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


Friday, 21 October 2011

Paris, a city of romance, culture and surprises

So my last post about our recent weekend away in Paris was incredibly wordy. This one is pretty much all pictures, this way I figure they balance each other out. However you really should scroll to the bottom as there is a surprise lurking!!

Day 1: From the Louvre to the Eiffel Tower..... 

Check out my arty modern pyramid meets period arch photo!

Inside the angles are just as amazing as is the light coming through from the pyramid

The Louvre is a place of culture, art, sculpture and amazing ceilings!! Both in the cafe (above) and in the art galleries (below)

I mean how awesome is that ceiling? The detail and the carvings - that one in particular was far more beautiful than the paintings hanging in the room! Some other rooms had amazingly freaky people crafted leaning out of them. The French royalty back in the day had strange ideas on bedroom ceilings!

Of course of the paintings were amazing - like this giant one that makes me look teeny tiny (that in itself is an amazing feat!) 

Onto the Eiffel Tower - I love this shot as you can see all intricate metal work it really is quite beautiful up close!

I also like it when it is all lit up (apologies for the terrible photo best I could do!)

Twinkly eh!

The view wasn't bad either from the very top (gosh the elevator was scary)

Day 2: Croissants and Notre Dame, fountains and Pompidou


I like this angle of Notre Dame as all the different shapes and towers combine it makes it look all spiky and sharp and so different from the regal curves of the main entrance.

Mr P and I by a fountain that had sphinxes on our way to the Pompidou centre

I really liked the modern lego feel of the Pompidou centre. Outside escalators are the way forward and at the top yet another amazing view of Paris!

Day 3: waking up to realise I'm engaged!

Yep you read that correctly. The gorgeous Mr P managed to shock me into silence (it's true!! I think he was shocked too by that) by proposing in Paris. On our last night, after being out late watching a band he popped the question in our hotel room and thus made clear why he had been acting like a loon all weekend - I thought he hated Paris - apparently he was waiting for the "perfect" moment. However too many tourists scuppered his original plans hence his moody "grrrr there's too many people" grumbles uttered at every landmark!

Me? I think it was just the most perfect proposal. For one thing I had no idea what was going on and didn't even understand the question to start with. And for another there was no chance of me dropping the ring off of the Eiffel Tower/down the Champs Elysee...

So this post is for you Mr P for asking me so nicely to be your wife and providing possibly the most gorgeous platinum diamond ring I have ever seen in my entire life.  

But most of all for managing to shock me as hand on heart not in a million years did I think he would propose in Paris but I'm so glad he did as now I have the most amazing memento of a fabulous weekend.  

Au revoir


Sunday, 9 October 2011

C'est formidable ou c'est diabolique?

I am just returning from a long weekend in Paris with the gorgeous Mr P and while he snoozes on the Eurostar it seemed a good time to reflect on the past 4 days we have spent in the capital of France...

It should be noted that it is quicker to travel via Eurostar from London to Paris than it is to get from London to Weymouth! I really do live in deepest darkest depths of the UK!!!

So here is my pocket guide to Paris:

1) Stay somewhere nice!
I don't necessarily mean in a uber posh hotel but choose your area carefully. We stayed on the banks of the Seine a stones throw from Notre Dame. Not only did we have one of Paris most famous landmarks on our doorstep it was also a lovely area full of restaurants, cafes, shops etc. We visited many other areas of Paris while we were there and none were as nice as the area we were in. In my opinion avoid staying around the Gare du Nord and the Sacre Coeur horrendous is not too strong a word!

2) It's not as easy to find a patisserie as you might think!
Call me naive but I expected to be tripping over quaint little patisseries serving buttery soft croissants and steaming mugs of coffee and hot chocolate. The first day we tried to find such a venue for breakfast it seemed far more of a challenge than we expected. After walking around for ages spotting lots of cafes and tabacs but all with sullen French men sat smoking outside I started wishing that Anneka Rice would turn up leaping out her helicopter and start running alongside us shouting "follow me". Thankfully day 2 meant we found a local Paul's for the most excellent pain au chocolate and cappuccino sat outside people watching on a busy shopping street. Bliss!!

3) Not all tourist attractions are worth the visit
Now again call me naive but I hadn't expected it to be so busy during October. Most places required queuing which by the way as a British resident and therefore queuing expert is supremely frustrating in France as the NO ONE knows how to queue. Seriously it's not hard, I sense a new career calling as a Queue Guidance Counsellor and Trainer. I could explain the fundamental elements required for a good queue system and how to adopt this in all scenarios....Anyway as ever I digress! We visited many of the "must sees" and some far exceeded my expectations, others less so...

i The Eiffel Tower - we went all the way to the very top (not for the claustrophobic or those scared of heights I can tell you the lifts were terrifying!) However the views were incredible - seeing Paris all sparkly and twinkly from so far up was the outstanding moment of the whole weekend for me. The queuing to get in and highly annoying other tourists with no sense of invading personal space aside of course! Even skipping down the steps from level 2 to 1 was lots of fun (as long as I didn't look down). And controversial it may have been when they started doing it I adored the sparkly lights on the tower after dark. It just seemed so magical to see this most famous monument dancing in the moonlight.

ii The Louvre - I went to the Louvre wanting to see the Venus de Milo and the Mona Lisa and sample a little of the rest of the exhibits. I'd read how vast the Louvre is and knew that there was no way we could attempt to see even half of it during our brief stay in Paris but I wasn't prepared for how impressive the building itself is. Beautifully symmetrical, intricate carvings and adornments and the most breathtaking ceiling art far outshone the majority of the exhibits we saw just because of their scale and detail. I adored the Louvre and would happily go back to while away afternoons there meandering around staring up at the ceiling if not at the art!

iii Notre Dame - is as impressive as you would imagine. Super hectic busy with a throng of tourists at all times, but awe inspiring for sure. We didn't go inside (queues were massive) we did do the crypt museum - not worth it in all honesty just lots of stones....

iv The Champs Élysée - I know it's supposed to mega tacky and is the most expensive shop retail space with millions of € spent per foot however on our first night we walked all over this area of Paris. It was far colder than expected so we drank hot chocolate from the Haagan Dazs cafe, we ate fantastic food and sat people watching the mix of Parisians and tourists and I loved it!

v The Pompidou Centre - yes it looks odd but it's a fantastic place. With art, cafes, children's play areas, cinema amongst the attractions it is well worth checking out if just for the amazing views from the top. We went and saw the Munch exhibition that was displaying. Very good if a little disappointing not to see the Scream. But some beautiful pieces and a very interesting insight into the mind of a creative genius.

Now for my big disappointment - the Sacre Coeur. From the moment we left the metro station this whole area felt dirty and seedy. The narrow cobbled street up to the Sacre Coeur was reminiscent of Ibiza as Mr P put it - full of shops selling tat and salesmen trying to hawk their wares. The paths up the side of the hill were lined with young men all hovering around ominously eyeing up the tourists (yes I probably read too much crime fiction but not being funny why else were they lurking there if not to cause trouble??) And the monument itself frankly not that impressive when you compare it to the wealth of architecture in Paris.

4) And the less famous venues that are worth a look?

i HD Diners - fifties Americana with really reasonably priced food that was fantastic! A clear hit with tourists and teenage Parisians alike it was a really fun eatery.

ii The Guinness Tavern - an Irish live music venue where we watched F-Com play awesome guitar rock with strange accents on all the lyrics - apart from one Red Hot Chilli Peppers song that was all in French (I don't remember that version being on the album!!)

5) Expect to go home broke!
Maybe it's the current exchange rate, maybe it's just because it's Paris, maybe I have expensive tastes but the price of things in Paris I found quite shocking. Some in a good way - if wine is cheaper than coca cola then gues what I'm drinking! But on our last night we went to several bars (mostly Irish bizarrely - for some reason they love their Irish pubs in Paris) and each round of 2 drinks cost €19 that is just shy of £20 a round! For 2 of us! Ridiculous I only hope the Parisians earn equivalent salaries to afford a night out every now and again!

So there is my whistle stop guide to Paris. I had the most amazing weekend, with fab food (oh the pastries) fab wine, fab sights but most of all fab company. But back to normality soon :0(

Have any of you been to Paris? What did you love/hate? Anything I missed that I need to include for my next trip?


P.s. it is now just under 14 weeks until we jet off to Canada for our skiing holiday to Whistler so the countdown is on!

Friday, 7 October 2011

Bonjour Paris

So I'm writing this quick blog post while sat ensconced in my Eurostar seat about to depart from London on a 4 day mini break with Mr P to Paris (I may have mentioned my excitement at this once or twice possibly!)

The itinerary currently includes excursions to the top of the Eiffel Tower, marvelling at the wealth of art on display in the Louvre, taking in the wonders of the Sacre Coer and Notre Dame, taking a jaunt down the Seine pootling along the Champs Élysée and meandering the streets of Paris enjoying a cafe au lait and croissant while people watching (often one of the best bits of a trip away I think!)

As always the complexity of what to pack for any occasion arose last night and I'm sure as ever I've over packed...but I have tried to be careful after all this girl loves any excuse to shop!

So for now, au revoior mes amies

Sunday, 2 October 2011

Guest Post: The Great German Train Robbery

So I have a guest poster! This is VERY exciting for me as it is my first guest post writer (aside from the lovely Mr ) and most exciting it is all about her AMAZING Filofax collection I think you are going to enjoy this....over to LJ...

First time blogger alert…

Well, here goes for my first ever posting courtesy of the wonderful lou lou.

Having spent an evening with her and spending a fair portion of said evening discussing our shared love of Filofax and stationery I was encouraged to write a post about my A5 Finsbury which I use for work, however I have a far more pressing post to write… the Great German Train Robbery – what bargains! What wonderful delights could I get my sticky little mitts on…?

I had to wait a while for the delivery as I am based in Switzerland and Filofax Germany don’t deliver here – which is very strange as it’s just across the border and the UK can deliver to here with no problem.

Thankfully my friend Sabine who I have now ‘enabled’ and is a pretty good ‘enabler’ herself already, although based in the same office as me, goes regularly to Germany to visit her parents, so we both put in pretty fabulous orders (suffice to say her parents were a little stunned when they saw the evidence of our addictions). So to my joy, my children’s joy and my man’s bewilderment, my new babies arrived on Monday… please get ready for a picture heavy post…

“What’s in the bag Mum?”

Filofaxes are beginning to get nervous…

It’s OK guys & girls, these are the last boxes xxx

Oops!!! Did I order more than I realised…?

A special thankyou for my little boy, Christopher, for helping with the photos (and for letting me include his black pocket Metropol in the line-up, along with his little brother’s green pocket domino complete with fairy on the front)

Teasing shot… even more effective than chocolate wrappers 

A4 Logic in red, bought purely for practical purposes, but is actually really, really nice…

Personal Fresco – check out the inserts on this baby!!!

Ooh – this doesn’t look like a FF box…

Personal Panama in maroon – so lovely. Quote of the day came from Christopher when I handed it to him to look at and Marcus (littlest chap) tried to take it off him immediately “No Marcus, I haven’t even smelled it yet!!!” That came after his comment from smelling the first of the leather FFs “Mummy, it smells just like your purple one!” – (my personal Finchley which he has only had the pleasure of holding once before). Clearly my children are learning about the finer things in life

Pocket Finchley in soft jade

Finchley travel wallet in pink

Mini Topaz in pale blue

Personal Piazza in sunflower – I was really looking forward to receiving this one, super bright yellow and completely different from any of my others, so was rather disappointed to see that it’s not actually the same colour as a sunflower. I am considering giving this one away as a present, but am not sure if I can bring myself to give away a Filofax…

Topaz wallet in green – with fabulous space for cards and bits and pieces

Pocket Finchley in teal

Mini Topaz in red

The Filofax family

And finally – proof that not all the Filofaxes are mine…

I hope you like the photos – thankfully I didn’t include all 56 photos that we took yesterday, I thought there would only be so many boxes and teasing shots that anyone would want to see

And thank you Miss L for introducing me to the wonders of Filofax earlier this year – please don’t introduce me to the joys of expensive jewellery or anything, I think one obsession is enough for my wallet – LOL x

So there we go, thank you to LJ and her first Filofax blog post - now if I can just get her to write one all about her faboosh A5 diary/to do pages that she designed herself I'll be even happier Lx