24 June 2013

The Twins Have Been Born!

If you saw this post, you may have known a review was coming.  Sorry if I misled anyone, but Zoe and I aren’t expecting actual twins, but rather twin binders.

First, I’d like to thank Jessica Proudfoot at Ideas Network for sending me the Compact Calipso to review.  I am very excited to participate in a review for Filofax.

With that said, on with the show!

Coming to the US from the UK, I thought it would take a long time for the Calipso to arrive and settled myself for an impatient two-week (or longer) wait.  So I was very excited to find this lovely note on my door only a week and a half later:

This is my first “official” package from London.  I didn’t think I would have to sign for it, but it makes sense, seeing as it came from Ideas Network.  Of course, I was working and not at home. It was a Thursday when it arrived, and I knew I would not be able to pick it up until Saturday.  So you can imagine my angst at having to wait (so much so, I almost had my mother pick it up on Friday) knowing it was waiting for me just down the road from my house.  But wait I did, no thanks to the hours held by the United States Post Office.

After picking it up, here’s what I had:

It says Royal Mail and everything—yay!

Inside I got a lovely note from Jess.  What lovely handwriting!

I added her note to my personal Guildford, where I keep all of my Filofax-related notes.

Upon opening the package…

Ahh, see her in all of her teal beauty.  (Pardon the photo colors—my camera doesn’t like to take true-color photos.)

I chose the teal color because I wanted something summery, yet not something that I would easily tire of.  And since I prefer more subdued colors in my planners, the teal fit all of my criteria.  For those seeking more vivid colors, the Calipso also comes in bright blue, deep pink, burnt orange, and solar yellow and is also available in the A5 size.

Here’s a close-up of the snap closure, which is much different from other binders:

The leather on the Calipso is soft and pebbly, much like that of the Finchley, though the “pebbles” are smaller on the Calipso than they are on the Finchley.

Here’s the Filofax “F” on the side:

Now for the insides…

The left interior:

You can see that the card slots are vertical in this binder, as opposed to horizontal, as is the case with most other binders.  I have gotten used to the card slots being the other way, but I love me some vertical slots, so I’m not at all upset about this layout.  You can also see that the pen loop is on the left side, whereas many binders (and all of the ones I own) have it on the right side.

There is a full-length pocket behind the card slots.

Upon first opening, the binder did not lay flat.

The binder comes with a week on one page diary layout.

Being a compact, the rings are 15 mm.

It also has the black Today ruler and A – Z tabs.

There is white notepaper too.

The right interior has a zippered pocket.

The back of the binder:

Those are the features of the binder.  As you can see, it’s pretty similar to most binders.

How did she do in the real world?

First, I love the teal color!  It lives up to my criteria of offering a summery hue without being too loud or too boring.  (The next photo is pretty true to the actual color.)

Although the pen loop is elastic, I found that it still didn’t fit my Uniball Jetstream pen.

If I forced it enough and often, I could probably get the loop to stretch out and get the pen in there easily.  But since I am used to having to put the pen clasp in the loop rather than the pen (I have to do this with my other compact binders), I figured I would go that route with the Calipso as well.

The pen does stick out from the binder a bit.

And at first, the clasp would not snap with the pen inside.

But once I forced it, it was fine, and it now closes without any effort.

I have to say that I don’t love the pen loop being on the left side.  All of my binders have the loop on the right, and since I’m right-handed, it just feels natural to put the pen on that side when I’m finished with it.  However, this is not a deal-breaker for me, and as I’ve been using it, I’ve gotten used to it.  I’d still prefer it on the right, but the left is okay too.

Upon opening the package, and after taking the initial photos, I moved right into the Calipso.  I put all of my items into it to see how it would hold up to everyday use.

Here I have my cards in the slots, some Martha Stewart stickers and some sheets of Russell + Hazel’s sticky to do sheets.

I have to say that although I love the idea of the vertical card slots, they’re not as great in practice, at least with this binder.  Since it’s thicker leather, and since one pocket is stacked on top of another, it creates a bit of bulk in the front.  That makes for skewed left-sided writing.  Again, this isn’t a deal breaker, but something that did annoy me at first.

I was very sad when the binder didn’t lay flat.

This is a must for me.  I can’t stand to use binders that don’t lay flat—when I have to fight with them to write in them, it’s a lost cause and only creates aggravation on my part.

I find that binders with a spine bubble tend to not lay flat.  Sadly, this is one of those binders.  However, seeing as the leather is soft and supple, I very gently bent the binder back on itself just a little.  To my happiness, it now lays flat.

I added my sheets of lists of projects, a year’s worth of monthly inserts, three months of daily pages, and a top-opening envelope at the back.

I don’t typically like zipped pockets since I find them tight and not easy to get into.  And I sorely miss the open full-length pocket in the back where I typically keep a small stack of papers.  However, I came up with a solution.

I simply unzipped the pocket and stuck the papers inside.  Since the pocket is tight to begin with, there isn’t any issue with the papers falling out.

Overall, I am delighted with this binder.  There are a few things I would change, but in the end, they are minor, and so it doesn’t change my opinion of the Calipso.  I mentioned that I moved into it right away—I have not moved out of it since.  It’s a great binder, and the last piece of my seasonal collection (more to come on that).  With her great color and free spirit, I have named her Gypsy.  May she always live carefree.

If you’re thinking of getting a binder from the range, I highly recommend it!  If you have further questions about the binder, please ask away.

Thanks again to Jess at Ideas Network for sending me the Compact Teal Calipso to review and to Steve for hosting my post here on Philofaxy.


  1. awesome review! LOVE that teal color!! i may have to steal your idea for leaving the back pocket unzipped...very much genius!

  2. I think you are much more excited about Royal Mail than us Brits are! In fact, most of us seem to have an opinion more akin to your opinion of the US Post Office... Glad you like your Calipso though =)

    1. Ha ha! Not really, but it's exciting to see the stamp for Royal Mail after hearing so much about them. As for the USPS, I like their service, but not the hours they hold. Anyone who works a 9-5 job can't really get there very easily.

  3. Great review! I swore to myself that my next binder would be an A5 Malden but now I'm thinking again. I'm not sure I care much for the different leather & pattern of the closure but I do like the shape of it. All the other features certainly tick the boxes for me.

  4. I own a Malden as well, and I do love it! But since they don't make a compact Malden, it stays home as my household binder. If you like any of the textured leather binders, you will probably like this one - it's very soft and supple like the Malden, but pebbled instead of smooth.

    Both are excellent binders!

  5. I do love this colour! So beautiful!

  6. Love this! Thanks for the review... I've been thinking about one especially in the pink.

    1. Thanks! Do check out Zoe's review also, as she did one on the pink. It's a great binder!

  7. I really love the look of these Filofaxes but I'm very disappointed to find they don't come in a personal size.
    I considered the A5 as I would like to try an A5 size but I want the teal colour not pink or blue :(