National Stationery Week 2014 – Competition




national stationery week 2014

** Competition is now closed **

In case you didn’t already know it, National Stationery Week starts on Monday and runs until Sunday. We do like to celebrate this annual event and do something a bit different, and so this year we have decided to have a big giveaway. Yes, we have selected 10 of our favourite stationery items and we will give them away. Just like that…well, almost.

What do I need to do?

In time honoured fashion you just need to complete the statement below:

“I’m a stationery addict because…”

Please make your entry as personal, humourous, offbeat, silly or downright surreal. Tell a story if you want (but not too long, please). We like to think that we are not your conventional stationery business and so we will pick entries based on a similar criteria. It doesn’t have to be funny, but it does have to tick that ‘unexpected’ box.

There is no minimum or maximum length for your entry, but it needs to say enough to persuade us.

We will pick our favourite entry and award it out top prize – the Herbin Tempete fountain pen (worth £85). We love this pen, and everytime I have an excuse to use one I use the office Tempete pen and it writes so beautifully. We will also pick 9 runners-up and they will win one of the other items we have chosen.

herbin tempete

How do I enter?

Send in your answer before by the end of Sunday 6 April. You can send in your entry in almost any way you choose:

  • add it as a comment on this blog
  • you can email it to me (dominic@bureaudirect.co.uk)
  • post it on Twitter if it’s short enough (@bureaudirect – make sure use the hashtag #bdnsw14)
  • add it to our Facebook page (www.facebook.com/BureauDirect1995) – feel free to like our page whilst you are there
  • you could even post a handwritten entry, as long as it arrives in time (post to Bureau Direct (BDNSW14), 8 Stanley Gardens, London, W3 7SZ

We will only accept one entry per person so make it your best one.

What do I win?

As mentioned, there are 10 prizes. These are 10 items of stationery that we really love, most of them pretty new. Some so new they haven’t even arrived yet! There is one top prize, and 9 runners-up prizes which will be randomly awarded to the 9 next-best entries. The prizes are:

Top Prize:

1 – Herbin Tempete Pen

Runners-Up Prizes:

2 – Paperways A5 Pads (set of all 4)

3 – Harinacs Staple-less Stapler

4 – Field Notes ‘Shelterwood’ Edition (so new it’s still being shipped from the US)

5 – Lamy Al-Star BlueGreen Fountain Pen

6 – Kokuyo Green Pencil Case

7 – MT Wamon Tape Set

8 – Coccoina Glue

9 – Herbin Pen-&-Ink Set

10 – Papelote Amok Notebooks

When will I know if I have won?

We will draw a winner next Monday and announce it (hopefully) in Stationery Wednesday on 9 April. We will let the winners know, and we will publish the winner and 9 runners-up on our blog and on Stationery Wednesday next week.

Any terms and conditions…?

Not many, but there are a few:

  1. Entry to the competition is restricted to one entry per person and/or delivery address.
  2. Automated entries, bulk entries or third party entries will be disqualified!
  3. Entry is restricted to people who enter their details as stated.
  4. Prize can only be sent to a valid UK address.
  5. The winner will be chosen by Bureau Direct.
  6. The winner will be contacted via email, and the name will displayed on this website.
  7. The judges’ decision is final and no correspondence will be entered in to.
  8. The competition will run from 31 March 2014 until midnight on 4 April 2014 and all qualifying orders within these dates will be entered.
  9. www.bureaudirect.co.uk is compliant with the Data Protection Act. Our policy is such that we will not pass on your details to any third party without your prior consent.
  10. Competition not open to employees of Bureau Direct.

NB: Apologies – it was originally reported that the Tempete pen was worth £99 – my mistake, it is worth £85.


Job under the spotlight – WDFG

Branded notebooks on a deadline

branded Castelli Tuscon


This month we are putting the spotlight on a recent job for branded notebooks that we carried out for WDFG (World Duty Free Group), for their Annual Supplier Conference held at a Heathrow hotel. The conference was for 200 delegates from leading brands including Chanel, Dior, Lancome, Estee Lauder, Diageo, LVMH and Luxxotica. So far, so good, except that this was one job with a very tight deadline, and just a little bit of pressure from the CEO that this had to happen.

The brief

We had previously carried out work for WDFG, branding our Leuchtturm1917 notebooks using the orange books to fit in with their corporate branding. When approached by Karen at WDFG for an urgent delivery of notebooks for an event we were left with a problem  – the event was only a week away and the Leuchtturm books can take a week just to import from Germany. I suggested to Karen that she might consider an alternative notebook  – the Castelli Tuscon – which we could just about get delivered in the week available.

A further problem on this was that Jo had previously handled the WDFG job. She was on holiday and I was fielding her emails. Tim had only joined us 2 weeks before and was still on a steep learning curve, all of which just added a bit of spice to the proceedings.

The brief Karen had was to make sure the delegates were given a branded item that was both of suitable quality but also something useful for them. As she has told me, the week deadline seemed impossible, but ‘impossible really wasn’t an option’ on this one.

What happened next

Having produced the Leuchtturm notebooks before, we took the simple and obvious decision to scale down the same artwork onto the Castelli book – there is a slight size difference and we wanted it to appear proportionally right. The orange Tuscon notebook was a good match colour-wise and we had confidence in the product – after all, Karen didn’t even get to see a sample beforehand, so there was a risk involved in this!

Production went as expected and delivery was made in time for the conference.

branded Castelli Tuscon

The outcome

Everything went perfectly, and best of all the branded notebooks were a success – everyone used them and took them away. There’s nothing worse than having them left behind once the conference is over, but no such worries here. The WDFG staff working there were also given one and more have already been ordered.

The notebooks themselves really stood out – the orange Tuscon book is a bold colour and these books brand very nicely when blind embossed. The heat of the embossing changes the colour of the cover slightly giving an extra element of depth to the embossing, and Tuscon has a very pleasing soft-touch feel to the cover.

From our point of view we hope that we helped solve a problem for Karen, and subsequent discussions have now moved on to looking at other branded products going forward. Despite the deadline we both loved working with Karen who seemed unfazed by the pressure.

In Karen’s own words: We wanted to give our delegates something that was of excellent quality – but that was also genuinely useful…an item that we could brand quite boldly, but that people would still be happy to usethis style and format of notebook really is extremely popular and lends itself to a variety of events – conferences, store launches with airport partners, media events


10th Anniversay – Day 31

Archived Questions

Day 31 – March 31st 2013

So the final day has arrived. Maybe you’ve only just discovered the competition today, maybe you’ve dipped in and out on some days already, or maybe you’ve been a daily addict. Who knows, maybe you’ve even won one of the previous 30 prizes (or two of them….Allan). It was meant to mark a little milestone, that of 10 years trading online. Many people have been online for longer, but there are also many others who have popped up since, and 10 years does feel like something of an achievement. It also coincided with our move to new premises, which in itself was something of a milestone event in trying to grow our (little) business. We were in Camden for too long, and had outgrown our tiny little home.

So 30 days, 30 questions. We went from a Beth Bag to Tom Baker via jazz musician Ken Colyer, Victor Meldrew, Lincoln Cathedral, Julius Caesar, The Rolling Stones, Woody Allen, Crewe Alexandra and Concorde. All of which had a link to Bureau, however tenuous. At times it may have resembled Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon, but it hopefully also gave a little insight into who we are (and were) here at Bureau, and probably just a little sense of what we like (well, a lot of what I like, and quite a bit of what others like). My personal favourite question was Day 25, about the link between Woody Allen and Kentish Town West station, although I was also fond of the link from Robyn to Trading Places on Day 3, possibly because it was one of the first questions I came up with and was suitably rambling to make me want to do the whole 31 days.

And the next 10 years? That’s a scary thought, although I will re-read this in March 2023 if we are still here and remember fondly the mornings spent tapping out a new question, mug of tea in hand. We do have big hopes and aims for the coming year though, and by March 2014 I really hope that we are much bigger, better and more exciting, but without ever losing the personal side. In fact, I hope that we will see far more involvement from others – there are rumours of a guest-edit slot on the Stationery Wednesday one day soon….

So, today’s question. I’ve given up trying to guess what makes a hard question and what is an easy one. Given the big prize on offer today, I’d like to think that this question is suitably testing, but who knows. As long as it makes you think.

Q: What is the link between Titian (16th Century Italian painter, Venetian school) and Ian Thorpe (Australian swimmer, 5 times Olympic gold medallist, all round Olympic pool legend), Central Park, Queen Victoria and the Bakerloo line?

A: Oxford Circus tube station

In The Great Bear by Simon Patterson, Oxford Circus was represented by Titian (the Victoria Line was for Italian Artists and for whatever reason, this took precedence over the Central Line). Last year, in the run up to the Olympics, TfL re-drew the tube map and The Great Bear with Olympic Legends, and in this map, Oxford Circus was represented by Ian Thorpe (the Central Line was for pool events and took precedence over the Victoria Line this time round). Oxford Circus is served by the Central, Victoria and Bakerloo lines.

great bear

olympic legends



10th Anniversary – Day 30

Archived Questions

Day 30 – March 30th 2013

The most recent member of the team to join was Paul. Actually this isn’t strictly true since Tim joined last week, but when I set out to produce 31 questions of which some would be staff-based, Paul was the last to join. He joined in 2012, during the summer, and is particularly noted for his clothes. On any given day this can vary from bow-tie to Family Guy t-shirt, and he currently can’t quite handle the ‘heat’ in the new offices. This heat is what the rest of us call a ‘normal’ office temperature, and after Camden it is a huge relief. Still, I get to work and change out of my cycling gear into trousers, and Paul now puts shorts on when he gets to work to keep cool. He also has an interest in all things film and (some) TV shows, including Doctor Who. Since our shop in Covent Garden was also frequented by one of the Doctors on a regular basis, it makes sense that today’s question is…

Q: Which Doctor Who married his assistant? (clue – it was the same Doctor that came into the Covent Garden shop)

A: Tom Baker married Lalla Ward (or Sarah Ward) who played Romana


Please click here to see the latest daily prize question.


10th Anniversary – Day 29

Archived Questions

Day 29 – March 29th 2013

For anyone who had ever visited our last offices in Camden you would have known that we were situated under a railway line. Hence the address – The Arches. Maybe you just spoke to us on the telephone and wondered what that strange rumbling noise in the background was. For the most part you got used to it, like any noise, and it was the look of surprise and worry on visitors faces that reminded you of the passing Stratford to Richmond train overhead. And then there were the freight trains. They would generate a loud vibration that went right through everything, not least your head, like some method of CIA interrogation. If you have ever tried placing an order over the phone and been repeatedly asked for your details, it was probably a passing train. Acton is so nice and quiet. Still, very occasionally the passing train would be a steam train, and you might get a warning with that familiar toot and approaching noise. I even remember being on the platform on Kentish Town West station – a bleak place at the best of times (see March 25 for more on this), and whilst waiting for the 18.04 home along rolled an old-style train (pulled by a diesel locomotive, sadly) with the traditional Orient Express style dining cars, full of beautiful people sipping cold champagne and waiting to be served the first of many courses of their meal, sitting at tables with tablecloths and real china and cutlery. The contrast to us bedraggled commuters was a sight to see, and the looks on our faces when the train had passed said it all. We just had that look of ‘did I really just see that, or have I been at work too long?’. So, today’s question is…

Q: What year did the last passenger steam train run in this country?

A: 1968 – see a BBC film on the end of steam trains here


Please click here to see the latest daily prize question.


10th Anniversary – Day 28

Archived Questions

Day 28 – March 28th 2013

In celebrating our little 10th Anniversary (online), I realised today that I haven’t actually asked any questions related to the 10 years themselves. Back in 2003 all sorts of interesting things happened, but the one that caught my eye, and was very close to my heart, was the last flight of Concorde. Since I live under the flight path in West London, planes are a part of daily life. You get used to them (or you move somewhere else) but you could never get used to Concorde. The distant rumble signalled its arrival, and the roar meant watching TV was pointless for 30 seconds. I also worked at the airport in a former life and watching it take off whilst standing at the end of the runway had to be experienced to be understood. So yes, I was one of the sad people when it finally stopped flying. At the end back in 2003, BA had seven Concorde planes, which have now been sent to different locations around the world. So, today’s question is….

Q: Name any three of the locations of where the last seven British Airways Concorde planes have ended up? (cities are fine – exact locations a bonus)

A: London (Heathrow), Bristol (Filton Aerodrome), Manchester (Airport), Edinburgh (Museum of Flight), New York (Intrepid Sea-Air-Space Museum), Seattle (Museum of Flight) and Barbados (Grantley Adams Airport) – see more here


Please click here to see the latest daily prize question.


10th Anniversary – Day 27

Archived Questions

Day 27 – March 27th 2013

Almost immediately after Kate joined, Stuart joined. Stuart joined to help develop the Corporate business (for those that don’t know, here’s a quick plug for it – we offer a business-to-business service for branded stationery, usually notebooks and pens but maybe more as well – see www.bureaubusiness.co.uk for more on this). Anyway, aside from opening up new fronts on the Corporate business, Stuart also left a legacy in other ways. It’s fair to say that Stuart was laid back, but one thing guaranteed to annoy him was that old chestnut – a particular song on Radio 2. In Stuart’s case it was Moves Like Jagger by Maroon 5. It is still played every week on the radio and every time, without fail, we all think of Stuart. Funny how music can be associated with past events like that. So, today’s question is….

Q: Which comedian or comedians made the joke “And we’ve just heard that in the English Channel, a ship carrying red paint has collided with a ship carrying purple paint. It is believed that both crews have been marooned.”?

A: The Two Ronnies


Please click here to see the latest daily prize question.


10th Anniversary – Day 26

Archived Questions

Day 26 – March 26th 2013

Kate joined the team almost two years ago to the day. Kate claims she is from Wales even though she seems to have lived rather a lot of her time in North London. No, to be fair she is from over the border, but unlike Tom Jones, Anthony Hopkins and Michael Sheen, she’s not from the valleys but from more northern parts of Wales – Wrexham. So, today’s question is actually posed by Kate herself (with a little bit of amending from me to update it with more recent footbaalling events). Once upon a time Wrexham used to play football with the big boys but no more – they play in the Conference. However…

Q: There are still three English football league teams with an ‘x’ in their name. What are they?

A: Oxford, Exeter & Crewe Alexandra


Please click here to see the latest daily prize question.


10th Anniversay – Day 25

Archived Questions

Day 25 – March 25th 2013

Today is my birthday – yes, the March 10 year anniversary also very neatly took in both Jo’s and my own birthday. Bless. And being my birthday, it would only be the right thing to do to make today’s question the one about me. Having been through everything I could think of, the one I settled on was to do with commuting. We have moved now to tropical West London, but for 8 years I commuted from West London up to the hilly altitude of North London. On some days I cycled, but most days I had the pleasure of what was once known as the North London Line (when I was very small), and more recently the Silverlink. Only in very recent times has it become the Overground with its swanky new trains and tarted-up stations. In those early days of commuting it was rusty old purple Silverlink trains and grimy stations, and for some reason the local station to our offices in Camden – Kentish Town West – seemed one of the worst. A tin shed perched high above everything else, for better and for worse. On fine summer evenings you could see out over London, from Highgate to the BT Tower, and it was actually quite nice. On cold winter nights it was like Siberia with the wind tearing over the platform, waiting for yet another 10 minutes for a delayed train. I don’t think I’ll miss that station, even if it now has a posh cafe downstairs. So, today’s question is….

Q: What is the link between Kentish Town West station and Woody Allen?

A: Woody Allen is the name given to Kentish Town West in The Great Bear by Simon Patterson – see it below and read about it here

great bear


Please click here to see the latest daily prize question.


10th Anniversary – Day 24

Archived Questions

Day 24 – March 24th 2013

Bureau was originally set up by both Kathy and Jo, long before I joined. Despite moving out of London some years back, she still comes in once a week to work and we still see ourselves as a team of 5 today. Having moved from London down to the Kent coast, with suitably wonderful views out over the Channel, today’s question has a Kathy-Kent-history theme. On the Kent coast there are five towns still known as the Cinque Ports. So, today’s question is….

Q: What were the original five Cinque Ports?

A: Sandwich, Dover, Hythe, Romney and Hastings – see a map here

Cinque Ports


Please click here to see the latest daily prize question.