Tom Hiddleston As Fountain Pens

My new favourite person on Tumblr has found fountain pens that look like Tom Hiddleston.

And it's genius!

thank you Emmy Gregory for this!
Red Scharlach was inspired in her pursuit of fountain pens that look like gorgeous Tom because: " A Guardian film review described Tom as “tall, thin, blue-suited and looking somewhat like a fountain pen” and I decided to run with it…"  GENIUS I TELL YOU!

I am ashamed to call myself a Tom Hiddlestoner AND a fountain pen fan for not thinking of this particular fruitful seam of potential purchases myself.

And even better, my Californian friend Anastasia Haysler told me that Red had posted an update - with pens that reflect Tom in his Coriolanus mode:

And now you must excuse me as I go for a brief lie down in a darkened room as I contemplate Tom.  And the cost of all these pens! 

Ink Fight | Fire & Ice v Skull & Roses v Nitrogen

It's the day of Prince Harry's wedding to Meghan Markle, so what better time to retire to the ladycave and let three inks duke it out for my favourite sheener?

I have seen these three being put up against each other by some very fine artists and in every case, I have plumped for the Skull & Roses, but when I made them fight it out myself, I changed my tune.

First up - this was the first time that I had held this particular broad nibbed calligraphy scratcher in my hand - it must be older than me, judging by its box and provenance (belonged to my Uncle James who's been dead since Marc Bolan was alive) and I haven't got the technique yet.

Anyway, let's look at the pix:

Broad nibbed calligraphy pen - dipped

Nitrogen is a delicious purple blue, Skull & Roses is a brighter blue and Fire & Ice is decidedly teal.  I like all three.  But what about the magic sheen?

Ah yes, there's the sheen - sorry that it's all a bit wobbly, but I was standing outside in the sun, angling the paper and trying to take a photo while the wind blew #naileditlikeapro

Nitrogen has the most glorious sheen of purple and red and combinations of both with Skull & Roses hot on its heels.  Fire and Ice isn't really sheening for me, although I do like the depth of shading that it gives.

Now, this is all very well using a big broad nib, but what if you like a fine nib? Time to try the inks with a glass dip pen.  

Look, Nitrogen is sheening!

Even with a fine nibbed glass pen, Nitrogen still gave off a pleasing amount of sheen (don't look at my feathering - shit pen skills, nothing to do with the ink!).  Skull & Roses and Fire & Ice are lovely colours, but with a fine nib they don't get to show off a sheening personality.

With a broad nib, the sheen is much more pronounced and Nitrogen and Skull & Roses are pretty much neck and neck on that score, imo.  I'd buy whichever one is easiest to get, to be honest.  If Diamine start selling Skull & Roses in the UK, it will give Organics Studio a run for its money!  However, with the hassle of importing from Germany, Organics Studio will be the winner as far as ease of ordering is concerned, I think.

Fire & Ice will probably show its sheening qualities on better quality paper, so bear that in mind too - if you have lovely paper, I reckon this one is a keeper.

So, who is the winner? I write with a fine nib though, so, for me, it's Organics Studio 'Nitrogen' that is the surprise winner!

Where to buy?

Fire and Ice (Robert Oster) - Executive Pens Direct   £14.95 
Nitrogen - The Writing Desk  (currently website getting a bit of a facelift!)
Skull and Roses is not available in the UK (yet!) but available from Germany here  8 Euros + P&P

J Herbin | Scented Ink | Violet

Something has happened to my camera!
An inky friend sent me a sample of J Herbin's 'Violet' scented ink today and I confess that this is my first foray into the world of scent and ink.

Unscrewing the cap from the sample, there was a definite waft of my childhood: Picture the scene.

To Screw Or Not To Screw | How to get a fountain pen cap off

I have one trouser leg rolled up.
Just tell me the secret!
Have you recently taken delivery of a pen - or even been handed a friend's pen - and you have that horrendous moment of not knowing whether this is a screw-on cap or a pop-off cap?

And you half-heartedly pull at it and twist at the same time because you don't know what to do for the best?

You don't want to damage the barrel by twisting and potentially scraping the finish and simultaneously, you don't want to pull too hard in case you damage the threads?

Just me?

Divine Design Eye-Dropper Fountain Pen

I am a big fan of demonstrator type fountain pens (mostly because when you change your ink, it's like having a brand new pen) and most of mine are very inexpensive Chinese offerings - cheap and cheerful.

The pen that arrived at the end of last week is the Divine Design Eye-Dropper pen.  This retails for about 33 Euros and its unique selling point is that it comes with three filling options.

Surely it can take a cartridge *crosses self* if you really have to, but it also comes with a convertor and, wait for it, it can be used as an eye-dropper fountain pen (syringe included with the pen too - which is great).

I guess the clue was in the name, Divine Design Eye Dropper Fountain Pen, ammi right?

Anyway, the barrel is capacious (4ml) and I reckon that if you filled it with ink you could get through all your thesis writing for the year on one barrel alone.

I like to switch it up a bit, so I just filled the convertor - I get bored with inks and like to have a few different shades on the go at the same time.  Here I've filled it with Beaufort Ink's Zodiac Blue.

I am still not David Bailey, despite my best efforts.

I'm also a bit wary of putting ink straight into a pen barrel.  I am terrified of ink-related wardrobe malfunctions or, worse, getting it all over a carpet or bit of furniture.  And with my luck it would be someone's antique Persian heirloom or hugely valuable chair that my leaky eyedropper would choose to expire upon.

That fear aside, it does feel as if the barrel screws securely to the section, but I'd probably want to run a wee bit of silicon around the inside just to keep the ink where it ought to be.

So, what do you get?

A black presentation box that includes the pen, the convertor and the syringe, all nice and snug.  There is also an instruction sheet.  Although the instructions are not in English, you can work out what's what with the pen, no trouble.

The pen itself has a clear resin barrel upon which the words Divine Design are printed in white

The cap is black with chrome trim - including a clip.  Inside the cap there is a spring that provides pleasant resistance when you are screwing the cap on and lets the cap pop off when you are unscrewing.

The cap doesn't REALLY post onto the pen. Not securely at any rate. And I like my pen caps to post.  Otherwise it's just something else to have to keep tabs on.

The 33 Euro price of the pen on the site is WITHOUT a nib.  They have a huge variety of nibs to choose from and this particular one was fitted with a suitably divine No 6 Jowo medium nib in purple lacquer which makes for a smoooooooth and li'l bit wet writing experience - which I found very soothing.   This nib would add about 18 Euros to the pen price, so bear that in mind.

Check out for their full range of lacquered nib - gorgeous colours!
Weird photo with lots of white space.  Lacquered nibs!

I like this pen - with this nib.  Would I like it with a Divine Design iridium standard nib? I don't know.  But with this nib, it's a great writing experience with a large capacity pen that offers multiple ink options.

If this is all to spendy for you, there is a similar pen (the 'Polo') available in a variety of brightly coloured trim finishes (without the converters etc) if you fancy something more funky that costs hardly any shekels at all.

Try the DD for yourself!

Moonman Fountain Pen

Saw this on the Fountain Pens UK group on Facebook and had to have it.  It's a demonstrator and I am somewhat addicted to seeing the ink in my fountain pens at the moment.

I am exactly the same with the Dyson vacuum cleaner.  Hubby says that if he had known how fascinated I would be watching the dog hair filling up the dust compartment, he would have bought one years ago. 

I still don't do much hoovering, but when I do, I'm utterly engrossed.

Back to the pen.

Spotted it, as I say, on facebook and immediately tootled over to ebay to purchase one for myself - $14.49 including shipping. From China. You cannot beat that.

It arrived really quite quickly (within 2 weeks) and it is love at first sight.

First up - the box - white, sturdy, classy looking. Bit like m'self.

Inside the box - teeny weeny little fountain pen, a dropper and a box of ink cartridges.

The pen itself is plastic.  No getting away from it.  Plastic.  But the joy of the demonstrator is that you can change the ink to suit your mood and thus change the colour of the pen body at a whim.

Here it is, next to my Cross Botanica - teeny, right?
And with the cap posted?  Still pretty tiny - but look at the INK!

I wasn't going to bother with ink cartridges, this pen takes a mahooosive amount of ink if you just dropper it straight into the barrel.

Look at the blue black Beaufort ink - tis a thing of beauty!

It's got a fine nib with nil bounce - but I don't really expect something marvellously springy for $15.00 

How it writes - perfectly acceptably
It was filled with Beaufort's lovely Blue Black ink and despite writing pages and pages of waffle in my journal, the barrel is still almost full.

It's quite chunky to hold, so if you've got small hands (looking at you, President 45) this might be a bit tiring.  But as a fun pen to sling into your bag - it's bang on the money.

Italix fountain pen | Mr Pen

Do you remember those adverts where people exclaimed 'I can't believe it's not butter' as they tucked into delicious buttery goodness that wasn't? This is exactly how I felt when I discovered that this pen retails for under fifteen quid.

The Deacon's Doodle from Mr Pens feels like a pen that costs at least twice the price, honestly.

But before we look at the pen itself, a li'l bit about Mr Pens.  This is a UK-based and family owned company that was set up in 1989, originally as a marketing consultancy to the office products industry.  Since then their business has grown to include many non-pen products, but their largest site is for the pens.  Mr Pens pride themselves on customer service and their website says that they post the same working day that an item is ordered.

Sounds great, doesn't it? But that's not all they are chirpy about - they actually have a range of fountain pens that are made exclusively for Mr Pens!

This is their ITALIX range and it's an Italix pen that I am waxing lyrical about today.

I give you ... the Deacon's Doodle and box

Let's start with the box. The pen arrives in a serviceable little black cardboard box with the Mr Pen branding in gold on the top.  Inside we find the Deacon's Doodle, complete with standard converter.

I am pleased that the converter is included because too often you find yourself buying a pen and then having to pay another couple of quid for a convertor. 

The cigar-shaped pen is stainless steel and feels a lot more expensive than £15.00 in the hand.  Not HEAVY, but pleasantly THERE.

Black end cap and 'ITALIX' engraved on clip
I really am no David Bailey....
The pop-on cap is ever so slightly flared to accommodate the shape of the pen when posting and has a clip with ITALIX engraved on it.  Also, I must add that you can get additional engraving in a choice of styles for between £3.60 and £6.00.  The end piece for the cap is black and the overall look of the pen is classic.

The barrel and cap are in a brushed finish with the section in smooth, shiny stainless steel which then echos forward into the nib. This nib is Italic and my writing sample doesn't do it justice as it's the first italic nib that I've tried to write with and as a left-hander, it can take a bit of getting used to flourishing with a fountain pen!  I did get a nice flourish with it so your signature can certainly be amped up with this pen and the nib is quite wet, which was fun.

When ordering Mr Pens has a range of options that you can select from and one of them is a left-handed nib, so thumbs up from me for having the foresight to include that particular option.

How does it write? Wet, smooth, reliable with no hard starts and no unpleasantness at all as far as I can see.  And it's £15.00!

Who would love this pen? If you are looking for an exclusive yet  inexpensive pen that can be personalised with engraving and a choice of nibs, then this consider the Deacon's Doodle.  Someone going off to uni or college that you want to make a special present for that doesn't cost the earth? This is the pen you're after.