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.