8 to 1: round two - Clairefontaine Deco v Poach My Lobster

by Amanda Fleet

In my last post, I started a giant medium-sized notebook play-off, pitting pairs of notebooks head-to-head, to find an ultimate winner (in my humble opinion).

This time, it's the turn of the Clairefontaine Deco against the Poach My Lobster notebook. Now, for some of the pairings, I'm not entirely sure it's an even fight (but they were randomly pulled out of hat, so don't blame me!). Today however, it's a tough one. They each have their strengths and weaknesses and to some extent, are designed for entirely different purposes. But, Stu made me do this, so here we go!

Clairefontaine Deco

Fantastic paper at a great price, with the added bonus of a beautiful cover.  Make your friends jealous, get one.
48 sheets of 90gsm brushed vellum ivory paper
Sewn spine
Lined paper



The Clairefontaine Deco is a true A5 size. This may be a merit for some of you and irrelevant for many, but I do like a true A5 (especially if a book claims to be A5!).

The patterns on the covers are amazing! I really like them. The sewn pages (as opposed to some of the A5 Clairefontaine books I've had in the past, which have been stapled) means that the flattability score is good.

And of course, it's Clairefontaine paper, so the paper is superb. Scribble reviewed the Deco here and sang its praises, both with fountain pen friendliness and graphite. Line spacing is 8mm - not too wide; not too narrow.



One (minor) grumble is that the cover feels like plastic/vinyl and I'm trying to stop buying plastic/synthetic material wherever I can.

I'm also less of a fan of the quite yellow tinge to the ivory, but that's a personal preference.

For others, the lack of a ribbon marker or a back pocket or pages numbers or a pen-holder may matter, though to me, they don't matter hugely in this style of notebook. I will write page numbers in and use the first few pages as a list of contents. And they come in at £6.50 so they don't break the bank.

Poach My Lobster

I reviewed the Poach My Lobster book aeons ago on my stationery blog, and Scribble posted about it on here. Here are the specs...

128 blank pages of Fedrigoni Arcoprint Edizioni Avorio 100gsm
Cover printed on G F Smith's Colorplan 270gsm with Buckram embossing.
Produced in Italy.
202mm x 128mm 



The covers are great fun (see the full range here). They're sturdy enough that the paper inside is well protected, without making the notebook weigh as much as a brick. I like the rounded corners too.

The paper is lovely for both fountain pens and for pencils. There was no feathering, bleed through or show through and although you might not get as much sheen to your ink as you would on Clairefontaine, you do get decent shading. It's a little toothy, so sharp nibs (as in calligraphy nibs) may catch, but the majority of nibs will be just fine. I like the fact that the pages are blank as (for me) it's an out-and-about notebook, which means I'll be noting things down but also sketching in it. If you prefer to stay on the straight and narrow, a line card shows through easily.

They're half-price at the moment! Just £8.


Oh, the flattability. The one I have has a tightly glued spine and  unless I'm brutal with it, it won't lie flat. I have been known to be brutal with notebooks until they will lie flat though!

Likewise, there's no ribbon, pen-loop or back-pocket and again, for me, this isn't an issue.


So, who is the winner??

Wow, this was even tougher than last time... You may have seen on here that my favourite pocket notebooks are Clairefontaine (by a country mile), so you'd think that the Deco would be a shoe-in. It has amazing covers, superb paper and excellent flattability. (Remember that Life Noble lost out to Leuchtturm last time on flattability scores...)

But... Poach My Lobster has amazing covers and fabulous paper, is a great handbag size and is good for sketching and for notes...

In the end, I think that Poach My Lobster takes it on a photo-finish.

Poach My Lobster is available here

Clairefontaine Deco is available here.


Next time it's Midori A5 v Palomino.