31 Jul 2016

my week #224

On Wednesday, pass/fail results were released and I'm pleased to say that I passed :-) With my penultimate year out of the way, this now makes me a final year medical student which makes me feel scared and excited in equal measure. All the hard work appears to have paid off though I don't get my numerical marks for a few weeks yet so I'm just going to enjoy this time off before the madness begins again at the end of August.

I have a holiday booked for mid-August and I'm extremely excited as I'm travelling on my own for the first time...ever. At the age of 25. Better late than never, eh?

Anyway, here's my week - my university decided to schedule in a week of lectures which was extremely kind of them /sarcasm.

How has your week been?

29 Jul 2016

my study week #14: preparing for placement

When I start a new placement, I like to be prepared. This is partly because it's good revision of the basic things that I should know for that specialty and because I personally think it's disrespectful to turn up for clinics, ward rounds, theatres, etc without knowing the fundamentals. I know some consultants are fine with students knowing nothing (I've had 'oh, you're a student, you won't know this' actually said to my face - a little insulting as sometimes, not always, it was in fact something I did know!) but being quizzed on things is the best way for me to learn. It helps reinforce your knowledge as well as identify the gaps that need filling when you get a chance later on in the day!

This is how I prep for a placement. Firstly, find a good and reliable textbook. I'm a huge fan of the Oxford Handbooks - not the cheapest but they contain pretty much the foundation of what you need to know for each specialty. I then turn to the relevant section and read the whole chapter. After this, I make notes on each condition mentioned in the chapter. These notes range from brief to more detailed depending on the learning objectives my university have given us (unfortunately, I'm not able to share these but your university should give you a list anyway).

As you can see below, I highlight things using Zebra Mildliners and the notes are kept super brief. These notes accompany me on placement so that I can refer to them easily if needed. For me, these are just brief notes as they are messier than my revision ones.

27 Jul 2016

blog sixth birthday (where does the time go?)

Can you believe it? Six years...? I always thought that, on the whole, I was fickle and had a short attention span but now I can maybe say that this isn't true. Right?

Anyway, this is a short post to say thank you to everyone who's ever visited or read my ramblings - I've met some lovely people on this blogging journey and I hope to meet many more in the near future. I get my pass/fail exam results today so with them pending, I may potentially only one year of being a proper student left. However, a career in medicine involves continuous learning so I'm sure I'll find things to blog about for the foreseeable future :)

25 Jul 2016

clairefontaine A5 1951 clothbound notebooks

Earlier this year, I purchased these notebooks on a spur of the moment and I'm glad I did. I opted for the orange and blue ones and I do love the vintage-esque design with the clothbound spine. Each notebook has 192 pages of velouté lined 90gsm paper and for notebooks costing around £5 each, I thought this wasn't bad value for money. Especially for Clairefontaine paper.

The paper really does take all pens well. In the example below, I used a rollerball and you can see the reverse of the first picture below it. Minimal show through and no bleeding, even with a troublesome rollerball (a Uniqlo Signo - in my experience, not many paper types can take this pen).

Overall, great value for money, amazing quality and a super cute design. What's not to love?

24 Jul 2016

my week #223

Exams all done! I get my pass/fail results late on Wednesday (fingers crossed) and I'm trying not to think about it all. I spent the rest of the week sorting out life stuff, getting my hair done and also managed to book a holiday with some money saved over the course of the last two years. I'll share where I went and what I did later on in the year :)

For now, I'm happy to just have a bit of a break though saying that, my university has thrown in a week of lectures starting tomorrow. Once that's finally out of the way, my summer can start (exam results pending of course...!).

How has your week been?

21 Jul 2016

how much stationery do you carry around every day?

Most of us will have a pencil case we carry with us to university, school, college, work, etc. Almost exactly a year ago, I showed you all what was in my pencil case at the time and today, I want to ask: what's in your pencil case on a daily basis?

Do you sway more towards colour or basic blues and blacks? I like to try and keep things simple and fountain pen or two, a Bic biro, a few coloured gel pens, a few Zebra Mildliners and a pencil and eraser sometimes. I like to also carry an ink cartridge but sometimes I don't if I know my fountain pens are filled adequately.

Do you also like to carry sticky notes and page flags? Page flags are a must as I often have a book with me in clinic so I like to bookmark important pages.

Basically, I'm just curious about what you all carry in terms of stationery. I'm always wary of my bag being heavy so I try and limit how much is in my pencil case. If you've done a blog post on this, let me know - I would love to have a look :)

19 Jul 2016

ink: j herbin rouille d'ancre

J. Herbin Rouille D'Ancre was the first J. Herbin ink I decided to try. I thought it would look great in my journal and I'm not wrong (even if I am currently using Poussiere de Lune in it). Even the bottle has a certain elegance to it. To see my thoughts on this ink, scroll down to the second image :)

17 Jul 2016

my week #222

Exam season is well and truly underway! I had two OSCE exams this week (these are practical exams where we might have to take a history from a patient, explain something, do an examination, a mixture of all three, interpret results, do a procedure, etc - basically, it can be on anything). I'm sure these exams are a source of angst among medical students worldwide but, sadistically, I found myself really enjoying Wednesday's session.

Another two exams and theoretically I'm done for the academic year... Until my university decided to throw in a week of compulsory lectures immediately after the exams period. After that, I'm planning on going on a European jaunt for just over a week :)

How has your week been?

14 Jul 2016

book: the night that changed everything by laura tait and jimmy rice

"Rebecca is the only girl she knows who didn't cry at the end of Titanic. Ben is the only man he knows who did. Rebecca's untidy but Ben doesn't mind picking up her pieces. Ben is laid back but Rebecca keeps him on his toes. They're a perfect match.

Nothing can come between them. Or so they think.

When a throwaway comment reveals a secret from the past, their love story is rewritten.

Can they recover from the night that changed everything? And how do you forgive what you can't forget?"

This blurb set the premise for a pretty decent book with a good plot so I was excited to get my teeth into this one.

When I finished the book, I felt really underwhelmed. To me, there were two nights that 'changed everything' and I can't be sure which one the title was referring to. Moreover, I didn't like any of the characters (well, all but one)! They were all annoying for various reasons but I'll focus on the two main ones: Rebecca for her ability to hold a grudge indefinitely and her coldness towards people; and Ben because he was just too happy-go-lucky for someone in their late twenties.

The only character I did like was Jamie because he was the only one who pretty much put everyone first before himself. He seemed like the friendliest and most down-to-earth character.

Plot-wise, the book is one of those 'steady as you go' books. It's not dramatic but it has enough of a story to keep you reading. I liked that the chapters flitted between Rebecca and Ben though some of the chapters seemed a bit pointless and were just there to make up the numbers rather than add anything to the book.

Overall, a decent read if you want something simple and light but not the best chicklit book I've ever read. 6/10.

12 Jul 2016

something different: my daily make-up essentials

Clockwise from top left: Benefit Porefessional, Benefit Cheekathon palette, Estee Lauder Double Wear Eyeliner, Estee Lauder Double Wear Lengthening Mascara, Lord and Berry Kajal nude eyeliner, Stila Stay All Day Liquid Eyeliner, Hylamide Blur.
I'm not a big make-up wearer: I used to only do a coat or two of mascara and some lip balm before I head out of the house. However, a few months ago, I started adding some basics to my routine and this is where we are now. Having quite pale oriental skin, I am wary of adding too much of blusher or bronzer to try and add a bit of glow to my complexion. My skin is oily on the T-zone and cheeks but normal-dry everywhere else and I find the following products hold up well throughout the day plus or minus one or two top ups in the afternoon!

I don't wear any sort of foundation (BB cream or otherwise) and instead prefer to use a pore minimiser as my 'base'. Hylamide Blur and Benefit's Porefessional have both served me well for this purpose though if I had to choose one out of the two, it would probably be Benefit's offering because it lasts that bit longer during the day.

The Cheekathon palette is great value for money if you're a fan of Benefit blushers and as I had a House of Fraser voucher at the time, I opted to splurge. I use Dandelion, Dallas, Coralista and Rockateur on a regular basis (though not all at once!) and Hoola only when I look particularly ill/sleep deprived. 

Oily skin makes mascara and eye make-up an issue too. I like to look natural during the day so I don't always use eyeliner but when I do, Stila's Stay All Day Waterproof liner is brilliant. On the days where I want to look a little less made-up, Estee Lauder's Double Wear eyeliner in Espresso complements my dark brown eyes well. Lord & Berry's kajal pencil in nude is also good at brightening up the dark inner corners of my eyes and when used on my lower lash line, it helps hides the evidence of a poor night's sleep. Finally, Estee Lauder's Double Wear mascara is pretty much the only one I've tried that stays put for at least twelve hours.

I hope you've enjoyed this post where it is something different. I don't intend on blogging about beauty really often and it's just nice to share a routine I do on a near daily basis.

10 Jul 2016

my week #221

Exams start tomorrow...! I have four exams in total - two written and two practical and to say I'm a little scared would be an understatement. Up until Friday, I was quite chilled out about them but I ended up waking up with the fear yesterday. Anyway, I'm just reminding myself that there's no point worrying - I've been working steadily throughout the whole year and that everyone in my cohort is in the same boat.

How has your week been?

7 Jul 2016

preparing my desk for exam revision!

Today, I thought I'd do a brief post on my desk during revision periods. With exams now not that far away (read: a few days away), I'll keep this brief. This picture was taken about two weeks' ago :)

Stationery and Revision Tools
As you can see, there are various bits of stationery on my desk. I like to write while I'm revising as it helps me take things in (otherwise, I'm just revising passively) and a variety of pens mean that I don't get bored easily. My attention span isn't the longest (and I'll be the first to admit that) so pen rotation and colours are essential!

I have a Pomodoro timer on my phone which I abuse during revision periods and this is why this is on my desk. I use the FocusNow app and if I deviate away from the app at any point when the timer is ticking, I lose the fruit I grow. And the more fruits you grow, the bigger your farm so it gets kind of addictive!

My planner holds a lot of my to-dos and it is just so satisfying to tick each one off. Sometimes, I don't manage any during a week (and this happened a few weeks' back) but I've been working steadily throughout the year so I'm not too stressed about this.

Food and Drink
I like to keep a source of sugar nearby - you can see a jar of M&M Peanuts and chocolate raisins in the top left corner, along with a selection of cordial (my current guilty pleasure). Usually, I'm seen binging on rice cakes though - a healthier and alternative source of sugar. I definitely stress eat during exam time!

A computer is essential for looking up NICE guidelines and doing practice questions but it can also be a distraction. When I do practice questions, I make it a full screen spread so I'm not tempted to have half of the screen on Netflix or something. I like to also have some background music in the form of movie soundtracks or something instrumental.

If you have exams coming up - good luck! If you've already had them, I hope they went well and that you're now enjoying a well-deserved summer break :-)

5 Jul 2016

introducing my 2016-17 planner: Le Petit Prince Moleskine

Last month, I'd noticed that I'd been using my Rifle Paper planner less and less due to it's bulkiness. I knew then that it was time for a change and even though I was on a shopping ban, I need a planner that works for me to function in life so I splurged on this Le Petit Prince Moleskine. And let me just say this: I'm in love.

The cover is clothbound and I love the contrasting pink elastic and yellow page marker. I've purchased a Leuchtturm1917 pen loop to go with it and I chose a turquoise colour (not seen in the photos below). The inside page is illustrated beautifully with a fox (I have a slight fox obsession so this is perfect).

There are yearly and monthly calendars too:

And I opted for a week to view planner. I like the amount of space on offer in each weekly spread and this free space on the right was what I was missing in my Rifle Paper planner.

At the back, there is a pocket for all those loose bits and it is illustrated beautifully with stars and planets.

Overall, I love this planner. I know I ranted about Moleskine paper a few years' ago but it seems they've really improved the quality of their paper without compromising too much on price or weight of their notebooks and planners.

3 Jul 2016

my week #220

So, my first week in my new planner :-) You'll see a full reveal this Tuesday and you can see that I'm already making good use of the space afforded to me. I really missed having a bit of free space to write general to-dos that had no specific day attached to them. I also missed having a space to jot down random notes, such as things I wanted to get on my next grocery shop (hello, exam stress cravings!).

This was my last week on placement this academic year and I'm quite glad to see the back of it if I'm honest! It's been a long and hard year with my exams over the next three weeks. I'm staying focussed and keeping my eyes on the prize (a good grade hopefully!).

How has your week been?