Sunday, 30 December 2012

Christmas Goodies!!!

Hi All - I hope you have all had a fabulous Christmas :o)

I wrote the beginning of this post earlier, and Blogger ate it so here goes at attempt two... Christmas here was fabulous (although started a tad early for my liking, when I got woken up by small child at 4:30 all full of the Christmas spirit and ready to start his day). Trying to keep two young boys quiet for three and a half hours on Christmas morning isn't the easiest thing to do - especially when they both have whoopee cushions that they have never seen before and are giggling their heads off

The morning started properly at around 7:30 with the usual Christmas breakfast of croissants, bacon and Buck's Fizz before the boys started handing out the presents at 8. They were both so good, and seeing their little faces light up as they opened their presents was a joy. They were both very excited about giving us the presents they had made for us at kindergarten and school, very proud little boys, and very proud parents.

They didn't get their main presents (new bikes) until Boxing Day as they were both too lazy to leave the house and wanted to play with their toys on Christmas Day - who am I to argue with letting them play with things when they are very happy and not arguing with each other? :o)

I was a very lucky girl as you can see from the pictures below...
Silhouette Cameo, Smashbook, cute pen & case, Big Bang Theory
Season 5 (I have managed to watch to episode 13 already), mini
Filofax year planner and organiser stickers (perfect to go in my
mini Chameleon wallet), books, Smashbook, and exfoliating
gloves from my brother, who clearly thinks I need a bath :-D
7 sets of various papers and cards and a huge pack of cute
stickers from my boys
A large part of my afternoon was spent playing with my Silhouette Cameo to see what it can do. This baby is fantastic, and for first attempts I am very pleased. I didn't manage to get everything off the cutting mat in one piece (the links in the joined up writing from the first cut didn't fare too well, but I did another with larger writing and it came out perfectly, and I broke a piece off the snowflake), but am very happy with the results. I am looking forward to setting up templates for cutting dividers for my Filofaxes, and I think I will do some with pockets on the back too - I am quite excited about these, I just need to work out what measurements I need to programme in and how to get the tabs on and I'll be good to go.

First cut - I think I may put these into my Smashbook :-)
Second attempt to get the words done, not stuck down as I
don't know what I'm going to do with them yet
On boxing day I pulled out my box with some mementoes from the shows I saw when I was on my course in London at the beginning of the year and smashed them into my orange Smashbook from K & Company. I have to say, these are so great!!! I comes with cool, varied papers inside (different designs in each colour book) and includes a pen/glue stick. They have so many more things in their range that I would love to get, but thankfully I have lots of washi tape already.

Off now to have dinner and sort my work stuff ready for tomorrow before starting my templates on my new toy.


2013 Work Setup

As you may have already seen, I need to upsize from my Compact Chameleon for the new year. Unfortunately I know that my current set up will end up in a big, fat, planner fail if I try to keep it going for 2013 as I ave a fair amount of project work coming my way.

So, what do I need? Obviously I need to have my staples of a diary and some To Do lists. Without my to do lists what happens...? Nothing, absolutely nothing. I end up swamped and lost in my thoughts of what I need to get done.

As I don't have a huge number of meetings my diary space doesn't need to be huge, but it is nice to be able to see what I need to get done and my appointments / deadlines at the same time. I did this for part of last year using the Swedish WO2P diary and found that having them both available did help. I have set up a WO1P with To Do's / Notes, and at the moment I feel pretty confident that this will work for me. I also have a basic MO1P as well, to plan out the main dates in the year. The time I am usually focused on getting a lot of smaller tasks done is monthend, which we have a separate timetable for that is in a shared Excel file so I never write any of these tasks in my Filofax. Any other time I may need more room for tasks I can easily slip in an extra sheet to give me the space I need.

I have included a section for capture pages so that as emails come in I can write down what needs to be done before moving the mail from my inbox to the relevant actions folder.

Yep - that's right, the paper in here is currently address
sheets. I have quite a few of these and I rarely use them...
There is also a project section, which will contain a section for each project I am working on at the time so that everything that I have scribbled relating to it will be together instead of dotted about all over the place (including Post-Its on my monitor, and random bits of paper hiding in the debris that is known as my desk). This has standard quadrille paper in which you can pick up in most stationery stores, and we have in the stationery cupboard at work. When we get our next order at work I will replace the paper in my other sections with this - for now I am using random inserts.

Also in my work filo I will keep my A5 dodo pad inserts for tracking my food intake and exercise as it's definitely time to get back in action. If I keep it at home I find I don't fill it in, hence I have pretty much nothing written in here from August through until earlier this week.

At the back I have a section for spare paper, a spare divider in case anything comes up that warrants its own section, and a notepad in the secretarial pocket ready for notes and meetings.

And which lucky binder have I chosen to start my year with...?

Fairly full, but no so full that I can't move stuff around when
I need to
Domino Snake!!!


Personal Setup 2013 - What To Do?

Hi guys and gals - pull up a chair and prepare for a long post (no photos today I'm afraid)...

As some of you may recall from my post here, I was getting a tad stressed with the whole personal setup debacle. I ended up just chucking in a basic setup (no changing of the divider labels to suit what they were being used for or anything) and seeing where it went, and this is where it went...

My beautiful wine Holborn Zip was the obvious choice (I'd only just got it) and the inserts were pretty standard and things that I had in my stash already. Here beginneth the review...

I started with the following things in my filo:
  • Horizontal year planner, for school holidays, family plans, work trips and bank holidays. Useful? Anything that wasn't known when this was set up at the beginning of the year didn't make it onto here, so not really that useful...
  • Vertical year planner. Useful? this only had one entry written in it and has now been recycled for 2013 as shown in this post here.
  • Tabbed monthly inserts. Useful? These were used a bit at the beginning of 2012, but much the same happened as with the horizontal year planner at the top of the list :o( 
  • Blank/lined sheets to use as capture pages. Useful? I have referred to these, and also used some of them for to do lists. 
  • WO2P diary with lines. Useful? If I'm honest, not really as I haven't used them much. I tend to think of the diary pages as for tracking appointments, and as I have very few personal appointments they don't see much action.
  • Notes section (for To Do lists). Useful? These have barely been looked at, hence the overwhelming lack of check marks against the tasks. The 101 list items are checked off and some of the things from other lists have been checked off too, but this is mainly from luck than from me actually using the lists.
  • Projects (for my 101 in 1001 challenge). Useful? This section contains my full original 101 list, and also a version as it stood when I did the setup. I look at this section every week when I post my progress check, and have been using it to plan what I need to do.
  • Information. Useful? This contains the workout schedules for all the Beachbody workout programmes that I have so I have the information ready so that when I get started on my fitness again I can use this to help me decide which programme I want to do and then follow it using the schedules. Also, if I feel like mixing it up a bit and doing a random hybrid of workouts, I have all the information I need.
  • Financial. Useful? I decided to start using these for the first time ever when I started my Fabulously Frugal No Shopping challenge, so started when I was on holiday in November. I kept it up for about two days after the holiday ended, which isn't great, or particularly useful. 
So, what am I going to take through to my 2013 setup?
  • Diary / planner layouts. The horizontal year planner and tabbed monthlies barely got used, so I clearly don't need those. The vertical year planner can stay, purely because I have recycled it ready for use - let's see if it gets a bit more use this year. I have used the WO2P with lines successfully for work before, so although it didn't get used much this year I am going to give it a go for 2013.
  • Information for exercise - I think is still good for me and will be used.
  • Projects (101) - if I am to stand any chance of completing my 101 challenges this has to stay.
  • Capture pages - I think I still need these, but need to make sure my sections are labelled appropriately so I don't forget what these are for.
  • Action Lists - if I have a separate section for my capture pages and use it properly (and have top tabs for the various types of actions) then I should remember to look in this section and actually do the things on the list.
My original plan was for my personal filo to stay at home and be fat, as my mini Chameleon comes everywhere with me because I use it as my wallet, However, looking at how rubbish I am if I have too many areas to look at I think my filo will stay pretty slim, and then I think about my action lists and realise that important calls etc need to be made while I am at work..., maybe I should move to something smaller and take it everywhere with me...


101 List Progress Check - 30th December 2012

I have to admit that I have achieved very little this week, although I hadn't intended to (it being Christmas and all) so I'm quite happy.

I can now cross one item off my list (planning Christmas in my Dodo Book of Christmas), and I am pleased to say that I will definitely be using this again next year (or at least the inserts).

I also received a most fantastic Christmas present that will help with at least one of my other challenges, more about that in my Christmas post later.

Have a great week,


Monday, 24 December 2012

Merry Christmas!!!

It's that time again :o)

Two very excited boys went to bed at 7:00 and were asleep by 7:30 - result!!! Admittedly, Ben did have to stay in the room with them until they fell asleep, but they did :o)

Today has been a bit of a crazy rush of cleaning and tidying, so that everything is conducive to a relaxing evening before the big day (well, as relaxing as it can be when Santa is on his way).

Sprouts were prepped in the lounge whilst listening to Carols from Kings College on BBC2 - very rock ´n roll, and Ben has just finished in the kitchen prepping the carrots and parsnips.

We had fun making crackers (which are now sat on the tree waiting for lunch tomorrow).

Christmas tunes will be playing shortly, Santa sacks are hanging from the door, and the tree is ready for Santa to arrive and add the finishing touches.

And finally... mince pies, carrots, and milk are ready and waiting to provide sustenance to help Santa and his reindeer along the way.

Wishing you all a very Merry Christmas!!!


Current Work Set-Up


I´ve been thinking about my work set-up for 2013 recently as I need to upsize again to allow for all the project work that is likely to be coming my way over the course of next year. Whilst doing this I realised that I never got round to posting pics of my current set-up, so here goes.

I moved into my raspberry compact Chameleon in mid-October and to be honest I am a bit gutted to have to move out. It is small with a simple set-up that works well at the moment, and it is easy to stick it in my bag whenever I need to take it home.

I wanted it to be simple, practical and nice to look at, so the logical place to start was to see what sections I needed. Although I have the standard six numbered dividers I only set up four sections and left the other two in the back blank in case I needed them.

I have a Diary section which contains a WO2P with lines format - for me this is more than enough space for entering meetings, appointments, and deadlines.

My To Do section contains some lined paper and various To Do sheets. I am currently using some that were given to me (I think they are TMI inserts) and have added post-it markers to identify the sheets as emails, calls, monthend/do not forgets, project list, and to do's.

I then have a planning section which contains Filofax day planner inserts. To me these are probably more suited for personal stuff on the odd days when I have lots to do outside the home. I haven't actually used this section at all.

My final section is my capture pages, which is full of blank paper. I haven't used this section much since I moved into this binder, but it is a section which is very handy to have and I have a feeling it will get a lot of use next year.

I wanted to pretty it all up a bit, but not do anything permanent as realistically this was always going to be a temporary move until I decided what I needed. As you can see from the pictures, I labelled the dividers rather than the tabs, using washi tape and my Rotring Rapidograph pen.

Looking forward to playing with my 2013 set-up.


Sunday, 23 December 2012

Christmas Planning 2012

Thanks to some of my 101 in 1001 challenges, namely having my Christmas presents and cards bought and written out by the end of November, and using my Dodobook of Christmas to plan everything, the run up to Christmas has been a lot less fraught this year.

Using the Dodobook of Christmas has made things so much easier. This is a fab organiser and has dividers for sections Holiday Planner, Cards, Gifts, Festive Fare, Decoration, Children, Parties & Events, and Traditions, all of which are complete with traditional Christmas pictures. All the dividers have a handy slip pocket on the back for storing recipes, ideas from magasines, cards, receipts and a variety of other bits and pieces that you may accumulate on your Christmas planning journey. In true inimitable Lord Dodo style, each of the pockets is adorned with relevant quotes.

As well as these great dividers, the organiser includes Christmas Card List inserts. These are set up with five years of columns for received and sent, so each sheet lasts five years.

The inserts for all other sections are based on that classic favourite... quadrille paper, complete with a pic of Lord Dodo delivering presents in the bottom right corner of the page. It is just enough to give it that Christmassy feeling, while not being so intrusive that it distracts you, and it doesn´t take up enough space to get in the way either.

Lord Dodo and his team at Dodo Towers have clearly designed these inserts for long-term use. Not only is the card list template set up for five years, but all inserts are printed on a lovely, smooth, heavy-duty paper - in fact I´d say it´s thick enough to be classed as card. I was thinking of setting up a Filofax for next year for all events planning and adding Christmas planning to that, but then I think my normal Filofax inserts may get a major inferiority complex... oops!!!

The only sections I have really made much use of are Cards, Gifts, and Festive Fare, but maybe today I will use the holiday planner section to write out all the things that I need to do on Christmas Eve and on Christmas morning.

How do you plan for Christmas?


101 List Progress Check - 23rd December 2012

Wow - this is going to be a very short post as it has been a very busy week.

I have done some more of my Christmas planning in my Dodobook of Christmas, so that is another task almost completed.

That is all!!!

Have a great Christmas,


Sunday, 16 December 2012

101 List Progress Check - 16th December 2012

Well, we´re at the end of another week already - time seems to just be racing away at the moment.

I have been rubbish recently with writing my blog - managing the minimum for my 101 progress and very little else. I guess that was the main purpose of the blog in the first place so I shouldn´t beat myself up about not posting more.

So anyway, here´s the latest update on my 101 in 1001 days :o)

I have finished reading Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel and have therefore read all 10 of the books on my prizewinner books list. It wasn´t until I wrote my update last week where I mentioned that I had broken my Kindle and don´t want to be carrying my iPad everywhere with me. I also mentioned that at least it meant I was listening to music each day, but what was I listening to it on...? My iPod... and until that point it simply hadn´t occurred to me that I could just download the Kindle app onto my iPod and carry on from there (temporarily of course - it will never replace my Kindle). I thought I may struggle to read regularly using the iPod seeing how much I hate reading books on the iPad, but actually, I much prefer it, so my life isn´t over :o) The book was fab and I was browsing in the bookshop at the station the other day when I saw another Hilary Mantel book which appears to follow on from Wolf Hall, so it is written in my Filofax ready for the end of my Fabulously Frugal No Shopping Challenge.

Transferring my CDs to iTunes is being continued today, at last - and I seem to be making a fair amount of progress. In fact, I am sat at the pc instead of my MacBook today and therefore have the CD folder right next to me, so am swapping out the CDs as each one completes - yay!!! Once the the ones in the folder are finished I will attack the pile that are in the computer cupboard to transfer across any that haven´t all been done, and then I will get my DF to bring in all the ones that he has in the car as I know that at least some of those haven´t been done yet - and I desperately need Biffy Clyro - Revolutions back on my iPod (everything got wiped off it on Friday when I pulled my Christmas playlist across).

The first of my Flylady habits seems to have kicked in properly now - my kitchen is now gleaming most nights. The only times it isn´t is when I have made a conscious decision not to do it as other things are ore important and I have made sure it is done first thing in the morning so it isn´t lingering in my conscience. As I´m still in the process of decluttering various areas (including cupboards which I am still terrified to open) I am not intending to add a new Flylady habit each month, but will add a new one as and when I feel ready - as she says, babysteps :-) I have started giving my sink area in my bathroom a once over most days, but it is not a habit yet. It will definitely be my next one though - swish and swipe!!!

I felt I had cheated on my Fabulously Frugal No Shopping Challenge on Saturday, but I actually hadn´t. I went into Manor to get small prizes to put into  the crackers that we will be making for Christmas this year and I had a 20 Franc gift card from the last time I went there to buy some gifts for new babies. Unfortunately I couldn´t use it towards the prizes so I found a scarf (paleish turquoise with mainly white and a few pick swallows on - lovely for any time of the year, and some legwarmers - haven´t worn any of those since the 80s... which were reduced to half price). The card was due to run out on December the 24th so I couldn´t use it after completing my challenge, and I guess it is still frugal as I didn´t spend any real money...

I started on my two weeks of taking lunch to work with me on Monday, completely forgetting that I had booked Thursday and Friday off, so to make up for this I shall extend it to cover my working days between Christmas and New Year.

I´m still trying to work out if I am allowed to purchase a new Kindle to replace the one that I broke last week - I am managing without it, but it´s not good for my eyes and I can get a cheaper one as it is a replacement. Does it fall under wear and tear...? I need to decide pretty quick as we have a visitor coming over for Christmas and I would have to get it delivered to them before they come over... hmmm...

I went to a concert on Friday night, although it wasn´t what I had in mind when I wrote it on my list - picture a huge venue with Biffy Clyro or Metallica playing and that´ll give you an idea on what I was thinking. I attended the semi-finals of the Rock Highway competition and saw 8 bands play, including The Real Deal with my fabulous DF as their bassist. It was a really good night, with a few really good bands. The outcome was a bit disappointing, but there is still hope - I may write a separate post about that.

As Christmas is nearly upon us I have spent a bit of quality time with my boys decorating the trees (they have an artificial one upstairs and we have a real one downstairs) - I´m sure there will be a Christmas post coming up soon :o)

Have a great week,


Sunday, 9 December 2012

101 List Progress Check - 9th December 2012

What a week - it has been tough!!!

Let's start with the good news though:

      I finished my two week challenge to drink 1.5 litres of water a day on Tuesday!!! I am very pleased that I managed not to actually drown during this process, and despite the good intentions of trying to keep to it, I spent the last three days in a planning meeting which isn't exactly conducive to drinking that much (I couldn't really disappear off to the loo every hour without everyone assuming that I'm pregnant), and then came the weekend, which is the hardest time for me to remember to drink. However, back to work tomorrow, so I will try to drink 1.5 litres each day that I am in the office.

      For my Fabulously Frugal No Shopping Challenge... I have been a total angel :-) I resisted the lure of a vintage green Windsor filofax, which was particularly tempting as it was in perfect condition, green and I don't have any vintage filos...  I then had to look for Silhouette Cameo suppliers as this is what my wonderful DF is getting me for Christmas, this obviously led to me having to browse various scrapbooking sites to try to get together a list of the other bits and pieces I need to go with it, and I have found some amazing designs and scrapbooking kits, and all the other paraphernalia that goes with it. So far I have been able to resist, although totally unable to let Ben know what I actually need - I am totally loving the SMASH book stuff from KandCo, I really can't decide which things are most important to get. I have seen so much fabulous stuff that I'm almost tempted to say that I can wait until my birthday for the Silhouette Cameo. It is just so tempting to sneak in an order...

      My kitchen is still (mostly) getting it's final clean of the day before I go to bed so that when we get up in the morning it is nice and tidy - lovely!!! I had a bit of a moment this morning and started cleaning and rearranging the cupboards (rearranging the contents of, not physically moving the cupboards, that would just be crazy - they are fitted...), and now we can get to the things we need most for cooking easily, let's see how long they manage to stay in the right places. Next stop sorting out the food cupboards - my OCD really needs to kick on on those bad boys, instead of just closing the doors and ignoring them :-)

      And this is where it all goes wrong... :-(  I still haven't finished reading my final prizewinner book (Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel), because I had a bit of an accident on the way to the bus stop for work on Monday (imagine full on comedy, slip on ice, legs right up in the air, landing flat on the back and then smacking head on the floor). The accident itself was kinda painful but my neck and head are both OK again now and my lower back is almost back to normal, but my Kindle wasn't so lucky :-( I was carrying it (in its cover) in my rucksack, which was thrown over my right shoulder and took quite an impact when it hit the floor. It wasn't until the end of the day that I realised that it was broken and why (yep, that knock on the head made me pretty useless for most of the day, I was really struggling to think). I had tried turning it on at the bus stop, but the picture wouldn't change, I tried restarting it and still nothing - I figured it was just having a funny five minutes (being totally unaware that it was likely to have been battered in the fall - I'm sure my brain must have fallen out you know).

      Thankfully I can still read it as I have the Kindle app on my iPad, but I hate reading books on the iPad, and simply refuse to carry it to work and back each day - so there goes pretty much all my reading time each day until I can get a new Kindle... why did this have to happen while I'm on my 3 month no shopping challenge - bah, sucks!!! Maybe I will have to give in and start taking my iPad to work... bleurgh!!!

But looking on the bright side - I have been listening to music on the way to and from work, which is really nice as I don't get time to listen to much music usually :-)

Have a great week,




Whilst having a bad Filofax day the other day as posted here, I decided that I could manage to set up this filo in a way that would work for me - I would not be defeated.

My first stop (and only in the end as I had wasted a stack of time getting stroppy first) was my year planner. I find these so useful to have and although I had both the horizontal and vertical layout ones for 2012, I really only used the horizontal one and had only written one thing on the vertical one.

Maybe I could recycle it for 2013 (no shopping allowed remember, I am attempting to be good for 3 months - no more buying things I don't need for me...). I thought I could get away with just changing the days or the numbers, but soon realised that his wasn't going to work for me as the weekends are shown in a different colour to the rest of the week, so got to thinking a bit to see what I actually need it for.

Do I track appointments on it - hell no!!! Do I track specific dates on it - not really. Mostly I use it to show which weeks are school holidays and when I am off work or away visiting one of the other offices. So does it really matter if I don't have all the dates and days showing - nope!!!

So, I now have a lovely 2013 vertical year planner that cost me nothing (although the months all still say 2012 above them as I can't find a way to change it to 2013 which doesn't involve me hating how it looks),

And here is how I did it:

Washi tape to hide (or at least cover to a certain extent) the days and dates.

Week commencing dates instead of full dates (although I did start using the old Sunday line for this I managed to forget what I was doing and messed a few up, and then totally changed the day later in the year - oh well, nothing I can do about that now and I can't get a new one so I will have to just live with it.

I have added stickers to show school holiday and term start dates (from Dodpad), Easter, Halloween, Christmas (from the selection that I was sent from Australia as blogged about here) and a few special dates re bank holidays and no school (Filofax).

This satisfies my needs and looks pretty - now I just have to see how much the 2012 on the end of each month annoys me... fingers crossed I will get used to it.


Updated: Sorry, it took me over two weeks to get round to taking the pictures for this so this post is a touch late...

Sunday, 2 December 2012

101 List Progress Check - 2nd December 2012

Hiya :o)

Happy day today - I have almost completed my 2 weeks of drinking 1.5 litres of water every day, I am so pleased with myself. It's been a pretty tough challenge for someone who usually manages less than 1 litre per day unless I really make an effort to drink more. It's not that I usually drink squash, tea, juice, coffee, fizzy drinks etc - I mainly drink water, I just don't drink much. I have been told many times that I should drink more, but I just don't feel the need to. But - here is the big question, have I felt any better for upping my fluid intake...? In a word, no. I pee more (unsurprisingly), but that is the only change so far (apart from at times feeling as if I'm going to drown, oh, and a strange feeling on occasion that my head is about to explode...). I may carry on trying to drink this much after the challenge has finished to see if it does have any impact longer term, in a way I'm hoping it doesn't so that I can go back to drinking an amount that I feel comfortable with.

Have I finished reading Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel yet so that I can mark of my "Read 10 Prizewinners books" as complete - no. I am finding it a fascinating read, and am reading pretty much every day, but still have quite a way to go. Today I thought I'd have a quick check on Amazon, and it turns out the book has 559 pages, so I don't feel too bad for taking so long to read it. The book includes historical figures (Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn), and has made me think about reading more about that period - more than any of my history lessons achieved,,,

I have also started on the Flylady path (admittedly I haven't done all the decluttering yet - honestly, I swear that as soon as you've done a room, I start on another area and then the first bit needs doing all over again...) and have been "Shining my Sink". I started doing this when I was off work and hoped to carry on when I went back and haven't done badly so far. I had a couple of nights where it wasn't done due to late finishes at work for month end and I know that I will have to let it slide for a couple of nights this coming week as I am out for dinner on Tuesday and the works Christmas do on Thursday.

As for the Frugal No Shopping challenge - what was I thinking? 3 months? Really??? This is even more tricky now that Moleskine have launched their Hobbit notebooks... Why did I think this was such a good idea? I can see me asking this question lots over the next couple of months, although I have made it through a whole month already. Surely the run up to Christmas and gearing up for yearend will stop me having time to think about buying anything, and then January will be manic at work... maybe it will go quickly :o)

Have a great week,