As someone who writes notes about pretty much everything in life it does sometimes feel that my house is full of notebooks – but it’s something I’m definitely not complaining about. I’ve always been someone who likes to write things down in the old-fashioned way, whether it be craft ideas, lists of things that need doing, or just things I need to remember and I always seem to have several notebooks on the go. It was therefore obvious that I was going to choose a notebook or two to go in my first stationery order from Bureau Direct. But, the decision over which to choose took me a while to resolve.
So, what do I look for in a notebook? Firstly, it has to be nice to look at. I don’t want something drab that reminds me of my years of choosing stationery via a civil service procurement catalogue. A bright cover, or a pretty arty one always catches my attention and generally makes me smile whenever I pull out my notebook to write something down. As they so often get carried around in my handbag I prefer them to be no larger than A5 size and the cover needs to be sturdy enough to protect the pages in my bag, although that doesn’t mean it needs to be hardcover – a sturdy card cover will easily do. When it comes to the paper I prefer lined and I generally find that the better quality the paper is then the more inclined I am to write in it, and my new Herbin rollerball has certainly proved that – a couple of old notebooks have now bitten the dust as the Herbin didn’t write in them nicely due to the poor paper quality.
All that makes me sound rather fussy doesn’t it? I have to admit I am when it comes to notebooks and that’s what made it so difficult to choose one online as you can’t really feel the cover or paper via a computer screen. To some extent I had to put my faith in Bureau Direct when it them stocking quality items and I’m pleased to say that they did not disappoint. After a lot of pondering I went for the Clairefontaine 1951 vintage style A5 exercise books which at only £1.90 each are a complete steal. They are available in six different colours (blue, black, pink, orange, green and turquoise) and I went for the blue, pink, green and turquoise ones. The cover is lightly textured with a space on the front for you to write a subject in. Each exercise book contains 96 pages of Clairefontaine’s lined 90gsm paper. It is genuinely a pleasure to write on.
I took a couple of these notebooks away with me to Amsterdam for the Meet the Blogger conference that I attended last weekend (much more on that trip very soon). They were perfect for note taking and a couple of other delegates commented on their stylish appearance.
I was also fortunate enough to have been sent a Papelot Notebook strap as an extra gift from Bureau Direct and this proved to be perfect for my conference trip. Not only did it fit well round two of the Clairefontaine exercise books, but it also meant that any pieces of paper that I slipped inside were not lost. The A5 size that I had holds five pens or pencils meaning that I was no longer rummaging around in the bottom of my vast handbag when I needed to write something down. I’m already wondering how I ever coped without one! The first day I was using it I pulled my notebook out at the swimming pool as I watched Little Miss C’s lesson and the dad sat next to me (who had ignored me for weeks before that day) asked where the strap came from. I call that a win!
Being the thrifty sort that wasn’t all I managed to squeeze in to my stationery order – oh no. As well as the A5 exercise books I also chose one of the Clairefontaine 1951 vintage-style pocket exercise books purely so it could live in my handbag with all my lists in it – all the dull stuff like what I need to buy in the supermarket seems so much more exciting when it’s all written beautifully in a new notebook.
My final choice was based around my love of crafts that I’m currently rediscovering after a bit of a break. In the past I used to dabble with a bit of crafty design, especially of cross stitch projects and I always found that any such design was best done on squared paper in pencil. Over the years all my nice pencils have vanished so I thought it about time to replenish my supplies. I went for the Field Notes woodgrain pencils mainly as I liked the woody look of them. These are so much more than just a bog standard pencil “Lacquer-free renewable cal-cedar wood casing, recyclable aluminum ferrule, enviro-green degradable eraser and certified non-toxic imprint inks to be precise!” As these come from an American company they’re not the pencil leads that we recognise (2H, HB etc) but instead are an American 2 which I think is roughly equivalent to an HB. I was always someone who preferred something a bit lighter – a 2H girl myself – but these seem good all the same. Nice to write with, feel ergonomically good and stylish too.
Now, if you’re buying new pencils then you need an eraser to go with them. All my ones have been used by the kids to try to rub off things like permanent marker so I figured I was due something nice that I could keep just for me. What I hadn’t counted on was the Japanese taking eraser design to a whole new level. I present to you the Kokoyu 5 angle eraser. This is like nothing I have ever seen before. Rather than just a plain rectangle or white rubber, this irregular star shaped eraser is designed on the principal that different mistakes require a different sizer eraser to sort them out.
I’m guessing this is very true if you’re writing in Japanese for instance, but is also the case when drawing out cross stitch designs. Sometimes you might want to just change one stitch, but on other occasions a whole section. The five different erasing points make this possible, and even better still, when you’re worn down one point then you just slice the eraser like you would a salami sausage and hey presto you have a clean set of eraser points for your next set of mistakes. Pure genius!
So, I think it fair to say that I was more than a little impressed by my first order from Bureau Direct. I’ve discovered some new stationery brands that I have fallen head over heels in love with and I’ve found new items of stationery that have quickly become things that I use daily. Quite how I manage to choose what to review for you next month though remains a bit of a mystery. As I’ve chatted to the other bloggers that are working with Bureau Direct I keep discovering new items that I like the look of and want to try for myself. The weekly Stationery Wednesday emails are also just helping to make my long list for next month even longer. Ho hum!
Disclaimer: I was sent the Herbin Rollerball set to review for Bureau Direct, along with some other stationery goodies. All views and opinions are completely my own. Follow the #LOVEstationery hashtag across social media if you want to see everything the Bureau Direct bloggers are falling in love with.
The Clairefontaine 1951 Vintage-style A5 exercise books retail for £1.90 each, whilst the pocket sized ones are £1.25 each. Papelote notebooks straps are £5.95 each and available in three different sizes and a variety of colours. A set of six Field Notes woodgrain pencils is £4.95 and the Kokoyu 5 angle eraser is just £2.50. There is free delivery if you spend £10 and if you sign up for their Stationery Wednesday newsletter you can save a further 10%.