Tuesday, December 20, 2011

What's in my bag - December 2011

I've been using my Lowepro bag for nearly 8 months now. The contents have fallen in to a settled pattern so I thought I would share with you what I carry. Read the original post for details about the bag and why I chose this particular bag.

So in the front row from left to right:
  • My iPod Touch 64 GB - I use this a lot for music, checking emails, Twitter etc etc. It is never far from my side!
  • Nokia C5-00 mobile phone - This is set up as my UK mobile, it has lots of great facilities built in which are great when I'm travelling back in UK
  • Nokia 6300i mobile phone - This is my French mobile phone, a basic phone which is just used for calls and text messaging. I fitted a new battery to this recently and it works fine. 
  • Sachets of decaff coffee - I've not been able to drink normal coffee for over 20 years now, so I always carry my own with me! These sachets are a simple way of making sure I have some with me. 
  • Pens - A marker pen and a couple of Pilot Frixion gel pens, I like these pens a lot. 
  • Headphones - Just some standard Apple earphones for use with the iPod 
  • Tape Measure
  • Car Key
  • Compact Camera - I carry a Fuji Finepix JX200 with me, it's simple and takes reasonable pictures for a compact, when I don't have my DSLR with me.
In the next row again from left to right:
  • Headphones for the Nokia C5, useful for listening to the radio whilst on a train or as use as a hands free phone whilst walking. 
  • A pocket magnifier - Sadly my eyes aren't what they used to be, so this comes in handy for looking at very small print. 
  • Mini Malden - My wallet Filofax at the moment. 
  • Personal Malden - My information hub, diary, contacts, information, maps etc. 
  • Hand cleaning gel - Useful after refilling the car with fuel, to get rid of the smell of diesel!
  • Tic Tac Mints
  • Small Maglite Touch
  • Cleaning cloth - This is a multi fibre soft cloth very useful for wiping clean displays or for cleaning my glasses or sun glasses. I just give it a wash every so often and it comes up clean every time.
  • Not shown, my reading glasses case..
And at the back the bag itself, which is shaping up very well. I don't find it too big or too small. 

Friday, July 29, 2011

Filofax Finchley Expandable Tote Bag

Here are some photos of my new gorgeous red Filofax Finchley expandable tote!
 Here is the back, with a zip pocket:
Detail of buckle and logo
Interior pockets
Snap at top for tote, or snap at bottom for handbag

 Here it is with the sides snapped down into Handbag mode:

Detail of snap in Handbag mode
Even in Handbag Mode it's still very roomy. Here's my personal Filofax Finsbury at the bottom. Helloooooo down there!
Here's my A5 Finsbury in the bag, in Handbag mode. Despite peeking out the top, the bag would actually zip fine.  In Tote mode, the bag holds A4 size (letter size) files and notebooks with room to spare.

As usual with me, there is a backstory...

A year and a half ago when I was in London, I visited the Filofax shop. Among the other wonderful goodies there, I fell in love with this Finchley tote.  I loved the wonderful soft leather, and especially the functionality of two bags in one. It's a handbag! That expands into a tote!  I reeeeeaaaaalllly wanted it. And, it was discontinued! EEEP!  But sadly, it was way out of my price range so I figured it would never be mine.

Fast forward to a couple of weeks ago finding it at $100 OFF and suddenly IT'S MINE!!  MWAA  HA HA HAAAAAA!

I ordered this tote from www.PensAndLeather.com. They are having an amazing Filofax closeout sale, click here to see. Right now there are only TWO of the red Finchley totes left, click here to nab one before it's too late!!  (Sorry for the blatant enabling! I'm not affiliated with Pens And Leather, I just can't resist a good enabling opportunity when I see one. ;D )

I'm not normally a red person, but I love the look and feel of this leather. It makes me want a red personal Finchley Filofax binder to match!!

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Wallet or Purse?

What is the difference between a Wallet and a Purse? Both as far as I know perform the same function. They hold your paper money, coins, credit cards etc. But why the different names?

I know they come in different styles for men and women, but why the different names?

I was looking on the Filofax UK site and I was looking at their 'leather accessories' section and then I saw Malden... must have a look.

Even Filofax has fallen in to this trap though.. I quite liked the look of the this Malden 'purse' in black. I thought that would be quite smart and secure. I want something that only carries cards, money, coins and my passport. That looks big enough and secure enough?

However, if you go back a step to the front page and see that you can select on 'gender' click on male and look everything is a wallet. Click on female and it's a purse. 

So it looks like I might have to go against convention once again... man bag plus purse... it's a bit worrying isn't it!

Saturday, April 30, 2011

New Day Bag

It's nearly a year since we moved here to France and I started using my 'man bag' on a daily basis, I guess you might have read the post I put on Philofaxy. I find this size of bag quite a convenient size of bag to use most of the time and it's perfect of a pocket Filofax and my other clutter I carry.

However, it it more or less full all the time and it is too small if I also want to carry a personal size Filofax. I have numerous bags that are considerably bigger, but they are almost too big for daily use. I've looked and been tempted by TimBuk2 and RickShaw bags, but their availability this side of the Atlantic was one of the limiting factors.

So in order to look for something slightly larger I started looking at what size of bag I actually needed. It was essential that it could take a personal size Filofax in addition to things like my reading glasses (can't cope without them these days!), my mobile phone needed to be easily accessible, space for other things but preferably in pockets rather than rattling around in a mess.

There are a lot of bags on the market, but in the end I started to look again at my favourite Lowepro camera bags. The one thing I like about this brand is that they make bags in various styles and in many sizes in increments from small to large, so it was relatively easy to choose a bag style I liked and then pick the size I needed. They are also good quality and good value for money.

I found their customer service people very helpful in answering questions about my target bag to ask if the padded dividers could be removed which they can.

I didn't really need another camera bag, I have two quite large ones all ready and my camera with it's add-on grip/battery pack is quite a bulky item, so I concentrated on my other requirements first.  The grip does detach, but I prefer to use it with the grip on all the time.

I also found You Tube useful for looking at video reviews people had done about possible bags I had chosen from the range of bags available.

So the decision was eventually made and I ordered my bag from Amazon, it arrived within 3 days from Amazon UK which I thought was quite quick.

And here is my new bag, it's a Lowepro Nova 170 AW in Ultramarine Blue, yes a bit of colour co-ordination to my new car! But it was also available in black and beige. I am very much a blue person so there wasn't much of a decision to be made there.

The bag has a main compartment, plus other pockets and additional elasticated pockets at either end. In addition to the carry handle there is a decent shoulder strap too.

Here it is with my film camera minus it's battery grip and a flash gun. The flap over cover is zipped and there is a buckle too.

Take out the camera gear and one of the padded dividers which are held in using velcro and it becomes a great bag for a Filofax or two!

This is my personal Malden and my French English dictionary and there is still plenty of room to the left for my reading glasses to slip in. The outer zipped pocket will hold my compact camera and the zip pocket in the outside flap will be the perfect place for my phone.

Then I thought I wonder what it will hold without any dividers in it...

Yes it will take an A5 Filofax, in this case my grey A5 Malden, so there are lots of Filofax possibilities with this bag!!

I'm very pleased with my new 'addition' I'm sure it will get a lot of use in the coming summer months.

Friday, April 22, 2011

What size?

If a bag comes in different sizes or several sizes, how do you choose which one to buy?

So excluding looks and colours and that sort of thing, you have decided on that already, but then the bag range of your choice comes in different sizes, how do you decide which size to buy?

I'm going through this decision thing at the moment. May be I'm taking it too serious!! (Yes ok I am!!).

I'm looking for a bag that is slightly bigger than the one I use at the moment as my 'Man Bag' which accommodates most things comfortably, but not everything.

The danger as I see it is going too big, so I have tackled this in a fairly systematic way. OK I've got this bag, what else do I want to carry.... this this and this. Then I realised, ah but if you wanted to carry all of that..... what about this bag you already own...

OK that solves that problem, but I'm not going to be carrying everything everyday.... so something smaller but not as small as what I'm using now...

So I have ended up measuring things for their sizes and then looking to see what size bag I actually need. I'm getting close to making a decision, which I suppose is a good thing.

I'm often accused of having too many bags, but to me they all serve a purpose, I never like to have a bag that is over or under sized. I prefer it if the bag I'm using is about 80% full. Then it's 'just right'

To me you can never have too many... as long as they all have a purpose then it's ok to have more than just a few... a bit like Filofax organisers I suppose!!!!!!!

So have I lost the plot..... or do you thing I have found a different way to approach the decision making process.... or just buy it Steve... enjoy it!!!

Saturday, March 26, 2011

2 Timbuk2 s

I was a bad girl last week. I bought not one, but two new bags. From the same place. On different days. So I didn’t even save on shipping fees. Oh well. I had been eyeing the first bag for a while and decided I would get it. I saw the second, decided I would buy it next month. But the of course, right after I bought the first one, I got a coupon in my email from the company. So I went ahead and bought the second one. I had a coupon! How could I not?

In any event…

Here are my two new Timbuk2 bags:

The first bag is the Scrunchie Tote. It is meant to be a gym bag of sorts. The main attraction to this bag—for me—is its ability to carry a yoga mat. For a long time, I’ve been using a mere yoga mat bag, which is okay but it lacks the extra room to carry anything but the mat. So when I saw this bag I thought it would be perfect. Let me just say that this bag is so great that it will definitely be used as a regular bag, in addition to the yoga mat/gym bag.

This morning I went to yoga but also had some errands to run. So I used the bag to carry all of my items, plus the mat. It worked perfectly. The interior is so roomy—I can fit tons of things in here. Plus, there are several small pockets for credit cards, cash, even a key fob for my keys. The bag is a little large for an everyday bag, but depending on where I’m going and how much I’ll be taking, it’s a great option. I love this bag already and I’ve only owned it for a little over 24 hours.

The second bag is the Anna Ribbons Tote. I have been wanting a simple tote for some knitting projects. Even though I already have a super knitting supply bag, this one would hold a project or two—easy enough to take with me but without having to cart around all of my supplies at the same time. When I saw this, I knew it would be perfect. The ribbons on the front even make me think of crafty things. The interior of this bag is very roomy and simple, without a lot of fuss—just what I wanted. There’s plenty of room for the current project(s), the book(s) I’m working from, my accessories and anything else I need to carry with me (like my knitting Filo – more info on this coming soon to my personal blog). It does have one interior pocket, which will be great for a pencil or two and my needles.

Needless to say, I need these two bags like I need a hole in the head. But whatever. I’m happy with both of them and I’m so excited to use them! Thanks to Yvotchka for introducing me to Timbuk2 bags. I’ll be sending her my bills later. ;)

Friday, March 18, 2011

Hand luggage bag for my UK trip

I've had the serious matter of deciding which bag to use (out of the many!) for my trip back to UK this coming weekend. Normally I wouldn't agonise over such a thing, I have done the journey so many times.

However, this time it is with a bit of a twist, we are driving back to UK, then leaving our lease car in UK and then flying back. So for once we are being very disciplined about our packing.  Or let me rephrase that... I'm having to be a little more disciplined about what I take, there's no... 'Right we can go now the car is full' type behaviour... What ever we take has to fit with the luggage allowance for the budget airline coming back again.

Checked in luggage isn't causing me a problem that will be a Samsonite case with my clothes and one or two other things in it. Hand baggage though is limited to 10 kg and a size restriction that is tighter than the normal international hand baggage size (56 cm x 45cm x 25 cm). Ryanair insist that your hand baggage can't be bigger than 55 cm x 40 cm x 20 cm.

This got a bit serious when I started measuring up bags and then realised how difficult it is to measure a soft-sided bag. So I made a size gauge out of some wood, a simple frame with sides with the internal dimensions as above. A bit OTT I realise, but it proved the point that my usual LowePro Orion AW camera bag because of it's curved shape, to fit your back makes it too deep to fit the 20 cm dimension.  It would fit the 25cm dimension but that's not an option for me on this trip.

So sadly all the camera gear came out of that bag, I laid it out on the bed and selected the absolute minimum set up to carry to reduce the weight and space requirement. This means leaving behind, two lens, one film body and numerous small accessories that I don't use that often. They have gone in to a padded box for safe storage.

I also want to carry my netbook computer so I needed to consider that in my bag selection. I have a selection of different computer bags from small, through medium to large, shoulder ones, rucksack types... yes I know a little excessive! Whilst they all take the netbook fine, there wasn't enough room for my DSLR camera as well.

So my other choice is my older LowePro Mini Trekker camera rucksack. So I emptied it of a few odds and ends and set about taking out all of the padded divisions. Then I started to play around with different layouts for my bits of kit until I found a layout that would work. I then put back in some of the padded dividers so the camera was held in place along with various accessories (mains leads, USB leads etc). After about 30 minutes of messing about I think I've found the optimum layout for this trip.

Netbook in the bottom of the bag, padded dividers in the corners hold it safely in place, then a large divider across the middle with the camera at the top of the bag which makes if easier to get out.

I did a quick size check... loads of space, then I did a quick weigh in and it's just a shade over 5 kg. Now you will have noticed possibly that there is a lot of space above the netbook.... remember I'm going to London half way through my trip to a certain shop in Neal Street.... enough said I think!

I'm quite pleased with the outcome, the bag was never originally designed for use with a netbook (they didn't exist!) but it works well and above all it's comfortable to carry as well.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Coach tote with Filofax Deco

Lately I've been using this leather Coach tote that my mom gave me about 15 years ago. It holds a ton, and all week I've been loading it up with file folders, camera, notebooks, and my personal size Filofax Deco, which I noticed looks particularly good with this bag!

This shot shows the bag better:
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