Tuesday, 12 October 2010

The faithful lab book - time for a makeover?

My black n' red lab book
What does your lab book look like? For the last three years mine have been the good old "black n' red" variety. Not that there is anything wrong with them, they are very practical... but practicality isn't everything. Wouldn't it be nice to have a lab book that reflects your personality?

I've been on the hunt recently for lovely looking A4 hard bound notebooks to replace my army of stores-issued drab lab books. Actually, what I wanted was a cream coloured notebook. Or even just a nice patterned one that wasn't too girly and childish and could be used in the lab. My requirements were than it had to be hard bound, not spiral bound, as anyone will tell you that the spiral bound ones will get ruined the first time you try to slip them into your bag. It had to be a nice(-ish) colour and it definitely had to be A4 size, large enough to stick in plots.

I have to say, it was much harder than I imagined. I didn't come up with much, particularly because I wanted one in A4 size, but here's what I did find:

If you'd just like a plain coloured hard bound notebook in black, purple, red or blue you can find them at WH Smith for less than £5.

Moleskine large notebook
For something a bit more special, although black and slightly softer bound, Moleskine do beautiful books which will set you back around £15.

These weren't for me though, as I wanted something a little bit more colourful. I tried Paperchase, but to no avail - they were all too childish or too girly, not really a great look in the lab. Though I am considering picking up a few of their cloth-bound smaller notebooks for other uses.

I also found Pod, who do a beautiful array of notebooks if you are after them for home, rather than for work. They stock the Cavallini range, shown here. They aren't quite A4 but they are nice looking journals or notebooks.

At Papernation I found a gorgeous leather A4 journal, though in brown only and at a cost of around £80. (Update: Papernation seem to have disappeared since writing this)

At this point though I felt I was going a little bit off track, and hadn't yet found any suitable lab books! Then, finally I found something which might (almost) fit the bill: Roger La Borde. They are still a bit girly and are plain pages rather than lined, but at £8.50 for the A4 ones, they are reasonably priced and will brighten up your day in the lab. I could only find the A4 notebooks at Paperfly and Papernation in the UK, my local stockist had recently stopped selling them. Do let me know if you find them for sale anywhere else.

And that was it - I didn't find anything else worthy of note. If you know of any fantastic hard bound notebooks which you'd like to share with me, do leave me a comment. I'm determined to spend my days writing in something more inspiring than the standard issue lab books!


  1. Paperblanks are worth a look; their smaller notebooks have a greater variety of covers, but they do have some in an A4 format:

  2. Thanks! I wrote this a while back so I'm sure there are some different options out there nowadays. I did check out paperblanks but their style of covers in A4 isn't really my style :-)