How wonderful to find one gift that comes in such variety that it will appeal to any personality, purpose and personal style!

A journal can hold dreams and goals, capture ideas and inspiration, promote productivity, reflect a journey, display art, a compendium of fact or fiction encase a story or collection of poems, hold treasured recipes, be luxurious and hard bound or simple and digital, small or large, empty or punctuated with prompts and empowering words of wisdom. A journal makes an ideal gift for everyone!

Here are four of our favourites, designed to support memory, creativity, purposeful intention and productive execution.

The Bullet Journal: for free-styling list makers

It is estimated that we have between 50-70 thoughts a day—most of them are not worth writing down but for those which are, Bullet Journaling provides an effortless way to do so. Photographs may capture a moment, but moments occur within a greater context. The Bullet Journal can be used to capture the invisible information around the photo—adding contextual details like: What were the moments prior to the shot? Why was the person laughing? On a more tactical level, the system allows users to create their own templates around various activities such as: Travel Itineraries, Schedules, Shot Locations and Calendars. The beauty of the system is that it’s limited only by the imagination of the user.

The 5 Minute Journal: for overwhelmed multi-taskers

Studies support both the practice of journalling and gratitude as effective ways to elevate mood, heighten empathy, compassion and connection to others. It can make us more resilient to stress and more aware of the good things in life. The 5 Minute Journal unites these healthy habits in a beautifully crafted, thoughtfully formatted way. Expressing gratitude helps start the day on a positive note—expanding our perspective and interrupting negative feedback and egocentric rumination, forcing a reset in focus toward optimistic outcomes and abundance. Once you’ve set your purposeful intention it’s time to get some meaningful work done.

The Productivity Planner: for practitioners of ‘Deep Work’

This journal is built with proven productivity principles used by changemakers throughout history. Layouts integrate the Pomodoro technique encouraging work in shorter, more focused bursts. The planner prompts you to first identify the most important task of the day and to monitor/measure productivity with time-targets.

The Artists Way Journal: for uninspired creatives

An unexpected phenomenon transformed one artists creative process into an international bestseller that continues to fly off bookshelves 25 years later. The book entitled ‘The Artist’s Way’ by Julia Cameron sparked a culture around storytelling and made the practice of journaling an indispencible tool of the creative process. Morning Pages was Julia’s personal method for breaking-through writers block and tapping into the full potential of her imagination. Today it is used and referenced by creatives the world over, along with thought leaders, entrepreneurs, athletes, and anyone seeking to distill thoughts and unfurl hidden ideas or gems of inspiration. Elegantly repackaged The Artist’s Way Morning Pages Journal brings fresh appeal to the classic. Featuring a compact design and spiral binding, authors introduction and complete instructions on how to use the Morning Pages to fully benefit from their daily use, along with inspiring quotations that will guide you through the process. A daily practice of writing three pages longhand, strictly stream-of-consciousness, which provoke, clarify, comfort, cajole, prioritize, and synchronize the day at hand.

Whitelines Link Journal: for digital artists

Despite the advantages of digital software and creative technologies, paper is still an appealing tool for artists—the liberating sense of not having to first plug-in or log-on allows for untethered creative expression—ideal for capturing inspiration as it strikes.
A journal which easily transfers art or ideas to the digital platform elevates this tactile tool into a versatile creative resource. Whitelines® paper makes your notes stand out and links them to the digital world. Notebooks are made with a special ruling. The background is grey, the lines are white. The effect removes distraction, making it easy to capture and digitalize handwritten notes via a smartphone app with automatic capture. Once digitalized you have creative freedom to continue developing your concepts, to save, share or publish your work online.

Leuchtturm Daily Planner: for minimalist fine-art connoisseurs

Crafting quality notebooks and calendars since 1917, Leuchtturm1917 produce thoughtful elegant journals which are beautiful to look at and to use. Their weekly planner and notebook displays a week on one page and each day has its own box. The right-hand side features a ruled notebook page which can be attributed any purpose (tasks, inspiration, gratitude). For 2018 they have released a Limited Edition Color Journal, featuring a cover material specially developed for the series which gives the notebooks an elegant, metallic shine in Gold, Silver or Copper. As a minimalist design element of the company name, they have embossed 1917 on to a black wrap band. It is an indication of the anniversary year and the 100-year company tradition.

The modern world is a fascinating study in innovation and unseen mechanics—millions of micro processes underpinning the structure and function of a city go largely un-noticed by many of us.

Science is secretly at work behind the scenes of major cities of the world and will continue to be so. Technological advances in fields as diverse as quantum mechanics, electronics, and nanotechnology are proving increasingly important to city life, and the urban world will turn to science to deliver solutions to the problems of the future; more than 50 percent of the world’s population now lives in cities, and that proportion is growing fast. Can engineering provide the answer to a viable megacity future?

Physicist and sci-comm consultant, Laurie Winkless, translates science and engineering to the digestible joy of every person in her first book ‘Science and the City’.

Science and the City starts at your front door and guides you through the technology of everyday city life: how new approaches to building materials help to construct the tallest skyscrapers in Dubai, how New Yorkers use light to treat their drinking water, how Tokyo commuters’ footsteps power gates in train stations. Uncovering the science and engineering that shapes our cities, Laurie reveals how technology will help us meet the challenges of a soaring world population—from an ever-increasing demand for power, water, and internet access, to simply how to get about in a megacity of tens of millions of people.

Q/A with Laurie

Which innovations driving our cities have the greatest impact on our future?

For me, I think the way we manage ‘waste’ will have the greatest impact on our future. Technologies like greywater recycling and vehicle fuel from organic waste (e.g. faeces, cow dung) are already established in many cities, but we’ll see many more adopting them in future. Our obsession with plastic is causing huge issues for our environment, both in therms of landfills and the cleanliness of the oceans. But cities like Bogota are using waste plastic as the main ingredient for a new building material, while engineers in India use it to build better roads. Other waste streams too are finding uses—for example, scientists in the UK are using chicken feathers to produce insulation panels for homes. We (as a society) need to over the idea that we can throw stuff away—there is no ‘away’, everything we discard ends up somewhere, and if we want our cities to be more sustainable, we need to redefine the waste cycle.

Another thing that will have a huge impact on our cities will be the removal of fuel-belching vehicles from our roads. Poor air quality kills millions of city-dwellers, and the most dangerous components of air pollution (e.g. particulate matter) come from the exhaust pipes of vehicles. There are some technologies that can help ‘clean’ the air, but the easiest solution is to move away from the burning of fossil fuels.

There are many other innovations that might have a role to play—self-healing materials that increases the lifetime of infrastructure (e.g. roads, water pipes), a wholesale move towards renewable energy (e.g wind turbines, solar panels and tidal energy), urban farms, etc!

Where can we explore science in the city?

Trees and parks: add colour and interest, offering us health benefits via science—they remove some of the CO2 in the air, and they help cool cities, which reduces their otherwise considerable energy footprint.

Walkability: shops close to home and business offer a more ‘European’ scale to cities that make it easy to get around on foot or by bike. Thoughtful infrastructure which provides accessibility and supports expansion.

Buildings: from many different eras give urban explorers the chance to see their city as a living, changing thing. In London, you can see structures that date from the Medieval era, right up to the sleekest, tallest skyscraper currently under construction. This reminds us that cities are in a constant state of flux, and that new modes of engineering, new materials, and changing tastes have a significant impact on the landscape.

Traffic lights: traffic is a constant in the life of a city-dweller, and as a pedestrian trying to cross the road, it can be a frustrating experience. But the science and maths behind managing traffic is fascinating, and the road network is a central artery of a city. If we get to a stage that all cars are driverless, street infrastructure (like traffic lights) may well disappear.

Metro: tunnels and the machines that dig them, are an engineering marvel, and in many cases they’re being constructed while the city above ground just keeps moving. Their construction can also uncover secrets of the city that existed in the ancient past—when we dig underground, we dig through history. Watch Laurie’s video on floating track slabs.

Laurie insists, science is not just for scientists! Through her book ‘Science and the City’ unlocks this branch of knowledge giving us all the tools and sight for science.

Visit Laurie @

Christmas is a great time for baking cookies, they make an excellent gift…for most but not all. Food allergies are more common now than in grandma’s day, and despite our best intentions cookies crafted with love and gluten could cause more harm than happiness. You might think the solution is to fashion a cookie from gluten free ingredients, but this is easier said than done—to create a cookie that has great taste and texture is a skill, one which the food crafters master well.

Frustrated with the quality of allergen friendly products on the market, business partners David Amar and France Rechichi decided it was time for gluten intolerant Australians to indulge in the foods they love, without compromising on healthy ingredients. Using their respective backgrounds as a food developer and restaurateur, David and France decided to combine their skill sets and 30 years in the food industry to develop a product that would be nutritionally sound and restaurant ready.

Their first business venture Pizzaiolis was established after they noticed a gap in the hospitality market for gluten free pizza bases. With the business taking off, David and France decided to expand beyond pizza bases and launch The Food Crafters brand. Established in July 2017, the brand has entered the market with a range of gluten free cookies that can satisfy both dietary needs and sweet-tooth cravings.

As a food developer, David had previously developed gluten free cookies for schools and airline contracts, but he was determined to flip the gluten free label and create a completely nutritional product. The cookies needed to be high in fibre and low in sugar. The flour had to be nutritional without preservatives. It must be dairy free and not overly processed.

To meet these standards, the business partners used buckwheat as the base flour. By combining natural fibre with the buckwheat flour, the product could provide a good source of protein, help with digestion and slow down the absorption of sugar in the body. Through the combination of honey, stevia, blackstrap molasses and dry fruits, the company has been able to dramatically reduce sugar content and create a high fibre product. To achieve zero preservatives the founders’ combined dried fruits with a slow roasting process, giving the product a 12-month shelf-life. Dairy was replaced with coconut oil, adding essential fatty acids.

The Food Crafters gluten free cookie range relies on a combination of natural ingredients to not only provide the taste but the traditional cookie texture. Through the inclusion of the staple ingredient buckwheat kibble, The Food Crafters combat the texture issue and simultaneously improve the nutritional content of its product. Buckwheat is a fruit seed that contains amino acids, antioxidants, fibre and magnesium. It is known to lower blood sugar levels and boost the immune system. The cookie remains low in starch and therefore does not spike sugar levels.

The aim of the company is to extend great food to the world of dietary requirements, while still creating a tasty treat everyone can enjoy. The product range is completely natural and homemade. Currently, The Food Crafters cookie range is available in three delectable flavours; Raw Cacao, Double Coconut and Ginger and Date.

Nutritionist for The Food Crafters Caroline Trickey shares two easy, gluten-free Christmas recipes for the festive season.

Chocolate Log Cake with Cacao Cookies

1. Ricotta 1kg
2. Orange juice 100g
3. Orange zest 1 Tsp
4. 12 of The Food Crafter Cacao 50g cookies
5. Maple syrup 1/3 cup

1. Mix ricotta, maple syrup and orange juice for two minutes
2. Between each cookie add 2 Tsp of Ricotta and sandwich the pieces together.
3. Repeat for each cookie
4. Place the log in the freezer for 30 minutes
5. Cover the cookie log with the remaining ricotta
6. Garnish with orange zest.
7. Place in fridge for two hours before serving.

Ice cream sandwich with Cacao cookie

1. Coconut express ice cream
2. Cacao cookie min pack 13g each

1. Use butter knife to spread a small scoop of ice cream on the cookie base
2. Sandwich the second cookie to create finished product
3. Repeat for each to create six bite sized gluten-free Summer treats

For further information visit

A project by Trees for Life relocating red squirrels to their old forest homes in northwest Scotland has been boosted by evidence of breeding and natural expansion by the new populations.

The conservation charity is reintroducing squirrels to suitable native woodlands in the Highlands, from which the species has been lost. Because reds travel between trees and avoid crossing large open spaces, they can’t return to these isolated forest fragments on their own.

“Early indications are that this could be a real wildlife success story. The new squirrel populations are not only flourishing and breeding in their new homes, they are also starting to spread out into new areas – with squirrels being sighted as far as 15 kilometres away,” said Becky Priestley, Trees for Life’s Wildlife Officer.

The project’s initial relocations took place between the springs of 2016 and 2017, with the first 33 squirrels from Inverness-shire and Moray released at Shieldaig in Wester Ross. This was followed by 22 more released at the Coulin Estate next to Beinn Eighe National Nature Reserve near Kinlochewe, and 30 at Plockton, which is owned by landowners including The National Trust for Scotland.

Trees for Life now has evidence of the relocated squirrels breeding two years in a row at Shieldaig, and also of breeding at Plockton.

Natural recolonisation of other areas appears to have begun from Shieldaig. During 2016, the squirrels spread throughout much of the habitat, with one sighting 13 kilometres away beyond Loch Torridon. There have been further sightings in the same area during 2017, and others two kilometres further away, at Inveralligin.

Although annual monitoring at Coulin and Plockton will not begin until next spring, Trees for Life has seen evidence of feeding across the Coulin woodlands, and has captured images of squirrels by using specialised cameras. There have been regular sightings at Plockton since the release earlier this year.

Some squirrels also appear to be travelling quite widely from Plockton and may be colonising other areas. One was seen recently near Nostie, about eight kilometres from the release site, and there has been evidence of feeding at the National Trust’s Balmacara office, more than five kilometres away.

This autumn further releases are taking place around Lochcarron, with squirrels going to the remote Reraig peninsular and to Attadale. As with the other relocations, local people have been keen to get involved.

Positive community involvement – including local people reporting sightings, monitoring the squirrels, and carrying out supplementary feeding – is at the heart of the project.

In the UK, red squirrels are now rare with only an estimated 138,000 individuals left. Their numbers have been decimated by the reduction of forests to isolated remnants, and by disease and competition from the introduced non-native grey squirrel.

Trees for Life’s Red Squirrel Reintroduction Project aims to expand significantly the numbers and range of the UK’s red squirrels, by establishing eight new populations of the species.

With animal welfare paramount, squirrels are transported in special nest boxes, lined with hay and containing food and apple for hydration. Only small numbers are removed from any site, to leave donor populations unaffected. Health checks ensure that diseased animals are not introduced to new populations.

The boxes are fixed to trees at the reintroduction sites, with grass-filled exit holes allowing the squirrels to leave when ready. Food is provided for several months as the squirrels get used to their new habitat.

Annual monitoring involves observations of feeding signs, drey surveys and sightings records.

Increasing red squirrel numbers benefits native forests, as red squirrels collect and bury thousands of tree seeds each autumn, which are often forgotten by the squirrels and can then take root.

To find out more about Trees for Life’s award-winning work to restore the Caledonian Forest and rewild the Highlands, visit

Discover Neil McIntyre’s Red Squirrel in Bare Essentials Journal Issue 44.

Without question the most treasured possessions a photographer owns, are the images which reflect their journeys in art and exploration. Long hours in a hide, serendipitous moments, archives of time, fortuitous encounters, creative breakthroughs—photos bring stories to life and are the livelihood of artists and journalists. As such photographers take care to prioritise backups and protect their hard drives…unfortunately, sometimes this is not enough.

Drive Genius 5: A Photographers Secret Weapon

The most overlooked and common catastrophe a photographer encounters is an undetected failure to their backup drive—they were running a backup, or thought they were, but the backup drive failed months ago and they had no idea!

This is where Drive Genius by Prosoft comes in. With Drive Genius installed and Drive Pulse running in the background the software will check your drives whenever they are idle so you will be warned before ever suffering from a data loss. With cleanroom recovery prices a hard drive recovery can be anywhere from $500-$2500 depending on who you ask, and maintaining the health of your drives should prevent you from ever needing the service.

Drive Genius is built and designed to prevent a user from running into a data loss situation, and unfortunately photographers and musicians are some of Prosoft’s most popular clients.

Drive Pulse

The best part of having Drive Genius installed on your system is the built in Drive Pulse utility. Drive Pulse will scan your drives when your computer is in idle mode, this means that only when your computer is not processing information will these scans be run. You will never need to be concerned with the software slowing down any work your are doing on your system. The scans run by Drive Pulse are going to be all the tools included in the software Protect Section: Extended Physical Check, Consistency Check, Repair, Rebuild, Fix Permissions (not included in 10.10+ OS restriction) as well as checking for fragmentation status.

The scans run by Drive Pulse are the best indication to your hard drives health. The drive pulse icon which is visible in the menu bar on the top right hand corner of your screen will be black by default, but will change to yellow with a minor issue, and change to red when there is something that requires immediate attention.

The goal with Drive Pulse is that the user never needs to worry about taking care of there drives, let the software take care of them for you and just keep an eye open for any major issues.


When it comes to photographers there are hundreds to thousands of photos being uploaded, and edited on a daily basis. All this saving and moving of files on your system is going to lead to your drives becoming fragmented, which will cause your system to noticeably slow down. The Drive Genius defragment tool is easy to use and will get your drives back working at peak performance.


With up to thousands of photos being added on a daily basis it becomes hard to keep track of all your files, folders and projects. The new Repartition tool included in Drive Genius is the easiest to use repartition tool on the market allowing you to add, resize and move any of your partitions.

Partitioning your drive is essentially splitting the drive to be recognized as multiple drives, this helps with organization as well as helps isolate corruption to a single partition.


The Clone tool in Drive Genius will do a full system clone, including your Operating System. This makes it ideal when setting up a new computer that you want to be exactly like your old one, or when you need to swap out your internal hard drive for a newer or faster drive. Prosoft is mainly a data recovery company, so they like to put backup tools in as many of their software’s as possible and heavily stress that their customers run regular backups. Hard drives are designed to last about 3-5 years but most people, especially in businesses, will use the same hard drive for 10 years without every backing up or checking their drives.

A Suite of Security

The health of hard drive health is crucial if you are in the photography or video editing business. You can’t re-take every photo. Your data reliability needs to be 100% secure. Drive Genius automates your hard drive protection for you. The software automatically scans your hard drive for physical and logical errors, and repairs them when found. Photographers and video editors can rest assured that their hard drive is cared for when they purchase Drive Genius 5.

Prosoft’s award winning Data Rescue software is also relevant and topical for photographers. Digital photography companies come out with new personal file types often. If you are facing a data loss scenario while using a new file type, where other data recovery softwares can’t recognize the file, Data Rescue can recover your photos. Data Rescue has a feature called File IQ which can learn new file types. Show the software 5-10 examples of the new file type, and Data Rescue can search through your hard drive for the specific file type.

Software details and demo available from: