30 Jun 2013

my week #63

It's not been the best or the most productive of weeks: I was ill for the first three days (which meant all plans were cancelled), played netball in the rain on Thursday which meant I also felt a little bit ill on Friday too! And to make matters worse, I was meant to be meeting a friend, who I haven't seen for ages now, yesterday but the trains aren't running from my local station this weekend due to engineering works. Ever. So. Annoying.

This has meant that I've been plotting some grand plans for this blog. Keep your eyes peeled for that!

This week, it just looks messy and I'm really not a fan of my pages.

How has your week been?

28 Jun 2013

creating my study area

This is the final part of my room decoration: my study area. From my first post about the re-decoration, you would have seen this picture, denoting a roughly drawn room plan:

My study area isn't in the ideal place, but it isn't in the worst place either (in terms of natural light) so I'm quite happy with its positioning.

I then did another sketch...

Personally, I would have preferred the bookshelf to have been where the chest of drawers ended up being but the space just wasn't there for it. I don't see this as a big problem because this new placement means that I will have to get up from time to time to get a book or whatever and this can only be good for my health (not only is it exercise but it would also reduce the small risk of a blood clot from sitting down and studying for prolonged periods!).

Next, I needed to take into account the various bits and bobs I would need to put on my desk and other surfaces. These things included a desk lamp, laptop, MS drawer, a printer, pen pot and a desk tidy to name a few.

My plans changed slightly... Instead of having a set of drawers under the table, there is one to the right of the table. The Martha Stewart drawers are on my bookshelf (as a temporary measure) until I find a better place for them so all that is on my table at the moment is a desk tidy, pot of pens, laptop, box of tissues and desk lamp.

My printer is now under the desk on the floor. I'm still yet to discover the best place for it!

In the next picture, you'll see a desk tidy on the left - sometimes, this is moved to the drawers on the right (not seen) in order to maximise the 'blank' space for studying or working.

I will do a more thorough post on my desk in the future and this post will include the logic behind how and why the things are arranged the way they are.

My chest of drawers isn't related to my study area but the top surface holds a drawer system with various toiletries in (such as lip balms - yes I have enough for a whole drawer; make-up (minimal) and sample sachets for various things), other toiletries I am using on a daily basis, along with anything else that might not have a set place in my room (sometimes, this is a folder of notes, or my Kindle).

So, this is how my new room is arranged. I like to think that most of the things are arranged logically but I think it has been more of a case of finding an arrangement where everything fitted without looking too out of place.

And one last picture - it is kind of random but I really love how my sleeping area looks :)

26 Jun 2013

101 in 1001 days update - 1.5 years to go!

With it now being a year and a half to go for my '101 in 1001 days' list, I thought I'd do a post to evaluate how it was going. I mentioned how I broke down the list into smaller sub-lists and as we are now midway through 2013, I'd expect around half of the 2013 list to be checked off. We'll see if that's the case...!

In the next picture, there is a rough 2013 list on the left (all achievable in my opinion) and the proper typed up list on the right. Some of the stuff on it needs to be checked off (I've been a bit bad on that front!) but a few of those can be achieved in a single day so I'm hopeful of being able to accomplish it before the end of this year.

In the next picture, you can see that all of my 2012 goals were achieved and a neater version of the 2013 list on the right. The list was kind of repeated in the previous picture. I've not achieved as many of them as I'd like at this stage of the year and some won't be achieved at all ('go to Hong Kong for the summer', for example). In those cases, they will be pushed back to 2014. Others cannot be checked off until the end of the year, such as 'not buy clothes for a year' (which I've kind of failed by the way... but not in a big way!) and ones that involve snow.

Finally, my list of things before the end of 2014. I'm hoping to check off the Bicester Village one before the end of 2013 so these sublists aren't definitive - they are flexible and are only there to make the list seem more achievable. The beach and bikini ones are on the 2014 list because I'm still self-conscious of the scar I have got from my operation late last year. It is still a little red and does hurt from time to time, but I'm hoping that this will subside as I have been informed that this is normal.

I've come to realise that some of the things on the list won't be checked off at all by the end date (29th December 2014) but that's ok. At least I will have a head start when I write a new list at the end of 2014 :)

You can also see how I used these pages to test out various stamps and stickers too :)

Are you doing one of these challenges? If so, how is it going?

25 Jun 2013

my week round-up #25

Here was my week and here are the blogs taking part in this week's round-up:

{1} Imogen Rose Beauty
{2} The Simple Life
{3} Filo Cuteness
{4} Pixie Dust Filled Dreams
{5} She's Eclectic
{6} Life of Kitty
{7} Puddytat Purr
{8} Roses in December
{9} Miss Mai's Adventures
{10} Sailor Mouth
{11} Star Gardener
{12} My Purpley Life
{13} Nerd Zilla
{14} The Wonderful Life of Alice
{15} Lucy Wonderland
{16} The Simple Life
{17} Le Monde de Mzelle
{18} Pen and Paper Passion
{19} DIY Sara
{20} Red Lips 'n' Pearls

Want to join in? Click the button below for more info :)

NB: Inclusion on my weekly round-ups do not mean that I endorse any of the products or services sold by readers in the list and I do not get commission from any sales that may be the result of a click-through.

24 Jun 2013

an Asian-themed dinner

Last Sunday, I mentioned that I was in charge of cooking a dinner hosted by my family. Because I love talking about food and cooking for others, I thought I'd do a 'show and tell' post about the dinner.

It was originally meant to be for eight people but that number decreased to six and so that meant the dish of steamed fish was no longer on the menu. Nonetheless, I still had to cook four other dishes (I originally thought it was five, but it was actually four... my bad!) and here is what I ended up placing on the table in the end (the only dish that wasn't mine was the one on the right - the pepper, courgette and chicken in black bean sauce.

So, clockwise from top left: Korean chicken wings, Chinese chicken wings, a dish brought by one of the guests, asparagus and prawns in white sauce, beef bulgogi and brocolli and roast duck in the middle  (we cheated and bought this from a local restaurant).

The night before, I marinated all the meat as it gives more time for the flavour to develop. I will run through each dish and how I marinated them - but if you want to replicate these dishes, you can tailor the amount of each ingredient to your own tastebuds.

First: beef bulgogi. I don't think this is the proper way to marinate it but even so, it tastes pretty good.

Cut the beef into strips or small-ish slices and then put it all in a bowl. Depending on how much beef you have (I had quite a lot), you'll want to decrease or increase the following amounts of seasoning. I added:

- two tablespoons of light soy sauce,
- one tablespoon of dark soy sauce,
- two heaped tablespoons of spring onions (chopped finely),
- half a tablespoon of chopped ginger,
- one tablespoon of minced garlic,
- two tablespoons of pure sesame oil,
- one tablespoon of sesame seeds,
- two tablespoons of white sugar,
- half to one tablespoon of ground black pepper

Mix thoroughly and leave overnight in the fridge for best results. In the past, I have marinated this dish for two hours and that is also okay but it tastes even better if left overnight.

I served the (cooked) beef on some steamed broccoli and poured the sauce over the broccoli so that it had some taste. Here is how it looked:

Next up, Korean chicken wings. I wouldn't call this proper Korean chicken wings but it is my (poor) interpretation.

Like the beef, marinate these the night before. Here is what I used for ten chicken wings:

- half a tablespoon of red pepper paste,
- two tablespoons of soy sauce,
- half a tablespoon of sugar,
- one heaped tablespoon of spring onions, chopped finely

Cover and leave overnight in the fridge. To cook them, just put them in the oven for 190 degrees celsius for about 50 minutes. Serve on lettuce leaves and sprinkle some fried onion over them:

My Chinese chicken wings were a bit of a disaster aesthetically (read: I burnt them slightly!) but they tasted better than they looked which was a relief. To marinate them:

- two tablespoons of soy sauce,
- two tablespoons of honey,
- half a tablespoon of ground black pepper,

Leave this overnight. Put these in the oven for 50 minutes at 190 degrees celsius. After 25 minutes in the oven, take them out and smear half of them with a thin layer of char siu sauce and the other half with a thin layer of hoi sin sauce. Resume cooking for the rest of the 25 minutes - watch them carefully as the mixture of sauce and honey can burn easily.

My fourth dish was asparagus, prawns and straw mushrooms in white sauce. No marinating required here.

Steam the asparagus until it is half done, then leave them on a plate. Stir fry the prawns until they are just done and then put them on a plate with the asparagus. Now, it's time to make the white sauce! You'll need to throw these all together in the wok (amounts depending on how much asparagus and prawns you have):

- 6 tablespoons of water,
- 1 tablespoon of cornflour,
- 1 tablespoon of fish sauce,
- half a tablespoon of salt,
- half a tablespoon of sugar,
- 1 tablespoon of whisky,
- 1 tablespoon of pure sesame oil.

The sauce recipe is loosely inspired by Rasa Malyasia so I can't take credit for this sauce! When the sauce is done, add in the mushrooms, asparagus and prawns and stir to ensure that all of the food is coated in the sauce. Simmer for a few minutes, et voila:

I'm not the best cook out there but I'm really willing to try new things. I could have stuck to where I'm most comfortable in the culinary world - in simple Chinese food - but I wanted to cook something that we and others don't eat on a regular basis. The food is also a bit saltier than usual but I wanted to ensure that the food was seasoned well enough for the guests.

I don't cook for a crowd often as I prefer to go out for dinner if there are a number of us but I actually enjoyed planning the meals, preparing them and also cooking and serving them. It was stressful but the food went down very well with the guests and needless to say, I slept very well that night (probably exhausted from all the planning, cooking and eating!).

Hope you enjoyed this glimpse into the dinner we had just over a week ago! :)

23 Jun 2013

my week #62

I've had another busy week where I've been feeling quite exhausted, come the end of the week. I slept for eleven hours straight on Thursday night and that kind of says it all! 

This week, I aimed more for colour and decorating through the use of pens rather than stickers (though there are quite a few) and washi tape (again, there is some but I would say there is less than about a year ago).

How has your week been? Are you constantly experimenting with decorating your pages?

21 Jun 2013

what I use washi tape for

I've had this post written for quite a few months' now but have only just got round to posting it as I kept forgetting to take pictures for it.

I've been using washi tape for about two years now, but only started using it in my diary eighteen months ago. Anyway, I thought I'd do a post on what I personally use washi tape for and why.

As a Highlighter

I personally dislike ink highlighters as it always ends up smudging the other pens I use in my planner and consequently, makes everything look messy. Washi tape offers a better and more varied alternative in my view :)

To Jazz Up Things

Such as this pen pot from Muji:

I also jazzed up an old tin can for use as a pen pot too.

Another thing I decided to try and 'prettify' (I hope that's a word) is plain or ruled notepaper:

To Temporarily Label Tabs

You can read more about that here. I find this is a good way to test out tabs before you permanently label them :)

To Make a Cute Resolutions Page

Let's be honest, resolutions are rarely fun so making them appear to be so, is important!

And finally...

To Add Something Visual To My Diary

Washi tape helps add colour, is a highlighter (as mentioned earlier) and if patterned, adds something visual to planning. I don't think I am 'arty' at all so this also presents an outlet for me to try and be more creative than I would normally be. With things like this, it can be quite easy to go overboard and want to use everything everywhere so I think the week I have shown above shows that washi tape can be used to decorate and be functional at the same time.

Though I also use washi tape in other random ways, I thought I'd include the more accessible ones in this post and I hope you've enjoyed seeing and reading about them :)

20 Jun 2013

join me on bloglovin'

So, Google Reader is planning to close its doors on the 1st of July! However, you can continue subscribing to this blog by email (in the sidebar) or using Bloglovin'.

Follow on Bloglovin

If you read quite a number of blogs on Google Reader (I know I do!), then you could import all of your subscriptions over to Bloglovin'. Just go to: http://www.bloglovin.com/import/reader. It's quite a simple process :-) 

19 Jun 2013

a blast from the past - an old planner of mine

Whilst unpacking, I found this planner that I used for a few months during my first year at university. I had the choice of using a Filofax or this planner and I remember opting for this one as it was so pretty and cute. You will see why as the post goes on :)

I had bought this planner in Hong Kong in the summer of 2009 because of the front cover. The colours were muted and the picture was illustrated - this was reason enough to plonk down a few Hong Kong dollars just so I could call it mine!

Anyway, inside, there were weekly planning pages. Here is how I used them at the time:

And yet another week (you can see that I've always used a fair bit of colour!):

And one final week before I show you the bulk of the planning pages:

After the weekly pages, there were more weekly pages, but this time with more space. The cute illustrations are a constant theme in this planner.

The next picture shows yet another week, but a more messy (and busy!) one. It was at this point that I reverted back to a Filofax as the mess got too much for me.

There were a few random note pages spread out through the planner. Here is one of them:

There were also some cute pages which had illustrations like this:

At the back, there were more note pages (which also had illustrations), some 'contacts' pages and an 'about me' page at the back.

I posted about this planner back in August 2012 but this is a more thorough post with regards to the actual planning pages. I have hacked away any spare pages and then punched them for use in my organiser but with the paper so cute, I've not had the guts to use them yet - do any of you also get the stationery jitters when things are too cute?!

18 Jun 2013

my week round-up #24

Here was my week and here are the blogs taking part in this week's round-up:

{1} Filo Cuteness
{2} Imogen Rose Beauty
{3} Pixie Dust Filled Dreams
{4} Le Monde de Mzelle
{5} Lucy Wonderland
{6} She's Eclectic
{7} Life of Kitty
{8} Miss Mai's Adventures
{9} Roses in December
{10} Star Gardener
{11} Red Lips 'n' Pearls
{12} Sailor Mouth
{13} Life of a Dreamer
{14} Me and My Crazy Obsessions
{15} My Summer Touch
{16} Rain by XOXO
{17} DIY Sara
{18} Puddytat Purr
{19} My Purpley Life

If your post is missing, it might be because it was posted after this round-up went live. If that is the case, it will be included in next week's round-up :)

Want to join in? Click the button below for more info :)

NB: Inclusion on my weekly round-ups do not mean that I endorse any of the products or services sold by readers in the list and I do not get commission from any sales that may be the result of a click-through.

16 Jun 2013

my week #61

My week has been pretty exhausting! Although it doesn't look it, I have been busy every. Single. Day.

My weekend was particularly busy - we had some family friends over on Friday for dinner and I was in charge of the food. Originally, I was meant to be cooking for eight but that number decreased to six and this wasn't something I was complaining about! Even so, I was cooking five dishes, plus rice and dessert and that was a good enough recipe for a stressful evening. It was worth it though :) I might do a post on the dinner later next week as the food did turn out pretty well!

I carried on using a DayTimer hot list for any to-dos that could be done on any day and this system seems to be working well. I think I will use the hotlists when term starts in (eek!) twelve weeks.

How has your week been?

14 Jun 2013

custom revision Filofax personal sized insert

I'm a little late with this post! I'd actually had this made back in March but forgot all about it until I started sorting through the files on my laptop.

It is a revision planning insert and is designed for personal sized pages (171mm tall by 95mm wide). I will show you how it looks first and then explain how it is designed to be used after it.

As you can see, there are four different sections to the insert. These sections are meant to aid with revision as well because they are designed to make revision a long-term and gradual process as opposed to a solid few days or weeks of cramming.

The first section has two lines for each day of the week. This part is for you to write in what you would like to revise on those days based on what you had learnt in lectures the week before/a few weeks' before or a few months' before. It all depends on how you decide to revise any new content. Personally, I would look over my notes a few days after making them, then again in a few weeks' time and once more in two months' time. So basically, say you learnt the structure of mitochondria on Monday three weeks' ago, you'd write in 'structure of mitochondria' for the coming week in the 'Monday' slot. Essentially, this first section is mainly for revision of content learnt in the not-so-distant past.

The second box is self-explanatory. Anything you found difficult or hard to get your head around would go here. Hopefully, this will mean that you will be doing more research on those topics or spending more time on them as you've singled out the topic(s). Obviously, this box might not get regular use - and that's a good thing as it means you understood everything so far :)

Textbook references go into the third box. Any textbook references you want to go back to later on in the week or a textbook you want to borrow from the library would go here.

Finally, at the end of the week, you would refer to the last box - flashcards. If flashcards work for you, this would be the time for you to make flashcards. Based on how successful revision has been for you in the past week, you can then deduce what flashcards you need to make as obviously, some concepts will undoubtedly stick more firmly in your mind than others.

Interested? Click here to download the insert.

12 Jun 2013

my current Smythson set-up - six months on

A few weeks' ago, I tweaked the set-up of my Smythson. I've ended up cramming a lot into a small space (23mm rings!) and so, here I am with a, mainly, pictorial tour of my Smythson. 

When you now open up my binder, there's some notepaper sheets, some sticker dots and MS teardrop stickers on the left. And on the right, I have a transparent flyleaf with washi tape on.

Followed by a few sheets of personal info (not shown) and then some advice for medschool and clinicals. The advice is from the doctor I shadowed in the summer of 2011.

Then I have another page of important info - passport details, bus details and other random bits of information that I deem of some importance.

After that is my survey record...

Then a page of work outs...

My bucket list and another flyleaf of random washi tape (this is from about a year ago but I only slipped it in recently!):

A monthly planner, printed on cream 80gsm paper and downloaded from Philofaxy:

And then my diary, with two sticky notes (the top one is explained in this post here):

More sticky notes with information on and then my diary pages (not shown):

And my blog planning section has moved to the back now:

More blog post planning:

To-do lists...

The final tab is for notepaper:

Examples of notes I keep in my binder - train times and a list of food I want to make, along with a tally of the number of notebooks I have (I have since added to my notebook collection so this number is now out of date...!):

 Planning my room decoration and also house decoration:

And finally, the clear plastic pocket of photos that I have kept in my diary since (what feels like) forever:

Quite a bit has changed since I last posted about this set-up but most of the insides are the same. I've managed to slim it down considerably but at the same time, cram a lot into it. I also love how uncluttered my binder now is as all of its contents are what I deem essentials.

Have you changed your set-up since the start of the year?