marks days ballpoint pen review
Review

Review: Mark’s Days Ballpoint Pen

mark's days ballpoint pen review

Introduction

The Mark’s Days ballpoint pen is something of a sleeper hit. We have sold them for many years now and they seem to pass under the radar, rarely getting mentioned or featured and yet when I checked the sales they are quite a hit. So I thought I would address the lack of attention and give the Mark’s Days pen a full review all of its own. With the new orange colour just arriving recently it seemed the right time to review one.

Mark’s is a Japanese stationery brand that is known for producing quite smart, stylish if unfussy notebooks, diaries and pens. Often quite innovative, they are quite Japanese in being fine, practical and well-designed (or at least they fit with my idea of what Japanese stationery is all about!). The brand also has something of a French theme about it, and this pen is part of the Days range of books and pens.

 

Style

From the outset you can tell this pen is going to be a fine writer. It is a slimline pen in a satisfyingly bright colour. The range has the days of the week printed in French on the hexagonal barrel. It doesn’t come in a pen box but it isn’t aimed as a gift in its own right so that’s not a problem for me. Overall, it looks very nice although I would mark it down for being a tad too light in the hand.

I chose the orange pen as it was new, but there are six colours to chose from at time of writing so it should keep most people happy.

Score: 8/10

mark's days ballpoint pens - colour choice

Features

This is not a pen packed with features but then it is not intended to be. It is a lightweight pen, maybe too light for some, with simple push-button action to extend the nib. This is a ballpoint pen with a very fine 0.5mm point. It is a refillable pen so no unnecessary waste, and the refills come in any colour, as long as it is black. The barrel is hexagonal which means it won’t roll off the desk when left.

Score: 7/10

Usability

The key here is the fine point. Either you like a fine writer, or you don’t. I really can’t imagine someone who likes a bolder nib would be happy with this as it might feel scratchy. I do like a fine point and I would not describe this as scratchy at all. It is a consistent, even writer. The weight is, as mentioned, just a bit unusual but after a few minutes I forgot about the weight. It takes an OHTO refill and I have always had a soft-spot for OHTO pens so that is a plus for me.

Score: 8/10

marks days ballpoint pen - colours and french days

Value for money

This depends on how you look at it – compared to a cheap biro it might appear a lot (£5.95 at time of writing) but it is comparable in price to other refillable pens like the Noto from Lamy. I think this is a well-priced pen that is nice enough to make you look after it. It is the kind of pen you would feel disappointed if you left it at home or it went missing, and on that basis it is good value for money.

Score: 9/10

Verdict

I like this pen but the crucial is whether you like fine writers or you don’t. If not, look elsewhere. If yes, then don’t overlook this good little pen in favour of more expensive options.

There is also mechanical pencil version if that is of interest.

 

Style
Features
Usability
Value for money
Review

Review – Monteverde Monza fountain pen

Monteverde Monza pen and ink

Introduction

Monteverde Monza fountain pens come in a box with 2 cartridges and a converter. Sleeve on the box explains the filling instructions which is a nice touch (not many pen makers do this).

Transparent pens are really popular at the moment and Monteverde offers Monza in 4 colours : Crystal Clear, Island Blue, Honey Amber and Grey Sky.

Monteverde Monza colour family

I’m wondering if the pen can also be eye dropped – body is made of plastic and there is an o-ring which will help to seal ink chamber – if any one has tried it, let us know…

There are 2 nib choices – fine and medium. Mine is a fine and it writes similarly to Lamy/Kaweco EF steel nibs.

One of the coolest features of this pen is  transparent feed which will display the ink nicely. Ink on the photo below is J. Herbin – Lie de The #matchymatchy 🙂

Monteverde Monza transparent feed

Performance

Here is where Monza pen gets interesting – Monteverde advertises these as flexible nibs…we haven’t had a flexible pen before, so I jumped right in to give it a go…

BTW there is no need to use it as flex, it can be used as everyday pen too.

Get some good paper – there will be a lot of ink on the page, so make sure your paper can handle it 🙂 If you have an ink problem like I do, then this will help run it down a little 🙂 This kind of heavy ink usage has its benefits – it shows off shading, have a look at the pictures 🙂

The basic principle of flexing the nib is to press down on the downstrokes and use lighter pressure on the upstroke to create line variation. You could always just practice strokes first – after all modern or any calligraphy letterforms are constructed from a series of individual strokes. Some handwriting styles work better with flex, especially joined-up writing.

In conclusion

£15* for a pen with flexible nib – what to expect…

It’s not a true flex, but you can achieve some line variation out of it (more than you would from a standard for example Lamy nib…)

For true flex nib you would have to go vintage (expensive) or a dip pen (really scratchy, needs dipping a lot), so this is a good way to try and see if it’s something you might like to invest in.

Monteverde Monza is a lot of fun. Experiment, slow down, be mindful when writing, explore the flex possibilities – I will continue to use this pen to test inks and play with modern cursive writing.

*price was correct at the time of posting this article

A little HINT – see how many swirls you can do before the feed starts running out of ink (this is completely normal). I got good few flexes out of it 🙂

A big HINT – if you are going to use flex a lot then priming the feed will be necessary – simply turn converter and push some air out and let ink saturate the feed (have some tissues ready just in case) and you will be good to go again.

lamy aion fountain pen review
Review

Review – Lamy Aion Fountain Pen

lamy aion fountain pen review

Introduction

Lamy’s penchant for Bauhaus and industrial design hardly needs a mention, and the Lamy Aion line of pens is the latest evolution in a lineage of exactly that style that was started by the Lamy 2000 over fifty years ago. In collaboration with industrial designer Jasper Morrison, the Aion is a modern if familiar addition to the Lamy pen range.

Style

Personally, I’m a huge fan of minimalist and industrial design; give me smooth lines, robust materials, and say more with less – and from the first reveal the Aion was a perfect match. The raw aluminium is drawn from a die rather than machined, and curves gracefully towards the end of the barrel and top of the cap, with a brushed texture that goes against the flow of the pen rather than with it.

A polished cap ring and clip accent the pen without taking the spotlight off of the aluminium barrel. In my opinion the Silverolive (though I’ve yet to find the ‘olive’ part) works much better with the design than the black anodised version, and I can only imagine what an all-black version would have looked like with matching black clip. This isn’t to say the black version is bad, it wouldn’t look out of place in a boardroom or a CEO’s desk, just that the silver version just seems to represent the design a bit better.

Score: 10/10

Features

Not much to comment on here – the ballpoint is the usual twist mechanism, and the rollerball is a rollerball – cap, barrel, M63 refill, done. The caps of the rollerball and fountain pen feature a spring-loaded clip and post snugly,  but I’ve found the pen much more comfortable in size and balance without the cap. On the fountain pen is a brand new nib that just oozes style with its curvier design, and you’ll be pleased to read that it’s an excellent writer too – more on that in a bit.

Disappointingly, the fountain pen doesn’t ship with an included Z27 converter. Considering much cheaper pens such as the Logo come with one as standard, this ends up being a puzzling decision by Lamy.

Score: 8/10

lamy aion fountain pen review

Usability

Subjective opinions on look aside, one thing everyone in the office seems to agree on is that the new Z53 nib is a brilliant refinement of the classic Z50. Lamy calls it “expressive”, and I’m tempted to say that it isn’t just marketing hyperbole. I opted for the extra fine version and my first experience with it was surprising – using a wet ink (KWZ Midnight Green), the line was not quite what you might expect of an extra fine nib with a line that seemed much thicker than it ought to be.

With a dryer ink the line was a lot closer to what you’d expect. This might be an annoyance for some and understandably so, but I’d like to wager all would be forgiven once you feel just how amazingly smooth this nib is. No hypodermic needles here, the Z53 glides across the page – and I’ve tried it on almost every paper we have here, from Tomoe River paper to good old copier paper. Lamy’s Z50 steel nibs have never really been considered bad, but these new nibs are in another class – I’ve yet to experience any burping, dry starts, or skipping.

And while the nib is smooth as butter, thankfully the same can’t be said for aluminium grip. Though it looks deceptively non-grippy, the abrasive-blasted section is more than comfortable to write with, and I’ve not once had to readjust my grip.

Score: 9/10

Value for money

At just shy of £48* for the fountain pen and rollerball, and £39* for the ballpoint, the Aion is firmly priced in the mid-range of Lamy’s pens – cheaper than the Accent AL and Studio, but considerably more than the AL-Star and Safari’s, and honestly I feel it’s a fairly priced pen. A modern design with a robust construction is paired with a fantastic nib. However, the lack of a bundled converter is a glaring hole and definitely worth bearing in mind if you’re not content with the selection of colours available in Lamy’s T10 cartridges.

Additionally, the Z53 nibs are fully compatible with Lamy’s other fountain pens (Lamy 2000 excluded), so you’re well within your right to grab a stand-alone nib and swapping it out on a Safari or AL-Star. But if you don’t own a Lamy pen already (or even if you do!), the Aion is a fantastic pen if you’re looking to spend a little more for a premium feel.

* Prices correct at time of publishing!

Score: 9/10

Verdict

The Aion is a brilliant addition to Lamy’s range, and while it might be considered safe and unremarkable by some, I say it is more than worthy to follow the path laid down by the Lamy 2000 fountain pen and one of Lamy’s best collaborations yet. Lack of a bundled converter knocks some points off the final score, but overall I struggled to find much of anything to fault, especially when the nib and pen compliment each other to provide such a fantastic writing experience.

Style
Features
Usability
Value for money
Grey Inks Comparisons
Review

10 shades of grey ink

Grey Inks Comparisons

Introduction

Grey is a colour that we haven’t really explored before. This post (and the next one to come) really is a sequel to Diamine Earl Grey ink which seems to be a trend setter. A lot of our friends asked for a side-by-side comparison, I looked around for more grey ink and found 10 in our sampling station 🙂 These 10 inks are all grey, but as you will see, they are not the same. We haven’t done this layout before, so please drop us a line in comments with your feedback. Do you have/use grey ink at all, if so which is your favourite? Inks were tested on Rhodia dot paper with a glass pen. You can zoom in on photos for the details too. Enjoy!

Diamine – Grey

This is probably the first grey ink that comes to mind… Subtle, shades well, very universal. Can’t go wrong with this one. Diamine inks come in 80ml bottles and are fantastic value for money.

Grey Inks Comparisons : Diamine - Grey

Diamine – Graphite

Dark grey with green components which are very apparent in this ink. It’s almost black, colour is mossy and perfectly legible. Available in 80ml bottles.

Grey Inks Comparisons : Diamine - Graphite

J Herbin 1670 – Stormy Grey

It’s difficult not to take sides here, but this ink is the one that started a revolution of Shimmer – I love it 🙂 Base colour grey shades beautifully and it’s complimented with gold particles. Inked permanently in my Lamy 2000 <3 Available in 50ml bottles.

Grey Inks Comparisons : J Herbin 1670 - Stormy Grey

J Herbin – Gris Nuage

One of the paler colours from the bunch. Warm grey with purple undertones and decent shading. Fantastic grey ink for painting/colouring with water brush. Available in 30ml bottles, 10ml bottles and cartridge form.

Grey Inks Comparisons : J Herbin - Gris Nuage

Diamine – Earl Grey

We wrote a short story about this ink here. Fantastic rich colour with strong purple tint and delicate shading. Available soon.

Grey Inks Comparisons : Diamine - Earl Grey

KWZ – Grey Lux

Satin smooth ink to write with. This is one of the darkest grey inks. Very complex, satudated and made out of many dyes, almost black when dry. Absolute joy to use. Available in 60ml bottles.

Grey Inks Comparisons : KWZ - Grey Lux

Diamine – Sparkling Shadows

First generation of Diamine’s Shimmering inks. Grey with gold specs. Available in 50ml bottles.

Grey Inks Comparisons : Diamine - Sparkling Shadows

Diamine – Moon Dust

Jo’s number one ink 🙂 Pencil-like colour with silver shimmer. Fantastic name too. Second generation of Diamine Shimmer inks. Available in 50ml bottles.

Grey Inks Comparisons : Diamine - Moon Dust

Iroshizuku – Kiri Same

Light grey ink with expressive shading. This ink flows well as you can imagine all Iroshizuku inks do. Available in 50ml bottles.

Grey Inks Comparisons : Iroshizuku - Kiri Same

Kaweco – Smokey Grey

Colder grey ink with green undertones and quick dry times. Shading is visible and the smoke in the name represents the colour well. It comes in both 30ml bottle and cartridge version.

Grey Inks Comparisons : Kaweco - Smokey Grey
Diamine Earl Grey Review - Rhodia White
Review

Diamine Earl Grey – Ink Review

Diamine Earl Grey Review - Rhodia White

Are you on Reddit?

The good people of r/fountainpens – a fountain pen community on Reddit – reached out to our friends at Diamine if they would be up for a challenge. Could they make an ink purely voted for by the community?

This was a chance for us dreamers to have a go at designing our own ink. Imagine the warm fuzzy feeling when you ink up your favourite pen with something you made happen… Fountain pen mega star Stephen Brown has had his own ink made and finally it was our time to shine.

First up – Name and colour. Voting and comments got pretty heated – as you can imagine ink discussions do 🙂
The ‘Earl Grey’ name was submitted by our pen club friend Daniel, so we were rooting for him; also it is a pretty cool name. Over 3000 votes were submitted, 1000+ people selected colour Grey. Only about hundred votes separated the winner Grey from Gold and Teal (maybe next time).

Diamine then got to work and provided few swatches which we voted for too.

Two months later a brand new baby ink came into the world. Welcome Diamine Earl Grey 😀

Ink review

Diamine Earl Grey Review - comparison
Diamine Earl Grey Review - comparison

Grey is a fantastic ink to use – you won’t find a regular ballpoint/rollerball in such colour. Diamine Earl Grey is not too loud, so it can be used for almost everything. Very universal, slightly understated, but certainly not boring. Those purple accents are really eye catchy, especially on white paper 🙂 They do take a while to come out – we had to re-take the photographs because the colour has changed over night. The flow is very good, it is certainly not dry. Earl Grey shades extremely well. This ink is not waterproof or water resistant. We could only see a little bit of sheen on ink drops which were done on Tomoe River paper.

The more I use it the more I like it (especially when inked in purple pen = match made in heaven).

Please click on images below to see all the details.

This ink will be available soon in Diamine’s 80ml bottles. The packaging has a secret message printed inside the box regarding the Reddit community.

Big big thanks to Diamine for helping making our dream come true. We feel very privileged to be able to review it before release. Very well done to r/fountainpens Reddit community – you people made this possible! 🙂

I hope that Diamine Earl Grey will become a household name and will establish itself in Diamine’s already very successful line-up.

Diamine - Earl Grey

Shading - One of the best properties of this ink
Flow - Great!
Saturation - Very Good!
Sheen - Only a tiny bit on Tomoe River
Water Resistance - Nope
kanken laptop backpack - full of space
Review

Review: Kanken Laptop Backpack

kanken laptop backpack - full of space

Or How Much Weight Can My Fjallraven Kanken 17’ Laptop Backpack Carry?

The Kanken backpack
The Kanken backpack

The new, bigger Kanken has arrived. After careful colour consideration, I went for the classic black and proceeded to put it to vigorous tests.

Dutifully to its name, the 17″ Laptop bag has a big pocket at the back for a laptop. My laptop is a 17-inch (the maximum size it can fit) and it fits perfectly, not being too loose and leaving room for the power cord, as well. The extra padding really gives the protection that I wished for, mostly for my long train rides and packed tube commuting when there is a high likelihood of dings and bumps. Perfect! Now all I need to worry about is trying not to whack the fellow passengers with, what is admittedly, quite a sizeable bag.

There is a big main pocket and a little zipped pocket in the front where you can store your keys, oysters and bits and bobs. The zippers are study and quite loud so if anyone was trying to open the small pocket even in a loud place you’d be very likely to hear it, which for a Londoner is a plus!

So, after purchasing my long coveted Kanken, I’ve had some brilliant moments with it! I was caught in an absolutely drenching downpour without an umbrella with my laptop in my bag and obviously my biggest worry was the safety of my laptop. It was completely safe! There was no dampness inside the bag! What a relief!

Only thing that I have to remember to do, is to pull the zip covers over the zips when it rains because the only part of the bag that isn’t fully waterproof are the zips, unfortunately.

There is also a good size side-pocket on the side of the bag, which can fit a fairly slim water bottle or even better an umbrella!

The Laptop Back bags are the only Kankens that have padded shoulder straps to make carrying heavier things like books and a laptop quite comfortable. Thus, the next thing I put to test was the durability of the straps: I managed to stuff the bag full of heavy books – about 35 kg (*see note below!) – and carried it home from the library with minimal discomfort!

So all in all, I have been very happy in my Fjallraven Kanken, it is now my everyday bag and I can recommend it for anyone who needs a reliable and sturdy bag! I have no doubt that it will last for years to come! If you have a smaller laptop they also come in 15’ size and the Classic Kanken and even a Kanken Mini and if you’re planning to carry heavy stuff in the smaller bags there is also padding for the shoulder straps available to buy separately to maximise the comfort.

* Weight alert – Armi orginally claimed 35 kilos but this was the source of much debate around the office. She was never able to bring a fully-laden bag in to verify this claim and it has been widely disputed. A figure of more like 20 kilos has been our agreed revised figure based on contents Armi has brought in since. If you have ever tried to carry 20 kilos in a backpack you will know this is not an insignificant weight to haul around!

Taroko Breeze Notebook with Tomoe River paper
Review

Review – Taroko Breeze Notebook

Taroko Breeze Notebook with Tomoe River paper

Introduction

The Breeze notebook from Taroko is a fairly new addition to our range and one we were very excited to receive. We had an extensive choice of the more basic slimline Taroko books, but we were really in need of a more ‘serious’ book, one that could go head to head with the Moleskine, Leuchtturm and Rhodia notebooks that dominate.

When the Breeze was announced it seemed like Christmas had come early. So when my trusty Rhodia book ran out last week I grabbed a slightly damaged Breeze book as my daily book (well, the poor wee write-off needed a good home…). This is how I have got on a week in.

Style

The book scores well because although the cover is minimal, it does at least have a design on it which gives it a lift. The standard range of Taroko books look great but once out of the packet they are unmarked and somehow a bit lacking. The size is appealing – proper A5 and just about the right thickness. The black cover with its silver print is smart, a nice contrast to the usual notebook in this market. That said, it is a fairly understated notebook, nothing too ostentatious.

Score: 8/10

Features

The Breeze notebook has a few extras, not as many as some rival notebooks but with some nice little differences up its sleeve. The book comes with numbered pages and an index which makes life so much easier when it comes to organising your notes. No fumbling around looking for that page where you know you wrote something. It also has several ink swatch pages, a nice way to record which ink you are using or for testing out some inks and keeping a proper record. Now this will likely only appeal to an ink-pen user which leads on to its most obvious feature – the Tomoe River paper.

This Japanese marvel is incredibly thin – just 68gsm – yet handles ink better than almost any paper. This also means you can pack a lot more paper in for less bulk. 183 pages of notes to be precise.

The book does lack some notable add-ons though, such as a page marker, a closure strap or an inside pocket. It’s a shame as these are quite handy features.

As for the card cover, that really depends on what you want. If you want a hard cover book then it won’t work for you, but if you prefer a soft-cover book then this card cover has a nice flexible but stiff cover.

Score: 7/10

Taroko Breeze - Index to pages
Taroko Breeze - Index to pages
Taroko Breeze - Numbered pages
Taroko Breeze - Numbered pages
Taroko Breeze - Pages to record the inks you use
Taroko Breeze - Pages to record the inks you use

Usability

This is where the Breeze really comes into its own. The paper is a joy to write on, even if you are not using a fountain pen. It is so smooth and works well with a rollerball or even just a ballpoint pen. But with a fountain pen it stands out.

The dot paper suits me perfectly and they are spot on (pun intended!) and it is a really nice size and weight for a notebook. Sounds a silly thing to say but it works for me.

Score: 10/10

Value for money

At £19.95 it certainly isn’t cheap and there are cheaper alternatives from Rhodia and Leuchtturm. It really comes down to the paper as this is the notebook’s USP. If the paper tempts you then the book is worth the extra few quid, and if the paper leaves you cold then it isn’t likely to have you shelling out that bit extra. Personally I think it is worth it but will

Score: 8/10

Verdict

Overall it has served me well for the first week – it’s a pelasure to write in and that is half the fun, surely? If you just want a purely functional notebook then go seek out the cheapest, flimsiest book in a supermarket. Assuming you have come to us looking for that extra bit of quality then this is well worth considering.

A bit more pricey and lacking a few useful features, but with enough to compensate by way of the paper and the numbered pages.

Style
Features
Usability
Value-for-money
diamine moondust shimmer ink
Review

Review: Diamine Moondust

diamine shimmer moon dust ink

I don’t usually do ink reviews, I leave them to Mishka. But since she has been away and she tends to favour colours, I thought I would slip in a quick monochrome review while she isn’t looking. My current (and only) ink is Diamine Moondust. It is one of their Shimmer range which contains metallic particles giving it a subtle glimmer. The colour itself is a sort of dark grey, or grey black, it sort of changes depending on, well I’m not sure what. Sometimes it writes as black, sometimes grey and sometimes silver, you can never be quite sure what you will get. Some might find that inconsistency annoying but I love it. Much as I like the bright colours we have here, as with clothes and much else, I find myself choosing black or grey so the chameleon-ish nature of this ink makes it more interesting than a standard black.

diamine moondust shimmer ink
It's the same ink, but is it grey or black?

I can’t give you stats on saturation or shading, you’ll have to wait for a proper review for that but hopefully the photos capture the nature of the colour variation and if you don’t like writing in bright colours, Diamine Moondust might be the ink for you.

Review of the Taroko Tomoe River Breeze Notebook
Review

Review: Taroko ‘Tomoe River’ Breeze – My Favourite Notebook

Review of the Taroko Tomoe River Breeze Notebook

My name's Phil and I’m a stationery addict

Introduction

We were approached on a Friday afternoon by someone who just the previous Friday afternoon had come by to buy some pens and inks. This time we were being asked for a week’s work experience, starting on the following Monday morning. Short notice indeed. Normally such a request would fail for so many reasons, but this time it just felt right. And so Philip joined us for a week of (very last minute) work experience. And as part of the deal, he had to contribute a piece for our blog. Something he had a lot of spare time to do one morning when our website was down! So, we bring you Philip and his amazing Breeze notebook.

Philip's Review

Hi, I hope you find this review useful and interesting. My name’s Phil and I’m a stationery addict doing a week of work experience here at Bureau Direct, having been given the chance to write a review of this excellent notebook was like a dream come true. As a student, this notebook would be perfect as a planner/bullet journal but I feel like It’d be a shame to relegate this notebook to such a boring use so instead I plan to use it to write short stories in there’s just something about it that makes me want to be creative and write – I suppose that’s the best feeling you could get from a notebook. I hope you find my review useful and informative.

Taroko Tomoe River Notebook

The moment I heard about this notebook, my heart skipped a beat, Tomoe River paper in an A5 string bound notebook… Sign me up! The 68gsm paper is soft to the touch and takes ink like a champ. Of course, with such a light paper you can expect some ghosting, but in my opinion, that adds to the charm. Every time I lay my hands on a lovely new notebook or item of stationery I feel discontent that my clumsy handwriting won’t be able to do it justice but this notebook hasn’t given me the opportunity, I’m just constantly enamoured by how my nib glides over the page so perfectly.

Index page in the Taroko Breeze notebook
Index page in the Taroko Breeze notebook (pages are numbered)

The cover is minimalistic but elegantly so, it is made from a black card with a silver foil embossed design and looks stunning. There is a beautiful navy blue inside cover which I find extremely tasteful, I think anything more colourful would subtract from the main event, the paper. Inside there are 183 sheets of dotted paper; an index at the front and ink swab pages at the back. Last month I had to replace an old Wilko own brand notebook that I’d finished and I decided to pay a little extra and get a nicer one. My criteria were that the pages needed to take fountain pen ink better and not feather or bleed; the pages needed to be dotted or squared, preferably dotted and the pages had to be numbered. I finally settled on a Leuchtturm 1917 hardback notebook, a decision that I don’t regret. But this Breeze notebook by Taroko Design supersedes the Leuchtturm as it has higher paper quality and still has the dotted pages that are numbered.

The ink swab pages are a lovely touch and whilst I don’t expect everyone to use them I know I will always come back to them whenever I fill a pen with a new ink, for those worried that these pages will mean you that you won’t have as much space for your notes don’t fear as they only occupy two double page spreads, for me this is a perfect number as I likely won’t use 18 different inks in the course of one notebook but I’m sure there may also be people who find this still too many or too few. I’m not careful enough to make artful splashes of ink in the swab boxes as I’m worried I’ll miss and get ink everywhere so instead I fall back on a gentle scribble but I wish I could have as stunning a swab page as in the promotional pictures, I’m sure you could achieve this quite easily with some courage and a pipette.

Ink charts in the Taroko Breeze notebook
Ink charts in the Taroko Breeze notebook

I feel like it’s important to explain why Tomoe River paper is something to be so excited about. Normally the adage that the higher the gsm the higher the quality is correct but it falls short when you consider Tomoe River. Their 52gsm paper is comparable to 80gsm paper, like a Rhodia Dot-Pad, in terms of how well it takes ink but the 68gsm is comparable to their more premium 90gsm paper with the advantage of thinner pages so you can fit more sheets in the same dimensions. This results in Taroko Design’s decision to use the 68gsm paper a fantastic one as it is sturdier, less prone to the unexpected creasing that plagued me when I used the 52gsm paper, and the ghosting is less noticeable.

I’ve been writing this review in Blackstone Barrister Black Ink and I just noticed that the ghosting on this paper is comparable to that of it on a Rhodia Dot-Pad, although it is still a lot more apparent in the Breeze, quickly switching to KWZ Iron Gall Turquoise I’ve noticed that whilst in the Breeze the ghosting is the same on the Dot-Pad it’s hardly noticeable. So, if you’re not a fan of ghosting or undecided it may be better to start with one of Taroko Design’s cheaper notebooks to get a feel for it.

In the interest of being completely transparent there are a couple of things I may think about changing about the notebook if I were given the opportunity. The first is I’d probably add an elastic strap to close the notebook and stop it from possibly opening in my bag and having the pages crease, but this is unlikely to happen anyway, and I’d also like to add a fabric book mark in the same colour as the inside of the cover just to make finding the page you’re on slightly easier, although again this isn’t a make it or break it thing for me. This notebook has now become my favourite notebook that I own and is a contender for my favourite that I know exists, in the running with it is the Whitelines Link as I think it’s a great blend of the analogue and digital worlds and I intend to use them for all my school notes next year (Although this is subject to how nice the paper is for use with fountain pens).

Diamine Majestic Blue ink drop
Review

Diamine Ink Review – Majestic Blue

Diamine Majestic Blue ink sheen

Ink review

I had no idea how positive the response to our last week’s review of Steel Blue ink would be, so here is another ink from Diamine range.

Diamine Majestic Blue is one of those rare inks that does sheen like a champion 🙂 Why did no one tell me about this ink earlier? The colour is a true blue, it flows very nicely even with the finest nibs. Sheen does take over and often covers the entire letter. Tomoe River is the best paper to display sheen, but this ink does show on other papers too.

Diamine Majestic Blue ink sheen closeup macro

The ink is not waterproof; it does not wash away completely, so I would happily use it to address envelopes.

Diamine Majestic Blue ink drop closeup

Diamine Majestic blue is as exciting as blue ink can be. It would make a perfect every day ink. Strange coming from teal/green/orange person 🙂 but I really do like this one.

Diamine Majestic Blue ink is available here.

Diamine - Majestic Blue

Sheen - Spectacular!
Saturation - Great!
Flow - Very Good!
Shading - Shows with Broader nibs
Water Resistance - Decent

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