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.

New Year, New MochiThings Planner

Screen Shot 2016-01-26 at 3.42.01 pmThere’s nothing like starting a new year with a fresh diary. All those empty pages, waiting to be filled with the dreams and designs and fun of an unfolding year.

Despite being digital-calendar-dependent, I still revert to a hard-copy scheduler for month-to-month planning. There’s something about the act of writing it down that helps me macro-manage my time, and I like the bird’s-eye view of a whole month spread out in front of me. It’s an essential tool for writers and bloggers as far as I’m concerned.

IMG_0427Last year, I used MochiThings‘s Iconic Desk pad. Each page of the dateless pad has a blank monthly grid and an elegant design down the right side. I use that space to write summaries of the past month and alerts for the month ahead.

Screen Shot 2016-01-26 at 4.57.15 pm

Deco Stickers to highlight dates.

Fine (.28) gel pens, petite deco stickers, and washi tape turn the blank calendar into a colourful,effective planning tool.


The transparent deco stickers are a fun way to keep track of writing progress. Yellow spots mark my Spilling Ink posts and pink ones mark e-Quipped. The book-spine washi tape (pictured below and sold here) highlights literary events, while other washi tape indicates important dates, like submission deadlines and holidays. At the end of the month, I archive the sheet for record keeping.

Screen Shot 2016-01-26 at 4.14.08 pm

Washi Tape with books!

The one downfall of the Iconic pad is that it’s meant to use on a desk, so it wasn’t the best thing to carry to meetings and so forth. I decided I’d upgrade to a more portable planner.

I went straight back to the MochiThings website because of their enormous selection and fantastic website. They have something for everyone, even über-picky shoppers like me. Here’s my planner checklist:


  • Big enough for info and stickers
  • Small enough to fit in my laptop sleeve
  • Room for notes


  • Heavy duty cover
  • Rounded corners to prevent dog-earing
  • Protective sleeve for portability


  • Able open flat
  • Stitched binding (Spiral binding makes hard to write on the left page, and spines prevent the page lying flat)
  • No distracting graphics or weird sayings
  • Stylish design — not too plain, not too prissy

Ahem…Like I said: über-picky. (You should see my specs for notebooks and pens!)

A Foxy 2016 Scheduler

After losing half a day to browsing the MochiThings website and blog, I found the perfect scheduler for this year. The 2016 Ardium MonthlyPlanner for US$14.95. Out of an array of gorgeous designs, I chose the Mustard Fox. Very cute, and it ticks all the boxes above—especially the style box. Foxes AND mustard. Gah…

Screen Shot 2016-01-26 at 1.42.32 pm

A close runner-up was the Molang Scheduler. It includes weekly as well as monthly pages, and it comes with a set of cute stickers of Molang (a cuddly monster or a fat bunny?). The spiral binding sits at the top of the calendar, where it won’t get in the way. In the end it was a tiny bit too small for my handwriting, so I picked the slightly larger Ardium. Molang is a  blank calendar, so it can be started any month of any year. A set of bright date stickers will make it pop.

Screen Shot 2016-01-26 at 3.10.30 pm

Hmmm…I still like this one a lot. I hope I’ve made the right choice!

My third pick was the Scheduler Kit for $19.95. It comes with a Medium Monthly Planner (below), a sticky note set, a stick-on diary pocket, a set of date stickers, and a 2015/2016 calendar sticker set. All of the items can be bought separately, and the Medium Monthly Planner comes in a variety of sizes. I prefer large one.

Screen Shot 2016-01-26 at 1.38.01 pm

Whooo Needs Accessories?

My 2015 Panda calendar stickers are going into retirement to make way for the Owls of 2016. These Owl Deco Stickers are a hoot. They’re probably a little large for use in a planning calendar, but Whooo cares?

Screen Shot 2016-01-26 at 1.40.08 pm


And these little Owl Index Stickers are adorable.

Screen Shot 2016-01-26 at 1.44.28 pm

Back to School Bonanza

The end of January means it’s back-to-school time in Australia. For first time in nearly twenty years, I didn’t have to order a huge haul of stationery for the school year. It’s a good thing, because I’d have a hard time resisting MochiThings’s School Collection. Look at the adorable fringed backpack stuffed with all kinds of goodies–pretty notebooks, a whole Roy-G-Biv of gel pens, stickers, pencil cases, and more. $199.

Screen Shot 2016-01-26 at 1.36.25 pm

What a haul of goodies! Forget the planner–I want to go back to school!

Check out Tumblr for the MochiThings Blog.

Stationery Fiends, Anyone?

Does new stationery make you weak in the knees? Tell us what desk-cessory or paper product you can’t do without.

MochiThings images used with permission

Cute Stationery Gifts Galore!

Stationery, office supplies, school supplies–or (the term I’ve coined) Desk-cessories. No matter the name for this category of stuff, I crave it! Paper products bring on a swoon. Lovely pens leave me breathless. Beautifully appointed desks make me go ga-ga.

Better Together Note Pouch | Be still, my beating heart!

MochiThing’s Better Together Note Pouch | Be still, my beating heart!

Just looking at this photo of MochiThing‘s Better Together Note Pouch triggers furious flood of dopamine in my brain. Sigh.

Hi, I’m Alison and I am a hoarder of notebooks, a collector of pens, a shameless drooler for desk gear. Go ahead: Call me stationery-addicted. I don’t care. Just hand over the damn stickers/stapler/sticky tape dispenser, and no one gets hurt.

Suppliers for My Next Fix

photo (12)

Screen Shot of my iPad

I have a dealer to satisfy every paper-product urge: Classy-Fine, Fancy-Pantsy, Artsy-Fartsy, even Cutesy. I keep my black book of suppliers in a folder on my iPad called “Paper Fix.” In it are about twenty links to pen and paper merchants’ websites around the globe. (Don’t judge me! Plenty of women do the same thing for handbags, shoes, and make-up. Anyway, a biro is a lot cheaper than a Coach bag!)

Need a Cute Fix?

Nobody does cute stationery like MochiThings. Today, I’d like to share a few cute items from the MochiThings collection. Any stationery lover will enjoy adding these items to her (probably not his, sorry guys) desk top or pencil case. Below are the Spilling Ink picks, with a couple of bookish items to start off.

MochiThings Cuteness Overload

Planner with a Fairy Tale Flavour

Cute Stationery MochiThings

Who says your daily planner has to be dreary? This Alice in Wonderland Planner is packed with gorgeous features. A durable hard cover, an elastic band to keep it closed in your handbag, and, best of all, lots of stickers to brighten your day. It’s dateless, so it can be started any time.

Fairy Tale Phone Wallet

Cute Stationery MochiThings

You can coordinate your planner with this cute Alice phone case for iPhone 5. It comes in Alice in Wonderland or Le Petit Prince. The wallet includes slots for three cards and a place to stash a couple of notes or business cards.

Pretty Ruled Notebooks

Cute Stationery MochiThings

Any school student would love to start the year with a few of these funky printed notebooks. They’d make a writer happy too!

These Sticky Notes are Too Cute!

Cute Stationery MochiThings

Use these Matroyshka Sticky Notes to mark pages when you’re reading or to decorate your planner.

Cable Holders

Cute stationery MochiThings

No more rooting around under your desk in search of wayward cables. These cute self-adhesive Rabbit Ear Cable Holders will lock them in place on your desk surface.

MochiThings – More Than a Cute Face!


 Basic Monthly Planner

Cute Stationery MochiThings

This Medium Monthly Planner is basic but oh-so-handy. No frills, just page after page of empty planning space. I’m getting one of these to do my blog planning in 2015.

Super Handy Purse Organiser


MochiThings doesn’t only do cute–they also specialise in functional. Tame the black hole in your handbag with this wonderful Slim Handbag Insert. You won’t believe the stuff you can fit into it. This one is at the top of my Christmas list! (Santa, take note!)

Gifts that Satisfy Paper Urges

Quell your cute cravings at MochiThings–or better yet, equip your favourite writer with some fresh desk-cessories because…

…Happiness is a well-appointed desk (and fully kitted out pencil-case.)

Images of products are used with permission from MochiThings.