29 Dec 2016

mossery part II: the notebook

Last week, I talked about a Mossery planner and this week, I have a notebook from Mossery to gush about. On the outside, the notebook looks just like the planner with it's card cover and elastic to keep it together. I opted for the 'sans serif' script for my name this time, as you can see below, which adds a nice, personal touch to an already cute notebook.

The first few pages are also extremely similar as they are designed for goal planning, self-reflection and for just jotting down anything you want!

The actual notebook section consists of ruled paper and the quality is exactly the same as the planner I talked about last week. Whilst not ideal for fountain pen, biros and pencil should be ok. There are 160 pages to this notebook - plenty for most things! At the back, there are not one but two pockets for you to store all your loose bits and pieces.

Overall, Mossery is a company which offers extremely pretty paper goods of a high quality. By offering customisation, I think their products would make ideal gifts for someone who is a stationery fiend. And wouldn't it be great to support a small, friendly business? :)

**although these items were supplied free of charge from Mossery, I have reviewed them as if I had paid for them and as honestly as possible. Thank you to Xin Wei for affording me this opportunity to review these Mossery products :)

27 Dec 2016

obsessing over korean beauty for the last twelve months!

For the last twelve months or so, I've been getting steadily into Korean beauty and just make-up in general. I want to talk more about Korean beauty as it features quite heavily in my life and it has done wonders for my skin :)

It all started when I got fed up when I realised how little my skincare routine at the time was doing for my skin. Although it had been improving (compared to a year before that), it still wasn't to my liking. I then started researching and came across the Korean ten-step routine. I don't use ten steps but I do have seven steps to it at night and four in the morning. In terms of make-up, I was also fed up with BB creams not matching my skin that well and a quick Google threw up the brand name Missha. The Missha Perfect Cover BB Cream is now a staple in my make-up stash.

During this period of research, I also learnt about the various ingredients in skincare that help with skin complexion. For example, niacinamide is fantastic for fading scars and brightening up your skin and chemical exfoliation can also do wonders for the same skin complaints. This has enabled me to spend less on skincare products as I now look for ingredients rather than for brands. I still had to be careful though and I did this by patch testing everything.

The one epiphany I had during this journey is realising that my skin wasn't actually oily, it was just very dehydrated. Once I introduced a moisturiser with ceramides in them, my skin became normal/combination and my pores also looked a lot smaller! And I credit this realisation to all of the Korean beauty research I had been doing. If I hadn't taken the dive into creams containing ceramide, I would still have shiny skin.

Some of my favourite Korean beauty products are as follows:

Cosrx BHA Blackhead Power Liquid
Cosrx Honey Ceramide Full Moisture Cream
Dr Jart Ceramidin Cream
Mizon Good Night White Sleeping Mask

Make Up
Missha Perfect Cover BB Cream
Shu Uemura eyelash curlers
A'pieu cushion blushers
IOPE Air Cushion Compact

In November, my sister went to Seoul and she returned with a few goodies with me. I thought I'd share a few of them with you :)

VDL x Pantone Expert Color Eye Book 6.4

Just look at how beautiful the packaging is! The eyeshadows aren't the most pigmented but that's fine with me - it means I can wear shimmery shadows during the day without them being too obvious.

Rilakkuma x A'pieu Cushion Blushers

Just how adorable are these! My sister bought me four and they are very useful for when you want to put on blusher on the go. Just remember to regularly clean the cushion applicator! From top left, clockwise: a lilac blush, a pink blush, a coral blush and a brown blush.

25 Dec 2016

my week #245

M E R R Y   C H R I S T M A S !

I can't believe half of my Christmas holiday has gone by already - time flies way too quickly and it feels a little scary. Mainly because I've been reminding myself that the next term is the one where I sit my finals...!

Anyway, I managed to fit in some leisurely activities over the past week which means I'll need to make up for it next week with some revision.

How has your week been?

21 Dec 2016

mossery part I: the planner

Beautiful stationery is something that'll always be my Achilles so when Mossery popped up on my radar, I was intrigued. Mossery are based in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia and are a relatively young brand (five years old!). They promise high quality, sustainability and creativity. Spoiler alert: they certainly deliver on their promises! 

Let's start at the beginning: the packaging.

My planner and notebook arrived in a beautiful green coloured box (which I've since re-used to store old notebooks and trinkets) and each notebook was in a cornflower blue packet too. Included in the package were four postcards with inspirational quotes.

Today, I'm going to concentrate on the planner. I chose the one with a fox print (because: foxes) and had my first name and my other initials engraved on the front in a cursive font. The planner came with a fox print bookmark, a Mossery business card and a little pamphlet about how to use the planner to its full potential.

At the front, there are some cute illustrations of the earth and some famous icons through past centuries. This is followed up by pages of inspiration boards where you can jot down anything you want and these pages culminate in a 'where do I see myself in 1/3/5 years' and a 'values/beliefs' spread.

The planner section itself is beautiful and also very functional. There is a view of how the next two years look and then a page where you can revisit your 2016 highlights with a space set aside for a 2017 plan.

The monthly pages are quite standard in layout and for the weekly pages, I opted for a vertical layout. In hindsight, I should've perhaps went for a horizontal one as my current Moleskine layout suits me very well. At the back, there is a pocket to hide all your loose bits and pieces (something I am most grateful for as I always have a few bits floating about!).

In terms of paper quality, you'd be ok with a biro or a drier gel pen but fountain pen doesn't seem to do very well. I tried out my Pilot Kakuno (which works fine in my Moleskine) but it bleeds and shows through a bit more in my Mossery planner. This is unfortunate as the planner is otherwise perfect to me so I think it'll be used more as a skincare diary (something which I have been keeping electronically this year but am looking to doing in paper form in 2017!). That's not the say the paper isn't of high quality - it is, it is very thick and feels luxurious.

Stay tuned for Mossery part II where I talk more about the notebook :)

How do you like the look of Mossery so far?

**although these items were supplied free of charge from Mossery, I have reviewed them as if I had paid for them and as honestly as possible.

18 Dec 2016

my week #244

My last academic week of 2016 and boy, has it been a long year. A brief summer gap followed by final year but it has been a whole lot of fun. Final year is going well and I feel ready for next year when I start work. Ready is probably the wrong word... I feel more prepared :) I'm really enjoying General Practice as I get to see patients and then present them before coming up with a management plan.

But for now? Two weeks of holiday bliss :)

How has your week been?

14 Dec 2016

book: meet me at beachcomber bay by jill mansell

In the run up to Christmas, I considered doing a mini-gift guide with last minute stocking fillers and things like that but having done all my Christmas shopping already, I didn't want to tempt myself into ordering something else I didn't need. Instead, I have a book review for you today.

Meet Me At Beachcomber Bay is the first book I've read by Jill Mansell and it did not disappoint. Here is the blurb, courtesy of Amazon.co.uk...

"Love is in the air in St Carys, but you'd never know it - the people of this seaside town are very good at keeping secrets...

The man Clemency loves belongs to someone else. She has to hide her true feelings - but when she ropes in an unsuspecting friend to help, wires start to get crossed.

For the first time in Ronan's life his charm has failed him in winning over the woman he wants. Loving her from afar appears to be his only option.

Belle seems to have the perfect boyfriend, but something isn't quite right. And now a long-buried secret is slowly rising to the surface.

The truth has a funny way of revealing itself, and when it does St Carys will be a very different place indeed..."

From the get-go, Clemency is easy character to warm to and the plot is steady but with well-placed twists that keep the reader interested. In all honesty, St Carys sounded like the perfect place to live with a close-knit and friendly community. The plot twists were all a little too predictable as I managed to guess them before they even happened! But that doesn't mean the book wasn't a good one - it was and it is a great feel-good book if you're after something light-hearted.

With this book, I found it really easy to get lost in my imagination for a fair while - always a mark of a good book in my eyes - but I'm the type who likes to read something a bit light as my brain is usually working in overtime during the day!

Overall, a solid 7.5/10 and one of the better heartwarming books I've read this year. I'm keen to seek out more Jill Mansell reads now but with a reading list longer than the length of my arm, her books may have to wait until the summer of 2017 as I feel like she is the kind of author ideal for a summer read on the beach :)

11 Dec 2016

my week #243

This week was my first of five (academic) weeks in General Practice and I'm actually really enjoying it. I'll be the first to admit to having a short attention span and I've certainly been kept busy - seeing patients on my own before presenting them back to the GP and then coming up with a management plan.

On Friday, I started developing the cold I've been seeing all week and as a result, I'm feeling pretty rotten this weekend! Dosed up on paracetamol and honey and lemon, I've managed to avoid a weekend stuck in bed :)

My pages this week look a lot busier than usual but in the run up to Christmas, this is usually the case. I'm also sifting through what else I still need signed off during the course of final year and there's still a fair few things left.

How has your week been?

7 Dec 2016

stationery: what I wish I had known

When I first got into stationery, I felt like a kid in a candy shop. Stickers? Need. All. Of. Them. Washi tape? The more patterns the better. Pens? They were accumulating faster than I could use them! So today, I decided to share a few tips I wish someone had told me before I bought up the whole of Paperchase.

There are so many different types of pens: fountain, gel, rollerball, biro, brush, etc. Choose one to try from each category if you're that curious and then go from there. This way, you'll know if that type of pen is one you get along with. With time, I've realised that rollerballs and my handwriting just don't work; gel pens are great for when I have a bit more time to take notes and fountain pens are my go-to pens for rapid fire scribbling.

- Start cheap: pens can get expensive! Especially if you're buying ones without the option of refills.
- Some cheap 'starter' pens include Muji gel pens, Pilot Juice gel pens, Pilot Kakuno fountain pen, Lamy Safari fountain pen, Bic biros and Banner biros (surprisingly good!).

Notebooks: Leuchtturm 1917, Pantone, Moleskine, Clairefontaine, Rhodia... There are so many brands of notebooks out there and the choice doesn't stop there. A4? B5? A5? A6? Ruled? Plain? Grid? Spiral or bound? There are way too many options! I guess it all depends on what you want to use them for. If you're thinking of journaling, A5 plain paper might be better for you as it is less restrictive; for note-taking, ruled or grid would be much better at keeping things neat and you might want to also think about A4 rather than A5 here.

For paper, I always recommend trying to see it in person before buying. Some paper is more fountain pen friendly than others (Leuchtturm 1917 is always a good choice here, as are Rhodia and Clairefontaine).

In terms of loose-leaf refill pads, the brand I always recommend is Oxford paper. I've been buying their refill pads since I was 17 and I don't see this changing much in the future (unless they decide to deviate form their 90gsm paper!).

When I first got into stickers, I was young and naive and bought quite a bunch of cute, Asian-inspired stickers but what has resulted is that I now have a bunch of stickers in my stash which barely get used.

There are different types of stickers out there: functional ones, that is those that have 'appointment' or 'birthday' on them so you can use them without fear of others judging your planner; diary stickers which are quite common in Asia - normally reserved for journaling sessions and the bog-standard cute animal ones.

Firstly, work out why you want the stickers. Are they to decorate your planner or will they be used to add function? Will they be mainly in your planner or in your journal? If in your journal, you might be able to get away with more of the cute ones :) I wish I'd thought about this before as I now know that I tend to use functional ones, if any! Also consider how long it'll take you to use them up! It can be slow progress if you're a one-sticker-a-week type of person.

Washi Tape
Patterned or plain? Thin or thick? These are the two main questions regarding this tape. I like to use washi tape to highlight things in my planner or as a purely decorative thing in my journal. However, there are so many options out there, it can be hard to choose if you've never used it before. Masking Tape (MT) is a solid brand to go for if you're after a roll or two to try. Yes, it is pricier than other brands but the quality is unrivalled and if you want to write on it, the ink won't bleed (something I have experienced with other cheaper brands).

- - -

Ultimately, my regrets are buying too much in one go when everything was still new to me. What do you wish you had known at the beginning of your stationery obsession? :)

4 Dec 2016

my week #242

This week was my last on medicine and although it was extremely tiring, I still felt sad! Like I said last week, I get too attached to patients and I felt sad about this.

On Friday, I sat the situational judgement test - a test all final year medics have to do and it pretty much determines where I'll be working next year. I won't find out where this is until March so I'm trying to just forget about this uncertainty until then...

How has your week been?

30 Nov 2016

my study week #18: adding colour and making things visual

When revising, I like to write things down and keep things visual. Here are some notes from last year's exam period :)

As you can see, I like to use copious colour and also like to try and order things in a systematic way - be it into boxes or a timeline.

These notes are in a Muji A5 plain notebook and the pens used include a Pilot Kakuno in fine, Zebra Mildliners, Muji gel pens, Staedtler Lumocolor Fineliners and Lamy Safari Fountain pen in EF.

27 Nov 2016

my week #241

This academic year is flying by way too quickly. I do often find myself daydreaming back to August when I was in Stockholm and with my Swedish learning making good progress, the daydream often cuts to the possibility of spending a year working there.

Geriatrics is a placement I enjoyed last year and this week, I realised why I couldn't do it. We all have our favourite patients in healthcare and when they leave the hospital, I end up feeling a little sad! I think that's why I prefer surgery as there isn't that time to get attached.

How was your week? :)

23 Nov 2016

book: the snow child by eowyn ivey

I actually read this at the end of 2015 but it didn't seem appropriate to write a review of it when this is definitely more of a winter book.

The blurb, from Amazon.co.uk reads as follows:

"Alaska, the 1920s. Jack and Mabel have staked everything on a fresh start in a remote homestead, but the wilderness is a stark place, and Mabel is haunted by the baby she lost many years before. When a little girl appears mysteriously on their land, each is filled with wonder, but also foreboding: is she what she seems, and can they find room in their hearts for her?"

The book was a bit of a slow starter but I guess much of that was setting the scene. Jack and Mabel are an older couple who have moved to the countryside to try and forget the emotional turmoil they'd been through earlier on in their relationship. However, once you get passed all the scene setting, it really is an intriguing and absorbing book.

The little girl who arrives into their lives is a complete mystery and I found myself eager to know more. So much so that once I was about a third of the way in, I read the rest so fast, I finished it in three days! We follow the story of Jack and Mabel as they struggle through winter after winter and I kept wondering how the novel would end. When it did end, I thought it was fitting and the only way I can describe this book is that it's a modern fairytale but for adults.

Overall, 7.5 out of 10 - marked down slightly by the slow start. A well written book which has enough mystery to keep the intrigue but enough revealed at the right times for the reader.

20 Nov 2016

my week #240

I feel like my weeks are just getting busier and busier in the run up to Christmas - this week was no different and I'm really in need of just a day or even half a day of self-pampering! Final year is moving way too quickly and finals are now six months away...! How did that happen?!

How has your week been?

16 Nov 2016

winky lux smoke and roses eyeshadow palette

For a long time, I never saw the point in make-up but about nine months' back, I started wearing CC cream and saw how much of a difference it made. On the days I can be bothered and when I'm going out in the evening, I make much more of an effort but to different degrees. Some days, light coverage is enough and on other days, I need something heavier. Because of this new obsession of mine, I'm going to talk a bit more about make-up and beauty products I've been using in future blog posts and I hope that's ok with you all. This is a lifestyle blog and I'm just branching out a bit more and sharing the love for some products I'm really fond of.

Today: I want to share how much I love the Winky Lux Smoke and Roses Eyeshadow Palette. I actually acquired this back in September but it's seen quite a lot of use since then (though the photos were taken when I first got the palette). The box it came in is absolutely adorable and the case itself is beautiful too.

Inside, there are five shades of eyeshadow and from left to right, they are called: Powder, Bubbly, 500 Roses, Burn It Down and 4am. Here is a brief description of each:

Powder - a gold, shimmery shadow;
Bubbly - a lovely, shimmery, rose gold;
500 Roses - a lovely girly pink with a hint of purple;
Burn It Down - a copper colour with specks of shimmer and;
4am - a smoky black, not dissimilar to how a smudged kohl pencil would look.

When used with an eyeshadow primer, these shadows can last a good nine hours (trust me, I put it on at 4pm one afternoon and finally removed my make up at 2am when I got home, it was still as good as fresh!). The eyeshadow primer I like to use is just a basic NYX one but it does the job and the affordable price makes it a 'holy grail' product for me :)

I've tried to swatch each of them above from left to right but you can barely see 'powder' - it really is a fine gold colour when on the lids. They aren't the most pigmented but I like this about them! It means they are good for daywear and can be built up for evenings/nights out :)

13 Nov 2016

my week #239

This week, this picture was taken a bit earlier than usual because I'm in Edinburgh for the weekend. My sister and I have gone to watch Scotland play Australia at the rugby and decided to make a weekend of it :)

It's been quite a busy and tiring week though with many emotional up and downs on the ward so I feel that going to Edinburgh will be a good and timely escape :)

How has your week been?

9 Nov 2016

stockholm: my first time traveling solo

Earlier this year, I booked a last-minute trip to Stockholm and decided to go on my own. It was my first time traveling solo so I wanted to go somewhere safe but also somewhere that had been on my 'travel wishlist' for quite some time. Stockholm fulfilled both these requirements and I wasn't disappointed! I honestly wouldn't describe myself as overly street-smart but I seemed to manage okay on my own with no trouble at all :)

I decided to book a super early flight so that I would have half a day of exploring soon after landing and on that day, I decided to do as much of Normalm as possible (as my hotel was in that vicinity) and the next two pictures were from that afternoon.

Firstly: Sergels Torg (the first picture) - one of Stockholm's most famous squares. I ended up here after getting lost (don't ask, I'm just awful with map reading) and ventured down into an underground shopping centre which had various clothing and convenience stores in and also what seemed like a department store! After that, I kept walking without caring if I got lost (after all, that's the best way to explore a city if you have no sense of direction like me) and I ended up at Hötorget (the second picture) which had various market stalls selling fruits, vegetables and clothing and other tourist type things.

Day two was one where I ventured into Gamla Stan. I spent the morning exploring the Royal Palace (Kungliga Slottet) and then walked through the cobbled streets of Gamla Stan looking for somewhere to feed my hungry belly at lunch. The buildings were absolutely beautiful and I also saw the changing of the guard that midday too. In the afternoon, I was torn between Sodermalm and Ostermalm and for some reason, I chose the latter. There, I went to the History Museum (which was free and actually really, really good!) and then went for 'fika' in the afternoon. Fika is a Swedish tradition where coffee, baked goods and good company are key ingredients. As I was travelling alone, I made do with tea and a nice cardamom and cinnamon bun (coffee makes me hyper and the crash is no fun!).

I spent the early evening shopping around Kungsgaten and it was here that I bought the perfect pair of skinny jeans from Acne. It was inevitable that I would end up returning with some Swedish fashion and these jeans are the perfect souvenir.

Day three was one which involved Kungsholmen and Vasastan. The morning was spent at the City Hall (Stadhuset) where I went on a tour. I really enjoyed the tour and it was the start of a good day. I walked all the way along this pathway by the lake and eventually turned right towards Vasastan. At Vasastan, I had the most amazing sandwich at cafe Vurma for lunch. They were super nice there as well because I was overwhelmed by the menu choices which meant I asked for a recommendation. They were totally spot on with it too :)

Day four - This was my last full day in Stockholm so I opted to go over to Djurdgarden. I spent the morning at the Nordiska Museet and found everything fascinating (but I do class myself as a total nerd...). I then trekked over to Skansen, an open-air museum, and had a tiring but very fun afternoon exploring everything. I probably only ended up doing about a third to a half of the open-air museum which means I'll just have to come back to Stockholm at some point in the future (completely fine by me!).

After Skansen, I decided to go to the Vasamuseet before closing time but I definitely didn't find this as interesting. It was a 'must see' in my guidebook and I kind of wish I'd ignored it!

Overall, I found Stockholm amazing. The pace of life seemed perfect for me, it felt really safe (and as I was holidaying alone, this was important) and it is just a beautiful city. I'm already thinking about when I can visit again and maybe I'll do Malmo, Gothenburg and Copenhagen at the same time too. It's also made me consider moving there for a year to work as a doctor there and I've already started learning Swedish to make that dream happen :)

6 Nov 2016

my week #238

This week, I started my assistantship on a Medicine firm and it is a complete change to the surgical firm I was on previously. Here, the patients are usually in hospital for a lot longer and as I'm a geriatrics ward, everyone has numerous co-morbidities and discharges take a lot longer to go through. I'm getting to do a lot of practical things, such as blood taking, cannulas, etc, so in that respect, I'm learning a lot.

Next weekend, I'm in Edinburgh with my sister and I'm very excited about this :)

How has your week been?