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.

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.





Scrapbook Planner

For the last couple of years I’ve used a planner as a scrapbook journal.

I started with an Erin Condren Life Planner in Gold and then last summer I moved to a MAMBI Happy Life Planner.


I thought the discs would give me more flexibility to add mementos and texture to my scrapbook. But somehow it never seemed to work the way I wanted it to and I inevitably stopped using it regularly.


So my first decision for 2016 was whether I still wanted a scrapbook planner. I do a form of Project Life but really it’s a more glorified photo album since I’m not big on the embellishments. I don’t keep a daily thoughts journal. If I ever feel the need for a rant or brain dump I use any notebook because I don’t need to reread what I wrote – for me the act of writing is enough.  I like writing brief thoughts about my week, adding photos (even if they’re just what shows I’ve been watching) and stickers and washi galore. So ultimately I do want some kind of scrapbook journal which I can use as a creative outlet.

I like using planners as the basis of my scrapbook simply because they’re dated. I think the vertical layout of the Happy Planner was too restrictive. Journalling seems a more left to right process for me which makes me think a horizontal layout would work best. So my thoughts immediately went to my Erin Condren Rose Gold in horizontal


This is definitely a strong contender but I’m worried about bulking out the planner and not being able to add things to it easily, although I do have a build up of coil clips.

Another possibility is a simple horizontal layout in a Filofax such as the Inkwell Press inserts but this seems too ‘official’ for its purpose.


And a latecomer in the running is the Heidi Swapp Large Memory Planner. I do like the inserts but I’m not 100% sold on the binder, which feels a bit too much like school.


Since we’re already coming to the end of the first week of January, I’m going to have to make my decision pretty soon.

Do you use a planner as a scrapbook journal?

A Month of Planners – update

In this post, I explained how I was going to re-use some of my 2015 planners to help me decide on my basic planning system for 2016.

Over November and some of December I tried

  • Passion Planner
  • Day Designer
  • Erin Condren Horizontal
  • Plum Paper M.E Planner
  • Plum Paper Regular Horizontal
  • MAMBI Happy Planner
  • Franklin Covey Her Point of View – Classic inserts
  • DIYFish

I didn’t use my Inkwell Press Planner simply because I’ve already bought the 2016 planner and will trial it next year. I also didn’t use my Limelife Planner – in all honesty I picked it up, the cover fell off and I just couldn’t get past the poor quality and awkward layout.

The Day Designer is just too big but I do like having the option of a daily planner.

I never did a review of the MAMBI Happy Planner. I really think this is a great quality planner for its price. But it wouldn’t be fair for me to give it a full review because I struggle with the disc bound system. I have a real like/dislike relationship with the discs. Simply, if you get on with the discs I would recommend the Happy Planner.

The Passion Planner‘s weekly layout doesn’t suit my needs at the moment. I would have to make too many changes to the layout to make it worth my while. This was a really helpful insight since this planner has been high on my list to re-buy for 2016. I do like the passion plans and some aspects of the monthly reviews but I think it would be easy to incorporate these into my basic system, particularly since a PDF is available.

I’m still undecided about the Plum Paper Planners. Instinctively I think the layouts may be too cramped for me. Luckily I bought 2015/2016 planners for both the M.E and horizontal so I can trial them again next year. But they definitely won’t be part of my basic system.

My biggest surprise over the last few weeks has been how I’ve gravitated towards the bound planners. I have been a Filophile for so many years it’s possible that last year I was trying to develop a system which used a Filofax rather than thinking about whether a Filofax suited my needs. I’m even beginning to suspect a Filofax (or other ring-bound planner) will not suit my needs if and when I return to work next year. A correlated surprise is I think a personal sized planner may be better for me than an A5, if I ever do return to a Filofax. I will definitely trial different inserts and set-ups in ring-bound planners next year but I don’t foresee them forming part of my basic system.

So now I have a better idea of which planners work for me, I can think about what I need from my planning system