Baron Fig

2019 Travelers Notebook Review: Part 2.

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This is the second part of my Travelers Notebook review, the first part of which can be found here. Today I am sharing how I use each of my Travelers Notebooks and plenty of photos.

My Travelers Notebook Journal.

Since I started with my first Travelers Notebook (the brown regular notebook), I have worked my way through most of the different leather options. Over time the notebook I have come to love the most is the black Travelers Notebook which I have paired with the red elastic for a little pop of colour.

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The format of my Travelers Notebook journal remains unchanged most of the time. I keep two refills, the first being the weekly + memo refill. I have spoken about this in many blog posts so I won’t repeat too much but this is my mini, decorative journal and I use this refill everyday. It’s a long standing love affair.

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The second refill is the one which is a little more fluid and changes depending on what I am doing. Most of the time I have an insert dedicated to little notes and journal entries to my son. I use this as a way of remembering the small details while he is growing up, adding a photo, little conversations and momentos from things we have done.

At other times, such as when I travel, I replace this with a different insert to use as a catch all for information when on the move. I am about to do a little travelling so I will be using the cream Travelers Company refill. I love the cream MD paper and I am looking forward to giving this new refill a test run. This refill will be a place to doodle, add some travel journalling and jot down any silly and interesting snippets of information.

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The way I use my black Travelers Notebook means it holds a lot of emotional value for me. It’s a marker of my life and for that reason is my most cherished notebook.

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My everyday Travelers Notebook.

The passport Camel Travelers Notebook is my everyday carry notebook. For some reason the passport size feels like the most stable Travelers Notebook I use and I adore the Camel edition. I have been really tempted to get this in the regular size as well, but so far I have resisted.

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My set-up is pretty simple for the passport size. I usually have two notebooks in here, a daily to do notebook full of scratchy handwriting and a sketchbook in case I feel like doodling while on the move.

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The to do notebook is usually Baron Fig pocket notebook. I have blogged a lot about how much I like Baron Fig products and their smaller pocket notebook size works perfectly with the passport Travelers Notebook. At the moment I am using a ruled notebook, I am all about those sweet lines.

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Recently I have started carrying a Travelers Company passport sketchbook to ensure I have the opportunity to sketch and doodle at any time. So far this ideal scenario is partially working. If I need a lighter carry everyday I remove this notebook as it’s not essential.

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Finally I have a Superior Labor wallet in the salmon and blue colour which compliments the notebook nicely. This holds a few spare cards, some stamps and sometimes some lose change.

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I really love the Camel leather colour. The leather is softer and picks up marks than the black, brown or blue Travelers Notebooks that I own. As this is my most used and journeyed notebook you can see the evidence of this with scratches, a looser elastic round the middle and friction marks on the reverse of the notebook where my Superior Labor wallet has marked.

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My work Travelers Notebook.

My final and newest Travelers Notebook is the Olive edition that I bought on a trip to Amsterdam. I use this for work and I use just one blank insert. This Travelers Notebook is purely functional but I found the size works well and it sits within my bag without taking up too much space.

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Travelers Notebook leather differences.

When you have used several different Travelers Notebooks, purchased over a number of years, you notice some subtle differences between the leathers. This is understandable and part of the charm. The older Midori branded Travelers Notebooks have a more finished and smoother feel to the leather.

With the more recent additions such as the Camel and Olive notebooks the leather is softer, it marks easily and has a texture. I love this finish to the leather and I love the way it changes with use. I am not precious about keeping these things ‘out-of-the-box’ new.

Overall thoughts.

The Travelers Notebook is a specific notebook system in a specific size format. The slim profile isn't ideal for drawing and I have found if I use these notebooks for long form journaling then I fly through the refills. However as a tool and a repository for notes, information and small journal entries I think the Travelers Notebook works perfectly.

The charm of the Travelers Notebook comes in the longevity of the cover. The marks that it picks up, the way the leather changes over time and becoming more supple is all part of the appeal. There are very few paper related goods that can be used for such long periods of time. The refills keep the Travelers Notebook feeling fresh and new and different and the customisation options that are available, with a little bravery, make this notebook system utterly charming. The

I think the Travelers Notebook system will always be part of my writing set-up. As long as I can get inserts then I will use this notebook. I think I might start to get a bit creative, as I have several of these covers and explore with paint, perhaps try embossing on one of the notebooks. The personalisation and the memories that these notebooks hold is wonderful.

Baron Fig Clear Habit Journal Review.

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I pre-ordered the Baron Fig and James Clear collaboration Confidant notebook when it was announced at the end of 2018. It’s not a secret that I enjoy using Baron Fig notebooks and as a regular tracker of habits this was a really interesting release.

I have been using it since it landed on my door mat, sometime mid Jan. It was a shame that it didn't arrive in time for the new year, but the start of a new year isn’t the only time to review and start habits. As it’s now three months on I feel like I have some real insights and thoughts into this notebook that I wanted to share in today’s post.

The Clear Habit Journal Elements.

The Clear Habit Journal is a black cloth bound Confidant notebook in the new Baron Fig limited edition style. There is a copper coloured pyramid/triangle on the front cover that relates to the building of simple habits for big results.

There are two thick bookmarks one black and one copper. I always appreciate a notebook with a double bookmark because I am usually referencing different pages regularly. With the Clear Habit Journal it is especially useful. I have one bookmark on the page I am currently using and the second at the months habit tracker page.

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The final elements are an elastic closure and a back pocket and I have mixed feelings on both. The elastic closure especially is becoming more common the Baron Fig limited editions and it feels the most borrowed. I don’t feel like the Confidant needs the elastic, it closes well, is made from quality materials and the elastic closure just reminds me of the big brands.

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The Clear Habit Journal Special Elements.

As with other Baron Fig limited editions there are a few pages at the start of this notebook outlining each of the sections and giving guidance on how they are designed to work. All the sections of this journal are clearly highlighted by a black title page, which is easy to see when flicking through the notebook or when it’s closed.

There is an Index at the front of the notebook where you can note down important sections or log any key pages. The Confidant is a thick notebook so having an Index included could come in useful to mark down that brainwave you had on page 72.

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A design change we have seen with Baron Fig limited edition notebooks recently is the inclusion of information bars on the outer edges of the page. With the Clear Habit Journal this feature is present on the ‘One Line Per Day’ pages. The months are listed in this section allowing you to ring the month you are working on.

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I really like the inclusion of these pages in this notebook. Having read James Clear’s Atomic Habits I know this is something he advocates, but simply noting down one line of your day really can help you see what you have achieved. These pages aren't complicated, they aren't there to make you feel guilty, they’re manageable. One line of how your day has been, what you ate, what exercise you did, your mood...whatever you want.

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After this you have the bulk of the notebook. Numbered dot grid pro pages. The inclusion of additional + and - markers on the dot grid are the pro justification, but they’re actually really useful and such a simple addition. These appear on the outer edges of the grid and are designed to act as half or third of the page markers. This means you can very quickly create a table, split the page up to journal without having to waste time counting it all out.

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At the rear of the notebook you get the Habit Tracker pages. Bullet Journalers will be familiar with this concept but the idea is to write down a series of habits you want to stick to over a month long period. These are written on the left side of the page. At the top of the page you select your month and then there are numbers 1 through to 31, again to notify the day of the month. Every time you complete a habit you mark it off the list. If you don’t, obviously you leave it blank. There is the inclusion of a tally on the far right hand side so you can see how well you did over the course of the month. The pages are perforated so if you chose to remove your tracker and put this up somewhere, in your office, on the fridge, then you can. Personally I like to keep mine in my notebook.

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I have kept a habit tracker for some time now. Last year I used pages in my Jibun Techo, but I have also manually created spreads in notebooks. The Habit Tracking pages in this notebook are really simple and easy to use.

At the very back of the notebook there are again some guidance sheets should you wish to use them.

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Overall thoughts.

I really enjoy this journal. I enjoy Baron Fig products because of the quality and the good paper stock. With the last few Baron Fig limited editions there is a new theme or style to them, where they have a clear purpose and each one appears to be well considered, planned and always with the user in mind. The Wander Dream Journal was the first, and the most recent was Grow. They follow a similar pattern and I really like the joining of an idea with the simplicity of a notebook. They act as a guide and by not being too over bearing or forceful allow the person using the notebook to adapt it to their requirements.

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I hope the Clear Habit Journal will be a stock notebook from Baron Fig as I would seriously consider using this year after year as my main journal and planner. There are a lot of features in this notebook that fit alongside Bullet Journal ideas and spreads so I could see an appeal to Bullet Journalers. But despite that it’s a great notebook, with a simple style and objective that I think should remain a stock item.

Mid-Week Mini: Baron Fig Nomad Sticky Notes Review.

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The Nomad sticky notes are Baron Figs stylised version of the 3M yellow sticky note. Baron Fig took the sticky note and added their spin to it.

The Nomad’s a 3 inch by 3 inch in size and they come in a 3-pack which is really useful as you can dot these around in places you need them.

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They are the Baron Fig off-white colour with their dot grid print. A dot grid sticky note is not something I have seen anywhere else and really useful.

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The Nomad sticky notes also have rounded off corners, which means no bumped or curled edges and basically keeps the neat among us a little happier. The make-up of the Nomad sticky note is very similar to the Strategist note cards, only smaller and with a sticky backing.

The big issue I have with the Nomad sticky notes, is their stickiness. Try and stick a few to your desk, mine is wooden, and quickly they curl at the edges. Try and add these into a notebook and they often fall away from the page when you re-open it. For photography purposes I stuck this onto the wall of my office and you can see the beginnings of the curl.

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Sticky notes are always useful but unfortunately in my experience the Nomad falls down on the very premise of their existence. These would be great sticky notes if they were more sticky.

2018: My Favourite Tools.

I’ve reviewed my 2018 planners and explained what I have lined up for 2019 in my recent posts and this got me thinking about all the tools I have used this year. 2018 feels like a year of consolidation. I’ve acquired less stationery and tried to focus on using what I have stored in my drawers and cupboards. Today’s post is reflective and about sharing my year in stationery.

My paper use.

I use a lot of paper and I always feel like I have too much paper on the go. I enjoy trying out new notebooks and paper stock but I also like what I like.

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Baron Fig notebooks have become a staple in 2018. I use one Baron Fig Confidant as a journal, at the moment this happens to be the big Fig, or the Baron Fig Plus (small side note, I really wish Baron Fig had called this the big Fig). I also use one of the Confidants or the Vanguards for work because the paper works so well with pencils, ballpoint or rollerballs as well as fountain pens. I like that I don't have to consider my writing tools at work.

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I thoroughly enjoy using the Travelers Company notebooks. Their paper is high quality and is perfect for pairing with fountain pens. I enjoy the cream paper, which is not to everyone's taste.

That is supposed to look like an ‘18’.

That is supposed to look like an ‘18’.

I have used a lot of Field Notes notebooks this year but this is because I have a lot to get through and not because I am a super fan. My love of Field Notes has waned over recent years. I buy what I like, the Coastal edition was a favourite of mine this year, but I am no longer concerned with acquiring any notebook that they release.

Finally my exploration into sketchbooks has expanded my experience with paper. Finding what I like to sketch on, what paper works best with watercolour and coloured pencils has all been part of the journey. Currently I am using a pocket Baron Fig Confidant as I am mainly sketching with pencil and black pen and I was interested to see how I fared with a small sketchbook. I think as I go into 2019 I will only increase my knowledge in my sketching materials and really find what works well for me.

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2018, the year of pencils?

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My pencil use has increased a lot in recent months. I use these mostly with my pocket notebooks for daily note taking but there is also sketching use in there too. I tend to use one pencil for a while and then rotate when I fancy a change. Lately I have been really enjoying the Tombow Mono 100 2B. The softer graphite is not usually a pencil I am drawn to but this pencil is so smooth to write with.

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I have loved using the Blackwing 54 in part because of the colour choices with this pencil and the hard graphite that makes it a great note taking pencil.

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The Craft Design Technology pencil has been another favourite. The mint coloured barrel is just beautiful. And finally the Staedtler Mars Lumograph in H, I love this pencil for its simplicity and its ability to hold a point. It’s an old reliable.

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Fountain Pens and Ink.

This is one category where I’m happy with what I’m using. Unusually, I don't feel a pull to acquire more pens or inks and find joy in using the pens I have.

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The Lamy LX with Sailor Blue Black is my go to fountain pen. I have been using this combination for most of the year, it just works.

The Pelikan M400 and Sailor Wagu-Uguisu is a great match. The gold nib, and the softness when writing means I get a good view of the green Sailor ink and can appreciate the shading. It’s so much fun writing with this pen and I usually admire my scrawl once complete.

Finally the Kaweco ART Sport inked with Pilot Iroshizuku Ina-Ho. I love this combination as the colours work so well together.

Drawing Pens.

The final category that I felt was worth a mention was drawing pens. In my effort to learn how to draw, drawing pens have been vital tool that I now use more than I ever have. They are so versatile and useful to have as part of any stationery nerds toolkit, but for drawing they are a dream. I have used fine tip drawing pens and brush pens to experiment. The Tombow brush pen has been a personal favourite and the Faber-Castell PITT Artist pen continues to be my preferred sketching pen. Recently I have tried a Pentel marker and the Pilot Finerliner to experiment with line width.

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Overall thoughts.

My tools of choice have changed a bit this year which is down to a shift in the way I use my analogue tools. I used to be fully immersed in fountain pens and ink and couldn't get enough, but now I happily use other tools alongside my fountain pens. They all have a certain purpose. I’ve been most surprised by how much I have used pencils and that’s in part as I am sketching more now, but also because they’re so easy to use with a pocket notebook. It makes my daily carry easy.

2018 has been less about acquiring new things, although I have done a bit of that, but more about finding what I like and using it more and more. In 2019 I want to continue this and really hone down the tools I enjoy using.

Finally I would like to say a big thank you to everyone who reads, shares, likes and comments on my posts. I really enjoy sharing my thoughts on stationery and hope you enjoy the content. I'm looking forward to sharing even more in 2019!