15 March 2017

Gillio Mia Cara gets by with a little help from my friends Filofax

For some reason when this idea came in to my head to try something out with the A5 Gillio Mia Cara it was closely followed by a song by The Beatles from the Sgt Pepper album 'With a little help from my friends'. I am after all a child of the 1960's, but I digress....

So what has the Gillio A5 Mia Cara got to do with Filofax.... ok to recap back a couple of weeks.

One of my frustrations with the A5 Mia Cara is that it was designed not for A5 inserts but for Half Letter size inserts. A5 inserts are 148x210mm and Half Letter are 140x216mm so A5 inserts are wider. This means that when you put true A5 inserts in to the organiser section of the A5 Mia Cara removable organiser section, the pages are virtually at the edge of the organiser and the tabs are sticking out.

This isn't so much of an issue if you use both parts of the Mia Cara together, but if like me you want to lighten your load and just use the organiser section on its own you are stuck with pages that are very close to the edge and tabs that stick out.

The people at Gillio have said: 'We will consider making the A5 Mia Cara wider' but two years on we are still waiting for the design to be corrected. I have drawn up a suitable replacement which I can get made by our friends at Van der Spek, which will solve this problem completely. More on that idea at a later date.

I suddenly this last week got this idea which went along the lines of 'I wonder what size the Filofax A5 Heritage is compared to the A5 organiser section of the Mia Cara and will it fit in the outer jacket section of the A5 Mia Cara?'

The Filofax Heritage doesn't have a clasp or any pockets in the covers so it is very similar in some ways to the Gillio Mia Cara organiser section.

So I pulled both of them out of the cupboard and compared them. Open flat their overall width is identical no difference at all. The Filofax has smaller rings 16mm compared to 25 mm so the issue of sticking out tabs would be fixed and in terms of height the Filofax is about 2 mm higher. But I decided to try fitting it.

It slides in part of the way ok, the last bit though you have to be a bit patient to get it all of the way in to the slot in the outer jacket. I think this is because of the small difference in height. Also the Filofax leather is thicker and the edge isn't curved like the Gillio organiser is, it is much squarer.

Once in though it seems fine. You can even still use the pen slot in the spine of the outer jacket, there is still enough clearance there.

With my green Gillio Mia Cara the dark brown of the Filofax looks quite a pleasant contrast.

As I've reported before the small ring size of the Filofax Heritage isn't too much of an issue for me as I have used this before, keeping just my planner pages in the Heritage and using another A5 at my desk for all my information pages, contacts, notes etc that I don't need out and about.

When removed from the Mia Cara outer jacket the Heritage slips in to the iPad slot in the back of my small messenger bag making it a great organiser to carry around.

So this works for me, granted it is not a cheap solution, but as I already had both organisers I decided to give it a try. It also helps with my Van der Spek replacement design as well and I will make sure that the overall height of the replacement is kept below 230mm overall.

To read more about the Filofax Compact A5 Heritage please see my previous review here on Philofaxy


  1. Would top tabs have solved the issue of the tabs sticking out of the Mia Cara?

    1. Sort of but the pages are also very close to the edge as well, almost flush with the edge