Saturday, 10 April 2010

Travel Journal by K Two Products

At Christmas i was lucky enough to get two stationery themed presents.  A travel Journal and Travel clippigs file, both made by K Two Products.  I now know the items came from my friends (Twitter ones, not real ones) at The Paperie who always provide great service.
I shall look at the Travel Journal first.  I've now started using this as camping season has begun and I like to record my travels throughout the year so that we can look back and enjoy on dark Winter nights.  I dont exclusively record VW van trips though.  We've recently found out that many hotels now allow dogs which allows us trips away with the 'old dears' who arent going camping anywhere.
The journal itself is pocket sized, bigger than a Moleskine pocket though (A6 size) with a smooth cover that looks like it might resist a splash of rain or spilled wine, whichever is more common on your travels.
The picture on the cover looks like an old fashioned rail advertising poster and looks like the Swiss Alps or somewhere like that.  The impression certainly is of travel abroad and adventure.  We can get plenty of that at home in a Vdub thank you!
I've usually used larger journals for travel and may still use a separate one for a long trip.  For example we plan to go to Europe in the van againe this year and that would probably warrant a journal all of it's own - good excuse to buy another one.  The journal is kept shut by an elastic band (like one to hold your hair back).  It's fastened on the back cover and fits lengthwise round the journal.

So what's inside the Travel Notes book then?  Well there are 3 lined pages with a space for date and location at the top and every fourth page is plain for drawings, sticking in photographs, mementos or similar.  It's the same 'loop the loop, Air Crash Investigations' style plane on these pages.  There is also a section at the back for contacts, where I guess you could put either details of those you want to send cards and emails to on your trip or of the places you intend to stay or visit on your trip, or both of course.
Again this might be more useful on a longer trip than the short weekends that I intend to be recording but I may pop in the details of were we've stayed at some point.After the contacts section is one that is lined and headed notes.  You could put anything you liked in that section.  The pictures dont quite show it properly but the journal section is cream/buff coloured paper, the contacts section is pink coloured paper and the notes section is blue coloured paper.  The paper itself is smooth and quite thick.  I'm not sure of the weight but it's bordering on thin card I would say.  I've only written on it in ballpoint but I think it would stand up to most types of pen without bleeding or showing through to the other side.
What I've decided to do with the plain pages is use a Polaroid Pogo printer for photographs.  This is a small printer that prints 2"x3" photos that have a sticky backing so you can stick them straight into the journal.  The printer is pocket sized too so you can use it on your travels.  You can Bluetooth prints from your phone or use Pictbridge technology and connect your camera to it. The print paper comes in packets of 10 and you can buy 30 or 70 at a time.  Yes it's not the cheapest way to print anything but it is fun.  The quality of the prints depends on what you've taken the picture with (perhaps not surprisingly).  The prints from my Nikon Coolpix S6 are miles better than the ones from my phone but it all adds to the effect of recording the trip as you go along. 
Finally the notebook has the now, almost obligatory pocket at the back.  It's really just a small pocket that you can slip receipts or small cards into but still handy enough.  I like this Travel Notes journal.  It's small enough to pop in your bag but large enough to stick in photos and write in comfortably.  I'm not sure however if it will last the whole season.  We shall see...

Saturday, 3 April 2010

Tracking Weight with Field Notes

I thought I would share one of my uses for a notebook for a change rather than a simple review of the notebook.  Many uses are work related and it's not always possible to put those on a blog but tracking my weight is totally personal.  Maybe the sort of thing I shouldn't share on a blog but here goes.
One of the key elements of trying to maintain a healthy weight is keeping track of what you eat.  I find myself falling into a hybernation state every Winter and filling up with food, then having to retrain my habits in the Spring.  This year is no exception.  So if I am going to cut down food intake I may as well combine it with something I like doing-writing in a notebook.

I have been using the Field Notes Summer color edition.  The green one in other words.  The grid lends itself to recording information I feel and I have been pretty good at keeping up the daily food record.  If not so good at recording exercise, mainly because I am very good at eating every day but often miss out exercise!
It pays not to kid yourself on and be as honest as possible when recording what you eat and until you count calories it can be a real surprise what a difference small changes can make.  Changing from pouring olive oil in a pan to using spray oil, not spreading on loads of butter, not eating ready meals!!!
So I have been progressing and these photos were taken a few weeks ago.

I know it looks kind of innaccurate but I do count my checks carefully!  I use Scottish Slimmers which uses 1 check to represent 25kcal.  I guess it just makes counting easier and of course how many checks you can have depends on your weight.  I dont have too much to lose and I'm not massively overweight but I still find it hard going sometimes.

As a motivation I draw a graph of my weight loss - well the Field Notes does have graph paper, seems a shame not to use it!  It is now the beginning of April and I have now lost a stone, so the graph looks rather good.  I'm now 9st10lbs.  I may try to get to 9st7lbs but I wont lose sleep over it and I've just had a weeks holiday and another one coming up, and while I try not to go mad I dont want to get totally hung up on food either so I will eat more than usual if I want to.  There are a few non weight loss weeks along the way and the trick is to expect them and not let that distract you from your journey.  I now only have two pages left in my notebook and will probably try to keep recording what I eat to try to keep things stable.  Camping season is ahead and I tend to have a couple of beers and BBQ at weekends so need to keep on the right track during the week.  However hopefully I shall also do a bit more exercise too which should get my metabolism going....
So now the dilemma is do I use another green Field Notes or one of my new sunshine yellow ones that I have just bought?  Oh it's difficult but the yellow cover is fabulous.  I think I know the answer.....