15 May 2019

smythson of bond street duke's organiser (A5 size equivalent)

Back when I was still a student, I had a Smythson Bond Street organiser which I absolutely loved. However, I stopped using it because it seemed a bit too small for me and the A5 seemed to be too large a size for my needs. The Smythson A5 size is called the 'Duke' whereas the personal sized one is called the 'Bond street' - bit misleading as their brand name is Smythson of Bond Street! 

Anyway! When I was hunting for an A5 Filofax to use, I found this Smythson Duke's organiser on eBay for a fairly good price. I just couldn't resist and before long, it was in my hands. It's a neutral colour with the gold accents coming from the clasp. 

Comparing it to the A5 Filofax Original I have, this Smythson is much heavier and feels like it is made of better leather (as expected with its RRP!). The clasp on this Smythson seems a bit more flimsy compared to the A5 Filofax one and one other negative is that the pen loop is made of leather and can only take a slim pen as a result. I guess some elastic would have cheapened the look somewhat but it would have been nice to be able to put a fountain pen in the pen loop!

The layout inside is exactly the same as the Bond Street sized organiser by Smythson. 

This really is a lovely organiser but due to its weight and inability to hold a fountain pen in the pen loop, I think the A5 Filofax may be my everyday carry, with the odd moment in this Smythson (for when I want that bit of luxury)! 

8 May 2019

introducing: the moonman 80, a modern ode to the parker 45

Back when I was about 14/15 years old, my mum let me use her Parker 45 fountain pen. It had a gloriously fine nib and is potentially the start of my obsession with fountain pens. Since then, I've not found a Parker 45 in the same design (red barrel, steel cap) which writes as finely as hers did. Even when I tried to insert the nib into another Parker 45, it didn't seem to write as finely as I remember?

When I heard that Moonman were releasing a tribute to the Parker 45, I wanted in to see if it could be just as good. I opted for the olive colour and the teal offering too.


Design and Usability

The design is similar to the Parker 45 so aesthetically, it looks good. The plastic barrel and steel cap make for a lightweight pen, cap posted or unposted. I can't really fault its design but it does feel more flimsy than the two other Parker 45s I have used (one being the one mentioned earlier and another being an all-steel offering). The slip cap glides on smoothly and seems to form a tight seal. 


Nib

I found both nibs a bit disappointing. Poor ink flow, scratchy and although I went for a fine nib, it wrote a disappointingly broad line. All in all, not really the ideal nib for me and the line was too broad for me to consider tuning the nib for better ink flow.


Price

Extremely cheap - they came whizzing all the way from China for less than a fiver each if I recall correctly!

Overall

Although the Moonman 80 looks like the Parker 45 in design, it does not match up in usability. I guess you really do get what you pay for sometimes! I think I'll stick to the real thing in the future... That said, it's not a bad starter pen which sports a classic design.

1 May 2019

full circle: back in a filofax but this time, an A5 original!

Many moons ago, I wrote about my disappointment with the Filofax brand. There were many things: the ring problems, the paper quality, the leather quality, etc. Fast forward a number of years and I have decided to give them another try - mainly because my sister uses an A5 Filofax and has had no issues with hers. Back in the day, I preferred the 'personal' size but reflecting on my needs now, an A5 size felt like the better fit.

I compared the prices of current A5 Filofaxes and narrowed it down to a few options. I knew I wanted leather and something timeless and neutral in colour. It just so happened that this A5 Filofax Original in nude turned out to be the cheapest and I succumbed to ordering it from Amazon as I had a gift card to use, bringing the cost down further. This happens to be the exact same model as the one my sister has too and we're embracing being Filofax twins.

When it first arrived, five of the six rings were perfect. The top ring had a 1.5mm gap to it and I noted that pages kept catching on it so back it went. A replacement arrived a couple of days later and I'm pleased to report this one had no page catching issues though the top ring still looks a bit precarious.


The leather is a lovely patent nude with rough edges which I'm okay with. These pictures make it look lighter than it is - it is more of a true nude in real life.

On the inside, there is an elasticated section which can potentially hold two pens (one would have to be a slim one!), with two card slots and a larger full length slot for anything you choose. As always, I have made a dashboard at the front using the clear plastic that initially came with the Filofax. I have replaced the Filofax dividers with Smythson ones (more on the Smythson in the next few weeks). I prefer the thicker card of these Smythson ones as they feel a lot more durable.


Behind the first divider is a page with some essential info on and to-do lists.


Hiding behind the second one are budget planning sheets and notepaper.

Behind the third section is my planner which I have opted to get from Kikki-K. Let me just say, the paper is unrivalled. It takes fountain pen ridiculously well and the bright white paper is a nice contrast to the blue ink I have decided to use (Kyo-no-Oto Hisoku). There is a year planner, a month planner and a weekly planner within these inserts.


The month inserts have clean lines with a handy 'notes' section on the right side. Each box leaves plenty of space for events that need noting down.


At the top, I have used a Midori clip to denote which month we are currently in and of course, from today, I will be using number '5'.


The inserts themselves are minimalistic and have the bare minimum on them. My only gripe is that there is a slot each day for a 'birthday' which seems a bit excessive. However, I've found more than enough space for each day. Next year, I'll probably go for a week on one page with a notes page on the other side.

Going back to my old ways, I like to add in colour, stickers and washi tape :-)


The final section has a host of notepaper in too. I've got an assortment of notes in here and the one I've shown is what I need to finish this year in training (which runs until August 2019) and what I need if I decided to opt for Emergency Medicine as a career. This is so I can stay focussed with my eyes on the prize.

Unfortunately, I'm still finding the Filofax paper to be a bit shoddy on quality so I've resorted to ordering some 90gsm A5 plain paper to print on and punch myself.


At the back, I have a zipped pocket from Kikki-K, currently empty but will fill up in no time. There is also an A5 Tomoe River paper notebook (unfortunately, I've forgotten the brand!).


Though still early days in this Filofax, I am already preferring it to the Leuchtturm I was using. As much as I liked using a bound diary, it did irk me that I'd have to transfer information from one planner to another. I also don't like writing things down and then not being able to rip it out and shred/recycle it once no longer needed. Hopefully, this Filofax will serve me better!