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.

Plan With Me 24-30 August and Erin Condren GIVEAWAY

I filmed another Plan With Me. I’m trialling my Erin Condren Life Planner inside my Filofax (again)- still tweaking my planning set-up.

I’m also running two GIVEAWAYS

The FIRST giveaway is open internationally and is for a $75 e-giftcard for erincondren.com

a Rafflecopter giveaway
The SECOND giveaway is open to UK residents only and is for an Erin Condren Life Planner in the VERTICAL layout. IMG_0173 This is for an 18 month planner running from July 2015 to December 2016. a Rafflecopter giveaway If you haven’t ordered from erincondren.com before, you can get $10 off your first order using my referral link https://www.erincondren.com/referral/invite/ruundiluted0719.


Rules for $75 e-giftcard Prize giveaway

1. There will be one winner.
2. I will contact the winner within 48 hours of the giveaway ending. The winner then has 48 hours to get back to me. If I don’t hear from the winner within that time, a new winner will be selected
3. You must be over 18 years old or have parental permission to enter.

4. Open internationally.

5. I am not responsible for any customs, taxes, fees or other costs which may arise as a result of placing an order with erincondren.com

 

Rules for Life Planner Prize Giveaway

1. There will be one winner.
2. I will contact the winner within 48 hours of the giveaway ending. The winner then has 48 hours to get back to me. If I don’t hear from the winner within that time, a new winner will be selected.
3. You must be over 18 years old or I will need to ask for parental permission to release your address.

4. Open to UK residents only. You can enter both giveaways but you can only win one prize. In the event your name is selected as the winner of both giveaways, I will contact you to ask which prize you would prefer. A new drawing will then take place for the prize you don’t select.

Me and My Big Ideas Haul

IMG_1608Me and My Big Ideas ‘The Happy Planner combines the size and layout of the Erin Condren Life Planner with the flexibility of an ARC system, allowing pages to be removed and added. I’m going to do a separate review on the planners themselves on my other blog but I wanted to share the other bits & bobs I bought.

I placed an order directly with MAMBI and paid ridiculous shipping because apparently I’m a fool. I found out the day after my order shipped that online scrapbook stores in the UK and EU also stock The Happy Planner and MAMBI accessories, even Amazon. You may have to wait for stock but it beats paying custom charges.

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First the Inspiration Cards – 24 cards with inspirational sayings such as “I am happy”. I bought The Happy Planner to use as my scrapbook journal so these will probably work really well.

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I also bought the To Do Stickers – Bright and Don’t Forget. Beautiful vibrant stickers, not much more to be said since I haven’t used them yet.

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I decided to buy two planners because the monthly overview is different. I wanted the Good Things planner (top) because I thought the ‘currently’ list with reading, planning, loving etc would really complement my journaling. However I also bought the My Life planner in case I preferred the alternative overview, intending to give the spare to my daughter.

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I also bought some accessories from Scrobby – the Sticky notes, extender discs, two notepads and additional notepaper. I ended up buying the Gift planner because my daughter didn’t like my two choices.

So now I have a spare Happy Planner which I’m probably going to giveaway on my other blog sometime this month. If you’re based in the UK you may want to check that out.

 

 

Inkwell Press Unboxing

Inkwell Press don’t usually ship internationally, but a couple of weeks ago they were running a trial to gauge interest. Shipping was $50 (although they are hoping to reduce this if they do offer international shipping in the future) but they had discounted the planner to $20 and you could order a couple of other products for the same shipping fee.

In this video I give you my initial thoughts as I unbox the planner and other purchases.

 

Once I’ve had a chance to use the planner and do some pen tests, I will give a full review on my blog Ru Undiluted (because that’s where I’ve moved all my planner reviews).

Planner Review – First Look at the Passion Planner

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I first heard of the Passion Planner on a Kickstarter campaign. I was intrigued by the concept so I backed the project.

The Passion Planner comes in black. It’s made of faux leather and has 100gsm paper. I think it’s decent quality for its price. At the time it was available in both Classic (A4 ish) and Compact (A5 ish) size but it looks like the Classic has sold out.

At the front of the planner are the pages to help you set goals and create your first passion plan.

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The instructions are simple to follow and explain how the passion plans feed into the rest of the planner. However, one failing here is that there is only space to create one passion plan. Although there are note pages and spaces throughout the planner, I would have liked a couple of empty pages at the beginning to create all my passion plans and have them in one easily accessible place.

The Passion Planner is set up for both work and personal life so that everything is in one place.

For example on the monthly layout there is a section to specify the month’s focus and space to write out priority projects both personal and work.

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There are decent sized boxes for each day. There is also a box on the side “Monthly Check-In” which continues to feed in the passion roadmap to populate steps and deadlines for the month.

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The weekly layout has the week in a vertical layout with times from 6.00am to 11pm. The week starts on Sunday although there is an undated version with the option of a Monday start available.

At the top of each day is a box to highlight that day’s focus. The side has a box for the week’s focus and underneath that it has a box for Good Things That Happened. I do like the idea of reflecting on the week but I think this comes across as quite insipid and I would have expected to see the box underneath the Saturday column rather than at the start of the week.

There are also separate personal and work To-Do lists with 4 lines for Top Priority, 5 lines for Priority and 5 lines for Errands. I think the Errand section is unnecessary, possibly because I have never run an errand for work.

At the end of the month are two lined note pages. From February onwards the monthly layout is followed by a monthly reflection section. IMG_0133

To me it would have made more sense to have these pages at the end of the month before the notes pages; so you can reflect before deciding the focus for the following month.

Much as I love the concept, I just can’t get this planner to work for me, and it’s not just because of the Sunday start. Even though I don’t work I was able to adapt the work section to other areas of my life. I think the weakness in this planner is it’s very much an individual’s planner and not set up for families at all. I need to be able to see where my children and husband have events even though they don’t involve me, and I don’t feel the layout allows for this sufficiently. If I need a separate calendar for family then this stops being a one place for everything planner.

I may use the planner occasionally when I have a particularly scheduled week, but in the long run I don’t think it’s going to work for me.

Planner Review – A Look at the Erin Condren Life Planner 2015

Possibly another redundant review. What true planner nerd hasn’t heard of the Erin Condren Life Planner and seen countless unboxing videos? I can spend hours on YouTube watching how people use their Life Planner.
I’m not sure whether Erin Condren does any advertising outside social media but I think her following in the UK is definitely built on YouTube and blogs.

International shipping is now available at a flat rate of $19.95. It used to be $39.95 so that’s a great change. However tinyprints also sell some Erin Condren products and their shipping to the EU is $15.

Life Planner covers are customisable. The insides are not. So all planners start with some pages of “frou frou”

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Then there is an 18 month overview from July 2014, which is when the 2014/2015 planners started. There isn’t much space to write notes on these pages but I’ve seen them used as trackers.

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The monthly spread is on 2 pages and has a Sunday start. There is a notes section on the right hand sideIMG_0079

I think there’s plenty of writing space in these boxes but in August the last Sunday and Monday are halved because the month straddles more than 5 weeks.

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Each month is tabbed and the weekly pages follow the relevant month

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but you tend to get the last few days of the month after the following month’s tab

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The weekly layout starts on a Monday which I prefer, although it was slightly confusing at first to have a month with the Sunday start as well. The weekly layout has a goals and notes column on the left hand side and a lined section headed “meal plans, exercise, daily dos, thoughts, inspiration” at the bottom. Each day is divided into a morning, day and night section.

At the end of the planner are some lined and blank note pages, a flimsy folder and a clear plastic pouch.

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Erin Condren also supplies event stickers and 2 sheets of blank stickers with the Life Planner. It also comes with a booklet for the perpetual calendar and contacts, although I’m not quite sure how this will work in future years. The perpetual nature suggests it should be used every year so will they have it as part of the planner next year or only as an accessory?

This year the covers are interchangeable (if you have something to interchange it with – otherwise they’re just removable).

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The covers are laminated and the lamination on my cover from last year has lasted well despite me uncoiling and putting it in a Filofax. Although my experience with the covers has been fine I know a few have experienced bubbling quite early on.

There are issues with quality control and some people have had problems with customer service. My own experience is that the mistakes they make are frustrating and avoidable but they always put it right or offer credit so I wouldn’t let that aspect put me off.

Each month has a dual colour scheme which is used throughout the month. This is what originally attracted me to the Life Planner. After many years of using plain black and white paper I wanted more colour on the page and I’m not someone who is naturally artistic enough to decorate my planner.

So what about functionality?

Life Planners are 7in x 9in so they’re larger than an A5 Filofax. They are very light though so I would consider them to be portable.

I’ve a seen a myriad of ways people use their Life Planner but stripping it all back, and watching Erin Condren’s early promotional videos, this seems to be designed simply as an agenda. It’s primary purpose seems to be a place to record appointments and events. For this reason the morning, day and night sections make sense. There is also ample space in the boxes to write appointments and events. The space around the Monday – Sunday spread seems to be where to write notes and tasks.

If this is the case then it’s a very expensive planner.

It’s no wonder people have taken to using it for different purposes. But then it seems unfair to complain about not liking the sections to be called ‘morning, day, night’ or not having enough space to fit everything in, because you’re using it for an unintended purpose. I personally think they could maximise the space on the weekly spread better – the date and day doesn’t need to be so big and there really isn’t any need for the gaps between the columns. Since the meal plan, exercise etc heading doesn’t add anything to the lined section they could just remove it.

On a side note, I am curious to know why people who use the Erin Condren Life Planner with different heading names or for journalling and who also cover up all aspects of colour on the page actually buy the planner. Why is the planner worth the $50 cost if so much has to be changed? Obviously people can use their planner how they want, that’s not the point I’m making, the question I’m asking is what is it about the Life Planner that still makes it their planner of choice?

Would I buy another Life Planner – who knows? There are so many alternatives available now they would have to offer something more to tempt me again.

If you’d like to see how I used my Life Planner in 2014, I’ve done a video

From the website

– an INTERCHANGEABLE, laminated, heavy duty 10mil cover for protection from daily wear and tear 
– inspirational quotes throughout 
– LAMINATED tabs for extra durability 
– TWO-page monthly spreads w/ reinforced coil-side binding 
– goals and to-do lists for every week and month 
– weekly spreads divided into morning, day & night 
– meal/exercise/lists/etc. section for highlighted daily notes & activities 
– clear, snap-in page holder/ruler 
– over 25 lined and designer blank pages for notes and sketches 
– DOUBLE-sided “keep it together” folder to wrangle receipts, stamps, and other papers 
– 240 colorful stickers to highlight birthdays, special events and reminders 
– bound-in zip lock pocket with 12 gift labels and “let’s get together” cards 
– perpetual calendar booklet for birthdays and anniversaries 
– sturdy aluminum coil that will not bend & allows your planner to lay flat 
– add photo stickers, custom event stickers, matching notepads, a pen holder, marker set, designer sticker sheets, coil clips or even elastic bands to further customize your planner to be as YOU*nique as you are!

Planner Review – First look at the Hobonichi Planner

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I didn’t expect to write a review of the Hobonichi Planner but my husband surprised me with one for Christmas, so here I am. Apparently I have the English version of the Techo Original.

I didn’t know much about Hobonichi before owning one but I’m fascinated by the creativity of Hobonichi users. I’ve found a new social media time-suck. What surprised me is how few examples I’ve seen of the planner being used as only a planner. It seems to go beyond planning.

The Hobinichi website has some of the most extensive information I’ve seen about the contents of their planner, making this post somewhat redundant but anyway

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The planner starts with 2015 and 2016 yearly calendars followed by, what they call, a Yearly Index which seems like a vertical monthly layout. The actual monthly layout is on two pages in horizontal boxes and has a Monday start (yay). There is space on the left-hand side and bottom for notes.

All the monthly pages are grouped together and my planner goes from December 2014 to March 2016 so there’s scope for forward planning. I personally prefer my months integrated with my daily/weekly pages but I think it’s something I could adapt to.

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The month starts with a ‘Coming Up’ page and then there are daily pages with Sundays in red. There is a quote on the left page and its author on the right. The daily pages also have miscellaneous other information such as moon phases and international holidays.

The layout of the daily page confuses me slightly. There is a 12 near the middle of the page and then a fork and knife icon near the bottom of the page. I get the 12 represents midday but I think they could have made better use of space if they put the dinner icon in the blank space at the top of the page.

Based on some of the other planners I think the page could be looked at as if there were a vertical line down the middle with the left-hand side being for scheduling and the right-hand side for notes. The Techo Original has what it refers to as the ‘Secret Line’ for this. If I were using the Hobonichi Planner as a planner I think I’d prefer this line.

Obvious from the photos but worth mentioning is the pages are gridlined – apparently 4mm. The Coming Up pages are lined though.

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After 2015 you have 2 days on a page until 16 January so again some room for forward planning.

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Finally at the back of the planner are some notes pages which consist of red dots. Interesting. I don’t know why they’re dots and I don’t know why they’re red.

After these 20 notes pages are information pages including ‘Spices and Herbs around the World’ and ‘A Guide to Rayokans’. To be quite honest I’m not sure how much use I’ll get out of these pages.

One thing to note is the planner is small – it’s A6. That makes it perfect for carrying around. But I don’t feel you’re compromising on space. There is ample room on the daily pages to write as much as you need. Space wise I think there’s more writing real estate than on personal-sized Filofax paper.

The planner lays flat immediately which is wonderful for a stitch-bound planner. One of the main attractions of the Hobonichi is the Tomoe River paper which is thin light paper making the planner very compact. Apparently it’s also resistant to bleeding which makes it suitable for a wide range of pens. I haven’t done a pen test yet but I’m eager to see whether I can use my fountain pens.

The Hobonichi Planner costs £35 from the Journal Shop. I haven’t researched where else it’s available and the cost but I think overall it will be worth the price. We’ll have to wait and see.

I have my planning system for 2015 mostly set-up and rather than thinking of how to integrate the Hobonichi into my system, this year I’m going to use it for my 365/30 Lists. But I will definitely consider using this planner as part of future systems – I’m actually trying to resist the temptation to buy another Hobonichi now to “test run” for 2016, but resist I will.

If you know any good Instagram or other social media accounts which feature using Hobonichi please do leave a comment. I’d love to check some out.

 

 

Planner Review – First Look at the Day Designer by Whitney English

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When I first heard about the Day Designer it was marketed at ‘creative entrepeneurs’. Although I had no idea what a creative entrepeneur was, I was pretty sure I wasn’t one so the planner slipped out my consciousness. Now, however, according to the Day Designer website

Day Designer is the perfect planning tool to help you organize your life, and starting creating balance. Busy women from all over the world began embracing the Day Designer day planner in 2012. Whether you’re a mom, an entrepreneur, a busy executive, a creative, a student, or a blogger, Day Designer offers features never-before-seen in a day planner

(It’s nice they’ve managed to broaden their market.)

I’d been thinking about getting a day planner and naturally I was quite curious to discover what these never-before-seen features are so I ordered one from Etsy.

They do ship internationally but shipping is almost as much as the planner itself. It may be worth looking at a group order if you are international because shipping for a second planner was only around £7 more.

There are a choice of covers but the planners aren’t customisable. The Day Designer has a very simple layout and is predominantly black and white throughout. Because the layout maximises the space available, there is very little scope for decoration.

Despite what the website claims, this planner is quite bulky and I don’t think it’s portable for your everyday commuter on public transport.

The Day Designer offers more than just daily and monthly pages. It starts with pages to help define your core and align your goals

Core
yes, my page did come wrinkled and customer service offered me a small refund. Customer Service is very good by the way.
You are guided to think about your Purpose, Principles, Passions and Powers and then define your ‘strategic brand plan’. Completing these pages is supposed to help with goal setting for the year. To some extent these pages remind me of Stephen Covey’s 7 Habits but somewhat waffly with more navel-gazing.

After defining your core you get a 2015 year at a glance over two pages.

Each month has a gold tab with a notes page

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These pages seem to be made from a thicker glossier paper than the rest of the planner, otherwise I would have used them for pen tests.

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The monthly spread has good sized boxes. They’re Sunday starts which may be an issue for those in the UK (or anywhere else where Monday starts are usual). The notes column is on the left hand size and the top right hand page has a box for goals.

Each month also has an Authenticate Challenge. Here’s an excerpt from March’s

‘a big part of authenticating your brand is telling your story in a translucent way, in order to build connections and trust with your audience. Can you identify…struggle areas that might be connective points’

Um…translucent isn’t it?

After that are the daily pages

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Each page has a quotation at the top. This is followed by a series of boxes.

The first box is for deciding the top three daily goals in ‘Today’s Top Three’. I really like this concept. Obviously not never-before-seen, or created by Whitney English, but helpful for focus.

The next boxes are

  • Due
  • Dinner
  • Dollar
  • Don’t forget

After these boxes there is a schedule which runs from 5am to 9pm. Because of this, there isn’t a huge amount of space to write against each hour but I think the space is adequate.

The column next to it is labeled “Other To-Dos’. The instruction page suggests this list should be used to record the interruptions or things that need to be moved to another day. To me, this suggests that day’s to-dos should be in the Today’s Top Three or Schedule boxes.

I personally don’t like my To-dos to be too prescriptive in terms of time of action so I would use the Other To-Dos column to list my tasks generally. Also isn’t it duplication to list your interruptions on that page rather than record them on the day they need to be done?

Finally on the daily pages there are boxes for Download and Daily Gratitude.

The dinner box, like in the Emily Ley Simplified Planner, makes me think the intention is for this planner to be used for both work and home and I like the fact the schedule runs from 5am to 9pm because that makes it more suitable for use as a single planner for truly busy mums.

I don’t quite get the use of the Don’t Forget box. What should be written here that isn’t a task or goal? Unless it’s to record an activity relating to someone else which doesn’t directly impact you, like ‘Don’t Forget husband abroad’. I don’t really know.

The weekends are combined.

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I’m generally not a fan of this. It’s a very lucky mother who has her weekends free, and in this case, apparently doesn’t have to make dinner because instead of the 4 ‘D’ boxes we now have

  • what worked
  • what didn’t
  • next week
  • don’t forget

Yet again, I wonder why ‘next week’ has a small box in the weekend rather than just writing those tasks on a specific day. Although this does raise one weakness in the daily planner in that there is no weekly overview.

At the end of the daily pages is a 2016 overview in column form with a small amount of writing space against each date so there isn’t a lot of scope for future planning.

I know that comparisons are made between the Day Designer and Simplified Planner. Instinctively I prefer the Day Designer. Actually its format reminds me of Franklin Covey inserts rather than the Emily Ley. I could probably live without all the authentication but I can see myself using the Day Designer as part of my planning system for 2015.

From the website –

Day Designer® offers:

  • Portable Size: 9 x 9.25″
  • 12 Months of Dated Pages
  • Heavy 50# White Paper
  • The Original Daily View Format
  • Dinner, Gratitude, Top 3 T0-Do prompts and more!
  • Month-At-A-Glance
  • Year-At-A-Glance
  • Combined Weekend Pages
  • Daily Inspirational Quotes
  • Inside Front Cover Pocket
  • Durable Cover (wipes clean with a damp cloth!)
  • Gold Corner Protectors
  • Sophisticated Brass Wire-O Binding
  • Made in the U.S.A.

In addition, each Day Designer® comes with a year-long subscription to the exclusive private Day Designer® planning community, and a complimentary download of the Define Your Core E-Workbook.

I also bought the undated Day Designer mini which I can do a separate review about if anyone is interested.

I have bought the Well Designed Year workbook because I’m currently going through another productivity phase but I’ll do reviews on productivity tools on my other blog Ru Undiluted.