Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Temptation Tuesday - Moleskine Notebooks

Today Fiona Harper delves into the dark and murky world of her stationery obsession and tells us about an item that has become a must-have for her in recent months…

My name is Fiona Harper and I am a stationery addict.

Phew. I’ve said it. That makes me feel soooo much better. And I bet I’m not the only PHS member who gets a fluttery feeling inside every time she sees a shop display of pens, pads or coloured paper. There’s just something very exciting about all the possibilities that a brand new notebook presents, or the feel of a brand new pen gliding across the page. In the last year I have become addicted to a product that has just served to fuel my obsession. Come with me to the dark place… Go on. You know you want to.

My current stationery love (but beware, I can be very fickle if a new product and better product comes along) is my Moleskine notebooks. Not moleskin, the heavy cotton fabric with a short soft pile that farmers wear, but Moleskine. In the age of digital everythings, I have been seduced by a little black notebook with an elasticated strap. When you buy a new one, you get a lovely little leaflet inside, telling you this is the same kind of notebook used by Hemmingway, Picasso and Van Gogh for their artistic endeavours. With such a heritage of Moleskine users behind me, how can I fail to get inspired?

While it’s true that these artists and writers used a similar style of book, not this actual brand, I am totally prepared to be suckered in and believe every word. The little black book has bewitched me.

They come in various sizes, and can be lined, squared, plain. There are versions for watercolour artists and musicians, diaries, adress books, city guides that can become your own guide book as you fill them in on your exotic travels. My purse gets lighter just thinking about them. Anyway, before I get too carried away, let me tell you why I love them. In simple terms:

  • Even the large notebook (around A5 size at 13 x 21 cm) is compact enough to fit into most of my handbags. And when that’s too big to squeeze into my tiniest bags, I have my pocket Moleskine (9 x 14 cm).
  • The elastic band stops my pages being crushed and crumpled. I am a stationery purist. Cannot stand to abuse my notebooks – it’s almost as bad as having my felt-tip pens out of rainbow colour order!
  • It has a lovely little pocket at the back to keep index cards or other scraps of info.
  • It doesn’t try to close shut when I open it and lay it flat on a table. I have another notebook that does this and it drives me crazy. I get cramp in my fingers trying to press it open while I scribble…

I like the squared variety, rather than the lined ones. Somehow, I feel freer to scribble, draw charts and diagrams, even to doodle, on squared paper. I have quite small writing and the line spacing is comfortable and I can fit more words on each page - which for some unknown reason makes me feel more virtuous about my climbing word count.

My favourite place to work is now not my titchy little desk in my bedroom, but any place I can take my Moleskine. I am almost on first-name terms with the staff of a local coffee house. I love ti sit at one of their tables with a pen, my notebook and a giant skinny latte. There's something very romantic and writer-like about working in a cafe, creating imaginary worlds and hearing conversations as people around me scoff their muffins and slurp their drinks.

I’m not the only one who’s nuts about these little books. There’s a blog called Molskinerie for Moleskine addicts, a myspace page, a facebook group, a flickr group…Have I got it bad if I'm seriously considering joining at least one of these? There's something wonderfully warming about knowing that my little notebook is snuggled down in my bag, waiting for the next flash of inspiration...or moment of madness.

Look out for Fiona's latest release, Saying Yes To The Millionaire - the Summer Bride in the Bride For All Seasons series. To learn more about all the blushing brides in the series, visit our Bride For All Seasons blog!

When cautious Fern Chambers is challenged by a friend to say yes to every question, she never expects to spend four days with dreamy Josh Adams in a charity treasure hunt!

Saying Yes To The Millionaire is available online at eHarlequin and Amazon. Trish Wylie's Autumn Bride book, The Millionaire's Proposal is available now! See the blog for details...


  1. Oh, I'm so excited for back to school because all the supplies are on sale. I've picked up as much for myself as for the boys. I love folders, and notebooks, and pens. Oh! Pens....

  2. Oh brilliant another Moleskine addict. I adore mine. My mother got mey addiction started after she came back from Italy several years ago. This was when the new company was just starting...

    I have several. I like the large lined one for most of my writing away. I have a small one that lives in my pruse, just in case.
    I have a reporter style one where I do my AAs and keep other general reference material.
    I do agree that having the book keep open is good, as is not having the pages fall apart.

    The paper is acid free which means it can be archived so I can indulge in my pack rat tendencies.

  3. Fiona, you witch. Now I've got to go out and buy one of these things because I'd never even heard of them.

    The idea of a notebook that lies flat absolutely did it for me but I also love the image of you sitting in your local coffee shop and jotting down your latest novel... Of course, my local coffee shop is full of yobby school kids most of the time (some of them my own) so that might not be a goer, and my handwriting's all but illegible (even to me) but still... It sounds so romantic.

  4. Fiona,
    Stationery - yes! I know exactly what you mean. I usually write first drafts on scrappy lined A4 paper with a black biro. There's something very freeing about using cheap stationery, but then I am from Yorkshire! If I bought a posh notebook, I would feel my hand-writing had to be neat, and it simply isn't. Never will be. Which brings me to my question - is that your writing in the picture? How on EARTH do you have such neat writing?! Another of the joys of writing by hand is that usually no-one but me can read it. Which, when it comes to early drafts, is a Good Thing.
    Best wishes

  5. I love notebooks, but can't bear to write in the beautiful ones and spoil them. I've had one for years. But I've seen Moleskine and I lust...

    And the summer Brides for All Season. Another object of desire...

  6. I should say that I only started using my Moleskine because my mother said that she would far rather I lost the book, or that it became stained etc than for it to remain in cupboard unloved. Her gifts were meant to be used. My dh then said the same thing about the Montblanc pen he had given me and faced with that, I began to use the gifts.
    They are brilliant to write in.

  7. Just back from France and I have to hold my hand up and say 'I'm a Moleskine user too'. Small pocket at the back is VERY useful for 'receipts for the tax man'. That alone, I say, makes it an 'essential business purchase'.

    One thing though, Fi, how the ... HECK do your writing so tidy? Am I the only person whose writing hand changes depending on how tired I am/speed of writing/mood on the day/line space available ....???????? I'm never going to be able to show you mine.

  8. Glad to find I'm not alone in my love of Moleskines! And, yes, that is my handwriting. Blame it on going to a primary school where the rather fierce headmistress insisted on handwriting lessons every week and was unfailingly strict about presentation.

    I had to get over the whole can't-use-my-notebook-it's-too-nice thing. I like what Michelle said. A notebook does need to be used to be loved. And, boy, do I love mine!