2 Years on- What My Journal Has Given Me

To be honest, I can’t remember how I stumbled across the term “bullet journal”, let alone come to understand the worldwide following this type of personal planner concept has! It was two and half years ago and I was keen to get cracking with creating my own journal.

My aims for my journal were simple: to keep track of what I’d done each day and to keep track of what I was about to do in the coming weeks and months. This aim has been accomplished with ease.

What I’ve gained from keeping a bullet journal is much more cool.

I’ve come to use my journal as a meditative tool! I’ve lived with panic disorder and PTSD for the majority of my adult life and while my symptoms have become well controlled over the last few years, being able to sit and create spreads in my bullet journal has helped me slow my mind down. I take my journal everywhere with me for this reason. It’s become part of my health management!

I’ve learned creative lettering and drawing techniques, such as modern calligraphy, bounce script and I’ve even created four of my own fonts.

I’ve discovered new tools, like brush and calligraphy pens. Leuchtturm1917 and Moleskine notebooks. Humble grid paper! Rhodia journals. Watercolour paints. Whitelines books and its application.

I don’t remember having forgotten a deadline since I started my first bullet journal. I complete tasks on time and my bills are paid. Loving this!

I am more mindful of the activities I am engaging in each day and in my thoughts and behaviour. I have also been coincidently able to say no to more because I am more aware of my schedule. This has had a very positive effect on my mental and physical health.

I am much more calm with myself and my children because I have found an activity, as trivial as it might be to some, that I enjoy, that I get lost in and that I look forward to engaging in every day.

I’ve met some very inspiring artists and parents who share passions for drawing, writing, creating a work-life balance and bringing art into every day activities. The bullet journal community is fantastic and I’m so grateful for being able to be a part of it. The bullet journal community may be spread far and wide around the globe, but there are always people you can get in touch with for inspiration and encouragement. I love it.

I’ve been able to pass on my knowledge of bullet journalling to others who want to learn or are intrigued to find out more. I’ve stopped compared myself and my abilities to others. I’ve challenged myself to try harder in all activities I endeavour to complete, but I also allow myself plenty of room for mistakes and for learning. Nothing is perfect and all the fun in bullet journalling is just trying new things!

I’ve become more confident in how I develop new skills. I have lost of lot of fear and gained confidence. I believe in my ability to create something each day and it feels a bit magical, I must admit!

As a result of endless hours of searching through YouTube, Google, Pinterest and Instagram, my other interests in reading, history and cinema have widened. This is due to the network I’ve become a part of, better research skills, a more open mind and making sure my documented schedule allows for time for myself.

Keeping a bullet journal has been life changing for me. It might just seem to be a notebook or planner to some, but it’s opened up a new world for me, right at a time that I need a boost of creativity.

Forever grateful!

This Melbourne Mum


How This Melbourne Mum Studies…

Thanks for stopping by to check out my little explanation on how I prepare for classes and study for exams. I’ve studied at both undergraduate and postgraduate levels over the last few years and am now moving on to a Masters by course work. The way I’ve studied hasn’t changed and I’ve enjoyed my time as a student. It helps to have a very fond love for learning and knowledge, but a tonne of behind-the-scenes preparation is what makes or breaks you as a student.

First of all, I gather equipment. Pens, highlighters. white-out, pencils, sticky notes, a ruler, an eraser, two notebooks per subject, my trusty laptop and a few USB sticks to go.

(I buy two notebooks per unit as I use one for assessments and one for note taking and classes).

My favourite equipment: Zebra Mildliners, Unipin fineliners, Faber Castell pencils, Leuchtturm and Moleskine notebooks (in A4 and A5 size)

I have a notebook spare which is always used as a study-related bullet journal. At the moment, I am using a Slim Leuchtturm1917 in the A5 size with square grid pages.

The first notes to jot down include log in details and important sites to keep track of. As I have said in previous blog posts here on This Melbourne Mum, I don’t recommend keeping login details in your everyday journal that travels with you in case you misplace it. Instead, keep login details written on a piece of paper and stick it to your desk or up on the wall near your PC, where the details are visible when you need them most.

My next step in preparation for new classes involves making a list of important contacts that I will be required to communicate with throughout the semester. I add email addresses to my university mailing list so they are always on hand. I also jot down the email address of the coordinator for each unit on the first page of each unit’s notebook.

I then create a semester timetable in my study journal, which outlines my classes and due dates for all units I am enrolled in. I add any due dates in to my everyday journal which comes to work with me, so I can track my shifts and effectively plan my time around those dates each week. Up until this point

As you may have guessed from the title of this post, more than just study keeps me happily busy. I am also a mum of two little ones (which is a full-time job and a half in itself) and I work part-time in a job I absolutely love. This is where my next tip for you comes in handy: create daily and weekly study plans!

Whether you use a timestamp or chronodex or not, my best tip is to note your priorities and goals for each day. Depending on your other personal commitments, allocate blocks of time to rest and to study. DO NOT underestimate how important it is to do both when you are a busy student! I’ve been run down into the ground and it took so many weeks to pick myself up again. And trust me, it is not worth the heartache. You only have so many hours in the day, so make sure you create a balance between rest and study.

In terms of how long you spend studying each day, will depend on what you have to do, how long you have to do it, your other commitments, how rested you are, how distracted you become and your stamina! The Pomodoro Technique is one time management tool you could try to split up your tasks into manageable chunks. You can read about the technique here. However you manage your time, just remember that you will know best what works and isn’t working for you and that you shouldn’t ever risk your health by studying for days on end without appropriate breaks.

Next step (and the most dreaded for me): READING. Once I get access to my unit materials, I find the articles and chapters in books, make a mini “to do” checklist with Titles, Authors, Page Numbers, date to be completed by, and a box to tick once completed and start reading. The issue for reading with me is that I don’t take enough of the information in when I just read. I tend to want to highlight and note take and this has worked for me. I also like to write and re-write my reviews of articles and chapters until the information sinks in! Time consuming, I know. You don’t need to tell me that! But that is the only way that I have found that works for me. I’ll be creating a “how to note take efficiently” post in the next few weeks so please stay tuned here on This Melbourne Mum……

I use the above technique for preparing assessments and also for studying for exams. It has worked well for me so far and I have been able to maintain a Distinction to High Distinction average.

One weird thing I tend to do, is to take my study gear with me wherever I go. I have breaks in my day where I can get a bit of reading done. I study on my work breaks and get to work early so I can study in peace and quiet. My most solid advice to you would be, especially if you are just venturing into the world of tertiary study, is to use your time wisely. You are paying a lot of money for your degrees and certificates, so make the most of the experience by being prepared and staying focused on your study planning.

What study tips would you pass on to a group of new students?

I’d love to hear what works for you.

Stay tuned for the next posts:

  1. My Study Bullet Journal- Exposed! and
  2. My Top 5 Creative Heroes- you might be one of them, you just never know!!

This Melbourne Mum


Bullet Journal Spreads to Study By (Part 2)

Thanks for stopping by for Part 2! These are three basic spreads that I will be adding to my study journal for my upcoming teaching period. I find that once I get my layouts drafted on to paper (as I have below), I have much more head space and focus to study.

Again, I have used my A4 Whitelines Grid Notebook and Whitelines App to upload these spreads (trust me, I love the book and app, but my work looks much neater on paper!)

I use my Pentel Touch brush pen for headings and a Unipin Fineliner in 0.4 (Black) for regular text.

The final spread with areas highlighted by green (Again, looks much better on paper!) shows the blocks of time I will allocate to study and reading through the week. With two small children to look after, this may be a challenge! My educators have asked me to dedicate onwards of 48 hours per week to complete 4 units and complete them well. All I can say is…….we’ll see about that!

I hope you will find these spreads for study useful in helping increase your focus and motivation.

If you are a fellow student and would like a study buddy for accountability/creativity’s sake, please say hello and connect with me! Would love to meet some new friendly faces.

Wishing everyone a beautiful weekend, please don’t forget to drop me a line if you would like any clarification on my work.

Email: thismelbournemum@gmail.com



Bullet Journal Spreads to Study By (Part 1)

I’m about to head back into the world of full-time study after having a few months break. I must admit, I’m not as scared this time around because I know I have the ability to plan ahead. A pretty good skill to muster up!

After conducting a quick poll in Facebook land earlier today, it was clear that study spreads were something group members were keen to see more of.

This is Part 1 of my 3-part Bullet Journal Spreads to Study By. These will be very basic spreads I will actually be using in preparation for my study commencing in November. The images I share with you below are drafts of the spreads I will add to my Study Journal (can’t wait to order a new Leuchtturm1917 from Larry Post, my absolute favourite Aussie stockist).

I captured these images using the Whitelines A4 spiral bound notebook and the Whitelines App (available in iTunes and I’m guessing via Android?), hence why the lines are invisible. I highly recommend Whitelines notebooks, I’ve been using both the A4 and A5 and the pages are one of the highest quality I’ve ever come across. And I’m technically a notebook addict!

If you have any questions about any of the spreads or terms I’m using, please don’t hesitate to ask. As my name suggests, I’m an Aussie and our lingo might not be relevant or applicable so comment below, check out This Melbourne Mum on Facebook or on Instagram.
Part 2 will be available this Friday. I hope that these study spreads can help inspire you to get creative in prepping for your study and assessments.

Best of luck,
This Melbourne Mum


So you’re a BuJo newbie? Three things NOT to include in your journal

I’m sure I’m not alone here when I say that I literally get tens of spam messages straight to my inbox each week. Just this week on news.com.au, Australians residents were advised of yet another hacking team working on a plot to release private emails from Aussie accounts.

Feel sick thinking about your personal deets being plucked out of your inbox and shared with the world? You need to be just as wary when considering what to add to your bullet journal (unless you are planning on keeping your journal in one spot, without fail, until each page is filled up).

The hacking scandal got me thinking about spreads I have seen added to bullet journals over the last two years and set off a few alarm bells as to which spreads I have included in my own journal in the past.

To keep your journal as safe as possible, especially if it travels with you wherever you go, think about NOT including the following information:

  1. lists of usernames and passwords and
  2. financial spreads with identifying details, including account and card numbers (yes I have seen people share these quite innocently)
  3. Derogatory comments towards others or unflattering images of others or yourself that you wouldn’t be happy to share online

Keep your private information private. If you happened to drop your journal, and a person found it and wasn’t kind enough to send it back to you (especially if there is no “please return to” details included), that information could backfire on you.

Remember: if you’re not happy to share specific information online, don’t share it in your BuJo.

Keep safe,





This Melbourne Mum Recommends….

Two years into my Bullet Journal journey and I’ve come across hundreds of products and uses for those products that are well suited to bullet journalling.

While my recommendations are easily accessible from most countries (I’m from Australia {hence my name} and I’ve found more cool products to be produced overseas than here!), they are only suggestions. You don’t have to have a fancy notebook or fancy pens. You don’t have to use colour, or even know how to draw. You just need a reason to want to create a bullet journal. And the plethora of reasons why people start a bullet journal will be the topic of one of my posts to come……because there are literally hundreds of reasons!

So in getting started, we need to start at the top.

A notebook. 

You can get notebooks from ANYWHERE for a wide range of costs. You can make your own. You can go for a dot grid, a squared, a plain or a ruled notebook.


Dot grid (image: https://goo.gl/TiyemR)

Notebooks come in a range of sizes and I think at this point, one source you can check out (even if you’re outside Oz), is this blog post from the Notemaker store, which neatly explains notebook paper in all its magnificent glory.

What do I go for? I love my Leuchtturm1917’s, in A5 size, with dot grid paper. They come in a range of colours and I’m confident that I haven’t had a pen bleed through or had too much ghosting yet.

Which previous notebooks have I used? Moleskines, Rhodias, Officeworks JR Burrows, and handmade journals.

Next up? Pens. You can pick up any pen and write a to-do list or draw a picture in your journal. Doesn’t have to be a calligraphy pen (as pretty as they are to write with). Depending on your budget and confidence with certain equipment, start with a pencil, a biro, maybe a fine liner and move from there. Or not move. It’s up to you and your preferences.


Artline200 in 0.4 (image: https://goo.gl/pgPcx6)

You also can stick with one colour ink, or add in multiple colours to represent different parts of life as expressed in your journal.


Staedtler Fineliners (image: https://goo.gl/F869VH)

In bullet journal circles, there are a few names in the pen business you will hear time and time again. And to be honest, I can’t really fault any of them! Their purchase and use again depends on your budget and what you feel comfortable writing with. The common pens you will hear about are Sakura Pigma Micron, Tombow Dual Brush Pens, Artline Fineliners, Tombow Fudenosuke, and Pitt Artist Pens.

Me? I started with Artline, added Pigma Microns and Tombows (which come in the most awesome range of colours) and now use a Unipin Fine Liner in 0.4 as my “go-to” every day pen.

There are a hundred more accessories you can add to spice up your journal from its humble beginnings as just a notebook-pen pair. But just remember, you don’t have to have or use any of these things. Your bullet journal is whatever you want it to be, that’s why I think it is so much more useful than a pre-printed planner.

I like to add sticky notes (not just plain yellow ones, go on, live a little!). I print my own stickers from sites like Graphic Stock (royalty free and no issues with copyright thank goodness). I use Faber Castell Pencils and Watercolours to brighten up my drawings. I use Zebra Mildliner highlighters to outline important points and draw borders on my pages. I use page marker flags so I find certain spreads quite easily in a hurry.

I use a ruler daily (I can’t draw a straight line, or one close enough to, to save myself). I have an eraser handy, because although I try not to be a perfectionist, I really dislike seeing pencil marks on my pages! You can also find stencils for creating neatly outlined banners and shapes on Etsy and Ebay these days.

I use a $3 pencil-case from Kmart Australia to carry around my everyday supplies and a $3 faux leather pouch from Cotton On Australia to hold my two journals safely in my bag. Unnecessary items, but I love them all the same.

I will of course expand on these items in detail in posts to follow, but for those who are just dipping their toes into the pond that is bullet journalling, hopefully this has been a useful starter for you.

Happy BuJo-ing, can’t wait to share more of my favourite tips, pages, creations and accessories very soon!



100 Bullet Journal Page Ideas

I’ve been using a bullet journal for around two years now and it has to be the most relaxing, creative hobby that I have come to love. I find sticking to themes difficult because I always have so many ideas floating around in my head.

So to get some of those ideas out of my head and onto paper, I have created a list and attached a free printable of my 100 Bullet Journal page ideas (link below):

Daily spread

Weekly spread

Monthly outline

Month: in review/memories

Future log/calendex

Mood tracker

Sleep tracker

Fitness device tracker (steps, heart rate, cals)

Work out list and tracker

Doctor’s appointments

Movies to see

Books to read

TV shows to watch

Cleaning schedule

Home maintenance tracker

Bucket lists

Project tracker

Trip planner

Meal planner

Event planner

Favourite quotes

Daily challenges


Self-care ideas

Ideas for next journal: what works/what doesn’t

Page ideas list

Konmari planning/checklist

Health tracking


Pet care


Photos (non-identifying)

Goal planning

Study planning

Journal/writing prompts

Wish list

Habit tracking­­­­#

5-year plan/10-year plan

Morning/nightly routine



Font collection

Washi collection

Pen swatch

Brain dump

Open letters

Level 10 Life

Gratitude log

Things I love

Interesting facts

Positive affirmations

Websites to check out


Significant life events

Social media tracking


Boredom busters

Anxiety/stress busters

Planning routine

Colouring pages (hand drawn or printable)

Book/film reviews

Product/business reviews

Home & vehicle maintenance tracker

Blog post ideas

Dream journal

10-minute tasks

Networking details

Useful life hacks

Master lists$

Family activities list

Family schedule

Gift ideas

Recurring task list

Restaurants to try

Pantry/freezer/fridge inventory

First aid checklist

Emergency/evacuation checklist

Master to-do list

Upcoming events

Birthdays and anniversaries

Party planning checklist

Work History

Hobby ideas

Writing prompts

Things to learn

Un-do list

Free writing

Ways to make life better

Date night ideas


Me time ideas

Practice spreads

“I’m currently” list

Legacy planning

One-sentence journal

Vision board

Word of the day (using different languages)

Personal development plan

Podcasts to follow

What inspires me

I hope you get some enjoyment out of creating these pages in your own journals and will share your creations on Instagram using the hashtag: