Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Lessons Learnt in Hospital

Flowers are 100% a perk of hospital stays (From here)

Thank you all so much for being so caring and supportive over the last week. Your messages and little checks on me helped tons. My operation to help alleviate the symptoms of my DVT went well as far as we can tell for the moment so I'm doing my best to feel positive in this tricky period of recovery. I am now home but being in hospital was quite a humbling experience for me. It wasn't my first time but the characters I met during this stay were much more significant to me as they were going through similar versions of my condition. There was a bit of a community feeling going on in that respect. I noted down the following during my hospital stay last week about the little lessons I have learnt, some more meaningful than others...
  • It is important to feel appreciative of the fact that wherever you are in your journey, there's always someone else who is only at the beginning of the turmoil. Feel lucky that you've come so far.
  • The longer you're on a ward, the more vocal you feel entitled to be. The lady next to me has been here a couple of months and she's definitely self-elected leader of this bay's pack.
  • You can pretty much never trust the custard served.
  • Try not to underestimate the kindness of strangers. I had a difficult time a couple of nights. The first, a couple of family members of different patients came over to my bed, gave me a hug and some tissues, helped me out with my legs and chatted to me until I felt settled. The second time, it was 4am, the other patients could tell I was having a hard time when I called for help, and despite the fact that they were in ridiculous pain themselves and I'd probably woken them up, they mentored me through the next bit, telling me what medication to ask for, to breathe deeply to keep calm and counted with me to focus my mind elsewhere. It was comforting to be amongst people who cared that much, despite their own troubles.
  • People who work in hospitals have such demanding jobs. I'm sure some of the doctors who treated me didn't leave the hospital at all the entire time I was there. Their families must get fed up but they must love their jobs.
  • Being able to open your bowels normally is an utter luxury I tell you.
  • Visiting hours are an uplifting time, with the breaking of routine and noise and colour from outside, except when you see the lonely people and feel sad that nobody is with them.
  • Life is much better without a fuzzy head, especially when it means you can read. Books are marvellous transporters.
Have you realised anything new recently? How do you cope with being in hospital?

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Saturday, November 23, 2013

b & w #2

I - The Royal Academy of Arts' pretty outside (and inside a pretty gift shop)
II - Vacuum cleaner penguins and Wii Fit polar bears
III - Please mind the gap between the hour of the day and my ability to function

You can find the first instalment of b&w here.

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Thursday, November 21, 2013

Guest Post by Sallytangle: The Perfect Day

The perfect day is just as important as being able to bake the sweetest sponge or the crumbliest biscuit.  A day so full of good and glory has the ability to fix everything you need it to without you ever having to tell it. And it needn’t be complicated.  Often the simplest days are the most perfect.

You will need:

Sunshine.  And bags of the stuff.  You can’t be sad, or feel unwell or miss anyone quite as much when Mr Sunshine rears his pretty little head.  Fact.

A wide open outside space.  As lovely as looking through a big window all curled up and cosy inside is ideal, nothing beats fresh air in your lungs.  Any space will do but the bigger the better. 

Some form of exercise.  You can be alone, be a little twosome or a big and whopping group of people but getting out and moving your lovely limbs does no end of good whatever you are doing.  Circus tricks and acrobatics are not essential.  Just do what makes you feel good.  Your two feet are as good as anything else. 

The Method:

Get up and fill your tummy with your favourite breakfast.  At the moment I am partial to a slice or three of cranberry and raisin bread, toasted with butter and a little cup of lady grey tea with lots of milk. 

Wrap up warm in as many layers as you can squeeze into.  I am currently loving all things tweed and tartan and spending my day in a little kilt, navy oversized knit, clumpy boots and tights is pretty much perfect.  Mittens and furry Cossack hat also usually feature heavily. 

Once you have found the widest most beautiful open space you can muster, do what the bobbins you like.  This week I have been interrupting my usual laps of our local park with frequent stops to marvel at beautiful autumn colours, dreamy amber afternoon skies and the satisfying crunch of leaves underneath my feet. 

These sorts of days don’t take too long to put together and they should keep for at least a couple of weeks in your lovely little head.  And they are perfect relief when life feels like it gets a bit too much and you are careering towards Christmas at break-neck speed. 

Note:  A huge and warm thank you goes out to the beautiful Beeta for allowing me to write for her wonderful blog.  This blog is one of my very favourites to curl up on these darker evenings and get a little bit lost in.  This girl's words are beyond beautiful and it’s a very special honour to feature here for a moment!

I was absolutely chuffed when the lovely Sally from Sallytangle agreed to write a little something for my blog whilst I'm away. Look at how stunning those pictures are - can't believe they're on my blog!! I told you I'd leave you in exceedingly good hands! Sally's blog is my favourite at the moment. Words can't really do her photography, beautiful descriptions or clever ideas justice so make sure you pop over to her blog and sample some of her genius for yourselves. Thank you very much, Sally. 
- Beeta

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Monday, November 18, 2013

See you on the other side...

Don't you find that you spend time dreading some weeks and they just pass you by? I've had a few of those recently and somehow they disappear without giving you a chance to even attempt half of your to-do list. I'm not convinced that there are enough hours in the day at the moment. I've been trying to work pretty hard in the last couple of weeks to get on top of my studying as tomorrow morning I will be going into hospital for a few days to have an operation and will have to take a little bit of time out to get better. Don't worry though, I'm leaving you in some very good hands with a very exciting guest post scheduled for you all later in the week. Keep your eyes peeled! I'm so excited to share it with you.

Tonight I'm taking a night off of studying and going to see a comedian I have recently been enjoying - Bridget Christie. I'm sure it'll be the perfect way to distract myself from what's coming tomorrow! In all honesty, I haven't even had time to worry about it and I'm so excited that it might be the solution to a lot of my symptoms I just can't wait to have it done. I've never had an operation before - have any of you? Any advice or top tips to calm the nerves would be much appreciated!

Have a lovely week, enjoy the guest post and I'll update you on my operation adventures as soon as I'm home again.

Oh, I almost forgot - my little kitten, Cosmo, is featuring over on Katie's "Perfect Pets" series today. Make sure you pop over and have a peek at him aged around 4 months. He's grown so much since then but he gets cuter and cuter each and every day.

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Sunday, November 17, 2013

Sunday Roundup

Found here via Pinterest
This week I have been:

Buying: books. I annoyed myself by forgetting some paperwork when I visited the hospital earlier this week which meant that I had to make the hour round trip again later in the day. To cheer myself up, I popped into a charity shop on my walk home where they were doing a deal on their books - 4 for £1.99. So naturally I picked up eight and carried them home in my arms like my many paper babies. It was such a treat and I am chuffed that I picked up so many good titles including....Shantaram by Gregory David Roberts, The Casual Vacancy by JK Rowling, White Teeth by Zadie Smith and Any Human Heart by William Boyd (the TV series of this was magnificent). All in excellent condition as well I might add.

Reading: The Hobbit which I also picked up in my spree. I've never read this before but my two BFs (boyfriend and best friend) love these books so I thought I'd see what the fuss is all about.

Practising: advocacy. I had my advocacy mock this week and after the way the practice had gone the week before, I was worried it was going to be just as awful. I'm pleased to report it was a million times better, I passed and now feel confident for the real thing which is in a month. Moral of the story - mocks exist for a reason.

Listening: to London Grammar (well obviously), Florence and the Machine and the Arctic Monkeys.

Spending: time with my best friends in the whole wide world <3 <3

Eating: Dairy Milk Fruit and Nut and the world's best chocolate and vanilla cheesecake. You lucky Instragram followers will have seen...ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh. They were meant to give me energy to keep going with my uni work but knocked me out instead and fell asleep uninterrupted the whole night through. Think I found the cure for sleeplessness guys...

I may be a little absent next week for reasons I will reveal in due course but keep happy and strong everyone. I'm a big advocate of what Ovid's said up there xxxx

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Friday, November 15, 2013

The view from within

Original source unknown. Found here via Pinterest.

It's funny how the days I wake up feeling awful and so not up for facing the day, quite often turn out to be days where I feel peaceful if I end up spending the day by myself. It's almost as if I need to leave my house, or between whichever four walls I wake up in, the zone of sluggishness and negativity, and emerge in the hub of happening, watching people go about their days with purpose, breathe fresh air and feel the cold against my face and hands. And have thoughts and realisations like the ones I am putting down on paper now. 

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Sunday, November 10, 2013

Sunday Roundup

Found here
This week I have been....
Planning: the In Thing for Cancer Research
Listening to: London Grammar, Daughter and Laura Marling
Watching: Made in Chelsea
Smiling at: finding my blog on Bloglovin's list of up and coming personal blogs
Worrying: an awful lot
Drinking: orange flavoured hot chocolates to warm up my insides
Buying: (and building) a desk from Ikea

I was meant to be in Berlin this week seeing the Arctic Monkeys but the silver lining to not being able to go after all is that I had more time to do uni work and time for a date with M.

What was your silver lining this week?
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Saturday, November 09, 2013


A few weeks ago, one of my lovely old university friends and I met in Piccadilly for a much needed catch up after the summer. You know when you live in the same city as somebody but somehow don't manage to see them anywhere near as much as you would like to - silly, "life" getting in the way... - yep S is one of those. I think my new year's resolution will be to see more of my closest friends because that is what "life" is, not textbook after textbook.

We went for some soup and then wandered around the market stalls outside St James' Church. It's a great live music venue by the way if you ever get the chance to go. I saw Laura Marling there quite a few years ago and it was enchanting.

Beetles + Huxley is a little gallery in a road opposite the church, specialising in photographic prints. We knew there was a National Geographic exhibition going on so a stop there was a must. Unfortunately this one has finished now but take my word for it, the photos were just spectacular. Here are a few of my favourites...

David Doubilet Here
Sam Abell Here
Stephen Alvarez here
How privileged the photographers must feel to have been able to use their skill and talent to capture such stunning natural scenes.

Have you been to any exhibitions recently that you would recommend?
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Thursday, November 07, 2013

Doing a cat a favour

I met this fluffy, mystical creature one morning this week at the door of the library at college. How could she possibly be meowing to be let in from the cold when she owns a much more snug coat than I, I asked. She adamantly protested and after a little more to-ing and fro-ing, she'd won me over. I went to the library to research some cases whilst she flounced around the foyer, feeling pretty pleased with herself.

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Tuesday, November 05, 2013

Dinner with the over 30s

Original source unknown but found here via Pinterest

I am in my 20s. I know this is still young, very young in fact. There are few occasions where I am actually made to think about my age. One of these is going to my hospital clinic where I am fairly sure I am the youngest one there because most of the people who need Warfarin are older/elderly. The other is when I am in a group of people out of which I am the only person still living at home. I was involved in the latter social situation last weekend when I attended a dinner party at my older cousin's flat. She is around ten years older than me, as were her friends. From what I gleaned over our delicious three-course meal (which I can only apologise for not photographing), here are some things that happen at dinner in your 30s which just don't in your 20s:

Sharing the joys of household goods
- Demonstrations of how fantastic the new Dyson vacuum cleaner you recently purchased is, along with the story of how and when it was bought, including its journey home. Like a puppy.
- Excitement about the latest water filter also purchased

Drink choices vary between mugfuls of comfort and sophisticated poison
- Half the table who were going out that night were drinking Amaretto on the rocks, the other half who weren't going out were drinking Tetley

Speaking your mind
- The expectation that a 23 year old should be living in their own place
- Honesty about meringue stuck in teeth and spa days involving nakedness.

Nutrition and detoxing discussions
- Obsessing over diets, regimes and getaways to help "shed pounds"

Popular culture is both known about and frowned upon
- All conversations about One Direction involved looks shot my way. I don't even like them.
- Nobody spoke about Twitter. I was so out of my depth...!

Various other things my vocabularly has never had to work its way around
- Dilemmas involving boyfriends with wives and children
- Being able to say "about nine years ago, my manager said to me..." (9 years ago my biggest ambition was to be Minnie Mouse at Disneyland)
- Being asked how old you are by a stranger and being offended because nobody asks that past a certain point.

Of course, I have only picked up on the topics of comedic appeal in this post but I found the whole experience so refreshing. It was nice to hear women talk confidently and knowledgeably about a whole range of issues. I'd be really interested to hear any other revelations or observations you have about the way conversation shifts as you grow older. What attitudes do you spot in those a few years older than you, that you yourself do not yet identify with? This link shows all us 20-somethings what we have to look forward to - looks like a lot of fun!

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Sunday, November 03, 2013

Sunday Roundup

This week was half-term. The perfect opportunity to unwind a little, but mostly to get ahead with work in anticipation of a busy couple of months ahead. I did also get to catch up with some friends so it was a fairly balanced week. As always, however, it has reached Sunday and I feel like I could have done so much more. Any time I wasn't doing work, I felt guilty for not doing any. Are we ever content with our efforts? Do we expect too much from ourselves? Or is that just the Sunday feeling?

Other than studying, this week I was...

Reading: oh who am I kidding, I was reading about Business Accounts this week. I need to factor in some alone time with normal books again.

Listening to: London Grammar's album on repeat. Sally and I are in love with them and the voice and just oh my goodness. The album just grabs my soul and twists it into pretty shapes.

Eating: burgers. Out. Twice. Whoops.

Wishing I was eating: a Patty & Bun burger. Is it really worth queuing in the cold for? If you assure me it is, I will wait.

Watching: Midnight in Paris. I enjoyed the concept and it was very typically Woody Allen. It was also interesting to see the lovely Rachel McAdams play a character who isn't very likeable. The beautiful imagery also made me miss my friend, Anj, who is in Paris and made me even more excited to go and visit her.

Drinking: THIS (a delicious blend of lychee, pineapple, rum, mint, lime, FIRE AND MAGIC) at B Soho which is a great bar off of Oxford Street, complete with live music from 10pm. All the songs were the acoustic best bits of all your favourites that you would compile for a playlist, cleverly linked by song title or theme. Lets go together sometime and sing along.

Thinking about: what presents to give people who are impossible to buy for.

Celebrating: (with burgers) the end of a rough few months for M.

Enjoying: the company that a pet brings. The ultimate conundrum, however, is that he is so terribly naughty but also so very cute when he is naughty. To be cross, or not to be cross!

Catching up with: old house-mates, old uni friends and old school friends.

Excited about: hosting the #lbloggers chat tonight!

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Friday, November 01, 2013

Taking Stock #2

From here
As I mentioned last month, at the beginning of every month I intend to fill out the list below with the aim of reflecting on where I am in my head, as well as looking at how my priorities and concerns have changed. Feel free to take part if you so wish. I originally found this here.


Making : too many health related appointments
Cooking : for a friend once, for my family not often enough
Drinking : so many hot drinks. Mostly Camomile tea recently.
Reading: the same book all month and not quickly enough
Wanting: to get ahead with my work in preparation for the time I'll have to take out soon
Looking: at beautiful photos at a National Geographic exhibition at Beetles & Huxley
Playing: Mario Kart on the Nintendo Game Cube to relieve stress a la weekday afternoons during sixth form.
Wasting: too much time on my iPad instead of finishing books
Fixing: how I view the faults of others
Deciding: to have my first ever operation
Wishing: I could help more
Enjoying: London Grammar's album, even after the first listen, when usually it takes me a while to warm to new music
Waiting: for the chance of getting my body fixed
Liking: that I posted on my blog more in the past month than I have ever before
Wondering: how on earth I'm going to muster up the motivation to read some cases from the 19th century
Loving: how peacefully the kitten sleeps on my tummy late at night after he spends all day being the naughtiest
Pondering: whether I'll be able to go travelling next summer
Considering: different places to live when my job starts
Watching: not very much
Hoping: there will be a streak of good luck now
Marvelling: at the idea of being able to run again
Needing: cuddles and plenty of them
Smelling: stinky cat food
Wearing: trainers an awful lot more, wishing they matched all clothes!
Following: medical advice
Noticing: who matters
Knowing: so much more than I did before I started my course
Thinking: positively when I can
Feeling: calmer in my head but agitated in my body
Admiring: the thought and effort behind the surprise party M's friends did for him
Buying: train tickets, a couple of lunches out and presents
Getting: up in the mornings with difficulty most days
Bookmarking: ideas for presents
Opening: a door to potentially something great
Giggling: when I realise I've said/done something cheeky but try and cover it up but M sees right through it


Have a wonderful weekend.


PS. I am hosting the #lbloggers chat this Sunday at 7pm-8pm (UK time) and I would love it if you all joined in. I'll release the questions during the actual chat but they will be on the theme of the personality traits which make you a blogger. Speak to you then!

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