I started drafting out this post whilst I was in Cardiff, last week. I was sitting on a bench in the middle of the street… The sun shining brightly and the wind in my hair (which had to be tied up so I could actually see what I was typing). Looking up, I could see stores lining up both sides of the street. The lampposts adorned with the Welsh flag hanging off them and lots of beautiful flowers hanging in the air. To my right was the street I had just came out of. A small side street known as “Royal Arcade”. In fact, it has now been marked in my memory as a place to revisit if I have the chance to go back.
Cardiff is a beautiful city with lovely architecture everywhere you look. It’s interesting to see a mix of the new and the old in a city – and I think that’s particularly noticeable here. There’s quite a few little alleyways with shops in them. Really sweet places like the Royal Arcade or others like the Morgan Quarter… Each housing different businesses.
These are just a few of the things that have stood out about the city, things that I’ve started to fall in love with in my short stay there. However, as a stationery addict, the real reason for this post does boil down to the small alleyway I mentioned at the start. In the Royal Arcade, there’s a large and beautiful stationery store that I’ve always wanted to visit. In fact, I’ve stalked them on Twitter for at least a year now but only last week did I have the opportunity to actually see it in person. This retailer is The Pen and Paper.
The Pen and Paper store:
If I could own an entire store to live in, this would probably be the one I want. It has so many things that I love – and even more things that I desperately wanted to buy. From housing some of my favourite notebooks to the wide range of fountain pens and inks… there was a planner section, with the gorgeous Rose Gold Saffiano Filofax that I’ve had my eye on the minute it was announced, such a lovely range of paper and even a well stocked art section. If you’re into drawing, cardmaking, painting, calligraphy, planning, nice pens, quality paper, papercutting or really anything else to do with stationery… they’ll have something of interest to you, I’m sure.
I honestly don’t think I capture in words how much I loved this store. I know they also sell things online but going there in person gives you a whole difference experience. It’s also really important to support local independent retailers or small businesses so it makes me happy to know I’ve spent money in a store like that.
I didn’t get to spend long there as I had a train to catch. So sadly, I couldn’t take many pictures but the one to the left captures a tiny portion of the store. Just look at the amount of ribbons they stocked!
It was really love at first sight. I spotted some things I have struggled to find in stores local to me. Some people say “London has everything” but somehow, I found things in this Cardiff retailer that I’ve never seen in London stores. Things like a particular kind of notebook or paper that I’ve had to order online, as it wasn’t stocked in any shop I went to. The variety of products they sell is fantastic and more than that, the staff all seem really friendly and kind. Good customer service is highly important for me. It’s what keeps me coming back to a store, after all.
So… What did I get?
Sadly, I didn’t get much. In fact, no where near the amount that I would have liked to. I was very tempted to get the Filofax I mentioned, a Leuchtturm sketchbook, a handful of other inks… Trust me, I wanted to get an entire suitcase of things. Unfortunately, both money and space was an issue, as I had already packed my tiny bags to the brim before I had even entered the store and I was very far away from pay day. Nonetheless, I picked up a few little bits and bobs.
Most of the items are things I needed anyway, like a converter for one of my fountain pens or some nice bold/broad nib pens. I managed to get my hands on the Lilac Satin ink too, which is one I’ve been lusting after for a little while but has been out of stock in my usual retailer. One thing that stood out to me was the alphabooks collection they had.
I totally want a whole bookcase of them now… (I admit, I’ve actually looked into the cost of that already too…) They are brilliant. I purchased the letter “R” to start with. However, I really liked the “&” options too. It could be fun as a wedding guest book, for example, if you got the couples initials with the ampersand. Honestly, I can’t decide if I’m going to keep this “R” or not. It would make a fantastic gift for someone I know but I also want to keep it myself… Might have to buy some more! I mean, just look at the foiling on the spine. It’s so elegantly done and has a real “library” feel to it. I really would love a bookcase for the whole alphabet of these.
I do think I’ve found my dream store… One that covers so many of my stationery needs. I love notebooks and pens but I’m also someone who enjoys cardmaking or calligraphy… There’s a few different crafts I enjoy and I also love being able to create art with my paints. A dream store, for me, would definitely have to cover the range of arts, crafts and stationery needs that I have. Unfortunately for me, this dream store is based in Cardiff – whilst I’m miles away in London, which I’m pretty gutted about! I’d be there all the time if I could.
In fact, I’ve already got a list of other initials & letters in the Alphabooks that I need to get my hands on now… I can’t wait to start playing around with them or gifting them to friends and family!
To find out more about this retailer, visit their website: The Pen and Paper. Some of their products seem to be available in store only. However, you can check out their online store if you can’t make it to Cardiff yourself! You may find a few goodies to pick up yourself.