Journal

Travel Guide: Scotland 17.05.19

We are still settling back into the studio after spending the last two weeks road tripping through Scotland. Here are just some of the many amazing things we found along the way!

First tip, hire a campervan! We were lucky enough to borrow my parents but there are campervan hire spots dotted across Scotland and the Islands which, if like us you are coming up from London, might save some journey time if you jump on a flight to Glasgow and pick up a camper there. Its also the only way to explore all the little nooks the islands have to offer and means you have everything you need with you along the way. Top tip…. stock up before heading off the mainland, we were surprised at just how remote everything was, especially if you are travelling with kids!

Although you might be desperate to hit the coast I would make time to pop into Glasgow city centre… making sure you pay a visit to The Gallery of Modern Art. Its a beautiful art gallery, full of really interesting and interactive pieces, and great for kids too. A friend took us to Paesano Pizza for lunch and it lived up to all the hype. It was such incredible pizza, super friendly service and great coffee!

We then headed north west to Fort William, sadly Baloo is a bit small (and heavy) for us to take on Ben Nevis – but if you get the chance the views are incredible. If like us, you cant or dont want to do the climb take the Gondola up the mountain range where you can find a lovely restaurant and some more modest walking paths across the range.

From Fort William, we travelled up to the Isle of Skye. We stayed at Glenbrittle Campsite on the south west of the island. Its a remote little spot, between the beach and the mountains, completely off the grid with a cute little cafe serving award winning coffee and snacks.

The Fairy Pools are just up the road from the campsite, it was busiest spot we visited, but still much quieter than most tourist spots! Its well worth the hike even with a big toddler on your back! The walk takes you to crystal clear waterfalls and pools running through the mountains. Lots of myths and stories linked to fairies in area although sadly we didnt see any on our visit! Both the campsite and the Fairy pools are on the Dunvegan estate, and just down the road is Dunvegan Castle. Another lovely spot filled with legends and myths and well worth a visit while you’re there.

We then jumped on the ferry across to the Isle of Harris, in the Outer Hebrides. We had been recommended the unmissable Luskentyre Beach – once again it lived up to the hype… It was absolutely stunning,  white sands and turquoise seas even on a grey day. It was completely deserted which added to the feeling that you had found a real gem. The west coast actually continues much the same way for a good few miles, so I recommend jumping in the campervan and exploring further down the coastal road.

The isle of Harris also offers a bit of a rare find… the Harris Gin Distillery; unlike most of its Scottish neighbours that focus on the Scott’s main tipple, Whisky. Its a very cool distillery with beautifully branded product and a a cute cafe that wouldn’t be out of place in East London.
After a few days exploring the Islands in our little campervan with little more than running water and heat I was completely settled into our simple life, battling the elements and finding extra appreciation in all the incredible views along the way. The driving through landscapes that  are without doubt some of the most breath taking I have seen and in itself a huge part of the trip, not to be rushed.
We followed Martin Dorey’s ‘Slow Road’ back to Oban on the Mainland and around the coast back to Loch Lomond where we first began. One of the highlights along the way was Inveraray Castle. A beautiful green Walt Disney style castle in the most beautiful grounds and (if its to your tasting) the world famous Loch Fyne Oysters straight from their source.
Along the way we experienced uncountable moments spent in the most pinch-me idyllic spots that I urge you to experience yourself.

Playlist: Spring Vol. V – Picnic 16.05.19

Hooray for May! Listen to our picnic playlist whilst enjoying the warmer weather and the longer days in the great outdoors. Pic @noemiferst


Playlist: Spring Vol. IV – World Stationery Day 01.05.19

Celebrate World Stationery Day with our paper-themed playlist!


National Stationery Week: 7 Must-have stationery items 30.04.19

Whether you’re studying, working, blogging or designing, Stationery can help you stay organised and productive throughout your day. For National Stationery Week we’ve put together a list of 7 stationery must-haves to improve your workflow whilst looking beautiful on your desk at the same time.

Pencils

Whether you like to write, draw, sketch, shade or doodle it’s an important to have a great set of pencils. Choosing from a selection of grades means you can swap between the above whenever.

Sharpeners

Who doesn’t hate a blunt pencil! We’ve snapped too many pencils leads to know it’s important to choose a good quality sharpener. M+R make great single and double brass sharpeners. If you’re looking for something a bit more specialist, the DUX adjustable sharpener has 3 different sharpening settings.

Erasers

…Because we all make mistakes, plus there is nothing worse than smudging your page when using a bad rubber. Koh-i-Noor make a selection high-quality erasers that also look great on your desk.

Pens

Having a good pen is so important as it’ll probably be the most used item on the list. Kaweco have been making them since 1883 – Choose from a timeless Fountain pen or a more modern rollerball design.

Pencil Case

You always need somewhere to store all of your pens and pencils, Our HiDE leather zip pencil case is the ideal container for your stationery supplies.

Lay-Flat Notebook

Our latest notebook, the lay-flat lets you write comfortably on every single page. The 90gsm blank pages give you total freedom when drawing or writing and with 300 pages means you won’t run out in a hurry.

Organiser

Stay organised, even when you’re on the go! the HiDE Personal Organiser let’s you store all of your essentials in one place and is perfect if you’re never in one place for too long.


Playlist: Spring Vol.III – Easter Weekend 18.04.19

We’ve whisked a few songs together to help you have an eggcellent Easter weekend! 


Meet Our Stockists: Wild About Flowers

More than just a flower shop, Wild About Flowers has been trading on Keynsham High Street for 19 years and offers a unique shopping experience. Stocking a selection gifts, interiors, greeting cards and chocolate, sourced from local designers and of course an amazing display of fresh flowers, sourced daily and hand-selected from the best suppliers in the South West.

We met with Rosa to discuss the stores history, flowers, cards and more!

Q. Tell us about why you opened the store?

Wild About Flowers was born in the year 2000 when a trio of qualified florists left their professional careers and ventured out to establish a distinctively different floristry business on Keynsham High Street in Bristol. Within a year the shop was being ran solo by Angela who had always dreamt of being a florist after attending a flower class with her Nan when she was 7. Her Mum had always grown flowers in the garden, and her Grandad was a veg grower, so there was always a love and appreciation for nature and flowers. She left a career in banking to pursue her a heartfelt lifelong ambition, and the retail florist was a golden opportunity.

Q. Is there a story behind your stores name? 

Angela had a group task at college to name a shop and illustrate how it would be run, at the time I really liked it, but I never thought that one day it would come to be in existence. Having now been in business for almost 20 years, the name very much represents what we are. We are wild about all things floral and our business run throughs our heart and soul.

Q. What has been the best moment in your stores life so far?

After 17 years of renting our small but cute high street shop, in 2017 we opened our new and much larger premises in a Grade II listed Georgian town House. There were many people who helped us with the renovations and it was a special moment to have our family and friends together at our open evening. An overwhelming moment was the day our name was hand painted on the building, completed with our purple Georgian front door and knocker. It was a day where you could see a dream becoming a reality and the realisation of all the hard work it took to get to that moment.

Q. What is one item you can’t live without?

We couldn’t possibly run our business without our iPhones and we relish the opportunities it offers our brand. There’s often a lot of negativity around phones and social media, but we like to always see the positive and the endless creativity it offers. We love how Instagram allows us to connect and collaborate with other creative businesses, whilst engaging with our lovely customers; not to mention the myriad of inspiration we’ll find on our feed.

Q. Where did you first hear about Katie Leamon?

We first came across Katie Leamon at Top Drawer trade show about 5 years ago. Her designs were so refreshing with a complimenting colour palette; the marble prints were a particular favourite of ours. At the time we were still in our small shop, so we had little room to stock products, but we always liked to visit to get inspiration. Now we are in our expanded new home, we are so proud to stock a range of distinct brands that we love.

Q. What is your favourite Katie Leamon Product? 

The luxurious navy and copper crackers caught our eye and we loved having these to sell. More than just a flower shop, we like to offer a unique shopping experience to our customers. These were the perfect addition for the festive period to bring a touch of opulence in-store.

Q. What would be your top tip for someone visiting Bristol/Keynsham?

Never stop exploring! It’s a city with so much to offer and always has something going on. There are so many amazing independent businesses in Bristol and we love the community


Playlist: Spring Vol.II – April Showers 05.04.19

Tracks to make sure you have a great weekend, whatever the weather!

Pic. @chantillysongs


Why “Made in England” is important to me

If you have a look at the back of one of our cards or notebooks, or on our pencils and wrap you will see the phrase “Made in England”. Firstly, despite the political limbo we find ourselves in, our pledge for local production is far from a political outcry but simply a way for us to ensure ethical processes are being met and our carbon footprint remains low. My awareness of ethical and ecological trading were very much present when I started the business so here’s what Made in England means to me…

At university I studied Fashion & Textiles and discovered the detrimental effects that fast fashion has on the environment and the people involved, in fact this is what I wrote my dissertation on. After leaving University I started working in fair trade fashion. Working for an ethical and sustainable brand solidified my decision that if I did start my own company I would make sure the processes behind my products were transparent wherever possible and I would use local production to ensure carbon footprint was kept to a minimum and that I would be able to be present and involved with any outsourced production.

Before starting my business I defined all the critical things that I wanted my future brand to represent. This included a fair and open working environment, ethical trading with suppliers and an ecological awareness on all the products we made, this was much easier to manage by using locally sourced product. The majority of our cards are hand printed in house, and all our products are hand packed in house so we can ensure things are dispatched looking perfect and with a personal touch. All our suppliers are close to us and have all become trusted business contacts who share our principles on ecological issues and staff welfare. This is what “Made in England” means to me. 

It’s important for us to help move the industry in the right direction; encourage others to take the Plastic Free by 2020 pledge and continue to research and develop new techniques that have a more sustainable future. While sometimes overseas production runs rings around the UK price wise, and as such we are sometimes limited in our choices – by using suppliers local to us, we can engage and form trusted relationships which is integral to the nature of our brand.
Katie


Playlist: Spring Vol.I 21.03.19

Press play and start your weekend with a spring in your step.

pic. @ariellevey


Write_On Campaign 20.03.19

How many letters will you write during National Letter Writing month? We first discovered the Write_On campaign back in 2016 through one of our favourite US brands – Egg Press. Katie took part in the challenge that year and wrote 30 letters throughout April (one per day).

Since then our company has grown, we’ve moved studios (twice) and Katie & Ruairi have welcomed Baloo into the world. As such, we haven’t been in a position to take part but this year we can’t wait to get involved once more. As a brand we have always been advocates of written correspondence and constantly push to keep the art of letter writing alive. At a time of such digital convenience, this campaign speaks true to us and is a catalyst to inspire the writer in all of us.

Keep up to date with Katie’s letter writing journey for the #Write_On challenge via our Instagram and other social platforms. If you would also like to take part head over to www.writeoncampaign.com for more info.


Playlist: 2019 Vol. V – International Women’s Day 09.03.19

Empowering songs from our favourite female artists, musicians and singers!


Happy International Women’s Day 08.03.19

What better way to celebrate IWD than with some reflection on our humble little business…. As you may know I started the brand back in 2010 wanting to create paper products that reflect my love of typography and vintage stationery items. What you may not know is that my Mum was my first employee, helping to pack cards and send orders out. As the brand began to grow my sister Rachel joined the team – originally during her maternity leave before staying on full time. My sister and mum now run our production studio in Essex just minutes away from our childhood family home. They are absolutely critical in the running of the company and without doubt two of the best women I know. I feel very lucky that I get to do what I love for a living, and even luckier that I get to share it with my family.

We now have 10 employees working between Essex and our new London design studio. The team has grown very organically and is made up of mainly family and friends as well as a few new faces. As the company has grown, my goals have changed as i’m now not only a designer but an entrepreneur and business leader (which I never really considered at the start!) I still love to design and create beautiful products but also strive to create an open collaborative work environment where everyone has a voice and the opportunity to flourish. I am lucky to work with some amazing women and men, including my partner Ruairi and my uncle, Jonathan that make our team an amazing, inspiring place to work.

#BalanceforBetter

Katie


Meet our Stockists: Cursive 06.03.19

Meet Cursive, New York – A personal expression of Michael and Douglas’ combined love of objects and life. With one store at Grand Central and another on Broadway you are never to far away from your next stationery fix in NYC. Find out about their inspirations for opening and running their stores along with their top tips for visiting New York City and more.

Q. Why did you want to open your own store?

It was based around the idea that a stationery shop could be more, something inspired, different. We opened the first Cursive inside of ABC Carpet and Home almost 15 years ago; it was a much different time then.

Q. What is the story behind your stores name “Cursive”?

We had a list of names like Paperclip, “&” and Motel Deluxe.  All solid stationery and writing related themes, but we just couldn’t commit to any of them. One day while riding the subway I looked up and there, on a rocker kid’s jacket, was a little round pin that said CURSIVE.   Turns out it was the name of an Indie Rock band… perfect for what we were going to do with our shop!

Q. What has been the best moment in your stores life so far?

The spaces we have created for communities to form around are our biggest accomplishment. Seeing how much joy the shops inspire in people’s lives really gives us the most pleasure. Mom and Pop, or in our case, Pop and Pop shops are the backbones of communities.  Independent stores are a dying breed in New York City. It is very rewarding that we are supported and celebrated.

Q. One item you can’t live without?

A fine tip pen. Oh… and a journal.  And a cocktail… preferably all at the same time!

Q. Where did you first hear about Katie Leamon?  

We first discovered Katie’s line at the National Stationery Show in 2014. We are big proponents of trade fairs; it’s really the only way to see the complete vision and POV of the designers.

Q. Do you have a favourite Katie Leamon Product?

We are crazy about the marble notebooks!

Q. Your top tips for someone visiting New York City? 

Wear comfortable, but good looking shoes!  We walk everywhere and style counts here. Walk the Highline, starting at 34th Street, but only before 10am any unless you LOVE crowds.  Hit up the Whitney Museum of American Art, (it’s at the other end of the Highline) and have a drink outside at the top floor café.   After that, walk and get lost in the West Village. I would tell you where to eat, but then I wouldn’t be able to get a table!


Jonathan Donates 04.03.19

This month Jonathan donates to Born Free and has chosen the Happy Mother’s Day card.

A few years ago I travelled to South Africa and went on Safari, and for that reason I have chosen Born Free for the work that they do for animals. They work tirelessly to ensure that all wild animals, whether living in captivity or in the wild, are treated with compassion and respect and are able to live their lives according to their needs.

As a leading wildlife charity, they oppose the exploitation of wild animals in captivity and campaign to keep them where they belong – in the wild.

They promote Compassionate Conservation to enhance the survival of threatened species in the wild and protect natural habitats while respecting the needs and safeguarding the welfare of individual animals.

Jonathan


Playlist: 2019 Vol.IV – Short but sweet 25.02.19

Songs under 2 minutes… As February is the shortest month of the year we’ve put together a list of our favourite songs that are also short but sweet.