23 best notebooks for 2023: beautiful notebooks and planners for stationery lovers
A fresh new notebook is one of life's simple pleasures! We've rounded up a few of our favourite notebooks, journals and planners to brighten up your stationery, ready for the new year.
We're huge stationery geeks here at Gathered and enjoy an almost intimate relationship with our treasured notebooks. They're a place to scribble notes, store our mental load and make exciting plans (we all need a few of those for next year). If you know what we mean, this article is for you.
We've really enjoyed scouring the shops to bring you this collection of beautiful notebooks and journals, including a few favourite personalised notebooks and eco-friendly recycled notebooks too. We've got star-studded notebooks (constellations that is), arty notebooks, stylish notebooks, vegan notebooks... something for everyone. Read on and find the one that calls out to you... then treat yourself!
If you're curious about how a notebook can change your life (and no, we're not exaggerating!), then you might also like our guide to How to bullet journal for beginners. If you fancy starting a new diary, CalmMoment's mindfulness experts have some great tips to help you start a January journal.
Best beautiful notebooks
1. Sari Notebook
How beautiful is this recycled Sari notebook? Each notebook is made from 125 pages of handmade recycled cotton paper which is slightly thicker than normal paper making it perfect for watercolours and paints. The paper type is ideal for normal pens but not fountain pens thanks to its organic texture. These Sari notebooks are made by a small family business in Rajasthan, India so you'll be supporting a small business by buying. They come in six different colours and each one is handmade, eco-friendly and fair trade. Not only will you have a gorgeous notebook to record all your 2023 thoughts in but you'll also be making an ethical and eco-friendly choice. It's a win-win!
2. Stars Large Notebook
- Buy it now (Waterstones, £12.99)
We love this one so much it literally adorns our own desk. It feels quite luxurious despite the affordable price. It also comes in a Constellation Daily Journal version for you to plan your days which includes daily to-do lists, your priorities for the week and regular lined pages to store your meeting notes. If you're a star gazer like us, you should also check out our guide to the best constellation crafts.
3. Handmade African Print Lined Notebook
- Buy it now (Etsy, £15.99)
We've been smitten with African prints for some time now (read more about their heritage in the story of African Wax Print Fabrics), so we're pretty delighted to find that now we can give our stationery a textile-boost with this African print lined Notebook from KaribuBrum on Etsy (they also do laptop cases, purses and coasters – just sayin'...). This beauty is hardback, 180 pages and covered with kitenge wax print fabric, handmade in Tanzania. The print is also known as Kitenge and is an East African cotton fabric printed in various vibrant colours and distinctive patterns.
4. Peter Pauper Pres' Celestial notebook
This regal looking notebook will make a gorgeous addition to your stationery collection. Filled with 160 gold-lined pages, it's as affordable as it is pretty. We love the celestial design which reminds us of pirate ships, magic and mystery.
More like this
5. Around the World Dot Grid Notebook and Bullet Journal
- Buy it now (Etsy, £21.20)
With 9 colourways and the option to choose between silver and gold stamped detail on the cover, this is a great little notebook to add your personal touch to. It's perfect for everything from bullet journaling to storing travel plans for your next big adventure. You'll get 176 pages which can store 53 weekly plans, 12 monthly plans, plus 46 extra pages for your trackers and free notes. It's A5 format so portable and comes with 160GSM heavy paper which let you get creative with bullet journalling pens without worry about bleed through.
6. Colourful leather notebook
This notebook is perfect for those of you who want beauty on every page! The front is leather and comes in several different designs all whimsical butterfly-themed which is just as pretty as the notebooks entire. Inside each of the 258 pages has a gorgeous butterfly design in a range of pastel colours. Record your dreams, goals and aspirations among the butterflies with this journal.
7. Hares & Berries Journal
- Buy it now (Waterstones, £8.50)
We're every so slightly in love with Waterstone's heritage collection of muesum-inspired stationery, including this nature print notebook with beautiful foliage and wildlife adoring the cover. It's elasticated so you can keep your place easily and has a hard cover so it's sturdy if you're on the move, plus comes with a handy expanding pocket to store receipts or notes you want to keep safe.
8. Marbled cover notebook
Buy it now (Amazon, £8.99)
We're in a real marbling phase lately – who's with us? So we couldn't resist the chance to add the look to our notebook as well as our crafting. This A5 notebook comes with 144 pages, acid-free paper, an expandable inner pocket and elastic closure plus a ribbon bookmark. The pages are ruled for easy list-making or bullet journalling and it has a durable hard cover notebook journal will protect your journal to last for years and easily to lay out flat for comfortable writing and reading.
9. A5 Succulents Notebook
- Buy it now (Amazon, £8.95)
A hardcover journal for all your plant lovers out there. This ruled notebook comes with 134 pages, a sturdy back pocket to store your bits and bobs and an elastic closure band to keep your notes closed when not in use or keep your place if needed. it measures 6.3x8.35in and has wire binding. Basically we just think it's really fun!
10. Millya Cute Cartoon Cat Notebook
- Buy it now (Etsy, £11.99)
We picked this one for our Best Beautiful Notebooks round-up because, well cats... but it also comes in a collection of awesome sister designs (many of which are also cat-themed and with super cute Japanese design vibes). It's 13x19 cms so perfectly portable to carry in your backpack or bag, has a soft leather cover and acid-free and bleed-resistant paper. Inside you'll find lined pages and, well, cats on the cover says it all really!
11. Voysey Owl Elasticated Journal
- Buy it now (Waterstones, £8.50)
Another addition to this round up from the Muesums and Galleries collection, this elasticated lined journal offers a hard cover, elastic closure and an expanding pocket. Inside you'll find 200pp lined paper that's FSC certified and it measures 177 x 127 mm, making it pretty nice and portable to take out and about.
12. Avocado and Orange Spice notebook
- Buy it now (Amazon, £14.95)
This leather bound notebook is waiting for you to fill its 200 lined pages with your thoughts, lists and goals. Use it for bullet journalling or just keeping track of your thoughts. It's A5 in size and crafted out of synthetic leather so cruelty free, with lined pages and a stamped, gold foil tiger emblem on the cover. Inside you'll find a silk ribbon bookmark, a built-in pen holder & elastic band.
Best personalised notebooks
13. The Jag Travel Notebook
- Buy it now (Papier, £15.99)
One for all those who are looking for an adventure shot from their notebook design, unleash all the jungle vibes with this big cat journal from Papier. You can choose between hardback or softback options, and whether you want lined, dotted or plain paper inside, plus personalise your cover with a name, a fun title, your alter ego or a special tribute – anything you like!
14. Musical Notes Walnut Notebook
- Buy it now (Not on the High Street, £27)
A perfect gift for musicians and music lovers alike – they can store favourite songs, ideas inspirations and lyrics in this fun musical-themed notebook. You can choose the instrument on the cover with 10 different options from guitars to drums, violins, trumpets or a microphone. The makers even say you can contact them if you'd like to arrange a custom instrument on the cover that they haven't already thought of. You can add the recipient's name too and add an optional personalised message inside the front cover on the first page. It's printed onto premium 250gsm recycled card, while the covers are precision cut from real walnut veneered mdf. The wood is sanded and hand finished with boiled linseed oil. Inside you'll get 70 double sided, A5 lined sheets are printed in England onto thick 120gsm 100% recycled paper.
15. Under The Capri Sun Notebook
- Buy it now (Papier, £15.99)
One of our favourite covers in this collection this personalised notebook from Papier will bring all the summer vibes to your Winter notes and journalling. It comes with options for hardback or softback cover with a silk finish, lined, dotted or plain paper inside, and you can add your name to the cover. It measures 153mm x 215mm and inside you'll find 96 pages (192 sides) of smooth 85gsm paper
16. Book lovers notebook
- Buy it now (Not on the High Street, £14.95)
This personalised notebook is inspired by vintage classic book covers and you can personalise it in four different ways – change the main colour, book title, author and spine text. Spec wise it comes with an A5 soft cover, 160 sides of 100gsm white paper, plain or lined FSC certified paper with re-planting schemes in place giving it an eco-friendly element.
17. Papier Fairy Tale Notebook
- Buy it now (Papier, £15.99)
Add a touch of magic to your notes with this beauty from Papier. It's a 153mm x 215mm notebook with 96 pages of smooth, 85gsm lined paper inside. It's hardback cover has a 150gsm silk-paper finish and we love the delicate fairy tale design.
18. Any Text Hardback notebook
- Buy it here (Not on the High Street, £25)
This is the ultimate in personalised notebooks as you can switch up almost all the elements to create your very own, one-of-a-kind design, starting with the foil-printed message on the cover. The notebook itself has a luxurious hardback cover It is wire-bound and you can add an optional personalised inside cover page too. Available in A5 and A4 sizes, it comes with six colour options and gold or silver foiling.
19. Personalised, refillable A5 rainbow notebook
- Buy it now (Not on the High Street, £37.50)
This recycled, A5 leather rainbow journal includes handy pockets in the front and back and a hand foiled rainbow with room for you to add your own text on the cover.
It's made from FSC paper with ivory pages available as plain, ruled or dot grid. This A5, refillable tie notebook has a tie closing and the paper inside is sustainably sourced with FSC approved paper. Handy inner pockets are great storage for small stationery pieces to help you journal on the go. Refill the notebook as many times as you like to keep an on going series of journals.
Best recycled notebooks
20. Recycled paper notebook
- Buy it now (Etsy, £25.95)
If you're looking for an eco friendly notebook, how about this small but perfectly formed journal on Etsy? Choose between 5 colours with all the pages made from recycled paper. It's cute size makes it ideal for writing a travel journal, storing to do lists or keeping a diary. It's hardback cover is bound with colourful, soft Indian fabric, and 1/3 of profits from sales of this small but perfectly formed journal are donated to the 'Squalor to Scholar' programme, which supports children's education in India.
21. Letterbox Calligrapher's Pens and Bullet Journal
- Buy it now (Not on the High Street, £27.50)
We love the simplicity of this handmade recycled leather bullet journal – and the fact that it comes with a Japanese double-headed calligraphy pen! It's an A5 Recycled Peppermint Leather Bullet Journal with a traditional tie closure and the pages are made from FSC Paper Recycled Paper.
22. Handmade 3 string leather journal
- Buy it now (Not on the High Street, £21.95)
If you're looking for a Fair Trade and eco friendly journal, how about this 3-string leather-covered personalised leather notebook? The cotton paper inside is made by a charity that promotes women's development in rural areas of Rajasthan, India. Each journal contains 125 pages of unlined khadda paper (khadda is recycled cotton that has been left over from the massive garment industry in India). You can even personalise it with your choice of initials, names or simply special words. Pick your favourite from 12 colours.
23. Whale 100% Recycled Notebook
- Buy it now (£3.75 Etsy)
This beautifully illustrated, A5 notebook is made from 100% recycled paper inside and out, and it's printed in friendly natural vegetable inks. It contains 36 pages of plain paper and is a lovely little stocking filler. The cover is a 100% recycled kraft board, and you can also find alternative designs with themes of moths, bees, teasels or the woods.
We hope you've enjoyed our beautiful notebook round up. Once you've got your amazing notebook you'll want to decorate it. Why not learn how to make a rubber stamp at home? Or you could learn how to make stickers? Then you can decorate your notebooks and make them even prettier!
Zoe is the launch Editor of Gathered.how. She has over a decade of craft publishing experience under her belt. She's a quilter and sewist who works with the UK’s best-selling craft magazines including Today’s Quilter, Love Patchwork & Quilting, Simply Sewing and The World of Cross Stitching. Zoe loves being immersed in Gathered’s quilting content, tweaking our tutorials and publishing new patterns. Zoe has previously written for radiotimes.com, Simply Knitting and The World of Cross Stitching and was previously Deputy Editor of Papercraft inspirations magazine. She has guest-lectured at Bath Spa University. She’s a keen quilter with 5 projects in progress at any one time and another 12 or so planned.
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