There are better ways to communicate than over Zoom – put pen to paper with these excellent stationery sites.

We will be forever grateful for the technology that has kept us connected during the loneliness of lockdown. But we must not forget the other, perennial ways of staying in touch with the people we cannot see. Sure, it was great that you taught your grandmother to use Zoom and it was fun hanging with friends on Houseparty. Now is the moment, though, to pause and put pretty pen to elegant paper.

Writing in The New York Times, Jordan Salama said last month: ‘Like so many other things in this otherwise-terrifying global quarantine, I’ve found writing letters to be wonderful in the simplest of ways.

‘For each one, I sit at our dining room table for the better part of an hour, away from my phone and computer, with only a sheet or two of blank white printer paper in front of me.

‘I’m hardly able to keep a regular journal without it feeling like a chore, but writing to someone else is sending a fresh entry off into the world without ever having to look at it again.’

You’ve got to love his sentiment. But you can do better, surely, than the white printer paper. Here, we’ve found you the very best sites for buying beautiful stationery.

Choosing Keeping




A visit to this old-fashioned stationer’s in the heart of Covent Garden is an assault on the senses; a visit to its website is a joy as well. Everything, but everything, here is exquisite. Time Out says: ‘It is possible to walk out of Choosing Keeping having spent £45 on a stapler and feel like it was the smartest purchase you ever made. The trouble with this shop is that everything is so damn beautiful.’ Check out the stunning array of notebooks, pencils, art supplies and fountain pens and you are sure to agree. No website will bring out your inner wordsmith more forcefully than this one.

Marby & Elm




Marby & Elm is a letterpress design studio based in Exmouth Market in London. You may not have heard its name before, but you will certainly have seen its eye-catching designs – which are so compelling that you cannot help but linger over them. Charmingly, what began as a hobby in a garden shed has become a family business. Eleanor Tattersfield is the designer; Charlie, her sister, manages the shop. Their father is the lettering artist; Tim, their brother, does the photography and website. Shop here for greetings cards with witty neon slogans, writing paper and – our favourite – booklets of mini cards saying things like ‘YOU ROCK’ and ‘YOU GO GIRL’. Their Quarantine Correspondence Pack (is a brilliant example of the humour they inject into all that they do. Peruse the full website here.

Pentreath & Hall




Pentreath & Hall is not a stationary brand per se but because they understand how to live a stylish life absolutely as well as anybody can, their stationery is to die for. The shop is the brainchild of architectural and interior designer Ben Pentreath and decorative artist Bridie Hall. It is a treasure trove of desirable objects. To brighten up your home office, head straight to the Paper, Cards & Prints section of their site. There you will find greetings cards that are almost too pretty to use, wrapping paper that is frameable and the pen pots, box files and notebooks of your dreams. We believe tidying would become a pleasure if you had the Attic Hammer Freeze Magazine File on your desk.

Papier




This chic brand started life in London in 2015, as a purveyor of personalised greeting cards and stationery. Their aim was to ‘inspire people to connect with each other more often and in more meaningful ways’. Five years on, Papier continues to be brilliant at imaginatively personalised writing paper and cards but the range also takes in everything from notebooks to photobooks to wall art. Among the best things about it, though, are its exclusive collaborations with high-end designers like Luke Edward Hall and Matilda Goad, whose Scallop Trim Notecard Set takes some beating. Browse the full collection on the website.

Smythson




It may have been around since 1887, and had a resurgence back in the Noughties when Samantha Cameron was its Creative Director, but don’t consign this heritage brand to the dustbin. The leather goods, beautifully crafted in Italy, are as slick as can be. Better still, though, it continues to be an unending pleasure to write letters on Smythson’s signature, handcrafted Nile Blue paper before slipping the precious missives into their thick blue envelopes. If it was good enough for Queen Victoria and Grace Kelly, it is good enough for you. Go shopping here.

By Becky Ladenburg
August 2020

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Becky Ladenburg

Features Editor

As the GWG's features editor, Becky has her discerning finger on the cultural pulse. She's also our go-to expert on the property market.

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