Yearly Round-Up (2017)

I know I have barely blogged his year – but I couldn’t see the year out without doing my yearly round up quiz. May need to look at tweaking some of the questions next year as I’ve been using the same one for around 10 years… So without further ado…

In 2017:

1. What did you do that you’d never done before? Got engaged!! Ahem, and tried out gliding which was scary and awsome! 


2. Did you keep your New Years’ resolutions, and will you make more for next year? Resolutions from last year were to exercise more. This has been a bit up and down this year due to changing jobs where I’m now office based as opposed to running around A&E for 12 hours a day so slowly saw the pounds creeping on. However, I did train and complete a 5k race for life and recently joined a gym in my area and pushing myself to do 2-3 classes a week that I enjoy.


3. Did anyone close to you give birth? My cousin had a baby boy.

4. Did anyone close to you die? No.

5. What countries did you visit? Hungary, Wales and the Peak District if that counts..!

6. What would you like to have in 2018 that you lacked in 2017? More travel – which will be easy to beat with Lisbon, Vegas and Malta already in planning. I also want to be better at making the most use of my spare time and see friends/family a bit more regularly.

7. What dates from 2017 will remain etched upon your memory? Getting Engaged and getting a new (and 9-5!) specialist nursing role and J’s Graduation day. 

8. What was your biggest achievement of the year? Landing my new job. 

9. Did you suffer illness or injury? Dental issues – but what’s new?

10. What was the best thing you bought? Going for a boring/adult answer here, but probably a tumble dryer. Has made the world of difference..!

11. Whose behavior merited celebration? Probably my Mum and partner for commuting endlessly to work and having to pretty much live in a hotel for 6 months whilst waiting for their new house to be completed..! Also J for all the support throughout the last year. 

12. Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed? No one I can think of.

13. Where did most of your money go? Bills!  

14. What did you get really, really, really excited about? Being engaged? That was/still is an exciting time. Also – FRIENDS Fest! 


15. What song/album will always remind you of 2016? Song – probably Ed Sheeran – Perfect.

16. Compared to this time last year, are you:

i. happier or sadder? Happier!

ii. thinner or fatter? FATTER

iii. richer or poorer? The same?  So basically fat and happy!

17. What do you wish you’d done more of? Seeing friends.

18. What do you wish you’d done less of? Worrying and Procrastinting. Same as last year, but definitely feels like I did less of it this year. 

19. How will you be spending Christmas?: I spent it with my family Christmas Day and  J’s family boxing day – plus the yearly secret santa guys gift exchange and meet up                   

                                                             

20. Did you fall in love in 2017? Already in it and stayed very much in it 

21. How many one night stands in this last year? None.

22. What was your favorite TV program this year? Greys Anatomy

23. Do you hate anyone now that you didn’t hate this time last year? No hate this year..!

25. What was the best book you read? The Goddess Revolution by Mel Wells and Harry Potter – The Order of the Phoenix

26. What was your greatest musical discovery? Pass. Not really kept up to date with music this year – although did enjoy Paramore’s new album and new sound.

27. What did you want and get? A new laptop and a new job 

28. What did you want and not get? Nothing springs to mind.

29. What was your favorite film of this year? The second kingsman film probably

30. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you? I turned 29 and celebrated my birthday (and engagement) with a BBQ at ours with close friends 

31. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying? Not having enough time with family/ friends due to work and other commitments and blogging

32. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2017? Not greatly changed. 

33. What kept you sane? J


34. Which celebrity/public figure did you like the most? Hmmm, not sure.

35. What political issue stirred you the most? Nursing Pay Cap 

36. Who did you miss? Some friends I’ve not seen in a while. 

37. Who was the best new person you met? All my new work colleagues!

38. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2017: If you need help, ask for it.

Hopes for 2018:

– Continue to exercise regularly and nourish my body better with good food that nourishes my body. 

– That both me and J enjoy wedding planning without toooo much stress..! 

– That I continue to enjoy my job and work hard pass my courses relevant to it. 

– Blog more. Blog more. Blog more! 

– Enjoy celebrating most of my friends 30th Birthdays (including my own!) 

– Read more books and enforce it into my bedtime routine. 

Thanks 2017, you were life changing (for the better!) 

2018, let’s be having ya! x

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Things I won’t miss about commuting 


Things I won’t miss about commuting 

I am eagerly looking forward to my new job. 

Out of the whole prospect of taking on a completely new role in a new hospital, a new area and taking a 9-5 job as opposed to shift work I’m used to, one of the things I’m looking forward to the most is not having to commute via public transport for hours on end at stupid o’clock in the morning. 
I’ve complied a list of everything that sucks about commuting by public transport (from London Underground, National Rail and more recent addition, bicycle) to keep my excitement going a bit longer prior to starting next month.

I’m sure with time I could make a list about commuting by car and having to use my car for work use, but I can’t comment on that until I do it. 

If that sucks even more I’ll be sure to do a blog post on it, but I really can’t see that list being longer than this one. 

Here goes…. 

  • The mass panic looking at the busy platform and how many potential train seats are left and wondering how you can blag a seat by complaining about a made up ailment. I somehow don’t think “sorry I’m about to take over an Children’s A&E department for 13 hours which will probably busy horrendously busy, so do you mind if I actually try and sit down / sleep whilst I can? Cheers mate” would really cut it. 
  • Having good intentions for your hour long journey (reading, writing, sifting through my to do list) then spend it catching up on sleep. Every. Single. Time.
  • People giving you ‘the look’ when they plonk themselves next to you after you’ve just done a 13 hour night shift and smell of god knows what. “No love, I have in fact already been to work, saving children’s lives I’ll have you know and do you really think I would choose to look like this first thing in the morning?” Just go sit elsewhere and leave me alone if it offends you that much. 
  • Men. Speaking really loud into their mobiles at 6AM about some work related thing or other that really could have waited until they got there. Like, who are you even taking to at this ungodly hour and have you ever heard of an indoor voice?!
  • Having to watch women apply their make up on the train. I mean seriously, can’t you just give yourself 10 more minutes in the morning and do it at home or once you’re at work? Cause then I (and everyone else on the carriage) wont have to sit through the tense 20 minute application of your mascara praying for the train to jolt just at the right moment. Just don’t do it love, you look ridiculous and EVERYONE is watching you. 
  • Having to rely on the Underground, in particular the Metropolitan Line (before I moved out to Bicester). Enough said. 
  • THAT awkward position. You sitting on chair. Male standing and holding hand rail above you. Do. Not. Look. At. His. Crotch. Best get my book out and pretend to read on my lap.
  • The revolting position. Being on a crammed train in the ‘summer’ at rush hour and being rammed under some sweaty guys pit for at least 30 minutes. Mmmmm. #smallgirlproblems.
  • It alway deciding to rain JUST as I’m leaving home or work and have to cycle in it and end up looking totally wrecked before I’ve even started work in muddy trousers and lion mane hair. YAY. 
  • The fact that my bike locks alone weigh 2kg let alone my work gear itself…
  • The fact that currently, based on the average amount of times I travel into work a week (4), times the amount of time spent each day commuting (3-4hours a day there and back), I spent approximately 8 hours a week traveling. That’s the length of a standard working day and I’ve not even included work in that! 
  • In addition to the above, my monthly train fare is currently the same amount of money as what I receive for my Inner City Allowance, so I’m actually no financially better off working in London. Yay me! 

Now do you see why I’m excited to start? No more 5:40am wake ups, no more nights and helloooo weekends! 

Weird.

Till next time! 

Gem x

Dearest Vicki


Dearest Vicki 

Today more than ever I am reminded of you. You probably don’t even remember me but I want you to know what an impact you had on my life. 

It was devastating to find out what happened and broke me more than I actually thought it would when I found out.

You see, we met on holiday in our early teens, wrote each other (yes like pen pals – the days before broadband internet and Facebook) for around a year and then fizzled out, as most holiday friendships do.

Not only that, our families got on ridiculously well on holiday too. Also had 3 children, all scarily the same age and so we all hit it off together but in different ways. 

What you probably didn’t realise though, was just how cool I thought you were! I was so stoked to have made a friend on holiday who knew nothing about me and who thought I was cool too… I think. 

Looking back at these letters always give me a giggle. They must have been back in 2002 as we speak a lot about music, in particular Destiny’s Child, Blue and Avril Lavigne. 

Even though we had many different interests, we always made the effort to write to each other, even if it was months apart at a time and you always asked about me. In particular, through the time of my parents splitting up. I can’t even remember what I even wrote about it come to think of it or how I came out with it, as to everyone else I kept pretty quiet about it and myself to myself as always.

It wasn’t until I began to clear my room out a few years back now, when I came across your letters in my memory box. 

Oh, I’ll see if she’s on Facebook now and maybe catch up. 

A quick log in to Facebook to see if you were on there… I remember that instant sinking feeling in my chest that all I could find was a memorial page. 

Even looking on there I had no idea what had actually happened. How could someone so full of life, a girl that really took life by the horns, suddenly just go in a blink?  

I remember crying to Mum about it and from there, decided to get in contact with Vicki’s Mum, not to find out what happened, but to give my deepest sympathy.

Since then, my Mum and now partner have been in contact with Vicki’s Parents, have got back in contact where and even met up on occasion. So it’s not all doom and gloom. 

I’ve brought two friends back together and while I don’t have my friend in real life, the memories we do share more than make up for that.

Happy Birthday Vicki.

Love Gem x

The Yearly Rundown (2016)

Every year pretty much since I started blogging (even back in my livejournal days!) I have done this yearly review.

I just love having something to look back on in the years to come and see how far I’ve come. This year for sure has been quite something! Apologies for the lack of blog posts this year – but if you read on, you can see I’ve been a bit busy…

In 2016:

1. What did you do that you’d never done before? Bought my first home, went scuba diving and got myself a ginger cat!


2. Did you keep your New Years’ resolutions, and will you make more for next year? To exercise more, buy a house and improve clinical skills at work. Well the last two happened..! For 2017 I want to go back to number 1 on last years last years list which – to exercise more. I did about 7 weeks of the couch to 5K over Jan/Feb and then gave up. Back on it in January. Need to look up Zumba classes around Bicester too. Although I am cycling to and from Bicester station now so that’s something..!

3. Did anyone close to you give birth? One of my friends had a gorgeous baby girl, Emilia 🙂

4. Did anyone close to you die? No.

5. What countries did you visit? France, Spain (Barcelona and Valencia) and Furteventura


6. What would you like to have in 2017 that you lacked in 2016? I honestly feel like I’m not lacking anything right now. Life is pretty darn sweet…

7. What dates from 2016 will remain etched upon your memory? Moving into my first home with J was a pretty big date and J finishing his Nursing degree at University.

8. What was your biggest achievement of the year? Passing the Advanced Paediatric Life Support Course, Buying a House and getting the balls to try scuba diving 💪

9. Did you suffer illness or injury? Not much apart from the odd D&V 👌

10. What was the best thing you bought?  House, Tigger (cat) and Holiday to Fuerteventura with J

11. Whose behavior merited celebration? Mum for supporting me greatly with the house buying and J for still putting up with me 😂

12. Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed? An old college friend of mine and someone I’d rather not mention as they’ll probably read this.

13. Where did most of your money go? Household Appliances and Furniture..!

14. What did you get really, really, really excited about? Again – Holiday and House..!

15. What song/album will always remind you of 2016? Craig David – When the baseline drops. Welcome back Craig David!!

16. Compared to this time last year, are you:
i. happier or sadder? Happier!
ii. thinner or fatter? The same
iii. richer or poorer? Poorer but worth it ☺️

17. What do you wish you’d done more of? Exercising.

18. What do you wish you’d done less of? Worrying and Procrastinting

19. How will you be spending Christmas?: I spent it working night shifts but managed to see family in between. Looking forward to New Years with friends ☺️

20. Did you fall in love in 2016? Only more in love than I was already – now that I have two favourite boys ☺️


21. How many one night stands in this last year? None.

22. What was your favorite TV program this year?  Probably Bake Off and surprisingly Planet Earth. Proper grown up now!

23. Do you hate anyone now that you didn’t hate this time last year? Not hate – but dislike yes.

25. What was the best book you read? Harry Potter 1-3

26. What was your greatest musical discovery? Seeing Elshay back in Cafe 1001 took me by complete surprise. Miss going to underground gigs and seeing unsigned talent first hand.


27. What did you want and get? A House and a Cat – got both 👌

28. What did you want and not get? Nothing springs to mind

29. What was your favorite film of this year? Probably Fantastic Beasts and where to find them. Also enjoyed finally watching Inside Out.

30. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you? I turned 28 and did a joint birthday do at Junkyard Golf Club in Shoreditch and was treated my J to a slap up meal at the Crazy Bear in Beaconsfield


31. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying? B big more productive with my time and having more time for family / friends.

32. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2016? Not greatly changed to be honest.

33. What kept you sane? J, for sure.

34. Which celebrity/public figure did you like the most?

35. What political issue stirred you the most? Erm, Brexit?!

36. Who did you miss? Seeing close friends more often.

37. Who was the best new person you met? Some new work colleagues 


**Please excuse  the mid-nights, eye bag posing **

38. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2016: If you put your mind to it, you can and will achieve it.

39. Quote a song lyric that sums up your year? “If you gave me a chance I would take it – It’s a shot in the dark but I’ll make it – Know with all of your heart, you can’t shake me – When I am with you, there’s no place I’d rather be”

Best of 2016:

1. Party: My brothers Disney Themed 30th!

2. Show: Didn’t see any *hides in shame*

3. Album: KT Tunstall’s new music

4. Movie: Fantatsic Beasts and where to find them

5. Song: Craig David – When the baseline drops

6. Experience: Scuba Diving and moving into new home with J.


7. Concert: Erm… don’t think I went to any? 😱

8. Book: Harry Potter 1-3

9. Month: May, August, September and October

10. Day: A friends wedding in May and Moving House Day in October

Hopes for 2017:

1. Predict something that you think will happen in 2017?: It’s going to take a lot to beat it…!

2. What do you hope changes about your country?: People see the benefits of the NHS and stop abusing it

3. What do you hope for yourself?: That I get a little fitter and progress further in my career

4. What do you hope for your family?: That we all remain in good health.

5. What do you hope for your best friend?: That they’re happy.

During 2016:

1. Where were you when it began?: In bed trying to sleep between day shifts

2. Did you stay up?: Till 12:30

3. What was your new year wish?: Didn’t make one

4. How many boy/girlfriends?: One.

5. Break up?:  0 👌

6. Have any crushes?: Nope.

7. Care to mention names?:

8. New friends?: Few work colleagues

9. Had to say goodbye?: Nope.

10. Missed anyone?: Some close friends

11. Win anything?: Just at life 👌

12. Best place you went to?: Valencia


13. Worse place you went to?: Can’t think of any.

14. Happiest moment?: Going on holiday with J, watching friends get married, getting my own house and bringing Tigger (cat) home

15. How was your birthday?: Pretty different trying out Junkyard Golf and experiencing dinner at the Crazy Bear.

16. Best present?: Dinner at the Crazy Bear with new dress & heels to go with it, Smart TV for new home, and 2 glider lessons and membership for Bicester Gliding Centre.

The best present I got someone was J’s birthday present – Scuba Diving with Penguins in Torquay’s zoo and aquarium.


Well that concludes an awesome year that was 2016.

My goal for 2017 is mainly just to use my time and plan things a bit better, without giving myself too much of a hard time! Blogging more is definitely on the list though. Maybe I should start using an actual paper diary again. Yes. That worked well before, when I actually used it that is…


Till next time (year)!

Gem x

Yays and Nays #17

So my last post was 11th August and my last Yays and Nays a whopping 3 months ago. Sorry about that. I really need to stop starting these posts by apologising all the time. Getting a real sense of deja vu. More so, I really need to start my scheduling in my diary again so I can schedule in time to actually blog.
Anyway, due to my lack of blogging, this Yays and Nays update is, like I said, a whopping 3 months worth! Hopefully after reading what’s been going on, you’ll hopefully see why I haven’t blogged in 3 months and forgive me..?! Here goes:

Yays! 

Hughenden Manor
So in an aim to make the most of the summer and my days off in between shifts and visit more parts of the U.K. –  myself and J decided to spend the afternoon at Hughenden Manor. You can read more about Hughenden on my previous post here.

West Wycombe Carters Steam Fair
Me and J went to a steam fair! We actually had a weekend off together and I think this is what mostly sparked the excitement of going to a fair. But it was a lovely evening out and enjoyed doing more child like things like riding the most rattly rides and eating a bag of mini doughnuts (I’m a doughnut as opposed to a candy floss girl) finished off by a firework display – perfect!

Oxford Day Out
In a bid to get to know my soon to be nearest City, I took one of my days off and explored the city of Oxford. Lucky for me it was on a scorcher of a day and spent the afternoon trapsing up and down the little streets and unique shops – albeit a little bit sweaty and avoiding getting burnt. It’s mad, Oxford is only an hour from me now and yet never really given it a second look. Well, I sure have now and only felt love for the place. Very old streets and a mix of old/new stores giving it really is the best of both worlds.

My Birthday
My birthday this year was a very enjoyable one and was spread out over an entire weekend! I did a joint birthday do with one of my work friends and decided to give the new Junkyard Golf in Shoreditch a go. It was a laugh and despite it being quite disorganised in terms of layout and what seemed to be lack of staff on – it was a good evening catching up with friends I hadn’t seen in a while. The Sunday was spent with family having a gorgeous Sunday lunch. J brought the most incredible homemade cake too – a chocolate coca-cola cake topped with M&Ms, Skittles, Buttons, Rolos and Fruit Pastilles – oh and edged with chocolate fingers! A truly lovely day and once again, glorious weather too!


The last installment was on Monday (my actual birthday) and was spoilt rotten by family, friends and of course J. I got to pick from 3 options of dresses and heels he had picked out and was treated to dinner out at the Crazy Bear in Beaconsfield (which if you didn’t know – is a pretty swanky restaurant/hotel). So Definetley an awsome birthday all round. Definitely made turning 28 that little bit easier..!

Camping Torquay
The end of August, J finally got to use the birthday present I had got him back in May – diving with Penguins in Torquay’s Living Coasts Zoo & Aquarium. As the trip itself was quite far (a good 4 hour drive) we decided to make the most of it and do another camping trip for 3 nights. Which I think was well needed as we had both been feeling the strain pretty hard – myself at work and house buying and J finishing University (helloooo nurse!). He absolutely loved it and the smile on his face after was just priceless!

Fuerteventura
Last week myself and J came back from a well needed 2 week holiday in Fuerteventura (I know I keep saying “well needed day out” and “well needed holiday”, but nursing full time you definitely do need them)!

It was awsome finally getting to meet everyone J goes on about (after teaching scuba diving out there for 5 years prior to studying Nursing). We spent the first week relaxing and exploring the island and the second week I took the plunge and went Scuba Diving! Scuba diving is something I never pictured myself doing due to such anxiety towards it. With J though I completely trusted him with all my heart and not only tried it – but loved it and went on to complete my Open Water course whilst there too! The first dive did scare me of course – but was an overall ‘good’ scary feelings. After the initial panicking, by the 3rd dive in I was eager to get straight in! Looking forward to diving elsewhere now on our future holidays together.

And last but not least…

I completed on my house!
I’m now a proud owner of a 2 bed house in Bicester! Going to be spending the next couple of weeks decorating/ furnishing and hoping to be moved in properly by the end of the month – with J of course too. Very exciting times indeed!

Nays!

Well, this one is kind of a nays – but saying goodbye to two close friends whilst they go off traveling over the next few months. A yay for them though, finally going and doing what they’ve always wanted to. Takes me back to my traveling trip 3 years ago that’s for sure – I just know they’ll have the time of their lives and learn and grow so much from it.

So that’s my 3 month round up! Hopefully I’ll have a bit more time to blog more once I’m properly settled in so hold fire..!

Till next time!
Gem x

Hughenden Manor, High Wycombe 

On a gorgeous sunny day last month, me and J finally had a day off together with no plans. We (mainly I) decided that I wanted to make the most of the day and head out and explore! We stuck to the local area and decided on the National Trust site Hughenden Manor in High Wycombe.

We do love a good picnic we do, and so doing as we do best, selected the finest freshest baked goods from the local Waitrose. No Tesco Meal Deals, no sirree! 

On a arrival to the site, we waved my parents NT passes (shush, I intend on getting my own soon..!) and parked up no problem. 


Hughenden Manor was the country home of the Victorian statesman and charismatic fellow Prime Minister Benjamin Disraeli who lived here from 1848 – 1881. 

The Manor itself has certainly been refurbished since then, but has been done very well and in still in keeping with the era. 


The formal gardens to the front and back of the manor have been recreated based on the original designs of Mary Anne Disraeli. Surrounding the manor and gardens there are ample pathways for you to explore more of the parkland surrounding it.


We were lucky enough to time our visit just right to catch a free 30 minute talk on the history of Benjamin Desralei, his character, his role within the government and royal family and his personal life and aspirations to become a novelist. The talk really covered all the basics and was truely insightful and surprisingly not dull. 

Not only did we catch this talk but we also managed to catch a second talk whilst here – in how the Manor House was used during the war and how pilot maps were made here to allow pilots to track and plan their attacks. I do have quite an interest in WW2 history, in particular aircraft used, so found this quite interesting too.
Overall, I really enjoyed my day out here at Hughenden Manor with J and was really nice making a day off a relaxing but still a somewhat productive one..! 

For more information on Hughenden Manor, including prices, facilities and directions, head over to the National Trust Website 

Till next time! 

Gem x

.

Yays and Nays #16

So it’s that time again for another Yays and Nays round-up. If anyone is actually keeping track, these posts will now be coming you every 2 months (so that i actually have enough to write about in each post…) May and June was pretty lovely all in all with some added exciting news to boot, so without further ado…

Yays

Visit to Bath and Lacock village

With a couple of days off in between shift work, I decided to make the most of it and visit the beautiful city of Bath. I hadn’t been back here since I was little so visiting was like somewhere new entirely. Bath is steeped in history and seriously recommend a walking tour of it if visiting. The Roman Baths were of course a main highlight, but walking through the beautiful cobbled back streets as just as enjoyable. Fortunately I had fab weather at the time (#whatthehellhashappenedtosummer?) so really felt like a little break away even if it was a one night hostel stay. 


I also hit up the beautiful village of Lacock village on the route home and despite not going into the Abbey, was really nice just to have a wander around (super scenic) for an hour or so before carrying on home. You can check out my post here on it for a better write up of it. 



Solo trip to Barcelona and Valencia

Ok, so yeah I couldn’t help but go away again on my annual leave. As other friends (and half) were working, I decided in a solo adventure to Barcelona (which I had visited 8 years ago) and intrigued to see what Valencia had to offer so check that out too. Again you can read up more about what I got up to and why I fell in love with Valencia using the links above. 



Bluebird Tea Mixology Class

For my birthday present last year (August FYI) my two besties got me a tea mixology class at Bluebird in Brighton. Due to shifts/ baby’s/ limited available slots we kept having to postpone it but finally got to do it last week. I didn’t really know what to expect, but it was such a cool experience and learnt so much about pretty much every type of tea possible. We got to sample anything we liked, taught how to brew certain teas correctly and even concoct our own samples to take with us. May have spent a fair amount on tea stuff, but it was just all so nice! Expect a blog post about this soon. Definitely recommended to any tea lover out there! #teaovercoffeeanyday



Airkix Indoor Skidiving 

Another joint present that me and J got for Christmas (and again finally got round to doing) was Indoor Skydiving with Airkix! So much fun and right up my street. We also used this day out as our anniversary day (as we were both working the actual date we met) and celebrating J passing his nursing exams and nailing his dissertation. Super proud! 


House Hunting

Ticking another thing off my 2016 to do list was to buy my first home  – and I  hope I’m not going to jinx it by writing it here – but I’ve totally had an offer accepted on a beautiful 2 bed house in Bicester. Tad further out than I first planned, but needed to to be able to afford something actually liveable and that didn’t need too much work. It’ll be nice to live and explore somewhere completely new too and start building my own life #independantwoman. Hopefully my next Yays and Nays will be able to confirm everything’s gone to plan and can actually start making it my own before moving in. Very exciting 🙂 

Nays

Nothing much apart from I seem to have had a lot more anxiety over the last month or so, which isn’t like me at all. With all the positive things going on at the moment, I don’t really understand where it’s coming from. Hopefully it’s just a temporary thing. Just need to remember that my life is pretty sweet right now and that I don’t actually have anything to worry about. Silly Gem. 

Till next time! 

Gem x 

 

What’s in my work bag? (Nurse Edition)

My commute to work involves carrying a lot of crap with me. When I started out I was using a shoulder / weekender type bag, but carrying all this gear started to really do my shoulder and back in (not great when you’re back aches anyway from doing 13hour shifts). But I feared not as there are a number cute backpacks out there now and ones that don’t look as though I’m going on an epic expedition across the Antarctic and don’t cost a small fortune!

I could leave a few bits at work in my locker, although my locker is the size of a letterbox (no, really, it is) so I don’t really have an option there!

So, what is it that I actually need to carry to and from work on a daily basis?

All the stuff below is just my ‘nursing bits’ – I haven’t even included my oyster card, purse, phone, iPod or reading book in here, you know, the life essentials. Oh and my tea flask. Would never leave home without that badboy.

Uniform – Due to Infection Control reasons, we are not allowed to wear our uniform outside work before or after shift (and to be honest I wouldn’t want to anyway, ergh)

ID Badge (please excuse the mugshot) – Has to be worn at all times whilst at work and for security reasons cannot be left at work either, should i get called in to a Major Incident when they will only let people with ID in the site (fail whale!)

Notebook – To write vital signs, weights, phone numbers – anything you name it. Which then gets ripped out and put in confidential waste at the end of each shift. It saves using countless numbers of scrap paper which you then inevitably lose at some point throughout shift and wondering where on earth that parent’s phone number went!

Calculator – For drug calculations – checking not only how much to give but making sure the dose prescribed is actually right for the child’s age and/or weight.

Pens – This will vary, I will usually start with three and end up with either none or ten, none of which are the same ones from when i started. Its a serious problem amongst nurses and doctors!

Pen Torch – For checking pupil size (and having a gander in a child’s mouth when they’re being reluctant to open it wide for you!)

Fob Watch – Due to infection control, nurses and doctors should be bare below the elbows at all times during work and this includes no watches. So a fob watch is a handy way of monitoring vital signs over a minute, whilst still being able to keep your hands free (and of course checking the time to see how many hours you’ve yet to go…)

Scissors – Have many many uses. For cutting through clothes, bandages, dressing packs, opening boxes.

Tape – Same applies and come in many forms. I usually have a roll of something kicking around in my bag, this week it’s Elastoplast!

Bubbles – This is definitely an essential piece of kit when it comes to nursing children. Many, if not most, under 5’s are not compliant in investigations such as vital signs, examinations and dressing changes and it’s amazing something so simple can make the task so much easier with a bit of distraction! We do have play specialists employed to help distract children, but when they’re not available its us nurses with bubbles to the rescue! 

Emergency Nursing Handbook – A handy guide for when things come up at work that either I or another member of staff haven’t seen or come across before or what things to consider and what plan of care to take with certain conditions, illnesses or injuries.

Vaseline / Handcream – Vaseline or some sort of lip balm for when i haven’t drunk barely a cup of water all shift (2 litres a day, yeah right!) and the hand cream for after washing my hands around 8-10 times an hour!

Cereal Bar – For my morning breakfast or evening snack break, if I manage one that is!

And not forgetting of course all the everyday essentials too…

Purse
Oyster Card
iPod / Book
Tea flask
Oh, and nearly forgot… food!

Now you see why nurses have such bad backs! Well, not just to what we carry, a lot of it’s down to poor manual handling… but lets not go into that right now shall we?

Till next time!
Gem x

Yays and Nays #14

Ok, so I know my Yays and Nays are the most staple posts on my blog, but the last two months have just completely ran away from me to even bust these ones out! I’m not going to go into the whole new year malarkey again as I’ve already spoke about that in my Plans for 2016. What I am going to do though is re-cap on what the hell I’ve been up to the last two months!

Yays 

Couch to 5K
Much to J’s suggestion to get fit for the new year, although we both hate the idea of going to the gym, we started the Couch to 5K plan (NHS Change for Life) back in January.
It is designed to help build up your running technique and stamina so that in theory, following the plan, you should be able to run a 5K in just 9 weeks.
Even though I’m a bit behind with keeping up with the plan, I’m really starting to see the benefits of running. I feel like it really wakes me up and pumps me with motivation for the rest of the day. Due to my all over the place work schedule, I haven’t been able to quite stick to 3 runs a week, more like 1-2 runs a week in the last 3, but I’m still keeping at it and that’s all I care about. Being able to prove myself that I can do something and determined to get to the end, even if it does take me 12,13 or even 14 weeks, instead of the 9. I still get the initial dread of having to get up and go out into the freezing cold and run, but I haven’t regretted a run yet!



Panasonic LUMIX TZ60

I finally decided on a new camera!
I wanted a camera that had more advanced capabilities to my current Sony Coolpix S6500 but without carrying around a hefty DSLR that I wouldn’t  know how to use properly and have to faff around with buying lenses for etc. There was strong competition, particularly against this camera, the Sony A500 and the Nikon J5 but landed on this one as if heard good things about Panasonic LUMIX cameras and it had all the techy stuff to fit into my level of photography and the quality, zoom, sturdiness, Wifi capabilities and Remote control option (all of which have been easy to set up and use) sold it for me really. My St.Albans and France photos below were all taken on this camera. No complaints at all!



Harry Potter World (take 2) 
One of my Christmas presents to J was tickets to the Warner Brothers Studio Tour, as he’d never been despite being a huge Harry Potter fan. So despite only going in June last year, I enjoyed it just as much the second time round and J was like a kid in a candy store when it came to the mahusive gift shop at the end, bless him! We happened to go there when ‘Hogwarts in the Snow’ was a season feature, however apart from the Hogwarts model being covered in snow, there really wasn’t much else different to the set..!



Afternoon Tea @ St Albans Cathedral
As part of my Valentines gift to J, I booked a Groupon for Afternoon Tea and Cathedral Tour in St.Albans. However, when it came to booking it there was such limited availability left that I could only do two of the dates left, both of which when J was away. Typical. Still, I picked a date anyway and took my Mum with me instead! Despite being freezing, we had a lovely afternoon out and was nice spending time together and not just cooped up in the house. The Cathedral was a lot bigger and grander than I expected, the photos speak for themselves and the walk around tour itself was very informative, glad I didn’t let the Groupon go to waste! If you’re in the area, I would definitely recommend the tour, which lasts around an hour and explained about all the different architecture of the cathedral and history behind it. The afternoon tea came after the tour and was lovely. The staff were very accomadating and although the sandwiches were basic, there was more than enough for us two with fresh scones too, all washed down with a glass of Prosecco and a pot of Tea. Lovely Jubbly. 

   

 

  

Galentines Day 
Me and my Spoons this year attempted to do another ‘Galentines Day’ like last year (you can read about that here). This year we decided to make it more of an Afternoon Tea instead so we could drink lots of tea and stuff our faces with baked goods. Hardcore. It was lovely catching up with the girls as we don’t spend nearly as much time together as we used to now, and really set me up for my night shifts! The girls at work weren’t disappointed either when I came in with an epically sized Salted Caramel and Peanut Butter Cheesecake which Charlie couldn’t take with her home as she had her poorly cat to tend to! Nom.

France 
February Half Term saw myself and The Guys head out to France for 5/6 days. We spent the week literally in the middle of nowhere in Chris’ parents renovated house and just played board games, dranks lots, ate lots of cheese and had some well needed chill time. We did venture out the house a couple of times – spent a day in Bayeux exploring the Tapestry and Cathedral and day out in the town of Mortain exploring the town and Cascades and was great being out and exploring places I’d never been before having a laugh with awesome people.

 


  

Belated Valentines Day 
Due to very conflicting shifts, myself and J actually had our first Valentines Day on 21st February. I had booked him a surprise Afternoon Tea (I know, 3 times in two months but shush..!) in Covent Garden and a trip to the Imax cinema to see Deadpool. Was a lovely day out and well worth the wait. One of gifts I got was a jar of memories which already had some in and the idea is to add more over the next year and read them all out next year as a nice memento to look back on the great things that we’ve done and come across together. A really sweet idea and I’ve already added a fair few myself!

Nays 

Absolutely nothing to report here
Life is pretty sweet at the moment!

I am going to try and get into blogging more regularly again, but with work being all over the place, courses to start and house buying and mortgages to look into, it’s hard to say how well that’ll go!

Till next time!

Gem x

Yearly Review 2015

So ends another great year that was 2015. It involved a lot of travel, a change in jobs, moving back home and making new friends. So without further ado…
In 2015:

1. What did you do that you’d never done before?
Meet a load of bloggers I’d never met face to face at not only 1, but 4 events this year!

  
2. Did you keep your New Years’ resolutions, and will you make more for next year?
Well my vague resolutions for last year were to try and save some money towards house deposit and get into some sort of healthy eating and fitness routine without being too strict about it. Well the first definitely happened and I’m around halfway towards my deposit. The second, i’d say definitely more experimental (mainly thanks to J) but feel i am making healthier food choices than i used to. Also got myself a Blend Active and have been enjoying taking in smoothies on night shifts to help stop snacking on rubbish. Winner.

Resolutions for next year:
Exercising more (i know, new year new start blah blah) but really need to start planning out my workouts week by week and write them down so i actually stick by them. Might give the couch to 5k app a go and see how far i get!
Save even more and hopefully buy my own place by the end of the year. Need to actually get my head around what mortgages actually are and what type would be best for me. Errr. Yeah.
Achieve my goals set out in my PDR at work – namely improving on clinical skills and hopefully an A&E course or equivalent.

3. Did anyone close to you give birth?
One of my closest friends did last month! And he’s such a cutie.

4. Did anyone close to you die? No

5. What countries did you visit? Poland, Spain (Tenerife), Denmark (Copenhagen), Italy (Rome), Malta, Croatia, Iceland

  
6. What would you like to have in 2016 that you lacked in 2015?
More of a social life! Although this is getting harder with peoples (including my own) work and life commitments becoming a higher priority.

7. What dates from 2015 will remain etched upon your memory?
19th June (meeting J) and 29th June (starting new job)

8. What was your biggest achievement of the year? Getting a Band 6 role in A&E and saving the amount I have whilst still travelling a fair bit. Winner.

9. Did you suffer illness or injury?
Nothing major.

10. What was the best thing you bought?:
Plane tickets, obviously!

11. Whose behavior merited celebration?
My family for always being there for me and J for still putting up with me..!

12. Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed? I wasn’t appalled/depressed but I was disappointed in someone I classed as a friend who didn’t value friendship in the same way I do.

13. Where did most of your money go? Savings and Adventures.

14. What did you get really, really, really excited about? Starting new job, meeting J, first camping trip with J, going to Croatia and Iceland.

  

  
15. What songs/albums will always remind you of 2015?
Songs: House Every Weekend (David Zowie), I Really Like You (Carly Rae Jepsen), Cheerleader (OMI) and When I’m Gone (Anna Kendrick),

16. Compared to this time last year, are you:

i. happier or sadder? So much happier.
ii. thinner or fatter? Pretty much exactly the same (minus all the xmas roast dinners and cheese boards…)
iii. richer or poorer? Richer (although its in savings!)

17. What do you wish you’d done more of?
Exercising!

18. What do you wish you’d done less of?
Procrastinating.

19. How will you be spending Christmas?
I had a pretty traditional Christmas – Christmas Eve drinks and pressie exchange in The Ascott pub with friends – Christmas day with family (minus my brother and sister) and saw J in the evening – followed by the same on Boxing Day and family/friends round ours for games on the 28th (usually 27th but I was working)

  
20. Did you fall in love in 2015? Majorly.

21. How many one night stands in this last year? None.

22. What was your favorite TV program this year?: First Dates, Orange is the new Black, Once upon a Time.

23. Do you hate anyone now that you didn’t hate this time last year? Aint got no time for hatin’.

25. What was the best book you read? The Girls – Lisa Jewell (really need to read more next year, only managed 2 this year)

26. What was your greatest musical discovery? Erm…

27. What did you want and get? A decent man in my life

  
28. What did you want and not get? Nothing in particular comes to mind!

29. What was your favorite film of this year? Gotta be Star Wars: The Force Awakens really.

30. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you? I turned 27 and had a Hawaiian themed BBQ/Party at home.

  
31. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying? Not being so stressed from work..!

32. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2015?
More flattering and more mainstream.

33. What kept you sane? J, Family and Friends

34. Which celebrity/public figure did you like the most? Erm…

35. What political issue stirred you the most? The whole Junior Doctors and Paramedics having unsociable hours pay cut

36. Who did you miss? Some uni friends who i haven’t managed to get around to seeing this year.

37. Who was the best new person you met? J hands down. Also some awsome new work colleagues!

  
38. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2015:
Do your best, that’s all that matters.

39. Quote a song lyric that sums up your year?
“You don’t have to be there babe, you don’t have to be scared babe, you don’t need a plan of what you wanna do wont you listen to the man that’s loving you oh”

Hopes for 2016:
1. predict something that you think will happen in 2016?:
I can’t predict the future!

2. what do you hope changes about your country?:
That Doctors & Nurses start getting the recognition they deserve and stop being screwed over by the government!

3. what do you hope for yourself?:
That i achieve my work goals, get motivation to exercise regularly through better planning and hopefully move out into my own place.

4. what do you hope for your family?: That we continue to support one another and stay close.

5. what do you hope for your best friend/s?: That they’re happy and healthy.

During 2015:

1. Where were you when it began?:
A friends house playing games and watching films.

  
2. Did you stay up?: Yes.

3. What was your new year wish?:
Don’t think I made one.

4. How many boy/girlfriends?:
Two.

5. Broke up?:
1 back in February, and I’m so glad i did otherwise I’d have never have met J.

6. Did you have any crushes?:
Nothing school-girl like.

7. Did you make new friends?:
A few through meeting J and a few through starting my new job.

8. Did you have to say goodbye to anyone?:
No

9. Did you missed anyone?:
Some Uni friends.

10. Did you win anything?:
Nothing comes to mind…

11. Where’s the best place you went to?:
Got to be both Copenhagen and Iceland.

  
12. What’s the worst place you went to?:
Can’t think of anywhere!

13. What was your happiest moment?:
Landing a new job, the Centre Parcs trip with friends, meeting J and finding out what was in the birthday box!

  
14. How was your birthday?: Stressful trying to organise, but enjoyable overall.

15. Best present?: My new engraved necklace from J, Silver Spitfire from Mum and Teapots! Oh and the hand drawn picture of a spitfire that J’s Grandpa gave me. Bless. 

  
OK 2016… show us what you’ve got!