On the 28th February ’20 I decided, on my way in to work, to take a small detour and visit a Primark store; assuming, correctly, that it would be quiet first thing in the morning and I could look around in peace. What this normally amounts to is me buying far more than I expected; and that’s exactly what happened.
I left a few minutes after entering with four notebooks, a weekly desk planner and a stationery set which cost me the grand total of approximately £17.00GBP, but still a less costly visit than the time I bought some stationery and on impulse bought a Mirror of Erised as well!
So, what I’m going to do is a short review of each item, which will be accompanied by some pictures, starting with the notebooks, followed by the desk planner and finishing with the stationery set.
1. The Marauders Map notebook.
A nice dark grey A5 notebook with the Marauders Map design printed on the front in gold and on the back is the usual acknowledgement to Warner Brothers.
The cover is a hardback wrap around design that overlaps half the width of the front cover and is held closed with a hidden magnet; the magnet works well but is not overzealous, so the notebook stays closed but opens easily when you need it.
Front and rear flyleaves are printed, in gold, with house logo’s and small shield designs containing a ‘H’ for Hogwarts.
For a notebook that cost so little it is nice to see that the sections are stitched before being bound and when tested the pages do lie reasonably flat making it possible to use the full width of the page for notes.
Each page is line printed with approximately 8mm spacing between the lines and in the bottom left/right of each page the Hogwarts crest is printed.
When testing the paper I used Diamine Oxford Blue and it did not pass the Q-Tip test as there was some bleed through; and when using a fountain pen and there was some ghosting and whilst the reverse side of the page was not unusable I would suggest sticking to pencils or a Bic ballpoint.
Just one more thing to say about this notebook, and I didn’t realise this when I hastily grabbed it off the shelf but mine is what you might call a ‘limited edition’; owing to a mix up at the factory the inner pages are upside down, I can hear you laughing 🙂
2. Twin pack of Hogwarts notebooks.
This is straightforward twin pack of A5 notebooks. The pack I bought contained one notebook with a white/grey marble effect cover, the front cover having a large gold ‘H’ inside a shield and Hogwarts, in upper case, written just beneath it. Whilst the second notebook was a biscuit brown card cover with a smaller shield and Hogwarts but both the front and rear covers of this notebook are covered in tiny house emblems and ‘H’ shields.
The interior of both notebooks is the same; the pages are a nice bright white and the lines are printed in dark grey with approximately 8mm line spacing. In the bottom of the left or right corned of each page is a ‘H’ shield and Hogwarts and a quick manual count of the pages got me to approximately 36 sheets/72 pages.
Binding for these notebooks is a double staple and as with most staple bound notebooks it does not lie flat when open, however, this can be achieved by bending the notebook back against the staple binding; I tried this at several points and was successful on each occasion causing little or no damage.
When ink testing this notebook it fared a little better than the Marauders notebook; there was a little ghosting from both the fountain pen and the Q-Tip but nothing that caused me any concern but I would recommend you do a quick test with your choice of pen and ink.
Finally, one nice touch is the rounded corners; it’s a little thing but it does make such a difference.
3. The Hogwarts wire bound notebook.
In essence this is the big brother of the marble effect notebook I looked at earlier in this review but this one is quite something and it only cost £3.00GBP.
It’s A5 and has white/grey marble effect covers and the covers themselves are very solid like the covers of the weekly planner. The front cover has a large gold Hogwarts crest on it and it is double wire bound using gold coloured wire to match the crest and the three non-spine sides the pages are gold blocked.
The flyleaves are printed, front and rear, with tiny house emblems and ‘H’ shields and the pages are lined, approximately 8mm spacing, in dark grey with a ‘H’ shield in the bottom left/right corners.
There are approximately (no indication on label) 100 sheets/200 sides in this notebook and when tested the paper in this notebook stood up well to both the Q-Tip and the fountain pen test with no ghosting whatsoever.
This is an excellent notebook, it’s substantial, has plenty of pages and it’s very well made and finished; in short if you can get one when the stores re-open do so.
4. The Harry Potter Weekly Planner
The thing about weekly planners is that they are usually quite expensive so when I saw this one on the shelf I just had to buy one and see just what £3.00GBP buys you in the world of desk planners; it turns out that you get quite a lot for your pennies.
First off this is a cartoon style Harry Potter branded planner so it may not be suitable for work but it’s definitely a great addition to your home desktop. Closed it is approximately 16cm x 30cm, double wire bound which means it can be folded back on itself and still lie flat; it has very robust card covers which make it very durable; and the reason it need to be durable is that it is undated, so unlike a lot of planners this will run out when you finish using it not when the calendar says so.
It is designed to be used as a landscape 2-page spread, although you could use each page separately. So, when you open the notebook the top page has a notes area, To Do, Shopping List and Goals sections and the lower page is Monday – Sunday. This allows you to make notes and lists that can then be planned into the days of the week.
This design would also work well for anyone running their own blog site who needs a weekly planner but doesn’t want anything too complicated; it is also ideal for anyone thinking of dabbling with this type of planner to see if it meets their needs.
Finally, as with the Marauders Notebook stick to pencils and Bic ballpoints; when I ink tested this paper it was too absorbent to be considered fountain pen friendly; but if you want to test out your pen and ink combination, I would use a corner of a page and see what happens.
5. The Harry Potter stationery set.
The last item in the haul is the stationery set.
I picked this up because it just looked too good to resist and only costing £5.00GBP helped. It’s full of everything you need for the start of term, so let’s take a quick tour of the box and the contents.
The box is a shallow tray with a clear plastic lid, the back of the box is printed with a Daily Prophet design and the inner tray is flock coated plastic with individual sections for the contents. Anything requiring a mounting board has one and the board is printed with tiny house emblems and ‘H’ shields in the same design as the notebooks.
The set contains:
X1 Pencil sharpener
X1 Roll of gold tape
X4 Gold push pins
X4 Lightning bolt paper clips
X1 Post-it type note pad
X1 Post-it type set of house page markers
X4 Spring clips (x2 gold and x2 marble)
X1 Hogwarts pebble eraser
I’ve tested most of the items in the box and it’s a great stationery set for any Harry Potter fan whether you are buying for birthdays, the next academic year or just getting ahead for Christmas (I know, but it’s not that far away) these make great gifts.
Well, I hope you have enjoyed The Great Harry Potter Haul. There is nothing in the haul that I would not recommend, and I am constantly surprised by the quality and finish of what would be considered ‘budget’ items which goes to show that for not a lot of pennies you can get some very good things.
So, what I do recommend is that you treat yourself or the Harry Potter fan in your life to something from the haul and enjoy yourselves.
Disclaimer: All of the stationery included in this review was purchased with my own funds at retail price. The opinions expressed in this review are my own; and I am not connected with either the retailers or manufacturers in any way.