‘…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’.

This small companion is only 110.0 x 72.0 mm and contains 40 pages of  90gsm ‘Natural White Wove’ plain paper produced by the renowned James Cropper Mill in Kendal. Wire embossed and red dyed cover (300 gsm) referees to legacy of  original notebooks.

All pages are sewed to the spine and what I really like about this notebook is that each page has perforations, which allows to tear off the page with the note when necessary. Small thing, but very useful and has completely sense in therms on notebooks, especially pocket ones.  I found it to be a nice touch.


Overall, this is very well built notebook. Stitched papers to the cover does not feel loose at all. Textured cover feels pleasant and secure in hands.

How about paper, especially in relation to fountain pens and inks? I must say, paper crafted by James Cropper Mill  is fantastic! It feels satin-smooth, but not too smooth (which I like). It gives a little bit of ‘tooth’ when you write on…just some very pleasant friction. Writing with fountain pens reminiscences writing using a graphite pencil. Nib is not just loosely sliding across the page. You have more control over it.

It holds inks very well. I tested it against various different fountain pen ink types and fountain pens/nibs  too and none of them caused any issues with bleeding through of even ghosting. Paper feels much thicker comparing to very thin TomoeRiver. Great score here. Because paper is not absorbing inks, there is no feathering too. To prove it, I performed my classic Noodler’s Baystate Blue Ultimate Test. Noodle’s Baystate Blue ink is very sensitive to paper quality and very often causes severe bleeding and feathering. Silvine notebook passed this successfully  with no problems. 

Because this is very intense and saturated ink, some ghosting is visible but nothing which would distract reading written text on reverse page. If you like Noodler’s Baystate blue – this paper is for you and shows its whole glory and beauty.

Moreover, paper enhances all cool ink properties. The sheen on  Pilot Iroshizuku – Yama Budo, Sailor Jentle – Tokiwa Matsu and Oku Yama look fantastic.


The same with shading. Even inks which often look flat on more absorbing paper, here look great (for example Diamine Meadow, Diamine Terracota, Robert Oster’s Signature – Fire and Ice,  Pelikan Edelstein – Topaz , KWZ – Azure #4 and Robert Oster – Khaki).

…and as expected, no issues with bleeding. Solid performance, even with flexible nibs.

 Glittery inks pronounces ‘shimmersiting’ effect well (J. Herbin – Stormy Grey and Diamine – Golden Sands).

Concluding, Silvine Originals Pocket Notebook really surprised me. Due to its simplistic look it tt may not attract every one on a first sight, but believe me these little companions are very well made and performance using fountain pens is great. Moreover, if you have artistic skills and you love to draw using graphite or coloured pencils, Silvine notebook holds them well, which means that those in larger size cam be easily used as sketchbooks. I am definitely going to by more in larger size for this reasons. 

Where to get them? Silvine Originals Pocket otebooks are available as packs of 3 (check Pocket Notebooks site) and costs £ 7.0 in the UK. I think this is a reasonably balanced price for very good quality truly pocket notebooks.


  • well built
  • stitched pages
  • quality paper – fountain pen friendly
  • perforations

Cons (if any):

  • slight ‘toothness’ may not be for fans of ‘ultra smooth writing’ (for me fantastic)
  • the way stitches are ended inside (finish)


Final Verdict: Clumsy Bad@ss Seal of Approval


‘Sometimes it’s the smallest things that make the biggest difference, yet quite often go unnoticed’.

                                                                                                                                      (Silvine , A British Icon)


(*) Disclaimer/ I have no affiliation with the all brands and companies mentioned above and this short review reflects only my personal views and findings about the product.












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