Countdown to 2011 #2: V & A Quilts Collection

Image Credit – V&A

The Victoria & Albert Museum always do a great collection of notebooks, stationery and diaries. This year is no different. Their diary choice reflects one of their key exhibits this year:

The V&A Diary 2011 is published to coincide with the V&A’s major Quilt exhibition in 2010 that will also be going on a world tour. This exhibition showcases the V&A’s collection of patchwork and quilted covers to bring together over 300 years of British quilting history, from the 18th century to the creative reinvention of the quilt by contemporary artists. 

The diary illustrates a selection of quilts from the exhibition and also includes some previously unseen images including reverse sides plus sewing equipment such as needles, étuis and other ephemera.

The diary is available as a desk diary (23(h) x 20cm(w)) or as a pocket diary (14(h) x 12cm(w)). Inside are full size beautiful colour pictures of the collection, opposite a weekly view diary layout.

Countdown to 2011 #1: The Desk Diary – Paperchase

I’m usually faithful to my Letts A4 Desk Diary but when I was in town shopping this week – this diary from paperchase caught my eye as a potential replacement.

Image Credit: Paperchase

It is lighter than it looks, and has an even feel. It is eye-catching and pretty and described on their website as:

A4 circle stripe 2011 diary with linen cover, silver gilded page edges, ribbon marker and FSC paper. Contains personal information page, calendar, planners, UK holidays, important dates, world times, conversion factors and international dialling codes.

Down sides? Lines are a not as narrow as I like  and I think (but I can’t remember to say with absolute certainty but the Sat/Sun were on one page instead of having a page each (which is more useful for some people than others).

But why change a good thing? It is clear – the only reason I would choose it over the Letts is it is prettier (i.e. more colourful) and is cheaper at £15. This is not to say Letts diaries are not fantastic quality and beautiful – just with more conservative colours. Not to mention they’ve also got the recycled option. So there is still a decision to be made.

Countdown to 2011

It is this time of year again. Time to decide what calendar, diaries and planners I am going to use in the upcoming year. Once again I’ve decided to scrap what I’ve used in previous years

Despite trying a range of diaries this year for various purposes, the one that served me the best was my Daycraft diary: Slim line, pocket-sized, flexible, wear resistant and both monthly planner and weekly view. Excellent.

Qualities I’ll want this time round. Time to start looking…



How to Keep a Goals Journal #5: Review

So you have your mission statement – the target you are working towards, and the steps you are going to take to get there.

Now it is your opportunity to review your progress. Review is probably the most important part of the journal as it keeps you in check, and tells you whether everything is worthwhile, whether you are achieving any thing. If not you may need to look for a different motivator.

Above is an example of my review page.

So what do I do?

Firstly I review my daily goals (the tick boxes that I’ve used in trying to develop habits). My average is 3/5. The one I fall down on is NOT buying a coffee, but making one. Unfortunately – red cups are now on sale. so fat chance until after christmas.

Secondly I review my prongs (the specific targets for that week). In my notebook I’ve split these between personal (home) ones and Career (work) ones. How many did I do? Those that I did not do I write out again to try again the following week.

And finally I review this list that I’ve re-written. I note how long they’ve been undone, if they are still relevant and assess whether if I can break it down into smaller tasks.

E.g. I need new glasses. but to get new glasses I need to have an eye test but to get an eye test I need to book an appointment. The booking of the appointment is what goes on the list, not get new glasses.

“My Milk Toof” notebook sets are here….

I don’t know if many of my readers read the blog My Milk Toof created by Inhae Lee. Very cute, very funny and a must have in your reader/rss feed.

But I am not here to talk about the blog, instead I want to bring your attention to their Winter Merchandise which is now on sale and includes 2 great notebook giftsets like the one below.

Image Credit My Milk Toof

Click on through to see more photos and to buy at $20. (and luckily for me they will ship internationally).

The Day Book: tips for a more effective daily notebook

Last week, I had a busy week at work – lots of meetings meant lots of note taking and lots of minutes. I have discussed before the professional use of notebook with exercise books (and counsel notebooks) coming out top for the day-to-day work.

Today I am having a closer look at the “Day Book”.

A fantastic tool for carrying around to all your meetings, and simply to add to day by day. I’m sure most people in the working environment have a book that falls into this category or even in the more creative fields this will come in the form of the ideas notebook. My Cat notebook (Pictured) seems to have fallen into this category this month.

The Day Book however is not without its problems. It requires reviewing! It is no good to just continually add to it. You must look back to your ideas, learning points and outcomes. All these will need a further action on your part and sometimes it is quite easy when busy to overlook things.

Stop. think. Do you currently have a system for getting the detail out of your day book/ideas book? and is it effective?

I don’t want to have to sit down and take the time “copying out” of the day book (this defeats the purpose of the day book) but you can have a more organised way of processing your information.  Obviously everyone’s idea of a working journal / day book or ideas journal reflects their needs and I cannot possibly cover all these here – but here are some tips to help you maintain a more organised day book.

Inputting of Information


  1. Write a date and “title”/explanation on every entry.
  2. When writing a new entry take a new page (leave some white space for additional annotations and comments).
  3. Circle important dates so they are obvious when you review the entry
  4. Use shorthand terminology (develop your own abbreviations)
  5. Write out what course of action you need to take – number these. dictate what needs to be done so you don’t forget.
  6. Develop a routine, or a style to your notes so you know where to find things. It is useful to have everything in a similar format. Review and improve this periodically.
  7. Change your handwriting to add emphasis to different sections of your writing if you don’t have more than one colour of pen or highlighters.
  8. Don’t be afraid to staple / stick in loose pages and bits and bobs (anything that saves time is worth your while).
  9. Do a line down the margin to make any information you want to extract from the notebook.
  10. Write a summary/learning points/outcome.

Review of  Day Book

  1. Develop a habit of reviewing the day book. E.g. at the end of each day or when you usually review your to-do list.
  2. Copy across any important dates into you calendar so you don’t forget them.
  3. Put numbered items into to-do list, schedule if possible.
  4. Follow up the to-do items. Day book items should usually be done that day.
  5. Re-read/flesh out notes and don’t be afraid to annotate.
  6. Do the research – if you wanted to check something / look something up do it, and note the answer in your daybook.
  7. Tick things off (or cross them off) if you have completed a task / or don’t need it anymore. Some people like to strike off a page.
  8. Use post-its to help you find important information/pages in a hurry.
  9. Extract any information that you have marked for extraction – such as information you want to type up, email to someone or simply add to another notebook for a specific purpose.
  10. Review your learning points/summary/outcome.

Feel free to share your own tips in the comments.