Sunday, 13 April 2014

Notebook or Filofax?

I have decided that I need to keep more notes for Rotary. Not so much dates of events, as these go straight into my diary, but notes on the talks given, the projects we are working on etc.

But, the questions is, do I go for a notebook (of which I have zillions) or a spare filofax (um, yeah, same thing about the zillions). On the one hand I want something fairly small and neat, but on the other it would be nice to go for something where I can file the pages under different dividers.

As everyone knows, I have a small shop’s worth of notebooks (and filofaxes) so there MUST be something in there to use!

The Options
Having had a look through The Emporium and The Bottom Drawer of my Desk, I have whittled it down to:

  • A Cartesio notebook (13cm x 21 cm)
  • The pocket flex
  • A pocket filofax filled with notepaper which I can transfer to another binder later and file under different topics
  • A personal filofax filled with notepaper which I can transfer to another binder later and file under different topics
  • A homemade “Midori Traveller” (either with A6 size notebooks in it (by Papelote) or a slightly smaller Field Notes size – I have made both!)


The Cartesio
Lovely notebook
Not possible to file things separately – continuous book
Lots of great colours
Perhaps a smidgen too big (it has a bigger footprint than my filofax but is thinner)
Good page size

Hard cover so easy to write on out and about

The pocket flex
Small and neat
A bit small
Possibility of having different notebooks for different things in the same cover
Horrible paper
Possibility of tearing the pages out and filing them in one of the many unused pocket filofaxes

Pocket Filofax
I have lots not in use and would really like to use them
Page size is a bit small
The small ring size would (for once) be a bonus!

I could transfer notes to another unused one (therefore using two!) to file notes

Personal Filofax
I have some spare one, not being used
A bit too big and heavy
Page size is about right

I have lots of spare notepaper for them

Pages could be transferred to another one for filing

Homemade “Midori Traveller”
Small and neat
Floppy cover
Possibility of having different notebooks for different things in the same cover

If I win a very slimline binder on eBay that I’m looking at then my decision might be made. I would load that up with cotton cream paper and transfer notes to the navy Portland once they were ready for filing. The one I am looking at is very, very slimline (the ring diameter looks like it is less than 10mm!) so it wouldn’t be a giant brick to carry.

If I don’t win it, then I think it will be a close call between the Cartesio and the homemade “Midori”

Keep you posted!

Friday, 11 April 2014

Review of Midori Dainel notebook

The Journal Shop did a 20% off everything offer. Despite all the urges to the contrary, I managed to restrain myself and only bought three notebooks: 1x Midori Dainel A5 (blue cover) and 2x Moleskine soft cover in black (19 x 25 cm – who knows what size that relates to??).

I realise I have never actually reviewed the first Midori Dainel that I bought (purple cover), so let me waste no more time before doing so.

The notebook is a collaboration between Midori and someone in France who makes the cover (who?? Anyone know?) The name ‘Dainel’ means ‘suede’ in French and refers to the cover, which is both coloured and textured like suede. The paper is thread-stitched so that the book will lie flat (with a bit of help); the paper is by Midori. There are 91 pages (presumably it was 92, but it counts 91 because they have ‘stamped’ on one of them).

The cover is card, though it is printed to give it a suede-effect look. There is a plastic cover on the outside (removable) with information printed on the back inside cover:

Covers (Still in plastic)
Information panel on inside back cover

I took the plastic covers off and took another picture:

Without covers

Hmm. I’m not convinced I like the feel of the book with or without the plastic cover! Without is a bit better (it feels like the board in Fuzzy Felt if anyone else is old enough to remember that!). The colours are lovely though.

The bottom left of the front cover (right next to the spine) has 'Dainel' embossed in it. Very discreet!

There is a ‘stamp’ printed on the first sheet:

Reverse of the 'stamped' page

The paper has lines that don’t go quite to the edges of the page and the ‘lines’ are in fact very closely spaced dots. Line spacing is 6mm. Colour is cream.

Ink test:
Given that the ‘stamp’ from the front page bleeds through so much, I had some trepidation over the ink tests. I did the ink tests on the ‘stamped’ page and turned the book upside down as there was no major reason to indicate that it was ‘the wrong way up’ (the top and bottom margins are the same). I also didn’t want to waste a page doing ink tests when one was already wasted with the ‘stamp’!
Generally, there was no feathering at all. Ink took a while to dry (depending on brand) and there was some bleed-through (though pretty acceptable). The paper is quite thin, though this might be still the same weight as other papers, just rolled/compressed more to make it thinner. I currently have fewer pens inked up than normal, hence the reduced test.

Ink test
Ink test - reverse

Nice, slimline notebooks. I’m not sure what to use them for as they aren’t quite thick enough for book-plotting, but no doubt it will find a use eventually!

Best laid schemes...

...gang aft a-gley indeed!

A week ago, I thought I would go back to time-boxing and instead of trying to plan tasks, plan time on projects (and if a task reached completion, I would, of course, tick it off the list). I thought I had 11 ½ free days up to May 4th and I guesstimated 8 hours/day of usable time and drew up a plan on how to spend the hours on different projects.

Oh dear.

Almost immediately it all went wrong.

I found out that I am back to Malawi on the 2nd May, neatly removing some of the days I thought I had. Not only that, but ‘stuff to get done before I go to Malawi’ then started to impinge on other remaining days (sorting out travel medicine seems to be taking up a ridiculous amount of time!).

Then came a couple of unexpected events, taking some more time chunks.

Then came the 8 hours a day issue. I had evidently forgotten that my first day ‘off’ after work (I work part-time) never seems to involve me having my backside in the chair ready to write/edit first thing. I am always slow to get the day started (whatever it is I have planned) for some reason. 8 hours in the day to do stuff? Er... no.

Then came a huge heap of ‘unexpected tasks’ which were either more important or more interesting to do than what I had scheduled. More slippage!

Then came that rebellious tendency I can have. I saw my day carved up into boxes and thought, nope, not doing that.

Then my head intervened with its ‘yes, I know you were just scheduling time and trying not to get swept up in a task, so that other things would get completed, but you’re only 5 pages away from editing the whole of this chapter, so why don’t you just finish it?’ and of course, I did.

It was also pouring with rain so gardening got crossed off the list.
I wasn’t well so running got crossed off the list.

In the picture below, I have my planned day on the LHS and the reality of the day on the RHS.

Let’s just try this all again shall we????