Cushion Notepads

Cushion Notepads

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These caught my eye in a shop at Incheon airport. With 2 students in the family, the idea of a notepad with a soft padded cover on which you could rest your head during boring lectures, or use to cushion your wrist whilst slaving over an essay, was very appealing.

The pretty design of sky and clouds on the surprisingly thick padding was also a lovely touch.

I don’t really want to think of daughters #1 or #2 dozing off during lectures, but if they do find themselves stuck in tedious one, I hope these notepads will at least make them smile.

‘Secret’ Post-Its

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Something else too silly to leave behind on the shelves of Daiso, our local S$2 shop…

These ‘Post-It’ style notes are shaped like ice cream cones, which is amusing enough, but the ice cream part peels away to reveal another, differently coloured scoop below. This is where you write your secret message, before covering it back up so that only the recipient will read it. Theoretically.

I don’t imagine there will be anything secret about these for more than 5 minutes after the first time you use them, but they are novel, cute and entertaining, so I had to have them.


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More delightful stationery items from Japan, with another variation on the humble ‘post-it’ tab which we all use to mark-up pages we need to refer back to.

These particular offerings, from the sun-star stationery company, are designed with detachable ends to show that the person you have passed them on to has read and noted your point.

Called Piri-it!, they come in several styles and colours. My favourites are the ? which turns into a ! when you pull off the end, and the LOOK which becomes an OK – both really neat ways of showing that the recipient has paid attention.

I found these in Tokyu Hands, probably my favourite department store ever, for ¥380 a packet of 75, confirming yet again my opinion that Tokyo is the stationery capital of the world.

Sticky Tracing Paper

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This is one of the smartest things I have seen for a while – tracing paper that actually stays in one place whilst you work. One of the most annoying things about Geography O-Level homework used to be trying to make a fair copy of maps whilst battling to keep all your pencil tracings lined up. One small slip of the paper as you turned the map around, and you could end up with quite a mess. As I was never the most artistic (or patient) person, my map book was less than impressive.

If only this sort of thing had been around. This little folder of tracing paper sheets is barely larger than 2 credit cards side by side, but larger sizes must also exist. Using what I can only describe as ‘post-it note’ technology, each sheet peels off and can be stuck over the thing you want to trace, held in place by a strip of the same re-stickable leave-no-trace self-adhesive. You can move things around, leave it and come back later, and it will still be in exactly the same place on the page.

This is a pocket sized pack, with the tracing paper neatly contained within a plastic folding booklet, and cost just S$2 at Daiso.

Frixion Pens

Category : Other

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There was a moment several years ago when erasable biros were introduced in the UK, and all the banks issued horrified warnings about the dangers of using them on cheques. They didn’t seem to catch on, because not a lot more was heard about them then.

Fast forward to now, and there’s a whole new take on this innovative idea, with a series of ‘Frixion’ pens from Japanese company Pilot.

These use heat sensitive ink that can be erased using a special tip at the other end of the pen, which heats the paper quickly without damaging it. Putting the erased paper in the freezer will also restore the original colour, which makes this a great discovery for the budding secret agents in your life.

Once just available in standard colours, the Frixion range can now be had in a rainbow variety of biros, felt pens and highlighters, which means you can be really artistic with them as well as simply gloss over your crossword mistakes.

For someone who was plagued by errors at school (where  – horrors! – we had italic penmanship classes) and who soon found that ink erasers of the day did little more than rub a hole into the paper, these pens are a godsend. The only drawback I can see is that if you try to laminate anything created with these inks, you will end up with a beautifully plasticised blank sheet.

Magnetic Memo

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I so wish I could tell you these were amazing… I was really intrigued when I found them in the Bangkok branch of Loft, one of my favourite Japanese stores. Made in Finland by Tesla Amazing, they promise to stick on any smooth surface using a static charge instead of glue, meaning they are more environmentally friendly and not about to leave behind a damaging sticky mark.

The company, which is actually based in Estonia, realised that sticky notes had not been improved since their invention in the 1960s, and wanted to bring out a ‘new generation of paper truly worth of the 21st century’. It named itself after the great inventor Nikola Tesla and raised the start-up capital on Kickstarter.

Hundreds of experiments later, this is the result. The pads come in various sizes and 8 colours, and the pages can be used normally on the coloured side or reused endlessly on the dry erasable white side. They looked very cool and I snapped up several even though they are fairly expensive – $3.20 for the smallest memo pad up to $100.80 for 100 sheets of printable paper.

Sadly, I soon found that although they do indeed stick to walls, doors and windows, they don’t stay there very long, and once you have moved them around a few times they fail to stick at all. Which is a great shame, as they are a splendid idea. I am putting their failure down to the humid Singapore climate, and (since I mailed most of them off as gifts) hope that they work better elsewhere!

Pocket Pages

Category : Other

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Here’s another amusing idea from Japan, where all the best stationery comes from – pads of colourful notepaper, each sheet actually a page of double thickness which incorporates a neat pocket. It’s an ideal way to send tickets, cash or any small thing safely together with an explanatory note, without the need for paperclips or staples, and without the worry that things might become separated and lost.

I found these in Tokyu Hands, which never fails to have something new and intriguing on display. There are many variations, including shirt pocket and chocolate bar designs, but these are the two I use for mailing things to daughters #1 and #2. From Midori, these notepads are called Fukuro (which means ‘bag’) and cost from S$6.90 depending on the size.

Parrot Markers

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Korea may rule the beauty world right now, but Japan has always had the stationery market tied up. There are enough wonderful and unusual items on sale to satisfy even the most jaded consumer, and I must confess my desk conceals a treasure trove of cool and quirky bits and pieces I have found impossible to resist.

Here is one idea which – although I never knew I needed it – I now cannot manage without…

I like to go through cookery books, magazines and suchlike, marking up pages I’d like to come back to later. Particular recipes, some new item to go look for in the shops or an idea for a weekend trip, for example. The trouble is, sometimes I have marked a page, but when I look again later, I don’t remember which article on it originally caught my eye.

This is the answer: cute sticky marker tabs with a detachable pointy end. Stick the point on the page at the item you have noticed, hold it down and pull away the top part, which you then use in the usual way. The parrots here are my favourite, but the veggies are perfect for recipes, and the markers with space to make notes on are beyond useful. These came from the amazing Tokyu Hands, and cost ¥360 per packet, which is so cheap I bought all 3.

(The yak, by the way, is saying “yak?”)