Baron Fig Rose Quartz Guardian Review.

Baron Fig contacted me to see if I would like to review the newest colour addition to their Guardian line-up, Rose Quartz. The views expressed in this review are my own.


The Guardian is not a new Baron Figs product, it’s a leather notebook cover designed to wrap around their Confidant or Vanguard notebooks in each of their different sizes - pocket, flagship and plus. The Rose Quartz colour is the latest addition to the Guardian line-up and the main purpose of todays review. The Guardian covers are vegetable tanned leather which after a little Googling, proves to be the most environmentally friendly way to tan leather and gives it a soft textured feel.

 The Rose Quartz Guardian exterior view that's fully stitched

The Rose Quartz Guardian exterior view that's fully stitched

I opted for the pocket Guardian because its the size I use the most. The first thing I noticed when I received my Guardian was that it arrives flat in an A5-ish sized package, which I thought meant I’d received the wrong thing. In fact it’s a little bit of care and attention to shipping as it keeps the leather in pristine condition avoiding any strange folds or ripples to the leather occurring in transit.

The first thing I noticed with the Guardian is how soft and thick the leather feels. The thickness is in part due to the pockets that come on the inside of the cover, two credit card slots and two folds for the notebook cover.

 The interior with two credit card slots on the left hand side

The interior with two credit card slots on the left hand side

The Guardian is finished very well. There is a matching colour stitching around the edge of the cover and sealed edges. The only branding can be found on the inside cover with a kind of large Baron Fig logo, but at least its on the inside.


As the main purpose of this review is to talk about the new colour addition I suppose I should spend some time talking through that. The Rose Quartz is very pink. It reminds me of the Baron Fig Metamorphosis limited edition Confidant notebook from 2017, which I really liked. The millennial pink colour of that notebook was very popular and worked well on a linen cover. When applied to leather the colour is a lot more bold and pink. I have seen a Rose Quartz Squire in the flesh and that is a lot more toned down and subtle, whereas the Guardian it is bright. I don’t think it’s a bad move adding this colour to the Baron Fig range, it’s proven popular in lots of different areas from technology to stationery. I think you just really have to like pink and want this colour. It’s all or nothing.


My one small criticism of the Guardian is that it doesn’t ship with a notebook. Baron Fig assume that whoever buys a Guardian is already a Baron Fig user and not a new customer. And as their notebooks are built in their own unique size these covers can only be used with Baron Fig products.

Overall thoughts.

I really like the Guardian leather notebook cover and have enjoyed using it over the past few weeks. I haven’t overloaded mine or really use the card slots. It has simply been a notebook cover and this keeps everything very simple and slim. It's a high quality and well made leather notebook cover. Too often these sorts of covers can try and do too much and as a result be overcomplicated making them hard to use. The Guardian doesn’t fall foul to these issues.

I’d like to thank Baron Fig for sending me the Rose Quartz Guardian to review.

Stationery Shop Visits in London

I recently spent a very cold but very sunny Saturday visiting some beautiful stationery shops in London with Priya from The London Parchment. Our priority for the day was visiting Present and Correct which I have wanted to visit for a very long time. I wanted to share some thoughts on the shops we visited and also share the items I bought.

Stop 1: Present and Correct.


Present and Correct is located on a small side street in Angel and is kind of hidden away. The shop name is very subtle shown only on the window and easily missed.


We jostled for space among other visitors and spent quite a long time closely looking through the contents of the shop and deliberating (not so much Priya) about what to buy.


I really liked the presentation of everything in Present and Correct. There were low table tops with the stationery placed in an aesthetically pleasing manner.


Shelves also showed off some of the smaller items, notebooks and envelops.


Washi tapes were displayed on long hooks by colour.


There was an old style vending machine with small stationery items such as clips, erasers and sharpeners. It's such a good use of an old fashioned vending machine.


I came away with a few items. One pair of gold Hay scissors, light yellow washi tape that reminded me of Spring, a composition notebook and a pack of 32mm Tools to Live By binder clips. I had been wanting some new scissors and the binder clips for some time. The composition notebook was not what I had expected, I remember this being a Kickstarter campaign but I never backed it. It's pretty pricey at £20 but the paper inside felt really nice in the flesh and I think probably works well with a lot of different writing tools. I also liked the slightly larger than A5 size. I'm really looking forward to playing around with this notebook.

 I love the little peach library card

I love the little peach library card

Stop 2: Quill.


The second stop was at Quill. Quill is a completely different to Present and Correct, Priya described it well as workshop space with a number of stationery things too.

I really loved Quill. There were so many nice little things focused around the art of writing and calligraphy. They had a great selection of correspondence papers and envelopes some which could be bought in packs of 10, others which were more of a mix and match situation. The colours and styles were all lovely. Unfortunately I didn't get any pictures, I was far too distracted.

I came away with an Appointed notebook with the grey cover and a graph ruling. This notebook looked a lot like the insides of the Mnemosyne notebook and I really wanted to test out this paper. Again it's a little larger than the traditional A5 and could be a really good notebook for being creative and playing around with ink and fountain pens.

I also bought a round series 60 ProArte Masterstoke paintbrush. Quill recommend this for brush lettering but I think its handy to just have another paintbrush around.

Overall thoughts.

Present and Correct was really nice with an interesting range of products. The layout of the shop made it easy to browse and look around with a nice mix of the standard items, such as Kaweco fountain pens and the more unusual such as the Classiky wooden storage boxes and vintage items.

Quill was lovely and I really liked the range of items they had in there. They are all linked in some way to lettering and calligraphy from wax seals, paper, ink and writing paper. Quill is more aligned to the way I am using my stationery items at the moment.

Why I love Lamys entry level fountain pens.


I have come to notice in recent months how much I use Lamy fountain pens and how much I am drawn to use them. The Safari, AL Star and LX are pens I reach for every day because of how well they write and how versatile they are meaning there is something for everyone. You can choose from a range of colours, you can add/change/swap out nibs to your hearts content and you can use cartridge, or convertors and really open up the world of ink. I’m an advocate for the Lamy entry level fountain pens and wanted to share with you how I use mine.


I use my Lamy AL Star in Copper Orange as my sketching fountain pen which I have inked up with Noodlers Black ink. I love using this bright and vibrant pen for sketching. The size and weight is comfortable especially when sketching for long periods of time. The nib is sturdy and gives good line variation with different pressures.


My Lamy LX in Rose Gold has become a daily use fountain pen. I have this inked up with the lovely Sailor Blue Black. I love this pairing, its simple and feels classy. The LX has an aluminium body like the AL Star and comes with a black steel nib.

I have several Safari fountain pens and usually have one inked up. The Safari is the plastic barrel fountain pen that comes in a whole host of colours that have a matte look finish. I tend to swap out my Safaris a lot more but I always have one in use.


There are so many plus points for the entry series of Lamy fountain pens. Over the years I have acquired a small collection without realising it. I don’t have a preference between any of these ranges, I am driven by colour and finding something that works for me. Because of their materials and durability I always recommend and gift these pens to people.

Mindstone Sketchbook Review

The Mindstone Sketchbook was sent to me to review here on the blog. This hasn’t altered my write up of this product. All true thoughts here.


I had never heard of Mindstone before they contacted me to ask if I would like to test run a couple of their notebooks for review on the blog. They are a small Austrian company who wanted to make the perfect notebook. Today I will be reviewing their A5 sketchbook which I have been using for the past few months.


The Mindstone sketchbook has a navy linen cover with flourishes of red used on the elastic closure and bookmark. The binding is on the short side of the notebook making this a great landscape mode sketchbook. The stock inside is 120 g/m2 bright white with each page perforated so any of them can be removed. It also comes with a handy pocket on the inside back cover. There is a crazy design on the inside cover showing off a little of Mindstones personality. These elements of this notebook really set it apart from other sketchbooks on the market. A sketchbook with a bit of personality in a sea of black sketchbooks is quite nice.

 Inside backcover with the crazy design and handy pocket.

Inside backcover with the crazy design and handy pocket.

I have used watercolours, Uni-ball Posca markers, ink, drawing pens and pencils in this notebook. I wanted to test it out with as many different tools that I could to see how the notebook held up and how the paper responded to these different art tools. The results are a mixed bag.

My stechbook usage.

Firstly the paper definitely isn’t made for watercolour. The paper is not heavy enough and ripples a lot when water is applied. This buckling doesn’t bother me particularly as this is a sketchbook and a place to experiment rather than create masterpieces.

 The buckled pages

The buckled pages

Heavier markers also suffered from the paper quality and resulted in a lot of bleed through. The Uni-ball Air and the Uni-ball Posca were some of the worst. It seems that wet or bold pens saturated the paper too much.


Using ink, drawing pens and pencils worked absolutely fine in the Mindstone sketchbook as you would expect. The paper is very smooth which means there isn’t really any tooth for pencils.

With the different mediums I used in the notebook the binding did suffer. The watercolour and pens put too much weight on the stitched binding and the pages pulled away quite early on. I haven’t applied any extreme stress to the sketchbook, most of the use was at home. For urban sketchers or people who like to use lots of different mediums within their sketchbooks this may not be the right option.


My thoughts on Mindstones sketchbook.

My experiences with this notebook is based on months of use and trying out different things in order to really get a feel for it. It sounds negative but when reviewing a sketchbook it carries a certain level of expectation. I am not sure the Mindstone sketchbook is comparable to other sketchbooks such as Moleskine and Stillman and Birn for numerous different reasons. The paper is a lot thinner, it’s not art or watercolour quality but simply plain paper.

But despite all of this I really have enjoyed using this sketchbook. The linen cover is really nice but I have a soft spot for linen cover notebooks. I’m not sure this style of cover is completely practical for a sketchbook but I like it. My sketchbook has worn nicely and given the sketchbook some lovely character with use.

Overall thoughts.

The red accents are a nice contrast to the navy cover. The inclusion of a back pocket for any pieces of paper is a nice feature to have. The size of the notebook works really well and I love the landscape format in a sketchbook. If the paper quality was upgraded in the Mindstone sketchbook this would be an excellent sketchbook.

I would like to thank Mindstone for sending me this notebook to review on the blog.