The musings of a fourth year English medical student

Tuesday, 28 April 2015

Revolution Vodka Bar

Last night me and five of my fellow medics went out for dinner at Revolution on the Albert Docks.

We've all been working our arses off for our exams, and it was a lovely treat. On Mondays there's loads of offers at Revolution. We had 2-4-1 cocktails 5-8pm and half price meals. I only spent £14 and got one cocktail, a main and a pudding.

I had a mojito whilst we chose what to have for dinner. I then had the Smokin Bacon burger, which curiously had Wotsits in it! I think it worked. For pudding, I had the chocolate sundae. Perfect.









If I'm honest, I'm not feeling my best. But things like this give you so much perspective and motivation to keep working and keep persevering.

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Thursday, 23 April 2015

Bistro Franc






The first week back has felt like a right slog. I have been working non-stop, and yet we're only 4 days into the new term! I try to do one activity a week where I remove myself from the university environment; it gives me the chance to realise there is so much more to life than assignments and exams. After a long and stressful day, Rob and I went to the chain restaurant Bistro Franc on Hanover St, Liverpool. It's a lovely cute French restaurant, covered in French posters and clippings of Le Figaro. My meal was absolutely amazing. For drinks, we shared a 2 pint jug of a 'pear julep'. We both had 'L'entrecôte Grillé': a sirloin steak served with seasoned vegetables (medium rare obvs). It was possibly the best steak I've ever had. For dessert, I had crème brûlée and Rob had banoffee pie, both splendid. We even got served by a French waitress, adding to the novelty of the meal.

I definitely think that with medicine it can be hard to see the bigger picture. There's more to life than Tortora.

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Tuesday, 21 April 2015

Sisterhood of the World Blog Award


Thank you SO much Hannah from Pull Yourself Together for this nomination. It's lovely that there are awards like this helping to share the love. I enjoy discovering new blogs, but often struggle to find them! It makes sense to have something like this set up. 

The rules:
- Link and thank the blogger that has nominated you
- Answer the 10 questions created for you
- Create 10 questions for your nominees
- Nominate 10 sister bloggers to receive the award

Now I will answer the questions Hannah has asked me:

1) What do you personally think is the best thing about blogging?
For me, it's to understand what people are like on a much more realistic level. Yes, some blogs can feel a bit fake and very commercial, and I have no problem with anyone trying to earn a living by running a blog. I lost interest in YouTubers when so many of them became partners, and for a lot of them the fundamental aspects of what I liked about their channels were gone. But for me, most bloggers say what they think and I like the honesty and integrity behind that. 

2) What one thing is guaranteed to make you cry?
Any stories about child abuse or if someone tells me off! I am a massive cry baby. Even when people give small kind gestures it can make me a bit tearful.

3) What would you say is your favourite restaurant?
Tricky question! I don't have one favourite, just any decent curry house, or a restaurant that can make good steaks and crème brûlée.

4) If you could be anywhere in the world right now, where would you go?
I would go to the French Alps. I love hiking and skiing, and that combined with my passion to speak French means that the Alps is my favourite place abroad.

5) If you could only save three things from your house if it was on fire, what would they be?
MacBook Air for all my lecture notes, my make up bag and my RayBan sunglasses.

6) What is the one fashion trend that you won't be trying this SS15?
I don't really keep up with the trend forecasts anymore, but I am not a huge fan of fringing or anything UV-coloured. By all means, they can look great on many people, just not my personal choice.

7) What is your pet hate?
People who show their bad manners in public. You're not an athlete, why are you spitting on the ground?! I saw the my bus driver do that yesterday. Disgusting.


8) What is your favourite scent?
Most people know I am OBSESSED with fragrance. It is one of my many vices! The perfume I've worn most this year is Stella by Stella McCartney EDP.  I've worn Miss Dior by Christian Dior EDT for many years (it was called Miss Dior Chérie but now they've shortened the name). I always layer my perfumes with Escentric Molecule 01 by Escentric Molecules. It claims to mimic your own pheromones and create a unique smell on each person. I'm considering buying Chloé's Love Story EDP for placement next year because it is very 'me' but in a much lighter floral version. As long as a perfume has rose notes in it then I'm sold.

9) What is the word/phrase that you use way too much?
Probably "Do you know what I mean?" or "If that makes sense". I do have a tendency to babble on for too long and I always worry if I'm boring people with all the nonsense I have to say!

10) Where do you see your blog in the future?
I hope that this blog sees me through medical school and my FY1/FY2 jobs. That way I will have documented the whole medical school journey, and hopefully people will enjoy reading it! I'm not bothered with how many people read it, I just hope that the few who do find it enjoyable. 

Now, I don't actually read 10 blogs, but I nominate Emily, a long time friend who has begun a new blog. 

The questions I'm asking are:
Greatest fear?
If you had one month to live, what would you do and why?
What's the best way to spend a Sunday?
Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
What's the best sandwich filling?
Which country would you like to visit that you have never been to before?
Where do you see yourself in the future?
Best makeup brand you can get in the UK?
What one food could you eat for the rest of your life?
Best pre-drink beverage?

At the moment I am really enjoying seeing all my uni mates again, but am completely petrified of my exams. Fingers crossed. 

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Monday, 13 April 2015

Heaven on earth

Just wanted to share how much I enjoyed my trip to Clos Maggiore this weekend.

Located in Covent Garden, this is a lovely restaurant serving contemporary French & Italian cuisine.

When you come in, you walk into pear-floral scented oasis of calm, decorated with bundles of flowers   covering the ground floor ceiling.

I had an aviation cocktail (gin, cherry liqueur, crème de violette and lemon juice), served in a martini glass. I had the pea and mint soup which was perfect, followed my salmon and brown shrimp. For my dessert, I had milk chocolate mille feuille. The interior design was splendid, just how I would dream my own house to look like.

The weekend in London was spent with my family and my grandparents. We visited Tate Britain before seeing Shakespeare in Love in Covent Garden. On the Sunday, we went to Camden and got some bargains along the way.

I didn't manage to get any pictures at Clos Maggiore, but found some non-copyright photos online:


Mum, me and Lucy 





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Sunday, 12 April 2015

Decisions

I've realised something today. Right now, at the very beginning of my medical career I am posed with two options: to work as hard as possible for the next 10+ years in order to get to the best hospitals/GP practices, or do what I've always done, to work as hard as is necessary in order to pass each exam but not to particularly excel. That is, I have the decision to compete and be a busy city doctor or perhaps even move into respectable medical journalism/research/regulatory sectors relating to national governance. Alternatively, I can 'settle' (if you can even call it that) on choosing easier options, working in less competitive regions. I suppose I've described it in quite a black and white way, and maybe it isn't that simple.

The way I see it is, if I want to leave medical school and do my FY1/FY2 in popular deaneries, such as in central London, the grades and actions and activities I start doing now will affect that. I forgot that once you get to medical school, the competition doesn't stop there. You've got to continue to compete, only this time it is far more cruel. The range of intelligence is more narrow; everyone is so much more ambitious and driven.

Most of my mates know that UCL Medical School was my first choice and Liverpool School of Medicine was my insurance. London has always been a place I have dreamt of, and I loved the idea of living there when I'm young, as I cannot imagine settling down in such a frantic city. I'm from a very rural area but we have family in London and visit all the time. London is my favourite place in the world and it would be a real treat to get to work in such an exciting and fizzing place. 

I don't yet know what speciality I want to do, but for some reason I feel a compulsion to confound expectation. What I'm not sure is whether I'm secretly hoping to confound my own expectations of myself, or the expectations that others have of me. A very silly and sad part of me doesn't want to take the easiest route when I could prove that I can do so much more. 

Currently, the process of getting FY1/FY2 jobs takes into account finals results, SJT results, but also things like intercalated degrees, PhDs and publishing research. In order to gain these points it means choosing now to do well and be academically strong enough for eligibility for these other opportunities.

To be fair, I'm sure older medics will read this and think it's not a case of work hard or not work hard, medical school is bloody difficult and you should be lucky to pass - focus on that rather than anything else!

Right now I'm thinking it's best to keep my options open so that there are more opportunities available, even if I don't pursue them. At the end of the day, will it be all worth it?

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Thursday, 9 April 2015

Give Blood

Today I gave blood and it's something I really hope more people start doing. As I looked around I noticed I was probably the only person there under 25 donating. Why is this? Anyone 17 or over can donate (who aren't underweight) and  more people need to do it!

I wouldn't say I have a high pain threshold, I'm just average. But I'm not scared of needles, so when I turned 17 it seemed obvious that I should donate when it could potentially make such a difference to someone else.

When you give blood, you can walk in without prior registration and fill in the forms then and there. They'll check where you've travelled/piercings/certain diseases/sexual activity that could transmit disease. They do a pin prick blood test first to check for iron levels and your blood pressure is taken. If that's all good, you get put onto a swing-back chair that reclines so you can relax whilst the blood is taken. A needle is inserted into a vein and taped down securely. It takes only 10 minutes to collect the blood. Then you sit down for a few minutes and have free refreshments and chocolates/biscuits.

I really enjoy giving blood because everyone so friendly and you get chatting to your locals. In my experience, blood tests and blood donation are painless in comparison to normal vaccinations and BCGs. These vaccinations can feel sharp, hot and stingy. Blood donation isn't like that at all, it is much more comfortable. If you're alright with vaccinations then you should totally fine with blood donations.

The website www.blood.co.uk was LOADS of info so you can check if you're eligible, you can check closest donation centres in your area and book your own slot for donation.

Hope everyone had a great Easter.

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Saturday, 4 April 2015

Le travail continue....

Hey all,

The past week has been rather a roller coaster.

I went home with my boyfriend who stayed in The Cotswolds with me for a week. It was great to have 1 week of pure relaxation before all the work begins! I have just over 8 weeks to learn the whole year's content for our summative exams. Yes, I am shitting myself.

However, I thought I'd share some of the fun I've had. Upon getting back, I went to my local pub for a well-needed school catch up. It was easily 30+ of us and we had a great time. Whenever we go there, we drink exclusively Stowford Press. Although not a local brew, you can't get it anywhere up north! It's a lovely cider, but it does smell of weed a bit. Don't let that put you off. Drinking Stowford Press reminds me of being back at sixth form and the new-found independence that being 18 brings. Although at most of the pub meet ups I couldn't have one because I was the designated driver!

I received an award from my old school for my contribution to STEM. It was great to see all my old mates again, but eery to be back at sixth from.




Rob and I used some Tesco club card vouchers to have dinner at Pizza Express. So outrageously middle class, but damn good pizza. We spent most of the days having lie ins, walking the Labrador and pottering around coffee shops in town. I love lazy days where you feel like there's no 'to do list'. Just relax. And it was perfect.

After he left, I went out for cocktails with my family followed by seeing the play The History Boys, in Cheltenham. It was absolutely brilliant. It always amazes how there's so much talent in people. People can do amazing things that really touch you. I would highly recommend it.



I am now in a bit of a conundrum. I feel so consumed with worry about failing my Summer exams, but at the same time I would love to meet up with my old school pals. I will be the first to admit that I haven't done a good enough job at maintaining my school friendships. I try to justify it because I'm a medical student, but that is definitely not an adequate excuse. The trouble is that my exams feel so close so I need to focus on them, but once they're over there won't be time to see them after. I found out this week that I finally have a date for my operation, which will be in mid July. I am so happy to finally have a date! Now it finally feels like it's going to happen, albeit a year late. This leaves a month to see old mates in between pre-op assessments. 

Also, I don't really know how to revise. I've had sessions on "what kind of learner are you" etc etc, but I'm still lost as to how I am supposed to cram all this information into my little head....
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