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Bullet Journal update – the stationery porn edition!

Following my decision to start a bullet journal, I had to decide what kind of notebook and pens to use. I considered using my LiveScribe Echo, but that would limit me to black ink and the narrow range of available dot-paper notebooks, so I’ve opted to go completely analogue this time – which gives me the excuse to really indulge my stationery addiction!

I hunted through my drawer of unused notebooks (I did mention I had an addiction, right?) and found a lime green Leuchtturm that a friend gave me at Easter when she was visiting from Germany. I’d never used this brand before, but since I wasn’t crazy about the lime green colour I thought it might do for my day-job bullet journal.

Not going to lose this one in a hurry!
Not going to lose this one in a hurry!

When I unwrapped it I found it was an even better choice than I’d expected. Not only are the pages pre-numbered, but all Leuchtturm notebooks have several printed table-of-contents pages at the front, ready for a Bullet Journal index. They also come with a set of stickers for labelling the front and spine of your notebook; the latter are particularly useful if you want to shelve your notebooks and refer to them later.

I immediately started filling in the pages, using a Parker fountain pen that writes nicely but isn’t so expensive that I’d be devastated if I lost it at the office. By lucky chance my friend had chosen the dotted grid version of the notebook, which is perfect for Bullet Journal format because it makes it easy to line up your bullets vertically.

Pristine journals, awaiting the pen…
Pristine journals, awaiting the pen…

The process went really well, so I decided to get another Leuchtturm for my personal journal. Unfortunately we have only one local stockist (Ryman), and they only carry the plain and ruled paper versions. I could have ordered online from elsewhere, but then they would have taken several days to arrive and I was impatient to begin! I therefore decided to buy a lined Leuchtturm locally, and will order some dotted-paper ones for when the first is full. I’m not so keen on the lined paper ones, though, as they have “Date:” at the top of each page, which is only useful if you are writing a more conventional journal. Note that I actually bought two notebooks – the special edition gold one was on discount, so I couldn’t resist!

Click to see a close-up!
Click to see a close-up!

Of course notebooks are no good without pens, and as I’ve blogged about before, I particularly love fountain pens. The ones I’m using with my personal journals are by Kaweco: a Lilliput in eco (lead-free) brass, and a Classic Sport in limited-edition dark brown. I’ve photographed them next to a UK 20p piece (slightly smaller than a US quarter), so you can see how tiny they are!

Both are loaded with brown ink, which I think is nicer than stark black for a personal journal. The Lilliput is on the expensive side so it stays at home (I lost my first one through carrying it around in my backpack), hence I bought the much cheaper Classic Sport for travel use.

This one goes everywhere with me
This one goes everywhere with me

In addition to the Leuchtturms I’m going to be using my X17 re-formed leather A6 binder with two lined-paper inserts, as my take-everywhere to-do list and general mental dumping ground. The X17 was one of the notebooks I bought for earlier this year for writing on-the-go, but it happens to suit bullet journaling really well.

I use a Zebra Expandz telescoping ballpoint pen with this one because, much as I love fountain pens, their tendency to dry up is not helpful when you’re trying to jot stuff down whenever and wherever you think of it. I love these Zebra pens (and their even tinier siblings), as they can slip into the smallest pocket or utility belt pouch!

I also wanted to use coloured pens with my new journals, so I dug out a set of Uniball Signo gel pens I’d bought from John Lewis a while back and added some Bic ballpoints (the clicky multi-coloured kind we all loved as kids!) for carrying around in my various work/leisure bags.

I love that these come in gold and silver as well!
I love that these come in gold and silver as well!

For highlighting I use fluorescent pencils from Paperchase, because unlike conventional fibre-tip highlighters they don’t bleed through to the other side of the paper. Plus, being pencils you can also cut them in half to make nifty pocket versions!

More pretties
More pretties

Finally I decided to buy some washi tape for brightening up my journals – it’s a type of decorative Japanese paper tape with a similar feel to masking tape, and very popular with scrapbookers, card makers and other crafters. The choice available locally was very limited, so I ordered several designs from Lovely Tape.

I’ve been journalling for a couple of weeks now, and whilst none of the above are essential, they certainly help to keep me motivated!

Comments

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Jen Farrant

Yes, I use the Leuchturms, they are by far the best quality. But I am now limiting my notebooks to Bullet Journal, Soulbook – kind of a creative space for images, words, pictures, dreaming, thinking etc and then a Book where I keep quotes and notes from books I am reading.

Otherwise I have too many notebooks, but I find this works best for everything

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Anne

I agree that too many notebooks gets confusing and counterproductive! I’ve started using my X17 as a multi-purpose notebook, because it can hold two refills: one is for my bullet journal, the other is for jotting down ideas for my fiction WiP. When one gets filled I can swap it out without losing the other 🙂

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Jen Farrant

oh, now that’s a good idea. I keep being tempted by the MIdori traveller for the same reason, but I refuse to spend that much on stationery.

I will look at your suggestion
Jen

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Anne

TBH the X17 works out more expensive than an equivalent-sized Midori if you want the leather version, but it has the advantage that you can opt for a basic synthetic binder and upgrade to a fancy one later if you really like the system.

Also I suspect that the Midori paper is better than X17’s for fountain pens, but in a little pocket notebook I prefer thin paper and less bulk.