Paper & Notebooks

Hobonichi Techo 2023

New arrival from Japan: my wife’s day-free Techo and my One Piece Techo (I missed out on the One Piece pre-order, so so could only order it on 1st October). The parcel took less than two weeks to arrive.

His Majesty’s Revenue and Customs must be pretty busy. Since Brexit many parcels I receive are not getting checked, so for this year’s Techo I was not asked to pay any fees.

Nespresso notebook and pen

Let’s start with this sentence: I don’t drink coffee but like the smell of coffee.

I obviously also like stationery and since last week I have some stationery that smells like coffee… A notebook and pen from Nespresso, made from coffee grounds.

Knives and pens, the posh ones

Nespresso has had cooperations with two other Swiss companies, linked to the recycling of their coffee capsules: Victorinox released Swiss Army Knives with scales made from the recycled aluminium from their coffee capsules and Caran d’Ache released the 849 ballpoint pen, also made from the recycled aluminium from their coffee capsules.

There were also cooperations with non-Swiss companies, like the one with Mikov in the Czech Republic. Their Nespresso knife is similarly priced to the Victorinox version. As far as I know, it is only available in the Czech Republic. In contrast, the Victorinox cooperation was available in many countries, but seems to have come to an end or is on hold after having run from 2016 to 2019.

Mikov left, Victorinox right (Images © Nespresso)

Recycled aluminium is common. Wikipedia has a reference from the Economist stating that recycling scrap aluminium requires only 5% of the energy compared to making new aluminium from raw ore and a reference from the US Geological Survey stating that approximately 36% of all aluminium produced in the United States comes from old recycled scrap.

When I came across the Nespresso 849 I was first sceptical of Caran d’Ache’s claim that the Nespresso 849 is actually made from recycled Nespresso capsules.
Why? Someone at Caran d’Ache, maybe the marketing department, has in the past been rather economical with facts. Best example: their Les Crayons de la Maison Caran d’Ache pencils. They now spell out that these are wood pencils reconstituted from poplar and abachi, but in the past their marketing material gave the impression that these pencils are made from exotic wood.
I am relieved that their Nespresso 849 has the text Made with recycled Nespresso capsules written in big, friendly letter on the side of the pencil. This explicitness gives me some reassurance that there is no misunderstanding and that the aluminium in the pen body contains recycled coffee capsules. I wonder whether all 849s are made with a small proportion of recycled Nespresso capsules or whether the Nespresso 849 is made from a completely different batch of aluminium. It seems easier to just mix some recycled capsules into all the scrap aluminium used to produce the new aluminium.

Caran d’Ache’s Nespresso Swiss Wood pencils seem even more exotic: The lead contains 25% coffee grounds. I’d love to see if that makes a difference in terms of erasability and writing experience. They also have metallic ‘colour capsules’ at the end. The first impression seems to be that these are made from recycled Nespresso capsules, but in their video, see below, you can see that the end is actually just paint.

Notebook and pen, the cheap (free) ones

Let’s close in on the main stars of this blog post: the notebook and pen currently being offered as a free gift to (some) Nespresso customers who place an order in the UK and some other markets. As is increasingly common in recent years, loyal customers get a worse deal: as far as I can tell this offer of a free notebook and pen with an order is by invitation only and the more Nespresso wants to bring you back into the fold the better the deal you get. I have seen similar offers from online grocery stores (Ocado) and from music streaming services (Spotify). From what I can tell the best deal offered by Nespresso to get this notebook and pen ‘for free’ was with an order of 5 strips (5*10 capsules). This includes free shipping. If you get this good 5 strips deal you spend around £20 and get the notebook and pen plus 50 capsules, i.e. enough for 50 cups of coffee.

In some areas you don’t need to rely on having been offered the deal as you can also buy the notebook on its own for €18.

The notebook contains 100% recycled paper and the cover contains the equivalent of 2 cups of coffee grounds waste.

The first thing you notice when you open the cardboard box the notebook and pen come in is the strong coffee smell. I am not sure whether this strong and nice coffee odour is purely down to the coffee grounds used to produce the notebook (and maybe the pen) or whether the items have been ‘perfumed’ to smell like coffee or to increase the existing smell.

You can see the pattern of the plastic-like cover on the left

The notebook is made in the Netherlands and has a thick plastic-like board at the front and back. I assume it is some sort of composite material made form plastic and coffee grounds, similar to the Staedtler Wopex made from wood and plastic or the Kupilka (50% pine and 50% thermoplastic). The patterns on the notebook cover do remind me of the ones found on the Kupilka.

Kupilka and Wopex. Click on the photo for a link to the blog post.

The paper used is nice, but is not fountain pen friendly. It is however suitable for gel pens.

The pen has a similar look to the notebook cover, so I assume it is also made from coffee grounds, but I haven’t seen any official description from Nespresso that confirms this. The clip of the pen looks similar to the clip found on the Lamy Noto. I did not find any markings on the pen or refill, so am not sure who made it or which country it is from. I also did not see any markings on the black ballpoint refill it came with.

Top: Nespresso, Bottom: Lamy Noto – unfortunately the similarity of the clips is not easy to see on a two-dimensional photo, especially not on this one.

If it contains coffee grounds it is not the first pen available with coffee inside. A few years ago Shangching sent me the Fabula pencil, which also contains coffee.


A nice looking notebook and pen. I wish the paper was fountain pen friendly and both items were more easily available. If you can get your hands on them with a good offer then I’d certainly go for it.

Writing sample on the recycled paper. You can see that the paper sucks ink in. the EF in the last line should have been very thin.

The ballpoint pen looks nice, so I might look into putting a gel refill into it. That would make me use it more.

The ink is bleeding through the paper

You can buy the Nespresso 849 in the Gentleman Stationer shop.

Prices: July 2021

The images of the knives have been taken from the Nespresso web site. I believe that the use of these images falls under “fair dealing” as described by the UK Copyright service.

How to Get Started with Bullet Journaling

Today: a guest blog post by Majo Meneses about getting started with bullet journaling.

Bullet journals are increasingly prevalent. If you’ve heard of people who use bullet journals to map out their lives, you’re probably curious about how to begin. It’s very simple. A bullet journal can be used for a variety of personal purposes, such as tracking your tasks, priorities, upcoming events or even the books you’re reading. Journaling can also serve as a way to deal with mental health illnesses and other health-related issues. To get started, here is all the information you’ll need to guide you through the whole process of creating your own bullet journal.

What Is a Bullet Journal?

Bullet journaling is a list-making, recording, and planning system with infinite possibilities for customizations. Though there are several options for bullet journals, many bullet journalists choose dot grid journals. These tiny dots provide structure while promoting freeform drawing and versatility. Bullet journaling has increased in popularity since its introduction in 2013, and social media websites like Pinterest and Instagram are places where people can showcase their impressive artwork.

Benefits of Keeping a Bullet Journal

The popularity of bullet journaling comes from its effectiveness. The method is easy to use and open to all – you don’t even need a graph paper notebook to get started. Bullet journaling may be done in a notebook, on loose sheets of paper, or with a collection of rainbow-coloured jelly pens. Get rid of all the planners you’ve never used and learn how bullet journaling can improve your life.

Easily customizable

Bullet journaling’s easily flexible style is one of its most appealing features. You can write down everything in your bullet journal instead of purchasing a different journal for your everyday logs, or a school calendar, or downloading a budget app, and scribbling grocery lists on pieces of paper. To match your own aesthetic, use stickers, washi tape, and bright pens.

Allows organization

Disorganization is no longer a problem for those who keep a bullet journal. To keep your life on track, create hourly, daily, weekly, and monthly pages, colour-code activities, make to-do lists, and jot down the book review you don’t want to miss –– all in one place.

Encourages productivity

There’s nothing like taking anything off your to-do list to make you feel accomplished. When you see the things you need to do in front of you, it motivates you to do them so you can move on to the next big thing. When you look back on what you accomplished during the week, you get a sense of satisfaction that is priceless.

Ideal for keeping lists

Who doesn’t like having a complete, organized to-do list? Simply open your bullet journal to a blank page and begin jotting down movies to watch, your favourite quotes, plants to plant in next year’s garden, and places to visit. Relevant information such as passwords, birthdays, and contact numbers should not be forgotten in case your phone fails.

Helps tracking long-term goals

Consider all of your long-term objectives and write them down in your bullet journal. Bullet journals make habit monitoring simple: create a calendar that lasts anything from a month to a year, and cross off each day that you complete a new habit. You can evaluate your performance at the end of your time span.

Enhances creativity

Bullet journaling promotes creativity in a way that other types of journaling do not. Create a customized template to celebrate each new month, play with calligraphy, or draw a mood storyboard.  You’ll be shocked by how much fun you can have while creating your bullet journal, even if you don’t think of yourself as the creative type.

Key Supplies

Are you ready to begin your bullet journal journey? Setting yourself up for success is incredibly easy. All you need are a few basic items and you’ll be able to build the life of your dreams.


Quality paper, a faint dot grid, a durable front cover, and a back pocket for documents, receipts, and stickers are all features of the perfect bullet journal. Some papers often have bookmarks, which can be used to keep track of where you left off.


Choose your writing instruments. Bullet journal enthusiasts prefer fineliners, fountain pens, gel pens, brush pens, and highlighters. If you’re just getting started, start with a black pen, a few coloured pens, and a highlighter to see how they work.


A ruler is useful for making straight lines and calendars. Since you can see where you’re drawing with see-through rulers, they’re a great option. For quick access, look for a ruler that fits into the pocket of your bullet book.


Stencils are essential for maintaining a neat and symmetrical appearance in your bullet journal. There are numerous options available, ranging from circular habit trackers to uniform squares for creating regular and monthly calendars.

Washi Tape

One of bullet journalists’ favourite items is washi tape. These delightful rolls of tape come in an endless variety of colours, sizes, and patterns, making it easy to switch up the look of your journal. To keep your tape rolls sorted, consider investing in a wash tape dispenser.


Stickers aren’t just for children, after all. Bullet journaling is taken to a new level with the addition of stickers. Decorate your pages with fun stickers to help you remember important dates and events while remaining efficient.

Sticky notes

Plans shift, and writing something down in ink can feel a bit too permanent at times. Here is where a sticky note comes in handy. Write down any potential dates or tentative plans on a sticky note and add it in your journal.


It gets tedious to write and draw the same layout over and over again, so invest in some stamps to make creating regular and monthly spreads quicker and easier. They come in a variety of shapes, making it easy to personalize your bullet journal.

Pencil Case

You’ll be shocked by how quickly your array of pens and markers grows once you start buying them for your bullet journal. Consider buying a pencil case to keep all of your pens organized and accessible.


Watercolors are the perfect finishing touch to your lovely bullet journal. Portable watercolor sets make it easy to keep up with your regular sketch goals or add accents to calendars and lists when on the go.

Choosing the Layout for Your Bullet Journal

You can choose the types of spreads you want to use. What exactly do you want to capture? What do you want people to remember about you? Do you want to keep track of your accomplishments? Do you want to make a gratitude spread to help you be happier in your life? The bullet journal’s layout is built around these simple pages. Follow them, and you’ll be surprised at how much more productive you’ll be!


The index should be placed at the very beginning of your bullet journal. You’ll have page numbers for all of your important documents, such as monthly calendars and sets, so you can quickly find what you need.

Future Log

Tasks, activities, goals, and appointments for the coming months are included in the future log. This is where you’ll keep track of long-term goals and goals that you want to accomplish.

Monthly Spread

The monthly spread includes a calendar and a job page to keep you organized for the month ahead. Begin planning the next month at the end of the current one, and keep track of any important dates in the future log.

Weekly Spread

Weekly spreads aren’t included in the original scheme, but they’re useful for organizing your week ahead. This is where you keep track of your appointments, deadlines, and goals. Weekly spreads are often used instead of monthly or regular spreads. Choose what works best for you!

Daily Spread

The daily spread is intended for use on a daily basis. Write the date as your subject at the top of your list, and then write down activities, events, and notes as they arise during the day.


Collections are a catch-all category for everything you want to put in your bullet journal that doesn’t fit into the other categories. You can use your journal to keep track of projects, priorities, brainstorming sessions, and lists.

Write away!

Bullet journaling is meant to be a convenient and enjoyable way to keep track of your day and get organized. Additionally, it becomes a fun, creative hobby, even if it may seem a bit too much to handle at the beginning. At the end of the day, it’s about you. So, look at your mistakes as opportunities to learn, be imaginative, and have some fun creating it. Your bullet journal can be whatever you want it to be.

Paper paper everywhere

[An earlier version of this blog post was written on my phone in a rush and contained many mistakes. The number of mistakes has hopefully gone done after revision. See revised blog post below.]

After the paper computer [1]I used to use this paper computer with my students for a few years, but stopped using it because I wasn’t able to get a clear answer regarding copyright issues from the people who created it. and the paper watch there’s now a paper phone.

The idea of using paper instead of technology isn’t really new to stationery enthusiasts: This time it is Google’s turn to feature the idea of replacing tech with paper and this has been reported by many newspapers and news websites.

The paper phone kind of reminds me of IBM’s ‘Think Pad’.


1 I used to use this paper computer with my students for a few years, but stopped using it because I wasn’t able to get a clear answer regarding copyright issues from the people who created it.