The store that’ll change your life (or at least, your shopping habits)

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In case you missed it, last week was ‘National Stationery Week’ (yes, I know, there’s a ‘week’ for everything these days). Having been a stationery geek ever since I first collected novelty shaped erasers at school, I decided this was the perfect excuse to treat myself to a few extra office essentials. Ahem, well, if you can count beautiful gold notebooks, stylish pens, quirky sticky notes and glass mason-type jars for making my pencils look pretty as ‘essential’..!

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And my shopping destination of choice for these goodies? Not Paperchase or some trendy stationers, but HEMA, an amazing shop stuffed with everything from stationery and craft materials to kitchenware and food, makeup and jewellery. Originating in the Netherlands (where HEMA is a household name), it’s a mini department store with a difference – everything they sell is designed at their Dutch headquarters and is well-made, simple, good-looking… and great value. Think the marketplace section at IKEA, crossed with the jaw-droppingly-low prices of Tiger Stores.

HEMA stationery display (orange)

The shelves of my local store in Bromley (above) are groaning with gorgeous, quirky and bargainous bits that you won’t find anywhere else. On my last visit, I had a gift voucher to spend, and quite frankly, it’s a dangerous place to let someone like me loose. The jars pictured at the top? They were just £2 and £3 each; while the pens and sticky arrow notes below them cost 75p each; and the notebooks were £2 (spotty) and £3 (faux leather cover).

It’s also a brilliant place to shop for presents, and my new go-to destination for giftwrapping supplies. Just check out these shelves:

UntitledFor example, this amazing geometric wrapping paper below was just £1.50 a roll; the handy gifting stickers £1.50 a pack; the fun mini bunting £2 (which would look great wrapped around plain giftwrap or brown parcel paper); and the matching washi tape £2.50:

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The cards are fab too, and very reasonably priced at between £1 and £2.50. Check out these lovely modern designs:

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There are five HEMA stores in the UK so far (in London, Kingston, Birmingham, Stansted Airport and Bromley), but if there isn’t one near you, don’t fret – you can buy everything online at  http://www.hemashop.com/gb/ (delivery is £4 to the UK).

What are you waiting for? Load your baskets now!

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