27 Sept 2017

revisiting old journals - a yearly occurrence

Each year, I get a little nostalgic where my old journals are dug out and flicked through. Having kept a journal since I was in my early teens and as cheesy as this sounds, it really helps me see how much I've grown up over time. It's also entertaining and cringeworthy to see what topics take precedence as each year goes by. At school, the things talked about the most were friends, classes and (predictably) boys. Recently, it's more been about future career fears and budgeting!

For me, the main benefit of journaling is reflecting on how I was as a person a year ago, two years ago, three years ago, etc. It was only two years ago that I started to journal weekly without fail but there are still entries often enough stretching back ten years for me to gain an idea of what I was like as a person.

By reflecting, I can see what parts of my character are ones that I don't really like about myself and what parts I do like. Obviously, we all have an ideal we strive towards and this reflection helps me see how far from this ideal I am. It's also interesting to see how things change and how my priorities change throughout the years.

Do you do anything similar?

24 Sept 2017

my week #283 and #284

Two in one this week! Unfortunately, I was working last weekend so was unable to post last week's pages. They were much more interesting than this week's though. I've blurred out an awful lot as always, there are some things I just don't feel comfortable with sharing with the internet.

Anyway! The weekends really are as awful as they sound and I was glad to get my first out of the way. And now onto nights this week (again)... Eek!

20 Sept 2017

book: trust me, i'm a junior doctor by max pemberton

Before I started medical school, I remember reading this book in an effort to gain more of an insight into the life of a junior doctor. Now that medical school has been and gone (where did the time go?), I decided to give it another little read.

Trust Me, I'm A Junior Doctor is written in an Adrian Mole-style diary by Dr Max Pemberton, a junior doctor in his first year after finishing medical school. His training was very different to how mine will be - he only does one year of foundation whereas I will be doing two. During the book, we follow him through his first year where he does six months of surgery followed by six months of medicine.

The book is written in quite a light-hearted and chatty manner which makes for an easy read. As each chapter represents a month and there is an entry for most days of each month, it means the book can be picked up and put down quite easily. Boiling the kettle for a cup of tea? That's the perfect length of time for one day.

The one gripe I have with the book is how mean the author is about some of his colleagues. I know we meet many different characters in our lives (in all careers, not just medicine) but to me, it's quite distasteful to talk about colleagues in the way he has. Giving one of his seniors the nickname of 'Sad Sack' and calling a nurse in charge 'The Battleaxe' is a little over the top (in my opinion). It seems he's trying to bring some humour into what can be a bit of a dry subject but tried a bit too hard.

Aside from that, there are many humorous parts to it and some very sad parts also. It's made me contemplate keeping my own mini diary for each day I work - not least because it is a good way to unload anything that might keep my awake later that night/day when trying to get to sleep!

It's a good, entertaining read, despite some of my gripes with it. 7/10.

13 Sept 2017

beauty empties: may, june, july and august & mini reviews!

For January to April's empties, please click here.


Murad Time Release Blemish Cleanser
A friend introduced me to this cleanser and it helped clear up my skin. It has an extremely faint fragrance, so perfect for those who don't like strong smells. One bottle also lasted me two years, even with daily use. It is on the pricier end so for that reason, I give it 8/10. Otherwise, it would be my perfect cleanser. I'm now using something much cheaper with no adverse symptoms (touch wood!).

Papa Bombee Whitening Honey Mask Pack
My sister bought me a few of these from her trip to Korea and I only just got round to using one here.  I did get instant brightening effects but this mask had a strong smell of honey. When that smell is right next to your nose for nigh on half an hour, it can get a bit sickly! I don't mind it but others might. I really like this mask. 7.5/10 as it does feel like there's something missing with it.

Ren Flash Hydro Boost (sample)
This sample was one I really wanted to dislike as Ren products are great but very pricey! It turned out that this was actually an amazing product. It left my skin feeling plump and healthy the next morning (I used it as an overnight mask). The fragrance was a bit too strong and I wasn't a big fan of it but the effects were worth it. I've opted not to purchase it as I'm sure there are products out there with the same active ingredients for a fraction of the price. 8.5/10 (points deducted for price and smell).

Estee Lauder Nutritious Vitality8 Night cream (samples (six of them!))
This was an average cream - no visible effect. I used the samples up for the sake of it really. The samples were also very stingy with not much in there! The Ren one before had enough for a week's use! 1/10 for this cream - pleasant to apply but did nothing.

& Herbal Essences shampoo and an Oral-B toothpaste!


VDL Lumilayer Primer (sample)
I really liked this primer! I don't use highlighter but this primer gave me a glow on my cheekbones and brow areas, even after applying foundation. 8/10

Darphin Melaperfect Skin Tone Brightening Moisture (sample)
This is a sample I absolutely detested and ceased using after one trial. Super greasy, smelt weird and the texture was thick and hard to spread. 0/10

Holy Snails El Dorado (sample)
This is a vitamin C serum and I got it as part of the sampler set. Didn't notice a difference. 1/10

Murad Oil Control Mattifier Moisturiser sample
I got this as part of a set. It is quite thick and hard to spread so I always found myself using more when compared to other creams. It's ok but I won't be re-purchasing as it isn't worth the price for me. 5/10

Innisfree Green Tea Seed Serum
My sister bought me this from her trip to Korea late last year and I'm not quite sure if it even made a little bit of difference. I haven't replaced it after it ran out and my skin still seems the same. However, it was the summer and my skin doesn't usually need as much moisture... We'll have to wait until the colder months to see if this is worth a re-purchase. 6/10

Vichy Normaderm Night Detox
The thing about this cream is that it goes on easily, absorbs really quickly and seems to make my skin feel less greasy in the morning. Already re-purchased! 8/10

Revlon 3D Extreme Mascara
Smudged within an hour of application! I've yet to find a drugstore mascara that doesn't smudge on my oily under-eye area... 1/10

The Body Shop Hemp Hand Protector
Despite its overwhelming medicinal smell, this is actually a really good moisturiser for very dry skin. My hands can get really dry with excessive hand washing on the wards and this cream has been good at preventing my skin from cracking and drying out. 7/10

Alpha H Absolute Eye Complex With Cucumber and Vitamin B5 (Sample x2)
These samples were HUGE. They lasted forever and I ended up using it all over my face instead. Annoyingly, I definitely noticed a difference with this. I would use it as part of my evening routine and the next day, my skin had more of a glow and was a bit brighter. Won't be purchasing as I have many products to get through before even contemplating adding to my collection. 8/10

Banila Co White Wedding Dream Cream (sample x2)
Nothing special... Didn't notice a difference with these samples. 1/10

Skin Food Fresh Apple Cream
Over-powering smell of apple and only enough in the sample for two applications. Therefore, hard to tell if it had any effect. 1/10

Skin Food Fresh Apple Essence
Again, an overwhelming smell of apple and not enough in the sample to tell if it had any positive or negative effect. 1/10

Origins VitaZing Energy Boosting Moisturiser with Mangosteen SPF15
Weird, thick, greasy cream that left a bizarre white sheen to my face. Not a fan unfortunately. 0/10

& (not pictured) Garnier Ultimate Blends shampoo and an Oral-B toothpaste.


Bumble and Bumble Thickening Shampoo and Conditioner (samples)
Not enough in the sample and just didn't do anything. 1/10

Cosrx Honey Ceramide Full Moisture Cream 
With no fragrance to this cream and the promise of ceramides, this cream was promising. And it certainly delivered. Left my skin feeling hydrated and plump without a film of grease. Very impressed - just wish it was a little bit cheaper! 8/10

Origins GinZing Refreshing Eye Cream (sample)
Again, one of those samples where there isn't enough to fully evaluate if it had a positive or a negative effect. 1/10

Viktor and Rolf Flowerbomb Eau de Parfum
This is my all time favourite perfume - it is floral and feminine but without being overbearing. It also doesn't fade towards the end of the day. Already repurchased when I passed through Duty Free earlier this year! 9.5/10

Alpha H Liquid Gold
I reviewed this in this blog post. 8.5/10

& Other Stories Body Moisturisers: Mediterranean, Fig Fiction and Moroccan Tea (samples)
My favourite out of these? The Moroccan Tea one. It smelt heavenly: floral, but not overwhelmingly so, and it just smelt like a holiday. It's a perfect lightweight moisturiser for the summer but I wouldn't recommend it for drier weather. 8/10

Estee Lauder Advanced Night Repair Eye Cream (sample)
This was a really thick cream which went on easily. The sample was huge and lasted forever and eventually, seeing no results on my under-eye areas, I just slathered it all over my face. The effect? Much brighter, glowing skin! This sample had a positive effect but its price just puts me right off. 5/10

NYX Matte Finishing Spray
Considering this comes in at about £5 a bottle, it is well worth the money. This one lasted me about six months of near daily use and seems to keep my make-up from fading. Already re-purchased (though currently trailing the Urban Decay All Nighter). 7.5/10

Bumble and Bumble Surf Shampoo and Conditioner (samples)
Having yet to find a Bumble and Bumble product that impresses me, this one was the same. Left my hair feeling unclean and there wasn't enough in it for my hair (which is medium in length!). 1/10

Guerlain Le Petite Robe Noire (two samples)
A feminine perfume which lasts for about half a day. Still on the lookout for the perfume that can defeat my current holy grail of Viktor and Rolf's Flowerbomb. 5/10

Papa Honey Bombee Whitening Sheet Mask (x2)
See the review in May (scroll up)!

Holiday Candy Sheet Mask
This mask had an overwhelming smell of cotton candy and didn't seem to have much effect if I'm honest. 2/10

Cosrx Advanced Snail 96 Mucin Power Essence
I bought this as I'm a huge fan of snail products. On Reddit, several users claimed that it helped shrink those massive red cystic spots and it genuinely did do this for me - and overnight too! Also really good for healing open sores (like those pesky paper cuts). 9.5/10

Laneige Water Bank Sleeping Mask (sample)
I took this with me on my trip to Canada and used it as the last step of my night time routine. I really liked it - my skin felt more hydrated in the morning, it had no overwhelming fragrance and a little goes a long way. Full size purchased! 8/10

Avene Cleanance K Sample

I actually have this in the full size and decided to take this travel sized bottle with me to Canada in an effort to travel light. I don't think it does anything special to my skin but it doesn't seem to harm it either. It might be one of those products where you don't notice the difference until you stop using it so only time will tell... 5/10


The Body Shop Hemp Foot Protector
They do a hand cream version of this too and if I'm honest, I can't see any difference between them. I ended up using this all over my body whenever my skin feels dry and it does a good job of adding moisture. The smell reminds me of my childhood for some reason but this won't be a cream I'll be repurchasing as it didn't seem like it did a better job than other cheaper moisturisers. 7/10

Papa Recipe Bombee Whitening Honey Mask Pack
Reviewed further up in the month of May (please scroll up!).

Boots Botanics All Bright Hydrating Day Cream SPF 15
This cream smelt lovely but it had a watery texture and a pink hue to it. Although it was watery in texture, it seemed to leave a thin film of oil on my face which wasn't particularly pleasant. 0/10

Benton Cacao Moist and Mild Cream
Reviewed here.

Nuxe RĂªve de Miel Lip Balm
Possibly the best pot lip balm I've ever used! Perfect for dry, chapped lips. I put this on before bed and I wake up with lips which are moisturised and no longer chapped. It has a slightly grainy, thick texture which I didn't mind. Already repurchased.  9.5/10

Vichy Normaderm Beautifying Anti-Blemish Care 24h Hydration (sample)
I'm not quite if this cream did anything for me if I'm honest! No obvious effect (positive or negative) so not something I'd want to repurchase at this moment in time. 3/10

Origins Renewal Serum (sample)
Again, a sample which didn't have enough in it for me to make a proper assessment. 1/10

& Oral B 3D White Pearl Glow Toothpaste

* * *

So that's it for another four months! Four more months of this challenge to go and it's quite nice to see how much I actually go through. The aim of this challenge is to prevent impulse purchases and hoarding and so far so good!

10 Sept 2017

my week #282

A busy week with some exciting developments which will be revealed in due course :)

The one thing I don't like at the moment is the fact that my friends are all so scattered which makes it extremely hard to do impromptu meets. Not least when we factor in weird working hours and days... If any of you are in the same situation, how do you get around this?

How has your week been?

6 Sept 2017

medschool essentials and ten things I wish I'd known

Today, I thought I'd share some of what I saw as essentials during medical school and what I wish I had known at the start :)

Most Used - The Oxford Handbooks (Surgery, Clinical Medicine and Clinical Specialties) were invaluable to me. You can access the other specialist handbooks online too if your university subscribes to OpenAthens!

Anatomy - I liked Netter's Anatomy Flashcards - they were pretty good for revising with on the bus/train/tube.

Pharmacology - I wouldn't recommend the Rang and Dale Pharmacology Flashcards as I found that they didn't go into enough depth. The actual Rang and Dale textbook is great though! Another useful pocket book was 'The Top 100 Drugs' by Prof Emma Baker.

Physiology - I liked Tortora's Anatomy and Physiology here though there are many others on the market.

The basics: stethoscope, tendon hammer, pen torch and lanyard. Carrying them all at once is optional (I usually only carried a stethoscope and lanyard).

Always carry something to write on and something to write with is my advice. You never know when someone decides to impart some piece of wisdom you never want to forget - clinical or otherwise!

Other Bonus Bits
Have you noticed how few dresses and skirts actually have pockets? I've managed to acquire a wardrobe where the majority of my skirts and dresses have pockets but when I first started... Well, carrying everything around was difficult (do I carry this energy bar or this pen torch? Usually food was the winner in such battles.).

Tissues are always good too. You may be asked to clerk a patient and things may get emotional for them (through no fault of your own)!

Finally, comfortable shoes must always adorn your feet. A six hour ward round is painful enough, why put yourself through more suffering?! Trust me, I've worn shoes that pinched my toes on long ward rounds and as someone who gets bored quickly and easily, they are ideal for preventing you from falling asleep... But are equally good at distracting you from what is going on around you!

1. Medschool isn't the be all and end all. Make time for hobbies.

2. It doesn't get any easier.

3. Ask more questions. And say yes!

4. Sleep is something for the weekends. Or at opportune moments if you're a good napper.

5. There is always more to know. Accept it.

6. There will come a point when you feel ready.

7. There is always time for the Student Union bar!

8. Your friends will be your future colleagues. As will everyone else in your year. And the year above. And the year below.

9. Machine washable clothing that don't need ironing after a wash are the holy grail.

10. It does get easier.

3 Sept 2017

my week #281

This week was a good one. A four day week can never be a bad thing and it was nice to catch up with a good friend on Monday - someone who is doing their foundation years on the other side of London, up in the heart of Essex.

How is it September already?! It only feels like yesterday I was sitting finals (back in April) and now it's almost autumn? As much as I love Christmas, it does feel like 2017 has flown by so far.

How has your week been?