Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Letts Bicentenary Diary

I am so excited about this diary!! It is a peek at the very beginning of diary creation. It's like holding the diary version of the Big Bang in your hands!! This is how it all started!!

This is the Letts Bicentenary Diary, produced to celebrate 200 years of diaries printed by Letts. Inside this diary are pages detailing the beginning of Letts by founder John Letts, and his creation of the very first commercial diary in 1812, which revolutionized the shipping industry and business worlds at that time. The history of the company and of diary use itself is described, and famous diary users (including some royals!) are named.

You have no idea how exciting I found this. (Or, if you've been reading this blog awhile, maybe you do). What you might not know is that I love old things, and especially learning about the beginnings of things. I did my Master's degree on the origin of birds. I have antique furniture. I write in notebooks and planners.

So to read about how diaries/ planners got started from the very beginning was very exciting! I have to admit I had goosebumps while I was reading it!!  (Yes I freely admit I'm a geek!)

There is a timeline over several pages tracking significant events over the past 200 years, from the production of the first diaries to 2012. Fascinating to see how our world has changed in that time, yet people are still faithfully recording our lives on paper in books! I love it!

Another thing I found fascinating: next to the page of current measurements and conversions there is a page of measurements and conversions in the 1800's!  It tells you why tyres/ tires are called that, what's a carucate, and how many mouthfuls are in a pint. I love learning about stuff like this!

The look of the diary is meant to replicate the appearance of the original diary in 1812, and the book is made using the same techniques used then.  The diary comes in a beautiful box ready to give as a gift, or to house your collector's edition diary. It also includes a card that states which number your diary is out of only 2000 printed!

The end pages have a beautiful pattern inside, this photo doesn't nearly do it justice.
The diary has an open weekly format with a space for notes, and holidays are printed in the day spaces. The print and style look like they could be straight out of the 1812 original.
Yet for the antique appearance of the book, the features are entirely modern. There are loads of useful pages including reference calendars:
Modern-day country information:
A planner for 2012:

And for all of 2013:
There are several pages in the back for Contacts and Notes. A red ribbon placemarker and gilt page edges add to the luxurious look of this book.
The back cover retains that old-world look too:

Now, let me tell you about the paper. It is so spectacular I tweeted @LettsDiaries to ask what it is. It is Cotton Cream 90 gsm, and it is divine. Thick, smooth, and just cream-colored enough to add to the antique look of the book. It's gorgeous. Letts said this same paper is also used in the Duchess and Westminster diaries in their Limited Edition collections (

The diary is approximately A6 size, a little taller. I measure it at about 4 1/2 by 7 inches (nearly 12 cm by nearly 18 cm).  It's a very portable size, slim and light so you could carry it around everywhere with you.

What could possibly make this diary any cooler??  I'll tell you what: it's made in Scotland. I think I may swoon.

I pre-ordered this diary back in July because I absolutely did not want to miss out on this collector's edition, and I'm so happy to have it! If you are interested in this one, don't wait a single second. With only 2000 in print, they'll go fast!  Here's the product link:


  1. Hi Laurie,
    Many thanks once again for the review, really glad you like the product.
    I have to say, this along with the new noteletts range are my two current favs.
    Would you mind if I featured a link in our upcoming newsletter to your site / this review?
    Always helps to have an independent review of the products.
    Thanks again,

  2. Hi Craig! Yes you can definitely link this review in your newsletter. :)

  3. This is a gorgeous planner! I don't know why designers think they have improved over these original designs -- they haven't. If Letts or someone would create a day-per-page version of this planner using those classic covers, end papers, typography and page design, I would never use anything else.

  4. Steveareno I was thinking the EXACT same thing, I wish this came in a day per page version!! That would be wonderful.

  5. This is absolutely gorgeous. I love the leather and the typography inside! Thanks for sharing!

    Tell me, how does it feel? I can get a good idea of what it looks like from these great pictures, but sometimes a leather product can feel cheap if it's not particularly supple or oiled. What does it feel like when you handle it?

  6. Just ordered one. I shouldn't read your blog - it's getting expensive ;)

    I thing I would like a DPP-layout, too.

    Thanks for posting this review!

  7. I've just ordered mine, too. No idea what I'll use it for as I already have too many filofax's, but I couldn't resit a limited edition diary!

  8. Well Laurie, I just bought one. I couldn't resist because of it's so special. I'm not sure if I'll be using it for a mini daily diary or as a planner experiment using Leo's "Throw Productivity Out" philosophy. I am a bit addicted to the ring binder because I can sort and file pages and have several wonderful 2012 planners set up (I can't decide),but I must admit that I tend to overcomplicate things with them, they are so (too?) versatile. I quess this is a dilemna many have who love planners and the act of writing things down. Thanks for giving us the heads up on this little treasure.

  9. woodclinched, according to Letts the cover is "Brown distressed calf full leather." It feels antiqued, if that makes sense. It's not soft like gloves or oiled leather, but has a fine aged texture. Not sure if I'm describing it well! It is not at all stiff.

    Also it doesn't have a noticeable smell until you put your nose to it, then it has a PERFECT leather smell. (For those of you who are into the leather smell, like I am!)

  10. Hello Laurie,
    Not related to your post, but it is Thanksgiving Day here in Nebraska in the U.S. and I wanted to say thank you for your blog. It is a great help to me at a time when my life has suddenly and unexpectedly completely changed, as yours seems to do also. Thank you!

  11. Hi Marcia, thank you so much for your kind words! I'm glad you like my blog. Yes, major life changes throw me for a loop, but I have found that the right planner really does help me feel more in control. Best of luck to you! :)

  12. Hi again, just a quick update, if anyone is still wanting one of these, we're now down to 9 left. Not bad from the run of 2000!