Everyone knows that being a teacher requires you to be super organised, and I would argue that being a student teacher requires this even more! Not only have you got to stay on top of the planning, marking and assessment for your class but you’ve also got regular university assignments, exams, tests and essays to contend with! It’s a pretty intense year.

As I’m now a term into my teacher training year I thought I would share a few of my top stationary picks to help keep organised and on top of that huge pile of work that you’ve got to do (sorry!!).

Teacher planner – Amazon £8.95

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This planner is fantastic because it doubles up as a weekly lesson planner and an academic diary. I fill mine with literally everything; from my in-school lesson plans, reflections and evaluations, essay deadline, lecture and seminar rooms, mentor meetings and everything else in between! It’s great to have all your ‘teaching stuff’ in one place and be able to plan your lessons within that same place too. You may think the black design is a little boring, but I like to keep it professional! There are many other colours and more jazzy designs available.

Fine-lined coloured pens – WH Smiths £7.99

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Anyone who is as obsessed with colour coding their revision notes as me then you will most likely already have a set of these babies! If not – you need them in your life! Completing a teacher training year is A LOT of paperwork, much of which refers to other paperwork which links to other documents which is connected back to yet more (you guessed it) paperwork. Using these to write plans and notes in different colours to code and sort them will be a game changer for you. And at the end of a stressful day they are also really good for those stress-busting ‘adult colouring books’! My favourite are the Stabilo brand as I find they last a long time and the colours are bright and vivid.

Rollbound ring-binders & lever-arch files – WH Smiths

(ring-binders £2.99/ lever -arch files £3.99)

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You will 100% need ring-binders and lever -arch files while completing your course. I’m only one term in and I’ve completely filled two already!  The ‘rollbound’ spine of these folders is something I have come across fairly recently and have found to be brilliant. The spines are basically rounded rather than straight, giving the folder much more flexibility and making it less vulnerable to breakage when it gets a little full! These are a fantastic price in WH Smiths and they do them in a range of brightly coloured prints and designs so stock up now! You’ll need them.

Highlighter pen wheel – Paperchase £8

Clearly, there will be lots that will need to be highlighted when you are a teacher! I like having a range of colours on one ‘wheel’ as a space saver and to have lots of colours at my fingertips rather than having to scrabble around and locate them all in my drawer (which is not organised by the way!) I love this ’emoji’ highlighter wheel from Paperchase, and the children will love it too! Instant cool points.

‘To do today’ list notepad – Etsy £3.25

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As well as having a diary I also think it’s helpful to have a separate To-Do list to write on a daily/weekly basis. I always find it a really productive exercise to physically write down everything I’ve got to do that day in order of priority and then leave it somewhere where I will keep seeing it! I really like this cute list from SiouxAlice on Etsy.

Sturdy backpack – Paperchase £32

Once you’ve got all your fancy new stationary then you need a vessel to carry it all in! I can’t lug everything around on my shoulder – it gives me a neck ache, so I always find a backpack to be more comfortable and practical. I really like this one from the ‘Get Organised’ range from Paperchase.

When planning a longer than average trip or perhaps a gap year it’s really important to make sure you take not only the right things with you but also the right amount of things. Trust me – you really, really don’t want to take the kitchen sink with you and you will regret lugging around tons of stuff you won’t need. Equally, you don’t want to under pack either. When I was planning my gap year I was at a loss as to what I’d actually need and how much of everything to take. How can you possibly pack everything you would need for several months in one 70litre backpack? Here’s a few tips for anyone in the same position:

❤️ Think carefully about where you are going. This is number one on the list because it’s the most important. There is no generic formula for what to take because the world is such a diverse place and what you may need could vary a lot. In my experience, places like south east Asia are hot, sticky and very casual – pack your shorts and crop tops and leave your heels and hair straighteners at home. You probably won’t need a jumper but you will need a shawl to cover up when visiting the temples. In Australia, however, you might need an extra layer in Melbourne (it’s not always baking hot). Think about where you’re going, the climate, the culture and pack accordingly.

NB I would never recommend taking hair dryers/ straighteners or any of that sort of thing because they are so heavy and take up a lot of room. Having beachy, natural hair is all part of it right?!

❤️ Also – think about what you’ll be doing. New Zealand – high chance you’ll be trekking through those mountains (walking shoes recommended). Singapore – gents, if you want to hit the clubs you’ll need some closed in shoes and a shirt, those baggy vests won’t cut it! In Mauritius you may need a bikini, in Antarctica you may not. You get the idea. There are some things that just require certain equipment or clothing so it’s worth pre-planning a little bit so you make sure you have what you need.

❤️ Get everything out, lay it on the bed, then halve it. TRUST ME you will thank me later. You will only need half of what you anticipate; probably less. Something I always over pack is shoes; taking several pairs of cute sandals for different outfits. When I get there I only ever wear my trusty pair of flipflops, so this year that’s all I’m taking! I know it’s tempting to take all your beachwear but realistically you just don’t need it and you’ll regret it when all your worldly belongings are on your back.

❤️ Pack clothes last. Because you will underestimate how much space other, more essential things, will take up first. Shampoo, for example, is bulky. Same with sunscreen, hiking boots, camera equipment etc. Clothes can be squashed in at the top and can be rolled or folded to fit any gaps.

❤️ Don’t take anything that requires ironing. Just don’t.

❤️ Keep the valuables to a mimimum but, if you can’t live without something then take it. If your life is going to be miserable without your iPhone/ tablet / beats headphones etc then take them; just be careful with them. Don’t force yourself to leave all technology or material possessions behind if that’s just not you. I’m just saying maybe its sensible to leave your Rolex at home in this occasion.

❤️ Remember – they will have stuff there! Unless you are going to the wilderness or perhaps space then you will be able to pick up essentials like toiletries and clothing in the places you’re going. If yo are going away for 6 months please don’t take 6 months worth of your favourite shampoo from the UK. In some places the local shops may even sell items cheaper than what the would cost at home, so do your research. Heads up – this is not the case for Australia, they’re branded goods are super expensive.

I hope these tips will be helpful to anyone packing for a long trip. I will be heeding my own advice next week when Paul and I pack everything for a 3 week holiday in one 60 litre pack between us!

Let me know what you think!

Love,

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I’m not sure about you but I have a real weakness store; a shop that I can’t go past without going in, and equally can’t go in without buying something. For me, it’s Waterstones. Ever since I was a little girl I have loved book shops. I really feel like they are magical places full of dreams, ideas, stories and information. Book shops speak to me – and Waterstones more than most.

On this occasion, I made a purchase which I am really excited to share with you. It’s not something I ever would have thought about or even know existed but it’s such a brilliant and special idea. I wish I’d thought of it to be honest!

So what is it? 

As you can see it’s a gorgeous little hard back book, embossed with gold and gold edged pages. It really is something beautiful to behold.

But it was the idea of this little book which attracted me to it. It’s called ‘One Line A Day..’ And that’s the idea of it basically. Inside it looks kind of like a diary but with a very small section for each day – enough to write one or two lines a day. The idea is that every day you jot down a line about what you did, how you’re feeling, something funny, something sad, something – anything! And there is enough space for five years worth of lines.

I’m so excited to start it in January! I think the key is going to be remembering to do it every night, being consistent and being honest. There are bound to be ups and downs in five years and I won’t want to read how every day was ‘amazing’ in the future! I bought this book because I think looking back over the lines and comments across five years of my life will be amazing. Especially since we have so many plans for the next five years and I hope they will be the most exciting years yet!

What do you think of this journaling idea? What you take the challenge?

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I like to think of myself as a bit of a holiday booking expert. I’ve been ‘in charge’ of bookings for several years because I organised my whole gap year myself (as I travelled alone) and since Paul and I have been together I seem to have taken the lead on the organising front! I love booking trips myself; I’m not really a fan of using travel agents or holiday companies. For me, there is a real thrill in searching, researching and planning elements of a trip. Whether it be a simple flight and apartment holiday or a multi-destination trip like our honeymoon to Thailand (coming soon!) I find it’s more satisfying to self-organise and you are more likely to find hidden, off the beaten track gems that way.

Plus, booking an entire trip yourself now is so easy. Truly. I now do most of it from my phone! There are some amazing apps on the market which you can use to help you book the best holiday ever. Here are six of my must-haves for making the process stress free and fun- and they’re all free!

LONELY PLANET GUIDES

I love the lonely planet guide books and still have a few of the paper versions at home, but who needs a guide book when you can have the same information at your fingertips! No, I agree, there is still magic in thumbing through a guidebook when your exploring, but to get quick access to advice and must-sees, as well as the off-the-tourist-trail recommendations and ‘Top 10’s’ that Lonely Planet are so famous for, the this app is really helpful.

HOMEAWAY

The ultimate villa booking app and my new favourite.. They only deal in villas and apartments so if you are looking for an all inclusive then this isn’t for you. I, however, love having the ‘whole place’ for my holidays and staying in a villa with no one else about is dreamy.  The app is user friendly and easy to book and converse with villa owners. They have literally every type of villa rental you can imagine ranging from budget, studio beach huts to luxury cribs in Ibiza. Even if your not planning a holiday, its fun to look up what you might rent one day when that lottery win comes in…

TRIP ADVISER

The old favourite. But you can’t beat it! I am an avid reviewer and I’m always amazed by how many people read them (I wish my blog got that many hits!).  Written by travellers for other travellers based on first hand experience. I love the idea that customers took things into their own hands and want to give their genuine honest opinion in order to help and advise others. Take it with  pinch of salt, one mans trash is another’s treasure, but I always use Trip Adviser to check hotels and trips before booking.

BOOKING.COM

BOOKING.YEAH. I literally can’t help it. I love this app! It’s so easy, virtually every hotel, motel, hostel and apartment complex in the world is on here. They have budget, luxury, boutique, half board, self catering, all inclusive, adults only, child friendly, sporty, relaxing literally EVERYTHING you can possibly imagine. And the best thing is you can filter all the results by any of these parameters and more or any combination to find exactly what you want. Also, quite often you don’t have to pay until you arrive just putting card details as a deposit which is awesome if you are waiting for payday. Which I am most of the time.

 

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CHEAPFLIGHTS/EASYJET/AIRLINE APP

I’ve bunched these because I prefer the overall comparison apps like cheap flights, to view all the different airlines on offer for your dates, but having the apps for the specific airlines is helpful too , particularly if you know which ones you use. I personally usually fly with easyjet and their app is great because you can view your upcoming flights, check in and even get your boarding pass on your phone. I know ryan air and other airlines have the same.

AIR BNB

I don’t have loads of experience with Air BnB and have never used it abroad but I have friends who totally love it so I plan to use it for my next trip. It basically involves renting someones home for a few nights, whenever they are out of town and therefore it’s available. There are various security, deposit and checks in place to protect both parties and I know lots of people who have used it successfully. Very successfully in fact, several of them have ended up paying very reasonable prices for gorgeous apartments in the middle of cities or in fantastic locations. if you know what you’re looking for and you fancy something a bit different, this is the one for you.

For posts about my previous trips and adventures you can click here.

xox