Saturday, 29 September 2012


My friend Jamie died on 2nd June 2010 in Cumbria. His life was taken away from him at the age of 23. He was happy, he had made a life for himself. Decent job, fiancée, a nice place to live.
I heard the news when I was visiting my sister after work that day. Her boyfriend was Jamie's best friend, he'd received a phone call from one of Jamie's many best friends. I had to leave at that point, and with the guilt of not seeing Jamie since I was about 17. We, my sister, her boyfriend and our friends, all used to hang out together in the city, buying alcohol underage, going to rock gigs, living life as teens should. I can't remember a dull moment with these people, and that's one of the many things that I miss.
Jamie's funeral came round. At first, I was uninvited. His fiancée organised it and I assume I was simply forgotten. I had decided in my own mind anyway that I would mourn in my own way, as I always had, and say goodbye in my own time, on my own.
A week or so passed and my sister expressed her disagreement with my method of mourning. She told me I would regret not going to Jamie's funeral, I expressed that I wasn't invited.
Somehow I was eventually persuaded to turn up, although I was never officially invited, it felt incredibly awkward and I wanted to run from it. I was also advised that I should come alone. I knew most people there, but sat away from them next to my mum. I felt isolated.
Mum tried to hug me while we sat in the service, I pulled away. This upset her, it upset me, I felt very alone, and as you do feel when saying goodbye to all the memories of somebody you used to smile and be happy with, the pain in my heart was too much to bear. I struggled to breathe, trying to cry quietly so as to not annoy anyone.
The question has always come back to me, why I was never invited. I feel like I was forgotten because I wasn't part of the most recent group of friends. His fiancée had only met me a few times. Maybe she disliked me, but I find it hard to understand why anyone thinks that is a good reason to disallow someone from saying goodbye, to force them away and rob them of that chance.
I had to tell one of my best friends over the phone the day it happened. She tried to stop believing it over the phone, I couldn't say the words without disbelieving it myself. She said she would call me back, the phone line went dead, and I didn't hear from her until the day of the funeral.
I saw her a few weeks ago in the pub, I assume she had been there a few hours already as she did that thing a lot of drunk people do, spoke loudly and slurry and turned emotionally revealed.
She apologised for never phoning me back that day. I told her not to be so silly, there was no need to apologise. There was nothing I could have said, had she phoned back, that could have made the situation, or the pain, any better. None of us would sleep that night.
After two years of thinking back, remembering, I wish I knew Jamie towards the end. But I'm so glad the memories I have of him are all good. Everyone is smiling, the colours so vibrant you wouldn't imagine, the real memories of life as we used to cherish it will stay with me for as long as I am alive.
So the fact that I was uninvited makes me a little bitter even now, I was glad I had the chance to say goodbye, but what right does someone else have to uninvite you?

Wednesday, 26 September 2012

Review: Maudiemade inserts

My little package of joy from Maudiemade came this morning, and I'm very impressed! Not only with the lovely packaging and care, and attention to detail, but also the lovely little handwritten note!

The quality of the paper used for these inserts is lovely, and the dark purple pages are just beautiful. Not too dark to write on either! Almost too nice to use!

Tuesday, 25 September 2012

Planning Ahead: 2013 Journal

I have been considering getting myself a journal for next year.

When I was in my teens (I'm now 23), I used to buy an A5 journal for every year from WHSmith, day per page. There was lots of room to write my thoughts, things that happened that day, and if I had nothing in particular to say I'd either scrawl some random ramblings on the page, sketch a strange piece of art or write a poem or song. I used to find it really calming to write before I went to bed, and now a few years later it's interesting to look back and read what happened in my life. It's strange how we forget those little moments that make us who we are.

This is why I think it's important that I keep a journal next year. I'm sure it won't be half as exciting or as high or scary a rollercoaster as my teen years (mainly due to the fact that after many years of hard work I'm actually in a stable, loving relationship with someone who cares more about me than himself), but it will be inspiring, and that's part of my life that I'm definitely missing.

I definitely need a day per page, and probably A5 size again, although little A6 diaries are easy to carry if I travel anywhere and may need to write. I like the innocence of a blank white page so it will probably be quite a basic diary. I don't like too much going on on the page before I get to it - like Dodopad diaries, all the colours and writing already on the page are great but not really what I'm looking for.

Paperchase diaries are brilliant in that the designs and colours are inspiring, but one thing I find SO unbelievably irritating is most of their day to page diaries have time slots printed down the side. Hard to believe but I'm sure some of you will agree with me, even this could possibly mean I buy this journal, use it for a week and throw it on the bookshelf, the rest of the year unwritten.

I wouldn't say price is not an issue, I do have a limited budget, in fact I usually ask for a journal for Christmas as it is a useful gift. But, I don't mind spending that little extra money on something that is exactly what I'm looking for, and is a little different and creative. Good quality paper is always a bonus also, as I will definitely be writing on both sides of the page.

I also like to stick things in my diary, like concert tickets, photos, dried flowers, that kind of thing, so there shouldn't be a closure on the journal. I don't mind that, by December, the spine is giving way and screaming at me, 'please will you just stop cramming me with all this life crap'.

Here are a couple I have found that I really love... I'll explain the love for dark and brooding now before the questions flood in... I used to be a goth between the ages of about 17 and 20. I really loved gothic romantic paintings like Ophelia (left), and my favourite poem was How Do I Love Thee? Let Me Count the Ways by Elizabeth Barrett Browning. I loved deep red roses, wine, the beauty of gothic stuff generally. I wrote my own poetry, sang my own songs about unrequited love... but my bedroom was painted lime green and pink...

These three beauties are from Paperblanks. I love the rich colours, and the elegant look to them. Quite fancy and dramatic, but I like that.
Downside... sodding time slots on the pages again! Should I just get over it?

I like this leather journal below in a beautiful aqua colour from Cavallini & Co, but there is no picture on their website of the inside. I suspect they are just blank pages, which makes me lose my way somewhat. I do own a date stamp though, so although time consuming, this might not be an issue.
(afterthought... just found a picture of the inside and guess what... time slots :,(...)

Then I looked at Moleskines... same issue with the time slots... By now you've probably closed this blog as you're fed up of me whining about time slots, I'm sorry.

Now, to my last resort for tonight, quite frankly losing my rag about the whole time slot thing, and chilli con carne is ready soon =) Enter Paperchase...

Ahh this is pretty, I love butterflies. And... no time slots! Just a decent page of lined paper waiting for my fluttering ramblings. Not sure about the beige cover though... It is very pretty though... this could be the one! And a bargain at only £9 =)

Hope you enjoyed this post, if there is anyone who got to the end of it without saying 'seriously woman, give the time slots a rest.'

Monday, 24 September 2012


I just ordered a pack of squares paper inserts from maudiemade on Etsy! My first Etsy purchase so will be good to see how they turn out. I got the pink and purple set to match the colour of my Finsbury.

Link to the web page

Thursday, 20 September 2012

Boycotting Filofax: What are your options?

I've just read the letter David Popely has written to Helena Bloomer of SlamPR. It seems many Filofax fans are outraged, for want of a better word, at the way Filofax organisers have been labelled as a 'fashion' item. I have to say I strongly agree.

So with this in mind, I entered the beautiful world of Paperchase organisers. They have added some new designs since I last looked, and it's very tempting to click the Add to Basket button, but I think a few more weeks consideration are needed...

Paperchase have released some very cute and very pretty Filofax alternatives, this one shown above is their Spring Scene mini organiser. Very cheerful, quite youthful so maybe not everyone's cup of tea. This organiser is 145mm x 115mm x 30mm so it's not a standard Filofax size, it would take some testing to find out which size Filofax refills fit in these organisers.

Among their other designs are a very cutesy orange owl organiser with pink guts, and a cute little keyring of an owl. Owls are very 'in' at the moment, aren't they?!
If you're not a fan of a brightly coloured tweet, well, here's something a little more discreet... This organiser reminds me of the canvas style ones Filofax produce but the pattern is a little more quirky. It's called Stop Watching and is a canvas mini organiser.

 Some really smart embossed patterns too, I'm a fan of all of these... There are 21 different Paperchase organisers in total, so there really is something for everyone. Unfortunately never having owned one of these myself I'm not sure what the quality is like, but as these are all much more affordable than any Filofax, it won't break the bank finding out.

Paperchase also supply their own range of inserts, which are cheaper than Filofax ones, and are just as good, if not better quality than the Filofax brand ones:

Standard 2013 organiser refill is only £5.00 (WO2P) compared to Filofax £7.50. I have this insert for 2012 and it works very well, the paper is lined so you can write your tasks neatly, and it's easier to read.

Not only do you get the diary pages for the whole year, you also get a set of 6 dividers, to-do lists, timetables, and a selection of lined and plain paper inserts.
These will all fit in any Filofax personal size organiser. They also do their own to-do list paper, lined paper, plained paper etc. for you to purchase for your organiser. All of their organisers have a large pocket at the back which is open at the top and on the inner side, and four card slots for credit cards or business cards.

Click HERE to see the full range of Paperchase organisers!

For those of you who want to move away from a 'file of facts', there are some great planners out there that can be used instead.
A great website I found is KTwo Products. They have a variety of planners for different things, including recipe files, wedding planners, childhood memories books, etc.
The one shown here is the Busy Life Diary 2013, which has two schedules side by side, one for home, and one for work life. Also, I got a bit excited when I saw the matching sticky notes...

A similar alternative to the Busy Life Diary is from Boxhouse; a Life Book diary. It spans over 18 months so you can keep all those important dates for next year safe where they belong. If you're someone who plans ahead this has got to be useful! It's A5 with a hardback cover, has a week-to-view layout, space for shopping lists, menu planning, to-do lists, and includes themed stickers for those events you don't want to forget. You can also choose whether you want to add a pen loop. They also do a Family Life Book to keep the whole bunch organised!

And if you're looking for something a little more luxurious, look no further than Kate Spade. Unfortunately they only ship within the US but if you have a friend who is willing to accept your delivery and post it on to you, you shouldn't have a problem. This mustard leather is not everyone's cup of tea, but some people just like horrible tea =)

So, happy browsing, hope this has been an inspiring read. And if you're really not convinced, I've just stumbled across WH Smith's uber sale on Filofaxes =)

Saturday, 15 September 2012

Inside My Filofax Finsbury

I have been reading the Philofaxy website religiously for a few weeks now, I find it so interesting to know what other people put in their Filofaxes and how they use them. It's an excellent blog with a very friendly community.

Although one thing you don't see enough of, is Filofaxes that are owned by creative people, who have lots of hobbies and have to customise everything they own! I am one of those people. I am a freelance interior designer, and my hobbies are scrapbooking, cardmaking, song writing, playing guitar and generally being an organisational freak. So you can understand why, when I got a Personal Finsbury in raspberry last year, I grew tired of it very quickly. This was because, apart from its' beautiful deep pink cover, it just wasn't 'me'.

So... after a few months of playing around with different ideas in my head, this is the (almost) finished project. Throughout you'll see I've used a lot of coloured paper but I had this in my stock and am just trying to use it up before I go on to cotton cream or white.

So enjoy, and I'd love to hear your comments!

About my Filofax Finsbury
As mentioned above, I bought her September 2011 and haven't used her much. It makes me a bit sad that the colour is wearing off on the front right corner, and would love to get a purple Malden, but they seem very rare. It means I'm not too scared to throw her in my handbag each morning! It's a personal size by the way, I have tried using a pocket Domino but it was just too small, and as I like to carry mine around with me, I thought A5 would be too bulky and heavy.
Organising Your SectionsThe first thing I did was create a list of all the different sections I would need, and the items I would include in these sections. This took a while, but was definitely worth it. It also helps you see how much you will have in your Filofax, and makes you think... do I really need that??

Section Tabs
I made some custom tabs on MS Word by using an image of an ornate label stamp, cropped it in half and resized them so they were the same size as the tabs on the standard Filofax dividers. I did try supergluing them to my dividers but they were quite delicate, so I staped them on and they don't look too bad. I laminated them as well, to make them more sturdy. The tabs are printed on turquoise scrapbooking cardstock from Basic Grey, which I love the colour of.  

Custom Dividers
I wanted colourful dividers, and I have loads of scrapbook papers and wallpaper samples I used. They were quite time consuming to make but look quite effective. I used one of the standard personal paper pages to trace round onto the back of the papers, cut them to size, hole punched the edges and stapled on the tabs. (I did all this without the use of a Filofax hole punch, as long as you have patience you can save a bit of money! Just take the back off your hole punch, use a piece of personal paper, draw on the holes and you can see where to punch!) I then laminated the dividers with the roll of sticky backed plastic you can buy in Wilko.

First Stop: Inspiration

At the front of my Filo I use the card holders to hold my sticky notes. Then I have a pocket transparent flyleaf which holds a picture of me and my boyfriend, and on the other side a picture of a tattoo I designed about 8 years ago but have never had done...

Section 1 - Diary
My first section is obviously the one which is most used, my Diary.  I love the yellow and turquoise paper, very cheery! I have the year to view page at the front so I can see at a glance my paydays etc., then I work on a week to two pages layout which I've found works very well, apart from the tiny spaces for the weekend! These inserts are from Paperchase. I much prefer using lined inserts as they keep my pages neater. I use the standard black ruler to mark my weeks. I onyl have up to December 2012 in here, any important dates I need to remember next year go on my sticky note at the back of the diary section.

Section 2 - Money
Pretty self-explanatory really, I HAVE to keep track of my finances as we have lots of outgoings each month and I tend to panic if I don't plan how much I have. We manage our money by working out how much is outgoing and incoming, calculating what we have left for food and spending money, and divide that by the number of weeks in the month. Friday is top-up day where we get our weekly allowance, so it's like a mini payday! 

At the front of this section I have a transparent flyleaf pocket for receipts that I need to remember to write down on my spending list, and behind that I have the list of our utility bills and how much they are each month.

I use squared paper and the headings are: date, tick box for 'yes this has been paid for', description, credit, debit, and remaining balance. Simples! Definite payments are in blue and additional spending is in black. Using a Frixion pen is brilliant in this section if I make a mistake or miscalculation, or if something unplanned comes up.

Section 3 - Notes

 Anything I need to jot down quickly goes in this section, and I can then move the pages into other sections if needed. I often have little ideas or thoughts that pop into my head so it's handy having a miscellaneous section where I can dump my brain!
Picture on the right is the other side of the tab, such beautiful paper with a Midsummer Nights Dream words printed onto it.

Section 4 - Useful

This section might not make sense to a lot of people, surely everything in your Filo is useful!! In here I have the front page of the Filofax diary you get where you can register your Filo, my personal details, and useful contact details in our town e.g post office, police station, and their opening times. For this info I use the address pages, it keeps it nice and tidy. I have tried printing my own inserts but it's too time consuming and I'm too impatient!

Section 5 - Bills

This section houses all the contact details for our utility companies. Sure, you can find this on the internet, but what if your electricity cuts out and your laptop has run out of battery, or it's your internet that is broken and you need a contact number to solve the issue? Enter Filo. Also in this section I have plain notepaper where I write down any phone conversations or emails I've received and sent from various suppliers.

 Section 6 - Contacts

More address pages with my personal contacts, not really in any order as I don't have that many. The divider is made from a wallpaper sample from Harlequin, just beautiful :)

Section 7 - Home

Home is very important to me. We moved into our own place a few months ago and some of this info came in very useful. I've got a list of local contacts in there on address paper for carpet cleaners, plumbers etc. in case of emergency,  a cleaning timetable so I make sure I keep on top of my chores, and furniture measurements for our main furniture items. I also put our moving schedule in here ready for moving day. The divider is from an advert in a magazine, the same colour scheme as our living room, plum and lime!

Section 8 - Crafts
I'm very into my crafty things, so I've got a section for all my little notes and ideas. I also always come across little papers and things on the internet that I can't afford at the time but want to purchase at a later date, so I have a wishlist in this section. I also have plain paper for sketches, and lined paper for notes and ideas. 

Section 9 - Freelance

At the moment this section is kind of a work in progress, I'm reading a book at the moment on how to set yourself up as a full time freelancer, so I'm taking notes in this section and making a list of things I need to research. Also in this section, I write down any potential projects and keep a list of invoices.

Section 10 - To-do

I LOVE LISTS. I have to write myself to-do lists because I'm actually very forgetful, so this is just a section with lined paper so I can jot down any things I need to do of a day, that don't go in my diary section. Rather than using expensive inserts I just use what I have at the moment, and it works perfectly fine! The divider is another beautiful soft wallpaper sample from Harlequin's Gardenia range. Nice and calming before you turn over and see all the things you have to do!

Section 11 - Music

 I record my songs at home using a track recorder but often if I move the recorder around the settings get lost. So in this section I've got a little diagram showing the settings which work the best for my recorder and my amp. Also I've got a list of music to discover on Spotify, and a wishlist.
Section 12 - Travel

We don't really go anywhere or do anything, but we're thinking about it...! So I've got a packing list and in this section I'll write any ideas we've found online for holiday destinations or hotels we'd like to stay at. The divider has an old map on which I thought was quite appropriate. (no ****....)

 Section 13 - Work

I use the year planner that came with my Paperchase diary insert to record month end at work, and any annual leave we have both booked throughout the year. It's a good layout as you can see everything at a glance. Also if we have to change our annual leave for any reason I can just rub it out! Ah Frixion, you're awesome.

Section 14 - Car

In this section I have my local MOT test centre details and opening times, also a record of my MOTs and how much it cost me, also my insurance details and emergency contact numbers are in this section in case I break down, have an accident, etc. I also have a maintenance checklist so I know when I need to check the oil, etc.

Section 15 - Food

Food rules in our house. My boyfriend is an excellent cook, and I'm an average baker but I really enjoy it. In this section, addresses and opening times for the restaurants we love,  meal plans for the week, and because we eat too much food I've got the weight watchers points system in there, too. The divider is a picture of teacups. I have a slight obsession with tea, I've got thirty different kinds... :D

Section 16 - Health

I'm trying to keep myself healthier these days, so I'd like to track my weight. I've not started yet, but I will. I promise... In this section I've got my doctor, dentist and optician details, and log of appointments I attended and what was wrong with me. 

Section 17 - Special Dates

As I am forgetful, I have a list of birthdays throughout the year. I also write in my main diary when to buy and send birthday cards to these people so I make sure their card arrives on time. I also have a list of gift ideas for the people I will buy presents for, and a Christmas card list.

Section 18 - Social 

Tweet! This is my social section, where I keep all my login details, blogs I like to read, and any ideas I have for blog posts.  

At the back of my Filo, I have some of my business cards, and an empty pocket flyleaf for... something...!

I hope you enjoyed my first Filofax blog post, and haven't fallen asleep yet...