Things that make me happy #1

All the happy mail I have been receiving the last couple of weeks from sweet people who want to make me feel better while being bedbound. It makes my day when I receive a sweet card, homemade brownies, a bunch of flowers, sticker sheets or a nice letter.

I got an illustrator to make a custom portrait for my blog and social media and I am in love with it. The actual print will arrive next week and I can’t wait to frame it and put it in my office/craft room. She even added my planner. You can see the image in my header and on my about me page. One of my friends is going to turn it into a sticker, so excited for that!

These little foxes in this blogpost, do I need to say more.
Who doesn’t love a cute fox?!

Watching lots of youtube videos about planners and journals and getting really inspired by them. Do you know of any planner channels I should be subscribed to? There’s always room for more, especially while being bedbound.

Planner stickers from Etsy, especially Fox and Cactus stickers. All my stickers are in little photo books but my Fox and Cactus stickers are in a box of their own as I own so many. I just love adding functional stickers to my pages, I might be slightly addicted.

My hairdresser. I send him a message about being bedbound and needing a trim and asking if he knew any hairdressers who did house visits. And he told me he would come after work next week to come trim them for me while that is not something he normally does. And I think that is so sweet of him!

The colour yellow. I used to hate this colour as a child but it makes me so happy nowadays. I recently painted a table bright yellow and every time I see it I have to smile, it’s such a fun colour! I like how it gives my craft room which is mostly grey and white a pop of colour. I also love writing with yellow ink in my fountain pens.

Skype calls with friends. It’s hard to be social when you are bedbound and in a lot of pain and Skype calls are a good way to be social while still resting and looking after yourself.

How amazing my dogs have been since being bedbound, they are very protective of me and always know when I need a little cuddle. It’s amazing how dogs can feel how you are doing before you even know it. Yesterday I woke up with one dog on my feet and one by my side, which had not happened in a long time. Then I realised how awful I felt, I am having severe withdrawal symptoms from my painkillers and my dogs were there for me all day.

A year ago I received a little Pilea baby (it’s a plant) and it has grown into a beautiful plant which produces lots of Pilea babies. I give most away but some of the weaker ones I keep myself. I love naming them, seeing them grow up and it’s such a cute plant to look at. I have given away about 6 babies so far I think and I love making people happy with their own little baby plant. I have 3 babies in soil right now and 1 in a cup of water to grow roots. I have never been so into plants as I am with my Pilea’s but they are just so adorable!

My Planner History #2

Last week I wrote a blog post with my planner history part one where I talked about my planners from 2013 to 2015 and now I will talk about the last few years. Warning; this is a very picture heavy blog post!


In 2015 I switched sizes and planners a lot, 2016 was the year I did not switch planners/sizes often but I struggled to find the perfect insert. I made all of my own inserts and the downside to that is that you could change every week if you wanted to because you can just design and print some new pages. And that is what I did some months.

In January I switched my Black Malden for an Ochre Malden, I had always wanted that colour so I was really excited for that. I stayed in the Personal size for the entire year.

I started the year in a trifold monthly page, this way you get bigger boxes per day. I also started with a horizontal week on 2 pages.

I tried an insert with Erin Condren sized boxes and hated it so that only lasted one week. I quickly went back to week on 2 pages.

I still think the Ochre Malden Filofax is one of the prettiest planners out there. I started using a daily insert for the days on which I was really busy.

And then I switched to a week on one page with a grid page on the right. And this was my insert for the next 10 months! I love this insert and how functional the grid page is. I hosted a couple planner meetups at my house in 2016. I love having lots of creative people at my house.

I use a lot of stickers in my planner but over 90% of them are functional!

A yearly fold-out I designed, and back to the regular month on 2 pages.

Even though this is a post about my planner history, I had to insert a sneaky picture of my journal. And I bought this black Finchley planner at the end of the year and this was supposed to be my planner for 2017.


I started the year in a standard sized Travelers Notebook as a journal and my Personal Black Finchley Filofax as a planner.

And I used that for the first couple of months, and then I made the switch to a Travelers Notebook for planning and journaling! After a couple of years in rings this was a huge step! I switched in April, and I did not just move from rings to a Travelers Notebook but I also changed sizes. I started planning and journaling in an A6 size.

At first, I used a week on one page plus daily pages in one booklet per month. I bought this amazing A6 from Meadowgate Leather and the leather is amazing!

I realised the week on one page was too small so I switched to a week on two pages layout in May. I also started my A6 sized journal and I am loving the more compact page. It is a lot more portable.

And now we are in July and I made another huge change. I loved my A6 notebook which I used to journal so much, I purchased another one. It has dotted pages and I am drawing monthly and daily pages myself! I have stepped away from weekly pages and just use my months and days. This is my big experiment to see if I want to switch to a Hobonichi in 2018. I would put that in a Travelers Notebook so that I could use some other inserts as well. Even though it has only been twelve days, I am loving it. I have not missed my printed pages yet and I am loving the A6 size compared to a Personal sized planner.

Action handlettering and illustration book flipthroughs

I bought both of these books at Action for 2 euro’s a book, which is a steal! The books are filled with amazing content and practice sheets. If you see these books in store, grab them!

I can’t wait to start practising my handwriting and drawing, they are both things I really want to practise and these books are a great way to get that started.

B6 Travelers Notebook printables

You might not have noticed yet, but I offer a lot of free printables on this blog. If you use a travelers notebook you should go here and if you use a ringbound planner (Filofax, Kikki K, etc.) you should go here. I am always open for suggestions on sizes and inserts. After my blog post with passport sized inserts I got a request for B6 sized inserts, and as I have noticed the B6 size has become more popular I decided to make some. I will add these to my collections page which you can find here.

Favourite AliExpress purchases #1

If you need some advice on how AliExpress works, go here for my guide filled with tips and tricks. If you already know how to use the website, keep reading. I am sharing five of my favourite purchases and will start doing this every month.This month it’s all stationery but it won’t be like that every month, allthough I do love my stationery. There are so many amazing things to find on there! I have listed the prices as they are today, prices change daily so they might be different when you check.

  1. A6 Dotted Notebook

    Price:  € 3.35 // $ 3.76 // £ 2.91
    Shipping:   € 2.42 // $ 2.72 // £ 2.10
    KiMagic Store

    I have the dotted version, I love that the dots are quite light

    Whenever I post a photo of this notebook on Instagram I get several comments and private messages asking me where I got my notebook and whenever I tell them it’s from AliExpress they’re shocked and want the link. This notebook is my favourite notebook ever, there… I said it. I love the paper, the colour of the dots, the binding and most of all; the price. I use two of these on a daily basis, I plan in one and I use one as a journal. At first, I was a little disappointed because I thought all my pens were bleeding through the pages. But now that I have started using it I have realised that is not the case. It is not the best paper to use stamps on because most of my inks bleed through (I have tried a lot of brands) and when you use watercolours the paper wrinkles a little but I can use fountain pens without any issues. There is some ghosting when you use dark colours but it doesn’t bother me one bit. It comes dotted, lined, with grid pages and a version which has all of those pages in it.

    My pen, stamp ink, and watercolours test page


    This is the backside of those test pages


  2. Unicorn Stickers

    Price:  € 2.30 // $ 2.61 // £2.02
    Shipping: free
    Seller: Candy DIY Store

    These are a very recent purchase but as soon as I opened the package it was love at first sight. These unicorns are amazing. You get 40 different stickers and the quality is really well, they seem very sturdy so they will even last on the outside of notebooks or even on your laptop. They are small but not tiny, I would say the average height is 3 cm (1.2 inches). The seller also sells some amazing other sticker designs that are very unique. Not the cheapest stickers you can find on AliExpress but I do really love them.

  3. Fountain Pen

    Price:  €  1.39 // $ 1.59 // £ 1.23
    Shipping: free
    Seller: Jinhao Flagship Store

    I have fallen in love with fountain pens in June. I have had a fountain pen which I used to journal with but I was more of a ballpoint pen lover. But nowadays I only use fountain pens. The one I had was a Waterman pen I was gifted by my boyfriend’s father, it is luxurious and lovely. I use black ink in that pen as my standard pen. But now I have discovered Jinhao fountain pens on AliExpress and I am obsessed. I really did not think a pen this cheap would work well, but I am in love with every single one of my pens. I use Diamine ink in mine, which is not an AliExpress purchase. So I can’t tell you how they work with other types of ink. They sell several nib sizes so keep an eye out of for that. You could always order a few different pens with different nib sizes to try the sizes out. I now own 5 Jinhao pens and they are all inked up with different colours so I can switch easily.

  4. Pocket Scissors

    Price:  € 1.27 // $ 1.45 // £ 1.12
    Shipping: free
    Seller: Mohamm Store

    These scissors are such a clever solution for taking on the go. No more stab wounds from reaching in your pen pouch on the hunt for a particular pen and coming across your sharp scissors.These scissors come in a little container and when they are in their container they are tiny! Once opened up they are easy to use and I am very happy to have these in my pen pouch.

  5. Forest Concert Alice Decorative Stickers

    Price:  € 0.76 // $ 0.87 // £ 0.67 
    Shipping: free
    Seller: House of Novelty

    I have chosen the Forest Concert Alice design but I am basically in love with all stickers that come in these little boxes. You get a lot of stickers in one tiny little box and they are adorable! I own a few designs (cacti, flowers, circles with blue graphic prints on them etc.) but these are my favourites. Who doesn’t love an animal in clothing?! The only downside is that I find them annoying to store. And when you are looking for 1 design in particular you can spend a lot of time browsing through them all. But the quality is great and I love the designs so to me it is worth it!

Come back next month for some more great AliExpress purchases! What is your best AliExpress purchase ever, or do you have anything you think I would love?


AliExpress Guide

I am an avid AliExpress shopper and have quite some experience. I have noticed a lot of people are a little wary about it and are scared that items will not arrive safely. So I will write a little bit about signing up and ordering. Tomorrow I will show you some of my favourite purchases from AliExpress so come back tomorrow if you want to see those. I get a lot of questions about AliExpress and my purchases from there so I hope this will help!

  1. Sign up for an account. Fill in your address and you’re ready to go!
  2. Time to start searching! Just fill in search terms you’re interested in. This could be washi tape, stickers, pens, pouches, bags, paperclips, notebooks, clothing, whatever you want. You can sort on low to high pricing, best match, newest or amount of orders. If you check the box next to ‘free shipping’ it will only find items which you do not have to pay shipping for. You can also add a minimum and maximum price and choose the number of stars you want to item to have (1 is worst and 5 is best).
  3. Things you have to look out for are the feedback of the item you are looking at and the feedback of the seller of the item. I have added two screenshots of where you can find that. Also read the description of the item you are interested in very well! There is always a translate button to translate it to your own language but that does come with a lot of mistakes as Google Translate isn’t perfect.
    This shows you the feedback on the particular item.

    This shows the feedback of the seller, I only buy from sellers with 95% positive feedback or more. Also, look at that amazing circle I drew.
  4. I can only say this about Dutch buyers, but if I order from one seller I have to stay under 22 euros to avoid having to pay taxes. Try and find the rules for your country before you buy otherwise you can get fined with quite a lot of extra costs. This is excluding possible shipping costs.
  5. People are often scared that items will not arrive and that they will have lost their money. I have placed an enormous amount of orders and I have never had any issues. If the items have not arrived after 2-3 months I simply ask to get my money back. Sellers do not want negative feedback so are very helpful. AliExpress is also very hard on sellers, if they get a lot of complaints about certain sellers they will ban them from their website. If an item arrives broken or if it is different than described, you will also get a refund or get send a new item. So do not worry, you are very well protected. If you can’t solve your issue with the seller, you can contact AliExpress to mediate.
  6. AliExpress is your source for very cheap items. But prices vary between sellers. There is no harm in doing a little investigation between sellers. It can sometimes very several euros/pounds/dollars. If you use the mobile app you can even search for photos. I screenshot the item I am interested in and then search for that on the photo search function and then sort by lowest price first. This can save you a lot of money. A lot of items are also cheaper in the mobile add compared to on the website.
  7. You can add stuff to your cart and pay all sellers in one go, this saves a lot of hassle and time.

Have fun shopping, and come back tomorrow for my first blogpost with my favourite AliExpress purchases!

My planner history #1

Around four years ago I stumbled upon the planner community through Pinterest. I was mesmerised by all the pretty planners and decided I needed a Filofax because most people seemed to have that planner. I was on a very tight budget and couldn’t justify buying one right away so I started saving up money until I had saved enough to order. I also wanted to think about the planner I was going to purchase. At that time I was using a Moleskine weekly planner which I also loved but I wanted a planner in which I could add everything I wanted instead of a bound book.

2013 & 2014

I bought my first Filofax in November of 2013, it was an A5 Domino in red. I used the Filofax inserts for the first months. By this time I had started making YouTube video’s, but only in Dutch. If you are interested in those, you can go here.

In July of 2014 I switched to an A5 Original in Dark Aqua. I had been dreaming of that planner since March and I loved it! I bought that planner second hand and the seller gifted me some inserts from Piaric, which were all the rage back then. So for the rest of the year, I used those. I used a lot of decorative stickers, functional planner stickers hadn’t really become popular yet. I use planner stamps, lots of washi tape and coloured dot stickers as a colour coding system.

In November of that year, I bought a Personal sized Black Malden. And it started my most hectic year in the planner community. In December I added a fluro pink Original in the Personal size to my collection and I started switching between planners and sizes almost monthly. I recorded my first setup video in English in March of 2015 and I used both of my Personal sized planners back then.


In 2015 I went a little planner crazy, I bought and sold several planners and switched sizes a lot. I am not even going to name them all. I tried using pocket and mini sized Filofax as wallets which never worked for me. Even though I switched planners quite a lot I was pretty set on my planning style. I used the same style of inserts and planning and had the same sections in the planners. I just could not choose between planners, what size I wanted to use and if I wanted to use one of two planners at the same time.
In July I went back to the A5 size when I bought the Yellow Original which was my unicorn planner back then.

I  used this planner from July until November and that was the moment I finally decided A5 planners were not for me. I am a smaller sized planner girl! So I went back to my Personal Malden. This is also the time I started to design and print my own inserts, and I never went back to any other inserts. In this setup I still used some other inserts but in 2016 I completely switched to my own inserts. This was also the year I got into Planner stickers. I purchased my first stickers on Etsy in September of 2015. I used a mix of functional planner stickers and store-bought decorative stickers at that time.


So now we are at the end of 2015 and I will continue this story next week. We have two more years to go and I still have a lot to tell. When did you start planning and has your planning style changed a lot?

My thoughts on being bedbound

Four weeks ago I fell off my bike while being on holiday. Where normal people would be in pain for a few days and have some bruising, I am not normal and have been bedbound for the last four weeks. I have a pain disorder so my body responds differently to impacts like falling. So instead of enjoying my holiday I laid in bed and went home a couple of days early.

Because of the painkillers I was put on, I was very sleepy and drowsy for the first couple of weeks so I couldn’t really do anything. I couldn’t read because I couldn’t lift a book or focus on what I was reading, I couldn’t watch movies or tv shows because I kept falling asleep or I forgot what I had just seen. I could only lay flat on my back so I couldn’t use my planner or journal. So I just watched a lot of YouTube video playlists because it didn’t matter if I missed a few.

It is very easy to get depressed when you are stuck in bed and unable to do anything. But it has always been my motto that no one ever got any better from crying all day. Not saying that you are not allowed to cry or that everyone has to feel this way, but I always try and stay positive. And yes, I have cried, yelled and gotten very upset. But my main focus is staying positive and look at the small things. So I am going to share a few things I learned along the way.

  • Don’t be stubborn. I am a very stubborn person and have a hard time accepting help from others. But when you are stuck in a bed and unable to do anything you have to ask for help. So I have a friend who walks my dogs, makes me coffee sometimes, sits at my house if I am expecting a package and waits until it gets there and goes to buy me certain things I need. I have a friend who takes me to doctor’s appointments when my boyfriend can’t take me and have several friends and family members who cook us dinner so my boyfriend get’s a little time for himself while looking after me. Because it is important for the person who looks after you to have some free time as well. Otherwise that person will end up in bed as well!
  • bed table
    This was right after I got my bed table and was able to use my planner for the first time in a long time

    Try and get things that will make life easier. I rented a wheelchair and toilet seat raiser. I borrowed a walker from a friend and purchased a bed table so I could use my planner and journal again. This really made things easier and made my world a little bigger.

  • Make a list of things you want to do when you get out of bed. This list really motivates me in my recovery. It includes small things like “go on a walk with the dogs” and “cook a meal” but also big things like go on a day trip with my boyfriend (we had to cancel our summer holiday due to this but I hope we can go on a day trip eventually). The list gets longer every day and it will probably take me a really long time to accomplish it all but I love looking at it.
  • Appreciate the tiny steps forward! This is really important as your recovery might take a long time and seem slow. But if you really look at it, these tiny steps are so important. Last week I sat in my wheelchair for 30 minutes while my friend Kirsten pushed me and walked my dogs. It was my first time outside in a while and it was amazing. It really hurt and I was exhausted afterwards but I did it, and I could not have done that a week before. I have also started walking with my walker around the parking lot in front of my house. It is a 30-metre walk which seems short but to me, it is a marathon and I have to rest a couple of hours after doing it. But I am persevering and try to add laps every couple of days. These small steps will add up and help me get back to normal.
  • Treat yourself! It sucks being in bed so it doesn’t hurt to treat yourself a little bit. Buy yourself some nice new pyjamas or a nice shower gel. Try not to eat too many treats as you are not burning a lot of calories while you are stuck in bed. Offcourse you can eat some chocolate every now and then but portion control is important. You don’t want to gain too much weight during your bed rest.
  • Ask friends to come over. Please make sure you do limit these stays because they are exhausting and might cause extra pain but it is nice to have some social interaction. I try and limit visits to 30-60 minutes.
  • Look after yourself! Even though everything you do takes up a lot of energy and will hurt I feel like it is important to keep looking after yourself. Eat good foods, take daily showers, change your pyjamas and bedding often, brush your teeth and comb your hair. These things are normal things when you are healthy but it is easy to want to skip when in pain. You will need help doing these things and it will take up energy but it will also make you feel human. Which is important.
  • When you are in a relationship, this can really take a toll on your partner. My boyfriend works full time and has to look after me before and after work. He makes me lunch, prepares drinks for the entire day and feeds the dogs before work. He then leaves for work at seven in the morning and comes back at half past five. He then has to make me dinner, help me undress, shower and dress. He has to clean the house, walk the dogs, do groceries and help me with other things I need. Sometimes I feel like he only is my caretaker and not my boyfriend. Those are the times when I have to turn that around and do something to make us feel part of a relationship. I try and take away some of his duties, spend some quality time with him or surprise him with a small gift.

I am very motivated to get back to normal and be able to live my life again. By noting down my small steps it all seems much more manageable! I will conquer this!
If you are bedbound, stay strong and a big virtual hug for you, because actual hugs might hurt 😉

Passport Travelers Notebook printables

passport wo2p printableYou might not have noticed yet, but I offer a lot of free printables on this blog. If you use a travelers notebook you should go here and if you use a ringbound planner (Filofax, Kikki K, etc.) you should go here. I am always open for suggestions on sizes and inserts. This morning someone asked me about Passport sized inserts and I realised I had made a bunch last week but never added them to my printable collection. So I am adding them right now and thought I would let you know. So the inserts listed down below are all passport sized, if you are looking for another size, go here.

A little introduction

My very first blog post on my new journey as an English blogger. I have had Dutch blogs for about 15 years but I wanted to broaden my audience a little bit by going English. So, let me introduce myself first *does a little wave*.

My name is Emma and I am 29 years old. I live in Groningen which is a city in the Northern part of the Netherlands. I live with my boyfriend Jasper, two European shorthair cats Jack & Sparrow and two Galgo dogs Pelo & Nero. My dogs are both rescued dogs from Spain where they were used and abused for hunting. One of them was very traumatised when we adopted him but they are both very happy boys now.

I was diagnosed with a pain disorder 6 years ago and was admitted to a rehabilitation centre to learn how to incorporate the pain into daily life. Planning out my days was a huge part of the training and it has helped me better my life quality. I have always used planners to note down appointments and such but this showed me a different way of planning. When I found the planner community 3,5 years ago I found like I had found my tribe. Finally I found a way to better my life and make it look awesome. I have learned so many things from the community to make my life even better.

I also love organising, tidying and cleaning, which is kind of funny as I should have been awarded for the messiest bedroom as a teenager. I used to have stuff all over the floor and a few small clean spots on the floor so I could hop to my desk and bed. My mum was always telling me to go clean it and get rid of all the junk. Fast forward 15 years and I love to find new ways to organise my stuff. I have an obsession for baskets and bins and go organise cabinets for fun. I blame my boyfriend for this new hobby, he is the tidiest person I have ever met. He puts away every single thing he touches after using it and can not stand a messy environment. I am nowhere near as tidy but I have started to love a tidy house where each item has a set “home”. It makes tidying so much easier, and I don’t spend as much time looking for certain items and finding them in random spots.

Galgo Olly Blanket

Besides planning and organising, I love to crochet. I mostly make blankets and love gifting people baby blankets when they are expecting. I also love to bake and will be sharing some recipes on my blog every now and then. I don’t bake very often as I love making unhealthy things and I don’t want to eat them all by myself. So I only try to bake when we are expecting guests. I am known to make loads of cakes and pies for our birthdays. It is my goal to make at least 3 new recipes each birthday. Nowadays I even get asked by friends and family to bake stuff for their birthdays. I love walking my dogs and have met some amazing people while doing so. And to get back to my blog name; I love to journal about everyday life. I chose to name my blog “a girl and her journal” because I felt like it was general enough to blog about all the things I love. As I would also journal about all these things!

I hope you feel like you have gotten to know me a little bit better by reading this first blog post. Feel free to leave me any questions you might have. I am happy to answer them! Hope to see you again soon.