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Lamy Studio glam shot
Lamy Studio Aquamarine Fountain Pen

The time has come to talk about my newest fountain pen, in all its glorious aquamarine splendour. This is the pen I narrowly avoided meeting when I visited The Writing Desk in Bury St Edmunds last summer and I was thrilled when it arrived in my gifts this Christmas.

The Lamy Studio pens have a modern-classic, retro-futuristic vibe all of their own. This one is a limited edition with the all-metal body powder-coated in a deep aquamarine colour, nicely on the blue side of the turquoise/teal part of the spectrum. The iconic clip, based on the design of a propeller, is chic, understated, but rebellious and quirky. The pen has a good weight in the hand, without being overly large or heavy. Some may dislike the metal section (the part where your fingers sit as you write), but I find it comfortable in use. Unusually for me, I am sticking with the Medium nib which my sister chose, although I initially thought I would swap it out for a Fine or Extra-Fine nib. I find I am enjoying having a little variety in the thickness of the nibs in my collection; indeed, I now have an even balance between fine and medium nibs.

IMG_2110
Lamy Sudio + Waterman Inspired Blue

I currently have the Studio filled with Waterman Inspired Blue ink, which turns out to be a real tone-on-tone pairing. I have long been wary of turquoise inks, having tried them in the past with unsatisfactory results, however I treated myself to a bottle of Waterman’s version and it is really hitting the spot for me. Lovely and vibrant, it sits confidently on the paper, providing text that is easy to read. The medium nib in the Lamy adds an element of shading, with the ink pooling slightly in downstrokes and fading a little in upstrokes. I don’t always want this effect and I find in my Waterman Hemisphere with its very fine nib the ink is uniformly on the paler side which ideally suits my needs in my diary/planner.

I have decided in 2020 to limit my ink purchases to ones that I can buy in person and take home with me, adding an interesting element to this handwriting hobby. There so many inks available online, in such a plethora of colours that it can be quite bewildering. However, unless I travel away from my home city, the choices are quite limited. Here, I can buy coloured inks by Cross, Waterman, MontBlanc and Lamy from my local independent department store, Jarrolds. That’s pretty much it, although I do appreciate that I’m lucky to have a stockist of even that ilk within walking distance of my home.

Normally I would also mention paper when I talk about pens and inks, but I’m holding back on that because I have something equally gorgous in the paper line to talk about in the near future (in fact, I’ve teased you already with glimpses of it). For now, though, I hope you’ve enjoyed a brief overview of this pen and ink combination.

Studio + Inspired Blue + William Hannah
The pen, the paper

I’m doing this…

17-05-19 I'm doing this

Here’s a snapshot of what is going on around here these days. This is what was piled on my settee when I started to tidy up last night prior to heading off to bed (before I took the photo I did move them into a more pleasing arrangement than the ‘old heap of stuff’ that they had naturally formed!).

The new Avon brochure commences today, so I had been busy setting them up and getting a .pdf version of the brochure up on my beauty blog  – feel free to head over there, or visit my webshop where you can browse through the products and, so long as you are in the United Kingdom, order online for delivery direct to you from Avon’s warehouse. I’m trying out the Vitamin C Serum that’s launching this month. I like a nice serum and, truth be told, I’d rather use one cream day and night but add in a serum in the evening than have separate day and night moisturisers.

Then, of course, there has been knitting. The photo shows how far I have got with the first sleeve of my cardigan. I have been resting my hand but still doing a few rows each day just to make sure the cardigan continues to grow. I am enjoying working with this yarn and the pattern is really simple but effective.

The book, The Bullet Journal Method by Ryder Carroll, was an impulse purchase this week. I have been following the buzz about this method of planning/tracking over the past few years, but ultimately have always felt that a lot of it is not for me. Then again, the basic concept of keeping all your incoming information in one distinct place is very much to my taste. I find having things scattered all over the place makes them easier to ignore. In one of the best jobs I have had, it was common practice to keep a hardback notebook in which you noted whatever needed to be done – in my secretarial role this meant I had lots of notes every day on responses I needed to send to e-mails on behalf of my manager. I found it a very workable system and the Bullet Journal is not dissimilar to that. I am enjoying reading it so far, although I may not adopt the method in its entirety. I decided to buy it after watching a video online that was originally shown at the European Planner Conference; this runs to just over 30 minutes, but I think it’s well worth watching because Mr Carroll comes across as such a genuinely lovely chap. Earlier in the year I read about nine-tenths of Getting Things Done by David Allen, but it didn’t entirely gel with me. It felt to me like it was devised by, and addressing the needs of, business owners and top-level managers, whereas Ryder Carroll seems to be coming from, and addressing, a much broader base of both workers and creative professionals. Have to see if I make it to the end of this one!

I am consistently referring to the diary pages in my Filofax notebook, and also using it for broader list-making and note-taking. I am still very pleased with this set-up and I can foresee it serving me for some time to come. I chose a verse by Dorothy Parker for the creative area this week and I used my fine-nibbed Parker 51 filled with the Lamy Peridot ink. When I am writing in the diary I mainly use the Waterman Hemisphere in the blue finish which you can see in the photo, and that is filled at the moment with Graf von Faber-Castell ink in Midnight Blue. Underlining is done using my Cross Century II filled with the Lamy Ruby ink (speaking of which, I am in love with all the red inks Michael Jecks has been testing recently on his Writerly Witterings YouTube channel – you can check out Ink Comparison: Red and/or Ink Comparison: Red Second stage if you’re interested). I use my other Waterman Hemisphere – the Rose Cuivre finish – to write in my journal every morning. That one is currently filled with J Herbin Poussiere de Lune which is a purple-to-brown ink. In this way I am getting to play with a lot of the pens and the inks in my small collection. I feel a return to a brighter purple ink is imminent when one of the pens runs dry.

The final item I had to clear away was a tube of hand cream because my hands have been very dry recently. This particular hand cream is from one of Avon’s fragranced bath ranges and it is a lovely consistency, but there are more subtle fragrances around. I happen to like this one, but I don’t imagine it would be for everybody – but then, what is?

After a few nice sunny days, we’ve got a fine drizzle this afternoon although it held off until I was back from my regular Friday-morning swim so that was good. Our electricity went off for a few minutes at lunch-time, and all the alarms in the neighbourhood started ringing so it was an exciting few minutes.

Now we are heading towards another weekend which I hope will provide plenty of opportunities to knit, read, and ponder the meaning of life.


 

Ring planner experiments – the basics

National Stationery Week Day 2

Welcome to National Stationery Week Day 2 and the first of four posts in which I will be detailing an experimental set-up of a Personal size ring-planner. Today I have chosen the planner I will use for the experiment – I thought I would use my Filofax Original Fuchsia Patent, but instead I have chosen my Kikki K medium size in the blue colourway from their We Are All Creative range released in 2017. Got to go with what calls to you on the day, right? This is a leather planner with a fabric lining and their standard pocket layout inside. It is a structured binder (as opposed to floppy ones like the Filofax Malden and the offerings from Gillio and Van der Spek), this is just my preference. It is quite lightweight without any inserts, but if you choose you can fit plenty in it on its 30mm rings. The hardware is silver-coloured although it looks rather gold in this photo.

30-04-19 Creative

As to inserts, it is my intention to print these using papers I already have to hand using free printables from Philofaxy or to my own designs. Keep an eye out for more on this subject in my next National Stationery Week post where I will be experimenting with combinations of pens and paper to come up with the best pairing for the experiment.

First, though, I want to quickly address why I am calling this is an experimental set-up. I am pretty sure that I will be happy to keep using my Mark and Fold Diary for the rest of this year, but National Stationery Week seems like an opportunity to play about with a Filofax-style planning set-up and it may give you some ideas, or helpful information. I have to stress that this won’t be a tried-and-trusted planning system, although it will be one I intend to work with for a while, with an eye on next year’s requirements. There is a lot to like about my current diary: the paper quality, plenty of room to write in a quote each week which I do like in my diary, clear minimalist aesthetic. On the downside, some days I don’t have quite enough room, I generally prefer something other than the vertical column design, it’s an A5 bound book and I don’t tend to take it out of the house because I also have to carry a separate notebook. Taking everything into account, the paper quality really is good enough to balance any number of other design elements.

As to the pens I will be using, the set-up needs to accommodate my fountain pens shown below (left to right these are the recently acquired Parker 51 which is a bit of a gusher compared to my other pens; the blue Waterman Hemisphere; the Rose Cuivre Waterman Hemisphere; the blue Cross Century II looking just gorgeous in this photo; and my original Parker 51). Also in the photograph is a set of Uni Emott coloured pens bought specially for Stationery Week so I can show you some colour-coding. These write very well, although the pale pink and pale blue-grey are very pale indeed.

30-04-19 Pens

I hope this has piqued your interest and you will join me later in the week as the set-up progresses.

Tomorrow, though, for my knitting fans, I’ve got a finished object and I am over the moon!


 

A song list

15-02-19 Old New Tech
Old tech in the foreground, new tech in the background

As well as a quote this week, I’m going to share a song-list with you.  The quote is hand-written and shown in my photo. The song-list is playing along with it:-

‘Only The Lonely’ sung by Glen Campbell
‘Who Knows Where The Time Goes’ sung by Judy Collins
‘Crossroads’ written and sung by Don McLean
‘I Wonder Who’s Kissing Her Now’ sung by Harry Nilsson
‘Until It’s Time For You To Go’ sung by Glen Campbell
‘It’s Over’ sung by Glen Campbell

(For the record, ‘It’s Over’ isn’t the same song which Roy Orbison sang. I love both of them.)


Diary by Mark and Fold
Fountain pen inks by Lamy and Graf von Faber-Castell
Fountain pens:
Waterman Hemisphere (blue)
Lamy Safari (black)
12″ MacBook by Apple
Steel ruler made in Germany – just like me!


 

Autumn wardrobe… of inks!

So, I hope everyone had an enjoyable weekend. I decided the time had come to re-ink my fountain pens and these are the four that have made it into the “regular rotation” for the coming weeks.

Pen rotation 10-09-18
Left to right – Waterman Hemisphere Blue; Lamy LX Rose Gold; Waterman Hemisphere Rose Cuivre; Cross Apogee Frosty Steel

The inks I have gone for are displayed on a page in my lovely general notebook from Mark + Fold. This scan gives a fairly accurate representation of the actual colours. That Lamy black doesn’t look hugely black in real life either and I wonder if their new ink range will be a little more vibrant. Have to wait until the end of September to find that out.

Inks 09-09-18A couple of points to note – when the current ink in the blue Waterman Hemisphere runs out, I will probably swap in brown or red because this colour selection is a bit heavy on the blue/black front. I don’t normally have a pen inked up with black, but I am trying to use up the Lamy cartridges I have. Finally, if using the Apogee on a daily basis doesn’t sort out its current cantakerous mood, it will be cleaned and put away for a while.

 

As far as inks go, I love the Graf von Faber Castell ones; the Moss Green, Cobalt Blue, Violet Blue, and Hazelnut Brown being my particular favourites. I have failed thus far to find a really good purple apart from the Lamy limited edition Dark Lilac shade from a couple of years ago. Please feel free to let me know your favourites, or provide recommendations, bearing in mind that I like my inks on the drier rather than wetter side (that will make sense to fountain pen users). No doubt when I do find one I like it will be from an astronomically expensive brand and I will have to live off beans on toast for a month to afford a bottle. Still, life is full of these little sacrifices and I rather like beans on toast.

Here’s hoping you are all getting a good start on your week.