Let’s talk about Bullet Journals

bulletjournal062015

I’ve talked about Bullet Journals on the blog before, but I’ve been using it now for nearly a year and I’ve recently been making some changes so I thought I’d write a post about it all.

All you need to know about the basics of Bullet Journalling is here (watch the video – it’s only about three minutes long.) I’ve just started my third moleskine (I got this one, having just finished the teal one) and was wanting to make things look a bit prettier than they had been in my last book. So I fell into a Pinterest black hole and came across Robin Imhof, who has done great writing and decorating tutorials for her filofax, which can totally been ported over to a bullet journal.

At which point I fell into an Etsy blackhole, first looking at pre-made stickers for journals, and then when that proved too expensive, at print-your-own stickers, and THEN clip art that you can turn into your own customised print-your-own stickers. (Yes, I fell hard. My stationary love was a blaze.)

Print-your-own stickers are pretty good, especially if you know how to use photoshop a little bit, so that you can file A4 size sheets with fun clip art (like I have above), but it assumes you have the patience to cut out the stickers and peel the backing off. I’m currently using it as a way of encouraging me to stop biting my nails, because without nails it’s pretty much impossible. Think of it as a tiny bit of forced mindfulness. 😉

Anyway if you’re interested the stickers in the image above came from the following shops on etsy:

The sticker paper is just basic address label sticky paper, which I got from our local stationers. However I also got some glossy sticker paper from ebay and I think I like that more for the stickers I’m not planning on writing on.

Watching Robin’s video taught me about Frixion pens, which are erasable gel pens. Suddenly my writing is neater and it makes me want to keep the whole book looking lovely.

I have set up this current journal so that I have the index and then four double spread month pages at the front of the book, and then daily pages, and lists as I need them. (This is a great article on lists that are useful to keep.) I’ll add the autumn months as the summer goes on, but we also have a family calendar in the kitchen so I can put any notes I need onto that and then move it into my bullet journal  once I get that month sorted out. I use the daily pages as a way to keep accountable through the day. So I have the meals I’m planning to cook (so I can make the decisions all at once, and not have to think about it during the day), a log of my water, and my running/walking. Then I have my to do list, which includes various habits I’m working on, my plan for the da regarding our home education, cleaning, OxfordKitchenYarns work, things that need to remember, and events. I’ve also added a gratitude journal at the bottom of the page, which feels a lot less intimidating that having my own book for it. If there is any extra space left on the page, I’ve started writing in a quote from my pinterest quote board.

I have the book open in the kitchen during the day, so that I can refer to it often, but it only takes about 10 minutes to set up for each day, (and mostly that’s me picking the backs off stickers to be honest.) When I was just writing stuff down it probably took me 3-4 minutes a day.

I’m really pleased with the system and how adaptable it is. I certainly get more stuff done because of it, and my head feels less cluttered. The cute stickers are fun, and am enjoying ended the day with a page that I think looks good. But that’s just icing on the cake.

If you have any questions about the bullet journal system, or anything I’ve written about here, comment and I’ll do my best to answer them.

(I’m now off to tick a box.)

 

(BTW none of these links are affiliates in any way. I just like this stuff and thought you might like some of it too.)

The word for 2015 – Open

 

Unravelling 2015

Over the last couple of years, I’ve finished the year with Unravelling by Susannah Conway. I find it really interesting to go back at the end of the year and see how much I have written down has actually happened during the year. I’m sure writing it down settles it enough in my brain to actually start things happening. It’s become part of my Christmas ritual, and I think it’s well worth the time I put into it.

This year my word is Open – I want to say yes more to my children, I want to break out of some ruts that I have going on, I want to be more flexible, and less scrunched up in how I go about things.

I read a quote in the last couple of days that really resonated with me, because frankly I feel compelled to write it after that last paragraph:

One thing I’ve learned: when people end whatever they’re saying with “idk, I’m probably not making any sense,” it usually means they are telling you something very close and personal to them, something that’s such an integral part of their being that they have trouble putting it into words that do it justice.

beneaththeforest.tumblr.com

I often feel compelled to write things like that. I like to tell myself that it’s ok, because I’m not a writer (while stuffing down my secret hopes that actually I could be, maybe?)

But hey, I’ll be honest here a little bit. I want to be open to – for example – breaking out of my jeans and a tee shirt uniform, without breaking the bank, and while keeping my ‘me-ness’.

I want to be open enough to honour my children’s learning explorations, even when they feel overwhelming. I want to say yes, not just put off their requests to some point in the future.

I’m still trying to figure out how to hold myself accountable for the changes I want to make. Maybe I need to break them down more into do-able steps? Maybe I need to review the things I want to do regularly and work out what is working and what is not working?

I’m sorry this isn’t a ’10 steps doing doing whatever’ post. (I love those posts too.) It’s more a ‘here I am in the midst of it all, trying to work out how to do it too.’

Right now I’m using a habit tracking ap on my phone. This way I don’t have to keep everything in my head. (I talked about Bullet Journalling here – I’m getting better at getting things out of my head, and it definitely helps me get more stuff actually done, rather than just dreamed about.) I always have my phone in my pocket (except for right now, when FB is using it to listen to an audio book, while he plays with his lego), so I can go through my list several times a day, and use little pockets of time to get things ticked off before the end of the day.

I try to build in some slack though – I want to be able to count doing something 5 times a week a win, rather than reaching for 7, not being able to achieve it, and having to concede the win for the week. Doing something (taking my vitamins for example) 5 times a week, is better than quitting and not taking them at all, and the improvement I get (in my own head at least) of reaching high enough, without insisting on perfection), is better for it.

Again. I hope this makes sense.

So after a year of Brave (2013) and a year of Nourish (2014) comes a year of being Open.

It’s up to me to make it a good one.

Is it too late to say Happy New Year?

Book 'The Shortest Day' and zebra socks on a purple blanket

Wow. So Christmas happened! We had the usual lurgy filled early December, but W had holiday to finish up from work, so there were often the two of us around, which was novel.

Christmas itself was spend at home, skyping with family members spread far and wide, taking family walks, and eating our amazing Christmas cake, (you can compare it to last year’s cake.)

Since the new year we have been to the Panto (which was particularly good this year), and now we are back to our day to day lives of work, learning and trying to get the washing dry.

I have high hopes for 2015, but before I tuck 2014 to bed, here are the things I found that really stuck with me last year:

  • Dobble (aka Spot It – in the US) – Various blogs I read talked about this game in the run up to Christmas and I got it on a whim, but I’m really glad I did. I now keep it in my bag so that I can pull it out if we’re out and about. Plus it gets plenty of play at home too. We got the standard version, which it recommends for 6+ but my 4 year old is fine with it. (There are a ton more versions of it in the US including educational ones with letters, numbers and even sight words. There are also rugged waterproof outdoor sets, and character themed sets, like pixar and disney themed ones.)
  • Milly-Molly-Mandy by Joyce Lankester Brisley (ISBN 978-1447273066) – I never read Milly-Molly-Mandy as a child, and picked up one of the books randomly at the library. We read through that in about two sittings, (in fact we probably could have done it in one, since all three were asking for more), and have since gone back and read through the rest. In fact as well as the original books, I have some of the seasonal collections on my phone, in case I need to whip out a story on the fly. They are simple enough that my (bookworm) nearly-2 year old will sit through a story, but engaging enough that FB (who is 6 now), asks for them too. And if you like them, then you should also try Bunchy (ISBN 978-1903252222) which is by the same author.
  • Community (NBC years and now yahoo screen) – I am so late to this party. I am notoriously late to most parties, but since having children my finger is usually off the pulse, and only prodding from the BFF will get to watch something. Luckily she has great taste, and has got me into shows such as Leverage (which you should also check out if you haven’t before now), and Brooklyn Nine-Nine (ditto). She lent me the first four seasons of Community, and then sat patiently while I found the time and the head space to watch it, knowing that when I did I would be texting her to rave about it. (Which I totally did.) She told me it was basically an american ‘Spaced‘, and I didn’t believe her, because I’m a fool, and she was totally right. (Dan Harmon has admitted as much.)
  • Sarah & Duck – Everyone in our house is a bit in love with the cartoon Sarah & Duck. It’s just funny and strange and sweet. And short. It’s our go to programme when I need to brush CP’s hair, (why yes, our nearly 2 year old has hair that reaches more than halfway down her back now, and doesn’t like having it tied back), or where there is time of one more tiny programme while I serve up dinner.  The narration is done by Roger Allam. Having grown up listening to Cabin Pressure, my eldest two don’t bat an eye. I could listen to him talk for hours (though I’m still not going to listen to him read bloody Jeffrey Archer on audible. That would be going too far.
  • Bullet Journalling – I have kept notebooks off and on since I was a teenager, and as a mum I tried various types of To Do list, but after coming across the Bullet Journal video last summer I gave it a go and it’s stuck. It doesn’t keep all my plates spinning, all the time, and not everything that gets written down gets done, but it’s made me a hell of a lot more intentional and productive, and I’ve stuck at it, and don’t plan to stop any time soon.
  • Project-Based Homeschooling Master Class – After doing the Journalling for PBH week long class in the summer, I did the PBH master class last autumn and it was outstanding. Lori is a thoughtful, caring and attentive course leader, full of good ideas, honesty and solid support. I need to go through my materials and put myself through the course again in my own time to be honest. I think I’ll find just as much to learn the second time through.
  • This amazing comic about teaching art by diaemyung – I only found this yesterday, but relates to ‘teaching’ and I found it really inspiring and a Home Ed parent.
  • Junto by Basement Jaxx – In the late-90’s, when I was a student, I lived in Brixton around the corner from a club that Basement Jaxx regularly played at. Or so my housemate told me. I wasn’t cool enough for that. And I was listening to a lot of Belle and Sebastian, and Suede. Now I go running to Basement Jaxx and it’s like pure sunshine in my ears.
  • Wittertainment on Radio 5 – because who doesn’t want to listen to a load of movies I’m not actually going to see, interspersed with old-married-couple arguments and in-jokes from Mark Kermode, and Simon Mayo?
  • Running – As someone who has never enjoyed doing sport, it amazes me that I actually completely the couch to 5km program last year. But I did. And it was fantastic. I really enjoyed it. And then I hurt myself. And then winter came. BUT… the thing it that I know I can start back at a level I feel comfortable at and work my way back up again. And that feels revolutionary.

So there you go. Thanks 2014. You were a tough year in many respects, but there was some really good stuff there too.

In 2015 I’m planning more dyeing, more patterns (VAT be damned!), and more writing here.

What lit you up last year?

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