Tag Archives: address book

Grace Coddington’s Smythson Notebooks

Grace Coddington is well known in the fashion world as an editor, former model, and author. Now she’s also a spokesperson for Smythson. Most of the linked article is promoting their various leather bags and accessories, but I loved getting a glimpse of this well-worn address book!

I bought a Smythson address book a long time ago and no longer use it actively, but every time I come across it while rummaging through my collection, I appreciate how classic and iconic their notebooks are. They sure are expensive, though! I don’t remember how much I paid for mine, 20+ years ago, but I remember feeling like I couldn’t afford it at the time. They used to have a whole line of address books but nowadays, they don’t seem to sell them at all, except as refill inserts for other planners– a casualty of the smartphone and social media age, I guess. But they do still sell lots of notebooks and organizers. I kind of want one of these, except that they only seem to come with lined paper, and they’re $75:


Back to Grace Coddington, she also has a pretty fabulous set of colored pencils, which you can see  below:


I went looking to see if I could find it on Amazon– didn’t see one exactly like that, but these are close. I hope I win the lottery so I can buy one!!


Read more at: Travelling With Grace Coddington – Smythson Travel

Walter Benjamin’s Notebook

Actually it’s an address book… Sad story behind it, though. Walter Benjamin was a German Jewish literary critic and philosopher, who fled from the Nazi regime during World War II. This was his address book from time spent in Paris, where he associated with a lot of other refugees before being arrested and imprisoned for several months. He later returned to Paris and then escaped to Spain, intending to travel to the US, but his visa was canceled and he committed suicide rather than fall into the hands of the Nazis again.


The address book was from an exhibition a few years ago of some contents of the Walter Benjamin archive:  Musée d’art et d’histoire du Judaïsme Conférence L’exilé Walter Benjamin.

Address Book Art

I love the drawing and the address book it’s in!

See more at Natalie Krim | Journal 1. 2012.

Moleskine Monday: An Address Book for Recipes

This is something I’ve thought about doing for a while: keeping all your favorite recipes easily indexed in an address book:

If you’ve been cooking for awhile, you probably have an arsenal of go-to recipes, dishes you can whip up from memory, but sometimes — especially when it comes to baking — you need to reference specific ingredient measurements. You can crack open your cookbooks or pull up your bookmarks online, but bartender and blogger Jeffrey Morgenthaler uses a more portable tool for storing all his most-used recipes: a Moleskine address book.

via Smart Tip: Use an Address Book for Your Most-Referenced Recipes | The Kitchn.

Small Address Book, mid-1970s

Here’s an oldie but goodie, which is one of the earliest notebooks I ever used. I wrote the addresses of my friends and family on some pages, but also just used it for notes and doodles, and as a repository for some awesome Star Wars stickers!

Many of my notebooks from this time show an interest in science– for want of anything better to write, I’d record data about the weather and astronomy. But in this case, I have no idea how I measured the barometric pressure, humidity, and the wind speed and direction.

One thing I find interesting about my collection is the trend in sizes: when I was little, I liked notebooks that were smaller than what I use now– about 2.5 x 4″ as opposed to 3×5″ or 3.5 x 5.5″. It makes sense, I guess, as my hands were smaller then– my notebooks have grown with me. How about you? Did you use smaller notebooks when you were a kid?

Moleskine Monday: Original Volant Notebooks Giveaway!

Have you ever fantasized about a cool notebook from the past that’s no longer available, wishing that someone saved a stash of them and then put them up for sale again? Well, that fantasy might come true today!


Back in 2003, Moleskine branched out from their standard hardcover notebooks for the first time, introducing the lightweight, flexible Volants, sold in 3-packs. For some reason, they didn’t really take off, so after only a year, they were discontinued. Moleskine replaced them with the more successful Cahiers, and later reintroduced the Volants in the 2-packs and bright colors that are available today.

But if you’re a Moleskine collector and would like to get your hands on some of the original Volants, you’re in luck! The nice folks at lovenotebooks.com have limited quantities for sale, and they sent me some samples to review and give away.

So you’re probably wondering what makes these old Volants different from the current ones– not too much, actually. As you can see, the packaging is a more stripped-down design:




Inside, the company name is still Modo & Modo, and the logo is printed in a slightly lighter ink.


On the back, they stamped the name on differently. It’s so heavily embossed that you can see the impression on the inside back cover! (Old Volant is on top in photo below, with a current Volant underneath it for comparison.)



The paper seemed a bit more cool in tone, less creamy than the current incarnation (below, old Volant is at bottom). When I did my pH pen test on the paper, I was surprised to find some inconsistency in the results– some of the notebooks had acid-free paper, but some did not. At the time these were made, Modo & Modo’s Moleskine sales were growing rapidly and they were scrambling to find manufacturers to work with, so they had some problems with consistent paper quality.


The Volant address book has a different tidbit of the Chatwin myth– I’d never seen this Salman Rushdie quote.


And at the back of the address books, you get these little tear-out note pages with squares labeled either “scripta volant” (in the pocket address book) or “verba volant” (in the larger size).



It’s nice to know there are still secret caches of discontinued notebooks out there, and I love the retro packaging (even though the interior booklets spout an even more blatantly untrue version of the Moleskine history that the company has since softened!) If you’re a Moleskine fan and you’re willing to take a gamble on getting acid-free paper, these will be a great addition to your collection. At $9.95 for a set of 3 pocket notebooks and $12.95 for a set of 3 large notebooks, they’re a good price, too. You can buy the  Moleskine Original Volant Notebooks exclusively at LoveNotebooks.com— they sell lots of other great notebook brands too, and offer discounts and free shipping for larger orders.

But I’m also giving readers a chance to win a free set of these Volants! I’ll do a random drawing and select 3 lucky winners from entries received in these ways:

On Twitter, tweet something containing the words “original Moleskine Volant” and “@NotebookStories.

On Facebook, “like” the  Notebook Stories page and post something containing the word “original Moleskine Volant” on my wall.

On your blog, post something containing the words “original Moleskine Volant” and “NotebookStories” and link back to this post.

The deadline for entry is Friday December 3 at 11:59PM, EST. Good luck everyone!

Review: Kolo Essex Travel Book

The Kolo Essex Travel Book is an interesting hybrid of a Moleskine-type notebook and a Filofax. From the outside, it looks a lot like a Moleskine, but with some important differences.




The binding is cloth, with a window in which you can insert your own image. CIMG2267

An elastic band holds it shut. On the back, the Kolo logo is in the usual spot, but it’s a little cloth patch rather than embossed.

When you look at the spine, you start to see some differences– it’s a separate piece from the front and back cover, and around it are wrapped the thin elastic bands that hold the notebook components into the interior.

Inside is where it starts to look like a Filofax. Off the shelf, the Essex comes with a lined notebook insert and a photo album insert, and 2 elastic bands to hold them in. I bought an additional graph paper insert plus a set of extra elastic bands. Kolo also offers blank, address book and planner inserts, and photo inserts in black (mine came in ivory).
I love that you can mix and match what you put inside the notebook, and holding them in with elastics makes it easy to add other non-Kolo inserts if you want. I tried inserting a Field Notes notebook and though it’s a bit bigger than the Kolo booklets, it still works fine.

kolo rev3

It’s a very flexible system, similar to the Midori Traveler’s Notebook. My only beef with it is how the elastics are exposed on the outside spine of the binder– I always worry that things like this could snag on other items in your bag, perhaps snapping the elastic. It would be interesting to design a binder in which the elastics were somehow covered.

The binder is thick enough to hold the photo insert and 2 notebooks. It doesn’t close to a totally square shape, but probably would if I had some photos in there.


The inside back cover has a small pocket where you can tuck papers, but it’s quite tight and not much would fit in– an accordion pocket would be preferable.


The photo insert also has a little window that you can fill with your own image, which then seals shut with a self-stick strip.



The notebooks inside will flop back and forth a bit when it’s open, but you can open them completely flat, and even bend the cover fully back if you want.


The booklets are similar to Field Notes or Moleskine cahiers, though slightly smaller. Other key differences: cute contrasting color stitching down the spine and squared corners. The booklets are 48 pages each.



I’m happy to say that the paper in the Kolo inserts is very nice. The graph paper has a fine grid very similar to that found in Piccadilly and Moleskine notebooks. The paper is a similar off-white color, and it’s nice and smooth. All my usual pens worked quite well on it. I’ve also started testing all my notebooks with a pH pen to see if the paper is acid-free, which the Kolo notebooks are.

kolo rev1

kolo rev2

My final verdict? If I was designing this from scratch, I might make a few tweaks to it, but even as it is, the Kolo Essex Travel Book is a really nice product. I love the versatility of it– you can use it like a Filofax with the address, planner and notebook inserts, or you could turn it into a mini photo album, or any combination of the above. The covers are available in several colors, clothbound and leatherbound, and a larger size is also available. The small clothbound binder with photo insert and journal is currently $18.75, and small inserts are around $4.00, all available on Amazon.

More New Moleskine Products for Spring 2009

I’m not sure if these are only available in the UK, but at SimplyMoleskine.com, they’re offering Volant notebooks in two new colors, and Volant Address Books:

New in February 2009: Volant Address Books in 3 sizes and 4 colours.
The new Volant Address Books have ruled pages with laminated alphabetical tabs, created to be light and handy. Available in extra small, pocket and large sizes.

[UPDATED: I just saw an announcement about these new products for the US on Moleskine.com]