I’ve had my eye on Stamford notebooks for a while– in fact, probably since they first started producing them in October 2013! In following their brand on Facebook, I was always impressed at the huge variety of colors and materials offered for their covers, and the fact that they are made in the UK. It was great to get some samples to review– let’s take a look!
I received two pocket size notebooks, one in a blue lizard-embossed glossy paper cover, and one in tan linen cloth. They come nicely packaged in a paper sleeve that completely protects the notebook.
They have the usual paper band with the Stamford branding. Inside, there is also a removable card with a greeting from the company and their contact information. I was surprised that neither the band nor the card had specs such as the page count, size, and paper weight used in the notebook, as is typical with many other brands.
The usual ribbon marker and elastic closure are included, but there is no pocket in the back. The inside front cover has some brand info, but other than that the endpapers are just a plain grey. Compared to a pocket size Moleskine, the Stamford notebook is very slightly larger due to the cover overhang, but the page size is somewhat smaller. It’s also a bit thicker, with a bit of room in the binding at the spine. If I am counting correctly, the notebook has 176 pages– 11 signatures of 16 pages each. The notebook opens pretty flat, but there is a bit more glue in the spine so it feels a bit stiffer when you first bend it open.
The paper inside feels wonderfully smooth and creamy from the moment you first touch it– it reminded me of Clairefontaine paper in its cool, sleek feel. In my pen tests, it was lovely to write on, with average show-through, and better than average bleed-through. Fountain pens worked nicely, though drying time is a bit long, and the J. Herbin ink in my Lamy pen seemed to feather a wee bit. The Pilot Varsity fountain pen was flawless.
Stamford says their notebooks are hand-bound using traditional bookbinding methods (photos and videos of which they sometimes share via social media– pretty cool!), and they do seem to be made with above-average quality and good materials. The samples I received did have some slight imperfections, like the overhang being slightly wider on one side of the cover than the other, but the round corners were neatly tucked, which I always see as a sign of good workmanship. I really love the linen covered sample I received– it’s a cover material that I wish more people would use! (The only other examples of it I can think of are HandBook’s watercolor journals.)
My only problem with these notebooks is that I don’t like the wide cover overhang. But for those who aren’t bothered by that, these notebooks will be a treat. They can be ordered in so many colors and materials and sizes, with either ruled or plain paper. They even offer personalized embossing of your initials for £5 extra. The pocket size starts at £14.95 for most cover materials except for leather, which starts at a few pounds more. That pricing is comparable to many other brands– a bit more than Moleskines usually go for, though I’ve seen them for that much in airport shops. Given that Stamford notebooks are manufactured in the UK with good quality materials, I don’t think they are overpriced. Currently they are only available in UK shops and Stamford’s online store. Toronto, Tokyo and Paris shops are also soon to be added to the list, and I hope they’ll expand their distribution to the US!
In the meantime, I’ve got a lovely blue lizard notebook to give away to a lucky reader! The winner will be chosen randomly from entries received in these ways:
On your blog, post something containing the words “Stamford Notebooks” and “Notebook Stories” and link back to this post.
The deadline for entry is Friday March 6, 2015 at 11:59PM, EST. Good luck everyone!
And please remember to check my posts on Facebook and Twitter for an announcement of the winner. Please allow a couple of weeks for me to check all the entries and determine the winners.