A Bargain Journal That Beats Moleskine Paper


Get your hard-earned cash ready, but it won’t take much of it to buy this Swinton journal. The medium-sized one I bought today beats the pants off Moleskine paper and the photo proves it.

The Chinese paper is heavier than Moleskine and feels lightly coated. No feathering and only the Rohrer & Klingner produced very mild bleed-through. No show-through or bleed-through with the other inks. Even the notorious Noodler’s Blue Nose Bear performed well. Without filling the journal, I won’t know if other pages will perform similarly, but they feel the same. So I am hopeful.

The binding is stitched and the journal I purchased lays flat easily. It has a slim white ribbon bookmark. I like the width of it as it does not interfere with writing like wide ribbons can.

There are four sizes including small, slim, medium, and large. The medium is 4.7″ x 6.6″ and comes in a variety of covers and closures with a pocket in the back. Line spacing is 6 mm, the same as Moleskine, and it has 160 pages lined on both sides. The paper color is identical to Moleskine, but the lines might be slightly more gray though not darker than Moleskine.

I bought my Fashion Journal in an Office Depot and it appears that Swinton Avenue Trading Ltd. is an exclusive supplier though the journals are not available online. They were displayed in an exclusive kiosk next to the pen and pencils. It was fully stocked so this might be a new product, and if so, could wind up on the website in future.

The label is easily removed leaving a clean back cover.

Now here is another reason to give these journals a try. The small and the slim are $3.99, the medium is $5.99 and the large is $7.99. I like the size of the slim very much, but my handwriting is too large for it. The medium comes with either no closure, an elastic band, or a flap with a concealed magnet. I opted for the latter to protect the pages when traveling in my handbag.

My standards are high if my expectations are low and finding an inexpensive product that takes so well to fountain pen ink was a real surprise. The Fashion Journal from Swinton certainly made my day. Yeah, I’m easy.



  1. Sounds like just the journal for me! I’ll be keeping an eye out for these in the future.


    • It would be helpful to know if anyone else has such good results so please post feedback when you can. Thanks.


  2. Wow, this looks really nice. I refrain from Moleskine because of the price, so usually just end up using composition books for journals or flip notebooks for various projects. However, I’m always on the lookout for new and decent priced journals. Thanks for posting about this.


    • Glad to help in the search for decent paper. Comp books have their place, but for something a bit more upscale, this one will do.


  3. Thanks for this! I’m always looking for FP friendly bargain journals. Did they have any that are maybe a touch more neutral or masculine in color?


    • Yes, there were black covers in the medium size and a few other single-colored covers in the large size. A few of the smaller ones had brown and white designs that were more gender neutral. I would love to get some feedback on the paper if you purchase one. Hopefully, my journal is representative of the entire line and not just the medium.


    • From what I’ve seen they do black brown red then purple light blue yellow orange they have small pocket sized then medium sized haven’t seen any large


  4. I have seen these in my local Office Depot but did not try them because I expected them to have very poor quality paper, but now I will give one a try. Also, I have read that the Gibson line called Markings, which is found in Walgreen’s and Target, can also be good. Have you had experience with Markings?


    • You reminded me that I have a Markings notebook, but never reviewed it. I just tested seven fountain pens, all to good results. The cover of the notebook is a Monet painting and the paper has zero bleed-through or show-through. One side is lined and the other blank for drawing. Good quality indeed.


    • Markings is good theyre pretty sturdy they have a thick feel to them the paper is decent it’s an off white Color.


  5. Ive seen these that’s why I love office depot I have three of the small pocket sized ones hard cover black brown and red and the flexi cover ones they are really good! Had my brown one in my back pocket been good for a year now! I have a markings journal a black medium one I like it. I love stationary as you can probably tell. Tons of comps for heavier uses and my pocket notebooks to jot down ideas notes quotes I Like or references I want to look up later. These are better than moleskine ive found I like the small spaced lines they have.


    • Stationery can be as addictive as any collectable and a fascination begun at the earliest age. As a child, I loved the crinkle of tracing and onionskin papers. Still do and always have packets of them on my shelf. Luckily both are good with fountain pen ink.

      Markings journals have produced mixed results with the good ones being very good. I like the forms well and have several in my collection. Ten years ago, Moleskine was my first choice, but there are so many other options now and with better paper, too. *sigh*


      • To me moleskines have been talked up a lot they aren’t the only decent pocket notebooks out there. And when people make a reference they always say “moleskine knock off or moleskine type notebooks” I genuinely love these pocket sized ones really durable I use alot of them for different things. The fact that they are so affordable doesn’t intimidate one from actually doing some real writing in it. Sorry I blab alot. I’ve tried several notebook brands this one is on my top five.


  6. Let me know if you find any other brands worth a go. Thanks in advance!!


    • Follow my blog so you can get a notice when I write about paper products. Or you can search for paper posts by category for what I’ve written in the past.


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