Eccentric, tea drinking, stationary addicted cat lady. Living with multiple chronic illnesses and a multipack of crisps, you'll most likely find me with a cup of tea, a new notebook and my kitty cat. Or in a hedge taking photos of wildlife. So grab a cup of tea with me, sit down and get stuck in.
Who doesn’t like stationery? We all do, right? Few love it as much as me. So much so that when I found out the kikki.K Birmingham Grand Central pop up store had closed I was beside myself. I’m told by my mom (a very crafty lady who was upset by the news too) that she spent some time composing the text to tell me and bringing herself to send it to over. Whilst I am starting to recover from the blow (something only tea, kitty cuddles and online stationery shopping can cure) I have discovered there is a store in Covent Garden, London, and am planning a trip to Swedish stationery heaven. In the meantime I am signed up to the mailing list and when an email with a 20% off code popped into my inbox I was on the laptop quicker than you could say ‘put the debit card away Karen’!
A few days later I came home to find this box of joy waiting for me.
I promptly tidied my desk/office space to ensure that my new purchases could take pride of place. Trinny the kitty also helped, if snoozing is a form of help of course.
So here’s a sneak peak of my order… (try not to be too jealous!).
There you have it, one very stunning, gorgeous, cute (and all those kind of words) order. I’m a very happy customer indeed. Next stop, Covent Garden. Go ahead and Google the store, you’ll be joining the queue with me.
I never win anything, so when I came across a competition on Twitter to win a monthly stationery box I thought nothing more of it. When I received a message on Twitter to say I was a winner, oh my did I feel lucky. As a lifelong stationery addict, I was about to receive a box full of pen and notebook surprises. And I was not to be disappointed.
Spotlight Stationery run a monthly or bi-monthly subscription box for £25 per box. Whilst this is a little out of my price range at the moment, it’s a great price as a treat for yourself or even a present for a fellow stationery lover (FYI my birthday is in the summer!!). The box is full of high quality goodies, far better than I expected having subscribed to lower priced alternatives in the past.
After reluctantly tearing open the beautiful wrapping and string, I found that the box contains two extremely high quality notepads (A5 and A6 in size), both lined and plain papered. They both come with a little bookmark which I think is a really lovely little touch. It also contains two pencils which my colleagues and I thought were paint brushes on first glance due to their unique design. These are perfect for me as I’ve recently discovered writing in pencil is much less painful for me than when I write in pen, so I’ll be keeping one of these on each on my desks at home and work. There are also some fun little paperclips and a lovely blue pen enclosed this month which writes in a smooth medium blue ink, perfect for birthday cards and letter writing.
What I also love about Spotlight Stationery is that they send a small amount of their profits to a charity called National Star which supports young people with disabilities. Do have a look at their website as their work is both interesting and inspiring.
Spotlight also support young upcoming artists by enclosing their artwork in the boxes, this month in the form of some cute little postcards.
I absolutely love this box, and I’ll definitely be saving up so I can treat myself to another very soon. I’d definitely recommend it if you need to spruce up your desk area, and revamp your notepad collection. This made for a great start to my week, thanks Spotlight for bringing a smile to my face on this grey chilly Monday.
Meet my friend Stuart. We met when we worked for the same company three years ago at a rather boring work’s event and bonded over a love of all things peculiar; he likes lampposts, I like trains. We decided that night we were separated at birth. Despite the fact I can’t even draw stick men, Stuart and I have over the years created ‘Sinister Dinners’, a creation of evil raging meals that are out to kill, ‘Amish Pete’ which was a drawing of our friend that I sent terribly wrong. Then there was the mushroom picture. The less said about that the better! Anyway, meet Stuart:
Stuart, or Professor Mystery as he is also known, is a quite brilliant artist. His own unique style and input of lampposts in most of his work makes for some flippin’ amazing artwork.
When he’s not watching Doctor Who, Stuart can be found in his studio, or sat in a coffee shop, sketchbook in hand. In fact, it’s the one thing he never leaves the house without. He draws in ink ( I heard a rumour his pens cost £18 each!) and is happiest when his hands are black with ink from a long day’s drawing.
As some of your are probably aware, I’m looking to start my own stationery business. As a fellow stationery addict, Stuart has offered to design some artwork for my logos and website. Our first proper ‘meeting’ (tea drinking, discussing trains and clipboards) was last week and five minutes after getting his sketchbook out things were already taking shape.
Check out Stuart’s Facebook page to see lots more of his work here, have a read of his intriguing blog and follow him on Twitter.
Like any other 29 year old I have hopes, dreams and expectations of what my life should be like. Most of these ideas and expectations have come about since I became ill four years ago. Until then I was just plodding along with life. I left school before my sixteenth birthday and have mainly worked in admin roles which left plenty of time, and just enough money, for fun; shopping, baking, gardening and evenings out.
Chronic illness means I now spend most of my time at home with more time than ever to think about what I really want my future to hold. I started an Open University degree in politics, started this blog, and realised I’d like to run my own little business.
I’ve always been a stationery addict. I blame my mom and her pencil collection! After much thought, chewing the ears of my wife, friends and family, I decided I wanted to try and start and online stationery business, with a stall a few weekends at my local market in Brighton too. This would fit around my day job and maybe bring in a little extra income in addition to my part time wages. The hope in the long run was that in a few years maybe I’d be able to reduce my working hours and be able to work from home, giving me a little more flexibility with my illness. If I was too sore to get dressed, then I could work in my pyjamas. If I’d had a bad night, I could pack orders later on in the day. No set nine to five and no travelling would make my life much less exhausting.
But there have been many hurdles. This year my health has worsened, and trying to plan and set a business up, live with chronic fatigue and pain and work a thirty hour week is completely impossible. Throw my degree into the mix. No way was this going to work. Attending tutorials, trade shows, conferences and networking events was completely draining. I’ve had to take the tough decision to defer my studies for a year and put the business trinnys.co.uk on a back burner.
In one way I feel lucky to have had the time to realise what I really want to do with my life and notice that opportunities for people like me really are out there. If I hadn’t become ill, would I have realised what I wanted to do, or would I have just continued plodding along nine to five in a dead end job that I hated? I need to stop agonising over the potential future I may have lost through illness and focus on the present. For me that means spending the next few months learning to manage my illness as well as possible. This will involve routines, addressing sleeping problems, rest breaks and most importantly I feel, pacing. Hopefully I’ll be able to merge my studies into my routine next autumn and maybe one day, my little business too.