Monthly Archives: October 2015

Suffragette (3 Stars)

I had been looking forward to this film was quite a film, when I finally watched it I was a little disappointed. I just didn’t enjoy the film as much as I hoped.

The film centres around the fictional Maud Watts (Carey Mulligan) a married mother of one who works in a laundry and explores how Maud enters the world of women’s suffrage; at first rather reluctantly.

I think the script and pace of the film let this down and I was particularly disappointed with the character of Alice Houghton (Romola Garai) who played a rather bitty, weak female role that made the story seem like it was a rising up of the working class and wealthy women were bit players in the movement. Whilst it was good that the film did not ignore working class women in the movement, I do think they should have tried to develop the role of Houghton more.

The film also focused predominately on the transition of the movement from peaceful protest to civil disobedience and whilst this is perhaps seen as more glamorous I would have liked to see more of the idealogical rationale, rather than the film relying on background knowledge to fill that in.

I think it is worth a watch but I just hoped it would be something more than it was.

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Pen love: Bic Four Way Pens

I have a limited amount of space in a personal filofax, so one way I can maximise the effectiveness of my planner is to use different colours to mark out different things. That way if i want a particular set of information across my week (say what I ate) I can just focus on that one colour. I’m not really too precious on it though. It can be quite difficult though to have a colour coding system and then having to lug around a ton of pens wherever you go – just in case you need one. Bic four way pens are a great alternative, because it is just one pen…but allows you the opportunity to have four different colours.image

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When I got my Faber Castell pen and put Turquoise ink in it…I discovered it was exactly the same colour as the turquoise in my green BIC fashion pen (It has four colours: Purple, Pink, Light Green and Turquoise). I was left with a bit of decision making to do. I really liked the idea of using the Petrol Faber Castell pen in my main planner (my personal one) but I also use the fashion pen in my planner. Which meant I would be without a black pen but carrying around two pens of the same colour.

What I love about the BIC pens is that you can actually pop out the pen cartridge…in a similar to the Coleto pen. I’ve never used a Coleto pen but they seem to look really thick, which has put me off trying them. What I ended up doing was taking all eight of the inks out of my two BIC Pens and rearranging them. Three of the colours from the fashion pens (Purple, Pink and Light Green) were rehoused into the blue barrel pen, along with a black ink. The Green Barrel ended up with Red, Blue, Turquoise and Green. I really like this set up. Now I can get my Petrol Blue Faber Castell pen with my blue BIC pen. Then my Green Faber Castell pen can have the green BIC pen as a partner. That way I get 5 colours in two pens.

I don’t actually rate this pen on the whole for length writing. I just find it too big and chunky and as it doesn’t have a grip or a triangular body like the Faber Castell pen, it find it more difficult to write with. I prefer it for short sharp bursts of writing. That being said, they have also come out with a mini version of the BIC pen, which I have only seen available in the tradition blue version (which comes with Red, Blue, Black and Green inks). I find the mini pen much easier to write with. It also is the perfect size for the Mini Malden – however the pen loop is much to small to accommodate the pen which is annoying.

I managed to pick up the BIC blue versions in Mini and Regular size for the bargain price of £1 each at Wilkos the other week. WH Smith normally have a 3 for 2 on these types of pens too, particularly around September time when the schools are going back.


My Filofaxes: Pocket Vintage Jack

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As you can seen from my previous posts on the Vintage Jack and the Original Jack. I like Union Jacks on my Filofax…I’ve had my eye on a Pocket Vintage Jack in my WH Smith for quite a while – I’ve admired it and always put it back…it had been £13 for a long time and although I loved it, I just didn’t see a need for it nor much cause to get it. After all my inserts are mostly designed for a personal – I would have to make them especially for a pocket. I have a mini for the on the go jotter. I just don’t need a pocket. In addition, the Vintage Jack range…although I love it I dislike the lack of pen holder, which is a problem for the personal as well. I’m not a big pocket lover, but I would have liked at least a long flap I could maybe stuff receipts of something in…maybe the way round this is to get transparent pockets or the ones with the zip on them. It comes with the transparent dashboard that has the plastic pen loop on it (except mine comes with two?!).

Anyway…I walked into WH Smith the other day and it was £8.49 and for the first time ever I saw 2016 inserts with it…which I thought was a much better deal. Although I dislike filofax inserts it’s good to know that I can have inserts for 2016 ready if I did want to use it. I really bought this planner because I spent the weekend discussing the possibility of creating an etsy shop and looking into selling my inserts both in electronic and printed format. Whilst this is still just an idea…I thought it might be good to have the full range of Filofax sizes…so with this planner I can now say I have a mini, pocket, compact, personal and a5.

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At the moment it’s just going to sit on my shelf until I can find a use for it, it does have pride of place though so it is the only filofax I can see at the moment…but at least I can admire in my home rather than the WH Smith shop from now on.

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The Program (2 1/2 Stars)

The film is about the disgraced Tour de Force cyclist Lance Armstrong (Ben Foster) who throughout his sporting career abused banned substances in order to win the Tour de Force. The film itself is based on David Walsh’s (Chris O’Dawd) book, Seven Deadly Sins…which was about Walsh’s investigation into Armstrong’s alleged doping activities.

The film itself isn’t that great. I found the script boring and the beginning part of the film had background noise that was so loud it drowned out the dialogue. Ben Foster did an okay job as Lance Armstrong and by the end of the film his portrayal had successfully made me hate Lane Armstrong as a narcissistic, lying scumbag (which I think was 100 percent his intention). The supporting roles just weren’t there and the role film was a bit flat and lacklustre.

However that being said I felt it providing an interesting insight into the world of sporting and doping and helped to highlight the problem that is within sports. From the beginning of the film Lance Armstrong is told he can never win the Tour de Force because he is physically not designed to win the tour. The film then shows the drive and the lengths someone will go to to win. The film made me angry that in one person abusing and subsequently winning means that any athlete that wishes to race cleanly stands very little chance of winning, which I think is disgusting.


Bullet Journalling (or at least my version of it!)

When I showed my extended to do task list in my Filofax: Your Perfect Layout post. I got some good comments about my extended to do section. So today is more an in-depth look at that to do section.
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From the above photo you can tell that they are two different pieces of paper. The one of the left is my own creation, the one on the right is just a sheet of filofax graph paper. I began with trialling this system as I started with a week on two pages but they didn’t quite like it – I found that there wasn’t always enough space to do my to do notes and sometimes I was waiting for my appointments to be confirmed before I could stamp in some to do squares and inevitably I probably forgot one or two to dos along the way. The system just wasn’t working for me. I am not someone who has a lot of appointments – maybe one a day. I don’t over schedule myself each day and prefer to spend half a day researching and then doing something else. So I needed a smaller daily section and a longer extended to do list.

So I began experimenting with bullet journalling. For those unfamiliar with bullet journalling…you basically start by having a blank (often moleskin book) and rapid log appointments to dos etc. You can code these with different symbols and eventually you can create collections. For a more detailed explanation watch this video:

Now there was a downside to the original bullet journal with the fact there was no opportunity to future plan events – it was very much a in the moment planner. However the 2015 version, as you can see above now has a future log – which means it better. I really like having my weekly and monthly inserts and I think they work well for me…so I decided to pick and choose the elements of a bullet journal which work for me.
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I developed my own code which I printed and punched and then changed so this photo is now outdated…but I’ll explain the basics.

I follow the standard bullet journal with the following keys:

· Task (centre dot)

O Event

Δ Appointment

> Indicates the event has been migrated to next week (generally used for a task I didn’t complete)

< Indicates the task has been scheduled for a specific week (I normally just use the above one even if I decide to put it on a different week – I should use this one though).

X is used to mark any task, events or appointments that have been completed. I use to colour in the circles and the triangles – but I’m not a big fan on that so I think I will use the X.

My bullet journal is a to do list…so when I cross off an event or an appointment it means I have called, created and scheduled it and put it in my monthly calender. It doesn’t mean I’ve attended the event. It just means I don’t have to do anything else to it.

The next part of my key was originally:

Notes

! Important

* Inspiration

? Explore

F Film

B Book

M Meetup

P (Blog) Post

Quote

W Write (a letter…I do snail mail :))

E Email

S Skype

C Call

H Homework (this is not on the green list!)

I use to put the code in the square where the task assignment is – however I found that when I crossed it out it got a bit messy, and if I was exploring something and decided to they make it an appointment – I couldn’t easily change the question mark into a circle. It just got too messy. So I have since updated it. Now all of the above (with the section of notes) get a task dot. Then have the subject of one of the following, so it will look like:

· E: Mum, questions.

So this would indicate that I need to email my mum about questions for a quiz she is organising. So later, if I want to change this into a plan to meet her – I can change it to a circle. Then when I’ve scheduled it I can cross it off my to do list.

I find this system much easier for rapid logging – sometimes I just find it too much effort to get through my notes section to find my blog ideas and decide which one I am going to write about – I like to pick five for the week (I only post Monday-Friday) and then put them on my to do list and cross them off as I write them. At the moment I tend to write a week in advance so I have the week ahead prepared before I start the week. This only changes if I see a film at the cinema, I will then delay other posts to give the cinema ones a higher priority (so if people read my blog and are swayed to watch it it’s still in cinemas for them to do so).

I am not really using this system to it’s full potential at the moment I’ve been doing it for about seven weeks and I am still working out the kinks and trying to get it to work for me. Another thing that appears on my bullet journal page which is not part of the original bullet journal is the daily task tracker. I think that this is something that is a great addition to the bullet journal.

If there is something I need to do daily that I don’t want to rapid log everyday then I just put it in the top section and set up a MTWTFSS section so I can tick off the days (apart from when I monitor how many glasses of coca-cola I drink…I’m trying to cut down – it’s not working).
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So I am pretty pleased with this system. So much so in fact that I’ve made it permanent and printed my own bullet journal inserts. I have the bullet journal on the left of each week (with the filofax graph paper it would alternate) and the week to view on the right. This is a great setup for a left handed person – as generally my week to view is the least used section. I take it out on the Sunday before the week begins. Write in all my appointments, stamp the weather. Then the only thing I really add is my main meal and colour in my water. So my most written section is on the left to avoid writing on the rings or having to take my page out every time I want to add something.

I am quite pleased with my system. I think it’s a great way to keep myself organised and combined the best elements of the bullet journal with the ability to forward plan with a ringed system that allows you to move pages.
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My Filofaxes: Personal Vintage Jack

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This was my main planner for a long time…at least a few years. I wasn’t a big planner when I used it. Sometimes it would go in my bag…other times it would be substituted for an electronic planner when I dabbled in them. I am happy to say me and electronic planners have officially broken up and I don’t see us rekindling a romance for a long time (if ever!).

I didn’t really ‘enjoy’ this planner, I liked the look and the feel of it, but I just didn’t like the cheap flimsy paper. That ripped quite easily. I had the standard Filofax week on two pages, used the note section. I didn’t have dividers or anything like that. I served me well…but it didn’t keep my organised.

Now I am getting into organisation and filofax a little more. I think I can give this a proper review.
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It looks beautiful. Lovely brown colour with with a red and a very grey/blue/brown colour to make up the Union Jack. Inside there are no pockets and no pen holder. It did come with a transparent dashboard that had a plastic pen loop on it (I banjaxed this with double sided sticky tape to stick flimsy not very sticky post it notes onto it. Once I’ve finished with them I will try to remove the sticky residue off it). There’s a couple things about this planner that I don’t like. One is that it is too stiff – I could not train it to lie flap like my Original does. I like that feature very much. Whilst I am not a particularly big pocket fan…some pockets are better than none at all…even it if was just to put a pack of sticky notes it the pocket. This can easily be resolved with transparent sleeves or zipped compartments. Currently Paperchase have sold out?! I’ve been stalking their website for at least a couple of weeks if not bordering on a month (and I’ve emailled them but they never bothered to reply) to see if they will come back in stock. They never have any in stock at my local WH Smith. I think I might go on a little shopping trip one day and try out different shops that aren’t in Birmingham city centre and see what I can find.

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There are a couple of dents in mine which I don’t think will come out…but I am not that precious about them – after all I think it is character building and adds to the ‘vintage’ feel of the planner. The elastic has lasted really well and it is not overly stretched – in fact it still looks as brand new – it’s not slacked at all. This is because I do not overstuff my planners. I look in horror at some people who just cram so much into a planner. I really do not think it’s healthy to do it…and I do question whether all that stuff in there is truly needed?! Maybe it is but for me I prefer a much slimlined planner – even I find my planner a little heavy to carry sometimes…so I dread to think what the over-stuffed ones are like.

At the moment I have no plans to move back into this planner. That’s not to say that I never will…but I very much love my Original.

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Hen and Chickens

I’ve walked past this pub many times but I’ve never actually walked in before. I always assumed it was just a drinking pub where people could go and watch sports…and it is. This is not a fancy restaurant. It’s a loud pub where people go to watch sports and cheer. In fact if you’re not into sports it can be a bit off putting especially as people get loud cheering over sport. It’s not a comfortable, relaxing venue where you can sit and relax over food..HOWEVER, saying that it I would really recommend giving it a try. This pub serves Indian food and it would be exactly how I imagined Indian pub food to be. It has a limited menu but covers the basics…poppadoms, samosas, mix grills, various different curries as well as sides of rice, naan and chips. The menu is limited, but surprisingly they have a good variety of vegetarian options.

I’ve been twice and had the Chili paneer both times – this stuff is amazing. It’s £7 which seems quite pricey, but the portion is enough for two and combine that with chips and maybe a naan. You have a very reasonably priced – filling meal. The first time I had the chilli paneer was the day after I’d gone raw vegan for a day. I had never enjoyed cheese as much as I did with the chilli paneer. The second time was just as good as well.

Yes the venue isn’t the grandest or the quietest but you’ll be pleasantly surprised with the food and I really would recommend going – just maybe try to go on a day that has no football, cricket or rugby!