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22 March 2012

Guest Post - Oxford International A5 Notebook - Jotje

During my visit at Staples today (one of the many bonuses of being self-employed is a company pass to Staples …), I discovered the A5 Oxford International Notebook. It immediately caught my attention, because it had pre-punched pages. Would it actually fit an A5 Filofax, I wondered? Luckily, I had mine with me and could check it out immediately. Bingo! Perfect fit!

Because the paper looked and felt so nice, I bought it for “investigation purposes”.

The notepad comes with 80 sheets of 80 gsm paper.


Upon opening I saw that it was multi-punched in order to fit a variety of A5 binders (Filofax being one of them). The page also has a very interesting grid layout. Ideal for taking notes during meetings or phone calls. The left-hand small column could be used to note down the date of a To-Do, then the right-hand small column for the date when the To-Do has been finished. Just a thought …


The top and bottom row has some sort of added grid, maybe to be able to add vertical lines? Here is a close-up of that grid:


The pages itself are micro-perforated and are easily removed from the notepad, without that typical “feathered” look of perforated pages. Nicely done!

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The pages fit nicely in the rings of my Filofax. The page size itself is identical to the A5-Filofax pages.

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However, the punched holes are a little bit off. Filofax have the holes punched more towards the edge of the paper. Therefore, the pages appear a bit narrower compared to Filofax inserts:

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Honestly, I couldn’t care less!

Because next was the fountain pen test. Since the paper feels very smooth and substantial, I had high hopes.

Here is the result of my fountain pens:

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Just delightful!

Curious how the reverse side is looking?

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That’s right! Where the Filofax pages typically show major bleed-through, there isn’t even the slightest show through of the ink on this paper! I’m totally in love!

Here is the rear cover with information about the company:

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They also produce a wide range of very nice bound notebooks in various sizes with 90 gsm paper! And even with purple lines …!

Thank you Jotje for another excellent review

16 comments:

  1. These are brilliant notebooks - I seem to remember that they are a premium price here in the UK, however when compared to FF paper the cost is reasonable. I'll definitely be stocking up on some of these when I see them.

    Paperchase do a really nice notebook if you like a grid pattern on your pages: http://www.paperchase.co.uk/invt/00223010/ but you would have to punch as they only have two holes pre-punched. It has some Spanish paper which takes fountain pen very well.

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  2. What a great finding! :)
    I'm happy for you!

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  3. I think that’s a cute idea. From the hole spacing I would suspect that it is designed for all organisers, though the UK Staples site doesn’t have it listed.

    I was thinking how I would use the wide margin to take notes, leaving the main page for a summary/principal facts/action points ….. as I’ve always liked the idea behind the Cornell note taking system, though I’m not so keen on the Cornell format which always appears to urge me to re-read all the notes again! …. which are invariably in rough handwriting that I don’t want anyone to see. However, there just isn’t enough margin space for me to do what I want.
    My current system is to write notes on the back of a piece of paper and write a summary/principal facts/action points on the front (A derivative of Cornell notes). As the original detailed notes were never written slowly, the handwriting was not so neat and therefore it was best kept out of sight, but as I can write at a normal speed for the summary etc they are neat and therefore I am quite happy about it being on the front of the sheet.

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  4. What a great find. Thank you for the tip off!I'll be investing in one of these when I next go to Staples.

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  5. Very, very, cool. Anyone know of a US source? Doesn't appear to be listed on Staple's US site.

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  6. Jotje, I love reading (and now watching) your reviews. You are so thorough and being a visual person I appreciate all the photos. Thank you and keep them coming.

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  7. For anyone in the UK, who is happy with 80gsm paper, look no further than the Pukka Pad "Jotta" A5 size. 200 pages (100 sheets), perforated (but you'll have to punch them yourself), and just (wait for it) £1.10 each from Costco (you'll have to buy a pack of six for £6.60).

    Jotje, you might also like to try the Oxford "Pink n Black" A5+ notebook from Staples, which is perforated (but not punched), is exactly A5 size after separation (hence the "A5+" designation), has even better 90gsm paper, and works out at roughly half the price per page than the Oxford International notebook you purchased. Lots of people on "the fountain pen network" rave about this paper.

    I do sometimes wonder whether Filofax are actually aware that so many of us fill our filofaxes with paper from other sources, given that so many of their competitors actively listen to their customers and change their paper quality accordingly.

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    1. Thanks for that advice, Neil! Our Staples is not very extensively stocked regarding Oxford-products, but I'll give it a proper check next time I'm in!

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  8. Thanks to Jotje for the great hint!!! :-)

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  9. I'm a regular user of these. They are very poular with academics. Whilst expensive these can often be found reduced in sales ("on sale" in American English!). Makro (wholesale cash and carry) have recently had some at almost half-price.

    You can still also get the older "Activebook" version with six equally sized holes top and bottom (rather than the oval holes). This model has the barcode ending 014128 (rather than 014124).

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  10. I use an A4 version of this notebook at work all the time. It is wonderful that you can take the page out using the perforations and it is perfect for storing in other folders without all the ragged edges. I find the margin on the left hand side great for assigning to-do's and the heading area at the top I tend to use for meeting titles etc. In the A4 versions there are many different oxford notebooks so it can be a bit of an ordeal to ensure you re-order the correct one, as they all look so similar.

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  11. what a great find! I wonder what the chances of finding this in North America are ...

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  12. Wow!!! Love that - time to trawl the net to find some. Thanks Jotje :o)

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  13. The notebook sounds perfect... I live in Australia though, does anyone know of any webstores that ships internationally?

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