Paper

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.

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.

The Big (Plus) Baron Fig Confidant Review.

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Over the years I have used numerous of Baron Fig paper products and they are a brand that I keep coming back to. My usage has been mainly around the Flagship, or A5-ish, sized Confidants or Vanguards, but recently I decided to give the large Plus sized Confidant a try.

Unsurprisingly when I bought the Plus Confidant I didn’t have a specific use in mind. I felt like it could work during NaNoWriMo or for a larger scale planning project. But as its happened I’ve not used it for either of these things but taken the plunge and dedicated this as my journal.

There is so much space.

This is a much larger Confidant than the Flagship size, as you can see from the photos below.

The yellow Confidant in the Flagship (A5ish) size and the charcoal in the Plus size.

The yellow Confidant in the Flagship (A5ish) size and the charcoal in the Plus size.

It’s a little unusual to get a hard bound notebook in this size, the only comparison I can think of is the A4 Leuchtturm1917 Master Slim. With the Baron Fig however you get full use of the page unlike the Leuchtturm1917 Master Slim, where there is a huge (and unnecessary) boarder on each page.

I’ve found myself more focused using the Plus, like it’s more of an event to sit down to journal in the morning and evening. I jumped from the Field Notes Signature into this, so the change was quite drastic but I like it.

It’s the Confidant...just bigger.

Everything else is what you expect from a Confidant notebook. The hard bound cover is strong and I really like the texture of the cloth. It may not be water resistant or stain proof, but its really nice and tactile in hand. I have the charcoal version, my first, and I really like the dark colour with the bright yellow bookmark.

Creamy ruled pages...the dream

Creamy ruled pages...the dream

There are 200(ish) pages in the Plus Confidant too which means there’s plenty of space for your master plans, brain dumps or general story-telling. The paper is friendly to almost any writing instrument, fountain pens and ink work nicely but these notebooks are also great with pencils.

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Like with all Confidants I really wish the bookmark was a tad longer. I really like the way these bookmarks look and wear, they fray quite a bit, but a bit of extra length would make them practical not just pretty. I’m not sure that will ever come though.

Those short bookmarks....

Those short bookmarks....

Overall thoughts.

I’ve ended up liking this size a lot more than I thought I would. It works great as a journal and I feel like I am writing more because there is a sense of freedom with the additional room. It may not be a travel friendly size and it does take up some valuable desk space but its a great notebook.

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Using my Hobonichi Techo as a Wellness Tracker.

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It appears I have gotten a point (age) in my life where I need to be more mindful of my health, be more aware of the things I am doing to my body and to take better care of myself. There have been some ongoing ailments I have been dealing with since my son was born. They are relatively small but, now 2 years later, they feel like they’re hanging over me. In part I was not doing enough to get rid of these things, and on top of it there were new challenges that I had to cope with. This reached a boiling point in May when a ridiculous bout of eczema and psoriasis cropped up out of the blue and left me feeling quite down.

So in order to try and make sense of things and understand what was going on I needed data. I turned to my stationery as a way of tracking what was happening. After enthusiastically buying the Hobonichi Techo Cousin in January and, for the first time in a few years, not actually using it, I decided to dig this out and use this as my wellness tracker.

The Hobonichi Techo Cousin was the ideal choice; predated pages, a good size page to record everything and then for an added perk I could use my fountain pens on the sweet sweet tomoe river paper.

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Priority One: Tracking my food.

The first thing I needed to track was my food and drink intake. There are various suggestions that dairy, caffeine and various other things can irritate skin conditions. Therefore I wanted to see if I could find any patterns and truth to this.

Each page of the Hobonichi Techo comes with a 24 hour clock on the left hand side of the page and I have been using this to track what I am consuming and when. This has been fairly simple and just requires a little honesty even on those indulgent days.

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I would also note down my water intake. I am usually pretty bad at drinking enough water, but since tracking this I have noticed a huge improvement. The heatwave we’ve been experiencing may also have played its part here.

Priority Two: Tracking my ailments.

The second thing I needed to keep track of was what was causing me problems/grief/irritation and when. Too often when trying to relay things to doctors or physios I couldn’t quite pin down how long something had been a problem, or when it had started, or the level of discomfort, and where it was occurring.

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Underneath the time bar there is enough room for these notes each day. In here I have been adding in other things during the day that are relevant. For example I am taking a few liquid supplements at the moment, both of which are included in here if I have taken them. One of them is particularly disgusting and so I am not the best at having this everyday but knowing when I have taken it makes me more self conscious of making sure I do.

I also write down if my eczema was particularly irritating and where I was suffering. I would record if and what medication I was taking to alleviate the irritation. I don’t like to rely on medication for my eczema so it’s useful to know what I use and when.

I also have a flat foot from a longstanding childhood condition. Since gaining a lot of weight during pregnancy and all the crazy hormones that come during pregnancy this condition has gotten a lot worse and now requires regular consultations with doctors and physio appointments. In order to get the most from this I have also been using the daily pages in the Hobonichi to note down issues with my foot, any days where I am struggling, any pain I feel. I also track my physio exercises here and when I am increasing the exercises. I hope that by tracking this information, during consultations I am far more aware of how my foot has been during a given period and what exercises help, or in some cases don’t.

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I track my exercise, how long I exercised for and what type of exercise I’ve done. Part of getting back to myself was re-adding exercise back into my life. But there was another reason to track my exercise, I could see if a particular exercise what irritating my foot too.

The last thing I track here is my meditation. I have been using Headspace to try and learn how to manage my thoughts and anxiety, to try and carve out a bit of quite space within my day and generally to be more mindful. In order to ensure I am doing this everyday and taking the time writing it down in my Hobonichi focuses my attention.

Overall Thoughts.

This is all really very simple stuff, I’ve not invented anything particularly special, it’s just something that takes time. I have my Hobonichi by my desk so its easy to note these things down through the day as I need to.

The idea of the wellness tracker is just that, to try and make sure in my Year of Me, I am doing everything I can to be a healthier person and take care of my body rather than being passive through this process and losing more time. There are other things I want to include within this such as my mood for the day, my stress levels and what may be triggering this and my control over them. Given some more time working with this system I will be looking through the information I have gathered and see if there are any patterns. While taking the effort to note these things down I also have to do something with the information in order to really utilise it.

This post has been a little different, with a loose link, to my stationery habits but I wanted to share how my simple stationery tools have helped to focus my mind. There are plenty of digital tools I could have used for this but they have the potential to complicate and distract. Pen and paper means I get down everything I want, quickly, without fuss in the way I need it. And the act of writing this down has forced my brain to acknowledge what’s happening in my body and perhaps is helping in the healing process.

This could prove to be one of my most valued and treasured notebooks.