Bullet Journal Basics – Equipment and Essential Spreads

Bullet Journal Basics: Equipment and essential spreads

A while ago I came across the fascinating cult that is the Bullet Journal phenomenon. For anyone who hasn’t heard of this; firstly, where have you been?! Secondly, you can find out all about it from the original creator Ryder Carroll.

I’ve always found that my diaries and to do lists never quite fit with exactly what I wanted from a planner. When I came across the bullet journal, I was thrilled to try out something different and the dozens of Pinterest boards about the boundless possibilities of spreads, I was hooked!

This post is to show you all how I’ve been using my bullet journal and the basics that you need to get started.

What You Will Need

Below is everything I use to put together my spreads:

Bullet Journal Equipment

Arguably all you need to bullet journal is a notepad and a pen. However, I also enjoy using my bullet journal as a creative outlet and have used other stationary that I already owned – I stress that you don’t need to buy a lot of stuff just to be able to do this!

My notebook is a Leuchtturm1917, A5 dot grid in purple with an add-on pen loop, also in purple. Coupled with a collection of Faber Castell PITT artist pens in bold and STAEDTLER triplus fineliners. I also recently purchased a set of 8 pastel washi tapes from Paperchase.

Once you have everything you need you’re ready to begin!

Essential Spreads


There are roughly 5 essential spreads to a bullet journal that make it so effective. The first thing you need is an index, because the Leuchtturm comes with a built in index, I didn’t think to include a feature image, but there are plenty for you to browse on Pinterest that look much prettier. This serves the purpose of tracking which pages each of your spreads are on so you can find them with a quick flick back to the beginning.


A key is a vital part of bullet journalling – arguably, it could be said I’m doing it wrong, since I’m not acutally using a bullet. However, I researched a variety of different keys and found that the combination I’ve got below is the most functional for what I needed.

The key allows you to see what kind of tasks and events you have going on at any one time and how many you’ve completed.

Key - Bullet Journal

Future Log

This for adding all upcoming dates and tasks throughout the year. I split mine across two pages so that I can guarantee enough space for each month as some are busier than others. This is one of the most vital tools for forward planning in a bullet journal – this is my latter half of 2017 so as you can see it’s pretty empty at the moment!

Future Log - Bullet Journal

Monthly Spread

This is where you can start to make the bullet journal your own. I’ve tried several different spreads for each month and the below two examples are my favourites so far. This is where you can track your engagements that month and any self assigned task deadlines.

This is also where I keep track of any tasks and goals for that month that don’t have a specific completion date.

Similarly, I also keep track of several daily habits that I would like to keep track of and improve on, including how often I read, exercise, meditate, write and if I get over 8 hours sleep. Just things that I would like to ideally do every day, I also find it useful for tracking which days I spend money on.

If there’s room I sometimes like to fill gaps with quotes from my favourite books!

Monthly Spread July - Bullet Journal


The above is a nice clean way to split your month between personal and professional if that’s what you might need, but the below is also useful for seeing how the month is planned out. I have colour coordinated for birthdays/ holidays against plans, so I can easily see who I might need to buy something for.

Monthly Spread January - Bullet Journal

As you can see I’ve also started making use of the washi tape I’ve purchased. Using in the above spread to indicate the beginning of a new month, this will make it easy to go back through my journal to see when each month starts.

Weekly/ Daily Spread

There are so many different ways to do these spreads that it really is up to you how to put everything together. I’ve tried several different way so far and I’m always on the hunt for new ones to try!

So, what are the differences between weekly and daily spreads? The former is what I prefer to use, which means every Sunday, I sit down and set out my week. The latter is where you set out your tasks every morning. Because I don’t use my bullet journal for work, I prefer not to wait until each day to make a list of tasks. You can, of course do both if you feel the need to have a pre-determined week, while also having the flexibility to create a to do list for the day.

Here are some of the spreads I’ve used so far:

Bullet Journal - Weekly Spread 3

This first two spreads above show a fairly basic diary design. They offer enough space for the date and that is about it. The second page has also been split into personal and blogging, to see if this would help me keep track of all the things I needed to do for my blog. I didn’t enjoy having to set blogging tasks for a particular day so this spread didn’t last long.

Bullet Journal - Weekly Spread 4

This second spread offers a bit more room for other possibilities, adding in trackers for water, medication, mood and graitude. I quickly decided that I didn’t enjoy the mood and gratitude logs but have since kept the logs for my water and medication – as I can sometimes be bad at remembering to do these!

Bullet Journal - Weekly Spread 1

This is the third spread which you can see I’ve included above and below. It’s the current spread that I’ve been using in the new year and I’m quite enjoying! It has enough space for each day to have a slot, while also having a weekly to do list for my blog and smaller tracker for my blog as well.

There’s also room for what I need to buy and any last minute plans/ to dos for the following week. While also keeping track of my water, meds and what I’m reading at the moment.

Bullet Journal - Weekly Spread 2

Once you’ve created each of the above spreads for your own bullet journal you are good to go! I encourage you to give this a try as I’ve found it really useful for keeping track of lots of things and making a bespoke diary-come-journal for everything I might need.

This post has only covered the bare bones of what a bullet journal has to offer so please see below for other posts on additional things you can add to your journal to make it truly the keeper of all information!

More blogs on Bullet Journals:

Bullet Journal basics- Optional Spreads and Collections (coming soon)

Bullet Journal basics- Inspiration (coming soon)

Bullet Journal basics – Getting Creative (coming soon)

Bullet Journal basics – Blogging (coming soon)


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A Year in Review: 2016

A Year in Review 2016

There was a lot to be sad about and to mourn over in 2016. We lost many brilliant sparks and the political culmination of Brexit and the Presidential Election this year has left us wan with disappointment. So, instead of focusing on all the ways that 2016 was a collective disappointment, I want to take one last look back over the small victories and happenings in my personal life that made 2016 enjoyable!

Things Achieved/ Happened in 2016

  1. Got a job in London
  2. Got first job in Publishing
  3. Moved to London
  4. Started renting a flat
  5. Moved in with boyfriend
  6. Spent 3 weeks in Nigeria
  7. Left the continent for the first time
  8. Took part in a traditional Nigerian wedding
  9. Attended London Book Fair
  10. Started listening to books on Audible regularly
  11. Booked tickets to spend 2 weeks in Florida with boyfriend and friends
  12. Took part in World Book Night for the 3rd year
  13. Attended my first book blogging event with Books with Bite
  14. Longlisted for the UKYA Book Blogger Awards
  15. Took part in the #TommyVCancer Tour
  16. Attended my first London book launch – Rig by Jon Wallace
  17. Celebrated 4 years of blogging with my biggest giveaway ever
  18. Started bullet journaling
  19. Held a Chameleon
  20. Saw The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time on stage
  21. Attended the launch of The Creeper Man by Dawn Kurtagich
  22. Attended YALC
  23. Attended the midnight launch of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child
  24. Interviewed by the BBC at said launch and was subsequently on the TV!
  25. Attended my first interview for an amazing job
  26. Organised 30 days of author guest posts in August
  27. Read my book of the year – Nina is Not Ok by Shappi Khorsandi
  28. Attended my second interview for an amazing job
  29. Accepted a job as Communications Executive at John Murray Press
  30. Rejoined the gym
  31. Hosted my first panel with the amazing Patrice Lawrence, Kathryn Evans, Sue Wallman, Olivia Levez and Eugene Lambert
  32. Attended my friend book launch (read Affliction by Kasim)
  33. Started my new job at Hachette UK
  34. Failed NaNoWriMo for the first time
  35. Decided to make health and wellbeing a priority for 2017
  36. Spent New Year’s Eve on Westminster bridge with my parents and boyfriend, bringing in the new year with London fireworks!


Things I can’t quite put a proper date to:

  • Forming amazing friendships with the following fabulous people: Stevie Finegan, Grace Latter, Chris Moore, Kasim and many more in the form of work colleagues!
  • The moment I properly realised that I was working in the industry I had set out to do before starting my degree
  • Starting to feel at home in London
  • Becoming one of those people who has shoes specifically for commuting
  • Tripled my blog views in contrast to 2015
  • Posted 83 times on Howling Reviews
  • Doubled my social following and invested time in my blog
  • Read 46 books (13,876 pages)


Top 10 books of 2016:

This year I tried to be a little more experimental with the genre of books I read, branching out further than YA fiction. Looking back, even though I’ve reached a wider spread of genres in 2016, it was still very UK and US centric. In 2017 I’d like to a wider spread of authors from across the globe.

  • What Belongs to You by Garth Greenwell
  • Nod by Adrian Barnes
  • In the Dark, In the Woods by Eliza Wass
  • Under Rose Tainted Skies by Louise Gornall
  • Nina is Not Ok by Shappi Khorsandi
  • The Creeper Man by Dawn Kurtagich
  • The Countenance Divine by Michael Hughes
  • 13 Minutes by Sarah Pinborough
  • Affliction by Kasim
  • Grief is the Thing with Feathers by Max Porter

I’m truly excited for the possibilities 2017 has. I’m loving my London life!

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The Autumn Reading Tag

Ah and so it has returned! With Autumn comes pumpkin spice latte season with a hint of the autumn reading tag. I don’t drink coffee, so I’ve never tasted one, but I do love that coffee shops now smell at least 50% spicier, since I am partial to ginger and cinnamon.

Thank you to the lovely Almost Amazing Grace for tagging me to do this, you’re almost amazing! 😉

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Tanya Landman discusses female protagonists, literary awards and familial relationships


Just less than a week to go before the main event!

YA Shot is an author-run, author-led Young Adult and Middle Grade festival that raises the money and resources to run a year-long programme pairing libraries and schools for free author events to foster a love of reading, inspire a passion for writing, and encourage aspirations to care
ers in the Arts. If you’d like to know more about what YAShot is then check it out here.

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The Grand Tour: Natasha Farrant’s Favourite Classics

Natasha Farrant is the amazing author of Lydia: the Wild Girl of Pride and Prejudice, and while I fully intend to write a full review of her book, I urge you to read it! This book is a brilliant homage to the epitome of classical literature. Farrant puts a unique and nostalgic spin on the character of Lydia Bennet that adds a completely new and intriguing dimension to her life.

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