hardbound notebook

Foyles A5 Hardbound Notebook Review

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Folyes sent me one of their new hardbound A5 notebooks to test and review here on the blog. All thoughts expressed in this review are entirely my own.

I wasn’t aware that Foyles had their own range of stationery items so it was a very nice surprise when they contacted me asking if I’d like to check out their new A5 notebook. Folyes has always represented quality to me and their stores have a good range of stationery items, so I had high hopes for this notebook.

Design.

There are four different colour options available with this notebook but for this review I opted for the Blush version. It has a hardbound cover with a geometric design. The cover design continues onto the inside with more flare. With the Blush notebook there is a sort of blue chevron design with some hot pink foiling.

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The notebook is ruled with a light grey ink on cream coloured paper. Personally I enjoy using paper which is off-white or cream as I think it’s less harsh.

The ruling in these notebooks doesn’t run the full width of the page but leaves a small boarder around the side. The ruling width is good giving you plenty of room if you have larger handwriting.

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Each page is numbered, however there is no index at the front of the notebook which kind of makes this addition a little less functional.

Finally there is a thin ribbon style bookmark in a hot pink to match the foiling on the front of the notebook.

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Using the notebook and paper quality.

The design of a notebook is important. Quality materials and a strong design always make them far more appealing but really the paper quality is the selling point. It’s no use having a gorgeous notebook if the paper is poor.

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With the Foyles notebook I tested out a range of different writing tools I would typically use everyday to see what it could take. This ranged from fountain pens, pencils, drawing pens, gel pens and liquid ink pens. The performance was mixed. The fountain pens feathered and bled quite a bit. More than I am comfortable with or would be happy using. The paper is 100gsm and should be able to handle the fountain pens a little better.

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With the feathering came some show through which again I would expect. This doesn’t bother me too much personally but it’s worth noting.

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All the other tools worked well. Pencils were nice on the page, their glided over the paper so there was very little tooth. Drawing pens and liquid ink pens were nice too. Gel pens were a little scratchy but I find that a lot with these types of pen and paper combos.

I did also throw a Copic marker at the paper too to see what happened and as expected there was loads of bleed through.

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Overall thoughts.

The style and design of these notebooks is nice. The hardbound covers feel traditional and sturdy, perhaps a little too much. They add bulk to the notebook and don’t exactly make it slim line. I can see people being attracted to the design and colour schemes chosen and honestly I don’t think you’d be super disappointed if you were to receive this notebook as a gift. However I think it falls short in a few areas and for a similar price point at £12.99 I think there are better alternatives available.

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However despite all this I think it’s great that there are more British companies and brands producing paper products.

Thank you again to Foyles for sending me over their notebook to review.

Leuchtturm1917 A5 Hardbound Notebook Review

I have been using the Leuchtturm1917 A5 hardbound notebooks for some time and I have just realised that I have never reviewed them on the blog. Today I am fixing that error.

I see the Leuchtturm1917 notebooks as the Moleskine upgrade. It seems to be the notebook choice people progress to once they dip their toes in the Moleskine waters and realise how disappointed they are with the paper quality. Leuchtturm1917 notebooks are readily available through various different outlets, specialist or mainstream, and sit in a similar price range to the Moleskine notebooks. The key difference is they outperform the Moleskine notebooks in almost every way.

They’re so pretty.

Ok, maybe this shouldn’t be point number one in a review but I am a magpie and pretty things catch my eye. The range of colours for these notebooks is really impressive and has to be a big selling point for Leuchtturm1917. I have used a number of these notebooks over the years and each time I have bought a different colour. I am currently using the orange dot grid notebook as a bullet journal. Recently for Leuchtturms’ 100th anniversary they released three metallic colours in gold, silver and copper.

Good quality paper

The paper in the Leuchtturm1917 notebooks is an off white colour with a faint grey ruling. I have found with some other notebook brands the colour and darkness of the grid pattern too dark and therefore off putting, but with the Leuchtturm1917 notebooks the grid is faint enough that it blends into the background when you have scribbled all over the page, but dark enough to guide you.

Leuchtturm1917 dot grid in the background, Life Pistachio with white paper in the foreground

Leuchtturm1917 dot grid in the background, Life Pistachio with white paper in the foreground

The paper quality itself is really impressive too. When testing out different pens and pencils in this notebook I have found that it can handle most things. I have successfully used fountain pens, drawing pens, coloured brush pens and pencils. With some broader nib fountain pens and wetter inks there can be some show through but the finer nib fountain pens work just fine. With gel pens, ballpoints, rollerballs and pencils this paper works perfectly.

The additional extras

The extras you get with the Leuchtturm1917 notebook are what really make it a popular choice. At the front of the book are a few pages which are set aside as an Index.

This works hand in hand with the numbered pages throughout the book. All very handy for reference purposes, or for bullet journaling.

You also get two bookmarks with the newer editions of these notebooks. I have found this a really useful feature, one bookmark is never really enough.

2 very useful bookmarks

2 very useful bookmarks

In the back of the notebook there is the handy pocket in case you need to keep hold of any bits of paper.

In the background is a Leuchtturm1917 pen loop in matching orange

In the background is a Leuchtturm1917 pen loop in matching orange

A lot of notebooks claim they lay flat when in use, but I think Leuchtturm1917 notebooks actually do. For a notebook packing so many pages (249 plus the index) I think this is pretty impressive. It lies flat on the desk when in use and due to the elastic on the cover stays closed when you want it to.

Useful elastic closures

Useful elastic closures

Overall thoughts

I have used these notebooks for long form writing, for note taking at work and for school, as well as for bullet journaling. I have tried a number of their different grid formats and I have always really enjoyed each different notebook I have completed. Everything about this notebook makes it a joy to use, I can’t sing their praises enough.