From Rings to Strings: Planning Trends

Like everything else, there are trends and classics when it comes to planning.  My original planner many, many years ago was a personal Filofax Finsbury in breast cancer pink.  This was about 15 years ago.  I fell out of paper planning and swung between a wing and a prayer, a little WHSmith diary and my phone for a while.

I rediscovered planners and the joy of using it to be creative via Instagram.  I promptly purchased a cherry red personal Finsbury and it was love. Then I began to see Erin Condren Life Planners.  Those became very popular fast.  I recently found a photo of my first ever UK Planner Addicts meet in Paperchase London.  It was then I saw how popular ring bound planners were.


These are trends as I recall I’ve seen.


This is a planner classic and I don’t think it will ever really disappear.  Various sizes are popular.  The Malden seems to be a particular favourite of many including me.  It’s lush leather and big rings make it so practical yet beautiful.  Filofax have released various other planner items, including the flex, clipbook and more recently their notebook with removable pages similar to the Happy Planner or Arc system.  I will always revert to a Filofax when rings call me.  For me the quality is good for the price bracket.


Other Ringbound

In terms of other ring bound trends, other beautiful quality and more pricey options became desirable and still are.  These include Louis Vitton, Kate Spade, Gillio and Van der Spek.

Kikki K also began to feature in this market, with both personal and A5 offerings.

More recently Michael’s in the USA released a range of ring bound affordable planners which are nice.  

Also Carpe Diem – Simple Stories sell A4 planners which are more affordable.  Also Paperchase in the UK have a great range.  Webster’s  Pages also offer a more affordable version.  Also Dokibook are another more affordable range.


Erin Condren Life Planner is the one which Continues to be popular. Plum Paper planner was also very popular around the time ECLP first became popular.  However the ECLP has endured and has a loyal following. In the UK The Personal Planner offers the ability to customise in lots of ways. Bando is another popular planner and Kate Spade also offers a nice selection.  For 2018 I’m moving from an eclp to a Recollections spiral bound from Michael’s.  It gives me a similar layout but was over half the price.  A kind friend who lives in the USA but visits home in the UK regularly got it for me.

Disc Bound

Me and My Big Ideas – create 365 Happy Planner, is a sort of hybrid between a Filofax, having the flexibility to remove and add pages, with the feel of a coiled planner.  This has plastic discs on the spine.  The pages are cut in such a way that they can be removed, similar to the Arc system.  This planner has proved very popular and continues to be.  Available from mini to large, with it’s changeable covers and multiple insert packs available it is a good priced planner with lots of versatility.  The brand also offers lots of stickers that are very popular too.

Bound Books

The creation by Ryder Carroll of the Bullet Journal system means good quality notebooks such as the Leuchtturm 1917 and Moleskine have increased in popularity.  There are many other beautiful books, such as Scribbles That Matter,  Rhodia and Lemome to name a few.  The Leuchtturm remains the classic and most preferred it would seem.  Search Instagram to see some of the beautiful creations some make in these journals.  Another bound book that many love for planning is the Hobonichi Techo.  I don’t know much about these but they always look beautiful.  


The Travellers notebook has risen in popularity in 2017.  The original system was the Midori Traveler’s Notebook. The system of being able to add in and take out a variety of notebooks and other items such as dashboards and beautiful vellum papers is at present, the biggest planner trend.  There are a huge number of makers of stringed notebooks.  Popular at present in the UK are Foxy Fix , Chic Sparrow , Meadowgate Leather and Lyradori.   There are so many out there it’s mind bogging! 

 Michael’s have them in the USA and Webster’s Pages are another affordable option.  The range from micro to A5 and there are very many variants in between.  There are also many, many different places to get inserts, from those that are suitable for watercolour paintings to general notebooks.  The most popular is currently dot grid inserts and the most popular size seems to be a B6.  Slightly larger than a pocket sized.

Washi Tape

Washi tape is decorative paper tape that originated in Japan. It has been a popular embellishment for many years. There are so many designs available.  More recently it waved in popularity for those buying weekly sticker kits for planners such as the Erin Condren Life Planner,  as they often have “washi” stripes themed with the kit.  It is however a staple planner item and I have a large collection. My favourite Etsy stores for Wash are BonBonsKawaii and Jadies Crafts for foiled washi.

Planner Charms

Little trinket items that you hand from the top or bottom ring of a ring bound, or the strings or closing loop of a travellers notebook.  These vary greatly.  

Current trends on the front of the Traveller’s Notebook (TN) is a bow or floral clip.  Again, search Instagram or Etsy to see the variety.  My favourites are from Isabelle the Owl, Kawaii Studios,  Dotty Moo and The Punk Planner.


Again, hundreds! From Fimo to embroidered there are so many available to customise your planner,  These have been popular for about 18 months,  If you search Instagram you will find some planners rammed with many of these paperclips.  Each one a tiny work of art.  My favourite store is My Unicorn Planner.  In addition I’m a big fan of an Oli Clip,  a magnetic page marker.  Very strong magnets and come in a range of lovely designs.


This has become epic. So many stores.  Many make a living from selling themed kits for the Erin Condren and Happy Planners.  There are a huge number of functional stickers available for anything you can probably think of…yes…even that! 

I am on design teams for Your World of Colour and Katie’s Sticker Company who both do kits.  Your World of Colour also has a huge range of functional stickers.  Check the “about me” on this blog or my Instagram bio for discount codes.

It’s easy to begin to understand why people never seem to find “planner peace” with so many things coming into play.  I personally find that Instagram is wonderful at helping you to feel like you want something else and to buy all the things!  No matter what I buy I will never have a pretty thing like that.  It is after all, a planner.  It’s main purpose is to make me feel organised (even if I’m not!)

I’ve not covered off planner pouches, bags, pens, stencils, pencils cases…  Just know there are, and will continue to be, a myriad of ways to spend your hard earned cash making your planner and your planning journey beautiful.

This is a planner stack from a recent UKPA meet again at Paperchase London. You can see the difference in the types of planners.

Recently I’ve seen prolific planner people moving back towards rings.  Maybe the TN thing is waning?  I’d really like to know what trends I missed out?  Being in the UK it’s UK/Europe biased.  Are there any trends I don’t know about?  I’d love to know.

Have a great day!



Pocket Moleskine Bullet Journal Set Up

Hello.  I thought it worth sharing with you my latest every day carry I’m trialling.  My last post was my beautiful TN which I am still using and love. However the temptation to stuff it full is high,  I also printed two lovely inserts for tracking everything Christmas related which I will share in a later post. Long and short of it, it’s too fat and heavy for an every day carry!

I was lucky enough to get a lovely limited edition Hello Kitty pocket Moleskine from TKMaxx for only £2.99.  So I thought I would make it an every day carry bullet journal.  If you have not yet heard of a Bullet Journal, you need first to go over to it’s creator, Ryder Carroll’s web site   It’s a really simple system, that helps you keep really organised.


As you know form my previous blogs about my pocket Filofax Malden this size works for for me.  I tried the bullet method before in my TN.  However I felt I was just drawing weekly layouts that I could just buy ready done in a TN insert.  I realised this time that I need to follow Ryder’s basics and then tweak slightly as I learn more about what works for me.


I vowed to go minimal on sticker usage.  They sometime overload my brain and distract me from just the things I need to do.  That said, I did opt to add a beautiful wreath sticker from It’s Paper Co inside the front.


First page of course is the index.  This particular book is lined.  I tend to prefer dot grid, but I’m sticking with this book as I don’t intend to draw much in it.


I’ve saved just two pages for Index which I hope will be sufficient.  I’m using a Pentel Inkjoy 0.7 Gel pen which you can see does ghost.  However it’s not really bothering me.  I’m also ignoring the fact my handwriting is awful!  However my main focus is me and my needs, not it looking pretty for Instagram.

Next is the future log.



On reflection I think maybe the future log could have been laid out differently.  If I had turned the book 90 degrees I could have perhaps made it fit a little better.  That’s the point though of trying it out though in a cheaper book first.

Next is the month overview.  I’m using the classic key presently, suggested by Ryder.



Then of course, each weekly view.


I drew this out in advance of the week.  However next week I am trying just doing it a day at a time.  This is because I tend to have more tasks and events at the weekend, and this was too small.  It’s fine if a week goes over two pages, so I want to give myself the flexibility of having as much or as little space I need each day.


When I used the system previously, I struggled a little with just the future log.  I bought some annual stickers from Oops A Daisy UK (who also sell fab stencils) on Etsy and put them in the back of the book.  I use this to mark school holidays, birthdays and annual leave.  There is space for me to write them next to each month, just not done that yet.

I also added a little pull out pocket calendar from the lovely Ali at Crafty Ali Cat at the back with some washi.


I use a Leuchtturm 1917 stick in pen loop in the back for my Inkjoy.


Finally the book came with three cute Hello Kitty bookmarks and I’ve also added into the back pocket a Filofax pocket ruler.


I also use a coffee cup metal bookmark from Ali Express to mark the current day page.


That is the set up so far, and I’ve not yet missed having a bigger planner with me.  I am adapting and trying little things as I go.  Last week I used day text stickers from Your World of Colour which looked nice. (Discount code Planitzoe15 for 15% off over £8 spend).  Much neater than my writing!  I also have added in Christmas gift ideas and tracker and an order tracker.

I’d love to hear about your thoughts on this system if you have, or are thinking of using it.

Have a great day!