What does one write in a Smythson notebook? 

Oh my me, I have a first world problem on my hands: I own a very beautiful notebook and I daren’t write in it.

That probably wasn’t what Elle magazine was hoping for when it gifted me this lovely, leather-backed beauty in return for a few words I penned in their recent writing competition.

But I come from a world of spiral-bound reporters notebooks containing a scrawl that would make even a doctor squint and it certainly has no place in a journal which would cost a regular customer £135 to buy new.

Yes, those cornflour blue pages cost an average of 70p each to write on, meaning every word literally has to count should I ever put pen to paper.

But the thought of defacing this elegant, monogrammed delight with my scribble seems like a crime against stationery. Which brings me to the all-important question: what does one write in a Smythson notebook?

I guess those who can routinely afford such luxuries use them for every day mundanities such as shopping lists. But as this is likely to be the only three-figure notebook I’ll ever own, I feel compelled to use it for something special.

Sure, lofty ideas about using it to write my first novel have been mooted; however, should I ever get round to penning my life’s work it’s unlikely to be in handwritten form because, well, computers.

So, what then? Ignore the price tag and treat it like any other notepad, or just start carrying it around like a fancy accessory?

Suggestions welcome. By the way, did I mention it even smells of money?



Elle Talent Competition 2015: Runner-up!


So I’m finally allowed to reveal that I was a runner up in Elle magazine’s annual writing competition.

I say ‘finally’ because I’ve known since October and was asked to keep shtum, which by the way, is really quite difficult when you’re really pleased and want to tell everyone.

Even though I’m a journalist by trade and therefore write for a living, I’ve never particularly shared any of my more creative work with anyone, least of all put it forward for scrutiny by a panel of judges, which has made the accolade all the more special.

But when I saw the brief – to write 500 words on ‘Relationship Goals – I knew exactly who to write about and why.

No, not the obvious – though I’m sure plenty of people did – no, I decided to write an ode to my grandfather, who by all accounts is one of the coolest people I know.

My story will be up on the Elle website sometime this month, so keep checking there and here, where I will post a link.

In the meantime, I await the arrival of my super fancy monogrammed Smythson notebook, which I have no doubt I’ll be too scared to write in for fear of ruining one of its (surely) gold-plated pages.

It’ll look pretty on the shelf though and I might just start carrying around for effect.