Tuesday, 29 August 2017

Artline Monday - Getting organised as a busy mum

When I first became a mum, nearly 14 years ago, I never really had to write anything down.  I could always remember phone numbers, appointments and birthdays etc without any trouble but as time passed and we added another couple of children into the mix suddenly trying to keep track of five people's lives and schedules in my head was an impossible task.  I was completely unorganised and I hated it!  I decided I had to do something so I brought myself a planner and put my whole life in there.  It was nice to have everything I needed in one place and always to hand.  I never wanted to go back to feeling like I was overwhelmed so I used the planner daily and I have been for the past four years.

Nowadays I am pretty organised and on top of things, though there are still blips along the way, today I thought I would share some of the things I have learned to help you add a little order to your busy family life.

You don't need to buy a fancy planner to get organised, you can use a notebook,  some paper or a diary (whichever you have to hand) and a pen or two or three, I really like pens!

Notebook and Artline pens

I think some people feel daunted by the idea of planning but it isn't that hard.  You just need to get into the habit of writing things down and referring back to your notes.  Here are my tips:

Created using Artline Stix drawing pens
and brush markers

Write it down

School picture day, after school clubs, Charlie's birthday party, write them down in your notebook or diary.  Even if you have a good memory it is worth making a note of them, knowing these things have been committed to paper stops me thinking about them at 2am and saves me stress and brain space.  

Depending on how busy you are, how old your children are and how many of them you have it might be a good idea to have a page or two dedicated to their activities and social lives.  My eleven year old could fill a page on her own with her drama club, choir practice, football practice, ice skating and shopping with friends... the list goes on and on.  All you have to remember is to check each section you create when you are looking through your notes and reminders.

I'm a very visual person so I love adding a splash of colour to my pages and using different coloured pens to highlight information helps me see what I need to know quickly when I look at my notes.

Make plans

There are a couple of plans I am talking about today, the first is to plan out your week or month so you can see what things you have on and what you need to do.  For example a dental appointment on the 5th, buy an anniversary card and gift before the 18th for mum and dad, pay the phone bill on the 22nd... I usually give myself a double page spread for each month and I write down any events and appointments on the one page and use the second for my to do lists and goals.

Goals are my second type of plans, what do you want to do and how can you achieve it?  Maybe deep cleaning your house sounds like a massive task which puts you off starting?  I know I would rather sit down with a cup of tea and a biscuit instead of saying to myself "Today I am going to clean the whole house"!  But if I break the whole house down into rooms it feels less scary and if I break down what I have to do in each room into simple tasks like put things away, dust, polish and vacuum it feels much more manageable.  I'd create a to do list for each room and then add the things that need to be done.  Small steps feel easier to complete and you can break down most goals this way if you take the time to think about them.  Then you just have to write them down and tick them off.

Be prepared

There is a reason this is the Scouts motto!  If you know you are going to be having a busy day or week try to be prepared for it and get everything you can out of the way early.  All of my children are in school now so mornings are especially crazy in our house.  My husband is usually out of the door before the kids are awake so I am on my own trying to wake, feed and nag them into getting ready for school so no one is late.  I find it easier to sort out everything before I go to bed the night before, I leave three bowls and spoons out on the draining board, I put water bottles and snacks into their bags which I leave by the front door with their shoes and coats.  Then there are book bags, homework and PE kits to be added depending on what day it is and yes, I have these days written down in my planner so I don't forget.  Doing these things in the evening only takes me a few minutes but it saves me so much time the next morning!


Setting yourself a daily or weekly routine is a really great way to keep organised.  If you are a stay at home mum or a working mum it is really handy to plan your days and see what time you have and when you can get things done.  I'm not saying you should schedule your days down to the minute but doing certain tasks on the same day each week makes them second nature and helps you stay on top of things.  I know that I do my online food shop on a Wednesday and that the car needs filling up every Thursday too but I still write this down just in case my brain gets distracted by something else and doesn't remind me!  

I have tasks I do daily after the school run, the first is to put the kettle on and then while it boils I quickly wipe down the surfaces in my kitchen .  Once my brew is ready I sit down and check my online banking and pay any bills that are due. After that it's time to put the laundry in and then I can check my emails and start my work... you get the idea.    

I only stick to my routine Monday through to Friday though.  During the weekends I just like to go with the flow and enjoy spending time together as a family and after we have been at school and work all week none of us wants to have to adhere to a timetable on Saturday and Sunday too. 

So, have I tempted you to pick up a pen and start planning?  There really is something very satisfying about crossing things off your list or marking them as done with a big tick!  I also get to let my little artistic side out when I'm making notes as I usually add some doodles or try my hand at different fonts and lettering styles, if I'm going to have to keep looking at my pages each day I want them to be fun.

I hope you found my tips useful!  

If you are a fellow pen addict and like the look of my Artline pens you can check out their products here.  They are also on Facebook and Twitter if you want to give them a like or follow.  I have to say I am a big fan of their calligraphy pens, I have been practising with them recently but I will save that for another post.

Thanks for stopping by!

Friday, 25 August 2017

Planner Friday - August

It's Planner Friday again over on the Trendy Twine blog and I'm getting very, very excited about autumn!  Pop over and tell me if you are just as excited or if you are still loving summer.

Okay, I know it is still August but I always plan ahead so in my mind we're already part way through September.  I'm sorry if you are trying to squeeze out the last few days of summer because I am totally ready for autumn!  Cooler days, warm drinks, sweaters and boots, bring it on!  I wanted to record my joy for the impending season so I have broken out my APB stamps and Travellers Notebook.

Used but not pictured: Kraft Tag
Trendy Twine
Coffee planner clip

I think spring and autumn are my favourite seasons because they are the ones you can easily see nature changing around you.  As much as I love to see the first shoots of green in spring, spotting the leaves changing colours and feeling a little chill in the air always makes me so happy!

If you feel the same way then Hello Fall is the perfect stamp set for you (and if you're quick you can grab them while they are on sale!).  I had so much fun creating this spread and colouring in the cute fall images.  There is also a Thankful stamp in the set so I decided to write a list of what I am thankful for.  I've never tried a pumpkin spiced latte but I am addicted to black cherry hot chocolate, there's nothing nicer than your favourite hot drink on a cold day so I used the takeaway coffee stamp from the Drinks & More set to represent this.  I also love spending time with my family and friends in autumn when the weather is cooler but you can still enjoy being outdoors, I used a few of the Documenting The Everyday #2 stamps for this.

My September spread -  Hello fall!

You can read the rest of my post here.

Thanks for stopping by!

Thursday, 3 August 2017

Blippo Surprise Kawaii Stationery Bag review and giveaway!

If you love kawaii things as much as me be prepared to swoon over this Surprise Kawaii Stationery Bag I was sent by the awesome people behind Kawaii Box and Japan Candy Box!  

Unlike the Kawaii Boxes and Japan Candy Boxes I have reviewed before, these goodie bags are not a subscription service so you can treat yourself if and whenever the mood takes you.  Items are selected randomly from the kawaii warehouse and you receive at least 15 super cute stationery items in a sweet drawstring bag.  I'm picturing the warehouse as some kind of pastel pink wonderland where bunnies hop around gathering your stationery bits and pieces who then hand them off to some other adorable woodland creature who packs and ships your order, if I am wrong please don't correct me!

Okay, are you ready to see what was inside my bag?

Surprise Kawaii Stationery Bag

By a stroke of luck my bag has a few cat and Hello Kitty products which I love, I think the bookmarks are my favourite out of everything I received!  There is also a set of pencils with lids, a sharpener and eraser, a pack of highlighters, five sheets of stickers, a ghost family gel pen, a set of deco tapes, carrot shaped erasers, sticky notes and a holographic card. 

So much cuteness!

Exclusive Blippo bag filled with stationery

Sweet stickers and cat bookmarks

The bags cost around £12.80 (depending on the exchange rate) and shipping is free to most countries including the UK, Europe and the USA which is fantastic!

If you like what you see and want to order a bag right now here is the link for it or if you are feeling lucky follow the steps in the gadget below to try and win one in my giveaway.  The more actions you complete the more entries you will have in the draw!

She's Eclectic Blippo Giveaway

Good luck!