Christmas has come and gone, so did Boxing Day. How’s the shopping going, guys?

It dawned upon me on Christmas day that what I actually enjoy more than Christmas itself, were the days leading up to it. The anticipation, the excitement, the surprises. That said, I had a wonderful, quiet Christmas with the boyfriend & his family. I helped put up the Christmas tree aaaaaaannnnnnnnndddddddd I also got a bunch of Christmas presents (yayyyyyyy!) – total kid at heart here. My first proper English Christmas & the boyfriend wanted to make sure I enjoyed every single bit of this festive season. And I did, I really did. ♥

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In the short month that I was away (from the blog), there have been a couple of happenings. Things that I won’t be thoroughly detailing out. Let’s just say that as much as I can hardly wait for the new year to begin, I am wary, so so wary, of what will be in the new year. I am uncertain, and so is my future.

“New beginnings are often disguised as painful endings.”

I’d like to believe that. After all, tough times never last, tough people do. Right?

I ran into yet another brick wall and once again I am stumped, almost defeated & kneeled helplessly in front of said brick wall. Despaired as I was, I actually have so many things to be thankful for. I am surrounded by friends & family who love me, applauding me for my successes as of date. They held out their hands and told me it is not the end of the world. Their words of encouragement mean so much to me, what would I have done without them? I admit I was tired, it was a stupid brick wall that shouldn’t have been, but yet there was. In the darkest corner of my heart, I felt the little flame of fight went out. It was scary, I honestly felt like I was already defeated and the worst is simply yet to come.

It was then that I realised that it wasn’t the fear of failure that paralysed me, it was the fear of not being able to stand up again after the fall. That was the fear I felt in the darkest corner of my heart. It was that fear that gripped my whole heart and turned it cold. And still, I have more things to be grateful for. The fact that I am here, with people I love, still able to go on and celebrate Christmas. It really wasn’t the end of the world for me. My friends reminded me: “You have come this far, you mustn’t give up now. You are so, so close. Closer than anyone has ever been.”

And they are right. I am SO CLOSE. Closer than I can ever imagine. I am here, & I am going to complete this journey. I just got to keep trying.

One of my closest friend said to me: “The brick walls are there for a reason. The brick walls are not there to keep us out. The brick walls are there to give us a chance to show how badly we want something. Because the brick walls are there to stop the people who don’t want it badly enough.”

I want it so bad.

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It is painful for me to share that Bobby, the family dog, had left us and went seeking for dog heaven yesterday. We are all shocked & devastated, and I worry for my parents the most. Bobby had been such a joy for them both, they are still in denial. Maybe I am, too. We still can’t accept that he’s gone. I hope my sister is okay too.

Grief. Grief has not hit me this hard in such a long while. But with grief, there is also love.

And life goes on, like it always does. Life always goes on.

May the new year bring new beginnings. One can only hope.

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Happy New Year, everyone.

 

Toodles. ♥

 

Christmas is just around the corner (less than a month!!!). I am happy to share that this year I get to celebrate Christmas properly, decorating a Christmas tree, exchanging gifts & all that jazz. I have been pulling on my hair trying to sort out gifts for loved ones because I am absolutely terrible when it comes to gifts. So this weekend, I have decided to compile a list – an ever-growing list – of what I would like for Christmas because it is rather fun to be thinking of nice and pretty things.

IF by any chance, you are a dear friend who is pulling your hair out to think of a gift for me, fear not. I am here to solve all your problems! *cackles*

If, however, you are a complete stranger who stumbled across this little list, then I hope this would help you instead.

 

The Christmas Wish List

1) I love books. Give me anything to do with books and I will love you forever, for sure. This Christmas, I have my eyes set for Christmas Days 12 Stories and 12 Feasts for 12 Days by Jeanette Winterson. I have every plan to read it this winter by the fire, with a cuppa hot chocolate. And the dog for company. £10.49

  • Not sure if you’re making the right book selection for friend/family? No worries! Get them some book vouchers! I’m sure they’ll be happy raiding their favourite bookstores the very next day!

 

Image from Penguin Books

2) Y’all know I pretend to be a domestic goddess most of the time. Encouraged by my wonderful boyfriend to continuously feed him until he grows fat, I find myself wanting a Recipe Organiser: Food Lover from kikki.k to store my all-time favourite recipes. Just so I wouldn’t have to trace my tracks online only to find my favourite recipes have been taken down, moved, etc. £24

Image from kikki.k

3) Winter is coming, if you haven’t already noticed. And the one thing that is missing from my life right now is a soft, cosy throw. I don’t know about you but I do like the option of walking around in the house with a throw around my shoulders while I carry my cuppa. Or sitting by the fireplace with the throw for extra warmth. It’s like a mini blanket. Like Linus’s security blanket. There is a lovely range of throws in Ikea that I would love to get my hands on. Affordable as well. Like Gurli Black-Blue throw for £5.50 or a Hermine throw for £12.

IKEA GURLI throw

Images from Ikea

 

4) I have never been an avid Ted Baker fan but while frantically gift searching for people in the last week, I came across lovely selections of wash bags & make up bags from Ted Baker. My favourites: Shella porcelain large wash bag £22.50; Arleen Bejewelled Shadows wash bag £22.50. There is even a classic textured leather wash bag option, Assfrid and it comes in black or pink £46.

Images from Ted Baker

5) Cute stationery. Who can say no to cute stationery? Those who hang around me long enough will know that I have a crazy obsession for cute stationery, and that there will never be too much stationery. Some ideas for you to ponder on: Stationery Kit: Pause Guld £21 from kikki.k (currently unavailable); Everyday Ballpoint Pen 3pk: Cute £6 from kikki.k; Christmas Stocking stickers £1.50 from Paperchase (how cute are these!!!)

 

Images from kikki.k

 

6) I am one of your big time wanderlusters so I’m almost always on the look out for travel opportunities. I chanced upon this gem while browsing pages & pages of Christmas goodies and thought it’d make a great gift for pretty much anyone! I am sure most people you know (or even yourself) travel loads. So why not let them conquer their world, one scratch at a time? Luckies Scratch Map Travel Edition £6.99 from John Lewis. Note that this is a mini version of the original travel scratch map.

Image from John Lewis

  

I hope you’ve enjoyed this mini wishlist, I also hope it might have given you some gift ideas for friends & family this Christmas.

It is also time to buy (& post) Christmas cards! Ooohhhh, the joys of picking out cards. And pretty wrapping paper!

Better get going before the sun sets on me without warning!

 

Have a happy Sunday, folks!

 

 

P.S. Some of the items’ prices stated on this post may have changed by the time you view the links. Do note that this post was written and published during the Black Friday weekend.

 

Toodles. ♥

Sun sets at 4:00PM.

The temperature here is about 5°-6°C, quite a bit of rain as well (it is England, isn’t it?).

The fire is roaring by the fireplace, radiating much needed warmth & cosyness.

The dog is lounging.

I awake every morning to the boyfriend making me a cup of tea to kick-start the day.

And I am drinking a tad too much tea. Maybe not that much, just a cup every 2 hours?

Life since I arrived hasn’t entirely been idyllic. Okay maybe just a little. There’s the whole settling down, unpacking, and getting used to the ever-changing weather. And getting over jetlag. It really has been a week. 

I thought I was all ready for the cold. I mean, I was one big whiny puss back home when it came to the scorching heat. And then of course I got here and the cold hit me, and I hastily retreat into my jumpers and coats, and I proclaim that I am in dire need of wintery clothings, and the boyfriend agrees. Well, this is home now. 

Getting started with revision (what a drag how exciting!) and being fully aware of the looming exam date have possibly contributed to my excessive tea drinking to calm the nerves (& shivering muscles). Of course I am also assimilating to the English culture, been away for far too long & the danger of me forgetting my profound love for tea is evident. Especially since coffee took over quite a bit of my life.

Exploring the little town that I currently am in is quite an adventure. There is a tea shop I have yet to discover, and a bookshop that I have already raided. There is a teddy bear shop I was dragged away from, only because I would attempt to give each and every bear in that shop a home. A fancy wine & cheese place that looks oh-so-inviting each time I walk past it. The houses are lovely, and the autumn leaves even more so.

Equipped with a lovely kitchen, it is once again a joy to be back on my cookery projects. Not to mention cooking for two (or more) people now makes meals a lot easier to plan.

This cold. I can’t help but sometimes miss the breezy beach sunset days. Maybe I’ll write about Bali & Penang next to warm up the upcoming winter days.

 

Excuse me while I go get myself another cup of tea.

 

 

Toodles. ♥

I will be honest:

I am exhausted. I am disappointed.

Day by day, when I know I could do better, but I can’t. Or I don’t.

When I see my comrades as weathered as I am.

When strangers see me, a battered soul.

When I start drowning because I am weakened, helpless.

When I try to save everyone, but the one person that really needs saving is myself.

 

 

The excerpt above is a fragment of a burned out heart. Mine.

It is unfortunate that I have come to this point once again. And I hope that anyone reading this will somewhat understand that not all days are rainbows & sunshine; that it is as real as it gets & I do my best to portray the whole picture.

It is also unfortunate that I acknowledge my burnout state on Nurses’ Week. And decided to proclaim it on Nurses’ Day. I thought it would be an interesting change in the way we celebrate Nurses’ Day. To accept & recognise that it is OKAY to admit to the pessimistic side of nursing. Like how we should celebrate life: we accept the joys & sorrows both for we cannot have one without the other.

Despite this burnout, I only have the utmost respect & support for nurses everywhere.

For your willingness to keep going, no matter how bad things get.

For your strength to bear all the brunt, being at the front line more often than not.

For your heart & wellbeing, that so many have failed to take care of, leaving you to retreat in solitary to lick your wounds.

For your determination to do it all over again, every single day, in spite of knowing the consequences; because only you hold the key to what got you started in the very beginning.

 

CAMIE Angels

 

Happy Nurses’ Day!

 

Toodles. ♥

This week, we commemorated the 3rd year of CAMIE’s existence, as well as achieving our milestone of 1000 days of restraint-free interventions.

It was such joy to be present in the celebration, it was an amazing pride to be part of it. Let me tell you why.

As you may already know, CAMIE means Care of the Acute Mentally Infirmed Elderly. A project started 3 years ago with a selected bunch of nurses to pioneer the unit. At that point in time, I was sure a number of us felt very uncertain about the whole thing. Was it doable? Were we fit for the job? What were we in for? But we’d never know unless we actually try, so we took a leap of faith and soldier on. Hand in hand, we took up the job of caring for people with dementia, at the same time nursing their acute medical issues. Being a fairly new nurse back then, I wasn’t decided if that was what I wanted to do for a long time. I wasn’t even sure of my life, heck. What more having the confidence in taking care of a whole lot of confused, delirious elderly.

But three years on, standing there in the midst of the festivity, I realised I have never been so sure in my life. That I have taken this calling to heart, and I know there’s nothing I’d rather do, or associate myself with. I am a proud geriatric nurse, and a very proud dementia nurse. We don’t always get the recognition we deserve & we certainly don’t always get remembered by our patients. The lessons I get from nursing every single person with dementia were more than enough to balance out the lack of acknowledgement. And the bliss that balloons up my heart when I get glimpses of the persons behind the disease, is indescribable. No words can define that great satisfaction.

CAMIE

It has been a crazy 3 years, like roller coaster rides, we won’t deny this. Nurses came and left, patients lived and died. Ironically, what I am really sadly happy about is how (only) a handful of us pioneer nurses are still around to savour the fruits of our labour. And what I am proud of is how we managed to convince a few more nurses of the pleasure of caring for people with dementia. It is from this ability to care for PWD, that we become even more capable & patient in caring for elderly in general.

CAMIE   Cake

And who would have believed it, we achieved what most people thought (or still think) we could not achieve. 1000 days (and counting) of restraint-free. We did it, we painstakingly did it. All it took was for us to be human, to empathise, and to willingly spend that time to resolve the problems. It also required creativity & patience. But most of all, it necessitates love. Can you see the love in our eyes in the photo above, lol.

 

Of course, there are the non-believers, the sceptics, the cynics. Until today, despite the 1000 days milestone, they still scoff at the possibility. They mock and they jeer at our attempts, and it is extremely disappointing that some of them were supposed to be our role models. It is also discouraging that I had to learn the hard way –  that in this profession, not everyone celebrate our successes, our trials & tribulations. All we really want to do is to show you that impossible can be possible, that people with dementia can live well. All we ask is for you to respect that, the same way we respect your own set of skills and knowledge in your area of expertise.

These CAMIE angels are the most knowledgeable, understanding, loving nurses I have ever worked with in my entire life. I cannot be prouder to call them my comrades, my happy pills; and with them I am certain we can take on any challenges together. Our team’s support is something I treasure, we laugh & cry over cups of coffee to keep us going. And we mustn’t forget our lovely team doctors, all the other healthcare professionals & volunteers who have never fail to support us throughout. It is incredibly soothing to be able to share our thoughts and opinions with the team, knowing they won’t brush us off or take us lightly. Team work is essential, I learnt that from working with all these wonderful people.

Group photo

Group dinner 2

 

So, thank you all. We wouldn’t have done it without one another. ♥

I hope our work inspires someone out there, the same way it had inspired me once upon a time.

Happy CAMIE-versary!

 

Toodles. ♥