Thursday, 24 November 2016

Ryman soft cover notebook: review

This was a total impulse buy! I was in Rymans the other day and about to pay for my goods when I saw that they were doing Buy One Get One Free on their notebooks. I've just started doing another couple of Future Learn courses and one of them ("Identifying the Dead" ... hey, I write crime novels!) runs for six weeks, with four hours of work per week (though it always takes me a lot longer than that because I make a lot of notes as I go along).

So, what other reason did I need for trying out a couple of new notebooks? I need one for the course and the other came free.

I got two of the medium sized, soft cover notebooks; one in pink and one in navy.

192 pages
cream paper
70 gsm
210mm x 130mm
top margin:13mm
bottom margin: 12mm
side margins:10mm
line spacing: 7mm
matching pen loop in back cover
vertical elastic closure
expandable pocket in the back cover
ribbon marker
£6.99 (for 2 at the moment)

Walk through:
There is a lining page which (naturally) has the first lined page stuck to it. It's actually stuck to it really badly about 2cm in from the central binding, making that first lined page totally unusable. The back page wasn't stuck anything like as badly to the next page!
There is no page numbering. The pages are sewn and glued and lie pretty flat, with a bit of help. The end of the ribbon is heat-sealed (I think). The pen loop, elastic closure and ribbon are all a good match (these things bug me when they're not).

horrendously glued first page
The cover itself has an odd texture. I don't like it all that much. It's quite 'grabby' although smooth (you know, I've just realised what it makes me think of - slightly damp cat paws, albeit warmer!).
The pen loop is a good size - most of my standard sized (9-10mm diameter) pens fitted in well.  My chunky fountain pens don't fit (but then, they don't fit anything!). Slim pens (e.g. Parker Sonnet ballpoint - 7mm diameter) were held well too.

Pen Tests:

I had no great hopes over the paper at all. I only had three fountain pens inked up (I know... amazing!) and although writing was pretty smooth on the paper, and there wasn't too much feathering, there was some show-through to the other side. Depending on the colour of ink used though, probably manageable. I could probably use both sides if the ink was fairly light and the nib not too wet.
[update: I've been using it with a variety of inks now and I've been able to use both sides of the page okay with all of them] 


The Pilot V5 hi-tecpoint 0.5 were a different matter!
The black had about as much show-through as the fountain pens. The other colours all feathered more and bled through to the other side. I wouldn't be able to use both sides of the paper with any of the coloured Pilot V5 pens, which is a shame as I had hoped to be able to colour-code my notes if needed.

For an impulse buy, pretty cheap notebook, this was a lot better than I expected! I've been using it for a couple of weeks now with no problems. There is some show-through to the other side, but it's all bearable. I've only used fountain pens in it so far, with a variety of inks and none of them has ghosted through so much that the reverse side has been unusable. If they're still on offer when I go into town this weekend, I may grab a couple of the A4 versions.

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