12 February 2012

Reader Under The Spotlight - Carol

This week I would like to introduce you to Carol who agreed to go 'under the spotlight'.

Carol is a lecturer who lives with her OH (Ben), four cats and numerous giant African land snails in North Somerset, UK. She’s been working in Further Education since 2005 and teaches A-level English. Claire also writes fiction and poetry and her work has been published in quite a few places.

She’s obsessed with many things such as cats, reading, shoes and sci-fi, but stationery is right up there. For someone so obsessed with stationery she’s actually fairly disorganised and is often enveloped in reams of paper. Carol cat family ranges from Noah, who’s eight months old, to a very (un)healthy Mr Tabby who’s eighteen and medicated up to his eyeballs. Eighteen! Apparently that’s ninety-three or so in human years. She also has loads of foxes all living in the garden – probably because she feeds them left-over Chinese takeaway, Yorkshire puddings and anything else going spare most days.

1. When did you buy your first Filofax and what was it?

Apart from the obligatory fake FF you have as a kid, I’ve only been a convert to Filofax for about a year. But I’ve made up for the wilderness years (B.F. – before Filofax) very quickly.

2. What other brands have you used or considered using?

I was a Moleskine girl before. I loved the paper quality and the look of them, but ultimately I was pulled in by the lure of all the different designs and colours of Filofax. Don’t get me wrong – I still use Moleskine notepads but they can be a little, erm, black and boring. Although I notice their new range has lots more options.

3. Out of the organisers you own which is your current favourite (Style and Size)?

Definitely the Deco; I have it in Personal Ivory. It’s just so beautiful. I often find myself stroking it in lessons. It amuses my students; I tell myself they’re laughing with me, not at me.

4. How many Filofax organisers do you own?

Well, I’ve currently got nine. They are:
  • A4 Metropol Black
  • A5 Classic Pink
  • A5 Finsbury Aqa
  • A5 Domino Snake
  • Personal Deco Ivory
  • Personal Osterley Plum
  • Personal Malden Grey
  • Personal Domino Grey
  • Pocket Amazona Red
I’ve owned sixteen in total however. One I gave to a friend (nice me!) and the rest I sold on. One was the Personal Osterley in Brown. I loved it, but it seemed a bit silly having two virtually identical. Same with the Malden – I had three at one point (I got rid of the Crimson and Vintage Pink). I’m making room for new arrivals. I can be quite obsessional with things I like; I tend to buy the same thing in lots of different colours. I do this with everything, not just FF. It’s a habit I’m trying hard to get myself out of. My secret self is totally Zen and de-cluttered.

5. What do you use your Filofax for?


Six are in use. My Personal Deco is my everyday FF, with diary, phone numbers and all that stuff. I use the Pocket Amazona as a purse and shopping list holder. My A5 Domino is my teacher planner. SO useful. The A5 Classic keeps track of my writing submissions and briefs, while the A5 Finsbury houses passwords and receipts and all that kind of stuff you should keep but not necessarily lug around with you all day. My Malden has my book list in it; I just keep a record of every book I’ve read and the date I finished it. Apart from the Osterley the others aren’t in use. The Osterley I alternate with my Deco when I feel like a change. I’m going to sell the A4 at some point. I tried it out for work but it was just too cumbersome – no different really to using a normal A4 file.

6. What was the feature about Filofax you like most?
Where to start? The look. The feel. The smell. The weight of it in my hand. The way the clasp pops. I also love that little buzz you get when you find fellow FF fanatics. I was handing back some student work and I saw one of my A2s had a Pocket Amazona in brown on her desk. Of course, we had to discuss it. Work colleagues and students alike now come up to me to tell me about their FFs, or the one their parent/gran/brother owns. We can find ‘our kind’ everywhere!

7. If you could design your own Filofax what would it feature?

For a start some decent pen loops. They should all have that secret little stretchy bit of elastic like the Deco and Osterley. And then I’d look into a better range of inserts. Franklin Covey seem to have an interesting range; I don’t see why Filofax can’t be a bit more inventive. I just bought some amazing coloured dividers from Franklin Covey – they’re really wide and they come in a pack of six for under £3. I’d like to see some different colours in FF too other than purple, pink, red, black and brown. More green. I’d love what I call a real psycho-billy obnoxious green. In fact, animal print. A leopard print FF would make my day.

8. How do you carry your Filofax?

In my bag usually. Or if I’m shopping (with the Pocket) or going to lessons (with the A5) then in my hand. I find it really hard to leave the house without one, which is part of the reason I bought the Pocket. I started to panic – if I’m on a boozy night out and I take my Personal, what would I do if I lost it? Left it in a puddle of cider somewhere? Now if I’m going anywhere dodgy (a rare event I assure you) I can take the Pocket instead of the Deco.

9. Which Filofax in the current range do you like the most? Are you going to buy it?

Well obviously the Deco, like I said. I know it’s being phased out and I keep on thinking, should I get a Pocket one whilst I still can? The Enigma looks interesting. They feel so soft, but it’s just not that special for the price and I won’t be buying it. I think. Now if that was in leopard print…. I’ll probably wait to see the new range ‘in the flesh’. A compact A5 sounds interesting, but I won’t be going for the Malden in Purple like most of the world will be. It just looks too dark in the photos; I prefer a really vibrant violet.

10. What is the most you have ever spent on a Filofax? Which model?
£120 for the Osterley. I’m terrible – if I like something I won’t hang around for a bargain. I just rush out and buy it and then bemoan having to live on beans for the rest of the month. Quite a few of my purchases have been full price although I did get the Deco in the half-price sale that so many others took advantage of.

11. Turning to Philofaxy, what do you like the most?

I love having a nose in other people’s FFs. It’s like walking down a street and sneaking a peak through everyone’s curtains.

12. And what do you not like about Philofaxy?


ENABLING. Oh my god: the enabling. [Sorry!]

13. What was the last music album CD you bought or downloaded?
Today is the Day: ‘In the Eyes of God’ – I guess you’d call it extreme noise. I have quite eclectic music tastes, though everything is generally alternative in some guise. The Cure, Depeche Mode, The Smiths, Pulp, Fugazi. Alice in Chains, Jeff Buckley, Tool, Deftones and so forth. As you can see I’m stuck in a music time warp. I do listen to a bit of new stuff – but mainly from those bands that were in their peak in the ‘80s and ‘90s!

Thank you Carol, very enjoyable to read.  And if any of our readers would like to step under the spot light then please contact philofaxy[at]gmail[dot]com

11 comments:

  1. Thanks for this Spotlight, I hadn't realised that I missed them until I read this. Interesting that school students use actual faxes, not even the teachers used them in my day, they would have been laughed at because of the comedy surrounding the Yuppie culture.

    I know that I keep mentioning polls, but this leads me to think that it would be interesting to see a poll about users occupations, such as traditional professional, management, technical professional, technical manual, nursing/social services etc. Those studying could be split between Uni, College, High School, Primary? Retired, is there such a thing?, is a hard section to split up because people do so many different things.

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  2. @Scoot - "self-employed" isn't on your list but would come near the top of keen Filofax users, I reckon.

    Lots of us had Time Managers, Day Runners or Filofaxes as part of our employment years ago (to make us more efficient!) and we have returned to our tried and tested ways!

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  5. The trouble with "self-employed" is that someone could be in any sector; even teaching.

    I am really fascinated by the idea of Children using faxes, as when I was at school the only planning took place with a few sheets of A4 paper. Does anyone know what children would use them for? Perhaps they just use a fax as a posh diary, or simply a fashion item...if so it would be interesting that such an item could be fashionable (in this age) in place of smart phones.

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  7. Well, my 14-year-old has a Filofax. Of course, he also has a Blackberry and an iPod Touch.

    These days the secondary school timetables are so complex it would be worth having one for that alone.

    But his also has this page I made for him:

    http://mylifeallinoneplace.blogspot.com/2012/01/printing-personal-fold-out-page-for.html

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