24 Sept 2021

review: galen leather notebook cover and the everyday book (plus a discount code!)

In the last ten years or so, the quality and variety of notebooks available for fountain pen users has increased vastly. There's also been a shift to higher quality materials from what I've seen online and in person. One such company which marries the two very well is the family-run Galen Leather Co. who are based in Turkey. The pandemic caused a shift in my purchasing habits and anything family-run and not owned by a mega corp have instantly caught my attention and my support. I suppose it's seeing the demise of the traditional high street which has altered my mentality and there is now a conscious effort to try and source things as locally as possible. 

Anyway! Galen Leather Co was started by Zeynep and is now run by her brother and husband. Her story can be found here and I have to warn you, have some tissues at bay. She sounds like an amazing and inspirational lady who saw the best in everything - a quality we can all learn to have. 

I hope I can do her and Galen Leather justice with this review as I have to warn you, it is overwhelmingly positive. Just look at the contents below: it's the little touches that count and the pouch containing some samples of Turkish coffee and teas with a little tag about Galen themselves is truly heartwarming. 

Onto two Galen products. The first one is the Leather Slim A5 Notebook Cover. At the time of writing, they are priced at an extremely reasonable £33 and they come in a neat little box. 

Within the box, there is the cover itself, a card detailing the colour and who made the cover, along with care instructions. There's also a postcard with a handwritten message on the reverse. 

The cover smells delightful and is buttery soft. I can imagine it ageing extremely well and becoming even softer and more characterful with time and use. The quality is divine and feels like it would hold up well to daily use. 

On the inside, there is a card slot on both sides of the cover and also a pen loop. 

And at the reverse, we see the Galen Leather Co stamp in case anyone asks you where it's from so they can get one of their own. It comes in a whole host of classy colours including navy, 'crazy horse' navy blue /brown/forest green/tan/grey as well as in the sizes A5, B6 or A6. 

The Everyday Book in A5 fits perfectly in the A5 leather cover shown above. It comes in a box with a magnetic closure which makes ideal as place to file away documents/papers/anything else you wanted. At £23 for 400 pages of 52gsm Tomoe River Paper, it represents pretty good value. 

And just look at the paper in all its glory. It comes with writing guides as well so no excuses for wonky note taking! 

We all know that the usual reason for buying Tomoe River Paper is for the fountain pen benefits and it doesn't disappoint here... Of course there's significant show through with the permanent fineliner but otherwise, it performs as expected. 

Overall, Galen Leather Co is a family-run company who produce leather and notebook products of the highest quality. If you're after something a bit different or a gift for a stationery-lover, you won't be disappointed. 

If you're tempted, Galen are currently offering a 5% discount using the code WELCOME5.

Disclaimer: The products reviewed are complimentary direct from Galen Leather Co in exchange for a review. However, the review is an honest one and written as if I had bought the products personally. 

13 Sept 2021

sailor professional gear regular fountain pen in navy and rose gold (limited edition) with a fine nib - a review

Earlier on this year, I was having a tough time and treated myself to a new fountain pen: this limited edition Sailor Professional Gear Regular Fountain Pen in Navy and Rose Gold. It came with a rose gold 21k fine nib and I feel like the photos don't do this pen justice at all. 

First impressions at the time:

What a beautiful pen! It's a great size (a bit chunkier than a Pro Gear Slim) and the rose gold trim is a delight to admire whenever this pen is picked up. The weight is perfect and I couldn't find a fault with it at all. 


Rose gold and navy is a classy combination and this pen is the perfect example of this. My hands are larger than average for a woman and I find that this pen is a great size for them. I can use it posted or unposted and it feels evenly weighted and not too small or large either way. 

The Nib

As you can imagine, the 21k rose gold nib is an absolute delight to write with. The line is fine (not quite fine enough for my liking but not an issue at all). Below, it's inked with Cult Pens Diamine's Robert and it has creeped onto the nib somewhat making it look much more red/pink than it is. The rose gold nib is discrete and not garish at all. It writes like butter with minimal feedback and I really enjoy using it. 


At over £200, it was a fairly expensive pen but as it is limited edition, for me, it was worth it. The design is classy and fits well with my style. For a 21k nib by a reliable fountain pen brand, it's worth every penny for me.

Since receiving it, it has come to work with me almost every day and I use it plenty. It has been used for journal entries, consent forms at work and anything else I need to make a note of. It's probably my most used pen of the last four months. 


For me, this has been one of my favourite purchases to date. The fact it's my go-to pen for most things now just says it all. The weight is perfect for long writing periods and the nib is super smooth with minimal feedback making for a wonderful writing experience. I've inked it with my current favourite ink but I'm going to try another one once this converter runs empty. In essence, I think this will be a pen that's permanently inked and will perpetually have a place in my current rotation. 

1 Sept 2021

how I'm getting on with my bullet journal

Back in November 2020, I talked about three months' in a bullet journal. I've now been using a bullet journal for over a year (how time flies...?!) and I wouldn't say I'm a seasoned user but like to think I've worked out what does and doesn't work for me now. 

The structure is a standard one in terms of a journal - there's an information page, a year plan, a month spread and the standard weekly spreads. I've found a week-to-view an optimal way for me to organise my life and it has worked well for me in the past so I have stuck to it here. From next year, I'm hoping to use a more free-form week to view (more on that in due course). 

I'm still in my Leuchtturm 1917 and this is how it's looking so far. 

Month Spreads

Although month spreads are something that have universally graced my planners year on year, I've actually found that I don't use them that much? A perfect example is June below. You can see just how bare it is and it only has the bare minimum. I'm thinking of doing away with it altogether, however, it's actually quite a useful way of seeing an overview of how busy the month will be and when my free time will likely be too. Very essential for organising catch-ups with friends and other downtime! 

Weekly Spreads

I've stuck to a fairly basic structure. A column is down the outsides of both pages and to-do lists tend to grace these columns. Some weeks, there's very few to-dos; other weeks, there's loads as you can see below. 

It's quite a chaotic spread below but I find it works fine for me. I'm still trying to find the best way to sort my weeks though and the spreads shown here give me a bit of anxiety, purely because of how scatty they look! 

Triangles denote events which can vary from meetings to netball commitments to meet-ups with friends. Squares are for actions I need to do and anything else is just whatever I fancy. Although conventional bullet journals suggest using a set code for things like this, I tend to do my own thing. That's one of the reasons as to why I like the bullet journal system so much. There's so much room for creativity and also adjusting things to fit my own personality and life. 

Monthly Reviews

At the end of each month, I sit down and review the things that matter to me. 

1. Exercise
To say I'm a little obsessed with exercise is putting it lightly. My sister gifted me an extra MyZone belt system that she had and it's something we use semi-competitively (she always wins though). A few months ago, I also bought myself a Garmin watch to track my runs and workouts too. 

2. One Line A Day
I'm on my third year of a five-year 'Some Lines A Day' Leuchtturm 1917 journal. This is a streak I'm determined to continue. 

3. Journalling
I try and journal at least twice a week but sometimes, this is more if I've had a tough day for example. It's important for me to brain dump because I often take work home mentally. The other thing is, that it also helps my mental health and keeps things in check. 

4. Reading
I've not read nearly enough this year and it's a little disappointing. By having a tracker, this will keep this hobby accountable. There's always time for a chapter of two of a book (more often more!) and I'm trying to re-discover my reading mojo. 

5. Running
I started running properly at the end of December 2020. Although I play a lot of netball, I've never described myself as a runner. At first, I could run 3-4km without stopping for a break and now, I can run far further than that. My speed has also improved and I smashed my 5k PB at the end of June! My goal now is to keep up the mileage because after each run, I've noticed that my mood is so much brighter and my mental health receives a boost in positive hormones. 

Overall, the bullet journal system is a good thing for me. I like the freestyle nature and adapting it to my own needs. I also like tracking things important to me so the monthly reviews lend themselves perfectly for that. As mentioned earlier, I'm going to try something slightly different for my 2022 bullet journal and we'll see how that pans out too. One option I'm considering is combining my bullet journal with my twice-weekly brain dumps in my main journal. This might work as my bullet journal doesn't leave the house usually so the risk of someone reading a brain dump would be minimal anyway. 

Do any of you use a bullet journal? I'm keen to try and go more minimalistic with it so if you're similar, please do let me know and link me to your own spreads/other spreads you've seen that are inspirational.