Friday, February 3, 2012

Review: Miquel Rius Red Soft Bound Journal

This is a review of the Miquel Rius soft bound journal in red, with graph paper.
Outside MR Resized
Features (from Miquel Rius): 
- Durable leather-like cover
- Color options of black, blue, green or red
- Page counts of 100, 200 or 300
- Available in horizontal lined or graph paper (4mm squares)
- Paper weight is 70 gr/m2
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Right: Small Quo Vadis Habana in anise green compared to Miquel Rius red soft bound journal
My brother came to visit over the Christmas holidays and he was interested in looking at journals to take back a few gifts so, naturally, I was thrilled to go to Barnes & Noble and browse. I managed to pick up and put back a lot of journals and then I finally saw this one. It was unwrapped from its shrink plastic and I could see all its glorious pages that had been shuffled through. I picked it up and flipped through it and I got lost in paper-fantasy. There were so many pages!! I assumed it would be expensive given the way it felt, so I turned it over... Wha?! $9.95?! Done. I dug around for one that was still wrapped (and thus, unsoiled) and I couldn’t put it back. 

This is the medium size journal containing 300 pages (yes. 300!) with graph ruling. The leather-like cover is apple red and pretty tough - even though it’s soft and thin, it doesn’t scuff or scratch. I raked my nails across it and it didn’t show at all. If I did that with the Rhodia Webbie, I would decimate the cover. Not that I’d ever do this to a journal on a normal day, just so you know - the cover is tough. 
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Thickness comparison: Small Quo Vadis Habana in anise green with 80 sheets of 85 g paper versus Miquel Rius red soft bound journal with 300 pages of 70 g paper.
The whole notebook looks so tidy because the cover is the same size as the pages - no overhang. It’s amazing to look at from the side, to see the giant stack of 300 pages. I am itching to get writing to in it more. It’s going to be incredible when it fills up, I know it is! It will be crinkly and magnificent. I know you know exactly what I mean - the sound of paper that has been written all over!

The paper is 70 g and I wasn't expecting a whole lot from it because come on, let's face, it my paper standards are pretty high. As a comparison, Habanas have 85 g paper and Rhodia ‘R’ Pads have 90 g paper. This journal’s paper feels smooth and the graph ruling is on the smaller side. The lines aren’t very dark either - perfect for writing on. Not surprisingly, most fountain pen inks bled through the pages, although some inks only had a bit of show through. But really, with 300 pages, who cares? I don’t even care if I have to skip a page. The paper is white (although not brilliantly white like the old Habanas were) and it makes fountain pen inks look quite nice. I did ink testing with a Rohrer & Klingner glass dip pen and although I tried to remove excess ink before writing, it still writes very wet so if you’re using a fine nib or a drier fountain pen, you will probably be able to get away with only show through. Another good thing though - none of the inks I tested feathered. 
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Tested with Rohrer & Klingner glass dip pen
Pen Samples Resized
No bleed through with gel ink or ballpoint pens
Marker Samples Resized
Bleed through is inevitable with Sharpie markers on virtually any paper, but highlighters did not bleed through or show through!
And yet another great thing about this journal is that, even with its many pages, it still lays flat. This is a huge plus for me! I hate having to hold down a journal while I’m trying to write. You can also roll it up to stuff it into a small space. It's quite flexible!
Flexible MR Resized
Bendy boop!
Any downsides?

Ok. The 300 pages is awesome. But it also means it’s really thick. And it’s really annoying to write on the backside of the first 50 pages or so because there aren’t enough papers to press on and provide some sturdiness. But since I'm mostly using fountain pens, this is no longer a problem since I’m only writing on one side of the page. If you’re using pens that don’t bleed through and you really want to use both sides of the page, you’ll have to figure out a system to comfortably write. 

The other thing is the binding is glued. So far, it’s still intact (unlike my Piccadilly) but I suspect someday, as I get closer to the middle of the journal, the spine will start separating from the pages. I still like it better than my Piccadilly though. It would be awesome to have a sewn binding but then it probably wouldn’t be a $10 notebook anymore! 

I wouldn't mind some other cover colors to pick from, too!

What am I going to do with this journal?

The plan for this apple is to use it as a fitness and food journal. I will be keeping track of my blood pressure, heart rate, exercise, and meals, every day! It will be a lot of writing but I love writing and organizing and using things up so it will be fun, I’m sure. Aside from having to do the exercise, which will not be a whole lot of fun. Or maybe it will be. 

Read some more about Miquel Rius:

Barnes & Noble - $9.95 

I really like this notebook. For $10, it makes me like it even more. Something about this journal makes me feel awesome. Maybe it’s because it’s so chock full of pages or because it’s still bendy, despite all the pages in it - I don’t know. I love to hold it and bend it around in my hand, and the paper is so fun to write on because of the way it crinkles afterwards. You can certainly get better quality paper out there if you want it specifically for fountain pens, but really, it’s good to have a variety isn’t it? Easier on the wallet to not be using Clairefontaine paper for EVERYTHING you do! If you like writing on both sides of the page, you could try the 100 or 200 page journal instead. 


Kerry Anderson said...

I discovered this journal years ago at B&N. They last forever, even writing on one side only, at least if you write small they do... I also never had a problem with pages coming loose and I've gone through several journals that each lasted me about a year.

Enjoy your Miquelrius!

Shangching CH said...

I used mine to the midde part of the journal, and the journal is still intact.  I like how you do an ink swab for every color you have tried it on.  So much energy and effort!  
I do prefer Miquel Rius to other well-known brands because the paper is easy to work with.  But, it does take some effort on my end to finish that 300-page journal.... especially if I am writing on both sides.

Brad Dowdy said...

I have the black cover one and it is one of the coolest notebooks I own. Great bang for the buck, and great review!

GourmetPens said...

LOL You're right.. it will take effort. I've used maybe 20 pages and it's occurring to me just how little that is and how many are left.

GourmetPens said...

Excellent, I'm glad to know that. Makes it even more valuable for the price! Thanks!

Shangching CH said...

I just realized something.  Your journal stays flat?  The opposite page is always trying to attack me while I write on the other, which makes it more difficult to write on both sides.

Bornagainscholar said...

Good luck on your healthy lifestyle challenge (or opportunity). I hope you have much success and feel great too. I think it would be AWESOME if you filled the whole book up with your exercise and food journal. That would be a gem to keep for life. By the time you get it filled you will be one super healthy person. Keep us posted on your progress.

GourmetPens said...

Thank you so much! So far, I've only got like 3 pages filled out hahaha. But hey, changing one's lifestyle is a long process so I figure it'll eventually be full. It will certainly be satisfying. I am thinking about doing weekly updates, taking pictures of the notebook with all my scribbles in it  and yes - progress updates! Sometimes others need a bit of inspiration. If I can go from couch potato to healthy, active, and happy, it may help others do the same!

Bornagainscholar said...

You absolutely can do it. I understand the wanting to have the notebook filled and I also understand the desire to be "changed". Remember though you will be most successful in this journey if you enjoy the experience and not look to the end result. All to often we want to be on the other end of our goals and don't enjoy the work we are doing to get there. Unfortunately this is the easiest way to get discouraged and go back to our old ways  when we are talking about behavior modification.

You are going to do great and I wish you all of the luck. You can count on me for support and encouragement anytime you have a post or update about that.

Clara K. Showalter said...

So I just read this and have to laugh. I've been using these journals for the last 10 years as workout notebooks. :) I'm on my fourth one. I can attest they are excellent for that purpose. ;) 

GourmetPens said...

Do you?? HAhahaha that's hilarious! How perfect! ... Mine is sitting neglected in my drawer because I'm using the app... but I really should be writing in it so I can look at my hard work... or lack of hard work... *sigh*

Gabrielsnicker said...

To write comfortably on the back side of pages you can place another book, of equal thickness to the LEFT side of this journal. Then, when you are ready to write, simply be sure that the book is snug against the book binding.
You will effectively have a level platform upon which to rest while you write.

GourmetPens said...

Great tip! I have tried this and it worked perfectly! Thank you!

Vikram Shah said...

Nice review! I've got a red one just like that, although with my setup there is hardly ever any bleeding with fountain pens (Diamine Oxblood/Pumpkin, Waterman Purple, Noodler's Black). Got it a year ago and use it as a daily journal, no sign of the binding separating :)

Azizah Asgarali said...

Awesome. I was using a glass dip pen which is quite a wet writer. It's been much better since I stopped doing that :D

I'm glad the binding isn't separating though. That's a relief :)

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