Mysterious Pocket in Cherry

Today, the postman finally brought me the Filofax I had traded with a nice lady in the US.
It is a pocket size, cherry red (some say it's raspberry) coloured binder without a name. Just the mystery around it is what made me go for it. So, without any further ado, here's my take on the Mysterious Pocket in Cherry.

Two of the first things I noticed were:

a) It doesn't look like a Finsbury:
The grain on the Finsbury's leather is different and more textured, harder to the touch, if you will. Not to mention that the dye of the leather is done in a way that is not uniform, so the wrinkles of the leather will be slightly lighter than the grain.

b) It is not leather:
I'm so accustomed to touching leather, that as soon as the bonder was in my hands, I could feel it wasn't real leather.
This is hard to explain for me, as not only is it a tactile experience, but also how it looks and how it sounds when I pass my fingers across it.

The way the strap wrinkles when stretched out, and the feel of these wrinkles.
And of course, the smell. It has many scents I cannot pinpoint, but among those, leather is not one of them.

Inside layout

On the left, the layout reminds one of the Finsbury, with the mesh ID slot, the card slots at the top, and the full length pocket. Except this one only has two, rather than the three card slots, like the Finsbury. 

In the place of where the thirds slot should be, there is, stitched, a piece of textured PVC leather with the Filofax logo embossed. The piece that has the slots and the mesh isn't textured, but plain PVC.

On the right, there is only a notepad pocket. All this is done in a form of nylon. 

The pen loop is not elasticated and it is also made of the same PVC leather. Markings under the strap read "JGT".

This binder is indeed a mystery to me, as there is nowhere to find the name of the model.
It does have the usual F on the spine and the logo on the ring mechanism. But that is it. Even the 3 letters on the strap don't give me any clue, except maybe, that there is no letter L to signify 'Leather'.

Oh, and just last night I found one exactly the same on Ebay. It also didn't state the model.

Let's hope one day I'll be able to know more about this nice binder. :)

Labor Day!!

I might not be in North America, but I still want to give readers over there a nice gift for this Labor Day weekend.

Get a 25% discount in my shop by using the code L4B0RD4Y when you check out. Minimum purchase is $3.00. Note: the vowels are replaced by numbers, so it's not an O, but a zero. ;)

Don't let this offer get away!!
thanks for reading, 


Using the Aqua Mini Finsbury as my wallet

For nearly three weeks now, I have been using the Mini Finsbury Filofax I won on eBay as my wallet and back-up planner, and sadly, it is not working out as I had hoped.

For starters, I have already invested quite some time recording useful information inside my Mark's 18 month planner, and I'm already duplicating events and appointments into the Mini, so I do not wish to also copy things like postage prices, past events, lists, etc.

Because of this I have been carrying both my Mark's and my Mini, thus adding weight and volume to my bag.

My previous setup was much more simple and convenient. I wasn't carrying a wallet, instead I was using a cardholder from Bimba & Lola, that doesn't use up space and is also easy to use; I can pull and stash my cards without hassle, I can carry about 6, and also some bills, although not more than 5. And due to its tiny size, I was able to even carry it in my pocket.

The Mini allows me to carry more money bills, but I hardly ever need to. It only has three card slots that are too tight and I often find myself struggling to get my cards out.
Another thing that irks me is the fact that when I open it, people near me, like at a queue, are able to peek inside. Surely I do not have anything on the first page, but nevertheless I do not like others looking at my personal things.

Another detail I noticed now whilst paying for my coffee, is that it is more cumbersome to stash my bills, as I have to open the Mini once again.

Not to mention that the tiny zippered pocket is a hassle to use for coins! Unless you have a flat surface to lay the Mini on, it's nearly impossible to open it enough to get them.

Because I really like the Mini purely for aesthetic reasons, I want to keep on using it, but I'm not sure if its looks are going to be enough for me to be more patient and get used to it. For the time being, it still comes with me in my bag. Only time will tell if it's worth the hassle or not.

Of Readers, Filofaxes and Staying Up Late

Ah, this is going to be a nice and lazy Friday. I was up last night until 3:30am and I'm still very sleepy (12:38). The reason I was up so late is because I was trying to catch up with some of my favourite blogs.
Still not an excuse, but please let me explain with more detail.

Before Google Reader decided to say Adieu, I used Feedly on my iPad and gReader on my phone. They got along pretty nicely and were neatly synchronised.

But only a day after Google Reader's departure, Feedly was so overwhelmed that it was "over capacity", and gReader decided it was leaving, too. Only one sentence in his farewell note: "Please install Feedly on your phone."

After the guys at Feedly told me that indeed they were having issues and the service would be down temporarily, I decided I would wait patiently, and try (lol) to keep up with the blogs the old fashioned way; using my browser. It didn't really work.

So when this week (was it this or last week??) they finally announced on twitter that Feedly was up and running again, I decided to check it out on my iPad, only to be received by a blank slate: all my feeds were gone! Massive Fail, Feedly!!

See, yesterday the new member of my small Filofax family arrived and during the evening I wanted to find out how others were using theirs, how much the vibrant colour IRL differed from the internet images, when it was discontinued, etc.
This had me sailing from Philofaxy, to Lady Filo, and a couple other more, until reaching my favourite one, Zeitgeist of Zoe.

Those of you who follow Zoe's blog, might be familiar with her skilled writing. She has a way with words that keep you browsing her blog, clicking on other posts, unable to unglue yourself from your screen. At least, that's how it is for me, anyway. 

Yet when the 3:08 on the top of my screen started to haunt me, I decided to quickly close the iPad and plug it to its charger.

I should have grabbed my bedsheet over my head, and closed my leaded eyelids and succumb to Morpheus.
I should have, but I didn't.

Instead I took out my super cute Mini Urban and played a bit with it, adding the new 2013 MOTP calendar I received this week, getting rid of old pages and trying to mentally decide which inserts it should have, etc. 

What I am trying to say, your Honour, is that it wasn't my fault I went to bed so late. All of this could have been avoided if the newcomer didn't have had to undergo quarantine for being a smelly boy.

It was all the Mini Finsbury Aqua's fault.

Birthday in July!

It's my birthday this week! Which is why I have decided to gift all of you with a

10% discount on ALL ITEMS 

in my 21Kittens shop!

You can visit my store here, or by clicking on the widget on the left.
Simply use the code B1RTHD4Y at checkout to instantly get your 10% off!
Valid until the 1st of August '13.

Thank you all!!!

Filofaxes for Sale on eBay!

Ok, so after much debating I have decided to put my Filofaxes for auction on eBay. I might be adding a couple more besides the Pocket Tecnic and the Personal Kendal.

If you haven't read it already, I am selling a couple of my Filofaxes. The reason is I'm not using them, and it would be best to give them a loving home.

Filofax Pocket Tecnic

This one is a bit of a rarity I believe, as I haven't seen it anywhere else. I myself got it at a thrift store in London. I believe it is from around 2003.

It is in a brand-new condition. I myself have never used it, just got it for collection purposes. But knowing that there are true Filofax collectors out there, this planner should be with them.

Filofax Personal Brown Kendal (discontinued model)

We all know this one and it is a favourite of ours due to the beautiful and oh so durable leather, not to mention the two penloops!

If you have any questions, please do leave a comment :)

Thanks so much!

Cheating on Mark

Although I really love my Mark's Tokyo Edge planner, with its lush paper and its awesome and stylish colour, I've been left feeling a bit unsatisfied as of late.

I miss the Moleskine week with notes layout because of the extra space I had for notes and doodles. As a matter of fact, before I got the Mark's I was going to get another 18 month planner because I felt it had worked quite well last time. But of course, the allure of trying a new, Japanese planner in lime green was too hard to resist. And although I do like the weekly layout in columns, I've grudgingly had to accept that the day columns just aren't wide enough for me.

Mark's Layout

I really  hate not finishing a planner, switching to a new one at a random date, especially when we're only in April. So I considered trying a Filofax with planner inserts designed by me. I could just create inserts for April, see how it goes. If I like it, and don't mind using the Filofax, I can stick with it for a month, while at the same time still using the Mark's as a backup, in case the Filo doesn't work. Once the month is up I can either create more inserts or go back to my Japanese.

This past weekend, perfect as it was the start of the month, I designed the inserts with the mole's layout in mind, made the paper size bigger for more space. The day spaces are the same in height, but narrower due to the smaller page size and the spacing for the rings. The weekend slot is shared, I personally don't mind that as I don't need more space.

My layout for Filofax

I have started using it last Monday (1st of April) and am only carrying this month's inserts and a few lined pages for notes. It makes the Filo quite thin. I am also being good and updating it every day, writing down my daily tasks and future appointments. So far it's going well.


But there is one thing that bugs me A LOT:
The rings!
Because I like the week on the left page, when writing, the rings get in the way, making my handwriting crooked. I do not want to swap the layout, and I don't want to be opening and closing the rings non-stop to take the page out every time I want to write something down. (Yeah, I know I'm nuts!)

I honestly can't remember how I managed to use a Filofax a few years back without any problem, maybe because the day spaces were much bigger, it wasn't such an issue, or the fact that it was always quite fat, made the rings less protruding? If the latter is the case, I will try adding extra inserts and see how it goes.

I will keep you all updated on how this little tryout is going next week.

Hope you had a lovely weekend,

Fountain pen and the Cotton Cream...

Yesterday, while browsing the Flickr Philofaxy group, I noticed a discussion topic asking about the behaviour of the Cotton Cream refills from Filofax with fountain pen ink. Some readers said that it was good, while others (myself included) weren't too satisfied with it.

Well, it just so happens that last week, not knowing about this discussion, I decided to do a comparison of the QuoVadis Prestige, which I'm currently using in my Scanda, and the FF Cotton Cream, by trying out 4 fountain pens.

So, the arsenal I used was:
-Lamy Vista w/ Lamy blue ink, M nib
-Lamy Safari w/Lamy blue ink, M nib
-Parker Vector w/Quink in black, M nib
-Pilot Vpen (known as Varsity in the US), w/black ink, M nib

The page on the left is the QuoVadis Prestige, the one to the right the FF Cotton Cream, and above them, my pens.

On the left: the Vista and the Safari on the QV. As you can see, they don't show any feathering.
On the right: Both Lamys on the FFCC. The Vista is slightly thicker and the edges not as fine as in the QV, but it is hardly noticeable. The Safari is still quite thin and it seems darker.

On the left: the Parker and the Pilot on the QV. The Parker comes with a thicker nib than the Lamy, being a bit wet at times. But using Quink this shouldn't be a problem, as this ink is known for its fast-drying capabilities. There is no feathering. The Pilot on the other hand, has a very thin nib and is quite wet, taking a bit longer to dry. Still, no feathering, and the lines remain thin.
On the right: the Parker and the Pilot on the FFCC. The Parker's thick nib is more evident and the ink remained wet longer.The feathering is barely noticeable. The Pilot was very wet, and the line was also much thicker. Feathering was quite noticeable.

This is the backside of the QV. No bleedthrough whatsoever, even from the Pilot, which is the wettest pen I have and doesn't perform well on thin papers.

The reverse of the FFCC, on the other hand, tells a different story. Although the Lamys didn't bleed through at all (which is why that part isn't pictured), both the Parker and the Pilot do show through. Even using Quink! 

One other thing that I also noticed was that when I was writing on the FFCC, the paper would buckle sightly due to the wetness of the inks. This didn't happen with the QV. Nevertheless, by putting the paper under some weight, like keeping your binder closed, it will flatten out again.

In conclusion, although it is obvious that the QV is the clear winner here, the Cotton Cream only performed badly with the Parker and the Pilot. For those of you who plan on using a fountain pen, particularly the Lamy with its own ink, you should be fine. There won't be any feathering nor bleedthrough.

As for me, I fell in love with the QuoVadis paper the moment I tried out their planners!

X-ray of the Pocket Filofax I use

A fellow philofaxer and dear friend asked me to write about how I use my Pocket Filofax in detail. She uses the Personal size and has been considering going one size smaller. So, this one's for you:

As you already know, I not only changed organiser model (purple Finsbury to black Chino), but I also recently redesigned my system after coming to the conclusion that it had become incompatible with my new life, even though I had been using it effectively before.

My previous system had more sections than the current one, and I also had the tendency to try and fit every imaginable thing into my Filo. Then again, I also had a more active lifestyle and would always carry 'Filito' with me wherever I'd go.

I believe all the sections I used to carry were:
  • Transparent envelope: with pictures and stuff
  • Personal info + registration page
  • To Do section
  • DPP diary: for daily journalling
  • W2P diary: for appointments
  • Notes + Idea Catcher
  • Japanese syllabaries
  • Financial
  • Addresses: separated by categories, not alphabetized
  • World Map
  • 2nd transparent envelope
I started using/combining the two diary formats over a year ago I believe, and have like very much the way it works for me. Of course, I can't keep one year's worth of pages for neither diaries, so I would mainly keep only three months of the W2P (week on two pages) and about six of the DPP (day per page).

The Notes was, well, for notes of ANY kind! I'd even sketch (and still do) in it whenever the urge came up. The Idea Catcher occurred to me after noticing that I had been starting to sketch and write down ideas I had for my 21Kittens projects in the Notes section, and then having a hard time finding them in the future. So, this addition to the Notes section was quite a helper, except that I stopped using it around the time we started preparing for our move to the UK.

The Japanese Syllabaries was a section I made roughly a month after acquiring my first Filofax in order to keep practising the little Japanese I had been learning the previous year. It also had a couple of blank pages for practice, but sadly I never used them.

I tried to keep up with my expenses via my Financial section, but only used them a few times a year, it wasn't quite necessary it seems.

My addresses I completely revamped during my first month of Filofax usage.I've never been keen on carrying a specific address book, especially after having a mobile phone became the norm. So, I organised my contacts into categories (this is explained in more detail here).
The rest of the sections are self-explanatory.

Now my current setup is as follow:

  • Transparent envelope (still empty)
  • Personal Info + registartion page
  • To Do's: (only 4 sheets)
  • Notes: here, the first sheet is an Expenses sheet where I keep track of my debit card (I was recently overdrawn because somehow I thought I had barely used my card!). Then I have all lines sheets in assorted colours. Ever since I started with the new system, I have been using this section to write down blog entries or Filo related stuff (if this goes on, I might consider creating a subsection called Blogs or Filofax). Sometimes I still draw in here.
  • Appointments: this is where I keep my W2P diary. I use it only to jot down future appointments, dates, or urgent To Do's, sometimes even my chores for the day. I'm currently carrying pages from April 8th to Sept 20th. My frosted ruler serves to mark the week.
  • Diary: here are my DPP where I simply write about  my day, what I ate, people I met, music I heard, jobs I applied for... all things I consider worth remembering and keeping track of. But I never write my very personal or secret stuff in here! I use my black ruler as the marker.
  • Finally I still carry my World Map, a picture of my cats and another transparent envelope.
The missing sections are the Idea Catcher (have a Mole for this purpose), Japanese Syllabaries (have put learning Japanese away for a while), financial (didn't really need) and Addresses (I transferred these to my Mini FiloWallet).

So there you have it, a complete and detailed description of my former and current sections in my Pocket Filofax. Hope you enjoyed it :))
(Will try to add pictures later on, either here or flickr)

Musings of a tipsy Philofaxer in London...

My birthday is coming up.
Next Wednesday to be exact.
And all the happenings during the days before it won't be routine-driven! That is a change. In a new London life that's been filled with hope, only to be replaced with fear, stresss and anxiety, it is hard to make decisions for tomorrow.
So I can't really pin my hopes onto anything. The sanest and safest thing to do as of now, is to just try to go with the flow, and not have another breakdown. Life is crap and we all know it, but still we have to manage to overcome all that bad luck and ill outcomes! Ugh...

As I was saying, my birthday is near. Already my better half has proposed to buy me a new Filofax as a present. We were supposed to go to the lovely store on Neal Street yesterday, but on the day before, I started having doubts about which binder I should get.
I love love love the Raspberry Finsbury...
I could go for the Aqua Fins...
But then the Bond calls to me...
I don't really need another Filo...
Another Pocket Filo would mean I'd have to stop using my recent Chino...
I'd really need an A5 for future work projects, but they don't have one I like...
The Bond in A5 could work...but I need some colour...
Why is the Lavender Domino not available in A5?????
And sorry but the Fins in such a large binder doesn't look good!Not to mention it's EXPENSIVE!

But just half an hour ago I saw a lovely photo of Jotje's Mini Fins in I think I might just have made up my mind. I'll go for what I've wanted since it came out: the Pocket Raspberry Finsbury!

Stay tuned!!

This Pocket is personal!

This past week has been pretty filled with Philofaxy happenings.
It started with Yvotchka's Citrus Love Affair, followed by my attempt at making it work for her, (luckily she did it all by herself!), being promoted to administrator of the flickr Philofaxy group (still getting my ideas sorted...), and not to mention all those tweets from other happy Filofax users.

It's been quite hard to avoid the temptation of getting a new Filofax, especially after having found out that somebody had quite recently acquired the raspberry book that I have been coveting the most for the past year! The fact that my current economical situation doesn't allow me to splurge on things I REALLY DON'T NEED, does play an important part, though.

What's a girl to do then?
Simply, switch from her current Fins' to her unboxed black Chino.

The Chino or 'the one that got away'...'but was finally recovered with the help of a good Samaritan at the Filofax store'.

The first time I set my mouse on the Filofax UK site looking for a planner that would complement my life, I was torn by having to choose between the Chino and the Urban; two planners that perfectly seemed to fit my 'urban' and casual lifestyle, with their brushed or waxed fabric, their convenient zippered pockets and their whole 'laid back' attitude. It was a tough decision to make, so I decided to return after a few days.

Not five days had passed since my last visit, when upon arriving on the main page, I saw It.
The ultra-sexy, brand-spanking new Purple Finsbury.
It was love at first sight.

Pointlessly I clicked my way to the Chino's and the Urban's main page. It was useless. The black and the slate were no match against the Finsbury's purple magic. I was smitten!
No matter how hard I tried to reason with myself, there was no talking me out of it, and a week later I was finally holding it in my hands...

...but I'm getting side-tracked here!

Some time later, whilst looking to set up a travel Filofax, I decided to go back to my initial choices. To my disappointment, the Chino was no longer available. It was discontinued.

I looked at other European sites, and only few of them still had it. It was also available through the US site. But after working out the differences in price, in exchange rates and in shipping charges, I came to the conclusion that it was a better investment to get the Urban. And I did.

Fast-forward to May this year.
It's a windy Sunday afternoon and I'm standing at the Filofax store on Neal St. I have reassured my boyfriend that I am not going to purchase anything, no matter how good the sale is.
I look at all those pretty binders that need to be sold in order to make space for the new models! Some Domino's, Urban's... the rest I don't remember.
When all of a sudden one of them catches my eye. It's the Chino in beige. As I'm trying to stand my ground, I tell the store assistant that I do not fancy that particular colour, so she quickly pulls another Chino from somewhere I can't see, this time in black!
I proceed to open it, trying not to linger on the softness of the fabric, and notice that the tabs are pastel. I tell the assistant that I do not do pastels. She then leaves me to 'simply think about it and browse a bit more if I wish'.

Next thing I know, I'm handing her my 7GBP, after she's put a new black chino with IVORY coloured tabs (thank you very much :) ) inside that little white plastic bag.

The search is over. You are finally mine, Chino!