I love the idea of bullet journals. It’s the Insta-worthy way of recording your daily tasks, to do lists etc, and it says: hey, you don’t have to conform, just pick something you want to write and get going.
But here’s where I have a problem. It also says you have to be a dab hand with a calligraphy pen and have degree-level illustration and design skills. Precisely laid out pages of lists and dates intricately decorated with an endless variety of perfect doodles do nothing to encourage my inner artist. These bullet journalists leave a lot to live up to.
But then I saw a few pages of someone’s journal on Instagram which really did inspire. Colourful pictures and lists on *gasp* pre-lined paper, drawn in *gaspgasp* biro. THIS was the level of journaling I could match.
And you know what? It’s what I’m already doing. Albeit in an exceptionally sporadic and somewhat less colourful way.
For a few years, I’ve been writing lists of places I’ve visited, things I’ve done, books I’ve read, important milestones, and anything else I feel worthy of literal note. It’s an easy way of keeping track, without the pressure of committing to writing a daily journal.
It’s also incredibly satisfying to look back over several months’ or years’ worth and see what you’ve been up to. In a world where external validation often ranks so much higher than personal achievement, it’s good to have something that’s just for you.
Bullet journaling, list making, note scrawling – call it what you will – just don’t give me unrealistic expectations.
Nipping over to the continent for a Christmas market or weekend of cultural amusements is a snitch. So it beats me why I don’t do it more often. Over three years ago I took in the festive delights of Bruges, including a display of Disney themed ice sculptures that quite literally rendered me speechless but since have been something I’ve not been able to stop rambling on about.
I’m not going to lie, chocolate was high on our agenda for the weekend. A peruse around the chocolate museum and discovering that brandy tipped unceremoniously into a mug of frothy hot cocoa really is as good as it sounds were some of the highlights.
We made regular diversions into shops selling candy of all colours and unimaginable flavours – most of which have been long forgotten. Except Dumon Chocolatier.
A small establishment located quite centrally in Eiermarkt, Bruges, Dumon looks like something the Brothers Grimm dreamt up – a perfect Hansel and Gretel-esque cottage, a little at odds with the larger and later buildings. After descending a miniature staircase into the shop, floor to ceiling chocolate awaits.
Not wanting to put all of our chocolate eggs into one big Ballotin, we opted for a medium selection to take home. Our carefully transported haul of Bruges’s finest were slowly sampled in the run up to Christmas. Despite other chocolates displaying far heftier price tags, Dumon Chocolatier won on all fronts – taste, texture, design – leaving us hungry for more.
A colleague of mine recently headed to Bruges and asked for travel tips. Being mid-summer enthusing about ice sculptures was futile but chocolate has year-round appeal. Directions to Eiermarkt duly divulged, I was not expecting an offer of Dumon’s produce in return.
An email entitled “Mission Accomplished” pinged into my inbox and a gleaming picture of a Dumon Ballotin rewarded my eyes. What followed was a very long weekend of waiting.
The passing of time can warp memories, distorting opinions. Not so with these beauties. Packaged just how I remembered, the gleaming chocolates were once again a delight to be savoured. (If savoured means not scoffing them all in just one night.)