30 Aug 2010

what's in my bag #3

So, I went shopping for some more uni supplies I'd need in my second year and this is what I took with me and why:

This was what was in my bag from my trip a few days ago :)

A purse - money obviouslyyyyy

FCUK Cool Down spray cos it was so darn hot that day (what is with the British weather?! Last week it was so hot, now it's pouring with rain!)

iPod and phone - former for entertainment on the journey, latter for communication

Paracetamol - in case!

Vaseline - dry and chapped lips are never a good look.

Eye drops, plasters, medical tape - Eye drops cos I wear contact lenses; plasters in case I cut myself somewhere, somehow; and medical tape for my feet as all my shoes make my feet blister otherwise (oh the things we women do for fashion).

Tissues - goes without saying?

Natural cola cubes - I can't get enough of them clearly...

I just took my normal high street River Island bag with me... by no means my favourite bag nor my least favourite but it does the job and is big enough for everything!

Oh and I forgot to mention the Filo ;) I did it on purpose. In it, I had lists of things I needed for my second year at uni (as some things I threw away after first year, no longer usable, etc.) and needed something trusty to hold the lists and was also durable enough to be bashed around in my bag. Enter, the Finchley Personal. Ahhhh, I'm in love.

27 Aug 2010

filofax rotation?

I got asked by my sister today why I keep changing which Filo I have in use.

Well, I couldn't quite answer it without my obsession coming out into the open so I eventually confessed to a *slight* obsession...

After all, we change the type of clothes we wear when autumn/spring nears, don't we? When autumn commences, we don a lightweight mac for those blustery days where it's too cold not to wear another layer but not quite cold enough to wear a full outer layer. And when winter comes, we often opt for trousers over skirts (more the females than the males here) and closed shoes rather than open toe pumps or sandals, don't we? Well, that is what I do with my Filofaxes.

When autumn comes, the Teal is much too bright, so I will probably keep it as my home Filo, but will instead opt for the Vintage Rose or the Jade Green as that seems much more autumnal, right? And then when winter comes, I may or may not choose to once again change (depends on my exam schedule... if I have an exam straight after Christmas holidays, I will most probably change Filos, purely for procrastination purposes!). 

So, I'll ask you all, if you own more than one Filo, how do you choose which one to use? And why? Do seasons have an effect on your Filo changing schedule? Or is it just because you are bored of your current colour/design?

25 Aug 2010

The Piazza Personified

Following on from last week's post about the Deco as a person, this week sees the Piazza's turn.

I know the Piazza is no longer sold in the Personal size on Filofax UK but personifying the Piazza actually gave me the idea for this feature!

As far as I know, the Piazza comes in a range of colours from the green shown above, to a red, to the bog standard black, lilac, yellow, pink, blue... I might have missed some from that list, or I may have even made a few up! But either way, the point is that it comes in a wide range of bright colours.
Anyway, to me, the Piazza sounds Italian so for me, the person would be Italian or from a Mediterranean country of maybe even Spain. But either way, they'd be tanned. They could be male or female, but for the purpose of this, I will call it a he and the Piazza will be a man.

He would be someone who had an idea of what fun is - a bit of a daredevil if I may say so. He would whizz around the city in a Vespa and he would look good in a helmet while riding it around the city. The girls would swoon at his feet and the guys all want to be his friend, or even be him. Sound like a teenage movie? Yeah, thought so too, but what can I do; this is how I imagined the Piazza!

With regards to his wardrobe; he owns t shirts in a variety of colours and he also owns quite a few striped polo shirts with an alternating colour pattern - some of which have clashing stripe colours - yet he would look good regardless of what he wore. He would rarely carry accessories around with him as his main accessory is his attitude and confidence. People love being around him and everyone likes him.
Although, he sounds like a playboy, he is anything but. He treats others with respect and he is reliable, and although he seems to only live life for the purpose of having fun, he has a serious side as well.

Next week: Beneath The Surface Of The Eton

24 Aug 2010

Inspiration Filofax

I decided to turn my Finchley Vintage Rose into an 'inspiration' filo. It's always open on the little table next to my full length mirror which is next to my wardrobe - but the reason for this will become clear. The inspiration filo mainly contains things that are clothes and fashion related and include cuttings from magazines of well dressed models/celebrities/strangers. This allows me to have a quick flick through while getting dressed if I feel uninspired or bored of my wardrobe. It helps me see ways of wearing a dress or top a bit differently, for instance, I could wear a top over a dress with a belt, or whatever else.

Also, I found that during the making of this inspiration filo, I didn't need to use any spare paper; all I had to use were old inserts which were blank. I purchased a filo which had an 2010 diary in, but seeing as I already have one, I saw little need to have another. This meant minimal wastage of precious inserts!

Anyway, this filo is best explained with pictures, so here they are (there are about ten pictures so sit tight).

A list of designers who I made separate pages for.
One of the designer pages.

More designer pages.

Theme: Safari/beige/nude colours. You can also see the insert I used for this!

Photography from some clothes labels from Urban Outfitters. I love the vintage feel to it. However, I dislike the fact they rip the labels when you purchase something instore!

From the Mango lookbook. I think it was 2008? Gives inspiration for how to wear the same item in different ways.

From the Mina lookbook, 2008 again I think or 2009. Can't remember. I love the model's hair in this series.

High street on the left, shoe inspiration on the right.

20 Aug 2010

filofax finchley jade green

What can I say? I just can't get enough of the Finchley style :)

I am currently using my Jade Green as the 'diary' holder for 2010 and 2011 along with some notepaper for bits and bobs I may want to write down there and then but don't have a notepad with me. So in the place of my vintage rose is this jade green!

18 Aug 2010

if this filofax were to be a person...

So this is the new feature. I've not seen it on any other blogs or anything so this is, what I would call, an original idea of my own. The basis of this feature involves, well, Filofaxes and partly, humans.

Basically, it's a chance for me to ask the question: "If the Filofax x were to be a person, how would you imagine it to be?" Insert a Filo model where the x is. Each week, I will be tackling a new model of Filofax with the person I've imagined it to be in real life and I'll even post if I think I could be 'friends' with it according to the traits I've given it. Of course, this isn't limited to just me; feel free to post your own via your own blog or through comments to this post and other ones in this series.

Now, I'm only going to be sticking to the more modern models as the vintage ones don't leave much for imagination with it's lack of variety in terms of colours (don't get me wrong, the vintage models are to die for, but just not practical for me to post about!).

One last disclaimer before my imagination starts giving a persona to a Filofax model: if you have one of these models, please don't think I'm judging you as a person, I'm not. This is just a light hearted exercise and no harm is intended and least of all, a Filofax with the imagined characteristics does not necessarily reflect the owner, unlike what people say about dogs and their owners (not sure I buy into that concept myself though).

Ok, so first up this week will be the Deco. For the benefit of this series, let's keep the sizes uniform and as a Personal.

Now, being a high priced and premium model, I envisage this model to be a female in real life. She would carry a Mulberry Bayswater handbag as she would have a taste for classic items.

However, the Deco has a slightly twist on it with the unusual clasp detail so I would also hazard a guess at having a taste for the different in terms of detail as the Deco is pretty much classic in design but with a slight flash of wanting to be individual. I think she would channel this by either wearing Louboutins with the flash of red in the soles, but also, note the peep toe detail.

She would be a classic dresser but would maybe wear something that stands out a little by the way of a necklace or a statement bracelet. She has a taste for finer things and would probably reside in Notting Hill or Chelsea in London.
Next week: The Piazza personified!

17 Aug 2010

filofax finchley teal

So, what do I use my Finchley Teal for? It is currently my Home Filo but also contains other bits and bobs. Currently, I am keeping anything that doesn't need to be carted around with me in it, for example, recipes, phone numbers and addresses.

16 Aug 2010

why is one Filofax not enough for me??

That is the question I've been asking myself... And I am going to try and answer it briefly in this post!

You see, I, like many others I suspect, started off using one Filofax but then found it was getting too bulky to carry around with me everyday, wherever, whenever. It weighed more than the rest of the contents in my handbag put together (and if you have seen my 'what's in my bag' posts, you'll see how much stuff I really do lug around!). So, I went and purchased a second Filofax - my Finchley Vintage Rose. This became my new favourite and had transformed into my everyday portable Filo. It had my diary, notes, to do lists, personal pictures, etc. in it, but then I found it had also grown in size. Although the Filo itself was lighter than my previous one (a Finsbury Raspberry), I ended up carrying a lot more in it than I did in the Finsbury.

So then I found myself ordering two more Filos - two Finchleys in colours which have since been phased out in the UK - the Teal and the Jade Green. One of which I will be transforming into a 'home' Filo with addresses, telephone numbers, recipes amongst other things that can stay at home with my Vintage Rose being my everyday Filo once again carrying my week on two pages diary and some spare note paper in case I needed to jot something random down. This still left two Filofaxes - a Finchley and a Finsbury.

Because the Finchley lies flat (comes in many appealing colours, supple leather, need I go on?), I have decided to make it into my 'inspiration' Filo. It will become the place where magazine cuttings go, where inspirational quotes will go and anything else which is motivating will go.

Finally, this just leaves me with my Finsbury. For the time being, this holds my 2009 diary and some other note paper sheets which have been used and no longer needed.

Even though it seems that I have my system of four Filos sorted, I think I can safely say that this is only temporary. I am predicting another major overhaul in six months time when I decide I want a certain colour to be my 'main 'fax' for the time being, or for whatever other reason. After all, we change the types of shoes we wear by the season, right? It's just right for me to change Filos when autumn/winter comes!

15 Aug 2010

easier on the eye

I decided to re-model my blog as the previous layout was a bit dark and not so easy on the eye. I hope this one is better as the colours seem more fresh even though, in reality, I only changed two or three things!

Anyway, there will be a new feature post on Wednesday as the what if idea is a bit crap... There are only so many decent what ifs in the world. However, don't worry, they may make a reappearance if I can think of a decent one, which I do from time to time! And when I think of it, I'll definitely write it in my Filofax to remind myself.

normal service has resumed

So, got my replacement laptop so updates should be frequent with few gaps in between.

Also, I have a few new features lined up which I don't think have been done before: one of which involves the F-i-l-o-f-a-x! I'm quite excited about that one to be honest...

12 Aug 2010

courseworks part II

After reviewing last year's coursework system, I've decided to change some bits of it. I will also elaborate a bit more upon the previous coursework post.

I was asked about how I actually used the index cards, to do sheets and post its when it comes to courseworks. Note that this can also be applied to any project that takes a while to complete, so is not only limited to university students!

Index Cards
Index cards are punched using my Filofax hole punch as and when I need them. I usually have at least one for each week as I like to make shopping lists and the like. However, when it comes to courseworks such as essays or something that needs forward planning (like an oral presentation), I tend to stick another one in. I don't have a picture of this as it appears I actually threw the coursework ones away but I can make a mock one up quickly for an essay I did last term.

The way I used index cards for courseworks is by making lists of things I want to include in the piece. I'll use my essay as an example (purely because I got quite a high mark for it so the index card must have helped!). On one side of the index card is what I want to include in the essay and in what proportion as you can see in the picture.

And on the other side of the card would be the list of references I need to include. I haven't written those on as I used about nine references and it is too much of a hassle to write all those down as the details include journal title, journal issue number, page numbers, and the like.

Post - It Notes
I would use these for important things required, for example, the line spacing required, the maximum word count or number of sides allowed and also the style of references. These are things that need my immaediate attention which is why I'd use a bright coloured sticky note. Also, if there was a requirement needed to be fulfilled which I hadn't done yet, I would also write that on a sticky note and stick it on the 'today' ruler. Each thing that needs to be done would be on an individual note so I can take it off the ruler and bin it once done (so as to not overcrowd that week's 'things to do').

To Do Sheets
To do sheets are an important part of the process. Each piece gets it's own side of a sheet unless it is a big project, in which case, it will get two sides or however many as it needs.The first thing 'to do' is almost always 'to start x' with x being the piece of coursework and the last thing is always 'hand in x'. Even though these seem like silly things to write on a 'to do' list, it does help with the motivation and the want to see these items crossed off the list. The first thing helps to get the ball rolling and the last one is kinda like 'closure' on the piece of coursework so it's officially out of the way. The list would also comprise of things that require doing, such as 'brainstorm some ideas for the bulk of the essay', 'write intro', 'first draft', 'review first draft', etc. These may seem trivial, but I find the want to cross them off helps with the motivation issue. The more the piece is broken up, the more crosses I can make and the more fulfilled I feel. Consequently, motivation increases ten fold with these tiny little tasks.

Sometimes, with the bigger tasks, I write these twice. Once on the to do list, and once in the diary. This means I see it twice, and because it is more important, it is more at the front of my mind which increases the chance of it actually being done.

Percentage System
After reviewing my percentage system, I've decided to give it somewhat of an overhaul. In the past, I just did it off the top of my head, randomly pulling a number out of the air with how much I thought I had did. From now on, I think I will use a bar system. I will draw a bar and colour in how much progress I have made after every task. When the bar is filled, the piece should be completed and ready to hand in. Because I haven't done this before, I am going to try it out with some projects I am doing this summer before I head back to start my second year at university. This will enable me to tweak the system until it is perfect and see what flaws and benefits there are with it. If I need to, I can also put a percentage number with this bar but with the bar being finitely long, it probably shouldn't be needed.

11 Aug 2010

New Feature: What If Wednesday

From every Wednesday onwards (or maybe fortnightly, depending on how easily ideas come to me), I'll be doing a 'What If' Wednesday, just for fun of course. It's always fun to answer 'what if' situations...well, it is in my head! Feel free to also post how you'd deal with the week's situation!

This week's is: What would you do if you won the lottery?  
We could actually elaborate on this by: how would you spend the money? Would you share it? Spend it all? Save most of it? The answers you give may also give us a glimpse into the sort of person you are too ;)

Personally, I would probably stick half of it in the bank so I can live off the interest for the rest of my life! Then with the other half: buy a new house for my parents as my sister is also fleeing the nest this autumn (or fall, for you American readers :) ) so they don't need such a big house as this one, and with the rest, give to my sister so she can fund her degree without the need for loans, buy myself a flat in central London so no need to rent while at uni (one can only wish) and then split the remainder of that to give to my Aunts and Uncles who I am closest to.

I know I shouldn't have favourite Aunts and Uncles, but I do. Everytime I go back to Hong Kong to see my family, I can tell who really cares and who doesn't. Not to mention the fact some of my family back in HK could really do with some financial help and I would be happy to help with that, if only I had the darned winning lottery numbers ;)

So that's what I'd do. Let's not put a number on how much you'd have scooped by winning the lottery, after all, this is a what if situation. So what would you do? Feel free to share yours :)

NOTE: Also, this is not a scheduled post, so even if I am using the slowest computer ever, I am still posting!

9 Aug 2010

laptop problems

Eurgh, I've been having some laptop problems (even though this one is barely a week or so old) and so has to be sent back for a replacement to be made (as it was a custom build laptop) which means a three week wait or so for the new one to arrive.

However, never fear, for I have scheduled posts to last until the end of August. Yep, you read that right. The end of August! All thanks to my new organised self, purely down to the Filofax of course ;) And I've borrowed my parents' old computer too so I should still be able to edit and update as and when!

8 Aug 2010

what's in my bag #2

This was taken before I went out today. I volunteer once a week and thus is what I had brought with me. If you compare it with my previous 'what's in my bag', you can see that I don't travel light!

Oh and for those who are curious, I always pack my bags in advance (having so many has its advantages!) hence why on flickr, it will say that my picture was taken on so and so date, etc.

6 Aug 2010

how I use my filo for courseworks

As you can see above, I write in what tutorials/lectures (if important) and other uni related stuff in the relevant day in my Filo. As you can see above, I had a tutorial on the 27th of April at 2pm. I've smudged out who the tutor was and what room it was in case anyone from my uni stumbles upon this blog ;)

On a side note, I have also written in when to watch the new episode of Gossip Girl and 90210. I always watch the latest episode the day after it was screened in the US as the UK is pretty late when it comes to showing American dramas.  I think the week shown above was also influenced by the Tangible set on Flickr, but obviously not a patch on the creativity shown in the aforementioned set!!!

Now, onto the real bulk of this post. Coursework. Oh oh oh how I dread that word (though funnily enough, I don't mind the word 'essay' as much? Call me crazy, but I actually quite like writing essays...). When I get a new piece of coursework, I note the deadline it is due in and I write this into my Filo in a certain colour ink or just use whatever pen that is nearest to my hand at the time. I write in the piece of coursework, the doctor or professor it is for, the time it is due in (usually 5pm) and whether or not it needs to be uploaded onto the Blackboard portal most unis use in the UK (as far as I know? Correct me if I'm wrong :) ).

After the is done, I get down to the real nitty gritty. I figure out how I will structure the coursework. For example, if it is a lab report, I will write down the components needed for the finished article which are usually: an introduction, the results, analysis of the results and then a conclusion. Sometimes I'll also be given some questions to answer in relation to the practical that corresponds with the coursework. Once all this has been sorted, I will write in my filo, on a post it note, what needs to be done. I will then space out the days in which to do each bit. I usually do a bit every two days. So in my Filo, if the coursework was set on the 14th (for example), in the 15th or 16th space (depending on how motivated I am), I will draw a box and then next to it, a goal to accomplish in relation to that coursework. So that could be 'Sort out results of lab report and display them neatly on a graph'. Then on the 18th, I will draw another box and then next to it, I could put 'Introduction and analysis of results for lab report' and so on until the lab report is done and handed in.

If I use an example of an essay, here is how the system would work. I'll number each stage to make for easier reading!

  1. Write in the deadline, plus other details, with a box next to it which I can tick when I have handed it in.
  2. The first tick box would be something along the lines of 'brainstorm the essay title to see what sort of things I can write about'.
  3. Second box would be 'research the better ideas and one or two of the lesser ones'.
  4. During the research, I would keep an index card in my filo with any references which I need crediting.
  5. The next box would be 'do first draft of the essay and check'. For this stage, as said, I will do the first draft. I will then print this out, highlight the bits which don't quite make sense or need more elaboration. These would be the first things I change in the second draft.
  6. 'Do the second draft and check once more'. If at this stage, the essay is fine (hardly ever the case), then I will add the references and diagrams, etc.

Thinking about it now, it all seems a bit complicated and I will think how I can refine this system. Although it has worked for me, it must be noted that I rarely had multiple courseworks on the go at the same time. I remember, at one point, I had an essay due in, some multiple choice questions (harder than it sounds, trust me. All the options (usually five options) all seem plausible and there is negative marking for wrong answers!) to complete along with a genetics problem to be done. To juggle this, I use another post it note or index card and wrote down the title of each piece and then I noted the percentage progress of each as I completed each one bit by bit. That also worked quite well, so I think I will stick with the percentage progress system I have been using.

It must also be noted that I use the To-Do sheets as well. As mentioned before, I colour code the urgency of the item but with courseworks, I also take the level of coursework into account as well as the deadline. For instance, some courseworks need more work than others - an essay would obviously need much more work than some multiple choice questions!

Overall, although this system has served me well, I think I can still tinker this method. Oh, and another thing, this post can also be applied to those who do projects at their workplace or anything similar. If anyone has any suggestions, please do speak up! The more options available for tweaking this coursework system I have (or others may have), the better!

2 Aug 2010

what's in my bag #1

31st of July 2010

I went to London that day to visit some friends and this is what I had brought with me. The Cath Kidston bag is necessary as I like to carry the kitchen sink along with me wherever I go (for those 'just in case' situations - which never arise until you don't bring that thing you needed with you!).

1 Aug 2010

no shopping challenge!

So, as of the 1st of August 2010, I have decided to do a personal no shopping challenge which I want to last a whole year. Yep, a whole 365 days! I hope this will be achievable seeing as I will still be getting vouchers from survey sites so instead, I will be using vouchers instead of cash. When I say no shopping, I mean no buying the following:

  • Filofaxes (sob sob), but inserts are exempt if they are   n e c e s s a r y  and only if they are;
  • Clothes or any other article of clothing unless necessary (underwear, socks, etc. are exempt as these are necessaries and wearing underwear with holes in is just, well, purely disgusting);
  • Shoes - oh oh oh how hard this one will be!!! Shoes are the one thing I cannot resist and cannot have enough of, which is why this challenge is necessary. I just have too many pairs and will instead have to make do with what I have instead of buying a new pair when I decide that I have 'nothing to wear';
  • Bags - again, I have too many and honestly speaking, I only need two or three anyway (when I have about ten times that number...). A day bag (large enough to take into university every day for things like lunch, lecture notes, notepad, etc.) and a clutch bag for evening/formal events are the necessities and I have numerous of the previously mentioned two types of bags! 

More things may or may not be added to this list as time goes on; but the rules of the challenge are clear to me:

  • No buying unless necessary;
  • No buying with cash, only vouchers;
  • This will last for 365 days;
  • Any saved money will go into my savings account!

Simple really...and I hope I can keep this up! For the sake of my bank account anyway... roll on the 1st of August 2011!!!!

how my finchley rose is organised: part 3

Welcome to part three of how I organise my Filofax :) I hope you've been interested in parts 1, 2a and 2b thus far and I promise you this is the last part!

To begin the end of the 'how my filofax is organised' series, I will start on the recipes tab. Here, I actually write down recipes by hand because this not only gives it a more personal feel, but it also makes me remember (for I have a photographic memory) what recipes I have written down and thus, make me more likely to use them.

The above is my record of courseworks and exams I have taken. The colour coding down the left represents the module each coursework or exam was for, the name of the coursework or exam comes next, then the percentage score and finally the grading (i.e. first, upper second, lower second, etc). For privacy reasons, I have blurred (or rather, smudged) it all on photoshop. I find having this in my Filofax can often make me more productive. I can see at a glance how I've done in certain courseworks and thus, I will want to improve on that score. After all, no one wants to go backwards, do they?

Next in my Filo is the 2011 vertical planner. Birthdays, rent due dates, bill due dates and other important things have already been written in. The vertical lines mean that only one, or maybe two if I wrote small, things can fit in a line which will have to make me think what is really important before writing things down willy-nilly.

Above is the 2011 diary week on two pages in cotton cream. Down the side I have made my own tabs for each month (up to August) but not necessarily in the right order. I have done this for ease of reference instead of flicking and then having to turn to the right page to get to the month desired.

Finally, the end is in sight! Welcome to the back of my filo. I have a transparent envelope here which on one side has my dad holding me when I was a baby and on the other, my mum holding me when I was a baby. When I was younger, my parents were not really that well off and we had to work hard to get to where we are now. I use this as inspiration for myself to remind me that nothing comes easy, but with hard work, we can get the fruits of our desire. The Oasis escape card just makes me want to go on holiday, so for the summer, I felt it was fitting so I slipped that in too.

Inside the zipped mesh compartment are any gift vouchers I have. I do survey sites so I accrue a fair number of high street vouchers so to keep them safe, where better to put them than in my Filofax!

Well, I hope you've enjoyed seeing how my Filo has been organised. It has been lengthy, yes, but I feel that in order for me to give a full view to the reader, I must fully dissect my beloved Finchley vintage rose! After all, I love it when other bloggers do that about their Filo as things that work well for others may also work well for me!