Journal Roundup 2016

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I’ve written about the notebooks I use last year on this blog (and on Tumblr 4 years ago5 years ago ~wew~), so I figured I’d share my current arsenal of notebooks / paper-bounded products this year as well (and maybe, this will be a yearly thing!).

To be honest, being an adult has influenced my notebook usage (in a good way). I think I’ve become more specific with my priorities and work that I really have to keep things in order, hence only having a few notebooks on-hand for my ideas, planning & travel endeavours.

So, here’s a quick roundup of my current journals & paper-bound products I use on a routinal basis. :)

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Notebooks have always been an essential part of my DNA. I never leave the house without at least 2 notebooks (fact). In all honesty, I’d choose my notebooks / journals over my iPhone any day. I told myself I was diagnosed with NAD (Notebook Addiction Disorder, lol) because I have over 50 notebooks here at home – from planners, tiny notebooks, hardbound journals, etc. They’re all kept in different boxes and are mostly dated per year.


I had to unearth some of them recently for a project (!) and well, the photo above consists of journals from 10 years ago. I feel old! I’ve been keeping records of my life since 2005/2006. :)

Also: For the record, Jokerman LET was very popular back then. And some trivia: I’m called “Gayle” here at home. “Abbey” sort of evolved from “Abi” in high school. Haha!

Anyway, now onto my current notebook lineup. Let’s start with IDEA GENERATION notebooks. These are what I use for daily idea dumps and whatnots on the go.


My ultimate favorite is my Midori TN in Passport Size. It’s a holder that can store notebooks, card slots, and other DIY things (but mine has notebooks only). This was an impulsive purchase (ehem, Maine!) but I don’t regret it (mind you, it’s really expensive, and way out of my budget).

Inside my Midori are 3 notebooks:

Grid notebook: adulthood stuff, and personal chronicles of my favorite events, music, other interests (top left)

Lined notebook (top left, the one with NOTEBOOK on it): social media content ideas and schedules for posts on Instagram (hehe, especially when random ideas come out of nowhere)

Plain notebook (not in photo): Idea dump for a major project. I write random things and observations in relation to said project (which is correlated to the next notebook)

By the way, I’m looking for more inexpensive refill options and so far I’ve found Moleskine and some notebook I got from Tokyu Hands in SG. I’ll check more when I get to Japan later this March.

IG-Blank Notebook

Another notebook I’ve been lugging around for research sessions (once a week) is this random notebook I got from Jiufen in Taiwan (it’s only around PHP60!). It’s blank inside; and I list down a lot of notes from books & research materials from time to time. Pages are few too, so it’s easy to take around.

Quick tip: If you’re working on a long-term or a major project, it’s best to invest 1 full notebook for it. Keeps things organized (at least, for me)!


I have two project workbooks, both c/o Moleskine.

The first is an A5 Professional Notebook, which is for meetings, project plans & strategy drafts (top left). The page layouts are designed for optimal work performance (aka the lines are segregated / divided on some areas). I find it to be a more convenient way to outline my thoughts and filter ideas from there.

The second is an A4 Plain Workbook which I use for sketches, layout studies, and other design work (top right). I always try to fill up a page when I brainstorm / warm up, and it works every time. :)

All this time, I’ve always been on the hunt for the best work notebooks AND I think my search is over. Both these notebooks have page numbers and there’s a directory on the first page. I haven’t been on that OC level of organizing the topics yet but for the most part, I find my work to become more efficient with these two notebooks.

Note: The meeting/project notebook is different from my planner. I’ll explain later.


For my PERSONAL JOURNALING, I use an A6 blank notebook my friend from SG gave me.

No frills, it’s really just your plain ol’ notebook. I use any pen to draw, mostly fineliners, aka THE basic tool for drawing / writing. :)

Okay, let me explain why my meeting notebook is different from my planner.


For PLANNING, I use Sunday Paper’s Any Year Planner for my daily tasks & to-do lists. I used to allot a page a day for writing my schedule & checklist but I realized that I can actually fit it in smaller boxes. Saved my life.

Also, my planner has all my tasks – from personal things like “run at the gym today”, errands I have to run after, meetings and occasional lunches/dinners with friends/clients/mentors in between, little reminders I might forget, to major project work. It basically keeps things in order, so I try to allot my weekends to jot down some of my tasks for the coming week.

Also: I have a Google Calendar for projects, meetings, events, etc. which I sync with my phone.

Lastly, let’s move on to TRAVEL.


I use two notebooks for travel: one for organizing and another for painting / travel illustration. Only because I like to filter out my ideas on one and draw endlessly on the other. Also, paper quality is different.

For the former, there’s Sunday Paper’s Travel Journal (top left), designed for the OC traveler who’s always itching for the next adventure.

Quick tip: If you’re into journaling but you don’t like drawing, I suggest collecting travel ephemera (top right). I have my own collection of postcards, stickers & old tickets / receipts from trips around the world. I also have a lot of washi tape (around 10-15 rolls) that I use to decorate my journal. :)IMG_9474

Related Posts: Travel Art Tools | En Route: Taiwan + Singapore


For travel illustration, I use (2) Moleskine Watercolor Pads (in A5 & A6). I actually have all sizes (lol, but the A4 is for lettering). 

The A5 / medium sized one is a recent favorite. I’ve used it to document my Scandinavia trip, and I’m allocating it for long trips that require lots of illustrating. The size is just right for me.

The A4 / small sized one is for quick road trips & random musings. I like to hand letter quotes in as well.


Okay, let’s be real. Moleskine paper is not super A+ BUT in terms of convenience, the watercolor paper quality does its job and the binding is pretty good. Also, do note that I’m not a water-heavy painter for watercolor, which is probably why paper doesn’t warp when I paint. The best part is that Moleskine’s paper is quick drying so I can easily paint on the go.

Disclaimer: I don’t do lettering on both of these pads. These are strictly for travel-related things. My lettering work requires a different type of paper.

Related Posts:  Moleskine Magic | Moleskine Watercolor Pad: A Review | Travel Diaries: Southeast Asia


Final things before I end this post:

I just realized I didn’t mention about writing tools. But, for the record, I use ballpens, Gtecs, My Gel pens, fineliners…basically ANYTHING that’s suitable for writing. No fancy things (except watercolor for travel illustrations). Please don’t think that you need to buy expensive materials for these things. I promise, it’s better to allot your funds for other things. :)

You can get most of these in the Philippines. Moleskine is available mostly at National Book Store, Powerbooks & Fully Booked (best to check here for the watercolor pads). Sunday Paper is available here. Midori is available at Scribe Writing Essentials (and elsewhere abroad).

I’ve chosen these notebooks/journals based on my personal preferences and its availability in my current box of “unused notebooks”. This may vary for everyone else, of course. All opinions here are solely from me. No biased comments and this is not a sponsored post. :)

Anyway, that’s it for my roundup this year. Let me know your thoughts in the comments below!

And, I’m curious – how do YOU keep your life organized? Your answers will be of great help for my big project. ;)


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12 Responses to “Journal Roundup 2016”

  1. Katrina
    March 9, 2016 at 8:35 pm

    Thank you for the info. I have a lot of notebooks and 4 planners for this year too – each with different use but my main planner is my webster’s pages light teal. ❤

    I have moleskin too and I use it for documenting parts of my travels for this year. :)
    I think, I am now convinced to get a Midori Travel Journal. :)

    The hoarder in me has been awaken! Lol!

    Thanks again!

  2. Abbey
    March 9, 2016 at 10:20 pm

    Hi Katrina! Hahahaha. OMG. 4 planners? For? That’s a lot!

    Yes, a Midori is a good investment :) Aaand goodluck with hoarding! Hahhaa. Use responsibly. :)

  3. Apple
    March 9, 2016 at 9:49 pm

    Ahhhh, this post just fueled my craving for new notebooks and pens. Haha. I wonder if you’ve ever tried out a popular planner/journaling system, like Bullet Journal or Passion Planner. I myself use Passion Planner as my center of everything, and I have different notebooks for office work and personal work.

  4. Abbey
    March 9, 2016 at 10:20 pm

    Hallo, Apple! Nope, I haven’t. What’s the Passion Planner? Let me Google it :)

    Bullet journal’s too OC for me. I don’t want to stress myself in remembering which bullet is for which. Haha. Also, good job on separating your office & personal work notebooks. Work-life balance right there!

  5. Eunice
    March 9, 2016 at 11:57 pm

    Hello. So far I’ve been using four notebooks and one Cartridge exercise book as of the moment.

    The Cartridge one was one that I spontaneously bought at Komikon last year, because I was itching for a sketchbook that could handle watercolor too because I tend to mix my sketches and type together as some sort of practice. It’s awesome at 135 gsm, and when I used watercolor on it, it didn’t warp even when I had this one piece using some heavy colors on it. Quick fact: The company that supplies Cartridge is from Singapore. Haha, I had no idea how the Komikon guys got to sell them here but it’s amazing.

    I have one notebook for fiction writing and fiction character profiles (because yes I write fiction aside from making art), another for my personal stuff and philosophical entries (bought by my favorite maths teacher back then and I haven’t used up all the pages yet), another for purely type and design related things (it has craft paper mixed in, hallelujah), and last for purely fiction writing ideas (like keywords and phrases or rules on creative writing).

    I did buy a Muji unlined notebook and a Sunday Paper Simple Notebook when I had the time for shopping, but I haven’t used them yet. I do kind of laugh at the fact that I barely use planners at all but I organize almost completely for every hobby I do and even for academic things on regular notebooks lol.

    Thanks for your insights on the notebooks. It was really helpful.

  6. Abbey
    March 21, 2016 at 1:51 pm

    Thanks for YOUR insights as well, Eunice! :)

  7. Shannelle
    March 19, 2016 at 7:03 pm

    Totally geeked out over this post. I’ve always heard of Midori, but I still don’t get it and why it works + that price so getting a ton of Muji notebooks it is. And a very nice friend got me a Leuchtturm and I feel so intimidated to use it, but I’m entertaining of thinking of using it for blogging or planning my social media, but for now, simply admiring it it is. And you inspired me to journal more creatively, so I got a Muji A5 for that, and it’s really nice just recounting all the good things that happens to me.

  8. Abbey
    March 21, 2016 at 1:44 pm

    Hey Shannelle! I’m biased but currently the Midori is making my life a wee bit more organized rather than having a lot of different notebooks. On another note, Leuchtturm is pretty good too, haven’t tried it though! Great on getting a personal journal to record the good things. Enjoy :)

  9. Shannelle
    March 30, 2016 at 4:23 pm

    Is the Midori just a holder of notebooks?

  10. Abbey
    March 30, 2016 at 8:28 pm

    Nope! They have notebook inserts also :) and stickers

  11. Therese
    December 12, 2016 at 1:43 am

    I bought notebooks awhile ago but I am not happy with it. 😔 I really want a blank or grid notebook with 100-200 sheets that is affordable. Can you suggest some brands and where can I buy it? I like your a6 notebook but you said it is from SG. Eventhough I like moleskin and leuchtturm1917, I don’t want to spend my money for those expensive notebooks. I hope you can help me.

  12. Abbey
    December 15, 2016 at 8:24 pm

    You can check Muji or Daiso :)