Switching to Fountain Pens

When I was little I would play around with some calligraphy sets my parents got me and I loved it. I’ve always written in cursive, well ever since I was able to. And watching how the nib would enhance my lettering amazed me. However one thing I didn’t like was the sound of the nib on the paper, the scratching sound got on my nerves. Big time. I heard about fountain pens but for some reason was never really interested in them, possibly a combination of the risk of leaking combined with the scratchiness I was used to.

 

Then my friend showed me his fountain pen and I tried it out. Absolutely nothing like I thought it would be. And that pushed me to order my first fountain pen; a TWSBI Eco. I love it, I now use it over every other pen I own. Feathering and dry time be damned.

 

One of the things that attracted me to fountain pens was being about to refill them and have the ink consistency across a book. I’ve had times in the past when I’ve fallen in love with a pen and then it runs out of ink and I can never find a replacement. Or I find one I like and hoard so many I lose them and have to revert to  different pen. Using a fountain pen I can at least guarantee a bottle of ink is going to look the same across one notebook. And then I can buy more ink, and providing I chose the right company and shade it should at least last me until I find another ink I like.

 

Although I said feathering and dry time be damned they are major annoyances for me. I prefer paper which doesn’t feather; surprisingly normal printing paper and then I use Tomoe River Paper and Rhodia paper. Dry time is lengthened on TMR and R paper and I find having a piece of paper over the top when I close the book helps prevent smudging, especially blotting paper.

 

So now I’m pretty much exclusively using my fountain pen as my daily writer, and it goes with me everywhere.

Let’s Talk

Right so this is a new series/category that I’m thinking of adding. Basically it’s about spreading awareness of mental illness. Every week I’m gonna pick a topic and write a post on that and try and put as much information in it while still keeping it relevant. All the posts will be independent so you don’t have to read the entire series if you don’t want to. So far I have:

Depression
Anxiety
Eating Disorders
Suicide and Self Harm
How to get help and where
You think your friend has a disorder
Myths and Stereotypes
Treatment Options

But like I said this is just an idea and I’m hoping to get some support before this starts so the information can get everywhere. So leave a comment if you would interested in this!

Returning to Running

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Not that anyone who knows me believes me but I was really sporty as a kid. Football in winter, touch in summer. Cross-country, biking and martial arts. Originally when I first stopped I would give the excuse that I hurt my ankle, which according to my childhood memories is half correct but in hindsight I’m beginning to think something else was involved.

So recently I regained my interest in running. And by regained I mean became slightly obsessed. At the moment my current goal is too increase my fitness, I’m hoping that weightloss is involved not gonna lie but that’s not my goal. I also have like mini goals in mind to track my progress.

I also have a fun habit of getting kinda obsessed with something and then do it for like a couple of days and then giving up like; sewing (in my defense I don’t currently have my sewing machine), knitting (I kept losing my needles but I made a scarf!), weaving (like on a loom, couldn’t put the loom together), running *cough cough* (begged my parents for a treadmill and gave up). So to start with I waited a couple of days to see if my go for a run feeling would stay and it did so I bought a pair of running shoes and a sports bra and then spent the next week breaking them in, the shoes that is. Shoes are perfect didn’t need breaking in and are super comfy. Sports bra is… misused. It’s a low support yoga bra that I got a couple sizes too small and fits nicely not gonna lie. Defintely gonna buy one soon that fits properly.

And then after work on a whim I went for a run. Did terribly was wheezing after it but I still wanted to go for a run. So I went the next day and kinda improved my time and distance. Then my legs were killing me so I took a break. I did another two days and then another break. A week later and I was thinking y’know what I better make advantage of this while I can. Now I’ve got my friends to remind me to go for a run, yay positive peer pressure. So if I’m like complaining they’ll be like Ash, go for a run and I’ll be like ugh fine. I found a nice quiet park that I drive to and go for a run (I know I know but I can’t walk up the hill after a run but the run there is exercise itself). It’s usually pretty quiet so I don’t feel awkward going all out and trying my best.

After a week I saw results. Then when I moved parks I saw even better results. I made a set mental course and would see if I could increase my distance. When I first started running that lap I would only make it about 50 meters before I had to stop (because of my legs, not my lungs) then when I finished that day I was running about 80 metres. The next time I went I went from 80 metres to 120 metres and as of my last time there I made the entire lap. Nearly y’know died at the end but it was worth it. Now my goal is to run the entirely lap comfortably and then increase it from here. First goal; run 1km with out stopping.

I’ve found that keeping my goals and fitness tracker in my journal thing has helped keep me motivated. It’s been a month since I started running again and I’m still going strong. Currently I run 3kms a run in about 30 minutes. Over the next couple of months I’m hoping to increase that to 5kms in 30ish minutes.

NB – Not my photo, photo taken from editing site.

Am I Wrong – BTS

BTS (Bangtan Sonyeondan/방탄소년단) is one of my favourite bands. Their last album, WINGS, was released on October the 10th. I love this album, I’ll admit it’s taken me awhile to love the songs but as of now I love all the songs on the album. It took me ages to decide which of the songs to choose and it came down to this or 21 Century Girls or Blood Sweat and Tears. I chose Am I Wrong because I slightly like the message a touch more.

My favourite thing about this album is the solo songs each of the members have. While there are a couple I prefer, they’re all equally good and it’s great to see each member have their moment to show off their skills.

If you like this song, I definitely recommend checking out the entire album… and then their previous albums.

Top Places to Visit in New Zealand

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My Top Places to Visit in New Zealand

It’s coming up to summer and by extension the school holidays so I thought I would round up my top places in the country. Now I think you can’t really go wrong anywhere here but these are my top places to visit in NZ, in no particular order. However if you can only visit one of the islands definitely go see the South Island, it is by far the prettiest part of NZ.

Arrowtown

Arrowtown holds a special place in my heart as this is where I go every year for my birthday, it’s a small settlement in the South Island a short drive from Queenstown. Everyone says Queenstown’s the place to go and I’d agree if like me you don’t have access to a car. But if you can drive or bus Arrowtown’s one of the best. There are wineries on the drive if you’re into that and the bus stops immediately outside Amisfield. You can visit the Chinese Settlement and the Museum and learn about how Otago was founded and the gold mining the area became renowned for. My favourite spots is to pick a café, we chose a different one each time, and sit and watch the river slowly go past. It is absolutely stunning in winter but be warned that the roads can get very slippery and although it is gritted, it’s limited to the main streets and not the sidewalks if you want to get off the main road. I’ll also mention that it costs 15 each way and if you’re gonna be catching buses regularly you should get a weekly pass for forty-something.

Waitomo

I included this because a, I used to live nearby and b, it’s an awesome spot. It’s home to the Waitomo Caves in the Waitomo (lit. water holes) district which is halfway between two Waikato Towns, Otorohanga and Te Kuiti. Although there are the famous glowworm caves at Waitomo there’s also Ruakauri (Den of Dogs, according to local language) and blackwater rafting if you want to be adventurous. The Caves themselves are pretty good if you’ve never been in them or in something like them. Thousands of glowworms light up the ceiling and you can even see their little threads hanging down.If you chose to stay in either town it’s about and hours drive to Rotorua and about 40 minutes to Hamilton

Paihia

Almost the birthplace of New Zealand. That distinction is held by Waitangi and technically Russell if you wanna go by the first capital. Paihia is a tourist resort with pretty much everything on your door step. Lots of awesome cafes and restaurant line the main waterfront road. Family tradition has it that we always have lunch at least once at the Thai restaurant on the main drag.
You can take the ferry over to Russell and have lunch on the Duke of Marlborough, which holds NZ’s first liquor license. A good restaurant is Sally’s on the waterfront. You can also take the Russell mini tour and be taken around the area and up to the Flagpole. And if you want my tip, head down to the Community hall, then back from the beach. There’s this little collection of shops they have amazing food there.
Back in Paihia you can take boat trips out to the Hole In The Rock, go on dolphin and whale watching tours, taking a fishing boat or even have dinner on the water. There is also a bus tour that takes you up to Cape Reinga and then along 90 miles beach and back to Paihia.

Milford Sound

I was originally tempted to put this under Arrowtown but I argued the fact that it’s in an entirely different region. Milford Sound is probably the most famous place in NZ, in my opinon. Most people from out of the country would probably recognize the famous Mitre Peak. You can either drive there, watch out for avalanches in winter though, or catch a bus from Queenstown, which if you’re staying in a main location they might be able to pick you up from the door. Most bus tours also include a boat trip of the sound, which isn’t really a sound it’s a fjord, hence the region being name Fjordland

Tiritiri Matangi

If you follow my blog you might know all about tiri, as I have been a volunteer there for a few years now. Basically if you want to know what New Zealand would have looked like pre-civilisation, aside from trekking into the depths of Fiordland, this is pretty close and it has most of the birds as well. Although I can’t guarantee any birds I would say you’re most likely to see bellbirds, tuis and takahes. Although usually I do see most of them, the stitchbirds, saddlebacks, robins and kakariki a wee bit more uncommon. There are kokako, one of the most beautiful birds I think, quail, fantails and riflemen you’re somewhat less likely to see them. We do have moreporks and kiwi which you will need to stay the night to stay but sometimes you can spot moreporks sleeping in trees on the side of the track. But tiri isn’t only birds we have amazing plants. All the punga ferns on the island are silver ferns, there are massive pohutakawa on the sides of the cliff and a little bit further on on the long track.

These are my top places to visit in New Zealand, I’ve tried to spread them out across the islands and places people are more likely to be visiting. They’re worthwhile seeing during any time of the year, though be aware that they can get very busy in peak times. Leave a comment if you’re wanting to visit here or have already!