Through The Fog…

This is a different type of post today, one that you’ve never seen from me before. Its a lot less planner and a lot more me.

When I feel pregnant with my youngest I  had expectations of raising a baby, I’d done it twice before.

To start off with the first few weeks were nothing out of the norm but as we headed into the two month post birth period something changed. It was like a darkness creeped in around the edges.

This darkness was out of my direct vision,  it lurked blurry around the sides making it’s presence felt but disguised.

When things first started changing I put it down to certain things going on such as I was tired due to a lack of sleep because the baby had colic, when the colic didn’t go away and after much pleading with the doctors we found out at 4mths that she had a lactose intolerance. I put my negative feelings down to circumstances like this. It wasn’t me that had any sort of issue was it? noooo…it was just the fact that things hadn’t been easy and it was taking it’s toll.

Not long after the lactose diagnosis I went to see the GP. The darkness hadn’t gone, in fact it seemed to be getting darker, less murky and more defined.

The GP informed me that I had good old depression. Well…that’s just great isn’t it. Looks like it was my head over reacting to pretty much life! Just what a control freak like myself wanted to hear. I refused any tablets or help and agreed that I’d go see someone if it got worse. Well…it got worse and I didn’t go back. I’ve been suffering (not so silently)  trying to make it through each hour of each day. I told my partner about a month after I was diagnosed not that it changed anything,  he has no idea how to deal with it, how could he? Even I couldn’t . We have no familial support so I just have had to power through this alone, however I can.

It’s been hard, I’ve hit my breaking point on many many occasions. I’ve wanted to leave and go it alone, I’ve stupidly wished that non of it had happened.
You see no-one tells you about the guilt that comes with depression like this. I’ve never ever once wanted to hurt my baby,  it’s not that sort of depression, I have never neglected or put her in danger. She is my world, I love her with every part of my being.
But in moments of despair have I wondered if life would have been easier if I had her adopted, if I’d never fallen pregnant? Yes, honestly I have. Those thoughts are flash-in-the-pan-gone-within-a-second thoughts.  The guilt you feel though for thinking them doesn’t go so quickly. It lingers and eats up at you, therefore making you feel even more crappy about the situation.  Then…when you think it can’t get worse you start doubting yourself, your parental skills “maybe she’s better off without this sorry sack of shit mother” “maybe I don’t deserve such a beautiful baby after what I said”. It’s a circle of shame that you can’t pull yourself out of. It’s illogical, irrational and damn well unwanted!

People underestimate how mentally challenging a baby is, the focus is always on money,  capabilities and the practical stuff. No-one tells you that the strongest emotionally stable person can become a mess of low self-esteem and confidence who cries at everything. No-one tells you that you can find yourself so frustrated by situations you want to punch your fist through a wall and scream until your throat bleeds and no-one will tell you that you will hate your life.

My baby is now 16mths old and I won’t lie, I still have bad days. Luckily the bad days are less and less but they rear their ugly head and make you feel like they still rule you, they still win and there is nothing you can do about it.

The darkness prays on your vulnerability,  as you get stronger and start to fight it off it will pick at you when you’re at your lowest. When your ill or emotional. It will be there, it will come rushing in and tell you that ‘you are not good enough’.

For every day that goes past I get stronger and stronger. I wish in hindsight now that I’d taken the help offered and eased my suffering instead of wallowing in shame. I sometimes need to remind myself that I am surviving regardless of the darkness, I know it’s there and I’ll take those days on and get through them, for every glimpse of me it gets I get one back and that makes me understand how it works. This way I can learn it’s weakness and drive it out.

Each and everyday I make it…just a little further through the fog.

Emma-Louise x

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Book Review: The Girl In The Spider’s Web (no spoilers)

I still remember reading Steig Larsson’s Millennium series as if it was yesterday. My favourite of the 3 books was most definitely the first, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. I was quite sad when it came to the end and knowing the author had passed away meant at that time there would be no continuation of the series.

I was surprised and overjoyed to hear that there would be a 4th book released. The fourth book would be written by David Lagercrantz who had been given permission by the Larsson estate to continue the series.

The new book in the series is called The Girl in the Spider’s Web. I was a little skeptical about going in to read this.  As much as I couldn’t wait to read more I was worried that Lagercrantz wouldn’t live up to the writing I had loved from Larsson.

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When the book arrived even though it was a hardback I was taken aback by it’s size. While it’s not overly bulky it was taller than I expected. The cover was in keeping with the rest of the Millennium series books, with the torso of what I suspect is Lisbeth Salander in a metal studded belt and faint outline of the notorious dragon tattoo.

I opened the book and was greeted with a map of downtown Stockholm and a list of all characters with brief description from the previous books. I liked this as it has been a while since I read the others and could use the memory jogger.

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Inside the book was split into 3 parts just as the others had been.

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It took me about 6 days to read and I had a lot of stopping and starting thanks to my lovely little 16mth old but I throughly enjoyed it.

The chapters were a great length with breaks between aswell which really works for me in a book as I may only get 5 mins here and there depending on what is going on.

The story was easy to follow and very enjoyable.  I won’t go into the plot because I don’t want to ruin it too much for anyone who is just looking for info to make a decision whether or not to get it.

Lagercrantz writing style flowed so nicely, I couldn’t often tell the difference between his and Larssons work.

This is definitely a good I would go back to and read again. I had never heard of Lagercrantz before as an author but he seems the perfect choice for continuing the work left by Larsson.

According to an article in The Guardian , Larsson had a shadow outline for 10 books in the series. Unfortunately I cannot find any information to suggest whether a 5th book will be written and published but one can certainly hope.

For me The Girl in the Spider’s Web is the 2nd favourite in the Millennium series.

I would recommend anyone who enjoyed the first 3 to give this a read. The plot line is more like the first book rather than the 2nd and 3rd and there are more relationship twists to be had in the Bloomkvist / Salander relationship.

The only downsides to me in this book was the lack of a plot twist which I was hoping to see and I did feel that Bloomkvist tend to blather on sometimes and be a bit too moody for my liking.

As for a rating, I would give this book 8/10, the only reason it isn’t a 10 are the reasons listed above and that my mind wasn’t blown by the story. However don’t let that put you off the story is still very good:)

The Stationery Geekette x

Project Planning The GTD Way

You may have heard me mention Getting Things Done (GTD) by David Allen in previous posts, this book is definitely worth a read. It has single handed improved the way I organise and manage my life.  Some maybe put off as I was initially thinking this was just for businesses but the methods can be applied to all areas of your life whether that is at home or at work.

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For those of you who are not familiar with the GTD methodology and do not have the book to hand here is a link to a 15 Minute Guide to GTD  which I use frequently when I do not have my book with me.

David Allen mentions in this book that our brain naturally goes through a planning model which he refers to as the Natural Planning Model. This the process our brain takes when accomplishing tasks and should be applied when we are planning our projects.

So let’s go into detail. There are 5 steps or phases to the Natural Planning Model.

Phase 1: Defining Purpose and Principles

This is where you ask ‘Why?’, what is the aim of what you are intending to do? This phase helps to set the boundaries and scope of your project and provide motivation.

Phase 2: Outcome Visioning

This is you visualise the end result, the outcome you wish to achieve. In order to plan a project you must first ascertain where you want that project to end.

Phase 3: Brainstorming

This is the phase in which you generate ideas for your project. David recommends that you put all your ideas on paper, get them out of your head so you can formulate them in some order. This will help focus on what tasks you need to do.

Phase 4: Organising

In this phase you take all of the ideas from your brainstorming session and formulate them into some form of plan. So you should hopefully have at the end a list of tasks that you will need to accomplish in order to successfully complete your project.

Phase 5: Identifying Next Actions

This is where you make a note of your first/ next physical action that needs completing before you can move on. What immediate action needs to take place so you can move the project on.

Another breakdown of these 5 phases can be found here at The Simple Dollar

I have found applying this method to my project planning extremely helpful when plotting and planning my projects.

To start with I wrote a Master Project list, this was the place I write down all of the projects that pop in my head I want to complete. This is a long-term goals list.DSC_2581

I then took the first project I wanted to complete and write it on a separate sheet of paper, following the Natural Planning Model. This details all the separate parts of the project that need doing for it to be complete. I also list my ‘Why’ and ‘Outcome’.

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The next thing that I do is write the first immediate action on my Next Actions list (the thing to remember with the Next Actions list is that it is essentially a To-Do Immediately list). Once I have completed the item I cross it off both lists.

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Thank you for taking the time to read my post. I hope that it inspires you to go read the book or at least look at ways to help improve upon your organisational methods:)

The Stationery Geekette x

 

The Best of The Rest!

I am a little late getting around to this post so I do apologise.

So…what other planners am I using apart from the wonderful Leuchtturm?

You are about to find out:)

First of all I have my ever loving and trusting Ochre Malden. I have this set up for my everyday stuff. I write my shopping lists in here, daily errands, calls and emails. I also have all my contacts here and my weekly and monthly calendar for appointments and such.

I take this one out with me every single day and couldn’t be without her:)

 

I then have a Paperchase A5 coiled diary. This is for all my household stuff such as finances and cleaning schedules. I also record my 366 penny challenge in here too. There are not many pics due to the personal info in this but I have a couple:)

 

My next planner is my Ban.Do large. This is my Food diary and weight/Measurement tracker which I keep at home. I use this to write out my weekly menu’s:)

 

And finally we have my large Kikki-K Ocean planner. This is my Slimming world binder. It has my progress record, food diaries old and new, recipes, and SW books in it. I take this to each group with me. I will also be writing down things I notice such as food triggers etc.

 

So there we go, you have now seen my entire 2016 collection.

So far two weeks into the year I am finding this really is working for me. I was worried that having so many would cause me to get a bit fed up for forget but instead updating them is easy and I don’t have issues forgetting anything. It is so helpful knowing where to go straight away for whatever I want too 🙂

The Stationery Geekette x

Hello 2016 You Sexy Beast!

Hello and Happy 2016!

I’ve been waiting to do this post for weeks now and I’m so glad the time is finally here.

I’m super excited for this year. I feel really positive and really organised (let’s see how long that lasts!).

I am determined to have a good year and to know where I am with everything within my life. I want my finances organised,  my home decluttered and looking fab, my health and weight on track, a job, studies or voluntary position in the works and most importantly time to relax.

I have always struggled with relaxing. My head is always full of things I feel I should be doing or projects I want to start or finish.
With the help of GTD (David Allen’s Getting Things Done)  I am really hoping to achieve inner peace and enjoy making more memories with my beautiful children and partner.

I have quite a set up for this year and to some it may seem quite extensive but everything has a very specific purpose.

I am aiming to stick to this set up for at least 3 months, I want to see how it suits me. If all goes well and it works how I hope it will I will be having a huge de-stash of all my other planners.

I will briefly outline what I will be using and it’s purpose in this post but I will be posting a more detailed look over the next week or two.

Personal Size Malden – Calendar,  Diary, Notes and Contacts

Leuchtturm 1979 – Lists, Projects,  Braindump / Inbox, Quotes, Notes, savings tracker, Film, Book and TV lists, GTD notes, Children Notes, Next Action lists etc.

Paperchase a5 Coiled Diary – Household, Finances, Chores, Accounts info.

Ban.Do Large – Health and Fitness Diary, Weight Tracker, body measurements, Exercise log and food Diary.

ZYLC Embossed Std Fauxdori – TV series tracker, Journal and Study Notes.

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I’d love to hear how you’ve set up for 2016. Have you changed anything?  Do youhave specific goals and aims going forward? 🙂

Enjoy and Happy New Year

The Stationery Geekette x

The Leuchtturm 1917

This is my first ever Leuchtturm. My partner bought it for me for Christmas and its the Berry dotted version.

I have to admit I’m a little weary when it comes to notebooks especially those that are quite high in price as they very rarely live up to the hype however this one is amazing!

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It’s hard to say the exact purpose of what I am using it for as it covers many different functions and is very unique to me.

It combines GTD with a form of bullet journaling and other aspects too.

I have taken some photo’s of my current pages. Obviously these will evolve as the year goes on.
I do have to thank Kara at Bohoberry and Laura at How to GYST as they have both been a huge inspiration in my new 2016 approach.

So to start I drew up a 2016 Calendar as I like to always have a yearly outlook.

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2016 Mission Statement and Affirmations

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Goals and Aspirations

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Quotes and Gratitude

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Savings and Film/TV

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Books to Read and Master Project list

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Blank for Projects and GTD Workflow

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GTD Workflow Diagram and Planning Models

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What I Want To Buy and Order Tracker

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Kickass Woman Manifesto and First srt of Daily pages

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Astronomy Calendar and Daily pages

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Project 1 and Dreamcatcher Sketch

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That’s what I have so far in this one. My dailies are mostly Next Action lists for the day, events, memories and brain dumps.

I have you have enjoyed reading and seeing how I do things. I would definitely recommend checking out the two blogs I mentioned above if you are wanting to be inspired.

My next post will be going through the other planners I’m using this year:)

The Stationery Geekette x

 

**Update – Post added with updates to my layouts The Leuchtturm 1917 – Things I’ve Added