Saturday, 31 December 2016

My hopes for 2017


I'm not a big New Year's resolution type of girl as I think it puts too much pressure on people to keep them. However 2017 will bring a lot of change for me, so I thought I would give you a few hopes for the year ahead:

1) Learn more about managing money
Quite honestly, I am rubbish with banking and managing money. My mum works in a bank so I often just ask her to help sort out opening a new account or getting an overdraft. However in 2017 I will start working, and I really want to learn how to manage my money by myself - including mortgages, loans, overdrafts and saving accounts. Boring maybe, but essential.

2) Get a dog
This is a massive one for me - when I start working in the summer, I want to get a dog as soon as possible. A daschund, to be precise! One of the biggest things that makes me happy in life is dogs, so the sooner I can get my own the better.

3) Learn to cook more
At the moment I only really cook quick, student-y meals that don't really take much thought. As I transition into a proper adult I'd like to be able to cook different meals, and maybe have a dinner party or two.

4) Decorate my own place
A lot of these points will happen more towards the summer, when I graduate, but I also really want to get a place that I can decorate how I like. I have already started planning this - Pinterest is very helpful!

5) Keep blogging
I really want to carry on with my little space on the internet. Medicine doesn't really give me much opportunity to be creative, so blogging is my outlet for that. I am hoping to still continue to blog as often as possible, although when I start working this may become more difficult. However I do have a few plans for some new content in the new year, so I guess we'll just have to see how it goes.

6) Stay happy
This is perhaps the most important, yet the most difficult, hope for me. For most of 2016 I can say that I have been happy, and I would love for this to continue for the next 12 months and beyond. I am hoping that some of the items on this list will continue to make me happy, and I am actually very excited for what 2017 brings.

Happy New Year!!!
Believe you can and you're halfway there.
#projectsmile



Thursday, 29 December 2016

Here's why 2016 wasn't all that bad

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Twenty sixteen has, for the world, been like accidentally eating something that's been in the fridge for so long that you're not actually sure what it is anymore, over and over again, leaving a nasty taste in your mouth for days after.

But for me on a personal level, it's actually been one of the best years yet. As with every year as I get older, I keep learning so much about myself and what I want and need from life. This year has been a year of achievements, a year of exploring, and a year of finally feeling happy. Finally feeling content with myself and who I am, and also accepting the world around me.

I'm really looking forward to what 2017 brings as there will be some massive changes for me - a new job, more exploring, meeting new people. But for now, I'm quite content to sit in bed in my Christmas pyjamas, eating my body weight in Guylian chocolates, and reflect on the last 12 months. So here is a list of why 2016 has been so great for me:

1) I passed my finals
Now I look back, 2016 was actually quite a scary year for me as around 40% of my university degree was hinged on my final exams that I took at the end of my 4th year. I will never forget the night I found out that I passed. I was in Fiji with my two friends, on a little island called Beachcomber. It was 11pm at night and one of us checked our emails, and found that our results had been released early. We all ran to grab our phones, sat together on the sand cursing the slow internet and trying to open our emails at the same time. There was a moment when we all looked around at each other, clocked on that we'd all passed, and then we started screaming and hugging each other, and fell over into the sand. The rest of the night was spent celebrating with alcohol and dancing on the beach with other travellers that we had met a mere 5 hours earlier, but who were so happy for us too. Honestly, I know it may be sad, but that memory still gives me goosebumps and makes me smile whenever I think about it now.

2) I became a 5th year medical student
I guess this relates to the point above, but in late August this year I officially became a final year medical student. I have enjoyed 5th year so much since then - I feel like I have a lot more responsibility and help patients so much more than any year previously. I feel like I am a valued part of the teams that I have worked in and I have more free time in the evenings to relax, as I don't have any exams to revise for, so I also feel more sociable and relaxed. I'm looking forward to what the last 5 months of my final year at medical school bring!

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3) I travelled the world
If you have followed my blog since the summer, you will know that I spent 9 weeks travelling various countries across the world with 2 of my closest friends. 4 countries, 3 continents: Fiji, Australia, Bali and Italy. I've also squeezed in a visit to Spain, Disneyland Paris and Berlin over the course of the year. And I really did have the time of my life. I met so many incredible people along the way who had such similar values to my own. I skydived, bathed with elephants, scuba dived, rode on a motorcycle, slept on a boat, danced on beaches, swam with the most amazing fish, cuddled a koala, had an infinity pool to myself, ate some incredible food, ate some questionable food, hiked a mountain, got really close to some whales, and so much more. And as the cliche goes, I learnt a lot about myself, my values, and what I want from life in the future.

4) I stopped taking my antidepressants
This has to be one of my biggest achievements of 2016. In October, on World Mental Health Day, I was officially told that I could stop taking my Citalopram, as my mental health was at a good enough level that I was able to cope without them.

5) I finally opened up about my overdose
On the same day that I stopped my antidepressants, I also wrote about my overdose (you can read the post here). It was honestly scarier than anything I had ever done before, even my finals or travelling to Bali on my own, as I was terrified about what people would think of me. But I had such good feedback on that post from friends, family and strangers, and I am so glad that I put it out there for everyone to read. It has definitely helped me come to terms with what happened, and accept it for the awful day that it was. I just hope it makes people that are struggling with their mental health feel less alone.

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6) I made new friends
This year I feel like I have made more friends than ever. I have so many people in my phone that I know I could ring and they would come straight over to see me, no questions asked. I always have someone that I can call to just hang out with if I want to. I also feel like I have learnt a lot more about friendships this year - that you don't necessarily have to see someone that often to be friends with them; that I have different friends that I can go to about different problems; and the friends that will be there no matter what. Quite often, when I felt depressed in the past, I would never think that I was good enough to have friends. I would often believe that they only hung around with me because they felt sorry for me. But I now value myself so much more and know that this isn't true - they hang around with me because I'm a good friend and they enjoy being around me :) I think, as I've accepted myself more and more this year, I've also let other people in and allowed myself to trust them more. What a great subconscious idea that was.

7) I learnt what I want from the future
I made some pretty big decisions towards the end of this year, such as where I want my life to be based for the next couple of years, and how I want it to be. I think travelling over the summer really made me value what is most important to me - family, friends, dogs, food and fun. I'm really looking forward to starting working in 2017 so that I can finally feel like a proper adult, and I now know how I want my adult life to be.

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8) I have had fun
2016 has been a year of so much fun. I have made so many memories this year, from cosy nights in to crazy nights out; funny travelling stories to laughing at home with my family. I'm smiling just thinking about some of my memories right now.

9) I have been happy
Out of this list, this point is the most incredible for me. Every year, my New Year's wish has been to be happy, and in 2016 I finally achieved this for the longest amount of time. I have had a couple of days where I have felt down (who doesn't?), but on the whole I have been so happy and content with myself and life. I have reached a place where I know who I am, and I like that person. I know what is important to me, and focusing on those things makes me happy. Sometimes, I take my happiness for granted. But most of the time I remember how it felt to be so very, very sad, and I can't believe how lucky I am to have come through the other side of such an awful period in my life.

Okay, so I may have a little tear in my eye because I feel so thankful and lucky for this past year.

2016, you've been a good'un.
Stop hating yourself for everything you aren't and start loving yourself for everything you already are.
#projectsmile



Tuesday, 27 December 2016

My Christmas Day outfit


Leopard Print Coat - Primark
Silver Metallic Pleated Midi Skirt - New Look (Similar)
Sausage Dog Jumper - George at Asda
Stan Smith Trainers - Adidas
Fishnet Socks - Missguided

I hope you have all had an amazing Christmas full of food and wine!

I thought I'd share with you the outfit that I wore on Christmas Day. We didn't go that far, so I didn't want to be too dressed up, but I always like my Christmas outfit to be a bit special, so I chose to wear my silver pleated skirt. You may not be able to tell, but my jumper has little sausage dogs with Christmas jumpers on it, which I just couldn't resist. And I chose to pair it all with my new Adidas trainers and leopard print coat. The perfect mixture of dressed up and dressed down.

My last few days have been spent full of food, board games and pyjamas, and I have loved them. I'm sure the next few days will be very similar too!
It's no use going back to yesterday, because I was a different person then.
                    - Alice in Wonderland
#projectsmile



Saturday, 24 December 2016

Christmas Eve



Merry Christmas Eve! We have done our usual tradition of watching a film at the cinema (Finding Dory), going out for lunch (The Harvester), and now our friends are about to come over for the evening*, before we go to church later for Midnight Mass.

I hope you have had a lovely day, and have an amazing Christmas!

Hannah x

*EDIT: Including Katy, who according to my dad, had to bring Stuart along even though he wasn't really wanted here.

Friday, 23 December 2016

Hanbury Hall


Hanbury Hall is a National Trust property in Worcestershire, consisting of a large stately home and gardens.


My family decided that today we would meet our cousins, auntie and grandparents at Hanbury for lunch and a wander around the place.


The weather was bitingly cold so, after a hot chocolate stop, we quickly huddled into the house and the warmth of the open fire in the entrance hall. The house is a typical National Trust property, but it was made to look really magical with all of the Christmas decorations adorning the place. The huge Christmas tree in the entrance hall covered in feathers and fairy lights was particularly enchanting.


Some of the rooms were closed, but the ones we did look round were beautiful. I love how National Trust always make their homes look lived in by scattering a magazine here or there, or setting the table as though 10 noblemen and ladies are about to sit down for a spot of lunch.


My family found a pile of wigs that made them look like an 80's rock band... Grandad was particularly pleased with his.


You can't visit a National Trust property without sampling some of their food, so we found a table that could fit the 11 of us and ordered some lunch. I had the servant's platter, which was basically a ploughman's lunch - it was delicious.


I always enjoy meeting up with my cousins as they don't live very close so we don't get to see them all that often, and today was no exception.

Tonight I'm going out for a drink with my sisters and friends, before my favourite day of the year tomorrow!!! Happy Christmas eve-eve!
A little progress each day adds up to big results.
#projectsmile



Wednesday, 21 December 2016

The Hartley Arms, Wheaton Aston


The Hartley Arms, 56 Long St, Wheaton Aston, Stafford, ST19 9NF

Yesterday lunchtime my family and I visited The Hartley Arms for a meal with my grandparents. The Hartley Arms is a quaint countryside pub not far from Weston Park, just off the A5. We pre-booked our meals off the Christmas menu, which was 3 courses for £15.95.

I had the smoked salmon and prawn salad to start, which was so nice - smoked salmon is one of my favourite foods, and the creamy prawns really complimented it. It was actually quite filling!


I had the nut roast as my main. This nut roast had a twist; it was topped with sweet potato and goats cheese. It was absolutely delicious - the best nut roast I've ever had. The goats cheese tasted amazing and was really warm and gooey on top of the nuttiness of the base. We were given loads of vegetables to go with it - and the waiter kindly brought us out some roast potatoes when we asked for them.


I was really stuffed by this point, but had ordered the brownie for my pudding. It was the perfect brownie - gooey on the inside, and served warm with ice-cream.

Then we were given a round of mince pies, which I just could not bring myself to eat as I was so full. Which is very unusual for me as I'm often the one finishing off everyone else's food. The meal was such good quality and we were given a lot of it - I had a lovely few hours catching up with my family and telling awful cracker jokes.

Yesterday evening my sister and I went bowling with our friends, which I haven't done in years. I actually got a strike on my first go (which didn't record on the system!!), but then it all went downhill from there. It was really fun though and I wasn't actually as bad as I thought I was - it's something I definitely will do again in the near future.
Strive not to be a success, but rather to be of value.
                  - Albert Einstein
#projectsmile



Monday, 19 December 2016

6 things that have made me happy today #13


1) Exchanging presents with my best friend
Today my best friend Roxy and I met up for a drink to exchange Christmas presents. I got some really lovely things from her and had such a nice time catching up, as always.

2) Costa black forest hot chocolate
Following on from above, we met up at Costa and I had their black forest hot chocolate. I have this every year around Christmas time and it tastes so good. Especially when you order a large and get it in one of their huge mugs.

3) Lasagne
My mum made us lasagne for tea tonight, which is one of my favourite foods. Plus you definitely cannot beat homemade lasagne, especially when it is made by my mum.

4) Watching a film with my family
After our lasagne, my family and I sat down and watched Die Hard. And I fell asleep about 15 minutes in... But the best part was just spending an evening with my parents and sisters with the Christmas tree twinkling in the background.

5) Gossip Girl
As I mentioned yesterday, I have really got into Gossip Girl again recently. I finished the first series today and am going to start the second tonight. It's no less dramatic the second time around!

6) My dogs
I am loving being home, and a big part of that is because I get to spend lots of time with my dogs. They are so cute and won't leave me alone - and I love them for it. Brucey is constantly bringing me his football to play tug of war with.
Confidence is not "They will like me". Confidence is "I'll be fine if they don't".
#projectsmile



Sunday, 18 December 2016

Pingu

Asos Pingu Sweatshirt

Pingu Sweater - Asos
Leather Skirt - Primark
Sparkly Tights - Primark
Snakeskin Boots - Primark
Glittery Mickey Mouse Bag - Primark

 How cute is this sweater?! When I saw it I knew I had to have it, and my mum actually gave it to me as an early Christmas gift yesterday. I used to love Pingu when I was younger and thought this was so adorable as it features the whole family (plus the random seal). These glittery tights make me feel really festive, and I love my new sparkly Mickey Mouse-shaped bag.


 

Today has been spent at our local pub, having a meal with my family and our family friends. It's a tradition we do every Sunday before Christmas, and I always really enjoy it. I love the lead-up to Christmas so much!

In other news, I have really got back into Gossip Girl again recently and have been watching it back from the start. I forgot how good a series it is. xoxo, you know you love me...
Mistakes are proof that you're trying.
#projectsmile