I have recently fallen in love with pocket notebooks. I am using one almost every day to jot down notes, quotes, recipes and sometimes a log of the good days. I carry a Calepino sized notebook around with me almost all the time stored in a Nock Fodderstack XL along with a relatively fine nibbed fountain pen (FC Model 02 until it ran out of ink, now a Karas Kustoms Fountain K). I think that these books are the perfect size for this purpose; big enough so you can capture thoughts, ideas and journal entries but not too big so you really have to think to fill a page. I used to look at a larger page with dread, what if I made a mistake?

It always seemed like when I needed to write something down in a hurry I would have a pen available but no notebook to scribble in. I ended up having to use my phone to take notes, which was not a satisfactory solution most of the time.

In my jean pockets I always have a couple of Kaweko pens including a fountain pen and a ballpoint incase I need to jot something down, the ball point is there for the quick scribbles. I also carry a wallet (thin and compact) an iPhone 6 (far too large) and my car key. For a while I tried to put my Fodderstack in my pockets also, but in the front pockets it was too large and uncomfortable. I don't like having things in my back pocket as I worry about sitting down on them. I even tried putting a bare Pocket Notebook in the front pocket but after a few days it was looking worse for wear and it was still too big.

Whilst browsing the various online stores, that I seem to visit far too frequently, I noticed that my favourite everyday paper brand Rhodia produced a notebook that was smaller but not as small as a little A7 book. At 7.5 x 12cm (3 x 4.7") it is significantly smaller than a pocket notebook (8.9 x 14cm, 3.5 x 5.5") and felt like it would fit ok into one of my front pockets whilst still giving me enough real estate to jot down useful notes.

For less than £1 I purchased one of these little gems with my favourite black Rhodia cover. On arrival I popped it straight into my pocket and continued to carry it around until I noticed that very quickly it was dog eared and scraggy. What I needed was a case to put my mini notebook in, but after searching the normal stores nothing met my needs.

My specification was for the cover to be made out of leather as I love how the material wears in over time and the beautiful smell. The leather needs to be as thin as possible as I don't want to add much bulk to my pocket and the way the book is held in place should not get in the way of writing towards the end of the notebook.

I went to my default place for niche products, Etsy, and started searching. There were Fauxdori notebooks galore, which I ended up purchasing one of, along with plenty of options that work with normal pocket notebooks. Even these however were made with thicker and stiffer leather, so I just couldn't find what I wanted. Eventually I found a leather worker called Valentina Picchi who seemed to work with the kind of leather I wanted. A few weeks after discussing my needs and making my payment a notebook cover arrived in the post, beautifully packaged and I instantly put my notebook into it and the final product now lives permanently in my pocket.

The design of this cover meets my needs perfectly. The leather is so soft and supple it is just beautiful to handle and smells superb. Valentina put contrast stitching to hold the pockets together and it just looks amazing. It fits the notebooks like a glove with the edges of the cover protecting the edge of the paper. After a few weeks riding around in my pocket it has begun to wear in, getting even softer and with a few scrapes to add even more character. This being a custom piece of work, it wasn't cheap, but the craftsmanship that went to the item made it amazing value for money and I hope it will last for ages.

Normally I put the associated photos of a product in between the pages, but this one deserves a gallery...

Opened Up Contrast Stitching Rhodia Notebook Subtle Branding

You can find Valentina and her amazing work at www.valep.co.uk, if there is anything that you really want but cannot find exactly what you want then I can highly recommend her custom work. The other items on her store also look pretty amazing!

"My name’s Valentina and I’m Italian. I have a degree in Fashion Designer and Shoe Maker as I studied at the Accademia di Costume e di Moda in Rome and I’ve worked in the Fashion Business for more than 10 years. Vale P. London Leather was born from my passion for the feel and scent of leather, the craft of its transformation together with the love for the simple things, handcrafted and timeless. I create handmade high quality leather goods and accessories that are unique and completely customizable. All products are made with natural skins and small marks may be present. These are not defects and only enhance your product, making it more unique! Vale P. London Leather was born from my passion for the feel and scent of leather, the craft of its transformation together with the love for the simple things, handcrafted and timeless." Valentina Picchi, Vale P

I bought the Rhodia notebook from Cult Pens.