The new year diary, 2023.

I have been in the habit of keeping a diary since I was about 18. For about the last 10 years, I have used A5, page a day diaries and usually write my entry after breakfast the next day.

In recent years, I have bought these from Rymans stationers, which had 23 rows per page, with a row height of 7.9mm. These are still available for £13.99. My new year diary 2022 was reviewed here.

However, for 2023 I have tried something different. I am now using a Moleskine 2022-23 Daily Diary / Planner. Again this has a day per page and is ruled. A big difference is that it covers 18 months, from July 2022 to December 2023.

My Rymans page a day diary for 2022 and the Moleskine 18 months’ diary 2022-23.

This was an impulse buy, on visiting the Moleskine store in London’s Covent Garden, in early November. Admittedly, I was lured by the fact that it was reduced in a sale, from £24.99 to £17.50. I presume that this was due to the fact that it was November and over four of the 18 months covered by the diary had already passed. This did not worry me as I was quite happy to start the diary in January and to have the previous six months’ pages free to use like a notebook, as I wished.

I did have some reservations, first as to the paper quality. My experience of Moleskine A5 notebooks had been that the paper was generally not fountain-pen friendly, as most inks bled through the paper making the other side unusable. However, I thought that I might overcome this by finding an ink which would not bleed. My other concern was as to the line spacing. This Moleskine diary pages have 29 rows, with a row height of 6mm which is much narrower than my preferred spacing of around 8mm. On the other hand, you get more rows per page. Also, I often use balloon diagrams in my diary entries for work days, and so the row height is a bit less important.

Narrower pages and narrow line spacing (6mm) than I would like.

Ultimately, the reduced price, extra notebook pages, as well as the rather pleasing chunky proportions of the diary, sealed in its shrink wrap, made me overcome my reservations and I bought it.

When I got it home and had the opportunity to test the paper, I was pleasantly surprised and relieved to find that the paper is not the same as I had seen in Moleskine A5 notebooks. The paper in the diary IS fountain pen friendly and very pleasant to write on! I tried writing a paragraph with five different inks (Waterman Serenity blue, Diamine Tavy, Waterman Harmonious green, Montblanc Velvet Red and Diamine Pelham blue. All performed beautifully on the silky smooth paper with no bleed through and very minimal show through.

Testing the paper for fountain pen friendliness. Success!

As for the line spacing, whilst I still prefer to have a bit more breathing space, I think I can manage with it. I noticed that the Moleskine diary page is quite a bit narrower than the Rymans diaries, (130mm instead of 145mm) but the shorter length actually helps make up for the narrower row height. (I sometimes rule a page into two columns, in notebooks with narrow line spacing).

Three sheets of stickers included.

Other features of the Moleskine diary include neatly sewn binding and so the book lays open flat, without risk of pages falling out. There is a ribbon bookmark, an expanding pocket in the back cover, an elastic closer, and three sheets of sticker symbols which can be used in the diary, or elsewhere. There are plenty of information pages at the beginning, with yearly calendars and monthly planning pages, world time zones, national holidays and dialing codes.

Nice stitched binding.

So, off we go again for another year. Already 2023 looks set to be marked by the awful continuing war in Ukraine, industrial action for pay disputes and the current fall-out of Prince Harry’s tell-all biography, plus challenging times for household finances. We all live in hope for better days ahead.

Crucially, the paper in the Moleskine 18 months’ diary is very fountain pen friendly.

12 thoughts on “The new year diary, 2023.

  1. I used a Moleskine a few years back. After I bought it, I read somewhere around that time that if the quality sticker is ‘blue’ (I seem to remember) that the paper could indeed tolerate fountain pen ink. I have found too also that some Moleskine thinner paper is that lack of toleration with fountain pen ink frustrating. I remember no problems with the Moleskine diary, but used a fine nib and it produced a ‘dry writing result’ with Montblanc Mystery Black ink. I currently have an amazing hard cover Paperblanks 7 x 9 x 1 inch day to day that is amazing. Narrow quarter inch spacing though, so I write the entries in capitals. My lower case is too flowery and loves to roam above and below the lines. Thanks for your insights. Great read. All the best.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thankyou. I have limited experience of Paperblanks notebooks. I tried one but found that many of my usual inks would bleed through. Also the colours looked a bit insipid on the paper and so I have not bought one since. I assume that they must use different papers and so, if you find one you like and which suits you, stick with it.
      Where paper is a problem, it can sometimes be overcome by choosing an ink such as Rohrer & Klingner Salix, Sailor kiwa-guro or Noodlers bulletproof black.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Thanks for the advice. I’ve used the Rotring Art Pen with the art ink cartridge and it has a fountain pen nib. So far into January all is really working well. I will look at testing other inks, and also look at the ones you suggested here over the weeks/months ahead, on the extensive note pages in the back. I like the way the paper ‘slaps’ when drop flicked through. Acid free, 120 gsm and forest sustainable. The cover is Azure which states on the internet site:
        ‘The 1688 edition of L’office de la Semaine Sainte, a Latin liturgical book, was protected by a gold-plated leather binding. Reproduced on our Azure journal with a vibrant blue background, the antique design features an elaborate gilt-edged tendril motif’. Cheers for the reply, insights and advice. All the best.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. That’s an interesting review. I’ve only flirted a couple of times with Moleskine. The inconsistent performance makes it a hard sell to me – there are books with better paper that can be had relatively easily, and books that are cheaper if I’m prepared to compromise a little on the paper quality. The 130mm page width, though, is one I do enjoy. The Stamford Notebook Company are very fond of that paper configuration. Speaking of diaries, I made the mistake of checking back in my 2019 Mark and Fold diary to fill in the important dates for this year and that reminded me how gorgeous I found the whole experience of using that vertical layout.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. It’s great when you find a good product that you like. The temptation is to stock up on spares. I have drawers full of Leuchtturm journals and even Ryman notebooks which I used before I discovered Leuchtturm! The moral is probably not to buy too many as you might discover something you like more.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Rupert,
    Interesting as always.
    Your comment about the 18 month diary/Planner being ink friendly is particularly interesting as a little while ago (probably longer than I remember) I asked in Moleskine Covent Garden about the paper in their A5 notebooks/diaries and was told that they weren’t designed with ink in mind. I can only guess that maybe there has been a change of heart as they realise they might be missing a market! I hope you enjoy your Moleskine. After many years in Moleskines I switched to Leuchtturm as a direct result of the “not for ink” comment and haven’t gone back though have more recently moved to William Hannah discbound with 100gsm weekly planner layout but still have a Leuchturm to hand and to complicate my options I have discovered Travelers Notebooks in the past year or so – full A5 height but only 110mm wide, ink friendly paper and dated or undated diaries and planners – which are highly portable but are ultimately a collection of notebooks/planners of yourchoice.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thanks Charles. I have had only one or two Moleskine notebooks in the past and quickly discovered that the paper was not well-suited for fountain pens. However the paper in this 18 month diary is totally different. It is smooth, silky and pleasant without being too slow-drying; it is not too heavy or too light, and in all respects seems ideal for this journal. I do still wish the spacing was 8mm but that is just my preference. The overall dimensions and proportions of this chunky little book are satisfying and appealing.
      I do not know whether there has been any change to the paper in their standard notebooks and would be cautious about buying one without checking, if to used with liquid ink.
      Thanks for reading.


  4. Interesting post. I’d struggled with ink in Moleskin books for the same reason you give, it bled through. Not just ink, any ‘wet’ writing medium such as rollerballs, which as I’d bought three at one time necessitates ball point use. As a new reader of your blog, this and the subsequent comments have given me food for thought. Have you ever used Aldwych notebooks? I’m tempted to try.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for reading and for your comments.
      Yes, I have used the Alwych book, “with the all weather cover”. I have the pocket size one which I have had for decades and used for “how to” notes with my first computer. I remember being thrilled with it. A few years ago I found them for sale again whilst browsing in Choosing Keeping in London and bought an almost identical one, which I have not yet started. I do like the concept of the all weather cover.


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