31 Mar 2013

my week #50

I've had a bit of a bad week, health-wise. I'm having one of those colds that fade in and out in intensity, and have just been feeling generally unwell. Hopefully, all of this will pass in time for tomorrow, when the new week starts.

I'm afraid this week is just as ugly and messy as last week's and I'm sorry about that!

Have a good Easter Sunday! :)

29 Mar 2013

university: effective revision

With exams coming up soon, I felt it was appropriate to do a post on effective revision. Now, I must confess, I'm not the best example as I used to cram for exams but I have learnt the error of my ways and have been rapidly scouring my mind for ideas of how to revise effectively in preparation for medical school later this year. My first year at medschool will be super intense and so, I am putting a lot of effort into trying not to make the same mistakes.

I have mentioned lecture notes in the past but I feel now is a good time to reiterate some of the points.

1) write things in your own words

Writing things in your own words mean that you are more likely to remember them because you had compiled the sentence/paragraph yourself.

2) make your notes as compact as possible - use keywords

Using keywords mean that you won't feel so overwhelmed by the sheer volume of content you have to learn. University is a big step up from A-Levels and from having gone from achieving straight As (80% or more) to 60% or so in exams, it was a major shock.

3) look over your notes regularly

This is one of the most important thing to remember. It is no good making notes if you aren't going to look over them on a regular basis. The more times you look over your notes, the more likely they will be ingrained in your memory. Having studied neuroscience, I can definitely vouch for this. 

After making notes in a lecture, make a note in your diary to look over it again in a few days' time (say, three days' time) and then a few weeks' time (say, three weeks') and then again in a few months'. That way, you're improving the odds of remembering the notes you have made.


Sleep is also important for laying down memories. Sleep is when our memories are consolidated in our brain, so a lack of sleep (i.e. pulling all nighters) actually has more of a detrimental effect than if you got your six to eight hours every night.

5) Eat healthily and make time for play.

Credit: BBC Good Food
All too often, exam time can mean 'no-fun time' and this can be just as bad as no sleep. Make time to relax and also make time to cook healthy meals. Eating a pizza once every so often isn't a bad thing, but eating it a few times' a week is. Not only are you lacking nutrients you might need to ensure a healthy body and mind, you're also compromising the health of your immune system.

27 Mar 2013

pantone colour of the year 2012 notebook

I have a soft spot for the colour orange (and pink! But not together.) and when I saw this notebook, I knew I had to have it. With it being 'colour of the year 2012' made it all the more appealing. I don't usually fall for all of the hype various items get but this time, I was sucked in completely.

The cover is a lovely bright orange:

And inside, the design of the sheets were that the top two-thirds had a light grey background, with the bottom third a bog-standard white. There are ruled sheets, with the rule being a bright yellow colour (how's that for contrast):

Yellow dots:

And finally, yellow squares:

I can't bear to use this notebook yet as I haven't decided what to use it for. On the spine, there is the word 'journal' but that doesn't mean I have to use it as a journal (I am quite the rebel, it seems).

Although I've not used this notebook properly yet, I did do a small pen test with the paper. The paper is very thick (at a guess, I would say it is at least 100gsm) and there was minimal feathering or showthrough when I tested out the paper with a Uniball Eye 0.5mm rollerball pen.

One final thing I will say is that I'm not sure all Pantone notebooks come with this internal layout of squared, lined and dotted paper. My other Pantone purchase certainly didn't.

I apologise that this post is more pictorial than anything but I just wanted to show off a notebook that I had really fallen for from a purely aesthetic point of view.

26 Mar 2013

my week round-up #12

Here is a round up of this week's (and some of last week's too!) 'my week' posts and here is my week. Enjoy :)

{1} Seraphic Wing
{2} The Macbook Diaries
{3} Planning With Printed Portal
{4} Lady Elizabeth's Life
{5} Friday, I'm in Love
{6} Lucy Wonderland
{7} Leesh
{8} Lucy Wonderland
{9} Bake, Write and Live Life
{10} Imogen Rose Beauty
{11} Star Gardener
{12} Miss Mai's Adventures
{13} The Wonderful Life of Alice
{14} Red Lips 'n' Pearls
{15} She's Eclectic
{16} Imy's World <-- her first week in her new M U L B E R R Y !
{17} Me and My Crazy Obsessions
{18} Behind My Purpley Life
{19} The Simple Life
{20} This Little Life of Mine
{21} Puddytat Purr
{22} DIY Sara
{23} Yay For Fridays
{24} Nerd-Zilla
{25} Sunset Over Ocean
{26} Seraphic Wing
{27} Katie Louise Halsall

And my favourite this week is....

Credit: Lorena at Seraphic Wing

I'm a little biased this week. Having recently seen this planner in person, it looks SO much cuter in real life - purely because you can see how small the handwriting really is, how cute her planner is and the other cute things she has in and on her Filofax. I honestly had seriously bad planner envy when I was flicking through her Filofax at the meet-up!

NB: Inclusion on my weekly round-ups do not mean that I endorse any of the products or services sold by readers in the list and I do not get commission from any sales that may be the result of a click-through.

25 Mar 2013

what's in my bag #11

The last time I showed off what was in my bag, it was cold, the days were short and the nights were long. This time, it's not quite as cold, the days are longer and the nights are shorter. 

So, in an effort to lighten up the bag I carry around (in the hope that lightening up my bag will also lighten up the skies...!), I have resorted to using a smaller satchel type bag from NW3 by Hobbs. I do occasionally use my Longchamp Le Pliage tote for when I do sport or if I am carrying a lot of heavy stuff on a day trip, but I usually resort to my Modalu Pippa or this NW3 bag for all other occasions. Moreover, my Miu Miu is good for those times when I need to look smart and the Mulberry is ideal for the summer months!

All in all, my bag collection is pretty much complete and I don't find myself tempted by bags I see on sale or on other people's shoulders/arms. Although I am still trying to become a minimalist and less materialistic, I only have a few bags now (what I've mentioned above is all that I've got) and they are all quality bags that will last for years and years. However, I may end up selling one or two in the near future if I find some of them are neglected of regular use.

Anyway, enough of that. Here is the bag: 

And when you undo the clasp and undo the zip, you see this:

And all of the things laid out:

From top left, in a clockwise manner: Smythson Bond Street organiser, Kindle K4, Garnier hand cream, plasters, Burt's Bees lip balm, house keys! my iPhone, Luella purse and some pocket tissues. 

Sometimes, I won't even carry my Kindle - but as it's not that heavy, it doesn't make too much difference in terms of extra weight or bulk.

I will probably do another one of these posts when the summer arrives as that is when I will probably resort to using my Mulberry!

24 Mar 2013

my week #49

Ahh this week, I've gone a bit backwards in trying to be minimalistic in my planner. I've had a week where a lot of things had to be recorded so this has resulted in a somewhat messy week and I apologise for this! A lot has had to be pixelated too, due to it being sensitive information.

How has your week been? Also, anyone know of any jobs in London that would want someone for just under five months? ;)

22 Mar 2013

planning bedroom decor

As you may know by now, we moved house in February. The 'new' house needs quite a bit of renovating and redecorating - mostly minor things though - and we are trying to do it gradually. I'm quite lucky in that I received an offer to my first choice medical school - which happens to be a short bus ride away - and so my parents have allowed me to live at home.

They've also been really kind and said that my room and my sister's room are to be the first ones to be redecorated and done up, and they even let me have the biggest room for all of my stationery and other stuff! I sound really spoilt but I really do know how lucky I am to have this opportunity. Hopefully, I won't fail any exams at medschool and then, in four years' time, I will have started earning and paying for the bills and the upkeep of this house, along with paying for my parents expenses so that they can live a comfortable retirement.

Anyway, back to the topic in hand - redecoration. Before we moved, I started planning my workspace (this was in the hope that I would receive an offer, which luckily, I did) and this was what I came up with. All of the furniture is from IKEA but I am looking at other alternative sources as they have served as more of an inspiration than anything.

And so, three weeks' ago, we started the tearing down the old built-in wardrobes (they were really quite ugly and were pretty much on their way out) and this was how my room looked.

From top left, clockwise: 1) view from the doorway, 2) view from the top right corner, 3) ridiculous amount of clutter under my bed, 4) a closer look at the top wall.
Having ripped out the previous wardrobes, I have had to re-plan my bedroom. And I still need to get some storage stuff, like a bookshelf. I am on the lookout for one that will look good, but also be able to stand the weight of heavy textbooks that I will inevitably borrow from the library, or buy from somewhere or other.

This is the new room layout I came up with, and a drawing of the interior of the wardrobes I am desiring:

At the moment, I am leaning towards some sliding door wardrobes from IKEA as they are cheap and cheerful. Moreover, although the quality won't be brilliant, I love how the insides can be chopped and changed as I fancy. They come with a ten-year guarantee (though I don't read too much into this) but for the price that they are, that does make them seem more worth it than opting for wardrobes that would cost £5,000 in total (yes, we actually got a quote of £5,000 for my room!). The IKEA ones are only about £500 in total! 

So, my room is currently a work in progress. Wardrobes chosen and once everything is sorted and set up, there will be another post to show it off. The final touches will be the painting of the walls and buying of new curtains and a new curtain rail but that is a minor thing compared to the installation of wardrobes.

Don't you just love doing something up, completely to your liking? I'm quite excited to start on the other rooms now!

20 Mar 2013

a minimalism update

I've mentioned the word 'minimalism' and it's variants quite a lot recently so it's no secret that I've been trying to decrease the number of possessions I have, the clutter in all aspects of my life and also lead a simpler life. In this post, I want to reflect on how successful this has been for me so far, and also what can be improved in the future. Hopefully, by documenting this on my blog, it will lead to me being more pro-active with regards to a more minimalistic future and life.


I have sold some stuff on eBay and there is still more to be listed in the coming months. This month, I am also doing a six items or less challenge. This is where you can choose six items to wear and you can only stick to these six items. Shoes, hosiery accessories and underwear are exempt (just as well!). For me, I've also made sports clothing exempt because if I were to include them, that would already be three to four items gone already!

The six items I have chosen are: a grey A-line skirt from Benetton (literally my go-to skirt. I have had it for five years now!), a burgundy dress with a peter pan collar from Boutique by Jaeger, a beige cardigan from H&M, black legging trousers from Mango, a cream pleated top from Reiss and a cream Mac from Aquascutum. All items in neutral-ish colours, so that everything will go together nicely.

All items apart from my Aquascutum mac. Also, it looks like I have stumps for legs... not true - I was just stood on a chair to take this picture.

I will evaluate this challenge sometime next month to see how much of a success it has been. Hopefully, it will allow me to see which items from my wardrobe still need to be purged.


I used to have too many handbags, too many pairs of shoes and just too much of everything. This includes stationery! I now have a few handbags and rotate the use of each, I still have too many pairs of shoes (something I am trying to rectify by listing some on eBay!) and still have too much stationery. It is hard to try and justify too much stationery - I will need it all at some stage as, for example, going back to university means I need to include colour in my notes for exam and revision time.

A picture from a guest post I did for Carou, over at Wandrrlust

One thing I can do is to not buy anymore stationery until I have finished a certain amount of it. At the moment, that amount is a half of everything I have, but even then, I have a feeling I will still have a lot of stationery. Hm, I think this category is still a work in progress!

Internet and Computer-Related Things

I have kept my Facebook friends to a minimum as usually, I don't log in for days and when I did, I was overwhelmed by status updates and 'news' on people I didn't really care about (no offence intended with that sentence!). Now, I can log in and see updates from the people who really matter to me and that has definitely made me less stressed at using this social networking site.

In the future, I would quite like to delete my Facebook altogether but I'm not quite sure if that will ever happen. This is because Facebook has come in quite handy in my first degree when we shared lab experiment results, write-up tips, etc and I think it will be equally handy for when I start university this autumn.

One good thing about my internet use is that my bookmarks are very uncluttered and I keep things there to a minimum. I only have eight bookmarks (three of which are folders) but the ISA Saver one you see on the far right is one that will disappear once I have sorted out my ISA.


Finally, I have been trying to declutter my diary and the way I decorate it. Here is one of my weeks pre-decluttering:

and here is a week where I have tried to declutter:

So, in conclusion, I think I have been making slow and steady steps in decluttering. It is hard to part with items accrued and I think that is the crux of this minimalism issue I am having. However, I will keep persevering with this long-term project of mine and hopefully, I will reach minimalism nirvana sooner rather than later!

19 Mar 2013

my week round-up #11

Can you believe that eleven weeks of 2013 have already passed? And another Tuesday can only mean another round-up.

{1} Katie Louise Halsall
{2} Lady Elizabeth's Life
{3} Lucy Wonderland
{4} Leesh
{5} The Nest Not Exactly Empty
{6} Nerd-Zilla
{7} Macarons et Cupcakes
{8} Miss Mai's Adventures
{9} Well Planned Life
{10} The Wonderful Life of Alice
{11} Behind My Purpley Life
{12} She's Eclectic
{13} Me And My Crazy Obsessions
{14} Femme Musings
{15} This Little Life of Mine
{16} Katie Louise Halsall
{17} Deligted
{18} Bake, Write and Live Life
{19} Imy's World <-- her Mulberry is arriving today, aren't you just so excited to see it :D (I am!)
{20} Red Lips 'n' Pearls
{21} DIY Sara
{22} Puddytat Purr

And this week's favourite?

Credit: Liz at Me and My Crazy Obsessions

This week, I was on the lookout for a week that was a bit more minimalistic and had less washi tape, stickers and whatnot. However, I actually found myself drawn to Liz's week instead. Her handwriting is beautiful (pretty sure I say this every week...! I think I have serious handwriting envy.) but I just love how 'used' these pages look. Used and abused, that's how I like things ;) (just kidding!).

18 Mar 2013

{ 16th march 2013 } my first philofaxy meet up

I popped my Philofaxy meet-up cherry on Saturday and boy, was it worth it. The itinerary for the day was that we would all meet at Vapiano, a restaurant near Oxford Circus and then head off to various stores selling stationery. Now, I'm quite shy when meeting new people and Saturday was no exception but surprisingly, as soon as I jumped on the train heading for London (only a 30 minute journey so quite a short one), all nerves were gone. And when I approached the crowd outside Vapiano, it felt more like meeting old friends rather than meeting strangers!

I've got the Philofaxy business cards... now I just need friends to give them out to ; )

The best bit about the day was putting faces to names. I'm quite active on Twitter (read: addicted) and so I knew the faces of some already but meeting them in person is completely different. I didn't get to talk to everyone but I think I at least spoke to the majority and everyone was lovely.

Imy (she's just as lovely in person as she is in her videos, blog and on Twitter!) very kindly gave me some Filofax purple ruled notepaper (I love that stuff!) and also threw in some Paperchase diary stickers and these Daytimer Hot Lists:

A photo to show the real size of these Day Timer Hot Lists - next to a 'personal' sized
Kate Spade ruler.

But the best part? I got not one, but two Imy's World stickers! The other one is stuck in my diary - ready for you to see on Sunday when I post my week.

An Imy's World sticker: how jealous are you?! : )

I made the mistake of saying yes to adding extra chilli to my bolognase, so urm, I ended up with a burning mouth for about ten minutes which kept me quiet for a bit! However, once that calmed down, you couldn't stop me from talking (just ask Lorena!).

Such a small world it is that I ended up bumping into a friend from uni at Vapiano! She was actually a fresher on my corridor last year when I was a hall senior and so, it was lovely to catch up with someone who I saw on a daily basis last year.

Anyway, after filling our little bellies, we headed to the Filofax store on Conduit Street. Prior to the meet-up, we were told that only eight of us would be allowed in at any one time but as it turns out, when we arrived, the shop was empty! We disregarded the 'eight at one time' rule and we all piled in.

Once we were all done and dusted in Filofax, we walked over to Mulberry. Imy was so eager to get there, she power-walked ahead but only to be called back by others who were left behind ; ) There was disappointment in Mulberry, however, with both service and stock to blame. Imy will say more on this on her blog about that!

Final stop - Artbox! Predictably, I couldn't resist and came away with the following:

I bought these sticker sheets (some of which, I bought several of).

And these bad boys. I have used these before and wasn't impressed by the stickyness of them, so here's hoping that these are of a higher quality (they certainly look higher quality than the ones they have previously sold).

Overall, it was a brilliant day and I couldn't recommend the experience enough. I don't think many of my friends understand the obsession with stationery, Filofax, binders, etc (though they accept it!) and to meet others who you share this interest with is fantastic.

I was sat on a table with Imy, Tracey, Lindsay, Lorena and Paula and I have to say, I have to thank Lindsay as I'm pretty sure she helped dissipate the heat of the chilli from my lunch with her jokes and infectious laughter! It really did feel like talking to old friends and to talk to them in person revealed more in common than first thought : )

Thank you, Steve, for organising this meet-up. I feel privileged to have finally met The King ; ) It was equally lovely to meet everyone over a tasty lunch (I'm not saying yes to extra chilli next time) and a stroll through the streets of Central London. 

17 Mar 2013

my week #48

I am only four weeks away from my 'my week' one year anniversary. I can't believe I have managed to keep this up for a year, and I also can't believe how many people are taking part in it too! It's great to see how others use their diaries and how different each planner is.

I apologise for my fairly bland pages this week. They are also messier than usual!

This week, I have two big pieces of news. I received an offer for a medicine course over a month ago and finally 'firmed' it on UCAS. Here in the UK, UCAS is the system we use to apply for further education courses and so this was a big thing for me - as firming my first choice meant 'withdrawing' from my other three (as they had yet to reply). One of my choices I was withdrawing from was also another 4-year graduate-entry medicine course but with it being so far away from home, it was unlikely that I would choose it over my first choice even though I do receive financial help from the Student Loans Company.

Secondly, I attended my first Philofaxy meet-up yesterday. I will be talking more about this tomorrow so stay tuned!

How has your week been?

15 Mar 2013

semikolon workbook

Following on from my post about a colourful notebook I bought from TK Maxx, I couldn't resist going back to see what else they might have in stock (and with my nearest store now only a mile and a half away, I had no excuse not to really).

And that is when I found these Semikolon notebooks. Having done a quick Google on the company, I think they are a German company so how they ended up in TK Maxx, I have no idea. Then again, I'm not complaining as I got both of these for £2 altogether:

They are just simple plain exercise books. On the left, is a navy and white striped design, and on the right is a red check design with a white strip down the spine. Both have a 'window' in the middle (where you can see the 'Semikolon' word - that is actually on a card) where you can slot in something. I have yet to decide what to do with this window but the intention of these notebooks was for the anatomy teaching I will come across next year. I learn by doing, so to draw out stuff I've seen in anatomy class will help me a lot; and with these notebooks possessing plain paper, they are ideal for this purpose.

Both the front cover and back cover have a full length, open-top pocket for you to put anything you want inside them. I find these very useful - I remember folding A4 handouts in half and putting them in pockets like these so no doubt these will serve the same purpose.

The paper is a lovely ivory colour. Not quite white, and not quite cream but if I had to liken the paper to something, it would be the cotton cream inserts Filofax do. The quality isn't as good as the paper in Rhodia notebooks, for example, but for a mere £1 each, I wasn't expecting much anyway.

In the centre of each page, towards the spine, is a semi-colon.

I keep finding myself stocking up on notebooks recently. I guess it's the excitement of starting medschool - it is something I've wanted for years now and I never thought it would actually happen! Buying all these notebooks is really exciting, but I need to keep my eyes on the prize - to actually work hard and do well enough to graduate in four years' time! At least, with all these notebooks, I will look the part, right?!

13 Mar 2013

blog post planning

A few months' back, I tried to use a Compact Osterley as my blog planner. In the end, this Compact planner didn't get much use at all and I think there were a few reasons for this. The first one was that I found it inconvenient to have a separate binder for blog planning as I usually planned posts when on public transport. Secondly, quite often, it was an effort to dig it out just to plan blog posts or blog-related things (yes, I realise this makes me sound lazy!).

Anyway, since then, I have reserved a tiny section in my Smythson for blog planning instead and it has been sufficient for my needs. It has worked well so far (for the past four months now) so I thought I'd explain how I use this section and also why it works for me.

The one thing I wanted to ensure was that the section was as small as possible. Not only am I trying to be more minimalistic in *most* areas of my life, a smaller section makes the planning and blog organisation seem less daunting. As you can see here, I have two tabs for my blog (this will be explained later on) and the entire section only has about 15 sheets of paper altogether.

Firstly, we will see what is behind the first 'blog' tab. I have some blog post idea sheets here. These sheets are designed for those lightbulb moments you get at random times of the day. Noting down a brief title of a post helps you remember that idea for a great blog post before you forget it!

Immediately following the blog post idea sheets, I have some individual post planning sheets. These are for those times when you know you can't start writing the post immediately or want to structure a post before writing it. I've found these ideal for those long bus or train journeys.

After that, I have some blank ruled sheets. I use these for planning adjustments I want to make to the blog layout or blog set-up, or just random blog-related notes!

The final thing I have behind my first 'blog' tab is a blog timetable for the year. I have brainstormed ideas for each month in an effort to combat the inevitable blogger's block that will strike without so much as a warning. Although I don't glance at this often, it is a good springboard to use if you are stuck for ideas on what to blog about, or if you are going through a rough patch where no ideas seem to appear in your mind.

Onto the second 'blog' tab I have now. As you can see, I have a monthly planner here and I have a tab here so that I can flick to this planner easily. Moreover, this planner allows me to see gaps where I can schedule a post to ensure some regularity in blog post publishing. So far, it has worked brilliantly!

Although this post may seem to highlight the obvious with regards to blog planning, I am hoping that it will give you an idea of how to set up a 'blog' section if you wanted to in your own planner. You don't need a big section or even a completely different binder or planner at all. In fact, I think having a separate planner can mean that your blog gets neglected due to the bother of having to refer to something else just to plan blog posts for example.

11 Mar 2013

smythson lined paper review

As promised aaaaages ago, here is the Smythson lined paper pen test. I can't find some of my pens so it is a relatively small selection of pens tested on here. I have tried out gel pens, erasable ink, biro and a felt tip for this review. If there is a specific ink you want to see on these refills, let me know and I will see what I can do.

Onto the test now. The 'injections' section is written in Muji gel, and my yellow-coloured pen leaked a little, hence the brown smudge.

A closer look reveals that none of the pens tested feathered and all were absorbed pretty quickly by the paper. I have tried fountain pen on this paper before (but don't have a picture to show for this) and let's just say that I wouldn't hesitate to buy Smythson refills if: a) the budget allowed and b) I wanted fountain pen friendly paper for my binder.

A closer look...

And upon turning the page, I see no show through, no bleed through and no trace of the pen test at all. The only bit that did show-through was the yellow pen that leaked a little - more of the pen's fault than the paper's if anything.

Overall, it is a pleasure to write on this paper. It is luxurious and doesn't cause any frustration for a pen user of any kind. However, the price point (£10 for 25 sheets...!) will no doubt put off many potential buyers. I don't think I would purchase this paper (the above sheet came with the binder I bought) as I would much prefer to spend a few quid on a somewhat lower quality of paper that performs about half as well as these Smythson refills.

{ Please note that this is NOT a sponsored review. This is purely my own opinion and I was not paid or endorsed in any way for this blog post. }

10 Mar 2013

my week #47

Another week of unsuccessful job hunting. I'm mainly looking for part-time work within a healthcare setting and no appropriate vacancies have come up. I feel that applying for a full-time, permanent job would be wrong as I would only be able to work until late August and would rather forego the ill-feeling that this will inevitably cause between myself and any employer.

I had to invest in a new pair of trainers this week too, as my current pair had little to no grip left and when I used them indoors, I would be slipping around. Having had a history with ankle problems in the past, this can be dangerous. As a result, I have spent the latter half of the week sorting out things to list on eBay (not only to offset the cost of trainers, but also to raise some money for medschool!).

How has your week been? I hope the weather has been good where you are. It has been a sunny start with a rainy end to the week here.

8 Mar 2013

making your planner system work for you

I've not experienced the dreaded planner-fail in a loooooooong time. No lie. I have only ever used a 'week on two pages' layout for my planner (apart from a failed experiment with a 'day-per-page' Moleskine) and it is a wonderful system that works for me. That's not to say that sometimes, I wish it worked better but instead of changing my set up or changing the layout of the diary pages, I find a way around it using small tweaks.

How have I managed to stay away from planner-fail? Well, these are the mantras I follow:

Perseverance is key.

Awful pun! But I had to include this picture as using this cute keyring is a pleasure :-)

I find that, in most cases, the best thing to do is to stick with the system you are currently using. If it has worked for you in the past, then I see no reason for it to not work for you in the future (unless an aspect of your life has changed dramatically, e.g. going to university, having a baby, planning a marriage... the list goes on).

With this in mind...

Small tweaks as and when they are required instead of a complete system overhaul.

When you find yourself running out of space, this does not necessarily mean you need another layout for your diary altogether. How much extra space do you need? Are you wasting space? Decorating your diary is all well and good provided you have the space but if you don't, then leave those decorations in the drawer!

For example, if you're using a week on two pages (WO2P) layout, do you really need to upgrade to a two days per page (2DPP) layout if you're only going through a temporary patch of hectic-ness? Would a sheet of notepaper slotted in between the pages work equally well for these busy periods? That's what I occasionally resorted to at university and it was fine. I was considering upgrading to a 2DPP layout in late 2012, but I am glad I didn't as I don't really need that space til later this year. And even then, I am going to slot in a sheet of notepaper in between each week instead of shelling out for completely new inserts!

Alternatively, Ray and Steve have created some inserts that you can print at home. This is a harmless way of trying out a layout if you're convinced you need a completely new layout instead of a small tweak.

Do what it takes to make you happy and make no excuses for it. Furthermore, disregard what others think!

Just half of my top drawer... I won't even show you the other half, or the other two drawers for fear of showing how bad this stationery addiction really is!

If stickers/tape/coloured pens keeps a set-up working for you, then keep it up. I know there are probably some people who think that my weeks are over the top or whatever, but to me, I couldn't care less as it keeps me in my planner and it works for me!

A slight change in set-up as the year goes by.

As you can see, my diary pages (the gold chunk) is  towards the back of my binder. This is because this makes it easier for me to write on the refills that are for the first part of the year. They will inevitably move further forward as the months go by.

You know when you first set up your binder, you made sure that the inserts were in the middle so that it would be easy to write on both sides with minimal disturbance by the rings? Well, you might find that your set up needs a slight tweak as the months go by to keep up this balance.

Towards the latter quarter of the year, you might find yourself needing to add in extra bits and bobs for Christmas planning or whatever, and for that, I would refer you back to the slight tweak mentioned above.

And finally, be happy with what you've got.

For some reason, it looks like I have a combover in this photo (I promise you that I didn't at the time!)... not the most flattering but at least my face looks good.

I am very happy with what I've got and I don't envisage myself moving out of this binder for a long time. Coupled with my Slimline Deco (currently my food diary) and my Kate Spade agenda, I am a very, very happy bunny. I still love the Osterley but the ring problems got a bit too much in the end so I don't think I will ever have one of those back in my possession unfortunately but who cares? I have three binders I love and that is more than enough.

So to reiterate, before diagnosing yourself with planner-fail, are you actually just bored of the layout? Tired of planning as you find it too time-consuming? Maybe a slight tweak is better than a whole system overhaul as that can leave you unsettled. Think creatively and you might find a hack that works brilliantly for you that no one has ever thought of before :-)

6 Mar 2013

currently lusting after... colourful notebooks

At the moment, I'm really pining after colourful notebooks. Leuchtturm 1971 is one brand of colourful notebooks that I really like the look of, but are out of my budget at the moment but as luck would have it, I found a Pantone notebook in TK Maxx. It is the A6 size and is pink on the outside:

The pages inside are a lovely yellow colour with white ruled lines. The yellow looks like this (I modified the colouring slightly to try and reflect the true colour of the paper inside):

And inside, it looks like this:

The thought of having a shelf full of (filled!) colourful notebooks has me salivating. I also found an orange Pantone notebook with orange paper inside (orange is one of my favourite colours!) but it was a bit too battered to justify it's price tag unfortunately.

I have yet to try out the paper in this Pantone notebook as my intended use for it is when I go out to GP or hospital visits in the first year of my course, and if there is space, for use in my second year when clinical rotations start. Scary to think that clinicals start in a year and a half's time! It is the perfect size for this too. I don't have many notebooks in this size either so I might need to hope that TK Maxx receive another shipment of these so I can get a few for much less than the RRP.

Once my student loan comes in, I think it is quite obvious what my first purchase might be ;)