For a long time, I have looked at the ‘Traveller’ notebooks both the original Midori and those inspired by them; but what annoyed me about them, especially the Midori, is that once you jump down the rabbit hole and commit you are tied in to bespoke refills which tend to be more expensive than standard sizes. In fact, I got so annoyed that I made one to take standard large Moleskine Cahier notebooks (13cm x 21cm); it went rather well, and I still have it. It is now subject to scrutiny as I never used it, more a proof of concept than anything else, and this scrutiny will probably find it being cut down to accommodate a more useful size.
So, after this I took no further interest in them until about a month ago when I was looking for an undated monthly planner with the aim of bringing more order to my writing schedule. After many hours looking for a pocket notebook sized planner I gave up and went back to looking at the various other sizes and with my interest now thoroughly peaked by the Traveller notebook covers I started to look for one designed for standard pocket notebooks, Field Notes and similar and preferably made from leather.
This led me to Etsy, a site I had browsed but never used, and I soon discovered that it was possible to order pretty much anything from anyone from anywhere which made it a bit confusing. Narrowing the search parameters helped a great deal by looking at for sellers who were leather workers rather than resellers, their location and shipping costs. Once I had this narrowed down it was a lot easier to focus on the reviews and more specifically the feedback about customer service which eventually led me to Mike Baldock at Meadowgate Leather.
Mike has excellent feedback and I needed advice about what to order so I decided to ask some questions as I was stuck between the Juniper and the Mulberry. Mike responded very quickly and gave me sound advice regarding his product range and this helped me to decide; I went for the Mulberry, the leather is softer and it is simply gorgeous.
One of the really useful things built into Mike’s information is a table of options that you can cut, paste, complete and add to the information you send as part of your order. This covers all the standard options you have to choose from to enable Mike to create your bespoke cover; I have no doubt that if you wanted a feature not on the list you would only have to ask.
I made my choices and sent them off and waited and sure enough a short while later a small package arrived for me.
My Mulberry arrived well packaged and when I opened it I found it wrapped in blue tissue paper which I rapidly removed and as you can see from the image below I found my Mulberry complete with spare elastic and a spare plain tag made from the same leather as the cover (it is currently fitted with a contrasting brown tag).
The first thing that struck me was how well made the Mulberry is, the leather is approximately 3mm thick and it is very soft, which means that it falls open and lies flat very easily. It is fully stitched around the edge and the spine is defined by two lines of stitching; I chose a complimentary brown thread and it looks amazing. The interior leather is finished, which is a nice touch as some manufacturers leave the suede side unfinished. It’s details like this that make a difference.
One of the important things for me was that the elastic closure be fitted in the spine, and not as you find on some version in the middle of the back cover, so I was very pleased with this. There are three elastics for retaining notebooks plus the closure and they are all well measured and secure. I tested three different sized pocket notebooks; the Fabriano, Field Notes and Moleskine and they all fit perfectly. After this I decided to test how many the cover would hold, and I got five in mine, however, I wouldn’t recommend going beyond four in the standard cover. If you want a cover for a lot of notebooks I would discuss it with Mike first.
I’ve been using it now for over a week and when I’m home it lives on my desktop, about six inches from the keyboard; it really is a lovely piece of work, it’s made to exacting standards using very good quality leather.
I’m glad I opted for the pocket notebook size which is just right for me and at £29.95 (plus shipping) it’s not the cheapest option out there, however, I would say it is definitely one of the best available. If you are in the market for something of this nature I recommend you stop by Mike’s Etsy store and if you can’t see what you want drop him a line. I will definitely be buying more from Mike.
Disclaimer: The Mulberry notebook cover was purchased with my own funds at retail price. The opinions expressed in this review are my own; and I am not connected with the manufacturer in any way.