Wednesday, 19 October 2016

Guilty pleasure no 1: Stationery

I've come to recognise and accept that I have a certain number of weaknesses when it comes to items for our home (hey, nobody's perfect).  Some things I admit I do actively collect; some things I just seem to have an awful lot of.

This particular guilty pleasure has been with me a very long time.  I have discussed it with a good number of my friends and many have confessed that they too suffer from the same affliction.  Thank goodness it's not just me!

Confession - I have a terrible weakness for stationery.

My favourite tin (at the moment); it came from Home Bargains I think.
The book stand has been in our family for as long as I can remember; a proper 1960s or 1970s design, melamine.
I treasure it.

Various gorgeous notebooks.  The fox and bird design pads came from The Works and cost 99p each;
the floral design ones came as a two-pack from Home Bargains and I think they cost 99p in total. 

By stationery, I'm not talking notepaper and envelopes.  I'm talking pens, pencils, felt tips, notepads, tins… I'm not an avid collector by any stretch of the imagination, but I do seem to have a fair amount of the stuff.


The green tin came from a charity shop for 50p,
the blue pencil tin was from Wilko, and the horsey tin is as above.

Good stationery, for me, needs to look the part but also needs to perform well - I hold no truck with pencils that break with alarming regularity or cheap quality notepads.  I don't bother with the high end stuff (actually, the cheaper the better); but I'm a sucker for a kooky design, a retro print, a well made but inexpensive treasure.

If I were to psychoanalyse it, I could tell you exactly when it all started.  I can trace it back to my primary school days; I remember vividly getting incredibly excited at the end of the long summer holidays, laying out my new fluffy pencil case and its matching contents, sharpening the pencils into a perfect point, making sure the pens all worked, that there were no nicks in the ruler.  I get a similar buzz from stationery now, and I love going into stationery shops and perusing the displays.  I enjoy laying out my stationery neatly, lining up the pencils and pens next to the notepad.  I know, sad isn't it?!

And I think it must be hereditary - the Girl isn't required to take any writing equipment into school, and yet she too has the stationery bug and her room is scattered with all manner of writing paraphernalia, journals, diaries…  Invariably some of her pocket money will go on an item or two of stationery.

Given that so many of you appear to be as guilty as I am, I thought I'd share with you some of my recent purchases.  As you know, I love a good bargain and these particular items cost very little and are fantastic value for money.

Of all my stationery cravings, top of the list is a properly sharpened pencil.  You know, when the wood is equidistant all round from the tip of the lead, with a lovely sharp point?  I just love it - I feel artistically invincible whilst grasping a pointy HB, like I could draw anything and everything (even though I'm pretty much useless at fine art).  Conversely, there's nothing that frustrates me more than a cheap pencil sharpener that doesn't do the job and is forever breaking the lead of the pencil.

A couple of months ago, the Girl spotted these little fellas in our local supermarket (you know, the one that begins with a 'T').

Mr Tiger and Mr Panda.

Mr Tiger and Mr Panda again. Side view.

She begged and pleaded for one; I wasn't convinced that they would work very well as they only cost £2 each, and her drawer was already overflowing with ineffective crappy little sharpeners.  But Mr Panda was so cute… so I agreed she could have him.  When we got home she trooped off upstairs and when I called in on her a little while later, there, on her desk, was a perfect row of immaculately sharpened pencils.  Those of you with a stationery obsession - your heart's beating faster now, right?  I had to have a go… and glory be, Mr Panda sharpened my pencil to a perfect point with ease and finesse.

From this...

...to this!

Added bonus - all the shavings are collected in a little tray inside the sharpener so there's no mess.  NO MESS!!!  I fell in love with him there and then, and went back to the store at my next opportunity to purchase Mr Tiger for my home office.

They are just an absolute delight - I love turning the handle on the back until the grip on the pencil is loosened, and out pops a glorious, pointy pencil all ready for use.  They tick all my boxes - they're kooky, kind of retro in design, cheap and they WORK.  And they only cost £2 each - what's not to like?  You know you need one…!  I know they're still available in that particular store, because I saw them only a couple of days ago.  And I know you can get them on various websites because I did a search. Stationery queens (and kings) - these are the biz, and you need one in your life.

My other recent discovery is that none other than Home Bargains do an amazing and incredibly cheap range of stationery.  I bought this little lot earlier this week:

My Home Bargains haul

In total, this bundle came to £3.25.  Yup, £3.25.  In total.

A5 notebook with triangular design and plastic cover: 49p
A5 notebook with yellow cover: 59p
A5 notebook with hardback pink spot cover: 99p
Pencils with eraser 4-pack: 49p
Clipboard: 69p

Notebooks, from left - 49p, 99p and 59p

And the fantastic thing about this lot is that the quality is really good.  I love the retro, vintage-y designs of the notebooks, and the pencils are top notch too (and Mr Tiger sharpens them a treat...).

Home Bargains pencils (49p) and clipboard (69p).  Did I mention I love stationery?...

I'm not going to use the clipboard as a clipboard per se, I'm going to hang it up and attach a print or a card to it for display.  This card has a lovely message on it and was part of a pack of free greetings cards given away a couple of months ago with Ideal Home magazine.  I think it looks rather good, simple but effective…

Endless possibilities for this simple clipboard;
this card was a giveaway with a homes magazine

'Life is full of beautiful possibilities'.  Isn't it just.
One of my favourite quotes.

I'd like to tell you that I'm going to attempt to curb my enthusiasm for stationery, but I know it's useless to even try.  It's been with me since I was a little girl and I suspect it will be with me until I breathe my last.

Bye for now xxx
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