“ Brand: Eccolo / Type: Notebook „
~My life in small books~
I am a notebook lover. I don't mean those little computers, I mean real notebooks with smooth paper, nice covers, ribbon markers and often a little pocket in the back for keeping receipts and stamps and things like that. There's something about a really good notebook that touches my soul. When I find one that really fits my ways of using it, then I'm a very happy bunny. "Many are called but few are chosen" when it comes to such books - I buy many, some work, some don't, some fall by the wayside but every so often one pops up that's really rather special. At the moment I suspect that my Learn-Live-Hope journal by Eccolo might be my latest newest best friend.
I have a weakness for shopping at TK Maxx but I'm not there for their famously cheap so-called designer clothes. The place is far too much like an oversized charity shop for me to battle with the rails of assorted oddities. Instead I make straight for the household section where I browse the aisles of strange kitchen appliances, soft furnishings and candles before zeroing in on my favourite shelf - the one with books and stationery. Many of my all-time favourite notebooks are leather ones I've bought in TK Maxx and my Learn-Live-Hope journal is no exception. I picked it up two or three months ago from the Salisbury store whilst visiting my parents and held on to it waiting for a new year to begin. In December I read the final diaries of the politician Tony Benn and felt inspired to have a go at keeping my own diary - something I hadn't done since I was about 15 years old. I firmly believe that adherence to such an activity is greatly helped by having somewhere beautiful to write down your thoughts so that's why I kept this notebook to use as a journal.
~Great Italian Exports - pizza, prosecco and notebooks~
Eccolo is an American company with Italian origins. It's not clear to me from their website exactly how this works, but my guess would be that they make in Italy and ship from the USA. On amazon.com it says the product is made in Italy but their website has a headquarters in America. It's not important really - all you need to know is that you can often find them in TK Maxx and various online stores. I really couldn't describe the brand as 'widely available' and it took me quite some effort to find a website so that I could get the product listed for review. They make a wide range of products, primarily focused on leather goods and notebooks - and naturally given that combination, leather notebooks. They offer thinks like leather cases for iPads and kindles, recipe books, journals, photo albums and frames, and perhaps a little more bizarrely, Murano glass paperweights.
The Learn-Live-Hope journal takes its name from the message embossed on the cover which says :
LEARN from yesterday
LIVE for today
HOPE for tomorrow.
LEARN, LIVE and HOPE are embossed in gold, the other words are simply pressed into the dark grey background. It really caught my eye, and when I read the message I thought "Yes, that's absolutely something I can relate to". I had assumed that the cover was leather, but I have since discovered that it's not. Instead it's been made with a 'luxury leather feel, animal free' material. I'm more than happy with that - it has all the hard-wearing and tactile characteristics of leather without being leather.
Lovely cover aside, this is a rather basic notebook without the frills and furbelows I've come to expect after years of using Moleskine and Paperblanks notebooks. I can live with this, but it's only fair to make plain that there's a lot you don't get with one of these. Firstly, there's no form of closure - no elasticated band or clever magnets or ribbons to tie and keep it closed. This is a bit of an issue for me as I hate throwing a notebook in my bag and getting it damaged, pages bent or torn or marked because the book has come open when something else was thrown on top. I've gone for an ultra low-tech solution in the form of a rubber band. It doesn't look classy but it does the job and ensures I can keep a pencil or pen tucked inside the book. You also won't find a handy pocket in the back for storing stamps or receipts or other bits and bobs. That is less of an issue for me since I intend to use this as a diary and I don't really need those things. There is also no page marker ribbon which is a shame, but since I tend to leave a pencil inside, I can always find where I got to.
So what DO you get? Well aside from a gorgeous cover with an inspiring message, you get a notebook that's 17 cm tall and 12.5 cm wide and contains 256 sheets of heavy-stock, acid-free ivory sheets. It's just under 2 cm thick. The size is an interesting one - quite a lot wider than a standard Moleskine or a mini format Paperblanks so there's more line to write on which is quite good. I do feel I can get quite a lot of information on a page without having to squeeze things in, but at the same time, I don't feel guilty for leaving the odd half page blank. The quality of the paper is excellent and smooth and I like the light cream shade. The line spacing is 7-8 mm which has proven to be fine for the size of my writing. In a perfect world, I prefer a plain notebook with no lines, but I can live with this one. Despite describing the paper as 'heavy-stock' it isn't really very thick and I can clearly see the text showing through from the other side. Again, I can live with this but it marks it out as a lower quality paper than I find with some other leading notebook brands.
The one problem I'm currently having, a week or so into using this, is that the book is still very stiff. In order to get enough page to write on, I'm having to physically flatten the cover in a way that makes me feel a bit of a criminal for my intent to break the spine. The book is so well made that I'm sure it can handle such abuse and I'm sure it'll 'relax' over time, but for now, it's rather restrictive for a right-hander when using the left-side of the page.
I paid something like £5 or £6 for my notebook and I'm really pleased with that. I would buy more if I saw them available at similar prices.
Note - this review may not be reused by third-parties without the written consent of the author.