Monday, 22 May 2017

Mental Health Monday: It's the simple things in life


Recently I feel like I have been so appreciative of the simpler things in life, and I have just been so happy! I'm not sure whether it's the brighter weather, or the fact that I have so much that I am excited about (my new flat/summer holidays/new job starting in August), but everything seems to make me happy right now, and nothing seems to really phase me.

I thinking noticing the smaller things in life goes back to mindfulness, which is all about living in the now and being present in every moment. I find myself enjoying the present more, and I'm not dwelling on the past anywhere near as much as I used to.

So I thought I would write a small list of some of the simple things that make me happy:

1) Waking up with the window open to the sound of birds
2) Sunshine, sunshine, sunshine
3) Reading a book and taking myself away to another place and time
4) My sparkly make-up bag, which instantly makes me feel 100x more put together when I get it out in the mornings
5) Being on the same page as someone else - thinking and feeling the same thing at the same time
6) Fresh flowers brightening up a room
7) Lasagne cooked just right, with gooey cheese and crispy pasta layers
8) A good night's sleep, and waking up feeling refreshed in the morning
9) Days spent in bed just watching Netflix and knowing you don't have to be anywhere
10) Mornings when you know you don't have to get up any time soon
11) Waking up 2 hours before your alarm and realising you still have lots of time to sleep
12) Taking a photograph of something hilarious, just as it happens
13) Stepping off a plane in a hot country and feeling the warm air hit your face
14) The smell of freshly cut grass (this is so nostalgic for me as it reminds me of when I was at primary school)
15) Receiving a card/letter/flowers from a loved one, just because
16) The first bite of pizza/chips/kebab after a night out
17) The soft glow of candles, and the excitement of using them during a power cut as a child
18) Sitting and talking for hours and putting the world to rights
19) Binge watching a favourite TV show
20) Laughing until your belly hurts
21) Getting into pyjamas after a long day and snuggling in bed
22) Freshly washed bed sheets
23) Feeling like everything is falling into place
24) Looking back and realising that you made the right decisions
25) Singing along badly to the radio in the car
26) Late night Asda trips
27) When the weather gets hot enough to go out with bare legs
28) Dancing all around the house to your favourite music
29) Those days when things just go right and anything feels like it is possible
30) Spending time with dogs that adore you, no matter who you are or where you are from
Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?
                         - Mary Oliver
#projectsmile



Sunday, 21 May 2017

An exciting weekend


This weekend has been such an exciting one for me, what with finally getting the keys to my flat and being able to start moving my things over and decorating. It has been so much fun picking out all of the colour schemes for each of the rooms, plus all of the details, from sofas and beds down to things like plates and coffee table books.

I've decided that I want my bathroom to be really bright with lots of contrasting colours; my bedroom is painted grey so I am adding pink and greens to create a soothing and relaxing atmosphere; and my lounge also has grey walls, so I am adding in lots of colours with cushions, blankets, prints and decorative accessories.

I wanted my flat to reflect me, and for people to walk in and think, "this is definitely Hannah's flat". I wanted the prints on the walls to include some of my favourite things and the books on my shelves to show what I'm interested in. I am also the sort of person that loves colour (yellow is my favourite colour), so I wanted my flat to be bright and vibrant like my clothing. I want my flat to be comfy and cosy, with cushions and blankets everywhere you look.

So the past couple of days have been really exciting - yesterday we went to IKEA to pick out some furniture (I got a bed, coffee table and shelving unit), and today I have moved a few more things over. Moving everything over is going to be a huge job - it's amazing how many belongings you accumulate whilst living somewhere for 3 years!

I really feel like a proper adult now as I am getting my own flat (and having to muddle my way through adult-y things like bills and council tax!), and I'm so happy to finally be moving away from student life. Don't get me wrong, I have really enjoyed being a student, but 5 years is a loooooong time to go without money and with a small amount of space (especially when you own as many candles as I do - I counted 14 in my tiny student bedroom...).

Tomorrow marks the start of my last ever week as a medical student, and I am so excited to see what the future brings (although seriously, where has that time gone?!). I'm sure I will be more terrified when I am actually a doctor, as well as wishing I could still live the chilled student life, but at the moment I am really looking forward to it. And I'm also looking forward to taking you on the adventure with me!
Show up for people. Offer what you can. Be unselfish. Love people when they need it, even when you feel they don't deserve it. Be a healer. Be kind. Show up for people. Because when you're hurting you'll want someone to show up for you.
                               - Alex Elle
#projectsmile



Friday, 19 May 2017

Empty flat tour


If you have read any of my blog posts over the last few weeks (seriously, I mention it a lot), you will know that I am moving into a new flat to start my life as a doctor - and today was MOVE IN DAYYYY!!! I really cannot express how excited I was to get my keys and look around my flat again, as well as start to move some of my things in. These photos were taken as soon as we walked into the flat (just after I fell in love with it once again) - so I thought I would show you my empty flat tour.

The photo above and below is my kitchen/lounge. I'm right in the top flat, so the eaves of the house are obvious in this room, which I really love as I think it gives it some character. I love the grey colour of the walls, and I'm planning to add in loads of colour via cushions/throws/furniture/accessories. This is definitely the room I'm most excited to decorate!


This room is my bedroom, and is also painted grey. I'm planning on having a pink/copper colour scheme in here, so that it feels really relaxing and cosy.


Down the stairs to the bathroom...!


This is my bathroom, and I'm also planning to add loads of colour in here with towels, prints and candles. I already have a chest of drawers that I've painted a bright blue colour, which I'm looking forward to storing all of my products in. I also really want to get one of those ladder shelves to store towels on.


I am so pleased with my flat and it's already starting to look more homely with each one of my belongings that I move in. We moved kitchen stuff plus a few decorative accessories over today, and tomorrow I'm off to IKEA to buy a bed and some shelving.

I can't wait to get all of my stuff in - look out for more room tours over the next few months, where I will be showing you each finished room, plus some ideas on how to decorate on a budget (aka student loan)!
The beautiful thing about life is that you can always change, grow and get better. You aren't defined by your past. You aren't your mistakes.
#projectsmile



Wednesday, 17 May 2017

#YourNewMcDonalds - Huyton Page Moss McDonald's


Huyton Page Moss McDonald's, Liverpool Road, Huyton Knowsley, Liverpool, L36 3YB

As I mentioned on my blog last night, yesterday I got the chance to attend the Huyton Page Moss McDonald's to be shown some of the new changes to McDonald's, as well as make my very own Big Mac!

Firstly we all sat down with Mark, the franchisee that owns Huyton Page Moss McDonald's plus 4 others across Liverpool. He talked to us about the changes that have recently happened in McDonald's, including their digital transformation and a new project called "Experience of the Future".


You may have noticed that most McDonald's restaurants now have self-service kiosk screens that you can use to order your food on, instead of going up to the counter. The screen allows you to look through all of the menu options, giving you more time to browse than when you used to have to order at the counter. Most of the menu items are also fully customisable on the screen, so if you would like to add onions to your burger you can do, or you could take pickles away. I personally much prefer using the screens (yes, partly because I'm antisocial and don't always want to talk to someone...), because as soon as you have paid your meal starts to be made in the kitchen, so by the time you get to the counter to pick it up, it's probably nearly made (most meals are made within 2 minutes) - and apparently 40% of other customers also agree with me. On these screens, and also at the counter, you can now ask for table service. You just choose a zone that you want to sit in, and a member of staff will bring your food over as soon as it's ready.

Another part of McDonald's digital revolution is the tablets situated on some of the tables. On these tablets you can access the internet and play games, as well as look at all of the nutritional values of the menu items. Whilst I was in the store there were quite a few kids playing on them - they certainly looked entertained!

The future of McDonald's digital transformation is an app which you can use to order your meal beforehand, and then as soon as you enter the restaurant your food will be quickly prepared for you. This is likely to be around in the next 6 months. Plus I heard though the grapevine that McDonald's may start to deliver in the not-so-distant future... Sunday morning hangover, sorted.


Now, before I talk about making a Big Mac (I know that's the part that you're all most excited for), let's discuss McDonald's "Experience of the Future" project. Traditionally, the main menu items were made in large batches and put into a heater and kept there for up to 10 minutes, so that it was ready for the customer as soon as they ordered. Recently, McDonald's in the UK have changed the way they prepare their food, and it is now all freshly made. New machinery was created to make the process of preparing food even quicker - for example, their toasters toast bread in under 17 seconds. This means that food can be made fresh as soon as it is ordered, and is still with the customer within around 2 minutes.


On to my Big Mac journey! The first exciting thing was that I was given my VERY OWN McDonald's apron, name badge and cap! I just know that I'm going to wear the apron whenever I'm baking or cooking from now on... It makes me feel very professional.

Diane, the manager at Huyton Page Moss McDonald's, very kindly showed me around the kitchen and helped me through my Big Mac journey. Firstly, I had to thoroughly wash my hands. Then it was onto the cooking of the meat, which is the part that takes the longest in the whole Big Mac process. Two pieces of meat from the freezer are placed onto the machine below, and the lid is shut. The machine automatically counts down for you, and when it is done it opens up. I then had to season the meat and put my cooked patties into a storage unit whilst the rest of the burger was being prepared.


Next was the toasting of the bread. All 3 pieces of bread that make up the Big Mac are placed into the toaster, and pop out the bottom when they are finished. I added the patties to the bread, put some Big Mac sauce on top, and then added my chosen fillings - lettuce and onions. I closed the box, and my Big Mac was created!


I then made an iced mango and apple smoothie in the machine situated behind the counter.


Next was the legendary fries. Diane showed me how to scoop the fries and add them to the box in the most efficient way.

And here is my Big Mac! One thing I noticed was how efficient the staff were in the kitchen, and how they all worked so well as a team. Each staff member had a different part of the process to do (for example, cooking the meat, toasting the bread, frying the chips), and they all seemed very highly trained. It was really interesting to see what goes on behind the scenes in McDonald's, and making my own iconic Big Mac (which was delicious, by the way) is definitely something to tick off the bucket list!


Mark is also opening a new McDonald's restaurant on Great Homer Street in Liverpool. This is the first McDonald's to be built in Liverpool for 17 years, and will create 100 jobs (and thousands of Big Macs). It will be two stories high and will apparently have some really funky decor - it's opening on 28th June so go and check it out if you're in the area!

You can find out more information about McDonald's here.

*This post is sponsored but all Big Mac views are my own*



Tuesday, 16 May 2017

6 things that have made me happy today #17

1) A productive day on A&E
I am still on A&E placement at the moment (in fact, I only have a week and a half left of medical school!), and I am really enjoying it. I especially enjoy it when I have a particularly productive day, like today. I managed to see about 5 different patients, and either took a history from them, examined them or took some blood from them. On one of the patients I also performed an eye irrigation, because he had lots of dirt stuck in both his eyes. I love that I can make a difference to peoples' lives and that I can help them simply by sitting and chatting to them. Of course, I don't have all of the responsibilities or roles of a doctor yet, but I still feel like as a medical student I can really make people feel that little bit better.

2) Sleeping well last night
I haven't been sleeping very well recently, but I managed to get a really decent night's sleep last night, and I felt great this morning because of it.

3) Making my own Big Mac in McDonald's
This evening I attended an event at the Huyton Page Moss McDonald's, and I had the opportunity to make and eat my own Big Mac! It was so interesting to see what goes on behind the scenes in McDonald's - look out for the blog post over the next couple of days.

4) Starting to paint my chest of drawers
Recently I acquired two chest of drawers from the website freecycle.org for my new flat, and I decided that I wanted to paint one blue and the other pink. I started painting the drawers of one this evening, and found it really therapeutic. I'm hoping to finish them off over the next couple of days, before I move into my new flat on Friday.

5) An evening walk
My housemate and I went for a walk around the park this evening, just before it got dark, and it was so lovely. Although it hasn't really been sunny today, it was warm, and the sun setting over the houses was a really pretty sight.

6) Pistachio nuts
I got a bit peckish this evening and realised that I had some pistachio nuts in my cupboard from ages ago, so I decided to try them. I'm now obsessed with pistachio nuts (seriously, someone needs to stop me from eating them all...).
Start where you are. Use what you have. Do what you can.
#projectsmile



Monday, 15 May 2017

Ella's Ice Cream Summer by Sue Watson

Image result for ella's ice cream summer sue


Recently, as the weather has been so nice, I have really been in the mood for some easy summery reads, so when I got the opportunity to read Ella's Ice Cream Summer* on my Kindle I was very excited to get stuck in.

Ella's Ice Cream Summer is about Ella, a 42 year old woman who lives with her two children and her mother. Just before summer hits, she loses her job and finds that she has to sell her house. However at around the same time, her estranged aunt leaves her an old ice-cream van in Devon, which seems a bit like fate. Ella travels down to Devon to run the van for the summer, selling ice-creams along the beach whilst trying to work out what really caused her mother and her aunt to fall out 30 years ago. Whilst in Devon she meets free-spirited Ben, who sees life a little differently and has plans to get Ella's business, and herself, back up and running as quickly as possible.

I really enjoyed this book and found it a really easy read that would be perfect for a summer holiday. It reminded me a little of some of Lucy Diamond's books, whom is one of my favourite authors, especially The Beach Cafe. I did predict the ending around halfway through, but I didn't really mind this as it was easy to read and lighthearted, plus some of the parts made me laugh (especially Ella's mum and the little pomeranian called Delilah!). 

Ella's Ice Cream Summer is definitely a must-read for those lazy summer days when reading a book is one of the only tasks of the day - it's such a feel-good read and took me away to sand between my toes and strawberry ice-cream on my tongue.
Close some doors. Not because of pride, incapacity or arrogance, but simply because they no longer lead somewhere.
#projectsmile



Sunday, 14 May 2017

Bad choices make good stories


T-Shirt - River Island
Striped Culottes - George at Asda
Shoes - Primark
Denim Jacket - Vintage

I feel like this t-shirt should come with a disclaimer that says *unless you're a doctor*. I think bad choices can make good stories in general life - for example, going out with the wrong person will leave you with a lot of stories. However I don't think that quite applies in my line of work, where mistakes can cost lives... I do, however, like the meaning behind the slogan - that you should go out and have fun, and if it goes wrong then you will have some funny stories to tell. Plus you shouldn't regret your mistakes, because you will have learnt something from them. I think sometimes we become so wrapped up in the notion that something may go wrong and we end up missing out on opportunities because of this. When in fact, when we are older, the things we will regret will be those that we didn't do. Risks and change are often very good for us humans.


I have really been into culottes recently, and this pair were only about £10 from Asda. They are really comfy to wear, are easy to pair with a lot of different tops, and are perfect for this transitional time of year when it's often sunny but just not warm enough for shorts. I also thought that these are smart enough to wear for work in the summer.


Today has been a fairly exciting one as I went out with my dad this morning to look for some paint to paint a couple of chest of drawers that I have for my new flat (which I move into on Friday!!!), plus some handles for the drawers. I also bought a few other homeware bits. I cannot tell you how excited I am to move into my flat and make it mine - I'm also really looking forward to being able to share some more interior posts on my blog, so look out for those in the summer!
May your choices reflect your hopes, not your fears.
                                - Nelson Mandela
#projectsmile