Harry Potter Christmas Tree

Hello my lovelies,

I’m finally getting five minutes to blog about our awesome Harry Potter Christmas tree.  It’s been manic around here the past few days for various reasons and having to prepare for Christmas has made it more so.  But enough of that, onto the tree!

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Isn’t it fab?  Missy and I are so proud of our handiwork.

We’ve split the tree into the four house colours  using baubles but then decided against splitting the other decorations into sections and just went to town decorating to our hearts content.

I really love how some of our homemade Rememberall, Grim tea cup, spell book and potion bottle baubles turned out.

The homemade flying keys turned out well although it’s a bit difficult to see them on the tree from afar.

I’ve had so many good comments about the Weasley jumpers.

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One of my favourite decorations on the tree though are Luna Lovegood’s spectraspecs.  I got them 3D printed and decorated them with sharpies.

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Not all of the decorations are homemade. Many are shop bought due to time constraints.  The flying key (known in Matalan as dragonfly key) was £3 in Matalan.

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Primark had loads of amazing Harry Potter items in this year.  Although some cheeky folks were buying anything Potter related they could find and selling them on ebay for quadruple the price, I still managed to get my hands on a few bits.  Like this gorgeous platform 9 3/4 bauble that I got for £5.SONY DSC

In the top left corner, of the picture below you’ll see some potter book page scrolls.  I rescued a copy of a Harry Potter book from the bin (it had been scribbled in) and used the pages to craft.

The marauder’s map was purchased from ebay along with the acceptance letter in the next picture down.  The white owls are from the Range and were £1.29 each I think.

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Big Ben was from Poundland of all places.

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The chocolate frog shell came on a keyring with a plastic chocolate frog.

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Another Poundland purchase.  Although these London themed decorations are not strictly Potter based, I thought they fitted in nicely with the theme since Harry is British.SONY DSC

I had planned on sewing a Dobby from scratch but ordered this one below when I ran out of time.

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The bundle from ebay included this cool platform 9 3/4 ticket and the knight bus ticket shown later.

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Harry’s glasses were from a fancy dress shop on ebay and the deathly hallows pendant came from a bracelet also from ebay.

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I adore the house ornaments I got from Primark fro £4 for the set.  I used a gem decoration as the Philosopher’s stone and got the mini broomsticks from ebay too. SONY DSC

This blue bauble looked like Jame and Lily’s patronuses and fit in perfectly.SONY DSCSONY DSC

Crookshanks had to have a look in. Which cat can resist a Christmas tree?

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Here’s the ministry of magic interdepartmental memo that we made earlier in the year following the tutorial from 10digitdesign.  There’s a free printable too.

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I was quite excited to find this Hermione Grange figurine in a local charity shop.SONY DSC

In the left hand side of this picture you’ll see a bauble filled with a cat collar and a toy.  These belonged to our cat George who went over the rainbow bridge to the Great Christmas Tree in the sky a couple of years ago. This bauble will remain on our tree year after year.

There are also some angel wings behind the Slytherin locket (ebay) as a reminder of those in the Potterverse who died in the fight against You-Know-Who.  You can also see the Amortensia potion and the Aquila magazine that featured Harry Potter in the Summer.

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Here’s a prophesy baubleSONY DSC

And a unicorn horn SONY DSC

Ravenclaw’s diadem is in the front and you can just about see some mini potion bottles too.   Somewhere in the nooks and crannies of the tree there’s a time turner, a felix felixis bottle, a golden snitch, a Hufflepuff tie and the Tri-wizard cup.SONY DSC

The bunting I got from Primark and the signs frame the fireplace nicely along with the potion bottle lights I made.

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I am still in love with my Hedwig owl that I got from Paperchase about 8 years ago now.   But check out the marauder’s map wrapping paper from Primark!  Amazing, right?

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There is so much more I could have done but I just ran out of time and tree space!SONY DSC

Maybe next year?

Bright blessings,

Mrs R

x

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Hot Chocolate Butterbeer Station

Hello my lovelies,

I have a confession to make.  I had planned on setting this Hot chocolate Butterbeer Station up on the last weekend of November, just in time for Christmas tree decorating but it’s just been so cold outside!

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Unfortunately, this little bureau is in a weird spot; on the small piece of wall that joins the back door of the kitchen to the living room sliding doors which means there are windows on either side. This makes taking a decent picture impossible, however, it means that everything I need to make a gorgeous cup of hot chocolate butterbeer is near the kettle.

This Butterbeer sign is from Two Delighted. As two fellow potterheads they have some gorgeous free printables for anyone wanting to recreate their fantastic Harry Potter party.

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Our hot chocolate station last year was a total mish-mash of different hot chocolate and drink powders and sprinkles.  This year, I wanted a much simpler look and I guess sticking with butterbeer instead of every other hot drink known to man means I’ve achieved that.SONY DSCKnowing I wanted to create a hot chocolate butterbeer station meant I could incorporate a few of the other Potter related projects I’ve worked on including the Three Broomsticks tray I made a couple of summers ago and my newest addition, the Butterbeer mugs.

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Originally, I was going to wait until we went to the Harry Potter Studio tour and buy some Butterbeer tankards there to make hot chocolate in.  I then realised that they would probably crack with hot liquid in them because they’re plastic and meant for a cold drink.   I then found a lovely lady on one of the groups I follow on Facebook who made me these specially printed labels that get baked onto glass!  I can’t tell you how delighted I am with how these heat resistant Butterbeer mugs came out.

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On a trip to TK Max earlier this year I found the Hazelnut and Vanilla syrups for £3.99 each and had to scoop them up for my Butterbeer station.  They taste awesome and really add something special to the mix.  I’ve also added some caramel syrup which was one  I picked up at Morrisons on sale for £2.

The sprinkles above are small honeycomb pieces I got from B&M in the baking section and tiny gold sprinkles that are from Morrisons Christmas range. They’re the perfect addition to any Butterbeer hot chocolate.

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The recipe for Hot Chocolate Butterbeer is as follows.  Make up your favourite hot chocolate the way you usually do.  Add 1 tablespoon of vanilla syrup, 1 teaspoon of hazelnut syrup, 1 teaspoon of caramel syrup and mix well.  Add squirty cream and top with white marshmallows and sprinkles.  Or chocolate ice cream syrup topping.

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It couldn’t be easier!

Bright blessings,

Mrs R

xxx

Harry Potter Movie Night

Hello my lovelies,

Since we are not into going trick of treating since Missy was diagnosed dairy, soya and apple free we have chosen to celebrate at home this year.

I have been collecting Harry Potter its and pieces since the beginning of the year for our Harry Potter Christmas and lots of it is coming in handy for our movie night.

 

The Gryffindor and Hufflepuff blankets, and themed cushions were all bought at Primark.

The cauldron is an actual pot that you cook on the fire with. It’s called a Potjie pot in South Africa and I’ve served sweet and salty popcorn in it.  Being dairy free means Missy can’t have caramel popcorn but it’s good that she doesn’t really like it anyway.

I made the chocolate frogs using a mould I bought on Amazon and the ginger cats were from the Co-op.

The sherbert lemons can be found from morrisons and the time turner and Gryffindor scarf were from ebay.

I love this Polyjuice mason jar mug from Primark and drink my wine out of it!   I made the potion bottle lights using some led lights, potion labels from etsy and mini potion bottles from the Works.

The pumpkin drinking glasses are from Primark and were only £2.50 each. Bargain!  The owls were from the Range and the potion bottles were from Poundland.

Flossy the Pygmy Puff was a gift from a craft swap and is Missy’s beloved pet.

As you can see below we are having Bertie Botts every flavour beans, chocolate frogs, cat shaped cookies, liquorice wands, UFO’s of Flying Whizzbeez, lemon sherberts and sweet and salty popcorn.

Of course, we are having dinner before we tuck into all of these sweeties!SONY DSC

Happy Halloween!

Mrs R

x

Easy Focaccia

Hello my lovelies,

I must apologize for not blogging much recently, I am working on rectifying this and hope to bring you some great blog posts, recipes and ideas every week starting today.

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It’s half-term for us and as such I try to do some baking or cooking with Missy (DD has now been renamed to Missy since she’s 7 going on 15!). She was really craving pizza but as a dairy free kid she can’t have shop bought pizza.  I know I can buy frozen pizza bases but I find they expensive when we can whip up a batch of pizza dough for mere pennies.  Plus, I get the added bonus of teaching Missy about weights and measures and help her to learn the life skill of cooking.

We made her pizza and used Marchego cheese which is a hard goats cheese. While I know this isn’t dairy free it doesn’t contain the cows milk protein that affects her, however, she only has it occasionally.

After we made her pizza, there was a lot of dough left and I really didn’t fancy pizza because I was having chicken soup for lunch.  Then I had an inspired thought… I could make focaccia!

 

This pizza dough is really versatile and can be used to make pizzas, focaccia, calzones, dough balls and much more.  Check out Kitchn’s post for some great ideas.

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Here’s the pizza dough recipe I use.  It’s easy enough for kids to help but best made in the morning so that it has time to prove if you want to use it to make lunch. If you’re using it to make dinner, make it in the early afternoon.

Easy Pizza dough

500g plain flour

1 sachet of dried yeast

1 tsp each of sugar and salt

250ml of warm water mixed with 2 tsp olive oil

Mix all the ingredients together in a large bowl until the dough is soft and well combined.  Knead well in the bowl for about 5 minutes to break down the gluten.

Place the dough in a warm place covered with a tea towel for about an hour until it’s doubled in size. Probably about an hour or so.

Knead the dough again  (also called knocking it back) for another 5 minutes. Cover with the tea towel and allow to rise in warm place.  About 1-2 hours.  It should be nicely risen.

This should make one small pizza and one swiss roll pan sized focaccia.

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To make the focaccia,  simply grease a swiss roll pan with a little olive oil and press the remaining pizza dough into the pan.  Make little dents in the dough with your fingers pressing all the way into the bottom of the pan.  Add some fresh sprigs of rosemary and brush with more olive oil all over the surface. Sprinkle with sea salt and bake at 220 degrees Celsius until it’s golden brown.

Simples!

 

I hope you enjoy this recipe and as always, if you try the recipe please leave me a comment and let me know how you enjoyed it.

Bright blessings,

Mrs R

x

 

 

 

From doom and gloom to va va voom!

Hello my lovelies,

I have been a woman on a mission recently.  I have been watching loads of Youtube videos from some inspirational women who have been sharing their organizing and housekeeping tips and ideas. I’m totally hooked!

You see, for some reason if my home is messy and unorganized, I feel stressed.  And anxious.  And miserable.  And one thing I’ve learned in my life.  ‘Ain’t Mama happy, ain’t nobody happy!’  I’ve been feeling completely anxious in my home for years but haven’t known how to get my home in shape.  Not only that, I have been so trapped in my own anxiety and misery that I haven’t been able to do something more permanent about the clutter and craziness.   Of course, I’d open a wardrobe, see it in a mess, tidy it and next week it would be back to being a mess. I couldn’t understand why.  The answer, is mostly because

a) you can’t clean/tidy clutter

b) you gotta have a long lasting solution – not just refolding everything in the same way and hope that it will stay like that when it’s never stayed tidy before

So, watching these Youtube videos has been really motivating for me and is really helping me to see how I can improve the organization of my home. Not only so that I can keep it more tidy, but also so that it becomes easier for my husband and daughter to keep things tidy.  Another thing I am finding so refreshing and amazing is that I can now open a cupboard and lay  my hands on exactly what I need withing 30 seconds.  Life changing!  I’ll be sharing some of these organization pictures with you over the next few weeks but today I wanted to show you how we transformed a ghastly corner in our living room.

Our living room, dining ro om and kitchen are open plan. It’s basically a big L shape and up until a few weeks ago, we shared this space with my dirty little secret.  By this I mean, the Bookshelf of Doom and Gloom.

It was just horrible.  So bad in fact, that I would chuck an old duvet cover over it just to hide the contents. I’m going to show you a picture, so you may want to sit down.

Are you ready?

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It was just plain nasty!  It was like a clutter magnet and sucked every bit of nasty clutter straight into it like a black hole. Something had to be done.  The problem was that in order to clear out this bookshelf, I needed to re-organize my kitchen cupboards and get rid of some stuff to make space for the things in the Bookshelf of Doom and Gloom that we actually used.

So one morning, after a good bolstering of Youtube videos and motivation, I get down to work. We’d bought a Kallax unit from Ikea which one of my Youtube guru’s Clutterbug and I was determined to have it in my living room before the end of the day.

I’m not going to lie.  It took me the entire day!  And two trips to do the charity shop to donate items.  The ENTIRE day.  To sort my kitchen and set up this gorgeous unit. But it’s sooooooo much nicer and not only looks pretty but it’s so functional.

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Some of my glassware made it into the unit along with my Christmas planner – the striped file and my home control journal in the other folder along with a few recipe books we frequent.

The drawers contain all our hair supplies that we use every morning like hair brushes, ties, detangler and the hair dryer.  The second drawer keeps our stationery for homework.

The bottom drawer holds all our school homework aids, work books, dictionary/thesaurus etc. The bottom drawer on the right holds all my seasonally changed candle holders and other decorative knick knacks that I like to change around.

I am so happy with the way it came out!  Now when I see it, I feel almost zen like calm!  I go into the kitchen and can immediately find stuff.  It’s a homemade miracle!

Now you’ll have to excuse my kitchen cabinetry.  We are still renovating our house and the kitchen, while it has been rejigged using the existing cabinets, is still in need of a complete make over.  We’ve scrubbed the cupboards out but they’re still gross inside.

But look!

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When I open the plastic cupboard door everything doesn’t fall out on me!  It’s so liberating!  The blue plastic baskets were purchased years ago and were in the spare room holding crap we long since got rid of so they landed up in the plastic cupboard to corral everything. The plain white bin on the right was bought a few days ago at Poundland. I bought a whole stack and you will see how handy they are in later posts.

And I’ve just realised that I’ve stuck the labels for the blue baskets on the wrong baskets!  Nevermind!

This was our junk drawer. Excuse the crap picture.

IMG_3945You couldn’t close this drawer. It was shoved so full of rubbish. Now it has 4 little baskets – I got these in a set of 2 at Poundland – that hold our flashlights and lighters for the BBQ and my various candles.  The other little basket hold the electric toothbrush charger that we always charge on the kitchen counter for some reason.  We also keep batteries in another little basket (with zip lock bags to separate some rechargeable batteries that have been charged and some disposable batteries to be taken for recycling) and the last bin holds ties and pegs for open packages in the pantry.  It still looks messy but it’s organised mess and I can lay my hands on stuff in a second.

Can you hear the angels singing?

Now I could show you under the sink but it’s just more organizing really and nothing revolutionary.

But I wanted to show you this clever idea to help your kids feel more accomplished and give you a break.  My daughter is turning 7 this week and can quite easily make herself some squash or get herself a snack if she asks.  But she wasn’t able to do this because not only could she not reach the snacks/squash, she would have to  wade through the nightmare of a plastic cupboard to find her cups.  Well, no more!

She now has a little cupboard with her things in it.  She has her sports bottles and cups with the squash ready for her to use. And She has a basket of snacks that she can choose from if she asks.  She loves this idea and says she feels like a big girl.  Aw! Mommy heart melt moment!

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If you’re wondering where I found these fabulous labels that you can personalize, print off and laminate at home, check out Clutterbug’s website where she has them free to download.

Today I finished my Family Control Centre which looks fabulous!  I’ll show you that next time.

For now, just know that organizing like this takes time but it’s so rewarding when you feel less stressed.

Bright blessings,

Mrs R

x

More Harry Potter Christmas crafts

Hello my lovelies,

I’m back today to show you what I’ve been up to the past couple of weeks.

I made a niffler!  He looks a bit like a pot bellied duck but I could only find a pattern.  Zero instructions. It was an extremely frustrating week.  But he’s finished and my daughter loves him.

We’re calling him Ned.

Ned the Niffler.

And as you can see, he’s ready trying to nick my belcher chain.

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Yesterday, Missy and I spent some quality time making these potion bottles to hang on the tree. Thankfully, we didn’t need to use a glue gun for this.  Did I mention that my glue gun blew up.  In my hand.  Bang!  Smoke!  Me:  *freak out*

Glue gun: 1

Me: 0

We used super glue to glue the corks in instead of hot glue.

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Please excuse the dust on our wood burner!  Super embarrassing!

Besides the potion bottles that I got from The Works for £1, I had everything else for this craft project at home.

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I bought the labels from an Etsy shop a couple of years ago when I participated in a Harry Potter craft shop.  I’d say all in this project only cost me about £2.50

Winner, winner chicken dinner!SONY DSC

I’m still in the process of making the gillyweed label which didn’t come with the set from the etsy shop.  Once that’s done,  I’ll have a little set of 6 potions or ingredients for our potter tree.SONY DSC

Next up, a Dobby figurine made out of felt.  He’s probably going to be as good as the niffler!

Bright blessings,

Mrs R

x

 

Harry Potter Filofax Planner

Hello my lovelies,

I’m am soooooooooo excited to share my baby with you.  As you all know, I’m a die hard Harry Potter fan and with the release of Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, my love for the wizarding world of Harry Potter has grown. I’ve had a planner of sorts most of my adult life but this is the first time I’ve had planner peace because my planner now is a complete reflection of me. Introducing, my Harry Po

I found this Finsbury real leather filofax at a charity shop for £2! I know, it was a real bargain. Over the past two months, my planner has really blossomed and come together beautifully. I’m so proud of it.

First of all, my family bought me a Harry Potter themed pandora-knock off bracelet and while I loved it, it kept getting in the way and caught on things so I recycled it into a planner charm for my filofax. I added Gryffindor colour beads and love the way it turned out.

From the top you can see the washi tape paper clips I made to mark some pages. I have tabs running along the top and right hand side of my planner.

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My chocolate frog and Deathly Hallows charms decorate the bottom.

This is the inside cover and the first things you see are some bits I’ve collected. The dashboard was made using some scrapbook paper and an image I found online. I added the little baby hedwig pic I found online as a type of tab to help me turn the page.  Of course, no journey into the world of Harry Potter would begin at any other place other than platform 9 3/4.

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Tiny Hedwig owl by  Cryptid-creations

 

I made the paperclip behind the Godric Gryffindor chocolate frog card using a large wooden button I found at The Works.  The Knight Bus licence was made for me by Woozelmom in a swap. Woozelmom makes the most A-mazing themed craft projects.   Check out my previous swap post about the wonderful things she sent me.

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On the other side of my filofax cover is a tag from a pair of Harry Potter pyjamas that I got for Christmas which was addressed to Harry. I kept it because I thought it was cute.  I then have some washi tape samples that I use in my planner to decorate pages.  Above that is my miniature Marauder’s map.  I love it!  It was a printable from Britta Blvd and you can find the link to the printable here.  The snitch card is one I got from a RAK from Storm in a tea cup gifts. They do lovely themed subscription boxes. 18033070_10154959681305659_7050404997375769262_n18033343_10154959575120659_1429067500139513524_n

From this view, you can see the tabs are planning, lists and occasions as well as a little peep of Pigwidgeon.18033407_10154959575125659_8659674820507246476_n

Through platform 9 3/4 the first thing you see is of course a Hogwarts Express ticket and my personal information that I’ve blanked out.  I figured that if my planner got lost I’d be distraught and would hope that someone would contact me to give it back.

I’ve also added mine and my daughter’s vital information such as allergies and medication that we take.  God forbid, we are ever in an accident, our information, along with my husband’s contact details are printed there as an emergency contact. Inked17992330_10154959575250659_211426713908378420_n_LI

Then comes the Hogwarts express which naturally follows on if you go through the barrier at Platform 9 3/4. I love the Hogwarts silhouette tab on the right of the page.

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On the back of the Hogwarts Express poster, I keep my owl sticky notes and tabs and my main goals for the year.

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The next first actual section is my planning section. This seems like a subject Hermione Granger would be adept at which is why I place a picture of her here. Again, I found this online through searching Google images here .

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Turning the page, there’s a quote from Ron Weasley, who was talking about Hermione at the time and then my lunar calendar. Most people think I’m crazy logging the lunar cycle but I find that the cycle of the moon really has an affect on my moods.

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The pages that follow include dates for the academic year, weekly prompts for when I’m planning my week, yearly calendar, my future log page where I write down all events and dates to remember as I find out about them, my perpetual calendar and my Yearly planner calendar pictured below.

The Knight Bus ticket was another gift from Woozelmom and I’ve laminated it to keep it nice.

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This Dumbledore quote is on the other side of my weekly prompts list and next to my future log pages.

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My favourite picture of Newt Scamander graces the list section divider.

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And one of my favourite moments of Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find them is on the other side of Newt along with my to do list pages.  Link here.18010873_10154959576245659_966801931237913801_n

My brain dump pages follow on from the To Do List pages. Don’t you love my pencil wand? I made it using a pencil, hog glue and paint. 18010264_10154959576395659_5625836229883820987_n

The occasions divider where I can plan any entertaining we are doing, birthday parties etc.

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Another Dumbledore quote and some birthday plans for my daughter’s birthday party.

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The next section is dedicated to my pen pals and contains their addresses and a log of letters written and received.  I love the little tab topper of Pigwidgeon. Hogsmeade poster here.

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One of my favourite characters and quotes from the series along with my pen pal letters sent and received log. Picture here18033369_10154959576955659_6019791198061277798_n

The next section is a where my daily planner pages start. The photograph was taken when my daughter and I visited Platform 9 3/4

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A map of Hogwarts follows and then it’s my monthly goals.  I like to set out my monthly goals along with my weekly intentions. More on those pages to follow.

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Here are my page per day pages.  I created them in powerpoint where all my pages are created.  I love how my page marker turned out. It has my morning and evening routines printed on it.

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My weekly intentions page is for things that I intend to get done during the week. I like the term intentions better than to do list.

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My finance section comes next. The snitch picture can be found on etsy here.

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Another Dumbledore quote found here.

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I haven’t shown my budget which is personal but I have shown some blank expenses pages and online purchase log pages.  I’m not sure about you but I sometimes forget what I’ve ordered especially if the items will take weeks to arrive such as some items ordered from China.  My purchase log keeps me updates of what is still to arrive.

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My personal section comes next.

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My transfiguration (weight loss measurements) come next and there are a few of these pages to help keep me on track. I adore Luna. I can’t find where I got this picture from but if you come across it please message me and I’ll give all due credit.

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Then there’s my cosmic ordering pages come next – they’re basically manifestation pages by another name.  If you are unfamiliar with the concept, check out the book The Cosmic Ordering Service or the website on the link above.

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Because my work can take me all over the area, I like to keep a log of where I’ve worked that isn’t my usual base and I have titled these pages Muggle Business.  Then there are pages for the Books I’ve read, books I’ve got on order at the library and books I want to read.17992308_10154959578085659_6157492901752482001_n

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Next comes The Burrow which is Swish cottage or our home.

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I keep things pertaining to our home here such a cleaning schedules, family schedules, details on family members such as clothing sizes and needs, wish lists etc.  Gryffindor poster can be found here17991900_10154959578405659_518650383477173535_n18010260_10154959578550659_4662343018696252841_n

Then there’s menu planning.  This adorable owl pic can be found here.

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I plan my weekly menu here along with any shopping that needs to be done. Again, I can’t remember where I got this picture from but if you know the source please let me know.

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Next comes my freezer, fridge and freezer inventories17952922_10154959583705659_2815238831386430107_n18033342_10154959584160659_3932955183703183554_n

There is also a page for writing down items I need to stock up on.

The last section is for writing where I keep blog post ideas along with my book ideas and notes. I love Vincent van Gogh paintings and this Hogwarts image done in the van Gogh style is just phenomenal.

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At the very back, I have a little pocket folder that I made to keep stickers, a couple of birthday cards and my Morrisons savers stamp folder. What would Hermione do image can be found here.

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I could go into so much more detail about the way I use my planner but I’ve run out of time!  This has been a lengthy post!

I hope you love my planner as much as I do.

Bright blessings,

Mrs R

x