31 January 2013

Day-Timer Garden Path Portable Review - May

Thank you to May for this Guest Post about a Daytimer Organiser.

If, like me, you are a fan of green binders, you will be having a hard time finding a Filofax you like at the moment. There is the rather lurid green Apex, and the easily-damaged green canvas Songbird. The green Chameleon was available until recently, but the blackened two-tone finish makes it less – well, green. There just is not a nice green leather organiser in any of the main Filofax ranges. So when I saw the Day-Timer Garden Path binder [[http://www.daytimer.co.uk/Binders-Covers/Portable-Size-25mm-Garden-Path-Leather-Binder/49136/View_Front/MoreInfo.aspx]] I was really interested – this might be the green fix I was after! Although it was listed as ‘blue’ a quick search on Google images showed it was certainly a very green kind of blue, so I decided to give it a try.

I’ve never ordered from Day-Timer UK before, and was a bit thrown by the fact they only add VAT to your order at the end – and that they add VAT to the delivery charge, making standard delivery a rather steep £5.40. The website says orders will arrive in 4 working days and they’ll let you know about any delays. My binder finally arrived after 4 WEEKS and 5 emails to customer services – all contact was initiated by me, they did not keep me updated about my order status. They did refund my delivery charge in the end, because of the long delivery time.
The Day-Timer portable size is the same as Filofax personal.  The Garden Path binder has a big ring size – 25mm – meaning it comfortably accommodated the contents of my blue personal Domino when I transferred them over. But the zip and that ring size means the binder is BIG. Here it is compared to my personal Domino and A5 Finsbury

After the size, then next thing I noticed was the leather. It feels more like fabric, or possibly suede – the texture reminded me of the inside of a Domino. It does have a nice leather smell, but I was a bit concerned – it felt like it would mark very, very quickly. The colour is very similar to the soft jade Finchley that Filofax made a couple of years ago. The Garden Path also has a little charm attached to a loop at the top (easy to remove if it’s not your style) with leather leaves and a silver locket which you could put a tiny photo in.

The embossed flower on the front is probably my favourite aspect of this binder – I wish Filofax would release more embossed leather binders (I always liked the butterfly binder they did a few years ago!). What I don’t like is the ‘puffiness’ of the covers, which just needlessly adds to the bulk. It feels like a solid plastic or board frame, with a thin layer of foam covered in thin leather.

The zip on the binder is sturdy and strong, if a little cheap looking. It has a leather zip pull.  I’ve never been that fussy about the interior pockets of my binders, but I know it matters a lot to some of you, On the left side there are 2 full length vertical pockets, 5 horizontal card slots, and clear window slot for a photo or ID. On the right side there is a slot of a notepad. You can see in the photos that the binder is lined in a green synthetic material, but the pockets and area around the rings are leather.

I was interested to see that unlike Filofax, Day-Timer to not have their own branded rings. They are using ones stamped ‘World Wide’. They line up perfectly, but the metal of the end tabs feels a bit weak / cheap. I don’t know how they would stand up to long term use. The rings on my old Personal Cross feel a LOT sturdier, but I would say the Day-Timer rings are comparable to those on my Domino.

After 3 weeks of gentle use, my Garden Path is not standing up well. The stitching on one corner is coming loose:

One of the leaves on the charm has fallen off. And as I suspected, the leather fabric shows every tiny mark – even though I’ve been handling it carefully. I am returning it to Daytime – they wanted to give me a replacement, but I have requested a refund.  I need a binder I can toss in my bag, leave on my kitchen counter, and can survive being grabbed at by my toddlers! So for now I will keep stalking eBay for my dream filo – a personal Finchley in emerald or personal Finsbury in soft jade.

Thank you May for an excellent review. 


  1. I ordered this about a year ago and returned it right away. I suspected what you had experienced. Other than looks, it probably is the worst choice from Day Timer. Sorry you had to go through all that.

  2. What a shame. I always thought of Day Timer as a company for good quality and service.

    Postage is VAT-exempt in the UK. However if packing is charged for (that is you're being asked to pay more than the cost of the stamp) them the whole amount of postage and packing has to have VAT added. That's the rule!

    Don't be fooled by the rings. All Filofax rings are also made in China by the massive Worldwide corporation so often complained about here. Filofax just have theirs branded to suggest they make their own. They don't!

  3. I have this binder also and in A5 size. It does mark easily, but I find it evens out in time, like a patina. I haven't had stitching come loose. I quite like the well used worn look and it is very different to anything else out there at the moment.

  4. There is a Pocket green filofax on Ebay. Sorry I don't know what type

    Link is: http://www.ebay.com.au/itm/WOMENS-GREEN-LEATHER-POCKET-FILOFAX-UNWANTED-PRESENT-/261162906682?pt=UK_BOI_Office_Office_Supplies_Stationery_ET&hash=item3cce85b43a

    Hope you find your dream green filofax :)

  5. Franklin Covey makes a Giada binder in green - not sure if it's the shade of green you're looking for. The compact has small rings - I'd say like a compact Filofax or a bit larger. Here it is on the UK ebay site:


  6. I've got an oyster Sketch from Filofax. It is not really oyster at all!! More on the green side of grey... sounds horrid, but actually the colour is gorgeous!! I fell in love with it straight away. Worth a lookie do??

  7. A few months ago, I bought a vintage forest green Portland in personal size. Its that super-soft leather that has a nice thickness to it.
    On the inside, there are pockets and on the back, a zippered section in a hidden placket.
    Its true--sometimes you can find really interesting older Filofax styles on ebay! But you have to be careful---I saw 4 today that weren't really Filofax brand--it seems that any six ringed binder tries to pass itself off as "Filofax".

  8. Thank you for this review, I was wondering about trying one but I think I would just get irritated with having to be careful with it all the time! :)

  9. I too recently went on a hunt for a true green Filofax. Then I found my personal Piccadilly in a lovely bright watermelon green on eBay and my search was over. Hopefully Filofax comes out with some green Filo's this year so you can get your fix, too. :)

  10. Really too bad. Here in the US DayTimer has excellent customer service. It's certainly a unique binder so it's unfortunate that it doesn't hold up so well. I definitely don't want to send a message to binder manufacturers that we are not willing to try something different!

    I'll second Claudia's suggestion to look at the Franklin Covey Giada which comes in a nice vivid green. Last time I checked the emerald green finsbury was available at filofax of France. Maybe not any longer?

  11. Thanks for a great review.
    It's a lovely colour, but a shame that it would show up marks so easily & you had problems with the stitching.

  12. Nor related to the actual review of this binder, but I love the colour of your Domino, it is lovely :-)

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