Pen review

I went crazy and ordered a bunch of pens on Amazon. Collecting pens has been a hobby for a very long time. I got three different types 

  1. Sharpie Pen – this is like a fine liner felt tip. I think it’s one of the best ultra fine felt pens I’ve used. Much smoother than the Maped or Staedtler. The nibs are quite strong too so I don’t think their liable to bend, fray or break. 
  2. Uni Ball Vision Elite BLX: this is writes like the regular Uni Ball rollerball pens. But the ink colors are unique, infused with black so they look really nice. I don’t like the grip on these pens and they are slightly scratchy when you write (even on Clairefontaine paper)
  3. Uni Ball Air: I think I’ve found a new love. The nibs are so unique and the flow is bold. They are extremely smooth. I’ve put in a picture down below which shows the nib and the writing. The only downside is the slight feathering. 

Gorgeous Montblanc Ringed Agenda

*Picture heavy post*

I was looking around the shops at our newly opened Outlet Village in Dubai and came across Montblanc. How could I not stop?

Besides some really good deals on their pens, this little beauty caught my eye in the case. Now, I’ve had some bad experience with the Montblanc Agenda (the cover started peeling off) but, when I had a look at this, I just fell in love. It’s leather so I hope there won’t be any peeling involved. Luckily the shop had a new piece and best of all I got it at a great price…. about USD 135.

It is the pocket size and fits my inserts perfectly. It’s been about two months that I’ve downsized to a pocket and I’m using Moleskine pocket size books punched to fit. The ring spacing is the same as the Filofax Pocket. There’s not much in terms of set up so I won’t be getting into that. I’d much rather show you some lovely pictures.

The Front… I don’t have any red binders. But this was a pocket size and didn’t feel like I couldn’t use it.

Montblanc 1

The front interior… 4 card slots and inside pocket… please forgive the clashing purple divider. I had set up my inserts for the Purple Malden.

Montblanc 2

View from the top… full length back pocket. As you can see the binder is still stiff and not broken in. With a week’s use it seems to be softer and I hope it will improve with time. I’ll give it a swipe of leather conditioner as well.

Montblanc 3

The inside back. It has a zipped storage, which I don’t really use. And plenty of space for a nice Montblanc pen (I couldn’t resist the sale on that either). The big fat pen holder is awesome because it really protects the pen even though my inserts are tight fit.

Montblanc 4

Finally, a close up of the leather and the poppers. There are two poppers but given my inserts, I doubt I will ever be able to use the inner one. But, I love a fat binder.

Montblanc 5



Filofax Pocket hack

I’m trying to use the Filofax pocket again because of lifestyle changes. I was using a Personal Compact but felt I should try something smaller. This is my fourth attempt at using a pocket so I don’t know if it will stick. But that’s a story for another time. 

For now I want to share a quick tip to fit personal size pages into the pocket. I realized that the reason I always stuck to Personal size was the numerous reference pages I had that I didn’t want to copy all over again. These pages have about 10 years of info and I seriously can’t lose them. 

I decided to punch them with along the bottom short end and put them in the pocket rings. After the first one, I realized that using them in a personal again would cause a lot of wear and tear. Here’s what I did:

I took some fat washi tape and folded it over along the edge. That way the  tape gets punched and not the holes. If I want to move them back to the Personal, I can just trim the edges. 

Now I’m happier and I hope my Pocket experiement lasts. 🤞 

Filofax A5 Compact – Heritage – Quick review


I received my A5 Compact Heritage from Filofax today. There’s a nice detailed review done by Steve on Philofaxy which you can view there. But I thought I’d do a quick review on some of the issues I noticed. fullsizerender

  • NO pockets, not even a secretarial flap. This could probably help with those of us who have an overstuffing problem but still, none?! There is a leather flyleaf with a top opening which is slit in half at the back to slip in scraps of paper but it’s not big enough to carry an A5 size (or folded A4). This is a bit of a problem since I’m sure we’re all prone to having additional pages that we just want to stick in there.
  • No closure. This makes it essentially a ring-bound notebook. While it adds to the sleekness of the binder, it also means just throwing it in your bag or car may not be the best idea. I would always be worried of the book flying open.This also means again, it won’t hold loose paper like binder with snap closure or a zipper would.
  • It’s quite floppy. There’s no stiffener. While I love binders without stiffeners because the leather feels softer, this one seems to be a bit too floppy. Probably best used on a desk. I guess I’ll know better once I use it in full force.
  • The leather feels very nice and the color is simply superb. The cotton cream inserts lend a beautiful touch to it. It’s got a great look. Sleek, stylish, minimalistic. Makes it great for an upsize everyday carry. 

I’m glad I bought it. I wanted to grab it up before it got sold out or discontinued. I know I would’ve regretted it later if I had missed it.

Attempt at a planner duo


Recently I’ve been craving some space in my planner but I just can’t do the A5 Filofax again. I need portability and less weight and I love my Personal size binder.

So I’ve been looking around for different options, yet again. This time I decided to get a Hobonichi Techo Cousin (which is the A5) size.

I love it because of the paper. I’ve always loved this type of paper and craved for notebooks that have them. This particular paper is called Tomoe River paper but it’s what we probably normally refer to as onion-skin or even bible paper. The Tomoe River paper holds up to fountain pens surprisingly well and has very little see through.

The Hobonichi has a cult following and I’m just surprised I never jumped on the bandwagon sooner. There are a host of sites with people using their Hobonichi’s in the most interesting ways. I love looking at them but, I plan to use mine solely for work.

So here goes another attempt at a planner duo….

Although the planners themselves don’t look bad, I decided to get a cover for my planner. Despite my eternal love for leather, I decided to get the normal ones, made out of polyester, so they are lighter. They don’t look bad at all. I got it in black with a beige interior. It has numerous pocket which would be useful. It has a back slip pocket which conveniently fits my iPad Mini.

The Hobonichi Techo Cousin has three different layouts – Monthly pages, weekly pages (Monday Start) and Daily Pages. Becuase of the lightweight paper, it fits all of these and is still pretty compact.

There’s no way I’m giving up my Filofax, so I’ve decided to use that for planning appointments, events, budget planning, reference material, project notes, shopping lists, personal lists, etc.

The Techo will house to-do lists on the weekly pages (which are in vertical format) and notes / blog planning on the daily pages. I decided to get the one that starts in January, although they have an April start. I just thought I could use the extra pages for notes. Also, I like to start each year with a fresh book (weird, I know!). I still don’t know what to use the monthly pages for.

So far it’s been a few days and it’s working out well, since it’s not really too heavy to carry around. I hope this system works out for me…


LV Agenda MM – Medium Ring Agenda Cover

Since I decided to move back into the personal size Filofax, I wanted something lightweight. I do have a few nice ones but, for some reason I dusted off my LV.

This is called the LV Agenda in Taiga and it’s the MM size, which is the medium size. It has 6 rings and the spacing is similar to the Filofax Personal or the Franklin Covey Compact size. I have the one in black.

It’s quite a compact planner and sleek looking. The cover is black with a hidden popper, 6 credit card slots and business card pocket on one side, secretarial pocket on the other. One pen loop. I’ve put some pictures at the bottom.

I had splurged on this a couple of years ago as a gift to myself when I got promoted. I had my initials put in as well. They don’t emboss it for you, they just heat stamp it.

What’s awesome about this planner:

  1. The leather is coated so it does not get scratched easily or discoloured.
  2. It super lightweight probably because of the the type of leather.
  3. It lays flat
  4. The cover has a very muted LV emboss, so it has a classy feel to it. I really wouldn’t want my planner to scream LV. (at least not the one I take to see clients)
  5. The size is more like a FC Compact rather than a Filofax, so it takes the larger FC size paper without sticking out (it’s 5.5 x 7.1 inches). (The page lifters in the picture below are from FC.)
  6. The inside is very simple, but it has a secretarial pocket, which I want and the card slots are really comfortable for those who use them.
  7. The rings seem to be smaller than 1 inch but I like the size. Somehow, even when it’s full, it holds it shape and feels compact. No bulging.

What’s not nice:

  1. The pen loop is not comfortable at all. So I just insert the pen by the clip instead of the whole pen.
  2. The rings are of poor quality. They seem very flimsy to me for some reason. I also feel that they will become misaligned in time or with heavy use. Let’s see. I guess LV can replace it for me. It’s the least they should do given the considerable amount spent on it .

I don’t know why I haven’t used this planner more often given all the positives. I think it’s because of the rings. I felt heavy duty use would break it. But now I really want to use it because I realised it’s lightweight enough for me to carry a lot of paper without getting too heavy (I’m trying out two calendars).

All in all, it’s been a great investment and I’m glad I bought it.

LV frontInterior LVInterior Back

How to plan your planner

A5 Filofax Holborn

Even though I’ve been using a paper planner for years now, I realize that every once in a while my planner fails. I also get very fidgety and often change up my system, or even my whole planner. When this happens I go through my basic steps and re-evaluate what I’m doing.

One thing I’ve learned over the years is while a planner is meant to keep you on track, sometimes you need to keep track of your planner.

Whether you’ve been using paper planners for years or are a planner newbie, here are some quick tips that have helped me:

  1. Make a plan: List out all the things you will be using your planner for. Work or personal or both. I can’t have separate books. I’ve tried and failed miserably. I need to have just one.
  2. Decide on a calendar: Personally, a planner without a calendar is simply useless for me. I need to have dates. So the next thing you need to decide is a format of your calendar depending on how many timed appointments you have. I used to use the calendar to write out my to-dos for the day. I quickly realized that I was re-writing stuff all the time. So now I have deadlines in my calendar and to-do’s on a sticky note that I can move from week to week.
  3. Keep your to-dos with your calendar: Either try to schedule in time for your to-do’s or put them with your calendar. As I mentioned in the previous point, I now use sticky notes on my weekly lay out.
  4. Make sections: I always thought project sections that came with the Filofax were for people who did project-based work in the office. I realized over time that anything can turn into a project. For example, if you have a client that has multiple requirements and there’s a number of internal approvals / research required, this can be a project. Something like planning a birthday party can also be a project. I think the person who does this best is Giftie Etcetera. Please check out her website and YouTube channel to learn so much about how to get these things right and plenty more.
  5. Keep important info/ tel numbers written down in one place
  6. Make sure you have a place to stuff paper: We all have the burden of printouts and receipts. You have to ensure planning system can carry some scraps of paper until you can process it.
  7. Don’t make it heavy: While a stuffed planner looks beautiful, it quickly becomes a burden. Not just in terms of weight but also in terms of never actually finding things in your planner. Keep it light, clean out often and keep it functional.
  8. Don’t be afraid to change: Our lives change constantly and so do our planning needs. There will be periods of time when you need a heavy duty binder and other times when a simple pocket notebook will do. You don’t have to stick to one system. Change is good, change keeps things fresh.
  9. Have fun: For a planner to be useful, it’s needs to be used. If you think you’re planner is too ugly, too fat, too weird… you won’t use it. You have to love your planner, not be ashamed to pull it out in public. It must be comfortable to write in. If you think decorating will make you love it, by all means do that. But don’t forget, it’s meant to be a tool, not a piece of art.

Once I run through these things, it’s easier for me to decide how to switch up my planner and the flexibility I need.

I hope this is useful. I’d love to hear and learn more so if you have any tips, please do comment. Thanks!