An Announcement Regarding the Future

Hey guys!

After talks with the other active member of this blog (that’s Lil, as Jon left ages ago and Craig left even longer ago) we have decided that Lil is just far too busy, and I would like to branch out some more – maybe post a little more often.

Basically, my lovely readers – I’m moving blogs.

This one will stay up, but I have copied all of my own posts over to my own, new blog. Some of that blog is still a “work in progress” but it’s nearly done – I just have a few pages to tweak, but other than that it is live and readable.

You can now find me over at this blog:

kenrenstationery.wordpress.com

I hope to see you there!

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Review: Online Germany’s Pearl White Tango Fountain Pen @ONLINEgermany

Damn English weather. This would've been so awesome if it had been a bit brighter.

I first saw this pen on… I think it was eBay, a very long time ago. I think I was looking for a white fountain pen for some reason. And, at the time, I don’t think I was very good at getting anything more expensive than a Lamy Safari, so I passed on it. Quite a few weeks ago now, maybe mid August, I was in TK Maxx when I came across this pen. For £5.99. Was I going to pass that up? I don’t think so.

I love the graphics on it. I’m so into florals and vines and pink at the moment, and I’m always into butterflies. It does come in a plain white, plain black and an Icy Blue, which is pretty and had I seen that one a few years ago I would’ve been all over it. There is a Violet, a Violet Pink and a Creamy Rose Pink too (I think I got those links the right way around), but those don’t seem to be on their website anymore. I’ve only ever seen those on Amazon and eBay. I feel that the one I have has a less… Busy design and I really like that.

This pen is a bit strange. The overall shape is strange, the end of the pen is strange, the nib section is strange. Let me show you what I mean.

Strange end piece.  So, here. This picture show you the end piece that I find odd. I haven’t seen something like that before. It’s perfect for when or if you want to post the pen, but other than that? Strange. (This picture also gives you an idea of the uncapped length of the pen next to a TWSBI Mini.) It does look a bit cool in its strangeness though, and I do really like the shape of the rest of the body.

Personally I don’t like to post this pen (I don’t really post pens anyway), because it makes the pen, in my opinion, a bit too top heavy. It’s a pretty weighty pen anyway, but if you’re used to metal pens then it might not be an issue for you. I use a lot of plastic pens so the weight was a bit more noticeable to me.
Nib section
See that tiny black bit? On both the photos on the left and right? That’s the grip section. This is more than likely the smallest grip section I’ve ever seen in my life. I personally manage to get around this by holding the pen more where the cap joins the body, so the part of the body that flares out rests more comfortably in my hand. So, that’s how that works for me; your milage may vary entirely.

Back to the photo on the right. The amount of cartridge that’s in that silver section just seems really odd to me. I’m not sure why and I can’t put my finger on it despite the fact that I’ve been thinking about this since I got the pen. Due to the length of the tube below the threads where the section screws into the body, I feel like there should be more of the cartridge nestled up there. I don’t know, I guess maybe it doesn’t matter because the cartridge is still secure enough.  And you will have to use a cartridge because there isn’t a converter for it and a regular standard one doesn’t fit. I think I read about a converter hack, but I haven’t tried it. (And typically, I can’t find it now I need it.) I don’t really have an issue with using cartridges or refilling the cartridges if I need to.

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It took me a little while and a couple of different cartridges to get it to actually write, but I’m pretty sure that was down to me and not the pen – one of the cartridges I tried at first is one I’ve had problems with in several pens. It always takes a little while to get going. So, I’m almost certain that’s my fault and not the pen’s. The ink colour in the scan seems a little pale, and honestly I think that’s a combination of the ink (J.Herbin is a little more watery than most ink I’ve used) and the Staples Arc paper. The colour is more saturated when I use cheaper paper. On both types of paper however, the pen puts down a decent amount of ink and it writes pretty darn smoothly.
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Overall? I like it. It’s pretty and it’s a little different. It adds a little while to my fountain pen collection and some more flowers. And, at the end of the day, it works – it puts ink on the page with little to no efffort from me, which, when you boil it down to the bare bones, is what I really want from a pen. I’m also not going to really complain for the price I got it for. Would I pay full price for it? I’m not sure. Maybe if it came in one of the fountain pen and ballpoint sets, but maybe not if it was just the fountain pen on its own. But for the price I got it for, it’s an absolute steal.

 

 

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Review: the @Retro1951 Tornado Rollerball.

Retro51Tornado

This is a review I’ve been meaning to do since I started actually doing them more seriously. I have had this pen a very long time – About a year and a bit if the date on the terrible photos of the awesome packaging are to go by. (And you can see that packaging here.) I’m not entirely sure why I haven’t done this sooner. Maybe it’s because I don’t use it as much as I should. And that is because I keep putting it somewhere safe, in its little sleeve – so when I’m looking for it, I’m looking for the bright blue, not the black of the sleeve because I’m an idiot, so then I keep thinking that I’ve lost it. And believe me, that makes me very unhappy. However, every time I do use it, it’s the only pen I’ll use until my fountain pens call out for me again.

Tornado1
(Can you tell that I’m in love with the Staples Arc range?)

Tornado2

When it comes to pens that cost more than a packet of say… Five from a local store, it normally boils down to the refill – some people can deal with an ugly pen body as long as the refill is pretty good. Especially in this day and age of the Kickstarter projects. You can probably find a prettier/nicer body for your favourite refill on there if the original body isn’t to your liking. Actually, I guess that extends both ways, except for the fact that a terrible refill is often much cheaper to replace. The refill in the Retro is just… Gosh. It’s lovely, it really is. As I said in the handwritten bit, it even makes me not mind black so much. I think that’s because it’s a gel refill instead of a ballpoint. Although it’s right up there at the top of the list of black gel refills/pens I’ve used and enjoyed. I’m sure that I can find something just as nice that will fit (I believe Parker have some gel refills, one of those might do.) Sure it won’t be quite the same, but anything to keep using the pen, right?

The knurling and the blue (or whatever colour your pen is, if you’ve got one of the “Classic Lacquers” versions – I can’t speak ifor the others) disc on the top of the twist mechanism are probably my favourite details of this pen. I can’t really say why – probably because I have a thing for texture and continued use of the main body colour in pen design. I even like the way the pen tapers towards the tip – normally that sort of thing gets a bit too skinny for my liking, but the Tornado is… It has a chubby tapering.

What else can I tell you that hasn’t already been covered in the hadnwritten portion, or by others? Not an awful lot really.

The Retro 51 Tornado is a gorgeous pen. It’s… Classic in its design. There are so many colours and finishes (and even limited editions) that there’s one for everyone. Unless you’re like one of those people who likes to collect things then yes, they’ll all be for you. Personally, I’m probably going to stick with the one (unless they bring out one that knocks my socks off) because it has sentimental value. (Which, may I add, has nothing to do with how the pen writes, just so you know.)

If you don’t have one, I really think you should get one.

Other reviews – because if we all agree, then surely it’s a pen worth checking out, no? And let’s not forget it’s one of The Pens That Shall Not Be Named on the Pen Addict podcast! :D
~ The Pen Addict’s review.
~ The Well Appointed Desk’s review.
~ Gourmet Pens’ review.
~ From The Pen Cup’s review.
~ Clicky Post’s review and why this is a great first pen.

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Review: Faber-Castell Grip 2011 Ballpoint Pen

Oh no, a ballpoint! Ha. No, I kid. I don’t mind them.

I won this pen during National Stationery Week this year… I won it from… I actually don’t remember? But I won it. That was a fairly long time ago, now I think about it. So, I obviously didn’t buy it, and I wasn’t asked to review it, I’ve just been using it for the last couple of days and thought that I would.

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This ballpoint is triangular in shape, and most of the body is covered in small, raised dots that act like a grip section. Faber Castell actually do pencils like this, and I’m not a fan of those for some reason; I like the triangular shape but the dots feel odd on a pencil (and I think the lead is too light for my taste, even though they write well for pencils, but I digress). But on this pen? Love them. I’m also one of those people who turns their pens while writing so the triangular shape makes that much easier. Oddly, I don’t do it as much with pencils or at all with fountain pens, but I do with everything else? The shape of the pen and the dots make this pen really rather comfortable to hold, unlike a lot of other ballpoints I have.

There are ten different body colours; mine is the “petrol” colour and I love it. It’s so pretty. There’s plenty of different body colours (ten!) to suit anyone’s taste, and there’s a pretty decent range of refills (Faber-Castell do a ‘gel-refill’ in the right style, as do Parker I believe but there are plenty of others that will fit). I’ve only tried the one it comes with in mine – that’s the Faber-Castell Ballpoint Pen Refill – Medium, Blue. I’ve only ever tried that one because… I haven’t used it up yet and I don’t have any other refills to hand to swap out.

Speaking of the refill though… I actually quite like it. I think it’s pretty smooth for what it is – a ballpoint refill. And not just on good paper; it feels pretty nice on mega cheap sticky notes too. I haven’t experienced any blobbing, and I don’t think it really skips a lot; but that’s my personal opinion. That might have something to do with the fact that I have an average-ly heavy hand and I don’t write at the speed of the Flash or something.

The clip is pretty solid, I think but also pretty rigid – it’ll fit onto a cotton shirt pocket and maybe some sheets of paper but nothing too thick. It looks good though and I do think it feels pretty effortless to write with.

Final verdict? Pick one up and play with refills; there’s bound to be a combination for you. Sometimes a ballpoint will just have to do, or it’ll be the only thing that will work, so you might as well make it a good one, right?

Get your own from Cult Pens, here.
No, I’m not sponsored(I wish right? Ha.) – I’m just a really happy customer.

img041(My goodness my handwriting is terrible. I am so sorry.)

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Review: Online Germany’s “All You Need” 3 -in-1 Pen @ONLINEgermany

As you may or may not know, it was my birthday last Friday. I saw my father and step-mother on the Saturday where they presented me with, amongst other things, this nifty little pen. I got home and inked it up, and I’ve been switching between the nib units since then.

P1000792

Now, quick disclaimer; obviously, I didn’t pay for this. And I wasn’t asked to review it, but I’m going to because, why not?

I think this pen is labelled as part of the “College” range of pens, but to be honest I’m not entirely sure what that means. However, I do know that this is part of the new “Save My World” collection to raise awareness for endangered animals. Mine’s the Ocean one but it also comes in Asia and Africa, I belive. Here it is on their website. (Of course, there are loads more designs and lots more pen sets too but I like this collection.) Now, I don’t know exactly how much it cost, because it was a present, and it came from Gent, Belgium, so maybe the same price as on the website. I’m not sure.

Paper: Staples Arc, A5 Lined.
Ink:
~ Calligraphy nib – Pelikan Turquoise cartridge.
~ Fountain pen nib – Pelikan Pink cartridge.
~ Rollerball nib – Pelikan Violet cartridge.

OceanPen4

Some Basics.
So, it’s a plastic pen body with three different nib-units – a rollerball, a fountain pen and a 1.4mm calligraphy nib. (Which is a really weird number to pick for a calligraphy nib, but hey.) This pen takes standard cartridges and therefore will take a standard converter and I think it might take international long cartridges, but I’m not sure. It probably does because the body is long enough to hold an in-use standard, short, international cartridge, with another as back up. But I know for a fact that it takes international short cartridges for two reasons: a) it says so on the box and b) I’m using Pelikan violet, turquoise and pink cartridges with it. I haven’t tried using a converter with it yet but I have a basic, standard converter and it does fit (and stay).

P1000795

The pen is super light, even when posted (posting does help if you like a little bit more weight, though it won’t weigh that much more) but that’s because the whole pen is made of plastic as far as I can tell; nib bits excluded, obviously, which are iridium with the Online logo on them – simple and uncluttered. It’s not a very thick plastic, but it’s not flimsy – if you give the lid/body a gentle squeeze, it doesn’t move and it feels pretty stable. I like the fact that it’s light, and I like the points on the top of the cap and the bottom of the body; I think they’re a little different and I like different. I think the points give the illusion that the pen is a little longer than it is, which isn’t that needed because it’s a fairly average length. But I find that posting the cap does make it a little too long for my liking.

Oh, speaking of the cap. There is a clip on the lid, but this is made out of plastic on this model (I can’t speak for the other clips on other pens, just this one) and it’s not… You could slip it onto a shirt pocket and it would hold for a bit, but you couldn’t clip it to anything thicker than cotton because it’s not a very flexible clip and I think it would snap easily.

Capped length: 13.5cm
Uncapped/unposted length: just over 12cm.
Posted length: just over 16cm.

P1000802

There is one thing I must point out before I take a closer look at each nib unit – there is a tiny bit of a drop/step between the body and the nib section. It’s really only a couple of millimetres, but that may bother some; especially on the calligraphy unit due to the texture of the grip section. You might be able to see in the photo above; the fountain pen on the left has a smooth/non textured, slightly molded grip section that’s similar in shape to the Lamy (but skinnier and really not too obvious), the rollerball in the middle has an ever so slightly rubbery-like grip, and the calligraphy nib on the right has a grip covered in ridges.

I think that’s it for that. Now, the most important thing – how do they write?

The Calligraphy Nib.

You even get to see my very first impressions here. If you can read my writing at all.

You even get to see my very first impressions here. If you can read my writing at all.

As I said earlier, this is a 1.4mm calligraphy nib, which I think is a rather bizarre number choice, but, I really like it. It’s not too obvious that it’s a calligraphy nib, at least not with my handwriting (your mileage may vary) but there’s a certain… Flair to some of the letters. It’s understated, in my opinion, and I like that. Plus it makes Pelikan Turquoise look gorgeous.

I put the ink cartridge in the nib unit and the pen started writing on the second stroke. That’s more than acceptable for me – the first stroke was the letter O and I think I write those backwards so that’s more an issue on my end, not the pen’s. I found the flow very good and I didn’t notice any skipping/flow issues – not even if I left the pen sitting for a little while.

This unit is a smooth writer with no physical feedback, I think. There’s a little audio feedback but I couldn’t feel any resistance when I was writing, and really the scritch-scractch noise of a nib on paper is pleasing to me so the noise doesn’t matter. There’s nothing there that affects my writing speed or anything.

As previously mentioned, the grip is clear plastic with ridges, which can be uncomfortable to hold after a little while, especially if you grip your pens tightly. That’s something I discovered accidentally on Sunday afternoon, and I don’t normally hold my pens very tightly, so I’m not entirely sure what possessed me to use an almost death-grip. That was a freak incident for me and hasn’t happened since. Maybe I just have tougher fingertips but aside from that one time, I don’t find that grip section uncomfortable.

The Fountain Pen Nib.

OceaonPen3

As you can see in that scan up there, I’ve written that I think that this nib can be between a European Medium and a European Fine. Maybe it’s more medium but there are some sections in the things I’ve written since Saturday where the line looks on the finer side. Whatever it is, it’s even smoother than the calligraphy nib, if that’s possible, and it starts writing just as quickly as that nib too.

The grip of this section is by far my favourite of the three, which surprised me because I think it’s very skinny. I kinda with it wasn’t black and was clear like the calligraphy nib though, but I can deal with it the way it is. The nib is a very nice writer and there’s even less feedback than with the calligraphy nib – I don’t even think there’s any gentle scritch-scratch noises when I write.

I really like this nib unit and I keep going back to it the most.

The Rollerball Nib.

OceaonPen2

Ah, the rollerball nib unit. How much I want to love you. And yet, how little I do. This one took longer to get going, and, as you can see from the sample above, it didn’t stay going very well or for very long. I don’t know if that’s because it needs time, or because of the paper. It might be a little of both, because I tried using it on some standard, basic printer paper and it wrote instantly. There was a little feathering and some bleeding but that’s what you get with cheap printer paper. I’m not quite sure what to do with it apart from trying more papers. Then again, I haven’t tried using a converter with it, so I guess I’ll try that too. But, at the end of the day I’m honestly not too fussed if I can’t get this nib unit to work because I’m very happy with the other two. I guess maybe it’s possible I just got a stubborn one. It is comfortable to hold though; the grip’s a good one!

Overall? Love this little pen set. I would recommend it; going by the price on the website, it might be a little pricey for some, but, it’s what? Twenty Euros? (And I’ve just noticed that I don’t have a Euros key on my keyboard…) Which is roughly £15, I think? And you essentially get two pens for that, which I think is good. That is, if you get a stubborn rollerball like me. If you don’t, then you get three pens which is even better. And, if you keep the nib units in little plastic baggies, you can keep cartridges in all three at the same time and just swap when you please. Or you could keep the cartridges in them and keep the nib units clipped in the packaging; that would work too.

To be honest, I would totally recommend one of the regular fountain pens by the brand too, or even a pen set with the three calligraphy nibs (I’m thinking about getting one of those at some point).

Plus, I can’t resist a pen with animals on it.

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I’m 25 on Friday and this is what I think about it.

(Feel free to skip this blog if you like. It’s not particularly… Hm. Interesting. Or long.)

Twenty five. Mid twenties. A quarter of a century. God I’m not happy about this. In all honesty, I haven’t really enjoyed a birthday since I was… Maybe 17 or 18? Even less since I hit my twenties. Even less, if possible, since I turned 21. Does this make me a bad person?

Another birthday means another year of… I’m going to say failure. Failure to decide what I want to do with my life. Failure to actually do anything with my life. Hell, even failure to feel happier with myself. Another year of thinking “now, what the crap have I done with my life?”

I’m an only child, and I feel this… Immense pressure to always make my parents proud of me; to make the most of myself and… Well. We all want to be better than our parents, don’t we? I don’t think that I’m on the right track to achieve that.

Yet, I’m in roughly the same position as I was when I just left uni. Just older, way more stressed, more tired all the time and further down the downward spiral. And it sucks. It really sucks.

Getting older is hard, man.

Maybe I just feel like this because this month hasn’t exactly been kind to me and/or my family. Or maybe it’s just an underlying problem. I don’t know, but I’m not particularly excited.

Look for a more cheerful post next week folks; sorry about the downers!

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And now back to your regular scheduled programming…

Hello crumpets.

Last week was a bit heavy and was also not stationery related at all, wasn’t it? I felt like… Like it was something that needed talking about, especially while the topic at hand was actually at the forefront of everyone’s minds. It’s an important topic that doesn’t get mentioned enough.

So! Back to this week.

I’ve been going a little ink sample crazy recently. There’s a couple of sellers on eBay who are located in the UK, where I am, who have a bunch of… I think it’s Diamine, Iroshizuku, Sailor and Private Reserve ink samples. This is awesome because, being in the UK, it means they arrive quickly (which is great when you’re as impatient as I am) and it also means I don’t have to worry about customs if I were to order from the Goulets. As much as I adore and thoroughly recommend those guys (in a heartbeat), I personally can’t justify buying from them much, and this really saddens me because I really love what they do, what they stand for and all the effort they put into their company, being a brilliant resource and their customer service. I’d like to be able to support that, but I’m personally not easily able to. If you can order from them, I’d recommend it.

I’m on this… Bizzare quest to find the perfect (for/to me) shade of each of the basic colours. Have I been successful in any department yet? No. Not at all. Oh, wait. I haven’t found an orange that beats Diamine’s Sunset yet, and I think I’m almost certain on the best green, but I have to test a couple more. Other than that; nope, nowhere near. But it’s a fun project, even if I do have about… I haven’t even counted… A silly amount of ink samples sitting on my desk right now. But! I’ve found that using a singular ink sample while testing out a particular pen gives you long enough to form a decent impression of the pen, while using the sample up at the same time. That works for me. I am going to need a bigger Really Useful Box to put my not-used samples in soon though. Whoops.

So that’s that. What else?

How are we nearly in September already? How?! Although that does mean that it’s my birthday next week (and I’ll probably mention that next blog post too). I’m 25. TWENTY FIVE. So, naturally, I’ve been having some sort of “what on earth am I doing with my life?!” kinda mental anguish. It’s very… It’s enough to put you down.

But I don’t want to talk or think about that very much. Anyway. Writing is going slightly better than expected, which is grand. Reading is… Not. Gaming is not, either.

Oh, wait, actually. The boyfriend and I have been playing that P.T. demo teaser thing on PS4. I’ve had to take ahold of the controller while he hides behind cushions, and he’s had to take it from me as some points. It’s terrifying, and the reveal at the end was like OHMYGOD. Also, watching some of the “let’s play” videos on YouTube has had me in stitches. I’m not going to say or spoil anything more in case anyone reading hasn’t seen it/heard of what the reveal is. I’m excited for that.

Erm. That’s about it. How are you all doing?

Until next week!

Danni

x

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