Planner Girls Collective ~ Latest Stationery Purchases

This week the PGC will be sharing with you our latest stationery purchases. I must admit I’ve been pretty good the last few weeks and haven’t really bought to much, or so I thought!

First up is my most recent purchase from Paperchase. I used my £5 birthday voucher to pick up a couple of 2017 diaries for tracking the kids behaviours. These week on 2 pages diaries will be perfect for my requirements.

Earlier in the month I also received my order from Little Rainbow Moon, which was a selection of stickers and a TN dashboard. I love them and will definitely be back for more. In fact I have been drooling over the February Mystery Kit unboxing and think some of the items will be making their way into my basket very soon.

In a spur of the moment purchase, I ordered the February Monthly Kit from Ugly Bug Plans, which I love. I will be doing a full review later this week, so don’t forget to check back for more details.

Finally, we have a few pens that I’ve picked up from Amazon (damn you Amazon Prime) and it appears I have a bit of a thing for all things metallic at the minute.

Uni-Ball Signo Metallic Gel Ink Rollerballs // Gelly Roll Metallic Medium Point Pen – Copper //Uni-Ball Signo Broad Metallic Gel Ink Rollerball – Bronze

I think that’s about it for my purchases but don’t forget to check out the other ladies in the collective.

Until next time.

Debbie x

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How I’m Implementing GTD: My System and Tools

So far in my GTD implementation we have set up a workspace and have collected all the loose papers from around the house as well as doing a thorough mind sweep.

This week we will be looking at the parts that make up the system as a whole before we move onto the processing our collected thoughts and paper.

In the past I have used a predominantly digital setup for my GTD system.  However as my lifestyle has changed, so have my needs and I now feel that a paper based system would work a lot better for me.

I have played around with several ideas over the years when it comes to paper based set ups and feel that by using an adaptation of the Mind Organization for Moms setup by April Perry and Power of Moms I will have an almost perfect system.

In April’s setup she has three parts to her ‘machine’. There are things that you refer to once a week, things you keep on your brain, and things that are kept off the brain.

Taking each area I will discuss my interpretation of the setup.

On The Brain

CALENDAR

My calendar is a hybrid of paper and digital. I have a family calendar hung on the wall in the kitchen for all the family to see, I have my monthly and weekly setups in my bullet journal and I have a digital calendar for my blog planning.I have tried keeping my appointments in a digital calendar but I find it a bit of a chore to update. That said I do find it a benefit when trying to co-ordinate with my OH or eldest daughter (providing they have updated their calendars).

IMMEDIATE NEXT ACTIONS

This is a list of actions that need to be completed within the week and is kept within my bullet journal and organised by context. I haven’t yet decided if it will work better as a removable sheet of paper or as part of my bullet journal, time will tell.

E-MAIL INBOXES

I have set up additional e-mail inboxes as follows ready for processing my main inbox.

  • @Immediate Actions
  • @Important Actions
  • @Incubation
  • @Someday
  • @Waiting

READ/REVIEW BASKET

I currently have a small basket in the living room which will be used to hold all magazines, catalogues etc which don’t have a specific deadline but need to be reviewed before throwing away.

Once A Week

MAIN INBOX

This is the place I will be training my family to put all receipts, flyers, school letters and the like for processing during my weekly review. I will also check my other inboxes (Facebook, Voicemail, Messages etc) weekly and add to my main inbox.

CURRENT PROJECTS

Unlike standard GTD I have decided to split my project lists into four sections

  • Me
  • My Family
  • My Home
  • Beyond

My lists will be stored within a file folder on by desk.

IMPORTANT NEXT ACTIONS

My context based lists will be stored in a GTD related Moleskine Cahier within my Uglydori TN so they can be referred to as and when it’s convenient.

My contexts are:

  • Agendas
  • Anywhere
  • Call/Contact
  • Computer
  • Errands
  • Home
  • Waiting

Off Your Brain

PROJECT SUPPORT

My Project Support material setup is still a work in progress. I don’t have that much at the minute but this may change as I embrace my new system.

TICKLER FILE

My tickler file is an A5 ring bound planner and will hold anything that I need on a specific date such as tickets, invitations etc.

SOMEDAY/MAYBE

Above my inbox I have two file folders labels Incubation and Someday.

My Incubation folder holds items that I am still to make a decision on such as a possible holiday desination or an event I might attend. The Someday folder hold a list of things that I would like to accomplish once the time is right, this includes places to visit, bucket lists etc.

REFERENCE

Most of our reference papers are stored in ring bound folders in a cabinet. Each member of the family has their own folder. We also have one related to our home and one for our financial paperwork.

Warranties are kept in plastic folders in a file box and are grouped by type/location.

In addition to this I also have a couple of other elements which 

FOCUS & DIRECTION

All details relating to my higher horizons, such as visions, goals and inspirations, are kept in a Moleskine Cahier notebook.

NOTES/IN

I have a small lined notebook from Paperchase in my Uglydori and used as a portable inbox/brain dump alongside my bullet journal.

So there we have my system, it’s not fully setup. I have a feeling I will need to make some adjustments along the way but hopefully it will be simple enough to maintain.

Thanks for reading, until next time

Debbie x

Favourite Books

This week sees the Planner Girls Collective sharing our favourite books as a child and also as an adult. I will warn you know, this could be quite a long post as I have loved reading for as long as I can remember so have gone through untold books and stories in that time. As I’ve gotten older I’ve found that I tend to binge read authors so it can be very difficult to choose a favourite book from particular series.

I’ll begin with 5 of my favourite childhood books, which are in no particular order.

1) The Silver Sword by Ian Serraillier

I first read this book at middle school and knew then that it would leave a lasting impression.

The story is a moving tale set Poland in the middle of WWII and follows three children on their journey across the battlefields to find their parents. On the way the befriend an orphan boy who had crossed paths with their father.

2) The Ghost of Thomas Kemp by Penelope Lively

I first became aware of this book in my final year at primary school when one of the teachers chose this book as the weekly story. What made this book so memorable to me at the time is that the teacher brought the story to life by bringing in props from the story such as the notes left by the ghost.

To this day I still own a copy of this book and can’t wait to read it to my children.

3) Astercote by Penelope Lively

Following on from my previous book I began reading a lot of Penelope Lively’s books but another one that I particularly loved was this one and another that I still have ready to read to my children.

4) The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe by C S Lewis

I have read all of the Chronicles of Narnia books but this still remains my favourite.

5) Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl

This was a difficult selection as I love all of Roald Dahl’s books and am currently enjoying them for a second time reading them to my 5 year old son, however this was one of the first books of his I read and still remains a firm favourite.

Moving on now to my favourite books as an adult, again this list could go on forever so I will limit it to 5 in the interests of conciseness.

1) Message from Nam by Danielle Steele


This was one of the first ‘adult’ books I ever read and over the years I have read a few of her books but this one is by far her best.

Set during the conflict in Vietman, it’s a heart wrenching story of love, loss and one woman’s determination to report from the front lines.

The story is powerful and informative and I would highly recommend it, even to those who don’t like love stories, as this is so much more.

2) Body of Evidence by Patricia Cornwell


I love all of Patricia Cornwell books, especially the Scarpetta series, but this makes the cut since it was the first one I ever read (although the second Scarpetta novel) and the one that got me hooked on crime thrillers.

 

3) The Client by John Grisham


In my early twenties I was a huge fan of John Grisham novels so much so that I wanted to be a lawyer at one point)and read loads but my favourite has to be this one, although The Pelican Brief comes a very close second.

4) The Green Mile by Stephen King


I’m not a huge fan of horror stories but I did binge read several of Stephen King’s books when I was younger, however this one stood out so much more than the rest for me.

5) The Shadow Cartel by Layton Green


Like a lot of my books at the minute, I picked up this book for free for my Kindle and was immediately hooked, so much so I read the other three books in the series immediately afterwards.

Well I hope you enjoyed reading my list and don’t forget to check out the other ladies in the Collective

Until next time

Debbie x

My Favourite Books

This week sees the Planner Girls Collective sharing our favourite books. I’ve chosen to pick my 5 favourites from childhood and 5 I’ve love as an adult. I have loved reading for as long as I can remember so have gone through untold books in that time. I also find if I like a book I tend to binge read others by the same author meaning it can be very difficult to choose a favourite book from particular series.

First of all I’ll begin with 5 of my favourite childhood books, which are in no particular order.

1) THE SILVER SWORD BY IAN SERRAILLIER

I first read this book at middle school and knew then that it would leave a lasting impression.

The story is a moving tale set Poland in the middle of WWII and follows three children on their journey across the battlefields to find their parents. On the way the befriend an orphan boy who had crossed paths with their father.

2) THE GHOST OF THOMAS KEMP BY PENELOPE LIVELY

I first became aware of this book in my final year at primary school when one of the teachers chose this book as the weekly story. What made this book so memorable to me at the time is that the teacher brought the story to life by bringing in props from the story such as the notes left by the ghost.

To this day I still own a copy of this book and can’t wait to read it to my children.

3) ASTERCOTE BY PENELOPE LIVELY

Following on from my previous book I began reading a lot of Penelope Lively’s books but another one that I particularly loved was this one and another that I still have ready to read to my children.

 

 

4) THE LION, THE WITCH AND THE WARDROBE BY C S LEWIS

I have read all of the Chronicles of Narnia books but this still remains my favourite.

5) CHARLIE AND THE CHOCOLATE FACTORY BY ROALD DAHL

This was a difficult selection as I love all of Roald Dahl’s books and am currently enjoying them for a second time reading them to my 5 year old son, however this was one of the first books of his I read and still remains a firm favourite.

 

 

Next up we have my favourite books as an adult, again this list could go on forever but I will limit it to 5.

1) MESSAGE FROM NAM BY DANIELLE STEELE

This was one of the first ‘adult’ books I ever read and over the years I have read a few of her books but this one is by far her best in my opinion.

2) BODY OF EVIDENCE BY PATRICIA CORNWELL

Books by Patricia Cornwell were what first got me hooked on crime thrillers. I love the Scarpetta series. This is the first book I read, however it’s actually the second Scarpetta novel in the series.

3) THE CLIENT BY JOHN GRISHAM

In my early twenties I was a huge fan of John Grisham novels and read loads but my favourite has to be this one.  The Pelican Brief comes a very close second.

4) THE GREEN MILE BY STEPHEN KING

I’m not a huge fan of horror stories but I did binge read several of Stephen King’s books when I was younger, but this one stood out so much more than the rest for me.

5) THE SHADOW CARTEL BY LAYTON GREEN

I picked up this book for free for my Kindle and was immediately hooked. As as result as soon as I finished I immediately read the other three books in the series.

 

I hope you enjoyed reading my list and don’t forget to check out the other ladies in the Collective.

Thanks for reading, until next time.

Debbie x

Book Review: Stealing Snow by Danielle Paige

My second book of 2017 was Stealing Snow by Danielle Paige. I received this book in the December TSG Bookclub Box.

Synopsis

Seventeen-year-old Snow lives within the walls of the Whittaker Institute, a high security mental hospital in upstate New York. Deep down, she knows she doesn’t belong there, but she has no memory of life outside, except for the strangest dreams. And then a mysterious, handsome man, an orderly in the hospital, opens a door – and Snow knows that she has to leave.
She finds herself in icy Algid, her true home, with witches, thieves, and a strangely alluring boy named Kai. As secret after secret is revealed, Snow discovers that she is on the run from a royal lineage she’s destined to inherit, a father more powerful and ruthless than she could have imagined, and choices of the heart that could change everything. Heroine or villain, queen or broken girl, frozen heart or true love, Snow must choose her fate .

Review

One of the reasons I love the TSG Bookclub Box is that you receive books that are sometimes outside of your usual reading zone, this was one such book. However one of my reading challenges is to broaden my horizons so as soon as I had the chance I started reading it.

Although, as I understand it, this is a modern retelling of Hans Christian Anderson’s The Snow Queen, to begin with I was getting flashbacks to an earlier bookclub book, Alice by Christina Henry, as the setting at the beginning was very similar which the leading characters locked in an asylum/mental hospital for their own safety and by Chapter 10 I began seeing similarities with the C S Lewis classic, The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe.

There are a couple of aspects that I don’t like about the book, the first is the fact that Snow travelled to Algin to save the boy she loved, yet she ends up in a kind of love square with two other boys she meets on her travels, although this could be explained due to her only ‘real-life’ experience comes from a soap opera where the lead character is on lover #10. The second is the fact that despite a gut feeling of unease about certain situations, she just’s shrugs it off and naively goes along with things.

I didn’t find the main protagonist in the story, Snow, overly likeable and towards the end of the book I wasn’t all that bothered about what happened to her. On the other hand, I found myself cheering for Jagger and the Robber Girls but again, would like to have seen their characters develop more.

There were several twists in the story, some of which I anticipated, some I didn’t but that did mean parts of the story lost a little of the shock factor.

Overall I felt the book fell a bit flat, while there was great potential for the story to be amazing, the characters didn’t really development and the world building wasn’t sufficient for me to create a place I felt like I was part of. However, I may be tempted to read the prequel novella, Queen Rising, to see the story of Margot and the Robbers unfold.

Thanks for reading, until next time.

Debbie x

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How I’m Implementing GTD: Collection Phase

Last week I showed you my work space set up in preparation for the second stage of my GTD implementation – the collection phase.

This is the phase where you literally gather anything that doesn’t belong in its current home and dump it all in your inbox. Now, considering my inbox is relatively small this seems like quite a daunting task and also one that I didn’t think the rest of the family would be particularly happy with as it would more than likely spread from my small work space to the dining table (and possibly beyond).

With this in mind I decided to collect what I could from the area around my work space and any area nearby that I felt needed to be tidied up in order to progress with my overall implementation. In addition to this I also kept a word document open on the computer to jot down anything else that sprung to mind while I was collecting. I appreciate that this isn’t advised by David Allen, but I know from my past set ups that this works better for me (I like crossing things off) and doesn’t destroy the rain forests by going through reams of paper.

I worked my way around the cupboards and drawers in the breakfast bar (my work space) and I cleared off the worktop. Anything that didn’t belong put into a cardboard box that I was using as my inbox. I chose to use a separate box on the off chance that I didn’t get everything processed, that way I could still use my inbox for the more recent items that need action.

Some items, such as my stationery/planner supplies, remained where they were but since they also had actions relating to them (declutter and reorganise) they were added to my mind sweep document.

Notes were made to process my e-mail inboxes – my main inbox is usually empty, but the same can’t be said for my other folders!

After clearing all my rogue items, I sat down and performed a full mind sweep using my own version of David’s trigger lists.

All in all it took me around 2 hours to complete the collection phase including a full mind sweep. It would have taken me a little longer but I chose not to go room to room checking for hidden actions/projects, instead I added a note to my mind sweep reminding me to process certain areas.  That said I did send my OH and the kids on a quick sweep of the house to make sure there were no random papers.

At the end of the collection stage this is what I was left with – three boxes of stuff to process and 15 sheets of A4 paper with 561 items from my mind sweep.

screenshot-2017-01-26-14-05-35
Sample of my mind sweep document

Next week I will share with you my supporting items that make up my GTD system before moving onto processing the items from my collection phase.

Until next time

Debbie x

Kon Mari – Week 2: Clothes

Last week I shared with you my vision of a home that would spark joy for me. This week it’s onto the actual decluttering stage. Now having done this twice previously I have to confess that I have found making the decision to part with certain items of clothing quite difficult – for me it’s my wedding shoes and a maxi dress.

I began by pulling out all of my clothes and piling them on the bed, as you can see from the photos I’ve made some progress over the years… just! I decided to just work on my clothing to begin with and go back to shoes and accessories later just in case I ran out of time.

2015 Clothing Pile
2015 Clothing Pile
2017 Clothing Pile

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I followed the advice given in the book by feeling every item and slowly began to put thing back in my wardrobe, only selecting the things I truly loved. Admittedly there are a couple of items that don’t quite fit right at the minute (the floral maxi dress you can see in the photo above), but as they still spark joy, they got to stay. This was my get rid pile.

As I hung everything up I turned the hangers round so I can see what clothes I actually wear and it will hopefully make it easier to maintain my tidy, organised wardrobe and will help when I review my capsule wardrobe.

Once I completed my clothing I moved onto shoes, again you can see I’ve made quite a bit of progress since my first round.

2015 Shoe Pile
2015 Shoe Pile
2017 Shoe Collection

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I only got rid of 4 pairs of shoes this time around and one of them was a hard decision for me as they were my wedding shoes. In some ways they do still spark joy but not really enough for me to justify keeping them (I think I’ve only worn them 3 times in 11 years so I think its about time they sparked joy for someone else).

Next up was bags and since I now only own 6 bags this was pretty easy and I only discarded one bag as I use the others pretty regularly.

I didn’t bother with my underwear this time around as I discarded a load after Christmas as I received lots of new stuff. The same applied to my scarves as I wear them pretty much all the time. Both drawers just got a bit of a tidy up and they were done.

Have you attempted KonMari? How did you get on? I’d love to hear from you.

Until next time

Debbie x

Review: Marvel Universe! Live

On Sunday we took Corey to Sheffield Arena to see Marvel Universe! Live. I bought the tickets in March last year as a birthday present for him, and almost forgot about them until I saw the show advertised on social media.

We had tickets for the lunchtime matinee at Sheffield Arena, a venue we have been to several times before so were aware of the parking facilities and what to expect with regard to traffic. The doors opened at 11am and we arrived around 11.15 and parked in the arena car park. One thing we never considered was pre-booking parking – we would have saved £3 off the £10 parking charge if we’d have pre-booked.

We made our way towards the red doors just as it began to rain. Fortunately the queues were relatively short and quick moving so we were inside in under 5 minutes and ready to find our seats (after a quick toilet break). Corey doesn’t really like big crowd of people so we avoided the overpriced merchandising stalls and headed in to take our seats.

Once the crowds began to die down and people began to take their seats my OH made a quick food stop and returned with 2 massive hotdogs and a portion of chips, the cost of which was around £10. I don’t think the food prices were too bad considering the size of the hotdogs and the fact that the programs were selling for around £12.

The show started with a bang, literally, which saw Corey’s hotdog fly into the air and land in Rik’s lap, and other children burst into tears and want to leave (some never returned). However, from that point on Corey did spend a lot of the show with his hands over his ears and I began to wish we had taken some ear plugs for him to soften the noise as he was totally engrossed in the action.

The show is based around the Cosmic Cube, one of the most sought after treasures in the Marvel Universe, and the source of ultimate power. The show begins with Thor shattering the cube into tiny fragments to prevent it from falling into the wrong hands, namely his brother Loki (plus a few other well known villains).

In order to defeat Loki, the Marvel Superheroes including The Avengers:  Captain America, Ironman, Thor and Hulk, together with Spiderman and Wolverine must travel around the globe to find the fractals of the Cosmic Cube.

The show contains some amazing acrobatic stunts and motorcycle deft-defying feats as well as a few other loud bangs, gunfire and fireworks but it also contains a great storyline with dialogue worthy of a movie and exceptional costumes.

It was great to hear the excitement from the crowd when the heroes appeared, together with the obligatory boo’s for the villains.

All in all, considering we are a family of DC geeks (Batman and Wonder Woman being the favourites), the show was amazing and thoroughly enjoyed by all of us.

Until next time

Debbie x

My Favourite Planner and Craft Shops

Warning: This post may be hazardous to your bank balance!

This week the ladies from the Planner Girls Collective are sharing their favourite planner and craft shops. I’m a relative newcomer to the world of planning and journalling so haven’t really purchased to many things, although my Etsy favourites list currently has EIGHT pages of shops where I have seen things I like/want to buy, most of which are UK based as I’m usually on quite a tight budget.

If I am ordering online, I do tend to stick to Etsy more often than not although I have been known to browse some of the other stores although have yet to order.  Some of my favourite shops for online window shopping are:

Mrs Brimbles – Fabulous selection of products for art journalling, planning and scrapbooking as well as monthly Brimbles Box subscription.

Craftstars UK – Huge selection of planning and stationery brands and products together with a monthly subscription box

Just So Stationery – Gorgeous planner inserts printed and punched ready to use.

Suzy Stick It – Supplier of all things stationery related from USA and Asia, with a huge selection of washi tape.

On the whole my planning technique is quite minimal compared to some of the other planner ladies, mainly due to my use of a bullet journal, and I find that too many stickers etc makes it look a little cluttered. Washi tape on the other hand is a staple item in my planning kit and I also love a bit of decoration within my TN using things like paperclips and ephemera.

Below are a few of the Etsy shops that I have purchased items from in the past and would definitely recommend along with a couple who I’m considering ordering from in the near future.

  1. Ugly Bug Plans – Michelle at Ugly Bug Plans is one of the contributors to the Planner Girls Collective and the designer behind the Uglydori Travellers Notebooks as well as offering a monthly subscription box containg all sorts of delights. You can check out my reviews of her earlier boxes here and here and a brief review of my Uglydori here
  2. A Beautiful Plan – Another of the Planner Girls Collective, Kelly sells gorgeous stickers, inserts and other planning goodies. I ordered a set of her Pumpkin Spice Everything stickers in the autumn together with some washi tape, and currently have my eye on her blog planning stickers.
  3. Travellers Times – This is currently my go to shop for notebooks for my Travellers Notebooks. There is a good variety of products and the quality of the paper used is fabulous.
  4. Lyra & Co – I got my first every fauxdori from Lyra & Co and although I don’t use it as much I still love it. I’ve also got one of her Travellers Notebook pocket inserts on my wish list (fingers crossed for my birthday)
  5. Bits of Stationery – I’ve had a few orders from Rachel and I’ve loved them. I purchased her Halloween and Christmas plan with me kits last year along with some functional stickers and some cute Christmassy paperclips.2016-09-26-14-13-35
  6. Cherry Blossoms in the Market Square – I just love, love love Kayleigh’s paperclips. They are so gorgeous and a perfect addition to any planner. Here are a few I’ve purchased to date.
  7. Geekydori – My current Christmas planner is housed in a lovely Geekydori which was perfect for keeping all me Christmas bits and pieces together.
  8. Crafty Ali Cat – Gorgeous handmade gifts, stationery and planner supplies.
  9. Little Rainbow Moon – I’ve just placed my first order which I received last week and I absolutely love it.
  10. The Geeky Planner – Although I’m still to purchase anything from here, I have about 6 different sets of functional stickers in my basket waiting for funds to become available.

For planning and journalling supplies on the high street, my recommendations would probably be Paperchase, Hobbycraft, Poundland and The Works.

Don’t forget to check out the other fabulous posts from the ladies in the collective via links below.

Until next time

Debbie x

Book Review – The Poisoned Rose by Daniel Judson

My first read for 2017 is The Poisoned Rose (The Gin Palace Trilogy Book 1) by Daniel Judson, a free download for my kindle that I came across before Christmas.

Synopsis

To a corrupt chief of police intent on maintaining his power at all costs, part-time PI Declan “Mac” MacManus is a problem that must finally be addressed. Cursed with an unwavering sense of right and wrong, and a fierce loyalty to his few friends, Mac has become known as someone the working class of Southampton can turn to in times of desperate need. On a rain-swept night in October, Mac witnesses to a brutal homicide, but he has learned that nothing on the East End is ever what it seems. Determined to hunt down an elusive hired killer before he can strike again, Mac is reunited with what is left of a prominent family he once knew well. But something more—something darker than Mac could have possibly foreseen—is at play here, and as a long-hidden secret threatens to emerge, Mac once again becomes the only hope for justice in a town that all too clearly belongs to the rich and powerful.

Review

Firstly, I must make reference to the fact that the synopsis doesn’t quite match the story itself, yes there is a corrupt police chief but he’s only a small part of a very entwined plot.

The lead protagonist, Mac, is an extremely flawed character who is regularly referred to throughout the story as a good guy who feels compelled to help people out of difficult situations although the reason for this is never fully explained.

There is a lot of violence, some quite graphic, and the overall mood of the book is quite dark and gloomy, but the writing is extremely descriptive and very well put together, even if some of the plot lines are a little unbelievable at times.

One thing I did like about the story is that most of the time I’ve come across the The Hamptons in books or on TV, they are portrayed as full of mega rich people who own summer homes, whereas this portrayal was more like film noir/gangster movie and showed a completely different side to the area.

At times I struggled to keep up with all the players but overall I enjoyed the story enough to add the remaining books in the Gin Palace Trilogy to my TBR list.

Until next time, thanks for reading.

Debbie x

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