To celebrate my very first sponsorship and the fact that my blog’s pageviews has exceeded its very first 10,000 views, I have decided to do my very first review and giveaway! I was quite surprised, upon returning from a busy weekend, to find that my blog has already hit 10,000 pageviews – earlier than I had expected! Reaching a five-digit number of pageviews for me is a milestone: it means that I have managed to persist in staying on the same blog for a substantial amount of time (almost 1 year, I think!), and it also means that my blog has reached out to a number of people (I hope)!
Today’s review will consist of two parts, each respectively dedicated to Daycraft’s MyTravel Notebook and Signature Wine Journal. Thanks to Daycraft, I am now able to do my first official review (and giveaway) of notebooks! My previous notebook reviews have been not so detailed so I hope this review will be better than the old ones.
These two notebooks are newly launched series by Daycraft. At the time of writing, I am not sure that their distributor in Singapore has imported these notebooks yet. Which means there is a high chance that I might be one of the first, if not the first, person in Singapore to touch and feel these notebooks!
Please note that while the notebooks have been given to me by Daycraft, all the opinions I write about the notebooks are absolutely my own. I am not affiliated to Daycraft.
Review 1: Daycraft MyTravel Notebook
MyTravel Notebook is officially one of the notebooks I will really use. And with that I mean I will use it for something functional, rather than for doodling in when I’m feeling bored. To be honest, my first impression of this notebook wasn’t amazing. I will tell you why, and how I ended up liking it so much later on.
First impression: This notebook seems to be made entirely of cardboard. With this statement I feel the need to explain myself: being a human being, I definitely have my biases, and when it comes to stationery, mostly only premium, elegant, classy-looking (read: leather-bound) notebooks will catch my eye. I am not a material expert and I frequently don’t even know what material my fountain pens are made of (except cheap plastic ones which are super obvious), so I don’t know if it was right to say that this notebook was really made only of cardboard.
There is an elastic band around the notebook which is attached at two points (front and back) of the notebook. This elastic band is flat, which means it is not a cylindrical band that some notebooks have which seems to get caught in places easily. MyTravel Notebook also has a special style for the elastic band: I have seen notebooks where the band is attached only at the spine, which means that when you flip the band over, it is loose and gets int the way when you try to manipulate the book. This band lies flat against the MyTravel Notebook because it is not attached to the spine, but near the middle of the notebook instead. So it does not get in the way when you handle the notebook! And all you have to do is to flip the band the other way and it secures your pages nicely.
There is a drawing of the world map on the front of the notebook. The lines are in white, which is pretty, and I am sure it would also look nice if the lines are also in dark brown, the colour of the elastic band. I opened the front cover. It was only at this time that I realised the notebook actually has a FRONT COVER. Not just your regular notebook’s front cover, but an additional hard cover protecting the notebook which is inside the cover. It opens easily and even doubles over backwards with no issue!
Opening the front flap brings you to a quote in white “The world is a book, and those who don’t travel read only a page”. Already I was starting to like the notebook, and this quote scored a few more points with me. Somehow the white quote printed on the book seemed to make me long to travel again soon. I happily wrote my name down in the blank, thus marking this is my very own (which means I’m not going to give this one away, sorry!).
The pages inside are squared papers which are slightly off-white towards “grey”, reminding me a little of the notebooks I used for Chinese language lessons when I was a little kid in primary school. It definitely brings back some nice memories. If you like grids on paper, this could be a nice notebook for you. However the grids are quite big and not your regular 5mm grids. For Chinese writing it is a nice size, since each chinese character usually takes up the space of one box of the grid. For other languages such as English, it may be a little too spaced out for you, depending on your preference. The paper is pretty thin and it’s quite deceiving because you might judge it immediately, thinking that it is lousy paper. But give it another chance, because when you write in it even with a fountain pen, it does not feather!
If I had done this writing sample on the Chinese notebooks I mentioned above, I am very certain that there will be epic feathering, bleed through and show-through. On this paper, there is only a tiny bit of show-through for the fountain pens, a lot for the marker (which is very normal, actually), and none from the rollerballs! No bleed-through to the next page either! What it means: great paper for fountain pen users like me!
One more thing I like about this notebook is that it has a little pocket at the back for you to slot things into. Imagine using this book on your travels, writing down meaningful journals, or train timings, or putting in your tickets and pictures into the little pocket… really convenient! And to top that up, the elastic band can keep everything together properly. My only complaint is that the pocket seemed to also be made of paper and I am concerned about tearing it when I am rushing during my trips.
Some stats and a little summary
MyTravel notebook measures 12.5cm wide, 17.2cm tall and 1.5cm thick. There are 128 pages of thin, white-grey squared paper, which is awesome to use and is fountain pen friendly! The notebook has an elastic band for securing the book, a ribbon for bookmarking, and a paper pocket at the back for you to slot things into. The cardboard(?) cover of the notebook is supposed to be a protective covering for you and is able to withstand wear and tear from your travels and expeditions. I have not personally tried and tested this yet, though, but it looks like a decent strong cover indeed.
I have a bunch of hobbies which includes travelling, and I have already a notebook in which I record the details of my last trip (to Europe!), but the contents of that notebook have sadly somewhat degenerated into a mix between travel details, useful phrases such as “Hola!” (which isn’t really a phrase, but might be quite useful at times), and calligraphy practices. Looking at MyTravel Notebook, I have made up my mind to use it for my next trip overseas! And also to test whether this notebook can really withstand the roughness of travel or not!
I took this notebook out on one of my weekend walks with my boyfriend in the parks, so I asked him to take a couple of pictures for me with his much better camera (than my phone’s). Hope you enjoy the slideshow! Notice how the MyTravel Notebook blends in well with the theme of nature!
Review 2: Now for the other notebook: Daycraft Signature Wine Journal
While you’re on the road, stop by and have a bottle of wine with me, to celebrate the fact that my blog has passed 10K pageviews! Then maybe you would like to record the wine details in a nice little premium-looking notebook?
The Signature Wine Journal is the perfect example of a notebook that would catch my eye. Black, almost leathery, since the cover of the book is a rubbery, soft and smooth material which I have encountered for the first time on a notebook! The pages are also coloured burgundy on the sides, which really gives a very wine-like feel to the whole book. To add (and somewhat conclude) to the total design, names of places where wine is made are carved in different fonts into the rubber on one side of the front cover, spilling a little to the back cover. I really love this because it breaks the smoothness of the rubber a little, giving the book character, yet does not disrupt the overall elegance of the book.
The inner pages are made of smooth cream paper. On the first cream page, there is a quote (quotes seem to be typical of Daycraft, huh!) which amused me too: “If God forbade drinking, would He have made wine so good?” (by Cardinal Richelieu). Something to think about, again!
There are 80 pages for you to record your wine tasting experiences (40 entries in total), where you can note down the date, origin, characteristics, notes, etc. of the wine you tasted. Following this are some pages of a chart about vintage wines: year of production, regions, guidelines and tips about vintage wines (you can catch a glimpse of it in the picture below). Right after the charts, there are pages for you to write notes, all the way until the end of the book (about 80 pages in total too). Quite a decent Journal, I must say!
To be honest, I was in a huge dilemma trying to decide which notebook I would give away. I ended up deciding reluctantly to give away this Wine Journal because I don’t really drink wine (but I would also be super reluctant to give away the MyTravel Notebook too anyway!), so I hope the lucky reader who receives this notebook will take great care of it and make full use of it, or give it to someone who will!
Just use the Rafflecopter form below to enter. The instructions are simple! If you are unsure, drop me an email. Good luck! The contest is open to everyone worldwide, and ends on 20 July 2012.