The Planner Addicts’ Gift Guide

At this time of year the stationery lover or planner addict should be very easy to buy presents for…after all there’s such a huge choice out there. Here are some ideas and questions to consider before you proceed.

1. Pens

Does your stationery lover prefer ballpoint or Rollerball? Or gel? Or fibre tip? Or fountain pen? How thick should the nib be? How thick should the barrel be? Do they have favourite paper and how would the pen work on that paper? What colour ink? Permanent or erasable? Lamy, Pilot, Papermate, Staedtler, Stabilio, Bic, Parker, Cross, Faber Castell etc.? Do you actually know what’s in their collection?

2. Notebooks

Does your stationery lover prefer spiral notebooks or sewn journals. Hardback or softback? Lined, plain, squared or dot grid paper? What’s the paper quality like? Will their favourite pen bleed through or shadow? What size – A4, A5, A6, cahier? What thickness? What colour cover? Leuchturm, Moleskine, Rhodia, Kate Spade, ARC, Travellers Notebook, Paperchase, WH Smith’s etc.? Do you actually know what’s in their collection?

3. Washi tape

What’s their preferred width? Do they like patterns or pictures? Do you actually know what’s in their collection?

4. Stickers

Do they have a favourite Etsy seller? Matt, glossy, vinyl? Removable or permanent? Functional or decorative? White space or no-white space kits? Or do they prefer stamping? Do you actually know what’s in their collection?

5. Ring bound planners

What size ring bound planner does your planner addict prefer – A4, Deskfax, A5, personal, compact, pocket or mini? And that’s just Filofax sizing. Different brands have different names for their sizes obviously. So which brand? Filofax, Kikki K, Gillio, Van der Spek, Paperchase, Franklin Covey etc? What range within that brand? What ring size? What ring configuration? What material? What colour binder? Do you actually know what’s in their collection?

(We’re not even going to mention inserts.)

6. Bound planners

Spiral bound or sewn? What’s the coil like? Are the covers hard or soft, are they removable? What’s the paper quality like – do they have a favourite pen. Monthly, weekly, daily? If it’s weekly, what’s the layout – vertical, horizontal, timed? What size do they prefer? Do you actually know what’s in their collection?

In conclusion, DON’T try to surprise the planner addict in your life. Ask them to send you a specific link.

Or give them vouchers.

Planner Review – First look at the Hobonichi Planner


I didn’t expect to write a review of the Hobonichi Planner but my husband surprised me with one for Christmas, so here I am. Apparently I have the English version of the Techo Original.

I didn’t know much about Hobonichi before owning one but I’m fascinated by the creativity of Hobonichi users. I’ve found a new social media time-suck. What surprised me is how few examples I’ve seen of the planner being used as only a planner. It seems to go beyond planning.

The Hobinichi website has some of the most extensive information I’ve seen about the contents of their planner, making this post somewhat redundant but anyway


The planner starts with 2015 and 2016 yearly calendars followed by, what they call, a Yearly Index which seems like a vertical monthly layout. The actual monthly layout is on two pages in horizontal boxes and has a Monday start (yay). There is space on the left-hand side and bottom for notes.

All the monthly pages are grouped together and my planner goes from December 2014 to March 2016 so there’s scope for forward planning. I personally prefer my months integrated with my daily/weekly pages but I think it’s something I could adapt to.


The month starts with a ‘Coming Up’ page and then there are daily pages with Sundays in red. There is a quote on the left page and its author on the right. The daily pages also have miscellaneous other information such as moon phases and international holidays.

The layout of the daily page confuses me slightly. There is a 12 near the middle of the page and then a fork and knife icon near the bottom of the page. I get the 12 represents midday but I think they could have made better use of space if they put the dinner icon in the blank space at the top of the page.

Based on some of the other planners I think the page could be looked at as if there were a vertical line down the middle with the left-hand side being for scheduling and the right-hand side for notes. The Techo Original has what it refers to as the ‘Secret Line’ for this. If I were using the Hobonichi Planner as a planner I think I’d prefer this line.

Obvious from the photos but worth mentioning is the pages are gridlined – apparently 4mm. The Coming Up pages are lined though.


After 2015 you have 2 days on a page until 16 January so again some room for forward planning.


Finally at the back of the planner are some notes pages which consist of red dots. Interesting. I don’t know why they’re dots and I don’t know why they’re red.

After these 20 notes pages are information pages including ‘Spices and Herbs around the World’ and ‘A Guide to Rayokans’. To be quite honest I’m not sure how much use I’ll get out of these pages.

One thing to note is the planner is small – it’s A6. That makes it perfect for carrying around. But I don’t feel you’re compromising on space. There is ample room on the daily pages to write as much as you need. Space wise I think there’s more writing real estate than on personal-sized Filofax paper.

The planner lays flat immediately which is wonderful for a stitch-bound planner. One of the main attractions of the Hobonichi is the Tomoe River paper which is thin light paper making the planner very compact. Apparently it’s also resistant to bleeding which makes it suitable for a wide range of pens. I haven’t done a pen test yet but I’m eager to see whether I can use my fountain pens.

The Hobonichi Planner costs £35 from the Journal Shop. I haven’t researched where else it’s available and the cost but I think overall it will be worth the price. We’ll have to wait and see.

I have my planning system for 2015 mostly set-up and rather than thinking of how to integrate the Hobonichi into my system, this year I’m going to use it for my 365/30 Lists. But I will definitely consider using this planner as part of future systems – I’m actually trying to resist the temptation to buy another Hobonichi now to “test run” for 2016, but resist I will.

If you know any good Instagram or other social media accounts which feature using Hobonichi please do leave a comment. I’d love to check some out.



Notebook for the month – July 2014

One of my friends saw a photo of part of my notebook collection and challenged me to start using one a month. I’m not sure how I feel about changing each month. I don’t want to waste my notebooks but at the same time having notebooks sit in a cupboard unused is also a bit of a waste.

But the purpose of the challenge isn’t really about using a new notebook each month but simply a way of getting me to start using my notebooks.

I’m supposed to use my notebook for everything but I’ve only just set my planners up in a way I like so I don’t want to change that. I also love my Midori as my handbag notebook so I don’t really want to change that either.

I do tend to use a lot of post-its and scraps of paper when I’m making quick lists or on the phone or deciding on options so I can easily use a notebook instead. I’m also thinking of including some kind of index system so I can find important notes in the future, maybe an adaptation of the bullet journal, but I’ll have to work that out as I go along.

I’ve decided I’m going to choose from my everyday notebook collection, so none of the beauties below


The notebook I’ve chosen for July has been in my stash for a while since I bought it from Woolworths, which closed in 2009.

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Inside is pretty simple but I do like the “heading” box on each page which could make my indexing easier.


I’ll post an update in August and perhaps a new notebook for that month.

Erin Condren Life Planner as a 3 Year Journal

Last week, erincondren released their 2014/15 Life Planners which you can find here (use my referral link in the sidebar for $10 off your first order 🙂 )

While I wait patiently for my order to arrive, only refreshing the page for a status update every 10 minutes, I thought I’d post about how I’m using one of my Life Planners.

Facebook has taught me there are a myriad of ways you can use a planner; as a to do list, for health and fitness, as a study schedule, for finances, for cleaning or all of these, and some even use it simply to record appointments.

I can’t remember what purpose I had in mind when I ordered my Favourite Things planner but it wasn’t as a 3 Year Journal, that’s just how it ended up.


I saw some people using erincondren notebooks as 5 Year Journals but I thought trying to divide up the pages would be too much hassle. But this now-spare Life Planner seemed perfect.

I write the prompts (which you can find here) on the monthly spread



I’ve washied over the year and the days.

I then use the weekly spread to write my answers



I’ve washied over the morning, day and night sections since these will be for 2014, 2015 and 2016. What I like about this is, in future, I can look at the monthly prompts and answer them before I look at what I wrote the year before. If I used the notebook layout I’d be tempted to be influenced by what I answered previously.

I plan on using the notes pages for reflections at the end of each year.

This journal stays in my bedside drawer and I try to answer the prompts weekly.

My daughter asked whether it would bother me that the days and dates on the weekly pages would be out of sync next year. Great question from an 8 year old. To be honest I don’t think it will because I think the numbers are so prominent I don’t really pay attention to the days. But if it does bother me, I’ll just make or buy some date only stickers and cover the current ones.

I’m thinking about doing some more posts on how I’m using my erincondren products. Let me know if you’d be interested.