I think I must have been in Year 1 at primary school when I first discovered that stationery could be so much more than just functional pencils and sheets of plain paper. There I was one day when Lucie came in with a pretty floral pencil case. Suddenly this strange urge over took me and I just knew that I needed a matching one. I remember dragging my mum to the local branch of WH Smiths and desperately scanning the shelves to find one the same. I failed. My mum even tried to make one for me from the description I gave her, and whilst it was nice it just wasn’t the same.
But, my eyes had been opened to the stationery delights that exist and there was no going back from that point. Ever since then each new term at school or university was greeted with a smile as I knew it was an excuse to stock up on stationery goodies. Even just recently, the kids moved bedrooms meaning that Mr C and I had a new study at home. Another perfect excuse to stock up on new stationery. As if an excuse was needed!
It was therefore perfect timing when I was approached by Bureau Direct and asked if I would be interested in being part of a group of bloggers working with them over the coming months. They’re a lovely firm that manage to combine practical stationery (and in my book stationery has to be practical as well as looking good) with some excellent design from around the world. Along with Annie, Tanya, Kelly and Nickie each month I will be selecting a bunch of goodies from the Bureau Direct website and I’ll be testing them all out and telling you what I think.
Now, as daft as it sounds, it’s actually really difficult to be faced with a website full of stationery goodies and told to choose £25 worth to review. I mean, where do you start? I must have spent most of an afternoon browsing and putting items in an online basket only to keep changing my mind as to what I actually wanted. In the end I had to sleep on it as all that choice was just too much for my head to cope with. I came back the next morning and armed with a cup of tea went through my
short long list and narrowed it down to be within budget.
So, what did I choose?
Firstly – I’ve been after a new pen for ages now and was intrigued by the Herbin rollerball pen. What’s special here is that it’s a rollerball which takes ink cartridges. I love using a fountain pen, but it doesn’t always seen practical when you’re not sitting down and writing loads, so I wondered if this would be a perfect compromise. Also, I’m a sucker for something cute and the little tins that the Herbin ink cartridges come in are just adorable. The set I decided to order combines the pen with three different ink colours (you can choose which you want from a list of 20 different colours) and each tin contains six ink cartridges. For just £10 this is a complete bargain in my book.
In that slightly funny way that things happen, Nickie also chose to review the Herbin rollerball and freakily chose exactly the same three ink colours that I went for. No conferring at all on that one, but suggests that they must be good choices! We both went for Perle Noir (black), Larmes de Cassis (purple) and Lierre Sauvage (green).
The pen itself is physically shorter than most pens I usually use, meaning that I do need to have the lid on the end of it when writing or it just doesn’t feel right in my hand. It’s a clear plastic design, so you can see the ink cartridge inside, and the lid features a metal tip and clip. It’s got a good weight in your hand and writes beautifully. I noted that some reviews online suggest it can be a bit scratchy and indeed I found that when using it on cheap paper, but when you writing on a smooth surface it flows beautifully.
The black (Perle Noir) ink is a classic and as someone who prefers writing in black ink to blue it’s ideal. The purple (Larmes de Cassis) seemed a bit light pink for my liking, but that just means that I’ll be ordering some other purple shades next month to try to find the right one for me. The green (Lierre Sauvage) has become my firm favourite though. I once remember reading that green ink is easier to read for long periods than any other colour and since reading that I have indeed found it to be correct, so I often choose to use green ink. This particular green is not too bright to be seen as childish in any way and I like to think it adds a certain gravitas to my written word. After all MI6’s C supposedly always writes in green…
If I had to find one downside to the Herbin rollerball it would be the fact that the ink cartridges seem to last for so long. A whole weekend of note taking at a conference, plus all the usual things that I write on a day to day basis and I’ve still not finished the first cartridge of the green. So, why is this a problem I hear you ask? Well, simply the fact that I’m impatient and want to write things in the other colours too, yet I don’t want to be faffing about changing half full cartridges in and out (I currently have purple and black in that state on my desk). There’s only one solution I can see. I’m just going to have to order another pen. But then, if I’m ordering another pen, I should go for the set with the ink – value for money and all that. And then it would be the perfect excuse to try out some more ink colours (including finding that illusive perfect purple) but then that gives me more colours that I would want to write with. So that might require more pens. Hmmm – I wonder if they do a bulk discount?
I never thought a pen alone could fill a blog post, but it has done just that. Trust me, when you find a pen that just works perfectly for you, you’ll want to gush about it too. If you’re looking for a good, quality rollerball pen, where you have the flexibility of choosing from 20 different ink colours then the Herbin rollerball is definitely the one for you.
And if you want to see what else I got to try out from Bureau Direct then just watch this space!
Disclaimer: I was sent the Herbin Rollerball set to review for Bureau Direct, along with some other stationery goodies. All views and opinions are completely my own.
The Herbin Rollerball Set is available from Bureau Direct for £10. You can also buy the pen on its own for £4.95 and each tin of Herbin ink (containing six cartridges) costs £2.25. There’s free delivery if you spend £10 and if you sign up for their Stationery Wednesday newsletter you can save a further 10%.