Tuesday, 26 January 2016

Spotlight on Spotlight Stationery

Spotlight Stationery is a stationery subscription service. You can order a one-off box to see if you'd like their stuff (you will), a bi-monthly subscription, or a monthly subscription. The boxes cost £25 plus p+p (£2 for the UK).
Each month, the team at Spotlight Stationery put together a collection of stationery, using only premium brands and including things you may not find on your high street. They also include postcards by new illustrators, helping to support young artists once they've left university. The box of stationery is a surprise - you don't know what you'll get before it arrives - but they offer a no-quibble, money-back guarantee. If you really don't like what you get, you can get in touch with them.

Intrigued by all this, I ordered a box. I have to confess, it arrived a few days ago but this is the first chance I've had to do a post on it! Apologies for the poor lighting in the photos... it's Scotland and winter and never stops raining and I really struggled with or without flash to get decent pictures!

The box is approximately 235 x 165 x 23mm, or just bigger and thicker than an A5 notebook. When you open the box, inside you find your goodies wrapped in tissue paper, tied with string and with a card saying Thank You on one side and information about the support for National Star, a charity for young people with disabilities.

Box, showing the message on the lid!
Thank you card, attached with pretty string
Reverse of the card, showing the message about supporting
National Star
Once I peeled the sticker and string off (as carefully as I could!), inside was revealed a notebook and an envelope with my name on:

I opened the envelope first, and discovered a set of postcards, some information about the illustrators and 6 spiral paperclips:

The four postcards, an information card and 6 spiral paperclips
These are all lovely designs (especially the cat one) and the information card was extremely helpful.

The red and black A6 notebook is by Paper-Oh. Inside was a leaflet explaining that the notebook was a product of their passion for book binding and their obsession to make things better than what already exists. I haven't road-tested the notebook (detailed reviews of the stationery in the box will follow!) but it lies very flat and seems like a fantastic little notebook. I will of course extract a page and do the usual pen-test on it, but if the paper is good, then this will be a super little notebook.

Delving deeper into the box, I found another A6 sized notebook, with the same design on the cover as one of the postcards:

A6 size notebook with dog and crow (front)
back of the notebook
The notebook has 18 pages (36 sides) of plain paper. Again, I haven't had a chance to pen-test it and a more detailed review is to come!

Beneath the two A6 notebooks was another Paper-Oh notebook in A5 size. This one is lined rather than plain:

A5 Paper-Oh notebook (front)
A5 PAper-Oh notebook (back)
I must be utterly honest and say that I haven't had time this week to even take the wrapper off, but I'm fully expecting another great notebook, given the quality of the A6 version.

As well as the three notebooks, the postcards and the paperclips, there were two Palomino Blackwing Pearl pencils and a Stabilo worker rollerball:

Palomino pencils
Stabilo worker pen

I've been using one of the Palomino pencils all week. Full review to follow but if I'm honest, this was my least favourite thing in the box. I'd heard so much about Palomino Blackwing pencils and I was excited to try them but I am far keener on propelling pencils than ones that need sharpening and probably because I almost always use a propelling pencil, I found the Palomino not great at keeping a sharp point. I've already sharpened about 3 cm off the pencil in just a week. If you sketched rather than used it for writing, it may be much better. It was certainly good to try it out though (and at least I know I don't need to buy myself a box!).

The rollerball is very nice. It has a soft-grip feel and the line is quite wet when laid down. It certainly kept up with my speed of writing and was incredibly smooth to write with.

Group photo!

All in All:
This was a fabulous collection of stationery, beautifully presented and worth at least £25 to my mind. The Paper-Oh notebooks are certainly not easily available to me and the inclusion of new illustrators is a great touch. I love the fact that some of the money is going to charity (though I would have liked to know a little more about what kind of amount - a penny? a pound? more?) and the surprise aspect was fun. You don't have to sign up for a subscription - you can try a box out and you get contacted in advance to check that you want the next box, even if you have opted for the subscription service.

If you love stationery, like a surprise and to discover new products and artists, go and sign up for February's box!


  1. 1 pound from each Subscription Box goes to National Star, they said that on Reddit few weeks ago.

    I really like the Paper-oh notebooks, they are really cool! But I couldn't enjoy this pencil, no idea why - everyone seem to be excited about them. Maybe I'm just too big fan of woodless Koh-i-noor Progresso 6/8B. But they look nice and my fiancee enjoy using them. Stabilo Worker, wow, so smooth! I love the colour! But again, not for me, because I hold a pen different than most of people and it's very uncomfortable to write more than few pages. But that's just me ;) and again, my fiancee is happy.

    The postcards are awesome! And I can't wait for next box!

    1. Thanks for sharing & that does look like a wonderful selection for the cost! I've had a nose at other subscription sites mentioned by others before, but the items included were too cutesy for me so I'm very impressed with this one. My husband always struggles with gifts for me, so this might be something that I can suggest for him for a one-off box. Thanks :)

    2. I know just what you mean. I'm not so into stickers and so on, but all the stuff in this box was stuff I would use - nice, high quality stationery. Hope hubby gets you one!