stationery

Find the perfect bullet journal for you

Post updated on 20 July 2021. This post features affiliate links.

We all have our preferences when it comes to notebooks, be it size, colour, paper stock, number of pages or price. Over the last year I’ve come to favour dot grid notebooks, a favourite amongst journalers and creatives the world over. But what do you need to look out for when you’re buying a new notebook or journal?

I’ve tried 18 in the last few of years and I’ve brought all of my reviews together in one handy post so you can find the right one for you. For each one, I’ve noted price, cover, size, number of pages, photographed the ghosting and bleed through with some of my favourite pens, and listed additional features, such as page numbers, line spacing, ribbon markers and more. Because we all know choosing a new notebook is a massive decision!

Brands featured include Leuchtturm, Dingbats, Legami, Rhodia, Archer & Olive, and Clairefontaine, and there are some cheeky discount codes too.

Need a quick overview? Skip to the bottom of this post to find out which is the cheapest, which has the most pages, which has the best paper, and which is the best value for money.

Watercolor Workshop stationery by Sasha Prood from Abrams + Chronicle

Watercolor Workshop Notebook (Paperback)
Price: £10.61
Cover: Paperback
Size: 14.6×21.2cm
Pages: 128
Ghosting/bleed through: Very minimal with a range of pens
Page numbers: No
Pen loop: No
Elastic closure: No
Ribbon/s: No
Pocket/s: No
Additional notes: Lays flat, mix of lined and dot grid paper

Watercolor Workshop Notebook (Paperback) - dot grid notebook review

Watercolor Workshop Notebook (Paperback) - dot grid notebook review

Find my full review and more photos here
Buy it here

Dingbats Earth Journal and Stabilo pens review - bullet journal layouts

Dingbats* Earth Sky Blue Great Barrier Reef Journal – Dotted
Price: £17.95
Cover: Hardcover, degradable faux leather
Size: A5
Pages: 192 (8 are perforated)
Ghosting/bleed through: 100gsm – near perfect
Page numbers: Yes
Pen loop: Yes
Elastic closure: Yes
Ribbon/s: Two
Pocket/s: One
Additional notes: 100% vegan, contents page, tabs, ‘how to’ guide, additional perforated pages, lays flat. I’ve used two of these now and find them very hard to beat. There’s one journal reviewed later in this post which comes close.

Dingbats Earth Journal and Stabilo pens review - bullet journal layouts

Dingbats Earth Journal and Stabilo pens review - bullet journal layouts

Dingbats Earth Journal - dot grid notebook review

Dingbats Earth Journal - dot grid notebook review

Find my full review and more photos here
Use my affiliate link and code ACORNISHGEEK10 to get 10% off your own Dingbats notebook.

I’ve also reviewed the Serengeti and Arctic Earth Journals (same format but different cover/colour scheme).

Six months of daily journaling - Dingbats Earth Journal. Bullet journal review

Dingbats Arctic Earth Journal - bullet journal review

T-Rex dot grid notebook from Mustard review

T-Rex Notebook – Magenta
Price: £12.00
Cover: Hardback
Size: A5
Pages: 190
Ghosting/bleed through: Some, even with lighter pens (80gsm)
Page numbers: No
Pen loop: Yes
Elastic closure: Yes
Ribbon/s: One
Pocket/s: No
Additional notes: Lays flat, spacing slightly larger than others

T-Rex dot grid notebook from Mustard review

T-Rex dot grid notebook from Mustard review

Find my full review and more photos here
Buy it here

The House That Lars Built notebook review

The House That Lars Built Notebook
Price: £8.56
Cover: Paperback
Size: 14.6x21cm
Pages: 128
Ghosting/bleed through: None, even with heavier pens
Page numbers: No
Pen loop: No
Elastic closure: No
Ribbon/s: No
Pocket/s: No
Additional notes: Coloured pages, gold edging, fancy AF

The House That Lars Built notebook review

The House That Lars Built notebook review

Find my full review and more photos here
Buy it here

Celebrate Today stationery review

Celebrate Today Journal (Flexibound with Sticker Sheets)
Price: £7.80
Cover: Hard cover
Size: 13x21cm
Pages: 160
Ghosting/bleed through: None with typical Stabilo range or fountain pen
Page numbers: Yes
Pen loop: No
Elastic closure: Yes
Ribbon/s: One
Pocket/s: No
Additional notes: Stickers, illustrations, contents page

Celebrate Today stationery review

Celebrate Today stationery review

Celebrate Today stationery review

Celebrate Today stationery review

Find my full review and more photos here
Buy it here

My Notebook Legami bullet journal review

Legami My Notebook
Price: £11.00
Cover: Softback cover
Size: 12x18cm
Pages: 192
Ghosting/bleed through: Minimal ghosting
Page numbers: Yes
Pen loop: No
Elastic closure: Yes
Ribbon/s: One
Pocket/s: One
Additional notes: square grid rather than dot, built-in index, additional template pages, including a world map to track your travels, space for yearly goals, monthly planners, plus pages for your contacts and passwords.

My Notebook Legami bullet journal review

My Notebook Legami bullet journal review

My Notebook Legami bullet journal review

My Notebook Legami bullet journal review

Find my full review and more photos here
Buy it here. Get 10% off with my code GEEK10

I’ve also reviewed the new Legami dot grid notebook. Content-wise, it’s similar to its smaller predecessor, with 192 numbered pages, table of contents, index, a yearly goals spread, calendar, map, address book, passwords log, built-in weather tracker, plus a back pocket and bookmark. Where it differs is with the additional bookmark and, of course, the larger size (13x21cm, up from 12x118cm) and ever-awesome dot grid. Plus the bigger journal features 100gsm paper whereas I believe the smaller one was 90gsm.

Personalised Legami My Notebook Dotted Bullet Journal - review and giveaway

Personalised Legami My Notebook Dotted Bullet Journal - review and giveaway

Personalised Legami My Notebook Dotted Bullet Journal - review and giveaway

Personalised Legami My Notebook Dotted Bullet Journal - review and giveaway

Legami My Notebook
Price: £10.99
Cover: Hardback cover
Size: 13x21cm
Pages: 192
Ghosting/bleed through: Minimal ghosting
Page numbers: Yes
Pen loop: No
Elastic closure: Yes
Ribbon/s: One
Pocket/s: One
Additional notes: Dot grid, 100gsm paper, built-in index, additional template pages, including a world map to track your travels, space for yearly goals, monthly planners, plus pages for your contacts and passwords. Available in eight colours and can be personalised.

Buy it here

Rhodia Goalbook from Stationery & Art - bullet journal review

Rhodia Goalbook (first edition)
Price: £19.00
Cover: Flexible leatherette cover
Size: A5
Pages: 224
Ghosting/bleed through: Very minimal ghosting. Holds up with the Spectrum Noir brush pens (Clairefontaine 90g Ivory Brushed Vellum)
Page numbers: Yes
Pen loop: No
Elastic closure: Yes
Ribbon/s: Two
Pocket/s: One
Additional notes: Available in three colours. Features six pages of contents, an undated calendar and future log. This is the only one which has come close to Dingbats for me, in terms of my personal minimum requirements. I’m currently using it as my Grow & Glow workbook, rather than a bullet journal, but I bleddy adore it.

Rhodia Goalbook from Stationery & Art - bullet journal review

Rhodia Goalbook from Stationery & Art - bullet journal review

Rhodia Goalbook from Stationery & Art - bullet journal review

Find my full review and more photos here
Buy it here. Get 10% off with my code GEEK10

New Rhodia Goalbook review - Under the Rowan Trees

Rhodia Goalbook (second edition)
Price: £22.60
Cover: Italian leatherette hard cover
Size: A5
Pages: 224
Ghosting/bleed through: Very minimal ghosting (Clairefontaine 90g Ivory Brushed Vellum)
Page numbers: Yes
Pen loop: Yes
Elastic closure: Yes
Ribbon/s: Three
Pocket/s: One
Additional notes: Available in five colours. Features six pages of contents, an undated calendar and future log. Dot grid is less prominent than the first edition (a bonus for me).

New Rhodia Goalbook review - Under the Rowan Trees

New Rhodia Goalbook review - Under the Rowan Trees

New Rhodia Goalbook review - Under the Rowan Trees

Find my full review and more photos here
Buy it here.

Clairefontaine Age Bag A5 notebook - dot grid bullet journal review

Clairefontaine Age Bag A5 notebook
Price: £14.99
Cover: Deep dyed cardboard with a leather effect
Size: A5
Pages: 192
Ghosting/bleed through: No bleed and minimal ghosting. 90gsm
Page numbers: Yes
Pen loop: No
Elastic closure: Yes
Ribbon/s: One
Pocket/s: Two
Additional notes: Features eight built-in contents pages and eight perforated pages at the back. Available in various sizes and colours.

Clairefontaine Age Bag A5 notebook - dot grid bullet journal review

Clairefontaine Age Bag A5 notebook - dot grid bullet journal review

Clairefontaine Age Bag A5 notebook - dot grid bullet journal review

Find my full review and more photos here
Buy it here

The Go-To Notebook with Mohawk paper - bullet journal review

The Go-To Notebook with Mohawk paper
Price: £19.99
Cover: Tactile cloth case
Size: 15.9×23.2cm (bigger than A5)
Pages: 192
Ghosting/bleed through: Minimal – 104gsm
Page numbers: Yes
Pen loop: No
Elastic closure: No
Ribbon/s: One
Pocket/s: One
Additional notes: Features include lay-flat binding, a built-in contents (three pages) and 27 project pages (in addition to the 192 typical dot grid). Blue dots instead of grey. Available in a range of colours.

The Go-To Notebook with Mohawk paper - bullet journal review

The Go-To Notebook with Mohawk paper - bullet journal review

The Go-To Notebook with Mohawk paper - bullet journal review

The Go-To Notebook with Mohawk paper - bullet journal review

Find my full review and more photos here
Buy it here.

Leuchtturm1917 bullet journal review

Leuchtturm1917 (Berry)
Price: £12.99
Cover: Hardback
Size: 14.5x21cm
Pages: 249
Ghosting/bleed through: No bleed but everything ghosts
Page numbers: Yes
Pen loop: No
Elastic closure: Yes
Ribbon/s: Two
Pocket/s: One
Additional notes: Built-in index

Leuchtturm1917 bullet journal review

Leuchtturm1917 bullet journal review

Find my full review and more photos here
Buy it here.

Shine Bright Productivity Journal review

Shine Bright Productivity Journal
Price: £13.99
Cover: Hardback
Size: 16.2x21cm
Pages: 185
Ghosting/bleed through: Only Sharpies bleed and very minimal ghosting with some brush pens. Fountain pen friendly
Page numbers: Yes
Pen loop: No
Elastic closure: No
Ribbon/s: One
Pocket/s: No
Additional notes: Six contents pages, 160 stickers. Flippin’ stunning!

Shine Bright Productivity Journal review

Shine Bright Productivity Journal review

Find my full review and more photos here
Buy it here.

Bullet journal review: Tsuki 160gsm from Notebook Therapy

Tsuki 160gsm bullet journal
Price: £20.99
Cover: Hardbound, vegan leather
Size: A5-ish (135x195mm)
Pages: 128
Ghosting/bleed: Bit of a bleed with the Ecoline
Page numbers: No
Pen loop: No
Elastic closure: Yes
Ribbon/s: One
Pocket/s: One
Additional notes: Lays flat, 5mm spacing, light grey dots, gilded edges

Bullet journal review: Tsuki 160gsm from Notebook Therapy

Bullet journal review: Tsuki 160gsm from Notebook Therapy

Find my full review and more photos here
Buy it here

Archer & Olive bullet journal review

Archer & Olive 160gsm bullet journal
Price: £26.00
Cover: Hardbound, vegan
Size: A5
Pages: 160
Ghosting/bleed: No
Page numbers: No
Pen loop: Yes
Elastic closure: Yes
Ribbon/s: Two
Pocket/s: One
Additional notes: Lays flat, 5mm spacing, branded charm on page ribbon

Archer & Olive bullet journal review

Find my full review and more photos here
Under the Rowan Trees stocks in the UK

If you like that, you’ll love the Neapolitan journal, which features a mix of white, kraft, and black pages!

Archer & Olive Neapolitan journal

Archer & Olive Neapolitan journal with watercolour

Archer & Olive Neapolitan journal - black paper with white pen

Archer & Olive Neapolitan journal with Pentel dual metallics

Find my full review and more photos here
Under the Rowan Trees stocks in the UK

Port West Stationers - dot grid journal review

Port West A5 Notebook (01)
Price: £19.99
Cover: Hardback
Size: A5
Pages: 170
Ghosting/bleed through: Ghosts with a little bleed
Page numbers: Yes
Pen loop: No
Elastic closure: Yes
Ribbon/s: One
Pocket/s: No

Port West Stationers - dot grid journal review

Port West Stationers - dot grid journal review

Find my full review and more photos here
Buy it here

The Positive Bullet Diary - review

The Positive Bullet Diary
Price: £25
Cover: Hardback
Size: 15x22cm
Pages: 311
Page numbers: Yes
Pen loop: No
Elastic closure: No
Ribbon/s: One
Pocket/s: No
Additional notes: Pre-laid out with room for personalisation. Includes colouring pages

The Positive Bullet Diary - review

Find my full review and more photos here
Buy it here

Moleskine bullet notebook close up

Moleskine Bullet Notebook
Price: £15.48
Cover: Hardback
Size: 13x21cm
Pages: 148
GSM: 120
Ghosting/bleed: Bleed with heavy pens
Page numbers: Yes
Pen loop: No
Elastic closure: Yes
Ribbon/s: Two
Pocket/s: One
Additional notes: Built-in map and pen test pages

Moleskine bullet notebook close up

Moleskine bullet notebook close up

Find my full review and more photos here
Buy it here

 

Now for the updated leaderboard!

Cheapest: Celebrate Today, £7.80

Best looking: Shine Bright Productivity Journal

Most fun: Celebrate Today (stickers!)

Best paper quality: New Rhodia Goalbook is the smoothest but Archer and Olive is best for juicier brush pens and watercolours

Most pages: The Positive Bullet Diary, 311 pages

Most sustainable: Dingbats Earth Journal

Best value for money: Moleskine bullet notebook

Best all-rounder: New Rhodia Goalbook (if you’re not using watercolours)

Prefer something already laid out? Check out this fully customisable planner, with plenty of template pages to choose from.

For me, what continues to give the new Goalbook the edge is the features (extensive built-in contents, calendar, future log, page numbers, pocket, three ribbons, pen loop, elastic closure), over 200 pages, and beautiful paper. If you’re more of an art journaler than a traditional bullet journaler, you can’t beat Archer & Olive.

What are your deal-breakers when it comes to buying a bullet journal?

15 thoughts on “Find the perfect bullet journal for you”

  1. So many journals 😮🤗 I love the customised Not Only Polka Dots one 💜 I only own one dot grid journal, it’s a Scribbles that Matter one. I like it, especially the fact it has minimal bleed through.

    1. Yeah, Leuchtturm is The Brand but I’ve yet to try it myself. There are so many cheaper alternatives. I love a Moleskine too but haven’t tried their dot grids yet.

  2. So many notebooks! So many journals! These kinds of posts make this stationery lover very happy especially when I’ve been really trying to get into my bullet journal more!

    Daisy xoxo | TheDeeWhoLived

  3. Hi, thanks for the reviews! <3 Are you saying that Rhodia paper is better than Dingbats, even if it's thinner? I'm deciding which one to get for 2020. Are they both the same cream colour, or is either one cooler white?

    Wow, what a difference for Leuchtturm, even if the change in gsm is so small!

    1. Sorry, it took me so long to reply. I’ve had a proper look and the Dingbats is every so slightly whiter, the dots are ever so slightly darker, and the paper is a tad smoother. Hope that helps 🙂 Both would be great purchases 🙂

      1. No worries 😉 I got the Rhodia Goalbook Hardcover, and I’m very happy with it <3 The quality seems excellent from paper to binding and cover material. I only wish the paper was pure white 😀

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