30 Aug 2016

my fourth and final year's arsenal (eek!)

My fourth and final year started last week and here are my chosen bits and pieces for these first few months.


Unsurprisingly, the Lamy Safaris make an appearance here - they are my workhorse pens and I like using fountain pens as it means I can write quickly and neatly.

However, I do like to have a few back-up biros as a lot of paperwork on the wards require a black pen to be used (as I usually ink my Lamy pens with a blue-black colour).


My Hobonichi finishes at the end of this year so after that, I'll be using my A6 notebooks as before. Here, the Iconic A6 essay books come back out to play and this Pantone notebook has been knocking about on my bookshelf for years and I think it might finally be time to use it.


The ultimate thing I need are clothes with pockets so dresses and skirts that have pockets are the absolute best. In them, I can put a small snack, a pen torch and my phone. A stethoscope is important on placement so that'll go around my neck and the roll of tape always goes on my lanyard or on my stethoscope. A bottle of water is a must - I like to stay hydrated and I know I'm extremely bad at this whilst dashing around on the wards.

Overall, final year has come around super quickly. I still remember receiving my offer like it was yesterday so the fact that I could be a doctor in about eleven months' time is a little scary!

28 Aug 2016

my week #228

My first week back and my first week of final year...! I know I've probably said this a few times in the past but it genuinely does feel like I received my offer yesterday and now, it's less than a year away until I'm set loose on the wards as a junior doctor. Scary and exciting in equal measure!

How has your week been?

25 Aug 2016

my study week #15: my pencil case at the end of year three

I'm super nosy so these sort of posts are ones I like! At the end of the year and with revision gearing up to a crescendo at the time, here were the contents of my pencil case:

From top left, clockwise: Pentel Energel, Bic biro, Twinings green tea teabags, phone charger, Lindt chocolate, Lamy ink cartridge, Lamy Safari coral, Pilot Prera, a select few Pilot Juice gel pens, Zebra Mildliners and hair bobbles.
My bag always gets really heavy towards the end of the year as I start toting around revision notes and Oxford Handbooks wherever I go. My pencil case is something else that increases in weight too but I tried to minimise this increase by only choosing a few Zebra Mildliners and a few coloured gel pens from my ridiculous collection (yes, I am aware of the fact that my stationery collection is extortionate...!).

I'm still using my Paul and Joe sister make-up bag as a pencil case as I just love the silky feel of it and the floral print of a pale blue background. The inside is a bit messy due to some minor ink leaks that have occurred in the past but that just adds a bit of character to it, right?

23 Aug 2016

this year's top 5 stationery additions so far...

This post was written at the end of July and I thought it was a nice time to do a 'top five additions of the year so far' kind of post. Here are my top five and why (in no particular order)...

1) Moleskine Le Petit Prince 2016-17 Weekly Planner
This came into use at the beginning of July and it's already filling up. I love the illustration at the front and some of the Le Petit Prince quotes pretty much sum up why I've chosen to follow the medical career path. As a result, this planner cheers me up whenever I use it :)

2) Lamy Safari in Dark Lilac
This year's Safari has seen so much use already since joining my pen collection in April. The matte finish is great and after switching the black EF nib to a silver F one, my writing experience with it has been excellent.

3) Pilot Prera Pink
Another pen that has saw a lot of use. I'm a big fan of the Pilot fine nib and this one did not disappoint. Smooth as butter and fine as a needle, I think Pilot is my holy grail pen brand.

4) J. Herbin Rouille d'Ancre Ink
This ink has been a grower on me. I wasn't 100% about it when I first got it but over time (linked post was actually written back when I first got the ink early on in the year), I love how it gives a faux vintage look to all my journal entries. My opinion on it has now changed a lot :)

5) Clairefontaine A5 Notebook
I blogged about these notebooks last month and I love the quality of them, the price of them and also how they look. There is little to nothing wrong with them!

So there you have it - my top five stationery additions of 2016 so far. I wonder what will make the cut by the end of the year?

21 Aug 2016

my week #227

I came back from my holiday a week ago today and the first part of this week was spent sorting out life admin and was filled with appointments and seeing friends. Towards the end of the week, I decided to finally bite the bullet and add to my ear piercings with a tragus and another pair of lobes. Maybe I'm trying to test the limits to see how much metal it would take for the detectors to go off at the airport :)

Final year starts tomorrow and it's all getting a bit real now. I've started receiving emails from the General Medical Council (GMC) about provisional registration and I get palpitations each time those three letters pop up!

How has your week been?

18 Aug 2016

ink: diamine blue pearl (hello shimmer!)

Late last year, I started exploring bottled ink and this eventually led me to try out Diamine Blue Pearl which is a shimmer ink. This is my first time trying a shimmer ink and I have mixed feelings about this one.

Initially, I loaded my Lamy Safari with it because I figured that if it were to clog up the feed, I can easily dismantle the nib and clean it. I'm glad I did this because it did clog up my feed after a page of use! I do like how it looks but in my opinion, it's not worth the frequent clogs. This has put me off shimmer inks for a while (even if the J. Herbin ones do look lovely) but maybe I just need to give it another chance in a pen with a thicker nib (something I don't have!).

I tried using my Parker Jotter a few days later (after storing it horizontally) and found that the ink had clogged up the feed and wouldn't write. Overall, I'm still yet to find a pen that this writes well in (and I don't want to try one of my more expensive ones for fear of clogging up the feed irreversibly).

Have you tried any of the Diamine Shimmer inks or any of the J. Herbin 1670 inks? If so, what do you think of them?

16 Aug 2016

an instagram/blog challenge: 30 days of studying

Back in November, I did a list challenge and now, I'm in the mood for a study-themed one for September, though it could be done during any month really! It would be lovely to see you all take part and I've tried to make it so that you have 'rest days' within the month (such as day 5: how I'm relaxing today) :)

I'm going to be using the hashtag #pls30daysofstudy on Instagram (where I'll be posting mine) but feel free to use this hashtag on Twitter or Tumblr too if you don't want to use Instagram :) If you're blogging about it, let me know as I'd love to see your posts too :)

14 Aug 2016

my week #226

So this week, my diary looks a bit more bare than usual because I'm actually on holiday! I won't be back in the UK until later today so this post was written back on Tuesday afternoon.

Where I went and what I did will all be revealed in due course :)

How has your week been?

11 Aug 2016

year 3, term 3 essentials

This term was purely exam focussed - we were reliably informed that our exams would be pitched at the level of final year (even though we were currently penultimate year students!) so cue a lot of stress and hard work. I'd been working hard from the beginning of the year though so I just kept that up and by the time exams arrived, I didn't feel as nervous as I had been in previous years. However, this year has made me realise that I perhaps worked a bit too hard. If it's paid off, I've vowed to take final year a lot easier!

Anyway, my essentials:

Clairefontaine A5 Notebook - this notebook is a fairly recent addition but it saw an awful lot of use this term. It is lightweight but also has 192 pages of fountain pen friendly paper. I'll talk about it in more detail in due course :)

Hobonichi Techo - Again, lightweight, small and fountain pen friendly. This featured permanently in my placement bag that I tote around with me on the wards, in clinics and theatre.

Post-it notes - Exam time means that the right hand side of my desk is filled with a vertical line of post-it notes that feature things to look up, things to do and food shopping lists. Now that exams are done, there is only a lone post-it note with a short to-do list.

Lamy Safari - My go-to pen for when I know I'll be taking copious notes. The dark lilac saw a lot of use this term!

Mizon All in One Snail Repair Cream - Snail cream?! Sounds disgusting and as someone who isn't particularly fond of them, it took me a while before taking the plunge to try this cream out. It really does live up to the hype though - my skin is looking so much brighter and feels so much smoother after just two months' of use! No break outs either (my skin loves breaking out when using new products) and it has helped my skin recover quicker from those exam stress blemishes too.

Clinique Anti-Blemish Solutions Clinical Clearing Gel - Again, those pesky exam stress breakouts. Though not the best thing to be putting on your skin, I used it from time to time when I had a particularly angry blemish coming up.

Diprobase Cream - Being on the wards --> alcohol gel use between seeing patients --> dry hands --> cracked hands --> sad Angela. Diprobase has been a life safer for my dry hands and at just under £3 a tube, it is much better value than any other high-street brand cream. If only the packaging was a bit more appealing, eh?!

- - -

So there you have it, year 3, term 3's essentials. As results day draws nearer (27th!), I can feel the anxiety build but also know that it is fruitless to worry as what's done is done... Right?!

9 Aug 2016

book: room by emma donoghue

Room is a book recommended to me by a friend back in January but I didn't get round to reading it until May. I regret waiting so long to pick this up because it really was a good read!

Image Credit: Amazon
The blurb on Amazon reads as follows:

"Jack is five. He lives with his Ma. They live in a single, locked room. They don't have the key. 

 Jack and Ma are prisoners."

Based on the blurb, it's pretty obvious this is a hostage situation so I was intrigued to find out how the story would pan out. It is written from the point of view of Jack and it was fascinating to read from the point of view of someone who has grown up with a completely warped view of the world and how this impacted his development. Having spent many hours learning the various developmental milestones for kids while on paediatrics, I found myself thinking back to them to see which ones he'd most miss out on. Conclusion: social and emotional development (but I am no expert).

As the story unfolds, you get an idea of the mental strain put on Ma as she tries to stay strong for Jack but also think about their future. It is extremely well written and I couldn't put the book down. It's not for the faint-hearted but is a good thriller if you're a fan of books by Gillian Flynn (Gone Girl, Dark Places, Sharp Objects) and Stephen King (The Shining).

Overall, a solid 8/10.

7 Aug 2016

my week #225

I spent this week forgetting about medicine and it was great. After a long, hard academic year, it was actually quite nice to forget about exams, stress and hectic nature of medicine. Instead, I caught up with friends and there was a lot of laughter involved during it all.

On Tuesday, I saw Finding Dory and I'd highly recommend it. Even though my friend and I were probably one of the few without kids at the cinema, it was a great film filled with laughter and also a few life lessons applicable to most, if not all, of us.

On Friday, I tried out Homeslice in Covent Garden for the first time (a friend recommended it back in February) and it was amazing. Not gluten free so don't tell my doctor but it was worth it. The flavours were on point, the thin crust was crunchy and the service was decent. The only thing was the music was a bit too loud for us to hear each other but considering we had to wait forty minutes for a table, we used that time to catch up instead.

How has your week been?

4 Aug 2016

my whittard of chelsea obsession

This year, I've really embraced having a hot drink before bed and what better drink than hot chocolate? I thought I'd treat myself to some Whittard's Salted Caramel hot chocolate and it has done a good job of knocking me out at night! Within this order, I decided to throw in some Dreamtime tea and a caddy of White Chocolate flavoured white tea. Whittard is a bit too expensive for my student budget though so this is was a one-time treat but I can definitely see myself setting aside a 'tea fund' in my future salary*!

Salted Caramel Hot Chocolate
Creamy, thick and tasty - the perfect blend for a bedtime drink. I can definitely make out the caramel flavour but the saltiness is really subtle.

Dreamtime Tea
The tin says there are 'flavours of honey, apricot and vanilla' to this tea and I can agree with the first two but the vanilla note must be extremely subtle or my palate is probably just not that refined :) Nevertheless, it tastes sweet but not to a sickly extent (provided you only add two teaspoons instead of the recommended three) and coupled with a bit of meditation before bed, it is a great recipe for sweet dreams. At least, it was for me :)

White Chocolate Flavoured White Tea
This is my first foray into loose leaf tea and I wasn't disappointed. I'm not a big drinker of milky tea and tend to gravitate more towards green tea but on this occasion, pushed the boat out to a white tea. It smells amazing and it doesn't taste too bad either. I'm not sure I'm convinced enough to replenish this tea once finished but isn't the caddy just adorable?!

*by future, I mean in thirty years' time as a junior doctor doesn't earn much here in the UK. Before you all think I'll be raking it in...

2 Aug 2016

my first Lamy Al-Star (in blue green)

I'm a big Lamy fan and have been lusting after a Lamy Al-Star in blue green for ages. When I finally got my hands on one, it didn't disappoint... Until now. More on that later.

Initial Thoughts

Lovely colour, especially when combined with the aluminium barrel. It is fairly lightweight though obviously heavier than a Safari. It was definitely love at first sight.


The Lamy Al Star is pretty much the same design as a Safari but just made of aluminium instead of plastic. As a fan of the Safari, this Al-Star was bound to appeal to me too :)

I won't be commenting on the nib or ink flow as it's pretty much the same as the Safaris in my collection :)

However, having now had it for a fair few months' and with it mostly on my desk, a few scratches have already appeared on the lid and on the barrel. I knew this would probably happen, what with it being made of aluminium but I didn't expect it to happen so soon and so under the radar too. The pen is stored on the top drawer of an acrylic set of drawers with other pens in parallel.

Overall, I'm still glad I've scratched (pun intended) that Al-Star itch but I don't think this'll be a pen I'll be purchasing again in a hurry :)