How to use One Note to Create a Gorgeous Planner

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Planners are something I’ve struggled with in the past. I’m kind of a free spirited, make-it-up-as-you-go, spontaneous gal. But this year, after seeing all the lovely planners on Pinterest and seeing how others use them, I thought I’d give it another go. And for the first time ever, it’s working for me!

I’m using a pink leather one that you write in by hand, you know, the old fashioned way. And I bought a bunch of different colour pens that are erasable so I can colour code everything I write and all that stuff.

But I also wanted to come up with a way to have one on my computer.

I know there are different calendar type programmes you can use. And most email programmes have calendars. But I wanted this planner to look pretty.

So I turned to one of my favourite programmes of all time. Microsoft One Note. I absolutely L O V E this programme. I’ve used it in so many different ways.

I also knew that you could have as many tabs across the top as you want, and as many pages and subpages with tabs down the right hand side as you want. That sounds like a planner, right?

Unfortunately I could not find any Templates for calendars for One Note. So I had to make my own using it’s Table function. Which is fine, just more time consuming.

So here are some pictures of what I’ve come up with so far.

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In the different coloured tabs across the top I have a tab for each blog (I have 6 at the moment), and then some tabs for keeping track of things like post ideas, advertising, affiliates, finances and so on.

down the right hand side I have a page for each month, which has a calender for that month made with a table, and a few sub-pages for each month – Daily to do lists, Monthly Tasks, Income and Expenditure.

As you can see you can import pretty images and use lovely colours for colour-coding everything.

I have listed a few items that I might want to refer to just above the calender. A link to the blog, login and password for the blog, the name of the WordPress theme the blog is running. Things like that.

I’ve also added a pretty floral image in the centre, and an inspirational quote in the top corner.

Image of a daily to do page

My first sub-page is the Daily to do list. I have one daily list for each day all on the same page – 30/31, depending on the month, and you can add the date above each box and tick the little boxes as you complete each task each day.

One Note also allows you to add a soft colour background which makes it so pretty.

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One Note also allows you to add lines so that you get a notebook appearance, which I’ve done here, along with a soft blue background. This is the Monthly Tasks Sub-page.

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The third Sub-page I have for each month so far is the Income and Expenditure one. You can colour individual or blocks of cells in a table, which is useful for distinguishing different areas.

It takes a little time to make all the pages individually, but once you’ve done one month, you can copy and paste them for all the other months, then just change the dates on the Calendar to suit each month.

I’m sure I’ll come up with more ideas for different pages and tabs, but what do you think of it so far?

Do you think you could use something like this?

I’m also figuring out how to share these planners with other One Note users, so if you would like a copy, let me know and I will share with you if I can figure out how. If you know how – please let me know!

An absolutely wonderful little gadget I could not live without.

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Let me tell you about this absolutely wonderful little gadget that I simply could not live without.

This gadget allows us to connect to the internet, with up to 10 devices at the same time, from absolutely anywhere that has cellular coverage. It’s called a Portable Wifi Hotspot.

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This little beauty works like a cell phone in that it works on the cellular network, has a sim card, and a phone number. You cannot, however, make phone calls with it. It is designed to give you wifi internet connection on the go. It’s small – it fits into a coin purse I have, so it lives permanently in my handbag.

You can purchase them from any phone shop, or directly from Telecom or Vodafone (New Zealand). When we bought ours it was $99 plus $20 for the sim card. It came with one months supply of data if I remember correctly. You have to top it up online and can either buy a plan or use it on Prepay, just like a mobile phone.

We use ours in all sorts of places. While motels offer free wifi to guests in New Zealand, Hotels charge the earth for it. So we use this hotspot when staying in one. We’ve used it in the car – I’ve been able to do all my emails, check Facebook, look up Google Maps when we’re not sure where we’re going, and catch up on some work all while hubby drives the car. Wonderful! It means that when we get to our destination I have time free to enjoy my surroundings.

Another place it comes in handy is in airport lounges while waiting for flights. At friends places if you want to show them something and they don’t have wifi, you can pull out your hotspot and your iPad and be instantly connected.

A few weeks ago I went clothes shopping. I was going to a particular store, part of a national chain, because I like their clothes. I had found some items I was very interested in on their website. When at the store, I was able to bring up their website on my iPad, and the sales lady was able to get the stock codes from it, put them into their computer/till, and tell me if they had them in stock, in what sizes and where in the shop to find them. It was great! It saved us both a lot of time and frustration trying to find the items I wanted.

Do you have one of these? What useful places have you used it?  When has it most come in handy?


iPad Apps I Use to Stay Productive While Travelling

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If you’ve been flat out and simply have not been able to write and schedule posts to go out while away on a trip – here are the apps I find most useful for staying productive when travelling.

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This is great for taking notes on the run. Not least because if you click the little microphone icon on the keypad, you can just talk into it and it writes down what you say. Much quicker for recording those ideas that pop into your head in inappropriate places or when you’re being bumped around in a car.

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BlogPad Pro for WordPress

BlogPad Pro for WordPress is a great app for managing your websites, especially if you have a lot of them like I do! You can log in here for each site you have and check all kinds of things like stats, comments, tags, pages, media and more.

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WordPress With this app you can write and edit blog posts on any of your sites, manage comments and read the WordPress Freshly Pressed blog. Of course you can access your dashboard on the Safari browser and write and edit your posts in the normal way too.

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Planner Plus

Planner Plus is a great planning calendar tool for managing your posts and other blogging tasks. As you’d expect for a planner, it’s mainly a multi-page calendar with an extra page for planning tasks, including adding due dates, projects, recurring, undated, completed and reminders.

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Sell on Etsy






These two Etsy apps allow me to keep track of my Etsy stores and in contact with customers. I may not be able to ship goods while I’m out of town, but I can thank my customers for shopping with me and let them know when there goods will be shipped. Good customer service is everything.

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Dropbox is a cloud storage and sharing programme. I use this to transfer files between my iPad and my desktop. If I have images on my desktop that I know I will need for my blog posts while I’m away, I’ll put them in my dropbox folder before I leave home. Then I can access them while away, save them to my Photos app and then insert them into posts when needed.

If you are blogging about the things you are seeing on your trip, you can take photos with your iPad and use them in your posts.

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Photo Toaster

I have lots of apps for adding special effects to photos and images, but I probably use Photo Toaster the most. It’s easy to use and has some great sfx built in. Picfx is another great one that also allows you to add text to your photo, which is great for pictures intended for social media like Pinterest, Instagram, Google+ and more.

Then there are the ones that barely require mentioning they are so popular and commonly used, like Pinterest, Instagram, Google+, Twitter, Facebook and of course, email.

So there you have it. My productivity must haves.

What are your fave apps for when you are away from home?



The 8 Most Used Apps on my iPad

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This will always be different for everyone, but here are the 8 apps I use the most on my iPad. Quite a number of these are country specific, but I’m sure you’ll have equivalent ones for your own local areas.

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  1. MetService. This is our local weather service. It will show you the weather in any part of the country and also gives out severe weather warnings or information for any area you choose.
  2. NZHerald. This is the largest daily newspaper in New Zealand. This is where I catch up on national and international news stories.
  3. Stuff. This is my second go-to news app. It often has less serious news than the big dailys so I get some different kinds of news there. More human interest stuff, funny events etc.
  4. Spider. This is where I kill time playing Spider Patience. I use it mostly when waiting in the car while Hubby is shopping. Or while waiting for uploads/downloads on the computer, (because internet speeds in this country suck), or often when I’m in bed. It’s a good way to de-stress and wind down from the days activities and get  ready for sleep.
  5. Kindle. Yes, I read. And I have several books on the go at once. And yes, it does sometimes get confusing!
  6. Lightbox. Wonderful internet TV. No ads. Fantastic place to binge watch your fave series.
  7. Facebook. Here I keep up with friends and family and also market the various facets of my business.
  8. Pinterest. Fantastic for image searches, marketing, researching things you’re interested in. It’s like a pictorial index for the rest of the web!
  9. Skype. Skyping on the iPad is sooo much easier than on a desk top. You don’t have to worry about having a webcam or mic for a start – they’re built right into the iPad. I even use this for conference calls for a society we do volunteer work for.
  10. Dropbox. – cloud storage and file sharing. Could not do without it now!
  11. Planner Plus. – Electronic planner which I use more as an editorial planner for my blogs as I have a manual/book planner for everything else, (cos it’s fun to decorate it and add all kinds of things to it!).

I know, I said 8. I’ve included some bonus ones for you. I just couldn’t choose only 8.

There are so many others: my Bank’s app, Contacts, email, camera and photos of course, photo enhancing apps, Calender, note taking apps, Etsy, blogging, Google +, Instagram, calculater, google maps, and my Thesaurus to name a few I use all the time.

Tomorrow I’ll tell you about my fave apps for helping me continue with blogging and business when away from home.

Do you use an iPad or tablet to help with your blogging or social media updates? What are your fave apps?


How to use images legally on your website or blog

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One of the things you don’t want to fall foul of on your website or blog, is copyright. It’s not good form to simply search Google Images, find something you like, and use it without a thought for who might have taken it or have the rights to it.

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It’s not only good manners to find out who owns the image and ask their permission before you use it. It’s also the best way to stay out of trouble over copyright infringement.

Even if the owner of the image gives you permission, make sure you give attribution when using their image. It costs you nothing to say where the image came from and, even better, link back to the original if you can.

Another good way of staying safe is to download images from websites that offer free ones which are open source. Some sites do have images with different licenses, so you need to be careful and make sure just what you can and can’t do with a particular image. Whether it be altering them, attributing them, or whether they are available for private only use or if commercial use is ok. Be sure you follow their guidelines and stay out of trouble.

Here is a list of some good places I get images from:




Reusable Art

Wikimedia Commons


All Free Vintage Stuff on Flickr

I hope you find these links useful. Have fun searching through them!

Do you have any links to great free, safe image resources you can share?

Two tips that could help beginners with blogging

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H1 blog post header two tips that could help beginners with their blogging

It seems to me that almost every kind of business has it’s own language. Especially when it comes to anything to do with computers or the internet. And in order to understand any of it, you have to learn the language first. This is so you can translate geek-speak into good old plain English.

I’m sure all the new words they make up for things is just so they can sound all clever and the rest of us, who have no idea what they are talking about, sound like the dumb ones! We’re on to you…you…

Anyway, when I first became interested in blogging I read everything I could find about it. But I still knew nothing. Because I had no idea what most of it meant.

It looked like English.

It sounded like English.

But it made no sense what-so-ever.

It took me weeks to ask hubby what SEO, (Search Engine Optimization), was. Because I didn’t want to sound dumb. Once he explained it, a lot of what I’d been reading suddenly made a bit more sense. But only partially.

There was also this thing called ‘Keywords’ I was supposed to know about. WTF are Keywords? Nothing I read explained it in a way I could understand, but lots of places offered to sell me some good ones. No thanks! I didn’t even know what they were – I sure as heck wasn’t going to pay good money for them.

It’s taken me around a year to finally work out what these mysterious ‘Keywords’ are. So here is my way of explaining them. And once you ‘get’ them, you’ll wonder why anyone would pay someone else for them, which is probably why they keep them a big fat secret!

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1. Keywords are just words and/or phrases that relate to what you have written, or to what your blog is about, that other people might use in a search engine like Google or Ask etc. Think of them as the terms people use to search for stuff online.

It’s like this – unless you spend a fortune on advertising, most people are going to find their way to your blog by accident. And by accident I mean that your site, along with others on similar subjects, will be the ones that come up when someone types a word or phrase into a search engine that relates to your blog, providing you have added the appropriate ‘keywords’ for the search engines to find.

For example – say you’ve just written a blog post about Apple Pie, and included a recipe for a great Apple Pie. Think about what a stranger might type into a search engine if they were looking for the kind of information you have just written about.

They might type in phrases such as; apple recipes, or apple pie recipes, or pie recipes, or fruit pie recipes or even something like – how do you make apple pie, or what should I do with left over apples. These then become the ‘keywords’ for this post on Apple Pies.

To optimize this post for the search engines you then need to make sure you use some of those phrases in your writing, (not too many times though, or it becomes ‘keyword stuffing’ and Google frowns on that and will penalize you), and also add them to your categories and tags.

Once you have done this, your blog should come up in the search results for anyone looking for anything to do with fruit and pies. Or at least, apple pies!

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2. The next thing to understand how to do, is something you probably already do in your daily life, but in a different way, and that’s Networking.

It’s done differently online, and I’ve never seen it called Networking here. But if all the articles I’ve read on it had called it that, which is what it is, I would have understood it and how important it is a long time ago.

So here’s how you do it online – First of all you need to figure out who your target audience is. Easier said than done, I know, but you do need to know this.

Knowing who your target audience is will help you know who to network with. For example – if your blog is about fishing, then your target audience is not going to be people interested in a blog about apple pies. But it just might be people interested in a blog on how to cook fish.

Once you have figured out who your target audience is, think about what kind of blogs those people would be interested in reading, besides yours, that is. Then look for blogs on those subjects that have fairly good subscriber numbers, and subscribe yourself. Follow them also on their Facebook page, Twitter, and anywhere else you can.

Read their blog posts and make intelligent and relevant replies in the comments section after each post. Try to add value to the conversation. Do it regularly and this will attract the attention of both the blog owner and the other subscribers, which in turn will get them interested enough to come over and check out your blog. This is one of the best ways to bring targeted traffic of interested people to your blog. It’s good old fashioned Networking.

By consistently adding value where you can, other bloggers may start to mention you, possibly even recommend you to their readers.

The other side of this is to remember that it’s not all about you. Do your bit to help promote other blogs in your niche too. Put the time in to answer or reply to any comments left on your blog posts. Don’t ever take your audience for granted, or they’ll take their attention elsewhere. Be honest, be helpful, be grateful and be involved.

Do any of you have anything to add to these two tips? What have you learned about these ideas by running your own blog?