30 Aug 2013

all ready for a new course and university

Right now, it feels like the calm before a storm - term starts in four days and I am a little bit scared! However, I have prepared as much as I could have - finances, study area and all the other bits that are within my control have been primed.

{ f i n a n c e s }

My new student bank account has been opened and is ready to welcome in the first installment of my maintenance loan (which is peanuts, by the way). I've also worked out a budget for each term (food, petrol, travelling, books, etc) and hopefully, I will stick to it. Only time will tell!

{ s t u d y    a r e a }

I blogged about this a few months' ago and this area is all ready for action. My desk is empty enough and prepared for the books, notes and stationery that will inevitably grace its surface and my bookshelf has space for textbooks that I will borrow from the library or elect to buy if they come in useful enough.

{ p l a n n i n g }

I gave this area much thought as I'm not entirely sure that my current diary set-up (of week on two page inserts) will leave me enough space to write my timetable, assignments and to-dos on. However, I've decided to give it a go with the aid of some DayTimer Hotlists and to-do inserts slotted in between diary pages; and I will try this until the end of this year.

For 2014, I am weighing up my options and I'm seriously considering using a bound diary (yes - after saying that I couldn't envisage myself doing that!). I've still yet to decide though and will undoubtedly blog about the bound vs ring dilemma in a few months' time.

A Muji notebook, a Rhodia notebook and a Daycraft notebook. Shown with a Bic ballpoint pen and two Muji 0.5mm gel pens.
In other stationery news - I have bought some Bic ballpoint pens (perfect for revision time), already have an abundance of Muji gel pens and refills (for writing out my notes in a neat manner, ready for revision) and also have a lot of notebooks that are just begging to be filled with something medicine-related.

{ u n i v e r s i t y    b a g }

There was a Zatchels 50% off sale a few months' ago and I decided to splurge out for one for the purpose of university use. The Zatchel will hold my books and pens, etc whilst a separate shoulder bag will hold other stuff such as food, my purse and other necessities. Once I've used the bag for a bit, I will blog about it :)

{ t h i n g s    s t i l l    t o    d o }

One thing I can't do right now is get my 18+ travelcard (designed for university students in London) and thus, can't purchase my Oyster Travelcard yet. Apparently, I can only get the 18+ travelcard after 'registering' with the university - something that should happen sometime next week :)


Aside from the one minor hiccup at the end, I have pretty much prepared for university as well as I could do. Having done university before, I definitely feel more prepared this time and also a bit wiser about it all. However, as we all know - life is unpredictable and so, all of these preparations could have been for nothing (though I hope not!).

28 Aug 2013

preparing for university: creating a flexible timetable

This is another part of the 'Preparing for University' series in which I explain how I am timetabling my hours. When term starts, I will be balancing several things: uni work, netball, cooking, grocery shopping and some other more personal things. Because of this, I need to ensure I get a rough idea of how much spare time I will have and how much time I will devote to studying each week.

To do this, I have made a (somewhat ugly!) weekly timetable that I've printed out on A4 paper. In this, I will fill it in with the times I will be at uni, netball and other things that I know I will be doing for certain.

This is how Monday looks so far...

And with the week filled out:

The timetable is designed to be flexible and not a rigid thing that can't be changed. On alternate Saturday mornings, I may have a netball match and this hasn't been filled in but because of how I have arranged the study blocks, I can easily move that block to another day - or even get rid of it if I feel on top of my work.

Also, for the 'college' hours I have down, they aren't necessarily 100% contact times so I may have a block free for some study in the library while on campus. This can replace a study block that was originally intended for another day.

The number of study blocks for each week may be increased or decreased depending on how I get on with this timetable and the course; and that is what makes it 'flexible'.

One other thing is that this timetable can also be used for daily life and you could also use erasable pen or re-positionable sticky notes for it if you wanted.

However, I find this a good way to work out a rough plan of a normal week at uni - this way, I can be more realistic in terms of how many hours will be dedicated to each activity. For me, this isn't a timetable I will chop and change each week; it is a rough guide for estimating where my time will go. I will then review it at the end of the each term so that I will be prepared for the next term :)

I am aware that this system may not work for everyone - as some may prefer a more rigid schedule, but for me, this is enough.

27 Aug 2013

my week round-up #34

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

{1} Lucy Wonderland
{2} Rain by XOXO
{3} Miss Mai's Adventures
{4} Filo Cuteness
{5} My Summer Touch
{6} Star Gardener
{7} Sailor Mouth
{8} Life of Kitty
{9} Roses in December
{10} She's Eclectic
{11} Innocent and Twisted
{12} Coffee and Stationery
{13} Properly Made Up
{14} Pen and Paper Passion
{15} Ginger Fox
{16} Life of Bubbi
{17} Miss Sweet Pea
{18} DIY Sara
{19} The Simple Life
{20} My Purpley Life
{21} Fi-Lily Fi-Lo

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.

26 Aug 2013

the 3 year giveaway WINNERS!

Thank you to everyone who entered the giveaway to celebrate three years of this blog :) There were 52 entries in total and I really am quite blown away by this - it has made me want to host another one (hopefully in the not too distant future!).

Anyway, onto the important part of this blog post: the winners.

As you know, there were two prizes: the first being the Daycraft Handypick holder and the second being some goodies from the Life Canvas range. To draw the winners, I wrote down all the entries (the numbers drawn do not correlate with the comment number due to some tweeting for an extra entry and email entries) and then went onto random.org to draw two random numbers. Here were the results...

1) Daycraft Handypick Holder winner...

And who was number 32?

Congratulations Anita! If you could please email me your address to angela @ paperlovestory.com and I will get your prize out to you ASAP :)

2) Life Canvas notebooks winner

Random.org gave me this result on this occasion:

Congratulations Katarzyna! Please could you email me your address to angela @ paperlovestory.com and I will get your prize sent out to you :)

Thank you to everyone who entered :)

25 Aug 2013

my week #71

Another week down which leaves only one more week until medschool starts. Scared, nervous and excited are all emotions I am feeling as I write this post! I'm also experiencing a weird sensation in my stomach which feels a lot like butterflies. I'm not normally a nervous person but the reality is that if all goes well, I will be a doctor in four years time and that is one scary thought.

This week was spent preparing for the start of university, with a bit of relaxation time scheduled for the weekend. Unfortunately, the weekend weather wasn't great but it was nice to get away for a bit.

How has your week been?

Also, have you entered my giveaway yet? It ends tomorrow :)

23 Aug 2013

preparing for university: diary, books and stationery

With a new school and university year fast approaching, I thought I'd write a post on how I am preparing to go back to uni. In this post, I will be covering three things: diary, textbooks and stationery (of course). I previously talked about finances, forms and accommodation in this 'Preparing for University' series and next week, I will cover timetabling.


So, first up: the diary. In my first degree, I managed fine with Filofax cotton cream 'week on two page' (WO2P) inserts because all I had to write in were lectures, tutorials and the odd assignment or two that needed planning. However, with my new course being medicine, I am anticipating that a lot more space will be needed. In my new course, there will be a lot more independent and group learning and this will require more planning and space.

As a result, my plan is to stick with the WO2P inserts I am currently using (the Smythson ones - I really don't want to move out of them if I can help it) and to either use a DayTimer hotlist alongside each week or place a sheet of notepaper in between, like Josh LaPorte does.

After a term, I will either stick with WO2P inserts, or upgrade to 'two days per page' or 'day per page' inserts. I already know that 'week per page' inserts are too small so that's not even a possibility.


For my first degree, I made the mistake of buying textbooks within a week of term starting. I was lured into the trap of 'You will need this', etc that older students were telling me! This time, I'm not buying any textbooks. The library will be my resource, as well as journals; and until I use/take out a book a certain number of times (probably five), I won't even consider plonking down £££ for my own copy.

If only Grey's Anatomy had as much educational value as Gray's Anatomy...
Textbooks are expensive and I don't get much in terms of a maintenance loan so I need to make every penny count. I already know that a considerable amount of my loan will be going on a travelcard so I can't be wasting money on books I never touch or only use once.


Finally, stationery is an important part of study. Refill pads, pens and highlighters all play an important part in note-taking and revision.

In order to ensure I have enough folders, I added to my collection with these two beauties from Staples:

Laura Ashley A4 folders. They were just sat there looking pretty so, why not? :)
I also have a number of notebooks to aid my study (I go through those like crazy) and in terms of pens, I think my Muji gels will stay as my best friend! 

Now that we've got the trivial things out of the way, I can concentrate on timetabling (which will be covered in the next part of this series) and mentally preparing myself for the rigours of the course itself (just under two weeks to go now!).

21 Aug 2013

another day, another daycraft review

A few months' ago, I blogged about some lovely notebooks from the Hong Kong-based Daycraft and here I am again, with more products from the brand. This time, I present to you a diary and a notebook. 

First up: the diary. It is A6 in size and has a faux-leather cover. The design is the same as the Signature notebooks Daycraft do.

From the side, you can see that the year is clearly visible:

Now, moving onto the design of the diary pages themselves. The diary begins with quite a few reference pages (not shown in any of the pictures) and these include: a 2014/2015 calender, a comprehensive list of international holidays (quite a few countries are covered here!), international guides where major airports, currencies, along with other bits are listed for various countries, IDD codes, a chart of world times, size conversions, conversion tables, a few pages on nutrition and health, a table of food calories and a page on gift ideas.

These are then followed by two pages for you to jot down special dates for each month of the coming year and then a year planner for 2014 where two months are on each page.

Onto the diary itself; at the beginning of each month, there is a spread like this where a quote is on the bottom left and then some lined notepaper and month overview is on the right:

This particular diary is a day-per-page one, with half a page for each weekend day. I'm not quite sure how I feel about this but the day-per-page with appointments feature is one that will definitely come in handy for a student who has to write down lecture times, tutorial times, etc.

At the culmination of the 2014 diary pages, there is a 2015 year planner where there are two months to a page, some note pages, a few sheets for you to write down some telephone numbers and email addresses and then a personal information page.

Overall, I love the design of the diary - it is stylish, minimalistic and quite light too. However, my only gripe is with the paper used for the pages - as you can see above, it is only 60gsm so I'm not sure how I will get on with this diary. If, for 2015, Daycraft opt for the 100gsm paper they use for their notebooks, I am sure that I will find it hard not to order one of these.

Moving onto the notebook now; this one is part of the new Signature Inspiro range and I opted for the one with the 'Stop Wishing, Start Doing' quote. The other two are 'Today is my Day' and 'Great Ideas Have to Start Somewhere'. The cover is again, faux-leather and the quote on this one is printed in quite deeply - so much so that if you were to run your finger over the text, there is an estimated 1mm indentation.

The page edges are pigmented in a lovely purple hue and provides a nice contrast with the tan coloured cover.

The paper is the same high quality 100gsm used in the notebooks I reviewed a few months ago.

And a picture showing the 'sleeve' that comes with the notebook:

Overall, I really like this Signature Inspiro notebook. I can't say I'm a fan of the way the text was printed onto the front cover (it's a bit too deep for my liking but maybe I'm just being picky as there is nothing else wrong with the notebook!) but I love the contrast of the tan and purple. Furthermore, the quality of the paper is another plus-point and is something that should appeal to those of you that like a notebook with paper that is more than the standard 80gsm (fountain pen users, I'm looking at you).

Lastly, I want to say thank you to Shadow at Daycraft for sending me these lovely samples to review. As always, I am impressed by the quality of Daycraft products and I do take a certain pride in the fact that these notebooks are from a Hong Kong brand - a place that is close to my heart for obvious reasons.

Disclaimer: All views my own and are not affected by the fact that the products were received as samples. I receive no commission from any links used in this blog post and I was not paid to write this blog post.

20 Aug 2013

my week round-up #33

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

{1} Le Monde de Mzelle
{2} She's Eclectic
{3} Lucy Wonderland
{4} Strawbubbi
{5} The Ravings of a Classics Student
{6} Filo Cuteness
{7} Coffee and Stationery
{8} Innocent and Twisted
{9} Sailor Mouth
{10} Star Gardener
{11} My Summer Touch
{12} Miss Mai's Adventures
{13} Life of Kitty
{14} Puddytat Purr
{15} Pen and Paper Passion
{16} Properly Made Up
{17} Ginger Fox
{18} Everything IB
{19} Fi-Lily, Fi-Lo
{20} Roses in December
{21} According to Andrea
{22} Red Lips 'n' Pearls
{23} Donna Ridgeway
{24} My Purpley Life

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.

Also, have you entered my giveaway yet? :)

18 Aug 2013

my week #70

This week, I was quite the busy bee! Towards the end of the week, I also received my timetable for the first two months of medschool and well... insane would be one word for it. I'm quite excited to get stuck in though so let's hope that attitude stays once the course starts.

I also got bitten by an insect of some kind and this caused such a severe reaction on my right foot that I was prescribed antibiotics. The antibiotics have been giving me indigestion after ever meal so I'll be glad to see the back of them on Tuesday. The ironic thing about the bite was that I actually had insect repellant on; apart from the area right above my socks and that was where I got bitten!

On the decoration front, I've been quite colourful this week and the minimalism has disappeared. This is due in part to the number of to-dos that are being written into each day (these are increasing now that semester one of first year is looming) but once September comes, this will change. I will most likely post about the new 'system' I will be using sometime after the start of term.

How was your week?

16 Aug 2013

a closer look at my study desk

It took me a while to write this post even though I've had the photos taken for quite some time. I have no excuses for this apart from the fact that I've had too many blog post ideas and that is why this one flew under the radar.

So, here is a direct view of my desk with the bare necessities on it (it has changed since you last saw it here in this post):

What can I say... I like water! The water in those bottles is actually tap water that has been boiled and cooled.
Above the desk, there is plenty of space on the wall for my pinboard. I have still yet to put this up as I'm looking at other places where I could put it. This is because it's nice to have a 'blank' space above the desk for those times when distractions need to be minimised in order to enhance the studying process.

And with an uncluttered desk, this leaves a big and empty space for books, notes and studying. I like how my desk looks with very little on it and I'm hoping to keep it this way once medschool starts (fingers crossed!).

During the day, the light is coming in from the right of the desk but at night and on duller days, a desk lamp is essential. My desk lamp is just a cheap (but quite a well built one!) from IKEA and I have decorated it using Rilakkuma, Korilakkuma and Kiiroitori cable ties, a bear magnet that came with a birthday card from my sister, a Miffy charm, USB sticks and a cute card I received from Maiike over at My Filo World :)

Overall, I am happy with this set-up as the deeper design of the desk allows for textbooks to be open, my laptop to be closed and pushed to the back but still leaving plenty of space for papers and note-taking. I've tried to keep it as minimalistic as possible, but at the same time add a few personal touches in the form of decorating my desk lamp.

How do you like your office/study space? Are you similar to me, in that you prefer a more minimalistic design; or do you like it to look lived in, maybe a little messy but also with an air of productivity? :)

14 Aug 2013

review: bi bim bap soho restaurant - great food at great prices

On Monday, I had the pleasure of a lunch date with the lovely Jess (@quellajesska) in the depths of Soho in London. Because we both wanted a decent feed but without the massive dent in our purses, we opted for Bi Bim Bap Soho - a restaurant that is a recommended 'cheap eat' on the Time Out website.

This meant that at about 12:15pm, we rocked up to the eaterie on Greek Street in the hope that the food would live up to its positive reviews. When you enter the restaurant, on the walls are small instax photos of customers that have visited in the past and I thought this was a neat and friendly touch. 

The menu is a bit on the more naked side - but I like this! This means that there is less of that 'ohhh, what shall I order' indecisiveness and more time for eating and chatting. From looking at the drinks menu, I saw that a pot of oolong tea was only £1 - compared to £2.50 for a lemon ice tea - so that was my choice of drink. 

Oolong Tea - a pot of goodness!
Although it was a chillier summer day (with temperatures of low 20s (celcius) as opposed to the mid and high twenties), I found the tea quite refreshing. I am a sucker for green tea though so that probably explains why I grew so attached to the tea during this lunch. The pot and was so cute too - I just wanted to take them home with me, but seeing as stealing is a crime, I refrained from doing so!

Drinks chosen; now we're getting down to business - the food! As the restaurant is called Bi Bim Bap, there was no way that I wouldn't order a bibimbap dish. Being a sucker for beef bulgogi, this is the one I opted for after some deliberation as I flirted between this one and the seafood one (like an angel one on shoulder and a devil on the other... except I would classify both as angels). 

Beef bool-go-gi bibimbap - the best value bibimbap I've had in London by a country mile.
I was so eager to tuck into it, I forgot to take a 'before' picture. The above picture is after I mixed everything together.
Also, it may not look a lot in that bowl but you do get a considerable amount of rice, veg and meat!
For those of you that don't know, bibimbap is basically a rice dish with a load of veg and meat plonked on top of it. It is served in a hot bowl and sizzles and cooks as you thoroughly mix the veg and meat into the rice. I love the sound it makes when you stir the stuff around.

Anyway, I can safely say that out of all the bibimbap I've tried (and I do love me some Korean food), this one was by far the best. The flavours are amazing and the beef was marinated perfectly. For the price (£6.95), it is worth every. single. penny. I am quite picky when it comes to my food (low salt and low fat please) and I found this dish on the slightly saltier side - but not so salty that I'm left guzzling water down like crazy. I must say that I also added some chilli sauce to my bibimbap and that may have contributed to the saltiness. My own fault really, but the chilli sauce was so good!

All in all, the beef bool-go-gi bibimbap gets a HUGE thumbs up from me. I am determined to head back enough times to try each of the different bibimbap dishes now!

Onto the sides... First up, the jak chae. The portion size of this dish is very generous. I struggled to eat more than half after eating the majority of my bibimbap. However, I don't usually eat much anyway so for a normal person, they would probably finish both the main and the side and with room for more too.

I was actually surprised by how big the sides were - and this is something I'm not complaining about. For my next visit, I'm going to starve myself and then aim to do better.

What English speakers will (probably) think is the weirdly named jak chae (pronounced jak che according to the waiter) - a Marmite dish that some will like and others won't.
I'm a sucker for a glass noodle, or fifty, and so this dish jumped out to me instantly. Though, when I saw the word 'dumplings' a bit further up the page, I very almost didn't choose the jak chae. However, common sense prevailed (as I am making homemade dumplings later this week with my mum! Learning how to be a culinary goddess isn't easy, ya know) and the jak chae arrived at our table.

The texture of glass noodles is a bit weird - they feel a bit rubbery and may even be a bit too worm-like for some people. Having been brought up on these noodles though, I don't mind it so much. This dish is nice but at the same time, I felt that there was something missing. It's missing that 'X-factor' and I don't quite know what it is!

I personally liked the dish but Jess didn't seem too impressed by the gelatinous look of the noodles and refrained from trying some. 

Chilli squid - better than Wagamama's apparently!
The other side we ordered was the chilli squid. There was no way I could have fitted this in my belly so all I have to tell you is what Jess said! In fact, she enjoyed it so much, she ordered two of these in total. Her comment was that these are better than Wagamama's version as they've used the tentacles here whereas Wagamama's tend to use the 'body' of the squid. After polishing off the first plate, Jess asked for another - and if that doesn't tell you how good it was, I don't know what will!)

Service-wise, I found the wait staff friendly and helpful; and the food arrived very quickly. Kudos to the lad who took our order and didn't look too insulted by my (probably mis-)pronunciations of 'hello' and 'thank you' in Korean! As the restaurant filled up, you could tell that they were rushed off their feet and yet, they still took the time to smile at customers. I've encountered frosty service before and I am pleased to say that Bi Bim Bap Soho are the opposite of frosty.

In terms of value for money - the bill came to around £33 (before two of the sides were deducted, resulting in the bill actually being £23) which isn't bad value for London (two drinks, two mains and three sides). For food this good, it is practically a steal.

My rating? 4.5/5 stars (because, I wanted to try all the dishes and there was no option for that on the menu (or room in my belly... )!

NB: Although two of the sides were complimentary, I have still reviewed them just the same as if I had paid for them.

13 Aug 2013

my week round-up #32

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

{1} Filo Cuteness
{2} Le Monde de Mzelle
{3} Life of Bubbi
{4} She's Eclectic
{5} My Summer Touch
{6} The Ravings of a Classics Student
{7} Roses in December
{8} Miss Mai's Adventures
{9} Life of Kitty
{10} Star Gardener
{11} Properly Made Up
{12} Sailor Mouth
{13} My Purpley Life
{14} Coffee and Stationery
{15} Pen and Paper Passion
{16} DIY Sara
{17} Red Lips 'n' Pearls
{18} The Simple Life
{19} Fi-Lily Fi-lo
{20} Everything IB
{21} Innocent Twisted Life

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.

Also, have you entered my giveaway yet? :)

11 Aug 2013

my week #69

With only four weeks' to go until university, I have been packing my August with all sorts of things. This week was unexpectedly busier than planned because my hard drive failed on my Macbook Pro. As a result, a genius appointment was in order on the Monday.

The rest of my week was spent out and about. So much so that on the Thursday, my sister and I saw Gok Wan in Croydon as he filmed something for a TV programme. Definitely going to be keeping my eyes peeled for that in case I get an unexpected TV cameo!

How has your week been?

9 Aug 2013

what's in my bag #12: summer 2013!

So far this summer, my Mulberry Bella hobo has seen an awful lot of use. Being a paler, nude coloured bag, it is ideal for this time of year.

Here is what I usually carry in it:

From top left, clockwise: Burt's Bees lip balm, pocket mirror, Halls mints, eye drops, Smythson organiser, Luella purse, Paul and Joe medicines bag, Strepsils, pocket tissues, hand cream, glasses, car keys and house keys.

I think I'm quite consistent with what I carry in my bag? You can see more 'what's in my bag' posts to compare :)

However, I am sure the contents of my bag will change once uni starts - throw in some notepaper, pencil case and folders and that may be closer to the reality of what the next 'what's in my bag' post will consist of.

7 Aug 2013

july's #fflovephotoaday

In July, I took part in my first ever '#fflovephotoaday' (created by the lovely Carla) on Instagram and here were the results of each day's photo (click on them to see the larger version):


I'm still missing day 22 (outside) because I keep forgetting to take a picture of my binder outside. 

Overall, I had a fun time doing this photo-a-day challenge :) I'm already looking forward to the next one!