Saturday, 28 February 2015

Ladies Bar Crawl


Dress - New Look (Similar)
Necklace - Primark
Shoes - New Look (Similar)

These photos are from last night when my housemates and I went on a medic's ladies bar crawl around Liverpool. We went to a few bars including Hannah's Bar (which do amazing cocktails - see them on my Instagram), Peacock and Igloo. Afterwards we joined the men's dinner in a hotel and danced the night away together. We had a really fun night and I really enjoyed myself - I'm now looking forward to my mid-course ball next weekend to celebrate being halfway through our degree!

This morning I hopped onto a train to come back home for a couple of days, and I have just been sleeping and watching Take Me Out. Dad cooked a lovely meal for us - it's so nice to be looked after at home.
What's comin' will come and we'll meet it when it does.
                   - Hagrid




PS Please donate towards my sponsored skydive for Mind here, or text MIHV99 £1 to 70070 - thank you for your support!

Friday, 27 February 2015

'All the Bright Places' Book Review



I first heard about All the Bright Places when I was flicking through a magazine - it caught my attention as the main theme is mental health. I read a lot so decided to download this onto my Kindle, and got so caught up in it that I managed to finish it in a couple of days. Here is the blurb from the back:

The Fault in Our Stars meets Eleanor and ParkAll the Bright Places is a compelling and beautiful story about a girl who learns to live from a boy who intends to die.
Theodore Finch is fascinated by death, and he constantly thinks of ways he might kill himself. But each time, something good, no matter how small, stops him.
Violet Markey lives for the future, counting the days until graduation, when she can escape her Indiana town and her aching grief in the wake of her sister's recent death.
When Finch and Violet meet on the ledge of the bell tower at school, it's unclear who saves whom. And when they pair up on a project to discover the 'natural wonders' of their state, both Finch and Violet make more important discoveries: It's only with Violet that Finch can be himself - a weird, funny, live-out-loud guy who's not such a freak after all. And it's only with Finch that Violet can forget to count away the days and start living them. But as Violet's world grows, Finch's begins to shrink. How far will Violet go to save the boy she has come to love?

You may think that this book sounds depressing and morbid, but actually it portrays mental illness in a positive light and follows Finch and Violet's rather unusual love story. A lot of books follow the story of two broken people helping each other, but this one reflects how that doesn't always happen, and shows what can happen in real life. Finch and Violet are both narrators in this book, so it shows both sides of the story, and they are really easy to relate to and fall in love with. The author, Jennifer Niven, illustrates the depth of mental illness in such an honest way and there were so many parts to it that I could relate to. Her description of feeling low and suffering with depression was spot-on and sometimes made me feel as though I was one of the characters in the book. I don't often get so absorbed in a book that it takes my mind off everything and transports me to another world, but All The Bright Places did. It's beautifully written and so refreshing - definitely pick up a copy if you have the chance, I think it will really help with peoples' understanding of mental health.

Today has been spent in university learning how to break bad news to patients and how to communicate better with those with mental and physical disabilities. We were lucky enough to be able to speak to some stroke patients who had problems with their speech, and I found talking to patients about difficult news really hard. This evening I'm going out with my housemates which should be fun - I hope you all have a great Friday night!
When you're busy creating your own fulfilment, you won't feel the need to seek it from others.




PS Please donate towards my sponsored skydive for Mind here, or text MIHV99 £1 to 70070 - thank you for your support!

Thursday, 26 February 2015

How to combat tiredness

UK mental health blog

I don't know whether it's my depression, my course, or the ever-increasing old biddy in me, but I always seem to be exhausted. I often find myself having to take a 4 hour nap in the middle of the day, wherever I am - I'm even known as 'the girl that sleeps in lectures' to some of my colleagues. How attractive.

My fatigue can get especially annoying when I am trying to study or revise for exams, so I thought I would share a few of my tips that I use to keep my concentration and keep myself awake.


Sleep well
This is so obvious yet so important and so many people don't stick to a good sleeping routine. Make sure that you are going to bed at a similar time each night and get up at a similar time in the morning. I am absolutely awful at doing this, but I at least make sure I have 8 hours of sleep every night, otherwise I really suffer the next day. Everyone needs a different amount of sleep, but make sure you get as much as you need for your body. See my tips on sleeping here if you sometimes struggle to get off to snooze-land, and here on how to get up in the mornings.

Take regular breaks
Sometimes I find if I'm really tired and studying, taking a couple of minutes every 15 minutes can help to keep myself awake. Get away from the area you are studying in and walk around the house, or go and talk to someone if you can. Go and eat a bar of chocolate or get a drink.

Don't study in bed
Okay, I always do this. Sometimes my bed is just too tempting to resist. But you know it will just send you to sleep - get up and study at your desk, lazy bones.

Don't fight it
Sometimes you just need a short nap to wake your body up and prepare yourself for more studying. Experts say that you should take less than 30 minutes, but I often sleep for an hour or so and wake up less tired and with increased concentration than before. Stop beating yourself up about it and just accept that your body needs to rest.

Caffeine
I'm not a huge caffeine drinker - I don't like tea or coffee (I know, I'm not a proper British person), but the other day I was so tired on placement that I tried a mocha and it really did help to wake me up. Drinking lots of caffeine can actually make you more tired, but I think a couple of cups throughout the day can help to keep you awake.

Set small goals
I always find that if I set myself a small goal and treat myself at the end of it, it helps to keep me motivated and awake. For example, I will try and revise to the end of page 12 and then let myself have some chocolate. I also find that eating helps to keep me a little more alert - a pack of biscuits in the middle of a 4 hour lecture doesn't do any harm.

Exercise
Yes, yes, it's such a cliche - but exercise does help to give you more energy (as well as helping you to sleep better at night). A brisk walk in the middle of the day can do wonders to wake you up, or a jog in the morning can help energise you for the day ahead.

I hope these tips are a little helpful for some people - just remember that if all fails, pinching yourself can sometimes do the job. I often come out of lectures with red marks all over my arms.

Today I have just been in university and have relaxed this evening, crying at DIY SOS whilst stuffing my face with fajitas. Oh what a lovely image I must be creating in your mind right now.
A good laugh and a long sleep are the two best cures for anything.




PS Please donate towards my sponsored skydive for Mind here, or text MIHV99 £1 to 70070 - thank you for your support!

Wednesday, 25 February 2015

Moon & Pea


The Moon and Pea, 64 Lark Lane, Aigburth, Liverpool, L17 SUU

This evening I went for a meal at The Moon & Pea on Lark Lane with my housemates. Lark Lane is a little street near Sefton Park with loads of small independent restaurants; I had never been before but my first experience was lovely. The Moon & Pea is a little bistro that has been open for 8 years and serves a wide variety of homemade food, including some of the best chunky chips I have ever tasted. They serve breakfast, lunch and dinner, as well as a selection of gorgeous homemade cakes and lots of different teas and hot chocolates. I went for the cajun veggie burger, which was served with chunky chips, coleslaw and a salad, and then a coffee and walnut cake for pudding (although I was very tempted by the banana sticky toffee pudding). I also tried rose lemonade, which was surprisingly really good. The bistro doesn't have a license so you are allowed to take alcoholic drinks along with you, which definitely saves money on the bill. I really enjoyed myself and am desperate to go back to try some of the other cakes - to be honest, anywhere that gives you Drumsticks with your bill is a winner in my book.

The rest of my day was spent at a rehabilitation centre for the blind and at a deaf workshop. I found it really interesting and informative; there were so many things I was ignorant about before both experiences, even little things like showing a blind person to a chair or how to lead them along properly. I also got to use a little of my sign language that I have been learning, and just to top the day off I got to stroke a guide dog. How. Cute. I miss my doggies so much!
Don't let happiness depend on something you may lose.
                           - C.S. Lewis




PS Please donate towards my sponsored skydive for Mind here, or text MIHV99 £1 to 70070 - thank you for your support!

Tuesday, 24 February 2015

Yellow


This photo is of the lemontops we had in Redcar over the weekend at an ice-cream parlour near the beach, as I needed something bright to cheer me up. Yellow is such a happy colour - I like wearing these trousers when I need a bit of added spring in my step. Today hasn't been a good one for me; I have spent most of it in bed as I just haven't had the energy to do anything else. I'm hoping it was just one of those days where I needed to rest and recuperate, ready to get back to work tomorrow, but I do get so scared when I get days like these as it makes me realise how terrible my depression really is. I'm so frightened that I'm going to go backwards and end right up where I was in June, but I'm hopeful that as the days when I am down are getting further and further apart, that is a good sign. Hopefully tomorrow will be a better one for me.

I spent this evening with my friend Hannah, gossiping and trying on dresses for some balls we have coming up soon. That helped cheer me up as she always knows the right thing to say and I can discuss anything at all with her. I've also had a few encouraging texts and messages from my friends which always helps, including one saying 'my life is brighter because you are in it' - Roxy is such a cutie! Let's hope that today was just a bit of a blip.
When you start seeing your worth, you'll find it harder to stay around people who don't.




PS Please donate towards my sponsored skydive for Mind here, or text MIHV99 £1 to 70070 - thank you for your support!

Monday, 23 February 2015

Chinese New Year


This lovely food (although bad photos I'm afraid, I was way too hungry) was made by my friends Mary Ann and Arousa - they invited me round to their flat this evening for tea to celebrate Chinese New Year. They cooked a lovely Indo-Chinese curry and an amazing chocolate bread and butter pudding made with croissants for afterwards. We had a good old catch up and a lovely time.

The rest of the day was spent on placement at a disability centre for adults with physical and mental disabilities. I had never visited anywhere like that before so it was a real eye-opener as to how important centres like these are and how much people rely on them. We also got to join in with a relaxation session this afternoon, where we lay in a darkened room and listened to soothing music whilst carrying out minfulness meditation (although I found it difficult to completely zone out due to a fellow medical student snoring in the chair next to me!).

I haven't felt great today and I haven't been able to shake it off all day, which is unusual for me. Usually I will wake up in the morning and feel a bit down, but immerse myself in other things to take my mind off it. I'm not sure whether it's because I've had such a good weekend and have landed with a bit of a bump, or if it's just a hiccup, but I'm looking forward to seeing if I feel better when I wake up in the morning. As they say, tomorrow is always a new day!
Never think that what you have to offer is insignificant. There will always be someone out there that needs what you have to give.




PS Please donate towards my sponsored skydive for Mind here, or text MIHV99 £1 to 70070 - thank you for your support!

Sian's Party


You know you've been busting some serious moves when you wake up with achy abs in the morning. These photos were taken before Kelly's sister Sian's party last night, where we danced the night away and ate loads of food. It was a really fun evening and we all really enjoyed it - it made me realise that the only time I can completely let go is when I'm dancing. I love the feeling of moving to the music and singing along loudly at the same time - it makes me forget about everything and not think about my worries or my depression.

We also revealed our surprise that we have been working on all week to Sian - it was a movie made up of lots of photos of her along to some music. There were also various videos from family and friends wishing her happy birthday, as well as one of Kelly and I dancing to Dr Jones (with our stethoscopes around our necks, naturally) and In Da Club, which was pretty hilarious.

Today we went for a lemontop at an ice-cream bar in Redcar, which is basically a whippy ice-cream with lemon sorbet on top, and then Kelly's Gran cooked us a lovely Sunday dinner which was amazing. It's always good to have home-cooked food - and I always think that Grandmas' Sunday dinners are the best. We then drove back to Liverpool and I've just relaxed this evening and am completely exhausted and ready for bed! I've had such a lovely weekend with my incredible friends and have loved every minute of it - but now it's straight back down to reality with student food and work to do.

Your past is just a story. And once you realise this, it has no power over you.




PS Please donate towards my sponsored skydive for Mind here, or text MIHV99 £1 to 70070 - thank you for your support!

Saturday, 21 February 2015

Redcar


So as I said yesterday, I have come up to Kelly's house in Redcar for the weekend. Redcar is a lovely seaside town in North Yorkshire with quite a large town centre and a long stretch of beach. This morning/lunctime we went to Relish Cafe for some food - I had a veggie burger and shared a Mars Bar brownie and orange chocolate cake with Kelly, which was amazing. Relish change their menu quite regularly and all of their cakes are homemade and fresh each day - and my burger was quite obviously homemade too, which was lovely.

Afterwards we went to Middlesbrough to look round the shops, and then came home to get ready for Kelly's sister's 18th birthday party which is tonight. I'm really looking forward to it; I'll put some photos up tomorrow!
Every single thing that has ever happened in your life is preparing you for a moment that is yet to come.




PS Please donate towards my sponsored skydive for Mind here, or text MIHV99 £1 to 70070 - thank you for your support!

Friday, 20 February 2015

The power of music


It's amazing how music has the power to completely change your mood. There are certain songs that I listen to when I'm sad or happy - so I thought I would share them with you!


The song I can listen to any time of the day... My favourite artists are probably Bastille and George Ezra - Pompeii by Bastille is the most played song on my iPod and I can listen to it over and over again; it's so uplifting. I also love Budapest and Blame It On Me by George Ezra. Plus Counting Stars by OneRepublic never gets old.

My driving song... My motorway song is Greyhound by Swedish House Mafia; it's a great song to drive fast to. And my summer-driving-with-the-windows-down-song is Someday by Black Eyed Peas.

The songs that remind me of my childhood... Shania Twain reminds me of travelling along to caravan sites with my family while we were little, and Five was the album we used to play when travelling to the ferry to catch it to France. Man! I Feel Like a Woman! and That Don't Impress Me Much by Shania Twain always get me singing out loud - they're also great songs to blast out in the car.

The song that I know all the words to... Embarrassingly, Blue (Da Ba Dee) by Eiffel 65 and You'll Be In My Heart by Phil Collins (great song).

The first concert I went to... S Club 7 with S Club Juniors!! I haven't actually been to many concerts, I would love to go to more but they are so expensive. Seeing Bastille and Beyonce live would be absolutely incredible.

The song that always gets me dancing... Shake It Off by Taylor Swift is a good one at the moment, as is Uptown Funk by Mark Ronson and Bruno Mars.

The song that cheer me up... Dancing In The Moonlight by Toploader never fails to make me smile - and again Shania Twain, Bastille, George Ezra and any songs that I can sing all the words to.

The song that makes me sad... Jordin Sparks' No Air and Sam Smith's Stay With Me bring back bad memories for me. I can't listen to them without them bringing my mood down.

Favourite lines from songs... "He doesn't look a thing like Jesus" from The Killers' When You Were Young and "I came here from the Philippines, in the plane with some big, big dreams" from The Black Eyed Peas' Someday. I don't know why particularly to be honest!!

The song that makes me feel good about myself... Anything by Beyonce, Shake It Off by Taylor Swift, and All About That Bass by Meghan Trainor - they are all about being yourself and not caring what others think about you.

I hope you enjoyed reading this post! Music really does have the power to change your mood completely. I was inspired to do this post as I drove to my housemate Kelly's house for the weekend this evening and we were listening to loads of different songs on my iPod, which made me appreciate how much I love music and how much I love warbling along to certain artists. This evening we watched Pitch Perfect, which again had a musical element to it, whilst eating chocolate and biscuits and reminiscing about Kelly's childhood with her parents.
Music speaks what cannot be expressed, soothes the mind and gives it rest, heals the heart and makes it whole, flows from heaven to the soul.




PS Please donate towards my sponsored skydive for Mind here, or text MIHV99 £1 to 70070 - thank you for your support!