Monday, 10 August 2015

Who's butt is this anyway?

I find this photo disconcerting.

I cannot tell which Newf butt belongs to which Newf. That tells me Miss Ziva is pretty much as big as Master Jethro.

These puppies are HUGE!!

They like to share the sofa.

It's not pretty.


Wednesday, 1 July 2015

One Book July #onebookjuly2015

I've decided to take part in One Book July this year.

OBJ is the brainchild of Rhomany (over at Rhomany's Realm) and is a project that she first ran last year in association with Carie Harling (at Dispatches from the Frat House) and MissVickyBee. (The Coffee Addict's Club).

The premise behind the project is to pare down your planners/journals/sketch books/notebooks and the writing implements/tools you use to just one book for the whole of the month of July.

One Book.

One Pen.

One Month.

Rhomany does a fabulous job of explaining the whole concept in her video for OBJ2015 on YouTube. There's also a run down of her set up here. Carie's set up here, and Vicky's set up here.

What I love about these ladies and their collaboration is that they all approach things from such different angles. For me, the point of getting involved this year wasn't necessarily about the paring down of books (I have a few planners/sketchbooks/notebooks on the go but not a horrendous amount). It's more about trying to get a single system in place that I can work consistently. Hmmmmm CONSIST? Where have we heard that before?

Here's what I have on the go currently:

These are three art journals (although to be honest, they haven't seen much action the last few months). The black one is a spiral bound (I think it's 10x18?) sketchbook by Strathmore. The kraft coloured one is a Dylusions Creative Journal by Ranger (which I've been using for some classes from The purple one is a handmade cereal box art journal which I made a while ago from Jenniebellie's tutorial on YouTube. These are what I use for art journaling most commonly.

The two MTNs are my fauxdoris. The pale one a slightly bigger than regular size and the brown one a field notes size.

I ADORE these journals. There are two problems though. First is that the large one is TOO large and the field notes size is too small. Second is that whilst I love the format, I love the printables, I love the feel of the leather, realistically I find it quite difficult to write in them (in a practical sense). I've tried several different systems in there. Inserts from a number of different places on Etsy but I'm just not using them consistently.

The Moleskines in the second photo above are my work note books. The soft cover one is a Bullet Journal, the hard cover is an Evernote moleskine which I use for meeting minutes. The Everynote is staying for OBJ. That's the "magic book" in our office which has all the important notes etc in it so I need to keep using it. The bullet journal is going on hold for July to see if I can get away with work and personal stuff in one book for planning and task management. We'll see I guess.

I deliberated for quite a few days between an MTN style and a hard bound book for my OBJ. After watching videos from all three of the Coffee Addicts club ladies I decided that the hard bound idea was speaking to me more so I went with that.

In the spirit of OBJ not being a stress I decided to go with a notebook I already had lying around so picked up this faux suede plain paper sketch book which I bought a little while ago in The Range. It was cheap as chips (£3.99) but the paper is reasonably think and not too shiny.

I've had this since May and did fill one or two pages at the front but I thought this page spoke to the whole OBJ ethos well enough so was happy to have it in there:

I wrote out a list of what I knew I MUST have in the book for July:

- month on two pages
- some sort of forward planning for the rest of the year
- week on 1 page with space for bullet journaling
- some post its/flags and some way of colour coding
- some pretties

I also wrote a list of what I wanted to accomplish with the book in July:

- a consistent system of planning and organising that WORKS
- somewhere for journaling (to encourage CONSISTENT journaling practice)
- somewhere for notes on Books, blog posts, stuff I'm thinking about, research/learning
- a place to encourage gratitude practice (I've talked about wanting to implement this before)

Previously when I've tried to plan in hardcover notebooks the haphazardness of it has irked me. The idea of sectioning off parts of the book that Vicky discusses in her video (taken from Clark Danger's ideas on journaling practice) really spoke to me. I've made some sections in the book along similar lines.

Here's what the inside is looking like currently:

Month on 2 pages

Forward Planning

Week on one Page (with blank sheets for bullet journaling)

 Post its/Flags/Colour Coding

I've split off the following sections:

The sections are pretty self explanatory:

- Journal
- Brain Dumps
- Book Notes
- Gratitude
- Learn Zone
- Blog Notes

I've delineated the pages with some washi tape to make the sections easy to find and the title pages I'll complete when I'm in a doodling mood.

My Pen of Choice for the duration of July will be this one:

Which is a Signo Uniball gel pen. I love the feel of this pen and who it writes. My only quibble with it is that it's quite a wide tip (0.7mm) but I can forgive that for the rest of it's good points.

For some colour-coding I've opted for my Derwent Academy Watercolour Pencils:

I've chosen these mostly because of the versatility. They're fine for highlighting over writing for colour coding events/note per person but also handy if I want a little colour in sketches etc.

So, that's it. I'm all set up for One Book July 2015 (just in time to begin today on the 1st!). I'm sure there'll be an update along at some  point about how it's going.


Wednesday, 18 February 2015

Fauxdori Set Up Video

I've done it! My YouTube cherry is officially popped! LOL.

I was finally brave enough to upload a video to YouTube for the first time.

A quick overview of the set up in my Fauxdori Planner for 2015.

It's not the greatest quality (trying to film holding my phone and skipping through the planner means it's a little wobbly) but it's okay.

Before I even think of doing any others I will have to get to grips with some video editing software so if anyone knows any good free ones I can find please do le

So, any of my fellow BWers still lurking on here who want to know what I sound like after all these years, here's your chance to hear my delightful Lancashire accent!

Enjoy :)


Tuesday, 17 February 2015

A Cookie Tradition.

So. It's here. Time for the annual "I'm so fed up with winter, why can't it be spring already?" post.

Actually I'm doing quite well this year. I've managed to last until the middle of February until I'm completely chomping at the bit for some spring time action.

I think it's tradition that this post comes with a soundtrack so, a little background music. This song has been bumbling about in my head all day. I just can't seem to shake it. I don't even know where I heard it, but it makes me want to get my 80s groove on. Impromptu dance party!!

Anyway, it's making me smile today. It's pretty cold out but the sun is shining. I can see blue sky out of the office window.

It's definitely improving my mood :)

On the topic of improving things, I've been reasonably good with my word for the year "CONSISTENT" and I've been eating much better (back onto Slimming World for me), training (karate) regularly and managing to sneak in the odd bit of creative time here and there.

Mostly the creativity has taken the form of journal making. I bit the bullet and ordered a piece of leather to make a Fauxdori (fake Midori Traveller's Notebook) and I LOVE it.

I've been using it as a planner, notebook, bullet journal, written journal, doodle pad, and all round general place to write stuff. I love the versatility of it, not to mention the fact that the leather smells totally lush and is getting more worn and soft and gorgeous looking by the day!


I'm thinking I might be brave and do a "Planner Set up" Video on it to show what I've got going on in there. Depends if I can get over my video stage fright! LOL.

That's it for now. Keep willing the spring on!


Friday, 30 January 2015

Newf Prints In The Snow

You know you've got a giant dog when everyone you meet in the neighbourhood comments that they know you've been walking the dog in the snow because there are giant dinner plate paw prints marking his route :)
His reputation proceeds him.

Wednesday, 28 January 2015

Bullet Journaling and a Fauxdori Experiment

A little while ago I stumbled across a Pinterest PIN for

Bullet Journaling is a great analogue organisational system designed by a chap called Ryder Carroll. At its heart it is basically a way to keep all those pieces of paper (post it notes, to do list, shopping list, appointment cards) in one place, along with somewhere to capture all those fleeting "I love to do that", "wouldn't it be a great idea if", "I must remember to" moments that we have during our days.
This Youtube video explains the whole process far better than I could ever attempt to:


I've been using this system since the beginning of the year and I have to say, so far, I'm really liking it. After some googling around the subject I did find a couple of tweaks to the process which I thought would help the system work better for me. This included adding a full calendar spread at the beginning, which I really need for work to have an overview of the Academic Year:

I've been using a large soft cover squared moleskine for my bullet journal and I really like it. I have a huge soft spot for Moleskines (sad, but true).

I also incorporated some ideas from Shandy over at her Aprons'n'Pearls blog, most notably a main page for Birthday's and Anniversaries and a page to monitor my weight loss journey (I've lost 5.5 in the last two weeks - woot!).

I suspect the whole thing is going to be an ongoing process of working out what works for me and what doesn't. For example for February I think I will include a traditional calender type page for the beginning of the month for events instead of the standard list overview. I find it difficult when there is more than one event per day to keep it to one line. Something like this at The Couponing Mum, would be much more useful I think.

On my blog hopping/web surfing/pinterest searching journey on Bullet Journaling I also discovered a fabulous type of journal called a Midori Traveller's Notebook (yes, clearly I've been living under a journaling rock for the last few years to have missed this! LOL).

The leather is basically just a cover and you buy removable inserts which are held in place by elastics. They look amazing. They're also hugely expensive (in my mind). £35 for the journal before you've even started with the inserts.

Being me I of course had to find out if I can make one, and of course the internet obliged! Lots of fabulous tutorials like this one from Sea Lemon, this from Happy Scrappie, and this excellent one by Ray Blake. Obviously I couldn't resist having a bash of my own. I was reluctant to pay out for a piece of leather at this point so I bought to reasonably think pieces of leatherette vinyl from the local fabric shop. A black and a deep raspberry red. The standard large size Midori was a little too thin for me (3.5 inches across doesn't seem quite large enough to be worthwhile for writing much). Continuing the Moleskine love I decided to make mine big enough to fit the large Moleskine Cahier notebooks (using one plain, one lined, one squared).

I'm pretty pleased with how it came out and anticipate I'll probable make another (maybe with a tutorial, I've plenty of material left) and if I use it regularly (once my currently journal is filled) I might invest in a piece of leather to make a leather covered one.

Here it is in all it's raspberry prettiness:

I've really enjoyed getting back into getting some crafting done. I must be more conscious about including this as part of my Self-care. Making pretty things makes me happy.

On an entirely separate note and after a somewhat trying week at work I'm making this my new motto:

Words to live by!

Word For The Year 2015

I am not one for New Year's resolutions. I generally find if I make them they're broken before the Christmas decorations have come down.
When I started blogging in 2008 I embraced the notion of "One little word" and began to have one guiding word for the year.
In 2008 my word was SIMPLE, in 2009 I chose BALANCE, in 2010 I plumped for ACTION and in 2011 I went with FOCUS.

In 2012 I was still dithering over my word choice in February when The Unthinkable happened.
When I came to think about my word this year I was amazed to see that I hadn't had one since 2011. How had that happened? The last few years just seem to have gone by in a grief-ridden, depressed, water-treading blur.

The realisation of this made me all the more intent on a word for this year. A good word. A useful word.

I love to read Deb's blog over at Inner Compass Designs. I met the fabulous Deb online in a parenting forum when our girls were just tiny wee things. Even after we stopped posting on the forum we kept in touch via Facebook (ah, the magic of Facebook) and she continues to inspire me daily from the other side of the global. Anyhoo, one of the resources Deb shared at the end of the year was a free project called "Unravelling the Year Ahead" by a lady called Suzannah Conway. I knew as soon as I opened the work booklet I was going to love this course, and I did. It's certainly not to late to give it a try should you be so inclined.

Even before I had begun the course I'd had a word niggling at me. That word was COMMIT. I liked it. I kind of said what I wanted to do in 2015. It wasn't quite right though. I'm not entirely certain as to why but I suspect it was because it somehow implied pressure (on myself). That is SOOOOO not what I need this year.

What I need this year is to do all the things I know I should do, the things that I sometimes do, to make my life better, but to do them ALL THE TIME.

With that in mind, my word for 2015 is:


I choose to be CONSISTENT this year, in relation to:

HEALTH - to eat well, to move more, to attend regular karate classes, to practice self-care.

CALM - to let go of self-imposed stresses, to create often, to smile more, to spend less time starting at a screen and more time staring at people.

ORGANISATION - to plan to succeed (in work and at home), to plan menus, to plan housework, to declutter, to organise to remove the stress.

HAVEN - to make our home a haven from the outside world, to save for some home improvements, to make it a happy place to be.

I tend to do these things in fits and starts. I'm a boom and bust kind of girl. What I need to do is pace myself and just do them regularly. To be CONSISTENT in them. To make them a habit and make them stick.

So, that's the plan. Be CONSISTENT in 2015. Hope it works!