In this post, I’m kicking off a new series for 2017 here on the blog called the Planner Test Drive. Each month we’ll review a new planner and put it to the test in our business and life. We’re kicking off the series with a review of the A5 Luxe Day Designer from Whitney English.
I’ve used the Flagship Day Designer for a couple of years now and I really like it, so I was super excited to give this one a test drive, particularly because of how it can be customized and its portability.
The A5 Luxe Collection is a binder style planner with standard A5 pages (5.8 Wide” x 8.3” Tall). It includes a magnetic closure flap, and lets you keep contacts, lists and planning all in one place. It also includes zippered and stitched pockets for storing your important stuff, as well as a pen loop so you’re not wasting time trying to track down your favorite pen.
The planner is a leather binder available in a variety of colors and it comes with the Insert Starter Pack with tab pages, yearly calendar, full page checklists, undated daily planning pages (90 days worth) monthly overviews, goal setting sheets and more.
My Test Drive
The week I started using this planner we also started doing renovations at our house. Definitely not a normal week but helped to highlight a few things that I really appreciated about this planner.
After realizing that I could not really work at home with all the banging, my trusty travel bag became my “office” that week as I bounced around from my parents house to my husband’s restaurant, Brew, and then home again. And this planner, while not tiny, is super portable and lightweight enough that I don’t feel like I’m adding a brick to my bag. The planner, with the starter pack in it, weighs 1.6 pounds so it’s easy to carry with you.
In the past with other bulkier planners, I’d never take them with me when I traveled and I would always be a bit lost. The portability of this planner is a big plus, and I definitely can see taking it with me on my travels.
What I Loved About This Planner
One of my favorite things is the binder itself. As the name implies, it’s lovely and luxe. I chose the white pebbled vegan leather version, and am impressed with the quality of it. The quality of the paper is outstanding – even when using markers there wasn’t any bleeding, which is a serious plus as I use all kinds of things in my planner.
The pen loop and zippered pouch included in this planner make this not only stylish but practical, and it includes a magnetic closure to keep everything secure. I’m weird about traveling with notebooks or planners that don’t have an elastic band or a way to close them. The closure keeps everything in order and makes me feel a little like a very cool third grader with the snazziest of Trapper Keepers.
I love that I can customize the pages, the set up and the layout. I have a list of the pages I love (and need more of) but I totally threw out the expense tracker pages. (Who tracks this stuff by hand? That’s madness if you ask me.) The flexibility is amazing, but you may find you don’t like some of the pages as you get started and that feels a bit wasteful.
I did find myself using the Big To Do List page to keep a running list of things that needed to get done this week (or month) that didn’t have a specific day on which they needed to be done. I especially appreciate that you can move it around, take it out of the binder and keep it with you.
The little water glass check boxes on the daily pages were super helpful. When I don’t drink enough water I can tell, and especially in the winter when it’s cold, I often forget to refill my glass.
Included in the starter pack are stickers. I’m a minimalist, so I don’t really use stickers but I think some people would have fun or creative ways to use them and improve their planning.
Items of Note
One downside of the A5 Luxe is the cost. I picked the vegan leather and it rang up at over $100 with shipping, and I still need to go buy more pages for the rest of the year. Plus, the vegan leather one is actually at a lower cost than the leather one, so this is definitely an investment.
It only includes 90 days of undated daily pages, so I need to purchase three additional packs. There are dated packs of daily pages you can buy as well, but they are at a higher cost. (Undated packs are $13.00, while the dated ones are $19.00) Plus, I definitely will need more of the lined note pages too.
That said, it is a beautiful binder and I can re-use the binder year after year after year (which I fully intend to do), so this is really an upfront investment in the binder, and my cost will go down over time.
Another thing to note is that the daily pages are on the small side. If you have not-so-tiny hand writing: I had to try pretty hard to fit a task on just one line since the page is divided in half. This forced me to be a little more concise in my daily planning but it could be a deal breaker for some of you. I did find I used the Big To Do List pages and the grid pages to write out longhand my running to-do lists.
I’ve used the hard bound Day Designer for years and it’s pretty much the same concept, but on a smaller scale (if you’re used to the big Day Designer). It doesn’t have the planning and goal setting pages, but I’m pretty sure you can purchase or download those separately.
When I bought my original Day Designer, there was a lot of “help” with emails and videos and instructions in the planner itself that I felt was a miss with the execution of delivering this planner. But that’s nothing on the planner quality and just something that popped into my brain as I think about the customer experience of the whole ordering process.
The A5 Luxe Planner: A Stylish, High Quality Planner
All in all, if you’re looking for a stylish, functional, easy to travel with, long-term planner, I highly recommend the A5 Luxe Planner.
There are a ton of ways to make it work just right for you, no matter what your style of planning is. You definitely have to take some time to figure out what works best for you and be willing to order more pages (though there are SO MANY options for A5 planners, not just with Whitney English’s line, but also on Etsy. The standard size of this planner makes it pretty easy to customize on your budget (after your initial investment).