Dec 22, 2011

The Great Mini

My first Filofax ever was an A5 Graphic Zip (I was still a student back then and needed something spacious and secure, so this seemed a great option and I turned it into a tote crammed full of things!)
When I went to work, I lugged it around with me for a while, but suddenly it was so bulky I couldn't stand it anymore (and its masculine look as well - I suppose that was a sign of me growing up, hehe).
So off to the pocket size we went - a pink BCC surely was the real opposite, wasn't it?

For more than a year now this was my main Filofax size (but not the binder, obviously, ah!) and I somehow struggled with its much smaller size, keeping in all my stuff: diary, to-dos, notes, even a journal.
Just as I'm writing this a thought occurred: how come I switched from A5 to pocket size directly, without even considering personal size? But then I remembered: I wanted something of a personal size, but there was a thing about it that was always bothering me: the look of a personal sized sheet. I simply didn't like its proportions - so narrow in comparison to its width, they were similar to nothing I was previously writing on! So I chose pocket size instead, its papers look lovely - more compact, more squarish and chubby!

As my needs developed and because I invented a need needed a gift for myself after finishing my Master's degree, I finally got the personal sized one. I got used to the enigmatic personal size in an hour or so and am loving it ever since!

Before I get too carried away with my filohistory - I just wanted to illustrate how the mini size Filofax was never even an option for me - at the time I cannot imagine even using pocket size (which is a pity with some lovely Sleeping Beauties dreaming away in my drawer!). But I saw some posts on philofaxy (of course! this site is making me obsessed!) that made me curious and I knew the mini experiment was just a question of time.

And so I knew the time has come when I I found an used mini Amazona in what was once called "brown" (because when I saw it later in reality it was rather "brown beaten to almond"!). I have always had a huge weakness for Amazonas and even the quite poor state of this one didn't stop me, I thought it will be a good trial wallet anyway. And oh yes it was! In both dimensions: as a size and as a poor little beaten Amazona, too.

So, how is this mini working for me?

I keep my most used cards in the front so they're easy to reach (the little white dandelion post-its only cover personal info!). I added a few post-its for my quick notes.
In the secretarial pocket that is so awesome an invention that I-couldn't-live-without-it-now-that-I-have-tried-it are my driving license, receipts and some coupons. The first page is a plastic envelope filled for decoration only, I keep some photos of my family on the back of it.

 And then it goes as the tiny icons show: credit cards, loyalty cards, expenses sheet, to-do lists and documents.

My to-dos here are in fact my shopping lists - it's great to finally actually have them with me when in store!

The expenses sheet is how I try to keep track of my consumerism - a major underreporter I am!

Then there's also the back zipped pocket - see how innocently it looks when closed? But I assure you, this thing can really hold a lot of coins! This is what I was especially happy to get because the coins were one of my biggest issues when deciding to try a mini as a wallet. I just didn't want to carry a coin purse as well! 


 OK, the pen does get in a way a bit, but it is no struggle, and it writes so smoothly and looks so cute due to its mini size that I cannot bring myself to replace it!

As all minis (I think), this one, too, has a full length pocket where I keep my banknotes.

 So this is it in the pictures and words. Now how about an explanation or two?

1.Why I love the mini size so much?
= because it is not that small at all, it actually gets too big sometimes! And because it holds my cards comfortably - you know, no fiddling when paying. AND because it is big enough to make some necessary notes and shopping lists, too.

2. Why do I love this poor Amazona? :)
= It really looks battered, but I somehow got used to it and what I love the most about it is the softness of its hard used leather! It's amazingly soft and I didn't know that Amazonas age so well  until now -  the other ones that I have are brand new and still feel somewhat rough. Can't wait for them to age (although... knowing how careful I am with them, they'll never get the opportunity to develop a character like this one did).

So things have come so far that I loved the size of the mini so much I decided to buy a real one after this successful trial period, and already got a stunning one, and also prepared it ready to go. But... but I somehow just cannot part with this Amazona! Which is outrageous, I'll show you why:

The mini in waiting is a mini Balmoral, a gorgeous style that isn't produced anymore - what a pity, I'd buy it in every size!!! It is amazing one...  I tried my best to make the pictures that will show it in all its glory, but I'm no photographer and - damn, these shiny black things are difficult to capture! I had similar problems with my post on personal Amazona, it just turns silvery on the pictures no matter what the surrounding light is! So, please, before you proceed - imagine a blackest black, glossy leather that was lacquered over and over!

No secretarial pocket in Balmoral, though, I really miss it! But it has a cute popper-pocket for coins at the back!

And the binder has two popper positions so you can adjust the strap - isn't that a luxury?! I wish every binder had that!

I wanted to show the dimensions here - both of the pen and the binder. And to show them both off a little, I admit! Yes, unlike the Amazona, I treated this one to a genuine Filofax mini Barley pen. I didn't hear too good reviews on it, but I must say it writes and feels lovely.
The full length pocket again...

See? This is my dilemma: the Balmoral is just awesome and so chic... but for some reason I'm stuck on the Amazona and cannot move on! :) What do you think, which one would you use? Please, post in the comments!

I know, this has been a marathon-long, picture heavy post, but I'll just explain shortly about the accessories that I used for setting this mini up:  I made the credit card holders out of the old plastic documents folder that I tore apart, while the little icons pictured at the beginning come from an old Moleskine. I got the idea from this beauty, but since I am nowhere as neat as she is, I just stuck the Moleskine icons on Avery divider tabs and cut those to the right size.

Thank you for reading this all through, and to rest your eyes a little... please sit back with me and take these  4:38 minutes more!

This is the loveliest time of the year and this song that just has to be a part of it... It brings so many beautiful memories to me, I hope it does the same for you!  :)

With love,


  1. I do like the mini, I currently have the Piazza in cornflower. Not really used as a wallet all the time but stays in my handbag permanently.

  2. Yes, Heather, there ceratinly is something about mini, isn't it? And the sunflower Piazzas - I have mine in personal... but just cannot acitvate it yet for some unknown reason...

  3. I have the very same mini Balmoral in black as your new one, I think you should use it and enjoy it and don't worry about it, but I am very very carefull with mine too and keep it in a cosmetic bag or in a pocket in a the bag organizer that is inside my briefcase.

  4. By the way, do you use bag organizers/bag inserts?

  5. Hi Rina, thank you for commenting, and it's great to hear from another Balmoral owner!
    I have been using mine now quite mercilessly and it is really scratch - resistant, yay!
    As to bag organizers - I'm considering getting one for quite a while now because I switch my bags often... do you have any experience with them?