Wednesday, 25 May 2011

Loulou's Lunchtime Rant

OK so normally I'm a relatively calm and easy going person but today I'm having a rant. Why? Because nipping out this lunchtime to run a couple of errands and grab some lunch has today been a royal pain in the derriere! The office I work in is based in the very centre of the town right near shops and amenities. Very handy for catching up on all those itty bitty things you need to do on a daily basis. But working in a seaside resort, in summer, when it is sunny, often it turns out to be more trouble than it's worth running these errands. Take today for example:

1. A trip to Boots Opticians to pick up contact lenses ordered by the optician after my appointment on Friday. Firstly, um hello its lunchtime staff might be good? After waiting nearly 10 minutes before being acknowledged the most unhelpful assistant simply said that today's order had come in but until someone sorts it out she can't help me. And should she ring me later. Seeing as these lenses should have arrived yesterday this is poor. So when I said no as I can't just nip out to pick things up I do work for a living could I have a couple more lenses as I'd run out of the new prescription you'd think I'd asked to scale Mount Everest. So yet another 5 minute wait later she finally came back with the replacements and said "thanks then" turned on her heels and left. Terrific customer service, not. Time to start seeking out a new opticians I think!! Oh and another thing, what has happened to Boots stocking sandwiches?? They used to be the go to place for good value sarnies, and didn't the invent the lunchtime "meal deal"? Not any longer a focus for our local store clearly as there is never anything left by 1pm!

2. Tesco's queues and lack of staff - um yep still lunchtime! What is it with the big stores today and thinking that no one would be shopping at lunchtime?? 2 tills open I mean sheesh. This was of course complicated by the extremely large number of doddery OAP's getting confused by the till system!

3. Cash machine's and using EVERY single card to see if I have any money people. While I can understand using a cash machine and not having any money (well the post shopping bug can strike anytime!) I really don't understand people who have 3 or more cards they need to check at the same time. I mean who has more than 2 current accounts??

However my lunchtime trip was cheered up by the sigh of a beautiful blue convertible sports car zooming down the hill. A lovely sunny day, Bournemouth Square - what's the first tune that comes to mind when cruising your car? Oh of course, N-Dubz. And people say Weymouth is chavvy I mean really?


Sunday, 22 May 2011

Three's a dream...well it is when it comes to being organised the Loulou way

My Tri-Filo System

So as you may have noticed I have a bit of a Filofax fixation. Have I mentioned this? Anyway my systems have recently had a bit of a revision and I'm now running 3 planners!! This may seem mad to some people BUT read on and you'll see how it works for me!!

First up, my lovely A5 Aqua Chameleon that was the result of the Philofaxy meet up in London:

Isn't she pretty?
Having already fallen in love with the look and feel of the Raspberry Chameleon that I have in the personal size when I was on the look out for a new A5 Filofax for work (fancied a change from my Bronze Domino Snake) and saw the Aqua I thought it could be a winner. But after seeing the original photographs from the catalogue I wasn't that keen. Which just goes to show that the actual colours are sometimes very different when you physically see them.

In the A5 I run the week on one page with notes format. I use this in all my filos. It works so well for me being able to list appointments and key to dos all in one place. The important thing for me in my work planner is being able to use it for To Dos and Notes as well as the agenda/calendar side of things and that is where the extra room in the A5 comes in so handy (although I am thinking potentially the new Flex product could be a work suitable winner!!)

A typical week

Anyway, you will see I have lots of coloured tabs for my different sections whether that is Team Stuff, notes from meetings with my boss or our consultant or magazine specific notes. This means I always have the latest notes and minutes to hand wherever I am in the building. Invaluable!

Spangly tabs

My second Filofax is the gorgeous Crimson Malden. This is a recent bargain purchase courtesy of the fantastic City Organiser site. This is my personal Catch All planner where Everything gets listed and recorded. And is big enough to write copious amounts of lists in - for example with Isle of Wight and Glastonbury festivals coming up I've got shopping lists, packing lists, must see lists and remember lists coming out of my ears!! These lists make using my Pocket Deco at the moment just a little too small for me.

Ooh it's the Malden

In here I use the standard Tabs with the addition of 2 clear Filofax dividers to highlight quickly my key notes areas for Festivals and Day Planner sheets. I've got inspirational tear outs from magazines of things I want to read/look up/buy and items that are almost like a mobile mood board for say the redesign of the garden we are currently doing at the moment. Well my pictures focus on furniture and plans for my pots but you get the idea!!

Just inside the Malden

I have to say the Malden is just so yummy. Te soft leather feels so delicious, the handy notepad pocket at the rear is AWESOME so I can use my ruled yellow pad - so much easier for quick note taking and I love the cute little zip pocket at the front. Adorable. For some reason I wasn't drawn to the Malden in the Vintage Rose although when I saw the original pictures I thought it looked gorgeous but in a reversal to the Aqua Chameleon I didn't like it in person. But I keep seeing photos including some with it next to the Crimson and I wonder if I was too quick to dismiss it. I think when I'm in London next I'll have to have a quick run by the store and check again (hehe)

Another typical week Malden style

I LOVE the notebook pocket

Last but definitely not least the Pocket Deco is my Date Book. All social engagements are in here so that when running around time on a weekend I can have my planner and note space in the smaller format with me at all times! When not in my handbag it lives on the sideboard so it is always ready to be updated with potential things to remember or do.

The Perfect Pocket Deco

I love the Deco. It feels decadent and the clasp is just beautiful. But the Pocket size while perfect for quieter weeks or times when I just need my diary when out and about it is just that fraction too small for the scale sometimes of note taking that I need.

Example of yet another typical week

So that brings me onto the Flex. I've been thinking for a while that if I could find the right notebook and planner combo potentially my Malden could become a combined work/social planner and a separate notebook would be the way ahead....only one way to tell I guess!!!

As you can tell I am in no rush to promise to not buy any more planners!! (cue evil laughter) So what do you think about my system? Mad or does it make sense....?


And here is another "arty" shot of my 3!

Wednesday, 18 May 2011

Typical Lou lou behaviour.....

I'm obsessing about a handbag. Well it makes a change from the Amethyst Deco Filofax! I'm obsessing over the Modalu Bristol handbag in Shark. Why am I obsessed with this bag so much? Because it's out of stock EVERYWHERE!

Which makes half of me think eesh why would I want one anyway? But the other half of me sees it as a challenge to track one down and make it mine.

And the reason this particular bag from this relatively low key brand has sold out everywhere? Because it is the tote bag that Pippa Middleton, the Royal bridesmaid who has recently been catapulted into the limelight after that wedding. Now it's not because Pippa has the bag that I want it, I saw it a few weeks ago while perusing the John Lewis bag department and did that classic "ooh you're lovely but I don't need you, especially for £149" so I was good, put the bag down and walked away. But of course it has been playing on my mind so I went to have a lookysee thinking that by now I'd have changed my mind (I'm quite a fickle sort sometimes) and that is when I found I couldn't buy one even if I did want one. Which of course meant I had to see if I could find one on a different site. But 2 hours of searching later and it really is true that the damn thing is sold out everywhere and I am now wondering how on earth I can cope without it in my life. I hate being told I can't do or have something it makes me all the more determined to make it mine (cue evil queen laugh).

But the big question is WHY???? Surely this is not the normal behaviour of a sane, ahem 30 something woman? In most areas of my life I'm organised and methodical but when it comes to accessories (bags, Filofaxes, scarves, earrings......) I have a real week spot. Perhaps because you can never have a fat day with your handbag!!

Anyway as much as I am currently lusting over this bag and despite phoning around several John Lewis stores I am not going to pre order this bag because I can imagine when it finally reappears in August no doubt I'll have moved my affections onto some other item or if I can just hold my resolve and avoid online shopping. Wish me luck


Sunday, 15 May 2011

Swopping Paris for Patios....

It's been a very productive weekend here at Splucy's but not the sort of weekend I had in mind a few weeks ago, as this weekend just gone had been earmarked for a jaunt over to gay Paris. The idea of a weekend away was thought up in our "list of things to do when Mr P felt better" and back in March we'd flagged this weekend as a potential gap in the diary when we could make the trip (no school holidays, no gigs for his band, no weddings/birthday do's etc etc) And of course me being the planner that I am this was entered in my Filofax with glee.

The booking of said Paris trip however didn't run so smoothly. Where have the weeks gone since March? I honestly have no idea what happened to April and now here we are halfway through May! I'm scared to blink in case I suddenly realise it's Christmas and I'll have missed Wimbledon, The Apprentice Final and possibly even X Factor (although now Dannii has been replaced by the chick from N Dubz I don't think I'm the target demographic for it anymore). Anyway I digress (is there one of my blog posts where I don't say that? I doubt it! If you can find one there may be a prize!)

We struck some issues with the Paris trip when investigating the costs/logistics etc. With Mr P horrified at the prices - to be fair I'm sure our all inclusive 10 night stay in luxury in Egypt cost less that some of these "bargain breaks" on the Eurostar website - and me horrified at the prospect of travelling at the crack of dawn and staying outside the city just so I'd have enough Euros leftover to purchase coffee, croissant (and Chanel)

And then, as I mentioned earlier we wake up and it's only blooming May!!! No chance of an early bird booking now.

Now 2 weeks ago (I'll help you out here, Royal Wedding, 4 day weekend with the May Bank holiday, nice weather mostly) Mr P's most lovely family came up for the weekend on a mission to rid his garden of a fence so rickety it was more wobbly on it's feet than I am after a Chardonnay or 6 and a shed that was so old and useless it made Bruce Forsythe appear to be in the first flush of youth. A very productive weekend was spent pulling down said fence and shed and digging out concrete footers. Followed by concreting in new (straight and solid) fence posts. All ready for garden makeover part 2 when the new fence panels could be put up at a later date.

Goodbye rickety, spider filled shed & wobbly fence

Well after 2 weeks of frosty air between us and our neighbour across the now open plan garden (I believe she was unhappy at the collateral damage of one dead potato plant who was caught in the cross fire of concrete and fence post removal) this weekend was the weekend. The one where we were to get our privacy back with a shiny new fence going up.

Mr P's family returned, with Mr P's ickle brother Mr K Junior who along with his dad, Mr K Senior, are experts in the gardening/building/fencing area. Along with the two Mr K's in the van was Mr P's lovely Mum and our brand new fence plus a fabulous new gate!! My role I always feel in these proceedings is to make sure of the following:

1) The kettle is always primed and ready for tea making duty
2) That along with the tea there should always be an ample supply of biscuits, flapjacks and chocolate covered items
3) Meals should be large and hearty
4) That the kettle is put back on again for more tea

I am a big believer in the feed the work force well to get maximum returns theory ;0)

So it was rails up, gate added and all the planks in place. How does our garden look now? Only absolutely blooming amazing! It is larger, brighter, airier and as a huge bonus our nosy neighbour next door can't see over as it's 6 foot tall (well the fence itself is only 5 foot but with a bottom riser as we are panning a patio I haven't got a hope in hell of seeing over it so neither does she!)

Hello beautiful large garden!

And this is how I swapped Paris for (almost) patios. As while a weekend in Paris can happen anytime, wonderful relatives that will renovate your garden are far more fun to spend time with.

So stage 2 of the garden makeover is complete. Stage 3 involves Mr P redesigning the patio layout (again) so that when the Cornish contingent are able to visit once more we can make even more progress towards our dreamed of patio/BBQ/cocktail area.

I have to be honest, I would love to get to a point where Mr P's family are able to come and visit without him making them work so hard so who knows maybe once we are all patio'd up we can have a BBQ to celebrate where we can all kick back and watch Mr P do the hard work and cook. Although on second thoughts maybe we should treat them to the lush Sunday carvery at the pub nearby? After all I'd hate to see our new fence end up as cinders from an incendiary sausage......