15 Aug 2018

my fountain pen story: how it all blew out of proportion

Today, I thought I'd share how my love for fountain pens became an obsession...

It all started when I was ten years old and in primary school. My mum bought myself and my sister a basic Parker fountain pen each - a Parker Jotter and a Parker Vector respectively. A few years later, my mum found her vintage Parker 45 with a fine nib and this was my writing tool of choice. The thinner nib was a detail I much preferred to the thicker, medium nib of my Parker Jotter. I also felt more grown up with the Parker 45 and its burgundy colour.

A few years after that, and at the age of 16, I acquired a more up to date version of the Parker 45 in Hong Kong. Though it was a fine nib, it did not write as fine as the vintage Parker 45 my mum had given me. I reverted back to this vintage Parker 45 and despite a crack in its plastic barrel, I persevered with it. Eventually, I had to retire it as it would unscrew every two or three words.

This was when I was enticed by rollerballs (Uniball Signo, I'm looking at you) and those, oh-so-attractively-minimalistic, Muji gel pens.

At the end of my first degree and at the age of 20/21, I decided I wanted to try fountain pens again. And it was then that my first Lamy Safari (in coral pink) was purchased in 2014 after over a year's deliberation.

I realised just how much I missed not having to grip a pen tightly, the relief of no hand cramp despite writing for hours and how enjoyable writing with a fountain pen really is.

And then it snowballed. If I recall correctly, a Kaweco Skyline Sport, Pilot Kakuno and a Pilot Prera were my next acquisitions. Then it got a bit more expensive - I wanted to try a piston-filler and TWSBI were a fairly new name on the block. The price also made it a perfect first piston-filler to try out.

For each major life event after that (e.g. graduation, 25th birthday), I bought myself a fountain pen I had been coveting. These fountain pens are the Pelikan Souveran M400, the Pilot Decimo in Champagne and a Sailor Yukitsubaki.

Since then, I have acquired many more fountain pens and am going to re-evaluate my collection. Some will be sold as they are not used as often as they deserve to be. My obsession has slowed down since and of late, most of the obsession has been about the ink more than the pens.

Who knows what will happen in the next chapter of my fountain pen story :)

8 Aug 2018

new ink: j. herbin 1670 cyprus caroube

As always, I'll let the pictures do the talking but look at that shimmer!

1 Aug 2018

introducing.... designed by foyles hardback notebooks

Foyles is a British brand I really respect and when I was given the chance to feature a few of their notebooks, I jumped at the chance. Foyles in Charing Cross is a store I can honestly spend hours in and not get bored. Today, we're going to take a look at a couple of notebooks that are 'designed by Foyles'.  One of the draws of these notebooks are the fact they are made in Britain.

They come in several designs and the ones featured here are a mint offering and a navy version. The hardback means they can be subjected to a bit more rough handling before they show some wear and tear. You can see that the bottom right corner already looks a bit battered but it's nice for notebooks to show some proof of being well used.

Each notebook has 224 pages of 100gsm uncoated ivory paper. They are fairly weighty but all of these features point towards them making a great gift for someone into stationery or something a bit more luxurious. They also come with a page marker through the form of a coloured ribbon.

I decided to trial out the paper with two fountain pens:

- a Pelikan M400 Souverän in an Extra Fine nib, inked with Pure Pens' Cwm Idwal ink (a new favourite!)
- Sailor Fasciner in Fine, inked with Diamine Denim

The Pelikan, though an extra fine, writes fairly broadly and you can see a moderate amount of show through to the other side of the page. There was a small amount of feathering too. I think this is all due to the fact the paper is uncoated so the ink is absorbed quickly by the paper.

Overall, these notebooks are good for someone who likes a bit of luxury and who perhaps does not use fountain pen very often. They are very well designed and would make lovely journals. Just imagine them filled and sat on the bookshelf.

NB: This pen and the inks were sent by Foyles in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own and are not influenced by the company or anyone else.

18 Jul 2018

new ink: kyoto ink kyo-no-oto no.7 hisoku

This ink was purchased out of curiosity more than anything. I'm a sucker for good packaging and the these Kyoto inks do not disappoint on that front. I chose the Hisoku shade because it looked like it would be something different to my normal blues and blacks but also because it was a limited edition colour from the brand. There isn't sheen as such but there is a bit of shading if you look closely enough. I'll let the pictures do the talking!