Diary

Hobonichi Weeks Review.

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Last year I bought my first Hobonichi Weeks planner and then left it in my drawer for the majority of the year gathering dust. I couldn't fit it into my system as I already had the Jibun Techo and several other notebooks in use, so The Hobonichi Weeks was left abandoned.

However towards the end of 2018, I knew I wouldn't be using the Jibun Techo again and started to wonder if I could fit the Weeks into my 2019 system. I spent the last few weeks of 2018 testing the Weeks out and trying to get a feel for it, and I felt confidant that I could use the Weeks for a full year.

Overview of the Hobonichi Weeks.

The Hobonichi Weeks is a slim diary / planner / organiser (whatever term you prefer). It’s that familiar, portable size that a you see from numerous different annual planners. As with all things from Hobonichi the simple is elevated to something more through thoughtful design.

The Hobonichi Weeks comes in a number of different cover designs that range from plain, bold colours through to the quirky. I have the cactus design which comes with tiny stitched cacti of all different forms. I have a clear plastic cover to protect the cover and for the extra pockets. I bought this last year directly from Hobonichi, it’s not something I have found from any third party retailer.

The Weeks includes two bookmarks which is always very useful. I use one to mark the current month and the second for the current week. I think two bookmarks in planners now is a standard with more and more brands additional an extra bookmark.

Finally, the paper. It is similar to other Hobonichi planners with beautiful tomoe river paper that I love because it handles pretty much any writing tool. The paper is a cream colour which I know can put some people off. Personally I like this because I find it softer on the eye.

Layout.

The layout inside is simple as with most things from Hobonichi. The first two pages are three year long calendars, the 2019 calendar on the left hand page giving this prominence and more room. On the right hand side there are two smaller calendars, one for 2018 and another for 2020. Having the previous year on this spread is quite useful for checking last years dates. I have referenced this a few times this year already.

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The next double page is dedicated to the full year with a tiny amount of space for you to make notes. I guess the idea is that you can add annual dates, mark off annual leave, that sort of thing. I haven't used this spread at all because I am not sure what I could mark here, or how I would fit it in.

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Monthly Spreads.

Then you head into your monthly spreads which starts from Dec 2018 and runs through to March 2020. The additional coverage is helpful as you’re not completely restricted to the year, you can start early and you also have space for future planning.

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The spreads are good but space is minimal due to the size of the planner. The simplistic design does mean that the space is maximised as much as possible. There is a grid pattern on each of these pages too which helps the user to maximise the space and keep their writing tidy.

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There is a small amount of note taking space around the sides on this page. I have jotted down monthly appointments, actions or to-dos here which is quite useful. Having some sort of ‘space’ for the extra things is always useful, whether that’s notes or decoration.

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On a final note, as this is a Japanese planner there are Japanese holidays included in red throughout. These are easy to ignore but could be a little confusing.

Weekly spreads.

After the monthly spreads you head into your weekly views. I love the layout of these pages, the week is on the left hand page with 7 days, each with an equal amount of space (hurrah!). On the right you get a grid page which is blank for anything else you may need to include.

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There are some small little flourishes on these weekly pages, which again maximise the available space without giving you the feeling of overcrowding. Firstly you have the phase of the moon under the days date. Not an important feature but kind of interesting and useful. Secondly there is a Japanese quote on the bottom of the page, which I cannot translate or understand, but this is a feature of the Hobonichi Planners. There is a small monthly calendar in the bottom right. It highlights the current week within that month but again allows you to glance ahead if needed.

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And finally the week number is called out at the top of the page, 52nd Week, 1st Week, etc etc.

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The rest.

The back of the planner has around 60 pages of grid paper for notes. I rarely use these but having some space there is very helpful and it doesn't add to the bulk of the planner because of the super thin tomoe river paper. There are also a handful of pages in Japanese with some interesting illustrations but again I cannot understand anything there. These pages seem to adjust each year and have a different focus.

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My use of the Hobonichi Weeks.

I am using the Weeks as a functional planner. I am not decorating the pages in any way, I use only fountain pen and ink or a gel ink pen. The purpose is to keep track of my tasks and appointments for the week. On the right hand side of each week I lay out the tasks I have for the week. I also use the space if required for any additional notes, such as physio exercises and headache patterns.

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I like the format and layout of the weeks for lots of reasons. The layout is very similar to the Travelers Company Weekly + Memo Weekly refill which I have used for years. This format has always worked well and I enjoy it.

The size is great too making it portable and allowing me to focus on the short and mid-term time frames. I still use a digital calendar for long term appointments, but this works great for managing my month and week.

I usually plan out my week on a Sunday and see what I need to get done in the next week. The week is then referenced and adjusted if necessary and the tasks reviewed and assigned a day in a different notebook.

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Overall thoughts.

The Hobonichi Weeks has found a purpose and place in my rotation and I really enjoy it. It’s a simple planner that most people will have used at some point, but the Hobonichi Weeks satisfies all those small extras that the stationery nerd enjoys. High quality materials, cute designs and paper that is a total joy to use.

Midori Travelers Notebook Review

My Midori Travelers Notebook

My Midori Travelers Notebook

In the online stationery community there is a lot of information and reviews about the Midori Travelers Notebook (MTN). A couple of years ago I dipped my toe in the water and tried the Passport MTN, but this didn't work out for me. However a couple of months ago I became intrigued with the MTN again and started reading reviews online and looking at stacks of YouTube videos. And then right on cue The Journal Shop  sent a money off voucher via email so I snapped up the regular MTN in brown. 

My Initial Setup

There are tonnes of online tutorials telling you how to set up the MTN with very helpful videos giving you a peek at exactly what the system is like. I found it helpful to watch other peoples set-ups to figure out the best way to use my own. When I first started using the MTN I had the following set up: 

Brown MTN, 012 Sketch book, 001 Lined notebook020 Kraft File and 021 Binding Bands.

This set-up lasted about 6 weeks. I used the lined notebook all the time. I found an interesting use from Stuff & Things on YouTube about making notes on the ink colours being used. One half of my notebook has been used for this, whilst the other half has been used for general note taking.

The Sketch book and Kraft File weren't getting used a lot. I included in the Sketch book in an effort to encourage myself to doodle and sketch. This didn't work out as planned so this notebook along with the Kraft File was removed from MTN. They took up valuable space so I decided to ditch the extra baggage. 

My Existing Set-Up

The contents of my current MTN includes the 008 Zipper Case, 001 Lined Notebook, 017 Free Monthly Refill019 Free Weekly Refill, 021 Binding Bands and Travelers Notebook Pen Holder Medium

This is a completely different set-up to my first attempt. The Zipper Case is the first item in the MTN and a valuable addition. I don't have too many things in here, just small items that I either like the look of or want to carry with me. I have a couple of photos, some stickers, a Field Notes Hello card, an Open University course card, a small Kraft pocket envelope, a few Midori bicycle paper clips and a dollar bill from my recent trip to America. These are mostly personalised momentos but there are some useful stationery items as well.  

Inside cover of my MTN

Inside cover of my MTN

The lined notebook is still being used for general note taking, reminders and to-do lists. This is the first notebook is the TN allowing for quick and easy access. This notebook is all about grabbing notes on the go and capturing whatever I need to. 

Right hand page of the weekly planner 

My second notebook is the free weekly refill notebook. This is called a free weekly refill as it has the traditional weekly calendar set up but allows you to add in the month and date information. The beauty of this refill is that you can start it at any point during the year. For instance I started on the 19th October after I bought this refill from JP Books in London. This was bought solely due to Eunice from The Daily Roe. Her weekly pages are stunning and where I am unable to draw, I can perhaps learn to journal slightly differently. I use this weekly planner to capture small nuggets of information from my day. On the left hand page you have the week days and on the right you have a spare blank page to include any notes, useful information or ephemera which may remind me of what I have been doing that week. 

Early days of my weekly planner 

Early days of my weekly planner 

I like the idea of this format of journaling and think that later on it will be really nice to flick through. If I can create some fun and exciting pages and remain motivated to continue with this journal then this should work pretty well. 

Some questionable doodling. Definitely room for improvement

Some questionable doodling. Definitely room for improvement

The last notebook is the free monthly refill. Again this is the same process as the free weekly notebook. You get the grids and outlines there on the page but with no months added in. That means again you can add into this whenever you want. 

Pure time planner for out of work activities 

Pure time planner for out of work activities 

This notebook is used for pure planning. Not recording of events or making notes of my days, this will be a forward looking planner. In this notebook I will co-ordinate my blogging activities, from planning, photography and posting as well as my study schedule. I like the month view, I can figure out where I can fit things in whilst giving me the ability to look at the month as a whole. This will probably be the most important insert in my MTN as it will be where I co-ordinate everything.  

The MTN system is not for everyone and I really took some convincing on its merits. But I am totally bought into it now. So much so that I bought the Blue Edition MTN after visiting JP Books as they had it for such a bargain price, I just couldn't resist. 

What next? 

Brad once described the MTN on the Pen Addict podcast as the fountain pen of the paper world. This always stuck in my head and I think it's completely true. Not only do you get a gorgeous leather case but you can modify the inside exactly to your liking. Simple or packed full of crafty goodness the choice is totally yours. What's more you can pull this to pieces as many times as you like and change up how you use it. It's an evolving system. 

I will aim to include some progress posts on my set-up of the MTN as time goes on and perhaps share some of my weekly journal pages, if they are viewable. 

Online Inspiration

There really are loads of online resources from devout MTN users that you can very easily spend hours upon hours watching and reading all about this system. There are however a few that I have found particularly helpful. 

Baum-Kitchen Stories - these are really incredible insights into how people use the MTN. A particular favourite post of mine shows how the owner of Baum Kitchen repaired their six year old MTN. This shows the longevity of these notebooks and the way in which they age with use. It's totally gorgeous. 

The Daily Roe - Eunice from The Daily Roe creates gorgeous MTN pages. She is the person who has inspired me to try my hand at keeping a simple weekly journal with the 017 free monthly insert. The pages she shares through her blog and Instagram account always have me gazing at them for a while marvelling at the things she creates. 

Seaweed Kisses - there are some great YouTube videos on the Seaweed Kisses channel. From setting up the MTN to its merits and uses I have spent a lot of time watching these videos. They are a great source of inspiration.

Patrick Ng - Patrick is surely the starting point for a lot of MTN adopters. Patricks Instagram and Flickr accounts show all sorts of MTN information and goodness. Patricks website is also a font of knowledge, although this has not been updated for some time with fresh content. 

Midori Facebook Group - there are a few options out there but the one I follow in particular is the Midori Travelers Notebook Resources Group where people tend to post all sorts of photos, links and sale items. This is a great source of inspiration with lots of people sharing how they use their MTN. There is also a lot of Fauxdori information included within this group, so it's not pure MTN.