vrijdag 19 juni 2015

Pentastic Pentel

How is it possible that stationery can brighten your day? Is that why I love stationery as much as I do? And how is it possible that pens have this special characteristic that no matter how you feel and what you do, they can actually make you feel much better. If you just take up a pen in your hand creative juices start flowing and your hand moves automatically. Your letter, article, work of art or other creation become reality.

More and more is being written about the positive effects of writing with pen and paper in comparison to only writing on the computer. For example, because of the hand-eye coordination it is more beneficial to retain information and remember what has been written better with pen or pencil in hand. See this article for more details: http://blog.paperblanks.com/2015/06/writing-wednesday-5-surprising-scientific-benefits-of-using-paper-over-screens/
I don’t need any excuse to buy pens and pencils but it is good to know that it is actually good to write by hand. I am always on the lookout for nice pens that have nice colors and a great writing experience.

Currently, my new best friends forever are the pens from Pentel. Pentel Co., Ltd. is Japanese company that manufactures stationery and they have a wonderful pen line. The name consists of the word ‘pen’ and “tell”, as in telling a story so you can tell a story with your pen. They  have a wide range of pens but also lines for artistic activities. Only looking at those gorgeous artistic lines of Pentel makes you want to be more creative and create. I especially like their gel pen line which is magnificent. In general, I am a big fan of gel pens and the writing experience with gel pens can very smooth which can be a stimulant for your creativity and your productivity. The energel line of Pentel is truly pentastic! I cannot get over the colors of these gel pens that are bright, fun and lovely. 

The writing comfort of Pentel pens is from a very high level.  One of the things that a writer,  artist or student desires during the writing process is smooth writing so the pace of writing can keep up with the pace of thinking. A pen has to glide smoothly on paper. Pentel can keep up with my thoughts and its smoothness is facilitating.  As an avid journal writer who writes with different pens and different colors in one and the same journal, I am very lucky to have discovered Pentel.  Their gelpens are absolutely fabulous and I seem not to get enough of its colors. I tried 8 of the gelpens in different colors. They have classic colors, such as, black, blue, green and red which are very practical in schoolwork and studies but also in the office. I adore the turqoise/light blue, pink, purple and orange colors, they are like rays of sun on your paper. The writing comfort gives you the idea you can fill up your journals quickly or finish your essay in no time if you write it by hand. I use the color gel pens for emphasizing certain thoughts. In diaries and planners you can use these for color coding. When I make summaries of books, I use a different color for each chapter and different colors for interesting words or special definitions.  

 The gel pens just glide over the paper.

The oil pastels are a magnificent tool for artistic endeavours,  whether you start from scratch or have created before. The drawing you see on the picture is one I made the moment I opened up the box with the pastels.  I try to make art since I was very small and used various brands over the years. What I look for in oil pastels are bright colors and smoothness as well. The colors are something to fall in love with, especially the orange, yellow and red ones because they convey the brightness that I love.  Furthermore, there is no resistance on paper so with one stroke you have the right line or shape on paper. I think my cute piece of art shows the brightness and smoothness of the oil pastels.

All of the Pentel pens are nice to look at and they are fine gadgets to me. The additional products, such as the artistic supplies help you with your creativity. I am glad to have discovered Pentel as a brand and I have incorporated its products in my personal development,  artistic and professional routine. I hope Pentel sparks your creativity and writing the way it does for me.

donderdag 11 juni 2015

A big plus for Cognitive Surplus

Cognitive Surplus is a small organization that creates and designs “smart gifts for smart people”, owned and run by Kristen and Geoff Zephyrus. The most beautiful, intelligent, physics- and science-inspired notebooks are part of their collection. I truly find them “must-have” notebooks.

On the website of Cognitive Surplus it states: “We are fascinated by and curious about the science in the world around us. We love everything from physics jokes to the exquisite beauty of early scientific etchings and illustrations. We’re inspired by a sense of wonder for our universe and a desire to look closer. Everything from gazing up at the night sky to the way magnets work is both intriguing and a little magical, and we hope that we’re able to share some of our excitement through our designs.”

For sure they got me excited. They have bags, clothing, drinkware, stationery and wall art. Their stationery range consists of Notebooks, Greetings Cards and Wax Seals. My particular interest is in their notebooks and I was more than excited when I found their designs. All of their notebooks have beautiful covers and have a link with a scientific branch, for instance, medicine. The notebook is called Anatomical Heart Vintage Hardcover EcoJournal and is a beautiful carmine red. The desings are so specific they can almost be used as summaries. 

These notebooks are perfect gifts for friends and family members who have a knack for special things and gadgets. I always wondered what kind of notebooks to give friends who do like notebooks but cannot get as much excited about let’s say the “Hello Kitty” notebooks. Cognitive Surplus notebooks have a maturity in them that make them perfect for just about anybody.

I had to have these supercool, superinteresting and superinspiring notebooks. I have four of them and I am superhappy with them. All of them have scientific imagery as a cover. Two of them have soft covers and two of them are hardcovers. The Anatomical Heart Vintage Hardcover EcoJournal is gorgeous with its striking red cover. But inside the notebooks are even better. The paper quality is very good. It is not as thick as you would expect but strong enough. The inside has lines on the right side and squares on the left side. The squares are not as small as usual but slightly bigger. That is why they are great for drawing maps, creating charts, writing down overviews and anything visual. The combination of both the squares and lines has the effect of writing down the essence of things on the right and making a visual overview on the left.

My other notebook is the blue one with the constellation that has a glow in the dark cover. How cool is that! I just cannot get over how interesting these ntoebooks are. My scientific explorations will be so much fun from now on. I recently started studying bits of quantum physics and used a plain notebook for it, but I did miss a space to make drawings of atoms and charts. With the squared left and ruled right side I can make valuable and synchronized notes.

Kristen and Geoff Zephyrus from Cognitive Surplus succeeded in building a lovely notebook collection that transfers their excitement unto me. I hope they keep creating their notebooks so we can enjoy them as long as we want. One thing I can guarantee you, you will fill them up quickly with your notes and ideas. You can find more information about the mand their notebooks on http://www.cognitive-surplus.com/

maandag 8 juni 2015

Monologue, mon ami

Monologue is a notebook manufacturer from Singapore. The Monologue brand falls under the brand of Grandluxe which is a family business in existence since 1945. Even though Grandluxe started out in Singapore, it now has a presence in more than 30 countries. Monologue is one of the brands of Grandluxe but Luxe and PaperLuxe are also brands that fall under Grandluxe.

Monologue attracted my interest because of their colorful notebooks but they actually provide more stationery. On their website the following is said about it: “Monologue is a series of lifestyle diaries, stationery and accessories that are made with the finest synthetic leather polyurethane in different colours. The beauty of Monologue lies in their construction and finishing – applied not as an afterthought but as an integral part of the process. It has never been easier to express your thoughts aloud with Monologue.”

It made me curious to try not only their notebooks but also their diairies. One of the things I miss in most diaries are world maps. I remember that diaries used to have them many years ago but for some reason I could not find diaries that still had them, or they were from such an expensive category that they were unaffordable. The diairies of Monologue have these maps of the world. They have details of each continent and in the end they have a small map of the world. It is the best overview of the world in a diary I have ever seen. And they have more!  The overview of calendars in the beginning is very practical. There is not only the overview for the year 2015 but also for the previous year (2014) and the year ahead (2016). It is followed by an extensive list of International Holidays, Weights & Measures, Conversion Tables, a World Time Chart, IDD Codes, Space for Addresses and Telephone numbers and sufficient space to write down notes. In the back end there is a pouch where you can put tickets, business cards and anything else you want to carry with you.

But the best part is the structure of the week itself which gives the overview. The only thing that I missed was a bit more space for the Sunday. There was enough writing space for the other days but for some reason there is only a little space for Sunday, even though this is a day where I meet most people and therefore plan most things. Still, this is a very practical diary that helps you with your organization. It is the diary for the cosmopolitan. Mine came in a happy yellow color and I could not start my day brighter than with this yellow diary. Don’t worry, they also come in other colors, such as blue, that I gave away as a present.

The notebooks of Monologue are gorgeous and highly impressive. They were bigger than I expected when they arrived and they come in the most wonderful colors. I have a golden, red and orange one. The paper is quite thick, just like the paper from their diaries, and is therefore very useful when you want to write in it with fountain pens. In addition, the inside designs of the notebooks of Monologue are spectacular.

The orange notebook is candy for your eyes. It is not an ordinary notebook or journal. It has sufficient space for drawings, doodles, your own created charts or graphs and on the right lined pages where you can write down your thoughts, ideas, information relating to the left space or whatever you want to remember. 


The orange and red ones are more similar on the inside and I will use them for personal journalling, since they come in such nice colors and are very pretty to look at. Also, the outside covers are strong and will stand the test of time. They might make for great travelling journals as well.



With Monologue, I feel I have added new friends to my family of notebooks. I have a bright dairy to lighten up my day so no chore or appointment will feel like a bore and I have beautiful notebooks to write down and remember whatever beautiful memories, ideas and thoughts I have. They also make for great presents to others. I gave one of the diaries to someone who was not a stationery fan and used to only digital planning but who appreciated the diary so much that he feels he cannot work without it anymore.