ALMOST THERE – ARSE IN GEAR!

OK, where to start…. where to start.

As anyone who reads my blog regularly will realise, my posts have been few and far between over the last few months.
The reason was simply a build up of everything in my life to a point at which it was all conflicting with each other and it became a bit of a mess.

Don’t take my happy smiley face, when I do get out or I’m at work, as a sign that I’m ok and things are going great. They most certainly are not……. BUT…….

Things are getting better.

There has been a lot on my plate since January 2017. This is when I decided to take on a course, offered to me through work, that will see me with a foundation degree under my belt when I finally finish the course in March next year.
I can’t say it has been easy because it certainly hasn’t, and I knew when I took on the course that I would be making compromises for a while, however, I think I seriously miss-judged just how much of an impact it would truly have on my life for two years.
Apart from my trip to Italy last year for my brother’s wedding, real breaks have been non-existent. I have tried to keep up with odd days out with hubby and/or kids, but things are now stacking up and interfering with each other. Even when I do take annual leave, I have to go to my placement days.
As I would have to make these hours up in my own time anyway, it would be silly to miss them.

Over the last year, Ian, who has psoriatic arthritis,  has been dealing with impinged nerves in his neck meaning that his left arm and leg are painful, constantly has pins and needles and he can’t drive very far. He has been relying on a colleague to get him too and from work for at least the last 6 months because he can’t drive long distances anymore. We owe this colleague more than he will ever know because I really don’t think Ian would have a job at the moment without him!

Ian has had appointments and a big procedure at Addenbrookes, and I couldn’t attend any of it because of course commitments.
For the same reason, I have recently felt like a really ‘shitty’ Mother because, 2 of my girls have ongoing orthopaedic issues and I haven’t been able to attend all of their appointments due to course commitments. My 16 year old had a trip to A+E with a knee injury, on the bus with her 19 year old sister because ‘I’ was committed to something and Ian can’t sit for more than 5 minutes in the A+E chairs without being in excruciating agony.

With all that said, I am now in the closing months of the course.
The last of the essays, presentations and reports have been submitted and I have sat the final exam. I now wait with baited breath to see if I’ve passed each one.
I think I may just break if I haven’t.

With all that said, from next week, I will be in consolidation until March.
My learning is now all work and placement based and my days off, are ACTUALLY days off again!

My own health has suffered over the last year. I’m not eating healthily and I’ve piled on a lot of the weight I lost for my brother’s wedding and I’m also drinking too much.
It’s far too easy to sit in front of this computer procrastinating with a bottle of wine and a bag of crisps!…… Exactly what I’m doing right now!

I have kept myself sane by forcing myself to take time out.
Imagine Dragons in London earlier in the year has been a highlight.
Trips to the cinema, although not as many as usual, are always a welcome break but all too brief and of course the odd night out with my eldest and her mates in town have been fun and we celebrated my birthday with a night out to see CC Smugglers at Esquires, our local music venue and we went out for a meal.

I won’t deny it’s been a tough 2 years, and I refuse to ‘sugar coat’ it for anyone who asks me about it because they are interested in it. That wouldn’t be fair to them.
There have been times in the last couple of months alone, where I’ve really felt like packing it all in, but there is now light at the end of the tunnel and I am determined to see it though.

With the pressure of essays, etc, now gone, it’s time to start thinking about ME again.

Silly as it sounds, over the last week I’ve been doing a bit of decorating. Little jobs to tidy things up that have literally been driving me nuts for two years and I haven’t been able to do because of course commitments and I absolutely cannot wait for spring to get stuck into the garden that is lucky to have seen a lawn mower just once over the same two years.

I have decided that on Friday this week, I will start a ‘new me’ regime.
Nothing drastic.
I will be using my Samsung Health app to it’s full potential and I will be recording my whole day on it.
My sleep patterns, my diet, my weight, my exercise.
I’m hoping that seeing it all laid out in front of me with hints and tips on what to change, will be enough to get me back into the swing of things…… before it’s too late.

I’m not stupid.
I actually eat quite healthily….. it’s just all the wine and the crisps in between that’s doing all the damage.
Time to be realistic.

I’ve said it…. too many times before….. watch this space.

X-RATED STYLE

Ever since Italy last year, I have been nurturing an old artistic interest.
I absolutely love the human form and if I’m being totally honest, the male form in particular.

Renaissance artwork is a particular favourite, so Italy and Florence were a dream come true. I mean just look at this…..

This is the work of Michelangelo.
Really take a look at it. Look at the detail, the musculature, the folds of skin, the crossed feet. Look at the fingers squeezing into the buttock and this has all been carved out of marble.
Michelangelo, looked at a block of marble and saw this!!

Anyway, back to the reason for this post.
My interest has seen me collecting images. Amazing paintings from modern artists with a plethora of styles.

Zack Zdrale
Love the lighting and the detail in the hands.

Zack Zdrale

Daniel Pernas
Again, look at the detail in the hands. I get very jealous of people who can do hands.

Daniel Pernas 1

Giorgio Dante
His work is very reminiscent of the renaissance period with exaggerated body movement and swathes of material.

David Jester
I love the colour in these images and the fact that he totally makes you feel like you’re under water. They’re amazing!!

So, where was I going with this post…… oh yes….

My Xmas present

One of my favourite forms of expression is photography.
I think that, taken in the right conditions, a photograph can make a human form look like it’s been carved from marble.

One of my favourite photographers is Michael Stokes.
He takes amazing photos of the human form and the photos that initially grabbed my interest were from a collection of work entitled ‘Always Loyal’.
This coffee table book is one I have just received, had a quick flick through and given up to be wrapped for Xmas. So frustrating!!
It consists of very raw and powerful photos of service men and women. Injured in the line of duty. It shows each one before their injury, during their recovery and then Michael’s photo’s almost make it look like they are blooming or transforming into their final form. They’ve gone through hell but they are still here and this book honours what they’ve gone through in an amazing way.

However, I also decided to try some of his earlier work.
I decided to go for his first book entitled, ‘Masculinity’.
The first edition of this book has sold out and can currently be found changing hands for around £800 – £1000!!

I was intrigued.

So when I found the second edition for sale through the artist himself, I jumped at the chance to get it.
My beautifully signed copy arrived with ‘Always Loyal’ and after a very eye opening quick skim through, I have also given this one up to be wrapped for Xmas.

The preface in this book is titled, ‘Art, Porn and the Male Form’.
What I didn’t know about Michael Stokes is that because of the rules and regulations of what can and cannot be posted on social media and the rules of publishers, Michael’s work is all created independently so that he is not bound by those rules and can express himself fully. Because I’ve only seen his work through social media, I hadn’t fully appreciated the extent of his work until I saw this book.
Let’s just say, this book shows the male form in ‘ALL’ it’s glory and is definitely one I won’t be showing my mother at Xmas!!

Here’s a taster…… one’s that I can show anyway!!

I will be keeping my eye open for opportunities to collect his other coffee table books, although, because they are collections of ‘artwork’, they are pretty expensive.

But well and truly worth it!
Can’t wait to get my hands back on them at Xmas.

I’M STILL ALIVE!

So, I haven’t posted since the 17th September.

TBH, I really haven’t wanted to write anything. My life feels like a bit of a struggle at the moment, just going from day to day. I just want this course to finish so that I can go back to concentrating on my work and my life and continue to develop my skills on the job. After 2 years of writing about policies and guidelines, I’ve really had enough and just want to get back to actually dealing with patients and work colleagues.

This week isn’t helping.
I got the result for my third presentation.
My first two presentations were ‘A’s, my third was a ‘C’.
To say I’m a little disappointed is true but, hey! it’s a pass.
I know where I went wrong. I tried to cram way too much onto the slides and my references weren’t great.

I have placement today and tomorrow followed by 2 long days at work and then my weekend will be spent on my last two pieces of work.

What a shit week!!

Having said that….
One of my baby girls turned 21 yesterday!
How did that happen?

How did this…….

I~000015

Turn into this?!!!

20170519_233329

SO QUICKLY!!

And last night I went to the cinema with the hubby and daughter number 2.
I was a secret screening so we didn’t know what it would be until it started.
Turns out it was ‘The Hate U Give’.

I kinda rolled my eyes when I found out what it was.
I see it all the time on the news just lately and really didn’t want it rammed down my throat in the cinema.

WITH THAT SAID…..

I’m glad I stayed to watch it.
It’s a good film with a lot to say, that it does pretty well.
Gives a bit of perspective from both sides of events.
Even gives a little bit of humour.

Would I watch it again?
Possibly.
Don’t know if it’s one for my DVD list though.

Right, that’s my quick update of events.
Back to work. Got to leave in about 10 minutes.
I could cry.

STRESSES AND STRAINS

Urgh!!

Got to do something!!

Stomach in knots.

Mind racing.

I HATE THIS!!!

So, today is the last of our presentations.
At approx 11:40, I will be stood in front of a few colleagues and tutors waffling my way through a presentation on the ‘Stresses and Strains of Caring’ and how I protect myself and my colleagues from stress, exhaustion and burnout.

I find it quite ironic really, because doing these presentations is more stressful in itself than working on the ward with my team.

Just over a week ago, I found out that I had taken my presentation brief in completely the wrong direction and had to literally start it again.
On Monday, I had a run through with a tutor who reassured me that I was now on the right track and offered a few tips.
On Friday, I finalised it and submitted it to the portal.
That’s it.
Done.
No changes now.

Stupid thing is, that night, I laid awake ALL night with the damned thing running over in my head. When I got up for work I felt like rubbish. On my way into work, my stomach started bubbling and gurgling quite nicely and by the time I got into handover, I felt like death warmed up.
They sent me home.

After calming myself down and switching off from everything for a few hours, I actually felt a lot better.
On Sunday we had a surprise family get together for my Mum’s 70th birthday. I was adamant that I would NOT think about Uni and just take a day out and enjoy things.
It was a lovely day.

Then WHAM!
I wake up at the crack of dawn today and the butterflies are back with a vengeance.
I can feel the panic and the stress slowly rising to the surface.
I’ve had a final run through of the presentation and my verdict is that it is….. shit!!
I think I have covered enough to get a pass but it certainly has a few areas that are complete waffle and could have been left out and my referencing is abysmal.

I FEEL SICK!

At least this is the last one. (Unless I fail it)
Then I can start to tackle the last two essays that have to be complete before the end of October.

WELL S’#T!!

There is nothing quite like the gut wrenching feeling of finding out the presentation you’ve been working on all day (and attempting to write on and off for the last two weeks) is completely wrong!!

Image result for tearing hair out gif

So glad a colleague shared some feedback from a tutor with me.
It has clearly shown that I’ve taken the brief in completely the wrong direction.

BUT!!!

I have had an epiphany!! So I will be spending the rest of the evening, jotting down a rough plan so that I don’t forget it and then work on it on Sunday before discussing it with tutors on Monday in the hopes that I have finally cracked it!!

I need to take a little break first though.
May even brave the rain for a walk and get some air.

…….or I could just dig out a bottle of wine and chill while waiting for Hozier’s new EP to drop at 19:30!!

Either way, I don’t want this evening to end.
I need more time on this presentation for one thing but tomorrow, I’m back at work after over two weeks off!
Two 12.5 hour shifts in a row is going to be tough, especially with the knowledge that on Sunday I will be sitting in front of this damned computer all day again trying to complete a presentation.

 

TIME TO KICK ASS!

Right, time to kick some ass….. my own that is.

I’ve just had 2 weeks of annual leave to have a really good think about things.
In that time, I have finished a presentation, submitted it and then actually presented it.
I’ve made a tentative start on the next one but I haven’t even looked at the two essays that I wanted to.
I have chilled, I have eaten far too much, drunk far too much and generally procrastinated at every turn.

SO!

After all this time to think, I have come up with a plan.
The next 7 months are going to be incredibly hard as I try to fit in everything that is required to finish this foundation degree.
I need to wake my brain up a bit and I think that exercise and fresh air is called for.
When I was dieting and exercising before I went to Italy last year, I felt great!
Since coming back I have fallen into the old routine of sitting in front of my PC and doing sod all else during my free time.

I have an App on my phone that tracks my daily exercise and I have set my daily steps target to 10000.
When I am at work I will smash through this, regularly reaching 16000 steps.
On my days off, I rarely reach this target and in the last two weeks, the ONLY day I reached this target was when we went to Coventry for the day last weekend.

Needless to say, that with all the spoiling of myself I’ve done and with the lack of exercise, I have piled on a bit of weight.
Worrying about Uni work and binge eating to feel better are not helping and are, in fact, making me even more depressed and therefore comfort eating even more!!

It’s a downward spiral and it has to stop!!

So, Monday is the start of me getting back into the right frame of mind to kick my life back into the right gear.
I will start by making sure I reach my steps target on a DAILY basis.
I’ve been charting my efforts over the last few months and marking my efforts in red, amber and green.
The red means I have walked less than 7500 steps.
The amber means I have walked between 7500 and 10000 steps.
The green means I reached my target for the day.

Sadly there is far more red and amber than green on my spreadsheet for the year so far.

My best month has been July with a total of 200677 steps, equivalent to 158.21 Kilometers or 98.3 Miles.
My worst month has been May with on 110046 steps, equivalent to just 86.3 Kilometers or 53.6 Miles.

If I aim to reach my target every day from now on I should be reaching nearer 434000 steps for the month, equivalent to roughly 310 Kilometers or 192 Miles!!
That’s double my best month so far!!

It’s going to be tough, I’ll admit, but I need to get out of the house and away from the computer for a bit each day.
I also need to get back into a ton of nice clothes that I have that are just a bit too snug to be comfortable in.

There, it’s in writing, so watch this space.
Now, I’m going to go and finish the last of my wine and snacks!