31 Mar 2014

Weekend Round Up #3

Saturday 29th

Outside of the village church on a lovely sunny day

Inside the church

Table arrangement

Photo Scavenger Hunt 
I didn't take part, but I love the idea!

AMAZING cakes, I couldn't believe them.
I loved the little birdcage ones at the far end.

Guest books and a mailbox to put cards in

  • Went to a Wedding in the middle of nowhere in Oxfordshire, it was beautiful!
  • It was such a fantastic day, a little windy and cold in the shade, but beautiful. And the wedding itself was so amazing
  • In fact, due to how many pictures I have of the wedding, I'm going to post pictures of that instead of anything from Sunday

Sunday 30th March

  • Woke up in our small suite at the hotel after the wedding - very glad we came home early!
  • Stopped off a Bicester Outlet Village on the way home, so many designer outlets. I finally got to hold a Mulberry bag and Michael Kors bag (both of which I want!)
  • I got a lovely dress from Jack Wills and a cable knit jumper from Ralph Lauren, so I left feeling rather happy!

29 Mar 2014

Daily Diet - What I Eat Each Day

Along the lines of the health/weight loss side of things, I thought I'd let you info what I eat each day. For me what I used to eat in the day was a major problem, there were so many bad foods at work, and even when the office was cake/sweet/peanut butter M&M free, I always wanted to snack.

When I first started reducing my calories, I still snacked during the day, but these were planned snack. I really felt like I needed to snack and I couldn't survive throughout the day otherwise. I was in fact, very wrong.

For me it's about eating small amounts through the day, and keeping the calories low.

This is how I eat daily:

What: Cereal bar
Calories: try to keep it under 100
Time: around 10.00-10.30am (or as long as I can wait!)
Notes: I eat this when I get to work, I used to have breakfast at home and found myself wanting more food around the same time I now have my breakfast. Cutting out the breakfast at home cuts out unnecessary eating

What: Warburtons Sandwich thin, with mustard (instead of butter) and a ham or chicken slice
Calories: around 200 (depending on the filling)
Time: first half around 12.30pm (or later if I can hold on), second half around 2.30-3.00pm
Notes: The sandwich thins are 100 calories each, which is amazing considering that a normal slice of bread is over 200 calories. If you like it, mustard is a great alternative to butter! I try and buy sandwich meat that says how many calories per slice it is, so I can work out exactly how much I'm having.

What: Crackers (2)
Calories: 20-35/cracker
Time: Whilst cooking dinner
Notes: Plain crakcers might sound boring, but I actually think they're really tasty! And they are pretty filling too.

What: Something from the Hairy Bikers Diet Book
Notes:Try not to use all your remaining calories on this, remember that you've had other drinks throughout the day and you might want to leave room for pudding!
Also try to avoid large amounts of carbs, such as rice, pasta, noodles - these can pile on the calories!

What: Yoghurt is great and some chocolate mousse pots are quite low calorie or I often have a little bit of chocolate.

Never forget to include your drinks!
I drink a lot of tea, and as I only have a tiny bit of milk in it, I don't really count it. For soft drinks I have the 'zero' drinks, like coke zero, pepsi max, sprite zero etc.
But drinks like take away coffee, soft drinks ('full fat') or alcoholic drinks can be really calorific.

I hope that's helpful to those of you who are interested.
If you have any questions, let me know :)

28 Mar 2014

Photo Friday #3

My team at work is coming to at end, with everyone leaving in the next week or so.
Someone made us some cakes this week to say thank you.

Here are 2 pictures of some of the amazing cakes, which when read out said:
Transformation, Good Luck and Thank You

I couldn't believe how amazing the cakes were and how much details there was on them!

26 Mar 2014

Stuffed Planner Issues

As I mentioned before my planner is already stuffed, and after less than a month.

Now I've got a bit of a dilemma about what to do...the amount of pages is already overtaking the rings, so if I open the rings near the front or back of the planner everything starts moving off the rings and I have to put it all back and squash it down whilst I clip the rings shut.

In my eyes I really haven't got that much in there...

  • I've got a couple of info pages, important numbers and some useful info that I can refer to often.
  • Then I have my To Do Lists, I write a new one each day (but continuing on the same page from the previous list), so these can take up quite a bit of room. I guess I could take out my old lists, but I like having them in there.
  • Then I have yearly/monthly/important dates section, which I admin, I hardly look at, but it's only a few sheets.
  • Following is my diary pages. I could take out the previous pages or some of the months towards the end of this year. But as keeping track of things and keeping myself organised is my goal for using this, I'd really rather not take out the pages.
  • After that there's my household section incl. my meal planner, shopping lists and cleaning rota. Only 3 sheets, so not out of control!
  • Then I have a projects and goals section which has my weigh loss goals, books to read, general organising to do, blog ideas and a few other notes. I guess that I don't use all of these on a regular basis, but it's useful to have to jot down ideas or if I see a book I want to read.
  • Next is my financial section, with some goals spending logs and bill info.
  • And lastly I have my addresses. I don't use this regularly, but if I suddenly realise I have to send someone a note or card I have their address to hand. Again, surely this is the idea of the planner!

So my question to you (if there's anyone there) is what can I cut out? What can I switch out to make my planner slimmer?

I am getting a Swift for my birthday next week, and expect that I'll move into that as soon as I have it.
This would leave the Paperchase Planner free, so maybe I could leave the extra bits in him as a 'stay at home' planner.
But what about One Life, One Planner?

25 Mar 2014

Using Washi Tape in my Planner

I recently got some washi tape after seeing a bazillion people using it to make their planners look super pretty.
After hours trawling ebay I finally decided on which colours/patterns (even thought there are a million more, I want every colour!) I couldn't see the point in getting plain and as I love floral patterns I knew that some floral tape was on my list!

This is what I decided on

Green and Purple are my favourite colours and I also
thought the green would match my new Swift

I attempted the fairly standard lining the top and bottom of my pages with tape, but I'm still not great at getting it straight or the right length.

I really like the way it brightens up my To Do list!

I was also bored with my dividers and had loads of photos that I've printed out and never done anything with, so I trimmed the photos like a five year old with some scissors and stuck them down with some tape.

This is a photo of the Royal Albert Hall in London, taken so
that the colours came out really brightly

Some flowers that lined a bridge in a little town
in the south of France

While I know they don't look great/professional, they still brighten it up a lot!

And that's where I become stuck, I have no idea what else to use it for.
Does anyone have any good ideas for using washi?

24 Mar 2014

Weekend Round Up #2

Saturday 22nd

Inside the Pub

  • Help out my parents with their business for the day, got to catch up with them and my brother and his girlfriend. It was lovely to see them all!
  • Went to the pub after for a pint and then for a sneaky free burger (I love me a burger) for dinner - perfect!

Sunday 23rd

My new Converse

The end result of my sewing, it may not look perfect great, but I was so proud

  • Explored the new town a bit more, found a whole new bit of shopping centre I didn't know about!
  • Got some Converse for half price in the sale! They're Alpine Green :)
  • Sewed up a small hole in BF's work trousers, now I know this doesn't sound like much, but I haven't done any sewing for years and I was really proud with how it turned out!

22 Mar 2014

Mince & Potato Pie

This is one of the first recipes I'm sharing with you from the healthy diet.
It's from the previously mentioned Hairy Bikers Diet Book (except in their words it's Mince and Vegetable Pie with Tumbled Spuds - but we have changed it a little)

This is a really tasty meal, especially if you just feel like something hearty and warming. Serious, if you eat this, you'll never believe it's a diet recipe!

Now we all knwo I'm not very good at taking photos. I took a few during the cooking process (which I will include), but totally failed when it came to the end of took no photo of the finished dish. I will endeavour to change this and add photos next time I make it!

Serves 4

500 g Extra Lean Beef Mince (5% fat), raw *
1 medium Onion, Chopped
2 medium Leek, trimmed and sliced
2 medium Carrots, raw, Peeled and Diced
2 tablespoons (level) Plain White Flour
2 tablespoons (level) Tomato Purèe
1 cube(s) Beef Stock Cube, Make up 500ml of stock **
1 1/2 teaspoons Dried Mixed Herbs
1 tablespoons Worcestershire Sauce ***
2 teaspoons Black Pepper, Freshly ground
2 teaspoons Salt, Flaked Sea Salt
600 g Potato, Boiled ***
1 tablespoons Butter
*If you can't get mince this lean then brown the meat on it's own first and tip away the fat after
** I use the stock pots/melts rather than the cubes
*** I don't have this, so I usually pop in some Dijon Mustard instead
**** I sometimes use a combination of sweet and regular potatoes, or just sweet on their own


  • Place a large non stick saucepan or flameproof casserole dish over a medium heat and cook the mince with the onion, leeks and carrots for 5 minutes until lightly coloured. I usually swap the leeks for some extra onions if I don't have them
  • Break up the meat with a couple of wooden spoons as it cooks

  • Stir in the flour and cook for a few seconds, stirring.
  • Add the tomato puree, beef stock, herbs and worcestershire sauce (or mustard), then season with a good pinch of slat and plenty of freshly ground pepper.

I added some cabbage that we'd bought at our local market to the sauce.

  • Bring the mixture to a simmer and cook without covering for 20 minutes stirring occasionally.
  • Meanwhile preheat the oven to 220/Fan 200/Gas 7.
  • Half fill a large saucepan with water and bring it to the boil.
  • Peel the potatoes and cut them into rough 2cm chunks.

  • Add the potatoes to the boiling water and bring it back to the boil and cook for 5 minutes.
  • Remove the pan form the heat and drain the potatoes in a colander.Tip them back into the saucepan, add the butter and lots of seasoning,then bash or slightly mash the potatoes.
  • Pour the beef mixture into a 1.8 litre,shallow ovenproof dish.
  • Tumble the potatoes on top and season with lots of ground black pepper.
  • Bake for 25-30 minutes until the topping is golden and the filling is bubbling.

Sometimes to save having the oven on for a long time I'll just make the sauce and cook the potatoes for a little longer, serving them together.

I seriously recommend the recipe and the cookbook, both really great!

21 Mar 2014

Photo Friday #2

So I realised that I'm actually terrible at taking photos through the week and so I have a very limited number of photos to choose from when finding my favourite one from the week.

In fact, the pictures I do have are ones that I've taken for the blog!

Here's my favourite, it's planner related (shocker)...

This is a divider I customised myself I know it looks like a five year old did it, I had my new washi tape that I was dying to try out, plus I have a mountain of printed photos (I've not always been crap at taking photos) that I wanted to do something with.

I'm going to do a post next week about unsucessfully using washi tape in my planner!

20 Mar 2014

A Disappointing Filofax Delivery

Filofax...disappointing...these words together? Yes, it's wrong, I know.

I snagged what I thought was a cheeky bargain last week by buying a Burgundy Sherwood on eBay, in what was advertised as A5.

Now for various reasons (that will hopefully be one day explained) I have set my sights on an A5 planner. I had accepted that due to my funds I would not be able to afford a really lovely leather one...until I saw this spot on eBay. I knew it would get snapped up quickly and at a bargain Buy It Now price I continued to look at it every 5 minutes 15 or so minutes wondering whether it would go. I finally took the plunge and hit Buy It Now and excitedly waited for it to be posted and wing it's way to me.

Even better when I got home yesterday I found this waiting for me

I was very restrained and instead of ripping it open I carefully cut the tape and opened it (not to damage the FF inside!) and pulled out my purchase.

My first thought was, Wow, I didn't realise that A5 was so small. Then I grabbed my Paperchase Planner and compared it and realised that this was in fact a personal that someone has mislabelled as an A5. It had also been sold as being in 'very good condition' and on not so close inspection, it's got quite a few marks on it and I would not class it as
being in very good condition.

Here are some piccies of it

The Sherwood in the middle, compared to my phone case (brown leather) and my Paperchase Planner



Inside fron cover, card pockets

Inside back cover, full length pocket and zip pocket

Long story short, I was very disappointed. Although the leather is very soft, I just can't bring myself to love it.

Needless to say it's going to be sold to someone who will love it and my search for an A5 planner continues...

(If you happen to be interested in buying this from me, just let me know!)

17 Mar 2014

Weekend Round Up #1

So I've decided that along with my Photo Fridays I will do a Weekend Round Up to let you know what I got up to on the weekends (if you're even interested!)
The idea is that I have a photo from each day and a few bullet points about each day...that was I can try not to ramble on too much.

Saturday 15th

  Paperchase Planner on the train back to London
with my new washi tape (ye to be tried out)

  • Visited my parents and sister in Kent
  • Went to one of my best friend's Hen Do, it was a lovely afternoon tea with a few games and an elegant dress code
  • I meant to take a photo of the afternoon tea, but I may have got distracted...

Sunday 16th

I didn't take any photos as I actually forgot (just having too much fun), so here is a photo of the 100 degree drop on one of the rides from google.

  • Went to Thorpe Park with BF, it was a member day for Merlin Pass holders, so there were basically no queues and the weather was lovely!
  • There were a few firsts on rides that included 100 degree drop, 0-80 mph in 1.8 seconds followed by a 205ft drop (I nearly cried), ride of a winged roller coaster, riding backwards on a winged roller coaster and a ride with 10 inversions
  • Today I am feeling very sore and even seem to have pulled a muscle in my hand...how?!

15 Mar 2014

The Paperchase Planner

So as I mentioned in my Planner Bug post, I have upgraded my rather sad looking DIY planner for the real deal...well sort of. Sadly the real deal is not a fancy leather Filofax (sigh...Malden), but a Paperchase planner.

I thought to myself that it's still a month until I get my Filofax and I wanted to try out a proper planner, so I can switch things in and out, instead of not being able to move anything because it's all tied together.
I had a little walk around on my usual Westfield walk at lunch to scope out if WHSmith had any bargains on Filofaxes (they did on their website), but no deals in store. So I resorted to Paperchase where I knew that they were around £16 for a personal planner.
I spotted a plain brown 'leather-look' planner, popped it out it's box and had a feel.
I settled for that, and nervously took it to the till, wondering whether I'd done the right thing all the way back to my desk...

I didn't take it back...so here it is.

The feel of it is very soft, and I'm not too bothered about it being not real leather (I want to get myself a fancy leather Malden Orche Filofax one day anyway).

The box said it's brown, but it's actually got a bit of deep purple tone to it, which I really like. It's also not a solid colour, but has some very slight tone variation running through, which again, I really like.

Card slots on the inside cover holding stickers and sticky notes

It did take me a couple of days to realise where the pen loop was (on the strap - silly me), it's pretty small, but as I tend to use a black bic as my main pen to write in it, it's fine.

My main problem is, it's stuffed already!

14 Mar 2014

Photo Friday #1

I've recently been engrossed in The Crazy Life of J, which has given me a bit of inspiration for my own blog, planner and life.

I love her idea of Photo Friday. I don't take nearly enough photos, and I love to look back and remember good times, so I'm hoping this might encourage me to take more photos so I can have some lovely pics to put up!

So here's Photo Friday #1, a sneak peak at my new planner from Paperchase.

13 Mar 2014

Weight loss...success!

The last 6 months or so I've been on a calorie controlled diet to try and lose some weigh.
Since I left school and went to uni in 2007 I've basically been eating more and more food and the food became less healthy, and slowly over the time weight crept on.
It got to a stage last year where I felt horrible, I didn't like how I looked or how it made me feel. I'd made half hearted attempts to change in the past, but I never really tried that hard.
Luckily for me, my wonderful BF (boyfriend, he shall be knows as BF on here) suggested that we start doing a calorie controlled diet and eating healthier dinners.

Since then, with his help and support (and maths skills), I've been on 1500 calories a day as a maximum, I think I eat less on most days.
I've now lost just over 2 stone (or just over 28 pounds for those across the pond).

I still want to lose another stone, but I feel so much better already!
I want to share some tips and tricks with you, as well as what meals we like to eat.

My first recommendation is this book.

It's full of fantastic, tasty recipes, that are calorie controlled, filling...and frankly, yummy!
The Hairy Bikers have another diet book, which is worth getting, but not as good as this little gem. 

I track my weight using the Weigh Diary app, which is free, it's really simple to put in your weight, you can put in a goal, it shows your bmi and a graph of your weight loss.
It's really simple and easy, and you can even add a passcode!

I also have a list of Weight goals in my planner which I can tick off once I complete them.

If you're trying to lose weight like me...keep going, the rewards outweigh the struggle.

12 Mar 2014

Filling the 'DIY' Planner

I recently posted about getting myself a planner...well a rough DIY 'planner'!

Once I'd tied put it all together I was a bit scared to start using it, even though it's not the prettiest thing, but I still didn't want to mess it up!

I'm completely over that now (but trying to keep it neat still). I started with a plain black bic, and have started introducing some more colour as time goes on.

As for what's inside, this are the tabs that Paperchase provided me with: Information, Agenda, Planner, Diary, Address and Notes
I'm not really sure on the purpose of having an Agenda, Planner and Diary tabs, so I'm going to attempt to change them soon.
I also got a couple of zip wallets (which hold business cards, stickers etc.), a bundle of To Do Lists and some extra Notes pages.

I've used little sticky notes to add some of my own top tabs, but they are getting rather bent from being stuffing into my bag and I use 'Sign Here' post it tabs (they were the most suitable thing on my desk at work!) to show my daily To Do List and to mark the current week in the diary.

I have a weekly to do list, goals & projects (weight loss goals and booked to read etc.), moving lists (to follow up a few things since moving), shopping lists and meal planner and finance logs (spending log, bill tracker and budget).

Here are a few pics...

My weekly diary

My Books to Read List (there's a whole other page!)

Meal Planner

Pockets with some business cards in and stickers and sticky tabs

It's all very casual at the moment, I can't wait to get my hands on my Filofax and switch everything in!

Counting down the days...

11 Mar 2014

The Planner Bug

So I recently drafted a whole post about reading Carla's blog (Yay, for Fridays!) and how her slight obsession with planners may have spurred on my own obsessive tenancies too.
However, stupid me accidentally deleted my draft and I hadn't got round to re-writing it.

So due to the move, lack of having internet and getting absorbed in reading other people's blogs (clearly putting me to shame), I am finally getting round to doing another post.

As the title suggests, and my previous mention of Carla's blog, I may have been bit by the planner bug. I posted about how I made my rather pathetic attempt at a DIY planner to check I'd actually use it before diving in head first (very sensible if you ask me).
Fortunately, I have been using it, a lot. I rather love my little bundle of papers (which has now been upgraded...and I love it even more now).

However reading this made me realise that I want the real deal, even if it's second hand or a cheap one, I need something to put these pages into!
Now as I mentioned before I had my eye on the Swift Personal Filofax I may have accidentally ordered this, and now it is being given to me as a present for my birthday, but I'm yet to get my grubby paws on it. (It's very patiently sitting in my drawer of my bedside table waiting. I haven't even opened it to look at it yet.)

I thought I'd be happy once I knew I had my Filofax on the way, but the blog made me want more...so I spend my work hours (my job is the least busy job anyone has ever worked in) reading blogs, looking at pictures and scanning ebay and my lunchtimes walking between WHSmiths (where they have filofaxes) and Paperchase (where they have their own planners AND filofaxes) and looking lovingly at them.
Sadly, they only have the bottom range, none of the fancy models that I want to get my hands on (Malden in Orche).
The shop assistants must think I'm pretty weird now.

So by mistake, I now have a filofax wishlist
Personal Ochre Malden
Personal Teal Baroque
Personal Aqua Safino
A5 Ochre Malden

It has begun...