Review of "Tintamar VIP Handbag Organiser"

published 19/06/2010 | koshkha
Member since : 26/12/2005
Reviews : 1434
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About me :
Seems it takes a lot to get many reads these days so be assured that all are appreciated.
Pro When it comes to organisation, I need all the help I can get
Cons It's not cheap - but it's strong and should last you well
very helpful
Value for money
Weight of bag itself

"They KNOW What Women Want"

Front view - big zipped pocket on the front

Front view - big zipped pocket on the front

In Praise of Husbands

I must have done something really good in a previous life to have been lucky enough to get a husband who understands the mystique of handbags. Heck, I didn't even 'get' handbags myself until my mid 20s so he's a quick learner. I'm not going to claim he's absolutely perfect – he snores like a drain and you don't want to get too close after a curry – but he's pretty close. After my ecstatic response to the first Radley handbag he bought me about 8 years ago, he realised he was onto a good thing present-wise and ever since then he buys me a really nice handbag at least twice a year. The problem I have is that I'm a creature of habit and always short of time especially in the morning so the whole idea of getting up and switching handbags so they go with what I'm wearing, is just too much like bother. I'm not totally mismatched and I'd no sooner go out with brown shoes and black trousers than leave the house naked, but there's a massive activation energy 'hump' to get over when it comes to switching handbags and I struggle to get over that.

Poor Neglected Bags

I feel guilty about having a wardrobe full of gorgeous bags sitting there winking at me and crying out "When's it going to be MY turn, mum? Please, pleeeeeeaaaaaase can I go out today?" The idea of being the kind of woman whose shoes and bags always match (or at least don't clash) has always appealed to me but like the idea of filing my credit card bills in date order or getting all my photographs in albums it's something that would be 'nice' but I thought it just wasn't likely to happen.

Tintamar to the Rescue

About a year ago I discovered the Tintamar Very Intelligente Pocket range of handbag organisers. I saw one described in an airline in-flight magazine. After I'd stopped bristling about the intentional and unintentionally ironic misspelling of intelligent, I opened my mind to the idea that perhaps this might actually open up a world of quick handbag switches. The theory was simple. Your bags become just a shell and the 'VIP' Organiser becomes the transferable 'guts' of your life, easily lifted out of one bag and into the next. What could be simpler?

Along with many other things on my 'one day I'll get round to it' list, the VIP got ignored for many months until I spotted a strange grey lump on my colleague's desk. I think I knew what it was before I asked but she handed it over and told me it was her VIP organiser. Aside from the fact that this was too titchy to come close to holding all the stuff I carry around with me, I could see that it looked like a tough, well-designed bit of gear that just needed to be a bit bigger. She reassured me that she also had the 'business' version in another bag and uses the 'beach' version in her son's baby changing bag. She also advised me that she'd done lots of searches on the internet and hadn't been able to find a better deal than at a website called and was happy to recommend them. Being stubborn I of course did my own searches before also working out that quirkybags was indeed the best place to buy and had a wider colour choice than Amazon. I closed my eyes to the shocking price tag of £28.95, picked the rose pink version, added a set of interesting looking travel bags and paid five pennies under £59 for the lot. Within a couple of days the parcel was waiting for me at home with the promise of finally converting me into the organised professional I've always wanted to be.

Of course it wasn't quite so easy as that because I spent the next two weeks on the road with my favourite travel handbag – a flat-lying messenger bag that's completely incompatible with the VIP system.

The VIP Range

Tintamar are French which probably explains but doesn't excuse their silly spelling of 'intelligente'. The brand name is an equally silly misspelling of Tintamarre which is a French Island in the Caribbean. Their brand 'story' is that there are lots of different little species of luggage living on this island each of which have different characteristics. There are the aquatic species (swim suit bags), polar species (cooler bags), nomadic species (this includes my set of small travel bags), migrating species (travel luggage) and so on. The VIP is part of the 'independent species'.

The VIP range comes in 4 types. The classic measures 22 x 15 x 6 cm whilst the business one which I have is 26 x 20 x 8 cm. The 'sun' version comes in the same size as the business but has a different arrangement of pockets with a large mesh pocket that's not on the business version as well as a little zip up purse. I've not seen one but I'm pretty sure you couldn't put a bottle of sun cream in my outside pockets so I guess some on the sun format are larger and better designed for beach needs. The final version is the VIP for Men which again is the same size as the business and sun formats but the central big pocket is divided into two parts and has a zip.

The classic and business sizes are available in a startling array of colours. If you are lucky enough to be one of those people my mother would describe as having 'more money than sense' you can get the classic format in leather for £80 a pop and there are also special limited edition ranges in the classic size too including shiny silver, denim and even stripes. Whilst a wide range of colours is great for giving you no excuse not to find one you like, I think that the diversity of designs is a bit wasted. If you buy one of these liners and it works for you, then you really won't need a range of the things. That's the whole point – one liner, multiple bags. Unless you have bags in a range of very different sizes – or you buy the wrong one like my colleague and then realise you need a bigger format – then you're unlikely to need more than one.

Me and My Pocket

I found two clear weeks when I didn't need to travel and decided to test-drive my organiser. It's made of rose pink nylon satin which is plain on the outside and printed with 'Very Intelligent Pocket By Tintamar' on the inside. There's a drawstring around the top with a rubber pull tag at either end. I suppose this can make the opening a bit smaller but since all my bags are bigger than my liner I don't really use these. If I make a mess of it the bag or it starts to look a bit dull I won't have to worry as it can be machine washed at 30 C. When empty the pocket looks pretty insubstantial but once you start chucking stuff in you quickly realise that you can get a lot of gear into this bag. Most of my things go into the central area which I think of as the 'dump space'. You can fit a note pad or diary of up to A5 size in one of these and there are usually a couple of my smaller notebooks tucked inside.

So far this isn't sounding very 'intelligente' since any idiot can stick a liner inside a handbag. The clever bit comes in the pockets around the outside of the organiser. In total there are nine pockets of various sizes around the perimeter of the bag. The biggest is the front zip pocket which comes with a tag you can attach your keys to on the end of the zip; clever but not if you carry as many keys as I do. This zipped pocket is about the size of a small make up bag. Behind the zipped pocket is a long open-topped slot which I use most. Generally my passport, tickets and car insurance are tucked in there. On each end there are more small slots – three on one end, two on the other. These are in three different sizes which I'd suggest are suited to a small mobile phone, perhaps a pen or two and a security pass for work. On the back there are three pockets, again in different sizes. My smart phone fits well into one of them, my travel notebook fits another and I keep my business cards in the middle one which is less deep so they don't get lost by slipping down too far. I'm not going to pretend that everything ALWAYS goes in exactly the same place but there's definite potential to get used to keeping things in the same place all the time so that it's much easier to find things whichever outer bag you are using.

I've been using my liner for about a month now and I've been popping it back and forth between a range of different bags. It takes seconds to change them and is no more bother than changing shoes. I am very picky about the kind of bags I buy and I am very loyal (or rather my husband is) to Radley because they always have lots of pockets and most importantly the insides of all their bags are in light colours. I wouldn't normally buy a bag without lots of internal structure or with a dark lining but now that I have my VIP system, I can consider such bags again because I don't need to worry about everything getting lost because I just import the whole structure and slot it into a new shell each time. I have significantly reduced the number of embarrassing 'fumbling for stuff at check-outs' experiences since I've been using this and have converted several friends to the wisdom of this product. I hope this review might convince a few more.

Check the size of your most commonly used bags before you order and buy the size that suits you best. Widely available on-line but I recommend if you want the widest choice and free UK delivery or amazon if you have vouchers burning a hole in your virtual pocket. Gentlemen, if your wife has a cupboard full of bags you never see her use, this could really win you a few brownie points next time Christmas, birthday or anniversary comes around.

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Comments on this review

  • silverstreak published 20/08/2010
    In a former life I would always have to match bag and shoes to what I wore. Nowadays there's far more baggage in the literal sense, coupled with a distinct sense of apathy, so this would seem to fit the bill nicely - if only I could now afford the required quota of bags.
  • jesi published 27/06/2010
    I have a zip-top with two front pockets (one has velcro-closing tab) burgundy waterproof cloth bag (it even came with matching brolly) which I have used as a 'liner' and organiser for my lightweight backpack bag . . . and I got both free as gifts for various reasons . . . I also put folded shopper bags between the liner-bag and the outer, thus giving me a smoother surface against my back with the drawstring making slots for my arms to carry it . . . ♥ jesi ♥
  • tallulahbang published 23/06/2010
    This is one of those reviews which is really enhanced by photos. xx
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Product Information : Tintamar VIP Handbag Organiser

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Genre: Beauty Case


Listed on Ciao since: 07/06/2010