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.

21 Feb 2018

initial thoughts on the... otto hutt design 06 fountain pen in extra fine, pink with a rose gold trim

When people talk about fountain pens, they talk about the Lamys, the Parkers, the TWSBIs, Pilots and so on. Otto Hutt is a brand that is mentioned much less. Otto Hutt are a German brand known for their high quality fountain pens which also perform excellently.

Today, we have the Otto Hutt Design 06 Fountain Pen in pink. This design also comes in black and red.


The pen is a lovely pastel pink colour with a rose gold trim. There is a considerable weight to the pen with most of it in the barrel. Some pens, like my TWSBI 580AL Diamond becomes top heavy with the cap posted but not this Otto Hutt offering. With the cap posted, it's actually really well balanced and the weight isn't uncomfortable in the hand for long periods and actually, feels really nice in hand.


The nib is an extra fine which writes a finer line than a Lamy equivalent and is buttery smooth with no feedback or scratchiness. It has gold accents to it, adding some interest to one of the more important parts of a fountain pen. The one negative is that it writes a little dry and when I inked it up with Diamine Twilight (which looks amazing in my Pelikan M400), it just looked a little washed out.


As cliched as this is going to sound, this pen has style and substance. It is easy on the eye and also performs excellently. The weight of it is something I'm not used to but actually enjoy with this pen. Although the nib is on the drier side, there are no hard starts or skips, even when writing at speed.

It comes with an Otto Hutt converter and also a cartridge so you can use your own ink from the start which is always a bonus for those who own too many bottles of ink (definitely guilty of that here).

The screw cap unscrews with half a turn or so but the number of turns it takes to reveal the cartridge/converter is ridiculous (I counted 12 or so). This makes for an easy cap/uncapping experience, especially for those who write in short bursts rather than for longer periods. The cap posts easily and securely - good if you're prone to misplacing caps.


Otto Hutt is brand I would thoroughly recommend based on this experience and would make an ideal gift for someone who loves a classy pen which performs as well as it looks. The miniature booklet was a nice touch and it was interesting to read about who Otto Hutt was and the different pens the brand offers (bad if you are trying to avoid temptation).

**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.

15 Feb 2018

eighteen months with a moleskine planner: 2016 - 17 briefly reviewed

This is possibly the first time I've managed to stick with one planner until the end. This Le Petit Prince Moleskine is an 18-month planner, beginning July 2016 and I managed to see it until the very last day - 31st of December 2017. It has been well used as you can see from the ink stain on the fabric cover.

The double page spread for each week worked well for me. The note page allowed me to plan outfits and meals, as well as there being ample space for a to-do list that would last for the full seven days.

Surprisingly, the paper took most inks pretty well. My pen of choice for most of the time was a Pilot Kakuno in fine, inked with Diamine Blue-Black (I'm a little obsessed with this ink for some reason) and the paper actually didn't kick up too much of a fuss! The barest amount of show through and very little (if any) bleeding the majority of the time.

The note pages though are another story. There were only seven sides in total and these sides were quickly filled up. I had to resort to post-it notes in the end which wasn't ideal!

Overall, I enjoyed my eighteen months in this planner. The paper performed better than expected, the design and layout were adequate for my needs but the amount of note paper left a lot to be desired. Seven sides for eighteen months is extremely stingy considering how many pages are wasted on measurement conversions and things like that. For that reason, my Leuchtturm 1917 planner for this year should serve me well.

13 Feb 2018

new pen: TWSBI Eco Turquoise Limited Edition in an extra fine nib

This feels like a bit of a fitting post for Valentine's Day - this pen was pretty much love at first sight and write when it came in the post. Let me explain why.

The turquoise colour with the red contrast of the TWSBI logo is cheerful and the demonstrator design is an added incentive to fill it with a bright and vibrant ink. The turquoise colour is right up my street and I can find very little wrong with this pen. 

Also in possession of a TWSBI Diamond 580AL in purple (a re-visit is long over due - coming soon!), I must say that this Eco is my preferred TWSBI of the two. It is lighter, doesn't feel unbalanced with the cap posted and the nib is perfection. My preference is to have the cap posted because of my fear of losing the cap, so any pen where I can do this with ease is an automatic winner.

The nib is an extra fine and it writes a thin enough line to satisfy my nib-sizeist ways. It is way finer than the fine nib in my 580AL and writes smoothly with no feedback. To the point where I even questioned, 'can a nib be as perfect as this?!'

This pen is honestly one that can do no wrong in my eyes. The price is excellent for a piston filler, the nib is incredible, the ink capacity is ridiculous (ridiculously huge) and the build quality appears to be super high. I was on the fence for about six months before biting the bullet on Fountain Pen Day back in November and absolutely no regrets! My only issue now is the 2018 limited edition colour - is it going to be one that will tempt me to splash out?!

7 Feb 2018

fleur de lys extra large recycled leather wrap journal from central crafts

Journaling is something I do most nights (around 5 out of 7 nights a week) and it has been the one thing which helps me unload things that would usually keep me up at night. I'm someone who dives into things head and heart first - partly why I've always wanted to be a doctor - but it also means my mental health needs a bit more looking after.

Every night, I sit in bed with a journal and fountain pen and unload everything from the day that is still on my mind. I then reflect on how these things make me feel and what I can learn from them in the future.

You may have read recently in the news that a junior doctor was removed from the GMC register for reflecting about an adverse event on her online portfolio. Reflection is a big part of this job and I am now apprehensive at sharing my reflections online. Yet another reason for writing things down and storing these filled journals somewhere safe.

Anyway! I've digressed a bit. Today, I want to introduce Central Crafts to you all. They are a family run business with an ethos of sourcing high quality and ethically produced items. As an avid recycler, this is something I really respect. Too often, the throwaway culture currently present means that very little thought is put into how much waste we create.

Today, I have here the Fleur de Lys Recycled Leather Wrap Journal in extra large. A more thorough and handwritten review of the journal is in one of the photos below. Enjoy!