Scribbles that Matter Pro A5 Notebook Review

Hi everyone! I know this isn’t the kind of content I normally put up on this blog, but as some of you may know if you follow me on my other social media, I started my first bullet journal back in July, and now I’m kind of obsessed. Since we’re at the end of the year and my journal is full (I had exactly enough pages left to close out the year), I thought it would be fun to share my thoughts on the journal and talk about my experience with it over the last six months.

Don’t worry, though, I’m not turning into a bullet journal blogger (though I might post about it occasionally just because I love it). There is still a lot of bookish content to come later on.

Another important thing to note: This review is not sponsored. I bought the journal and any other stationery products mentioned with my own money. All opinions expressed are 100% my own.

I’ll do my best to remember to include links to all products mentioned in case any of you are interested in them.

Okay, now that all the disclaimers are out of the way, let’s get to the fun part.

Notebook: A5 Scribbles that Matter Pro Version

Color: White

Features:

  • Vegan leather cover
  • 2 different colored ribbon bookmarks
  • Elastic closure
  • Pen loop
  • “This Journal Belongs To” page
  • Preprinted bullet code and color code key page
  • 3 preprinted index pages
  • Pen test page
  • Mindfulness page
  • Expandable back pocket
  • 158 numbered pages (in my journal, at least)
  • Lay-flat binding

Paper: 160 gsm ivory paper with a 5mm dot grid.

Some pictures of my journal:

As I understand it, the version of the notebook that I have is a newer version with thicker paper and fewer pages. I think their older notebooks have 115 gsm paper and around 200 pages, but that’s not what I’m reviewing here, so keep that in mind as we move forward.

Pros

When they say this paper is no-bleed, they really mean it. This is a picture of the pen test page in the back of the journal, where, as you can see, I’ve tested various brush pens and markers:

Flipping to the other side, you can see that almost nothing shows through to the other side. I did test a regular blue Sharpie marker and a fine tip black Sharpie marker, both of which showed through the other side of the page. The regular Sharpie marker actually bled through in several places, though it might be hard to see that because I did try to cover it up with my “dot grid spacing” title box. Really, though, it’s a Sharpie. There aren’t many kinds of paper out there that can hold up to that, so this paper actually did really well.

The only other marker I’ve used in this journal that bled through was a black hard-tip Tombow Fudenosuke brush pen (which I just recently bought, by the way, and am obsessed with), but I think that was just because I was pressing too hard. I’ve used a Fudenosuke in several other places in this journal (including on the same page it bled on) and there was no bleed-through or even ghosting. I would recommend avoiding really inky pens and markers on this paper, but otherwise, I’ve had no issues whatsoever.

It comes with so many great features other notebooks don’t have. Like I mentioned in the specifications section, this journal comes with a whole host of extra features that, being new to bullet journaling, were super helpful to me. Of course, since I am so new, that means that this notebook is kind of the only experience I’ve had with a dot grid notebook like this (though I did use a cheap spiral-bound dot grid notebook from Walmart for about a month before moving into this one, and I have started setting up my 2020 bullet journal at this point, so I have at least a little experience with other brands). From what I’ve seen in my online research, though, this notebook has a lot of features other brands don’t have.

I think some of the most important of these features, at least for me, were the numbered pages, the pen test page (which, by the way, as far as I’ve found, Scribbles that Matter is the only journal with a built-in pen test page), and the pen loop. I also think the mindfulness page at the back is pretty cool, though I haven’t yet filled it out because I haven’t finished the journal, but I’m sure it’ll be super helpful for future me when I look back at this first bullet journal someday. I’m also pretty sure Scribbles that Matter is the only journal that provides a dedicated mindfulness page, too. Another feature that was super helpful was that every page has markings that show you the center of the page and the halfway mark on both the horizontal and vertical axes.

Here’s a picture of a mostly blank page in my journal. If you look closely, you can see what I’m talking about:

As for the numbered pages and the pen loop, while you can find them in other journals, they’re actually relatively rare, and some more expensive brands don’t even have them.

It’s a great price for the quality. In my opinion, anyway. When I bought this notebook off Amazon back in June, it was only $14.99 (USD). Looking at the listing on Amazon now, I can see that the price has gone up to $22.97. Even so, I think that’s worth getting a notebook with really good paper quality that I’m going to use for half a year at least and also comes with a whole host of extra features.

Cons

The lay-flat binding isn’t always the greatest. This is something that I haven’t heard anyone talk about in any review of this notebook I’ve seen on YouTube or anywhere else, so maybe this isn’t a common thing, but, at least in my notebook, there were several places where the glue extended too far, sticking two pages together so they wouldn’t lay flat properly.

It’s hard to explain what I mean without giving you a visual, so here are a couple examples of places in my notebook where this happened:

The last two images are a comparison, showing you the difference between one of these messed up pages and a regular page in the journal. Notice how, in the last image, there’s a lot more space between the last line of dots and the binding than there is on the second to last image. It’s not really a big deal, it was just kind of annoying to try to draw on those pages, especially if I wanted to use the line of dots closest to the binding.

There’s not much selection of cover colors or designs. At least, not compared to something like the Leuchtturm1917, which comes in a bazillion colors. On Amazon, at least, there are only 7 color options for the Pro Version, all of which have the same unadorned cover as mine (the gold “2019” you see on mine are stickers I added after I purchased it). The notebook also comes in an Iconic Version, which has a cover decorated with doodles, and that version does come in a few colors that the Pro Version doesn’t, but most of them are the same. Also, the doodles on the Iconic Version’s cover are all the same, as far as I can tell from looking at pictures of them online. So really, there are only 2 options for cover design and about 10 for cover color, if you don’t count the overlaps. Personally, I think that’s a pretty good selection, but if you’re the kind of person who wants to have a wide range of options, this notebook might not be for you.

Overall Thoughts

Would I recommend this journal? Absolutely! Although I won’t be using a Scribbles that Matter for my next bullet journal, that’s just because I wanted to try out another brand. My experience with this notebook has largely been positive, and I would definitely consider using another one like it.

Thanks for reading, everyone! I hope you enjoyed this little detour from my usual content. I’ll see you soon with another post!

-Ariel

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