Friday, 30 December 2011

My 2012 set-up

After my contemplative morning when I reviewed and planned, I’ve now sat down and thought about 2012 and re-drawn some of my goals (and streamlined others). My set-up hasn’t changed significantly, though I have made one or two tweaks.

Front cover:
I’ve moved the other cards I did have in a card-holder at the back of the filofax into the card slots in the cover. A few of them are doubled/tripled but that doesn’t matter – they are all still easy to get in and out.
I had kept paper money in the full-height pocket immediately behind the card-slots but it’s a little stiff with all the cards in and also wider (and therefore a little less accessible) than the slot in the back cover, so the paper money has moved to the back cover.

I love the little birds...
The guinea-fowl card remains as the first thing I see when I open the filofax as it always cheers me up and makes me think of Malawi. There is a picture of me and DH in there too.
Vouchers envelope – after losing vouchers or forgetting about them, I bought another top-opening envelope for them. So far, so good!
Notes – a landing place for random scribbles and things, although I did have shopping lists in there for a while. It gets filleted at the weekly review and anything that needs keeping is put in the correct place; anything no longer needed gets removed/crossed through.

back of the vouchers (LHS) then notes section
Goals – updated today. In 2011 I had an A4 page with a mind-map of my goals in the front of this section. I have streamlined my goals and so now I have the main things written out on a single plain sheet (still with colour-coded writing). Immediately after this mind-map sheet are a series of sheets where the key areas (health; Chimwemwe; writing and career/me) are broken down into goals (run a half-marathon; raise £500; etc. etc.) and then each of those goals are broken down into projects. I have a set of templates (which I made for myself) which list the key area at the top, then the goals and then the projects. After these pages are a set of pages – one for each project – with the project outlined on the front and the list of ‘next actions’ listed on the back. This key-areas-to-goals-to-projects-to-next-actions section drives my monthly and weekly reviews, as next actions get transcribed onto the monthly, and then ultimately, weekly list.

Mind-map for the key areas

key-area to goal to project summary sheet

Diary – this has several things in it. In order:
1. a home-made month to view diary (for long-range awareness) of 2012
2. a monthly planning page for the current month (on lavender paper this year as I could bear the pink (2011’s colour) no longer!)
3. a weekly planning page for the current week (listing all the next actions and to-do for the week)
4. a week of day-per-page diary sheets (for planning each day) with a Today marker
5. a weekly review check sheet
6. the weekly planning pages for the remainder of the month
7. a monthly review check sheet
8. the monthly planning pages for the remainder of the year
9. a week on two pages diary (up to the end of June at the moment but I am considering putting the whole year in) with a second Today marker indicating the current week
10. a forward planning sheet where anything beyond 2012 is noted down (mostly my vaccination dates but before I bought the new WO2P diary, there were lists of when the car tax, car insurance etc. were due
11. (slightly randomly) a log of my running and my weight

Haven't planned very far ahead!

Lists – food shopping list for the week; Christmas list (soon to be removed and stored); packing lists; books/music/films to look out for; notes of blogs or websites to look at; things I need to buy…

shopping list
Info – personal information sheet; SOS sheet; www sheet (listing, in a coded way, passwords for different sites); the info sheets from the diary; a birthdays/ anniversaries set of sheets; a London tube map; a map of the UK; a map of the world; other bits of info I need to keep; a list of meter readings; then behind a set of A-Z dividers, my contacts.
Right at the back is a new zip-lock envelope. I bought a filofax version and the zipper bit was on the top and made all the other pages stick up and so I abandoned it. Then I put an order in to City Organiser (with free P+P and 15% off) to get some more white lined paper for the filofax, some lavender lined paper (for the monthly planning sheets) and added a zip-lock envelope (75p!) made by Villiers, which has the zipper on the edge, rather than the top. This envelope holds stamps and other bits and bobs.

In the back cover there are two pockets – one has paper money in; the other has receipts in it.

Villiers zip-lock envelope

On the very back cover is the zipped pocket which holds coins.

I have taken the Coleto 4-colour pen out because the strap on the Cavendish is just a teensy bit too short and removing the pen allows it to be snappered shut without strain!

What is everyone else’s set-up for 2012 like?

Thursday, 29 December 2011

Reviews and Plans

[Apart from using a fountain-pen and a Ciak notebook in my review, this hasn't a huge amount to do with Paper, Pens or Ink! Sorry.]

I finally found time this morning to go through my goals for 2011 and think about what had been achieved (and why) and what hadn’t been achieved (and why). I can’t think properly without writing, so I ended up filling up pages of my ‘thoughts’ notebook (which is where random ideas that are unrelated to writing go – things I need to rant about, contemplations, musings… that sort of thing).
I only really got down to any serious goal-planning in July. Before that, my life was much more haphazard! Some of my goals I reached (some I surpassed) and some I failed utterly miserably at. But, the key for me, was not only to list what had worked and what hadn’t, but to think why.
I won’t bore you with the minutiae, but what became blindingly clear to me as I did my review was that I had done the things I believed in.

“A goal is a dream with legs”

The key word in that sentence is dream. I generally had not attained goals that were not part of my dream, either because I had not made time for them or had done them with so little heart or soul they hadn't succeeded.

There are many things I could do in my life.
There are far fewer things that I dream of doing.
There are even fewer things that I yearn to do.

One thing that is not limitless though is time. I don’t have the time to do all the things I could do. I may be lucky enough in this life to do all the things I dream of doing. But the chances are, I won’t even get the time to do all the things I yearn to do.

And then the voice in my head asked, "How many lives do you think you will have?" and when I said, "Just one," it asked me to ask myself:

If I'm not yearning to do it, or it's not essential... why am I squandering my life on it?

Wednesday, 28 December 2011

Review: Lamy 2000 fountain pen

I do love a nice fountain pen and I had been looking for a good fountain pen with a fine nib, which was preferably able to be filled from bottled ink. I asked Gerard – one of the people I have come into contact with through Philofaxy (read his review of the Glenroyal organiser here…) – for advice and he suggested the Lamy 2000.
Now, unlike many, I have not been enamoured of the Lamy fountain pens – I don’t like the viewing window in the barrel of the Lamy Safari (and others) – either aesthetically or functionally as I fear it would rub on my fingers/hand as I wrote. Anyway, Gerard immediately suggested the Lamy 2000 and also said that he had one he was happy to let me ‘road test’ and if I liked it, to buy it from him. He also said the viewing window was very small and wouldn't rub.
Just before I left work for the holidays, a parcel arrived from Gerard, including the Lamy 2000 and a lot of other ‘paper, pens and ink goodies’ for me! [Thank you Gerard!] I didn’t have chance to use the fountain pen until after Christmas though. I needed to write thank you cards and I also owed letters to a few people, so I decided I would use these opportunities to try out the pen.

[picture from Lamy website]

I really wanted to like this pen. It looks stylish, is a design classic and the nib wrote well… [Yes, I know you are all sensing a but here…]

But… after writing with it for a couple of hours, my palm felt as if I had been hanging from a cheese-wire. Within one letter I had cramped up in my hand; by three letters the arthritis in my thumb was screaming and when I had finished, I could barely open my hand out. The pen and I are not going to be partners.
I don’t quite know why the pen hurt so much to use, but it felt as if the weight of the pen was too far back (even with the lid lying on the desk) and that therefore I was having to really grip the barrel as I was writing.
Also, although the nib was beautifully smooth, it laid down a lot more ink than my other fountain pens do. In fact, so much so that there was bleed-through to the reverse side of my favourite writing paper (which doesn’t happen with any of my broader nibbed pens).

So, it was not to be, and I will be returning the pen to Gerard forthwith. My parents gave me some money at Christmas and so DH and I might go to Edinburgh and see if there are any nice fountain pens for me in the sales… Any other recommendations, anyone?

Monday, 26 December 2011

Renovating the Cavendish

As many of you know, I recently became the owner of two Cavendishes. The first to arrive was the older, more used one, and I decided that if the other one was in better nick, I would move into that and renovate the more used one.

The Cavendish was a little tired and ‘lived in’ looking. More Rebus than Morse. It didn’t have any major dings but there were some marks that looked like it had had a prolonged encounter with a spiral-bound notebook at some point. There were a few marks and the leather was a bit grubby but nothing fundamentally wrong.

A bit tired but fundamentally sound...

With the flash, the spiral-binding marks are clearer

The Cavendish opened out

After reading about various renovations and looking online, I found some “Lord Sheraton’s Leather Balsam” which had beeswax and almond oil etc in it. That buffed it up very nicely, but didn’t do anything about the marks from the spiral binding. I had earlier read Vanjilla’s post about using Nivea (yes, I wondered if she was barking mad too, but she’s not!). I didn’t have quite the same kind of Nivea but I did have some intensive moisturising hand-cream by them. I thought I would give it a shot.

tools of the trade! The large white smear is the intensive treatment of the spiral-binding marks

Well, it worked! The indentations are almost 100% gone – just the two deepest are slightly visible.

shiny, buffed front cover

what a difference!

opened out again
The filofax will always look second-hand and never ‘as new’ despite Lord Sheraton and Nivea’s best efforts, but it looks a darn sight better than it did!

Friday, 23 December 2011

Filofax clasps (size DOES matter!)

Well, I moved into Cavendish #1 and have started renovating Cavendish #2 (more on that another day). My first impressions of the Cavendish are:
1) I wish it would lie flat (but the more used Cavendish #2 lies a lot flatter so maybe it will come with time…) 
2) what were filofax thinking of with the clasp/strap thing that is just a bit too short.

Surely the point of having 30 mm rings and two pen loops would be that you can carry more…? But the fastener could do with another cm of wiggle room (at least) I would say.

Anyway, scientist as I claim to be and being sure that my baroque had more space, I decided to measure the straps on each. Now, measuring this was a bit tricky and so I ended up jamming the ruler-end against the edge of the binder, using the ruler to pin down the strap and weighting the other end of the ruler to make it stay still while I took pictures. Hence each strap measurement is about 5 mm short of reality (but this is the same for each strap I measured as I used the same method). I figured that the measurement I needed was from the edge of the binder to the middle of the press-stud.

First up, the Cavendish (30 mm rings).

Cavendish strap length

Then the baroque (23 mm rings).

Baroque strap length

And out of curiosity, the A5 Finchley (25 mm rings).

A5 Finchley strap length

Then I noticed that although the baroque was miles ahead in the length stakes, the other half of the press-stud (on the front cover) is much further away from the edge of the binder. Out came the ruler again to take measurements of this distance.


Cavendish, press-stud to binder edge measurement


Baroque, press-stud to binder edge

A5 Finchley:

A5 Finchley, press-stud to binder edge

Hmm. Now to do some sums. The Baroque strap length is 7.8 cm (including the error mentioned earlier) and the press-stud is 3.5 cm from the edge of the cover, leaving a working length of 4.3 cm. The same maths for the Cavendish (5.8 cm - 1.5 cm) also leaves 4.3 cm. For the Finchley it’s  4.8 cm (7.3 - 2.5 cm).

Why does the Cavendish have the same working length as a binder with smaller rings and only one pen loop? Surely it should be longer…? The 25 mm binder has a longer loop (and 2 pen loops incidentally). I feel like I am not quite able to take advantage of the extra ring space and the extra pen loop.

Picture of the Cavendish from the side (long edge). The other pen is a Coleto 4 colour pen that Gerard sent me (thanks Gerard!!). Look at that strap straining away!

Side-on. Tight strap!

And a picture from the side (short edge). Look at that unused ring space!

Space to fill...!

I’m wondering if you can get extensions for the straps, like you can for bras…?

Hope everyone has a happy Christmas!

Sunday, 18 December 2011

Moving into the new Cavendish

Warning – post is long and picture heavy!

Well, I had wanted to wait until my leather cream (which I’m going to use on the other Cavendish to restore it) had arrived but then, the post came yesterday and there was no leather cream and if I didn’t move into the Cavendish today it would be Wednesday before I could and I’m not that patient.
I bought the Cavendish(es) from eBay and this one arrived in a box!

Box - dated 2005
When I look at the box, it has 2005 on it (top RHS) – does that mean the Cavendish was around on the filofax site in that year?
Anyway, it came very nicely wrapped in tissue paper…

and inside, there he was…

I also bought a couple of new things for him (though have already changed my mind on one of them… see later)…

In my haste I had started moving in before I had taken all the pictures...
Here are some pictures of the ring-size comparison…
side by side, Cavendish on left

with ruler to see the ring size... (baroque)

Um... is that on the diameter...?
Plus, what my baroque looked like before he got moved…

What the Cavendish looks like with the same contents…

And now a walk through of what’s in there…
Credit cards and other loose cards I need in went in the front slots; my guinea-fowl card from Malawi (which always makes me smile) in a top-opening pocket:

Some vouchers in a (new) top-opening pocket (LHS) and stamps in a (new) zip-lock pocket (since abandoned as it makes the other pages stick up too much, so the stamps are now in one of the card slots):

Notes section (which is my ‘collect’ area – all random things get scribbled here and then sorted later):

I wasn't sure if the dividers would be too monochrome, but I like them
Goals section:

In the goals section I have written out goals for each of the main areas of my life – health, work, Chimwemwe, writing etc. – and at the front of the goals section are my goal summary sheets (key area e.g. Chimwemwe, is written next to the key symbol, then under that would be the goal (for example raising £500) and then a list of the projects involved with accomplishing the goal):

blank key area sumamry
Behind that is more detailed planning with a sheet for each project and the project summary on the front and a list of ‘next actions’ on the back. I have blogged about this before in a guest post on PaperLoveStory which you can find here. Things from the next action lists get transferred to my monthly goals sheets (see below) and then to weekly goals/planning sheets (see below again).

Diary section (which has multiple diary versions in it):

First section in the diary is a month to view (printed using the DIY planner software onto blank filofax paper). This lets me do long-range planning and only big things get to go into this (birthdays, events, holidays etc):

Month to view using the DIY planner programme
Then there are the month planning sheets (pink) which list all the goals and to-do lists for the month:

Behind the monthly planning sheets are a series of weekly planning sheets which list the weekly goals and to-do lists. At the end of each week I do a weekly review (which is written on the reverse of the weekly list and which you can see sneaking in on the LHS here):

New week's plan on the RHS; review of previous week on LHS
Then there is a Today marker and some day to page diary sheets where detailed planning occurs for each day:

Then there is a weekly review checklist, then the remaining weekly sheets for the rest of the month, then a monthly review checklist, then week to view diary (usually covering a month back and three months forward, but with the extra space it will move to either 6 months forward or the whole year…). There is another Today marker marking the current week in that section.

Then comes the Lists section (working overtime at the moment planning Christmas – what presents, for whom, wrapped or not, etc. etc. etc.):

Then the Info section which has general info (and all those info sheets that come with the diary) then my list of contacts in an A-Z section:

Right at the back there is a card-holder with loyalty cards for various stores, plus my donor card etc and in the back cover I keep my paper money (plus will use the other pocket for stuffing things in when I haven’t time/can’t be bothered to put them in the filofax properly, like receipts etc.):

The outer back cover has a zipped pocket in which I will keep coins.

So, after all the banging on about the extra space the massive rings give me, what else will be going in there?
Well, other than the extra diary pages already mentioned and the new top-opening pocket for vouchers, there will be some more packing lists. I have a number of packing lists (and yes, they are all slightly different!) written out on index cards – thin enough not to take up too much space but sturdy enough to refer to a lot. I have packing lists for: a weekend away (city break); a weekend away (walking); away for external examining; away for proper holiday (UK); away for proper holiday (abroad); away to Malawi (rainy season); away to Malawi (hot season). They don’t take up much space but they save me having to think about what to pack! Until now, they haven’t lived in the filofax (and I have frequently lost them which is really annoying as I generally find them again the moment I have re-written them!).
What else? Well, some more note paper and in the list section, better lists as to what size my DH actually wears, rather than what he thinks he wears (after a few orders where I have asked him what size leg-length/collar/etc he is and then had to send the things back because his factual recall of the information wasn’t accurate!).

Anyway, I hope you have enjoyed the tour around my new Cavendish.

Wednesday, 14 December 2011

Cavendish filofaxes are like buses...!

I don’t know, I wait ages for a personal sized Cavendish to come along and then four do! There’s one on Philofaxy in the AdSpot, which I didn’t see until after I had put a bid on one on eBay. The one on eBay was a bit battered and so when another, unused one came along I put a bid on that too, thinking I could always sell the first if I won both.

Well, b****er me if I didn’t go and win them both!

[There was a another one appear on eBay (which went unsold and has now been relisted).]
So, what’s a girl woman to do with two Cavendishes?? Well, the one that arrived first could do with a little bit of TLC (I wouldn’t have put as big a bid on if I had seen any of the others but I have been waiting for a Cavendish filofax for ages!) – it has been “used but not abused” according to its previous owner (and I would concur). Nothing a bit of leather cream won’t sort out – just a few scuffs and so on. Once I have given it some TLC I will sell it.

As for the other, assuming it is “as new” when it arrives, I will try and hold off moving into it until I break for the Christmas holiday.

“Hang on,” some of you might be crying, “What about the baroque? You know, the one you eschewed the Malden for? The one you have just about claimed undying love for?? The style you already have two of???”

Well, I still adore the baroques and will probably rotate through the Cavendish, the pink baroque and the turquoise/teal baroque. But, why have I wanted a Cavendish so much?

It has 30mm rings! In a personal!

That’s why.

I use my day-to-day filofax for everything – wallet, notes, diary, goals, address book, lists, everything (ooh… sounding a teensy bit like Gary Oldman in ‘Leon’…). And although the baroque isn’t creaking at the seams, that’s because at the moment I only have three months of diary (WO2P) in there when really, I would like to have until June 2012 in there. With all that extra ring-size I should be able to fit in all the diary I could ever want.

Oh, and did I mention that it also has two pen loops?

The interior/exterior layout is great for me too – on the inside left-hand cover it has 8 credit card slots and a full-height pocket behind; on the back inside cover it has two pockets – one full height and one part height. On the back (exterior) is has a zipped pocket. Since I use my filofax as a wallet as well as an organiser, to have so many credit card slots is excellent, and the exterior zipped pocket is really useful for change. I’m also really picky about my credit card slots and don’t like the ones that are just cut into the strip of leather – I want them with a bound edge (which is how the Cavendish is).
I have actually been coming to the conclusion that the older models (such as the Cavendish and Portland) are much better designed (for me). Of course, if you don’t want a zillion card slots and pockets and what-nots they are probably over-designed.


It has 30mm rings guys!!! 

Hands up those of you who wouldn’t cope with a bit more wiggle-room in your filofax?

Mmm. As I thought.

[Post with pictures will come soon.]
[p.s. Steve, the Filofax God has pointed out that my original claims of 33mm rings is the external diameter and I should really say the rings are 30mm as this is the internal diameter. They are still huge!]

Tuesday, 29 November 2011


The good folks over at Philofaxy are setting up an archive of pictures of all the filofaxes in the universe, including interior shots. I have added pictures of my Portland, mini Baroque, personal Baroques, pocket Cavendish and A5 Finchleys (though, of course, not a purple one!). I figured that there would be enough other pictures of dominoes to not put pictures of mine up.
However, in doing this, I was at one point surrounded by filofaxes as I sat here sorting out what tags and descriptions to do, inhaling a lovely leather smell. The downside of this was that I started havering over whether I could move into my pocket Cavendish or not (before re-reading my decision from earlier and deciding I still agreed with everything I had said there!).
The upside was, I was cured of my Malden curiosity, as I realised that the two main types of filofax I would prefer to have if I were ever to move out of the Baroques would be a personal Portland (in hopefully a nice colour) or a personal Cavendish.

Sunday, 27 November 2011

Still no Finchley in purple...

Well, I saw an A5 purple Finchley (binder only) on eBay and wondered whether I would finally get one... I don't really need one. I have a jade green Finchley (A5) which I use at work but it's seeming a bit insipid. I used to love the colour but now I want something a bit more vibrant I think.
Anyway, I put my bid on, but got pipped at the post so I am still not the owner of a purple Finchley (and I really don't need one enough to get one in the 50% off sale...).

I'm still miffed that people who seemed to order after me in the Swedish sale got their order but mine wasn't fulfilled. I'm happy for them - don't get me wrong - but miffed that I didn't get mine!

The other question is... do I get a crimson Malden? No, I don't need one, and I have always said I'm happy with my Baroques (which I am!)... but will some of me feel like I "missed out" if they go and I haven't bought one?

Saturday, 19 November 2011

Thursday, 17 November 2011

New Moleskine small diary

I’ve bought myself a small Moleskine diary for 2012. I keep a daily journal and for the last few years I have used the A5 Ciak day to page diaries, which are great (see previous post here). But, I also wanted to have a small diary to record other things. I like to keep a ‘positive things/gratitude’ record so that when The Black Dog starts to nip my heels, I can get the notebook out and read through it. I’d also like to try and keep a record of fluid intake and fruit/veg intake – none of which I especially want to record in my large diary (as I don’t carry that around with me and The Black Dog can, frankly, strike at any time). For a while, I was recording this in my filofax and maybe I should have bought the two pages to a day inserts and continued to do that, but I have been (happily) using my day-to-page diary just as a planner (not as a record) and I’m still fairly undecided as to whether I will even keep the inserts (as they are not terribly exciting and I do have a ‘proper’ record of my day in my bound journal). The likelihood is that I will bin them after about a year and I wouldn’t want to bin my positive thoughts notes.
So, I went ahead and bought a small Moleskine hardback diary. It’s 5½ inches by 3½ inches by an inch, so small enough to be carried around in any handbag (as well as my filofax) and with the hardback cover, hopefully tough enough too. In some ways the similar sized Ciak would have been nice as then there is some way of keeping a pen attached (using the horizontal elastic closure) and next year, I will probably use one of them instead, but because it was fairly cheap via Amazon, I bought myself the Moleskine.

New Moleskine small diary
It came with a load of stickers which I will probably use in my filofax rather than in this diary. It also came with a thin notebook which seems quite pointless to me (as I always have nicer notepaper in my filofax). I think the black Moleskine diaries have an address book which might have been more use if my filofax started to run out of space – I could use the mini address book from the Moleskine and just tuck it into one of the filofax pockets.
As for the rest of the diary… there’s the standard info page at the front, some personal data pages (which I will leave blank), 2012 at a view, then a series of month per pages for 2012, a list of international holidays (they never include Malawian ones in any diary!), 2013 at a view, travel planning pages, a world-time map, international dialling codes, internet codes and plate codes, measures and conversions, international clothes sizes, a page with a ruler down the side… and then the diary starts. Most of these info pages are no use to me but I will leave them in so as not to spoil the book.
Each page has the times ‘8’ to ‘20’ down the side, then a space, then right at the bottom, a space to record the weather and the temperature. As I will be using this to record positive things, I don’t need the time slots. I haven’t fountain-pen tested it yet but I know my Moleskine notebooks have been fine so I am expecting this one to be too. There is the usual pocket in the back (currently holding the silly notebook and the stickers) and elastic closure. The red is a bit orange for my taste (oh, and clashes quite hideously with both turquoise and pink baroques… bit of handbag horror) but okay. The Ciak red is nicer.

Does not lie flat!
I’ll see how it goes once the New Year starts.