* Prices may differ from that shown
Organised mum family life book
This family life diary book by organised mum is a lot more than your average diary. I have been a huge fan of Organised mum products and have bought a diary from them for the last four years. There customer service is A*. Their products always arrive quickly and when once there had been a problem with my order and a delivery address for my order had been missed they contacted me straight away and rectified it I received the product the next day! So as always last year I went to purchase another diary but for a change I went for the family life book rather than the usually life book diary. I felt like a change and felt it might make me more organised with the boys and what they are doing.
The Family life book is a hard back diary with a spiral bound which I prefer as I find writing in spiral bound books easier. The book is A5 size so is a decent sized book and as it does have a lot too it and does run for 16 months rather than the usually 12 months it is rather thick. I have from time to time carried it round in my handbag but it does make it rather heavy! The pages are ok quality compared to previous years they do feel a bit thinner than they used to. Before the pages felt thick and good quality and you had no chance of shining light through them but now they are a bit thinner. But if you have never had one before you wouldn't see it as a negative more me been pernickety. The front cover design for the family life diary is bright pink with abstract tiny flowers on it not a design I would choose if I had a choice but I bought it for the contents and not the cover! The book comes together with an elastic bandeau in a purple colour so when not in use it is kept shut.
This diary is split into two main sections the week to view section and the monthly section. There are many other features to the diary but these are the main parts that make up the book and would be the reason for you purchasing one.
The week to view section is in a grid like style with the days down the left hand side of the double page spread followed by blank columns. There are seven empty columns so plenty for a big family. The boxes for each day, for each individual column aren't that big but I find I have enough space for what I need to write down. Following the empty columns there is an eighth column for meal ideas which I find great for planning the meals ahead and keeping the shopping budget down. This is followed by a lined column titled 'TO do' and 'Next week' which is handy to jot down those things you would normal put on a bit of paper and then lose it!
The month to view section is made up of three pages for each of the sixteen months. It begins with the month at view, as it fills just one single page the boxes are quite small but there is enough room to write down birthdays and bits. This page is followed by a lined page called 'To do'. It is like a checklist page as at the end of each line is a small box you can tick off when you have done what is on your list. I find this handy as I often plan the month ahead at the end of the previous month so not to forget birthdays and important appointments. The last page of the section is titled 'income and outgoing' something I always plan to use but fail miserably after day two of the month. The diary comes with two plastic dividers that can be moved about; I find I use them to get to the place I am up to in both these two main sections, very handy indeed with a diary this big.
The rest of the diary is made up of other small features some which I love and some which I just don't bother with. At the beginning there is the usual personal details (that I never fill in), useful numbers, calendar for 2012 and 2013 followed by a weekly routine planner. If I could just get myself motivated this would be handy to have a routine but do many peoples life's run to a well routine, mine certainly doesn't! The back of the books has a few pages to plan Christmas, thoughts and plans for the year ahead, then a large section of perforated shopping lists to remove and use. As well as the diary itself it comes with 288 themed stickers to highlight the important events such as birthdays, dentist appointments and so on. And it comes with a removable address book. As this is my third A5 diary from organised mum I use my original so never need the new one that comes with it, unfortunately you can't opt for not receiving this when you order.
As this diary is a sixteen month diary I have been using it for some time. Personally I prefer the life book diary rather than the family life book diary but this has nothing to do with the actual product. I thought I would like the fact I could plan for all the family members but I miss the fact it isn't like a diary anymore and sad as it sounds I like to write a diary. The book is full of handy features which would certainly keep you organised with appointments, finance, shopping and all sorts of other things. As there is a lot squeezed into this book I think there has had to be a compromise with the amount of space you get to use in each part. The boxes are a lot smaller than you would find in the life book but then you have to weigh this up you have designated areas for all family members.
I do like the layout style of the week to view pages it is clean and simple and easy to use. I do tend to use this section the most out of the whole book and it has kept me organised but personally I think the life book would have done this for me as well. I have struggled with the month section there is plenty to use but again space has been compromised. I love to use the stickers provided but put one in a box on the month to view section and you have nearly filled the day box it is good job I have very small hand writing.
I have found rating this product difficult as personally for me I have found it weak against the life diary book but trying to put that one out of my head I do think it could be a useful product for someone. If you have a large family four of you or more and want to keep organised and aren't bothered by the fact you can't write an actual diary this could be for you. For that I would give it 4/5 stars it does function well for what it is and has plenty of helpful pages.
It is a diary so availability at this time of year is low but obviously cheaper. You can still purchase the 2013 version from organised-mum.co.uk for £5. I bought mine in September last year so I paid full price at £13.49. Even though I don't particularly like this version for me I don't feel cheated by the amount I paid it is a good quality product that would be great for some people I just know in future I will be returning for the life diary book not the family life diary book. The diaries are tweaked from year to year but basically will have the same layout. So if you don't purchase one now look at for the new versions at the end of August I would highly recommend organised mums for a diary of all diaries to keep you organised.