I am a lover of the Scribbles that Matter notebooks. They are well-made, fountain pen friendly, lusciously coloured notebooks. I’m also going through notebooks at a clip of one every 45-60 days right now. That’s fast. I have at least three notebooks on the go at any given moment, and right now it’s more like four or five. So with a bit of birthday money, I picked up a few of the bargain options I’ve been eyeballing for a bit. I bought them and pen-tested them so you don’t have to. These babies range from 1.66-9.00 each (prices in CAD$), so they’ll set you back less than ten dollars.
This is the first in a series of reviews of the notebooks pictured in the heading up there. They’re basic–no indexes, no page numbers, no specialized pages. But, if you’re doing morning pages, getting things done lists, or any other number of other things you might like a good enough and functional notebook for– they might suit and not break the bank (more money for inks and new pens–whee!) I’m going from cheapest to most expensive, so let’s begin.
I bought all of these notebooks with my own cash by the way–if in my literally tens of readers is a notebook company who wants to hook me up with one to review, by all means, GIMME DAT BOOK and I will, but I purchased all of these notebooks and will provide links if I have them or detailed store descriptions if I don’t.
Ikea is making a 3 pack of A5 notebooks now. How could I not buy them? Answer: in no way could I not buy them. It was very hard for me to not buy ALL the notebooks at Ikea. The designs are fun and they are BILLIG, which google translate promises me is Swedish for cheap. a 3 pack is 4.99, which comes to 1.66 per notebook.
This is, as you might imagine, a super basic notebook. They’re made of recycled paper, and the one plus is the paper is pretty smooth and a soft ivory colour. The design is cute without being cutesy. The binding is glued, this baby doesn’t lay flat, and you can probably see what we’re gonna get out of a pen test:
I went all the way and started with fountain pens–and some pretty wet inks, which are what I tend to prefer. The paper (which claims to be 80gsm on the package) feels thirsty for the ink–there’s definitely no coating here, but it’s not scratchy on the nib, either. In no great surprise, there was some bleeding. But, and I may be committing sacrilege here, for me it was not much more than I’ve experienced with wet pens in a Leuchtterm or a Moleskine (ducks for cover)–I mean certainly not in a 20 dollars more for a pack of Moleskin cahiers way. These books are slim–40 pages a piece, but I wouldn’t be bothered if I was making lists or doing some brain dumps in this thing.
Colour me pretty impressed with this little dude. It passed enough of this test for me to pop in one of my Galen Leather A5s to use as a “remember this, buy that” jot notebook. It did even better with non-fountain pens:
With my favourites in the non-fountain variety, the wetter pens ghosted pretty heavily, and the Ink Joy gels (which are pretty wet pens, part of their appeal) bled a touch. Drier or finer pens barely ghosted at all. If you’re not a fountain pen user or don’t mind ghosting and are a big list maker, or like a thin notebook in a traveler’s notebook with a heavier notebook like a Scribbles, check it out. It comes with a side of meatballs, so why not? Also, while you’re there you can pick up a set of these adorable boxes.
So, to sum up:
- BILLIG AF.
- A5 size.
- blank pages (if that’s your thing)
- BILLIG AF.
- neutral design scheme.
- bleedy with wet inks.
- blank pages (if that’s not your thing)
All in all, not my new favourite, but I’m not sad I picked them up. They will be handy for jots and lists in my TN alongside my daily carry A5 journal.