Erin Condren – Surprise Box, Spring 2017

I’ve tried something new and filmed my first YouTube open box (and my first YouTube video in a really long time.  Not sure it’s something I’ll do a lot of but it was interesting to do something different.

I received my first Erin Condren Surprise Box in the mail yesterday and quickly (well once the kiddos were asleep) opened it.  The video is my impressions as I open it.

All in all and was really impressed, especially for the price point – although as you have to pay for international shipping I’m not sure I would order it stand-alone, but definately would along side another order.


Hope you enjoy the video!


Book Review: Me Before You

I read this on the recommendation from my Mum.  Although I’d head of it, I had put Me Before You in the Chick Lit genre, which I don’t normally read (or really enjoy).

I took it away with me to the beach and figured I’d read it if I could…. well once I started reading, I couldn’t stop – which can be a problem when you have a breastfeeding newborn and a two year old to entertain!

JoJo Moyes gripped me from the opening pages.  Bringing me into Lou and Will’s private world and all the complications in it.  It is well written (so much so that my husband has read it and loved it too) and not at all the chick lit novel that I was expecting.

The subject was interesting and definitely made you think.  What would you do in the same circumstances for each character?  Would you make the same decisions?

I realise there is not too much here on the content as I don’t want to give too much away….. but read it.

A movie has been made, I haven’t seen it and I’m not sure that I want to.  I have the characters in my head of who they are and what they look like and I’m not sure I want a movie to mess with that.

What are your thoughts on movies that are made from a book – do you think there are any that are as good or better?

Happy Reading


ECLP – First Impressions

Well I finally took advantage of a 15% off (they are now on offer for 30% off) coupon and purchased my very first Erin Condren Life Planner.  I decided to purchase the horizontal colourful planner as well as an address book and some accessories.  These are my first impressions!

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The bright yellow box arrived just as I was leaving for the day – gutted I had to wait all day to open it up!  Inside was the signature enjoy! sticker and some complementary “Welcome” stickers which are included in your first order which I think was a nice touch.  The contents where safely inside the box and covered in bubble wrap!  Since this was coming all the way to New Zealand – a good idea.

The Planner

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I  decided to purchase the horizontal colourful planner with a personalised cover.  I love the quote “Believe You Can and You Will” – something I need to remember.
The coil seems to be solid and does not seem to move too much when opening.
The cover is solid and I don’t think will bend under constant use.
The planner comes with a snap in ruler – however this is very solid and the coil clips bent the first time I placed it into the planner, so am not too impressed with this and will see how long it lasts.
The paper quality is great and I love the colours.  I was in two minds over the colourful or neutral palettes but decided to get the colourful and I wasn’t sure if I would end up decorating too much with stickers etc.
I like that the monthly tabs are laminated as these will end up getting a lot of use.  The monthly view provides a lot of space on each date with a space for monthly goals.  The only comment on the monthly view is that it starts on a Sunday and I would definitely prefer it to start on a Monday (the same as the weekly view), but this seems to be a constant with any planners that come out of the US so it must be a thing that they are more used to.  Of course it also has the US holidays so I will pop New Zealand holidays in myself.
The weekly view is great, the horizontal view is something that I am used to with previous planners (Filofax, Kikki-K & The Simplified Planner).  On each day there is a large lined section and then a smaller section – at this stage I am undecided how I am going to utilise these with to-dos and appointments, at the bottom there is also a notes section.  The only thing missing is a to-do or list section for the week which the vertical planner does have.
All in all I’m impressed with the quality of this planner and think it will work well!  I’m determined to attempt to use this planner for the whole year (but I’ve already changed once and it’s only just February so we will see how we go!

Planner Freebies

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Included with the planner where a number of “free” accessories.  One being the perpetual calendar.  A great addition which can be used for birthday, anniversaries or any other reassuring celebrations.  I have also seen it used as a gratitude journal.
Also included is a welcome pouch which includes a coil clip, sample stickers, compliment cards and a voucher for you and a friend.  All in all nice little extras that are included.


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I purchased a number of accessories (considering the International Shipping price it seemed a good idea to take advantage of one cost).
Bands:   The bands are fabric and fit around the planner nicely.  As I tend to keep loose papers in my planner this was a no brainer.
Pen Loop:  The pen loop has adhesive which you place yourself where you feel appropriate for your use.  I placed mine on the back cover page.  The loop itself is elastic and made of the same fabric as the bands.  It is designed to fit most pens and I have found that to be true (am still undecided as to the right pen for me and the planner).
Wet Erase Markers: These markers are for use on the inside of the front and back covers and on the optional snap in dashboards that I also purchased.  They write nicely, although I did find that fresh out of the packet there was a little leakage from transit.  I wiped them down with a paper towel and did a bit of a scribble and they now seem to be fine.  My only comment would be that I wish they were a finer nib (like the Sharpie Pen) as I find especially on the budget tracker the nib is too thick.
Dashboards:  I purchased three dashboards – meal planner, productivity tracker and to-dos.  These snap nicely into the planner and are a little more flexible than the ruler and as yet do not have any damage from being taken in and out of the planner.  In terms of using with the wet erase markers, as stated previously I find the nib on the market too thick for the use on the productivity tracker and to-do list (they work great on the meal planner as long as you are not too specific.
Monthly Budget Tracker: As with the dashboards this snaps in and has columns for each month where you can enter and track your spending.  Again the wet erase markers, I feel are too thick for this as there is not much room for entering amounts – if they were a find nib they would work perfectly.
Designer Sticker Book – Classic Collection 2: The stickers in this pack are of great quality.  The colours are stunning and the stickers are repositionable.  My only comment is this pack is obviously made for the vertical planner (I couldn’t seem to see one for the horizontal planner) and don’t fit exactly – that being said if you wanted to they are easy to trim.  The book fits easily into the pouch at the back of the planner.

Address Book

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It was time to update my address book (yes, I still use one) so I decided to see what the Erin Condren one was like.  Like the Life Planner the quality of the paper is outstanding.  You can personalise the front as you can with the planner.
In the front of the address book there is a perpetual calendar for birthdays, anniversaries etc…  The address book itself has a section for each letter (no sharing).
Each entry has space for name, address, phone number, email and birthday.  There is plenty of space – however I would have loved an extra line for a mobile (cell) phone number and an extra line for notes (e.g. kids names etc).  This would have resulted in probably less entries in each section but I would have taken that for the extra lines.

Additional Comments

I also ordered an extra ruler however this was missing from my order.  I contacted Erin Condren regarding this and they are sending it through (as a replacement for the split one that came with my planner).  Fantastic customer service.

All in all I am very impressed with the Erin Condren Products.  They are well made and cover a multitude of uses.  I am looking forward to using this planner and letting it help me to Simplify my life!

Follow this link to discover the world of Erin Condren.

Have a wonderful week.



Book Review: Raw Edges

Raw Edges (Quilts of Love #10) by Sandra D. Bricker

This book pretty much had me in tears from the start!  Okay I’m a big pile of mush normally anyway but this definitely touched a cord somewhere – maybe it’s the whole mum hormone thing?

The story follows a dad (Grayson) and his eleven year old daughter Sadie following the death of Jenna (his wife and her mother) as they get involved, at the insistence of Sadie, with a local support group and Annabelle (one of it’s members) who are in the process of creating a memory quilt as a fundraising exercise.  Placed between each chapter are journal entries written to Sadie from Jenna in preparation for her life without her Mum.

Sadie will capture your heart and she learns to heal, both herself and her Dad as they attempt to navigate life’s puzzle without a key piece.  Showing that even in the midst of grief you can learn to live and love again.

The book is well written and pulls you into their world completely.  It makes you feel a whole range of emotions – one minute you are laughing the next tears are running down your cheeks.

Four stars.


Four Favourites – January 2017

This is a post that I am hoping to do once a month!  Here I will share with you four items that I am currently enjoying.  They could be anything from TV shows, movies, books, clothing, make-up, technology….. almost anything!

Paprika Recipe Manager

This app is fantastic.  I used to have a file on my computer with recipes that I have copied from various websites as well as a folder with recipes that I had printed or copied from various locations.  This app allows be to have everything in one place.  Some great things about this app:

  • You can categories them (each recipe can have more than one too which is great).
  • Once you copy and paste the recipe URL into the app it will automatically create the recipe card (or you can type it manually).
  • There is an app available for iPad, iPhone, Mac, Android, Kindle Fire and Windows (the only disadvantage is you have to buy it separately for each device).  I have it on both my Mac and iPad.
  • If you have the app on more than one device it will sync for you.
  • There is a timer – a recipe says cook for 20 minutes, you click the 20 minutes (which will be in blue) and the timer starts.
  • There is a calendar to help with meal planning (this I haven’t used yet as I’m a old school paper planner kind of girl but to go with simplifying my life I should probably give it a go).  From here it will then create a grocery list.

The app can be downloaded from the website or from your devices App Store.

JJ Cole Nappy Bag – Linden

I’ve always been a bit of a bag girl and this has continued since having children when adding a Nappy (Diaper) Bag to my collection became necessary.  I have a number in my collection, some which I like and some which I didn’t – but this is my current favourite.

It’s a lot smaller than ones that I have used previously, which is interesting since I now have two kids and not just one.  But I find everything I need fits in and it doesn’t look too much like a nappy bag (I have mine in grey heather).  A bonus was that it came with both stroller clips and a change pad.  I have to admit that I’m not a big fan of the change pad it came with so I use another one but more about that in an up coming post of what’s in my Nappy (Diaper) Bag.

Here is a link to the bag itself – (note that prices on this website are in US Dollars), although I purchased it from Baby Factory here in New Zealand.

CamelBak Eddy Drink Bottle (0.6l)

I’ve had one of these for a while and love it.  It makes drinking water so much easier (my goal is 2l a day).  This size is perfect as well as it fits in the drink console in my car – the bigger size bottles are too big – as well as that it fits in my trusty nappy bag too.
They also have a kids version which I have for my son which makes it super easy to get water into him if he sees Mummy drinking out of hers.

I have always got mine from Rebel Sport but I do see them pop up on occasionally.

Whittaker’s Artisan Collection – Hawkes Bay Braeburn Apple with Vanilla

I’m not normally a big chocolate person – don’t get me wrong I love chocolate, chocolate just doesn’t love me.  I’m not allergic just an intolerance that has chocolate give me migraines and make me feel nauseous, this seems to be less (almost non-existent) with white chocolate.

This Whittaker’s Chocolate was a Christmas gift from my two kids for Christmas and oh my goodness it is amazing.  It comes in a 100g block which is quite thin but I normally only have one piece at a time so it lasts a while.

The subtle taste of apple breaks the sweetness of the chocolate and vanilla leaving with that sweet treat feel without the sickly sweet after taste.


What are the things that you have been enjoying this month?






Book Review: Grace Not Perfection

Grace Not Perfection by Emily Ley

What can I say I loved this book.  This book is stunning – not just visually (I mean who doesn’t love a hot pink book with a gold pineapple), but the content….

It is full of encouragement, practical advice and exercises (and ones that don’t require special equipment or taking a year out of your life to travel the world) to help you find what is important to you, where you want to be and places you can simplify (Hello word of 2017) your life and appreciate the joy in the everyday.  It provides a reminder that we don’t need Pinterest-beautiful homes (or birthday parties as Emily puts it) to live our lives.

I would recommend this to anyone (especially those who are feeling a little overwhelmed with life and the expectations that they put on themselves).  Although it is written from the perspective of a Mum and thus aimed at that direction I feel that Emily Ley’s advice is equally applicable to everyone.

Grace Not Perfection quickly became my mantra during the reading of this book, so much so that it is my new computer wallpaper and I really want to get it printed and put on my wall.


Five Stars!


My 2017 Word: Simplify

This is a relatively short post…. which I guess is rather fitting considering!

There seems to be a movement at the moment to pick a word as your theme for the year.  I read a lot about this during 2016 and thought I’d give it a go for 2017.

The word that I chose for myself in 2017 is:


I’ve found over the past two years, since I became a Stay At Home Mum that I have over complicated my life.   I tend to look for the most complicated way of doing anything instead of keeping it simple.

So for 2017 I’m simplifying my life… wish me luck!

Do you have a word for 2017?