Monday 9 April 2012

Review of the Holborn Personal Filofax

As you may recall, I bought another personal size filofax recently – a purple Finchley – which went straight back to whence it came. Was the Holborn going to fare any better?

I have been intrigued by the Holborn for a while, not least because of all the pockets (some of which seem to be hidden!). Then I read Zoe’s review on The Zeitgeist of Zoe and was sold. I didn’t especially want any of the contents, so I emailed both Neal Street and Filofax to ask if I could buy it without them (even I can’t use this many A-Z dividers!). Filofax came back with a straight ‘no’. Neal Street said they would take £10 off the RRP (making it £58) but that shipping would be £7.50 to £10. I looked at City Organiser and with the 15% discount (andy15), I could get the full binder for £52, including P+P. It was a no-brainer.

The binder arrived in a slip-cover not a box, but that’s okay. First impressions?
I like it! The leather is somewhere between the floppiness of the Baroque and the stiffness of the Cavendish and is a gorgeous colour. I went for brown because black is too… black (yes, yes, I know! I have a black Cavendish… stop being picky!) and the wine colour wasn’t on offer anywhere (and I didn’t like it anyway). The brown is a deep, rich shade (wish I could find a hair-dye this colour, to be honest!) with a slight texture to it. It’s described as buffalo leather so I guess the leather texture is similar to a Malden (but since I appear to be the only person in the world who doesn’t possess a Malden, I can’t confirm or deny it!).

The exterior is quite smooth and should have cream contrast stitching (you know – the type of stitching that I really didn’t like on the purple Finchley). However, mine also came with a white mark on it – like the dye hadn’t taken or something and at first I thought it would buff off (which it didn’t) or that I wouldn’t mind it (but I did).  [Sensitive readers should skip the next bit!]

Exterior - glorious, rich colour

I didn’t want to send another filofax back to City Organiser (in case I got black-listed or something!) and since I had my Brasher boot leather conditioner out for doing my walking boots, and as it is the exact shade of the leather, I confess to ‘cleaning’ my filofax too. The leather came up an absolute treat, removing the white marks completely. As an added bonus – the cream stitching isn’t cream any more and isn’t so annoying. (In the exterior picture, compare the stitching on the front and on the clasp – the clasp hasn’t (yet) been done and shows the original colour).
And yes, yes, it’s probably sacrilege to use boot conditioner on a new filofax, but hey, it’s mine, it’s made it look better and… it’s mine!

As you can see from the shot of the interior, empty, it doesn’t quite lay flat as a bat, but it’s not far off (and with paper in, it probably would).

Not quite flat as a bat, but close
Pockets, pockets everywhere!
On the inside left there are six credit card slots and another, slightly deeper pocket below them. Behind that section, there are full-height pockets to both the left and to the right, going the full width of the credit card slots.

Full height to the right side of the credit card slots...

... full height to the left too

On the inside right, there are two full-height pockets, one to the left and one to the right. Also on the right (inside the full-height pocket) is a zipped compartment. Please excuse all the fingers in the shots to show you them! As Zoe pointed out in her review, this is a great design as you can get paper money and coin money out, without having to open the filofax up. The pockets on the ring sides are probably tricky to get things in and out of quickly, but useful for sliding the cover of a notepad into I would imagine.

Full height pocket on the right, with zipped pocket inside it

full height to the left too

So, the million dollar question… will it replace a) Ms Aston? b) the Baroques? c) the Cavendish?
Well, I am approaching planner fail with the Aston (more soon on that…), though it might be just the time of year and it is too small for the amount of stuff I’m doing. I do love the Aston, but I am struggling a little with her. In all likelihood, I will move into the Holborn at the end of term (end of May).

As for the Cavendish – um, ring size alone means that guy has a permanent home!

Oh, and replace the Baroques? Never! Displace them, yes, probably. But replace them completely? Not a chance! I love them far too much!


  1. Yet another reason for me to buy a Holbourn - someone has to check if the leather is the same as the Malden - the things I have to do *sigh* Ha ha ha!!! Loving the look of it and don't think I'll be able to resist much longer...

    1. Go for it!! It's a lovely binder (and I may not be waiting until the end of May to move in to it!)

  2. I've had a brown Holborn A5 for nearly 12 months. It'll soon fall flat with use as the cardboard that is sandwiched between the two pieces of thin "buffalo leather" that form the cover, becomes more supple.

    The two full length pockets and zipped pocket on the Personal will be more useful than on the A5 as you're more likely to use them for carrying cash.

    As Filofax binders go these days, I agree, it's a good model.

  3. I have the A5 Holborn Zip in the wine colour. I love the looks of the brown, but I already have a brown Kendal A5 that I'm using. But I reaaaaally like the brown Holborn ...

  4. I have the compact Holborn in brown and the personal Holborn in black. The leather is wonderful, I love picking them up. And, no, I don't have a Malden so it's hard to compare from memory (I've picked them up in the store). I think the Malden MAY be slightly floppier? Regardless, my point is to compare brown with black... the brown is very pretty, but I, too, dislike the contrast stitching. I used to rave over contrast stitching, but now I'm on to a new era. Thus, I prefer the black because its stitching is not such high-contrast... it's more like brown or dark gray, I can't quite place it. I do love all the pockets, too, but the zippered compartment is pretty useless as it's so difficult to open. I actually had to return my first arrival from Pens and Leather because part of the slit pocket, immediately above where the zipper closes, was ripped away from its stitching. I can see how that might happen during repeated struggles with the zipper.

  5. I don't own a Malden either; they're far too pricey for an impoverished student!