My Washi Tape Collection

I can't remember where I first discovered washi tape but I can remember the first set I bought (a set of 10 thin rolls of washi tape - all different colours).  I had become hooked on watching "decorating your Filofax" videos on YouTube and needed some of the action.

I probably don't have as much washi tape as everyone thinks I do but I do keep it topped up and enjoy seeking out slightly unusual designs.  Anyway, some of you asked to see the collection, so here it is!

#BESW14 - The British Gas Big Energy Saving Week

As mentioned previously on this blog, I live in an old, end-terrace house in the North of England. It's the sort of house that manages to retain heat in the summer and is freezing cold in the winter. If there was a way of harnessing that summer warmth and saving it for the winter, believe me, we'd be up for trying it out.  

Over the past few years we have taken advantage of Government-funded and regeneration schemes to help make our house more season-friendly but we occasionally have to resort to old-fashioned methods of keeping warm.

We have turned the thermostat down by one degree to save up to £75 per year and we all throw an extra layer of clothing on.  We can often be found huddling under one of my very special crochet blankets too (one in the lounge, one on each bed).  With the money we save we like to take a trip or two out to the beach, have a nice long walk with the dog and treat ourselves to the best fish and chips in Lancashire on the way back.

This week, Netmums are hosting a British Gas Big Energy Saving Week and are concentrating on a different area of the house each day, providing top tips on how to save money and energy in each corner of your home.  My favourite tip from today is to exchange the family desktop computer to a laptop which could save you up to £16 per year in electricity bills as new laptop models use around 85% less energy!

A while back, I crowd-sourced some top energy saving tips which you can find here (or click on the image below).  There are some amazing pointers in there especially about leaving equipment on standby and how to get your freezer to run more efficiently.  Let me know if you have any to add and what you will be doing this winter to save money on energy.

energy-saving tips

Follow @BritishGas on Twitter and search the hashtag #BESW14 for more updates.

DISCLAIMER : This is a Netmum's sponsored review. To find out more click the button. You can also view my own disclosure policy hereI am a member of the Netmums Blogging Network, a unique community of parent bloggers from around the UK who have been handpicked by the Netmums team to review products and brands on their behalf. I may have been paid expenses, and have been supplied with a product sample for this review, but retain all editorial control. All my Netmums Reviews will display the Netmums logo within the post. 

Was Judy Finnigan Right To Support Ched Evans?

I tend to avoid the programme Loose Women because it gives me 'the rage' for various reasons. However, Judy Finnigan made her debut panel appearance today and has definitely made an impression with the Great British Public, and not necessarily a positive one. 

The lunchtime discussion turned to the subject of whether convicted rapist, Ched Evans (found guilty and sentenced to five years in jail in 2012), should return to Sheffield United and his job as a football player when he is released from prison next week.

Judy Finnigan attempted to suggest that Evans had served his time (less than half of the given jail term) and that the rape was not violent and [..] the victim had had far too much to drink... 


It's obviously not just me who disagrees with the wording of her support for Evans as there seems to have been a social media storm based around her thoughts. As was mentioned by Tanya on Twitter, I wonder if Judy Finnigan's viewpoint would have been different if it was her own daughter that had been violated?

Any rapist has attempted to hold a position of power, using sex as their weapon. Evans already held a position of power because of his role in British football; one where I feel that the players in the upper-league teams are over-paid for their involvement and they use their prominence to enhance their personal lives. 

This really and truly isn't about whether someone should go back to work after going to jail. No! This is about presenting a 25-year old man with another opportunity to become a role model to so many young people when he shows no remorse for his actions. His own website houses a front page statement that maintains his innocence. Why should he return to a high-profile, privileged job where he would be celebrated on a weekly basis?

Watch the whole programme here - the article in question is at the 14 minute mark (although it's a right kerfuffle because you have to register with ITV Player, then confirm your postcode and turn AdBlock off). Much of the discussion has been transcripted on Buzzfeed too.

I'd be interested in your thoughts too.  Let me know in the comments.

7 Steps To A Social Media Storm

How do you know when a news item is of social importance?

Have you ever noticed what happens when an interesting news story breaks? Tomorrow's *chip paper stories still have a life span even though they are of mediocre interest. Here is my version of the seven steps to creating a social media trend.

Breaking News, social importance, trending, social media,

1. People attempt to be the first to (re)share the 'breaking news' update in their own social network, cross-posting a short update on all their main channels, sometimes even leaving out the official link.

2. Wikipedia entries are hurriedly updated with information changing rapidly as further details are released.

3. Buzzfeed create a real article as opposed to a comedy listical.

4. Bloggers blog about it. Vloggers vlog about it. Clickbait titles with non-related content are published with the hope that website statistics will increase (albeit for a short period of time).

5. Professional social commentators attempt to predict who/what else will be next in relation to the news item.

6. Daytime lifestyle and discussion programmes generate a social interest feature based around a tenuous link with someone who has experienced similar. Evening news programmes attempt the same. All are accompanied with encouragement to become amateur social commentators on a social media platform of choice using a specific (trending or new) hashtag.

someone is wrong on the internet, cartoon
7. More blogs and vlogs appear and discussions happen across social media platforms and then this happens...

...which continues until the next 'breaking news' item.

Which stage do you normally come in at? Have I missed any steps out?

*does anyone know what the digital version of that phrase is?

#LOVEstationery : An Introduction To Bureau Direct

Last week I announced my blogger relationship with Bureau Direct, a most fabulous online stationery store that I had ordered from in the past.  I have been challenged to select something each month that I would like to try out. Not an easy task when you have the pick of the website.

However, I know that I want my stationery to be fun and affordable. I want it to be useful rather than decorative and I want to enjoy using it. So I took my time choosing a few items that I could use every day and got rather excited when the parcel arrived, so much so that I decided to share it with anyone who wanted to watch...

#LOVEstationery, Bureau Direct, ink, pens, notebooks, sticky notes, notebook strap, staple-less stapler,
So after using everything I ordered for a few days, here are my thoughts.

The mini notebooks are just the right size to tuck in the back of my Filofax or my handbag and the paper doesn't bleed as it is very good quality. The sticky notes came in tabs of 20 stickers so I removed five from each pile and stuck them on the dashboard of my Filofax to use when needed. They look really unusual sticking out from the pages of my bullet journal. 

My BOAT (Book Of All Things) is crammed full of notes, flyers and business cards from meetings and conferences so I chose the notebook strap to hold it all together. The bonus with the Papelote straps are the really handy pen loops that are incorporated (great when you use a moleskine notebook which doesn't incorporate a pen holder).  Something to bear in mind though is that I selected the A5 size notebook strap and this fits perfectly around a personal sized notebook (eg. 20cm x 13cm) and just about stretched around my tablet case but wouldn't fit around my A5 Filofax.

Now, the J. Herbin pen and ink set was the bargain of the year. It retails at £10 on the website at the time of writing and is supplied with 18 inks (you have a choice of three tins of six cartridges in a variety of colours which you can mix and match).  The colours I chose were Lierre Sauvage (green), Perle Noir (black) and Lames de Cassis (purple). The green is the exact colour of green that I love writing in and the black is... well... black. The purple is the one I was looking forward to using the most and was expecting a deep purple colour but it isn't as dark as I hoped. It is worth noting that some online reviews have mentioned that the nib feels quite scratchy and the only time I have found that is on poor quality paper. The more I am using the pen, the better it is feeling.  The barrel is a good thickness and weight for everyday use too - I do have to have the lid perched on top though as it is a small pen. I write A LOT every day and have used about a quarter of one cartridge in a week. So, on average, this means that the three tins of cartridges will last me 18 months. Now that really IS value for money in my book!

Finally, Bureau Direct included a little surprise gift for me - an ingenious little gadget with a Japanese mechanism - the staple-less stapler.  YES, I KNOW!  My brain wouldn't compute either. Anyway, what it does is punch a hole in the paper, cut a slit behind the hole and pushes the paper through the slit. This clever cut-and-push method holds about four or five pages together.  This mini video I made might help you understand it a little more. It's so clever and is a really handy addition to my desk.

So what do you think? Have I whetted your appetite? As I'll be working with Bureau Direct for about six months, I want YOU to have a nosy through their website and challenge me to try something next month. Let's test my stationery obsession!! I'm also going to hunt out clever little gadgets, irresistible bargains and genuine recommendations.  Keep an eye on the #LOVEstationery hashtag on Twitter and my Instagram account.

Everything mentioned in this post:

I really recommend that you sign up to the Bureau Direct newsletter - it's delivered each Wednesday and an exclusive 10% discount code is shared on the first Wednesday of each month (if you miss any newsletters, you can find them here)

Because this is a blogger/brand relationship, here's a link to my disclosure policy