Thursday, 18 September 2014

Retraining - In My Final Year

I know I have been a bit quiet here and on my social media accounts, but life went from slow summer days to demanding workloads very quickly.  Heading back to uni at the start of the month, no long summer hols for health students, it finally felt real....I am in my final year.  Suddenly I had to start thinking about job applications, updating my cv and Linked In page, nevermind writing my dissertation and completing competencies in clinical practice.  So I dropped a few balls, got my head out of the sand and am trying to get super organised, to make my final year manageable.  

Returning to study when you have children is hard.  I am not going to pretend, if you take the leap, which I encourage everyone who wants to to do, be prepared for days when you actually wonder if you can do everything.  The workload in my second year was huge, stress levels were high and I actually wondered if I would reach this stage several times.  But I did it, I got through the workload, my children and husband are still talking to me and I have made it to my final year.  

So as I head off for my first meeting with my dissertation supervisor, I feel a sense of relief that I have got this far, that getting to the end of my degree is now in sight and very soon I will be qualified.  This of course is scary but really exciting too.  And if I can do it anyone can. Make the changes you want to make, find a way, don't delay it, as it is better to have tried than to regret not trying.

Until next time, take care.
Zoe
xo

Sunday, 31 August 2014

My Wonderful Week

I have been thinking about doing a post that rounds up my week, lets me share my favourite things with you all.  By doing a post like this it also gives some focus to my writing, makes me stop and think about the things I have enjoyed, loved and learned, as the days pass.  So here goes this is what has helped make my week wonderful.

Reading The Simple Things magazine.  I have caught up on reading the August issue and made a start on the latest issue that dropped through my letterbox last week.

Listening to George Ezra.  I have been loving his music throughout the summer and seem to have his album on repeat at the moment.

Swooning over the new little Citroen C1.  As I drive a small car most of the time, to clinical placement, to uni, playing at taxi's for my children at the weekend, I am always looking out for something a little more stylish than my current car.

Eating delicious homemade blackberry and elderberry crumble.  Having foraged the fruit from the garden we enjoyed a autumnal dessert staple this week.

Watching repeats of Friends on Comedy Central.  Lucy and Jack love this series and of course I do, taking me back to my late teens and early twenties.

What has your week entailed, I would love to hear.

Until next time, take care.
Zoe
xo

Friday, 29 August 2014

Colourful Shoes

My colourful shoe collection


It would seem I have a perchant for colourful shoes. Well why should our feet not be brightly dressed too?  However I do also own some black and brown shoes and boots.  Very soon I will be digging out my plain, black yet ever so comfortable boots as I head back to clinical placement.  But worry not, I will be livening up outfits at the weekend with one of these fabulous pairs.

Do you also own a shoe collection to rival a rainbow?! Be sure to share a piccy on Instgram or Twitter.

Until next time, take care.
Zoe
xo

Thursday, 28 August 2014

The Promise of Autumn

Autumn Days



Gorgeous tweed blazer from Boden - These wellies from Aigle change colour when wet! - 
Cosy fireside - Cute ditsy floral print gilet from Joules - Collecting apples - Stylish wellies for autumn walks from Joules -  Fruit crumble recipe from Waitrose

The nights are drawing in, the air has a chill to it, the leaves on trees in the village are starting to turn the glorious shades of autumn.  Soon we can head out to collect conkers, spend Sunday afternoons by the fire playing Scrabble or knitting, don our wellies and kick piles of leaves neatly raked to save our lawns.  Every season brings changes and Autumn for me signifies tidying up the garden, an abundance of colour all golden and red, fruit crumbles made with foraged fruit.  No season is my favourite, all of them each hold a special place in my heart.  Honestly I could never live somewhere that doesn't have seasons.  But as we head into September, waving goodbye to another fabulous summer, autumn will be my favourite just for a little while.

Until next time, take care.
Zoe
xo

Thursday, 21 August 2014

Celebrating Exam Success

Today we are celebrating as Connor has gained excellent results in his GCSE exams.  After a long wait over the past few weeks, he was finally able to find out if the months of hard work had paid off.  This now means he will be able to attend the sixth form he wanted to, to start the next step of his educational journey.  Exciting times are ahead, alongside lots of hard work as he starts his A levels.  Also today Jack received an excellent result for his English literature GCSE, as they take this in Year 10 at their school then just work towards English Language in Year 11. By doing it this way the results, especially for the boys, have been excellent, due to not forgetting texts studied as they only work on them for one year instead of two. 

I'm off now to raise a glass as many other proud parents are doing this evening. Congratulations Connor and Jack, we are very proud of you.

Until next time, take care.
Zoe
xo

Thursday, 14 August 2014

A Levels and Retraining



Today is A Level results day here in the UK.  Time to see if all the months of hard work paid off or maybe if winging it actually worked.  It's now twenty one years since I opened that dreaded yet longed for brown envelope, to the relief that I had done enough to head off to Birmingham Uni. For some, today will provide the opportunity to take the next step in their retraining journey.  Perhaps you have had to take A levels whilst juggling home and family so that you can take a degree to start a new career. Or maybe today with all the talk of A levels has got you  thinking about taking a degree, retraining, starting a new journey.  Many universities still have places left in clearing, so maybe you could take that leap, now, today.  Make that call that you've been wondering about for ages.  Maybe you want to take that first step on to the degree ladder and are needing A levels, so look at your options, now, today.  There are many options from online courses, local colleges offering evening classes or Open University modules.

So take a deep breath and make that first step to your new career.

Until next time, take care.
Zoe
xo

Tuesday, 12 August 2014

Can A Citroen Grand C4 Picasso Cope With A Family Camping Trip?


With a round trip of over five hundred miles and an abundance of camping equipment, five children and two adults we thought our trip to Camp Bestival would be the perfect excuse to fully test a MPV.  Packed to the gunnels, we headed off early in the Citroen Grand C4 Picasso on our adventure.   Now I am huge fan of Citroen's style and dream of one day owning the classic DS, but am also rather tempted by the modern version.  So I was interested to see what their seven seater family vehicle offered.





Like most MPV's the boot space is limited when you have all seven seats in use, but thankfully our younger passengers have shorter legs and we could stash some bags under their feet.  However where the Citroen Grand C4 Picasso lacks on actual boot space it more than makes up for in comfort.  Initially the children moaned that the seats were quite hard, but similar to Mercedes firm seat design, these are beneficial on a long journey.  There were also ample cup holders and air con controls around the vehicle to keep everybody happy.  Another nifty gadget is the button to close the boot, neatly tucked into the boot door, which avoids slamming the door shut and easier if you have arms full of luggage or shopping.




But now the nitty gritty of how this car really drives.  Fully loaded it initially feels a little sluggish on pull off but there is plenty of mid range power as soon as you get it up to speed, which makes for a pleasant driving experience on the motorway.  The rear view camera was a huge benefit to me when parking as I am a bit hopeless at reverse parking and I actually now miss this in my own little car.  I also really liked the blindspot sensors, a handy addition on the motorway in busy traffic.  The only negative I found was that the steering wheel was quite cluttered and am not convinced that the flappy paddle gear stick controls were necessary for an automatic car.  It certainly took a little while to get used to where everything was and thankfully the manual was very comprehensive in helping me navigate the in car technology system.  This touch screen system was fairly easy to use and the usb ports were great when phone batteries were low after a weekend of camping and when we needed to plug in a iPod instead of listening to the radio.  Whilst we didn't go as far to personalise it with our own choice of wallpaper, this screen was a welcomed addition to an impressive car.  Another thing I loved was that I could see the children even when in the back row of seats, due to the clever spacing of seats and the extra little mirror.

All photos are my own.

Overall the Citroen Grand C4 Picasso is an impressive, stylish and comfortable family car.  It is economical and the added bonus of the stop-start technology added to it's economy and reduced its carbon footprint.   Best of all it just about coped well with our demands of luggage space for a camping trip.  So we would definitely recommend the Citroen Grand C4 Picasso as a family car and as a mother and woman driver, I loved it.  I spend an awful lot of time driving a small car on my daily commute but as a large vehicle it was sturdy and safe to drive my most precious cargo, my family.  What more could you ask for?

For full spec visit the Citroen website.

Until next time, take care.
Zoe
xo

Disclaimer - Citroen provided me with the Grand C4 Picasso for five days however all opinions are my own.