30 Jul 2011

thriving on less: pretty clothes tags?

I'm talking about the tags that are designed so well, you don't want to throw them away; or are so pretty, that it would be a shame to visualise them going to the rubbish dump. I have quite a lot saved from various purchases throughout the years and I have no idea what to do with them! I don't mean any old tags, I mean, the nice, luxurious looking and aesthetically pleasing tags...

So, any suggestions? At the minute, all the nicer tags are hung on my pinboard as shown:

The tags shown in the image above are all from purchases dating back to 2006! I don't want to bin them as they do look too nice but is holding onto them just the same as holding onto the equivalent of clutter?

28 Jul 2011

artbox.co.uk - diary review part II

Before I start this post, let me just tell you this. This is NOT a sponsored post. I bought these items off of my own whim and I am not paid to write this review. However, I will write it anyway because this lesser known brand does do planners too and I just want to give you guys more options for diaries/schedulers if you're indecisive about what to use in the coming academic year/new year.

Anyway, here is the second and final part of the review series of schedulers from the Artbox. Here is the second planner I bought. You'll notice that it has a plastic cover and is of a 'cuter' design.

Opening the front cover, you're greeted with this piece of art:

And then the next leaf possesses yet more art:

Another quote (this is becoming quite a common theme for Korean planners):

The monthly plan layout:

Instead of the monthly plan designs being uniform, they are different! Here is another sample:

Moving onto the weekly plan...

Again, designs differ for each week. Here are two samples:

The only complaint I have with the boxes are that they are a little on the small side but I guess you could use a two page spread for the same week if you wanted as there are 64 pages in all of the weekly schedules. Therefore, you'd get 32 weeks... which is almost as many academic weeks I have! Don't be misled by that though, I have 38 weeks of intense work, not 30 weeks of work and 8 weeks of rest unfortunately!

You'll notice that once again no dates are filled in, just like the planner seen in part I. 

Moving onto the notes pages...

Close up of the quote. The same quote is used for the monthly and weekly pages seen earlier:

Note pages that are plain...

And note pages that are ruled... It's handily been named 'My List' so for you list lovers out there, this must be heaven, right? (Certainly is for me)

And the personal details page yet again.

All in all, I'm pretty pleased with this planner also. It is a bit more 'flexible' compared to the other one but the boxes for each day are a bit smaller than I would have liked - but then, beggers can't be choosers!

Here is the exact planner if you're curious. Hope you've enjoyed these two reviews and also the pictures of these planners. This used to be the type of planner I used for school as I used to go to Hong Kong regularly enough to be able to buy one for every year that were dated but due to other commitments last summer and this summer, I'm unable to make the same trip! But it seems my wishes for another 'cute' planner were granted upon a browse on Artbox for birthday presents.

Next stop? Papernation. I've never heard of this site before until I saw it on the list of links on MsLogica's blog.

27 Jul 2011

first blog birthday!

The blog has reached it's one year mark! How time flies, eh?

24 Jul 2011

what's in my bag #6

This is from the 9th of July 2011 :) but the contents are still the same.

Here is the bag. It's from NW3 by Hobbs and I got it in the ASOS sale with a 10% discount on top of the sale discount. I love it!

Opening the zip of the bag, this is what you would see:

And the contents all laid out:

22 Jul 2011

artbox.co.uk - diary review part I

Before I start this post, let me just tell you this. This is NOT a sponsored post. I bought these items off of my own whim and I am not paid to write this review. However, I will write it anyway because this lesser known brand does do planners too and I just want to give you guys more options for diaries/schedulers if you're indecisive about what to use in the coming academic year/new year.

Anyway, a brief introduction of the site itself first. Artbox specialises in selling 'cute' stuff from brands such as San-X and Hello Kitty. Most of their stuff has a Korean/Japanese/Chinese feel to it with the 'cuteness' but this doesn't necessary apply to all the items - especially when it comes to the stationery! I've purchased from the site before I bought these planners too. Last year, I bought something from there for my friend's birthday and found that a lot of the stuff could be good gifts for people who are somewhat oriental (forgive me if that sounds assuming, I'm just saying what I, an oriental myself, think with regards to the products!).

So, what lead me to purchase a diary from there? Well, another of my friend's birthdays is coming up later this month and also, my sister's birthday is in a few weeks time so why not kill two birds with one stone? Or three, if you include my love of planners.

Moving onto the planners. I bought two so will review them separately. Here is the first one:

It looks cute, right? It's a little bit feminine I think with the use of a warmer colour in a reddy orange but not so feminine that it completely alienates the male market. First thought? It feels pretty sturdy and looks pretty cute too - and is also small and more importantly, light enough to cart around with me everywhere. Plus, the design is simple but not boring, unlike my Moleskine. Apologies to my beloved Moleskine for saying that but it's true! This simple design beats the black of my Moleskine any day! Plus, it's cheerful - something which can possibly contribute to my happiness project.

Anyway, upon the grand opening of the front cover, this is what you're greeted with:

Personally, I'm liking the quote at the front. It's another way of saying 'seize the day' or 'carpe diem' for those of you who are latin language inclined.

The month pages look like this:

And the week pages look like this:

Now, you'll notice that both formats are undated - this is the genius of it! You can use it whenever you want! You just add in the dates yourself and voila, you're good to go.

At the back, there are note pages:

A close up of the left corner:

'Don't waste your time' being very apt for me, I felt! I waste so much time doing needless things that this reminder should be good!

And right on the last page:

The 'personal' page where you fill in your details. I find a lot of planners from Korea/Hong Kong are like this. I've bought a few before from Hong Kong which were imported from Korea, albeit not from this brand, and they all had the personal details page at the back.

And finally, the back cover:

The only flaw I can see with the planner is that the spine is pretty stiff and it doesn't stay open flat. However, I had that problem with my Finsbury Filofax anyway so it's not as if it's something I'm not used to! And I'm sure it will lie flat with use so I wouldn't worry too much about it. It just adds to its' durability - something that has to be a bonus surely?

For those of you who are interested, this is the exact planner here. It was £7.50 and there is free delivery if you spend over £20. Not a bad deal I thought? However, with most things costing quite little, it can be quite hard to spend over £20!

All in all, I'm pretty pleased with this planner and am actually planning to use it for 2012 when it finally swings round. After all, it's cheaper than a set of Filofax inserts and definitely cheaper than the Moleskine I'm currently using!

Part II with the review of the second planner I bought will be coming soon!

20 Jul 2011

letting my creative juices flow

I made this today (on the whim) due to boredom. I woke up feeling creative and didn't quite know what to do with the feeling - after all, it was raining so I couldn't go out for a walk and take a few photos, I was not in the mood to do some academic reading and all of my summer goals had been started and were progressing well.

Therefore, I decided to make a collage on Photoshop. I chose Clemence Poesy to be the subject of this collage because I absolutely love her style (I've made no bones about that before) and also, to coincide with the last Harry Potter movie! Now, I technically grew up with the Harry Potter movies. I'm around the same age as the Harry Potter lead actors (they are 21ish, I'm 21 in three months...eek!) and it feels like I've been part of the films! How cheesy does that sound?

Anyway, enough of my rambling. Here's the collage in question. Comments and cricticisms are welcome!

Picture credit: Clemence Poesy.net

Also, I have a planner surprise in store for you all... I recently purchased two potential planners for next year and I don't think I've seen anything like them on the blogosphere before so stay tuned!

16 Jul 2011

my own happiness project

I'd thought about this post for a few weeks now and have been thinking, shall I post it? Or shall I not? Anyway, I've pushed the inevitable push button now! The thing is, I was diagnosed with depression a few months ago and have been undergoing cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) for the past month and a half. Now, I know mental illness is a taboo subject and I'm not trying to show off about having depression - it's something I'm not proud of at all. I've always liked the idea of being an 'alpha female' and tried so hard to portray that during high school and university, so admitting that "yes, I do have a mental illness" is not an easy thing for me. Yet, it's something that has affected my life day in day out; affected my study; affected my friendships; affected my family...I could go on.

Anyway, enough about depression (it really is a horrible thing and I wouldn't wish it on my worst enemy). Having had these CBT sessions, I realised that I need to get a hold of this horrible illness which was forcing barriers around myself without me even knowing, and do something about it. This is where my own happiness project comes in. I got this idea from Caribbean Princess so I don't claim this is an original idea myself. I bought the book to do with this project and have been eagerly gaining ideas from it. Throughout my CBT sessions, a recurring theme was the fact that I did a lot of things to make other people happy without any thought for my own happiness. Typing that out, it makes me seem more selfless than I am - believe me, I do regard myself as selfish!

But, jokes aside, let's focus more on the project in hand. I was going to use my jade Finchley Filofax for this but opted instead; for this, sorta ugly notebook:

Depending on how successful this project is for me in maintaining my own personal happiness, I may resort to using a Filofax in the future. I chose this notebook for two reasons: first, this:

Sorry about the blurriness! My camera wasn't in focus :(

A sort of flap thing inside the cover bit which can hold bits and bobs. I like holding onto things before I stick them in - be they cinema tickets or whatever. Going to the cinema, gigs, even eating out can all be points of happiness for me for various reasons including the company or the event itself - so I thought it would come in handy for holding them in before I can stick it in with a memo about that event. This is so that I can read over it in a month's time, two month's time, whatever - and appreciate that yes, I was happy then and if I was, then I can surely be happy now too!

So, the first reason down. The second and last reason? The paper quality. The paper is from the 'Oxford' brand and I have found it to be the best paper I have ever used (maybe I've only used cr*p paper before? Who knows.) as ink had never bled on it for me and it never shows on the other side either.

So, this is just the beginning of my happiness project. To find out how I progress with this project, be sure to subscribe to my blog ;) (Cheeky plug, I know!)

The first step? To write down the things that have really been good for me: i.e. my support network - my family and my best friends (I'm blessed to have more than one, something which I will always be grateful for at this time especially), etc.

14 Jul 2011

how I use my moleskine for university

One of my many problems at uni was time management. Not in the sense that I wasn't optimizing my time but in the sense that I found that I had too much to do sometimes! So, I had to make sure that all my time was optimized and I did this using my Moleskine. Now, my Moleskine is pretty big in terms of the amount of space I had to write things in and I tried to use all that space to my advantage.

Now, as you can see below, I write in what time my lectures are, what the lecture is and also what lecture number it was. From this, I can deduce how much time I realistically have to do other things e.g. write these lecture notes up and revise them and also do other things such as socials, sport, etc.

Every day, I planned my outfits so that I would have one less thing to worry about.

I also used tick boxes for things I had to do - such as renewing library book loans (books are usually on one week loans).

As for the vitamin D and numbers - that correlates to the vitamin D capsules I've been taking. Maybe I just need to be in the sun more as I tend to walk in the shade when I'm out and about!

Any more questions or do you want more pictures? Let me know via a comment :)

12 Jul 2011

thriving on less project: the beginning

Upon my return to the family home from London due to the end of my second academic year at university, a clearout of my room and all the clutter made me realise just how much c r a p I had amassed throughout my teenage years! With that in mind, I started looking for ways to declutter, save money and as a result thrive on less. Googling for ideas on how to achieve this goal, I came across this site: The Power of Less. On that site, there is a free e-book you can download called 'Thriving on Less' and I really do recommend it. The tips in it are good - they are mostly about living a 'simpler' life where we have to recognise that enough means enough and that being able to thrive is more important than more.

So my first stop. My wardrobe. Now, this was my wardrobe at university from a few months back:

Now, at home, I have to confess that I have a far bigger wardrobe than this (it's built in so I didn't (technically) have a big one by choice) and for that reason, I kept a lot of clothes I never wore. I kept ones that held sentimental value and even PJs went into my wardrobe! Instead, I did a clear out (afraid I have no before photos) and this was the end result:

I put clothes I hadn't worn in over half a year into a pile and then clothes that had literally had their day into another pile. I then put the first pile into a plastic box - these are the items I will be selling (an extension of this blog where I have 'listed' the items I would like to get rid of!). The second pile were put into a bag and the items will be used as cloths for washing windows with, etc.

Next, PJs and loungewear went into a chest of drawers which I already had. But, the only difference was the fact that these drawers were full of clutter! Out went the clutter and in went my loungewear and nightwear. The same applied to my sports clothing. In the summer, I tend to go out for runs instead of play netball as my local club has changed so much (in a bad way though) that I don't enjoy local netball here anymore and instead, enjoy university netball much more.

Sorting through all the clothes made me realise just how much money I had 'wasted' on clothes which I never loved for long enough to wear over and over again. As a result, I'm going to be starting a '30 day freeze' where I won't be purchasing any clothes online or offline for 30 days. After this, if I come across anything I want to buy, I'll add it to a new '30 day list' with the date I added that item onto the list. If, after 30 days, I still find myself wanting/craving that said item, I will go and purchase it. But only if I seriously can't stop thinking about it!

The key to this though, is that my wardrobe isn't completely finished yet in terms of 'decluttering' as I'm pretty sure I still have items in there which I won't wear for another six months - but that's fine. One of the philosophies of 'Thriving On Less' was doing things gradually!

Another thing with doing a wardrobe clearout was that it enabled me to see what gaps needed filling in it - hence that purchase of an Aquascutum raincoat in the previous post!

Next stop? Lifestyle decluttering. Stay tuned for that!

P.S. Hope you guys like the new layout and colour scheme. Hope you're also ready for the launch of two new pages on my blog - the money tab - soon to be renamed; and the 'happiness' tab :)

8 Jul 2011

new blog twitter

Credit: Macworld
I've made a Twitter which is specially for this blog instead of spamming some of my followers when there is a new post, etc :)

This is the profile and it will be personalised soon - not to worry :) Let me know if you follow me and I'll follow you back!

4 Jul 2011

university: end of my penultimate year

Yep. You read right. It's the end of my penultimate year at university - which means; only one more year until I graduate! Time really does fly as it feels like yesterday that I first stepped foot into my halls of residence in my first year in October 2009 - hell, it even feels like yesterday that I started high school (I still remember that day like it was yesterday!)

I've had a brilliant year and I've met some amazing people. I've continued friendships from my first year as well as making new ones this year. I've grown closer to some people and grown apart from others - but still, I wouldn't change one second of it for the world. It's been a fantastic year full of ups and downs - the ups being the good times such as birthdays and other celebrations whereas the downs have included exam time. The fact that my subject is one of the last to finish (in the last week nonetheless) when all the other subjects have finished has been tough on my motivation to work but I've made it!

Now, I have three full months of doing some relaxing. I've opted not to apply for any internships after a few rejections (for really competitive internships though, mind you) as I still don't know what I want to do after university, however, I am going to be doing some hospital work experience and also carry on with my volunteering - along with my summer goals.

Do any of you have any summer goals (if you have a free-ish summer)? How does time feel to you? Does it fly or does it go by slowly? Has this year gone by slowly?