New Ink (not a tattoo!)


Last Wednesday we had a three-sisters day at Bury St Edmunds, complete with lunch and associated new-home admiring (my oldest sister has recently moved to the town) and a saunter around the Wednesday market and general window-shopping.

I made a small detour to The Writing Desk to purchase some Diamine ink, having been influenced by YouTube ink reviews from Writerly Witterings over the past few months. I tried some ink cartridges from this brand some time ago and at that time I wasn’t too keen; I thought it was a shame as they are a British brand and I do try to “shop local” when I can.

I have to say this time I am both impressed and happy with the inks I chose. I wanted to get one called Sunset which is an orange tinged with red, but they didn’t have that one in the shop so I went with the Wild Strawberry which is a red tinged with orange. I have filled my Lamy LX pen in the rose gold finish with this, and I must say it is a lovely combination. There isn’t any reason to use certain coloured inks in certain coloured pens, but there are some combinations that make me smile as I use them and this is one of those.


I’ve got a sneaking suspicion that the Sunset colour would look even more spectacular in this pen.

I definitely have a penchant for red – ink, clothes, shoes, handbags, even hair sometimes – so I doubt this will be the last red ink I buy, although I already have enough to see me through many years to come. I have only used a few millilitres of the Lamy Crystal Ruby ink which I got for Christmas, and I still have three cartridges of J Herbin Rouge de Caroubier as well as this new shade. The Wild Strawberry and Rouge de Caroubier are definitely similar in tone and I don’t see a purpose for both in my collection. The Lamy is more on the pink side and I can see me using that and the Diamine turn and turn about.

The Majestic Purple was the more sensible purchase; I have no other purple ink at present and have been planning to rectify that for several months. I used it to fill my original black Parker 51 with the fine nib and was pleased with the colour, then I decided to go ahead and also put it in the burgundy Parker 51 so I could do a comparison. Loved it! I have not been happy with any of the other inks I’ve tried in that pen, because I don’t generally like a broad nib, but this just hits the spot. It is bold and well-defined, with none of the wishy-washy watercolour vibe I have had from other inks in this pen.


The Diamine inks come in a host of shades and a variety of formulations, from the Registrars’ Ink which is permanent, waterproof, and of archive quality, being the ink used by registrars and clergy to sign official documents, to Washable Blue which, as the name suggests, is not waterproof at all. The Writing Desk offers the following:

30ml plastic bottle (the ones I bought) – 20 shades from the Music and Flower series at £3.99 a bottle; 112 standard shades at £2.35 a bottle.

80ml glass bottle – 113 shades at £5.85.

40ml glass bottle – 16 shades of the special range released to celebrate Diamine’s 150th Anniversary at £7.75 each.

50ml glass bottle – 40 shades in the Shimmer range, inks with a metallic undertone selling at £8.95 a bottle.

For someone based in the United Kingdom, these inks are great value for money. For comparison, the most expensive single bottles of ink on The Writing Desk’s website are the Pilot Iroshizuku at £29.00 for 50ml and the cheapest (ignoring the 30ml Diamine bottles) are inks from Rohrer und Klingner at £4.25 for 50ml. I like the fact it’s so easy to buy a a small bottle so you don’t have to invest in a full-size bottle to try out a colour. That being said, good pen retailers such as The Writing Desk and Cult Pens (two online stores I have personally used) offer ink samples in many of the inks they stock so that you can test out a colour before you buy.

(All the prices I quote are inclusive of VAT and shown on the website of The Writing Desk at 14th July 2019.)

If you are the least bit interested in fountain pens and inks, or in the current celebrations of the first footsteps on the moon, I would suggest you watch the video by Brian and Drew of Goulet Pens as they unbox the Colorverse Limited Edition First Moon Landing Ink Set. Inspiring stuff.

Of course, The Writing Desk doesn’t just sell ink and, although I kept my visit pretty brief, I did have a quick look at some of the fountain pens on display. I was particularly taken by the Pelikans, but the pen that really caught my eye was one of the less expensive offerings – the Faber-Castell Essentio in the Rose finish. The shop owners were unpacking some items when I was there and I am glad that they were not displaying the new Lamy Studio 66 in the limited edition Aquamarine colourway – I’m not sure I would have been able to leave the shop without it!

Now I have a full complement of pens inked up with a variety of colours, all that remains is to use them, so I had better make sure I do plenty in my bullet journal during this third week of One Book July.

I hope you have found some useful, or at least interesting, information in this foray into the wonderful world of ink. See you on Wednesday for a knitting update (and there has been knitting).

I should also point out that The Writing Desk is far from the only stockist of Diamine inks and I would highly recommend also checking out Cult Pens (Diamine produce a special range of inks specifically for them in “deep dark” shades) and Diamine’s own website. I know they are stocked by Goulet Pens (online USA) and Wonder Pens (bricks and mortar stores, Canada) and I’m sure in tons of other places too.


Get ready, get set, go!


To begin, just a brief update following Monday’s post – I am back on track with the Christmas knitting. The problem that had discouraged me responded well to a quick fix and so, with a huge sigh of relief, I have continued on my merry way. Having a day or two away from it was definitely the best way to go.

So, on with today’s post. You may recall that last week I was in limbo as far as my planning/organising/diary keeping for 2019 goes; now all is resolved. I am the happy (ecstatic) recipient of the 2019 bound diary from Mark + Fold as part of my subscription to their quarterly stationery box service. I will be so sad when this expires, but I’ve got a good stock of items I have received from them so it isn’t as if I will suddenly be doing cold turkey on the posh stationery front.

Receiving this parcel means, naturally, that the planner binders I unearthed last week will return to their repose. I will doubtless get them out again this time next year. They are not dissimilar to one of Dickens’ ghosts – come Christmas, they remind me of what may happen in the future, and then they disappear whilst I lean from my window bestowing bonhomie upon confused neighbours. I don’t do the whole trying to buy the biggest turkey in London thing because, frankly, I am not that keen on turkey.

I have said before on the blog how much I have enjoyed using the bound diary this year. The way in which I have used the relatively simple page layout has varied during the year, but over the past few weeks I have really got into my stride with how it can best work for me. I think this is something that will/does change as one’s life changes, so it might not stay the same for the entirety of next year, but it’s working at present. The thing I particularly like about this diary is that you can change up how you lay things out in it quite easily – a useful attribute when you’re inclined to get bored as soon as you’ve done things in a particular way for a short while.

Paired with the diary will be the Mouth and Foot Painting Artists’ 2019 Calendar to keep dates front and centre, but mainly to provide a picture to look at.

It is also time to move from one journal to another as I finished the last page in my current book on Saturday morning. This changeover is like-for-like, but I shall have to see how it goes when I have filled this Rhodiarama notebook. The first entry on the completed one was on 2nd October 2018 and I have been very consistent, only missing two days between then and now. I am not going to depress myself by going back to check how many of those entries mention Kojak – I’m afraid it might be every single one! In fact, every entry might just be a synopsis of the plot of the previous day’s episode, not very cleverly disguised as a journal entry. I need make no excuses; I am a highly focused individual – a trait I share with my beloved grandson – and at the moment Fortnite and Kojak happen to be the things that we are focused on.

I had to undertake a bit of a seek and locate mission over the weekend to find some paper I wanted to use with one of the Christmas cards I am writing. In the process, I happened upon a box of old photos so I seized the opportunity to dig out some that I either want to scan or want to show to relatives as I see them in the coming weeks. I am particularly keen for my grandson to see one of his mum at about the age he is now and she will get a kick out of it as it features a toy she has very fond memories of. Some of the photos have sneaked into the picture with my new journal.

In the dying light of Sunday afternoon I got out my fountain pens and had a session filling them with a selection of colours in preparation for writing letters and Christmas cards this week. I plumped for purple, brown and green inks. Yesterday, at last, I had the chance to visit The Writing Desk shop in Bury St. Edmunds, Suffolk. What a charming shop! The service was great – unobtrusive, but friendly, and advice proffered just to make sure I was buying appropriate items. I hope to have the chance to visit again in the coming months.

I hope you are all having a good week. It has been fun looking back and looking fowards.