Journal along with me | Buying a notebook

I don’t have a hard and fast bullet journal, but I’m hoping this series will make starting a journal a bit less daunting for some. I’m going to look at the fundamentals of “bujo” and show you how I have used them to shape my own journal.

A bullet journal compared to a diary is totally flexible because you create the pages as you need them, making space for whatever it is you need. A diary only offers a fixed space. Some days you might want to write lots and other days not so much. Having a journal which adapts is liberating!


You can buy a blank bullet journal but they are not cheap. If you are just starting out and want to try keeping a journal, then you don’t need an expensive one really. Once you have got into the habit of writing regularly, then you are probably going to want one of course, but they can cost about £20.

I’m happy to buy bargain notebooks and have more to spend on pens 😉

Joking aside, a proper bullet journal is going to look and feel classy, and the pages will be better quality, etc. The main reason it is different though is because the pages aren’t lined but they have a dot grid instead. It will have page numbers and an index probably too.

I don’t want people to be put off journals because of the price, and so I will repeat that you do not need an expensive one to start with.

I use a lined notebook and a ruler and pencil … okay sometimes I don’t bother with the ruler – shocking I know … and I have a huge selection of coloured pens.

My first three journals were A5 which is okay, and that’s a comfortable size if you’re taking your journal around with you. My current journal is A4 and I’ve found the larger pages make it much easier to do monthly spreads.

An alternative is to have an A5 journal but to stick extra A4 sheets in if you need more space for a spread. When that larger sheet is folded in half it will sit neatly inside the journal.

Basic supplies





Glue stick

Once you have those you can make a start. It’s up to you if you want to decorate your pages, and colour code things, but as I’ve said before, this is basic journalling on a budget.

It is very important not to get journal envy of course. While scouting for inspiration you can fall into a big pit of the most fantastically artistical (is that a word) pages which may make you want to give up your journal, but don’t get disheartened. I warn you now, my journal is not as pretty as some, but it is mine and I journal because I enjoy it, not because I want 3000 followers on Instagram.

In my next post in the series I will give some examples of my page layouts, so if you would like to journal along with me, it would be a good idea to subscribe to my blog. Use the follow button or sign up with your email and make sure you are getting notifications. You don’t want to miss anything!

The photo below is not my journal but just an example of a habit tracker I found on Unsplash … I wonder what was on that toast? Any ideas?

I will confess at this time though that I do own a set of pastel highlighters and that lilac colour is adorable.

Photo by Estée Janssens on Unsplash

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  1. Lavrax says:

    From your pen pal letters to me and what I’ve seen from others, your journal must be gorgeous! I saw a cheap bullet journal notebook the other day that had those little dots that lots of those journals have… I’m a complete amateur when it comes to this. As to that toast… It looks more like a crumble or cake to me?!

  2. I can’t wait to start my new bullet journal, I’ve already got a list of spreads I’m going to put in there haha. My first one was a couple of pounds from the supermarket and it worked great for playing around with ideas and inevitably messing things up. I’ve got a leuchtterm one now though, I like the quality and the little pocket in the back. They’re not cheap though so my next one is on my Christmas list (fingers crossed)!

    • mariexceline says:

      I’m getting on ok with the cheaper ones apart from the quality of the pages. Some of my pens leak right through the pages, but I’m going to do a post about how I get round it.

  3. Polly Plaits says:

    My Bujo is all about the Stabilos and washi tape!
    It can get a bit addictive though, and I need to remind myself it is about making life easier to plan, not more complicated by trying to keep up with other peoples layouts.

  4. Hi. Lovely

    I do love a note book. I’m always buying them xx

  5. Abby says:

    I wanna journal along with you!! Gonna go read up on your bullet journal posts thus far!

  6. Chloe Chats says:

    I’ve always wanted to get into bullet journals and have a go at creating my own but I worry it won’t look good, I know probably seeing everyone else’s being amazing that might make it feel a bit daunting to have a go at it, but this is handy information as I think if i did start it I wouldnt want to spend £20 straight away on a journal!

    Chloe xx

  1. 13th December 2018

    […] In the first post in this series, I wrote about buying a notebook. […]

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