Swapping My Personal Filofax For a Midori Traveler's Notebook

Midori Love...

The allure of the Midori Traveler's Notebook, for those of you don't quite get it yet, is it's raw, rustic, non-pretentious, gritty realness

There's something incredibly honest and humble about it. It kind of feels like another limb - a part of you - the more you use it and the more battered it becomes.

Of course I've only had mine for about two months so I've got all of that to look forward to, but I do know what I'm talking about because I have kept private personal journals since I was twelve years old. There's just something about a tatty old journal that has lived with you through the good times and the tears. I have journals that are dog-eared and warped because I've taken them into the bathroom with me to scribble in whilst I'm having a soak. I just love it when they get that 'used' look. So I knew I was going to fall for a Midori, as soon as I heard about them.

The thing I love about the Midori, is that it's refillable. This means you can kind of have the joy of watching a leather journal age with alongside you, and also enjoy a brand new notebook refill every other month or however often you use it. Perfect for me! I love old and tatty, but I also get excited by a crisp new notebook.


My dilemma is that I am a dedicated Filofax Lover. 

My everyday diary and planner is my personal Chocolate Aston Filofax. I have lots of Filofaxes and I swap and change, but I have learnt that in order to fully appreciate a Filofax as an everyday organiser, you have to focus on just one or two at a time, because otherwise you can't seem to develop that much needed rapport. 

Do you find that? Or is it just me? 

Anyway, I knew that if I wanted to fully appreciate and love my new Midori, I would have to sacrifice my main Filofax and lavish all of my attention on it, which meant having to redesign my system. 

Using A Midori and An A5 Filofax Together...

Surely there's no need to give up my Filofax system completely though? I thought...

I use my beautiful A5 Aqua Chameleon Filofax as my 'work' organsier. I always have. That's where I plan and record all my Freelancing work, ideas, assignments, projects and clients... So I saw no need to change that. I decided to use my new Midori to compliment my A5 'work' Filofax system by using the Midori to merge my personal thoughts and reflections journal, and my everyday planner, notes, sketches etc... basically everything not work-related. My Midori is my 'life' journal and planner!

I suppose the one consistent problem that has always been a niggle to me regarding all of my Filofaxes, is the feeling that nothing is quite permanent. Anything can be taken out, replaced, re-ordered... And while that obviously has it's benefits, I have always missed the 'bound' nature of a notebook. That is why I have always had a separate notebook as my personal journal. Something I can bend on it's spine, snuggle up in a chair and get comfortable with, to secretly share all of the thoughts inside my head. I used to think that my A5 Filofax Flex would make up for my craving for bound journals, and maybe it did for a while.

In a similar way to the Flex, the Midori gives me the opportunity to use bound notebook refills, and go back to taking a pride in the marks I make on the page. Each notebook, even the daily planner, is like a work of art. And why not - If you have to look at it everyday you should make it attractive, it should reflect who you are. I love seeing how other people personalise the diary pages of their Filofaxes, but I have never felt so closely acquainted with my Filofax diary, as I have in the past with my Moleskine diaries, for example. In fact I massacred a Moleskine diary and hole-punched all the pages to use in my A5 Filofax Business Organiser as a compromise... It helped.

My Midori Set-up...

Don't ask me how I did it but I managed to fit FOUR refill notebooks into my Leather Midori binder. Yes it's fat n' gorgeous, but still easy to carry around with me, even with my A5 Chameleon Filofax.

I love the Midori refill system, it's so simple and clever. The Leather binder comes with a doubled piece of elastic attached to it's spine so that you have two pieces of elastic to slip two notebooks through and carry in the leather binder - but you also have the option of doubling-up! 

To do this you get two notebook refills and attach them together by fitting an elastic band down the spine in the centre of the two notebooks so that they are held together. You could just fit the covers of each notebook together with the elastic, but if you do it down the centre they stay together better. Then you open them up so that you have one notebook on each side, held together in the middle by the elastic and slip them through one of the elastics attached to the Leather binder. So now you have two notebooks in the binder and part of the doubled-up elastic for two more to be fitted in the same way. there are different ways to do it though, that's just mine. I don't know if it makes any sense... I should have included a diagram. 

Anyway... of the four notebook refills in my Midori, one is my personal journal...

As you can see I have many thoughts and I am already into a second refill! I like to decorate my journal refills with lots of cuttings from magazines, and stickers and what-not. Each one feels different to me then. Personalised. A reflection of who I am at a particular time in my life. It'll be interesting in years to come to look back through my Midori refills to see how much I have changed. I love looking back through old journals... Well sometimes, other times it's depressing, depends on what I wrote and which ex boyfriend was breaking my heart!

In the front of the journal refill I made my own little slip-pocket for my stickers. I love these stickers to bits. I was complaining earlier in the blog that Paperchase had stopped selling them, and then a wonderful reader informed me that you can get them from Artbox. Yay!

In the back of the journal I attached an envelope which is really useful for slipping loose bits of papers in and receipts. Also I do this weird thing now where when I come to the end of a journal I like to write myself a little letter as a sort of reflection on the past few weeks... You know, what I think I've learnt, things I want to remember and thoughts or prompts for the future. Just things I might find interesting to read back over one day.

I like to create lots of secret pockets, because they're useful and just make things feel even more personal. So when I tape the envelope to the back of the refill, I only tape the top and bottom, so that I have an extra secret pocket behind the envelope - cool huh?

You can pretty much do this to all your refills and have secret pockets all over the place.

I decided to make my own diary because I like the layout of the Moleskine Diary week-on-one-page with the opposite side blank for notes. Yes it took a while, but I managed to fit six months in, so I'm sorted until Christmas just about. I filled in each page by hand with a ruler and pen, but I must say it does look rather professional!

I use this refill section as my daily planner, as I would normally have used my everyday Personal Filofax. I love the scrapbook-feel of it. I know that I can't move things around like in my Filofax, but I like the fact that I can stick things in and clip notes here and there with paper-clips to create a kind of organised chaos that only I can decipher.

I also have an artists sketchbook refill with thicker cartridge paper for sketching and using my watercolours, and an extra home-made refill at the very back that I just use for scribbling and doodling in.

I find it very easy to section the Midori as a whole. I have a silver leaf pendant attached to the original Midori  string page-marker which I use to mark my place in my personal journal section, and a pink metal bookmark clip from Paperchase that I use to get to my 'Today' page in the planner section. That's all I really need, but I do use little silver page-marker clips from Waterstones to mark out sections I use regularly like my Artists sketchbook and general notes section.

I have to say that my Midori has a wonderful way of opening up onto the page I need when I need it. It's very weird. I have an intuitive journal... heehee. It obviously loves me as much as I love it.

Erm... sorry this is such an epic post, I didn't realise how long it was until I had finished and I couldn't bear to cut it down or chop it up. Hope y'all are still alive :)


  1. I've just nominated you for a Liebster Blog Award! Check out my new post: http://jaggedlittlethoughts.blogspot.co.uk/ xx

    1. Ooh, thank you! I don't know what that us, but I'm going to have a look... :) x

  2. I nominated you for a Liebster Blog Award!
    Read it here http://mysummertouch.blogspot.ru/2013/05/liebster-blog-award-nomination.html

  3. This is gorgeous! I love overstuffed notebooks :)

    1. Thank you! If it's not stuffed it's starved, and you just ain't lookin' after it right! ;)

  4. Zara - I have nominated you for the Liebster Blog Award! Read about it here: http://www.thoughtsandexploration.com/2013/05/liebster-blog-award.html

  5. Hi! Did you have to make any new holes or buy more elastic to fit more than two refills? Every website I've seen involves cutting more holes and I don't want to if I don't have to! :) I know you said not to ask how you did it, but I gotta. ;) It looks so nice!

    1. Hiya :) Ooh no, don't cut more holes... I think you have to purchase the elastic separately, but in all honesty you could attach two refills together using any sort of string, or cord or lace or ribbon, it doesn't have to be elastic, as long as it holds the refills together by their spines, and then you can slip them through the elastic/cord that is already attached to the Midori.

      I will do a video blog actually to show how you can fit up to four refills, if you like is big n chunky!

  6. Nevermind! I figured it out. You use the extra elastic they give you, right? :) Take care!

    1. Yeah, I can't remember whether I bought my elastic bands separately, I think I did buy a packet, you get two black and two brown. But like I said, you could tie two refills together using non-elastic string or whatever you have lying around.

  7. Fantastic post. Fantastic. Taping in the envelope so that it makes another pocket is GENIUS! :) I love this blog xo

    1. Hehe, thank you Rori :) I should update the blog more often shouldn't I?

  8. I love this post so much. I may print it out and put it in my Filofax or my Midori. Thank you!!

    1. Hi, apologies for such a later response, I havent been updating the blog very regularly recently, but yes please feel free to use the content for your personal use and enjoyment :) x

  9. please please please show me how you put in 4 refills :) pretty please?


    1. Hi Em,

      Apologies for the delayed response, I need to update more regularly. Okay - 4 refills - You get two refills and attach them together with an elastic band, and then do the same with two more. Then all you need are the two strings in your midori to slip each duo set you have created. Does that make sense? Try it and you'll see what I mean...

      I will create a post too


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