The Happy Planner review



MAMBI Botanical Garden
August preview and divider in my MAMBI Botanical Garden Happy Planner.


I haven’t had that reaction to many things in the last few years, but I was so excited to receive this Botanical Gardens Happy Planner by Me and My Big Ideas that I ordered a Peony before it had even arrived.


December tab in the MAMBI Peony Happy Planner.


Something about the thickness of it in all those glorious pictures on Instagram and Facebook made my mouth water. I love stuffing my planners, but even my Malden can’t cope with the sheer volume of paper I want to shove in it.


MAMBI Unboxing
Unboxing my MAMBI Botanical Garden Happy Planner.


The funny thing is, the Happy Planner came up on my radar last year but I was still stuck in Filofax mentality back then and I couldn’t bring myself to actually buy one. I’d downsized from my Metropol because A5 was just too heavy for me to handle (and I couldn’t bend a Filofax back on itself without ruining the whole damned planner). I was happy in my personal-sized Filofaxes for a while, but I was starting to feel like there was no room to breathe, and every attempt to design my own inserts to make better use of the space was a total flop.


MAMBI Unboxing
Unboxing of my MAMBI Botanical Garden Happy Planner.


They’re so pretty is the thing. Right from the front cover to the back and all the way through, the Happy Planners are designed so you can use them without having to worry about decorating if you don’t like it.


July in the MAMBI Peony Happy Planner.


Unlike standard Filofax inserts (and even most of the ones you can buy on Etsy or design for yourself), the “blank” pages of the MAMBI really make me happy just looking at them. I’d started to feel like the inserts for my Filofax were downright ugly if I didn’t slap some washi on them, especially with staring at them day in and day out. By comparison, I’ll be able to decorate the Happy Planners if I want and when I have the energy, or just stick with the default spreads if I’m having an off-week. I won’t feel pressured to decorate because they already look so darned good.


MAMBI Botanical Garden
Week on two pages spread in my MAMBI Botanical Garden Happy Planner.


I did worry that I wouldn’t get on with the vertical layout, mostly because I can’t write straight without lines to follow. I did try stamping with the cute task list stamps I got in The Planner Society March kit, but I can’t get the right leverage while sitting down. They turned out fuzzy and splotchy, as stamps usually do for me no matter the quality, so I covered them up with stickers and decided to rely on the box lines as guides instead. (So far, it’s not turning out so bad.)


Year spread in the MAMBI Peony Happy Planner.


My washi collection is growing, too, so I can always add a few strips to create lines to write on if I really need to.


MAMBI Botanical Garden
September preview and divider in the MAMBI Botanical Garden Happy Planner.


There’s plenty of space on each page, especially for someone who doesn’t actually have a lot going on in her life. You can fit a surprising amount in them, especially if you’re used to the personal-sized Filofax style of planner.


MAMBI Botanical Garden
Oh, hello to you too, MAMBI Botanical Garden Happy Planner.


One thing I don’t like about either of these Happy Planners is that the Month on Two Page spread starts on Sundays instead of Mondays.


MAMBI Botanical Garden
Month on two pages spread for July in the MAMBI Botanical Garden Happy Planner.


To make matters more confounding, the weekly spreads start on Mondays instead of Sundays. I already screwed up planning on one of the month spreads in the Peony and had to move the date stickers because I’m so accustomed to starting on Monday. I’m going to have to be careful with that in future.

I’m also not very keen on the plastic rings that came with the Peony. They were dirty, and they don’t feel as smooth when turning the pages as the gold metallic rings in the Botanical Gardens do.


MAMBI Botanical Garden
Year at a glance in the MAMBI Botanical Garden Happy Planner.


I’ve added tabs from a couple of extension packs to start in March instead of July. I had decided to swap the Peony out onto gold metallic expander rings, and then use the pink plastic rings for storing old inserts, but the rings turned out to be absolutely huge. They feel much more plastic than their smaller cousins, too, so I decided to leave the Peony on the pink. (They’re growing on me anyway.)


Inside the MAMBI Peony Happy Planner.


The pages are lovely, thick and smooth. I haven’t tried writing on them with a fountain pen and probably won’t, but I don’t imagine many pens will bleed through and it’s a joy to write on. My Sakura Micron Pigma pens certainly write well in it, with barely any shadowing. (I’ve tried the 05, 03, and 02 so far.)


July tab in the MAMBI Peony Happy Planner.


The bottom line, though, is that both of these planners are just so pretty. I felt like I was on an adventure with every turn of the page. There was always something new and beautiful to look at.


MAMBI Botanical Garden
July preview and divider in the MAMBI Botanical Garden Happy Planner.


They’re an absolute joy to use, too — though the pages do feel a little stiff, as if they catch on the rings when you turn them, and sometimes the bottom or top of the page comes loose. (I also ripped a bit off, but that’s my fault: don’t try taking pages out unless your planner is absolutely flat. My duvet got in the way because I’d propped the planner up and tried taking a page out. Oops?) The pages are easy enough to pop back in, though.


MAMBI Botanical Garden


Speaking of the rings: before the Botanical Gardens arrived, I’d planned on buying expander rings for it because I thought the planners would start out a bit too thin for my taste. That’s so not true. They’ve got to be an inch and a half thick right out of the box, if not more — and that’s before I added the extension packs.


Peony front cover
Front cover of the MAMBI Peony Happy Planner.


I can’t stop looking at them.


MAMBI Botanical Garden
Back cover of my MAMBI Botanical Garden Happy Planner.


Even the back covers are pretty!


Happy Planner
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13 Replies to “The Happy Planner review”

  1. I loveee that theme! The september page with the purple and the flowers is my favorite. Where did you get your march extension pages?! I am dying to use mine but can’t figure out where people are getting their page inserts since mambi doesn’t yet sell month extensions for the big planner :/ Great post by the way!!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh gosh, yes, the September divider is just stunning. (That’s my birthday month, too, so I feel like it’s extra special lol.) It is a bit weird that some of the dividers have an odd strip of blank colour down the side, though.

      I got two extension kits because I can’t count. (I split one between my BG and Peony planners, then realised June was missing in both! XD) I got them one from Hey Little Magpie, and the other from Suzy Stick It. They’re the same kit, I just got them separately. Both stores are based in the UK, and I believe they both have the kits still in stock. You could try Etsy, too, if those don’t work for you.

      Unfortunately, I don’t think the big planner has any extension packs available, but I did read on one of the Facebook groups that the regular HP inserts fit in it. It probably won’t be ideal (it might look a bit weird) but it should suffice until your big planner starts in July?

      Thank you for taking the time to comment, and for the compliment. ❤ Good luck finding your extension pack!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Thanks for your help Emma- yes I thought about just sticking my little HP pages in there, but I’m not how that’ll look and also the new big HP planner is pretty big and bulky as it is, I figured I’d just wait….but if I find the right extension kit I might just not wait. Lol


      2. In that case, I hope they release an extension pack for you soon!

        By the way, do you mind if I ask how much bigger the big HP is than the regular one? I’d love photos of them side by side, if you’re in need of blog post ideas. ;D It’s mostly out of curiosity, although I am so freaking tempted to buy the big one too. I mean, I don’t really need, but I need it, you know? XD


      3. That totally makes more sense (and more sense to me than finding a ruler and trying to map them out with the dimensions they provide lol). Thanks!


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