Gel pen

Mid-Week Mini: Zebra Sarasa Clip - Vintage Colours.

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The Zebra Sarasa Clip is my favourite gel ink pen. I have found them the most consistent gel pens giving me a smooth line and starting up even if it hasn’t been used for a while. I like the 05 tip size as I find the line width thin enough and I don’t feel like there is any friction on the page when writing. I wrote a review of the Sarasa Clip back in 2016 which you can find here.

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However I think the gem in the Zebra Sarasa Clip world are the Vintage colours. I was bought one of these pens by Priya from The London Parchment a few years ago in the blue-grey and I used it a lot! It was subtly different to anything I had tried before. The only downside at the time was they weren’t available in the UK, but that problems now resolved and you can grab these from Cult Pens. In todays post I will share with you the different colours available and try to explain why I love this pen so much.

Colour choices.

There are a range of muted tones in the Vintage line, Green-black, Blue-grey, Brown-grey, Red-black and Blue-black. I didn't bother buying the Blue-black, because, well...it’s blue-black and I kinda know what to expect from that colour. I was far more interested in the other options that came within this range.

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The Vintage colour choices are traditional colours, but those you would expect to sit within Vintage theme. My favourite is the blue-grey as the colour is subtle but different to any other blue gel pen I have tried. There is a lovely lightness which comes from the grey tones dulling the blue pigment. It works nicely though to give a subdued blue and manages to make a standard ink colour a little more interesting.

The brown-grey is my least favourite of the four mostly because it doesn't stand out against the other Vintage colours. Interestingly the grey element of this colour actually works well and really alters the brown colour nicely. Pairing this with the black would have been a mistake and perhaps darkened it too much, but the grey is distinctive and quite nice.

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The Red-black and Green-black sit somewhere in the middle. I like both and they feel very British reminding me a lot of Mini car colours. There is a vibrancy that you don’t get from the blue or brown inks. There is a hint of a teal shade in the green-black and the red is very bright.

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Overall thoughts.

The Zebra Sarasa Clip gel pen, especially in these Vintage colours, is my favourite gel pen to use. I often use these as an everyday pen and with my Travelers Notebook because you get a fine point. These pens are a great price too at £2.40 per pen. This is the higher end of a gel pen price but totally worth it for such a different and distinctive gel pen in a cool range of colours.

1 Week, 1 Pen/Pencil: Week 4 Review

My Start Bay Navigator in Chic Tan and the Karas Kustoms Retrakt

My Start Bay Navigator in Chic Tan and the Karas Kustoms Retrakt

This week I have been using the Karas Kustoms Retrakt paired with the Pilot G2 black gel refill. Before starting out on this week I presumed I would enjoy using the Pilot G2 refill but maybe struggle a little bit with the Retrakt pen itself. This assumption was pretty spot on but I have also encountered a few barriers to the 1 pen challenge.

This week's failures

There have been a few occasions this week where I have been forced to deviate from the Karas Kustoms Retrakt and Pilot G2. First up was a passport application I needed to get filled out and sent. These forms have very specific requirements and you need to use a black ballpoint pen to fill out the forms. This meant that the gel ink pen was not useable in this situation. Secondly I had to send some post this week and I needed to use a Sharpie pen to fill out the shipping information on the box.

These deviations were forced and highlights that 1 pen cannot work in all scenarios. There are times when specific tools are needed to get the job done.

Things I didn't like this week.

I want to get the negative points out of the way first. This week marked the start of my final module with the Open University which has meant that the amount of time I spend writing has increased. Using the Retrakt for long periods of time has been quite strenuous. This pen is heavy, being made from aluminium, and when writing for long stretches of time I found that my wrist began to ache, a lot! I have found it quite uncomfortable in a way I don't think I would have with a fountain pen and definitely not with a pencil.

Poor sight line on the G2 tip

Poor sight line on the G2 tip

In keeping with this theme, the Retrakt grip section is something I cannot persuade myself to like. I find the it too chunky and the sight line to the pen tip poor. This has only been a slight irritation when I have been writing for long periods of time with this pen. For shorter note taking tasks this is less of an issue.

The Pilot G2 refill

The Pilot G2 refill

There are some good points

The Pilot G2 refill is strong. The black line is crisp and dark giving a brilliantly fine line on the page. It flows well and is really smooth to write with. I have particularly enjoyed using this in my Midori Weekly Refill (019) for recording a snippet of the day's events.

The Retrakt is a nice looking, smart pen. It's not one I use regularly simply because it gets bumped mainly by fountain pens. But actually it's a nice pen and it has it’s place as part of my writing toolkit, but as a standalone pen to use day in and day out, I am not sure the Retrakt barrel would work for me.

Overall thoughts.

This pairing is really strong and I have enjoyed using both of them together. I couldn't use the Retrakt and the Pilot G2 as my only pen choice but actually what this exercise has made me realise is it has its place as part of my writing toolkit. As a result I will be carrying this pen around with me a lot more, rather than leaving it outcast on my desk.

Week 5

Moving into next week I will be using the Lamy Safari and Lamy Dark Lilac ink. I really love this ink colour and the Safari is one of those entry level pens people recommend because it is very reasonably priced. It does have its downsides like the mounded grip section, so using only this pen for a full week could be interesting.

Check back next week to see how I've held up.

1 Week, 1 Pen/Pencil Mini Series: Week 3 Review

TWSBI 580 RB with a broad nib 

TWSBI 580 RB with a broad nib 

This week I have been using the TWSBI 580 RB with a broad nib partnered with KWZ Honey ink. The TWSBI 580 RB is a standard fountain pen in my line-up. I always have this inked up, but normally it has an extra-fine nib. I recently swapped this out for a broad nib to play around with the pen and my inks a little more.

A week with the TWSBI 580 RB

I could easily use this fountain pen for long periods of time. I really like the design of the RB with the red and blue plastic sections. The clear barrel has always been a nice feature and I really enjoy seeing the ink slowly deplete. I like the fact that this pen holds a large amount of ink and the piston filling mechanism is something a little different. All of these small features combined makes this a personal favourite fountain pen of mine and I think I have had it inked ever since I bought it.

The TWSBI nibs are solid. They write really well and are sturdy working well in all scenarios. Using the new broad nib changed my experience of this pen completely. Broad nibs are not usually my first choice but actually its been nice to have a different nib on a fountain pen, rather than yet another extra-fine or fine. Paired with the KWZ Honey it was gorgeous.

However, having a broad nib and using this for all tasks does present some challenges. It can be difficult when using this pen and nib combination in different notebooks. A pocket notebook is not the best place for a broad nib fountain pen. You tear through paper quickly because your words take up more space on the page and you generally need more room. On the flip side the benefit has been writing in larger notebooks. I have really enjoyed using this in my A5 Clairefontaine notebook for my morning pages. The broad nib is less bothersome in a larger book and it has allowed me to appreciate my new ink a lot more. Playing with this fountain pen and having a really nice ink with some lovely shading has made this combination really enjoyable.

My Travelers Notebook with my TWSBI 580

My Travelers Notebook with my TWSBI 580

This weeks ink choice

I have enjoyed trying out a new brand of ink. It’s been a lovely ink to use especially in a broad nib making it a lovely change. I had high expectations for this ink brand due to the online buzz surrounding it and I have been a little disappointed. I don’t think this feeling will linger and over time I expect I will grow to love this ink more and more. It has great shading, it’s in the range of fountain pen ink colours that I really like using and writes really well.

Overall thoughts

I thought I would enjoy this fountain pen choice and I have done. I am not sure how practical a broad nib is on a day to day basis, but I have enough fountain pens that do fit into this category. Therefore I will be sticking with a broad nib on my TWSBI for some time and trying out some different inks.

In terms of the ink I do like it and I can see why it has had some good reviews online. It is the ideal ink for this time of year, but it doesn’t blow my socks off. Check back in the week to see a full blown review of KWZ Honey ink.

On to Week 4

On to Week 4

Week 4

I have debated what pen to turn to next and what will be the right choice for the next week. Part of me thinks this may be because I am not sure about the remaining inks and pens. But after some consideration I thought I should move away from a fountain pen and use the Karas Kustoms Retrakt and the black Pilot G2 refill. I want to see how I feel about a gel ink pen for a full week. Black is the most obvious choice and works in a whole range of different scenarios. To upgrade this and make it feel a little bit more special I decided to go for the machined aluminium pen. The Karas Kustoms Retrakt is a pen I have been in two minds about for some time. I really like the design and look of this pen but I find the barrel a little too fat. I could also do with an improved sight line on the pen which has bothered me and stops me using this pen more. But that's my thoughts today, at the end of this week I will write up a full review of how I have found this gel pen.

Zebra Sarasa Clip 0.5mm Review

For some reason it had taken me up until a month ago to buy a Zebra Sarasa Clip gel ink pen. I had heard good things about this gel pen on numerous occasions but I never felt compelled to try one for myself. Recently I threw one into my shopping cart when buying some other items and I am really pleased that I did as this gel pen is amazing!!

I actually think it's become my favourite gel ink pen. Usually I would sway towards the Pilot Hi-Tec-C or G-Tec-C4 as my go to gel ink pen. I could use these pens in their standard barrel or add them into a number of different machined pens and they wrote well. I am also a fan of the Pilot Coleto multi pen due to the number of available colours and the quality of the gel ink.

But, the Pilot gel pens may have been knocked off their perch. I really like the Zebra Sarasa Clip and I am kinda fond of it in its standard off the shelf format.

The Zebra Sarasa Clip Particulars

The Zebra Sarasa Clip grip section

The Zebra Sarasa Clip grip section

The Sarasa Clip comes in a standard plastic barrel that you get with many gel pens and a nice rubber grip section. Usually I am not a fan of rubber grips. They can be comfortable but they can also be tacky, sticky and leave your fingers with a strange rubber smell on them. Pilot Juice I am looking at you! But the Sarasa Clip doesn't have any of that. It feels nice, isn't tacky and has some grooves that don't imprint on your fingers. The rubber grip also feels comfortable for long periods of writing.

A good, strong spring loaded clip

A good, strong spring loaded clip

The pen gets its name from the spring loaded clip which makes it easy to clip onto things. Usually I don't bother with a pen clip as I don't attach these to a shirt pocket, being a girl. However I have found it useful clipping it to things in my bag, or onto the outside of my Travelers Notebook.

My Sarasa Clip attached to my Travelers Notebook

My Sarasa Clip attached to my Travelers Notebook

So how does it write?

Gel pens are usually good writers and the Sarasa Clip is no different. I have been using it in lots of different notebooks and its writes smoothly in all of them. It doesn't need any time to warm up and get going, another gripe I do have with the Pilot gel pens which you can see in my hand written review below. The Sarasa Clip just goes. I have the 0.5mm and I really like the fine line width. Sometimes a 0.3mm or 0.38mm gel pen can feel a bit scratchy and you can get some skipping issues, but the 0.5mm Sarasa Clip doesn't suffer from their problem at all.

Final Thoughts

If it isn't clear already I really really like this gel pen. At the moment I have only one, the black 0.5mm, but I will definitely be getting more. A big selling point for me here in the UK is that these are obtainable. Pilot has so many issues around the distribution of their products that gel ink pens such as the Pilot Juice have been discontinued. But I know I can get hold of the Sarasa Clip in a range of colours - bonus!

They are the perfect gel pen to carry around. I need to figure out what other pens I can use the refill in if I want to be a bit posh, but on its own, writing with the standard Sarasa Clip barrel is nice. I just cannot believe it has taken me this long to even try this pen! I have been missing out.