The Best Journals, from 
These are the companies we heartily endorse. Each makes an exclusive, unique product, expressive of their founders. Each company is quick to respond and share information on the product – a pleasure to find efficiency, warmth, and response on the net at all times! Their product lines are very, very different from each other and you will spend a good few hours getting acquainted with journals and each company. It is a whole world.. Some companies offer companion products (like portfolios, wallets, bookmarks and more - so comb through each site). Within each line, there are choices as to size (you will also find larger journals are called artist’s pad or sketch pads or extra large journals), finishes, tied or not tied, refillable journals versus leather covers for new journals or blank books you insert, mostly blank paper (AND paper choices) and sometimes, some companies (reluctantly) offer lined paper. I use smaller journals to take with me to my café writing days, or the park. I have tiny journals to record my to-do lists for the car and medium size ones to record thoughts, poems, and ideas for recipes. I suggest you start with two journals –one for home, and one to take with you, while traveling or café hopping.

Best Journals and Notepads from

Amazing notepads with super writing paper, stationary, files and wrapping paper - all in environmentally friendly paper and a Give Back Program. Check out our Canuck friends at
These journals definitely say ‘Robin Hood’, Renaissance fair, olden times. They are one of the few to offer lined paper (but pretty, lined paper), feature bound journals, self ties, thick, distressed leather and refills. Their smaller journal comes with a lovely fabric bag to keep the journal from wear. These are keepers and great for journal or travel writing and would appeal to men or women and any age. The leather is the first thing you notice about Renaissance products -it is soft but wears like a trooper - meaning you can tote this journal to and fro, from home to cafe, and it still looks gorgeous. It comes with refill paper or some of their journals can be used a covers around a more standard notebook, if you prefer. The workmanship is unrivaled, the design is perfect but they will 'tweak' your order or customize as you wish. I recently sent in a blank journal book I like to use and they created a custom cover (with neat inner pockets for storage), as well as a set of tarot cards for which they made a custom leather case. There is a unique energy that comes from both the concept and workmanship of Renaissance-Art Journals. Recently they also launched several leather tote bags and handbags. A Renaissance journal is an immediate heirloom as well as the perfect gift this mother’s day. If you don’t get one from someone – get one for yourself. Mostly recently, Renaissance-Art came out with Moleskin Journal covers.
This brother-sister run company out of Santa Rosa, California makes stunning leather journals and sketchpads with a definite Celtic sense to them. Oberon’s designers have created a line of journals that befit their sense that ‘observations and reflections’ are valuable and deserve a quality book to preserve these things. I reviewed their dark lavender and black large journal. It is a beautiful cover of a Celtic motif that houses a hardback, blank page book. It has a self-tie and matching Celtic design, silver filigree button you wrap the tie around. The paper is beautiful, pure white, thick, and smooth – an exceptionally fine writing surface. These are beautiful for men or women but gals will particularly like their floral design and the lilac hues or greens. Oberon journals are at once serviceable and artistic - they are ample and comfortable to write in but wholly beautiful to behold. Their diverse offerings, and attention to detail with their product (and their customers) will astonish you. What we liked best about these journals is that they are pretty well unrivaled in quality and manufacture - pretty well perfection. They create their own hard writing surface, open almost flat, almost have an 'aura' about them, and almost 'invite' you to write your most personal to most creative, artistic thoughts. The company also offers a fine line of companion products from wallets and fine bookmarks to many other unusual but items of similar upscale quality.
Founder Ted Gilmer is a craftsman and designer who offer photos, kayaks; sleights, luggage and canoes, and yes, leather and wood bound journals. These journals convey a feeling of the frontier West and an era of American history when the most valuable things were made by hand. Gilmer’s books are made in Northern Michigan, using scrap wood of sustainable growth forest products. If you enjoy cream colored, parchment paper to write on, tucked inside the softest, tufted, thick leather you ever saw, tied with soft cords of matching leather, these are for you. It was the first journal to arrive and we are still totally smitten with their craftsmanship, unique design, and quality. No wonder corporations order scads of them for their retreat weekends.
When you visit Aspinal of London’s site, a creation of Iain Burton your immediate thought is that they must be purveyors of fine writing products to Buckingham Palace for the last century. Surprise -  the company is only a few years old and yet, it is undisputedly the most elegant offerings of leather bound English saddle leather journals as well as fine Italian books. Aspinal (as most journal companies) monograms their items if you ask. But what will strike you are the range and the quality – there is no size, leather finish, color, or format lacking. The items arrive, boxed like jewellery from Tiffany’s, tucked in tissue and swathed in grosgrain ribbon.  Each Aspinal item is an experience in old school 'bookbinding'.  You will find yourself simply touching the book spines and finishes for a long while before you ever manage to write your first entry. They are breath taking. Of particular note is the special recipe book, which is leather and Italian marble parchment finish. Inside the pages are neatly indexed in recipe categories. I put my own favorite recipes for my family, by hand, in this book – something akin to how recipes were recorded years ago and nice to return to. Based in England, you can also reach Aspinal  via their toll free USA number 1-888-325-3302 (fellow Canadians can visit their site or email
Nick  Nick Daffinson, owner of Rogue Journal divides his journals into two types: Permanently Bound Keepsake Journals and their Refillable collection.  Any Rogue Journal is in fact, a keepsake. I ordered a leather covered, hardback large journal, which covered a companion book of blank pages. The deep, cognac hued leather journal has a beautiful self-tie, that features a silver filigree pendant on the end. This journal is hefty (tons of beautiful, textured paper inside) and I like the solid writing surface the hardback book offers. This feels a bit like Romeo and Juliet meets Merlin in tone. There is a palatable sense of romance and magic in this particular journal and you will feel as if you have owned it forever. Of course the embossed leather with a discreet but lovely heart on the front jacket doesn’t hurt. My journal from (how can you not be drawn to a name like that?) is a unique quality and design that stands out in that it is extra thick, the cover fits as snug as a glove and once open, it is almost a flat writing surface. Nick Daffinson confirms that each journal is a one-of-a-kind (my heart one is for sure but you can ask for another one and they will probably oblige). This journal, for all its magical detail is also tough as nails and looks great –despite being toted here and there and opened, and re-opened, written in and suffered a splatter of Chai tea.