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.

Sticker Haul – weekly kits

I haven’t really bought weekly sticker kits off Etsy for a while. I was never convinced they would be value for money because my planning style is more functional rather than decorative. I don’t do no white space planning and I also hate the “Little Things” headers (or variations thereof) because the idea of tracking little things is the antithesis of productive planning.

But there are so many Etsy sticker shops now and I wanted to see what kind of variety was available in the content of the weekly kits.

Oh Hello Stationery – they have quite a few options. The price is probably on the higher side for a full kit but shipping to the UK is reasonable. I bought the Watercolor Floral kit. My first impressions are positive. The stickers are very vibrant and you get a lot in the kit

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The Glam Planner – I wouldn’t usually buy from Glam Planner because the kits are expensive for readily available clip art and shipping to the UK is very high. But I received a 40% off coupon from Plansterdam and I was curious to see whether they were generally worth the money.

I bought the Nights Dream Kit and the Tropical Kit. The colours are very vibrant and the sticker paper is good quality. I’m not sure how practical I’ll find the kit and I’m slightly baffled by the number of TV icons. I’m not convinced I would ever buy these at full price.

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FreyaBow – Now these kits are very reasonaly priced at £6.50 for the set. I bought the Retro Bird Spring, Summer Rose and Watercolour Mandala collections. I would say in real life the colours are more muted than on the site; my photos are more accurate of the colour. I like that the kit comes with different sized boxes since I use these to time block. I don’t track my water but my first impression is that these kits would be good for functional planning.

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IsabelletheOwl – I do really like the clipart and digital papers IsabelletheOwl uses. I bought English Floral in glossy and Secret Garden, Fly Away with Me and Shake Your Tail Feathers in matte. In general these kits are decent value at around £7 for the full kit. Shake Your Tail Feathers was an XL kit for £8.50.

My first impression was one of disappointment. I’m not sure what it was. I know this isn’t a functional kit but it isn’t really a fully decorative either. I just feel like there’s something missing. I also don’t like that there are only 4 checklists and 4 checkboxes so if you use 7 To Do list you’ll have to mix.

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PlanningPoodle – These are also reasonaly priced weekly kits at £6. I bought Cactus Brights, Copper Gems and Classy. These seem like comprehesnive kits. I like that date covers are included. The stickers may not be on the best quality paper but for £6 I think they’re fine.

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However the proof of the stickers is in the using so I’ll post fuller reviews once I’ve tried planning with these kits.

 

 

 

 

Happie Pen Box

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Like any self-respecting stationery addict, I have a fairly large collection of pens. But of course I think I never have enough so when I saw Happie Scrappie was offering a pen subscription box, the Happie Pen Box, I signed up immediately.

The monthly box offers 5-6 different pens and costs $29.99 (incl shipping) for new subscribers.

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It came with a cute explanation card and a sheet for handwriting practice – really useful. But the important part are the pens

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There were 6 pens this month and an ink sample. I received

  • Pilot Twin Marker with a fine and extra fine tips. This pen is great for writing on washi or stickers.
  • a Zebra Brush pen. The fine nib means it writes precisely and it doesn’t really shadow through my Erin Condren paper
  • Q Life gold Gel pen with 0.38mm nib. This pen writes very smoothly but unfortunately my handwriting isn’t really suited to the thin barrel
  • M&G Be Yourself retractable Ballpoint pen with Blue Ink
  • M&G “Simple is Beautiful” Gel pen
  • M&G Forest Story Fountain pen with fine nib

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I find myself reaching for the Twin Marker and the Brush pen regularly. I haven’t used the fountain pen yet. The thin barrel means regular British cartridges don’t fit and unfortunately the ink reservoir seems to be temperamental.

Overall I’m pleased with the contents of the box.

Paperchase – Mystic Rose Collection

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As much as I could spend days browsing around a Paperchase store, I am not particularly fond of their own collections. In general I think they’re marketed for a younger clientele, which is somewhat borne out by the supremely affordable price tags.

But there was something about the Mystic Rose range that grabbed my attention. Beautiful but eerie at the same time.

The notebooks were too stunning to pass up.

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I also bought the A5 and personal sized organisers

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The inserts are decorative but undated, a near perfect combination

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I’ll be doing a full review of the organisers at a later date.

I also bought a couple of non-stationery items including the shopping totes (essential now we’re getting charged for carrier bags) and some bath melts which are almost too pretty to use.

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I know Paperchase are continuing to bring out new collections and I’ll keep open a little more than before now.

Have you bought anything from the Paperchase ranges?

 

Scrapbook Planner

For the last couple of years I’ve used a planner as a scrapbook journal.

I started with an Erin Condren Life Planner in Gold and then last summer I moved to a MAMBI Happy Life Planner.

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I thought the discs would give me more flexibility to add mementos and texture to my scrapbook. But somehow it never seemed to work the way I wanted it to and I inevitably stopped using it regularly.

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So my first decision for 2016 was whether I still wanted a scrapbook planner. I do a form of Project Life but really it’s a more glorified photo album since I’m not big on the embellishments. I don’t keep a daily thoughts journal. If I ever feel the need for a rant or brain dump I use any notebook because I don’t need to reread what I wrote – for me the act of writing is enough.  I like writing brief thoughts about my week, adding photos (even if they’re just what shows I’ve been watching) and stickers and washi galore. So ultimately I do want some kind of scrapbook journal which I can use as a creative outlet.

I like using planners as the basis of my scrapbook simply because they’re dated. I think the vertical layout of the Happy Planner was too restrictive. Journalling seems a more left to right process for me which makes me think a horizontal layout would work best. So my thoughts immediately went to my Erin Condren Rose Gold in horizontal

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This is definitely a strong contender but I’m worried about bulking out the planner and not being able to add things to it easily, although I do have a build up of coil clips.

Another possibility is a simple horizontal layout in a Filofax such as the Inkwell Press inserts but this seems too ‘official’ for its purpose.

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And a latecomer in the running is the Heidi Swapp Large Memory Planner. I do like the inserts but I’m not 100% sold on the binder, which feels a bit too much like school.

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Since we’re already coming to the end of the first week of January, I’m going to have to make my decision pretty soon.

Do you use a planner as a scrapbook journal?

Another sticker haul

I recently went on another sticker buying spree.

I don’t usually decorate in my planner besides a weekend banner and a strip of washi but recently I’ve been hankering for an more cohesive feel to my layouts. Luckily so many Etsy offer theme packs.IMG_0119 From EllieBethDesigns I bought the October and November Delux monthly kits and the Watermelon Delux Kit. These kits come with a household sampler pack but now I have them I don’t really understand why certain icons are in the quantities given. This is a monthly pack so how many people only clean or go shopping twice a month and why are there 3 beds?

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I also bought the Blue Bokeh decorative and weekly kits and some more rainbow checklist stickers. As always the quality of the stickers, the cut and the colour vibrancy is excellent. There are more choices for the sticker paper including glossy and matt vinyl. I will probably buy more themed kits in future.

I wanted to buy some decorative weekend banner stickers and I couldn’t resist these from Oodlema Doodles. I also bought the ombre checklists which I haven’t used yet. The autumn leaves were a sampler set but very lovely. The quality is excellent, it’s definitely a store I’ll keep on my radar.

IMG_0118Still on the hunt for layout themes, I bought the Fall and Marble weekly kits from Djoisch Design. The sticker quality is good.

IMG_0123Also from Djoisch Designs I was feeling a bit adventurous so I decided to buy the October Mystery Box which is €15.99 plus shipping.

IMG_0120 IMG_0113The theme was superheros and, although I enjoy using stickers, I’m not actually 5 so I gave these to my daughter. For me, this a complete waste of money and I’m slightly put off buying mystery packs again. I don’t anticipate placing another order with this store.

I was surprised to see some Australian stores were offering fair priced stickers with incredibly reasonable shipping to the UK.

The order I placed with Lime & Mortar arrived within a week, which was a welcome surprise.

IMG_0122In real life the colours are probably more muted than they’re appearing in the photo but the cut is excellent, particularly round the lotus flowers. I will probably place an order for some mini icons and perhaps the monthly kits.

I also ordered from MadeByElissa. I was possibly tempted to order purely because she offered silhoutte machine icons. I found the heart checklists are the right spacing for the lined Plum Paper Planners which is a bonus.

IMG_0115Unfortunately the stickers aren’t removable which is the only thing that has me hesitating to reorder.

I keep telling myself I don’t need more stickers but I still manage to have a sizeable quantity waiting in my Etsy basket at any one time. There are so many stores now it’s hard to know who to order from.

One thing I have noticed is a lot of Etsy store owners send their stickers to YouTubers for ‘free’ publicity. I can understand this and when they’re sent to long-standing members of the planner community then I can respect their reviews. However a lot seem to be sent to beauty or lifestylye YouTubers who have large followings and just happen to dabble in planners. My irrational opinion is I’m not going to buy from these Etsy stores. When they’re so many to choose from I’d rather support those who display some integrity. Anybody else make buying decisions on a similar basis?

Brimbles Box – October A5 Planner

Last time I bought a Brimble’s Box I was rather underwhelmed but I thought I’d try it again now it’s been running for a while. There are a choice of boxes and you can buy a one-off box for £18 plus p&p or a monthly subsciption for £15 plus p&p. I chose the A5 Planner Box and October’s followed a Halloween theme. I received 7 items in my box.

IMG_0629First off I had washi, stickers and Project Life cards. It was nice to have 2 full rolls of washi. I don’t really like ‘puffy’ stickers in my planner as they make it difficult to write on following pages and I have to say I don’t consider Project Life cards as true planner accessories. For me, since they’re intended for scrapbooking or journalling, it’s a more decorative touch. However these cards probably made up the value of the box.

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I love the paperclip. The pen is also very cute but doesn’t write very well. I like the dashboard but you get a dashboard each month and I just don’t change my setup enough to have a need for this. I certainly wouldn’t change it solely for Halloween.

With p&p the box cost £21.95. Looking at the items all together, apart from the dashboard, none of the items are particularly oriented towards planners so I don’t feel it’s really worth the price. I won’t be signing up for a monthly subscription at the moment but it’s definitely one I’ll keep my eye on.IMG_0628

Studio Calico August Planner Kit

I used to subscribe to the Studio Calico Project Life kit and their Scrapbooking kit but I was building up too large a stock pile so I cancelled them recently. I did like the quality and variety of the contents so I was intrigued when they introduced their Planner kit subscription.

The planner kit follows the same monthly theme as the main kits so August’s kit was Pop Art. The kit comes in a mesh pouch which I really like.

IMG_0191Inside the pouch

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  • Gold Lined Washi Tape
  • Sticker Sheet
  • Stamp Set
  • Quote Bubble Stickers

 

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  • Gold Alphabet Stickers
  • To Do List Sticky Note Pad
  • Divider Page
  • Gold Charm
  • Hair grip/Bobby Pin

I think the second picture suggests these kits would be aimed at the more decorative planner people than the functional planners, there’s definitely a scrapbooking feel to the kit. I don’t understand the hair grip though.

Shipping to the UK is around $3 and the subscriptions range from $19.99 to £24.99 each month. I’m not convinced they’re worth that much but since I appear to have signed up to a 6 month subscription I guess i’ll be receiving one for the next few months.

In case you’re interested, July was a Fairground theme and this is what came in the pouch

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I have a referral link. I have no idea what it gets someone who uses it or what it gives me but here it is anyway. http://www.studiocalico.com/welcome?ref=11665fea

Happy Paper Club from the Green Gables

I found a new stationery subscription service, Happy Paper Club from the Green Gables. The Happy Paper Club is more about paper products – so not stationery such as paperclips and post-its.

As a complete paper addict, environmental issues have always made me feel slightly guilty so I was really pleased to see the Green Gables is an eco-friendly company.

In July’s box I received

  • a shopping list note pad
  • a sheet of wrapping paper

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  • two greeting cards

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  • a sheet of temporary tattoos, and
  • an inspirational mini-print

IMG_0130I’m also sharing a few of the items I received in June’s box.

IMG_0133 IMG_0127There is something about the design of these products that really appeals to me. I think it’s worth checking out the shop to see if it suits your tastes.

I’m on the rolling subscription which costs £10 per month and I’m definitely looking forward to future months.