30 Apr 2013

my week round-up #17

Here was my week if you've not already seen and here are the other bloggers who are also taking part in this feature:

{1} The Ravings of a Classics Student
{2} Leesh
{3} Le Monde de Mzelle
{4} Red Lips 'n' Pearls
{5} Life of Kitty
{6} Rain by XOXO
{7} Miss Mai's Adventures
{8} She's Eclectic
{9} Lucy Wonderland
{10} Nerd-Zilla
{11} Sailor Mouth
{12} DIY Sara
{13} Live Love Organize
{14} Friday I'm in Love
{15} My Purpley Life
{16} This Little Life of Mine
{17} Me and My Crazy Obsessions
{18} The Simple Life
{19} The Wonderful Life of Alice

Want to join in? Click the button below for more info :)

NB: Inclusion on my weekly round-ups do not mean that I endorse any of the products or services sold by readers in the list and I do not get commission from any sales that may be the result of a click-through.

29 Apr 2013

review: Hallmark Heritage Press range

To me, the name 'Hallmark' is one that is synonymous with greeting cards so when I received an email about their new and recently launched notebook and stationery ranges, I had to read it twice to make sure I'd read it correctly: Hallmark and stationery?! 

Anyway, long story short, I was given the chance to choose one of the ranges to review and I opted for the 'Heritage Press' one. This was the only range aimed at men and that is why I chose it - not because I want to be a man but I saw the word 'dapper' in the description and for that reason, I was intrigued. Moreover, I'm not an expert but I've not seen many specific stationery ranges aimed purely at men and so I was eager to find out more (and plus, even though I'm not the target market, it was the one that appealed to me the most).

This range consists of A4, A5 and A6 notebooks, an address book, mugs (personalised and non-personalised) and a memo block.

From top left, clockwise: A6 plain notebook, A4 moustache print ruled notebook, memo block, A5 ruled notebook and a slim line address book.
So, first up: the A6 plain notebook and the Slim Line address book. I have to say that I'm not the biggest fan of the A6 notebook. I'm not much of an animal person so that might be one explanation but when I showed the notebook to others, they did comment on how 'ugly' (their words, not mine - but I have to agree) the cover was! A pug wearing a bowler hat isn't a design that will appeal to many so I think that is the weakest product out of this range. It retails for £4 which is an average price for an A6 notebook but it is thicker than a Pantone A6 notebook, for example.

As for the address book, the text-filled front is one that will possibly appeal to men. I think it would be better if it was just a plain cream stripe with maybe the word 'addresses' on the front in a simple block print but that's just me. Even though she isn't the target market, my mum really liked the look of this address book. It retails for £5.

The inside of the A6 pug notebook was a lot prettier though. When I opened the cover, I was greeted with this:

And the inside of the address book was equally pretty:

I really liked the contrast of oatmeal and blue inside the address book:

And also how simplistic, yet pretty it was.

Onto the memo block now. The top has a tartan pattern to it...

And on all four sides are moustaches. This memo block retails for £5 - a bit more than I would personally pay for a memo block (I've seen a massive one in IKEA for £3!) but the print could add something extra to a plain desk so maybe the extra few £££s are justified.

Now, my second favourite product in this range: the A5 notebook. Personally, I love the print. I have a slight obsession with the routemaster buses so that might explain why. The front cover is thick and sturdy and the weight of the notebook isn't too heavy.

London A5 notebook - £5
When you open the cover, you're greeted with this illustration of various London buildings:

My knowledge of London buildings is quite poor for someone who has spent three years in the capital but I think the building on the left is St. Paul's Cathedral and I'm pretty sure the one on the right is the Gherkin.
And more...

A London bus, the London Eye and Tower Bridge.
The rule inside is quite a wide one. I'd prefer it to be a bit narrower personally but the paper feels smooth and thick. A pen test will be at the end of this post for those interested. The paper is actually white but due to my poor photo editing skills, it looks cream.

And finally, my favourite product: the A4 notebook. I love the moustache print (I never did like moustaches before...!) and I think it would appeal to both males and females.

A4 moustache notebook - £6

Again, there is the lovely postage stamp 'this book belongs to' detail on the inside cover:

The rule and paper inside is the same as the A5 notebook. Again, the paper is actually white, not cream as it looks in the picture below:

And finally, the pen test. I've still not found any of my fountain pens or a lot of my other pens (a lot of my life is still in boxes after the house move!) but I've tried to use as many pens as I could find. There is no feathering at all (except maybe a little for the Staedtler Lumocolor but to be fair, that one is a permanent pen) and writing on the paper is actually quite a pleasant experience.

And overleaf, it is quite obvious where I have done the pen tests but I do press quite hard and from the looks of it, a lot of the show-through is due to how hard I press down as opposed to it being the paper's fault. The only pen that does show-through is the permanent Staedtler Lumocolor but if that didn't show through, I'd be worried.

Overall, I am impressed with the quality of the paper used in the notebooks. As for the design of the products, I think the moustache print is one that appeals to both genders and Hallmark are surely onto a winner with that one. The London bus print is one that won't appeal to everyone but isn't ugly enough to turn everyone off whereas the pug print was one that I can only liken to Marmite. You either like it or you don't and on this occasion, it just isn't for me but I am sure there are others out there who would love it due to its quirkiness. I am still unsure about the address book - the design isn't anything special on the outside but the inside is beautiful.

I'm pleasantly surprised by the quality and design of most of the Heritage Press range by Hallmark. In the past, Hallmark probably wouldn't be a brand that you would associate with stationery and notebooks but I think with the quality of these products, they have really arrived in the notebook market with a bang. The price range is on the low to average side but the paper quality is definitely on the way above average side.

Thank you to Hallmark and Lucre for sending me the Heritage Press set. It was a pleasure to review these products :)

Although I was sent these products from Hallmark, this does not affect my opinion in any way. I have been as honest as I would be had I bought these products.

28 Apr 2013

my week #54

Another plainer week - you can tell that I'm really taking this minimalism project seriously! I actually like how it turned out - neater than usual and I still stayed on top of things.

There was a bit of excitement mid-week as my mum had traded in her car for another - one that I am now insured on. I've had so much fun driving it (after three years of not driving) and now, I keep offering to give her a lift everywhere! However, I need to ensure that I don't drive more than she does as she's the 'main driver' on the car insurance policy.

Again, my week has been filled with things to do with the re-decoration we are doing right now.

How has your week been? :)

26 Apr 2013

Miss X's Paper Lovestory

Today, I have a very special post for you. I have a guest post from an anonymous reader, who I will refer to as Miss X from now on, about her very own paper lovestory.

I hope you enjoyed today's guest post from Miss X. I certainly did and how lovely is her handwriting?! Thank you, Miss X, for sending in your own paper lovestory :-) it was a pleasure to read it and also a pleasure to see your lovely handwriting!

24 Apr 2013

plans, back-up plans, back-up back-up plans...

This is a different post to usual, but I thought I'd write it anyway. I am not here to lecture, I just wanted to share my own experiences in my short life so far as it might help someone out there and that is enough for me :)

We all have them: plans. And quite often we have back-up plans, and a back-up plan for that back-up plan and so on. From a young age, I was taught to aspire for something - but for something I, myself, wanted and this meant having plans. At the age of fourteen, I was sure that I would go to university and study something academic (as, at the time, I held the belief that something academic would give me a better grounding for the future), graduate, get married at the age of 23 or so, have my first kid at 25, etc.

My plans when I was 18 months old... Kidding. My plans when I was fourteen, in a pictorial format.

Of course, mapping out your future doesn't always go to plan. At the age of sixteen, my aspirations changed - I decided I wanted to be a doctor in the future but that plan was scuppered when I failed to get an offer for an undergraduate medicine course at the age of eighteen. And so, I executed my back-up plan and went to a high-ranking university to study something academic.

The day where I pranced around and pretended I was in a Harry Potter book...

After graduation, my plan was to try and get onto a 'graduate-entry medicine' course, but I knew what the odds were and was realistic. I had made a back-up plan - to try and find a job in PR and marketing, or look to do a PGCE and then teach in Hong Kong if all my dream of studying medicine were to fall through. I was now 22 and my original plan to get married at the age of 23 was looking more and more unlikely because the thing that predominantly occupied my mind was to find a career that I would want to be doing in twenty years' time.

You'll notice that I put a 'date' for each action. I gave myself a 'deadline' for each thing and made sure I set aside time to research each option as thoroughly as possible.

Luckily, my first choice plan worked out - but that was the first time in my life that this has happened. When I was eighteen, I had to go with my back-up plan, and then when I was 21 and fresh out of university, I decided to draw up a new 'life plan' (well, why not?). Being a graduate is more glamorous than it sounds - finding a job is hard, especially if you aren't sure of what you want to go into (I had spent my summers doing work experience within a healthcare setting and so, to find a job in another sector with no experience is hard).

Credit: Kush and Wizdom

So what is the point of this blog post? Well, my point is this: to have plans is not a bad thing but be prepared to change them if your circumstances change. Bounce back and be prepared to take the long road to get to where you want to be. As I've grown up, my plans have changed from personal to work-related ones and I don't see this as a bad thing. Yes, I'd love to get married, have kids and whatnot but those things are out of my control whereas my career and future working life is not (to an extent).

For instance, when applying for Medicine last year, my back-up plan if I were to be unsuccessful was to undertake a Masters course in something health-science related and then reapply. That is what I'd call taking the 'long road' as for graduate-entry Medicine, one doesn't need a Masters to be able to apply. I think that if you want something enough, you'll do anything to get it and that is why I was willing to do this if needs be.

Now? I have another plan but time will only tell how that will pan out. Here is how it looks:

Purely career related. Nothing personal in it as I've recognised that I can't control that aspect of my life.

My mum always said that it is all well and good to plan out things in life, but the preparation must be there in case there is a sudden change in circumstances. And I agree with her - looking back at how I had planned out my life to be, I have undertaken a lot of changes to my life plan and I don't regret a single one. And that's how it should be - to take everything that is thrown at you, turn it into (invaluable) experience, alter your plans slightly and move on but with your sights still firmly on that end goal you have set yourself.

This end goal can be anything. For instance, mine is to be happy in as many aspects of life as possible. And quite honestly, right now, I think I can say that I am. My career prospects are looking peachy and is exactly what I want to do; I am surrounded by family and friends who care a lot for me and I for them and my social life is where I want it to be.

Credit: Tumblr

Overall, I'd say that my new life plan is going swimmingly. And so I will leave you with this: when it feels like your plan is falling to pieces, it's not - it just means that something better is around the corner and it's funny how life masks that into a lemon that is being thrown at you (to make lemonade of course). Unexpected things will happen but it is how you pick yourself up from these occasions that will make you a stronger and better person.

23 Apr 2013

my week round-up #16

Here is my week :)

{1} Imogen Rose Beauty
{2} Puddytat Purr
{3} Leesh
{4} Friday, I'm in Love
{5} Lucy Wonderland
{6} She's Eclectic
{7} Red Lips 'n' Pearls
{8} Nerd-Zilla
{9} My Purpley Life
{10} Miss Mai's Adventures
{11} Live Love Organize
{12} Sailor Mouth
{13} Star Gardener
{14} The Wonderful Life of Alice
{15} Katie Louise Halsall
{16} This Little Life of Mine
{17} Le Monde de Mzelle
{18} Me and My Crazy Obsessions
{19} The Simple Life
{20} DIY Sara
{21} Friday, I'm in Love
{22} Sunset Over Ocean

Want to join in? Click the button below for more info :)

NB: Inclusion on my weekly round-ups do not mean that I endorse any of the products or services sold by readers in the list and I do not get commission from any sales that may be the result of a click-through.

22 Apr 2013

setting the tone: a daily and weekly routine

Do you have a daily routine? You might actually have more than one - I certainly do and I have a weekly routine too! For me, I have a few routines - all of which I deem important: beauty, laundry, room cleaning and time management.

Time management is done on a daily basis. Each morning, I get out of bed and take a look at what my day will look like. This was more relevant when I was at university but this doesn't mean it is any less important now. With little structure to my days, I need to ensure I use my time productively (I have a lot to sort out with regards to home decoration and also in preparation for September). To-dos are looked at and as my memory is quite good so this is usually enough to guarantee that they will be done.

Looking at my diary on a Sunday afternoon! (picture taken sometime in March)

I then take another look at lunchtime; to review my to-dos and to see how my afternoon will shape up and finally, I have one last look after a shower (usually around 8pm, though it sometimes can be later) to see if there are any tasks that need to pushed to a later day. Furthermore, this allows me to prepare mentally for the next day.

Every Sunday, I then look over the week I've just had and see how I could have done better. At this point, I also shift remaining to-dos to the following week or two and also use it to see what studying I may have done less of, so that I can (try to) do more of that in the following week.

So far, my time management 'routine' has worked well for me and I don't feel like I am under-using or over-using my planner.

In terms of beauty, I have a daily and a weekly routine. I have separate routines for mornings and evenings, but I won't bore you with the details. Each week, I also have a set thing to do for each day. For instance, Mondays are exfoliation days, Thursdays are tea tree mask days (I have no idea if I am doing too much to my skin or not) and Fridays are pumice stone days (you did not need to know that, I know, I know).

My laundry routine is just a case of doing laundry twice a week and ensuring I don't run out of clean underwear...! And room cleaning is a weekly task - usually I do a bit as and when is required, but every Sunday, I make sure I wipe down my desk and laptop to remove any accumulation of dust so that I'll have a clean desk for the start of the week.

In the past, I also had a routine for grocery shopping - go once a week and bring a massive bag with me to carry everything home. Now, with the shops being so close, this routine isn't necessary and having a walk from time to time can be productive to studying and other mentally strenuous activities.

Although this post is quite simple in nature, quite often I find routines can be lost during busy periods of life. Routines can ensure that you stay on top of things and maintain a degree of normality just when you need it. This is why I decided to write this post - to just say that routines aren't necessarily a bad thing and can be the backbone to an organised life :)

21 Apr 2013

my week #53

This is week 53, which means that it is the first week of my second year of this feature (too many 'of's?). I've had a really home-oriented week. The beginning of the week was mainly painting and whatnot and the end of the week was the flooring (I opted for floorboards instead of carpets) so we've been getting rid of the old carpet in my room and laying down the floorboards. Needless to say, this week passed really quickly for me and I am achey all over, but in a good way.

You might notice that each week, there are some to-dos on Saturday which have yet to be checked off. This isn't because I haven't accomplished them, it is because I normally take these pictures on a Saturday morning, before the sunlight streams excessively into my room and after sunrise, in order to get some decent lighting for the pictures.

How has your week been?

19 Apr 2013

guest post: Esmé's planner

Today, I have a very special guest post. It is a post from the lovely Esmé and is about her planner and planning system.


Hullo to the fabulous fans of Angela's Paper Lovestory; I'm honored to be here, and hope that you'll enjoy a peek into my planner -- just two nights ago, when I pulled out my wee book at dinner to check my weekend schedule, my sister-in-law laughed and said, "You're the only one I know who still uses pen and paper for that sort of thing." And yes, I am a tech geek, and have fiddled around with various apps and gadgets (TeuxDeux is quite nice, as is Wunderlist), but there's nothing quite as lovely as pulling out my planner, fiddling around with some washi tape and stickers, and making my days seem like colorful adventures. I bet you feel the same way.

On with the show!

So, a little backstory: I was deeply fascinated by the Filofax community for a long time, leading me to purchase several Filofaxes, including the infamous Affair, until I finally realized that being left-handed prevented me from fully enjoying using a Filofax. The rings were always getting in the way. I tried a Smythson, hoping that would be better; I tried the Levenger system, but the disc/paper system was always falling apart on me.

...and then I discovered Mon Journal!

Mon Journal is a non-dated journal produced by invite.l, a Korean stationery company. It comes without an extra, wraparound hardback cover, but I chose to pay for the hardback cover, which you will see here. I taped a Polaroid to the vinyl protective cover with washi tape.

This is what it looks like when you open the front hardback cover. As you can see, there's a convenient pocket on the left side for your love notes and million-dollar checks, and on the right, you will see another of my Polaroids, along with a sticker I've put below it that spells out the opening and closing dates of this particular Mon Journal planner. With regards to the left-handed issue: I find this planner so rewarding to use in part because the spiral wire holding the book together is small, though still sturdy, as opposed to the unwieldy, big rings that hold Filofaxes together.

Mon Journal is, as I've mentioned, a largely undated planner. The only part that isn't is a spread conveying the relevant years. I haven't found this section particularly useful, but I did put some inspirational words that are guiding me through the year.

All right! Here's the juicy stuff. Most of the planner operates week-by-week, with monthly calendars in between. The entire week is on the left side, while the right side is "blank" (with very small grid guidelines, which I love because I have tiny handwriting, and wide lines or wide  grids make me nuts). I use the day-by-day spaces to create to-do lists. Instead of checkboxes, I employ open hearts; when I finish something, I fill in the heart and put a checkmark next to the item. I also put events in their given days, such as dinner dates or meetings.

I use the right side to do more in-depth to-do planning. Sometimes a day will merit an entire column,; on extra-busy weeks, I need to tape a new sheet -- or a few sheets! -- on top of the given sheet with washi tape (only on the top, so that I can flip it to see things beneath).

There's a lovely bunch of blank (again: gridded) pages at the end for notes, but I found that I wanted more for journaling and note-taking, so I made a black top tab out of cardboard, stuck it about thirty pages from the end, and now use that back space, which includes both blank pages and the usual weekly pages. You'd think that having weekly pages as journaling space would be obnoxious, but Mon Journal's lines and grids are so pale that I don't find the discrepancy to be a problem. Here's an example.

And finally, the back of the book! On the right side is a big blue envelope for your bits and bobs. I keep postage stamps in there, for example. I snagged a sticky pad from my office to put on the envelope; it's the kind of sticky pad that peels off like a regular sticky, but each one is entirely adhesive, from top to bottom, and is still easy to peel off.

I hope you've had a jolly time looking at my planner system. Again, thank you to Angela for sharing her space with me.


I'm a writer by trade and vocation, a photographer, and a blogger. Though I write about all sorts of things, my blog has a primary focus on small, beautiful moments, as well as the ever-present odyssey of learning to live well with Schizoaffective Disorder. Find it at http://www.esmewang.com/.
I purchase many of my stickers and washi tape from AdoreNeko (Etsy).
Purchase the Mon Journal here.


Don't you just love how cute the planner is?! And also how she's set it up?

Thank you, Esmé for sending in this guest post - I definitely thoroughly enjoyed reading and perving over the pictures too ;)

17 Apr 2013

a hack to keep a jewellery box organised

If you're like me and possess a jewellery drawer instead of a jewellery tree, you might also share my frustration when you reach in for a necklace and find them all tangled up into one giant mess.

My jewellery drawer - I usually have my current favourite necklace resting on top for easy access. Along with my watch and hair pins and bobbles.
Drawer is from Muji, just in case you were wondering.
Anyway, what can you do to stop all of the tangles? Well, a few months ago, after moving house, I found these random bags that used to contain spare buttons that come with clothes. Luckily, being the hoarder that I am (this is one time where I am glad I didn't go all minimalistic), I have loads of these bags:

It's quite obvious what will come next - I put each necklace into a bag of its own and sealed it.

And then, put them back in my drawer. The larger necklaces (of which I only have one) doesn't fit into any of the bags I have so it is just loose. But that is fine - as one necklace can only create tangles within itself rather than with five gazillion other necklaces.

Not only does this save time when you are getting ready in the morning, it also looks neater and allows you to see what necklaces you have at a glance. I have other necklaces which have currently fallen out of favour with me all in another box - and when I was sorting them out, I noticed that they were all tangled. And that's how I got this idea to use these bags. It's such a simple hack but one that I thought I would share as I've not seen an idea like this on a blog or on the internet before.

I thought I would also take this opportunity to show off the bottom drawer of my jewellery box. This part holds my rings and earrings. Muji has been perfect in that they also make these soft jewellery holders. 

Seeing my jewellery in their box has made me realise just how many rings I have. However, I normally layer rings and wear four or five in one go (sometimes three on one finger and two in another, etc) so I am persuading myself that this picture isn't as bad as it looks...

Have you thought of other simple hacks that have worked well for you in daily life? :)

16 Apr 2013

my week round-up #15

You might notice that some weeks have been labelled as week 14 - that is because I had already posted week 14's round-up before those posts went live :) Here was my week, and here are the weeks of other bloggers taking part:

{1} Sunset Over Ocean
{2} Friday, I'm in Love
{3} Katie Louise Halsall
{4} The Nest Not Exactly Empty
{5} Red Lips 'n' Pearls 
{6} Wonderland
{7} Red Lips 'n' Pearls
{8} Behind My Purpley Life
{9} Coffee and Literature
{10} Miss Mai's Adventures
{11} She's Eclectic
{12} Star Gardener
{13} Nerd-Zilla
{14} Mid-Sagittal
{15} Imy's World
{16} The Wonderful Life of Alice
{17} The Simple Life
{18} Le Monde de Mzelle
{19} This Little Life of Mine
{20} Live Love Organize
{21} DIY Sara

Want to join in? Click the button below for more info :)

NB: Inclusion on my weekly round-ups do not mean that I endorse any of the products or services sold by readers in the list and I do not get commission from any sales that may be the result of a click-through.

15 Apr 2013

preparing for university: finances, forms and accommodation

Going back to university after a year out has meant that I need to prepare for university all over again. Although I have done it all before, this doesn't make it any easier and this time, I have some other extra bits to tackle too (as being a graduate makes a lot of difference to various things). Because of this, I thought it would be helpful to do a post on preparing for university.

I will run through the following: finances, forms to fill in and return and accommodation. In another post, I will go over creating a flexible study timetable and also preparation in the form of study equipment.


By far the biggest headache of all is sorting out your source of finance. Here in the UK, the source of that headache is Student Finance, a Student Loans Company. They are currently the bane of my life and can come across as quite incompetent so it is essential that this is your first step, especially if you want to be 'income-assessed' where your parents' income is taken into consideration for loans, grants and bursaries. I would start this as early as February, when applications open, as you can change the course and university through a 'Change of Circumstances' form a few months' later.

That leads me onto my next point - bursaries and scholarships. At some universities, this is done automatically, but at others you might have to apply for them yourself. Again, do your research and start early. Missing out on a deadline can be costly as some bursaries and scholarships could be in the region of several thousand pounds. Start researching this as soon as you get your offer, would be my advice.

Forms to Complete and Return

Credit: Avcvs

If you're embarking on a course that requires health and other sorts of clearance, it is essential you fill in the required forms and return them in a timely manner. Quite often, they will form part of the offer you are holding and if you fail to return them, it can lead to your offer being revoked. For example, my offer is conditional upon occupational health and CRB clearance as I already have the academic grades. Until I achieve the clearance from those two checks, my offer will stay conditional. These forms are usually sent upon the culmination of the UCAS cycle so you can't do anything about that until you receive them.

Further to this, with health courses, vaccinations is another thing to ensure you take care of. Hepatitis B injections is one example that springs to mind - and its course of injections can take up more than half a year!


This will be my accommodation when I start university again because... I'm living at home! #privileged #lucky (if I were to hashtag that)

I covered this briefly here but I can go over more general points instead of purely financial ones. In most cases, you'll be guaranteed accommodation if you've never attended university before and more information will usually be supplied in your offer pack. If you elect not to live in halls, it might be a good idea to start house hunting around three months before you want to move in.

On a travelling note, in London, there is the option to apply for an 18+ Oyster Student Card. This gives you a discount off weekly/monthly/yearly travelcards, which can come in very handy. However, you can't apply for this until after you've started your course and registered with your university as you need proof that you are a registered student.

14 Apr 2013

my week #52 { one year anniversary! }

Can you believe that it was 52 weeks ago now that I started this feature?! The 'my week' feature I have going now has 53 blogs taking part and it's great to see so many posting their weeks on a regular basis.

Anyway, onto this week. Although it doesn't look it, I've had quite a busy week. Home decorating is no joke (ceiling painting is the current bane of my life) and we've still got a lot more to do (along with other things such as sanding, etc). My weekend this week is full of netball and this is something I'm not complaining about :)

I like how much plainer this week looks. How has your week been?

12 Apr 2013

pental energel alloy... and two others!

I'm a loyal user of the Pentel Energel 0.5mm pens but my collection of them had decreased dramatically over the years as I've found that the plastic barrels crack too easily. This is an annoyance because it means the pen unscrews itself when in use and due to this, I was on the lookout for a barrel that was more sturdy. This is how I found Stationery Art and the Pentel Energel alloy barrels.

I'd used this company before and was aware that they ship from Hong Kong, so I had to be patient after placing the order. However, prices are much cheaper than other UK based companies so it was a compromise I was willing to make. Both this order and my previous order were not charged any customs fees but that may be because I was just lucky.

Service was quick and efficient. I placed the order in the morning and later that day, I received an email to say that my order had been dispatched. On the website, it states that it could take between nine and fourteen days for an order to arrive (to the UK) and I am pleased to say that it arrived within this time frame (ten days to be exact).

Here were the two Pentel pens I had ordered:

And Stationery Art were kind enough to slip these goodies in as well:

Stationery Art kindly gifted me these items: a Pentel Slicci 0.4mm gel, a Sakura Souffle gel and a roll of thin deco tape (I don't think it is washi tape as it doesn't appear to be made of the same material as genuine washi tape I have). Thank you, Stationery Art! :)

Anyway, moving onto the Pentel Energel alloy barrel. Here is how it looks alongside the plastic barrel ones I own:

Top to bottom: Pentel Energel Alloy Blue, Pentel Energel Needletip 0.5mm, Pentel Energel Alloy Pink and Pentel Energel Metal Tip 0.7mm.

With the barrel being metal, it can be quite cool to touch when the weather is cold and for me, I don't really mind this but for others, it could be a deal breaker. The one difference between this one and the plastic barrel is that there is no rubber grip and sometimes I find this a bit problematic because my fingers can end up slipping, although the indentations do help a little. 

This was how my handwriting looked with this pen. I replaced the ink refill (it was originally a black 0.7mm one) with a blue 0.5mm one instead:

Aesthetically, I love how it looks. Both the blue and pink are cute and they both look lovely when in the pen loop of my Smythson. Comparing it to the plastic barrel, it is slightly heavier and the button at the top that retracts the nib feels sturdy. This is definitely a pen that makes me feel more grown up and it wouldn't be an exagerration to use the word 'professional' to describe it. It also comes in other colours (black and silver spring to mind but I'm not sure what other colour variations there are).

Although the alloy barrel is priced higher than the plastic barrels, I feel it is actually more economical and green to use the metal version. Firstly, refills can be easily found for the Energel range and secondly, the barrel is less likely to crack in comparison to the plastic version so there is no need to go through pen barrels like crazy.

Onto the second part of this post now. This is quite a brief section as I test out the Pentel Slicci  0.4mm gel pen and also the Sakura Souffle gel pen.

It's as if they knew that orange was my favourite colour! I love how the Slicci wrote and the barrel is super cute. If the ink stands the test of time and doesn't leak. this is definitely a pen I wouldn't hesitate in purchasing again in the future.

Onto the Sakura...

I remember using Sakura fineliners a few years ago for an art project and they were decent. I'd also tried these gel pens before but had a bad experience with one as it leaked in my pencil case. However, if you have a high throughput when it comes to gel pen use, these gels might be ok for you as that reduces the risk of a leakage occurring (i.e. you're not giving them enough time to leak!).

Overall, I am super impressed with the service and speed at which I received my order (this time, and the last time) and also with the pens (which were the main reason for my order... along with some other little bits!). I don't get commission for saying this but Stationery Art have definitely impressed me to date - prices are always the best (especially if you're in the UK) and order despatch is efficient. Thumbs up from me!

NB: I paid for the items featured, unless otherwise stated and I was not paid to write this blog post.