Wednesday, 23 May 2012

Happy Birthday Jamie!

A couple weeks ago it was my friend and classmate, Jamie's 29th birthday. To celebrate her last birthday in England, and her last birthday in her 20's she wanted to do something unique and fun -- attend a burlesque show with a {cross dressing dj} as the host! Before heading off to our unique event, we stopped for dinner at the amazing Mexican restaurant, {Wahaca}. I wish I remembered to bring a camera, so that I could have taken pictures of the night and my food! I of course had a margarita and then I had the chicken tinga burito (very tasty). In the past I have had their churros for dessert, but sadly, on this evening, there was no room in my tummy!

 Our next stop was the {Cellar Door}. This place's entrance can be difficult to find if you're not paying attention. It looks sort of like a small entrance to the tube (aka the subway) but once you get past the big door man it's as though you've entered a speak easy back in the 30's! The barmen are in old fashioned dress, and they serve amazing cocktails -- the oldies but goodies! On the night we were there they had Eyes Wide Shut being projected onto one of the walls, the other wall had the bar, another was completely mirrored, and they other accommodated our amazing cross dressing dj! We were treated to two burlesque shows by a {Miss Kitty Divine} and were entertained by our dj's wonderful music selection. All in all, a good night and a definite recommended visit!

The guests
The girls
Jamie and the DJ
Assessing Jamie's dancing skills

Thursday, 17 May 2012

Some Other London Zoo Pics (not reptiles)

I thought I`d post just a few other London Zoo pics of some non reptiles! Hope you enjoy!

Wednesday, 16 May 2012

Elective Teaching: Reptiles and Other

For my second week of elective teaching I chose to do Reptiles and Other. I figured it would be good to brush up on some of that stuff, seeing as how we don't really get much of it in our core curriculum, and I figured it would be handy to have some knowledge in that department when it comes to selling myself to a future employer! It was an interesting week (I would have made some adjustments to the class schedule), fun, and we had some talks presented to us by some pretty cool people. 

For our first day we got to go to the London Zoo and spent the afternoon 'behind the scenes' at the reptile enclosures. We got to see the reptile vet hospital and then after a chat with one of the keepers, we had the afternoon in the zoo at our leisure!

Burmese Python at the London Zoo

Plumed Basilisk at the London Zoo

Galapagos Tortoise at the London Zoo

The following day we had a reptile handling class where we got to handle some tortoises, several lizard species, and a couple snake species. The next two days we had some guest speakers, one was{Stuart McArthur}, author and vet, who spoke to us about turtle and tortoise medicine and surgery, and the other was Simon Girling, head of Veterinary Services for the {Royal Zoological Society of Scotland}, who spoke to us about squamate medicine and surgery. Overall a very interesting week! 

If I had to choose 3 take home messages from the week, they would be:
1. When stitching up a snake, use an everting suture pattern.
2. When hibernating a turtle, you put them in your fridge.
 3.  Snakes and Lizards do not feel thermal pain, so they will frequently burn themselves.

The Chameleon at our reptile handling practical -- he was my fave!

Bosc Monitor Lizard during our reptile handling practical

Monday, 14 May 2012

Shopping Trip

Since the weather was nice, and Jamie's birthday was coming up, I decided to head to Enfield Town to the {Palace Gardens Shopping Centre} to look for a dress. I met up with Jamie for a coffee and dessert at {Cafe Nero}, and then we went in search of shoes for her and a dress for me-- We both came out empty handed unfortunately, however, we did get to try on these lovely fascinators at {TK Maxx} (the British version of Winners/TJ Maxx. Lovely, no?

Here we have Jamie in her stylish orange and black saucer had, complete with pointy black things and veil. Sensor and price tags included.

Probably the most stylish facinator ever. Slightly heavy, but definitely a colour that can be worn with any outfit and to any occasion.

Thursday, 10 May 2012

Touristy Stuff: Hampton Court Palace

In an attempt to see all things British prior to my final few months here (knock on wood), I decided that {Hampton Court Palace} would be my next stop. So one rainy Saturday, Jamie and I took the train from Vauxhall to Hampton Court (you can use your Oyster), and spent the day exploring the palace, its gardens, and got lost in its maze (sort of). Here is what I've learned:

If you've watched the Tudor's on HBO, some of this may sound familiar to you - it's where most of my British history comes from unfortunately. Hampton Court Palace was originally called the manor of Hampton in 1236 and was used by the Knights Hospitallers of St John Jerusalem for storage. In 1494 it was leased to a courtier who eventually became Lord Chamberlain to King Henry VII, who often hosted the royal family. In 1514, several years after the death of their first tenant, the Knights Hospitallers granted a 99 year lease to Thomas Wolsey, then the archbishop of York. He soon became a Cardinal and Lord Chancellor of England, and was also a close friend and eventual chief minister of the new king, Henry VIII. Wolsey transformed the house into a palace, adding private chambers for himself and three suites for the new royal family: one each for King Henry VIII, Queen Katherine of Aragon and their daughter Princess Mary.

In 1520 Henry wanted a divorce from Katherine because she didn't have a male heir, and plus, he was then seeing Anne Boleyn. When the Pope wouldn't grant his divorce, the King then took Hampton Court Palace from Cardinal Wolsey in 1528. Over 10 years, Henry VIII spent more than £62,000 (that's like 18 million today) rebuilding Hampton Court. Out of all the houses the King owned, Hampton Court Palace was apparently his favourite. Work ceased in 1694 and resulted in the palace having 2 contrasting architectural styles -- Tudor and Baroque. After Henry died in 1547, both his daughters spent time there, as well as King James in 1604, his son Charles I, and his wife Henrietta Maria. After the execution of King Charles I, The property belonged to the Commonwealth, and was presided over by Oliver Cromwell. After being largely ignored, in 1689, William of Orange and his wife, Queen Mary II rebuilt much of Hampton Court Palace. This rebuild replaced half of the Tudor palace.
After the death of Queen Mary, King William lost interest in the renovations, and work ceased. in 1702 he died from riding related injuries and was succeeded by Queen Anne, who continued decoration and completion of the state apartments at the palace. The last monarchs to reside at Hampton court were Queen Anne's successor George I and his son George II. 1737 was the final year the royal family used the entire palace.

Hampton Court Palace

The King's Privy Chamber

View of the gardens

View of the gardens from the Palace

The Queen's Bathroom
Jamie and I made it to the centre of the maze!

Wine fountain in the courtyard -- how awesome would that be?

Henry VIII's throne

Monday, 7 May 2012

Elective Teaching: SA Imaging

Now that rotations, EMS, and general lectures are done, we have been given choices in what we'd like to be taught! RVC has given us 4 weeks of electives, in which we could choose from a list. I've chosen small animal imaging, reptiles & other, small animal therapeutics, and small mammals. With week one done, I'm already looking forward to the next! 

My first week was small animal imaging. We spent a few days talking about abdominal radiographs, thoracic radiographs, and some cardio imaging, and then we spent the last two days discussing ultrasound. Unfortunately on rotation you only spend 2 days in ultrasound and you don't really get the opportunity to actually do the imaging yourself. The last few days were super useful because we were given 1 hour lectures on ultrasonic imaging of the liver, spleen, stomach, intestines, kidneys, adrenals, and abdominal lymph nodes, each followed by a practical session using various students' dogs! It was super useful and a heck of a lot of fun. Definitely something I'd recommend to future years! Below are some pictures that were taken by Richard, one of the imaging residents.

Friday, 4 May 2012

Pilates? Sure, why not?

In the spirit of summer, and all things bikini, I decided that I needed to do something to try and return to some form of fitness.... my choice of challenge: Pilates!!! 

I used to go to the gym (truth: that was a couple years ago), and once upon a time I was in shape (truth: not since I've been in university), so I figured I'd do as the movie stars do these days, and try Pilates. I have never done a class before... yoga, spin, boxercise, aerobics, step --all have been attempted, but not Pilates. I figured, what the hey. So I'm now three classes in (and counting) at {Power Pilates Hertfordshire}, in Potters Bar. The two guys that own and run it are super nice and are quite helpful in ensuring you do things correctly with the reformer. Each one hour class takes a max of 4 people, so you get lots of individual attention. They offer classes for beginner to advanced, and they offer a cardiolates class for those that want to squeeze in some cardio, making the already challenging (at least I think so) class even more intense!

Verdict: Even though it's slightly more expensive than a gym membership, Pilates at this place is well worth it considering the individual attention you get and the fact that you get to use the reformer, instead of just doing mat Pilates. Using the machine allows you to get a deeper stretch and a much more intense work out, as it provides tension and allows you to get into deeper stretches. I don't know how effective Pilates will be on its own, so I've decided to make use of our treadmill (once again) to help with the cardio side of things. Hopefully closer to summer I'll be able to give you a better update on how things are going.. but in the mean time, take advantage  of their FREE beginner class offer!

The studio (source:

The reformers (source:

Thursday, 3 May 2012

My Day At The Spa

Today I had a half day of class so I decided to book myself in for a Swedish massage and deep cleansing facial at the {London School of Aesthetics}. I have been there previously (at their old location in Oxford Circus), and was pleased with the service, as well as their {prices}, so I decided to go back again.

For those of you that are unaware of the gem, this school offers a variety of spa {treatments} at a discount, as students are the ones doing them. The only thing is, you have to let their supervisor know what you thought of the treatment. I was super happy with my facial (apparently I have great skin!?!), and my massage was good, although last time was a bit better -- I told the masseuse I like "firm" pressure, but in my mind it was a little too gentle -- but this was still relaxing.

It's something I definitely recommend. Their new location in Barbican is  clean and trendy, however, I don't believe all services are offered at that location just yet. 
The spa (source:

Directions (source:

Wednesday, 2 May 2012

Tales from Tasmania

A couple days ago I got a postcard from my friend Holly. Holly's currently in Tasmania, pursuing her travel dreams and working along the way. She's been gone a little over a year now, and she's enjoying every minute of it! Thanks for thinking of me on your travels Holls!