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Bullet Journal | Notebook Review

I must admit, when I first started bullet journaling I didn’t know what notebook to use. I thought of going for the traditionally recommended Moleskine’s or Leuchtturm1917’s, but at the time, I didn’t know enough about them. I’d just bought myself a new notebook, my beloved Nuuna notebook, and couldn’t think of anything better to use it for, so I went for it – I’d read the reviews for the other two but just wasn’t sure which would suit my needs best! Having said that, I’ve seen plenty of reviews on lots of notebooks, but never saw anything too in-depth about the Nuuna.

What this blog hopes to do is answer some questions on the Nuuna notebooks, but also any you might have on the Moleskine and the Leuchtturm1917! Be prepared for a stack of images, but please excuse the VERY warm lighting in the images – it’s too late to be having the full bright light on!

Lets get cracking shall we?

(FYI – the pen tests for these notebooks were done in other versions of the same notebooks. e.g I used an A6 Leuchtturm1917 to conduct the pen test as I’ll probably be giving these notebook away – potential giveaway? – don’t worry though, the paper weight is the same and its the same type of paper!)

(Another FYI is that fact that I’ve since edited this post to add another two notebooks. Enjoy!)

Nuuna Notebook

Nuuna Notebook Front Cover | October 2015

Size: 165mm x 220mm

Paper Type: 120gsm White Munken Polar Paper – Dot Grid

Amount of Pages: 256 pages

Cover Style: Softcover – Leather (various designs)

Available From: Amazon UK, Amazon US & Cult Pens (Worldwide)

How a notebook lies is one of the important factors for me. I don’t want to have to fight my own notebook to stay flat when I’m trying to write in it, nor do I want to have to weigh it down if I want to keep the book open.This notebook ticks all the right boxes by lying flat perfectly, as you can see from the photo below, and there is no fight from it at all! This is a big yay for me!

Another bonus is that the pages are wonderfully large. They’re big enough to write plenty of information on, but I don’t find them cumbersome to have to carry around. The only pet peeve I have with these notebooks is that they don’t have a elastic enclosure band, but I mainly carry this to work in my bag and then lay it on the desk when I’m there so nothing really has the chance to fall out!

Nuuna Notebook Lie Flat | October 2015

Something thing worth noting is that the pages aren’t numbered in the Nuuna notebook. That doesn’t bother me as that means I can write them how I want too and index what I want but to some, numbering 256 pages might seem a bit of a chore – and fair enough!

Pen Test

For the pen test, I tried to use a variety of ball points, gels and even a shaprie! As you can guess, the sharpie didn’t hold up well for any of the paper, but seriously, how often do you feel the need to write in a sharpie?

As for the other pens, they did well! There is a bit of ghosting but it’s no so drastic that it makes the next page unusable. It’s also not bad at all on the Frixon pen which is one of the most popular pens I’ve seen people use. I must add at this point that I am a very heavy writer, so take these pen test with a slight pinch of salt, but I did try to write as light as I could! (Also, I usually write in pencil, so I had to remember how to write with a pen again!)

Nuuna Notebook Pen Test Front | October 2015

Nuuna Notebook Pen Test Back | October 2015

Overall, I love the Nuuna notebooks and although there is show through, I honestly don’t mind. I love the bright white paper (not that the photos do this ANY justice!) and I seriously love the covers and the formatting of the dot grid. Its a beautiful mix and it’s really whats working for me!

Leuchtturm1917

Leuchtturm1917 Front Cover | October 2015

Size: 145mm x 210mm

Paper Type: 80gsm Off White – Dot / Plain / Ruled / Squared

Amount of Pages: 249 pages

Cover Style: Hardback and Softback

Available From: Amazon UK & Amazon US

As mentioned before, its a big thing for me for a notebook to lie flat, The Leuchtturm1917’s do lie flat but because this ones a hardback, it would take a bit of breaking in to make it fully lie flat! There’s an image below of how it lies flat at the moment, but just remember you’d have to break the spine a bit to be able to use the notebook anyway so it would relax with use!

Leuchtturm1917 Inside | October 2015

Now these pages do come numbered which is very nice and the notebook itself has a built in index/contents page. This is very handy for those that bullet journal, and the slightly off white paper makes it very nice to use too. It’s not to harsh on the eyes and the colours of pens and pencils write nicely on this paper!

Pen Test

As you can see below, this paper did fantastic against the pen test! The ghosting is minimal to none-existent! Of course, the sharpie failed the test, but I think we all knew this was going to happen!

Leuchtturm1917 Pen Test Front | October 2015

Leuchtturm1917 Pen Test Back | October 2015

The paper was smooth to write on and is of a weight that feels quite solid, however I just don’t love the spacing of the dots. If you notice the difference between the dots on the Nuuna and this notebook, it’s quite big! However by no means, does this make this notebook any less worth your time or money.

Moleskine

Moleskine Front Cover | October 2015

Size: 130mm x 210mm

Paper Type: 70gsm Cream – Plain / Ruled / Squared

Amount of Pages: 240 pages

Cover Style: Hardback and Softback

Available From: Amazon UK & Amazon US

Onto the Moleskine. This too lies flat, but again, it would require the book to be broken in slightly. With this notebook, I instantly realised the paper quality was not on par with the Nuuna nor the Leuchtturm1917. I’ve heard whispers in the shadows (or on the various groups I’m part of!) that Moleskine paper used to be top quality, but more recently its been poor and although I’ve never experienced the good paper, I can agree that currently it isn’t the best!

Now, I don’t want to seem like I don’t stand by my opinions but I also don’t want to dishearten others – this notebook is a joy and seriously is made to a very high quality. Some of the most influential people I follow on Instagram use Moleskine’s and swear by them, so there must be something that draws people to them! Besides, I did find that using this notebook made me remember that I do like a good grid notebook, but again, I can’t live without my Nuuna dots – it’s just a permanent partnership!

Moleskine Inside | October 2015

Pen Test

The paper is very smooth to write on, and although the pen test does show some bleed/ghosting, it’s seriously a very nice notebook to have used. The grid makes it nice and clear and again for those who bullet journal, gird notebooks are probably the best to start with as they provide a guideline for making boxes! I am not the biggest fan of the cream colour of the paper as I think it can sometime distract from the pens and pencils you use, but again – it’s not a deal breaker!

I’ve mentioned that there is some ghosting but you’ll notice that although I’ve moaned about the paper quality, this notebook did the best against the Sharpie and did indeed have the least bleed! Irony hey?

Moleskine Grided Pen Test Front | October 2015

Moleskine Grided Pen Test Back | October 2015

Overall, I do like this notebook. I like the size as I think this is the most portable of the three and I really love the formatting of the grids, but again, its always going to be Nuuna for me!

Peter Pauper Press Essentials

PP Essentials Grid Front | October 2015

Size: 145mm x 210mm

Paper Type: 100gsm White – Squared

Amount of Pages: 192 pages

Cover Style: Hardback

Available From: Amazon UK & Amazon US

This was one of the requested notebooks to review, so I didn’t really know what to expect. I can honestly say, I’m very pleasantly surprised!

The paper quality it just divine and the notebook feels nice and sturdy, just as the others do, but is a bit of a cheaper price. The paper is much heavier and a lot brighter that the Leuchtturm and the Moleskine and although it is a gird notebook, I actually really like it.

The book lies relatively flat (without the spine breaking which we’ve discussed previously), and although it has a few (30/40) less pages than the other notebooks, for the price and just taking into consideration the general quality, I can’t see this being an issue.

PP Essentials Grid Lie Flat | October 2015

Pen Test

As I’ve mentioned, this paper is really quite thick and for me, this is a big winner! The paper held up fabulously against all but one of the pens I tried (that darn sharpie!) and was nice and smooth to write on. I wouldn’t say that it’s as smooth or glossy as the others, it definitely has some tooth to it, but again, this isn’t a deal breaker for me and is unnoticeable when looking at the writing on the page.

PP Essentials Grid Pen Test Front | October 2015

As you can see, the show-through is pretty minimal with no bleed from any of the pens, bar the sharpie. In the short time I’ve had to review this notebook, I’ve become very fond of it and feel like it’s such a good quality, little gem! You could get away with writing on both sides with a fairly heavy hand and having little ghosting.

PP Essentials Grid Pen Test Back | October 2015

Overall I’m genuinely astounded by this notebook. It’s got the hardback, elastic closure, back cover pocket and bookmark like the Leuchtturm and Moleskine have, but the paper quality is so different that once you open this notebook up, it’s on a whole different par.

Baron Fig Confidant

Baron Fig Front | October 2015

Size: 137mm x 195mm

Paper Type: White – Blank / Ruled / Dot Grid

Amount of Pages: 192 pages

Cover Style: Hardback

Available From: Baron Fig

The final notebook is the Baron Fig Confidant. I had heard little bits a bobs about this notebook but really wanted to see it for myself, the thought of a fabric cover in such a lovely colour stood out to me! This notebook did bring me joy and I do like the quality and am very impressed with the packaging of these notebooks (they come in a box of their own, with a little blurb on the brand – it really does make this notebook a great gift).

This, just like all the others, lies pretty much flat but would just require some breaking in too. You’d want to be a bit careful in breaking this in though as it’s fabric cloth cover shows the threaded spine and you really wouldn’t want to start breaking through that!

Baron Fig Lie Flat | October 2015

Pen Test

There’s no official declaration on the paper weight of these notebooks, and I wouldn’t like to make such a guess, but it is nice and thick and is of an off white colour. It’s also very nice and smooth to write on and I feel it would do ok against a fountain pen (but don’t hold me to that!).

It held up pretty well with the pens I used and even the sharpie had a reduced amount of ghosting/bleed which is a nice surprise. I do feel like you’d want to be careful with the more inky pens on this paper as its glossy nature might lend itself to smudging your writing!

Baron Fig Pen Test Front

From this photo, you can really see the little amount of ghosting there is. It’s very subtle, and it is still there, but it’s really not as bad as some of the others. I’d imagine you’d start to notice the ghosting more if you did write on both sides of the page but that would happen with them all.

Baron Fig Pen Test Back | October 2015

Overall I do like this notebook a great deal, but again as with the other dot grid notebooks, it’s just not the same as my Nuuna, which I’ve become quite attached too. Having said this, it really is a nice alternative with a wonderful cover and bright yellow bookmark and I do think it’s nice to see another contender in the dot grid notebook!

That’s it – if there are any other notebooks you want me to review then do just comment below but until then, I’ll see you next time!

S

*This post contains affiliate links. This means that I may receive some pocket money (at no cost to yourself) if you purchase something through the links provided. I only ever post a link to a product I use myself and would recommend!

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13 Comments

  1. lizjdoidge

    Thanks for the review. I’m very interested in the nuuna now. Any chance you can compare it to a Peter pauper press essentials grid notebook?

    Liked by 1 person

    • steffflou

      I have indeed but didn’t think to include this in my review. I’m adding the pauper press essential grid notebook so I’ll add that one in too!

      Like

  2. nicky

    Thank you for updating the review with more notebooks. One small request if you are able, could you put he pen test pictures next to each other at least the ones showing the back to compare ghosting?

    Like

  3. have you tried Sharpie Ink Pens? not Sharpie Marker Pens. for bleed-thru w/ my Field Notes i do not have a problem. but w/ normal Sharpies & Sharpie Marker Pens the bleed-thru can be bad regardless, plus I write heavy.

    Like

    • steffflou

      No I haven’t. I’ll have to get a couple to try! I also wrote heavy so I struggle to find the write combination of paper and pens! 😌

      Like

  4. Sara

    I’ve been looking at getting one of the Peter Pauper Press journals, but I’m wondering how dark the grid lines are. I generally journal in colored pencil, and I’m afraid the lines will overpower them. What do you think?

    And the Nuuna one? That thing is to die for! I wish I could find one online, but they seem to be sold out everywhere. Such a bummer…

    Like

  5. I just bought a large size nuuna notebook on a whim in Norway while on vacation and started my Bullet Journal in it. I absolutely LOVE it and wish I had picked up another given how hard they are to find in the US 😦

    Liked by 1 person

    • sosteffso

      I’d say the Leuchtturm is good value (depending where you get it) and in most instances the paper holds well with most pens! Like wise, the Baron Fig does well but it’s just a bit pricier and I find that it’s harder to get hold of because it’s usually only available through the one distributor. I’d say Leuchtturm would be a safe bet! 😊

      Like

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