Friday, 26 April 2013

The Journal Shop goodies!

Very quick post...

I'm feeling poorly and since nothing cheers me up and makes me feel better than buying a shed-load of stationery and since it is National Stationery Week and since The Journal Shop is still doing 3 for 2 on selected notebooks and a 25% off offer...

I bought:

The Journal Shop were absolutely fantastic as I was having a bit of trouble with my order so I Tweeted them and they helped me out. At 9pm on a Friday. How good are they!!!

Reviews of all the goodies soon.

Sunday, 21 April 2013

Let training commence!

In my last post I announced the arrival of a ‘flat-as-a-camel’ classic pocket filofax. I have started ‘training’ it.

It’s still in the early stages. I can remove the pots of pens and pencils and the binder will stay flat.

Until I close it up again, then re-open it. At which point it lies with about a 45 degree angle (which is better than it was!).

Patience. Patience…

Friday, 19 April 2013

Arrival of a Classic Pocket Filofax

When I did my post on “Back in a pocket” I hinted at the imminent arrival of a classic pocket in red.
Well, it arrived last Friday.
And I almost immediately thought about putting it up for sale.


Because I didn’t think I would get on with it.

It meets many of my requirements for a binder, but it had an epic fail on an important one… flattablity.

I need my binder to lie flat as a bat. This one lies as flat as a camel.

Don’t get me wrong, the filofax is lovely! It’s a very handsome beast. It’s the colour of blood (Oh. Maybe only I would find that description appealing… it’s “cherry” I think on the filofax site), has 4 card slots and a full-height pocket behind on the inside front cover and a zipped pocket and a full-height pocket behind on the inside back cover. It has 19mm rings.

It really is beautiful and probably could be trained to lie flat, but maybe not by me who hasn’t a huge heap of patience!

Anyway, pictures:

Cover – there is little creasing near the spine which shows as paler, but a dab of red leather cream resolved that. (these pictures were taken before I used the leather cream…)
[Incidentally, for those of you wondering, Collonil Classic Shoe Cream in red is the right shade for a blood cherry coloured binder]

“Open” (I use the word incorrectly):

Inside front cover: 4 card slots and one full-height pocket behind.

Inside back cover: zipped pocket and full-height pocket behind.

The filofax (I think) has never/barely been used. I am currently trying to train it to lie flat. If I fail, I will sell it (though the colour is wonderful and I like it otherwise!)

Anyone got any good training tips for a Classic (or is it doomed to fail?).

Monday, 15 April 2013

Book-planning notebook - which one to choose?

I’m starting to plan a new book. Yes, I know none of the others are published (yet) but there’s one beginning to demand to be let out of my head.
Now, although I will use Scrivener to do the computery bit, I know I will do a huge amount of planning and writing in a notebook too. I always do. There’s something about writing on paper that triggers my thoughts and imagination in a way that typing straight into white space can never accomplish.

But which notebook to choose? I have, after all, rather a large selection to select from!

Discounting anything significantly smaller than A5 (I need space to plan and to write in and smaller books just won’t work), in the notebook emporium currently there are:
[links are to reviews of the notebook by me]

Top row, L-R: cat book, Age Bag with A5+ on top, Ciak, Habana
Bottom row, L-R: A4 spiral bound, Moleskine, exercise book, Oxford Activebook, Cartesio

How to whittle that down to one book to use?

Okay, well, it has to be fountain-pen friendly paper, so that’s the two Cartesios out.
It has to be lined, so that’s the Moleskine out.
I’m not a fan of spiral-bound books as I find the binding gets in the way, so that’s the cat books and the three A4 books out (despite all being surprisingly fountain-pen friendly!).
I’ve tried the Clairefontaine A5+ book before and although it’s lovely to write on, the very wide margin is too annoying and it won’t lie flat.
The Quo Vadis Habana book won’t lie flat enough (I use another one as a running log and it drives me batty for this!)
The Midori World Meister doesn’t have enough pages (it has just 92 sides) although otherwise is glorious (review coming soon)
The school exercise book also has too few pages (96 sides)
I’ve tried an A5 filofax before and although it worked reasonably well, I eventually reverted to a bound book, so that’s the filofaxes and the Oxford Activebooks out (though the Oxford paper would have been a dream to write on and the paper could be filed in either filofax or Mulberry A5 binders).

So what am I left with after that initial whittling?

  • 2x Cartesio large (13 x 21cm) notebooks
  • 1x Moleskine plain notebook (13 x 21cm)
  • 1x Clairefontaine school exercise book
  • 1x Ciak A5 leather-bound notebook
  • A spiral-bound A5 lined notebook with cats on the cover (no idea where that came from. I suspect someone gave me it as a gift as I write and have a cat)
  • 1x Midori World Meister Dainel A5 book (which somehow didn’t make it into the photo!)
  • 3x Oxford Activebooks
  • Several A5 filofaxes
  • 1x Quo Vadis Habana notebook (~15 x 23 cm)
  • 1x Clairefontaine A5+ notebook (a few pages missing but still mostly intact)
  • 1x Clairefontaine Age Bag A4 notebook
  • 3x spiral-bound A4 notebooks

The Ciak A5 notebook or the Clairefontaine A4 Age Bag notebook.

I’ve gone for the Clairefontaine. It lies flatter than the Ciak (though admittedly, not as flat as a bat, but not far off), the paper is divine – far smoother than the Ciak – and the acres of space invite free-flowing thought (I hope!). I used the same kind of notebook for the last book (just with a green cover) and it has been glorious to work in. Fountain-pen just glides across the paper and with 192 pages, there is more than enough space to write.


Clairefontaine A5+ notebook
Clairefontaine Age Bag A4 notebook

Quo Vadis Habana notebook
Cartesio large (13 x 21cm) notebooks
Ciak A5 leather-bound notebook
Midori World MeisterDainel A5 book

Oxford Activebooks
A5 filofaxes

3x spiral-bound A4 notebooks

Moleskine plain notebook (13 x 21cm)
The spiral-bound A5 lined notebook with cats on the cover

Friday, 12 April 2013

Papelote mini notebooks review

I have been fairly remiss in my reviews, but a while ago, I showed you some A6 books in my Midori-style homemade leather notebook holder (see here for the post).

Homemade leather notebook cover
The notebooks I bought were the mini Papelote notebooks from The Journal Shop. Unlike both Field Notes and the Clairefontaine “A6” books I have (which are smaller than A6), these little notebooks really are A6.
I’ve been using these small books (in the leather cover) as general notes/scribbles books – a place to jot something down to process the information later.

So what are the notebooks like?

Cover - matches the insides
They are marketed as simple and indeed they are. The cover matches the insides and is a thick paper/thin card. The paper inside is 80gsm and off-white (slightly greyish). I had anticipated the paper to not be at all fountain-pen friendly and was pleasantly surprised.

The first page is a title page, and there are 64 pages in the notebook in total.

Title page
I did a pen/fountain pen test on the paper and found little or no feathering (depending on the nib/ink combination) and little or no bleed-through. I would tend not to be using a fountain pen in them, but more likely to use a Pilot V5 hi-tecpoint, so I tested this too and found the result absolutely fine.

Little/no bleed-through

Back cover
Narrow ruled notebook to the left; squared to the right
Overall, I was very pleased with them. I was after something simple and cheap to pop into the leather cover I made and these fit the bill perfectly.

The notebooks are also available in A5.

Monday, 8 April 2013

Back in a pocket-size

The title says it all really… Do I need to do a blog post?

Oh, okay then. I’ll do a why I chose the pocket and a walk through of what’s in there!

First up, it’s the Baroque pocket, not Loki, or Miss Aston (or indeed the red classic that’s winging its way to me… ahem, ahem… More on that another day!).
The 19mm rings, the four card slots and the multitude of (admittedly sometimes daft) pockets made it an easy choice. That and the nagging voice in my head saying that I had yearned after it for long enough, I really should use it. The downside is of course that I prefer colour and the Baroque is black.

So why did I go towards the pocket and not the Holborn?

Size really. Red was feeling like a brick and my hubby has been using my his pocket Portland a lot recently and I started to covet the small size. I’ve also downsized what I’m carrying a little as it struck me as unnecessary to be carrying all of my planning around, rather than just the outcomes of the planning. I don’t need, on a minute by minute or even day by day basis to see what my bigger goals are and how these are converted into next actions. I just need the next actions alongside my schedule, right?
Also, the day per page sheets were just not getting used. Half the days I’m at work (and didn’t use them because I don’t have my filofax open as all my work stuff is planned using the green A5 Mulberry); the other half of the week I’m not at work and wasn’t in the habit of using them. I’m also frequently caught between planning my day and ending up feeling too constrained, and not planning my day and feeling like I’m not getting anything done. Sometimes a weekly list split into ‘must do’ and ‘nice to do if time’ gets me out of that (which is what I’ve been using more recently).

First up, the pocket Baroque (like all of my Baroques) lies as flat as a bat, immediately. Even with all the weight of the insides on one side, it lies flat. Major plus.

Flat as a bat
In the four card slots are my bank and credit cards plus my Waterstones card (read in to that what you will. Every pun intended!). Tucked into the pocket behind are books of stamps. In the (less than ideally placed) zipped pocket behind that are other cards I like to have on me but don’t need easy access to. This zipped pocket is utterly useless for change as any cards in the card slots make it too stiff. In the pocket behind are vouchers. And in the last pocket of the inside cover there’s nothing as it is too difficult to get things in and out of it.

On the rings are other vouchers, then there are 4 sections:

1. Notes:
Blank paper for, um, notes. This is the ‘in-box’/capture/whatever you want to call it.

Notes - not much on my mind!
2. Diary:
In order – list of monthly goals and things to remember for this month (birthdays, car tax etc.), list of weekly goals for this week with a page marker, weekly review check-sheet, weekly goals for the rest of the weeks of April (page per week), monthly review check-sheet, list of monthly goals (and things to remember for that month) for the rest of the months of the year (page per month), forward planner for 2014, forward planner for 2015 (basically a lined page with 2014 or 2015 written on the top – used for remembering when my vaccinations are due!), 2013 week to view diary (in Italian as the Baroque was from the Italian sale).

Not that I've nothing to do... just haven't filled it in yet
LHS - back of the weekly plan sheet; RHS - review check-sheet
Italian LINED week to view (hoorah!). 'Festa' = holiday

In general, I have tried to set up yearly goals (planned elsewhere, not in this filofax), from which stem quarterly, monthly and weekly next-action/goals lists. In the past these have also trickled down to day lists but then I can start feeling over-planned so I am sticking with the weekly list for the moment and trying to split it into ‘must do’ and ‘nice to do’. It’s working okay so far.

3. Lists:
Lists of things I’m waiting on, lists of OS maps we have, lists of books to keep an eye out for… stuff like that.
List of waiting on...
Lists of OS maps I have
4. Info:
A note of the car insurance number, travel insurance number, other random things like that, then addresses.

Right at the back, after these sections, is a card-holder with bank card, donor card, and a couple of store-cards I use reasonably frequently. Then there is a mini-zip-loc bag for loose change. I keep paper money in the pocket in the back cover.
Pooh Post-Its just to hide my cards
Money in the 'notepad' pocket

Total mass: 380g for the Baroque against 530g for Red.

What do people think?

Friday, 5 April 2013

Here we go round the Mulberry bush

Choices, choices.
I have before me four different organisers and I’m not sure which one to use. I have:
Red (A6 Mulberry)
Loki (pocket Mulberry)
Pocket Baroque
Personal wine Holborn

Clockwise from top left: Wine Holborn, Red A6 Mulberry, pocket Baroque, Loki (pocket Mulberry)

Logic says I should be in the Holborn. Or the Baroque.
Heart says I should be in one of the Mulberry ones.

What’s wrong with Red? I mean, I’ve been in that longer than any of the others…

Red is heavy and a very stiff binder. She’s short on card slots and pockets so the ones she has are a bit jammed full and it’s difficult to get things in/out of them. I thought she was lighter than the Holborn but I’ve just weighed them (filled) and she’s not.

So why not just move into the Holborn…?

I may well do that. The Holborn has card slots and pockets galore and is a much softer binder. I suppose what’s been holding me back is the rewriting of diary entries (and the aspect ratio of the page always winds me up after a bit), but I have some time this weekend so I could do that. I also hate the filofax diary, but I could just re-write to the end of May or June on the filofax one and get the 18 month Paperchase diary for after that.

What about pocket Baroque and Loki?
Well, Loki has teensy rings and however much I adore him, he’s a bit small. And suffers from the stiffness, lack of pockets and card slots issues that Red has.

Pocket Baroque has some daft pockets, but does at least have pockets (and 4 card slots). And I am hankering after being in something smaller (but, realistically, I possibly carry too much stuff to make that feasible!). I did work out of a pocket Aston for a long time. I’ve also realised that I don’t need to carry all the notes about my goals around with me – I just need to have lists of next-actions lined up for the day/week. Oh, yeah, and the day-per-page diary is just not getting used, so I could abandon it and then I could possibly work out of the Baroque.

I think it’s time to have a play with them all and see where I land up. Advice??