Thursday, 31 December 2015

2015 in review

Another? Yes ANOTHER year has gone which means another year to reflect on. Even though I have not blogged as much as I have wanted to. I have so much to be thankful for from this year and I can't wait to document it.

1) What was the single best thing that happened this past year?

Argh! So hard but I would say it would be successfully getting onto my masters course. This time last year it was just an idea I was mulling over. Now I am finally doing something I truly love within the field of nursing. 



2) What was the single most challenging thing that happened this year?

In general I would say my anxiety has flared up on occasions this year which has not been fun. But in the sense of a challenge adjusting from full time work to being student has been a little tough. I am on a different wage, schedule and need to have a study brain. My brain hurts a lot at times from all the new information. In terms of finances I am having to be a lot more frugal. 


3) What was an unexpected joy?

Tom - I really was not expecting him to turn up when he did. But I am so glad he has.



 4) Pick 3 words to describe 2015.

Busy, fulfilling and challenging.

5) What were the most entertaining things you have seen/done this year?

Travelling around New Zealand and SKYDIVING, visiting Barcelona, sightseeing in Venice and Verona, singing along to Ed Sheeran and S Club 7 in concert. Watching Katie get married to her Pete. Doing the house up more. Seeing Honor turn 1! Using a selfie stick. Sleeping in a log cabin and a lake house for the first time with great friends.



6) With whom were your most valuable relationships?

I think a lot of my relationships have strengthened and some have certainly dwindled. I would say at present my relationship with Tom I really value. It's fun getting to know someone who I have very strong feelings for. I would also say my Mum too. Since I have moved out I really have to make a concerted effort to spend time with her- which I love. I have realised I want to see her as much as I can because she's my mum and has invested a lot in me.

7) What was the single biggest waste of your time this year?

One friendship particularly comes to mind with a girl who isn't even worth my time mentioning. Lets just say I thought we were friends but she totally manipulated me and the situations she created. Such a waste of tears on a person. 

8) What are you most proud of doing this year?

Definitely doing the skydive in New Zealand and opening myself up to a new way of travel. I am proud of getting onto my MSc course too!


9) How did you spend Christmas 2015?

This was the first full Christmas in 9 years that I didn't have to work. It felt so good to rest, relax and have some time out. I spent Christmas with my parents. On Christmas Day my family came to my parents where we talked, played games and ate lots of food. In the evening I went and saw Tom where we exchanged out gifts and hung out with his family. It was busy but a lot of fun!  

10) What did you do in 2015 that you hadn't done before?

I skydived, went caving, visited Hobbiton, slept in new places, turned 26, visited Bournemouth and remodelled a bathroom!


11) Looking back on 2015, what one thing have you learnt the most?


I have learnt to trust my gut. I know I have always known that but this year is the first time I have actually listened. I have been on dates with guys this year where I knew deep down nothing was there, and my gut told me this, but I ignored it. I was warned by people about a girl I befriended and deep down I knew I was in too deep with her, but I ignored it. So I have definitely learnt to trust my instincts.

12) Finally, your plans for 2016 and what are you most looking forward to?

2016 is a full year because of university but even though my schedule is hectic I still have things planned. I have trips booked for Blackpool and Cardiff with Tom. I am really looking forward to a big family holiday my Mum has organised to Spain for June. I am holidaying to Mexico with Lotte in September and Tom and I are going to the Caribbean in November. Hopefully I will pass my course this summer so I can become a Health Visitor in my own right. I am excited to spend more time with Cohen and Honor and also see my friend Natalie get married in May!

Hope you all had wonderful 2015's to remember. I hope I can document more in 2016! See you next year everyone!

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Wednesday, 30 December 2015

End of the New Year Hodgepodge

Whew! Here it goes...my last hodgepodge of 2015! Granted I didn't partake a huge amount but the times I have, have been fun to do. So if you want to take part, answer the questions below and link back here.

So here goes...

1) Share a favourite moment or memory from the week of Christmas.

Looking back I have quite a few but the one that really stands out was Christmas Eve. I have not really had a festive mojo this year and I even said to my housemate on Christmas Eve morning that I did not feel christmassy in the slightest. Then I got this message from one of the ward sisters I work with...and I just felt such JOY! I had a very poorly patient on 23/12/15 and my gut told that he needed urgent care fast.


In that moment I was so excited to celebrate Christmas with my family and friends. It just made me realise that I didn't need to bake cookies, decorate my house or listen to carols to get festive. Just knowing I could have saved a life this Christmas...made everything so insignificant.

2) If someone wrote a book about your life based on the past year, what genre would it fit under? what would the title be?

I think it would fall under some sort of Bridget Jones-esque theme. I've dated idiots, lost my way, been emotional, had fun times, met an amazing guy and questioned 'what's the point?' on so many occasions. So maybe title it 'Bridget Jone's Little Sister.'

3) What made you feel patriotic this year?

Ooo good question! I think the UK's response to the refugee crisis and the terrorist attacks in Morocco and Paris was touching. At the end of the day we are all human and we want to be there for others.

4) What experience from this past year would you like to do all over again?


This.


5) What song lyric sums up or is a reflection of your 2015?

Jess Glynne - 'Don't be so hard on yourself.' This is my favourite song of 2015 but probably because I resonate with the lyrics so much. I have tried so hard this year to be kinder on myself and cut myself some slack.

6) On a scale of 1-10 how would you rate your 2015? Why?

I would say a 7! I definitely had more good moments than bad this year but a few events has set the number back.

7) What part of the upcoming year are you most excited about?

Completing my course and finally becoming a Health Visitor in September.

8) Insert your own random thought here.

I just want to say to everyone have a wonderful end to 2015 and a joyous start to 2016! Happy new year.


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Tuesday, 15 December 2015

Hello Tom.

I have mentioned a fair few times on here that blogging has not been my biggest strength. Especially with starting back up at university full time, it really has taken a back seat. I do miss it.

Back in September I realised that this year was going to be full on. I have every single day planned, lectured or rostered until next September with very little breathing space. I clearly remember telling my Mum when I started my MSc that I really 'could not take on anymore busyness.'

Then in October this guy called Tom came along.

I want to add a prelude to this 'How I Met Tom' story. Since my last relationship, of which many of you joined on my journey to the breakdown of, I have dated a few guys. Some lasted a few weeks and some a few months. But there was something chewing at them.

Anxiety.

It just never felt right and even though I was in no headspace to say I wanted to 'settle down'. I did want something that was genuine and moving somewhere...even if somewhere was knowing where we stood a couple of months down the line. These dating spells were not going anywhere and so when I started the course I was done with dating. I wanted to focus on me for a change and I was genuinely excited for a new start.

At the end of September I went to a good friend of mines hen do and I was surrounded by love, wedding talk and all the oohs and ahhs that surround such a wonderful celebration. I came away from the weekend feeling elated for Katie but I won't lie. For the first time ever...I questioned when it would be my turn and I had an evening of feeling a little blah. It was then the following Friday night I was having one of my regular scrolls through Facebook whilst doing a backlog of university work. I came across a photo that Tom had put up of him painting on a Friday night and I remember thinking 'at least I am not the only one stuck inside doing something boring'. So I commented on it and we had a mini reply to each other.

(It might be important to note here that the reason why Tom and I were Facebook friends is because we worked together in my previous job. In fact we actually went to school together. He was in the year above me so when he started working at the hospital I recognised him immediately. But there was nothing to note between us because we were in our previous relationships.)



So moving swiftly on...I thought nothing of the Facebook message. Then a few days later I was doing school work, yet again, and I wondered about him. I thought I would send a cheeky message to see how the painting was going. And I guess you could say the rest was history. We chatted for a few weeks until he asked me out...but I remember questioning if it was a date or not.

Our first date was on the 13th October 2015 and we played TopGolf. We kept talking about how strange it was that we probably walked passed each other loads in the corridors at school and in work but hardly batted an eyelid. Now we were on a date! We saw each other the following day and then that weekend and I guess we have been pretty much inseparable since.

I am just so happy and even though we may still be in the 'honeymoon phase' as people call it. I cannot deny how special he is to me already. I love that I don't have to work him out, we want to same things in life, I don't feel anxious- in fact he eases my anxiety instead of exacerbates it.



But most of all I just feel lucky. I am so blessed to have someone who makes me smile for no reason, pushes me when the essays get tough, surprises me with the kindest of gestures and for someone who is real and on my wavelength.

I remember in September when I questioned when it would be my turn...and I find it so faultless how at the exact moment I chose to give up and focus on something else. He turned up.

And I have counted my lucky stars ever since.

Plus I fancy the absolute pants off of him...so that helps too!


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Monday, 23 November 2015

Honor & Cohen

I know I am biased but I have THE cutest niece and nephew possible.

I very rarely do updates about them as I want to keep their exposure to the online world minimal. However, I couldn't not share these pictures of them. I think the last time I talked about Honor she was 3 months.

Well now she is 15 months, walking and being a little diva. Yes she is still a little princess toddling around showing the world who is boss. But I love her feistiness and growing independence. She will be a girl who will always fight her corner and I know I will adore that about her.


Cohen is my little sweetie. He is 3 now and just into everything! I love that I can take him out, have conversations with him and seeing his imagination when playing captivates me. He is the best big brother and the most kindest of little boys. He's the opposite to Honor but I like that contrast.


In September they had these pictures done and I am so glad they did. I love seeing them grow up. I love being their auntie. I just love them!


I love their faces in this picture. Cohen is the only person that can make Honor really belly laugh and it's so good that it's captured in this picture. I am lucky lady to have these people in my world.

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Thursday, 12 November 2015

Airmail Christmas

This year I am unable to run the Airmail Christmas card exchange due to trying to complete my Masters degree. However, my lovely IRL and blog friend Laurie will be running it this year (thank you lovely lady!)

However, I still want to tell YOU ALL about it. Three years ago a patient of mine called 'Robin' wanted a Christmas wish to be fulfilled of sending a card to a complete stranger. It was her way of trying to spread Christmas cheer around the world before she passed away. Since then we have honoured Mama MB and Anna Basso. This year is no different as we remember Kylie Myers. Please head on over to Laurie's blog to take part and get to know Kylie and her story. 





So the more the merrier! Tell your friends, family and fellow social media families. Robin, Mama MB, Anna and Kylie loved Christmas so lets start wishing everyone 'A Very Airmail Christmas' this year!!!


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Sunday, 8 November 2015

Good for the Soul

Whew! Life has been very busy lately and this blog is getting neglected. In saying that this weekend I took some much needed downtime. As I type this I am in a lake house with some of my closest girlfriends having a very lazy time.

We have rented this beautiful lake house in country and it is just beautiful. It's a shame the weather has been a bit rubbish but it's made feel quite cosy. I have also loved being able to just chat and relax with my friends too. We don't see each enough so to invest a couple of days with them has been really lovely. Last night we went to a fireworks display too.

I think lately I have been so wrapped in university and rushing around trying to make life happen that I have forgotten to stop, breathe and chill a little. This weekend has been much needed and I'll be sad to go home.

Enjoying the bonfire.

My lovely friends.

I really need to give myself permission to just take time out. I am so guilty to trying to juggle everything. Being with these girls has been good for my soul.

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Sunday, 11 October 2015

Student Life

Things have been very quiet on the blogging front lately and it hasn't been intentional at all. But, since starting university all I do is eat, drink and sleep my health visiting course. So here's a little life update for you all.


  • I am really enjoying university. As much as it is consuming my life right now I knew that it would. It's intense! I have essays, presentations, posters, reading lists, and placements coming out of my ears. But I am loving the challenge. I feel like I wake up with a purpose for myself now so I am a lot happier.
  • My Mum booked a big family holiday to Spain next year. My Mum inherited some money after my Gran passed and she has used some of it to take my whole family on holiday. I haven't been on a family holiday in 11 years so it'll either be awesome or full of cat fights! What's great is that it'll be after all my paperwork is due in to get my health visiting registration. So here's hoping it'll be a celebratory trip too!
  • My house is still standing and we are finally getting the last major bit of work done to the house next month. A downstairs toilet! I remember when I moved in I had all these plans of getting things done to the house right away. Funny how that is never the case! However, it's been neat to see how the house has developed. I may have to do another video tour.
  • Since starting back at university I have fallen ill twice in 4 weeks! This is not fun people. I always used to boast about how I haven't had a cold in 7 years and I put it down to working in a hospital. So being around poorly people most days meant I built up some immunity right? WRONG! I have now realised it's because I worked in such a clean environment for years (i.e. washing hands loads, wiping down surfaces) that I never got sick. I now work in an area of nursing where I don't do that as much- so guess what? I fall sick.
  • Now I am a student I am on less money. Even though I am being sponsored to do my masters degree I am earning less. So I am having to be really money conscious. If I am honest I hate it! I liked living comfortably with my monthly wage packet but now that's not the case. I am hoping to realise where I can be more money savvy though.
  • I went on a hen do a few weeks back and it was so much fun! My uni friend Katie is getting married to Pete next month. One of the things the bridesmaids got the hens to do was this.

So cool right?
Lastly, one thing I am gutted about (and this is also a request) I won't be able to do Airmail Christmas this year. I normally run it from mid November to Christmas but during that period I have SO MUCH university stuff going on that I can't invest it's full potential. So if anyone would like to run it this year instead? Or have any other suggestions please tell me.


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Thursday, 17 September 2015

And the next journey begins...

On the 1st August 2012 I started as a staff nurse on a surgical wing at a private hospital. I was able to develop myself into a senior staff nurse, specialise in high dependency and realise my love of teaching!

This job also increased my confidence in making management decisions and also highlighted how, as a nation, we are rubbish at looking after our own health. I very quickly developed a love affair with health promotion and teaching my patients to understand their bodies.

Yesterday, September 16th 2015, was my last day. Back in April I accepted a position to undertake my Masters degree specialising in public health and promotion. It feels like an age ago that I found out and now I am FOUR days away from beginning the training for my dream job.

This is more than just leaving a nursing job. I am also leaving the clinical nursing role completely. For 5 years since I qualified I have taken care of very poorly people from SO many walks of life. I have cared for palliative patients, advised on medications, changed the nastiest wounds, done cardiac arrests, taught student nurses, been vomited, weed and spat on. I have dealt with every bodily fluid you can imagine and still sometimes wonder what orifice it has come from. I have been able to assist in theatre and appreciate what happens beyond the scar. But most of all I have worked alongside some of the most wonderful people.

Yes I am leaving the clinical setting but it's the team I am going to miss so much. They're the people that have encouraged me, hugged, challenged me, told me where I am going wrong and where I was going right. Even the days I struggled to deal with management or busy moments. They were on hand to say 'if you need me to do anything just ask.' I'll never forget when I had my breakdown 2 years ago and I questioned how well I could perform as a nurse. Yet, they just said it was my mind that needed to take a rest not my capabilities.

How lucky am I? I am so underserving to have worked alongside some of these incredible people and now I must leave them.

It's safe to say I am really excited for the next part of my nursing journey. I never thought 5 years ago I would be going back to university and specialising! It's barmy! It's crazy to think that.

But there is NOWAY I would be where I am without the awesome nurses, assistants, doctors, consultants, students and the multidisciplinary teams that have humbled me along the way.


I will miss the very bones of you all. This MSc is for you guys...

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Tuesday, 8 September 2015

Will

A few weeks ago I lost a patient in her late thirties to a nasty disease. It was a sudden death and I never imagined getting a call from her mother to inform us of the news. Undoubtedly it was horrible for myself and the whole team to hear.

What was also harrowing was that her family knew her wishes if she were to die. But that cannot happen because she never made a will. So in the midst of grief her family are having to battle it out to ensure their daughter's wishes are heard, but legally her requests don't exist. I really cannot imagine how hard this must be to deal with!!! And it got me thinking.

I need to make my will.

Even though I don't feel like I have a lot to my name there are certain things I want to happen if I were to suddenly pass away. I have never really discussed with my family what funeral I would like, how I would like to be buried and organ donation etc. They are tough questions I have had to ask myself but they need answers because I'd hate to think of the hassle my family would have to go through if I didn't - legally - have a response to them.

Also here in the UK if you don't have a will then the government are quite within their right to take your money and assets. And I do not want that to happen! I want to ensure my loved ones inherit what I have worked hard for and enjoy the things in life I may not be able to. I think it's a shame that will making isn't heavily regulated because it helps prevent so much like family squabbles, appoints trustees, ensures your money/assets go to individuals, charities etc that you want them to go to. If you die with no will, the law decides all that, not you. At present 30 million people in the UK, over the age of 21, do not have a will. I think that's sad but not surprising.

It's these people that I want to carry out my last requests, not the government who don't know me.

So do you have a will? If not, really think hard about getting one drawn up. If you do not know how to go about it then you just need to instruct a will writer to act on your behalf. In total it has cost me £100 to have one drawn up which is minor in comparison to heartache. Once it's done you can update it anytime and you'll have peace of mind, that even in death, your wishes are being heard.

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Saturday, 5 September 2015

Honor-ing the day you were born.

Dear Honor,

One year ago today I got a text to say I had become an Auntie again. I was in the Caribbean and part of me just wanted to hop on a plane to meet my little Honor Rose.

I think what astounds me is just how different you are to your brother. You are a such a sassy, forthright and strong little baby. You have had a voice since the day you were born and everyone knows about it. You're such a diva but I have been smitten with you since the day you were born.




I remember about a week before you were born I took your brother out to paint pottery. I remember thinking how an earth am I am going to love another baby as much as I love your brother?


But it just multiplies.


I love your strong will. I adore your cheeky grins. I cherish how much you love your brother and I will always be puzzled by your interest in dirt.


I don't want you to grow up anymore. But, equally, I cannot wait to see what a wonderful little girl you will grow up to be.

Thank you for gracing my life this past year. I treasure you and Cohen, more than you will ever know. I cannot believe you are one years old!


I hope you grow up to live up to your name. To honour life, to honour those who love you and most importantly honour yourself.


I am so proud to be your Auntie. Happy 1st birthday my amazing little niece!

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Friday, 28 August 2015

Travel: Mexico

As many of you know I love my trips and holidays. Since buying my house and starting university next month I have to be a lot more careful about anything I book now. In saying that I still want to go away just not as often.

So next year I am off to Mexico!


I know that I need a trip where I can just relax and chill out. I am going at the time my masters degree ends so a little R&R is something I will be needing. It's funny because I have a travel list and some people have asked me why I am going somewhere that isn't on my list of places I want to go.

And the answer is pretty simple.

It's just a list.

It doesn't mean I don't want to see other places. I know I really want to go to Thailand and that isn't on my list but it doesn't mean I won't go because it isn't on my list. I think it would be very narrow minded of me to have that view.

One of the things I do LOVE about going somewhere that isn't on my list is that I haven't researched it. So if you have been what do you recommend seeing/doing?

I am going to be on the Caribbean coast just south of Cancun. I welcome any Mexican advice and ideas!

Have you any trips planned? 

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Friday, 21 August 2015

Just Everything

I feel like just everything is getting on top of me at the moment. I just feel as if I am permanently harassed and not just be people. By traffic, paperwork, gossip, rubbish weather, poor funds. I just feel irritated by everything.

Two weeks ago I went through a meltdown. It was the first time in two years that I felt out of control and it was scary. But I have also, with wonderful help, been able to pick myself up so much better. I have been able to realise where my thoughts should not have been going and been able, with support, try to re-navigate myself. It's almost like I am a GPS. I lost my way for a bit and at the moment I currently feel like I am doing the U-Turn. I just haven't quite figured out which road to drive onto yet. But I am quite happy to wait at the junction until I do.

It's also hit me this week that this time next month I will be a student again. I am so used to being the mentor for student nurses so to go back to where I was 5 years ago - just seems a little crazy. I am EXCITED for it. I am so ready for a new challenge and this is something I have dreamt of doing. But this week has also hit home at what I am leaving. Even though I find the job boring I do not find the people I work with dull in the slightest.

They're like a second family and I genuinely feel like I am flying the nest. Their support has been invaluable but my God it is starting to sink that I won't be working alongside them anymore. It's scary. Today I said my first goodbye to one of the girls, as she is going away for a month, and the idea of having to do that 20+ more times sucks.

Change is a good thing but it also stops me from being in the driving seat for a little bit. So just like this post. I seem to be feeling a cacophony of every emotion at the moment. Yet, as long as I am better than I was two weeks ago then I know I will be okay.


I have faith in the next step even if I can't see the whole staircase.

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Sunday, 9 August 2015

Relapse

Relapse - a deterioration after a period of improvement.

And this is what happened. For the last two years I have been on a steady path in dealing with my anxiety issues. But I will admit there have been many instances where I have ignored silly thoughts in my head, worried about certain situations that on reflection weren't worth anxiety over. I understand that there would have been times that I would slip but I think it is safe to say that I have relapsed back into anxiety.

It all came to a head last week when I couldn't sleep, my concentration at work was shot and mustering all I could to not cry was my goal of the day. It took me back to two years ago when I did exactly the same thing but what was worse this time was I knew what was happening...and I was so panicked by it. I was my own worst critic as I couldn't utilise the tools I had been taught to reduce the anxiety because crying about it seemed easier. After I had my panic attack I knew enough was enough. I had to take hold of it.

I spoke to a good friend of mine who has two psychology degrees and he made me realise that it's a good idea to start liking myself. I need to start training my mind and change this learned response. Simply because he is right...when I worry about something I have somehow learnt to become anxious over it rather than realistic about it. I want to change this and I have tools to help me start.

One thing I do want to say though that as rubbish as I feel right now. I know I am lucky. I am lucky to have brilliant friends who have messaged and rung me all week to see how I am. I am fortunate to have a family who know how to distract me and blessed to have a housemate who lets me cry on the sofa and doesn't think she's living with some crazy loon. I know that and for that I am thankful.

But I am also encouraged. If I stop to think about it I don't give myself enough credit for keeping my anxiety/depression at bay. For two years I have known I have these illnesses and each time they have reared their ugly heads they haven't been as bad. And you know why? Because I don't let it. I try so hard to rid my head of those mean thoughts and their intrusive natures. I have to stop myself from ruminating on the past and feeling regret because it just leads to one dead end. So even though this time the relapse has been so much worse it has also made me realise how far I have come.

On Friday I felt so alone, despite having so many people around me. Yet, today I don't have as many people around me but I do not feel alone.

This is my battle and I am always going to show up for the fight with a sword in hand.


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