London: Card Shopping at Selfridges

Selfridges Paper Shopping by Natalie Parker

I’ve been meaning to visit Selfridges for a while.  After an afternoon walk around Marylebone (more in another post), I was so close that I thought I’d pop in.

Wow.  If Harrod’s is fancy, Selfridges is just cool.  It’s still a massive department store, true, but the feel was totally different.  I could have wandered all day!

Selfridges Paper Shopping by Natalie Parker

thought I was just going to pop in and check out the food hall.  Then I went through the food hall to the chocolate section.  Then beyond the chocolate section was . . . wait for it . . . the stationary section.  Be still my heart.

Selfridges Paper Shopping by Natalie Parker

Seriously, this is where British department stores get it right.  A whole section dedicated to stationary plus several stores-within-a-store displays from prominent companies like Paperchase and Smythson.

I about keeled over when I saw the Smythson stuff, then came to my senses when I saw the price tags.  Birthday gift for me, anyone?  I’ll take anything in yellow, especially this.

Selfridges Paper Shopping by Natalie Parker

They had fabulous card and stationary sets.  I saw a map-themed letter writing set and really had to restrain myself.

The card selection was just excellent.  I had to actually put a couple back because I was close to buying all the cards.  I was happy though – I got a cute little yellow Selfridges bag of my very own to carry back to my flat.

Selfridges Paper Shopping by Natalie Parker

Mission accomplished.

If you go, I think the perfect experience would be to sample some chocolate, buy some stationary, then get a manicure (in the same section as the stationary, £19 for an express manicure).  You can’t go wrong!

IF YOU GO

Click here for a map of all the locations I visited (peach pins are stores).

I traveled solo to London for the month of April on a business trip.  I kept myself entertained on the weekends with a few adventures that I’m sharing here.  Click here to see all of my travel posts grouped by destination.

London: Shoreditch Design & Shopping Walk

Shoreditch Design Walk by Natalie ParkerShoreditch Design Walk by Natalie ParkerShoreditch Design Walk by Natalie ParkerShoreditch Design Walk by Natalie Parker

I spent one of my Saturdays in London wandering around Shoreditch, looking for design stores.

Okay, I confess: I never wander.  I walk with purpose and always know where I’m going.  It’s an affliction.

The Plan

My plan of attack for the day:  start at Old Spitalfields Market to check out the vendors and the area stores, make my way toward the Old Truman Brewery and Backyard Market, have lunch at some point, walk up Shoreditch High Street to Material, then bus down to the Design Museum if I had time.  While not technically wandering, I stopped at any store that looked cool along the way.

Shoreditch Design Walk by Natalie ParkerShoreditch Design Walk by Natalie ParkerShoreditch Design Walk by Natalie Parker

The Results

I had a love-at-first-sight moment with Oliver Bonas.  Bright colors, homewares with clean lines, cards, furniture, and more.  I thought about moving in.  I snapped a pictures of these quirky chests and sent them to my mom so we can make one (they don’t ship internationally).  I got out of there with a scarf and a couple of cards.

I almost tried on some clothes because the Old Spitalfields vendors were awesome.  But I was cold and couldn’t bring myself to do it.

I stumbled onto BoxPark and Tusch und Egon, contemplating for a while how I could pack home a beautiful modern fire extinguisher.  The shopkeeper told me they can’t be packed, even in the cargo hold.  Rats.

Double rats: I didn’t realize there were more BoxPark shops upstairs!  I really should learn how to wander.

I found a solar-powered dashboard corgi at Maiden and quickly snapped it up for the corgi-lover in my life.

I stopped to admire all the street art and got to see my very first Bansky!

I had an argument with myself at the Backyard Market about taking off my scarf to try on a necklace (it was cold).  The necklace won!  I bought it and a lovely hammered ring from Boém.

My patience rewarded, I found the street food vendors near Backyard Market and got a fresh juice and halloumi wrap.

Finally, I bused across Tower Bridge and walked to the Design Museum to check out the gift shop.  I’m not sure it was worth the trek since it was so out of the way from the other shops.  However, my opinion was probably influenced by the fact that it was cold and very windy on the walk there.

Not a bad day’s work!

Shoreditch Design Walk by Natalie ParkerShoreditch Design Walk by Natalie ParkerShoreditch Design Walk by Natalie Parker

If You Go

Click here for a map of all the locations I visited (peach pins are stores).

Websites: Oliver Bonas | Old Spitalfields Market | InSpitalfields | Backyard Market | Boém | BoxPark | Tusch und Egon | Maiden | Material | Design Museum

Click here to see a photo index for all my posts on London

I traveled solo to London for the month of April on a business trip and kept myself entertained on the weekends exploring new places.  

The Day I Bought All the Neon in Dublin

Dublin Paper Goods by Natalie Parker

All. the. neon.

Or at least it felt that way.

During our trip to Dublin, I spent a morning shopping the Creative Quarter.  Apparently I’m really into neon at the moment because I bought a lot of it.

So very neon: these cute tiny “Merci” cards with little craft envelopes.  These are too small to mail in the US, but that didn’t stop me.

Dublin Paper Goods by Natalie Parker

They’re made by Belgian printer le typographe.  I can’t wait for my next trip to Brussels to check them out in person.  Mr. P’s already been warned.

I swooned (almost) over these letterpress cards from Nineteen Seventy-Three.

Dublin Paper Goods by Natalie Parker

Seriously.  I scooped up every one available at Article.  They are high quality and the colors are very vivid in person.

Since one can never have too many notecards or washi tape, I bought this pad of notecards, also by le typographe.  They are heavy duty stock with a neon pink paperclip printed in the corner.

Dublin Paper Goods by Natalie Parker

The neon orange washi is by Mark’s Inc.

Okay, so not everything was neon.  I couldn’t resist this laser cut card with an Irish postbox.  Love.

Dublin Paper Goods by Natalie Parker

And finally, a birthday card with an Irish greeting, which I’ve already earmarked for a friend of ours.

Dublin Paper Goods by Natalie Parker

Pro trip: if you see cards you like in Dublin, buy them.  Several items I saw a couple weeks later when I was paper shopping in London and they were much more expensive (even before accounting for the awful exchange rate with the sterling).  Dublin had really reasonable prices!

Mr. P stood by as I said “excuse me, I’m going to buy all the cards.”

Click here to read about the shops in the Creative Quarter where I bought these items.

Click here to see a photo index for all my posts on Ireland

Mr. P and I traveled to Dublin for a long weekend in March.  Learn how to plan a trip to Europe for the weekend (even coming all the way from California) here

Making Some Notecards

Notecards by Natalie Parker

I went paper shopping last year in Sydney.  I brought home lots of goodies.  I’ve used some of them but haven’t touched these cute envelopes.

Notecards by Natalie Parker

I picked them up at Kikki.K, a rad stationary store chain.

The thing is, since the envelopes are by themselves, I’ve never used them.  It’s been over a year.  I’ve been waiting for an excuse to use them but never think anything is cool enough or matches well enough to go with them.

Notecards by Natalie Parker

My stationary box is busting at the seams, so these have to get used.  I decided to make some matchy notecards so they’re ready next time I have to send a note.

I had this shimmery stock laying around.  It isn’t acid free so I can’t use it in my scrapbooks.  I’m psyched I found a use for it.  I glued some white stock to the other side to make the cards nice and hefty.

Notecards by Natalie Parker

I love how they turned out!  Hopefully I’ll actually use these very soon!

Notecards by Natalie Parker

Shopping for Paper Goodies in Sydney

Autralia Paper Goodies by Natalie ParkerAutralia Paper Goodies by Natalie ParkerAutralia Paper Goodies by Natalie ParkerAutralia Paper Goodies by Natalie ParkerAutralia Paper Goodies by Natalie ParkerOne one of my free weekend days*, I set out to go paper shopping in Sydney’s city center.   Being a fan of Simple Aussie Girls, I was too excited.

My favorite by far was kikki.K, which has a ton of locations in Australia.  I also stopped in Typo, Eckersley’s, the paper/supply area of Dymock’s, and even a cafe that doubled as a stationary store.

A nasty rain storm cut my trip short after the cafe stop.  I was very sad that I didn’t have time to get to scrapbook-specific stores, but they were a bit too far for me to get to.

The last photo is my little haul from the shops.  I had to be careful and get things that would fit in my carry on or else I would have bought everything in the stores!  I tried very hard to not buy stationary sets because I have too many, but I got some cool envelopes to go with my collection of envelope-less cards.  Major win!

*You thought I dragged Mr. P paper shopping, didn’t you?  Right.  He was only with me for part of the trip, and this is one of the things I indulged in on my own.

Life’s Too Short for Ugly Stamps

Pretty StampsI love getting mail.

I thought this would wear off once I reached adulthood, but nope!  Even with junk mail, there’s a split second delight of getting mail before I get unnaturally pissed off that another company has sold my contact information.  I digress.

I love sending mail and I love sending pretty mail even more.

Nowadays, it’s so easy to get stamps from the grocery store, Costco or even the ATM!  I’m not saying the standard issue Liberty Bell stamps are ugly, they’re just kinda boring.  Going to the post office and looking at new stamps is a lost art.  I decided to check out stamps on USPS.gov.

I found lots of fun stuff!

I got Year of the Dragon stamps simply because they look so awesome.  I found these Cherry Blossoms and thought they were pretty.  Finally, I had to get the Pixar Send a Hello and Mail a Smile stamps because, let’s face it, the Pixar characters are awesome.

What’s even more awesome?  They’re all forever stamps, meaning they’re good for as long as I want to use them.

Postcards as Notecards

Do you ever travel somewhere and end up with more postcards than you need?

Oh, I’m the only one that buys a ton of postcards.

Well, if you do have postcards lying around, consider using them as notecards!  Maybe you have a couple of postcards leftover from a vacation.  Maybe you bought a stack and didn’t get a chance to send them.

I had a big stack of postcards from our trip to the Middle East.  Instead of leaving them in a box, I started using them as notecards whenever I was sending something.  If they don’t fit in an envelope, just trim them down.  They worked especially well when I was sending people gifts we picked up on the trip.

Hey, you can even try this by grabbing pretty postcards from your own town!

Looking for more Tips & Ideas?  Check out my Tips page here!