes out of them. All Irish people I know will do anything to help. They go out of their way and always have a solution. The sort of crowd you can ring in the early hours and be sure to be saved.


… is another adjective I’d use to describe Irish folk. While I’m not religious I am envious of some of the Catholic beliefs. The strong reliance on religion and the strict sticking to the ways. We all say how loved ones we’ve lost may be around us but I’ve never believed it more than when listening to my Irish friends telling me about loved ones remaining with them. It’s truly so special and something that influences how I live and remember.

The joy they bring.

A room full of Irish people is always full of laughter. Unless, of course, it is inappropriate and the situation must be taken seriously, only then will they be less light hearted and full of fun.


They hang on to fate and now so do I. The belief that everything happens for a reason rings truer each day that I live and has helped me through many tough times. Thank you for making me believe.

If you’re Irish, and I know you personally then this is about you. I thank you for your influence on my life.



All blog posts can be found at and to read my published work visit my portfolio. My debut novel, Dear Brannagh, is out now.

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 and to read my published work visit my portfolio. My debut novel, Dear Brannagh, is out 30th November:

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 and to read my published work visit my portfolio.

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?


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

Adulthood Non-fiction Observations

If I had a tail to wag…

Seem a strange concept? Here me out.

If you are a regular reader, you will now be aware, I am trying SO HARD to cling onto the positives during this pandemic. SO HARD. The other day after another busy day at work I was sipping on a beer and trying desperately to stay awake past 8pm.

One thing I noticed which made me smile and gave me a boost of energy was how happy the four little dogs were in the living room that I was in. I mean, they literally wag their tails for anything, ANYTHING. I think humans need to be more this way inclined.

Their owners come home after five minutes of being out – they wag. Dinner time – they wag. Being surrounded by lots of people – they wag out of control. Treat time – they wag. Walkies?! The wagging is something else. When you think about it all these reasons for being so happy are very simple. They are all things us humans take for granted.

It made me think if I had a tail, when would I wag? I think it would be more often than I would initially expect. I think myself, and probably many others out there, take more for granted than we realise and need to simply be happier, for more reasons, simpler reasons. Especially now.

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

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.