Saturday, 31 December 2011

New Year, 2012!

Hi everyone! I hope you have had a lovely Christmas, and have a great New Year!

This post is about the New Year, which I'm sure is something people are thinking a lot about at the moment! As I'm writing, it is currently New Year's Eve. I'm not a big New Year's celebrator. I don't do the whole champagne at midnight thing, although I do stay up (usually!). I use the opportunity to eat lots of chocolates and watch the special New Year's programmes that are on TV, and spend the evening with my family. I guess, although I don't do the big New Year's Eve celebrations, me and my family have our own traditions, in our own way!
I've always said, I don't think the New Year is very special, at least, not like Christmas. If I needed to work over New Year's Eve/Day, I wouldn't mind (although, if there was a day off, I would take it!!).

But I think, if there's one thing the New Year represents, it's a new start. Although I don't work on the proper yearly calendar- I work on the academic calendar, with September being my January, if that makes sense, the majority of the rest of the world works on January-December, so it just seems natural that I do too, at least in part. There are 2 main things I'm going to use this new start as an opportunity for.
The first is New Year's resolutions. Normally I hate setting myself resolutions. It comes from school, when at the start of the new school year we were told to list resolutions we want to work on for the coming school terms. But that means going through all our bad habits, our failures- I HATE looking back at my failures!!! But this year I want to look at it with a positive stance- 'What will make my life easier?', 'What would I like to improve this year?' etc. Not looking at my failures, my bad habits, but concentrate on making my life better for the forthcoming year.
That ties in with my second thing I'm going to do this New Year- The Happiness Project! I started reading the book in August (and haven't actually had time to finish it!), and thought I would start my own at the start of the next month, September, which is also the start of my uni academic year- it seemed perfect! But I was always so busy with everything I had to do when I got back to uni that I never got around to it!! I haven't had even 1 month where I have successfully managed to fulfil anything substantial for the Project. So I will start again with  this New Year.
Today's project is therefore to write a list of resolutions, and work out my January Happiness Project focus, and list of things to do towards it each day. Hopefully, I will post at the start of each month what that month's focus is, and at the end of that month how successful/unsuccessful I have been! My overall aim is self-improvement- and hopefully- Happiness because of it!!

Monday, 26 December 2011

It's a dream, but a lovely one! My hypothetical stationary shop! :D

If I could set up my own business, I would have an online stationary shop!

I would sell the best stationary around. Not the most expensive, but the most efficient, practical, and best value for money stuff out there! I would specialise in things going out of production, stocking up where I can so I can supply them to people who couldn't buy them originally!
Unfortunately I don't have a business head at all! So I would hire people who could deal with all that, but I would be Head Buyer! And I would hire my Philofaxy friends!
And Philofaxy people and my blog readers would get a discount!

These are the things I would stock:

Filofaxes! Of course! I'd sell all of them, but focus on ones going out of production, or already out of production, so that people could have the chance to own them when they normally couldn't. I would buy them off ebay and amazon and anywhere else I could, and put them up on the website. I would also buy them off people who were trying to get rid of them. Stocks would be limited, as these are the rarer ones, and for these it would be a first-come, first-served basis. People could also request certain filofaxes- if I find one, and you're first on the list, it's yours! I'd also sell inserts, refills and accessories! And people who make inserts and dividers etc could sell through my store!

Notebooks- Moleskine, Paperblanks, Clairfontaine, Rhodia, etc. I love notebooks, they can become such a part of you! I'd especially try to stock ones available in other countries, but not in Britain, so GB people could get their hands on them!

Lamy! I LOVE Lamy!! Safaris, Al-Stars; fountain pens, ball-points, pencils; converters, nibs...
Pens to fit in tight Filofax pen loops
Bottles of fountain pen ink- I love the traditional way of filling a fountain pen, and all the brilliant colours! I use Parker and Waterman bottled inks at the moment, and I would stock those, and Diamine, which has an AMAZING array of colours!!!
And everything in between in the pen world!

I LOVE mechanical pencils, and my favourite is Kuru Toga! I would also sell other types of mechanical and normal pencils of course!

Post-it notes-
Pretty coloured ones, cool shapes, different sizes, lined, squared, pretty designs, super-sticky...

Kawaii stationary- love love LOVE!!! Hello Kitty etc!

Anyway, this is all a pipe-dream!! But if I had the opportunity, this would be my business!!

Hope you are all having a great Christmas!!!

Friday, 23 December 2011

Last few days- update!!

Hi everyone!
So lots of interesting stuff has happened in the last few days, and instead of breaking it up into innumerable separate posts, I decided to do 1 long one!!

I last blogged about my vintage Filofax purchase. After playing with it for a couple of hours, and cleaning it, I decided that I didn't want to keep it. Thanks to all the advice from everyone about how to treat it, but I was just too worried about damaging such a precious filo. It felt like the designer bags I saw at the Bristol meet-up with Imy- I would be scared to use it, or even touch it, because I was worried about damaging it! But for a couple of hours I gave it the TLC it needed- I cleaned it with a baby wipe- it needed it as it was really dusty- and I smothered it with a thin layer of unscented face cream (as I didn't have any Nivea). Immediately you could tell it was sucking in the moisture from the cream, it really needed it!

It absorbed most of the cream, then I wiped the reminder off with a tissue. After:
It felt noticeably smoother and healthier!
But I decided that I didn't really like the vintage Filo. It was a combination of how I was worried that I wouldn't treat it properly, and that it wasn't quite as nice as my Malden!! I guess I have been spoiled!
So I put it up on ebay. This was a big deal for me, as I have only ever sold 1 thing before, and that was a handbag for my mum years ago! I put it up on Buy-it-Now, and within an hour and a half it had sold!!!!! I was shocked!! After many emails back and forth (stressful!!), 24 hours(!) later, the buyer paid for it, and today I posted it :)
In the meantime, due to the lifted confidence brought by the success of my first filofax ebay selling, I put my A5 raspberry Finsbury up for sale! This is the one Filofax sent me as a replacement for the one I got earlier this year, which was damaged (although, according to the seller, brand new!!!). This sold quickly too! The buyer of this one also had lots of questions, and needed it to be delivered quickly because it's for her birthday in early January, and Christmas post/Christmas break will mean Royal Mail is slower in the next week or so. So I had lots to organise and think about with selling these filofaxes!!All I can say is that ebaying is stressful!!

I also bought a Filofax, an A5 brown Kendal! The trouble is, the seller on ebay said that he was away until 3rd January. This is fine, I thought, and when he comes back to work he will dispatch it on 3rd or 4th January, so I might as well send it to my Liverpool address, as I will be back there a couple of days later!
BUT actually, it turns out he wasn't away, he just put that he was so people didn't expect their parcels to arrive by Christmas! Well, Mr seller, you shouldn't say this unless you really ARE away, it's a LIE and has caused me a big problem!!! If I had known you were going to dispatch it now, I would have asked you to send it to Plymouth, where I will be able to receive it in the next couple of weeks! But instead, it has been dispatched to an empty house, where the 'You weren't in' red slip will sit on the doormat for 2 weeks, and my Filofax will sit all lonely in the delivery office, waiting for redelivery!! I will just have to wait until I get back to Liverpool to arrange redelivery so I can finally get my hands on my Kendal, which I have been wanting since April!! It's going to be my uni assignments filofax, to replace the Finsbury I just sold!
And a few days ago I received the personal red Butterfly Filofax I bought very cheaply from ebay, as a reward to myself for finishing my dissertation proposal a day early!! The clasp is a bit damaged, but will serve me great over the next couple of weeks when I don't have any of my other filofaxes here (except for my trusty ochre Malden of course!)

In other news, today me, Imy, Anita and her husband met up in Plymouth! It was brilliant, because this is where I live!! Well, during the holidays, at least! We went for lunch at Spud-U-Like (although I had Burger King!), went to Lush, Paperchase, Boots, Fat Face, and House of Fraser where Imy bought lots of expensive make-up and we looked at- and tidied- the Filofax shelves!! And I had the most gorgeous Ferrero Roche hot chocolate drink in cafe The Americano!! Hope we can do something fun like this again soon! Or in Liverpool!

Hmm... there are probably other things I have forgotten to say!! But for now I will tell you what my plans are for the next few days: Arranging my brother's Christmas present- (horrible) Apex filofax, which I will fill with notepaper and teach him how to use the dividers and arrange the sections in the way he wants! Converting the world to Filofaxes, 1 person at a time!!
I will also be sorting out my new A5 Ochre Malden. I need to put my current assignment stuff in it, because it's the only A5 I have at the moment, and it's full of other papers, so it needs sorting out, as well as setting up to be my proper MA dissertation planner! Then when I finally get my hands on my Kendal, I will set that up to be my 'other assignment' planner- the essays etc I'm doing that aren't for my dissertation (which needs to be my focus over the next couple of months), while my A5 ochre Malden will be my proper dissertation planner! I can't wait to get them sorted!
And I will also be sorting out some more important filofax things! In my Butterfly Filofax, which will serve as my excess filo at the moment, because my everyday filofax is full to the brim, I am going to start a Reading section, which will eventually go into a Reading Filofax, and my 2012 Happiness Project stuff. In my reading filofax, I am going to write a list of books I want to download for my ereader I am getting for Christmas, and start writing reviews of the books I read! And next year I am going to try to stick to my Happiness Project, because I didn't stick to it last year! So I need to write a list of 2012 resolutions and goals, and sort out monthly improvements charts. These will go into my teal Finchley when I get back to Liverpool!

OK, that's enough from me!!
I wish everybody a very Merry Christmas/Happy Holidays! 
I will post again soon to talk about the exciting things I received at Christmas, and hopefully about how much my brother loves his new Filofax!!!!! ;b

Wednesday, 21 December 2011

Vintage Winchester Filofax!!

Hello everyone!!

I have wanted a vintage filofax for a while now, because they are the classics of the Filofax brand and would be an amazing addition to my collection!
On Saturday night I found one on ebay that was finishing soon, and at that time the bids on it were only about £4.50! So I decided to wait until the dying minutes and try to bid on it!
Someone had  placed a maximum bid on it, so every one of my bids was immediately outbid. But their maximum bid was £20, so I bid £21 and I won it!!

The auction didn't make it very clear what the filofax was. This is the picture, the one and only, that was on the auction page:
And the description was:
"Vintage filofax in dark green leather. Some inserts included. The original filofax logo is clearly visible inside the front cover. Both front and back covers have pockets and there is a pen holder. Looks like new."
And the condition was: "Use: An item that has been previously used..."

That's it! No model name or number, no size, barely any clear description! I could only work out that it looked like a personal sized filo, and from the photo, Steve from Philofaxy said it was probably a Winchester!

It arrived today!!! I was very surprised, because it is the Christmas period and the Royal Mail is notoriously difficult to get through now! But I bought it on Saturday night, it was dispatched on Monday, and it was delivered today, Wednesday!! Excellent!

First impressions: The leather is very stiff. I supposed I am used to the supple leather of the Malden, but hopefully this will soften up over time! It doesn't lay flat AT ALL!! I think it mustn't have been used a lot, because Steve's filo of the same range lays flat. It is in relatively good condition, in comparison with what I would expect a filo of over 25 years to be! So I think it wasn't used much in the 80s, and definitely not much recently, because it's FILTHY!! Fluff has gathered near the rings and needs a PROPER cleaning!! The only bit I'm annoyed about is that the clasp is quite delicate, if bent too much it will probably snap, so I'm going to try to do something about that ASAP. The leather is such a dark green it almost looks black!!
I googled the number on the inside cover, and Steve was of course correct, it is a Winchester!
The clasp is a bit damaged

Tonight I am going to clean it and give it the treatment it needs- using the Nivea trick!!

I've posted lots more photos on flikr, and I'll put some more up and do another post when it's all cleaned up!

Merry Christmas in the meantime!!

Sunday, 18 December 2011

Bristol mini-Philofaxy meet-up!!

Hello everyone! Uni term has finished and I am now home for Christmas!! I promise I will write lots of blog posts over the next few weeks!

Yesterday was the mini-Philofaxy meet-up in Bristol, organised by the lovely Imy! Coming along were me, Nicola, Emma, and Tali and her husband.
Imy was coming from Cornwall on a train which went through Plymouth, so I went on the same train and she saved a seat for me! We sat there on the whole journey chatting and having fun! Imy was sooooo excited!! She's like a little puppy!!!
Then we arrived in Bristol and waited by the exit for Tali and her husband, then made our way outside to meet Nicola who was picking us up in her car! She drove us over to the shopping centre in the centre of Bristol, Cabot Circus. We decided not to go to the mall on the outskirts of Bristol, Cribbs Causeway, because it would have been packed full of Christmas shoppers and we might not have been able to get back to the train station on time. But Cabot Circus was great! A very impressive shopping centre, with amazing architectural features, sweeping platforms and cool Christmas decorations! Nicola drove us up to quite a high level in the multi-story car park, we went round and round and round and round the corkscrew to get up to that level and we got quite dizzy! But it was really fun!!
Then we met Emma who came in her car, and she gave everyone a Christmas card with a little envelope full of cute stickers in! So kind! And those weren't the last stickers of the day!!
Now we were all together, suddenly we all got very very excited!! We went over to Nandos to try to book a table (Imy wanted to book it under the name 'Filofax'!) but they said we don't have to book, just come back later and stand in the queue. Tali's husband went off to do his own shopping and would meet up with us again at lunch.
Then we started shopping! We went over to House of Fraser because Imy wanted to visit the handbag section which had a Mulberry concession in it- she's a Mulberry addict! But I must admit some of them were quite nice!!
Then we went over to the Paperchase concession! We all love Paperchase!! The concession in House of Fraser is huge, bigger than the shops in both Liverpool and Plymouth!! We were there for about half an hour, and I think we helped to pay quite a chunk of their rent bills for the day!! We all bought a LOT of stickers!! Well, they are so cute and pretty, and only £1 or £2 for a pack!! And we are all children in our heads!!
This is my haul from Paperchase! (+1 lipgloss I got later in the day!) As you can see, I bought LOTS of stickers!! Plus I bought a pretty tin for them to live in, or else I'll lose them around my room. It's supposed to be for pens/pencils, but it's the perfect fit for the slimmer packets of stickers, although the £2 packs that are wider won't fit in. I also bought some really pretty sticky notes, some tab markers for my new MA filofax, and some bookmarks, which I am going to turn into Filofax personal today markers! Possibly the best thing I got from Paperchase, which is saying something because I really love it all, is my pink Lamy Safari fountain pen!! I love Lamy pens, and have wanted a pink one but it's hard to find because they were last year's special edition one, so they're quite rare, although Paperchase do stock them. I'll do a post on this soon :)

Then, after we had managed to pull ourselves away from all the pretty things, we walked out of the shopping centre to the other shops in the city centre. At 1pm we met outside Nandos and queued for a table, finding a table for 6 on a busy Saturday was difficult! Emma took me to a cashpoint, and by the time we got back the others were seated inside :) We ordered our meals, I had a chicken breast burger, medium heat, which was very nice! After that I ordered the chocolate cake, but it wasn't very nice because it was like chocolate mousse made into a cake, and I don't like chocolate mousse :(
While we were eating, we got our shopping out and played with our stickers and things!! Again, we're like little kids!! And we got our filofaxes out and made a mini stack!! Nicola brought lots, including the WHSmith one masquerding as a filofax at the front! We compared filos, and they were sent around the table for people to write messages in! Like a proper Philofaxy meet-up!!
Then we went back to Paperchase! Yes, I know, we were addicts!! But Imy had seen some cute highlighters Nicola had bought and wanted some for herself, and my sticker tin was a bit dented so I wanted to exchange it. But when I got there, there were none left! Oh well! Then we went to a few more shops like WHSmith (more filofaxes!), and I went in Boots while the others went in Build-a-Bear workshop.
Then we made our way out of the shopping centre again, and went into Harvey Nichols. We found our way over to the Chanel hand bags, and there was the Chanel man there. Rude rude man, insulting our non-Chanel hand bags, and saying living in Cornwall must be like living in the fashion middle-ages!!! Imy was upset and we were all very angry at him!! We walked straight out, and were fuming about it for a good few minutes! We wanted to slap him with our 'cheap' handbags!
Then after a bit more walking around, we went to Starbucks. Everyone ordered their drinks, but as I don't drink hot drinks like that, I had a quick look around the Christmas market for presents, and finally got my mum the present I couldn't find in Plymouth! Yayyy!!!
We got back into the cars and went to Staples!! We are stationary geeks!! We all had a good look around, although I didn't buy anything, Nicola found a good pen that was made by Franklin Covey and is a multi-pen, with black, blue and red ink and a pencil all in one! I have been looking for a pen like this for ages! But Nicola got the last one, and the shop assistant phoned the Plymouth store for me, asking if there is one in stock, and there might be, so I'll have a look soon!
We had a while to wait until our trains, but we went to the station anyway because we were all shopped out! There wasn't a McDonald's/KFC/BurgerKing in Temple Meads station, and knowing I wouldn't be able to eat until 10, I bought a sausage roll- which was huge!! Well, it kept me filled up, so I could only eat 1 slice of the pizza my mum cooked for me!
On the train Imy found out we had free wifi! So we spent most of the journey on the internet on our phones, and chatting! :) It was a really fun journey!

It was a very very fun day, I really want to do it again soon!! Thanks everyone!! Have a great Christmas!

Friday, 2 December 2011

2012 diary update!

Hi everyone!
Thanks to everyone who voted on my poll and commented on my previous post, it has helped me make my mind up!
My biggest issue was what should I do with my Filofax day per page interts: well, Lucy bought them off me!! So now I am free to get the Day Timer Flavia inserts! I have asked my mum to get them for me for Christmas, which she has agreed to!
So now I'm really looking forward to 2012 for some really efficient planning! I hope!

Tuesday, 29 November 2011

New Poll: which DPP/DO2P planner should I use?


Earlier this year I bought Filofax's Day per page planner for my personal filofax. I have been using WH Smith's personal-sized DPP planner for my Filofax since March (when I started using Filofaxes), and I decided to use the real thing for 2012. I reviewed the two here and decided that I preferred the Filofax brand refill for a number of reasons.

But recently I have realised I need more space in my daily pages. After searching many brands, I decided the insert I really liked was the Day Timer Flavia day on two pages! It's really pretty and colourful, and I like the layout and the space it provides.
I suppose what I could do with my Filofax-brand DPP is put a piece of notepaper next to very busy days- but then it isn't nearly as pretty as the Flavia inserts! I would forever be wishing I had bought the Flavia ones!

If I hadn't already bought the 2012 filofax DPP, I would definitely buy the Flavia inserts. But I have, and I feel bad if I waste them! I couldn't really sell them on ebay, because I've already taken them out of the packet!

So what do you think I should do? Buy the Flavia inserts and have to find some other use for the filofax ones, or find someone to take them off my hands (I'd rather sell them for a few pounds than give them away!), or just stick with the Filofax-brand (boring) ones?
Please vote in my poll, and leave a comment if you like!

Thanks for your help!
P.S. does anyone want to buy an unused 2012 filofax DPP diary for cheap? Make me an offer!

Friday, 25 November 2011

Philofaxy Meet-up London November 2011!!

Hiya! Sorry this is quite late, the time flies when you're researching your dissertation!!

Last Saturday I went on my very first Philofaxy meet-up!! And it won't be my last! It was so much fun!!

I woke up very early on Saturday morning to finish getting ready and get an early train to London. I'm used to trains, and I'm used to much longer journeys than this, it's 6 hours from Plymouth to Liverpool, or the other way around, so 2 and a quarter hours to London was a breeze! The only problem was 3 chatty, noisy ladies in the same carriage, but I managed to get on with some work on my netbook, which was really good!
I arrived in London on time!! which is amazing for British trains! But then the troubles started! Euston overground station was the station I arrived at, and then went down onto the underground- only to find the tube route I had planned was unusable because of engineering works! I had to get to Marylebone station to meet my brother, and the changed route meant it took me double the time to get there!
I found my brother and we went back to his flat and he showed me around. My mum had left a bag there for me to pick up, which had my winter coat and A5 raspberry Finsbury in it, which I had left at home but wanted to bring to the meet-up because Steve said he would have a go at fixing the rings for me.
I left my brother's flat later than planned, but still thought I could get to the meet-up on time. I wanted to go back to Marylebone station, but my brother was walking another way and wanted to chat with me while we walked, so I went to another station. The trouble was, the east-bound part of the line I wanted to get on was closed, so I had to get on the west-bound train to double back on myself! But the west-bound train was delayed with some sort of technical problem on the line in front of us! And it was getting close to 12pm by this time, the time we were supposed to meet! The train finally arrived in another station, I crossed over to the east-bound track, then had to wait for the train to take me to the south bank. After a couple of changes, I got there, very late, and then had to go through a very busy food market packed with hundreds of shoppers and tourists, and lots of cobbled streets for my wheeled suitcase to struggle over, then more tourists to weave through on the south bank!
Then I remembered my promise to make a video of the day, so I took some panning shots of the Thames and St Paul's and the bridges. Finally, I found the Tate! Quite an ugly building... but I'm sure there are some lovely pieces of art inside (unfortunately I didn't get to see!!)
So I made my way over to the cafe... and look who I found!!
I kind of went up to the window with my camera like a weirdo... but then everyone recognised me so it was OK! Filofax-fanatics must be instantly recognisable!!
Here's everyone as I found them when I walked in!
Going clockwise: Christa, Imy, Tracy, Anja, Adam, Sharon (hidden), Steve and Anita!
I sat next to Anita, on the "excited" end of the table! The other end was quiet and subdued, not like us girlies at the other end!! We were all squeally and chatty, comparing filofaxes and being a bit over-the-top! 

We ordered food...
... and my Filofaxes went away as soon as I splashed a drop of vinegar in their direction :S

They came out again when the food disappeared, and we proceeded to build the obligatory filofax pile!

We tried to make it on the table, but soon it became a leaning tower of Filofaxes, so we built them up against the mirrored wall instead! It creates a lovely effect!
Standing up with Imy holding them :)

I measured the horizontal pile with my A5 page marker, they stretched out to about 94cm!

Then with Filofaxes safely packed away in our bags, we made our way through central London, Sharon shepherding us! Unfortunately Adam and Anja had to leave early, I didn't get a chance to speak to them :(
We saw lots of interesting things on the way, including sand sculptures on the beach of the Thames, a woman who looked like Lady Gaga, and most importantly for me, Cleopatra's Needle! 
We walked through Covent Garden, a place important for both my mum and dad separately- where my dad used to steal potatoes from the marker stall-holders' veg stalls to sell at his block of flats, and where, 20 years later, my mum used to eat her lunch on her lunch breaks!
Then we walked up Neal Street- very exciting of course! I didn't realise it was such a big street, it was teaming with shoppers! I was looking out for the Filofax shop the whole way, and then noticed something I recognised- the MAC shop! I remembered I had been here a few years before with my mum! I can't believe I had been so close to the Filofax shop before and never even noticed it! (this was before I was into filofaxes, though!)
Finally, we found it!!!

I didn't manage to take many good pictures of the inside of the shop, I was too excited!!
I spent ages looking at all the beautiful filofaxes and interesting inserts and accessories. I watched Imy and Tracy making their video, and having a debate over who should buy what colour bag!! We all flooded Dee with questions and sent her looking for obscure things, but she was very friendly and hospitable, I don't know how she does it! She even knows how to handle Imy ;b
When I was there I was looking for 1 thing- an A5 Ochre Malden. But... It wasn't on the display stand, and however had they looked, the staff couldn't find it in the stock room :( But that was kind of good, because epic-enabler Imy had about 99% persuaded me to buy it, and if I got my hands of it I would have found the other 1% and my bank account would have quickly been a lot emptier! So I guess it was good that they didn't have it!
But I felt very deflated, because I had been really looking forward to seeing it, and I didn't want to finish this fun day having bought nothing in the Filofax shop!! I looked around for something I wanted or needed, but bought... NOTHING!!! This happened before, when I went to the Conduit street shop in the summer. Then I was pleased with myself, but this time I was disappointed! What's wrong with me?! Steve says some people can get overwhelmed, and not buy anything. I'm ashamed to admit, I think that's what happened to me!!

So at 17:00 everyone made their way out of the shop, and we went our separate ways to our respective stations. I got home quite late, after a lovely day!! I have lots of photos and memories I will hold forever! I hope to go on another Philofaxy meet-up soon! And I'm really looking forward to the mini meet-up Imy's organising for December, in Bristol! Can't wait!!

Friday, 18 November 2011

Philofaxy trip preparation and Poll results!!

Tomorrow is the Philofaxy London meet-up! I'm so looking forward to it! I've got a bit to do to prepare for it this evening, mostly packing- lots and lots of Filofaxes! So thank you everyone for helping me to decide which filos to bring!
Here's the graph representing the votes for each filofax-
As you can see, the Cuban Zipped and the Raspberry Chameleon are the sure-fire winners! closely followed by the Teal Finchley, then by the Raspberry Finsbury and Personal Kendal :) I'm not surprised by the votes for the Cuban Zipped, because it is an interesting filofax, with it's 30mm rings and zip. I was surprised by how many votes the Chameleon received, because I thought it was a Filofax quite a few people owned, but it's a beautiful filo! The Teal Finchley is a gorgeous filo and quite unusual, so it would be nice for people to see it :) I was surprised by the votes for the Raspberry Finsbury, because it's quite a basic filo, I thought quite a few people owned one! The Kendal is a lovely filo :) The Finchley mini received quite a few votes, it's lovely too!

So it's time to decide which filofaxes to take to the meet-up! Unfortunately I can't take all of them!
Ochre personal Malden- my main filo
Red A5 Amazona- my uni work filo
Cuban zipped*
Raspberry Chameleon- has the rest of 2012 day per page planner in it
Teal Finchley* (I'm using it as my Happiness Project binder, but I haven't finished setting it up yet, so I'm going to empty it)
Mini Finchley- has notepaper in it for on-the-go notes, shopping lists etc (I don't use it much)
A5 vintage pink Malden- I think I am going to take this, but I haven't decided yet!
*Ones with a star are empty, basically I'm just bringing them for the binder itself

I'm not going to take some of them because I think people will already own them (e.g. the crimson Malden), or be able to see them in the shop. I wish I could take them all!

Soon after the meet-up, I will post a detailed description of the day with lots of photos! And I'm planning on making a video of the day too!

Monday, 14 November 2011

Filofax memories prize- Apex


A few weeks ago Filofax ran a competition to win a free filofax if you share a Filofax memory with them, through one of the filofax blogs. I won!! among lots of other philofaxers :)

The free filofax we won was an Apex. I wasn't too impressed, as I had been dreaming that Filofax would give us a choice of binders, and I was drooling over many of the more expensive, leather ones. Actually, people on twitter were joking about getting an Apex as the prize, it was like a threat! Well, Filofax didn't even give us a choice over colour and size!
Well, I'm not one to moan (much) over free stuff! So I'll just stop wingeing and be grateful!

Here is the Apex I got through the post about an hour ago:

Personal-sized, black with orange elastic. After I got over it not being pink (I did have my fingers crossed!), the first thing I thought was "that would be perfect for Matthew", my brother! His favourite colours are black and red, so this fits the bill almost perfectly! I'm going to give it to him as a Christmas present. He already has a planner for this academic year, but he can decide on how to use it, as the diary lasts until Dec 2012. I think most likely he will use it as a notebook because he uses a free promotional A6 pad from his library at the moment. I hope he will like this, and best thing- now I don't have to buy one of his presents!

Saturday, 12 November 2011

Poll :)

Hi again!

I have made a poll, on the side-bar of my blog :) Please help me by filling it in!

Next Saturday (19th Nov) is the Philofaxy London meet-up! Everyone brings lots of Filofaxes out on the table in the restaurant and has a good nosy at everyone's set-up! So I need to decide which Filos to bring!
I have a small wheely-suitcase which I am going to use to take my filos to London. Fortunately it has backpack straps, so I can wear it on my back when necessary. It is quite spacious, but I am possibly going to put other things in it too, so I need to organise what I'm taking!

I'm definitely going to bring the filos I am currently using, which are my main personal filo, my ochre personal Malden, and my uni planning filo, my A5 red Amazona! Both beautiful filos!

But what I want to know is which of the filos I'm not currently using you think I should bring. Basically, they are only good for looking at the binders themselves, because most of them only hold spare paper, they aren't interesting for their set-ups. So what I really want to know is, if you are, or would be if you could, coming to the meet-up, which filos would you like to see?

Thanks for voting!!

Filo problems...!

Woops! Sorry I haven't written in so long, it's very surprising how quickly time flies in the 4th quarter of the year!! Nearly Christmas!

So I have been drooling over the A5 Malden in ochre for the past week or so. I know what you are thinking, I already have an A5 Malden, but I just LOVE the colour of the ochre one, especially since I saw the photos of Kathiza's on her blog! I prefer the ochre to the vintage pink.
I would love it for planning, notes etc for my dissertation, and when the time comes, my PhD thesis, and in the future, professional research projects! The gorgeous brown leather just screams 'Professor' to me- old fashioned, office that looks more like a library, leather arm chair and tweed jacket with leather elbow pads!! I've always loved that! I'm a very visual person, and if I see something that screams 'Professor' to me, it will make me act more professional in my research projects! Well, I hope!!

I wanted to get it as my main Christmas present from my parents. But ever since my mum said "that's very expensive" re the A5 Malden, I have been rethinking it. It wasn't a logical reaction, I didn't think "yes, it is actually", it was a gut reaction- as soon as she said it, a seed of doubt grew in my belly. Suddenly I was full of thoughts- do I need another A5? will I really use this? have I thought it through?
I know that I have a LOT of filofaxes. My A5 Domino is sitting on my bookcase doing nothing! I could use that, but it isn't as pretty as the ochre Malden, and it definitely doesn't scream 'Professor'!! I don't want to use my Domino as my proper dissertation planner; although, I think I will use it as my on-the-go A5, e.g. if I need my dissertation planner on campus for a meeting or something, I will put my papers inside the Domino so my Malden (or whichever filo I use) doesn't get bashed about in my bag.
Really, I don't want another filofax. I think my obsession might be getting a bit over the top then! I certainly don't need another one when I have an A5 going unused. So what can I do? Sell one? I won't get my money back for it!

As I see it, I have 3 options:
1) I could buy the ochre Malden. But that means another A5 filo, which I think is just ridiculous!
2) Use something else, a filo I already have!
3) Something which would be my ideal situation, but I don't know if it will work out! I could take my A5 vintage pink Malden to the Philofaxy meet-up, and ask in the Filofax shop if I can exchange it for an empty ochre Malden. But I don't think this will work... I have to think about whether I am really going to try this!

As I said, I already have an A5 Malden, in vintage pink. I bought it from the Filofax website for myself as a present after I graduated. In it I have 2 diary inserts up to the end of 2011 (which have gone mostly unused); a section for time-management; a section for getting things done (although not GTD proper); a section for main projects; and the most important section, my fun section, where I have notes on blog posts to write, Filofax planning (ideas of what goes where, etc), lists of favourite TV programmes, books, films etc.
But I have opened this filo maybe twice since term started! I just don't focus on things like this when I am so busy with uni stuff. I do try to do time-management planning etc, but not as often as I would like, and not necessarily in here. I don't plan my blog that much any more (shock horror!!), and really I don't need to have a list of 'favourite TV programmes' to know what to watch!!
So, I'm thinking of emptying out my vintage pink Malden, and using it for my dissertation filofax instead. However, it's not the gorgeous ochre colour, and I don't know any vintage pink professors!!

So what do you guys think? Do you think I will be able to exchange my vintage pink Malden in the Neal Street shop next Saturday?

Wednesday, 2 November 2011

Do it with paperclips...

Recently I bought a Moleskine Peanut's pocket 2012 daily planner from Amazon. Don't worry, I'm not cheating on my Filofaxes! I used a daily Moleskine as my planner for the first few months of 2011 and it DIDN'T work!! Actually, I'm using it as a very fat notebook! I use a Moleskine knock-off as my ideas notebook- the first half is for uni assignment ideas etc, and the second part is general notes- ideas for birthday presents etc. But I wanted to use a different one for my dissertation notes. While this general uni notebook will probably last me until the end of January, when this semester finishes, and I will have new modules (so most of the stuff in this notebook will be finished with), I need to keep my dissertation notes with me until the end of September (when I finish my MA!), and probably during my PhD too, as this will be on a similar subject. So I decided to buy a separate notebook, and as I love Moleskines, I decided to buy a daily planner because it has 400 pages, over 200 more than the normal notebook.

But I wanted a cahier or a volant to go with it too, for list-making and to-dos. I tried to clip it into my Moleskine, at the back, but it created a big bulge and the cover wouldn't shut properly, and I was worried that it would damage the binding. So my mind instantly went to the Flex, but the pocket-sized one was too small for the pocket Moleskine, and the 'slim' one was, well, too slim, and wouldn't accommodate my fat planner! So after much thought, I decided that I could hack something together. The basic concept of the Flex is that it has slots that a notebook's covers can slip into, to hold the notebook, or in this case, multiple notebooks. I don't want to ruin the magic, but this is the concept behind every single notebook cover! The only difference is that the Flex is made for people to put multiple notebooks in, while other notebook covers are just designed for one book. But really, if you could slip the front cover of a notebook behind the left slot, and the back cover of another notebook behind the back slot, any notebook cover can be used to house two notebooks!

Unfortunately, there aren't many shops, or websites, in Britain where I can get a lovely, Moleskine-sized, notebook cover. I love the Renaissance Art ones, but the postage to the UK is ridiculous. So I decided I would just go to town and find my own! There's a lovely little shop here in Liverpool called Shared Earth, and I knew they sold a few leather notebook covers (with the notebooks inside, of course!), so between meetings today I popped down there. I saw a nice notebook cover, and it was quite cheap, so I bought it.

Isn't it lovely?

Unfortunately, the actual slots that are designed to hold the notebook in place are very shallow-
Ignore the paperclips for now

which means that it wouldn't hold my Moleskine and volant very securely. But I reckoned I could think of a solution!
All evening I have been thinking about this. I won't bore you with the details, but I went through many options, and none of them would realistically work. On the more simple side of the options, I thought of somehow securing the covers of my notebooks to the leather with bull-dog clips, but that just wouldn't work. The other thing in my stationary box are paperclips. Surely it couldn't work, they are little things, how could they hold anything that thick in place??

Well, I tried it, and it worked! I pushed the longer side of the clip under the Moleskine cover, and the shorter side over the leather, and it holds them both quite tightly together! I did this twice on each notebook, and it secures them very well!

I'm quite proud of my hack! It shows that sometimes the simplest tricks work the best! My next problem is fixing my pen in it somehow, I tried my Leuchtturm pen loop in it, and somehow I didn't like it. But I'm really happy of my dissertation's ideas book now has a snug home! Plus, it looks a bit like Indiana Jones' notebook, which makes my inner archaeologist happy :)

NB. Not so happy with the decoration on the cover of my Moleskine, though- after only 1 day's use, the white rubbery stuff that makes up Snoopy and Charlie on the cover is rubbing off. Very disappointed!

Sunday, 30 October 2011

The kindness of stationary addicts... Pilot Coleto Hi-Tec-C Lumio pen

Hi everyone!

I LOVE hacks for existing things... ideas for making things work better, be more practical, or just work for me. As you know, I tend to colour-code things in my filofaxes, but with only 1 pen loop in the normal filofax, I find it very difficult to do so on the move, because I don't have access to my pencil-case with all my coloured pens in it, which means I tend to just write things in black, or not write them in at all. So multi-pens are the perfect solution! I have a black-dark blue-red-dark green 4-colour multi-pen, and the fashion colours Bic pen (light pink, lilac, light green and turquoise), but these aren't necessarily the colours I use the most. What I would like to do is be able to customise the pen to hold the colours I need. I know I could do this by replacing the pen refills with a refill with the right ink colour in it, but that means that the colour of the button-thingy you push down to get the pen nib to come out won't match up.

As part of my regular procrastination sessions, I often go on stationary websites to drool over their products. One of the best pen websites is, which has a lot of amazing pens! On there I found a brilliant looking pen, called the Pilot Hi-Tec-C Coleto Lumio 4 Color (colour ;b) Gel Ink Multi Pen (pheww!!), which is a multi-pen that you can refill with individual refills of your own choice! That means you can choose any colour-combination you like, and even have a pencil refill, which is the best of all worlds, I think!
But unfortunately, jet pens don't deliver to the UK!

One day I was reading one of my favourite blogs, Filofax Fixation written by the lovely Terri, and she was blogging about the new pen she had bought, the Coleto! I commented that I would love one of these pens, but that I couldn't buy them anywhere. Then a little while later, I received an email from Terri saying she didn't really like the pen, and I could have it! I was so happy that she thought of me, and asked how much she wanted me to pay for it... and she said "nothing"! How kind! I think the Philofaxy community is so lovely, and every time I read comments on these blogs, I feel as though I am among friends, even though everyone is spread over the globe! I really can't believe someone would do something so nice, thank you so much, Terri!!

It arrived after a while (apparently Canadian post is rubbish!), and I was so excited I could barely contain myself! But I managed to take a picture of the package

The pen body, and the pack of refills, in their little duvets!

The two together

The pen body itself is made of a lovely smooth plastic, but is so sleek it kind of feels like metal. It is very stylish and would look very nice in a professional environment, as well as anywhere else!
It is quite easy to refill, although I had to watch a youtube video to learn how. You just flick up the little hatch at the top of the pen, and you can pull out/push in any refills you want to use. The refill pack that Terri also bought, and sent me with the actual pen, has 10 colours, so there are plenty to choose from and you can have any combination you like! At the moment, I have pink, red, green and purple- a combination you can't get in normal 4-colour pens! So it is very useful for people who use different colour pens at once! Now I can have all of those colours in my filo in just 1 pen body!
The pen itself writes in a VERY thin line, which is very different to what I am used to, but I will get used to it!
I'm thinking about buying a pencil refill for it, which I think would be the perfect solution to all my writing needs in my filofax! But that means I would need to take out one of the refills I already have in it. I think the only problem I have with pen is that you can only have 4 colours in it- I know this is ridiculous, but I would like more! But I'm dreaming... 

Thanks so much again, Terri!!

Saturday, 29 October 2011

Organisation of research projects

I strive for organisation. I don't always achieve it, but I always want it, because it makes life SO much easier! As you can tell, I do this a LOT in the way I plan my daily life- Filofaxes etc- but I also try to do it in my academic life. The major thing for me is organising research projects.

I have to do a lot of research projects, but until recently I hadn't formulated a logical structure for organising them. I had tried to do this a while ago, but this past week I've managed to perfect it! I'm so happy with myself! I have to say, the inspiration came from the method of organisation you use for filofaxes- dividers, with a place for everything, and everything in its place!
First came the realisation of how to organise my folder, then I put my mind to the actual process I should use to be organised in doing the actual research itself.

I have to say, before you start reading, this set-up is relevant for my course, Egyptology, and other evidence-based subjects, e.g. history etc (among others, although I can't think of any more specific ones). This may not work for you if you do a very different course which isn't evidence-based; but you may find some interesting tips in it anyway!

So first, I will explain the lay-out of my research folder, and then the process of researching for different types of research projects.

  • Divider 1 is 'Organisation'- the space for to-dos, list of questions to ask, etc. Subsection 1.2:
  • Divider 1.2 is 'Instructions, methods'- where I write instructions for my assignment, methods and techniques to use in it.
  • Divider 2 is 'Evidence- Dataset/Catalogue'- The most important section- where I will accumulate the evidence I will be using in my research assignment. I will explain why this is so important later. Subsections 2.1 and 2.2:
  • Divider 2.1 is 'Analysis of Evidence'- where I write notes on my analysis of the evidence behind divider 2 
  • Divider 2.2 is 'Interpretation of Evidence/Importance of Evidence'- After I have analysed the evidence, I will write up my interpretations of it here
  • Divider 3 is 'Research'- Where all my notes I make from my research go. Behind the main tab I have lists of books/articles to look at, keywords to search for in the Egyptology publications databases. Subsections 3.1 and 3.2:
  • Divider 3.1 is 'Basic/Background Research'
  • Divider 3.2 is 'Specific Research'. I will explain the distinction between these 2 in a minute
  • Divider 4 is 'Discussion points/Arguments'- I don't know if this is the proper term, but I mean the main topics I will be discussing in my essay; and the notes/evidence I will use to demonstrate/argue these points
  • Divider 5 is 'Plan'- for my essay plan, where everything comes together in an organised and structured way, before it gets written up into my drafts!
Each section has its own divider (cheap ones from Tesco, but pretty colours!), while each subsection is a divider, but I have cut the side-tab off and taped it to the top of the divider to create a top-tab! For quick access within the main section.

So, this folder is how I keep all my notes etc organised which I produce when carrying out the research procedures below. This is the essence to my whole system of organisation: the folder is important for keeping your papers organised in the specific sections, but you have to follow these procedures to be organised in your research to start with.
Different types of assignments require different procedures. The two types of research projects in Egyptology, and in other subjects, are as follows:
Question-based papers
Evidence-based papers
The distinction is as follows: in an evidence-based paper (whether this is an essay set for a student to do, or an article written by an academic), you start off with a specific piece of evidence or group of evidence (dataset) which you analyse and interpret, and it is this evidence which leads on to questions you can address in your research and your discussion. In a question-based paper, you start off with a question (or issue, or statement), and this question itself leads you to the topics you will address in your research and essay. That really is the difference: fundamentally, is your assignment based on a piece of evidence or not? Take these examples: (I'll give examples relating to the subject of History, because more people understand this than Egyptology!)

Did the policy of appeasement cause World War Two, or was the war inevitable?

To what extent did Chamberlain's 'Anglo-German Agreement' cause World War Two?

The distinction between these two questions is on the surface quite slight: both are about the same subject (appeasement), but the first is a question-based assignment- the question leads you to keywords and issues and ideas which you can use to find books, to research the subject, to write your assignment; but the second is an evidence-based assignment- it uses the 'Anglo-German Agreement', the piece of paper which Hitler signed, agreeing to not start a war, as the start of the whole research project, and then you answer the question based on your analysis of this major piece of everything. An evidence-based assignment starts off with evidence, while a question-based assignment finds it along the way. 
Why do you need to know which category your paper falls into? Because the different types of assignemtn uses different procedures. This are the best procedures I have developed for each type of assignment:

Evidence-based assignment:
  • Write down the instructions of your assignment, and make sure you understand them (Divider 1.2)
  • Collect (print out/photocopy) and file your evidence/dataset (Divider 2)
  • Review the evidence/dataset, so you know what sort of topics, issues you will be addressing, keywords to look up etc-->
  • Using keywords etc, make a starter bibliography (using whatever bibliographic database/catalogue is relevant for your course). (Divider 3)
  • Do basic/background research on the general subject and the piece of evidence/dataset in general using these books you have identified in your bibliography. (Divider 3.1). (This is different from specific research- basic/background research is to give you knowledge about the subject in general, so you know enough about the subject to interpret the evidence, and understand the arguments of scholars who have written about this subject).
  • Analyse your evidence/dataset (Divider 2.1)
  • and interpret it (Divider 2.2)
  • Use the background knowledge you have gained, and your interpretation of your piece of evidence/dataset, to develop the main discussion points/arguments you want to discuss in your paper. My lecturer says that an assignment between 2000 and 5000 words should only have 3 discussion points- she wants depth of argument and quality, not quantity (too many issues covered) that doesn't discuss them in enough depth or quantity. (Divider 4)
  • Then, do specific research on the piece of evidence/dataset, and your discussion points- specific research is what goes into your paper, whereas basic research just fills in the gaps in your brain! (Divider 3.2)
  • Write this into your plan (Divider 5)
  • And develop your arguments, by doing more research, and keep writing this up into your plan, and round and round again!
Question based-assignment:
This is somewhat easier because this is what undergraduate students are used to doing.
  • Write down the question (and instructions) and make sure you understand it/them (Divider 1.2)
  • Once you understand what your question is asking of you (you know keywords etc), use keywords to make your starter bibliography (using a database etc) (Divider 3)
  • Do basic/background research on the general subject from the books/articles in your starter bibliography (Divider 3.1)
  • Summarise the main themes/issues you have learned from your basic research
  • Start making your evidence/sources database (evidence you find along the way, that is important for answering your essay question- this is continuous, do it every time you find a piece of relevant evidence, whether in your basic or specific research) (Divider 2)
  • Then analyse and interpret this evidence, towards answering your question (Dividers 2.1 and 2.2)
  • Using your basic research, your summaries of the main themes/issues, and the patterns/interesting features you have found during your analysis/interpretation of the evidence/sources you have found, make the (3) discussion points/arguments you want to make in your essay (Divider 4)
  • Do specific research on your discussion points etc (Divider 3.2)
  • Write into your plan
  • Develop your discussion points etc

I hope all this makes sense! If you have any questions or want me to clarify anything, just ask me in the comments!

Have a great weekend :)

Friday, 28 October 2011

S&L filofax dividers!

Today I am going to review my lovely new filofax dividers!

As soon as I saw them on Imy's flikr, I fell in love with them! I traced them back to her blog, then followed the link that send me to the facebook page, where there were loads of pictures I could drool over!

I couldn't wait until they arrived, unfortunately I accidentally delivered them to the wrong address, so it was a bit longer before I could get my hands on them, but it was well worth it!
Here they are inside my Cuban zipped daily filofax!

First divider, for my 'Organisation' section. Lovely and flowery!!
Back of the first divider, with some post-its stuck on it ready for re-use!

I REALLY love polka-dots at the moment! My uni work section
Beautiful big colourful flowers!
Third divider, doesn't have a purpose yet!
Oops, a bit lop-sided!
My 'reference' section divider!
Spotty-dotty :D
And finally, my 'notes' section, with the beautiful big rose in the middle!

S&L also make today markers/rulers! I bought a set of these too! (2 in a pack!)

These dividers and today markers are gorgeous, I'm so happy with them!
They are covered with a plastic which means they are very durable, and they are double-sided, which means you can see 2 interesting patterns per divider when you turn the page! And most importantly, they are made by two Filofax-lovers, and that's what makes them really special!
I love Cath Kidston designed things! But S&L also have other designs, including Country Garden and Retro (see S&L's facebook page to see the photos), and they make them for pocket and mini size as well as personal!!

I love my new dividers!

Wednesday, 19 October 2011

Making it work for me...

I just did something unspeakable. I ripped pages out of my pocket Moleskine. OK, I didn't rip, I perforated them neatly with my cute little Xcut perforator and gently pulled them out. But still, some may say, a violation of the precious Moleskine.
But, this little Mole, or the system I was using, just wasn't working for me. It's a pocket ruled Moleskine, and I had it set up as a GTD notebook, according to a lot of the systems linked to on this website. First, I had an inbox for all of my to-dos, which contained a column down each page to write the context in; then a section for different contexts- @home, @campus, @mum etc, then a 'Project' section for anything more complicated than just a couple of to-dos, then a uni work section where I would list assignments, a 'Waiting for' section, and a section where there were post-it notes so I could write down ideas and then transfer them into the relevant place in my filofax. I thought this system would work for me because I needed a place for my non-urgent to-dos, and I was struggling to keep track of them in my filofax. They were behind a divider; and out of sight = out of mind. Also, I was struggling because instead of dumping these to-dos into an inbox and processing them later, I tried to work out their context then and there, which meant I spent longer trying to work out where they should go than it would have taken me to do them. So; my plan was to write all of my to-dos down in the inbox section of the Moleskine, and frequently process them into the right context, and then make myself achieve them. This sounded like such a perfect system, it would undoubtedly work for me; how could it not?!
I tried to make this work; I willed it, BEGGED it to work. But... even if the system is perfect in theory, there's always a hurdle. And that hurdle was me. The system called for me to process the to-dos. I did that occasionally, but not enough. And then even more importantly, it called for me to DO them. There are 2 problems here: my life is very busy; and I am very lazy. Very.
For the past couple of weeks I have walked around with 2 Moleskine/moleskinesque notebooks in my handbag (plus my filo in my hand, and my school notebooks in my backpack!). The first one was my GTD notebook; the second, my Blackwell's bookshop Moleskine-knock off, half the price and just as good! I needed this second one because I always have ideas for assignments as I walk around, and I couldn't write them in my Moleskine, because that was just for to-dos. A whole Moleskine, just for to-dos... that never get done. Today I realised I also need a place for my more general ideas as well as my uni ideas; Christmas presents, things to consider buying, horrendously incorrect maths equations etc... Besides buying ANOTHER notebook, I decided to commandeer half of my Blackwell's notebook as my general ideas notebook. Easy-peasy. But there was still a stinging resentment towards my GTD notebook, as it obviously wasn't working for me. A couple of days ago I considered whether I could tear the used sheets out and use the notebook separately, but thought against it; I don't want to destroy something I had paid a lot of money for.
But thinking about it tonight, I could quite easily use my Blackwell's notebook for all three things; uni work ideas, general ideas, and to-dos within each of them. I realised that I DO need something to act as a brain-dump for me, a place for me to dump my thoughts. There is something very beneficial to writing things down; even if I could remember that idea later, which I probably do with about 60% of my thoughts, sending the thought through your nerve-endings and muscles, out though your fingers, into a pen, and then out onto paper through the ink is VERY cathartic, and just helps me hold that thought better. Anything that wouldn't have been remembered anyway is duly captured in ink permanently, and can be accessed later. For me, nothing is better than pen, paper, and the act of writing.
But, you might say, won't you forget to process these ideas? Well, I don't think so; I like looking back through my filled-up pages, because I feel proud that I have filled them, and just by doing that I cross off things that I have already dealt with or are no longer relevant. Other things will get processed to their relevant place. Or, just by reading them over and over as I flick randomly through my notebook, they will find their way into my brain permanently, where I can recall them at will. This notebook may be, in essence, a brain dump, but it's also a brain re-filler. If that's a word.
So, I decided, I'm not going to let my GTD notebook sit there all forlorn, and me regret ever starting it on that doomed course. So I carefully took out the filled pages (there wasn't many of them). Now it's a tiny bit slimmer, but you can't really notice that pages are missing unless you open it up to where I've pulled them out. The page numbers I wrote in there when I first got it now don't match up; but I don't care. The beauty of my much cheaper Blackwell's notebook was that it wasn't an expensive notebook, so I didn't feel bad about filling it with my bumpy handwriting (I write as I walk through campus); but I always stopped and tried to write neatly in my Moleskine, and wait until the ink dried before I closed it, which was annoying. There's a freedom in being able to treat your notebook as you like. It works for me, not the other way around. When I start using my Moleskine as my next notebook, I will scribble in it as I like. Because I can.
And if (when) this is successful, I'm going to treat myself to Leuchtturm 1917's pink notebook. A nice incentive!

Just to finish with, this picture made me laugh :)

Saturday, 15 October 2011

Time Management for university with 3 Filofaxes! Part 1

This might be a very in depth post, but I'll try to keep things simple :) First I will show you the set-up of each filo, and then I will discuss how I use them for time management in Part 2.

I know what you're thinking, 3 Filofaxes?? Well, yes, and I think it will really work for me!

My primary filofax is my personal filo. This changes between my personal-sized crimson Malden, ochre Malden and raspberry Chameleon as I feel like it. I spent a lot time setting this up, but now I think I have developed it into the set-up that really works for me. The fact that it hasn't changed in the last couple of months really tells me it's quite good for me!
Hello, Kitty!!

The set-up:
My weekly rota. This might change, as I might be getting a regular shift rota at work, and I think I will take Thursday nights off instead of Sundays from now on.
My uni timetable
MO2P diary, but I'm not really using it.
DPP planner. This is what I mostly use this filo for; each page is divided in half, so I have my appointments on the left and my to-dos/notes etc on the right. I have DPP until the end of term, and then I have...
WO2P until September 2012 (the end of my MA). This is for future planning for dates I don't have DPP in here for (which are stored in one of the personal filos I'm not currently using).
Then I have a couple of sections that don't really have a purpose at the moment, but I can't think of anything else I need in here!
The next section is for notes, this just has random things I think of and have to write down, and spare paper for more notes.
Then I have my finance section. I use this filo as my wallet when I take it out with me, so keeping my finance in here is handy. Specifically, I have:
Shopping list
Regular food shopping list, just to refer to when I go to Tesco and can't think of what I need
A chart where I record what money my mum has sent me, out of the loan she got me for my MA/1st year of PhD.
And then money I want my mum to transfer, to pay back what I have spent out of my own account for uni stuff
Something that's really important for me: a list of who owes me what money. I often buy things on behalf of people, and need to keep track of how much they owe me and for what.
Then I have my reference section:
My mum's working times
A list of things I have to consider taking with me when I go out on a daily basis. The first things are the most important: keys, glasses, money and cards, phone, Filofax, ipod!
A list of term dates 2011-2012
4 sheets of addresses: family; friends; work; and Egyptology!
Then at the back I have a notepad.

So this filo is for my diary (agenda) and for things I need when I'm out and about.

I knew I needed a separate planner for my university work, as it wouldn't fit into my personal. It's A5, which is the perfect size for this planning :) I'm using my gorgeous A5 red Amazona for this!
It has evolved quite naturally, and so I think it is going to work well for me. I made lots of inserts myself for this filo, which is the beauty of the A5 size!

First I have my list of work to do, on inserts I made myself. I have these sheets at the front of my filo so they are the first thing I see when I open my filo. I need to keep this list at the front of my mind.
A chart where I fill in how many hours I've worked for each module each day, to make sure I work hard enough each week.
A list of library books I have borrowed, and when they are due back, but I keep forgetting to update it because it's hidden behind other sheets. I might make a specific 'Library' section.
Then I have my dodo-acad pad. I didn't realise when I bought it that it had the same design on each page as the 2011 dodo-pad, which I already have. But oh well, it was cheap, and will last me until the end of my MA! I'll talk more about how I use it in a minute.
My WO2P columned appointments diary. I'm not really using this that much because I mostly use my DPP planner for this, but it's useful for a week's overview.
Then I have dividers for each module I have. In each section I have details about the module, info and planning for assignments, to-dos for that module, some notes from talking to lecturers etc. I DON'T put actual notes for assignments/lecture notes etc in here, I write so much it just wouldn't fit!

This filo has to stay at home now. For about 2 weeks I took it to uni with me and used every day, but the corners of my gorgeous Amazona started getting scuffed, and also it was heavy to carry around with me all the time. So instead, I have my new Filo:-

There's a LOT of red going on!!
My personal-sized Chilli red Cuban Zipped! I did a post about this filo earlier and I have spent all day setting it up, and I'm ready to tell you all about it! The set-up may seem strange at first, but read the time management post and hopefully it will make sense!

First up, I have a transparent fly-leaf. I'm using this to stop my first sheet in my filo being damaged by the cards I have opposite, which I think could dent it.
The first section I have is my 'Today' section. I'm not going to explain this here, but in the Time Management post, as that would make more sense with my explanation of my time management situation now.
Then I have my log book. I have such a bad memory, I really need somewhere to write things down. I find it really hard to recall things when people ask me when something happened, so this will help me as I can look back through the events of the previous days.
A to-do sheet for ASAP things; although this relies on me actually looking at regularly!!
Then I have my first divider: Uni work. This section is a mini-version of my Amazona, and basically will have a copy of my list of uni work to do, and information about assignments to refer to in the library/in class.
The next section is my 'organisation' section. This isn't fully developed yet, but has a couple of bits in it:
Library stuff- books to get, Interlibrary loan books, books borrowed and when they're due back.
Then I have lots of to-do sheets, which came with the filo.
Next I will have a section which is for fact-sheets about ancient Egypt, things I will frequently need to refer to or always forget, or I'm trying to learn.
Then I have the post-it note insert which came with the filo. This serves as a divider between my 'uni' half of my filo, and the general section of my filo.
I have a WO2P diary until October 2012 to note down any dates I find out when I'm away from my proper DPP diary.
Then I have a notes/lists section, including finance stuff I will add to my proper finance section in my other filo later.
My reference section comes next, a copy of what I have in the same place in my personal filo.
Then some spare paper,
and a notepad in the back!

In the next post, I will discuss how I use them both separately and together for time management.

Hope everyone's having a lovely weekend!

Friday, 14 October 2011

Cuban Zipped personal Filofax :D

I just received my new filofax through the post! I'm really surprised it arrived so soon so am really happy!

On Wednesday, I went onto flikr to see if anything interesting had happened. I saw a picture of a Cuban Zipped on Aspiretobe's photos, and saw some features of this filo that would work out really well for my current life. The last few days, it's been horrible weather, and I've had to keep my daily filo in my backpack around campus to stop it getting rained on. The zipped feature of the Cuban would prevent that issue, as it would protect my papers. I searched the philofaxy flikr pool for more pictures and found many fantastic features of this filo- 2! elasticated! pen loops!, vertical card slots (which I prefer to horizontal), a nice red colour, 30mm rings!!, a secretarial pocket (really handy) which could double as a notepad pocket :-) There are a few features which I might find annoying, such as the fact that it doesn't lay flat out of the box, but Aspiretobe's photo's comment gave me hope that it would eventually lay flat!

So I bought it on Wednesday on ebay (£40) and it was dispatched yesterday. I thought it would take another few days to arrive, and ebay estimated it would arrive 20th-24th October. Well just 30 minutes ago I heard a bang at the door and it arrived!! No, not on it's own with a tiny Filofax-brand suitcase, but wrapped up in packaging in the hands of the postman! I had to contain my excitement to sort out the other letters he gave me, but soon I took it out of the packaging. Sorry, I didn't take any pictures of that, I was too excited!

The first thing I noticed was that it had a few dents and scratches :( The front has a mild dent, the back has a few scratches, and the pen loops and the leather near them have dents where the pens' metal thingy that you can hold it to your shirt pocket (I really can't remember the name!!) has scratched. It's not too bad I guess, because it's the only one out of my collection that really has to work for me. It stops me having to be too precious about it like I am with my others. It has to withstand all weathers, being stuffed absolutely full, being shoved in the bottom of my bag. This is a worker-fax. The purpose: help me stay 100% organised TODAY at university. Not forward planning, not even for tomorrow; my DPP diary in my Malden will do that. This is for the organisation of today (which, by the way, is ironic, seeing as how I have barely got out of bed today ;b ).

It came with some really exciting contents, which almost makes up for the scratches. The first thing is a set of Jan-Dec dividers! Very cool! Don't really know whether I'll use them in here or in my personal Malden, though, and there's always the problem that Filofax diaries are IMPOSSIBLE to separate the months!! because they are printed back-to-back *grumble grumble*
Then comes a brown today ruler, I like the brown as it is a softer colour than the black ruler.
Some normal dividers.
LOTS of to-do sheets!
Some blue and lilac notepaper (a few sheets of each), and LOADS of pink paper :D
Lots of address sheets (unfortunately I don't use these...)
Alphabet dividers.
A world map
A card-pocket insert
A clear flyleaf
And a filofax post-it insert!! I've never had one of these before, and it looks unused, so it's very exciting!!

After everything the previous owner left in it, it looks like she must have just given up on filofax, even after buying some extras (the to-dos, pink paper (too many for the normal basic contents), and the post-it insert). How could anyone just give up on their filo like that??? I guess she doesn't care for them as much as us, looking at how she must have treated it, given all the scratches (my filofaxes are my babies, though ;b )

I'm really looking forward to setting it up, especially with those 30mm rings!!!