Sunday, 30 September 2012

Pen Review - Rotring Rapidograph

Ooh - my first ever pen review (and probably my only one).

As you may have seen this set was spotted by my DF when were at Office World, and I bought it as he has mention how good they are before. Obviously being pens I had to try them out to see if I would be able to use them and get one for myself, although I wasn't holding out too much hope as they are pretty fine nibs (the largest coming in at 0.5, followed by 0.35 and 0.25). The set also contains a Rotring 0.5 Tikki pencil.

The set comes with three spare capillary cartridges. Apparently these pens never dry up like fountain pens can if you don't use them for a while (obviously as a fountain pen free person I am relying on information from others for this).

So, here is my kit ready for testing. Filofax standard diary, Oxford notebook and the Rotring pens.  

Due to the quality of the Filofax paper the 0.5 pen is pretty thick as it bleeds a bit, so I need to write fairly big, which isn't a big problem as I quite like writing big, but I'm not that keen on the pen line being so thick.

The 0.35 nib is quite scratchy, and I would need to learn to write more gently.

The 0.25 is super fine and cute - although I did have to concentrate quite hard not to press too hard, and it is pretty scratchy (a bit like writing with a needle). However, if I could get used to this I could possibly fit everything into a pocket Filofax (though when I'm tired I could have problems actually reading it).

After writing with the 0.25 the 0.5 and the 0.35 felt much less scratchy... would the scratch factor be reduced by using smoother paper?

Results on filofax paper
The pen for the thicker nib bleeds through to the reverse of the paper, although not too badly. I personally don't think I would be able to write on the reverse with bleed through, I think I would find it distracting and messy.

Bleed through not too bad, but it's not great
The same pens on the Oxford paper.

Quite a difference - more of a difference than I was expecting.

All the nibs wrote a finer line as the paper bleeds much less. The pens didn't feel as scratchy (not perfect, but better). With the 0.25 I could possibly fit my whole life in a mini (if I want to carry a magnifying glass everywhere with me - ha ha ha!!!).

Results on the Oxford paper
Bleedthrough... nada!!! If I try really hard I can just about see that there is something written on the other side, but it's really no issue at all.

Pen can barely be seen from the other side at all
And side by side so you can see the difference - with the better quality paper this pen is pretty cool (if you look at the excerpt from the Rotring website below you will see that these are not designed for standard paper, or even normal writing). These pens are OK for upright writing, but if I start doing my more relaxed style (which I rarely use as it tends to be more for scribbling notes on scrap paper) there would be no hope. However, they are perfect for writing labels for presents, dividers etc.

Side by side
I took a look online to see what colour inks there are for these (they take Rotring capillary cartridges) and there isn't a massive selection, but apparently you can mix the inks...

"For tracing paper, vellum drawing paper and lineboard.The rapidograph uses rOtring's unique capillary cartridge. The pressure-equalization system, including ink helix is part of the ink cartridge which ensures that every time you change the cartridge, you get a clean new ink helix. This means that you never need to clean the ink helix and top reliability is guaranteed."

Off now to play with DF's pens again and then I can decide if I need to steal any of them (or if I need to buy him a whole new set, I have a feeling that this may be the option).


Office World? Ooh, Don't Mind if I Do...

As much as some people believe that my DF must hate my stationery obsession, he really doesn't. This was evidenced the other week by the fact that he spied Office World when he was in Wettingen at the fitness shop, and texted me immediately to let me know :o)

Obviously, the first thing I did was to take a look on-line as I was nowhere near Wettingen at the time, and then this weekend, being the absolute star that he is - he took me to Wettingen so I could go in and have a good look.

I can safely say that I will be going there again, they have lots of pretty things, paper, pens, various storage solutions (including a fab box with compartments that I could use for scrapbooking supplies - brads and stuff).

After a good browse by all of us (even DF... the boys are always happy to look at pens if they think they'll get one - they chose a shark pencil sharpener and a Stabilo pen 68 each).

DF spotted the first purchase... he has told me so much about these pens before as he used to use them when he worked in a technical drawing office, and has recommended that I try them before as I just don't get on with fountain pens. I wasn't sure about them for myself as they have such skinny nibs (in this set 0.5, 0.35 and 0.25), but I think he kinda misses them. When he spotted these I figured that we just had to get them (even though he generally used a 0.1 nib).

Rotring Rapidograph pens
Next to the Rotring pens there were the Rotring "curvy ruler things" (which I was told is NOT the correct name - ha ha ha!!!) I'm sure I had some similar to this when I was little and am sure they will come in very handy for scrapbooking, journalling and any other number of crafty projects.

Funky curvy rulers
But obviously I couldn't resist *all* the pretty things... I got the post-it index tabs with the little arrow heads on them, which I am looking forward to using as I know exactly what I want to use them for (as opposed to buying them and then either trying to find a use for them, or wanting to just keep them 'for best'...

And then I saw these two sets of Japanese stickers - they are super cute, but not particularly small. Perfect for decorating dividers though :o)

And the other thing they stock (which I haven't found anywhere else over here yet)? MT washi tape!!!

I resisted for now as they are mainly plain ones and I have quite a few patterned ones already, but if I need some plain as well, then I know exactly where to go :o)


Dodopad Goodies

Woohoo!!! I've finally had time to take a pic of my latest Dodopad delivery.

I've got the AcadPad in A5 to go in my Filofax - I'm not decided on what to use it for this year though. Last year I used it for logging my food and exercise. I currently have three options. I can:
       i)      monitor food and exercise as before

       ii)     set up up to five different logs - potentially water, weather, exercise, weight, with space for
               category to log data for.

       iii)    use it as my main diary, it's basically a week on one page with a page for notes...

I also had to get myself some Dodon't forget and Dodo Remember stickers as I've seen these so many times and as I was ordering the Acad Pad it would just have been rude to ignore the stickers again...

I got a couple of Leuchtturm pen loops to fit in notepads so that I can always be sure there will be a pen at hand when I need one. However, now that I have them I can't remember which notepads I had intended them for, and I'm not actually brave enough to stick them into the notepads directly. I think I may have to set up a card insert that I can shut inside the notepad with the pen loop attached.

My other purchase was a stylus for use with my iPod touch. It may seem like a totally unnecessary purchase to many people (yes, people have already asked why I can't just use my fingers like normal people). It's true - I don't have big, fat, fingers and so should have no problem, but there is just something about touch screens that doesn't seem to agree with me. Some days I have no problem at all, but others I can't do things properly on my iPad, and don't even get me started on those touchscreen things to help you find the location of what you want to buy at IKEA... I swear those things hate me. I can never get them to register any thing I do and end up getting very frustrated, so I am hoping that my stylus will be my new best friend (after the Roomba of course).


My Space - The Perfect Room...?

Well, once I set up my Filofax display case and stand I had to sort out the set up for the rest of my room - so what better place to start than IKEA?

I love IKEA (which is a good thing really, as since we moved to Switzerland that is where almost all our furniture has come from). The other great thing about IKEA is the fact that they have a supervised play area for children up to the age of 8, so we can drop the boys off, grab a cake/coffee and then get the stuff we need before picking up the boys again. We get to do what we need to without children who really don't want to be there, and they get to go and play - now that's what I call a win-win!!!

Off we went to IKEA to find a desk and storage for my room, I already had an idea what I wanted to get, I just wasn't sure how big they'd be. I already had a standard desk, but wanted something that was a bit deeper, preferable without a back so I could easily us it for crafty stuff as well as using it as a working area.
Poor DF had a lot to get done after we got home, including going back out to get the shopping, and was then going to put my stuff together after the boys had gone to bed. Being the instant gratification kinda girl that I am I couldn't actually make myself wait until then, so while he was out shopping I got to work. Unfortunately, although I do know what a hammer looks like, I have no idea where the toolbox is kept, so I was trying to put all the dowels into the shelving unit by hand (and a rolled up towel so my hand wouldn't hurt when it came to the ones where I had to hit them to get them to go in). By the second shelf I realised that I really did need a hammer (my hands were almost dead, and I just don't have the kind of muscle power required to just push the things together). By the time Ben got back I was quite a way into my project and this was the sight that greeted him...

Nope, it's not a hammer. It's a high-heeled purple suede Diesel shoe,
but it did the job very well - and didn't leave me with a sore hand
like hammers tend to do
Yesterday I finally finished moving the empty boxes and stuff out, and now I can (very proudly) show my new room :o)

My cosy corner
I may get a small table to go next to my chair (Poang chair from IKEA, lovely woollen throw in cream from IKEA, chilled out blue cushion from IKEA and tall light from, surprise, surprise - IKEA!!!).

I intend to use this chair for just chilling with my Kindle and for curling up in with a notepad when I am journalling or planning.

From my chair I can see:
My wonderful display cases, not from IKEA...
...and my desk
Here is another view of my desk - it is an Expedit shelf unit, with attached desk (with a depth of 78cm, as opposed to the 50cm that I have with my 'normal' desk, which is now serving it's purpose as a dressing table/storage in the bedroom. I positioned the desk so that I can make the most of the natural light that comes into the room from the windows opposite.

Shelf unit with sixteen squares for storage 
In the storage areas so far I have various boxes (many of them empty at the moment), postcard sets, storage tins and some notepads - most of which haven't been written in at all yet as I don't want to ruin them (I really need to get a grip and just use them...). On the top I have a couple of storm lanterns (IKEA sale...) and some wonderfully fragrant candles that I just had to have. I was looking to get some blue ones but could only see aqua type blues, and then I spied these beauties. One sniff (or three) and I was hooked. There is white (cinnamon danish), caramel (caramel pudding) and brown (chocolate) - how could I resist having those in my room?

And that is it  - my new room :o)


Saturday, 29 September 2012

101 List Progress Check - 29th September 2012

Hi All,

Just a quick check in today as it's all been quiet on the 101 front this week. It's been monthend at work so totally manic and no way I was up to even thinking about doing anything when I got home each evening (apart from trying to plan where to go for a few days away in November).

I am currently sat in my new room, which is now looking peaceful and relaxing - I'm looking forward to writing a post and taking lots of photos for it very soon.

So, what have I actually managed to achieve on the 101 list this week... erm... nothing... oops!!!

However, I did download "Paddy Clarke Ha Ha Ha!!!" by Roddy Doyle yesterday, which is one of the prizewinner books on my list and I read the first few pages on the train on the way home from work - so far I haven't been able to get into it, but I'm hoping that will happen over the next few days :o)

Ooh - and I'm blogging about my 101, so that's an achievement, right...?

Off to do a bit of planning re some of my other challenges now.

Have a great week.


Sunday, 23 September 2012

101 List Progress Check - Sep 23rd 2013

Hi All,

Woohoo!!! Paperwork sorted? Yes - at last!!!

Here a lovely picture of me sorting paperwork last Sunday evening, in anticipation of the arrival of my Filofax display case and stand.

Surrounded by less than half the paperwork that I had to go through in total.
The stuff on the shelf under the table is all for shredding (that pile grew even
more before I'd finished), and the filled folders are the filing that had already
been done at that stage...
 I have finished reading Schindler's Ark - it is such a good book. I will definitely be reading it again, and really must get hold of the film on DVD (I don't know why I'm insisting on putting myself through this - I can guarantee I will cry...lots).

My de-cluttering is continuing, and although I haven't started doing Flylady routines yet I have set up my 5 week cleaning plan ready to start the rotations. Today I have also listed the daily/weekly tasks that can be delegated to my children which they (currently) are quite looking forward to as it is an opportunity to earn some cold, hard cash :o) We'll see how long they find this a good idea. I am refusing to let them earn money for doing the things they should just do anyway (keeping their rooms tidy(ish), getting ready for school properly in the mornings, putting their toys away etc), but they seem to be understanding that and haven't argued at all. Wish me luck for it lasting the week (or even the rest of the day).

Have a great week,


Tuesday, 18 September 2012

Move Complete...

Well after all the excitement of last nights arrival I was a bit tired this morning, but that didn't mean I was going to spend my day off relaxing and catching up on sleep/films - oh no, no, no...

Today it was time for my babies to be freed from the IKEA moving box and re-homed in their fabulous new surroundings :o)

I realised two things after taking about five of my filos out of their boxes and excitedly putting them in the display case:

i)     I really was going to have to get them out one at a time and put the lids back on or it was going to get very messy and very confusing. It's not until you try to put the lid from one A5 onto the box from another A5, that you realise that the boxes aren't actually a standard size... To be fair, I had noticed before when stacking them in a different cupboard, but I guess it didn't really register...

ii)    Although I now have somewhere decent to store my binders, I still have to store all the boxes - oops!!!
Planning fail...
On an epic scale...
Thankfully the IKEA box was still on hand :o)
 A bit further through the process I realised that I needed to change some of the shelf heights to fit my collection in so they all had to come out again, but here they all are (apart from the A4 that the DF has commandeered for his P90X and P90X2 fitness tracking).

Looking quite cosy in here  :o)
I hadn't realised until I put them all together that most of my personal leather filos are red, purple or pink - I really think I need to do something about that - hmmm...

Here is the display stand containing most of my Filofax inserts that still have their cellophane wrappers (anything else is stored in boxes or binders so it doesn't get dusty). I have also put in my cute notepads, bookmarks, stickers, post-it tab type things, Christmas cards and some of my writing paper. Unfortunately there isn't much A5 space, but that's OK - this way I will be encouraged to use the ones that are in the stand and then I can move some of the others in.

And a couple of close ups:

Filos and inserts/fun stuff (somehow I managed to forget to take a photo of the whole lot together, this is the closest I have...

And the drawers?

Scrapbooking supplies in one for now...

And boxes with quilling supplies, and personal inserts, and a cloth personal filofax cover that was also in the drawer when the display case arrived, but got missed in the pics :o)

And there we have it, my babies in their new home.

Once I have set up the rest of the room I will write a post about the whole room and what's in it :o)

Bye for now,


The Future of Filofax - an open letter to Helena Bloomer of Slam PR

Those of you who know me know that I love my filos, and yes, I do get my head turned by all the pretty things, but I am totally in support of the letter below:

           (you can see the interview to which this refers here.
An open letter to Helena Bloomer, MD of Slam PR.
Dear Ms Bloomer
This letter is a response to the interview recently conducted with you by FeaturesExec Media Bulletin, and is being posted simultaneously (more or less) on a number of blogging sites in the UK, the US and beyond.
What binds us together as bloggers is that we are all members of an international community and website devoted to all things Filofax, and are all passionate about personal organisation, and the Filofax brand in particular. We have read, as a community, and with increasing disbelief, your comments concerning the Filofax brand, and this is our response.
We note from your comments that, as a result of a ‘usage and attitudes study’ you have conducted, you have been led to the conclusion that the distinguishing features of Filofax users are that we ‘like to write notes’, and that we are ‘very interested in fashion/stylish accessories’. We can assure you this is not the case in either respect, and that we find being pigeon-holed in this way to be demeaning and insulting in a way you most probably cannot understand. We are a community whose passions are for good organisation and a flexible, functional system to underpin that organisation. Some of us, perhaps a minority, have considerations of fashion, but all of us care that our systems of personal organisation assist us in the lives we live and the tasks we undertake.
In short, if all we wanted to do was to ‘write notes’, it is highly unlikely we would invest in relatively expensive binders, refills and systems such as your client provides. We wonder just who you have asked to participate in your ‘usage and attitudes study’. Whoever they are, we can assure you they are unrepresentative of your client’s core customer base, many of whom have been loyal customers for over twenty years and now feel ignored by your client.
We want to suggest to you that the direction you are taking your client in is ultimately going to prove fundamentally damaging to their business. The fashion ‘business’ is notoriously fickle and fast-changing, and you seem to have convinced your client that ignoring and alienating their loyal core customer base will bring dividends in terms of a new, fashion-conscious, high-spending corpus. We want to suggest to you, and by extension to Filofax themselves, that when the fashion ‘carousel moves on, your client will be left neither their newly promised client base, nor the client base you have led them to abandon.  Do you really think this is smart business advice?
You say in your interview that you consider your brief with Filofax to ‘make (your client) fashionable again’. We would suggest to you that your client’s products, if they were ever ‘fashionable’ at all, were so because they fulfilled a function and a need which was perceived to be important to their customers. We now have growing evidence of a lowering of standards of manufacture in Filofax binders, of poor paper quality in refills, and of a lack of willingness to listen to your customers’ opinions. Several of our members, on voicing opinions similar to these, have been invited by Filofax (or whoever runs their Twitter feed) to communicate those opinions directly to your client. This has been done, and no further comment or reaction from your client has been forthcoming. We would like to know whether this is really the kind of public relations you wish for your clients? Or are you merely concerned with putting fashionable, well-heeled ‘bottoms on seats’ at London, New York and other Fashion Weeks with the aid of free give-aways of ranges of binders priced beyond the reach of the average core Filofax user and similarly poorly manufactured? We would suggest that your ‘fashion focused press office’ would be better employed communicating with the loyal, core customer base of your client, the majority of whom, it now seems, are on the point of abandoning your client’s brand in favour of providers who will listen.
We write as concerned individuals and not as representatives of the community to which we belong. However, it is worth noting that many of us have a very high annual spend on Filofax and related products, and we suggest that Filofax is in danger of sacrificing this loyal customer spend in exchange for something far less reliable in the long term. 
In conclusion, we have every confidence that these opinions will be ignored as ‘unfashionable’ by your ‘attitude studies’ and ‘fashion focused’ executives. However, we care enough about the Filofax brand to communicate these opinions plainly to you, and to hope that Filofax will one day return to the business in which it flourished for over seventy years, of providing highly functional, attractive but reasonably priced, personal organisation systems to those who need them, which is an increasing number of people in the societies in which we live. 

Monday, 17 September 2012

Wow, wow, wow!!! eBay Heaven!!!

And can I just say "Wow" again?

There is another post re my 101 that I should do before I do this one, but I can't as I am just so excited that I have to blog this right now.

I will also apologise now as I am super tired and am likely to ramble even more than usual, but you will get lots of photos further down to take away the pain :o)

It's 10pm and I've just spent the last two hours cleaning and taking photos for this post...

As you may know from my last post I have managed to wangle a room in our apartment just for me and the things that I want around me for quiet time (obviously that does not include my children, who I love dearly, but swear they have no idea what the word quiet even means...).

Yesterday I was trying to resist the temptations of eBay, but we all know that resistance is futile when it comes to anything Filofax related, so I spent the day flitting between trying to get my new room cleared and my computer to check eBay and my emails as I had a few queries regarding the items.

With about twenty minutes to go it was looking like this bad boy was going to be mine, the last five minutes I spent glued to the chair as I wanted to make sure that I didn't miss out on anyone outbidding me. I was so excited when I was declared highest bidder as the auction came to a close than my youngest boy just sat and laughed at me - lots!!!

So here is the link to my new baby in all it's glory as included in the Saturday Philofaxy Web Finds.

So when is it going to get here? It's here!!! My fabulous DF drove for eight hours in total today (not the six he was expecting - oops!!!) to go to Germany to collect this for me, and here's what happened...

In the back of the truck and ready to go :o)
My first view...
The unit for the inserts - just in need of a
bit of a clean, other than that it's pretty darned
good :o)

And the class display case for the filos to go in

A bit blurry - but there has to be a bit of display case
love :o)

Filofax symbol on both sides of both display stands 

Cleaned up and ready to go (ignore the insert
holders, they will be given a good soaking at some
point, just not right now :o)
 So there we have the display stands all set up and ready to go, so what can I find to go in them... Well, the display stands came from a shop that was closing down, so I felt it would be rude of me not to find out what stock they had remaining in case there was anything I could help them to offload ;o)

And it turned out they had a fair bot of stuff left - not loads, but a reasonable amount. But I was good, I didn't take all of it - I already have more dividers sets than you can shake a stick at, and didn't want the only organiser they had left (Apex... *shudder*). I think I got around 50% off everything that I took, not quite sure as I wasn't the one who picked it all up, but I am very happy with this bundle (most of which wasn't in the bag, but hidden in the big drawers at the bottom. I hadn't even noticed that there were drawers at the bottom, so was very pleased to discover i) all the stuff inside them, and ii) the amount of extra storage space I have acquired.

2011 - 2012 diaries and year planners (free - super bargain) - I am
quite looking forward to trying some of these out as undated planners as there are a few different layouts here :o)

A5 - top opening envelopes, hole punch, today markers, business
card holder

Personal - transparent flyleaves, top opening envelope,
today marker, birthday year planner, white lined paper, white quadrille paper, and coloured paper.

Pocket - transparent flyleaves, birthday/anniversary sheets,  grey dividers
(I haven't seen these before and am very pleased to have them - I didn't know
these were coming), top opening envelopes, today markers, birthday
year planners, To Do lists, white ruled paper and coloured ruled paper

Mini - top tab dividers (4 white, never seen these before either - clearly
I have led a sheltered life), white quadrille paper and white ruled paper.
I also have some reinforcing patches :o)  

Now this I did know was coming - apparently it is a wooden Filofax calendar
holder...  I may be a bit dense, or it may just be too late (probably the former,
although I would like to try to plead the latter), but I'm not sure how it works... (yes, I am a bit special...)

And another one that they just slipped into the drawer for me -
a fabulous pen holder, how cool is that? 
 So - here is the full extent of my purchases in all their glory  :o)

Looking at how many slots are full already, I am thinking that I may still have to keep some of my inserts in the drawers... probably all the diary inserts.

 I should go to bed now, but have a feeling that I may end up unpacking my filos before that happens so that they can be introduced to their new home :o)

Night all,


Sunday, 16 September 2012

A New Home...?

Well, apart from right now where I am skiving from packing and sorting, I have had a pretty busy day today. I have decided that the time is right to acquire more space and light for myself and my loves (filo and stationery loves obviously).

I have been saying for  a while that I would like to have a space where I can sit and plan/journal/be creative, that is just for me and today seems to be the day when a decision has finally been made.

Christopher (my 7-year-old) has been turfed out to the spare room (it's really not a hardship - it means that he now has a bigger room than I do). He had asked to have a desk in his room, and in the small room there just wasn't enough space for his drawers, wardrobe, bed and a good-sized desk, so he now has my mahoosive desk in his new room and is a very happy boy.

No flash - what is that about? Also no DF to tell me how to get the flash to work...

My Christopher's desk, which he is very happy with
My room is now looking rather bare along the one side, and will also need to be re-arranged so that I don't spend most of my time bashing my head on the sloping walls/ceiling...

Empty space... maybe the bed should go back there...
 Obviously, as Christopher now has my desk I need to find a new home for my other babies. They liked their desk and cupboard, but it is time for them to move on...

All packed up and ready to go, thankfully most of them are empty so the box isn't too heavy

Are we there yet Mum...?
I am hoping to be a lucky girl today on eBay, otherwise I will be spending a few hours in IKEA next Saturday trying to find decent new storage for my babies... (DF would be happier with the second option I think as IKEA is only 20 minutes away, if I win the display case on eBay he has 6 hours of driving to do...). Surely 6 hours of driving will be much less painful than a trip round IKEA (which could end up taking nearly the same amount of time) with me and both our boys...

I will be posting pics as my new room is set up - it's very exciting!!!


Friday, 14 September 2012

101 List Progress Check - September 14th 2012

Hi Guys,

Sorry I'm a bit behind - I've been a bit busy and don't have a huge amount to report on my 101 at the moment.

I am currently reading the sixth prizewinner book off my list "Schinder's Ark" (better known as Schindler's List) by Thomas Keneally. I remember watching the film years ago, and will definitely be needing to watch it again after I have finished reading it. It is so disturbing, and yet hopeful at the same time.

After stating in my last post that I had got all the paperwork from various cubby holes for filing, actioning etc (and feeling quite proud of myself), I discovered a whole stack of more paperwork on the top shelf in the computer cupboard this week - aargh!! However, being the dedicated thing that I am, I have been through it all, added a load to my shredding pile, stuck another load in the bin, and my pile for filing is now double what it was. But at least both filing piles have been put in order ready to be integrated and filed. I have even remembered to buy some new A4 lever arch files for the purpose. It is still a work in progress and I will have to go through my other paperwork which is already filed (in a totally random way in comparison to how I want it all to be), but I will get there!!!

Now that home is beginning to be a bit more organised (I have actually managed to clear the shelf above the coats - now that was a total mess), I am ready to start thinking about when to do which household chores, instead of trying to get it all done in one massive go each time - that's no fun, takes out a huge chunk of my weekends and leaves me drained from constantly being asked for things by my boys when I'm trying to get things done. I have discovered the perfect friend for helping me in my quest for a less stressful time - the iRobot Roomba - I love it!!! I used it for the first time on Wednesday, and it wasn't really a time-saving device on it's first use as I was just stood watching it. I even smiled at it very proudly - it was like being a proud new mum all over again... combined with the fear of the Dalek running round the house and trying to break down doors...

Have a great weekend :o)