Life, Jim. but not as we know it.

by Scribble Monboddo

Here in the blogospherical area of the Nero's Notes site we try not to biff you over the head with the same product from several reviewers all at the same time, because variety is the spice of life and all that, but on this occasion we have failed - for all the best possible reasons. The Life notebooks are, frankly, just too good to ignore. Seriously, you probably already want one after reading Amanda's piece about cunning ways to use the layout, and I can only echo that recommendation really, but I'm going to tell you something more about it anyway - because it's terrific.

I'd better justify that accolade with a bit of detail, really. Luckily, there's plenty of it. Firstly, there's that splendidly retro cover art, which could have been rendered almost any time in the last hundred years (the bar-code, sensibly, is tucked away on the back).

Then there's the binding, which is cleverly considered and neatly executed; essentially four sewn exercise books combined, so it folds out flat enough to write properly on every page (and is unlikely to fall apart in a hurry either). It makes for a generously large notebook with plenty of acreage to write on; decent value for £15, it has to be said.

The pages are printed with well-spaced lines and a few inconspicuous dots which, as Amanda points out, are rather handy for executing a vertical line when a table is called for. There are plain and grid/graph versions available too, but for writers I'd say the light blue cover is the one to go for.

But what really does it for me is the paper, which is amazingly good. Japanese paper excellence goes beyond Tomoe River, and I honestly rate this as better; writing on it with a fountain pen is a joy, and it can take the punishment.

Like the best fountain-pen-friendly paper, the cream paper used by Life also passes the specialist test of being just sufficiently inabsorbent for surface sheen to to be revealed, as the shot of Organics Studio Nitrogen above hopefully illustrates. Now, of course, you definitely want some of this, don't you? Well you're not alone, you know...