Tidying Up my notebooks

My notebook stash is out of control. It fills two trunks, a cupboard, half a bookshelf and that’s just the ones I haven’t written in.

So far so stationery addict. I wasn’t concerned. And then I got hooked on Marie Kondo’s new Netflix show . It was time to think about tidying up my notebooks.

Regular readers will know I have hoarding tendencies so I’ve steered clear of the Konmari method until now. Truth be told I wasn’t willing to pull on that thread. But then Tidying Up was so good. And after they’d tidied the people were so happy.

I’m not there yet in terms of decluttering my whole flat. That will take at least two more series of Tidying Up if I’m honest. But what better way to put a toe in the tidying waters than by giving my notebook collection the Marie Kondo treatment.

Here’s how I got on…

These two silver trunks are where the majority of my notebooks live. Who knows what’s in there to be honest. I’d always been glad just to be able to close them but seeing Tidying Up brought it home to me that I didn’t know what exactly what notebooks I had and that meant I couldn’t make the most of them. And also that I was buying lots of the same type.

My first step was to put all the notebooks in a pile. This is the scary bit and I admit, it wasn’t pretty. Around about this time I was really wishing that I’d never even heard of Marie Kondo.

But I learnt a lot about my notebook collection, and how my tastes have changed in the last few years.

Full disclaimer

I chickened out of the next step. This was the getting rid of notebooks bit. The idea was to hold each notebook in my hand and see if it sparked joy. The ones that did I would put in my ‘to keep’ pile. The ones that didn’t, I would thank and prepare to redistribute. But I couldn’t help but wonder if there was a loophole that would allow me to keep my notebook collection intact.

This is the storing upright thing. In Tidying Up Marie Kondo is very specific about this and it’s the thing that I’ve taken most to heart. Tidy, huh? Only takes up one trunk. And most importantly, I can see exactly what I have.

I’m sure there are quite a few notebook collections that could do with some pruning. Anyone else tried the Konmari method or have an alternative, other than just, you know, not buying too many and throwing them away when they’re full up?

Next time, what I’ve learned about my notebook collection and what it is about a notebook that makes it spark joy.

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.


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 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, 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 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.


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.


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

Make a note – Nat Stat Week Day 1

Studying, journalling, minuting a meeting – there’s heaps of scenarios where it pays to have good note taking skills. So to kick start Nat Stat Week, I’m sharing some thoughts on how to make a note.

Every page should have its highlights

If you’ve got a lot of notes to make it’s wise to pick out the key points. This helps when you’re reading back through them. Stabilo’s pastel highlighters are my current favourites.

Pastel highlighter in action

Pick a pocket or three

An Every Day Carry or EDC is indispensable when you need to make a note on the go. And pocket notebooks fulfil this function perfectly. Regular readers will know I have a penchant for a Field Notes Brand three pack, but I’m in the market for a new crush and  Nero’s Notes carry an amazing selection. Right now I’m torn between Nomad Notebooks and Dapper Notes, so maybe I’ll just have to try them both! Nomad notebooks have mixed paper, which is something I’m so here for, while Dapper have some gorgeous covers whether you prefer a pop of colour or something patterned.

One of my favourite Field Notes editions

Bullet points are best

All planner girls and guys know that bullet points are essential if you want to make a note of something. Bullet points encourage brevity, which makes them easy to read and digest. And there’s no need to stick to a plain old dot. Stars, arrows and check boxes all work well. But if you’re bullet journalling all marks mean something so don’t forget to add their significance to your index.

The BuJo Key page gives you space to add your own marks

Stick it to ‘em

Sticky notes are perfect if you want to make a quick note. And they come in all shapes and sizes. These rainbow stickies by Mustard have been brightening up my hotdesk of late. Or you can keep things classic with standard squares of course. Most come in a variety of shades so you can colour code if that’s your thing.

Rainbow sticky notes

Shorthand sweet

You may not know Pitmans or Teeline, but it’s helpful to have your own shorthand system. Finding a way to render words from lines, dashes or symbols will accelerate your note taking. Remember to keep it legible and consistent though, otherwise you’ll have a page of notes that mean nothing to no one. Yes, I am speaking from experience!

Dusting off my Teeline skills

Whats the best way to make a note?

Share your hints and tips in the comments. And check back for more Nat Stat Week Celebrations. I’ve posted on this year’s themes and other days stationery addicts like to celebrate. In the meantime, happy note-taking.

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.


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!


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.

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?