Tag Archives: Van der Spek

Planners I’m currently using

So I’ve had a slight change of planners. Nothing really major but I thought I’d share. I am currently using two planners. An A5 and an A6.

A5

I’ve recently switched my A5 planner from a clipbook to my A5 Dark Aqua Original. This planner holds my dissertation research for my research. It’s fairly simple. I have the blue and green dividers that come with the planner. The sections are as follows:

  1. To do list with Filofax to do pages. Mostly to use them up. I wouldn’t rebuy them.
  2. Reading list. Simple list of books I need to read, written on clipbook grid paper. I like the paper but it is not really fountain paper friendly so I wouldn’t repurchase.
  3. Primary material list. Like the reading list but for primary material I’d like to consult. Also on clipbook grid paper.
  4. Research questions and chapter breakdown. Again on clipbook grid paper.
  5. Reading notes. Written on Filofax paper, it’s not the best paper in the world and it’s not fountain pen friendly but I have a ton of it and I’m using it up.
  6. Lots of spare paper of different colours.

Pen: Handmade Asa pen with Waterman blue ink.

A6

For the six months of Autumn and Winter I am switching to my Van der Spek Light Brown touch me. This is the original touch me line so only has one pen loop.

I keep my planner fairly simple. I have no dividers but my layout is as follows:

  • Plastic divider pocket. I bought these on Ebay and punched them myself. This contains dashboards. I love using postcards, I get a lot from Nicole my pen pal and I loved them. She knows my likes so I get lots of blues, sailing related postcards and the Ampelm√§nnchen ūüôā
  • My contact details. This is laminated.
  • Addresses. I have just one page of addresses. It’s not in alphabetical order. It’s just my most used addresses and to save space they are just on one sheet. This is not laminated because my boyfriend is in the Navy and his address recently changed so I knew I’d have to redo it. I will probably update and laminate soon.
  • Birthdays. Also not laminated but will be soon. It’s on one sheet of A6.
  • Current month. This is a month over two sides of A6. It contains each day and birthdays and appointments written in. Birthdays are written in blue ink and appointments in Black.
  • Daily pages. I use a day on two pages for journaling, to do lists and appointments. I like to use a different ink and fountain pen each month.
  • Future months. I only keep one month of dailies in my planner.
  • Page for future dates if I don’t have the right monthlies.
  • Spare pages for journaling.
  • Gifts ideas page.
  • Fitbit badges tracker.
  • Spare grid paper.

Pens: A mechanical pencil, an Ampelm√§nnchen pen ‚̧ (Thanks Nicole!), various fountain pens stored in a leather pouch in the back pocket – inks: black, ancient copper and ink of the month.

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Depression and using a planner

Depression can be a debilitating illness and it is a condition that can affect one in four people. I, myself struggle with depression and often lose all motivation and struggle to maintain a basic, everyday routine.

For many, they might say what is the point in having a planner during those stages, you’re not doing anything and not motivated to do anything so why bother with a planner. However, I think using a planner during these times can be very useful.

A planner can contain many things, it could be a journal, where you just write how you are feeling, even if that is hopefully lost, alone and deeply unhappy. A planner can become a confidante, someone you can write things that you wouldn’t, or can’t, tell anyone else. I’ve used a planner for this in the past and it can be quite cathartic.

When you feel ready you can start to use a planner for other things, basic tasks, small tasks. Even if it is just to get out of bed, wash your hair and change your clothes. Sometimes in the beginning that is all you can manage and that is completely fine. Over time you can increase the tasks into going out for a walk, or cooking a more complex meal – even just recording what you eat. You can use it to track medical appointments, make notes on meetings you have with the doctor and monitor medication use and possible side effects.

Over time you can start to break larger tasks down into small manageable tasks, such as tackling one aspect of cleaning or part of a project.

You can then begin to use your journal to reflect. How are you feeling today? What made you feel more human? What do you think you can do next week?

It may not seem much in the beginning but setting tasks and completing them, no matter how small can give a sense of accomplishment and that you’re achieving something. Once these build up, you can start to get back into a routine and help you feel a bit better in yourself.

Recently I have found my planner to be a great resource for me when I have been very low.


Repairing paint transfer on a planner.

I am the worst! I swore I would try and get this blog to be a bit more active but alas life gets in the way. Today however I had some time to attempt to fix a planner.

I really wasn’t hopeful about fixing this one and I was extremely pissed off my Filofax Person Union Jack had ruined my VdS old TM light brown. 

It was on the front as well which makes it even more upsetting.

I removed all the inserts and decided to have a go with my diy hair treatment I had stored in the bathroom already.

My hair treatment is a fairly simple mixture of coconut oil, castor oil and essential oils so I figured it would be save enough to use on the planner.

I took a facial scrub brush which is very gentle on the face and I took a fairly decent sized blob of it and began to work it in front and back. I tried to give equal attention to all parts of the planner. After a minute or so I noticed that the painted areas where disappearing so I paid a little more attention to those areas and within no time the paint was removed. I finished it uo by wiping away the remaining oil.

The leather has darkened but I like it is so beautiful. I am almost tempted to move out of my Gris Blue and back into this one! 


Planner: Currently Using

My planner system has changed quite a bit since I last did a post it on. I’ve made a structure change and I moved to a6. I am currently in a VdS Touch Me in Gris Blue. This is one of their new colours. I plan to do a full review of it in due course.

My actual system hasn’t changed too much since September when I started using A6 size. I have a very traditional bullet journal. I am using a Rhodia Graph paper pad that I have ripped apart and hole punched (rather unsuccessfully as it’s not very straight!).

My Bullet Journal largely follows the traditional system.

At the start of the month I write the numbers for the month out and the corresponding days and I fill in information from my future log.

Then at the start of the week (because the new year began on a Sunday I have switched to a Sunday start, it’ll be interesting to see if I like this…) I write out a weekly tracker which I will fill in for the week.

Underneath that I start directly with my dailies. I just write the day and then log everything for the day.

What I really like about this system is the flexibility. My first daily was nearly two pages long with all the to dos and lists I wanted to keep track on in my planner. I love that I am able to write everything down and it is in there. I like that there is a place where I can record anything and everything in whatever order I want it to.

I don’t tend to migrate tasks over to each new day as that is such a waste of time, effort, ink and paper. So instead I tend to flick through and look for open tasks I need to complete and only transfer them to a new month if they have not yet been completed and are still relevant.¬†There are of course a few downsides to this method – it can become a little cluttered looking and it can be quite hard to focus with so many bits of information around the place. It doesn’t always bother me until I really need to focus and get tasks done on a set day. On those days I find it best to start the day with a very simple outline of places I have to be and tasks I have to complete. I will migrate these to the set day and try to give myself a realistic number of 3-5 tasks depending on the complexity of the tasks, to ensure that there is enough time for me to complete them. Then I just shut everything else off and focus. I find this method works really well.

I like that I don’t have to design and print out loads of pages, if I want a new page I just write it. I love that the paper I use is fountain pen friendly and I can write with my new found obsession (more to come on this topic in the future…). I tend to change my ink up once a month to have some variety and use up my growing collection of ink. Unlike traditional bullet journalling which is done in a bound notebook, I love that I have control to move pages around and take them out as I need to. I like that I can flick the page over and start writing a new collection – but then I can move collections towards the back on my planner to keep them in alphabetical order so it is easier to find them. My monthly, weekly and the start of my collections are marked with the coolest paperclips in the world. They are of the Ampelmann – he is the East German crossing man, complete with hat. He is really cute and I am obsessed with him (a fact my lovely penpal Nicole knew and she sent my these cute paper clips!).

I find this is a great system for me and allows me the flexibility of having a daily when I perhaps wouldn’t need a full page each day. It is the ultimate brain dump as I can just throw everything at it and not worry about it looking pretty or having enough room!

*I was going to have photos with this post buy unfortunately a rather nasty flu has crept up on me. I am instead going to tease you all silly and leave it without photos until the next time I bring up my planner!*


Using a Van der Spek a5 Writing Case

*I did mean to post photos with this although time and other commitments have prevented me from doing so currently*

So it’s been a couple of months since I received my VdS A5 Writing Case, so I’d thought I’d give a update about it and how I have been using it.

The leather is still in really good condition, despite a few very close calls when a cat decided to stand on them. It still looks absolutely brand new.

What I really like about this case is how small and lightweight it is compared to a regularly a5 binder. It feels very compact.

The left side can hold a surprising amount, however the more you put it in the more it does bulk out the top begins to lift away from the rest of the binder as there is no clasp to hold it in place. When I went to transport this to University as someone wanted to see it I did end up taking about half the contents of it out. Other than that trip it has never left the house, because it is a letter writing kit and I don’t usually write letters away from home.

The case itself is very nice to write on. I use the VdS pad as a pad and I write on it. Being left handed I thought that the left hand side would get in the way but when I sit on the sofa I just prop it up slightly against the side of the sofa and write as normal. When I write on my lap I also do not find it an issue to write with the left side, as you might expect it to be with your left arm having to go over it to get to the right side to write. Although I am sure VdS would consider reversing it for left handers if you wanted to.¬†The left side cannot be folded back on itself, as their is something under the leather preventing that, although again, I am sure VdS could change that if you requested.¬†It is strong and sturdy that it just lies flap and holds it shape, it’s not floppy and I just write as if writing a birthday card. It doesn’t get in the way at all.

I love the pad with it’s matching strip of leather. I had planned to use it after I had finished my current pad of paper but I think it’s too pretty and works too well as a hard surface to write on that I think I will keep it for the time being.

If you have any questions about the writing pad please let me know and I’ll be happy to answer them if I can.


A Beautiful Gift – Van der Spek A5 Writing Case

Before we begin I just want to apologise for the photos. I am not, nor will I ever be a photographer. Just imagine these pictures done properly…one day I may improve!

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On the 7th of December, Philofaxy had an interview¬†with Petra Van der Spek about their company which makes leather organisers similar to Filofax. I have heard of the name since during the planner community in August but did not know which about their products. It was a very interesting read, and led me to read another post about the making of a planner. At the end of the interview Petra announced a competition. I lusted after the beautiful A5 writing case and entered the competition; answering the questions as best as I could. I didn’t for a second think I would actually win the competition.

I got an email from Steve announcing that I had won a prize and to expect an email from Petra the next day. I felt like a kid at Christmas…I kept checking my email, but alas no email. I checked my junk folder on the night and found it. Petra was super lovely and told me she had picked something out and because I was in Europe I’d get it for Christmas day. Petra¬†didn’t tell me what I’d won and I didn’t ask. I thought it would be a wonderful surprise for Christmas.

Well, it didn’t arrive in time for Christmas…or so I thought. Turns out it did and a crafty member of my family had sneaked my parcel and wrapped it up and hidden it under the tree. Although technically a crime, I do forgive them for opening my post.

When I opened it I am in awe. Any of the prizes would have been beautiful, but I actually won the one I lusted after! The beautiful¬†A5 writing pad.The photo did not do it justice on the interview did not do it justice! Sure it looked beautiful…but it’s even more beautiful in real life.

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The colour, I’m not sure what colour it is but it is so rich and beautiful. The leather is soft, smooth and smells like new shoes. The smell is overpowering and feels the room, but in a good way. The quality is divine.

I am a traditional letter writer and I have penpals in the Netherlands and Germany. I had looked for a writing case before but never found one I liked. I thought they were not vintage looking enough and looked quite cheap. Until the article I didn’t know Van der Spek did them. This is absolutely perfect. The writing pad is smooth and thick, substantial enough to take¬†a fountain pen.

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The pocket configuration is a secretial flap on the right, which fits the a5 pad. On the left is pockets. You have three pockets for cards. When I buy stamps for posting to Europe, they come loose so I recently made a stamp holder (tutorial to follow), which fits perfectly into these slots. Above that is two further pockets. I have filled these with two different sized envelopes. Behind that is a send pocket. I have put an outgoing letter in the first one (my penpal is a big Harry Potter fan). Finally there is one more secretarial flap that I have stored a letter I need to reply to in. There is a loop in the centre for a pen. I’m too scared to put a pen in at the moment because knowing my luck it’ll leak all over it. So pens are staying away for the moment.

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The stitching is also so beautiful. I love the little angle and makes it subtle but beautiful touch to the writing pad, it makes a delicate statement.

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The two sides come together and are not secured in anyway, which was oddly what I was looking for before but couldn’t find that style.

I am stunned by how beautiful this is. I am completely in love with it. It was a wonderful gesture from Petra and her family and I cannot begin to thank them enough for it. Thank you so much Van der Spek!

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