31 March 2014

Gillio A5 Mia Cara - Review

I feel quite honoured to be able to write a detailed review of the Gillio Firenze A5 Mia Cara organiser. Not only did I get to meet the man that makes them and visit his workshop last weekend, but I was also one of the first people to see the new colours, which was quite an experience.

To do it justice I was asked if I would like one to review. So thank you to Gillio for supplying me with an A5 Mia Cara in green and cream to review.

So where to start... When I was a radio engineer, I often worked with a bench full of expensive test equipment. Some of the measurement receivers I used were the equivalent price of a typical 3 bedroom house(mid 1980's prices), yet they sat on the bench without looking that special. But take the outer covers off the receiver and inside they were beautifully made, lots of gold plated connectors and silver plated parts and precision metal work.

These things where built to last, you bought not just the instrument, but the back up package from the factory to go with it. Yet, we didn't treat them with 'kid gloves' we used to take our expensive receivers out in a Land Rover, suitably strapped down of course and truck it around the countryside carrying out measurements, knowing that the results would always be accurate and they wouldn't go wrong on us half way through the week.

These Rhode & Schartz receivers where at the time considered to be the 'Rolls Royce' of measurement receivers.

From seeing the way the Gillio Mia Cara is made and looking at it under an eye glass, although Gillio only labels the Mia Cara as 'The most luxurious organiser on the market' I think it could also be considered to be the Rolls Royce of organisers too. When you first see one it might not look that different to any other organiser. But pick it up in your hands and feel the quality of the leather and look at the stitching and the craftsmanship and the overall design and you start to realise why these organisers are very special.

Ok let's look at the Mia Cara in detail. What are you getting when you buy one of these organisers. Firstly they don't cost the equivalent of a three bedroom house!


The Mia Cara is a two part organiser, the organiser part is removable and can be used on it's own.

The outer 'jacket' also has a full back pocket which can take a full size A4 page with plenty of space.

The outer jacket as I'm calling it, has eight card slots in the rear inside cover. There are also two vertical slot pockets, one behind the card slots which is 9.5cm deep, and the other inwards of this one that is 12.5cm deep.

The inside front cover has a large gusseted pocket which has two press studs, this pocket will take a smart phone or a large pen collection if required!

There is also a full height zip pocket. The zipper has a leather stitched tab on it which is a pleasant attention to detail. There is also a full height 15.5cm deep slot pocket behind both of these pockets.

The pen slot is in the middle in the fold of the spine this slot is quite generous in size, it is about 1.5 cm wide at the opening tapering inwards. One advantage of this pen slot is that if you aren't using it, then the leather isn't bulky, it is as flat as the surrounding area.

The outside of the organiser section is perfectly smooth with just the outer edge contrasting stitching.

The organiser section is fitted with a 26 mm diameter ring mechanism. This particular ring mechanism was made by Bensons, it is the removable type, so it is replaceable if there is any problems with it in the future.

As you can see in the photograph below the inside cover has 4 card slots and an additional wide slot at the base of the inside front cover.

There is no separate closure on the organiser section, so if you are using it separate to the outer jacket you will have to hold it closed in your hand, although that is not an unpleasant experience!

The inside back cover of the organiser section is made of a thicker leather. This part is tucked inside another slot pocket in the outer jacket so it is not normally seen. This additional thickness does improve the stiffness of the organiser to allow you to write on pages with the organiser just in your hand.

The outer section clasp is of generous proportions. Not stiff though, so it can be bent flat out of the way.

Weight and Size

I've seen quite a few comments on-line about the Mia Cara being big and bulky. Well given that it is made in two parts it will naturally be heavier than most A5 organisers. I got the scales out myself to do some comparisons.  I used my usual A5 contents which weighs about 610 grams. And here are my results.
  • A5 Mia Cara - Empty 725 grams - Full 1335 grams. 
  • A5 Mia Cara organiser section - Empty 300 grams. 
  • A5 Malden - Empty 345 grams
  • A5 Holborn Zip - Empty 425 grams
  • A5 Holborn clasp - Empty 350 grams
The following photos will help you compare the relative sizes against the A5 Mia Cara.

A5 Holborn and A5 Mia Cara

A5 Holborn and A5 Mia Cara

A5 Holborn Zip and A5 Mia Cara

A5 Holborn Zip and A5 Mia Cara

A5 Malden and A5 Mia Cara

A5 Malden and A5 Mia Cara
As you can see the A5 Mia Cara is very similar in size when closed to the A5 Holborn Zip.

There is however one problem with the sizing of the A5 Mia Cara organiser section. It wasn't designed for A5 inserts. The inserts supplied are in fact Half-Letter size (8 mm narrower), therefore when you put true A5 pages in the A5 Mia Cara organiser section the pages are virtually at the edge of the organiser and any tabs stick out beyond the organiser edge. This failing has been reported to Gillio, but they haven't done anything about it yet.


The leather is vegetable tanned Tuscan Epoca leather, not chemical solvents are used in the tanning process. This brings out the natural characteristics of each hide used in the Mia Cara and other Gillio organisers. When comparing several organisers of the same colour you will see slight variations in colour where the tanning has been absorbed differently and slight differences in the texture of the surface of the leather, after all all cows are different.

The leather on the Mia Cara is very supple and forgiving any small finger nail scratches in the leather simply disappear by rubbing your damp finger over the surface as this video by Tom shows.

I've done some basic research on the stitching of leather, a high number of stitches per inch generally indicates high quality leather and high quality craftsmanship. If you try to increase the number of stitches per inch in low quality or thin leather there is then a risk that the needle holes act like perforations in paper and the leather can tear.

Armed with a ruler and my magnifier I started looking at the Mia Cara in detail for this measurement.

The maker has used two rates of stitching in the manufacturing of the organiser and the outer jacket. The highest number of stitching I found was equal to 12 stitches per inch, for instance on the outer edges of the organiser and the outer jacket and there are some sections of stitching at 9 stitches per inch. As a comparison I quickly looked at a Filofax Malden and that was 7-8 stitches per inch.

You can see the difference in this photograph.

I made a very quick estimate, there are approximately 2800 visible stitches on a full A5 Mia Cara. On the organiser section alone there are over 900 visible stitches. I stopped short of calculating the length of the thread used!!! 

In use
Some people like their organisers to be super floppy, others prefer them to be stiffer and with some structure.

When you first pick up the A5 Mia Cara you will notice first of all the addition weight of the complete organiser with it's two parts. Unsnapping the closure you will notice how supple the outer cover is. There is no additional stiffening used in the cover at all. It's just leather and liner and stitching. The materials used in the organiser section are a little stiffer, so when you combine the two sections that starts to give the overall package some structure and compliance which will improve the writing experience.

As you start to fill the pockets in the outer jacket section stiffens up the outer section a little, but without losing the suppleness around the spine and hinging point so there's never any question about both sections laying flat.

For the busy business person who wants everything contained in the one organiser, the Mia Cara has a lot to offer in terms of storage space, remembering which pocket you have put things in might be a greater issue... there are so many pockets!

The Mia Cara comes in three sizes, Pocket, Medium and A5. Page sizes and holes spacing is the same as Filofax Pocket, Personal and A5. Quite a few people on the Gillio Facebook Group use Pockets and Medium size Mia Cara's as their wallet/organiser. The big pocket on the inside front cover is very good for holding coins. The abundance of card slots make it very useful as a wallet.

The Mia Cara is available to purchase in Pocket, Medium and A5 sizes and now in 12 different colours, but hurry they are selling out quickly.

To finish off I will share with you Mella's latest video of her A5 Mia Cara in purple and cream.

Of course if you have any questions please leave them in the comments below and I will do my best to answer them.

Once again thank you to Gillio for the review sample. 

30 March 2014

A Date For Your Diary - Sunday 6th April 2014

We are going to run another conference round-table voice chat using Skype.

I'm sure we are gradually getting to know each other's voices, but I will make a point of going 'around the table' to get everyone to introduce themselves this time.

So...When, Where, What, Who and How?

New York



When? - Sunday 6 April  from 8am San Francisco 10am Chicago, 11am New York, 4pm London time, 5pm Paris time etc.  This session will also last 2-3 hours

See the clocks at the top of this post to see roughly what time you should be on line. Or the World Clock

Where? - an on-line chat using Skype.

What do I need? - just a micro-phone and some head phones(in ear phones work fine) and a free Skype account. Using headphones or earphone reduces 'echo' on the call.

Who - All of you... connect up with Philofaxy and we will attempt to get as many of us linked in to the audio conference as possible. Come and listen if you don't want to chat.  What do we talk about? Filofax stuff... but anything else as well. It's like long lost friends meeting up for coffee and a catch up.. but don't worry if you have never joined in before... you are an old friend too!

If you have any questions you want to ask then please let us know in the group or before we start.

How -
  1. Connect to Philofaxy by firstly searching for Philofaxy in Skype, I will then add you as a contact.
  2. Then  'Send Contact Request',  I will then add you in to the chat room. 
  3. Then if you request it, I can add you to the audio conference as well. But if you just want to chat via keyboard that's fine. That way it's slightly less hectic for me! 
Come and join in the fun, even if you only pop in to say hello... but don't be afraid to join in the discussion.

As with previous round-tables there will also be a parallel text chat room going at the same time as the voice conference, so you can listen to the voice chat and type if you wish.

If you need any assistance setting up Skype, please pop a comment in this post and I will try and help you get one line. Skype is free for computer to computer calls....

Here is my post on how to improve your Skype audio with headphones or a headset.

Hope to be chatting with you on Sunday 6 April 2014.

Reader Under The Spotlight - Becky

I’m Becky Pogue, and I’m a stay-at-home wife and mom to three amazing kids.  I make hair accessories and miscellaneous other items for a local children’s boutique.  I’m very involved in my kids’ activities and am constantly taking them to and from baseball, football, and dance.  And they’re only 4, 6, & 7!  I also teach piano lessons.  I’ve recently starting blogging about all the things I’m thankful for, all the things I make and do, and how I keep them all organized in my Filofax.  My blog address is EnVoguePogue.blogspot.com and you’re more than welcome to visit to get to know me better.

1. When did you buy your first Filofax and what was it?

I purchased my first Filofax in October of last year.  It’s an A5 Domino in Black, and I love it to pieces!

2. What other brands have you used or considered using?

When I was in college, I used a Day Runner, but wasn’t really consistent with it.  I’ve owned a few others as well, and have mostly used my computer and my phone, but found them to be lacking.  There’s just something about writing things down that makes me feel more organized.

3. Out of the organisers you own which is your current favourite (Style and Size)?

I currently only own my Domino, so at the moment, it’s definitely my favorite!

4. How many Filofax organisers do you own?

Just one.

5. What is the oldest Filofax in your collection?

I use it for everything!  I have a meal planning section, my calendars, of course, blog planning, I sell essential oils, so I have a section for keeping track of everything there, any projects that need to be done for the boutique, kids schedules, my husband’s schedule, cleaning schedule, and my favorite section is my “Inspiration” section where I’ve written down my favorite quotes, song lyrics, Scriptures, etc.  I also have a section that I write down the funny things my kids say and do.

6. What do you use your Filofax for?

I love the versatility of my Filofax!  I can rearrange as much as I need to, and because it has the elastic strap as opposed to a clasp or snap closure, I can stuff it as full as I please.

7. What was the feature about Filofax you like most?

The feature about Filofax that I love the most has to be the versatility.  A close second, however, would be the community that surrounds planner users.

8. If you could design your own Filofax what would it feature?

If I could design my own planner, it would feature gorgeous dividers.  They would be tabbed, but unlabelled, so the user could label them themselves.

9. How do you carry your Filofax?

I carry my Filofax with me in my purse.  It’s fairly large bag, so my A5 fits just fine inside.

10. Which Filofax in the current range do you like the most? Are you going to buy it?

I love the Purple Malden.  I may buy it in the future.

11. What is the most you have ever spent on a Filofax? Which model?

The most I have ever spent is what I paid for my Domino.  I purchased it off of Amazon.com for around $40.

12. What's your favourite Filofax tip or hack?

I don’t currently own an A5 hole punch, so I would say my favorite hack would be using the page marker as a template to punch my papers.

13. Turning to Philofaxy, what do you like the most?

I love all of the tips and tricks on Philofaxy and that they’ve made so many printables and resources available to us.

14. And what do you not like about Philofaxy?

What’s not to like?  So far, I like everything!

15. What was the last music track you downloaded or bought?

Hmmm..  I think it was Queen’s greatest hits.

16. Mark Darcy or Daniel Cleaver?

Definitely Mark Darcy.

Thank you Becky. And if you would like to appear as a Reader Under the Spotlight. Please contact philofaxy at gmail dot com

29 March 2014

Web Finds - 29 March 2014

So here are the latest Filofax blog posts from around the Internet:
  1. Bye Bye Aqua Skorpion, Hello Gold Mia Cara - This Bugs Life
  2. The Multiple Organiser Dilemma - Filofancy
  3. A5 Filofax Inserts - Y2P & Monthly - Clever Soiree 
  4. Our LIVE CHAT is tonight! - Lime Tree Fruits
  5. Look at this new Van Der Spek Leather - This Bugs Life
  6. Filofax Review : Personal Patent Compact in Duckegg Blue - Typecast
  7. Tiny Changes Challenge Day 7: His Homework, My Planner - Giftie Etcetera
  8. Productivity 101: A Primer to the Getting Things Done (GTD) Philosophy - Life Hacker
  9. Using Washi Tape in my Planner - The Kentish Kitchen
  10. Quick Tip- Encouragement Page - Incarnations of Organization
  11. Kate Spade Large Debra - in blue pebbled leather - Simply Particular
  12. Stuffed Planner Issues - The Kentish Kitchen
  13. [Filofax] Vom Suchen und Basteln eines Kalenders - Nails Reloaded
  14. Big poopy face - The Crazy Suburban Mom
  15. Filofax and technology combined! - All Things Stationery
  16. REVIEW: The Busy Woman’s Planner - Homemakers Daily
  17. Filofax Calipso in Pink - This Bugs Life
  18. Free For All Friday No. 29:  - Plannerisms
  19. A Planner Idea List - Or, Creative Uses for Using Multiple Planners - I'm a Filo Freak
  20. Filofax Saffiano Raspberry Review - The Contemplative Belle
  21. Filofax - Sometimes It's the Little Things I Fall In LOVE With - Clever Soiree
  22. Now THIS is a purple binder! - This Bugs Life
  23. In Praise of Paper Planners - The University Project
  24. {Filofax Friday} – Schedule in a Day to Create - Renew Your Space
  25. Two Planner System: An Update - Giftie Etcetera
  26. Truthful Tuesday #3 - The Pit Bull Mama
  27. Surplus calendar pages from last year - This Bugs Life
  28. Filofax Tour / Set Up - Filofax Friday - Week 12 - Mrs Brimbles
  29. KiddyQualia Review: A5 Lined Rainbow Paper - Spread the Giggles
  30. Filofax Organization Tips - Strange & Charmed
  31. Tags by Design- Week & Month Review  - Incarnations of Organization
  32. The Mother’s Day Anti-Gift Guide - Dodevoted
  33. Filofax Friday - En Vogue Pogue
  34. A Peek Into - My Filofax - Edinburgh Style Junkie
  35. Lissa's Loves: My Filofax. - Lissa's Loves
  36. My Filofax - The Filofax Blog
  37. Filofax Focus - Steve Morton
  • Your Filofax/Organiser blog posts could appear in this list, just contact philofaxy at gmail dot com to be added to our monitoring list.
  • We can not guarantee people will read your posts, but we know there is a higher chance of people reading your posts and returning to read other posts if you make them interesting with pictures and good hints and tips. Do not forget to give your posts a title... 
  • For some general tips on Filofax Blogging, please see this post
And here are a selection of the latest Filofax videos for your enjoyment.
  1. Van Der Spek A5 croco planner - Robin Craig
  2. A5 Van der Spek - Vodkasoy Latte
  3. An introduction to my Van der Spek A5 custom binder  - Vodkasoy Latte
  4. Black Slimline Guildford - Lola Karwowski
  5. FILLOFAX-related GIVEAWAY results - 25 WINNERS!!!!! - My Summer Touch
  6. Decorating my Filofax Week 13 + Planner Tag - mits t
  7. Personal Malden Filofax set up and my planner bag - Elisi Gygeyui
  8. Mon organizer Gillio croco bleu! - Aude B
  9. Using an A5 Filofax Flex as a journal/Ipad Mini holder - Sonia S
  10. Filofax Week 12 Decoration Tutorial - Sugarpandax3
  11. Update: Filofax Set Up - AKCaraboo
  12. Storage Binder & Decorated Pages - Jessica Belle
  13. Filofax Pennybridge Review - adamsfilo
  14. Filofax Holborn vs. Kate Spade Wellesley: The Great Wallet/Planner Debate - Low Maintenance Mommy
  15. Black gillio medium mia cara w / FC compact inserts - Kat Le Noir
  16. Gillio A5 Compagna Setup - Organised Vicar
  • For tips on how to improve your videos, please see this post.  Also this video too Webfinds 
  • Your Filofax/Organiser Videos could appear in this list, just contact philofaxy at gmail dot com to be added to our monitoring list. 

28 March 2014

Free For All Friday No. 280

I think of my Filofax like it's a living thing probably more than I should, but am I the only one who thinks the feel of the rings through the spine of the binder (especially on the leather ones) feels like the back and ribs of a small animal, like a puppy? It gives the binder a cuddly-animal feel, in my opinion. I don't name my binders though, which I know many people do.

Do you think of your Filofax like it's a living thing?

And as always on Fridays, feel free to ask/ discuss anything ring-binder related!

27 March 2014

Filofax Tip No. 7

So today's tip.

If you are new to Filofax, or you want to try a new size of organiser. Before you go and buy an expensive organiser, consider buying just some paper in the size you think you want to use and try out for a few days, create a simple folder in some card with some tags to hold the paper in place.

Alternatively buy an inexpensive organiser and use that for a few weeks and see how it works for you with the other things you will be carrying in it. Review your use of the organiser, how much space there is to write in it on a busy day. Does it take all the cards and extras.

Once you have satisfied yourself then by all means buy a more expensive model and you can keep the other one as a storage binder for unused inserts or as a place to archive your older diary inserts.

Until the next tip happy organising.  Check out other tips here.

UK Meet Up Plans - May/June 2014


Well it has been quite a few months since our last meet up in UK, so it's time to start planning another one or two! I will be in UK for a couple of weeks at the end of May/beginning of June.

London - 31st May 2014

So this is a 'calling notice' for people who would like to attend the Philofaxy Meet Up in London

Please read all of the post before you apply for a place on the meet up. Places are limited in numbers.

When and Where

We will meet initially at 12 noon at Vapiano in Great Portland Street. This is not far from Oxford Circus underground station.

View Larger Map

We have visited this venue before.  They have a great ordering system which uses a smart card to record the items you order from the bar or food counter. When you pay the bill you will only be paying for the items you ordered and there's no additional service charge. Because of the flexibility on their ordering and payment system, you will be able to easily pay with cash or card. If you are slightly late it won't be quite so critical.

You can read all about the restaurant on their website here

During the meal there will be plenty of time for chatting and sharing Filofax organisers...

Our meet up will finish at about 5:30pm

How to book a place on the meet up

To get a place on the meet up you need to email: steve[at]philofaxy[dot]com and mark your email May 2014 London Meetup but not before 8am (UK time) Monday 31 March 2014. Please only request a place if you are 99% certain that you will be able to attend on the 31st  I'm hoping this time to have full attendance.

Once all places are assigned additional names will be added to a reserve list, in case anyone has to drop out of the meet up.

As places are allocated you will receive an email back again confirming your place on the meet up.

Please do not book travel tickets etc until you have a confirmed place. I will attempt to confirm places within 2-3 hours of receiving your email.

Should you be unsuccessful in booking a place on this particular meet up in May there will be another meet up in late September 2014 the dates are as yet to be confirmed.

Additional Information

If you aren't familiar with London or how to get to Vapiano from the station you are arriving at then use the Transport for London Journey Planner, it's generally quite good. 

Once we have our full list of people, we will exchange email addresses and if you aren't familiar with London you might be able to get someone to meet you at the station you are arriving at.

Your safety on the day and your enjoyment on the day is of paramount importance to me, so don't be afraid to ask any questions by email, I want everyone who attends to get the most from the day.

Thank you... any questions?

Glasgow - 7th June 2014

The second date I have pencilled in on the diary is 7th June 2014, and there has already been some discussion on Facebook about holding a meet up in Glasgow on the 7th.

So at this point to gauge the level of interest so we can find a suitable venue in Glasgow city centre can you please contact me to register your interest.

Please email steve@philofaxy.com with Glasgow  as the subject of your message and confirm in your message that you would like to attend the meet up on 7th June 2014 which is likely to start at about 12 noon.

26 March 2014

Filofax personal size as an organiser/wallet

I love trying to solve peoples problems, helping them see solutions with things they already own or can adapt to suit, I think people sometimes call this 'up-cycling'

I have been continuing my research (sounds like a 'white coat' science project) in to using a personal size Filofax organiser as a wallet and as an organiser. Could I even take this big leap, well may be.

This 'research' has been a pet topic of mine that I've been playing around with now for a couple of weeks. It hasn't cost anything apart from time. I have been playing around with all the ones I have already. Thinking it would have to have big rings, ten zillion card slots to satisfy everyones needs.

I love it though when the solution or one I that I liked the best had been staring me in the face all along... it will I hope make you smile when you see what I'm talking about. But let's not spoil a good story shall we.

I want to take you on the same journey I've been on this last couple of weeks.  So put on your lab coat and step this way.....

So in true lab experiment let us outline the problem we are looking to 'solve'

We want a Filofax that can hold a typical number of pages with our diary and all the usual pages in it. My own 'personal fill' including the various dividers and A-Z tabs measures about 21 mm in thickness. We also require the Filofax to carry a typical number of credit cards (how many? see later), coins, paper money, id documents, drivers licence, health documents, passport, a pen. I know some of you might have additional things, but that is bound to be the case.

So at first I thought the obvious answer to carrying coins was to use my Filofax change holder, it has two zip pockets and fits on to the rings. The main pocket is gusseted so you can fit a reasonable number of coins in it.

I found almost by accident that it's best to put this at the front of the organiser, with the zip side facing the inside front cover. This then leaves you a nice flat writing surface on the reverse side of the change holder to use instead of the lumps and bumps of the cards etc.

The leather on this is also quite stiff so I found it didn't really work on smaller 23 mm rings at all.

So then I tried it in a couple of 30 mm ring organisers, first my Cuban zip.

So plenty of capacity, secure in the sense of it has an all around zip, two pen loops, 7 card slots. The downside of using this particular model though is it is quite stiff and bulky too! But as long as I was never thinking of putting it in my pocket I would be ok. Well I do carry most things in a shoulder bag so that wouldn't always be too much of an issue for me. But I didn't stop there. 

Next I tried for full contents in the Cavendish, again 30 mm rings and a great internal layout. 

This felt more manageable and everything slots in ok. I was able to find pockets to keep everything and feel that is was secure and wouldn't fall out if I happened to turn the organiser over or mistakenly pick it up upside down.  The paper money is nice and secure in the smaller of the two back cover pockets. The coins are accessible in the shallow outside pocket too. 

So I thought that's improvement for sure on the Cuban, it also lays flat too. 

However,  one of the flaws of this solution and the Cuban to a lesser extent is that neither the Cuban Zip or the Cavendish are made any more, nor is the change holder, they stopped making those in the 1980's. It would be better if we could get this to work with a more recent model. 

When I was looking at the change holder in detail, I realised there might be a bit of a flaw in the design of it. The overall width is about 106 mm, of course a personal page is only 95mm in width, so the change holder is about the width of a tabbed divider.  This isn't too much of an issue with a typical personal size Filofax, but the modern day compacts and slimlines are slightly skinny on width, especially the compacts, try to put a pen in the pen loop and you find there can be conflicts with your tabs, unless the pen is quite thin. The change holder though doesn't bend out of the way like a thin tab. 

So if I was redesigning the change holder I would make it out of slightly thinner leather, and make the overall size slimmer too. say 93-94 mm that way is should stay clear of the pen in a compact. 

So at this point I reverted things in my set up back as they were, my wallet being my M2 and my organiser as my Gillio Amica. 

I wondered could I do away with the change holder all together. So I started looking at how many coins do you really need to carry. The variety and the numbers of each coin to make up different amounts. Now this will vary of course from currency to currency, country to country etc. But it is possible to reduce the number of coins to a minimum. Then if you can get these coins to lay as flat as possible, they take up less space. Reducing the number of coins also reduces the weight of course. 

I settled on about 8 or 9 coins being the number I would need and started to play around with a few ideas to hold them in place. One idea I found was to take a piece of card and cut round holes in it to hold the coins in place. It sort of works, but I would need to improve on the card and cutting a bit to get it to work well. 

A week went by and I was still pondering on a few issues before I came to any conclusion. 

Then late one evening, it suddenly dawned on me as I was looking for something else looking through my 'collection' in the cupboard. I had pulled out a personal Malden. 

The Malden of course as a thin full height zip pocket, I've never really used it much in the past. But when I tried it with my selection of coins it is a perfect size for coins. The notepad pocket in the back cover will take a passport ok and other larger paper documents. 

The card slots take most of what I need on a daily basis. 

The bank notes might be better in a zipped envelope but I will see how they fair. 

Overall with everything in it, it's quite compact and whilst it is heavier than normal, if you discount the additional weight of the M2 that I was carrying, then it works even better and there's now additional space in my bag again! 

Now I know a few of you already Maldens and other similar personals as wallets, but have you come up with any better solutions for a combined wallet/organiser?

25 March 2014

Web Finds - 25 March 2014

So here are the latest Filofax blog posts from around the Internet:
  1. Gillio A5 Mia Cara in Gold - OATTblog
  2. Custom A5 Van Der Spek Manager - My Life Re-Organised
  3. Mini Page Markers - Roses in December
  4. Filofaxes Past and Present - Emma's Blog
  5. #vintagefilofax #a5Kensington  Rhomany's Art Journal
  6. New Planner Shopping List - The Contemplative Belle
  7. Filofax idea #1 - Addicted to Stationery
  8. My Review Monday: Charleston Filofax - My Purpley Life
  9. My beloved collectibles and rarities - This Bugs Life
  10. Filofax Wish List - Emma's Blog
  11. Reboot - Clarifilo
  12. Free For All Friday No. 28: Extra pages in your planner? - Plannerisms
  13. My productivity tools-Midori and Malden ochre filofax #blog - My Summer Touch
  14. National Stationery Week - The Filofax Blog
  15. Franklin Covey Compact - Navy Blue Pebbled leather - unstructured - Simply Particular
  16. Filofax inserts and printables - This Bugs Life
  17. Mon FILOFAX a5 Zip Cuban rouge - Le blog de Nati Zou
  18. No more limp noodles - The Crazy Suburban Mom
  19. "My Week" Links from Around the Web 3/24/2014 - The Contemplative Belle
  20. 03.23.14 - GILLIO vs RAIKA - Innocent+Twisted
  21. Eloping with married men. - Just Happy Me
  22. My #bag and my #ochre #Malden #filofax matches #perfectly #blog - My Summer Touch
  23. Fun, fresh and girly - Willow Filofax review - She's Eclectic
  24. Zen and the Filofax Original - The Zeitgeist of Zoe
  25. Motex Embosser - Life of Kitty
  26. Things Filofax on Etsy today  - This Bugs Life
  27. Paper in Paris - Helen Conway Design
  28. Week 11,12 – Re-arrange your inserts for Planning - DiY Fish
  29. A5 Sketch Zip Household Filofax - Sneak Peek Clever Soiree
  30. Catching Up- Kittys, Icons and St. Patrick's Day - Bits and Pieces
  31. Natural Characteristics of Leather - Bay Leather
  32. Filofax Focus - Steve Morton
  • Your Filofax/Organiser blog posts could appear in this list, just contact philofaxy at gmail dot com to be added to our monitoring list.
  • We can not guarantee people will read your posts, but we know there is a higher chance of people reading your posts and returning to read other posts if you make them interesting with pictures and good hints and tips. Do not forget to give your posts a title... 
  • For some general tips on Filofax Blogging, please see this post
And here are a selection of the latest Filofax videos for your enjoyment.
  1. Gillio A5 Mia Cara Setup - OATTblog
  2. Filofax Decoration Week 13 - Palestblue
  3. Daily Planner Pages - January 2013 - Sharon Korkes
  4. Filofax Mini Chameleon Review - Cape May
  5. Firenze 2014 - MellaMainia459
  6. My Review Monday: Charleston Filofax - My Purpley Life
  7. Filofax Metropol Planner vs. Kikki K Mint/Gold Planner - Jessica Belle
  8. My filofax set up - Confessions of a Dublin Lassie
  9. Van der Spek Custom Binder - Zeitgeist of Zoe
  10. Drawing space tour - Alice Photis
  • For tips on how to improve your videos, please see this post.  Also this video too Webfinds 
  • Your Filofax/Organiser Videos could appear in this list, just contact philofaxy at gmail dot com to be added to our monitoring list. 
Don't forget to book your place at the Dallas Meet Up on April 27th, full details in this post.


Free For All Tuesday No. 164

24 March 2014

The Italian Job.... A Mini Adventure....

I am not known for being very adventurous, not one for taking risks etc. but this weekends 'adventure' started with a phone call back in early February, which left me a little lost for words....again!

Mella called me and asked if I would like to see where the Gillio organisers are made? Where? In Italy of course... You me and Tom. The only answer was yes.

So early on Friday morning Alison dropped me off at Poitiers station to catch a TGV train to Paris Charles De Gaul airport north of Paris. After some lunch, I did a little window shopping in the duty free shops spotting a Mont Blanc organiser! I then boarded an Air France BAe 146-200 aircraft bound for Florence.

This was a mini adventure... I have never been through this airport, never been to Italy before, I speak little or no Italian, remember I am an Englishman living in France, confused...yes me too!

Why did I worry? On arriving in Florence about two hours later, after collecting my suitcase, I emerged through the doors at arrivals to be greeted by Mella and Tom, they had flown in from Brussels that morning ahead of me.

I am glad Tom was driving, because rush hour traffic in Florence was chaotic to say the least. After about 45 minutes of dodging our way through the narrow streets of Firenze to give Florence its proper name, we arrived at our hotel. Tom and Mella had checked in earlier. So they gave me enough time to unpack and sort out my things before we went to a local restaurant for some food.

Naturally the topic of conversation was never far away from organisers and planners of all kinds, I felt at ease. I slept well that night and we met at the agreed time the next morning for breakfast.

Oh I forgot to say.... I did get to secretly finish off the Saturday Web Finds, so you wouldn't start to ask too many questions about where I was!!!!

Our first appointment after breakfast was to meet the man who makes the Gillio Mia Caras at his office/workshop, it was fascinating to meet him and chat with him about these very special organisers.  Naturally I left him with some Philofaxy cards, which bought a smile to his face!

Heating up the logo stamp

Expertly applying it to this pen case. 
Tom and Mella had already collected a box of samples the previous afternoon, so before lunch it was time to do any 'unboxing' video to end all unboxing videos.... Picture the scene a smallish hotel room, a large box of Mia Caras containing about 30 of them in total... Yes quite a few thousand Euros worth! As we unpacked them for photographing you can imagine the intoxicating scent of so much leather in one place!

We took a break for a lunch and then carried on the work of photographing each of the planners.

We quickly devised a way to photograph all of the organisers as quickly as possible. It was quite a team effort with Tom un-packing the boxes, Mella passing them to me in the right order, a quick photograph, check the shot, then back to Tom to be put back in their dust bag.

Whilst the new colours have been available for pre-order in Pocket, Medium and A5 sizes for a few weeks, this is the first time we had seen these new colours ourselves.... the design hasn't changed, but the new colours in Epoca leather and the detailed stitching really stands out to emphasise the high quality of this organiser.

For 2014, there is now a bigger range of colours to choose from.  We think you will like them....

Epoca Green Pocket, Medium

Epoca Green A5

Epoca Green

Epoca Grey

Epoca Grey

Epoca Grey

Epoca Red

Epoca Red
Epoca Purple
Epoca Purple

Epoca Purple

Epoca Black/Orange

Epoca Black/Orange

Epoca Black Orange

Epoca Dark Brown/Cream

Epoca Dark Brown/Cream

Epoca Dark Brown/Cream

Epoca Green/Cream

Epoca Green/Cream

Epoca Green/Cream

Epoca Purple/Cream

Epoca Purple/Cream

Epoca Purple/Cream

Epoca Purple/Cream

Epoca Orange

Epoca Orange

Epoca Orange

L-R Green, Orange, Red, Grey, Purple, Black/Orange, Brown/Cream, Purple/Cream, Green/Cream

Purple/Cream, Brown/Cream, Green/Cream

How much?
Ok so some in-door photos, but my job didn't end there.... Firenze is renowned for the numerous leather goods producers, I have never seen so many shops or market stalls selling leather goods and bags in any place I have been to. So it seemed to make sense to photograph these new planners in their 'natural' surrounding.

Now if you have ever been to a meet up and noticed the odd looks the group can get if we create a stack of organisers.... Believe me we did gets some odd looks creating the stack of Medium Mia Caras on the streets of Firenze at some of the well known landmarks and tourist attractions!

Posing in front of the Ponte Vecchio
Gillio Jump!
We were very fortunate with the weather, rain was forecast and it only started raining as we walked back to the hotel for a shower before heading out again for some dinner. Over dinner I learnt of some exciting plans coming soon from Gillio, that you will hear about hopefully in the next few weeks...

'Smile Mella, it is that bloke with the camera again' 

'Anyone seen my sun glasses?'
On Sunday we said our good byes and caught our flights back home again.... It had been a very full but enjoyable weekend. I would like to thank Tom and Mella for an excellent weekend... Normally I just receive a press release by email, but this weekend I was there to help create one!

With the customary "Cabin crew: Doors to automatic and cross check", the aircraft engines increased in note, the captain released the brakes and he accelerated the aircraft down the runway and we left the tarmac in under 25 seconds. I was on my way home again via Paris and TGV south west to Poitiers.

So if I did not reply to an email from you over the weekend you now know why!!

If you would like to see the full range of Gillio organisers, then please visit their website.

Look out for a detailed review of a Gillio Mia Cara coming soon on Philofaxy....