#natstatweek: Pen and Pencil Day

In the UK, today is the first of seven days dedicated to celebrating all things stationery, aka National Stationery Week. As per their program, the first day is dedicated to pen and pencils, so I thought I'd update you on my current faves.

I don't know about you, but I own way too many writing supplies. I love having a variety of pen and pencils to use for different purposes, but I've noticed that on a day to day basis I tend to always use the same ones. At the moment, my absolute favourites are the Pigma Micron 03 and the Tombow Dual Brush in 243 (which is a nice pastely mint green shade).

Everyone and their nan uses these two pens, so I thought I'd throw in a more unique one as well, which is a star tip highlighter I got from an Happy Mail box. These are also my must-haves when it comes to bullet journaling, so I always carry them around with me.

What's that one pen you keep reaching for? ✏️

ƒ. x

Looking Around London: the Barbican Conservatory


Banana trees, bamboo, cacti… it’s not something you’d expect to be growing in the middle of London, yet that’s exactly where you should go if you fancy spending your Sunday morning surrounded by tropical plants.

Located 10 minutes from the iconic St. Paul cathedral, the Barbican Centre is one of my all time favourite venues in central London. If you don’t know what’s inside, it’s possible you’d just overlook it as another soulless, claustrophobic, concrete building, but if you actually do venture in inside you’ll be surprised of how green and open it actually is.

Although I had visited the Centre a few times already, before last week I had never had the chance to wander around the conservatory. The greenhouse is, in fact, a bit tricky to find, which makes it a true hidden gem.

It houses a full room dedicated to cacti and succulents, a beautiful pond with koi fish, as well as an abundance of tropical plants and flowers.

If you're in London and fancy doing something different on a weekend (especially if the weather isn't the best!) definitely consider have a walk around the Barbican. Even if brutalist architecture isn’t your thing, rough, bare concrete and lush greenery is a combination I dare anyone not to like.


  • Plan your visit ahead and make sure to check their opening times for the day. Although the general opening is every Sunday 12AM-5PM, sometimes they may close early.

  • The Barbican estate is not the easiest to navigate, so if you plan on visiting the Conservatory, the easiest way in is through Silk Street, EC2Y 8DS - and just head to the 3rd floor.

  • If, like me, you enjoy drawing flowers and plants, make sure to bring a sketchbook along as there will be plenty of inspiration!

Have you ever been to Barbican Conservatory? ☺️

ƒ. xx

My First Bullet Journal and Setup

A bullet journal: seems like 90% of the people in my Instagram and YouTube feed has one. After seeing hundreds of pictures and videos of them, I eventually gave in to my curiosity to check out first hand what all the fuss was about.

As you may know, I’ve had various planners throughout the years - different shapes, sizes, levels of customisability, you name it. However, I was never able to fully commit to one. One of the main issues was that I didn’t like having a set space for each day and not much freedom to write anything else in it, so the BuJo system seemed to be the right one for me.

I picked up the Leuchttrum1917 bullet journal for two main reasons: the numbered pages and the dotted grid as knowing myself, I knew that this was the easiest choice to ease myself into it.

I came at it with no prior experience except for what I could see others doing, so I started from scratch without overdoing it.

I think for most people there’s a lot of creativity and effort that can go into how their BuJo looks and when starting out it can be a little intimidating. As much as I love drawing and decorating, I wanted to focus on experimenting with various systems and layouts until I'd find the right one for me, instead of being distracted by the look of it.

Prioritising the function over the form really worked for me, so the main thing I would recommend for starting from scratch is: to go basic. I limited myself to use one black pen one highlighter, and it worked perfectly to not get too distracted while I tried to figure out what exact things I needed in my BuJo to be more productive.

There are many elements that are common for bullet journals, but I knew I wanted to ease myself into the system gradually rather than going all in, to make sure I wouldn’t feel overwhelmed. So, I started off with just the barebones and the most simple elements: a monthly calendar as an overview for the month, a general to-do list for things I wanted to accomplish during the month but for which I didn't have a set date or a deadline, and finally the daily planning section.

Although my goal was to keep it simple, I was still adding some sort of flourishes to the dates, and after trying it out for a couple of weeks and kind of being bothered by how untidy it looked, I decided to switch to a plainer layout which now works much better (less distractions for me!).

Something I'm still on the fence about, is having a weekly to-do list. I find it a bit redundant, yet I don't plan my week all at once but day-by-day or a couple of days at a time, so it's useful to have a dedicated space to jot down some of the tasks I want to work on each week.

A vast majority of people also uses some sort of habit tracker, but in my specific case I didn't find it useful nor I thought using it was making me any more consistent than I already was, so I tried it out briefly but decided to abandon it.
However, a tracker I do enjoy using is one to keep record of my graphic design work; I simply write down the name or topic of the project and then track each step from draft to completion.

As I'm writing this post I'm still working towards finding the "perfect" layout for my Bujo, but I can already tell you my productivity has spiked since I started using it, and I'm really happy about it. I would love to share more of it as I go if it is something you'd be interested in seeing here ☺️

Do you have a Bullet Journal, too? How are you liking it?

ƒ. xx

A Beautiful Mess - Happy Mail

A Beautiful Mess is probably one of the first blogs I started reading back in the day, and definitely one of those that insired me to start my own. They're wildly successful now: the blog is an institution and the brand has grown to include classes and paper products.

Being a sucker for cards and stationery, one of their products that got me most excited is the subscription service they call "Happy Mail".

ABM Happy Mail costs $20 ($15 if you opt for the annual subscription), and you get $50 worth (retail value) of stationery, cards, notepads, stickers, prints, craft goodies etc. They're obviously based in the US, but if you're in Europe like me (or just not in the States for that matter), you'll be delighted to know that they ship worldwide AND for only an additional $2!

I had the chance to try a couple of their past edition, and was really impressed by the amount and variety of goodies you get in each box. Most of the content is based on the monthly theme, but you always get something more neutral in the mix.

Besides notecards and postcards, ecah box also contains stickers - perfect to add accents to your letters, of embellish your planner - and a little special treat. For example, one box had the cutest mail-themed iron-on patch, and another had a cool clear stamp.

Something I really appreciate is that all the cards are beautifully illustrated (so if you're like me and want to keep one or two for yourself, they make very nice wall art!) and are exclusive to Happy Mail - you can’t find them anywhere else!

Also, each card comes with a colorful envelope rather than a boring white one, which is always a plus.

Have you tried ABM Happy Mail or any other paper subscription box? I'd love to know your thoughts on them! ☺️

ƒ. xx

Time For a Change

Hello everyone, it's been a while since my last personal post on here. You may or may not have noticed my absence in the past year, I’d say, during which my posts here have been really sporadic and I kind of lost touch with the whole blogging thing. After moving to London, a little longer than a year ago now, I started having way less free time - for better or worse - and therefore less time to dedicate to letters and blogging, as mail was what I was primarily posting about.

Having less mail to show, kind of put me in a slump because I felt like that was all I could write about here - as that is the type of content 90% of my readers enjoy seeing here. Coming to thinking about it now, I’ve done and seen so many cool things this past year that I wish I’d have shown to you too, as well as documented here for myself to look back on one day, but I didn’t - simply because I thought that by giving my blog such a name I would have to be stick to it in all aspects and it wouldn’t make sense to stray away from the content that was “meant” to be shared in favour of other topics that wouldn’t quite, or at all, fit into that category.

But from today, it is time for a change. I’ve changed a lot since last year and my “style” and interests have evolved too. As much as I’m attached to my blog name (and still like it, just like mail, which I will continue to share here), it’s time for me to let go of what might be the expectations of others and focus on what I want to do and what I want to share on this blog. At the end of the day, it was born as a personal blog, and now I want to reclaim that.

So yeah, this is a little announcement both for you and myself to make this “official”, and to inform you about the change of direction this blog will be taking from today onwards. You can still expect to see posts about mail and stationery of course, but also more about my graphic design and illustration work and process, some more lifestyle-y kind of posts that will include what I go about doing and seeing in London, plus a bit of travelling whenever I get the chance to, and definitely more photography.

Lastly, thank you if you’ve been reading my blog for ages, and thank you even more if you’ll decide to stick around ☺️

Lot of love,

ƒ. xx

Discovering New Stationery at Top Drawer #2: Imogen Owen

You may remember my post about Top Drawer a few moths back where I showed you one of my latest stationery crushes (Paperboy London ), and today, on the same note, I want to share with you the wonderful work of Imogen Owens.

Imogen designs and illustrates beautiful letterpressed greetings cards and stationery. Her designs range from more luxurious and polished to quirky and fun.

During the brief chat we had a Top Drawer, she told me that she enjoys writing letters too, and her passion for snail mail is perfectly reflected into all of her products, especially her gorgeous correspondence sets.

So, if you love quirky designs and beautiful calligraphy (and don't mind the occasional cheeky swear) make sure to have a look at Imogen's lovely collection!

What do you think of Imogen's work? ♥

ƒ. xx

See more of Imogen Owens online: Instagram | Website | Facebook | Twitter

// Previous post: Paperboy London

Just a Card Campaign + House of Cards Book

Perhaps you might already be familiar with the Just A Card campaign, but if you're not, let me tell you a little bit about it.

Sarah Hamilton is a London-based artist, and in 2014 she started a campaing to support indipendent artists and retailers after seeing yet another small gallery close down.

“If everyone who’d complimented our beautiful gallery had bought just a card we’d still be open.” When I read this quote by shop keepers who’d recently closed their gallery I thought - enough is enough - we need to fight back! 

The core message of her campaign is that even the smallest sale can help independent shops and designers to pay the bills. As an independent designer myself, this is a message I immediately resonated with and something I always try to keep in mind whenever I may buy something for myself or a gift for someone.. it's nice to stray away from the highstreet and get something more unique whilst also supporting a small business.

Last month, Sarah's book "House of Cards" came out in stores, and I thought I'd check it out.

It features a beautifully curated selection of step-by-step tutorials to create handmade cards by various independent designer. The difficulty ranges from collage to linocut printing, so it's suitable both for experts DIYers and those who are just getting started.

I'm just about to strat sharing more of my mail on the blog again, and I'm sure this book will come in handy for when I need some inspiration to add a more personal touch to my letters ♥

What's your favourite technique when it comes to making cards by hand?

ƒ. x

Discovering New Stationery at Top Drawer #1: PaperBoy London

Last week I've met up with Emma and went to my second Top Drawer, which is a trade show that showcases a variety of brands: from homeware to fashion, gifts, and of course stationery and greeting cards!

In the paper section there were dozens of exhibitors, some I was familiar with, and some I just had the pleasure of stumbling upon on on that day. Because I know so many of you love discovering new brands of stationery just as much as I do, I thought I'd share some of my favourites in a small series of blog posts. Today, I'd like to introduce you to: Paperboy London

Paperboy's stand immediately caught my attention, not only because of the eye-popping palette of his products, but also because I'm a big fan of street art, and his collection definitely seemed to had taken inspiration from it.

As we approached the stand, Paperboy's founder and creative director, Matt, gladly talked us through the creative process and inspiration behind his first four collections: the NYC collection (black & white one) inspired by walking the streets of New York City at night, and incorporating taxtures and contrasts offered by the city skyline; the Time Square collection (neon one) bold and eye-catching just like the place it was named after. On some of the cards he incorporated googly eyes, which is a brilliant touch if you ask me! The Marfa collection (pastel one) which I'm told was named after a very small Texan city, refects its quirks and crative side.

And lastly, the one that might be my personal favourite: the Bushwick collection inspired by the colorful street art and murals found in this neighbourhood in Brooklyn.

What do you think of Paperboy London? ♥
ƒ. xx

See more of Parerboy London online: Instagram | Website | Facebook | Twitter