I can still remember the first time that I had stationery envy. I was about 7 years old and had gone on a playdate to Lucie's house. I think most of the girls in my class were slightly in awe of Lucie as she had an older sister, and in those days an older sister meant that you knew and understood what was on trend at the time – and back then fancy stationery was THE thing to have. I clearly remember Lucie showing me her new pencil case and the new pens, pencils, ruler, rubber and pencil sharpener that she had inside.
Ever since that day I have just loved stationery. There's part of me that would almost like to be back at school – just so I can have a nice new pencil case and treat myself to some stationery. When an email came asking if Little Miss C would be interested in reviewing a range of stationery from Australian brand Smiggle (the name coming from "when a Smile meets a Giggle"!) to celebrate the opening of their first UK store I jumped at the chance. LMC is quickly turning into a little stationery addict herself and to be honest the package that Smiggle sent was even better than I anticipated it would be.
The quality of everything from Smiggle was incredibly high, and I was blown away by just how unusual and innovative some of the products were. Firstly the double ended coloured pencils and felt tip pens were genius. The pens have a different thickness tip at each end, whilst the pencils are different colours at the two ends. The fact that the pens also come in a handy box where each one clips in place really appeals to my OCD tendancies too!
LMC's picture of "mummy smiling"
The zip round pencil case is lovely and the spiral bound sketch pad is perfect for LMC to keep all her art work in one place.
The final two things in the Smiggle package were probably the most exciting as they were just things I hadn't seen before. Firstly the Scratch Book. The way this works is that you have a spiral bound book where each right hand page appears black, but in actual fact it's a thing black layer on top of a page covered in rainbow colours. You can then draw on the black surface with a sharp plastic tool which scrapes off the top layer leaving you the multicoloured layer below. The final result is really quite stunning and it's perfect for children to either come up with their own artistic creation, or to copy the outline drawings which appear on the left hand pages.
LMC went for the free-form approach, but I quite enjoyed trying to copy some of their inspiration pictures.
Finally I have to talk about the Stencil Book which has to be LMC's most favourite thing ever.
This spiral bound book features white pages which have the outline of a pony picture on them and also four plastic sheets of stensils which then allow you to build upon the original picture.
There is also a sheet of stickers at the front of the book to further add to your pictures.
Little Miss C absolutely loves this book and she has spent hours drawing and colouring in it since it arrived. It's such a great idea too and with the stencils clipping into the spiral binding it means it's also perfect to take with you on holiday or when doing a long journey. Looking at Smiggle's Australian site it appears that there are other books in the range too – bikes and dinosaurs to name two – and I really can see these appealing to both boys and girls of all ages. One would certainly make a super gift.
I'm completely won over by the Smiggle range from what I've seen so far. The high quality of everything is a pleasure to see and I love the bright colours and slightly quirky ideas in their range.
Smiggle's first UK store opens in Westfield Stratford London this Thursday, 20th February. There are also further openings planned over the next few weeks in Reading, Brighton and Kingston. I'm seriously hoping that we get one here in St Albans as I can see it being hugely popular in a city with so manyt families – and I imagine I might be a rather frequent visitor if what I've seen so far is anything to go by!
Discalimer: We were sent the package of Smiggle goodies shown above to review. All we were asked to do was share on the blog a picture that LMC had created which made us smile or giggle, however I was so impressed by what we were sent that I just wanted to tell you more about it!