Do you like versatile notebooks?
Do you like amazing products made in good ol’Blighty?
Do you like items that resemble the turds of unicorns?
Then you’ll bloody love this!
Andy of Say Nice Things was an absolute doll and sent me one of their A5 Journals to review…and ANOTHER ONE to giveaway to you lucky folks! See the end of the blog post for details of how to enter (and don’t just scroll down without reading – I’ll find out and I WILL hunt you down).
SNT are a UK based brand with an awesome sauce story; their founder Jill had a heart attack and thought ‘f**k this!’ with stressy corporate life and started a stationery shop instead. Hats off to you, Madame – so glad you did :)! SNT make notebooks, journals and some adorable postcards that I’ve enjoyed writing swear words all over and sending to my pen pals. They love it.
Here’s what I thought of the Unicorn barf that is the Crystal A5 Journal. (And Unicorn barf is meant in a positive way!)
1. Unicorn Vital Statistics – Notebook Specs
- A5 flexi-cover journal with ‘soft touch’ lamination
- 192 pages, 90gsm paper, stitch bound, lay-flat
- Rounded corners to cover and pages
- Round spine
- Split into 6 x 32 page coloured sections with index and matching page tabs for easy navigation: 4 x lined sections, 1 x doodle section with sketching and colouring pages, 1 x perpetual 12 month calendar for forward planning.
2. The Unicorn Coat – Packaging
Like a hot date, unwrapping your beau/new stationery item is the best part of any experience. SNT do not disappoint; the notebook comes in a sturdy white box with a cheeky face on, a butt load of gorgeous felt paper, stickers and a ‘packed by’ card for that personal touch. It’s smart packaging like this that endears me to homegrown brands, and presents the Crystal as the perfect gift for your Unicorn loving friend/mom/bit on the side.
Naughty Nick packed mine by the way, in case you were wondering…
2. The Unicorn Mane – Look and Feel
The look and feel of the Crystal was hit and miss for me. I’m a big fan of the geometric pattern design, light coral closure strap and the book’s mildly erotic laminated texture…which is a good thing. It looks uber cool.
But, the card stock outer cover feels flimsy when compared to a Leuchturrm or a Rhodia with flexible covers. It doesn’t feel like it would stand up to the hardships of rucksack or handbag life, amongst keys, water bottles and bits of chewing gum you forgot you had. So a winner on looks but a loser on durability in my opinion.
3. The Unicorn Horn – Paper and Layout
I LOVE the lay flat binding, multifaceted layout of different rulings, and drug powered doodle session areas like the Baron Fig Askew. It’s a flexible and fresh approach to the standard notebook format, and would be great for recording study notes, or juggling many projects at once whilst staying organisers. Die hard planners would adore this journal, as they could ‘bujo’ away to their hearts’ content. The sturdy back pocket is useful too, ideal for storing all those business cards or phone number scrawled napkins from hunky baristas.
However – and this is a BIG however – the paper is the let down for me. At 90gsm I was expecting it to handle pens pretty well and to feel smooth to write on. But, it wasn’t great for fountain pens as there was bleed through on most nib sizes, some feathering and a coarse surface that I didn’t enjoy using. It also struggled with my Karas Kustoms Retrakt rollerball, splodging all over the page when I held it in place for too long. That said, I enjoyed the toothier paper when writing with pencils as the graphite felt and looked great on the paper. Biros held up well too.
So all is not lost on the paper front, but as a die hard fpgeek, it wouldn’t fare well for my inky needs.
4. Will I use the Unicorn?
If the Crystal Journal had better paper, I would be ALL OVER this notebook like a rash. It is presented well, looks smart, and is usefully laid out inside. At £14.95, it is a competitive price against bigger notebook brands without this unique layout. I’m also a fan of Say Nice Things as a brand as I like what they stand for and what they are doing for the British stationery scene.
BUT, the paper quality just wasn’t there for me. Wonderful for everyday pens, but I’m not an everyday pen kinda gal. Maybe I need to be less of a pen snob…
5. Wanna WIN the Unicorn?
Fancy trying a Cadence A5 Journal version out for yourself?!? Look how sexy it is!
Enter the giveaway over on my Instagram page and follow the instructions in the SNT Journal post. (Hint: it will have the same pictures above it it.)
Keep those nibs mucky!
DISCLAIMER (oooh, how fancy!): I was sent this product free of charge to review. This in no way influences my opinions or how many swear words I cram into a post. Thanks to Andy and the SNT team for the goodies!