Better Thinking • Parker Pens

I am a sentimental soul. My sister might refer to me as a hoarder but I see myself as a collector of memories. Over Christmas we watched the film Inside Out, which if you haven’t seen it, is a beautiful Pixar film about the importance of the core memories in your childhood and all the influences that make you the person you grow up to become. 

I consciously collect and squash into shoe boxes and dog eared gift boxes, plane tickets, champagne corks with the date and occasion of why we popped them scrawled around the rim and the glittery creations the boys have made and handed me with such pride in their eyes as they race out of their classrooms.

I keep little things that provoke big memories. My girl guide sash complete with hand sewn badges, my nursery school workbooks from when we lived in Bahrain when I was 3, to University halls of residence t-shirts and pieces I was allowed to keep when we lost my grandparents. I have my granny’s suitcase filled with packs of cards from their bridge playing days, a little embellished match box that sat on their mantlepiece and her handwritten recipe book, amongst lots of other little things dotted around our home. 

My cousin has my grandpa’s traditional writing desk in her home office, he always kept it immaculately organised, letter opener to the right, magnifying glass to the right, or at least that’s how I remember it. He sat at his desk in their study and opened each letter carefully and precisely, then took his pen and noted down any tasks or responses required. I remember both of their gentle penmanship, ink eloquently drawn on paper, with flow and such class. My granny had an enviable and natural italic style and my grandpa wrote holding his fountain pen between his second and third fingers after he was shot serving in the army.

I only remember them writing in ink, and it always felt so special receiving a letter from them, knowing the ritual and routine they would have gone through, sat at the desk, collecting their thoughts and then putting pen to paper. One of our family treasures is my grandpa’s Parker fountain pen, which must be over 50 years old! 

So when Parker sent me one of their new Sonnet range fountain pens as part of their Better Thinking campaign, I couldn’t wait to compare them and see how their distinctive and timeless design has evolved. The iconic arrow clip just invites you to run your fingers over the three subtle grooves and the sound when you release the cap leaves a satisfying pop in the air. I have never held such a beautiful pen in my fingers, an 18k gold nib so shiny, you can see your own reflection, masked only by the precision etchings crossing the centre. 

They are masters of their meticulous craft. And it makes you feel like you could rewrite the prettiest calligraphy or prose. It makes me want to write like I am a conductor in a grand orchestra, waving the Ciselé pattern design wildly over the page in long fluid stokes. From the moment you lift the grey cloth lid of the cushioned box to snapping the cartridge into place, there is a glorious ritual that makes me smile. I don’t know whether it’s the silky smooth grip, gold plated trim, the weight of the jet black cylindrical barrel, or the ebony ink that gently flows from the nib but it makes the words on the paper feel worthy of greater consideration.

It makes me want to rush less. I scribble notes all the time, on scrap bits of paper, on the bottom of diary pages and on the backs of letters stuffed in their book bags from school. But when you write with a fountain pen you want to take more time. Consider what you really want to say, what deserves to be detailed forever in black and white. 

I wanted to start my own book, but being a terrible cook I knew a recipe book like my beloved granny’s wasn’t something I would start and stick to. But then my sister gave me a copy of The Flower Recipe book and I had a light bulb moment. All through the year I arrange and rearrange my own floral arrangements and displays on our painted blue Edwardian sideboard in the sitting room. I tilt my head, stand back and tease vases into position, sometimes with ridiculously precise symmetry, only to find the wobbly floors and wonky ceilings means the centre is never the absolute mid point! I share photos on my Instagram feed and I thought it would be a lovely sentiment to document and record all my own flower recipes.

I want to create a scrap book of ideas, with photos from my feed, write down what species and stems I used and what vessels and vases I placed them in. All these posies and home made bouquets have brought me so much joy over the year. I love looking back at the seasonal blooms I bought from local florists and the incredible flowers and foliage my neighbour delivered, in bursting black buckets from her garden each week, from my birthday right through to the middle of October. 

And a special book, one I am going to add to over the coming years, deserves thought and special care. And I couldn’t think of a more beautiful way to record it than with my new Parker pen.

A collaboration with Parker.