Diamine Inkvent 2022 Day 5: Spiced Apple

It’s time to see what’s behind door number 5:

Door 5

Inkvent day 5 ink is Diamine Spiced Apple, a red chameleon ink.

Diamine Spiced Apple bottle

Like Solar Storm, another chameleon ink from this year’s Inkvent, Spiced Apple is difficult to photograph.

Diamine Spiced Apple swab on Col-o-Ring

Spiced Apple is a bright red ink with chameleon shimmer that makes it look golden brown from some angles, blue green or bright red from others. The left side of this apple sketch looks golden brown, which is why it came out darker in this photo.

Diamine Spiced Apple on 52g Tomoe River paper

I don’t normally use red inks, as I associate the colour with editing, not writing. However, the chameleon effect really does make this ink particularly appealing.

Writing sample on 68g Tomoe river paper

Diamine Inkvent 2022 Day 4: Spruce

It’s Day 4 of the Diamine Inkvent calendar. What’s behind today’s door?

Day 4’s door

It’s Diamine Spruce – a saturated dark green that’s (unfortunately) scented.

Diamine Spruce bottle.

The ink is a dark viridian green with a red sheen and relatively little shading, as it is so saturated. It also showed a troubling tendency to stain pens, perhaps because it is so saturated or perhaps because of the pigments involved. It’s not a super sheening ink, which means that drying times are long but acceptable, but it will feather on even normally fountain pen friendly paper.

Diamine Spruce swab on a Col-o-Ring

Diamine Spruce is a very Christmas appropriate ink, and I’d have no issue with it if it wasn’t scented. Diamine doesn’t normally make scented inks and I don’t like scented inks, which means that this is not only the first scented Diamine ink that I own, it’s the first scented ink that I own. Did Diamine even make scented inks before this Inkvent calendar? I don’t like scented inks enough to even check.

Diamine Spruce on Tomoe river 52g paper

I filled a Lamy Safari with a medium nib with Diamine Spruce, and the air freshener smell it gives off is so unpleasant that I’ll probably dump the ink in the converter right after writing this review. It’s not an overpowering scent, but it is present, and I don’t like it. It reminds me of hospital toilets and car air-fresheners, and not in a good way. Definitely not an ink that I would ever buy or use.

Written on Tomoe river 68g paper.

Diamine Inkvent 2022 Day 3: Solar Storm

What does day 3 of the 2022 Inkvent calendar bring?

Door 3

Something new and exciting: a chameleon ink:

Diamine Solar Storm

Day 3’s ink is Diamine Solar Storm, a dark purple chameleon ink. What is a chameleon ink, you may ask? I did too. When I saw the label on the bottle I thought that there must be some new ink trend that started when I was abroad and I missed it. Was that the new name for the hue shifting inks that Sailor popularised?

Solar Storm swab on a Col-o-Ring

No it was not. A quick internet search revealed that chameleon inks were a new kind of shimmer ink from Diamine, first offered in the Inkvent 2022 calendar. What is special about them is that the mica in them is very fine, and so the shimmer shifts colour as you tilt the page and view your writing from different angles.

Diamine Solar Storm on tomoe river 52g (original paper)

Very cool and impossible to photograph (you’ll perhaps get a feel for the effect in a video review). There are angles where you can barely see the shimmer, and others where it is dazzling, angles where it’s golden green and others where it’s silvery. The ink itself is a wonderfully dark, dusky and rich bluish-purple with a good amount of shading. Even without the chameleon effect it would have been lovely.

Diamine Solar Storm compared with Diamine Stargazer from 2021’s Inkvent

Comparing Solar Storm with last year’s Stargazer, there’s something more subtle about the chameleon effect that makes it more appealing to me than the shimmering and sheening Stargazer. It may be the newness bias, and it may be that I’ve grown tired of blue inks with lots of red sheen, but if chameleon inks are the next big thing, I’m not against them. Solar Storm is a fantastic ink, with a very peculiar name choice for a Christmas themed calendar. However, if it will clean out well out of my Pilot Metropolitan cursive medium fountain pen, then it is definitely going on the shopping list for a full bottle.

Written on Tomoe river 68g paper (original).

Diamine Inkvent 2022 Day 2: Yule Log

What’s behind door number 2?

Door 2

A very festively named ink:

Diamine Yule Log

Day 2’s ink is Diamine Yule Log, a brown shimmer ink. There’s a lot of coppery shimmer in this ink, and a good amount of shading. I filled a Lamy Studio fine nibbed fountain pen with this ink, and all the writing samples here are done with that:

Diamine Yule Log on Col-o-Ring

Yule Log is a sketcher’s ink in terms of hue: if it didn’t have shimmer to it, I could see myself sketching landscapes with it. You can see how close it is in shade and shading to De Atramentis Urban Sienna, which is an excellent sketching ink. Yule Log tends a bit more to yellow and Urban Sienna tends a bit more to red, but they both look like classic inks for pen and ink sketching.

The coppery shimmer does add interest to Diamine Yule Log and it makes it more celebratory without being so much shimmer that you lose the character of the ink. It still shades beautifully, and has a warm richness to it even without the sparkles:

Yule Log sketch on Tomoe River paper 52g

I love that this ink is part of the Inkvent calendar, but I’m not so sure where it lives once Inkvent is over. Yule Log is dark enough to use in serious settings, but then it’s a shimmer ink, so maybe not something you want your colleagues to see you write meeting notes with. It isn’t festive enough to be your ink of choice for Christmas cards, and I’m not sure it has a place over any other ink for any other purpose. I’m sure that it’s going to be someone’s favourite ink somewhere, it’s just that I don’t think many people will be rushing off to buy a full bottle of it.

Writing sample on Tomoe river paper 68g

Diamine Inkvent 2022 Day 1: Bliss

It’s day 1 of Inkvent 2022, and it’s time to see what’s behind the first door (the illustration on the calendar is exactly the same as in previous years, just on a green background, instead of a blue or red one):

Door 1

It’s Diamine Bliss!

Diamine Bliss bottle

I filled a Pilot Metropolitan fine nibbed pen with it, and created this Col-O-Ring swab:

A nice and bright turquoise with some shading.

It’s definitely a cheerful and calming colour, and it has distinct summery vibes to it. To test it out I created a quick sketch of the beach and the Mediterranean on a Tomoe River 52g notebook (the original Tomoe River paper).

A blissful view.

I then wrote this quick review of The Expanse series using it. As you can see, despite this ink being labelled as “standard” it shades very well, even in a fine nibbed pen. It also remains readable throughout, which isn’t a given in turquoise inks. This was written on Tomoe River paper 68g (original tomoe river paper).

I highly recommend reading The Expanse. Yes, all nine novels. It’s worth it.

I like turquoise inks, and so I have a few swabs of them at hand (and one or two laying around that I haven’t swabbed yet). Diamine Bliss is very close to Sailor Bungubox June Bride Something Blue, and not far from Diamine Subzero (minus the shimmer). Not a particularly rare shade of ink, but a nice one nonetheless.

Weekly Update: Remission and Apple Watch

Long time and no update, not so much because things haven’t been going on, but mostly because I’m still having trouble typing as my chemo induced neuropathy gets worse with the cold, and it’s been pretty cold here.


So my post-treatment PET-CT results came in and I’m officially in remission. That is great news – it means that there’s no active disease that can be detected in scans. Now we wait and see if it really is gone for good (it’s a 5 year wait, but the first two years and the first year in particular are crucial), and deal with the side effects and damage the cancer and treatment left behind. It’s a lot of work, basically another full time job building back my body and mind to a place where they aren’t what they used to be (that’s just not going to happen) but where they are as healthy as they can be.

To that end, I “broke down” and purchased an Apple Watch two weeks ago. I really like analogue watches, which is why I’ve avoided buying a smart watch until now, but at the recommendation of several health professionals I decided to give it a try. As my phone is an iPhone, I went with the Apple Watch series 7 GPS, and as I use the Nike running and training apps (NRC and NTC – highly recommended and free to use), I went with the black Nike version of the watch.

Timex Peanuts watch on the left, Apple Watch series 7 Nike edition on the right.

So far it has been a great purchase. I’ve been using it to track my runs and training, my heart rate, breathing and blood oxygen levels, and for bio-feedback based meditation. I’ve also been using it to track my sleep, which is pretty abysmal and the moment due to the residual effect of drugs that I had to take during chemo and are still in my system (and will remain there for a few months yet).

As for the analogue watches that I love wearing, I gave up on them for a few days, and then decided to just do as a local celebrity does and wear more than one watch at a time. So I have an Apple Watch on my left hand and an analogue watch on my right hand, and though it may seem excessive or eccentric it makes me happy (and I still like checking the time on analogue watches better).


I finished reading Percival Everett’s “The Trees” and it was excellent. A brilliant, funny, dark and timely novel that proves that contemporary satire can still be written. This kind of novel is why I read the books on “The Tournament of Books” list, as otherwise I never would have heard of it, let alone read it. Highly recommended.

I then read Dr. Jennifer Gunter’s “Menopause Manifesto”. It is a must read: expertly written, chock full of information that I would have had trouble finding elsewhere, interesting and kind. Even if you think that your menopause is years away, or if you’re someone who won’t experience menopause this is still a book that you should read, and sooner rather than later.

I’m now reading Sally Rooney’s “Beautiful World, Where Are You” for the Tournament of Books and not enjoying it much. I really didn’t like “Normal People” and I wouldn’t have tried another Rooney novel if it wasn’t on the ToB list. I know a lot of people like Rooney’s writing, and she’s won several awards for it, but I find it whiny, boring and self indulgent, and so far “Beautiful World” is worse than “Normal People” in that aspect. I’m trying to be open minded and patient, so I’m not giving up on it yet. Hopefully it will improve with time.

Currently Inked

As the weather has been cold my neuropathy has been too painful for me to journal regularly. My fingers feel like someone has taken a set of pliers to them, or else someone has lit a lighter under them. It will be warming up a bit next week, and so I’ve set aside a few pens that I intend to write with. I’m down to 18 pens (!) currently inked, and if I do get to journal as much as I expect this week then I’ll probably write 2-3 more pens dry. Not many of my Diamine Inkvent 2021 pens remain inked, but I’m not going to be able to write them all dry by the end of the month. As March will be a warmer month and more time will have passed from my treatments I’m hoping that my neuropathy will improve and I’ll be able to write more, and maybe even get back to regular sketching.

By the way, in April Diamine will be issuing the Diamine Inkvent 2021 inks in “Red Edition” glass bottles, just like the original Inkvent “Blue Edition” bottles. These make for great gifts as the inks are very good and the bottles are stunning. I still haven’t finalized the list of inks that I intend to buy, but for now it includes Brandy Snap, Night Shade, Ash, Harmony and Thunderbolt or Ruby Blues.

From top to bottom: Platinum 3776, Visconti Van Gogh, Kanilea, Lamy Safari, Pilot Falcon, Lamy Studio, Diplomat Aero


The Pen Addict podcast celebrated 10 years (!) and 500 episodes in an epic and fun episode where Brad and Myke read the listeners’ favourite stationery items. This one is well worth a listen, and is sure to make you smile.

I finished watching “The Book of Bobba Fett” on Disney+ and generally liked it. It would have been nice to have more Bobba and Fennec and have the flashbacks more integrated into the later story line. I didn’t like the cyborgs much, and I wish that it wasn’t so much a “Mandalorian 2.5” season but its own thing. I think that Bobba and Fennec’s storyline suffered because of the tie to “The Mandalorian,” fun as it was. Hopefully they get a second season where they’re allowed to stand on their own for a while.

If you aren’t listening to the “Maintenance Phase” podcast, please do. This week’s episode was about “Super Size Me” and boy did I learn a lot from it.

Liz Steel and Marc Taro Holmes are hosting the One Week 100 People challenge again this year on 7-11 March 2022, and hopefully I’ll be able to join it again, hands be willing. It’s a really fun challenge, especially if you don’t feel confident drawing people. There’s a bonus challenge for people who want to sketch from life, but if I’ll participate it will likely be by drawing from Flickr photos as Covid is still raging out there, and I’m still vulnerable to it.

Today’s Fountain Pen

Today’s fountain pen is also my first fountain pen, the wonderful Waterman Phileas. It’s filled with Diamine Ruby Blues from the Diamine Inkvent 2021 calendar.

My hands have been an utter nightmare this week and I’m only now starting to feel a slight improvement in my neuropathy. This is the most that I’ve been able to draw and type all week.

Diamine Inkvent 2021: Summary

What a fun and wild ride was Diamine’s 2021 Inkvent calendar. It was tough posting a review of an ink every day for the past 25 days, in particular since my hands weren’t my best friends during many of those days (and even now) because of chemo induced neuropathy.
When comparing the 2019 Inkvent calendar to the 2021 version, I personally like the 2021 version much more. There are more inks that I could see myself regularly using, the inks were more interesting, and there was a better spread of colours.
Here’s a look at the Col-o-Ring swatches of all 25 inks in the Inkvent 2021 calendar, grouped more or less by hue:

A lot of blue for a red calendar.

Blue and blue green dominate this calendar, although there’s a good selection of pinks and purples. There are fewer brown inks this year, which I don’t think will disappoint many people, particularly since the two brown inks that have been included (Winter Spice and Brandy Snap) are interesting and unique.

I expect Diamine to issue full bottles of these samples, like they did with their Diamine Blue edition. These are the inks that I’ll likely be buying once that edition comes out:

Diamine Ash, Harmony, Night Shade, Thunderbolt, Yuletide, Black Ivy, Brandy Snap

I like shading inks more than shimmering or sheening ones, and all these inks have interesting shading properties or a unique shade that I happen to like and not have in my ink collection. Will I be buying 7 new bottles of ink? Maybe, but probably not. I have over 25 fountain pens filled with ink now (the most that I’ve ever had), so my plan is to write them dry and see after a few weeks of use which ones stick and which ones don’t.

An added bonus to the decision to ink up a pen for each sample is that I’ve inked many pens that I haven’t used in months or years. It’s been a lot of fun playing with the Sailor Cross Emperor nib again, or remembering why I liked this pen or the other. If you’re looking for a way to cheer yourself up, allow me to recommend pulling out a few pens that you haven’t used in a while and jotting something down with them or just doodling. I’m pretty sure it will make you smile.

Diamine Inkvent 2021 Day 25

Caveat: this year’s Inkvent appears to have elusive ink colours. I suggest reading my description of the inks and not going by the photos alone, and comparing my results with those of other reviewers. 

The Diamine Inkvent calendar is an advent calendar with 24 tiny (12ml) bottles of fountain pen ink behind 24 doors, and a larger, 30ml, bottle of ink behind the 25th door. All the inks are limited edition, and, at the moment, only available through this calendar.

Day 25’s door.

Day 25’s ink, the 30ml bottle, is Diamine All the Best. It’s a deep red/burgundy ink with purple shimmer and a golden sheen.

Diamine All the Best.

Here’s a Col-o-Ring swab of Diamine All the Best. The colour fits with the red colour of the calendar, and the ink is festive, saturated, shimmery and shiny. Everything you’d expect from a Christmas ink.

Col-o-Ring swab.

I used a TWSBI Go with a 1.1 stub nib to test out Diamine All the Best, and I kind of regret the choice of pen, but more on that later.

TWSBI Go and Col-o-Ring swab.

I sketched a Christmas tree with presents and a hearth with stockings to test out this ink when the TWSBI GO decided to burp ink on the page and then lay down a ton of ink. You can see the mess on the hearth. My guess is that the feed needs reseating, but I can’t deal with it now with the state of my hands.

Diamine All the Best on Tomoe River paper.

You can see the sheen and some shimmer here:

This was drawn on a Kanso Sasshi 3.5” x 5.5” Tomoe River Paper notebook (the notebooks I have were bought in 2016, and so they contain the old Tomoe River paper).

Finally, I wrote a page in my Midori Journal:

As you can see, there was another unfortunate burp right at the start of the page. The nib also lay down a ton of ink, which is good for showing the properties of the ink, but it makes writing with it quite a risk.

Close up on some sheen and shimmer.

Diamine All the Best is the perfect ink to end the Inkvent 2021 Advent calendar. It fits the theme, fits the calendar colour, has a rich base colour and all the fun extra properties a fountain pen ink can have (shading, shimmering, sheen). If you’re looking for an ink to write Christmas cards with, Diamine All the Best is for you.
I’ll be writing a wrap-up post about the Inkvent 2021 experience and which inks I plan on purchasing. Merry Christmas to all who celebrate!

Diamine Inkvent 2021 Day 24

Caveat: this year’s Inkvent appears to have elusive ink colours. I suggest reading my description of the inks and not going by the photos alone, and comparing my results with those of other reviewers. 

The Diamine Inkvent calendar is an advent calendar with 24 tiny (12ml) bottles of fountain pen ink behind 24 doors, and a larger, 30ml, bottle of ink behind the 25th door. All the inks are limited edition, and, at the moment, only available through this calendar.

Day 24’s door.

Day 24’s ink is Diamine Yuletide. It’s a teal coloured ink that is supposed to be standard ink but has a lot of shading and a good amount of red sheen. I have no idea why it wasn’t marked as a sheening ink.

Diamine Yuletide.

A standard ink? No. Despite it being marked as such Diamine Yuletide sheens.

A standard ink? I don’t think so.

Here’s a Col-o-Ring swab of Diamine Yuletide. The base shade of this ink is lovely, with a ton of shading and some red sheen – it’s one of the more attractive Inkvent inks, and that’s saying a lot.

Col-o-Ring swab.

I used an original Visconti Van Gogh Ocean with a medium 14k gold nib to test Diamine Yuletide out. It took a while to prime the nib after filling it through the converted (the grip and nib section are too big to fill directly from the tiny sample bottle), which is why you can see evidence of hard starts on this Col-o-Ring card.

Visconti Van Gogh and Col-o-Ring swab.

I drew a snowy scene with fir trees, which is about as much as I can draw with my hands being in the state that they are. The shading with Diamine Yuletide is wonderful, and the red sheen comes out as almost a halo.

Diamine Yuletide on Tomoe River paper.

Sorry about the blurry photo, but it does capture the red sheen.

This was drawn on a Kanso Sasshi 3.5” x 5.5” Tomoe River Paper notebook (the notebooks I have were bought in 2016, and so they contain the old Tomoe River paper).

Finally, I wrote a page in my Midori Journal:

A close up on the shading. My camera is de-emphasizing the sheen for some reason, but it’s there, in almost every letter.

After the lackluster Diamine Wonderland it was nice to get an ink like Diamine Yuletide. The base teal shade is wonderful, the ink offers some lovely shading, and the red sheen is a nice added bonus. Diamine Yuletide is definitely a contender for the full bottle purchase later on.