Writing this was difficult. But I wanted to be honest.

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You may or may not have noticed that I haven’t been around for a while. At least, I haven’t been around here. I’ve been about on Twitter and Instagram a bit, but blogging has been difficult.

Initially that was because of work, and I had every intention to do at least something every week, even if I couldn’t manage a review, but clearly, I didn’t manage to keep up with that, and it annoys me, because it’s one post a week. There are so many more people who have harder jobs, and families, and other responsibilities on top of that and yet they still manage what, three or more posts a week? I just have my job and my self-imposed writing responsibilities and I can’t even manage one post. That makes me feel really lame.

The last month has been more difficult than most. Something happened at work back in July and I pretty much just… Broke. Bullied myself into going to see a doctor and cried as he read the letter I’d written. (I suck at conveying things verbally so I prefer to do it via the written word.) Cried harder when and turned around and said; “well, it certainly sounds to me that you’re suffering with some anxiety, a lot of stress and, I would even go as far as saying that you’re depressed.”

This is what I’d thought anyway, and is something a friend of mine said, “babe, I think you’re depressed, please go and see someone.” It was just so nice to be listened to and it was so good to have someone believe me and acknowledge my feelings and tell me that they could help me, instead of just brushing everything off as me just being sensitive or that I was over-reacting.

So I did and I am. I don’t want to go into detail for some parts because… I don’t really want to upset anyone.

I was signed off for stress at first, my doctor thought that it might help and that it wouldn’t jeopardise my position at work. Unfortunately my manager did and said some things that made their way back to Matt (the boyfriend, who works at the same place as I do) which made their way back to me and just made me worse. Put simply, my manager is not a pleasant, understanding man. He actually accused me of making it all up. Great, eh? The doctor/s I’ve seen have changed the reasoning on the note to ‘stress related and depression’ since then, but my manager probably still doesn’t believe me/it/that because he really is a man who is very much…, If you can’t see it, it doesn’t exist. But… Whatever, I actually don’t care. Sure, I wish he was a little more understanding, supportive and not such a child about it all, but those who do matter to me do understand and support me and that’s all that matters.

The first week was really… Like it hasn’t really sunk in. But the immense sense of relief I had when my doctor told me that he was signing me off for a few weeks was… It was huge, and it’s horrible that I feel that way now about a job that I actually used to quite enjoy. Weeks two was very strange. Week three was the hardest and the lowest I’ve felt for a while and frankly, that scared me. I don’t like feeling like that but it’s not really uncommon for me.

I was prescribed some anti-depressants, and after that first doctor’s appointment (it’s funny, I’ve been to the doctors more times over the last month than I have in the last four years) I sat down and read this… Huge leaflet inside my box of pills. My gosh guys, I’ve never read the word “depression” so many times in a single written piece. I think they’re working though, and that’s something. It’s still hard to concentrate sometimes, and I do get moments when my mood drops though the floor, and it is still hard to get out of bed in the morning sometimes. But, I really do think they’re working, I’ve noticed some small changes.I still get incredibly anxious, shakey and kinda sick when I have to go near work in town, especially when I’m on my own. So, I try not to do that.

Telling my mum was easy, I did that kinda causually through text. Telling the boyfriend’s family was difficult, really, but I had to tell them first because I live with them and they would’ve started wondering why I was home all the time. I think I cried when I told Matt’s mum. I know I cried when I told my dad, even though I told him over the phone. He seemed accepting enough, but I’m not entirely sure that he completely gets it.

But we’ll see, as I’m seeing him tomorrow  – he’s taking me and Matt out for lunch, ’cause it’s my birthday. And for some reason, the thought of seeing my dad on my birthday brings me a great source of comfort.

If you’ve gotten this far into my rambling, thank you.. Seriously, you could’ve clicked away by now. I know a lot of people wouldn’t open up about this, but I wanted to, because people don’t talk about it enough.

Again, thank you for taking time to read this.

Advice for Writers.

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Ignore most of, if not all of the writing advice on site like Twitter or Tumblr. Those might shape you into a writer that isn’t you. We don’t need another King, another Rowling, another Pattinson. We need new writers – we need whatever writer you’re going to shape yourself into. Pick and chose your own rules – just be consistant. Don’t write for other people unless you want to. Write for yourself first and foremost. Don’t let it become a chore. Don’t let someone else ruin it for you. Don’t be shy about admitting that you write. But don’t feel forced to admit exactly what you write – like if you write a lot of, say, erotic romance but don’t really want someone knowing that, feel free to say you write cheesey romance instead. Or chick lit, or whatever. Don’t like the genre you’re writing? Don’t like the perspective you’ve chosen? Don’t like writing short stories? Don’t like writing long pieces? That’s okay! Write what you want to write. If something about it doesn’t make you happy, don’t do it. Darlings, don’t do it. Don’t force yourself into writing things that don’t excite you. Write what makes you happy. Write what makes you want to never tear yourself away from the page. Do it for yourself. You deserve it.

(My other post a little like this is here: Dear Writers…)

Hello!

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I really suck at keeping a blog at the moment. I’m hoping that it’s going to be easier in a few weeks ’cause I’ve asked my boss to make some permanent changes to my work schedule. So hopefully I’ll start feeling a little less burnt out. Needless to say, I haven’t told him that work is burning me out physically and mentally, but that’s because I don’t think he needs to know. And because he’ll just counter with how many hours he does a week, despite the fact that, as a manager, I’m pretty certain that he’s salaried at a capped amount of hours, which means a lot of the hours that my boss puts in are actually unpaid. But that’s his fault for not learning to utilise his staff properly. Or for only having a minimal amount of staff members but maxing them all out on hours. When really if we had more staff on the floor, even if we had fewer hours, we’d get more done. Ugh. But I digress.

So, it’s June now. We’re half way through the year. That’s crazy. And because it’s June, that means it’s nearly my Other Half’s birthday. Thankfully he’s going to be easy to buy for this year as there’s this tiny little game out the… Same week, I think. You might’ve heard of it, maybe: Batman Arkham Origins. So he’s asked for that, so that he’ll get. He’s fairly easy to buy for really. Most of the time.

Anyway. It’s June, so that means May is over. Or rather, Minimal Notebook May. If you follow me on Instagram, or Twitter too actually as sometimes I cross-post, then you might’ve already seen how I did. If not, here:

The green square means that I didn’t buy a notebook at all that day (doesn’t matter about the shade of green, it was just whatever was in my Pelikan at the time) and the white means I caved in. So, as you can see, I only caved in once. If I recall correctly, that was a difficult week. Actually, I think that was Lego Week.

Let me explain about that before I continue. Once or twice a year, I forget which, one of the newspapers over here (I’m in the UK for those who read who don’t know) teams up with Lego to run a promotion – a free mini Lego kit every day when you buy this particular newspaper. And about 95% of the time, you can only get the Lego from the place I work at. Deep joy. Naturally, we get about six million more customers that week, even if they’re only buying the paper because of the Lego. Lots of people tell me/us/whoever’s behind the counter that they’re only buying the paper to get the Lego. Some people used to take advantage so there’s now a limit on 5 toys/papers per customer per day. I’m not sure who thought that up but my god I love them for it. Like I said, we’re about fifty times busier that week, and I hate it. I’d rather deal with the run up to Christmas – because people are so… Entitled when it comes to a free toy that they’re probably only going to list on eBay anyway, that they get grumpy when we say “no, we sold out around lunchtime.” When all I want to say is “it’s five o clock, we close in half an hour, we’ve been open since half eight. It’s Star Wars Lego day and you seriously expected us to still have some?! You’re crazy.” WHICH REMINDS ME. Lego Week is the only week we have people waiting outside the store before half past eight when we open. Just to get a free toy. And, at least three times that week, people cheered when we opened up. I’m just all… “I’m here this early because I’m paid for this. What’s your excuse? And now you’re cheering? Seriously? ”

Ugh.

Anyway! Where was I? Oh yes. The white square.

Surprisingly, I only purchased one notebook that day. I originally thought that once I caved and bought one, it would be so much harder to not buy any more once that first wall had fallen. Well, it was a little harder, but apparently not as hard as I thought it was going to be. Yay me. Normally I wouldn’t’ve bought the notebook I did, but I got it from a supermarket and sometimes their stationery section is very… Here one week, gone the next. A little like Paperchase in that respect, I suppose. And even then, I’m surprised that the notebook was as cheap as it was. Sure I’ve paid less for notebooks, but I’ve also certainly paid more.

There it is. 400 pages, 80gsm, narrow ruled, a margin that doesn’t take up too much space (no margin is preferable but I’ll take what I can get), a bookmark that’s a decent length (looking at you hard here Rhodia Webbies) and a really nice feeling cover (I’m quite a… Tactile person so that’s kinda important to me). And all for £5. Five English pounds! I’m highly tempted to go back and get another one, if they still have them, then I can use one for journalling and one for every day writing. I haven’t tried any pens on it yet, but I will. The paper feels pretty good, actually. I’m very pleased with it.

This brings me neatly onto something that arrived this morning. Which I treated myself to because I did so well last month.

Ahhhh. Happy sigh. That is a Franklin-Christoph Model 65 Stabilis with a 1.1mm nib in Solid Ice. And yes, it does still have the converter in it in that picture, but that’s because I’d literally only just taken it out of the box. I ordered it Saturday, it was dispatched Monday and it arrived today, Wednesday, with no customs. (And if you live in the UK, you might understand how much that makes my heart sing.)

I’d been umming and ahhing over this one and the Franklin Christoph Model 02 Intrinsic (naturally I would’ve gone for the Smoke and Ice) for ages and ages, like, literally months, but in the last three weeks I was leaning more towards the one you see up there, and the week before I ordered it, like, the last week of May, I was set in stone that yes, this was the one I wanted. I was just uncertain about the nib I wanted, until Ian from Pens! Paper! Pencils! told me that the Franklin Christoph nibs were similar, if not the same (I forget his wording) as the TWSBI nibs. So, naturally, I had to go and ink up a couple of my uninked TWSBI pens to finalize the nib I wanted. (I know, such a shame right? Such hard work!) I ordered it on Saturday, when I got home from going to town with the Other Half. When we got back, I checked the Internet, as you do, and this review was on my Twitter feed. The Other Half said to me; “that’s a sign. Stop being dumb and order the thing!” (Or words to that affect.) And then after I’d ordered it, this one popped up and he was all “see? That’s a sign you’ve done the right thing!” He doesn’t normally believe in stuff like that.

Unfortunately, it’s going in the pile of “new but uninked yet” pens I have – which includes the purple Parker Urban that the Other Half got me for our 5th anniversary in April. And the new Kaweco that arrived yesterday.  And the reason that I’ve not inked those pens yet? Because I currently have… Maybe 15? inked up at the moment and I’m working on emptying those out. Self restraint, I have it.

That’s all I have for you today. I’m not going to promise that I’ll be back next week, ’cause I can’t be certain that I’ll keep that promise and I hate that, so instead, I’ll just say, I’ll see you soon!

I am the worst blogger.

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Schedules, I cannot do them. Sticking to them? Bah!

I know, I haven’t posted in awhile. I don’t have any reasons or excuses, not really. I honestly mean to sit and blog but then… I guess I get wrapped up in my fiction writing and then I forget or… I don’t know. It’s mostly because I get caught up in writing. For example? I started notebook 61 on the 8th, and I finished it on the 11th. It was only 50 ish pages, but that’s still a big acheievement for me. I think the total word count for that notebook was… 6,338 words according to my chart (because, yes, I keep charts of all this stuff. I’m a huge nerd when it comes to my writing.)

Minimal Notebook May” is going pretty well, actually. I’ve only purchased one notebook since the beginning of the month, and that was yesterday from Asda. It’s a 400 page, faux leather journal with close ruled lines (which I love). It’s only 80gsm paper but it seems to play nice with most of the pens I have on hand. It was only £5, which is fairly cheap compared to some notebooks I’ve purchased.

I’m fairly impressed with the, actually huge amount of self restraint I’ve shown so far this month. I could’ve purchased so many more notebooks but no, I’ve been really good and spent my money on other things instead. Like, video games (finally picked up The Sims 4 for PC, and a game called, and this is a mouthful, Puzzles & Dragons Z + Puzzles & Dragons: Super Mario Bros. Edition for the 3DS) and Blu-Ray box sets. (If you haven’t seen The Blacklist, and you like crime shows, do give it a watch.)

The boyfriend and I have been to the cinema a few times too. We went to see Avengers: Age of Ultron (obviously) on the day of release (again, obviously). Then on… Thursday? We went to see Mad Max: Fury Road (oh my god that movie was great!) and tomorrow we’re gonna go and see Pitch Perfect 2 (that’s mostly my choice because I loved the first one.)

I’m trying to delve into reading again – I picked up a copy of Ray Bradbury’s The Illustrated Man because I’ve been meaning to read it for years, and the episode of Criminal Minds I was watching about… A week ago now? mentioned it and that reminded me that I wanted to read it. (I think the episode is called “A Thousand Words” and it’s in season 5 or 6 but I can’t remember which. I’m not certain about the season but I’m almost positive about the episode title.) Well, it’s not A Game Of Thrones, which I have started reading but I’m just… It’s a big book and maybe jumping into reading with a book that’s not too far off the size of a brick is not a good idea.

Okay, I just looked up that Criminal Minds episode – season 5, episode 20. Not gonna say I’m good but… I’m good. Haha.

Other than all that update stuff guys, I don’t have much else. Are you guys reading/watching/playing anything interesting?

I’m not dead, I promise!

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Hello!

I know I haven’t posted in a week or two. My bad. I don’t have a regular shift pattern and I’ve been quite tired. That and my brain just went “I have nothing for you to talk about and I’m not going to remind you that technically you have a list of possible blog topics.”

I’m also aware that it’s National Stationery Week, and Wednesday was Notebook Day and that would’ve been perfect, but… I don’t know what happened. My free time just slipped through my fingers I think.

I’ve been utterly loving my Pelikan M205 Duo, even with the BB nib. I’m not going to lie, I really wasn’t sure I’d get on with that size; I thought that I’d have to buy a new nib and switch it out. But actually no. I’ve been using it for my daily words* for… I don’t know, a good few weeks?

*If you’ve read the blog before, you might remember that I take part in something called the Year of Continuous Writing, and I set myself a goal to write 500 words a day. Or more, naturally. I’ve been doing this for a couple of years now, and the number of days I haven’t met my goal I can count on one hand – I think it’s just the one day, which was the day I graduated back in my first year of doing this I believe. My graduation fell on the same day as my mother’s birthday that year, so it was a double celebration, which was nice but exhausting. So I didn’t manage to do any writing at all that day, but ‘m pretty sure that that’s been the only day I haven’t hit my word count.

Anyway, after that digression… I’ve been using my Pelikan M205 Duo a lot, and I’ve been absolutely loving it. I love the way it shows off the inks you use with it. I’ve been working through my green ink samples and I think that at the time of writing I’m using Pelikan Jade in the thing. I haven’t been cleaning it out in between samples, but I’ve never had an issue with that before. I do it because I like watching one green move into another. I love that. Plus, I’m lazy and the BB nib guzzles ink so quickly that if I was washing it between samples, I’d be washing it once every… Three days? I can get through a sample in two days if I really get in the zone.

So I’ve been writing and working and building Lego birds and setting myself a bit of a challenge, which I’m calling Minimal Notebook May.

Sounds like one of those ‘no spend’ challenges that I’ve mentioned very briefly  in the past, doesn’t it? Well, that’s because it kinda is. Sorta. But it’s not a ‘no spend notebooks’ thing, because I know that completely banning myself from buying notebooks is a) cruel and b) unrealistic, so I’ll take it on a case by case basis. There’s a reason for that – Paperchase mostly. Their ranges change so often that a notebook I like at the beginning of the month might not be there at the end of it. But I am going to try a month of cutting down on my notebook spending. (But not pens. Because that would be silly, and honestly I don’t actually buy that many pens, fountain pens anyway, at the moment. Gel pens and all that jazz though? I’m hopeless at keeping myself away.)

I’ll let you know how that goes.

Why am I doing this? Because I have so many notebooks. Easily around 200, though I haven’t counted recently. I should, but I haven’t because it scares me a little bit. Some of them are really chunky too which means those are gonna take a little while to get through, but I do have some that won’t take that long. Fingers crossed. I’m writing in notebook 60 right now  and I’m on page 56. I only started this notebook on the 20th of last month, so I’ve been writing in it for nearly two weeks? My turnover really isn’t half bad and that’s because I love what I do.

What else… Oh! I think I’ve broken a toe. Caught the one next to my little toe on my left foot on something at about nine in the morning on Friday, bent it right back and was like “okay, ow that really hurt.” Got on with my morning and went to work after lunch. It wasn’t until I got home, had dinner and was about to start the dishes that I took my sock off because my feet were warm and the toe was still a little achy, that I realised it was not okay. I took my sock off, looked at it and was all… “Matt, my toe isn’t supposed to be purple, is it?” That made the family go “What?!” which was fun. The mother in law said “yeah, that looks like it might be broken. Keep a sock and some slippers on to encourage it to straighten up and leave it to heal on its own. There’s not a lot a doctor would be able to do anyway.” She’s a nurse, so I trust her opinion. It’s still pretty swollen though and hurts quite a bit. It doesn’t bother me when I need to sleep though, so that’s something.

Other than that? Not a lot else has been going on and I don’t have an awful else to report. Apologies again for the unintentional break but, I’m human and I either forget or don’t have any idea or… You know. We’re all human.

I hope you’re all doing well!

I’ll speak to you soon, hopefully!

Review: Pelikan M205 Duo Highlighter Fountain Pen – BB Nib

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I have had this guy awhile. I posted a picture of the packaging on my Instgram the day I got it actually, because that packaging is awesome. I’ve kept it but that’s because I’m keeping  the highlighter ink in the box. I’m not sure if I ever plan on using it, but we’ll see.

Anyway! This is my first, slightly higher end Pelikan. I’ve used the Twist (less said on that the better) and I’ve got a Pelikano, which I’m fond of. I could’ve gone for the Pelikan Traditional M150 but… I like the green and silver/steel of this one. The green is a really pretty shade and reminds me of apple flavour sweets (candy to you Americans).

It’s a really light pen, but then again, I’m pretty sure that it’s made of plastic. It feels a little thinner/lighter than the plastic that the TWSBI pens are made of, and at this price point, that’s a little disappointing. Admittedly, I didn’t pay full price for it, but that’s because CultPens has another amazing discount code and I took advantage of that. Naturally. But even still, this pen wasn’t cheap. It does seem strong enough though – it’s not like the cap flexes if you squeeze it, so there’s that. It’s even pretty light when it’s filled with ink. Despite what I just said, I don’t mind the fact that it’s a light pen – it just means I can write for longer with it. It’s light when posted too, and adds about half an inch to the pen’s length.

Speaking of the pen’s size, this one isn’t that big – it’s actually smaller than I initially thought it would be. That’s alright, I think I’ve got averagely sized hands so it’s fine for me. Folks with larger hands might not get on so well with it. It’s about the same size as a Pilot Vanishing Point, if you ignore the knocker… Clicker… Button you push to extend the nib, whatever you want to call that part.

The pen is a piston filler, and the piston is very smooth, which is good. Sometimes I find the piston on my TWSBIs a little… Stiff. I do however feel that it could go down a little more to make the ink chamber a little bigger – the base of the piston could meet up with the mechanism like it does on the TWSBI, I mean, but I’m not willing to mess with it to see if it will. (I hate doing the same thing on my TWSBIs; it’s hard work and hurts my hands).

The nib is smooth, which I’m not surprised about – my thinking was that if it’s a big nib, there will be more ink flowing through it so it’ll glide across paper better. That’s my theory anyway. The line that the BB nib lies down isn’t actually as thick as I thought it would, which is pleasing. I’ve found that I can do my daily words with it, and it’s still readable. To me anyway. I’m not sure if anyone else can read my handwriting. It does put down a lot of ink, it’s a guzzler. That’s okay, I don’t mind that. It’s juicy and makes the ink look really nice. It’s a great nib, especially considering the fact that it even wrote as soon as it touched the paper after I’d filled it. And the best thing about the higher end Pelikan nibs? They’re even easier to change than Lamy nibs. With a Lamy nib, you often need something to help you grip it, or you need to rely on the tape trick. With the Pelikan, you just unscrew the section and out it pops. Easy, which I like.

Overall? I think maybe the price is a little high for what it is and there’s a few things (that I’ve mentioned) that I’m a little iffy about, but overall I like the pen and I like the nib way more than I thought I would. I like the green over the yellow too, it’s prettier.

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An update and some news, I guess?

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I missed posting last week and I am sorry about that. I got sick again, took two days off to get better, then went back to work. Obviously I didn’t recover properly because work left me absoloutely exhausted and the blog just slipped my mind. I really am sorry about that.

I come to you today with some… Bittersweet I think, news. I found out this morning that there’s been some budget cuts at the company I work for, and everybody’s hours have been totally slashed. Mine included. That’s the bitter part. Another part is that I’m not going to see some of my co-workers as much if at all anymore, and that majorly sucks because they’re not just my co-workers, they’re my friends too. (At least most of them are, I’m not going to go into it though.)

Thankfully, I still have a job, and thankfully I still have enough hours to have a semi decent amount of money. The other half and I will divide the rent as our pay depends because thankfully he’s still got the majority of his hours so we should be okay.

This does mean, I’ll have less money to buy interesting stuff (even though I really don’t need anything – I have enough stationery related things to last me more than a single lifetime) but it does mean that I’ll have that little bit more time to actually use the things I have. Which is hardly a bad thing. Anything somewhat expensive will just have to be thought about more and saved for. I guess that’s hardly a bad thing.

So, there’s that.

In other things, the boyfriend and I reached our five year anniversary on Thursday. He got a video game and Lego and I got a Tsum-Tsum and stationey. (Big surprise there, but hey, it’s what I wanted and he’s happy to get me what I want). Pictures will be on my Instagram at some point, I’m still waiting for something to come in the post, and then I’ll take pictures. Fingers crossed that that thing arrives on Tuesday.

That’s about it now I think.

Until next time!

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