Hi, everyone. So excited for you to be here. Today we’re doing a review of the Tsuki notebook from Notebook Therapy, its a 160gsm dot grid notebook. I’m going to go through the pros and cons of the notebook from start to finish. So from unboxing all the way through to opening up the notebook and using it and pen testing it. Spoiler alert, didn’t love it, and I’m pretty underwhelmed. So let’s get into it. Let me show you some of those reasons.
Did you want to see some more reviews of the 160gsm Notebooks? Check out this blog.
One of the things that is really important to me is making sure that when I review notebooks that I have a solid foundation of reviewing them. Now, I have got a postgraduate in environmental management, so for me, values around sustainability and environmental responsibility are really important regardless of the organization. So I have done a number of notebook reviews on the channel. We’ve got one where I reviewed over 20 notebooks just last year. Granted, the sound was a little iffy, but we’ll do better for this year.
And again, did a notebook review just the other day of the top or most popular 160 GSM notebooks. So if you’re interested in reviews and you’re interested to see how some of these fare against some of my favorites, which this one is not, head over and click that subscribe button so you know, when new reviews are coming out. I would love to see you stick around.
I am no newbie to bullet journaling. I’ve been bullet journaling for many years now, and one of the things that really sets me apart, I think, is the blog that I run has one of the largest collections of bullet journal theme ideas, essentially all alphabetized for you to find really easily. So head on over, there’s a freebies page as well so you can grab some freebies while you’re there. Subscribe, grab some freebies while you subscribe and yeah, stick around for some really interesting and inspiring themes. They are annual, they are seasonal, they are different. They’re unique. Go check them out and tell me if I’m missing any below and I’ll add them in.
The purchasing process – The Tsuki Notebook from Notebook therapy
Okay, let’s talk about the purchasing process. It’s pretty standard and straightforward and the website is set up pretty well. There’s an original, an A5 and a B5 sized notebook that you can click and drop down. The A5, I assume is just normal. And I don’t know what size the original is. I made the assumption that it was an A5, because all notebooks have this kind of brand are generally A5. And boy, was I surprised. It goes through the details and there are some odd ones here where it says perfect for bujo photography. Why does the distance matter? Beautiful eco-friendly packaging now available in these sizes. And it’s only once you scroll down right to the bottom, does it show you the size differences of the notebooks. And I wish I had looked at that originally, I’d only looked at really the top fold of the website before I purchased this and ended up getting an original, which is far smaller than an A5, which is quite on the hefty side of prices. It’s not a cheap notebook.
Now, I wanted to know more about the business and who was running it and where they were from. And I went down to the about us page and I was bitterly disappointed. I got onto the about us page and it says Notebook Therapy is a warm feeling of clarity you get when you sit down with… It tells me nothing about who is running this website. It tells me nothing about the people that have set this up. And then it tells me nothing about the values or environmental responsibility that they claim so much in this environmentally or eco-friendly notebook. So that already kind of put me off.
Why I couldn’t stand Notebook Therapy’s customer service
Another thing that really frustrated me was the customer service aspect. At the same time as me buying my notebook, I actually ended up buying a friend of mine a notebook as well, but I didn’t get a tracking notification for that. So I emailed them requesting the tracking notification and if they could just follow up with my email. I’m still waiting. I then also followed up with a second email from my first purchase, asking them about their environmentally responsible values and if they could guide me into either some information about their products or just any information other than the warm, soft feeling that they have on their website on their about page. Still waiting.
Here are the screenshots of the conversation on the 8th November 2019 – I am still waiting for a reply.
This honestly just tells me that the notebook is in fact not substantiated by evidence on these claims as there are no where to be found on the website.
I would like to add that if there was evidence of ethical labor practices for the whole business, not just notebook manufacturing, I would happily consider updating and amending this review
Then finally the last nail in the coffin for me, that was really frustrating. I actually asked about this last year, November. I not only sent an Instagram message, which was “seen” and then ignored, I also requested it again and still waiting for a response. That’s over a year later. So the customer service for me is a zero in this respect. The core values around environmental sustainability or environmental responsibility are a zero and the website itself with no information about the business itself or the people that run the business? Also pretty zero.
Long shipping time for notebook therapy
I then purchased the notebook and five weeks later it arrived. I would be really keen to know if you’ve bought one of these already and you love it. I’d love to know what you love about it, because right now I’m really struggling to find things I love about it. So please comment below if you are planning on purchasing one and what is drawing you to it, or if you have purchased one and you do love it, I’d love to know in the comments below.
Unboxing the Notebook Therapy Tsuki Journal
All right. This tatty box came all the way to New Zealand from China. That obviously explains to me a little bit about their processing and manufacturing, is that it’s coming directly from China and not from a manufacturing warehouse somewhere in the States or somewhere in Japan or wherever they’re based. The box is pretty straight forward and it looks as though they’ve gotten inspiration from the Archer and Olive notebook boxes with the gold gilding, or gold foil and just really a simple white box with the logo and imprint on the front. It comes with a little business card.
And when you open it up, what I was really surprised by was the size. The other thing I was really surprised with, and this was something I actually really liked, was the velvety texture of the cover. What a great different feel to a notebook cover. Obviously the box comes with some paper. I’m guessing that this is all recyclable much like many others, but this really fun velvety cover was actually kind of nice. I didn’t dislike it.
When I went through it, the pages are pretty straightforward. They are two ribbons or ribbon markers, there are no numbered pages. The size, however, really bugged me. And you can see here that the A5 versus the original are totally different. And this is in comparison to my Archer and Olive A5. And this is when I went back to the site to discover that the original size is actually a totally different size altogether. Would’ve liked to see that upfront on the website before I made the purchase.
Onto the flip through. As we flip through, you can see this as a basic notebook. There’s the back pocket. It’s pretty well made. It comes with a cute little whale charm, I quite like that. It’s very sweet. It’s got a whale imprint on the spine or a little insignia on the spine. And the pages are obviously lovely, bright and white and 160 GSM. Onto the pen test. And I love to find the juiciest pens I can find always to test the paper. And I test the paper in a standard way. I always go juicy pens first, some pretty clear Sharpies, and then a whole bunch of other stuff. And pens you would usually use on a day-to-day basis. So here I’m using my very juicy Eco-Line markers, my Crayolas, my Karin markers, my Tombows, and pretty much any other pen I can think of that would have been really bleedy or really juicy on the paper.
Move on to fine liners, gel pens, ballpoint pens, and all the other types of pens that you may typically come across when you’re using your notebook. As we go through this, you can see I’m using a whole variety of them, just to kind of give myself an opportunity to try some from all different aspects. The Tombow Fudenosuke, we’ve got jelly rolls, we’ve got Ink Joys, we’ve got fine liners and a whole bunch of others.
Right. Onto watercolor testing. First we’re testing with watercolor pencil. I’m using my Prima Marketing watercolor pencils. And then I’m also going to use watercolor as a standard imprint here. I’m not using a lot of water, much like I would do in a normal notebook. And then I’m using my strong purple watercolor from my Half Pans. Just to make sure that everything is dry before we turn the page and check for bleed, we want to make sure that it’s dry with the dryer on both the water color and on the markers.
Okay. As expected the Eco-Line, Karin and watercolor have all bled through. I was a little bit disappointed by this, but overall I was disappointed in general. I think there’s a lot of hype around this notebook and I don’t think it’s as value for money as everyone has been saying.
As you know, I love reviewing notebooks. This is something that gets me really excited, and this might not have been the review outcome you were expecting, but you can see that there are pros and cons of the notebook, and it’s totally your choice whether or not you wanted to purchase it. For me personally, I wouldn’t be wasting my money there again, only because I don’t stand for the values. I don’t stand for the bad customer service, and I also don’t stand for the we’re environmentally responsible, but actually we participate in full drop shipping.
I also want you to remember that this is just my opinion, and you’re welcome to your opinion. And my opinion is just that. An opinion. So if you have a different opinion, I would love to hear about it in the comments below. Now, to make it really easy, to see the other reviews that I’ve done, I’m going to add them to the in-screen so that you can find them easily.
And again, if you have any questions or anything you’d like to know or any other notebooks you’d like for me to review, just pop them in the comments below. I would love to chat about them.