The winner - Lamy Safari Dark Lilac Fountain Pen Special Edition

Who is the most special of all…?

The results of our 'Special Edition Stationery of the Year 2016' competiton

We recently ran a competition to win some now-unavailable special edition stationery. To enter you had to vote for your favourite special or limited edition item of stationery which we had featured during 2016. There was a surprisingly long list drawn up, of 16 items. And when the competition had closed we were left with a nice little table from 1 to 16 which I thought made for interesting reading. Interesting enough that it was worth sharing with everyone, so here it is.

The winner - Lamy Safari Dark Lilac Fountain Pen Special Edition

No.1 – Lamy Safari Dark Lilac Fountain Pen

Perhaps no surprise that this should win – the clamour for a purple Safari pen had been building for years, online forums had championed it, petitions demanded one. So when Lamy announced that 2016 would be the year the Safari went purple…well, it sold! So well that it has long since sold out and we can’t offer any for you to buy now. You can get get the Safari in 8 other colours but if purple is your thing you’ll be disappointed.

Click here to see the Lamy Safari fountain pen

battle of the backpacks

Battle of the backpacks

Rhodia vs Moleskine

Jo decided to put two very different backpacks to the test to see which was the best. They are quite different in both style and price but since they are both backpacks and intended for everyday use, and being two of our biggest brands, it’s a perfect excuse for a head-to-head battle. Sit back and prepare for the showdown – the Rhodia Laptop Backpack vs the Moleskine MyCloud Backpack.



Moleskine – This is a very stylish bag in a nice smart dark grey, almost black, with brilliant green and purple finishes inside. It looks good with subtle branding though the carry handles on the top are perhaps a little obtrusive. I would have preferred it with a single, more subtle strap but it makes it look like a certain Swedish rucksack which is currently in vogue. 9/10

Rhodia – Again, a stylish bag but a more solid look, less casual. The felt finish is unusual and the branding subtle. The inside is all brilliant Rhodia orange and even the zips carry the Rhodia logo. This looks like a cross between an executive bag and a backpack. 8/10



Moleskine – Lots of cool features here with plenty of zipped compartments to keep items safe. There is a handy collapsible bag clipped to the inside so you always have an extra bit of carry space plus a removable pouch for wet umbrellas or water bottles. There is a large karabiner-style clip on the outside to hang keys, though I am not sure I want my keys out, and plenty of places to clip items to. There is a padded phone pocket as well as padded pockets for a 13” laptop and a tablet and the main compartment has two zipped pockets plus two pen holders. The outside has two further zipped pockets and there is a strap on the back for slipping over a luggage trolley. A nice luggage label where you can store your contact details hangs on the side. 10/10

moleskine mycloud backpack      rhodia laptop backpack

Rhodia – Not quite as feature heavy as the Moleskine but still an impressive bag. There are two main zipped compartments of which the bigger, back compartment has a padded section for a 15” laptop. The front section features a large zipped pocket plus a Velcro-fastened pocket and spaces for three pens. There is also a key holder clip which is positioned inside the bag – seems a better arrangement to me. 7/10



Moleskine – with all its compartments and zipped pockets, this is a bag that will work well for organising your stuff. Where it scores less well against the Rhodia is in its construction. This is not well-padded on the back and the straps, though padded, are not as comfortable as the Rhodia. The base of the bag is made from a different more durable fabric which looks as if it would wipe clean and will be good for when you put the bag down in the wet. The bag is quite lightweight – a bonus for me as I don’t like heavy bags – but does mean it is not as solid. 7/10

Rhodia – This is a well built bag with a very nicely padded back. The arrangement of the straps means it sits quite tight on the back and is very comfortable to wear. The lack of outside pockets is offset by the good selection of compartments inside and you should be able to organise your stuff quite well here. The only negative is that the bag is a little heavy. For me that is a problem but if you don’t mind a little extra weight, your laptop and other items will be well protected. 8/10


Value for money

Moleskine – This is an expensive bag no doubt but it does look good and has several nice touches, especially the colourful contrasting lining. 7/10

Rhodia – This is a solid, smart piece of luggage and at nearly half the price of the Moleskine, it is very good value. You would be hard pressed to find something as well constructed for less. 10/10



Moleskine – 33/40click here to see more and buy

Rhodia – 33/40click here to see more and buy

The Moleskine is undoubtedly a very good looking bag with a host of cool features. It does sacrifice some of its internal space to laptop/tablet protection so you won’t get your shopping in here too. The Rhodia is smart in a more executive style and is solid and luxurious, but is an altogether bigger bag. If you want small and compact with lots of gadgets and on-trend styling then go Moleskine but if you want a great value for money bag which looks like it cost considerably more, the Rhodia is your bag.



Weight Dimensions Cost
Moleskine 1.1kgs 28cm x 35cm x 12cm £129
Rhodia 1.5kgs 32cm x 42cm x 12cm £75



Look, loops! :)

We are going to take a break from fountain pens this week. There are other things in our stationery world than pens and ink (look out for cameos). One of the reasons why I love stationery is because of how useful it is…it’s purpose is to look cute and help you get the job done. This blog post will focus on having your pen and paper ready. Pen loops and straps do just that 🙂

Branded Castelli notebooks. Credit goes to Faisal :)

Castelli notebooks that come with a loop and pencilGenius idea! These pen loops are usually black. Classy, no fuss, no extra work necessary.  Apparently not everyone travels with 10 different fountain pens 😀

Leuchtturm1917 pen loops

Leuchtturm loop: so many colours to choose from! This is another very convenient  add-on option. Glue this pen loop to your notebook of choice and you are good to go. Loop is more suitable for pencils and thinner pens. The biggest advantage is that it goes with every kind of notebook. Big or small – you don’t have to worry about buying the wrong size. I have noticed that there are two kinds of people in this world: those who go for colour match and those who mix it up. I belong to the second category. Black on black or red on red just doesn’t do it for me. Right now I am rocking Lime Leuchtturm1917 dot book with a yellow pen loop. The only downside is that this loop is too slim for Lamy Safari fountain pen.

Papelote notebook strap with 5 special edition Lamy Safari Fountain Pens

And finally, this, ladies and gentlemen is the winner: Papelote notebook strap…the most amazing invention in stationery world 🙂 I gave at least a dozen of them out as presents. Not a single serving friend – use it after you finish a notebook (unlike Leuchtturm1917 pen loops). It works as a pen holder by itself, no extra weight necessary 😉 They come in 3 sizes and many colours.

Smallest is A6 Papelote notebook strap holds 3 pens and fits pocket A6 notebooks from:

  • Quo Vadis Habana
  • Moleskine
  • Rhodia
  • Leuchtturm1917

Medium A5 Papelote notebook strap size holds 5 pens and will go on following A5 notebooks:

  • Leuchtturm1917
  • Rhodia
  • Quo Vadis Habana
  • Nuuna

also XXL Moleskine notebooks (medium Moleskines are too thin) and both Rhodiarama sizes (A5 and XXL).

Large A4 size Papelote notebook strap holds 5 pens and fits Link and Leuchtturm1917 Master books, Rhodia A4 Webnotebooks and believe it or not the Buckle files.

buckle file with papelote

We’d love to hear from you – which ones do you go for? Are you a colour-matcher or a colour-mixer?

Thank you for reading,

Mishka (^_~)

Field Notes Expedition Edition


Holiday season is upon us, so I have picked a couple of paper companions. Each one has something special to offer. When travelling you probably want to pack something portable, durable, with pockets for tickets and accessories. Here are the top products that match that criteria:

Mark’s – Storage It in A5+ or A6+
First choice is very obvious. These Storage-It notebooks were made for travelling. Each has a pocket, which is great for carrying passport and phones. Mark’s range offers several inserts, sticky notes etc…
perfect companion Mark’s ticket sticky notes

Clairefontaine – Travel Book in A4 or A5
Interesting book. Vintage on the outside, black&white pages inside. The idea is that you will put your photos/trinkets on the black page and write on the white page. This is an absolute must for those that print their photos using free apps or carry pocket ‘polaroid’ printers.
perfect companion: MT tape and Stabilo metallic gel pen.

Moleskine – Voyageur 
Perfect travel journal. Contains index tabs, so your travels can be managed in style and mixture of papers.
Lovely touch with cloth cover, 3 bookmarks (part, present, future?) and ‘I am here arrow’ for photos. Moleskine won’t short you on cool accessories, these journals come packed with stickers, perforated pages (perfect for packing list, to do lists etc). Handy back pocket for all mementos or tickets.
perfect companion: Paperways mini sticky note set

Field Notes – Expedition
Save the best for last… All of the Field Notes notebooks like to be used and abused. It doesn’t need carrying pouch, would gladly live in your coat or jeans. I have picked it because of it’s pocket size, portability, hi-vis orange cover and dot paper. ‘Paper’ is water and tear resistant which makes it The ultimate notebook aka the survivor. I carry this one in my camera bag and it has all the settings, location, timings inside. Absolute essential 🙂
perfect companion: Fisher Space Pen

We have limited stocks of the Expedition edition, so if it sells out, why not try…

Field Notes Bundle
Get a pack of the classic Field Notes notebooks with a rubber-band pen loop and a Field Notes Clic Pen.

Pen and paper

Alive and Kicking

Who says digital will kill stationery?

I came across a this article in The Express last week about the rise of stationery. Now it doesn’t say anything of any real note, and telling a Stationery Wednesday reader that stationery is in demand is like…well, take your pick of which cliche to apply to it. However, it did do two things for me. Firstly, it it always good to put the word out about stationery in a positive light to a wider audience, reminding them that there is a world beyond the battery life on your smartphone. Secondly, it always makes me happy when facts and figures are thrown in. Now I am the world’s biggest sceptic when it comes to quoting stats, but still…if John Lewis saw a 177% rise in premium stationery sales, and if Smythson can make £2.5m profit out of the stuff, then it surely is doing well.

Pen and paper

And on the subject of stationery and stats, this article on Moleskine (warning – it is very dry) did contain a projection for the global stationery market for the years ahead, showing a projected 5% annual rise leading up to 2019. All good news if we are to continue to survive and prosper. After all, we all love stationery and some of us rely on stationery for a living! And there is always the other side to this story to remember, as a recent post highlighted so poignantly.



alice in wonderland

Alice in Wonderland

How did they do it?

Moleskine have done it again. The latest limited edition features Alice in Wonderland, and as always there  is a nice little video to accompany it. However this time…I came across a ‘how we made it’ video, which adds a whole new angle to the video. It’s somehow quite nice to see behind the scenes and understand how they did it all. Also makes me feel a little better about my low-budget attempts at any video.

See the making of the film here

alice in wonderland

moleskine #ideasnoted

The Future Of Paper?

#IdeasNoted from Moleskine

Moleskine was a sponsor at the recent TED conference (TED stands for Technology, Entertainment and Design). I can’t say I went (a shame as it was in Vancouver and that beats a trade fair at the NEC in Birmingham), but it does all sound very geeky and techie. What is interesting is that Moleskine – a company very much reliant on paper products (I read somewhere recently that over 90% of their revenue comes from paper products) is so keen to position itself at the heart of a technology-based conference.

They took a typically Moleskine-approach to this and posted a suitably engaging video to highlight their take on it. They also posed a series of daily questions about ideas, creativity and the future of paper. The questions posed were:

  1. In the future, will we think faster or slower?
  2. How can note-taking be more fun?
  3. How do you deal with ideas coming to you at an inconvenient time?
  4. Are e-mail and texts a new form of literature?
  5. How can commuting be turned into a creative opportunity?

Using the hashtag #IdeasNoted they collected responses and gave away daily prizes. The merging of digital and paper seems a logical progression and one that embraces the role paper has and will have in our daily lives, and particularly for creative work. What was also interesting about their sponsorship is that it seems less of an attempt to be the notebook of choice at conferences and more about driving their digital strategy, accepting that paper-products alone isn’t enough in the future. The Evernote notebook has been around for a while now (and I would dare to suggest that the Leuchtturm Link books are a better product), but the latest round of Moleskine developments has seen them launch a far more interesting tie-up with Adobe Creative Cloud, scanning uploading your creative notebook work into vector files on your CC account to use in Photoshop and Illustrator.

Frown if you want to, but progress happens and it is surely far better to adopt a hybrid solution that encourages paper as part of a creative process that seamlessly works through digital?

bullet journal

How To Be Productive

Analogue vs digital

I came across this posting about using a notebook to improve productivity. In this case it is using a Moleskine notebook, but could apply to any notebook that suits you. It is a similar idea to the bullet journal idea but what I liked about this post was the simplicity. Writing as someone who often feels like it’s hard to see the wood from the trees and prioritise the tasks that must be done from the ones that you would like to spend your time doing, it struck a chord with me.

Ideas I’ve not come across before included logging a simple time-management to show how time was spent over the week (a nice idea if you are pulled in several directions and need to keep track of time) and the little sticker idea (which surprised me – I wouldn’t normally be intrigued by anything like this but it seemed a simple way of tracking days and how good or bad they were).

Do we all suffer from thinking we are unproductive when actually we are achieving a lot, maybe despite everything? Is it always a Tuesday that is the bad day of the week despite the cliches of Mondays and Fridays? Not sure I’ll try the sticker idea though. For some time I have been considering the idea of a bullet journal but it is too demanding for me. However there is something in these ideas that have simplified it all down in my mind. Look out for a future posting on my successful/unsuccessful attempt at a version of this.


Moleskine Batman Edition

Moleskine Meets Batman

New Limited Edition Moleskine Notebooks

Due out soon, there is a new limited edition set of notebooks from Moleskine. As always, Moleskine does what they do best and produced an animated film to accompany this launch. The film is from Edson Oda (Grammy nominated, apparently – him, not this film) and whilst it’s not my favourite of Moleskine animations, it’s still a cut above the rest.

I don’t know whether these books will make it to Bureau Direct or not at this stage – keep watching this space on that one.


Moleskine or Rhodia

What have Moleskine, Diet Coke and Fedoras have in common?

Moleskine notebooks

Hidden away somewhere in The Guardian weekend section recently was a short blast of what’s in and what’s out. Who would have thought that humble stationery would make it onto the radar of such fashion-police tactics? Well apparently Moleskine notebooks are a no-no and (drum roll call, please) it is a 5/5 grid Rhodia notebook in orange that is the flavour of the month. Now if only we had some Rhodia news coming your way soon, that news would be so convenient….

To add to the kudos that Rhodia can strut around with, apparently Guy Bourdin was a fan of them. I guess he was French but still, it’s another cult name to add to the list.