Earlier this month, I ordered a beautiful Notebook Therapy journal that has black linen covers and a falling star pattern to the front. Unfortunately, despite ordering over two weeks before February, it is yet to be dispatched. A few days ago, my husband suggested I should order a BuJo from the UK as I have just a few pages left in my current one. I did lots of research, and in the end, I went back to a brand which I have previously used, namely Scribbles That Matter. Since my last experience of using a STM journal, they’ve made some changes to their dot gridded notebooks so I thought I’d share the one I chose and discuss some improvements that have been made.
Ordering, delivery and packaging
I checked out both the STM website and the stock which they hold on Amazon, both offered free delivery but I decided that Amazon might dispatch slightly quicker, so I ordered from there. My notebook arrived within a few days and, due to minimal packaging, it fit through the letterbox (which was great as it arrived when we were both out).
As before, there were several choices of faux leather cover (AKA vegan leather), the iconic which has an embossed design and the plain pro version. Since I last ordered, they’ve also added other options such as a vintage version which it looked like they were selling off.
Over the years when I purchased STM notebooks, they seemed to often be changing the GSM (thickness and weight) of the paper to try to suit different customers needs. Now, I’m pleased to say, they offer 120gsm if you prefer thinner paper, and 160gsm if, like me, you like thicker paper with no bleed through and the ability to lightly use watercolours.
Various sizes of notebook are also offered including A5, B5, A6 and B6 but I have only ever order the A5 size. I’m pretty sure the quality would be the same but I noticed that the A6 and B6 are only available in the lower (and therefore thinner) GSM paper. The company also offer a large array of colours so there’s plenty of choice. However, I’ve come to like the little subtle motifs on the front of the Notebook Therapy branded journals so I shall miss that.
When I ordered a few years ago, STM were packaging their notebooks in ridged plastic and I believe a thin shrink wrap as well. Now, I’m pleased to say they come in a cardboard sleeve which I presume could be recycled. This is obviously much better for the environment.
I’ve always gone for the plain cover of the pro version of the notebook so I can only comment of the features of this one but I noticed that the only slight change is that it now says STM. at the bottom of the spine, whereas before it said SCRIBBLES THAT MATTER in the centre. This makes the branding much more discreet. The quality of the faux leather is still, in my opinion, great and, although it will probably get a few marks on it with use, this does not detract from the product. It’s also easy to wipe off any smudgy marks with soapy water.
The notebook stays closed with a vertical elastic band and there is a handy pen loop to the right hand side. A 0.4mm nib fineliner is included in the pen loop but I haven’t tested the quality of it yet. This size nib is new to me as I currently use 0.2, 0.3 and occasionally 0.5 Pigma Microns.
Interior design features
The notebook still has two ribbon bookmarks in colours which match the cover and elastic closure and as I’ve never had any of them become detached, they must be pretty secure (unlike my Notebook Therapy ones which have both come out this time!). There is again an expandable pocket to the reverse which I like to put stickers and receipts in, plus a sheet cut from the back so I can cut bits to cover larger mistakes.
The page numbers are still small and subtle and I like the fact that the pages are numbered as this is not a feature of the NT journals. The dots go right up to the left and right of the page and are a subtle grey. There’s a slightly larger blank space at the top of the page and larger again at the bottom so the page number isn’t in the dot grid space.
The paper is white in colour which I prefer to some other brands which have cream or off white pages. This is obviously just my personal preference but it is worth noting. STM say that there should be no ghosting or bleed through on the thicker GSM paper which suits my needs, but again you may prefer a thinner, lighter journal with thinner paper if neither of these issues bother you.
On the inside of the front cover, there’s a pre-printed bullet code page which is useful if you’re new to bullet journalling and need a hand reference. Or, if you want to change up your system. I’ve been using the same ones for years so I will probably cover it over with a motivational quote or something. Next is the name plate page with just has three relatively short lines on which you could write your full name and the date you started your notebook. There’s then a double page which is blank except for a footnote explaining the notebook style and size – A5 dotted and the paper thickness – 160 GSM. There are then 4 indexing grid pages with a blank space for you to write your own title. At the end of the book, there are two pen test pages, although one leaf is much thicker than the other so it’s not really a fair test to explore ghosting and bleed through. Personally, I would prefer the journal to be without these printed pages but they’re ideal for those who are new to bullet journal planning.
Inside the notebook is a little grid spacing ruler which is new. You can use it horizontally or vertically and it splits the page into 2, 3, 4, 5 and 6 using colour coded divisions. This will probably prove to be a useful addition which just fits in the back pocket.
Overall, I’m really pleased with my new journal but I am disappointed that I had to source another notebook as I was looking forward to receiving my Notebook Therapy one. I have emailed them to enquire about what is taking so long but I received a standard reply advising that it may take up to three days for them to get back to me with a personal response. If you’re new to bullet journalling and looking for a quality, mid-price notebook which is made in the UK, then I totally recommend Scribbles That Matters. Any issues I had or questions have been responded to straightaway and I know they have a 100% satisfaction guarantee so that they continue to have very happy customers.
If you have any further questions about the A5 Pro Version journal, feel free to drop them in the comments and I will try my best to answer them.