Notebook Review – Paperblanks French Ornate Wrap

Paperblanks French Ornate Wrap
Beautiful.

I have been fascinated with the Paperblanks range of notebooks ever since Simon at Cult Pens sent me a copy of their catalogue a couple of years ago. Their notebooks are made to stand out in a crowd – with lush, colourful covers and bindings that set them apart from the usual spiral or case bound offerings.

I have two paperblanks books – a diary, and the book I’m reviewing here. The diary is a gorgeous, aged-leather effect compact book – a little smaller than A5. It has fallen in and out of use over the year, but I find I’m wanting to use it more often simply for the love of it. This bode well for the notebooks, and once I spotted them on sale in Glastonbury last weekend, I knew I had to bring one home. So I did.

Paperblanks French Ornate Wrap - inside

Looks

This particular book is known as the Noir-Cuivre Wrap Midi, and its design is inspired by the fabrics of the Jacquard loom silk weaving tradition of France. The earthy tones and bright jewel colours of the cover certainly give the luxurious appearance of silk, but with the feel of a good, sturdy cover. Inside is just as pretty, with the inside covers a simple, sophisticated black which shows the paper off nicely.

Paperblanks French Ornate Wrap - pocket

Features

It has a large pocket at the back for mementos, a ribbon page marker, and nice snappy magnetic closure.

Paperblanks French Ornate Wrap - back

Binding

The book is smythe sewn bound, a method of casebinding which involves stitching the signatures to the cover board rather than gluing. Although the book doesn’t sit perfectly flat like a spiral bound book would, it’s certainly more hardwearing than the usual glue binding. The black ‘straps’ on the spine add an interesting extra effect, too.

Paper

So, after all the pretty coverings and binding, how does the most important bit hold up? Is the paper up to scratch? I think it is. A smooth, off-white paper just slightly heavier than the paper you’d find in a standard Moleskine. It’s friendly towards fountain pens, with no bleed-through, but I did notice a bit of feathering on the broader, wetter pens.

Verdict?

It’s beautiful. Everything about this journal is lovely. The look, the feel… so, um, I daren’t use it. New, pretty notebooks can cause dreadful performance anxiety, and this one is no exception. If I can get past the hurdle of thinking that a notebook this lovely deserves only my most eloquent prose and neatest handwriting, I’m sure I’ll have great fun with it.