What? This isn’t about baking! Or the National Trust! There isn’t even an obligatory picture of a cat!

Please don’t go away. You may have glanced at a few headlines about junior doctor contracts and possible strike action over the past few weeks. I wanted to explain what this means for us and for you. I haven’t put all the facts and figures down for the purpose of easy reading, but if you would like to find out more, you can find out more here: http://medicineforthenhs.weebly.com.


If you haven’t met me, hello! I’m a junior doctor working in a very busy London district general hospital. I specialise in Paediatrics and it is the best job in the world; I have the honour of helping some very sick children get better and supporting children with chronic diseases and their families.

A junior doctor is a doctor who hasn’t reached position of Consultant yet. In my line of work, that means I’m a junior doctor for at least another 8 years (I have already been a doctor for 2 years). In the last 3 weeks of work, I have worked 72 hours, 40 hours, 52 hours each week consecutively. Next week I work 72 hours. This is not unusual and I usually don’t complain about the hours I work unless I’m particularly exhausted and grumpy after a run of shifts.

On top of this, I’m revising for my entry exams into the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health. Exams are a necessary part of progressing in medicine. The exams aren’t easy and doctors often need to repeat them. This first exam I’m sitting costs just under £500 for me to sit.

I pay fees towards representative bodies: the BMA, the MDU and the RCPCH. These fees currently sit at £647 per year. I owe a lot to my parents who are currently in debt for putting me through med school. Most doctors I know received student loans and are still paying off tuition fees despite many years in service.

I do get time to see my friends, eat out and travel, but I also miss out on a lot of important events that I wish I didn’t have to. At least half of my colleagues are missing out on Christmas and/or New Years this year.


The Government have proposed a new contract to be in full effect from August 2016. These changes were recognised as unfair by the BMA (the body that represents doctors) and negotiations between the BMA and Jeremy Hunt have been at a standstill. The problem is it hasn’t really felt like negotiations, more like being backed into a corner to either agree or agree with the new contract. The proposals include:

1. Increasing the amount of ‘unsocial hours’. Currently, our standard working hours are between 7am to 7pm Monday to Friday. They want to change this to 7am to 10pm Monday to Saturday. This removes any safeguards we had as doctors about the length of hours we work = exhausted, unsafe doctors.

2. Up to 30% pay cut. Most of our pay as doctor comes from working unsocial hours on top of our basic salary. By classifying more hours as normal working hours, we get paid less for those unsocial hours we work. Jeremy Hunt says that he will increase the basic salary we get to compensate, but actually it still means a 15-30% pay cut for the majority = longer hours, less pay.

3. No more increase in salary each year. We currently are paid more each year for service to the NHS, which makes sense – more experience, more seniority, more pay. The Government wants to scrap that and pay the same amount for different grades (ie. Senior House Officer = same pay for all 3 years; Registrar = same pay for all 5 years etc.). This disproportionately impacts doctors who want to take maternity leave, go part-time, take time out to study or research; it will take far longer to gain a pay increase. This of course, will affect the 45% of workforce who are women = a widened gender pay gap.


Doctors are a very conscientious and dedicated lot, despite what certain media outlets might lead on (*cough* Daily Mail *cough*). We are passionate about free healthcare and the benefits free healthcare can have on our patients. Jeremy Hunt is making it impossible for us to keep up with the demands of a increasing population and not feel depressed and demoralised about our jobs with the new changes. A lot of doctors are thinking about moving to other countries such as Australia where the hours and pay are better. And who in their right mind would want to start training as a doctor in the conditions they’re proposing? Less doctors – less ability to keep up with modern healthcare demands – ultimately, the demise of the NHS. I know personally how much it is to pay for modern healthcare in other countries and I’m so appreciative that I live in a country where I know that my loved ones’ health will be looked after for free. Please don’t take the NHS for granted; before you know it, it may be gone.

  • Sign this petition: https://petition.parliament.uk/petitions/108782
  • Join this protest: https://www.facebook.com/events/1695649857321169/
  • Spread the word of #notsafenotfair on Twitter/Facebook/Instagram and #saveourNHS.
  • Write a blog post on how the NHS has helped you and highlight this very real issue.
  • Write to your MP.

Please join us, support us and fight with us. We need your help to save our country’s greatest asset – the NHS.

Rustic strawberry tart

…or maybe I should name this post ‘The near disaster‘.

Pastry is not something I’m entirely comfortable with making; I have vowed only to try making puff pastry once in my life, then never again. This week, I’ve been awfully busy with moving in and starting my new job, so I decided to find the easiest recipe involving shortcrust pastry from scratch.

Enter the rustic strawberry tart. I’ve seen similar versions of this delightfully messy bake on Pinterest – but I can’t for the life of my remember it’s alternative name (someone please help!). I used this extremely easy-to-follow recipe here. I mixed the dough together well (despite not having a big enough food processor), rolled it out quite easily and sprinkled the strawberries. I pre-heated the oven.. and here comes the kicker.. the oven in my new flat doesn’t work.

It was like a punch in the gut. #firstworldproblems much?

Anyway. The grill function still seemed to work, so I put it under a low heat on the lowest shelf and boom! It worked! I mean the strawberries were slightly dehydrated and sad-looking on the top, but you know, no soggy bottoms or anything!

Where does this leave me for the rest of this season’s #bakeoffbakealong? I’m not sure. It’s not much use baking without a proper fan oven function. Fingers crossed it gets fixed soon!

(Late) Sunday round-up #4

1. I’ve moved in! It was a tiring weekend of moving boxes, unpacking, running around shops looking for a screwdriver (NOWHERE to be found, btw), and finally collapsing on my brand new bed on a Sunday night, absolutely exhausted. It’s all worth it though; I was so happy to be eating my Weetabix this morning with a view of London – it was all a bit surreal.

2. And to add to the exhaustion, I completed The Color Run Night on Saturday night in the Olympic Park. It was only 5K, but a) I can’t run, b) I was already developing blisters from the moving in that day (but mainly a). It was all absolutely fine though – there were kids, groups of friends walking and drinking, and of course, the awesome colour powder throwing (look at that slow-mo colour throwing!). It was the most fun I’ve had on a track before!

3. I’m starting my revision for my exam in only 4 weeks time (argh!!!). Plus I have no broadband in my flat for another few weeks. So I’m sorry if I’m not as responsive as I usually am for the next month (bear with me, it’s all for a good reason!).

Spinach & feta baked eggs

Harpall’s piece de resistance on a Sunday morning is his much-requested, much-loved baked eggs. I have never seen a bigger fan base for a brunch item in one family before. And what’s better is that he never intended it to be healthy, just super tasty (best of both worlds).

When we stayed with my friends in Bristol a few weekends ago, we decided to make this for them as a small thank you. As they’re vegetarian (and I don’t eat pork), we made a fully vegetarian version for them, but you can add diced bacon on top if it so pleases you. It’s still delicious without, I promise!

I haven’t been very specific with amounts in the recipe, because it really is a case of just-add-however-much-you-want kind of recipes. I can suggest you have chilli sauce with it, because, oh god, it just adds the perfect zing for your morning (hungover or not).

Spinach & feta baked eggs

(to serve 4)

1 large bag of spinach
Cherry tomatoes, halved
Feta cheese
2-3 avocados
4-6 eggs
Salt + pepper
Bacon (optional)
Chilli sauce (e.g. Encona Hot Pepper sauce)/Tabasco (to serve with)

1. Pre-heat oven to 180ºC/Gas mark 6. Take a reasonably large baking tray and scatter spinach generously on the bottom to make a bed.
2. Slice avocados in half and take stones out. Place on spinach bed.
3. Crack 1 egg into each avocado. If you like extra eggs, can crack them around avocados.
4. Scatter tomatoes and broken up feta over avocados.
5. Sprinkle pepper, salt and paprika.
6. Bake in oven for approximately 18 minutes until eggs cooked and avocados softened.

Sugar-free carrot cake

I think I can safely state that although sugar-free carrot cake is lovely and moist and can be delicately sweetened, cake mix without sugar just isn’t the same. This week, I missed the almost addictive act of repeatedly dipping my finger in the mix before getting a grip and actually pouring the remaining mix in a tin.

I decided this week was not a week for messing about; no experimenting, just find a honey-sweetened cake and make it. Luckily, I found a pretty decent recipe from John Barrowman of all people on BBC food (yes, the all-singing, all-dancing guy from Torchwood.. whoooo?). The actual difficulty was creating a cheese cream frosting of the right consistency with just honey, as I didn’t have any artificial sweeteners. Eventually, I ended up with a fluffy, sweet icing from a whole tub of cream cheese, a few squeezes of honey and some orange juice. I didn’t record down my exact measurements, because that would’ve been too useful, wouldn’t it?

Bank holiday round-up #3

1. On Thursday, I went to visit Polesden Lacey in Dorking with a few of my friends. We packed a home-made picnic, I had a ‘mare about some wasps and we ended up sneaking over barbed wire.. but more on that another time!

2. Some of Harpall’s friends were over on the weekend for a #ladsweekend. I, of course, was the only girl, but that did not deter me from having an amazing time at a silent disco at a local indie club. There is a rather wonderful video of me closing my eyes singing to Whitney. If you’re lucky, I might post it to Instagram!

3. As part of the “hangover process” for the boys (they went out two nights in a row), we watched Interstellar on a lazy, gloomy Sunday afternoon with some takeaway. It could’ve been a fantastic film, but it took too long to get into the story and for a movie heavy on it’s physics, even I was questioning some plot holes. The takeaway was superb on the other hand. Salt and pepper squid, prawn tom yum and pad kee mao? I’ll have some more please.

4. It feels like the end of the summer holidays for me. I’ve been off work for nearly a month. Next week, I’ll be moving to the big smoke and starting a very exciting, very daunting new job. I don’t feel I’ve achieved anything too productive in the last month; instead I’ve been rather lazy, working on my blog, trying out new bakes, seeing my friends, saving my pennies and catching up on a LOT of television. I only hope that I can keep up my blog with my new London job; I do know I am really, really, really looking forward to discovering new restaurants, making new friends and filling that little hole in my heart saved for urban life.

Bath – Part 2

If you missed part 1 of my Bath adventures, you can read it here!


Bath pt 2

After spending over an hour in the Roman Baths, we got pretty peckish. Bath is pretty famous for its excellent restaurants, but unfortunately they usually come with a big price tag. Instead,  Harpall and I decided to venture into The Guildhall Market and found the Market Cafe – a no frills, standard-issue English caf. It totally didn’t disappoint – we fell in love with the piping hot Shepherd’s pie and cheesy chips with chilli.  Hearty food that totally didn’t hurt our wallets.


Bath pt 2 (1)

At lunch, it started to get pretty hot in Bath and we both got a little sweaty. So it wasn’t surprising when Harpall sighed a little when I suggested we take the 15 minute walk to Royal Crescent to check out the famous row of Georgian houses.

We relaxed in the park for a while, then prompted by my need of the loo, we soon headed into No. 1 Royal Crescent, an address that has been decorated in the style of the late 18th Century. We were greeted by a footman at the door, who slightly alarmed Harpall with his enthusiasm to play the role and his incredibly large (own-grown!) sideburns.

Bath pt 2 (2)

The house was meticulously and beautifully furnished with knowledgeable guides in each room. One guide scared me with her strict headmistress routine, shouting “DON’T TOUCH THAT” at another visitor across the room; she was absolutely terrifying. Anyway, I wouldn’t say this is a must-visit, but if you haven’t been to many old houses, this is a pretty good example of the Georgian period if you’re interested!

After we left, we relaxed a bit longer in the park, but raindrops soon fell and we thought ‘Ahhh heck, let’s just go back to Bristol’. I was pretty happy we managed to do the main sight-seeing bits of Bath, which leaves us for the other fun parts next time – more restaurants and the spa! I can’t wait!

Mint and choc chip crème brûlée

After my pretty successful experiment during bread week, I thought I would give another go experimenting with recipes this week! I thought about attempting the meringue cake, but I’m glad I didn’t. I’ve been making meringues today with the surplus egg whites and they’ve all turned out not great!

The boyfriend made his request for this week – mint and chocolate chip.

…Mint? Chocolate chip? A bit of a renegade request for your average crème brûlée novice. But I took it and ran with it. In hindsight, maybe should have just stuck with the vanilla flavouring.

Creme brulee 1

I took a pretty average crème brûlée recipe, but decided to boil the cream with a bunch of mint. The cream didn’t taste minty fresh enough so Harpall suggested ‘how about some mint sauce?’ Thank God I stopped him there. We decided to strain the cream and blitz in the mint leaves, then mixed it with the yolky mixture. Then to add the choc chips, we simply dropped a few into each ramekin just before it went into the oven.

How does it taste? Well it’s nice enough, it has the texture of crème brûlée, and it definitely tastes minty. However I’ve decided I don’t like my brûlées minty, despite only being a subtle flavour. There was a very satisfying crack when I whacked my spoon down, which always puts a smile on my face. And choc chip? Meh, I could’ve done without it.

I’m serving these crème brûlées to Harpall’s family for dinner later on – we’ll be eating it during GBBO. I hope some of them like mint, because I don’t think I’ll be getting the Star Baker prize later tonight.

Mint and choc chip crème brûlée

(to serve 4; adapted from here)

600mls double cream
6 egg yolks
1 tsp vanilla extract
bunch of mint
30g caster sugar
dark chocolate chips
demerara sugar

1. Pre-heat oven to 150ºC. Put cream, vanilla extract and mint into pan and bring to boil over medium heat. Once boiled, strain the cream to remove mint. Optional: remove mint leaves and blitz leaves into cream for added minty flavour.
2. Whisk yolks and caster sugar in separate bowl. Once pale and fluffy, pour warm cream mix onto yolk mixture, stirring constantly to mix.
3. Ladle mixture into ramekins and pop in around 10 chocolate chips into each ramekin. Put all the ramekins into a baking tin and fill the baking tin with cold water up to 2/3rds of the side of the ramekins.
4. Put tin in oven and bake for 40 minutes until custard set (should only be slightly wobble on surface). Chill until cold, preferably overnight.
5. Take ramekins out of fridge and spoon demerara sugar over the top so there is a generous coverage. Place ramekins under grill in oven until sugar caramelises. Take out of oven and allow the crème brûlées to chill and cool before serving.

Bath – Part 1


It’s pretty unforgivable to go to Bath and not take a million pictures. How could you not?! It’s all pretty limestone buildings, little businesses and it was actually sunny. Properly sunny. Good one, England! We only spent one day there, but we ended up with so many photos that I’ve decided to split them into two posts. That way, I don’t crash your computers with the sheer amount of megapixels!



Sally Lunn

(Sunglasses – Ray Ban / Top – Topshop / Dress – Avenue 1218 / Bag – Topshop / Shoes – Clarks / Jewellery – Accessorize)

Harpall and I headed straight for Sally Lunn’s for brunch when we got off the train. I was determined to get a table, after being put off by a long queue the last time I was in Bath. Sally Lunn was a 17th Century Huguenot who came to Bath and created her eponymous buns in this very shop. Apparently for years after, the recipe was lost until it was discovered in a cupboard above a fireplace in the 1930s. Since then, they have been world famous – so famous, that their menus have to be translated into Chinese on their website due to the sheer amount of tourists.

And was it actually any good? We both had half a bun each with a generous spread of cinnamon butter… and it totally exceeded any expectation I had. The buns are generously sized, fluffy, light with a brioche-like flavour. They are grilled on the top with cinnamon butter which bubbles and darkens. The cinnamon butter was SO GOOD that we decided to take two full shopping bags of buns and cinnamon butter back with us. YOU MUST VISIT HERE if you head to Bath, even if it’s just to get the bun and butter as a takeaway.

Bath 1

Look at that big smile – only cinnamon butter can do that.


Bath is home to hot springs, which is water direct from the Earth’s crust that rises to form these collections of heated water. The clever Romans took advantage of this fact and built whooping great baths from this water, which have survived until today. I hadn’t known how large this site originally was and how extensive the archaelogical finds have been, but it was incredibly interesting. It’s not just confined to the pictures of the large main bath that you see on many blogs! Definitely one of the best tourist attractions in the UK, but don’t wear silly shoes and try to avoid the weekends – it was mega busy.

Bath 2

Sunday round-up #2

Roman BathsBathBath

1. I went to visit the new hospital I’m working at, and from first appearances, it looks pretttyyy nice! A large Costa and canteen always bodes well for my future lunchtime breaks – and I gave my total approval to their spicy wedges with BBQ sauce.

2. The boyfriend and I went to Bristol this weekend to visit my friends. We took a day trip to Bath to see the sights and luckily it remained sunny for most of the day! What I’ve learnt? Cinnamon butter on Sally Lunn buns are the ultimate breakfast treat. Mmm…

3. We had the boyfriend’s famous baked eggs for breakfast this morning with my friends. It’s incredibly healthy with a good dose of feta cheese and cherry tomatoes. I promise, a recipe post is on its way!

4. Tonight we’re having dinner at a relatives’ house and watching Trainwreck. I still haven’t decided if I find Amy Schumer refreshingly funny or just a bit annoying.. I guess this film will decide it!

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