Rapesco 6-Hole Planner Punch Review

As a planner geek, I’m always on the look out for items that will help me stay organised. I currently use a ring-bound planner and this single hole punch to prepare my inserts, but I’ve lusted after a 6-hole punch to save time for a while now, because busy!

When Rapesco got in touch to ask me to review their 6-hole Adjustable Planner Punch, I nearly bit their hand off. IT COMES IN PINK PEOPLE!rapesco-6-hole-planner-punch-review-claireabellemakes

So yes, this blog post is going to be a comprehensive review of a hole punch. My planner girls will get it – but feel free to click away if this isn’t your thing, I totally understand!

The hole punch is fairly compact and light for a 6-hole one, and has a lock on the outer side to keep it in a closed position when not in use. Good for storage.rapesco-6-hole-punch

According to their website, “the Rapesco Adjustable 6-hole punch is compatible with most organiser and diary sizes including A5, A6, Mini, Pocket, Personal, Slimline, Compact and Agenda”. I use an A5 planner and can definitely recommend it for those of you fed up with using the single hole punch 6 times for each sheet!multi-planner-hole-punch

The punch comes in quite a few colours (although how cute is the pink?!) and has a 10 sheet capacity. I tested this out and can say I was impressed! Before punching,  you line up each side to the planner size you are using.

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Next, you move the adjustable paper guide to the size of your planner. Nice and easy!
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Unlike some bigger punches (such as this Filofax A5 hole punch), it can punch 3 holes at a time, then the paper needs to be flipped over to punch the remaining 3 holes. I don’t mind this too much as it’s still an improvement on punching 6 holes individually. I know this might bother some people, but I do think the compact size of the punch makes up for this extra step.
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The punch has a flip open confetti tray that looks as though it will hold a lot. It is easy to open as the grey part seems to be made of a rubber of some sort.

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Rapesco give a 15 year guarantee with this punch too which I think is pretty ace for a product like this! I think my bloody hoover is only 3 years!planner-hole-punch-review

Overall I’m impressed with this planner punch. I started testing it with paper sheets, then punched a thicker card (actually this print which I have used as a dashboard below) and also a laminated sheet. It coped with everything very well.blogging-before-jogging-planner-dashboard

So a big thumbs up for this one guys. Anything that makes our planning lives easier eh?!adjustable-planner-punch-reviewI am thinking of using my ring bound planners for business planning in 2017 and switching my personal planning to a Bullet Journal. What works best for you? I’d love to hear from those of you who use Bullet Journaling on a day to day basis.
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The planner punch will be available soon and stockists will be released on the Rapesco website here. Rapesco kindly sent me this punch free of charge for review purposes, but as always, opnions are entirely my own.

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Cambridge Creatives Photowalk

On Saturday, Jo and I met a group of creatives for a photowalk around Cambridge. After frantically checking the weather forecast all week, I sent everyone a message to bring an umbrella and wear their most colourful outfits. We had planned our route to enjoy some of the classic Cambridge cottages, as well as venturing across the commons to the river, and back through the city to see the famous architecture.

Our friends at Cambridge Satchel Company had loaned us some gorgeous bags to wear on the day, so I chose the Periwinkle Blue Large Traveller Bag to fit my DSLR camera and a few other essentials in. cambridge-satchel-travellers-bag

Jo had illustrated an amazing map of the city to share the route with the photowalkers.

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We also had a fun bingo sheet to spot some typical Cambridge things. I think most people saw at least 6 of them!hellosunshine-cambridgephotowalk-bingocard

With ponchos and umbrellas at the ready, we ambled through town for a 2.5 mile wander allowing time for people to snap anything that caught their eye.
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Colourful doors were abundant! cambridge-cottage-doorways sunflower-bike-basket-decoration

Jo had made a couple of cow masks in case we didn’t spot any for the bingo. This guy was very happy to hang out with Jo whilst we all fell about laughing and taking photos.midsummer-common-cows cow-mask-fun

Of course I did some bike spotting along the river. bikespotting-cambridge

We stopped to share Jesus Green Lido with the photowalkers, which is apparently the longest outdoor pool in Europe. One swimmer was leaving as we entered and said it was 20 degrees and very pleasant.jesus-green-lido-cambridge

As the rain persisted, so did the photowalkers! We snapped wild flowers along the parks and everyone was in good spirits.cambridge-photowalk-jesus-green pink-bicycle

We saw one brave couple punting on the river, but no one else!rainy-punting-cambridgecambridge-satchel-company-bags

There wasn’t much opportunity for outfit posts as everyone was laden with raincoats and bags, but we did find a puddle to huddle around for a colourful shoe pic!cambridge-creatives-photowalk-colourful-shoes

Much fun was had with the umbrellas (one person had two different colours – that’s dedication!) and we played around with the Boomerang app to share some motion shots on Instagram.cambridgecreativesphotowalkumbrellas

Our final stop was the market square, so we stopped at the Cambridge Satchel Company shop for a colourful group shot.
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The walk ended with gelato at Aromi (the pistachio was amazing!) followed by a group lunch and more chit chat. Everyone agreed that it was a really fun morning despite the rain and that we should hold another in the Spring!gelato-in-cambridge

You can check out all the colourful images from the day on the #CambridgeCreativesPhotowalk tag on Instagram. People really embraced the day and it was so much fun to spend time with new and old friends!

A big thanks to Jo (and Hannah!) for helping plan the route, drawing the map and bingo sheet and to Cambridge Satchel Company for their support!

The Cambridge Satchel Co.

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Migraine Awareness Week 2016 – Your Questions

Some of you may have seen my post earlier in the week where I posted an update on my migraine condition. I choose this week to talk about it because it is Migraine Awareness Week in the UK and I feel it is important to share my experiences. Every time I do, it is followed by lots of messages and emails from strangers, and texts from real life friends and family. Everyone can relate to migraine because there are around 190,000 attacks every day in the UK (more stats here). You’re bound to know someone who suffers, or you may even suffer yourself.

Cambridge-Landmarks-Claireabellemakes

This week I took to Twitter to see if there were any questions about how I manage my condition. I had some really good responses, as well as people reaching out to share their stories and experiences with migraine.

Disclaimer – My responses are not medical advice, but purely my experience of managing migraine. What works for one person, does not necessarily work for all, so please do your research and seek support from healthcare professionals.

I have been very lucky with all my employers that they make an effort to understand the condition and to support my health issues. One of the things I found useful for me was to educate myself, and ensuring your employer is also educated is very important. The Migraine Trust have a fantastic Employment Advocacy Toolkit available for free on their website to help you manage migraine in the workplace. 

My advice would be to tell your employer what you need. I had an office job so had my workstation assessed, got a special chair with neck support and a screen cover to stop glare from the monitor. I was also able to get some adjustable lights in the office and was pleased they were able to make the changes for me. It really helped in managing my condition.

However, it’s not always simple to get what you need. Despite having those adjustments, the temperature of my office was very uncomfortable (consistently 30 degrees all summer with no air flow), and this contributed to how frequent my attacks were. It was very hard to get any help with this due to the organisations policy on air conditioning. So, it can be a frustrating process at times.

I know a lot of people have food triggers for attacks and I sympathise. Especially as it is often so difficult to pinpoint the exact things! Everyone is very different and for some people they might find that chocolate cravings are a symptom of an impending attack! This is certainly the case for me. I would recommend avoiding artificial sweeteners and alcohol and monitoring your attacks with a diary (this one is great). Identifying patterns and regular triggers will be useful for working out if certain foods affect your head.

I know that my migraines are very sensitive to blood sugar levels, so I make sure to eat little and often (every 3-4 hours). Slow release carbs are good for migraine sufferers and often a small healthy snack before bed can keep attacks away. It’s important to drink plenty of water too.

Anna’s question is similar to Em’s above, but I think there is more to say on this matter. In my experience, eating healthily is always useful for managing conditions. I also suffer with IBS and anxiety, and I know that too much caffeine can affect those, as well as migraine. I do see the difference in my energy levels when eating well and this in turn helps me to keep on top of my migraine condition.

I have never discovered that particular foods trigger my migraines, but I know many that do. It’s a case of keeping records each time you have attack (including what you ate) so that you can identify any patterns around particular food. You can also explore exclusion diets when you have more of an idea of food groups that can contribute to attacks.

For a long while I used paper diaries (linked above) to track migraines, especially as I am keen on planning and having all my health records in one place. However, the Migraine Buddy app was recommended to me and I haven’t recorded on paper since. It’s all very well having a calendar with attacks on them, but it’s useless unless you analyse patterns and triggers. The app does this for you and identifies possible triggers and even pulls in the weather for that day by using your location.

I find the app to be very useful when I have appointments with the GP and Neuro as they can see your calendar and reports straight from the app. There is also the option to track your sleep to see if this is affecting the regularity of attacks (mine are so often due to lack of or broken sleep!

There are a few apps out there so you should search to find the one that works for you. However, I have found Migraine Buddy to be the most user friendly and couldn’t be without it now!

Please ask more questions in the comments below if you have them! I hope this has been interesting and useful for some of you. Thanks to everyone who tweeted a question.

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Planner Geek Out #5

Unlike most people, I actually really like change. I’ve always been a ring bound planner fan, which gives me the chance to update and change my set up as much as I want throughout the year. I recently set up in the new kikki.K Lavender Pink A5 planner which is another beaut in their leather planner Thrive range!kikki-k-lavender-pink-a5-planner

I’m now using an A5 ring bound planner as my ‘daily life’ planner. This includes my calendar for appointments and to-dos, as well as health tracking, budgeting and meal plans. My business planning is separate (I’m using a fauxdori but not loving it) so perhaps I’ll share more about that when I’ve found a system which really works for me.kikki-k-lavender-pink-close-up

The gold detailing on this planner is really pretty and it’s more pastel pink thatn lavender I think. I use the pockets on the inside cover for a few clips and sticky notes.planner-clips

I decided to crack out the laminator (I use this one which I love) to make my own dashboard and dividers. I found my stash of Scrabble letter stickers and some gold polka dot scrapbook paper to use.dream-big-dashboard dream-big-dashboard-close-up

I used more scrapbooking paper (12″x12″ cut down with this paper trimmer) to make the dividers. custom-planner-dividers

I decided to stick with using the Webster Pages WO2P inserts as the paper quality is nice and thick and there is plenty of space at the weekends. I got them when I purchased the Platinum Rose planner, but I hear the 2017 inserts are released next month.donut-planner-layout

The today clip is from this Etsy shop and you can find out where I get all my stickers from by watching this video on my YouTube channel. I’ll be filming lots more planner videos soon. today-planner-clip

If you want to see my full set up of the kikki.K Lavender Pink planner, check out the video below!

Thanks for letting me share today! I hope you all have a fantastic weekend. I’m off on the Cambridge Creatives Photowalk tomorrow, so fingers crossed for good weather….

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Migraine Awareness Week 2016 – How Am I?

Many of you will know I am a migraine sufferer and have been since I was a teenager. Today I’m writing this post feeling a little hungover from an attack this weekend, but I still feel positive.

Last year for Migraine Awaress Week, I wrote a blog post to share my experiences with migraine which you can read here (gives a good background to symptoms and also includes my favourite resources). It’s always been important for me to share my story and be open about the condition, as it is still so misunderstood.

Migraine-Awareness-Week-2016

Since I wrote that post, things have changed a lot. I never thought I would be able to say this, but I am med free and have been for several months now. I’ve only taken 2 paracetamol and 2 ibuprofen in the last 5 months. If I had read that sentence a year ago I would have laughed.

So what took me from feeling like this…..

Migraine Face

To this? (Taken when celebrating 4 years of Claireabellemakes).

Claireabellemakes-Is-4Well of course I don’t feel like that every day (who does?!). But things are significantly better. Many sufferers have the same experience as me in terms of treatment. It’s difficult to pinpoint your triggers, you battle with the side effects of medication, and you often feel helpless that there are no cures and funding for research is limited. For the months before I changed my treatment, I had daily headache in some capacity.

Migraine Banner

A banner my niece and nephew made me

After years of trying different medications, I decided to try acupuncture with an open mind. I have suffered with anxiety for quite some time and actually found it helped this more than managing the chronic pain of migraine. The calmer feeling I gained enabled me to feel brave enough to come off the meds and seek alternative treatments. I did this privately and paid for it myself (around £45 per session).

After attending a Migraine Action event and watching some sessions at the Migraine World Summit online, I researched the Cefaly device. Cefaly is a cranial analgesic electrotherapeutic device which offers patients a treatment with little or no side effects – exactly what I was after.

Cefaly-Migraine-Device

How does it work then? The Cefaly UK website says:

“Most headaches and migraines involve the trigeminal nerve. Its superior branch ends at the exit of the eye socket, underneath the skin of the forehead.
An adhesive electrode is positioned on the forehead and Cefaly connects to this. Through the electrode, Cefaly generates precise micro-impulses in order to stimulate the nerve endings of the trigeminal nerve.
Neurostimulation of the trigeminal nerve with Cefaly® produces a relaxing effect. Regular repetition of this relaxing effect helps reduce the number of attacks of headache and migraine.”

 

It really has helped. Apart from June, which is always my worst month (due to changeable weather!) my attacks have gone from 2-3 a week to one every 10 days or so. I’m free of the side effects of medication and I feel that I can abort the attacks more quickly. Cefaly is quite possibly the weirdest thing I’ve ever tried. It feels like your head is ‘fizzy’ for the 20 minute session each day, but the sensation is nothing compared to how a migraine feels. It forces me to stop and rest – which is always beneficial when you have a busy life.

Thank-You-From-Claireabellemakes

A big thank you to Migraine Action and the Migraine World Summit for providing such useful information about different treatments. Without them, I wouldn’t have discovered something new to try and for the first time in 20 years, I actually feel like I have something that works for me.

Thank you to you for reading my stories about migraine and for letting me share this update with you today. Please do share this post to raise awareness, or to someone else you know who might need some migraine support.

Here are the resources I use regularly.

National Migraine Centre – where I sought help

The Migraine Trust – Great for resources and advocacy / advice

Migraine Buddy App – How I track my attacks

Migraine Action – A supportive charity for sufferers / great events

Letter to people without migraine – a must-read!!

I’m also proud to say that I will be sharing my story in the October issue of Challenging Migraine magazine which is published by Migraine Action. If I’m feeling brave enough I’ll share with you all!

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