The Never Ending Search Continues: The Perfect Pocket Notebook Part 2

Our speed dating of gorgeous pocket notebooks continues, courtesy of Stuart at! For those of you just joining us, I’m whoring myself out to every notebook manufacturer imaginable to find the BEST mini pad for fountain pens, because Field Notes make me cry. I’m looking for something that doesn’t illicit the same emotional reaction. For more information, check out part one if you haven’t already.

It’s a real datathon today; get your glad rags on, touch up your lippy (boys), and get ready to peruse the next three notebooks on test.


Date 4: The Justin Bieber – Whitelines

This is one weird notebook. I’m not sure if I love it or I hate it. Similar to if Justin Bieber sat down at my dating table and was articulate, funny and fully clothed.

Bieber in notebook form
Here are its vital stats:

  1. Name: Justin ‘Whitelines’ Bieber
  2. Height: 90mm x 140mm
  3. Weight and Binding: 80gsm paper, two staple binding
  4. Bicep capacity: 48 pages, 6mm lines
  5. Salary: £9 for a three pack
  6. Languages Spoken: Swedish. And Bieberish…so gibberish basically.
  7. Special Skills: Grey background and white lines are meant to make your writing clearer, and easy to scan, photocopy or photograph. Some of Whitelines’ notebooks can be used with compatible mobile apps to digitise your analog work.
  8. Interesting Outfits: Lined and squared, plus A6 versions that are top wire bound
  9. Political Stance: Digital and analog can live in harmony.
  10. Favourite Biebs Song: What Do You Mean? 

Whitelines is like marmite. Whilst it handled fountain pens well – little feathering, show through and a teeny bit of bleed through – the paper was too toothy for me and didn’t make for a pleasant writing experience. The grey colour is also an acquired taste; ink sheening was as a poor as Bieber’s vocal range and colours looked dull on the page. That said, if you are happy to use black ink and really need a photocopy/scanner friendly notebook for archiving, the Whitelines is ace.

Too odd for me, but maybe worth going for a coffee if you are that way inclined.

Date 5: The Voldemort – Moleskine

Yes, I’m dancing with death and testing a MOLESKINE, enemy of fountain pens since the dawn of time. Like Voldemort to Harry Potter. But, I was pleasantly surprised that the ‘notebook that shall not be named’ wasn’t so bad once you get to know him.

Do NOT say its name…
  1. Name: Tom Marvolo ‘Moleskine’ Riddle (hope Potter fans lap this up ;))
  2. Height: 90mm x 140mm
  3. Weight and Binding: 70gsm paper, stitched binding
  4. Bicep capacity: 64 pages
  5. Salary: £5 for a three pack
  6. Languages Spoken: Italian, English and…Potterish
  7. Special Skills: Last 16 pages are perforated so you can whip them out when needed for new potion recipes, and includes a handy back pocket
  8. Interesting Outfits: Comes in lined and now dot grid (woohoo!), and a variety of colours from boring black to prissy pastels
  9. Political Stance: Muggles must die
  10. Favourite Spell: Expelliarmus

Ok. It’s a Moleskine. We know that it isn’t best buddies with fountain pens. And that still stands to some extent; there is feathering, and major bleed and show through. BUT, the paper is silky smooth and enjoyable to write on, ink shading looks AWESOME and I like the narrower ruling. Also, at a fiver for three packs it is good value. Now, I’m not saying I love it, but these pretty Moleskines do have good points. I mean even Voldemort has some things going for him…he is a strict vegan and loves cats.

Not too bad at all, suitable for a summer fling if you fancy something so bad it’s good.

Date 6: The Sexy Frenchie – Clairefontaine Retro Nova 

Do you like French Patisserrie? Do you like berets? Tu aimes* a silky smooth writing experience in a notebook?! Then you’ll love this offering from my French date, the Clairefontaine Retro Nova.

*’you love’ for the French illiterate amongst you

French fancy
  1. Name: Monsieur ‘Clairefontaine’ Gaston
  2. Height: 90mm x 140mm
  3. Weight and Binding: 90gsm paper, stitched binding
  4. Bicep capacity: 64 pages
  5. Salary: £8 for a three pack
  6. Languages Spoken: Sexy French
  7. Special Skills: Made from recycled materials and gorgeous ivory paper
  8. Interesting Outfits: Comes in lined (and ONLY lined at present), and different cover colours ranging from dark grey to hot pink.
  9. Political Stance: The Aristocracy must perish!
  10. Favourite Beauty and the Beast Song: Be Our Guest

This is the best of the bunch on test this week. Sensually smooth paper, excellent handing of all inks and nibs (including flex), and demonstrating ink shading and sheen pretty well. The outer packaging is nice to look at too if you like Escher inspired geometry, and it is the sturdiest notebook of all I have tried so far. BUT, the ruling is mental. The lines are SO SO WIDE, which pissed me off no end – I like to get value for money out of my notebooks and cram in ALL THE WORDS! This annoyance means I don’t reach for it as often as say, my Story Supply Co. notebook that won the last speed date. Still a decent pad though for reasonable money at £8 a pop.

Worth taking home to mum, but watch out for irritating habits!

The winner for me this week was the Clairefontaine Retro Nova. Yet, I’m shocked to say I enjoyed the Moleskine equally as much for the writing experience. I’m now going to whip myself with very sharp nibs.

What’s your favourite pocket notebook on test this week?

Keep those nibs mucky!


4 thoughts on “The Never Ending Search Continues: The Perfect Pocket Notebook Part 2

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