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!


The Evolution of the Cookie Blog: A New Chapter.

Well. Here we are.

2013 and 2014 felt like something of a wash out for me. After two family bereavements in 18 months I've pretty much felt like I've been doing nothing but treading water the last few years.
2015 needs a change. It's needs a new, fresh start. It needs to be a new chapter. One of more positive attitude. Of moving forward. Of consistently doing that which I know is good for me (physically, mentally, creatively, personally).

I began the year carrying the stress of a problem what wasn't even my own (why do we feel the weight of our children's woes as heavily on us as they do on themselves?). Since that's been resolved I'm filled with a much lighter feeling of impending possibility. A new year. A new start.

I was struck by the niggling feeling of needing a new space online. It feels like a thousand years ago when I began my original Protectthecookie! blog (it's actually been 8. Eight years. Wow). When I look back at the blog posts on there is brilliant to have so many memories available at the click of a mouse, but it also feels distant some how. With by blogging tailing off so much in the last few years I feel a million miles away from that person with two very young children who first ventured out into the blogging world with waffle about teapots and baby poo!

My children have grown so much. Grace is set to start High School in the Autumn. Ewan is already in Juniors. A far cry from those two tiny people I first wrote about.

Then there are the new arrivals to the Cookie household. Gorgeous Newfoundland gigantapuppies who make every day a fur filled, drool coated adventure.

Working full time now and juggling the delights of extra-curricular commitments means I seem to have much less time to battle the daily grind, not to mention trying to find time to fit in the things that I once loved to do (like creating things (with paper, and yarn and fabric) and writing things (online or on paper).

As a family, we've evolved. We're constantly evolving. This is the evolution of the Cookie household. Long may it continue.

EDITED TO ADD: The Cookie is going to have to learn to evolve in it's old environment. I cannot get to grips with Wordpress. I hate it. It's officially crubbish! New Blogger theme to follow.


Tuesday, 6 January 2015