how to choose the perfect notebook

How to choose the perfect notebook

At the start of each new year I begin a new journal in a notebook. I’m not restrictive about what goes in it, although it generally holds lists of things to do for work and notes from meetings. I sometimes scribble down recipes, ideas or just doodle in it. My journal goes with me everywhere and choosing the new one is a bit of a responsibility. This year Christmas came early because the brilliant Bureau Direct gave me a notebook to review.

how to choose the perfect notebook

What size fits you?

For the last 2 years I’ve had A5 hardbacked journals. This year I’ve downsized to an A6, purely so it is less weight to carry around. If your journal is never going to leave your house you have a great reason to keep a nice big A4 size one. I’ve experimented with having smaller soft backed notebooks in my handbag and keeping a big master journal at home but I never transcribe anything into the big book. It is easier for me to keep everything in one place.

What is inside counts

Two years ago I used a Moleskine Professional journal. It was set up for bullet journalling with a section at the top for the main list. I liked this set up a lot but my handwriting is messy and I never stayed in the lines. The year after I tried a Leuchtturm which has plain paper. The paper is thick enough to take a pen well but thin enough to see a template of either lines or a grid underneath it. I like the flexibility of this. This year, I asked Bureau Direct to surprise me, they sent me a Leuchtturm which has dots. Dots are incredibly flexible, they are pale enough to be ignored if you want but dark enough to give you perfect guidelines. I’ve been working out a patchwork pattern in my notebook and dots are so much easier than a grid to use. Dots rock.


The inside of the Leuchtturm pocket dots notebook. The paper is strong enough to glue onto.


If you want to find anything in your notebook you will need some form of indexing. I’ve tried sticking little post-its on important pages but the easiest and most fool proof way is to get a journal with page numbers. My little Leuchtturm has a table of contents and page numbers. I don’t add everything to the index, just the things I know I will want to find again. My table of contents links to a list of films to watch and ideas for using up my fabric stash.

Useful extras

I like my notebooks to have elastic to close them, at least 1 ribbon to mark pages and a pocket at the back. My Leuchtturm has all of these things in a tiny package, my Moleskine and larger Leuchtturm had them too. Bookmarks fall out, these books are very well made so it would take some effort to pull the ribbon out. Having 2 different coloured ribbons helps too because sometimes I want to look back and reference something. Bureau Direct were super kind in sending me a pen loop too, which is something I have not tried before. I like it! I will have to get used to not scrabbling in the bottom of my handbag for a pen now!

Using my notebook to work out a pattern for a chalkboard menu planner.

Using my notebook to work out a pattern for a chalkboard menu planner.

Is it worth the money?

If I was to spend £36 on a journal and use it every day for a year it would work out at less than 10p a day, which is not a big price to pay for something that is a joy to use. In reality you don’t need to spend anything like that to get a journal that is hard-wearing, practical, useful and, in my case, a gorgeous cheering orange. My gorgeous notebook retails at just under a tenner.

Need more help?

Ask the experts. Bureau Direct know their stock inside out and are brilliant at advising. I asked them to surprise me with a notebook to review and they sent me the Leuchtturm pocket dots notebook because I asked for something A6, hard-backed and versatile. It might be my most favourite notebook ever though I retain an open mind about my next notebook adventure.

Disclosure – if I really like a product and a company I sometimes approach them asking if they would like to sponsor a post or send me a useful freebie to review. Bureau Direct are brilliant at what they do, which is specialise in really good stationery. They sent me the A6Leuchtturm pocket dots notebook and a matching pen loop. I’ve linked to the products in their shop where I can but I am not part of any affiliate scheme with them.

Their glue is very nice too!

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