Notebook holiday

Choosing which notebooks to take away with you on holiday is almost as much fun as deciding on the destination. But all stationery addicts know how easy it is to get carried away. It’s the same as with shoes – you try to plan for all eventualities and end up needing to change roughly every hour in order to make use of them all. 

Notebooks at Gladstones

Take my current trip to Gladstone’s Library for example where I managed to squeeze in nine notebooks altogether. And I was only away for three days! Inspired by the good folks at Nero’s Notes, this is the method behind the madness of how I chose which types of notebooks to take with me. 


Staple notebooks

These are my go-to notebooks that I use everyday. Where I go, they go. This includes my bullet journal and usually my latest EDC.


Shiny, new notebooks

As in shiny and new. I disappeared down the rabbit hole of notebook buying long ago so I always pick up something new before I go on hols – that’s partly why I think of it as a notebook holiday. 

For this particular trip I bought the William Morris exercise book and the Rifle pocket notepad. I didn’t realise at the time but the Rifle contains tear out sheets, as well as an inside flap. If there’s any notes I need to keep I can save them there. 

My choices were guided by my destination of course. Gladstone being a key statesmen of the Victorian period, I wanted something suitably nineteenth century. The exercise book, adapted from Morris’s Strawberry Thief furnishing fabric of 1883 ticked all the boxes. And I knew the Birch Floral notepad would fit in with the rural surroundings of Hawarden village where the library is based. 


Subject-specific notebooks

This being a study trip rather than out and out hollibobs the majority of the notebooks I took with me were of a more functional nature.

I used the Pukka Pad to make notes on academic essays, the A5 hardbacks from Foyles contain feedback on my work-in-progress, which I like to refer back to when editing. The Field Notes is where I keep notes related to my dissertation.

And yes, I also brought coloured cue cards!

Notebooks holiday

In all honesty, nine notebooks, is probably far too many. But I did use them all whilst I was away. If you have a good system  for choosing which notebooks to take on holidays with you, please share.


Make a note – Nat Stat Week Day 1

Studying, journalling, minuting a meeting – there’s heaps of scenarios where it pays to have good note taking skills. So to kick start Nat Stat Week, I’m sharing some thoughts on how to make a note.

Every page should have its highlights

If you’ve got a lot of notes to make it’s wise to pick out the key points. This helps when you’re reading back through them. Stabilo’s pastel highlighters are my current favourites.

Pastel highlighter in action

Pick a pocket or three

An Every Day Carry or EDC is indispensable when you need to make a note on the go. And pocket notebooks fulfil this function perfectly. Regular readers will know I have a penchant for a Field Notes Brand three pack, but I’m in the market for a new crush and  Nero’s Notes carry an amazing selection. Right now I’m torn between Nomad Notebooks and Dapper Notes, so maybe I’ll just have to try them both! Nomad notebooks have mixed paper, which is something I’m so here for, while Dapper have some gorgeous covers whether you prefer a pop of colour or something patterned.

One of my favourite Field Notes editions

Bullet points are best

All planner girls and guys know that bullet points are essential if you want to make a note of something. Bullet points encourage brevity, which makes them easy to read and digest. And there’s no need to stick to a plain old dot. Stars, arrows and check boxes all work well. But if you’re bullet journalling all marks mean something so don’t forget to add their significance to your index.

The BuJo Key page gives you space to add your own marks

Stick it to ‘em

Sticky notes are perfect if you want to make a quick note. And they come in all shapes and sizes. These rainbow stickies by Mustard have been brightening up my hotdesk of late. Or you can keep things classic with standard squares of course. Most come in a variety of shades so you can colour code if that’s your thing.

Rainbow sticky notes

Shorthand sweet

You may not know Pitmans or Teeline, but it’s helpful to have your own shorthand system. Finding a way to render words from lines, dashes or symbols will accelerate your note taking. Remember to keep it legible and consistent though, otherwise you’ll have a page of notes that mean nothing to no one. Yes, I am speaking from experience!

Dusting off my Teeline skills

Whats the best way to make a note?

Share your hints and tips in the comments. And check back for more Nat Stat Week Celebrations. I’ve posted on this year’s themes and other days stationery addicts like to celebrate. In the meantime, happy note-taking.

Papergang Subscription Box No. 24 Review

It’s been a dull, grey winter so this month’s Papergang subscription box provided a much-needed pop of colour. Plus the utility of its contents ensured it had substance as well as style. As long as bullet journalling remains a thing, stationery addicts will always appreciate items to build their BuJo kit.

Plastic wallet

This handy pouch smells just like water wings. It took me right back to childhood swimming lessons. Inside, three pencils in green, yellow and pink.

I like to carry my BuJo around so this is perfect for keeping all my journal paraphernalia together.


This arrived just in time – sadly I’ve lost my beautiful brass one from the Dark Botany box designed by Susan Castillo a few months back.

The ruler is an essential tool for bullet journallers who want to make the most of the dot grid system. Join the dots to box off key information or underline your page headings for some school swot chic.

Sticker pack

Stickers are the perfect way to pull out key dates, highlight what’s gone well and mark special occasions. Even better, they mean you can jazz up your journal – a great alternative if doodling is not your thing.

The two sticker sheets are my favourite thing in this Papergang box. The seasonal labels, candles and be airplanes are best for advance planning – birthdays, holidays, those things you want to look forward to. And for weekly/daily/monthly logs the ticks, crosses and smilies are great.

Greeting card

Little Miss Scatterbrain features on the front of this card. But keeping a bullet journal means no excuses for forgetting stuff anymore. The card is blank inside. It’s ideal to have around for unbirthdays and other times when you want to send a card just because.

Dot grid journal

The exposed and tightly stacked signatures make this notebook a thing of beauty. And handily it fits inside the plastic wallet. I love it when a plan comes together!  The paper is thick enough to take ink and also glue if you want to stick stuff in.

The cardboard cover is begging for a bit of extra personalisation, I think. I might do some doodling on the back or accent the title.

In summary

Overall, another great box from Papergang. And do make sure you check out the accompanying leaflet if you’re new to bullet journalling.

50 ways to fill a notebook – part 4

It’s the penultimate part of 50 ways to fill a notebook. And hopefully you’ve been working through your stash of unused notebooks to free up space in advance of your next haul. Here are some more ideas to keep in mind when you’re choosing between lined, blank, dot grid or crosshair.

31. Scrapbook

Scrapbooking is a lovely way to preserve your memories. Choose a notebook with a mix of heavy duty pages that can take ink, paint and tape. Staple in receipts and ticket stubs and glue in pictures. Annotate with hand lettering. And decorate with stamps and stickers. There are tutorials for easy-to-draw scrolls on Pinterest.

32. Track rows and rounds

One for the yarn addicts. Yes, you can get one of those row counters to attach to your needles, but I’ve never quite got on with them. It’s also helpful to see your progress at a glance if you have a project that you only pick up every now and then. I use an A4 pad that I can scribble across.

33. Learning log

Everyday’s a learning day. Note down two or three things you’ve learnt each day in a pocket notebook you keep by your bed. It’s a nice alternative to a gratitude diary. And may help you process the day’s events before you go to sleep.

34. Action list

My to do lists tend to spiral out of control so I prefer an action list, which `I restrict to three items. I keep it in a teeny tiny micro notebook, so I’m not tempted to add too much to it. Only the top priorities make it in.

35. Recipe notes

It’s the tweaks you make to recipes that really lift them. Or better yet, those family ones that only your nana seems to know. Keep a record in a notebook with a plastic cover so you can wipe off any spills when you’re in the kitchen. My own recipe tip? Always add extra garlic.

36. Bullet journal

The bullet journal is described by its founder Ryder Carroll as ‘an analogue system for a digital age.’ It’s a simple method of journalling aimed squarely at productivity. Numerous posts have been written on how to bullet journal and the best monthly spreads and weekly layouts. My personal favourites are Minimalist Bujo and Boho Berry.

If you’re interested in journalling but not sure how best to kick start your practice, you might want to take my quiz – it will help you find the type of journalling that will suit you best.

37. Mind mapping

Got a problem you need to solve? Keep a medium to large notebook with blank pages to hand draw out all the options. A more visual alternative to listing, the mind map is the brain child of Tony Buzan.

38. Resolutions

Resolutions aren’t just for new year. Keep them in a slim handmade notebook and revisit regularly to check in on your progress. Even better, if you keep a notebook solely for this purpose, you’ll be able to add to it year on year.

39. Words and definitions

I love unusual words. Old dialect terms that are fading out or words unique to a specific language are my favourite. Writer Robert Macfarlane shares some great nature-led ones everyday on Twitter. And check out Present and Correct’s feed, too. Or this Buzzfeed article.

I jot them down in a pocket notebook and find a way to weave them in to my day to day writing or conversation. Yes, I’m geeky like that.

40. EveryDay carry

I keep a notebook with me at all times. It’s usually lined, often A5 and is always my current favourite. This means there’s some sort of quote on the cover, or it’s one of my favourite brands. It’s filled with all sorts of things. Lists, doodles, reminders. On occasion, an idea for a story or a problem that I need to get down on paper so it’s out of my head and I can think about something else.

I change up my everday carry about once a month. These are the notebooks I always have the most fun buying.

The final countdown of 50 ways to fill a notebook will be up next week. In the meantime, check out parts one, two and three if you haven’t done so already.

And if you’ve started using any of these ideas, let me know if the comments.


I know what’s next for Bullet Journal!

Something’s afoot at Bullet Journal’s Headquarters. The May newsletter arrived earlier this afternoon, the first item up – a plea to ‘Help Us Make Bullet Journal Better!’ The survey that followed was pretty short. Eight questions in all. But it provides more than a few clues as to what Ryder Carroll and team have on their development roadmap.

Back in March, the Bullet Journal Companion app was released. The key feature: timed reflection reminders. Feedback via the App Store has been lukewarm at best. Lots of complaints that the majority of the content it serves can be accessed for free via the Bullet Journal website. ‘Scam’ and ‘not worth the money’  was the general consensus. Ouch. My personal feeling is that there’s lots of potential for the app, especially in the reflection space, but anyhoo.

Based on the questions in the May research piece though, there are lots of things for BuJo Junkies to look forward to…

BuJo School

Some of the best memories I have of my school days revolve around stationery. Specifically, a notebook with a plastic cover that had water and glitter in it. And Filling notebooks practising signatures in preparation for a proposal from my latest crush. So no surprise that I’d be happy to enrol in a school that was all about stationery. Well Bullet Journals, so close enough. It would most likely be paid and based around ‘in-depth video journals’. Would I be interested? Yes, yes I would.

Big ones, small ones

Don’t be surprised to see a baby BuJo in the not-too-distant future. Bullet Journal is questioning the appetite for different versions of their notebook. Pocket, larger and soft-cover are all offered as options. I voted for pocket-size. But though given the choice to endorse the current format as an alternative, I doubt it would be an either/or proposition.

More, more, more

Looks like the content on the Bullet Journal site is going to be spruced up. The offer is more interviews, more show and tells, more articles or more tutorials. They’re all about the abundance it seems, which is great news. I love the show and tells the best. What’s on Insta can be a bit intimidating, but the greater emphasis on function rather than form means that to me at least, they’re ultimately more accessible and therefore inspiring.


Ryder is being offered up for a recurring Q&A. Based on his TED Talk ‘How to Lead An Intentional Life’ I’d be well up for this. They’re also seeking specific questions so this one will more than likely happen soonish, though not sure on frequency. I can think of lots of things I’d like to ask, first up, when can we have more colours?!

And finally my favourite idea of them all…

Top of the class

This isn’t a million miles away from the school suggestion so maybe the question the Bullet Journal team is debating is whether this works best online or in person. Having attended a couple of workshops at Kikki K for their Goals and Habits journals (post coming soon), I’d say the workshop is much the better of these two school-type ideas. And the BuJo community is so strong, why not provide a space for real world interactions and buddying.


I honestly have no clue on when or even if all of these ideas will make it past the research stage. My predictions are solely based on the questions they’re asking in this months newsletter. But it’s clear that Ryder Carroll is looking beyond the BuJo itself and that there are ambitious growth plans in the pipeline. Interesting that there was no comparative element though between the various ideas so maybe it’s more about how they’ll happen. When I first found Bullet Journal, I remember the emphasis on evolution. Whatever comes to fruition I’ve no doubt that BuJo will continue to grow. And I’m super excited about it!

Time to dust off my BuJo kit and plan my first spread I think. But before you go, be interested to hear which of these gets your pulse rate pounding:

What do you want Bullet Journal to do first?

View Results

Loading ... Loading ...