Blackwing 54 Review

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I was late buying the Blackwing 54 limited edition. It had sold out in all the familiar places and as I am not a huge pencil user buying a full box of 12 always seems a little extravagant. However after watching a video review I wanted to see if I could hunt this edition down. I asked Twitter if anyone had some singles they’d be willing to part with…but I got no reply, sad face. Then Present and Correct saved the day by letting me know Foyles still had boxes in stock hurrah! so I relented and picked one up even though a full box of 12 is far more than I would usually like. (Sidenote: there are still some left in stock.)

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There is a lot to like aesthetically from the Blackwing 54. A rose coloured lacquer with teal lettering, a silver ferrule and blue eraser. The combination of colours contrast each other nicely. The inspiration for this came from the Surrealist movement which you can read all about here. I really like this limited edition release and its another strong design offering from Blackwing.

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I always enjoy using the Blackwing pencils and usually have one with me as it’s my pocket notebook sidekick. The core in the 54 is extra-firm which makes this pencil even more appealing as it’s not one of the standard Blackwing pencil cores. The closest standard offering that this can be compared to is the 602. You can see the small differences below.

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The graphite is dark and smooth holding its point well making it the ideal writing companion. As with most other Blackwing pencils the erasers are pretty rubbish. They don’t erase the graphite well at all and leave a bit of a smear. It’s an emergency eraser at best.

Overall thoughts.

I really like the 54 limited edition from Blackwing. The other limited editions I have enjoyed are the 24 and 211 but their designs are far more muted, whereas the 54 release is louder and bold making it a little more exciting. I like the fact that Blackwing didn’t shy away from a bold design. You can still find this edition in some places and singles in a few stores. I would recommend snapping some of these up if you get the chance. They really are stuntners.

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Overall thoughts.

I really like the 54 limited edition from Blackwing. The other limited editions I have enjoyed are the 24 and 211 but their designs are far more muted, whereas the 54 release is louder and bold making it a little more exciting. I like the fact that Blackwing didn’t shy away from a bold design. You can still find this edition in some places and singles in a few stores. I would recommend snapping some of these up if you get the chance. They really are stuntners.

Sailor Waga-Uguisu Ink Review.

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The Sailor Waga-Uguisu ink is from the 2016 Four Seasons limited edition range. I read review after review on this new range with a hint of jealousy as you couldn’t get your hands on them in the UK. A sad, familiar tale.

I first noticed Waga-Uguisu from a post by Liz at Wonderpens and it immediately caught my eye. Green has always been a colour I am drawn to but when it came to finding a good, usable, legible green ink its felt like a loosing battle. Waga-Uguisu looked like the right sort of colour and I’d had nothing but good experiences with Sailor inks. I sadly however dismissed this ink thinking I’d never be able to grab a bottle and so didn’t want to obsess over it.

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Fast forward to earlier on this year and I happened on these inks on the Pure Pens website on pre-order. After many ignored tweets asking when these would arrive, weeks later they were in stock and I was finally able to get my hands on a bottle.

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Using Waga-Uguisu.

The good news is Waga-Uguisu has not been a disappointment. The more I use Sailor inks the more I fall in love. The tones and colours of the inks are beautiful and they are so nice to use. I’ve used them in a range of fountain pens from the pricey through to entry level and the experience has been good in all.

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I haven’t stopped using this ink since I got my hands on it. In person the colour is more vibrant and bold than the photos I’d seen. It’s a deep green shade that still manages to give you a hint of those lighter tones. There is no sheen or sparkle, which isn’t a bad thing, but with a broader and wetter nib you will see some variation in colour and a decent amount of shading.

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Depending on the paper you’re using the ink performs a little differently. Shading is more pronounced on Tomoe River paper, as you’d expect, but even on heavier papers it’s still there, just a little more muted.

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Overall thoughts.

Calling out favourites is always a bold statement in my opinion. Favourites are based on a lot of variables such as mood, experience and personal factors that influence your perspective...however every now and again I feel a little bold. Waga-Uguisu is my second favourite ink. Sailor Blue-Black is the out and out winner and probably always will be as its more versatile and can be used in most situations. However the Waga-Uguisu is a very close second. The green shade is gorgeous, not too bright, not too yellow and not too neon green. It reminds me of a forest green, lush, deep and with plenty of shade. This ink is a limited edition which is a real shame and I guess over time will disappear out of stock. I have never finished a bottle of ink so I don’t think I need to stock up, but it’ll be a sad day when this ink disappears.

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Foyles A5 Hardbound Notebook Review

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Folyes sent me one of their new hardbound A5 notebooks to test and review here on the blog. All thoughts expressed in this review are entirely my own.

I wasn’t aware that Foyles had their own range of stationery items so it was a very nice surprise when they contacted me asking if I’d like to check out their new A5 notebook. Folyes has always represented quality to me and their stores have a good range of stationery items, so I had high hopes for this notebook.

Design.

There are four different colour options available with this notebook but for this review I opted for the Blush version. It has a hardbound cover with a geometric design. The cover design continues onto the inside with more flare. With the Blush notebook there is a sort of blue chevron design with some hot pink foiling.

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The notebook is ruled with a light grey ink on cream coloured paper. Personally I enjoy using paper which is off-white or cream as I think it’s less harsh.

The ruling in these notebooks doesn’t run the full width of the page but leaves a small boarder around the side. The ruling width is good giving you plenty of room if you have larger handwriting.

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Each page is numbered, however there is no index at the front of the notebook which kind of makes this addition a little less functional.

Finally there is a thin ribbon style bookmark in a hot pink to match the foiling on the front of the notebook.

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Using the notebook and paper quality.

The design of a notebook is important. Quality materials and a strong design always make them far more appealing but really the paper quality is the selling point. It’s no use having a gorgeous notebook if the paper is poor.

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With the Foyles notebook I tested out a range of different writing tools I would typically use everyday to see what it could take. This ranged from fountain pens, pencils, drawing pens, gel pens and liquid ink pens. The performance was mixed. The fountain pens feathered and bled quite a bit. More than I am comfortable with or would be happy using. The paper is 100gsm and should be able to handle the fountain pens a little better.

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With the feathering came some show through which again I would expect. This doesn’t bother me too much personally but it’s worth noting.

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All the other tools worked well. Pencils were nice on the page, their glided over the paper so there was very little tooth. Drawing pens and liquid ink pens were nice too. Gel pens were a little scratchy but I find that a lot with these types of pen and paper combos.

I did also throw a Copic marker at the paper too to see what happened and as expected there was loads of bleed through.

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Overall thoughts.

The style and design of these notebooks is nice. The hardbound covers feel traditional and sturdy, perhaps a little too much. They add bulk to the notebook and don’t exactly make it slim line. I can see people being attracted to the design and colour schemes chosen and honestly I don’t think you’d be super disappointed if you were to receive this notebook as a gift. However I think it falls short in a few areas and for a similar price point at £12.99 I think there are better alternatives available.

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However despite all this I think it’s great that there are more British companies and brands producing paper products.

Thank you again to Foyles for sending me over their notebook to review.

The Big (Plus) Baron Fig Confidant Review.

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Over the years I have used numerous of Baron Fig paper products and they are a brand that I keep coming back to. My usage has been mainly around the Flagship, or A5-ish, sized Confidants or Vanguards, but recently I decided to give the large Plus sized Confidant a try.

Unsurprisingly when I bought the Plus Confidant I didn’t have a specific use in mind. I felt like it could work during NaNoWriMo or for a larger scale planning project. But as its happened I’ve not used it for either of these things but taken the plunge and dedicated this as my journal.

There is so much space.

This is a much larger Confidant than the Flagship size, as you can see from the photos below.

 The yellow Confidant in the Flagship (A5ish) size and the charcoal in the Plus size.

The yellow Confidant in the Flagship (A5ish) size and the charcoal in the Plus size.

It’s a little unusual to get a hard bound notebook in this size, the only comparison I can think of is the A4 Leuchtturm1917 Master Slim. With the Baron Fig however you get full use of the page unlike the Leuchtturm1917 Master Slim, where there is a huge (and unnecessary) boarder on each page.

I’ve found myself more focused using the Plus, like it’s more of an event to sit down to journal in the morning and evening. I jumped from the Field Notes Signature into this, so the change was quite drastic but I like it.

It’s the Confidant...just bigger.

Everything else is what you expect from a Confidant notebook. The hard bound cover is strong and I really like the texture of the cloth. It may not be water resistant or stain proof, but its really nice and tactile in hand. I have the charcoal version, my first, and I really like the dark colour with the bright yellow bookmark.

 Creamy ruled pages...the dream

Creamy ruled pages...the dream

There are 200(ish) pages in the Plus Confidant too which means there’s plenty of space for your master plans, brain dumps or general story-telling. The paper is friendly to almost any writing instrument, fountain pens and ink work nicely but these notebooks are also great with pencils.

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Like with all Confidants I really wish the bookmark was a tad longer. I really like the way these bookmarks look and wear, they fray quite a bit, but a bit of extra length would make them practical not just pretty. I’m not sure that will ever come though.

 Those short bookmarks....

Those short bookmarks....

Overall thoughts.

I’ve ended up liking this size a lot more than I thought I would. It works great as a journal and I feel like I am writing more because there is a sense of freedom with the additional room. It may not be a travel friendly size and it does take up some valuable desk space but its a great notebook.

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