Stay, see, and eat in Salt Lake City

Where to stay, visit and eat in Salt Lake Cityå

In April Ryan, Nick, and I went to New York, Washington and Salt Lake City.

I’d never thought about visiting Salt Lake City before, so I was intrigued when Nick suggested we add it onto our US itinerary.

I’m glad we added it, as it was unlike any other US city I’ve been to. It was spacious, quiet, and had enough to keep us entertained for the week we were there.

So, here are my recommendations on where to stay, what to see, and where to eat in Salt Lake City.

Where to stay

Hyatt Place Downtown/The Gateway

This hotel was fantastic. We were lucky enough to stay in one of the high floor rooms, which was like an apartment. There was a bedroom with its own bathroom, living area, and kitchen. At the time of this trip Ryan was two months into eating solids, so the buffet breakfasts were prefect. The hotel is walking distance to public transport, restaurants, downtown, and The Gateway and City Creek shopping centres.

What to see

Shopping – The Gateway

The Gateway is a less than 5 minute walk from Hyatt Place. I love shopping centres that are laid out in a way where I can systematically visit all the shops, and I couldn’t do that here. The layout was weird, plus it is predominantly outdoor, so on the days it was raining Ryan and I had to seek shelter in Barnes and Noble until the rain stopped.

Where to stay, visit and eat in Salt Lake City The Gateway Shopping Center

The Gateway doesn’t have the range of shops that City Creek has, but it has a lot of entertainment options including a Megaplex, Planetarium and even a Day Spa.

Shopping – City Creek Center

City Creek Center is about a 15 minute walk from Hyatt Place. It’s a large undercover shopping centre, which has over 100 stores and even a creek running through it (hence the name).

Stores and restaurants include Anthropologie, Apple, Macy’s, Michael Kors, Nordstrom, Tiffany & Co, West Elm, Sephora, and H&M. There’s even a food court with a children’s play area.

Where to stay, visit and eat in Salt Lake City City Creek Center play area

What I loved the most about City Creek was its layout. It was so easy to visit all the stores. It’s split into two buildings, which are divided by a pedestrian bridge. Plus, all the food is in one area so you have a lot to choose from when hunger strikes.

Attraction – Temple Square

Where to stay, visit and eat in Salt Lake City Temple Square exterior

This is Utah’s most popular tourist destination, and I can see why. The Temple and its grounds are stunning.

You can spend a good couple of hours here admiring the Temple’s architecture and perfectly sculptured gardens. You can also learn about the Temple’s construction at the visitor’s centre, and stroll around the Assembly Hall and Tabernacle.

Where to stay, visit and eat in Salt Lake City Temple Square garden surrounds

Temple Square is located in downtown, so once you’ve finished here you can spend the rest of the day shopping or eating to your heart’s content.

As a tip, make sure you drive past this attraction at night, it’s all lit up and looks gorgeous.

Attraction – Gigal Sculptural Garden

Nick is not a shopper, so trying to find something we both like to do when we travel can be challenging.

Where to stay, visit and eat in Salt Lake City Gigal Sculptural Garden

I stumbled across this little gem when I was trying to find something Nick and Ryan friendly. It’s a free to enter garden located on a street in amongst houses. If you blink you’ll miss it.

The garden has 12 sculptures including a birdhouse, cave, eagles, and even a sphinx.

Where to stay, visit and eat in Salt Lake City Gigal Sculptural Garden The Sphinx

Each sculpture has a quote, poem, or other type of description written to provoke further thought. To find out more about this garden please visit here.

Attraction – Park City

Park City’s website describes this attraction as “one of the premier skiing destinations in the world”.

Where to stay, visit and eat in Salt Lake City Park City

This is the first place we visited when we arrived. It was off peak ski season, so many of the shops and restaurants on the main street were closed.

However, it was still worth visiting as there were a couple of places open, and the view of the mountains was fantastic.

Where to eat

Eva’s Bakery

Eva’s Bakery was one of the few shops open on the Sunday we were walking through the city centre.

From the entrance it looks like this is just a small bakery selling a handful of cakes and loaves of breads, but just past the counter there is a large seating area where table service is provided.

We came here for lunch. I had the tuna melt and Nick had the steak sandwich. Both were filling enough to keep us going until dinner.

Squatters

Nick has been to Salt Lake City a few times, and each time he always eats at Squatters.

I loved it here, it had a great vibe. On the night we ate here there were work parties happening, families were eating at the tables, and people were drinking at the bar whilst watching sport.

The menu is extensive covering nachos, pizza, spring rolls, sandwiches, burgers – the list goes on. Nick always orders buffalo wings when we’re in the States so he had this here too. For mains Nick had Jambalaya and I had a burger. The food was fantastic, as was the service.

I highly recommend this place.

The Bridge Café and Grill

Whilst in Park City we ate at The Bridge Café and Grill, another place with a great menu. I had fish tacos because they came with chips and I normally do whatever I can to eat chips! The tacos were amazing! Nick had the Carioca (pork, Swiss cheese, lettuce, tomatoes, and chimichurri sauce in a baguette). I also recommend this place!

Where to stay, visit and eat in Salt Lake City City Bridge Cafe and Grill

I would definitely go back to Salt Lake City. In fact, whenever I think about this trip Salt Lake City is normally the part that I think about the most. Maybe because we were there the longest, or maybe because it wasn’t overcrowded and everything was easy to get to.

Do you have any other great Salt Lake City gems that I can visit if I go back?

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5 future log spread ideas for your bullet journal

5 future log spread ideas for your bullet journal

Recently I wrote about my new love for bullet journaling, which detailed what a bullet journal is, and how to set one up.

The first collection in my bullet journal is my future log spread.

Ryder Carroll (the creator of the bullet journal) describes the function of the future log spread as follows:

“This Collection is used to store items that either need to be scheduled months in advance… or things that you want to get around to someday.”

As it’s nearly the start of a new year (I still can’t believe it!!), now’s the perfect time to start thinking about what future log spread you want in your 2018 bullet journal.

With this in mind, here’s five future log spread ideas to provide inspiration for your 2018 bullet journal.

  1. Official bullet journal spread

Future log official bullet journal spreadImage source

How does it work?
This is the layout Ryder Carroll suggests for your future log spread. I love how clean it is, plus it’s really simple to draw up.

Simply divide a double page into a maximum of 6 months, and list all your important dates for each month.

Pros

  • Super easy to use and draw up
  • Allows you to follow the official bullet journal layout

Cons

  • There’s very little space to list a lot of dates
  • Dates aren’t in chronological order
  1. Official bullet journal spread plus calendar

Future log official bullet journal spread plus calendarImage source

How does it work?
This is the design I use in my bullet journal (this image isn’t of my bullet journal though).

It works in the same way as the official bullet journal spread, but it also shows a calendar of the current month.

I use the calendar to get around the lack of space this layout has.

For example, I have certain chores that I do each month. I circle the dates that these chores need to be done on the calendar, and have a key at the end of my future log spread showing what the chores are.

By doing this, I don’t use the limited space to the right of the calendar for detailing recurring dates.

Pros

  • The addition of the calendar allows you to record recurring dates so you can utilise the lack of space to the right of the calendar better
  • You can see what days belong to what dates (if needed)

Cons

  • If using the calendar for recurring dates, you need to refer to a key to find out what the details of the date are
  • There’s still not a lot of space to the right of the calendar if you have a lot of important dates for a particular month
  1. A vertical layout

Future log a vertical layoutImage source

How does it work?
I really like this layout; it has elements of the official monthly spread (more on this soon), but in the form of a future log.

To draw up this layout divide a double page by four, then list the days of the month down each column. Once done start recording dates within their corresponding month.

Pros

  • Dates are listed chronologically
  • Allows you to block out dates. For example, in the above image a down arrow shows that a date goes over several days (e.g. a holiday).

Cons

  • There’s still not a lot of space if you have a lot of dates for a particular day
  • You can only see a maximum of four months at a time (any more months and there would be even less space)
  1. The Alastair Method

Future log the Alistair MethodImage source

How does it work?
Alastair Johnston created this design to streamline his future planning needs (more about this here).

To use this layout list as many months as you want to view on the page (this image shows four months) and divide them by lines.

When you’re ready to enter a date, put a dot in the column of the month that the date refers to, then write the date and its details to the right hand side.

Pros

  • You can view as many months as you want
  • Easy to draw up and use

Cons

  • Dates aren’t listed chronologically
  • The more months you have, the less space you have to write details
  1. A calendex

Future log a calendexImage source

How does it work?
Eddy Hope created this future log spread as a calendar/index hybrid. You can find out more here.

If you want to use a calendex for your future log spread, draw 12 columns (one for each month), then add horizontal lines to break up each week.

You will also have weekly or daily spreads in your journal (more about this soon). These spreads are where you will write details about each important date. When you’ve done this, go to your calendex, find the relevant date, and write the page number of the corresponding weekly or daily spread (where you’ve put the details about the date) in the relevant square.

Pros

  • Only takes up a double page
  • Dates are chronological

Cons

  • You have to refer to your weekly or daily spread to get more information on the date. If you don’t add weekly or daily spreads to your index, it may take some time to access the details of the date
  • It’s not as simple as the other layouts

Conclusion
Prior to writing this I didn’t know about the Alastair Method, and I’d seen the Calendex but didn’t know how it worked.

This just highlights the adaptability that the bullet journal has. There’s a solution to fit any need that you may have.

The best advice I have is to try what’s best for you, and if it doesn’t work try something else.

And if in doubt on what layout to use, there are so many fantastic ideas on Instagram and Pinterest.

If you have any ideas for a future log spread, or want to know more about how to find inspiration I’d love to hear from you.

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Life Lately November 2017

Life Lately November 2017

November has been a month of sickness. Prior to having Ryan I rarely got sick, now I seem to get a cold every few months. This month both Ryan and I had a cold and cough for three weeks.

In addition to his cold, Ryan also had a molar cutting through, and he had a nasty viral rash on his leg, which looked like chicken pox.

There were many sleepless nights in the household, which Nick managed to avoid as he left for Australia for a couple of weeks for work.

However, it finally seems like our colds are on the way out, in the same way as November. So lets take a look at Life Lately in November.

Eating:
Chocolate – every night. I love that I can buy a whole bag of Kit Kats for £1! My new addiction is Cadbury’s Mint Oreo, it’s so good.

Reading:
This is the first month that I’ve started and finished a book, the book was Sunshine on a Rainy Day by Bryony Fraser. Amazon describes it as a funny, feel good romantic comedy, but that’s not how I saw it. It’s about a couple that get divorced a month after they’re married. It’s the only book I’ve ever read that I yelled at in annoyance at some of the fights the couple had, and I was annoyed at the ending that was unrealistic and finished very abruptly.

Watching:
I’m still watching The Goldbergs, and I still can’t get enough of it. I’m up to the current season, so I can take a break soon.

Buying:
Online shopping is so good here, heaps better than in Australia. It’s how I’ve been buying most things lately. This month’s purchases include a safety gate, a fold out bed, dummy holders, container labels, a lunch bag, and even a stroller.

Visiting:
Mel, Ryan, and I went to a Scandinavian Christmas market in London and it was so much fun. There was great food and really unique gifts. I love these types of markets; so will be on the lookout for more.

Feeling:
Like it’s time to blog more seriously. I’ve made some changes to my about page, and some aesthetic changes, but now it’s time to make content changes. I’ve added a parenting category, and am working on making content to inspire you guys to travel more, organise your lives better, and share the ups and downs of parenting.

Loving:
The way the leaves fall like snow whilst I’m driving. Autumn really is a beautiful time of year.

Hoping:
That the flat pack construction ends soon. I still have a bedside table, chair, and drawers to put together. We bought two sets of drawers, the one that I’ve put together took over four hours! On the plus side, no flat pack scares me anymore.

Planning:
I’ve been slack at planning anything this month as Nick’s been away, so there hasn’t been a great need to plan family days out.

Parenting:
I’ve finally put Ryan into some classes so we can have more of a routine. He’s doing music and gym classes weekly. He loves gym class, but is undecided on the music one.

Well that was November, it wasn’t too stressful and we laid low due to being sick. I’ve said this a thousand times, but the lead up to Christmas is fast approaching – our first as just the three of us.

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How to feed your toddler with minimal planning

How to feed your toddler with minimal planning

Recently I posted about changing my weekly meal planning routine to make it more time efficient.

Prior to making these changes, I was doing a separate meal plan for Ryan. This meant that I was planning 56 meals a week covering breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snacks. Talk about ridiculous, time consuming, and exhausting.

So, pumped up on how well the new way of planning Nick’s and my weekly meals was going, I decided to change the way Ryan’s meals were planned as well.

Ryan has been baby led weaned from 6 months. This means he ate solids from the start. It also means that he can eat the same meals as Nick and I.

Ultimately this means that Ryan doesn’t need his own meal plan, he can join in on Nick’s and mine. Hence minimal planning is needed to feed him, as he can fit into an already existing plan.

After much thought, this is how Ryan’s meals now look like on a weekly basis, all with the aim of feeding him with as minimal amount of planning as possible:

Breakfast
Breakfasts take the least amount of planning.

I have a tub in the fridge labelled Ryan. It holds the following:

  • Crumpets
  • Wholemeal muffins
  • Wholemeal bread
  • Croissants
  • Brioche loaves

Each of these along with muesli are on rotation, so Ryan has something different for breakfast each morning.

Spreads include butter with vegemite (he is an Aussie after all), peanut butter, or jam. Sometimes he has cheese and ham in his croissant.

Together with whatever is chosen for that morning, Ryan also has a Babybel cheese or yoghurt and fruit.

Lunch
In order to make lunches easy I capitalise on the batch cooking I do for Nick’s and my dinners.

Whenever I make a dinner I fill up two containers with Ryan size portions of the dinner and freeze it. Before I freeze it I stick masking tape onto the container and write what the contents are and when it was cooked.

This means I have a freezer drawer full of meals that can be heated up for Ryan’s lunch in an instant.

If my stock is running low I resort to premade meals like:

  • Mini quiches
  • Pasta
  • Pasta bakes
  • Mini sandwiches
  • Fish fingers
  • Salads

Here comes the planner addict in me. On the Google Sheet I have Nick’s and my weekly meal plan on, there’s a tab titled Ryan. On this tab I have a box with two columns titled lunch stock and snack stock.

Any time I freeze a meal for Ryan’s future lunches, or snacks, I type the meal into the sheet. This way I know exactly what I have on hand for his meals.

Right now the sheet looks like this:

Lunch stock Snack stock
2 x Greek pasta melts 8 x Strawberry nutty bites
1 x Home made pizza 2 x Pitas
1 x Mexican mince 4 x Macaroni and cheese muffins
2 x Tortellini packets 5 x Ham and cheese rollups
15 x Nuggets

Dinners
Ryan eats the same dinners as Nick and I.

As I batch cook my dinners they’re ready a couple of days before they’re needed.

So each night I dish up a portion of what Nick and I are due to have that night for Ryan, heat it up, and let him eat. He eats earlier than Nick and I. This way I don’t have to think of a separate meal for Ryan. It’s pre planned.

Snacks
I have a drawer in the kitchen that holds Ryan’s store bought snacks like:

  • Sultanas
  • Rice cakes
  • Wafers
  • Fruit bars
  • Muesli bars

Now that I’ve finally settled into the new place, my aim is to get back into making home made snacks so Ryan will have store bought and home made snacks daily.

I still have a few home made snacks in the freezer, which are shown in the above table.

Just like lunches, any future home made snacks will be frozen and added to the snack column to make snack time easy.

If I ever need meal inspiration I refer to my Baby and Toddler Food Ideas (BLW) Pinterest Board, which has helped me heaps of times.

So that’s it, that’s how I feed my toddler with minimal planning.

If you have any other tips or food ideas I’d love to hear them, I’m always up for varying Ryan’s meals and making his meal times super quick and easy.

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A fond farewell to Windsor

A fond farewell to Windsor

After seven months Nick and I decided to move from Windsor, which was our first UK home after moving from Australia in March.

What made Windsor our first choice of location was simple; its bustling town centre was walking distance from our new home. Ryan was only seven months old when we moved, so my number one must have for our new home’s location was to have entertainment options that we could easily access.

So in honour of our departure from Windsor, I thought it only appropriate that I give it a proper send off, by talking about some of the gems that kept Ryan and I sane during our first foray into living abroad.

What to see

Windsor Castle
You can’t go to Windsor and not visit this magnificent Castle. It’s definitely the largest Castle I’ve ever seen. Everyday my sister and I would look for The Royal Standard flag, which signifies that the Queen is in the Castle. On our last day in Windsor the Queen was in, it was very exciting. Within the Castle walls lie The State Apartments and St George’s Chapel, which on their own are worth the admission. They’re stunning, spacious, and photo worthy.

A fond farewell to Windsor Windsor Castle

The Long Walk
Nick, Ryan, and I were walking here when I decided that Windsor was for me. It’s a 4.26km walk from the Castle to the 1829 Copper Horse statue of King George III, which you can see in the distance from the start of The Long Walk.

A fond farewell to Windsor the Copper Horse Statue

It takes about 45 minutes to reach the statue, where you’ll also walk straight past deer – it’s incredible. Just as incredible is the view of the Castle from the first section of The Long Walk.

A fond farewell to Windsor The Long Walk

Changing of the Guards
Keeping in line with Castle attractions, the Changing of the Guards is well worth viewing; this is something that Ryan loved. The Guards march up the High Street led by a Regimental Band, which adds a special touch to the ceremony. It only takes about five minutes and happens most days at 11am.

A fond farewell to Windsor The Changing of the Guards

Playgrounds
Now that playgrounds have become a thing in my life, I’m always looking for ones that are friendly for a crawling baby. One such park is located on Bachelors Acre. It has a playground with a soft surface, water fountains, a sculpture called The Windsor Lady, which is of the Queen surrounded by six dogs. Oh and there’s a café, where you can get a delicious soft serve.

A fond farewell to Windsor The Windsor Lady

Eton
Although not technically Windsor, it’s immediately next door and can be reached by walking over the Windsor Bridge near The Thames, where the Swans peacefully swim.

A fond farewell to Windsor the Windsor Bridge

Take a stroll up the High Street and you will come across Eton College, which of course is made famous by the attendance of Princes William and Harry. One of my favourite things to do was spot the students wearing their uniform of a black tailcoat, waistcoat and collar. This year on November 16th Eton will be turning on their Christmas lights, which will be a great night out for the whole family.

A fond farewell to Windsor view of Windsor from Eton

The Savill Garden
This garden has something for everyone. There’s a playground with a sandpit for the kids, food for sustenance, beautiful gifts for yourself or someone else, and spots to take a picnic.

Where to shop

Windsor Royal Shopping Centre
Windsor has an array of retail outlets, many of which are located in Windsor Royal Shopping Centre. This Centre has kept many of its original Victorian Station features including the Jubilee Arch, cobbled stones, and even Queen Victoria’s waiting room. Stores include Bobbi Brown, Crabtree and Evelyn, Pandora, and French Connection. Food options include Bella Italia, Bills, All Bar One, Café Rouge and many others.

Windsor Yards (formally King Edward Court Shopping Centre)
Immediately next to Windsor Royal Shopping Centre is Windsor Yards, I was here daily. Here you’ll find Daniel – an upmarket department store, Zara, H&M, Top Shop, Next, New Look, Costa, Nero, Pret A Manger, Waitrose, Paperchase, Smiggle, Lakeland, Swarovski and many more.

Where to eat

Meimo
This is one of Nick’s favourites and it’s where he took me for my birthday. Here you’ll find Moroccan and Mediterranean food from meat dishes, tagines, cous cous and burgers.

Marmara
Also serving Mediterranean but with a Turkish twist is Marmara. I went here with a friend and loved it. I had the Chicken Shish, which was so good. They also have Boreks, Köfte, Meze Platters and heaps of dips, all food that I love.

The King and Castle
For a hearty pub meal head to The King and Castle. I’ve eaten here a few times and taken both my family and Nick’s family here when they’ve visited. The burgers and meat platter are so tasty.

Sebastian’s Italian
Windsor has a lot of Italian restaurants; one of my favourites is Sebastians. I had delicious seafood marinara here.

So there’s my Windsor loves. I was extremely lucky to be part of such a close knit and collaborative community. I’ll miss Windsor for sure, but will always make time to come back.

If you have any Windsor news, must see’s, must eats or anything Windsor related please add them to the comments. Any excuse to go back is a good one for me.

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Life Lately October 2017

Life Lately October 2017

October was stressful, after living in Windsor for seven months we decided to move. We did countless car loads back and forth to our new home, it was exhausting. To top it off, Nick went away for work two days after we moved so I was left unpacking, putting furniture together, and tending to a sick baby. There were days where all I wanted to do was sleep.

Between moving from Australia to the UK, and then moving within the UK, I feel like all I’ve been doing all year is moving – it’s definitely something I don’t want to do for a long time. So here’s to not moving for some time, and here’s to Life Lately in October.

Eating:
I’m addicted to microwave popcorn. I eat a whole bag every second night. It’s so good! I bought my popcorn machine over from Australia but so far haven’t found popcorn you can pop yourself. If anyone knows where I can buy it please let me know.

Reading:
I finally finished Julie & Julia: My Year of Cooking Dangerously by Julie Powell. It was fantastic and very different to the movie. It’s amazing how much Julie’s life changed just by doing something out of the ordinary.

Watching:
I’m hooked on The Goldbergs, it’s so funny and set in the 80’s so I remember a lot of the toys and games shown in the show. I’m very basic with my TV and movie choices, I love anything that’s easy to follow. I watch this every day and love it to bits.

Buying:
Furniture and containers. The previous house we lived in was furnished, and by furnished I mean everything was there. The landlord left all of his rubbish there and let his family store all their junk. It was infuriating. This time I wanted all my own furniture in the house we chose, which means we’ve had to buy everything from scratch and put it together! Storage is also limited so I have to find clever ways to make a lot of use out of little space.

Visiting:
This month Nick and I went to Winchester and had lunch at a little pub tucked away behind the High Street. It’s a gorgeous spot with castle ruins, cathedrals and a bustling town centre.

Feeling:
Like something is missing. Moving from Australia to the UK has been harder then I thought. I miss talking to my friends about their lives and not just about kids. I think I need to start doing things for me, which includes meeting people where I just don’t talk about kids. Maybe a book club?

Loving:
That Halloween is a thing here. One of our neighbours has put spider webs and do not cross signs in front of their home. I’ve bought lollies for trick or treaters, which I’m hoping come to our door. I always bought lollies in Australia but only had two kids come last year, and never any the years before.

Hoping:
That all furniture and unpacking is done soon so I can dedicate proper time to this blog.

Planning:
Blog post content as I want to blog way more regularly than I currently do, and mix my content up so all categories are covered. I’ve been doing some content planning in my bullet journal, which is something I’ve really gotten in to lately. You can read about my bullet journaling new found love here, it’s been helping me plan my days in a way that I’ve never planned them before.

Pinning:
I’ve been a bit slack on Pinterest lately. I’ve pinned a few recipes here and there, but need to get back into this.

Parenting:
Ryan has had a nasty cold and cough so has been a little clingy. This month has been about hugs, TV time, and getting him settled in the new home, which he loves. The fact that it’s carpeted and has lots of natural light makes him crawl around everywhere excitedly.

Well that was October, full of moving, stress, but also baby cuddles. At this point November is quiet, but with the lead up to Christmas who knows!

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What is a bullet journal and how to set one up

What is a bullet journal, and how to set one up

I’ve spoken previously about my planning dilemmas, in particular how I’ve gone back and forth between electronic and paper and pen planning. For a little while I was a keen Filofax decorator, although admittedly not a very good one.

Sometime ago I heard about bullet journals, and how effective they are in helping people plan.

When researching them I remember seeing what looked like a complicated system, which used bullet points and other icons to categorise tasks. It looked too confusing, so I dismissed it as an organisational tool.

However, my interest in them recently came back and I’ve decided to give the system an official go.

So, this post is about sharing what a bullet journal is, how I’ve set mine up, and providing steps that you can follow to set yours up too – if it’s something you’re interested in.

Firstly, what is a bullet journal?
The bullet journal system (herein referred to as bujo), was created by Ryder Carroll. It’s a fully customisable organisational system that can be used in anyway you want. It can be your appointment reminder, personal diary, list maker – anything. It’s whatever you need it to be.

Why should you start a bujo?
If you’re looking for a system to keep you super organised, and that allows you to write anything that crosses your mind without restrictions, then a bujo is perfect for you.

How you can get started
I’m super tempted to go through the ins and outs of this system, but there’s no way that I can make it sound as simple as it is.

Instead, here’s the link to the official bujo website where you can learn everything about the system in simple detail.

Upon reading this link, or doing your own research, please don’t get confused about the icons and what goes where. To avoid this confusion I recommend looking at one other website in addition to the official one above to complete your bujo research (a good one is from Cerries Mooney) then look at my how I started setting up my bujo below and jump straight in.

Lastly on the topic of research, if you come across some brilliantly decorated journals remember that yours doesn’t have to be. The reason why I ceased using my Filofax was due to the pressure to make it artsy week in and week out. It just wasn’t something that I was interested in.

As you’ll see from my bujo pictures below, my pages are super simple (and photographed a little dodgy – sorry!), which makes it a system that I find easy to use, which will motivate me to use it for the long term.

How I started setting up my bujo

Here’s how I started:

  • Create a key so you know what each icon in your bujo stands for. Here’s mine:

What is a bullet journal, and how to set one up key and time tracker

  • Start your index and fill it in every time you write something. Here’s mine

What is a bullet journal, and how to set one up index

  • Draw your future log
  • Draw the current month
  • Decide if you’ll do a weekly or daily spread, or both, then once you’ve decided draw it up
  • Add all of these items to your index
  • Fill in your future log with dates you know about
  • Write the current month’s tasks from your future log onto your current monthly spread
  • If you’ve chosen a weekly spread, write down each item next to the current week’s dates from your monthly spread to your weekly spread, plus anything else that needs to get done that week
  • If you’ve chosen a daily spread, write down each item for the day from your monthly spread to your daily spread, plus anything else that needs to get done that day

The order of writing things into your bujo is:

FUTURE LOG – MONTHLY SPREAD – WEEKLY/DAILY SPREAD

Remember, your bujo is customisable so you can change anything at anytime to suit you. I did this very early, I went from weekly spreads to daily, which I’ll talk more about below.

Do you need a future log?
The idea behind the bujo is to plan as you go. You only have one month, or one week/day planned at a time.

For an over planner like me I thought that I’d struggle with this, but I have the right hand side of my current monthly spread dedicated to any tasks or ideas that I need to focus on in following months, so I don’t have to worry about them until I need to.

Plus, my future log also lists down future appointments or any other notes that I need to transfer to their relevant month, so for me a future log is fantastic, but remember, if you don’t want it, don’t have one.

Monthly log
I’ve been bullet journaling for only one month and I’ve already changed the design of my monthly log – that’s the benefit of this system, customise it to your needs.

Originally I had a calendar of the month on the left hand side, and a task page on the right hand side.

What is a bullet journal, and how to set one up previous monthly spread

With this layout I found that I didn’t have enough space to write down anything in the monthly date boxes, so I changed it.

Now I have the same layout as Ryder’s concept on the left hand side, which is the days of the month listed vertically, and have kept the same layout on the right hand side above.

I will be changing this again in November so the right hand side is for a brain dump / tasks. It will list everything that comes into my brain that I want to do that month, or that can be scheduled to a following month.

Weekly vs daily spreads
A weekly collection isn’t part of the original bujo concept. However, I had a weekly spread when I first started and it looked like this:

What is a bullet journal, and how to set one up weekly spread

It was helpful for a few weeks. I loved how I could open up my double page spread and see everything I had coming up in the week. However, very quickly I realised that it didn’t give me enough room to make detailed notes if  needed, or plan my day out by time. So I recently went to the below daily spread and I love it so much better.

What is a bullet journal, and how to set one up daily spread

You can learn about the time tracker section of this page and get all sorts of massive help and inspiration from Boho Berry, who will soon become your bujo best friend.

If you choose to do a daily spread you don’t have to plan out everyday. Right now I’ve gone for a week without planning as I’m moving and knew that I wouldn’t be doing anything but moving (and sadly still am!!!).

Make planning a night time routine
Every night for about 5-10 minutes I set up my daily log for the next day, do my time tracker and weather, and then dot point each task I want to get done for the day.

Here’s my order:

  1. Fill in the time tracker
  2. Add tasks / appointments for the day from my monthly spread
  3. Add unfinished tasks from the week before
  4. If I think I can get more done, I’ll then add items from my task list on my monthly page
  5. I then prioritise the top 3 things that I definitely want to get done, so if they’re the only things that get done on the day, then I’ll classify it as a good day

How has a bujo helped me more than any other planner?

The fact that it’s totally customisable, there’s no need to decorate, everything is in one place, and there’s room to write as much detail as you can is the biggest plus of a bujo over any other planner I’ve used.

I still use my Google calendar a little bit, but want to decrease my reliance on it. I will put a post together soon explaining how I combine the two.

If you’d like some more bujo inspiration I have a dedicated Pinterest board here.

If you’re already a bujo devotee I’d love to hear any tips that you have to make your bujo your ultimate planning assistant.

If you’re keen to become a bujo devotee and need advice, or have any questions please don’t hesitate to ask in the comments.

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Life Lately September 2017

Life Lately September 2017

I feel like September wasn’t too hectic. I can’t even remember if anything significant happened. Looking back I think it was a month where I was getting my head around what I need to do for our move from Windsor, and letting people in the house for viewings.

Anyhow, here’s an update on life in September.

Eating:
Fantales that I bought back from Australia, which I am totally addicted to. Fantales are a square piece of hard caramel covered in chocolate wrapped in movie trivia paper. I’ve spoken about my wrapper connecting addiction before. I seriously miss my Aussie treats.

Reading:
I’m still reading Julie & Julia: My Year of Cooking Dangerously by Julie Powell. So far unlike the movie there is very little focus on Julia, and more focus on Julie’s friendships.

Watching:
Homeland, which isn’t a show I’d normally watch but I love it. I’m very simple with my TV show choices and always go for something with an easy storyline so I can tune out. Homelands’ storylines are complex, yet easy to follow.

Buying:
Time at the hairdressers. I’ve been trying to go light brown, but all that keeps happening is my hair goes brown with red shades. This month I’ve had it died dark to loose the red shades, then the following week had it lightened as I didn’t like the dark. I think I’m now just going to embrace the red and get lighter highlights.

Visiting:
Bath and Brighton. I’ve visited both of these areas before. However, this time I made sure I saw the Roman Baths in Bath and the Royal Pavilion in Brighton, which made the revisits totally worth it.

Feeling:
More organised with my meal preparation due to making this task more time efficient, which you can read about here. I’ve also started bullet journaling, which I’ll write a more detailed post about soon.

Loving:
That the weather has cooled down, but there are still days that the sun is warm and there’s a beautiful breeze.

Hoping:
To get more organised in my blog life as well.

Planning:
What to do for Christmas in Munich, which is finally booked. It’s our first Christmas away from family in Australia.

Pinning:
Heaps of bullet journal ideas, Munich attractions, and of course meal ideas.

Parenting:
Ryan is now 13 months old! I love this age, his personality is really developing, he dances to music and TV theme shows, and is cheeky in a cute way.

Well that was September for another year, lets see what October has in store.

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How to make weekly meal planning easy

How to make weekly meal planning easy

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I spend way too much time planning my weekly meals. It currently takes me two days to plan and buy groceries.

This is before adding the time it takes to cook meals. As I cook from recipes, I often find that a recipe I’ve chosen takes longer to cook than planned, and has way too many ingredients.

I need to become more time efficient with this task. I love cooking, but the time it takes to plan meals, and then cook them is taking way too long, and turning my love into a dreaded chore.

So in order to streamline this entire process, this is how I will be making my weekly meal planning and cooking less time consuming.

Planning
To make my recipe search quicker, each day of the week will be dedicated to the following meal types:

Monday – Leftovers
Tuesday – Meat
Wednesday – Fish
Thursday – Chicken
Friday – Takeaway
Saturday – Pasta
Sunday – Stir fry

Planning will take place on a Tuesday night, and will consist of finding a recipe on my dinner Pinterest board and adding its link to a Google Sheet. This sheet lists every day of the week, and the food type that needs to be cooked that night.

So for example, on a Sunday I will add a link to a beef, mushroom, and greens stir fry as it’s a stir fry recipe, and only stirfries will be cooked on a Sunday.

I’m also going to make sure that the majority of recipes I add to Pinterest take less than 30 minutes to cook, and don’t have many ingredients so I’m not spending forever cooking.

Purchasing
Immediately after I finish planning I will order the ingredients for each meal online. All I’ll have to do is click on the link in my Google Sheet and I’ll be taken straight to the recipe.

Cooking
To carry on with my effort to become more time efficient, I’m going to start batch cooking!

On Tuesdays I will cook Tuesday night’s meal as well as chop and pre cook what I can for Wednesday’s meal.

On Thursdays I will cook Thursday night’s meal and also chop and pre cook what I can for the weekend’s meals.

Future planning
Each Sunday night I will stocktake all the ingredients I have in my freezer, fridge, and cupboard, and will ensure the recipes I choose for the next week use as many of these ingredients as possible.

Here’s what my meal planning week will now look like:

Monday
Groceries delivered

Tuesday
Cook night’s meal
Prep Wednesday night’s meal
Plan and order groceries for next week

Wednesday
Rest night

Thursday
Cook night’s meal
Prep weekends meals

Friday
Takeaway night

Saturday
Rest night

Sunday
Rest night

I really hope that these activities make my weekly meal planning tasks easier and more time efficient.

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Life Lately August 2017

Life Update August 2017

August was a month where there was a bit of stress about my non existent blog (domain issues meant it was offline for over a month), but it was also a month of productivity in regards to the big UK move.

So here’s an update on life in August.

Eating:
I missed Pret A Manger whilst I was in Australia, so have been catching up on the gloriousness of the Chicken Caesar and Bacon, and Ham and Cheese Baguettes!

Reading:
I finished Spark Joy: An Illustrated Master Class on the Art of Organizing and Tidying Up by Marie Kondo. It was part motivating, part craziness. I do at times talk to my belongings, but this book takes that a little further and talks about making your belongings comfortable in how you store them etc. It was a very good book if you’re an organised neat freak, or need motivation to put your house in order, but it takes you through a very extreme way to do this.

Now I’m reading Julie & Julia: My Year of Cooking Dangerously by Julie Powell. Julie and Julia is one of my favourite movies, so I’m hoping the book is just as great.

Watching:
Offspring – an Australian dramedy that I love. I’m about to watch the last episode of the season, it didn’t go for long at all.

Buying:
Lots of groceries.

Visiting:
Nick and I had a weekend away minus Ryan. It was fantastic to be non-parents for a short while. We went to Bristol, which was a much larger city then both of us expected. We also went to Salisbury, which was quieter but quaint.

Feeling:
More settled. In the first two weeks of August Nick and I found another place to live so we could move on from Windsor, got a car, and put Ryan in nursery TWO full days a week!

Loving:
That Ryan is in nursery TWO full days a week! I finally feel a little more like myself as I have time to do things for me.

Hoping:
To start doing yoga again. There’s a studio three doors from my house, so I should take advantage of the location whilst I can.

Planning:
What to do for Christmas, yes it’s already approaching that time!!

Pinning:
I’m starting a bullet journal, so in order to get inspired I’ve been pinning like crazy.

Parenting:
Ryan is learning how to play me. He’s working out what he can and can’t get away with, and how to create massive fusses at bedtime! It’s been getting hard to get him to sleep lately. I’ve had to rock him or let him fall asleep in his pram in front of the tv – bad habits which have to stop!

Well that was August, I’m guessing September will be just as crazy!

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