A private journal

When I was 11 I got my first journal, it was one of those notebooks with the lock on it, and I was hooked. I journalled a lot over the years, but for a long while recently, I haven’t done much at all, if any.

I enjoy perusing the Ali Express website and have many a planner over numerous wish lists: Travellers Notebooks, Hobonichi style covers, ringbound planners etc, but I spotted a few planners by a company called Cagie and I was intrigued. I did what I usually did and I added them to the wish lists for fun – sort of a collection without actually owning them. Then I got the idea in my head how the ones with the locks on would be a great journal, and that I really should get back into it, as it is good for mental health surely. I actually had a different one in my cart for a long time – it was white with purple florals on, and I battled over in my mind which one would be better – Rings or a book cover, but the book cover continued to sit in that cart. Then one day, up popped “New in!” and I spotted this one.

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It was in Gold, silver and yellow. The silver one promptly went into my basket. It was cheaper than the other one that sat in there for such a long time, so already – a big bonus! Plus I wasn’t sure the floral design was completely ME on the other one. But this…. This one spoke to me! Once again, it sat in my cart for a while, before I finally came back to it. The gold seemed more of a “nude” colour than gold and I quite liked that, and I already have a lovely grey planner… I swapped the gold and silver a few times before I finally went ahead and bought the gold one. It arrived yesterday and I LOVE it!

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It is quite reminiscent of my childhood journal, and the lock feature is wonderful – this one thankfully doesn’t need a key as it is a combination lock and very easy to change the original number. The inner book can come out when it is full and be replaced inside the cover, so this will last me a very long time. I am so pleased with this, and look forward to writing in it very soon.

[Ali Express link to the cover I bought]

Using Google Slides for Planner Printables

G-Suite is absolutely amazing – it’s free to use and all G-Suite files do not count towards your Drive storage.

I am a huge planner addict, and I love to create things so in this instance it is making my own planner stickers and inserts, customised to how I want them! It was just me fiddling around in the suite of apps within Drive that I started using Google Slides as a desktop publishing software (think along the lines of Microsoft publisher) while it’s not quite on the scale of Adobe InDesign, it does a great job for making stickers and inserts. Plus I have set up a little resource library here on my blog where you can take things I have already done and tweak them to your requirements 🙂 Under “Downloads” At the top, you will find “Planner Goodies”, or click RIGHT HERE.

What can I make?

Pretty much anything! A5, personal, pocket, traveler’s notebook style & Happy
Planner Inserts, dashboards, covers, dividers and stickers.

So what do you need to know to make your own planner bits in Slides?

I have made a youtube video for this, which you can view here: “USING GOOGLE SLIDES FOR PLANNER PRINTABLES” this shows you how I do things, otherwise I will give you a rough guide below the video…

Firstly we need to get acquainted with the toolbar and what you will need.

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Next to the arrow we have the text box, where you can get some type on your page. Next to that you can insert images (pretty self explanatory) and next to that are the main tools you will need! We have a drop down for shapes and lines.

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Once in a shape or text box you will see this toolbar. You can change the fill colour, line colour, line thickness and line style (dotted or dashed!) Then we have the Font selection – here you have access to all the Google Fonts, I will show you that a bit better below. Font size, Bold, Italic, Underline and Text Colour. After that we have hyperlinks, Add comment (which I don’t use, I believe this is for collaborating with people), then text alignment which is super handy!

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Here are just some of the shapes available.

We also have the colour section when you are on objects that you can change the colour of. There is a selection that you can choose from but also there is a “custom” section where you can find your own colour – if you have a hex code (I.e. #000000 and #FFFFFF) then you paste it in here too. I have a file set up with colour combinations that I can copy boxes over to the new document and have the colours ready to choose from that section.

An app I was told about was “ColorZilla” in the Chrome Browser which is fantastic, it can pick the hex code from colours you want to use!

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There are lots of fonts to choose from! By clicking “more fonts” at the bottom you have access to the google font library 🙂

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Another thing to note is changing page size – though if you are changing the size, anything on that page will also change ratio of the items on that page, so you might want to start a new document and copy & paste everything over to your newly sized page.

I have a document set up called “sizer” where I can make boxes the precise size I want, say like a 1 inch box on my page which I then can copy and paste. Perfect if you want to make stickers for a HP or an EC.
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It’s then all just down to playing with all these tools and see what you come up with. I do have some files that you can use, once you are viewing them click FILE > MAKE A COPY to start using some of my files to customise to how you want them to be!

How I Use Google Drive & G-Suite to organise my life & home

I have free online storage from quite a few places, but the best by far has to be Google Drive for me! I use it for so many different things it has become an invaluable tool for my home, mostly because of the Suite of apps run within it, so I’m going to share with you how I use it…

Play school

I save Dylan’s weekly reports (each week the staff share what Dylan has been doing during his sessions) which I download as a PDF and save in his own playschool folder. I also write up Dylan’s half term reports on Google Docs ready to copy & paste and share through the platform the play school uses.

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Organising

The latest project is label tags for Dylan’s toy boxes. We have boxes for his kitchen stuff, building, puzzles, music etc so using the flat icon website, I have put together some labels that he can see without being able to read (although to be fair, Dylan knows by now what toys go in which box really, it will mostly help daddy out!)
I have a DVD inventory in a spreadsheet, I recorded episodes of tv shows off the telly and onto DVDs and made a list of the episodes into a doc file. Plus I made a vision board of our home before we moved in to get a better idea of how we wanted to set up the rooms.
When it comes to car/house insurance renewal, I have documents set up (this helps especially when looking into car insurance for hubby – we currently have joint insurance but when I’m looking for a cheaper deal I need his info) with all the answers I would need to questions on comparison websites. Sometimes the info is saved over to the next year on the website itself, sometimes they disappear so it certainly helps that I have the information to hand!

Scrapbooking

While I don’t keep my digi kits stored here as they would take up far too much storage, I have experimented in digi scrapping within google drawings. On google slides, I have done album mock ups such as an album all about my nan to print on to cardstock and assemble into an album – these of course don’t use any storage space. Slides has become my most used tool, using it as a desktop publishing software.

I have taken online classes, Cathy Zielske is my fave! I have saved a lot of my class materials to my google drive, especially after big picture classes went through a big change and we were encouraged to back up the materials before they were no longer available. I’m hoping to use Slides to prep for a lot of Cathy’s upcoming Design Your Life 2.0 class as well.

Family history

Ancestry showed a really cool binder their genealogists put together, so I decided I could do something similar with google docs. I have made family tree pictures with drawings to insert into the document (I have 2 – one for ancestors on mum’s side and another for ancestors on my dad’s side) and I save research here too.

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Planner

Slides has been amazing for me – I started using it as a desktop publishing tool a long time ago before I even realised that was what some other people were doing. I have made planner stickers, inserts & more within it, and I love it! Check out my video on how I use it here.

IFTTT

Rather randomly, I set up ifttt to save weather information to a spreadsheet for my hometown, since 2015. This is especially neat to look back on but other than that it has no purpose, well that I have yet anyway!
I also have a spreadsheet for medication, using the “do button” or “do widget” I press it and it adds a row to the spreadsheet with the date and time as a reminder of when I (or hubby, as he always forgets) or Dylan, takes medicine, so I press the button and I have record of it.

Finance

This has to be one of my ultimate uses. Every new financial year, I have a new household budget spreadsheet. While I use YNAB for tracking and overall household finance, my spreadsheet has the numbers I use for YNAB. As I am on a part time wage & more often than not it varies each month and hubby is paid full time the same amount each month, the spreadsheet works out the percentage we contribute to the household, plus our budget per month listed down, and shows how much I should have towards savings. Best of all it can be viewed by hubby as it is shared.

I also have holiday/vacation budgets spreadsheets, Christmas budget spreadsheets, and when we moved into this house, budget for furniture & moving costs.

Work

While not household, I keep a running log of holiday leave taken from work plus notes of overtime each month I have done. When I worked through an agency, I also kept a running log of holiday accrual and kept a list of appointments when I was pregnant with Dylan plus time I paid back to the company in a spreadsheet so I had it all noted down.

Website (& design)

I decided fairly recently to keep my website “resources” within drive. I stumbled upon Joshua Pomeroy’s YouTube channel about using design in drawings and slides & firstly I thought it was awesome because I used slides for designing planner stickers and inserts already so it was a huge inspiration to me. I began to start putting some of the design resources I collected over the years into drive (they are all still kept in Box as an original though) as G-Suite files and I figured it would be good to keep logo, brand identity, backgrounds, elements, patterns etc in their own folders for ease of access, and as G-Suite files do not count towards storage I have added some images etc as Google Drawings image files.

Google photos

I backed up photos and videos through the app which are also saved to my drive. I have the optimised size and not original saved here purely as a back up. I figure that is better than lost forever, though my photos are also saved to my Flickr from my phone so it’s not a major deal to me, but it’s great to have the peace of mind.


I shall certainly work on a new post with the planner inserts in more depth and share some of my Drive files here as well under downloads for sure so keep an eye out for those!

Multitasking at its finest

Scanning and blogging! So bear with me here 😉 It has been quite a (long) day with Dylan sleeping in his room until 4.3oam where I then lay awake for 2 hours before getting up and getting cracking on some house work, my UC making me quite poorly, and mishaps such as attaching myself via hook and loop tape (also known as velcro to most of us ha!) to some boards, scaring myself silly going into a completely dark room with a mannequin that was right inside the door – the same one I have mistaken for a customer far too many times than I care to admit.

Hubby is working on some stuff in the spare room and Dylan thankfully went to bed after arguing with me about where he was planning on sleeping. I am sat on the floor with a cushion as I need to access the scanner for my lovely planner pages.

You see apparently that Marie Kondo said something about things coming to you when you most need it. I’m still a little skeptical but have witnessed a couple of such events:

A raffle where I left early from the party. At the time I remember seeing the table of prizes thinking “I don’t want any of that clutter around” so didn’t hesitate when I was overwhelmed by the sheer number of people after losing Dylan a few times that I had enough (thankfully it was a toddler Xmas party and he was safe but still a scary thing watching your child run off in front of your eyes and there is no way you can get to him as there are people blocking your path!)

I was done. I didn’t care if I didn’t win anything.

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Weeks later I received a voucher, as it turns out from that very raffle… For a free cut and blow dry. The previous weekend I had been thinking to myself that I needed a hair cut.

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Then we have my latest purchase: A Kikki K wellness planner. I agonised over this one for weeks. I debated about whether I truly needed it, I watched youtube videos about it and figured everything in this planner was just what I needed to get me on track where my regular planner organises my to dos/appointments/etc, but that maybe I should still wait. They had a sale on for 20% off and boy did I hover over that add to cart button. Instead I signed up to the mailing list a couple of days before the end of Jan, where the final day of the sale I received an additional money off coupon code, that by luck I tried it with the already 20% off and got it at a bargain price. But I am scanning the pages in so that I don’t have to purchase refills 😛  It is gorgeous and most certainly is sparking joy: a year ago on Tuesday I attended my first CBT class which ultimately (we think) helped me get into remission until December with my autoimmune disease. This planner has CBT like parts about it but also addresses other key things. Just reading through it has made me think a lot and I look forward to using it to implement some much needed changes in addition to some other household ones I have in the works. If it helps me make some happy healthy changes to my life then without a doubt it will be worth every penny 🙂

I do intend on being back with those flat videos. I was also toying with the idea of doing a bit of vlogging but we shall see how that one actually pans out haha!

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Not only have I been sick with an awful cold, had my car not starting when I was trying to leave for work and borrowing Gareth’s, then had to sort out a puncture for my car, Gareth’s car having issues as well and him having my car for the week until we got it back on Thursday… Ive had one poorly little pickle as well. Thankfully colds seem to have shifted. Next plan, remission for me! (please keep fingers crossed!)

So long January

My little monkey hardly ever sits still and he has the cheesiest grin! But don’t let it fool you. Within the blink of an eye, he can go from angelic looking to full on meltdown. They fail to mention that the “terrible twos” start from about 14/15 months old! I spend my days running after him, he most certainly keeps me on my toes! As for his sleep, well that is still very much an issue. He refuses to go down, he has split my lip on multiple occasions where the just thrashes about, and when he does go to sleep, he is back up just hours later. It simply seems that he is a bad sleeper, end of. Nothing I could do would change it, so I just have to go with the flow and if it means he ends up in bed with me by about 3am, then that’s what I have to do.

He even got his first shoes. We tried a couple of pairs on him, and the first pair he struggled to walk in as they seemed pretty heavy for his feet so we chose the airplane ones instead. We need to get him remeasured again now as it has been over a month.

On top of looking after Dylan, I have been cooking for the both of us too (seems daddy wasn’t too eager to try the butternut squash soup! My mum is going to try it so is coming over after work to get the last serving and I have 2 pots in the freezer for later) I had never had butternut squash before, but I cooked it anyway. Dylan is funny with his food lately… Unless he can grab it and feed it to himself, he doesn’t want to know, but I managed to get him to have a few spoonfuls and he happily dipped bread in it too and gobbled it up.

And I made some wholemeal cheese straws. All the recipes came from the Ella’s Kitchen Cookbook (both of these were from the RED book, though we have the yellow baking book too. I didn’t get on with Annabel Karmel book, and Dylan adored the Ella’s Kitchen pouches so it seemed a winner!) These are some pretty good straws, and I’m guessing because they are wholemeal, it must be better for us… right? 😉

I have been relying on my planners lots and things are improving anxiety wise 🙂 I have my book checked out of the library for the course which starts on my birthday. I have a lovely gold planner coming from China (£9!) and as my journal went walkies somewhere… Everything seems to be going missing, it’s so cramped in here that some things we are just figuring will be found when we finally move. Any who, as my journal went walkies and I cannot for the life of me find it anywhere, I also bought a “fauxbonichi” and a zippered case to keep it in 😀 That’s what my Christmas money went on. I will be doing a post when it arrives!