Picking Next Year’s Planner


With 2017 winding down, it’s time to  share my top 5 picks for planners for 2018.

It’s no newsflash that I am fond of lovely stationery, but I go gaga over new planners. Planners are the mother of all stationery, a blessed union of paper and ink, printing and binding, layout and design. They are both tool and creation, a space for both organisation and inspiration.

My Criteria

Seeing my planner gets a gruelling 365 days of daily use, I don’t rush the selection process. My planner must tick all the boxes. Of course, looks are an important factor, but ultimately a planner has to be supremely useable.

  1. A full combination of spreads:  yearly, monthly, weekly and daily spaces, because they all have their uses.
  2. Not too bulky: My handbag is heavy enough without adding the weight of a phonebook. ON the other hand…
  3. …Not too pokey: I need room to write, remind, draw, plot…
  4. Sturdy: It has to be able to withstand the vortex of death, aka my handbag. Rounded corners and a sturdy cover required.
  5. Quality paper: No thanks to blinding blizzard white, yes please to soothing, restrained ivory – with a smooth finish s’il vous plaît.
  6. Lie-flat binding: I like a planner that opens all the way without wrestling it. And forget the icky spine-breaking nonsense. I dislike wire spiral binders that get in the way and render half the writing surface a no-go-zone.
  7. Bonuses: A ribbon page marker is helpful. **Stickers** are fun, the icing on the planner cake.


My Top Five Choices for 2018

  • Milligram 2018 Family Diary – Weekly Notebook – A5
  • Pilot 2018 Diary for Writers
  • Kiki.K Leather Planner – Sweet
  • MochiThings 2018 Flowery Weekly Journal
  • Hobonichi Techno Cousin


Milligram Family Diary

Milligram 2018 Family DiaryUp first, the 2018 Family Diary from Melbourne’s Milligram (formerly NoteMaker, one of my favourite Australian stationers). Having just rebranded, they’ve launched their own line of Milligram diaries. They’re onto a good thing with this fantastic family-friendly planner. The weekly spread has two pages where everyone’s activities can be noted along with meal planning. There’s a budgeting page and other cool features, like **stickers**! I especially like the gorgeous cover designs and pleasing page layout, created by designer-illustrator-author Beci Orpin.

This planner is perfect for busy families, but as a new empty-nester, this one isn’t the best fit for me now.



Pilot 2018 Diary for Writers

Pilot Diary for Writers 2018This one is a handy tool for writers. The Pilot 2018 Diary for Writers is chock-a-block full of writerly information, inspiration and wisdom in the form of quotes, competitions, festivals and awards. There are pages to track submissions, record lent and borrowed books, and list interesting TBRs.

Three cheers for the excellent paper and targeting writers’ needs, but one frowny-face for the spiral binding.



Kiki.K Sweet Large Leather Planner

Kiki.K Leather Planner SweetOkay: it’s leather. And it has Pugs. And kittens. Say no more.

Nobody in the stationery business does ‘whimsical’ like Kiki.K. They also do ‘gorgeous,’ ‘stylish,’ and ‘wow,’ but I’m smitten with the range they call Sweet, with its cute hand-drawn pugs, kittens, ink bottles, cacti, and more. The Kiki.K Sweet Planner is white leather printed with the Sweet motifs. Inside is lined with a beautiful shade of eggshell blue. It has customisable tabs, is refillable, and comes with **stickers**.

It’s gorgeous but a little too bulky for me.



MochiThings 2018 Flowery Weekly Journal

MochiThings Flowery Journal 2018 Planner.

MochiThings is a wonderful online stationer selling  a full range Korean paper products, from basic to deluxe, plain to cutesy. Planners come in a huge variety of sizes and styles – seriously, they have all kinds of binding, every size, layout, and design you could want. The one I like is called Flowery Weekly Journal. It features a floral cover, is compact in size with a week-to-a-spread, and has the all-important lie-flat binding.

This is very similar to the MochiThings diary I chose for 2017, which worked out great except that I found the B5 size a little too tight.

You’ll want to check out the array of planner accessories for sale at MochiThings.com: there’s washi tape out the wazoo and **stickers** galore. Check out this scrummy Scheduler Kit.

Flowery Weekly Journal – US$22.95*


Hobonichi Techno Cousin

Hobonichi planners are a premium Japanese product with a worldwide cult following. Why are so many people crazy about Hobonichis?

  • The one planner has it all: year, month, week and day pages.
  • 180º lie-flat binding
  • Tomoe River paper (high quality smooth but thin pages to reduce bulk)
  • Daily quotes and quirky information
  • Graph paper pages for design
  • A dazzling array of cool covers to dress up your planner and reuse year after year.
  • Covers have a built-in pen holder and two ribbon markers.
  • A variety of sizes: Weeks is long and narrow. Techno Original is a compact A6 size. Cousin is larger, A5 size.

J¥ 7,020* for Cousin + cover


And the Winner Is…

Hobonichi Cousin 2018.  I am trying out the larger A5 version called Cousin to give myself additional room for jotting notes. As mentioned, B5 cramped my style.

Going with the larger version means I have to read my dates in Japanese kanji, but I think I will manage. Although I won’t be able to enjoy the quotes (and information about quirky things like stretching, Japanese fast food, emergency preparedness, and Japanese holidays), but I can read the days and dates thanks to my years of living in Asia and studying Chinese (and a little Japanese). If Cousin’s language thing is a deal breaker, the good news is the Hobonichi Techno Planner (smaller A6 size) comes in an all English version.

I thought I’d try the variety called Avec, which breaks the year into two volumes, halving the weight of the planner.

Hobonichi Techno Cousin 2018 Avec

Choosing from the 19 different cover designs for Cousin was fun.  I picked a happy shade of yellow with white polka dots and an ice blue interior. Isn’t it darling? I can’t wait to start using it.

Hobonichi Techno Cousin Vitamin Dot Cover 2018

Hobonichi planners can be bought online at Milligram or through the official Hobonichi site.


Over to You!

Got a favourite planner that I should look into (for 2019)? Do you stick with the same one year after year or, like me, keep hunting for the perfect planner? I hope you find a good one for 2018.

Image Credits

Arnel Hasanovic via Unsplash

Planner images via various retailers’ websites

*Prices are approximate and correct at the time of publication.

Journal Day is a Thing.

Anne Frank Street Art by  TIA, CC I hereby declare the 12th of June World Journal Day in honour of Anne Frank’s birthday. Journal Day is officially a thing–at least in my little corner of the blogosphere, and you heard it first here at Spilling Ink.

On this day in 1943, Anne Frank received the diary that became The Diary of a Young Girl, so in Anne’s honour, I have a super-cute Kiki.K journal and pen set you can win. Read to the bottom of the post for details.

To kick off the giddy World Journal Day celebrations, I’m sharing some of the benefits of journalling. It turns out writing in a journal is good for your soul–and a whole lot more! Did you know keeping a journal benefits you physically, mentally, and spiritually? Researchers have spent decades unpicking the hows and whys. Here are a few to ponder.

Body Boosthttps://www.flickr.com/photos/jek-a-go-go/

I’ve known for years that journalling makes me feel better, but I had no idea that the benefits were so powerful. Various researchers have discovered journalling has positive effects on the symptoms of asthma, rheumatoid arthritis, and even HIV/AIDS.

Another study found writing expressively improves liver and lung function, reduces blood pressure, and  can shorten hospital stays–and more. They list 16 benefits to well-being!

Other research links journalling to improved immune function. University of Texas at Austin psychologist and researcher James Pennebaker has been studying the health advantages of writing since the mid-80s. “…research by Pennebaker indicates that suppressing negative, trauma-related thoughts compromises immune functioning and that those who write visit the doctor less often.”

Dr Pennebaker told Psychology Today, “When people are given the opportunity to write about emotional upheavals, they often experienced improved health. They go to the doctor less. They have changes in immune function. If they are first-year college students, their grades tend to go up.”

There you have it, students! Journalling is not only good for your body; it’s good for your grades!

Some researchers are quick to point out that rehashing trauma and negativity isn’t as helpful as writing through the events. Journalling that documents growth and transformation seems to be the most helpful. Finding the story is the key! (Sounds like good practice for writers.)

Still skeptical about the power of journalling and writing? Here’s a study that will blow your mind: Researchers have shown the act of writing affectionately about someone can lower cholesterol levels! I’d love to see someone explain the mechanism behind that one!

Mind Boost

https://www.flickr.com/photos/erinkohlenbergphoto/Any regular journaller will tell you the practice helps them manage stress and navigate difficulties. Some people use journalling as a sleep aid–I do. I find journalling helps me “empty” my busy mind before I turn out the lights. It’s as if downloading the worries frees my mind of the burden of care, thus allowing me to sleep.

A journal provides a safe space to make sense of the things we go through. Even the effects of trauma and the intensity of emotions can be reduced when we can find the story thread in events. Psychology Today reports:

In a different but related theory, the ability to construct a story from our experiences may give us the opportunity to detach ourselves and approach our situation more objectively. Stories may also be better stored in the brain as memories, rather than what may otherwise be a random amalgamation of strong emotions.”

Spiritual Boost

Journalling can be a form of meditation, the new buzz word in well-being management. Writing and Mindfulness dovetail nicely, and both practices are good for your soul. Plenty of creatives, myself included, have found that writing in a journal helps shift stuckness and stagnation. It lets me move past self-doubt and other internal hindrances and frees up creativity.

Writer Natalie Goldberg advocates free writing in her timeless writing book Writing Down the Bones. Free writing is a perfect form of writing in journals–without censors, without an audience, just being present. It’s good for your soul and great for your creativity.

Many major religions link gratitude with spiritual growth and well-being. Researchers can now prove the benefits of practising an attitude of gratitude through writing. One study found that gratitude journalling reduces stress, materialism and negative self-comparisons.

In General…

Journalling helps you:

  • Prioritise
  • Find clarity and focus
  • Improve self-awareness
  • Identify unhelpful thinking patterns
  • Practise positive self-talk
  • Process challenging events

Here’s a link to a huge list of journalling prompts–enough to keep you writing for half the year.

 Win! Win! Win!

To celebrate Anne’s birthday and Spilling Ink‘s inaugural World Journal Day, I have one lovely Kiki.K journal to give away. It’s an A5 bonded leather journal in “Why-Not Pink.” (Click the link for a sneaky-peek.) The matching pen features the words  “Life is Sweet” in curly script.

To be in the running to win, “like” this post or leave a comment about how journalling helps you. (Winner selected in a random draw on 14 June 2015.)

Happy World Journal Day! Here’s to your health and your soul!

Image Credits

Anne Frank Street Art by TIA, CC

Drat 172.365 by Jessica Wilson, CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

Writing in the Journal by Erin Kohlenberg, CC BY 2.0