‘…back to the roots’ – testing small portable notebooks – Part 5. ‘…If You Only Knew The Power Of The Dark Star’

Continuing my little journey with pocket notebooks I kindly received for testing from Pocket Notebooks (UK) I got hands finally on Dark Star notebook made by UK based company (in Wales) who creates hand made notebooks.

Dark Star offers few different designs. Pocket notebook I received is called Nomad. They are available as set of three and cost in the UK  £ 8.0.


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‘…back to the roots’ – testing small portable notebooks – Part 4. ‘Back to basics’

Clairefontaine notebooks pads and exercise books own reputation of  having one of the best paper around for writing and their products are well acclaimed in the world of fountain pen enthusiasts.

To celebrate the history of the brand, Clairefontaine has reinvented recently original notebook covers they made with a modern touch.  The 1951 Retro Nova series combines legacy of the original covers and beautifully smooth paper Clairefontaine is famous for, which resulted in a high quality moder-retro looking notebooks.

Clairefontaine 1951 Reto Nova pocket notebooks are available in six different colours and three vintage patterns:  ‘parallèles’, ‘nouvelle vague’ and ‘arlequin”. Notebook I kindly obtained for review from Pocket Notebooks (UK) is purple ‘nouvelle vague’.


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‘…back to the roots’ – testing small portable notebooks – Part 3. ‘Retro-story’ to tell

Story Supply Co. is a small stationary company based in York, Pennsylvania who creates an interesting  packet staple notebooks, sketchbooks, pencils  and other stationary related items . Basically ‘analog tools for storytellers‘ to allow capture great ideas, designs and of course stories. I like that approach.

Importantly Story Supply Co. has also an interesting ‘story’ to tell. They partner up with several organisations who support free tutoring and provide high quality programs to students in the neighbourhoods where support is really needed.  So, whenever you purchase notebooks from them, they will send a ‘Story Supply Kit‘ to a kid which might have an interesting story to tell. What a great idea! More about Story Supply Kit program you will find on their website here. Cool stuff.

OK, let’s talk about notebooks created by Story Supply Co.

The one I was kindly supplied for this review by Pocket Notebooks (UK)  is available as a set of 3 on sell under pretty good price (£ 11.0 UK or  $ 10.0 in the US directly from the manufacturer).


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‘…back to the roots’ – testing small portable notebooks – Part 2 – A British Icon

Among the other ‘stationary goodies’ I kindly received from Stuart at Pocket Notebooks (UK), there was a one ‘petite’ pocket notebook, which looked slightly understated and initially it did not bring much of my attention. Although,  over time I have learned my lesson – Do not underestimate small notebook…ever !

The notebook I misjudged is made by Silvine, an ‘iconic’ British company who makes wide range of stationary products including notebooks, sketchpads, refill pads, writing paper, envelopes, cash books and may many more. Their paper products are made in Yorshire by well established (1837) manufacturer  – Sinclairs.

What I learned (not being British) is that Silvine’s red notebooks refer directly to the legacy of the bold red books used and loved by schoolchildren, artists, writers and carpenters, shopkeepers since 1948. Recently, Silvine has reinvented these iconic British notebooks and and lunched them as a new line of products called ‘Silvine Originals Collection‘.

Notebooks from this line have quite simple and classic design. Simple cut, no rounding, nothing super fancy. Again, very simple, but elegant.  One I received from Pocket Notebooks belongs to the smallest Silvine line of notebooks called – ‘Pocket’.

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KWZ meta (mega) review


As a part of collective bunch of reviewers under UnitedInkdom umbrella, I have just finished quite extensive (and hopefully comprehensive) metareview of the KWZ inks. This meta-review summarises number of independent reviews of KWZ Inks made by my ‘partners in crime’.

We have tested number of KWZ inks in total and we looked at them from different perspectives.  We shown all positive and negative aspects of these interesting and quite unique inks. Interestingly our opinions were sometimes divided and even contradictory, which is not necessarily bad thing, because it shows how different opinions on the same product may be, depending on person and approach taken. 

I hope you will enjoy reading it.

KWZ inks meta-review





‘…back to the roots’ – testing small portable notebooks – Part 1. Grizzly Bears!

The first two notebooks kindly sent by Stuart from Pocket Notebooks (UK) I would like to discussed today are exclusively made for Pocket Nonebooks by Curnow Bookbinding & Leatherwork small US based company  (Dixon California) who does handcrafted leather goods and journals. I know from social media for a while now, but I never had an opportunity to try notebooks made by them. Amount of custom materials and designs they do is pretty impressive. They look and feel handcrafted which I really appreciate, especially if these notebooks can be used as an inserts for traveller’s journals, which I am a big fan.

To some extent, two ‘California‘ notebooks I received are very similar to each other but at the same time are also very very different. Stay True, Staome as blank, lined, grid, or dot-gridy Wild edition are filled with creamy TomoeRiver  thin paper (80 pages), whereas California Medallion cover if filled with thicker 28lb (105gsm) HP paper (48 pages). Notebooks I received came blank, but these with HP paper Pocket Notebooks have in blank, lined, grid, or dot-grid.

Let’s brake them down and see how they performed. However, please bear in mind that all my comments about performance are is limited to fountain pens and fountain pen inks only and I am pretty sure overall performance and writing experience will vary depending on what writing tool you use.

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