Longhand Journal


I’m trying a new kind of journalling at the moment using a page-a-day diary and so far I’m enjoying it. What I write bears little relation to the day on which it’s written which allows me to write a few days at a time. I am writing from prompts or from the heart – whichever feels right. Some writing is personal, some somewhat philosophical and some mundane. I feel good about that.

I am sure I will come back to the online blogging form of journalling sooner or later but for now, when my writing time is wedged into the day, it seems easier to write longhand than to get time alone with my laptop to type. Maybe having my own workspace will change all this and maybe once the house is photo-ready, I will be back sharing news on the house and my crafty plans for it. Right now though, I’m digging the offline writing experience.

Mission Accomplished


I have just been on a boat on the Norfolk Broads with Mum, Dad and Lina for a couple of days so I am sitting at the computer swaying slightly but feeling pretty good about the face that I managed to post a picture every single day in July using the Fat Mum Slim prompts.

I won’t be participating for August but I do hope to keep posting here regularly. Expect to see holiday posts (before, during and after!) about our upcoming US trip, panic posts about planning, general work anxiety and perhaps some things I have made. 

On that note, I have one project which I must get done before our trip and I will be sharing that here once I have given it as a gift. 10 days to go. No pressure.

From Blogger to Diarist


I hate beginnings. Or rather, I hate messy beginnings. I do like, however, a neat starting point: a new year, a birthday, even a Monday is better than nothing. However, waiting for a neat starting point usually means for me never starting at all. Those key days when it makes sense to get started are also days when life is busy and filled with action. Reflection often starts a few days later and by then, the opportunity is missed.

Today, I started a new journal. A different kind to the writing I do here. It is offline. Whilst I already have an offline, old-school paper notebook journal, I rarely write in it. It just isn’t convenient for me to sit and write by hand, romantic as that notion is.

As part of Apple’s 5 year App Store birthday celebrations, I picked up Day One for free. It is available and syncs between our iMac, my iPad and iPhone and importantly it is pretty to look at. Well, maybe sleek is a better word. In any case, the fact that it is aesthetically pleasing makes it much more likely that I will want to access it regularly (dare I say it, daily?).

Writing offline is a new experience and it makes me realise how much of a show-off I am (it feel VERY strange to write knowing no-one will read it  – apparently, I love an audience. So why am I bothering to write offline in a personal journal if it feels so strange, so private?

Writing privately has a big advantage that write here does not allow: I do not have to censor or edit my thoughts. I can write freely. However, I do not intend to use my personal offline diary as a place to vent whatever petty grievance I have with the world on any given day. Whilst that could serve a useful, fleeting purpose, it would not serve any long term purpose. Instead, I want to build a journal that is more than a list of events, more than a angry rant, more than a carefully edited version of my life. As I have to be increasingly careful about what I write about online with my fledgling teaching career, it will feel good to be able to write honestly and opening without fear of inadvertent exposure to pupil inquisition.

I want to create a piece of writing which will help me be a better writer (perhaps a better teacher) without having to think about why I am writing and who might be reading. Whilst I have already admitting to loving an audience, the audience I love also inhibits me from writing what I want. I can write without being accused of being banal. Because that is what I really fear: being banal

I have started today. Not a Monday, a birthday or a start of anything. I have started with an entry which is a little bit of reflection on diary writing, a little bit of what is on my mind today. I really hope I can keep writing every day about the things that matter to me.  This is my first step from being a sometime blogger to an always diarist.

A Problem that I Have Had

Slappa Cases

In our quest to have a simpler, less-cluttered lifestyle, we realised we needed to do something about our DVD / BluRay collection. A few years ago, we put all our DVDs into fancy Slappa cases which held the DVDs along with their cover art. For a while, this solution was most satisfactory. The cases took up less room than all the separate DVDs  in their original cases and we could flick through them to choose something to watch in a civilised way. i.e.on the sofa rather than craning our necks trying to find a DVD on a wall full of cases.

Storage Pouf

As our DVD collection grew, though, it became harder to keep the DVDs organised. Trying to find a particular film to watch always took too long as it was inevitably in the last case we looked through – by now we had 4 DVD cases and one large case designed for CDs that we use for TV boxsets etc. We couldn’t keep the cases alphabetised – as soon as we added to our collection, it had to be added to the back of the last case. Now the cases themselves are full – a new one will cost around £32 – plus these ‘space-saving’ solutions are taking up too much room in the lounge!


Not only were we using cases but the boxsets were filling up a storage pouf and two drawers in our side unit. We needed a new plan.

I found on one of the home organising blogs that I follow a solution which looked neat and easy to maintain. Using plastic cases and pretty baskets or boxes, a blog reader submitted her solution. I thought this would be a great way to save some space.

The main problem we have encountered executing this solution is that the Atlantic sleeves she bought in the US are not available in the UK at a reasonable price (in fact, I think they would have been too expensive even in the States for the size of our collection since 25 sleeves cost $14.99 from Amazon). All the sleeves we found that would accommodate the cover art worked out as pretty expensive and we didn’t want to be spending over £100 on plastic sleeves alone.

In the end, we made the decision that we would lose the cover art and rely on labels for the DVDs where the title was not clearly shown on the disc itself. We bought good quality CD-sized sleeves; I found some at Play.com but they are easily available everywhere.  We bought some smart but cheap(ish) blue boxes in Ikea. In all, we spent £25.25 on 700 plastic sleeves – we initially ordered 500 sleeves but used all these up so I had another 200 delivered – I hope this is enough for the rest!  We bought 6 boxes from Ikea totalling  £53.94. We got some dividers from Staples (about £6 a pack which was far too expensive – I am sure you can get these much cheaper elsewhere).

All in all, it has still cost us around £90 but given that we have capability to store 700 discs that’s not too bad. And the space they take up is pretty small and they boxes fit perfectly in our wooden side unit.  now we should be able to find DVDs quickly, put them back easily and keep them alphabetised. I just need to make some labels for the cases and finish the job!

This post is no. 18 of my April daily writing challenge.

My Future

I am guessing that the creators of this writing challenge (and the vast majority of the Tumblrs participating in it) are still fresh, young things with their whole lives ahead, unmapped and unplanned.  I, on the other hand, may be a wizened old crone, but I still have hopes and dreams for the future:

  • to qualify as a teacher and love it;
  • to have financial security and stability, being free of debts and more responsible about spending;
  • continued marital bliss;
  • a happy and fulfilling life for my daughter;
  • to pass on my love of craft to my daughter;
  • to live a full, intentional life;
  • to travel;
  • to write something someday.

This post is no. 21 of my April daily writing challenge.