Wednesday, 23 November 2016

#AirmailChristmas 2016

Blogging has been running at a snail pace the last few months. However, I will ALWAYS have time to introduce A Very Airmail Christmas.

I have just returned from a holiday cruise around the Caribbean. There were numerous moments where I would stand on my balcony and look out at the vast ocean. It was at these moments that I really wanted to send a message in a bottle. I wondered about what I would write, where would it end up and would anyone ever read it? In 2012 I had a patient called "Robin" who loved the idea of sending a Christmas card to a stranger, just as I love the idea of sending a message to an unbeknownst person across the water. Sadly, she passed away and and you can read Robin's story and the creation of Airmail Christmas here. Since then, every year, the Airmail Christmas card exchange has been dedicated to some amazing honourees such as Mama MB, Anna Basso and Kylie Meyers.

I am very lucky that my friend Laura Anne will be using her blog as the platform for Airmail Christmas this year. I will not beat around the bush, but blogging has not been a good strength of mine lately. I have no excuses other than I am a busy person, just like so many other people. But this Christmas card exchange means a great deal to me, and I want to do Airmail Christmas justice and honour it 100%.

So please hop on over to Laura Anne's blog by clicking here. Airmail Christmas is honouring someone I am very lucky to call a friend, who I met in the blogging world.

So will you send a Christmas card to a stranger this year? If you do, you will be honouring the gift of life. You'll see. So click here and find out more.

Have A Very Airmail Christmas everyone.

Tuesday, 12 July 2016

Oh anxiety!

When I was driving home today I felt a real urge to blog, a compulsion I have not felt in quite a while. It was not until I opened the laptop that I saw the date.


It has been three years since I broke down in my Mum's hallway. Three years since I experienced my first ever panic attack. And three years since I realised I was not well and I needed help.

If I look back I have always shown signs of anxiety. I clearly remember when I was at school and I would get nervous stomach aches over school trips, people getting sick, being late for lessons or forgetting my PE kit. As I grew up I just assumed those feelings of nervousness were normal and just me transitioning through life. Then again the older I got the more I realised these feelings were more persistent and would not go away.

Then 2013 happened and life changed.

I remember when I started recovering and thinking 'let's hope that doesn't happen again.' But the biggest thing I have learnt is anxiety does not got away. It has to be managed, but there are days when I am not on my A game with it, so it creeps in.

The past few weeks I have been finishing up university, essays, logging hours and meeting deadlines. I have been so busy "being busy" that when it all ended, I suddenly has a chance to be still.

To do nothing.

So anxiety crept back in. It was almost like my mind had nothing to be distracted with, so it got bored, and caused me to question things that have always given me stability. In particular my relationships with people and self worth. The brain is a wonderful organ, but it is also one of the cruelest!

I cannot even begin to explain how powerful anxiety is. It overtakes your thoughts, it makes you hyper sensitive and causes you to second guess every minute detail. It's with you in the car when you just want to sing along to the music. It's with you at work when you just want to concentrate on something you know you are good at. It's most definitely with you at night, the worst time of all, when your whole environment is quiet and your mind is whirring around in a vicious cycle. It's at that moment when anxiety tries to befriend you. It acts as your best pal trying to alert you to "trouble" ahead, so it plays with your natural instincts to protect yourself. Then when you are in the pits of despair the anxiety leaves you to deal with the broken pieces. Yet, at that point you need the anxiety back to 'help you' deal with all the negative thoughts and repeated questions. It's like a drug but with no benefits.

Since this happened a few weeks back I have been doing some therapy lessons over the phone with a counsellor. Yet, the biggest thing that has helped is letting people in. This is because three years ago I was VERY guarded with who knew about my feelings, until I decided to blog about it. When the anxiety came back to bite me this time, it was different, because I am in a relationship.

I have been very open and honest with my boyfriend but I was scared, because this time we were dealing with it, rather than talking about it. He has been amazing and my absolute rock during this tricky time. If I have to offer any advice to a person who has a partner, family member or friend with anxiety- it's to include the word WE.

WE will get through this
WE are a team
WE are going to do this together
WE will find a way
WE will manage this

Anxiety hates the word WE, and Tom always talks about how WE will tackle things. He has no idea how much it helps lessen the anxiety I feel in some situations. Although it is daunting, I am proud of myself for talking about it and letting people understand my world.

In time I will talk about how I deal with the anxious thoughts and the emotions related to them. In the meantime, 3 years later, I've realised I am still doing ok and anxiety hates that.

I'm still sensitive. I still enjoy having a laugh and getting out and about. I still love my career and I am proud of what I have achieved.

I am doing just fine.


Thursday, 2 June 2016

Hello Gang!

Why HELLO there!

Life has been super busy lately and to be honest I have not even thought about blogging. I do miss typing out posts and reading other peoples blogs, but time is not on my side at present.

I am hoping in September things will calm down a little bit. So here's an update on what's going on in my world:

1) I qualify soon!

Since September I have been undertaking my Masters degree in public health. It has been tough- way tougher than I thought. I remember when I was an undergraduate doing my nursing degree. I found balancing full time placement hours, university assignments and a social life hard but I got through it. Now being older and studying, it has been a bit more of a strain! My life has changed since doing my degree. I have my own place now so I have a household to run and family to visit. I am also in a relationship which requires love and attention too. So with that and the placement hours/essays/social life- life has been much harder to balance.

However, I qualify in September and it feels good to be so close. I also went for an interview last week and was offered a wonderful position. So all this extra work has been worth it! It always will be. I have decided to defer completing the Masters dissertation until next summer. My plate is far to full to add a 20,000 worded dissertation on top of tall hat.

2) Much needed break coming up

I have a week off in June and I cannot wait. I am going on holiday to Spain with my family. I have not been on a family holiday for 12 years! So it should be fun for us to all be together for a few days. Plus no work! BLISS!


It is all over the news everyday here but if you have not heard, the UK will be voting in a referendum next month. The referendum is whether we stay in the European Union or not. I am not in the country when the vote takes place but I have registered for a postal vote. I have been in real limbo about what I am voting for. Everyone has personal reasons for which way they swing but for me the issue is saving our NHS. At present evidence suggests staying in the EU increases our NHS debt but I still need to research this.

4) I miss him

Tom is currently away in Thailand for 2 1/2 weeks. The longest we have been apart is 4 days so being without him for 17 days is tough! He is having a great time, despite it being monsoon season, and we have spoken on the phone. This break apart has really made me realise how important he is to me and how supportive he is. I feel very lucky!

5) Niece and nephew are growing up

When I blogged regularly I documented Cohen and Honor a fair bit. Well they are both a year older since I last wrote a blog on their development. Cohen continues to love trains, action figures and pasta. I cannot quite believe he starts school in September! Where has my newborn nephew gone?! He is such a pleasure to be around and so polite. He gives the best cuddles and has the coolest imagination. I think he is going to LOVE school. Honor is a little sass pot! She can be a lot to handle at times and is the biggest chatterbox. I find her so funny and I adore how girly she is. I still find it hard to believe how different both Cohen and Honor are but they adore each other. I got to spend the day with them at Legoland on Monday. I love seeing life through their eyes.

6) Mentally doing well

My biggest concern about starting my Masters was the anxiety. Yet, despite all the stress of studying and meeting deadlines the anxiety has been, relatively, okay. I do have days where the anxiety gets set off and this is usually due to things not going the way they should. Tom is a HUGE help because he is quite laid back, so when I get anxious he can generally calm me down. I have noticed the anxiety flares up on days when I am on my own, as that is when the negative thinking creeps in. I accept there will be days where I am alone (and to be honest I like the odd day to myself!) However, when I have a few days off and doing work at home, I try to make plans for the evening or go for a walk to focus my mind elsewhere.

7) Weddings

One of my good friends, Natalie, got married on the 14/05/2016. I have worked with Natalie for 4 years and it was the most wonderful day. The bride looked awesome, the music was great and the location was stunning. I have never been a big advocate for getting married myself. I think it's a lovely thing to do but I have never been too fussed about the hoo-ha of a wedding! But when I saw Natalie and Ollie dancing away in front of this beautiful sunset in the Hampshire hills...I did suddenly think 'I'd like this, one day, you know'.

8) Friendships that pass

I have been really saddened over the last year that some friendships have ended. I still find it weird that some people can be so apart of your life for so long, and then they disappear. I used to blog about my great friendship with Oli, who I travelled with to New Zealand. Sadly, he withdrew from me and we have no contact anymore which is such a shame. I was also really good friends with my friend Laura and I was even going to be her bridesmaid! Then some accusatory stories happened and I realised I could not be friends with her. I just find it so disheartening when you make such a effort with someone for so long and then BAM- it fades. I have definitely realised it does not matter how many people you have in your life. It's the quality of the time you make with those people.

9) Trying to be more active

I have definitely been a couch potato since starting back up at university. So I have taken up a dance class on a Monday and a Clubbercise class on a Thursday. I love the dance class! It is so fun to learn the actual choreography dancers do in musicals and with artists/bands.

10) This is how I feel about the whole Gorilla story

So that's my world in a small nutshell. I really am going to try and make more of an effort now my workload is slowing down. I miss the blogging life and I miss catching up on the lives of my blogging buddies.


Wednesday, 30 March 2016

High Expectations Hodgepodge!

I enjoy flitting in and out of hodgepodge from time to time. It also helps me take a break from essay here goes. If you would like to take part, answer the questions below and link back to your post (not blog) here.

1) What are two or three expectations you have of yourself?

I find this question hard because it changes all the time. I guess I debate that if I set myself expectations then I am setting myself up for failure. Yet, if I look over my life span I would say two things. Firstly, I always expect myself to not be sorry for my feelings/emotions. I have definitely learnt over the years that as soon as you try to justify the way you feel to someone, then you're not permitting yourself to feel how you feel. Secondly, I always expect myself to be on time. I really hate being late for things and it gets me flustered.

2) In what way does your outdoor space need sprucing up?

I do not have green fingers but I still have a creative streak for anything and everything. The winter and dark nights has made my grass turn into moss. It kills anything! So that needs killing off and I would like to get the paving redone for summer too.

3) According to the site road trippers, six of North Americas most wondrous waterfalls are:- Webster's Falls in Ontario, Upper Whitewater Falls in North Carolina, Havasu Falls in the Grand Canyon, Multnomah Falls in Oregon, The Lower Yellowstone Falls and Niagara. Have you seen any of the falls? Which one on the list would you most like to visit? Prettiest waterfall not on the list you have seen in person?

I have been to Niagara which I thought was out of this world! Niagara had been on my bucket list for years so to see it was awesome. I have been to the Grand Canyon but did not have time to visit Havasu Falls but kind of wish I had. I saw some beautiful waterfalls in New Zealand last year. They were quite small but absolutely breathtaking. It was the bluest water I had ever seen! If the water current had not been so dangerous I would have jumped straight in.

Tekapo Falls

4) Looking back, whats something you wish you had done as a teenager?
I would definitely have said travelled more. As a teenager you don't have as much money and I spent a lot of my summers working instead of exploring. I do feel I lost a little of my youth from working lots.

5) Ham...yes please or no thank you?

I love ham! So yes please! In the UK we call it Gammon but I love it baked with all the trimmings or in a sandwich with coleslaw. Now this question has made me hungry...

6) Are you typical of your generation? How so?
mmm if my generation could be defined by loving boy bands, watching reruns of Friends and getting the travel bug then yes. I find it hard to sum up what makes my generation stand out. But I definitely think I come from a generation that likes to explore and are bit more daring, which I am.

7) April rolls in at the end of the week, and in keeping with that theme...'act the fool', 'nobodies fool', 'fools errand', 'could have fooled me'...which foolish idiom most recently applies to you? Explain.

Haha! I think they all do. I always hear the saying 'could have fooled me' a lot but I cannot think of something I can relate that too. On Good Friday I was doing an Easter Egg hunt with my nephew and I would search for the eggs and then he would fetch them (and keep them!) After a while I cottoned onto what he was doing- cheeky moo! So I was definitely acting the fool then.

8) Insert your own random thought here.
I am normally a person who does not stress too much about finances. As long as I have enough to pay for my house, food and travel then I feel quite equipped. But I need to have pricey dental work doing (due to a genetic issue with my teeth) and money is now on my mind. If I could win the lottery right now that would be great...or even a scratch card!


Monday, 14 March 2016

It's see you soon

Last October one of my oldest friends announced that she was moving to Bournemouth. It's a seaside town about two hours away but at the time it felt like her leaving was miles off.

I say goodbye this weekend. 

I sometimes cannot believe how fleeting time is. It is actually quite scary. I remember when she announced her plans, thinking, 'I'll have plenty of time to see her between now and March.' I can honestly say I have hardly seen her at all. Yet, instead of feeling guilty I have decided to be nostalgic.

Becca and I have been friends for 14 years. We can never remember how we exactly met at school. But she was my buddy I chatted to when getting ready for PE lessons, my coach partner on school trips, the girl I walked (and moaned with) on the way to German class, she shared my love of the band Busted and we took in the sights of Turkey together. I'll never forget when we were in Turkey we planned this big night out. Due to the fact we were penniless students we bought this cheap wine to 'pre drink.' Let's just say we never left the hotel room due to the 'cheap wine' making us feel so ill. It was funny and we still laugh our heads off to this day. Becca shares my love being creative and thinking outside the box. I will never forget we had arranged a special 21st birthday meal for our friend Sacha. However, the snow decided to ruin those plans but we refused for Sacha to not celebrate a big birthday. So Becca and I put our wellies on, picked up a cake, gifts and Chinese takeaway and walked to her house to surprise her. It turned out to be a perfect evening and I was blessed to have Becs to help make it happen.

Becca has met some hard times over the last few years. I am hoping harder than hope that this move signals a fresh start and a chance for her to put down new roots. She works hard and she deserves it. Our group of girls got her a bag of her favourite things as a leaving gift. Although she already knows it, any Bournemouth friends she makes will hold no torch for her Surrey girls haha!

This is not goodbye but an 'I'll see you soon' friend.


Sunday, 14 February 2016

Love Day

Valentines Day - the day single people may loathe. Yet, also the day where some people question why they have to spend more money for something they feel and 'do' everyday for their partner.

I have never been Valentines biggest fan. I am kind of sat on the fence with the paying out extra money part (not that you have to). But to spend a day where I can spoil and spend more time with the guy I love- added bonus in my eyes.

We are not doing anything out there or spending lots of money. I think we are going for a walk and maybe cinema (anyone seen Dirty Grandpa?) I love that I get to be with Tom today and have him to myself. We quite often go out with other people or we are in a house with family or friends. So to have a day just us two - I am going to savour it up.

I have had a few people ask me how it is going with Tom and that question of 'So what are you getting him for your FIRST Valentines?' It's sweet that people ask and I hope it is the first of many Valentines together.

Tom and I are in a good place. I am happy and he is a massive reason for that. I will be honest and say that my anxiety rears its ugly head a fair few times. I find some days a struggle to ward off the thoughts of 'you're not good enough for him' and 'it isn't going to work out.' On the whole Tom does a great job (and he doesn't even realise it) of easing my anxiety. He acknowledges my anxious feelings but he will not permit them interfere with anything. He puts a stop to it before it escalates. I just love him so much for that.

Oh and I made Tom a sweetie jar of his favourite sweets and got his favourite film - Snatch - on DVD (because his last DVD broke). Relationships are work but it's the BEST kind of work.

I hope you all have an awesome Valentines of loving on the people who love you.


Thursday, 21 January 2016

Make Your Own Mask

For Christmas I received a DIY face mask as a secret santa present. I finally had a chance to use it tonight and I found it so fun.

The kit came with a bag of clay and porridge oats (oatmeal) which I had to mix together with rose water. This means I can use it again when I want. I have never used a clay face mask before - mainly because I hate the feel of clay when it dries.

However this was not too bad as you're instructed to remove it after 10 minutes but BOY OH BOY! My skin felt so soft afterwards. I will definitely be using it again and I love that I put it together. I guess the only downside was I looked like Lord Voldermort's twin for a few minutes.

So if you ever want to get someone a quirky gift then I recommend a DIY face mask kit. It's one of the best secret santa presents I have had.


Saturday, 16 January 2016

Why I support the Junior Doctors strikes...

This week junior doctors all over the UK left their prescription pads and joined a picket line. They wanted to assert their views to the government over their poor pay, unfair contracts and 7 day working. I have never been an advocate for strikes. I remember two years ago nurses went on strike but I flat out refused. I just could not leave my patients but I didn't resent the nurses who marched to the houses of parliament either.

I am all for freedom of speech but striking is a last resort.

In saying that I fully supported the thousands of junior doctors who want to save our NHS and fight for fairer working conditions. I have seen first hand doctors start shifts at 7am and still at 10pm they are wading through their many bleeps, patient notes and calls without a break. This is dangerous but they have no choice either. If they do not do it- who does? This week I spoke to consultants who fully support the junior doctors in their team. I heard sentences such as 'their new contracts are taking them to the cleaners''s absurd!

I love the NHS. This is a service worth fighting for. It is a network of amazing and efficient nurses, cleaners, porters and doctors...the list is endless. These people work so hard to ensure the public receive the best care, a clean environment to be treated in and they do not ask for a single penny. We do not require tips or request thanks. The NHS is a wonderfully historic institution that makes Great Britain - well great.

And it's so scary to think the current government are privatising so many of its services. So new contracts have to be drawn, new wages "discussed" and more patients getting lost in the system because it's been sold to yet another company. Is it any wonder why doctors are having to work longer hours on average pay? They are trained to diagnose, treat, save lives and encourage better health. They should not be burnt out, ratty because they're tired and resentful...they need better contracts to provide a level of care the NHS would be proud of.

We need more solidarity within the NHS, not separation. These amazing people care for us when we are at our most fearful and most vulnerable. Well now, as a nation, we need to look after them. As if not - who will?

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