Since I really like the Orla Kiely pocket notebook I got a while back, I went back (to TJ-Maxx) to find (and buy) more! This time, I got notebooks, each with in lovely earthy tone and adorned with geometric pattern.
First there is the Hard Bound Notebook with 128 ruled pages ($3.99) - The pattern is called frilled check and it has rather nice and thick index page. The hard cover is tough but the edges are still quite prone to wear. On the bright side, the spine holds up well without getting any folds (well, that's the point of hard cover?).
The paper quality is rather nice (as long as you don't judge its ability to handle water-based inks, as it's coated with some sort of wax, being very smooth and thick. So far, it works really well with ink gel pen (I suppose it works with ballpoint pens as well but I rarely use those) and the light brownish gray ruling are so light and neutral, it's actually not that bad for drawing.
On the back there is a generously-sized pocket, which should holds some note cards, book marks (there is already a ribbon on attached), receipt and coupons (maybe this is a little too big to be used to keep track of one's spending)...
The two soft bound notebooks ($2.99 for both) have have slightly waterproof (just don't soak it) cardborad cover that are noticeably better than the Clairefontaine 1951 ones. The edges don't get rolled or wear off badly (even compared to the hardcover notebook). The two patterns are called Acorn Cup Crosshatch (blank page!) and Large Acorn cup (ruled).
The paper used is the same (as all the Orla Kiely notebooks I have tried). Pens like porous point and fountain pen don't do well on them (no bleed through, the wax coating just creates some microscopic skipping on each stroke) but it's a pretty little thing to have around.
Overall: They are very good notebook for the (TJ Maxx) price but I will try not to hoard more, since they are not very versatile.