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?


  1. DAl June 11, 2015

    Hi lola, loving this planner porn! I don’t have any recommendations for planners but I would say from your list I’d go for the half year planner from Korea. I like the idea of only 6 months of planning, doesn’t sound too daunting. xox

  2. caroline June 11, 2015

    I just love this. I know the traveler’s notebook but hadn’t tried the other two. I cannot get enough blank books, even if i try. I think my favorite are various sizes of moleskines. I love the small pocket one for lists and memory joggers, the medium (large as they call it) size for courses and topic notes, and the extra large with the soft cover for journals. I get other ones because I am pulled in by beautiful paper, but I always come back to the moleskine. Another use for the smallest size- my boyfriend is a designer and illustrator and uses the one with heavyweight paper as his wallet so he always has somewhere to draw. I might be seduced by the techo. It looks delicious.

  3. Julia June 17, 2015

    ooh, diary love! they’re on my ‘do not buy’ list because i already have too many, both half-used and fresh, so thanks for sharing these 🙂 so lovely! i used to spend hours in loft, did you go there?

  4. Lola June 19, 2015

    dal: the iconic one is my favourite of the bunch.six months is so much more manageable than twelve, isn’t it? maybe that’s just my glaringly obvious commitment issues making themselves known ; )

    caroline: love a good moleskine! the only reason i don’t have more of them is the price… perhaps that’s a good thing, forcing me to use stuff up before i buy more. the techo is the famed japanese attention to detail given form; it’s absolutely gorgeous, and i feel so guilty that i don’t use it more.

    julia: oh god, loft! i pretty well LIVED in loft on the weekends! at some point i’m probably going to dedicate an entire post to the loft stationery department in the ikebukuro store. i’d go in for a ballpoint pen and come out with glitter markers, stickers, stamps and inkpads, a loyalty card wallet, and a pile of those pop-up greeting cards. oops.

  5. Julia June 22, 2015

    lol! it’s too bad we didn’t know each other back then. I’m quite the same. I mostly went to the loft in Shibuya. So dangerous, but definitely yes, LOFT post please! We have a kinokuniya in Singapore, and my secret dream is to get accidentally locked inside after the store closes 😛


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