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. 


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. 


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. 




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…


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.


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.


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.


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.


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!



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?

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!


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.


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.


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!


London desk tidy from Muji – how adorable?!

Have you been stationery shopping recently? Bought anything awesome?

Goal setting as a student

I love reading the Plannerisms blog, especially the posts on setting goals and planning to achieve them. My problem is figuring out how to actually fit them into my life. Being at university means living life on an academic year schedule, where my free time is somewhere around summer (I’d be more specific, but I have now been at uni for every single month of the year at some stage in the past few years!), and the rest of the year is a rollercoaster of placements and assignments and other things that mean “I want to achieve X by time Y” is a little bit harder to plan for than in a year-round job.

The general consensus is that a goal isn’t a goal without being SMART – specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and timely. I say so long as it’s attainable and you can put a tick in a box when it’s recognisably done, it’s a goal. I often have goals that have very flexible end points, or no set time frame at all. If you have to put a goal to one side because uni has put you in a position where you can’t work on it, that’s fine, just come back to it when you can, if it’s still relevant then. Taking time out from that goal doesn’t mean failing to achieve it, it’s just refocusing your life on what’s important right now. And things like exams generally mean that everything else goes out the window – that diet you were on, that project you wanted to complete, that skincare routine you were gonna stick to; it just turns into days of eating cereal for dinner and leftover pasta for breakfast, doing nothing but laying in bed holding a textbook (revision by osmosis, honest) and occasionally swiping at your face with wipes and putting on sunnies to leave the house because your eyebrows have taken over your face. Or that might just be me…

An awesome example of goal setting! (Source: Google Images)

I think people get hung up on meeting their goals and forget that they’re kind of arbitrary things that you set yourself, so if you want to change your mind and discard a goal then that’s fine. Just remember why you set it in the first place – if that’s still relevant to you, figure out where you can fit it into your life. Things like reading more books come a lot easier when you’re not tackling a uni reading list at the  same time (and are so much more enjoyable on a sunbed with a jug of Pimms to hand), so save it for summer. If it’s not relevant any more, why continue?

It’s a good idea to reassess your long term goals and your progress towards them on a regular basis, and this is the one thing an academic calendar is good for – the end of term is perfect for looking at what you achieved, thinking over what went well and what didn’t, and how to improve on it next term or next year. It’s my end of term this week, so I’ll be looking over what I achieved this year and what I didn’t get round to, and drawing up my goals for next year and the rest of this ‘normal’ year (by which I mean 2013!). I’m definitely going to avoid scheduling other projects in exam season next year, and work on building up one of the weaker areas of my CV, and this time I do have a very fixed deadline because it’s out of my hands: job applications are coming up!

Did you have goals for the last academic year? How are you gonna change them for the next year?

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.


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!