21 Nov 2018

introducing: hero 359 extra fine fountain pens in white and pastel colours

As a sucker for all things pastel and pretty, these Hero 359 pens were victim to an impulse click on eBay. I cannot remember their exact cost but I think it was something like £5 for all seven including postage. Though cheap, they actually write pretty well. When stored nib up, however, they can take a while to start writing.

To me, these pens would be if the Lamy Safari/Al-Star mated with a Pilot Kakuno. The pastel coloured caps with the white barrel remind me of the Pilot Kakuno whereas the clear pen grip area reminds me of the Lamy Al Star whilst the plastic design and the pen clip remind me of the Lamy Safari. They all come with an international converter which is an added bonus considering the low price of them.

What these pens will come in useful for are testing out new inks/ink samples which I do not want to risk in my more loved/expensive pens. Other useful uses include being desk pens for those in desk jobs because there will be people who will want to borrow a pen. Instead of loaning out your beloved Montblanc/Pilot/Sailor, etc, you can lend one of these out instead! Especially to those not used to fountain pens. Also, if you're prone to losing pens, these are inexpensive and come in a pack of seven which should last a while!

Overall, these pens are perfect for beginners and the advanced user. Beginners because of the cost and how well they write for the cost; advanced users because they are ideal for testing out inks in.

14 Nov 2018

introducing the: sailor pro gear slim fountain pen in limited edition purple cosmos!

Before the Lamy Safari Dark Lilac limited edition fountain pen, there weren't many choices if you liked the colour purple. I bought the Dark Lilac Safari but there was something missing with it and it didn't quite tug at the heartstrings like some of my other pens did. So when Sailor came out with the limited edition Pro Gear Slim Purple Cosmos, I bookmarked it in December 2017 and said to myself that if it was still in stock in April, I would take the plunge. Lo and behold, I found it at The Writing Desk and within a few days, it was in my possession.

First Impressions

Sailor make very good looking pens and this one is no exception. They say at school that any phrase with the word 'all' cannot be true but I personally think all Sailor pens are aesthetically pleasing.

The purple barrel with silver flecks really ensures that the pen lives up to its name of 'Purple Cosmos'. It looks like the night sky and seems simplistic, yet striking.


Like the other Pro Gear Slims, this one also has a flat top at both ends. The silvery flecks, mimicking a starry night, give the pen a whimsical touch which I love. This is one limited edition pen I am very happy to have in my possession :) The rhodium trim also complements the purple cosmos design well - I think a gold coloured trim would have most definitely ruined the design.


Sailor fountain pens are ridiculously easy to use. The pen feels lightweight in the hand, yet well made and the screw cap doesn't take a ridiculous amount of turns before it uncaps. It isn't an overly long pen so if you have large hands, this one probably won't feel so good in the hand. However, I find that it is the perfect balance and length with the cap posted. 

Nib and Writing

The 14K nib is a dream to write with - giving just the right amount of feedback whilst gliding nicely on the paper. The fine nib is a true Japanese fine but my Purple Cosmos appears to write with a slight italic edge? I am planning on doing some tweaking with it to hopefully make it a true standard fine; one not dissimilar to the Pilot fine nibs I am used to.

The nib does lay down a thin, wet line though and I have had no issues with ink flow.


I paid £125 for this pen from The Writing Desk (not an affiliate link) and I do not regret it. For a limited edition fountain pen from a brand with a fierce reputation, this is not a bad price at all. This is a similar price to the standard, permanent Sailor Pro Gear Slims. I do like a pen brand that doesn't increase the price of their limited edition pens!


Sailor fountain pens are fast rising to be one of my favourite pen brands. Pilot currently holds that top slot but if Sailor keep coming out with beautiful pens like this Purple Cosmos, they may well snatch that top place. Marks deducted for the slight italic nature of my fine nib here though. However, this is a pen with a lovely design which also boasts a nib of great potential. 

7 Nov 2018

rhodia A5 lined pad in black

Rhodia is a name bandied around a lot by fountain pen users. The paper takes fountain pen ink extraordinarily well which kinda explains its popularity. I'm a big fan of handwriting things and needed something in between rubbish cartridge paper used for printing and the 100gsm+ paper used for writing important letters by hand. This is where this A5 comes into play. It offers me high quality paper for those letters that aren't extremely important but don't deserve to be written on printer paper either.

The paper is a bright white colour with faint greyish-blue horizontal lines and a single pink one used vertically to denote the left margin.

As you can see below, there is no show through, bleeding or adverse reaction to fountain pen ink. Though, if you've ever used Rhodia paper, you'd expect nothing less.

These pads are priced well too - this one was bought for £2.50 from Paperchase and has 80 perforated sheets. And if you're a student, well, there's also 10% off. For now, I'll leave the pictures to do the talking...