Bullet Journal Update - September 2017

My Hobonichi Techo Cousin in a Midori MD notebook cover

My Hobonichi Techo Cousin in a Midori MD notebook cover

Bullet Journaling has become a thing for me. I have watched numerous videos and read a lot of posts about how people set up and use their bullet journals with the aim of finding my own style. I think after all this time I have found the solution that works for me.

The 2017 bullet journal plan

When I started out the year I had a clear idea of how I would be bullet journalling. I ordered the A6 Hobonichi Techo avec which is the smaller size of the Techos and the avec is two half year books.

My A6 Hobonichi Techo bullet journal

My A6 Hobonichi Techo bullet journal

The Hobonichi Techo has the essential elements of a bullet journal - monthly pages, pre-dated daily pages and pages that are suitable for future planning. Using the Techo as my bullet journal meant that I had a planner that was literally ready to go.

By March my mind started to wander and I was pining after my old Leuchtturm1917 bullet journal. Binge watching YouTube bullet journal videos pushed me towards the DIY option giving me the flexibility to change things regularly and having space to be creative.

Experimenting with daily layouts 

Experimenting with daily layouts 

Time for a change

In March I set up the second half of the month creating only weekly and daily spreads and using the time to try out additional ideas such as a reading tracker and a home to do list.

My reading list tracker 

My reading list tracker 

From April I set up the bullet journal properly and quickly found a layout from YouTuber Amanda Rach Lee that worked as I wanted it to. It was a double page spread that showed a small weekly overview on the left hand side and the remainder of the page contained my daily to dos. This weekly overview was exactly what I was looking for and it remained unchanged right through until August.

The weekly spread that worked so well for me

The weekly spread that worked so well for me

There were some pages that I found I wasn’t using and I very quickly dropped. The habit tracker, time log and project pages were discarded as I wasn’t using them and they became tiresome to create.

Despite being happy with the weekly layouts I found it a chore to set this up week after week and my notebook quickly started to look messy and unorganised.

Todays bullet journal set-up

In August I decided to go back into my Hobonichi Techo but this time use the Cousin. I like the A5 size and appreciate the extra room but I also like the week on two-page view that you don’t get in the A6 size. I have been using these pages as a rough time tracker to monitor where my time is spent each day. I still haven’t perfected this and feel like I am trying to find the right way to use these pages but for the time being they serve a functional purpose.

Weekly pages in the A5 Techo Cousin 

Weekly pages in the A5 Techo Cousin 

I use the monthly spreads as designed, to plan and note down everything that I need to remember for the month.

Monthly overview pages 

Monthly overview pages 

The daily pages are the most important aspect of the bullet journal for me. I use this as a practical planner and therefore really appreciate the pre-dated pages. I use the right hand side of the page to create my to do list. Everything gets dumped in here, mostly the night before but sometimes I plan ahead and add in to do’s for further on in the week.

How I set up my daily pages and how I use the page that starts off a new month

How I set up my daily pages and how I use the page that starts off a new month

On the left hand side of the page there is a time planning area. Most days I don’t really use this but sometimes I note down appointments here to show a loose structure to my day.

Things I still deliberate about

It seems a little silly to deliberate how to use my planner but I love using stationery and want a system that works for me. Over the course of my bullet journaling I have come to the conclusion that I am not a decorative bullet journaler. I use this as a tool to get my life in order and dump all my to dos in one place. Because of this the Techo is perfect for me. The tomoe river paper lets me use all my fountain pens and gorgeous inks. I have found that the Cousin is the perfect size and I like having everything in one notebook.

As the 2018 Hobonichi Techo planners have just been released I am now thinking about how I improve on this set-up and what I will need for next year. I am in no rush to order and will continue to see if my Techo bullet journaling sticks, but I really think I have found the best solution for me and as the cool kids say ‘planner peace’.

Brave New Work by Hallie Bateman Book Review

I was sent Brave New Work by Hallie Bateman by MoMA to review on the blog. My thoughts on this book shared in this post are completely my own.

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Brave New Work is a kind of workbook that aims to help you find your inner creative style. The book is filled with monochrome pages of activities that encourage you to think and work differently. There are lots of different prompts designed to get you scribbling, doodling, writing and generally having some fun.

The book begins with some simple tasks such as choosing your artists name, creating your artists signature and an urban sketcher style activity of drawing your kit. This is a nice introduction to the book beginning slowly but getting your creative mind working. You can work through whatever pages you want, there is no order or path to follow which I really like. If an activity feels too difficult or requires too much brain power you can move on and skip it.

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Some of my favourite pages are drawing pots for plants, turning a squiggle into something, filling a wardrobe with clothes and making a list of random words. Each activity is small and takes a few minutes to complete but they really get you thinking differently.

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Throughout the book you’re encouraged to make mess, to not be perfect and to be inventive. The style of the book looks like it has been handwritten, there are no perfect edges or lines and no neat and tidy handwriting. It helps remove any hesitation the user may have about ruining the perfect pages. This book screams out to be used and as the title suggests, asks you to be brave when creating your new work.

My hand drawings remind me of The Witches clawed hands from Quentin Blakes drawings (I am in no way saying I can draw like Quentin Blake!)

My hand drawings remind me of The Witches clawed hands from Quentin Blakes drawings (I am in no way saying I can draw like Quentin Blake!)

The interior paper stock is good. I mostly opted for a drawing pen, my Uni-pin or the Artline pens, when playing around but I carried out a simple pen test and the paper stock could handle most things quite well. The only thing that gave some real bleed through was the Sharpie permanent marker which is to be expected.

Pen test 

Pen test 

I really like this book and its goal in getting the user to be creative and become an artist. It’s a great gift for the friend who enjoys drawing or is a little creative.

One of the opening pages 

One of the opening pages 

For this post I will sign out with my artists name - Jen Pen/Lucy September Kamala/Pomplamoose!

A big thanks to MoMA for sending me this book to review on the blog.

Westkin Notebook Review

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The Westkin Notebook was sent to me from it’s makers Book Block to test out for review on this blog. The opinions expressed in this review are my own and aren’t influenced by Book Block in any way.

Normally Book Block deal in custom made notebooks, however the Westkin notebook is their first standard notebook offering. It comes in a three different colours - navy, yellow and grey. I opted for the vibrant yellow and have been using my notebook as my morning journal for the past few weeks.

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The Westkin notebook has a material, semi flexible cover that doesn’t compromise any sturdiness that may be expected from an A5 notebook. The cloth exterior gives this notebook texture that feels nice in your hand. This notebook sits firmly in-between a hardbound Leuchtturm1917 style notebook and soft cover notebook.

The positives with this notebook are that it lays flat which is something I've come to expect but at the same time still a big win. I hate wrestling with a notebook to make it stay open on my desk. It has two bookmarks that are a useful length and have held up well with no fraying.

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One of the really noticeable things with this notebook is the gilt edges. Whilst this is distinctive it doesn’t work with the overall design of the notebook. Extras such as this are fine if the other aspects of the notebook are good…but I think there are a few areas where this notebook doesn’t fulfil the stationery enthusiasts/writers needs.

The Westkin notebook has lined ivory paper. The ruling doesn’t cover the full width of the page and you’re left with a small border that feels like you’re wasting space. The ruling is a little dark but the lines are nice a thin and do fade into the background once you've filled a page.

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The first area which I believe needs some improvements is in paper stock. I ran a simple pen and pencil test and most of my pens held up well. There were a few fountain pens and inks did give me some serious feathering on the page and bled through.

Reverse side of the pen test page

Reverse side of the pen test page

My Kaweco fountain pens performed particularly badly on this paper and you can see the bleed through in the photo below. Rollerball pens like the Uni-ball Eye also bled through so it would appear any wet ink causes issues on this paper.

Huge bleed through with a Kaweco EF fountain pen inked up with J.Herbin ink

Huge bleed through with a Kaweco EF fountain pen inked up with J.Herbin ink

Overall thoughts

I have mixed feelings on the Westkin notebook. It’s nice, I like the cloth cover, the double bookmarks and the ivory paper. However the one thing that makes me reach for a notebook time after time is the paper quality. It's a challenge for brands to tick all the boxes and it’s hard to satisfy all users needs, however there are other brands that are achieving a high level of quality. By Book Blocks own admission the Westkin notebook is positioned as a high end, premium notebook, therefore I would expect better paper stock that could handle my fine and extra fine nib pens from bleeding and feathering on the page.

I would like to thank Book Block for sending me this notebook to test and try out.

Mini Series: Sailor Yama Dori Ink Review

This will be the final review in the Sailor ink mini series. To see the other reviews that make up this mini series click on the links below:

Sailor Jentle Kin-Mokusei

Sailor Fuji-Musume

Sailor Blue Black

Sailor Yama-Dori is a widely loved teal ink famed for its shading and sheen. When searching for a teal ink recommendations usually point to Sailor Yama-Dori.

I have a couple of teal inks that I enjoy so I haven’t really needed to try an alternative. Strangely hearing so much praise for Yama-Dori put me off a little. The high expectations I had probably wouldn’t meet the hype. This is where sample inks are perfect. If you’re disappointed you haven’t wasted money. Therefore with little risk, and as I was ordering other samples, I thought it was the perfect time to give this ink a test run.

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I have been using this ink in my broad nib TWSBI 580. A broad nib gives me a great view of the ink showing off its shading and sheen.

The shading is good. The teal tones from this Sailor ink give you some real variances in the depth of the colour on the page. The colour is very pretty with the light shades looking really quite green.

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And then there is that red sheen that shines on the page. That’s what really makes this ink colour pop. When you look at the ink in the light you see another element of the ink that is striking and very pretty.

Like the other Sailor inks I have used in this mini series the flow of this ink is great. It’s smooth on the page, wet and feels dreamy to write with. I have enjoyed this ink more than I expected, the hype is totally justified. Anyone who enjoys dark inks, or teal inks or fun and quirky inks will really get a kick out of Sailor Yama-Dori.

Final mini series thoughts.

What this mini series has taught me is that Sailor has some great quality inks. Some of the colours perform better than others and have more to show off to the customer. The hype around some of their ink colours is completely justified. I enjoyed the Blue Black ink so much I snapped up a bottle and this has become an ink I use regularly. Now if only Sailor expanded heir offering in the UK and Europe and offer their full range of Jentle inks.