Tuesday, 23 August 2016

Review: Traveller's Journal from Meadowgate Leather

New Traveller's Journal. I love it!!

[Longish post. Go get a cuppa and come back!]

I've been in my red Traveller's Journal from The Stamford Notebook Company for well over a year now! Those of you who've followed the blog for longer than that (bless you - don't you have a life?) will know that for me, that's pretty amazing! I blogged about my current set-up in it, here.

I've always preferred to have both my diary/planner and my money/cards all in one place. It's easier for me to grab just the one thing as I head out the door and it's easier for my husband to know everything is in the one place. Apart from just wanting to buy new stationery (tum te tum te tum), I had been looking for a new TJ with card slots in the cover rather than having them in the plastic insert (which has always held the cards really loosely). I found a fabulous seller on Etsy - Mike Baldock who runs Meadowgate Leather - who sells the most gorgeous leather goods. His website is at www.meadowgateleather.com and his Etsy shop is at www.etsy.com/uk/shop/meadowgateleather.

There are several versions of Traveller's Journals on the site, with different features.
OAK: This is closest to a Midori TN - essentially the leather cover. No slip pockets; no card slots. The default is to have 4 elastics and a spine-mounted elastic closure and no pen loop though there are a variety of options and add-ons available. An example of the Oak version can be found here.

ACORN: This is a cover which has a slip pocket at the back but otherwise is the same as the Oak range and again, has many add-ons and options to choose from. An example of the Acorn range can be seen here.

SNOWBELL. This is the one I have! The standard version has card slots in the front cover and a slip-pocket behind. The back cover has a vertical slip pocket. An example of the Snowbell range can be seen here.

Mike told me that he is about to bring out another TJ called WILLOW which will be similar to the Oak range but made out of slightly suppler leather. It may have the option of stitching around the edge as everyone seems to ask for that. It's not up on the site yet so I don't have a link to share.

All of the TJs he makes can be made in a range of nine (yes... nine) sizes and a wide selection of colours of leather, thread, elastics etc. To be honest, if you don't see a size you want, contact him and ask. He is more than happy to take custom orders (and he is a lovely chap to deal with!).

Anyway, to cut a long story short, I contacted him and asked him if he could make a TJ for me where both the front and back covers had the card slot layouts. If so, how much extra would it be? He got back to me almost immediately and said there would be no problem doing that and that for the size I wanted (cahier - just shy of A5), it would be just under a fiver extra.

There are lots of options you can choose for the TJ: leather colour, stitching colour, elastics colour, pen-loop in the back or not, logo in the back cover or not, a leather name tag on the closing elastic, whether you want the card slots horizontal or vertical... I ordered the cahier size with extra over-hang, in Java brown with dark brown stitching and brown elastics. I had the pen-loop and the logo included but didn't want a name tag. I was away on holiday and not able to sign for delivery until I got back so I asked Mike to hang on to it until I was back, which he very kindly did.

So, what's it like???

GORGEOUS! Absolutely wonderful!

It arrived well packed and wrapped in tissue paper, with Mike's business card:

I managed to hold off unwrapping it, long enough to take a picture!

The smell of the leather was divine! Even before I tore the paper off. All of his leathers are vegetable tanned and all of the stitching is done by hand. There are some lovely pictures and more information about the process on his website: www.meadowgateleather.com (opens in a new window, so you won't lose me).

Inside was the Traveller's Journal. The colour was lighter than I expected but I'm sure it will darken down. If I was trying to match to the colour chart on the Etsy page, I would have thought it was saddle tan rather than Java. (Mike has since said to me that he thinks he should have a 'summer' and 'winter' set of colour charts as the dyes colour the leather differently in the different conditions!)

Front cover
Back cover

Inside, the reverse of the cover is undyed and a delicate cream/buff colour. The card slots are dyed to match the cover and the pen-loop is the same as the cover colour:

The covers come with four internal elastics as standard and Mike included some spare elastic with the cover. Both the booklet elastics and the closing elastic are 2mm. I might trim off some of the excess around the closing elastic but it's not in the way at the moment. He deliberately leaves it longer in case the new owner needs to loosen the elastic off.

Close-up of the left cover
Close-up of the right cover
Close-up of the logo (taken with flash so colour not quite accurate)

Apologies for the colour in the photographs - it wasn't the best light in Scotland for taking pictures!

Anyway, I moved in almost immediately! The set-up is exactly the same as in my post here, but here are some pictures of it all in situ.

Loaded up but not too fat!
Bank cards on left; money in pockets insert on first elastic
2nd elastic with diary (in hateful Moleskine)
Another hateful Moleskine as a notes section
One spare elastic; other cards in the back cover
Pen is a Signo erasable rollerball

So that's it. I can honestly say that the Traveller's Journal has the finest workmanship and is absolutely wonderful. Mike was a pleasure to deal with - very quick and helpful responses to all my queries - and the price was excellent (under £60, including p+p with 1st class recorded delivery). If you're after a new Traveller's Journal (or, just want to buy another one...) go and check him out.