Baron Fig Wander Dream Journal.

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Baron Fig sent me their new Wander Dream Journal to review here on the blog. All thoughts shared on this product are entirely my own.

The Wander Dream Journal is a brand new product to Baron Fig. As the name suggests its a dream journal with a specific page layout designed to encourage you to catch various aspects of your dreams. The thought that has gone into this journal is really nice and the style of this dream journal is different to anything we’ve seen from Baron Fig before.

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The overall notebook design.

The Wander Dream Journal looks like a Confidant. Its the same size as their Flagship product but this journal has a few interesting tweaks. The most obvious is the inclusion of an elastic closure, which I was a little surprised to see. The Wander Dream Journal seems a strange choice of debut for the elastic closure and I am not sure it really needs it. In most instances this journal will sit on your bedside table or where you rest your head. It is used for a specific purpose and therefore perhaps unlikely to contain bits of paper, but more often purely written notes. These are of course, all assumptions I am making and perhaps other people would find different ways to use this journal, but in relation to the elastic closure I think this may be welcome on other Confidants and perhaps no so important on the Wander Dream Journal.

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As this is the first time Baron Fig have included an elastic closure I was interested to see how well integrated it was. The good news is you can’t notice the fixing of the elastic on the reverse inside cover. The only thing I did notice is that the elastic does leave an imprint on the front of the Confidant as its material, but this is relatively small and due to the dark cover not overly noticeable.

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Back to the specific design of the Wander Dream Journal, the cover is a midnight blue with embossed silver stars and moon. The cover design is simple but works well with the intended use of the journal giving it a sleepy, dreamlike feel.

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There is a light blue bookmark with this journal which seems quite a bit longer than other bookmarks from Baron Figs Confidants! Lets hope this change trickles down to all Baron Fig Confidant notebooks.

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Inside the Wander Journal.

The page design is what really sets this journal apart from anything else Baron Fig have done. Each double page spread is dedicated to a dream and its through the prompts on the page that you can unwind, decipher or simply record. At the front of the journal is a double page explanatory page telling you how to use the notebook.

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The page bars.

All of the elements within this spread are explained clearly. Each double page has a page bar which sit on the outside edge of each page and guide you through tracking your dreams. There is space to track how the dream made you feel, the quality of your sleep, the period of time the dream took place, whether it was in colour or monotone, your viewpoint and finally there is a categorisation section where you can record if its recurring dream, a nightmare, fantasy etc.

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Having the page bars on the outside edge of each page makes it easy to find these common themes, or to search for something later on. Not only is the page bar an interesting and well-thought through guided experience, it’s also cleverly been considered from a use perspective. This information could have been shown in so many other formats, but positioning this where they have works so well and keeps this information relevant in the longer term.

I found the categories of the page bar also made me consider things I wouldn’t have thought about before. The colour versus monotone indicator is not a factor I would have thought about in relation to my dreams. To record these small nuggets of information and be prompted to think about them is useful. It’s simple but it captures relevant information.

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The journaling sections.

The rest of your double page spread is to record all the important information of your dream. The date and day it occurred has its own section at the top of the page.

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There is room for the details, the weird and wonderful aspects of everyones dreams. The left hand page is dedicated to what you remember from your dream and called Recall. Again a great header as its rare to remember all the details or for them to make sense. The header alone suggests that some of the information here may be illogical, nonsense even…the idea is to simply write it down.

Then there is the Visualize section. From the few dreams I have recorded (and remembered) there hasn’t been a whole lot of imagery that I can remember or that made sense to draw, but again this can sometimes be one of the only ways to remember a dream. Having blank space dedicated to this is a nice prompt.

Finally there is space for you to Interpret your dream. From my silly, but real example the interpretation of the dream is clear. Other dreams are harder to interpret but this is an important part of the journal purely because most people always wonder what their dreams meant.

Each section within the page has a different grid pattern dedicated to the section you’re completing. The Recall section has lines giving you the space to write. The Visualize section is blank giving you space to draw and the Recall section has dotted ruled lines. This isn’t the first time Baron Fig have a mixed up their grid rulings, (Show & Tell) but it really works nicely for the Wander Dream Journal.

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Overall thoughts.

This isn’t a journal for everyone and its not a journal you may use everyday but its really interesting. I have mine by my bed and when I wake up and I can recall a dreams I record it in the journal using the prompts to guide me. Spending the time to think about dreams can be deeply personal, strange and a little revealing perhaps but I imagine this could be a journal that over time becomes a valued notebook.

It’s great that the Wander Dream Journal is part of Baron Figs standard offering and not just a limited edition. This journal shows that Baron Fig can take a simple idea, or note taking routine, and guide users to improve upon a habit. I would love to see them take the Wander Dream Journal idea and apply this to other areas.

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A little bit more…

As this isn’t a journal that’s for the everyday…in many cases, I started to wonder how I could hack this journal. How could I take the insides and use this for alternative purposes. As it’s a full sized Confidant, 192 pages of dream recording is a lot. So here are some of the ideas I had…

  1. Story planning - the layout could be used to plan out scenes or ideas from a story and the prompts could be adapted to work in this manner.
  2. Mood tracker - again some of the side bar items can work to track your mood. Recalling, interpreting and in some instances visualising your moods could be part of a self-improvement idea that could be tracked over time.
  3. Memory log - you could use these pages to write down memories. The side bar could be adapted to work alongside this idea and you could include snippets, photos or cut outs in the Visualize area.

Blackwing 54 Review

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I was late buying the Blackwing 54 limited edition. It had sold out in all the familiar places and as I am not a huge pencil user buying a full box of 12 always seems a little extravagant. However after watching a video review I wanted to see if I could hunt this edition down. I asked Twitter if anyone had some singles they’d be willing to part with…but I got no reply, sad face. Then Present and Correct saved the day by letting me know Foyles still had boxes in stock hurrah! so I relented and picked one up even though a full box of 12 is far more than I would usually like. (Sidenote: there are still some left in stock.)

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There is a lot to like aesthetically from the Blackwing 54. A rose coloured lacquer with teal lettering, a silver ferrule and blue eraser. The combination of colours contrast each other nicely. The inspiration for this came from the Surrealist movement which you can read all about here. I really like this limited edition release and its another strong design offering from Blackwing.

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I always enjoy using the Blackwing pencils and usually have one with me as it’s my pocket notebook sidekick. The core in the 54 is extra-firm which makes this pencil even more appealing as it’s not one of the standard Blackwing pencil cores. The closest standard offering that this can be compared to is the 602. You can see the small differences below.

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The graphite is dark and smooth holding its point well making it the ideal writing companion. As with most other Blackwing pencils the erasers are pretty rubbish. They don’t erase the graphite well at all and leave a bit of a smear. It’s an emergency eraser at best.

Overall thoughts.

I really like the 54 limited edition from Blackwing. The other limited editions I have enjoyed are the 24 and 211 but their designs are far more muted, whereas the 54 release is louder and bold making it a little more exciting. I like the fact that Blackwing didn’t shy away from a bold design. You can still find this edition in some places and singles in a few stores. I would recommend snapping some of these up if you get the chance. They really are stuntners.

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Overall thoughts.

I really like the 54 limited edition from Blackwing. The other limited editions I have enjoyed are the 24 and 211 but their designs are far more muted, whereas the 54 release is louder and bold making it a little more exciting. I like the fact that Blackwing didn’t shy away from a bold design. You can still find this edition in some places and singles in a few stores. I would recommend snapping some of these up if you get the chance. They really are stuntners.

Sailor Waga-Uguisu Ink Review.

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The Sailor Waga-Uguisu ink is from the 2016 Four Seasons limited edition range. I read review after review on this new range with a hint of jealousy as you couldn’t get your hands on them in the UK. A sad, familiar tale.

I first noticed Waga-Uguisu from a post by Liz at Wonderpens and it immediately caught my eye. Green has always been a colour I am drawn to but when it came to finding a good, usable, legible green ink its felt like a loosing battle. Waga-Uguisu looked like the right sort of colour and I’d had nothing but good experiences with Sailor inks. I sadly however dismissed this ink thinking I’d never be able to grab a bottle and so didn’t want to obsess over it.

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Fast forward to earlier on this year and I happened on these inks on the Pure Pens website on pre-order. After many ignored tweets asking when these would arrive, weeks later they were in stock and I was finally able to get my hands on a bottle.

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Using Waga-Uguisu.

The good news is Waga-Uguisu has not been a disappointment. The more I use Sailor inks the more I fall in love. The tones and colours of the inks are beautiful and they are so nice to use. I’ve used them in a range of fountain pens from the pricey through to entry level and the experience has been good in all.

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I haven’t stopped using this ink since I got my hands on it. In person the colour is more vibrant and bold than the photos I’d seen. It’s a deep green shade that still manages to give you a hint of those lighter tones. There is no sheen or sparkle, which isn’t a bad thing, but with a broader and wetter nib you will see some variation in colour and a decent amount of shading.

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Depending on the paper you’re using the ink performs a little differently. Shading is more pronounced on Tomoe River paper, as you’d expect, but even on heavier papers it’s still there, just a little more muted.

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Overall thoughts.

Calling out favourites is always a bold statement in my opinion. Favourites are based on a lot of variables such as mood, experience and personal factors that influence your perspective...however every now and again I feel a little bold. Waga-Uguisu is my second favourite ink. Sailor Blue-Black is the out and out winner and probably always will be as its more versatile and can be used in most situations. However the Waga-Uguisu is a very close second. The green shade is gorgeous, not too bright, not too yellow and not too neon green. It reminds me of a forest green, lush, deep and with plenty of shade. This ink is a limited edition which is a real shame and I guess over time will disappear out of stock. I have never finished a bottle of ink so I don’t think I need to stock up, but it’ll be a sad day when this ink disappears.

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Foyles A5 Hardbound Notebook Review

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Folyes sent me one of their new hardbound A5 notebooks to test and review here on the blog. All thoughts expressed in this review are entirely my own.

I wasn’t aware that Foyles had their own range of stationery items so it was a very nice surprise when they contacted me asking if I’d like to check out their new A5 notebook. Folyes has always represented quality to me and their stores have a good range of stationery items, so I had high hopes for this notebook.

Design.

There are four different colour options available with this notebook but for this review I opted for the Blush version. It has a hardbound cover with a geometric design. The cover design continues onto the inside with more flare. With the Blush notebook there is a sort of blue chevron design with some hot pink foiling.

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The notebook is ruled with a light grey ink on cream coloured paper. Personally I enjoy using paper which is off-white or cream as I think it’s less harsh.

The ruling in these notebooks doesn’t run the full width of the page but leaves a small boarder around the side. The ruling width is good giving you plenty of room if you have larger handwriting.

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Each page is numbered, however there is no index at the front of the notebook which kind of makes this addition a little less functional.

Finally there is a thin ribbon style bookmark in a hot pink to match the foiling on the front of the notebook.

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Using the notebook and paper quality.

The design of a notebook is important. Quality materials and a strong design always make them far more appealing but really the paper quality is the selling point. It’s no use having a gorgeous notebook if the paper is poor.

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With the Foyles notebook I tested out a range of different writing tools I would typically use everyday to see what it could take. This ranged from fountain pens, pencils, drawing pens, gel pens and liquid ink pens. The performance was mixed. The fountain pens feathered and bled quite a bit. More than I am comfortable with or would be happy using. The paper is 100gsm and should be able to handle the fountain pens a little better.

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With the feathering came some show through which again I would expect. This doesn’t bother me too much personally but it’s worth noting.

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All the other tools worked well. Pencils were nice on the page, their glided over the paper so there was very little tooth. Drawing pens and liquid ink pens were nice too. Gel pens were a little scratchy but I find that a lot with these types of pen and paper combos.

I did also throw a Copic marker at the paper too to see what happened and as expected there was loads of bleed through.

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Overall thoughts.

The style and design of these notebooks is nice. The hardbound covers feel traditional and sturdy, perhaps a little too much. They add bulk to the notebook and don’t exactly make it slim line. I can see people being attracted to the design and colour schemes chosen and honestly I don’t think you’d be super disappointed if you were to receive this notebook as a gift. However I think it falls short in a few areas and for a similar price point at £12.99 I think there are better alternatives available.

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However despite all this I think it’s great that there are more British companies and brands producing paper products.

Thank you again to Foyles for sending me over their notebook to review.