Free Downloadable Planner: Part Time Working Week

free download part time week planner

I am really happy to see (and hear) that lots of people are making good use of a working week planner that I designed a while ago.

I made the above planner (which is free for you all to merrily use, btw)…

…because my work is distinctly split into two different roles, which I try and plan for separately so as to not get freaked out by the masses of jobs to do.  Planners are extremely individual things and what works for some people, doesn’t work for others. It is a good idea to shop around, trawl the internet and try things out until you hit upon something that makes you do a little dance of joy!

This planner has worked for me very well for months and months. It has reduced my stress significantly, as the tasks get broken down into manageable sections of the day and week.

The left hand side boxes are for you to write in the days that you need.  I have a weekly section for things that are repetitive and a discussion box for those important messages I mustn’t forget.

A friend of mine, prints hers out every week and writes in it diligently. I tend to place mine as an image into a Word file and type into text boxes that I have placed over the top of the coloured squares.  After printing, I can add notes by hand as I go through the week.

If anyone has any preferences, or would like something different…please get in touch. I would be happy to put other designs up on the blog so everyone can enjoy being less stressed and more organised!

Finca Catch-Up

Finca Catch Up

Howdy! How have you been this week?

I’ve been setting up a few exciting projects…but they’re not quite ready to share with you yet.

Instead I thought I would catch you up on the latest Finca happenings…

1. The poorly Jade plant has responded well to a repotting and is already producing the cutest new growth.

2. The Dorset Finca now has its very own stickers, ready to be applied to all pots, plants and arrangements before they are delivered to their new residence: office or home. Visit www.moo.com to make some of your own.

3. I’ve been very good at recording all gardening-goings-on in this sweet notebook.  Yes plants do give me happy thoughts!

4. The sweet peas have grown lots this week and are happiest inside.  Except when they are in the sights of the cat… hmmm….

If you are looking for any exciting projects to do today, check out www.gardenista.com (my new favourite read).

Have a great weekend!

Lunar Gardening

lunar gardening

I completely admit I am a scientist at heart. I love experimenting, testing a theory, setting up controls…

…the whole notion of discovery and finding out how stuff works thrills me.

I am not saying that I am the best scientist. Probably my investigations and tests are thoroughly flawed…

…but boy, I love it!

Biology and natural sciences are top of my ‘sciencey’ list and when I found out about a book called ‘Gardening and Planting by the Moon’, I was intrigued.

Of course, eons of people from the beginning of time have used the movement of the moon, sun, stars and planets to organise and predict all sorts of things in their lives. It is no new invention. Also, it is no surprise that these large bodies, which have their own gravitational forces are going to influence us here on Earth.  We all know about the moon’s tidal effects.

Scientific studies are confirming that by planting, harvesting and tending to both vegetables and flowers in your garden, according to the moon’s phases, produces incredible results.  With a little bit of planning, performing garden tasks at optimal lunar times produces higher yields of more pest resistant vegetables and more robust, intensely-scented garden flowers.

My new book has a day-to-day calendar to guide my gardening activities, hopefully towards success…

…so for 2014, I will be gardening according to the moon!

Science rocks!

Rooting Willow

rooting willow

{trees for free – well, almost}

These branches of willow were part of a Christmas arrangement that we had in the house.  Although most of the flowers and foliages had to be composted after their moment in the spotlight, we thought it would be a good idea to try and root the willow in water.

The bottom sections were placed into a tall vase of water after the tops had been cut off and two weeks later thin, silvery roots were appearing.

As you can see…the roots are looking sturdy and there are even green shoots appearing.

Even though the watery willows are quite a display as they are, it is almost time to pot them up…

…then they can gear themselves ready to be planted in late February to make brand new willow trees.

Cool, huh?!

Happy Birthday Hyacinths

green gifts are best

During the last two weeks, a number of my friends, who have January birthdays, have received little packages of home-grown Grape Hyacinths.

Apart from the necessity to think ahead (the bulbs were planted in October), home-grown or propagated plants make the perfect presents, even for those who don’t consider themselves to be green fingered.

Due to the squillions of people enjoying The Great British Garden Revival on the BBC (or iPlayer, if you are hopeless at catching things on the telly, like me), we will hopefully see lots more people having a go with green gifts.

Green gifts are go!

Beat The January Blues

catkin

If you’re feeling a little of the January blues, let me try and bring a little cheer.

I can’t promise 100% cheerfulness…maybe 87%…

While I was wandering outside on the Finca yesterday…

…(yes, I know, outside… incredible. No, it wasn’t raining – thank you for asking)!

There were so many signs that the trees, hedges and plants were not fast asleep in their dormant hibernation. Instead they have been gathering themselves, ready for spring (albeit slowly).

There were buds, catkins, shoots, little leaflets a-plenty.

Of course the softer plants are still resolutely staying within their plant-like-snail-shells, but they won’t be far behind.

So enjoy your hot chocolates by the fire, with the dog at your feet for a little while longer, but remember…

…spring is a-comin’!

Desktop Plants: The Search Begins

Jade Plant Stem Cutting

{Stem cutting from a Jade plant ready to start rooting}

I was seriously inspired by the recent posts from the Gardenista blog.  They have been centering around the fact that having plants in your office (or home-office) boost productivity whilst diminishing stress.

Hurrah for plants!

This particular post highlights the best species that fit the bill.

Naturally, I wanted to grow them all right away and experiment to see which ones work in lower light levels, colder office spaces etc. I had visions of presenting friends with little pots of my favourites that I had planted up in chic containers. (My imagination completely took over -I love a new project)!

Firstly, I decided to experiment with a few succulents and trimmed down a rather sad looking, forgotten Jade plant (above) to make miniature versions. Echeveria also caught my eye and I ordered some seeds to try my hand at growing… I promise to keep you updated on how that project goes… sounds a bit tricky as the seeds are very tiny.

Hopefully, my cuttings should start to show signs of new growth within the next month.

Please get in touch if you have any interesting ideas to add to my investigation… meanwhile I’ll keep you posted!

Have a great day!

The Christmas Rose Challenge 2012-2013

rose

If you remember in this post, I set myself the challenge to have a flowering rose on Christmas Day.

Before you panic at the gorgeous bloom above… I didn’t manage to achieve my goal for Christmas 2013…

…(and this was a picture I actually took back in the summer).

Unfortunately, the Autumn winds and rain and then the further storms in December, completely and utterly thwarted my attempts.

Humph.

However, I will not be defeated. I will get there in the end!

The roses are now well pruned, tied back and hopefully are in the best possible shape ready for this year’s challenge.

Bring on the growing!

Here are some useful sites if you, like me, are desperate to get the most out of your roses…

RHS

BBC Gardening

David Austin Roses