The end.

I began this blog during the summer of my first year of medical school, it seems appropriate to end it now – the summer following my final year.

2 weeks ago I graduated and in under 2 weeks I will begin pacing the wards as a junior doctor.

I still cannot quite believe it, even my husband laughed at the idea when I first mentioned that I wanted to be a doctor – to be fair to him I was holding our 6 month old and covered in baby sick at the time! –

Anyway, here I am.

No longer can I hide behind the “I’m just a medical student, let me get the doctor for you”. I can’t get a friendly junior to do the cannula for me and I can’t decide to go for lunch when I like.


I know that the next year and especially the next few weeks are going to be unimaginably tough. I will probably regret having chosen medicine, shout at my kids more than they deserve, cry at my husband and moan to my other FY1 friends daily. But I will also try to remember the days before I applied for medical school when I used to  sit in hospital cafés, reading a book, dreaming of working there. My joy at learning new medical facts, the satisfaction of taking blood when a patient says “I didn’t feel a thing”, the pride of working for the NHS.

I have found myself in a privileged position where strangers will share parts of their lives with me and I promise to do my best for each and every one.

Thanks for listening along the way, it’s been fun.


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The year that I gave up

With only 3 days left of the year, it is time to reflect on my ‘giving up’ challenge. I remember planning this fundraising challenge whilst waiting for a lecture to start in the early January days of 2016. I had already signed up for Dry January, but wanted to do something bigger in order to raise as much money as possible for Centrepoint. I sat in the lecture theatre and asked friends for idea’s of different things I could give up during the year. I have to take credit for the cutlery month though, that was 100% my idea (and also my favourite of all the challenges).

Once I had my list of monthly challenges and had set up my just giving page I realised I couldn’t really back out.. I started to get nervous about some of the challenges that lay ahead. In particular I was very nervous about giving up wearing make up for a month and giving up social media. But I did it, I completed all of the challenges and in fact giving up wearing make up was liberating and I didn’t have people running away from me screaming in horror as I’d imagined!!

Giving up chocolate was brilliant because I managed to get my chocoholic children to join in and help raise even more money.

The hardest month of all has actually been this last one, coffee. I didn’t think it would be too difficult when I initially put it on the list. But I’ve realised that I LOVE coffee, and going out for a cup of tea is not the same. For a start, I make the best cup of tea and no-one can compete so paying for the privilege of a mediocre cuppa hasn’t filled me with comfort or joy in the same way that a beautifully crafted coffee does. I am so very excited to drink coffee on January 1st and I cannot imagine ever giving it up again. COFFEE IS INDEED, A BEAUTIFUL THING..

Yes, I really am struggling without coffee!

All that is left to say is a MASSIVE THANK YOU to all of you who have supported me and donated to Centrepoint throughout the year. Currently at a total of over £750 which is incredible. Still 3 days left to donate for those of you who would like to.

Thanks all and Happy New Year


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The final challenge

I have been very poor at keeping my blog updated lately. Apologies.

I cannot believe that I am coming to the end of my fundraising challenge. A whole year of giving things up is nearly over. But before I can celebrate I have to get through a month without coffee.

I have been given lots of sensible advice by friends about how I should gradually reduce my coffee intake so that I don’t develop a headache.

I had planned to do this but have now realised that I only have one day left and haven’t reduced my coffee intake in the slightest. In fact it is probably slightly higher than normal because it is cold and there is nothing like a coffee to warm you up on a winters day.

Looks like I could be heading for an almighty headache!

The past month I have been trying my hardest not to complain and as it is still November I cannot comment on the challenges this month held for me. But let’s just say that considering it was the month when Trump became President – I struggled!

Thank-you everyone who has donated so far. Given the cold weather, the prevalence of homelessness is even more terrible and if any one would like to donate and watch me struggle without coffee I would really appreciate it.





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finger food

I’ve done it. A whole 31 days without using social media! i’m pretty shocked that I managed to do it actually.

I have mostly found it a very positive experience. I like that I now read a book or watch a film and don’t check my phone at the same time. I like that I don’t feel the need to post photos of my day – in fact this time without social media has made me really wonder why I did this in the first place.

I like not wasting time checking pointless things.

I had all kinds of justifications when I explained to my dad why I liked social media, with him repeatedly calling me “sad” for using “bookface”. Justifications such as- it allows me to keep up to date with friends I don’t see very often, I like them to see photos of what me and the kids are up to etc.

But actually I could email my friends, there is no real need for it to be public, is there?

I do miss some things about social media though – I like being able to post political things and human rights issues that I feel strongly about and social media is a good platform to do that. It is a good place to unite people and of course it is a VERY good place to fundraise!

I miss the community of Twitter, where people are very quick to answer medicine related questions (useful during exam time) and you get news updates super fast.

But I think my usage of social media will change following this experience.

As for now, it is on to my next challenge. Without a doubt this will probably be the most fun of all the challenges. Starting tomorrow NO CUTLERY FOR A MONTH.

Here are the rules:

No knives, forks, spoons or chopsticks for eating.

I am allowed to use utensils to cook with – e.g. wooden spoon but not to eat with.

I cannot alter my usual diet so that I live off sandwiches and soup. I have to stick to what I would normally eat.

My first hurdle will be tomorrow morning, when I attempt to eat my beloved raw oats and milk without using a spoon.

Photos will be coming.

Please, please donate. I am not just doing this for fun you know (well, partly I am)!



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I give up social media

Giving up meat for the past month hasn’t been as difficult as some of my other challenges. However, whilst I could happily live off avocado and spelt for the rest of my life the males in my family are eagerly awaiting the return of some meat to their diets!

And so tomorrow I turn to my next challenge- giving up social media for the month. No Facebook. No twitter. For an entire month.

Since I joined Facebook many years ago, I’ve not gone a day without visiting the world of social media. How will I cope?!

I started to wonder why I enjoy social media so much, does it make me horribly narcissistic  to enjoy posting pictures and life events online? Why do I feel a need to do this? Why do I spend time looking at what other people have been up to and ‘liking’ their photos? Why not just call them or meet them to find out?

Of course there is a time and place element to social media, I have little free time and many of my friends and family are too far away to be able to meet on a regular basis. Social media makes staying connected easy. But I cannot pretend that that’s all it is, because it does make me smile if people ‘like’ my pictures or my status. Why?

Do I need that validation?

I also find it interesting that those people who don’t use social media can be branded as weird and it has even been used in court cases as evidence of a persons’ isolation and inability to connect with others.

I am hoping that this experience will change the ways I use social media in the long term. Perhaps I will become ‘weird’ and ‘isolated’ and give it up forever?!

This will be the 8th month into my year of giving up and I’m currently at just over £400 for Centrepoint. Please keep sharing, supporting and donating, especially during this month where I will be unable to promote my project on FB and Twitter.

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I’m almost half way through my year of ‘Giving Up’ so I thought I’d better update my blog.

It is also nearly exam time which means my procrastination game is strong!

As medical students we are always told to reflect, in our log books last year we even had a page to reflect on our hand washing skills!

Whilst I found reflecting on my hand washing a little bit ridiculous I have actually learned to really value the reflecting process, and not just in medicine.

Thinking back over these past few months and the various things I have given up has made me consider a few things

A) why do I enjoy denying myself things?

and B) how am I ever going to cope without coffee in December?!

With regards to enjoying denial, I think part of it is to do with the fact that it doesn’t sit comfortably with me to be better off than other people.

Now for those of you know my personal circumstances you will know that we are not financially in a good position BUT I do have somewhere to live, food to eat and family and friends. Therefore I am better off than a lot of people and giving things up each month helps ease my conscience. 

It makes me feel better.

There seems to be a slight distaste for those who give to charity or do things for charity because it makes them feel better… I’ve never really understood that. Why does it matter if you feel good about helping someone else?

I often buy coffee for homeless people or stop for a chat, why? It eases my guilt at having something that others do not. Is that wrong?

If both parties benefit from an act of kindness does it make it less kind?

Now I’m not going to pretend that this is the only reason I enjoy giving things up, it’s also because I’m highly competitive, love a challenge and cannot stand to fail at something I’ve said I will do. But it’s the easing of guilt that intrigues me most. 

Could we all use our guilt a little bit more?

As always please keep sharing and donate if you can

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2 down, 10 to go.

Last day without chocolate! Hurrah!

I have Nutella ready and waiting for my toast tomorrow morning and I plan include chocolate in every meal.

I have found it much harder than I thought I would and I think that I struggled more than the children. I realised that when choosing biscuits, cakes, desserts etc I ALWAYS go for the chocolate option! The other choices are just a bit boring..

And whilst it’s true that I do like to eat a healthy diet and i’m not someone who will constantly be eating chocolate, I do usually have a little bit of it nearly every day, even if just a Jaffa cake or a sprinkling of cocoa powder on my coffee.

But enough about my sacrifice- i’m an adult. I really want to talk about my children and how fantastically well they did.

Firstly, to make it clear – they volunteered to do this! (although the idea of a pre and post chocolate party probably helped).

Secondly, they aren’t really allowed sweets (tooth decay in children has gone up for 4th year in a row- in case you’re interested!) so they have spent the last month without chocolate or sweets.

A couple of heroic moments worth mentioning:

My daughter coming home devastated during the first week because she completely forgot and took a bite of a chocolate biscuit given to her by a friend, she immediately spat it out and then donated her pocket money to Centrepoint. – that was her one and only slip up.

My son (who is only 5) turned down chocolate cake shared amongst the class, asked for his babycino “without chocolate please” and proudly refused the hot chocolate at forest school last week (despite the fact that it was freezing cold and all of his friends were having one).

I am overwhelmingly proud of what they have achieved this month and really appreciate everyone who has donated so far, it really kept them going. Each time I tell them about another donation their faces light up.

I think they are planning to join me on some of the other months throughout the year, so watch this space.

As for March- It is time for me to give up standing on the escalator. I had a practice run one day last week and by the time I got to the hospital I was shattered. Need to get better at it.

The first week will be a challenge as I am off to a conference in Glasgow and am flying straight after some lectures Wednesday morning. This means struggling up the escalators in rush hour with a suitcase- not sure London is going to be too happy with me that day. Apologies now if I bash your legs!

Before signing out I wanted to share a little bit about the amazing work that Centrepoint do:

They are currently supporting over 7,800 homeless young people for up to 2 years at a time. This allows them a safe and supportive environment to work through their problems, sort out long term housing, get back into education and employment, access mental health services, make friends and many other things.

Young people become homeless for a variety of reasons and some of the stories are too heart-breaking to share on here. But I urge you to stop and think about it and realise that this isn’t a way of life that has been chosen.

If you can donate, please do. It is really appreciated, please continue to share my blog and justgiving page and support me throughout the year.


But also, it is cold at the moment, if you see someone on the street and you can spare a few minutes – see if they would like a hot drink and/or some food. I have also attached the link for streetlink who you can contact about someone sleeping rough to see if they can offer a shelter for the night.

thanks all.



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