• Review - Monteverde Monza fountain pen

    Monteverde Monza pen and ink


    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


    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.

    Monteverde Monza Flex Nib

    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

    Monteverde Monza writing

    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 :)

    Monteverde Monza shading

    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.

  • The ultimate guide to Blackwing Volumes

    Blackwing Volumes

    Celebrating a creative culture

    Blackwing pencils have inspired a cult following and they are a dream to write with - Half the pressure, twice the speedᅠ- is the brand's motto.

    At first the number 602 was the name of the pencil after pencil 601 and before pencil 603. Over time however, as the following grew the 602 became a rockstar of graphite world. An icon that has been a part of creating Bugs Bunny, the Looney Tunes and many more.

    “Over time, 602 has become a number with stories to tell...  What other numbers have stories to tell?” ~Blackwing (see more here)

    The Blackwing Volumes are special editions that come out 3-4 times a year in limited quantities and tell interesting stories about locations, music & sports legends, film, photography etc. For stationery geeks (like us) the've transcended into a modern art form which we love to collect.  Listed below are all the Volumes that have been issued so far. How many of these can you remember and which one is your favourite?

    We admire how creative Blackwing are with their pencils, so this post is an archive for all collectors out there :)

    Enjoy! (^_~)

    ps: We'll keeping adding new Volumes as they come in ...

    Blackwing Volumes 205
    Blackwing Volumes 73
    RelasedVolume1. DesignInspired by
    June 2015725The Sunburst Pencil - Sunburst Finish, Black Eraser, Gold Ferrule, White Imprint, Balanced Graphite. Writes similarly to the Blackwing Pearl pencil.Shiny gradient Fender Stratocaster guitar pencil tribute to Newport Folk Festival.
    Blackwing Volumes 725
    ReleasedVolume2. DesignInspired by
    September 2015211The Natural Pencil - Natural Finish, Brown Eraser, Gold Ferrule, Brown Imprint, Firm Graphite. Writes similarly to the Blackwing 602 pencil.Pencil tribute to John Muir & John Muir Trail.
    Blackwing Volumes 211
    ReleasedVolume3. DesignInspired by
    December 20151138The Sfi-Fi Pencil - Barcode Finish, Black Eraser, Silver Ferrule, Silver Imprint, Soft Graphite. Writes similarly to the Blackwing Classic pencil.Méliès’ A Trip to the Moon - film is condensed on the barcode that is printed on the pencil.
    Blackwing Volumes 1138
    ReleasedVolume4. DesignInspired by
    March 201624The Writer's Pencil - Black Finish, Black Eraser, Black Ferrule, Black Imprint, Extra-Firm Graphite. The firmest of all pencils.Shiny Black on Black pencil tribute to John Steinbeck.
    Blackwing Volumes 24
    ReleasedVolume5. DesignInspired by
    July 201656 The Joe DiMaggio Pencil - Pinstripe Finish, Blue Eraser, Gold Ferrule, Gold imprint, Firm Graphite. Writes similarly to the Blackwing 602 pencil.Tribute to Baseball legend Joe DiMaggio and his 56 game hitting streak.
    Blackwing Volumes 56

    Autumn 2016. New logo & Sans Serif typeface. New improved eraser.

    ReleasedVolume6. DesignInspired by
    September 2016344 The Dorothea Lange Pencil - Deep Red Finish, Black Eraser, Red Ferrule, Red Imprint, Firm Graphite. Writes similarly to the Blackwing 602 pencil.Dark room (rolls of Film) like pencil, tribute to Dorothea Lange and her famous Migrant Mother photo.
    Blackwing Volumes 344
    ReleasedVolume7. DesignInspired by
    December 2016530 The Eureka Moment - Gold Finish, Black Eraser, Striped Ferrule, Black Imprint, Extra-Firm Graphite. The firmest of all pencils.Gold Rush pencil celebrating Eureka moments.
    Blackwing Volumes 530
    ReleasedVolume8. DesignInspired by
    March 2017205The Jade Pencil - Dual Jade Finishes. Green and White, Black Eraser, Gold Ferrule, Gold Imprint, Firm Graphite. Writes similarly to the Blackwing 602's.First ever Volume that contains two different pencils representing Silk Road (white) trade and one of it's most prominent goods - Jade (green).
    Blackwing Volumes 205
    ReleasedVolume9. DesignInspired by
    June 201773The Tahoe Pencil - Tahoe Blue Finish, Raised Topography Texture, White Eraser, Silver Ferrule, White Imprint, Soft Graphite. Writes similarly to the Blackwing Classic.Inspired by the beauty of Lake Tahoe. 73 is a celebration of conservation success and represents Tahoe’s last measured Secchi depth.
    Blackwing Volumes 73
    ReleasedVolume10. DesignInspired by
    October 20171Guy Clark Pencil - First Round Pencil, Matte Grey Washcoat Finish (Natural wood colour shows through) Denim Blue Eraser, Silver Ferrule, Silver Imprint, Balanced Graphite. Writes similarly to the Blackwing Pearl pencil.Pencil tribute to Guy Clark’s debut album Old No. 1 which is regarded as one of the most influential albums ever made.
    Blackwing Volumes 1
    ReleasedVolume11. DesignInspired by
    December 201716.2Ada Lovelace Pencil - Matte white finish with white binary pattern stamp of Ada Lovelace’s initials, White Eraser, Matte Black Ferrule, Grey Imprint, Firm Graphite. Writes similarly to the Blackwing 602 pencil.Pencil tribute to mathematician, writer and visionary Ada Lovelace. Each pencil has a binary pattern stamp of the initials she used to sign her work, AAL. The number 16.2 is a nod to the Analytical Engine’s storage capacity of 16.2 kB.
    Blackwing Volumes 16.2

    Blackwing Volumes are limited editions and they don't hang around for long!

  • Top 10 Essential Stationery Items For The Summer

    From Bureau exclusives to great offers, from exotic imports to reinvented cult classics, even something not really stationery at all.


    Rhodia Heritage Notebooks

    Rhodia Heritage notebooks

    A brand new range of books that harks back to older ways of making things. We especially love the Raw Binding notebooks with their spine that has a...well, a raw feel to it. Sturdy, with the classic Rhodia 90gsm paper. One of the beauties of this binding is that it lies flat no matter where in the book you are.

    Why you need this item:

    It's a notebook but so much more. Retro styling has been used for a great purpose meaning this notebook will last the course, can handle all the ink you throw at it and it will be a pleasure to use each time you get it out. What's not to love?


    Field Notes Campfire Edition Notebooks

    Field Notes Campfire notebooks

    Field Notes produce four limited editions a year, one for each season. The summer edition this year is the Campfire edition and it's one of their best in a longtime. A set of 3 books, each with a different stage of campfire print on the cover (from dusk to night to dawn), plus a 'campfire master' sew-on patch. Release your inner scout.

    Why you need this item:

    A set of rugged little notebooks that you can sling in your bag or your pocket and it means you will always be able to jot down some important thought or note.


    Fjallraven Kanken Backpacks

    Fjallraven Kanken backpacks

    If you haven't already spotted them around you soon will. This Swedish staple from 1978 is now a bone-fide classic on the streets here. And why? It does a simple job very well - unzip it fully and you'll find everything you need, no rumaging around in endless pockets.

    Why you need this item:

    It strips back a backpack to its core function and does it very well. It is waterproof (Fjallraven are Swedish outdoors experts) and then there's the colours - so many to choose from, whether bright or muted.


    Lamy Safari Special Edition Fountain Pen 2017 - Petrol

    special edition lamy safari fountain pen

    Each year this pen is released with a new colour and it was always a big ask to follow on from last year's purple. Who would want to be David Moyes to follow Alex Ferguson? (it's a football reference, don't worry). Lamy actually pulled it off though with the petrol pen, an unusual but smart teal-petrol green colour. Special editions sell out so when they're gone they're gone.

    Whilst stocks last we have put this pen on promotion - grab it now for just £14.95

    Why you need this item:

    The Safari is widely regarded as an exceptional pen - it writes fantastically, is an easy pen to use for everyone and yet costs a fraction of many a more expensive pen. In other words, it's worth every penny.


    Kyoto Inks

    kyoto inks from japan

    A new ink range just in from Japan, and looking the part. Five colours, all lovely from a black-with-sheen to a dusky blue and a vibrant pink-red.

    Why you need this item:

    Sometimes you buy things because the sum of it is so much more than the parts. These inks just tick all the boxes, from the packaging to the bottle to the colours to the inks. Worth that indulgence once in a while to treat yourself.


    Walk With Me Maps

    Walk With Me maps

    We all want to decorate our homes with something a little different and these are just that. Beautiful maps-as-artwork from a series of artists covering different neighbourhoods of London, Madrid and Barcelona.

    Why you need this item:

    Because maps let you dream of places and these are also beautiful to look at - hang one on your wall and it will transport you somewhere.


    Taroko Breeze Notebook With Tomoe River Paper

    Taroko Breeze notebook with Tomoe River paper

    An exclusive notebook to Bureau, this book has it all. Right size, dot paper with an index and page numbers, and even with ink charts to record your favourite inks. Oh, and it has Tomoe River paper.

    Why you need this item:

    So many reasons but it's the paper that does it - Tomoe River paper is lightweight Japanese paper that handles ink better than heavier papers, so it's great to write with and yet packs in more paper for less weight.


    Caran d'Ache 849 Fountain Pens

    Caran d'Ache 849 fountain pen

    The 849 pen is a classic, around since 1969. The addition of a fountain pen to the 849 range just means you can have an ink pen in the classic 849 hexagonal shape.

    Why you need this item:

    Those bright fluorescent colours were just made for summer.


    Limited Edition Blackwing Vol.73 Pencils

    Blackwing limited edition Volume 73 pencils

    The limited edition Blackwing pencils always have a slightly convoluted naming convention, and this one is no exception (it has something to do with the measurement of the water clarity of Lake Tahoe, but please don't ask). What is quite certain is that these pencils are a winner. The intense blue is inspired by the waters of Lake Tahoe and the nice touch of the topographic map etched onto the barrel works.

    Why you need this item:

    Blackwing are widely regarded as the best of all pencils, and so if you haven't tried them yet then take the plunge and get yourself some. Time to find out why they are so highly rated.


    Observer's Astronomy Notebooks

    Astronomy notebook

    An unusual mix of night-sky infographics and unusual paper rulings might make this book seem a bit too quirky for its own good, but it's not. It's really good fun, informative and refreshingly different.

    Why you need this item:

    Doesn't everyone love to learn a bit more about the night skies above?

  • A look at the Taroko Design notebook range

    Taroko Notebook with sample writing

    In the second part of Taroko Design notebook trilogy I'd like to tell you about what we currently have our hands on.

    The covers are made out of kraft paper and come in 3 colours, each corresponding to the ruling of the sheets within.

    • Blue cover - plain, white paper.
    • Brown cover - dots, spacing is 5x5, white paper with grey dots.
    • Dark cover - lines, spacing is 7mm, white paper with grey lines.

    Steven, the mastermind behind Taroko Design, mentioned that the idea behind the subdued colour of the covers were to keep them understated and subtle. The focus should be placed more on the writer and words written inside. A real mascot against judging books by their covers! If you would like to gain further insight from the man himself you can read the full interview here.

    Grey printing of the dots and lines is a lot easier on the eye than black or purple, so kudos here! 7mm is the perfect spacing for ruled notebooks, no matter how big or small the book is :)

    Each notebook comes with:

    • 64 pages, 32 sheets of 68 gsm Tomoe River white paper
    • Staple binding
    • Rounded corners

    Stapled notebooks let you have them open completely flat. You can use all of the paper, on both sides without fighting against the centre parting. Sweet!

    3 different sizes, 3 paper rulings - 9 notebooks in total

    Taroko Design Passport Notebook

    The Passport notebook measures 124mm x 88mm and is the smallest in the range.

    Compatible with small - passport Midori Traveler's Notebook. If you haven't tried Tomoe River paper yet, then I highly recommend getting this one and never looking back :)

    I use Passport for swabbing ink samples. Great to use on the go as it fits just about anywhere. It's perfect go-round little notebook.

    It currently sells for £3.95. You can buy one here.

    Taroko pocket comparison with Rhodia and Field Notes

    Taroko Design Regular Notebook

    The Regular notebook measures 110mm x 210mm, the goldilocks of the three.

    Compatible with the beautifully crafted regular Midori Traveler's Notebook. It may seem a little off due to it's unusual long, slim shape but it has a special place in my book... ;)

    Traveler's Notebook is a huge stationery phenomenon and even tho we cannot sell covers, these refills are our best seller for a reason :)

    It is currently £5.95 and you can get yours here.

    Taroko regular comparison with Rhodia and Midori travellers

    Taroko Design A5 notebook

    This notebook is the big daddy and measures 148mm x 210mm, which is A5 surprisingly.

    There's no Traveler's cover for this size unfortunately. Weep as you may but someone here had a brilliant idea to try a Mark’s A5 cover – it fits!!! This combo makes a pretty good travel companion. Hands up who already has one (or two) of those Mark’s notebooks.

    It currently sells for £7.95. Click here if you want one.

    Mark's Storage It Notebook with Taroko A5 notebook

    One of the reasons why fountain pens and inks are so popular is because of the feeling you get when you use them. Having a juicy smooth fountain pen, ink with crazy sheen and Tomoe River paper is as good as it gets. It’s fun, it looks great and it feels magical.

    I can go on about Tomoe River paper all day, so let’s save it for a separate blog post :) To be continued…


    *all prices mentioned were correct at time of writing*

  • What Is Whitelines Link Paper?

    whitelines link paper

    The analogue way to be connected


    So what is Whitelines Link paper? Essentially it is reversed out paper, with white lines on a darker background (in this case grey) rather than darker lines on a white background. The theory behind it is that it is easier to write on this paper because the lines won’t interfere with your writing. This is particularly true since most of us will write with a darker ink like black or blue, and most paper uses a black or dark grey line, and even more so if you use a heavy grid paper.

    The Link element then combines this paper with the use of a smartphone app to scan, align, clean and send or save your page digitally, all in one seamless action. Could this be the perfect coming together of digital and analogue?

    whitelines paper


    Whitelines paper was developed by a Swedish inventor called Olof Hansson about ten years ago. You can watch a short animated video on the history of Whitelines paper here, but all you really need to know is that he came up with the idea as a result of being frustrated by his experience of using traditional ‘dark line’ paper. By turning the traditional idea on its head he did something so very simple and yet it really does challenge an idea that we take for granted with paper – that we write by making a darker mark on the paper than the paper itself. Sometimes the simplest ideas are the best though.

    Part of the secret in the paper only comes out when you copy or scan it though. For technical reasons I won’t pretend to understand, the grey paper doesn’t scan, so what you are left with once you remove the paper and the lines is just your writing. Nice dark lines on a pure white background.

    How Is Link Paper Different?

    This is where the idea is really pushed forward. It feels like everyone is trying to create the perfect marriage of digital and analogue just now and the Whitelines Link idea might just be the best idea yet. It’s secret lies in the app which does a single job well without fuss or distraction.

    Whitelines Link paper is different to standard Whitelines paper because it has specially formatted paper that the app can read. What this means is that it has markings in three of the corners which the app will read when scanning the page. These are essential and must not be obscured as the app needs them to be able to align the page. Once scanned then it will align the page into a rectangle regardless of whether it was scanned at an angle or not. Your page is then digitally saved ready for using.

    What Can You Do With Link Paper?

    Once you have your page in a digital PDF form you can do pretty much what you want with it. What makes the app so good is the ability to do the most commonly used next steps seamlessly. These are to send or save – either email the PDF as an attachment, or save it to cloud storage. The Whitelines Link paper is already pre-connected to both Dropbox and Evernote, as two of the most popular online storage options.

    And then there is the little secret on the page… If you plan to email it, or save to either Dropbox or Evernote, then the page has tiny pre-formatted tick boxes for each option. Before you scan just tick the ones you want to use and the scanning process will automatically carry it out for you.

    So What’s The Point Of Whitelines Link Paper?

    Well, if you have no interest in ever converting your page into a digital form or copy it then there really is less milage in this paper. The Link paper function uses up some of the paper and it is only worth giving up that small amount of page space if you intend to use it. But if you do want to share notes and ideas, especially if you are working remotely, then the app makes it all so easy.

    That said, if you have ever found lines on a page are a distraction then the reversed out paper idea of white lines on grey might work for you. The real selling point though - it's USP - is the ability to sync paper to PDF. The app is so easy to use and if you are out and about and want to save ideas, especially if you want to share them with others (maybe a colleague or team back at the office) then this is just so much easier than other ways of achieving the same result.

  • The Fountain Pen Nib Guide - Lamy

    Lamy Nib family

    Lamy Nibs - A Quick Introduction

    Lamy is a staple across the fountain pen universe. They cover a range of writing instruments from uses with school children who are just starting out, to the die hard of adult stationery addicts. As such, they have a good range of various styles of nibs for all.

    In the main Lamy Z50 nib family we have 4 differing sizes: Extra Fine, Fine, Medium, Broad. These steel nibs are available in either Polished or Black.

    There is also the Left Hand and a beginner nib labelled with an "A" for the German word Anfänger, aptly meaning beginner. These are similar to the Medium size.

    For the more creative, Lamy offer the Joy calligraphy pens which carry italic Z50 nibs in 1.1mm, 1.5mm, 1.9mm.

    Spot the difference (from left to right: Z50, Z53, Z52)

    The Lamy LX pens come with the fancy Z52 steel nibs which have mirroring EF, F, M and B sizes as per the normal Z50 range. These have a black coating with laser etched detailing. The widths are similar but as you get up to the M size you start to notice a bit of line variation between vertical and horizontal strokes with the B size giving way to a good difference.
    These fit all other Lamy pens using the Z50 nib.

    With the release of Lamy Aion fountain pens, the Z53 nibs were launched. These make a departure in design from the Z50/Z52 with a new wing shape. The new construction responds more to pressure. A lighter touch is needed to acheive the same stroke width as the Z50/Z52 so writing with a bit of pressure has a boldening effect.
    The M and B sizes have similar levels of line variation as their counterparts from the Z52 range but applying pressure can exaggerate this further.
    Lamy have managed to keep the compatability here too so the Z53 can be used throughout their range just as the original Z50.

    Nib Width Comparison

    Lamy Standard Z50 Nibs

    Lamy Nib comparison test

    Lamy Calligraphy Z50 Nibs

    Lamy Nib comparison test

    Lamy Z52 'LX' Nibs

    Lamy Z53 'Aion' Nibs

    Where to start?

    If you're new to fountain pens we always recommend going middle of the road and trying the medium Z50 nib. They are a good all rounder, not too thick and not too thin. Once you're a bit more in tune with your writing style then you can decide if you would prefer going with the Broad, Fine or even Extra Fine.

    The Z53 nibs are great if you like writing with a bolder, juicier line. The medium and broad have good line variation and the slight spring of the nib lets you go even wider when needed. Excellent for those looking for something approaching the calligraphy nibs.

    For those who are learning how to pick up and write for the first time, Lamy have the A nib which is similar in width to the Medium nib. Generally these are for young children so they don't feel discouraged with their initial attempts at writing with a fountain pen. They are made stiffer and have a more rounded tip to reduce skipping if held at an awkward angle.

    The Left Hand nib is for, you guessed, the left handed crowd. It is intended to have a similar width as the Medium nib and which allows writing for the particular way the pen meets the paper when using the opposing hand.

    Line Variation of Lamy Joy Nibs

    Lamy Nib comparison test

    For more creative writing, Lamy's Joy pens come with italic nibs in 1.1, 1.5 and 1.9mm sizes. If you're stuck deciding, then it's always better to go straight into the deep end first with the widest offering, the 1.9 is just a great deal of fun! If it is too much then you'll have a better idea of how much to come down than if you do it the other way.

    These Italic shaped nibs give a very nice line variation when holding the pen with the nib at a 45 degree slant, you can see the results of this in the photo above. At one extreme you get a very fine line and then coming down the other way is the full width of the nib at work.

    The fantastic thing about it all is that all these Lamy nibs are interchangable so if you decide to switch one way or the other as you progress or want to change it up, it's much cheaper than buying a whole new pen!

    Lamy Standard Z50 Nib

    Lamy Nib comparison test

    Lamy Z50 Calligraphy Nib

    Lamy Nib comparison test

    Lamy Z52 'LX' Nibs

    Lamy Z53 'Aion' Nibs

    Alongside the standard nibs, the more premium pens (i.e. Lamy 2000, Lamy Dialog etc.) have a 14 ct. gold nibs with a platinum coating. They still have the same scale between the EF and B but also introduce the Double Broad (BB) and Oblique nibs (from M to BB).

    Once we have had a chance to play around with these then this article will be updated.

  • The Lamy Noto Pen – An Unsung Hero

    lamy noto pen by naoto fukasawa

    Naoto Fukasawa – The man behind the Lamy Noto pen

    At first glance, the Lamy Noto pen is a simple plastic ballpoint - in fact it is the cheapest Lamy pen we sell. But look a little closer, and you will see this pen is definitely more than the sum of its parts.  It was designed by award-winning Japanese industrial designer Naoto Fukasawa, who is known for his stripped-back design aesthetic.

    Naoto Fukasawa

    Other work

    He has designed bathrooms, furniture, lighting, electronics and clothing, and you’ve probably seen some of his work in Muji – he designed their wall-mounted CD player, paper shredder, and more recently a kettle, toaster and rice cooker.  Fukasawa has won over 70 international awards, including the Japan Good design award, IDEA awards, 21 IF design awards, a Red Dot award, and a D&AD award, amongst others . His Muji wall mounted CD player, humidifier for Plus Minus Zero (Fukasawa's own design brand), and Infobar and Neon mobile phones for Japanese telecoms brand KDDI all have a place in the MOMA permanent design collection.

    kettle by naoto fukasawa
    Muji Kettle
    toaster by naoto fukasawa
    Muji Toaster
    rice cooker by naoto fukasawa
    Muji Rice Cooker

    What makes the Noto?

    lamy noto pen
    The Lamy Noto 283

    The Lamy Noto is a pen reduced to the essentials. Its triangular barrel sits comfortably in the hand, and its matte surface offers a non-slip grip. The lapel clip is a clean slice out of the body of the pen, seamlessly blending into the overall silhouette. The Noto is a push-button style ballpoint, but the action is completely silent – no irritating clicking noises with this slick design.  It is available in two styles; the Noto 282 in white and black, as well as in four colours (white, black, navy and anthracite) with a silver coloured grip section (the Noto 283).


    branded lamy noto pen
    A branded Lamy Noto pen

    Its softly triangular shape means it can be branded with your company logo on the body or the clip. Lamy’s commitment to sustainability means all their products are repairable, and refillable. The Lamy Noto pen comes with a medium refill as standard, but takes Lamy M16 giant refills in fine, medium or broad sizes; these are known as ‘giant’ refills because they will write for an astonishing 10,000m!

  • J Herbin Cleaning Solution Guide

    J Herbin cleaning solution

    J Herbin released cleaning cartridges this year, so we have decided to put them to test.

    Why use cleaning solution you may ask?

    There are some pens which are more stubborn than others. Same goes for ink…. If cleaning with water does not work then I usually reach for J Herbin cleaning solution. The liquid is made from Limonene which is derived from citrus fruit rind. The colour may vary – it can go from clear, yellow to pink. This is perfectly normal and does not affect the quality of the product. Natural ingredients have a pleasant orange zesty smell too :) Apart from cleaning properties it also lubricates the feed and restores the ink flow.

    Bottled version of the cleaning solution has a permanent place in my pen hospital repository.

    J Herbin rollerball and fountain pens

    J Herbin Cleaning solution cartridges are standard international short cartridges and look just like ink cartridges.

    Having a cleaning solution in the cartridge sounds like an interesting idea. Cartridge is a handy little container - convenient, no mess, portable. You can always have one in your pen case (even in the pen if the barrel is long enough to have 2). It's less messy because you don't need to use middle-man to transfer the liquid. It will fit many pens. Some of the brands which take this version of cartridges are Faber-Castell, J Herbin, Kaweco, Montblanc, Monteverde, Pelikan, Rotring, Schneider, Waterman, etc... Solution in the cartridge will 'travel' exactly the same way as the ink and it it will also lubricate the right channels.

    How to use J Herbin cleaning solution.

    Bottled version is perfect for soaking. Simply put a little bit of solution in a vial or a cup (hint: tilt the cup - that way you will need less solution) and then dip in your nib. You can also try to draw some solution into the pen if using a converter or go all the way and disassemble the pen. Soak the front part/feed/nib for a few minutes. Rinse with cold water and dry.

    Use cleaning cartridges the same way as ink cartridges. Rinse the pen under cold water to flush most of the ink out. Push the cartridge into the pen as normal and squeeze the cartridge to push the liquid through. Empty the entire cartridge at once and let it sit in the pen for a little bit - we have tried this method for J Herbin Fountain pen and it worked wonders. Unplug the empty cartridge, rinse the pen.

    Use the same procedure for J Herbin rollerball pens, but do let them soak longer. Shake the excess liquid out and let dry before you ink them up. We find this works the best for us. Let us know your experience....

    Click here to read our 6 top tips about how to look after your fountain pens :)

  • Pantone Colour Of The Year 2017

    Pantone Colour Of The Year Stationery

    Pantone Greenery - Colour Of The Year For 2017

    Each year for well over 15 years now, there has been a 'Pantone Colour of the Year'. This year it is a bright and lively shade of green. Called Greenery. Or PANTONE 15-0343 for the official pantone reference. We have highlighted the choice for many years now - you can see the previous choices at the end of this article - but this year we have gone one better. Inspired by the choice of colour we put together some stationery inspired by and starting with their chosen shade of green. Obviously the chances of us having stationery that perfectly matched the right shade was a tall order, but it is surprising how well we did.

    pantone greenery

    A Whole House?

    In other related Pantone Colour Of The Year news, and one that slightly inspired this blog piece it should be said when Faisal shared it with the team, is the news that a whole house has been inspired by the shade of green, and you can even rent it out since it is listed on Airbnb - see more here

    Pantone Colour of the Year House on Airbnb
    Pantone Colour of the Year House on Airbnb

    Previous Pantone Colours Of The Year

  • 3 Reasons You Can’t Live Without Washi Tape

    washi tape

    Discover how washi tape can transform your life!

    Firstly, for those of you who don’t know what Washi Tape is, it’s a Japanese low tack masking tape made in bright colours and beautiful designs. The low tack adhesive allows you to remove it without marking and reposition it easily making it great for labelling and decorating. It is one of those products which can at first have you scratching your head and wondering what you would do with it but eventually you realise just how useful it is and wonder how you ever managed without it.

    In an attempt to show just how useful this stuff is, I did a quick check around our office and asked people for their top three uses of Washi Tape. Some people chose the same reasons but then I guess that just demonstrates how good it is for certain tasks.

    3 washi tape tips: Dominic's choices

    First off, Dominic who has gone for three practical ideas:

    1. Marking chargers and leads. Anyone who has had to share a phone or laptop charger will know the familiar issue of ever finding the right charger again. A simple bit of washi tape on the charger and plug and it's easily identified as your charger. No more arguments over who's USB lead that was!

    washi tape tips - charger leads
    Use washi tape to mark your charger leads

    2. Keys. A similar idea but again,once you are faced with more than a few spare keys you can never work out which one fits which lock. A small bit of washi tape and you can colour code your keys. Pop them in an envelope, add a bit of washi tape to the envelope as well and you can create a handy key (no pun intended) to the keys.

    Washi tape ideas - mark your keys
    Mark your keys with washi tape

    3. Make your own noticeboard. This one takes a bit more effort, I know, but with a spirit level and pencil (and some patience!) you can easily mark out where to put the tape, and if you neatly trim the ends then you too can end up with your own version of our staff noticeboard. If I can do it...

    Washi tape ideas - noticeboard
    Make a noticeboard with washi tape

    3 washi tape tips: Emma's choices

    Emma has chosen the same top use as Dominic proving how brilliant the idea is but then gets a bit more creative, as is her way.

    1. Tagging electronics cables. So I know which is which (or whose) iPhone, camera, Kindle.

    2. Marking page edges in my notebook (predictable, I know..). This is done by wrapping a piece of tape over the edge of a page vertically so that you get a coloured marker to divide up the book into sections.

    Washi tape ideas - page edge markers
    Make simple page markers using washi tape

    3. Decorating wrapped presents. Creating borders, using tape as a label, patterns using tape, decorating the tags. You can also decorate letters to make them stand out.

    Washi tape ideas - wrap a present
    Decorate a wrapped present with washi tape

    3 washi tape tips: Faisal's choices

    Faisal, a keen photographer, has a more unusual use for the tape.

    1. Holding things in place. When taking photos or marking out the "stage". This is useful when you need to remember exactly where an item was between shots.

    Washi tape ideas - floor markings
    Use washi tape to create a simple marker

    2. Food packets. Closing half opened packets of food e.g. crisps, cakes, pasta.

    3. Sticking notes to things. Like a Post-it note.

    Washi tape ideas - post notes
    Don't mark that wall! Use washi tape instead

    3 washi tape tips: Mishka's choices

    Mishka shares the love of page marking with Emma but has a couple of other ideas.

    1. Pen grips. A piece of tape around the top of your fountain pen can make grip less slippery and easier to hold.

    Washi tape ideas - pen grips
    Washi tape can mark up pens or create pen grips

    2. Paper reinforcing. You can use tape to reinforce punched paper in folders. When holes have torn or before they do, you can add strip of Washi Tape and punch through that. Super strong!

    Washi tape ideas - punched paper
    Washi tape can reinforce punched paper

    3. Bullet Journaling! Bookmarking pages for Bujo or Bullet Journaling. Easy way to divide up your book in to sections, can be on ends of page to make index or to make markers.

    Washi tape ideas - bullet journals
    Washi tape in your bullet journal!

    3 washi tape tips: My choices

    For myself, I keep a couple of rolls at home and mostly use it for practical purposes.

    1. Food. My absolute top use is labelling food, especially for the freezer. I use the plain tapes and then label and date everything I put in there. I forgot to do this recently and was rewarded with a bag of tagliatelle for my stir fry instead of noodles. Very annoying.

    Washi tape ideas - food packets
    Use washi tape to mark food packets or containers

    2. Sticking notes up around the house. To remind teenagers to do stuff – “Unload the dishwasher please”, We need milk” and “Do Not Eat This!” would be examples

    3. Emergency wrapping paper. Making plain or kraft paper into emergency wrapping paper for a present when I have run out. The patterned versions are good for this. It can look fantastic.

    Washi tape ideas - wrapping a present
    Make a plain present amazing with washi tape

    There are many Pinterest pages devoted to this amazing product, in particular the decorative uses where people have covered lampshades, bookcases and even a car. We even have our own Washi Tape Pinterest Board that you can browse.

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