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Farewell 2016 December 31 2016

I can’t believe it’s already the end of 2016! What a whirlwind this year was! You know how some years are brilliant, some terrible and some unremarkable? Well, for me this year was high speed, full action, go go go from day one. And I’m exhausted. On the whole it’s been a wonderful year, so many lovely things have happened and beautiful memories have been made but it has definitely pushed me to the edge of burnout so I’m taking some time over the New Year break to reflect on what was wonderful about 2016 and what I want to improve on for 2017.

First up are my favourite memories of 2016 and as I’m writing this from a balcony overlooking the sea where I’m taking a few days peaceful rest with family I feel like I’m living one of them right now! Tomorrow and next week I’ll start planning my vision board for 2017 and setting my goals for the year and I’ll write about those in a separate post. Because for now, today is all about resting, reflecting and ringing in the New Year tonight!

16 best memories of 2016

1. Stand-up paddle boarding with dolphins one early morning while having a weekend away up the coast

2. Visiting some of the lovely boutiques which stock Amelia Lane Paper products and receiving some amazing press including a feature in the Huffington Post (still so surreal!)

3. Too many to count before work swims at the beach - starting the day right with sunshine, salt water and sea air

4. This year I resumed something I have previously done while I was living in London which is fostering rescue animals. My partner and I signed up with the RSPCA and fostered our first litter of puppies and their mum. Fostering appealed to us as they are generally short term placements designed to give shelter animals some respite from the kennels, time out to heal from an operation or, in our case, time for puppies or kittens to finish weaning from their mothers and a chance to grow a little bit bigger before they go back to get adopted to their permanent families. We were so excited to receive our first littler this year of a mum and four male long-haired Chihuahua puppies. They had all been rescued from a horrible puppy mill and needed to grow a bit before they could get adopted. We felt comfortable that we wouldn’t get too attached as we’re sensible enough to know that five dogs is too many for us and we both have never been the biggest fans of Chihuahuas as a breed so it seemed a great first foster group. And we loved having Maddy and her four pups staying with us and causing havoc before they found loving families so it was definitely a highlight of the year. And it led to…

5. Adopting our foster failure Archer. Unsurprisingly, we grew increasingly attached to the foster puppies and one ‘failed’ - well, we failed with giving him back and now he’s our forever dog and the sweetest, happiest puppy alive :)

6. Launching the Amelia Lane Life Designer and Wedding Designer in the UK. There’s been so much great feedback to our products over there and I’m so excited to add a lot more products to our UK shop later in 2017

7. Dancing bollywood-style in Nepal at my best friend’s wedding and seeing her shine with happiness

8. Visiting the Tu Sua Ocean Trench in Samoa (and Samoa in general!) - one of the most stunning natural places I’ve been to

9. Having a glass of wine and a whole lot of laughs taking a pizza-making class on a rainy Sunday

10. Attending five beautiful weddings and feeling surrounded by all the love

11. Visiting a trade show in New York with my mum (who lives in the UK so extra special for having time away with her) and making big plans for Amelia Lane Paper’s USA launch in 2017

12. Launching a new line of products including the Compact edition of the Life Designer, the Monthly Planners and the Wedding Designers, and reading so many lovely customer messages, emails, comments and feedback!

13. Working my way through the Couch to 5km running program - as someone who has never been a runner this was pretty exciting for me!

14. Quiet morning walks with Archie before the world wakes up and seeing how joyful he is everyday

15. Interesting conversation, good food and wine with friends in my monthly book club (and all the long hours curled up on the coach reading something engrossing)

16. Spending this New Years Eve break with family, resting, swimming, having fish and chips on the beach, playing board games and making exciting plans for 2017!

 

 


How to Use the Weekly Meal + Exercise Planner November 11 2016

Meal and Exercise Planner

A few customers have asked to see a closer look at the weekly Meal + Exercise Planners in the Signature Life Designers. I thought I'd include a sample of how I use it so you can get some ideas of what is possible (but please excuse the terrible hand-writing!).

Each Signature Life Designer has a 'Health' section at the front (after the 'Goals' section) which has 52 weekly Meal + Exercise Planners. There are sections for each day of the week and breakfast, lunch, dinner, snacks (a category of mine which always has way too much writing in it!), exercise (a category which normally has too little writing in it!) and a water tracker.

On the right side are some dotted lines which I use for either a grocery list, recipe ingredient list or for a quick reference for calories in my most common meals.

Ideally, on a Sunday night I'll write up my meal plan for the week and have done some meal prep for lunch and snacks. I'll block out any lunch / dinners I have out with friends and then try and plan out a lot of the rest. If I'm writing a list of groceries, I put it on the right hand side where the dotted lines are and then take a photo on my phone in case I'm dashing up to the shops and have left my planner on my desk.

Meal Prep

I find the exercise section really handy as it keeps me accountable if I set it up at the beginning of the week. It's also useful if you are training for a big event such as a marathon or ocean swim. I'm not much of a runner so no marathons here (!) but I did recently complete the Couch to 5km program (so yep, not really in the same league as a marathon haha!) and it was great using the exercise tracker to write out the eight week program and tick it off when done, recording my times and distances.

The Compact Life Designer has been created differently as it is a smaller planner with only a monthly overview page for health (rather than 52 two-page spreads tracking it weekly in the Signature). The monthly overview gives you space to record the day's calories or points intake and the week's exercise to give you a big picture look at how you're going rather than a detailed in-depth view. This is more useful if you're not following a set meal plan / diet or are using an app to record some of the information for you. You can see in my mock-up below (based on a week when I was trialing the sample books months ago) I used both a daily calorie count and then switched halfway through the week to daily points tracking.

I'd love to see how others use their meal and exercise planners for inspiration so please feel free to tag #amelialanelifedesigner on instagram so we can all see!

Compact Meal Planner

 

 

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How to use the Amelia Lane Monthly Planners October 27 2016

The Monthly Planners might be the smallest of all the Amelia Lane planning products but they pack a big punch! I basically designed them because they are just unbelievably useful! Personally, I use mine to see what I have on each month as it comes up. So I include holidays, social engagements and big work deadlines. There isn't enough room to write much - it's more to give you a quick, handy overview and being so small, it's very handbag-friendly. I know a lot of people use their iphones for this big picture planning but I find it hard to visualise my month when it's on a screen. For example I like counting down the weekends until Christmas! A big pro of these in my opinion is that they are undated so you can start whenever you want such as when you're approaching a big event like a wedding or house renovation or project launch.

Amelia Lane Monthly Planner

I've also thought about having multiple monthly planners with a specific use for each one - for example, using the Hibiscus cover for work goals and deadlines, the Jungle print for health plans (running and gym schedules, meal planning and training schedules for events such as an ocean swim or half marathon) and the Leopard print as a social media calendar. To be honest though, all those areas of my life are so intersected that it makes sense to keep them in one cover and for the moment I'm using the Hibiscus cover, which I'm slipping into the back pocket of the Life Designer {Signature} in Palm Leaf Pattern.

Below are some pages showing how I plan out my months - as you can see I *try* to coordinate different activities with different pen colours etc but of course that's not always practical! I love the Paper Mate Ink Joy pens which you can buy at Woollies and Le Pens which you need to ship from the USA. As you can see, I sometimes scribble important information for that month in the margin - here it's some flight details as it's the month of destination weddings for me - first Nepal and then Perth!

Amelia Lane Monthly Planner

I also use the 12 month planner at the start to put in holidays and big events - such as trade shows for my work. This would be especially useful for teachers, students or mums with kids in planning out school terms and holidays.

Amelia Lane Monthly Planner

In the Monthly Goals section I try and set a goal each month for work, health, and social/personal.

Amelia Lane Monthly Planner

 

Product specs: undated so you can start whenever you want, A6 size, soft textured card cover, thick 100gsm paper inside, two annual calendar views, a monthly goals spread, 12 monthly calendar views and some lined and blank pages on the back. Five covers. You can see more (and some nice clean pages without my scribbles!) here.

I would love to see how you use your monthly planner!

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