27 Feb 2013

february's happiness check-in and review

Another month, another chapter of my own Happiness Project done and dusted. As mentioned earlier this month, I was focussing on aiming higher. In order to try and succeed with this goal, I set myself some challenges.

1) Get a job in healthcare.

Although I have not had the time to do any job searching after this house move, I have signed up to the NHS Jobs e-mail alert whenever a job of interest comes up in this new area. However, as I am only available for part-time work until about August, it is proving difficult to find any vacancies that I can apply for. I may have to resort to just asking for work experience though.

2) Redecorate as much of the house as possible.

Only recently have we managed to get some quotes for some of the work that needs doing. I have already planned out the paint colours, etc for each room so this is a work in progress! It will take a fair few months for this to be accomplished though.

3) Continue blogging three times a week (at least).

I went through a phase of blogger's block recently and it seems I am (slowly!) finally finding my way out of this rut. I have some ideas for blog posts coming up, and I have planned quite a few relating to time management and studying, so sit tight for those! They may not be published for a few months but they will definitely appear before the new academic year starts in September.

Now, onto the March chapter of my Happiness Project. This is one where I remember love. I will write more letters, keep in touch with friends on a more regular basis than I do now and not nag or anything like that. Let's see how that goes, eh...


As with my normal monthly reviews, here were my essentials.

1) SatNav

Moving to a new area means that we don't know where the local shops are, or even how to get around. And so, for the first two or three weeks in this new area, we have been very reliant on our SatNav. It has been a God-send as without it, I don't think we could have gone grocery shopping, or even been to visit friends in this area.

2) Oyster Card

Being so close to London means that my Oyster card has seen more use than usual. When I used to live in London, during my university years, I rarely used it then as everything was within a short walk and so didn't see a need to take a bus just to head to the supermarket! However, the trains from my new place into London now mean that I have to take public transport to get to the city, which is why my Oyster was included in this list.

3) Porridge and Warming Noodle Soups

One of my personal favourites: udon noodles (they taste better than they look) and fish balls. I improvise the soup base by adding half of a teaspoon of Korean chilli paste and half a teaspoon of oyster sauce; and if I do say so myself, it is delicious

It has been a very cold month here in the UK. We tried to copy birds in migrating south but unfortunately for us, I don't think we went south enough to get the warm weather! As a result, I have been surviving on porridge for breakfast and warm noodle soups for lunch.

Having seen the doctor and deducing that going gluten-free didn't really do much in the long run, I can eat gluten again, yay! Over the past year, I lost some weight whilst on a gluten-free diet so I'm still incorporating as many gluten-free meals as possible (as I think it is a healthier diet anyway) but I can eat pizza and pasta again (honestly, if I could be reborn as any nationality, I think Italian would be up there... along with Korean; and all because of the food!).

26 Feb 2013

my week round-up #8

Another Tuesday and another round-up for you all. I've noticed that each and everyone of you have different styles and different ways of keeping organised and it is a fantastic thing to see week-in, week-out.

{1} The Nest Not Exactly Empty
{2} Live Love Organize
{3} Puddytat Purr
{4} She's Eclectric
{5} Imogen Rose Beauty
{6} Well Planned Life
{7} Leesh
{8} Deligted <-- missed you out last week by accident, sorry! :)
{9} Bake, Write and Live Life
{10} Miss Mai's Adventures
{11} Katie Louise Halsall
{12} The Wonderful Life of Alice <-- not boring at all!
{13} Red Lips 'n' Pearls
{14} Imy's World <-- love Friday - so creative and pretty!
{15} This Little Life of Mine
{16} Behind my Purpley Life <-- pretty as always!
{17} Planning With A Printed Portal
{18} Deligted
{19} Sunset Over Ocean
{20} Friday, I'm in Love <-- love this one, so creative and colourful
{21} DIY Sara <-- love the pen used. And sorry to hear about Oliver :-(
{22} Cider With Sophie <-- LOVE her handwriting!
{23} Pony Town
{24} My Filofax Adventure

And my favourite this week?

Credit: Bake, Write and Live Life

This is so pretty, it would cheer anyone up. Honestly, the use of colour and the uppercase handwriting has a certain appeal to it. The use of stickers and deco tape is minimal but effective :)

25 Feb 2013

my "greatest hits"

I looked back at some of the blog posts I am most proud of and decided to compile a 'greatest hits' blog post. Whilst compiling this list, I also looked at the blog statistics to see which posts were popular with readers too. And so, here is the list separated into different categories.

Posts About Binders

- Filofax Slimline Deco and Slimming into it...
- Smythson Bond Street Organiser ( + the tour)
- Kate Spade Agenda
- Filofax awards ceremony
- the set up of an Affair

Posts About University

- using a binder for university
- revision and exams
- lecture notes
- more lecture note organisation

Using Creativity in Organisation

- Labelling tabs
- Labelling tabs with washi tape
- Resolutions page
- Muji Erasables
- making notepaper look pretty
- washi tape and old cans to make pen pots

Posts Relating to 'My Week'

- my very first week
- my first week in the Smythson refills (#42)
- join in with my week posts!

And my own special favourite post...

- handwritten post

I know this may seem like a boring post, but if you're a new(ish) reader, instead of feeling overwhelmed by the number of posts in the archive, these posts could be a good starting point.

And, to be fair, I have enjoyed reading through these old posts myself. It helps me grow as a writer and also enables to see what blog post subjects are the ones I enjoy writing the most :-)

24 Feb 2013

my week #45

This week, I did a lot of life admin. Last night, my mum went to a friend's for a birthday bash so I was in charge of dinner. I decided on spaghetti bolognase but opted for meatballs (homemade ones!) and linguine, so in actual fact, it was more like linguine and meatballs. Scrumptious all the same :)

How has your week been?

22 Feb 2013

blogging tips :)

I don't think I'm a good blogger but I do try very hard to improve with each blog post. One thing is that I have been blogging or running websites since I was fourteen which makes me think that I was born with a nerd gene - not that I think that's a bad thing (there are worse genes to be born with, I'm sure... the serial killer gene, I'm looking at you).

I'm always surprised by how many people read my blog and although I don't comment very regularly on other blogs, it doesn't mean that I don't read your blog. And sometimes, when I read other blogs, I  think of things that could be improved. For example, I rarely read blog posts that don't have at least one image and I also rarely read blogs that are badly written, have a poor design and colour scheme or use poor choice of fonts (my eyes can only take so much!). I sound like such a snob but my eyes have taken so much battery over the last few years of study that I try not to strain my eyes too much now!

I thought it'd be helpful to share some blogging tips that work for me to ensure the smooth running of a blog. 

B E   O R G A N I S E D  //

For me, the best way was to have a blog section in my binder.

Within this section, I have a 'blogpost ideas' insert and also a monthly planner where I write in when blog posts have been scheduled for. This ensures I always have a backlog of posts to go live as I note down ideas I have instantly, and then act on those by using this insert.

Having this section in my blog also ensures that I am consistent with the posting of blogposts as I can see gaps easily in the monthly planner (undated monthly planner inserts).

U S E    P I C T U R E S  //

The saying that a picture can represent a thousand words is quite often true. I often cheat and prefer to use more pictures than text if I am in a lazy mood.

Ironically taken with my iPhone camera.

Make sure your pictures are of a decent quality - grainy pictures mean that all the detail will most likely be lost and you might as well not even have included a picture. Try and use a digital camera at the very least (mine is a 14.7MP camera, and although not the best on the market, I've found the picture quality okay the majority of the time).

P R O O F R E A D  //

I'm actually quite bad at this one! I try and proofread every post I put out now but sometimes, mistakes still slip through the cracks. However, it's better to have tried than not to have bothered at all as one mistake corrected is one mistake less, right?

B R E A K   U P   T E X T  //

Too much text in one go = eyes go all funny = window closed promptly. Just sayin'.

D E C I D E   O N   A   N I C H E  //

It took me a bit of time to decide where this blog was going. I have a lot of interests and choosing which ones to focus on was quite hard. However, having spent basically the last six years focussed on science, I wanted to channel my creative side into this blog.

An example of channeling my creativity (at the time, I had not seen this idea anywhere
else).  Washi taping old cans.

That is why now, I try and combine being creative with being organised, and at the same time, being fashionable but without any emphasis on what clothes I wear (so, no 'what I wore' posts). So, if I had to categorise my blog, I feel it is more of a lifestyle blog than anything.

D E S I G N  //

I'm all for choosing a design that represents you as a person (I'd like to think mine does!) but choosing a background or cursor that causes someone to develop motion sickness probably isn't the best idea. The same goes for text - try and choose one that is easy to read. Think about a font that would be used to write a CV - I think that's a pretty safe rule to go by.

C O M M E N T S  //

Personally, I always try and make an effort to respond to all comments made on my blog. I think it comes down to how much spare time you have and how many comments you get, but for me, I like to reply because I always think that if someone has taken the time to leave a comment, I should respond - and quite often, I enjoy this as it's nice to get to know readers :)

Sometimes, you might get a negative comment. I've been quite lucky and have never had this but if it does happen, just ignore it. Like everything else in life, nothing is liked by 100% of the population so we just have to learn to filter and ignore those who seem set on belittling and hurting us.

/ / /

I think it is important to say that I am also still learning when it comes to blogging. I have made mistakes in the past so I don't profess to be the perfect blogger. However, I do feel that it might be beneficial to write a few improvements on things that I have experienced whilst reading other blogs and write a few tips based on mistakes I have made in my blogging past.

In my opinion, the most important piece of advice anyone could give about blogging is to ensure that you enjoy it. And that piece of advice is pretty much applicable to any activity you do, be it a job, playing a sport or learning a musical instrument or language.

I hope this has been helpful :-)

20 Feb 2013

stationery addicts anonymous, meeting #11: Jennifer

As you can see, I have tweaked my blog layout once again. For some reason, I felt really unhappy with how it looked yesterday so decided to change a few fonts and do some minor editing of the layout. I am still unsure about the font - I'm not sure if it is too small?

Anyway, onto this week's SAA meeting :-)

Today, we have Jennifer from Behind My Purpley Life revealing her three stationery items that she couldn't live without.


Hello. My name is Jennifer and I am a stationery addict. As early as I could remember, my addiction started when I was in about the second or third grade. It all began while having to buy supplies for school. My first stationery items were mostly Lisa Frank and Sanrio. I had to have the coolest folder. I had to have a cute pencil/pen box. Remember those, the one with a lock on it so no one else could steal your pens & pencils, or the ones that had built - in compartments, sharpener, etc. As I got a bit older, I got into the sticker craze. I would have those sticker books, and girls would either trade or show off their collections. My addiction grew in high school and into college when I wrote love letters to my boyfriend- now husband. It was then that I collected cute kawaii stationery paper and glitter gelly roll pens. I still have paper that is too pretty to write on.

This post took me a while to write because I have too many favorites and narrowing it down to my top three items was definitely a challenge.

First, I chose Washi/ Paper Tape. This has been my latest addiction. I currently own 197 rolls of tape. Wow! That's a alot, I know! I use them for mainly decorating my Filofax, card making, and crafts.

Secondly, I love PENS!!! Just look at all those colors. Also, I am picky with the pens I write with. That's mainly why I have so many. I won't even bother to count them, there's just that many! These are my current favorites: Pilot G-2, Pilot FriXon Ball Reractable, & Pilot Hi-Tec C Coletos.

For my third item, I chose stickers. I use lots and lots of stickers for many different things as well. I take my daughter to buy stickers so that I can use it as an excuse to buy stickers for myself.

Thank you, Angela for allowing me to share my addiction with you and everyone else. Come see how I use these items at my blog or find me on Twitter or Instagram @purpley3!


Thank you, Jennifer, for speaking out about your addiction. I love those Frixion balls - I want a set of each colour too now!

19 Feb 2013

my week round-up #7

Another week, another round-up :-) Also, if you want to join, click here for more information and to grab a button :-)

{1} The Nest Not Exactly Empty
{2} Imogen Rose Beauty
{3} Well Planned Life
{4} Seraphic Wing
{5} Planning With Printed Portal
{6} Bake, Write and Live Life
{7} Atomik Sophia <-- no need to apologise! :-)
{8} Skye Pennant
{9} Practical and Pretty
{10} Miss Mai's Adventures
{11} Red Lips 'n' Pearls
{12} Pony Town <-- love this one - it's so neat, I'm jealous!
{13} Behind My Purpley Life
{14} Absharinaaa <-- congrats on your seven year anniversary!
{15} Imy's World <-- love the stickers in the first picture!
{16} Rain by XOXO
{17} Katie Louise Halsall
{18} This Little Life of Mine
{19} Seraphic Wing
{20} The Wonderful Life of Alice
{21} Filofaximile
{22} Sunset Over Ocean
{23} DIY Sara
{24} Yay For Fridays
{25} Lady Elizabeth's Unreal Life

And my favourite from this week's selection is...

Credit: Well Planned Life

This week, I found myself marvelling at the simplicity of these pages from Well Planned Life (I feel old now as I remember the days when the blog was actually called Life Well Planned :-) ). I love the use of the layout - the to-dos on the right and the actual scheduling on the left. It looks nice (minimal colour) and is also functional

18 Feb 2013

a 101 in 1001 update!

When I wrote my list of 101 things in 1,001 days, I re-wrote it (keeping the same goals) a few months later but I broke it down in various lists. The lists I broke it down into were Ongoing Goals, Instant Goals, Goals Before the End of 2012, Goals Before the End of 2013 and finally, Goals Before the End of 2014 (as my deadline for this list is the 29th of December 2014).

Well, so far, the list has been a success. A few instant goals have been checked off and all of my 2012 goals were met! Look:

Now, I'm going to explain how I broke my list down into mini-lists. I feel that by breaking it down into smaller lists makes the 101 goals seem less daunting (101 is quite a big number!) and by having mini goals before the 'deadline date', it makes them easier to achieve.

Now, examples of each sub-list:

1) Ongoing Goals

Save £10 a week.
Read a book a month.
Keep my blog running.
Be happier.

2) Instant Goals

See a film in 3D.
Go on a picnic.
Change hairstyle.
Make someone a birthday cake.

3) Goals Before the End of 2013

Not buy clothes for a year.
Donate blood.
Try ten new recipes.
Move to London.

4) Goals Before the End of 2014

Whittle down my wardrobe.
Go to Italy.
Eat lobster (it is in this list as it will give me two years to source a lobster ;) ).
Raise £2,000 by selling stuff (currently on £800! However, this is going towards home decorating, sob sob).

You might find some goals could be part of more than one list (e.g. Donate blood) and for this, it is best to assign the goal to just one list to avoid the confusion. Choose the list it applies to more. Breaking down a larger list into a smaller one is just like breaking down a big task into smaller manageable steps, and I feel that doing it this way, it is more likely to be a success.

17 Feb 2013

my week #44

I had a week of life admin, with a bit of recreation too. We are settling down, slowly but surely, in this new area and with it being only six and a half months until I start medical school, I have been weighing up the pros and cons of getting a job. Not many places are willing to take on someone for only six months and I figured that medschool will be so hectic that I might as well enjoy this leisure time while I still have it?

Not sure if that is the best attitude though!

How has your week been?

16 Feb 2013

fashion and functionality

I'm a big fan of fashion, shopping and clothes. I'm also a big fan of being organised. That's why the binder I use is just as important as an outfit I wear to dinner or whatever. Fashion and functionality is the reason why the weeks that I post every Sunday are as colourful as they are. It is also why I use stickers, washi tape and whatnot to make it pretty.

This is all why I purchased the Smythson binder I did. I love how bright it is and also how it kind of reflects who I am. I am quite girly (though, I do have a more 'masculine' side to me - the side that loves sports a bit too much!) and although I don't particularly like to stand out, the bright pink and the Smythson brand reflects the fact that I like to be original and different when it comes to most things.

Fashion and functionality can also be applied to other items - for example, spectacles. I have been wearing glasses since I was about thirteen and I used to hate it. However, in recent years, I've seen it as an opportunity to use it as a fashion accessory and my two favourite pairs are ones that suit my face and are ones I'm not ashamed to step out in.

Shoes is another thing. For me, I'm mainly in flats as when I was growing up, I had a growth spurt when I was about ten or eleven and so was one of the taller girls in my class at the time and I hated standing out.  Because of this, I never really embraced heels but I do have a pair of chunky heeled boots which are perfect for the autumn and winter.

How do you feel about fashion and functionality? Have you compromised one or the other when choosing your diary or other things?

15 Feb 2013

my updated binder collection

Can you believe that a year ago, I had about eleven Filofax binders? And now, I only have one that I want to keep (obviously, the Slimline Deco), a beautiful Smythson binder and a bright Kate Spade agenda.

What caused this change? Well, I realised that a lot of the things I had previously used binders for can now be done in cheaper notebooks, with superior paper (such as expenses tracking). This is my Expenses notebook at the moment - there are three sections, one for my debit card, one for my credit card and one for the cash I have on hand (i.e. in my purse, which, at the moment, is only one lonely pound coin).

This notebook was actually inspired by one of my friends' (you know who you are!) and so here it is:

My passwords were also transferred to another notebook:

And the other stuff in my 'Me binder'? Well, they actually ended up fitting into my Smythson binder. How I love bigger rings at the moment (and they say that size doesn't matter - who were they kidding?!).

So, what is my Slimline Deco doing right now? Apart from sitting pretty on my bookshelf, it also holds some blog planning inserts, and some other inserts that don't need to be carted around on a daily basis; such as address inserts and stuff.

Honestly, I think I will be content with these two. The smaller rings on my Slimline allow me to transfer the diary inserts I need, for when I have to be away from home for a bit and my Smythson also allows me to fit what I need with me everyday. I don't have a need for another 'storage' binder, like I did in the past.

That is why I think I can now say, with conviction and hopefully for the last time, that I really have found my 'one true binder' in the Smythson for when I want more space, and the Deco for when I need more portability.

14 Feb 2013

cute valentine's day cards

Another year, another Valentine's day. This year, I've sent two cards to my sister (a cunning plan was behind this - I'll explain later!) because the cards I found were perfect. Again, more on that when I explain each of the cards.

The reason I've not sent anyone else a Valentine's card or anything is because I'm concentrating on myself this year. When I was about seventeen/eighteen, my goal in life was to have a good career and do well in that career but as I got older, I realised that family is equally important too and my 'wants' shifted ever so slightly. Now, I am back to the career side. That is one thing I can control as a baby or a family is out of my control - what will be, will be, right?

Anyway, enough rambling. Here is the first card:

My sister and I both studied the same A Level subjects (Biology, Chemistry and Maths) and we both got the same grades so I guess nerdiness runs in the family! The only difference is now that she's doing her degree in Chemistry whereas mine was Biochemistry. As a result, this card is perfect.

The second card looks like this:

My sister and I have identical bears from years ago so again, this card makes perfect sense to us.

Now that is done and explained; why the two cards? Well, I'm hoping to pinch one to punch into my binder to jazz it up a bit, or even just stick it on my wall to add to posters and photos of memories from the past. I love cute illustrations and both of these are just so creative that part of the reason as to why I purchased it was actually to punch them for use in my binder (as maybe even a divider!).

How are you celebrating Valentine's Day this year?

13 Feb 2013

cute Rilakkuma oversized paperclips

This is one of the things I got for Christmas from my sister this year. She knows how much I love Rilakkuma (I came back with Rilakkuma laundry hangers back in 2009 after a month-long holiday in Hong Kong!) and these are perfect! They are big - 10.5cm but they can hold a lot of paper together.

She got me one of each Rilakkuma character - from L to R, Korilakkuma, Kiiroitori and Rilakkuma himself.

The characters are made from a rubber material and they seem sturdy enough.

Aren't they cute? My favourite is Korilakkuma - but that's because she looks like my own teddy bear :)

12 Feb 2013

my week round-up #6

This week, there are some weeks from the previous week (so many 'week's in that sentence) due to a house move, as explained in the previous round-up. However, this just means, more diary porn!

Previous week's...

{1} Andrea Mocko - love her handwriting in this one!
{2} Sunset Over Ocean
{3} DIY Sara
{4} Cider With Sophie
{5} Friday, I'm in Love
{6} Katie Louise Halsall
{7} Imogen Rose Beauty
{8} Monica Luis Blog

This week's...

{9} Well Planned Life
{10} Planning With Printed Portal
{11} Belle Du Brighton
{12} Miss Mai's Adventures
{13} Andrea Mocko
{14} Katie Louise Halsall
{15} Lady Elizabeth's Unreal Life
{16} Skye Pennant
{17} The Wonderful Life of Alice
{18} The Journal Keeper
{19} Red Lips n Pearls
{20} Rain by XOXO
{21} The eBook Reader
{22} Deligted
{23} Filofaximile
{24} DIY Sara
{25} Behind My Purpley Life
{26} Sunset Over Ocean
{27} Friday, I'm in Love
{28} Imy's World
{29} Absharinaaa
{30} Puddytat Purr

And this week's favourite?

Credit: Carla at Friday, I'm in Love

Gotta love the splitting of each day into halves, and also the artistry of Sunday and the Notes section! However, a special mention must also go to Well Planned Life for the line 'One must stay with the seasons and holidays when it comes to Post-its.'

10 Feb 2013

my week #43

Today is the first day of a new year if you're Chinese (or if you just fancy a fresh start!). So for that, I will say gung hei fat choi / / gong xi fa cai / / 恭喜發財 and xin nian kuai le / / 新年快樂! I wish you all good health, good fortune and advancement in your careers / schooling.

As you all know, my year has already got off to a good start and without meaning to mention it again (to me, it still hasn't fully sunk in!), I am following the Medicine dream I have had for years now. I never thought it would ever happen and now it looks like it will!

All in all, a very busy week. We moved house, and as we've moved to a completely new area, we have had to go out and explore. Furthermore, the house needs some redecorating and general work so we have had to unpack the essentials and repack the non-essentials so that the redecorating can be done easily.

How has your week been?

8 Feb 2013

my stationery staples

Firstly, thank you for all of the kind comments in yesterday's post. I'm overwhelmed by all of your kind comments on there, and on Twitter too and this is why I blog - to meet all you lovely people :-) Anyway, onto today's post.

Through the two and a half years' of writing this blog, I have had numerous comments and questions (on Twitter and through e-mail too) asking me where I got x, y or z. That is why there is this blogpost and in it, I will show you what pens, paper, stickers, sticky notes, etc. that I use and also where I got them from.


For the past six years, this has been my staple pen. The Muji gel. I also use Muji Erasable pens but these gels will always be my favourite (along with the next pen I will be showing). The refills are cheap and aesthetically, they are minimalistic and so, go with any binder I choose to use.

I've since seen these gels pop up on other blogs, so it's great to see them appreciated by others too.

My second staple pen is the Pentel Energel Needletip. My mum bought me a few of these in Hong Kong in 2010 and since then, this is a pen that I have appreciated as much as the Muji gel. Both of these pens don't bleed or show-through on Filofax cotton cream paper (just in case you are wondering). The newer Muji gel ink doesn't seem to show-through on the white Filofax paper, but the older gel ink does.

Sticky Tabs

Avery are the go-to company for these bad boys but my ultimate favourite are these by Martha Stewart x Avery x Staples. These are a pretty popular choice by other Filofax and stationery bloggers too so a picture isn't necessary but the colours of them are so pretty, that I just had to include one anyway.

Sticky Notes

Clockwise from top left: Artbox, Martha Stewart x Avery x Staples (I love how sticky these are - the glue has some serious holding power), Artbox, Paperchase.


I used to get most of my stickers from Artbox but they don't do stickers by San-X - my ultimate favourite company that does cute stuff. I usually get most of my San-X stuff from Hong Kong but I've not been back since 2008. In fact, I'm hoping to go back this summer to stock up, but not that I need to... but if I'm going to be there, I might as well, right?

The stickers shown in the picture are all from the San-X company. If you hadn't already noticed, I have an affinity to ducks and bears and so these stickers are right up my street. I may be 22 years old but that doesn't mean I can't have a more juvenile side to me (just as long as it's not my attitude that is juvenile, I think that's ok, right?).

Hopefully, this will answer some of the questions that you might have. If not, leave me a comment and I will update this post in due course :)

7 Feb 2013

so... important announcement time!

I have a bit of exciting news that I don't usually broadcast on my blog. I know I usually stick to the usuals of stationery and stuff but I am going to give an update on where I am at right now as it is a big change and will affect this blog in time.

Basically, I applied to graduate Medicine courses back in October 2012 and I have an offer of a place at my first choice Medschool! As a result, I will be going to Medschool this September. However, there is a bit of a story with regards to all this, hence this somewhat out of place blog post.

Credit: My PA Training

Back in autumn 2011, some of you may remember that I may have mentioned that I was applying to medschool. I did, and I got an offer for a place - but for a 5-year course. For those of you who don't know, the 5-year course offers no tuition fee loan for graduates like myself and so, I would have had to stunp up £9,000 for the first four years of the course before I was eligible for any grants or tuition fee loans. Let's not even mention the pitiful maintenance loan I would have got either…

Anyway, I really wanted to take up this opportunity but I missed the offer by 0.5% in my degree so I didn't make it to that Medschool. I hit an all-time low in August because of this and really didn't think I would ever be studying Medicine - something that I have always wanted to do! To have to re-take entrance tests or do further study (and waste more £££) just to chase this dream seemed a nightmare.

Then, I remembered. In September 2011, I had taken the GAMSAT entrance test - arguably, the hardest entrance test there is. If you don't know about it, I will explain a little. It has three sections to it - Section 1 is 'Reasoning in Humanities and Social Sciences', Section 2 is Written Communication (in the form of two essays written within an hour) and Section 3 is 'Reasoning in Biological and Physical Sciences'. Test results are eligible for two years after sitting so this meant, I could apply with this instead! I then I had to find universities that would take it and applied, undergoing the UCAS train once again.

Ideally, I wanted a place on a 4-year course as these courses are aimed at graduates wanting to study medicine and so, would be eligible for funding (I don't know why the government only allows funding for the 4-year courses). I also knew that my GAMSAT score was good enough for my first choice, but wasn't sure about the other four - I originally thought I would get one interview and three instant rejections.

That wasn't the case - I got offered three interviews! I did get a rejection from the fourth (by one mark on the GAMSAT, it has to be said!) so I was quite happy with this. And I had interviews at my top three choices (although one was a 5-year course).

Anyway, the ending of this story is that I got an interview at my first choice, did the interview in early January and I received my offer recently for a place on the 4-year course at one of the colleges of the University of London. I am chuffed to bits as this was my first choice by a country mile as it is within a bus journey from my new house and also means I can save on rent by living at home! Obviously, this means I will have to contribute somehow, through chores or something but that is fine.

Finally, I get funding for this course. All I have to pay is around £3,500 in the first year (I have this in savings already) and I am eligible for a tuition fee loan (£9,000 minus the around £3,500) and maintenance loan (which is designed to help with living costs).

All in all, things are looking peachy. Because it is a 4-year course, things will undoubtedly become more intense for me. It is five years of medicine crammed into four but I am confident I will be able to blog at the same time. There will, I'm sure, be more blog posts about studying and time management too.

Finally, I have one interview left to attend at my second choice. It is in March but the cost of the train fare and overnight stay is deterring me from going. I hold an offer from my first choice and I don't think anything could sway me. However, it is nice to keep my options open so I may end up going to that (it is for another 4-year graduate stream course). And what happened to my other interview? It was in Exeter for the 5-year course and well, I was put on a 'deferred decisions list' after interview (better than I expected as I thought I had bombed the interview) so I should know within the next week or two. Either way, it will be irrelevant as I have an offer and that's all that matters to me :-)

6 Feb 2013

stationery addicts anonymous meeting #10: Gina

This week, we have another addict willing to share their story. Welcome, Gina, to the world of being a stationery addict.


Helloooo guys! I'm Gina. I'm very excited to be featured in "Stationary Addicts Anonymous" hosted by Angela (thanks for including me!). So here are my "three" favorite items.

MONAMI Plus Pens

I caught these pens on sale on ebay and had fell in love with them ever since. The colors are just so perfect and they can be written smoothly on any kind of paper. I usually use them to decorate my journal entries or highlight important stuff in planners. Plus, they never seem to run out of ink ;)

Sticky notes and stickers

(And again, these are for my journal and planner.)

1. Mini sticky notes. They fit perfectly well in a square in calendars so they come really handy in planning.
2. & 6. Little stickers for expressing emotions and sometimes for example when I want to write "milk", I'll just a sticker of milk instead. Fun!
3. For bookmarking a special event or important stuff.
4. Masking stickers for decorating.
5. I usually keep one washi tape in bag because they're just so easy to use! And sometimes for decorating my journal.
6. Hello Kitty sticky notes. I actually bought this set in 2006 (woah). Yeah, you see how I almost never use them. They're too precious ;)


I have exact three stacks of notebooks, used or unused. But I thought I'd just show you guys my current ones.

1. Plain pages inside and this is a really thick one. I use it as a drawing book. Doodling, sketching, painting or designing... all inside!
2. My journal. I love blocks!
3. A typical lined notebook but with a lovely cover. I jot down my random thoughts, ideas and anything comes to mind in it.
4. Planner. My dad's friend's company designed and made this for their workers. They give my dad one which had his name printed in the corner. Since my dad is a so-not-organized person, he gave it to me. I used the masking sticker to cover his name. Inside is the monthly planner for 2013.

So what do you think? My "three" favorite stationary items :]


Thank you, Gina, for being brave enough to share you story with us :) Would you like to be featured one week? If so, email me :) paperlovestory @ outlook.com

Remember, there are worse addictions to have ;)

5 Feb 2013

my week round-up #5

Unfortunately, I'm without internet from today until Thursday, so the weeks included here are the ones I found before the evening of yesterday. Sorry if I've missed you out but I will include you on next week's due to these 'technical problems' :)

It isn't too late to take part either! Click here for full details and for the badge :-)

Also, some of these weeks may be of week 4, but that just means more for you to look at this week :)

{1} Katie Louise Halsall
{2} Planning with Printed Portal
{3} Jasmine
{4} Imogen Rose Beauty
{5} Well Planned Life
{6} Sunset Over Ocean
{7} Atomik Sophia
{8} Behind My Purpley Life
{9} Practical and Pretty
{10} Red Lips 'n' Pearls
{11} Lady Elizabeth
{12} Skye Pennant
{13} The Wonderful Life of Alice
{14} Live Love Organize
{15} Miss Mai's Adventures
{16} Absharinaaa
{17} Filofaximile
{18} Pony Town
{19} Deligted
{20} The Nest Not Exactly Empty
{21} Rain by XOXO
{22} Imy's World

And this week's favourite is....

Credit: Absharinaaa

I love how it is filled with handwriting (I do love the look of a busy week!), but also the use of colour. I especially love the washi/paper tape on the 1st. Although only one strip of washi/paper tape has been used, it does look great combined with the highlighter colours used. Moreover, I think that these are Kikki. K inserts and I have lusted after these for the past two years so that was another thing that swayed my pick, only ever so slightly though!

I just love looking at all of the weeks posted and it is lovely to see everyone channeling their creativity in different ways. Though, the best bit is definitely seeing how everyone uses their planners to organise their life.

4 Feb 2013

a tour of my new Smythson binder

In the past, I tried using more than one binder for different things (do you remember the Vintage Rose Finchley 'me' binder? The Compact Osterley that was my blog planner?) and it never worked. I either didn't use them often enough to use them and it made me realise that I needed one binder. My Slimline works for when I need the portability and am away for the day where I just need the diary section but for other times, my new Smythson binder is perfect for holding everything, plus the kitchen sink.

That is, until the rings developed a fault. However, Smythson were prompt in dealing with this problem and have since sent a replacement that also had a flaw (but another replacement will be coming my way!) and so I'm back in the Kate Spade! The set-up of my Smythson has been preserved though.

So now, I will be showing you (through too many pictures) how I have incorporated these multiple binders from the past into one. It is hard - lugging around a heavier binder isn't something I like but having everything in one place really is easier and the gold rings and pink colour of the binder make this compromise feel worth it.

For some people, the number of card slots and slip pockets are of importance in their binder - but for me, this is something I don't actually care about. Cards and such go in my purse and things that go in the slip pockets fit into the clear plastic wallet inserts I have and use.

The only things I carry in the slots are shown in the next picture. Martha Stewart x Avery x Staples teardrop shaped stickers, small notepaper sheets for packing/shopping lists and the Smythson pencil that came with the binder are the things present in the left hand side of the binder when you open it up.

I have opted to keep the Smythson 'diary' tab in the organiser, but the diary isn't what it holds. Confusing, and possibly a stupid thing to do, I know. However, the thick card is ideal as a 'front cover' to the inserts. And the lovely blue colour contrasts brilliantly with the light pink inside of the binder and the gold rings, so I just had to keep it. You can also see the tabs I have used - these were posted about in detail in another previous post.

Under this first tab, there are personal information pages, my 101 in 1001 days list, my '30 before 30' list and a page of simple work-outs I could do each day or several times a week.

The next tab is an 'other notes' tab. I had no idea what else to call it - the pages within it weren't substantial enough to deserve a tab of their own so this will do for now. There is a tube map (I only really know West and Central London, so for the times when I venture into South, North or East London, this is super handy), a few expenses sheets - for when out and about and for ease of copying into my expenses notebook, train times, my weight record and also my list of resolutions from before.

At the end of the section, there is a drawing that I have had for years. My sister drew it and I think it is adorable so I just have to have it in my binder. At the bottom, I found this quote from an old diary and I decided to stick it in with thin washi tape. It says 'Yesterday is history, tomorrow is mystery, today is a gift. - Eleanor Roosevelt'. It is meant to inspire me - but only time will tell if that happens.

My next section is one full of to-do lists for different parts of my life.

The one page I will show you is the page of things I want to save up for and buy in the future. Other things are things I need to buy to replace something that has just ran out (e.g. the dry shampoo, dermatix/bio-oil) whereas the fragrances I want to get are things that are non-essentials but will be things I want to save up for. I'm sure they will take months to tick off!

Other to-do lists are for books I want to read, stuff to do on my blog and food I want to cook in the upcoming month.

Now, the blog section. This was previous a whole new binder, but I found this inconvenient and as a result, rarely used it. With it being a somewhat smaller section in this binder, I have actually found this sufficient.

Now, onto the meat of the binder: my diary.

In between each of the diary pages is a sheet of cotton cream lined paper. This acts as a see-through guide so that my writing stays neat and not all over the place because I am quite bad at writing on a straight line on lined paper, let alone unlined paper. Although this adds bulk to my binder, I have yet to find an alternative diary refill that is lined and on good quality paper.

A survey record section comes next (you will have seen this before, I am sure)...

And the final section. I have opted to use the Smythson tab for this (I just love how thick the card is!) and it is a notes section. In this section is blank notepaper, a section about key competencies for jobs and examples of how I show these and also a list of companies I need to inform about a change in address.

I have a mixture of Paperchase coloured notepaper (brilliant for colour-coding notes from different parts of my life) and also some sheets of squared notepaper.

And the final, final picture is of the back. I have a clear envelope with the usual photos as mentioned in previous blog posts.

I hope you have enjoyed a somewhat brief and mainly pictorial tour of my Smythson binder. It is bound to change in the future, but quite honestly, this works well for me! I tried a Slimline and I still have it for those times when I need portability over usability, but for now? I'm quite content with the bigger rings (this opinion will surely change in another few months, a syndrome that many binder users probably know about - the inability to stay in one binder for too long!).

Just a sidenote that in this post, you will see the Filofax cotton cream week on two pages insert as my diary inserts. I am, in fact, using Smythson ones now but because I am still waiting for a replacement, I couldn't show you this as these pictures were taken a few weeks' ago!