review max compact mini stapler
Review

Review – Max Compact Mini Stapler

Review Max Compact Mini Stapler

Introduction

The background to this review is that I am notoriously reluctant for us to stock another stapler. It’s not that there isn’t a demand for them – we use them all the time, people all over the world use them all the time. It’s just that…well, we don’t seem to do very well when it comes to selling them. Maybe it is because staplers are seen as too boring, the kind of functional item you get from Niceday or Rymans or Tesco. Maybe people just don’t see them as being worthy of a place in our range!

Well, long story but I was persuaded to try a new stapler out. This would be the one to persuade me I was told. This one would have me writing a review even. And so here I am, writing that review.

 

Style

It’s not a bad looking bit of kit by any means, but it doesn’t set the pulse racing either. I’d put this one firmly in the camp of functional. Nice functional mind. But it didn’t grab me with its looks it’s fair to say.

Score: 7/10

Features

This stapler is small. So small that one immediate thought was how often would I be refilling it. Well that one was quickly answered with the handy little staple-reservoir on top. Yes. it carries its own back-up supply around with it, instantly removing that little issue. Nice touch.

It takes a small #10 staple, which just might mean looking a bit harder for supplies than your usual 26/6 ones. Apart from that, well what features will a stapler have. It sacrifices many things for the size and I think that is a plus point – they always take up too much room anyway, so keep it small, keep it out of the way I say.

Score: 8/10

Max Compact Staplers

Usability

This is where it starts to shine. You see, this little marvel really does punch above its weight. And size. For something so small, it can do a mean bit of stapling. It says it can do up to 16-20 sheets at a time which I can believe. It has a double-action meaning it packs a punch without needing to exert force.

Unless you have hardcore industrial needs of your stapler, this one does the job. Best of all, it fits in the palm of your hand making it so easy to use. And a nice by-product of this is that it has a click-y action you can do that is like a stress toy. Just lightly play with it and you’ll see what I mean.

Score: 10/10

Value for money

Now I am no stapler expert but I think for £12.95* this is pretty good value. It does the one job I ask of it, and it does it well, time and time again. You might find cheaper staplers but this one works and works well.

* Prices correct at time of publishing!

Score: 9/10

Verdict

Well the fact that I was persuaded to use it, and am still using it is a good sign. The fact that I have written a review is an even better sign. So yes, it’s no surprise that I give this gem the thumbs up. For everyday office use it is far and away the best stapler I have. We’ve had many pass through over the years, from tiny ones to big metal style-icons. This wins hands down. Buy one, you won’t be sorry.

 

Style
Features
Usability
Value for money
marks days ballpoint pen review
Review

Review: Mark’s Days Ballpoint Pen

mark's days ballpoint pen review

Introduction

The Mark’s Days ballpoint pen is something of a sleeper hit. We have sold them for many years now and they seem to pass under the radar, rarely getting mentioned or featured and yet when I checked the sales they are quite a hit. So I thought I would address the lack of attention and give the Mark’s Days pen a full review all of its own. With the new orange colour just arriving recently it seemed the right time to review one.

Mark’s is a Japanese stationery brand that is known for producing quite smart, stylish if unfussy notebooks, diaries and pens. Often quite innovative, they are quite Japanese in being fine, practical and well-designed (or at least they fit with my idea of what Japanese stationery is all about!). The brand also has something of a French theme about it, and this pen is part of the Days range of books and pens.

 

Style

From the outset you can tell this pen is going to be a fine writer. It is a slimline pen in a satisfyingly bright colour. The range has the days of the week printed in French on the hexagonal barrel. It doesn’t come in a pen box but it isn’t aimed as a gift in its own right so that’s not a problem for me. Overall, it looks very nice although I would mark it down for being a tad too light in the hand.

I chose the orange pen as it was new, but there are six colours to chose from at time of writing so it should keep most people happy.

Score: 8/10

mark's days ballpoint pens - colour choice

Features

This is not a pen packed with features but then it is not intended to be. It is a lightweight pen, maybe too light for some, with simple push-button action to extend the nib. This is a ballpoint pen with a very fine 0.5mm point. It is a refillable pen so no unnecessary waste, and the refills come in any colour, as long as it is black. The barrel is hexagonal which means it won’t roll off the desk when left.

Score: 7/10

Usability

The key here is the fine point. Either you like a fine writer, or you don’t. I really can’t imagine someone who likes a bolder nib would be happy with this as it might feel scratchy. I do like a fine point and I would not describe this as scratchy at all. It is a consistent, even writer. The weight is, as mentioned, just a bit unusual but after a few minutes I forgot about the weight. It takes an OHTO refill and I have always had a soft-spot for OHTO pens so that is a plus for me.

Score: 8/10

marks days ballpoint pen - colours and french days

Value for money

This depends on how you look at it – compared to a cheap biro it might appear a lot (£5.95 at time of writing) but it is comparable in price to other refillable pens like the Noto from Lamy. I think this is a well-priced pen that is nice enough to make you look after it. It is the kind of pen you would feel disappointed if you left it at home or it went missing, and on that basis it is good value for money.

Score: 9/10

Verdict

I like this pen but the crucial is whether you like fine writers or you don’t. If not, look elsewhere. If yes, then don’t overlook this good little pen in favour of more expensive options.

There is also mechanical pencil version if that is of interest.

 

Style
Features
Usability
Value for money
lamy pens are cool
Stories

Lamy Pens Are Cool

lamy pens are cool

The appreciation of a fountain pen gift - by Ivo and Delilah

We have many friendly and loyal customers, and amongst them is one customer down in Bristol. John is something of a pen enthusiast and he has been a regular customer and communicator with Mishka and Jo.

He recently bought Lamy Safari fountain pens for his grandchildren. They were so happy with their new pens that they wrote a thank you letter. To say thank you. And of course, they wrote their letters with the very same fountain pens.

John was so taken with this that he shared it with us, and said we could share it with you. So thank you Ivo and Delilah (and John) for sharing your love of Lamy pens.

Thank You letter from Ivo, aged 7
Thank You letter from Ivo, aged 7
Thank You letter from Delilah, aged 10
Thank You letter from Delilah, aged 10

It’s always wonderful to see the younger generation pickup a pen instead of spending their days flicking through endless distractions provided these days on a tablet.

At the end of the day it’s up to all of us to inspire the next age of humanity to keep on writing, thank you John for your little bit to keep it going!

pencil lead comparison
Q&A

Q&A: How Do Pencil Leads Compare

pencil lead comparison

Introduction

We have tried to put together a simple guide to comparing pencils leads from different brands. It is actually very hard to achieve this and represent it well on screen, but this is a fair representation of the various brands we have available. Since most non-specialist brands lean towards an HB lead (the middle compromise between an H hard lead and a B black lead), there is little to distinguish between the pencils.

The Blackwing pencils demonstrate the highest degree of change which is not surprising – their pencils don’t follow the standard H and B grading you find, but they are still graded from the harder 602 pencil to the softer Classic with the Pearl in between.

This chart was done on Rhodia paper but you will also find very different results if used on different papers, especially a paper with a grain to it. Since pencils will be used for drawing quite often, it follows that you may find the paper plays a big part in the result.

Top marks do go to the Blackwing pencils, unsurprinsingly, but other pencils that deserve a mention here are the Faber Castell 2001 Grip, and the Viking pencils. Both are quite smooth and consistent in how they write.

choosing the right ink - our guide
Q&A

Q&A: Guide to choosing the right ink

A guide to choosing the right ink

So you have maybe decided to buy some new ink, but where do you start? With so much choice, it is hard to know where to turn. Are all inks essentially the same? What do you get for paying more? And what about all those technical terms?

Choosing the right ink can be a daunting process and so this article aims to make the process a lot easier by breaking it down into the various elements that will affect your choice, and to give you a guide on how to go about choosing the right ink.

a guide to choosing the right ink

The Basics

We will start by looking at the basics of making a decision. These are four factors that should easily rule in or out some inks and help give a basic pointer to guide you.

Colour

At the time of writing we have 338 colours available to choose from, and this is spread across 18 choices of inks, not allowing for variations in the bottle size. 300+ colours is overwhelming, especially when you consider that the Diamine ink range has something like 27 blue inks alone.

However, colour is an important factor in choosing your ink, maybe the most important alongside price. For some people this may mean just wanting a basic blue or black ink. For others it means having a specific colour – Enzo Ferrari famously used to sign his name in his signature colour. And no, it wasn’t red – he was a purple ink man.

For others, it will extend down to matching an ink to something specific – to your notebook maybe. Others might place importance on matching the colour shade precisely as no two shades are the same. It really comes down to how specific a shade of colour you are looking for. This may mean you have to search around various different inks to find your perfect colour.

Price

The other obvious influence on your choice of ink is likely to be cost. With some bottles costing under £7 and some costing over £30, there’s a big difference in price. The question is what do you get if you pay more? Is it a straightforward case of the higher the price, the better the ink? Er…no.

With quality brands like Diamine and Herbin costing well under £10, it clearly doesn’t follow that more expensive = better. We only sell good quality inks and so the advice on price would be to choose an ink that suits your budget. We will go on to look at other reasons why you might consider spending more on a bottle of ink later.

We previously looked at the relative costs of different inks, and with inks being sold in various sized bottles you might want to consider this as well. There is little doubt that Diamine ink is the best value, all things considered.

Size

Size is less of an issue, but it’s worth a mention. Bottled ink tends to be around 50ml per bottle. Some inks have bigger bottles – Diamine is a whopping 80ml, KWZ is a hearty 60ml – whilst others might be a more modest 30ml.

A big bottle is going to be better value and will last a good while – an 80ml bottle of ink will fill the TWSBI Eco fountain pen about 40 times over! A big bottle of say 50ml+ is perfect when you know you’ll want to use the ink frequently, or it’s your favourite ink.

Herbin do small 10ml taster bottles which are a great way to test out colours without feeling like you’re wasting ink and even this will last you a while. The point being, size might not be so important in deciding since even a smaller bottle will last a long time.

We did look at the relative costs of different inks vs cartridges before – click here to see more

Purpose

The last of the so-called basic decision makers will be the purpose you intend to use the ink for. Some inks are more suited for specific jobs. You might want a calligraphy ink (which has properties more suited to calligraphy writing), or you might require an ink for archival purposes. You might need a waterproof ink, like Blackstone Barrister ink.

Another element to consider is drying time – if you need an ink that dries quickly then you might consider an ink like Herbin. The alternative is a wetter ink like KWZ, and you might find this proves very impractical if you need to wait ages for an ink to dry.

Your paper choice will also impact upon this – some papers are better for inks to dry quickly if time is an issue. Look at papers from:

choosing the right ink - how much does bottle size matter?
Bottles range from 10ml to 80ml
waterproof ink
Blackstone waterproof Barrister ink

Beyond The Basics

Now this is where the choice of ink becomes really interesting. It is also where you move from choosing an ink for more more functional reasons, and find yourself taking greater pleasure from the act of writing and using ink itself.

At the heart if this lies three key elements you can get from an ink – the Three S’s. Some inks will display none, some or all of these elements and discovering them is part of the pleasure. Their presence, or lack of, doesn’t makes an ink better or worse, it simply helps give an ink its true character.

At this point it worth mentioning the paper. Inks don’t exist in isolation and since it is likely you will be using them on paper, then your choice of paper is very important. The same iink will perform differently on different papers. See below for more notes on this.

Sheen

So what is sheen? This is when the ink dries with with a shiny finish to it. Most ink when dry will be flat and have no ‘surface’ to it. Sheen is when the ink has an edge that catches in the light. Discovering this when using an ink is part of the pleasure, but as a guide you will find a good sheen to inks like:

If you want to get the best out of the sheen an ink has then we recommend using Tomoe River paper, which just lets the ink show off its best qualities.

Shading

Shading is where an ink dries with some variation in depth. So rather than leaving a single solid colour, the ink will be more saturated in colour in one area than another. Is that a good thing? Well that depends on what you like and want from your ink, but it is another area that you can discover more about an ink and how it performs in subtle ways to create something richer and more rewarding.

Inks that are good for shading include:

Shimmer

Some might argue that this comes under sheen, but it is something quite specific. Shimmer inks have a metallic sparkle to them. Literally. They have small particles in the ink which you can see in the bottle., and which will settle and need agitating before using. The result is an ink that sparkles on the page. The result can be quite varied but when it works it can be magical.

There have been a whole host of new shimmer inks released in recent years, so there is a good choice, but you might want to look at these for some good results:

Sheen on Kyoto Nurebairo ink
Sheen on Kyoto Nurebairo ink
Shading on Herbin Vert Olive ink
Shading on Herbin Vert Olive ink
ink shimmer
Shimmer on Diamine Arctic Blue ink

What Else Can Inks Offer?

Is there anything else to an ink outside the basics and how it appears on paper? Well, arguably no. Choosing an ink based on those values will likely last you a lifetime after all. But there are other factors to consider, and these may help guide you in your choice of ink.

Limited Editions

Some inks release special or limited editions, and these can be in high demand. For some ink manufacturers this has become an annual event, and most notable amongst the limited edition inks are the Herbin Anniversary inks (this might now have become the Herbin 1798 range as of 2017) and the annual Edelstein Ink of the Year from Pelikan.

Lamy have also started to produce limited edition T52 inks to coincide with the annual launch of the limited edition Safari and Al-Star fountain pens. These tend to be very limited in supply.

Cult Inks

Some inks acquire an almost cult-like status. Sometimes there is an obvious reason for it, other times it seems to defy reason. But no matter, if an ink has been given this lofty status then it is popular above all other colours in that range.

Example inks here would be KWZ Honey, Herbin 1670 Emerald de Chivor and Robert Oster Fire and Ice.

edelstein ink of the year
Edelstein Aquamarine limited edition ink
robert oster fire and ice
Robert Oster Fire & Ice ink

Extras & Exotic Imports

Some inks are worth buying because they come beautifully packaged (I’m looking at you, Kyoto ink) or have extras in the box (Colorverse ink is a perfect example here).

In other cases it is simply that the inks have that exotic something – imports from afar that you are unlikely to stumble across in your local WH Smith or inks with a story to tell. Iroshizuku and Kyoto inks come from Japan, Robert Oster and Blackstone inks are from Australia. KWZ inks are made by a husband-&-wife team in Poland. Feeling closer to the story can make you appreciate the ink in a different way.

The Kyoto inks are also just beautiful objects in their own right, from the box to the bottle. Does this affect the ink? The obvious answer is no, but then again you can gain extra enjoyment from something more than just purely functional, and an ink like this is very desirable!

Complexity

Last but not least is the fact that inks are complex substance. It is no coincidence that KWZ ink is made by two chemists, or that we have worked with chemist-come-bloggers on ink reviews. The process of making an ink requires a lot of input, and not just in terms of colour choice, packaging and marketing.

Look at Iron Gall inks for a clear demonstration of how complex an ink can be – these very traditional inks require sensitive handling in your pen as they can damage it in some cases. As the name suggests, it is made with iron elements and this helps it bond with the paper to form a more permanent mark. More interestingly it is chemistry in the making when you write with it as it changes colour and darkens.

Some inks really are just a complex mixture and discovering inks can leave you somewhere between a writer and a chemist at times.

Colorverse inks packaging
Colorverse inks have extras in the box
KWZ Iron Gall inks
KWZ Iron Gall inks

In Conclusion

To summarise, the most powerful influence on your decision of choosing the right ink will be price. A quality ink like Diamine or Herbin comes in at under £7 and will let you choose from well over 130 colours. But once you start to find more pleasure in using inks so you will likely seek out other more expensive inks for the unique properties they can demonstrate. Whether that is the unusual colour, how it performs when used or just a desire to seek out ever new creations will depend on where you ink odessey takes you! In short, start somewhere that feels right, and let you enjoyment lead you.

Blackstone Uluru Red
Blackstone Uluru Red
Diamine Apple Glory
Diamine Apple Glory
Lamy Dark Lilac
Lamy Dark Lilac
Edelstein Mandarin
Edelstein Mandarin
our man in parliament
Stories

What People Do All Day – Our Man In Parliament

our man in parliament - stationery reviews on the inside

Stationery reviews from inside the house

This post was written by Richard

Inspired perhaps by Richard Scarry’s “What do people do all day?” and the adventures of Farmer Alfalfa, Stiches the Tailor and Grocer Cat, our good friends at Bureau asked me to write a short piece about what I do all day. I can only imagine that this is the beginning of a soon to be much anticipated occasional blogpost about the goings-on—stationery related or otherwise—of the cast of thousands who call themselves Bureau’s happy customers.

My remit, such as it was, was to paint a brief but fascinating picture of my working day and to talk a little about where stationery fits into that. So…what do I do all day? Well, I work in Parliament. There are many, many things to enjoy about working there—the staff, the riverside location, the history—but, oddly, the thing I enjoy the most is the tourists. Sure, getting through the door in the morning can feel like facing off against the New England Patriots, but it’s buzzy and people are enjoying themselves just being there. Which is nice.

And what do I do once I actually get into the building? Well, all that talking, all that arguing, all that shouting you see on television—and all that sensible discussion you probably don’t see on television— gets written down somewhere. By someone. And that someone is me and my colleagues. We sit in on debates. We make sure all that talking gets recorded. And we make sure it all gets written up and checked. Throughout it all, we come and go quietly, trying not to draw attention to ourselves. In fact, one chairwoman even joked we were a bit like MI5—“only better.” High praise indeed. Perhaps it could be our motto.

lamy aion fountain pen

Finally, I said this blog was about stationery, and so it is. I do a lot of writing at work, and I use a lot of stationery. Mostly, I use a Lamy Aion fountain pen with a beautiful turquoise Pilot Iroshizuku ink and an extra fine nib. Partly, I like the Aion’s unusual brushed black aluminium finish; partly, I like its impressive bulk. Oddly, though, the Aion’s not a heavy pen; quite the opposite. Its aluminium body makes it surprisingly light and easy to hold. And it’s well balanced, so it rests comfortably in my hand. The ink flow is great, too, which is really important, because I do a lot of writing under pressure.

pilot iroshizuku ama iro turquoise ink
Iroshiuzuku Ama-Iro ink
viking rollo a4 dot grid pad
Viking Rollo Dot-Grid Pad

I also use a Viking Rollo dotpad. The whole design shows an incredible attention to detail. The cover is beautifully minimal, the dots are subtle and unobtrusive, and sheets are really easy to detach. Most important of all, however, the paper is incredibly smooth.  Combined with the Aion and the Iroshizuku ink, it makes for a really lovely writing experience.

So, there you have it: my day. Perhaps less energetic than Farmer Alfalfa’s, but petty fun all the same—and with better stationery.

upgrade my fountain pen
Q&A

Q&A: Why should I upgrade my fountain pen?

upgrade my fountain pen

Our guide to spending a little bit more on a fountain pen

Introduction

So you are considering upgrading your fountain pen for a smarter, more expensive model. But what will you get for your money? You have maybe dipped your toe in the water and bought your first fountain pen. Now persuaded of the joys of using a fountain pen, your thoughts have turned to where you go next.

So having let your mind wander to what other pens are out there and what spending a little bit more might get you, this article is an attempt at giving some basic advice in terms of what to look for when moving from an entry-level pen to a mid-range pen.

What is an entry level pen?

lamy safari fountain pen

Typically most people will start here. This is most likely because of cost. A first pen might come in around £15-20 and even that can be a big investment when you are making the step up from say a ballpoint pen (dare I suggest you made the leap from a Bic biro to fountain pen?).

That is not to say that an entry level pen is not one that won’t last you a lifetime. Typically these pens might be something like the Lamy Safari fountain pen, the Kaweco Skyline, or maybe even a TWSBI Eco or the Pilot MR (aka the Pilot Metropolitan). All come in at under £30, some for under £20. All are great pens and will serve you well for many a year. But if you do want more…

What is a mid-range pen?

lamy aion fountain pen

For the purposes of this article, a mid-range fountain pen has been defined as being one that costs over and above an entry-level, but not into the eye-watering levels that you can pay. So this has been set at a more modest level of between £40 and £75.

Also, since entry-level will vary from brand to brand, it is deemed to be pens that display elements of being an upgrade on a more basic pen.

Key reasons to upgrade

So why upgrade? Well it becomes ever harder to actually justify the step up purely on value for money. There are gains to be had by spending more, certainly, but it is also an emotional decision and there is no point skirting round this. Nevertheless there are some clear benefits to be had from spending a bit more.

Material

Whilst your entry-level pen will typically be made of plastic, you would certainly expect your mid-range pen to be made of a superior material. More often that not this will be metal, likely aluminium as it is lightweight and perfect for a pen. It makes for a more solid, durable pen than plastic, yet you will not be adding any serious weight to the pen. In fact the slight extra weight might make the pen better as it adds just enough to make it feel substantial without being heavy.

You may also find that this extends to all elements of the pen – look for what the clip and grip sections are made from.

Tip – consider what material you would feel comfortable writing with, and what weight of pen would suit you, and check the full specification.

Nib

This is something that will vary from pen to pen, and a lot of mid-range pens will not necessarily have a better nib that your entry-level pen. For example many Lamy pens have the same Z50 nib, from the Safari and ABC through to a Scala or Accent. Others like the Aion do have a better nib, in this case the new Z53 nib. It is more likely that the extra cost of the pen will get you a better barrel than a better nib but it is worth checking.

Also, a more expensive pen may actually have access to a better range of nib sizes although this again will depend on each manufacturer.

Tip – how important would a better nib be at this stage? This may require you pushing your budget even further.

Features

This will vary from pen to pen but a more expensive pen might come with a few extra features or add-ons. Certainly most Lamy pens above a certain value will come with a converter. Other entry-level pens may not come with a gift box (worth considering if it is a gift for someone).

Tip – consider all aspects of what you want from your pen – don’t just be seduced by the look!

Design

The design of the pen is where there will be marginal gains in making the pen better – possibly a better grip section, or the way the cap can be posted or the way the clip works. Small improvements but it can make a real difference especially with a pen, which requires a good connection between hand and pen.

Tip – consider what you like the least about your current pen and in what ways it could be improved. Then consider your ‘new’ pen in light of this.

Style

This is where the choice becomes more emotional. Typically a more expensive pen will be better designed, and may even have been designed by a well-known product designer. This might not make it a better at writing, but owning a pen that you love might make a difference. A pen you want to write with because it looks good is a pen you will enjoy writing with all the more.

Tip – this all comes down to personal preference. Only you know what you like.

Other tips

If you are still unsure then read a few reviews. Think about what you don’t like with your current pen and consider whether a new pen will answer some or all of these problems. And if still unsure then see if you can try out the pen in person. We do offer a try before you buy service with pens but please do check with us first as we can’t offer this on all pens.

the bureau 2017 stationery awards
News

The Bureau 2017 Stationery Awards

the bureau 2017 stationery awards

Introduction

This is the 6th edition of our annual awards for the item of stationery we voted for, as a team. The criteria are fairly open – as long as the item was added to our range during 2017 then it was shortlisted, and each team member voted for their top 5 items. Scores were awarded (10 for a first choice, 7 for 2nd, 5 for 3rd, 3 for 4th and a solitary point for a 5th place). Scores were added, and a top ten was arrived at.

This year we had a clear winner, and with it gaining the top place from three people plus a second choice, it sort of ran away with the voting. The top ten did give a nice spread of items though, so read on and see what we voted for.

Walk With Me Maps

The Walk With Me maps were something of a departure for us this year, and not one that didn’t cause a few waves with some customers, but then maybe that’s a good thing. Somewhere between maps and artwork, these are quite unusual and very beautiful.

Lamy Aion

The Lamy Aion pen came out earlier in the year and whilst not immediately a pen that shouts out how different it is, it actually does have a lot about it worth a second look. From the smart aluminium barrel which is incredibly light for a pen seemingly quite big, to its brand new nib, this pen writes beautifully.

Caran d'Ache 849 Tropical Pen

The Caran d’Ache 849 is a true classic, dating back to its launch in 1969. Since then many a special edition has come and gone, and the latest was these unusual two-tone 849 tropical editions. Very summer-y, and quite refreshing in the depths of a cold winter.

Field Notes Haxley Edition

A very late addition to the shortlist and one that, unsurprisingly leapt into the top ten, was the Field Notes Haxley edition notebooks. A real departure and a welcome one too, these are notebooks featuring the illustrations of a local artist.

Viking Rollo Pad

The Viking range really stood out for one product above all else and that was the Viking Rollo pads. Beautiful paper with equally striking covers featuring their celtic-inspired cover designs.

Diamine Earl Grey Ink

One that caught me by surprise was the popularity of the new Earl Grey ink from Diamine. Brought about through a Reddit group, it inspired our ‘grey’ week and is, to be fair, quite a beautiful colour.

2018 Flower Calendar

The Flowers calendar from Japanese company Good Morning is an item that caused a few issues (let’s move on from that one), this is nevertheless a stunning bit of stationery that is practical and quite beautiful all at once. What more do you need from your stationery?

An extra bonus point for this item – more of us voted for this than any other product, but it gained no big voted and ended up 4th overall.

Kyoto Inks

Kyoto ink was chosen, I feel, not only for the inks (which are indeed very lovely) but also for the whole package – the bottle and the box included. It is just stationery that you want to own, stationery that gives you pleasure from the moment you see it to the the moment you use it.

Diamine Shimmer Inks

The runner-up spot was taken by the new Diamine Shimmer inks. They gained a couple of top spots and were the subject of an Instagram pre-launch feature from Mishka and Faisal so maybe I should have seen that one coming. Beautiful inks as always, with some amazing shimmer.

Taroko Breeze Notebook

And so to the winner. And it’s no great surprise to anyone that has used it that the Taroko Breeze notebook swept the board. First we had the basic Taroko books with Tomoe River paper, then a sign of what was to come with the pocket sized Enigma book, so when a ‘proper’ book was launched it just gave us everything we needed in a book. A ‘proper’ cover, index/contents page, numbered pages, ink swatch pages, Tomoe River paper. I could quibble over the card cover and lack of a pocket but really, this book is as good as anything we have. That’s why I was one of three of the team to vote it as my number one.

News

Bureau Mission – To Make Washi Tape A Household Essential Item In Britain

Bureau Mission – To Make Washi Tape A Household Essential Item In Britain

Every home should own at least one roll of washi tape!

Introduction

We love our washi tape here at the Bureau offices. So much so that we have gone on and on about, from creating our office noticeboard out of the stuff, to getting everyone to think of 3 essential uses of washi tape to 6 great ways to use the tape in a Bullet Journal. We’ve even had a go at making some decorations for Chinese New Year using it.

So I think it’s fair to say that we have been won over by this quite marvellous invention from Japan. And it struck us that this is something that more people should know about. In fact, we would go as far as saying that we think every home in the country would be better off with a roll of washi tape. At least a roll, ideally several. But one roll is a good place to start. It is as essential as, say, kitchen roll or Sellotape. In fact you won’t need the latter if you convert to washi tape – see, that’s another idea thrown in for free.

Washi tape ideas - noticeboard
Make a noticeboard with washi tape

So we are converting that idea of it being a household essential into something of a mission. To persuade as many people as possible of the need to get using washi tape, find out how useful it really is, and to then persuade others of the need.

What is washi tape

examples of washi tape
Examples of washi tape - plain, kids and encyclopedia design

For the uninitiated, washi tape is an amazing invention from Japan. Made from rice paper, the most important bit about it is that it is sticky, like Sellotape or masking tape, but it is also low-tack so that it can be peeled off again without leaving any mark or damage. Whilst we can’t promise that this is 100% guaranteed on every surface, we can say that we are yet to encounter any problems. The secret lies in peeling it off carefully and slowly.

The tape is also easy to tear, so use scissors if you want a neat and tidy look, or tear if you are in a hurry. It also comes in an unbelievable range of widths, colours, patterns and designs. So there really is a roll for every occasion.

From plain tapes you can write on to kids tapes you can learn with, from patterned tapes you can decorate with to designs that you just want to gaze at. What isn’t there to love about this stuff?

washi tape examples
Examples of designer washi tape

Decorative or practical?

Er…both! Yes you can indulge all sorts of creative ideas with washi tape – covering notebooks inside and out, making presents unique and beautiful, Christmas tree decorations and more. The list goes on and there are many more ideas out there online. But it is also so practical. Just take a look at what the team here came up with as suggestions for using the tape.

washi tape - decorative or practical?
Washi tape - is it decorative or practical? Or both?

Giveaway

So to kickstart our mission we are doing a free giveaway. Thanks to the very kind people at MT – making washi tape in Japan since 1923 – we are giving away a little gift pack. Inside you will find a roll of tape and a booklet with 10 fun ideas for using the tape decoratively, plus a mask and little box to make up and decorate. The first lucky 1,000 people to claim their gift can do so online now – you just need to purchase something from us (anything not just washi tape) and the gift will be made available in the shopping basket.

1,000 households may leave us some way short of covering the whole of Britain but it’s a good start and a very kind offer from MT. And if you take up the offer and are persuaded then please spread the word. You’ll be met by some blank expressions at first but once they start to get it, they’ll never look back. And they’ll always thank you for introducing them to washi tape!

Click here to see our full range of tapes