Monday, 29 May 2017


Maranto's Lark Lane Liverpool Restaurant Review

Maranto's, 57-63 Lark Lane, Liverpool, L17 8UP

After driving back to Liverpool last night, my family decided to come up to meet me today to sort out some more things in my flat, and bring a sofa up for me. When they arrived I had a lovely surprise, as they had brought my grandparents with them to come and see my flat too! After heaving the sofa up three flights of stairs (picking the top flat is not such a clever idea when trying to get furniture up there), and fixing some new drawer knobs to my chest of drawers, we decided to go for a walk down Lark Lane to find somewhere for lunch.

Lark Lane is a street in Liverpool just off Sefton Park, and is famous for its many restaurants, cafes and bars, as well as its bohemian reputation. There are so many places to pick, but after perusing some menus we settled on Maranto's, an Italian-American restaurant with a balcony bar.

One of the first thing that struck me about Maranto's was its interesting architecture and decor. The outside is really ornate, and the inside has lots of different floor levels (hence the balcony bar). The menu explained the history of the building - it has housed many different businesses, from a chemist to a mission chapel, before the restaurant was opened in 1983 by the Maranto family. The history added to the quirkiness of Maranto's, and the staff seemed more than happy to chat about it with my Grandad.

The menu had lots of different choices, including pizza, pasta, burgers, steaks, fish dishes and other meat dishes. All of the pasta dishes looked amazing, but I had eaten a fair amount of pasta over the weekend, so I decided to go for something different.

For my starter I had the king prawns, which were served with a sweet chilli dip. They were delicious, although I wish I had gone for the same thing as my mum - she had the 'polpette di funghi', which was deep fried mushrooms stuffed with three different cheeses. I tasted one and they were incredible.

For my main course I chose the grilled halloumi burger (standard Hannah). It was a burger bun with grilled halloumi cheese and sauteed vegetables inside. It tasted really good - it was really moist due to the sauteed vegetables, and I always think that halloumi makes the best type of burger. It's probably one of the best halloumi burgers I've ever had.

However, I also envied my mum's main meal! She chose the 'spaghetti tricolore', which was spaghetti pasta served with tomatoes, garlic, mozzarella, pesto, mushrooms and courgettes. She said it was the best pasta dish she had eaten in a long time, which is definitely a huge compliment as we eat pasta quite often. My dad had the chicken tagliatelle and also said that his was the best pasta he had eaten in a restaurant in years.

I would definitely visit Maranto's again, but next time I would try a pasta dish as these seemed to be some of the best items on the menu - they were also massive portions. The trouble with Liverpool is that there are so many places to eat out, I always feel a bit bad about going somewhere more than once! There are a lot of places that I haven't tried on Lark Lane yet, but I really do think that my family and I will be back at Maranto's at some point in the not-so-distant future, as we enjoyed our meal so much.
Do everything with so much love in your heart that you would never want to do it any other way.

Sunday, 28 May 2017

Kick off the Summer at Redcar

As I mentioned on Friday, this weekend I was up at my friend Kelly's house to celebrate finishing medical school. We had a fairly lazy morning today (aka I stayed in bed until midday), and then we decided to have a walk along Redcar beach, as there was an event called 'Kick off the Summer' in the town for the Bank Holiday weekend.

The high street had a lovely continental market, with lots of tempting food from all over the world. I was particularly interested in the Greek food, as I'm off on holiday to Greece next week!

We went up the pier (yes 'up' - Redcar has a vertical pier that overlooks the beach and the town), which had great views all the way over to Saltburn.

We had to make use of the giant deckchairs...

Next to TunedIn!, Redcar's arts and crafts centre, there were some sand sculptures being created, with the theme of 'movies that involve the sea'. The attention to detail was unbelievable, and it was fascinating watching the artists work. My particular favourite was the tiger from Life of Pi, in the photo below.

On the beach there were also lots of different sports activities, as well as face painting and balloon modelling for the children. It was a really fun event, and it definitely made it feel like the start of summer.

Afterwards we went to Kelly's Gran's house for a huge Sunday dinner, and then we drove back to Liverpool as I have got some more flat stuff to do tomorrow. I had such a lovely weekend - Kick off the Summer is also on tomorrow in Redcar, so definitely go and take a look if you're in the area!
Plant your own garden instead of waiting for someone to buy you flowers.

Saturday, 27 May 2017

Troll by DB Thorne

Troll (noun): a person who makes a deliberately offensive or provocative online post.

Troll is a new book by D.B. Thorne that I was able to read a preview of recently, and is centered around an online troll, which is obviously very current right now. Fortune becomes increasingly concerned when his estranged daughter, Sophie, disappears without a trace. The police give up on the investigation, but Fortune keeps searching, insistent that his daughter is alive and driven by guilt due to his failures as a father. He soon finds evidence that Sophie had been hounded by a vicious online troll who seemed to know far too much about her life and her whereabouts. Fortune's search uncovers secrets long ago buried, and he discovers that monsters that prey online don't always stay there.

This novel is alternatively narrated by Fortune and Sophie, revealing their stories individually. It has some really clever twists and turns, and I went through a huge mixture of emotions whilst reading it - sadness, disgust, laughter and empathy. The story gradually reveals the truth behind the characters' past, which made me realise why certain characters did certain things. Sophie is a blogger who gained an online troll as a follower, and that was terrifying to me as you hear similar stories happening in real-life in the media. This novel also reminded me that there is a person behind online trolls, and they probably have a reason why they are being horrible on the internet.

Troll is brilliantly written, and is definitely worth a read if you like realistic thrillers with lots of surprises along the way. The identity of the troll was a shock (although I did begin to suspect it towards the end, when he gave some clever clues), but it tied the rest of the book together in a terrifying but smart conclusion.

You can check out other bloggers' reviews of Troll via the links in the poster for the blog tour below. Troll is available to purchase from 1st June 2017.

Friday, 26 May 2017

Lealholm and Saltburn

Yesterday, after finishing medical school, myself and my friend Kelly travelled up to her home in the North East to stay here for the weekend. As it was such a beautiful day today, we decided to celebrate finishing university by having a picnic with prosecco in the sunshine.

We drove to a little village in North Yorkshire called Lealholm, where we set ourselves up on the grass for our picnic. We had so much food - sandwiches, fruit, scotch eggs, cheese and onion rolls, pizza bites, party rings, Brie... The list goes on.

The grass we sat on was right next to a river with stepping stones crossing it, so when we got too hot we were able to paddle our feet for a while. We spent the afternoon eating, snoozing and paddling in the sunshine, with some beautiful scenery surrounding us, before getting some cake and ice-cream from the village shop.

Afterwards we decided to visit Saltburn-by-the-Sea, a seaside town also in North Yorkshire. It had some amazing views over the cliffs and the beach, which was gorgeous as the sun started to go down.

We walked around the valley gardens (and obviously had to squeeze as many people as we could into a teepee).

The gardens brought us back round to the beach, so we wandered down the pier for views back over Saltburn.

I had such a lovely day and the beautiful weather made it even better. We came home exhausted, sunburnt and very full with food, and I'm ready for another day of exploring some more of the North East tomorrow.

I really don't think you can beat the UK when the sun is shining - I really want to explore more of it next year when I'm working, as I'm not going to be able to have much more time off than a long weekend. Brighton, Ireland and Bath are at the top of my list!
Seek what sets your soul on fire.

Wednesday, 24 May 2017

Reflecting on medical school

Today was my last ever day as a medical student! I honestly can't believe how fast the last 5 years have gone, and yet it feels like I have been in Liverpool for a long time.

I still remember the day that I found out that I had got a place at medical school, and how much my mum and I cried after all of the time and effort we had put into interviews and work experience, and how happy I was. I remember my very first induction day, where I had to attend a meeting in a hall in the Guild with around 200 other students. We were told about student life and how to make the most of it. I remember first moving into student halls, and how terrified I was. First year seemed really hard, with a ridiculous amount of things to learn on top of settling into life in a city away from my family.

I remember the excitement of getting my first stethoscope as a present off my Nan, and my first NHS ID card in 2nd year when my hospital placements started. I was so scared of patients at first, and so hesitant about talking to them and saying the wrong thing. Now small talk just comes natural to me, and I feel as comfortable talking to a patient about rectal bleeding as I do talking to a friend about my Aldi shopping list.

3rd year quickly brought along the halfway mark, and our mid-course ball seemed like such a huge achievement. We started to learn about the specialties, such as paediatrics, obstetrics and gynaecology, and psychiatry. My love for GP bloomed as I spent a few weeks at a GP practice. As quickly as 3rd year was over, 4th year started and our final exams were looming. Last year seemed like a blur of revision and constantly listening to each others' hearts and feeling as many abdomens as possible in preparation for exams. But 4th year also brought my elective placement, where I travelled to Fiji to shadow the doctors in a hospital there for a while. Thinking about the day that we found out that we had passed finals still gives me goosebumps - we celebrating by partying the night away on a beach in the Pacific Ocean. I was also lucky enough to be able to travel to Australia and Bali.

Being a medical student blog

And then came 5th year. Oh 5th year, how I have enjoyed you (and possibly taken you for granted). As our finals were taken last year, we did not have any major exams this year, and I found that I had a lot more time on my hands. This year I feel like I have really learnt how to be a doctor. I have learnt about the ins and outs of a hospital, and what my job next year will actually entail. I have been on the wards a lot more, and have had much more patient contact (mainly because I haven't been in the library revising constantly), and I have enjoyed it so much. I honestly cannot tell you how lucky I feel to be in my position, and to be able to have an insight into peoples' lives that others usually do not. Patients automatically trust you and open up to you, and allow you to examine them. I can give suggestions for treatments that will drastically improve a patient's life. As much a cliche as it is, I get to help people. And if that's not a privileged position to be in, I don't know what is.

5th year has been very relaxed, and I haven't had the pressure of exams or studying to worry about. I have enjoyed my time in hospital and on placement, but I have also really enjoyed my own time and my social life. That's one thing that I think I have taken for granted, and that I will miss when I start working.

Medical school has brought lots of ups and downs, but I have had such an amazing experience, and have especially enjoyed the last 3 years. I have made friends that I know will be in my life for a long time to come, and I have also found a new home in Liverpool that I am excited to explore more over the next couple of years. I am sad that medical school is over, but I'm also so excited for what is to come, and for all of the adventures that the next few years will bring.
Whatever makes your soul happy - do that.