A Letter to my Best Friend

We all have best friends, whether they’re your other half, the group of friends you’ve grown up with through school, those you’ve met at university, or even ones you’ve met through work. We can meet our best friends at any point in our life, and they can come from all walks of life, but at the end of the day we all have that ONE best friend who no one could ever compare to, and mines is my gran, so this is a letter to her.

Dear Gran,

It’s been an awful and long 11 months without you, life’s not full of the same old laughter and jokes, the programmes we used to watch together have lost their greatness (Jeremy Kyle is boring without our commentary). Passing your house everyday only causes frustration and annoyance that someone else is living their life in the place you called home, making new memories and replacing the marks you left with their own personal touch. It’s your birthday today, you’d have been 87, what an age…I can only hope to live to an age like that and live a life full of love like you did. I can remember the little family party we had for your 86th birthday last year, and although you weren’t feeling up for it as times were hard and your health was really taking a toll on you, you put a face on and smiled your way through the night, just like you always did…you done everything with a smile. I wish I could have your patience and understanding, you suffered more than people do in a lifetime but you put up with it, you fought your way through it the best you could, despite how mentally and physically tiring and draining it was. You’re a prime example of someone with true strength and although the last few months of your life were awful in terms of your health sharply deteriorating, on the other hand they were the best few months spent living with mum and I. I didn’t always deal with the stress of the whole situation well, and a lot of my time was spent buried in my dissertation and sat in the library rather than by your side, which I wish I could change, but all the hard work was for you. My degree was for you, you told me whatever was to happen to you I was to make you proud and I hope I did, I’m sure I did. You’d have loved graduation day, especially the dinner afterwards and the classy black dress I wore (I’m sure you’d have made a few comments about the lengths or how revealing some of the dresses were that were worn that day). I also ended up with two jobs after finishing university, and I know you’d have loved me coming in after work to tell you how my day was working at a Higher Education Institution 5 days a week or about the overly demanding customers I came face to face with when working my weekend job in retail. I hope you know how proud I am of mum for facing the day with a smile even when she doesn’t feel like it because she just longs for you to be back with us. I’m taking her to Dubai in less than 4 weeks for her 50th, the family will be together to celebrate a milestone of a birthday and to comfort one another with it being one year since you sadly left us. So much has happened over these past 11 months and I just wish we could sit down with a cup of tea, digestive biscuits, and just catch up about life. I find it difficult to talk about you to mum as it only ends in tears, but I don’t ever stop talking about you to people in work as I never want anyone to not know how amazing you were. Doing this letter post is a way for me to open up (to the Internet I know, but by the end of this post SO many more people will realise your greatness and just how much you are missed). There’s so many memories I could write down but I want to keep them to myself as they’re special, and something that you and I only share. I miss you more than anything and I hope you’re watching over me proud of the woman I’m turning into, and that I continue to make you proud and make the right life choices. I hope you’re eating as much sweet treats as you like (we all know you loved your cakes), and I hope you’re watching unlimited Only Fools and Horses, Columbo, Come Dine With Me and Four in a Bed, I just wish I was watching them with you. Regardless of who I meet in life, you’ll always be my number one.

Love Holly x 

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Diet Chef: Week 3

Another week has started, and so another week of my Diet Chef plan has finished, and with less than a week to go before I finish off this 4 week plan and start another one, I’m feeling motivated as ever to shift the rest of this weight. I’ve only had a small loss of just over 1 pound yet again, the loss was actually a couple of pounds more on Friday, but with the weekend involving eating out on Friday, an overnight stay on Saturday and some fried food, it was inevitable that the weight wouldn’t completely stay off (the joys of having your weigh in day as a Monday eh). I’m going to do another quick run-down of my third week on the plan, allowing you to find out my favourites and my not so favourites, especially since I’ve had the chance to try out some new dishes (Diet Chef really do have so much choice so you won’t feel it being repetitive).

Through this plan I’ve realised I’m definitely not a fan of muesli, whether it’s the chocolate chip muesli bar or the luxury muesli with greek yoghurt, it’s just not for me. Granola on the other hand is definitely my thing and I can’t wait to get my hands on some more pink apple and cinnamon granola as I used up the few packets I ordered one day after the next due to completely falling in love with it. Just the other day I tried out the chocolate flavoured protein bar for breakfast and it was really tasty, I especially loved the crispy protein pieces throughout the bar which added some crunch to it, making me feel like I was digging into a bar of chocolate. This protein bar is super filling, I ended up having 1/3 for my breakfast, 1/3 after my lunch, and then 1/3 in the afternoon, as I couldn’t eat this all in one early in the morning. For lunch I’m yet to try the spicy beef and tomato soup, which is something to look forward to this week, but I’m loving my the curried parsnip with my usual slice of wholemeal bread. For my next 4 week plan I’m definitely going to order the cous cous to try, and more of the pasta pots as I’m missing them as my little break in between the constant soup. My one regret is ordering only a few bags of crisps as I only just tried the Paprika flavoured soya and potato snacks and they’re even better than the salt and pepper flavour (which I didn’t believe could be possible). This is what excites me about still having another 4 weeks after this plan finishes as I now know what I love, like and dislike and can use my preferences when placing my new order this week. For dinner I’ve developed a huge liking for the minced beef hot pot, which in a way makes me feel like I’m having a Sunday dinner as it tastes like a good wholesome homemade meal. I’m also pleasantly surprised by the lasagne, I’m a big pasta lover so I’m glad I can still have the foods I love the most on this plan without worrying about overindulging. With the meaty lasagne being delicious, this only makes me excited to try out the tuna lasagne, which will be a twist on the good old traditional lasagne, but I’m sure it will be a good one.

As well as trying my best on the Diet Chef plan, I’ve also really been pushing myself at the gym, I attended fat burn last week which was fantastically demanding, and I also went to Abs Blast last night which made me want to cry both mentally and physically as it was SO DIFFICULT and had me in pain from the get go (my body is currently struggling all over). I’ve also been increasing my own workouts at the gym by increasing the amount of time I spend at the gym, increasing the amount of weights I do, and making sure my workouts have a lot more variation and stay exciting. I’ve also started the 30 day abs and bum challenge, with one of my goals being to really start toning up and get rid of my jiggly bits (believe me I have plenty of jiggle). Although I can definitely see the difference in my body just my looking in the mirror I’m hoping I can get another pound or two off on my 4th week of the plan and notice a difference on the scales.

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My Diet Chef Journey

After the festive period guilt is the one word that may come to mind (it certainly does for me), for all the over indulgence that occurred, the constant eating out, the one too many glasses of wine, and for binging on all the edible goodies you may have received from Santa. I remember getting to my ideal weight a couple of years ago and moaning I still had more to lose, but now that I’m WELL over a stone heavier (all thanks to letting myself go), I know it’s time to not only get the weight back off, but to get fitter too, especially with a a trip to Dubai coming up in March. That’s exactly why I’ve paired up with Diet Chef to try out their 8 week plan to see whether I can reap the benefits I’ve heard this meal plan brings to the lives of many. Seeing at 2018 is for all things new, Diet Chef have brought out their new premium plan, with even more fantastic dishes for you to choose from.

The first thing I came to love about Diet Chef was how easy it was to place my order, and more specifically the flexibility you have in picking what you want. For 4 weeks, you pick 28 breakfast items, 28 lunches, 28 dinners and 28 snacks, which come together to create your very own calorie-controlled plan. The options are great, with dishes to suit everyone, whether you’re vegan or absolutely love your meat. After placing my order it arrived the very next day, which again means you can get started as soon as possible. Despite receiving mine on Thursday I decided to start today, 1) because starting on a Monday, the first day of the week seemed sensible and 2) I had a couple of meals out over the weekend so I wanted to enjoy them before the Diet Chef fun began. Another positive about Diet Chef is that there’s no need to store your meals in the fridge, which came as a sigh of relief for me as there’d be no room in the fridge freezer for 28 dinners.

When it comes to meal plans, the first thought that comes to many heads is “will this food actually taste good?”, and from my first day starting my Diet Chef journey today I can safely say the food is really good. I started off my morning with a chocolate flavoured milkshake that you simply add water to, and to my surprise it was really creamy and chocolatey. Breakfast is something I don’t tend to have so having breakfast every morning for the next 8 weeks will be doing me the world of good and in turn set me up for the day ahead. For lunch I had the carrot and coriander soup, and although it may have been a smaller portion from the regular soup I’d have for lunch at work, it was extremely tasty, I’m afraid I’m just going to have to get used to the slight change in portion size. For dinner I had the beef stew with turnip and carrots, which I added to the meal to bulk it up. Again you’re allowed to add dairy, fresh fruit and vegetables in order to complete your meals so the meal plans you have aren’t the be all and end all, you can alter them as long as you make healthy choices. I definitely don’t think the first few days will be easy but once I get used to sizing down and eating more of what’s good for me, I’m sure I will get used to it.

The plan is to do a weekly post on here to keep up to date with my progress, discuss some of the food I’ve had and whether I’ve liked it, loved it or not been too keen on it (my opinions will be 100% honest). I’m hoping that this plan combined with more exercise will result in losing the weight I’ve gained over the past year or so, and help me to feel overall more healthier. Have you ever tried Diet Chef or some sort of weight loss plan, what works for you?

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A Visit to Fort William

Seeing as I was in Glencoe this weekend and Fort William is as little as half an hour’s drive away, it was only right we took a trip down there, especially since I’ve never really ventured far out in Scotland before. One thing I’ll never get over about the Highlands is the scenery, each time you see it you find it just as beautiful as the first time. I think when you’re such a city girl like me you come to appreciate life outside the city so much more and so I was more than happy to explore somewhere new. Fort William definitely has a lot more going on than Glencoe but just being surrounded by the sound of nature was enough for me, so there was absolutely no fuss made about the lack of high street stores or near by cinemas or well known restaurants.

Towering over the town of Fort William is Ben Nevis, the UK’s highest mountain, with a whopping height of over 1300 metres, and despite being a good old Scottish girl, I’d never in all my life seen Ben Nevis for my very own eyes. Although I wasn’t physically fit to climb Ben Nevis, a walk up to see it was a good enough challenge for myself. After coming across ‘walk highlands‘, a website dedicated to accommodation and thousands of free walks in Scotland, we found ‘The North Face of Ben Nevis and the Allt a’ Mhuillin‘ walk. With the walk statistics including a distance of 6.5 miles and an ascent of 630 metres I knew it wouldn’t be easy for someone as inexperienced as me, especially with the only hill having been climbed by myself being the one at university. On the drive to the North Face car park where the walks begins, I was looking at all of the mountains and hills around me starting to panic about what I had agreed to.


It was quite an ascent from the start, with a rather rocky path at times, something which showed my true colours…just how unfit I actually am. I was puffing and panting from the start, feeling my heartbeat all over, and with a bottle of water gripped tight in my hands. The stiffness of wearing a t-shirt, jumper and two jackets may have contributed to my breathlessness, or maybe I’m just making up excuses for myself. Each time I looked up and seen the path rising even higher, a little voice inside my head was telling me to just head back down to the car, but sooner or later I started to pick up the pace and get into it.


I think my motivation to actually do this came about when we reached a resting point with a bench at the edge of the hill corner with some of the most incredible views of the town of Fort William, if that’s what it was like 20 minutes or so into the walk then I wanted to see more and continue venturing up higher. Just sitting down for a moment to catch your breath (if you’re unfit like me) and bring your heart rate down a little allows you to really take in the views, and if this trip away taught me anything it’s that Scotland is truly beautiful and too many times do I underestimate or undervalue the country I live in. You can get so caught up in the busy city, so to go up somewhere like that with nothing but the sound of your own thoughts and having the freshest of air go through your lungs, it can only make you appreciative.


There are 7 stages of the walk and this is classed as a grade 2 walk (slightly harder walk, with paths possibly being indistinct, and navigations skills being a must), so you really should wear the appropriate clothing. With that being said, I’ve never hill climbed in all my life so have never found the need to own walking shoes or hill walking trousers, hence why it couldn’t be found in my suitcase that weekend. That day I had on a pair of skinny jeans from River Island, and boots with the slightest heel from Primark, not what I’d call appropriate for this type of walk, but I’m the type of person who would say no or stop doing something if I felt I was putting myself at risk so the walk went ahead. When you begin to get views of the North face of Ben Nevis you simply can’t stop, you have to see more and get closer.

The further we went up the icier it got, but my boots supported me all the way up there, except for my clumsiness which caused the occasional trip over a rock. You could feel the temperature dropping and the cold wind from the snowy peak brushing against us. We stopped not too far from where the snow properly started as the path wasn’t appropriate for my footwear, but we were happy with where we got to (probably stage 5 of 7 and up over 400 metres out of the over 600 metres the walk takes you up).


This weekend was a first for many things…going to Glencoe (my blog post will be up shortly about that), visiting Fort William, hill walking, and seeing Ben Nevis. I’m definitely going to invest in a pair of walking boots and do this more often as I’ve never felt so free before, and it’s a good way to tire yourself out and take yourself away from technology for a little while. As you can see from the smile on my face in the picture above, it was an accomplishment for me in a sense, as I started off with such a negative attitude and not thinking I could do it, when in reality I got a lot further than I thought, so don’t let your thoughts get the better of you. It was so beautiful up there and I don’t think any view will ever compare, who knows…maybe one day I’ll actually be climbing up Ben Nevis rather than just viewing it.

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Amsterdam Day 4

It’s the final day of 2017 and not only that but it’s the final day of my Amsterdam travel series, I hope you’ve enjoyed reading about what I got up to during my little adventure there for my 22nd birthday as much as I enjoyed writing about the whole trip. Amsterdam has been a place on my bucketlist for a long while now so I’m so happy I got to tick it off in 2017. I had such high expectations and it completely exceeded these expectations, it really is a magnificent city and I’d go back time and time again, and never get sick of it. Today’s post is all about day 4 of the trip, which was unfortunately our last day, but nonetheless it was a nice end to a great trip.

It seems to be that the only time I eat breakfast is when I’m abroad, so as you’re probably assuming, the start of our final day in Amsterdam was spent having a lovely little Starbucks breakfast (where I was also given the new name of Polly as you can see). I chose a ham and cheese croissant, my usual caramel macchiato and a slice of delicious cheesecake (the cheesecake at De Pont the previous day converted me). I need to start eating breakfast on a regular basis, it really is one of the most important meals of the day which is at times under appreciated, it set me up for all the walking that we done on our city break.

After a satisfying Starbucks breakfast we took the 40 minute journey to Amsterdam’s Artis Royal Zoo, and I couldn’t wait being the big animal lover that I am. This zoo is not only one of the oldest zoos in the Netherlands but in mainland Europe too, and is home to over 700 animal species, with an aquarium and a planetarium too. Entry was free with our IAmsterdam cards, so as soon as we got our tickets we started exploring this enormous zoo. Some of the highlights of the zoo were the giraffes, elephants and the little monkeys (one is in the picture above) that roamed quite freely around you, although the majority of them were snuggled up and sleeping, they looked so cuddly. I’d have taken half the zoo home with me if I could have.

What was so unique about the zoo was the fact they had a butterfly house, with so many butterflies flying all around you whilst you walk through. Some were close enough to touch, others remained high up in the ceiling, and the designs on them, in addition to their colours were magnificent. This is a special feature of the zoo and one that I truly loved.

After Artis Royal Zoo we took the short walk to the NEMO Science Museum, home to four floors of hands on educational fun. Tickets cost around 16 euros but entry was free to this museum with the IAmsterdam card. Although I’d say this is more of a kids place due to the kids hogging every interactive aspect of the museum (I swear I wasn’t jealous), it’s also a place were adults can be big kids again and join in on the fun too. Even if Science wasn’t your subject at school, it will soon become something you’ll enjoy when you go from floor to floor in this place.

After getting all scientific at the Science museum we had our final walk around the city, taking in our picturesque surroundings knowing that soon we’d be home to our everyday environment, that was nothing quite like Amsterdam. The sun was shining, which was a first during the trip, so it made everything all the more beautiful, with the crisp Autumn leaves crunching on the floor whilst we walked over the canal bridges for the last time.

To finish off our trip we headed to a lovely Italian restaurant called La Casa De Michael, not far from our hotel. On arriving at the restaurant we were the only people in the restaurant for a good while, which made me wonder whether this would be good or not, usually you make a judgement on restaurants with whether they’re busy or not but this one was deserted. Despite us being the only diners in the place, we were given extra special customer service and took our time picking what to eat from this extensive menu. I ordered a spinach and ricotta lasagne and David got a calzone, and we couldn’t wait for it to arrive. We weren’t disappointed, the lasagne was gorgeous despite it being a vegetarian option when I usually love my meat, and David was impressed with his calzone, which was cooked to perfection. We couldn’t have chosen a nicer restaurant to have our final dinner before we headed back to the hotel to wait on our transfer picking us up and whisking us back to the airport to jet back home.

City breaks are so tiring and after arriving home before midnight, we were straight back to work the next day and the trip was over just like that. Amsterdam is the perfect city break destination so if it’s on your bucketlist to go to, then save up and make the trip happen as you won’t regret it at all. I definitely want to keep up the birthday tradition of going away, so who knows where I’ll be going for my 23rd birthday…watch this space. Have you ever been to Amsterdam, if so what was the highlight of your trip?

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