Thursday, 30 June 2011


I'm off to London today for a grand total of 7 and a half hours!! and I will make sure I visit BOTH the Filofax shops! I will post about the adventures of my day with pictures tomorrow :)

Tuesday, 28 June 2011

My security blanket

I think my filofax, my main daily one (my Malden personal, which I will review soon) is always with me. I usually carry it in my hand, as when I am on campus I have a huge backpack full of books, and I don't want it to get damaged inside my bag. During term-time, I need it with me all the time because I am always so busy, there is always something to write in it.
But during the holidays, I barely need to write anything in it, except for a couple of to-dos per day (I'm not very busy!). Why do I still  carry it with me? Now that I think about it, I barely open it! I usually leave it in my room when I am at home, but when I go out shopping I carry it with me, I put it in my handbag, but that is a problem because my handbag is getting heavy! Do I really NEED it with me when I go shopping? What do I actually use it for when I am out? My shopping/chore list. That's it! So do I need it with me? No! That is what I bought my mini Finchley for! But I think I don't want to leave it at home because there is always the "what if?" situation. What if I need to write something down? What if I need to check something in my diary, or look at something in my reference lists? It's heavy, it's bulky, it takes up half of the space inside my bag! I can write any notes in my Finchley and transfer them later. I could even use my brain to try to remember diary things etc!! But... I feel like I can't be without it!! It's my security blanket!!

Sunday, 26 June 2011

My MA Dissertation planner and Microsoft OneNote :)


Today I am going to detail my MA Dissertation planner :). I have waited for a few weeks since I set up my planner to write this, because I didn't know if it was 100% set up, but since I haven't changed it in the last few weeks I think it will work for me :). I'm also going t o talk about how I'm using Microsoft OneNote in conjunction with it to plan my MA Dissertation!

I'm not the best person at planning research projects. I can have all the best intentions, but when it comes down to it, I either have hundreds of pieces of paper floating about my room, or little snippets of information in my rather disorganised brain. I HAVE TO make an effort to be organised for the most important research project of my life so far, my Master's Dissertation! This is why I have set up my MA Dissertation planner!

It is in a beautiful raspberry A5 Finsbury filofax :) I spent a few weeks researching which would be the best Filofax for me. I knew it had to be A5, there was no way I could feasibly write so much in anything smaller. The Finsbury was on my short list, mainly because it had 30mm rings. It's pretty packed already, so I don't think 25mm rings would have done at all! My other possibilities were the A5 Chameleon, or the Malden, but I'm happy with the Finsbury (although it does have some damage to it, I'll talk about this in my review in a couple of weeks).

I haven't really used it that much in the last few weeks since setting it up. Therefore, it is a bit plain- it's not 'lived-in' yet. I'm sure as I use it almost daily from September onwards, it will acquire slips of paper and trinkets etc! So far, in the inner side of the cover, I only have some pink and blue Avery tabs. I'll try to fill the rest of the pockets in with lovely cute things :)
In the envelope on the inside I have a cute card from my mum, an index card with my Dissertation title on it, and my thesis-cat picture :)

The first tabbed section is 'Progress'. In here I write what I have done so far to keep track of my progress, any deadlines I have to meet, and agenda pages etc. I also have to-dos. I use some pink and purple plain card (A4 cut in half with Avery top-tabs) to divide this up. It adds a bit more colour to it :)
Then I have my 'Plan' section. I really like this section. I basically have 1 sheet of A5 paper per section of my Dissertation, giving a plan of what that section includes. I add another piece of paper as the plan for that section expands. I can move it around and add to it as necessary; this is why I like this section and prefer using a ringed planner to a bound one :) It's kind of like a computer on paper, as I can add and move things as I need!
Then I have a section called 'Lists'. This is basically a catch-all section where anything in list-form gets filed. It doesn't need to be too structured, as during the day I would think "where is the X list" I would know instantly it is in the list section! It doesn't need to be too structured because then it would get too complicated.  The main lists I have in here are lists of abbreviations of journals I need to remember, a reference list of primary evidence I am using, that sort of thing. I use the 'address' pages that came with the Filofax for this, because I definitely do not have enough addresses to ever need to use them! They are quite good for lists as they are divided into columns, and have that nice box at the top where you can label the whole list.
Then I have my 'Ideas' section. This is just a section where I write down any quick things I need to research etc. This isn't a proper section, I just need somewhere wherever I am to capture these ideas or else I'll forget them. I have a pocket notebook for this too when I am out and about. Ultimately this section will get typed up into my MA notes word document. I have to remember this is NOT the place to write notes for my dissertation- if I did that the Filofax would either be 2 feet thick (quite literally) or I would need about 20 filos! My computer is the place for proper notes. This filofax is a PLANNER. I PLAN things in it! I have got to keep reminding myself of that!!
My next section is 'Meetings', for the notes of my meetings with my dissertation supervisor. This is a good section, and one I need to keep available when I'm sitting down working, because my dissertation supervisor gives me really good ideas of things to look up and I need to keep referring back to it. I will take my Filofax to dissertation meetings, so it is good that I have access to these notes for reference purposes.
Then I have a 'Techniques' section, which is a list of techniques, methods I need to remember when I am researching and writing, e.g. "Lead with the evidence..."
Then I have the A-Z section. I use this as a glossary: summaries of articles and books I have read and am going to use; summaries of primary evidence and its importance. This is a really good section as if I have something in my mind that I am trying to remember, all I need to do is quickly refer to the right letter in the back of my Filo and it's there for me to read!

My filofax and Microsoft OneNote!
Last night I remembered I had OneNote on my computer and realised how useful it could be for using with my Filofaxes! This is because I can make the same tabs, sections and sub-sections on my computer as I can in my Filofax! I can even colour-code!
I have created a OneNote notebook to match my MA Dissertation planner! This is great because I am not going to be able to take my Filofax with me to uni every day. On an average day, I have up to 5 heavy books in my bag, and I really can't fit an A5 filofax in it, let alone 2 because I'm also going to have an A5 filo for other MA things! In February I bought a netbook in order to have all my documents with me and the ability to sit down and write some of my MA or other essays if I have a (rare) 5 minute break between lectures and meetings. This way, I have everything in a very small netbook instead of countless notebooks! And this includes my MA Dissertation planner, as a OneNote document instead of in my heavy Filofax! I will bring my filofax to uni on some days, specifically those days when I have dissertation meetings but not much else, or days when I'm spending the whole day in the library only doing MA research.

I would love to take my MA Dissertation planner to uni everyday, but I will have to settle for being able to see it sitting pretty on my shelf every day!

Thursday, 23 June 2011

Filofax review #1- Finchley mini


This is the first in my series of Filofax reviews I am going to do over the next couple of weeks. I will review what they look like aesthetically, including any imperfections of my own ones, how useful they are as binders in their own right with their different features and advantages and disadvantages, and other things (that I haven't thought of yet). Then when I have reviewed them all I will do a long post about how I use each one (because hopefully by then I will have perfected each one!)

So my first review is on my Finchley mini in Caramel. Really I should do my Finsbury personal in Raspberry first (as it was the first one I bought), but it's in Liverpool and I'm in Plymouth so that's a problem!!

Finchley, who I call Penny, was the second Filofax I actually bought, but I think the third one I actually received because of a problem with the post. I bought her from ebay for about £16 I think, which was a very good deal because a lot of other Finchley minis on ebay were going for a lot more, and they are £64 on the Filofax website! It's a caramel colour, which I went to look for on the filofax website and found that it had actually been discontinued, I was quite excited to get a filofax that no-one could buy any more! I promptly snapped her up and typed my address in for her to get sent to me... oops! I put my Liverpool address but my Plymouth post-code! For a couple of weeks I waited tentatively for her to arrive in the post! I thought she had been lost and almost gave up on her! But then thankfully she arrived, with a nice note on the envelope "try Liverpool" instead of Plymouth! I'm so glad the Royal Mail worked for once!!

When I unwrapped the package I loved the leather, it's so soft and lovely. The colour is quite orange in reality but that's fine, I love any variation of brown. One thing I noticed was that the leather on the top where the wallet (full-length) pocket is, is quite grainy and seems quite damaged on the left corner. It also smells quite chemical-like, not the lovely leather smell, and I wondered for a long time if this was actually a Second. But a few weeks ago I had the opportunity in WH Smith to smell another Finchley, and that smelled the same, so I guess it is just something unique to certain Finchleys!

I think it is a lovely size. It is perfect for little bits of information like shopping lists, this is mainly what I use it for! The size of the paper isn't too bad, I'm small myself so it doesn't seem that small to me. It is a bit of a problem when I get to the bottom of the page but I'm not bothered if my hand writing gets untidy on shopping lists!
I like the clasp as it is quite long and sturdy, unlike the Kendal strap I think.
As I said, the leather feel is lovely. The 2 card slots on the inside are perfect for me for when I go shopping as I only really use my debit card and carry my student card.
The rings are 13mm in diameter. You can fit a surprising amount of paper/inserts/refills in there, I have 2 packs of WH Smith pink lined mini paper and a WH Smith week-on-2 pages diary and they fit in there very well!
I like the zipped section on the back as it is made of mesh instead of leather so I can see what I'm looking to fish out of there! It's not a very big section but I mainly keep coins in my pocket so this is great for some emergency coins and other bits and bobs!
The full-width wallet-pocket is good but I don't really use it, I think if I did I would forget I had cash in there because I am used to keeping it in my pocket! Yes I am one of those girls who walks around with bulging jeans pockets!

I use Penny for quick shopping lists, mainly Tesco ones. Tesco is 5 minutes from my house in Liverpool so I don't need to go through the fuss of bringing everything there, all I need is keys, my glasses and Penny with my debit card in! I am trying to wean myself off my main filofax for trips like this and Penny is a good substitute! I have plenty of notepaper in here, which is of course perfect for making shopping lists, and I can also write other things in here. Walking to the shops is often a time when good ideas for my uni work pop into   my brain and I write them down in here then transfer them later! I also have a list of "Lovely Shops in Liverpool", and a "Things for other Filos" list if I think of something important while I'm away from my other filofaxes. I write it down in here with a tag of which filofax and which section it belongs to, and transfer that later e.g. "Malden: stuff to look up: ..." I have solved the problem of writing on the back of the notepaper, specifically with my shopping lists (because the leather on the left side of the Finchley is bumpy and difficult to write over) by turning it upside-down so the holes are still on the left and the paper is still on the right where it is easy to write. I bought a mini week-on-2 pages diary for Penny which I now regret because I realise I can't really handle more than 1 diary at a time. But it is useful for quick things like writing down times etc if I am taking Penny out with me instead of my main filo, e.g. "film starts 6:30", but next year I won't buy her a new diary. Maybe I'll buy her some more pretty notepaper instead!

Monday, 20 June 2011

Ancient Egypt books!


Here I'm going to recommend some Egyptology books for people interested in starting to learn about ancient Egypt!

These books are for adults, children will find it hard to understand them sometimes because of the academic language.
They are the basic text-books any new Egyptology/Egyptian Archaeology student needs to read, and are also very good for amateur Egyptologists or people who are generally interested in ancient Egypt!

Egyptian history: The Oxford History of Ancient Egypt. This is a brilliant book, with chapters written by excellent scholars, each on a particular period of Egyptian history. It was the main book used as the basis for our Egyptian History in university. So it is a brilliant book for both Egyptology students and interested amateurs!

Egyptian monuments, architecture, and archaeology: An Introduction to the Archaeology of Ancient Egypt. This is a very good book, which tells very interesting information about specific sites and monuments which are key to the study of ancient Egypt, and ties in with Egyptian history and society etc.

Hieroglyphs: (that is, Middle Egyptian) How to Read Egyptian Hieroglyphs This is an excellent book to teach amateurs (and I do mean amateurs) how to read some hieroglyphs. I'm going to write a separate review of this book because there is just so much to talk about. But just for starters, if you want to learn hieroglyphs and have never learnt any of it before, definitely have a go at this book!

A narrative pulling together aspects of Egyptian history, society, architecture etc: Anatomy of a Civilization This is very good as it makes all the separate topics of ancient Egypt tie in together to try to recreate ancient Egypt on the whole.

Daily life: Village Life in Ancient Egypt This is a book of translations of many of the texts found at the famous village of Deir el-Medina (the village where the workmen who built the kings' tombs in the Valley of the Kings lived). It is very good, very funny at times and extremely interesting and insightful. It is starting to get more and more expensive, so if you want to read it and find a cheap copy (under £20), snap it up! You can always sell it for a lot more later!

I could recommend a lot more, but for now that is a good start. It covers many of the most important areas of Egyptology- history, archaeology, monuments, society, hieroglyphs etc, and is a brilliant starter for anyone starting in the Egyptology business, or interested amateurs. Some of these books can be bought very cheaply and are well worth a read! Anybody who is starting off on an Egyptology course will probably need to buy the first 4, they will be on your reading list and highly sought-after in the library, and even if they aren't on your reading list, if you read them you will be ahead of the class!

Happy reading!

Funny graph! (I know, seems a bit idiomatic!)

I thought I'd share this with you!

Tuesday, 14 June 2011

Mysterious planner!

I was digging through my notebooks at home (I have lots!!) and I discovered this planner I forgot about for a year and a half! It is a non-filofax ringed planner and I vaguely remember buying it from a car boot sale a couple of years ago and then going to WH Smith to find a diary insert for it. Looking through it is fascinating! It shows just how far my brain has come in organisation since then!
I couldn't remember what type of diary insert I had bought for it back in 2009, and now I look inside the planner I see it was a WH Smith brand week on two pages unlined academic insert. This is particularly interesting to see as it is the type of diary I definitely can't use now, it just doesn't work for me! I think maybe I just didn't have the kind of commitments then that I have had in the last year.
Looking through the diary I can see I used it to record important tasks and deadlines during my work experience in a museum during August, but I really didn't have much to do then so on average I only had 4 entries every week! Then it got a lot busier as I got ready to go back to university. During term-time I noted my lecture times and appointments; it's interesting to see how I laid this out in comparison to this year. I didn't write them in order, I didn't colour-code; there was no structure to it. I think the reason I could cope with this at that point was because my life was relatively un-complicated, and when I had an appointment I could remember it in my brain more easily and my planner was only a reference diary. Now, I have so much to do on certain days with shifts at work, appointments and meetings, lectures, and of course general to-dos and university homework, I just can't keep organised. I NEED a more structured and larger space in which to write in- hence I use a page-a-day insert now.
I stopped using my planner at the end of term 1, and the only entries I have from January onwards are forward planning events I probably wrote months before. I can't remember the precise reason I stopped using it; it was probably that I didn't NEED it so it just dropped out of my mind. And I can't remember what I used instead of this planner. I think I may have used the calendar on my old phone. Now, or at least during year 3 of uni, I had a MUCH busier life and needed a better planner. I am very glad I have had the day-to-a-page insert for the end of my university degree; however I will be changing this system as I have far fewer appointments during the summer, and then changing it again during my MA. I'll do a post on this soon.
For now, I'm just glad a found a new filofax-style binder I can use! I'll be writing reviews of all my planners soon so I'll do a nice review of this one soon :)

Wednesday, 8 June 2011

Filofax hack #2


All credit goes Angela who runs the paper rush blog! I was browsing (stalking) her blog, and came across this photo
Do you see the post-it notes stuck to the Today page marker? What a brilliant way to move to-dos week to week! Use those quick index flags, e.g. (I really like the look of this set) and stick them on the ruler! If they get in the way of your week view, just move the ruler. And once you've finished them, take them off. Thanks to Angela!
I'll be trying this once I switch to week-to-view for the summer!

Friday, 3 June 2011


I can't believe I have finished my undergraduate degree!!! Arghh!! It really hasn't sunk in yet! I had my last exam yesterday and will be receiving my results in a few weeks then graduating on 20th July!!
And yes, I did schedule "Collapse" into my filofax after my last exam :) I spent a lazy few hours in bed on the internet and watching TV, went to a friend's house and had lots of fun, and then went home and slept! That's all I wanted to do, so brilliant to actually have some time to do stuff!
So I suppose this should be my first proper post about being a student, seeing as how I'm the 'Perpetual Student' (and haven't written anything about my Life as a PS yet!!)

I study (or studied?) Egyptian Archaeology BA Hons at the University of Liverpool :)
I love it here, it's brilliant, I never want to leave!
We have a relatively small class of students, maybe 15 (tiny compared to some courses like Medicine, which has hundreds doing the same course in the same year!). We are divided into 2 separate courses, Egyptology and Egyptian Archaeology. The difference is that the Egyptologists are primarily dealing with textual evidence, that is reading the ancient Egyptian languages of Old Egyptian, Middle Egyptian, Late Egyptian and Coptic, otherwise known as "hieroglyphs" (although hieroglyphs is a script not a language). They translate a lot of primary texts; whereas Egyptian Archaeologists deal with the more archaeological side of things, also doing more general stuff like the archaeology and history of the Ancient Near East/Western Asia, and Middle Egyptian (thankfully far less language work than the Egyptologists!)
I originally did Egyptology, but when I realised how much language work I would need to do I switched to Egyptian Archaeology as I'm not brilliant at language and text-based things.
I LOVE my course, I wouldn't swap it for the world!
We have studied the history of ancient Egypt, Middle Egyptian, the archaeology of ancient Egypt including monumental evidence and settlement archaeology, foreign relations between Egypt and other countries, the technology of ancient Egypt, ancient Egyptian religion and death and the afterlife :) I've also had to do other things like archaeology in general, studying Bronze and Iron Age Levant, and Ancient Warfare. I didn't enjoy those latter ones because I am definitely an Egypt-only girl!
Each module usually has a 2500-3000 word essay and an exam, but some modules especially Middle Egyptian have lots of work to do throughout the term (translating texts) and some are 100% coursework based so no exam :)
I love my course so much, and I am just about to apply to do my exam, actually I'm going to the library today to research and write the proposal! I'm a bit late to apply, but I have had so much work to do this last term that I haven't actually had time to do the research! But I am aiming to have the whole application form finished by Sunday night, and then I'll spend the whole of the next week packing to move back home!
During the summer I have lots of things planned to do, and unfortunately it looks like my employer won't need me to work during the summer :( So I'll do lots of work towards my MA instead!
I'm going to be setting up an MA planner filofax :) I just bought a raspberry Finsbury A5 filo from ebay :) very cheap, but it's slightly damaged, for example the rings don't close properly at the bottom :( But I'll cope! I'm looking forward to setting it up and using it :)

Wednesday, 1 June 2011

Filofax updates...

I really haven't been keeping up with my poor little blog! I've been really busy the last couple of months, but it's my last (ever!) exam tomorrow and after that I'll have plenty of time... well, after I've done research in the library, applied for MA and then packed up and moved everything into my new house and moved back home!

I can't remember where I left it last time so I'll give a quick run-through of my filofax story over the last couple of months:

After I bought my raspberry Finsbury personal, I bought a mini Finchley in caramel from ebay, very cheap, almost got lost in the post. I got bitten by the filofax-bug and couldn't stop buying more, and I still can't! Bought my A5 red Domino, filled it with DodoPad diary, didn't touch it after day 1! Bought pocket Malden in crimson, didn't actually use it properly, it's still sitting forlorn on my desk :( Bought a personal and pocket Kendal together on ebay, used the personal for a month or so, but too masculine for me (I'll do a detailed review of it soon), might give the personal or pocket to my brother for his birthday. Asked for the ochre Malden in personal for my birthday :D and had to buy it from the American website pens and leather because I can't find it in England. After a bit of fuss it arrived a couple of weeks AFTER my birthday and I haven't even seen it yet!! :S can't wait to get home!! While waiting for that, I decided I must invest in city organiser's deal on the gorgeous crimson Malden in PERSONAL this time :) and I LOVE it! It arrived so quickly, very impressed. LOVE it!
Then, DISASTER! Small scratch in the top right hand corner of my lovely new Malden! Don't know how it got there... covered it up with friend's sparkly red nail varnish... looked then like a sparkly scratch.
Oh well, that doesn't matter any more because DISASTER DISASTER!!! I did something VERY stupid!!
My filofaxes usually never leave my hand, I carry it (whichever I'm using, currently crimson personal Malden [I've fallen behind on naming them!]) rather than putting it in my bag. But on Monday, trying to be efficient and taking my ALL my library books back in one go in my little Paddington bear suitcase, with my phone to my ear in one hand and the suitcase handle in the other, I thought "I'll put filo in a canvas bag and hang it over the handle of my suitcase..." NOT a good idea!! Why I didn't put it over my shoulder I DON'T know! It wasn't even heavy! So I'm walking along with my phone to my ear and my canvas bag swings round the side of my suitcase and scrapes under the wheels. Oops. Holding my breath to see what has happened to my beautiful filo... give it a quick look over, phew! nothing has happened. Obviously I haven't looked hard enough... when I got my filo out to put back into my trusty filofax holder, namely my hand (safest place for it) I find a HUGE!! scratch in the top-right hand corner! Same corner as before only now 3 times the size! OK, maybe it's only 1 cm long and about 4 wide at the widest, but it got through all the layers of leather down to the middle (cardboard?) bit!

Quick google "repair filofax", "leather fixers" etc, email Steve at Philofaxy for help, cry inside... decide to go out first thing to find the leather fixers I have found online. Not at the address listed... phone them up, they've closed. Ahh.
Quick walk down to city centre, to Timpsons, "can you repair this?" rude answer, basically no, try nail varnish! Lo and behold, next door is a make-up shop! £1 later, a bottle of nail varnish in my hand, I had painted the corner of my filo in! Almost exactly the same colour (I can see the difference but that's only because I'm aware of it, I don't know if others would be able to spot the difference) and my beautiful filo is almost good as new! PHEW!!

Latest quest, I'm looking for an A5 :) Maybe the new Aston in orchid? Hmm, graduation present? Heehee!!