Papersmiths Shop Review

To Papersmiths – a stationery store from Bristol making its London debut at Boxpark in Shoreditch. I’m currently sitting on three stationery hauls so despite my excitement at its opening, I held off visiting as long as I could. This lasted all of three days before my craving to see inside became unbearable.

Sights, smells and sounds

The vibe in-store was chill. The smell of fresh paint still lingered. As I walked through the doors world music played and the pink tiles offered a soothing backdrop. So much fun to see them in the flesh after watching them being put up on Insta. To the left, displays of cards, magazines and wrap. To the right, shelves of notebooks, pens and accessories. All the brands a discerning stationery addict would expect – Papier Tigre, Hibi, Blackwing. Fellow stationery addicts oohed and ahhed over the displays. But though there were a few of us in a relatively narrow space, it didn’t feel crowded. 

I got a friendly welcome. Maybe it was my palpable excitement on crossing the threshold but I was immediately pegged for the stationery addict I am and a brief chat followed. Later at the till, we talked about how my selections complemented each other colour-wise; what a great location Box Park is; and how this is the first Papersmith’s store outside Bristol – fingers crossed there’ll be many more. 

I was on my best behaviour, which translates as I spent less than £50. Full disclosure, this was mainly because I was on my lunch break and a little pushed for time. On another day, I could’ve easily spent double without trying too hard.

What I bought

The first thing I picked up was a copy of Positive News. I’ve been following these guys on Twitter for a while now and I just love the whole concept of a magazine dedicated to good news. Plus, their infographic game is on point! 

Next, a yellow Artline 200 with a 0.4mm tip. I’ll use this to outline lettering or just annotate stuff more generally – it’s not often you see yellow pens so I’m super pleased with this. I defy anyone to visit Papersmiths and not pick up a bullet sharpener. I was no exception. And you can never have too many pencil sharpeners. Can you?

It was hard to choose a notebook and I was determined to be disciplined and limit myself to just one. I hovered in front of the display for sometime before finally picking a Write Sketch &. I love that it’s reversible and the black and white edging on each of the blank pages.

Next up, I picked up a Nahe Dritt pencil case – it smells divine: like water wings, or lilos. It instantly put me in mind of childhood holidays. There’s a handy pocket on the back and it provides the perfect coral colour pop. Finally, a Maruto pencil. The traditional styling spoke to my heart. 

Why I’ll be going back to Papersmiths

I went to Papersmiths to support a new independent just a stone’s throw from where I work. I’ll be going back…

  1. Because the team is super friendly – they know a stationery addict when they see one and indulged my stalkerish behaviour on Twitter in the run up to open day
  2. For the Blackwing Colors pencils that I only just managed to resist
  3. To pick up copies of Positive News – the next issue will be out in July
  4. For refills for my pencil
  5. And finally, because I love the bags. The message is so true. And they’re biodegradable.

 Have you been to Papersmiths’ London store yet? Do let me know what you think of it.

List journal – 5 reasons why

I wrote about list journals the other day in the context of lists. But then it struck me, it being Mental Health Awareness Week and all, that they’re the perfect way to get into journalling if you’ve never really done it before. Or if you’re in search of a new journalling practice. Either way, here are five reasons why list journals may be the perfect way to get (re) started. 

ONE: There’s no page set-up required

The layout of a new journal is everything. Check out the various planner tags on Insta or read the gushing reviews of Hobonichi, Passion or Happiness planners and you’ll begin to understand that page set up is something that people who journal take very seriously.

As a journalling newbie, this can be intimidating. You might not be sure why you need a free space for doodles, or a ruler at the right-hand edge of each page. You might not have a preference for weekly over monthly spreads. It’s probably not something you’ve thought about too much.

List journals require no set up. They’re usually gorgeously illustrated with clearly defined spaces for you to write in. If procrastinating about layout has been holding you back, the list journal will fix that.

TWO: You don’t have to worry about what to say

Maybe it’s a legacy of that angst ridden diary you kept as a teenager, but something about a standard journal can make you feel as though you need to write something profound. Or at the very least that won’t embarrass you when you look back on it in five years time.

A blank page is full of potential. But it can also be pretty scary. If you’re not sure what to say, the prompted list journal format makes it all feel so much easier.  Responding to a question is much more straight forward than kicking off the conversation.

Better still, you don’t have to be uber disciplined in how you complete it. Journals are usually time bound – your progress against a goal or feelings recorded in an orderly, linear fashion. And the way you think isn’t always like that. List journals offer a little more flexibility as you can complete them in any order you like. Read through the contents page and pick the list that jumps out at you. Or let the list journal fall open at a random page and go from there. You’ll be scribbling away in no time.*

THREE: The only other thing you’ll need is a pen

My BuJo kit includes stamps, stickers, washi tape, coloured pens, highlighters. It feels a bit much even for a self-confessed stationery addict, so if the thought of having to buy lots of things is putting you off, you’ll love the simplicity of the list journal. Just pick up a pen and away you go.

It’s also worth saying that any pen will do. List journals usually have a decent production value so you don’t have to worry about ghosting/show through.

And because of this, you can journal easily on the move – no worrying about switching between different coloured pens.

FOUR: You can choose a list journal that matches your mood

List journals come in all sorts of forms from the bucket list to the customisable. You can read reviews of three of my current favourites here. Whether you’re looking for something more lighthearted or deep, there’ll be a list journal option for you.

FIVE: Many have a sizeable community ready to welcome you

Check out #52lists and you’ll instantly be connected to people all over the world that are list journalling just like you. This can be really motivating for the fledgling journaller and even used as a tool to aid reflection. If you’re struggling with a particular list you can find inspiration from what others have written. Yes, journalling is largely an individual activity but the communities that have built up around the most popular ones, show that it doesn’t have to be lonely.

I’m a big fan of list journals as you can probably tell. All journals if I’m honest. Try one and you might find that you are, too. Happy journalling. 

*I assume you’re writing as I’m personally all about the analogue, but there are list journal apps you can check out, too.