New Year … My best year 2018

So here we are nearly at the end of February and I’m only writing about my new year now!!!  I’ll be honest I had a busy few months with my planner business and took my eye off the blog.  Worse I started a 3 part series of blogs and never finished them!!!  But that’s me, I go head into a project with a rough idea what I’m doing but no proper plan, goals or strategy.   I’m super at organising the practical things, and I do love my lists, but unless its on a list somewhere I loose momentum and its forgotten.

I had a great first year in business last year, but it was a little haphazard, with no real goals and targets – that all sounded a bit serious.  But if I want to move forward I need to set some, but where to start?  I do enjoy planning and organisation blogs and vlogs, and found a super vlog by Laura from “How to get your shit together” on goal setting and she had a review of Lisa Jacobs “Your best year 2018”.  And based on her review I had to purchase it. So here’s my little review too, its not to late to start your best year.


I am a novice at this kind of stuff and needed a book that not only explained what I needed to do, but brought me along and showed me.  And that’s exactly what this does.  Its not just a book but a workbook.  She starts with an introduction on how the workbook works, she explains the philosophy of the book and how she sets her years’ goals, etc and she asks questions on where you are now and where you want to go.  She has a load of exercises to bring you along, and she also has sample answers to help you when you are stuck.



By the end you’ll have reasons why you are doing what you are doing, an annual stratgey of where you are going and want to go, an actual plan (yipee!!!!), everyday action plans and monthly tracking sheets to keep you focused and on track for the year .. its everything you need in one book.  I’ll be keeping it on my desk and referring to it all year.



She also has a personal version for anyone who is more focused on personal goals for 2018, but this one has a mix of both.  And as a working at home mammy my goals are business, family and personal…. it all counts.

I’d definitely recommend this book and it can be purchased on amazon, not sure what retailers in Ireland stock it.

I’m going to be looking at different ways and tips to help organise my life as the year goes on, reviewing different books, experts and the advise that’s out there.  Of course I have to finish that series I started before Christmas, and I’ll be looking at budgeting, and other topics to get the most of you home life.  I’m very excited to be going forward and hope you will join me.


If you found the above helpful I’d love to hear your feedback.  Don’t forget to follow me on Pinterest Mammy Planning, and on Facebook Paper Ink Planners and on Instagram Paper Ink Planners

christmas · Planning · Uncategorized

10 Week Plan for a Stress Free Christmas.

Almost everything can become less stressful when a little thought and a plan is put in place.  10 Weeks out is the perfect amount of time to start getting ready for Christmas, its close enough to feel like you’re not starting too early and far enough out to give you enough time to have everything in place.  The following is my 10 week plan to a stress free Christmas.  It’s flexible enough to be modified to suit your needs, but getting a few things done every week will mean by the time Christmas week comes around you will have time to relax and enjoy the festivities instead of last minute stressing.

Little P.S. before we start; I’m not even going to suggest when you should put up your decorations or tree, everyone has their own opinion on that.

10 Weeks Out

  • Conduct a Christmas Audit – have a look around the house for decorations, wrapping paper, sticky tape, gifts you have already purchased, ingredients for baking etc; anything you don’t need to buy again – make a list of what you have a what you need.
  • Write out your perfect Christmas schedule, basically your wish list of activities, places to go, people to see and when you’d ideally do them.
  • Write out your gift list, who are you buying for what are you getting for them
  • Write out your Christmas budget, what can you afford to put away this month, November and December – merging you wish list of activities, gifts for family and friends, and what you still need to get (yeah I know basically everything!! But at least you know what you can afford now). Also keep a track of all spending to help you budget next year.
  • If you need to book anything, eg santa, dinner with friends etc, now’s the time to do it
  • Now’s the time to get those Aliexpress/Wish orders in if you want to get them in on time
  • Buy a Christmas scented candle, might as well get the ball rolling

9 Weeks Out

  • Write your Christmas card list, who are you posting to, who are you giving by hand
  • Buy teachers’ gifts, and cards and/gifts for school friends
  • Buy ingredients for Christmas baking (cake, pudding, mince pies, cookies)

8 Weeks Out

  • Buy friends and neighbours gifts
  • Buy sticky tape for wrapping
  • Buy command hooks/strips for hanging decorations
  • Schedule confirmed plans and activities into your Christmas calendar
  • Get baking!! Time to make Christmas cakes and pudding. Make mince pies and cookies now and pop them into the freezer

7 Weeks Out

  • Make your on line shopping wish list, check out deals and offers – Black Friday is 24th November this year so special offers will be offered around this time
  • Declutter your wardrobes, time to throw away some items – maybe some relatives are asking for gift suggestions, this year you could actually tell them what you need
  • Buy Christmas outfits/PJs
  • Get your family portrait taken for your Christmas card, if you order them

6 Weeks Out

  • If you make hampers, start them now
  • Buy the last of the family gifts, don’t forget your partner
  • Order Christmas cards if you get them specially printed
  • Or buy your Christmas cards

5 Weeks Out

  • Make or buy your advent calendar
  • Buy wrapping paper and gift tags
  • Buy Christmas crackers
  • Write Christmas cards

4 Weeks Out

  • Stock up on the drinks cabinet
  • Stock up on pantry items
  • Buy/Order your Christmas Wreath
  • Order flowers for presents, family graves etc
  • Post gifts/cards to family and friends in Australia, New Zealand, etc by the end of this week

3 Weeks Out

  • Declutter kids toys, bin/recycle broken ones and donate good ones
  • Post gifts/cards to family and friends in USA, Canada, etc by the end of this week

2 Weeks Out

  • Make ginger bread house
  • Wrap presents
  • Go for a walk/drive to see Christmas lights in your area
  • Post gifts/cards to family and friends in Great Britain and Europe by the end of this week
  • Buy icing for cakes, cookies etc

1 Week Out

  • Print out Christmas printable and activities for kids
  • Post gifts/cards to family and friends in Ireland by the end of this week
  • Read Christmas stories
  • Watch Christmas movies
  • Ice Christmas cakes, cookies, etc

Christmas Week

  • Enjoy, time to set your own Christmas Traditions

There’s loads of free printables on Pinterest to give you inspiration, and a little motivation to get started.  And as I said earlier this is a guideline, feel free to make this list your own.

If you found the above helpful I’d love to hear your feedback.  Don’t forget to follow me on Pinterest Mammy Planning, and on Facebook Paper Ink Planners and on Instagram Paper Ink Planners


Autumn Bucket List – 25 Things to do this Autumn

One of the things I enjoy about planning is making fun seasonal to do’s list for my planner.  Here’s my Autumn Bucket List, with a mix of things to cook, activities with the kids, family activities out and about, some practical stuff and some just for me’s


  • Buy an autumn scented candle
  • Make a caramel smoothie
  • Make and decorate a “thankful for” list
  • Have a bonfire
  • Go through summer clothes
  • Take a bubble bath
  • Make an Apple Pie
  • Create a leaf craft
  • Go for a long walk
  • Check fire alarms
  • Watch a scary movie (proper grown up one)
  • Make toffee apples
  • Make a DIY front door wreath
  • Play hopscotch
  • Plant some Spring bulbs
  • Read a scary book
  • Try a new soup recipe
  • Carve a pumpkin
  • Go blackberry picking
  • Clear out the spice press
  • Have a pumpkin spiced latte
  • Make a chilli
  • Play conkers
  • Jump in some leaves
  • Make a Christmas Bucket List


If you liked my Autumn Bucket List, keep an eye on my blog as I’m currently working on a practical guide to planning for Christmas, and of course my fun Christmas Bucket List.

Please like and follow me on Pinterest My Mammy Planning Pinterest Page and of course I have a Business Page on Facebook Paper Ink Planners Facebook Page and my Instagram Page Paper Ink Planner Instagram Account


Why I use a planner?

Why do I plan?  Why do I plan on paper?  Why do I use the type of planner I use?  Questions I have asked myself repeatedly since starting my own business, and I thought it was as good a place as any to begin my blog.


I had my third baby in January 2016, and life became infinitely busier.  With two other children, one just about to start primary school and one playschool getting by was not going to hold things together much longer.  I lived in a house that looked to anyone visiting tidy and relatively clean, but every available hidden space, drawer and empty jar was choc full of “stuff”.  Panic and mayhem would ensue every time we would need to find something that we hadn’t seen for a while.  My then 2 year old lost the car keys one day, after months looking for them we eventually gave up and ordered a new set as we were too nervous with only one set of keys … just in case it happened again.  The day before we collected the new set we found the original keys stuffed in a travel cot that we weren’t using – too late to cancel order – lesson learned for €250!!!  Let’s not even start talking about the piles of kids clothes (grown out of, to grown into, to donate, to give away) stuffed into bags and shoved anywhere we could get space.


I remembered my days of control, my days when I knew what I was doing, when I had a plan, when I got stuff done, when I was working full time, with no small people to mind.  I found one of my old Filofaxes, Ironically the last one I owned; the year I got married. Why I felt I didn’t need to plan so much after I got married I’ll never know.  Maybe it was with rose tinted glasses, but looking through my appointments, to do’s and action items; I thought there’s my answer, I need to start planning again.


I had a few failed attempts since becoming a mother, with various apps on my phone.  It was something I had on hand all the time, surely there was something that would help me get organised.  Strangely a lot of the home cleaning routine apps had lots of bible reading and scripture studies tasks.  I’m a catholic, and with an emphasis on Irish Catholic at that, so let’s be honest that kinda thing does not feature in our lives.  I downloaded, tired for a while, and gave up/forgot about loads, they never seemed to tick all the boxes, and they were impersonal and easily forgotten about, a little swipe and that reminder was gone forever.


Then came my new guilty pleasure, YouTube cleaning videos, while sitting on my backside, drinking coffee and feeding my newest little baby I watched power cleaning videos, cleaning tips, cleaning routines, how to keep a clean home, how to keep a clean and organised home.  I then bought my first planner in years, I needed to come up with a plan – I felt I couldn’t move forward until I had the basics in control, and that meant decluttering, coming up with a home routine.  So I did, pickled together from bits of Konmarie, clutterbug, how jen does it, fly lady and many many others, I wrote out a plan.  It took me 5 months, I was doing it right – initial plan was 3 months but it was a learning curve.  I decluttered and organised my house as best I could.  The relief, the weight lifted, the house feels lighter – not saying its spotless or anything but its way better and easier now.


I got the bug, what else could I plan for, to organise.  Next was budget, let’s get that sorted, there’s so many little jobs I want to do, places to go with the kids: I needed to budget for these things. I needed another planner as my original one was a diary so no room for extra planning, days out, to do’s, menu planning, capsule wardrobe planning (new thing), Christmas planning, birthday planning, getting all those to do’s, want to’s, would love to’s, the kind of stuff that circulates in your head when you’re trying to go asleep, down on paper.  Not an app, apps are not the same for this sort of thing.


I had a problem, I had a pile of notebooks and diaries going at the same time, it was too complicated and I started to lose focus again.  I needed a system that kept everything together and worked for me.   I started looking for a planner, new obsession planner YouTube videos.  At this point I’m going to skip through quickly as I’m not out to slag other types of planners, and start sounding like an infomercial.  Suffice to say, I stuck with the Filofax type ring bound planner that gave me the flexibility I needed.  Do your own research and figure out what type of planner meets your needs.


I wanted a pretty one, that did the job, but they were impossible to find here in Ireland.  The home of the planner at the moment is definitely the USA.  There seems to be a real renaissance in paper planning, with a huge craft type of following with people decorating their planners with stickers and accessories.  The crafty, decorating side of things would not be so popular here, but there was a gap in the market for planners that were functional and beautiful.  I found the Simple Stories Carpe Diem Planners on line initially but struggled to find a way of getting my hands on one without paying huge shipment costs from the USA.  A business idea was born… I’ll say no more


My planner and me


I use my planner all the time, it holds my life, big enough for everything.  I use it for planning the day to day, reminders of things in the future, and a bucket to catch all the random thoughts and idea that pop into my head so they are not running around my head when they shouldn’t be.  It allows me to relax because everything I need to remember is there. It’s big enough that I can’t lose it, and I can customise it to my heart’s content, popping in and out paper and dividers as my plans and focus change.  I don’t have to worry about dropping it in the loo (or someone else), dropping it and breaking it (or someone else), or it being robbed (obviously by someone else).  I can plan my weeks, weekly and I’m not constrained by a set layout or schedule, each week looks completely different because it is, that’s life.  And at the end of the year I will be able to get new inserts start a brand new years and file my old ones, to look back at in years to come, and remember just how crazy my life was, with three small children.




My Facebook Business Page is under Paper Ink Planners – Ireland, and I am on Instagram under Paper Ink Planner – love some extra likes and followers and you can contact me if you are interested in getting your own planner. 

Paper Ink Planners – Ireland