Friday Fun: Stationery, Glorious Stationery!

Is there any writer out there who doesn’t love stationery? Of course, there are plenty of stationery lovers who are not writers (just hoarders or designers or… procrastinators), so there is no immediate causal link there.

Based on a conversation we started over at dVerse Poets Pub about the tools we really need as poets, I collected a few of my favourite things in this post.

1) Of course I appreciate Moleskine and the reinvention of a brand, but my personal favourite is much simpler and cheaper. Rhodia notebooks have been the smoothest writing experience in France for 80 years now. They have all sorts of ‘nouveautés’ (novelties) every year, but I just stock up on their most basic black or orange note-blocks.


2) I like high-quality fountain pens. In fact, I have my eye on a Montblanc Virginia Woolf pen when I sign my publishing contract – or perhaps for autographing my books.

Notice the waves pattern?
Notice the waves pattern?

3) However, more realistically and practically, I bulk-buy Pilot G2 gel rollerballs. They work really well with the slippery-smooth Rhodia pages.


4) I’ve just discovered these rather funky notebooks from Huck and Pucker. An elastic to keep them closed is always a good idea and of course I’m bookish and proud of it!



5) Finally, a trip to London always means a stopover at Paperchase on Tottenham Court Road: a stationery-lover’s idea of heaven. Sadly, they seem to have discontinued (at least online) my favourite notebook type, so you’ll have to make do with my own pictures. It’s a chunky A5 notebook with elastic, colourful plastic covers, 5 sections (lined, squared and blank) with dividers (with pockets to stuff notes in), plus more plastic covers and a zipped purse at the back. Just the most practical, wonderful notebook ever: I carry my whole life around in it! Paperchase, please, please bring it back!




Apparently there is such a thing as National Stationery Week and it’s this week. So, let me know what your ‘cannot live without’ items of stationery are. Do you hoard lots of pretty (and empty) notebooks? Oh, and point me in the direction of your luxury items too, while we are on the subject…

28 thoughts on “Friday Fun: Stationery, Glorious Stationery!”

  1. You know what? I might be the only writer not fussed about stationery. Gasp! I used to appreciate a nice notebook, bought several and then discovered they were a pain to try and draft a novel in so it’s a bumper A4 wide lined pad for me and a stash of Staples own brand gel pens. The only piece of stationery I have a bit of a thing for these days is those skinny post-it tabs which I use to mark pages in books – both for PhD reference and for review. They come in great colours!

    1. Shock, horror, gasp! But I admire practicality too. I heard of far too many writers who have bee-yoo-tifull notebooks and then get all angsty about filling them with less than stellar writing.
      I guess your choices are the British equivalent of my Rhodia notebooks and my gel pens (I used to get Carrefour own brand, but they kept leaking all over my handbag, so I switched to the 10 centimes more expensive Pilot ones). And I like those skinny post-its too – they work much better for me than highlighting on my e-reader, I have to admit. (Even though that does show my age!)

  2. For years I’ve carried around what I call “the book I never lose” — a tiny thing that fits in any purse. I think my favorite is bright yellow paper (no rules) in a navy cardstock cover by Campo Marzio… about 3×4 inches. I got the last one at a Kate Spade kiosk in New York, but I haven’t found it elsewhere… think I need to go to Italy to get another! I also like Moleskine’s 2 1/2 x 4 inch teeny-tinies, although despite what I’ve named the thing, I LOST the last one at Waterstone’s Picadilly a couple weeks ago. A huge loss too, as I’d taken some great notes at dinner that night. So to pull myself out of stationery sadness, I have now invested in a gorgeous bright yellow leather (ruled) one with satin bookmark ribbon and elastic closure from Leuchtturm 1917. It’s got a half-inch spine and even has a tiny pocket for receipts, etc. It’s definitely my new favorite, and I can’t believe I’d never heard of this company till a week ago. Now THIS one I really won’t lose!
    I’m still on the hunt for a company who can print personalized stationery (notecards or loose pages) with envelopes on bright yellow. I’ve tried Smythson in UK, Cranes in US, and many more. I think my beloved yellow is tough to print. Any leads for me, do tell!

    1. I love your specifics, Nancy! Leuchtturm 1917 are great – I’ll be heading to Hamburg in a couple of weeks and hope to stock up on it then. I can see the advantages of tiny notebooks (so easy to whip out and take notes even at the dinner table), but I do like having some space to write – must be my huge scrawl).

      1. In the first season, one of the victims had a beautiful orange Rhodia diary which was pored over by Judge Roban and I scoured the internet trying to find out who made it!

  3. Oh, I love these things, Marina Sofia! There’s nothing like a really well-made fountain pen, is there? And one of the things I love about a good folder binder is that it makes you feel like what you have stored there is a real treasure trove. 🙂

    1. I love good fountain pens! I received a Parker pen from my parents when I passed my entrance exams to secondary school (age 14) and I do love the way it writes, but it requires an inkpot, which is really hard to find nowadays outside specialist stores.

  4. I’m not a stationery person. I used to keep some nice paper and envelopes around but now if I write letters, which is rare, it’s on the computer. I have a cheap notebook bought in the supermarket. So nothing special. The one stationery shop in town closed a few years ago.

    1. I used to love letter paper as a teenager! The problem was that I never wanted to send any letters on that beautiful stationery I was hoarding.

  5. You should come to my parents – we have MANY bottles of Quink ink. We also have sealing wax! (My mother is a horrendous boarder, but because she’s got lots of space, especially in the form of huge cupboards – and it’s all very tidy – she gets away with it!) I love Moleskine, but when you buy as many notebooks as I do they get expensive. Are Rhodia available in the UK? And I love the look of that Paperchase one – all those pockets look really handy. I think these Pukka Pads may have pockets, but I don’t like them. Sometimes I like just buying legal pads, to fulfil my Law and Order fantasy. I think this is SO the wrong time of year for Stationery Week – it should be at back to school time, shouldn’t it? And I too have fantasies of a Montblanc – I write with fountain pens, but always write with black ink though. I have lots of blank pads too, with various nice covers – just in case! I don’t think men are as obsessional with stationery – not in my experience, though doubtless there’ll be exceptions. Mr C thinks I’m insane about it.

    1. Yes, black Quink was what I had in mind. Less practical for travelling though than gel pens!
      I think you can get Rhodia at Paperchase and online in the UK. They do simple legal type or reporter type pads as well as more complex ones, so you can satisfy all your desires simultaneously (they should give me a cut for doing such good advertising for them!)
      My husband is obsessive about his pens and letter paper. The irony is that he never ever writes letters (never did), but when I suggested we use his girly letter paper he had been hoarding for decades to write to our sponsored child in South America, he was livid!

      1. I did do a search and Wish List-ed a few things on Amazon! – although it’s much better in a shop than online. So it’s not just girls then – although I think some girls are SO obsessive about it. It’s a real Autumn thing for me – back to school, new folders, pencil case, school bag, etc. And as I’m always doing night classes it’s never left me. I remember the fountain pens you fill now – you had a metal bit you put in the bottle and you squeezed it to fill it. Could be dangerously messy though!

  6. Haha! I shall have to reveal my secret other life now. When not reviewing books, I can often be found over on Amazon reviewing stationery products – post-it notes in all their wondrous variety seem to have become my new speciality. In fact, if I were ever to become a writer, it would be purely for the joy of writing on the first page of a pristine new notebook. My notebooks are currently kept for reviewing purposes – beautifully tagged and indexed of course… 😉

  7. I love stationery too! I certainly need to go to Paperchase next time I’m in London (though it might be a long time). I like Rhodia, but from my school days I still have a fondness for extra smooth paper in Clairefontaine notebooks.

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