Review and Giveaway: Victoria’s Journals

I had never heard of the brand Victoria’s Journals, so I was very happy to receive a huge assortment of them from the company, which is based in Hong Kong. Wow– lots of variety and some unusual designs. Let’s take a look! (To see larger versions of the thumbnails below, click through to see the original on Flickr.)

Here’s the whole collection:

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Big ones, small ones, elastic closures, magnetic closures, snap closures, colorful covers, plain covers. They really run the gamut! I’ve shown the various groupings below next to a pocket size Moleskine for size reference.

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I picked a couple favorites to review in more detail. First, a chunky pocket size notebook under the Copelle brand. You’ll also notice a similar black one in the photos above, in a larger size.

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I really like the size and shape and the uncovered cardboard cover. It’s reinforced with an extra layer so it’s quite sturdy. The binding is an unusual construction, designed so it opens flatter. There’s no inside pocket but you do have a ribbon marker, though it is glued into the back cover rather than into the spine of the notebook at the middle of the pages. This means it gets pulled out a bit whenever you open the back cover. The elastic closure on this notebook is also unique– it’s about an inch wide and seems very sturdy. Unfortunately it’s really awkward to use– not practical at all. I am seriously tempted to try to cut it off so I could actually use this notebook, as even tucking it around the back cover leaves an annoying bulge.

 

The pages inside have a dot grid, which does not go all the way to the edge of the page. The paper is nice and smooth and feels great with fine tip pens. I don’t know the paper weight but it feels more substantial than most, and my usual pen tests also bear that out– show-through was a little better than average, and bleed-through performance was great, with even the dreaded Super Sharpie not soaking through too much. I think fountain pen users will really like this paper. Another cool feature is that the last 8 pages of the notebook have blank, perforated pages, which are not only perforated at the gutter, but across the middle of the page.

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Very handy if you just want to give someone a phone number without wasting a whole page. Bottom line, I really love this notebook but I hope they redesign that big wide elastic!

 

Then we have this medium-size Venzi notebook.

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According to the paper band, this was made exclusively for the National Bookstore chain in the Philippines. This is very similar to a softcover Moleskine, but has lovely red-dyed edges and a matching red elastic. The cover has a nice feel, and the notebook is quite flexible. There is an expanding pocket in the back, but no ribbon marker. The paper inside is blank, in a creamy off-white. According to the label, it’s 70 GSM, and it feels a bit thin. The pen tests produced quite a lot of show-through, and the Accu-Liner and Super Sharpie bled through. The other thing I noticed about this notebook was an unusual smell, perhaps from the dye they use on the edges? I couldn’t quite put my finger on it, and I didn’t think it was a horrible odor, but it was pretty noticeable when I first opened the notebook. But otherwise, I quite liked the notebook as a nice basic softcover with a fun twist to the design. I’m not sure if the Venzi collection is available outside the Philippines but I would live to try more of them, as I am always looking for nice, basic Moleskine alternatives in my favorite 9×14 cm / 3.5 x 5.5″ size, and they have some intriguing options on their website, though they only seem to offer ruled pages.

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Of the other notebooks, the most appealing to me was a boxed one that is very similar to the Midori Traveler’s Notebook. A leather cover encloses 3 stitched notebooks, each meant to be used for a different purpose: Time has undated calendar pages, Work is lined, and Personal is blank. These titles are embossed into the covers of each cahier but so lightly that it’s very hard to see in the photos, or in person, for that matter. The notebook also comes with a page of stickers you can use to create tabbed pages.

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I also liked the look of the “Cahier d’Exercise” notebooks, which come in two sizes, though the stitched binding is a bit impractical as it prevents them from opening flat.

Victoria’s Journals are available in various retailers around the world (see their Where to Buy page). But of course I am also doing a big giveaway with these samples if you want a chance to try them for free!

I will select 4 lucky winners from entries received in the following ways:
On Twitter, tweet something containing  “Victoria’s Journals” and “@NotebookStories”, and follow  “@NotebookStories.

On Facebook, “like” the  Notebook Stories page , and post something containing the words “Victoria’s Journals” on the Notebook Stories wall.

On your blog, post something containing the words “Victoria’s Journals” and “Notebook Stories” and link back to this post.

On this post, comment about how much you want to try a Victoria’s Journal and what you’ll fill it with!

The deadline for entry is Friday September 6 at 11:59PM, EST. Good luck everyone!
And please remember to check my posts on Facebook and Twitter for an announcement of the winner.

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29 Responses to “Review and Giveaway: Victoria’s Journals”

  1. Ok, I have that MTN knock-off from Victoria’s Journal and I love it! It’s about a fifth of the price of an MTN, and it’s a great option for trying the MTN system. (though I still covet the MTN like crazy.) The Venzi notebook paper is thin, but it’s cheap and it’s great for carting around. :D

  2. That’s quite a range of journals! I’d never heard of this brand either, so I’d be curious to try them out. (What I’d fill it with? Eh, the usual stuff — story drafts, possible lines of poems, title ideas, occasional to-do lists, interesting names…)

  3. Never heard of the brand, either (and I’m Filipino! although I do live outside of the country), but they look pretty nice! Would love to try it–I’m the kind that does random things with one notebook, so I’d do all kinds of writing on it: drafts, quotes, new Korean and Japanese words I learned throughout the day (I’m learning both!), quotes that I liked, strange and interesting names of places, titles of books that I want to read and search up on, to-do lists, and doodle drafts of drawings and paintings before setting them down on canvas or sturdier material.

  4. New to me too but I would love to try them. With 2014 rapidly approaching I can use a new journal!

  5. I’d love to try one of those journals – and fill it with doodles. :)

  6. I would love to try one of these new notebooks as I create the draft for my 2014 annual plan

  7. I’d use my Victoria’s Journal to capture thoughts, ideas, lists; test inks/pens; whatever. Thanks for the opportunity to win!

  8. I would use it for doodles and notes! They look really neat! I have not heard of the brand as well but I would love to try them!

  9. These are quite unusual and look like fun to use. I would fill my Victoria’s Journal with quotes and titles of books to read. (I’m always jotting both down on scraps of paper. Sigh…)

  10. I’d love to try out one of Victoria’s Journals because my goal is to try out one of every kind of journal in the world (a wonderful goal, because I’ll never achieve, thus insuring I’ll always have more to try).

    I’d fill it full of Zentangle-Inspired Art, as I do with all my journals.

  11. I would love to try out one of the Victoria’s Journals! I’d fill it with the worldbuilding notes for the novel I’ve been slaving over. I’d draw maps, character and cultural sketches, research on climate, ecology and economy and all that fun stuff. It’d be a real treasure trove of information.

    Thanks for the opportunity to win!

  12. They look interesting!!! I would use one for my latest new project of learning Zentangle.

  13. That chunky pocket notebook is to die for! I would use it as my daily diary for this fall. I love pocket notebooks. It would take a miracle for me to win anything, considering all unfornutate events that have happened to me this month so far :(

  14. I would use it to record my travels–in the next year, Hawaii and Paris.

  15. I’d love to be able to try a Victoria’s Journal! I’m always on the look-out for notebooks to use as journals and to brainstorm ideas/jot down drafts for stories, and I’d use this one for that purpose, too. :)

  16. Those red-tipped pages look awesome!! I’d love to try one of the notebooks by this brand and fill it with anything and everything that comes to mind :)

  17. Interesting. I haven’t heard of the brand either. I like the multicolor one with the unique design.

  18. […] Review and Giveaway at Notebook Stories: Victoria’s Journals […]

  19. I really would love to win the butterfly and flower magnet notebooks! I have a thing for flashy, bright, colourful stuff. Plus my name translates to “flower” so it’s fitting! I definitely would fill up those notebooks with my deepest secrets right down to the very last page. They look too pretty to be wasted!

  20. I would love to have a Victoria Journal and fill it with quotes I collect, places to travel, sketches of nature and food too.

  21. I would love to try a Victoria’s Journal – I’m off on holiday soon and this would be perfect to take with me!

  22. I have recently begun composing music, but I struggle with lyrics. Sometimes a line will come to me, but I am not near my computer or piano to write it down. A journal like this would be nice to jot these ideas in!
    <3 J

  23. I love notebooks.I hope I win some books to test.I never heard before of this brand Victoria’s Journal but I am really happy when I can test it.I hope I win sometimes.Your blog is so cool.
    Thanks for all.

  24. Thank you so much for the nice review, Notebook Stories! Yes, VJ is a new brand that will become more and more popular in the US and around the world. We have a very strong following in the Philippines and some other South East Asian and European countries. You can find our products at Office Depot – on an acrylic floor fixture with no brand marked on them. But… this only the beginning. Keep you posted. http://www.victoriasjournals.com

  25. Venzi notebooks come in different colors actually. I use the one that’s plain black without any color on the edges, and without lines. It’s my cheaper alternative to Moleskine. At least that way, I won’t regret ‘wasting’ a page or two. (It costs Php89, which is around US$2)

    According to the website though, they have options like hard cover, reporter format, etc.

  26. Another Filipino notebook addict here! I love that the Venzi notebooks comes in both line and unlined formats, I’ve stocked up on a bunch of the plain ones since I’m trying to wean myself from lined pages and Moleskines are too rich for my blood.

    Incidentally, my current notebook is a small yellow lined Copelle (as seen here: \http://www.victoriasjournals.com/collections-detail.php?pid=104). The elastic and bookmark are a bit awkward, but I find its look and chunky size strangely charming.

  27. Were winners chosen for this? Just wondering if I missed the announcement…

  28. Sorry for the delay in announcing winners! They are:
    @luvcrush on Twitter
    @hintofnonpareil on Twitter
    Janis in ID comment #22
    Jackie comment #20

  29. The Victoria’s Journals are great. I get them from National Bookstore or Powerbooks here in the Philippines. I don’t mind the bulk; actually, I like it – I feel like I can really dig my pen into the pages hehe :) I muster all the strength not to hoard these notebooks everytime I see them stacked on the shelves.

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