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Sunday, 8 February 2015

My Submissions; UK Planner Addicts February 2015 Photo Competition

Here are my submissions for the UK Planner Addicts February 2015 photo competition. Days one through to eight are where I'm at right now, given that it's 08th February!

You can find more information about the UKPA photo competition here.

Day one: Handmade.

Day two: Wishes. 

Day three: Travelling.

Day four: Rings.

Day five: Handwriting.

Day six: Looking Forward.

Day seven: Relax.

Day eight: Colourful

More to come soon, hopefully...!

A Year of Being Mum

This post is a little late. Forgive me. William turned the big O-N-E little over one month ago, and it was a busy, emotional, but of course wonderful time.

My first year as a Mum was sometimes difficult, testing & hard. Some days I wanted to break down and cry, and I felt frustrated and worried and alone. Some days I wanted to go back to work (and attempted to do so), and I wanted spa breaks and a still-hot-cup-of-coffee, if you please.

But, my first year as a Mum was incredible, and I wouldn't have changed a single day for the world. I learnt I could do things I thought impossible. I discovered a sense of myself that I never thought I'd find. I heaved myself out of bed on days my depression tried to force me to lay awake under the covers. I made cheese and ham sandwiches with real butter, folded blankets with care, ran towards baby sick, sniffed butt on a daily basis, ate already-chewed dairylee sandwiches and pretended to be a dog.

I raised a kid for a whole year. 365 days of tantrums and spit-up and nappies. 365 days of smiles and cuddles and "I love you so much you giant stinkhead Booboo".

I raised a 7lbs 3oz bundle of fuzz and tears and poop, and I grew him and molded him into a cheeky, mischievous, loving, affectionate, smiley, fluff-ball of a one year old boy. Still full of poop, I hasten to add.

On the left: 07/02/2014. On the right: 07/02/2015. These photos were taken exactly a year apart.

I know it's difficult to tell the difference in the size of him, but let me reassure you that in the left picture I could have carried him in the crook of my elbow; bottom in the palm of my hand. He was a tiny little squidge, still in newborn clothes, still with a mop of hair. He's now about 28lbs, above the average percentile for his age, in size 12mo - 24mo clothes, with so much hair he's already had it cut 4 times! 

William's favourite food is a toss-up between roast chicken with gravy or sausage pasta with basil pesto and strong cheese. He dances to the You've Been Framed opening title music. He likes being bounced up and down, thrown about to nursery rhymes sung in an overzealous manner, having his ribs tickled and his feet nibbled. He doesn't like the vacuum cleaner, going for naps or cauliflower.

He loves Mummy and Daddy, and we love him.

I can't wait to see what this next year brings for him and us. 

Saturday, 7 February 2015

Unveiling the Craft Room

Yep, you heard right. A year and a half ago I had no more than a small plastic box to house my crafty bits & bobs. Now, I have a room. And it's a necessary room, I'll have you know. I have somehow accumulated such masses of stationery and the likes of, that I didn't think it possible.

Christopher painted the room just after Christmas. Pretty much everything arrived from Ikea just before New Year's Day, and it was up and ready within 2 days! It's working wonderfully and I'm proud to say it's still unbelievably tidy. "Yeah right!" I hear you say. It's true though - now it's beautifully organised I have found so much want within myself to keep it neat and organised, and boy oh boy does it feel fab.

And that's that!

Thursday, 9 October 2014

A New Way of Storing My Washi!

I am quite picky about my washi and deco tape storage normally. I organise by set in a craft box:

My method of organisation makes me feel calm. Not long ago, my father in law came round and knocked the box onto the floor. The tapes went everywhere and I nearly cried. Anything unorganised makes me feel anxious, and I panic when I can't find the tape I want.

Yesterday I was rummaging in the kitchen cupboards and found a cake stand that was given to me some Christmas' ago. I rarely bake anymore, so tried to think about a way of putting it to good use.

Then I thought... what about washi storage?! I panicked a little as I took the washi out of the box, but it looked so lovely when I'd finished! I managed to find some glass jars too, to store excess.

Monday, 6 October 2014

Organised Mum Life Book ~ Review

I picked up this Organised Mum Life Book a few days ago when on the most recent UK Planner Addicts Meet. I found it in John Lewis, on the bottom shelf, among many other diaries.

I first heard of Organised Mum through my Home-Start volunteer. I was telling her about my planner obsession and she mentioned them in passing. She mentioned they're based in Tisbury, a very short drive from where I live.

I looked on their website and wasn't very impressed; mainly because I'm a dedicated ring-bound planner kind of girl.

I sat on the floor of John Lewis, thumbed through the pages and felt that it might, maybe, possibly, just work for me.

I spent £13.50 and took it home.

I'm going to refer as the Organised Mum Life Book as the OMLB, Organised Mum as OM and Life Book as LB from here on it.

Thankfully, this OMLB runs from the 18th August 2014; I bought it on the 04th October 2014 which means I was immediately able to complete a week using notes from both my personal day-to-day planner and my (work in progress) A5 Filofax family planner.

This is what OM specify about the LB:
Designed with busy women in mind, the Life Book is brilliantly designed to keep all your appointments, plans and notes in one convenient place. Running for 16 months (starting mid-August 2014 and lasting until December 2015), this popular diary has everything a busy woman needs to help keep up to speed.

Product features:
  • A5 in size with hard-backed cover
  • Week-to-view diary (starts mid-August 2014 to December 2015)
  • Traditional diary layout that provides lots of space for appointments
  • Weekly perforated shopping lists
  • Menu planning and to do lists
  • 288 colourful reminder stickers to highlight important events
  • Monthly planning pages so you can see the whole month at-a-glance
  • Weekly routine pages
  • Yearly planning pages
  • Separate address book that sits neatly inside the diary back pocket that can be moved from year to year to save rewriting
  • Christmas planning pages
  • Summer holiday planning pages
  • Pocket at the back for notes and bills
  • Elastic bandeau to keep the diary closed when you're out and about
  • Two repositionable clear page dividers
Binding: Wiro bound
No. Page: 139
Page Size: A5 (21 x 14.8 cm)
Size: 21.7 x 17 cm
Thickness: 2.6 cm
Today I had a chance to photograph the planner.

The front and back covers are thick card. It's that sort-of-squidgy card that I think will dent easily. I am not particularly impressed with the overall design; it's a little too blue for me. I think it has an extremely autumnal feel as well, and considering this planner is designed for use all year round, I am not sure how I'll feel about it come spring. I wouldn't pick a ring bound planner in this colour, but I guess it will please some people.

The first page on the inside is a Personal Information page; it's pretty standard. I haven't photographed it as I've already written in my details. It has the same blue header that you'll see throughout the rest of the planner.

I suppose this is where my first real gripe comes in. It's not very easy to personalise. Personalising a ring bound planner is easy; you can add things and take things away without any fuss. The spiral binding on the OMLB makes it a little harder to add things and take things away. So why did OM decide a blue header on every page was a good idea? I guess it's for those with no time to decorate. It's a mum's planner. I somehow find the time to decorate my planners and organisers, whereas others might struggle a lot to find two seconds to stick down a strip of washi or affix a sticker. I understand that. But again, I find it irritating. I want to stick things in places and make it my own. I want to match my decoration with the seasons, the mood, the things I'm doing. I guess I still can, but I'll be stuck with a blue header on every damn page.


After the Personal Information page is a 'Useful numbers' page, and a page with both a 2014 and 2015 calender.

Next, 3 x 'Weekly routine' pages (spanning over 6 pages, if you see what I mean...)!

And then we get to the good bit. The actual week on two pages (WO2P) layout for weekly planning. This is what made me say 'oooh' & 'aaah' when I first thumbed through the pages of this planner when sat in John Lewis. The 'blueness' of the planner is forgotten; the perfectness of the layout overrides it all.

On the left page is a shopping list that is perforated so you can tear it out easily and take it shopping. Personally, I won't tear it out. I like my pages intact. But, it's great for taking notes on what I need to buy as soon as I run out. Monday to Thursday is set on the left page too. I'm not normally a fan of writing lines, but the writing lines on these pages are thin and feint so they're not overwhelming.

On the right page is Friday to Sunday. And here's the best part: Saturday and Sunday have the same size boxes as the rest of the week! Hoorah! Finally! I am always busy on a weekend. I need the same space as any other day of the week. Kate Spade understand this. Filofax, Kikki K and Paperchase do not. There's a box for 'Notes & Next Week', space to write your 'Things to do' and 'Important'. As I look at my planner while typing I realise that if you tear out next week's shopping list then you'll lose this weeks 'things to do' and 'important notes'.

The weekly planner pages end on January 03rd 2016. Who thinks that far ahead?!

After the weekly planner pages is a tab titled 'Monthly Planning Pages'. I added the kraft label on the tab.

Each month has a Month on 2 pages overview, a 'to do' page, a 'notes' page, a 'budget' page and an 'income and outgoings page'. The budget page isn't overly comprehensive, but that's OK, because there are spare boxes in which to specify your own expenditure and budget amounts.

You've probably spotted my month tabs. I feel it's necessary that I can very quickly flick to a particular month without spending an hour trying to find it. I used kraft labels, stuck them on, and reinforced with washi tape. 

After the Monthly Planning Pages we come to another tabbed page: 'Christmas and Holidays'. I feel that the next few pages are a bit of a mish-mash, as though they've been thrown together without much consideration in terms of what page should be next to what. Just my opinion...! I am also confused as to why there isn't a section for Christmas 2014 and then another for Christmas 2015, since this planner covers both December 2014 and 2015. This means that if you use the Christmas pages for 2014, you can't use them for 2015, unless you want to buy everyone exactly the same gifts!


Christmas plans:

Christmas budget and Christmas cards:

Christmas presents:

Christmas shopping:

Summer holiday planner (see what I mean? From Christmas to Summer...? Really?!):

Thoughts and plans for 2014 (there's another few pages for 2015 and 2016). Shouldn't 2014 be before Christmas?

At the end of the planner is a page displaying a calender of both 2016 and 2017.

On the inside of the back cover is a pouch that houses the Addresses and Birthdays book that comes with this planner, and the stickers. The stickers are cute. The book on the other hand... I just think it looks cheaply made. It's boring, the paper is thin, and it definitely isn't big enough in terms of how many pages there are.

The stickers are so cute though; as you can see, I've already peeled off the Birthday ones and used all but 1 (oops)!

The OMLB isn't particularly bulky as standard. It's a nice 'bag size'. It's as heavy as you'd expect (it's a wad of paper and card!). It's not much bigger than my personal Filofax, and is definitely smaller than my A5 Filofax. I can see it getting wider for as long as I am using it. I am a serial paper-adder. Post it notes, washi tapes, scraps of paper. I don't think the binding will hold up. It's not particularly durable in the hands of someone like me. I can imagine the binding getting bent and crushed, making it hard to turn the pages. I foresee myself undoing the binding and punching the pages to suit my A5 Filofax. I'm not sure yet though; we'll see.

So how do I feel about this planner?

If I imagine myself as regular person (not necessarily a Mum!) who doesn't have an odd obsession with ring-bound planners, then I'd say this diary is pretty good value for the money. If it stays at home and doesn't get chucked into a bag, or the boot of a car, of a glove box, then I would think that the binding will hold up just fine. If I think of myself as someone who doesn't feel it's absolutely necessary for every scrap of paper to be kept between the pages of a diary, then I am certain the diary won't bulk out too much.

For £13.50 I paid for the pages; I am safe in the knowledge that I can punch holes in them and put them into a ring-bound planner.

I guess it's okay. It's not perfect. It's not the best planner ever invented. It's not an Erin Condren. It does what it says on the packet: designed to keep all your appointments, plans and notes in one convenient place."