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My Diary For 2023

Every year I write a blog post about which diary system or set up I am going to use for the following twelve months. In recent years, I have moved away from a Filofax (I trialled something earlier this year - more of that in a minute) and fallen in love with the Hobonichi printed diaries. For the last two years I have used a Hobonichi Weeks as my personal planner and I won't be deviating from that this year. I have tried a Hobonichi Techo A6 a couple of times but have never managed to feel comfortable with it size-wise.  I have always lusted after the Hobonichi Cousin A5 as a main work planner so, this year, I have bitten the bullet at launch time and invested in my very first one. Hobonichi Weeks The Hobonichi Weeks is a slim diary with a yearly, monthly and weekly layout. The main section is a "week to view with notes" and there are an additional 70 note pages at the back. This year (2022) I used the "Mega" version which comes with almost three times as m

Review: Lacing Beads

John Crane Lacing Beads

Photo Credit: John Crane Ltd
I was asked by the lovely people at John Crane Ltd to test one of their products with our chief tester of toddlers toys, Anticyclone Amie.  We were sent the Nature Lacing Beads (from their "Branching Out" range) which help develop thinking skills and encourage hand/eye coordination.  They are aimed at the 2+ age group but Amie is 18 months old and managed to handle the wooden pieces with ease.

The aim of the product is to thread brightly coloured, chunky wooden shapes onto the red lace.  This set was called the "Nature" set and includes eight smooth circular beads and seven shaped wooden pieces.   As you can see from the photograph the shapes are two leaves, two flowers, a butterfly, a snail, a ladybird and a bumblebee.  Each shape is 2cm thick (just the right thickness for toddler hands) and is smoothly carved and brightly painted in inviting primary colours.  There is a round hole through the centre of each wooden bead and the lace has a wooden threader securely attached at one end.

To stop the beads from falling off the end of the lace, I knotted the plain coloured bead to the end of the lace and Amie took great pleasure in tipping the beads off the lace as I threaded them on but eventually joined in the threading.  The tactility of the beads is very encouraging and inviting and Amie found them very easy to handle.  We also had a good chat about each of the shapes and the colours - this encouraged a dialogue between myself and Amie.

I can see this is going to become a firm favourite at Nana's house and the box provided is study enough to store the beads in for the foreseeable future.

You can find this, and more products, on the John Crane website (I love their tag line: "timeless designs to inspire young minds").