Monday, 1 July 2013

East Meets West- A Sussex Holiday (August 2011)

Squeezed into the last 4 days on my holiday before I start on my Gynaecology placement was a two night camping holiday in Chichester and a weekend in Brighton for Pride.

Always say yes to new experiences means that I am currently writing this in my tent at the Park Holidays Chichester lakeside holiday park, which is essentially a trailer park on the outskirts of Chichester.

I used to live in Chichester in 2005-06 during my foundation year so I know it well- I didn’t know this trailer park was here though. Looking through the itinerary was amusing with activities like ‘Loopy fun time’ and ‘Bingo, Bingo, Bingo!’ I wonder why people like to holiday here- especially as many own their own plot and caravan, some fully equipped with full kitchens and double fridge freezers. Chichester itself was nice to live in but essentially dead from 8pm, unless theatre going was your thing. As a campsite goes however it was clean and had good toilet/shower facilities if you don’t mind spiders and your clothes getting wetter than you!

In Chichester we ate out at Ask Italian. This branch had recently been renovated and the staff were the friendliest I’ve come across, even laughing and providing excellent customer service when we broke a wine glass and ordered meals which had run out. I had my usual Pizza Florentina, which was excellent, as always, and they had not over cooked the egg. Shame there was no smoked salmon, which really makes the difference.

Saturday, 17 March 2012

150 things to do before you're 30

The rules are:
  1. The things you have already done – make them bold.
  2. Italics is for things that you are dying to do!
Notice, you don’t have to send or nominate another group of individuals which limits the meme itself.
01. Bought everyone in the bar a drink
02. Swam with dolphins
03. Climbed a mountain
04. Taken a Ferrari for a test drive
05. Been inside the Great Pyramid
06. Held a tarantula
07. Taken a candlelit bath with someone
08. Said “I love you” and meant it
09. Hugged a tree
10. Bungee jumped
11. Visited Paris
12. Watched a lightning storm at sea
13. Stayed up all night long and saw the sun rise
14. Seen the Northern Lights
15. Gone to a huge sports game
16. Walked the stairs to the top of the leaning Tower of Pisa
17. Grown and eaten your own vegetables
18. Touched an iceberg
19. Slept under the stars

20. Changed a baby’s diaper
21. Taken a trip in a hot air balloon
22. Watched a meteor shower
23. Gotten drunk on champagne
24. Given more than you can afford to charity
25. Looked up at the night sky through a telescope
26. Had an uncontrollable giggling fit at the worst possible moment
27. Had a food fight
28. Bet on a winning horse
29. Asked out a stranger
30. Had a snowball fight
31. Screamed as loudly as you possibly can
32. Held a lamb
33. Seen a total eclipse
34. Ridden a roller coaster

35. Hit a home run
36. Danced like a fool and didn’t care who was looking

37. Adopted an accent for an entire day
38. Actually felt happy about your life, even for just a moment

39. Had two hard drives for your computer
40. Visited all 50 states
41. Taken care of someone who was drunk
42. Had amazing friends
43. Danced with a stranger in a foreign country
44. Watched whales
45. Stolen a sign
46. Backpacked in Europe

47. Taken a road-trip
48. Gone rock climbing
49. Taken a midnight walk on the beach
50. Gone sky diving
51. Visited Ireland
52. Been heartbroken longer than you were actually in love
53. In a restaurant, sat at a stranger’s table and had a meal with them
54. Visited Japan
55. Milked a cow
56. Alphabetized your CDs
57. Pretended to be a superhero
58. Sung karaoke
59. Lounged around in bed all day
60. Played touch football
61. Gone scuba diving
62. Kissed in the rain
63. Played in the mud
64. Played in the rain
65. Gone to a drive-in theatre
66. Visited the Great Wall of China

67. Started a business
68. Fallen in love and not had your heart broken
69. Toured ancient sites
70. Taken a martial arts class

71. Played D&D for more than 6 hours straight
72. Gotten married
73. Been in a movie
74. Crashed a party
75. Gotten divorced
76. Gone without food for 5 days
77. Made cookies from scratch
78. Won first prize in a costume contest
79. Ridden a gondola in Venice
80. Gotten a tattoo
81. Rafted the Snake River
82. Been on a television news program as an “expert”
83. Gotten flowers for no reason
84. Performed on stage

85. Been to Las Vegas
86. Recorded music
87. Eaten shark
88. Kissed on the first date

89. Gone to Thailand
90. Bought a house
91. Been in a combat zone
92. Buried one/both of your parents
93. Been on a cruise ship
94. Spoken more than one language fluently
95. Performed in Rocky Horror
96. Raised children
97. Followed your favorite band/singer on tour
98. Passed out cold
99. Taken an exotic bicycle tour in a foreign country
100. Picked up and moved to another city to just start over
101. Walked the Golden Gate Bridge
102. Sang loudly in the car, and didn’t stop when you knew someone was looking with the windows open
103. Had plastic surgery
104. Survived an accident that you shouldn’t have survived
105. Wrote articles for a large publication
106. Lost over 100 pounds
107. Held someone while they were having a flashback
108. Piloted an airplane
109. Touched a stingray
110. Broken someone’s heart

111. Helped an animal give birth
112. Won money on a TV game show
113. Broken a bone
114. Gone on an African photo safari
115. Had a facial part pierced other than your ears
116. Fired a rifle, shotgun, or pistol

117. Eaten mushrooms that were gathered in the wild
118. Ridden a horse
119. Had major surgery
120. Had a snake as a pet
121. Hiked to the bottom of the Grand Canyon
122. Slept for 30 hours in a 48 hour period
123. Visited more foreign countries than U.S. States
124. Visited all 7 continents
125. Taken a canoe trip that lasted more than 2 days
126. Eaten kangaroo meat
127. Eaten sushi
128. Had your picture in the newspaper

129. Changed someone’s mind about something you care deeply about
130. Gone back to school
131. Parasailed
132. Touched a cockroach
133. Eaten fried green tomatoes
134. Read The Iliad and The Odyssey
135. Selected one “important” author who you missed in school, and read
136. Killed and prepared an animal for eating
137. Skipped all your school reunions
138. Communicated with someone without sharing a common spoken language

139. Been elected to public office (i've been elected at university elections..)
140. Written your own computer language
141. Thought to yourself that you’re living your dream
142. Had to put someone you love into hospice care
143. Built your own PC from parts
144. Sold your own artwork to someone who didn’t know you
145. Had a booth at a street fair
146. Dyed your hair
147. Been a DJ
148. Shaved your head
149. Caused a car accident
150. Saved someone’s life

Friday, 29 July 2011

Chocolate Banana Bread

I made this without the nuts or white chocolate, simply because I didn't have them in the house, but it worked well.

Chocolate banana cake


Chocolate banana cake
Adding chocolate to a classic banana bread recipe will make it a firm family favourite.


Preparation method

  1. Preheat the oven to 180C/350F/Gas 4. Grease and line a loaf tin.
  2. Sift the plain flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda, salt and sugar into a large bowl and mix until well combined.
  3. Mash the bananas in a separate bowl, stir in the eggs and melted butter.
  4. Fold the banana mixture into the flour mixture until just combined. Fold in the chocolate and nuts and spoon the mixture into the loaf tin.
  5. Bake for 50-60 minutes, or until the cake is risen and a skewer inserted in the centre comes out clean. Remove the cake from the oven, cool on a wire rack for 10 minutes, then remove the cake from the tin. Serve in slices.

Beer, Devon 16-23/07/2011

Instead of the near-compulsory family holiday in Greece this year, my parents decided to opt for an English Holiday. A risky choice considering the weather in this country! Although it rained most days the weather could have been a lot worse! I, personally, have no problem with being stick inside with a good book, cup of tea, listening to the rain outside. Although my 'itchy feet' mum couldn't really stand sitting down too long..

Day 1:
As all good holidays, it began with a Skinny Latte and fruit toast at Starbucks in Waterloo station.  

After a fairly uneventful train ride (other than seeing a steam train leaving Waterloo!) and a long wait for a taxi, we arrived in a very wet Beer! First thing- Head for the pub! We had a huge, and delicious lunch at the Barrel O'Beer Pub (

We collected the keys for a home for a week, West View Cottage (

A lazy afternoon was followed by an interesting, and eclectic Jazz concert in St Michael's Church by Exeter Chamber Choir. 

Back to the Barrel O'Beer afterwards for a pint of the very drinkable Devon Glory bitter followed by a bottle of red and pasta pesto back at the house. (

Cyclops says it looks like thisChestnut amber
Cyclops says it smells like thisMalty, nutty, woody
Cyclops says it tastes like thisDry, sweet, fruity
How bitter is Devon Glory
How sweet is Devon Glory

Day 2:

Ventured to Branscombe for a delicious cream tea at the Old Bakery. Once completely full we looked into the Forge ( and Mill (with original water turbine) on our walk back. About a 10km round trip.
File:Branscombe, Manor Mill - - 36964.jpg
Manor Mill
The Old Bakery (NT) Branscombe
The Old Bakery
Spent the rest of the day finishing a jugsaw puzzle and completeing Professor Layton and the Elaysion Box.  Went to the Spice Merchant curry house in Beer. Excellent curry (even made without tomatoes for my mum!).

Day 3:

Got an earlyish bus to Lyme Regis this morning. Mum and Dad had wanted to come to Lyme so that they could walk along the Cobb, as mentioned in the French Lieutenant's Woman by John Fowles ('s_Woman Popped into the Lyme Regis Museum shop but no one seemed particularly interested in seeing the museum itself. After a cup of tea and dad loosing, and finding, his wallet we looked around the shops. Stumbled across a delightful cupcake shop. We walked along the riverside and stumbled on yet another art exhibition. 
The meat eaters among us popped into the Whole Hog ( for roast pork sandwiches which, apparently, are on an equal footing with the Sheffield variety! Across the road was an amazing rabbit warren of a book shop called The Sanctuary, and to Beth it really was a Sanctuary full of old editions of her favourite books.

 Shop in March 2010

We finished the day with freshly caught Lemon Sole, fresh bread and wine- Dad was in Heaven!

Day 4:
Beth's last day today so I stayed in the cottage with her whilst my parents and brother ventured to Sidmouth. Popped out for some fresh bread and pasties for lunch but spent the rest of the day indoors relaxing. I read more of my book, Shantaram (, which I can't help but be totally ingrossed in! I can't wait for the film to come out! Took a break from reading to watch Rita, Sue and Bob Too! ( which was suprisingly slow with the odd raunchy scene- glad I didn't watch it with my parents though!
In the afternoon Beth and I wandered down to the beach as the weather took a turn for the better.

Had dinner at the Barrel O'Beer- the food was good but not great. The chips were still good but not as delicious as I had remembered them to be, which was a shame.

Day 5: 
Saw Beth off at the bus stop with the compulsory cheap sausage rolls for the journey. More reading this morning before getting pasties from the local Deli, Woozie's Deli. Woozie's wouldn't feel out of place in the back streets of Hampstead but seems too ponsey for the small streets of Beer, especially considering it is the only place to buy some everyday essentials in the village. Huge selection of amazing jams and chutney's though- The spicy butternut squash chutney looked fabulous! As for the pasties, their Spinach & Ricotta was very nice but the Tomato, Cheese & Basil wasn't as good as those from the Cornish Pasty Co chain. 

After lunch, and in a break in the rain, we caught the bus to Seaton. Seaton is essentially Eastbourne without the young people! Every thing was either a charity shop or a care home. We walked along the beach to the mouth of the river Axe, and then back over the hill to Beer, totalling about 6km. The footpath was easily marked out but they had concreted all the paths. Which is fine on the up and flat parts but going downwards my walking shoes may well have been rollerblades- I ended up walking in my socks for grip. Mum's phobia of going down steep stairs didn't help!

Had Fish'n'chips from the local chippy with a large variety of freshly caught fish. But here comes the rant: I can't seem to find a good chippy in the whole of the south! I remember not being particularly excited my fish and chips when I lived in London or Brighton but couldn't really put my finger on why. My dad says its the fat they use in the North but I think its more than that- In my local chippy in Sheffield it only takes a couple of minutes to cook the fish but it takes 20minutes at my parent's local. They are obviously cooking them at too low a temperature for too long and therefore dry out- simples!

Day 6:
Dad, Alex and I spent the morning line fishing off the Devon coast. We firstly caught mackerel for bait and then travelled further out for some deep sea fishing. I managed to catch 9 Pouting fish and a dog fish:

We had grilled mackerel for lunch and a fish chowder for dinner- not sure dog fish is top of my fish-list, tastes like eel!

In the afternoon I walked up to an archaeological dig with my parents. At the site they had unearthed some Romano-British pottery and flint.

Day 7:
Walked to Barnscombe again. At the Old Bakery I had a cheese sandwich with Devon Devil chutney which was delicious- the chutney was like a homemade sweet chilli sauce. With homemade ginger beer. Nom. Overall, an excellent little pitstop! The rain prevented us from walking back so we took a rollercoaster type bus ride over the hills and through the villages.

Day 8:
There was a greasy spoon cafe on the beach (!) can you image anything better? Called Ducky's (, which sounds like it should be in Yorkshire not Devon but it was the perfect place to soak up the newly arriving sunshine before we caught the train home.

Tuesday, 26 July 2011

Delicious Curry

This is a delicious curry base to have with any vegetable- I have made it with all the left overs just as I would a ratatouille. Presumably it would work with most poultry, meat and fish?


Sweet potato curry




Preparation method

  1. Heat the oil in a frying pan over a medium heat. Add the garlic and shallots and fry until softened.
  2. Add the chilli, cumin seeds, curry powder and turmeric powder and fry for a further minute to release the aromas.
  3. Add the tomato purée and vegetable stock, stir well and bring to a simmer.
  4. Add the sweet potato and broccoli and simmer for 10 minutes, or until the sweet potato is cooked through. Season, to taste, with salt and freshly ground black pepper.
  5. To serve, pour into a warm bowl, sprinkle with the fresh coriander and spoon the yoghurt into the middle.

Sunday, 27 March 2011

An Evening of Comic Song

Friday 25th March 19:30

Another fabulous SingSoc social, this time to see Pete Taylor, Jon Openshaw and Robert Webb in an Evening of Comic Song at the Lantern Theatre. I had a good idea of which songs they would sing tonight and essentially I was right. The songs were from various productions such as Avenue Q, Victoria Wood, Monty Python etc. What I wasn't expecting was the way the songs were arranged into a story of their lives (loosely based on truth). It was particularly funny when one of the trio made a mistake/ forgot a line. The natural friendships they have was obvious and relaxed therefore making each blunder funny and almost essential. The general theme was smutt, which was not to the taste of some of the audience. A couple of which did not stay until the end- all I can say is that they were warned! An excellent night..more from this trio me thinks!

26th March 2011: The March for the Alternative!

After catching an early train home to london, I spent the whole of yesterday at the massive protest in London. With too many friends in different organisations I decided to march with my parents. Dad manning the 'one million climate jobs' ( stall and mum aiding me in my search for my brother and his girlfriend. Eventually we found them after watching miles of protesters go by from all over the country and from every backwater little village! it was clear that this protest was a genuine reaction to the public funding cuts. Peoples' lives were being effected in a million different ways.

My mum was adament that I should have worn my uniform for the demo but I was aware that Hallam would have pretty good grounds to kick me off the course. It does seem ironic though that I could not wear a nursing uniform at a protest against public funding.
Mum took off home after it got too cold but I remained with my brother. Following Twitter reports, like the majority of the remaining protesters it seemed, we headed to oxford circus where Topshop in particular was under attack for tax dodging. When we got there Topshop had been forced to close which, considering it was a busy saturday afternoon, meant it lost alot of business.
At the centre of oxford circus, flares were being set off and a large paper horse had been set fire to. It filled the cross roads with smoke which added to the orange and pink flares. The sight of the burning horse was amazing but it was such a sign of the times that everybody, including passing tourists, had there arms up taking pictures of the flames. The whole atmosphere was great; oxford street had been shut down on an overcast saturday in London.
Following more reports, we walked down to piccadilly where Fortnum and Mason was in the process of being occupied. As we got there several protesters were climbing up to the roof above the doorway. They had covered the building with slogans. There was such as party atmosphere around the shop with several people carrying loadspeakers. Dancing in picadilly watching people break into the shops felt like we were a group that could really make a change. Unfortuately, the atmosphere got to one girl who collapsed near me. I managed to push into the circle surrounding her to revive her from her unconsciousness before a qualified nurse got there, followed by the police. The police officer came into the group and basically ordered us to get away from her if we did not have medical training. Both I and the qualified nurse handed over the situation. At this point he looked sheepish and left us to it. Its no surprice that protesters get angry when the police come into situations like a bull in a china shop without knowing where they stand! Thankfully the girl was fine but wanted to see a paramedic anyway. 
Shortly afterwards we heard reports that the police were kettling from one side. We started to move towards piccadilly circus. A couple of minutes later a man shouted 'kettling'. We ran just intime for the police line up behind us and trap the protesters in.  Reports say they were there for hours..