23 Feb 2022

my bullet journal arsenal: pens, paper and random bits of paraphernalia

As much as I love that bullet journaling requires the bare minimum of materials (a notebook and pen is enough!), I'm someone who likes to have a few more things to make my 'bujo' that bit more neat and reflective of my personality. My bujo arsenal now looks as follows...


My first bujo was a Papier one, my 2021 one was a Leuchtturm and this year, I've opted for an Ottergami one (blog post in due course!). I like notebooks with paper decent enough for fountain pen and some wetter inks and these all offer me this feature. I also like a decent number of pages in my bujo and again, these all met that requirement. 

Fountain Pens! (Of course...!)

As most of you probably know by now, I like a fine nib and it's no exception when it comes to my bujo. If I'm at home, the pens I would most likely use are:

- Platinum 3776 Century Nice - top of the picture
- Kaweco Student 70s Soul (honestly, such an underrated pen!) - 3rd pen

And if I'm out and about:

- Platinum Procyon - 2nd pen
- Pilot Kakuno - 4th and 5th pens

There are a few others I use for other purposes (I have a journaling fountain pen and a 'One Line a Day' fountain pen too - one can never have too many!) but these are the ones that seem to work best on the notebooks I choose to be my bujo. My Sailor Pro Gear is seeing a fair bit of use in it at present too... Essentially, any fountain pen will do; as long as it is a fountain pen!

Fountain Pen Ink (a natural follow up!)

My brands of choice here are Diamine (affordable, great quality and come in a fantastic range of colours), Sailor and Pilot (not pictured). I have one of the massive bottles of Pilot blue-black ink which I use to top up my work pen; alternating it with a Diamine work appropriate offering. 

Coloured Pens

I feel like one cannot have a bujo arsenal without including Tombow brush pens and Staedtler fineliners. Tombow brush pens have replaced Zebra Mildliners as my highlighters of choice too. Both of these pens mentioned look great in my bujo - not too bright or garish and just the right amount of colour to add a bit of interest to the pages. 

Monotone Pens

Of course Muji have to make an appearance here - their gel pens are a staple and having been using them for the last 16 and a half years, they had to be included. The Unipin finaliser is also great for those doodles and setting up of pages. Highlighting anything written with the Unipin fineliner is great because the ink doesn't smudge. 

A white gel pen - of course. I alternate between this Uniball Signo and a Sakura one. Both have their merits and uses. 

And of course, the Zebra Mildliner. Included here for now while they still have ink in them. Once they're finished, I think Tombow brush pens will end up taking their place. 

Other Random Bits

Kraft paper adds a bit of texture to my pages and I like how white ink looks on it. I've also been experimenting with black paper too which I quite like. It adds a nice contrast to the white pages of my bujo. 

As someone who aims to have a minimalistic bullet journal, I feel that these tools lend themselves nicely to that goal. 

Do you have any essentials in your arsenal that are similar to mine? Or any that you think should be essential for everyone that I've missed out? 

10 Feb 2022

using my bullet journal to record my running progress

In December 2020, I decided to start running regularly. Having been a keen sportswomen prior to that (regular netball, the odd game of squash, basketball, etc), I had a good basic level of fitness but for some reason, could never get into running and actually loathed it a bit!

However, lockdown changed things. Team sports were not allowed, meet ups were not allowed and most recreational grounds/gyms/fitness centres were closed. This meant I had to find my own way of exercise. I started out doing home workouts from Youtube but then decided that going out for a run might be the way forward.

Fast forward to now and I have to confess that I've well and truly caught the bug. I've gone from wanting to run 5k without stopping to now training for a half marathon and beyond. A fitness watch adorns my wrist whenever I am not at work and out for a run and I track every run and its stats. Although I used to take my netball very seriously and competitively, I've started becoming competitive with myself when it comes to my running. 

Every month, I track the days where I've done some exercise. I also wear a Myzone heart rate chest strap monitor which allows me to be competitive with myself each month; aiming to hit the Myzone set goal of 1300 MEPs (points for how long your heart rate stays in each of the various zones) and my own goal of 1500 MEPs. 

Each run is analysed on a basic level: how far I've run continuously, the average pace and how long it took me to complete that distance. Then each month, I add these figures up and also calculate an average. The other things I look at are cadence, training load and whether it was an effective workout - all statistics available on my fitness watch or its associated app. I'll be blogging about my watch in due course - long story short: I would highly recommend one if you like your stats and want to take your fitness to another level. 

My next step now, is to improve my speed and distance I can run. My watch will help with that but I'm also doing a lot of reading around running, diet, rest, strength training, etc. In short, I've become a bit obsessed and my friends and family are probably sick and tired of me talking about all the running I do! 

Are you a runner? If so, any tips or tricks you're able to share? I'm not fast at all but am very willing to train hard to speed up! 

27 Jan 2022

what's in my bag #25: my work backpack by sweaty betty

The majority of my work days, I carry this Sweaty Betty quilted backpack. It's pretty functional and quite well built and considering that it's on the pricier end for a backpack, I would hope so! I also really like the two pockets at the side. On rainy days, one side is useful for an umbrella and the other side usually has a folded up tote bag. 

Contents (top left, clockwise): work ID and pass, a pair of socks (as I wear theatre clogs at work with scrubs on the days where I'm in theatre), pencil case (usually a fountain pen, a gel pen and a biro are its core contents), a one litre flask, my work notebook (a surgical mask enclosed within it of course), chocolate covered rice cakes, a rollerball of peppermint and lavender essential oils gifted to me by one of my seniors a few months;' ago and a tote bag. 
I feel like I've managed to really decrease how much I carry around in my bag which my back will be grateful for in years to come. 

My work bag often has my lunchbox in as well - I like to meal prep as the lunch options are not great at the hospital I work at. There's usually a fair few more snacks in my bag including a piece of fruit. If I'm on-call (which are usually 12.5 hour shifts), they are often hectic and I find myself craving something sweet or salty and definitely not good for me. As a result, I try and carry a healthy sweet and a healthy salty snack. 

Unfortunately, we don't get allocated a locker at work otherwise my socks and snacks could be stored at work.

12 Jan 2022

bullet journal collections of mine

Collections are a core part of most bullet journals I've seen online and mine is no exception. Today, I'm going to talk through a few of mine, how they are used and why they are useful to me.  

Mood Tracker

Pretty self-explanatory! We've had a tough two years or so and a mood tracker has been good for me to reflect on what can affect my mood positively and negatively. This is so I can keep doing the stuff that makes me happy and minimise the stuff that makes me unhappy. It's also good to see if my bad and good days all come at the same time or if they are just here and there. 

As I've got older, I've figured out what things help my mood (for instance, sport, running, baking!) and what things do not (going to bed super late, not exercising and the early, dark nights in the winter). This helps me figure out an action plan to maximise the happiness-inducing activities to try and give my mood a boost. I find doing this right at the beginning of the week helps the most. 

The Worry Tree and a Master Packing List

The worry tree has been a core part of my bullet journal over the last two years and I'm not transferring it to my 2022 one. My mental health is much improved and as a previously self-confessed worrywart, I'm definitely a lot more laid back than I used to be.

A master packing list is useful as I often head away for a weekend at the last minute. I tend to pack the same things for each trip so this is useful. Later this year, I'll be doing on-calls at the hospital which will require an overnight stay, if not longer, so this list will be useful then too. 


My reading has been terrible this last year and I don't know why. I think I've poured all of my effort into running and fitness and my concentration levels when it comes to reading have dropped off a lot. I'm hoping to rectify that in 2022 though...

My 100 goals for each year

Each year, I keep a list of 100 random things I want to do. They can be easy and instant or may take a bit more perseverance or effort. It's to keep me motivated as there's nothing better than checking something off a list! I've written one for 2022 already so hopefully I can achieve at least 60% of it. 

These are the core collections in my bullet journal from 2021 and it will be interesting to see how these evolve in 2022. I've left off my Animal Crossing ones (i.e. fossils, statues, paintings, fish, insects and sea creatures left to find for the museum!) as it's a little too nerdy...! 

What collections do you have that are essential to your bullet journal?