My Favourite Blogs || A Branch Of Holly

Holly, and her subsequent blog A Branch of Holly, is my go-to source for inspiration and motivation.

She is the very best in creative brainstorming and is guaranteed to get you psyched and ready to take on the world (pretty literally – she’s great for blog help, but also general life advice too!). I have gone to her on multiple occasions with questions and queries, and she’s so generous with her time and effort, I’m ridiculously pleased she agreed to let me share the love with a Q&A today. Recently trying her hand at the odd personal post mixed in with blogging, career, productivity, social media and marketing hints, tips and everything in between.

Her Breakthrough Blogging Challenge has genuinely helped me so much as a reasonably new blogger, and it helps that she’s seriously, friendly and inspiring! I couldn’t wait to find out a bit more about the blogger behind the blog, so check out her passion here and find out a bit more about her below…

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1. How would you sum up your blog?

A Branch of Holly is a place for creatives, entrepreneurs and bloggers to connect, learn and build a fulfilling personal brand. We talk about getting breakthroughs (because you can have more than one) with your career, life and blog. Everything I write, I write from a place of experience and from my heart.


2. Describe your ultimate meal (starter, main and pud)?

Oh this is easy. For me, it would be bruschetta as the starter, lasagne as the main and to finish, profiteroles. It’s what I have whenever I eat out at an Italian – I could have it every week.


3. If you were a vegetable what would you be and why?

I always find these questions so difficult, so I had to have a think about this one. At first, I thought I’d be a carrot. My mum always taught me that carrots make your eyes sparkle, so I felt like that could relate to the vision that I have for my life, personal brand and community.

But then I actually thought that I’d like to be a pea. Peas come in pods with lots of other peas – that sense of support and togetherness is what I love about my life, my community and the blogging world as a whole.

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4. Name the book/s that has had most impact on your life?

This would have to be To Kill A Mockingbird, which I read as part of English class in high school when I was 15. It’s my favourite book, and I’ve still got my original copy with pencil notes scribbled in all the margins.

The reason it’s had the biggest impact on my life is because I feel like it gave me confidence. Back then I was one of the shyest people you could meet. But it was this year that I finally started discovering who I was, and I dedicate a lot of who I am to this book.


5. Describe one of the best adventures you’ve ever been on?

For me, my life is an adventure. Getting to where I am now and discovering where I’m going to be in the future is the biggest and best adventure of all. Doing exciting things, working on projects that I’m passionate about, being with people I love and knowing an opportunity could arise at any moment? I’d say that’s a pretty good adventure.


6. In a film about your life, what would three of the tracks on the soundtrack be and why?

Counting Stars by OneRepublic – because I appreciate everything and write down what I’m grateful for every single day. Counting Stars is like counting the moments that you cherish the most.

No One’s Gonna Love You More Than I Do by Band of Horses – because I love unconditionally and my family always describe me as loving.

Que Sera Sera by Doris Day – live in the moment. Be in the present. This is mine and my mum’s song.

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7. What’s your go-to interesting fact about yourself?

Most people don’t know this, but I’ve been playing piano for 11 years and I’m actually a pretty decent singer. I did a lot of gigs during my three years at university and even supported British band Catfish & The Bottlemen. It’s my claim to fame 😉


8. If you could have a superpower what would it be and why?

At first, I thought about mind reading so I could read the minds of my audience and find out exactly what they want me to write about!

But I’d actually love to be able to teleport. Sometimes getting to and from places frustrates me, especially when I’m sat in traffic. Wasting time is the thing that gets to me the most and stresses me out, so if I can prevent it in anyway I will. Teleporting would be a great way to do that.


9. Name three countries you haven’t been to yet on your travel bucket list?

Iceland, Italy and America. I’m petrified of flying so whether I’ll actually visit them is another story!


10. What would your patronus memory be? (if you haven’t read Harry Potter – it’s the moment in your life when you’ve felt happiest)

Instead of one memory, this is more of a feeling that appears throughout memories. What makes me happiest is being at home, in my garden with my parents, my brother and Tom. We’re together. We’re laughing. We’re happy. We’re here. Just thinking about that fills me with joy.


11. Your blogging breakthrough has been so popular, what inspired you to start it?

Aw, thank you! When I first had the idea to create the Blogging Breakthrough eBook, I had no idea it would turn into a community.

Originally, I just had the idea of creating a 28-day challenge on the blog. People love challenges and I had the Christmas holidays to get it ready for January.

I’ve always felt like there’s too much information out there, especially for beginner bloggers. I myself get overwhelmed on a daily basis. So I guess if I had to say what inspired me to start it, it would be a version of myself from two years ago. A person who had a love for writing, creating, and simply wanted to start a blog – but had no idea where to start. After everything I’ve learnt, I felt the urge to share that with my readers and thankfully, it seems to have worked really well.

I remember at some point during the live challenge, I was talking to a reader and she said, “It’d be so great if this was all in one really easy-to-access place like an eBook.” It was like a lightbulb went off! So I worked hard to get the eBook ready for launch and it’s now a free opt-in.

The fact that this has evolved into the Blogging Breakthrough community makes me so grateful on a daily basis. I’m constantly inspired and want now want to create even more for the people in my community.

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12. What steps have you taken to be in the position you are now in (with your job, your blog, and your life…etc) and what’s next?

Well I think it’s safe to say that it’s definitely been a long ride! I’ll take you on a little journey…

When I graduated from Lancaster University in 2012 with a degree in Linguistics I was stuck. Lost. I had no idea what I wanted to do. Two months later, I had my heart broken and it was one of the hardest times of my life. But also one of the best things that could’ve happened to me.

All I knew back then was that I loved magazines and I loved writing. So I reached out to some contacts and they put me in touch with some local publications. I landed a freelance gig that I loved. A year later in September 2013, I quit, started my Masters course and launched my blog. It’s been those two things that completely changed my life.

I had three jobs before I got the one I’m in now and they all taught me something different: don’t let anyone believe they’re better than you, don’t let anyone undermine your hard work…and don’t suffer with a long commute when you don’t have to!

I applied for a temporary job at my current company and had to reapply for the permanent role – there was no guarantee that I’d get it, and it was talking so passionately about my personal brand that helped me tick the final box.

Alongside all of this, my blog has grown, slowly but surely. The biggest changes I made were making the switch from Blogger to Squarespace last August, and really honing in on my topics. I tried lifestyle, I tried doing what everyone else was doing, and I finally feel like I’ve found my own style. It’s only taken 18 months!

But I honestly think the biggest step I’ve taken in my career and my blog, but mainly my life, doesn’t come down to money or experience. It’s been my mindset.

I’ve always tried really hard to think positively. Even when my family has been in the darkest of places, like when I was terribly unhappy at work or when my Grandma was suffering from Alzheimers. I’ve always tried to look for the good and be positive which has definitely served me well. I also believe that honesty and a smile will take you very far.

What’s next? The big dream is to go independent and launch my own freelance business, where I’m doing the work I care about with my own schedule and getting to live a balanced life. I truly believe I create the best work when I’m just in a good place and getting my head down. I know other people that have done it – so why not me?

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If you want to find out more about Holly check out her…