28 Feb 2017

my study week #21: revision notes at a glance

With my first prescribing exam just around the corner, I've been trying to simplify everything as much as possible. One way I've done this is through the use of random A5 pages of notes - one for each drug.

The first one is of a fluid - glucose. As a junior doctor, fluid prescribing is a important skill so I've tried to include the salient points without overwhelming myself with other stuff that isn't as pertinent. The same went for sodium chloride and compound sodium lactate solutions. (The latter two not pictured.)

Other drugs I wanted to try and make totally clear in my mind were anti-depressants and anti-psychotics and you can see those in the pictures below. I wanted to fit all of the major ones on a single side of A5 and though the anti-depressants one looks a little cramped, it has all the essential info at a glance. This is pretty much how I revise and re-write notes. With each re-write, things get a little simpler and the paper has a bit more white space because some of the stuff will already be ingrained in my own knowledge. However, I wanted some of these to be as complete as possible as I may even start carrying them around if they prove useful enough!

26 Feb 2017

my week #254

This week marks the beginning of my last clinical placement before exams - a week of hands-on sim training and lectures which was really good! Sim training is good for people like me - I get bored sitting in lectures and actually doing stuff is how I learn.

On Friday, we had a full day workshop of breaking bad news and it was really good preparation for doing something that is thoroughly unpleasant. Although the people we broke the bad news to were actors, it didn't make things any easier and I can imagine it being even harder when in a real situation.  Typically, I manage to draw the piece of paper that had the hardest scenario on but it was good practice in a safe environment.

How has your week been?

23 Feb 2017

my Moleskine planner so far { seven months! }

It has now been seven months since I started using this Moleskine as my daily planner and it's still going strong. Most of the pages inside are used (often, planners come with pages that I never take a second glance at), the layout of the weekly pages are ideal and the size and weight of the planner is just perfect. I've had to add in a Leuchtturm 1917 pen loop (the blue bit poking out at the right hand side) but even so, I never thought I'd be raving about a Moleskine after a not so great experience back in 2011.

First, let's talk about the paper. The paper takes fountain pen really well (but only if you use a thin nib) and I now pretty much only use either my Pilot Kakuno or my Platinum 3776 as both have extremely fine nibs. The cream hue also adds a touch of luxury and the narrow rule of the pages that are lined are ideal for my small (and now cursive) handwriting.

The monthly pages have been good to see when regular things happen, such as direct debits, rent and also what placement I'm switching over onto and when.

The weekly pages are laid out ideally for me - the days on the left and a ruled page on the right. The ruled page is good for planning lunches, outfits and also to-dos that can be done on any day of that week. I love the copious space available for planning or just writing down silly little things. Though each day section looks tiny, it's actually enough space for me and it's rare for me to run out of space in them.

At the back are pages of important things including addresses, uni-related stuff and some other random notes.

Essentially, here, I have a planner which is well used and extremely functional for my needs. It is looking likely that this'll be the planner I will end the year with (this sounds like a relationship). The only debate now is do I go for another Moleskine for 2018 or do I opt for a Leuchtturm 1917 planner? I'm already a huge fan of Leuchtturm 1917 notebooks so I'm sure either way, I'll be very happy! And with at least six months until I make a solid decision, I still have time to write many a pro and con list.

21 Feb 2017

a stockholm scrapbook (finally!)

Over the Christmas holidays, I finally got round to making my Stockholm scrapbook. Back in August, I had printed a load of photos and had a few paper souvenirs ready to stick into this scrapbook. However, final year took over and this project was sitting, waiting, ready for me to do over the holiday season.

The notebook I decided to use is a spiral bound one from (you guessed it) Muji. It is cheap, minimalistic and the paper takes fountain pen very well. At the front, I've used washi tape to write the destination and dates of my holiday. Unfortunately, using a spiral bound notebook means I can't make a Dymo label for the spine but the spirals mean that I can stick photos in without the threat of spine damage!

Wanting to keep things as simple as possible, I let the photos do most of the talking with the odd bit of text detailing a story of something I wanted to remember. Tickets for tours and other random things (such as the Skansen map below) were also included.

When I was in Stockholm, I kept brief notes on each day of my holiday in an A6 Moleskine notebook and most of these were transferred to this journal. This meant that, although it had taken me almost five months to make this journal, no important details of the holiday were omitted.

Eventually, I'll have to go back to it to add in some colour (possibly through the use of washi tape and stickers) but for now, this journal captures my Stockholm trip pretty well. And I'm quite happy with how it turned out :)

18 Feb 2017

my week #253

Final year is flying by so quickly and the realisation that in six months' time, I'll be waking up in the morning (or night!) as a doctor is equally frightening and exciting. The dreams (or nightmares?) are already starting and I'm doing everything I can to try and forget about the uncertainty. Anyway, this placement was one that I really enjoyed - resus was the area where I learnt the most and also enjoyed the most. It's definitely one to consider as a career path in the future. At the moment, surgery, emergency medicine and obstetrics and gynaecology are at the top but this list is ever changing.

How was your week?

16 Feb 2017

keeping a skincare diary

For the first few weeks of this year, I kept a daily skincare diary where  the products used in the morning and evening were logged. I even noted down the make up products used that day too. Now, I only note down things when there is a change to my routine or if there are more imperfections than expected (redness, blemishes, more visible pores, etc). Prior to this year, Evernote was the tool of choice but being a paper fiend, it was unlikely that the log would carry on electronically.

To do this, I have been using my Mossery planner and the vertical layout works quite well. As you can see, there is enough space for my routines and also a bit at the bottom for a note or two on the state of my skin. I'll talk more about my skincare journey in another blog post soon!

By keeping this log, I can see if anything is a potential cause for a breakout or for some unexpected redness. This is especially useful for when I introduce something new into my routine or do something a bit different. However, it can also be useful to note down deviations from my usual diet to see if that could be a cause for blemishes. In the past, I've found lactose is a trigger, as are foods high in saturated fat so I tend to avoid both now.

Another advantage of doing this is that I can see how long a product lasts for before I have to repurchase it. Sometimes, I leave an item out of my routine on purpose to see if it makes enough of a difference to warrant a repurchase.

Other times, I try a product which has the same primary ingredient but is cheaper to see if the effect is the same. An example of this is ceramides - an ingredient that helps restore the skin's natural moisture barrier - where I initially tried Dr Jart's Ceramidin cream, then Cosrx's Honey Ceramide Full Moisture Cream and finally Rosette's Ceramide Gel. I found that the Rosette Ceramide gel worked best during my night routine as a final step because it was a bit too thick and sticky for morning use.

However, doing this is a really time consuming process and I'm trying to decide if the time spent keeping this log gives me enough of a pay off to continue doing so. At the moment, I don't think it is so it's likely that a brief note or two is made when a new product is being tested or if my skin is being particularly difficult so that I can try and identify a trigger.

Do you do something similar? If so, how does it work for you?

14 Feb 2017

introducing: manuscript notebooks

Being a huge bookworm, the idea of classic novels as notebook covers was one that married together two of my favourite things. Manuscript Notebooks are a relatively new brand who have been around since last year and they also offer these notebooks in the form of a monthly box. They kindly sent me a selection of notebooks and they are just too beautiful not to share.

The biggest one was A5 in size with a The Great Gatsby cover. It is a classic exercise book; so very thin, light and therefore portable. The plain pages make it ideal for just random doodles or random notes. The paper is very thin but takes fountain pen very well with no show through or bleeding. At the back, there is a quote from the novel which is a nice touch.

The next two are A6 exercise books which are about the same height as a Lamy Safari. Can we just take a moment to appreciate the Pride of Prejudice cover? Isn't that peacock just beautiful? The pages inside are also plain and again, take fountain pen well. They are lightweight and make a nice change from the typical Field Notes notebooks you see floating around.

The final four are A6 notebooks that come in both exercise book format and also as a bound version. The bound version has white ruled pages (whereas the plain pages were cream in colour) but takes fountain pen just as well as the plain paper in the other notebooks.

Overall, I'm impressed with the quality and design of these notebooks. The one thing missing from the bound ones are a pocket at the back as most notebooks of that design have this feature. I'm already looking forward to seeing what other designs they choose as covers next.

** Although these items were supplied free of charge, I have reviewed them as if I had paid for them and as honestly as possible. Thank you to Andres for affording me this opportunity to review these notebooks :)

12 Feb 2017

my week #252

Exam season is well and truly underway with my second exam in two weeks! Even though Friday's exam was a formative one (so essentially a mock exam), the exam fear is real. My revision timetable kicked in this week too and I'm happy with the progress being made. What's getting me through all this is that the rugby Six Nations is back! As always, I'll be cheering on Scotland and the nerves are already jangling for today's game against France...!

How has your week been?

9 Feb 2017

a re-introduction: hello, I'm Angela!

Paper Lovestory has been running for over six years now (seven this July!) - something I still find incredible and am especially proud of. It's not been easy, juggling everything, but blogging is still something I find fun to do. It's been a while since I've done one of these posts so I thought I'd reintroduce myself today via an A-Z (with a few omissions!). Does anyone remember those A-Z maps that used to be around? Most of us now use our smartphones to get us around but I still remember my mum digging out her A-Z from her handbag whenever we got lost on a day trip to London.

Anyway, here goes!

Angela - That's my name! I'm just a girl in my mid-twenties who loves make-up, fashion, stationery and staying organised :)

Blue blood - My sister and I were born and raised in the Highlands of Scotland and if anyone ever asks, I have always felt more Scottish than anything. This was reinforced by a trip to Edinburgh back in November of 2016 when my sister and I both felt extremely comforted by the sound of copious Scottish accents. More embarrassingly, the only national anthem I know all the words to is Flower of Scotland.

Cosmetics - Make-up is something I absolutely love playing with whenever I can. I never used to understand it but over the last two years or so, I love how it can enhance and also bring out my best features. Let's not forget how much confidence a well-made-up face can add too.

Dresses (and skirts) - I'm a huge fan of dresses and skirts and I'm usually in one or the other on a daily basis. Dresses or skirts that have pockets? Sold.

Exercise - Sport is a big part of my life; from watching it to playing it, I try and be as active as I can. Often, this means working out at home due to my ridiculous lifestyle at the moment but when I can, I fit in some social squash with friends.

Friends and Family - Both are so important to me and I regard my closest friends as an extension of my family. It's such a clich├ęd statement but I honestly wouldn't be who and where I am without them.

Geek - Knowledge is something I've always liked to have - general, useless, medical; you name it, I want to know it. Quiz shows are my guilty pleasure and I just love it when I get a question right (especially on University Challenge)!

Happiness - I'm constantly on the pursuit for happiness. The realisation that sometimes, taking a light-hearted approach to things can make all the difference has made me much happier and less stressed. As I've got older, I've become more laid back and I'm no longer someone who obsessively plans every last detail down to the T.

Instax - Taking photos and having them come out immediately is just so much fun! Sometimes, it's nice to have a physical momento of a memory rather than have to look at one on a phone screen.

Korean Beauty - This post is an example of my obsession!

Languages - Since I returned from my trip to Stockholm in August of 2016, I've been learning Swedish like a Scandi-obsessed fiend on Duolingo. Languages are something I love learning and with the motivation of the desire to work in Sweden for a year, I'm hoping this is one I'll achieve fluency in.

Medicine - This is a huge part of my life so obviously had to be included. This academic year, I've tried to learn not to let it be such a big part of my life and actually, it's meant I've been a lot happier as a result.

Non-alcoholic - Though I do like the odd cocktail, I try and stay teetotal most of the time. It's not actually that hard for me as once I've said I'll do something, it's usually adhered to (call me stubborn!).

Organised - Think it's fair to say I'm a pretty organised person. The amount of times I've heard 'you're the most organised person I know' - well, let's just say if I had a pound for each time that was said, I'd be a millionaire now. (Insert monkey-covering-their-eyes emoji here.)

Piercings - Ear cartilage piercings are something I adore and would like more of in the future, though I'm quite happy with my two at the moment. The two I got both mean something to me so we'll see if I have any other life-changing events in the future that might need celebrating in this manner...

Quiet - Though a recent Myers-Brigg test put me at 55% extroverted (when three years ago, I was apparently introverted), I do get told that I can be quiet when on placement. Though I'm also told this isn't a bad thing, it's something I'm working on - to get the right level of being vocal without being overbearing.

Reading - Books are something that play a big part in my life. I set aside a reading time of at least half an hour each day and I often have two or three books on the go.

Scarves - Scarves are a major weakness of mine - I have way too many but I do love how they can finish can outfit perfectly. My favourite one is a cashmere blanket scarf I bought in Edinburgh last year - it reminds me of that weekend trip (where my sister and I had the most fun) and is super soft and cosy.

Television - My Netflix is dominated by TV shows with films rarely making an appearance. How I Met Your Mother, Gilmore Girls and Grey's Anatomy are my favourites (Grey's isn't on Netflix here in the UK but it is still a show that I watch religiously).

Workaholic - One thing that makes me feel on edge is the feeling of not being productive. If I'm sitting around doing nothing, it can frustrate me so I always try and make sure I'm doing something which has an end goal I can visualise. I'm working hard to change this about me though as it often means that watching TV in silence is quite hard for me!

So you'll notice J, U, V, X, Y and Z are all missing - that's because I failed to find anything that worked for those letters :) It was pretty fun writing this post and I hope you enjoyed reading it too :)

7 Feb 2017

book review: when breath becomes air by paul kalanithi

I was gifted this book at Christmas and I managed to read it in just three days. When Breath Becomes Air is a book written by a neurosurgeon from the U.S. and follows his story after his diagnosis of lung cancer in his thirties. 

From the beginning, I was hooked. Paul Kalanithi is a good writer and included just enough detail about his childhood and personal life to make him, in my opinion, relatable to anyone who doesn't have a connection to the medical field. He writes about his diagnosis and the journey through his disease with frank detail and there is an air of 'this could happen to anyone' about his writing.

I'm sure a lot of us would agree that any disease that could potentially be terminal is extremely sad and we would probably feel this emotion at this thought. However, this book really makes you put yourself in the author's shoes and this, at least to me, increased my understanding of what it is like for a patient with a chronic disease.

Overall, I would recommend this book to anyone who wants an insight into a disease from a patient's point of view - but not just any patient; a doctor who has been forced to become the patient. When Breath Becomes Air gets a solid 8/10.

5 Feb 2017

my week #251

This week had the first of many final year exams and I get the result in around two weeks' time. Fingers crossed! It has been a week of little sleep and copious stress so I'm spending this weekend doing some well deserved R&R :)

How has your week been?

2 Feb 2017

my study week #20: (almost) monochrome notes

Late last year, when preparing for my general practice placement, I wanted to write some notes on common conditions and their management. As I've got older, I've relied less on colour and more on keeping my notes as simplistic as possible. This has resulted in a navy blue and white theme with the odd embellishment of colour and I actually quite like this.

As always, these posts are always more pictorial than textual so enjoy the next few photos :)