my week #128

I can't believe I've been back at university for five weeks now and with exams coming right at the end of the year (in May 2015), I'm still trying to find the right way to study to ensure that I don't burn out too soon. Considering last year was really intense (two years in one really was as insane as it sounds), going from studying almost all of the time to having a considerable amount of spare time now is something I'm still adjusting to.

In terms of decorating my pages - I've toned it down a lot. I'm still a sticker fiend but washi tape is used a lot less now as I tend to use that in my journal instead.

At the beginning of the week, I was on snack duty for the twice weekly group work sessions and I decided to bake some cookies. The first lot I made were rosewater shortbread cookies and I got the recipe from Kulinary Adventures of Kath. I'm not great with icing so they look a bit messy but they tasted pretty good. I was slightly too heavy handed with the rosewater but they still tasted okay. The second lot I made were lemon butter cookies from the Jamie Oliver website - I used a duck-shaped cookie cutter for these and slathered lemon icing on them (the slight sourness from the icing worked well with the butter and sweet taste of the cookies themselves). All in all, both batches of cookies were a success and considering I'm not exactly a keen baker, I was pretty pleased with the end result.

How has your week been? Are you going back to uni soon or have you just started back?

routines, routines and... routines

Routines are a huge part of my life and they ensure that they keep my life organised and a bit more structured. I know that in the future, if I make it through medschool, my days will be anything but structured - night shifts, the unpredictability of the work and also the difficulty of balancing work and play can mean that I end up wishing I was back at university where the days were at least a little bit predictable.

In this post, I will talk about my morning, evening and weekly beauty routines. At the beginning of this year, I really bought into the idea of having a proper beauty routine and my skin has never looked better as a result of some trial and error with various products.

My morning routine consists of cleansing and then applying some products designed for oily-combination and blemish-prone skin. I will talk more in detail about this routine in a few weeks' time :)

At night, it's a whole different story. The routine takes a bit longer than in the morning - I cleanse first using Ren's Rosa Centifolia Hot Cloth Cleanser (I used to use my No 7 Cleansing Brush and No 7 Soft and Soothed Gentle Cleanser which worked equally well but I'm really drawn to the smell of the Ren cleanser), and then I tone using the Garnier Micellar Cleansing Water and this is followed by Avene Triacneal cream applied to my nose and cheeks. 

Any spots that are coming up are dotted with Clinique's Anti-Blemish Clinical Clearing Gel or Mario Badescu's Drying Lotion. Sometimes, I use the Mario Badescu offering at night (as it is very visible and thus, unsuitable for use during the day) and Clinique's gel in the morning (as it is clear) if the blemish is still there when I wake up. 

Once a week, instead of using Avene's Triacneal, I use Vichy's Normaderm Night Detox serum. 

I follow all this up with a moisturiser - currently, I use Nivea's Q10 Anti-Wrinkle cream but I'm thinking of switching that to Eucerin's Dermopurifyer Night Care once it is finished. I don't think I need anti-wrinkle cream at the age of 23 but it was worth trying as I had bought it for less than half price at the time.

I keep some of my toiletries in this Ikea basket - it currently holds Batiste dry shampoo, Aussie leave-in conditioner, Simple toner, Eucerin day cream, Sudocrem (emergency spot treatment!), cotton buds for applying the Mario Badescu Drying Lotion with, a tube of Freederm spot treatment (apparently works in 3 hours but I'm a bit skeptical of this claim), dental floss, eyelash curlers and Estee Lauder mascara and also some night and day cream from Nivea and Garnier respectively. 

Finally, once a week, I use a mask. At the moment, I've been using the Avene Cleanance Mask which seems to help brighten my skin up for a few days after its use. Once this is finished, I intend to give Clinique's Anti-Blemish mask a try - I hope it works just as well, if not better, as it is much more purse friendly in comparison to Avene's offering!

I shell out for new skincare products once every six months because I find that these products last me for quite some time. Personally, I do believe that investing in my skin is worth it because I've struggled with blemishes (but, fortunately, not full blown acne) since I was 16 and it has affected my confidence. I've never been a heavy make-up wearer - in fact, I don't really own any make up apart from mascara, blusher and BB cream! Because of this, having clear skin is even more important to me :)

Another thing is that adding a bit of luxury to my life through skincare and beauty routines gives me something to look forward to at the end of a long and hard day. The fact that these products actually work is another factor that brings a smile to my face and this, in turn, helps me relax before I head to bed.

new additions from the journal shop

Can you believe this order is my first from The Journal Shop? I was after a thickish A6 notebook that I could carry around while on placement so I could jot down things that require looking up when I have a free moment or things that are of interest to me. At the same time, I also wanted to try out some products from Iconic: a Korean stationery brand with a range of beautiful products. 

My order consisted of an A6 Iconic notebook, a set of three Iconic double-ended pens, Midori turtle clips and a roll of Midori stickers (useful for marking out where each 'chapter' of my university notebook starts). 

The pens are cute in design and are fine-nibbed at 0.4mm. The colours aren't the prettiest (red, blue, green, brown, black and orange) but I like them because these are more 'professional' colours and would be useful for colour coding notes on placement. They write well and the flow is decent but I have to admit that these pens are more style than substance. However, there isn't really a benchmark for double ended pens like these in the UK so it's hard to comment objectively on the quality.

The Midori stickers are circular, patterned and about 2.5cm in diameter each - so pretty big! They are versatile and could be used for a variety of things, such as gift-wrap, craft projects or just labelling things as each pattern is repeated numerous times throughout the roll.

The Midori turtle clips are made of a plastic material and can hold about 5-6 sheets each. This is perfect for notes that need to be held together temporarily as staples leave awkward holes when removed. The range of colours used for the clips are lovely and I love how cute they are. I'd be careful of overloading the clips though as they can be quite stiff and, in my opinion, easily broken if you try and fit a few too many sheets in.

Iconic are a brand synonymous with minimalistic, yet pretty, stationery. This A6 notebook comes in a variety of colours and I chose the pastel pink one. On the outside, I love the gold embossed lettering. Inside, there are pages with a variety of layouts and I particularly like the fact that most of the double page spreads feature a plain page on the left and a lined page on the right because this lends itself perfectly to the potential medical notes that I will take. I can draw a picture of something anatomical or in a diagram format before annotating that with notes on the right - perfect!

Overall, I am happy with these products because they will come in useful in the next academic year and that is why I bought them. However, these products, and other similar ones, can be found for a cheaper price on other sites if you know where to look and are willing to wait patiently for delivery (namely, online stores that are based in Hong Kong) and I think that is why I've not ordered from The Journal Shop before. That, and the fact that I have an affinity for anything Hong Kong-related due to my heritage.

NB: All products were paid for using my own money in this blog post.