Seen in the wild


Highway to pen 1

It’s always nice to drive through Belgium as it gives me a chance to refill my Atoma reserves. As you might know, I’m a big fan of Atoma notebooks.

Stationery in a Carrefour Hypermarket

With such a choice to tempt me (see photo above) I couldn’t resist getting a BIC multi-pen with a pencil to add to my multi-pen plus pencil collection.

BIC in Belgium

Carrefour had an offer on the Pelikano junior for under €10. It’s a great pen. When I bought mine in 2008 I paid £6.80, but these prices are long gone and today €10 seems like a steal.

Pelikano junior, probably bigger in Japan than in Europe

The reason I really stopped was to get more Atoma notebooks. Unfortunately they didn’t have the Bio Atoma which I love. Even Atomas with cardboard covers were rare. Most had thick plastic covers which seem unnecessarily plasticy and not as nice as the cardboard variety. The similar Adoc notebooks were however available with cardboard covers.

No Bio Atomas. Sniff.

When I drove on, into Germany, I noticed another nice stationery surprise. Kids get the excellent Noris colour pencils with a kids meal. Chicken fillets, fries, orange juice and Staedtler Noris for €3.99. The Noris is certainly the star in this combo.

I wish I was a kid

Geordie stationery blogging

Today I came across a new blog, Dear Analog, after they started following me on social media.

It’s nice to see that a review of my favourite, the Orenz, is one of the first blog posts.

Dear Analog’s home is even further North than Bleistift’s. I suggest you read all their posts with a Geordie accent in your head as they’re from Newcastle 8^) The blog itself is unusual as it is only a few days old but already shows ads, affiliate links and gets free items from big manufacturers. In that respect it reminds me a bit of Lead Fast.

Have a look. I am almost sure there will be many more posts in the next few weeks.


Iridium 4

Earlier this year my family and I made a trip to Sizergh castle in Cumbria, not too far North of where we live.

Sizergh Castle wasn’t quite what we expected, so we finished there early and with some time to spare we decided to go to Kendal.

On the way there I remembered that a few years earlier I read about a stationery shop in Kendal: Iridium.

Trying to link to this blog post I noticed that unfortunately, the A Fool With A Pen blog, where I first found out about Iridium, doesn’t exist anymore. Luckily I was able to find an archived version of the blog post. If you can spare a few minutes please take the time to read this blog post. The blogger took the shop over for a day and wrote about his or her experience.

Our trip was a few years after I read the blog post and we originally didn’t plan to visit to the shop, so we didn’t do any research, but luckily the blog post and the name of the shop were so memorable that it was easy to find the shop – on the Internet. Finding the shop in reality wasn’t easy, though. I thought I just put the name in Google Maps and it will lead us there, but finding the entrance to the lane that leads to Iridium was rather difficult. We expected this shop to be on a normal street, which might have been a contributing factor. After a few attempts we finally found the lane “New Shambles” and the shop, but unless you are familiar with Kendal or spend a bit longer in this town you are unlikely to find this shop by coincidence.

The entrance to the New Shambles lane

Iridium isn’t big but is making great use of the available space and is full of items you normally only see online or might not have come across before. Prices were also very reasonable for a brick and mortar store.

Malcolm, the owner of the shop was very friendly, helpful and knowledgable. We couldn’t have asked for more.

The visit a few months ago long ago, but I am not sure whether Iridium is still open. According to Google it’s ‘permanently closed’ and I can’t find social media pages for Iridium but the owner’s LinkedIn page shows that it’s open.

Of course, Google isn’t always correct, but this isn’t a good sign.

I’ll leave you with a few pictures from the shop. If you’re near Kendal please have a look. It’s very unlikely that you’ll regret the visit.