Baron Fig School Set Review

IMG_1184.jpg

Baron Fig sent me a copy of their limited edition School Set to review here on the blog. I have been using these for a while now and have thoughts to share with you. Although Baron Fig provided me these items to review this is no way changes my opinions shared.

The Baron Fig School Set is the first time we have seen a limited edition release combining two of Baron Figs staple products, the Flagship Vanguard notebook and the Archer pencil. The School Set pays homage to traditional American school classics, the composition notebook and the yellow pencil.

The three colours of the School Set notebooks

The three colours of the School Set notebooks

The Notebooks.

If you are American there is no doubt these notebooks will be tinged in nostalgia and perhaps a bit of a marmite release for Baron Fig. For those outside of American your view on the composition notebook design and the classic yellow pencil will probably be very different. Personally I find the mottled design of a composition notebook busy and not particularly appealing. The colour choices used in this edition make it far more appealing to a broader audience and was a clever move by Baron Fig. Three black composition notebooks would have been very dull.

Inside these notebooks, and I believe this is a Baron Fig limited edition first, we have lined pages. (Hurrah!) If you're doing any sort of long form writing whether it's morning pages, writing your next great novel, or recording your thoughts in a journal then I don’t believe you can beat lined pages.

Generous, well-spaced lined ruling

Generous, well-spaced lined ruling

The paper is the normal Baron Fig stock that I enjoy using. In this release there are some school related extras on the inside covers of the notebook. The inside front cover has a place to record your personal information and the inside back cover has punctuation definitions and uses, speech and a conversion table. All very relevant to a School Set theme and actually quite useful.

The inside back cover of the composition notebook

The inside back cover of the composition notebook

The Pencil.

The Archer pencil is the traditional yellow American pencil colour with a green dipped end. The main different between the School Set Archer and the traditional school yellow pencil is the lack of ferrule and eraser. The yellow and green contrast one another beautifully, it's a match made in pencil lacquer heaven.

Standard Archer pencil and the School Set pencils.

Standard Archer pencil and the School Set pencils.

The Archer pencil included with the School Set I would guess is identical to the standard grey Archer pencil, just a different paint job. It is a HB grade that has good point retention, even on the Baron Fig toothy paper, and a lovely smooth graphite. I used these pencils for writing during NaNoWriMo and thoroughly enjoyed them. The pencil weight is perfect as there is no ferrule and eraser, making it extremely comfortable. The graphite was smooth to write with and paired alongside the School Set notebook it was a really nice writing experience.

Writing sample of the Archer pencils. 

Writing sample of the Archer pencils. 

Overall thoughts.

I have finished all three of my School Set notebooks during this years NaNoWriMo. Personally I really liked the colours and it was nice to see a limited edition with a lined ruling. The School Set is a solid release from Baron Fig perfectly planned for the back to school period adding a Baron Fig spin to an American classic.

IMG_1185.jpg

Thanks again to Baron Fig for sending me the School Set limited edition to review.

My First NaNoWriMo Experience

IMG_1178.jpg

November has come to a close which means my first experience with NaNoWriMo has come to an end. I am not a NaNoWriMo winner, I fell a long way short of the desired 50,000 words coming in at 30,572 words, a far cry from the target.

A post about NaNoWriMo isn't the normal sort of post for The Finer Point but during this challenge I used a lot of analogue tools and planned using a trusty Bullet Journal. In today’s post I will share this process and some of my discoveries with you.

My very simple NaNoWriMo Bullet Journal.

I am not a fly by the seat of my pants writer, nor was I a huge planner outlining all aspects of my story. I fell somewhere in between but in order to have some idea of where I was going and what I needed to do I created a very lose Bullet Journal to plan and track my word count.

IMG_1180.jpg

The most useful spread was the calendar. This was a simple hand drawn calendar where I planned out what I was writing on which day. This planning was important to kick off NaNoWriMo and forced me to consider the more complicated or time consuming sections of my story and tackle these on the days where I had sufficient time. At the end of each day I added my final word count in for that day. This was useful to see how I had done each day but also proved useful in figuring out if I hadn't written enough for a section. As the month went on I didn’t plan out too much on this page, it became more of a record keeping spread.

IMG_1179.jpg

My NaNo Bullet Journal included a chart showing my word count target by day that I copied from Boho Berry. This was useful but became a bit depressing the more I fell behind. I continued to use this as a tracking tool but spreads such as this could become a little de-motivating during the month.

IMG_1181.jpg

Other pages I had in the Bullet Journal were not referenced very often but they were important in helping me keep consistency. I had plot and character outlines and lists to make sure I didn't forget anything and also knew the links between characters. The rest of the Bullet Journal was used as a brain dump to keep anything related to my story all in one notebook.

The actual writing.

I wrote the whole thing by hand. I wasn't expecting to do this at all but I actually quite enjoyed it. I had plans of using a mixture of analogue and digital tools and thought my hand could ache from too much writing. Far from it.

IMG_1182.jpg

I went through all three of my Baron Fig School Set notebooks. These were perfect as they had lined ruling, my personal favourite, and I could use a wide range of tools on the paper. I polished off my Insightful Spectre Squire refill during the month, worked my way through the School Set Archer pencils from Baron Fig and refilled several fountain pens on numerous occasions. I am not sure I have used any of my supplies that quickly before. It was great fun.

Overall thoughts.

I have really liked taking part in NaNoWriMo for the first time. I wrote far more than I ever expected to and at times whilst I struggled to figure out where I was going with my story, I found a way. I was a long way off the desired 50,000 word target but I am not sure that's the real purpose of this challenge. I found time most days to write, to get this story that has floated around in my head for years, down on paper, by hand.

Time away from my digital tools to create something with pen and paper is really quite liberating. The one change I will make for next year, if I have a story to write, is to drink more. I am sure this would improve the quality of my writing.

Now it's time to edit...

Baron Fig Squire: The Insightful Spectre Pen Review

Baron Fig sent me their latest limited edition Squire pen, The Insightful Spectre to review on the blog. I have been using this pen since its launch and have thoughts to share with you, however to be clear, all opinions expressed in this review are my own.

Lovely, simple packaging. A nice way to be introduced to your new pen

Lovely, simple packaging. A nice way to be introduced to your new pen

The Insightful Spectre is the latest limited edition release in the Baron Fig Squire line-up. It’s actually my first experience with a Squire pen. The Squire is a very simple aluminium pen design that tapers out slightly towards the pen tip fattening up so that the pen stays in your hand when writing and stops slipping. There is no cap or knock on this pen, the refill is exposed through a twist mechanism. All of this helps keep the Squire aesthetic very simple.

IMG_1038.jpg

The limited edition features of The Insightful Spectres are the dark, foggy barrel colour. In person The Insightful Spectre appears a deep purple / grey colour. I was expecting it to be darker, almost black because of how it appears on Baron Figs website but it’s nothing like that, the real colour was a nice surprise. It adds a bit of interest.

IMG_1039.jpg

Baron Figs branding appears on the barrel in a contrasting white. On the other side of the barrel is the very cute ghost that makes up part of The Insightful Spectre story. The ghost has white eyes that really pop on the pen, almost like he's watching you.

IMG_1048.jpg

I have been using my Squire for NaNoWriMo to the point where I have used the entire refill. I have found when using this for long periods of time that the weight of the pen becomes a little heavy. I don’t think this is perhaps an issue with the pens design, it’s the aluminium that makes it uncomfortable. Because of this I don’t recommend using the Squire for writing for long stretches of continuous writing. It is however great for short note taking, journaling and everyday use.

The ideal pen for note taking?

The ideal pen for note taking?

The refill that comes with The Insightful Spectre is very good. It takes the Schmidt P8127 which is a popular pen refill. This limited edition release came with a fine black refill which is perfect. The line width is not too thin and scratchy but not obnoxiously wide either. The black ink is deep and dark, not a wussy black ink. The refill doesn’t let this pen down.

A comparison against something black, plus I like this photo. 

A comparison against something black, plus I like this photo. 

Overall thoughts

I have really enjoyed using The Insightful Spectre over the past month. It’s a well designed pen made from materials that make this a durable pen. There is no fear when using it on the move, or when small people try and steal your writing tools.

I would like to thank Baron Fig for sending me The Insightful Spectre to review on the blog.

Moleskine Chapters Notebook Review

FullSizeRender.jpg

It's ironic that recent Pen Addict podcast chat has been around the Moleskine notebooks because I too recently thought "huh, I wonder if those Moleskine notebooks are any better." I was enticed by pretty mint coloured covers and exposed pink binding that made me buy one of the Moleskine Chapters notebooks. I been using it as a work notes scratch pad and I have some, mostly unsurprising, thoughts.

FullSizeRender.jpg
FullSizeRender.jpg

What was I thinking?

I'm a little annoyed with myself for being suckered in by prettiness when I know these notebooks have crap paper. I was intrigued by the form factor, it reminded me of a Travelers Notebook insert and I enjoy ruled notebooks so this kind of ticked a few boxes.

Size comparison against a Travelers Company refill and a Hobonichi Weeks

Size comparison against a Travelers Company refill and a Hobonichi Weeks

FullSizeRender.jpg

That paper.

Moleskine notebooks have always had a bad reputation for poor quality paper. The paper in this notebook is dier. It failed with pretty much any pen I used. Fountain pens with an EF nib feathered like crazy and the bleed through was awful. My Baron Fig Squire didn't fare much better with horrendous show through on the other page.

FullSizeRender.jpg
FullSizeRender.jpg

Gel pens worked fine on the paper but it's so thin I felt like it could tear. The only writing tool that worked ok was a pencil but then there's so many other better paper options for graphite that I'd rather not waste my time with the Moleskine.

Final thoughts.

This is a brief review today because it's simple, don't waste your time, money or ink/graphite on one of these notebooks. Buy something with better paper and actually enjoy using a notebook.