Start Bay TN cover | Bullet Journalling

So this is a combi post today - bullet journal woes and Start Bay Notebooks.

I got interested in bullet journalling just over a year ago.  I should have realised that when your OCD friend introduces you to something it is going to be VERY organised. VERY.

Well, not only was it organised (which, believe me, I NEED!), but the groups that I ended up joining we so crammed full of beautifully illustrated journals that my own paltry offering palled into nothingness and I ended up really quite stressed at all the bells and whistles that people use when journalling - tape, ribbons, elastics, printables, stickers, charms  *hyperventilates just thinking about it*.

My mum says that buying art supplies and using art supplies are two entirely different hobbies, and so it is with bullet journalling, I think.  Surely the act of creation of many of these magnificent journals is a hobby in itself?

I ended up leaving most of the groups and feeling quite bummed out about the whole thing.  Which is a shame because, as I said, it's all about being organised.

Cut to January of this year *does the wavery hands time shift thing* and I decided to give it another bash. This time on MY terms.  And those terms, dear reader, involved a black biro (I know - PERFIDY!) a fountain pen and a ruler.

And guess what? I've been bullet journalling since January like this (with the odd - temporary - foray into washi tape and coloured pencils) and it is absolutely the best way to keep track of my life!

Now, enter stage left, Start Bay Journals and the delights of a Traveller's Notebook.  I'm sticking with the 'Traveller' not 'Traveler' because: Scottish, not American.  These journals are abbreviated to TN (avoids all transatlantic fall-outs over spelling for a start) and they are my New Best Friend.

I got a couple of TNs from Rob at Personalised Stationery in unlined and dot grid and have been using them to record all sorts of things.  Mostly quotes from Senecca at the moment, if I'm honest.  And some terrible sketches in the unlined one ....

The paper is just GREAT for fountain pen use as I've mentioned before and I have been throwing one or other of the notebooks into my handbag for use on the ferry or whenever I've got something that I want to keep a note of (it's amazing how often the Muse strikes when you've actually got a pen and something to record in!)

However, there's no getting away from it - without a cover, your journal can get dog-eared pretty quickly.

I went on the hunt for a cover for my TNs.

There are lots of lovely leather covers out there - usually with one elastic fitted down the spine to allow you to slot in your TN and with an elastic that slides around the belly, to hold the whole thing closed in your handbag or knapsack.

I get a bit antsy when it comes to buying leather things from countries where I don't know too much about their animal welfare, so I knew that I was looking for a British company.  I know.  I'm pathetic.  I am a shit vegetarian who loves leather.  Although I have not tasted bacon for 18 months now, so am quietly proud of that.

I also wanted more than one elastic in my journal cover - I can't imagine me and a leather bradawl without also picturing a jaunt to A&E ...

And I also wanted something that felt ... kinda broken in ... with a no-nonsense aesthetic.

Lo! Start Bay Notebooks journal cover fits my particular bill!  This costs £42.00 and is, therefore, slightly less expensive than the Midori TN cover (Midori being the benchmark of quality journal covers for me).  It's also made in delightful Devon!

This Start Bay cover will make a classy gift to someone special.

It arrives in a lovely little unbleached cotton bag ....

decorated with the Start Bay Notebooks logo in leather

And voila! The TN sized notebook cover.  Start Bay offer lots of different sized notebooks with different finished and even different colours of closing elastics (this one is the 'original dark brown' option).

Accept no imitations 
the logo should also be stamped into the leather on the rear.

The journal cover comes with one notebook to get you started.  
It has four elastics to hold your TNs in place.

Like So!

BTW - if you want something more personalised - feel free to add charms! Start Bay have a lovely selection of charms that begin at a quid - aeroplanes, dragonflies, skull and crossbones etc.  AND pen loops for £3.50.  AND self-adhesive pockets (perfect for storing receipts and tickets) at £3.50 for three.

But it can comfortably take quite a few.  
I think that they recommend a bundle of inserts up to 20mm 
in depth.  But why stop there, is what I say!

Here's me adding notebooks that still leaves plenty space free for 

Step 1
Make a large loop of elastic 
(I used a nice dark brown one to match the existing)
Slide the elastic into the centre pages of two journals to hold them together. 

Like so.

Step 2

Take your two notebooks that are now looped together and slide beneath one of the elastics that run down the spine of your journal cover.

Like this.

And look - you have inserted your journals
AND there is still space for more to be added!

Celebrate with a gin and tonic and book yourself a cheap flight to Italy. Or Birmingham.  Wherever! 
You are now prepared for all travel-writing emergencies!

You're welcome!


A quick look at the contents of one of the inserts - unlined.  And scribbles by my fountain pen.  I can't remember the ink name.  But it's purty, ain't it? I must start swatching inks so that I can remember which one is which! 

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