Sunday, 30 April 2017

A walk through the bluebells

My family and I are very lucky with where we live, as we are in the middle of the countryside and are surrounded by lots of beautiful places to walk our dogs. Most Sunday mornings we will go on a fairly long walk with Buster and Bruce, so this morning we decided to venture on one of our favourite walks - down to 'Bluebell Wood', as we like to call it.

And you can see why! In late April/early May the woods are just blanketed in blue, and everywhere you look you are surrounded by bluebells. They give off such a lovely scent and are so pretty to see - this is one of my favourite times of the year because of them.

We had such a lovely and relaxing walk, and then I spent the majority of the rest of the day clearing out my bedroom, in preparation for moving out properly in July. I have found some hilarious stuff - S Club 7 merchandise, Christmas lists, drawings of Mr Smee (apparently because I got him as a McDonald's toy so I had to draw him in my diary), extremely orange foundation from my teenage years... You name it, I probably had it in my bedroom. We ended up with 7 bin bags stuffed with rubbish, plus a pile of stuff to go to the charity shop - and I'm not even finished yet! It's amazing how much you accumulate over the years of living in a house (especially when you don't like throwing anything away...).
Don't kill flowers inside of you for someone who doesn't appreciate the way you bloom.

Friday, 28 April 2017

No5 Coffee House, Shifnal

No5 Coffee House, 5 Park Street, Shifnal, Shropshire, TF11 9BA

I am home for the weekend again, so this afternoon my mum and I decided to go shopping in Telford. We needed to drop the car off in Shifnal for a couple of repairs (i.e. I got stuck in the mud last week and the car hasn't been quite right since...), so we also decided to have a wander around and find somewhere for lunch.

I have been to Shifnal loads as it's not far from where we live, but it's never somewhere that I just have a wander around. And there are quite a few quirky little shops to look around, as well as some lovely independent cafes and restaurants. We ended up in No5 Coffee House, which is on one of the main streets of Shifnal, as I'd heard that it was good but had never been in there before. We both decided to have the brie and tomato chutney panini, which was really delicious with the melted cheese and the sweet chutney.

For my drink (dessert?!) I decided to have a freak shake, because I'd never had one before and always wanted to see what the hype was about. I went for the banana one and, oh my, it was massive! It was basically a banana milkshake with loads of toppings - whipped cream, a doughnut, foamy bananas, popcorn, fudge and Nutella. It was delicious but I did feel slightly sick after devouring the lot. It's more of a meal in itself than a drink!

No5 had a really cosy atmosphere and I would definitely go back again for a drink and a catch up with a friend. The freak shakes are well worth a try if you like lots of sweet food!
When you start seeing your worth, you'll find it harder to stay around people who don't.

Thursday, 27 April 2017

A Matalan and Home Bargains homeware haul

Pink Mongolian Faux Fur Cushion - Matalan
Initial Pineapple Dish - Matalan
Marble Chopping Board - Matalan
Floral Glass Bottle - Home Bargains
Mason Jar - Home Bargains
Fish Bowl Vase - Home Bargains
Green Tea Light Holder - Home Bargains

As you may know, I will be graduating soon and will be moving out of my student house and into a flat, and I've been very excited about buying homeware (seriously, I keep getting over-excited about bowls and it's getting a little bit sad now). So today I decided to curb my cravings and went to a couple of shops that sell fairly cheap homeware items - i.e. Matalan and Home Bargains.

Matalan have some lovely pieces in at the moment, and as soon as I saw these pink mongolian faux fur cushions, I grabbed them. I was actually looking at them online because I wanted a couple to go in my bedroom, but they were out of stock. There were three left in the Matalan store, so I got two to go on my bed. I want my bedroom to have a pink and grey theme, so these are perfect! They were only £8 each. They also had a few other colours, and I liked the grey ones but decided to just get these for now.

Also from Matalan I bought this gorgeous marble chopping board for £10. I never thought I would ever get excited about a chopping board, but, sadly, I did. It's really heavy because it is made out of marble, and it will be relatively scratch-proof. I also saw this little pineapple trinket dish at the tills, and I just grabbed it because it was only £3 and it has my initial on it. Done deal.

I've been thinking about ways to store some of my products, and I decided that I'd like a fish bowl vase to put some bath bombs in. This one was only £2.99 from Home Bargains.

I also picked up this little glass bottle from Home Bargains, which was only 59p. I'd quite like to use it to store some long matches in it, as I always think that the matches in a bottle look pretty, but I'm not prepared to spend that much when I can make it by myself!

I love how vintage this tealight holder from Home Bargains looks, with the embossed dragonfly on the front and the rope handle. I didn't buy it for any other reason than that it looks pretty!

Again another storage solution - I thought I could use this mason jar to store cotton buds or pads in in my bathroom. This was also 59p so another bargain!

Look out for lots more hauls like this coming very soon :)
Confidence isn't walking into a room with your nose in the air, and thinking you are better than everyone else, it's walking into a room and not having to compare yourself to anyone else in the first place.

Wednesday, 26 April 2017

Gingham smock dress

Gingham Smock Dress - Primark
Denim Jacket - Vintage
Daisy Choker - Zara

I think these photos are some of my favourite outfit photos I've ever poster on here, mainly because of the location! These were taken by my sister on Barmouth beach last week, when we were on a walk with the dogs. 

I used to live in smock dresses with this denim jacket a few years ago, so this was a bit of a throwback for me. They're just so comfortable and easy to throw on, and this one feels quite summery due to the gingham print, although it could be worn with tights until the weather warms up a bit. My lipstick is actually one I was given in my goody bag at #CarnLIVal, and is Makeup Geek's Plush Matte lip cream in Daredevil. I love the colour, and it was fairly long-wearing and really comfortable on my lips.

This week has been quite a normal one back on placement in A&E, so there's not too much to report. I'm really enjoying A&E so far (a lot more than I thought I would!), and I would actually consider it as a job. I like the variety that it brings, plus the social aspect as you are always surrounded by other doctors and nurses. We had a talk today about pre-hospital medicine, which is when doctors help out at car crashes and other accidents, and events such as festivals and sports events. I would really love to get involved in that sort of thing as a sideline, so it's definitely something for me to consider when I graduate and become a doctor. There are lots of exciting things to come! 

Never allow waiting to become a habit. Live your dreams and take risks. Life is happening now.

Monday, 24 April 2017

MH Monday: How I got through medical school with depression

As you may know, I am coming towards the end of my time at medical school, and it has left me reflecting on the past 5 years. In particular, my mental health and how I got through a medical degree whilst suffering with depression.

I'm not going to lie to you, it has been so hard at times - to the point where I have thought about giving up a couple of times, especially earlier on in my degree. But I'm living proof that you can get through it, and I'm actually glad that my degree has been 5 years because I have had time to enjoy it. If it had only have been 3, I would have spent the majority of that feeling quite low and lonely.

Here are some of the things that helped me to get through medical school whilst suffering with a mental health condition:

1) Opening up to my medical school
One of the things that I was really scared about was being thrown out of medical school because I had a mental illness - I thought I would have been seen as unfit to practice. I actually ended up asking my GP for advice on it, and he told me that they couldn't take me off my course due to my mental health, as that would be seen as discrimination. A few days after my overdose, I knew that I needed to open up to someone at my medical school in case I needed time off or support. I spoke to one of the staff from the student support pastoral team, and she was so lovely and helpful. She actually told me that it was much more professional of me to admit to having a problem and needing help than to have kept it hidden, and that mental health problems rarely cause issues with fitness to practice.

After opening up to my medical school, they provided with me with lots of support. If I needed any time off, I only needed to email to ask for it and they would sign me off the same as if I had a physical illness. I had meetings with a member of staff every month or so, and I also had their phone number that I could call if I had any problems. Just knowing that someone was looking out for me was very helpful and helped me see that I was not alone. They also referred me to a counsellor at the university, who was one of the biggest factors into me overcoming my depression.

2) Taking time off when I need it
I wrote a post a couple of years ago about taking mental health sick days, and I still think that they are very important now. On the days that I couldn't stop crying or thinking very negative thoughts, the last thing I needed was to go into placement and come into contact with a patient case that could have triggered me even further. The more sensible option was to stay at home in bed and do the things that I needed to do to make myself feel better: sleep, watch TV, speak to my mum and read a book to take my mind off things. I simply emailed in to hospital and explained that I was feeling depressed, and then filled in an absence form - and the undergraduate staff on placement were very understanding because they were made aware of my situation from the medical school too. Even now, although I wouldn't say I'm depressed, if I have a day where I'm feeling down and haven't slept well so I'm a bit emotional, I will take it off to attend to my needs.

3) Seeking the medical help that I needed
Admitting that I had a problem and that I needed medical help was one of the best things I could have done for my mental health, and also one of the most professional things in the eyes of the medical school. I started taking an antidepressant and also saw a counsellor weekly, and these were two major factors in my recovery. My antidepressant took the edge off things, and allowed me to concentrate on my work better and get out of bed in the mornings for placement. My counsellor helped me to change my way of thinking and made my thoughts become more rational.

4) Realising that I wasn't alone
When I started writing my blog, I had so many other medical students messaging me and telling me about their own experiences with depression or other mental illnesses. This really helped me realise that I wasn't alone in what I was experiencing, and I also hope it helped them too. It made me feel like I was helping people and had a purpose, and concentrating on my blog took my mind away from more destructive thoughts.

5) Relaxing and having fun
One of the most important things for me was not working all of the time. I remember when I was in my 2nd year at medical school that one of the junior doctors said, "there's plenty of time for holidays and fun in medical school. Don't waste it." At that point, I was working all hours of the day and night to get my work done, so I thought she was crazy. However when I went into my 3rd year, my work-life balance was so much better, and I started to take more evenings and weekends off to do things that I enjoyed. In my 1st and 2nd years, I tried to learn everything. When I reached my 3rd year, I realised that this wasn't possible, so I learnt as much as I could of the most important things that I knew would come up in our exams and be relevant on placement - the rest you learn as you go along, or don't particularly need to know.

Even when I was working towards my finals last year, I wouldn't work past a certain time in the evening, and I would always make time for the things that I enjoyed (even if it was just catching up on TV series!). There is a lot to learn in medical school, but if you manage your time well you can also have a lot of fun - that's one of the things that took me the longest to learn, but also something that really helped with my mental health.
Self-love: It costs nothing and you gain everything.

Sunday, 23 April 2017

Yellow gingham crop top

Bardot Yellow Gingham Crop Top - Zara
Jeans - New Look
Daisy Choker - Zara

I thought I'd show you another one of my outfits from Barmouth today, as I don't have much other news. I really loved this outfit - the top actually reminds me of primary school dresses because it's yellow and gingham, and it looks really summery paired with the daisy choker necklace from Zara. I'm looking forward to wearing it with denim shorts when I'm on holiday, or in England when the weather warms up a bit more!

Today was just spent watching Netflix and packing to drive back up to Liverpool, to start placement again tomorrow. I only have 5 weeks left of medical school now. 5 weeks!!! I can't believe how fast the last 5 years have gone, and I'm so excited for what is ahead. I'm really looking forward to moving into a flat (yes, I will be doing a flat tour!) and start the job that I have been training for for years at medical school. It really hasn't quite sunk in how quickly it has all come round yet!

Sometimes the smallest step in the right direction ends up being the biggest step of your life.