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Wednesday, May 29, 2013

12 by 17 cm (4 3/4 by 6 3/4 inch) planners

Kate recently asked me for other planners that are the same size as the Quo Vadis Textagenda, which is 12 by 17 cm (4 3/4 by 6 3/4 inches).

First of all, let me rant that there are NOT NEARLY ENOUGH options in this perfect size!!  This is such a great size to carry around everywhere, and even a daily book is still very portable in this size. So, planner companies, I want to see lots more options in this size!

The good news is, there are several options available in this size, in daily or weekly formats.

The Quo Vadis Textagenda (academic-year) and Quo Vadis Notor (January-December) are the same size and have the same format with the schedule at the top of the page and the rest of the page lined for lists and notes.
Quo Vadis Textagenda and Notor format
You can see my Textagenda collection with interior photos here and my Notor with interior photos here. Please note the Notor is available in the US only I think, but you can get the Textagenda in the US and from Quo Vadis UK which ships worldwide as well as in France, Germany and probably other European countries too.

The Quo Vadis ABP2 is also in this size, you can read my review of it here. I have to admit I was really disappointed with this one (you can read why in my review), and I gave it away.
Quo Vadis ABP2

New for 2014 the Quo Vadis Daily 17 is in this same excellent size with a traditional timed format. I'm really excited to get this one when it comes out! But I'm a little worried about how narrow the ruling will be. You can right-click on the image on the product page in the link above to see a larger image of the daily pages. ***Update: you can click here to see my review of the Daily 17.

I can also recommend the Undercover UK small diary which I have reviewed here and here. Its recycled leather cover comes in tons of colors, so you are sure to find a color you love from traditional, brights, pastels, neutrals and metallics.
Undercover UK
Its simple, lined format makes it versatile for any type of use. Undercover UK ships internationally. I did a video comparing the Undercover UK diary with the Quo Vadis Notor, click here to see.

Another daily planner that is available in this size is the Cavallini Moderno diary (which you can see here on the Jenni Bick website and I have also seen them at The Paperie UK but they are now out of stock for 2013). Even though the leather cover is beautiful, it is so stiff the book does not stay open and I abandoned it for this reason, which you can read all about here.

Paperblanks makes diaries in this size too (their Midi size), in daily and weekly formats. You can see my review of them with lots of photos here. The Paperblanks planners come with lots of beautiful cover options.

Quo Vadis makes weekly planners in the 10 by 15 cm size (4 by 6 inches) which is very nearly the same size. Check out their Business, University (academic-year), Horizontal 15 and Note 15 planners. (Links shown are from Quo Vadis UK, which ships worldwide). I haven't tried any of these exact planners, but you can't go wrong with Quo Vadis's superb quality and luxurious paper.

Another Quo Vadis planner that is nearly this same size (16 by 16 cm, 6 1/3 by 6 1/3 inches) is the Executive, which I have reviewed here. It is available in the US and from Quo Vadis UK.

If anyone knows of any other planners/ diaries in the 12 by 17 cm (4 3/4 by 6 3/4 inches) size please post a comment! I love this size and I would be very interested to know other options.

Monday, May 27, 2013

Guest Post - Habana Daily 21 Daily Planner/Diary - Review

Huge thanks again to Steve of Philofaxy for this guest post on his new Quo Vadis Habana Daily 21 day per page diary!

Hello again, I'm making a bit of a habit of appearing on Laurie's blog!

Anyway following on from my quick review of the Exacompta Journal 21 that I received from Quo Vadis USA, for 2014. I started to get pangs for wanting something similar for 2013. Yes I know it's a bit late, but I was sure that there would be something still around in May.

After seeking Laurie's advice, she suggested the Habana Daily 21, again about A5 in size and also day per page which was what I was looking for. Again like the Journal 21 I will be using this as my journal not as a planner. Keeping the two functions separate really helps having two different formats in terms of layout and in my case ring bound and bound... best of both worlds may be.

Luckily Quo Vadis in UK still had some stock left and the shipping cost wasn't too outrageous so I just bit the bullet and ordered one. I could find some alternatives in France which might have been cheaper, but not Quo Vadis, so as I'm a bit inexperienced in this area I thought I would stick with the recommendation.

The diary arrived nicely packaged on Friday and I offered to do this review before I start writing in it.

The cover is quite thick, so it should offer good protection to the pages over time. In my case it will sit on my desk most of the time. It has an elastic closure band similar to the Rhodia Web notebooks. And the year and QV symbol are embossed in to the surface. The cover is also available in red, orange as well as black.

A sort of title page greets you when you open up the diary with details about the company and contact details in French and English. 

Following on there is a page for tabulating school holidays and noting your personal details, addresses and emergency contact details. The bulk of the diary is in 6 languages, fortunately for me they are in the order, English, French  then Italian, German, Spanish and Dutch. The first two being the most familiar for me thank goodness!  I will let you decide how they decided the order, may be it was a bit like the Eurovision Song Contest!

 The next double spread is a 2013 year planner, this includes the week numbers.

We then go in to month planners with two months per page, the symbols indicating phases of the moon. 

Then we get in to the daily pages, each double spread is in the same layout through out. The actual day, date and month at the top. Then times from 8am to 9pm down the left hand side with lines ruled in half-hourly intervals. In the bottom right hand corner of the right hand page is a small monthly calendar . Bank holidays are also indicated at the top of the page in a small font so as to not intrude in to the page. Again all six languages are used at the top of the page, but again I'm happy with the layout because English and French are in the top line of this group. 

The week numbers appear as a printed tab on the right hand page. Not shown but there is a ribbon page marker that is attached to the spine of the diary. Additionally the bottom corner of each page is perforated, so you can remove the corners as you progress through the year. Having both of these will prove useful to me which I will explain in a moment. 

The diary finishes on 1 January 2014, they haven't learnt the trick of including a notes page where 29th February would be as in the Journal 21.  Not shown but there is then a 2014 year planner, in the same format as the one at the front of the diary.

We then get some information pages. The first is International Telephone Access Codes, followed by a list of International Holidays

We then have a conversion tables page. And then we start in the maps section with some coloured maps of all the European countries, leading off with France and its dependants. 

The maps are of a decent size and not cluttered. Other continents are included, Africa, North and South America, Asia, Oceania

Finally there is a Time Zones map in the last page of the diary

Also included is a removable contact booklet

This tucks in to a reasonable size gusseted pocket which is fixed to the back cover. I expect you can use this for keeping receipts and such like.

So that concludes the make up of this diary, it's quite a sizeable book, but one I think I am going to enjoy writing in. The paper is silky smooth and I can't wait to start using it.

So far this year I've been recording some notes each day in a separate diary insert in my A5 Filofax, but it is a Week on Two pages format. What I'm intending to do with the Daily 21 is to swap over to it for the remainder of the year. But I will most probably transfer my dairy notes from the Filofax insert to the Daily 21, but that will obviously take some time to do.

So I'm thinking of using the ribbon page maker to show the current day. And I will take the corners off of the pages to show my progress on transferring my diary across from the Filofax to the Daily 21.

I'm sure having a separate book and a bigger page format will encourage me to write more down each day, it will also encourage me to keep my desk a little tidier so I can have both my Filofax planner open and my diary open at the same time!  Using this diary for the remainder of the year will get me ready for 2014 when I hope I will have learnt a lot about keeping a journal and it will become quite an enjoyable pastime.

Again thank you to Laurie for the recommendation and for letting me do the guest post. I will pop back and answer any questions if there are any.


PS Laurie here: just wanted to let you know that Quo Vadis UK ships worldwide, so even if you're not in Europe you can get these European planners/ diaries at  http://www.quovadis-diaries.co.uk/ and you can click here to see their remaining 2013 diaries.

Many thanks again to Steve for this excellent guest post!

Friday, May 24, 2013

Academic-year planners that ship worldwide

Recently I received an email from a reader in Hungary who was frustrated by the lack of selection of academic-year planners available near her. She wanted to know if there are any websites that ship academic-year planners worldwide.

Yes! I know a couple of excellent ones in particular.

My favorite academic-year planners are from Quo Vadis, and Quo Vadis UK ships worldwide (http://www.quovadis-diaries.co.uk/) . Click here to see their selection of academic-year planners. Quo Vadis academic-year planners are available in a variety of formats and sizes, daily or weekly, with a wide selection of cover colors and materials to choose from. Quo Vadis planners have spectacular paper and are excellent to write in with any pen. You can easily find a format that will help you stay organized all year.

You can click here to see my review of the Quo Vadis Textagenda academic-year day per page planner, and click here to see my review of the Quo Vadis Septanote academic-year weekly planner.

Another option is Moleskine Asia (MoleskineAsia.com) which has free worldwide shipping. Click here to see their selection of academic-year planners including the popular Weekly Notebook and the new Turntable planner (which you can see my review of here).

Don't be scared by the Hong Kong dollar amounts! You can convert them to your currency using XE.com and you'll find they are normal prices. For example the Large Black Hardcover Moleskine 18 month Weekly Notebook costs $188 Hong Kong dollars, which looks horrendous but converts to $24 US dollars, which is an excellent price, especially when you consider shipping is included.

Do you know of any other websites that ship academic-year or midyear planners worldwide? Please post a comment! Thanks!

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

I'm interviewed on Quo Vadis Blog!

I'm very excited to be featured on Quo Vadis Blog!

I've been reading the Quo Vadis Blog for years and years (since back when I used to post comments as "worldwide"). It's an excellent blog, and in fact it's the one I hold up as the gold standard for what a brand's blog should be. 

Click here to see my interview and read all about where I'm from, why I love Scotland so much, how my planner obsession first began, and the time I rode a yak. :)

Monday, May 20, 2013

Bound planner work-arounds: Adding Monthly Calendars to your Planner

Several people have asked me if this or that planner has monthly calendars. Personally I wish every planner did, but some don't. Luckily, there's a way to fix that.

Moleskine Templates (http://mymoleskine.moleskine.com/community/msk_templates.php) are free and just require you to log in (which is painless). They have monthly, weekly, and other templates available to print and stick into your planner or notebook of choice.

I did an experiment with the Moleskine monthly printables and taped them into the address booklet in the back of the 2013-2014 Moleskine Turntable planner that I reviewed here, which does not have monthly grid calendars (only the monthly columns). The result is pretty good.

I'm sure someone else could do a tidier job than I did. But, it solves the lack of monthly calendars.

Friday, May 17, 2013

My Quo Vadis Textagenda collection

I have quite a Textagenda collection! I've been getting this excellent planner for years because it has so many features I love (which I will go on about in detail below). The Quo Vadis Textagenda is a day per page planner for the academic year.

Below are my Textagendas!
Textagendas from UK, US and France
From left to right they are:

The Grenadine Pink one at the left is from the UK, reviewed here. The purple one next to it is this year's in the violet Texas cover, which makes an appearance near the end of this video on my day per page planners. The gorgeous turquoise one is my new one for next year, with more details below. The Lilac one is actually a Quo Vadis Notor, which has the exact same format but in the January-December format. My Notor (reviewed here) won the battle of day per page planners last year (post here and video here). The dark purple one is from France (seen in this post here) and the blue one is my first Textagenda that I used when I was a Peace Corps volunteer in Nepal (shown in this post here)!

Here is my new Textagenda for the 2013-2014 school year. Many thanks to Exaclair for sending me this planner as a thank-you for some assistance I gave them.

Here are the features I love so much about Textagenda planners and why I keep coming back to them year after year.

First of all, there are several cover materials and colors to choose from. This year I went for the bright and summery Turquoise Club cover. I like to change the removable covers out seasonally.

The Textagenda is the perfect size for a day per page book: 12 by 17 cm, 4 3/4 by 6 3/4 inches. It has a large page size for lots of writing each day but is very portable and fits in all my bags. It's also a very nice size to hold in my hands.
The 64 gsm paper is super-smooth and white, and is an absolute joy to write on. This is one of the biggest reasons why I keep coming back to the Textagenda (and Quo Vadis planners in general) because the paper is so pleasurable to use every day! Also the paper is acid and chlorine free, which is important to me for archival purposes.

The binding is sewn so the book lays flat by itself, which is an absolute must for me. I have rejected planners in the past that didn't stay open flat.  This is one of my requirements in a planner!

There is an overview calendar for the entire school year:
There are timetable pages to write your weekly schedules, very handy:
Here is a feature I love in Quo Vadis planners: the Anno Planner. This shows you the entire school year at a glance for planning holidays, deadlines etc.
The Anno Planner continues through the end of the calendar year. Then come the daily pages. The Textagenda begins August 1st and goes to August 4 of the following year. There is a full page for every day, including Saturday and Sunday. This is also important to me, I need a full page on weekends too.
The daily format is unique and excellent: The timed schedule is at the top of the page. There is a Priority box, and then lines for writing lists, notes, journaling, etc.
At the bottom of the page is a Notes box for keeping track of things that you want to stand out on the page like expenses, exercise, weather, and anything else you like.

Another thing I really like is that holidays, reminders like Daylight Savings Time and moon phases are printed on the day spaces so I don't have to write them in myself.
I love month tabs!!!
And I love maps!!
There are several Notes pages in the back, and address pages. I like to tape in cards for easy access.
At the back is a reference calendar for the next school year. The refillable cover creates pockets inside the front and back covers where I tuck in papers, receipts, birthday party invitations, and anything else I need access to.
The Textagenda is such a complete daily planner with so many excellent features, it's one of my all-time favorite planners!

Many thanks again to Exaclair for sending me this Textagenda!

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Guest Post - Exacompta - Journal 21 - Steve

Huge thanks to Steve from Philofaxy for graciously agreeing to do this excellent guest post!

So you might be wondering what am I doing here on Plannerisms, surely this is a mistake, picked the wrong blog out of 'My Blogs' on Blogger... no not quite.

I recently did a little bit of consultancy work for Quo Vadis in the USA with regards to them importing the Quo Vadis Organiser range of inserts in to the USA from France. It seems I am the world expert on planner hole spacing... what a sad fact to have on your CV!

As a thank you for my time and input, Exaclair USA asked me if I would like a planner of my choice. This was actually quite a difficult thing to do for me. Firstly as you know I'm a 'ring bound' sort of guy. I've had bound diaries/planners in the past, but these have been HMSO/Niceday standard issue ones, no real choice other than 'Would you like a wall planner as well?'  The Wall Planner tended to get more use than the bound diary.

Anyway after consulting the Quo Vadis USA on-line site and looking through Plannerisms, which is a far more useful site for seeing the details of any planner than I ever would have thought, I chose the Journal 21 with a Club cover in blue.

Now you might be wondering will this one also sit in the cupboard if I'm so in to using Filofax organisers. Well I like to have a planner and a journal. The planner for present and future things. A journal for what actually happened.  In my A5 Filofax I use two different diary inserts for this, as well as a third insert for blog post planning. So the A5 does get a little full. The Planner and Journal diary inserts are of different designs in my Filofax

Now I have no intention of using the Journal 21 as a planner, instead I will use it as my Journal. Laurie's excellent review of the Journal 21, which I consulted and absorbed in detail here concentrates on using the Journal 21 as a planner in my language.

Now for me... not living in the USA there are some issues with a USA produced planner as a planner in France. The public holidays aren't quite the same, but in terms of using this as a daily journal, the non UK/French Holidays I can just ignore and write in the UK/French ones at the top of the page or record them within the day as required. 

Looking at the Quo Vadis European website, the Journal 21 isn't available, instead there is the ABP1 which is similar in size and layout. This I believe is available in Canada. Of course being made in France the ABP1 will be in French where as the Journal 21 is English... US English, but unless anyone knows different we do spell the month and days the same!

However, being a US product it will alert me to public holidays in the USA, which I am not aware of, and things like the changes to DST in Spring and back to normal in Autumn.

Naturally my main interest in this planner is to use the Day Per Page:

Down the left hand side of each page are timings from 8am to 9pm in half hour intervals. I will most probably ignore these, although they might be handy for recording what I did in the morning, afternoon and evening.

I'm not sure that I will use the monthly pages for anything at this stage, nor will I use the address pages at the back of the Journal 21. 

Overall I think this will be a great journal for me to use  next year. I can leave my Filofax open on the planner pages, the Journal 21 open on the current day and this will prompt me to make more entries each day compared to now. I will be consulting Ray Blakes 'Journalling School' for some hints and tips as well.

So yes it will be possible to mix ring bound and bound planners! Yes I didn't think I would ever say that either!

Thank you to Sunny at Exaclair for supplying the Journal 21 and to Laurie for letting me share this post with you.

Thursday, May 9, 2013

The Original personal size Filofax in Patent Purple

I'm very excited to review The Original Filofax! I know people have a lot of questions about this new binder, and I hope to answer them all here. If you have a question about anything I haven't covered here, please ask in the comments!

First, I want to thank Filofax and The Ideas Network very much for sending me this sample of The Original personal size in Patent Purple to review.

Second, I want to direct you to Steve's review of the A5 size of The Original in Standard Green over on Philofaxy.

And, I've done a video showing more details of the leather and how to use the elastic inside the front cover, which you can click here to see.

Some background info: The Original Filofax recalls the early days of Filofax style. I like the way they describe it on the Filofax website: "The Original: a Filofax that looks like a Filofax--unapologetically iconic." Click here to see the Filofax UK page to see all the colors available of The Original Filofax. I really appreciate that they have made such a large selection of colors including fluoro brights (orange and pink), patent finishes (fuchsia and the purple I'm reviewing here) and classic colors (yellow, green, brown and black). The vibe of this Filofax is fun, cool and creative.

Now on to the review! First of all, I like Filofax's new packaging. The plastic cover allows everyone to see inside the Filofax in the store, then when you buy it you take the plastic off and the cover of your new Filofax is still pristine!

As indicated on the packaging, this Filofax is made in the UK, which is fantastic. I know many of us have been asking for years for a Filofax made in the UK. Wish granted!

Here is The Original in all its Patent Purple gloriousness! First, let me go on for awhile about the leather.

The Original is made from a full cut of leather. It is thick and soft. Despite the patent shine, it is not plastic-y at all. In fact you can still see the grain of the leather. It is soooooo smooth, I love to touch it! People who are tactile like I am will really appreciate the smooth feel of the leather. It also has that great leather smell.

And look! Despite the thickness of the leather, the binder lays flat immediately with no training at all.

And yet it still has enough structure to be firm and easy to write in when you are holding it in your hands. It's not floppy.

Below you can see The Original open and empty so you can see the internal layout. The binder is made of simple cuts of leather with no fabric lining and nothing sandwiched between layers of leather. On the left is an elastic band that can hold pens and/ or your phone (lots more details on that later in this post) and a couple of slots for cards. On the right are slots to hold a jot pad. Inside both covers are full length pockets.

Here is the jot pad that fits into the slot in the back cover. This is the Flex jot pad, not the Notepad.
**Edited to add: click here to see Steve's genius post on Philofaxy on how to cut the Filofax Notepad (with holes to fit on the rings) to fit in this back pocket.  I don't have a personal size notepad to try it with but I'm sure the results are the same.

Here is a closeup of the logo embossed inside the front cover. Cool!

Below you can see the thickness of the leather and the construction of the binder. It is made from full cuts of leather with nothing in between. The ring mechanism is attached directly through the leather.

Here you can see on the spine where the ring mechanism is held on through the leather.

Here is another example of the leather and the construction: the card slots are simple slits in the leather.

Here you can see the back side of the leather inside the binder. Again you can see the grain of the leather. Also you can see details of the stitching.

Here is a closeup of the snap cover, which says "FILOFAX The Original est. 1921" and looks retro-cool on the front.

Here is the back of the binder, where you can see the strap closure is held on by a simple attachment.
I hope that has answered your questions about the leather and the construction. If not please feel free to ask anything you want to know!

Now I will address the elastic pen holder. Several people have speculated about its usefulness.

Below I've shown it holding some Staedtler Triplus Fineliner pens.
When you have more than two pens in the middle (large) elastic, you have to put a fatter pen between two thinner ones so it doesn't slide through.

Below you can see the pens inside the binder with the cover closed. You can see that if you carry fatter pens, you may need to reduce the number of pages you carry on the rings.

The pen loop does cause the pen to lie on top of the pages.

Here is a side view showing the pen on top of the pages.
I have suggested to Filofax that they lengthen the strap in future editions of these binders to more easily accommodate items held in the elastic straps.
Personally I prefer to clip my pen to the pen loop so that the pen lies outside the page edges:

Below you can see my phone in the middle strap, held securely.  The middle strap measures 2.5 inches/ 6.3 cm wide, to help you determine if your phone would fit there.
And here you can see the binder closed with my phone in there.
You can see the elastic holders in action in my video for more information.

Next I want to discuss the style of The Original. I would call the style Retro not Vintage. This is not a Winchester revival. It's a retro-cool style that is not an exact duplicate of a Filofax from years ago, but is more like a nostalgic nod to the old style.

As a comparison, I've shown The Original alongside the oldest Filofax I own, my Buckingham from 2001 (where you can see the heartbreaking cover damage I described awhile back on Philofaxy). The Buckingham is not actually vintage, but its design is very similar to older Filofax models. You can see the design of The Original is similar but not identical to the Buckingham. The Original is a modern version of the classic Filofax style.

Here are the insides of The Original and Buckingham showing the layouts of the front covers.

Another comparison: the insides of the pockets on The Original show the back side of the thick leather.

Inside the pockets of the Buckingham there is Filofax printed fabric.
Anyway, you get the idea, The Original is not meant to be a duplicate of a vintage style of binder, but more of a modern version of the classic Filofax style.

Some people asked how The Original compares to a Domino, because they thought the construction looks similar. I can assure you there is a big difference between the faux leather Domino and the full cut leather Original. Here is The Original next to my A5 Domino in Ultra Violet.

The Domino is a good looking non-leather binder, but it still doesn't compare to the shiny real leather of The Original.
Here you can see details of the stitching and the texture of the covers.
Here are the inside covers compared, with the faux suede of the Domino on the left and the real leather interior of The Original on the right.

The inserts in The Original are different from previous years' Filofaxes. There is a page behind the clear flyleaf showing it is made in the UK. Also you can see the colored numbered tabs, which look really nice.
The Original comes with lots of different types of paper including To Do sheets, lined, graph, plain and colored paper, and Contacts pages (but no A-Z tabs).
Included are diary inserts for July-December 2013 and January-December 2014. The 2014 diary is 5 languages and has the same layout as the Cotton Cream week on two pages with a This Week box above Monday, but with white paper. Interestingly, I don't see this exact week on two pages diary insert available for separate purchase on the Filofax UK website, and I don't have any information on whether it will be available for separate purchase. I like it.
Also included is a frosted flexible Today pagemarker and a frosted top-opening envelope.

Some people also asked about the rings and whether there are any gaps. The rings on this binder are perfect, and I've been assured by Filofax that they have all been quality inspected before leaving the warehouse.

I hope that answers any questions you have about The Original in the personal size! Like I said, if there is anything else you would like to know, please leave a comment or email me and I would be happy to answer.

Thanks again to Filofax and The Ideas Network!

***Edited to add: several people asked me for photos of Franklin Covey Compact size pages in this binder. Please see below.

The Franklin Covey Compact pages go all the way to the edge of the binder, and the tabs stick out a lot and are crushed by the strap.
Below is another view of the tabs being crushed by the strap.

Here you can see how far the tabs stick out.
The pages go all the way to the edge of the binder, making the pen loop totally unusable.

The biggest problem is the shortness of the strap. Not only does it crush the tabs, but it severely limits the number of pages you can put in, which is an issue with the Franklin Covey two pages per day inserts.
 In my opinion, you are much better off using a Malden for Franklin Covey pages because it has a much longer strap, which means the tabs do not get crushed and you can put lots more pages in. See my post here to see Franklin Covey Compact size pages in my personal Malden.