Sunshine’s top five ridiculous UK holidays

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on November 6, 2010 by yvettemartyn

“It’s a night where we burn an effigy of someone who failed at blowing up parliament, we let off fireworks to represent the gunpowder which never exploded”, I said to a guy who asked me about the origins of November 5th, his jaw was dropped the whole way through my explanation.

Oh watch out sir, people might think you're a Guy Fawkes effigy and throw you on the fire. Image: Dominic's pics

The guy, an international student at my medical school had never been told about the tradition and he just couldn’t understand why we have such a morbid holiday.  I guess reminiscing about happy times I spent as a child stuffing my dad’s clothes with leafs to make an effigy before throwing it on the fire were a little too vivid.

So bonfire night has gone down as one of my five top ridiculous UK holidays, so what else made the grade?

The Queen’s Official Birthday

Despite the Queen being born on April 21st we celebrate her “official” birthday in early June.  Well the weather is usually better in June, pefect for a parade and isn’t it always a good idea to have 2 birthdays?

Royal Variety Performance

Every year the Royal Variety Performance is held for the Royal family to watch, except every other year the Queen doesn’t bother to turn up and sends Prince Charles in her place.  To make it an even more formal affair Simon Cowell runs a tv show which picks one of the acts who will perform.

Pancake day

Traditionally Christians gave up luxury food for Lent so in preparation they used up their ingredients by making and eating pancakes right before.  Now very few people actually give up anything for lent but that won’t stop them from celebrating this holiday and thus most people still gorge on pancakes.

April Fools day

There are a number of theories about the origin of April Fools Day (some say it was invented in the book Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales).  Whatever the origin the unofficial holiday is a chance to play light hearted pranks on your loved ones, after all nothing says I love you like cling film covering the toilet seat.

Image: Dominic’s pics


A night at the bingo

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , on November 3, 2010 by yvettemartyn

After seeing adverts for bingo I thought I may be missing out. The thrill of the game with its bright lights and infectious laughter was beckoning me, so I finally succumbed and headed to the local bingo hall.

At the bingo, as you can see I fit in very well with the regulars

Registering was easy all I had to do was fill out a form and have my membership card printed off, understanding the game however was not.

Three employees tried to explain the price structure to me: “£5 for early and mains, then extra if you want sapphire and the national game, if you want to play the table game it’s £1 a go”. With my jaw dropped, I looked at one of the employees and said: “I have absolutely no idea what you’re talking about”.

Thinking the game was mostly frequented by old ladies for their weekly trip out I decided to attempt to fit in with the formal attire with my faux fur coat, vintage pill box hat and blazing red lipstick. However my friend who had just come from the gym without showering summed it up nicely when she told me, she felt overdressed.

The bingo hall was a mass of plastic tables with fold down chairs, mostly people sat on their own with pairs of elderly mothers and grownup daughters dispersed and the odd pair of love birds.

I had gone for the basic package which involved 14 games, obviously I had come unprepared and not brought a pen so I was using a pencil I found in my car.

The numbers were called out over a tannoy system rivalling those installed at supermarkets, you know the ones where you haven’t got a clue what’s been said.  Not only were the numbers hard to hear but they were read out so quickly that I snapped my pencil lead within seconds and had to invest in a bingo dabber.

People don’t even say “bingo”

Gone are the days when bingo numbers are called out by a youthful dad at the local PTA meeting with comical one-liners and an associated reaction from the crowd: legs 11 anyone?

Instead a monotonous voice read out the numbers in a logical but boring manner, eight and eight, 88, where are the two fat ladies? or is that no longer politically correct? To top it off people don’t even say “bingo”! Instead they shout: “over here” or “oi”.

I have no idea why the adverts portray the place as fun and exciting as most of the guests looked like they were waiting for a funeral to start and as soon as someone wins the whole crowd mumbles in disappointment.

The most confusing aspect of the place is the food ordering system, you can’t go up to the bar and order, you have to sit on your fold away chair and hold your menu in the air, I held mine for about ten minutes before someone came over.

Because the numbers are called so fast people attempt to eat main meals in-between the games, I amusingly watched one person taking a bite of her food only for the next game to start unexpectantly causing her to throw her fork across the table in preparation.

Surprisingly my friend and I didn’t win and left empty handed, I have to admit I am a bit disappointed, I expected a fun filled evening of whimsical excitement. Instead the night resembled a mass of people filling in forms in silence and paying for the pleasure of it.

Back to the hospital

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , on October 18, 2010 by yvettemartyn

After possibly the most disruptive year I could have endured prior to my medical finals, what with reading Medical Journalism in London and going on the biggest reality TV show in the country, I am now back at medical school.

I started back 2 days before the final of Big Brother and announced I had recommenced live on national television whilst wearing a panel cut-out leotard, layered with a transparent dress adorned with 4000 crystals, not exactly the image you would associate with a doctor, but hey this was my last chance to sparkle!

Before I went on the show the Big Brother psychiatrist told me that I would never be able to be a doctor, that patients wouldn’t trust me, that they would specifically ask me to leave.

In fact, I have experienced the opposite reaction, of the patients who have recognised me they have all said: “good on you” and since I have been working with cancer patients and children, I can’t see the negatives I was warned about happening.

I took every step I could before going on the show, I talked anonymously to the General Medical Council, discussed the pros and cons with as many people as I could and I’m very lucky to have had the support of my medical school before and in the aftermath of the show.

So what’s in store now? Well next year I sit my medical finals and who knows: I think there’s room on tv for a Doctor Sunshine.

Cowes week

Posted in Uncategorized on August 20, 2010 by yvettemartyn

Every year yachting enthusiasts descend onto the Isle of Wight spending their days out at sea and their evenings sampling the areas nightlife and this year I was at Cowes to join them.

Getting ready to race the same yacht that Steve sailed across the Atlantic on

A few weeks ago I bumped into a friend of Big Brother’s, Ben in a newsagents, she happened to know someone who works for Fashion Insider magazine who invited me onto their yacht.

My Dad described the event as a red carpet filled engagement, however he had never been there and although Raffles and Mahiki had both set up temporary bars I didn’t do much celebrity spotting.

My first thought on arriving is that men by far outnumber women and not only are women few and far between but they appear to be the crème de la crème of extraordinary human beings.  One lady I spoke to had sailed around the world solo twice and another had rowed across the Atlantic twice.

And as if feeling notably inadequate wasn’t enough after sleeping on a yacht anchored outside the harbour I soon realised that despite my past trips out at sea, sleeping at the front of a boat in rocking water will make me seasick.  But there was no time to dawn on that, as the PR team at Cowes had arranged for me to race a large yacht.

I was astonished to hear that the boat I would be sailing was the very same one that BB’s Steve had sailed across the Atlantic on, is there anything that man can’t do? I had of course come unprepared and wearing a D&G top with mirrored sunglasses wasn’t exactly the most practical ensemble.  The boats crew rectified this by piling waterproof coats on top of my outfit.

When I arrived back on land eight hours later my host was excited to see how I’d found my day, “It was certainly an experience”, I said through gritted teeth.  After all, my job on the yacht was to have a large wet sail dropped on my head whilst I had to struggle to grab three particular parts.

After a night on dry land I was ready for more and the next day was spent sailing from Southampton to the Isle of Wight, in the evening we took in some night life.  The hi-light was sipping champagne at Raffles surrounded by beautiful yachts moored in the port.

The next day I headed home and I’m glad to say there was no more sea sickness, although I did get ridiculed by my dad who had great delight in labelling me a “landlubber”.

Leaving the Big Brother house

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , on July 13, 2010 by yvettemartyn

Right before I found out I was leaving the house, showing the bracelets I had made

When I walked into the Big Brother house I instantly adapted to the new environment, I accepted the cameras, the restricted environment and the rules.  But leaving was a completely different story and much harder to adjust to.

In the house we were confined to a small space, we varied our time between the garden, living room and bedroom and had just 13 people to spend time with.

The rules meant everything was dictated:

  • We had most of our clothes taken off us a few days in
  • Emergency rations left us with chickpeas, brown rice and lentils
  • The hot water was turned off
  • Alarms sounded to wake us up and if we went to bed too early
  • We were often locked in rooms while tasks were set up

I know I was portrayed as a moaner in the house but I never once complained about the lack of hot water, or having my clothes taken away and although I complained about food I just wanted to be treated the same as everybody else by having soya milk, vegan butter and tofu.  And I most certainly didn’t complain the most in there!

Despite the rules I never once felt bored in the house or complained that there was nothing to do, I loved every minute of the experience! Although we had rules we also had amazing times like being given puppets that had been specially made!

Leaving was a huge shock to the system, an announcement is made and you have just 10 seconds to say goodbye to the people who have supported you and cared for you for weeks.

When the doors open the evictee sees hundreds of people waving banners and taking pictures.  They are then interviewed where they must justify their behaviour, regardless of not knowing what has been shown or the public’s perception.

For some the reaction is terrible and a few could even be hated universally by the public.  Others are liked by some but not by others for trivial reasons.  All housemates nap during the day, but some are shown doing so in the highlights all the time and made to look like that’s all they did.  Whilst some are edited to look like they moan a lot and others look like they talk behind peoples backs all the time.

Contrast between being in and out was the hardest

For me the hardest thing was the contrast between being in the house and out of it.  I remember hearing a Northern accent and thinking it was Nathan and seeing a man at a bus stop and thinking it must be Steve.  I was so used to just seeing these people that it was difficult to be surrounded by new ones.

The freedom was also really difficult to accept.  When I was in the house I ate toast and usually pasta with chopped tomatoes.  With the shopping list budget there was just no way we could afford to buy food so I could have a varied diet.  Then suddenly I’m out of the house and I can eat whatever I like, it was too much at once that it was really hard to cope with.

There is support there, welfare teams and psychologists but the biggest support I had was from the evicted housemates.  I needed to talk to people who were in the same position as me and one of the first things I did was get in touch with Dave’s wife.  When you are so close to people in the house then taken away from them it’s really hard, you get so attached as you are with them all the time.

Despite the restrictions in the house I loved it there, I exercised everyday so I could jump in the cold shower water and got ecstatically happy when big brother would surprise me with bread and crisps.  I loved everyone in there especially Mario, Dave, Corin, Ben and John and I’m still gutted that the whole experience is over.

10 things you didn’t know about Big Brother

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , on July 12, 2010 by yvettemartyn

  1. You have to wait forever to go into the diary room and sometimes you don’t get let in at all.
  2. The wake-up alarm goes off at 9:30am and you are locked in the bedroom all night.
  3. You spend your time locked in either the bedroom or garden while tasks are set up.
  4. The only places to hide are: under your covers, in the bedroom wardrobe, behind the wardrobe door in the bathroom toilet.
  5. There are five toilets: bathroom, bedroom, outside, large task room and small task room.
  6. Only one of the toilets has a lock on the door (large task room).
  7. The bedroom, bathroom and garden toilets have heated seats and the outside toilet has a bidet.
  8. The economy shopping delivery provided better quantity and variety of food than when we won £200 on the shopping budget.
  9. They didn’t provide enough cutlery or spaces at the table for all 14 housemates.
  10. The stain on the carpet in the living room was from when Ben spilled tea on the floor then tried to clean it with a kitchen cleaning solution containing bleach.

How I ended up on Big Brother

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , on July 10, 2010 by yvettemartyn

A bit of spontaneous lead me to getting onto the last series of Big Brother

So I’ve been out of the Big Brother house for a week and I thought it’s about time that I write a blog so get ready because I’m going to reveal how I got myself in there in the first place!

Ever since Big Brother hit the screens I have been told I should go on it, I’d never had any interest in being part of the show but when I knew it was the last one I thought I would give it a go.

So I took my friend Becky who I met when I was travelling in Thailand and we went down to the Wembley auditions.  I didn’t really expect to get through but thought if I at least get to talk to Big Brother then it would have been a bit of an exciting weekend.

Randomly the calls continued and I kept getting through all the audition stages and had passed all the medical tests.  All that was left to do was to stand with 80 other hopefuls to see if Big Brother had chosen me.

There had never been a medical student or doctor on the show before or a vegan, certainly not one who ate as few ingredients as me, and coupled with a love for glitter I thought I was certainly different enough to get on.

I was worried it would affect my career

I wrestled with the idea for a very long time, discussing whether I should do the show with all my close friends and family, I was worried that it might affect my career.  And I was warned that I might end up in a situation which I couldn’t prevent that may end up jeopardising everything I had worked hard for.

I wanted to do the show for an experience whilst showing everyone that there are normal people behind doctor’s faces and that anybody can be one, no matter what their background, interests or personal lives.

My final decision was made when I talked to a very close friend who was working as a doctor, she told me I had the rest of my life to be serious and that I should take this once in a lifetime opportunity while I had it.  So I made my final decision and went to take part in the launch show.

When we were brought together I realised I probably wouldn’t get on the show, most of the girls were absolutely stunning and everyone had an interesting story to tell.

So when my name was announced I was in shock, Mario was standing next to me he kissed me and said, “Sunshine that’s you” and I can’t even remember what happened in the next few minutes.

I didn’t know the other housemates when I went in except for brief run-ins in the days before the launch.   I had only briefly met Shabby in a queue and Mario from standing next to him during the launch.

I had met Josie when waiting for a medical check and I had told Ife that I thought her natural hair made her look beautiful in a brief encounter.  Ben knows one of my friends in the real world but she hadn’t told me anything about him.

People know who I am right now

So 24 days in the house later and a week back in the real world and my life is pretty much the same, the only difference being that people know who I am right now.  It was always my plan to go back to medicine and so far I don’t think I have done anything to warrant not doing so.

There will always be the odd person who criticises my ability to be a doctor but if they want to stop me from doing something that I’m interested in for all the right reasons, then I think that’s really sad.  I feel that the response has been really positive from the public and people have said such lovely things.

I became really close friends with people in the house.  Dave supported me the whole time I was there, he’d tell me I reminded him of his eldest daughter and I’ve been in contact with his lovely wife Donna since I’ve been out.

Mine and Ben’s friendship grew into one similar of siblings, we were either having a serious conversation or bickering.  And Mario used to tell me I was like his little sister.  Corin was so bubbly and has such warmth that she became almost a mother figure in the house.

So around four months after this whole process started and my time in the house is over, I’m gutted to be out as I had so much more sparkle to give.  But I’m really glad that nothing bad came out of the situation, that I had a great time and that I can now return to the profession that I really love.

Had I not done Big Brother I wouldn’t have met the lovely people I met in the house and I would never have realised just how nice people can be.  The messages I have received have been touching, I just find it incredible.

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