Walhallavagen

Just an ordinary girl's life

October subscription box

So, following my post of a few days ago (thanks to all those who liked it!) I’m now ready to enjoy my selection of self-pampering goodies for this month 🙂 This is all part of my Simple Life Project; all the items featuring in this box are things I already owned, so this is a 100% money-saving undertaking.

Books

1. Harry Potter and the Philosopher Stone ~ 20th Anniversary Edition [J. K. Rowling]. I bought this book back in April with the intention of reading it asap, and then it just went the way it always goes (sitting on the shelf). I always have a lot of feelings about HP as I practically grew up with his books, plus living in Scotland makes it even more real [I had a Harry Potter pilgrimage in Edinburgh back in July]. For some weird reason fall feels a lot like a Hogwarts season, so this is the perfect moment to finally dig into this book (it also has a red cover, which would fit perfectly for the Hallowreadathon of this year!).

2. Never let me go [Katsuo Ishiguro]. I’m just realising this while I’m writing, both these books are actually re-reads for me 🙂 I read this one back in 2010 a month before leaving for my semester in Japan, and it was one of the first gifts from my at-the-time boyfriend [currently husband]. For all these reasons is a novel attached to many intense feelings – and a story that I deeply loved. I read both these books in their Italian translation, and I’m more than ready now to finally taste their original version.

Beauty

If I had to pick up a sector in which my hoarder madness has outdone itself I would definitely say beauty products. I’m improving, but there’s still a lot of work to do – and many, many accumulated products to finally start using.

1. Boots face sheet masks: Super Hyaluronic, Lotus flower &Tiger Lily, Safflower & Peony. My skincare routine had fallen through the cracks in July-August, mainly because of an utterly annoying eye infection and the madness following the house move. One of the things I really enjoyed about my 10 steps skincare routine was having a sheet mask once a week, on Sunday evening after my bath. By the time I’m writing this, I’ve already used two of them and I’ve enjoyed going back to my routine immensely.

2. Sanctuary Spa Sea salt body scrub. I bought this one a few days before moving from Aberdeen together with the related body wash, perfectly knowing it was a purchase I shouldn’t have done. In my defence I can say that I go through my body scrubs pretty quickly – and in fact, I’m about to finish my current one. Salt and oil body scrub are one of my fav beauty products on earth, plus the packaging was pretty irresistible (and I already plan to save and reuse it).

Makeup

It goes without saying that Halloween calls for a lot of orange, black and purple. Purple is actually one of my favourite colours in the universe [and the colour of my football team, as well] and I love wearing it. I’m always a little hesitant in using it for makeup as I feel like it makes my under-eye circles stand out even more, but hey, we have to take some risks in life.

1. Essence eyeshadows in Vintage Lilac, Frosted Apple and Keep Calm and Berry On. I don’t know how this brand performs here in the Uk, but in Italy is pretty popular due to its low princes and reasonable good quality. I bought these eyeshadows more than a year ago and practically never used them (though Vintage Lilac is one of my fav shades ever!), so yeah, Halloween it is!

2. 100% precision eyeliner by Debby (purple) + Dark Tide eyeliner by Kiko Milano (purple). I usually use more eye pencils than eyeliners, but these have a very nice colour and they’re quite easy to apply. Pretty much never used either of them, I think they’ll go very well with the above mentioned eyeshadows.

3. Super colour mascara by Kiko Milano (purple). This one is quite old and I really need to either used it or dispose of it. I actually like quite a lot coloured mascara (dark blue, brown, etc.) but these from Kiko are really bad quality as they dry up in the bottle almost immediately. I’ve tried to revitalise this one by adding a few drops of eye solution, hoping they’ll help making this usable for at least the current month. If not, off it goes straight into the bin.

4. Laser nail lacquer by Kiko Milano (dark purple and black). I’ve used these in the past, but since (a) dark nail polish requires a lot of maintenance and (b) I have way too many nail polishes overall, I still have more than half bottle to use up. Since i like them very much, this month I’ll try to be good and wear them as much as I can.

Misc

1. Golden Snitch necklace. Bought it two year ago at Lucca Comics and Games and it’s one of the best purchases I ever made there. I actually wear this a lot, but I included it here because it goes well with this month’s theme.

2. HP soft socks. I think I got these back in December, during one of my Harry Potter splurge at Primark. Never used them (I was waiting for the ‘perfect occasion’).

3. Whittard Toffee Apple. I have way too many teas and herbal teas. Nonetheless, I couldn’t resist this match-in-heaven mixture when I visited Whittard in Edinburgh two months ago. I didn’t want this one to end up like all the others (sitting on the shelf for months) so i set myself a deadline to actually use and finish it.

4. Black cobweb earrings. I don’t even remember where I got this from (Accessories?), but it was definitely more than 5 years ago. My tastes in jewellery have changed quite a lot in the last 2/3 years, but I still like these ones and for some reason I think there’re well themed for Halloween.

5. Bottega Verde argan-scented candle. I found myself without pumpkin-scented candles this year, but going out and buying one would have defeated the whole purpose of this project – so I picked up one of the many unused scented candles I already had instead. This one is super old (>4 years) and I was honestly growing tired of moving it from country to country. It also has a subtle spiced flavour that goes very well with the season.

 

So this is it for this month, I hope the list wasn’t too long. The weather is already acting up here in the outskirts of Europe so I expect a lot of early-at-home nights using up my monthly goodies. No Chinese or Japanese textbooks this month as I’m already busy with other projects language-learning wise, but they’ll surely feature in future sub-boxes!

 

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{Books in a Nutshell} July ~ September 2017

 

I had a very satisfactory reading session this summer. Fall seems even more promosing, with upcoming Hallowreadathon and the super juicy Christmas season!

 

Jo Nesbo – Blood on Snow
|English Translation|

I have to say, for me short books and shot movies have always better chances to be appreciated. Especially when you have very intricate, complex and original-but-hard-to-believe plots. The magic can last for 100, 150 pages max. After that, everything becomes just implausible and redundant. All this introduction to say that yes, Jo Nesbo knows how to write, and most importantly, how not to write. How to end a story so that it becomes a perfectly closed circle, not a frayed thread.

Rated 4/5 stars on Goodreads

 

Clifford D. Simak – City
|Original Version|

I was sure I already reviewed this book, but looking back at the archives it seems like I didn’t. Well, for me City is all you really need to read in science fiction. If I were to live in the Fahrenheit 451 universe, this would probably be my book to preserve for  posterity. I don’t think I’ve ever read anything so well constructed, with such profound insights on anthropological and sociological dilemmas, with such an aching nostalgia for what was lost and cannot be regained. A book that literally speaks to everyone. Even if you’re not into sci-fi.

Rated 5/5 stars on Goodreads

 

Jay Asher – Thirteen Reasons Why
|Original Version|

With all the fuss going around with the Netflix show (just finished watching, terrible), I was curious to see what the original story was really about. And I have to say, this is a good book. It doesn’t drag on and on pointlessly just to be sensational – the story is pretty straightforward and tells everything it needs to tell without blunders [exactly what the TV show does not]. I particularly like the stress the author puts on personal responsibility, on how our being selfish or just superficial can damage those around us in ways we can’t even start to imagine. This is something we should talk about more, especially in high school contexts.

Rated 4/5 stars on Goodreads

 

Paula Hawkins – The Girl on the Train
|Original Version|

A good crime story. A bit too long maybe, a few parts could have been cut out. But it was well-thought, and the character development was really really good. I enjoyed it much more than Gillian Flynn’s Gone Girl.

Rated 4/5 stars on Goodreads

 

Arthur C. Clarke – The City and the Stars
|Italian Translation|

This is another of those classics you absolutely have to read if you are into sci-fi. I guess this could be considered a sort of coming-of-age book, even if within a pretty peculiar setting. It has not the depth of City, but it deals a lot with the themes of identity, memory and collective conscience, which makes it much more than just a book about spaceships.

Rated 4/5 stars on Goodreads

 

Mary E. Pearson – The Adoration of Jenna Fox
|Original version|

Another YA, another [according to my tastes] well written story. I’m actually pretty impressed, I had no idea young adults novels could be written that well. It doesn’t matter if the story per se is not high literature, I like reading well-structured novels with original and personalised writing styles – and this was one of them. I discovered this book is actually part of a series – I don’t know how well this kind of story could go on, but if I had the chance I’d give it a try.

Rated 4/5 stars on Goodreads

 

Overall, I enjoyed each and every one of these books and I’m very happy with the reading choices I made, even though I may have not followed much my previous TBR list.

On a side note, I just downloaded and printed BBC’s The Big Read Top 100 books – can’t wait to start crossing off those I already read and picking up the missing ones!

Weekly Plans / 3

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Autumn Sunday afternoons are full of rain, cake baking and relaxing synthwave compilations. I love this season 💜

For once, I don’t want to talk about to do lists and tasks and things I wouldn’t accomplish anyway.

This week I’m going back to Aberdeen for a couple of days. It will be lovely to meet with  friends we have there and go to our usual places (pubs, bookshops and so on). I also plan to do some seasonal cloth shopping, since it’s the only thing I allowed myself to do out of my October shopping ban. [I’m in serious need of some warmer jumpers, winter is no joke here]

In addition to this, as far as I understand next Friday it’s some sort of bank holiday (or public holiday? Still have to sort out the difference) here in Scotland,  which means the plus one will be home for the entire weekend [yes, it still feels too weird to call him husband]. There will also be a street festival going on, let’s just hope the weather will behave for once.

So, main plans for this week:

  1. do some catch-up with our Aberdeen friends
  2. visit our favourite pub + hamburger hub + noodles bar
  3. make use of the long weekend to finally clean up and sort out our living room
  4. bake panini alla zucca (pumpkin sweet bread rolls)
  5. go out and enjoy the street performers
  6. finish watching The Expanse season 2 and start our Stranger Things marathon in view of the long-awaited season 2 release
  7. have at least one loaded nachos dinner
  8. if I’m not too busy enjoying myself, try to make some progresses in my Chinese reading challenge

By the way, I’m (kind of) back active on tumblr, so for those who already have an account: please let me know so I can follow you! I’m in desperate need of some LL inspiration 😝

Chinese reading challenge ~ October 2017

I’ve been keeping an eye on Hacking Chinese monthly challenges for quite some time now. I wanted to join them more than once, but you know, the usual carousel – no time, too busy, too tired etc. etc.

I was on the train to Aberdeen on Friday when I received an email with the remainder to subscribe to October’s Chinese reading challenge. And for once I said, why not?

So I signed up straight away before I could change my mind 😅

The challenge per se is pretty simple: you set the goal you want to achieve during the month (in terms of hours spent reading), and you log your activity everyday. There’s a leaderboard so you can see how others are doing, which can be an additional factor of motivation and stamina.

It’s only day 5 of the challenge, but I’ve to say I’m doing pretty well 🙂 you know when you find yourself thinking ‘this is exactly what I needed‘?

Let’s be honest, my Chinese study sucked this year – and what hurts the most is that I don’t even have a good reason for that. I started with a lot of motivation and effort at the very beginning of the year, taking HSK2 almost on a whim, and then I slowly faded away.

It’s not easy being a self learner. I thought it was, but I was deeply wrong. And sometimes, it’s even more difficult when you have too much time on your hands. Plus if I really have to be honest, the RSH challenge hasn’t helped much.

I think reading is a very important step in every LL process. So I feel like this is seriously the right kind of undertaking I can hugely benefit from. It gives me purpose, a clear plan of what needs to be done, and also a certain satisfaction.

I’ll talk about the resources I’m using in further posts; for now I would like to invite all fellow Chinese learners to join the challenge if they haven’t already, it’s not too late!

 

Hello October

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September review

September goals

A lot happened in September, mainly good things tbh 🙂 but it was an exhausting month, too. Half of it I was back home [I found the time to have a lot of good food, yay], and the other half I was busy with a lot of life admin tasks. I had much less time for myself than initially expected, but on the bright side I attended the majority of the chores that were cramming my to do list, which means, a lot more spare time for my favourite activities during October 🙂 I also found enough time to keep this blog running, which honestly is pretty surprising since during busy times my blog is the first thing to be put on the back burner. Finally, I carved out some time to plan for the last trimester of the year and I broke down all tasks month by month and week by week, so now I have an easy and clear system to follow in order to achieve my goals for 2017.

How I spent my money

I spent way too much money on my way back to Scotland, some of it for things I really needed around home, but some… not so much. I can’t afford this lifestyle anymore plus I said a dozen times already that I’m sick of being surrounded by clutter. As much as I hate doing this, because it means I’m not fully grown yet, I’ve decided to go on a total shopping ban for October. The only thing I’ll allow myself to do is to buy some clothes (since I’m going to Aberdeen for a couple of days in mid October), as clothes are the last thing I usually buy and I really need a few things (lol). Everything else is out of discussion for the whole month, language learning purchases included.

How I did with my Study

Another not-so-focused-on-LL-month. I’m not much adaptable when it comes to studying a language (or studying in general, for what matters), meaning, I need to have a clear schedule and a clear space if I want to be productive. If I’m lucky enough, I should have worked hard during September in order to allow myself to have exactly this in October.

Personal/Misc

I feel like I’ve been reading a lot more lately. The Highlife Libraries app allows me to borrow ebooks that I can read directly on my iPad and this is a huge benefit for me (especially for those times when I’m back home and I don’t want to travel back and forth with huge tomes in my bag). I’ve also watched an anime [あの日見た花の名前を僕達はまだ知らない] that had been on my to be watched list for a while and enjoyed it. (On a side note, there is a much wider selection of anime on Netflix Italia than Netflix UK 😟)

October’s goals

  1. take part in Hacking Chinese’s October reading challenge
  2. enjoy all the items of my October subscription box (💜)
  3. manage to study Japanese a couple of times a week
  4. try to implement my monthly and weekly plans as much as I can
  5. enjoy the season (autumn walks, pumpkin-everything, Halloween, etc.)
  6. take care of my pink hair 😀

Habit of the month : yoga practice from 6:30 to 7:00 AM

{Simple Life Project} My own subscription box

I couple of weeks ago, I had an idea.

I’ve been thinking about joining a subscription box service for quite a while now, as it seems like a very fun and convenient way for trying out new products, and also a quite original act of self-pampering. Here in the Uk you can find subscription boxes for almost every kind of interest [though I haven’t found a language learning subscription box for adults yet!].

I never actually subscribed to any of these services since

  1. I have way too many interests
  2. I couldn’t honestly justify the purchase of yet another beauty product / stationery item / tea box etc.

But I love self-pampering and treating myself to something nice (self-love has never been really an issue for me, ha). So a thought crossed my mind, what if I created a ‘subscription box’ for myself with a few nice goodies to enjoy when I’m winding down in the evening?
This was around February, but shortly after that I moved to Scotland and nothing actually followed.

Fast forward to the end of August, out of nowhere this idea came back to me. But with a new, wholesome meaning.

I’ve talked recently about my intention of living a less cluttered and materialist life. I think the main events that sparked off my new inclination were the two moves I experienced this year (first across Europe, then within Scotland). I don’t think we have a clear idea of how much stuff we actually own until we physically have to pack and move everything. I was honestly pretty disappointed in myself for having spent a lot of money for things that I don’t use – not because I don’t like them but, even worse, because I have too many already and I can’t find the time for them.

So, the result of connecting these two ideas: I’m going to set up a ‘subscription box’ for myself every other month or so with a selection of items I already possess that I’ve been neglecting for too long and that I want to concentrate on during that specific month. Items of choice there will be of course those of my main areas of interest – novels, LL books, stationery, makeup and beauty products, teas and herb teas mostly.

I know it may sound like a super silly idea from someone who has definitely too much time on her hands, but as foolish as it may seem I think I’m going to enjoy it. What I’m trying to recreate is that feeling of excitement and contentment that we get when we buy something new for ourselves – without actually spending money or invading my home with new clutter.

I plan to have my first box ready for October 1st, and then possibly a second one for December. Let’s see how this craziness go 😆

 

Preparing for Autumn

Autumn is probably my favourite season of the year, mainly because I love its warm colours and crispy air (plus the pumpkins!). When I was living in Italy it was also more than welcome since it marked the end of the torrid summer. I definitely don’t have this problem now that I’m living in far north Scotland, but I’m still anticipating the glorious red and yellow leaves of Scottish forests.

So today I’m talking about the things that I’m going to enjoy in the next couple of days in order to be fully prepared when fall officially strikes on Fri, Sept 22nd.

 

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(1) new study books, pens, and notebooks

If there’s something that I miss from my school and uni days, it’s the ritual of buying and lining up my new textbook and stationery goodies for the upcoming academic year. I still tend to think in terms of September-August rather than January-December sometimes, so when fall comes I feel the urge to prepare myself with new books and note papers. I think this is particularly important for us language self-learners as it can be a significant source of study motivation.

 

(2) natural home deco

I like to shift decorations around according to the different times of the year, and the good thing about autumn is that you can do everything yourself with the product natures spontaneously offers us. Which is environmental AND budget friendly at the same time, win win 🙂

 

(3) revived skincare routine

Colder months mean drier skin for me, so taking care of it becomes a number one priority during fall and winter (first world problems, I know). Scottish biting wind is definitely not a friend of my face, hands and hair so I get to be a little more over-indulgent with my body lotions and hair treatments. Essential products of the season are: bath salts, argan oil, shea butter and dry body brush.

 

(4) amber warm tea cups

I said a billions times before how much of a tea lover I am, which in turn has brought me to buy way more tea products than I’m actually able to consume at a given time. This is the right moment to draw from my ‘collection’ of brews and herbal teas as a source of both warmth and taste.

 

(5) comfy in, comfy out

I’m not much of a fashion girl, plus I have super sensitive skin all around my body and I feel really uncomfortable when wearing clothes and shoes made from rough materials. One of the (many) reasons I don’t like summer is that wearing sandals always irritates the skin of my feet – while as fall strikes I can go back to my beloved soft and woolen booties much to my satisfaction.

 

(6) red leaves. of course.

This is a classic and I’m not going to apologise for that. I honestly think that no one on this earth can remain indifferent in front of the beauty of autumn’s colours. I’m an environmentalist and a nature lover so this season really brings a status of true piece of mind for me.

 

(7) autumn book lists

As much as I love nature I’m also a proud coach potato, so I don’t really need an excuse to stay home on Saturday afternoons. Books are a huge source of joy and content for me, and for some reason reading in fall and winter always seems particularly luxurious.

 

(8) pumpkin soup

I feel like I have to mention pumpkins in a post talking about autumn, so here it is. Colder months definitely call for warm soups like potato and leek or minestrone, but the colour of this one is just too fall-ish not to be my favourite during the season.

 

(9) darker colours lipsticks

I started wearing lipsticks no more than a year and a half ago (baby steps), and I usually prefer to go with some more neutral colours. But autumn always inspires me to be bolder with my style, especially if I’m wearing an all-black or white & light grey outfit.

 

There are at least other 10,000 things that I love doing in autumn [like driving in the rainy night with my fav synthwave playlist on, ha!], but I think this is enough for the first days of the new season.

I would love to hear from fellow language learners what are their study plans for this fall =)

Back to normal life and the status of my LL


Back to Scotland, back to my regular routine.

We are halfway through September already and where I come from this is going-back-to-school time. It’s the right moment to line up the textbooks and brush the dust off pens and notebooks.

We are in the final quarter of the year and I’m more than ready to start making plans and ticking tasks off my list. I’ll talk about what I want to accomplish before the end of the year in another post, since I still have to sit down and make up my mind in this regard. For now, I would like to think about what I’ve done so far and where I stand with regards to my my general routine and language learning goals.

Since I spent a good part of September back home, I want for the rest of the month to be a preparation time for the final sprint in Oct-Nov-Dec. This year I finally have the chance (and time!) to think seriously about the things that I want to achieve before December 31st, and I definitely don’t want to miss this chance. Since I always rant about my chronic lack of time, I wanted to say something positive for once 🙂

First, if I want to get anything done, I need to go back to my morning and weekly routine. Before leaving I had quite a good rhythm in place, and I was feeling much more productive. This is the first thing I have to work on, from like week 1.

Second, Chinese. Have I figured out what I want to do with my study? Not yet, and not completely. But at least I know what my goal is (HSK3) and I’m more or less aware of what the resources in my possession are. My plan is to pick up a textbook from the ones I already used in the past, keep up with listening exercises as much as I can and re-adjust from there.

Lastly, Japanese. This is fairly easy as I don’t plan on changing my routine for now (JPod101 + Duolingo). I have a serious project of a Japanese trip in 2018 so this should be enough to keep me motivated.

On a final note, while we were in Italy the significant other and I got married. It’s no big deal as we’re been together for almost 8 years, and we have lived under the same roof for the last 7 months – but just so you know 🙂 

 

{Other Things… Asian} My 5% Korean life

Korean is actually the one Northern East Asian language I’m not learning at the moment (and I want to emphasise at the moment). Nonetheless, as an East Asian lover I’m drawn to their culture and curious to know their lifestyle better, so I think it’s just normal to have Korean bits and pieces in my everyday life.

(1) Korean Dramas

Ok, I said this ad nauseam: I LOVE Korean dramas. For some weird reason I find them more entertaining than the other Asian dramas, and we always have the best OST. On Wunderlist I have a dedicated list with more than 30 Korean dramas titles that I hope to watch before I die. Will I ever make it on time?

  1. I remember you / Hello Monster – One of my fav dramas of all times (reviewed here), with the perfect actors and the perfect soundtrack. This ignited my love for crime dramas.
  2. Goblin – My currently watching. I’m not a huge fan of romantic stories but Gong Yoo is simply amazing, and the comic sketches between the goblin and the grim reaper are just so worth watching.
  3. The K2 – dark, twisted and full of political intrigues. I love this kind of dramas because they fulfil my need for complicated and intriguing plotlines. Corruption, fraud, extortion and blackmail hook me up much more than misunderstanding-based love tangles.
  4. Descendants of the Sun – I still have to watch it, but I already know I’ll love it. The photography is amazing and I think I’ll find the romance much more interesting than those in regular romantic dramas.
  5. The Good Wife (Korean) – I’ve been a fan of the American version for a long time, but the last 2 seasons of it were a huge disappointment for me. I actually enjoyed a lot this Korean transposition and I honestly like the way the story developed here, more than in the American version.

 

(2) Korean Groceries

I’m not a huge connoisseur of Korean food products as I’m more into Chinese and Japanese cuisine, but when I was still in Italy I had this amazing international food market in the city centre that had everything from all Asian countries, and it has helped me a lot knowing something amore about Korean food. My current staples are:

a. gochujang paste (super spicy, super tasty!)
b. firm tofu (significant other’s favourite)
c. aloe vera juice (sweet and delicate, exactly the way I like it)

 

(3) Korean Pop Music

Another field in which I’m not exactly an expert (and this stands for China and Japan as well) is the kpop and idol scene. I don’t follow much the contemporary music arena in general (I’m a 80s gal) and I don’t find the whole idol marketing particularly alluring [that’s just who I am].

I came in contact with Kpop back in 2014 when a friend recommended a video on youtube of a Korean song ‘subbed’ in Italian (I don’t know if this is a trend going on with other languages as well). I found it hilarious, but I actually ended up liking the song a lot as well. I still know less than 10 Kpop songs in total (lol), but I have a few staples that can never be missing in my phone playlist:

  1. Infinite, The Chaser – the song I was talking about (the ‘subbed’ one). Every time I try to watch another video of another song from Infinite I’m never able to recognise any of the singers 😅  is it just me or are they constantly replaced by clones? Idk, still, this is my favourite Korean sonG of all times and the music video is just AMAHZING
  2. Dear Cloud, Remember – The main theme from Hello Monster (ah! those feelings!). Drama are and remain the No. 1 source of my Asian music acculturation 🤓
  3. Ara T, Lovey Dovey – Ok this one is a sort of a mystery – I found it on my MacBook a couple of years ago but I actually have no idea of where it came from. But the rhythm is just so perfect, I’ve been loving it ever since (and the song’s video is just… well, so Kpop).
  4. 4minutes, Volume Up – this is another of those ’subbed’ songs that are supposed to make you laugh. It did, indeed, but I also had the time to fall in love with each and everyone of the ‘vampirized’ girls in the video XD
  5. Korean indie pop – I discovered this trend on yt a couple of months ago and I’ve been addicted ever since. These are not actually songs I would upload on my iPhone, but they have become my morning and night routine soundtrack since then. My fav playlists are those from Danielions.

 

(4) Homemade Bibimbap

OH MY. Nobody told me about this superb Korean dish, how is that possible???? I discovered it while watching this video about on year ago and it has become one of my favourite dishes ever since. It is to heart-warming and complete (nutritionally speaking), plus the taste! Can we talk about the taste?? It ranks third in my overall food ranking, right after ramen and カレーライス.

 

(5) Korean Beauty

Another huge, HUGE trend on the internet all over the world right now. I was quite familiar with Japanese beauty products and I still love them, but I have to say, the Koreans know it better. I placed my first order on YesStyle back in March this year and I can’t wait to buy more stuff soon. I’m currently full of skincare products at home, so unfortunately I cannot justify another order at the moment. These are the K beauty products of my current skincare routine:

  1. Laneige lip sleeping mask (for those terrible Scottish wintery months)
  2. COSRX Advanced snail mucin power essence (it fades red marks like anything else in the world)
  3. Banila & Co. Clean It Zero (it seems like I’m removing my makeup with clouds – and the scent!)

 

These are all the ways Korea is actually featuring in my everyday life. I honestly can’t wait to start also learning the language – but sssssssh! Better don’t tell anyone around me as they think I’m out of my mind enough already 😅

 

{Planner Maniac} My current GTD-inspired planning system

I’ve often talked on my latest planner-related posts about my long-lasting planner slump and how unsteady not having a good planning system was making me feel.

After a brief flirt with Strike Thru back in April (I still think that with minor tweaks it’s a valid system, that’s why I funded Chris’ kickstarter), I’ve been in my current setup for more than 3 months now, which means I can safely say this time it’s going to last.

As much as I love bound notebooks (the first planner that I ever successfully used was a Moleskine after all) and the sturdy feeling they give when you hold them in your hands, I realise I just can’t give up the flexibility and adaptability that a ring planner can provide you. So, I thought, why can’t I just have both?

(a) The weekly calendar

I bought this Paperblanks weekly planner at the beginning of February and it has been the only reliable and constant piece of my 2017 planner embarrassment. It’s compact, it’s ruled and it’s just plain beautiful. It’s so compact in fact that it has allowed me to pair it with a ring planner to hold my lists, notes and to dos – my Boston Compact Filofax in pink.

(b) The GTD inspired system

I’ve never finished reading the book but I’ve seen so many videos and read so many articles on the subject that I’m pretty familiar with David Allen’s preachings. I briefly toyed with a GTD-based planner last year for a couple of months and liked it quite a bit, so back in May I thought that maybe it was worth going back to a system that had worked before. I currently have 6 sections in it, though I may tweak them a little in the future as I develop a more in-depth idea of what I need best.

(i) Brain dump

After my dashboard (where I keep pasted page flags and sticky notes) and under my section No. 1, I have my brain dump. I don’t know why I didn’t include it in my first attempt at GTD last year, since it has proven so useful. I recently talked about it so I won’t repeat myself here. I don’t have photos of it because it’s just old unused Filofax weekly pages scribbled across that I discard once I’ve transferred all the items in the appropriate section.

(ii) Lists By Context

This is the one bit that I find particularly useful and original in the system. Instead of having a endless master to do list that just becomes a big mishmash, or crowding my weekly/daily pages with excessive tasks I won’t be able to complete in any case, I find it very useful to just divide up and organise my tasks by physical location/time frame. I still have to figure out perfectly how many lists I actually want to have in this section, but for now the most essential are @Home, @TheMac, @TheLibrary and Someday/Someday. I also have a running list of things I want to buy for the new house.

(iii) Daily Pages Bullet Journal style

This is the best I’ve come up with. As I was explaining in my One Book July 2017 reflection post, this is the section I’m still pretty much struggling with. I like the free format and the flexibility it allows me, but there have been times I’ve felt a lack of structure. I’ll work more on this once I’m back from Italy.

(iv) The Projects Section

These are pages that I just transferred from the previous planner (as it’s clearly visibile by the date on the page above). I was inspired by this post (which is actually the one that had me trying the whole GTD system in the first place) to integrate my projects more into my daily life, so I wanted to have some details right at hand in my planner. I’ve not updated these pages yet, but just having them with me all the time helps me feeling more connected to my purpose.

(v) The Reference Section

Here I keep various lists that I need to look at from time to time + general reference material that is essential for my planning sessions. I like how useful this section has turned out to be, and I find myself constantly referring back to it.

I also have a 6th tab with materials related to my job hunting.

I already know I’ll have to tweak some parts of this planner, but the point is that fixing minore loose ends in a system  that works is very different from jumping restlessly from one book to another. Is this system boring? Yes, definitely, but that’s not the focus here. I don’t need my planner to amuse me and I’m well past the point in which I care about stickers and decorations and all that jazz.

Productivity for productivity’s sake.