Wednesday, 16 May 2012

Goodbye my dear Malden...and Hello Siena!

Anyone in the mood for a review of the Siena personal Filofax? Alright then.

I have accidentally fallen head-over-heels in love with the Siena personal in Espresso. 

I had up until now been a Malden girl – I have an ochre and a crimson in Personal, an ochre in A5 and a crimson in Pocket. No other binder I’d ever tried could sway me from its flopsy leathery goodness with that beautiful contrast stitching and practical pocket layout...


Not long ago I espied a Siena espresso on eBay, as new, listed with an auction price and an higher buy it now price…I was happy to place the opening auction bid to get rid of the buy it now option, mainly just to see what price it would bid to (hence the accidental nature of my new obsession). 8 days later and...(!) My jaw dropped when I realised no one else had bid. Yes the title of the Filofax was incorrect (Serena instead of Siena) but the box and pictures (and the non-existence of a Serena binder) would tell anyone that this was an expensive (retail) binder! I was especially gobsmacked as I had been promising myself that I wouldn’t buy any more binders. Oh well. 

Now, two days after it arrived, I could not be happier, and I honestly can’t believe that there isn’t more on the web about this little beauty of a binder. I know there is a review over here by Denise, and it is part of the reason why I placed the opening bid...just, you know, in case the unthinkable could happen and I could win it. ^_^

It is buttery soft (honestly I find it softer and smoother than the Malden), it is SUPER flexible (Lay flat?! The covers on this baby droop when I hold it by the rings!), and yet the covers are much sturdier than the Malden's, without the obvious cardboard-insert feel of the Finsbury. The full leather interior is the key, I believe. Oh, and the leathery goodness of its smell...yummy.
 I’ve also been surprised by how much I like the pocket layout, and the cover zip pocket is far more subtle than I would have thought (dare I admit that I’d previously thought the outer pocket was unattractive?).

So this wouldn't be a true Philofancier's review if I didn't throw in some photos (apologies for some cropped corners)

I've managed to get a fairly accurate colour capture in all photos.
The Greeting :)

I'm a fan of Transformers comics, and as I open my FF I always smile when I see this home made 'divider' - I didn't create the picture...found it floating around the wilds of the 'net. I have my basic contact details on the back, in the *gasp* event that I let this puppy out of my grip for 5 seconds. On the left I have my Parker mechanical pencil. I have a sentimental ballpoint version that I dare not take out of my house for fear of losing it (I've lost the odd pen or two in my time...) so I bought this incredible lookalike. The fact that it's in pencil is perfect - I never loved the Frixion so I prefer to stick with erasable pencil. I use the Tombow Mono 2.3mm eraser simply because it's narrow and not completely hideous like other pen-shaped erasers. I'm always so frustrated at the limited availability of refill erasers for mech pencils. Could just be a local issue, though.

Front 'Dash'

 The front of my Dash divider...which also marks the start of my diary inserts. I've made a pocket sleeve out of a simple cardboard spiced up with the inevitable Washi tape. Had to work very hard not to start a new obsession with that stuff... I'm very pleasased with it, especially as I can clip my Verbatim slim USB drive in there. Less obvious (and thus more secure?) than the front cover.

Rear of the Dash
On the rear I have a few post-it notes. I've thrown in some pocket month-per-page inserts and a year-ahead planner because I'm still working out which I find easier to use. (The pocket inserts are from Poco Profile - an Aussie insert manufacturer.)

This is an example of my diary lay out. I use a cream WO2P with a single sheet of randomly coloured notepaper in-between to capture the TM sort of design I've seen on Philofaxy - it's been a new addition but I'm LOVING it, as I hate when my diary pages become too messy - I lose myself and miss tasks.

Rear internal cover

I don't put too many cards in my FF - I use a lovely small Malden purse in ochre - but on the run I frequently stuff things into the FF quickly so I like a few empty pockets here and there. I'm very happy my credit-card sized Swiss Army tool (scissors, pen, toothpick, nail file, little blade) fits in perfectly to any of the credit card slots.

I’d promised myself that I wouldn’t use it this year; I’m still a uni student (albeit postgrad) and I admit that I feel a bit odd jotting dates and notes in an “expensive” Filofax when surrounded by the inevitably budget-focused student crowd – at least the Malden had that trace of casual charm to it. But... I just couldn’t stop pulling it off the shelf and fondling it. So now the Malden is on the shelf and all contents quickly transferred. ^_^ I do in fact believe that this is now MY binder – not just my NEW binder.

Hope you enjoyed the look through my FF - but tell me, ever had that moment when you think you've found The One?

PS - I won't make many blog posts (at all) as I just don't have the time right now, but I just needed to spread the word about how lovely this binder is.


  1. Oooh! I love it! :D What did you get it for?

  2. Great review of the Siena (or Serena). That was an expensive mistake for the seller to make but lucky for you!

    Of all my Filofaxes this is my absolute favourite! Everything you say about it is so true and the leather is just amazing. Buttery is a great way to describe it. I don't think anyone can really appreciate how lovely these Filofaxes are until they've seen one up close and personal. My intention is to somehow get hold of the A5 Siena in Espresso.

    Thanks for sharing.

    1. Oh, siena in that would be exciting to get a hold of.

  3. oh i'm so jealous!!!! i'd been wanting an espresso personal siena and tried but couldn't get one so i SWITCHED TO POCKET and got a pocket one. it's gorgeous! but then i got the pocket amazona and can't be swayed from it's fat bumpy charm. i'm sure i'll switch around though especially after reading this... uh gotta go...heh heh

    1. I totally understand that this model could inspire a whole format change!!! 'Fat Pockets' are awesome. Despite having mostly Personals, I'll always keep my malden pocket because I LOVED that full sensation that I just haven't been able to match in a Personal.

  4. I believe I have found "the one" in my new personal black Adelphi. It is so elegant and beautiful, when I use it I feel like I'm opening a little Chanel purse! I've got it all personalized the way I like, and it brings me such joy! What I love about certain Filofaxes is that they do not resemble any other organisers, and as a result can create a bit of a stir. I've only had my Adelphi for a week or so, and every time I take it out someone goes, "Ooohhh, what's that?"

    1. I've always felt too informal to be able to 'pull off' the adelphi ;) But yes it has a definite Chanel quality to it in black.
      That's another brilliant thing about filofaxes, isn't it...a model may be mass produced but it's what we do with the insides of it that can separate them hugely. (A large metaphor for life seems hidden in there, which I think I'll leave alone lol.)

  5. Would like to ask if you plan to sell either the ochre or crimson malden but alas you're in au and i'm in the us and the shipping would probably do me in lol or be equal to buying a new one from the us website...anyway, that sienna is lovely!

    1. :) No I'd never sell my Maldens...for instance I'm using my crimson personal as a collection of inspiring writings and ideas. My A5 holds my writing drafts. I have no doubt that I'll swap between siena and maldens again in the future, but the siena will always feel like home :)