Thanks for stopping by. I hope you enjoy what you find here. Whilst you may not agree with everything I post, if you respect my right to my opinion I'll respect your right to disagree with it and we should get along just fine. :)

Disclaimer: the views expressed by the characters in these works may not necessarily represent the views of the author. Got that? Good.

Right then, on with the blog...

Saturday, 31 October 2009

Happy Halloween!

Greetings and Happy Halloween to all of Future; Nostalgic's readers!

I hope you all have a great time. Thanks to a few of my friends on Twitter (@lauraeno and @adelejournal in particular) I'm planning on having a great time this Halloween getting through the large bag of candycorn @adelejournal kindly sent me. Thanks also to another Twitter friend (@Okami0731) for her help in locating a recipe for home made candycorn - now I'll have a supply all year round; I hope my dentist isn't reading this!

For any of my readers who have not partaken of the US delicacy that is candycorn, and for those who are wondering what the heck I'm on about, this is the aforementioned candy, ably modelled by Bertie, my Halloween rat:

If you have the opportunity, you owe it to yourself to try this stuff, but be warned, it's addictive!

Right...nomnom...must go, this...nomnom...candycorn won' itself ya know!


Tuesday, 27 October 2009

PSN & Flash Notebook Giveaway at Notebookstories

Notebookstories has a great review and giveaway for the above notebooks going at the moment, why not stop by and try your luck?


Review: Moletape

A little while ago, after asking for reviewers, the folks at Molecover kindly sent me a sample of their Moletape strengthening tape for review. To be fair, I'm not a huge Moleskine user, though I did have a couple of notebooks lying around, neither with any damage to the spines, but I decided to fit one of them with the Moletape anyway.

Molecover also sells Moleskine notebooks and the Molecover, a protective leather cover for your Moleskine notebook. Currently available in black, white or tan leather, their website states they will include a strip of Moletape with every Molecover order.

Here's the Moletape as I received it, next to the pocket Moleskine it'll be going on:

My Moletape sample arrived on a Molecover-branded backing sheet and was already pre-sized for a small Moleskine. There was what turned out to be a little ink transfer from the Molecover branding on the backing sheet to the note it came wrapped in, but no dye transfer from the Moletape itself. So far so good.

Initial impressions were good, the Moletape is a strong, matte-finished adhesive cloth tape in rich black, one improvement I could suggest would be to pre-score the backing sheet along where the tape will attach to the spine of the Moleskine so this part of the backing may be removed separately, making it easier to line the Moletape up straight while applying it to the notebook's spine. I do however, like the pre-cut tabs to fit over the ends of the notebook's spine.

Now for the fitting. Here goes...

Separating the Moletape from its backing sheet proved to be more difficult than I had anticipated, and the amount of force required did deform the shape of my sample a little. Any more force and I was afraid the tape would tear where the spine end cutouts join the main piece of tape.

Applying the Moletape to the spine of my Moleskine was relatively simple, requiring only a little trial and error to line the two up by eye, then take the plunge and apply Moleskine to tape; this seemed the easiest way to do it - applying the spine of the notebook to the tape whilst the tape was lying flat on a firm surface.

Then it was simply a matter of smoothing the Moletape over the front and back of the notebook, and here's where I hit my first snag - whilst applying Moletape to the spine of the notebook was simple enough, ensuring a neat straight line down the cover of my Moleskine proved almost impossible; maybe I'm being a bit picky here, but the end result was, despite quite a bit of tweaking, not as sleek as I had hoped.

The extra length of the Moletape was great for folding over the edges of the cover, until that is, I began to tackle to rear cover where the pocket is. I found the only way to fit the Moletape was to trim the fold over flaps so they didn't obsure the pocket opening - trouble was, to do this successfully I had to leave them so short as to only just fold around the rear cover of the Moleskine.

Fitting the tabs down the inside of the Moleskine spine was easy, I opened the Moleskine so the covers were touching which bowed the spine enough to poke the tab down the opening with the help of the blunt end of a pair of tweezers.

So, there was have it, a Moletaped Moleskine.

So, what did I think?

Overall, I think Moletape is a great product, though fitting it is not as simple as I expected it would be, and whilst at least some of the end result is down to operator error, Moletape's adhesive backing makes it very difficult to separate the tape from its backing without deforming the overall shape. Had I possessed the skill to apply it to my notebook and retain a sharp edge to the front cover I would probably have been happier with the end result.

That said, I have no doubt that Moletape provides a wonderfully strong extra layer of protection for the spines of Moleskine notebooks, and I really like the look of the new colours choices in the Moletape range. I would be inclined to give them ago so I could colour-code my notebooks at the same time as protecting their spines.

At a Glance:

Model: Black Moletape (Pocket sized Moleskine size)
Colour: Black. Also available in Russet, Yellow, Pink, Sky Blue, Violet, Olive, Red, Orange, Grey and Brown.
Available from: Molecover in the USA
Price: $20 for 5 strips (Small or Large size)
Overall: 4 out of 5


Friday, 23 October 2009

Still With My Hat On...

The recent trip to Berwick has given up a second slew of goodies which had been lurking at the bottom of a rather large suitcase. Now I can get at them, I thought I'd share...

First there's this small selection of items from the German company Nici, which I picked up in a bargain bin at some rather good prices. There's a pencil case decorated with Nici sheep in various colours - some of them are even wearing coats! The sheep also appear on the cover of the pocket sized notebook, whilst the address book features 'Taking it Easy' sheep and Wolf in Sheep's Clothing. My darling daughter also picked up the plushies of these to hang off her bag. They're very cute!

On the way to Berwick, we stopped off at the village of Seahouses, gateway to the Farne Islands, for lunch (chips from the fantastic chippy in the High Street) and, whilst munching I was drawn to the gift shop opposite where I picked up these two postcard books by Simon Drew. Each book contains 20 individually-designed postcards, all very well-drawn and extremely humorous; it is merely a coincidence that those in the photo above happen to feature cats.

I also picked up this colourful notebook with Puffins on the cover at the same shop, though the wooden bowl came from an outing over the weekend to Paxton House, just across the border into Scotland.

The bowl is interesting inasmuch as it is turned from Bog Oak by a local craftsman and the wood is around 4500 years old! That particular purchase didn't take much thinking about to be honest, as I can count on the fingers of err...a couple of fingers, how many Bog Oak items (that I could afford!) I've seen for sale. The bowl is a deep, glossy black and, depending on the light, you can just about make out some of the striations of the natural oak.

From what I'm told, Bog Oak most often surfaces when peat bogs are drained, and it tends to emerge as whole tree trunks, though usually only the heartwood of the log is in any fit state to be worked. Sometimes the whole log is unuseable, so it's always a bit of a gamble buying a Bog Oak log, though when there is good wood still to be had, gems such as this bowl are the result.


Wednesday, 21 October 2009

You Can Keep Your Hat On...

...and your coat, scarf, gloves and thermal socks! Apologies for mangling the lyrics of that well known Tom Jones song, but a weekend in a caravan in Berwick upon Tweed in October can be a mite on the chilly side; it's the first time this pen-thusiast has slept fully clothed for fun!

Who says we don't suffer for our art?!

It's not all bad news however, as Berwick is home to a couple of little gems as far as stationery shopping is concerned.

The first of these is Geo. C. Grieve Ltd. Stationers & Bookseller on the corner of Marygate and Church Street. Not just your average provincial stationers, oh no! Geo. C Grieve's is a veritable cornucopia of stationery-related goodness - postcards, notebooks, paper, pens, ink, art supplies, calenders, maps, local books, the list is (almost) endless. Grieve's is always this pen-thusiast's first port of call on a trip to Berwick.

Grieve's is a wonderfully friendly shop (of which there are precious few around these days) and this pen-thusiast has never failed to find something interesting or unusual to buy - it's worth a trip to Berwick just to visit this shop! It's also nice to be recognised and greeted warmly, even when your last visit was six months ago. A word of caution though, Grieve's website lists but a fraction of the stock available, so should you not find what you're after, please do email them, they'll be happy to try and source stuff for you.

The haul this time included a 0.5mm Pentel Graphgear 1000 drafting pencil (which came supplied in a great black pen sleeve), a Pentel Ain Clic eraser in red, a Stabilo Marathon ballpoint in black and a six-pack of Artline Multi Pens by Shachihata; no idea what I'm going to do with this last item, but they looked cool and are bound to be useful!

Add to that a few interesting postcards of the local area and a couple of magnetic-backed FootNotes notepads, and it was a happy pen-thusiast who set off, his wallet suitably lightened, to the next regular stop on the itinerary.

The second port of call on our whistle-stop stationery tour of Berwick is Doolally in Marygate, just round the corner from Grieve's in fact. Located on the ground floor of the historic Town Hall (which dates from 1761), Doolally is a combination bookseller and gift shop with a cafe, so you can enjoy a rather lovely cup of coffee while examining your purchases.

Doolally is located through the arch in the end of the building pictured above centre.

Visiting this time brought me my first contact with Momiji - incredibly cute dolls from Japan (I believe). Now these are not really my thing, but my darling daughter picked up the Kittie Doll, which even I have to admit is rather cute! We both grabbed one of the Momiji notebooks and a couple of the matching pens too.

I really quite like the notebooks - they're about A5 size, with wipe-clean plastic covers and have different designs on the pages, making them ideal as inexpensive journals (possibly more suited to our younger viewers!). The pens are needlepoint rollerballs and come with black, blue, red and green ink, each colour having a different barrel design.

Should you be heading up to Berwick, you can contact Doolally on 01289 306 796.

Not a bad haul for a weekend's work, eh?


Monday, 12 October 2009

Of Cabbages and Kings

With apologies to Lewis Caroll...

"The time has come," the Walrus said,
"To talk of many things:
Of shoes, and ships, and sealing-wax,
Of cabbages, and kings..."
"And pens," said Sam. "Don't forget the pens."

loosely based on The Walrus and The Carpenter by Lewis Carroll
(from Through the Looking-Glass and What Alice Found There, 1872)

I feel the time has come to attempt to draw a line under the sad events of the last couple of months, and in so doing I'd like to take this opportunity to express my heartfelt thanks to all of Future; Nostalgic's readers who have emailed, commented or Tweeted kind thoughts and condolences during this difficult time, you've been brilliant and I appreciate your support more than I can tell you.

It remains my intention to blog about MIL's army career during WW2, and the nice people at UK Army Records have confirmed they have a file relating to that period, though it is likely to be six to eight months before I can get my hands on a copy.

Thanks again folks, normal service will be resumed as soon as possible.

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