Inkdrops ACE Box, April 2014

I’ve mentioned Inkdrops before on my personal blog, MagicKittenBlogs*, but I’ve just received my new ACE Box for April, and I had to share it with you…

In case you don’t know, Inkdrops is a website offering a through-the-post stationery subscription service, similar to the huge variety of beauty, food and knickknack subscriptions now available. As far as I know, though, this is the only one of its kind. Anastasia and Carla select beautiful cards, notelets, postcards, stickers, sticky notes, pens and pencils from all over the world and create monthly ACE Boxes, as well as themed boxes that you can buy as a one-off. You can find out more about them here, and take a look at their shop here. I first subscribed to Inkdrops’ ACE Box in August last year and I’ve never been disappointed yet!

Here’s this month’s special delivery:

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Five lovely treats this month – a set of Korean gift tags, following the trend of featuring European travel destinations, a great nautical postcard, two very spring-like greetings cards, one with rabbits, one with a violet, and a brilliant sticky-note/memo set, made by Oohlala, also a Korean company.

Korean stationery, at the moment, is the new Japan when it comes to cute, quirky stationery with clever twists and designs. It’s a little less cutesy than the Japanese kawaii trend, with more emphasis on designs based on animals and European capitals like Paris, Vienna and London, or fun retro ideas like this camper van sticky note set. Believe me, I’ve got plenty of Korean stationery coming your way. There are many online UK-based shops offering a variety of brands – Inkdrops ACE Boxes often feature them – but is a Korean site with an easy-to-navigate English-language website if you want to research further. Prices are very reasonable, including shipping costs. I’ve just checked and they do feature more Oohlala products!

I’m so pleased with April’s ACE Box. As always, there are some beautiful things here to help me keep in touch with friends and keep track of all my ideas on quirky sticky notes.

What’s your favourite product from this month’s ACE Box? Do you subscribe to another stationery box? Let me know!


Simon’s Stationery of the Week #1

I thought I would do a weekly post of the latest, or simply currently greatest, notebook or other piece of random stationery each week. This idea definitely didn’t come to me when I saw a notebook that I wanted to buy today. No, no, no. Not at all. Oh okay, I can’t lie it did. This doesn’t mean that I always have to buy something new every week, it might be a gift, or simply one of the items I have bought and not yet used. Mind you that implies I am going to use them, which doesn’t always happen.

Enough waffle, what on earth was the item that inspired this feature and simply made me have to buy it? Well, it was this…

Manchester Central Library Notebook

A notebook in the shop of the all new and sparkly refurbished Central Library in Manchester which I went and  visited today. I saw this, with its bookplate patterned cover and (as some of you will already know) being a big fan of books and libraries I simply couldn’t resist, even at a £7.50 price tag.

You know how I mentioned the fact that I used to go to stately homes and museums and the like and get a few nik-naks but no notepad, it seemed that the lack of notepad from times past struck a chord and so I shunned the pens, badges and other assortments (oddly no bookmarks as I would have got one of those) and grabbed it.

What will I do with it? Erm, leave me to think on that one. Right now it just looks lovely… and pristine… errr, let’s move swiftly on…

Hello, My Name is Simon & I am Addicted to Stationery!

There are some obsessions from childhood that as an adult, who should know better, stick with you and in some cases worsen and become more and more consuming. I have three such obsessions/addictions. Books, Jelly Belly and stationery – and I want lots of all of them, much to the ill health of my bank account. There is that not-so-subconcious part of my brain that says ‘you’re an adult now, so you can indulge’ and so I do, and have done to quite an extent.


Some of Simon’s Stationery

Before you think ‘what a grown up spoilt brat’, I was not from a family who could afford to buy anything I wanted at the drop of a hat. I was allowed a new pencil case, and its contents, every September in time for the new school year. Even when Amy Bennett (yes, the name is etched on my brain – I wonder what happened to her) cut the zip on my favourite spider pencil case in a science lesson in Year 7 I had to wait several weeks to get a new replacement and in the end had to make do with an old one.  Something I still clearly have yet to get over the rage of. Yet it was before school, and the annual trip to Woolies or WHSmith, which invariably involved my mother tutting at the inordinate amount of time choosing took, that my hoarding of stationery started. Oddly it’s all the fault of stately homes and in the main the National Trust.

As a child while my mother was spending the summers studying at university (sounds odd and might mess with your head, so don’t think about it too much) I would go and spend the holidays with my Grandparents. This roughly involved going to a stately home almost every weekend, alas despite my begging it wasn’t Hardwick Hall every time. On these jaunts out my Gran would have her head in a guide book almost knocking into the items she was reading about, my Granddad (or Bongy as I called him) as a painter would be interested in all the artwork. I was interested in three things, the servants quarters in the spooky attics, the four poster beds (I still want to own one one day) and the gift shop.

I was allowed, as a memento of the day, to spend £1 in each stately-home/castle/cathedral/museum that we went to. Before you start thinking my Grandparents were tight this was back in the mid 1980’s and £1 went far, roughly to a pencil, bookmark, rubber/eraser and if you were really lucky there might still be room for a badge/themed chocolate coin. I know this, as very soon I had about 10/12 of these sets within the space of a year.

What always eluded me though was notepads, I was from a family that were allowed to draw or write on the back (clean side) of Kent County Council headed paper, somehow acquired – we never asked how – by my Great Uncle Derrick, or on the back of the questionnaires my Gran drove around the area asking people on behalf of the government. You were probably looking at £1.25 for a simple, yet appropriately endorsed, journalists jotter or stapled tiny notepad that would have fallen apart on the way home – if you had been lucky enough to get one.

The illusive nature of the notepad stuck with me in school. ‘Have you lost your new exercise book again Simon… honestly, I only gave you a new one the other day!’ In actuality it was probably the day before and that notepad was now squirreled away in the big blue trunk at the end of my bed to write stories in or to just be left pristine because that is how special a notebook was, we still had reams of Kent County Council paper after all.

In adult life this acquiring carried on, only invariably through my employers. Oh dear. Note: Before I move forward let me just say I now work for the council and any chance of getting a new notepad is as likely as a pig flying through the office, I think you have to get a sign off (possibly in blood) from two managers before you can have a pen – you think I am joking don’t you? Stationery cupboards were not safe and at one particular company, where I was an office manager, nor was the stationery catalogue. I shall say no more. Temping also proved amazing in London as every company you went to, you needed a new notepad, yet you could easily pop some scrap paper in said notebook leaving it pristine when you had left even if that was only a day/week later. Is that bad? Should I feel terrible? On the wages I was on I think not.

Now as a proper grown up (which I begrudgingly agreed I should be after 30 years of age) the addiction is just to buy it when I can. Only last week on a lunch break Sam, Chloe and Katie moaned ‘not bloody Paperchase again Simon, you went in last week’ – they don’t understand. This morning, this is no lie see the @WeScribbleIt twitter feed, I constructed ‘going out for breakfast’ to somewhere near Staples. I also do this with bookshops.

Do I write on these purchases? Not all of them, are you mad? I intend to… at some point, mainly though 70% are waiting for just the right reason to be used. Their time will come. Oh, and in case you were wondering, yes I do still get a pen, a rubber/eraser and a bookmark when I go to a stately home/museum/castle and if I am feeling really lavish I might even buy myself a desk jotter!!!!!