- Where to buy: Choosing Keeping [Here] (they also offer the notebooks individually; see links below)
- Price: £18 for three notebooks
- Page count: 31 sheets (62 pages)
- Paper weight: 70gsm
- Layout: Plain & line
- Binding: Stapled
- Recommend? A nice thin notebook and you can get them in three sizes. Lightweight and utilitarian – great for throwing in a bag when you’re on the go!
Situated in Bethnal Green, London (closest Tube being Bethnal Green; Central line), Choosing Keeping offers a number of stationary related products. What I have for review is a collection of their notebooks. I have three to look at:
Buying from local retailers is nice because you get a level of personality with what you purchase. This is something that goes a long way with me and building relationships with businesses is something that is absolutely going to make me go back there. Being from London, it’s a pleasure to review these notebooks from Choosing Keeping (usually my disclaimer comes at the end of the review, but now is as good a time as any – these notebooks were provided by Choosing Keeping in exchange for an honest review; all opinions expressed are my own).
I don’t usually consider packaging, but it echoes what I said above about the personal relationship and care you get from smaller companies so I feel it’s worth mentioning. The packaging was gorgeous. I went to the student post room to pick up the package and the woman on the desk even commented on how nice it looked. The bird (I’m sorry, but unless it’s a swan, kingfisher, pigeon (thanks London) or pelican (thanks Pelikan) then I don’t know what it is) is a very nice touch. It has the Choosing Keeping name on the body and details on the wing. The parcel is also nice – it’s different to the plain white sleeves you get from most retailers when you purchase. It also had a nice texture.
Please ignore the “400” written on the parcel – this was from the university post room and not by Choosing Keeping. The
birb bird also features on the inside of the packaging under the bubble wrap which, again, is a nice touch.
Under the bubble wrap you have a sleeve where the notebooks sit. It’s quite crinkly – it feels very nice to touch and a step up from an envelope, for example. There is a sticker keeping it closed.
When you get through all the packaging, you get the notebooks. The first thing I noticed was the faux leather cover. For some reason it makes me think of crocodile skin. I have never seen a crocodile but there we are. I probably have this feeling because of the green cover of the A5 sized notebook.
You would expect the front cover to be fairly stiff and robust (or, I did), but it’s actually rather flimsy giving it a lightweight feel and making it easier to carry around. Of course, this does have its drawbacks as the cover is very easy to tear and crease (I was able to make a small tear (though intentional) on the cover with very little effort).
The pages are stapled and all have a reddish/orange covering on the outside (I have no clue how to explain this, but thankfully pictures paint a thousand words) which really makes them stand out. This contrasts really well with the blue cover; less so in my opinion with the green one, but still nice. It blends well with the red cover which I also think looks rather nice.
Upon opening the notebooks, I found that they all laid flat with minimal effort. What’s more, these are compact notebooks (with 31 sheets (62 pages)). I like a lot of pages (more is better, so economists claim) but being an overwriting left hander, if the paper is too high off of the desk it is very difficult for me to write on the first few lines. So because these are so thin it makes it very pleasurable for me to write on.
Adding to the writing experience are both the texture of the paper and how well the paper handles ink. I enjoy a degree of feedback to my writing: if it’s a ‘hot butter on glass’ feel I get turned off quite quickly because I prefer the feeling of knowing I’m writing. I mentioned this in my Silvine Original Notebooks review, but this paper is very much the same. Pleasant to write on and it makes you aware that you’re writing because it’s not too glossy. The paper is 70gsm, or there about, and initially I was curious how nicely it would play with ink. Another thing I like from my paper is some level of show through because in my opinion it adds to the writing experience. I don’t like it when it’s so much you can’t write on the other page, but something subtle. That’s what you get with this paper. There’s also no bleed through even with my stupidly fat nibs (Sheaffer, I’m looking at you) even with a Noodler’s ink. Paper that handles a Noodler’s ink in a fat nib with no bleed etc? Well, that certainly says something (unless it’s X-Feather. Then, uh.. Yeah).
On the front page there is a bunch of writing in a language that isn’t English. Using my detective skills (on the back page it says “Made in Italy”) I was able to deduce that it’s Italian.
Quaderno di means “notebook of”, which I would assume is where you write your name. Below this you have “orario settimanale delle lezioni” which apparently means “weekly lesson timetable” (I’m getting this directly from Google Translate – I know this is the Internet and someone will correct me, but don’t shoot the messenger. Though, more exact translations would be nice). Underneath you get the 7 days of the week (to my credit I was actually able to work this one out by myself, but only because I thought “Lunedi” looked familiar from doing French in Year 2 (aka age 7)).
Thankfully, numbers are universal and you have the “Tavola pitagorica”, or Pythagorean table on the back page.
Overall, I’m quite satisfied with these notebooks. My current set up revolves around Leuchtturms (my personal journal and my Bullet Journal), though I could see these easily being something I throw into a bag and use as a pocket notebook for those quick notes I like to pen. But will it absolutely replace my Leuchtturm? Probably not.