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  • A Fleeting Ripple

new lists: oxford task manager

It’s another windy, cloudy day, where the world seems to rush by even when there are no people on the street. The flags flail one way first, and then the other, the wind howls through the spaces between the apartments, and the chain of the huge crane in front of my window dances. On this side of the window, warm candles illuminate my desk, a mug of fresh coffee steams, and a soft music plays in the background. It feels like summer is forever away.

Oxford notebook and some fountain pens.

As the academic year is rounding up, I find myself juggling more tasks than usual. My laptop is filled with post-it notes on the keyboard, and a permanent notepad page is open so I can scribble down tasks. I gave up on trying to use my A5 planner as a list making tool a while ago. Yet, still, I find myself losing track of smaller tasks like extending subscriptions, or forgetting to pick up the prints from the 3D printer.

Enter, the task manager. This slim notebook quickly found itself a permanent spot in my workflow. The size of it reminds me of a slightly larger Traveler’s Notebook, which works much better than a regular A5 (the comparison picture is there with a Clairefontaine A5 notebook) for making lists. Usually you don’t need a full width of a page to write out items in the list, but you do need the full length. It’s not a light notebook at 230 pages with Oxford’s Optik+ paper, though lightweight covers do help. I usually keep it on my desk, right next to my mouse and keyboard.

The pages have two layouts, on the right side it’s a pretty traditional looking list space with boxes to check and on the left side there are some lines for note taking. This works very well, I appreciate the slightly larger space for the tasks, because sometimes tasks are simply just not one line, and the note taking helps me keep track of my thoughts about the projects I’m working on. The double ring binding allows it to lay completely flat on both sides. I’ve never been the biggest fan of this binding, simply because when I carry it around for a while, the rings start to bend out of shape. I’ve been using Oxford notebooks regularly for five years now, and this has never happened with them. Maybe they did work some magic on these…

Let’s get to the paper, because as a fountain pen user, it is the star of the show for me. It feels like unless you’re looking for planners, fountain pen-friendly paper with printed layouts are hard to come by. I think this is the strength of Oxford as a brand. They’re an office and school supplies company that don’t cater only to fountain pen users, but to a much larger market, making their products lower priced and accessible.

Before I continue, interesting side note here, Oxford is also owned by the Hamelin group that bought Pelikan in July 2023 -according to the wonderful journalism that Pelikan’s Perch did at the time.

Anyway, the paper is great. There isn’t a lot of bells and whistles to it, it’s a stark white that shows off ink colours well and handles even wetter fountain pens beautifully. I was using a 1.1 TWSBI stub with a shimmer ink to bring a little bit of joy into boring tasks and there isn’t even ghosting at the back of the page. Shimmer and sheen are visible, especially in brighter light. No feathering, even after I spilled coffee on it and wrote over the parts that got wet. Sometimes the prints on pages don’t hold ink and that’ll leave a line in the middle of a word, and in here the lines just disappear into writing, especially with brighter colours I tend to prefer.

Some fountain pen-friendly papers have a thick coating that makes writing with pencils a bit less comfortable, because you don’t get any feedback and pencil just glides straight across. This paper works well for that too, the pencil writes just like on any regular paper. I also tested ballpoints on it, which still dry quickly enough not to smear.

Since I was leaving my task manager at home, the Scribzee app came in handy to be able to look at notes. I like that the design is clean and it seems like they tried to be as transparent as possible about their use of your phone camera and your scanned notes. Yes, I do glance through the Terms & Services if it’s not a billion pages long. No, I didn’t read Adobe’s and I will probably regret it. The app is easy enough to use, especially if you used scanner apps before. The upside is that the camera will align itself with the little squares in the corners to make the scanning easier with you. The quality is good, I can zoom in and clearly read my notes, but the web app on my computer breaks down a little bit. For some reason, the images didn’t load and I can’t see anything.

Overall, I am extremely happy with the product. I was sent this as a part of the Oxford Ambassador program, which aligned perfectly with what I was looking for, because I was trying to find a similar task manager with nice fountain pen paper. My only problem is that I can never find these notebooks in stationery stores, or even (equivalent of Amazon in the Netherlands). They send me all these beautiful notebooks and lovely task managers, and of course I want more of them. When my friends ask me where I got the pretty notebooks, I want to be able to tell them oh, you can get it from this stationery store. I go to the stationery store around the corner, and Oxford notebooks are there with their regular A4 or A5 double ring bound notebooks in regular colours and none of the fancy stuff. Maybe in UK they’re more prevalent, but who knows. All I know is that I want more of the pastel coloured notebooks.

Thank you for reading!

Disclaimer: As a part of the Oxford Ambassador program, I was sent this product to create content. All opinions are my own.

2 comentarios

18 jun

Actually, the blue version can be bought on! Thanks for your nice review. Best Martijn

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15 jun

I am also a long time fan of Optik paper (and I also think Oxford's ring bindings are especially good at keeping their shape). I'm in the UK and have never seen nor heard of these task manager notebooks.

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