(un)reformed stationery junkie

i was going to start this post by launching into the history of my stationery addiction, but really, what can i say that thousands of other women (and a few blokes, but let’s be honest: it’s a female dominated hobby) haven’t said before? stationery is art, it’s creativity, it’s organisation, and above all, it’s possibility. who doesn’t love that little thrill of cracking open a new notebook or journal for the first time? or the anticipation of an amazing year to come when you start diary shopping in october or november?

one of my favourite things about the internet is how it’s opened up a whole world of new paper-and-pen offerings. where i used to go to officeworks or the dymocks flagship store in sydney as a kid, i can now jump online and find all sorts of amazing boutique companies in asia, europe and north america. good for my happiness quotient, not so good for my hoarding tendencies.

so what stationery am i fixating on this month?

dandelion fields floral notebook collection

dandelion fields

i’m a bit on the fence about floral. done wrong, it can come off as a bit daggy, a bit dated, a bit blah. done right, though, it’s youthful and springtime-y and makes me happy just looking at it. obviously, this is in the latter category. the gorgeous cover art is by finnish artist anna emilia laitinen, and the whimsy spills over to the hand-drawn lines on the pages, complete with leaves dotted here and there. definitely geared more towards daydream-y scribblings than business to do lists, but coming into longer, warmer summer days here, this is exactly what i’m after.

the notebooks are 64 pages each and come in a pack of three.

bunting washi tape


i know, i know, bunting has been done to death by the twee brigade. i agree completely… but this is so cute.

candy striped washi tape


sweet set of ‘everyday’ washi for journals, scrapbooking, cards and wrapping. (being able to separate washi tape into ‘everyday’ and ‘special occasion’ is probably a sign to back off a bit, no?)

confidant notebook

photo via tools and toys

i am… maybe not obsessed, but certainly preoccupied by the concept of a notebook that lays flat. being the slightly clumsy, inattentive type, i love hard cover books – anything to minimise the battering everything in my handbag or on my desk gets! this is so close to being my holy grail notebook; the only thing that would make it better for me would be a version with (only) the right-hand pages lined. so often, i need to scribble pictures or diagrams or jot shorthand on one side, and write something longhand on the other. but lines are distracting for scribbles, and a lack of lines annoys me, because i can’t write in straight lines without guidance. stop making me choose, book makers! i want the best of both worlds!

iconic essay book v.3

it lays flat. it’s compact. it even does a few lined + blank combo pages (be still, my beating heart!). but then it has those patterned pages, which for me are a waste, and i really don’t know what to do with them. i mean, i can see the suggested usage, with photos and ticket stubs and washi tape, but i’m not a scrapbooker, so these would probably end up being wasted space. can i have more lined + blank combo pages instead, iconic designers? but let’s be honest: i’ll probably still end up buying this.

what are your favourite new finds? any stationery you have wishlist?

diary nerd – the 2015 collection

since my high school gifted me my first one at the age of 12, i’ve been perpetually on the lookout for the holy grail of planners; the one that has everything i’ve ever wished for, and maybe a few things i never knew i needed thrown in for good measure.over the years, a few have come close, but none have taken the crown as yet. will 2015 be the year of the perfect planner? here are the contenders:


the planner (iconic, south korea)


a six-month, start-when-you-want planner (the building blocks are there, but you fill in the dates yourself). if your planning habits border on the obsessive, this is the schedule book for you – there’s a double page ‘project plan’, then a double page ‘simple plan’, then six ‘monthly plan’ double page calendars, each one followed by ‘weekly plan’ double page breakdowns.

the back half of the of the book is free note pages – blank, lined, and patterned – and ends with a world map (complete with timezones) and a map of korea. the latter is perhaps superfluous for a lot of users, but you can’t fault them for catering to their local market.

the part i really like about the planner is the physical construction of it: at 9.4 x 15.7cm, it’s relatively compact – about the size of a paperback novel. the paper is sturdy, and although it’s a softcover, it has a thick plastic sleeve over it, which does a pretty good job at protecting against bending and creasing (and split tea – damned clumsiness). overall, it has a solid, weighty feel. not heavy, exactly. sort of… robust? after years of flimsy planners, this one feels sort of akin to upgrading from a cheap buzzbox to a luxury car – not a bentley, but maybe a merc or an audi. oh, and the flower print cover is cute : )

i bought mine from the journal shop here in the uk. of the companies i’ve used since moving to london, i’d have to say they’re one of the best on price, delivery, and customer service. if you’re outside of europe, fallindesign (south korea) and mochithings (usa) also stock it.


hobonichi techo (hobo nikkan itoi shinbun, japan)


yes, that’s techo, not techno (as i see it mistakenly called by a lot of stationery bloggers and vloggers) – it’s a japanese planner/scheduler, not 90s dance music.

i’m weirdly drawn to these diaries, though my initial foray into using them wasn’t particularly successful. the paper is thin and lightweight, but designed so that the ink doesn’t bleed through. you can still see a ghost of what’s written on the previous page, though, and that’s a bit offputting for me. also, i can’t seem to break away from the idea that you need to be ‘creative’ with your hobonichi. there are blogs and instagram hashtags and youtube videos dedicated to people’s art and comic and scrapbooked journals. i’m not built that way – my creativity comes out in words and music, not pictures. visual arts is – for me – a source of frustration, not joy. back in january and february, i tried to write and draw in it every day, but i could never seem to get into any sort of rhythm. life was stressful in early 2015, and writing/drawing in my hobo was not a respite. time will tell whether i’m drawn back to it at some point – it lives on my dressing table, but has been gathering dust for months now.

yet i still feel like i’ll preorder another one at the end of the year. because i’m incorrigible.


traveler’s notebook – passport size (midori, japan)


the midori system is amazing, in a wabi sabi kind of way. it’s sort of like a rustic take on a filofax – a leather cover with elastics threaded through it, from which you build up a series of specialty notebooks to suit your personal planning/journalling/note-taking style.

i bought what is sometimes referred to as a ‘faux-dori’ cover, and a mix of inserts – both official midori, and other brands. my faux-dori came from papergeekmy – a malaysian etsy store. her products are really high quality, but at a more affordable price than the official version.

so the theory is great. the practice was a leaning pile of notebooks that wouldn’t sit flat – i’d have to take them out of the binder to use them, or write precariously on an uneven surface. messy writing leads to a very annoyed lola, so a lot of time with this planner was spent with gritted teeth.

it works wonderfully for some people, but it hasn’t really happened for me. mine mostly gets used for writing lists: shopping lists, packing lists, the odd to do list. the diary insert has been almost completely neglected.

luckily, with the chop-and-change insert design, i can put this aside and pick it up again if and when it suits me. i don’t think i will expand its usage in 2015, though.


any fellow diary nerds out there with recommendations? have you found your holy grail planner yet?