Posts filed under Life Notebooks

Life L. Brand White Writing Paper A5: A Review

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(Susan M. Pigott is a fountain pen collector, pen and paperholic, photographer, and professor. You can find more from Susan on her blog Scribalishess.)

Life Company offers numerous paper products, including notebooks, stationery, index cards (see review here), and envelopes. The L. Brand White Writing paper in A5 size, includes 30 sheets of 84.9gsm lined paper.

Each page is embellished with a border of scroll work in a tasteful grey/sage green color. The lines (in the same color) are 10mm apart and only appear on one side of the paper.

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Although you can’t see this with the naked eye, each page is lined with tiny vertical and horizontal lines that form a grid. White horizontal lines appear every 20mm. I’m not sure what purpose the lines serve since you can’t see them in ordinary light. Apparently they are just a characteristic of the paper according to the description on JetPens.

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The paper is smooth and silky. It’s pure pleasure to write on. I wrote my sister a long letter using this paper, and the ink dried fairly quickly and did not bleed or feather.

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I also tested the paper with various nibs and inks. It handled all of them perfectly. Not even the thickest nibs bled through, though there is plenty of show through.

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The paper is glue bound and is easy to remove from the pad without accidental tears.

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My only complaint about this pad is how little you can fit on one page. Because of the border, the lines are only 4.13 inches/105mm across. And with the 10mm spacing there are only sixteen lines per page. The pad seems meant for short notes rather than lengthy letters.

You can purchase Life L. Brand White Writing paper in A5 size from JetPens for $6.25. I highly recommend this paper for anyone who wants a sophisticated but simple stationery that handles fountain pens well.

(JetPens provided this product at no charge to The Pen Addict for review purposes.)


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Posted on May 4, 2018 and filed under Life Notebooks, Notebook Reviews.

LIFE Stationery Margin A5 Side Bound Notebook Review

Life Margin A5

(Jeff Abbott is a regular contributor at The Pen Addict. You can find more from Jeff online at Draft Evolution and Twitter.)

When it comes to notebooks, you can find one for every specific purpose. Be it certain industries, odd rulings, or other constraints and requirements, there’s probably a notebook for it. I’ve always found that interesting, and it’s no surprise that I was intrigued by the Life Margin notebook.

The Life Margin notebook is a soft cover notebook with 80 pages of smooth, ivory paper that feels incredible to the touch and when writing. Like the other Life notebooks, this is some seriously good stuff. It’s a simple notebook, but it’s also simply wonderful.

Life Margin A5 Binding

On the outside, the Margin notebook is a craft paper material that bends easily, but is still resilient. Depending on the paper rule, the branding and cloth binding material is red (plain), blue (ruled), or yellow (graph). Apart from the minimal product information on the covers, there’s nothing else, which gives it a utilitarian feel. The Margin notebook is A5 in size and is held together by stitching and cloth tape. Overall, it has a clean, professional look on the outside.

Life Margin A5 Cover

On the inside, you’re greeted with a minimal front page that has a space for creating an "index" of your writings, or a place to write down your contact information. After that, we get to the good stuff. This paper is some of my favorite, and there’s 80 pages of it in this little notebook. It’s a light ivory color and has a special coating on it to make it extra smooth. Despite the coating, it handles all types of inks, graphite, etc. with ease. Dry times for inks aren’t affected, and it also does a decent job of preventing show-through on the back of the page.

Life Margin A5 Writing

Apart from the super wet Schmidt P8126 refill, the show-through is minimal and leaves the back pages perfectly usable for other writing. If you typically use wet pens, it will depend on what kind of ink you use with this notebook. In some cases, you may not be able to use the back page.

Life Margin A5 Pencil

Writing on this paper is an incredibly enjoyable experience. It’s smooth when writing, has a good weight, and also has a pleasant color. The pages lay open easily, and the notebook closes flat when not in use. The binding seems strong, but also very pliable. There are no pages numbers in the notebook, but it does boast something special.

Life Margin A5 Sample

Like the name implies, this notebook features a vertical margin line about 1.5 inches or 35mm from the left side of the page. It’s an unobtrusive light gray line that’s helpful for leaving a (you guessed it) margin on the left side for notes, edits, or whatever else. Due to the somewhat light weight of the paper, you can also see the margin line showing throw from the back page, which gives you a handy right margin as well. Due to the light ink, it’s easy to disregard the margin when you don’t need it. And, the margin is present on each ruling type. I found the margin useful for making outlines and lists, but I could also see how it would be useful for note-taking and planning. Given the open structure, you can use it in whatever way makes sense to you in different situations.

Life notebooks have long been a favorite of mine due to the paper and build quality, and the Margin notebook is no exception.

(Vanness Pens provided this product at no charge to The Pen Addict for review purposes.)


Enjoy reading The Pen Addict? Then consider becoming a member to receive additional weekly content, giveaways, and discounts in The Pen Addict shop. Plus, you support me and the site directly, for which I am very grateful.

Membership starts at just $5/month, with a discounted annual option available. To find out more about membership click here and join us!

Life Margin A5 Review
Posted on March 7, 2018 and filed under Life Notebooks, Notebook Reviews.

Life Noble Mini-Ring Notebook Review

Life Notebooks is one of those companies that does very little wrong in my book. Their aesthetic suits my style perfectly, and fortunately, they perform as well as they look.

This doesn’t mean the Mini-Ring Notebook is perfect across the board - more on that in a minute - but it is a fun and functional pocket notebook that works well with any writing instrument you throw at it.

Starting with the exterior, the bright orange front cover is made from what feels like 80# cardstock, with a thicker and stronger chipboard-style backing. The design and lettering of the front cover is striking, just like with every notebook Life creates. I love the looks.

The inside is filled with Life’s high-quality paper that made them a hit with stationery lovers everywhere. Like other Japanese paper brands, they focus on the writing experience for all types of pens and pencils. They deliver on that too.

Fountain pens glide across the page, from my finest needle points, to wider stubs. There is no feathering, bleed, or ghosting to be found. None. The dry time is even reasonable. Gel and ballpoint pens work great as well, as do all grades of pencil. The rollerball ink of the Schmidt P8127 was the only one I could even see on the back side of the page, and just barely at that.

As a binding method, I like twin ring both from a functional and aesthetic perspective, but I don’t like it on the side on a small notebook like this. I’d prefer it on the top in this approximately 3-1/4” x 5” format because side doesn’t work as well in pockets. It’s great on A5 and up formats where it is more of a desk pad.

Also, Life’s paper is too ivory for constant use. I’d like a whiter or yellower tone for every day writing. I use inks with color, and they don’t show up as well on this tone.

And finally, there is the price issue. It’s more expensive than it’s competitors. The Mini-Ring runs nearly $5 for 40 smaller than Field Notes sheets. It’s not egregious, and it may be as good or even better for many users, but you are paying for the privilege. Rhodia is more expensive than basic paper, but it is far cheaper than Life, and has many more options (although Life is gaining on that.)

But like Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream, it is hard to stay away from the good stuff on occasion. Despite some preference changes I would make on a personal level, they is no denying the quality of Life Notebooks.

(JetPens provided this product at no charge to The Pen Addict for review purposes.)


Enjoy reading The Pen Addict? Then consider becoming a member to receive additional weekly content, giveaways, and discounts in The Pen Addict shop. Plus, you support me and the site directly, which I am very grateful for.

Membership starts at just $5/month, with a discounted annual option available. To find out more about membership click here and join us!

Posted on July 10, 2017 and filed under Life Notebooks, Notebook Reviews.