Someone I know (mid-30s, no kids) recently said that she still gets "Back to School" vibes in September. I wholeheartedly agree and I don't believe we are alone. I'm now more than a decade out of the world of full time education, and to me September still feels like more of a fresh start than the new year does.
Maybe it's the fact that it coincides with the changing of the seasons. There's a delicious crispness to the air and a hint of yellow creeping into the leaves... I don't know. What I do know is that September always makes me want to clear the house out, take some time to pause and reflect, think about goals for the coming months, before the chaos of (whisper it) Christmas is upon us.
Photo by Chris Lawton on Unsplash
As a lifelong stationery lover (more to follow on that shortly), I find the best way to focus my "new chapter" feelings is to get them down on paper with a nice new notebook. I know it's a bit geeksville, but there a few things that bring me more pleasure than the pristine whiteness of the first blank page of a brand new notebook. Well, few things that don't involve cheese or wine, that is.
Whether your intention is to write a novel, make a meal plan, a birthday list, or just get your thoughts down for the day, a proper notebook is the only way, in my humble opinion. Given the popularity of 'grown-up' stationery brands these days, I know I'm not the only one thrilled by pens, paper and the rest.
Thinking back to my actual school days has made me realise quite how much of a stationery geek I have always been. Whilst pondering the whole new-year-new-stationery thing, I suddenly remembered with startling clarity, a tweenage trip to WHSmith in Southend. Armed with £10 of saved-up pocket money with the sole intention of buying my stationery for the new term. After much deliberation, I selected a matching notebook, pencil case and ringbinder from Kangol (do they still exist??), in a bold black and white stripe. I was so pleased with myself! Yes, it appears I even loved monochrome as a child.
Image from Diamonds Mens Stores.
I've scoured the internet for an image of the actual stationery I bought, but no luck! Best I can do is the Kangol logo for your nostalgic pleasure.
It's funny how thinking about one memory can jolt others into view, isn't it? So whilst recalling my stationery-based outings to Southend-on-Sea, I was also reminded of my very favourite stationery item in senior school. I hope you'll forgive me for this, but it was a fluffy pen. Like the one Cher has in Clueless, but acid green instead.
Images from thehunt.com
I think it had a clear barrel with floating sparkles. Yes, really. I will admit that my taste has not always been quite so minimalist as it is now. My English teacher once said to me that it was the kind of pen that Curly's wife might own. This was whilst we were reading Of Mice and Men, of course. If you've read it, you'll know that's a fairly inappropriate thing for a teacher to have said and also, I feel, unnecessarily mean. Yes, it's a frivolous item, but don't we all need a little bit of frivolity, now and then? I don't feel it undermined my commitment to the actual lesson. Anyway, if you've not read Of Mice and Men, I urge you to do so, it's a cracking novel.
As much as I'm sure you're enjoying being regaled by my young adventures in stationery, I probably ought to wrap this up now. I'm going to do so by featuring my top picks from our current stationery selection, just in case you're feeling the Back to School vibe yourself. Sadly, we don't sell fluffy pens.
Blackwing, the ultimate pencil. The 602 is specially formulated for a smooth writing experience. £30 for a box of 12.
We love the iconic silhouette of these 2-in-1 scissors by Human Mechanic Method. You can even buy an accompanying magnetic stand for maximum impact. £42.
See your week clearly with this A4 tear-off weekly planner pad by Design Letters. £11.50.
Whilst we're getting organised, allow me to introduce our latest stationery brand - MiGoals. I'm 100% behind their Get Shit Done manifesto. The A5 Notebook and Desk Pad are £6 each.
For notebooks with less expletives, this A5 hardback beauty (Design Letters again) is £13.50.
Onto the additional accessories...
Turning the screw shaped 'Viss' eraser by Metaphys gives a constant sharp edge. £4 each.
The scale on this aluminium ruler by Midori is laser etched so it will never fade. £5.
Of course you'll need somewhere to keep your lovely new stationery too. How about this gorgeously minimal PULP box, also by Midori. Made from old newspapers, it's the ethical and stylish choice. £5.
Last, but not least... washi tape. I honestly don't know how I would live without it. We stock a huge range of monochrome designs, but Hougan Black is my personal fave. £3 per 10m roll.
Thanks for taking the time to read this. All images copyright White Black Grey unless otherwise stated.
Apologies to anyone not born in the 1980s. I'm off to watch Clueless.