18 Apr 2018

new pen: wing sung 3008 turquoise in an extra fine nib

The Wing Sung 3008 (2017 edition) looks almost identical to the TWSBI Diamond 580AL. Already in possession of a TWSBI Diamond 580AL, a comparison will come in due course; but for now, let's concentrate on the Wing Sung offering.

Wing Sung is a Chinese pen brand who produce cheap fountain pens of a decent quality. I remember paying around £3 (including delivery) for this pen and for the price, I was impressed. Let me explain why.

Surprisingly well built, the pen is pretty solid for the price and the piston mechanism locks with a faint click. This makes posting the cap feel a bit safer. For a pen costing a few quid, it feels pretty weighty in the hand. The clip is also sturdy and ready to clip onto a lanyard/shirt pocket/anywhere you wish.

I chose the extra fine nib because of my small handwriting and though it's not the finest nib I've ever tried (The Pilot Kakuno fine holds that record so far), it is fine enough. It is smooth as butter and a pleasure to use. It's not the most ornate nib but it does the job extremely well.

If you're new to a piston-fill mechanism, this pen would be a perfect starter pen. It is at a price point where you can decide if you like the mechanism before shelling out for a more expensive one.

Overall, the Wing Sung 3008 won't be the fanciest pen you'll ever use but it does the job. How it holds up in the long term is another question and only time will tell with that one!


4 Apr 2018

mission accomplished: journal once a week for a year

When I first started journaling, I did it sporadically, too sporadically for it to make a difference. Therefore, I made it a goal to journal once a month back when I wrote my '101 in 1001' list in 2014. When I wrote my '100 things in 2016' list, this was upgraded to journal once a week. This was also a feature in my 2017 list. I now journal almost once daily!

And it seems to have made a difference. Journals have been filled with thoughts from every crevice of my mind and I have noticed a change in how I approach different situations in my life. My stress levels are lower, my mind is more rational and I just feel happier in general. Reflecting on what I perceive to be the negative points of my personality and life have allowed me to tackle them head on - and those sort of changes take time.

If you struggle to journal (which I also do on occasion), just write whatever comes to mind - no matter how silly. Alternatively, google a list of journal prompts and have them to hand during your journaling sessions.


28 Mar 2018

introducing my first (two) pilot metropolitan(s)!

I was in Hong Kong for a week back in February and whilst there, I stumbled upon a Pilot fountain pen display in a department store. When I saw the ridiculously good price of the Pilot Metropolitan, I was unable to resist purchasing one... or two. But let me explain why two were bought!

The one that caught my eye initially was the gold one which had a dotted band around the centre. However, this only came in a medium nib so I purchased my favourite one that came with a fine nib: the orange and floral band version.

My Pilot Kakuno is always inked and everytime I use it, I always wish that it had a pen clip so that it could be taken to work. The nibs are pretty much identical on the Pilot Kakuno, Prera and Metropolitan so now I have the nib I want and a pen clip. Though I do love my Prera, the length is a bit too short to feel comfortable in my hand.

21 Mar 2018

ink re-visited: diamine shimmering ink blue pearl

Back in 2016, I reviewed this ink and was less than impressed. However, I've managed to find a pen that this ink works very well in and since then, I've swung the other way. The Jinhao X750 in a medium nib is a very wet writer with a broader nib than I am used to - but those seem to be the key ingredients for this ink to perform well in. Unfortunately, the converter doesn't hold enough in it for me to consider using the ink at work so I will have to settle to using it at home for now.

 


13 Mar 2018

introducing the monteverde invincia carbon fibre rose gold fountain pen

Monteverde is a pen brand which is better known across the pond in the States. They have a pretty solid reputation though with not many a bad word said about them. The one I have here today is the Invincia Carbon Fibre Rose Gold fountain pen with a medium nib. Very few UK retailers stock Monteverde fountain pens and one that does is Executive Pens Direct. Their service is excellent - they keep you updated every step of the way and are very courteous too.


The pen itself comes in a luxurious forest green box. A converter is included along with two cartridges: one with black ink and the other with blue. Underneath all of this is a neat booklet telling you a bit more about the brand.


The main features of this fountain pen are the fact that it is made with carbon fibres, the black nib and the rose gold trims. I was expecting a heavy pen because of the carbon fibres and it is! However, it is actually really well balanced and feels good in hand with the cap posted or unposted. The screw cap is easy to remove with one hand and feels secure.

One thing I really like about the converter is that it has to be screwed on rather than pushed in. I like this because it means there is less chance of brute force ruining a crucial part of the pen.


The nib is quite a large one, as you can see compared to a Lamy Al-Star's! However, it does write like a dream - extremely smooth, not too wide a line, lays down just the right amount of ink without any hard starts or skipping.

Personally, I prefer to use the pen unposted as the cap doesn't feel totally secure posted.


Included in the package were these three Monteverde inks - watch out for separate review posts of them soon!

All in all, this Monteverde did not disappoint and I can see what some of the hype is about. They feel like high quality points at a medium price point and would make a great gift to a special person or even to yourself. The weight of the pen adds to the feeling of luxury and while I'm dubious about its ability to be an every day carry because of this reason, it would make a lovely writer for someone who enjoys the finer things in life.


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

8 Mar 2018

introducing the sorrento large leather journal in pink and why I now journal daily

It's been a bit of a stressful time lately in most parts of my life. As a result, I've taken to journaling almost every day (sometimes more than once a day!) in an attempt to offload everything on my mind, no matter how ridiculous they may seem to me in months or years to come. Since doing this, I've noticed that my sleep has been better, I'm feeling a lot less stressed and that my journals are filling up at quite the rate. To try and fight stress, I also meditate and practice mindfulness once a day before bed.

To make journaling more enjoyable, I am always on the look out for pretty journals and today's offering is a beautiful one. It is the Sorrento leather journal from Pen Heaven and it has been personalised with my initials. I chose the pink colour (though it comes in many others too) and the minimalistic design looks great next to any number of my fountain pens on my bedside table.

The lovely leather cover feels luxurious every time I pick it up and I would envisage a journal like this being the perfect gift for anyone with a vague interest in stationery. And you can have the recipient's initials engraved on it too!


Possessing 128 pages, it has room for all your thoughts and secrets. The acid free paper comes in either lined or plain so you can either choose to stay within the lines in an orderly fashion or completely freestyle it for those days where you just need to rant and rant. Fountain pen performs brilliantly on this paper with little to no showthrough and only a little bit of bleeding if you use a thicker nib.


Currently, it takes pride of place on my bedside table alongside the Otto Hutt fountain pen seen above though I have a few pens which take it in turns to be my journaling tool of choice. 

To see my initial thoughts on the fountain pen shown (the Otto Hutt Design 06 Fountain Pen in pink), please click here :) A more thorough review will follow after I've used it for a while!

**NOTE: I was sent this journal with compliments from Pen Heaven. All opinions are my own and the review has been written as if the product had been purchased by myself personally.

6 Mar 2018

my top fountain pens in my collection (a.k.a. one of the hardest posts I have written so far)

I'm not going to lie - this was a tough post to write. Originally, I was going to only choose my five favourites but clearly that was too tough a decision. In no particular order, here are my favourite fountain pens in my collection and why.


Pilot Kakuno in Fine


This is a pen I truly adore and raved about a few years ago. I think I paid around £8 for it including shipping and it has been worth every penny. The build quality is excellent for the price, it is lightweight and extremely user friendly with it's ample grip space and snap on/off cap.

The clincher? The nib. It is fine, a true fine, which writes like an absolute dream. My handwriting is pretty small so finer nibs are my go-to and this one is truly excellent. Smooth with no feedback. It has also given me no grief on Moleskine paper and lower quality paper.

The only negative? The lack of pen clip. Otherwise, this would be my everyday carry.


TWSBI Turquoise Eco in Extra Fine


A recent-ish addition to my collection and it sky-rocketed up to being a firm favourite of mine, as you can see here. The bright turquoise colour, coupled with the large ink capacity and the super smooth extra fine nib all come together to make a pen that is near perfection for my needs. This was my second TWSBI pen and it did not disappoint. It is constantly inked and I use it for the days where I know there will be a lot of writing.


Pelikan Souveran M400 Tortoiseshell in Extra Fine


A 25th birthday present to myself and I love how sophisticated it looks. The ivory and gold accents with the green tortioseshell design are totally dreamy. The nib is a pleasure to write with and although it writes a thicker line that I would like, the whole writing experience feels very premium.


Platinum 3776 Century Nice in Fine


My first demonstrator and one that I love. The frosted look with the rose gold contrast work to give it a minimalistic, yet luxurious feel. The nib is thin and smooth - perfect for my small scrawl. This is a pen I use mainly for journaling.


Pilot Vanishing Point/Capless Decimo Champagne in Fine


This was a graduation gift to myself for finishing medical school. A formal review of this will be coming in due course but it truly is a beautiful pen. The thinner barrel, compared to the standard Vanishing Points, make for a nicer writing experience.


Lamy Safari Coral Pink (2014 Limited Edition) in Extra Fine


This was my first ever Lamy and boy, has it served me well thus far. It is lightweight, perfect for work and writes well. The nib writes a broader line than I would like but because it has accompanied me to work for all these months, I do feel quite attached to it. And the neon coral colour is playful but not too childish - perhaps a reflection of my personality ;)

1 Mar 2018

book reviews: the other woman by laura wilson, here we are now by jasmine warga and you'll grow out of it by jessi klein

Here are a few reviews of books I read over the last few months.

***

The Other Woman by Laura Wilson


"Shortly after Christmas, a message arrives at Sophie's house, scrawled across her own round robin newsletter: HE'S GOING TO LEAVE YOU. LET'S SEE HOW SMUG YOU ARE THEN, YOU STUPID BITCH. Perhaps she should ignore it, but she ignored the last one. And the one before that. Now it's time to take action. 

 But when a simple plan to identify and confront the other woman goes drastically and violently wrong, Sophie must go to extreme lengths to keep her life and her family together - while never letting on her devastating secret."

Being a huge fan of thriller novels, the blurb for The Other Woman by Laura Wilson promised a plot that would have left me on the edge of my seat. It starts with these sinister notes that are scrawled on a yearly festive family newsletter. The protagonist is a wife and mother of three kids. Her husband lives away from home, in London where he works, during the week - the perfect setting for some paranoia and suspicions about his fidelity. 

However, when the twist occurs, I find it all a bit farfetched and a bit unbelievable. She confronts 'the other woman' and this sets her off into a spiral of weird and wacky actions. And then a further twist happens and I didn't know whether it was intended to make the reader laugh or in awe. 

The ending left me feeling a bit unsatisfied. What was the premise for a great novel seemed a little underwhelming and a little forced at points. Laura Wilson is a great writer though and it wasn't badly written. The plot was just a little...bizarre and one that I couldn't decide if it was meant to be humorous or serious. 6.5/10


Here We Are Now by Jasmine Warga


My previous Jasmine Warga review was of My Heart and Other Black Holes and it was a novel I really did love so I had high hopes for this one.

"Despite sending him letters ever since she was thirteen, Taliah Abdallat never thought she'd ever really meet Julian Oliver. But one day, while her mother is out of the country, the famed rock star from Staring Into the Abyss shows up on her doorstep. This makes sense - kinda - because it turns out Julian Oliver is Taliah's father... 

When Julian asks her to go with him to his hometown to meet the family she has never known, Taliah embarks on a three-day voyage of discovery - of her father, of the past her mother has never shared with her, and of herself."

Here We Are Now did not disappoint. During this novel, you come to understand what each of the characters went through and the emotional struggles each of them dealt with. Taliah and her struggle with why she did not have a father growing up, Taliah's mum (Lena) who made the tough decision of bringing up Taliah alone and Julian with his struggles with his own father and the love he had for Lena.

This novel is extremely easy to read and identify with and for me, I do feel there will be something in there that most readers will identify with. Mine is a bit too personal to share but Jasmine Warga remains a writer firmly on my 'to keep an eye on' list. I can't wait for her future offerings. 8/10


You'll Grow Out Of It by Jessi Klein



As both a tomboy and a late bloomer, comedian Jessi Klein grew up feeling more like an outsider than a participant in the rites of modern femininity. 

In YOU'LL GROW OUT OF IT, Klein offers-through an incisive collection of real-life stories-a relentlessly funny yet poignant take on a variety of topics she has experienced along her strange journey to womanhood and beyond. These include her "transformation from Pippi Longstocking-esque tomboy to are-you-a-lesbian-or-what tom man," attempting to find watchable porn, and identifying the difference between being called "ma'am" and "miss" ("Miss sounds like you weigh ninety-nine pounds"). Raw, relatable, and consistently hilarious, YOU'LL GROW OUT OF IT is a one-of-a-kind book by a singular and irresistible comic voice.

This book promised a lot of humour and it did, mostly, deliver on this front. It is a collection of stories from the life of Jessi Klein - stories that are mostly humorous rather than serious. And the stories are pretty random!

This is a nice read if you're after something light that may give you a laugh or two per chapter. A solid 6/10

27 Feb 2018

introducing the 2018 limited edition lamy al-star fountain pen in vibrant pink, extra fine nib

Rumours are that this year's limited edition Lamy Safari is an all-black offering and as someone who prefers a bit of colour when it comes to the look of my writing tool, this is disappointing if true. However, the limited edition Lamy Al Star colour is a 'Vibrant Pink' and this sounded right up my street. My current pen used primarily at work is my 2014 limited edition Lamy Safari Coral Pink fountain pen and its status as my 'every day carry' may now be under threat.

First Impressions

When I initially unboxed this Al-Star, I was really quite impressed. The colour is not quite a pure pink, nor is it a pure purple - I would say it was somewhere in between. The sheen of the metal adds a bit of sturdiness and sophistication to the pen compared with the Safari's ABS plastic. If you didn't already know, the Safari and Al-Star are pretty much the same pen in design with the only difference being the Safari's main body being plastic and the Al-Star's being metal.

The pen was engraved with my initials which makes it all the more tempting for it to become my main work pen. No one would surely dare to nick a pen that has been engraved with someone else's initials?! I can't imagine many having the same initials as myself :)

This Al-Star comes with my Lamy nib of choice: an extra fine. If you want to see a comparison of how the fine nib looks compared with the extra fine, please click here.


The one thing about the Al-Star is how easy it is to scratch the body. You can see that my Lamy Al-Star Blue Green already has a few scratches near the pen clip but I'm now a firm believer in that a pen is made to be used and if I kept it locked away for fear of scratches, it would be a bit of a shame!

The Vibrant Pink will be a disappointment to you if you're expecting something along the lines of the Coral Pink (which is a neon pink) or the Neon Lime (which looks a little radioactive!) but if you're looking for a more robust version of the pink Lamy Safari, this would be a worthy alternative.


If you're a collector of limited edition Lamy pens, then this one will surely be a no-brainer. If you're not and you're on the market for your first Lamy, this would be a good one to start with! The triangular grip isn't for everyone so I recommend you try one out in person first, especially if you are picky about the grip section of fountain pens. And if you're on the fence with this one, I would say go for it. I was on the fence about the Copper Orange Al-Star from a few years ago and sorely regret it. It is nigh on impossible to find one at a reasonable price now!


**NOTE: I was sent this pen with compliments from Pen Heaven. All opinions are my own and the review has been written as if the product had been purchased by myself personally.