Wing Sung | 698

The joy and pain of ordering pens that come from China is:

Joy: They are inexpensive
Pain:  It takes weeks for them to arrive.
Joy: It arrives and you have completely forgotten that you ordered a Wing Sung 698

So, after ordering weeks and weeks ago, it arrived.  It is pretty - a demonstrator type (my preferred kind of pen at the moment) with silver coloured trim.

The cap has got a nice silvery pattern on the finial and reads Wing S (plus some Chinese characters) and 698 and on the clip it says LUCKY. Ha! More of that later.

Wing Sung 698 and writing sample

Transparent feed and section  - purty, ain't it? 

It's a piston-filer. I must be getting more adept at filling pens because I managed to ink it up with some Astorquiza Rot from Robert Oster and not turn the bathroom into a facsimile of a slaughter house.  I was immediately taken with the fact that I could see the shine of the ink shade in the feed and section as well as in the barrel. This means that your pen will look different every time you ink it up in a new colour!

How did it write? A nice fine nib produced a nice fine line with no hiccups or spotting or anything unpleasant at all.  The only downside for me is that the cap cannot be posted onto the pen body.  And I like keeping my pen and cap together.

Does that nib look like a baby's bum to you? It seems to, on camera - but it writes nicely, I promise you.  It's a fine nib and I think that it's steel.

So, I popped the pen into my handbag along with a few others and headed off to visit my mother.  I wrote a couple of pages of journal notes with the handful of pens that I carried in my bag.  The Wing Sung was lovely to use and to look at. I believe that it is 'inspired' by the TWSBI Eco.

Cut to a couple of days later when I decide that I wanted to fill it with one of the Diamine Shimmer Ink samples that I had been sent.

Reader, I could not find it anywhere.

The office was turned upside down.  Which is always fraught because I never get around to putting everything back.  So my office ends up untidier than when I started.

I took my handbag and completely emptied it.  I returned all the pens to the pen stand.  No Wing Sung.  Still, at least I managed to get rid of a lot of receipts from the fluff at the bottom of my bag.

The hunt continued for a few more days.  Sometimes with me getting out of bed at nearly midnight to explore a pocket or a drawer that the pen might somehow have ended up in.

Nowhere.  The pen was nowhere.

The last place that I saw it had been my handbag.  I turned my bag upside down for a second time, shaking out crumbs, orphaned pennies and paperclips but no pen.

'Look,' said Tartarus kindly (but a little exasperatedly) was it an expensive pen? If not, go and order another one.  I can't be doing with you 'tidying' up and looking for it.  The house is a mess.'

So I ordered myself another one.

Then I put all thoughts of the Wing Sung to one side and got on with my work.  This work involved going to the post office.

In the post office, I pulled my purse out of my bag and in one of the side pockets, I could see a plastic pen glinting.  Surely, it couldn't be?

Reader, it was.  The Wing Sung WAS IN MY HANDBAG.

Had it been there all along?! How was that even possible after being tipped out onto the carpet. TWICE.

I marched home and asked Tartarus and an equally bemused Sonshine whether they had removed the pen from my bag and then hidden it again before I went to the post office.  My son pointed out that if he had wanted to gaslight me, it wouldn't be with a fountain pen.  My husband pointed out that he wouldn't have urged me to buy a replacement if he'd purloined the original one for a joke.

Oh yeah, the replacement.  It's a Wing Sung 618. It will arrive the week before Christmas.  So, like I said at the beginning .... LUCKY ;D

Start Bay TN cover | Bullet Journalling

So this is a combi post today - bullet journal woes and Start Bay Notebooks.

I got interested in bullet journalling just over a year ago.  I should have realised that when your OCD friend introduces you to something it is going to be VERY organised. VERY.

Well, not only was it organised (which, believe me, I NEED!), but the groups that I ended up joining we so crammed full of beautifully illustrated journals that my own paltry offering palled into nothingness and I ended up really quite stressed at all the bells and whistles that people use when journalling - tape, ribbons, elastics, printables, stickers, charms  *hyperventilates just thinking about it*.

My mum says that buying art supplies and using art supplies are two entirely different hobbies, and so it is with bullet journalling, I think.  Surely the act of creation of many of these magnificent journals is a hobby in itself?

I ended up leaving most of the groups and feeling quite bummed out about the whole thing.  Which is a shame because, as I said, it's all about being organised.

Cut to January of this year *does the wavery hands time shift thing* and I decided to give it another bash. This time on MY terms.  And those terms, dear reader, involved a black biro (I know - PERFIDY!) a fountain pen and a ruler.

And guess what? I've been bullet journalling since January like this (with the odd - temporary - foray into washi tape and coloured pencils) and it is absolutely the best way to keep track of my life!

Now, enter stage left, Start Bay Journals and the delights of a Traveller's Notebook.  I'm sticking with the 'Traveller' not 'Traveler' because: Scottish, not American.  These journals are abbreviated to TN (avoids all transatlantic fall-outs over spelling for a start) and they are my New Best Friend.

I got a couple of TNs from Rob at Personalised Stationery in unlined and dot grid and have been using them to record all sorts of things.  Mostly quotes from Senecca at the moment, if I'm honest.  And some terrible sketches in the unlined one ....

The paper is just GREAT for fountain pen use as I've mentioned before and I have been throwing one or other of the notebooks into my handbag for use on the ferry or whenever I've got something that I want to keep a note of (it's amazing how often the Muse strikes when you've actually got a pen and something to record in!)

However, there's no getting away from it - without a cover, your journal can get dog-eared pretty quickly.

I went on the hunt for a cover for my TNs.

There are lots of lovely leather covers out there - usually with one elastic fitted down the spine to allow you to slot in your TN and with an elastic that slides around the belly, to hold the whole thing closed in your handbag or knapsack.

I get a bit antsy when it comes to buying leather things from countries where I don't know too much about their animal welfare, so I knew that I was looking for a British company.  I know.  I'm pathetic.  I am a shit vegetarian who loves leather.  Although I have not tasted bacon for 18 months now, so am quietly proud of that.

I also wanted more than one elastic in my journal cover - I can't imagine me and a leather bradawl without also picturing a jaunt to A&E ...

And I also wanted something that felt ... kinda broken in ... with a no-nonsense aesthetic.

Lo! Start Bay Notebooks journal cover fits my particular bill!  This costs £42.00 and is, therefore, slightly less expensive than the Midori TN cover (Midori being the benchmark of quality journal covers for me).  It's also made in delightful Devon!

This Start Bay cover will make a classy gift to someone special.

It arrives in a lovely little unbleached cotton bag ....

decorated with the Start Bay Notebooks logo in leather

And voila! The TN sized notebook cover.  Start Bay offer lots of different sized notebooks with different finished and even different colours of closing elastics (this one is the 'original dark brown' option).

Accept no imitations 
the logo should also be stamped into the leather on the rear.

The journal cover comes with one notebook to get you started.  
It has four elastics to hold your TNs in place.

Like So!

BTW - if you want something more personalised - feel free to add charms! Start Bay have a lovely selection of charms that begin at a quid - aeroplanes, dragonflies, skull and crossbones etc.  AND pen loops for £3.50.  AND self-adhesive pockets (perfect for storing receipts and tickets) at £3.50 for three.

But it can comfortably take quite a few.  
I think that they recommend a bundle of inserts up to 20mm 
in depth.  But why stop there, is what I say!

Here's me adding notebooks that still leaves plenty space free for 

Step 1
Make a large loop of elastic 
(I used a nice dark brown one to match the existing)
Slide the elastic into the centre pages of two journals to hold them together. 

Like so.

Step 2

Take your two notebooks that are now looped together and slide beneath one of the elastics that run down the spine of your journal cover.

Like this.

And look - you have inserted your journals
AND there is still space for more to be added!

Celebrate with a gin and tonic and book yourself a cheap flight to Italy. Or Birmingham.  Wherever! 
You are now prepared for all travel-writing emergencies!

You're welcome!


A quick look at the contents of one of the inserts - unlined.  And scribbles by my fountain pen.  I can't remember the ink name.  But it's purty, ain't it? I must start swatching inks so that I can remember which one is which! 

Diamine | Wine Divine

The second of the sample vials sent to me for review from the Diamine Shimmer range of inks is Wine Divine.

This is a splendid dark plum shade with a very subtle gleam.  In fact, for me, the gleam was so subtle that if I didn't know that it was there, I might not see it.

Maybe I am just spoiled because Firefly performed so brilliantly, glittering over the page like an, erm, firefly.

So, in the interests of impartiality (and having another try at the Firefly) I wrote the same copy in my little Rhodia journal and here it is along with Firefly.

Diamine: Firefly

Diamine: Wine Divine
For me, Firefly gives a lot more shimmer bang for your buck than Wine Divine.  However, these inks do need to be well-shaken before you load them into your pen.  Perhaps I did not shake my Wine Divine vial for long enough.

I like the shading with this ink, even if the sheen is not as noticeable as the Firefly.

If you make the photographs large, you CAN see the shimmer in Wine Divine and when it does gleam, it's very pretty.  But I need more gleam than my WD writing sample currently shows.

I have one other Diamine Shimmer sample to look at and it's called Citrus Ice.  I will get a pen filled with it this week!

My brand new Wing Sung 618 has been lost somewhere on the high seas. Well, on the ferry.  I have turned the house upside down looking for it, but it's nowhere to be found.  Nothing else to do I guess but order myself another one .... *falls on sword*

Diamine Ink | Firefly

I was lucky enough to receive two samples from the new inks that Diamine have added to their hugely popular 'shimmer' range' - Firefly and Wine Divine.  That's 32 inks in the Shimmer range alone!

Firefly is one of my real-life favourite colours - the amazing red/orange of a roaring fire shot through with a golden glimmer.  I used a Jinhao 992 with a fine nib and yes, I could see the sheen of gold even with a fine line!

I'm discovering that glitter is quite tricky to photograph, but here's my attempt:

I am really sorry about the scrabbling noise in this, my big greyhound was re-arranging his blanket and I've only just noticed the noise that he was making.  Sooooreee! Watch with sound down and expand to fill the screen to see the shimmer.  I think I'll redo this video tomorrow, but at least it lets you see hints of the gleam *poor lighting in the office face*

So, this is in a lovely little notebook from Personalised Stationery that has Fedrigani paper which fountain pen friendly paper (no bleed, tiny shine through but nothing that would prevent you from writing on the other side).  Do you see the glimmer when I move the page back and forth?

This will absolutely be my ink of choice when it comes to writing out the ol' Christmas cards for me this year because it is such a cheerful shade.

I've also had a practice run with it in my cheapo jotter from The Factory Shop and I'm still getting the gleam when the paltry November light falls across the page!

I can imagine that in a broad nib (or a calligrapher's hands) Firefly will be absolutely stunning.  I love to support British businesses when I can and Diamine Inks have been making inks in the UK since 1864.  In other news, it's under a tenner for 50 gorgeous mls of the stuff, so all in all, this is a winner for me!

I've got Divine Wine to look at too ... just as soon as I can find where my other half has 'tidied' it away to, I'll pop that up here too.

Digital Detox Journal | Denim Journal | Operation Neptune | Personalised Stationery

As soon as I saw the pink cover of the #digitaldetox journal, I knew that we were going to be together forever.  Exactly the same feeling the first time I clapped eyes on Tom Hiddleston...TOGETHER FOREVER.  The journal and I have just been on holiday together, something that Tom and I have not quite managed.  Something to do with the restraining order, I think.

Anyway, less of Tom and more of the journals!

I've now got a selection of journals from Rob at Personalised Stationery and, while I have proper paid for the #digitaldetox jotters, I have also received journals for review purposes from the United Inkdom gang.   All in all a lovely package .... *her thoughts unaccountably waft back to Tom Hiddleston...*

soooo let's take a look at #digital detox in pink

My handwriting is large and loopy (a bit like myself) and I've quickly discovered that small journals are not my friend.  By the time I'm about halfway down the page, my writing is scraggly because my hand is no longer resting on the page.  SO, my #digitaldetox journal was ordered up as a respectable Post Quarto size of 17cm x 24cm (or 6.5" x 9.5" if you still work in old money).  And other sizes are available!

The #digital detox journal comes in a choice of pink or natural, but Rob has the most marvellous selection of covers that you will find something that makes you smile.

For example: one has a spidy on it, another is an old ration book cover, there are roses, ribbons, birds ... even a map.  But if none of the covers suit you YOU CAN DESIGN YOUR OWN using the site's built in software.  So if your bridesmaids feel that you need a 'Bridezilla' in a crazy font, picked out in gold, against a white background, it can be YOURS!

Covers aren't the only choice available - the paper can be plain, ruled, dot grid or séyès (remember the weirdly lined letters that your French pen pal used to send you? That's séyès).  And yes, it has taken me a good 10 minutes how to figure out how to type those accents in that word.

Let's talk paper.

The journals are all made in the UK and the paper is finest Fedrigoni uncoated 85gsm.  Fedrigoni UK source all their materials from suppliers who practise responsible environmental policies.  That's a big selling point for me! As far as the quality of the paper goes, while I'm no expert, I can promise you that there is no ink bleed through when using a fountain pen and it felt lovely to write on. There is a tiny amount of show through, but not enough to prevent you from comfortably writing on the other side of the paper - and I was using Diamine Oxblood, which is quite dark.

Take a look and see for yourself.  Poem by Pablo Neruda :

I would say that it takes about 20 seconds from writing (with a Cross as a test pen and also a Jinhao) for absolutely no smearing at all if you pass your hand over your work.  Minimal smearing at 15 seconds to be honest.
My advice is just stay sober and don't drag your hand over your fountain pen handwriting and this will never be a problem, 'nkay?

My #digitaldetox journal came with me for a week's holiday to Innerleithan in the Scottish Borders where I religiously recorded everything that we did whilst on our family holiday.  The first time I've actually managed to do that for EVERY day of a break.

The wit of having the journal called #digitaldetox (after all, hand-writing is the epitome of digitally detoxing!) gave me pleasure every time I hauled it out of my bag.

And don't forget to take a close look at the 'washing instructions' on the denim notebook!!

The journals are 52 pages which I have found absolutely ample for all projects undertaken so far.

Operation Neptune | #digitaldetox | Denim

Desirability? Can I just say that I have to keep retrieving my Operation Neptune journal from my son's desk and that I keep on ordering more from Rob than a respectable woman really should?

Stand by for a review of the brand spanky new ARC-style disk journals that are being produced!

more of these two another day!

Pen Wrap | Ania M

So, a couple of months back, just when I was making my first foray into the world of fountain pens, my seamstress friend, Ania Marczyk, suggested making wraps for fountain pens.

I offered to gather details of fountain pen lovers' pet hates and desires when it comes to a wrap for transporting the li'l inky darlings.  Inside my head, I went totally Dame Edna Everage there for some reason ...... Anyway,  Mark Porter was out of the traps very early - a new wrap was desperately needed and he even had the very design that he was after!  He got in touch with Ania and lo! she set to work creating the ultimate gorgeous wrap.

Of course, it was my birthday around that time and it seemed only sensible that I begged for a pen wrap as my birthday pressie.

With a sumptuous selection of coloured skins and kimono brocades, it was pretty difficult to make a selection, but in the end I went for this combo:

 The brocade on the left and the suede on the right.  Ain't it purty?

And TADAAAAAH! this arrived forthwith!

I absolutely adore it!  At the moment, she's making the pen wraps on a commission basis, but she will have some in her online store in the next week or so.

The suede/brocade combo is, I believe, about £35.00 but you needn't have suede - you can have fancy brocade and plain brocade.  I think that the non-suede options start at £25.00.  And, believe me, she's a demon with the embroidery skills if you wanted your fabric customised in some way - initials, name, li'l picture etc. to see the combinations that she has at the moment.  But, the world is your lobster when it comes to personalisation!

I love mine to BITS and carry it with me in my bag.  I feel very swish swapping out my empty pens.

Little things that give great pleasure - that's what life's about!

Got any little pen pleasures you want to share?

Romus Demonstrator | Piston Filler

Well, it had to happen eventually - an ebay purchase too far.  A pen turned up from India this morning and after checking to see whether it was a late birthday pressie (last week - am still accepting gifts right up until third week in December) it seemed to be a fortuitous Gift From The Universe.

Upon checking my paypal, it would seem, however, that it was a slightly inebriated late-night purchase from ebay.

I *think* it was under a tenner and gosh, I am very enamoured of its gold-coloured trim against the transparent body.

It is also my first piston-filler and FOR THE LOVE OF ALL THAT IS HOLY will someone tell me how to fill it without the end result being this?

Lovely ink.  When it's not all over everything that you own.

I have turned into Shrek. Apart from the bad language: there I've turned into Billy Connolly.

My ironing board is ruined, RUINED I tell you!

I'm a bit partial to a demonstrator, I like seeing all the innards, and this one, with the gold trim instead of a silver-trim is easy on the eye.

There's nothing that I can see on the nib to indicate its size, but it gives a nice fine line, so I'm going for FINE being the nib of choice that fateful night on ebay.  It's marked 'iridium point' and, if I'm being honest, feels a bit scratchy.

God, listen to me - two months ago I couldn't tell scratchy nibs from any other kind of nib! It's not a very wet writer - despite the ink carnage shown above.   I'm also not convinced that a piston-filler is for me.  But am hoping that someone will come up with the goods when it comes to hints and tips for filling it.  Think my mistake was to try to fill it right up instead of quitting while I was ahead (and not drenched in Diamine).

I'll need to play with it a bit more to see whether I love it, but have to say that so far, it's a nice little pen and I have no regrets about buying it.

Who am I kidding? I don't even remember buying it! :D