Category Archives: Serrote

Notebooks from Portugal

I vacationed in Portugal last fall, and returned with a nice little pile of notebooks:

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The first ones I bought were this set of 4 stitched cahier-type notebooks. They were a bit expensive at 15 Euros, but I guess that was to be expected as they were bought at a very touristy location. Nice smooth paper and cool patterns on the back, showing Lisbon streetcars and Portuguese tile and lace patterns.

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Then there were a few that I bought in a store devoted to iconic Portuguese products:

First, the Emilio Braga notebook. The company is almost 100 years old, and these notebooks are considered a classic Portuguese brand. They come in funky colors,  and I love the old fashioned look with the contrasting corners and the label on the front. The marbled edges are a great touch too. The pages inside are blank, and the notebook includes a sheet with grid on one side and lines on other to use as a guide. Unfortunately there is a really big cover overhang, too bad. I would also love it if they came in a smaller size.

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Also from the Portuguese product store, a “bloco”, a small lined notepad featuring the Torre de Belem, another big Lisbon tourist destination. Shown next to it is a small, plain graph paper notebook with a black paper cover.

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Another unique Portuguese item, the Serrote letterpress notebook, with a wonderful woodgrain paper design. Each of their designs is a limited edition of 2000.

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The next two notebooks were bought in random school-supply or art-supply stores. When I unwrapped the Oxford notebook, I was pleasantly surprised at how nice it was, with beautifully smooth, bright white paper. It feels very solid, and it’s my favorite size. At 6.40 euros, not too expensive. It has only a very small cover overhang, another plus. It’s quite generic and not at all Portuguese, but of all these, it’s the notebook I’m most likely to actually use.

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The Canson sketchbook below offers only 50 sheets  for 6.30 euro, so wasn’t quite as good a value. It has rougher paper, no pocket, and more cover overhang, but it does have a nice cover, and is pleasantly slim.

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This last notebook was bought at a museum, I forget which one. It’s a nice size, thin, and flexible, with a thicker elastic than most. The  cover is weird, it seems to be one layer of fake leather glued over another, and it’s starting to come apart a bit, with the edges getting crushed due to the overhang. I could kind of tell when I bought it that it was a little beat up, but it was the last one they had. In fact, there is really nothing great about this, but I was just on a roll gathering notebooks and for some reason, I had to have it!

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All in all, I was pretty pleased with my Portuguese purchases– some were brands I’d heard of and wanted to try, and some were new discoveries that I’d never seen– just what I love to find on my travels!

Moleskine Monday: Lisbon

I’m just back from another trip where I used a Moleskine City Notebook, this time for Lisbon. I really enjoy using these on trips, as it’s handier than having to tote around a full guidebook. I stayed in a very central location, and the maps covered most (but not all) of the areas I visited around the city. It can be a pretty complicated place to get around, so the maps were essential! I just wish the transit map had gone beyond the Metro, as the buses and trams and trains were what I used more.
I used the indexed pages to jot down hotels, restaurants, shops and sights that I wanted to see or had visited. I used the blank index sections in the back to add additional info on other parts of Portugal I visited outside of Lisbon. And as always, I came back with the expanding pocket full of ticket stubs, extra stamps and other little mementos.
One other Moleskine note about Portugal– wow, were Moleskine notebooks expensive there! I saw pocket size notebooks for sale for as much as €16.50, which is almost $22!
And in a non-Moleskine aside, I of course bought lots of notebooks during my trip! Emilio Braga, Serrote and some other brands. I’ll show them off soon!

BooksActually Notebooks

If you happen to be in Singapore, you might want to stop by a store called Books Actually. They have a nicely-curated selection of notebooks, some of which they create themselves, and others from international brands such as Cavallini and Serrote:

Read more at BooksActually: wall of notebooks.