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I have kept a diary for as long as I remember, at first to record my childhood memories of summer holidays and adventures, later to confide my teenage crushes. Once I had my children, the diaries changed to the five year variety. I found it really interesting to look back over the years and see the way my sons had developed and to remember their cute phrases. Now, with almost adult children, I still like to look back over the past few years to see what we were all doing at that time in the past, to remind myself of places and costs of holidays, and even to compare the weather!
This year it was time to buy a new diary, and for the first time I couldn't find one anywhere in the shops. Even my trusted John Lewis had stopped stocking them. Turning to the internet, I found several on Amazon, and decided to go for a fairly pricey variety as writing on cheap quality paper for five years had annoyed me every time. I paid more than I had paid in the past, but at £13.99 for something that I knew I would use every day for five years, I thought it was worth it.
When the diary arrived, it was much larger than any of my previous diaries, measuring 19cm by 16cm. After my initial surprise, I was quite pleased about this, as I had previously been used to just enough space to cram about 2 small sentences in and often needed a few more lines to put in a couple of extra details.
The outside cover is made of an embossed black leather look vinyl, with the traditional gold clasp and lock. The little golden key that comes with these diaries to lock them is what attracted me all those years ago as I kept my inner thoughts hidden from my parents!
Inside there is plenty of space to write. Each page is headed by the date (eg 11 May). Underneath is a small space entitled Special Dates, and underneath that the page is divided into 5 sections, one for each year. Each section has 5 lines available to record information. A black ribbon marker allows you to mark and find your place in the diary very quickly.
At the front of the diary is a perpetual calendar so that you can see which day a particular date will fall on in the future (or past). The index runs from 1901 to 2050, so there is plenty of flexibility. There is also a list of special days, feast days, bank holidays, etc. that occur throughout the year.
At the back of the diary there are the usual pages to record birthdays and anniversaries, laid out in columns by month. I like these pages and always find them useful to remember the birthdays of family and friends. There are also four pages to record Christmas cards received and sent, which I thought was a fairly useful idea, although perhaps slightly old fashioned these days. Another page is called Gifts, with columns entitled, Date, Gift, Given and Received. I cannot really imagine that I would use this page either to record gifts received or given, but I can see that it could be useful for some people. Yet another page is called Holidays, and this is something which I will use to list all the places I have visited, as a quick reminder to let me turn to the right date in the diary and see the details and costs of my trip. The last page is called Where Did I Put It? At first I thought this was an excellent idea, as I am tending to forget where I put things these days - but I quickly realised that I would have to know that I was going to lose something before I actually lost it, for this section to be really useful, so I conclude that this is a fairly useless page.
The pages are gilt edged and made of a very nice quality paper, not absorbing too much ink and heavy enough to remain perfectly flat during use.
I would strongly recommend spending a little bit more and buying this diary. This is the eighth five year diary that I have owned and it is the best one so far. Although the size is larger than I usually have and therefore more difficult to tuck into a bedside drawer or rest on a cabinet, it is really nice to have good quality paper and a really robust design.