Nov 17, 2011

Filofax's facial

I just thought I'd share with you my Finchley now that it is cleaned and restored - see what a fab colour it is?!

"And what has Nivea to do with it?" I'll hear you ask. Well... you can guess. :)
"Noooo, you didn't..."
Yes, I did!!!!! :)

I wiped Finchley with a damp cloth, I cleaned the mechanism and clasp with alcohol and I moisturized it with Nivea overnight then wiped it again with a dry cloth (you wouldn't believe how cream-thirsty  binders can be)!

And here you see the results! :)

Have I completely lost it?!  :)  Don't worry, I wouldn't do it if I hadn't tried it so many times before!

Once I got a secondhand Finsbury in a really poor state - no, it wasn't scratched or beaten, it was filthy! So filthy that I grabbed for a bottle of 70% alcohol immediately after opening the parcel! True, I wasn't thinking then, but I didn't care if it got stained, I knew I wouldn't use it unless it was "alcoholised"! After the hardcore cleaning I covered it thick with Nivea and still didn't care for results, I was desperate!

A recipe for disaster, huh? Breathe, dear reader, breathe! ;)

The next morning there was no trace of the thick white layer and the binder was smiling shining red! No stains, no grease or stickiness from the cream, even the leather smell was still there...

Apart from Finsbury and now Finchley, I afterwards also tried it on Amazona and Balmoral and the results were great, I think the old binders really appreciated it, believe it or not! No, I'm not convincing you to try it, and if you will, I'll take none responsibility for it - I admit that I, too, still cringe when I see thick Nivea all over the binder and am all anxiety the next morning on my way to see what has become of it!

Now, before you write me off as a complete nutcase, here's a story. Namely, the whole Nivea thing isn't my invention at all and has been tried and tested for decades - I hope you really don't think I'd put my beloved Filofaxes at such risk without proof it works?!

My late grandad (he was born in 1914) was a shoemaker. And until the end, he sistematically refused to use any other treatment on leather - be it shoes, bags, jackets. Yes, he did try all the new products - out of curiosity, I think - but consistently only kept those chunky cans of Nivea in his workshop.
And anytime I'd buy something made of leather, he'd test the leather's quality and tell me to impregnate it first and to take his Nivea whenever I need it. I tried to impress him with all kinds of leathercare lotions and potions, but he'd just smile, tap me on the shoulder and repeat: "Nivea." He never unveiled, why exactly and why so stubborn about it. :)

I did obey him and was always satisfied, but I'd never use it on a Filofax hadn't it been for that poor Finsbury number above. And so, Nivea it is, when I get a binder that is really... dehydrated.
I wouldn't try any other cosmetic product, though, although I hear Creme De La Mer does wonders on skin! :)

Hm, I just wanted to share one intimate thing left... every time I wipe a Filofax with a clean dry cloth afterwards and admire its shine, I long for another grandad's approving tap on the shoulder. That, and I wish I could share the delicious leather smell and the beautiful craft of the binder with him...  

Thank you!...


  1. I believe i shall have to try this on my Filofax!!! :-D hehe xxx

  2. Ooh - thanks for sharing that great idea! I *thought* I'd tried all sorts, but it never occurred to me to try Nivea. I wonder how it might work on "harder" less absorbent leathers like old Winchesters, but I guess I'll soon find out.

  3. @Imy - :D ! and how about a SPA resort for stressed out Filofaxes? We could cover the whole EU! ;)

    @Gerard - you are welcome! :) Nah, Nivea with its 150 years of being present is just something that doesn't pop into our mind! :) I was wondering about those older Filofaxes too, but as far as I can remember the leather say 25 years ago - I think it could work! But maybe you shall wait - I'm waiting for a Kingston to arrive and I'll test it first. Although - Kingston is definitely not a Winchester, ah! :)

  4. I love both the idea and your connection with Grandad.

    Super post.

  5. @Lynne - thank you, Lynne: thank you for saying that, and thank you for hearing it!...

  6. That was the loveliest story of advice and remembrance. I will keep this in mind. I have a finchley as well. Now, I know what to do when it gets dirty.

  7. @MsPencil - thank you for your kind words!

  8. What a lovely story, I'm sure your Grandad is v proud

  9. @Heather - thank you, you're so kind!

  10. Hi there. Does the Nivea trick 're-fill' small dents? I have an old filofax that looks like it has been stored next to a spiral-bound notebook and has a series of small dents/impressions (they're not really scratches) in the leather. Would putting nivea on it and leaving it overnight puff them back out?
    Glad I found your blog! It's great.

  11. Hello, Amanda,
    thank you and welcome to my blog! :)

    I haven't had a Filofax with such dents so far, but I'd say it depends very much on the leather. I guess there would be more trouble with older, smooth, sturdier versions, while it should be easier to rub out on more padded, grained leather... may I ask which type of Filofax you are talking about? I may get a useful idea...
    Well, I'd definitely try with Nivea anyway; it softens the leather and maybe you can rub the dents out after or just minimize their depth?
    (5 minutes later): hmmm, I'll give you this link - it basically says the same as my post, which I find as a "go"!

    Reading it - I think I'd definitely try spraying abundant water on the dents first, leaving the water to soak in for a short while, then rub them firmly with a cloth, then the cream, then beauty sleep, then firm rub with a cloth again...?

    Please, let me know if you try anything and what results it brings! And come again! :)

  12. Hi again,
    Well, I tried leaving it with hand-cream on the area overnight and it worked really well. It was on a Cavendish which is quite soft leather (and smooth, not pebble-grained or anything). I smeared the hand-cream (Nivea, but not quite the same as the original blue tin you show) all over the outside and extra-thick on the marked bit, left it in a plastic bag overnight (to stop it drying out and also to stop the cat licking it...) then removed the excess this morning. There are still some small marks but in comparison with what they were like... great!
    Thank you!!
    ps could you put a post index in the sidebar? It's hard to see all your posts... :-(
    Thank you!

  13. Hi Amanda,
    thank you for such a great news, you made my day!!! :)
    Looks like we found another precious recipe for our beloved Filofaxes! I'm especially glad you fixed it because Cavendish is probably the next one on my wish/shopping list, I take it you reccommend it? :)
    Yay! :)

  14. PS thank you for pointing out my missing archive - I thought it was already switched on and wasn't paying attention... Fixed now!

  15. The Cavendish is great. It could do with having a longer strap though (so that I could make full use of the big rings) but I'm getting on alright with it so far.
    Hope you had a good Christmas.

  16. Mmm, I saw all the posts on your Cavendish and I love it, I think I could forgive the strap incident! :)
    Thank you, it was a lovely Christmas with family and a new Filofax box! :)
    Hope you enjoyed yours, too!

  17. I will try it, I can hardly wait to see the result!

  18. I have always used Nivea on my beloved Doc Martens! my boots only get the best and the best for the leather is Nivea. I also use nivea myself in the manner it was made for. And i keep my planners lovely too with Nivea. So glad to see I am not the only one!