Thank you Anita and Philofaxy for writing this blog post about the process of deciding on and ordering your VDS Custom Made Planner.
Whilst I may admire other people’s Gillios and Van der Speks, I have never purchased one as I feel that I can’t really justify spending that much. Back in 2016, I did order some leather samples from Van der Spek, but never went ahead with an order. I am absolutely not judging anyone else or saying that I don’t think that they’re worth the money, but in the past I know that I wouldn’t have been comfortable with spending that much when a Filofax will do the same job. However, after deciding that I would never buy one, a very kind and generous friend got involved and I then had the funds to buy a custom Van der Spek! I am so grateful for their thoughtfulness and generosity.
Once I had a proper look at the Van der Spek website, I realised that I would need to narrow down my favourites and order some more leather samples. The ones that I ordered back in 2016 were: turchese (6219), turchese (19), black ostrich (235) and Janet Leather burgundy (109). Whilst I still quite like the idea of black ostrich on the outside and a turchese interior, I know that I always come back to a red binder in the end.
Here are the samples I ordered:
However, I then realised that I had a problem as I liked them all! How to make a decision?
I carried the samples around with me in my bag, scratched them on purpose and started pairing them up with each other to help give me some ideas. For example, I’ve always loved the Ascots, so one choice would’ve been Papavero croco on the outside with Janet Leather red on the inside. Whilst the Papvero croc is lovely, I realised over time that Janet Leather is definitely my favourite, so it was then time to make a decision about what colour to go with.
We have a winner!
Here is my order:
Standard 25mm Ø
Outside-colour: 108 – Janet Leather Red
Inside-colour: 109 – Janet Leather Burgundy
Inside-stitching: 238 – light grey ostrich
Outside-stitching: 238 – light grey ostrich
Mechanism: 25 mm silver
Standard big back pocket
Extra pen loop
Another consideration for when I was ordering was whether or not I wanted to move up to 30mm rings. In the end, I decided against it as I wasn’t sure how heavy it would make the binder, and if I really need all that extra capacity. I’m glad that I went for 25mm as my binder holds a surprising amount more than my Ascot.
You can see here the difference in ring sizes:
25mm in standard size VdS
23mm in the Ascot
Another comparison that I did was to completely fill both, remove the contents and measure how high the inserts were: – the Ascot had 14mm vs. 27mm in the VdS!
The VdS is slightly larger and wider than the Ascot, but I’m very happy as between the larger ring size and big back pocket, it consequently holds so much more.
As my overall plan was to get back again to owning one binder, I have now sold the Ascot and it’s currently on its way to a wonderful new home in the US. Ironically, my work colleague then gave me back a mini Kensington that I gifted to her many years ago, so for a short while I was then back up to three binders. Whilst the mini Kensington is lovely, it is also on its way to a new home in the US.
I’ve never named any of my Filofaxes before, but as this binder is such a special one, I started to think about what I would call her. How to choose? Some of the names that I considered were Binky (Death’s horse from Terry Pratchett’s Discworld books), Valentina (Tereshkova, first woman in space) or Yuri (Gagarin, first person in space). However, none of them really stuck. And then a perfect name came to me whilst writing this post… My VdS is a real TARDIS as for its size, it’s much bigger on the inside, like Doctor Who’s time machine. I’m a bit of a Doctor Who fan, so I then remembered an episode that I loved called the Doctor’s Wife (written by Neil Gaiman), where the TARDIS is placed in a human body and the woman’s name is Idris. I also like the actor, Idris Elba, so we have a winner!