By popular demand, we are delighted to present a guide to picking your perfect diary for the year ahead in five simple steps. Are you ready? Let’s begin…

1. Decide your favourite diary layout

This is probably the least exciting step, but is VERY important. We all have a preferred diary layout. I’m a week-to-view girl, so I always go for one of our weekly diaries (our most popular format), which look like this inside:

There is a week spread across a double page spread from Monday – Sunday. The perfect amount of room for notes, your schedule etc.

We also do day-per-page AKA daily diaries. These are ideal for those with A LOT to write, or can also be used as appointment diaries. Each page has a whole day on it (apart from Saturday and Sunday that share a page).

We also do ‘planners’, which have 18 months of calendar pages at the start and then lots of to do lists and notes pages at the back.

2. Hardback or Softback

Softback diaries are the new option for this year and have flexible, but sturdy covers. They are the more lightweight option if you plan on popping a diary in a handbag for on-the-go planning.

Hardback diaries are the more luxe option with covers coated in a specialist book cover material and wire binding, which means the diary can be easily left open flat. I love having mine on my desk with the current week of the year open, ready to scribble plans in. That’s not to say you can’t carry a hardback diary with you, you can (I do!), but they are reassuringly more weighty.

 3. Pick your diary design 

Ahhhh the BEST bit! We have a range of stunning designs you can take your pick from. From chic and stylish, to more simple and contemporary, there is something to float your boat whoever you are buying for. Personalisation is complementary, so you can add their name to all the designs, and if you want something bespoke you only need to ask.

4. Choose your colour

The other REALLY fun step, but possibly the hardest (because they are all so lovely!), is choosing your colour. All our designs can be printed on any colour book, meaning you can make your diary delightfully individual, and something they (or you!) will love. There are 11 hardback colour options, which you can see here:

And there are 8 softback colour options, which you can see here:

Both come with your choice of foil colour too. We include lots of example images so you can usually see what each option looks like, but if you want to check, again you only need to ask.

Rest assured, they are all look splendid, which is why we have chosen them! As an example, this is our Be The Queen 2019 Weekly Diary in Sky Blue with gold foil:

And here it is in Ivory White with gold foil:

Both look lovely, so it’s merely up to you which would look more fabulous on your desk or in your bag!

5. Decide if you want to go large

This is an optional extra, but some people want their diary A4 in size instead of our A5 standard size. This is only available with our weekly hardback diaries at the moment, but is another option if you have lots to write, or use your diary more for daily notes and ‘to dos’.

Optional extras

Nearly there… you have now chosen your diary – congratulations! However, if you are buying your diary for someone else, there are a few options to make that gift a bit more special. For example, you can add an inside message into our hardback diaries and add gift wrap to all of them. These are displayed on each product page, do you can just choose when ordering.

That’s it! Now all that’s left is to pick… head on over and see all our diaries here. If you have any other diary questions, fire away, either here or on our Instagram. Happy choosing!

Join our Advent Activities!

We need to talk about advent… no not the stationery advent calendar, the OTHER advent calendar. Here at Martha Brook we LOVE advent because every year we have a team calendar filled with festive tasks and activities to complete together. These range from dress up days (PJ day is a long-running favourite), food themes, craft activities to help us decorate the office and lots more, all of which help to keep the festive sprits high during our busiest time of the year.

This year, we want to spread the festive joy beyond our office and invite you to join us! This is perfect for anyone who works alone, in a small team like our own, or simply if you feel like some Christmas countdown fun. The twenty-four activities will be things that anyone can take part in, no matter where or who you work with.

There are two ways to join in with #teambrookadvent

Either you can buy our new Chart of Advent Activities, and drop us a note with your order and we will include the Martha Brook activities for free. This is perfect if you want to reveal the activity each day like we will.

Alternatively, you can download the full Team Brook Advent Activities for free in advance (although don’t ruin the surprise for anyone who is opening them throughout the month!).

Let us know you’re joining in throughout December using the hashtag #teambrookadvent. We’ll award a box of surprises in January to who our favourite participant! Now, I am not sure we could be MORE excited about advent. Bring on 1st December!

Last week we held our first ever week-long pop up at Spirit of Christmas fair. If you haven’t been before, it’s an incredible Christmas shopping experience with loads of independent brands, plus workshops, food and drink and loads more.

You couldn’t miss the Martha Brook stand, which of course was packed with our delightfully individual stationery, some desk goals and very pink!

Thank you so much if you came along to see us and did some Christmas shopping. You can explore more by visiting our new Christmas shop here. Pics by Martha and the brilliant Tia Talula.

A blog from our founder Martha Keith.

Yesterday I was lucky enough to be invited to No 10 Downing Street to speak with the Prime Minister’s Special Advisor. The visit came about after voicing my thoughts on the proposed ‘Amazon tax’ back in the summer, which was picked up by Emma Jones, founder of Enterprise Nation who asked me to come along with some other entrepreneurs and bring with us ‘the one thing you would do if you were PM for the day’. So, what would I do? I would create a taskforce to look into regenerating our high streets and ensure that no extra tax for online businesses is added to next week’s budget. Here is a bit more detail on what I shared.

Back in August the chancellor proposed an additional tax for internet businesses to ‘ensure that taxation is fair between businesses doing business the traditional way and those doing business online’, which has gained momentum in the press and whenever he speaks. You may have seen me post a couple of times about it here and here.

However, I think we are looking at this in the wrong way and here is why:

Firstly, internet shopping is not bad for the economy, it is brilliant for the economy. Like it or not, the way we as a society shop is changing and we are are increasingly going online for goods and services, and this has been amazing for enterprise. Small businesses like mine have been popping up all around the UK, leading to growth in the economy and jobs. In fact, the UK is currently only behind the US as a place to start and grow a business and 30% of the UK micro enterprises are commerce businesses. Internet shopping is not just good for business, it is good for the 17% of people in rural communities who can’t access shops plus disabled people like my father who can’t get to shops.

Most ecommerce businesses already pay their way in tax. Small independent businesses like mine who operate online already pay our fair share of tax (VAT, corporation tax, business rates etc) as well as having to invest in additional marketing spend to make up for not having a bricks and mortar presence so that customers can find us. The issue here is not us, it is multinational conglomerates like Amazon who sell in the UK but domicile elsewhere so they don’t even pay their fair share of corporation tax. This is what we need to focus on, which is an international issue. Talking of fairness, what about the service industries? Look at banking, online banking has revolutionised the way we manage our money – when was the last time you actually went into a bank on the high street? Are you going to tax that as well, or just those that sell goods online that undoubtedly have higher overheads?

What we really need to focus on is remodeling our high streets. Our struggling high streets is the whole reason this discussion was started in the first place, but this is not about them being in competition with online, we need to evolve what our local towns offer instead of looking for a replacement shop to fill that boarded up shop front. Instead we should be asking ourselves, what can towns offer that online cannot? We should be focussing on making them an experience (the demand for which is a growing industry), a place where you can socialise, get food and drink and try and see new things alongside the retail component – all things you cannot get from sitting in front of a screen. We should be replacing boarded up shops with affordable housing so that local communities can start thriving again. An online tax in itself is not going to make people shop on the high street again.

And yes, we need to take a serious look at business rates. Small shops pay far too much, some companies pay nothing at all. The chancellor would be right to focus his energies here – you will never get our high streets thriving again if you are charging businesses an extortionate amount for being there.

So, in summary, if I was Prime Minster for the day, I would recognise that the changing UK retail model is a far bigger issue than the chancellor can tackle with a simple online tax. Online retail is brilliant for business. Britain wants to be open for business – why would we want to be the first country to impose an online tax? Instead, I would be focusing on the much more complex issue of regenerating our high streets and creating a different long-term sustainable model.

Phew! I didn’t quite manage to fit all of that in, so I have since contributed further via email and we will see what the result is. I’d love to know what you think of the proposed tax for online businesses – good idea or bad idea?

Back in stock! After originally selling out in record time, we are delighted to confirm today that Martha Brook’s 24 Days Of Stationery Advent Calendar is back in stock. So, why did it sell out so quickly the first time and what’s all the fuss about?

The advent calendar has been a lengthy labour of love from the Martha Brook team, with discussions and planning for this unique product beginning 10 months ago. In February, we dreamt up the idea of creating our first stationery advent calendar. If you want to move away from the traditional chocolate advent calendars, and buy a more luxury adult one instead, there are not that many options to buy, other than the beauty advent calendars or alcohol ones, they all start to feel a bit samey don’t you think? Our mission was to create a different type of lifestyle advent calendar – one that would be the dream for all stationery lovers.

However, it was a challenge because we wanted it to be personalised and we wanted the contents to be truly brilliant. How on earth could we present 24 different stationery items of varying shapes and sizes – including a notebook – in an advent calendar?! The breakthrough came when we decided on the ‘boxes within a box’ design, with the 24 days looking like a row of colourful books on a shelf.

We then had to design and source the contents. We don’t want to give away the surprise of what is inside (although if you are desperate to know, we do list them at the very end of the product description), but all twenty-four items have been designed to fit together perfectly. As you may guess from the colour of the foil embossed boxes, there is a pink, navy and grey theme to what’s inside too, with lots of luxurious gold touches. Everything from a luxury pen to chic paperclips to a cute notepad, we’ve got your stationery essentials covered. There are even some extra items that will be useful during December when preparing gifts or thanking loved ones… you’ll have to open all 24 days to see what we mean!

This luxe advent calendar is unique as it can be personalised with the name of your choice, which is foil printed onto the gorgeous navy lid of the box and on two of the items inside. As well as looking festive and simply stunning, the advent calendar has been made with the environment in mind. There is no plastic packaging; the luxe embossed boxes are made from GF Smith card and all the other packaging is 100% recyclable and biodegradable.

Because of how long it takes to make, the advent calendar is limited edition. We had absolutely no idea whether people would love it as much as us, and had the difficult decision of how many to produce all the way back at the start of the summer. When we released it for presale on 25th September, we realised we could stop worrying when we rapidly broke our record of the most orders for a new product in the first 24 hours of its launch! There have even been several features in the press with Country and Town House magazine calling it ‘one of the chicest christmas countdowns they’ve ever seen’, which makes us so happy.

This unique advent calendar really is the perfect way to have a delightful December and a joyful January as you enjoy using all the beautiful items of stationery. So, if you are searching for that perfect gift for a loved one or simply looking to treat yourself, then join the community of stationery lovers around the world and secure your 24 Days Of Stationery Advent Calendar before they are all gone!

The Stationery Social 2018

A couple of weeks ago we were so excited to host our first ever ‘Stationery Social‘. A chance to bring our Instagram to life, giving those lucky enough to get tickets (they sold out in less than 24 hours!) a taste of all the things Martha Brook loves; creative workshops, delicious treats, cocktails, all the prettiness and, of course, our delightfully individual stationery!

Back in April we had the tough challenge of finding a venue; light, bright, modern yet filled with character, until we stumbled across a room in the perfectly named Staple Inn. A beautiful victorian building with parquet floors, high ceilings and bright white walls, plenty of natural light and a central location, it ticked all of our boxes for the perfect space.

The brief was then simple, to transform the room into a haven of pastel and paper prettiness, and we settled on a pink and rose gold theme for the styling.

We were incredibly lucky to partner with the amazing Hayford and Rhodes, one of the oldest, largest and we think most innovative florists in London, who created, undeniably, the main centrepiece of the room; an insanely beautiful floral installation. Inspired by our Instagram, the pink and peach floral arch became the perfect photo back drop (see Martha and Hermione below)…  it’s been a week since the event and we all still can’t stop admiring how stunning it looks in the photos.

Elsewhere, wherever you looked, there were elements of pastel pink prettiness and the food and drink was no exception. The megababes from Canababes were kind enough to create some of their ‘event food with personality’. Not only did the sweet and savoury canopies taste amazing they also looked like mini works of art, almost too good to eat (almost!).

We also have to give a special mention to the wonderful Lavolio. Their founder Lavinia and her lovely assistant Bianca hosted another one of the most popular stations of the day, a boutique confectionary tasting table where you got to sample some of their delicious handmade sweets and chocolate, which we are huge fans of here at Martha Brook.

Of course, there also had to be lots of stationery. The event was the perfect place to two of our new ranges. Both the Whatever Collection, a set of sassy, playful personalised notebooks, and our beautiful new 2019 diaries and calendars were arranged in a pretty display for everyone to admire.

The afternoon wasn’t just about the very instagrammable decor though. In between sipping on pink Sipsmith Summer cup (or Teapigs tea), and chatting with other like-minded attendees, we also ran some taster creative workshops. Beautiful stationery and the art of hand lettering go hand in hand and the talented Edlyl Asis hosted an introduction to Modern Calligraphy, which gave participants the opportunity to learn the basics of using their nib and ink to form beautiful letterforms.

Running with the hand lettering theme there was also the opportunity to take part in a Brush Lettering workshop taught by Hannah, our Junior Designer here at Martha Brook, who always gives us envy with how easy she makes it look!

We were lucky enough to be gifted some beautiful photo backdrops by Capture by Lucy, which helped form the basis of the next workshops taught by our stylist Nancy Straughan and Martha herself. Guests were given a quick lesson on how to create a successful flatlay and then asked to style a piece from our new collection with Martha passing on some of her wisdom on how to take the best photos using your iPhone.

However, our absolute favourite part of the afternoon was the buzz in the air and that was down to the wonderful Martha Brook community. We got to chat, get creative, have some tasty food, style some stationery, take some very Instagrammable photos, but most of all we came away feeling inspired by the people we met.

Lots of people are asking with the next one will be, and we are working on it! If you are interested in coming along next time, do let us know, and if there is anything you’d like to see in the workshops next time, please do leave a comment below or on our Instagram. Finally, a huge thank you to the absolutely brilliant Tia Talula and Cristina Ilao for the beautiful photos from us all of us at Team Brook (below).

We are so excited to announce that we are hosting our first ever Stationery Social on the afternoon Saturday the 8th of September in central London.

We’re creating a day filled with creative workshops, talks, networking, delicious treats, tea, cocktails, all the prettiness and, of course, our delightfully individual stationery.

After the success of the last year’s launch and press events, we had the idea to plan a special event for our community and pack it with all the things we love. Our aim is to take our Instagram off the screen and into ‘real life’ in a beautiful venue in Central London just down the road from Chancery Lane station.

Here’s a flavour of what we have planned…

We will have refreshing tea as well as cocktails if you fancy something a little stronger! If you’re peckish we will have a gorgeous selection of treats and nibbles from the brilliant Canababes.

The Martha Brook team will be running drop-in creative workshops, which include:

•  Modern Calligraphy

•  Brush Lettering

•  Taking Beautiful Pictures With Your Phone

•  Flatlay Styling supported by Capture By Lucy.

Talking of which, there will be many photo opportunities. We are working with a florist on a beautiful installation and will announce more about that soon.

We’ll also be setting you up with our stationery and you’ll leave with an amazing goodie bag with treats from us and our favourite small businesses including Lavolio.

More than anything we hope you’ll take this meet up as an opportunity to mingle, chat and make new friends, there’s nothing like spending the day with like-minded people to leave you feeling fulfilled and inspired.

There are only 40 tickets available so make sure you’re quick! Book here#StationerySocial2018

This year’s Father’s Day range is true to Martha Brook’s mission of getting life off your screen and down on paper so you can capture and share your special memories. We have a delightful selection of unique presents for dads new and old – take a look at our Father’s Day shop here.

The theme of the collection is #mymomentswithdad and we’re encouraging you to join in and share your moments with your own dad to win £100 to spend on our site – see more here and follow along on Instagram where the Martha Broom team have been sharing all our favourite memories with our dads on our stories.

The team have also been busy picking their favourite products to give you some shopping inspiration before this weekend:

Book Of Memories For Dad – Michelle

The reason I’ve chosen this product is that I absolutely love photo-based gifts. They seem even more personal and special and I think people are more likely to display them after the event. I love that this product encourages the sharing of memories.

Build A Story Card Set – Nancy

My dad always read me bedtime stories and when he couldn’t my big brother stepped in so I had two father figures who loved reading. Bedtime story time was really important in my family which may be why I’m such an avid reader now I’m an adult. My dad used to read me all the classics, and he would become more invested in the story than I was! I know he would have loved to work together to create our own fairy-tale.

Dad Jokes’ Foiled Softback Notebook – Alex

It’s so great to keep a log of all the bad jokes that are being said every week, or maybe even more often than that. We can all add to this book as a family, plus we’ll be able to look back on how funny we are over the years!

‘The Story of Dad Messages Gift Box’ – Ziggy

I can’t wait to make one of these for my step-daughters for us to give to their dad, I think he’ll love it. These boxes are a really unique and personal present that tell special story that perfectly suits the person you’re giving it to.

Any Sport Foiled Softback Notebook – Olivia

This softback is my favourite product because I really like the fun sporty illustrations. There are so many dads that absolutely love watching or playing sports so it’s also a really relatable gift, perfect for all types of dads. Any sport can be printed so it can be perfectly personal.

Daddest Dad Mug – Edlyl

My dad collects mugs whenever we go away on holiday somewhere so this is my pick for him. This fun mug would be a present just for him to say thank you for being a great dad. I know he would absolutely love it!

First Father’s Day Book Of Memories – Chris

As a new dad myself I think this would be a fantastic gift that any new dad can keep and look back on. This gift also helps dads feel appreciated during this whirlwind of new life, as its very easy to get swept up in it all and not focus on all the new and exciting changes. Having something you can enjoy over the years is really special as it all goes by so quickly.

We hope you’ve enjoyed our picks! For more ways to capture moments with dad, visit our Father’s Day shop here.

Wedding Launch Event

Last Friday we launched our two brand new wedding collections at the beautiful Mortimer House in London.

Just in time for the wedding season, we have created two stylish and beautiful collections that will elevate your big day. The first collection, Modern Calligraphy, is unashamedly romantic yet contemporary making it perfect for feminine brides who love simple design. The other collection, Traditional Floral, features a beautiful selection of typefaces interwoven with foliage motifs to create a sophisticated and timeless range with a nostalgic quality. To organise a special launch for these collections, we invited wedding press, bloggers and influencers along to introduce them to Martha Brook and the stunning new ranges.

Back in February we went scouting for a perfect central London venue and found it in the private members club Mortimer House in Soho. We took over the top floor, which has beautiful views across the city, as well as lots of lovely areas to style our products. The main centrepiece of the room were the two tables that we styled with eucalyptus table runners, bud vases, pastel pink and blue votives as well as a selection of our icebreaker cards and monogrammed place settings from the new ranges. We also designed a custom menu which featured a blue willow china pattern to complement the Traditional Floral wedding collection.

We styled up a beautiful shelving unit to display a selection from the collection, which we think may have been the most photographed spot in the room! The shelves featured a selection of our guest books, photo albums, softback notebooks, wedding favours and greetings cards interwoven with beautiful candles and greenery.

We also had a beautiful backdrop created using our new wedding greetings cards and envelopes, which were romantically styled using pretty envelope liners and foliage. This was the perfect spot for our guests to take photos in front of and made for a very pretty background for the whole event.

Once everyone had gathered and found their seats, thanks to our new monogram favours, it was time for us all to tuck in to a delicious brunch served up by Mortimer House. Martha said a few words about the history of Martha Brook and introduced everyone to the new collections, after which it was time for everyone to crack open the icebreakers and begin getting to know each other, and learn more about the new products, over tea and coffee.

If you would like to see more of our two new wedding collections, take a look at them here.

Thank you to all of our lovely guests that attended our wedding brunch and a massive thank you to the very talented Tia Talula for these beautiful photographs.

As it’s International Woman’s Day today we wanted to write a special blog post to celebrate just how far womankind has come since the 1800s. In 1867, The London Society for Women’s Suffrage was formed to campaign for female suffrage. Although there’s still plenty more that needs to change it’s important to remember how hard our female ancestors had to fight for our rights today.

It’s difficult to imagine a time where women had no voice, no right to vote and no right over their bodies. From the first Suffragette meeting to the Girl Power crazed 90s, women all over the world have continued to work incredibly hard to have the same opportunities and rights as men. We should all be proud to be women and continue to strive towards a better future for everyone.

Our Strong Woman collection aims to celebrate all the incredible ladies we know and love. Although stationery may seem like a small way to spread the message of female empowerment, these moments of strength and positivity all count towards championing the power of the girl. The collection makes for wonderful Mother’s Day gifts, and there’s really no better way to say thank you to your original inspiration than beautiful stationery.

We’ve also designed a special free print that you can download here to use a positive reminder: Girl Power Print. Simply download the design and print onto an A4 piece of paper or card for an easy way to keep you motivated all day. We hope you love the print and you feel inspired by the literal definition of Girl Power!

We’d love to see your photos of your print hung up in your home so make sure to tag us in your Instagram photos by using the hashtag #MarthaBrookLDN and we will share our favourites. Happy International Women’s Day!