December 29, 2014

My Planners for 2015

As the year draws to a close, new resolutions are made and a whole list of ambitions are drawn up, ready to conquer the new year. For me, well, from one planner in 2014, the new year brings about for me a whole (let me count...) 7 new set of books to go through each day. Yes, I am definitely going to regret it. But here's the list of them and how I'm (hopefully) going to use each of them:

1- Filofax Malden Ochre
This will forever be my planner. It holds 7 dividers currently (I'll give a whole new post on it separately), holding monthly views, weekly views, personal notes on myself and bf, expenses, and two sections still yet to be decided. I use my Malden for listing things I need to do every day in my weekly view, and uni deadlines. I keep track of my spending (because we all know I do too much of that these days), and I keep a list of things I want / need to buy in my personal sections. I basically will need to use this in my life every day and is my main planner.

2- Midori Traveler's Notebook (MTN)
My sentence a day diary - more often than not, my days are boring, so I don't need a whole lot of space to write my thoughts. My Midori basically jots down the more important things in my day to remember. It's laid out as a week to view with a grid page on the opposite. The grid page will act like a little scrapbook to document the week etc.

3- A6 Hobonichi Planner
My drawing book. I plan to hopefully draw something every day to improve my drawing / sketching / painting skills.

4- A5 Hobonichi Planner
I totally destroyed this book by pulling off a section I wasn't happy with, so this is going to be my uni book where my notes will live

5- Kikki k Sentence A Day
I purchased a Christmas gift pack which comes with this, and since this book comes with prompts, it will not be like my MTN. I look forward to starting this and seeing what I've written in 3 years.

6- A5 Aldi 2015 Diary
This A5 diary came as a day-to-a-page with just ruled lines under each day - it's basically a regular notebook with a date at the top. I'm planning on using this as my bf notebook. I always seem to lack documenting our time together, and I hope this will change this year.

7- Pinetti Pocket Notebook
I got this from Notemaker when they were having their Boxing Day sale, and it houses two cahier Moleskine notebooks. As I'm very picky with which notebook I do my brain dumping in (as you can see, I have a very set order of what I like to do with each notebook, and they all seem very non-brain dumping worthy), this will serve as that.

Although not all of them are used as the conventional 'planner', you can see how all of them somewhat revolves around a diary-style specific day... thing. I'm not sure how long I will last with these many diaries, but we'll just have to see how it goes!

December 26, 2014

Hobonichi Planner Book Review

As the A6 Hobonichi Planner Book (English version) only started on the 24th of December (beginning to regret getting the English rather than the Japanese version), I was only able to try out its beautiful paper recently. Then I got hooked on it and couldn't stop...

Here's a look at some of the watercolour and pen tests I did in it:

Test Pages in my A6 Hobonichi
Pen Testing
Watercolour Testing - Akashiya Sai and Daler Rowney

I should have probably done my pen tests at the back of the book where there were extra dot grid papers but I was too darn excited!

Pen Test:
All the pens I tested on the page had no bleed through, however, had different shades of show through. There is of course, a major difference between the two:

  • Show through = shadowing at the back of the page from mediums used on the page
  • Bleed through = what you get when you use Copics / permanent markers on paper - ink bleeds through the paper and might even stain the next page.

With a paper as thin as Hobonichi's, I wasn't surprised that there were some form of show through. I was surprised, however, that there was practically no bleed through no matter what medium I used. So here's how it looked like on the back of the pen test page:

Back of the Pen Testing Page

As you can see, there are show throughs. It seems like the only really bad show through was from the unbranded Purple gel pen and the Pilot G2-05, both of which weren't exactly on the top of my pens-to-use-in-my-Hobonichi list, so I didn't quite mind. Microns, Copic Multiliners, Sharpie Pens, Lamy Safari with Noodler Ink pens had no problems whatsoever. But do bear in mind that the more you go over a single area with a micron, multiliner etc, the more show through will happen, which makes sense. The paper can only handle so much. But use in moderation and you won't have any problems

Watercolour Test:
For the watercolour test, the back of the page was unfortunately coloured over before I could take a picture, but here's another example in my Hobonichi page using watercolours:

Watercolour doodles in my Hobonichi! 
NYE Doodle
At the back of the watercolour test page

Remember how I said I got too excited? Yeh, now I can't use my Hobo till the 1st of January..

This is the back of the NYE page to show just how much the watercolour shows through:

Majority of the colours I used for the picture was using Akashiya Sai brush watercolour markers. The show through isn't too bad and for me, quite acceptable to live with and use the back page on. I used to think that the show through would cause me to dislike Hobonichi, but it's actually not that bad. Highly surprised and highly impressed!

Also, just a little tip for those who plan to use watercolours in their Hobonichi book: the blending of the Akashiya Sai markers on these papers are just wonderful! Compared to actual watercolour papers such as those found in Moleskine where the paper is just so absorbent, due to the sleek nature of Hobonichi's Tomoe River paper, it gives the watercolours time to soak in, which means, blending colours are just a complete ease to work with. Not to mention, the easy blend-ability also means less water required, which means your Hobonichi paper doesn't get soaked in. And I've noticed that with the Tomoe River paper, even though you have used watercolour on it, and even if you have used too much water / layering of colours, the paper does crumple up at first, but, put a stack of books over it overnight and the paper doesn't crinkle up so much anymore. Hooray!

So yes, so far, all I have for the Hobonichi paper are praises, praises and more praises! The only little 'problem' I've had with the paper is that little crinkle you see on the top right of the last image. I'm a pencil person and I tend to draw my pictures out with pencil first, outline it with my multiliner / Micron then rub the pencil lines off. Because the paper is so thin, rubbing it means the possibility of it crumpling up if you don't hold your paper down. It hasn't torn on me (yet), but because I didn't hold the paper down properly, it crumpled my beautiful paper up (and I cried inside). But nevertheless, it is smoothing out, and the crinkle is now not as bad as it first happened.

So all I have to say is: the paper is great, but be careful with it. It is quite delicate in it's own little ways, and although seems strong for 'normal' use, I have yet to test its abilities to the maximum. I guess you just have to try it out on your own to know its limit!

December 24, 2014

This Week's Layout

I know I haven't been around lately, and so, here's a little post to get this blog up and running again. I haven't been purchasing new Filofaxes / Kikki K planners recently (and my wallet / bank account is thanking me right now), but I have purchased new Hobonichi covers (oops) and I'll be reviewing them soon. Either way, to show that I'm still alive, here's this week's Christmas themed pages:

I don't normally use too much decoration on my pages because firstly, it defeats the purpose of a planner. With so much going on in a page, you'll end up getting distracted from it all and well, you won't have any space to write down your list of things to do! So I try to keep it to a minimum. Now that I'm on holidays, I tend to use a tad bit more decorations as my schedule isn't too heavy, and so, I can afford the loss of space.

In this layout, I've used the following items:
1- MT pink and blue striped thin washi tape
2- Kikki K snowman and snowflakes washi tape
3- Mrs Brimble's cute reindeer, Christmas Wishes and owl stickers
4- Mitsubishi Uni Style Fit pens for writing
5- Watercolour paints for the baubles

And that's it! Nothing too fancy which you wouldn't be able to dig up in your own little stash. I hope this somewhat gives someone out there an idea of how to decorate your pages colourfully and yet, still keep those days free for your planning!

Hope everyone has some great holidays ahead!

December 9, 2014

Hobonichi Techo 2015 (Sashiko Weave) Review

It's been a whirlwind past few days what with me going to Sydney, job interviews etc, but here's a little different planner review for you guys: the Hobonichi Techo

I've always wanted one, though I've always somehow managed to resist getting it. And trust me, it worked for a couple of months. Till I decided I had to try out the Hobonichi (Tomoe River) paper. I've heard great reviews on the paper, and so, I decided to break my resistance and try it for myself.

But before I get into the review of the paper, I'm going to review the cover. I've yet to write in my Hobonichi planner itself, (fear is getting to me) but when I do eventually, I'll make sure to review that too.

My first ever Hobonichi was the A6 Sashiko Weave. It was around 4000+ yen, and together with the planner, it amounted to around AUS$80+. I admit though, my cost would've been cheaper if I were patient and got myself the plain colours. But because I was going to Sydney and wanted it to be delivered to my bf's place, I had to choose something that was going to be delivered fast. And it was. I ordered my Hobonichi on a Sunday and it arrived in Sydney on the Thursday. Pretty quick if you ask me.

So here are the pictures of the Sashiko cover:

Two pen loops which keeps your Hobonichi closed if you slide the pen through both holes

All Hobonichi (that aren't zipped) comes with two pen loops for two functions:

  1. To act as a pen loop (or two) - duh
  2. To keep the Hobonichi shut if you slide the one pen through both holes

Also, the two things I've noticed about the Hobonichi that I wanted to bring up was:
  1. When it first arrived, it was in a plastic wrapping and the actual Sashiko cover was laid flat. Initially, when I tried folding it over, it was quite stiff, but put some books over it and it'll close shut without any problems.
  2. I was scared about putting the book into the cover. You had to bend the cover quite substantially in order for it to go into the sleeves. It took a whole lot of confidence for me to just stuff it in, because I know that if you didn't, you won't ever be getting it in. Maybe it's just the cover I purchased, however. I have bought another Hobonichi though (the cousin / A5) so once that arrives, I'll be able to compare.
On the inside of the Sashiko cover is a beige synthetic leather material which was actually a good contrast to the outside cover. There are numerous pockets back and front so I don't think you'll ever be short on one:

Inside of the cover
Pages in the planner

The back of the cover:

It has two page markers with different shapes which, I think, is quite handy as you'll then be able to differentiate between the two:

And finally, on the back of the cover, there is an extra pocket for you to slide in any other loose items you may have:

Overall, it seems like a very durable cover. I'm a little bit scared of the weave being caught on something and spoiling the pattern overall though, so I may very well leave this one at home. The A5 / Cousin version I've purchased is the plain Cosmos colour, which I think would be more durable. I'll post another review of it once it arrives!

December 4, 2014

Kikki K Medium Mint Planner Review!

When I saw that Kikki K was bringing out the mint Kikki K again, I wasn't too excited. For one, it isn't the same as the previous - it lacks the gold dots - and looking at it from their pictures, the plain mint colour looked a tad bit boring; like something was missing. I didn't know, however, that the leather was in fact, textured - not the puffy leather the lilac has, and I must admit, from there, I was slightly intrigued.

Either way, here are the first pictures of it:
(by the way, please forgive the pictures in this post. I took it with my iPhone and I'm not sure how it looks like on-screen)

The only problem I had with my Kikki K order was this:

Small white tear on the top corner

If you look really closely, you can see a small tear in the skin at the top, near the corner, showing the white base underneath. If I had purchased this in store, I would have gladly taken it back to exchange it. However, as this came from online and aren't stock in stores as yet, I know that exchanging it will take a whole year (not literally, of course). As it is, my refund from them for a previous item is taking too damn long (not happy Kikki K!). So since the small tear doesn't really bother me, I'm just going to leave it as is.

The other aspects of the planner were fine: the rings were great. They snapped shut and had no gaps in them. The insides are like any other:

Rings - tight and snaps shut

I've customised the inserts etc, so bear with me. The inserts that were provided were similar to the original mint and gold dots - blue dividers and inserts for expenses, monthly, weekly, restaurants, anniversaries etc.

At the back is the usual space for the notepad:

That's really about it for the planner. I'm going to attempt to use this one for the rest of 2014 while I give my Ochre Malden a break. So far, it's working and I don't seem to feel the need to change it back (yet). It's still a little fat, though that may be because of the notepad at the back and the build of the entire planner, but as I'm not bringing it anywhere with me currently as I'm on holidays, I don't seem to feel it.

Hope this somehow helps all those prospective buyers! And just so you know, if you key in DIARYLOVEDEC in the checkout of Kikki K, you'll get 30% off all PLANNER selections (diaries not included)! So if you ask me, this is going to be the best time to get it ;)

November 18, 2014

Kikki K Gold Personal Planner Review!

Even though it was ages ago that I had a lovely Instagram follower ask me whether I was going to review the Gold Kikki K, I decided to write one now that I'm free. Like the Pink Kikki K I reviewed here, the gold has the exact same format - just a different colour. Either way, here are the pictures of the beauty:

Gold Large Personal Planner

(By the way, please excuse my crappy photos in this post. Everything seems out of whack order for some reason...)

I really like the Gold Kikki K, and I wonder why it took me so long to purchase one. The only 'problem' I've seen it have is this:

Unable to lay flat

I think it must have been only mine or my batch of Gold Kikki K's but the inner fabric has been cut a little too short in the making, and because of this, it pulls on the front cover thereby preventing it from laying flat (Am I making sense?). I don't really mind so much as it still lays flat 90% of the way, not to mention, now that the fabric is a little tight, there are no unsightly fabric creases seen near the spine, like those on the Mint personal planner, for example. And so, I'm willing to let it slide.

Also, I love the contrast of the black fabric and the gold leather. Kikki K has released a 2015 time planner (the one with the full set of 2015 diary, expenses, to do, etc) for the gold which is full leather, with no fabric inside. And despite the fact it is obviously better, because there is no fabric, it makes the planner a little too gold. With the black fabric, it stands out. But that's just me.

And it's funny, just before I started writing this, I purchased myself another gold Kikki K planner, this time, in Medium. Yes guys, Kikki K has released more Medium time planners. And better yet: it comes in a buckle. This is the first ever style from Kikki K and I am absolutely excited to see what it looks like. Fingers crossed it won't be a disappointment! And naturally, I will review that once it arrives, which should hopefully be on Friday!

But moving on to the insides:


And to answer your question, no the dividers did not come with the pretty silver lace on the front. I have slightly customised it by sticking on a sheet of vellum paper with silver leaves and it has made a great difference to it, no? The silver leaves stand out with just a touch of pink on the underside. I purchased it from Spotlight Australia, if anyone was wondering (for $3).

And like any other Kikki K planners, the insides are all the same with the card slots, vertical full length pocket and zipped pocket all on the right

The rings were great too (and gold), and Kikki K may have slightly increased the quality of the rings as they were pretty tight and snapped shut quite nicely:

Gold rings!

The back held the usual notepad and an elastic pen holder:

3 sticker sheets were provided and I'm thoroughly enjoying the gold stickers provided:

And that's a wrap for the Gold Kikki K. Overall, it's a beautiful planner and I can see it becoming a wanted item once it discontinues, because really, it's unique in its own way. Either way, I hope this helped for anyone who wanted to purchase one!

November 16, 2014

Filofax Pocket Wine Holborn Review!

My dear readers,

Please excuse the fact that I've been away for 34803453059 days. I've been busy with uni assessments and exams, but alas, they're now all over (kinda), so I'm back to give more reviews on all things planners and hopefully, a little branching out into customising them too since some of you have been asking on my Instagram (@lettersinnovember).

But first, let's start this blog up again with this long overdue review of the Pocket Holborn:

Ah, the wine Pocket Holborn. After selling my Personal Holborn (for which I surprisingly have no regrets for), this little one has come into my life all thanks to Australia's Filofaxshop sale. They're already out of stock of it unfortunately, if not I would've highly recommended you to up and get it.

Anyway, here are the pictures of this sweet little guy:

Top opening full length wallet!
What can I say about it: it's smooth, it's leather, it smells wonderful, it lays flat as a bat right out of the box, has plentiful pockets and even a zippered one for your coins, has a full length compartment for your cash and is absolutely wonderful as a wallet. It's absolutely divine is what I'll say about it!

There's just something about this Holborn that is practically made to function as a wallet (other than the stated, that is). I guess it's a combination of all of the listed qualities that makes it brilliant in every way. You won't even realise it's an organiser from how compartmentalised this one is. I don't think I can recommend it enough.

On the inside:


The back pocket has a hidden zip pocket inside too!

Although it doesn't have that many card slots, extra plastic card slots are not too hard to find and can easily be slotted in for the extra storage. But it does have an amazing load of hidden pockets everywhere! It has two full vertical pockets on the front and back cover each, with a hidden zippered pocket on the back (shown in the picture)

The rings were great, and snapped shut without a hitch. I haven't quite yet organised this with pretty dashboards, dividers etc, but I actually can't wait to do so. I love starting from scratch. It's like getting a whole new planner without actually doing so.

Anyway, although I've sold my Personal Brown Holborn, I've still got the zipped version so here's a little comparison of colour and size:

I know the wine Holborn is a little hard to find nowadays, what with it being discontinued as such, but if you do find one for a good price, I recommend you to snatch it up as fast as you can. It's a beauty and can definitely be used as a full functioning wallet.

Till the next Filofax!

October 22, 2014

Blue Bazaar Promotion!

Recently, I purchased a Strathmore 500 Mixed-Media Series sketchbook from a little Australian based company called Blue Bazaar. They were brilliant in service and even provided a little packet of Jellybeans in my package! Safe to say, I was pretty happy with their service and even more so when I found out that having a blog could mean discounts for my wonderful readers!

Fast forward a few weeks and I found out that another company called Webster's Pages announced the introduction of a new set of Colour Crush planners due to be released in mid-late December. And the best part: Blue Bazaar was stocking them! For a planner lover, I was pretty ecstatic knowing that a lovely product from America, would be readily available for Aussies like myself.

So here's the scoop:

From now till the 30th of November 2014, you'll be able to purchase products* from Blue Bazaar's online store at 10% off the entire cart - which includes Webster Page's new colour crush planners! But you have to be quick: pre-orders for the Webster Pages planners are closing on the 26th of October AEST and the 10% will only apply if you order now.

And of course, I jumped at the chance to order myself one because I don't think I'll be able to find another deal like it. So get yours now! You can read all about Webster's Pages planners here.

*BLUE BAZAAR is offering readers of my blog a 10% discount on your next order.  To receive the discount include the following code in the coupon field of your order: BLOG10.    Note: discounts do not apply to items already discounted, on sale or subscription.  The code is valid until the 30th November 2014 and is available for one time use.

October 11, 2014

Kikki K 'Cute' Pink Planner Review!

I was actually debating whether or not to get this pink lovely because I too wanted the gold large Time Planner from Kikki K. But when the Gold ran out of stock and I found out that Kikki K was throwing a little giveaway on Instagram, I decided to get myself the new pink Large Time Planner. I ordered it on Wednesday, it was shipped on Thursday and it arrived Friday. Just in time for the weekend. Beautiful:

This one came in a pretty box similar to that of the Purple Time Planner (just pink). And although it's built inferiorly (more flimsy) to the past Berry / Grey planner boxes, at least there's still a box... I'm beginning to wonder if Kikki K is starting to be like Filofax now - charge more for items that are built much more inferior than before. I guess they all go down that road eventually...

But anyway, unlike the other Time Planners / Personal Planners, the leather on this one is textured. The leather is similar to that of the black textured Kikki K Large Time Planner. I must say though, that although the texture feels nice and the planner seems a lot lighter than the ordinary leather planners, it also feels... a little less leather and a little more fauxleather. You probably wouldn't know it's leather if it weren't for the fact that it's called leather. But other than that, really, it's a fantastic pink planner from Kikki K. It's bright but not too vibrant, and doesn't seem to be as puffy as the other planners (mostly due to the thinner textured leather, I guess).

On the inside:

I actually quite like the inside - it matches the pink quite well. And I love the colourful tab dividers that Kikki K has supplied with them. It makes the whole planner really vibrant and cheerful.

The planners still have that crease on the inside whenever you close it due to the fabric and the cardboard underneath, but I guess everyone has gotten immune to that:

Crease on the inside whenever you close it due to the fabric & cardboard

Unlike the other Kikki K planners though, I quite like the paper pads they've included in this pink planner too. While the Personal Planners have got that boring black and white paper, this pretty pink has a striped 'Today' notepad matching the grey and white inner fabric, and a pink bordered notepad at the back.

The rings weren't terrible either. Sure there were one or two that could have been tighter, but as long as it doesn't catch on papers, I'm not too fussed:


I took a picture comparing the Pink Kikki K to that of the Personal Pink Finsbury and if you have one of those, I can say that they're quite similar in colour - just that they have different textures:

So overall, what do I think of this one? I love it (despite everything I've said). It looks beautiful, it's sturdy, most probably cleans well if anything ever gets on it, and you definitely won't need to baby / take care of it like the limited edition mint planner that was released a while ago (by the way, the mint's getting released again in November, guys). So if you're thinking of getting one, I suggest that you do.