New Things for 2016

For 2016 I decided to make a small, humble lists of things I want try, and in some cases develop, throughout the year. These aren't resolutions as I think that word just sets you up for failure. These are a list of things I want to do to develop and make my use of stationery more enjoyable.   

Incorporating a daily photo into my journaling 

My 2016 Hobonichi Techo

My 2016 Hobonichi Techo

One of my aims for the year is to take a photo every day. I have tried to do this in the past, a photo a day, or a photo at a specific time every day but I have always failed.

This year however by including the photo in my Hobonichi journaling I have been more aware of what I have done through the day and what photo depicts that day well. Because it is linked to my journaling I have found that I am sticking to it and conscious that I actually want to have that photo in my Hobonichi. In months to come I should be able to flick through my Hobonichi and see photographic reminders of what I have done.  

I have been saving a photo sized space in my Hobonichi Techo with an old photo being used as a handy spacer. At the end of every month I will print the photos I have taken each day from an online resource and then stick or washi these in. I have allocated a 'to print' folder in my Photos app on my phone which has a collection of the photos I have taken so far. At some point I will look at investing in an instant photo printer, but only if I stick to this new ritual.  

Learn to use watercolours

My small Winsor and Newton watercolour set

My small Winsor and Newton watercolour set

I am going to try and play around with watercolour paints this year. I definitely won't become an artist or landscape painter, but I would like to try and add some watercolours into my journaling and specifically into my Travelers Notebook. I have seen a few Instagrammers that do this and it looks great and is something I have wanted to try for some time. I have a Winsor and Newton small watercolour set that I picked up after Christmas that includes some basic colours to get me started.  

Instagram for nerdiness

This year I have set up a Instagram account for my blog and I will be posting all my stationery nerdiness there. I wanted to have a dedicated account where I could post photos of how I use my stationery and follow likeminded people. 

Play around with calligraphy 

I want to try and improve my handwriting this year. I like writing in cursive and I have tried using a dip pen a few times. I was inspired to try my hand at calligraphy when watching the Ink - written by hand video made by Ryan Couldrey (if you haven't watched this video, do it now. It's great!). I am a real novice by I love trying things out with the dip pen. I have done some lettering for a family member and really enjoyed it, so this year I want to improve and learn some more. 

Use more of the ink I own

A selection of my inks

A selection of my inks

I don't rotate my inks very well and therefore don't use the small collection that I own. So this year I want to ensure that I use more of what I own and re-ink my fountain pens regularly. This also ties in with the plan to practice calligraphy as I can use different colours with my dip pen. 

Do you have any stationery goals for 2016? If so I would love to hear about them. I will endeavour to post updates here that relate to my goals for this year, that way you can all keep track of my progress.  

Manuscript Calligraphy Pen

I was sent the Manuscript Calligraphy Pen from Cult Pens after an opportunity to review went out on Twitter, I was lucky enough to be one of the recipients. 

Manuscript was not a brand I was familiar with. In order to understand a bit more about the pen I was reviewig I had a quick look online. Manuscript are a British company who have been producing pens for five generations. They produce a range of calligraphy and paper products. You can find out some more about them here. Their website is informative and well presented. Perhaps moreso than the actual Manuscript Calligraphy pen.

The Manuscript Calligraphy pen was my first experience with a calligraphy fountain pen. I am definitely not an expert when it comes to calligraphy products however the Manuscript pen has peaked my interest. 


Price is a big bonus, a mere £15, which throws this pen right into the affordable price bracket. Because of this it becomes less of a considered purchase and is a low risk factor. The Manuscript pen takes standard ink cartridges and there is an optional Manuscript converter. For the purpose of this review I used Diamine Claret ink cartridges which worked perfectly. 

The nib on the Manuscript pen is a 1.1mm medium italic. I played around with the pen quite a bit to see how the nib performed using trusty Rhodia paper and attempted to produce some fancy handwriting. I have included photos of my poor calligraphy efforts to show how the pen performs. At times the nib was a bit scratchy, particularly when used at certain angles but on the whole I found the experience satisfying. 

Between the grip section and the nib there is a small ink window which circles the entire pen. This is quite a nice feature and is useful to monitor ink levels. From my set up you get a lovely view of the deep Claret ink colour. Not too bad for a low cost calligraphy pen. A small bit of attention to detail that goes a long way. 

One final nice addition is the tin packaging that the Manuscript pen comes in. This is a bit of an exception for a low cost pen and it's quite nice.   

Metal packaging tin

Metal packaging tin


The Manuscript pen has a strange tactile, soft touch feel. It's odd. It's not offensive but at the same time I don't like it. A smooth barrel would be a better choice in my opinion. Hand in hand with this, and a bit of a contrast to the barrel, is a chrome grip section. This again is strange. The Manuscript pen is £15, so a simple plastic grip section would have been fine, and probably felt a bit nicer. But instead you get this metal grip section that unevenly distributes the weight of the pen in favour if the nib and doesn't feel very nice in your hand. 

On top of this the design of the pen is old fashioned and dull. The pen has a black barrel similar in length to the Pilot MR but a bit fatter. The pen has a chunky chrome clip with an odd wave in it. The clip finishes short of the cap itself to display the Manuscript 'M' logo underneath. The odd design surprises me slightly based on the impression you get from the Manuscript website. It almost feels like this part was forgotten or rushed. Very poor marks on this point for me and the design of a fountain pen is half the fun. 

In Summary 

This is not a fountain pen that you would use day in day out, and not something you are likely to choose to carry to work or travel with. More than likely this is a pen to play around with at home and practice some calligraphy writing. And for this purpose I can't find a reason why you shouldn't try this pen out. The affordable price works in the Manuscript Calligraphy pens favour. 

My verdict on the Manuscript is simply give it a try! There are flaws but they aren't enough of a barrier to cast aside this pen.  

I would like to thank Cult Pens for sending me this product to review.