I love Field Notes.
As a concept that is.
Cool, limited edition designs. Quirky and humorous advertising campaigns. Loadsa ruling options and even a cheeky joke or two on the back cover. Sounds like we would get on.
But I want to wage inky war on the bloody paper. It is shit for fountain pens. Yep, there, I said it. Field Notes FRUSTRATE THE BEEJESUS OUT OF ME! Feathering, bleed through and show through abound. Even the heavier 70# paper (such as in the Reporter’s notebook) are fountain pen tolerable at best. WHY U NO LIKE ME, FIELD NOTES?!? WHYYYYYYY?
Pocket notebooks in general are ace though. They are a handy size, normally look pretty sweet and enable me to look hipster in coffee shops. But I want, need and DESIRE a pocket notebook that loves my fountain pens as much as I do. In my despair, I messaged Stuart at PocketNotebooks.co.uk to see if he could help me in my search for the perfect fountain pen friendly companion. And like the true gent he is, he sent me a gigantic box of potential suitors for me to acquaint myself with. Bloody love Stu.
So, here is the first in a series of pocket notebook reviews that aim to end us fountain pen users’ never-ending search for the perfect pad.
First up is an unexpected suitor from Stu; an undated week by week planner from French company, Calepino. Here are its vital statistics, speed date score card style.
- Name: Eduardo ‘Calepino’ Calendar
- Height: 90mm x 140mm
- Weight: 90gsm paper, two staple binding, 48 pages
- Salary: £12 for a three pack
- Languages Spoken: French and English
- Special Skills: Undated planner consisting of one week on two pages, four months per book and an annual planner at the front
- Interesting Outfits: In addition to the calendar format, includes nine notes pages of lined, grid and dot grid at the back
- Political Stance: 100% recycled materials
- Favourite Food: Sushi
A suave customer, I’m sure you’ll agree.
Since using my William Hannah notebook with calendar inserts, I never thought I’d need a pocket notebook version. BUT, this French chappie has been so useful to throw into a satchel and carry around with me to keep my plans (all two of them) in check. I’ve loved the open date format too, and a week per page means there is plenty of space for appointments or even a mini gratitude journal if you are into that New Age bullshit (I am).
It holds up relatively well to fountain pens. Minimal feathering, bleed through on only the wettest of pens and not too much show through either. The paper is also just the right blend of smoothness and tooth.
Overall, a decent pocket notebook worth a second date (or three).
Suitor Number 2: Word. Dot Grid – The One Night Stand
Next to my speed dating table was a brand I’d had dalliances with before: Word. Notebooks Dot Grid.
- Name: Chuck ‘Word.’ Dotty
- Height: 90mm x 140mm
- Weight: 60gsm paper, two staple binding, 48 pages
- Salary: £10 for a three pack
- Languages Spoken: AMERICAN, BUDDY!
- Special Skills: Dot grid layout and useful ruler on back cover
- Interesting Outfits: Brothers come in a bullet journal ‘to-do’ list style
- Political Stance: Anti-Trump
- Favourite Artist: Bruce Springsteen
Like Field Notes, I want to love Word. Notebooks. I really do. The covers and card stock are top notch. The rulings are super handy. But, they suffer with Field Notes’ poor-paper-for fountain-pens problem. Only finer nibs have any hope on this paper; anything wider than a Japanese fine will feather and bleed more than an open wound. Very frustrating.
That said, the notebooks are well put together, show through isn’t too bad and the paper feels pleasant to write on. It’s worth a one night stand at the least.
Suitor Number 3: Story Supply Co. – The Marriage Material
I’ve always wanted a date with the Story Supply Co. notebooks ever since they were restocked on the Pocket Notebooks UK website. Our long awaited liaison did not disappoint!
- Name: Jacob ‘Story Supply’ McDreamy
- Height: 90mm x 140mm
- Weight: 70# paper, three copper staple binding, 48 pages
- Salary: £11 for a three pack
- Languages Spoken: American English
- Special Skills: For every pack of notebooks purchased, Story Supply Co. donate a ‘story’ kit for underprivileged kids in the US. McDreamy indeed!
- Interesting Outfits: In addition to this plain format, comes in lined, graph, dot grid and CW Pencils ‘Pencil Pusher’ Limited Edition
- Political Stance: Massive Socialist
- Favourite Date Plans: Whatever makes you happy, baby 😉
I WANT TO MARRY THIS NOTEBOOK. Yes, that is how strongly I feel about it.
It’s not flashy, but it is AWESOME to use. The paper is gorgeously smooth – I admit to stroking it against my face to double check – and I love it’s ivory colour. It is great for fountain pens too: almost NO feathering, shows up shading and sheen like no other pocket notebook I have seen, and no bleed through. It does show through a little bit, but for the perfect match I’m willing to overlook a few character flaws.
Add all these attributes to Story Supply Co.’s altruistic mission to help American kids get writing, and this is the perfect marriage material. I’d get down on one knee for it.
There we have it then, folks. The Story Supply Co. Notebook has won the first speed dating round. Who will win round two?!
What’s your favourite ‘marriage material’ pocket notebook?
Keep those nibs mucky!
Many thanks to Stuart at Pocket Notebooks for sending me these to review, free of charge. The opinions above are my own.