13 Sept 2021

sailor professional gear regular fountain pen in navy and rose gold (limited edition) with a fine nib - a review

Earlier on this year, I was having a tough time and treated myself to a new fountain pen: this limited edition Sailor Professional Gear Regular Fountain Pen in Navy and Rose Gold. It came with a rose gold 21k fine nib and I feel like the photos don't do this pen justice at all. 

First impressions at the time:

What a beautiful pen! It's a great size (a bit chunkier than a Pro Gear Slim) and the rose gold trim is a delight to admire whenever this pen is picked up. The weight is perfect and I couldn't find a fault with it at all. 


Design

Rose gold and navy is a classy combination and this pen is the perfect example of this. My hands are larger than average for a woman and I find that this pen is a great size for them. I can use it posted or unposted and it feels evenly weighted and not too small or large either way. 


The Nib

As you can imagine, the 21k rose gold nib is an absolute delight to write with. The line is fine (not quite fine enough for my liking but not an issue at all). Below, it's inked with Cult Pens Diamine's Robert and it has creeped onto the nib somewhat making it look much more red/pink than it is. The rose gold nib is discrete and not garish at all. It writes like butter with minimal feedback and I really enjoy using it. 




Value

At over £200, it was a fairly expensive pen but as it is limited edition, for me, it was worth it. The design is classy and fits well with my style. For a 21k nib by a reliable fountain pen brand, it's worth every penny for me.

Since receiving it, it has come to work with me almost every day and I use it plenty. It has been used for journal entries, consent forms at work and anything else I need to make a note of. It's probably my most used pen of the last four months. 

Overall

For me, this has been one of my favourite purchases to date. The fact it's my go-to pen for most things now just says it all. The weight is perfect for long writing periods and the nib is super smooth with minimal feedback making for a wonderful writing experience. I've inked it with my current favourite ink but I'm going to try another one once this converter runs empty. In essence, I think this will be a pen that's permanently inked and will perpetually have a place in my current rotation. 

1 Sept 2021

how I'm getting on with my bullet journal

Back in November 2020, I talked about three months' in a bullet journal. I've now been using a bullet journal for over a year (how time flies...?!) and I wouldn't say I'm a seasoned user but like to think I've worked out what does and doesn't work for me now. 

The structure is a standard one in terms of a journal - there's an information page, a year plan, a month spread and the standard weekly spreads. I've found a week-to-view an optimal way for me to organise my life and it has worked well for me in the past so I have stuck to it here. From next year, I'm hoping to use a more free-form week to view (more on that in due course). 

I'm still in my Leuchtturm 1917 and this is how it's looking so far. 

Month Spreads

Although month spreads are something that have universally graced my planners year on year, I've actually found that I don't use them that much? A perfect example is June below. You can see just how bare it is and it only has the bare minimum. I'm thinking of doing away with it altogether, however, it's actually quite a useful way of seeing an overview of how busy the month will be and when my free time will likely be too. Very essential for organising catch-ups with friends and other downtime! 


Weekly Spreads

I've stuck to a fairly basic structure. A column is down the outsides of both pages and to-do lists tend to grace these columns. Some weeks, there's very few to-dos; other weeks, there's loads as you can see below. 

It's quite a chaotic spread below but I find it works fine for me. I'm still trying to find the best way to sort my weeks though and the spreads shown here give me a bit of anxiety, purely because of how scatty they look! 

Triangles denote events which can vary from meetings to netball commitments to meet-ups with friends. Squares are for actions I need to do and anything else is just whatever I fancy. Although conventional bullet journals suggest using a set code for things like this, I tend to do my own thing. That's one of the reasons as to why I like the bullet journal system so much. There's so much room for creativity and also adjusting things to fit my own personality and life. 



Monthly Reviews

At the end of each month, I sit down and review the things that matter to me. 

1. Exercise
To say I'm a little obsessed with exercise is putting it lightly. My sister gifted me an extra MyZone belt system that she had and it's something we use semi-competitively (she always wins though). A few months ago, I also bought myself a Garmin watch to track my runs and workouts too. 

2. One Line A Day
I'm on my third year of a five-year 'Some Lines A Day' Leuchtturm 1917 journal. This is a streak I'm determined to continue. 

3. Journalling
I try and journal at least twice a week but sometimes, this is more if I've had a tough day for example. It's important for me to brain dump because I often take work home mentally. The other thing is, that it also helps my mental health and keeps things in check. 

4. Reading
I've not read nearly enough this year and it's a little disappointing. By having a tracker, this will keep this hobby accountable. There's always time for a chapter of two of a book (more often more!) and I'm trying to re-discover my reading mojo. 

5. Running
I started running properly at the end of December 2020. Although I play a lot of netball, I've never described myself as a runner. At first, I could run 3-4km without stopping for a break and now, I can run far further than that. My speed has also improved and I smashed my 5k PB at the end of June! My goal now is to keep up the mileage because after each run, I've noticed that my mood is so much brighter and my mental health receives a boost in positive hormones. 

Overall, the bullet journal system is a good thing for me. I like the freestyle nature and adapting it to my own needs. I also like tracking things important to me so the monthly reviews lend themselves perfectly for that. As mentioned earlier, I'm going to try something slightly different for my 2022 bullet journal and we'll see how that pans out too. One option I'm considering is combining my bullet journal with my twice-weekly brain dumps in my main journal. This might work as my bullet journal doesn't leave the house usually so the risk of someone reading a brain dump would be minimal anyway. 

Do any of you use a bullet journal? I'm keen to try and go more minimalistic with it so if you're similar, please do let me know and link me to your own spreads/other spreads you've seen that are inspirational. 

18 Aug 2021

another hello and a re-introduction

Firstly, I need to apologise for the unexpected hiatus. Earlier this year, I was re-deployed to help with the stresses put on the NHS but the pandemic and since then, I've been trying to recover my mental health. It really has taken its toll on me personally. This isn't me asking for sympathy or trying to make a big deal of what happened; it is purely how it has affected me personally and why I have not been blogging. 

I'm slowly recovering though and I am keen to get this ball rolling again. My love for stationery is still ever present and was rejuvenated earlier on this year when I met a few colleagues who seemed to love it as much as I do! 

Anyway, with this new start, it felt like a good time to do a re-introduction?

So, hello - I'm Angela and here is my re-introduction.


P.S. Please do not judge my junk food choices - I know they are terrible! 

28 Apr 2021

faber-castell essentio fountain pen in rose with an extra fine nib

This Faber-Castell Essentio fountain pen has been in use for at least eighteen months now (I can't even remember when I bought it). It was an upgrade from the Lamy Safaris and Al-Stars I was using as my main work pen. Seeing the lovely rose colour and knowing that Faber-Castell is a fountain pen brand with a good reputation, I was surely onto a winner.... right?

Well, you'll probably have deduced by now that it was a winner indeed. It has been on constant use at work since its purchase and I just love how different it is to other workhorse pens people associate with work in the medical world where Lamys and Parkers are commonly seen (at least in my experience). 

The below photo makes it look like there is a gradient but there isn't - it's just the lighting!



Let's begin with the design of the pen. The main barrel is made of aluminium whereas the cap is plastic. The cap has the Faber-Castell logo embossed on it and there is a semi-opaque black section at the end of the body where it connects to the grip/nib section. The pen clip is sturdy enough and has held up well to daily use on my work lanyard.

The aluminium/plastic design means that this is a surprisingly lightweight pen. The length of the pen when capped is about 140mm. It's extremely lightweight (unfortunately I don't have scales at home - not even for baking so I have to visit my mum is I want to do that!) and feels similar in weight to a Lamy Al-Star; though it is perhaps a smidge heavier.


The steel nib is an extra fine (predictable I know) and I love the dotted design on it. It writes like a dream and writes a thicker line than the Japanese extra fines I also have a soft spot for.

Because of the lightweight nature of the pen and how smooth the nib glides over paper, I can write for ages without tiring.


Because the cap is plastic, I've noticed that some of the coating has started coming off. For a pen that gets daily use and is bashed about, I think this is fair wear and tear.


As you can see in the photo above, it does write an extra fine line by Western nib standards but more like a medium by Japanese nib standards. However, it does the job and is a pleasure to use at work so I couldn't ask for more really.

At the time of writing, it sells for £39 on The Writing Desk which is a bit of a bargain for a pen with a more premium feel than your standard Lamy Safaris/Al-Stars or Pilot Metropolitans.

Overall, I do think this pen is a great workhorse and is a great option for a mild upgrade from the more basic starter fountain pens. In my opinion, it writes like a more expensive pen and is a bit of an underdog pen. I think it was formerly called the 'Basic' which is a completely unfair name to give such a brilliant pen. I'm glad they've changed it to Essentio which still portrays it as an entry-level pen but with a bit of a higher end slant (or am I just kidding myself? Probably!).