Saturday, 31 December 2011

Christmas Update....


Well Christmas is over for another year and I hope you all had a super lovely break with your family and friends. Mr P and I spent it together just us. We were tucked up in our little house for 4 days cooking our own turkey and enjoying having some time off together doing nothing.

Part of me feels very selfish for doing this and not spending the holidays with our family (although I am off to visit mine on Thursday for a Christmas/New Year celebration) but for us it was a lovely way to close off what has been a year of ups and downs....

For those who are new to my blog a quick recap (cue blurry dream sequences)

This time last year we had just found out Mr P had cancer. At this stage we didn't know what type, what kind, how bad, any prognosis etc etc. Needless to say that was the most stressful Christmas ever. We spent it at Mr P's family home in Cornwall and it was lovely but for me the horrible thought that this could be the last one (yep I'm a pessimist in these things, in my family good news stories of the Big C variety are non existent) weighed heavily on my mind at all times. Despite all the fun stuff - and we even had snow and a white Christmas - the fear of what lay ahead was always present, I can't help it I'm a worrier...

Roll forward 12 months and Mr P is very much still with us, he has for all intention purposes beaten his cancer. Yes he still has regular checkups, no he's not yet discharged completely from the hospital but they are just monitoring him. There are no scheduled plans for any more treatment and he is as far as we are concerned, fixed. Or as Gordon Ramsay would say "Cancer. Done!"

This Christmas there are so many things that are new and exciting and positive...we are now engaged after Mr P's super romantic proposal in Paris, we have less than 3 until we fly off to Whistler for a 2 week skiing break (yep be fearful Canadian skiers this is my first ski trip you have been warned) and we are planning on getting ourselves a little kitten when we get back to add to our little seaside household. So life is amazingly good and I am so incredibly thankful as for a twist of fate it could of all been so different....

So back to my original train of thought, while I do feel selfish this year for staying home, being just us, it was also just the most perfect Christmas, being just us. I adore this man I am not ashamed to say - although after my last blog post about Star Wars notebooks the same cannot be guaranteed from Mr P ;0) and I am really looking forward to New Year's Eve, not because I enjoy going out on New Years (I don't I hate it, but Mr P is playing with his band and I love watching them!) but I can't wait to see the back of 2011 and say you may have started off sucky but damn, you ended really bloody well!!

So Happy New Year to all my readers, I send you best wishes for the start of 2012 and to all the exciting things that a new year brings (and yes I include new Filofax diary inserts in that!)


Wednesday, 28 December 2011

Notable Obsessions....dum dum dum da de dum da de dum

Me in Vegas with Darth Vader and Boba Fett
So as you may know if you read my blog I am a little lot obsessed with stationery - Filofax, Post Its, notebooks, pens, pencils...the list is endless. Maybe it is because I am a September child when going back to school meant new stationery and my birthday so therefore presents! Or possibly I'm just one of those geeky people who loves paper more than anything, I mean choosing nice cards and gift wrap is a key part of the gift giving process don't you agree?

Anyhoo for Christmas I was very lucky and received a fantastic gift from my bestie M the Moleskine large Star Wars notebook...

I had been coveting this and it's sister version since I saw them seeing as I am a) the biggest Star Wars nerd (and my gorgeous fiance bought me episodes 4-6 on Blu Ray for Christmas as well - geek heaven!!!) and b) I love Moleskine notebooks. Look how gorgeous they all are:

Image from The Paperie
The large book that I have is just slightly larger than a personal Filofax size (or is 13x21cm if we want to be precise) and looks like so:

Side by side with the Personal Deco

End to end with the Deco

Underneath the Deco (yep it is gratuitous Amethyst Deco shots once again!!)

Note the Star Wars book is still in its shrink wrap!

And here in lies my dilemma....the sad, tragic nerd that I am I can't quite bring myself to open the plastic wrap for fear of damaging the notebook (tragic I know). I'm currently debating buying another one from The Paperie (AMAZING site - if you haven't checked it out you should do so and no I don't get paid for saying that I just find their site full of the most gorgeous items - be warned though it is very difficult to leave without spending a fortune - my current basked total that I'm browsing is £67!!!)

In that basket I have a duplicate of the Christmas Star Wars notebook, one each of the two Star Wars designs in pocket plus a Lamy Safari pencil in charcoal, a Lamy fountain pen that is on sale, an Emma Bridgewater notebook that I'm planning on using as a journal in 2012, some notecards and a Moleskine Style Journal as I want to try and improve my work outfit co-ordination in 2012 (more on that and general 2012 resolutions, Christmas updates coming soon dear neglected blog readers).

Anyway (as always I'm rambling!) is it total madness to want to order these notebooks and keep them in pristine condition and not use them? Am I actually going bonkers? What will I be saving them for? A world apocalypse? Not sure they will actually be that useful unless there is indeed a sonic pule all money is rendered useless and the geeks take over and rule the earth...maybe then they will be key bartering goods that will secure safe passage in the new apocalyptic landscape....! OK not so likely but it could happen (or maybe it is too much Big Bang Theory and coffee....)

But for some insane reason I just can't bring myself to strip the plastic off this stunning Star Wars number in case they sell out and I can't get any more, I mean it is limited edition and I am OBSESSED with Star a notebook in the drawer really worth 2 in the hand????

So dear readers what should I do? Should I order a "spare" to use so that I can keep one pristine? And if I do use one what should I use it for? It needs a noble purpose I can't just use it for shopping lists (wouldn't be able to tear out any of the pages for a start!!)

Would I look deranged if I use a Star Wars notebook as my wedding planner journal? (Will Mr P actually want to marry me if I do???) Can I justify the spend on buying more notebooks I may never use but just keep "safe"? After 4 days indoors over Christmas break maybe it really is time for me to leave the house.........



Saturday, 3 December 2011

December already?

I've been a very lax blogger again work/study and for a change lots of social life things have taken all the time out of November. But I'm very excited to have discovered the Blogger app on the iPhone! Blogging on the move when I have a free minute GENIUS!!!

So a wee update on life at Chez Louloudorset recently...

I've been to Alton Towers, seen Stephen Merchants stand up tour, been considering my set up for 2012 and which Filofaxes I'm using for why - I feel a change is needed for my work and study management. Plus of course we are planning a wedding!!!

I've sort of started my Christmas shopping and its only 41 sleeps until we fly to Canada for our skiing holiday (eek)

With an assignment due in on Monday and full weekend of school starting the next module on Analysis and Decision next week it's a hectic time!!

However there have been several things that have got me through the month...

1. My new Clarks knee high, flat brown boots. Super comfy, really practical, look gorgeous and as they came in wide leg fitted perfectly around my chunky calves - plus I got cash back of £7!!

2. Top cash back - I'm new to the whole cash back idea but it's amazing! Getting money back on things I was buying online anyway = genius!!!

3. Rimmel 60 second nail polish. I hadn't tried this until last week and it's amazing. It really does dry that quick and even through because I'm wearing a dark plum colour it needed 2 coats it looks amazing. Mega bargain too!!

4. My new iPhone 4S. I'm still in love with this upgrade. The screen is so much clearer, the processing so much quicker and I love Siri if only for the comedy factor hehe

5. And finally my new study area that Mr P set up for me in our spare room and where I will be spending the entirety of this weekend!! My gorgeous girlie noticeboard helps keep me inspired and having all my study bits all in one place is so much easier than having to cart them around the house all the time.

So everyone ready for Christmas??? My next mission will be to convince Mr P it's time to get the decorations out of the loft - not sure I'm going to win that one yet though.....


Wednesday, 2 November 2011

I Love Harper's Bazaar....

So I was at work on Monday, miserable cold weather outside the window feeling all the Monday blues when I got a phone call on my mobile. As I didn't know the number I let it go to voicemail (well I was working very hard at the time). When I picked up the message at 5.30 you could have knocked me off my chair! It was only a lovely lady from Harper's Bazaar asking me to give her a call as I'd won the Filofax competition they ran in the last issue...

Yep. You read that correctly. I WON A FILOFAX IN A COMPETITION!!!! Like a real proper competition for something lovely. And I won. I never win competitions!!!!!

So which one was it I hear you cry, well, I'll let the photos do the talking!

I literally ripped open the envelope
Lovely note from Harper's Bazaar
Of course the box was lovely as always
Can you see which one it is?
Yep! It's an Enigma, in Brindle, the one I was lusting after here but was mega expensive!!!
Out of the box and the leather is so soft and smooth, almost silky shiny to touch, and the colours are really warm and autumnal. All in all one very chic looking Filofax I think you'll agree!
I love the metal edging on the clasp fastener
Inside front you have a zip pocket, a full length pocket and 6 credit card holders plus the pen loop
Close up of the pockets 
A cotton cream 2012 week on two pages was included (yay I needed this diary format!!) plus all the usual dividers/paper etc
Close up of the pockets
The inside back cover has a popper pocket
I quite like the idea of this it's similar to the Deco as that also has a popper pocket
The back!
The close up with flash on the camera means the colour looks really washed out. The rest of the photos are a really close match to the actual colour but you can see the pattern well here. 

So there we go, I am a super lucky Filofax fanatic tonight with this gorgeous new addition to my collection!! As I never would have bought it at full price as OMG it's expensive as you can see on the Filofax website

So what do you think my lovelies? Do you love the Enigma or do you think it looks like roadkill like Mr P  who clearly has no taste apart from in women and diamond rings ;0)


Sunday, 30 October 2011

Planner Fail...a Filofax Update!!!

So I had thought I'd found planner nirvana in my set up - I was really happy with the week on one page plus notes format. I'd set up my Uni planner Panama to contain what I thought would be a workable study schedule and I was merrily using my Aqua Finsbury A5 at work with it's day per page diary...

But after several planner fails all at the same time it seems a rethink is needed!


I wasn't keeping on top of my reading and assignment work despite the fact it was so neatly laid out in my Panama because it was in a separate planner and wasn't with me at all times to refer invariably I didn't check it as much as I should have! Basic planner fail....


My week on one page with notes in my stunning Deco while still working OK just hasn't got enough room all of a sudden for me to allocate tasks/appointments and to do's per day and for the week let alone if I were to start including Uni work bits...


So at this point my work system, that had worked so well recently started to fail. Not enough prioritising on lists as I kept having to re-write them each day, I couldn't see the whole week and as for the back breaking weight which meant it was so cumbersome it became more of a hindrance than a use!


Go back to basics and rethink it all that's what!

I am now sporting a fully working A5 Flex (in Pink of course) at work - using the week on two pages diary format and having a separate bound A4 notebook for me to keep track of all the meetings and actions and to dos currently on my plate. More on this planner set up soon!

As for my study/main Filofax - time to merge the two together and create one planner that contains EVERYTHING.....

Having read this post from Girl From Mars last week after it was listed on Philofaxy's Saturday round up (I adore this round up even if it does normally mean I am chained to my laptop/ipad reading for ages after it comes through - I do so love peeking inside everyone else's Filofaxes) the penny dropped how I could create something similar to her Dissertation note page to keep track on what I should be achieving each week for my course.

I've also been re-reading lots of other posts on how people use their week on two page diary inserts, now being a bit of hoarder I of course still have all my 2011 diary inserts that I haven't used so I'm having a bit of a practice for the last two months of this year to see if I can make this format work for me now - as I haven't before! So with some colour coding and neat handwriting I've set up the pages (unfortunately in white and not cream as I can't seem to find those!!) to see how I get on....cue excessive photos on the before and after!!

My beautiful if a little chunky Deco

Isn't she gorgeous...
Inside: some stamps, a Due Boots calf tape measure and money off coupons
My pretty bookmark from Paperchase
Oh and a spare plaster for my recently removed mole (just in case)
Please note cute owl sticker bottom left :)
On the left gorgeous things. On the right my assignment schedule
So this is was my current diary layout (cute Pumpkin sticker!!)
This is next week (old format)
And this is next week (new format)
A week new style with lots of stuff going on so you can see my colour coding:
Colour coding:
Pink = fun stuff (social events etc)
Turquoise = course related timings/work
Red = birthdays (plus stickers obviously)
Black = work related things
Purple = the fiance's band gigs (hehe get very excited every time I write fiance!!)
Blue = randoms (tv shows to watch, things to remember etc)

2012 is still a month view until it actually starts...
Starting to use the to do sheets under the Notes tab
And here is my November to do list plus my Assignment work list
Gratuitous sticker photo hehe
So there you go, I'm still working on the layout and all the new bits for my studies but I am hopeful that the week on two pages tweaks will work for me...I'll keep you posted


Monday, 24 October 2011

A Boobylicious Bag....

Last week I was feeling a little sorry for myself and completely threw all my good work and ideals on the Fab Frugal no shopping challenge out of the window and cheered myself up with some retail therapy. I was feeling a tad down in the dumps after having a mole on my back removed. This turned out to be far more painful than I'd expected and resulted in 5 stitches and due to it's location the inability to wear supportive undergarments for a couple of weeks (this part of the saga is still ongoing!)

Needless to say I felt INCREDIBLY self conscious at my lack of lady support up top - I can hand on heart say that being a relatively busty lady flapping my way down the street and in the office was not something I was looking forward to. Thankfully Marks and Spencer's saved the day with their most amazing shape ware bodysuit - the only thing I could find with no bra fastening at the back - even those secret support vests just caused me pain! Grrrr

Anyhoo along with copious amounts of shape ware and vests I cheered myself up with another purchase, while less useful from a supporting the boobs department it has certainly made me feel just that little bit more well put together and less like a hippy ;o)

So here she is:

She is  a Betty Barclay Black at Debenhams leather bag so her name is of course Betty! With 3 roomy compartments, several little pockets and both short crook of the arm handles and a long shoulder/cross body strap she really is a gem!

Really soft leather and the size - large enough to fit text books and iPad for my current studies as well all the usual stuff I carry around...I'm in love! So to give you an idea of the size here is the gorgeous Deco making an appearance and stealing the show:

Now it would appear that I really do carry around far too much stuff on a day to day basis but thankfully with the pockets and separate areas I can (usually) find everything!!

So what exactly is in there?

Well today was a relatively light day!
  • Purple notebook that I'm using for key questions/thoughts on my assignment for my course
  • My house keys with my gorgeous L keyring from Tiffany in New York by Elsa Peretti
  • My beautiful Ted Baker purse a gift from Mr P
  • Deco Filofax also a gift from Mr P
  • A folding hairbrush/mirror
  • Tissues/ibuprofen/wet wipes/earphones/cereal bar
  • New blue Pilot Frixion - I am loving this new (to me) shade of blue!
  • Lipgloss, pencil case, iPad camera memory card adaptor, smints, hand cream and anti bacterial gel both by Soap and Glory and therefore both smell yummy
  • Make up bag, glasses case, leopard print reusable shopping bag and a new packet of anti shine sheets complete the line up!
Quite often a book and my iPad plus 1 or more magazines are also lurking in there - soon to be joined by gloves (um hello I get it that summer is over but did it have to get quite so cold so quickly?) And of course usually my iPhone 4S as well. Mr P hates delving into my bags for any reason I think he fears loosing some fingers on the monsters that could lurk at the bottom, but I love big bags. How about you? Are you a big bag girl?

I do love reading these posts on other blogs so I hope you enjoyed mine


Saturday, 22 October 2011

The Perfect Wedding Planner...the hunt begins

So instead of being twirled about at a great height on roller coasters for the first time at Alton Towers today I am sat in my kitchen with all my school books studying hard. Or at least I was until it was clearly coffee break time and my mind started wandering. So in the interests of retaining focus I figured a quick 15 minute study respite was in order. So with coffee made and kitkat consumed I felt inspired to write a quick post on a planner decision I need to make....

As you will have read in my previous post this week I recently became engaged to the very lovely Mr P.  To summarise he asked while we were in Paris, after I'd checked for joking/concussion/madness and established he was for some reason serious I accepted and with a massive grin still plastered across my face for the past 2 weeks I started to dream of weddings.

Hurrah all lovely don't you think?

Of course for a stationery and organisational freak like me this means only one thing. NEW PLANNER NEEDED! I mean with so much to think about - venue, service, vows, guests, music, food, drinks, dress, flowers.....of course I need a planner that can both help organise me but also act as an inspiration binder. One that can have copious pages of lists but also cut outs, pictures, samples etc etc

So I had a little scan of Amazon and also researched a couple more and of yes, of course, there is a Filofax in the current shortlist! So HELP PLEASE which planner do you think could be a contender, do you have any suggestions?

First up the Dodo Book of the Big Day

Available from the Dodo Pad website this is similar in style to their other celebration binders with lots of dividers and sections, useful pockets, tips all in a handy A5 size! Plenty of room for samples and lists....and the with lovely graphics and humour that we love about the Dodo Pad brand.

I love my Dodo Pad Christmas binder but is this one special enough to warrant being my wedding planner????

So I continued to look. The second contender is the Smythson Panama Wedding Planner

Available on the Smythson Website this is the ultimate in luxury notebooks. With the Smythson leather cover, the very beautiful Ivory colour and useful tabs for all the key planning topics such as Reception, Flowers etc. However this doesn't have any useful pockets for each section for tear sheets or the like...

Perhaps then I needed something more like the Complete Wedding Planner & Organizer

This planner can be found on Amazon and comes highly recommended by the lovely Crazy Life of J and in fact she has just written the most amazing post all about it here which just goes to show how amazing this binder is, and she shows just how useful and practical it is too!! It's a definite contender as personal recommendations are so important in these things (all Filofax fans know this from Philofaxy and how well the Malden has down purely down to that site and everyone raving about it!!!!)

Of course maybe I am thinking this through too much and with all the Filofax binders I have I could fashion my own planner. Or maybe I could use a pretty wedding notebook like this Our Very Huge Big Day notebook in conjunction with a storage box or ring binder to hold all my tear sheets?

Also available on Amazon here I love this range of stationery I have had several items over the years and the paper quality is good, they hold up well and I do love the brand....

Then I got to thinking about how Mr P and I are quite laid back and I certainly don't want to become a bridezilla to quote that popular cable TV show so this planner appeals quite a lot too:
The Anti-bride Wedding Planner is all about creating the wedding day that you want and making sure you organise it without a hitch. So if you don't want the formal church/sit down meal/flowers and instead are aiming for relaxed, fun and musical this is apparently the planner for you! So this therefore could be the planner for looks fun, has the ethos of wedding planning that I want to adhere to (fun not fanatical) and of course it's PINK! Available again on Amazon here it's another serious contender.

Of course this wouldn't be a blog post without a Filofax mention. And as planning my wedding day to Mr P is likely to take a couple of years (well the saving up for it part at least will I'm sure) and planning is something I love doing so much then maybe I should throw caution (and hard earned money) to the wind and choose this as my wedding planner...

The Osterley Filofax, in A5 size, in Grey

Available on the Filofax website of course this is such a stunning binder that I've been a little bit in love for a while. However had no desire to purchase as I am perfectly in sync with the Amethyst Deco (see here for more on that) but in A5 this could be the perfect planner. Lots of room to have notes, to do's and planning pages. I could personalise the tabs and with the introduction of the clear pockets lots of space for tear sheets and samples.
Of course the Filofax doesn't come with any of the pre-organised tips, notes, guides or planners that the Dodo Pad, Anti Bride and Complete Wedding Planner do - which gives those types of planners lots of appeal.

So my lovely readers what do you think? Which of these lovely planners do you think could plan the perfect wedding without turning me into a bridezilla which would in turn most likely cause Mr P to retract his kind offer?

A dilemma I'm sure you'll agree