Monday, 4 July 2011

Ch Ch Ch Changes!

Exciting times. I AM going to be a doctor, and I've just moved house!

The house we've moved to is in a small village near the hospital I'll start work in next month. It's bigger than the teeny flat we were in last year - we've a big bedroom, an attic room that we've made half music studio (him) and half crafting corner (me), a BATH not just a shower and much more kitchen space. It's lovely too, polished floorboards and exposed brickwork and beams and wooden doors. Very cosy. I've spent all week half expecting the letting agents to call and say there's been a mistake, they were never supposed to give us the keys to a house this nice.

Going through all our belongings to pack seemed like the perfect time to clear out and declutter. Exhibit A: three shelves full of A4 binders of lecture notes, charts, papers; the detritus of five years' hard study. I didn't want to throw them away, but frankly I've never looked at them since the final exam for each module. I didn't even look at them for finals revision, for that I mostly stuck with the Oxford Handbook and Davidson's (fondly nicknamed the Bible and the Beast, for any medics reading ;) ) I read through some of them then and looked at how my writing's changed over the last five years, at how concepts that seemed impossible to follow back in first year make sense now. One thing I found, filed away neatly, was my assessment from my first ever hospital placement, two and a half years ago. I was on a surgical ward in the hospital I'll start work at soon. The assignment was a case report - pick a patient, take a history and examine them, write about the investigations, possible diagnoses and what treatment they'd had. I remembered meeting this patient, struggling to remember what questions to ask, going back to examine them two or three times because I'd missed key things and he was a friendly chap who was happy to help. I remembered wondering what on earth all these different blood tests were for and how people could keep track of what numbers were the right levels for each test. I remembered being baffled and intimidated by the idea that in two and a half years I would be expected to know all this, that I'd be expected to confidently ask the right questions, examine the right bits, order the right blood tests and know what the results meant, order the right scans, be ready with the answer when the consultant asked about tiny details of the patient's care so far. Of course, two and a half years seemed like a lifetime at that point.

Our grad ball was a couple of weeks ago, a weekend of costume parties, formal dinner, fun and games with friends. As part of the formal dinner there were videoed speeches from different people at the medical school. One that really resonated me was a short excerpt towards the end. "You're all sitting there, feeling sneaky and a little guilty, thinking 'Ha! I tricked my way through! I passed, I beat the system!' That's not actually the case. What's actually happened is that, probably without you noticing it, the system has made you good enough that you SHOULD be let through."

Reading through that first case report, I got it. I wondered why I'd missed a big chunk of the history - when I got to the final page, so had the consultant marking my work. Those blood test results, numbers that I'd carefully copied from the notes accompanied by a chart of reference ranges and a biochem book, made sense on a quick read through. I had to laugh at some of the suggestions I'd written for differential diagnosis. It was the work of a bewildered medical student, and I've learnt so much since then.

I'm still scared shitless about starting work next month, but so's everyone else I know, even The Smart One. We'll manage somehow, just like the generations before us. It'll be fine.

I've still not convinced myself we're really allowed to stay in the house, though.

Friday, 29 April 2011

Style rookie

What better form of procrastination on a rainy day can be found that style blogs? I've found a few interesting new reads lately, and they have provoked more pleasant thoughts when my tired brain can no longer contemplate the side effects of anti-tuberculous medications.

There is currently a huge difference between my ideal aesthetic and my actual appearance and environment. In part, this is caused by student finances - I clothes shop very rarely and as dictated by necessity, and then only in charity shops - and partly due to my (sometimes subconscious) discomfort with my appearance - being both a shorty and on the rounder side makes finding items that fit well challenging.

I've been reading a lot lately about the idea of "building the perfect wardrobe" and following the principle of quality over quantity - having only well-made, quality things that fit perfectly, all go together and you love, rather than piles on piles of Primark's finest. I like this idea - tons of stuff around just stresses me out and I hate pulling out a work skirt and realising the only shirt that goes with it is in the wash. I would describe my current style as a bit rock'n'roll, a bit boho, but I'm also a big fan of really clean, classic, neutral basics that can go with anything and to any occasion. Here's what I hope my wardrobe looks like in the coming months:

I've been after a white shirt that fits me properly for years (without me having to sew up the gape in the chest) and found Bravissimo, which sells shirts in various sizes for bigger busts. This chino skirt from FatFace would be great for work and weekends (it has POCKETS!) and I'd like the black one too. Both are on the shopping list, along with a comfy pair of work shoes that are good enough quality to last more than a few months of running around the wards. I got these boots from Duo for Christmas - they sell boots in various calf sizes meaning I have knee boots that fit for the first time in my life - the leather on them is just lovely. And my current bag (for years now) is a khaki satchel - a lot more beat up than this one I found online, but also a lot more personal :)

Of course a girl needs a wishlist as well as a shopping list! Here are my dreams in sartorial form :) Not likely to happen, but it's fun to imagine!

Alice by Temperley leather jacket, Mulberry Bayswater, Ash ankle boots, Balenciaga Day bag.

How would you describe your style? What's currently on your wishlist?

Friday, 8 April 2011

Radio silence

So, it turns out I'm not so great at keeping up with this blogging thing. (Even though I put it on my to-do list every week.) I'm breaking the radio silence first so say a massive THANK YOU to Katie over at What Katie Found. Through the pay-it-forward handmade items meme she sent me this adorable cross-stitch badge! She has her own shop called Kakes Makes, you should definitely check it out :)

So why haven't I been writing? A combination of two factors. First (and arguably most important) I have my university finals in four weeks…. given that they can theoretically test us on anything we've done in the last five years this has been making for quite a hefty revision load!

When not stuck in the books I thought it was about time to get fit and active! NOT something I'm used to I can tell you. But I found the perfect activity for me… roller derby! I've been skating with the local newbie training program for the last 9 weeks and I've never had so much fun with sports in my life!

Friday, 7 January 2011

Pay it forward 2011

Having seen this around a bunch of places, both blogs and facebook, I decided to go for it!

"I promise to make something handmade for the first five people who comment.

They must in turn post this and make something for the first five who comment.

The rules are it has to be handmade by you, and they must receive it before 2011 ends."

I'm not sure there are even five people reading this haha! But anyone who fancies homemade surprises popping through their letterbox, just leave a comment with some way to get back to you! See here for the most recent things I've made (and taken pictures of).

Wednesday, 5 January 2011

Dreaming of the open road

One of my dreams is to own a VW camper van one day. I spend a good deal of time on family camping trips trying to unobtrusively edge closer to the beautiful busses on the campsite, peering inside at each individual setup. I've never been particularly interested in interior design but the thought of getting creative with such a space is quite exciting.




(interior images from

The bus is freedom, it's sunshine whatever the actual weather, it's individual and DIY, it's summer holidays that stretch on forever.

Ink and watercolour by ~steventudor on deviantART.

Digital artwork by *joke-art on deviantART.

My family are well aware of this slight obsession and whilst an actual vehicle is still out of reach I'm building up quite the collection of gifts referencing it… joining the calendar, mug, tshirt and piggy bank are this birthday card and gift from my boyfriend's mum. Awesome or what?

Photo on 2011-01-05 at 12.22

Photo on 2011-01-05 at 12.21
(I just realised you can't really see the top of this.. it's a purse/pouch thingy.)

For now I am simply looking through Campers in Cornwall and plotting summer 2012, when I will be 25 and therefore old enough to hire Sherbie for a week or two and see how well my dream and I suit each other…

Saturday, 1 January 2011

Happy New Year!

Goals for 2011:
1. Make more of an effort with clothing and style. Shapeless rubbish does not make a fat body invisible. Fabulous can be found in a size 18.

2. Talk to people if I'm sad. Share it with people when I'm happy.

3. Pass finals!

Hope everyone enjoyed the celebrations and have a great 2011!