A little bit of history The old-school (but not specifically for use in educational environments) exercise book has been making a big come-back over the last year or so, proving both a handy way to try different paper out, and a means of taking something a bit different into meetings. With the advent of full-size A5 covers like those offered by Start Bay, they’ve started attracting a following amongst people writing travel journals and the like, too. So it’s good to see a small, bespoke operation in the heart of little old Blighty making some really distinctive offerings to add to the selection out there. We could hardly wait to get started in putting them to test…
How it looks Each of the Personalised Stationery creations is a bit of portable art in its own right, so we picked two to get us started – and so that enough of us could try them to put together a meta-review, of course. The company’s main product is customised writing paper, as the name suggests, so they have come up with some creative designs one that looks remarkably like a pair of jeans, and another which resembles the secret dossier for the D-Day landings. We thought they looked very cool indeed.
How it feels Smooth, and this is going to turn out to be important!
How it fills These are pre-stapled notebooks, so there’s not too much scope for alteration once delivered. However, looped staples may be in the offing sometime soon, and the books come with a decent quantity of paper for most people’s uses.
Crucially, how it handles a fountain pen… Excellently. The Fedrigoni paper selected for these notebooks is a delight to write on with a real nib, and tough enough to take a bit of abuse too. After experiencing the indifferent performance of many of the mass-market expensive alternatives, it’s something of a revelation.
Pulp! What is it good for? It’s good for taking to work, using as a planner, keeping a diary, or even writing poetry – anything which you’d only really want to do with a proper fountain pen, really. ‘Can’t think of anything you’d do without one? Don’t worry, you’re in good company on this site…
VFM These represent pretty solid value in our view. At £5.95 they are not the cheapest A5 notebook available, but for the quality of the product they compete well with comparable offerings from Clairefontaine – which can offer nice paper for that sort of price, but not the line/dot options or the interesting cover artwork. It’s also an absolute steal for a product which is hand-made in the UK.
If this isn’t quite your cup of tea, but almost… Contact Rob at Personalised Stationery and he’ll most likely be able to knock up something exactly tailored to your needs. This is an offer we have already tested and the response was impressive.
Our overall recommendation This is the sort of product that most fountain pen fans will love, at a price which is a bargain, from the type of specialist maker we all like to support. ‘Bit of a no-brainer, really: get one.
Where to get hold of one Direct from the source is the simplest way. But there may also be one or two interesting collaborations in the pipeline very soon…
This meta-review references:
- Scribble’s reviews of the Operation Neptune and Denim notebooks
- Alison’s review
- John’s review
Thanks to Rob at Personalised Stationery for product samples.