5 Dec 2018

leuchtturm 1917 diary review

This is my first Leuchtturm 1917 planner and now that three quarters of the year have gone by, I thought it would be good to review it properly. Here is the original post from almost a year ago now where I introduce it.

This planner has taken a lot of battering. It has endured my first year as a qualified doctor where there was a lot of paperwork and through some life events requiring copious organisational skills. You can see how battered it is in the photos below.


The weekly page spread leaves me more than enough space to plan each day and little more. It means that most of the planning happens on the blank page on the right. I like to record what I wore that day too - one of the reasons is so that I know which clothes haven't been worn for a while and should be sent to charity.

Some weeks, my to-do list took up half of the page on the right side. Other weeks (where I was mostly working), I was careful not to make too long a to-do list. Things that don't get checked off just make me feel uncomfortable!

One of the pros is definitely how much notepaper space there is at the back. I have only used about seven sides so far (out of the 23!).


I tried to use Tippex to write the date on the spine but didn't like how I did it (as you can see!). I then wrote it on with a permanent marker and the mess doesn't seem to bother me too much. What I hadn't realised is that the year is actually embossed on the spine at the bottom. Doh!


The one negative is there is no month planner - this is something I've really missed as it's quite nice to see my schedule on a monthly basis. This especially helps for planning my life around work and I have had to use a calendar on my phone for this.

However, the positives far outweigh the negatives. The weekly spreads give me ample space to write anything I wish (there has not been a week where I have ran out of space) and the planner itself is light enough to carry around without being a burden. I have chosen a cornflower blue colour for 2019 and I'm beginning to think that colour is a bit too muted compared to 2018's choice of emerald green! I have no one to blame but myself for this choice though!

All in all, the fact that I have since bought the same planner for 2019 means that it is the planner that has suited me most, out of all the ones I have tried. Here's to another year of feeling organised :)

21 Nov 2018

introducing: hero 359 extra fine fountain pens in white and pastel colours

As a sucker for all things pastel and pretty, these Hero 359 pens were victim to an impulse click on eBay. I cannot remember their exact cost but I think it was something like £5 for all seven including postage. Though cheap, they actually write pretty well. When stored nib up, however, they can take a while to start writing.

To me, these pens would be if the Lamy Safari/Al-Star mated with a Pilot Kakuno. The pastel coloured caps with the white barrel remind me of the Pilot Kakuno whereas the clear pen grip area reminds me of the Lamy Al Star whilst the plastic design and the pen clip remind me of the Lamy Safari. They all come with an international converter which is an added bonus considering the low price of them.

What these pens will come in useful for are testing out new inks/ink samples which I do not want to risk in my more loved/expensive pens. Other useful uses include being desk pens for those in desk jobs because there will be people who will want to borrow a pen. Instead of loaning out your beloved Montblanc/Pilot/Sailor, etc, you can lend one of these out instead! Especially to those not used to fountain pens. Also, if you're prone to losing pens, these are inexpensive and come in a pack of seven which should last a while!

Overall, these pens are perfect for beginners and the advanced user. Beginners because of the cost and how well they write for the cost; advanced users because they are ideal for testing out inks in.

14 Nov 2018

introducing the: sailor pro gear slim fountain pen in limited edition purple cosmos!

Before the Lamy Safari Dark Lilac limited edition fountain pen, there weren't many choices if you liked the colour purple. I bought the Dark Lilac Safari but there was something missing with it and it didn't quite tug at the heartstrings like some of my other pens did. So when Sailor came out with the limited edition Pro Gear Slim Purple Cosmos, I bookmarked it in December 2017 and said to myself that if it was still in stock in April, I would take the plunge. Lo and behold, I found it at The Writing Desk and within a few days, it was in my possession.


First Impressions

Sailor make very good looking pens and this one is no exception. They say at school that any phrase with the word 'all' cannot be true but I personally think all Sailor pens are aesthetically pleasing.

The purple barrel with silver flecks really ensures that the pen lives up to its name of 'Purple Cosmos'. It looks like the night sky and seems simplistic, yet striking.


Design

Like the other Pro Gear Slims, this one also has a flat top at both ends. The silvery flecks, mimicking a starry night, give the pen a whimsical touch which I love. This is one limited edition pen I am very happy to have in my possession :) The rhodium trim also complements the purple cosmos design well - I think a gold coloured trim would have most definitely ruined the design.


Usability 

Sailor fountain pens are ridiculously easy to use. The pen feels lightweight in the hand, yet well made and the screw cap doesn't take a ridiculous amount of turns before it uncaps. It isn't an overly long pen so if you have large hands, this one probably won't feel so good in the hand. However, I find that it is the perfect balance and length with the cap posted. 


Nib and Writing

The 14K nib is a dream to write with - giving just the right amount of feedback whilst gliding nicely on the paper. The fine nib is a true Japanese fine but my Purple Cosmos appears to write with a slight italic edge? I am planning on doing some tweaking with it to hopefully make it a true standard fine; one not dissimilar to the Pilot fine nibs I am used to.

The nib does lay down a thin, wet line though and I have had no issues with ink flow.


Price

I paid £125 for this pen from The Writing Desk (not an affiliate link) and I do not regret it. For a limited edition fountain pen from a brand with a fierce reputation, this is not a bad price at all. This is a similar price to the standard, permanent Sailor Pro Gear Slims. I do like a pen brand that doesn't increase the price of their limited edition pens!

Conclusion

Sailor fountain pens are fast rising to be one of my favourite pen brands. Pilot currently holds that top slot but if Sailor keep coming out with beautiful pens like this Purple Cosmos, they may well snatch that top place. Marks deducted for the slight italic nature of my fine nib here though. However, this is a pen with a lovely design which also boasts a nib of great potential. 

7 Nov 2018

rhodia A5 lined pad in black

Rhodia is a name bandied around a lot by fountain pen users. The paper takes fountain pen ink extraordinarily well which kinda explains its popularity. I'm a big fan of handwriting things and needed something in between rubbish cartridge paper used for printing and the 100gsm+ paper used for writing important letters by hand. This is where this A5 comes into play. It offers me high quality paper for those letters that aren't extremely important but don't deserve to be written on printer paper either.

The paper is a bright white colour with faint greyish-blue horizontal lines and a single pink one used vertically to denote the left margin.

As you can see below, there is no show through, bleeding or adverse reaction to fountain pen ink. Though, if you've ever used Rhodia paper, you'd expect nothing less.

These pads are priced well too - this one was bought for £2.50 from Paperchase and has 80 perforated sheets. And if you're a student, well, there's also 10% off. For now, I'll leave the pictures to do the talking...

31 Oct 2018

introducing the: sailor fasciner fountain pen in pearlescent white and a rose gold trim

Rose gold has grown in popularity over the last half decade or so and if you didn't already know, I am a big fan. Earlier on in the year, I bought the Kaweco Al-Star in rose gold and now, I have the Sailor Fasciner which boasts a rose gold trim.

First Impressions

As always, this pen came in a blue Sailor presentation box. I like Sailor boxes as they are no nonsense boxes which serve their purpose. They aren't overtly jazzy so you feel like most of the money you've spent it actually on the pen rather than some box.

Upon opening the box, you can see the pen: the rose gold trim really stands out against the white body of the pen.


Design

In contrast to the Professional Gear line where the ends of the pen are flat, the Fasciner has a rounded end. The rose gold trim looks supreme against the bright white body and I love how classy it looks. Unfortunately, the one negative is that the nib is a yellow gold colour and does not match the rose gold trim. 


Usability 

Extremely light to hold, it means that long writing sessions are not painful. The nib is a delightful fine steel nib and writes a true, Japanese fine line. The cap can be posted or unposted - both look and feel good and does not upset the balance, whichever way you choose to use the pen.


Nib and Writing

As said before, the nib is a steel one in a yellow gold colour. The nib is smooth with little to no feedback and glides along the paper. It has not been scratchy, even with low quality paper and seems to hold up well with long writing sessions.


Price

At £81, it is on the higher end for a steel nib. For this price, you can order a Pilot Grance (if you are in the US/Far East) which has a 14K nib or just for a few quid more, a Platinum 3776 which also has a 14K nib. What you are paying for, however, is a solidly built Sailor fountain pen with a nib that writes a true fine line. It is a pleasure to use and feels luxurious with its white body and rose gold trim. It is a pen that will delight you from a design and a user point of view.

Conclusion

The Sailor Fasciner won't be to everyone's taste; but that's ok. That's the beauty of fountain pens: there is one for everyone in terms of design or usability.

For me personally, I really do like this pen. It writes well and is lightweight enough to use for longer writing sessions. It doesn't dry out too quickly when uncapped (something which can irritate me a fair bit!) and does not cause any hand cramp or discomfort even when in hand for an hour or so.

The price will put some people off but for those who have had the pleasure of holding a Sailor pen in hand, they may see this as a worthy addition to the collection. Sailor are fast rising up to the top of my favourite pen brands and they are definitely up there with the likes of Pilot and Platinum in my opinion.

10 Oct 2018

introducing a new addition: kaweco al sport in rose gold, extra fine nib

The Kaweco AL Sport in Rose Gold was originally a Hong Kong and Taiwan exclusive. It was sold in their Eslite stores; a store that specialises in books and stationery and one I always visit whenever I am in Hong Kong. When they announced that this pen would be released worldwide, I knew it was one that had to be added to my collection. It isn't my first Kaweco; my first one being a Skyline in mint.

First Impressions

This pen is a lovely rose gold in colour and my first impression was one of awe. The aluminium finish definitely plays more to my taste than the plastic Skyline Sport. And as a magpie to anything rose gold, the initial flutter in my stomach when I saw it was a good sign.


Design

As said before, the colour is definitely to my taste. The aluminium finish is one I have got used to with my Lamy Al-Star. The extra weight, compared to the plastic Skyline, actually makes it easier to hold and feels more balanced in hand. The facets on the lid break up the simplistic design and the pocket nature of the pen means it can be taken anywhere and everywhere.

There is no pen clip that comes with the pen so I had to order my own for it. However, even without a pen clip, this is not a pen that will roll off the table because of the faceted design.


Usability 

As said before, though made of aluminium, it still feels balanced in hand. Because of this, hand cramp does not occur often as a firm grip is not needed when writing. The pocket pen is made a bit longer when capped so for this reason, I would highly encourage you use it with the cap posted.

The pen either takes a cartridge or a converter made especially for this pen. Neither hold very much ink so for those in jobs with a lot of writing or those who like longer writing sessions, you might want to choose another workhorse pen for that.

Other than that, a pen that will likely please all and disappoint very few in how nice it feels in hand.


Nib and Writing

I chose the extra fine nib (predictably) and it wrote well straight out of the tin. No hard starts, no baby's bottom and no scratchiness. I was impressed as I initially had issues with my Skyline Sport's nib when I first got it. It writes well with no skipping, even with rapid note taking.


Price

At £58 from Pure Pens (not an advertised or an affiliate link; just a very happy customer time and time again), it falls more into the mid-range category than any other. It is for the seasoned user rather than the beginner but I think it is priced as such.

Conclusion

The Kaweco AL Sport will make a good workhorse pen for those with smaller hands (I think it would be too small for someone with larger hands). It definitely feels more premium than the Skyline but you would expect that with the price you're paying.

Having used this pen for a few months now (I purchased it back at the end of July when it became available on Pure Pens), I can definitely say that it is a delightful pen to use. The design cheers me up and the ease of use means that I am often reaching for this pen at home when studying.

The relatively small amount of ink it holds is problematic and is one reason why it doesn't often come to work with me. Nothing more frustrating than running out of ink mid-shift!

That said, this pen is still worthy of staying a part of my collection (...for now. I'll be the first to admit I'm quite fickle at times!) and is a pen I would recommend to anyone wanting a step up from a basic fountain pen but wanted something a bit more durable. It is the perfect pen for any handbag or pocket and is one that will appeal to the majority.

3 Oct 2018

my first vintage pen: the parker 51 vacumatic

Earlier on this year, a very kind soul gifted this Parker 51 Vacumatic to me. This is my first properly vintage pen as I understand it is from the 1940s. It is in excellent nick and has served me well at work. I have since stopped carrying it at work for fear of losing it. It already holds some sentimental value despite only having been in my possession for such a short period of time.


The pen clip is the standard Parker arrow we are all used to seeing but it has an added design of the Parker name at the top, with a blue diamond. I love these extra little features and I wish this attention to detail were still present in today's modern pens. The pearl jewel on top is another lovely little detail too. 


The vacumatic action is intact and works very well. It took some getting used to at first but I am definitely appreciating how much ink this pen can hold compared to normal cartridge/converter pens.


The nib is a fine one and writes a line fine enough to my liking.


As this is my first vintage fountain pen, I have had nothing to compare it to. Back in January, I featured this pen as one on my current wishlist and I can definitely see why it is so highly revered within the fountain pen community. It is a workhorse of a pen and if treated with care, it is definitely one that will serve its owner well and for generations to come.