If notebooks were animals...

by Amanda Fleet

...what animal would they be?

Let's start with Rhodia, who to my mind is an undervalued star in the notebook world. I genuinely don't understand why people would buy Field Notes over Rhodia, but I suspect they are also the kind of people who follow fashion, even if it's impractical or uncomfortable. But surely, everyone knows my feelings about Field Notes by now!

So why do I love Rhodia notebooks so much? Well, what's not to like? They have a range of bright covers, plus more subdued ones, so whether it's for work, a bullet-journal, planning a book or whatever you want, there's an option there for you. There are plain, lined and dot-grid versions. There's a range of sizes, from mini through A5 and B5 all the way up to A4 (which seriously has to be the best value of them all... 192 lined pages for £23!). There are semi-planned versions like the goal book. There are utterly free-form versions, like the webbie. There are even top-stapled pads for those who want that kind of thing (and they start at just £4!).

They have amazing paper - good for all types of pens, including fountain pens. Okay, they don't have numbered pages, and sometimes the ribbons are a little on the short side for my taste, but neither of those is a deal breaker.

I think Rhodia are like the faithful dogs of the animal world. I don't (currently) have a dog. But if I did, I would want one that does all the dog-things I like (and don't get with a cat!). I wouldn't care what breed it was - 'Heinz 57' suits me just fine. I'd like it to be pleased to see me and spend time with me; I'd like it to enjoy long walks with me; for it to curl up in front of the fire in winter, and so on. You know... the things dogs do (and cats don't).

Likewise, if I buy a notebook, I want it to be a useful notebook! I don't especially care what the cover looks like, though a nice notebook will always be a nice notebook, don't get me wrong, and the Rhodia covers are lovely. I want to be able to write in it in any pen and there not be ghosting or feathering or the ink bleeding through to the other side. I'm not so bothered about it having a table of contents, or perforated pages or most of the other bells and whistles. I just want it to function as a notebook.

The Rhodia does all of these things brilliantly. I see them as the faithful hound of the stationery world - dependable and sensible. They don't do lots of 'limited editions' of style over substance. You know exactly what you'll get when you open them up - lots of pages of great paper in an attractive, robust cover. For those of you who bullet-journal, you really can't beat the goal book: 240 pages of glorious dot-grid paper plus some perpetual calendars at the front, 2 ribbon-markers and a pen loop.

Seriously, what's not to love about the Rhodia?