10 May 2013

review: daycraft handy pick and notebooks

** WARNING: This is a long and image heavy post! **

I was recently contacted by a Hong Kong-based company called Daycraft. I've heard of this brand before and actually have some of their notebooks from my last trip to Hong Kong! Daycraft sell diaries, notebooks and lifestyle products and although there are no physical shops in the UK or the US that stock their products, you can purchase their goods online as they ship worldwide.

An interesting fact about this company is that when I received the samples, I noticed that their address is very close to where one of my aunts live.

Anyway, I was lucky enough to receive some products for the purpose of a review for Paper Lovestory so here goes! Please note that all prices are in Hong Kong dollars but I have tried to convert the prices to English pounds at an exchange rate of $12 to £1.

Handy Pick Range

The Handy Pick range is one that can be compared to the Filofax Flex range or the Midori Traveler's Notebook range because you buy a holder and refills can be bought to place in the holder. Here is a video to explain more about the concept of this range.

I was sent the large size holder, a diary insert (week to view) and a notes insert.

In my opinion, the main selling point is the fact that your choice of inserts for the holder could be different to someone else's - ergo, it is customisable and totally unique to you. Well, almost. Just like the Flex and Midori Traveler's Notebook, there is only a limited number of refills available to purchase.

Inside the holder, there is a slot for a single card on the left, a secretarial pocket on the right and a contrast lining.

Personally, I love the size and weight of it. It is slim, the colour of the holder is pretty (it's not an overly girly pink but it's not that pale either) and the quality isn't too bad for something made of PU.

Here is a further look at the layout of the diary insert (left) and the notes insert (right). The notes insert pages are perforated so they can be torn out with ease if necessary. Don't you just love the rounded corners for the notebooks:

The large size holder retails for $219 (about £18.25), the large diary refill, with two to a pack, at $53 (about £4.42) and the large notes refill, with 60 pages to each notebook and again with two to a pack, at $69 (£5.75). I think this represents pretty good value when you compare the prices to Midori insert prices - a similar product (Refill 001) retails at £4 and has 64 pages but it is only a single notebook whereas for £1.75 more, you get two with the Handy Pick range.

Overall, I quite like this product. If it was made of leather, I think I could very well be completely sold! Comparing it to the Flex, I think I much prefer the design of the Handy Pick but the prices are definitely on the Filofax Flex side if you opt for the first edition covers. I think the Flex Slim size is a similar one to the large Handy Pick size. However, with me falling out of love with the Filofax brand, Daycraft would definitely be my preferred choice.

Next up, I did a pen test on the paper. I think the paper is quite similar to the white Filofax paper as the quality isn't that good. It is very smooth though and if you're only intending on using biro, it shouldn't be too much of a problem. Unlike the Filofax white paper, however, felt tips do not bleed and affect the other side of the paper so in this sense, the Handy Pick paper is of a higher quality.

Make My Day Notebook Range

The Make My Day range are notebooks that are bright and colourful. I opted to go for a more muted colour though as I wanted to review the quality of the product without being distracted by a bright and beautiful colour! Anyway, Daycraft have done a video to explain more about this range, and if you're curious, you can also browse it on their website.

My first thoughts when looking at this product was that the design is minimalistic and classy. The fabric feel of the cover kind of reminds me of canvas and the corner elastic had me intrigued. 

This A5 Apricot Make My Day notebook retails at $239 each (about £19.90).
There is no page ribbon in this notebook so the corner elastic is designed as the bookmark instead. I love this idea?! I've not seen any other product that advertises this as a feature so maybe I've just not been thinking creatively enough with other notebooks that have an elastic enclosure like this? I am ready to be proved wrong though, so please do let me know in the comments section if you have seen one! :)

The pages are of a cream colour (a proper cream - a bit darker than the Filofax cotton cream paper) with a rule that isn't narrow, nor is it wide. In my eyes, it is just perfect for my handwriting.

The paper is impressive - 100gsm! There is also a pocket on the back cover - ideal for those lose bits of paper.

It was a pleasure to do a pen test on the paper:

No bleeding with any of the inks (though I've still yet to find my fountain pen...!) and the only show-through was the Staedtler Lumocolor (which shows-through on pretty much every kind of paper there is). I wouldn't hesitate to use both sides of the paper in this notebook.

With a higher price tag than other A5 notebooks on the market (at HK$239), there has to be a special feature that justifies this RRP and I think there is: the quality of the paper is amazing (100gsm!), the quality of the cover is thick and seems hard-wearing and the design is minimalistic and timeless (thus, ensuring that you won't get sick of seeing it). 

Overall, I love the idea of the elastic as a bookmark and the paper is just to die for. However, this wasn't my favourite product out of the samples I received (even though I do love it!).

Signature Spectrum

The Signature Spectrum notebooks are ones that have a black covers but with coloured edged paper. This video explains more! I was sent the light blue and purple ones (both in A5 size). The cover is made of PU. 

I love the sharpness and brightness of the colours. It is quite easy for a purple edged and black covered notebook to look quite dark and dull but Daycraft have avoided that by using a colour that is highly pigmented. Moreover, the contrast between the black and light blue is brilliant - I'm already eager to get this notebook on my bookshelf to brighten it up!

All of these notebooks have a ribbon that is the same colour as the edges of the paper and it is designed to act as a bookmark.

Each A5 Signature Spectrum notebook retails at $159 (about £13.25). 

The paper is the same 100gsm cream paper seen in the Make My Day notebook so I won't bother with another pen test. We've still not come to my favourite product...

Signature Notebooks

And this is the final sample I received: two Signature notebooks. This was my favourite one and I will explain why...

The Signature notebooks are similar to the Signature Spectrum ones in that they have contrast edging but this time, the covers aren't black - they come in a range of colours. I only have the pink and purple ones to show - the pink one has a black contrast with the purple possessing a creamy gold contrast (it didn't come up too well in pictures unfortunately). They also come with a bookmark ribbon and the cover is made of PU.

These notebooks retail at $159 each (about £13.25) and with it being the same price as the Signature Spectrum ones, these represent better value for money. You get a thicker notebook with the same high quality 100gsm cream paper. I love the idea of a colourful cover with the paper edged in a contrast colour. The purple and gold/cream contrast is definitely a winner for me and out of all the samples I was sent, that one is my definite favourite. With regards to the pink one; the black contrast is decent but I think a different colour would have made it a better product - maybe a light tan brown or something instead.

Have I piqued your interest in Daycraft? They sell other products too (their diaries do look beautiful and I am even considering getting one for 2014 instead of using my Smythson!) and currently, this Flower Wow notebook in blue has a prominent place in my 'shopping' bookmarks folder. You can also find Daycraft on Facebook.

Overall, I would say that the price point of these sample products puts Daycraft at the higher end of the notebook market. However, I think the cost can be justified because the designs are minimalistic and practical (therefore will appeal to the majority, making them ideal for presents!), the quality of the covers are very good and the paper quality is excellent. Cream 100gsm paper with a rule that isn't too narrow, nor too wide - they clearly know the way to my heart!

Thank you, Shadow at Daycraft, for sending me these samples for a review. I hope I have done them justice as I was very, very impressed with them all!

Disclaimer: All views my own and are not affected by the fact that the products were received as samples. I receive no commission from any links used in this blog post and I was not paid to write this blog post.


  1. I actually really love the looks of these, especially the pink one.
    I'll have to get my hand on some!

    The price ays $159 or £13.50, is this a right translation haa? Seems a huge jump!

    Kelly || DayDreamsDaisyChains.com

    1. They are all lovely and paper quality is great too! :)

      The price in $ are Hong Kong dollars, so roughly divide it by 12 and you get the GBP equivalent. Hope this helps! :) x

  2. Ooh I really like the look of these. I was about to skip over and purchase some standard Moleskines, but I might order these and hold out a little longer. Thanks for the review - I always seem to trust your opinion on these stationery matters! x

    1. From personal experience, Moleskine paper quality is terrible. With Daycraft being around the same price point, I would definitely recommend those over Moleskine. Plus, you can choose pretty colours :) x

  3. I love the perforated pages in the Handy Pick Notebook. I only have one notebook with perforated pages and that's an A5 size. Really worth considering with the holder and diary.

    1. The perforated pages is a definite winner in my opinion - more notebooks should have them! The holder is brilliant - so customisable, yet so light and cute at the same time x

  4. I love Daycraft! Out of curiosity, what diary were you thinking of for 2014? I really like the Signature Chromatic.

    1. I really like the look of the Signature diaries - definitely the purple colour (I love the purple and cream contrast in the notebook I mentioned in the post) but unsure if I should go for A5 or A6. Will see how busy things are from September onwards before deciding :-) x

  5. What fantastic adverts!!! Now I feel I should have one of everything in each colour lol x

    1. That's my goal too! I've fallen completely and utterly in love with the purple/goldy-cream Signature notebook, so much so that I want it in diary form for 2014 too! x

  6. I really like the Make My Day notebook with the elastic closure on the bottom. It would be great if they sold it in the U.S. You said the Moleskine paper is terrible. Is it bad with all non ballpoint pens? Thanks for sharing.

    1. They ship to the U.S. :) The Moleskine paper is rubbish with any writing implement that isn't a biro or pencil. I really don't recommend Moleskine notebooks if you prefer to use gel/fountain/rollerball pens as I find them to just be overpriced notebooks with poor quality paper in. The colour of the paper is nice but the quality doesn't live up to its price x