Tuesday, 30 September 2014

Say a little prayer





Outfit details here

Today after hospital I went to try out the medic's choir with two of my housemates. Now I'm not the greatest singer (although everyone always sounds better on their own in the car, right?), but I do enjoy singing so I thought I'd give it a go. I turned out to be an alto, which is a step down from the sopranos, and we sung Say A Little Prayer, which actually sounded really good when the four different groups joined in. I'm sure I was completely off tune - and sometimes I found myself switching to soprano - but I enjoyed it all the same and think I will continue to attend choir each week. I really like trying new things, and want to get the most out of my life - so although I may not be good at things, I still want to have a go and get involved.

Please ignore the photo of me with Nutella and a crazy look in my eye - I didn't have time to eat before I went out so I devoured some Nutella on the way, and ended up with it all over my face. Nobody could say I didn't enjoy myself.

Hannah x

Believe in yourself and all that you are. Know that there is something inside you that is greater than any obstacle.

Monday, 29 September 2014

Depression self-help

Depression Self-Help







Depression Self-Help

Coat - Primark
Top - eBay
Skirt - Topshop
Sandals - Primark
Bag - Asos
Necklace - H&M

After my post on how to help someone with depression, I thought I would do one on a few tips to help yourself feel better if you feel low. Obviously every person is different so these won't work for everyone, but they are quite general and can hopefully help to make anyone feel a little more positive; they may be helpful even if you don't suffer from depression.

Don't use depression as an excuse
I think this is one of the worst things you could do, and people soon lose their sympathy with you if you let it stop you from doing anything. Obviously it's hard to get out of bed in the mornings, and sometimes it's okay to mope around in bed all day, but if you find yourself using it as an excuse not to do certain chores at home or to not go out and see friends, don't let it. You need to make yourself be more sociable and try and enjoy your time spent with other people - you may just find that it cheers you up and makes your low mood just that little bit more bearable.

Never give up
Following on from the last post a little, never give up. Your depression can't beat you unless you let it - keep fighting. Don't get frustrated if you take a step backwards; that is entirely normal. Keep moving forward and believe that you can get better, because you are a strong person and you can do anything you set your mind to. Never let it become a part of you - see yourself as a person with depression, not a depressed person.

Take it one step at a time
Find it difficult to get out of bed in the morning because you dread the day ahead? Take it one step at a time - think "right, I just need to get up and wash my face/brush my teeth/whatever your morning routine is", and congratulate yourself on the little things you achieve. It won't seem so bad if you break it down into smaller steps, and the day ahead won't seem so difficult if you don't think that far into the future.

Do one thing you enjoy every day
Even if it's only something small like reading a book or treating yourself to your favourite chocolate; the days won't seem so bad if you have at least enjoyed part of them. This is one thing that I have found has really helped me, as with this blog I make myself do something I want to do every day, which seems to lift my mood gradually.

Keep yourself busy
I guess this point is different for everyone, as some people find that they feel worse if they are busy all the time, but I find that it helps me as it gives me less time to think about things and wallow in my misery. I find that filling my days with work, socialising and relaxing with a good book or TV show really stops my mood from getting too low.

Don't push people away
I think this is probably my most important point. It can be so easy to push people away when you are depressed, either by getting in a mood with them or not including them in your life anymore. However, you need people that care about you in your life; they want to help you get better, and will encourage you to do so. Don't let them go as you may find they're the most important things that help you to beat your depression. It's amazing what a bit of support and motivation can do for you.

Hope this helps some people with a few ideas on how to help themselves. I've also found that expressing my feelings over this blog has really helped, and would encourage anyone to do the same, or even write a diary or talk to a loved one about things. I find that talking worries and negative thoughts through can really help rationalise them.

I found it so hard to get out of bed today - I really wasn't feeling good. However I made myself get up and go into hospital, and was glad I did as I was so busy that I didn't have time to think about my mood. Otherwise I would have just sat in bed all day, moping around whilst eating chocolate and watching Orange Is The New Black on my laptop. As I said, keep yourself busy!

Hannah x

You only live once, but if you do it right once is enough.

Sunday, 28 September 2014

Mood stone






Dress - Liverpool St John's Market (Similar and Similar)
Choker - Topshop (Similar)
Boots - Mum's
Scarf - New Look (Similar)

Today has been a really lazy day of lying in until 12 and then sitting around talking to my family and eating Sunday dinner, before getting the train back to Liverpool this evening. I've had this dress for about a year now and it's so comfortable yet stylish to wear in warm or cold weather. When it gets a bit colder I'll put my leather jacket and this faux fur scarf on, along with some woolly tights. This choker necklace is actually a mood stone, which reminds me of when I was younger in the 90's - remember those mood stone rings you used to get?

I feel so positive today; it's amazing how travelling on a train can make you think so deeply. I feel like anyone can achieve whatever they want if they just try hard enough, as I feel like I have accomplished so much over the past few months that I never thought would be possible. I currently have a list of things that I want to achieve over the next year or so - sort of like an annual bucket list. Some of them are a bit crazy, whereas others are things I've wanted to do for a while and just haven't got round to. I'll be posting my list on here at some point, and will keep you up to date with my progress!


Hannah x

Often we don't appreciate the true value of a moment until it becomes a memory.

Saturday, 27 September 2014

IKEA







Kimono - New Look
Top - New Look (Similar)
Jeans - Topshop
Shoes - Urban Angel (Similar)
Tattoo Choker - New Look
Pizza Necklace - eBay
Diplodocus Choker - Lofthouse Jewellery

Who doesn't love IKEA? Some of my best childhood memories were spent pretending that the bedrooms and kitchens were mine, whilst hiding in the cupboards and wardrobes scattered around the warehouse. I think I'd go as far as saying it's one of my favourite shops - I can't wait to get my own house so I can decorate it how I like. We went to IKEA today to get some items for the summer house (remember Project Summer House?). I'm planning on decorating it with loads of bright colours; the walls are quite plain so that it can be filled with anything I like. I would also recommend the refillable hot chocolate at IKEA if you get chance to try it. Links to some of the things I bought are below.


The rest of the day was spent mainly napping. We then had a lovely three course meal cooked by my dad, whilst reminiscing over the time that he fell asleep on the toilet, waking my sister up with his overly loud snoring. And he's not even 50 yet.

Hannah x

Only those who are asleep make no mistakes.

Friday, 26 September 2014

Shake it off

Shifnal Balti

Shifnal Balti

Shifnal Balti

Today I helped out with the Medic's Fresher's Fair for Teddy Bear Hospital, before getting on the train to come home. I went for a curry at the Shifnal Balti with Roxy as the food is delicious and you get loads of it. I had a prawn on puree to start and then a vegetable biryani with a garlic naan bread and it was amazing. Roxy is hilarious company to be around; we always have a good time together.

On my way home I put my iPod on really loud and just sang. I currently like singing to Shake It Off by Taylor Swift and Love Runs Out by One Republic - they are both really uplifting and make me want to dance while I'm driving (not a good idea). I love singing really loud to some good music, it is a really good way to cheer yourself up and lift your mood.

It's really nice to see my family again - I've missed them so much! We're currently sat on the floor in the lounge while the dogs have taken up the whole of the sofas. We know who's boss.

Hannah x

Ohana means family. Family means nobody gets left behind or forgotten.
                                                                     - Stitch

Thursday, 25 September 2014

Fajitas


This is a bit of a different post for me, but apart from hospital all I have done is watched an episode of Orange Is The New Black (episode 9, think I'm a bit addicted) and cooked fajitas. I love the taste of fajitas and they're so easy to make, fairly healthy, and the ingredients are quite cheap. I'm vegetarian so I made mine with Quorn chicken pieces, but fajitas are easily made with chicken, or actually taste great with just vegetables. When I get back from a long day at hospital I don't want to take ages cooking, and I can't afford to spend money on expensive food, so fajitas is a good alternative.

Firstly I chopped up a red onion, peppers and mushrooms, and fried the onions along with the Quorn in a frying pan for a few minutes.



I then added the other vegetables, including some sweetcorn, to the pan and cooked them for a short period of time. I bought some Old El Paso Crispy Chicken Fajita Spice Mix and stirred this into the vegetables, frying this mixture for a few more minutes to flavour.


Fajitas

Instead of using tortilla wraps to wrap the mixture in, I just toasted a couple of wholemeal pitta breads - they are cheaper, healthier and easy to warm up. They also hold the vegetables better! I then made a bit of a salad with some houmous, and grated some cheese to add to the top. You can also add some salsa, soured cream or whatever else you like to your fajitas, but I didn't have any so just had them as they were.



I'm going home tomorrow and can't wait! I'm really looking forward to seeing my family and my dogs, and will have more outfit posts over the weekend to put up on the blog. Today I spoke to a lovely elderly lady in hospital, but it turned out that she was suffering with terminal cancer. I found it hard not to cry while I was chatting to her - she really was one of the nicest people I've ever met, and it's so difficult to not get attached. I think it's really important to care for your patients as if they were part of your family so that they get the best treatment, but that also makes it really hard to deal with devastating news. However I'm really glad that I got the chance to meet her and have a conversation with her as she was such an interesting person. Afterwards I went to the library, fell asleep, and suddenly woke up an hour later with a very attractive dent on my head. I'm sure the librarians must think that all medical students are lazy, the amount of people that doze in there!

Hannah x

You can't have a better tomorrow if you don't stop thinking about yesterday.

Putting outfits together




Dress - Forever 21
Cape Coat - Amazon

Tonight I have spent the evening at my friend Hannah's house, where we watched the Bake Off (I was glad of the result, and love Richard!) with a mug of hot chocolate and some cookies. It is Hannah's 5th anniversary with her boyfriend tomorrow, which is really cute, so we rummaged through her wardrobe and I helped her decide on an outfit to wear out for a posh meal. We decided on some shorts and a white jumper with a necklace on the neckline, which she looks lovely in. I love putting outfits together and deciding what clothes will match; I think buying separates can sometimes be more rewarding than dresses or jumpsuits as they can be worn in so many different ways. When I'm shopping I'm constantly thinking about what items can be worn with clothes that I already have in my wardrobe - it makes it much cheaper and is fun too. If you have a few staples such as jeans, a white blouse/shirt and some plain tops it's really easy to do. I also love looking through other peoples' wardrobes to get some inspiration - how cute is this striped shift dress in the photo above? And the back of Hannah's coat lying on the bed - it has a bow on it!! I love how little details can make an outfit so much more special.

Also how incredible was Emma Watson's speech about gender equality for the UN? Everything she said was so true: women should not be limited by society and we need men to help us gain equal rights, as after all they form 50% of the population. Men should not feel like they have to hide their feelings or be 'strong', and women should not feel like they are the 'weaker sex' or that they have to be controlled by men. I am not a 'traditional feminist', but I do believe that both genders are as amazing as each other, and deserve equality. At the end of the day, men need women and women need men, so why shouldn't we therefore have equal rights?

Hannah x

All that is needed for the forces of evil to triumph is for good men and women to do nothing.

Tuesday, 23 September 2014

GP Society




Top - Primark
Trousers - New Look
Shoes - Primark

Excuse the scraped up hair and lack of make-up, but I look a lot worse than this now. I have just had to cycle in the rain to uni so currently look like a drowned rat. This evening after hospital I have been to a GP Society committee meeting, which is going to be new to Liverpool this academic year. We plan to put on lectures and revision days for members; get some individual GP mentors; have socials; and create opportunities for audits to be completed by students. We will be at the Medic's Fresher's Fayre on Friday, so come along if you want to get involved! Otherwise you can contact us as below,

Twitter: livgpsoc

I am literally exhausted all of the time at the moment - I slept in the library for about an hour yesterday, which was embarrassing when I suddenly bolted out of my sleep (I also have been known to sleep talk...). I think my depression can cause me to be tired a lot of the time, and it doesn't help that we're so busy on our hospital placements at the moment, and studying when we get home, I am now sat in my fleecy Marie from Aristocats pyjamas (see them here), and plan to eat fajitas for tea and relax with a large mug of hot chocolate and marshmallows.

Hannah x

The physician should not treat the disease but the patient who is suffering from it.
                                           - Maimonides

Monday, 22 September 2014

How to help someone with depression

How to help someone with depression


Depression is such a horrible illness, and I have found that having supportive people around me has been one of the ways I have been able to cope. I know how hard it has been for my family and friends to deal with it, so if you know someone with depression I thought it may be helpful to have a few tips on how to help them. Obviously different things work for different people, but these are quite generic and common sense really, and a lot of them have been suggested by my mum, who has been a massive support for me.

Be there for them
This sounds really obvious but be there for the person as much as you can and make sure that they know you're there for them whenever they need someone. It makes me feel better just to know that I have people I can contact if need be, and that people care about me.

Show that you care
Don't just tell them that you care - show them. Depression makes it easy to not believe what people say, and actions definitely speak louder than words. Give them a hug whenever you see them; arrange lots of things to do with them; send them a random text telling them how much they mean to you; maybe even buy them some chocolate if you're feeling generous. Even the smallest things like someone inviting you to go for a drink can make you feel so much better - one of my problems is that I don't believe why anyone would ever want to be around me, so it's nice when I know that someone cares enough to spend time with me.

Give them something to get better for 
The things that keep me going are my family and my friends, as I feel like I should get better for them. I'm so lucky to have an amazing support network who I know want me to recover - everyone with depression should have this so that they feel like they have something to get better for. Don't ever say, "you shouldn't be depressed because you're so beautiful and you're an amazing person etc etc" because a person with depression probably won't believe this - I know I don't. It can also make me feel guilty, as I feel like I shouldn't feel like I do as my life is not bad at all. Give them hope, as hope is very sparse in the darkness of depression. My mum says that she tries to talk positively to me about things, no matter how small. Even a quick chat about what I'm going to have for dinner or how my dogs are can make a world of difference - sufferers of depression just need to know that there is something to keep living for.

Reassurance, reassurance, reassurance
I have discovered that I need loads of reassurance when I'm down. I find it difficult to believe people when they give me a compliment or reassure me that everything will be okay, but when it is repeated over and over it's hard not to start believing it. Reassure the person that you'll always be there for them and won't leave them; reassure them that they'll never be on their own. Let them know how amazing and beautiful they are, and never put them down when they are feeling low. My sister is incredible at this; the last time I was really upset she just sat with me and told me how she'd never leave me and that I always have people there for me.

Never judge them
Until you have been through depression, you have no idea what it feels like. Even other people suffering with depression don't know exactly what a fellow sufferer is going through. Listen to the person and don't be judgemental about their words or choices. They will need lots of support and criticising them really won't help - tell them that you are there for them whatever they do, and never tell them to "pull themselves together" or "cheer up". No one chooses to be depressed; it's an illness and these sort of words will just make it worse. And please don't tell them that they're just too sensitive or need to toughen up.

Don't blame yourself
I have found that some people close to me sometimes blame themselves for how I am feeling, as though they could have prevented it. However this can just make me feel worse as it makes me feel guilty, and I know that no one could have stopped the way that I've been feeling. Don't blame yourself as it's most likely not your fault - just be there for them.

Patience
Depression takes a long time to recover from and it can sometimes be very frustrating, both for the sufferer and the individuals around them. Be patient and always have hope that the person will improve, so that you can give them hope too. If they take a step back again just be even more encouraging and supportive, and always take the time to listen to everything they have to say, as they may just need to get something off their chest. Encourage them to talk, even if they don't want to - if they refuse just sit with them, maybe holding their hand, and let them know that you're there.

Don't analyse everything they say
This was one of my mum's inputs. Don't try to analyse every little things they say, because even if they may hurt you, their thoughts are not always rational. Mum has had to listen to me say that I want to hurt myself and that I don't want to be here anymore (which I discussed in this post), but she has found that she has to keep talking to me and help me feel better, as her saying "that's not fair" or "that hurt me" would just make me feel guilty and my mood would spiral downwards even more.

I hope this helps a few people, as I know depression is really common and most people seem to know someone that suffers with it. I think the most important thing is to just let the individual know that you are always there for them, no matter what, and to make time to do those little extra things that will make them feel loved.

Hannah x

Don't lose hope. When the sun goes down, the stars come out.

Sunday, 21 September 2014

Liverpool Food and Drink Festival

Liverpool Food and Drink Festival

Liverpool Food and Drink Festival

Liverpool Food and Drink Festival

Liverpool Food and Drink Festival

Liverpool Food and Drink Festival

Liverpool Food and Drink Festival

Liverpool Food and Drink Festival

Liverpool Food and Drink Festival

Liverpool Food and Drink Festival

Liverpool Food and Drink Festival

Liverpool Food and Drink Festival

Liverpool Food and Drink Festival

Liverpool Food and Drink Festival

Liverpool Food and Drink Festival

Liverpool Food and Drink Festival

Liverpool Food and Drink Festival



Liverpool Food and Drink Festival

Liverpool Food and Drink Festival

Liverpool Food and Drink Festival

Liverpool Food and Drink Festival

Liverpool Food and Drink Festival

Liverpool Food and Drink Festival

Liverpool Food and Drink Festival Churros

Kimono - New Look
Top - New Look (Similar)
Choker - New Look
Dinosaur Choker - Lofthouse Jewellery
Pizza Necklace - eBay

Today I have stuffed my face at Liverpool Food and Drink Festival in Sefton Park. We each paid £5 to get in, and then literally didn't know where to start. There were hundreds of stalls with every type of food you can imagine: from fish and chips to pizza, curry to chocolate kebabs. Over the weekend there have been various chefs doing cooking demonstrations, including Tom Kerridge, and live music in some of the tents. Restaurants like Zizzi, Lucha Libre and Almost Famous had stalls where they were selling some of their most popular foods, and there were also tents set up selling various beers and alcoholic drinks.

I had: a butternut squash, spinach and goats cheese pie; a slice of margherita pizza; an iced apricot and apple smoothie; and some churros with chocolate sauce. I also bought a slice of baklava to eat for pudding later on. I feel like I had a very mixed cultural meal (British/Italian/Spanish/Turkish?), but it all tasted amazing and I really enjoyed the whole day. The atmosphere was lovely and the smells coming from all of the tents were delicious - I'm vegetarian but who can resist the smell of a barbecue? I was looking forward to the churros from the moment I checked out the food stalls on the website, and they definitely lived up to my expectations. I also got a bag with free Maryland cookies in, which is always a plus; I think they will be my hospital fuel for tomorrow.

Hannah x

One of the very nicest things about life is the way we must regularly stop whatever it is we are doing and devote our attention to eating.