30 Apr 2015

year two, term two favourites and essentials

This term has been work-filled and with no break since Christmas, I'm definitely feeling the pinch. Good job exams will be over in just over two weeks and then I'll get a few weeks' off to recuperate! Anyway, onto this term's essentials and favourites...


Stationery-wise, I've been using a Leuchtturm 1917 notebook for my revision notes and it is now filled to the brim; so much so I now have some overflow revision notes on loose A4 sheets of ruled paper. Alongside this notebook, I've used Post-It page markers, post-it notes and a to-do list from Katie Leamon (I couldn't find the exact same one for sale online, sorry!). In terms of pens, I used a lot of colour: Zebra Mildliners to highlight things, Pilot Juice gel pens, Muji gel pens and a Pilot Kakuno fountain pen. Poking out of the top of my Leuchtturm notebook, you can see an Avery tab - a number of these were used this term.


At the beginning of term, I purchased this fox jumper from the January sales. I had some vouchers to use and the total cost of the jumper came to just over £5! Definitely a purchase I don't regret and I've been teaming it with a white sleeveless shirt just so I can have a collar poking out at the top.

For those of you on Instagram, you may have seen that my sister and I swapped perfumes and in return for Daisy Dream by Marc Jacobs, I gave her Gucci Guilty Black (which I had received as a gift and never used). Daisy Dream has been my go-to perfume this term and I love how light, feminine and youthful it is. The bottle looks pretty cute too.

For health reasons, my diet has changed dramatically and gluten-free was one of the things recommended by the doctor. It has done wonders for me (for example, the fatigue has disappeared and the bloating has gone - both positive things!) but it has meant seeking out gluten-free snacks has been a massive headache. I have a few Coeliac friends and they've given me recommendations but my personal favourites to snack on are: Dove's Farm Gluten Free Chocolate Stars and Lazy Day Foods' Millionaire's Shortbread. Neither are cheap so are only occasional treats. I've also started baking my own bread with the aid of a bread maker (all of my tip money from my summer job went on that machine... gulp! But I'm happy to say that it has been worth it.) and also my own cakes. A gluten free lemon drizzle now my signature bake!

Next term will be spent doing a research project so it'll be interesting to see what my favourites and essentials are in the next instalment in this series of posts :)

What were your favourites and essentials for the past four months?

28 Apr 2015

my revision for exams

With my exams now being an imminent event (yikes, where did the time go?!), I thought that it would now be appropriate for this post to make an appearance. This post has been scheduled in advance so I can optimise my revision time so I apologise for any mistakes (grammatical, spelling or otherwise) that may be present.

In this post, I will be showing you the tools I use for revision.


Firstly, the most important bit if you're a stationery fiend like myself: the tools. I like to have loads of A4 plain paper present (sometimes I prefer ruled paper, it depends on my mood), my planner so I can refer to a section in the back that has a list of topics I've noted that need some extra attention, a whole lot of pens and my notebook where I've done my learning objectives for the whole year in (the teal Leuchtturm 1917 one on the right in the second picture).

Consolidating Information

I like to put everything relating to a certain topic on one side of A4 and this means a whole lot of condensing and consolidation (using the word 'consolidation' kind of feels like revision as it is something that may be seen on a chest X-ray... /geekiness).

This year, I've done it so that there is one condition per page and I've even used coloured sheets. They aren't colour coded (as I feel that having asthma and COPD in the same colour may confuse my brain as they are quite similar in treatment, but also quite different!) but I do use sticky flags as you can see in the picture below.

I also like to draw up tables and diagrams and this helps my memory recall, especially in exams. My brain much prefers pictures to text when it comes to studying so mind maps, drawings and flow charts do help me a great deal here.

Flashcards Are For The Strong

I love flashcards. There, I said it. Anything that simplifies information and makes it easier to take in is a God-send in my eyes. This year, I've decreased the number of colours used on them and have stuck to a safer colour scheme of blue, green and pink.

So, back to revision for me now and I hope you've enjoyed this little glimpse into the things that make up my revision sessions. As for the revision itself... Well, procrastination is a distracting thing, isn't it? But through sheer self-discipline, I've managed to minimalise the amount of time spent not revising (though I'm still not perfect but who is?). 

26 Apr 2015

my week #158

Last week of placement and it's been a nice end to things as I've finally met a consultant who was willing to teach! End of placement however marks the start of revision week and exams the week after! My palms have already started sweating a bit more than usual and I've taken to waking up early and going to bed at a reasonable hour in a bit to maximise my concentration levels!

My planner is a bit more subdued as I have taken to writing daily to-do lists in my tiny Iconic notebook :)

How has your week been?

23 Apr 2015

my obsession with handwritten lists

I'm obsessed with writing lists - shopping lists, university-related lists and lifestyle related lists, such as these lists from my 'home inspiration journal'. Studying something that requires me to know a little about everything means that lists are very useful for breaking down an intense topic. For example, lists of differential diagnosis for someone who has come to see the doctor about a cough and lists of the signs and symptoms of a condition. Other lists that I like are mnemonics - they are super handy for recalling information specific to certain conditions or topics.

When I write out my revision notes, I use a lot of lists and abbreviations there too. Everything is handwritten as I believe it helps me absorb the information easier and quicker; and lists mean that everything is condensed so that I don't have to read long paragraphs of prose about a topic. My attention span is pretty short so it enables me to make the most of this short period where I actually have my mind set on the task at hand (i.e. revision).

Another way I jazz up my list writing is to write them on a sticky note - this brightens things up for sure and also helps with recall of vast amounts of information.

Sorry for another brief post - exams are coming up so I'm definitely feeling an impending sense of doom.

21 Apr 2015

my favourite notebooks

I am, by no means, a notebook connoisseur but I do like to have pretty (and functional) notebooks sat on my bookshelf. This means I have built up quite a collection over the years (some still waiting to be used!) and today, I thought I'd share my favourite ones. Whittling my favourites down to a pile of ten, I then further narrowed it down to five as, well, ten is just a bit ridiculous. 

Here are my five and why they make the shortlist.

From top to bottom: Pantone Journal, a Daycraft Signature notebook in pink, an Iconic Journal book, a Leuchtturm1917 A5 journal in aqua blue and a Martha Stewart x Avery x Staples Shagreen journal.
Most of my notebooks are used for medschool or journalling purposes so I need the paper to be of a decent quality because the pens I use are quite inky, especially with my new found love of fountain pens (more on that soon on the blog!). I also prefer a narrower rule and a cute design and colour scheme are also ways to win me over.

Aesthetically, it was pretty much love at first sight with these notebooks and the quality of the paper within them were the icing on their respective cakes. Plus, they all have a narrow rule and possess more than enough pages (and therefore space) for my vast ramblings or medschool notes.

You may recognise a variant of the Leuchtturm 1971 notebook in that I've used a turquoise one for some of my revision notes already and I'm ready to crack open this aqua one for the same purpose, but for different notes. I've not taken an individual picture of the Iconic journal because I totally fangirled over them in a post I did a few months' ago! The Daycraft one was mentioned a few years' ago (has it really been that long since I acquired them?!) and it is currently used to plan blog posts in and I gushed about the Pantone one two years' ago too but I've still yet to find a use for it (the layout inside is just too ideal - I'm thinking of using it as a place to write notes on prescribing?).

What are your top five notebooks? Do you have a favourite that you think I may have completely overlooked? :)

19 Apr 2015

my week #157

My penultimate week on placement before a revision week begins. Exams are only three weeks away and that thought has induced a few butterflies to start fluttering in my tummy! I've been working steadily throughout the year so hopefully I'll do okay but it's always hard to say.

I've also built up a number of photos I'll be posting after exams of my study sessions - as a sort of Tumblr continuation on here due to the copyright issues I've been having - so sit tight for that!

This week on surgery was the first where I've met a registrar (or a few!) who are nice and don't ignore us as students. This kind of made up for the previous few weeks and has made me not dislike surgery as much as before.

How has your week been?

16 Apr 2015

how my planner is personalised

I've written many other posts about creative diary pages and here are the links to them:

March 2013 / / Keeping Creative Pages
July 2013 / / More Ways To Be Creative
June 2014 / / My Evolving Weeks
August 2014 / / Compiling A Travel Journey of Memories
October 2014 / / My Week Ingredients
December 2014 / / My Home Inspiration Journal

Today, I'm going to show how I've personalised my current planner :) This post is more pictorial due to some exams that are coming up in a few weeks but I still hope you enjoy it :)

Washi Tape

I write on these with either Staedtler Lumocolor pens in a superfine nib or a fine Sharpie. Washi tape is super useful for highlighting important events, or not so important ones if you look in the example below! I do like how tape can break up text and add a bit of colour without being too bright or overwhelming on the eyes.


Another thing I like doing is adding in some shadowing or shading.

Little accents

Lines on either side of a title are something I probably use too much if you look back at my weeks!

Random stickers

Because, why not? (Life's too short to be too serious!)

Again, apologies for such a brief post with little substance but exams are a bit more important than blogging at the moment! :)

14 Apr 2015

how I take notes in lectures

My attention span is short - I'll be the first to admit that - so hour-long lectures are something that I sometimes struggle with. The only way I try and get round this is by ensuring that I take notes. In one lecture, I might scrawl almost everything down (even the things I already knew beforehand) in an effort to stay awake and in other lectures, I may just listen and take the odd note because the lecturer is super engaging.

Other things I do are take sips of water from time to time - this, to me, is a sort of mini-break where my concentration is reset and means I am focussed on the topic at hand.


In lectures, I tend to write in cursive with as many gaps in between new topics as possible but this does fail (as you can probably see below). Bullet points are a feature and I never write in full sentences. The odd diagram makes an appearance, as does the odd doodle (squared paper is perfect for drawing patterns on which can be a distraction in itself!).


In tutorials, I have a bit more time to take notes as they are mainly for consolidating knowledge we already have at a basic level.

The main things I do are:

- use bullet points: these enable me to take notes within overwhelming the paper I'm using. A whole page full of prose can be daunting!

- never write in full sentences (for the same reason as the previous point).

- add in diagrams when appropriate: a picture paints a thousand words and are easier for exam recall.

- underline, draw boxes, highlight things! Draw arrows if necessary too.

- try and have as much white (or blank, if you're a Taylor Swift fan) space as possible.

- write as quickly and as neatly as possible.

In the past, I have tried out the Cornell note taking method but it just didn't work for me, but because I write out my notes in full after the lecture, it doesn't matter too much. I think what I'm trying to say here is that find out what works for you and stick with it

Sorry this isn't the most informative post but I have exams coming up so it's all about keeping things short and sweet!

12 Apr 2015

my week #156: three years of my week!

This week marks three years of this 'my week' feature and this has freaked me out a bit. I never thought I'd keep the blog running for so long and I didn't think anyone would be interested in the rubbish I spew out on here on a (currently) thrice-weekly basis! Anyway, I intend to continue for as long as I can as there's still a lot to share. Also, I just want to apologise to anyone who has emailed me recently - I'm quite stressed with exams coming up and being on placement isn't much fun. I will get round to replying and apologies if any I have replied to are quite short - there's just not enough time for me to write extensive replies at the moment.

This week, I realised that I'm not enjoying surgical placement as much as I thought I would - chasing people down is tiring and I've not yet met a clinician who has been inspiring. It's demoralised me a bit as there's still another two weeks to go and though I have met one or two lovely people, none of them are surgical specialists... The one shining light has been an on-call shift I did on Thursday as I seem to really enjoy acute and emergency medicine.

How has your week been?

9 Apr 2015

how my acrylic box is organised

Last year, I did a blog post for Ryman's about preparing for a new academic year with new additions and one of the things I did was to try and have a tidier work area. To do this, I've utilised a clear acrylic box and today, I want to share its contents which definitely need some re-organisation. :)

I'm a huge fan of acrylic boxes as I do think they look minimalistic and chic at the same time. They add that little something without being over the top and they are also very useful for those who have a lot of stationery they need nearby.

As the drawers are by my desk, I try and fill them with things I will use on a regular basis. The clear acrylic material means that I can see exactly what each drawer's contents are but it also means I can't just stuff it full with no regard for how it looks.

In the top drawer, I have some Avery note tabs, Post-it sticky flags, Rilakkuma sticky flags, some A6 note pages, Martha Stewart x Avery x Staples post-it notes and a few Iconic double-ended pens.

The middle drawer holds some more sticky notes and sticky flags, a pocket highlighter, a seemingly dirty cable tie and a few pens (a Uni-ball rollerball, Pilot Frixion Clicker and a pen for my transparent sticky notes).

Finally, the bottom drawer holds some more sticky flags and sticky notes, a roller tip-ex, an eraser and some Midori duck paper clips.

The contents in each drawer do seem quite random and I'm in the process of trying to organise them in a better way, whilst still fitting everything in so that it doesn't look too messy. It's almost like a real-life jigsaw puzzle!

7 Apr 2015

an updated morning and evening beauty routine

Last year, I talked about my beauty routine and over the past year, I've spent some time tweaking it and it now looks like this...


Because I think I cleanse pretty thoroughly the night before (I may be wrong and I'm willing to be corrected on this one!), I try and do as little as possible in the morning. I don't wear make-up unless you count mascara so I don't need to worry about having the right base for foundation or whatever.

So, I start by exfoliating gently with a warm, damp towel which is then followed by a swipe of the Garner Micellar water. After this, I either apply a thin layer of La Roche-Posay Effaclar K or a thin layer of Eucerin's DermoPurifuer Active Concentrate. Personally, I think Effaclar K is more effective if I'm going through those few days a month where my skin has broken out more than usual (you know, those few days). Moisturiser is then applied in the form of Eucerin's DermoPurifyer Hydrating Care and then I apply Clinique's Anti-Blemish solution to any blemishes that need urgent treatment. I'm quite naughty in that I don't use a moisturiser with SPF but I'm going to be rectifying this soon.


In the evening, I apply a thin layer of Ren's Clearcalm 3 Clarifying Clay Cleanser and rub it in as thoroughly as I can. This is swiped off using a warm, damp cotton cloth before I tone with a Boots' Botanics Cleansing Toner (which will be replaced with Pixi Glow Tonic once this bottle is done). Avene's TriAcneal is applied and then Avene's Cicalfate cream is also dotted on and rubbed in to any blemishes that need an extra hand with the healing process.

Once a week, I also use an Avene Cleanance mask before this whole routine - I love how this mask smells and the small coarse bits in it really give me the impression that it's working hard to scrub out the gunk from my pores and whatnot (sorry, that was a bit of a graphic end to a nice sentence).

Like I said, I'm still trying to find the perfect routine but I think I'm well on my way in the right direction. Although I have read that you should try and stick to one skincare brand, I do think that benefits their pockets more than it will benefit my face.

What does your morning and evening routine consist of? Should I be making any changes? I'm still quite the newbie when it comes to skincare so any help would be appreciated :)

5 Apr 2015

my week #155

My second week (of five) on surgery and I've managed to tire myself out - so much so that I'm grateful I have a four day weekend due to Easter break! I've been in every morning at 7:30am for handover (I know I've written 8am in my diary but it's actually 7:30am!) and running around the hospital in search of patients to clerk is tiring. It doesn't help that there isn't a set ward for my surgical specialty.

Anyway, enough of that moaning! This weekend, I'm just catching up on some light work (nothing too heavy as I've been revising quite solidly lately) and life admin. I've kind of lost touch with my social life recently and need to sort that out once exams are over...

How has your week been?

2 Apr 2015

how I prevent blogger's block

Last year, I managed to post pretty consistently - one or two blog posts a week with 'my week' every Sunday, I thought I did pretty well. However, I did go through phases of blogger's block but I also had bouts where I wanted to do nothing but blog; with ideas swimming about in my head to an extent that I had to sit down and write them all down before they all evaporated into thin air!

Because of all these ideas, I often have ideas that mean I have blog posts planned for the next three or four months and so, I don't feel as pressured to have to keep forcefully churning out posts. This, in turn, ensures that I enjoy running this blog :) If I feel like blogging about something spontaneously, I can rearrange these scheduled posts so that my current one can go live sooner.

So, this is how I do it. Firstly, I write down ideas at the back of my planner. I have a few ideas that are generic - i.e. 'top five' which made me write the 'five underrated pens' blog post and Pen Addict came up with an amazing variant of this (I take no credit for it, by the way!). There are also other blog post ideas which are not so generic but I think would fit in well with my blog - hence why they are blurred out. It is hard to come up with original post ideas but just by looking around you and your environment, anything is possible. If you work in an office environment for example, you could talk about jazzing up your desk at work or even your commute in and how you make it productive. Genuinely, ideas are everywhere, you just have to open your eyes to it. However, remember to bear in mind that not all ideas will make it onto your blog as maybe they don't make the cut, take way too much effort than they are worth or are just rubbish - and that's okay!

These ideas are then transferred to my weekly planning pages and are marked clearly by the prefix 'blog:'. I don't always get them written in a timely manner but again, going back to what I said earlier in that I have ideas scheduled for three to four months in advance (yes, I really am that anal about the organisation of this blog), it doesn't matter too much.

And finally, if I'm on a break (in the below picture, it was my Christmas and New Year holiday break), I can schedule in one or two days which are solely dedicated to this blog. This can mean writing posts, taking pictures or even sorting out some of the behind the scenes stuff!

I really do enjoy blogging and although it looks like I take it to an extreme here, it is necessary for me to fit it in with my lifestyle. My life is a student can get pretty hectic at times and not having to worry about my blog from time to time is a really nice feeling because this blog really is my baby! Plus, I just really like sharing some parts of my life that, I hope, you find interesting :)

Finally, one other thing I've stopped caring about are numbers. If you write with the sole purpose of getting one million followers, then I think it's quite probable that you'll lose interest in blogging quite quickly. Although this blog is still very little, it's always nice to read comments from readers and connecting with them - I do try and reply to as many as I can but sometimes, medschool takes over and I can't reply as often as I'd like and I do apologise for this! Through this blog, I've connected with such lovely people through Twitter and Instagram and that's the reason why I carry on blogging.