What does September mean to you? If it were any other year, it might be returning from a two-week break in sunnier climes. (Heading back to the office and catching up all the gossip you have missed.) Or, perhaps it’s finally planning that get-together with more than, erm, five of your friends.
Alas, this is 2020, folks. Our familiar autumnal norms have been replaced by face masks, working from home and trying to get out of that last Zoom quiz that is still, inexplicably, happening every week. Thankfully, just one tried-and-tested September treat remains the same: the ritualistic buying of brand spanking new stationery.
For me, bending back the cover of a fresh notebook, clicking an ink cartridge into a just-bought fountain pen and lining up a set of shiny, neon highlighters was the pinnacle of going back to school after the summer holidays; the only bright spot on a horizon otherwise bleak with homework, uniform and mandatory hockey. A particular high point: When I was 13, and my mum bought me a hot pink, sparkly pencil case from WHSmith.
If you, too, get a thrill from new stationery , you’ll be pleased to hear it’s a thoroughly acceptable obsession, even beyond sixth form. The best adult-friendly kit comes by way of Smythson, whose soft-backed leather notebooks are the ultimate in aspirational scribbling – though the price might make you think twice about idle, lunchtime doodles. Up your desk-game with bright, weekly planners from Counter Print, chic post-it notes from Mark and Fold, and anything from Bridie Hall, especially the Instagram-worthy pen pots. And make sure to don Quay’s chic, blue light-blocking glasses if the day calls for long hours in front of your laptop.
If you’re really after the back-to-school experience (minus Latin) try Labour and Wait: the old-fashioned exercise books and slick fountain pens will transport you straight back. You may have left the classroom behind, but you needn’t forgo the gear. Just maybe leave the hot pink, sparkly pencil cases to the teenagers, yeah?