Royal Wedding

The long awaited royal wedding is finally here so we have put together some facts about previous royal weddings to get you in the spirit!

·         Queen Victoria first popularized the tradition of wearing a white wedding dress and the tradition of decorating your wedding cake with figurines of the bride and groom on top

·         When The Queen married Prince Philip the ceremony was broadcast over the radio to 200 million people. She also had to save ration stamps to buy the fabric for her wedding dress. On the day of her wedding, her tiara snapped. The court jeweller was rushed by police escort to his work room and repaired it before the bride left for Westminster Abbey

·         The first royal wedding ever televised took place on May 6, 1960, when Princess Margaret, Queen Elizabeth’s sister, married photographer Antony Armstrong-Jones (who became Lord Snowdon). It was broadcast by the BBC to a worldwide audience of 300 million. Most royal families of Europe disapproved of a princess marrying a photographer. Queen Ingrid of Denmark was the only foreign queen to attend the ceremony.


·         The media attention was so intense surrounding Diana’s dress that the designers threw out decoy scraps of different white fabrics each night to throw off the press. The dress had a 25 foot train which is the longest ever worn by a royal bride. Diana was the first royal bride to leave out “obey” from her wedding vows.

·         Diana made a ‘Ross’ mistake by calling Charles by the wrong name during the ceremony. She vowed to love “Philip Charles Arthur George….even royals get nervous!

·         Kate Middleton did her own make up on her wedding day

·         At William and Kate’s wedding, William and Harry wore custom designed military uniforms with built-in sweat guard’s so they didn’t wilt under the bright television lights in the cathedral.

·         William does not wear a wedding ring. But Charles does. We wonder if Harry will?!?!?

·         Prime Minister at the time, David Cameron’s wife, Samantha, made headlines when she broke with tradition and did not wear a hat to the wedding. One outraged Englishman called the fashion faux pas “treason” on Twitter.

·         The wedding days of Diana and Charles and William and Kate were national holidays. But as we are all aware Meghan and Harry’s big day will not be a day off for us.

Why handwriting matters

You might’ve heard that it’s National Stationery Week this week (23rd – 9th April). And yes, it’s a big deal.

In such a technology-dominant era, using pens and pencils might seem pointless. But I can assure you, hand-writing is just as important as that mobile device you have sitting next to you. And here’s why:

1.       There’s a feeling of joy writing by hand

What do you do when you get given a new pen from a colleague or supplier? Well, some of you might just place it in your drawer for when it is needed. However, if you’re anything like me you’ll drop everything you’re doing and write anything you can to give the pen a ‘test run’. For some reason this gives us joy, especially seeing your text so perfectly written on the fresh piece of notebook paper. Don’t get me wrong, writing text messages and note-taking on your mobile device can be quick and easy, but choosing a fancy font on your phone will never be the same as creating your own font by hand.

2.       It can calm the brain

Picture this, you’re typing up those important notes on your mobile device in a room full of silence, with nothing to distract you. And then out of nowhere, you hear that notification ping come through, telling you that Sandra has posted yet another picture of her evening meal onto the Facebook news feed. Whether you read the notification or not, you are now eager to know what Sandra has cooked up today, which has now entirely preoccupied your mind. My point is, your mobile device can be incredibly distracting when trying to concentrate, especially if you’re in the middle of writing up some important notes for work. Whereas, putting your phone on silent and using a pen and paper is somewhat calming in comparison. You can just get on with it, quicker and simpler, giving you the opportunity to escape the world of technology for a short amount of time.


3.       Writing is part of our daily lives

Even though we live in a digital world, most of us still write in some way every single day. We keep notes in meetings, we jot down reminders to ourselves and we leave messages for others. No matter how many devices you have in your office or home, you will always find that a pen is the object we would instantly go for when jotting down notes, writing down a shopping list or writing a birthday card. I think the sense of ease for hand-writing is why we would always choose a pen rather than a mobile device. We are also more likely to remember something we write down by hand than something we write using our phones.

4.       It can stimulate creativity

If you’re a designer and blog-writer like me, being creative is key for a successful working day. Even though sometimes it’s hard to find inspiration, I will always find myself writing down ideas with different coloured pens into my notebook. I find that using different colours and different styles of pens bring out new and inspired ideas, along with pretty-looking drafts on my notebook paper.

From a different perspective, today’s stationery market is driven by colour and design. For example, you are more likely to enjoy writing if your pen looks unique and ‘fancy’. Design-focused pens (and other stationery) are known to encourage people to write, and this will most definitely stimulate a creative mind!

All in all, the message couldn’t be clearer. If this week of celebrating stationery teaches you anything, it should be to keep writing, and spread the word.

Get Crafty

Our tips for the perfect Crafternoon

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Here at Smart Business, we love getting crafty and using multiple products from our own range to do so. And considering it’s National Stationery Week, we thought we would share these tips with you so you can join in with the fun.
Here are our favourite crafting products to use:


1. Our Business Branded Coloured Paper
Our first suggestion is our Business branded coloured card. Ideal for papercrafts, scrapbooking and more, this card is perfect for brightening up a dull afternoon. The different colours are perfect for alternating for different projects, whether it’s at home with the kids or at the office decorating a notice board! 


2. Sharpie Permanent Markers
Anyone who enjoys crafting knows that having a good permanent marker pen makes a big difference to whatever project you’re doing. The quick drying ink means you don’t have worry about smudging and ruining your hard work. The fact these pens can write on most surfaces also means your crafting options are endless in terms of what materials you can use, which is why it makes it one of our favourite products!

3. Pritt Copydex Adhesive Glue
With all the different fabrics and materials used in crafting, one thing that is needed to tie it all together is a strong glue. One of our top recommendations for this is our Pritt Copydex Adhesive Glue. Even though it takes 20 minutes on average to dry, it still remains a strong adhesive which will guarantee to hold your project together! 

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4. Derwent Academy Colouring Pencils
Colouring pencils! Because everyone loves them. We love using them because these high-quality pencils come in a variety of different colours, and are proven to blend together smoothly to create additional shades. We would highly recommend them for anyone looking for a day of crafting that involves colouring and drawing.

5. Uniball Pin Pens
This last recommendation is perfect for writing and drawing. Being light resistant makes the pen a great art tool as work can be displayed and will not fade even under continuous exposure to light. For anyone wanting to write out some fancy invitations, or for a simple calligraphy effect, these pens are perfect.

Sorting, recycling and managing your office paper: 3 top tips

One thing that is always constant in an office? Paperwork. Although most workplaces have moved to a more electronic way of working, it does not eliminate the use of paper; especially considering we need it for printing, writing, sketching, note-taking, invoicing, and so on.

With all this paperwork being used, it raises the questions as to whether or not your workplace is securely disposing and filing the necessary papers in a way that benefits the environment. Did you know, if every person in the UK recycled just 10% more paper it would save approximately 5 million trees each year?

With this in mind, there are ways you can reduce office paper waste and improve your own working environment whilst doing so.

Recycling Office Paper: Why and how should we do it?

Paper, as you know, is possibly the most popular material used in offices over the UK. Statistics show that the average office worker in the UK uses 10,000 sheets of copy paper each year, making recycling an important factor to consider (if you haven’t already done so). Many of us are guilty of binning paper in a general waste disposal bin once we are done with it, and this is possibly due to lack of recycling measures put in place. Therefore, if you want to reduce your carbon footprint, why not start by improving your workplace’s recycling efforts?


To get started, it’s a good idea to invest in a couple of boxes that can be used to separate different paper. For example, you can label each box to show where each type of paper can be put. One box could be for standard white office paper, one box for coloured paper, and other for magazines or glossy paper. Of course, this all depends on the type of business you run with what type of boxes you decide to use.

If you are in a smaller office environment, you can consider just using one box for recycling, but put it in a spot where everyone can easily access it. That way you can create a routine for each member of staff, and once they are in the routine they will stick to it.

Additionally, to raise awareness in your workplace, it might be an idea to hold an awareness day or meeting which emphasises the importance of paper disposal and recycling. Holding a meeting like this will not only motivate your colleagues to recycle, but it will also reduce the use of paper usage in general.

Consider confidential documents

With the new GDPR legislation coming into effect this year, confidentiality and destruction of important documents is a huge priority for offices. It’s important to ensure any unnecessary data is destroyed before leaving your premises, and so the best way to do this is by shredding your documents. Shredding not only simplifies the data protection process for you, but it also saves time. Our large range of office shredders have features that can quickly shred a high volume of paper in seconds, which is incredibly helpful for those offices which have a lot of waste paper.

For those times that shredding a document is not needed, but specific information on a page needs hiding, it is advised to use handy gadgets such as a security roller or stamp. These products simply stamp or roll a block of black ink onto the page, effectively hiding the information.

Data protection plays a huge part in the modern-day workplace, so it’s important you take care of confidential paperwork in the correct way. One way to ensure full security of your paperwork is to put an additional part in place along with your recycling system. In other words, once you have your recycling system sorted (like explained earlier on), you can possibly assign a specific box for confidential and important information, and then delegate the job of shredding to a member of staff. If resource is an issue, perhaps set up a rota so that the task is shared on a daily or weekly basis.

Tips for reducing paper use and consumption

When it comes to reducing your paper consumption, it’s best to start by assessing where needless paper usage is at its highest. This can be from printing unnecessary emails, to scribbling on fresh pieces of paper. Cutting down on this over-usage of paper will definitely help the environment as well as save you money, and putting the following processes in place will help you along the way:

  • Ask yourself if the document you’re about to print really needs printing.
  • Use both sides of paper to print. If you are in the habit of just pressing the print button, usually the default setting is to print on one side of paper. Going forward, try and remember to change the settings to print double-sided. This will half your paper consumption in an instant.
  • Use smaller fonts to fit more onto one sheet. The more you fit onto one sheet of paper, the less you will have to print.
  • Simply re-use paper for notes and scribbles. If you need to quickly jot down a phone number or email address, use a piece of scrap paper rather than a fresh sheet of clean paper.

Not all workplaces can reduce paper waste as easily as others, and so it is about determining what can be reduced and where. By following the above tips, you can ensure all staff members are aware of the possibilities to recycle where possible, helping cut costs for your business as well as doing your bit for the environment.