Grey is the new black
Ideas

Grey is the new black

Grey is the new black

Grey stationery

Grey is a colour that doesn’t get on a popular radar very often, it really is the new Diamine Earl Grey ink which started it all 🙂 Then the new grey washi tape arrived followed shortly by grey Age Bag notebooks – coincidence? Hmmm… We love playing with all stationery, so Dominic went on treasure hunt around the warehouse and collected everything in grey. I helped with inks (of course) in another blog post. You can read about 10 different greys here.

Age Bag Grey notebooks
Opera Pebble envelopes
Taroko Breeze Notebook with Tomoe River paper
Review

Review – Taroko Breeze Notebook

Taroko Breeze Notebook with Tomoe River paper

Introduction

The Breeze notebook from Taroko is a fairly new addition to our range and one we were very excited to receive. We had an extensive choice of the more basic slimline Taroko books, but we were really in need of a more ‘serious’ book, one that could go head to head with the Moleskine, Leuchtturm and Rhodia notebooks that dominate.

When the Breeze was announced it seemed like Christmas had come early. So when my trusty Rhodia book ran out last week I grabbed a slightly damaged Breeze book as my daily book (well, the poor wee write-off needed a good home…). This is how I have got on a week in.

Style

The book scores well because although the cover is minimal, it does at least have a design on it which gives it a lift. The standard range of Taroko books look great but once out of the packet they are unmarked and somehow a bit lacking. The size is appealing – proper A5 and just about the right thickness. The black cover with its silver print is smart, a nice contrast to the usual notebook in this market. That said, it is a fairly understated notebook, nothing too ostentatious.

Score: 8/10

Features

The Breeze notebook has a few extras, not as many as some rival notebooks but with some nice little differences up its sleeve. The book comes with numbered pages and an index which makes life so much easier when it comes to organising your notes. No fumbling around looking for that page where you know you wrote something. It also has several ink swatch pages, a nice way to record which ink you are using or for testing out some inks and keeping a proper record. Now this will likely only appeal to an ink-pen user which leads on to its most obvious feature – the Tomoe River paper.

This Japanese marvel is incredibly thin – just 68gsm – yet handles ink better than almost any paper. This also means you can pack a lot more paper in for less bulk. 183 pages of notes to be precise.

The book does lack some notable add-ons though, such as a page marker, a closure strap or an inside pocket. It’s a shame as these are quite handy features.

As for the card cover, that really depends on what you want. If you want a hard cover book then it won’t work for you, but if you prefer a soft-cover book then this card cover has a nice flexible but stiff cover.

Score: 7/10

Taroko Breeze - Index to pages
Taroko Breeze - Index to pages
Taroko Breeze - Numbered pages
Taroko Breeze - Numbered pages
Taroko Breeze - Pages to record the inks you use
Taroko Breeze - Pages to record the inks you use

Usability

This is where the Breeze really comes into its own. The paper is a joy to write on, even if you are not using a fountain pen. It is so smooth and works well with a rollerball or even just a ballpoint pen. But with a fountain pen it stands out.

The dot paper suits me perfectly and they are spot on (pun intended!) and it is a really nice size and weight for a notebook. Sounds a silly thing to say but it works for me.

Score: 10/10

Value for money

At £19.95 it certainly isn’t cheap and there are cheaper alternatives from Rhodia and Leuchtturm. It really comes down to the paper as this is the notebook’s USP. If the paper tempts you then the book is worth the extra few quid, and if the paper leaves you cold then it isn’t likely to have you shelling out that bit extra. Personally I think it is worth it but will

Score: 8/10

Verdict

Overall it has served me well for the first week – it’s a pelasure to write in and that is half the fun, surely? If you just want a purely functional notebook then go seek out the cheapest, flimsiest book in a supermarket. Assuming you have come to us looking for that extra bit of quality then this is well worth considering.

A bit more pricey and lacking a few useful features, but with enough to compensate by way of the paper and the numbered pages.

Style
Features
Usability
Value-for-money
Review of the Taroko Tomoe River Breeze Notebook
Review

Review: Taroko ‘Tomoe River’ Breeze – My Favourite Notebook

Review of the Taroko Tomoe River Breeze Notebook

My name's Phil and I’m a stationery addict

Introduction

We were approached on a Friday afternoon by someone who just the previous Friday afternoon had come by to buy some pens and inks. This time we were being asked for a week’s work experience, starting on the following Monday morning. Short notice indeed. Normally such a request would fail for so many reasons, but this time it just felt right. And so Philip joined us for a week of (very last minute) work experience. And as part of the deal, he had to contribute a piece for our blog. Something he had a lot of spare time to do one morning when our website was down! So, we bring you Philip and his amazing Breeze notebook.

Philip's Review

Hi, I hope you find this review useful and interesting. My name’s Phil and I’m a stationery addict doing a week of work experience here at Bureau Direct, having been given the chance to write a review of this excellent notebook was like a dream come true. As a student, this notebook would be perfect as a planner/bullet journal but I feel like It’d be a shame to relegate this notebook to such a boring use so instead I plan to use it to write short stories in there’s just something about it that makes me want to be creative and write – I suppose that’s the best feeling you could get from a notebook. I hope you find my review useful and informative.

Taroko Tomoe River Notebook

The moment I heard about this notebook, my heart skipped a beat, Tomoe River paper in an A5 string bound notebook… Sign me up! The 68gsm paper is soft to the touch and takes ink like a champ. Of course, with such a light paper you can expect some ghosting, but in my opinion, that adds to the charm. Every time I lay my hands on a lovely new notebook or item of stationery I feel discontent that my clumsy handwriting won’t be able to do it justice but this notebook hasn’t given me the opportunity, I’m just constantly enamoured by how my nib glides over the page so perfectly.

Index page in the Taroko Breeze notebook
Index page in the Taroko Breeze notebook (pages are numbered)

The cover is minimalistic but elegantly so, it is made from a black card with a silver foil embossed design and looks stunning. There is a beautiful navy blue inside cover which I find extremely tasteful, I think anything more colourful would subtract from the main event, the paper. Inside there are 183 sheets of dotted paper; an index at the front and ink swab pages at the back. Last month I had to replace an old Wilko own brand notebook that I’d finished and I decided to pay a little extra and get a nicer one. My criteria were that the pages needed to take fountain pen ink better and not feather or bleed; the pages needed to be dotted or squared, preferably dotted and the pages had to be numbered. I finally settled on a Leuchtturm 1917 hardback notebook, a decision that I don’t regret. But this Breeze notebook by Taroko Design supersedes the Leuchtturm as it has higher paper quality and still has the dotted pages that are numbered.

The ink swab pages are a lovely touch and whilst I don’t expect everyone to use them I know I will always come back to them whenever I fill a pen with a new ink, for those worried that these pages will mean you that you won’t have as much space for your notes don’t fear as they only occupy two double page spreads, for me this is a perfect number as I likely won’t use 18 different inks in the course of one notebook but I’m sure there may also be people who find this still too many or too few. I’m not careful enough to make artful splashes of ink in the swab boxes as I’m worried I’ll miss and get ink everywhere so instead I fall back on a gentle scribble but I wish I could have as stunning a swab page as in the promotional pictures, I’m sure you could achieve this quite easily with some courage and a pipette.

Ink charts in the Taroko Breeze notebook
Ink charts in the Taroko Breeze notebook

I feel like it’s important to explain why Tomoe River paper is something to be so excited about. Normally the adage that the higher the gsm the higher the quality is correct but it falls short when you consider Tomoe River. Their 52gsm paper is comparable to 80gsm paper, like a Rhodia Dot-Pad, in terms of how well it takes ink but the 68gsm is comparable to their more premium 90gsm paper with the advantage of thinner pages so you can fit more sheets in the same dimensions. This results in Taroko Design’s decision to use the 68gsm paper a fantastic one as it is sturdier, less prone to the unexpected creasing that plagued me when I used the 52gsm paper, and the ghosting is less noticeable.

I’ve been writing this review in Blackstone Barrister Black Ink and I just noticed that the ghosting on this paper is comparable to that of it on a Rhodia Dot-Pad, although it is still a lot more apparent in the Breeze, quickly switching to KWZ Iron Gall Turquoise I’ve noticed that whilst in the Breeze the ghosting is the same on the Dot-Pad it’s hardly noticeable. So, if you’re not a fan of ghosting or undecided it may be better to start with one of Taroko Design’s cheaper notebooks to get a feel for it.

In the interest of being completely transparent there are a couple of things I may think about changing about the notebook if I were given the opportunity. The first is I’d probably add an elastic strap to close the notebook and stop it from possibly opening in my bag and having the pages crease, but this is unlikely to happen anyway, and I’d also like to add a fabric book mark in the same colour as the inside of the cover just to make finding the page you’re on slightly easier, although again this isn’t a make it or break it thing for me. This notebook has now become my favourite notebook that I own and is a contender for my favourite that I know exists, in the running with it is the Whitelines Link as I think it’s a great blend of the analogue and digital worlds and I intend to use them for all my school notes next year (Although this is subject to how nice the paper is for use with fountain pens).

Taroko Design notebook paper
Review

Taroko Design and Tomoe River

Taroko Design notebook paper

The final part of our Taroko Design Trilogy is dedicated to the heart of the books, the Tomoe river paper.

For people that know Tomore River paper then you can just go ahead and skip to the lovely photos. Otherwise let us introduce you to something truly special.

The paper that comes in the Taroko Design notebooks is Tomoe River white 68gsm. This Japanese paper feels very different to the more familiar European paper from Rhodia and Clairefontaine. It is less glossy and more lightweight – reminds me a little of the old tracing paper used back at school, just a bit thicker and less transparent.

So what is it like to write on? Well the good stuff happens as soon as the pen meets paper. Every movement glides effortlessly, leaving a wet stroke behind. The ink sits on the paper for a moment as if on wax paper, floating above and wanting to burst out of line. But it behaves, keeps in and starts to settle into the page. Take a little break and grab a cuppa, it takes a while to dry but it is worth it. Or, do what I do watch and go:

Toy Story Green Alien ooooh

I cannot even begin to describe the beauty of the colours and sheen left behind, I’ll leave that to the images below. It’s not like any other paper, there is some black magic going on but that’s okay with me! I’m afflicted by an addiction to try out any and all inks, pens, nibs and experience how it reacts with Tomoe River. I am filled with delight every time 🙂

I thought it would be good to point out couple of loved and also unwanted paper properties terminology that burden fountain pen geeks and then show you the difference that paper can make.

Bleedthrough happens when ink (or too much ink) gets absorbed in paper so much, that it gets to the other side of the page. Bleedthrough depends a lot on quality of paper and amount of ink on the page. Tomoe river clears this easily, other paper is not quite up to scratch…

Ghosting (or Showthrough ) happens when you flip the page and can see what’s written on the other side. Not so much that the ink bleeds through the page but just enough to cause a distraction. By the nature of Tomoe River being a lightweight paper it has some transparancy but it’s not the end of the world’ scenarios, it’s fairly light. The show through on something as thick as Rhodia 90gsm is very faint, almost completely opaque.

Bleedthrough on Moleskine paper

Moleskine paper - Bleedthrough

Ghosting on Tomoe River paper

Tomoe River paper in Taroko Notebook - Ghosting

Ghosting on Rhodia paper

Tomoe River paper in Taroko Notebook - Zero Bleedthrough

Feathering happens when ink on the page dries into a veiny looking tree. Lines don’t look sharp or crisp anymore. I can’t stand it! It is a true test of quality if paper can avoid this when writing with a fountain pen. Good news – Tomoe River paper excels in this category and shows absolutely no feathering at all 🙂

Zero feathering on Tomoe River paper

Tomoe River paper in Taroko Notebook - Zero Feathering

Feathering on Moleskine paper

Moleskine notebook - Feathering

Shading is the variation between the light and dark parts of a written line. This is one property which makes writing with fountain pens stand out. Some people find it quirky, others distracting. I love it. This is more of an ink quality, but paper can help – colours on Tomoe River pop!

Tomoe River paper in Taroko Notebook - Shading

Shimmer is when ink with particles, shine and sparkle in the light. J. Herbin 1670 inks come with gold particles; Diamine Shimmering inks have a range with gold or silver…forget the gel pens, fountain pens can do it too.

Sheen is when ink looks as though it has a metallic finish. It is more apparent when you get the right angle under the light. Sheen can be gentle and sit around the edges or it may completely cover the base colour of ink. For me, the more the better! Sheen is not just about the ink, paper and pen often play an important role. Pen – wetter the better. Paper, well, let’s just say that Tomoe River is the champion when it comes to showing off this quality.

Herbin Emerald of Chivor is beautiful green teal ink which has both sheen and shimmer which makes it simply the best 🙂

Taroko Design notebooks are a great first step into the amazing world of Tomoe River paper – great for travelling and using as a refill. However, sometimes you need something a bit meatier to work with. After discussing with Taroko Designs creator, Steven (interview here), we helped refine some ideas and proudly announce Enigma.

Currently available in pocket A6, lots more pages to fill… Steven is working on an A5 version too so keep with us for more info 🙂

spiral bound notebooks
Q&A

Q&A: Why Should I Use A Spiral Bound Notebook?

spiral bound notebook

The benefit of lying flat

What is a spiral bound notebook?

We call them spiral-bound, others call them wirebound. The common link though is that the notebook is bound with a spiral coil, usually made of wire but I guess it could be made of plastic or any material strong enough to cope. Unlike notebooks where the paper is either folded to create a spine, or in some way glued together at the spine, a spiral bound notebook has two separate covers and the pages in between are only held in place by the binding.

So what is the point?

spiral bound notebook lies flat
A spiral bound notebook will lie flat. Really flat.

Quite simply, they are the easiest notebook to fold open. Others may claim to lie flat, some claim to be bendable beyond the call of duty, but a spiral bound notebook just does it with minimal fuss. It’s what it was born to do. You can open your notebook at any page, plonk it on a table and the book covers will lie flat on the table as they are not joined.

And why is that a good thing?

Horses for courses, but if you are frustrated by your notebook being a bit difficult to write in when, especially if you are close to either end of the book where the pages make it lie unevenly, then this could be the answer. And if you have ever tried writing on the go – writing with the book on your lap say – then a spiral bound notebook will win everytime. Usually they will have a hard, sturdy cover and you can fold the cover and pages round to the back creating a solid surface to write on.

So what’s the catch?

spiral binding
The spiral binding may not be to everyone's liking

Firstly, they are bulkier than a bound notebook. Some spiral bindings are quite small, but the bigger the spiral the better the result so it’s catch 22 on that one. The bigger the binding the better the ability to fold pages over but the more it gets in the way. Smaller bindings will be less easy to fold over.

Secondly, there is less choice. Way less choice. So if you have your heart set on a pink notebook, or if it has to have dot paper, then you will likely be disappointed.

Lastly, it doesn’t look as nice. Aesthetics maybe shouldn’t come into this one but in my book they do. The stationery you choose should be both practical to use but also a pleasure to own.

The verdict

Give a spiral bound notebook some thought next time you choose a notebook as they may be the answer. Even if you hadn’t quite yet asked the question.

Q&A

Q&A: Paper Rulings Explained

paper rulings explained

What are the main types of paper?

You could spend all day covering every last detail of the different paper rulings that are available, but we have narrowed the choice down to five main paper styles. These are lined, plain, grid, dot and seyes. Many people will be familiar with the first two but maybe less so as the list goes on. The aim of this article is to summarise the main differences between the paper styles and hopefully better inform your choice.

paper rulings
The Big 5: Commonly found paper rulings

1 - Lined

Lined paper, also known as ruled, is the most common and also the most popular of all the choices of paper rulings. Lined paper is composed of regular horizontal rulings across the page.

What options are available? The most common choices you will find are the size of rulings  – that is the gap between the lines. Typically you will find this varies from 5mm – 8mm with 6mm being a fairly standard notebook ruling. It might seem a minor detail but the size will determine how much space you have to write in. Bigger handwriting needs bigger rulings.

You will also find that some lined paper has a margin – typically this will run vertically down the left-hand side of the page. This is useful if you annotate notes.

Advantages? Lined paper is the most popular of all paper styles and this is because it lends itself so well to writing neatly across the pages in lines.

Disadvantages? The page rulings are great for writing but can be an obstacle if you want to mix sketching and drawing in with your notes.

ruled paper
Ruled Paper (6mm)

2 - Plain

Plain paper is fairly self-explanatory – it is a blank page with no rulings at all. Often associated with drawing or sketching, plain notebooks are also suitable as an everyday notebook to write in. But beware as the lack of any rulings will make it harder to be consistently neat.

What options are available? There are not really any options with plain paper since by its very nature it is the most pared-back of all the paper styles.

Advantages? Plain paper is the most open of all paper styles and so it suits someone who is happy writing without any page structure at all. There is plenty of scope for drawing alongside your writing.

Disadvantages? The very same open style! Having no rulings or markings of any kind may not suit everybody as most people’s writing will drift messily across the page.

plain paper
Plain paper

3 - Grid

After lined and plain paper, you are moving into the world of more niche paper rulings. Grid, or graph, paper is still seen as a bit of an unusual style but it has been around for many years. It is also seen as a bit ‘continental’ since it is more popular in French and other European notebooks.

Quite simply, grid paper is made up of a series of regular horizontal and vertical lines, which intersect to create small squares.

What options are available? As with lined paper, the crucial difference is the size of the grid. Unlike with lined paper, there isn’t much choice here. You will find that almost all grid notebooks stick to a 5x5mm grid. Occasionally you may also find that grid paper has the option of a page-margin.

Advantages? Grid paper is the most structured of all paper styles and gives a fantastic framwork for writing and drawing, if that suits your way of working.

Disadvantages? The disadvantage of grid paper is that with so many lines, the page can become quite busy before you even start writing.

grid paper
Grid paper (5x5mm)

4 - Dot

Now this is where paper rulings become very modern. Dot paper, also known as dot-grid, is something of a more recent arrival to these shores and often confuses people. It is actually very straightforward and is proving extremely popular as it is a great all-rounder.

The dots come from the fact that at the intersection of where horizontal and vertical lines would be there is a small dot. There are no lines, just the dots at regular intervals. What it means is that dot paper has a grid-like structure but without the lines.

What options are available? There is little in the way of choice here – typically you will find that dot paper works off a 5x5mm grid, with the dots spaced 5mm apart horizontally and vertically.

Advantages? Dot paper has the advantage that the dots form a structure to write with but are feint enough. This means you can sketch and draw without the page structure getting in the way. Many people find that dot paper combines the best of lined, grid and plain paper.

Disadvantages? The disadvantage of dot paper is that it is neither one thing nor another – not structured enough to be lined or grid and yet too ‘dotty’ to be useful as plain paper.

Dot paper
Dot paper

5 - Seyes

Seyes paper (pronounced say-yez) is a uniquely French thing. In fact it is so specific that most people need not even consider it as an option but it is widely available on our website so we will cover it here.

Seyes has a very particular page layout of horizontal and vertical rulings, but in a seemingly irregular pattern. In fact it is a repeating series of narrow and wide rulings. The purpose of the paper is to help children learn to write. It is something that French children are very familiar with, hence the wide choice of Clairefontaine and Rhodia notebook with seyes paper.

What options are available? Because the paper is intended to be used for children of all ages, the rulings start very wide and progress to quite fine. There is a method to how the paper is used, and we will explain this in another post. However in summary it is about using the lines to form the different elements of letters.

Advantages? Er…not many. Seyes paper is something you specifically want and are looking for, in which the advantage is that it will be a unique layout designed for that purpose.

Disadvantages? The disadvantage is that if you are not familiar with seyes paper then it won’t be of much use since it is intended to serve a specific role in writing evenly.

seyes paper
Seyes paper (3mm Stage VI)
head to head - leuchtturm vs rhodiarama
Review

Leuchtturm1917 vs Rhodiarama

head to head review - rhodiarama vs leuchtturm

Head to Head Dot Notebook Review: Leuchtturm1917 vs Rhodiarama

Introduction

This review has an extra personal edge because I was an avid fan of my Leuchtturm dot notebook, to the point of questioning why I would want to switch to another book, but when we got the Rhodiarama books in recently I was tempted – after all, they now came with dot-grid paper (a must for me) and also in that nice extra-large size meaning it was small enough to carry round but gave more page space to work. The only way to find out would be to switch books and test the new one out. It was then helped by my wife spilling wine on my Leuchtturm book, so the appeal of a nice clean book won me over.

I have been using the Rhodiarama for about a month now, having used the Leuchtturm for about four months prior to that.

Style

Both look quite similar – they both come in a range of colours making it hard to choose which one. The Rhodiarama edges it slightly with a nicer colour choice and I like the orange strap (part of the Rhodia branding) but others may prefer the Leuchtturm colour-coordinated look. The orange theme continues with the Rhodiarama to the inside-cover pages which adds a nice touch of quality though. Really not much to put between them here though.

Scores. Leuchtturm: 8/10. Rhodia: 9/10

head to head - leuchtturm vs rhodiarama

Features

This is where in my opinion the Leuchtturm really wins out. It has those features that can really make the difference. The big features it gives you are:

  • numbered pages
  • an index at the front, which makes it so easy to note down any page you want to refer to (important notes etc)
  • sticky labels (so you can archive the book afterwards)
  • two page-marker ribbons (on most books, not guaranteed)

Of course you can make your own index and page numbers but that’s just a hassle when it could be in the book already.

What both books do offer in common is:

  • at least one page-marker ribbon
  • ivory paper
  • 5x5mm dot-grid matrix pages
  • an inside pocket at the back.

The Leuchtturm is a hardback book, the Rhodiarama a soft-cover so this really comes down to what you prefer. The Rhodiarama is also a bigger book at 19x25cm so gives you more space (nb: it also comes in the same A5-ish size but I went for the larger one to compare). Finally, both are known for having good quality paper but the Rhodia book has the paper quality almost as its USP – regularly cited as the best quality paper and a must for fountain pen users.

Scores. Leuchtturm: 9/10. Rhodia: 7/10

Usability

There is no question that the Rhodia book has the nicer paper – just run your hand over it and you can feel how much smoother it is. There is no bleed or feathering, and although the Leuchtturm is still handles ink well it doesn’t do as well as the Rhodia. That said, if you’re not using a fountain pen this really isn’t that important. The Rhodia paper is still nicer to use but matters less with a ballpoint pen say. Where the Leuchtturm wins back points is with those features which make the book so much more practical to use.

Depending on whether you intend to work on the go or not, cover choice might be important here as well. The soft cover is nice and less of a bulky object to have on you, and it means the bigger Rhodia book isn’t any more of an issue to carry around in my bag, but the lack of a hard cover is an issue when trying to write on your lap for example.

Scores. Leuchtturm: 8/10. Rhodia: 8/10

bullet journal rhodia

Value for Money

Strictly speaking this isn’t a fair test on price as the Rhodia book is bigger. At £17.50 it weighs in more expensive than the £12.95 Leuchtturm book. I would say that the Rhodia is not nearly as good value as the Leuchtturm as it has less pages and costs more. Even allowing for the size difference this is still the case (the A5 Rhodiarama is £13.75, so 80p more). That said, the Rhodia book does have 90gsm paper so if paper quality is important then this might be a factor in the value but for me, it isn’t one of my top criteria.

Scores. Leuchtturm: 9/10. Rhodia: 7/10

Verdict

I wanted to prefer the Rhodiarama book, I really did. I thought it work better for me, it has a nicer look and feel, it seems more suited to being a book I carry everywhere but…it just doesn’t do enough to land that killer blow on the Leuchtturm book. Hard or soft cover, you take your choice but the page numbers and index are great when you have 200+ pages of notes and want to find an important note quickly. I am not looking for anything but good quality paper so the Rhodia doesn’t win points with me there and yet the Leuchtturm has so many extra features and it costs less. That said, if you are a fountain pen user who doesn’t value those extra features then the scores might well be closer and maybe even in favour of the Rhodia.

Total scores. Leuchtturm: 34/40. Rhodia: 31/40

Click here to see more and buy the Leuchtturm Medium Dot Notebook

Click here to see more and buy the Rhodiarama Soft Cover Ex-Large Dot Notebook

NB: Prices were correct at time of publishing!

Field Notes Snowblind Edition arrives in the mountains
Views

Made for the mountains

Field Notes Snowblind Edition

Field Notes release four limited edition notebooks each year, usually timed to meet with the seasons. The latest limited edition notebook – the Snowblind Edition – therefore had a winter theme. They also like to innovate which is always a good thing as far as we are concerned, and this edition was no exception. The unique feature this time around is that the cover is UV light sensitive and so changes colour depending on where you are. The beautiful white notebook that you have in your hand inside becomes a more practical shade of blue when you venture outside. Especially useful when heading off into the mountains. Now, if only someone we knew was heading off into the snowy wilderness…

Handily Mishka was taking a few days off to head into the Slovakian mountains and so she decided to road test the Snowblind edition. After all, testing it out in the car park here in North West London really didn’t have as much impact. And here are the results.

First up is a before shot taken on the train heading up into the mountains demonstrating the stark white notebook that you first see when you open a pack.

field notes snowblind edition
Field Notes Snowblind Edition inside

Looking pretty white there. So what happens when it ventures out into the sunlight?

field notes snowblind edition outside
Field Notes Snowblind Edition outside

Pretty conclusive. No danger of dropping your book in the snow and losing it. Now it’s just a case of dealing with mountain-envy as we sit here in wet London whilst Mishka drinks mulled wine and gets to look at gorgeous snowy mountains. If you are wondering about the pen, Mishka looks like she teamed her Snowblind up with a rather nice lime green Fisher Space Pen. An appropriate choice as this can handle all conditions.

MB_snowblind_trains
Field Notes Snowblind Edition on location

Click here to view more on the Field Notes Snowblind Edition

rhodiarama
Ideas

Crash-testing ‘Rhodiarama’

First

Hi folks! Jo got couple of these Rhodiarama soft cover notebooks back in April – of course I had to test my pens to see if it’s any good. I don’t know about you, but I LOVE Rhodia paper (my inks love it too). Rhodiarama notebook comes with a soft cover – there aren’t many of those that are fountain pen friendly. Long story short – I took this notebook under my wings and gave it some hard time 🙂

And that’s how my little ‘Take me everywhere’ project was born…

Let’s start with all the important facts:

  • Extra Large Size 19x25cm
  • 160 Pages
  • 8mm Ruling (lines are grey)
  • 90gsm Ivory paper <3
  • Soft leatherette cover
  • Elastic band
  • Bookmark
  • Back pocket

There are a lot of good colours to choose from. I picked silver because of the texture, remaining colours come with plain leatherette ‘skin’. I have noticed interesting fact, that after few days of use and abuse, some bruises and dinks actually disappeared. It never got any serious cuts or scars. The healing factor comes in my opinion from the textured surface. What is also fascinating is the size. Sometimes A5 is not big enough and A4 is too big to carry around. XXL notebook was just right.

OK, introductions are over. Here comes the million dollar (£17.50 didn’t sound right) question: how did it do?

Rhodiarama performs really well outdoors – I used it as umbrella, pillow, seat, etc:) I know that Kate would approve of this notebook too because she used to raid my ‘Mary Poppins’ bag all the time. This notebook is just so handy. Slim cover feels more portable than hard cover, so I never cringed about taking it everywhere with me.
outdoors

I found other good use for Rhodiarama indoors – coaster, game room accessory and paper weight are just few of them.

During my handwriting course I started carrying a lot of handwriting templates with me, also tracing paper.

indoors

Notebook still opened flat and extra paper was not noticeable at all!  I have also done a lot of ink testing, writing and again – no complaints here, Rhodia paper coating worked it’s magic. It’s smooth like butter. Please bear in mind that I cannot do calligraphy, so I’m not sure how would this paper cope with sharp dip nibs. I do have couple of Noodler’s flex pens that basically leak ink on the page 🙂 One of them has a halo effect (light green/teal) – displayed on the picture below. It wrote OK, but it did show through on the back page. It is more of ghosting than a bleed through. Can I live with that? Yes. Paper did survive ink spillage too! ink tests

So what is the verdict? I’m going to say YES! This notebook has very few flaws and I would definitely buy it again. The End.

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Mishka (^_~)

ps: Rhodiarama notebooks are available from our website, links are here: A5 & XXL

and you can see the day-by-day pictures in full resolution here.

Field Notes Shenendoah
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Field Notes ‘Shenendoah’ Edition

Hot off the press, the latest Field Notes limited edition has just been released and will hopefully be winging its way to our shelves very soon. In the meantime, you can find out more about the book and, of course, watch the latest short film from Field Notes.

Shenendoah is a National Park in Virginia in the Blue Ridge Mountains, and the books are all based around trees from the park – the Sweet Birch, Chestnut Oak and Red Maple. You’ll have to wait for more news on the books – I don’t quite get the idea but maybe that’s just me!

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