30 Oct 2014

my morning routine

A few weeks' ago, I posted about routines being important to me (especially beauty ones - they make me feel like I'm adding some luxurious to my life!) and I said I'd speak more about my morning routine in detail so here it is!

From left to right: Avene Cicalfate, Garnier Micellar water, La Roche-Posay Effaclar AI, La Roche-Posay Effaclar K.
This is the routine that seems to work for me so I'll stick to it.

In the mornings, I wake up at 6:03am - that's the time my alarm is set for. Don't ask me why - I just didn't want to wake up at 6am on the dot as that felt too early and knowing how long it takes me to actually vacate my bed, I knew that I couldn't set it any later either. 

In the mornings, I'll brush my teeth and cleanse my face with a warm face flannel. And then this is what I'll do:

Garnier Micellar Water - I put a little bit of this onto a cotton wool pad and then wipe all over my face and neck. It is easy on the eyes and seems to lift the majority of the overnight dirt.

Avene Cicalfate - This is used on any open wounds or sores. It allowed a cut on my face to heal super quickly - a few weeks' ago, I had a cut that healed from an open wound to a small pink dot in just two days!

La Roche-Posay Effaclar AI - I use this directly on any blemishes that have arisen overnight. If it needs more treatment, I'll use a dab of Clinique's Anti-Blemish Gel instead. I don't usually use Effaclar AI often anymore and for that, I am grateful to the skincare Gods for introducing me to products that are working!

La Roche-Posay Effaclar K - I use this as an all-over treatment. I used to use Effaclar Duo [+] but I find this does the job better at preventing blemishes and controlling oil production.

I then massage in a bit of day moisturiser (I try and use one for oily/combination skin) and I'm good to go! After all of this, I then head downstairs for a spot of breakfast (two slices of toast, either with marmalade or Nutella), get changed and check that everything is packed for that day at uni. And then I'm out of the house at 7:20am to catch the bus - to begin with, this routine was exceptionally painful but once I started going to bed at a more reasonable hour (10pm instead of midnight), the extra sleep did me world of good!

Do you have any routines you stick to?

28 Oct 2014

a peek at my revision notebook #1: Leuchtturm 1917

Earlier this year, I purchased a few Leuchtturm 1917 notebooks and decided that they would be used for compiling revision notes in preparation for my end of year exams. In this blog post, I will show off the first of the four that is currently in use. 

How I structure the notebook depends entirely on how my year's learning objectives are laid out - so in the case of my medschool, it is laid out condition by condition. This just makes it easier for me to create 'sections' in my notebook so that things are easier to find when that occasion arises. 

I've chosen the turquoise one to be my first one but, trust me when I say this, choosing which one to break open first was a hard decision. 

I try and keep things as neat as possible as these will be revision notes. A lot of abbreviations are used and I try to write in note-form with an excessive use of bullet points. As this notebook is purely for my own personal use, I don't see a problem with this as it's not necessary to make it 'readable' to anyone else.

The quality of the paper is pretty impressive - I used Pentel Energels, Muji gels and Pilot Juice gel pens and there was no bleeding and hardly any show through! The only show through I could find is in the example below and this was with the old Muji gels - I found that the newer Muji gels didn't show through at all (the pink ink in a number of images above is the newer Muji gel ink). In time, I will sift through the notes and use my Zebra Mildliners to highlight things that I'm finding it harder to retain.

Overall, Leuchtturm has got it right with pretty much everything in this notebook. The paper is thin, yet can hold ink pretty well - so much so that show through isn't an issue; and there is no bleeding with gel inks. The narrow rule is a personal favourite of mine, the hard, but not rock solid, cover is another plus point and I love how thick the notebook is. Honestly, I think Leuchtturm 1917 may be my new favourite notebook brand!

26 Oct 2014

my week #132

This was my first week on placement and I absolutely loved it. It allowed me to re-confirm what I knew already: that this was definitely the career I want for the rest of my life. Talking to patients and hearing their stories has been incredibly interesting and although it has been a very steep learning curve, it has been extremely enjoyable.

It has been a very busy week though: on the first day, I started at 8am (so left the house at just before 7am!) and didn't finish until 7:30pm due to a lecture. The second day wasn't much better: another 8am start but a 5pm finish which was a bit nicer. I think these long hours are something I need to get used to and I find myself buzzing after speaking to patients so hopefully in the future, staying behind to gain more experience won't be too hard if this week is anything to go by.

Due to this hectic week and with my friends all over South London for placement, I have had to postpone my birthday celebrations too. The worst thing about placement so far is that my closest friends aren't in the same hospital so I've only seen them once this week!

How has your week been?

23 Oct 2014

a look back at year one, term three's revision notes

In term three of my first year, I tried something different with regards to my revision notes. I decided to only concentrate on the things I didn't remember as clearly as everything else I needed to know. I wrote all this out in an A5 notebook and added a little bit of colour where I thought it was needed. Sticky notes were used to add a bit of background colour and it was another way to separate the information into different sections.

After a few pages, there was a section for the sociology/population health side of my exams and again, I added some colour.

In terms of the practical exams, I wrote notes on some of the examinations that we may have to do on a mock patient or the questions we may have to ask a mock patient if they've come in to see a doctor.

Personally, I'm impressed that I've managed to keep my handwriting so neat considering how stressed I was about these exams. I'm going to try the same technique next year as it is so convenient having everything in one place and it also so much easier to tote around a notebook than a whole A4 folder full of a term's notes.

21 Oct 2014

stationery additions from Ryman's!

A few weeks' ago, I wrote a guest post for Ryman's where I featured a few products from them. I thought I'd do a proper post talking about these products and why I chose them. 

From top left, clockwise: Acrylic three drawer storage, an A6 ruled Moleskine, transparent Magic Sticky Notes, Sharpie fineliners, a Paperblanks notebook and a pack of Staedtler Stick 430s.
Table storage is a pretty important thing to me - I often have a full table of notes when studying and so maximising storage space for my extensive stationery collection is essential. Not only that, I am very obsessed with ensuring that my workspace and room is kept as tidy as possible and storage definitely helps with that.

The Sharpie fineliners are perfect for when I draw out diagrams and I draw quite a few of them: mind maps, signalling pathways and reflex arcs are a few I've featured on my Instagram page.

The Magic Sticky Notes don't have any adhesive to them - they cling onto things through static alone and are re-usable if you use a whiteboard pen. I wanted to give these a try as conventional sticky notes were boring me a bit. A friend had also recommended the Magic Whiteboard to me but these sticky notes definitely appeal to me more. Just one thing though: I found that one of the magic sticky notes has curled up and lost it's ability to cling to things. I originally had it on my bookshelf (a shiny white Expedit) and I found it on the floor today, all curled up. I'm unsure why as it isn't near a heater but it is near sunlight so maybe that played a part?

A6 notebooks are something I can't ever have enough of due to their useful pocket size. Finally, a Paperblanks notebook - can you believe this is my first one? The cover is silk and the quality of the paper is just amazing. In the past, I've found it hard to like Paperblanks notebooks as I've found their designs a bit weird (for want of a better word) but this one definitely appealed to me a lot more. It is pretty and aesthetically pleasing in an understated way and though I usually prefer elastic closures, a magnetic one makes a nice change.

All of these products are welcome additions to my stationery collection and workspace area and I can't wait to put them all into use :)

19 Oct 2014

my week #131

During this academic year, we do five or six week blocks of group work and then clinical attachments. This week marked the end of a block of group work and on Monday, I start my first clinical placement. I am a little scared but also very excited. There is nothing like putting into practice all the theory we have learnt over the past thirteen months!

On Wednesday, one of my friends and I went to see Gone Girl. Having read the book, the film wasn't as good for me as it was for him (he hadn't read the book) because I knew exactly what the next twist would be. The acting was pretty good and Rosamund Pike made a very convincing Amy Elliott Dunne!

How has your week been?

16 Oct 2014

a glimpse into my iPad and iPhone

Technology has become a huge part of my life for the past year and even though I still use a paper diary, everything else has become electronic for me. Books are now on my Kindle, I don't own a clock - my alarm is set on my phone; I don't have a TV - I catch up on iPlayer or use Netflix and I even use electronic flashcards alongside my physical ones. I'm not sure if all of this is a good or bad thing but I am definitely enjoying the convenience.

I'm guilty of being an all-round Apple user now. My phone, tablet and laptop are all Apple products and I don't see myself deviating from this theme anytime in the near future. My old phone was an Android which became ridiculously slow after a year (I've had my iPhone for two years now and it is just as fast as it was when I first got it) and my old Windows laptop overheated too often for my liking. Anyway, I thought I'd let you all into my phone and tablet secrets and show you some of the apps I have installed and why.

The homepage of my iPad looks like this. At the bottom are my most used apps - Mail (I frequently send emails to myself when at uni or when I've found a great resource for something I'm studying about so that I can look it up later on my phone/tablet/laptop), Safari, Medscape (for looking up the various conditions and their key features and treatments, etc), Reminders and iBooks (where there are a few textbooks and useful PDF files).

There are other productive apps installed too - Pages, Numbers and Keynote are all installed, as is iTunesU.

One regularly used section of my iPad is Entertainment. As you can see, I have quite a few television-related apps on there. Facebook is important during term-time as important notices to do with my course are posted on a group on there.

Quizlet is an app that I use to make electronic flashcards. I make them online on the Quizlet website and then this all transfers to an app which I have installed on both my phone and tablet. Best of all - it's free! This makes the app ideal for my daily commute or for those few minutes where I'm waiting for the bus in the morning or evening.

My phone is laid out in a similar fashion - I'm a big fan of categorising my apps so that the home page does not look too messy. One thing that separates my phone from my iPad is Snapchat and Whatsapp - two mediums I use to keep in touch with friends.

Snapchat has done a lot of my friendships a world of good as many of friends are abroad or live a considerable distance from me. Being able to just take a simple picture, whilst on the bus or of what my dinner consists of that evening, has led to short catch-up conversations every so often. It also lets me update my friends on what I'm up to and they also do the same back.

Whatsapp is great as two of my closest uni friends don't use an iPhone so sending pictures or other media can become a frustrating prospect if it wasn't for Whatsapp.

As I said earlier, my phone is also my alarm clock...

And I also note down things on it whilst at uni and don't have a pen to hand.

Having technology to hand means that I also have a range of medical apps at the mere touch of (literally) a button too. There are medical apps which are quizzes so can be integrated into a revision regime and there are apps for reference and also ones designed as clinical cases to be worked through.

All in all, my phone and tablet have been invaluable aids to my study and my life in general. Without them, I wouldn't have got up in time to catch my bus each morning or even been entertained by hilarious TV programmes such as 'Orange Is The New Black'.

Have you found yourself as dependent on technology as I seem to be? I'm actually going to buy an alarm clock now as what if there's a power cut and my phone doesn't have enough battery to wake me up?!

14 Oct 2014

book review: the geography of you and me by jennifer e. smith

My goal this year was to read 12 books - one for each month as I knew how busy I would be with university and everything else but after achieving this goal, I re-adjusted it to 20 books by the end of 2014. However, I've smashed this goal and the book I'll be talking about today is the 23rd one I've read so far this year.

The Geography of You and Me is the latest offering by Jennifer E. Smith. I have to confess that I'd never heard of this author before I read this book (thanks Bookbridgr!) and I think she might have a new fan in me as I do like an easy book from time to time. If you like young adult fiction and easy reads, this book would be ideal for you.

From just reading the blurb alone, I was very excited to read this book. It sounded like a cute love story that I desperately needed after reading Gillian Flynn novels all summer so I picked it up straight after it arrived (even though I was already partway through That Summer by Sarah Dessen). The story started out promising but as it went on, it just felt more and more far-fetched - but I guess that's the beauty of fiction; it doesn't have to be an accurate representation of reality.

The pace of the book was perfect but without giving too much away, I think that the it also meant that some things that should've happened didn't and vice versa. This doesn't make much sense and I don't want to include any spoilers so we'll leave it at that as a bit of a paradox for the time being. This book is definitely a a feel-good one but nothing too dramatic happens in it. I was waiting for something big to happen or a twist that would've made my jaw drop but nothing did.

Overall, this is a book that is predictable but easy to read. It would be perfect for the summer (shame it wasn't released earlier in the year) or as a poolside read on holiday. I did enjoy reading parts of it but at other bits, it was so predictable that I found myself rolling my eyes to myself. As a self-confessed harsh critic, I give this book 5/10 as it's not the best book I've read but it's also not the worst - it's a middle-of-the-road kind of book and there's nothing wrong with that.

12 Oct 2014

my week #130

The weeks are just flying by now and I'd quite like an explanation as to how this is possible?! The weather has changed too and it's now rainy and cold and leaving the house without an umbrella is no longer an option. Before long, I'll be digging out my flannel pyjamas and mittens!

I've fully prepared my 2015 diary now and I'm very excited to show you all when the end of this year draws closer. It is a major change to the diaries I've used for the last few years because it is a bound planner.

Today, I am filling my day with baking as it is my turn to provide the snacks for group work tomorrow and I have decided to make cookies. I may tweet/instagram a picture or two if they turn out aesthetically pleasing :)

How has your week been?

9 Oct 2014

new academic year: my stationery arsenal

A new school year, a new selection of stationery that I intend to put to good use. So far, I have selected the following items to accompany me during this first term.

From left to right: Kuretake Cocoiro Brush Tip pen, a selection of Pilot Juice 0.5mm gel pens, a selection of Muji 0.5mm gel pens and a Pilot 3-barreled Coleto.  
I am back to my usual pen arsenal but I've added two pens which I didn't use much of last academic year. The Kuretake Cocoiro Brush Tip pen is useful for drawing out diagrams (I used them last year to draw things out - for example, this micturation pathway... Apologies for the choice in diagram as an example; I just used a random one from my Instagram).

I'm honestly so in love with the Pilot Juice gels - I wish I had bought a few more of them whilst I was in Hong Kong now. They aren't the most pigmented of pens but I love how smoothly they write and I love how 'washed-out' the colour comes out. It's almost like using my Muji Erasables... Except these Pilot Juice pens aren't erasable.

Muji gel pens need no introduction (I've talked about them so much over the years - I've been using them for over seven years now and I have a feeling they will be a pen that will be with me for as long as they keep making them). Finally, the Pilot Coleto - I'm finding this multi-pen so useful in lectures because the colours mean that I can underline things to highlight. However, my one negative about this pen is how long each refill lasts for. Ink goes down too fast for my liking...

From left to right: Pantone A6 notebook, Muji B5 notebooks, two Leuchtturm 1917 A5 notebooks and an A6 Quo Vadis Habana notebook.
I have loads of notebooks. Maybe too many but you never know when you might next need one for whatever reason! For example, in the summer, I felt like making a journal of my Christmas holiday to Hong Kong and I found that having a huge choice of notebooks meant that I could pick the perfect one to remember that holiday by.

Anyway, I digress. This year, I've opted to use notebooks to write out the notes I will utilise for revision. These notebooks will be the Muji and Leuchtturm1917 ones. The A6 ones will be notebooks to slip into my pocket whilst on placement to note down things I need to look up when I get home/a moment. 

From top left, clockwise: Post-it page markers, Midori duck paperclips, Hopax page markers, Avery note tabs, Post-it page markers and Martha Stewart x Avery x Staples post-it notes.
Finally, other miscellaneous stationery. Page markers are an essential thing for me - I use it to bookmark pages in textbooks, section my own notes and write notes directly on them whilst sticking them to my own notes or some text in a book.

The duck paperclips are just a cute addition that I can't wait to clip everywhere and the post-it notes are an essential item to try and make the ridiculous amount of stuff I need to learn look manageable!

So these are the weapons I've chosen to accompany me this year. I'm sure they will prove useful and helpful :)

7 Oct 2014

spotlight on: gillian flynn

If you've yet to come across Gillian Flynn, where have you been? Her best-known book, Gone Girl, has been made into a film and was released this week and Sharp Objects is due to be adapted into a televised thriller. Having read Gone Girl and Sharp Objects in the space of two weeks over the summer, I wanted to write a bit more about two books that totally took over my spare time.

First of all, let's start with the lesser hyped of the two: Sharp Objects. I actually had this on my Kindle for quite some time before I decided to read it and I have no idea why it took me so long to do so. During a shift at work, I saw a customer reading Dark Places so I asked her about Sharp Objects and she couldn't recommend it enough!

As soon as I finished my shift and got home, I exited the book I was currently reading and started on Sharp Objects that night and boy, did I find it hard to put it down. It is a psychological thriller of the finest sense and I was so eager to find out what happens next that I found myself reading at every available opportunity. I figured out the ending about halfway through the book but that didn't spoil my enjoyment of the book - I can't explain why without giving it all away!

Sharp Objects is about a family who are beyond creepy. Camille (a member of the sad creepy family) returns to her hometown - a place where she didn't have the best childhood - as she tries to find out more about the mysterious and intriguing deaths of two young girls.

Onto Gone Girl: knowing that the film adaptation was due for release this month, I set about reading it in August and found it equally thrilling as Sharp Objects. It follows the disappearance of a beautiful young woman but the characters are just as twisted as the ones in Sharp Objects!

In both of these books, I love the clever way Gillian Flynn drip feeds the reader when it comes to unravelling the twisted nature of each character. Both books are ridiculously thrilling and easy to read but I definitely found Sharp Objects more psychologically disturbing - it's definitely not for those who are easily freaked out!

Finally, there is a third book by Gillian Flynn that I am aware of and am trying to read before its planned feature film release date in November. Dark Places is another psychological thriller that I am about halfway through but just can't seem to get into. I'm finding it a slower starter than her other two novels so I've currently put it aside while I read something else in the hope that once I return to it, I will be eager to finish it.

Overall - if you're looking for a darker read for this autumn/winter and you've yet to come across Gillian Flynn, I definitely recommend Gone Girl and Sharp Objects. There's nothing better than reading something so haunting and thrilling once the sun has gone down! As for Dark Places... I might have to get back to you on that one!

6 Oct 2014

i've done a guest post over at Ryman's!

I have a special announcement today! Recently, I was contacted by the lovely Rebecca over at Ryman's to write a guest post on their blog and today, it has gone live!

To see what my post was about, click here :-)

5 Oct 2014

my week #129

It's been a horrendous week - being struck down with food poisoning on Wednesday was not fun as the symptoms have lasted until today. Let's just say I won't be eating prawns for a while...

As a result of this, listening to lectures at home has not been a good way to study. There's nothing quite like being in the actual lecture itself and well, it's always nice to see a few friendly faces too. Plus, eating dry toast and plain rice is not a diet I want to carry on with in the long term! To reflect this, my pages are equally plain. Plain diet = plain pages!

How has your week been?

2 Oct 2014

my week: the ingredients

For each weekly page spread, I try and make it a little more interesting by using other 'accessories' as you've probably seen each Sunday when I post my week :) Here are the 'ingredients' I use to jazz up my pages.

Stickers: from Hong Kong, Artbox and Paperchase.
For someone in their early twenties, I have a lot of stickers and I'm not embarrassed by this at all. I use these in my planner pages and also in my journal. I try and brain dump into my journal on a weekly basis as it gets rid of any thoughts that may be clogging my mind - so I can make way for more important things! Anyway, I digress. I've not bought any new stickers since my holiday to Hong Kong at Christmas - but to be fair, I have plenty anyway... 

Washi tape: mainly from Hong Kong and Paperchase.
Washi tape is something I'm a big fan of. Not only can it be used to brighten up planner pages that are too plain, it can also be used to make other things look pretty. For example, in the past, I've used them to make a pen pot and to decorate the spines of plain notebooks.

Sticky notes: from Artbox
Sticky notes are again something I try and use as often as possible in my planner. They help me highlight things without using a highlighter (as does thin washi tape) but they also come in handy for planning blog posts on. I do this by writing an outline of the post I want to write and then I can move that sticky note to another day if the post hasn't been written or I can keep it on that day if it has. For me, his makes blogging flexible and not a chore.

Pens: Muji, Pilot, Uniball, Zebra and Kuretake.
Finally, pens! Because the white Filofax paper isn't so great, I've really taken to the not-so-highly-pigmented Pilot Juice gel pens as they don't show-through and nor do they bleed. Again, the colours add a bit of interest to the pages and I like trying to use different handwriting styles when noting down something important.

All in all, these are the basic things you'll see in my weekly pages - in all honesty, I probably don't use every single thing each week as that would make for a very cramped week and would be overkill on the aesthetic front.