Friday, 3 February 2017

Spotlight Stationery January Box - Review

I've been a subscriber to Spotlight Stationery's boxes for a year now. I sometimes skip a box, not because they're not excellent, but because, frankly, I already have so much stationery that I could probably set up my own subscription service!

I really like the Spotlight Stationery boxes because they have sensible stationery in them. They're not full of 'cute' things or lots of rolls of washi tape; they contain notebooks, pens, pencils and cards. Not that I don't love washi, but I like to choose that for myself.

The contents of the boxes are kept secret until delivery so it's always a surprise to see what's in the box. Each box has a theme and some of the money goes to support a charity. The current charity is Gloucestershire Young Carers. Each month, there is a selection of four postcards from new illustrators.

The latest box to arrive dropped through my letterbox at the end of January. The theme was textured finishes.

So, what was inside??

Amazingly, I managed to take a picture before I ripped the tissue paper off!


As usual, there was the stamp inside the lid of the company's motto and the goodies inside were wrapped in blue tissue paper with the Spotlight Stationery S on a sticker holding it shut.


Once the tissue paper was peeled back, inside there was an envelope with my first name on, which contained the four postcards from the young illustrators for this month - Bex Challoner, Tilly Gibbs and Naomi Worrell - plus a card giving details of their websites/Facebook sites/Etsy shops etc. This month there was a printing error so that the reverse of the card was printed upside-down, but there hasn't been this issue in the past and it's not exactly a disaster.

I like getting the postcards, because I take part in Postcrossing and the Spotlight Stationery cards are often a big hit with the people I send them to.


Underneath the envelope of cards, was the list of this month's contents (which I haven't taken a photo of) and the other goodies.

Sometimes there is one A5 notebook and one or two A6 notebooks in a box. This month there were two A5 notebooks, following the theme of textured finishes. Both of the notebooks are by Paper-Oh - one was the black circulo book and the other was the Ondulo cahier notebook.

Black circulo by Paper-Oh
The black circulo has a cover which has two layers bonded together - an outer black one with hundreds of red circular holes in it, revealing the red layer that's beneath.

There are 80 pages of ivory/off-white, acid-free, lined paper, with sewn binding. The book will lie flat (with a little persuasion) and the cover is pretty sturdy. Line spacing is 7.5mm, with 26 lines per page, a top margin of 16mm and a bottom margin of 11mm. There is a small margin at each end of the lines of 8mm (outer edge) or 11mm (inner edge). I haven't done a fountain pen test on the paper.



The Ondulo cahier has a corrugated cover with an open lozenge cut in it to show the red inner end paper. The reverse of the corrugated cover has the same red paper, lining the cover.

Again, there are 80 pages of ivory/off-white, acid-free paper, but this book has plain paper rather than lined. As before, the book will lie flat (with a little persuasion) and the cover is pretty sturdy. Again, I've not done any pen tests on the paper.

The other contents of the box were: a printed bookmark, a Faber-Castell triangular barrelled Grip 2001 pencil with raised dots on the surface (fitting in with the textured surface theme), a Zebra Z-grip flight pen with a debossed detail in the grip and red ink, and three string and washer C6 envelopes to complement the colours of this month's box - black, red and kraft.

Pencil, pen and bookmark
String and washer envelopes

Overall, I'm very pleased with the contents of the box. I always find A5 notebooks more useful than A6 so the fact there are two in this month's box was a bonus. After nearly two decades of my life being spent teaching at university, I could happily have never seen another red pen in my life, but that's a very personal quibble and not a complaint about the box! The postcards will no doubt wing their way around the world as part of the Postcrossing project and as I'm an inveterate letter-writer, the string and washer envelopes will be used to house hand-written letters to friends. (I may even dig out my wax seal set to use too!).

Boxes are £25 (+ p&p) or as a pre-paid option you can save £5 on a three-month subscription or £10 on a six-month subscription. If you don't like the contents when it arrives, they offer a no-quibble, money-back guarantee. You can buy previous month's boxes (though they are often sold out) as well as a selection of stationery gifts on their website: http://www.spotlightstationery.co.uk/shop/all/

If you've been inspired by this review to go and get a box yourself, please say that you were referred by me? Thanks!

Disclaimer: I bought this box myself. I've not had any sample boxes or 'sweeteners' from Spotlight Stationery. This is an honest review of the product.

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