Saturday, 31 December 2016

Looking Back, Moving Forward

Clichéd and cheesy or not, I rather like the end of the year as a time for reflection and a chance to look back over the past twelve months.

Although on the grander scale, 2016 is being described as something of a disaster year, I've found it wonderfully refreshing to read how it's been a year of personal positivity for many people. And I'm including myself in this. It's only when I take the time to sit back and think that I realise just how much I've accomplished in 2016.

Right at the start of the year, I was still at university - a final year medical student anticipating all the final milestones on my journey to graduation. I found out I'd passed my medical school finals, then a few weeks later was delighted to hear that I'd been confirmed to have a job as a doctor once I'd graduated. Come the summer, in the midst of that heatwave, I donned a black gown and graduated from student to doctor - undoubtedly my biggest achievement of 2016.

It wasn't all about educational achievements though. I also took on a challenge I'd never have dreamed of a few years ago. I can hardly consider the annual PE cross country day and two or three schools' competitions aged about 14 much of a running career, but it was all the experience I had when I signed up for the Bath Half Marathon (under the influence of my equally inexperienced housemate and a good dose of prosecco each). But I religiously completed the three months of training - beautiful sunrise jogs around Clifton and less beautiful, rainy slogs through the backstreets of Yeovil - and actually really enjoyed myself on the streets of Bath!

2016 was also an outstanding year for me in terms of travelling. I was fortunate enough to spend a full two months in Cape Town, South Africa, mixing work and pleasure as I finished off my degree with an elective period in a psychiatric department. Then after a brief unpack/wash/repack of my luggage, I headed off for a a mini-tour of Milan, Budapest and the coast of Croatia.

Holidays over, I moved into a new flat all ready to start my new job as a doctor. I've already completed my first four month rotation, and I'm getting stuck into job number two. 

So with all that behind me, what's to come for 2017?

Well, first and foremost - I'm still planning on keeping this blog going! A hectic last few months has made it tricky, but I do love writing here and keeping up with the blogging world. I'm planning on taking things back to basics, worrying less about numbers/ social media presence/ flashy photography and more on just writing about the ins and outs of day-to-day life.

Secondly, despite the previous point - I do want to work on my photography. Buying my camera this summer has honestly been one of my best investments. I love taking it out and about with me and I've finally plucked up the courage over the past few weeks to learn to use it in manual mode. My job doesn't allow for a lot of creativity, so this has been my outlet and I'm keen to keep learning.

Keep cooking. I'm very good at looking through all the cookbooks, recipe cards and food magazines on my shelf - less good at trying new things very often! I want to try and make an effort to continue experimenting and finding new favourite meals.

Well this one is definitely a cliché and I'm trying not to care too much about that! But, err, I joined the local gym... As someone's who's never set foot in a gym before this is slightly terrifying but I'm hoping it will bring good things. So any bloggers with advice - please share!

Self care. Towards the end of my last job, I was getting into bad habits of finishing work late (due to workload rather than choice), eating rubbish dinners and then pretty much getting straight into bed. Now I'm trying to make more of my evenings and actually enjoying my free time - whether that's going out and seeing people, or simply getting comfy and working through the pile of books on my bedside table...

The year will also bring a further two new jobs, yet another move and hopefully some more travel along the way!

What have been your achievements in 2016 and what are you looking forward to in 2017? Let me know!

Wednesday, 14 December 2016

Winter Scenes

Grey swan, cygnet

Without a doubt, my best purchase this year has been my camera. 

Whenever I'm feeling bored and cooped up on a day off, I grab my camera bag and head out to play with it. It's a great excuse to get out, enjoy some fresh air and look at the world in a different way.

It's also meant I've witnessed the changing of the seasons as summer turned to autumn and autumn gave way to winter. 

A grey Monday afternoon in December doesn't necessarily sound like the ideal photo opportunity, but I ventured out nonetheless and snapped a few pictures.

Despite being two in the afternoon, the day had an eery quality to it, with the faintest hint of mist and a empty greyness.

Through the autumn, I enjoyed capturing the colours of the trees - rich reds and oranges as the leaves changed. Now they're bare, I love the way the branches stand out against a cloudy sky - dark lines swirling against the background.

Bare branches of tree in winter

And for the most elegant of photo subjects? Well it has to be the swans, floating serenely up the river and their cygnets maturing from ugly ducklings to fully grown adults.


Monday, 12 December 2016

Feeling Christmassy

 I barely even noticed December sneaking up on us, let alone the Christmas season! Settling in to my job, I felt as if I'd only just gotten past the sweltering heat of the hospital in late summer and now all of a sudden I'm writing December dates in all the notes.

As the start of December actually marked the transition in to my second rotation (goodbye gastroenterology, hello orthopaedics...), I was much more focused on this than on the fact that Christmas was approaching. 

Also - I'm really quite stubborn about not doing anything Christmassy until December hits!

A week of on-call work in a new job meant I hadn't been feeling very festive at all - in fact when carol singers came to the ward on Saturday afternoon, I was initially irritated at them interrupting my thought flow while trying to juggle writing discharge letters and managing any sick patients! 

However, I used my day off to get myself into the spirit of things. Mince pies, sparkly decorations and burning the gorgeous scented tealights from my PartyLite advent calendar. All accompanied with a Christmas soundtrack to really get myself in the mood.

I'm planning on heading home to my parents' for the week before Christmas so haven't gone all out on decorating my flat - just some fairy lights, flowers and some glittery decorations I picked up in Tesco. I've also left all my Christmas jumpers there, so it's just some reindeer socks for festive attire right now!

I'm already feeling much more excited for Christmas - now all I need is a bit more present-buying success because I am struggling this year!!

What have you been up to in order to get in the Christmas mood?
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