Thursday, 27 December 2012

Monday, 24 December 2012

All Stars guest post by Lime Tree: Filofax Swap #6 – Never Giving Up!

I'm delighted to have my next guest already... the beautiful Lime Tree! I sold her my Domino snake filofax and thought it would be fab if she'd like to do a post for me.

Hello, hello!

This is very exciting to be spreading my “Filofax Swap” Journey throughout the wonderful Philofaxy blogsphere! Thank you so much Anita for hosting my sixth Filofax Swap on your blog! I am very excited to be here! :)
My last swap, called "The Classy Attempt", was posted on Zoe's blog. By the time I was using that Filofax, I was already feeling really, really lost. I felt the planner failure coming from the one before that - a gorgeous Baroque, that you can check it over at Vanja's blog.

I had a feeling I had to start all over. But who wants to start all over in mid-year, right? To not do that (and keep myself in denial), the Classy Attempt happened.

After that clear failure, I had to bite the bullet. I had to make the jump, on a new binder and new size.

Guess, what size came next? This year alone I went from personal, to pocket, to A5, to compact, to personal, to slimline, and now... what? well.... A5 it was! This time for personal stuff only.

Here it is the beauty that took on the challenge:

Filofax Chameleon in Spring Green
My goal was to use it as my main daily planner as well as a planner for all the projects ahead.

The projects function was an easy sort out. The phone tabs would do the job:

To make it easy to find them I did a cover page as I added projects. Not in alphabetical order, just as they came to mind.

And it all just got beyond perfection after I read Nancy's post about sub-tabs and sub-categories! It totally knocked-my-socks-off!

I could now have a very general project name, like "yard" and have it divided by a gazillion of tabs WITHOUT having them poking out and making it all look messy! Look at that clean, clutter-free beauty!

This is obviously not the yard section! :D
Just genius! I can't thank her enough for that idea. Really rocked my world!

Anyway, soon, I realized that because of the clutter-free-hidden sub tabs I could add not just projects but also entire "life-sections" to those lettered tabs, like "Health" and use the short sheets and subtabs to separate even more like "PCP, "Dentist" "PT", etc.
Oh, heaven! I finally was envisioning a"one-life-one-binder" working for me! Heaven!

Meanwhile just the calendar was missing.....just that....

I, of course, started avidly watching videos and reading posts to find my inspiration. I then remembered a video with an insert that I was drooling all over at the beginning of the year. This one ----> jotje

I read on twitter or on her blog (don't remember where) that the daily sheets were not in use anymore. "Aha!" I thought, "maybe she will be willing to sell me the remaining of the year!"

Nope! She wasn't willing to do that. Instead, she promptly offered to ship it overseas and completely ignored my requests to pay for the inserts. Philofaxy peeps are just amazing like that! Really!

And look at the extra cutie goodies she added:

What a treat! :D
The stickers I barely use because I am afraid to run out of them :p

So I used the daily pages for a few weeks. Unfortunately, it was a total disaster. :-/

I certainly looooved to place my hand on a big, laaaarge, smooth sheet of paper to start writing on it, but really it was more space then I needed. And I thought that all the specific boxes for specific tasks would be helpful but it was too much structure for me. I would always "misplace" the notes a few days, record others in the "right place" and then get all confused and waste time going thru pages when I had to go back and look at something.

Here are the lovely smooth, very large pages:

Day on Two Pages
ok, now, what to do? I was really hoping those 2 page daily sheets would work....

"Maybe I should evaluate my needs first, then develop something that may actually work for me" I thought.

I did a few mock ups of a few layouts and posted a desperate cry for help on my blog:

I had so many great helpful tips! {And THAT'S when the project section started really shaping up actually! That's when I met Nancy's sub-tabs system.}

So, tweaking a little bit more here and there, I finally came up with a solution that would work for my monthly needs. Any ideas?

Well, this one here, is what came out of it:

Yep! My monthly calendar was a direct result of my own planner failure. :D

I used some hand-drawn sheets and once I felt the layout would actually work, I painted it all and added holidays for 2013. I am actually still using the hand-drawn one to finish up this year!

Funny thing is that I was so excited with my project, as if a light bulb popped out of my head, that I didn't even feel stressed out anymore for NOT having the weeklies and dailies sorted out!

I would just write on a blank sheet the to-do list for the week and mark appointments on the monthly ones. I was having so much fun painting the calendar! I guess I really obsess with the "perfect" layout when there is nothing else fun to obsess about, hehe :D

So as soon as I finished, I was back on to the weekly/ daily pages “stuckness”. I knew I needed to combine them somehow as a huge draw back for was to have to flip back and forth to synchronize both.

I knew two things:
I LOVED using the vertical columns.
I LOVED having separate sheets for to-dos and schedule (from jotje' sheets mentioned above)

Ok, great! Now what? How on earth does someone get to see two different things in the same page? I played a lot with a few layouts and the result of it you may guess, was the Weekly Daily Calendar:

Very, very, happy with the result! Projects, monthly, weekly and daily all figured out! YESSSSS!!!!

Tuck all into that gorgeous Spring Green binder and I am good to go, right? After all I am using an A5, a gigantic binder that fits EVERYTHING, right?

Well, yeah.....turns out that is a limit of what you can add to an A5. LOL (And bummer!)

I really don't like to write on skinny binders, because the rings are unbearable but I don't feel comfortable when my Filofax is stuffed and begging for mercy either. No, I don't want to deform the poor thing.

What happened next then?

Well, something had to come out of the binder to release the load a bit......

Yeah! The Swap Journey had to continue.....I had to adapt again and modify, tweak, jump and try a different binder.

BUT! I am almost there! SO close, I can totally feel planner heaven approaching! :)

My last Swap of the year is coming. And that will be a definite one! {will it?}

Keep very tuned! ------> Filofax Swap #7 - It was always You!------> is coming soon! ;)

Thank you, LT, for a great post and I look forward to hearing about your next swap!

Wednesday, 19 December 2012

All Stars guest post by Femke: Meditation and relaxation exercises

I'd like to welcome the lovely Femke as my first guest poster for the Philofaxy All Stars tour. You can find her blog at and I participated in her weekly What I wanna know Wednesday feature here.

Anita’s asked me to write a guest post on her blog and so here it is!

Due to my burnout, I've tried many things to clear my head. The first thing I started doing is writing in my journal every night before I went to sleep. While that’s helped for a little while, I can’t seem to clear my mind easily.

I take Melatonin before I go to bed, that’s helped me sleep through the night, but still, I need to clear my head to fall asleep.

Many people have pointed me in the direction of meditation or relaxation exercises.

I've done meditation before, and that is hard!

The way I do it, is start with telling my husband that I'm meditating, so he won’t run into the bedroom and interrupt my meditation session. I also set a timer. I tend to meditate for 10 minutes, at least now.

I try to clear my mind, but most of the time it’s hard. I often carry a notebook with me, so I can write down the random thoughts that are always coming up during meditation. I write it down and then it’s out of my head during the session.

If I can’t clear my mind, I try to listen to my breathing. At first my breathing is fast and irregular. But once I'm in the mood, it’s becoming more calm and regular. This helps to focus on clearing my mind.

I'm still new to meditating, so this is how I started. I tend to work on clearing my mind and set the timer longer once it gets easier.

The other thing I tend to try is relaxation exercises. This one helps me to fall asleep. What you do is lay down, eyes closed and in a dark room. I then slowly tensing and then relaxing my muscles in my body, starting at my feet and finishing at my head/neck. I tense my muscles for 5 seconds each and then take 30 seconds to relax them. I count in my head, which also helps to clear my head.

Both techniques are helpful to reduce stress and clearing your mind.  

Thanks for a great post, Femke! I'm very interested in her subject matter as I've been meditating on and off for some years now. 

Saturday, 15 December 2012

My first post for the Philofaxy All Stars 2012 tour

This year's tour was announced here, but I just haven't got going with it after participating last time. Partly I think it's because it was announced whilst I was abroad, but I think I've been struggling with content for my own blog and haven't felt like I had any to spare, if that makes sense?

So, better late than never I have got involved with my first guest post, hooray! David has kindly published my post Friends, filofaxes and the Dalai Lama over at Dave's blog - adventures in chaos and I look forward to receiving his post for here.     

Coming up... I will have some awesome guest posts from Femke from Deligted and Lime Tree.

Wednesday, 12 December 2012

Dr Hilary Jones endorses shiatsu!

I am a member of the Shiatsu Society, the UK's leading professional shiatsu organisation, and have recently been given these to advertise that Dr Hilary is in support of it. I think this is great news as the Society is doing more fantastic work to help the therapy become a household name :) 

Friday, 7 December 2012

The Muppets: Habanera

Wednesday, 28 November 2012

Winner of the Swift filofax

Thank you for your entries to the competition and I am delighted to announce that the winner is... Maria!!
Maria created a moustache-themed to do list where you colour in little moustaches instead of ticking boxes :)

I thought all the entries I received were great, and I will be sharing them in another post along with Maria's moustache to do list template.

I've got some stationery reviews to write and then I'll be holding some more give aways!

Saturday, 24 November 2012

My favourite filofax divider

I previously wrote about these dividers here and have now cut them down to size to fit my personal Ascot. I've always loved these beautiful big cats and have adopted an Amur leopard through WWF, as there are fewer than 35 of them remaining in the wild. 

Thursday, 22 November 2012

Moar stationery and pen reviews

I am delighted to announce that Cult Pens have very kindly agreed to send me some samples to review!

I think this is great news as I'll be writing more about stationery (yay) and will be able to host more frequent give aways. I have already received my first delivery and will shortly be writing a review that will be published over at Philofaxy.

The company will be providing the products, but all opinions will be my own and I hope you enjoy the posts.

Thursday, 15 November 2012

It's Movember, time for another filofax competition!

'During November each year, Movember is responsible for the sprouting of moustaches on thousands of men's faces in the UK and around the world. The aim of which is to raise vital funds and awareness for men's health, specifically prostate cancer and testicular cancer'.
You can find more info here on how to get involved. 

As I'm a little follicly-challenged in the facial area, I thought I'd have to cheat a bit. 

I've participated in Pants in the Park before so I've signed up as a Mo Sista, and thought it would be great to have a Movember inspired competition to give away the scrumptious Swift filofax. 

Even Jasper the dog is joining in :)
Thank you for all your entries and this competition closed on the 27th November. 

Tuesday, 13 November 2012

Winner of the violet Domino filofax

Thank you for all your entries and the correct answer was Red Dwarf :)
And the winner is.... Flea (Euphemia)!!
If you didn't win this time, there's another chance for a personal Swift with more info here and on the separate Win another filofax page.

Monday, 12 November 2012

Philofaxy posts

I always forget to mention here when I write about my filofax adventures over at Philofaxy, so here's a list of my posts so far:
My plan had been to still write about filofaxes here, but I suppose I just haven't had as many filo posts in me as expected. I know that this means I miss out on the traffic to my blog, but I love being able to contribute to such a great site as Philofaxy and interact with the wonderful community. 

Listing out all the posts has made me realise just how many filofaxes I have been through! This is partly due to some faulty binders, but I've used this as an opportunity to try out some new ones rather than just get a straight replacement. And boy, am I glad I've had a play at this as I have finally found 'the one' without really trying and I feel truly content and relieved.  .

Saturday, 3 November 2012

Cult Pens stationery haul

After nearly completing my October goal of limiting my spending to essential purchases only, I decided it was time to buy some stationery. As part of my decluttering project, I've had a look at what pens and pencils I own and am surprised that so many of them comprise of freebies that aren't nice to look at or write with. So, time for them to go and replace them with something I will enjoy using instead!

I admit I've spent a fair amount of time browsing the goodies of the Cult Pens website, but never bought from them before. I ordered my items on Thursday evening and they arrived today, so lovely quick delivery and the items were well packaged.

My main purchase is this little unassuming-looking pen, a Caran d'Ache 849 ball point.

I love the simple aluminium design and it's a lovely light pen that fits in my filofax's pen loop (such an added bonus for me). I had gone off ballpoints, but this writes very smoothly and I know I'm going to enjoy using it. One thing I will point out is that this is a small pen and when I handed it to my husband to look at, he agreed he'd probably find it too little to write with comfortably. I nearly bought the Metal-X version of this pen instead in violet, but when searching for reviews online people mentioned that the finish on the Metal-X can be a bit too slippery and they recommended buying the classic instead for comfort.

I love my Pilot G2 Limited pen, but it had run out of ink and I decided it was about time to get a refill and thought I'd try the colour peacock green for a change, which is described as a nice intense blue-green.

I couldn't resist these cheery OHTO smile slide clipper paperclips.

And my added bonus was a  free sample of a Schneider Slider Memo XB ballpoint. Thank you, Cult Pens :)

This is another very smooth writer and it feels very comfortable in my hand. I think the very shiny metal clip adds a little interest to the basic design. In the blurb on the packaging it says 'enormous writing output (if compared to gel systems)' which made me laugh. In my opinion, this would be a great pen to use if you have lots of writing to do.  

I'm very pleased with my little haul and more info about the company can be found here and here.
And thank you to The Pen Addict for adding my post to their Ink Links :)

Wednesday, 31 October 2012

365/30 lists - review of the month

So, how did I do with my goals from day 1?
  1. Complete 365/30 lists and publish the day's post on time - done. I think previously completing the A-Z Challenge helped me with this, and I wrote and scheduled all my posts pretty much in advance
  2. Finish off prep for my tax return and file it online - done
  3. Carry on with my daily meditation - done
  4. Get my email to zero - done (and I'm finding it much easier so far to keep doing this)
  5. Work on my declutter project more - done
  6. Increase my running mileage slowly up to two runs a week - postponed as I think I just need to focus on running once a week and enjoying it for the time being (and I've been ill this month which is never a good time to up mileage)
  7. Have some life coaching from my awesome friend, Tanya - postponed but hopefully will be done before Christmas
  8. Sort out what I'm doing with my filofaxes - slowly getting there and more here (still very much a work in progress). I'm actually enjoying the process and realise my set up doesn't have to be perfect
  9. Limit my spending to essential purchases only - nope! I bought a filofax (more to follow on Philofaxy), but also sold one this month, so they cancel each other out, right?? Nah, I didn't achieve this goal but I've kept a note of when I've considered buying something and I found it actually didn't happen that much. So, what did I think about getting but managed to resist?
    • A couple of books - I won't be getting them as I've forgotten what they were, so they can't have been that important
    • Some stationery - reduced Martha Stewart stuff. Nuff said and I may buy some tabs for my filo as the ones I looked at in WH Smith were £8.00! (I don't think so)
    • Running socks - I will buy these as good socks can make such a difference and I do need them. 
Thank you to the lovely Imy for setting October's questions and I hope that you've enjoyed reading my posts :) 

Tuesday, 30 October 2012

365/30 lists - dream bikes...

I passed my test in 2001 and I've owned a Smart and a Ford Ka since then. Both great little cars, but I'm really a biker at heart despite selling my Suzuki 600 Bandit when I got my Ka. I really consider my car as a practical vehicle as they're more convenient for getting about in bad weather, for doing the shopping and giving people a lift. Therefore, I've decided to change this slightly to be about what bikes I'd quite like. I don't think I have a dream bike as such, but I could definitely see myself with one of these :)

Suzuki GSR750
More info here.

Triumph Street Triple
More info here.

Harley Sportster Iron 883
I never thought I'd fancy a Harley, but I do think this one is a bit tasty!

Monday, 29 October 2012

365/30 lists - how I have my drink in Starbucks/Costa etc.

I don't go to coffee shops that often, but when I do I use it as a real treat and read a book and take my time. Depending on my mood, I'll have either a regular latte or a peppermint tea.

Sunday, 28 October 2012

365/30 lists - 5 things to do in November

  1. Go to an aikido course 
  2. Go away for our friend's birthday for the weekend
  3. Attend the meeting with Filofax 
  4. Go to my work's annual conference
  5. Do more decluttering!

Saturday, 27 October 2012

Win a filofax!

As part of the Filofax holiday essentials challenge, I had three filos to create a moodboard around and I just haven't got round to doing anything with them since. I gave away the kingfisher blue Metropol at the Philofaxy London meet up and have decided it's time to find the others new homes :)

Thank you for all your entries. This competition has now closed and details of the winner can be found here.

365/30 lists - languages I would like to learn

  1. I studied Russian at college and would like to have a refresher as I'm extremely rusty now
  2. I wasn't bad at French at one point, so I'd like to also get back into it
  3. My Mum is Chinese, but I don't speak any unfortunately (other than stuff like hello or Happy New Year) so I'd like to learn some Cantonese.

Friday, 26 October 2012

365/30 lists - pets you would like

This is our cat, Floopy:

Playing in the garden

And still playing
She's a bit crazy, is very sociable and loves laps, so I really don't feel the need to have any more pets at the moment.
However I could see myself getting some more gerbils in the future :)

Thursday, 25 October 2012

365/30 lists - accessories I wish I owned

As mentioned here, I actually want to reduce my belongings so my short answer is none!
My plan is to sell or give away as much as possible, and then maybe I will consider if there's anything that I'd like. I've created a 30 day waiting list in my filofax, with the idea that I put an item on this list and reconsider after the waiting time to see if I still really want it. Most of the time items don't even make it to the list as I know that I'm not that serious about them.

October is meant to be an essentials-only purchases month, so I'm planning on introducing more of these to help me be more mindful of the purchases I do make.

Wednesday, 24 October 2012

365/30 lists - ideal jobs

  • Dim sum taster :)
  • I think I'd enjoy doing the accounts for a charity
  • Earning money from writing in some way
  • Working in a bookshop
  • Doing shiatsu in a hospital, doctor's surgery or centre/shelter
  • Selling more filofaxes and extending my stock to stationery - it would always be fun when more stock arrives! 

Tuesday, 23 October 2012

365/30 lists - sports I want to try

  • I love the sea, so would like to learn how to surf one day
  • We have some friends who do Eagle claw kung fu, so I'd love to attend a class with them
  • Zumba sounds like fun :)
  • I could easily get into extreme sports, so I have a suspicion that I'll get round to a bungee jump or skydive one of these days 
  • I'm trying not to get interested in triathlons, which is maybe a strange thing to say. I really enjoy running, cycling and swimming but I find that I sometimes have trouble taking on enough calories with just running, so I'm planning to stay away from doing all three more...
  • There's always room for more martial arts - so far I've studied or had a go at tai chi, taekwondo, Wing Chun kung fu, Goju Ryu karate, kick boxing and finally found my way to aikido.  

Monday, 22 October 2012

365/30 lists - colours of rainbow in order of most favourite to least

  1. Violet - a lighter shade of purple is my favourite colour
  2. Red - a very close second and sometimes number one, depending on my mood
  3. Green - this colour has definitely grown on me (no pun actually intended) and my favourite coat is this colour
  4. Indigo - sometimes any purple colour is good
  5. Orange - close to red, so can be nice
  6. Blue - reminds me of the summer sky and the turquoise of the sea whilst scuba diving
  7. Yellow - such a cheery colour (to paint bathrooms or kitchens in), but really not so sure about wearing it or for a filofax?

Sunday, 21 October 2012

365/30 lists - foods to try

I really love my food, so if I fancy trying something I normally go ahead and just have it :)

  • I haven't eaten much sushi really, so I'd like to go to a proper sushi restaurant sometime
  • We're visiting Malaysia (where my Mum was born) again next year, so it will be an excuse for me to try out some new dim sum and more Malaysian/Chinese dishes
  • I think we had bubble tea in Malaysia last time, but I'd like to try it again
  • Fermented shark, for when I visit Iceland again. 
And that was my extremely short list...

Saturday, 20 October 2012

365/30 lists - favourite character from films

I actually found this quite a hard post to write as I love watching films, but have never considered who my favourite characters might be. Here's my slightly random list:
  • Master Li Mu Bai from Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon - actually anything pretty much with Chow Yun-Fat in as I think he's awesome  
  • Dr. Kate McTiernan from Kiss the Girls - it isn't the best film, but I really like her character as she's a strong woman who refuses to be a victim
  • Leeloo from the Fifth Element - I've always loved this film and her character, and it all comes down to love in the end :)
  • Xiao Mei from House of Flying Daggers - beautiful and deadly, something I aspire to slightly with my martial arts training!     

Friday, 19 October 2012

The Goddess Haven e-course

I've been a member of Leonie Dawson's Goddess Circle for quite some time now, but to be honest I've done diddly squat with it. I signed up to the emails for the business goddess and the creative goddess e-courses, and when the time came I just couldn't get going and think I did a bit of the first week in each and gave up. I know that there's lots of amazing stuff available in the Circle, but have come to the conclusion that it just wasn't the right time for me. There's also lots of free goodies available from Leonie's site too.

As mentioned previously, I'm on a bit of a mission to declutter and concentrate on what I enjoy in my life, so it feels the right time now to join in with the upcoming Goddess Haven e-course, which begins on the 1st November :)

365/30 lists - today was amazing because...

  • I saw 4 Canada geese flying quite low overhead this morning (they're my favourite bird)
  • The kettle at work had just boiled when I got into the kitchen this morning, yay
  • I managed to get myself out of bed and off to work, as I've been feeling quite yucky whilst fighting off some lurgy this week
  • I had hot croissants for breakfast (purchased for me by my lovely man)
  • I'm about to curl up on the sofa with my cat, a cuppa, ginger biscuits, my filofax and Making It All Work (I'd normally be at aikido practise now, but have decided to stay home due to yuckiness)
  • We're going to have chicken, rice and veggies for dinner - my all-time favourite meal as it's scrummy and reminds me of my Mum cooking it
  • I generally feel very blessed with my life currently. I think I've been focussing a little too much on things I want to improve, but I'm very lucky and have already come so far in my self-development :)  

Thursday, 18 October 2012

365/30 lists - favourite quotes/sayings

Yesterday is history, tomorrow is a mystery, but today is a gift. That is why it's called the present.

I am mind itself.
If I hold positive thoughts in my mind, good things are likely to happen.
Holding negative thoughts in my mind works against my best interests.
Therefore, even if my body suffers physically, my mind remains optimistic.
Even if I encounter obstacles, my mind is never defeated.
Daily I fill my heart with thoughts of joy, gratitude and hope.
I face each new day with a bright and optimistic spirit, which I express in word and deed.
I have faith in life, and life responds in kind.

Let go or be dragged.

We must become the change we want to see in the world.

Wednesday, 17 October 2012

365/30 lists - what is in your happy place?

I've had hypnotherapy and trance sessions from my brother-in-law and Dan Russell. During one session with my brother-in-law, he asked me to call to mind what my safe or happy space might be. Immediately I thought of a walled garden with citrus trees and patios stones warm to the touch from the beautiful sunny day. As I've meditated over the years, this imaginary place has become more detailed as time has gone on.

I walk down the cool and shady granite steps into the garden, holding my hand up to shield my eyes as I acclimatise to the warm and bright sunlight. The ginger cat is in its usual place, laid out asleep on the stone bench and my cat is waiting for me, greeting me with a chirrup and and a sideways tail swipe. Running my fingers through her silken fur, it amuses me that she has followed me through from reality to this imagined world with no cat biscuits. I I take off my boots and wiggle my white toes on the warm stones, luxuriating in the heat and feeling of freedom after walking home in the cold and rain.  

Years ago, I used to spend my time here sharing the stone bench with the cats, but my imagination has now created inviting blue-striped hammocks suspended over soft and verdant grass. I slide into the nearest one and gently close my eyes, letting the workday fade away in the heat and warmth of this sacred place. Sometimes it's completely silent here, and I let the absence of sound rejuvenate me after the cacophony of everyday living.    

I wait for my husband. He walks out into the sunlight smiling and I run into his arms. His eyes are bright, incandescent with life and energy, and I weep with joy and relief to see him whole once again.

Tuesday, 16 October 2012

365/30 lists - what I was doing when I was 16

This would have been my final year of secondary school, finishing off coursework, taking my GCSEs and going on to sixth form college in the autumn. I spent the following summer mostly in Cornwall, but I can't really remember doing that much the year before starting college.

I remember this being a bit of a tricky time for me. I felt like I'd just properly settled down at secondary school as I had a nice group of friends, was getting on well with my studies and was feeling happier and more confident. My friends seemed more excited about starting college, but I think I was quite apprehensive and didn't feel ready for it.

It's weird to think back to then, as it's not really a time that I think much about now. These days, I'll talk to pretty much anybody but I was much more shy at aged 16 and spent some time not feeling like I fitted in very well, wandering about the campus or reading a book. However, I did make some friends and started going out with my first boyfriend that winter which was a bit of a shock! My confidence level around the opposite sex was pretty much zero. I'd always had quite a few male friends, but for a long time it never occurred to me that they might find me attractive. We were out in town (possibly for bonfire night) and this friend just started holding my hand and that was it really. He was popular at college, so it was a big confidence boost that someone like that would be interested in me.

I really enjoyed the following summer in Cornwall. We all bought open return tickets to Penzance and met up in Polzeath, spending the time camping and getting back on the train to visit different places. We came back when we ran out of money and I'd spent most of the summer barefoot, so it was strange to put my shoes on and go back home.

So, was I happy at 16 years old? Not particularly, I don't think. I wasn't miserable but I didn't really enjoy college that much and was quite shy. I've had much more fun since hitting my 30 year mark :)

Monday, 15 October 2012

365/30 lists - best stationery websites

These are the sites that I could easily spend lots of money on, but thankfully I'm pretty good at resisting most of the time:

Sunday, 14 October 2012

365/30 lists: beauty products I need to try/buy

I've always been a bit of a tomboy, and it's only in the past decade that I've started becoming a bit more girly. To be honest, I'm not really sure I get the whole beauty product thing even though I'm female. All these adverts claiming this and that, and I don't really believe that some lotion or potion will stop me looking my age. I'm not too worried about getting older and as my late Nan would say, I plan to grow old disgracefully!

I did go through a stage of feeling like I should wear make up, but currently I just don't think I need to wear it. All of my stuff is fairly unused and pretty ancient, so I think that it probably needs binning anyway. I quite like lip gloss, but I'm just really not fussed at the moment.

So, to answer the question of beauty products I need to try/buy - none!  

Saturday, 13 October 2012

365/30 lists: favourite pens/pencils

During one of my decluttering sessions, I got out my pencil case expecting to find lots in there and to my surprise, it only had about three old pens in it! I love stationery, but this really was evidence for me that I actually don't buy much. All my other pens are kept in a metal pot next to my PC and I'm pretty impressed as I used to own lots more and have have either sold, given them away or used them up.

Here are my favourites:

Online blue lagoon fountain pen
This was a Christmas gift from my husband and the gorgeous blue colours remind me of scuba diving and the sea (his reason for choosing it). This would be my all time favourite if I could use bottled ink with it, but the barrel is quite short and it becomes a full sized pen when you add the top. I use it mainly for writing in my journal as the ink (WH Smith ink cartridges) doesn't do that well on filofax paper unfortunately. No bleed through, but it just sits on top of the paper and isn't as easy to read compared with when written on normal paper.

Pink Lamy Safari fountain pen with fine nib
My faithful Lamy Safari... I'm not really into pink, but this is such a cheery colour and writes so well for its cost. At the same time, I purchased a converter and am currently using up some old bottled Quink ink that I've had since prep school! I find that the Quink ink gets on better with filofax paper than the WH Smith ink, so I've used this in most of my filofaxes, but sadly the pen clip is much too fat to fit in slimline pen loops (sad face).

Pilot G2 limited edition
I've been a fan of the Pilot G2 for quite some time and snapped up this limited edition for a bargain price on eBay. I had wanted the silver barrel, but this was so cheap that it seemed silly to pay more for the colour and the gold has really grown on me now. It's a lovely pen, but is on sabbatical as it's run out of ink and I've told myself I can't buy a refill until I use up my other gel pens, Pilot V5 Hi-Tecpoint 0.5 and Pilot V Ball Grip.

Muji 0.7 gel ink in blue
This was a purchase at the recent London Philofaxy meet up. I love the minimal and translucent design, it's cheap, fits in filofax pen loops easily and writes well. I'd happily buy more of these if I didn't already own some other gel ink pens.

Friday, 12 October 2012

365/30 lists - celebrities I would like to meet

I'm not sure that there's anyone that I really want to get together with, but I guess it would be maybe fun to meet the cast of the Big Bang Theory or Buffy the Vampire Slayer as I'm a big fan of both. I guess if Joss Whedon was in town, I wouldn't pass up the opportunity to see him but I'm generally not too bothered about meeting celebrities. The last famous person I spotted was Hugh Dennis who was minding his own business on the tube :)

Thursday, 11 October 2012

365/30 lists: places to visit this month

Well, looking at my diary these are the sorts of places I'll be going:

  • The Cart and Horses pub for a little get together 
  • A couple of aikido seminars - one of our own and the other is to celebrate Piers Cooke's 30th year of practising, teaching, living and breathing aikido
  • Our local charity shop as I'm planning on getting rid of more stuff
  • The church hall to donate blood - I don't enjoy it, but figure it's something worthwhile doing
  • Getting together with my Dad, step-Mum and family for a birthday 
  • Going somewhere for the day for my wonderful husband's birthday
  • The library as I quite fancy seeing what Terry Pratchett books they have in
  • I was considering going somewhere local to try on the Doc Martens I kinda like, but I'm on an 'essentials only' month so that's on hold.
I don't really have many other places I'm planning to visit, but would like to spend more time at home decluttering and going through all my stuff.

Wednesday, 10 October 2012

365/30 lists - favourite films

These are always subject to change, but they are currently:

Tuesday, 9 October 2012

365/30 lists - fancy dress ideas

  • Gotta respect some steampunk
  • Awesome Weeping Angel costumes here and here 
  • I'm a geek, so pretty much love anything from DragonCon.

Monday, 8 October 2012

Sunday, 7 October 2012

365/30 lists - Halloween party ideas

To be honest, I don't tend to do much at Halloween. I don't think we went trick or treating when I was a kid and it seemed to be a bigger thing in the U.S then, I think. So, I'm afraid I'm not even thinking about it as I'll be going to aikido class that night instead!

Here's some cool stuff on Pinterest instead though on the subject :)
And some stuff for your dog to wear!

Saturday, 6 October 2012

365/30 lists - perfect music playlist

A bit of this and that...

Friday, 5 October 2012

365/30 lists - what would you take on a desert island?

Practical items aside, I think it would have to be a book, a pen and a notenook. I did consider replacing the notebook with a filofax, but I wouldn't mind as much if the notebook got full of sand or got eaten by the local wildlife!

Thursday, 4 October 2012

365/30 lists - five most craved Filofaxes

Hmm, this is a tricky one! Compared with some people, I don't think I tend to crave filofaxes really but am quite fickle. I'll change my mind, sell the one out of favour and then kinda find my way to the next one.  Currently I'd like to find something with perfect rings in a colour I like and keep it free of junk, and processed regularly.

Not quite the right answer, but I'm decluttering and want to reduce my belongings and to be happier with less. I find I quite enjoy looking at other people's filos on Flickr or on blogs, but generally I'm quite content. That all said, I do love the look of the Amazona, Osterley and Finchley, but don't really feel the need to own one. With my minimalist head on, I don't 'need' any more filofaxes, but am currently more focussed on making whatever I own work instead.

Wednesday, 3 October 2012

Everything is training

We've started some additional training with another aikido club and I set off by myself in the car, directions on the passenger seat and looking forward to class. I've only been there once before, but I'm normally fairly happy finding my way around places without sat nav. My challenging journey that night has made me realise that focus is great, but without flexibility we can easily become bogged down and stuck. Driving along, I saw signs that said 'road closed ahead' but assumed it wasn't the main road as there wasn't any details of a diversion route. I happily bimbled along and eventually found that it was the main route. For some reason, I'd been feeling a bit more emotional that day than normal, and that seemed to be the last straw! In disbelief, I tried to find a parking space to pull into so that I could have a look at the map to find an alternative route. It wasn't just me as cars were going round the roundabout, pulled up on the side in the way and no spaces were available, so I found a suitable side road to stop in.

I realise now that I was a bit outraged at the road closure, "How dare they close it?!" It was the only route I'd considered and I don't know the area at all. I sat for a short while and decided to drive back out and try another way to get past the closed section of the road. Off I went (fuming) and twice tried this tactic, only to successively manage to get further up the road but still thwarted by the roadworks. Then trying to think a bit more logically, I headed back out to eventually find some diversion signs. I followed these for a while, but turned round as it was taking me too far in the opposite direction and I would've ended up back home.

By this time, I had calmed down but had been driving so long that I needed the loo. I pulled into a space in the station car park and then noticed a pub right behind me that I didn't notice earlier in my strop. After a toilet break, advice about directions and a brief chat with my husband, I was ready to go. For a brief moment, I was tempted to just go back home but after some self-talk of, "So, you're just going to give up and go home? I tried to get to class, but the road was closed and I couldn't find my way??! Hmm, not going to happen! I may have missed some of class already, but I was closer to my destination than home. Somehow that seemed to bring me to my senses and the way to go was very easy as it was so busy for a tiny lane at that time of night.

I got to class and after a short warm up I really enjoyed my practice as normal. Before getting onto the mat, I visualised my route back and it worked like a charm as I found my way home quite easily. My travelling time that night was nearly three hours, which means I got an hour of training for my time but it was still definitely worth it. I struggled with the fact that I had to change my plans without much notice, and I think if I'd accepted this more easily I would've found the whole experience easier.

Once upon a time, I'd joke with my husband that he says, "It's a bit like aikido..." fairly often, but over time exactly the same thing has happened to me. My experience that night can be compared to ukemi practice and if you're not ready to change direction or follow where the movement is going, you can get yourself into trouble. Stubbornly deciding on where you're going to go isn't following your partner, and at a higher level of training means you could get hurt due to lack of awareness from being too committed in the wrong direction! In the past I used to be determined, but it could be with gritted teeth and mainly sheer willpower alone. It sure doesn't sound like much fun to me now, and I think getting frustrated with my route to class was a good reminder to not be too rigidly fixed in my attitude.        

365/30 lists - favourite Filofaxes

My bronze A5 Domino Snake. I have some more posts to write for Philofaxy as it's all a bit up in the air at the moment... One returned due to faulty rings and two purchased from eBay, with the idea of selling one when I decide on which I like the best!

I haven't really had the new purchases from eBay long enough to make a decision yet... Philofaxy post to come :)

Tuesday, 2 October 2012

365/30 lists - who would you want to be stuck in a lift with?

  • My husband
  • Someone like Ethan Hunt or Batman - they'd have the kit to get us out of there
  • HH the Dalai Lama
  • Maruyama Sensei (founder of Aikido Yuishinkai) - he's a lovely man and maybe we'd have some time for aikido 
  • My wonderful friends, Tanya and Hanka - we'd have fun wherever we are :) 

Monday, 1 October 2012

365/30 lists - goals for the month

The fabulous Kate and Imy have set up 365/30 lists for Philofaxers, which is based on the 30 days of lists idea but it has been made for Filofax and stationery fans! You can find the Facebook group here. I really enjoyed doing the April A-Z Challenge, so thought I'd join in for October for something different to do. The daily topics for October are here (or you can find them on the Facebook group) and each month they will set by someone different.

Day 1 is goals for the month:
  1. Complete 365/30 lists and publish the day's post on time on blog
  2. Finish off prep for my tax return and file it online - boring, but important 
  3. Carry on my daily meditation
  4. Get my email to zero - nearly there
  5. Work on my declutter project more
  6. Increase my running mileage slowly up to two runs a week
  7. Have some life coaching from my awesome friend, Tanya
  8. Sort out what I'm doing with my filofaxes! - blog posts to follow on Philofaxy 
  9. Limit my spending to essential purchases only - more info here and aikido training is definitely considered essential!
And that's probably enough... I could easily carry on, but I'd like to actually achieve them and could easily overload myself :)

Saturday, 29 September 2012

Philofaxy meet up 22nd September

I was a bit undecided on Saturday morning about what to do before the meet up in London. My choices were a) take a slow walk round to the Tate Modern along the Thames or b) jump on the tube to have a nose around Covent Garden and Chinatown. On the train I was reading Peace Is Every Breath by Thich Nhat Hanh, so I was very chilled on arrival at Waterloo and consequently found the noise and number of people a bit of a shock! I decided on the quieter option (like I did at the last meet up) as it was a beautiful day and enjoyed ambling along, listening to the buskers and watching everyone in the sun.

Hungerford footbridge

Leftover Christmas decoration?

The Great Gorilla Run was on 
It was so nice outside that I didn't even have a look around the Tate, and instead sat on a bench to read more of my book. It suddenly occurred to me that I wasn't 100% sure if I was near the right entrance to meet everyone, so went to have a little look and Steve, Thomas and Tracy were already there. I really enjoyed my hot sandwich at the cafe, and it wasn't long before the filofaxes came out with everyone swapping seats to chat with people from the other table. Lord Dodo was amazed to see a Dodo Pad dating back to 1980 in its original envelope, which Andy had brought with him.

Thomas' handmade cover for his Hamilton

Rebecca (Lord Dodo), Jess, Tracy, Steve, Imy and Andy from City Organiser

My purple personal Malden and bronze A5 Domino Snake, with Saz's wine A5 zipped Holborn and pocket crimson Malden 

Thomas' mini ochre Malden, personal Hamilton and pen case

Christa's pink A5 Classic, with Keji's grey compact Osterley and aqua personal Chameleon
The lovely Jess with Keji's super fat Chameleon
I still haven't done anything with the filofaxes I received for the holiday essentials challenge (I promise to sort that out soon), so took along the kingfisher blue Metropol as a give away. Steve picked out the winner from names in a glass and it was the wonderful Saz.

After making our way through the crowds, we quickly arrived outside the City Organiser store and I loved how a hush came over the group as Andy opened the door.

Saz, Alison, Tracy, Imy (hidden, I think) Christa, Preethi, Jess, Keji and Thomas

The Dynamic Duo :)

We were let loose in the amazing store room, and Imy was very excited about being able to scan one of the filos :)  

How many??

Christa, Tracy and Jess with the compact Osterleys

Purple A5 Malden tower
Soon it was time to say goodbye to some of our group and here's us all together.

L to R: Yasmin, Andy, Steve, Christa, Saz, Thomas, Tracy, Imy, Alison, Jess, Keji, Rebecca and Preethi
The guys went back to the hotel and the remaining ladies went on a quick tour of some of the stationery shops (surprise, surprise). We visited Artbox, Muji, McDonalds (toilet stop) and Paperchase, before spotting Thomas outside Vapiano where we were going to have dinner. After a lovely meal, we all set off and my train didn't get in until 11:30 p.m., so I'd had a very full day of filofaxes, laughter and chatting.

Steve, Preethi, Thomas, Saz, Imy and Tracy
So, what did I buy?

My sole purchase from City Organiser was some Jan-Dec inserts for my A5, and then a pen and a to-do list notepad from Muji. I discovered that the notepad fits perfectly into the notepad slot at the back of my Malden. Outside the shop, I was putting my purchases away & I was just going to put the whole pad in the slot, and then realised the cardboard back would fit and quite excitedly showed the others! (a chorus of 'aaahhs' were heard) The love hearts notepad was a gift from the lovely Christa as she kindly brought some spare stationery along for us all to choose from. It was such a fun day, and I really enjoyed my second Philofaxy meet up.