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Do you Dare to Blossom?

Rediscovery CardsWhen I am approached by people to look at or promote their products I am always a little cautious. I love sharing resources, especially if I feel that you will find them helpful.

When I received Mary Lunnen’s Rediscovery Cards and the accompanying book through the post I was delighted. Mary runs a small independent business working as a coach but she is passionate about helping children and someone had recommended that she try to get her cards into schools as they felt that they would be helpful for teachers. I agree!

There are fifty cards in the pack and each has a word clearly printed on a coloured background. The idea is that you choose a word for the day and think about how that word can help you and inspire you as you work. Then at the end of the day you can reflect back on the word.

Often the colours trigger an emotion or a response of some kind too so it is fun to talk about the colours used as well as the words.

How could you use the Rediscovery Cards in school?

The beauty of these cards for teachers is that they encourage discussion about emotions, as well as introducing new vocabulary and engaging with the children in a fun and exploratory way.

Perhaps you have a card monitor every day who gets to choose and then put it up on the board. Maybe you choose the words every day and ask the children to think about the word as they work. You could even use the words as part of your daily mindfulness or meditation practice. The possibilities really are endless.

If you would like to know more about Mary Lunnen and her lovely cards you can visit her website:

http://www.daretoblossom.co.uk

 

7 Reasons It’s Important To Switch Off During School Holidays

7 reasons it is important to switch off during school holidays Ok, let’s be realistic, anyone who has ever worked in a school knows that you can’t totally switch off from school work for the whole of a school holiday, unless you are incredibly organised and work yourself into a state during the last week of term. I’m not suggesting that you neglect your planning and marking, because that isn’t professional and can induce stress which is counterproductive.

So what am I suggesting? It’s simple really, I am suggesting that instead of having work lingering and hanging over you all holiday that you consciously organise your holiday time in order to ensure that the important jobs are done, but so that you also have plenty of time to switch off.

Why is it important to switch off and step away from school work during the holidays? (I’m sure you don’t really need me to tell you, but just in case it’s so long since you’ve managed to do it, here goes!)

  • To allow you to rest completely. When you are at school you are constantly planning and thinking about what you need to do next and, unless you are very careful, that spills over into the holidays. Your brain needs time to rest. Give yourself permission to switch off. You might even find that you get a good night sleep without waking at 3am with a to do list running through your head.
  • To allow your stress levels to reset. Your body needs time to process and remove the stress hormones which build up during the school term and if you continue to add to these levels during the holidays you will return feeling as stressed and anxious as you finished. Allow your body time to do its job and you will do yours better when you return.
  • Reconnect with familyTo reconnect with your partner/children. If you are managing to teach and not letting that affect your relationships and quality time with your loved ones then congratulations, you are truly an amazing human being. Please get in touch and let me know your secret, because I know I never could and most teachers I know will admit to feeling constantly torn between work and family. Your family deserve a couple of weeks every few months to spend time with you. Relaxed, happy, loving you. Give them that time, you won’t be sorry.
  • To remind your friends who you are. There is a reason many teachers have lots of friends who also teach, because they understand the time constraints of the job. Wouldn’t it be lovely to connect with your friends again, even if they are colleagues or teacher friends, without discussing policies and planning?
  • To allow yourself to return to school full of enthusiasm and energy. By stepping away from anything or anyone, we return with a new level of appreciation and enthusiasm. Your class deserve bubbly, enthusiastic you, just as much as your family do. Step away, recharge and give your class the best version of you.
  • To feed your soul. I know, this one sounds a bit airy fairy and hippy, but do you remember a time when you had hobbies other than resource making? Take time to play board games with your kids, go walking, read a book for pleasure, go to the cinema, whatever it is that makes your heart sing. You give so much to others, give yourself the same treat!
  • To give yourself time to do all the jobs round the house you have been putting off. Ok, it might not be the most exciting reason to switch off from school, but even if it is just to make sure that you return to school with an empty ironing basket, the garden ready for summer, the dining room decorated and all the bedrooms deep cleaned, at least you will have had time away from thinking about school. The first six reasons suddenly seem a lot more appealing now don’t they? 😉

The importance of self care as a teacherBeing an amazing teacher is a wonderful thing, but in the same way that you are told to put your own oxygen mask on in an aeroplane before fitting those of your children and others who need help, you have to give yourself some care before you can care properly for your class. Give yourself the gift of a real break this Easter, allocate days when you can get your school work done and plan lots of fun and frivolous days around them.

Have a wonderful break and remember, you are doing an incredible job, you have earned this time for you.

 

Thanksgiving – the practise of giving thanks

ThanksgivingThis week is Thanksgiving in the US. Whilst this isn’t a festival we celebrate in the UK, it is one which I am very drawn to because I love gratitude. This year I am even more excited about it because my stepson and his girlfriend are studying in the US so they are getting ready for Thanksgiving, with all their International friends who don’t have families to go home to for this holiday either.

Thanksgiving is about gratitude for the harvest and the bounty of the previous year. I’m not quite sure how this ties into the Black Friday consumerism that follows, that seems a little inconsistent.

Gratitude is something I practice daily. I have a very full gratitude jar by this time of year as I write down everything that I am grateful for on a scrap of paper and pop it in a jar on my desk, to remind me when I’m having a tricky day that life is good and I am so blessed. This is a wonderful idea for classes and teachers too, lots of schools that I have gone into have adopted this as a class activity. Writing down achievements and things they are grateful for; friendships, getting 10/10 on a spelling test, reading aloud in front of the class, completing your Next Step etc.

GratitudeTraditionally at Thanksgiving lunch the family and friends go round the table and say one thing that they are grateful for. This, for me, is a beautiful idea and something I would love to do everyday actually.

So today I challenge you to write down 10 things that you are grateful for. Find the positives between the laundry, the marking, the screaming children, the stroppy teens, the bottom set Y9s and the broken boiler. Everyone can find 10 things for which they are grateful, everyday, even if you have to go really back to basics; food, water, shelter…

So here is my list today, in no particular order:

I am grateful for:

  1. a warm office with a beautiful new door that keeps the warmth in.
  2. Skype which allows us to speak to loved ones around the world easily.
  3. my amazingly supportive friends who lovingly guide and nurture me.
  4. my hens which give us fresh eggs for breakfast every morning.
  5. my children, who light up my life and challenge me in ways I never knew were possible.
  6. my creativity which allows me to write classes and training to help lots of people.
  7. the opportunity to see my family in Yorkshire this weekend for my nephew’s birthday (Happy Birthday Bubble!)
  8. hot tea and thermal socks
  9. my Keelindori planner which keeps my life in order and makes me happy every time I use it!
  10. an invitation to accompany my son’s school on their trip to the pantomime, always great fun!

Ok, it’s your turn! Feel free to let me know what your list is in the comments!

For more information about gratitude why not take a look at these blogs:

Growing an Attitude of Gratitude

Joyful January

Smudging: Hippie Nonsense or Powerful Natural Cleanser?

I have been smudging my environment since I was in my teens. Growing up in Leeds in the early 90’s there was a really cool shopping area called the “Dark Arches” where you could buy hippie stuff you didn’t see many places in those days: incense, Buddhas, tie dye tops and all manor of magical things. It was my favourite place to go shopping because it wasn’t sterile and perfect like the department stores. I would go and buy incense and then drive my Dad crazy burning it in my bedroom.

In those days I had no understanding of why I loved burning incense so much, I just loved the smell and loved watching the smoke swirling round the room.

As I have learned more about energy and healing I have realised that the reason I loved burning incense was because I was constantly smudging and freshening the energy in my bedroom, which of course in those days was filled with teenage angst.

IncenseSo, what is smudging? 

Smudging is an ancient method used by many indigenous people to cleanse the air, people have been burning plants since prehistoric times to improve their environment. The idea is that you burn white sage, palo santo wood or incense and waft it around the room, paying particular attention to corners and dark areas around furniture then open the windows and allow the smoke to escape. 

I smudge after every treatment and before my first treatment of the day. I’m not a big fan of white sage so I use palo santo wood, which I love. After I have smudged the room feels fresh and alive. It is a great way to remove any negative energy.

Inhaling smoke can’t be good for you!

As someone who has never smoked and is mildly asthmatic burning anything seems a little counter intuitive but I can honestly say that it doesn’t affect my breathing and if anything I often breathe better after smudging (although I know some people struggle with incense). A recent scientific study has actually shown that medicinal smoke is antimicrobial and can be very beneficial for our health as well as shifting stale energy. It has even been found to reduce the amount of airborne bacteria.

For me the benefits are as much about the spiritual and energetic changes but it’s nice to know that there is some solid scientific backing for something I have instinctively been drawn to for over 25 years.

What is your favourite tool for smudging?

Do you want to know more about space clearing?

Why not ready my blog: http://www.katebeddow.co.uk/energy-clearing/

Following your dreams

Follow your dreamsSeveral conversations I’ve had recently have got me thinking about following your dreams. I was talking to a few of my students who are desperate to make their healing businesses their full time occupation, but they can’t quite pluck up the courage to leave their 9-5. I have been talking to several people about moving house, buying a new car, travelling… the list goes on. 

We all have different dreams, and our dreams change dramatically as we grow and our priorities change.

  • Aged 6 my dream was to have my own pen knife to be able to whittle wood and make bows and arrows like my Grandad Joe and to have tassles on my handle bars.
  • Aged 11 my dream was to be brave enough to do the school production.
  • Aged 16 my dream was to pass my GCSE’s and sing in the West End.
  • Aged 21 my dream was to get my own house, find my soul mate and settle down.
  • Aged 26 my dream was having the perfect wedding and starting a family.
  • Aged 31 my dream was to go to the bathroom alone and drink a hot drink.
  • Aged 36 my dream was to make my business successful and be able to spend time with the family as well as having a job I loved.
  • Aged 39 my dream is to travel. I would love to take the family some where exotic and show them the magic of India, Thailand or China.

Reach for the starsThese are just a few of the dreams I’ve had over the years to give you an idea how our priorities change. Some I’ve achieved others I haven’t. Some, by the time I achieved them they didn’t seem so important, and others I decided against before I even got close.

I never did get tassles on my handle bars but there’s still time *giggle*.

As I have just subtly revealed my age you now know that I will be 40 next birthday and although I am not someone who holds a lot with birthdays I do feel that landmark birthdays are a good time to take stock. I decided to create a list of things I would like to achieve before I turn 40. Some of them are personal goals, some of them are fun activities and others and just a reason to make sure I get going and do something.

I feel very fortunate that I have been able to do a job I absolutely love, and I mean that with all my heart. I have basically created a job that didn’t even exist before to suit my skills, my passions and my physical restrictions and that feels incredible.

So my question to you today is:

This might seem like a simple question to answer but it is often the most difficult thing in the world to be truly honest with ourselves. As carers; parents, teachers, primary carers to our parents, nurses… we are great at shelving our dreams in order to give us time to make someone else’s come true.

Believe in MiraclesThis week I got brave and I sent in a proposal to give a talk at the BIG Education Show at the NEC next year. I may or may not be chosen but this time last year I wouldn’t have dared find out. Since I made that decision all sorts of other things have started to click into place. Sometimes it just takes one small shift to start a domino effect that can truly change your life.

I challenge you to do one thing today that you wouldn’t normally do. A small step towards your dream. Let me know in the comments below what your fairy step was and tomorrow take another tiny step, and the day after, and watch and your life begins to change.

Energy Coaching is a wonderful way to help you work out what your priorities are and give your strategies to help you achieve those goals. I would love to work with you on your goals and help you make yourself a priority, if you feel that this may help you why not read more about my energy coaching sessions now. 

Step parents: every day heroes or fairytale villains?

If being a parent is the hardest job in the world then no words are sufficient to describe the job being done by the army of step parents around the world.

Raising other people’s children with the love and dedication of a birth parent but whilst battling the stereotype of the “evil step mother”or “wicked step father” created by fairy stories and perpetuated by Disney for centuries, step parents are every day heroes as far as I’m concerned – did I tell you about my lovely stepson Jack? *giggle*

Step parentsOk I admit it, I am slightly biased when it comes to the subject of step parents because I am a step mum to one of the loveliest young men I have ever had the pleasure to meet. He is now 21 years old and living in the US for a year as part of his degree and I couldn’t love him more or be more proud of him if I tried.

Don’t get me wrong, the way I feel about Jack is very different to the way I feel about my own two (I wish I could jump inside your heads and see what you are thinking now, unless you are a step-parent I doubt it will be what I’m thinking!). I do feel very differently about Jack, I didn’t carry him in my body for 9 months (or 7.5 in Laura’s case!), I didn’t feed him and change his nappies, I didn’t even know he existed until he was almost 7 years old. I loved that beautiful little boy from the moment I met him. We spent every weekend together, often without my now husband because he was working, we baked and crafted and went for walks on the Chase and sometimes we just sat watching films, but we spent time together. I was lucky, he was a great kid, don’t get me wrong he had his moments, but generally he was good company and a sweetheart. I was also lucky because he was the same age as the children I was teaching at the time, so I knew what he would be interested in, where he was at developmentally and how to talk to him. But it wasn’t easy.

Step parentsThen Laura came along and I spent most of my pregnancy worrying about how to make sure Jack didn’t feel any less loved or welcome than he had. I have always worked hard at being as good a parent as I know how, but I worked even harder at being as good a step mum. If we did something for Laura we did it for Jack (as far as possible when he lived almost 2hrs drive away), we spent time with him and made a point of having family days out while he was with us and we always made sure he was able to come to birthday parties, anniversaries and we even had two Christmases, complete with presents and even Christmas dinner some years!

When I was ill I was told I wouldn’t be able to have any more children and for the first time in my life I realised exactly what a privilege it is to be given the gift of children. Having a child is something many people manage to do without much effort, being a parent however takes time, effort and sacrifice.

Being a step parent though is so much more complicated. You are often the victim of attacks by the child’s parent. Even the child you love so much may turn round and tell you you have no right to tell them what to do because “you’re not my mum/dad!” and you are not legally secure or able to be involved in decision making.

I just wanted to share the greatest joy of my birthday this year though. For the last few years Jack has sent me a birthday card, completely off his own back, and they have always said “World’s Best StepMum” or something similar and that made my heart warm. This year though I will never forget as long as I live.

My card read:

What is a mum?

A mum is the one who believes in you more than anything.

The one who cares for you and about you all through your life.

She is the one person you can count on to help you out, back you up and never let you down.

There is no one else as kind and generous, as patient and helpful, as warm and understanding as a mum.

And no one is loved as much all year through.

Can’t thank you enough for all the wonderful things you’ve done and for the special times we share.

Happy Birthday

To say it touched me would be an understatement. I would first like to thank the card company for creating such a beautiful and clever card and secondly I’d like to thank you, Jack, and your gorgeous girl Becka, for making me cry and for making my birthday so incredibly memorable.

Step familiesBeing a step parent is such a wonderful gift. I don’t feel the same way about Jack as I do about Laura and Daniel, not because I love one child more than another, but I love them each in different ways. Laura I am proud of beyond words because she is strong and free spirited and she knows what she wants and she works to get it. Daniel is my little man, he gives the best cuddles and he’s passionate and just pure joy. Jack, Jack is a strong, courageous young man, who has a strong moral compass and a big, big heart and I couldn’t feel more proud that I have been allowed to be a part of his life and that he has chosen to love me like a mum. Not as his Mum, he has one of those and I would never want to replace her. But to have earned anything even close to the love of a parent is a rare and very special thing.

When my children say “I’m the best Mum in the world!” that is wonderful, but it’s a given, they only have one mum, it’s like me telling Laura she’s my favourite daughter, it can’t be any other way. Earning such a beautiful card from Jack means SO much, because he has a Mum who he loves unconditionally, he could choose to totally reject me, but he hasn’t, I embraced him and he hugged back and for that I will always be grateful.

Step parents all over the world are achieving that level of love and commitment and they are working incredibly hard to earn that love. Yes there are bad step parents, there are always going to be good and bad whatever you are talking about, but most step parents are honest, caring, hard working heroes who love their children, all their children with all their heart.

If you are just embarking on your journey as a step parents why not read my blog: Tips for blending families, it is a long but incredibly rewarding journey and I wish you so much love and luck on your path.

Alcohol – help or hindrance?

This could be my most unpopular blog ever! Before I begin, here are some facts.

  • More than 9 million people in the UK drink more than the recommended daily intake of alcohol.
  • Alcohol related deaths rose by 19% between 2001 and 2012.
  • Alcohol costs the UK £21billion a year in healthcare, crime and lost productivity.

These are just some of the statistics surrounding alcohol consumption in the UK. Now you may be expecting me to launch into a discussion about our teenagers drinking habits, what age they should start drinking etc but actually that isn’t my biggest concern.

No one would deny that it can be helpful if you are feeling anxious or tense, many people use it to help them relax and feel more at ease when they are in public. My biggest concern at the moment is the example being set by many parents and responsible adults. Whatever our children grow up seeing is what they then see as “normal” behaviour. If they spend every spare minute at the pub or playing with their friends while their parents have a few drinks that is what they will believe to be normal.

Don’t get me wrong, I have no problem at all with enjoying a glass of wine or a pint, I’m really not the alcohol police, but as a non-drinker (for medical reasons not moral or health before you are tempted to judge), I have noticed a real difference in attitude towards drinking over the last few years. As stress levels rise in society generally, alcohol consumption seems to be rising too.

Unfortunately one of the groups who I have witnessed an almost scary increase in alcohol consumption among is teachers. Many teachers cannot sleep without at least one glass of wine before bed and many have slowly worked their way up to a bottle a night without really noticing. It is a stressful job and it is only getting worse, but we must give out teaching professionals ways to handle their stress without reaching for the bottle. This article was written in 2008 and is still relevant today so I’m not going to re-invent the wheel, if you want to learn more about the crisis in our schools please read the Guardian’s take on it:  http://www.theguardian.com/education/2008/aug/31/teaching.teachersworkload

It isn’t just teachers, medical professionals, lawyers anyone struggling with stress is at risk of reaching for the bottle once too many times and alcoholism doesn’t arrive one day, it creeps up on you and many people aren’t even aware that their intake is classes as addiction because to them it is just habit and routine. Unfortunately, the more passionate people are about their job and the people they are serving the more vulnerable they are to stress and depression.

MeditationSo what can we do to help our carers? Well, I have been going into schools to educate our teachers in alternative methods for controlling and easing their stress levels, but even more importantly, I have been teaching classes in schools to give our children the tools they need to manage their stress so that hopefully they will never get to a point where they are struggling so much that they have to self medicate with anything.

If you would like to know more about the services I offer to schools you can read more on my Teachers page or if you work in a business where you feel your colleagues or employees would benefit from some Stress Management training contact me for more information.

 

 

 

Back to School – Happy or Heartbroken?

SchoolIt’s that time of year again. The schools are going back. This year there has been a more staggered return than I can remember for a long time. Schools seem to be starting back any time between the 1st September and the 9th September, which is very late.

Whenever term starts in your area there are often mixed emotions at this time of year; anxiety, fear, excitement, relief, dread… the list goes on!

As a parent I have a smorgasbord of emotions simultaneously. This year I have the relief of knowing that my son is returning to the teacher he loved in Reception for his time in Year 2, so he is excited to see her, to see his friends but also a little anxious about the fact his big sister isn’t going to be at school with him anymore. My daughter starts High School and she is experiencing the usual; excitement at the adventure that lies ahead, the feeling of independence, joy at seeing her friends again, heartbreak at not seeing them as much (or at all in the case of some of her friends who have gone to other schools) and countless other emotions I’m sure. I’m feeling a little anxious for her, suddenly I’m not taking her to school anymore, she is increasingly independent and I feel that this really is the time when my parenting is being tested more than ever; have I taught her to be sensible when crossing the road, will she look after her new mobile, will she find friends who complement her, will she be organised enough to cope with all the new demands…

As for me. Well, I have been having back to school anxiety dreams every September since I started High School in 1987. I loved being at school and loved most of my time teaching but whether it is not being able to find my way round the school or waking up in my bedroom with a class full of children and I’m panicking because I’m still in my pyjamas! My brain does some funny things!

  • Teacher AppreciationThe teacher in me feels anxious about the amount of work this Autumn term involves: getting used to a new class, all the events, new routines etc.
  • The student in me wants a new school bag, pencil case and to shine my shoes but is looking forward to returning to my studies (I’m doing a Diploma).
  • The parent in me misses my kids so much when they go back to school it hurts.
  • The business woman is desperate to get back in my office and get started on my next project after a few weeks of juggling.

It’s a complex and exciting time of year.

Whether you are dancing round the kitchen, relieved that the stress of the summer holidays is over or you are sobbing into your tea cup because you didn’t want your little ones to go back.

Whether you are excited to be starting back at school or a little nervous about your new teacher, new workload, new school.

Whether you are raring to go with the new term, lessons planned and loving your new class, or waiting for Friday when you can collapse with a glass of wine and a large chocolate bar.

The new academic year is a chance to make changes. To be the student/teacher/parent you want to be for the next year. Have you made some resolutions?

How can you make the next year run more smoothly?

  • Check their bags every night for letters?
  • Make the lunches the night before?
  • Do your planning on a Friday night instead of leaving it for Sunday?
  • Get your homework done the night it is set?

Whatever your new year resolution, make it a good one and have a fabulous new year.

 

Growing an Attitude of Gratitude

 

GratitudeThe word gratitude is banded around so much these days, it is a buzz word and one which is often used but not fully understood.

We cannot speak of gratitude and it make an impact on our lives, we must fully feel gratitude. When you feel grateful, it surges through your body. It flows through every part of your body, a magical warmth that makes every minute fill with sunshine.

If you believe in the Law of Attraction whatever you put out into the world will come back to you so what could be more important to send out into the universe than gratitude, then, necessarily you will be given more and more things to be grateful for.

This week I have had so many things to be grateful for; quality time with my husband and children, the generosity of family, the generosity of total strangers, a beautiful garden with homegrown raspberries and strawberries, my hens are all laying, my new office is taking shape and I am feeling FULL of gratitude.

So what do I do to make sure I keep that attitude of gratitude growing and growing, well, here are my favourites, why don’t you try a few:

  • I have a gratitude jar on my desk. Every time something happens that I am grateful for, no matter how small, I write it on a piece of paper, date it and pop it in my jar, then when I’m feeling low I read them to remind myself how lucky I am. (This is a wonderful thing to introduce into the classroom)
  • I have a gratitude journal. When I have had whole days of magical events and feeling grateful I write a couple of pages in my journal to help me remember the good times and relive them regularly.
  • I surround myself with momentos – souvenirs of amazing memories, happy days and supportive, loving friends and family.
  • I use affirmations to keep the gratitude flowing. Phrases like: “I am abundant”, “My needs and desires are generously met and I am thankful”, “I am so grateful for every person and every thing in my life” are incredibly powerful.
  • Say “Thank you”. It is so easy to forget to thank the people who make a difference in your life. The person on the checkout, the postman, your partner… say THANK YOU!

GratitudeI use early morning and late at night to give thanks for the events of the day and for my health, my family etc. I am grateful every morning that I am pain free and able to live a normal life. For me this isn’t hypothetical, I have had days where my energy levels were so low I could barely get out of bed and when I was in so much pain I couldn’t stand it any longer, so even if I wake with a slight headache or an ache somewhere that is still something to be grateful for. Find your own keys to happiness and be grateful for them, feel the gratitude and embrace it fully.

You are in a powerful position to teach the future generations the importance of being and feeling grateful. Life is full of little blessings, let’s celebrate them all.

So what are you grateful for today? Are you showing your children how important gratitude is?

 

 

Planner heaven

Keelindori PlannerStationery is one of my passions. I know I’m not alone because we’re a large but secretive group who confess as soon as someone else is brave enough to admit to having a penchant for post its. As a Mum and business owner I have to be organised, to know where everyone needs to be and when and I can’t do that using just my iphone (although that is invaluable for knowing where Ian is and so he knows where I am!).

My beautiful new planner is my latest love. 

For my birthday every year my Gran asks me to get myself something and I try to get something lovely. I love my Gran and she has always had great taste in clothes, shoes etc, and even at nearly 94 she still loves looking at new outfits etc. This year I decided to get something I would really treasure and that would last.

I have had my eye on a Midori Planner insidestyle planner for a little while but have been resisting because I couldn’t justify getting another planner. The more I thought about it though the more sense it made. For years I have been carrying round an A5 diary and at least one planning book (usually another A5 book), then I sometimes have more notebooks on the go for other projects I’m working on etc. The beauty of this style of planner is that I can add as many small notebooks as I need and keep everything together.

This planner is by ImperfectlyPerfekt and I bought it on Etsy (this isn’t a review but when I find something I love I like to share, I am not being paid for writing this blog). You can choose leather colour, how many elastics you have on the inside, whether the closing elastic is on the back or the spine and add on all sorts of extras like charms. Considering it was custom made and had to come from the US it arrived within two weeks which I was very impressed with and the quality is lovely.

Exercise bookThe only thing that concerned me about this style of planner was that everyone who used them seemed to make their own inserts because the Midori brand ones are pretty expensive (considering how many I will go through too). However, as I was looking at accessories and things to make to make my planner more functional and fun on Pinterest it occurred to me that the size was similar to a spelling book sized exercise book. Sure enough the Midori inserts are 4.33in x 8.25in and the narrow exercise books are 4in x 8in. So I got on an edicational supplies Covered insertswebsite and ordered myself a box of 100 for just over £10! Bargain! The advantage is that I can fit more books in without them spilling over the edges of the planner. I have decorated them so that my planner isn’t filled with bright green exercise books but that was a few hours well spent and at least if I need another insert in a hurry I don’t have to wait until I have time to make the whole book.

Full plannerSo I now have a folder for loose papers (which I made myself), a 12 month diary which I bought from TravelersTimes on Etsy, 3 notebooks (one for long term goals and plans, one for business notes and one for personal notes) and I have a business card holder and clear plastic wallet for a couple of photos and things I need with me like stickers, extra pens etc on the way.

I am so pleased that I got this from my Gran. Her Dad worked with leather (he was a saddler) so the fact it is leather makes it even more perfect, but most of all I love the fact that it is something I will always have with me and will use everyday. If you have a Midori style planner and have any tips for making it even more fabulous please let me know.

** UPDATE** I have just found out that the lady who creates these beautiful planners is doing it as well as being a full time mum and nurse to pay for her daughters medical bills as she has Type 1 Diabetes, I love them even more now!