I’m a sucker for anything handwritten. I still write all of my lists in a notebook and I am a total stationery geek – always have been, always will be. I mean, to the extent that I almost only ever write or draw with once specific type of pen. I’m beyond loyal to my black hardback Moleskin notebooks and the 0.4 Pilot pens.

I am also that person who has boxes and boxes of handwritten cards from friends and family that I will keep forever. There’s something comforting and safe about pen and paper. I like that it’s not saved electronically anywhere and that someone has to choose to keep it somewhere safe in order to look back at it.

I still write lots of handwritten cards and letters to friends around the world, be it on special occasions or any old ordinary day where something random has made me think of them. As tempting as it is, I try not to settle for a text message or an email because, in a time where our inboxes are full and our actual postboxes flooded with bills and payment reminders (yes, I’m also that person), there is nothing quite like getting a handwritten card or letter through your letterbox.

When La Poste wrote to me asking if I would like to be part of their latest campaign to encourage people to write handwritten letters, I couldn’t possibly say no. This one is right up my street.

The truth is, we all always have “better things to do” and it can be so easy to settle for a text message or an email but I try to remember how nice it is to receive a handwritten letter. To help make it easy, these are a few things I like to do so I always have what I need at hand:

  • I like to keep an Excel file or a notebook with those important people’s addresses. Whenever someone moves, I try to ask him or her for their address straight away so I don’t have to send that awkward text just before their birthday asking for their address. That totally kills the surprise.
  • Put in repeating annual calendar reminders for birthdays, anniversaries or important dates. I like to put the person’s address straight in the calendar reminder so it’s all in one place.
  • Make sure you have a few stamps in a drawer so you can just find your closest postbox and pop it in there. These are the really cute bird and fern stamps I used (you may need more than one if sending post internationally).
  • Have a little collection of cards or simple stationery you can personalise. I buy a whole lot once or twice a year when I’m in England. It helps not to have to go to a shop every time you need a card.

If you’ve got a little time and want to make something special, it is so easy to make your own stationery. You can’t personalise an email like you can a letter so get yourself some nice paper and have fun with it. If you want to splash out on the paper and envelopes, Mediovalis paper and envelopes are beautiful but anything will do.

Sometimes it can be hard to know where to start so here are a few quick and easy ideas on how to decorate a simple piece of card to make it look a bit more special. You could easily adapt these ideas for Christmas cards or letters by using different shapes or colours.

The more simple and repetitive the patterns, the more effective.

Use thick marker pens (like these ones) and press down with one colour to make a pattern a bit like dotted road markings and then go over it again with another colour but slightly off the first mark. Follow the same pattern all the way around the border.

All you need to make these is a thin-tipped watercolour pen (I used these Ecoline pens) and you simply draw dots around the border of a piece of card and the envelope. Don’t worry too much about going in a straight line, the imperfections will show that it’s handmade.

Simple patterns are effective and safe but if you’re more artistic, why not draw little coloured leaves onto the corners and around the address on the envelope? I love how delicate these are.

Why not fancy up the envelope with a name written in big with the address on the side but make sure to leave space for the stamp and make sure the last name and address is clear so it gets to the right person.

All of these ideas are really simple and could be adapted to any occasion. Play around and make them your own.

It could also make a fun project to do with kids – you could make cute patterns with finger prints or using something like a shaped puncher to go around the border.

If you’re not particularly crafty or don’t have the time, there are some really beautiful stationery shops out there. Cuppin’s and L’Attribut d’Iris (both in Lausanne) often have a few bits in store but London is home to my favourite stationery shops. Here’s a little list for any of you who might be on the lookout for beautiful writing sets. Most of these places also have online shops and deliver abroad, too.

Present & Correct: Run by two graphic designers with a stationery obsession. You have to check out their incredibly satisfying Instagram account, too!

Papersmiths: A lovely little pink shop in the Boxpark in Shoreditch with beautiful stationery, cards and a great selection of books and magazines.

Choosing Keeping: Probably one of the most beautiful shops in London in my eyes and where I stock up on my 0.4 Pilot pens (as you know now, the only pens I write with). Everything the owner selects is beautiful as well as functional.

London Graphic Centre: THE shop for anyone serious about stationery and interested in design and arts. The shop has been around since the early 70s and everything is organized by colour. Heaven! It is perhaps a little less aesthetically pleasing than the other three but they have everything you could possibly want.

Right, the secret’s out – I’m a complete stationery geek but that probably comes as no surprise. Any other stationery lovers out there? :)

I hope that perhaps this has been a little reminder about how special handwritten letters and cards are and that maybe you’ll pick up a pen and paper next time you want to send a few kind words to loved ones. Also, if you’ve got any tips and tricks or stationery shops you’d recommend? I’d love to know.

Thanks for stopping by for a read. Have a wonderful day! xS

Photos by Nicole Hertel

This is a sponsored post in collaboration with Swiss Post