The Hobonichi Techo as a Bullet Journal

I have used a bullet journal system for around ten months with a bit of a gap in the middle. Juggling a baby meant that my Leuchtturm1917 do-it-yourself format wasn’t manageable so since the beginning of this year I switched into a Hobonichi Techo Avec. On the whole the Techo has worked well as a bullet journal. I have utilised the space and layouts available but there are things that I have really missed using that don’t fit within this pre-structured format.

First, my set-up.

The Techo has successfully housed the essentials of my bullet journal. My habit tracker is at the front of the Techo on the simple line per month view. I did consider using these pages as a future log as it felt like the natural fit, but that would have meant that my habit tracker wouldn’t have worked anywhere else.

My habit tracker pages 

My habit tracker pages 

The layout on these pages work perfectly as a habit tracker. The blank space at the top of each month is where I list out each different habit I want to track. The dates are already filled out for me and the grid makes it easy to check off the different habits each day.

A close up view of the habit tracker

A close up view of the habit tracker

I’ve used the monthly calendar as intended, an overview or in bullet journal language, the future log. I use this to add in appointments and its a great overview of how busy you may be over the course of a month.

The daily pages are used for my daily to-do lists. These pages are a great size for me to jot down everything I need to remember, events I have on that day and tasks I need to complete. I also include little bits of information such as the weather, or during February my InCoWriMo recipients. The benefit of the Techo is I can add future tasks in easily as all the dates are already marked out.

A daily page. I use the monthly header pages to mark which inks I have been using for that month

A daily page. I use the monthly header pages to mark which inks I have been using for that month

The Techo has worked as intended, a place to hold all the things that rattle around in my head and bring some form of structure to them. It has kept me semi-organised so far this year and because of that I cannot fault it.

Here’s the but(s)… The thing is, now I find I have a little bit more spare time. My little person is older and I can find a bit of time each day to allow me to plan exactly as I want to.

This has got me thinking about the Techo and its downsides. First up, there isn’t enough spare or blank pages in the Techo. Any collections or notes which are needed for long stretches of time don’t fit into the bullet journal. As you can see I have snuck in my reading list in two of the available spare pages but there are other collections or notes I want to keep such as a home improvements list, a projects page or a workout schedule. As it stands I can’t have them in my bullet journal, these notes float around in other notebooks and get a bit lost.

One of the only available spreads. I have used this to track the books I have been reading

One of the only available spreads. I have used this to track the books I have been reading

I also miss decorating my previous bullet journal, the Leuchtturm1917. I liked playing around with different layouts, practicing my lettering and decorating the different pages. Using my Techo I don’t get to do any of this and whilst I could decorate some of my daily pages I don’t find myself doing it. The structure seems to stop me experimenting and trying out different things.

The thing I really miss from the A6 Techo is a weekly view. The larger Cousin has this feature but the smaller A6 doesn’t. Having a weekly overview to add appointments or tasks would be really helpful. This was a spread I used a lot in my Leuchtturm1917, it gave me time to think about the upcoming week, make some notes and plan ahead.

The Techo is wonderful and I have written a few reviews (see here and here), singing its praises. I thought this year using it as a bullet journal would be perfect but sadly I find myself getting a bit bored by it. It lacks the flexibility I am looking for so I have decided that in April I will be back in my Leuchtturm1917 to see if I can give this more manual bullet journal the time it needs.

Baron Fig Vanguard Infinity Edition

Over the past few months Baron Fig has become my notebook brand of choice. I really like the simplicity of their designs and the quality of the paper suits the majority of my needs. So when I saw photos of the latest Baron Fig Vanguard Infinity Edition I immediately placed an order.

Prior to using the Infinity edition I had experience with the pocket Vanguard notebooks which meant I had a good idea of what to expect. The Infinity edition comes in the medium, or as Baron Fig refer to it, the Flagship size. This works out as slightly smaller than a traditional A5 notebook. It comes with 72 pages making it a thin workbook or composition book format. I have found this thinner notebook style makes it easier to write in due to the lower profile it has when open, and having fewer pages means its ideal for projects or as I recently found out, a travel notebook as it’s not very bulky.

The Infinity edition comes with the much loved dot grid, off white paper that can be found in all other Baron Fig notebooks. Dot grid paper is fast becoming the preferred grid to please the masses, but personally it’s not my first choice. However I will concede that this grid style does make each notebook extremely versatile.

As you can tell I think there is a lot going for this edition, but most of what I have mentioned above can be found on any of the Flagship Vanguard notebooks. The real selling point of this edition is the beautiful design; it’s simply stunning. The deep purple cover has a slight textured feel to it. The complimenting pink accents are beautiful, the spine stitching, the Infinity shapes on the front cover and then the contrasting use of pink on the inside cover all make the notebook pop. This is the sort of notebook I could hoard, its practically perfect for me.

The gorgeous pink stitching and a glimpse of the textured cover

The gorgeous pink stitching and a glimpse of the textured cover

I really like what Baron Fig are doing these days. They may not be pleasing everyone but they are certainly getting people talking. Their range of products is growing rapidly, it feels like there is a new product every week. I am really excited about Baron Fig and what the future holds.

Jeeves and Co Personalised Stationery

In mid February I was contacted by Jeeves and Co asking if I would like to take a look at a few of their products. This was perfect timing as I was in the thick of InCoWriMo and I could instantly put them to good use. Although Jeeves and Co kindly sent me these items for the purpose of this review the thoughts below are entirely my own. On with the review!

First thing I noticed with Jeeves and Co’s products is that I liked the majority of their designs. I actually had trouble trying to make my final choices. I have searched for personalised correspondence cards in the past and the designs can be too traditional or too expensive and I have not been able to find something that really caught me eye. Jeeves and Co’s designs are the perfect solution to this problem.

Lovely packaging from Jeeves and Co.

Lovely packaging from Jeeves and Co.

I finally settled on the Sweet Dreams correspondence cards. This design plays on sweets and chocolates and comes with a few different designs in the pack. I love the style and colours used. The font used for your name is really nice and works well with the overall design.

The different designs in the Sweet Dreams series

The different designs in the Sweet Dreams series

For the writing paper I chose the owl design in the Cosmic Forest series. The design is really pretty and doesn’t impose on the page too much giving me plenty of writing room.

Cosmic Forest writing paper featuring the swooping owl

Cosmic Forest writing paper featuring the swooping owl

Whilst you want a nice design from your correspondence paper the really important thing is how well it can handle pen and ink. I used both of these sets during InCoWriMo and I found the quality of the paper really good. The paper weights are high, 120gsm for the writing paper and 270gsm for the correspondence cards. I had no issues using any of my fountain pens so a big win right there.

I am really impressed with the items I have used from Jeeves and Co. The designs they have available are modern and fun. For less than £15 they are really well priced. Jeeves and Co have made personalised stationery affordable without compromising on the quality.

I would like to thank Jeeves and Co for sending me a sample of their stationery to use.

InCoWriMo - The Aftermath

February has been and gone which means InCoWriMo has come to an end. This has been my first year taking part and it has been enjoyable spending time sending letters, cards and postcards to people.

A note and a small gift

A note and a small gift

I didn't complete the task of sending one letter per day. I managed to send 20 pieces of correspondence this month. There were days I just couldn’t find the time and other days where I wrote multiple letters. I may have not fulfilled the InCoWriMo challenge but by participating I have written 20 letters more than a usual month. Today I will share some highlights and learnings with you from my first InCoWriMo experience.

The planning process

I didn’t really have a plan. I had a small list of people I wanted to send letters to, I checked February birthdays and included them in the challenge. I kept track of who I had sent something too in my Hobonichi Techo using the monthly calendar. I also included the type of correspondence I had sent. This worked really well for me because it was easy to keep on top of and easy to reference.

My InCoWriMo tracking tool

My InCoWriMo tracking tool

What I sent

To add to the fun I decided to make my own cards during this month. I spent a little bit of time thinking about different designs and then sketched them out in a notebook before drawing anything up on the card stock.

Doodles in my notebook

Doodles in my notebook

I referenced Pinterest a lot looking at how to guides and images that I could copy. I actually really enjoyed doing this. I got to play with lots of my stationery and it was a simple creative outlet. Some of my drawings and designs are questionable but others came out better than I expected.

I was pleased with some of my card efforts

I was pleased with some of my card efforts

I got to play with watercolours and drawing pens

I got to play with watercolours and drawing pens

InCoWriMo was also the perfect opportunity for me to practice brush lettering. The recipients names were lettered on envelopes using the Faber-Castell Pitt Artist Pen as this is waterproof and can survive the elements. In most cases I decorated the envelopes with stamps or washi to jazz them up.

Washi tape made the envelopes look that little bit nicer than normal

Washi tape made the envelopes look that little bit nicer than normal

Receiving letters

I received a few letters myself this year. Not too many but it's really nice to get post that isn't a bill or that I wasn’t expecting. I enjoy the surprise and reading something that someone's actually spent time writing, no matter how short therefore I hoped my letters did the same for other people.

I will definitely take part in InCoWriMo again next year, but I won’t just wait until February, I plan on writing letters and creating more cards soon. I've had a lot of fun and I've found another way to use and enjoy my stationery supplies.