Stationery Shopping in Amsterdam.

Last month I was fortunate to visit Amsterdam for a very brief trip. Whenever I visit a new city I like to see if there are any interesting stationery shops that I should carve out some time to visit. (Small helpful hint: check out All Things Stationery’s handy map.) My recent trip to Amsterdam was no different and I found an afternoon to visit two stationery shops, my thoughts on which are shared below.

Like Stationery.

My first stop was at Like Stationery, a short walk from Amsterdam Central station. I wasn’t overly familiar with this shop before my trip but their website looked really nice and their instagram well shot, so I was hoping this would be a little gem. But when I arrived it was quiet, and dare I say a little unwelcoming. There were also quite a few notices asking for no photography.

IMG_3205.jpg

Like Stationery had a good range of brands in store displayed and presented really well. A long central table held lots of different notebook brands such as Life Stationery, there were tall glasses filled with Blackwing pencils and a display of correspondence cards. The selection that Like had was pretty good and everything was laid out allowing you to see what was on offer. The one downside was a lack of testing pads alongside the pencil and pen displays, and when combined with notices of no photography it creates an atmosphere of no play.

I didn't buy anything from the store for some of the aforementioned reasons, but also because there was nothing there that really grabbed my attention.

Misc-Store.

My second visit of the day and the shop I was really looking forward to visiting was Misc. It was a little bit of a walk out of the city and even in the cold and wet weather I wasn’t deterred.

IMG_3220.jpg

Misc has lots of treasures displayed in a manner which made them easy to look at and in some cases test and play with. There was a small Travelers Company section in the store which I was immediately drawn towards. Misc had some beautifully worn TN’s on display to give you an idea of how the weather wears and ages, to show how they can be set up and used. It’s such a great idea to include them in this manner because part of the allure is how these notebooks change with use. There were also some Travelers Company stamps with an ink pad, that I happily played with and added into my own TN.

IMG_3216.jpg

Another brand I was keen to see in Misc was their range of Classiky items. I haven’t noticed too many online stores in Europe where you can find Classiky and I had only seen some in person at Present and Correct in London. Misc had a great selection including the small dishes, the wooden first aid boxes and some of the papers and pads too.

IMG_3219.jpg

Misc did have a pen testing area in one section of their shop. An array of pens and fountain pens from brands such as Lamy and Y Studio were displayed with testing pads encouraging you to try them out. I did have a little play in this section too, in particular with the Y Studio pens as I hadn’t seen these in flesh.

I spent quite a bit of my time exploring the different stationery items that Misc offered and chatting to the staff. I came away with a small selection of items including an Olive TN, a set of the Midori pencils and a Le Typographe Porte-Mine mechanical pencil. I bought this mechanical pencil after testing it out and because I was surprised by how comfortable it was to use and how nice the graphite appeared on the page. Letting customers play and test definitely helps them to buy - no question.

Overall thoughts.

Misc lived up to my expectations and I really could have spent a lot of money there. I think on another trip to Amsterdam I would definitely take the time to visit again. As a customer you’re encouraged to try and test things out, which was very different from my experience at Life Stationery.

As usual I thoroughly enjoyed visiting some of the stationery shops during my trip. It’s a great way to find new products you may not normally be interested in, or exposed to. With a bit of good fortune I should be able to get back out to Amsterdam this year and will take the time to visit other stores too.

One last thing before you go…below was my short break stationery toolkit. Far too much as always, but it included the things I thought I needed. This needs a lot of refinement and is something I have to work on but I thought I would share it with you.

IMG_3171.jpg

Mid-Week Mini: Le Typograhe Porte-Mine Mechanical Pencil.

IMG_3340.jpg

One of my recent purchases after a trip to Amsterdam was the Le Typographe Porte-Mine mechanical pencil. I found this in Misc-Store and after spending a long time examining everything in the shop, I decided I needed to buy this pencil. I really liked the style but it was after testing the graphite out I had to buy it.

IMG_3335.jpg

Before I dig into the pencil I just wanted to share the kraft packaging. The pencil is protected by a concertina folded piece of card that holds it in place. What I really like is the embossed guide on the back which shows you all the elements of the pencil. There is no unnecessary text or information here, just a simple and beautiful design.

IMG_3336.jpg

The style of the Porte-Mine is beautiful. It has a cream coloured metal barrel which is comparable to the size and feel of a woodcase pencil.

IMG_3337.jpg

There is a cute golden bug imprinted near the top of the pencil too which is the only indication of any branding.

IMG_3338.jpg

To use the Porte-Mine you press down the knock of the pencil to allow the graphite to escape from the barrel. You can decide how much of the graphite you want to appear, the only thing to bear in mind if that you don’t let the graphite fall out of the barrel and shatter.

IMG_3339.jpg

The knock also unscrews from the top of the pencil to reveal a small sharpener. This is really useful having this incorporated into the pencil itself. It means you don’t have to find a sharpener that works with this mechanical pencil, or worry about carrying it around. Everything is in one place.

IMG_3342.jpg

Writing with the graphite is very nice. It’s not too dark, but rather a light grey colour. My plan is to use this pencil for sketching. I can extend more of the graphite if I need to shade a sketch, or use the nice point that the sharpener creates for the detail work.

IMG_3344.jpg

It was a nice surprise the find the Porte-Mine in Misc. I would not have come across this online and it was through testing the pencil out that really sold me on it. I love visiting brick and mortar stores, especially those that encourage touching and testing. They really do open things you to you and show you new and exciting tools you could be using.

IMG_3345.jpg

Mid-Week Mini: Blackwing 10,001 Review.

IMG_3154.jpg

One of the Blackwing limited edition releases from 2018 was the 10,001 pencil, which plays homage to creative ways to teaching and learning specifically linking back to Miyamoto Sensei puzzles.

The 10,001 saw Blackwing experiment with a few different aspects. Firstly the barrel is a different shape to the hexagonal barrel of the standard Blackwing pencils and the majority of the limited edition releases. The pentagonal shape of the 10,001 gives it five sides, rather than the standard six.

IMG_3157.jpg

The 10,001 has a firm graphite core, which is quite common among the limited edition releases. However, for this edition it links back to the puzzle element therefore the core had to be firm enough to hold a point. I have found the core nice to write with, the graphite is dark but its really smooth and enjoyable to use.

IMG_3163.jpg

The barrel on the 10,001 is stained red from “adzuki” beans which really gives a subtle colour finish. I really like the light pink tone and you get some of the wooden barrel grain showing through. It almost appears like a wood stain finish.

IMG_3161.jpg

The Blackwing branding is stamped in gold with kanji numerals for the edition number. To compliment the gold printing the ferrule is also gold and there is a black eraser giving it a classic finish.

IMG_3160.jpg

As with all Blackwing pencils they perform well, sharpen nicely and really give you a feeling of quality. They are currently sold out on the Blackwing site, but potentially still available, especially in singles, in brick and mortar stores.

Mid-Week Mini: Baron Fig Nomad Sticky Notes Review.

IMG_3088.jpg

The Nomad sticky notes are Baron Figs stylised version of the 3M yellow sticky note. Baron Fig took the sticky note and added their spin to it.

The Nomad’s a 3 inch by 3 inch in size and they come in a 3-pack which is really useful as you can dot these around in places you need them.

IMG_3090.jpg

They are the Baron Fig off-white colour with their dot grid print. A dot grid sticky note is not something I have seen anywhere else and really useful.

IMG_3091.jpg

The Nomad sticky notes also have rounded off corners, which means no bumped or curled edges and basically keeps the neat among us a little happier. The make-up of the Nomad sticky note is very similar to the Strategist note cards, only smaller and with a sticky backing.

The big issue I have with the Nomad sticky notes, is their stickiness. Try and stick a few to your desk, mine is wooden, and quickly they curl at the edges. Try and add these into a notebook and they often fall away from the page when you re-open it. For photography purposes I stuck this onto the wall of my office and you can see the beginnings of the curl.

IMG_3095.jpg

Sticky notes are always useful but unfortunately in my experience the Nomad falls down on the very premise of their existence. These would be great sticky notes if they were more sticky.