The Best Intro Of The 80s?

You know how the intro to a song draws you in? Or sends you spinning back to a specific time and place? Or you know just when the singing starts?

As part of a bigger project I'm attempting I did a bit of crowd-sourcing and got a few of my friends to suggest their favourite intro of the 80's. This is just a rough-around-the-edges idea but I have been having a play in Audacity (a sound editing programme) and came up with this.

All tracks are in chronological order which possibly doesn't work with the mixing but that's something I can reconsider. The full track listing is further down the page.

Full track listing (hear it on Spotify):

1981QueenUnder Pressure
1981Human LeagueDon't You Want Me Baby
1982YazooDon't Go
1983The CureLove Cats
1983Iron MaidenWhere Eagles Dare
1983New OrderBlue Monday
1983The SmithsThis Charming Man
1984Pet Shop BoysWest End Girls
1984Frankie KnucklesYour Love (original mix)
1984Van HalenJump
1984OMDTalking Loud And Clear
1985Dire StraitsMoney For Nothing
1985The SmithsHow Soon Is Now
1986Spandau BalletThrough The Barricades
1986EuropeThe Final Countdown
1987Pet Shop BoysIt's A Sin
1987AhaThe Living Daylights
1987The Bee GeesYou Win Again
1987WaxBridge To Your Heart
1988Guns & RosesSweet Child Of Mine
1989ErasureA Little Respect
1989Holly JohnsonAmericanos

Is your favourite in here? What would you like to see added? 

Let me know what you think.


As Seen On Pinterest (but this time it works!)

I'm fascinated by the crafts and the cooking pins on Pinterest but know that I'll never ever be able to replicate most of them.  However, these looked fairly easy so I had a go.  I'm not going to change the world with them but at least it's keeping me out of mischief!

washi tape, mason jar, storage,
First of all, I'm using my *mason jars as storage.  Since tackling my spare room to make it more of an office area for me, I realised I needed to tidy up my 'bits and pieces'.  Plus, storing my washi tape in a mason jar seems to make it even more pretty...

crochet, afgan throw, granny square, colour pop,
When I crocheted my first hoard of granny squares I wasn't too sure what style of blanket/throw I was going for.  Then I saw that someone had edged their blanket with black yarn and this really gave more 'pop' to the colours that they had used.  You can read more about this project here.  The blanket is now residing on our spare bed.

Slow cooker chilli con carne
Cooking from Pinterest is a bit hit and miss - usually more of the latter. I'm not about to start making cake-pops (yes, they are a 'thing' apparently) or home-made Mars bars (they are 60p at the local shop - isn't making your own a bit too extreme?) but the slow-cooker recipes are usually a safe bet. I adapted a chilli-con-carne recipe I found and it's a staple favourite in this house now.

filofax, journalling, washi tape, stickers
I keep meaning to start 'journalling' in my Filofax. I'm currently using a 'day on one page' format (yes, I changed again) but the idea is that you use lots of colour, (the aforementioned) washi tape, stickers and keywords to make your week look interesting.  Seriously, it's HUGE on YouTube.  I've not really got the hang of it yet but I might start properly next year.  Maybe I need to be a bit more artistic...

(by the way, I've covered up Tuesday's appointment... it's a secret but one that I'll let you in on when the time is right)

Tell me about your Pinterest hits and misses. What works and what doesn't?

*I bought/acquired a host of mason jars **when I made jam once with a whole harvest of fruit from our allotment. Prior to this jam making episode I hadn't really researched "making jam" properly either on Google or Pinterest and didn't realise that 6lb of fruit and 4lb of sugar would actually make 10lb of jam.  

**during (yes, really) and after (I left the jam in the pan whilst I went to the shop - probably not the best thing to do)

* (part 2) I might have once insinuated that I drink juice out of a mason jar. I don't. 

9 Great British Instagram Accounts

Do you want to fill your Instagram feed with a whole scope of Britishness?

I've recently been tidying up my Instagram account so that I've got a feed of inspirational and glorious pictures. Here’s some of the fantastic accounts I now follow.

union jack, pool table,
We all love a Union Jack to show patriotism, don’t we? From fashion to furniture, Lets Get British shares anything and everything that has a Union Jack over it.

red telephone box
Lots and lots of lovely pictures of London, more Union Jacks, British products, landscapes, red telephone boxes and post boxes. Cool Britannia!

union jack, satchel
Are you loving the satchel trend? Here’s a truly British company showing off what they do best… making satchels in all different shapes, sizes and colours.

If you follow Waterstones, Oxford Street on Twitter then you’ll know all about their sense of humour. Who thought pictures of books could be so entertaining? Also check out the official Waterstones IG account for a blend of images to make you think and to inspire you.

green suit,
A collection of photos of the weird and wonderful people who use the London Underground every day. You can send in stealth photos (there’s a knack to doing this – don’t get caught!) to them and they may be featured.

eat sleep rave repeat, MoS, green smiley
Eat, sleep, rave, repeat... and keep up to speed with new releases, mini dj sets (IG video) and the occasional peek behind the scenes at the MoS office.

filofax display
Here we have some amazing eye candy for the eyes for stationery lovers. Included are sneak previews of new diary styles and colours along with some competitions or conversation starters.

escalator, London Underground
It’s rare to see the London Underground deserted but it happens occasionally. Here’s one (of many) Instagram account dedicated to catching those rare moments of calm in a city that never sleeps.

dr marten
One last awesome British company to finish on. Dr Martens show how styling your Docs is definitely an individual thing.

Have I missed any of your favourites? Let me know who else to follow in the comments.
You can find me on Instagram here but it's not quite as interesting as these...

Want more?  Here's 9 of the best pictures on Instagram - a post I wrote for Under The Radar.


Bring Back Horsemanning!

Horsemanning, photo craze,

I saw a random image from the 1920s today somewhere on the interwebs and I'm now thinking that we need a new photo craze for 2014.  

Planking is so 2010 and Owling or Batmanning is a boring copy. Cat/Dog Bearding means you need a cat or a dog and if you already have one of these then I'm sure you've participated in Lion King-ing.

Using two people and a bit of a clever angle, you can take a photograph that makes it seem that someone has been beheaded (like the Headless Horseman).

So, who's up for it?  Upload your results to the comments box, tweet me your photos, tag me on Facebook or email them to me and I'll add them to this post.

Image credit : the Horsemanning website

Silent Sunday

Silent Sunday, tree,

For more Silent Sunday pictures scoot on over here

What Happens When You Attend An Interview To Work In A Sex Shop (it's probably not what you think)

sex shop interview, tweet,

My mate, Paula, is currently looking for a new job and she's willing to turn her hand to anything, as this tweet from Monday shows. I was intrigued, as were many others. But then I mentally slapped myself and wondered why I thought this way. In a day and age where we can talk quite openly about sex and equality in that area, why do the words "sex shop" still sound so lewd? So I asked Paula to share her sex shop interview with me once she'd attended.


sex shop interview, tweet,

I'll start by making it clear that I've only been in three sex shops in my life and this was the third. When I replied to the advert they made it clear what it was for. It stated in big capital letters that the position was as a retail representative in a sex shop. I suppose they didn't want time wasters - they wanted to lay it all on the table, so to speak. So I applied, like I apply for every available job as they arise.  I wasn't surprised to get called for interview, despite receiving no replies to any of the other jobs I'd applied for. If I ran a shop like that, I'd been looking for someone like me - an older woman, with kids. Ironically, someone who possibly would have no interest in their products.  I'd imagine they got a LOT of applications from young men who wouldn't mind getting paid to watch porn all day.

Going for the interview and the realistic possibility of working there brought up a lot of questions.  I asked my 17yr old son how he'd feel about it... what he would tell people when they asked where I worked.  He said he didn't care; he said he'd tell them to mind their own business.  This seemed wrong to me.  I didn't want to do a job that my son was ashamed of.  I'm not doing anything wrong, nothing illegal.  Like my current job, I'd be working in a shop, but of course it would be different.  A couple of weeks ago I was at an awards night with my husband - a work thing for him and, as I'm no shrinking violet, I chatted to quite a few people.  I had no problem telling them where I worked.  Would I feel the same if I worked in a sex shop? 

And so to the interview.  I've lived in this town for twelve years, but I'd never been inside these doors.  It felt weird walking through, all kitted in my interview get-up.  What I saw was exactly what I expected. 

There were two people, the lady who'd rung to arrange the interview and a man who introduced himself as the area manager. It was her who asked the questions, while he mostly looked on.  I do a lot of talking at interviews - I don't know if it's nerves or whether I'm just being my naturally, talkative self.  Either way, I felt that she was more nervous than me.  She asked all the bog-standard interview questions.  She never mentioned the words "sex" or "porn" and I had to consciously stop myself from doing the same.  This was more difficult than you'd imagine; just picture the scene:
  • I'm in the only chair in the shop, behind the counter
  • From where I'm sitting I can see rows and rows of dildos
  • There are colourful rings off all sizes, some with painful looking appendages
  • Several small screens played actual people having actual sex
And here I sat, being asked how I could motivate myself, what I could bring to the business, what I felt my strengths were.

She asked what I thought good customer service was.  I said it was mostly good product knowledge. Then had to admit that I didn't know what half of this stuff does. When she said that she'd tried everything in the shop, my response probably shouldn't have been, "You must be knackered!".

Then they asked if I'd like to have a look around and ask any questions I might have.  I declined on the questions as I'm sure they wouldn't have looked favourably on asking, "What does this do?" over and over again.  But I did have a good look around as I thought it looked good to.  Jesus, did you know they have fists? Fists as big as bloody toddlers??! (Editors Note: Yes, I did... *ahem*). And probably picking up a swan vibrator, explaining how I'd won one of these on Twitter by writing a poem probably complicated things.  

So after running out of fabricated questions and suppressing all my actual ones, they said they'd be in touch. I don't know how they think it went.  I don't know if I'd take it even if I did push all their buttons. But it will make an interesting story to tell over dinner some evening.


Find Paula on Twitter or Facebook or her blog 
(even though she's not written on it for ten months)


How To Get A Good Night's Sleep

Red Alarm ClockRecently I have been tracking my sleep pattern after waking up tired. The results were a bit shocking, to say the least. Using a wearable fitness tracker I found that I was awake (or restless) more than I was asleep in a 7-hour period so it was no surprise that I was still tired when it was time to get up. I did a bit of research to see if anything helped and here are my five top tips to help get a good night's sleep.

Emptying my head.

I write a to-do list for the next day (and we all know how I love a good list). This is a bit of psychobabble that I probably made up but getting rid of the tasks I haven't done - even if I'm putting them off until tomorrow - means that I'm not mulling things over as I'm winding down.

A bedtime routine isn't just for babies.

Winding down is important. For me this means that I have to switch my laptop off a good half hour before I know I'm going to bed or I get caught up in a(nother) Twitter conversation or Buzzfeed listicle.  I have a chamomile or lavender tea and then start my "letting the dog out and checking the doors" routine.

Getting comfy.

A while back we invested in a super-king-size bed with an orthopaedic mattress. I love having room to move about in bed but still gravitate to the middle which annoys my husband greatly! Recently I have been really lucky and had the opportunity to try out new bedding and it's made a huge difference.  First I have been using a duck feather topper which has solved a huge issue I had with the orthopaedic mattress.  You see, I'm not the one who needs that style of mattress and (to me) it felt like I was sleeping on a door.  This mattress topper has put some 'bounce' back into the mattress.  Next we have changed our duvet to a 'breathable' product which promotes body temperature control, therefore creating a better night's sleep. I'm not one for mumbo-jumbo claims but these two products are really worth investing in (see the bottoms of this post for more details).

Your 90-minute sleep cycle.

When trying to find out why I was always so tired I stumbled across this article about the five phases of a sleep cycle.  On a working day I know that I need to be awake at 6.30am, therefore I should be in bed for 12.30am (4 sleep cycles). On a non-working day I can go to bed whenever because (in theory) my body should naturally wake after a 90-minute sleep cycle.  This is working well for me because it has put some routine back into this really important rest period.

If all else fails... PODCAST!

I download gentle podcasts (I'm a huge fan of the Thinking Slimmer ones) and try to drift off whilst listening. Isn't there a theory that it's easier to learn something whilst you're asleep - maybe this is the time to test that idea? Also, there's definitely a knack to not getting yourself tangled up in headphone wire and keeping your in-ear buds in place but I think I've got it sussed now.

Do you have any top tips for a good night's sleep to add?  Let me know in the comments!


Additional Information

The Fine Bedding Company have used Smartfil® fibres blended with Modal to help draw moisture away from the body resulting in temperature control. This mix creates a warm and cosy duvet even with the lightest of tog ratings.  The unique manufacturing process that the Fine Bedding Company have used allows for more air to flow through the duvet giving it increased "breathability". Even though we have reviewed a 7-tog duvet (probably more of a summer covering) we haven't felt the need for additional covers even on recent cooler nights.  They also have a duck feather mattress topper available. 

Some products mentioned in this post were sent to me to review.  Please see my disclosure policy for more details.
Image Credit : Alan Cleaver

Brightening Up My Capsule Wardrobe

casual, fashion, blue, grey
I've been attempting to create a capsule wardrobe that I can wear with comfort but that I can add seasonal pieces to brighten it up. When I'm trying to pull together 'a look' I have a play on Polyvore where you can create outfits and home styles. Then I go off to the shop (real or online) and see if I can replicate it. 

The first picture is a look I was after for a casual occasion. On the Marisota website I found these geometric print leggings and this blue kaftan and already have some blue loafers from Hotter Shoes.  This is a favourite type of outfit for me because it takes me away from my usual weekend uniform of jeans but still lets me be comfortable. 

office, smart, black, yellow,

The second picture is more for the office.  There's a gorgeously simple yellow cami, a really affordable tailored black blazer and some lovely yellow loafers on the website. I already have a black and white pencil skirt in my wardrobe and a few chunky necklaces that would look great teamed with these additional pieces.  It would be really simple to wear heels with this outfit too and to swap the cami for a blouse or other simple top to change it up.

How do you shop for clothes? Do you 'shop till you drop' in the local shopping mall or browse online websites and order to try on at home? Do you already have a favourite style or are you keen to try new styles?

I've been working with Marisota to feature some of their fashion ranges. 
Please see my disclosure policy for more details.

Modern Role Models

We play an icebreaker game on the course I run at work.  That one where you write a famous person's name on a post-it note and stick it to someone's forehead.  They then have five questions to try and guess who they are.  Because of the nature of our clientèle (aged 16-25 and NEET*) we try to pick people who are influential, are good role models and who are currently in the media. It's harder than you think to come up with a list of names that people in this age bracket recognise, respect and admire.

(*Not in Employment, Education or Training)

vision board, future goals, Today I was constructing a new example vision board for use on our course (it's another element to it) and I looked at some of the phrases that I'd picked out for my "Future Goals" section.  They were all calls to action such as: 
  • I want to make a difference
  • My success is amazing
  • Inspiring a new generation
  • Break down barriers
It might sound a bit contrived but it's all about the law of attraction and seeing your thoughts in a tangible way. Even at this stage in my life I have ambition. The goals may not be the same as they once were and the people I look up to or aspire to be like are not famous but they are as important to me as they need to be and they make me try that little bit harder.

When I was a teenager, my ambition was to be in the RAF, I lived for athletics and dreamt about being everything from a Blue Peter presenter to an Olympic 100m sprinter. I adored pop stars but my had a real love of reading and very much wanted to be a writer at some stage.  My inspirational people of the era were Daley Thompson, Clive Sinclair, Matthew Smith, Madonna, Michael Jackson, Princess Diana and Erno Rubik. I asked people in my social media timeline who their teenagers admired and considered to be role models today and there were a diverse range of names and reasons mentioned:

  • Will.I.Am (for his ideas, work ethic and his charity work)
  • Jessie J (because of her work ethic, her charity work and because that she doesn't drink)
  • Johnny Depp (because he can play lots of different characters and doesn't end up in the papers a lot)
  • Isambard Kindgom Brunel (because of a school project)
  • Darth Vader (because he's the good guy and everyone else is mean to him)
  • Ballet Teacher
  • Demi Lovato (because she has coped with depression, self-harming and eating disorders)
  • YouTube stars (such as @itsjudytime, @ZozeeBo and @Sprinkleofglitr)
  • Nelson Mandela
  • Notch (aka Markus Persson - the guy who invented Minecraft)
  • Roger Federer (because of his behaviour on and off court)
  • Miley Cyrus (because she's growing up and we need to accept her changes)
  • Danny Care / Owen Farrel (young rugby players)

note to self, inspire someoneA varied group of people, wouldn't you agree? And very similar vein running through in comparison to the list of inspirational people from my own era. We have singers, politicians, engineers, actors, the new wave of digital celebrities and sports people.

I find it interesting that our younger generation also recognise that (in general) it is people who are older than them are the ones to aspire to; they've worked for their cause/fame/money. This also fits it completely with a survey run by the Inspiration Index but moreso with research conducted by vInspired which looks at how online interaction can be transposed into valuable real world actions.  

Which brings me to a story in the i paper which recently caught my eye. It was based around the fact that our most successful Winter Paralympian ever, Jade Etherington, has huge debts.  And the reason? Because of the lack of funding available to the athletes that represent our country.  Have a read here - I'm sure you'll be as shocked as I was. Yet beamed into our living rooms each evening are programmes creating 'celebrities' through reality television, talent shows and fly-on-the-wall documentaries showing rich/poor extremes. Doesn't this just highlight everything wrong with the UK at the moment? How can we make it right again?  

Who were your role models when growing up and how have they shaped your life? Does your child have a yearning to be (like) someone important in their life?


Soundtrack To My Life - Andy

Soundtrack To My Life
Andy has been mentioned on this blog before - in the post entitled "Screw Fix". We've been acquainted for a few years now through a web forum and he now amuses me on Facebook with old (embarrassing) photos or stories about people turning up in a light aircraft to buy a bike he sold them on eBay... Over to Andy for his music choices.  Oh, and he's managed to squeeze six in somehow!


The Beatles - Back in the USSR 

It's by no means my favourite Beatles' song, but I vividly remember my dad playing it to me as a child and telling me they were the best band ever.

I took it in and spent most of my youth in my own bubble listening to everything from Buddy Holly through to Jimi Hendrix, allowing all contemporary music of the day to pass me by completely.

Lenny Kravitz - Let Love Rule

Then, as the 80s became the 90s Lenny appeared on the scene as if he'd been delivered by the Hot Tub Time Machine from 1968. Finally I felt like I had something contemporary to latch on to. I saw him live several times and played that album to death.

Looking back I was a bit loon about him. The poster's in the attic now and I don't listen to him so much these days, but that first gig was a real awakening for me. I don't remember ever feeling happier.

Oasis - I Am the Walrus

Before all the hype and mainstream success I remember hearing John Peel play this on his Radio 1 show one afternoon. I've never been so immediately won over by a band ever.

Dusty Springfield - I Only Want To Be With You

Then, somehow by 2000 I'd found someone to marry me. We had a karaoke at our wedding rather than a disco / band, so instead of a first dance we had a first song.

It's a happy memory. I changed the lyrics slightly, Dusty sang "when I fell into your open arms I didn't stand a chance." 'Arms' became 'legs' in my version. The thought of me drunkenly doing that in front of an assembly of every friend and relative I've got makes me wince and smile in equal measure.

Graham Coxon - Just Be Mine

So, I drifted into midlife crisis with Graham Coxon as my primary soundtrack. Those of you with Spotify, I urge you to go and listen to Graham's The Kiss Of Morning, because I reckon it's the best album you've never heard.

I've picked this song because it takes me back to where I begun, with The Beatles. I went to the Reeperbahn Festival last year and finally got to tread in the Fab Four's formative footsteps, I also managed to bump into Graham and make a complete arse of myself. Life's good.

Fountains of Wayne - Someone to Love

I've been allowed an encore for no reason other than they're my favourite band and they deserve a mention.
Is that not enough?


Soundtrack To My Life
You can view all previous Soundtrack To My Life entries by clicking on the mix tape to the right.  If you want to participate in 2014 please complete this form and I'll be in touch very soon.  

My London Themed Filofax

I am a bit obsessed by London, Union Jacks and my Filofax - that goes without saying.  
You only have to take a look at two of my Pinterest boards to see what I'm on about.

If you follow me on Twitter (@nickieohara) you will have seen me tweeting about my yearning for a London Vintage binder from Paperchase. And then I remembered that I had a bright red Filofax, a few postcards from London hidden away somewhere, some London-themed card, a London Underground pen and an souvenir keyring that I could use as a zipper charm so I set about adapting and customising what I was already using.

Here are the results - and if you want to see it in more detail you can have a look at this mini video I made. 

I'm LOVING it!
What do you think?

#NSW14 - National Stationery Week - Welcome To My Passion

For a stationery addict like me, National Stationery Week is the one time I can gush about all my pens, pencils, Filofaxes and notebooks and no-one bats an eyelid (or they just put up with me for a change). The National Stationery Week organisers set a theme for each day of this week so rather than write separate blog posts for each day I'll just come back and update this one each day.  So here we go...

Monday - Pencil Day

pencils, National Stationery Week
My two favourite pencils are both mechanical pencils. They weren't expensive but it's always handy to have one of these as you never need to carry a sharpener with you.

The pink one is a Bic with a 0.7mm lead. I have a few of these languishing in my box of stationery tricks (see the video at the end of this post).  It is usually nestled in my Filofax to brighten it up.

The black/silver one is from Parker and has a 0.5mm lead.  I went through a phase of using only Parker pens and still have a few nice ones. I love that they aren't expensive yet have really lovely ink and nibs. I've even got my husband hooked on them.

At least with pencil, if you don't get it right the first time, you can rub it out and start again!

Tuesday - Notebook Day

notebook, filofax, moleskine, National Stationery Week
Oh, where do I start?  Again, have a look at the video at the end of this post (if you haven't already) and you'll see my love of notebooks and binders.

I have a couple of  BOATs (Book Of All Things) - one at work and one at home - which are part of my thought process for life in general and where I empty my head of ideas and madcap brainwaves. I also make lists. I suppose it's a little bit like 'journalling' but not really on a strict daily basis.

Next are my Filofaxes (yes, plural). I've recently returned to a Filofax after spending some time away thinking that I had fallen out of love with it but it was just completely unorganised and needed some TLC.  As mentioned at the top of this post, I'm considering buying a new A5 binder and decorating it accordingly.

I have my London Moleskine which was a present from Sian and has notes added each time I visit our glorious capital city.

I use a Personal Planner notebook as my portable work diary (I received a voucher from Liska for this) and because you can personalise it, it's working really well for me at the moment. Because I ordered it midway through last year it only has a diary until August 2014 so I have to think of a plan for the final third of this year.

A notebook you can't see on here is one that Steph bought for me and is a Waldo Pancake "Ideas For Tweets" jotter but I use that as a craft planner and it sits in my craft basket.

I have loads of other notebooks in my spare room study and have no problem buying one when I'm drawn to it to stash away 'just in case'.

As an aside... don't my friends know me well?

Wednesday - Pen & Ink Day

pens, writing, filofax paper, ink, National Stationery Week
I've included a picture of the pens I use regularly. I used to be a fountain pen user but some of the notebooks and paper I use don't soak up the ink very well.  I wasn't sure if I should mention Frixion pens (thanks for the intro to these too, Liska) on Monday (Pencil Day) because of their erasability but, at the end of the day, they are ink so are getting included in today's update.

As you have probably noticed, I like coloured pens! It's part of my self-organisation and helps me to keep one (portable) diary. I am currently using one orange and one purple Frixion pen, a Bic 4-colour pen and my Parker pen with a rollerball 0.7mm refill.  Oh, and my London Underground pen (thanks again, Steph) is always nearby. If I am being totally honest, I prefer a thick barrel for a pen and it's one of the reasons that I don't use my Parker pen as much as I'd like.

Today I have scribed a note to you.  It reads:
It's Pen and Ink Day on National Stationery Week. I write notes all the time in my BOAT, diary and Filofax hence my very scribbly scrawl. I always wanted neat handwriting but at least it's legible (to me, anyway). I wish I could find a way round the old hand-ache that comes with writing a long note these days...<3 Nickie x  
If you could write a note to me, what would it say?

Thursday - Tidy Desk Day

Desk, office, home office, National Stationery Week
As mentioned recently, I am in the process of reclaiming the desk in my spare room ready to make it somewhere I can be a bit more creative. This also means that I have had the opportunity to have a great old clear out and also rediscover some lost necessities (we all need index cards and coloured paper clips, don't we? As an aside, here's a mini tutorial teaching you how to make hearts with coloured paper clips. I have every angle covered here, don't I?). So it all looks very minimalistic at the moment and there's a clue in the picture which points towards my new venture.

It's a small space in the smallest room in the house yet it's my space.

Friday - Pencil Case Day

pencil case, skull and crossbones, National Stationery Week
I only have one pencil case and it's not really used as a pencil case. I wonder if you can guess what it is used for? It comes with me every day.

I keep my pens and pencils in storage boxes and upcycled tins in and on my (now tidy) desk.  It's the only way I can find anything.  All other pens that I take out with me are either slotted into my Filofax or clipped to my bag.

So this pencil case is my make-up bag. It means that I keep what I carry around with me to a minimum. I couldn't resist using it though.

Pink and black? Tick. Skulls? Tick. Job's a good'un.

Saturday - Get Organised Day

filofax, diary, national stationery week,
I bet you all predicted this one.  Obviously, the way I organise myself it with my Filofax but there's many reasons for it.

First, I'm a traditionalist. If it's not written down, it's not happening.  I do put important reminders or things I'm likely to forget when rushing around as timed alerts in my Google Calendar (synced to my phone) but I love being able to go back and read through notes that I've jotted down and expand on those ideas or physically cross things off on my 'To Do List'.

Secondly, a Filofax is like a fingerprint. It is individual to the owner. Yes, the inserts are all the same (unless you print your own) but your handwriting makes it unique for a start and then there are numerous ways to decorate. Your tabbed sections probably won't be the same as another Filofax user... I mean, what's the point of using someone else's organisational technique?

Get your Filofax freak on. Bring back the retro.  You know you want to.

Sunday - Write A Letter Day

letter writing, maria duffy, stationery, national stationery week
Not so long ago, I won a little giveaway on Twitter hosted by writer, Maria Duffy. She sent me a copy of her book, The Letter, and enclosed a notelet with a post-it note attached which said, "Make someone's day. Write them a letter." I haven't written the letter yet but I intend to.

I think we - or at least the next generation - are losing the art of writing at length in our day-to-day lives. A lot of time is spent bent over a computer device or a mobile phone, tapping short messages to our friends via various method (SMS, social media, captions on images). We are getting used to sharing short snippets of our lives throughout the day rather than living our lives and sharing the important stuff with the important people.

I'm all for short cuts but love seeing handwritten envelopes and recognising the writing, knowing that someone has spent time choosing and contructing the content inside.


So this week you've learnt why I love stationery so much. It gives me the opportunity to write both at length and short messages (even if they are to myself). Writing these prompted updates this week has made me examine my obsession a little bit, given me the chance to reorganise myself and fall in love with it all over again.

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