Breaking up With Filofax

I’ve been a Filofax devotee for many years now. My first beauty was a gorgeous personal sized turquoise Baroque that stole my heart and barely left my side for 5 years.


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Later I fell in love with the Malden – my ochre Malden was a faithful travel companion during a disastrous international holiday (we had to part ways soon after, because of the bad memories!). When I came home I started a business, set up a home office, and decided it was time to upgrade to an A5. In early 2012 I bought a ‘testing the size for compatibility’ A5 Sketch.

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Once I saw that the size would work well for me I invested in a beautiful A5 Holborn zip. I fell in love with her in the flicker of my computer screen and searched high and low for a great price. She travelled halfway round the world to be with me, and when she arrived, much to my dismay, she was damaged.


Her rings weren’t even close to closing! I was pretty devastated, but I’m a resourceful girl, so I went online to see if there was something I could do about the problem before I shipped her back.

Instead of finding a solution to the problem I found page after page after page of people who were having the same problems as me – malfunctioning rings. And not just in the Holborn. The problems were pretty much across the board.

Having a damaged Filofax was one thing, accidents happen after-all, and no brand can be perfect all the time, but this was more than that – and honestly seeing so many unhappy people made me feel something different about the brand.

The thing about my Filofax was always that it was a luxury item to me. The leather, the inserts and all the little accessories that I bought to go along with it. They were a personal celebration of my financial independence as an adult woman. It sounds ridiculous, but when I jotted down business meetings or flight details or holidays, I was proclaiming my freedom and personal success.

I was happy to pay the price for that feeling, even if it was sometimes more than what a regular person would spend on such an item. So the realisation that my Filofax was actually just a mass produced binder with quality control issues saddened me.

I wondered if I should get a refund and find a brand to replace them. I even did a little research trying to find another company that could mean to me what Filofax had. I couldn’t find what I was looking for though, so I sent the Holborn back and got a replacement, all the while struggling with my fading loyalty to the brand I had loved so much.


My new Holborn arrived, just as spectacular as I had imagined, and this time the rings closed fine. Fine, I admit, but not great. Sometimes the bottom ring doesn’t close quite right and I have to remind it of where it’s supposed to go, and sometimes my paper gets caught when I turn a page.

If I’m honest, she’s never closed with the satisfying SNAP! of my previous Filos either, instead she gives a weak little *clink* and I admit that every time I have opened her – always by the mechanism, for the record – I have cringed a little at the idea that this might be the time that she doesn’t quite recover.

But in spite of her weaknesses I have loved her. She has been my daily companion for 2 years and it will be hard to say goodbye.



Especially since this time I’m not just saying goodbye to my Holborn but to Filofax all together.

I wasn’t quite ready to give up. At least not until I found the perfect replacement, and I’m happy to say that I did.

Van Der Spek wasn’t even on my radar when I did my ‘maybe breaking up with Filofax’ research 2 years ago. In fact, I discovered them by accident in June of this year while trying to find an archive system for my pages – something with REALLY BIG RINGS.

From the very first image I saw, I was sold.. and the more research I did the more I knew that the Van Der Spek was just exactly what I had been looking for.

Huge rings – Check!
Beautiful leather – Check!
Gorgeous colours – Check!
Hand crafted – Check!
Amazing quality – Check!
Customisable – Check!
Excellent customer service – Check!

The more I read, the more I knew that I would never go back to a Filofax.. and so I emailed Petra.

Together we created a custom beauty that would honour my two big Filofax loves. My very first turquoise baroque, and my beautiful A5 Holborn.


I chose #6202 for the outside of the Van Der Spek and #19 for the inside.

I added some extras too, like an additional pen loop, and my initials embossed in the leather to make her that little bit more ‘mine’. No stiffener, no contrast stitching.. order placed, invoice paid.. and then the wait began.

Of course if you’re anything like me you’ll already know what that wait looked like. I watched every single Van Der Spek related YouTube video ever created, relentlessly stalked the VDS facebook page, and Google-image searched every possible combination of words to make sure I had seen every picture ever posted of a VDS planner online.

Obsessive is my middle name.

The good news is that she arrived today. My new beautiful planner is here and she is gorgeous.

But today isn’t the day to say hello to the new, this post is for saying goodbye to the old.

You have been a big part of my life Filofax. Thanks for everything.



  1. great post! thanks!

    i love the idea of VDS myself, I just wish that the layout of the pockets would be customizable to as the one they offer is completely not what I would have liked :/

  2. Great post! All your planner posts are excellent! Can you please describe the process of ordering VDS planner. I visited their website but didn’t find relevant information. Thank you.

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