The joy of the penpal

Penpals in the modern world||stationery by subscription

The Penpal! I had loads of of them as a teen in the late 80s and early 90s. Letter writing was the way to stay in touch with friends that it was just impossible to meet up with. So there were new friends from a regional Guide camp (who lived just the wrong side of the county to go shopping with). Chums from Swim camp who lived in other bits of the UK. Fans of various bands that I'd sat next to at concerts, and former school friends who had moved away.

Then excitingly there were the international pen friends. People who I had never meet, living in locations that I would never visit, who I could now claim a connection with. Contact details were gleaned from imported magazines. Details of daily lives exchanged along with friendship books and stickers.

Penpal letters were also good excuse to by loads of coloured paper, pens with lurid ink and stickers. And it gave me an excuse to carry a correspondence case around with me.

Times changed, didn't they?

The way to stay in touch changed. Myspace, text messages, email addresess, Facebook. These days I’m more likely to ask if someone I meet at a convention or event if they are on Twitter or Instagram. But none of these really compare to the joy of letters.

So I recently signed up for some new penpals. I wanted to enjoy the thrill of filling blank pages and sharing in a more personal way than social media allows. I want letters through my door.

A new penpal wrote to me first and I was so delighted to read pages from this new friend to be in Canada. I know that I’m going to be exposed to different experiences and view points by reading her letters. Yes, we can follow each other on social media but our main form of communication will be via letter. So we'll be forced to really reflect in order to describe things in detail, and figure out the structure of a longer piece of writing.

And what is the etiquette?

Should letters be hand written or typed? and if typed is a computer as acceptable as typewriter? Or has the riser of the PC and printer made penpals a possibility to for those who can't or don't want to handwrite? Is it OK to try and find your penal on social media? Should you share your Instagram account details so they can find you? Or is that missing the point?

I'm so excited to have an excuse for more stationery shopping. I'm also collecting bits and pieces to add to my letters from tea bags to postcards to pressed flowers.

P.S. If you've got a new penpal (or an old one) why not stock up on stickers to cover your letters and envelopes? It's a stick up is a collection of 9 different types of stickers for a tenner


Postal museum, cute things and rich people – an envelope of snippets for July

links for July 2017 |


We're past the longest day so no excuses! Get out there and do that summer stuff. Get round to all the activities you said, back in January, that you'd do when summer arrived and the weather was warm. Carla has been making more of an effort to sit in her garden while I'm definitely washing the car this week…

If you need to make excuses for a few more minutes then what better reason for procastination than reading the below?

Procrastination for July is right this way…

Wealth shouldn't just be about money. Hence we were rather enthralled by the San Miguel Rich list

Taking photos this summer? Apparently the Comedy Wildlife Photography Awards are an actual thing. Have a look at the 2016 finalists and get your entry in for 2017 by the end of September.

The eyes have it! If you prefer your photography subjects to stay in ne place but be just as cute have a look at this Instagram account

Looking for a museum to visit this summer? The Postal Museum opens in new premises in Farringdon on 28 July.

Have a joyful July!

P.s. thinking of writing a few letters while you're on your summer break? Grab a Get Writing selection to take with you


My life in stationery – Grace Hill

Say 'hello' to photographer Grace Hill. She's the latest person to tell us about her life in stationery. We like Grace; she likes fountain pens. And she's quite enthusiastic about sticky notes (these need their own mini subscription!).

First things first, what's your name?

Grace Hill

Photographer Grace Hill

What's the best thing you've ever received in the post?

Probably either flowers from my dad when I was little and he went to Morocco (he surprised my mum and I!) or flowers from my boyfriend on my 18th birthday when we were doing part of our relationship long distance and he couldn't see me!

What's your current favourite stationery item?

Post it notes – if I don't write on them, things don't get done!!

Are you a diary writer? Tell us about your journal habits if you are (and don't worry if you're not!)

I'm not! But I do blog, so I suppose that's a virtual diary!

And are you a list maker?

Most definitely!

Favourite ink colour?

Blue! Something about traditional blue fountain pen ink. I was the only kid in my classes throughout school to write everything with a fountain pen and blue ink!

Your favourite place to write?

Probably in my room at night, I seem to be most creative and in control then, so I can plan ahead and get things organised!

Last thing you posted?

Camera equipment!

Want to have a peek at some of the fabulous images that Grace captures? Head over to and prepare to be amazed. She's pretty keen on furry things, tea and travel so if they're up your street you'll get on great!

Fancy your life in stationery appearing on our blog? Why not fill in our quizlette, tell us about yourself and impress your friends?



Who doesn’t love post it notes and stickers? And lately, to add to the joy of sticking things, there’s also washi tape… glorious, addictive, washi tape.

sticky stuff |

Aside from their general appeal, summer can be a nightmare for crafting & bullet journal fans – your pritt stick dries up, your carefully curated stack of paper flies everywhere when you switch on your fan, and it’s just generally too hot for crafting that requires lots of effort.

With this in mind, sticky things seem to be the ultimate summer crafting activity, so we’ve created the Sticky Stuff mini subscription.  It’s a bargainous £10 a month including p&p, for three whole months, which takes you through to autumn.

While we’re keeping the exact contents a surprise, each month is packed to the brim with stickers, sticky notes and tape galore – perfect for summer journalling. (I actually really like using stickers to illustrate my daily activities when I’m busy!).

You can order yours by clicking here or by heading over to the shop in case other things also tickle your fancy!

Happy sticking!

P.S. in response to you lovely lot wanting to gift the mini subscription (but not now because people’s birthdays are at all sorts of times in the year), we have decided to restock the London mini subscription too, and remove the deadline to buy. So you can now get your mitts on a London Love

Boxing in June

Not that kind of boxing, stationery boxing!

We’ve been packing and posting with the help of Kettle this month (we really must do a feature on the Ink Drops cats…) and here’s our boxing video for June!

I’m particularly fond of the space notebook and that glorious elephant card this month.

Now off to follow the cats’ example and flop about in the garden, because it’s far too hot to do anything sensible…

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