Rollo London Notebook Review


There are far too many articles that celebrate cat-themed stationery for my liking. Yes, if you didn’t know already I’m a dog person. So of course I was excited to review a notebook from new brand on the block, Rollo London, which uses a greyhound for its logo.

The basics

The notebook is pocket-sized, covered in French navy faux-scotch grain leather, which gives it a wonderfully textured finished. It has a matching navy band to keep it neat and tidy and a charming gold-coloured dog charm, yes, Rollo himself, more on which later.

Inside, the lined pages are 70gsm, which makes for a smoother writing experience and minimises show-through. There are 92 pages in all so it’ll last a decent length of time, although that depends on how you choose to use it. You can keep your place with the matching page marker. And there is a pocket on the inside back cover for storing the odd receipt or photo.

Usage

Size-wise, the Rollo London notebook is perfectly suited to an everyday carry, but its luxe appearance elevates it from being the sort of notebook that you might scribble a random phone number in or a shopping list. For this reason, I’ve been using mine as a gratitude diary. Of course, there are heaps of ways you might choose to use a notebook. But it’s the ideal way to make the most of how special it feels while maximising the practical benefits of its shape and size. Its appearance also means it would be a great gift if you can bear to part with it.

The ooh factor

In my opinion, the thing that makes the Rollo London notebook exclamation-worthy stationery is the 3D dog charm that features on the front cover. The tactile charm gives the notebook its stand out and is typical of its subtle understated charm, building on the luxe materials that it is made from. On the inside front cover there is a gold disc that covers the back of the dog charm. It’s this attention to detail that makes all the difference.

The Rollo London notebook is stocked in flagship Paperchase stores in Glasgow, Manchester and on London’s Tottenham Court Road. Or you can purchase online from RolloLondon.com.

For now, I’m off to find more dog-themed stationery, and to take my tiny terrier Posy for walkies.

Notebook holiday

Choosing which notebooks to take away with you on holiday is almost as much fun as deciding on the destination. But all stationery addicts know how easy it is to get carried away. It’s the same as with shoes – you try to plan for all eventualities and end up needing to change roughly every hour in order to make use of them all. 

Notebooks at Gladstones

Take my current trip to Gladstone’s Library for example where I managed to squeeze in nine notebooks altogether. And I was only away for three days! Inspired by the good folks at Nero’s Notes, this is the method behind the madness of how I chose which types of notebooks to take with me. 

Staple

Staple notebooks

These are my go-to notebooks that I use everyday. Where I go, they go. This includes my bullet journal and usually my latest EDC.

Shiny

Shiny, new notebooks

As in shiny and new. I disappeared down the rabbit hole of notebook buying long ago so I always pick up something new before I go on hols – that’s partly why I think of it as a notebook holiday. 

For this particular trip I bought the William Morris exercise book and the Rifle pocket notepad. I didn’t realise at the time but the Rifle contains tear out sheets, as well as an inside flap. If there’s any notes I need to keep I can save them there. 

My choices were guided by my destination of course. Gladstone being a key statesmen of the Victorian period, I wanted something suitably nineteenth century. The exercise book, adapted from Morris’s Strawberry Thief furnishing fabric of 1883 ticked all the boxes. And I knew the Birch Floral notepad would fit in with the rural surroundings of Hawarden village where the library is based. 

Subject-specific

Subject-specific notebooks

This being a study trip rather than out and out hollibobs the majority of the notebooks I took with me were of a more functional nature.

I used the Pukka Pad to make notes on academic essays, the A5 hardbacks from Foyles contain feedback on my work-in-progress, which I like to refer back to when editing. The Field Notes is where I keep notes related to my dissertation.

And yes, I also brought coloured cue cards!

Notebooks holiday

In all honesty, nine notebooks, is probably far too many. But I did use them all whilst I was away. If you have a good system  for choosing which notebooks to take on holidays with you, please share.

 

World Stationery Day – Nat Stat Week Day 3

My favourite day of Nat Stat Week – World Stationery Day. To celebrate, a post on how stationery helps us to connect and makes this great wide world of ours feel that little bit cosier.

Hashtags

Stationery addict, stationery geek, stationery love. There are multiple stationery-related hashtags are used all over the world to connect those of us who love notebooks, pens and pencils. And paper clips and sticky notes and erasers and rulers and…you get the picture! Its these hashtags I turn to when I’m having the sort of day that only seeing fabulous stationery can salvage.

#natstatweek

Pen pals

Letter writing is something that I love so I’ve written about pen pals in previous posts. It’s the perfect way to bring people together. When my blog turned one recently, I listed finding a pen pal as one of my bloggerversary resolutions. Have you got a pen pal? I’d love to hear more about what makes a great pen pal so please get in touch if you’ve got any advice for me.

Wax sealed letter

Indies and stationery start ups

Independent retailers led by genuine stationery aficionados curate the best stationery from around the world. Spotlight Stationery have been known to theme their stationery subscription boxes by country from time to time and Nero’s Notes have brands from Hungary, Germany – the whole world over.

For bricks and mortar, Papersmiths is another favourite. They have a great selection of European brands in particular – lots of Leuchtturm, as well as Nukkias and Papier Tigre. I’ve been a regular visitor since their London store opened in Shoreditch.

Inside Papersmiths at Box Park in Shoreditch

Planner groups

International communities have built up around the use of specific planners. Hobonichi, Mossery, Travellers Notebook. Travellers Notebook Times is a blog that celebrates all things related to Midori’s iconic notebook. Every week they send round a whole heap of links. Perfect for reading with a cup of tea.

Travel journals

One of my favourite types of notebooks. Choose one which has strong enough pages to withstand the pictures, postcards, menus and receipts you’ll paste in to commemorate your trip.

The adventure begins!

Happy World Stationery Day wherever you happen to be celebrating and enjoy the rest of #NatStatWeek

How to love your hotdesk

I work in an open plan office where everyone hotdesks. I’m used to it now but in the early days it wasn’t much fun. The daily fight to sit by the window. Away from the air con. But not too far from the kitchen. Everyone started turning up half hour early so they could nab the best place to sit.  Sound familiar? You might be in need of a hotdesk makeover. It’s the best way to learn how to love your hotdesk.

More and more organisations use a hotdesk system nowadays and while HR departments say it’s the way forward, it took me a little while to get on board. What made the difference? Fabulous stationery of course!

A makeover for your hotdesk

Stationery is the perfect antidote to the unrelenting grey of the standard hotdesk. Sticky notes, memo pads, a quirky pencil case or stylish notebook. All these items can add a much needed pop of personalisation, but are small enough to stash in a teeny tiny locker so you don’t fall foul of a clear desk policy.

Own your space with stationery

There’s something about stationery, too, that helps you assert your identity. Apparently that’s why so many of us are stationery addicts. So what better way to own your space. Even if it’s just for a day.

And because stationery is relatively cheap, you can keep it fresh with regular updates. Here are some of my go-to items whenever I’m in need of a hotdesk makeover.

Memo block

I put this marble memo block next to my desk phone so I can scribble down any messages that I miss while in meetings. They’re almost too pretty to throw away once the message has been actioned. But there’s plenty of them so that helps a little.

Memo block for taking messages

Free-standing stickies

These rainbow sticky notes have brightened up the grey January days we’ve been having. As well as acting as a fun theme for an office playlist. It’s surprising how many songs have rainbows in them! They’re freestanding for instant impact. And the pedant in me appreciates that the colours are in the right order. Apart from the pink, but you can’t have too much pink stationery right? Which leads me on to…

Rainbow sticky notes

Pencil case

The grey/black aesthetic can sometimes bleed into your desk accessories. I livened up my notebook with this cut pencil case that wraps around it. The elastic is nice and stretchy so it fits a range of sizes and means I’m no longer struggling to carry multiple things to every meeting. I use different colour pens depending on my mood so being able to fit them in this case means I’m less likely to lose them.

Sticky note stack

It’s bad hotdesk etiquette I know to reserve a desk the day before. But no one seems to mind if I do it using one of these beauties. They work best with a chunky black pen.

Way to reserve a workstation!

Whilst we’re on the subject

Not strictly stationery I know, but there are a couple of other things you could use to perk up your hotdesk.

Lunchbox

The colours in this T-Rex lunchbox are absolutely popping. Some days I’m in back-to-back meetings pretty much 9-5 so having this out on my desk is a handy reminder to stop and find time for a break. There’s two compartments inside and the double catch means there’s no chance of it opening inadvertently and covering the inside of my satchel it’s crisps!

Roooaaaarrrrr

Water bottle

This watermelon infuser bottle is lots of fun, too. Drinking more water is always a priority. It’s easier when it’s flavoured with fruit. Strawberries are particularly good but herbs work, too – mint and parsley. And if you’re feeling particualrly adventurous you could try spices. Turmeric is my current favourite, although I admit that’s an acquainted taste!

Watermelon water bottle

Placing this bottle on my desk as soon as I arrive at work helps anchor me. No chance of walking past my seat when that’s there. And yes, I have sat at the wrong hotdesk by accident in the past. Portability makes it great for brightening up meetings, too.

Share your ideas for a hotdesk makeover

If you’ve ever felt frustrated by hotdesking I hope this post helps. And if there’s other items that would work well, or other methods you’ve used that helped you love your hotdesk, let me know in the comments.

The samples I’ve used in these shots were supplied by the good folks at Mustard. They’ve got all sorts of fun  stuff so do check them out.

How to gift notebooks

You’re a stationery addict, so when it comes to gift giving you want to share your passion for paper. The trouble is that not everyone gets why a notebook is such an amazing gift. Even when it’s a super special one.

‘Just a notebook’

I had a very disheartening experience recently when announcing my plans to gift a set of Field Notes to a friend. I explained a little about the brand and its history. About the importance of pocket notebooks and why everyone needs an everyday carry. All about the back page with suggested usages and how much fun it is to read through. But my audience, non-stationery addicts admittedly, were underwhelmed. Their response: ‘That’s all well and good, but isn’t it just a notebook?’

Three ways to gift notebooks

Of course, we stationery addicts know that there’s no such thing as ‘just a notebook’. So I’ve thought of some ways to elevate what others might feel is a humble gift. Let me know if it helps. Or if you have any other ideas, please share them in the comments.

1. Pimp the outside cover

I enjoy a spot of Saturday afternoon notebook pimping. And it’s the perfect way to elevate a notebook gift – especially if you’ve bought something plain like a Moleskine. Or you made your choice based on the inside pages and, like me, you’re convinced that the way to convert non-stationery addicts is with dot grid.

The quickest and easiest way to pimp a notebook is with stickers. And it’s a perfect way to personalise based on the interests and personality of your lucky recipient.

Are they a child of the 80 or 90s? You could dig out the remnants of an old Panini sticker collection. Or if they’re a fan of all things sparkly, glittery initials, numbers or washi tape could work. In fact, the possibilities with washi tape are endless. And while strictly speaking washi is not a sticker, it is sticky, so it still counts!

Glittery stickers come in letters and numbers

If your penmanship is on point, you can use lettering to spruce up the front cover. Calligraphers can pen a fancy title on a plain background or artists can ink some cute illustrations. Just don’t forget to add a protective layer of sticky-back plastic over the top if it’s a notebook that’s likely to be taken out and about.

2. Design some inside spreads

Simple Bujo starter spreads

Last week I gifted a bullet journal and decided to dress it up a little by designing some starter spreads. I drew up a future log as well as a monthly log complete with flower doodles.  A daily log with space for tasks and wins, plus trackers for steps, sleep and water came next. Finally, I marked out space for a quote or word to sum up the day. Of course, this was particularly apt because it was a bullet journal, but there are other ways you might want to jazz up some pages.

You could create a contents page for example. Or maybe some page headings. Small sketches or illustrations also work well. Or if it’s a diary, you could scribble in some dates that you know will resonate.

3. Suggest ways in which they might use them

We stationery addicts can think of many, many ways to use a notebook. But this might not be the case for the non-stationery addict that you are gifting to. A gift tag or heart shaped post it with some suggestions could help. Something list based usually works well and again, you can tailor to their interests  – TBR lists for a book lover or bucket lists for adventurers.

If you need some inspiration, you could check out my post series 50 ways to use a notebook.

Closing thoughts

Of course, you could take it up a level and make a notebook from scratch. But really that’s a post for another day. Or alternatively you could buy a notebook so fabulous that you wouldn’t need to be a notebook addict to appreciate it – something with a fun quote usually works in this case. Happy notebook gifting!

Papergang Subscription Box No. 21 Review

Pawsome Christmas accessories from Papergang

As the proud owner of a rescue dog, my tiny terrier Posy, I was super excited for the November Papergang Box in support of Battersea Dogs & Cats home.  And it did not disappoint.  Fortunately Posy was not around to see it delivered – the Postie is her nemesis.

Posy with a savage summer haircut

The box arrived in the last week of the month and as usual there were lots of fabulous things inside. A complete Christmas kit with all things needful for festive gift-giving. Especially for all the dog and cat people in your life.

Full disclosure, in this review I *may* have got a touch carried away with the pet-related puns. Please don’t judge me for it.

Cat-tastic cards

The box contains six cards in total – two of each design. A disgruntled cat tangled up in fairy lights. A dapper dachshund complete with obligatory pun. And finally a bulldog in festive fair isle.

It’s the expressions on the animals faces that I love most about these illustrations, I think. Each has so much character and personality.

Notebook

A chunky notebook with lined pages means that just like dogs, this Papergang box is not just for Christmas. On the inside cover an excitable Dalmatian. The simple cover title will sit nicely alongside my collection of functional cover titles. Some of my favourite notebook covers feature words in some form or another. If you feel the same, you might enjoy the post I dedicated to them.

The spotty cover is a subtle reference to the Battersea cause

Wrap

This quality paper features the same illustration as the outer box – dogs and cats in party hats. This was a welcome feature as the boxes are always so beautifully designed. There were two sheets – I reckon it would be enough for at least four bookshaped gifts. Yes – all the gifts I give are (note)book related!

I save all my Papergang outers from a paper craft project I’ll probably never get round to. I’ve got some downtime over Christmas so I’ll ‘gram what I make…as long as it’s vaguely recognisable!

Gift tags

Three of these in traditional Christmas colours. This year I’m wrapping the majority of my gifts in brown paper with red and green accents, so these will be just purrfect. And the red and white string to attach them is a helpful touch.

In summary

I’m pretty pleased with this Papergang box overall. It feels like good value and I can see myself putting all the items to good use in the next few weeks.

One of the things I’ve enjoyed most about my last two Papergang boxes is the little booklet that is now included. It works particularly well for this box as there is space for Battersea to speak about their cause and the importance of thinking things through before inviting a four-legged friend into your family. The full interview appears on the Papergang blog.

There is also a Q&A with box designer Allison Black. This is great for picking up little tidbits about the design process. But I can’t say I agree with her about the ‘ugly bulldog in the ugly sweater’. Posy has one just like it! Awkward.

Posy’s Christmas jumper game is strong

Received the November Box? Let me know what you thought in the comments.

 

Covered in words – some of my favourite notebook covers

I often find myself drawn to notebook covers that feature words in some form or other. An inspiring quotation, a pithy bon mot, even a simple title.

Now that I’ve started thinking of my notebook stash as a collection, I’m starting to see themes emerge and word-led covers is definitely one of them. Here’s a look at some of my favourites and how I’m using them.

Functional

Brands: Octagon design
Suited to: Home/work

Notebooks with a single-minded purpose

I think of these as Ronseal designs. ‘Notes’, ‘planner’, ‘lists’: they’re formatted with a single and clearly-stated purpose in mind. Often with a utilitarian aesthetic, these notebooks are usually single colour with a serif font. I find myself drawn to notebooks like this when I need a punch of productivity.

I’m using this particular one to plan my blog posts. Its so user friendly I’m thinking of buying a few more in different sizes.

Descriptive

Brands: Kikki K
Suited to: Home/work

Dreams and thoughts are just examples of the notebooks that I’d put in this category. A close relative of the functional notebooks listed above, they allow for a little more flex and creativity as their insides are usually less structured. Calligraphic fonts on colour backgrounds are the norm, think ombre and pastels.  You’ll also see quirky designs, however. Ohh deer have some beautiful tropical ones with cacti and toucans.

Tongue-in-cheek

Brands: Happy Jackson
Suited to: Out and about

Notebooks with tongue-in-cheek covers

These notebooks make me smile  – they’re for the times when I need to feel productive, but I’m not taking myself too seriously. I use these notebooks for personal projects, side hustles – that sort of thing.

Zeitgeist

Brands: Design Ink
Suited to: Out and about

Notebooks that capture a moment

These are the notebooks that are most often exclaimed over. They capture a moment through a particular phrase. Sometimes they can be quite self-revealing. Or contain an eternal truth. I use a notebook of this type as an everyday carry. When the outside is this much fun, I’m less worried about having something particular to put inside.

 

Days for stationery addicts to celebrate

There are a whole host of days to celebrate your passion when you’re a stationery addict.  And each year it seems as though more are added to the diary.  Keep an eye out for some of my upcoming favourites (listed in order of what’s next).

National Stationery Week – w/c 23 April 2018

Technically not a day, but a whole glorious week!  And each day a different aspect of stationery to celebrate.  Pens, handwriting, letters – there’s something for all stationery addicts to enjoy.  They call it seven days of stationery.

The festivities are coordinated by stationery industry lynchpin the London Stationery Show.  The high point is World Stationery Day, traditionally the Wednesday of the week.

How to celebrate:
Use the Seven Days of Stationery hashtags to inspire your stationery celebrations:

Monday 23 April – make a note. I’ve blogged on the tools I use to make a note from bullet points, to sticky notes and highlighters.

Tuesday 24 April – pen and pencil

Wednesday 25 April – stationery the world over

Thursday 26 April – work happy

Friday 27 April – a place for everything

Saturday 28 April – get crafty

Sunday 29 April – signature Saturday

Days you might have missed

These are some of the more recent stationery-related celebrations.  But don’t worry  if you missed out.  There’s always next year.

Earlier this year

National Pencil Day – 30 March 2018. Grab a pencil and start sketching.  Or doodling.  Or being nostalgic for the school days before you were allowed to use a pen.  Coloured pencils work, too, btw

National Handwriting Day – 23 January 2018. A day to go analogue.  Step away from the lap top and take all your notes by hand.  It might even inspire some extra creativity.

Back in 2017

Fountain Pen Day – 3 November 2017. Fountain Pen Day is a great way to learn about inks, nibs and fountain-pen-friendly paper.  No show through to see here!

World Calligraphy Day – 16 August 2017. The perfect time to get bettering your lettering, with lots of stores offering discounts and free classes. A day filled with flourishes. Can’t wait for next year.

Bullet Journal Day – 8 August 2017. BuJo’s annual birthday celebrations. A day to share your favourite spreads and enjoy analogue. One for the planner addicts.

NaJoWriMo – month of July.  National Journal Writing Month to the uninitiated. Sign up to the official site for prompts.  Or just grab a journal and jot down your thoughts.  It’s a great way to kick start a regular practice.  I like a list journal myself.

National Ballpoint Pen Day – 10 June 2017.  This one sort of snuck up on everyone.  But hey, if fountain pens can have a day, why not ballpoints.

National Notebook Day – 18 May 2017.  My personal favourite.  But then everyday is national notebook day to me.  Lots of Leuchtturm and Moleskine towers on display on Insta. Full round up here.  And I wrote about my old battered, bruised and used notebooks for a change.

N.B. I’ve included days celebrated all around the world. That’s the point of social media where the majority of these days live, right?

 

I know what’s next for Bullet Journal!

Something’s afoot at Bullet Journal’s Headquarters. The May newsletter arrived earlier this afternoon, the first item up – a plea to ‘Help Us Make Bullet Journal Better!’ The survey that followed was pretty short. Eight questions in all. But it provides more than a few clues as to what Ryder Carroll and team have on their development roadmap.

Back in March, the Bullet Journal Companion app was released. The key feature: timed reflection reminders. Feedback via the App Store has been lukewarm at best. Lots of complaints that the majority of the content it serves can be accessed for free via the Bullet Journal website. ‘Scam’ and ‘not worth the money’  was the general consensus. Ouch. My personal feeling is that there’s lots of potential for the app, especially in the reflection space, but anyhoo.

Based on the questions in the May research piece though, there are lots of things for BuJo Junkies to look forward to…

BuJo School

Some of the best memories I have of my school days revolve around stationery. Specifically, a notebook with a plastic cover that had water and glitter in it. And Filling notebooks practising signatures in preparation for a proposal from my latest crush. So no surprise that I’d be happy to enrol in a school that was all about stationery. Well Bullet Journals, so close enough. It would most likely be paid and based around ‘in-depth video journals’. Would I be interested? Yes, yes I would.

Big ones, small ones

Don’t be surprised to see a baby BuJo in the not-too-distant future. Bullet Journal is questioning the appetite for different versions of their notebook. Pocket, larger and soft-cover are all offered as options. I voted for pocket-size. But though given the choice to endorse the current format as an alternative, I doubt it would be an either/or proposition.

More, more, more

Looks like the content on the Bullet Journal site is going to be spruced up. The offer is more interviews, more show and tells, more articles or more tutorials. They’re all about the abundance it seems, which is great news. I love the show and tells the best. What’s on Insta can be a bit intimidating, but the greater emphasis on function rather than form means that to me at least, they’re ultimately more accessible and therefore inspiring.

Question!

Ryder is being offered up for a recurring Q&A. Based on his TED Talk ‘How to Lead An Intentional Life’ I’d be well up for this. They’re also seeking specific questions so this one will more than likely happen soonish, though not sure on frequency. I can think of lots of things I’d like to ask, first up, when can we have more colours?!

And finally my favourite idea of them all…

Top of the class

This isn’t a million miles away from the school suggestion so maybe the question the Bullet Journal team is debating is whether this works best online or in person. Having attended a couple of workshops at Kikki K for their Goals and Habits journals (post coming soon), I’d say the workshop is much the better of these two school-type ideas. And the BuJo community is so strong, why not provide a space for real world interactions and buddying.

Disclaimer

I honestly have no clue on when or even if all of these ideas will make it past the research stage. My predictions are solely based on the questions they’re asking in this months newsletter. But it’s clear that Ryder Carroll is looking beyond the BuJo itself and that there are ambitious growth plans in the pipeline. Interesting that there was no comparative element though between the various ideas so maybe it’s more about how they’ll happen. When I first found Bullet Journal, I remember the emphasis on evolution. Whatever comes to fruition I’ve no doubt that BuJo will continue to grow. And I’m super excited about it!

Time to dust off my BuJo kit and plan my first spread I think. But before you go, be interested to hear which of these gets your pulse rate pounding:

What do you want Bullet Journal to do first?

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