Friday, 1 February 2013

Turning Nocturnal

I've been neglecting this blog because since Christmas I've been pretty much only working night shifts. Emergency medicine is officially a specialty in crisis; it is one of the few specialties where less people want to do it than there are jobs. As a result, the rota is brutally punishing to those who have either chosen the career path, and to those who have been lucky enough to be allocated it (foundation doctors and GP trainees mostly).

The effect of working 7 days (or nights) in a row, with no more than 2 days off in between times, working 3 weekends in a row, means that even less doctors are considering it as a valid career path. This then has the knock on effect of the rota becoming even worse to plug the gaps left by a shortage of staff.

The worse part of working anti social hours are the times when I get home after Andy's left for work, or vice versa. Or like we've been doing this week - him on nights whilst I was doing late shifts, and now I'm on nights for the weekend whilst he does long day shifts. Last time this happened, I saw him Friday morning at 5.30am as he left for work, and saw him again at 6.30am Monday morning as I crawled into bed!

Anyway, enough moaning. I'm lucky to have a job I love that I get paid quite well to do. Even if on a day to day basis I have to deal with at least one person who hasn't thought about taking pain killers before coming to A&E to complain about their aches and pains...

January was invite sending month - the wedding is fast approaching now so we've posted the invites and I've joined Weight Watchers online to shift that stubborn stone. It's going well so far, I've lost half a stone in 3 weeks and I don't really feel hungry. I think only having 2 meals a day is helpful so I can have two decent meals rather than 3 stingy ones.

I'm so pleased with how the invites have turned out, we have had so many compliments for them. We had the insides printed by Ruth at Olive Weddings and she did a beautiful job with them. Andy and I had hours of fun then glueing it all together and making our own stickers to hold them together. Now the invites are done, its time to do place names and a table plan and orders of service.......

Only 113 days to go!

Thursday, 20 December 2012

Christmas Time, Mistletoe and Wine...

...Lots of wine. I've been quiet for a while because of just how hectic it is starting a new job and the pre-Christmas rush to get everything done in time. The joys of being a junior doctor means I am working the graveyard shift on Christmas Day (and the night before and for 5 nights afterwards, but hey, I'm only complaining a little...) so it'll be kept short this year by having to go to work at 6pm. Just in time, I imagine, to be greeted by the families who've had enough of each other and started fighting! Andy is also working nights over Christmas, he chose to do this so one of his colleagues who has a baby can spend it with her family. My boy has a heart of gold. And hopefully the good karma will come back to us when we have a family of our own!

Christmas tree in Salisbury Cathedral

We're in the middle of a relative tour to see everyone before the big day, so creativity has taken a bit of a back seat. But before we left I had a go at making some cake pops with a tin I got from here (very expensive but decent quality). I made one into a mini birthday cake for a friend.

The rest I made into Christmas puddings! They seemed to go down pretty well with my grandparents and parents.

I wish I had more time to bake and do fun crafty things, but sadly bills have to be paid and sick people have to be fixed. My parents are staying with us for Christmas Day itself - in part a sneaky way of ensuring I get my normal Christmas dinner and will still make it to work on time, so this coming weekend will be spent cleaning the flat and picking up the last few food items. If there's one place I hate, it's the supermarket at the weekend!

To end, here is me with the Snowman from the John Lewis advert - the highlight of a recent Christmas shopping trip.

Sunday, 2 December 2012


On Wednesday I left my lovely lovely GP job. I loved working as a GP, and getting to look at cute babies a couple of times a day. Plus the nice old people who came back time and time again, mainly I think to tell me how young I look! I must have heard that one about "you know you're old when policemen and doctors look so young..." about 50 times over the past 4 months. I'm not that young looking, but I guess when you're 80 everyone under the age of 40 looks pretty youthful.

The lovely reception ladies bought me some flowers and a good luck card for my new job - sadly A&E over Christmas - so as a goodbye present for them, I made some chocolate eclairs.

I promise they tasted better than they looked! The best thing about eclairs is getting to play with the piping bag and not having to worry too much what the outcome looks like. But my god, the piping bag is a pain in arse to clean.

Then Thursday was Andy's birthday, so whilst he was at work, I whipped up a quick birthday cake using this recipe. It was my first attempt at a swiss roll, which involved going out and buying a baking tray especially.

Not the greatest photo but I think you can appreciate how it looks actually rolled up! I filled it with fresh cream, which spread surprisingly well on top of the fragile sponge. Then obviously it had to be turned into a caterpillar - just what every 26 year old wants!

And to finish, here's a photo of the birthday boy in his new Christmas jumper. He looks very fetching, don't you think?

Monday, 26 November 2012


A very good friend is having a baby, so as soon as I found out, it was the perfect excuse to knit something. I'm getting a bit broody myself but have to get the wedding out of the way first - and get a proper training job - before we can embark on that stage! So for the baby I made this hat in a cream colour. 

It's made out of pretty thick wool, which was great fun to knit with because it was so quick! Unlike when I knitted an Arsenal scarf for Andy a couple of years ago - that took forever.

On Saturday we took a trip to my favourite shop of all time - Ikea! We only popped in to look at Christmas decorations, but as usual came out with £30 worth of stuff. Finally we have a mirror for the spare room. Technically we're supposed to ask the letting agents for permission before we attach anything to the walls, but as I rang them 3 times in the last week and I'm still waiting for them to get back to me, we're going to put the mirror up anyway and worry about it later. 

I've been after one of these wicker hearts for a while now, we went to the Chatsworth House Christmas Market on Saturday and they had loads, but they were very pricey. Luckily Ikea had some that were very reasonable. So this is what it looks like in daylight:

We threaded a set of LED lights through it, and now it looks all festive:

It's not quite an acceptable time to put the Christmas tree up - we have to wait until after Andy's birthday on Thursday - but I'm already in the spirit of things. Shame this year I'm working nights over Christmas anyway, sometimes it really sucks that people get sick all year round. 

Anyone else in the Christmas spirit yet?

Sunday, 18 November 2012

Theatre and Cake

On Friday night, Andy and I went to see 'The Memory of Water' at the Guildhall in Derby. We're not big theatre goers but were fed up of another night in front of the telly drinking too much wine, so off we went.

The Guildhall is tiny, we had end row seats thinking we'd be alongside the aisle, but instead we were up against the wall! It was incredibly hot in there, and as the evening went on it got hotter and hotter. The play is about three sisters (and later on their partners) the day before their mother's funeral. The relationship between the three of them has always been strained, and the high pressure environment led to some interesting and hilarious discussions between them. I was so impressed with the high quality acting; there were so many lines, with one of the characters being on stage for the whole of the first half (over an hour).

Of course the best thing about going to the theatre is that there's always ice cream in the interval! Andy didn't believe me that it would be there, but happily I was right and we had a Magnum each. Sadly only a Classic, they didn't have anything as fancy as the new Infinity ones!

Last Wednesday we had dinner with friends, and it was our job to supply pudding. Normally I'd bust out the classic banoffee pie recipe that never disappoints but I fancied trying something new - so using TGBBO book (obviously!) we attempted this:

It came out as a bit of a monster! From the bottom up, it's meringue, brownie, raspberry cream, brownie, meringue, raspberry cream and decorated with chopped hazelnuts and pistachio nuts. Yum!

Unfortunately between making it and serving it, the top half kind of slid off to one side, meaning it didn't look quite so pretty. But it tasted delicious!

Sunday, 4 November 2012


Half term is no fun when you're an adult. I definitely feel like I need a week off after working since we went to Chicago at the beginning of September. Luckily we have booked our honeymoon! We're off to Mauritius for a week straight after the wedding. For gift lists, we're having a list at John Lewis for a few bits and pieces (KitchenAid mixer in artisan, yes please) and then asking people to get us Virgin Holiday vouchers if they'd prefer. Then we can pay for the rest of the honeymoon. Otherwise I might have to do some extra locum shifts...

Yesterday we went to the Donkey sanctuary in Peak Forest, in the Peak district. It took us an hour to get there, only to find it was incredibly muddy and we were expected to go across two fields to get to the donkeys. Mud negotiated, we stroked a few donkeys and tried not to freeze to death. Andy got headbutted by one in the groin because he was standing on a particularly tasty patch of grass.

Donkeys are amazing animals, and these ones are so tame. They were happy to be stroked whilst they ate. We walked round for probably no more than half an hour as it was barely above freezing, but it was fun and we paid our voluntary donations so we felt like we'd done our bit!

Sunday, 28 October 2012

White Bread

I haven't made bread since I was 5 years old, but the smell of freshly baked bread is delicious and just perfect for a rainy Sunday afternoon. Especially when Andy dragged me out for a 7 mile run this morning and I ache all over now. It took me a week to recover from last week's run! Following the trusty TGBBO book again, we headed to Asda to pick up the ingredients. Asda was, predictably, hell on earth, but we survived and only broke 2 self check outs in the process.

So the dough first stuck to my hands and made me look like I had leprosy, but after 10 minutes of kneading it started to look like proper dough. After it had proved, and grown to the size of a small monster, I divided it into 2, to make 1 loaf and 6 rolls.

As you can see the 6 rolls are not particularly even in size... They expanded so quickly and probably 'over-prooved', which I'm sure is mentioned a lot when talking about bread. But it looks good and Andy says they taste ok too, which is a ringing endorsement!

Need to work on my 'light dusting' of flour.