The Truth About Bullet Journals…

February 13, 2019
Picture of my bullet journal closed, surrounded by stickers and kikki k coloured pens.

Have you ever looked at bullet journals and dismissed them as they looked too complex? The beautiful designs of each bullet journal page painstakingly drawn to depict each topic. Neat handwriting and intense colour coding. Having learnt, made and used a bullet journal for over a year here are the four things I know will encourage you to have one.

I’ve always admired bullet journals and anyone who has one. Those that have them have always produced theirs willingly. Showing off their beautiful handwriting and organisational skills. I saw a session at my local West Elm run by Ghenet and Kikki K and thought I would give it a go. We had a fantastic time and Ghenet gave us all her tips to head home and make our own bullet journals.

Picture of my bullet journal open,  showing a list of monthly chores.  Surrounded by stickers and kikki k coloured pens.

It is a list keeper not a journal.

Getting my head around making a bullet journal made more sense when Ghenet explained it was for list making. The word journal was throwing me off and this made a lot more sense. I love a list and putting them all in one place is freeing. So much better than all the bits of paper I used to carry around!

Picture of my bullet journal open,  showing my calendar of activities.  Surrounded by stickers and kikki k coloured pens.

It doesn’t have to be a big notebook.

Ghenet had small A6 booklets for us to create our bullet journals in. As we worked on them I felt I would want something a bit bigger as all my lists were running over multiple pages! Heading to Kikki K I purchased a notebook with grid lines but when I got home I felt it was too much to add to my handbag. Despondent I flicked through the pages and realised I could pull apart the notebook and create a book the perfect size for me. 32 pages were covered in navy cardboard I had laying around and thread tied it all together.

Picture of my bullet journal practise pages where I have tried different heading fonts and drawings.

Practise the headings and drawings first.

Practice makes perfect and I’ve never nailed one of the drawn headings the first time. Instead I have used some spare pages to practice my drawing. There are plenty of examples of pages online and with some patience you can replicated any you like. I’ve made a whole pinterest board here to get you on your way!

Picture of my bullet journal open,  showing my blank calendar ready to fill up with events.  Surrounded by stickers and kikki k coloured pens.

It’s going to get messy.

Once I had laid out my pages and started using the bullet journal it took a while to develop a system. For my calendar I wanted to implement colour coding distinguishing appointments from fun friend catch ups. The first couple of months navigating this saw a lot of mess on the page! I quickly realised that regular gym sessions didn’t require noting as the times and days didn’t change. I also reduced my five colour key to two, making my life a lot easier and the page a thousand times neater. Once I got in the swing of things the pages became significantly tidier and ready to show off to others!

I’d love to see your bullet journals. Send me a picture or tag me on Instagram. PF xo

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Saving For Best…

February 11, 2019

When I was in Bristol staying with my friend, she was telling me about all the clothing and homewares that she had kept after a massive clear out. Moving from her family home in London to a small bedroom in a Bristol sharehouse had given her an opportunity to refresh.  We started talking about how we had both been taught to save for best.  Often this meant keeping something nice aside, bringing it out when someone to be impressed was around.  I laughed and said recently I had cast aside this notion and started wearing all my good things.  And then I caught myself.

I wasn’t telling the truth!

I realised whilst this was something I had changed, living in my flat for a couple of years had seen a few habits sneak in. Packing for my weekend away I had deliberately brought my best pyjamas and slipper socks.  There was another set at home that had seen better times. I was still choosing to wear these everyday. There were quite large holes in those slipper socks and they never stayed up. Each night I did an elaborate folding system to keep the socks in place!  These new socks, which for some reason I was saving until next winter, were so comfortable and most of all stayed up!

Caught in a saving for best cycle.

Where was this saving for best mentality coming from? When I grew up I was acutely aware that our family didn’t have lots of money.  My parents were much younger then my peers and at different earning levels.  There were always good outfits to be saved for special occasions, usually with the grandparents! 

When I got my first job I bought lots of beautiful candles that I wanted for so long.  I was in love with the different canisters, and the colour of liquids as they created rainbows in the sunshine on my walls.  They sat patiently on my dressing table waiting to be used. I waited for a special occasion.  It was not meant to be. I quickly learnt that candles sitting in a hot, timber house resulted in their perfume leaving quite quickly. Such a shame!

Influenced by advertising.

Having items that are for best or everyday use has also stuck me as a consumption habit that advertising promotes. Outfits for work, outfits for the weekend, outfits for Friday nights out.  Getting your winter wardrobe out and putting summer clothing away.  This has never been something I have done preferring to have everything on show to choose from each day.  My budget has never streached to seperate wardrobes for different seasons!

Something changed.

When I moved into this new flat I was keen to replace the plates and bowls. For the first time I considered purchasing my favourite plates to use everyday. Previously I have loved these but it never made sense to have a good set, alongside an everyday set.  This is not uncommon in Australia and my parents have three china sets! 

For years their wedding set sat for best in the cupboard alongside the silver cutlery, only coming out for dinner parties and Christmas.  We make an effort now to use all the different sets.  I bought my favourite plates and limited myself to a set for two.  They are expensive and I realised I could have what I wanted if I didn’t go crazy with a set for 6 people. Why do we have to buy sets in such large numbers? Clever advertising!

No more saving for best!

Coming home from Bristol I unpacked those ‘best’ pyjamas and slipper socks and put them on my bed. Digging out the worse for wear ones I threw them away. I’d like to say I reviewed my entire wardrobe and flat due to this reepiphany, but truth is I stuck to the pyjama drawer.  A few items went to Australia for rags for my dad’s motorbike and a couple of things went to landfill.  I’m casting my eye over by bathroom cabinet next and using up all my expensive creams and samples.  No more saving for best!  PF. XO

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The Roasting Tin By Rukmini Iyer Book Review…

February 8, 2019
The Roasting Tin cookbook by Rukmini Iyer displayed on a very large succulant!

My Mum Doesn’t Cook.

My Mum doesn’t cook.  Bless her over the course of my thirty something years I have rarely known her to make a meal.  It isn’t that she refuses to do it or delegates it to another family member, she just manages to hurt herself.  Every time! 

Just before I left for my Christmas holiday in Australia I walked around Notting Hill with Lucy and we spent time perusing the shelves of the beautiful Books for Cook’s shop.  I found Rukmini Iyer’s The Roasting Tin* full of delicious recipes that promised tasty, simple food made easily in one tin.  Purchased, I packed it in my overweight suitcase and together we made the journey to my other ‘home’.

This post includes affiliate links*. To understand why I use these click here.

Picture is of my mums hands squashing garlic.  There is a oven pan full of fennal, lemons and spring onion showing the mid process of cooking.

My Dad Was The Cook In Our House.

Growing up my Dad was always the cook in the house.  He is one of those frustrating people who can look in a bare cupboard and rustle up a feast from three unlikely ingredients.  There was always a routine, a ritual for him when he came home from work.  Changing out of his army uniform, he was straight in the kitchen prepping dinner.  It was his way of destressing and throwing off the day.  Occasionally someone else would try and cook for the family. 

Dad, after many years, asked that I start making dinners to contribute.  Mum tried to jump in a few times too but quickly she would burn or cut herself and Dad would take over.  It was always a frustrating cycle with my Dad.  He didn’t want to make the dinner every night but he would interfere when someone else was doing it.  Always taking over!  Things haven’t changed now that my sister and I are adults except we are much more vocal! Get out!

This picture shows my sisters hands adding sea salt to chicken that is laying on top of the vegables in a roasting pan.
This images shows oil hving been added to the chicken and my mum lifting the pan to put in the oven.

Until My Mum Stole My Book!

I showed Rukmini Iyer’s The Roasting Tin* to my Mum when I arrived and she disappeared with it.  Hours later I found her on the back deck reading the cookbook like a bible, making notes and creating lists of food.  This, she declared, was what she was going to use to get herself back into the kitchen.  A week later, ingredients purchased, my sister and I sat at the kitchen bench whilst my Mum prepped and cooked dinner. 

Chatting about life and work we occasionally answered Mum when she asked about a cutting technique and I was happy to help when she preferred someone else cut the last bit of fennel.  We all agreed she was on a roll and this was the thing that would give her the most grief!  My Dad tried to cut in a few times but we told him to go away.  Mum was doing this and he had to let her!

This image shows my mum making the sauce to go with the roasted food.  There are vegetables scraps on the kitchen surface and the Roasting Tin cook book is open.

And We Feasted Like Kings and Queens!

Dinner that night was absolutely delicious!  We had the roast chicken with fennel and spice roast aubergines and potatoes, and my sister took a portion home to her fiancée.  A few days later my mum announced she was making dinner again and we had avocado and chicken salad.  Since I have returned she has also sent pictures of two more dishes.  And that my friends is how my mum started cooking again! 

Having pulled the pan out of the oven we slice a chicken breast to confirm if it is cooked.  Very slightly pink we put it back in.

The Perfect Batch Cooking Lunches Book.

Mum paid me for the book and I ordered a new one from amazon.  The first weekend I was back in the UK I made the chicken with fennel and roasted aubergine and potato portioned into 15 lunches!  It was easy to do on a Sunday afternoon whilst I played jazz radio and read my book. 

The ingredients for these two dishes cost me £30, I already had the spices, and that’s less than I was spending each week on take out lunches!  Throughout the book Iyer gives tips on how to replace ingredients and ultimately make your own roasting tins.  Perfect if the local supermarket doesn’t have something or you want to go on a food adventure.

Photo of the finshed chicken and vegetable dish with sauce in a glass jar redy to serve.  The Roasting Tin cook book is open at the page with the recipe.

If you are wanting easy recipes for lunches or recipes to bulk batch food Rukmini Iyer’s The Roasting Tin* is for you. Happy cooking! PF xo

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The Roasting Tin Recipe Book