Brush Pens Face-Off: Pentel vs Tombow

Brush pens are great. Seriously, if you donโ€™t have at least one brush pen in your pencil case, you really should.

Today Iโ€™m going to compare two very popular brush pens: the Tombow Dual Brush Pen and the Pentel Pocket.

ink

Tombow: acid free, water based ink. Pros: great if you like shading, or if you want to use it alongside your watercolors. Comes in a variety of colors. Cons: you need to be very careful because it smudges very easily! You need to wait a little bit longer for it to dry completely if you want to use it just for line art or inking.

Pentel: waterproof ink, refillable cartridges. Pros: dries quickly and itโ€™s permanent, but you can still dilute it with a water brush when itโ€™s still wet. Cons: Only comes in black.

Brush tip

Tombow: has two tips, a nylon fiber brush and a bullet tip. Pros: Having 2 type of tips in one. Cons: the brush tip is quite stiff and doesnโ€™t allow very dynamic line weights. The tip wears down easily.

Pentel: soft synthetic brush. Pros: the ink flow is very smooth, and the soft brush is perfect to produce a variety of line weights and strokes. Very durable tip. Cons: doesnโ€™t perform too well on textured paper.

price & extras

Tombow: USD $2.50, ยฃ2.75, โ‚ฌ4. The pen body is quite longer than regular pens so it isnโ€™t quite as portable; it is disposable.

Pentel: (comes with 2 cartridges) USD $13.50, ยฃ11, โ‚ฌ13. You need to store it horizontally otherwise you could experience too heavy or too dry ink flow; it is refillable.

verdict

Itโ€™s quite hard to pick one over the other because although they fall into the same category, you can tell theyโ€™re very different pens. In my case, my favorite is the Pentel one, and shock horror, I donโ€™t even get all the hype about the Tombow ones.

All things considered, my verdict is: if you can, buy them both and use one or the other depending on what are your needs in that moment, despite their flaws, theyโ€™re both very good pens. If you want to commit to only one of these, instead, Iโ€™d say go for the Tombow if youโ€™re more of a casual user (it is definitely more budget friendly), and maybe if youโ€™re starting to get an interest in lettering; go for the Pentel if need more control over your line work, and if you plan to use it extensively and for a variety of applications.

And you, do you have a fave brush pen you'd like to recommend? โ˜บ

ฦ’. xx

Let's Do More in October!

A while back I read on Eliโ€™s blog that she was joining the BlogTember Challenge, a challenge created by Brave Love Blog to motivate yourself to write more and to give you the chance to tell more about yourself while also getting to know other fellow bloggers.
Unfortunately I found out about it when it was too late; although there arenโ€™t rules and you could join whenever, I didnโ€™t really had time to plan anything ahead and I was sure I wouldnโ€™t have been able to stick to the schedule.

This leads us to this post, and to my decision of doing something similar in October: I will be posting something every Monday, Thursday and Saturday, and today Iโ€™m posting my schedule so that if any of you is interested, you can come along!

#DoMoreInOctober

Oct 1st - Meet the blogger (A few or a lot of things about you)
Oct 3rd - Your inspiration (fave blogs + IG accounts.. etc)
Oct 5th - Something you love at the moment
Oct 8th - Favourite books
Oct 10th - Your playlist of the month
Oct 12th - One of your favourite quotes (illustrate, make a poster.. etc)
Oct 15th - Your winter bucket list
Oct 17th - Your wishlist
Oct 19th - Teach us something! (A tutorial, a DIY, a recipe.. etc)
Oct 22nd - A day in the life (Share a day in your life through pictures, drawings.. etc)
Oct 24th - Desk tour (A bit of workspace porn never hurt nobody!)
Oct 26th - Something you collect
Oct 29th - Your pets
Oct 31st - Free day, write/share about anything you want!

There are no rules, you can use all the prompts or just some, or you can even transform this into an Instagram photo challenge! Moreover, you can just take the chance to pledge to do more of something this upcoming month, and it doesn't necessarily have to be blog related. For the occasion, here's an handy dandy printable to make your pledge feel more concrete!

If you think you might give this a try, let me know so I'll make sure to keep an eye on your blog โ˜บ I'll also have a link up system under every post so you can link your blog posts there as well. On Instagram I'll be using the hashtag #DoMoreInOctober, so if you want to share something there, feel free to use it too!

ฦ’. xx

Freebie Friday: Floral Coloring Book Page

Coloring books for adults are the thing right now. I personally much prefer drawing itself over coloring, so Iโ€™m a bit hesitant to invest in one. To test how much I would enjoy it, I decided to use some old scans of my โ€œflower phaseโ€, and made this printable that Iโ€™m going to share with you all today.

this is a mockup.

this is a mockup.

โ†’  click here to download it  โ†

Once you finish coloring, you can also use it to make envelopes or wrapping paper โ˜บ

Do you own/enjoy any coloring book?

ฦ’. x

5 Tips for Writing a First Letter to a New Penpal

Writing a first letter can be challenging. In most cases you don't know much about the recipient and introducing yourself could turn into a boring monologue.

In all those years of pen palling I've written and received many first letters, and today I wanted to share with you 5 tips to write your first letter to who could become your new best friend!

1. Introduce yourself gradually.

It happened to me in the past to receive first letter in which people would write everything about them - from their favorite color, to the name of their neighbor's dog. If you flood a person with all sort of informations about yourself, they'll be more likely to forget about it, and besides, if you already told them everything there was to know about you, you're actually taking away the thrill of getting to know you gradually, just like it would happen in real life.
Include the basic informations about yourself, your hobbies, your hometown, but don't overdo it! 

2. Include questions!

You don't want your letter to be completely one sided, if you want your penpal to engage with you in a conversation, your letter should feel like one. They don't have to be complicated questions, just a "what about you?" Or a "what do you think about it?" After you've said something about yourself should work!

3. Put an effort in it.

Not everyone is creatively inclined, but you don't have to be an artist to put together a nice letter. 
Something basic you want, is to make sure your handwriting is legible and tidy, that's the very least you can do to show your penpal that you actually took time off to write to them, and not just rushed a few facts on a piece of paper. Everything else, decoration wise, is good, but as I said, it might not be everyone's cup of tea. Among the things you could do - you can draw on your stationery, decorate it with washi tape or stickers, or even just use a nice patterned paper to begin with.

4. Include something tangible

It very common for pen pals to send small goodies to each other. I wouldn't suggest you do it from the beginning, just in the unfortunate case that it doesn't work out, but adding even something trivial, like a magazine clipping with a picture of your hometown, could make your letter much more special.
If you're willing, you can also include something more personal such as a picture of yourself, or an artwork you made.

5. Have fun!

Don't take yourself too seriously, this person is about to become your friend so you have to keep this in mind. Don't write too formally, share an anecdote or two, be colorful, be loud, and don't be scared to put your personality on paper!

Do you have any other tip? โ˜บ

ฦ’. xx

Let's Talk About Books #4: Beautiful Covers

They always say not to judge a book by its cover, but when you're at the airport and your flight has been delayed by 3 hours, there not much else you can do but let yourself be tempted by the 3 for 2 offers on beautiful edition books that you can't get hold of in your country. Or that's what happened to me anyway.

I had a few ยฃ left from my weekend in London, and of course I threw them at the Gatwick's WHSmith book section, because since I started reading eBooks, I've been really missing *proper* books.

I'm really particular when it comes to books, I like to research, read reviews and get really in depth before I commit to buying and reading one, because I'm one of those people who can't be bothered to read things they don't like - mostly due to the fact that I don't have enough time to afford this luxury. BUT, I did something very unlike me, and picked up 3 books I never heard anything about, purely because I liked the cover; you need to get out of your comfort zone every now and again, right?

The first book I picked up is "The Book of Strange New Things" by Michel Faber - and it was a very tough choice to decide between the cover I ended up picking up, or the other one available with a silhouette of a man facing the other way, and with silver accents instead of gold.

Next, I picked up two books with the same color palette because I get excited for the stupidest things. I got "the Circle" by Dave Eggers (I actually cheated a little bit on this one and read the blurb on the back because I was afraid it was about politics) and "Messenger of Fear" by Michael Grant, because look at that cover!!

Something even more exciting about them is that they both have black accents! The Circle front cover has a cutout in it that reveals a black under cover (? what's the technical term here?), and "Messenger of Fear" has black edges.. I literally gasped when I saw them, okay.

Something that is not very exciting, instead, is that they all have quite bad reviews on Goodreads, but I'll be reading them with an open mind nonetheless. I already read the first 100 pages of "the Book of Strange New Things" at the airport and I'm really liking it so far.

Have you ever bought a book purely because of its cover? How did it go?! I'm really hoping I'll love mine, and I'll make sure to report back โ˜บ

ฦ’. x

Happy Mail Box - Unboxing

Hi guys! The other day I received a huge box in the mail that turned out to be Mrs Brimbles' 'Happy Mail Box', a subscription box for snail mailers and pen pallers! Anna (the owner of Mrs Brimbles) kindly sent me one to review it for you, so I decided to - lo and behold! - make a video!

I just want to quickly throw it out there that of course, English is not my first language, so I'm probably gonna sound really weird to lots of you, but alas, I still tried my best! I hope you'll still be able to see how awesome this box is, and go past how awkward I sound.

The box was a great surprise, it came with many more goodies than I expected, and all of them are really nice and good quality.

The box retails for ยฃ15 a month, which I think is a great deal compared to many other subscription boxes (however, you'll have to add shipping costs, and it varies based on countries). If you want to know more about it, or want to get one for yourself, you can check it out here!

What would you like to find in your perfect subscription box?

ฦ’. x

Freebie Friday: Mail Doodles

Hi guys! Today I wanted to share with you another little letter set! It's nothing fancy, but I've personally gone a bit "back to basics" with my letters, lately. Sometimes I like them to be more polished rather than full of washi tape, stickers and decorations; so I've made this simple design with a couple of doodles from my sketchpad.

> You can download it here <

Hope you like it! ฦ’. x

A Little Haul from Venice

My boyfriend and I recently went to Venice for a couple of days to spend our 6th anniversary there. โ™ฅ Despite being a gorgeous city, it doesn't have much to offer in terms of shopping; most of shops either sell the same old touristy things, or are high end fashion brands. However, we stumbled upon a couple of amazing stationery shops, and of course I had to buy something, didn't I?

Unfortunately they wouldn't allow pictures inside, so I just snapped some of the window display to show you how luxurious everything looked! (and how was priced accordingly too, *sob*).

Albeit I would have bought one thing of everything, I just went for a couple of goodies, as like I said, everything was incredibly expensive. For instance, a pack of 8 cards with envelope was โ‚ฌ32, and as much as they are high quality and more unique than ordinary cards, I couldn't bring myself to spend that much on them. I still managed to spend a small fortune, but at least for about the same amount of money I got 4 things instead of one. Here's what I picked up:

I bought a stationery set (10 sheets + envelopes), a teal wax stick for a monogram seal I already had, a cute wooden stamp, and some sticker wax seals.

If you're interested, the shop is called "Il Papiro" and they have stores in London, New York, Palm Beach, and Melbourne as well! (Just FYI, it is not the same shop I took pictures of).

Do you ever splurge on high quality, and/or more unique stationery?

ฦ’. x