I managed to resist the siren call of the new Liberty paper room for - oh, I don't know - at least a fortnight. It's been almost impossible - I have a fetish for notebooks of all kinds, and Liberty is a mere hop, skip and a jump from my office - and eventually the lure became too strong.
Sadly for my bank balance, it's an absolute mecca of glossy stationery, full of exquisitely chosen bits and bobs - there are shining gold pencil cases, Christian Lacroix notecards, a delicious new range of Pantone themed moleskines in all sizes, Liberty's own range of embossed leather-bound notebooks to which one can add one's initials for a small consideration, and a whole world of other paper-based loveliness.
I love it that Liberty is making a much wider use of its signature prints - these lovely pencil cases and jotters below would make terrific presents. I can't remember how much they were off the top of my head, but I remember thinking it wasn't demented.
In fact, the pricing is another thing Liberty have got absolutely bang on: Nobody wants to really invest in stationery - it should be all about spontaneous spoiling. There are some really luxurious things - the iPad and iBook cases, for example, but on the whole, it's the perfect place for a guilt-free retail pick-me-up when you need something to cheering after a tiresome day. I also saw a dozen things that might make thoughtful presents for friends, from the Archie Grand notebook series - Secret Agents I Knew & Liked and so on at £12 - to this gorgeous book, bound in gold metallic leather for £22, and Sarah Hough's urban notebooks at £6.95.
That being said, £5 to £10 here and there can really add up - I nipped in on the pretext of buying a quirkily elegant thank-you card for a friend, and left having dropped the best part of forty quid on a selection of treats for me. God knows what I'm going to fill these notebooks with - I wish I could say it might live up to their beauty - but fill them I shall, and then go back to Liberty for more. I particularly love the tiny notebooks based on the original designs for Penguin paperbacks. They're so lovely I don't even want to write in them, just keep them in my handbag as object of beauty.
Liberty. Great Marlborough Street, London W1B 5AH