Wednesday, 2 January 2013

Review of 2013 Moleskine Page Per Day Diary

I know! I promised this about a zillion years ago, and now it’s probably too late, but hey. Here we go.

I have used the Ciak page per day diaries for my daily journal for the last four years, but for 2013, I bought the Moleskine instead, because the paper quality in the Ciak was getting so poor.

Well, I won’t be making that mistake again.

I really don’t like the Moleskine. I mean, I’ll (probably) use it for the year, but I won’t buy it again. Apologies to all you Moleskine fans out there, but this one’s not for me.

Walk through:
[click on any picture to enlarge; the black circular thing visible in some pictures is just a weight to hold the book open!]

I bought the one described as A5. It’s not A5, it’s 21.2cm x 13cm, which is almost 2cm too narrow for A5.
The cover is hard and covered in red vinyl-type stuff. It doesn’t feel especially nice in the hand. There is a vertical elastic fastener in red and there is one ribbon-marker, also in red. The OCD part of my brain has noticed that NONE of these are the same red.

Cover, showing clashing cover, page-ribbon and elastic closure
When you open the diary, there is an “In case of loss, please return to:” section, with the reward described in dollars. I wouldn’t go and change my money in order to reward someone and since it will never leave the house, I have just left all this blank.

Then there is a cover page, then a page for personal data. You can see from the picture below one reason why I am so unhappy with this diary. Yes – all those grey marks are the print from the following page, showing through, since the paper is so thin.

Thin thin paper!

After the cover page is a double-spread summarising 2013 and 2014. I don’t really know what these would be used for. I certainly don’t use them, even in a planner. If people find them indispensible, please let me know why in the comments?

Then there are three double-page spreads covering 2013 with the month listed vertically. I suppose that if I were using this as a planner, they might have some use. [In all honesty, I’m only doing the full walk-through for you guys, since I won’t use any of these pages at all!]

After the 2013 months in columns pages, there is a double-spread of International Holidays.

Then comes three double-page spreads covering the months for 2014 in columns. I didn’t bother taking pictures as they are the same format as those for 2013. What surprised me was putting the double-page of holidays in between the months for 2013 and those for 2014. If I did use them, I would probably have wanted them next to each other. (Good job they’re just wasted paper then huh?)

The comes a ‘Travels Planning’ double-spread where you are supposed to record your destination/itinerary, the date and an essential bibliography or notes. There are no lines and I dislike that, as I prefer the guidance of lines. On the LHS it doesn’t matter too much as the paper is so thin that the lines from the months as columns shows through. On the RHS all that shows through is the map from the next page.

The map is a double-page spread showing the capitals of some major countries and the time difference from GMT. The map is very poor. Zoom in on the UK/Europe to see how bad it is.

Then there is a double-page spread of flight durations to/from a variety of places. Then dialling codes and plate codes and so on, on the next double-spread. Then some measures and conversions and international sizes. Then there is a double-spread with a ruler down the side of one page (why??) and a blank page before the day per page section starts.

I haven’t photographed my entry for Jan 1 (for obvious reasons!) but you can see how bad the bleed-through is, just from a biro.

The page itself has times down the side and a space to record the weather at the bottom. The line spacing is 6mm. The edges of the page/book are rounded.

Right at the back, after Dec 31, there are four pages for notes, unlined. This is a major let-down for me. The Ciak diaries had graph paper, lined notes paper and lined A-Z pages (which I used as notepaper). I used the very last 2 pages to record all the books I read in the year, with the date started and date finished and then on Dec 31 I used to use the remaining sheets to do a review of my goals and whether I achieved them or not (and if so, why? And if not, why?). I have also used the graph paper to monitor my weight and my weekly running mileage. The four sheets of unlined paper are hopeless for me, but I will sit down with a guide-sheet and draw the lines in myself so I can use them.

Inside the back cover there is a pocket. The diary came with a separate little booklet and some sheets of stickers. Some of the stickers are self-evident, but I'm not sure what I would use some of them for (e.g. "it happened"). Four stickers for training sessions covers a week for me. I don't know. The stickers seem like a nice idea, but there are so few of them it makes them a bit pointless.

The three slightly clashing shades of red annoy me
The paper quality is at least as bad as the Ciak, if not worse
The vertical elastic closure means I can’t strap a pen to the diary
The size is odd – not really A5 but then, what is it? (US paper size??)
The lack of lined pages at the back is irritating

Will I buy it again?
No. I’m half-tempted to just buy another Ciak and write this off as a loss.


  1. If I were you, I would get the Ciak as it would irritate me every single day of the year to use it. I'd cut out the Jan. 1 entry and tape it in the new book, but re-copy if that would irritate you too. Maybe you could cut the pages out of the Moleskine and use them for shopping lists or scratch paper? I think maybe the covers are U.S. size (21.59 cm x 13.97 cm) with the pages cut just a bit smaller.

  2. It would irritate the hell out of me too. Get the Ciak and copy over the early entries from the Moleskine. The only good use I have ever found for Moleskine is the the soft cardboard backed notebooks that come in packs of three which I use for Morning Pages. As the whole point of MP is a brain dump which I don't want or need to read again it suits me perfectly and they are just the right size to shove in my bag if I have to write on the run. I can't understand the Moleskine thing at all (but then I can't understand the need for card slots in filofaxes either ;-) )

  3. @mstraat @skybluepinkish
    I hear you both! But I have an ingrained "Protestant anti-profligacy" coupled with "Catholic Guilt" (thanks parents...) which means I know I will feel really guilty and wasteful if I spend another £20 on a diary having bought this one...! I'm going to have to persevere and chalk it up to experience. :-(

  4. Use it for something else. For goodness sake I keep all the paper envelopes from the post for shopping lists/notes and recycle the plastic bags that magazines and catalogues come in. You can't get a lot more Presbyterian than that!

  5. So glad now that I am doing my No Shopping challenge at the moment and therefore resisted the lure of the (overpriced) Moleskine with its dodgy paper...