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Business Series: Spotlight Stationery

Spotlight Stationery Subscription BoxToday’s feature is a business that I’ve been following quite avidly on social media, called Spotlight Stationery.  They produce these incredibly well curated stationery subscription boxes, each featuring a range of gorgeous products.  I really love that they work with young illustrators, giving them the opportunity to be promoted and they source their products from a range of companies.  In fact, I’ve found out about several new products or brands simply by visiting their website.  Spotlight Stationery also stocks other products, such as notebook covers.  What I really like, however, is their gift sets.  All of them have been curated with a lot of thought and love.  With their luxurious feel, they would make an amazing gift for any special occasion!

One of the masterminds behind Spotlight Stationery is a lady whose passion for stationery is easily noticeable.  Mary was also a judge for the 2017 Stationery Awards, which speaks volumes for her credibility in the profession!  So without further ado, let’s jump into this Q&A with Mary herself.
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Take a break, cut yourself some slack, take some time out

As a blogger, cutting yourself some slack is actually pretty difficult if you’re anything like me.  It’s hard to just let things go, when you expect better of yourself.  I always want to be productive and be able to say I’ve achieved something useful today.  Not being a full time blogger has it’s own set of advantages or disadvantage.  A con is that you have to make time to blog, outside of all of your other commitments.  You have to work full-time elsewhere or study alongside it, as well as having family responsibilities or social commitments.  This means I set myself regular goals and tasks that I expect I should do within a given time period and not doing them means things build up.   Last week, I had several tasks that I planned to do every evening, after work.  These tasks vary from chores to blogging related activities.

And honestly? I did zero of those things.  Literally none of them.  Nada.  Zilch.  In fact, I didn’t even attempt to do most of them.  I was at work in the day time, which meant I was out of the house on the weekdays.  I would got home, exhausted.  I’d sit around and think about the things I had to do that evening.  Then I realised I was way too tired to function properly and would end up sleeping instead.  They were meant to be short naps but the snooze button became my best friend in the evenings and I kept hitting it until I had to get up – just to have dinner.

And that’s okay…

Normally, I would feel down at this point. I would regret that I wasted so much time and had lots of unproductive evenings.  I would feel guilty, knowing full well that I was behind on the week’s tasks – that I would struggle to meet the goals for this week.  But I didn’t.  When I decided to sleep I made a conscious decision.  I choose to look after my mental and physical health over anything else.  My own well-being was far more important than blogging in those moment.  Don’t get me wrong, I love writing posts for this blog.  But it’s not something I want to become a chore. It’s a fun task, relaxing even and it makes sense to write when I’m actually in the right mindset to be able to write.  Last week, I could barely remember my own name, let alone actually construct sentences.

I’ve been working a lot in the past few weeks, had a lot going on in my personal life and even had a really busy time with my blog.  Even with the blog related things, I haven’t had a chance to share most of it on here yet – don’t worry, it’s coming – but if you’re following me on instagram or twitter then you may have seen some snapshots of what I’ve been getting up to.  I’ve been to two trade shows, a planner convention and a VIP launch event – all simple because I love stationery and blogging.  I also have a pages of blog post ideas – so I don’t think I’ll run short any time soon.  In fact, I should be going to the Cross Sports Book Awards this evening too but sadly will end up missing it to go to the hospital.

That’s been alongside working extra hours to meet some deadlines at work, including the organisation of a launch party and tons of promotional materials that made me want to not look at computers for a while. I love designing and social media but after the weeks I’ve had at work, I kind of needed a bit of a break from it.  So I took those few evenings to sleep, recuperate and I don’t think that’s a bad thing at all.

Remember to allow yourself a break

I wanted to share this little story with you as a reminder that it’s okay to have a break.  In fact, you should have one.  It’s good for you.  Taking some time out has helped me to think clearer.  It’s given me some time to stop thinking about today’s to do list but rather to think about the bigger picture.  I’ve come up with even more ideas or goals that I want to achieve by giving myself that space to step back and observe it.

With all of the tragedy in the news these days, it’s perhaps even more important to take some time to look after yourself and your mental well-being.  There’s so much overwhelming sadness in the papers or recent events, it’s heart breaking.  I’ve cried countless times whilst reading the news – especially in .  It’s truly heartbreaking and my thoughts and prayers are with everyone who has been affected by these tragedies.

I’ve spoken about the importance of self-care often but I think it’s something a lot of us neglect.  We forget about doing it.  Often, we’re so busy looking after others that we forget to make time for ourselves.  But honestly, if you’ve decided you’re going to have a nice relaxing bath tomorrow after work, put on some music and drink a glass of wine then do it.  If your friend wants to go to the cinema, don’t reschedule your bath time.  Put it in the diary, treat it like a priority.  Most people don’t cancel on plans they’ve made with friends or colleagues but are happy to cancel on their own plans.  I admit, there are times when you do need to be flexible and alter your plans.  But you do also need to pay attention to how much time you actually spend taking a break.

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* Papio Press: Tiger Notebooks

Notebooks are probably one of the things that I have too many of…  Nonetheless, I’m always looking for more.  There’s a huge variety of ways that you could use notebooks so they end up being the easiest thing to hoard.  I go through notebooks fairly often, I think.  I like to have one in my bag all the time for on the go notes and then others for specific projects.  So when I came across Papio Paper notebooks, I sort of fell in love.  It was sort of love at first sight, to be honest.  The minute I saw how gorgeous the cover designs were, I was floored.  Today’s review is based on the Papio Press Tiger notebooks.

Papio Press have a huge variety of notebooks designs.  These illustrations are done by the husband and wife team that run the company, which I think is pretty amazing.  It’s one of those small businesses where you know that you’re supporting people’s dreams and livelihoods – and not just funding a corporate giant.  Each illustration is absolutely gorgeous.  I genuinely did struggle to pick just one favourite… So I just gave up!  Perhaps a top ten of those I equally love would be more realistic.

Papio Press Notebook - Tigers

Luckily I didn’t have to make that choice for this review as I was kindly sent a pair to review by Pocket Notebooks, who sent the tigers pack.  These tiger illustrations are stunning. I absolutely love the detail in the designs, and the vivid colours.  A black background really makes these colours jump out at you.

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Mental Health Awareness Week 2017

I don’t know about you but I’ve had an incredibly busy and stressful few weeks.  I’ve gotten to the point where I have so much to do that I don’t even know where to start.  It’s kind of hard to prioritise when at least half of your to do list is important and needs to be done immediately.  So today is the perfect time to take a moment to take about something vital: mental health.  Being stressed, overwhelmed or anxious about things can have a negative impact on your mental health.  So many people experience mental health problems – and yet we don’t talk about it enough!  Monday 8th May will mark the start of Mental Health Awareness Week.  This is such a crucial topic so let’s talk about it.

I wanted to talk a little about the topic today, in advance of the week to give you time to get involved.  In particular, I wanted to share some of the things I’ve found that help me to cope.

Mental Health Awareness Week 2017 - Surviving or Thriving?

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Launch Giveaway #4 – Fountain Pen Friday

Launch Giveaway #4 status: Closed.

For the final giveaway for National Stationery Week, I thought it would be perfect to tie it in with Fountain Pen Friday.  I absolutely love fountain pens.  There’s something satisfying about writing with a fountain pen and ink.  I’m pretty sure it makes my handwriting a lot nicer than other pens too.  However, not everyone is a fountain pen user.  So for Fountain Pen Friday, I wanted to do a giveaway that was open to everyone but also tied in with the pens I love.  As a result, I’ve chosen to add the “J Herbin Rollerball pen” to the bundle.  This pen has a rollerball nib but uses fountain pen ink.  It’s a great combination, allowing you to experience the variety of colours and fun of writing in ink whilst using a nib that most people are familiar with.  Be sure to check out the other two giveaways running over here.

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Launch Giveaway #3 – World Stationery Day

Launch Giveaway #3 status: Closed.

As National Stationery Week continued on, I find myself falling more in love with the industry – if that’s even possible.  Being a stationery addict is incredibly fun.  Unfortunately, it also meant I was so busy that I didn’t manage to get this post up in time.  In honour of World Stationery Day, which was on Wednesday, I wanted to giveaway this second stationery bundle.  You can find the other giveaways for National Stationery Week over here.

Launch Giveaway #3 Prize - Stationery Bundle Continue reading “Launch Giveaway #3 – World Stationery Day”

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Launch Giveaway #2 – Pen and Pencil Day

Launch Giveaway #2 status: Closed.

In true better late than never style, I thought it was about time I did the other three giveaways I promised in honour of launching a new domain.  The first one is a planner bundle, that you can find here.  Whilst these next three will be small stationery bundles, each slightly different.  In honour of National Stationery Week, which starts today, these giveaways will take place over the course of the week.  In addition to this, I will be active on social media and be sharing lots of other exciting news.  You can find links to the other #NatStatWeek posts and giveaways over here.  So without further ado, let’s jump into the first giveaway.


Launch Giveaway #2 Prize - Stationery Bundle
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National Stationery Week 2017

The week we’ve all been waiting for is now upon us (or at least, the week all of us stationery addicts have been waiting for!).  Stationery addicts and users across the country are coming together.  All to celebrate one thing: their love of stationery.

Due to personal reasons, I sadly won’t be able to get involved with the activities this week as much as I would have liked.  Last year, I shared a post daily.  You can find these posts by clicking here.  I planned to do the same until unexpected personal reasons cropped up.  However, I still want to do something.  My first launch giveaway is currently underway, where the winner will get a planner bundle.  This week, I will be holding three additional giveaways and will be updating this post as I go along.  So check back here daily for the update!  Where possible, I will also be around on Twitter – so please drop me a tweet to chat!  For now, let’s jump right in.

#NatStatWeek Seven Days of Stationery

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Write_On Campaign 2017

Writing letters is making a definite comeback in society.  As technology advances, the art of letterwriting seems to wither away.  It’s understandable in a way – social media has made it easier than ever to contact someone, anywhere in the world.  It’s a lot faster.  But there’s some advantages to writing that cannot be achieved in other methods of written communication.  And there’s a few of us that don’t want to see it wither away.  That few of us that seem to be growing in strength and numbers.  With several months, weeks and days dedicated to writing, letters are becoming popular again – and for good reasons!

In February, we saw InCoWriMo, which stands for International Correspondence Writing Month (run by the organisers of NaNoWriMo – National Novel Writing Month).  But that’s just the beginning.  The start of April marked the start of the Write_On challenge.  This challenge encourages you to write 30 letters in 30 days but since we’re already started, you could aim to write 12 – one of each of the remaining days.  At the very least, aim to write one!

I particularly like that National Stationery Week, here in the UK, also falls in this month.  Two major campaigns to get people writing more.  I found out about the challenge last year, where I shared over 30 letters you could write, in case you didn’t know who to send them to.  This year, I thought I would take a moment to share over 30 reasons why you should write in the first place.

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* Say Nice Things: Crystal A5 Journal

Small independent stationery companies have always been close to my heart.  No matter what the industry is, supporting small businesses is important.  Not only are you helping people achieve their dreams but you may also find a new favourite company to shop from.  Often, the best part about finding small businesses is discovering the unique products that they offer.  These products may even be better than the ones offered by the well known brands.  Today, I’m thrilled to be able to share a look into one of the products from a small company called Say Nice Things.

Say Nice Things offers journals and notebooks in beautiful covers.  Today’s review looks at the Crystal A5 Journal*, which has a gorgeous cover in an array of pastel colours.

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