How I Will Use My Filofax And Bullet Journal In 2015



2014 was a year of many diaries for me but I always moved back towards my Filofax; it's like my magnetic North. However, in 2015 I am determined to streamline my diary usage, carry less in my Filofax and continue to Get Things Done by using my Bullet Journal (I sometimes call this my BOAT - the Book Of All Things). 

I feel I am growing tired of purple (...I KNOW!!) so there's definitely a 'green theme' for the new system - I've switched into my Sage Green Classic Botanics compact ring Filofax, I have an Emerald Leuchtturm1917 A5 with dotted paper to use as my bullet journal and a Marks Tokyo Edge Colors A5 diary in Green that will be my desk diary. I'm also using my J Herbin rollerball ink pen with the Lierre Sauvage refill as the pen that sits in my Filofax. 

I'm still trying to decide whether to carry three, six or twelve months worth of diary. Reducing the pages will make more room on the rings in the Filofax but I like to forward plan. I suppose I can always use jot things down and transfer them into the rest of the diary at some point but occasionally I have to refer back and forth to previous/future events.  I like having it there. What would you do?

Anyway, I'd love for you to watch the video I made which is a mini flip-through of my Filofax and a look at how I've set up my BOAT/Bullet Journal ready for 2015. Let me know what you think and which diary you are going to use in 2015. 





Where to buy: 
Leuchtturm1917 - Amazon (affiliate link)
Marks Tokyo Edge Colours A5 diary - Bureau Direct (blogger/brand relationship)

My Top Three (slightly bizarre) Christmas Videos

It's so near to Christmas that I can dig out those bizarre YouTube clips that I've been saving for a 'special occasion'.  Here are my top three slightly off-the-wall Christmas videos (with some extra music links for you at the end).



White Christmas

I've shared this numerous times and even though it's so obviously a set-up, this version of White Christmas with Ant & Dec and Robbie Williams still makes me giggle all the way through.





Do They Know It's Christmas

This group sing-a-long  (embedding has been disabled by the person who uploaded it so you'll have to click through to watch it) was shown on Stars in their Eyes in 1992. You've probably never seen it before - or have blanked it out of your memory - but you're unlikely to be able to unsee/unhear it this time.



All I Want For Christmas Is You

I can't choose between the Mariah Carey/Jimmy Fallon version and the Steve Kardynal/Chatroulette version so help me out here.  Tell me in the comments which one is your favourite.


       


Let me know if you've found something more bizarre! You can link to it in the comments along with your "All I Want For Christmas" vote. 

And if you're still wanting more Christmas music ramblings, you can read about my unsung heroes of Christmas, my five favourite festive tunes and my top three Christmas songs that aren't really about Christmas

7 Signs I Am A Stationery Addict

*stands up* My name is Nickie and I'm a stationery addict. Here's why:

1.  I keep a diary.  This is alongside using my Google Calendar for digital reminders. I find the act of writing something down makes it more permanent and memorable. I normally use a Filofax but for 2015 I am going to try using a Marks Storage diary (more on that in a video soon).

2.  I write lists. Lots of lists. Discovering the bullet journal system was a revelation because it meant I had a legitimate reason for writing lists. And the best thing? I actually get to cross things off those lists because I am Getting Things Done.

3.  I buy notebooks. I have to have a nice notebook to write my lists in, obviously! I prefer dot-grid paper but this is a recent appreciation and was discovered through the bullet journalling. Lines don't really do it for me any more.

4.  I love handwriting. My own is fairly neat but doesn't really have a 'flair' to it so I adore seeing other people's handwriting with the different loops and swirls that they use. It fascinates me, considering we all use the same basic method of learning to write and the letters are a specific shape.  I'm made up too when I seeing signatures, especially when written in real ink *be still my beating heart*

5.  I have to use certain pens. I most definitely cannot use the same pen all the time. Each occasion demands a different writing implement. My most favourite at the moment is the J Herbin rollerball which I've been using for a couple of months now with Lierre Sauvage (green) ink. I also love Frixion pens for note taking (you can rub them out) and a fountain pen for special occasions, 

6.  I discovered washi tape. This is literally a rabbit hole from which I may never return. When you think you have seen it all you find another pattern, colour or use. My most recent batch is all green (I'm sensing a theme here) and from the MT Tape collection so I am constantly browsing the Pinterest "washi tape uses" results - it's definitely not just for decorating my Filofax pages!

7.  I'm a little bit old school. I covet a red Silvine exercise book, I rarely use shaped erasers because I don't want to spoil them (I love the scented ones too), I sometimes dream about getting remarried just so I can pick some wedding stationery, I own a labeller and my desk is super tidy with everything in its place.

Are you a stationery addict? Stand up and declare now! 

#stationerywednesday, stationery, list,


Because this is a blogger/brand relationship with Bureau Direct, here's a link to my disclosure policy. You should also sign up to the Bureau Direct #StationeryWednesday newsletter ready for the New Year. 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). There is also a new customer discount code on the Bureau Direct website.


This Quiz Book That I Wrote

Over the past few weeks I've been slaving away over a Word document, attempting to pull together an idea that came to me in a flash of inspiration about four weeks ago. 

You may or may not know that I founded the Friday Twiz (a quiz on Twitter every Friday evening) four-and-a-half years ago. It's a small community of quizzers who come together every Friday evening to battle with their knowledge and their wit for no prize other than kudos.  After running this venture for so long I had amassed a huge bank of questions so thought I'd pull some of them together and publish them in a book.


The book 
is now available to buy on Amazon

(and it's cheaper than a cup of coffee)

You can find out more about the book here.  There are three sections in the book; an interactive quiz section, three picture quizzes and a revision section.  This way, the book will never get boring - at least not until you have memorised all the questions and their answers. 

It's very strange to see an idea come to life so quickly but I wanted to publish now because this book will be perfect for your Christmas party (either at home or at work) or just to swot up to win that round of drinks down the pub. Let me know if you buy a copy (and don't forget to leave me a review).  It's a rather exciting "next stage" down my life path.





Random Thoughts From Today

Why is today's earworm Ed Sheeran's "Sing"?
Has my contact lens gone behind my eye or on the floor? Why can't I find it!!??
How do we go through so much washing powder?
New diary on the way... I must practice my best hand writing
Why does a teenage boy need to use 14 towels per week?
Does anyone ever get an extra follow from a #followfriday mention on Twitter?
Holy shit, it's 11.45. I'd better get dressed. 
IT'S SNOWING... oh, it's stopped.
Am I ever going to catch up with Serial before the final episode?
How the fuck did I fail a 'Can You Speak Lancashire?' test on Buzzfeed (19/22)
Are "keks" trousers or underpants?
Planning. Yes, planning...  oohh distraction techniques...
The best thing about working for myself has to be that I get to watch Minder at lunch time.
What's the point of clearing my email inbox when another deluge of emails drops straight in?
Aaawww Vintage TV 80s tunes.  Awesome.
Vintage TV really does have the most random videos for some of their songs.
AAARRGGHH damaged memory card. *opens eBay* 
I wonder what theme I should create for the FridayTwiz tonight?
X-Factor is really pushing for Fleur to win. 
Plus, why is Andrea singing a different 'winner's song'? 
And why are the 'special guests' just people who have performed on the show in recent weeks?
Should I buy a Christmas jumper?
I should make a list and plan a new radio series.
I want a pair of denim dungarees.  No, no no no, I don't. 
MORE SNOW... oh, it's stopped again.
Today is going really slowly...
How did I just waste half an hour on Pinterest?
And another half an hour on StumbleUpon?
I know, I'll have a little practice on my ukulele.
Bejewelled Blitz? Wow, I haven't played on that for ages.
I'm crap at Bejewelled Blitz.  
What shall we have for tea? Probably take-away.
Why do I have so many websites bookmarked that I never visit any more?
Better not remove them. Might never be able to find them again in the future!


Get Pampered Or Go Home

Rock Pamper Scissors (logo)
Whilst musing on my next hairstyle I discovered ROCK PAMPER SCISSORS and thought they are definitely tuned into the trend for wanting to organise your life online.

Get #pampered or go home...


What Rock Pamper Scissors offers is a local online directory for beauty and hair salons.  Their online recommendation and booking system was created in Leeds (in the UK).  They worked with a small bunch of salons, tweaking and improving their service, with more local salons signing up to be registered in their directory. They are now rolling the directory out to more cities, with Manchester being city number two and more being added in the very near future.

Rock Pamper Scissors (search)

The search system is very simple to use and if there isn't a salon registered in your local area you can join their mailing list to get a notification when there is. If you're a salon owner you can register your salon for inclusion in their directory too.

You'll be able to view service details and prices, read customer reviews and see if there are any promotions or offers available near you.  You currently pay in-salon however there are plans to bring in an online-payment service so you can pay when you book. 

Keep an eye on these guys - this is definitely going to take the strain out of arranging beauty appointments. 

Follow Rock Pamper Scissors awesome social channels here:
Facebook, Twitter and Google+



This is a featured post. For more details please view my disclosure policy.

10 Famous People Alive Today That Are Older Than Sliced Bread

Every time Buzzfeed publish a "which came first" listicle we are reminded that Betty 'Golden Girls' White is older than sliced bread, which was first sold in 1928.  Out of curiosity (quelle surprise) I wondered which other celebrities were also older than sliced bread. Here's my definitive list of ten.

sliced bread


Born in 1916 and turning 99 on his next birthday we have Kirk Douglas. Apart from his acting career we also know him as the father of Michael Douglas. He is ranked at number 17 on the American Film Institute's list of the greatest male screen legends in American Film history

Born in 1917, therefore turning 98 in February 2015, Zsa Zsa Gabor is probably known just as well for her nine marriages as she is for her acting career. She was once quoted as saying, "I am a marvellous housekeeper; every time I leave a man I keep his house." 
Died 18th December 2016

Born in 1922 Christopher Lee, who will be 92 next May, is best known for his role as Dracula in the numerous appearances in UK film series 'Hammer Horror' and, more recently, in Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit.  Did you know that he is also a classically trained singer?
Died 7th June 2015

Born in 1925 and turning 90 next year, we have the lovely Angela Lansbury who I first fell in love with in 'Bedknobs and Broomsticks' but then later watched avidly in 'Murder She Wrote' (did no-one else think it was a coincidence that a writer of murder stories was always handy to solve the mystery?). At the age of 89 she's still treading the boards.  Girl Power!

Another favourite born in 1925 was Dick Van Dyke. I can't choose my favourite character of his but it's definitely between Caratacus Potts in 'Chitty Chitty Bang Bang' (just for the 'Me Old Bamboo' dance) and as Dr Mark Sloan in 'Diagnosis Murder'. Did you know he is ambidextrous? Well you do now!

Born in 1926 was the crooner Tony Bennett - he'll be 89 on his next birthday. He is one of those traditional performers that seems to have done everything in music (apart from Rock). He's also a bit of a comeback King having relaunched his career in the 80s and the 90s and is still going today! He once said that if he couldn't sing any more he would just paint for the rest of this life. Apparently, he's quite good.

Another favourite of mine who was born in 1926 is the multi-talented Mel Brooks - actor, director, screenwriter, producer, lyricist and composer, oh, and total genius for giving mime artist, Marcel Marceau the only speaking part in the film 'Silent Movie'

Also born in 1926 was the original Playboy, Hugh Hefner.  He used to work for Esquire magazine but left and founded Playboy (which was originally going to be called 'Stag Party) after being denied a pay rise of $5 per week.

Born in 1927, therefore reaching 88 next birthday, we have Roger Moore. He was the first Bond I remember, taking the lead in seven of the films. Did you know that Mike Reid (yes, him from 'Runaround' and 'Eastenders') was Roger Moore's underwater stunt double in 'The Saint'?

Finally, born in 1927 was Sidney Poitier. By chance, I recently caught the film 'To Sir, With Love' which I hadn't seen for years and was reminded what a ground-breaking film it was, mainly because of Poitier's acting. I also had no idea he directed 'Stir Crazy' until researching this blog post.


older than sliced bread


As an aside, I think that's my DeadPool list sorted for 2015... 

Image credits : IMDb

I'm (Not) A Celebrity, Get Me Out Of Here NOW!

I'm A Celebrity Get Me Out Of Here Now, #imaceleb #iacNOW, ITV, ITV2Last week I saw a tweet scroll past from the "I'm A Celebrity Get Me Out Of Here" team asking for Skype callers for their ITV2 show. Being a huge fan of the show I whizzed off an email and thought nothing more of it. 

Yesterday evening, my mobile buzzed with a really strange number. Forever inundated with cold calls, I googled the number, only to find out it was an Australian code.  My interest piqued so I hit the voicemail button.  It was the lovely Maisie from the I'm A Celeb ITV2 production team asking if I'd appear on their show later that night.  

EEK!  YES!!  All part of my master plan for World Domination, obviously!

After a couple of conversations with Maisie and a Skype check it was confirmed that, if nothing major happened, I'd be on the show straight after the first person had been evicted.  I had to think of a question to ask the panel based around that night's show too.  

So I toddled off and scrubbed up a bit (it's slightly weird putting make-up on at 10pm when you're not actually leaving your own lounge), took my glasses off so that I didn't look like Velma from Scooby Doo, practiced my posh telephone voice and waiting for the production team to Skype me.

I wanted to ask, "Do you think Kiosk Keith is hamming it up a bit this year?" but that was vetoed in favour of my other question, "Looking at the camp's reaction after Jimmy was voted out, who do you think is going to bring in the fun and raise spirits?"  

Even though I was slightly nervous, I loved every minute of it. I'd do it again and again and again! You can watch the full (one minute) clip here


 

Rediscovering Old Toys

brio pounding bench
Many moons ago, we reviewed this Brio Pounding Bench from Hello Baby Direct. More recently, I was having a clear out of all the toys we have here (it usually happens around the same time we put the Christmas tree up) and I found this at the bottom of the toy box. 

I put it to one side, with the full intention of storing it in the loft or donating it to a charity shop but then the girls came round, "rediscovered it" and had a whale of a time hammering the sticks through the bench. They played with it for much longer than they ever did when they were younger (even though it was aimed at the 2+ age group!). It's a BIG HIT in this house *groan*

Do your children do that when you're having a clearout?  It can't be just my children and grandchildren that are turning into hoarders and can't bear to be parted from their (even short) childhood history.

(PS, Trivia Time: Did you know that "BRIO" is an acronym for Bröderna ("brothers") Ivarsson [at] Osby (where the company was founded in Sweden)?

(PPS, on the run up to Christmas you can find voucher codes for toys like this from Hello Baby Direct and hundreds of other stores at Voucher Bin)

Christmas Preparations

We always put our Christmas decorations up on the 1st of December in the O'Hara household; the perfect start to the Advent period. Even though (almost) all my children are grown up we still keep the magic for the grandchildren.  I even let them decorate the lounge last year - it looked like someone had taken a box of decorations and thrown it in the direction of the tree but they were so proud of it.

This year I've been looking for some alternative decorations and ways to get in the mood for Christmas along with money-saving tips and bargains.  This post will be regularly updated between now and Christmas so watch out for update announcements on Twitter and Facebook.


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John Lewis knitted snowmanFirst out of the decoration box is my John Lewis snowman that I knitted a couple of years ago. A lot of time and love and swearing went into making this and he sits proudly on the shelf next to all the home/school-made decorations that are stored away lovingly each year.  I was hoping that they were going to release a knitted penguin kit this year but I can't find one...

tissue paper pom poms, thinly spread, tutorial
I LOVE LOVE LOVE this tissue paper pom pom tutorial from my friend, Chris over at Thinly Spread (part of her Countdown to Christmas series). I used to make these with my nana with two or more different colours of paper. This weekend, I'm going to sit down with my own grandchildren and make some for here and their own house.

Hanging Lantern Company, decorations
I've been constructing these cute little paper trees and houses from The Hanging Lantern company. They are laser-cut and come "flat packed" for you to construct yourself (a bit fiddly but I have fat fingers) and they are really effective. I'm going to buy some LED (flameless) tealights to put inside them for maximum effect!

Isle of Skye Candle Company, scented candle, cinnamon
What's your favourite Christmas smell?  Mine has to be pine needles (even though we never have a real tree) and cinnamon. To get in the mood a little early, I've been burning this candle from the Isle Of Sky Candle Company and it smells DELISH! 

Wrap.Me,  personalised wrapping paper
Now, this next item was a bit of a surprise. I received a sample piece of wrapping paper created from my own Instagram pictures. This was sent by wrap.me as an example of what can be created but it would be wonderful to use for a very special Christmas present or even a Christening or wedding.

Santa's Grotto,  Blackpool Pleasure Beach and Arena
We always love a trip to visit Santa - after all, how else are we going to talk him into putting us on the "Good" list ready for his visit on Christmas Eve? Blackpool Pleasure Beach have a fabulous Santa's Grotto where your little ones can have a chat with Father Christmas, meet some costume characters, grab a warm drink and go ice skating. You also receive a Diamond Pass for the Pleasure Beach next year.  Check the website for opening days and times but it's worth £10 if you're local or visiting the area to do some Christmas shopping.


And finally (for now) the widget at the end of this post from My Voucher Codes is a Christmas Price Toy Monitor which features the top toys this Christmas with information about where you can buy them at the best prices so I thought that would be useful!

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Don't forget to watch out on Twitter or Facebook for more updates to this post and let me know what you do that's slightly different to prepare for Christmas. 


[GIVEAWAY] We're Having A Ball with Sun Bingo

Sun Bingo - Having A Ball

Recently I have been sharing updates from Sun Bingo's very unique online show - Having A Ball - which is hosted by Brian Dowling, Rustie Lee and Jean Martyn. This week I am running an exclusive giveaway for you here with a prize that cannot be bought in the shops.  I also have some celebrity interviews to share with you that I will be publishing over on my Facebook page.


Win an EXCLUSIVE Sun Bingo onesie and mug

I have ten Sun Bingo prize packages which consist of a Sun Bingo onesie and a Sun Bingo mug. These items are exclusive to Sun Bingo and cannot be obtained anywhere else. To enter this giveaway please follow the instructions in the Rafflecopter widget below (if you cannot see the widget please click through to the web version of this blog post). To enter you must answer the question inside the Rafflecopter widget. There are additional entries available which include social sharing. If you are a new visitor here for the giveaway, it would be great if you could stick around. There are some subscription options in the sidebar.  And finally, GOOD LUCK!




TERMS AND CONDITIONS * This giveaway will begin at 12:00 on 25th November 2014 and will close at 23:59 on 7th November 2014 * This giveaway is open to any of my readers aged 18 or above who reside in the UK. * There is no cash alternative to the giveaway * There is one compulsory entry which asks the entrant to comment on this blog..  You can gain additional entries using the options in the Rafflecopter widget * There are ten (10) prizes in total * The prizes have been provided by SUN BINGO *  The prize winners will be asked to provide their email address so that the prize can be delivered to them electronically * Entries will only be accepted as instructed and any entrant that does not complete the qualifying requirements will be disqualified * The winners will be chosen by using a random number generator built into the Rafflecopter widget and will be contacted direct on the email address provided within five (5) days of the draw. 



Sun Bingo - Having A Ball




Please see my disclosure policy for further details.

Good Memories

If you spend any time on Facebook at all you have probably seen the most recent 'tag' which asks you to share five of your 'good memory' photographs.  These are all fairly recent photographs (and isn't it hard to narrow it down to just five?) but they make me howl laughing when I see them because of the stories behind them.

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Five Bloggers And A Dwarf

After attending my first ever blogger conference, a few of us convened in the hotel lobby with some smuggled pre-purchased drinks, evaluating the day's events and catching up with each other. Our mini-party was spectacularly gate-crashed by this vertically-challenged, extremely inebriated dude who took a bit of a shine to Amanda.

Five Bloggers And A Dwarf


Social Networking Ruined My Life

My favourite ever t-shirt worn at the aforementioned blogger conference.  Iconic or ironic? It also features heavily in this little mishap...

Image © Tara Cain, t-shirt, chesticles,


Dog 1, Grandchild 0.

This stool resides in our lounge. When the dog was a puppy he used to curl up on it and more or less claimed it as his own. What he hadn't realised is that my eldest granddaughter had also done the same.  One Sunday afternoon, Amie sat on the stool, the dog attempted to sit next to her but she refused to move so he climbed on her knee and claimed his spot.  

a dog sitting on a child


Private Shortarse

This proud moment was just after my son's passing out parade at Prince William of Gloucester Barracks, Grantham. I forget how tall he is until I see this photgraph of us together where I look like I'm stood in a hole. I'm a pretty average 5'6" and he's 6'8".  

Passing Out Parade


No Words Required

The final picture is one I took at Madame Tussaud's in Blackpool in 2011. I'd asked the three men in my life to line up against this wall to emulate the 'Usual Suspects' promotional image. Whilst I was getting the camera ready they all grabbed a caption and held it up just before I hit the shutter.  I could hardly stop shaking through laughing because each of the signs was a perfect description of each of them (and still is). 

The Usual Suspects, Tussauds, Blackpool

What's your favourite memory photograph.  
Share it with me in the comments or tweet it to me.


LET'S DANCE!

It's no secret that I'm a huge fan of music and dance. If I ever became famous (or, more likely, infamous), I'd be begging my agent to get me a stint on Strictly Come Dancing. I'd even be OK with being paired with Anton du Beke!

I saw Tara share this video on Facebook recently and it supports a theory I have which suggests that any choreography changes its context if danced to music from a different genre.  Someone has taken an enormous amount of time to showcase this by stitching these dance scenes from various movies together and it needs to be enjoyed.   

It's a proper 'feel good' clip so... LET'S DAAAAAAAAAAANCE!!




And just in case you were wondering, here are the films featured in the clip: A Knights Tale, Airplane, American Pie, Austin Powers, Billy Elliot, Blue Skies, Clerks 2, Coyote Ugly, Dirty Dancing, Fame, Fame 2009, Flashdance, Footloose, Get Smart, Grease, Happy Feet, High Fidelity, High School Musical, Honey, Mamma Mia, Mary Poppins, Mask of Zorro, Moonwalker, Moulin Rouge, Perfect, Phantom of the Opera, Pulp Fiction, Rocky Horror Picture Show, Saturday Night Fever, Save the Last Dance, Seven Brides for Seven Brothers, Singing in the Rain, Step Up, Step Up 2, Strictly Ballroom, True Lies, West Side Story, White Nights, Wild Hogs.

P.S. If you like this then you'll LOVE 'What Can We Learn From Dance Scenes In Movies?' that I wrote not too long ago.


The Definitive Music-Related Gift Guide

Sorry, I know it's still November but I've got to start preparing for Christmas soon and I need some off-the-wall stocking fillers and unusual presents. Music Room contacted me to see if I fancied using their gift finder app to discover some music-related presents.  So, after getting a little bit nostalgic for my piano lesson days with their 'Dozen A Day' practice books, I found some ace presents for my grandchildren and the rest of the family. 

For the grandchildren


music gifts for children

There is method in the madness here. I would love my granddaughters to be musical so here's a perfect starter kit.  Their mum can play the keyboard [1] (which rolls up for easy storage - genius) whilst they accompany her with their percussion instruments [2 and 3] (the castanets [6] are a bonus item because I remember my own Nana buying me a set once). I've chosen the Frozen songbook [5] for the four-year old and the One Direction songbook [4] for the six-year old (both obsessed in their own way).

Stocking Fillers


music-related stocking fillers

Again, a reason for everything.  Chopsticks [7] for my husband (just because), the teapot and cup [8 and 10] for my daughter (because she's going to need a brew after creating a band with her children) and headphones [9] for both my sons.

And me?   


black ukulele

I'm getting a ukulele [11], obviously!  I've even found some pop song books for 'beginners' so my whole family are in for a right treat at the O'Hara Boxing Day party... *ahem*.  I've also got a bit lost in the stationery section of the website so if anyone wants to send in a search party... 




Find the MusicRoom gift finder app here : http://giftfinder.musicroom.com/#/


This is a featured post in conjunction with MusicRoom. Please see my disclosure policy for more details.


Seven Ways To Make A Decision

to-do list, decision making, This year has been one of many changes. Each one of those changes has involved making a decision that would forge a new path. Some of those decisions were easy to make, others were extremely scary.  In my old job I would have a specific process which would help me make (business) decisions but in my normal life I have many processes which I can adapt to certain situations. 





Seven Ways To Make A Decision

1.  Have A Deadline

For me, this is important for everything. If there is no end point then you can faff around forever trying to work out which is the decision to make.  

2.  Make A To-Do List

I talk endlessly about my BOAT (Book Of All Things). Using a variation of the bullet journal method I write everything down in list format, code it, take notes, brain-dump and then tick everything off when it is done (SO satisfying!). This works perfectly in conjunction with my Filofax too. 

3.  Data + Information = Knowledge

Combining facts (data) and additional information (and also using beliefs and expectations) I can build a map inside my head that helps me to evaluate an end outcome, i.e. if I do x then y will happen.

4.  Horoscopes or Tarot

Many people believe their destiny is written in the stars or the cards. They take great comfort in knowing that the movement of the planets is mapping out their future. It's the same with Tarot; the turn of a card can help someone take that step into the unknown.  

5. SWOT

This method was my favourite when working in a traditional office setting (albeit sometimes it was time consuming).  Mapping out the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats of a situation on paper shows me how easy/difficult a task will be to complete. 

6. Gut Instinct

We need to trust our instincts. If something feels 'right' then it probably is. We are feeding off previous experiences and existing knowledge when we feel this gut instinct so immediately know whether it's the right or wrong thing to do.  

7. Phone A Friend

Playing out a scenario with a friend and having their input helps me see a situation in a different light. They may also have had to do something similar so can tell me how it worked out for them.



What do you do to make a decision?  Let me know your secret! 




This post was written in conjunction with TheCircle. For more details please see my disclosure policy.

[REVIEW] Trunki SnooziHedz

A few weeks ago, my daughter took her two girls on their first holiday abroad to Lanzarote. The four hour plane journey was the perfect opportunity to test out the Trunki SnooziHedz - a travel pillow and blanket. They already have a PaddlePak each and are big fans of the Trunki products. 

The SnooziHedz blanket is stored inside the pillow until required and then the pillow inflates (in the same way armbands do) when required.  The pillow and blanket can be clipped together with the unique Trunki grip to stop the blanket from sliding away. The blanket also has a pocket on the front which is big enough to tuck up a favourite cuddly toy for a nap too.

trunki, snoozihedz

As you can see, my granddaughters loved their SnooziHedz (they had Felix the Fox and Dudley the Dino) and they made the ideal travel companion for this journey.  They now use the blankets and pillows as snuggle blankets when watching films and they always bring them with them in the car if we are going on a long journey (most recently to Blackpool Illuminations).

The SnooziHedz come in a wide range of colours and characters, with matching accessories such as car seatbelt covers and neck pillows. Find out more on the official Trunki website.


Random Information About Me That You Don't Really Need To Know

Q and A Tag
I love random little "tags" that occasionally pop up in the blogging world or on YouTube. This time Kate tagged me for a mini-Q&A session so I decided to vlog it rather than type it all out.  Have a watch of it here.




I've tagged Kate (again), Sian, Channon and YOU!  You have to answer my questions so here they are:
  1. Have you ever won a trophy? 
  2. If you won a large sum of money on the National Lottery this weekend, how long would you wait until you told people? 
  3. Where would you like to retire to? 
  4. What or who inspires you? 
  5. Is the glass half-empty or half-full? 
Feel free to blog or vlog it - whatever you feel more comfortable with. Let me know when you've finished then I can come and have a watch or a read.

Duo Boots #BootTribe Competition

fashion styling for A/W 2014

I love the opportunity to pull an outfit together. It probably stems from the days of my childhood when Nana brought round my Bunty magazine each week and the first thing I did was turn to the back page to see what pose and paper clothes were with the cut-out doll. The Polyvore website is definitely the grown-up version of those times and I spend an enormous amount of time on there trying seeing what different outfits look like with accessories and boots or shoes. 

I've styled this outfit around the boots in the picture as part of my entry into a competition that Duo Boots are running. I'm definitely an ankle boot person for this A/W season and I'm in love with browns, navys and purple/aubergine. 

What do you think? Would you wear it?

| 1.  Laverne Anke Boot in Tan from Duo Boots  |  2.  Molly Bracken brown jumper dress |  3. Tommy Hilfiger NIKITA blazer in purple |  4.  Tommy Hilfiger Bracelet (gold) |  5.  Purple tights |  6.  Mac Lipstick in Rebel  |  7.  Even & Odd handbag  |


What A 15-Year Old Wants For Christmas

Over the weekend I posted a rather irate Facebook status bemoaning the bombardment of Christmas advertising when we were only just into November. On the other hand I have been trying to get my 15-year old son to write something that resembles a list of Christmas presents much in the same way he did when he was 10.  When you read the list it's a stark reminder of how much your youngest child is growing up fast.

So far, he wants:
  1. A mountain bike because his best mate lives in the next town so he spends a huge amount of time cadging lifts or using a bike that's a little bit too small for him now he's 6'2".
  2. An iPad (there's a good selection online at Tesco Direct) so that he doesn't have to borrow his Dad's iPad or my tablet all the time.
  3. An iTunes voucher for some music or games downloads.
  4. XBox games.  I think he's hankering after the new Call of Duty game and Fifa 15.
  5. Microsoft points to purchase "maps" or "players" on the aforementioned X-Box games (I'm oblivious to all of this).
  6. Skinny jeans and other items of clothes that make all the 15 year old boys look like clones of each other.
  7. A parka coat.
  8. Two pairs of football boots (grass and astro turf) now that he has been chosen for the school football team.

christmas present suggestions


I always thought that as he got older we might get a bit of a lie-in on Christmas morning but, no, he's just as excited on The Big Day now as he was when he was younger so we've always deferred from giving money because that never feels like an actual present, does it? For us, part of the Christmas experience is about the unwrapping and the surprises. Of course he'll get the usual smellies, socks and undies (it's a O'Hara family tradition) but I'm currently on the look out for a surprise 'wow' present that he won't be expecting at all, so if you have any ideas let me know! 


This post was written for Tesco. For more information please see my disclosure policy.

Grease In Five Minutes (or 25 Pictures)

Grease is one of my all-time favourite films. I know it back to front and I'm word perfect in all the songs (I always wanted to be Rizzo).  But, just in case you've never seen it - or haven't seen it for ages - here's the story of Grease in pictures.

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Danny and Sandy meet during the school holidays. They fall in love with each other but realise that it's destined to be a holiday romance as Sandy has to return to Australia.  Danny tells her, "It's not the end, it's just the beginning."

grease, gif, sandy and danny,

Term starts again and Danny resumes his position as cock of the school and leader of the T-Birds gang...

grease, gif, danny,

...whose girlfriends are The Pink Ladies - the coolest girls in the school.

grease, gif, pink ladies,

Sandy doesn't go back to Australia after all and, by coincidence, enrols in the the same school as Danny as a foreign exchange student (but neither of them know yet).  Sandy pals up with Frenchy, one of the Pink Ladies. At lunch time, she tells everyone about her holiday romance at exactly the same time Danny tells the T-Birds about his holiday romance.

grease, gif, summer loving,

 Sandy lets slip that her holiday romance was called "Danny Zucko" so whilst Sandy is enlisted into the school cheerleading team The Pink Ladies work out how to reunite Danny and Sandy at the next prep rally.

Danny and Sandy are shocked and overjoyed to see each other but Danny needs to protect his cool image so brushes off the excitement.  Sandy is rather upset and runs off in tears.

grease, gif, t-birds,

grease, gif, sandy and the pink ladies

In at attempt to cheer Sandy up, Frenchy organises a sleep-over at her house with the rest of the Pink Ladies. They introduce Sandy to ear-piercing and wine-drinking which doesn't go too well. Frenchy tells the rest of the Pink Ladies that she is dropping out of high school to attend a beauty course, then Rizzo makes fun of Sandy through the medium of song. 

grease, gif, pink ladies,

The T-Birds arrive at Frenchy's house so Rizzo has a flirt with Kenickie and they drive off together.  During a making-out session in the back of the car a condom breaks. Then they are interrupted by the leader of a rival 'gang' - the Scorpions - who damages Kenickie's car.

grease, gif, rizzo,

Meanwhile, Marty (from The Pink Ladies) advises Sandy to "get over" Danny and offers her one of her many male penpals. Sandy decides to nip outside in her nightie and sing a song whilst looking into an empty paddling pool instead.

grease, gif, sandy

The T-Birds decide to give Kenickie's car a bit of a make-over and fantasize about what it would look like.  Danny convinces the other T-Birds that it could be a "major piece of machinery".

grease, gif, greased lightening,

Danny later bumps into Sandy at the local cafe where he attempts to make amends but she is now on a date with one of the football jocks.  In a true feminist move, Danny decides to try and change to become the sort of man that Sandy wants to be with. He joins the basketball team and the wrestling team...

grease, gif, sandy and danny,

...all with disastrous results but find that he is pretty good at running. He sees Sandy watching from the bleachers and attempts to impress her. After a bit of a tumble, Sandy runs to make sure Danny is OK, the jock is dismissed and Sandy and Danny are reconciled.

grease, gif, sandy and danny

Danny and Sandy attempt a date where they can be alone so choose the cafe where most of Rydell High seems to hang out (!). Rizzo and Kenickie have an almighty row and everyone leaves...

grease, gif, rizzo and kenickie,

...apart from Frenchy who admits to one of the staff at the cafe that she's been having problems at beauty school by revealing pink hair that she's been hiding under a scarf. Frenchy then dreams about a guardian angel who tells her what she needs to do with her life.

grease, gif, frenchy

The Rydell High school dance is chosen to be filmed for a live TV show. Rizzo has paired up with the leader of the Scorpions so Kenickie pairs up with the rival gang leader's ex-girlfriend, Cha-Cha, who just happens to have also dated Danny in the past. Marty flirts with the TV star.  

grease, gif, school dance,

Danny and Sandy are amazing in the televised dance-off but Sandy gets taken away from Danny and Cha-Cha jumps in her place.  Sandy storms out and Danny and Cha-Cha end up winning the dance-off. 

grease, gif, school dance,

Keen to make amends (yet again), Danny arranges to take Sandy to a drive-in movie where he gives her his ring. Sandy accepts this as an apology and realises that Danny respects her. 

grease, gif, drive in movie, danny and sandy

During the movie, Danny attempts to cop a feel and trys to kiss Sandy.  She screams, gets out of the car, throws his ring back at him and leaves the drive-in leaving Danny to sing a song to express his true feeling of loss.

grease, gif, sandy and danny, drive in

In the meantime, Rizzo has been naughty with two boys and has earned herself a bit of a reputation. She thinks she may be pregnant but is unsure who the father could be.

grease, gif, rizzo

Finally the car has been finished and a race has been organised between Kenickie and the leader of the Scorpions.  Kenickie asks Danny to be his 'second' and we see a bit of a bromance then a switch to 'play it cool'. 

grease, gif, danny and kenickie, bromance

Kenickie ends up not being able to drive the car so Danny takes over and races in Kenickie's place. Danny wins, obviously. Sandy is watching from afar and decides that she really does want to be with Danny so needs a bit of a make-over to become 'his sort of girl' She asks Frenchy to help out.

grease, gif, car race,

It's the last day of school and there's a carnival in the school grounds. Danny is wearing a letterman's sweater because of his (never since mentioned again) involvement with the athletics team. It's all part of his own make-over to become the type of boy that Sandy wants to be with.

grease, gif, school carnival, danny, t-birds

Sandy arrives at the carnival wearing skintight black trousers, an off-the-shoulder top, a black leather jacket and red peep-toe high heeled shoes. She's had her hair and make-up done and she's smoking (in both senses of the term)!

grease, gif, school carnival, sandy

Danny finds Sandy extremely attractive, whips his cardigan off, falls at her feet, dribbles a bit and then dances off into the Fun House with her.

grease, gif, danny and sandy

Rizzo finds out that she isn't pregnant so her and Kenickie make up (and make out) with each other. The whole gang is back together again and it's a happy ending.

grease, gif, ramalamadingdong, the end

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References : Tumblr | Giphy | IMDb