Saturday, 29 August 2009

Moleskine Colour a Month Diary

I was having a lunchtime stroll in Blackwells in Edinburgh when I came across the new book per month Moleskine diary. I'd seen it online but this was he first in the flesh sighting. It has 12 pocket size books, one for every month and all in different colours. Th twelve books are held in a black hard cover, like a Moleskine with an elastic strap holding all the books together. So it resembles a very thick Moleskine but more colourful because of the spines of the monthly diaries.
So if you've had a pocket Moleskine diary you'll know what the inside looks like. There's a bt for a name and other details, map with time zones. A 6 months to two pages planner and a day to a page diary. There are times down the left hand side of the page. So what you have is a very small good looking diary but with plenty of space to write appointments and the ability to include future months appointments in the planner. Although the extra effort in transcribing even a couple of months ahead in the planner and then into the next months book may get tedious.

It really is quite a cool idea, appealing to the weaknesses of Moleskine lovers: numerous Moleskines at the one time, lovely bright colours but inside a black cover, more diary space than usual. But here's the killer, it costs £31.50! That's £2.60 a month which sounds much better. Equivalent to an overpriced coffee from a world dominating chain, if you were daft enough to buy one there. But most of us pay £5-£10 for a diary and that's the really extravagant notebook addicted amongst us. So I love it but I'm cutting back on my addiction so this is one product unlikely to make it into my pocket. This year anyway...

However if you fancy splashing out try MojoLondon

Thursday, 27 August 2009

Blackwell Black Cover Pocket Notebook

This is a Moleskinealike notebook. It costs half the price however and is available from Blackwells Book shop for £5. It is the same size as a pocket Moleskine but slightly thicker. I think the reason for this is that the stitch binding isn't done quite as well leading to uneven paper edges in the notebook when you look at it closed. Not that this affects the ability to write on it or close it or anything functional. The paper also feels slightly thicker than Moleskine paper. It has the customary pocket at the back, again a bit thicker because of the card used and the manufacture. It as Blackwell branded on the pocket which wont be to everyone's taste and Blackwell embossed on the back cover.
I've been using it for recording notes for a work project since April so it is full of untidy handwriting, phone numbers, action lists. I've never really kept a one topic notebook before as my work usually involves several topics all ongoing at the one time but this particular project has taken over everything else over the Summer (hence the lack of posts).
I use lots of different pens and pencils to write with, whatever is to hand. I've written in a variety of different types of ink in this notebook; rollerballs,fountain pens, felt tip, ballpoint, liquid ink (see the post on top ten pens for the most likely candidates). They all write really well on the paper. It feels like quality paper and the ink doesn't bleed. However it does seem to show through very badly on the other side of the paper. The interesting thing is that this isn't apparent immediately. I seems to occur after a few days so initially you can read everything fine and then it turns into a bit of a mess. Of course this is worse with some pens than others. Probably the fountain pen and felt tip are worst which isn't entirely surprising.
Being someone who has never been very impressed with Moleskine paper I was hoping for a cheap and yet better equivalent. This unfortunately isn't it. That said I have been very happy writing in it and it has kept a lot of quickly changing information at my fingertips.
It has also been a notebook that I've had no impulse to 'keep good'. I have had Moleskines in the past that I've struggled to write in because I felt I should be writing something of substance in them and unfortunately I have little of substance to say!
So what notebook next for me? This one is nearly finished. What I would really like is a pocket size black book with gorgeous white Clairefontaine paper but I haven't quite seen anything like that and the thickness of their paper might be problematic. The Rhodia equivalent may be worth a try but I haven't seen one in the flesh but have read that the paper s not their usual smooth white paper. If I ever get to see one I might try it. Waiting in the wings is a slightly larger Asda Executive notebook! It cost £3, has gridded paper and 3 concertina pockets at the back.

So I have used the Blackwell notebook well and while I seldom finish a notebook I will finish this one. And there lies the problem while being critical of the paper it has been the only notebook I've fully used. Perhaps I should pay attention to that and realise that more expensive, while making me feel warm and fuzzy inside, isn't what I need! These notebooks also come in dark blue and bright pink which may appeal to some who want something more than black.

Tuesday, 25 August 2009

Moleskine Monthly Pocket Diary 2009-Update

I've come back to this product to update you on my use of it. Last year I started using this to record the meeting dates for 2009 that were appearing before my A5 2009 diary was being used. I didnt want to carry around two heavy diaries. I said at the time that I would probably stop using it when I switched to a new A5 diary but I haven't. I still use it. I can see a whole month at a time which I've now realised is very important to me. I work in different places on different days and this lets me see at glance where I am and allows me to plan things a bit more sensibly. I colour code location which is such a naff thing to do but helps me immensely. After each moth is a couple of pages for notes and I use these for a to do list for the month. Not everything goes into that but the bits and pieces that I'm liable to forget I write there. There is then a further notebook after the diary section that I just use for general notes and plans. It's not my main notebook but can be very handy particularly as the softcover pocket size is so small and light I do carry it everywhere.The downside to this is I often dont have enough space to put in meeting location and that has occasionally been troublesome. However I think if I had accepted that this would be my main diary initially I would have tried harder with locations. The other option is to buy a large one next year. It would still be light but I worry that I may not carry it everywhere in quite the same way. I have been pleasantly surprised by how well this has worked out. I still need to find consistent way of keeping my notes though!