Friday, September 7, 2012

WebFinds - 7 September

If you are a Philofaxy reader then you will be familiar with WebFinds. Here's a Bagsey equivalent for your enjoyment:
  1. Emotional Baggage - Reg Hardware
  2. My Cambridge Satchel - Anita Lim
  3. Another handbag post....... - Musings of a Caribbean Princess
  4. Making an iPad case - Planet Millie
  5. Bag, Bag, Bag – and Another Bag! - Kanalt - The Zeitgeist of Zoe
  6. What's In My Bag? - Thoughts and Exploration
  7. Frugal Friday: Vlieger & Vandam Skull Print Tote - Bag Snob
  8. Made in England - The Brooks England
  9. Fendi 2Jours Bag Special Edition - Pandith News
  10. what's in my handbag? - Drifting Through Life
  11. The Many Bags of Dakota Fanning  - The Purse Blog 

Saturday, April 21, 2012

New Messenger Bag

As you will recall I'm a happy user of a 'man bag' or in my case a camera bag with out the internal inserts, which I use for carrying all of my everyday clutter around with me, I hate stuff in my pockets, and I tend not to forget things if they are in my bag!

This is still working well, but I recently became the owner of an iPad and also I'm in the throws of moving over to the more regular use of the A5 Filofax.

The existing bag will just about take an A5, but it's a bit of a squeeze, but it will not take the iPad safely. Not quite big enough. I have an old 12" Targa laptop bag that I've used for a few years, it will take the A5 ok and the iPad ok, the main problem with it is that being a laptop case, it has a zip that goes around three sides of the bag, so you are always looking for a flat surface for it before you open it. Not ideal.

So looking on the Lowepro site I noticed that one of their new product ranges called the Event Messenger has provision for the iPad in a padded compartment and when I checked the dimensions it was plenty big enough in height and width for an A5 Malden. Perfect, so I ordered the Event Messenger 150 which is the medium size of the range. I hate bags that are too big!

So this is also a combination of tablet/camera bag, but the internal dividers all come out, so you can reconfigure the internal space as you need. The interior is soft and well padded too.

I've left one vertical divider in and I can tuck my reading glasses in at the end.

As well as a broad strap there is also a carry handle useful when you are lifting it in and out of the car. There's also a slim outside pocket on the rear side of the bag, which will be fine for travel documents and the like.

Here it is with an A5 Malden and an A5 Finsbury, both 30 mm ring models, and tucked in the back section is my iPad in it's leather case.

In the front there is also a full width zip pocket with pockets for things like mobile phones, iPods, compact cameras, pens, memory cards etc.

The flap secures with a clip and two velcro strips. The shoulder strap is broad and has a padded shoulder pad as well, so it's quite comfortable to carry fully loaded.  There are also elasticated pockets on the outside at each end with expand to take a small bottle of water or similar.

Like my other man bag/day bag it will take my camera gear... but I have a dedicated Lowepro camera bag for that!

Why two A5's? Well one for my regular planning and organising... and the other one is my 'work' A5 for when we are doing property searches, so this bag will carry everything I need when we are doing our 'Phil and Kirsty' act around the Loire Valley as part of LTPS. Generally though I would only be carrying one A5 (the Malden) which then leaves plenty of room inside for other goodies and lightens the load a bit too.

Here is a video from Lowepro about the range...

Event Messenger
from Lowepro on Vimeo.

In case you are wondering the iPad case is a leather one made by Kavaj, their 'London' model. Unlike some that are on sale it is real leather not PU leather!

Thursday, March 1, 2012

One bag for everything?

Wouldn't it be great if we could have one general purpose bag that we could use for different assignments. I'm not talking about hand bags here. Yes I know they have to match your outfits etc etc.

But if you are thinking about say a travel bag or a bag you use for work, wouldn't it be great if we could find a bag that was big enough for small enough to use for various loads. I hate having a bag that's way too big for what I'm carrying, or way too small when I need to carry a few more things.  Does such a thing exist?

Looking around on the net I came across a few bags that might suit. I particularly like this one called the 'One Bag'

It's available here:

I also discovered Unit Portables. This one is even more modular allowing you to add different 'units' to the bag to build up the configuration you need. You could also remove units when you aren't using them.

You will find the details here:  I particularly like the bright colours in this range. Nice definite colours, bold and cheerful.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Guest Post - Filofax Sketch Bag - Review

Thank you to Frédérique for sending in this review of the Filofax Sketch bag.

I live in France, and had already purchased a few accessories for my Filofax through the French website. So, when they launched a - 70% sale on a large selections of bags a few weeks ago, I realized that I really needed a new laptop bag. After all, the one I had and used from time to time was an old leather purse which I couldn't close completely due to the bulkiness of my laptop, which barely fit in it, that I really wanted to try out a new Filofax product and, well, did I mention there was a big sale ? Couldn't hurt to browse, right ?

I hesitated a long time between the Sketch Zipped Briefcase and the Sketch Modern Briefcase, but even after intensive research, I couldn't find any real pictures, videos or anything from real users! I could only look at the different pictures on the Filofax website, and their ridiculous videos : instead of inserting paper-replicas of laptops, apples, or cellphones, they could have used real props, this would have looked much more professional, wouldn't it ? Therefore, I held back for almost two weeks...

Of course, there are only a few shops around where I live (Mulhouse, in France) with Filofaxes; most of the time, they only some binders, a few folders sometimes, but never the bags; so apart from driving insane distances, there aren't many possibilities to actually touch and look at the items before you buy.

I finally decided in favour of the Sketch Zipped Briefcase, partly because it looked more like a purse/week-end bag than strictly a business/laptop-carrying case, but mostly because the two clasps for the detachable shoulder strap of the Sketch Modern Briefcase were attached only on one side of the bag. I feared the tensions from the weight of the bag would eventually rip the fabric. I might be wrong, but I didn't want to take the chance. So, Sketch Zipped Briefcase it is ! Grey looked cool, but I really like red, most of my bags and accessories (wallet, filofax...) are red. So not much hesitation there.

And this is what came through the mail less than a week after my order : this huge package, filled with air-filled bags for protection !

To my surprise, the bag was wrapped in a black Filofax-branded protection bag ! I really like that, that gives the feel of a luxury item, like my Longchamp bag which also was wrapped neatly in its protective fabric bag, or like the leather Filofax binders that come in their sturdy black boxes, whereas my Slimline Metropol is sold with a simple and thin cardboard box/wrap.

And here is the "briefcase" itself, directly out of its bag : the French website mentioned the colour "Bordeaux Foncé", and the UK site "Maroon", but it's more like a rich "darker" red, which I really like and is a really great surprise for me, as you never know exactly what the real colour is. The "front" of the bag has a little rubber Filofax logo on the right bottom, elegant and discreet (discreet being key here, I really dislike huge prominent branding).

The fabric is "waterproof ribbed nylon" and seems to be very thick and water-resistant, but it hasn't rained so far, so I wasn't able to test it outside. Just like a "good" Filofax is supposed to remain flat once open, I like my bags to be able to stand erect, whether they are full or empty, and this one does !

The additional detail that told me I would really like this bag are the rubber feet : as it's not leather on the bottom, there's no fear in damaging it and it can be quickly and easily cleaned. The zip-handles are also rubber-covered metal, so you get a good grip when you open and close your briefcase.

Let's sum up so far : the outside is looking pretty, it seems very sturdy, but let's look at its entrails !

There's one big compartment, a laptop pocket on the back-side of the bag, and a full-length flat zipped pocket (that's quite deep too), along with functional pockets, on the front-side : two mesh pockets (one large, one small), three elasticized pen loops, five card-slots, and an ID-slot : as I said, really practical !

The laptop-pocket is separated from the main compartment by a thin padded cushion, so the laptop is protected from the content you have in the main compartment. There are two Velcro sewn on both the sides, in order to keep this pocket thin when not in use, and even when "closed", you can still add lots of documents (A4/letter size will fit perfectly). Please notice the fabric pieces on the sides of the bag : once open, the briefcase is not supposed to lay flat, there are triangular pieces of nylon that keep the content from falling out of the bag, which can be open really wide nonetheless.

Now, let's try it in real conditions. I put my laptop, battery, camera and camera-cable inside, and see how it fits : perfectly ! And there's still lots of room for documents, other computer-accessories, or anything you want/need to carry !

I tried it first for a couple of nights at the Boyfriend's, and I was able to add some clothes to the aforementioned content (granted, not two full sets of clothes, but at least an additional pants, a thin sweater and other little things) : here's the bag when full, isn't it nice ? I really like it !

99€ originally, and I purchased it for ~30€ on sale (+5€ shipping). I'm really happy for my purchase, have already tried it in real conditions; the proportions and the way it's organized is just what I needed. A great surprise, really, I didn't expect to be this enthusiast ! I doubt I would have bought it on a whim like this if it was full-price, or even 40% off. But at 70% off, that was a great bargain !

The only caveat I found is that the handles are a little bit too short for me, they don't allow me to carry this bag on my shoulder; this could be done in spring/summer/autumn with a light/very thin jacket, but with a thicker winter jacket, it's not really practical nor possible, I would say. That doesn't bother me much, as it's quite heavy once it's filled (did I mention that my laptop was more like a huge heavy brick than a state-of-the-art-super-lightweight-laptop ?). When they are full or heavy, I mostly hang my bags from the crook of my arm anyway.

Both the Zipped and the Modern Briefcases are back to their original prices on, but the UK website is currently having a -40% sale on these models, among others... (Enabler ? Who, me ?) !!

Saturday, January 14, 2012

A Filofax that isn't an organiser....

I love receiving parcels in the post... especially when they come in a Filofax box

But this one is quite small and slim...

I've been looking around for that 'perfect wallet' for a while now. They are either too big (I had several in my chest of drawers) or too small. As some of you will know I've used Filofax organisers successfully as a wallet/note book for some time. But occasionally when I'm not lugging everything around in my man bag then a slim but functional wallet comes in handy.  Given my love for everything Filofax... especially when it has the name Malden involved in it... I had to have a look the different ones on offer during a visit to Neal Street in November.

I saw it... liked it, but didn't buy it. The full price was £40 and I'd already spent about that already that day on a Malden Mini and other Filofax related things! So I left it and slept on it etc.

Then in the run up to Christmas I was looking around for present ideas and stumbled across this Malden wallet on the City Organiser site, at a much reduced price compared to the Filofax website. So after Christmas I looked again and also discovered they had a 15% off discount code... That was the decider, at £24.65 it was mine....

It arrived in a nice big padded envelope in about 4 days from ordering which considering it had to come to France was quite good. I got the usual 'What have your brought now' look!!! But some approving words when Mrs M saw it wasn't another organiser!

So here is the Malden Portrait Wallet, this is the front.

On the bank there is a slip pocket, useful for slipping in a travel card or shopping note.

Open it up there is 6 card slots on the left (more than enough for me) and on the right there is a large pocket for change, this is essential and the failing of other wallets I've used, many of them don't have any facility for coins.

The left hand side folds out again to reveal two mesh pockets, handy for documents. Where are the rings!!! A Filofax product without rings!

From above there is a full width pocket which is divided over it's length to form two slots for bank notes and receipts.

So here it is with my cards in place.

And my health documents and drivers licence.

Malden Wallet and Cuban Zip..

Malden wallet and Malden personal Filofax. I should have taken a picture of it with a Malden pocket, the Pocket is taller, and obviously quite a bit thicker.

The only down side of this wallet is it's not quite tall enough to also carry my passport, which will fit in to a Filofax Pocket comfortably. So I now put that in my car document wallet that I also have to carry all the time anyway.

However, like Filofax organisers I'm quite comfortable swapping the contents from the wallet to a pocket or mini Filofax... Maldens in each case!

So for that guy in your life that wants a practical wallet I can recommend the Filofax Malden Portrait Wallet.
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