My Go-To Daily Planner: the Quo Vadis Notor

Ladies and gentlemen — I have finally found a planner to meet my needs!  For several years I have struggled with the dilemma of needing to view my day and week at one time, along with having space for a to-do list.  I kept going back to my computer’s calendar for the day and week views since I could easily switch between them, but that left me with blank paper for to-do lists that inevitably ended up hidden under my pile of work for the day.  Enter – the Quo Vadis Notor.  The Notor is a daily planner that allows me to combine my to-do list in a book format.  It allows the freedom to plan my day in a format the works for me, which makes all the difference.

General:  The Notor is also available in both January – December and August – July formats.  It has a sewn binding and both the refill and the cover allow the planner to open flat (a true bonus!).

Cover:  The Notor is compatible with a variety of Quo Vadis covers, including the Texas (faux-suede), Club (leatherette), Soho (not sure of the material on this one), and Chelsea (leather).  I personally have the Club cover in Rose Grenadine, which is a darker pink color.  With pink being one of my favorite colors, it was a hit right away!  The cover is sturdy and slips over the refill, allowing me to keep the same cover when it’s time to refill my Notor for next year.  It is sturdy and saddle-stitched with a pebble texture.



Size:  The Notor is 4.75 x 6.75″ (12 x 17 cm), which is a perfect size to always keep the Notor on my desktop without it taking up too much space.  It’s always handy and ready to go!

Paper:  The Notor has Clairefontaine paper.  Need I say more?

Seriously though, Clairefontaine is the best paper for fountain pens and I love writing in this planner daily.  The paper is bright white and smooth, allowing my nibs to glide over the paper and my inks to really show off their unique properties.  My ink colors are vibrant and pop off the page, while their shading is enhanced.  As is typical with Clairefontaine paper, there is absolutely no feathering.   There is also no bleedthrough and very minimal showthrough. As seen in the last writing sample photo, the showthrough is minimal enough that is does not distract from writing on a page’s backside, even with a lighter colored ink.

The only caveat is that I recommend leaving a few seconds for your ink to dry before closing the Notor, as many inks take a little longer to dry on Clairefontaine paper.  I have forgotten this more than once and had ink come off on the page facing the one on which I had just written.



Layout:  Each day of the week (including Saturday and Sunday) has a full page devoted to it, which I appreciate.  Each day has the date printed largely and highlighted with a blue background.  There are small spaces from 8 AM – 7 PM to jot down certain appointments, which I find helpful as a reminder.  There is not enough space to include additional information in the time slots, but my computer’s calendar serves that purpose.  Next there is a “Priority” section, which is very helpful for me to highlight one or a few specific items that must be finished that day.  After that is some lined space with no timing attached to it.  I love this part because this is where I write my to-do list for the day.  The bottom section of the page has a separate section for notes, in case I have anything additional to add.  Sometimes birthday reminders go there as well.  I love this layout because it’s free form allows me to note everything I need to get done that day without having to match each task with a specific time.  My list is also set on the present day instead of a random piece of paper floating around my desk.

notor12 notorweekday notorweekend

The bottom corner of each page also has a tear-off corner so that you can easily find your place in the diary.


Improvements:  I am currently using the 2014 Notor and they have made some changes for 2015.  The large date at the top is has a square background for 2015, whereas the 2014 had a circle.  Also the date, Priority, and Notes backgrounds also have a darker and brighter blue in 2015, whereas the 2014 was more subtle.  The 2015 version also has a “Notes” title that is like a diagonal sticker, which I frankly think makes it look more comical, elementary, or “school-like.”  In my opinion, the 2014 layout is much classier and it’s subtlety allows for my inks to really stand out.  I hope that in future refills Quo Vadis will return to the 2014 layout.

Notor 2014 Version

Notor 2014 Version

Notor 2015 Version - via Quo Vadis website

Notor 2015 Version – via Quo Vadis website

Personally, I also prefer a ribbon bookmark over the tear-off corners.  I either forget to tear the corners off or the corners I do tear off somehow miss my trashcan and I keep finding little triangles around my desk and office.  Despite my personal preference, the corners are really not a deterrent for me in using this planner.  I just added my own ribbon by gluing one to the back page of the Notor and leaving enough ribbon to feed through the pages.  I like my little hack and actually wouldn’t mind doing it again.

Overall:  I really wish the colors and details had not been changed to the more elementary look for the 2015 Notor.  I fear this will annoy me on a daily basis and also distract from the beauty of my inks.  But because this format really works for me and I had a great experience with the Notor in 2014, I will buy a refill and keep using it throughout 2015 and beyond.   I will continue using my computer’s calendar program for my overall day/week/month views, and the Notor for my daily reminders, priorities, and to-do lists.

Depending on the retailer and cover you choose, the Notor seems to run between $15 – $25.  The refill alone is between $11 – $15.

Review: J. Herbin Vert Réséda Fountain Pen Ink

J. Herbin’s Vert Réséda has also been one of my favorite end of summer/beginning of fall inks.   The name translates as “reseda green” and the ink lives up to the quality I expect from J. Herbin.

The Bottle:  Like all J. Herbin bottles, the bottle is compact and has a much appreciated pen rest.  One newer feature is that the cap is shiny black plastic, whereas previous bottles had more of a matte plastic cap.

The Color:  This color is hard to describe, but it’s sort of a minty teal/turquoise.  It also matches one of my sealing waxes exactly, so that is a plus for someone like me who likes to color coordinate my writing accoutrements.

Consistency/Flow:  I found the flow to be moderate at first, but actually it got wetter the more I used it.  I started out testing the ink with an Esterbrook dip pen (nib 2442), and the flow was good.  Then I inked it in one of my vintage Vacumatics.  The flow started off just okay.  Now that I have refilled that pen several times with Vert Réséda, I have noticed that the flow has increased, the ink is wetter, and the color is slightly darker.  So this slightly darker color is what you see in the writing samples pictured, but note that you might experience the color to be a bit lighter and closer to the square on the top of the box.

Shading, Feathering, and Other Characteristics: I have not experienced any feathering with Vert Réséda.  At first, there was barely any shading at all.  I was slightly disappointed, but liked the color so much that I planned to continue using it even without shading.  However, again through refills and continued use, the shading has also increased along with the flow and wetness as described above.  As you can see the writing sample, it now has a fairly decent amount of shading.  This development is much to my delight, although I do not know if these results are typical for all users.

Writing sample close-up to see shading.

Writing sample close-up to see shading.

Overall:  I really like this ink and plan on keeping it in my regular rotation.

Writing samples written on Rhodia mini graph pad.

Writing samples written on Rhodia mini graph pad.

Purchasing and Pricing:  A 30mL bottle runs between $7-12 depending on the retailer and is available at most online retailers catering to fountain pen and ink users.  You can also purchase from one of the links below to help support La Plume Etoile.



Ink Review: J. Herbin’s Encres Acidulees Effet Scintillant (Pearlescent Inks)

Thanks to Karen at Exaclair, I recently had the opportunity to try some very fun and fancy inks.  J. Herbin’s Encres Acidulees Effet Scintillant  are Herbin’s group of Pearlescent Inks.  These inks are NOT for fountain pens, they are for dip nibs only.  There are several colors, all of which have a shiny/glittery/pearlescent sheen.  I discuss each ink in the group below.

The Colors (listed in the same order as the sample photo)

Pink:  A lovely bubblegum pink color.  When the ink is thinning on the nib, it can be sheer.  Frequent dipping to have a lot of ink on your quill/nib is best.

Peach (Peach):  A lighter, less pink color with more orange to it.  Same properties as the pink.

Blue:   A dark royal blue color.  It was really nice and quite a surprise as I expected a sky blue color since the rest in the group are more pastel.  As you can see, it doesn’t show up well on the darker paper.  I suspect it would do fabulously on a lighter paper.

Yellow:  Bright!  Despite it’s brightness, the hue is more of a softer yellow rather than obviously neon.

Green:  Also quite bright.   Maybe a prime creamy avocado?

Consistency/On Paper:  This ink takes a little trial and error to get it right.  I had to try a few nibs, but then found it worked well with some of the very small Brause nibs (again from Karen and distributed through Exaclair) because the smaller nibs held the ink and allowed it to flow onto the paper best.  The bigger nibs didn’t let the ink flow down well enough to complete a line.  Even with the small nibs, I had to dip often to keep enough ink on the nib so that the ink stayed thick and didn’t thin out like you can see in part of the writing sample.  I also had to take care in my pressure on the nib to avoid the ink transferring too quickly to the paper and creating blobs, as is a concern with wet ink.  However, I found working with care and patience avoided this problem.  This is definitely an ink to play with when you have some relaxing time to devote your attention without rushing.

Paper choice was also an issue.  I’ll save you some time — you can avoid reaching for the cheap paper.  This ink needs sturdy, thicker, high quality paper to support the thickness and composition of these inks.  The brown paper in the photo is a sample of G.Lalo (again, distributed by Exaclair  – this paper is great and a review is forthcoming).   The inks were very happy to be paired with G. Lalo paper and you shouldn’t have a problem if you use G. Lalo or a similar high quality paper.

An additional note is to take care in handling your writing even after the ink has dried.  As you can see in the photo, the pearlescence tends to smear a bit.

Overall:   There have been some other blogs in the pen and ink world that have given these inks poor reviews.  However, I really enjoyed testing these inks and plan to use them for special occasion items such as when writing someone a special card.  I already used the yellow color to make an artistic name card for someone special (on grey G. Lalo paper in case you are interested – it was a lively combination!).  I will be using these in the future.  If you are interested in them , I would recommend giving them a chance and playing with the right nib and paper combinations.  I have not tried other calligraphy inks that may be similar to these, so I cannot compare them to other brands.  I also just learned there are a few colors (like coral red!) that I did not get to try.  I must have that coral red!

Purchasing and Pricing: A pack of 5 assorted 10ml will run you around $20, depending on the retailer.