The Poison Pen

Journalling: What the hipsters don’t tell you.

Posted in Uncategorized by thepoisonpen on May 14, 2010

On Friday I found myself in the beautiful art nouveau Waterstones building in Newcastle trying to find a new Rosehip notebook. Instead I came across the new-ish Moleskine ‘Passions’ journals, ready to adorn with your recent reads, musical escapades or a film journal. At £16 these are pretty obscenely priced, but on a whim I chose to buy the film journal using waterstone card points as cash so it came to less than £12.

Now, firstly let me get this over with: I am not a Moleskine fan in general, as an obsessive journaller since the age of 8 and having literally sack loads of these books in my mothers attic, I can firmly attest: they are over priced and no the paper quality is not that great. If you’re a writer you could probably write your life story on a wet doily so the cost or brand of a journal is purely insignificant. I also find in this technological age, they seem to exist in the majority for individuals who like to photograph them on flickr and add them to their satchel along with a nice macbook pro or to effortlessly point out the brand of their new cahier or daily planner.

There are plenty of other brands out there that never seem to get as much scene points or kudos as Moleskine, and here are some of my favourites that I have personally used over the years:

Firstly there’s Ciak: for a little bit more than the cost of a large Moleskine you can get yourself an Italian leather-bound Ciak. My favourite of journals, that are built to last and will let you stick in photographs, write like a maniac and all without seeping through or creating indents onto the next page. They will probably last longer than you will. My boyfriend recently purchased a beautiful embossed antique leather Itallian leather back notebook, so the history of craftmanship you get with Itallian leather journals is something that still remains with them today. is currently the only U.K supplier and you can also find them on Ebay.

Paperblanks have been making pretty beautiful journals for as long as I can remember, their paper is on par with Moleskine, but you get a far more beautiful and better quality hardcover for the same price. They also detail on the inside cover where the cover design has been inspired from and the original techniques used to create it. My favourites are the French Ornate notebooks.

Rosehip have just launched in Waterstones and for small journals from £1.50 to the large covers for £3.50 these are my new favourite to keep in my handbag. Made from recycled paper and with cute and quirky front covers they are a steal for a considerably smaller budget.

At the end of the day, it’s what you write that’s important, not what you write in.


7 Responses

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  1. Julia Luckett said, on May 18, 2010 at 8:01 pm

    This is a great post! I am also keep a journal, though it also is used as a sketch book, notekeeper and other random clippings. I agree, the big fancy journals are too expensive and don’t actually offer you anything that special. One of problems is that people buy me journals, but they are not the right size or paper weight for me. I actually prefer to buy my own journal, and I have at least 10 gifted journals I can do nothing with.

    Great post!

  2. thepoisonpen said, on May 21, 2010 at 5:13 pm

    Ah thank you 🙂

    Plus journals which you use as scrapbooks are always the best to read back on!

  3. […] company emailed me to ask if they could send me some samples based on my mini articlette ‘Journalling: what the hipsters don’t tell you’. I was very flattered and kindly accepted. A couple of weeks later (the week before xmas) a box […]

  4. Ross Finnie said, on February 11, 2011 at 9:17 pm

    I’ve never been a huge fan of Moleskine notebooks… but I am pretty much in love with their sketchbooks. The sketchbooks have a much much heavier paper, and it’s brilliantly smooth too, ideal for… well… sketching 🙂

    If you could recommend a book with similar paper to the Moleskine sketchbooks at a less ridiculous price, I’d be a happy boy indeed!

  5. thepoisonpen said, on February 12, 2011 at 11:58 am

    Ryman do really cheap moleskine esque sketchbooks, I bought one last year to replace my ciak as it has similar thick pages for scribbling and sticking with no impressions to the other page. I like them but they do feel cheap-ish. I know a long time ago I had some brilliant hard backed sketch books from a local art store, I don’t think they were branded per-say but I would love to find them again!

  6. Ross Finnie said, on February 13, 2011 at 1:40 am

    I generally use Seawhite books when I’m broke, or as research journals for uni. They’re not too bad, and quite cheap, but the paper’s not even close to the quality of Moleskine. I generally use one Moleskine that comes everywhere with me for writing/drawing down ideas and thoughts, and a much bigger Seawhite book at home for sticking down research, using it more as a scrapbook. Seawhite books are the “bog standard” offerings at most of the art shops around Glasgow. The hardback coverings are pretty good and durable, it’s just the paper I’m not so keen on.

  7. kimirecor said, on January 11, 2012 at 12:26 am

    I’m so glad you ventured over to my site- I love love love your blog. Can’t wait to read more:)

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