Earlier this year, I was sent a package of goodies from Exaclair, Inc (the US distributor of fine products by Clairefontaine, Exacompta, Rhodia, Quo Vadis, and more). I was a late shot-in-the-dark addition to their planner review offer (aka, they send me a planner, I review it on my blog), and they happened to have a few left that no one had claimed. Not only did I get in on the offer, but I got the exact planner I wanted – and more. The kindly Karen Doherty sent me a Quo Vadis Business planner in an orange Habana cover (4″x6″), as well as the Minister planner in the same cover (approx 6″ x 9″), a Clairefontaine spiral notebook, an orange Rhodia pad, and a sketchbook. Oh, the wealth!

All this arrived partly into the new year, and I was also waiting on some fountain pens and ink to play with. The agreement was: a review in exchange for a planner, but it seemed a bit late to be posting a review of a product that probably sells the most from November to early January. Also, it seemed a lot of other reviews I had seen didn’t really put the planner to work. I decided to hold off and post a review later in the year, when I had spent some true practical time  using the planner, and when people would be actually looking online for reviews.

Honestly, I was skeptical of the vertical format. I hated it at first, and it’s perhaps a good thing that I gave it time before publishing a review. I thought there wouldn’t be room to write, that the lines for hours were a waste of space for my schedule. I was flipping through Moleskine weekly planners with their more horizontal layouts – I even bid on a few on eBay (unsuccessfully – why pay much when you have free one to use?). But now that I’ve put this baby to good use, I love the format and find it difficult to see how the other type of layout would work for me! One complaint, though, is that the Sunday really would be best as a full column. My Sundays are BUSY days and it’s tough trying to get it all written on the bottom of the page.. sometimes I just skip it and try to just remember my plans for that day.

I love the tear-out corners for fast jumps to the current week, as well as the space on the right side for notes. The breakdown of the notes into catagories doesn’t really work for me, but that’s easily overcome by just writing over the faint titles.

Most importantly: I was able to write with my fountain pens (using my standard ink: Noodler’s Black) without the slightest bleed-through on the pages. The sewn binding lays flat nicely and held up to abuse as I carried the small book in my purse all year – didn’t lose a single page. There are only a few smudges to show age, and the elastic band still has a nice snap to it.

I loved the quality of the paper. The Minister planner, which is almost identical aside from size, had better paper perhaps, but I didn’t find it necessary for something I was only jotting in here and there. It’s not as if it is a full journal. I much prefer the Business for it’s size – tiny and portable!

All-in-all, I give it my vote. Great product!

Fresh from the mail back in January 09:

Stack of goodies (January 09):

Used and abused in December (nice to see how my photography has improved since January):

Scribbles and bits (December 09):

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