Field Notes, Kaweco and Blackwings stationery
In classic ATS style, I started a new series a couple of months ago and then promptly forgot about it. In my defence, I had some other stuff going on, but What I’ve Been… is now back, and should be a permanent feature at the end of each month.

So here’s What I’ve Been…

… Reading

January is a time to hunker down and catch up on reading, and newsletters have proved really useful for this. Here’s my favourites at the moment:

Girl Lost In The City. Emma Gannon is a journalist who writes a weekly newsletter every Sunday, rounding up everything she’s been up to, writing, reading etc. In fact looking at it again now I’m realising how much of an inspiration it is for this post! The most useful thing, I think, is the roundup of all the best articles she’s been reading that week – and there’s a lot of great stuff in there! You can sign up here.

Refill. Brad Dowdy at Pen Addict is the original stationery blogger, has such a massive following and is also one of the top nicest guys on the internet (probs in real life too). He recently took the big step of quitting is “day job” to focus on Pen Addict and his pencil case company Nock Co. He also started a membership option for Pen Addict, where you can make a small contribution, get access to extra content and support Brad. I thought this was a really interesting move. It makes perfect sense to me that if someone has been providing you with great content for years for free, you may want to show appreciation by contributing to enable them to do it full time. For $5 a month you can become a member and part of that is receiving a weekly newsletter, Refill, every Saturday.

You can read all about it (including Brad’s decision to do so, and a sample edition of Refill) here.

Lenny Letter. I’m sure this one doesn’t need much introduction… But I will in case. Lena Dunham and Jenni Konner (both most famed for working on TV show Girls; Lena, as writer/director/star and Jenni, as producer) get a load of awesome people’s writing together and publish it as a weekly newsletter, Lenny letter. It covers lots of things, but in their words “Feminism, style, health, politics, friendship and everything else”. It was the first newsletter I signed up for that bought long form essays into my inbox and I’m surprised to find that I really enjoy getting content this way and I’m much more likely to read something that way than clicking on a link elsewhere. You can sign up here.

Are there any more great newsletters I’m missing? Let me know, I’m all ears (eyes)!

…Looking at

Here’s where I choose one of my favourite Instagram account and this time I’m going with Here’s an example of Elaine’s beautiful calligraphy:

A photo posted by Owl Ink ( on

You can find the Owl Ink blog here too.

… Listening to

Work has been pretty stressful this month and I’ve been combating that by trying to walk home as many times a week as I can. I’ve been averaging about 3 times a week and as it’s an hour and 15 minute walk, I’ve been getting through quite a lot of audio content. Here’s a couple of highlights:

Orange Is The New Black: My Year In A Women’s Prison, by Piper Kerman. I really enjoyed watching the first 2 series of the TV show with the same name on Netflix, the 3rd less so (I wonder if it’s getting a little far-fetched) but I’m sure I’ll still watch series 4 when it comes out. I love it as a premise for a TV show and was really interested to see how closely the book related to the true story of Piper Kerman’s experience. When I saw the audiobook was one of Audible’s daily deals, I thought it was a good excuse to find out. I haven’t quite finished it yet (I’m about 7 of 8 hours in) but I’ve absolutely loved it. It’s not as dramatic a story as the TV show, but learning about all the different women and how much they all looked after each other in the prison was quite amazing.

Modern Love. This is a new podcast that launched last week by the New York Times and WBUR. Previously featured in the Modern Love column in the New York Times these short essays/stories (about 20 minute episodes) around the broad theme of love are read aloud by familiar voices. I’ve only listened to 2 episodes so far, but one made me actual LOL, one made me actual cry. Read more here.


Here’s some of my favourite posts of my own from the last month:

Celebrating 2 years of ATS

Stationery at my wedding

Lisa Jane Photography

Colouring in with And Smile StudioAnd Smile2