I first heard of Organised Mum through my Home-Start volunteer. I was telling her about my planner obsession and she mentioned them in passing. She mentioned they're based in Tisbury, a very short drive from where I live.
I looked on their website and wasn't very impressed; mainly because I'm a dedicated ring-bound planner kind of girl.
I sat on the floor of John Lewis, thumbed through the pages and felt that it might, maybe, possibly, just work for me.
I spent £13.50 and took it home.
I'm going to refer as the Organised Mum Life Book as the OMLB, Organised Mum as OM and Life Book as LB from here on it.
Thankfully, this OMLB runs from the 18th August 2014; I bought it on the 04th October 2014 which means I was immediately able to complete a week using notes from both my personal day-to-day planner and my (work in progress) A5 Filofax family planner.
This is what OM specify about the LB:
Designed with busy women in mind, the Life Book is brilliantly designed to keep all your appointments, plans and notes in one convenient place. Running for 16 months (starting mid-August 2014 and lasting until December 2015), this popular diary has everything a busy woman needs to help keep up to speed.Today I had a chance to photograph the planner.
Binding: Wiro bound
- A5 in size with hard-backed cover
- Week-to-view diary (starts mid-August 2014 to December 2015)
- Traditional diary layout that provides lots of space for appointments
- Weekly perforated shopping lists
- Menu planning and to do lists
- 288 colourful reminder stickers to highlight important events
- Monthly planning pages so you can see the whole month at-a-glance
- Weekly routine pages
- Yearly planning pages
- Separate address book that sits neatly inside the diary back pocket that can be moved from year to year to save rewriting
- Christmas planning pages
- Summer holiday planning pages
- Pocket at the back for notes and bills
- Elastic bandeau to keep the diary closed when you're out and about
- Two repositionable clear page dividers
No. Page: 139
Page Size: A5 (21 x 14.8 cm)
Size: 21.7 x 17 cm
Thickness: 2.6 cm
The front and back covers are thick card. It's that sort-of-squidgy card that I think will dent easily. I am not particularly impressed with the overall design; it's a little too blue for me. I think it has an extremely autumnal feel as well, and considering this planner is designed for use all year round, I am not sure how I'll feel about it come spring. I wouldn't pick a ring bound planner in this colour, but I guess it will please some people.
The first page on the inside is a Personal Information page; it's pretty standard. I haven't photographed it as I've already written in my details. It has the same blue header that you'll see throughout the rest of the planner.
I suppose this is where my first real gripe comes in. It's not very easy to personalise. Personalising a ring bound planner is easy; you can add things and take things away without any fuss. The spiral binding on the OMLB makes it a little harder to add things and take things away. So why did OM decide a blue header on every page was a good idea? I guess it's for those with no time to decorate. It's a mum's planner. I somehow find the time to decorate my planners and organisers, whereas others might struggle a lot to find two seconds to stick down a strip of washi or affix a sticker. I understand that. But again, I find it irritating. I want to stick things in places and make it my own. I want to match my decoration with the seasons, the mood, the things I'm doing. I guess I still can, but I'll be stuck with a blue header on every damn page.
After the Personal Information page is a 'Useful numbers' page, and a page with both a 2014 and 2015 calender.
Next, 3 x 'Weekly routine' pages (spanning over 6 pages, if you see what I mean...)!
And then we get to the good bit. The actual week on two pages (WO2P) layout for weekly planning. This is what made me say 'oooh' & 'aaah' when I first thumbed through the pages of this planner when sat in John Lewis. The 'blueness' of the planner is forgotten; the perfectness of the layout overrides it all.
On the left page is a shopping list that is perforated so you can tear it out easily and take it shopping. Personally, I won't tear it out. I like my pages intact. But, it's great for taking notes on what I need to buy as soon as I run out. Monday to Thursday is set on the left page too. I'm not normally a fan of writing lines, but the writing lines on these pages are thin and feint so they're not overwhelming.
On the right page is Friday to Sunday. And here's the best part: Saturday and Sunday have the same size boxes as the rest of the week! Hoorah! Finally! I am always busy on a weekend. I need the same space as any other day of the week. Kate Spade understand this. Filofax, Kikki K and Paperchase do not. There's a box for 'Notes & Next Week', space to write your 'Things to do' and 'Important'. As I look at my planner while typing I realise that if you tear out next week's shopping list then you'll lose this weeks 'things to do' and 'important notes'.
The weekly planner pages end on January 03rd 2016. Who thinks that far ahead?!
After the weekly planner pages is a tab titled 'Monthly Planning Pages'. I added the kraft label on the tab.
Each month has a Month on 2 pages overview, a 'to do' page, a 'notes' page, a 'budget' page and an 'income and outgoings page'. The budget page isn't overly comprehensive, but that's OK, because there are spare boxes in which to specify your own expenditure and budget amounts.
You've probably spotted my month tabs. I feel it's necessary that I can very quickly flick to a particular month without spending an hour trying to find it. I used kraft labels, stuck them on, and reinforced with washi tape.
Christmas budget and Christmas cards:
Summer holiday planner (see what I mean? From Christmas to Summer...? Really?!):
Thoughts and plans for 2014 (there's another few pages for 2015 and 2016). Shouldn't 2014 be before Christmas?
At the end of the planner is a page displaying a calender of both 2016 and 2017.
On the inside of the back cover is a pouch that houses the Addresses and Birthdays book that comes with this planner, and the stickers. The stickers are cute. The book on the other hand... I just think it looks cheaply made. It's boring, the paper is thin, and it definitely isn't big enough in terms of how many pages there are.
The stickers are so cute though; as you can see, I've already peeled off the Birthday ones and used all but 1 (oops)!
So how do I feel about this planner?
If I imagine myself as regular person (not necessarily a Mum!) who doesn't have an odd obsession with ring-bound planners, then I'd say this diary is pretty good value for the money. If it stays at home and doesn't get chucked into a bag, or the boot of a car, of a glove box, then I would think that the binding will hold up just fine. If I think of myself as someone who doesn't feel it's absolutely necessary for every scrap of paper to be kept between the pages of a diary, then I am certain the diary won't bulk out too much.
For £13.50 I paid for the pages; I am safe in the knowledge that I can punch holes in them and put them into a ring-bound planner.
I guess it's okay. It's not perfect. It's not the best planner ever invented. It's not an Erin Condren. It does what it says on the packet: designed to keep all your appointments, plans and notes in one convenient place."