pens

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.

Uniball Jetstream 0.5 Review

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The Uniball Jetstream is usually the pen that is recommended to people when starting to look for a pen that’s ‘a little bit nicer’. There is good reason for this but in today’s post I thought I would dig into this pen a little more and give my thoughts.

Benefits of the Jetstream.

The Jetstream is an entry level pen, one that you could use everyday but you won’t cry if you lose or misplace it. The Jetstream is a rollerball with its big selling point being an ‘ultra-quick-drying hybrid gel ink’. To add to this the ink is waterproof and fade-proof. Essentially in this one entry level pen you’re getting a lot more than a standard pen which makes it incredibly versatile and a great recommendation to a budding pen addict.

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The Pen itself.

I bought my Jetstream from an actual shop, shocking I know, so I think I have the Sport version. It’s a lovely pastel purple colour with white accents. There is a clip, which I never use, and a nice soft grip section. Sometimes these can be overly padded and get in the way but the Jetstreams grip section is comfortable making it easy to use for long periods of writing time.

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Writing with the Jetstream.

I am not an everyday user of the Jetstream despite it’s many benefits. There are so many pens to use that the Jetstream rarely gets a look in. Mine has a 0.5mm refill which gives a very thin line, which looks much thinner than the 0.5 advertised. The ink is smooth and works really well on your nicer paper, such as the MD Paper in my writing sample below, but also standard printer paper.

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Overall thoughts.

I am a fan of Uniball pens as a whole. They always write well and feel good to use, the ink is smooth and dark and rarely skips or gives any glooping issues. The Jetstream is no different. It’s a great pen to have in your arsenal and despite my sporadic use it always works first time.

Sometimes it’s not about the expensive or finding the new thing to enjoy stationery or writing tools. Using the simple can be refreshing and enjoyable.

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Retro 51 Ocean Slim Tornado Ballpoint Pen Review

The Retro 51 Ocean Slim Tornado is a new addition and part of Retro 51’s 2016 line up. This is my first foray into the world of Retro 51 Tornado pens. Before now I never found a Tornado that captured my attention enough to buy it, or pay a premium price for a pen I hadn't used or wasn't sure I would like (I'm looking at you Surfin').

Anyway focusing now on the Ocean Slim Tornado there are some real highlights to this pen. Firstly the slim barrel of is a big seller for me. I think the standard Tornados would be too wide and generally I don’t like fat pens as I find them uncomfortable to use for long periods of time. The slim versions of the Tornado are more of a standard pen width and therefore better suited to me.

Cool design

The design of this pen is something I was really drawn to. In addition to the Ocean colour there is a Graphite and Electron (a darker blue). On close inspection of each colour they have a slightly different pattern on the barrel. Viewing this online I wasn’t sure if this was etched into the pen, or just a printed pattern. It turns out it is only printed. The Ocean design is fab and I love the colours used. The only aspect I don’t like is the end of the pen. The change of material and the colour used here breaks up the seemless fade on the barrel. It's almost like Retro 51 had some trouble achieving the desired finish. It’s not too noticeable but it's not the perfect finish.

I really like the packaging of the Retro 51’s. The box that the Ocean Slim arrives in really is very cool and gives a great first impression. The tag line - ‘Life’s too short to carry an ugly pen’ is fab. It’s a really nice little branding touch. Normally I am not bothered by pen packaging, but I do appreciate the thought that companies spend on packaging. To me it shows consideration of the whole product and it helps set the tone of then pen you have bought. The box is so nice it could double up as a presentation box sitting proudly on your desk.

Very cool Retro 51 packaging

Very cool Retro 51 packaging

The Refill

This pen comes with a Schmidt REF71 ballpoint refill. The Tornado refills tend to get some good write ups, and as ballpoint refills go its good. The thing is I am just not a fan of a ballpoint refill when they are some really great alternative options.

A deconstructed Slim Tornado  

A deconstructed Slim Tornado  

The below photo shows how the refill performs. You get a nice black line on the page and it is a smooth writer. This refill has a wider line than I would like, around 0.7mm. You can however swap out this refill for a G2 refill (check out Ana’s amazing Epic Refill Guide for a list of compatible refills). After using the ballpoint for some time and giving it a chance I will definitely be finding an alternative option or perhaps even trying a refill hack. This will vastly improve my enjoyment of this pen and put it in the realm of the Karas Kustoms Render K.

A written review using the Schmidt REF71 refill

A written review using the Schmidt REF71 refill

Twist don’t click

The one element of the Tornado that I wasn’t expecting is the twist action to get the refill to appear. I was expecting the knock to click down like many other ballpoint pens, however the Tornado’s distinctive knurled knock is actually a twist mechanism. Who knew!

Overall impressions

I really like this pen. It’s a great design and the slim barrel works really well. It has become a pen that I carry with me on the move and use in my Leuchtuem1917 pen loop as it fits in snugly. The downside for me is the refill. This issue can be fixed very easily by swapping it out for a refill I know I will enjoy. I can see why there is hype around the Retro 51 pens and why people enjoy the limited editions and various colours available. For me I don't think I will be adding other Retro 51's to my pen collection, however I am pleased I own this one and will enjoy using it.

The Ocean Slim Tornado used in my Leuchtturm1917 pen look in my Travelers Notebook

The Ocean Slim Tornado used in my Leuchtturm1917 pen look in my Travelers Notebook

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.