19 Dec 2018

introducing: the wing sung 698 piston filler fountain pen in lake blue, fine nib

Wing Sung is a brand that has been around for a while. However, up until a year ago, I had not tried any of their offerings. But then, I started reading positive reviews for certain models - including this one, the 698 with a piston filler. The lake blue colour with gold colour trims were enough to entice me and an order was placed. A week or two later, this beauty arrived in my hands from China.

There are nice little touches to the design, including the top of the pen cap where there is a 'starburst' kind of feature to it and the small window to see when you're running low on ink. This ink window is only visible when uncapped too. It has a minimalistic air to it without being too plain.

The plastic barrel means that it is lightweight in the hand and a pleasure to use for long writing sessions.  The cap stays on securely with the screw-on design but it is not possible to post the cap unfortunately. This proved to be a deal-breaker for me as it was originally bought to be used for work purposes but the fact the pen cannot be used with the cap posted meant this idea was vetoed. A shame as it is an almost perfect pen for me.

The nib is gold in colour and writes exceptionally smoothly. As always, I chose the fine nib. It wrote brilliantly out of the box and absolutely no complaints whatsoever about the nib.

As you can see with the writing sample above, the pen writes a fine line (just about fine enough for me!) with no skips and a good amount of ink laid down with each stroke.

It holds an awful lot of ink and even those who write a lot will likely find themselves not having to refill too often. Perfect if you're laid back about that sort of thing!

Overall, 9/10 . If the cap could be posted, it would definitely be a 10/10.

12 Dec 2018

introducing the trigg life mapper

Bullet journals are increasing in popularity and though the system does not work for me, I can see why it appeals to so many. Bullet journals are customisable, enable you to brain dump if you needed to and also record anything else you wish. How good would it be if you could have a planner which also enables you to brain dump, work towards your goals and aim to become a better person within a year but would not require you to set up each week as a chore?

Well, here's where Trigg's Life Mapper comes in. And I can tell you it's not for the faint-hearted. Trigg's Life Mapper is a day-per-page planner and has prompts every week for you to review different parts of your life. I can see this being especially good for mental health in general because there is ample space for noting down deep, dark thoughts and feelings. Because of the day-per-page layout, the planner is very thick. However, there is an elasticated band in lime green to keep all of your pages together.

The personal page is a good space to put your pledges for the year. These are akin to new year resolutions and below you can see some of mine. I'm not the most patient person, hence why that one is on the list and working as a doctor means I often flake on plans if I'm tired or have had a long shift - I am trying to change this!

There is a year to view too which can be useful for all sorts of things.

Some introduction pages can aid the user in getting the most out of their Trigg planner. Very useful as it can appear overwhelming with all of the added features.

Next, there is a space to note down the values most important to you in the next few years and also assess how happy you are with different parts of your life. I have blurred mine out as these two pages are very personal!

Month to view pages! Each month has a different focus. For example, you can see July's is willpower, and August's is mindfulness.

At the beginning of the year, you can write down your goals for each part of your life: self, relationships, passions and work.

Each day has its own dedicated page where you can write down tasks which absolutely need to be done that day, a plan for the day and other tasks which can be deferred if time does not allow them to be achieved within those twenty four hours. At the bottom, there is a space for appointments or whatever else you wish. There is plenty of free space for each day.

At the beginning of each week, you review each of the four sections of your life along with a reflective note or two.

And half-way through the year, there is a six-month review of each section too.

At the end of the year, you do another visual assessment of each part of your life and record how satisfied you are with each of them again.

And each area is again reviewed in more depth as twelve months have now passed.

There is ample notepaper at the back which is plain so can be used for drawings, diagrams or just text.

The paper is of a high quality and takes fountain pen extremely well. I used a Lamy Safari fountain pen with an EF nib in it and it took it well. The cover is thick and seems durable enough to last a whole year of being bashed around (which it most certainly will be if used consistently!). My only critique of it is that there is only one page marker where there should be, perhaps, another one at the very least.

Overall, this is a very impressive planner and definitely not for the faint-hearted.

Disclaimer: though this product was provided free of charge, it has been reviewed as honestly as possible and as if I had paid for it.

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.


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.


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.


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!


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.