Plannercon Europe Haul

I bought my ticket for Plannercon Europe the day they went on sale (apparently I was the 17th person). From that day in April I’ve been saving funds knowing full well I would be splurging on all manner of goodness at the event. Luckily I was travelling by Eurostar so was limited only by my physical strength.


Carpe Diem – personal planner, post its, bookmarks and stickers

Leuchturm – two dot grid notebooks with names embossed for free

Erin Condren – large hardbound planner, coiled horizontal planner and accessories pouch

Gillio unveiled their new products at the event and I couldn’t resist their undyed range so I bought the A5 undyed appunto. I can’t wait to see how this patinas over the coming months.


Technically, not at Plannercon, but I did place a custom order with Van Der Spek for a Standard with 30mm rings in Forest Croco with Acacia insides, which I collected from their booth.


This is so much more stunning in real life than these photos do it justice. As a surprise gift Van Der Spek gave me a matching pen case which was incredibly generous of them and had me standing in such stunned silence I can’t even remember if I thanked them. So thank you Van Der Spek.

They also gave us a 15% discount coupon which I used to buy an A5 Touch Me in Grey Blue. I just love the ring size and feel of this – like a mature Malden.

I also couldn’t resist this Gillio medium Compagna in Yale Blue and I chose Gold Rings to match that gorgeous inside leather.

Finally, I have been a huge fan of the Filofax notebooks since we received one in our goodie bags at Plansterdam last year. I have since bought a couple and I use an A4 notebook for work. I was delighted to receive another A5 in our goodie bag this year but that didn’t stop me picking a couple more up at the Filofax booth.

I also bought the A4 folio cover in The Original Dark Aqua leather. I thought I’d use it for work. I plan to do a separate post about the Filofax Notebooks before the end of the year.

I did buy from all the Etsy sellers but started using all that loveliness before it occurred to me to take photos.

Obviously we were also throughly spoiled by the generosity of contributors to our goodie bags. There are plenty of videos on YouTube if you want to see what we got.

If you’d like me to write a post on my Plannercon Europe experience let me know.

Planner Set Up for 2017

We’re already in the second half of February and my planner set up still remains undecided. 

To be fair I didn’t really start thinking about my planner set up until mid January. After more than 3 years as a lady of leisure I started back at work a month ago and adjustments would inevitably need to be made. 

We also moved to Family Sharing on iCal so having a separate family calendar no longer seems necessary. Of course the paper planner in me worries about what would happen if the system crashed and we lost the information, but the other part of me thinks that would be a great excuse not to do something, plus I tend to remember important events even if I don’t remember exact times.

So ultimately I needed (or wanted) a planner to note events/appointments specifically involving me and to list my tasks. But then I thought about routines and projects and meal plans and studying and blog planning and garden planning and books read and films watched and money spent and the list grew longer. 

Obviously the idea of using a Filofax came up. I haven’t used a Filofax as my main planner for any length of time since I discovered Erin Condren Life Planners but I knew the Erin Condren wouldn’t be able to contain all the information I need. The ability to add sections and set up my planner my way seems essential.

Whenever I think about using a Filofax as my main planner I instinctively return to DIYfish Inserts. I have tried other printables but they never work as well for me. There’s so much choice with DIYfish and her print and cut instructions are so clear they’re easy to use. After trialling a lot of styles, I decided to go back to my old favourite, version 2.2.

The only problem is, I can’t decide which size. I like A6 but I couldn’t fit much more than the planning inserts in my Gillio so I’d need a second planner of some sort to hold the rest. Surprisingly I’m drawn to using a personal sized planner because the do1p style layout gives me ample writing real estate; the drawback is my appointment or Half box labels aren’t the right size so they would immediately be wasted (or look awful on the page). It seems like an A5 would be the best option but I find I’m just not reaching for it.

So I still don’t have my planner set up for 2017. For home, that is. My work planner set up is fully functional.

The Planner Addicts’ Gift Guide

At this time of year the stationery lover or planner addict should be very easy to buy presents for…after all there’s such a huge choice out there. Here are some ideas and questions to consider before you proceed.

1. Pens

Does your stationery lover prefer ballpoint or Rollerball? Or gel? Or fibre tip? Or fountain pen? How thick should the nib be? How thick should the barrel be? Do they have favourite paper and how would the pen work on that paper? What colour ink? Permanent or erasable? Lamy, Pilot, Papermate, Staedtler, Stabilio, Bic, Parker, Cross, Faber Castell etc.? Do you actually know what’s in their collection?

2. Notebooks

Does your stationery lover prefer spiral notebooks or sewn journals. Hardback or softback? Lined, plain, squared or dot grid paper? What’s the paper quality like? Will their favourite pen bleed through or shadow? What size – A4, A5, A6, cahier? What thickness? What colour cover? Leuchturm, Moleskine, Rhodia, Kate Spade, ARC, Travellers Notebook, Paperchase, WH Smith’s etc.? Do you actually know what’s in their collection?

3. Washi tape

What’s their preferred width? Do they like patterns or pictures? Do you actually know what’s in their collection?

4. Stickers

Do they have a favourite Etsy seller? Matt, glossy, vinyl? Removable or permanent? Functional or decorative? White space or no-white space kits? Or do they prefer stamping? Do you actually know what’s in their collection?

5. Ring bound planners

What size ring bound planner does your planner addict prefer – A4, Deskfax, A5, personal, compact, pocket or mini? And that’s just Filofax sizing. Different brands have different names for their sizes obviously. So which brand? Filofax, Kikki K, Gillio, Van der Spek, Paperchase, Franklin Covey etc? What range within that brand? What ring size? What ring configuration? What material? What colour binder? Do you actually know what’s in their collection?

(We’re not even going to mention inserts.)

6. Bound planners

Spiral bound or sewn? What’s the coil like? Are the covers hard or soft, are they removable? What’s the paper quality like – do they have a favourite pen. Monthly, weekly, daily? If it’s weekly, what’s the layout – vertical, horizontal, timed? What size do they prefer? Do you actually know what’s in their collection?

In conclusion, DON’T try to surprise the planner addict in your life. Ask them to send you a specific link.

Or give them vouchers.

Too many planners

The problem with planning nowadays is there are too many options.

Sometimes my soul yearns for the simpler times when our only choices were either some type of Filofax or we could buy a standard diary from a Woolworths type shop.

Now we have planners rather than diaries – bound or spiral or looseleaf.  It seems like every other Kickstarter campaign is for a planner. And the number of inserts that are available? I laugh at my younger self actually using the inserts that came with the Filofax. But as well as your Filofaxes and your Franklin Coveys and your Paperchase, there are so many Etsy stores that sell printables or printed inserts. Desktop publishing has a lot to answer for.

But with greater choice comes greater procrastination. I spend so much time looking at different planners and trialling different inserts. I repeat information in several planners just to test what it looks like with different layouts. I admit there are other things I could be doing with my time. Each time I change my Filofax binder or Erin Condren inerchangeable cover or swap out the dashboards I’m taking some time away from doing things that are actually productive. The joke is we spend so much time planning or planning out our planners we don’t actually DO anything.

How much of this is true? Are there really people who don’t get anything done because of their planners? Wouldn’t these people be the type who wouldn’t get things done anyway? If someone is actually using their planners primarily for planning does it really get in the way of doing?

I don’t miss appointments or events and if a task has a deadline it gets done. So what if I change my planners with the seasons or try a different planner every week. It’s one of my hobbies. My planner addiction really doesn’t stop me getting things done.

But it would be easier with fewer options.

Sticker Haul – weekly kits

I haven’t really bought weekly sticker kits off Etsy for a while. I was never convinced they would be value for money because my planning style is more functional rather than decorative. I don’t do no white space planning and I also hate the “Little Things” headers (or variations thereof) because the idea of tracking little things is the antithesis of productive planning.

But there are so many Etsy sticker shops now and I wanted to see what kind of variety was available in the content of the weekly kits.

Oh Hello Stationery – they have quite a few options. The price is probably on the higher side for a full kit but shipping to the UK is reasonable. I bought the Watercolor Floral kit. My first impressions are positive. The stickers are very vibrant and you get a lot in the kit



The Glam Planner – I wouldn’t usually buy from Glam Planner because the kits are expensive for readily available clip art and shipping to the UK is very high. But I received a 40% off coupon from Plansterdam and I was curious to see whether they were generally worth the money.

I bought the Nights Dream Kit and the Tropical Kit. The colours are very vibrant and the sticker paper is good quality. I’m not sure how practical I’ll find the kit and I’m slightly baffled by the number of TV icons. I’m not convinced I would ever buy these at full price.



FreyaBow – Now these kits are very reasonaly priced at £6.50 for the set. I bought the Retro Bird Spring, Summer Rose and Watercolour Mandala collections. I would say in real life the colours are more muted than on the site; my photos are more accurate of the colour. I like that the kit comes with different sized boxes since I use these to time block. I don’t track my water but my first impression is that these kits would be good for functional planning.




IsabelletheOwl – I do really like the clipart and digital papers IsabelletheOwl uses. I bought English Floral in glossy and Secret Garden, Fly Away with Me and Shake Your Tail Feathers in matte. In general these kits are decent value at around £7 for the full kit. Shake Your Tail Feathers was an XL kit for £8.50.

My first impression was one of disappointment. I’m not sure what it was. I know this isn’t a functional kit but it isn’t really a fully decorative either. I just feel like there’s something missing. I also don’t like that there are only 4 checklists and 4 checkboxes so if you use 7 To Do list you’ll have to mix.



PlanningPoodle – These are also reasonaly priced weekly kits at £6. I bought Cactus Brights, Copper Gems and Classy. These seem like comprehesnive kits. I like that date covers are included. The stickers may not be on the best quality paper but for £6 I think they’re fine.

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However the proof of the stickers is in the using so I’ll post fuller reviews once I’ve tried planning with these kits.





Happie Pen Box


Like any self-respecting stationery addict, I have a fairly large collection of pens. But of course I think I never have enough so when I saw Happie Scrappie was offering a pen subscription box, the Happie Pen Box, I signed up immediately.

The monthly box offers 5-6 different pens and costs $29.99 (incl shipping) for new subscribers.


It came with a cute explanation card and a sheet for handwriting practice – really useful. But the important part are the pens



There were 6 pens this month and an ink sample. I received

  • Pilot Twin Marker with a fine and extra fine tips. This pen is great for writing on washi or stickers.
  • a Zebra Brush pen. The fine nib means it writes precisely and it doesn’t really shadow through my Erin Condren paper
  • Q Life gold Gel pen with 0.38mm nib. This pen writes very smoothly but unfortunately my handwriting isn’t really suited to the thin barrel
  • M&G Be Yourself retractable Ballpoint pen with Blue Ink
  • M&G “Simple is Beautiful” Gel pen
  • M&G Forest Story Fountain pen with fine nib





I find myself reaching for the Twin Marker and the Brush pen regularly. I haven’t used the fountain pen yet. The thin barrel means regular British cartridges don’t fit and unfortunately the ink reservoir seems to be temperamental.

Overall I’m pleased with the contents of the box.

Being Busy?

Most of my days are really busy with a packed schedule. Take this day in January for example – I woke up and did my morning routine which consists of getting up to date on Instagram, Facebook and YouTube and getting ready for the day. This took about an hour. I then had sheduled in time to catch up on my TV shows and Netflix which took around 4 hours. After that I scheduled an hour for a leisurely lunch and some more YouTube. Then it was a crazy afternoon.

In fact here’s a picture of my schedule.


As you can see there was, like, only an hour of my day unaccounted for.

Okay so I know this isn’t actually a busy day. I know you can have a full to do list and even schedule out every second of your day and not really be busy. But then I’ve never been one of those people who think being busy is some kind of accomplishment.

In the working world it seems that being busy is an indication of how important you are. But stay at home parents and homemakers often complain they have no time and that they’re busy, as if it’s something to be proud of. To be honest, people who complain about being busy all the time because of the NUMBER of tasks they have to do are probably indicating to me how ineffective they are at prioritising, or worse, how inefficient they are.

Obviously there are times when people are genuinely busy. A person who holds down two jobs while studying and being a single parent can claim to be busy. But on a smaller scale, if you have two events at the same time then you can’t attend one of them because you’re already busy. The same is true if you have an urgent deadline on one task so you’re busy and can’t go to a meeting or work on another task at that time. But these are examples of time constrained busy-ness.

Always having something to do or having somewhere to go doesn’t mean someone’s a busy person. More importantly, it doesn’t mean they’re a useful or productive person.

A change of mindset is needed where people stop thinking being busy is something to boast about. Don’t be busy, be productive.