Good stationery’s not just for kids


cross pen year of the horse


Fasten your bibs, stationery lovers, and prepare to drool, for I have some quality stationery porn to waft in front of your ink-stained noses.

Many of us will recently have had our pockets emptied by our children’s back to school needs. Why is it that only kids get new stationery in September? I think adults deserve some too.

Let me introduce you to some new stationery that’s decidedly for grown ups.

First up: a pen that’s not even in the shops yet – the 2014 Year of the Horse pen from Cross.

I was asked to be a Cross Pens ambassador after a Blog Camp event, and it’s been fabulous to get to try out their ranges. You can’t go back to disposible biros once you’ve got used to the heft of a decent pen in your mitt.

This new pen is part of Cross’s yearly special edition Chinese zodiac series. Last year it was snakes, and 2014 is Year of the Horse.

It’s not in shops until October, but Cross sent me this one as a preview. Isn’t it beautiful?

As always the packaging is immaculate, as the pen comes inside an engraved red and black leather box. Your Year of the Horse pen gets its own plinth so it can bask in majestic splendour on your desk.

It features 23 carat gold overlays, handpolished lacquer and a beautiful horse design down the length of the pen. It’s available in white as well as the red shown here.

Design-wise, it’s incredibly elegant and a little slimmer than last year’s snake model. However, it’s slightly too wide to fit into a Filofax loop.

It writes very smoothly and despite the etching it still feels very sleek in your hand. Pens like this really are an heirloom in the making.cross year of the horse pen



And if you’ve got a new pen then of course you need a new notebook to go with it.

Like lots of people I love stationery with a story, which is probably why Moleskines do so well – everyone associates them with Ernest Hemingway. But the whole womanising alcoholic business has put me off Hemingway and his Moleskines. What I need is a notebook with a better back story.

Enter Monsieur Notebooks a new London-based company run by two old schoolfriends named Ed and Tom. You can find out more about them and the company’s current plans here on Indiegogo.

These leather-bound notebooks are handmade in India, and Ed and Tom say they provide fair incomes and sustainable jobs for the people who make them.

Tom sent me one of their red A6 notebooks to try out – and doesn’t it go well with the Cross pen?

monsieur notebooks

As notebooks go these Monsieurs are very much a keeper – it’s for filling with notes you aim to retain and ponder over rather than shopping lists destined for the bin.

The notebook shown here has 192 pages and 90 gsm Ivory paper (I don’t know what that means but in layperson’s terms the pages feel nice and smooth and thick) It would make a perfect gift for a friend who’s going travelling or just for yourself because you’re so ace.

It’s quite stiff to open but I guess that’s inevitable since it’s fairly thick leather, and it does seem to loosen up with use. I love the cute moustache logo embossed on the back and the retro nameplate on the opening page.

According to Cross, the red colour of their pen is a symbol of success and good fortune. So with a red stationery combination like this, I have no excuse but to kick up a storm from here on in. It’s powerful stuff, stationery.


I was sent these products free of charge for review. The Cross Year of the Horse pen is not yet available but will retail from £200. I’ll add in a link when it’s available.

Monsieur Notebooks are available in a variety of sizes and colours which you can see on their website – the A6 red version shown here retails at around £11.


Have you bought any cool new stationery recently? Tell me about it in the comments