Sunday, 27 March 2016

Little Things I've Loved This Week #27

This week has almost felt more like two or three weeks with all the goings on! I spent Monday to Wednesday journey backwards and forwards between Bristol and Somerset for the last days of placement. Then Thursday morning I packed up the last of my things and travelled home - to be confronted by all the bags and boxes I'd sent home last week! I've been trying to make sense of it all and somehow make half a flat's worth of stuff fit into my bedroom... So while I'm still trying to find my way out of what feels like a cardboard box fort, here are some of the little things I've loved this week:

Team spirit on placement. Medicine can be a competitive environment and I've definitely heard tales (from other medical schools) of people going behind each others backs, but this is something that fortunately doesn't seem to happen in Bristol. Instead, when something has happened to anyone that feels unfair, the group have pulled together to stand up for them - we are #oneprofession after all!

Last walks around Bristol. I actually left the house early  to walk to catch my lift to placement on Wednesday, just so that I could fit in one last wander to some of the pretty parts of Clifton in the morning sunshine.

Baking fresh bread. I used the wholemeal loaf recipe from Brilliant Bread - a super simple recipe that doesn't involve getting sticky dough all over the place. Which is good, because near enough the entire loaf got eaten within an hour of coming out of the oven so I may have to make some more!

Walks in the sunshine. My friend and I made the most of the sunny weather on Friday and went for a wander through the park before sitting down in the gardens for a good long chat. I loved being able to be out without a coat - and it may now be time to swap the gloves for sunglasses in my handbag!

Catch ups with home friends. Last night I met a couple of school friends for a few drinks. Turns out that they hadn't seen each other for a couple of years so it was a great night of updating each other on our lives and going back over all the old memories!

I hope you've had a lovely week - let me know what you've been up to!


Thursday, 24 March 2016

Moving Out

I'm sat writing this in a bare flat, surrounded by bags and boxes of my possessions.

And a takeaway mocha, because I already threw out all my food so I could clean the kitchen.

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Moving out is something I'm getting very used to. This is the eight place I've left in the past five years, not including my home in London (where I don't think I'll ever really consider myself moved out of!). And I've settled in some places more than others. I've had my Bristol 'home' each year - my base - and various hospital accommodations that have been only a little more than just a place to sleep, eat and study during the working week.

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But this time, I'm moving out for good. Leaving Bristol behind, though bringing with me all the memories that have stayed with me just as faithfully as the bunting that has adorned each and every house. It's strange to think that I'm not coming back here, starting a new term with old friends. We're leaving in the most dramatic way possible, scattering ourselves across the globe for a few months - from Malawi to New Zealand to Canada to beyond.

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Packing and moving out has become a rather well-honed skilled for me. I've scooped up all my things and packed them neatly into cardboard boxes ready to set up wherever I go next. My clothes are simply lifted from one wardrobe, still on hangers but encased in bin bags for the journey, and hung back again in the next.

Maybe it's that I like seeing things through to the end, but there's a certain satisfaction to returning a house to its empty state. In a way, it's a reminder of just how much of a personal touch we've managed to put on a place before returning it to a blank, anonymous canvas.

It's just a matter of hours now until I pack everything into mum's car, hand over a set of keys and drive away...

I've been fortunate enough that my parents can lend a hand with the moving (though I have tried to spare them the endless flights of stairs to my top floor flat), but I know that's not the case for everyone. I'm working with as one of their brand ambassadors to promote their incredibly useful service.

 Whether you're moving internationally, or simply just don't have the time or space to do the move yourself, can help out. They are a service providing UK and worldwide shipping - and they're not limited to students moving out. Anyone needing to move luggage around the word can make use of their services. You can visit their website at and by clicking this link you'll be entitled to a 5% discount!

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(I am collaborating with Uni Baggage as one of their Brand Ambassadors. This is not a sponsored post but I do receive commission for any sign ups generated from Ginevrella. As always, I wouldn't feature something on the blog if I didn't think it was a great service and something that would benefit my readers!)


Wednesday, 23 March 2016

Medical School Graduation Ball

Graduation Ball

Even a medical degree does eventually come to an end!

Our final farewell before we all set off across the world for our electives was held at The Passenger Shed in Bristol. The place was beautifully decorated with a strong Bristol theme - including it's very own Suspension Bridge!

It was a wonderful night and so lovely to see everyone dressed up in sparkling ballgowns and smart suits - the ballroom being a long way from the usual hospital ward attire! 

I was fortunate enough to have the whole day off and although much of it was spent packing, I did find time for a little pampering - booking a hair appointment and taking the time to paint my nails with the nail varnish I got for my birthday last month.

I wore a floor length lilac dress from Coast, paired with sparkly shoes and matching clutch bag from Debenhams. 
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Silver heeled shoes

Arriving sometime around seven in a minibus vaguely reminiscent of school sports outings, we headed into the venue to be greeted with flutes of sparkling wine, topped with paper graduation caps. We chatted and admired the array of outfits, before stepping across the 'Suspension Bridge' and finding our way to our tables.

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The tables were each named after a place in Bristol and we were seated at 'Stoke Bishop', fittingly the place where university life had begun for the majority of us. 

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A delicious selection of olives, meats and cheeses were spread out on the table - plus individual plates of roasted vegetables and sun-blushed tomatoes for those of us having opted for a vegetarian meal. Also laid out were thoughtful little reminders of our time in Bristol - postcards, Bristol bucket lists and paper-mache balloons.
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In between courses we wandered the room, catching up with friends and failing spectacularly to co-ordinate ourselves in the photo booth!

Mains were chicken breast or roast vegetable tarts, served with a stack of dauphinoise potatoes and vegetables, all washed with glasses of wine (and followed with toffee vodka in a tribute to the one and only Lizard Lounge).

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There were speeches and more socialising, before out came the plates of salted caramel cheesecake (which I'm afraid I ate before I could remember to snap a picture!).

Then we made our way to the dance floor for a couple of hours of partying before our aching feet signalled the time to leave.

It was a beautiful way to finish, if only it wasn't so sad to be saying goodbye! There's still the summer graduation ceremony to go though before we part for the last time and head off to start our careers...

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Sunday, 20 March 2016

Little Things I've Loved This Week #26

This week has been both brilliant and also somewhat emotional as my university life is really starting to come to an end! I handed in my very final piece of work and celebrated the end of medical school was a fabulous graduation ball. Next week is all about tying up the last things - final teaching sessions and sign offs, handing in keys for both placement accommodation and my Bristol flat and then heading home! Here are the little things inbetween all this that have made me smile this week...

Little Things I've Loved This Week #26

Dinner and holiday planning. I got back from placement on Wednesday evening and walked round to my friend's house to book apartments for our summer trip to Milan/Hungary/Croatia. It's so exciting putting the trip together, plus she had cooked a delicious vegetable curry with cauliflower rice!

The satisfying feeling of emptying the flat. Although it's quite sad to be leaving, I always love the feeling of completely emptying a place, organising everything into bags and boxes and preparing to move on.

A photo posted by Jennifer (@ginevrella_blog) on

Having my hair done at Hair at 58, a lovely salon in Cotham. I've tried out a few hair salons in Bristol over the past five years and this is one of my favourites. The head and shoulder massage before my blow dry was the perfect way to relax - as was stroking their really cute little dog!

Dog in hair salon

Little dog

Finally learning to cook an omelette. For some reason they've always been near impossible for me! But this week I've been using up eggs and vegetables and have remembered just how much I love an omelette - even better now that I can make them myself...

Spending Saturday watching the Grad Ball photos roll in. I'm very much considering the Ball a 'Big Thing I've Loved This Week', but I also really enjoyed a relaxed Saturday afternoon scrolling through Instagram and Facebook looking back at everyone's snaps of the night. 

Rice pudding with raspberry jam. Definitely worth digging out the prematurely-packed tin opener for...

Rice pudding with Bonne Maman raspberry jam

This time next week I'll be home and counting down the days until I jet off to South Africa for two months - time is flying by!! What have you loved this week?



Friday, 18 March 2016

The Bath Half Marathon

Last Sunday, I was one of almost 13,000 runners taking to the streets of Bath and completing the 13.1 mile course, and I loved it!

All that training paid off and I was thrilled with my time of 1 hour 59 minutes, coming in just under the two hour target I had been hoping for. I also raised £120 for Alzheimer's Society which is more than I expected, so it was a very successful day overall!

I've heard a lot of good things about the Bath Half in terms of organisation, atmosphere and the course and the event certainly didn't disappoint. Everything ran incredibly smoothly, from the bag drop, to the start, to getting the train home. 

We set off early from Bristol, leaving just after eight o'clock to head down to the station and get the train to Bath Spa. It felt like we were part of something big when we got onto a train full of people dressed in running kit and it was really nice to be surrounded by so many people doing the same thing. We also bumped into a friend on the train who happened to be hosting one of the elite Kenyan runners who told us he'd be trying to complete the race in 63 minutes! Safe to safe that we didn't see him again once stepping off the train...

We followed the crowds from the station to the Runners Village at Bath Rec and dropped off our bags before going for a wander through the tents for all the different charities. I found the Alzheimer's Society tent where the lovely team offered drinks and a place to shelter out of the cold morning breeze. 

Just after ten o'clock we made our way to our starting pen, joining thousands of other runners behind the start line. The race officially started at eleven, but it took us over eight minutes to walk from our pen to the start line. It was a great feeling approaching the start and I probably had a huge grin on my face as I began the race!

The race itself was brilliant, although definitely a test of stamina and endurance. The beautiful sunshine definitely helped make it a good day, plus it drew out huge crowds whose support and cheering were just what was needed. I had deliberately put my name on my running vest, and hearing people cheer me on made sure I didn't stop in the last couple of miles!

During my training, I hadn't managed a long run without needing to stop and walk for a bit, but I think that this was mostly due to boredom, and on the day I managed to run the entire distance - almost entirely due to the encouraging atmosphere. There were teams of well organised volunteers handing out cold water and Lucozade - much needed in the sunshine to prevent dehydration! I also grabbed a couple of jelly babies from some kind spectators - although I'm afraid I trampled over rather a lot more! (Jelly babies that is. Not spectators...)

The last mile was without doubt the hardest - mainly because the crowd kept telling us we were nearly there from probably a mile and a half out! But when I rounded the final corner and could see the finish line I found a last burst of energy to sprint finish and ensure I got under my two hour target. 

Then I headed from the finish line, collected my medal and finisher's t-shirt, before finding my way back to the Alzheimer's Society tent for a much appreciated couple of chocolate bars! 

The Bath Half was a fabulous event and has definitely made me want to do another one - although I don't know yet whether I'll try for another, faster half marathon, or step it down to running a 10k. Either way, I'm hoping to keep up the running (or at least, get back into it after my upcoming elective period in South Africa) and set myself a new challenge in the near future.

For anyone looking for a good first half marathon to run, I can't recommend the Bath Half enough. The course is relatively flat, the atmosphere second to none and the whole event is organised to near enough perfection.

As I've said throughout my half-marathon related posts, I wasn't someone who runs regularly and having a goal to aim for was my motivation. At first it seemed a crazy idea, but it was definitely achievable, despite training through the winter and alongside hospital placement. If I can inspire even a single person to sign up for a race I'd be so happy!

My fundraising page is still open, so if you fancy a little congratulatory donation that goes to an incredibly worthwhile cause, you can find the page here.

Running the Bath Half Marathon - Race Review on Ginevrella


Sunday, 13 March 2016

Little Things I've Loved This Week #25

It's been a funny week this one. Unfortunately the junior doctors have had to strike again. I support them 100% and I'm really glad they're continuing to fight for something that will also affect me come August. But nobody wants to strike and everyone would be much happier if a safe, fair contract could be agreed on! The strikes meant that I had a two-day week, so my greatly extended weekend has felt a bit more like a mini-holiday! I've used the time to rank jobs for next year (it's a complicated process applying for a job as a new junior doctor), sort out my current portfolio and also just to relax a little! Here are some of the little things I've loved this week:

Completing the Bath Half Marathon today. Ok, I don't think this is a really a little thing at all, but I certainly loved it! I plan to write a post about it soon, but let's just say I had a brilliant time and I am so pleased to have done it.

Saturday night dinner at Al Bacio, a fabulous Italian restaurant in Bristol that definitely deserves all it's excellent reviews. A couple of friends and I have a list of places we want to eat in Bristol that is growing faster than we can manage! We went for a catch up over bowls of carbonara and lasagne (perfect carb-loading fare for the two of us running the next day!) and loved the friendly Italian atmosphere.

Post-elective holiday planning. As if two months in South Africa isn't enough, I've also made plans for a little summer travelling through Europe once I get back. The plan is to visit Italy, Hungary and Croatia and I'm very excited - especially after I googled pictures of the Croatian coastline!

Gu melt-in-the-middle chocolate puds. I had a little issue with the first one falling apart as I transferred it from oven to plate, but by the second one I had mastered it. And it's important to keep up your skills right? So I should definitely treat myself to many, many more of these delicious things.

Mid-week wine and cheese night. I love being in Bristol midweek to see all the friends I otherwise miss, and it was great to have a very relaxed night of cheese, wine and chat. Seeing everyone has made me really excited for next week's graduation ball!

Making a chickpea and coconut milk curry that tasted amazing. I bought one of Deliciously Ella's cookbooks a while ago for some inspiration, and with all my extra time was able to try out this curry. I've never used miso paste before, but I'm pretty sure that was what gave the curry a delicious, fruity kick. 

Now my plans for the rest of today are to do as little and eat as much as possible after the half marathon!



Saturday, 12 March 2016

Half Marathon - ready to go!

Running kit shoes vest and number

It's feeling like rather a long time since booking my Bath half marathon place in October last year...

After twelve weeks of training and about 125 miles of running, it's time. At around 11am tomorrow morning, I'll be setting off for 13.1 miles around the streets of Bath.

I've woken up early on weekends to fit in long runs through the grounds of Ashton Court, pulled on my trainers and high vis running kit to train in the evenings after hospital placements. I've carted my trainers between Bristol, home and placement - determined not to let the constant travelling stop me from preparing. I've run in beautiful sunshine, watched the sun rise over Clifton Suspension Bridge and go down over the fields in Somerset. I've been out in the pouring rain and the freezing cold, wrapped in fleece leggings, a waterproof jacket and lightweight gloves. 

I've hated running, and loved it. I've questioned why on earth I signed up for it, and imagined the feeling of running through cheering crowds and over the finish line.

There have been days where getting out and running for miles have been brilliant. And there have been the days I've really struggled to make myself go for more than ten minutes. And yes, there have been plenty of missed runs (or extra rest days as I like to think of them!) on the days that I simply couldn't be bothered.

But all in all, I've enjoyed preparing for this challenge. I've loved having a goal to aim for and a plan to keep me focused. 

It's easy for me to lose sight of the fact that a few years ago, the idea of a half marathon would have seemed crazy to me. I've done much shorter distances of cross country running, completed a 5k a long, long time ago and got comfortable with 800m at school - but a half marathon didn't feel even close to achievable.

And now it's less than twenty four hours to go...

I did my last run this morning, a very short 15 minutes to warm my muscles up before a good stretching session. I've got my running vest, my race number and my tag all ready and waiting to go. Wish me luck?!

As well as simply challenging myself, I'm taking on the half marathon in aid of Alzheimers Society and you can find my fundraising page right here.



Friday, 11 March 2016

Lunch at Pinkmans Bakery, Bristol

Bristol has an incredible selection of places to eat, and as my time left here grows shorter my list of places to go is getting longer! You'd think after nearly five years I'd have decided upon my favourite places - but more and more just keep popping up, and Pinkmans has shot to number one spot right now.

Making the most of a day off in Bristol, I arranged to meet a couple of friends for lunch and an afternoon of travel planning - basically, the best way to spend a Wednesday afternoon, right?

They suggested Pinkmans Bakery on Park Street, newly opened in December and already apparent accumulating excellent reviews. The place is so much more than just your average bakery - but good baking is very clearly right at the heart of the place. 

Stepping through the door feels almost like somehow stepping straight into Instagram - with rows and rows of fabulous bread, sandwiches, cakes and salads lined up behind glass counters. They also had some samples of lunchtime goods available - I can't quite remember what it was that I tried, but I know that it was some sort of feta cheese goodness!

Arriving at quarter to one we had no trouble finding a table - although the place quickly filled up. Right in the heart of the University Precinct it was full of students lucky enough to have Wednesday afternoons off - a concept unfortunately long forgotten by us!

We headed to the  counters to pick our food - by no means an easy decision. The rolls, sandwiches, baguettes and pastries all looked incredibly tasty but we were all tempted in by the bright bowls of salads. For £6.50 we each had a 'salad plate' with four generous helpings of delicious foods. I have to admit to being really bad at listening to what each dish actually includes, but between us we had some of everything and were not disappointed. Everything looked fresh and was expertly flavoured, as well as being very filling! In fact, some other friends arrived and asked what we'd recommend they chose for lunch, and we simply offered the incredibly unhelpful advice of 'err... everything?'. (It's true though!) 

The atmosphere in the bakery is very friendly with staff happy to help with decisions on food and finding spaces for customers to sit. The decor is fabulous - lots of copper, greenery, wooden tables and filament bulbs. The ovens at the back are open for everyone to watch what is going on - and to keep spotting more and more tasty baked goods! It's the kind of place crying out to be splashed all over Instagram, Pinterest and blogs - that's if you're not too distracted by the food and chatting to get any pictures (which was my downfall I'm afraid...).

Pinkmans Bakery is open all day, serving from breakfast right through until dinner with an impressive menu of all my favourites - fresh bread, sourdoughs, pizzas, cakes and tarts, salads and sandwiches. They offer everything from teas and coffees through to cocktails and beers. I'm rather disappointed that I have such a short time left in Bristol and probably won't get the chance to experience it all anytime soon. I do however know where I'll be heading anytime I return!

Whether you're living in, studying in or just passing through Bristol - I'd highly recommend popping in whatever time of day, whether to sit in or take away. 

Also, their website and instagram are well worth checking out - although, word of warning, it will make your mouth water!

Pinkmans Bakery can be found at 85 Park Street, BS1 5PJ
Open 8am-10pm Monday to Saturday, and 9am-6pm on Sundays


Monday, 7 March 2016

A Weekend in Edinburgh

When I got an email advertising the National Student Psychiatry conference this year, I couldn’t resist the thought of a couple of days in Edinburgh, being inspired and exploring the city. I signed up as soon as I could and eagerly awaited the event.

So last Friday, I found myself sitting on a cross-country train, stocked up with M&S goodies (essential for a feast on a long train journey), making the long journey from Bristol up to Edinburgh. I could have flown, of course, but it actually worked out cheaper to go by train once I’d factored in travelling to and from the airport, and I don’t really mind a long train journey. It was blissful to sit and watch the world go by from my window seat, watching the scenery changing from Gloucestershire countryside, to industrial cities and then the rugged Scottish landscape.

I arrived in Edinburgh on the Friday evening and checked into The Old Waverley Hotel, just across the road from the train station. My room was small but perfectly suited to my needs, and I had a great view of Edinburgh Castle from my window – something I really hadn’t expected!
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Having unpacked my bags, I decided to make the most of the rapidly fading daylight and head out for a bit of exploring. I made my way up to the castle and admired it in the twilight, before then wandering slowly along the Royal Mile. The cold evening air, long journey and all the walking had me working up quite an appetite, so I went for my very first experience of solo-dining at Byron Burger. Eating out on your own feels weird at first, but I quickly got used to it and enjoyed the ability for undisturbed people watching. With an early start planned for the next day, I wandered back to my hotel room to catch the Wales vs France rugby match before going to bed.

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The conference itself was brilliant with a range of talks and workshops on various aspects of psychiatry – ranging from life as a psychiatrist in rural and remote Scotland, to the role of neurosurgery in mental health and ethical considerations of treatment resistant depression. I could go into so much detail about the fascinating topics but I think it would make for a very long blog post! (If there’s interest, I’ll maybe write a post about the conference itself but I’m always conscious that I try to keep this blog more about my general life than too much medicine).

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On the Saturday night our hosts put on a very Scottish evening of entertainment, with a dinner of haggis, neeps and tatties and a ceilidh. The ceilidh was all kinds of hilarious chaos as those of us who had no idea what to do were spinning and skipping and crashing all over the place, but by the end we were getting the hang of it (I think)!

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I had a few hours on the Sunday evening after the conference to explore Edinburgh again and wandered through the old town – walking to Grassmarket and going to find the statue of Greyfriar’s Bobby. I braved the table-for-one situation again – benefits including never having the awkward ‘is anyone else having dessert?’ situations, before sleeping one last night in the hotel and another seven hour train journey on the Monday.

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It was a brilliant few days and I came away feeling really inspired. I enjoyed exploring Edinburgh but would love to go back with some friends and maybe see a bit more of it in the daylight!

Have you visited Edinburgh? Where are you favourite places that I should visit next time?!


Sunday, 6 March 2016

Little Things I've Loved This Week #24

This one has been a slightly less hectic week than last, with only the normal amount of travelling - no jaunts off to Scotland! (Which, by the way, I will have a post about tomorrow.) If you're up to date with things round here, you'll know that I got some BIG NEWS this week - and if you're not, I'll just wait here while you catch up :) In addition to that, there have been lots of smaller, but still lovely, happy things this week...

Getting home to beautiful daffodils and really feeling like Spring is on the way. When I left Bristol late on Monday night, the daffodils were still firmly closed. By the time I got back again on Friday afternoon, they had bloomed and looked amazing! These are the sort of everyday little things that just make me smile.

Prosecco, cake and ice cream to celebrate Thursday's events with some of my placement group. Most of the group had returned to Bristol on Thursday, but those of us still there got together for a delicious celebratory treat. It was such a lovely, jubilant atmosphere and everyone was in high spirits. We also an awful lot of fun playing with the face-swap function on Snapchat!

Doing the little things to make patients happy. A lot of my time on the wards is driven by portfolios and competency sign offs and it's quite easy to spend all my time with patients doing things like taking blood, examining them or checking their drug charts. I feel like a better person when I have the time to make a patient a cup of tea, or hold the hand of a confused old lady. Sometimes I think these human things are just as important as any other skills we have to show we can do in medicine!

Sudoku. I forgot how satisfying it is! I had a free paper with me from my journey back from Edinburgh and so I spent a bit of time a couple of mornings doing the puzzles before I went into the hospital. I'm definitely not as quick as I used to be at them though - more practice may be required!

Healthy eating. I like to think that I eat well all the time, without being too controlled about it or denying myself the things I fancy, but it can be quite hard when I share a kitchen with twenty-three other people and travel back and forth between there and my flat in Bristol! This week though I've made the effort to put together tasty and nutritious packed lunches to go into hospital with, and swapped my usual cereal for porridge with berries in the mornings.

Buying my Graduation Ball dress. Medical school is really starting to come to an end now! Our grad ball is approaching and this weekend I found a beautiful dress to wear for the event. I've shared some sneak peaks of parts of the dress - the rest will be revealed later!

What have you been up to this week?
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