Friday, 17 February 2017

Darkstar Collection - Review

Stuart from PocketNotebooks kindly sent me a sample from a pack of Darkstar Collection Handcrafted Traveler's Notebooks to review. The company is UK based and the notebooks are made in the UK. They come as a set of three notebooks in a pack, currently priced £10. I got one from a pack to try.
[click on any picture to enlarge]

Saturday, 11 February 2017

Papio Press Postcards - Review

I know - it's been a bit of a buying and reviewing splurge. As I said, I've finished editing the book!

Anyway, today I want to review some more stuff from Papio Press - no affiliation, just a happy customer.

A few days ago, I reviewed their A6 notebooks. Today, it's the turn of their motivational postcards. They do lots of gorgeous postcards (see the full range here) but I especially liked these. I write to a number of people (and by 'write' I mean snail-mail!) as well as participate in Postcrossing, so am always on the look-out for lovely postcards. Well, they arrived yesterday!

Thursday, 9 February 2017

Happy Jackson 3 mini notebooks - review

I know - I don't post anything for ages and then there's a massive splurge. It's called "I finally finished editing the bl**dy book!" - check out my author blog at for what I've been working on.

Anyway, I saw some very sweet looking notebooks on Inkoo in their stationery department - Happy Jackson set of 3 mini-notebooks. They were only £4.99 for the set and so I thought I would give them a whirl.
[click on any picture to enlarge]

As I said in my Papio Press notebook review, notebooks fall into four camps:
  • functional but not pretty
  • not functional and not pretty either (I consider Field Notes to be in this camp!)
  • pretty but not functional
  • pretty and functional

Basically, as long as a notebook gets a tick in the functional box, I'll buy them again. If they also get a tick in the pretty box, that's an added bonus. There's no repeat purchase if they're merely pretty.

Where do these mini-notebooks fit?

Wednesday, 8 February 2017

Papio Press... Quick Update

Yesterday, I posted a review of the Papio Press A6 notebooks (see here for details) and noted that although the packaging indicated that there was one lined and one plain in the pack, actually, I had two plain notebooks. I had no problem at all with that, but mentioned it to Stuart, from Pocketnotebooks (who had sent me the books) and he mentioned it to Harry, from Papio Press.

I was out all day today, helping my Mum get to hospital etc. and jokingly said to my hubby on the way home, "I hope I have good post today!"

Well, I did!

When I got in, I had a parcel I wasn't expecting, with some lovely labels on the front (there's a sticker hiding my name and address...). Apologies for the quality of the pictures - it was late when I took them and the light was almost gone.

Unexpected parcel...

Anyway, when I opened it, I found a fabulous surprise from Harry at Papio Press...

A replacement set of notebooks, a handwritten card apologising for the original pack not being quite right and a freebie 2017 calendar as an apology (none of which had been needed at all!).

Front of the card
Note to me on the card
Front of the calendar
(sorry for the flash flare)
Label in the calendar showing the contents
(again, sorry for the flash flare)

It was a really lovely surprise and a super touch. Thank you!!

Tuesday, 7 February 2017

Papio Press A6 notebooks - Review

Tigers by Papio Press
I'm delighted that has given me a couple of notebooks by Papio Press to review. These are a new stock for and Papio Press are a UK producer.

Small notebooks tend to fall into four main camps, as far as I can tell - functional but not terribly pretty; not all that functional nor all that pretty; pretty but not all that functional; and pretty and functional. Which camp would these A6 notebooks land in?

Well, you can tell from their covers that they have to be in one of the pretty camps! The team behind them - Harry and Zanna Goldhawk - are illustrators and the covers are just delightful. But, would they be functional as well as so easy on the eye?

Monday, 6 February 2017

New Traveller's Notebook Cover

I know. I possibly don't really need another one, but... I finished my next book and wanted to reward myself. Good enough reason, right? And because the next book is about to go off to publishers, I 'needed' a cover to hold the books I'll use to track how the submissions go. You all understand.

I'd been hankering after another one from Meadowgate Leather - see this post to see which one. Unfortunately, the owner is unwell at the moment and his Etsy shop is closed. I will no doubt order the one I want once he's back to full health and the shop is taking orders again.

In the interim, I saw one in the Etsy shop Inspired Journal. I can't see the exact same one there now, but this one is very close.
These are the pictures from the Etsy listing of the one I bought:

Anyway, it arrived recently and it's beautiful! It has no pockets or anything - just a leather cover with a leather lining (i.e. two pieces of leather stitched together). It's a sand colour - more yellow/orange than the picture above (gorgeous) and has a red and white elastic closure and the same for holding the booklets (the same as is shown above). There are four elastics inside. The elastic for holding the booklets is too thick for the job and I will swap it out for some narrower red or black elastic. The size is almost A5 - it's designed to hold Moleskine cahiers, but they're horrible, so I'll either make my own booklets for it from some paper and card cut down to size, or I'll trim up some A5 booklets. I tried two A5 slim notebooks in it and they weren't too bad, so I may stick with them.

Anyway, here are pictures of mine (click to enlarge):


Gorgeous colour!


The 3mm thick elastics are too thick

With booklets in (probably not the final booklets - these are my diary and notebook from my everyday TN):

It really is a beautiful cover. It's on the floppier side, so if you prefer a firm cover it possibly isn't for you, but the workmanship is wonderful. The seller was very helpful and shipping was reasonable and didn't take too long (just under two weeks from Indonesia to Scotland).

Sunday, 5 February 2017


As many of you may already know, I'm not the kind of person to decorate my planner all that much. I like it fairly clear of decorations, stickers, washi etc. So it might seem surprising for me to be doing a post on washi tape.

I actually have huge numbers of rolls of washi tape! Some of it is patterned and could well be used to decorate a planner, but what I want to focus on today are the kinds of tapes that make up the majority of my collection and what I use them for. In the pictures below, there are some of my new purchases and some that I've had for a while.

Friday, 3 February 2017

Spotlight Stationery January Box - Review

I've been a subscriber to Spotlight Stationery's boxes for a year now. I sometimes skip a box, not because they're not excellent, but because, frankly, I already have so much stationery that I could probably set up my own subscription service!

I really like the Spotlight Stationery boxes because they have sensible stationery in them. They're not full of 'cute' things or lots of rolls of washi tape; they contain notebooks, pens, pencils and cards. Not that I don't love washi, but I like to choose that for myself.

The contents of the boxes are kept secret until delivery so it's always a surprise to see what's in the box. Each box has a theme and some of the money goes to support a charity. The current charity is Gloucestershire Young Carers. Each month, there is a selection of four postcards from new illustrators.

The latest box to arrive dropped through my letterbox at the end of January. The theme was textured finishes.

So, what was inside??

Saturday, 31 December 2016

My Planning System (2017) -Part 3: Putting it all together

Over the last few posts, I've told you what paper-based items I'm using for planning 2017 and given you a bit more detail about each of them. I realise it was a huge amount of information and probably seemed impossible to follow. So, here is a walk-through of what I do each quarter, month, week, day. Some of you might feel that doing something daily, weekly and monthly is over-kill. Quite a bit of me wonders if it isn't too much at times too, but, this is the system that has (mostly) kept me on track for the last 5 years and maybe some of you will find it helps you too. If it doesn't, no problem! Every one's unique.

Friday, 30 December 2016

My Planning System (2017) - Part 2: Weeks to Days

In this post, I outlined what I would be using in 2017 for planning. These are:
  • A book outlining Goals to Projects to Next Actions
  • A monthly planner
  • My TN with a week + notes diary and a notebook in it
  • An A6 Clairefontaine notebook for day planning
In the last post, I gave a bit more detail on the first two elements of my planning system. Today, I'll outline how the last these parts fit together.

My system is essentially the same as it was in this post, but with different paper-based products to achieve the same results! (Incidentally, that post is my most popular post by a country mile!! At the time of writing, it had well over 45 000 hits!).

At close of play yesterday, I had outlined how I got from Goals and Projects to Next Actions and a Plan for the Month. How does this then relate to the other two parts: the TN and the A6 Clairefontaine?