A Bouquet of Newly Sharpened Pencils (A Review)

imageIf you have never watched You’ve Got Mail, the classic Tom Hanks/Meg Ryan rom-com, in which two people meet and fall in love by email, you will probably think I’ve been sniffing something!

To explain, these words are narrated by Joe Fox (Hanks) from his latest email to Kathleen Kelly (Meg Ryan) as we watch her stroll joyfully and purposefully to work one Autumn morning, wearing the sort of ridiculous grin only Meg Ryan is capable of! It goes something like this:

“Don’t you love New York in the fall? It makes me wanna buy school supplies. I would send you a bouquet of newly sharpened pencils if I knew your name and address…”

Now, I haven’t visited New York yet, and I’ll admit I’d quite like to every time I watch either this film or When Harry Met Sally but I have always liked the way those specific words remind me not just of the simple pleasures of Autumn in a big city, like fresher air and the glorious colours of the turning leaves, but also of the simple pleasures associated with the start of each new school year, like my own favourite, choosing new “school supplies”.

Well, Little Chap has been back at school now for just over the month and we’re settling in very nicely, (thank you for asking), to the new routine of homework and reading which, being in Reception, he now brings home each night. There is one small thing that I’ve missed in the whole process of preparing for this new school year and that is the annual trip to the local shop to purchase the latest trend in pencil case and contents. Thankfully, given the other costs associated with his education, we don’t need to provide Little Chap with any school supplies before he hits Junior School (small yay!). That said, I did miss this peculiar ritual.

When we were kids, my little sister, like me, was also a bit of a sucker for a new set of evenly sharpened colouring crayons and a geometry set and the two of us would stoically save our pennies all summer long just to peruse the shelves in our local store for long enough to select the objects of our desire. We even held off buying our much loved copies of Jackie, Mandy or Smash Hits! until we’d got exactly the right stationery for school. In a world ruled by uniform, our creativity knew no bounds in the realm of pencils, pencil cases and erasers.

I later developed a liking for extra curricular stationery too. With multiple pen friends, I came to enjoy choosing stylish writing paper sets and later discovered beautiful notebooks wrapped in chinese silks which quickly became homes for my many diaries. What better to write on their finely decorated pages but all my teenage angst…?

I still love a nice bit of stationery to this day, and am often found drifting to the stationery aisle of the local supermarket (ah, parenthood!), having just popped in for the odd loaf of bread, in case they have a special offer on a pretty notebook or a clever pen that might be perfect for writing any one of my many lists. If I have a special event or a job interview to attend, I have learned it will go all the better for the confidence offered by accessorising with the right pen and notebook.

Hopefully you get the picture that I was as excited as a little girl in a sweetie shop, when I recently received a box of goodies from Memo etc. 

Why walk into town, when they can be delivered o your door....!?

Why walk into town, when they can be delivered o your door….!?

They offer a huge range of stationery and office supplies with free next day delivery from their website including a range of recycled products.

Remarkable school/office essentials

Remarkable school/office essentials

The bright orange cardboard box we received held several good quality recycled notebooks from Remarkable, the eco-solutions company who turn car tyres into pencil cases and corn cobs into ballpoints, while saving up their leather (shoes, bags etc) for stylish and sturdy notebook covers. They also threw in a delightful pack of Remarkable’s recycled colouring crayons, ballpoint pens, rulers and a pencil-case. There was also a very smart black notebook from Silvine and a pack of twelve Bic washable flat tipped pens.

The pack was perfect for sharing out with Family Mayfair.

When he’d done his practiced writing out his speed sound of the day, Little Chap enjoyed practicing his handwriting a little bit more on the lined pages of the Remarkable red leather notebooks with some of our own newly sharpened pencils, recently purchased for homework purposes. This was entirely unprompted, I am pleased to admit – I suggested he do some drawing or something but I think it was the lines that got him going! He also used the coloured crayons and the coloured felt tips to embellish some origami boats he’d just made (current topic at school: water) and I gave him the rubber tyre pencil-case to keep them in. The coloured crayons had a nice smooth feel to them – perhaps not so good for a little one still developing a good pencil grip – but perfect for an older child.

Mayfair Dad and I shared the ballpoints and rulers among the various pen pots around the house (in the kitchen, by the phone, in the study etc) and the notebooks were quickly assigned tasks – I always have a notebook on the go for jots that don’t make it into my ipad or calendar. Mayfair Dad always has a project on the boil requiring some note taking or action point jotting so he quickly made use of one too.

The pens all wrote well (no blobs of excess ink) and felt substantial in your hand while writing and looked smarter than your average biro. The rubber tyre pencil-case felt very capable of keeping its contents safe and dry in all weathers and the paper in the notebooks was very smooth and didn’t blot or run despite the felt tips having nice wet nibs!

Here’s some snaps of us having fun!

Scribblin' good fun!

Scribblin’ good fun!

What are your back to school rituals and do your children share them?

Disclosure: We received a selection of items from Memo etc in order to write an honest review. All views expressed are my own.

2 thoughts on “A Bouquet of Newly Sharpened Pencils (A Review)

  1. You can still buy these? That’s fantastic news…. I bought about ten ‘remarkable’ notepads ages ago when they were being sold for pence a few years ago. I loved them but have never seen them again since. I will now look harder!

    I too am quite the stationery fan.

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