Live on £10 for a week: The student challenge

Recently, I read about the ‘Live on £10 a week’ challenge and I thought it would be quite easy for for me to achieve it as I don’t eat meat. To complete the challenge, I tactfully made a shopping list of all the ingredients I need. So here is what I bought:

My strategy was to use the same ingredients every single day and here is my Day 1 to Day 7 set menu:

BREAKFAST: 2 toasts with jam, a piece of fruit (apple or banana) and a cup of black coffee.

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LUNCH: Fried potatoes with herbs, 2 fried eggs, salad, a toast and a cuppa.

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DINNER: 3 bread pizzas, salad (optional) and a cuppa. To make the bread pizzas you spread a spoonful of olive oil, followed by a spoonful of pasta sauce on each slice and topping them up which grated cheddar cheese. You grill them in the oven for 10-15 min on 200° C until crispy.

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The negative is that herbs, spices, olive oil, tea and coffee have not been counted in this challenge. The positive is that if you follow the set menu accordingly, you’ll end up with an excess of 4 pieces of fruit, 2 slices of bread, 1 egg and probably a bit of jam. What you might run out of before the week ends is the pasta sauce and the lettuce. Day 1/7 complete. Happy budgeting y’all!! xx

 

Strolling London

As you may know, if you follow my blog, I love London and I often visit my husband who lives there. This time my dear sister had organised a meetup with friends. We all went to the Victoria and Albert Museum, followed by a visit to the National History Museum, had some coffee and lunch in the Serpentine in Hyde park and finished the day off in a lovely Chinese restaurant in Soho. Many thanks go to my sister for organizing the meetup and for everyone who came. I had an amazing day thanks to you all!! xx

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Easter break in Greece

I had the chance to visit Greece with my family during the Easter break. We visited Keramoti, island Thasos and Kavala. The nature was really beautiful and the sea offered a refreshing and relaxing atmosphere. I experienced a bit of a cultural shock when it comes to the culture of the people, however, the tasty food made up for it. If you have the time to travel I recommend visiting Greece with the people you love most as it will definitely be worth the money. We traveled off season, hence our holiday turned out really cheap. All the best! xx

 

My top tips for sitting exams

  1. Revise thoroughly and prepare well in advance for your exam. This will build up your competence and confidence. Additionally, sit as many  mock/formative exams as possible so you know what to expect. Try looking for previous exam papers, for example here.
  2. Use all of your time and go through your answers again and again until the time is up. Enter the exam room with the idea that you will not rush yourself to finish but actually, use all of your time given. Trust me, going over your questions again will save you from making silly mistakes and typos.
  3. Sleep a minimum of 8 hours the night before.  Anecdotally, a good night sleep will improve your concentration levels and help you think straight. By contrast, a lack of sleep will just make you inpatient, irritable and less focused.
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  4. Ear plugs – Unless your exam has a listening part, make sure you bring a pair of ear plugs. Hearing everyone else type or write can be pretty distracting and even annoying. Blocking away the noise around you will help you truly focus on your exam.auritech-swimming-ear-plugs
  5. Nutrition and hydration are really important. You don’t want to hear your stomach growling all the way through the exam, nor do you want to be desperate for the loo either. Make sure you eat and drink 1 hour before your exam and always use the loo before your exam is about to start. Bring a small water bottle along to sip on. Also, I find that a chewing gum helps me concentrate and reduces my anxiety, although that is personal opinion only.
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  6. Don’t forget to bring the important bits, such as your campus card, a calculator, a dictionary, a wrist watch (to keep track of the time), your uniform or whatever is required to bring depending on your exam.Good luck with your exams!

Highlights of this week

1) My dissertation results are finally out guys!! I’m so proud to say that I’ve got a First (74%). I’m so thankful to my personal adviser and the second marker for giving me such a high score even though I never believed I deserve it.

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2) Placement allocations are finally out! I’m going to Critical Care for my sign off placement and I’m chuffed to bits about it! I cannot wait to start as this will be the perfect preparation for my future job on ITU. I’m looking forward to meeting my mentor and hope we get along well. My placement will be 12 weeks long, starting from the 15 May until 4 August 2017.

3) I had my SafeMedicate exam this Thursday and I feel pretty confident I’ve got 100% (which is the pass mark). So one less exam to worry about now.

4) I met nursing students from Niigata University of Health and Welfare in Japan. They presented a lovely presentation about Inter Professional Learning on Tuesday, while on Wednesday we went out for dinner in Norwich. We went to The Middletons which is mainly a grill and steakhouse restaurant, however, they had some delicious veggie burgers on the menu as well. It is great that UEA has such good relationships with international universities and it is no surprise that UEA has one of the highest numbers of Japanese exchange students in England. UEA also has its own Centre for Japanese Studies since 2011.

5) This Saturday I’m planning to join Norwich ParkRun for the second time. It’s a great way to stay fit and healthy for no cost at all. It’s great for socializing too. If you’re interested in joining, all you have to do is register on their website for FREE and print off your personal barcode which is used to keep a record of your times (how fast you’ve finished the 5 km loop track). Make sure you bring your barcode along with you and show it to one of the volunteers at the event.

My top tips for studying

  1. Get some time off the internet. It is so easy to get distracted by social media, notifications, YouTube, Facebook and what not. I suggest you uninstall all social apps on your phone, delete auto-fill log in details to your Facebook and other accounts and just focus on your studying. Simply said, avoid procrastinating.
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  2. Try to enjoy studying. As dreadful as some assignments might seem, if you remember the reason why you’re on the course you’re on and why you were so passionate about it in your personal statement then you might actually remember that you truly enjoy learning new things about your subject. Once you start reading and doing some research you will see that there’s a lot of interesting and exciting information, books and articles available out there.
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  3. Treat yourself. Once you have completed, let’s say 500 or 1000 words, take a rest and do something fun, like watching a film, or going out, or buying something nice for yourself. Remember to work hard and play hard at the same time. Good balance will keep you sane throughout your degree. 🙂
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  4. Be organized. Having a tidy desk, a clean room and a nice environment around you will really help you have a clear head too. I recommend the KonMari method of tidying up as it gives you that nice and refreshing feeling of knowing that you’ve got rid of the clutter around you and inside you too.It works well as long as you don’t use it as another form of procrastination. Also, utilising a study plan and following it will definitely help you meet your stressful deadlines.
  5. Seek help. Everybody has different learning needs and different ways of processing new information. If you have dyslexia, for example, then don’t just struggle on your own, tell someone! Help is available in abundance from your personal adviser, The Dean of Students, PAL mentors, the Student Union and your lecturers too. Talk to other students, your friends and family who could also support you with love and understanding. On the other hand, avoid people who bring negativity in your life.
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Life update

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I have some news to share!

Firstly, I`ve got a job offer on ITU in one of the leading hospitals in London. I found it quite of a challenge to get a job in a specialist area as a newly qualifying nurse because most hospitals require working experience beforehand. I feel lucky for getting a job I really wanted.

Secondly, my dissertation results are still not out yet since I had a 5 day extension. I feel confident that I have passed, however, I cannot wait to see my actual mark and read the feedback from the markers. Meanwhile, I have just started my final assignment-The service improvement essay.

Lastly, I spent this weekend with my husband in London. I helped him move into his new house and we went out for dinner after all the hard work we did together. I am getting to know different parts of London more and I cannot wait to move to London in September. It`s such a vast and dynamic place to live in. It would be difficult for anyone to get bored of it. There is always something to do and  explore.

Tonight I am going back to Norwich as I have lectures tomorrow morning. It`s nice not to be on placement all the time and feel like a real student for a change. 😀

Sweet European pancakes

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I love eating pancakes (AKA crepes) but it wasn’t until recently that I learned how to cook them! Yay! I spent a lovely evening with friends who taught me how to make the batter and how to flip the pancakes so they are cooked nicely on both sides. The recipe is simple and here is what you need to make 10-20 pancakes, depending on how thick you make them:

1) 200 g plain white flour
2)about 3 large eggs (4 small/medium eggs)
3) 600 ml milk
4) 1-2 tbs of sunflower oil
5) a pinch of baking soda
6) a pinch of sugar and salt (optional)
7) a drop of vanilla flavour (optional)
8) For cooking: unsalted butter or sunflower oil
9) For the filling: fruits, honey, chocolate, custard sugar, jam, cheddar cheese, feta cheese or whatever you fancy most

All you do is put all the ingredients in a large bowl and mix/whisk them well until smooth.
Then you heat a pan on high heat and use a bit of butter or sunflower oil to prevent sticking. Reduce the heat to medium and use a ladle to pour out some of the mixture. Once you see little bubbles forming, usually within a minute or two, you carefully use a spatula to flip the pancake. Don’t worry! The first one always breaks into peaces but if you repeat the same process a dozen times you’ll get the hang of it. When your pancakes are ready just fill them with your favourite fillings and enjoy them while still hot.

My favourite places on campus ’17

1. The library is unsurprisingly on the top of my list. To begin with, it is filled with all the books I need (I have not bought a single book for the whole 3 years of my course 😀  *saving money, kind to the environment*). The library is my creative place where most of my coursework gets done. It’s comfortable, warm, modern and well-lit. The staff is really helpful and everything is kept clean and tidy.

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2. Unio is a little heaven for students on a lunch break. There is always something in the hive too to cheer you up after a boring lecture. Just look at those pastries and cakes!

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3. The Sainsbury Centre for Visual Arts is by far the most majestic place to feed your thirsty soul with art. There are events and exibitions happening all the time. Just keep checking for upcoming events and see if you fancy anything. Even The Queen herself popped in recently to see what’s it all about.her_majesty_the_queen_visit_to_sainsbury_centre_for_visual_arts01_website_image_gjlq_standardcourtesy of: Andy Sapey

4. Sportspark is a great place to work out, de-stress and stay healthy. There is a vast majority of sports you can do, from swimming to rock climbing.

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5. The green areas are everywhere to make up for all the concrete buildings. Plus, you get fluffy bunnies hopping around as a bonus. You can enjoy picnic, yoga, jogging around the lake, or a BBQ with friends outside.

What are your favourite places?

Job hunting

If you’re a final year student like me, you might be wondering when to start applying for jobs and how to nail down the job you want. I would recommended starting to apply for jobs straight after you’ve submitted your dissertation, which is in mid January. Usually, job offers end by the end of March. I do, however, know some people who applied really early in November and got the jobs they wanted. Think well about where you want to work. Is it on a ward? Just any ward? Or would you go for surgery? Or a rotation? Community? Personally, I learned that getting a job in a specialist area, such a Critical Care, Recovery, Theatres and A&E straight away without professional experience is very difficult, hence a rotation would be a great and quick way to start and then move on to a specialist area.

Firstly, start by writing a good convincing CV and uploading it on the NHS jobs website. Then apply for 5 to 10 jobs you like. Once you’ve done that, just wait for an email inviting you for an interview. Remember to wear comfortable formal or semi-formal clothes. I strongly recommend flats as opposed to heels. I recommend you bring your passport and two other documents for them to identify your ID, a calculator and a few pens. On the specified day you might be asked to sit a numeracy and literacy tests, followed by the interview itself. Don’t forget to smile and be yourself.

Secondly, remember to prepare well for the interview. During the interview they will ask you standard questions related to the area you’ve applied for. For example:

  1. What can you bring to our trust?
  2. How flexible are you and how do you feel if we asked you to move and work in a different ward/area?
  3. What are your weaknesses?
  4. Give us an example when you’ve ‘walked the extra mile’ to ensure that the patient’s wishes were respected.
  5. What would you do if a doctor told you to put Marmite on a patient’s wound? (Yep, I got that question on one of my interviews :P)
  6. What would you do if you found a patient laying on the floor in the bathroom?
  7. What would you do if you found an extra swab in a packet of 5 swabs during a surgery? (surgery related)
  8. What would you do if at your final count a swab was missing? (surgery related)
  9. What would you do if one of your patients deteriorated quickly, had tachycardia, hypotension, a chesty cough, clammy skin and pyrexia? (critical care/A&E related, think sepsis,guys!)
  10. How accommodating are you towards people from different  social, religious and cultural backgrounds?
  11. How do you deal with stress?
  12. What are the values of our trust?

The list only goes on, however, remember to always stop and think for a second before answering. Be honest and give a relevant answer that answers the question fully.

Finally, ask them any questions you have. Remember that as a newly-qualified nurse you are in no position of bribing, however, you need to remember the importance to negotiate, for example, will the salary while you’re waiting for your pin be paid as a band 3 or a band 4, will there be a 2, 3, or 6 month preceptorship, how long will you be allowed to be supernumerary, for how many patients will you be expected to look after if you start on a ward (no more than 8!!!), are there rotations available and so forth.  After the interview wait for an official letter to arrive in your mailbox saying: ‘Congratulations, you’ve just nailed the job!’

Good luck everyone!