22 July 2013

Malden is where the heart is

I've owned quite a lot of different binders over the years, but at any one time the most I've had in my possession has been three. I love Filofaxes, but my minimalist tendencies mean that I just don't want any more than that. Three felt like too many and I tried out just one for a while, but two seems to be the Goldilocks number (sighs with relief). I purchased a wine A5 Holborn zip and felt that it was the perfect companion to my crimson personal Malden. And yet...

When Filofax UK kindly replaced the Holborn (due to faulty rings), its perfect replacement just sat on my bookshelf storing inserts. I'd pick it up, stroke it and say to myself, "What a lovely filo, why aren't I using it?" And then I'd put it back. After a while, the thought popped into my head that it's because 'it isn't a Malden'. Sadly the Holborn and I just didn't bond as I'm sure some of you might understand. I briefly considered an orange A5 Osterley, but based on my past experience I think its non-Malden-ness would have been an issue. 

I put a wanted ad on Adspot asking to swap for either an ochre or purple A5. When the lovely Johanne came forward with an offer of the vintage pink, I snapped it up as I wasn't sure if anyone would want to part company with the other colours. Hang on a minute, didn't I own a vintage pink A5 before?? Oh yes, I did. I've come full circle and now have two filos that I've owned previously and either sold or returned. Rather than thinking it a bit silly, I've decided that it proves how they're the right ones for me (well, that's how I've justified all this messing about).  

The added bonus in all of this is that I much prefer the leather on this A5 to my previous one. It's drier and a bit more creased, and I am one happy bunny.

The lesson that I've learnt? When I own so few Filofaxes, each of them need to be used and there isn't any space for ones that count as only 'alright'. In the past, I've owned many things that weren't right because I didn't feel comfortable spending more money on exactly what I wanted. Unfortunately I've wasted both time and money this way, so when it comes to Filofaxes I'm delighted that I've finally found my way home to Malden again.  


  1. Love this post, the universe has a great way of reminding you what you really love

  2. I couldn't agree more Anita. I adore my Baroques, but for the last two months have been back in my grey personal Malden and am loving it. Also, just set up an ochre mini as a wallet, which seems to be working very well.

  3. I've sooo wanted to try a Malden. But... it seems, if memory serves me right, when I actually held one at a local pen shop, I thought it felt stiff and unlike the ones others described as soft and subtle. I REALLY want a soft leather. One that feels like butter. So... in this vast "cult" of Filofaxers, I have to decide WHO to believe and think about what "I" felt. Now mind you, I believe STRONGLY that these Filofaxes were not handled often or sold that much at all.... this IS small town Iowa. But... that Malden calls my name constantly and other than the fact that I'm sooo scared I might not like the DEEP purple some say it is AND the price seems to high to take a "chance" on it (said as I write checks for high school and middle school registration well over $200), I can't seem to make a decision. And, I admit, the aqua seems easier to take that chance with even though I'm a true purple and pink gal. A little "teal/aqua" thrown in is always an option on both color choices for me. *sigh* I have NOT helped myself out at all even whilst writing this out! Grrrrrr

    1. Tina I think you were right to put down that stiff Malden. Three years ago I felt a Malden when they first came out and it was so floppy and buttery soft I wanted one. Then last November when I finally had the chance to hold one again, I paid so much attention to the rings to make sure they weren't gappy I didn't even notice the stiffness of the leather. The leather around the rings on the inside of the binder was so hard and stiff it actually crunched when I opened the binder flat. The rest of the leather was crinkly and dry, not the buttery soft leather I'd remembered. I was so disappointed and never got over it, so I eventually sold it. I like my orchid Aston much better anyway, the color and style and the softness of the leather.

      I don't know why the leather on the Maldens has changed, it seems like the early ones were so buttery soft but many of the recent ones (especially purple from what I see online) are dry and crinkly. Unfortunately the only way to make sure you get a soft one is to handle it before you buy it, which is impossible for many of us. I guess if you have to order online, order from somewhere you can return it if you aren't satisfied with the leather.

    2. I've started using my filofax intensively when I bought a personal Holborn in wine. Because I'm easily distracted, I sold it to buy an A5 grey Malden, because I thought I needed the page size. I've used many sizes an brands for a while, until I felt overwhelmed. I stopped to think what had actually worked for me and I've ordered a personal Holborn in wine, again. I loved the feel and smell of it and because of all the pockets it very functional for me.

      As for the ochre personal Malden I own and love for its looks; I gave it to my husband who likes it very much. It's an 'old version' and was decribed by the seller as the softest malden she had owned. I've owned a grey, crimson, vintage pink and the ochre one and I agree this one it the least plasticy and most flexible, but I won't call it soft. I really think it depends on your definition of soft. I call the Holborn and Portland leather buttery soft to the touch. The Malden, especially the ochre one, to me is flexible and supple, but it doesn't feel soft to the touch, it doesn't have any give when you push it with your finger, while the Holborn and Portland are marshmellowy soft.

    3. Tina,
      This is sort of off track...but where in Iowa? I'm from Cedar Rapids but now reside in Texas!
      I was so upset to find out that Iowa Supply (Bookstore in Iowa City) doesn't sell Filofaxes any more. Tear, sob!

    4. I have an A5 Malden in Vintage Pink. Love it. It is older and it's been very soft and pliable from day one. Opens flat and never needed breaking in. I waited and waited to get my hands on a personal sized Malden in my favorite color purple...the wait was excruciating but in the end I finally got it last Sept. Was disappointed to see that the covers were stiff, almost as if there is cardboard stuffed inside about a third of the width of the covers. Where the rings are and then extended for a couple of inches. It didn't open up flat and when I tried to coax it I could actually hear cracking sounds...like cardboard was being bent inside! I just KNOW there is some cardboard there. Maybe to add shape or something, I just don't like it. I tried to like this binder cause I knew I wasn't going to ever "love" it, but sorry, I couldn't even conjure up "like". I used it for about a month and it's now back in it's box and I'm afraid it might never see the light of day again. The older Malden's were better quality in my opinion. If I have a hankering for purple I will pull out my Imperial Purple Finchley. Now, that's a nice binder, too bad the line was discontinued~

    5. Valerie that sounds like what my ochre Malden had. I blogged about it here with photos:


      Eventually I decided it wasn't anything between the leather after all, but the actual leather itself that was inside next to the rings. I was so disappointed.

    6. I too am a member of the Holborn/Aston club. Laurie, I envy your orchid one-- it is the only other Filofax I want. I had a gray personal Malden and just couldn't love it, but was lucky enough to trade it for a brown Holborn. I now have the brown and black Holborn and a mushroom Aston. Love them dearly.

    7. I've also found quite a difference between the newer & older Maldens. I owned a purple personal one for a while, but the leather was quite dry (Nivea did help) & it didn't lie flat.

      Luckily both my current ones have great leather & lie flat easily.

  4. I have recently bought (last week) a Holborn Slimline.
    It was less than half price on FF UK and I was looking for something to take on holiday, reasoning that I simply don't need a year of diary, a telephone book of business contacts and meal plans for the next decade with me.
    But the more I look at it the nicer it is.
    And so, this morning, I went through the big Winchester and removed
    Grocery list for this week (2)
    Meal Plan for this week (1)
    Master grocery list (4)
    Chores list for July (2)
    House plan - major stuff like painting the ceilings (3)
    Garden list (2)
    Mo1P until December (8)
    Undated Do2P until end of July. (11)
    Phone numbers sheets (3)
    Sewing thread colour list (1)
    Three knitting patterns (3)
    Credit card holder (1)
    Ziplock (1)
    Indices A-Z

    And you know what? It all fits in the Slimline and it's not even full.
    There is room for 10 sheets spare paper and more.

    I have to confess a Compact would have more wiggle room, but Slimline works.

    Does anyone else use JUST Slimline?
    I can archive on a weekly basis into a bigger ringed binder.

    Just one thing.
    The Holborn rings are slightly, but uniformly oval, no gaps. Is this an optical illusion?

    1. Hi Natalie - the "just Slimline" route is something I'm considering. I seem to spend less and less time in the office and more "on the road" (on the train, more likely!). I'm also doing a lot more cycling trips (I've just got back from the north of Scotland) and realise that lightness is vital when carrying panniers on a bike! The new Journey Weekender is effectively a Slimline and promises to be a good option.

      Not all Slimlines are equal of course. For example, the Holborn has 13mm oval rings, whilst the Cuban and Journey Weekender 11mm (circular, I thnk)

    2. So the Holborn rings ARE oval? That's a relief.

      We have Bromptons and take them on holiday. With their cases they take up all the 20 odd kg of baggage allowance, so even though there is space in the cases, their is no weight available. That means that our holiday baggage has to be confined to hand luggage and needs to be both lightweight wash 'n' dry clothing and also, crucially, small.

      I have been carting about my Winchester which is lovely, but really, I need about 30 pages of reference information, phone numbers etc and some blank paper on a daily basis. Because I work from home I can simply top up from stock when needed, but even if i was away I thing 20 sheets for a week would suffice.

      So I'm consigning the Winchester to be my archive and the Buckingham to store blank paper for topping up.

      The Holborn Slimline lies completely flat, the only downside I can see is that it has no closure so I need to think about that, possibly a fabric strip with pen loops built in?

      I'm looking at one of these as a possibility.


  5. Last week, I acquired my first Filofax: a Personal Malden in Vintage Pink. I debated about which would be my first FF as I was considering the Finsbury, but everyone's raves about the Malden pushed me to that side. It took me to going to about fix places before I even found a Malden and the Pink was not my first choice, but I wanted a Malden. For me, it was not just the beautiful leather, but the way it opens naturally on a desk and stays that way. It is also very light and lovely to hold. To me, it is soft leather, but definitely in the 'vintage leather' way the product describes. Not buttery soft as a result, but rugged. Just not hard as the other organisers. I may even get the aqua if no one else beats me to it on the FF website since I love that colour.

  6. The holborn is lovley and perfect for my college notes! Thank you Anita

    1. I'm really glad that you love the Holborn & as you can tell, I love the A5 Malden :)

  7. Having seen so many people loving the Malden, I'm dying to try one!

  8. Many thanks for the great post Anita and excellent photos they show your Maldens to great advantage. I think that you are the founder member of the Malden Appreciation Society.

  9. i love reading how much u love your malden want wait to receive mine in a month :-( i hope i love mine just as much.

  10. I can't wait to get my hands on a Malden. It seems to be a favorite amongst filofax users.

  11. I cannot get my hands on a Malden, sadly enough. Love your post!

  12. How on earth did you fit that Lamy Safari into that pen loop? Is the Malden A5 pen loop larger than that of the personal?

    1. The A5 Malden has 2 pen loops & the front one is larger :)
      I had to stretch it slightly using another pen, but I love being able to have my Lamy fit.

  13. I am currently trying to choose between an A5 Malden fuschia or purple...is there any difference in the softness of colours?

    Have your newer Malden's softened over time?