It is the dawning…

Aquarius journal front
… of the Age of Aquarius

Here is another stationery item I have picked up recently. I found it on one of my regular meanders around the stationery aisle of my local TK Maxx. It is labelled as being manufactured in China for Robert Frederick of Bath, with a recommended retail price of £12.95 reduced to £4.99.

The journal has a hard cover with nice, suedette-feel finish, which is embellished on the front with a golden naked man pouring water from an ern and the word Aquarius in a fancy font and on the back cover with the name and address of Robert Frederick simply debossed. The cover is a very attractive rich shade of blue. It has the increasingly usual elastic band closure and gussetted pocket inside the back cover plus one ribbon bookmark. The endpapers are black. There is no information about the weight of the paper or number of pages, either inside the journal or on the plastic bag it was sealed in, however it is pretty average thickness so I’d say 70 to 80gsm, cream-coloured, printed with grey dotted lines 8mm apart. My manual count came up with 96 sheets in the book.

Aquarius journal pen test front
Aquarius journal pen test front

My fountain pen test shows the paper to be pretty average quality. Most of the inks bled through a bit, although there was not much ghosting/showthrough to be seen. Funnily enough, the Diamine Wild Strawberry ink in my Lamy LX behaved best with this paper and I’ve seen it misbehave on papers that the other inks have been fine with. That just goes to show that there’s no exact science to judge which combinations will work; it’s all just trial and error. However, the amount of bleedthrough with the other pens wouldn’t prevent me from using both sides of the paper.

Aquarius Journal pen test back
Aquarius Journal pen test back

I am an Aquarius and I love a good, rich shade of blue, so buying this journal was a done deal as soon as I saw it. I checked and TK Maxx had some others from this series and I saw a couple of colours, but I don’t know whether or not the colours are unique to the horoscope sign.

In conculsion, this is a decent addition to my journal collection and I will probably use it when I finish the thick bound book I bought at Morrisons before Christmas.

 

 

Ready, set….

All set
Here comes 2020

Looks like I still haven’t done with ringing the changes, because for 2020 I am downsizing my planning into these two slim A6 books. I have chosen A6 because it’s the easiest to carry on a daily basis, but I’ll admit to a touch of trepidation over whether it will work out after a couple of years with A5 size planners. Then again, it’s two little books – hardly a lifetime committment.

My dairy is by Waterstones bookshop. It’s a horizontal layout which is another departure from the recent years. The pages are a pleasant shade of ivory which I know isn’t to everyone’s taste, but I rather like it. The paper is a decent weight; my initial try-out with fountain pens is acceptable, with slight bleedthrough with a couple of inks, but none with the basic cobalt Graf von Faber Castell. I will have fun finding my favourite ink to use with this paper. One of the things I particularly like about this diary is that it includes birth dates of famous authors. I want to read more next year so this should provide a little daily inspiration.

2020 Diary
Author birth dates

Regardless of whether the layout of the diary is horizontal or vertical and more important than the size, I have two requirements which any diary must comply with. Firstly, Saturday and Sunday have to be allocated the same amount of space as the weekdays. Some designers make us squeeze the two weekend days into one day’s space which doesn’t seem fair. My other must-have is a notes space so I can write in a quote for each week. Happily, this diary meets my expectations on both fronts.

I am pairing this diary with the little navy and rose gold notebook from WH Smith. The paper is white, relatively lightweight, and pretty mediocre quality, with a fair amount of bleedthrough with the inks I’ve tried. On the plus side, it is lined which is very much my preference with notebooks. This one is intended for quick jottings so it doesn’t need to be great quality paper, does it? Well, like I said before, it is a small notebook, easy to change if I want to. After all, if 2019 has taught me anything it’s that the most important thing is to remain flexible.

Word of the Week – Noctuary

06-01-19 Hygge
Just the night for a noctuary

 

Noctuary  (noun)

A record of the events, or one’s thoughts, during the night.

(From the Latin “nox, noctis” meaning night; on the analogy of “diary”)

Here’s a word for anyone to use if they wake in the night and have to write down something that has just struck them. For anyone who writes down their dreams. For those of you who keep a notebook on the bedside table.

Me? When I’m in bed, I’m in bed; my dreams can come and go as they please, if they are important I will remember them; if I forget them, clearly they were not important. Almost any night, the only thing that will get me out of bed once I’m settled is a trip to the loo.

Except, that is, on Saturday night when I thought something just after I got into bed and had to put the light on, pad out into my living room, sit at my desk and write down the single sentence that a fictional character had uttered in my head, then pad back and settle down. It momentarily crossed my mind that I should have writing equipment by my bed for just such a chance; I didn’t know that I needed a noctuary.

Do you have a noctuary? Did you know that was what it was called?


 

When one notebook closes…

01-03-19 back page
The very last page of my old notebook – where I doodle intestines apparently!

You know the old saying that goes “When one door closes, another opens”, well I’ve had that experience with my general notebook. Having finished a journal and started a new one earlier in the week, I am finally on the last page of my current Mark and Fold A5 notebook. I’ve been using this for my general notes for the past eleven months and I have already mentioned the possibility of moving into an exercise “rough book” format. Well, good old Mark and Fold have come to my rescue as their quarterly subscription box arrived today and inside was a like-for-like replacement for my existing notebook. Yipee!

I thought you might be interested in a little pictorial ‘unboxing’ so you can see how the subscription looks as I unwrap it. I have always been really pleased with it. As well as the notebook, this quarter I received two Thank You cards and a gift voucher to use in their online shop.

Unfortunately, this marks (not to mention folds!) the end of my subscription and the cash isn’t there to renew it at the present time, but I can honestly say the past two years using their products have been a joy and I wholeheartedly recommend them to anyone who loves high-quality stationery with a minimal design.

So, to the unboxing.

Friday is usually my Quote of the Week day and I haven’t got one to hand, so I will just include the snippet I wrote in my notebook on 17th September 2018 and call that a quote:

Me? I think we’re all born with broken hearts, and life itself is just an exercise in damage limitation.

Not the cheeriest bit of creative writing in the universe, but it worked in the context I was thinking of at the time.


I hope your week has been good, or at least is almost over. Have you come to the end of anything and started something fresh? Any doors opening or closing?