How to Make Time for Yourself During the Busy Holidays

Are you already starting to get a bit overwhelmed with your Christmas preparations? It can be exhausting when there's so much to do and one, big, non-negotiable deadline. It can be tough on us women, so we have to make sure to take care of ourselves.

I've got an advent calendar that I made for myself last year and this year I put in little notes to myself with small, enjoyable things for me to do everyday, including reading with some tea, sipping a cup of eggnog or doing some yoga. Today's was watching the latest episode of Outlander!


There's still 2 weeks until Christmas, that's 14 little activities that you can do. What activities would be on your notes to yourself? Let me know in the comments below.

Another restful thing I like to do during the holidays is get crafty!! Throughout the rest of the year, I don't always get around to decorating my planner, but I'm making an effort to take the time this month. You can see this week's spread in the video below and you can follow along as I planned out the week in the video HERE. So take some time for yourself now, make yourself a cosy drink and hit play. It's only about 2 minutes long.

There are lots of new videos on my YouTube channel this week, since I'm doing Vlogmas this month. You can see the slow progress of my Christmas cards and take bite-sized action steps towards planning the new year. So pop on over to my channel and spend some well deserved down time during this busy month.

Raising my cup of eggnog, here's to you!

How a Mom of 6 Gets 'IT' All Done for Christmas

I've shown you the inside of my Christmas planner, and how I'm actually using it but I thought today, that I would actually show you what I'm doing to accomplish all the things that I do to prepare for Christmas on top of my regular daily tasks. It's a lot. We don't host a meal or even get a tree, but the list does include:

  • making 100 homemade Christmas cards
  • including a unique, creative family photo that I feel the need to outdo myself every year ;)
  • making my Nannie Jean's fruitcake
  • baking and decorating gingerbread wookiees with the children (not a typo)
  • baking mince pies and other Christmas treats
  • celebrating Saint Nicolas on Dec 6
  • attending the children's Saint Nicolas concert at the school 
  • shopping for my family, large extended family, friends, and teachers
  • decorating a gingerbread house
  • going to the Wanter Gala concert, our children are in the orchestra
  • international travel (seems more glamorous than it is, you can drive 20 mins in any direction and be in another country, but we are going to Tenerife, a 4 hour flight from here)
  • packing for 8 people to go on said trip

PLUS this year I decided that adding 25 videos to my to-do list and doing Vlogmas on YouTube was a good idea (insert eye-roll emoji here). But, I've done it and I have some fantastic videos for you! There are plan with me's each week leading up to Christmas where I decorate my spread on the Saturday and then plan the week on the Sunday. I'm showing you Christmas products from Simple Stories, how to use those dreaded, but oh-so-cute puffy stickers in your planner and I share my 2019 planner line-up! I'm even going to go LIVE every Thursday, so make sure you are there for that 10am EST.

What I'm most excited for, is my Plan Your 2019 series. Every Monday, Wednesday and Friday until Christmas I have a short video with a tip to help you plan your year. There's a quick, do-able action step to help you move forward towards 2019. I've broken it all down for you, so that these steps are easy and quick and you can fit them into your busy holiday schedule, and you will be ready to hit the ground running when January 1 comes. Your goals won't know what hit them and you will be knocking those goals out of the park! Click here for the playlist of the Plan Your 2019 episodes, it will be updated as each episode is posted. Subscribe here and click that notification bell next to the subscribe button, to make sure that you don't miss a thing. Grab your planner and hit play to get started:

If you need a little more help planning your Christmas this year then have a look at my Plan Your Christmas class at Big Picture Classes. You can even take it for FREE! Big Picture is giving away free month trial memberships with the code CARACHRISTMAS, hurry though, the code expires December 15, 2018.

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Pop over there now, grab all the printables and meet me back here. I'll wait... (cue upbeat, jingly Christmas music)


Got them? Awesome!

Now, grab your to-do list for Christmas, the printables from my free class and a nice cup of coffee (bonus points if you splash in a bit of Bailey's) then hit play on this video and we'll get you organised for Christmas. I'm going to walk you through the first step of planning your Christmas. Let's go!

My Christmas Planner in Use - Plan Your Christmas

I've shown you my Christmas planner, now let's see it in action!

It's all well and good to have a pretty Christmas planner, but it really needs to be a workhorse for you during the holiday season to keep you organised, so that everything gets done on time and you can enjoy your Christmas season.

Grab your Christmas planner and your favourite warm holiday drink and hit play:

If you want to learn how to have a calm, peaceful, stress-free Christmas, or would simply like some FREE printables to help you along the way, then pop over to my class PLAN YOUR CHRISTMAS, Big Picture Classes is giving you a FREE month's trial membership with the code: CARACHRISTMAS. Check it out now:


Have a look around at my other classes too, a month is plenty of time to check them all out. You also have access to Big Picture's entire library of classes. So pop over there now and get started with your peaceful Christmas season: Plan YOUR CHRISTMAS class.

code CARACHRISTMAS expires December 15, 2018

A Dreams and Goals Journal

I've noticed lately that my brain is full of fun dreams and goals and I've been scratching them into my planner. Then I realised that if these are my biggest dreams and ambitions, they need a pretty home, and to be valued. So the Dreams and Goals Journal idea was born. I grabbed a pretty TN and stickers from my favourite collection, both from Carpe Diem Planners, and got to work. 


I also added an insert for the books I'll read in 2019, I find I tend to fly right to the next non-fiction book never taking the time to process what I've learned. I'm reducing my reading goal to only one non-fiction a month and only going on to the next one once I've processed it fully in this book.

All of the products used in the video below are on sale right now at Carpe Diem Planner's brand new and totally gorgeous website. Use the code CARA20 for 20% off the entire site at this link: 

the code is valid until November 30 at midnight

Ok, grab your list of dreams and goals and hit play! 

Don't have a Dreams and Goals list? Check out my class at Big Picture Classes PLAN YOUR DREAMS, you can take it for free along with all my classes with a FREE one month membership to Big Picture Classes, just use the code: CARACHRISTMAS

This post is not sponsored, but Carpe Diem Planners did give me the products to use and promote.

A Stress Free Christmas Starts Now!

Did I just stress you out with my title?

Not my intention at all.

I'd love for you to start planning your Christmas now, so that when the season arrives, you will be able to sit back with a cup of eggnog and enjoy it all. 

Imagine your most perfect Christmas, wouldn't that be lovely? It's actually possible! Well, maybe not all of it if your perfect Christmas includes Jude Law showing up at your door in the middle of the night. But, you can still watch that happen to Cameron Diaz in the Holiday, which is my all-time favourite holiday movie. Or in a pinch, go see him as Yumbledore in The Crimes of Grindelwald.

Sorry for the random Jude tangent, back to planning... ;)


Christmas doesn't have to be stressful, it can be as fun for us as it is for the children. Grab that cup of eggnog or a PSL and hit play and I'll tell you how.


Then, grab your planner and come have a peek inside my Christmas planner to see how I'm keeping organised this year.


You can take my PLAN YOUR CHRISTMAS class for free this year! Big Picture Classes is giving you a 30 trial membership, that's plenty of time to take my Christmas class as well as all the others! Plus, you have access to the entire Big Picture library!! Pop over to this link:


and use the code: CARACHRISTMAS

My Secret Weapon for Productivity | Plan Your Goals

Use this productivity secret weapon as you plan your goals. It's a fab productivity hack that really works! Seriously, this productivity tip will change how you plan and get you to that goal in no time! I notice a huge difference when I forget to use it.

Want to know what it is and how it can help YOU? Grab your planner and a hot cup of some thing nice and hit play on this video to find out what the secret weapon is and start using it today!



The Difference Between Being Busy and Being Productive

I could be considered a busy person and the number one reaction I get from people when I tell them I have 6 children is, 'Oh, you MUST be busy!' I tend to come back with 'Naw, I'm really organised, but it does get quite loud!'

...hmmm, I think I may need to come up with something snappier...

I strive to be productive instead and in this video I'm highlighting the differences between being busy and being productive. Plus, I give you 3 tips for how you can become more productive. 

So grab a cup of tea, your planner and hit play:


No Sew DIY Traveler's Notebook Inserts

They're so many TN inserts out there, but that does not mean that there is one that suits your planning needs. Making your own inserts for your traveler's notebook is a fabulous option to make your planner more versatile and work better for you, so you can stay organised. As a bonus, it can be a budget friendly option as well.

However, if you don't have a sewing machine or a long arm stapler, you may think that it's impossible.

It's totally possible!

And in this week's video, I've got 5 ways that you can bind your inserts complete with tutorials for each one. 

Grab your TN and an eraser... yes, an eraser ;) and hit play:



My Planning Essentials

After I take you through my planner essentials, I've got 5 questions that you can ask yourself to help you find your own planner essentials. So, stay tuned for that!

 If I was held at gunpoint and asked what my 5 favourite, can't-live-without planner essentials were, this is what they would be:

First I'd need a Traveler's Notebook.

I couldn't choose a favourite among my TN's, even with that gun to my head, so I'm glad that I don't have to and I can change TN's as my mood strikes. Usually though, I'll stay in one for a long time, changing most often with the seasons.

Next, I'd need the Commit30 printables.

The Commit30 planners have been working well for me for years and the printable version is my favourite. I love creating my own inserts. I can personalise them and for the moment, I prefer printing 2 months per insert. That way I can really slim down my TN if necessary, and only carrying around one insert. Though, I usually do have the current insert plus the previous one and the one coming up (if I'm on the ball and have it printed already!)

3rd is a nice sharp pencil.

I do most of my planning in pencil, I like to be able to erase. Oh wait! I guess that pencil I'm choosing at gun point will have to have an eraser on top! Otherwise I'd need a 6th thing, the eraser. Schedules change, so a pencil is an easy fix and I can easily rearrange my week if needed, especially if I fall behind early on.

4th is clips for me!

To mark a page, to clip a bunch of pages together for easy flipping as I plan, to simply look pretty, one little clip can do a lot. I love that they are very versatile, being both fun and functional. I have a entire class all about creating planner clips. Check it out here: Planner Clips.

Last is Washi!

I love to decorate, but if I'm only allowed one item, it would be washi, it comes in tonnes of different designs and colours so it makes it versatile and adaptable to any planner girls' style or even my mood of the day. I have a fantastic YouTube video with 21 ways to Use Washi, so if all you have in your stash is Washi, then you won't be stuck for ideas! 


Now, it's your turn! Everyone's planner essentials are different, whether you are just starting out or you simply want to go back to basics for a while. Ask yourself these 5 questions to determine your planner essentials:

  1. What is the first thing you grab when you sit down to plan? 
    This may be your planner, but maybe not. Maybe it's the latest sticker kit from your favourite Etsy shop, or your master to-do list.

  2. What is your go-to planner system? 
    Do you have inserts that you love or a specific way the your planning HAS to be done? Maybe you have a favourite pen that you HAVE to use every time, or a pack of coloured pens.

  3. What could you give up if you had to? 
    These items could be taken off of your essential list.

  4. What items are you constantly putting away?
    If you are putting it away a lot, that means that you are using it a lot and that it's important in your planning sessions.

  5. What is the first item that you would put out of reach if a rambunctious child or dog headed towards your planner things?
    Those are your favourites, your essentials.

Still not sure? Grab your planner and hit play on this week's YouTube video, maybe seeing my essentials may help you decide.



Fresh Starts and Sharp Pencils!

Did you know that every few weeks, I create a project and write a blog post for Simple Stories and Carpe Diem. Today, I'm going to share my latest project with you here:

School titleHappy September planner girls! I’m a planner lover and a school supply addict! September is such a fun time of year. That back to school season is fantastic with it’s fresh starts, sharp pencils and crisp new notebooks. It’s a time to set new goals or learn something new, even if you aren’t going back to school and you don’t have children going back either. 

School title 2I’ve used the School Rocks collection to decorate my TN to help me plan my month, week and day and to plan in those goals as well. This collection is perfect for us school or office supply addicts! First off, I decorated my goal page, this page has lots of space for lists (I’m addicted to lists too!) and notes. 

School goal pageThe lists are labelled for you but you can use the stickers from the Planner Basics Sticker Tablet to cover them with list titles that suit you best. I covered up ‘Notes’ with a pencil label sticker and added ‘September’ so that I can use the notes page as a general ideas and brainstorming place as I plan the month. The big pencil looks cute with the stack of pencils running down the side of the page.

School goal close upI got ambitious and fussy cut 7 paperclips and then 7 pushpins to use as my checklists. I find fussy cutting relaxing but if you don’t like it, you can use some of the small stickers from the Planner Basics tablet instead. 

School checklistOnto to the monthly spread. I mixed stickers from the September page of the Seasons Sticker Tablet and the Cardstock Stickers from the School Rocks collection.

School monthlyI don’t tend to write a lot in the monthly spread so I can afford to put the large, full stickers in my boxes. My six children go back to school on 3 different days (yes, that’s annoying, but it’s also allows me to focus more on each child on their special day) so I marked those with big stickers. I also marked the first day of autumn with a sticker. With the paper airplanes I mimicked the dashed trails from the paper airplane card from the cut apart paper. I used small round navy number stickers from the Number Sticker tablet for the days.

School monthly close upMoving on to the weekly spread, there were lots of ‘First Day of School’ stickers to choose from so I was able to use 2 in this spread.

School weeklyI combined stickers from the collection, the tablets and fussy cut bits from the papers to complete this page. I cut strips of patterned papers to trim the top and bottom of the pages.

School weekly close upFor the daily spread, I simply decorated around the edges of the pages, because I like lots of space to write, I try to keep my to-do list to a minimum each day, but I’ll use the space for notes and brainstorming too. 

School daily close upThe schedule side of the page however will be completely full! Lots to do in a day with 6 children going back to school!

School dailyIf you’d like to see how I made these pages, you can find a process video on my YouTube channel here: Plan With Me September 2018

Or hit play here:


 Are you addicted to school supplies? Do you love a fresh notebook? Then the School Rocks collection is perfect for you :D

School end