29 Sept 2013

my week #76

My week wasn't as packed as it could have been so I tried to take advantage of this by arranging something for every evening. Anyway, what I hadn't planned on was getting Fresher's Flu so Monday night's netball training was a no-go, Tuesday night's dinner with friends was another no-go (seriously gutted about this) and I'm still not 100% recovered today. On Thursday, I went to Heathrow with a friend who was leaving the country due to the completion of his Master's degree. 

My To-Do Squid List is also seriously long with no ticks on so far (eek!) so this is one weekend full of work. They do say that the first year of this course is the hardest and if we can pass it, the next year will be much easier.

You can also see that since starting university, my pages are a lot plainer and less decorative. This is mainly due to the fact that a lot of my spare time this week has gone towards studying.

How was your week?

26 Sept 2013

re-organising my planner so that it is functional!

Ever before the start of term, I had an inkling that week-on-two-page (WO2P) inserts wouldn't supply me with the space I would require. However, I am intent on making these beautiful Smythson inserts work for me until the end of 2013. The solution I came up with is one that Josh (one of my favourite video bloggers by the way!) has used in the past - to use a sheet of paper in between WO2P inserts. He used a sheet of notepaper whereas I have chosen to slot in to-do lists instead because my timetable is so packed that writing in to-dos can be impossible on busier days.

To illustrate just how packed my days could be; here was my first week (before any to-dos were added but after my timetable was written in):

The first week will, of course, be busy because it is 'induction week': a week where we are given a bunch of talks about essential information. Things calm down a bit in the following week but as you can see, I really struggled for space here. I had to resort to sticky notes and there is clearly no space for any to-dos on the Tuesday and Friday.
All in all, a cramped week like this isn't great when it comes to the other important parts of my life (namely: social, home and sporting!) because it leaves no space for anything but university-related things. Imagine when courseworks are set and when the bulk of the work starts? Where will I write in tasks that need doing then? The graduate-entry medicine courses in the UK are notoriously workload-heavy in the first year so I need to be on top of my time-management game in order to succeed.

This first week looks worse that it is though - possibly due in part to the number of scheduled talks. However, with my first exam at the beginning of November (yes, really), I needed to tweak my planner set-up pronto. There was no time to uhm and ah over what to do about the lack of space and more time needed to be spent on doing things rather than planning them.

Here is another week; again, before any to-dos were written in:

This week isn't as bad as the previous one - but once to-dos are added, I can imagine that it will become very messy.
Tuesdays and Fridays are my timetable-heavy days but that doesn't mean I have three days off! Independent study is expected and so a lot of my free time will be spent in the library. However, going to the library isn't beneficial unless I outline what I want to achieve during each study session - and that is where I need the space in my planner.

To combat the days where I have a lot timetabled and no space for my own checklist, I have slotted in a 'to-do list' printable that I downloaded from Squid Bits. As a sucker for cute and colourful things, I am hoping that a printable like this will inspire me to work doubly hard in order to get all of the tasks checked off. One thing to note is that I modified the original printable to fit onto a sheet of Filofax personal-sized paper - and because the original printable wasn't my own, I cannot share this so please do not ask. You can, however, print your own squid list!

The above picture was taken in late-August and you can see that my timetable is much calmer during the second week of the first semester. Look at the blank to-do list just waiting to be filled in and violated...
Using the Squid Lists has seriously brightened up what has been a hard first few weeks on this course. Because I am commuting in everyday from home (usually a 30-minute bus journey, but it can be at least an hour long if I leave the house late and catch the rush hour traffic), I try and stay on campus to work until the late evening when I commute home. Once home, I veg out and let my brain relax with either a bit of blog-reading, television watching, netball or just reading on my Kindle.

Other to-do list inserts I have used are the Paperchase ones. I'm not a fan of how they have tried to be a bit creative by adding a strip down the side, so I taped over it using some deco tape.

Another way I have worked around the limited space is to use a sheet of notepaper to note down things that, maybe, aren't so important when compared to other parts of my life. One example is the following picture where I noted down the dates of the Ashes tests, One Day Internationals and Twenty20 games that the England cricket team will be involved in this winter.

The paper is from these memo pads. They are £1.50 in Hallmark stores (in the UK at least; I am unsure if they are available in the US or in other international Hallmark stores) and for that price, you get 80 sheets of 62mm by 115mm ruled paper of a very good quality. I'd definitely guess that the paper was about 90gsm as I experienced no showthrough of bleeding when I used my beloved Muji gel pens on them and because the thickness of them is similar to the Oxford notepaper I have (which is 90gsm).

So, this is how I have tweaked my set-up slightly to fit in with this new 'lifestyle'. Look out for a blog post on revision and staying on top of things for exams - I have been using a new method and it seems to be working well!

25 Sept 2013

my week round-up #38

I've been having some problems with the images on the blog so if you spot any that aren't working, please let me know :-) Also, this post is a bit late this week - I've come down with the worst cold ever (I'm rarely ill so when I am, I become a drama queen...!) and it's been a busy week!

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

{1} Roses in December
{2} Filo Cuteness
{3} Life of Kitty
{4} Strawbubbi
{5} Rain by XOXO
{6} My Purpley Life
{7} She's Eclectic
{8} The Simple Life
{9} Star Gardener
{10} Leesh
{11} Miss Mai's Adventures
{12} Fi-Lily Fi-Lo
{13} DIY Sara
{14} Nerd-Zilla
{15} Amy's World
{16} Ginger Fox
{17} Everything IB
{18} Sailor Mouth
{19} The University Project
{20} Twenty 5 Seven

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.

22 Sept 2013

my week #75

Although it doesn't necessarily look it, I've had a very busy week. Each and everyday has been packed and I've barely had any time to relax! Next week will be better though. 

The one highlight was the release of iOS 7 - it is beautiful and it has made me fall in love with my phone all over again. I'm considering using my phone as a calendar (alongside my Filofax) as an experiment; and if I do find time for that, I will blog about it in due course.

The weekend looks blank but it is full of work. We get a self-made lift of 'learning objectives' each week and this fills up my Wednesdays, Saturdays and Sundays usually. 'Relaxing' nights are Mondays (netball training!), Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays. Or so the theory goes... I've found that I end up reading about the weekly 'case' on nights off too!

How has your week been?

20 Sept 2013

stuffing myself with dumplings / gyoza / jiaozi

Since moving down south, we're so near to a Chinese supermarket that we've been making more Asian foods from scratch than we used to. One of the things we made were dumplings. Dumplings are also called gyoza (if you're Japanese) or jiaozi (if you speak Mandarin Chinese) or gao zi (if you speak Cantonese Chinese). 

Dumplings are a good accompaniment to congee (Chinese rice porridge) or stir-fried noodles but on this occasion, we made so many that we feasted on just dumplings. 

Dumplings / jiaozi / gyoza: made with circular dumpling skin, spinach, minced pork, king prawns and one egg.
So, how do you make these? Well, it's quite simple. Choose a meat (pork or chicken work best) and mince it. Add one egg yolk to the meat (save the egg white for later!). Now, choose a vegetable (spinach or pak choi work best) and boil it. Run the cooked veg under some cold water or leave it to cool before mixing it thoroughly with the minced meat. Finally, cut the prawns so that they are in 1cm-1.5cm pieces in length.

You don't need a lot of ingredients to make these dumplings - and you can chop and change what meat and vegetable to use to suit your tastebuds.
With all these ingredients ready to use, take one of the dumpling skins and place it flat on your hand.

Add some of the meat and veg mix, one piece of prawn and then using a finger, wet the edge of the dumpling skin with some egg white. Fold the dumpling and seal. You can seal them in any manner/pattern you want. Just make sure you don't overstuff them as they might burst when being cooked.

Here are how ours turned out (my mum's are at the top and my, more simplistic, ones are at the bottom of the picture. 
Now, onto the exciting part - the cooking of the dumplings!

In a non-stick pan, add some oil and heat that up before swirling it around the pan. Turn the heat to medium and add the dumplings. Turn from time to time so that each side becomes a bit brown/orange in colour. 

Brown each side of the dumplings by turning them after a few minutes on each side.
Once each side of the dumplings are browned, add about 150ml of water (doesn't matter how much you add; I used half a bowl) and then cover with the lid.

Once the water has all evaporated, the dumplings are done!

The dumplings in water.
Arrange them in a nice pattern on a plate (if you are serving them to others) or just plate them up in a manner of your choosing.

How I arranged the dumplings...
You can dip these dumplings in sauce to add a bit more 'zing'. My favourite dipping options are:

- hot chilli oil mixed with worcester sauce (as recommended by a friend)
- hot chilli oil mixed with teriyaki sauce.

To be fair, you could dip them in any sauce but using one with a bit of a spicy kick with chilli oil is probably the most popular option for people who eat dumplings.

One good thing about these dumplings is that they can be frozen. To cook from frozen, just follow the same procedure, but maybe leave them for a bit longer in the pan :)

18 Sept 2013

styling my kate spade agenda

Another pictorial post where I try and make up an outfit to match my Kate Spade agenda. I have done my Smythson one and also my Deco, so this one is the last in this series.

Like with the amethyst Deco, red is also another colour you won't really see in my wardrobe but this did not deter me. The Kate Spade agenda screams 'business' to me so I tried to make an outfit fit for any boardroom.

A bog standard cream blouse from Zara and a rust-coloured pencil shirt from NW3 by Hobbs is the result. Rust is as close to red as you will get and I think a blouse tucked into a high-waisted skirt wouldn't look out of a place in a business setting.

My Smythson outfit still remains my favourite :)

17 Sept 2013

my week round-up #37

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

{1} Filo Cuteness
{2} Puddytat Purr
{3} Donna Ridgeway
{4} Coffee and Stationery
{5} My Summer Touch
{6} She's Eclectic
{7} Life of Kitty
{8} Star Gardener
{9} Lucy Wonderland
{10} Innocent and Twisted
{11} Miss Mai's Adventures
{12} Everything IB
{13} My Purpley Life
{14} Leesh - World of Wonders
{15} Sailor Mouth
{16} DIY Sara
{17} Pen and Paper Passion
{18} Fi-Lily Fi-Lo
{19} Ginger Fox
{20} The Simple Life
{21} Leesh
{22} Roses in December

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.

15 Sept 2013

my week #74

This week, I moved into a compact orange Metropol Filofax. I've also started using a Squid List that I had edited slightly so that it fitted onto a personal sized insert. I've been so busy this week that quite a few of my to-dos have yet to be checked off! 

You can also see that there are barely any stickers used now - this is because I just don't have enough space for any!

I hope next week isn't so busy (but I'm willing to bet that it will be).

How was your week?

12 Sept 2013

custom checklist / to-do inserts

To-do lists are fun to write, but boring to do; so I thought, why not try and make them prettier to look at? I've tried to do that and these two variations of a checklist insert are my offerings (they are printed onto cream coloured paper):

I'm offering these inserts for you to download at your leisure. Please do not re-distribute them. These inserts take time to design, scan, optimize and upload so I'd be very grateful for a donation if you have found any of my custom inserts useful :)

To download the dashed one, click here.
For the shadowed one, click here.

10 Sept 2013

my week round-up #36

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

{1} Properly Made Up
{2} The Simple Life
{3} Life of Bubbi
{4} She's Eclectic
{5} Life of Kitty
{6} Lucy Wonderland
{7} Miss Mai's Adventures
{8} My Summer Touch
{9} Innocent and Twisted
{10} Pen and Paper Passion
{11} Everything IB
{12} Filo Cuteness
{13} Nerd-Zilla
{14} Star Gardener
{15} Red Lips 'n' Pearls
{16} Sailor Mouth
{17} Donna Ridgeway
{18} Fi-Lily Fi-Lo
{19} Roses in December
{20} My Purpley Life
{21} The Simple Life
{22} DIY Sara

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.

8 Sept 2013

my week #73

My week was packed due to it being full of introductory lectures and other essential inductions. Having always lived within walking distance of school and university (high school was only a 20 minute walk and university was only a maximum of a 30 minute walk) so taking a bus there and back was an alien experience for me.

Although this week looks seriously busy (which it was), next week will be a lot better now all these intro things are out of the way.

How has your week been?

5 Sept 2013

an updated study area: another expedit!

A few weeks' ago, I showed you all my desk and my study area, but as I was decluttering recently and re-organising the area for a more efficient workspace, it has changed slightly.

The main change is clearly not my desk as it still looks quite minimalistic:

So, not much has changed since the last time I showed you my desk...
The main difference is that the drawers on the right hand side are now gone and in its place is another Expedit bookshelf from IKEA (can you tell that I love that place?! It helped that I got this one on a discount thanks to the IKEA Family card). The open box nature of the shelves mean that this is a better solution as to where I will put my external hard drive that acts as my laptop's Time Machine. The Expedit bookshelf also provides more storage space; a good thing because I've ran out of space on my other bookshelf (yes, really - I'm failing in my quest to be a minimalist it seems).

So the top half of the bookshelf is home to stationery that I use fairly often and are arranged in a way that it is all within easy reach. For example, you can see my stapler and hole punch in the top right box, sticky notes in the bottom right and my pencil case in the top left.

Can you see the two spare shoeboxes? One is in the top right box and the other is in the bottom left box. These are for any items I may accumulate this term but can be sorted during the Christmas holidays because the items don't need instant attention.
The bottom half is messier; in the pink box are various chargers and electronically related items (e.g. batteries) and the top left box holds one half of the speakers that are connected to my iPod and also my Time Machine.

The top right is an 'open box' where I can put currently used textbooks, notebooks and folders so that they are within easy reach (barring a squat maybe).

In the bottom left box is 70gsm paper (for random notetaking, printing things that aren't important, etc), 80gsm plain paper for printing more important things and also a shoebox with some spare ruled personal-sized Filofax notepaper and record cards essential for revision.

I'm rarely fully satisfied with how my room and desk is organised because I usually believe that there is always room for improvement. However, I think this is the best way the things could be organised at this moment in time. I think I will try my best to leave it like this until the Christmas holidays and then decide if it needs a tweak (or two!).

How do you like your study area organised?

3 Sept 2013

my week round-up #35

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

{1} Leesh
{2} Me and My Crazy Obsessions
{3} Puddytat Purr
{4} She's Eclectic
{5} My Summer Touch
{6} Coffee and Stationery
{7} Roses in December
{8} Even Artichokes Have Hearts
{9} Miss Mai's Adventures
{10} Star Gardener
{11} Innocent and Twisted
{12} Sailor Mouth
{13} My Purpley Life
{14} Everything IB
{15} Rain by XOXO
{16} Lucy Wonderland
{17} Fi-Lily Fi-Lo
{18} A Ginger Fox
{19} Life of Kitty

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.

2 Sept 2013

august 2013 review

Happiness Project

This month's goal was meant to be 'contemplate the heavens' and to keep a gratitude notebook. I can say that, without a doubt, I failed this goal. The one negative I have found with the Happiness Project is that some of the goals cannot be tailored to everyone - something I should have probably realised at the beginning of the year when planning each month's goals.

For the rest of the year, I think I will forego having a goal for each month and just aim to try and maintain a positive attitude. Here is how I will do this:

By slipping in a quote or some interesting illustration in between a week's spread, I am ensuring that I regularly see something positive :)

Anyway, here is how my August looked - I didn't really make good use of the monthly planning pages this month.

And this month's essentials...

Green Tea

This month, I was obsessed with green tea. Although the weather was mostly hot during the day, I still craved it. I drink one pot a day (using the coffee maker shown above) and I am sure this trend will continue during times of study!

The Ashes (Cricket)

I'm a massive cricket fan and what better test series to watch than The Ashes? 

From next month onwards, this essentials section will change slightly. You'll have to wait until the September review to find out how it will change! :)

1 Sept 2013

my week #72

I spent half of this week away from social media (Twitter and Instagram) and having had blog posts scheduled for this week, it ended up being a week where I didn't spend that much time on my laptop or the internet. It felt good to get away from it all for a week as I was getting a little too obsessed with Twitter and Instagram for my liking.

This was my last week of 'freedom' before the craziness of medschool starts on Tuesday. Next week's pages are full to the brim (not even exaggerating) and I'm already biting my nails at the prospect of the hard work I plan to put into the course.

This week, I slipped in a quote I found online :)

How was your week?