JJ Writes, Personal

A Look Inside My Notebooks

I have three notebooks and a calendar in a pile next to my bed and I thought I would do a post about them. And by that, what I actually mean is: I finally got the nerve up to do a post about them because they are a mess and everyone else’s notebooks are always pretty and neat and perfect.

All three notebooks I use are pukka pads because I love the quality of the paper. It’s thick and smooth and your pen just glides across it. I prefer writing in spiral bound notebooks because the pages lie flat. I have had lots of notebooks down the years, including moleskines, and I still prefer these. My A6 and my A5 notebooks are both lined but my A4 one is squared for reasons I’ll go into.

But first here is my calendar. I use it to mark down when I’ve done things for health reasons because my memory is rubbish and if you ask me when my sheets were changed last then I have no idea. But my calendar does. I also use it to write down when posts go up on my blog, I used to have a separate planner for that but there’s enough space in here for both. My blog posts are marginally colour coded; red for books, blue for crafts, navy for personal and green if I have any guest posts. I say marginally because sometimes they overlap and I’m not very strict about it. But having a planner to write down the blog posts helps me to know what needs to get done by when. I’ve had this one the longest out of all of my notebooks (Or some variation on this, the actual calendar is only a couple of months old but I’ve been doing this for a couple of years now).

The pens I use for this are a pack of coloured 0.5 tipped ones that my dad bought for me in a Japanese shop in London once upon a time. I wasn’t there and the label is in Japanese so that is all I can tell you about them!

Next up is my….. Okay, so its literally anything that doesn’t fit in the others. Random notes, lots of notes about stories I’m writing, sketches for cross stitch patterns, sewing ideas, just anything that needs writing down on paper (but mainly story stuff). This is a mess. Seriously. This notebook is the exact reason I never share anything like this because I see how neat and organised other peoples notes are and I’m like…??? Some examples of pages that I’ve written in, then over, then through…

Sidenote: I’ve just found out how difficult it is to photograph writing so you probably can’t read anything but hopefully you can get the gist of the mess so you can get the idea. It’s almost as messy as my brain. But I’m sharing it because there are probably other people who have messy notebooks somewhere…

Next is on to my cross stitch design book. Now, I do most of my designing straight on the computer. I might do an initial sketch in my other notebook but generally it’ll just be in my head and then on the computer. But every now and then there will be something that needs to be worked out on squared paper. For example my pin cushion designs have all been worked out in this notebook. It’s just easier to be able to play with certain elements on paper sometimes. Things like borders or repeated motifs are good to draw out.


I will generally sketch things out using biro but then go over them with my favourite black pens that I will mention later. Anything that needs colour to see how it works (Like the second picture) will either be done in sharpie or Copic markers depending on what colour I want (I have a black piece of card that I put behind the page anytime I use them to stop them from bleeding through to the other pages).

And finally but not least, my Spanish diary. It was one of my new year goals to keep a Spanish diary this year. So that’s what this baby notebook is.


Headers for each month change, which are fun to do. And my terrible attempts at Spanish follow. I’m actually up to date and still going which I have to be honest I was not expecting. And I think, for the first time ever, I might actually finish a whole notebook because of this. I’m irrationally excited about that achievement. I haven’t done it yet but I will!

Onto pens, these are my favourite pens…..


I used to use these types of pens when I was in school doing my a levels. I wouldn’t use anything else but rollerball pens even though they had a tendencies to bleed through paper, hence my love for the thick pages of my pukka pads. I have very expensive pens that never get used because these babies are perfect. They glide so nicely. I have them in 0.7 and 1.0 but only use the 0.7 for writing in my Spanish diary otherwise it tends to bleed a little even though the pages are thick.


Are you a messy notebook person? Or are you one of those perfectly neat people? And if so, tell me your secrets, please! I always find it so interesting to know what kind of pens people use. Or are you a pencil person? I can’t stand the scratchiness of pencils anymore but used to use those heavy full graphite ones at school. And I always manage to snap those mechanical pencils, they just never work for me.

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15 thoughts on “A Look Inside My Notebooks”

  1. Jessica, I am with you, notebooks and pens are such delights! I have pinned all sorts of bullet journal things on Pinterest, and have a lovely new book to start in, but I have no idea what to do with it yet! I think I will finish out the year with my work planner, since I have it, and I like it, then experiment….maybe by then I’ll have a clue of what I want!😄 I think there’s some wisdom in separate books like you do. My Bible Study notebook will always be separate, but everything else may end up in one for me…just don’t know. Looks like your system is working great for you and that’s what it is all about!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I always have that worry when I get new notebooks. They are so precious and lovely that I don’t want to start using them haha. I hope you figure out what to do with it. I love the idea of bullet journals I’m just not organised enough to ever actually use one. I know they are suppose to help that but I think I’m too far gone lol

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I have always been off again on again with my planner, but always have lists, so now that I am home, I am trying to use it to make sure I get stuff done, especially the stuff I might put off because I don’t enjoy it as much, or the things I want to do or try. With no deadline for anything, it is easy to fritter the day away, and then I feel bad that I have done nothing…guess I’m still in recovery from life as a 4-H specialist! I need to loosen up a bit!


  2. Thanks so much for sharing! Notebooks are such personal things, and as long as you are happy with them I wouldn’t worry if they are tidy or not!
    Each year I try a different ‘system’. I always have to beautiful thick paper, and I like good quality pens too, though for all designing I use a pencil. It’s never neat, and is usually just a quick scribble to get it onto paper before I forget!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I recently went through an online journaling class facilitated by Tammy Strobel of Rowdy Kittens Blog. She is an author and one of the pioneers of tiny house and minimalist living. I loved it! Many great ideas to add to my journaling practice. What you have done with keeping multiple journals is one of her suggestions. I love your notebooks and I was worried about mine being messy too but Tammy said not to sweat it. It was more important to get my thoughts down on the page not how pretty it looked . 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you. I don’t think I could make them neater even if I tried and you’re right, I would have forgotten what I wanted to write by the time I did it neatly haha.


  4. I have little notebooks all over the house but am not at all organized with the way I use them. I keep thinking I’ll designate each one to a different task–weaving, quilting, etc.–but I don’t ever do it . . . .

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I love the idea of having notebooks all over the place. Mine are just in one massive stack beside my bed haha.


  5. Well, you have seen my messy notebook. 🙂 I think the pens in the first pic may be from MUJI. We recently were in New York City and my daughter made us go to MUJI, where I saw pens just like those.

    I identify well with the “my memory is rubbish” comment, and that is probably why I write so much down.

    I love your Spanish diary, and my favorite pens are actually the InkJoy Gel pens with the silver tips – I try to mix colors as much as possible to keep things fun.

    And, I noticed the same thing when photographing my notebooks. Great post! Following you now.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I always try t keep my notebooks tidy but they always end up like my brain: a confusing mess. Even though notebooks and journals are quite personal, I think it’s interesting how different people use or organise their notebooks. Thanks for sharing Jessica!!


  7. I have been wanting to keep one of those fun, pretty journals with pictures and writing, but I really haven’t gotten very far with it. Collected lots of things for it, but have only a couple entries. So sad. I do have writing journals I used to keep. Haven’t written in one for a couple of years now. I really should get back to it. Love that you keep all the different notebooks and have your own system for each. I love a smooth writing pen or marker. Not much of a pencil person. I will have to check out those notebooks with the thicker paper though. Sounds heavenly.


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