Tuesday, 29 August 2017

Yet Another New Flat

Furniture table and chairs
Home ornament

Every summer has been house-moving time for since I was eighteen and starting university. I hate the initial moving process - if anyone would like to volunteer to find, view and choose my next property I'd be super grateful! Extra points if you'll also deal with the tonne of paperwork and negotiating exactly when is a convenient day for me to move...

But once I'm actually in, I quite enjoy being somewhere new. I've said before how I like taking a rather soul-less flat and turning it into a home. And now that I've been in this new place for a month, I feel it's time to show you how I'm getting on. 

This is the first time I've rented an unfurnished flat, so that brought a whole new set of challenges! I'm not sure yet what I'll be doing in a year's time, so I didn't want to buy loads of expensive furniture, only to have to get rid of it all. Flat pack furniture building has become my new hobby, and my parents have finally gotten around to having a clear out - so I've acquired some drawers and bookshelves.

As I frequently work weekends, they're rather precious time to me if I'm off and I didn't want to use them up staying in, waiting for furniture deliveries. So Argos' Fast-Track delivery was an excellent discovery. I could order something and have it delivered here the very same evening. I actually bought the table and chairs at about 5pm one day, and had them at my front door just before eight! (This post is not sponsored by Argos by the way, I'm genuinely just this impressed at how easy it all was.)

Flatpack table and chairs

sofa with cushions and blanket

Blue sofa

Box at end of bed

Having succeeded with the table and chairs, I ordered the blanket box to go at the end of my bed - and promptly filled it with shoes and bags. It's only when moving that I realise quite how many I have!

I'd been putting off purchasing a sofa since arriving because I didn't think there was any alternative to waiting in for delivery, and everywhere I looked had a four-week wait for delivery. Until I discovered a flat-pack sofa from Argos - who knew such a thing existed?! And it was even on sale... For less than £150 I had a sofa in my flat the same day. It was surprisingly easy to build too - by this point I was something of a flat-pack expert. 

Then there's all the little extras, the finishing touches. A full-length mirror and a basket for all my spare cushions blankets, both from Dunelm, and plenty of flowers and photos to brighten the place up.

All in all, I'm pretty happy with my new home - I'll settle in quickly to make the most of it before moving time comes around again!

Bedroom mirror

Fresh flowers in jug

Artificial white flowers

Photo frames

Pink and grey bedroom cushions



Sunday, 27 August 2017

Little Things I've Loved This Week #52

Flowers in jar

For some reason, this week has felt a bit disjointed and all over the place, almost like I can't quite remember when it began. I mean, obviously it started on Monday but it just seems to have been a bit of an odd one! 

I think part of this is that my new job is actually almost two jobs. I work two days a week for an adult mental health team and three days a week with an older adults service. When I turn up to work in the morning I have to think for a moment where I'm meant to be that day!

I've also worked my first on-call shifts this week. I did my first on Friday evening, being on call to assess any patients coming in to A&E with mental health problems. Then today I'm covering the wards in the psychiatric hospital. (I've scheduled this post, so hopefully, everything is going alright!)

Anyway, on to the little things I've loved this week:

The patient's relative who assumed I was more senior than I really am. Of course I corrected her straight away, explaining that I'm not actually a psychiatric specialist and am in fact a second year doctor, but it's nice that people seem to think I know what I'm doing! I've been told that in the past she's preferred her relative to be seen by senior doctors, so it felt quite nice that she was happy for me to do the job. Plus it definitely makes a change from people assuming I'm still a student!

No anxiety driving in the dark! I've talked a couple of times about how I'm getting back into driving after really hating it when I initially passed my driving test. I've been doing quite a bit of driving recently, but Friday night was my first time ever driving at night. I had to drive home from my shift, along the motorway, and it felt great to realise that I wasn't really that worried about it at all!

Our little F2s teaching group. We have regular teaching sessions as F2 doctors, and they video-link these from one of the bigger hospitals, out to a small group of us in a peripheral hospital. It's quite nice to have a small group sat round a table, rather than being in the lecture-room - it's a lot more sociable, although we do have to remember that although the microphone is switched off at our end, the camera is still on us...

Fresh flowers. I'm sure these must make it onto this list every time I buy any, but they really do make a room and make me smile!

Texts and making plans with one of my closest friends. We're both quite good at not replying to texts for days or even weeks when we're busy, so I've quite enjoyed actually being in daily contact for a while! Even better we've arranged some fun plans to meet up, something we definitely don't do often enough.

Finding time to read again. Something I'm really good at is leaving far too early for wherever I want to be. I had to drive to a teaching session on Tuesday morning and left what I knew was a ridiculous amount of "contingency time" to get there and park. So it was a good idea to have packed my book and spend twenty minutes just reading in the car before going to my teaching (and still being early for it).

Seeing some of my favourite bloggers coming back. It's nice to know I wasn't the only one taking a few weeks away from blogging! Not both strictly this week, but it's great to see posts from Jasmin and Chloe again.

Hearing that Victoria is back. Yep, apparently it's back on TV tonight! I won't be able to watch it as I'll be on my way back from work, but I'm already excited to catch up on it.

What have you been up to this week?


Sunday, 20 August 2017

Little Things I've Loved This Week #51

Little Things I've Loved This Week

I've really, really missed writing these posts! I love reading other people's versions - little snippets of their lives and a nice focus on all the positives. It's such a lovely way to round off the week, gathering up all the best bits and sharing them here. So here are just some of the little things I've loved this week:

Finally getting started in my new job. I was pretty used to just getting chucked straight into work with each of my last jobs, so it was rather different to have two weeks of induction for this one! This week though I feel like I've gotten into my role at last, and have conducted some patient assessments myself. I'm working in community psychiatry and I love it. I actually understand what's going on, I'm reasonably confident in my own skills and I'm really enjoying being based in the community rather than an acute hospital. 

Tea and notes

Friday evening swimming. I've found a really nice local pool, so have been using swimming as my cross training activity while I prepare for my half marathon. It's a great way to wind down at the end of the week.

Body Balance class with an actual instructor. I discovered Body Balance a few months ago and was doing virtual classes at my last gym. My new gym, however, offers classes led by a real-life person and it's definitely better. I'm much more motivated, it's easy to focus, and there's someone to switch the lights off for the relaxation bit at the end of the class. 

Earl Grey tea (and Hobnob biscuits). I bought a box of Earl Grey this week - something I haven't drunk in ages. I'd forgotten how much I like it, even if the taste does take me right back to being a medical student on placement. Chocolate Hobnob biscuits meanwhile need no justification for being here, right?!

Tea and biscuit

Walks with Saffy by the river. Saffy, my cute little Jack Russell, has a new favourite location for walkies - and it involves swimming, of course. We spent this afternoon tiring her out, throwing tennis balls into the water and watching her dive in after them.

Jack Russell Terrier

9am starts at work. Honestly, they feel like such a luxury after 7:45am starts - it actually makes me feel a little bit anxious that I'm late when I'm still home at half past eight in the morning! I've been enjoying leisurely mornings - taking time over breakfast and finally getting back into the habit of reading all my favourite blogs again.

An Instagram clear-out. Now that we're sort of seeing them in chronological order again, I decided it was about time I started unfollowing the accounts that no longer interest me. It's so nice now to open the app and see photos from all my favourite people, rather than be bombarded with things I don't really care about anymore!

That's the happy bits from my week, how about everyone else? What's a little thing you've loved? 

Tuesday, 15 August 2017

Late Summer Blackberry and Pear Crumble

Blackberry and pear crumble

This week I've had many a conversation about blackberries. 

And unusually, I'm talking about the fruity kind and not the ancient mobile phones my last hospital used to dish out our on call jobs, or that the naughty orthopaedic/ general surgical teams would hoard in their respective offices. (Really annoying when I was on medicine. Totally and utterly legit when I was on T&O and surgical jobs).

My new walk to work takes me up a hill past hedgerows heavy with blackberries, all waiting to be picked and turned into something tasty. And once you start looking, these fruity freebies are everywhere! 

Saturday afternoon, I set off into the sunshine, tupperware box in hand and went in search of the tastiest haul of blackberries I could find. It's a wonderful way to explore somewhere new, although I do also rather miss blackberrying at home where I knew all the best places to look!

Fields in summer

But what to do with my box of blackberries? A fruit crumble seemed an obvious choice - although I have plenty of berries to use up on other recipes too.

It may be August, but we've had some pretty chilly evenings recently - the perfect time for a crumble hot out the oven, cooled down with a good scoop of vanilla ice cream. 

I made individual crumbles in some mini pie dishes I bought last year, but you could easily combine everything into a single dish for one large crumble to serve from.

To make four small crumbles:

For the filling:

2 pears - diced
200g blackberries
1/2tsp vanilla essence
1/2tsp cinnamon

For the crumble:

50g oats
70g butter (softened)
50g flour
30g demerara sugar
30g flaked almonds

  1. Pre-heat oven to 180°c
  2. Gently mix the fruit with the cinnamon and vanilla and spoon into the bottom of oven-safe dishes. Put these into the oven for 20 minutes while you prepare the crumble.
  3. Rub the flour and oats into the butter, then stir in the sugar and almonds until everything is evenly combined.
  4. Take the dishes out of the oven and top the fruit with the crumble mixture, making sure to cover them evenly and avoid having any fruit exposed. 
  5. Put the crumbles into the oven (just before serving) for 25-35 minutes, until golden on top. 
  6. Serve warm with a scoop of vanilla ice cream, or with custard or cream
Have you been picking blackberries recently? How will you be using them?

Fresh blackberries

Homemade blackberry and pear crumble

Crumble with ice cream

Pear and Blackberry Crumble Recipe


Saturday, 12 August 2017

Let's Catch Up!

Cup of tea

Goodness, it's been a while, hasn't it?!

I let this blog take a bit of a back seat over the past couple of months. It was a busy time, with moving house, finishing up one job and moving on to the next one. 

Initially I was keeping up at least an Instagram presence, but there's only so many times I felt I could share food photos without boring everyone! There wasn't an awful lot else going on in my life that was particularly 'instagrammable' - no one needs to see photos of me living surrounded by cardboard boxes...

Stepping back from blogging also gave me a good chance to consider whether I wanted to carry on with it. Having a break initially made me think perhaps it was time to wrap it all up, and to occasionally think back to "those days when I had a blog". But now that life is starting to settle down again, I definitely feel like I'm missing something and it's time to get back to blogging!

Canon Camera

So here I am, back at my laptop, typing away and wondering where on earth to begin?! Last thing I was writing about was a week in Prague - so I feel there's rather a lot to catch up on!

I guess the biggest updates are a new flat and a new job. Having moved every year since 2011, you'd think I'd be pretty fed up of moving into new places - but actually once all the hard bits are done (like actually finding a place, submitting my entire life history in paperwork and lugging boxes up and down the stairs) I quite enjoy settling in and making my home all over again.

 My new flat is unfurnished, the first time I've done this. Fortunately, I've managed to convince my parents it's a good time to clear out their house and so I've acquired a few bits and pieces, plus a new bed. I still need to buy a sofa and table and chairs, but I've improvised with some blankets and cushions on the floor for now! 

At the start of the month, I took up my new job as an FY2 doctor (second-year junior doctor) in a new hospital trust. I'm working in psychiatry and I'm thrilled with it so far! I'm thinking of applying for psychiatry training next year, so this is an ideal rotation for me. Mental health is easily my favourite area of medicine and I think I'm going to enjoy the next four months rather a lot. 

A few months ago, I talked about getting over my anxiety about driving. This week I've needed to drive in order to get to some of my induction teaching for the new job (or face 2 hours of public transport each way). I still don't enjoy driving and probably never will, but I've massively increased in confidence. I've driven for an hour each way on busy roads, sometimes in heavy traffic and no longer feel particularly anxious about it. I've also nailed parking in my designated parking space - a tricky manoeuvre thanks to it being right behind the automatic gates...

And in other news that I don't think I've mentioned here yet, I've signed up for another half marathon! I ran the London Vitality 10,000m in May and fancied going a bit further. I'd been making lots of excuses not to run another half, but I also couldn't get the idea out of my head. So, all being well, I'll be running 13.1 miles through Oxford in October. I'm sticking to a training plan, finding some good routes near my new flat and have discovered a nice swimming pool I can use for a bit of cross training.

London Vitality 10000 runner

So that's what is going on with me right now! Thanks for sticking with me through my little break and I'm hoping to be getting back into blogging a little more regularly again :)


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