Category Archives: Kiki James

Notebooks All Around: A Look at (Some of) My Collection

Today I thought I’d just share some photos of various parts of my notebook collection and where they are scattered around my apartment:

Below is a corner of my office where I was going through boxes of notebooks and had stashed some used ones that needed to be put away. There are a few months of daily notebooks, notebooks already reviewed, notebooks to be reviewed, and some childhood notebooks. (All of these have now been put back in a closet– I try to keep the notebook clutter under control!)

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A close-up of some of the daily notebooks. I write the dates they cover on the bottom.

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On top of my file cabinet: some stray samples to be given away someday, and some stuff already reviewed, and a small looseleaf binder I used many years ago that I’ll do a post on at some point.

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Here’s the shelves in one of my closets: shoeboxes full of small notebooks, and stacks of larger journals and sketchbooks.

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Here on a bookshelf are my Moleskine City Notebooks (though I’ve since bought more). Amsterdam is the only one in this stack that I haven’t used yet. The others are New York, London, Paris, Istanbul and Lisbon.

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And finally, this is the stack of notebooks-in-waiting I keep in my desk. These are all notebooks that have made the cut as ones I like enough to use as daily notebooks or sketchbooks at some point (mostly Moleskines, HandBook Journals, Piccadillies, and a couple of others). I’m not worried about running out at the moment… but only because I have an additional stack of spares elsewhere!

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There are close to 100 notebooks visible in these photos, not counting the ones in the unopened shoeboxes and additional notebooks I have stored elsewhere. Welcome to my world!

Review: Kiki James Leather Jotter

I forget how I first heard about Kiki James, a British company that makes high-end leather goods. They were kind enough to offer me a sample of their pocket jotters, and though it is very different from the kind of notebooks I usually review, I was excited to take a look!
The first thing I have to comment on is the elegant packaging. My jotter arrived in a lovely gift box, and was carefully wrapped in tissue within.

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Once you open the package, you immediately notice the smell of fine leather. When you pick up the jotter, you’ll enjoy the feel of it too– the leather is smooth and substantial, with a nice weight and buttery texture. It’s such a thrill to fondle gorgeous leather like this after using non-leather or fake-leather covered notebooks all the time– if I could get a regular Moleskine, Piccadilly or HandBook notebook with this leather on the cover, I’d probably go nuts and buy a hundred of them. (They do also make some leather journals, but only in larger sizes.) According to the Kiki James website, their leather is sourced from small tanneries in England.

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The stitching is tight and even– you can just tell the whole thing was crafted with attention to detail. Even the top of the notepad within is covered with a strip of leather– other similar jotters would probably just leave the tape and staples showing.

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But despite my overall admiration for the quality, I did notice that one corner of my jotter had a slight gap where the leather didn’t meet properly and you can see a speck of the cardboard underneath. It’s a very tiny flaw, and if I darkened the spot with a black marker you’d never notice it, but still, it’s not as perfect as it should be.

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The note paper itself is nothing special, nor is the pen included with it, which is an unremarkable blue ballpoint. I would prefer that they’d paid more attention to the actual experience of writing in this jotter, not just the external feel and appearance. I thought you might be able to replace the 2 11/16 x 4 1/4″ pad inside with a small Rhodia pad, but their #10 seems a bit too small and the #11 is a bit too big.

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The outside measurements of the jotter are approximately 3 1/2″ wide by 4 7/8″ high by 5/8″ thick so it’s definitely pocketable though it would be more comfortable in a jacket pocket than in the back pocket of jeans, unless you wear your pants a lot baggier than I do!

Bottom line: this would make a very nice gift for the person who has everything, as long as they’re not too much of a paper/pen snob! At £25, it’s not a cheap gift, but you do get a high-quality product. You can order online at the Kiki James website, though I did notice that the Bloomsbury Pocket Jotter they are currently offering looks like it may have a different leather texture. (My sample was sent almost a year ago, so it may not be their current model.)