25 Jun 2017

my week #271

With just over a month to go until I can no longer say 'sorry, I'm only a medical student', I spent this week making the most of the sunshine and fitting in as much downtime as possible. On Wednesday, I took my mum out to the London Eye and then we spent the rest of the day as tourists. It was blistering hot though and we didn't last that long in the heat. All I'm saying is that I'm glad it got cooler towards the end of the week.

How has your week been?

22 Jun 2017

preparing for life after university: feat. a rhodia notebook

Now that my time as a student is definitely coming to an end in just over a month, it felt like a good time to start some proper future planning. What better place to plan for the future than a Rhodia notebook?

In it, it features things related to housing (from mortgages to the basic furnishings required for a flat/house) to lists of simple meals for a packed lunch or an easy dinner when shattered after a day of work. Each list has an estimated cost too so that I can see how much I'd need to save for a fully furnished property. Cue selling of all unwanted/barely used items on eBay...!

In a bid to be more grown up, I made a custom budget spreadsheet on Microsoft Excel. I've over-estimated all outgoings to try and account for as little surprise as possible. Whilst I've accounted for a mortgage, etc, that's how much I expect to pay for rent anyway so it is still equally applicable even if I were not to buy a property so soon. The total outgoings is a little scary and, if I'm honest, I'm not even sure if my salary will cover it all... This'll mean that I have to potentially have to cut down on non-essential spends. I'm going to see how things go over the first two months before reassessing my budget.

So this is my attempt at adulting, a little later than planned! Though there is still a lot to learn, this'll hopefully get me off on the right foot :) 

20 Jun 2017

my study week #24: an old pre-clinicals notebook part I

When I was tidying all of my university stuff last month, I found this notebook (and one other which'll be next month's feature). It is a pre-clinical notebook from my second year where it was split between clinical placement and lectures/problem-based learning.

I used it mainly for the twice a week problem-based learning sessions where each week, we had a new case. For those who don't know, problem-based learning (or PBL for short) is where you have a patient and you follow their journey whilst making learning objectives. These learning objectives can be to do with anatomy, physiology, clinical management, etc and can be as simple as 'define chronic kidney disease' to a more complex one such as 'understand Starling's Law in heart failure'.

As you can see, most of the notes are taken using a gel pen with some highlighting from Zebra Mildliners.

18 Jun 2017

my week #270

This week has been crazy on various fronts. I had a whole load of life admin to do at the beginning of the week (stuff that I had put off for quite some time!), capped off by a great weekend.

I gave blood for the first time on Friday. Originally, an appointment was booked for last Friday but when I logged into my account the night before, the appointment was gone so I rebooked for this week. It's been a long time coming! So emotional story time: a few decades ago, my mum needed two blood transfusions to save her life and as a result, she can't donate. Hearing this inspired me to give blood in her place and I'm glad I took the plunge. Though I'm not scared of needles/blood/anything gory, it's a different ball game when a huge needle is winging its way towards you! A friend told me to man up and the rest is history...

Yesterday, the Scotland rugby team played Australia in Sydney. Last November, my sister and I saw the same game but at Murrayfield in Edinburgh, only to witness a one point loss. Thankfully, the outcome was different this time: a five point win to Scotland. I've been grinning ear to ear since...

How has your week been?

15 Jun 2017

korean make-up mini reviews: eyes and lips

A while back, I did a few mini reviews about some Korean face and cheek products and today, here are a few more mini reviews about some eye and lip products.

VDL x Pantone Eye Book 6.4 - No. 5

My sister returned from Korea with this palette and isn't it beautiful on the outside and the inside? The mirror is huge and the hinge is sturdy enough for it to stay open, regardless of the angle. The shadows are buildable and that's what I personally prefer. It's not the most portable of palettes though!

Heimish Dailism Eyeshadow Palette in Lovesome Brink

Another palette with buildable shadows and this one is ideal for travelling. It is lightweight, small and has a decent sized mirror. The colours are also nice and neutral; so ideal for everyday wear and also for going out too.

Tony Moly Panda's Dream Mascara

This is my Holy Grail mascara. Cheap, smudge-proof and comes off easily without any scrubbing - what's not to love? If I use curlers before applying two coats of this mascara, I get a decent curl that opens up my eyes and a full day of wear with no smudging. Perfect.

As an aside, my sister bought me this as a surprise gift (it wasn't a request from me unlike some of the other items she returned with) and it was a pleasant surprise to the both of us when we realised how well it performed. I've since re-ordered it because it really is that good!

Shu Uemura Eyelash Curlers

My sister returned with a pair of these from Korea again - she snagged both in Duty Free while at the airport. They come with a replacement pad each too so are pretty good value for money when bought over there. They do a pretty good job - they fit my eye shape well and I have no complaints.

Etude House Drawing Eye Brow 

Have to confess - I'm still yet to use this as I've been using Anastasia Beverley Hills' Dip Brow Promade. I'll crack it out soon though as I want to test it out before my holiday - with the test determining if it comes with me on my jaunt or if my trusty Dip Brow does. It has good reviews all over the internet though!

Holika Holika Pro Beauty Foxy Eyeliners

Usually, I stick to dark brown or black eyeliner (on the days where I can be bothered!) but I wanted to branch out a bit so I ordered a purple one from Holika Holika. The other one is in dark brown as my Estee Lauder one needed replacing. They seem to stay put during the day and have a decent amount of pigmentation. Not too bad considering how cheap they are.

RiRe Luxe Gel Eyeliner

Again, a cheap eyeliner which seems to do its job. Good if you want to try out alternative colours to the normal black or dark brown!

Tony Moly Easy Touch Gel Eyeliner

These gel eyeliners were pretty disappointing. They had poor staying power (I got four hours out of one before it disappeared completely). The formula is decent and goes on easily with the use of a slanted brush but it just didn't give me a day's wear.

Mamonde Creamy Tint Color Balm Intense Crayons

These crayons come in too many shades for me to count. I opted for three of them but my favourite is number 16 - Velvet Red. They have good staying power and add a bit of colour to your lips at the same time.

Too Cool For School Dinoplatz Lost Identity Lip Crayon

I love these! Creamy, good staying power and don't dry my lips out. The sketchy design on the tube is also pretty cute!

Tony Moly Bunny Lip Gloss Bar

A gift from my sister (she was such a gem) from her (you guessed it) Seoul trip. This lip gloss is good if your lips are moisturised and exfoliated. If they are even a little bit chapped, this gloss won't look good!

So there you have it - a brief run through of all my Korean make-up products in my collection. It's unlikely anything will be added to it as I'm on a mission to finish everything before buying more (so far so good). My usual goal is as natural looking a face as possible so this is more than enough to help me achieve that.

Do you have any recommendations? :)

13 Jun 2017

what's in my bag #20 - elective edition

The hospital I'm doing my elective at didn't give me a locker or anywhere safe to put my bag and coat so I've taken to packing non-valuable items only, carrying anything of value on my person. As a result, here is what I end up packing on a daily basis:

From top left, clockwise: toothbrush, toothpaste and flannel, two small bags, a tote bag, a book for the journey, my ID card, an umbrella, my glasses, a 1L bottle of water and my travel card holder.
During week two of my elective, I left my bag in the changing room in an unlocked locker (as the electronic locks are dodgy and I was advised to not use them) with the above belongings. There is nothing of value to anyone else in there (the travel card and my ID were in my scrub pockets) and yet someone rifled through my bag and took my phone charger (out of all things). I came back to find my bag open with all of my belongings in disarray. It's awful to have this happen - I felt so violated after!

Not seen in the photo above is my lunchbox which sits within a cool bag. As for what's in the other two bags, see below!

From top left, clockwise: Paul and Joe make up bag, Benefit Dandelion blusher, feminine hygiene pieces, a face brush, some crackers, eye drops, contact lens case, Bobbi Brown face powder.
In this bag, I have a few beauty essentials. My contact lens stuff are in here along with some make up. I have a random packet of crackers just in case I need some sustenance in between surgeries/during a brief break.

Not shown are some painkillers just in case.

From top left, clockwise: Paul and Joe make up bag, facial tissues, my keys, a ginger sweet, some mints, Burt's Bees lip balm, Nuxe hand cream, a few pens, phone charger cable.
This small bag has some other essentials in too. It used to be my pencil case but it now holds some other stuff in it too. This is another phone charger cable that replaced my stolen one. Hand cream is something I always carry now due to the constant alcohol gelling and hand washing.

Do you adapt your bags to certain situations, i.e. knowing that there isn't a safe place to put your stuff? Looking at how much I pack on a daily basis, it's made me think more ruthlessly about what I really need and not need every day.

11 Jun 2017

my week #269

This week, I received some job-related documents and it's all beginning to feel very real! I know how many hours per week I'll be working on average, have deduced how many night shifts I'll have each month and also how many weekends will be sacrificed. It's not looking too bad! Fingers crossed my rota (when I get it) reflects this initial gut feeling.

I've spent the week doing a load of life admin and just taking things a bit easier. My holiday is booked for next month and it's all getting quite exciting. My plan this weekend is to draw up a list of things I want to visit during my holiday and then an itinerary for each day. I did this for my Stockholm trip last summer and it worked out quite well!

How was your week?

8 Jun 2017

tony moly i'm real sheet masks part II

Welcome to the second half of my Tony Moly I'm Real sheet mask reviews blog post :) You can see part I here. In this half, these are the masks that are reviewed:

- Nutrition: I'm Real Avocado Mask Sheet
- Elasticity: I'm Real Pomegranate Mask Sheet
- Radiance: I'm Real Tomato Mask Sheet
- Skin Soothing: I'm Real Tea Tree Mask Sheet
- Moisturising: I'm Real Aloe Mask Sheet

Followed by a brief overview of all of the masks. Enjoy!

Nutrition: I'm Real Avocado Mask Sheet - 10/10

This mask was left on for an hour and it was pretty much completely dry by this time. It smells super fresh and the result it left was pretty good too! My skin looked a lot brighter, there was a decrease in redness and it felt moisturising without being oily. Any scars after blemishes appeared faded too!

The claim that it makes dull skin look radiant and glowing is definitely true in this case. This was my favourite mask of the lot and one I wouldn't hesitate to re-purchase once I've finished my stash of sheet masks. I can see myself using this mask before an important event or a night out where I want to look my best.

Elasticity: I'm Real Pomegranate Mask Sheet - 7/10

In all honesty, I'm not entirely sure how one single sheet mask is meant to help with elasticity...! Either way, the things this mask did do were brighten up my complexion (my skin was glowing for the next 24-48 hours), dampen down redness and add some much needed moisture due to the weird winter weather at the time. Though not touted as a brightening mask, it was the one that made my skin glow the most!

Radiance: I'm Real Tomato Mask Sheet - 7/10

In the past, the word 'radiant' would not have been one used to describe my skin but lately, it has looked a lot more glow-y than ever before. On a duller day, I decided to try this sheet mask and it's 'radiant' effects were a little... Underwhelming. The smell was pleasant and the mask didn't irritate my skin, leaving it dewy and soft. It definitely felt moisturising but at the expense of it leaving behind a sticky residue, more so than the other masks in this range.

Skin Soothing: I'm Real Tea Tree Mask Sheet - 9/10

Just before one of my exams, I had a particularly bad breakout because I went through a week of eating poorly, sleeping badly and just neglecting my skincare routine. To try and rescue my skin, I whacked this mask on and it actually worked pretty well!

It had a slight tea tree fragrance and there was no stinging during the forty minutes I left this on for. There was a decrease in redness, my skin felt a lot softer and my existing blemishes all looked much less obvious. It was also one of the least sticky masks in the range. Comparing this one to one of my other favourites (the rice mask sheet from part I), it wasn't as good, hence the score being just shy of a perfect 10.

Moisturising: I'm Real Aloe Mask Sheet - 5/10

This one was used during the month of January when the weather was all over the place (super cold one week and then much milder the next) and it definitely lived up to its moisturising name without leaving a film of grease. However, with aloe mentioned as the main theme to it, I was hoping it would help with a breakout I had at the time. This, it did not. It didn't even decrease any of the redness from blemishes! Not impressed with this one at all.


Some things these masks all have in common are that they all fit poorly on my face. I think I have a larger than average sized face and even that, there is a little bit of misalignment where my mouth is. The sheet doesn't quite cover the sides of my cheeks though it does a bit too much of my jawline (to the point where I can fold it down and have it on the top part of my neck!). Maybe I just have a wider face than the target market!

The smell of all of these masks are pleasant enough and the only ones where I felt had a smell that matched their description were the Tea Tree one and the lemon one. The effects of the masks never seem to last longer than a day or two but that's true of most sheet masks so this isn't a negative specific to these masks; just something to be aware of! It also means that sheet masks are perfect as part of a pre-event pamper.

What I found was that most of these masks decreased redness but my reasoning for this is the cooling effect of the liquid on my skin. I don't think it is something unique to these masks so just something to bear in mind.

Although the instructions say to keep them on for 20-40 minutes, I usually kept them on for longer. Some people say this shouldn't be done as when the mask dries, it ends up taking moisture from your skin but I've yet to have that issue. However, this might not be the case with all skin types and skincare is so awfully objective that if you have any worries about sensitivity or leaching of moisture, it might be worth following the instructions for the first few times at least.

Finally, I think the illustrations on the packaging of these masks are just adorable and I love the fruit and vegetable theme to most of them. These masks weren't that expensive - for the set of eleven, I think I paid around £12 on Amazon.co.uk (including postage and packing) so they are pretty affordable if you are new to the concept of sheet masking!

4 Jun 2017

my week #268

This is officially my last week on elective and I've had such a good time. I've loved every moment and have learnt a lot more about paediatric surgery. However, with two months free until I start work, the team have allowed me to continue going in if I get bored/have a day off, etc. As someone who struggles to sit still and hates not feeling productive, this is something I really appreciate!

We've had some sweltering weather recently too and the commute has been a sweaty and disgusting mess. Any ideas for how to keep cool in humid conditions?!

How has your week been?

1 Jun 2017

book: the roanoke girls by amy edelman

I went through a phase of reading some twisted and messed up books (Gillian Flynn's Sharp Objects, Dark Places and Gone Girl are particular favourites, as hyped as they are) so I had high hopes for The Roanoke Girls by Amy Edelman.

The blurb looked promising (from Amazon.co.uk):


The Roanoke girls seem to have it all. But there's a dark truth about them which is never spoken. Every girl either runs away, or dies. 

Lane is one of the lucky ones. When she was fifteen, over one long, hot summer at her grandparents' estate in rural Kansas, she found out what it really means to be a Roanoke girl. Lane ran, far and fast. Until eleven years later, when her cousin Allegra goes missing - and Lane has no choice but to go back. 

She is a Roanoke girl. 

Is she strong enough to escape a second time?"

The Roanoke Girls is a book about a dysfunctional family set on a rural farm in Kansas. The characters are all a bit mysterious - Charlie, the old man who helps out at the farm and Sharon, the house maid who can't seem to cook an edible meal despite all of her years of service. I would have liked to have learnt a bit more about these two characters as the author alludes to them all having a creepy side with a past full of skeletons but does not elaborate on any of these hints!

Honestly, I found the plot a bit predictable and guessed what was going to happen at most of the major twists. Some parts felt a bit forced - as if they were written in to shock the reader. There were so many shady characters, it felt a bit wasteful to not use them as potential suspects in more depth during the investigation of Allegra's disappearance.

Overall, I found this book really underwhelming. I only finished it to see if my theory was right (and it was) but other than that, I would have happily left this book half read. Gone Girl, this book is not, but it does have a decent plot. Just one that isn't at its full potential. 5/10.

30 May 2017

a 30 before 30 update

With my 30th birthday a mere three and a half years away (eek, where did the time go), I thought now would be a good time to check in with my '30 before 30' list. The list is currently written in my journal and it gets transferred to every new journal I start.

Looking at the list, I should have another ten or so checked off by the end of the year which leaves eleven to go. Some of them might never happen (such as 'buy something from Tiffany's' - my tastes have changed and jewellery is something that rarely gets worn by myself now. That said, I would consider a pair of earrings!).

My bonus goal of moving to Scotland is now unlikely to happen due to the realisation that once I move away from London, it is unlikely that I'll be able to afford to move back at any point in the future. That said and being no psychic, there may well be many trips up to various parts of Scotland on the horizon in the near future. The next few years are going to be tough financially (due to my want of being a homeowner as soon as possible) so a lot of staycations will most likely be on the cards!

Are you doing a '30 before 30'? If so, how is it going?

28 May 2017

my week #267

This week, London saw a heatwave. Commuting on the tube at the moment is unbearable, particularly during rush hour.

The events on Monday night in Manchester were awful and I cannot fathom how anyone could do something like that. My thoughts are with everyone affected. Seeing armed policemen and policewomen out and about in central London is petrifying and it does make you wonder when all of this madness will stop.

How was your week?

25 May 2017

the 2017 limited edition Lamy Safari Petrol Blue

When the 2017 limited edition Lamy Safari was announced as a 'Petrol blue' colour, I was in two minds about whether or not it was one that just had to be added to my collection of fountain pens. There was a lot of uhmming and ahhing for quite a few months after the announcement and when mid-April came round, I made up my mind.

As you can see, I did end up purchasing it and it's not one I regret. Let me explain why.

Being the proud owner of a Dark Lilac Lamy Safari from last year, I knew that a matte finish made for a pen that was easier to grip. The matte finish also seems to do a good job of keeping itself in a good condition. My coral Safari still looks as good as new but any flaws are more visible on it compared to the dark lilac.

The petrol blue colour is fairly muted but I'm hoping it'll make me look a bit more mature! Lamy Safaris are reached for the most out of all my pens so to have two mature looking ones and a more playful one in my collection means I can choose one that suits my mood. Most of the time, all three are inked and ready to go.

It's quite clear I'm a huge fan of Lamy Safari fountain pens and part of me hopes that the 2018 colour won't be one that appeals to me... But at the same time, it'd be quite nice to add another playful one to my collection for balance!

What do you think of this year's limited edition Safari colour? And what colour are you hoping for next?

23 May 2017

packing for a weekend break: beauty and skincare

After my penultimate year at university, I made a resolution with myself to be more spontaneous and to live life a bit more. Though I have commitments in my personal life which mean that this isn't always possible, I analysed how I had spent my years until then and realised that, at the age of 25, I hadn't actually seen much of the world or done much in the way of spontaneity.

One way I've stuck with this resolution is to have spontaneous weekends away or just book impromptu holidays (like I did with my four day excursion to Stockholm in August). As a result, I always have my 'beauty pack' ready for any last minute weekends I book. Flying is a complete headache due to the liquids restriction, and as I try to only fly with hand luggage, this makes it all the more difficult. Travel sized things are a must and I also try and pare down my skincare routine as much as possible. With regards to make-up, if at all possible, I only pack mascara and lip balm with everything else in powder form so generally okay to go through security in my bag.

To read more about how I got my routine to fit into a tiny plastic bag that is flight-safe, here is a post from earlier this month.

My essentials are as follows:

- dry shampoo
A must for those long flights or days where your hair isn't quite dirty/greasy enough for a wash but you want to feel a bit refreshed.

- body wash
Most hotels supply this but I like to keep a back-up just in case.

- cotton pads
Again, some hotels will supply this but I'm quite particular about the ones I use. The best ones I've found are actually sold in Asda!

- micellar water
For those lazy days when you don't feel like double cleansing to remove your make-up.

- Murad cleanser
Not quite sure if this is completely psychological or not: but this cleanser appears to be the only one which can help keep my skin relatively clear.

- Avene Cleanance Expert Emulsion
I keep this in my travel pack because I'm not actually sure it does much for my skin? And it doesn't break me out so I'm basically only using it for the sake of using up the tiny bottle.

- Eye gel
As a contact lens wearer, my eyes can get terribly dry. I apply this gel after my lenses are out in the evening, just before bed, and once again in the morning, at least half an hour before putting my lenses in.

- Banila Co Clean It Zero oil cleanser
Sometimes, this comes with me, other times, it doesn't. It depends on how much make-up I think I'll be wearing. If a lot, I'll use this to take my make up off before using my Murad cleanser. It comes in a tiny travel sized tub which is so useful.

- Deodorant (no explanation needed surely?)

- An AHA product of some kind
I swear by chemical exfoliation now that I've seen how much brighter my skin looks! I really notice a difference when I go without this step in my routine for a few days so this is an essential for me. This gets used once every day other at the moment as my skin seems to be able to take it.

- La Roche-Posay's Effaclar Duo [+]
I'll be raving about this product in a blog post next month but essentially, this is another product I can't do without.

- Benzoyl Peroxide
This makes an ideal spot treatment and traveling can often cause break outs.

- Travel sized shampoo
Like body wash, hotels will usually supply this but I like to bring my own back-up just in case.

- a moisturiser (not seen)
My moisturiser of choice at the moment for traveling with Dr Jart's Ceramidin cream because I find that it helps replace some of the steps I've cut out in my skincare routine.

So there you have it - my beauty products perpetually ready for me to grab for a weekend away. These items are all packed into a regulation clear plastic bag that is available at all airports so I know that they are fine for security and that everything is there so I don't have to spend a manic hour or two packing.

21 May 2017

my week #266

Week three of my elective and I'm really enjoying it all! It's tiring with very long days (as it takes so long to get there and back) but it's worth it. I did a whole load of life admin at the beginning of the week too so it feels like I've succeeded in some adult-ing!

I also finally caught up on Grey's Anatomy this week and woahhhh, that finale. Shondra Rhimes does a good job of writing season finales.

How has your week been?

18 May 2017

the simple things: having a good time on a budget

Having been a student for far too long now, I like to think I'm pretty decent at saving money. Being low on funds doesn't mean no fun - you may just need to think out of the box a bit more. Here are some no- and low-spend ideas :)

1. Netflix + PJs + Comfort Food
Confession: this is one of my favourite things to do when funds are low and when my own company is all I want. Binge watch something without feeling any guilt- after all, we all need a cheat day where nothing productive is done. Then again, finishing three seasons of How I Met Your Mother sounds pretty productive to me...

2. Take a walk with your camera/Instax
At the end of 2016, I invested in an Instax camera. It's just as fun to take snaps of nature on your phone or digital camera. The main part is to just get out there is breathe some fresh air and see a few squirrels or foxes in your local vicinity.

3. Spring clean! (If you're like me...)
Do one room at a time. Stare at the bags of stuff you're donating with pride. However, this might not be your cup of tea and that's ok. I'm just the type of person who has a lot of fun decluttering and putting things into order!

4. Switch off electronically for a day or a weekend (if you're brave!)
Read, journal, write, just do anything that doesn't involve a computer, television or phone.

5. Explore free/cheap museums
Many museums in London are free to explore and many of them have high quality exhibits that don't involve you spending a penny. It's also a good opportunity to learn something new!

6. Explore a local farmer's market and sample foods.
Farmer's markets are brilliant for fresh produce that's produced locally. Take it as a chance to sample some foods you've never tried or even heard of before! Borough market is a well-known food market (though not farmer's) in South London and word is that there are plenty of foods to sample there.

7. Spa day at home - candles, bath and bath salts, music, a glass of bubbly...
One of my favourite things to do and one not done often enough! The comfort of your own home, bubbles and the aroma of a scented candle... Perfection can't be far off, surely.

8. Bake something simple and add copious amounts of icing!
Biscuits are super easy to make, as are cupcakes, so stick a few in the oven and then decorate them (badly, if you're me) with icing! And if sharing things makes you happy, hand a few to your friends and family.

9. Try out a hidden restaurant - seek out those that train up chefs!
In London, there are a few restaurants that train up future Michelin star chefs. Do a quick Google search and then give them a try. Who knows, you might end up eating food from the future Heston Blumenthal at a fraction of the price.

10. Sight see around your local area.
Over the last eight years, I've had five different addresses due to being a university student and in only two of those addresses did I explore the local area. There are always a few hidden gems around every area and you might even find a new place to hangout!

Do you have any other suggestions? :)

16 May 2017

korean make-up mini reviews: face and cheeks

For the last eighteen months, I've grown an obsession with Korean Beauty products. Today, I thought it'd be nice to talk about some of the make-up products which aren't expensive and work extremely well. Here are a few brief reviews.

Missha Perfect Cover BB Cream in No. 21

Western BB creams tend to look quite orange on me, even when I opt for the lightest shade but this Missha BB cream is perfect. It evens skin tone, covers blemishes to an extraordinary amount (you'll still need a little bit of concealer) and stays put for a whole day. My skin is pretty oily but I haven't had any issues with it slipping, even after a 14-hour day. The only complaint I have is that it looks a bit grey when it first goes on but the finishing powder I use (not a Korean product) does a good job at counteracting that. 

Also, this tube has lasted forever as a little goes a long way. 

Skin Food Peach Sake Silky Finish Powder

My sister bought me this when she was in Korea and it means I'm not spoilt for choice for clear setting powders. This one smells like peach and keeps my face looking matte during the day. No complaints!

Innisfree No Sebum Mineral Powder

Another favourite among the Asian Beauty community on Reddit. This was my first ever setting powder but I don't like how it can make patches of my face look white and chalky. 

Tony Moly Cat's Wink Clear Pact

A gift from my sister again from Korea! Smells delightful and is super cute as well! It's definitely more travel friendly than the Skin Food and Innisfree offerings. It is slim and has a mirror - something the other two don't have.

IOPE Air Cushion XP in No. 21

This is the perfect colour match for the winter when my skin is at its palest. I love the portability - it has a mirror and a cushion included and it applies very well. It doesn't make my face look cakey and has a pleasant smell to it. One of my favourites for those lighter coverage days though it is buildable if you want a higher level of coverage too.

Various A'pieu Cushion Blushers 

Yet another gift from my sister from her holiday in Seoul! It has a mirror inside too and isn't the outside just adorable? Sometimes we have one of those days where we need a bit of cheering up. They are pretty pigmented and one or two dabs on each cheek is usually enough to add a bit of colour to my face. Again, I love the smell of them!

I also have some eye and lip products too which I'll talk about in a month's time or so. Basically, I'm a huge fan of Korean beauty products and just wanted to share the love :)

14 May 2017

my week #265

This week was another interesting week on elective and my commute is such a beast, I've finished reading a 428 page book in just over a week. These next few weeks may mean that I work at a rate of one or two books a week (as I read a physical one on public transport and one on my Kindle at home)!

My to-do list this weekend is a little bit beastly so hopefully I can get through it all by Sunday night! Though I was a bit distracted last night with the rugby and Eurovision...

How was your week?

11 May 2017

medicine: final year placement reviews

Now that final year is out of the way, I thought it would be apt to do a mini review of each placement for the medics out there who might be interested.

Assistantship Surgery

For this one, gynaecology was my specialty and though an unconventional surgical specialty (most of my friends had general, urology, colorectal, upper gastrointestinal, etc), I learnt an awful lot. Obstetrics and Gynaecology is a potential career path I may choose to go down and the team were just wonderful and friendly. The high turnover of patients meant that there was plenty of practice writing discharge summaries and practice with practical procedures. One particular highlight was taking blood from a patient who confessed she was a difficult patient and that it usually took people three or four tries before they were successful. I somehow managed to do it on the first attempt which was a lovely feeling!

The main brunt of this placement were daily, swift ward rounds; many discharge summaries and copious opportunities to take blood, insert cannulas and do other practical procedures. One of my favourite placements of this year without a doubt.

Assistantship Medicine

Coming off surgery where ward rounds lasted one or two hours at the most, it was a shock to go back to ward rounds that would last at least three and a half hours. Being on a Care of the Elderly ward, it was a good opportunity to revise general medical conditions and also learn more about the social side of things that often keep the patients in for longer than we would like. Again, plenty of discharge summaries, note writing and practical procedures. The team were lovely which always makes a difference but the five weeks were enough for me to confirm that being a hospital medic is not for me.

Assistantship General Practice

Before starting this placement, I was dreading it. General practice has a reputation amongst students for not being the most glamorous specialty and I suppose that is largely true. As GPs, one has to know which problems are serious enough to warrant a referral to a specialist and which ones can be safely managed within their remit in the community. Having spent five weeks in a well-ordered practice in a deprived area of South London, I got a feel for just how difficult it is being a GP.

Seeing a high volume of patients each week meant that I got to hone my history taking and examination skills within a limited appointment slot. The senior doctors encouraged me to come up with management plans and in the end, I ended up really enjoying my time there. In fact, I even kind of miss it! However, unlikely to be the career for me.

Accident and Emergency

Adrenaline pumping through the veins is a feeling I always try and seek so the Emergency Department was one I was looking forward to setting foot in. However, the only area that really appealed to me as 'Resus' - the part where the most critical patients are as the other areas felt largely like an extension of General Practice. Not hating on General Practice - just that I'm looking for something a bit more acute and exciting.

Critical Care and Anaesthetics

The best placement of my final year. Wearing scrubs everyday meant silks, wools and delicate fabrics could be worn with reckless abandon as they would only be worn in and out of the hospital! There is the perfect mix of having to know a bit about everything, the chance to do practical procedures and also the patient contact was still present within the field of Anaesthetics. I loved this placement so much, it is likely that this'll be the pathway chosen in a few years' time. At the moment, this list is acute care, anaesthetics and surgery so we'll see if things change!

Overall, I loved final year. It felt much more like being a doctor and it has helped me rule out and rule in specialties a little bit more - a list that'll inevitably chop and change in the near future. My advice is to just throw yourself into every single placement. Even if I don't think the placement will be the one for me long term, my goal is still to make the most of it - after all, if I don't decide to go into it, this'll be my only experience of it ever again! It's a privilege to be able to see a bit of most fields within Medicine and nothing gets taken for granted, at least not with me. :)

9 May 2017

a 2017 shopping ban - a brief overview of how and why!

At the beginning of this year, I put myself on a shopping ban from January to May. The only things I was allowed to purchase were replacement skincare and makeup products. You might recall that this has been tried over the last few years but this time, I was a lot more successful. My reason for this time being more successful was that there was a lot more brutal honesty about what I already had in my possession and how much stuff I could realistically go through in this time frame. To help with the latter part, I decided to keep a box of my 'empties' - finished bottles, sachets and products all went in here. My goal is to look at the end of the year and see how much stuff is really used over the course of twelve months.

One motivation for doing this was to be more minimalistic and stop stocking up on things so much. In the past, shampoos, conditioners and things that didn't go off were bought whenever I noticed they were on offer in the supermarket. This would result in, on average, a bottle a week being bought when I go through a bottle every month and a half! Though this saves money in the long run, I find clutter a bit of a stressor and during the last five months, there's been a major mission to declutter stuff no longer used, needed or wanted.

Over the last twelve months, I've accumulated a lot of skincare and make-up samples through various means and this no-spend has been a good time to use up a lot of these samples. You can see a small pile in the picture above. Many of these samples have been average or below average in performance but the ones that do impress me make it onto my wishlist (below). Some of the items on my wishlist haven't been sampled - they are just there so that when I finish my current foundation/concealer/mascara, etc, I can refer to this list to see what was on my mind to try next.

Overall, this project has been largely positive and I find myself evaluating each purchase much more stringently than I used to. Though I don't think my ability to budget before was particularly poor, my belief is that there is always room for improvement, no matter how good you think you are. And I apply this belief to all areas of my life.

My current goal is to keep this going for the rest of the year and so far so good (fingers crossed!). If anyone knows of sites where I can sell good quality clothing on (other than eBay), please do let me know. I had a bad experience where a buyer abused the buyer protection programme and it's really soured my choice to sell on eBay as the seller protection is basically non-existent even when you're 100% compliant (mini rant over!).

If you want to do a similar challenge, I would recommend keeping a box of empties because it is a great motivator and allows you to see how much stuff you realistically get through.

7 May 2017

my week #264

I've just realised I've been doing this weekly for over five years now - where has the time gone?!

Anyway, this week, I started my elective - something every medical student in the UK does. It is a self-arranged placement in any field, any hospital and any country we want. I decided to do mine in London at a hospital I've never been to before and it's looking promising so far! Because there are two potential career routes I may decide to go down, I've decided to spend time in both specialties during the next five weeks. However, the commute is crippling; it's pretty much a two hour journey each way at its worst and one hour and forty-five minutes at its best...

How has your week been? 

4 May 2017

a multistep skincare routine and travelling: paring it down

My skincare routine in the evening is somewhat ridiculous - twenty minute wait times, nine steps and nine different products, it makes traveling quite difficult. Though it can take a fair bit of time to complete each night, the wait time is when I get some reading in and it also serves as a nightly pamper. Maybe I'll do a full post of my morning and evening routines at some point - my morning routine is currently only five steps long (which sounds equally bad but the layers are so light, it's actually really quick!).

Over the last few months, I've been experimenting with leaving things out of my routine to see what difference they make in an effort to decide what will need to come with me when on holiday. This is when travel sized bottles and decanting comes in handy too. Decanting can also help keep the products fresh because you're not opening them over and over again and exposing them to the air. At the most, you'll lose the amount you decanted but not the whole bottle/tub. Each bottle is labelled with washi tape!

To evaluate what else should come with me, the things I deemed essential were: a cleanser, a cream with ceramides in, a serum targeting my main skin complaints and a toner for the morning. My morning toner is one that targets blackheads and unclogs pores which is why it makes this list. Other essentials are light layers which travel well without being too heavy and depending on space, these may or may not come with me.

Some products are repeated in the morning and evening and these are invaluable - they save space in your hand luggage and mean that there is space for other essentials.

In the end, this is the list I came up with:

Banila Co Clean It Zero cleansing balm
Murad cleanser
Panoxyl (as targeted spot treatment)
Dr Jart's Ceramidin cream
The Ordinary's 10% Niacinamide serum
Cosrx BHA Blackhead Liquid
Kikumasamune High Moist Toner
La Roche Posay Effaclar Duo
Biore UV Watery Essence

Though this list is still longer than I would like, I see most of them as essentials and the bare minimum my skin needs to behave. The evening routine has seven steps and the morning routine has five steps so it's pretty close to what would happen at home anyway (continuity is good for my skin!).

2 May 2017

my study week #23: a revision notebook

Today, my offering is this one: my final year revision notebook. It is an Oxford one and consists of paper which takes fountain pen wonderfully. The bright white Optik paper is a lovely contrast to the dark blue ink and in an effort to add a bit more colour to my notes (something I've not done much of this academic year), enter some note tabs and washi tape.

Electing to use Martha Stewart x Staples note tabs to help bookmark where each chapter begins means that looking things up becomes more time efficient. The washi tape for the titles is nothing new, as evidenced by this blog post back in 2012 (jeez, I feel old) and to add to the colour coding, Zebra Mildliners make an appearance in the margins too.

The main thing in this notebook is the amount of white space when in the past, I would've tried to cram as much information onto a sheet of paper before satisfied. The white space enables me to feel less cluttered in my mind which makes remembering things a lot easier.

This might be my favourite notebook from my time at medical school and although, a work of art, it is not, it serves its purpose well whilst still looking kind of aesthetically pleasing.