It’s been a while since I’ve posted on this blog. Though I started 2019 strong, by the end of the year I was tapering out. I took some time away from the blog to reconsider what I was writing about and evaluate some things with my husband. Ultimately, we decided that, while the title Bringing Up Babyface will remain, we’d like to remove our daughter from the direct spotlight until she’s old enough to decide about her online presence for herself. I’m sure she’ll still come up occasionally, but instead of focusing directly on Babyface and my parenting journey, I’ve chosen to focus this blog on all the other aspects of being a work-at-home parent, including staying sane, building a career, making friends, and picking up new hobbies. You will continue to have fun content on this blog, including product reviews, tips & tricks, recipes, and activity ideas for parents with kids. I’m kicking the year off with a review of one of the best presents I got this Christmas: A reusable notebook. Specifically, I am looking at the Nu Board A4 Notebook.
Why Use a Reusable Notebook?
One of my personal mottos is “Be better today than yesterday.” One aspect of my life that I’m trying to improve is how my actions impact the environment.
Last year, I seriously reduced my family’s meat consumption. While we’ll still eat meat if we’re visiting guests or at a party, we no longer purchase meat for our home. But since I’m not ready to go vegan—or even full-on vegetarian—I wanted to think of some other ways I could reduce my carbon footprint. One concept I came across was the white board notebook.
As a freelance writer, I’m constantly taking notes during calls with clients. I also like to jot down statistics when I’m looking up sources, schedule my day or week out on paper, make lists of outstanding invoices, and brainstorm. Basically, I use a TON of paper in any given week, most of which immediately gets thrown in recycling. And while throwing it in recycling is better than throwing it in the garbage, there are lots of reasons why recycling still isn’t the best solution.
Of course, it’s possible to simply take notes on a computer. However, computers aren’t always convenient, especially in a classroom setting or on the go. Additionally, some people (like me) prefer the feeling of writing on paper. I’m more creative when using paper than I am when typing on a computer. A reusable notebook is a compromise because it gives you the ability to physically take notes in the moment and then erase them when you no longer need them. This eliminates waste without having to change your actual workflow.
The Nu Board is a Budget Friendly Whiteboard Notebook
Though I wasn’t the one who purchased my Nu Board, I was the one who selected it and put it on my Amazon Wish List. Since this was my first time buying a whiteboard notebook, I wanted to be sure that whomever purchased it didn’t spend a lot of money in case I didn’t end up liking it. However, I was wary of notebooks that only had a page or two inside of them, since I do take so many notes in the course of a day.
I ended up selecting the Cansay Nu Board because, at less than $25, it was a budget-friendly whiteboard notebook, but it still had 8 sheets of clear whiteboard paper as well as 4 white “boards”. At the time, I thought that was 16 pages (front and back), and I had no idea what the boards were for.
In truth, it amounts to 16 pages total. The 8 clear pages can only be used on one side at a time, because once you write on one side, it shows through when you flip the page. (That’s probably common sense for most people. It was not common sense for me).
The white boards serve a few purposes. First, they give you a background for your clear pages. This lets you see what you’re writing as if it were on plain white paper. Secondly, the white boards interspersed through the Nu Board make the overall notebook sturdier. Finally, the boards are still made out of a whiteboard material, meaning you can write on them front and back.
The Nu Board comes in two different sizes. I have the A4 Whiteboard Notebook, which means that it’s the size of a typical spiral-bound notebook. Cansay also sells Memo Books, which could be good for making a grocery list or jotting down a phone number to remember later.
Pros of the Cansay Nu Board
When I opened up the Nu Board, I was instantly impressed with the quality of it. I’m pretty specific about my notebooks, and I used to exclusively buy Five Star notebooks because I liked that they felt hearty. The front and back cover of the Nu Board is even more sturdy than a Five Star notebook, so you could easily throw this in a backpack and not worry about it bending or getting damaged in transit.
There’s a little elastic strap that goes over the bottom right corner of the notebook when you’re not using it. This means that if you are transporting your notebook, you don’t have to worry about pages folding over or ripping out (which was one of my biggest pet peeves about paper notebooks back when I was in school).
Some of the reviews I’ve read online have discussed the binding coming undone on Nu Boards. I’ve only had my board since Christmas, so I can’t comment on the long-term durability of the spiral binding, but I will say that it feels heartier than what you’d get with a typical spiral bound notebook.
The white board marker included with the Nu Board is my favorite white board marker of all time. It has an extremely fine tip, and writing with it feels similar to writing with a ballpoint pen. I can write just as quickly/neatly with the Cansay whiteboard marker as I can with any pen.
The variation between the thinner “pages” and the thicker “boards” is great for people, like me, who have very specific workflows. I like flipping through the thinner pages because it feels similar to flipping through a normal notebook. The interspersed boards are spaced apart well, allowing you to always have a white backdrop for your clear pages while giving you a few sturdier options for things like weekly check lists or schedules.
Cons of the Cansay Nu Board
The one area where the NuBoard lacks quality is with the whiteboard marker holder, which is a plastic loop that’s literally just taped to the back cover of the notebook. I don’t necessarily like having a marker holder, so the fact that this one can be removed is fine with me. However, if that’s a feature you really care about with your notebook, you may be disappointed.
While the whiteboard marker that comes with the Nu Board is amazing, the attached eraser leaves something to be desired. Erasing an entire page with a tiny eraser is pain.
Until I get an eraser, I’m using paper towels, which sort of defeats the purpose of the reusable notebook in the first place. However, once I purchase a full-size whiteboard eraser to keep at my desk, that will cease to be an issue.
The Nu Board also doesn’t have the ability to hook into a 3-ring notebook. This is not an issue for me because I’m keeping it on my desk, but if you’re thinking of buying a whiteboard notebook for one of your kids for school, it’s worth knowing.
The only other issue with the Nu Board is that none of the pages are lined. While unlined pages are great for brainstorming or drawing, I would definitely want a notebook with lines if I were using it academically.
Paper Notebook vs. Reusable Notebook? (TLDR)
Having now used the Nu Board for about a week, I can say with confidence that for most applications, a reusable notebook is all people should be using. There’s no need to waste paper for everyday use. My daughter even enjoys drawing on the notebook pages with colored whiteboard markers, and then I can just wipe up the picture when she’s done.
There are also some academic uses for reusable notebooks. For example, they’d be great for helping your kid practice their spelling words each week or for writing out their math long hand.
The one place where paper notebooks are still likely more successful than reusable notebooks is in the classroom for note-taking purposes. Reusable notebooks are, by their nature, supposed to be temporary. While you can take a photo of your whiteboard page, I wouldn’t want to study for midterms by squinting at cell phone photos of my notes. If I were still in school, I would probably still rely on Five Star notebooks for taking notes in the classroom. However, while doing homework or studying, I’d be pulling out these new whiteboard notebooks.