Happy New Year with Bullet Journaling

So last year I made New Year’s resolutions then as you may know ‘life got in the way’. I have a habit of starting things and not finishing them, I carry a lot of guilt about it. Partly it’s my personality and getting excited about the next new shiny thing that comes along, dropping the old boring thing I started. It’s also having multiple chronic illnesses which tend to dump on everything. Oh, and then that life bit, I’m not the luckiest soul and 2016 was an absolute shocker!

So this year I debated on whether I should do the whole resolutions thing again. I thought about making things realistic, or achievable. But that’s just not me, I need to be interested and excited and reach for the sky. The difference is how I react when I come thudding back down to earth.

Last year I dabbled with some Bullet Journaling and wanted to continue with a brand new journal for 2017. For various reasons I’ve always shied away from journaling ing and committing to paper. A Bullet Journal was the ideal balance between a to-do list and a diary for me. I began with a basic journal based on this article and bulletjournal.com.

So on the 1st I made an Amazon list of fancy pens and a new Moleskine notebook, and then realised I was falling into my old habit of overspending. So I raided my art materials and as predicted had lots of beautiful materials already to work with.

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So here is what I did:

  1. I left a page spare at the front for my index/ contents. Every page is numbered in a bullet journal and every entry is logged on this page.IMG_3635.JPG
  2. I turned the page and thought about 2017 and brain dumped all the hopes and needs onto the page. I didn’t limit myself, I just poured my heart out…IMG_3638.JPG
  3. Next I looked at the ‘cloud of words’ and put them into categories. I wrote them as a list then made these into columns on how much time and effort I wanted to put into them. ‘Being secure’ is at the top of my list, unsurprisingly, as at the moment I feel so insecure. I colour coded them so I could later see how much time per week I was dedicating.Processed with VSCO with t1 preset
  4. I took each category and thought about how I could achieve them. Theres lots of cross overs and you’ll see in the pictures one category feeds another.Processed with VSCO with t1 preset
  5. Into my life, which is chaotic at the best of time, I wanted to introduce a routine. So I began with an easy morning routine to follow everyday. I aim to create a bedtime one soon to go with it. 
  6. I then divided the activities from earlier on into my first to-do list of 2017. This I divided into ‘one off tasks’ and ‘repetitive tasks’ that happen daily or weekly.Processed with VSCO with t1 preset
  7. I then added a year planner to be able to see the whole year month by month.Processed with VSCO with t1 preset
  8. Finally I delved into January. One page for the whole month day by day. Then I transferred items from the 2017 to-do list into the monthly one
  9. Finally I drew out the week by week journal and added a key. I also included a space for tracking my health and daily gratitude. My key is the same as the standard bullet journal key
    • X = Task Complete
    • > = Task Migrated
    • < = Task Scheduled
    • o = Event
    • – = Note
    • * = Priority
    • ! = Inspiration
    • Eye = Explore

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  10. It sounds complex and labour intensive, and in a way it is. But I think it’s worth it to have a practical journal that works for me. I already love and treasure my 2016 journal, as painful as the moments were that fed it. 

I know there are many prettier examples out there, but mine is mine and works for me!

Finally I read a chapter today about beginning a new project or learning something new:

‘In the beginner’s mind there are many possibilities, but in an experts there are few.’ Suzuki Roshi in Pema Chodron’s ‘The Places That Scare You’.

Chodron goes onto say that we all begin somewhere and at every stage of learning or activity we should  be ‘open, flexible and kind’. Resolutions should not be absolute but ever shifting guides to help us learn or steer us. Our life is an experiment and we are not born as experts. She concludes:

‘At the end of activity, whether we feel we have succeeded or failed in our intention, we seal the act by thinking of others, of those who are succeeding or failing all over the world. We wish that anything we learned in our experiment could also benefit them.’

So I’ll be doing just that, learning from the process and not judging myself on the results. I will also share this latest adventure with you…

We could all be a little kinder…

I came across this list earlier on Buzzfeed


I love the fact it just asks us to spend a little time on ourselves before we hit crisis. I wish I could take my own advice. Slowly, slowly I’m changing my routine to include breathing and positivity. Todays tasks were to make candles, get the dogs back and watch Bake Off. Tick, tick and almost tick (it’s on in 10 minutes).

A lot of chronic illness comes with a spoonful of guilt. We let so many other areas of our lives slip so therefore believe we don’t deserve self care and kindness if we have cancelled a meeting or been late on an assignment. I know I’ve posted this before but it is so true: You can’t pour from an empty cup. Take care of yourself first.

So I’d be interested to know what you do to take care of yourself?

P.S. Today I’m grateful for:

  1. The garden and it’s ability to keep on growing no matter what
  2. Rose – In plant form, scent or lemonade.
  3. The crisis team who are keeping me afloat




Second hospital appointment…

So my second hospital appointment is looming at University College London tomorrow. If you follow me on social media you may know I came out of the last one feeling a little desperate, let down and disbelieved. All of the fears of a spoonie realised in one visit. So tomorrow I receive the results of yet another blood test (I am usually seronegative) and to be patronised by a doctor.

Lists are always good so I’m going to make one here of my symptoms to take along.

  • Sore throat, muscle aches, flu like symptoms
  • Difficulty in controlling temperature
  • Extreme fatigue
  • Joint aches like acid burning inside then inflammation around them
  • Acute knee pain and swelling resulting in an arthroscopy to try to control the swelling. This has been controlled with cortisone injections and prednisolone. It has meant in the past I have been unable to walk for periods of up to 2 months and find moving around my home problematic. My knee is still sore and doesn’t track properly.
  • Muscle aches and spasms. Tendentious and displaced joints i.e. ribs and vertebrae
  • Extreme chest, neck and shoulder pain leading to complete immobility for up to 2 months at a time. This also means I cannot drive and am isolated. I have been diagnosed with Joint Hypermobility Syndrome and see a specialist physio for this. I have also had shoe inserts made to help with the position of my feet and acupuncture and reflexology to manage the pain.
  • Migraine or cluster type headaches that disturb my vision, make me unbalanced and nauseous. I cannot work or drive when they happen and I typically cannot leave the house for 3 or 4 days
  • Nausea and vomiting. I go through phases of this where I will vomit uncontrollably for 12 hours or more. Often this is followed by a period of joint swelling and feeling very poorly. I feel nausea most days and take medication to counteract this.
  • Eye sores and dryness. Over christmas I had an ulcer ob the inside of my eyelid.
  • Ulcers in general. These are mostly in my mouth and often can reach the size of a penny. I can have up to 30 at a time and they bleed. They can also appear on the outside of my mouth, in my nose, eyes and vagina. They go away when on high dose prednisolone.
  • Dry mouth and sore tongue
  • Insomnia and broken sleep
  • Hands and feet that go extremely numb extremely quickly in the cold and I constantly seek heat for.
  • ‘Thick’, hard swollen fingers that won’t bend.
  • IBS and stomach cramping. Intermittent diarrhoea and constipation. Lower back pain. Pain going to the toilet that gives me pins and needles and want to pass out.
  • Extreme heartburn and tummy irritation
  • Rashes on cheeks and chest and acne.
  • Brain fog and memory problems
  • Depression and Anxiety

So there it is, maybe I missed something so I may be back…