29 Nov 2015

my week #189

Does anyone else feel like 2015 has flown by a bit too quickly? I can't believe it's December in a few days' time and before long, it'll be 2016. This week, I've mainly been sat in lectures which I've found much more tiring than being on the wards! Five weeks' of paediatrics starts tomorrow and we'll see how that goes...


How has your week been?

26 Nov 2015

reviewing the pilot kakuno fountain pen in fine

Can you believe that I first blogged about the Kakuno earlier this year in May, comparing it with my Lamy Safari, and I never did a proper blog post solely dedicated to it? It's not like I have a great excuse either!

Anyway, I have three Pilot Kakuno fountain pens (all with a fine nib) and that kind of speaks volumes about how much I love this pen. And I'll explain why in this blog post...


As you can see, I chose two with a white barrel (one with a pink cap and the other with a blue one) and one with a grey barrel and hot pink cap. I'm on a mission to collect the purple and yellow capped ones too, just to complete the white barrel set. And with their low price and my want to try the medium nib out too, I think I can justify this after the new year. The main difference between the white and grey barrels is that the face on the nib is a wink and a smile respectively.


Design
Ok, so let's start with the fickle things - I'm very easy persuaded by a good-looking pen or notebook and the Pilot Kakuno is very easy on the eye. The colours used are cute and suit the more playful side of my personality to the tee (minimalistic with a little bit of cuteness!). It get a thumbs up from me!

Quality and Price
The Pilot Kakuno is made of hard plastic with a steel nib and so, it isn't the sturdiest pen on the planet. However, having had it for six months now (and with at least one constantly inked and in use), no cracks have appeared yet and it is great value for the price. You can get one for less than £10 including postage on Amazon or just over £10 from other UK retailers.

Grip 
The grip is also made of hard plastic but I've never had issues with it. It is six-sided but in a subtle non-hexagonic way (if that even makes sense!).

Nib
I opted for the fine nib and it writes perfectly. Smooth, no skipping and consistent, it is a dream to use. For such a cheap fountain pen, it writes like it is worth ten times more. The fine nib is a true fine - and it writes more than half as thin as my Lamy Safari Extra Fine nib!

Experience
Overall, I think the Kakuno adds an element of fun to note-taking and writing things by hand in general. It's always a pleasure to use and it's a pen I turn to when I want something different to my other, heavier, fountain pens as it is extremely light.

It definitely makes my list of 'top five pens ever' and I genuinely think for its price, it'd be foolish not to have at least one in your pen collection. It's not going to break the bank and is a reliable pen that will do what it says on the tin.

FYI, I've not been paid to write this review and I bought all three with my own hard-earned cash.

24 Nov 2015

book review: my true love gave to me, edited by stephanie perkins

My True Love Gave To Me is a compilation of short stories by various authors, all of which have a festive twist on them. I actually read this book in December of 2014 but by the time I came to write this review, it wouldn't have made sense to post it back in January 2015!

Image Credit: My Kinda Book

There are twelve stories within this book and beside them, I've given each a mini review and rating.

Midnights by Rainbow Rowell
Having been a big fan of Rainbow Rowell since reading Eleanor and Park back in early 2014 (I was late on that bandwagon), I knew I would enjoy this story and I totally did. Midnights is about two friends who meet at an annual New Year's party and I can't say anymore than that without spoiling the story. It gets an 8/10 for me.

The Lady and the Fox by Kelly Link
This story is about a stranger in the snow who appears every year to a young girl. I just found this story really weird and I'm really sorry to say that I kind of lost interest halfway through. With a heavy heart, I give this 3/10

Angels in the Snow by Matt de la Peña
An NYU student spends the holidays cat-sitting in, what sounds like, an amazing apartment in NYC where he meets his neighbour who is also spending her holidays in NYC. I thought the storyline was pretty cute and quite chick-flick film-esque so I give this story 7/10.

Polaris is Where You'll Find Me by Jenny Han
Ever imagine having Santa as an foster parent? Imagine no more... For this young girl, at least. This story was pretty cute but also a bit sad at the same time (though I don't think it was meant to come across as sad!). 6/10

It's a Yuletide Miracle, Charlie Brown by Stephanie Perkins
Stephanie Perkins is a great storyteller and I wasn't disappointed with It's a Yuletide Miracle, Charlie Brown where a boy helps a girl with a Christmas tree. A solid 8/10.

Your Temporary Santa by David Levithan
A boy dresses up as Santa. That's pretty much it. 6/10

Krampuslauf by Holly Black
A group of friends throw a sophisticated party to ring in the new year in the hope of seeing a Krampus boy. This story was just a bit... Bizarre for me. 5/10 but if you forget the weirdness, 6.5/10

What the Hell Have You Done, Sophie Roth? by Gayle Foreman
I loved this story and I didn't want it to end. Sophie Roth is a city girl who has landed at a university that is totally not city-like in any way. I found Gayle Foreman's If I Stay and Where She Went a bit lacklustre so this story surprised me a lot! 9/10

Beer Buckets and Baby Jesus by Myra McEntire
Bad boy meets good girl. Is he really as bad as his reputation? 7/10

Welcome To Christmas, CA by Kiersten White
A story set within a diner in a place called Christmas. This story was pretty cute and it almost made me tear up! Kiersten White is definitely an author I need to read more of. 8/10

Star of Bethlehem by Ally Carter
A girl trades her plane ticket with another girl at an airport. Good or bad decision? Again, I found myself not wanting this story to end - it was written well and was really, really cute. I seem to like stories that involve families and just a bit of slush. 8.5/10

The Girl Who Woke The Dreamer by Laini Taylor
I just couldn't get into this story about a girl who is pursued by a suitor she has no interest in. 6/10

---

Having heard of and read books from a few of these authors already (namely: Rainbow Rowell, Jenny Han, Stephanie Perkins and Gayle Foreman), I took this opportunity to 'discover' the other authors and see if I could see myself reading a full length novel from them. I've also picked out my three favourite stories with these being:

  • What the Hell Have You Done, Sophie Roth? by Gayle Foreman
  • Welcome to Christmas, CA by Kiersten White
  • Star of Bethlehem by Ally Carter

I really wanted to pick Rainbow Rowell's Midnights but it didn't quite compare to her novels and it was the same situation with It's A Yuletide Miracle, Charlie Brown by Stephanie Perkins.

Overall, this book is a compilation of stories which all share a common theme (being a holiday book, this was pretty obvious) and I guess it would've been boring if they all had the same slushy storyline so some variation is good (even if I did find it a bit weird at times). I'm glad I read this book because it's enabled me to discover some authors who I'd never read books from before. Averaging up each story's score, the book gets a 7/10.

22 Nov 2015

my week #188

With only two days left of my Obstetrics and Gynaecology placement, I feel really sad. I definitely think this specialty may be the one for me - it's a good mix of clinical medicine, surgery and situations that need quick thinking. It helps that the doctors and midwives have been willing to teach and as a result, I've learnt a lot. I go onto five weeks of paediatrics next and I must confess that although I'm not too bad with kids, sick kids is a whole lot of different.

Yesterday, I woke up to see snow falling but luckily, it didn't settle. Here's hoping this isn't a sign of things to come and that the winter won't be too cold...


How has your week been?

19 Nov 2015

my study week #6 - my third year muji notebook

This time, it's the turn of my third year notebook. I used a Muji notebook here and I think I might have posted snippets of it before but I want to explain how I've taken the notes in it.

At the front, there's a brief 'contents' list which is always useful as sometimes, I have notebooks that cover a range of topics as opposed to just one. This one includes dermatology, STDs and neurology.


Derm is a huge topic and as one of the doctors on my general practice placement said when a chap with a rash came in, 'that's the beauty of dermatology; all rashes look the same'. Of course, he was joking but there is an awful lot of jargon to get used to. 

For me, there was no point taking derm notes without glueing in images and I was lucky that the notes below were adapted from a lecture. As a result, the images weren't too hard to find and were of a decent quality too. I've had to blur them out though as they are actual patient images.


Sexually transmitted diseases was another mammoth of a lecture. To try and make it easier for myself, I colour coded each disease with washi tape: orange being bacterial, pink meaning viral and blue for fungal. In hindsight, I should have probably done them in order as well (so viral first, then bacterial and finally fungal).


And finally, I re-wrote some notes from a blood transfusion lecture. This topic was another beastly one and unbelievably, was our first one on blood types and the different types of blood products. And this was a third year lecture! I did some pre-reading for it but even with that, I was still lost and this was why I decided to make these notes.


A longer post than usual and the pictures will definitely tell you a lot so even if you didn't read the text, I hope you gleaned a fair bit from the images!

17 Nov 2015

introducing honey tree post and their Stationery Lovers Club November box

Do you ever find yourself spending extortionate amounts of money on little bits of stationery from a variety of different stores? Are you always on a hunt for cute items of stationery on a regular basis? If so, a monthly subscription box may be something that may appeal to you. Subscription beauty boxes are quite a big thing now so there's no reason why the same can't be said about stationery boxes in the future! Enter Honey Tree Post and The Stationery Lovers Club box - a husband and wife duo who have come up with a monthly box that comes through your letterbox full of chic stationery. They very kindly sent me the November box to review and here it is in all its glory...


Opening up the box, you get a lovely first impression - the goodies are wrapped in a thin dotted sheet of tissue paper which gives it a slight luxurious air. It's also lovely to hear the inspiration behind this month's box but also how Honey Tree Post contribute to Post Pals with £1 from each box going the charity - a nice touch.


The first thing included in this month's box are place cards - perfect for that Thanksgiving or Christmas dinner coming up soon. However, due to their simple, yet chic, design, they can be used all-year round.


Some labels were also included and I have to admit that these were my least favourite items in the box. I'm not a huge fan of shiny sticky labels as I personally prefer matte labels.


Included in this box were also three Christmas cards. The card used for them is seriously thick and high quality and the one shown above is by far my favourite one. At the back, it says that Honey Tree Publishing support Anthony Nolan - a very good charity that I know a little about. They campaign about the importance of being on the marrow register (different to being a blood donor!) which may end up saving someone's life in the future.


The penultimate item in my box is a letter set. The red polka dot print on both the paper and envelope are a lovely touch and add a bit of colour and playfulness. I don't write letters as often as I would like but with a set as cute as this and with friends all over the world, I now have no excuse not to! WhatsApp may have to take a back seat for a while...


Finally, there is a piece of card with a sketch of a little black dress. It's a nice touch to finish the box with and I'm already debating with myself about where best to put this print.

The Stationery Lovers Club box retails at £15 per individual monthly box, including shipping, with varying degrees of discounts if you take out 3, 6 or 12 month subscriptions. The premise of the box is that it'll include items you can send, use to adorn gifts and frame for your own personal abode so it's ideal for those of you who send a lot of cards and letters or give a lot of gifts. Which pretty much covers most of us at some point or other! These boxes are a nice way to try out different bits of stationery without having to trawl the internet on a regular basis.

Thank you, Lizbeth and Sebastian for sending me this box for review :)

NB: The November box was sent to me for the purpose of a review. I have reviewed it as if I had bought it personally and I receive no commission through any of the links within this post.

15 Nov 2015

my week #187

Friday night's events in Paris were shocking and my thoughts go out to everyone affected. In times like these, it's more important than ever we unite, as human beings, and stand together. As Gandhi apparently said, 'an eye for an eye leaves the whole world blind' and that rings particularly true right now. Stay safe guys.

12 Nov 2015

five blog tips for the busy

Whenever I mention to people that I blog alongside medical school, sport and part-time work, they always seem impressed that I manage to find the time to do so. It's flattering but with a bit of time management, it's quite simple to keep up a blog. And I thought I'd share five things that I do to try and ensure that new content comes out once a week. :)

1) The schedule feature will be your new best friend.

Honestly, this is the only way I manage during busier times e.g. exam time, busy placements. Sometimes, you'll feel inspired and will want to blog for two or three hours solid: make use of these times and schedule in posts for the next few weeks' or so.

2) Have a list of features that occur on a regular basis.

In the image below, you'll see some regular features that I do from time to time on here. 'My Week' happens every Sunday but some other features don't happen on such a regular basis: e.g. 'what's in my bag'. These posts are reserved for once every six months or less and they are useful for when you're going through 'blogger's block'.

3) Write posts around photos you've taken. 

Occasionally, I've taken photos of things without having a blog post in mind. I then go back to these photos and write a post around them. Another option is to trawl through your Instagram posts and do a round-up post of your life from the past month/few months, etc.

4) Make use of national holidays/landmark days within the year.

Christmas and New Year lend themselves really well to blog posts. New Year's is obviously a great time to talk about resolutions. If you're going away on holiday, take pictures and talk about that.

5) Blog regularly and have a rough editorial calendar.

I don't have a proper editorial calendar but I do a rough one where I try and organise blog posts for the next year (yes, really). This way, I have a plan to fall back on if I ever get stuck on things to blog about. I write down the dates I want to get a post out and then below it all, some other blog post ideas (as you can see below).


Obviously, these are some rough tips and they may not work for you. :) Do you have any tips to keep up with blogging? :)

10 Nov 2015

a christmas gift guide for stationery lovers, the paper lovestory edition

With Christmas less than two months' away, I thought this would be a good time to discuss presents. Those of you who are organised may well have already completed your Christmas shopping already! However, for those of you still struggling, here are some gift suggestions for your friends and family who are stationery lovers.

Diaries

one. Smythson 2016 Soho diary / Smythson ; two. Rifle Paper Co Honeydew Weekly Desk Planner Pad / The Fox and Star ; three. Aspinal of London A5 Leather Croc Diary / Aspinal of London ; four. Leuchtturm 1917 A5 Weekly Diary / Rymans ; five. Kate Spade 17 Month Organiser / John Lewis
What better gift to give someone than a cute or luxurious diary? My picks include the higher end Aspinal of London and Smythson to the mid-end Kate Spade and then a cheaper option of the Leuchtturm 1917 diary.

Having used Smythson diary paper before, I can definitely vouch for how great they are - if you're a fountain pen lover, then they will be heaven-sent for you. The blue hue also screams luxury and the gold-gilted edge makes you feel like you're a man/woman about town rather than a university student going to placement (if you're like me).

If you're know a lover of desk diaries, this Rifle Paper Co one could be a cute addition to their desk. They're also undated so they are a bit of a timeless gift which could also work for a birthday present.


Notebooks

one. Leuchtturm 1917 A5 notebook / Rymans ; two. Kokuyo B5 Campus Notebook / Stone Marketing ; three. Rifle Paper Co Birds of a Feather Notebook Set / The Fox and Star ; four. Clairefontaine 1951 Clothbound Notebook / Cult Pens ; five. Midori Traveler's Notebook Star Edition / The Journal Shop
Name me someone who wouldn't use a notebook? There are so many uses for them, a notebook is definitely a gift that would be good for the majority.

For the university student, a campus notebook from Kokuyo or a clothbound notebook from Clairefontaine would be ideal. They are both cheap stocking fillers too! A cuter option would be a notebook set from Rifle Paper Co (how happy am I that these are now available in the UK?!) with a super durable option being a Leuchtturm 1917 notebook (I love these as you can tell in this blog post).

A Midori Traveler's notebook is a versatile system for the hardcore notebook user - you can customise them until your heart's content. The leather cover adds a touch of luxury and I've chosen the Star Ferry one for this gift guide due to my Hong Kong heritage bias.


Pens

one. Kuretake Zip brush pen set / Cult Pens ; two. Staedtler Set of 30 Fineliners / Cult Pens ; three. Pilot Vanishing Point in Raden / Pen Chalet ; four. Muji set of twelve gel pens / Muji ; five. Pilot Juice Set of 12 Gel Pens / Jet Pens ; six. Platinum 3776 Century 'Nice' Fountain Pen / Pen Heaven
I've tried to include pens here that I think most stationery-lovers would like to find in their stocking on Christmas morning - if you think I've made a glaring omission, please do let me know. After all, I do love trying out new pens!

In this part of the guide, I've chosen six different pen products (with a little bit of bias, I must admit). Two luxury fountain pens (I'm a strong advocate for fountain pens right now!), two sets of gel pens, a set of fineliners and a set of brush pens. This pretty much caters for most ages and most interests!

Incidentally, I've also blogged about most of these pens (which is why I would recommend them as gifts!):
Kuretake Zig Cocoiro (not quite the same but almost)
Staedtler Fineliners
Muji Gel Pens
Pilot Vanishing Point in Raden
Pilot Juice Gel Pens
Platinum 3776 Century Nice Fountain Pen


Other Stationery

one. Midori Brass Number Clips / The Journal Shop ; two. Kate Spade Bow Paperclips / Selfridges ; three. Paperchase Magnetic Dot List / Paperchase ; four. Midori Soft Pen Case / The Journal Shop ; five. MT Masking Tape Set of 20 / The Fox and Star ; six. J. Herbin 1670 Ink / Cult Pens
Still stuck on gift ideas? How about these stocking fillers?

These Midori brass clips are a quality product and will undoubtedly last for a long, long time. They are great for anyone who uses paperclips or page markers on a regular basis (for example, students) and can be used in a variety of scenarios: diaries, textbooks, novels - the world is pretty much your oyster. Kate Spade paperclips are seen all over the planner community and although I think they are a little on the pricey side, they can make a good gift if you're stuck for ideas!

A memo pad is a great option for anyone of any age and this magnetic one would be perfect for the kitchen. Imagine it as a list you add to every time you realise that something needs to be bought on your next grocery shop or if something runs out and needs replacing.

Pencil cases are used by pretty much all stationery users and this orange Midori one is super cute. (Orange is one of my favourite colours!)

Finally, MT washi tape is great for stationery lovers who also like being creative and J. Herbin inks are just so dreamy to look at and use. 

So there you have it - Paper Lovestory's first ever Christmas gift guide. I had a lot of fun searching out products that would make great gifts and it was so hard not to buy every cute thing I came across! Has this given you a better idea of what to ask for/gift at Christmas? What are you asking for this Christmas?

{ all images belong to their respective owners - the links provided - unless otherwise stated. This gift guide is NOT a sponsored post and I do NOT receive commission if you buy through any of the links. }

8 Nov 2015

my week #186

Earlier this week, I did my first night shift as a medical student and I really enjoyed it. It was within my Obstetrics and Gynaecology attachment and I was on labour ward for a full twelve hours. As a learning experience, it was amazing and I think I've officially caught the O&G bug. 

Friday was fountain pen day and I did a blog post celebrating it. I also splurged on a pen (or two... No judging please!) as I turned 25 last week and will be selling a few dresses on eBay to compensate. Plus, I got paid for the teaching sessions I did last month so I justified the purchase... Kind of! 

This was also the first week of my daily journaling/listing challenge - I've tried to post a daily update on Instagram and it's been lovely seeing everyone else's lists too. If you want to join in, it's not too late! Feel free to do it next month or the month after too if that suits you better :) 


How has your week been?

6 Nov 2015

celebrating fountain pen day 2015 with a handwritten post

Today is Fountain Pen Day 2015 and I thought I'd celebrate it by handwriting today's blog post. To check out more about the day itself, here's a link to the official website. Hope you enjoy my handwritten post (I'd used my Platinum 3776 Century Nice in it because it was the only one I'd inked up with blue-black ink at the time!).

To read more about each of the pens in my collection, I've included links to their relevant blog posts on the right :)

It is quite a modest collection, though I've not shown the other two Pilot Kakunos that I also possess. However, they are all high quality pens that work well for me so definitely not complaining on that front. That's not to say I don't have a wishlist though (I do - it currently has about eight or nine fountain pens on it!).

How will you be celebrating Fountain Pen Day 2015? :)

3 Nov 2015

book review: shopaholic to the rescue by sophie kinsella

The Shopaholic series is one that I enjoyed reading a few years' ago when I first stumbled upon The Secret Dreamworld of a Shopaholic. Therefore, I was really happy to be given the chance to read Sophie Kinsella's latest Shopaholic offering in Shopaholic to the Rescue. If you're new to this series, you may have seen or heard of a film called Confessions of a Shopaholic which starred Isla Fisher and Hugh Dancy and was set in New York (whereas the book was set in London).


In this one:

"Becky Brandon (neé Bloomwood) is on a major rescue mission! Hollywood was full of surprises, and now she's on a road trip to Las Vegas to help her friends and family.

She's determined to get to the bottom of why her dad has mysteriously disappeared, help her best friend Suze and even bond with Alicia Bitch Long-legs (maybe...).

As Becky discovers just how much her friends and family need help, she comes up with her biggest, boldest, most brilliant plan yet. Can she save the day when they need her most?

Becky is setting out to make things right in this laugh-out-loud, feel-good conclusion to her American adventure."

This novel is quite a bit different from the first and throughout the series, we get to see how much Becky grows up as she gets married, has a daughter and how her relationships with the people around her change. The blurb makes it sound like this could potentially be the last book in the series and if that is the case, I think it is quite a fitting ending.

I felt that the plot moved at a decent pace and I loved how there were emails interspersed within the book. A few cameo emails from Derek Smeath actually did make me laugh out loud a few times and I disliked Alicia just as much as I did when I read the first book! All characters had their own little quirks but I still feel that Luke is a bit too straight-laced for my liking.

Overall, I really enjoyed this read - Becky's plan was hilarious (and only Becky Bloomwood would come up with something like that) and the first half of the book set the scene really well. Although this is a book within a series, Sophie Kinsella does well at dropping in a brief bit about each character in a timely manner. This way, you can still understand what's going on without having to read all the other books. I would give this book a 7.5/10 - one of the better chicklit books I've read this year.

1 Nov 2015

my week #185

This week was my first proper week on Obstetrics and Gynaecology (O&G) and I'm loving it. Prior to medical school, my work experience was spent in O&G so my interest in this specialty started back then. As a result, I've really thrown myself into everything thus far. Theatre on Tuesday was really good - the consultants are really willing to teach and try and get you involved in everything and I've really appreciated the opportunity to practice examining pregnant ladies in clinic. Feeling the lie and position of a baby is so easy in a plastic model but is quite different in a real person!

On Friday, I had a free day (teaching had been postponed and my consultants weren't in) so I decided to head up to Labour Ward on the off-chance there were no other students. I was quite lucky in that there weren't and that there was a lot going on. Another fortunate thing was that I was with a lady who was super kind and allowed me to stay during her labour and birth of her baby and kept telling me that I 'had to learn'. I always appreciate patients like this and she was absolutely lovely. Before I knew it, five hours had flown by and at the end, the most beautiful baby girl was introduced to the world.

All in all, a busy and exhausting week but a very, very enjoyable one.


How has your week been?

Also, I've made up a 30 day journaling/listing challenge for November - feel free to join in. I would love to see what you guys all come up with! Let me know if you decide to take part - I'm on Twitter, Instagram and Tumblr :) Here are the prompts if you missed them the first time around:


If you decide to do them another month, or start a bit later, that's also cool. It's just a bit of fun and thought I'd share my prompts rather than keep them for myself.