Wednesday, 27 February 2013

Farewell February Hodgepodge!

Yay for entering into March in two days!!! I cannot wait for spring and lighter evenings to come already. 

1.  When were you last facing an ocean? Using just ONE word, describe how you felt as you faced that ocean. 
I was last facing an ocean in Australia. Well I was facing the sea (Tasman and Coral sea depending on where I was on the east coast) which then leads into the Pacific ocean. I was also facing the Pacific ocean last March when in San Diego.

First dip in the Pacific Ocean (March 2012). After this picture was taken I turned to my friend Lotte and said "Just think in November we will be on the other side of this ocean!"

And here I am at Palm Beach in Australia (November 2012). On the other side of the Pacific Ocean. I just felt AMAZED!

2. What are three sounds you hate to hear?
I hate the gagging/vomiting/retching sound. It makes me feel so ill! I also hate the sound of chalk being written on the board because it is bound to squeak at some point. Lastly, the sound of the crash bell at work. Adrenaline shoots through me like anything. Luckily I don't hear it very often which is a good thing!

3. This question comes to you courtesy of some real life friends. Hi real life friends! When you shop for yourself, do you try everything on in the store before buying or do you buy, try on at home, and then return what you don't like or what doesn't fit?

It really depends if I can be bothered on the day. I am not the worlds biggest fan of shopping for myself. On most occasions I do try in store, only because if I take it home and it doesn't fit I then have to find the time to take it back.

4. February 26th is National Pistachio Day...are you a fan of the little green nut? Do you use them in cooking and baking or prefer to eat them right out of the shell?

I tried them a couple of years ago and I hated them. Last Christmas I tried pistachio ice cream and that wasn't nice on my taste buds either. So not a fan it seems!

5. When did you last have to compromise with someone?  Were you happy to reach the compromise or slightly irritated it was necessary? 

I think I have to compromise on a daily basis. Particularly at work where I have to compromise with patients medications, discharge procedures, their physio etc. I find compromising quite easy, simply because I cannot deal with the hassle of making life harder for myself by not doing so.

6.  Have you ever written a letter to an elected official? Did you get a response?

I have written to my member of parliament (MP) a few times and had responses back. He is also on twitter, Facebook and has his own blog I can contact him on.

7. We 'March' into a new month at the end of this week...what's something on your March calendar guaranteed to make you smile?

March means Spring and that makes me smile! Also, our clocks go forward at the end of March which means lighter evenings. On the 10th March is Mothers Day and I LOVE spoiling my Mum!

8.  Insert your own random thought here.

I passed my ILS (Immediate Life Support) course last Saturday. It was one of the hardest practicals of my life! It was not helped by the fact I was feeling really under the weather with a blocked nose and migraine. But I got through it and now have a lot more experience (and a certificate)  in team leading priority/crash calls for a deteriorating patient. On another note if you have travelled to the Caribbean could you check this post out and let me know where you went/what you thought? Thinking of going there for a holiday and would love others opinions. So many islands to choose from!

Monday, 25 February 2013


It has been cold in England for too long now and this kind of weather makes me think about sunshine. This past weekend I was a little under the weather with a stinking cold and blocked nose. I had a relaxed weekend and whilst Simon watched the football I looked up holidays!

I love going away and exploring new places.

I was looking for holidays we could go on next year. At first, our initial plan was to go to Canada (Toronto) to see Simon's auntie. Then do a fly drive through New York (I still need to do Empire State, it was closed when I went in Nov 2011), then go to Charleston SC (Simon's favourite place in America), and then finish off in Atlanta GA to see Simon's old college friends he studied with over there.

The thing is? It's just too expensive and feels kind of rush rush. Plus, we are doing a fly drive this June of Florida seeing Orlando, the east coast of beaches, Miami and The Keys. All the holidays I've been on over the past two years have been quite full on with different dates in different places/hotels. As much as I have LOVED them it just makes sense to us that next year we do something relaxing (and stay in one place!!!)

One of the things we would love to do is go to Hawaii or a Caribbean island. But when I was researching it last night - which one? There are so many! We have ruled out Barbados - simply because it's the most popular and we can imagine it being quite touristy. We are not going to book anything until at least next year but it's always fun to look at potential places.

Has anyone been to the Caribbean or know someone who has? Which island did you go to? When is the best time of year to go?

Friday, 22 February 2013


I realise this is quite a delicate topic for some people to talk about. But for something that has rifled the news since February 14th, has been a hot talking point on the radio and even with my patients daily conversations. I just feel compelled to blog about it.

I am not going to say what I think or voice my opinion. As in all honesty, I do not have one. We'll never know whether Reeva Steenkamp's murder was pre-meditated or understand the actual version of events. We need both parties alive to ascertain that. 

We'll also never know the truth because of the media. They really have come out with so much rubbish throughout this?! The way they sensationalise everything and at the end of the day what has happened is really tragic! I'm sure Oscar and Reeva's family feel horrendous enough without the media flagging things up that may or may not be true. I think from this story that's what has really stood out to me. I work with a South African lady who has family in Pretoria. She is of an opinion like me - she does not have one but one thing she did say really stood out to me. 'It's not unheard of in South Africa for people to have guns and shoot intruders in their homes. We're not a safe nation.' And most importantly this made me feel really sad 'It is not the first and certainly won't be the last time I read a story where someone has shot their Mum, Dad, Son or Daughter thinking they were an intruder. I lived in South Africa for 30 years and there were many times I went to bed scared after I heard of burglaries in my area. It's instinct to own a gun to protect yourself. You have to.'

So to South Africa this story isn't new? It's only because Pistorius is famous that this has taken the world by storm? Just another reason why this whole case is just so tragic. 

Oscar Pistorius shot and killed someone. He admitted to it and he needs to be punished for that. Whenever I have said that I have been met with the response "so you don't think he murdered her then?" I really don't have an opinion on that as we'll never know all the facts or goings on. However, I do have respect for him for trying to save her life afterwards, not running away from the scene of the crime and going to court each day knowing his wrong doing in all of this. Most people would run away, would not own up to it and make excuses. He's a guilty man and as you can see from daily pictures of him in the press- he sure knows it!

I have a lot of respect for Reeva's family. They have not really said a word in all this and what they have asked are fair questions. They are grieving and I really hope that now Pistorius has been granted bail that the media don't turn towards them for more "news". It would be so unfair that she's made out to have the legacy of being shot by a blade runner (that was the headline of an article I read earlier).

At the end of the day a young person died too soon. We know who did it. I just hope from June 4th this year - it's handled more tastefully.

Wednesday, 20 February 2013

Wednesday Hodgepodge 20/2

Continuing with the Hodgepodge madness! If you want to take part please do. Joyce gives out the answers on a Tuesday, you answer and link up on her blog the following day. It's that simple...and fun!

1. When were you last 'on a mountaintop'?  You may answer in the literal or figurative sense.

I am trying to think and I have never been at the top of a mountain before. I did however stand right at the edge of the Grand Canyon! It's so much bigger (and deeper!) than you could ever imagine! I also went to Yosemite National Park too which is right up in the mountains.


Grand Canyon

2.  Do you establish and maintain a strict budget in your household?  What is one piece of financial advice you would offer someone just starting out on their own? 

I wouldn't say I maintain a strict budget. I see it that I work really hard for my wages so I will treat myself if I want to and worry about it later. However, I always make sure I have money for all my outgoings, so I only treat myself on what I have left. I am currently saving for a mortgage and the one thing I have found really helps is save the actual coins/pennies. I put all my change into a jar! Everyday I empty whatever change is in my purse and every couple of months we count it. The other month Simon and I had about £100 (around $155) saved up from change in just a couple of months. We are putting it towards our spending money for Florida this year so we can put more money from our wages into our mortgage fund. Every little helps!

3.  Cherries-yay or nay?  Cherry pie, cherry cola, black forest cake, or a scoop of Ben and Jerry's Cherries Garcia...pick one. 

I do like cherries but don't have them very often. They're very seasonal in the shops near me so I only ever see them in the summer months. I do love cherry pie and cherry crumble though!

4.  Should you ever discuss religion or politics with people you don't know? 

I don't see why not? 

5.  When you take a road trip do you prefer to be the driver or the passenger?  Where were you headed on your last road trip? 

I have no choice but to be the passenger. I do drive to work and see friends but when Simon and I go out he tends to drive. Mainly because he is the worst passenger in a car ever. I can see him wince if he thinks I am not slowing down quickly enough or see his foot move when he wants me to brake. He makes me nervous so I just let him drive! Our last big road trip was to the Lake District last June (a 5 hour journey).

Buttermere Lake

6. If we peeked inside your closet, what color would we say is most prevalent?

Probably greens, purples and beige!

7. Who's your favorite senior citizen and why are they special?

I'd have to say my Gran of course. I wish I made more of an effort to see her but she is a very special Gran to me. Also, I used to work in a retirement complex. There was a lady called Grace who just made my world brighter. She had the best stories, the most loving family and she always did her utmost to be as independent as possible. I admired her and if I am lucky enough to reach her good old age of 90, then I want to be just like her!

8.  Insert your own random thought here.

This Saturday I am doing my ILS (intermediate life support) course. I have been wanting to do it for 18 months but it costs a lot to do it (about £1200/$1800). Luckily my employers are paying for me to do it and even though I am nervous for the assessment it will make me much better equipped and trained for cardiac arrests! Let's hope I pass!

Monday, 18 February 2013

Turning 24

As I was typing that blog title I wrote 'Turning 21' twice. The ironic thing is I never want to go back to being 21 again. However, in better late than never news I have turned 24. In fact, I celebrated it 10 days ago but only just got round to blogging about my birthday.

I really enjoyed my birthday. Simon planned it so I could cross some things off my 101 bucket list. The only downside was in the lead up to my birthday I did 10 straight shifts in a row and finished on a killer 14 hour long shift. It was safe to say that on the morning of my birthday I was so SO tired. All I wanted to do was sleep! But I had the week after my birthday off so I had to keep reminding myself I had other days to sleep on.

I got some beautiful new brown boots from my parents, some vouchers, Glee season 3 (can see what I spent my week off watching?), jewellery and some bottom drawer bits for our future house! Simon really spoilt me though and surprised me with indoor rock climbing! I have always wanted to try it but I will admit I was a little scared. I knew it required a lot of energy (which I didn't have) and that made me nervous. But, as it goes with anything, I had nothing to be scared about. Our instructor was really friendly and I amazed myself at being able to get to the top of all 6 walls I tried. The more walls you climbed, the harder they got, and even when I felt like saying 'I give up'' I refused to! It does require a lot of strength but it is mainly a mental thing. Simon and I even saw much older people in their 60's doing it! So it's for everyone.

Once we finished rock climbing we went home to rest. I can't even tell you how sensitive my muscles were afterwards, especially my fingers! You hardly use for fingers for strenuous activity but in rock climbing they are kind of your lifeline to grab hold of each rock as you climb. We then grabbed a Starbucks, had an early meal in my favourite Chinese restaurant and then headed up to London.

Where we saw this.

Viva Forever

When I grew I up I LOVED the Spice Girls. In fact I pretty much idolised them and I clearly remember crying when Geri left the band (How could she? I'm still bitter). Jennifer Saunders (a great British comedienne and writer) wrote the script and it's produced by Judy Craymer. I remember when I found out that a musical was being based on the Spice Girls music and I just knew I HAD to see it! Okay, the storyline isn't brilliant and I have seen better musical productions on stage. However, it must be tough to think of a storyline and then write a story where you have to use songs pre-done instead of writing songs to fit the story. I give a lot of credit to the finished product and it took me right back to my childhood of dancing to 'Stop' in front of my mirror, and singing (more like shouting) 'Wannabe' in the school playground! I would love to see it again purely for the musical aspect.

The following night Simon took me away for a night to a gorgeous hotel where he surprised me with a full body massage at the hotel spa. I have never had a massage/spa treatment before and it was so relaxing. I think I need to do it a little more often than never. 

Thank you Simon for making it such a special weekend.

Also, last weekend my sister, Nicola, turned 30. She really liked the photo album. In fact her words were 'it's ace' and it went round the party-goers a treat. It took me a whole day to complete so it was worth it when people said I did a good job and best of all the birthday girl really liked it. Here's a couple of pictures from her party. 

Here's to me being 25 next year then?

Thursday, 14 February 2013


Happy Valentines Day, Simon.

Before I met you, I never knew what it was like; to look at someone and smile for absolutely no reason.

I love you, to the moon and back.


Wednesday, 13 February 2013

Wednesday Hodgepodge - Love Week

Just want to say thank you to everyone who wished me happy birthday for last Friday  I had a fantastic day and will do a blog post very soon! Now for some Hodgepodge madness!

1.  This week marks the beginning of Lent...will you be giving something up or adding anything to your life during this season of the year? 

I never take part in Lent. I remember when I was younger I gave up Chocolate and actually did it. It was no fun though. I see the importance of it but do not take part.

2. The day before Lent is Shrove Tuesday... tradition states you eat pancakes on this day. In some parts of the world Shrove Tuesday is actually known as 'pancake day'. How do you like your pancakes? Or don't you? 

I am not a Pancake fan. I can just imagine the horrified faces as you read that sentence. I am not a fan of the texture. I find it slimy and mushy - not my thing. I used to love them when I was little but maybe my taste buds have changed but I would rather a sticky toffee pudding any day of the week!

3.  I'm sure there are many, but what's one love song you really love? 

Drops of Jupiter by Train. It's romantic and beautifully written. I cannot fault the love for his deceased Mum sung in the lyrics.

4.  What are some things you do to let others know you love them? 

I am quite a simpleton but just telling them I love them is my way of showing I love them. I do like making little surprises for people too and going the extra mile. I guess spoiling people on their birthdays, Simon on Valentines and my Mum on Mothers day is also another way too because they really deserve it :)

5., pink, or do you prefer another color? Can you recall the last time someone gave you flowers? Given your choice would you like to open the door and see a dozen red roses, a dozen purple tulips, or a dozen pink peonies?

I love yellow Roses. They were my Granddad's favourite flower and since I can remember they have been mine too. Plus, it's my favourite colour! I also LOVE Orchids! Simon buys me flowers quite a lot which I love! He bought me the ones below for my birthday! Given a choice red roses is what I would like to open the door to.

6.  President's Day will be celebrated in America next Monday. Does US Presidential history and trivia interest you?  Many Presidential homes are open to the public and offer guided tours...Monticello (Jefferson's home), Mount Vernon (Washington's home), Montpelier (James Madison's home), Hyde Park(FD Roosevelt's home) and The White House (home to the sitting President) to name just a few. Of those listed which would you be most interested in touring?  Why?

I would really like to visit the White House one day but in terms of history Hyde Park too. I learnt a lot about Roosevelt and the USA heading into WWII growing up - he seemed like a nice guy that was troubled with a lot of ill health. He was the only president I really enjoyed learning about.

7.  Are you good at keeping secrets? 

I know this is a typical sentence but it depends on what the secret is! When I was younger I would say no. I'll never forget my friend Suzanne telling me she fancied another boy called Thomas in our class. But it was a secret and not to tell him. So what did I do? I told him of course! I really don't see the point of admiring someone from afar if they're single. However, now that I am older I don't really call it secrets but more information told in confidence. Of which I would never do, so now I would say I am good at keeping 'secrets' out of respect for my family, friends and patients.

8.  Insert your own random thought here.

I ticked two things off my bucket list last week. I tried rock climbing and had a massage. It was a wonderful birthday treat!

Tuesday, 12 February 2013


For anyone who knows me really well - I don't do spontaneous. I like things thought out, planned and structured. It may sound boring to some but when I act with spontaneity I feel waaaay out of my comfort zone!

For a while Simon has been saying he wants to do a half marathon in memory of his Granddad. They were both very close before he passed away. It's just life got in the way and it has always been an idea.

Well that idea turned into a spontaneous conversation last week when I turned to Simon and said 'Why don't we do a 10k run together?'

Am I crazy?! Yes!

We started researching some marathons and found a 10k run in Oxfordshire for this October! We booked our places, paid and then I felt out of control.

Literally within 10 minutes of me saying it, we had booked ourselves onto a run. One part of me is thinking 'why are you doing this?' and putting it to the back of my mind. I am worried I won't find time to train and fail miserably at it. Another part of me is really excited. I have never done something like this before and I do enjoy a challenge. Plus, it's something different Simon and I can do together - for a really good cause.

Simon's Grandpa died of a sudden heart attack. He was really fit, only in his fifties and may have survived if some of the procedures that exist for heart surgery today were available back in the early nineties. Still 20 years on he is missed so much and talked about with great fondness. I wish I had met him.

It seems only fitting that our charity run benefits the Great British Heart Foundation, who raise funds and pioneer new research into cardiac care, treatment and prevention. Nearer the run we will be kindly asking for donations but in the mean time - I think I need all the luck and encouragement in the world.

Friday, 8 February 2013

Birthday Girl


Another year older

I love birthdays!

Also today I have taken part in a guest post for my friend Laurie's Quote Inspiration series. As a little present, please read/comment/share here. I loved writing it!

Wednesday, 6 February 2013

Wednesday Hodgepodge 6/2

Hello Wednesday Hodgepodgers!

1.  Chinese New Year will be celebrated on February 10th, and 2013 is the year of the snake. When did you last see a snake?  Are you okay around snakes or do they give you the shivers? 

I was born in the year of the Snake. I am not their biggest fans. In Australia I got to hold a Python. I did not feel creeped out but they're not the cuddliest of things. I do think they are misunderstood creatures but with their beady eyes, wicked tongue and their sneaky nature I wouldn't want to encounter anymore personally.

2. The color red in Chinese culture usually means good luck. Do you believe in luck? 

I've found this quite tricky to answer. I want to believe in luck and that people get lucky spontaneously (like winning the Lotto!). But generally I think we make our own luck. I don't believe that luck just happens to people. It occurs when people take risks or grab chances when opportunities are presented to them, even if they don't know the outcome. Although, in saying that I do know a few people who always happen to be in the right place at the right time and I think of how lucky they are.

3. Sledding-ice skating-building a snowman...if given a choice, which activity would you choose?  Which of the three have you done most recently?  

I would choose sledding! I think it's so much fun and when I have kids it will be a must do when it snows. I haven't built a snowman in years since this (picture below) one three years ago. I have tried Ice-Skating several times and useless at it. The last time I went I had a friend sever the top of fingers from another skater skating over the top of them when she fell over on the ice. So that's scarred me! I haven't done any of these recently though :(

4.  Ralph Waldo Emerson is credited as saying, "The years teach much which the days never knew."  Where have you seen this quote played out in your own life?  

I have to say this plays out very significantly in my job. I work as a nurse on a day to day, shift to shift basis. There are days where I feel like I just plod along and other days where I feel like I am being challenged to my core. It isn't until I reflect on my (nearly) 3 years as a nurse that the years teach me so much more and show how far I have come. I have more qualifications, more experiences and much more knowledge. 

5. When was the last time you ate a cupcake?  

At Nicola's baby shower last March. They were yummy! 

6. What's something you can't say no to?  

One of my biggest downfalls is not being able to say 'no'. At work they'll ask me to do extra hours and without thinking I just say yes and then instantly regret it! I also can't say no to Chinese food, theatre trips, holidays and lay ins!

7.  Are you a doodler?

I used to be the worlds worst doodler in university lectures. They weren't the most intellectually motivating at the best of times. So my notebooks were full of little pictures and sayings!  

8.  Insert your own random thought here. 

I turn 24 this Friday 8th!!! Simon has the whole day planned. I love surprises! Plus, this weekend my older sister turns 30!!!! I made her a photo album of her 30 years - I sure hope she likes it!

Monday, 4 February 2013

A Question

I have been wanting to ask the readers of this blog for a while.

Is there anything you want me to blog more about? What do you enjoy most on my blog that I write about?

I ask because it would really help for me know. I know I should blog about what I want to blog. But I have gone through my previous posts and the ones with highest amount of page views are my travel posts. But I am not travelling for a while so won't be blogging about that.

I'm just interested. Work, advice, family, relationships, social media, nursing, anything? Please answer in the comments blog or tweet me @RebeccaLouiseUK

Friday, 1 February 2013

Those were the days...

This morning I read this article on The Daily Mail here. There's barely any words, just pictures. Yet, what it depicts is a sad truth.

It shows kids in the early 20th century with their shoes off, playing in the fields, apple bobbing, dirty clothes and climbing fences.

Now in the 21st century does that happen?!

I count myself really lucky that I grew up (90's kid at heart) being able to do some of that. Okay, I never did apple bobbing or climbed fences. But I did play outside with my shoes off and climbed trees. My Mum moaned all the time at how I could get so filthy within an hour of being in fresh clean clothes from playing outside. I rode my bike, liked having my face painted or painting others and I skated in my roller-blades down the road. I had friends I played outside with every weekend and if it rained we brought the games inside. 

I never went on a computer, played a computer game, we were only allowed to watch TV after school but before dinner or sat around being lazy. But sadly, isn't that the culture these days? I remember when I was younger and even in my teens I would wake up to kids playing outside. No lie, you would always see someone in my street outside playing or doing something. Now those kids and I grew up but there are new younger kids down my road. But all I ever see now are just more cars spilling out of driveways.

Simply because they're probably playing their Nintendo DS, XBox or watching limitless Sky TV. I know that is a huge assumption but I think it's a fair one. Sadly, that to me is such a sad culture to be in at present. 

Fair enough, I type this blog on a computer that I own but I didn't have a family computer until I was 15. I didn't have a mobile phone until I was 14 and I could only have a television in my room if I bought it (which I did with a years worth of pocket and birthday money at 16!)

This was because my parents wanted us to be kids. My Mum always says that she wanted us to have that innocence of just having fun, leaving things to our own imagination and making up our own entertainment. She said she wished she got the computer a bit later on (we had no choice all my school work had to be PC based), because as soon as we got that that's when we got a bit lazy!

No lie, the other day I saw a Mum buying an i-phone for her 8 year old daughter. What 8 year old needs a mobile phone?!?! Also, Simon said the other day he saw kids watching DVDs on small DVD players strapped to the back of the driver/passenger seats in cars to keep them entertained, (or silenced is a better word?) What ever happened to playing car games? or having a chat? I really do love it when I see kids out riding their bike with their parents at weekends or seeing kids play football on a field. It takes me right back to my childhood!

I have to say with the kind of gang culture that exists, seeing stories of kids being abducted, teenagers stabbed/shot. I totally see why parents are more concerned and less keen for their kids to have more freedom. But does buying them a console game really make it any better? 

Did any of you have childhoods like mine? Do you think it's a shame that it's dwindling? Do you think all this new technology is to blame for kids being inside more and less active outside?

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