Erin Condren Life Planner Launch 2016 – who’s in?

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Will I or won’t I?

It’s that time again when everyone seems to be getting super excited about the new Erin Condren Life Planner launch.  As per my previous blog I have always considered getting one.  I have therefore followed the pre-launch information with interest.  Having never owned one it has been educational to follow the launch.

This time they have continued to offer the three layout options, the ever popular vertical, the horizontal and hourly.  This time you can select either the usual coloured weekly pages, which now sport a watercolour effect at the top of the dates, or a new neutral version.  The neutrals are white pages with black through to dark grey on the header bars.  I have read many people saying they prefer this as the watercolours on the coloured one make sticker matching a challenge.  However, somebody also wondered if the black of the top set of bars is too dark and will show through some header stickers.  Time will tell I guess.

The binding coil is now also being offered in black.  I did hear that last year the rose gold one was chipping for some, so I am interested to see if that issue has been resolved, it would look far worse on the black coil.

There is also the Luxe version which features a leather effect cover in three colours, with a quote on the front.  I believe it is a thicker cover than the standard one.

As it is mid-year, for $5 you can have the 18-month version.

Million dollar question, am I buying?  Nope.  I’m still holding out!  Why?  Well last year there were some problems with orders placed in the initial flurry with quality.  Some of the prints were off, coils faulty or incorrect items sent.  I also still think that by the time I add on extras (of course), delivery and potentially customs, it is a very expensive diary.  Also I am currently happy with my Life Designer Planner which is laid out as per the ECLP vertical and fits the stickers made for it perfectly.  I am still playing with decorating and finding my groove and style.  That runs until December so at the earliest I might get the ECLP nearer the end of the year.

At the recent Geaux Wild planer conference in New Orleans, Erin Condren was a guest.  I gather she mentioned a possible European supply being set up in the future.  This would make absolute sense and potentially make it a more palatable option for me and many others outside the US.  I have a friend planning a New York trip in November.  A Staples visit might be on her schedule (especially as she may be easily converted herself to the way of ECLP!)

I am curious to see how the launch goes tomorrow, and what experiences there are with the first rush.  In addition, I would like to see more reviews and see how people get on with both the neutral and coloured versions.

I am really interested in all your thoughts and experiences:

  • Are you buying one now or waiting for year end (if at all)?
  • Which one/s?
  • Have you always had ECLP or is this your first?
  • Are you US or elsewhere?

If you have/are getting one, hit me with your blog/Instagram/YouTube link, I need to live vicariously through you! 😉

Happy purchasing (or not).

Spring planner switch…or is it?

Hey friends!

Just a quick update, things have been a bit manic and my planner activity is slow.  However I did decide to swap out of my beloved pocket Malden Filofax for my pocket Hearts Filofax.  I felt that it would be nice for spring to have more colour.  That and the Hearts is much lighter.

I literally swapped everything across, although I did swap in some more spring like coloured dividers I had.

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Pocket Hearts on Bournemouth beach last summer – just because!

I miss my Malden!  The extra back and inside pockets are much better.  I love it’s feel and it just makes me feel whole. I know, pretty weird.  I might keep the alternative dividers but I expect to be back in the Malden shortly.  Although I may give the Raspberry Finsbury a turn as it has better pockets including the long back one.

I’m seriously considering selling my pocket cross Filofaxes and maybe even the pocket Chameleon. Hmmmm, needs more thought!

Maybe the sun we have had in the UK this week has got to me!

 

Planner Tag: Questions and Answers

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I was planner tagged by Zoe Plans to answer these questions, so here goes…

THE PLANNER TAG QUESTIONS:

  1. How were you introduced to planners and what was your first planner? My first planner was a Filofax personal sized Finsbury.  I’m not sure why or how but I had wanted a Filofax for a very long time.  I still have her and will never part with her.  She is battered, cut, rusty and very well-loved!  I may even share a blog on her one day.
  2. How many planners do you have and what are they used for?  I have *cough* 12 but only actively use two.  I use a Malden pocket ochre for on the go planning and a Life Designer Planner for my stay at home decorated one.  I also have the old girl pink Finsbury, and also a cherry red personal Finsbury and a gold Saffiano personal sized.  My pockets are the Malden, Hearts, Raspberry Finsbury, brown cross and red cross.  I also have a Personal Planner that I spilt coffee on and could not bring myself to use again.  I have an old black leather mini one by WHSmiths and a Caramel personal Websters that I won.
  3. What is your favourite brand of Planner?  I have to say Filofax as I own eight!
  4. How long does it take you to update your planner each day?  I tend to spend only 5 minutes or so each day. I have a decorating session every week or two and tend to decorate ahead a bit.  I have a full-time job and a toddler, it’s hard!
  5. When did you first start decorating your planner?  I discovered a Facebook group in the UK around January 2014 and it started really from there. I also started looking at YouTube videos and Instagram images.
  6. What is your favourite pen for your planner? I use a Frixion in my on-the-go planner and Papermate Flairs in my stay-at-home decorated one.
  7. If you could use one embellishment what would it be? (i.e. Stickers, washi tape, gems, etc.) Stickers, the possibilities are endless and you can even get “washi” stickers.
  8. Favourite place to get Planner supplies/goodies. (Etsy shops can be included) Etsy full stop!  Current favourites are Chocho and Mimi, Isabelle the Owl, Handcrafted by Sheree and The Plump Planner.  Non Etsy stores I love are BonBonsKawaii and Suzy Stick ItColemans are great for Filofax in the UK.
  9. What is your Planning routine?  Grab time wherever I can, I tend to have to be alone in the house. I use my Malden to check what is coming up, as I fill that in as I go along.  I then pick a theme and go nuts with stickers.  I am still playing with my layouts in the Life Designer Planner so it varies each week at present.
  10. What inspires you each week for your weekly layout? (i.e. Holiday, Birthday, Season, Colour, etc.)  Depends really on my mood, if there is a particular event or a nice sticker set burning a hole in my sticker box. I have also done some of the various themes set in my Facebook Planner group.
  11. Who is the first You Tuber that inspired you to decorate your Planner? Like Zoe Plans, the first YouTuber that inspired me was Living The Wife Life I also loved Devanf17 but she seems to have stopped loading videos this year sadly.
  12. How many Planners do you decorate?  Just the stay at home one. I recently stopped decorating my pocket with washi and lots of stickers and staying more functional, it’s been a blessed relief!
  13. What Planner would you recommend to a first time user and/or Planner to decorate?  I would say go with something cheaper if you are brand new and not sure how you will use it. Paperchase do nice ring planners in the UK.  If you like spiral bound, then Personal Planner are a good option.  If you feel the need for an ECLP but can’t face carriage and customs (like we have in the UK) then the Life Designer Planner fits all the ECLP vertical stickers.
  14. If you had to pick only one planner which would you use and why?  The Malden pocket ochre, it’s my baby.
  15. Bonus question: Show your washi tape stash and is it out of control? It’s semi under control, but still ridiculous!

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  1. Who do you tag to do this tag? I tag Puddle Side Musings, The Stationery Geekette and Into the Teapot.

Thanks for the tag Zoe!  I would love to know your answers to the questions, let me know if you post your own answer or have any other questions prompted by my answers.

For the Love of Malden (all about my Filofax Pocket Malden planner)

Late last summer, I discovered that a pocket size Filofax worked beautifully for my needs.  Provided it was one of the ones with the 19mm rings, it holds everything I need and is small enough to carry with me.  I have always loved the look of the Malden range, and finally succumbed to ochre loveliness in November 2015 from the UK website Colemans.

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It was love at first unboxing.  It is made from beautiful soft leather, and the ochre colouring looks so classy.  It has the 19mm rings and came with cotton cream 2016 inserts.  I’m not such a fan of the Filofax inserts however, I find the paper a little thin for my liking.  I keep it in a cover with butterflies on made by the talented Joey from her Etsy store So Joey.

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So let’s crack on with it and walk through my set up…

Inside front

The Malden comes with three pockets inside the front cover and a zipped pocket.  In the largest one I keep heart check box stickers from Handcrafted by Sheree on Etsy, a project life card that says “Dream Big” and some clear ring reinforcements specifically for pocket size.  It is approximately 7cm deep so can hold reasonable sized items.

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The next pocket at approximately 6 cm deep has my NHS blood donor card (same size as a credit card) a couple of membership cards and some Panda sticky notes.  The third 5cm pocket holds first and second class postage stamps.  I currently don’t have anything in the 7cm deep zipped pocket.  I’m worried about marking the leather if I put anything in it, as it is not particularly deep.  I have attached a small metal Butterfly I found to the zip.

My dashboard is a laminated sheet of family photographs.  I also have a really cute charm attached to the second from bottom ring of a Kawaii toast with chocolate spread I bought from the lovely Ruth from her Etsy store Kawaii Studios.  The dividers are ones I made myself from papers I got from TKMaxx.  They are called Steampunk Botanica, a recollections signature special paper pad from Michaels.  I tend to keep small sticky notes on the reverse of my dividers for ease.  I have also recently added name tabs to each from Girl of All Work, purchased from the Suzy Stick It web site

Section 1 Calendars

My inserts are from Piaric in the US, and are on beautiful thick, smooth white paper.  The first page behind the divider is a 2016 calendar.

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On it I have circled family and friend’s birthday, one colour for each.  I did order the 2016 fold out year calendar, but have now removed it as I just do not use it.  I then have month on two page overviews for the year.

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I complete these ahead of time with things I know are due such as birthdays.  I then fill in something that happened that I might wish to remember once the date has passed, from my weekly pages.  I use a small bronze Butterfly paper clip to mark the current month.

Next is a laminated quote “charm is the ability to make someone else think that both of you are pretty wonderful” which I love.

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I then have the Filofax registration number in case of loss and the personal information pages.  This is paper clipped together with several past weekly pages.  It means I can open the weekly calendar to the current week.  I tend to file away used weeks in another pocket planner not in use, and keep about 4 weeks-worth only in the planner.  I have a summary on the monthly pages of key events so rarely need to refer back to the weekly pages.  I have the rest of 2016 weekly pages in the planner with me.deco week

Let’s discuss the delicate subject of decoration.  I love a decorated page.  It allows me to be creative and also encourages me to use the planner more if I enjoy looking at it.  However, in all honesty pocket size can become a little small to write in if it is sticker and washi heavy.  I recently acquired a Life Designer Planner that I use as a stay at home planner.  That gets decorated to the hilt.  Since I got that I stopped decorating my weekly pages in the pocket.  I do still punctuate with small stickers, but it is mainly a scribble in on the go, “to do” and appointment tracker.  I use the stay-at-home planner for recording events, TV shows, weekly food menu etc.  My photographs show two decorated weeks and a functional one.

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Section 2 Expenses

Each month when I am paid, I record the payment of bills and any funds transferred in here.  I also have a hole punch project life card on it reminding me what my regular transfers are.  I do not track every expenditure, just the big items each month to ensure I do them and they are timely.

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Section 3 Contacts

This section has taken time for me to get right.  Originally I has the A-Z dividers in, but I found this made the planner too thick.  I then had post-it tabs with the letters on I added myself to the contact pages.  However, this just looked ugly to me.  Now I have just the pages and no alphabet markers.  It’s still relatively easy to find the contacts as they are in alphabetical order.  I rarely use this section and I’m still in two minds if I really need it.  I also have a hole punched project life card on with a list of the names of our neighbours.  We only have 8 houses in the street and it is really handy at Christmas!

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Section 4 Lists

This section is hard to name.  It has information in it I need to refer to.  So it has a list of all the Disney movies my daughter currently has on DVD, as I always forget what we have.  It is useful when I’m out shopping if I see a bargain, or if I am asked at birthday or Christmas time what she wants.

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Next are my 2016 goals written down, a good visual reminder to keep me on track.  I then have a list of every True Blood episode.  I have the entire box set but it is taking a very long time to watch them.  I forget where I got to so I tick each episode off once I have watched it.  I’m only on season 3 and had them since Christmas 2014!

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I have a list of every job I have seen Miss Rabbit do in Peppa Pig.  Yes, really!  It’s a challenge my husband and I set as we were trying to remember them all.  I only have 21, sure there are more!  Then a few pages of Filofax to do pages.

Section 5 Notes

General notes so the first page is Royal Mail prices.  Then various things such as a Filofax wish list, a list of pocket planners with 19mm rings from Filowiki, (THE place to learn about Filofaxes) some work notes and then family clothing sizes.  Behind the remaining blank notes pages, I have the folded London Underground map and folded work map both from Filofax.

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Section 6 Stickers

The final thing in the rings is a top opening pocket with small functional stickers specifically for the pocket.  Small icons to satisfy my decorating need to a minimum.  This too has a small butterfly paper clip on the top to avoid any falling out.  My butterfly paper clips and many of these stickers are from BonbonsKawaii.

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Inside back cover pockets

I have a small note pad in the smaller top opening pocket and a spare laminated divider with some reusable Martha Stewart tear drop stickers on it in the 8cm deep pocket.

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I find the pen loop too small for my favoured Frixion pens, so it stays flat and unused.  I put my two pens, one black Frixion pen and a Frixion highlighter under the closure loop instead.  Finally, the pocket Malden is one of those fantastic planners that has a pocket running the full length behind it.  In here I have my AA recovery information.  This and the zip pocket is one of the reasons people often use it as a wallet.

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Pros and Cons

This works for me so well.  I own quite a few pocket sized Filofaxes, but have had no desire to move out of the Malden yet since I moved in back in November 2015.  I just love it, the feel, the smell, the fact it lays flat.  The sections work for me at present and it fits nicely even in the protective pouch in my handbags.  It looks classy and I’m not embarrassed to pull it out in public or at work.

Really the only down side is I find the leather can mark easily.  I really don’t like it scratched.  I don’t mind the general wear you get, such as the crease on the front by the spine where it lays open, but I found even a nail scratched across it can leave a mark.  This is why she lives in a cover, as things in my bag would certainly mark it.  Some people adore the way it wears.  I’ve even seen them with dark patches on them where the oils from your skin darken the leather on the closure loop or where it is held.  The protective case does make it a little bulkier, and if I use a non-leather Filofax pocket such as my hearts, I don’t use it.

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In summary, I don’t regret for a second spending the money on the Malden.  I agonised for over a year if it was worth the money.  I can hand on heart say it was the right decision for me to get it.

I’d love to hear your thoughts or answer any questions you might have, so feel free to comment below.

P.s. I told you my handwriting was chicken scratch 😉

Pen of the Week – Pilot FriXion Ball Erasable

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I mentioned in a recent blog that sadly I am the owner of awful chicken scratch writing.  Luckily for me there are pens out there that allow me to erase the worst of my writing and have another go.  I also find that sometimes plans change, so the ability to remove an entry or alter it in my planner is a real bonus.

The Pilot Frixion pen is available in a larger range of colours.  You can also get them as an erasable highlighter.  Although a little expensive for the pen, it is really very quick and easy to erase.  A useful feature too is that you can buy replacement ink inserts for them.  I have them with a removable lid and also a version that clicks on and off with the clip.

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It gets the name from the method used to erase the ink.  Heat is generated by friction when you rub the hard rubber eraser over the ink, that heat then erases it.  I say the name in the same way you would therefore say friction, although I have heard it pronounced Frix-On.

Ink

I only own the standard pens in black, red and blue ink.  A friend purchased a large pack of 12 lovely rainbow colours on the internet and they were really nice colours.

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The real attraction for me is the erasable ink.  In truth, I do find the ink to be a little pale in colour.  The flow too is not always smooth, resulting in sometimes a striated effect on the pen stroke.  However, I personally am happy to live with this for the excellent performance when being erased, even after some weeks of having been written.

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The yellow highlighter I own is a lovely vibrant colour.  I do however think the pink one is a little weaker than I would like.  Both erase well though.  Mine are all medium stroke at 0.7 and there is a fine stroke version available.

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Purchasing

I have seen them readily available in the UK in many places that stock stationery. I have even seen them in larger supermarkets, often on offer.  Prices are around £7 for a pack of three.

Overall the ability to erase is the main key feature for me.  I overlook the sometimes weaker coloured ink that is not so smooth.  I much prefer the clicker type, as the barrel is a bit smaller and I’m hopeless as retaining detached items of anything, so a lid is too risky!  I use mine in my on the go planner rather than my stay at home one, as I am more likely to need to erase from that one.

I’ve tried a Uniball erasable which had better ink but did not in my opinion erase as cleanly.  The Frixion is often the pen being used by the planning community.  It does not fit in my Malden pen loop, but honestly very little does.  But the clicker ones fit nicely in the gap behind the planner closure strap.

Let me know, what else is out there that performs as well as the Frixion in erasing but perhaps has nice colour?  I’d love to hear your experiences and thoughts.

Planning Stickers from Callie Rose Co

I admit I probably spend far too much time either browsing Etsy for planner stickers, or browsing Instagram for sticker stores on Etsy I might like.  Over Easter, several of the stores I have marked as a favourite, offered great discounts.  It would have been rude not to take up the opportunity to try out some of those lovely stickers I have been eyeing up.

Callie Rose Co is a store I marked as favourite some time ago.  As a person that needs instant gratification, I tend to mainly order from UK Etsy stores as delivery tends to be faster.  I fell in love with her full box quotes.  My order arrived promptly and was packaged well.  It included a beautiful postcard sized business card on which Catherine had beautifully written my name.  I am always impressed by beautiful writing as the reluctant owner of chicken scratch writing.

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The first entries to my cart are both sets of the full box pastel motivational stickers.  Each sheet has 9 motivational quotes and are available for either horizontal and vertical Erin Condren sized boxes.  These are just £1.90 per sheet excluding shipping.  I am using a Life Designer Planner which has the same sized boxes as the Vertical Erin Condren Life Planner, as my stay at home planner.

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Next I chose the Spring Blossom Core sticker weekly kit.  This included full and half box blossom patterns, full sized ombre heart checklists, and lots of header stickers.  This was £4.50 excluding shipping which is a great price for everything you get.

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I also added some scalloped quarter appointment stickers which were £1.90 excluding shipping.

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The delivery cost within the UK for these was £1 and I used the Easter offer voucher for 25% off.  It is always worth following Etsy store owners Instagram accounts, as they do share special discount codes and offers there.

They look and feel lovely, and I can’t wait to decorate a week in them.  Such fresh and spring like colours are so cheery.  Nice clear, clean images and perfect cutting.  I already have my eye on the Pink Lemonade kit in the store and have the discount code sent with my order, burning a hole in my sticker pack.  There are also fab Harry Potter and Game of Thrones stickers for episode tracking available.  I will definitely be ordering again with Callie Rose Co on Etsy.

These stickers were purchased with my own money and these views are my own.

Pen of the Week – Pilot Hi-Tec-C Coleto

Reflecting on my last post, I realised it might be of value for me to highlight some of the pens I use when planning.  As I have so many, I will endeavour to select one each week.

So this week I decided to show you my Pilot Hi-Tec-C Coleto Pen.  I really like a nice fine nib on my pens, and I find gel ink is nice and bright.  The Coleto is a multi-pen.  There are different size barrels available in regard to the number of colours it can take.  You purchase a barrel, of which there are a huge number of designs, then the ink inserts.

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Barrels

Whatever your taste there is a Coleto pen barrel out there for you.  There are various plain colours, from classic black or white through to pink. You can get simple spotty or other small patterned designs in various colours.  There are also many designs with images on them.  Mine is the Nicola Cherry design which is a limited edition.  As you can imagine, many people collect the different designs, which do retire.  Currently the Mary Quant seems to be a popular new design. There are all manner of Disney and other character pens.  I saw a particularly cute Tsum Tsum set this week.

Depending on the number of inks the pen will take, the barrel can be quite chunky.  Mine takes 4 (yes, I do only have one of these pens right now) and does not feel too big for me to write with. The top of the pen will flip open to allow you change the inserts as you require.  I found the inserts a bit fiddly at first, but soon got the knack.  Down side is it is too fat to fit in any of my Filofax pen loops.  However, I tend to keep it in the rings of my stay at home planner, as I would be worried I might break it in my handbag.

 

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Ink

The beauty of these pens is the ability to put whatever colours you like into them and swap them around.  Each ink has a small tab on the top that is used for you to click and select the colour you want to write with.  I chose angel wings, but came close to getting the star or heart shaped ones.  Again there are many different inks and tabs shapes that you can buy.  I opted for a set of 10 inks in a 0.4mm nib.

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The ink is nice and smooth, and if I were blessed with beautiful looking handwriting (I’m SO not) it would look lovely on the page.  I bought the set that comes with a hard storage case to keep them in which is well worth it.

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Purchasing

I got mine from Ebay.  The seller was “fsmymonkeys777” and the items were shipped from Japan.  This does mean a little wait for them to arrive, I think mine was just over two weeks.  It was worth the wait though, as it’s is so nice and I love the flexibility of the colour changes.  There are other suppliers out there, just do your usual research on their feedback quality etc.  I believe Jet Pens in the USA are suppliers.

I paid £4 including postage from my barrel which I purchased in June 2015.  The set of 10 inks were £10.36 including postage which were purchased at the same time. The prices show in USD but the Ebay UK site does give an idea on the GBP equivalent.

Final Thoughts

Overall I really enjoy the flexibility of colours with this pen and it’s really cute.  It writes well and it would be very easy to get sucked into collecting different barrels and ink sets. I have enough ink colours in the set of 10 to keep me amused.  I’m not thinking about the lovely new designs I saw whilst researching for this post…

Let me know if you have one, or your thoughts on these pens.