Monday, January 12, 2015

Paper Planner Love

For quite a long time now, I have been an electronic planner person, but late into last year, I just found it wasn't working for me as well as it had been previously. This made me think about going back to the good, old fashioned paper planner, and since I have, I honestly haven't looked back. I think that a full blown stationery obsession, coupled with a mind that simply works better when I physically write things down, has combined to create a system that seems to working much better for me.

I had used a MomAgenda in the past, but the reason it fell out of favour for me was that it was just too big, and so it didn't fit in all my bags, and just became too cumbersome to carry around all the time. And this is really a key point - for any diary system to work, paper or digital, you need to always have it with you. While browsing in kikki-k, I came across the most gorgeous lilac and gold leather planner in medium (it's 50% off at the moment!)  that looked large enough to actually write things in, but not so large that I wouldn't tote it around with me. I also added a little pencil case designed to strap over a planner (from Officeworks) to contain my coloured pens (more on that later!).

When you first open up my planner, I have a little motivational quote that I swap out weekly in front of my personal info page. This quote card is also from kikki-k, from a little set of quote cards I picked up on clearance. I also have some fun shaped paper clips in case I need to clip loose pieces of paper in while I am out and about, to keep them safe until I get home and can punch them in.

After my info page, I have my daily docket. This one is from The Polkadot Posie Printables and includes half the page dedicated to the schedule for the day, as well as a little meal planning box, and a To-Do list. I've added in downloadable "To Call" and "To Clean" stickers downloaded from       and printed at home.

After a homemade divider, I then have a section dedicated to my health and fitness goals, as this is a real focus for me this year. The first page is a daily "My Healthy Day" tracker from Lime Tree Fruits that is a great visual summary for me - it includes drinking water, fruit and veg consumption, exercise, mind and soul, to name just a few.

Next is my goal tracker, also from The Polkadot Posie Printables, which I am using to track my long term health goals. What I love about this tracker is that while it lists your long term goals, it also breaks them down into monthly goals, something I think makes your goals so much more achievable. I love the little motivational quote as well!! I'm all about the quotes at the moment!!

In this section, I also have the weightloss tracker, measurement tracker, and a fitness calender, which were all part of the Health and Fitness Planner set (together with the goal tracker above) from The Polkadot Posie Printables. I use the fitness tracker to document how many steps I have taken each day (with the aim of consistently achieving at least 10000 daily) as well as what exercise classes I have taken.

Next is my monthly calendar section, also from Polkadot Posie Printables. I don't refer to this section every day, more like once a week, but it is great for longer range planning. I've decorated it with washi tape, taping out the bottom of each day that is a school holiday.

My final main section is my weekly diary, and this I refer to many times per day. I'm not sure why, but I didn't love the insert the planner came with, so I swapped it out for one from Filofax. Each Sunday night, I sit down and review the coming week, and decorate it with washi tape, stickers and quotes. I love how bright and cheerful it looks! The stickers are a mix, and include motivational and puffy cute little stickers from kikki-k, printable workout icon stickers from The Gifted Pepper, and my Flylady cleaning zone printable sticker from Juicebox Creations.

I also colour code all the entries so I can see visually at a glance who each diary entry refers to. Pink is for my daughter, blue for my son, purple for me, and green for entries that involve both the kids or the family. Colour coding has made a huge difference to the workability of my planner.

So there you have my planner setup for the new year. I would love to hear whether you have switched to digital, or you can't get enough of paper like me!

Linking to these fabulous linkys.


Monday, January 5, 2015

Top Ten Posts of 2014

I've never done a top ten posts of the year before, and I was fascinated by the results. By a country mile, my most read posts were about capsule wardrobes and how to make the most of a smaller one. This is great news, since capsule wardrobes are something I passionately believe in, but I kind of thought I was overdoing those kind of posts. But since you all obviously like them too, I will continue to write about them! I will also be bringing you other style, beauty and lifestyle posts over the coming year, so I hope you continue join me at Chic Mummy: every day life, lived in style.

Top Ten Posts of 2014

1. Autumn 10 Item Capsule Wardrobe

2. Blue and Green SAHM Capsule Wardrobe

3. Thermomix Chili Con Carne

4. Update To Summer Wardrobe

5.  1 Shirt from Summer to Autumn

6.  Looking Towards My Spring Summer Capsule Wardrobe

7.  5 Ways to Wear a Tank and Jeans

8.  Building an Accessories Wardrobe

9. What I Wore Wednesday

10. Book Review: At Home with Madame Chic

Linking to these fabulous linkys here and here

Friday, January 2, 2015

Looking towards a brighter 2015

2014 has been an incredibly tough year for me; I would go so far as to say that 2014 has, by far, been the worst year that I have ever experienced. It seemed like the year just progressively threw greater and greater trials at me, almost like I was being tested to see how much I could possibly endure. However, the year has ended, and I survived. I might not have thrived, but I survived.

Starting off the year, my son was beset by chronic asthma and croup that completely escalated out of control. It meant frequent hospitalisations, a ridiculous amount of missed school, and even an emergency ambulance ride when he literally couldn't breath and started turning blue. There were some weeks that I honestly couldn't see the light at the end of the tunnel; it just seemed like everything we tried got us nowhere at best. However, by the end of October, with some intensive treatment from an amazing asthma specialist, we finally seem on the road to having a manageable illness.

Just as we seemed to be turning the corner with Stephen's condition, however, my daughter decided she needed to get in on the action! The same day that my son was booked in for routine surgery to have his tonsils out (we were literally in the car, on our way), our GP called to say that we needed to rush our daughter to the emergency department as he was certain she had appendicitis. This was after three weeks of her being unwell and us being adamantly told it was nothing more than a bad case of gastro at the previous two emergency dept visits, and two visits to another GP (ours was in holiday when it all started happening). We dropped my son and husband at one hospital while my daughter and I hightailed it to the children's hospital, where guess what? They still didn't believe me that my daughter had anything more serious than gastro, but due to our GP's insistence, they admitted us. Thank goodness, because that night at 3 in the morning, she spiked a 42C/107F fever, which I later found out is considered a serious medical emergency, and that suddenly prompted the doctors to take the appendicitis theory more seriously.

The next morning, after a barrage of tests, ultrasounds and a CT scan, the surgeons confirmed that she had a ruptured appendix, and that had led to a pelvic abscess. Due to the massive infection, removal of the appendix was considered too risky, so the surgeons decided to drain the abscess and then aggressively treat the infection with IV antibiotics for a week, with removal of the appendix planned for three months later. In the meantime, Irini went for fortnightly ultrasounds and blood tests to keep an eye on things. Of course, while all this was happening, both my parents and my in-laws were overseas! I tell you, if there is ever a time you really want your mum, it is when you are dealing with a life threatening illness in your child! And yet, even without my parents, we were surrounded by love; little friends came to visit and bring the cheer that only comes with the innocence of children, big friends supplied us with what seemed like an endless supply of baked goods and casseroles. Even volunteer strangers came with smiles and balloons and fun and games.

Three months went past, the infection and abscess was completely cleared up, and we went in to see the surgeon to book in for the appendectomy, where he ever so apologetically let me know that the children's hospital no longer considered the surgery urgent, so we would need to go on the waiting list, which could be anywhere from 6 to 12 months. Never have I been so glad to have private health insurance, as I was when the surgeon agreed to squeeze us in on his last private surgery list for the year. Booked in finally, I could almost breath a sigh of relief. For the previous three months, every time Irini had a tummy ache we would all stress that the appendicitis was recurring, as there is a small risk of this.

It's funny how life works. For two weeks I was complaining how inconvenient having the surgery less than a week before Christmas would be, and for the first time in a long time, I had all my Christmas present shopping done so I would be ready before the surgery date, when life threw at me the worst event of all.

On the 10th of December, my only sibling took his life. Three days before Christmas, and a day after Irini came out of hospital after her surgery, we attended my brother's funeral. I still can't comprehend it completely even now, three weeks later. I'm not sure I will completely comprehend it in three years, or even thirty.  I think in any unexpected death, let alone suicide, it is impossible to not question "why?" over and over. It is impossible to not question your faith. It is a blow that can be felt so deep within your soul, you are not sure why you own heart is still beating.

And yet. And yet, you endure. I truly believe that life does not give you anything you cannot truly bear. It may give you challenges that you think are insurmountable, but they are not. They are there to teach, if only we are willing to learn. On one of my darkest days, this poem below came into my inbox. It's timing couldn't have been more perfect. Coincidence? Serendipity? I don't know. I just know it was what I needed when I needed it.

Winter has swallowed us whole, taken us deep. In the chill of ice, trees stand stark as bones, the land is cold iron, frost slows all movement so Gaia is still as death. Only the brilliant stars in the black sky remember the rhythms of earth as they wheel through the night. All is connected. As stars bloom and die, as flowers fall to seed, as bone becomes nurturing ground, the wheeling universe lives in its Beauty and pattern. We are stardust, born of the Great Goddess, and in her is all hope. Even in the most severe terror of darkness and cold that Kali brings, the Spark flares again to ignite the perfect miracle of life. When all seems lost, the mystery of the universe begins to lift us into light and renewal once more.
Rose Flint

Life has been irrevocably changed and can never be the same, but the love and support of your family, your friends, and your faith cradle you, hold you close, and lift you back towards the light until you can grasp it once again.

Copyright: tmcnem / 123RF Stock Photo

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