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 sigh 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

Tuesday, 8 December 2015

Erin Condren 2016 Life Planner unboxing and first impressions - including link to $10 off your first order :)

It's here!  After much deliberating which diary to buy for next year, and hours quite a lot of time looking at pretty stationary online, my gorgeous Erin Condren 2016 Life Planner has arrived!  Even the box it arrived in is pretty!

After looking at many options, such as Filofax and family calenders, I opted for the Erin Condren Life Planner.  The possibility of collating all the day-to-day tasks, future appointments, meal-planning, shopping lists, other musings and general notes appealed to me.  It even has a double sided wallet for storing paperwork e.g. appointment letters.  Ready to ship covers are available, or some designs can be personalised with your name, initials or family name.

Erin Condren products famously arrive carefully packed, to keep your order safe during shipping.  Each order is wrapped with jumbo bubble wrap.

Whilst it's not stated on their website, each first customer order includes some stationary freebies:
  • Cellophane wallet with stickers and a voucher for $10 off your next purchase :)
  • Postcard with motivational quote
  • Sticker with a saying

In this order I purchased:
  • 2016 Life planner - Watercolor palette cover, vertical layout
  • Elastic bands - Sherbet 
  • Pack of 6 markers - Fleur feliz
My initial impressions of the life planner are positive.  I live too far from their stores to have viewed one in person, so based this purchase upon their website information and pictures.  The spiral coil appears sturdy and of good quality.  The cover appears robust and fit for purpose.  The front and back cover can be popped on and off.  So if you fancy a different design during the year, you can order another set!  The paper doesn't feel like it will tear easily.  I've yet to use the markers and elastic bands, but will keep you posted on how they fare!

A few pics inside the front cover .....

Each month begins with a motivational quote.  This acts as a bookmark, as it has a laminated tab with the name of the month.  This is followed by an overview of the month spread across two pages, which includes a sidebar titled "Goals".

Then it's straight into the month.  The main feature is each of the seven days of the week, which have three vertical boxes.  I plan to use mine for morning, afternoon and evening.  But the headings of each box have been left blank for your own use e.g. work, home, kids etc  There are also some lined areas for notes.  Each month ends with a full lined page.

And that's the months sections of the Life Planner!  At the back there are some extras:
  • Pages of paper - lined, graph and blank
  • Stickers - two sheets of pre-printed (e.g. birthday, dentist) and two sheets of blank stickers
  • Two sided wallet for storing paperwork.  This comes with a Perpetual Calender (calender for entering recurring events e.g. birthdays, anniversaries
  • And finally, a clear plastic pouch which can be sealed.  This comes full of more lovely Erin Condren goodies...!  These include extra stickers, compliment cards, coil clip and friend invites.

I can't wait to start using my new Life Planner in January.  Watch out for a further review and would I we-purchase? blog in 2016!  If you want to get your hands on one of these planners, check out the website.  It comes in a vertical layout, hourly layout (like vertical but broken into hourly timeslots) and traditional horizontal diary format.  To get $10 credit, just follow this link -

Referral Link :

Erin condren also do other accessories and stationary bits ..... and they're all so pretty ..... oh, how to resist the temptation?!!

Cheerio for now
first time mammy

All opinions expressed in this blog are my own.  I purchased all items featured and have not been paid for this blog.

Friday, 4 December 2015

A suggestion for a new Olympic sport .....

..... so all this week I've been thinking I'm going to contact the International Olympic Committee to suggest an entry for the 2016 Olympics ..... toddler nappy changing!!!  This past week has proven to me that this particular challenge requires agility, involves some wrestling, a great deal of weight lifting (approx one and a half stone), persistence and determination .....  all of which are qualities required of elite athletes.

This new stage of being a toddler in my daughter's life brings many joys as she experiments with her new found mobility and explores the world around her.  But it's not without it's challenges ..... some of her favourite haunts are bins, fireplaces, showers, drawers and toilets; it's a pity her mother always seems to interrupt these adventures!

It's December; Christmas is coming .....
Even though Christmas merchandise has been in local stores since September, the Christmas season is now officially upon us.  Although a busy time of year, it can be lots of fun, especially for little people!  And of course the big question I've been asked lots over the past two weeks is "What's your little one getting for Christmas?".  It's provoked my husband and I to consider what gifts we'll buy for her.  And then, of course, to question how much to spend?  Where is the line between celebrating and spoiling?  I came across a little post this week which I found interesting and thought I'd share it with you all.

Whether in agreement or not, it's certainly food for thought!  What do you make of it?

Cheerio for now
first time mammy