Monday, 20 November 2017

2018 Erin Condren 12 month life planner review including link for $10 off your first order!

As ever, the packaging was pretty and a delight to see coming through the door!  Credit where credit's due, Erin Condren knows how to wrap a pretty parcel!  

This review features a 12 month 2018 Erin Condren life planner wi:h the following features;
*  platinum coil
*  neutral colour scheme
*  vertical layout
*  watercolour world planner covers (personalisation available on the Erin Condren website)

The bubble wrap used kept the coiled planner in place and perfectly protected!  My past experience of platinum coils has been excellent, I have no criticisms to make (in contrast to many reviews I've read of the gold, rose gold and black coil options, all of which appear to chip.  As a result, coiled life planners with these options appear to look worn and damaged easily).

All the usual goodies were included with an online order; planner pouch, coil connector, perpetual calender, sticker and inspirational quote postcard.  This time round, the box did not contain a printed order summer.  Therefore there was no priced order sheet to quickly dispose of, or remove from the possible path of a husband who does not fully appreciate pretty stationary!

A peek inside........


Add your goals, or inspirational quotes of your own!

Each month is preceded by a notes page, and an inspirational quote page.  These are left blank for you to "doodle" or colour, if you wish to.

This is followed by a two-page overview of the month, with a sidebar for notes or to-dos.

A typical week........

I love the clean simple lines of the neutral colour option!  I find the painted petals on each page of the 2018 colour option distracting.  I'm a paper planner who tends to shy away from stickers.  Instead, I colour code my entries into my Erin Condren life planner.  In weekly spreads, I use the following system:

 I use each of the three boxes (top to bottom) for morning, afternoon and evening. Under the bottom boxes I note things like mail/deliveries I'm expecting or refunds to card I'm expecting. I have a checkbox beside each so I can see at a quick glance if something has been received or needs chased up.

I use the sidebar (lines left of Monday) for meal plan and any non-recurring items to be added to my shopping list (I have a list of recurring items in the notes section at the back of the life planner). 

Colour-coding: GREEN for an activity (e.g. going to a baby group, meeting someone at park, having someone over to house). Green lets me know we need to be up, dressed and ready for action either out of the house, or receiving guests! RED is for essential tasks to be completed that day (e.g. sending an email, ordering something online, paying insurance etc). Tasks in red are non-negotiable and are a priority! ORANGE is used for meal plan and non-recurring shopping list items. PURPLE is for anything "other", that is unusual, often non-recurring and warrents my attention, in order to be remembered! 

So this actually leaves me with two other pens not currently in use! (so I can easily switch out, when one of my others runs out!). I find this lets me see at a quick glance if we're having a largely "at home day" or "out and about day" etc.  I love the functionality of being able to see the "flow of the day" at a quick glance, and the type of activities that need to be completed.

Some notes pages........

More space to "doodle" and colour!........

A space for notes and important 2019 dates!

An inspirational quote, and pages of stickers that are included as standard.

A handy pocket for storing appointment letters etc (storage in front and back).

Back cover


If you think that paper planning is for you in 2018, I highly recommend the Erin Condren Life Planner.  I love how the coiled life planner allows for pages to be flipped right over and I love the clean-cut neutral colour scheme! It is free from distraction and looks like a joy to use!  It is such a useful organisational tool; enabling me to manage time, achieve goals and journal!

Click here for a 10% discount when you make your first order, using this Referral Link :

It will entitle you to 10% off your first order when you set up a new account, so why not treat yourself to some accessories also?!  Note to self; make a note to post a "would I re-purchase this item?" blogpost in Autumn 2018.

Cheerio for now,
first time mammy

When three became four............

Much time has passed and  a lot has happened since the last blog post.....three became four!

Our darling eldest daughter now has a little sister!  With a little over two years age gap between the girls, life is certainly busy.  And yes, they're right when they say "you've got your hands full!".  But what "they" forget to add, is that my heart is also full!  For I'm glad to report that when my family expanded, love multiplied, and did not divide.  Like many expectant mums, I wondered how life would change for my toddler once her sibling arrived.  Would I love her as much? Would she get enough attention? Would she love me as much? Would she like her new brother or sister? ...What on earth have we done?!!  Thankfully our firstborn has relished the role of big sister from the start.  And there is a lot of fun and chat between the girls.

So what happens now? With the littlest lady our house having just turned one, suddenly things are a little easiler.  And, in hushed tones, I'm tempted to whisper I might even have a little time on my hands.  So it's time to get back to this blog.  These are the things I'm planning to blog about over the coming weeks:
*  How to enjoy a summer holiday abroad with a toddler; top ten tips!
*  Surviving pregnancy with a toddler in tow
*  How to be overdue
*  At home with a toddler and a husband has gone back to work!!!
*  Doing, and enjoying, Christmas with a toddler
*  2018 Erin Condren 12 month life planner review (including referral link for $10 off your first purchase) Referral Link :
*  2017-2018 Erin Condren 18 month hardbound life planner review (including referral link for $10 off your first purchase) Referral Link :

If you have any other suggestions, or topics you'd like to discuss, here's your chance!  Drop me a comment in the comments section below, and we'll get talking.

As ever, cheerio for now
first time mammy

Monday, 22 February 2016

The planner community - a little bit sad or the ultimate "cool girls" stationary group?

So, it's been a while since the last blog post.  Unfortunately our household has come to sickness again and we've been off the grid.  Really hoping for everyone to be healthy and well in March!

I've been using my Erin Condren planner for a couple of months now.  Like so many others, I was nervous initially.  Scared to put pen or sticker to the perfectly smooth paper, of not completing the perfect "spread" for the week.  For if you spend just a few minutes searching "Erin Condren planner" online, you'll quickly Facebook, Instagram and Youtube are full of images, blogs and videos of "how to plan".

At first I thought these sites were merely instructional and informative.  But I quickly learned they were all part of the "planner community", who know such a thing existed?! But exist it does.  Women the world over post their reviews of Erin Condren products, how they've used stationary to plan their week, and discuss the big old chestnut; decorative or functional stickers?  There are even Facebook fan groups dedicated to planning.

And then I realised, that the women participating in these discussions very clearly consider themselves to be part of the planner community, and that some consider planning as a hobby.  I found this bizarre.  To me, the process of planning is something I've always done, and has been purely functional; it helps me prioritise tasks, manage time and achieve realistic goals.  The Erin Condren vertical planner suits me perfectly; three sections per day, which I use for morning, afternoon and evening.  I've discovered that I'm definitely a colour coding pen kind of girl, with the occasional use of a functional sticker.  And if it's a special, really special, occasion I'll use the odd decorative sticker.

But it is the concept of a virtual global planner community that intrigues me the most: women who, for the most part, never meet.  They share extremely personal data (pictures of weekly schedules, including appointments and tasks etc), communicate regularly (even Periscope is being used!) and spend a small fortune on what appears to me to be stickers many a girl used in her Brownie scrapbook in the 80's and 90's.

That was my initial impression.

It struck me as a little bit sad.  Lonely women, connecting with strangers, to indulge in an extremely solitary hobby.  It seemed so far removed from the quilting bees of yester-year, where women gathered together at the end of a busy day.  They shared their story, sorrow and joy.  There was encouragement for all, and a sense of inclusion from being one of the local community.

But as I dipped my toe into the water of the planner community, and joined in the odd conversation or two, I quickly realised that it's a little more social than I initially thought.  First there are RAKs .....  Random Acts of Kindness , where one person will send some pretty stationary goodies free of charge to another in the group.  Next I noticed group orders; where one person orders on behalf of everyone interested, and splits the hefty Erin Condren shipping costs ..... particularly helpful if one lives overseas!  And then I stumbled upon planner meet-up groups; where planners living in the same locality meet up, presumably to share ideas, stationary resources and other advice.  And so the picture builds.  Far from lonely girls sitting in front of a computer screen, crying into their tea, I've come to appreciate the planner community for what it is: busy women, trying to get organised, and doing it in their own unique style.  For some, this means "no white spaces" (Google it).  For others, it means an intricate colour coding system of pens and stickers. Either way, it all helps us achieve our goals, and the ultimate planner goal ..... planner peace!

Cheerio for now
first time mammy

Monday, 25 January 2016

Finding jelly in the changing station and other sure signs your baby is now a toddler!


So last week when reaching into a shelf for a new packet of wipes I found myself grabbing an unfamiliar packet.  On further inspection, I was relieved to discover this unidentified squishy object was an unopened packet of jelly! And then it hit me ..... our baby was now officially a toddler!

As an only child (so far!) our little one is still referred to as "the baby" by older cousins and children at playdates.  Then our baby started to pull herself up to stand by the sofa.  Then she started to sidestep along the sofa and similarly sizes windowsills.  Then she tentatively attempted one little step towards Mummy and Daddy.  One step became two.  Two steps became three.  Each development meticulously recorded in the baby book and camcorder, by parents of a precious first born.

And then last week I found jelly in the changing station!  At sixteen months, our daughter has mastered walking and is now running!  Her little hands can reach as high as her determination will let her and nothing is safe!  Having accepted our baby is now a toddler, here were some of the telltale signs we saw .....
  • Low level shelves and tables are now empty.  They did have things on them.  Notepads, pens, 'phones; just the household fayre.  And then little fingers could reach them, and press buttons on the phone (there were the 'phonecalls to 999, but that's a whole 'nother blog post!).  Little hands could reach these things, put them into a little mouth, run with nice sharp pencils, lift expensive or sentimental ornaments.  Low level shelves and tables are now empty.
  • The bathroom door is always shut.  I've discovered my darling daughter has a penchent for dropping things to hear what sound they'll make when they reach the nearest surface.  And objects falling into water gives her particular delight!  The toilet has had many a bottle of shampoo, pen, bathtoy dropped into it.  These objects are not left in our daughter's reach, I hasten to add.  But somehow little fingers seem to reach into and upto higher than I'd ever expect! The bathroom door is always shut.
  • The remote controls are stored out of sight on the highest shelf available.  For my daugher can now reach where they used to be kept.  She can switch on the DVD player.  She can press play.  She can even adjust the volume! The remove controls are stored out of sight on the highest shelf available.  
If this is the mischief she's up to at sixteen months, what excitement will the next six months bring?!!! What adventures has your little one had, exploring the world with their new found mobility and independence?

Cheerio for now
first time mammy

Monday, 4 January 2016

New year ..... new exercise regieme ..... Crossfit

So, the bells have rung and we're into our first full week of 2016.  Like many other people I'm reflecting on the old and considering what changes to make in the new year.  I'm not one for new year's resolutions; I find they're often not specific, achievable or still being implemented in February.

So this year I considered what habits I'd like to include in my lifestyle; changes that can be absorbed into my time available, disposable income and fit well with family life.  Rather than focus on a "fad" exercise craze (boxercise, dancercise, zumba, I've done them all!) I'd like to focus on body conditioning and strengthening.

This is where the Crossfit comes in.  It's been around for a while now.  And to be honest, it first smacked of "fad" exercise craze to me.  I didn't want to get sucked into another programme of activities, or just follow the crowd, and have avoided it for six months.  But it appears to me that people who engage with crossfit adopt many of it's principles and approaches to their life in general (determination, perseverence, committment etc).  And that's why it appeals now.

Image result for inspirational quotes starting exercise

As this new year starts, I want to adopt a healthier attitude to fitness and exercise.  I want to view it in the context of health, and not appearance. And I want to "tone up".  So the classes are booked.  The workout gear has been hoked out of the back of the cupboard.  A fresh bottle of water has been bought.  I'm ready ..... I think!  I'll let you know how I get on!

What changes are you making in 2016?

Cheerio for now
first time mammy

All opinions expressed in this blog are my own.  All Crossfit sessions paid for by me.  I have not been paid for this blog.

Monday, 28 December 2015

Missing breastfeeding

My little lady is now 15 months. I breastfed until she was just over a year. After an extremely difficult first week, where I was tempted to give up but 
if I'm honest stubbornness and pride drove me to continue I persisted. After that I generally had a pretty good run at it. I had a plentiful supply of milk. The baby was hungry. I never had mastitis or thrush. I had a blocked duct once, which resolved after 24 hours of heat and massage.

I know that nostalgia can add a rose tint to anything. But this week I've really been missing breast feeding. I was a bit emotional about it all at around 11 months, when considering how long to breastfeed for. After much careful consideration and observation, I decided to stop just after a year and this worked well, both both baby and I. This past week my daughter has had "extreme teething" and a horrible viral dose of hand/foot/mouth (some areas of skin were so bad antibiotics were required). These two things in such a short space of time have really prompted some sort of grief for not being able to comfort her in this special way, by "putting her on". Of course I've been able to do other things such as hugging, holding, singing etc but it's just not the same!

Has anyone else ever felt like this?

Now that we've moved on from the breast-feeding groups, there doesn't seem to be a natural forum to reflect on the end of this phase of our lives, and to acknowledge that loss. 

I'd love to know if anyone else has had a similar experience? And as I reflect, I think of the warmest, happiest breast feeds. Mine was when dd's first smile came just after a feed. Can you remember yours?

Hoping to hear if others miss breastfeeding, how they cope with this and lots of happy stories!

Cheerio for now
first time mammy

Wednesday, 16 December 2015

An experiment in "fun" exercise .....

So I discovered a new form of torture exercise this week .....

Don't get me wrong.  I'm all for a healthy, active lifestyle, and just importantly a healthy attitude towards exercise.  But this was just pain.  Pain from start to finish!  I went to my first fitness class at an indoor trampoline park.  It had all the usual; warm up, full work-out and then a cool down.  The instructor gave great encouragement and motivation throughout.  Individual encouragement and motivation ..... I was the only one who turned up!!!  Twenty minutes into the one hour class, I felt like I had been skiing for eight hours; my quads were on fire!

Will I go back? Most likely.  Two days later and I definately feel like I've worked out.  It was much easier on my joints than running, and a lot more "fun" than hitting the gym.  A gym-bunny I am not.  I like exercise involving an activity e.g. boxercise, dancercise etc and I like exercise to be social.  So I'll probably head back next week to trampoline fitness ..... here's hoping I'm not the only one ..... my quads couldn't bear that again!

What's your favourite exercise?  Anything you recommend, especially for these cold winter months?

Cheerio for now
first time mammy