Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Punkt Alarm Clock!

Attention Fans of Design: Even though you probably don't appreciate being woken up in the morning, you'll appreciate the Punkt Alarm Clock! It nails all of those goals that most designers aspire to - simplicity, functionality, cleanliness and utility. The way it works, feels and looks, my my...snooze has never been so satisfying.

Monday, January 30, 2012

Ask Alice Parcel Wrapping Kit!

Even though we do hundreds of them per day, I still find wrapping parcels to be kind of fun. You can get into a nice, almost cathartic, groove with a small pat on the back as the seal is made on each satchel. Melbourne stationery lovers Ask Alice have taken fun with parcels to a whole new level with these super cute Parcel Wrapping Kits. Oh, to be able to use one of these for each order!

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Rhodia R Pads - Wow!

We've been guilty of enthusiasm for paper, notebooks and stationery in general, really, before. In fact, we would have a ridiculously long 'rap sheet' of such malfeasance. Indeed, where paper-related gusto is concerned, we are self-confessed tragics, absolutely beyond reform.

So when something like the Rhodia R Pad comes along, something which, despite all the thousands and thousands of sheets of paper we've thumbed through, still makes the heart skip a beat just to touch, we know it's really really special.

And i don't just mean the first time we got our hands on these R Pads, i mean every time. Every page, a state of permanent smitten-ness. I mean if you like to write, if you like to guide a pen deftly over paper, leaving those unmistakeable tracks of your hand, as individual as your fingerprint, you have to try this.

The covers are just as nice, well nearly just as nice, and are made of a matte coated stock which definitely does the premium paper beneath justice. Overall, there is a sense of self-awareness which i would almost find smug if it weren't so absolutely warranted. As notepads go (distinct from notebooks or journals) this is so clearly ahead of the rest, and by such a margin, that nobody could hesitate to call it the best writing pad in the world.

Technically, we could probably talk about why this paper is so amazing but really, all you'll need to know is immediately and very plainly stated within writing two words on a Rhodia R Pad. Try it out, for a deep and visceral understanding of world class, world leading, world beating paper.

New Arrival: Back to Paper!

Life is Hectic. Paper is Patient! This is the very clever motto of our latest New Arrival, Back to Paper. Now we deal with a lot of paper here at NoteMaker and as much as i love the Back to Paper motto, I can't say that i agree 100% of the time. Sometimes, paper isn't patient at all!

Sometimes you have a Behance Action Pad telling you to 'do this, do it now, right now!' or there is the extremely cute, though surely importunate, MMMG Collage Book. You could write a Zen Koan on that thing and i still don't think it would be relaxing.

So this is that old chestnut 'context' coming to the fore. Sometimes, you want to be whipped into action or sometimes you want the proverbial enthusiasm of a puppy making you do this or that. But of course, paper can be extremely patient, extremely deferent and simultaneously trustworthy.

Back to Paper is made by Brepols in Belgium. Brepols' history dates back to 1796 and the company does everything, from design to manufacture, in Belgium. There is a deep understanding of the paper format, a mindset that reveals respect for the stability and calm that paper represents.

The mood that Back to Paper creates is one of trust. Put it down on paper and you can relax. There is something fatherly about them, the sensible black cover, the organised approach to things (i wouldn't have thought to number the pages and include tabs and stickers to organise stuff), the no frills utility.

The blue ruling is also nice. It's set on fairly warm ivory paper, i mean it looks great, but i think this is an extension of that parental mood. It's a hand on your shoulder saying i'm here for you but this is important so you better do your best!

You can rely on Back to Paper to be your ally. I mean, not all paper is patient, but then again not every Herbie Hancock record is relaxing either (have you heard Rock It?). But as far as notebooks go, Back to Paper is your 'Maiden Voyage' - calming, grown up, readily identifiable as its own thing and just straight enjoyable. The kind of thing you can trust!

Friday, January 20, 2012

New Pens! Retro 51 Tornado

Colour Range - Retro 51 Tornado

We'll start by getting the puns out of the way. Yes, these are good enough to take the world by storm, blow you off your feet and leave you in a spin! The Retro 51 Tornado is greatly underrated and a really awesome pen. And it's in fun new colours!


There is some levity to these Tornado pens - the colours, the names (Huckleberry being a personal favourite and Submarine a much appreciated homage), the Jetsons-esque tube they come in. But don't be fooled, this is a serious pen and it is seriously good.


The barrel is matte coated metal. It feels nice and is relatively heavy and thick. Overall, it imparts a feeling of substance in your hand. The twist action to retract the tip is equally nice so the impression you get from taking this pen in your hand to write is that it's going to be nice.

Submarine in its cute little pouch

But even that may not prepare you for just how nice it is. The business end of a ballpoint or rollerball is the refill really. There is more to it than that, but if you can alter one variable in a ballpoint or rollerball to improve the writing experience, you should go straight to the refill.


The Retro 51 Tornado uses the amazing Schmidt EasyFlow 9000 refill. This is made in Germany and won all sorts of awards when it was released. It is so super smooth and vivid that it is ridiculous.


But here's the best part - the EasyFlow dries instantly. You can use this pen wherever you could use a ballpoint and there is no chance of any smudging. A nice lively, bold black line which stays just the way you wrote it.


Take our word here - the Retro 51 is seriously underrated and seriously great value. If you like smooth, fast writing, with a little bit of feedback and a nice bold line, then the Retro 51 is for you. It's your Huckleberry!

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Our Favourite Travel Destinations - Part 2 Europe

We continue our Favourite Travel Destinations this week with Europe! A huge continent with some of the most amazing, eclectic and historical cities in the world.... it was hard to choose just a handful. But here are our picks.....

The London Eye at night via Flickr

London - there are many ways to experience this British capital - while the tube is fast and efficient, London really is a walkers paradise. While bustling with people, business, some of world's best shopping and pubs galore, London is also home to the Thames River, Hyde Park and commons, gardens, and ancient cemeteries to explore with this Untamed London guide.

Urban Nomad Tip - hire a bike and travel along the Thames as you journey from the heart of the city near the London Eye all the way out to the woodlands and meadows that sit alongside this famous waterway.

Don't leave home without - Herb Lester Untamed London Map and a good exchange rate for your GBP!

Herb Lester Untamed London Map

Barcelona - this Spanish urban city is not the capital but is arguably the capital of culture and soul to the Catalonian people and those who visit. The home of Antoni Gaudi's architectural masterpieces as well as the food markets, paella, sangria and Las Ramblas make Barcelona an top on our list of recommended destinations.

Urban Nomad Tip - grab a map and explore Barcelona on foot to experience Gaudi's Casa Batllo, Sagrada Familia and Parc de la Ciutadella in all their glory.

Don't leave home without - Wallpaper City Guide Barcelona and some Urbanears Bagis Headphones in Raspberry

Gaudi's Casa Batllo via Flickr
Wallpaper City Guide Barcelona

Venice - arguably the romantic capital of Italy; if not the world, hop on the train into Venice and you will be in a daze as you step out into an ancient water world. The famous canals are best explored on a gondola as you meander at walking pace along the waterways under the guidance of your Italian guide...cruise under centuries old bridges and past homes and palaces being lapped by the waves of history.

Urban Nomad Tip - hope on a ferry to visit the island of Murano, the home of the famous Italian Murano glassware.

Don't leave home without - Moleskine City Notebook Venice and the love of your life! *we're closet romantics*

The island of Murano off Venice via Flickr
Moleskine City Notebook Venice

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Our Favourite Travel Destinations - Part 1 The Americas

Aggh Summer.... long days, cool drinks and time to dream or head away to explore new destinations! This summer some of us here at NoteMaker headed away locally and enjoyed the heat, while some of us escaped to the cool of the Northern Hemisphere...... the rest of us back in the office were busy dreaming and planning our next adventures! And of course we are always reminiscing about our favourite destinations around the world.....
Read on for the first in a 3 part series on NoteMaker staff picks of our favourite travel destinations. We have also included our Urban Nomad tips and top travel products for your next travel journey near or far.
Where is next on your list to travel to?

Herb Lester Hello Chicago Map

Chicago - the big industrial city of Chicago is one we would recommend despite it not always being top of a USA travel itinerary. Chicago is more than hardworking gritty metroplois, it is rather a welcoming urban oasis - those mid-westerners are the friendliest about. Along with some of North America's greatest architecture (many of Frank Lloyd Wrights work are in Chicago), sitting along the beautiful backdrop of Lake Michigan.

Urban Nomad Tip - take the architecture boat tour and experience modernist architecture that was and still is ahead of it's time.

Don't leave home without - Herb Lester Hello Chicago Map and a pair of Urban Ears Plattan Tomato Headphones

Chicago Streets
Urban Ears Plattan Tomato Headphones

Toronto - Canada, home of Niagara falls, the Mounties and ice hockey and Toronto is your gateway to the biggest of the 3 - the amazing Niagara Falls! While visiting Toronto however don't forget that this city is made for exploring - particularly on two wheels. Hire a bike and explore museums, art galleries and the Toronto islands.

Urban Nomad Tip - Take a step in the right direction and head to the Stairs of Wonder at the Royal Ontario Museum.

Don't leave home without - Moleskine City Notebook Toronto
Niagara Falls
Moleskine City Notebook Toronto

New York - the city that never sleeps will never disappoint and all of us in here at NoteMaker agree - while every experience in NYC is different we have never been let down by the culture, shopping, history and that true New Yorker spirit! With a history that dates back to the days of horse and carriage, to the influx of immigrants and the journey to become the financial capital of the world New York City has a rich tapestry to explore and neighbourhoods as rich as a wall street banker!

Urban Nomad Tip - Stationery lovers don't miss out on a trip to Greenwich Letter Press and Top Hat. Once you have your stationery fix a walk over the Brooklyn bridge is not to be missed - the view back to Manhattan island is amazing at dusk.

Don't leave home without - Herb Lester Where the sidewalk ends New York Map
Brooklyn Bridge at night

Herb Lester Where the sidewalk ends New York Map

Mexico City - sombreros, tequila and tacos Mexico is ready to be enjoyed and not for the faint hearted. The capital city founded by the Aztecs is rich in history, art and culture and the downtown area has been declared by UNESCO as a significant part of Mexico's history and a joy to explore.

Urban Nomad Tip - Mexico City is the birthplace of Frida Kahlo and the museum in her honour and in her childhood home features amazing art, personal objects and touches of her personality.

Don't leave home without - Wallpaper City Guide Mexico City

A Little Deer - Frida Kahlo

Wallpaper City Guide Mexico City

Stay tuned for Part 2 - Europe next week..... What are your urban nomad travel essentials?