Where to Buy Nolty Planners

I had a question from a commenter about where to buy Nolty planners, and I realized it was probably time to recap this topic, since some of my older posts aren’t up to date on the latest options.

In recent news, I noticed that Jet Pens is now stocking some Nolty planners! This is exciting, but at least for now, they are just offering a limited selection of planners that start in April, in line with the Japanese school year. I’m hoping this means that they’ll stock even more items this coming fall for the 2025 calendar year. They have a nice post with general information about Nolty here.

where to buy nolty planners jetpens.com

Kinokuniya is another good place to buy Nolty planners. They stock various Nolty and Pagem planners in their stores, and on their website, if you search under “Japanese books” using the word Nolty and a model number or year, you’ll find a wide range of models, including the leather covered Nolty Gold. These are a special order from Japan, but if you live near a store, you can do store pick-up and not pay for shipping. Shipping is also free if you order over $50 of merchandise. And that isn’t hard to do if you are getting a Nolty Gold! Their price tends to be very high, but if you are getting free shipping for just one or two items, it may be the best option.

where to buy nolty planners kinokuniya

If you are ordering multiple Nolty planners, or more expensive items like the Nolty Gold, Nolty’s own online store might be the best option. It helps a lot to have the Google Translate plug-in on your browser if you don’t speak Japanese! Searching can sometimes be tricky but if you know the model number you are looking for, just pop it into the search bar they have towards the bottom of the home page linked above. They have a World Shopping plug-in that makes international orders very easy, as it automatically consolidates items into a shopping cart. World Shopping is a 3rd party forwarder who basically buys the items for you and then charges you for shipping them to your destination. Make sure the items you want are all in stock and read the terms and conditions carefully to make sure it’s right for you. I have found that for a large enough purchase, the cost can be lower than going through Kinokuniya.

where to buy nolty planners

Finally, keep an eye on Amazon.com. I’ve seen the Nolty Gold listed there for a very attractive price. I haven’t ordered this way and my only hesitation is that Amazon is notorious for selling counterfeit items. If the price seems too good to be true, I sometimes wonder if the item is authentic. But sometimes low prices can be a quirk of their algorithms and you might get lucky.

where to buy nolty planners amazon

Nolty planners can also turn up on eBay, Etsy, and other sites. Start searching early in the fall so you can compare prices and shipping costs and make the best choice on where to buy Nolty for your individual situation!

Every Day Carry Notebooks

It goes without saying that at least one notebook has always and will always be part of my every day carryEDC for short. While I might go for a 20-minute walk in the neighborhood without a notebook, at all other times, I have to have one nearby. But lately I’ve been having some serious dilemmas about how many and which notebooks should be part of my EDC.

First of all, how do we define EDC anyway? I work from home, so most days I don’t have to carry anything too far! I’m talking about the notebooks I have closest at hand for constant usage. I carry them around the house every day, so they’re almost always in the same room. When I go out somewhere, I like to keep my bag relatively light, so depending on what I’m doing/where I’m going, I might not carry the same full set of notebooks in my bag… but that’s part of my dilemma.

Over the years, my habits have morphed from just carrying one notebook to carrying several. In the 1990s, the one notebook was a Filofax that also served as a wallet. Then it was a Moleskine sketchbook, used for all sorts of jottings, while other info, appointments, etc. were maintained in an electronic organizer. At some point this turned into two Moleskines (or similar), usually a squared notebook used as a journal and logbook, and a sketchbook strictly for drawing. Then a dated planner entered the mix, for logging and jotting important dates. When the dated planner became a Nolty, it became my home for logging, noting appointments, keeping short term lists on each weekly spread, and long term lists in the supplemental notebook in the back.

For the last several years, I’ve settled into a solid habit of 3 EDC notebooks: the journal, the sketchbook, and the Nolty planner. But I kept having this hankering to add a looseleaf notebook into the mix, and recently the Filofax Guildford Extra Slim has joined my EDC bundle.

everyday carry notebooks

It fits in really nicely, in a physical sense. It’s exactly the same size as the rest. I’ve filled it with Plotter inserts, so it’s aesthetically pleasing in terms of the colors and page layout, and I can use fountain pens without having to worry about bleed-through.

filofax with plotter inserts
filofax guildford with plotter inserts

The dilemma is that this feels like a lot of notebooks now. It’s a nice handful, but a bit chunky! And somewhat heavier and bulkier than ideal for my bag. I find myself wanting to be a bit more minimal. But what would I leave out?

everyday carry notebooks edc

I want to continue to keep a journal in a bound notebook. I like being able to go back to a bound notebook that is specific to a date range. But maybe I could just leave it on my desk or nightstand and confine most of my journaling to those moments? If I wrote notes in the Filofax and wanted to save them, I could remove those pages and attach them at the appropriate place in the journal.

What about the sketchbook? Lately I haven’t been drawing every day. But I feel like I should be! I don’t want to combine sketches with my journaling, as I like being able to show people my sketches without also exposing my private musings. And I want a certain kind of paper for sketching. My current sketchbook is also just very nice to hold– it’s one of my older Moleskines from the early 2000s when they were so well made with zero overhang.

Could I leave out the Nolty? A lot of what I write in it is logging food, exercise and other habits, which I could record at the end of each day, but I also use it for lists and planning. I keep some of these notes in the Filofax or my journal, but I really love the format of the Nolty and the feel of the leather cover. I don’t want to give it up.

At the moment, the Filofax is what seems redundant. The notes that I’m keeping in the Filofax could go somewhere else, mostly in the Nolty. But I’m thinking that maybe for 2024 I will not set up the Nolty with all my usual long-term lists. Keeping those in the Filofax may work better because if I run out of space, I can just add pages, rather than having to skip elsewhere in the supplemental booklet. If I wasn’t carrying the Filofax, I could use the Nolty as a sort of in-box for all the things I want to add to long term lists. I don’t like the inefficiency of having to jot something down twice, but the reality is that I end up having to re-copy whole lists every couple of years anyway– I tend to use the supplemental notebooks for two years but by then the long-term lists are running out of space or have too many obsolete items, so I end up re-writing them in a new booklet when I start a year in a new Nolty planner.

I also keep some long-term lists and all my appointments in my phone, which makes a lot more sense for these kinds of things in many ways. But that’s not much fun for a notebook lover, is it?

The best thing about using a Filofax or other kinds of leather refillable notebooks for an all-in-one system is that they break in and get better over time. I also enjoy that about the leather Nolty planner. Leather binders can last for decades if they’re well taken care of, but nice ones are expensive, and not as replaceable as a Moleskine or Nolty. My Guildford Extra Slim seems to be quite a rare model and I can’t help worrying that I’d never be able to replace it if I lost it. This is probably an unreasonable paranoia given that I don’t think I’ve lost a notebook since 7th grade. It’s also unreasonable because I have several other really nice refillable notebooks that I’d be happy to have an excuse to use on a daily basis!

My dilemma comes down to choosing between my enjoyment of staying organized efficiently using a notebook best suited to my purposes, and my enjoyment of just… using lots of nice notebooks, just because. Every day carry is not necessarily every day use for me. And maybe every day use doesn’t have to mean every day carry? Either way, it’s every day admiration and adoration of all the things there are to love about notebooks!

everyday carry notebooks edc

So for 2024, my every day carry will probably continue to be 4 notebooks on a pretty regular basis, but I’ll allow myself some breaks. They’ll always be with me around the house, but when I go out, sometimes I’ll just carry the Nolty, or maybe add one or two others depending on my plans. We’ll see how it goes! Who knows, maybe I’ll find a fifth notebook that I can’t be without…

2024 Pagem Planner Review

When I placed this year’s Nolty order from Japan, I decided to throw in one of their Pagem planners. Pagem is a brand that seems to be aimed more at women, as many of their designs have pastel colors and floral patterns rather than the very conservative Nolty options. Colorful, patterned, “feminine” covers are not usually my thing. But this particular Pagem planner is pretty minimalist and came in black, so I couldn’t resist trying something that was a little bit new and different.

2024 pagem planner review

The Pagem planner is a little outside of my normal notebook/planner preferences in a lot of ways, so I was surprised I liked it so much. I’ve actually started using it for my job, and I think a lot of people might enjoy this format for general planning purposes. Let’s take a look!

This is the Pagem model #2203. I got the black version, but other colors are available (model numbers 2201-2210 are pretty much this format in other colors, though some seem to have a different weekly calendar layout). (A few options are available on Amazon.)

The exterior cover is a detachable clear plastic. It protects the planner insert, while giving you some pockets and a pen loop. Then inside the plastic, there is a textured paper wrap. This layer of paper is presumably the only difference between the various colors that are available.

pagem planner detachable cover
pagem planner inside front cover

Then inside plastic and the paper wrap is the planner book itself. It is raw-looking without the cover, but it could easily be swapped into a different cover. The separate cover and the stitched binding of the booklet allows the planner to lie flat quite easily, which is important to me for a work notebook that I will be keeping on my desk. Once it is open, you immediately notice the row of colored stepped index tabs down the side. This makes it really easy to jump to each month of the year.

But before you get to the monthly sections, there are pages with a tiny yearly calendar through June 2026, and a 2024 yearly plan page. The monthly sections begin with some pages for December 2023, then the first colored tab corresponds to a month-on-two-pages layout for January. Then you get week-on-two-pages layouts for January, followed by a couple of lined pages for free form notes. This is repeated for each month, so you have great options for planning your year and each month, and getting into more granular appointments and tasks within each week. The lined pages at the end could be used for random notes or lists, or recording specific tasks or accomplishments for each month. It seems very Bullet Journal-friendly. It also seems to use the same paper as the Nolty Efficiency Notebook. I didn’t do a full range of pen tests, but it is fountain pen friendly.

pagem planner yearly layout
pagem planner monthly layout
pagem planner weekly layout
pagem planner monthly notes pages

After the monthly sections, there are some pages where you can jot items for the first 3 months of 2025, more blank pages, and some size charts, an Age Chart, and a “Health Check Calendar,” which perhaps is meant for tracking one’s menstrual cycle, as there’s not room for much else!

pagem size chart and health chart

Like other Nolty planners, the Pagem 2203 has a supplemental booklet in the back. This one has some reference info in Japanese, a few pages for addresses and telephone numbers, lined pages, and some perforated memo pages so you can neatly tear out a small piece.

pagem info book
pagem info pages

Tucked in the back pocket, the planner also includes a sheet of Japanese transit maps, and some clear plastic tab protectors. The colored monthly tabs already have a glossy coating on them, but maybe these are intended to add extra protection.

pagem planner back pocket

The Pagem planner has two ribbon markers, similar to the ones used in the regular Nolty notebooks, but these are white and beige. Another key difference is the size– it’s taller and thicker than the other Nolty notebooks I’ve used. Below you can see the size comparison vs. the Nolty Gold Efficiency Notebook and a pocket size Moleskine.

nolty vs pagem vs. moleskine
pagem nolty moleskine comparison
pagem vs other notebooks side view

I’d personally prefer the day blocks in the weekly layout to be unlined, but I think this layout will work well for me in other ways. I work Monday-Thursday, so with those days on the left side, I can jot down meetings and tasks assigned to each day. Then I can use the whole facing page for additional notes and tasks. (As noted above, some similar Pagem models have a different weekly layout: model 2209, for example, has the seven days of the week on the left side, and a lined notes page on the right.)

I started writing this review in January, before I’d really used the Pagem planner much. Now it’s already March, and I can say that this notebook is definitely working well for me. There are times when I’d wish to have more space for meeting notes. (I still keep a larger dot-grid notebook on my desk that I can use for those if needed, but I like keeping them in line with my notes and task lists from the same date range when possible.) I’m finding the weekly layout a nice way to focus and organize what I have to accomplish each week, slotting tasks into particular days. And I like having a smaller work notebook that is easier to take with me if I travel. At a recent conference I attended, the pockets in the cover handy for tucking business cards. Will I buy another one for 2025? Too soon to say. Now that I’ve gotten over my fear of using a pocket size notebook for my work tasks, maybe I’ll use another Nolty planner for my job. Or maybe I’ll come across some other interesting planner that I want to try. We shall see! But the Pagem planner is certainly an appealing option that will be in consideration.

If you want to try one, I’m seeing some listed on Amazon for $16.35 as of this writing, with free shipping.

2024 Nolty Gold Planner, Low Price and Free Shipping!

If you’ve wanted to try a Nolty Gold planner but haven’t wanted to deal with shipping from Japan and high prices, now might be your moment!

I just spotted a listing on Amazon.com for the model 3121 that I use, the 95 x 145mm size, with a gorgeous leather cover. The price I am seeing as of this writing is $45.86 with free shipping. That is a lot less than any other price I’ve seen for US delivery. Snag it while you can! 2024 is still young!

This post contains affiliate links, from which I earn a small commission on any purchases.

A Notebook in the Movie Elf!

I had never seen the movie Elf. The 20th anniversary re-release has had people talking about it, and several people I know said it was their favorite Christmas movie, so I decided to watch it. It was pretty cute, but of course my favorite part was the appearance of a notebook!

The notebook belongs to the character Miles Finch, a children’s book author who has filled it with story ideas.

I would guess that the notebook in the movie is a very common 4×6″ hardcover sketchbook similar to ones made by various manufacturers, such as Canson, Stillman & Birn, Daler Rowney, and Artlicious, among others.

There’s also a “Miles Finch” notebook for sale on Amazon, which is a cute idea, but it doesn’t sound like the same type of notebook at all, as it is larger than the one in the movie. It’s basically just a 6×9″ paperback lined notebook that says Miles Finch on the cover.

Hope your holidays are happy and full of notebook sightings!

Notebook Review: Daler Rowney Pocket Sketchbook

I first heard about the Daler Rowney Pocket Sketchbook on an art supply website somewhere– unfortunately I’ve lost the link, but it was a glowing review that got me very intrigued, especially since it was said to be available at a very low price from Walmart. It took me a few tries to find a Walmart store that actually had one on the shelf, but let’s take a look at the one I bought.

daler rowney simply pocket sketchbook

My first impressions of this notebook were really not promising. It has a very standard black Moleskine-clone look but with a rather cheap feel to it, with the exterior reminding me of the Piccadilly notebooks I bought years ago. The branding is all on a removable paper band except for the Daler Rowney name stamped on the back cover. So many notebook brands mark their name in this spot, but oddly, Daler Rowney doesn’t center theirs in the middle of the back cover like everyone else, instead putting it to the side, sort of centered between the elastic band and the spine.

What bugs me most about the Daler Rowney sketchbook is that the corners are a little askew and there is a huge overhang. The spine seems like it will be susceptible to splitting where it bends.

The Daler Rowney is shown compared to an early-2000s Moleskine sketchbook below:

Daler Rowney simply pocket sketchbook vs Moleskine sketchbook
Daler Rowney vs Moleskine

Inside, the Moleskine-ish-ness continues with a ribbon marker and a back pocket.

The paper also has a creamy tone and smooth texture (described as “medium grain”) similar to a Moleskine sketchbook. But there the similarities end. The Daler Rowney sketchbook paper feels thinner than Moleskine’s sketchbook paper. But Daler Rowney’s paper is 100 GSM, and it actually works really well with a variety of materials! Fountain pens, markers, gel ink, pencil– all my usual tests resulted in better than average performance on show-through, and no bleed-through or feathering except for the Super Sharpie. I also tested some moderate watercolor usage and it seemed fine, without the paper disintegrating or warping too much. This would be a great sketchbook to use as a visual journal where writing and sketching could be combined with marker or watercolors. (And it’s a huge improvement over the last Daler Rowney sketchbook I reviewed in 2014!)

Daler Rowney sketchbook fountain pen test
Daler Rowney sketchbook pen test no bleedthrough

Best of all, this sketchbook is an incredible bargain! At Walmart, it’s only $5.84, and a pocket size softcover is also available for $2.17. You can also find Daler Rowney sketchbooks in various sizes and binding types on Amazon— most are very inexpensive, but for some reason this exact 3.5 x 5.5″ hardcover sketchbook costs a lot more on Amazon.

I can’t 100% recommend this sketchbook due to the construction feeling a little inferior– if I have a chance to use it for an extended period and feel that it holds up well, I’ll update this review, but aside from my suspicions about its durability, it’s just not ideal aesthetically. However, if you want a budget-friendly Moleskine alternative that you can pick up at your local Walmart, this is a great option!

Notebook Review: Fabriano Ecoqua Plus Softcover

In all the years I’ve been blogging, I don’t think I’ve ever reviewed a Fabriano notebook. This seems like a strange omission, as I am pretty sure I’ve bought Fabriano notebooks before, but as far as I can tell, the only one currently in my possession is this Ecoqua Plus softcover notebook, purchased quite recently.

I’ve seen displays of Fabriano notebooks in stores for years, usually in larger sizes, or staple-bound formats. But it’s only recently that I’ve seen hardcover and softcover notebooks in my preferred pocket Moleskine-ish format of 3.5 x 5.5″. I decided it was time to take the plunge and try one!

I chose a rather un-adventurous black softcover notebook, with squared pages. It is very similar to a Moleskine softcover in a lot of ways– ribbon marker, elastic closure, back pocket. Various exterior colors are available, as are different page layouts: plain, lined, squared, dotted. But there are some important differences that make these a lot nicer than a Moleskine (shown below for comparison).

The exterior cover is a sturdy paper, with a smooth surface and a faux-cloth texture. The Fabriano logo appears on the back cover in a silver metallic ink, but otherwise, it’s totally plain once you remove the paper band with the product info. If you prefer the faux-leather texture of the Moleskine cover, you might not like the Fabriano material, but it looks attractive and feels sturdy.

The inside covers are plain black paper, or perhaps charcoal grey, as they are slightly lighter than the black of the cover. I love the look of black endpapers, though they limit what pens you can use to write on them.

Inside is where the Fabriano Ecoqua Plus notebook really shines. The paper is fantastic– white with a fine grey grid, the color is a little less creamy than Moleskine paper. It feels similarly smooth, but you can tell right away that it’s heavier: 90 gsm. And when you write on it, it really shines: fountain pens are vibrant, with nice ink shading. There’s no bleedthrough, and less show-through than average. It’s fantastic paper. And they have quite a few ecological certifications too.

My only issues with this notebook are these: the spine is a bit stiff. I”m not sure if mine just has a little extra glue, or a little missing glue, but on one end it sticks pretty closely to the page signatures, and on the other it pops out when you open the notebook. The notebook will open flat and if you press down on it, it will pretty much stay open, but then when you close it, it won’t stay totally closed. This might change as the notebook breaks in with use.

Issue 2 is that the grid squares are wider at the page edges. It’s not a big deal but I don’t know why they didn’t continue the grid rulings in exact squares all the way to the top, bottom and sides.

Issue 3 might not even really be an issue, but it’s that the notebook is made of 5 signatures of pages. In looking at a Moleskine softcover notebook I have (which is an older model, and perhaps not representative of their current construction), it’s made of 10 signatures. I always like seeing more signatures with fewer pages, as I feel like it makes for a more supple spine.

Other than that, I love this notebook and plan to try it for daily use someday. It will be interesting to see how it stands up to heavy usage– I loved my first softcover Moleskine too, but found that the corners of the cover got a little ragged, and the page block was not very securely attached to the cover. This may just be a tradeoff that comes with softcover notebooks: the softer the spine and cover, the more likely they are to fall apart. I kind of wish I had tried a hardcover version of the Fabriano Ecoqua Plus notebook too, to see if the stiff spine issues also appear in those. I will probably buy one, now that I know how much I like the Fabriano paper.

I see various Fabriano Ecoqua Plus notebooks listed on Amazon, including other colors, sizes, and styles. If you click through this listing for the “stitch bound” notebooks, you’ll see all the colors and sizes listed as additional options. I bought mine at Jerry’s, where the list price is $14.30 for the pocket size, but they are discounted to $8.58 as of this writing! I’ve also seen them at Blick and in independent art supply stores.

Origin One Notebook Review

I recently received a selection of goodies from Origin One, a company based in India. Founded in 2015, Origin One describes themselves as “a collection of everyday stationery, handmade rugs, and elevated basics made for the design loving global nomad.” Their website very attractively presents a wide variety of notebooks, planners, stickers, stamps and other stationery, as well as housewares such as table linens, kitchenware, and framed art.

The Origin One notebooks I received are blank, lined, and squared notebooks in a variety of sizes. These are all single-signature notebooks, with either stitched or stapled spines. The materials all have a nice feel– substantial card stock covers in different colors and textures and smooth, creamy 112 GSM paper.

The designs vary: some just have the Origin One logo on the front, and some have other logos that say Global Nomad, or are a more elaborate Origin One logo with the tagline “Everyday Objects for the Design Loving Global Nomads.” I personally prefer a cleaner front cover, with one subtle logo or none at all. But that’s a matter of individual taste, as the person I live with came in and said “ooh, those are cute!” while I was photographing these samples!

The back covers have even more going on, with product details, brand info and other verbiage and design elements. I’m not sure why they have all these warnings about bending and pressing! Like any notebook, they’ll get creased if you bend them in certain ways, but what’s the big deal? It’s a sturdy notebook, so it should survive normal wear and tear perfectly well. The “caution” and “handle with care” warnings just seem a bit silly. I like the little tree and campfire graphics, though!

There’s no branding inside the Origin One notebooks. The lined and squared versions have quite wide margins around the lined/squared areas. It’s a bit unusual but it will be a matter of personal preference whether you consider this a good or bad thing.

One of the large notebooks I received is Origin One’s “Multi Use Notebook.” This has an interesting layout I’ve never seen before, with the left page half dotted and half plain, and the right page all lined, with months and dates at the top so you can circle them (similar to Stalogy notebooks). At the bottom of both pages, you get a ruler– centimeters on the left and inches on the right. I could see this being a really handy layout for designers or anyone who needs to sketch and take meeting notes, perhaps. Or it could be used for a daily journal that incorporates both writing and drawing, or just some fun space for doodling. Though as you can see, there is some show-through of the alternate layout from the back of the page.

I tested the paper in one of the passport-sized notebooks. It feels really smooth and nice to write on, especially with gel ink pens. With fountain pens, colors look vibrant and drying time is very fast. But there is a little feathering and some bleed-through. Show-through is about average. There’s a lot to like about this paper, but you might not want to be using both sides if you use a lot of juicy fountain pens.

So will these Origin One notebooks truly appeal to design-loving global nomads? There is definitely a lot of design going on– maybe a little too much, with all those logos and warnings everywhere! And if you’re a global nomad, it’s quite likely that your notebook will get pressed or bent from time to time while stuffed in your luggage. But on the whole, I think these are attractive, good-quality notebooks, and if you use either of the standard sizes of Travelers Notebooks, these are a nice option for refills.

If you want to try some Origin One notebooks yourself, they ship internationally, but depending on where you live, the cost may be high in relation to the notebooks. For example, two A5 notebooks costing approximately $9 USD each would cost about $30 to ship to the US.

You can also enter my giveaway! I will select two random winners and each will receive a selection of Origin One samples. Please note that I will only ship to US addresses. I haven’t done a giveaway in a while and I’m feeling lazy about all the social media stuff, so all you have to do to enter is leave a comment on this post no later than 11:59pm EST on Sunday October 29, 2023! Make sure you include your email address in the comment form so I can contact you if you win.

I received these samples for free, but was not compensated in any other way for this review, and all opinions are my own.

Nolty Landscape Format Notebook

In Fall 2021, I threw a extra notebook into my Nolty planner order, just for the heck of it. Then I let it sit around for almost 2 years without reviewing it! Let’s get this situation rectified tout suite. (Or ไปŠใ™ใ , imasugu, as may be more appropriate.)

nolty notebook NTBNT3201

This Nolty Notebook is model # NTBNT3201. I can’t read most of the packaging as it’s in Japanese, but it’s pretty clear that the paper band around it specifies measurements of 91 x 156 x 9mm, 192 pages, and paper with a 3.5mm grid. The paper is noted as being “Nolty Diary Paper.”

nolty horizontal grid notebook

From the minute you take it out of the package, it feels rather sleek. The black card stock cover has a slight texture, with the product information stamped in one corner, very subtly with just a bit of lamination so the letters are shiny in contrast to the matte surface of the cover. The back cover is blank.

nolty notebook grid matrix format
nolty horizontal notebook
nolty horizontal notebook

Inside, there is no branding or product information. Just the same black paper as endsheets, which looks great– though if you’re in the habit of writing your contact details on the inside front cover, you’ll have to use a white or metallic pen, or paste in a label. The notebook opens nice and flat, thanks to carefully sewn signatures and a light application of glue.

nolty notebook endpapers
nolty notebook opens flat
nolty notebook spine
nolty flexible cover

The paper throughout is an interesting layout. There’s a margin around the edges, wider on the top with a space for the date, and then a grid section inside the margin. There are 4 red triangles marking the mid-point of each edge of the grid area. I’m not quite sure how this is intended to be used, but it looks cool! The packaging shows a page with some kind of diagram of past/now/future, but I don’t know if that’s meant to be a suggested layout or just a sample of an idea or project sketch. If anyone can translate it, I’d love to know more.

nolty notebook horizontal spread

The paper feels silky smooth. Though it’s said to be the same as Nolty diary paper, I think it feels even smoother than the paper in my Nolty planner. It is wonderful to write on, and most pens don’t bleed through at all. There is some show-through, as you’d expect of a paper this weight. (No paper weight is specified but it feels quite light.)

nolty notebook fountain pen test
nolty pen test back of page

If you want a landscape/horizontal format notebook, perhaps to lie in front of a keyboard, I think this would be a very satisfying choice. It could also make a great reporter-style notebook, as you can easily bend the cover back fully.

I paid 770 yen for this notebook, not including shipping. That still seems to be the suggested retail price on the Nolty online store. At the current exchange rate, that is about $5.18, which seems quite reasonable for a notebook of this quality. Shipping from Japan to other countries will add quite a bit, but if you’re ordering other things from Japan via a proxy shipping service, it might not be too much to add on. If you don’t want to deal with all that, ordering from Amazon.com is also an option– as of this writing, they have this notebook available for $20.21. Pink, beige, and ruled versions are also available.

No-Name Pocket Filofax, 1990s

Here’s another trip down memory lane with a Filofax from my collection of refillable notebooks. This Filofax must have been bought before the two Pocket Chelsea models I wrote about recently. At first, I thought it might be more recent, because it is in such good condition, but it only has 4 rings, a configuration that Filofax phased out. It is stamped “Made in England,” but no model name is identified. (Shown below with a pocket Moleskine for size comparison.)

pocket filofax vs moleskine
pocket slim filofax vs moleskine
pocket slim lincoln filofax vs moleskine

I really loved this Filofax, and I think I used it quite a lot for several years though it’s still in excellent shape and looks almost new. It’s made of a sturdy, smooth leather, which doesn’t feel especially soft or luxurious but I prefer its slightly stiffer structure to the floppiness of my Guildford Extra slim. It also still has a wonderful leather smell. I love the minimal, straightforward interior pockets. The interior has a fabric lining to it, like my older kid leather Filofax— I think it looks nice, but I wonder why they sometimes show more of the fabric and sometimes less. On the Pocket Chelseas, there is fabric inside the pockets but it’s not visible around the rings.

made in england pocket filofax
vintage pocket filofax

With no snap closure or pen loop, the overall shape is close to perfect, but it is a teeny bit too square and wide for me. The problem is that it has larger rings, which are great in terms of being able to fit more pages in, but they force the whole notebook to be a bit wider because the paper sits further from the spine, even if you don’t use tabbed dividers. My Pocket Chelsea with the larger rings is about the same width, but it’s slightly taller, and I think because the leather is softer and more broken in, the edges have bent a bit, making it feel a little narrower even though it really isn’t. What would really be great, maybe even “perfect,” would be a version of this notebook with small rings and the extra slim dimensions of the Guildford. Sigh.

I primarily used this as a straight-up notebook, I think– or at least, that is how I used it most recently, perhaps while using one of my other Filofaxes as more of a wallet and planner. This one is loaded mostly with unlined paper, though there are a few pages of lined paper and telephone number sheets at the end, as well as a pad of sticky notes.

pocket filofax with sticky notes

There were some fun jottings and sketches, particularly some notes on a trip to Coney Island– phrases from a sign promoting a sideshow act called Tiny Tasha (“$10,000 reward if not alive!”), and an overheard conversation between a rather mis-matched couple. At least one note in this Filofax was a transcription of a voicemail that I remember receiving on 9/12/01, so I must have been using the notebook in the late 1990s and into the very early 2000s.

notes in pocket filofax
notes in pocket filofax notebook
sketches in pocket filofax

So the mystery was why this Filofax has no name. And when exactly did I buy it? My earlier kid leather Filofax didn’t have a name either, but it had three letters stamped inside a pocket, which would have been some indication of its model. I was curious as to when Filofax started naming the models, so I took a deep dive into the archive of old Filofax catalogs at Philofaxy— an incredible resource! It was fascinating to research the history of the pocket Filofax.

At first, I didn’t think I was seeing anything like this model, but after scouring many catalogs, I think I identified it! It actually does have a name: the Lincoln. Everything about the Pocket Lincoln matches, except that I could never find a listing for a “slim” version without the fastener. However, it seems they would sometimes offer variations in different markets, so it’s possible this slim pocket Lincoln was only sold in the US, so wasn’t shown in the UK catalogs. The Lincoln was only listed in UK catalogs in 1992 (as “new”) and 1993. 1994 was when Filofax switched all their pocket models to having 6 rings, so 1992-1993 is the likely time-frame for this model, though I could have bought it from stock that remained in a store at a later date. I’m not sure how rare these “slim” Lincolns are, but I saw some listed on eBay for a great price back in 2019… the kind of new old stock sale that haunts my dreams!

I have a vague memory that I might have had a second one of these that was in a bag I had stolen on a trip to France in 2000… I didn’t keep a very detailed diary back then, and I suppose if I had, it might have been in that stolen Filofax anyway! I guess at this point I’ll never know, but I’m glad I have this pocket Lincoln in my collection, as it’s a lovely example of Filofax’s made-in-England quality from back in the day.

Notebooks, journals, sketchbooks, diaries: in search of the perfect page…