Busy, crazy life

Apologies for not getting the next instalment in the “Apps I Use” series up yet, life has been rather busy (and will be for the next week).
I’m involved in a stage show that opens at the end of the week, so I’ve been practically living at the theatre, with limited internet & computer access. In addition to that, I’m doing an intensive unit that will have me at uni all next week – so my week looks something like:
7:30am – get train to uni
9am-5pm – uni
5:30pm – get bus to theatre
6:30-11:00pm – rehearsal
Rinse and repeat Mon-Fri.
Sometimes I wonder why I do this to myself every year – but I love it, so I keep going back.


Apps I Use – AwesomeNote

This is the app I’ve landed on after using what feels like a GAZILLION different planner apps over the last 4 years. I only use it on my iPad (not phone) because I generally use my iPad like I would a paper planner – it is the same size, and is easy to write/type/view entries on.

One thing to note is that I still use iCal for inputting events etc as a general rule, because it is easier to input from that program than in AwesomeNote (from this point forward, referred to as A-Note). (I’ve sent them a suggestion to include a week calendar view in a future update, so we’ll see what happens there.)

I use A-Note in all the same ways I used to use my paper planner/diary. I always bought an A5 sized ‘day to a page’ diary, because that gave me plenty of room to write in everything each day – events, to-dos, quick notes, journal entries. This is why I really like this app – it enables me to put in my journal entries, view all my calendar events and to-dos, and also to filter those by calendar or to-do list.

I have separate calendars (for easy colour-coding) and separate to-do lists for everything – and in A-Note I’ve set it up so that I have a “Study” category (which shows me all my uni-related to-dos and calendar events), as well as several other categories for general to-dos, my journal entries, and other random bits and pieces. It also all syncs to Evernote, so I can easily access all my notes (including journal entries) from wherever.

The app I was using previously (before A-Note) was Calendars 5, which is fantastic if you just want to have your calendar and to-dos in the same place. I like the UI better on Calendars 5 than on A-Note (Calendars 5 looks much more like the iOS7 calendar, and I like the clean look), but A-Note has the additional functionality I was after. I may switch back to Calendars 5 at some point in the future, but it will depend on what I do with my journalling.


*EDIT* – I have switched back to Calendars 5 for the time being, as Notability suddenly got all glitchy on me for some reason (kept stuffing up my lists and stuff) and Day One was the “free app of the week” last week so I’ve been using that for my journalling. I think I now prefer this set-up, I haven’t deleted AwesomeNote off my iPad yet, but I think it will happen soon.

Apps I Use – Evernote

I use Evernote for EVERYTHING. Quite literally.

I use it to take random notes of stuff I need to remember, or jotting down ideas. I use it for journalling. I use it for uni notes & assignments. It’s my recipe archive, and I use it for meal planning.

I discovered Evernote in 2012 when I switched to a Mac. I used to use OneNote on my PC, but at the time, this wasn’t available on Mac, so I looked for something else to use. I think OneNote is still fantastic, but after 2 years of the stream-lined look of Evernote, OneNote’s interface seems to ‘busy’. I love the fact that on OneNote you can pick colours for the notebooks, but I can spend HOURS (literally) setting up colour-coding if I’m left to my own devices, and therefore the lack of this in Evernote actually makes it more suitable for me.

So, how do I use it?

For Uni

I like to handwrite my lecture notes during class, and I also like to hand-write the notes I take from the required readings for each class. But after I’ve taken those notes, I type them into Evernote. This makes them easier to read, and I can search them easily if I need to find a particular topic or keyword.

I use it to collect all my information when I’m researching for assignments – I tend to have 3 pages for this by the time I’m ready to write the full assignment – I start with a page where I put down my topic, the sections/questions I need to cover in the assignment, & other important info (number of words, due date, special requirements). Then I have a second page where I take all my notes – I’ll put the reference for the article/book, followed by all the notes from that source. Finally, I have a third page where I put the notes into the order I’d like them in, in order to write the assignment.

For Journalling

I used to have a notebook that was my journal, but since I’ve started using AwesomeNote I put the entries in there instead. AwesomeNote then syncs with Evernote, so I can look at my journal from either app.

For Recipes & Meal Planning

I save recipes in Evernote, and tag them with various details about the meal (chicken/beef/pasta, cooking time, # serves, etc) so that I can sort through them easily. When I plan out meals for the month (monthly pay = monthly shopping = monthly meal planning) I search through based on what meat or other things are on special, and select recipes based on that. I have a notebook for meal plans, and link the items in my meal plan directly to my saved recipes in Evernote, so when I want it I just click on the name and the recipe comes up.


Apps I Use!

I got an iPad way back in my first year of uni (2010) and I swear, it was the best thing I’ve ever done (and that’s about all you’ll hear from me about the fact that I am an Apple convert). However, I’m referring less to purchasing the iPad and more generally to the idea of a tablet for school work. I use my iPad heaps for my uni work, and have gradually come to use it for practically everything.

The following are the apps I use most often, and over the next few weeks I’ll provide a bit more info about what I use them for.

*I’m not getting anything from any of the developers for these posts. I am doing it to share how I use these programs to organise my life, and why I use these particular ones*




Easy (Cheap) Minestrone

So, I made this yesterday. The recipe varies a bit each time I make this, depending on what I have in the pantry – but this is the basic template.
In my big slowcooker (6L), this makes about 12 serves.

Basic ingredients
– 2x 440g cans diced tomatoes
– 2 cups of various dried beans/legumes/soup mix (soup mix has split peas, barley and a few types of beans in it) (or canned beans – you’d need 2-3 cans)
– 1 stock cube (or replace 500ml of the added water with premade
– 1 brown onion, finely chopped
– 250g dry pasta
– seasonings/herbs to taste (I generally add worcestershire sauce and some mixed herbs)

Optional extras
– diced bacon
– various veges (celery, swede, turnip, potato, carrot, spinach, cabbage, WHATEVER). Hard veges and spinach/cabbage should be added at the start of the process. Frozen veges should be added with the pasta (or they’ll go to mush)

1. If you’re using dried beans, set them to soak for at least an hour (but overnight is best) before starting this recipe. Adding a tsp of bicarb to the water helps them rehydrate quicker. Make sure you rinse them before adding to the slow cooker.
2. Put everything except the pasta into a slow cooker. Add about 2-3L of water and set to Low. Leave for about 8hrs (flexible time here, I left the lot I made yesterday for 12hrs purely because I went out and was out for longer than I planned).
3. About 1/2hr before serving, add pasta and seasonings to taste. Set cooker to High and leave for an additional 30-45mins, or until pasta is al dente.

This freezes fantastically, and I’d happily eat it every day for lunch during winter 🙂
If you dont have a slow cooker, this can be made on the stove, you just have to keep an eye on it so it doesnt burn or boil over. Bring to boil then reduce to lowest heat setting, leave (stirring occasionally) until beans etc are cooked through, then add pasta.
For a smaller pot, just halve all measurements (except the onion – just use the whole thing, it’s easier).


Hello and welcome!

Hi Everyone!

I’d been thinking about this for a while, and finally decided to bite the bullet and do it…

I’m 24 (almost 25), married to an awesome guy (Hubby) and living in Queensland, Australia. I love sci-fi/fantasy (the whole genre – games, books, TV, movies), reading, crafty stuff, music, and cats. I will avoid putting TOO many pictures of my cat on here, but he is my fur-baby. So no promises there 🙂 And I love cooking – fair warning, my stuff doesn’t tend to look particularly attractive, but it tastes FANTASTIC (just a bit of shameless boasting, sorry).

I’m in my final year of my psychology degree, and aiming to start a science degree next year. I’m aiming for an MD (in the long-term), so the science degree is taking a step in that direction. Health and family issues have meant that my marks aren’t what I’d have liked them to be, so the science degree is going to be bolstering my GPA (and getting me back into the science thing, seeing as I haven’t touched it since high school!).

I’m re-evaluating my study and learning methods, as well as my health and fitness, and I’ll be sharing my journey as I go. I’ll also share my cooking and crafting adventures 🙂