My love of planners was ignited more than ten years ago, courtesy of Belle de Jour.
Back in 2007, I finally got tired of using the same old boring organizers (remember them?) when I chanced upon Belle De Jour’s 2008 planners at National Book Store. The first thing I noticed is how well-thought-of it was: a space to write your thoughts, schedule, a space to track moods and all the things that a then-twenty something girl usually worried about: bills, budgeting, monthly period (!) plus, even coupons to my favorite shops back in the day. The second was definitely, its design and artwork. My last BDJ journal was for the year 2012, after that – I kinda gravitated towards bare, simple ones.
Well, guess who decided to become a returning Bella.
After a seven-year absence, BDJ is making a comeback on my journaling table. Right off the bat, I loved its striking cover (the cover girl bearing a resemblance to a certain reigning Ms. Universe) — as usual, the illustrations reminded me of some of the works of Spanish artist Jordi Labanda displayed in his collab with Milquerus notebooks.
Eager to test it out, let’s do a quick review:
True to the BDJ content, dedicated pages are promoting new learnings. One of these is “Ikigai,” the Japanese concept of “the reason to jump out of bed in the morning.” I love that Belle de Jour retained the “can-do, kick-ass femme mantra” content it has always been known for.
The rest of the content still remained on-brand. The 2020 BDJ contains the following:
- Size: 8.1 inches x 5.75 inches
- Comes in 3 variants/looks: BDJ Classic, BDJ Leather and BDJ Limited Edition. What I have is the Classic edition.
- 192 full-color pages
- Pocket at the back to keep receipts and cards
- Elastic to hold the planner together or use as a page marker
- With Magnetic Bookmark to mark your planner’s pages
- 13-monthly calendars from December 2019 to December 2020
- 12-monthly dividers with workbooks about lifestyle, fashion, career, financial, and more
- Vertical weekly layout
- Special pages to help you set and achieve your goals
- Perks of a Bella Coupon Booklet with over Php40,000 worth coupons from BDJ brand partners such as CBTL, Ace Water Spa, and many more.
- With BDJ Lifestyle Card for a special discount from selected BDJ brand partners (The PR-given planner that I have did not have the Lifestyle Card and the Bella Coupon Booklet; but this is a standard-issue in any BDJ planner and thus makes any purchase a good buy due to the many discounts you’ll get with their partner merchants)
Here’s what I liked with the BDJ 2020 Planner:
- Aesthetics/design – In my late 20s and early 30s, the visuals of any BDJ planner is my jam. I love the mix of colors, the art which is basically a hallmark of the BDJ planner. The designs have always been on-point regardless of the theme, and it’s truly something that women in their 20s and 30s would absolutely love.
- Content – BDJ planners have always made use of writing prompts, which allowed its users to begin an entry at their own piece and with a specific theme in mind. This year’s BDJ did not disappoint as it continues to provide interesting content for its users. There’s always a space available, no matter how you use it — whether to track your finances, schedules, moods, etc — it’s all there
- Creativity – The great thing about BDJ planners is that you can expect it’s always well-thought of. Content and aesthetics is always on-point and complementing. The bookmark is a nice touch too.
- Quality – As a self-confessed planner junkie, I’ve always had a thing for smooth, crisp pages (because to me, it would mean that the pen will easily glide on paper). You can tell it’s well-made and the cover, with its soft cushion type material, is really nice.
I guess my only concern about the planner is that I find the printing too soft or too muted for my liking — I guess I wanted the colors and the design to pop out more. I don’t know if the intention really was for the lines and background to blend in case the user wants to use the planner according to her whim and without regard to the lines and the dates. Personally, I am now at a certain stage in my life where I prefer fewer visuals and graphics in my planners and would now opt for a simpler, cleaner look.
Would I use it? Of course. It’s normal for me to maintain 3-4 planners for me at the same time. The BDJ is definitely my personal planner intended for notes on the budget, bills payment and basically everything non-work-related while one of the coffeeshop planners will become my work planner. I am also getting the 2020 Hobonichi Techo A6 but that will function more like a bullet journal and outlet for anything creative.
Buy Belle De Jour for only PHP540 here. If you’re in the market for a good quality planner, this one is a nice choice without spending more than a thousand bucks.