Mid-Year Stationery Review

I can hardly believe that we’re almost at the end of May, but here it is! I decided for today’s post I would take a look at what I’ve been using in 2023 and what is (or isn’t) working.

Let’s start with the pens:

My pens in order, left to right:

  • Kaweco AL Sport in Vibrant Violet – F nib (inked with cartridge roulette) and Kaweco x Hello Kitty AL Sport in Opal Green (inked with cartridge roulette). My Kawecos tend to be my favorite desk pens these days. I love the feel of the aluminum barrel, just the right weight in my hands. The faceted caps (and roll clips) means that they never roll away from me. And there are just gosh darn consistent writers. Even if they sit for a week or two, they never have a hard start.
  • Pilot Explorer in Pink – F nib, inked with black Pilot cartridge. I’ll be honest, this one is on my desk because I reviewed it a few weeks ago and it’s got an ink cartridge I should use up. It’s fine, but definitely not a favorite and it won’t be seeing any desk time again soon.
  • Platinum Procyon Maki-e – F nib. This pen is pure pretty and it makes me happy to write with it. It’s a smooth writer and it’s likely it will be inked for some time to come. It’s currently inked with Monteverde Rose Noir.
  • Platinum Preppy Wa Modern Maki-e in Dragonfly – F nib (inked with a Platinum cartridge in Pink). It almost seems silly to have this one out next to a pen with actual Maki-e, but for the quick note this one is still a nice writer. It doesn’t have the same luxury feel to it, but it’s perfectly serviceable!
  • TWSBI Eco Glow in the Dark Green – EF nib, inked with Yoseka x Ink Institute No 1 Origin. Ana and I have agreed to disagree on Ecos. While I don’t think they are precision writing instruments, I like the way they write and I dig getting to see the piston and ink inside. This also is a candidate for never having a dry start.
  • SchonDsgn x Indepdendence Cheerio Waterpen – F nib, inked with Colorverse Morningstar. This pen is gorgeous and Morningstar is one of my favorite teal inks so it’s a match made in heaven. I just like to look at this one, but it’s fun to write with too!

These aren’t the only pens I have, but they are what is most currently inked on my desk lately. I would like to do a better job of using my own bottled inks rather than grabbing cartridges (which is what’s easy with my Kawecos!). I need to invest in a few more converters!

Next let’s look at notebooks:

The two main notebooks in my life currently are the Effin Birds 2023 Monthly/Weekly Calendar and the Midori 5 Year Diary.

The Effin Birds Calendar is one that I use daily to keep track of all my events, appointments and work tasks. I have to say that I am thrilled with the paper. I haven’t really been able to narrow down what paper was used other than “FSC certified paper with soy-based ink,” but it is thick enough that there isn’t any show through even with my wettest writing fountain pens. I also haven’t seen any feathering or bleeding. The planner looks a bit worse for wear, but that’s because of an unfortunately ramen incident where the planner came out the loser. It’s not waterproof (ramen-proof)?

The Midori 5 Year Diary is something I’ve had mixed success with. I should say I really like the paper and it performs well for me (no bleeding, no show through). My biggest problem with the diary is myself! I find myself forgetting to write for days at a time and then trying to catch up. I also find that many days I can’t think of something good to write, and on other days I have so much and there’s just such a tiny space (yes I know I could space things out!). I guess I still haven’t quite figured out how to make this a daily habit and record the things I think I’ll want to remember in a year or 5 years’ time.

Now that we’re partway through the year, what do you find yourself using the most? What are this year’s winners? Any particular losers?

DISCLAIMER: Some of these items were purchased with my own funds, others were provided for free or at discounted cost for the purposes of review. Please see the About page for more details.

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4 comments / Add your comment below

  1. I got an Effin Birds after reading your review, and I love the format! The weekly page spreads plus monthly calendar pages that start with Sunday — perfect! And man, those birds got some kind of attitude!

  2. I’m also having trouble with my new 5 year Midori. I find myself trying to fill in gaps using notes from my Hobonichi Weeks. One problem is that the hardcover Midori is a little too large to take on vacation, for my tastes. I’m trying to stay motivated with the thought that it’ll be so much more interesting in future years.

  3. I got my wife an Effin Birds planner a few months ago. It cracks her up, but the … strong language may rub some folks the wrong way!

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