My new Filofax – Part 2!

So the Metropol went back to the Filofax factory for a bit of a re-fit. Having had a feel of it, I decided I wasn’t much of a fan of the PU cover. Clearly I went the wrong way in having gone from a gorgeous leather Chameleon down to the most basic of binders, but it just felt a bit cheap. I ummed and aaahed over splashing out on a Finsbury, and then had some crazy credit-card bending thoughts of an Osterley, but in the end the bank account won and I ordered another non-leather binder. 

Slimline also seemed a no-go for me – it was just a downsize too far! This time, it was all about the compact. The tab closure makes me feel far more comfortable about throwing it in my handbag as well! 

So, what did I get? 

 

An aqua Saffiano! I’d been a bit dismissive of these when they first came out, but after much trawling through websites I found it was growing on me. The textured cover – it’s kind of rough cross-hatching – gives it a bit of character and a nice feel, and the aqua colour isn’t quite as bright as it could be. 

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Next to my Chameleon, there’s not much in the depth overall, even though the ring size difference is pretty big – 15mm vs 23mm! There’s some space saved on the width as with the slimline, and the pen sits nicely outside the pages within the closure tab. There’s a smidgen less height too. I think the main difference is in how much you can stuff it – the tab on the personal is much longer than the compact one. 

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I was too excited to move in to take pictures of it empty, but there’s a flap pocket on the left, with two card holder slots, and a vertical pocket on the right. It comes with 1-6 coloured dividers, a 2014 Wo2P diary, and a whole variety of to-do/contacts/lined/squared/plain paper. 

 

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The one negative is that it’s still not perfect. The rings are neatly aligned with no gaps, but the buttons to open them are rattly. But I don’t have time (or immediate funds) for a third filofax delivery in the space of a week, so rattly ring tabs it is. 

Update: This has been in my drafts box for yonks. The ring tabs still rattle, but it’s not an issue – the rings are perfect *touch wood* and it’s being well used! I’ll post soon to show how I’m using it in 2014…

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A new Filofax… maybe.

As much as I love my personal Chameleon, I decided it was time for a change. It’s a bit chunky and I don’t really need everything I’m carting around in it, so I figured downsizing was the way to go. I ordered a slimline Metropol in the Filofax autumn sale, and was so excited for it to arrive! 

 

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Eee! 

 

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Oh. I’m fairly sure PU/ pleather isn’t supposed to look like that. There’s no actual indentation in it, just a weird scratch-like mark. Oh well… Function first, right? 

 

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Maybe not. That was after opening and closing the rings once. And with only 11mm rings, that’s a huge percentage of ring space that’s actually a gap. 

Let’s look on the bright side though. I got a slimline to test out…. 

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It’s definitely so much slimmer than the personal. And narrower too – I never realised how much space the rings actually take up in a personal, and the curve of them means there tends to be a big space between the edge of the page and the edge of the binder. No such wasting of space in the slimline! 

Those rings are teeny! That’s the 2014 WO1P and 2013 WO2P inserts you can see there – they came with the organiser. I was pretty keen to try out WO1P, but in the five language variety that seems standard with all Filo organisers there was literally a single line available for me to write on per day. 

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Inside, there’s four vertical card slots, and a neat filofax monogrammed print. 

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The back cover is a single vertical pocket – I was looking forward to slotting a thin notebook (probably a Muji passport book!!) in there. 

I’m sure you can guess that with those ring issues and the cover damage I was never going to keep it. Thank goodness for free returns! And the lovely ladies at Filofax customer services kept an eye out for my replacement order and refunded me the cost of express delivery so that I could have a replacement in my hands just one working day later – not sure this is standard practice, but I’m moving to a place where I can’t get post in a week’s time, so it was pretty urgent! 

I’ll show you what I got in the Metropol’s place in another post…. 

Packing for a weekend away

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I’m off to London for the weekend to meet up with the boyfriend and some friends for a bit of an adventure! This means a short hop with Easyjet and their joyful baggage restrictions… So I thought I’d show you my carry-on bag and it’s contents.

As you all know, cabin liquid limits are 10 items, 100ml or less, in a clear plastic bag. I have no idea how some bloggers spent the summer promoting plastic bags with designs on, I’m sure I’ve seen them be binned at airports… Either way, my bag is a John Frieda one that came with a mini shampoo, conditioner, and hairspray. They’re long gone now, but the bag lives on! It’s sturdy enough to survive the dozen or so flights a year that I do at the moment.

These are my ten items… (I took the pictures and then changed my mind slightly, sorry! The Clarins toner is staying home and my Collection concealer and LOreal foundation are going in its place.)

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From left to right: toothpaste, contact lens solution & case, Original Source mint shower gel (decanted), Rituals shampoo & conditioner (taken from the last hotel I stayed in!), Garnier Moisture Match, Clarins Daily Energising Cleanser, and LOreal micellar solution (decanted).

Seeing as I’m only away for two nights, I’ve tried to limit the size of each item, but I’ve done a week on cabin size stuff quite easily before. The easiest and cheapest way to do this is to decant what you have, rather than buying travel size bottles of each product. Boots sell 50ml and 100ml bottles for just over £1 each, in a variety of screw cap/ squeezy/ spray types. I’m using a spray bottle for micellar solution and, if I didn’t have hotel miniatures, my shampoo and conditioner would be in 50ml screw cap bottles. I usually add coloured washi tape to each bottle so I don’t get them muddled up.

I have cheated slightly on the 10 items restriction; there’s perfume at my boyfriend’s house that I can pick up on the way from the airport to our little holiday place, but if I didn’t have that option I’d go for a dry perfume stick like this.

I always see loads of people try to put their entire make up collection in the toiletries bag, but it really is just liquids – my test is that if I can tip the open container upside down and nothing oozes out, it’s not a liquid, so mascara and lip balm are both going in my handbag. I’m not certain that airport security agrees with me, but they’ve not challenged it yet!

What do you take away with you for short trips? Any tips for packing super light?

My fave handbag – Aldo Ullum

I seem to be getting quite a few hits from people google-searching for this bag, so thought I’d do a post about it! I bought my Ullum a month back as a gift to myself for finals, and it’s every bit as awesome as I’d hoped. Aldo (not Aldi, as some of my friends keep getting it confused for!) do great bags and this is the second one of theirs that I’ve bought – I also have their Giannitti striped satchel.

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The colour really doesn’t show up well in this photo, but it’s a lovely apple green, bright without being overly garish. It’s definitely the right shade for summer but I’ll be taking it right into autumn to brighten up my outfits.

 At the back you’ll see two poppers where the ‘belt’ of it ends – these are real poppers, so if you need the top of your bag to widen to fit something big in, you can undo these to expand it.

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The padlock at the front sadly isn’t real, but on the up side it’s very lightweight compare to how it looks! Who actually wants a real padlock on their handbag anyway? I tend to think zips are quite enough faff without adding keys and whatnot… It’s a nice feature and I love that there’s a little coloured band on it that matches the rest of the bag.

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Inside… Three compartments. That middle one is massive – throw in a change of clothes, your make up bag, lunch, an umbrella… it just seems to absorb stuff, you can pile things in and from the outside it could still look almost empty. It’s because the base is almost 20cm wide. This means it’s perfect for weekends away, as it’s just under Easyjet’s new minimalist cabin baggage limit of 50x40x20cm, being about 40x40x20cm. Aside from travelling, these dimensions mean it can take textbooks or files with ease. There’s no zip on this main bit, but there’s a magnetic popper on the inside to hold it closed.

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The front and back compartments are full depth and zip shut. I usually put my filofax in one of them to keep it separate from the rest of my things, and any papers I’m carrying in the other, as it keeps them flat. Papers in the middle compartment tend to slip down across that wide base and get a bit dog-eared.

This super storage bag has even more hiding places though, as in the main compartment there’s a little zipped pocket on the back ‘wall’, and facing that is a pair of pockets for phone/keys/pens. There really is no excuse not to be organised with this bag!

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Any downsides? Well, a cream interior was never going to last long with me, so it’s gained a few pen marks already and I have no doubt it’ll be covered in ink by the time I’m done with it. It can get pretty heavy – if you carry it in the crook of your arm you’ll definitely feel it, but just consider it a cheat workout for your arms! Last but not least – it’s not leather. I’ve got one corner that’s scuffed already (I think it brushed against a wall whilst I was walking) and with the base not having any ‘feet’ like many bags of this style do, I’m concerned that the bottom corners are only going to get increasingly scruffy.

Overall I absolutely adore this bag though. It’s going to take me from hospital placement straight to the airport and not look out of place in a bar either.

If green isn’t your thing, the Ullum is also available in a very stylish black, taupe, and ‘snowy’, which is white. I’ve also seen a red one, but that doesn’t seem to be on the Aldo website. Black, taupe and green are all £50, but the snowy one is currently in the sale for only £29.99!

What’s your favourite handbag?

Oxford Campus notebooks

Somehow I came home for summer with no notebooks. This is totally out of character for me as I usually have at least a couple of spares to hand! It meant a quick trip to the stationery aisle of Sainsburys during the weekly shop, and I came away with these lovely A4 Oxford Campus notebooks – and they were on BOGOF!

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I was in a bit of a rush, so I just grabbed the first two notebooks off the shelf, and am pretty pleased with the ones I got – a vibrant but not fluorescent pink, and a deep black. Both have glossy card covers that mean the notebooks bend a little but not excessively. They have identical designs on the front, with a line about the paper quality blah blah blah, but I love the lion crest! Especially on the pink one, it looks really cute but smart.

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Inside is a personal page for your contact details. Fairly standard, but there’s also a space for little doodles or notes – such a nice idea! Just having a separate page at the start for details really sets these Oxford notebooks above others that simply give you a wirebound pad of paper. These would be perfect for school or college.

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A slight hint that these might actually be designed for students is the space to fill in your timetable, on the back of the personal details page. As an aside – I totally envy people who actually have a fixed timetable; mine varies every week! I’m using these notebooks to study a little over summer though, so I’m going to use the six rows to plan my study schedule for the holiday weeks. It’s nice that it includes weekends in the timetable too.

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Above you can see the seriously awesome paper that everyone raves about – this is quality paper! Crisp, white, already perforated and punched to pull out and file away, with a pink margin (this isn’t exclusive to the pink notebook, they’ve all got it) for neatness. You get 140 sheets per notebook, which makes them around a centimetre thick – not too bulky, but enough paper to keep going for a while.

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The reason people adore this paper? 90gsm, thick enough to write on in proper ink without show-through, bleeding or feathering. The notes above are in gel ink (I don’t own a fountain pen to test this stuff out with!) that usually has pretty bad issues with show through on normal paper. I’ve written on both sides of that sheet, and you can barely see a hint of a shadow of the text on the other side. Brilliant.

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And a little bonus… Buy any three A4 or A5 promo Oxford Campus notebooks before October, and you can send off for a free superhero/stuntwoman t-shirt! I’m definitely doing this – bagsy that superhero shirt!

I seriously love these notebooks, think you could officially call me an Oxford Campus convert! It’s been pointed out to me that while the Sainsbury’s BOGOF deal is good (I got these two for around £3), Amazon tend to have multipacks of 5 or so of these notebooks for even less money per notebook (though not right now, rather inconveniently).

Are these notebooks your stationery superhero? Or is there something even better out there in the paper stakes? Let me know in the comments!

A little bit of Muji love

I seem to be able to credit the blogging world for everything I buy at the moment! My first Muji purchase was entirely down to reading about the gel pens on Paperlovestory – they seemed ideal for writing in my filofax and a slightly more grown-up and stylish version of the glittery, smelly gel pens I had as a teenager. So when I happened across the Muji store in Birmingham whilst on a whistle-stop trip cross-country for a meeting, I had to pop in and feed my growing addiction.

Having already got the purple and black 0.5mm pens, I went for a bigger range of colours. I’d been planning on getting the multipack of 12 pens, but there seemed to be a disproportionate number of pink shades in there, so I opted for buying individual pens in a bit of rainbow!

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Black, purple, green, pink, blue & red!

I just love the frosted barrel, colour-coordinated tip and mostly incomprehensible Japanese labels! The inks are brilliantly pigmented colours and really accurately matched to the pen tops, so you always know what it’ll look like before you hit the page.

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Colour testing

Excuse my awful scrawly handwriting in the picture above – you can tell I’m not far off qualifying as a doctor now! The paper shown is my other little Muji addiction: passport notebooks. I’ve written about this stationery gem before, when I showed you how I used one tucked into the front of my Filofax as a to-do list book. This time I opted to stock up on the navy blue rather than the dark red.

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Muji passport notebooks

It’s the middle of summer for me right now, so I’m using these less as to-do lists and more just as a handy jotter to have in the pocket of my filo for notes. It means I don’t have one-off phone numbers or figures clogging up my filo pages, and I’m also using it as a record of what I spend this month so it’s useful to have such a tiny book for these things. At just 24 pages, it really is super slim.

ImageAs you can see, they’re pretty flexible, but without being overly soft and prone to damage. I’d be happy chucking one in the bottom of my handbag by itself, but it fits so perfectly in the secretarial flap of my personal Filo that it’s not going anywhere else!

So, that was what I got from Muji recently. I’m slightly gutted that I didn’t spot this fantastic desk tidy in store though!

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London desk tidy from Muji – how adorable?!

Have you been stationery shopping recently? Bought anything awesome?

Planning nirvana, maybe?

Since my last post, I’ve been looking at other peoples’ ways of organising their task lists, from using daily and weekly planners side by side, monthly planners, uncalendars… I was getting a bit overwhelmed by how many ways there are to plan your life!

As an aside, in my search I came across loads of people using Moleskines, and then stumbled on the Evernote/Moleskine crossover – I’m intrigued. And for only £14 with free delivery, I might even give this a try in the new academic year. Watch this space!

Back to this planning business. I was going through old Plannerisms posts and came across this post which referenced ‘Getting Sh*t Done’. Now that sounds like my kind of strategy, so I found the original idea on Bill Westerman’s site. It’s really simple, and it looks like it could work really well!

So here’s the plan. I have my Master List, which is just my original To-Do list, now removed from my diary pages and behind its own Filofax tab.

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Master list

Then my daily list is in a little Muji notebook that’s the size of a passport. As per the GSD guidelines, this is a completely randomly ordered list of stuff I need to do today, and can feasibly do. No more million-item lists. Just specific tasks that are clear how I can achieve them – not just “build my CAL package”, but “write a topic list for my CAL package”, then once that’s complete I can put the next step to reaching the overall goal onto tomorrow’s list. The idea is that you put a dot in the box to prioritise a task, and once you’ve done it, tick it off and put dots in the next few tasks to do.

Tomorrow, anything I didn’t get done will have a diagonal slash through it and get moved onto the new daily list, so there’s only ever one list to deal with (with reference to the master list to see if anything from there can be achieved that day).

The number in the right corner is how many days it is til I see my boyfriend; sad, I know, but I like seeing the numbers go down as the end of term gets closer!

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The notebook tucks into the front pocket of my Filofax perfectly! This means I can carry it around with me to refer to or add things.

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My Muji passport book tucked into the secretarial flap of my Filo

It’s only a 90-page notebook, but given that I only really need to be able to see today and yesterday at any one time, I don’t need an entire year’s capacity with me. Any bigger and it would push against the rings or make my binder really bulky, so it’s perfect! I think I might go for the navy version next time though, the dark red almost blends with the red of my Filofax but it’s just a shade or two darker. Navy would be a nice contrast.

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Muji book inside my Filo, not adding any width

The best bit about it being tucked into the front pocket is that it falls open when I open the Filofax, so I can tuck all the previous pages into the pocket and get it to always open on today for easy reference. And no, my Filofax doesn’t lay flat! It has one ever-s0-slightly dodgy ring (like nanometres out of alignment) so I’m being really careful not to overstretch it too sign and disrupt the rings, so the flattening process is gonna take a while.

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First thing I see on opening my planner.

I’m really looking forward to seeing whether this new system works! Three weeks before finals is probably not the time to be getting distracted by forgetting to do stuff… Having everything written down is part of my finals masterplan anyway, to give my brain a break from remembering day-to-day stuff so it has space for all the medicine instead!