14 September 2012

Free For All Friday No. 200!!!!

It's our 200th FFAF!!  Woo hoo!!  *party horns and confetti*

As a science-type myself, I was wondering recently if anyone uses a Filofax for science purposes? It would be useful as a lab notebook (although probably the non-leather ones would be best for this in case of spills). Smaller binders would be great as field books for bird watching, environmental studies or geological surveys.

I know people often use bound books for these purposes because they are less bulky and easier to archive.  But when I worked in a biochemistry lab I used a binder (although nothing as exciting as a Filofax, just a boring 3-ring) for my lab notes because I worked on several projects at once and it was easier for me to separate them with tabbed dividers. I think a Filofax would be handy for science because you'd always have your pen and reference info accessible in it.

Does anyone use a Filofax for science?

And as always on Fridays, the Filofax discussion is open!

***Edited to add: I realized this morning that a better theme for today's 200th FFAF would have been:

What's the best advice you've gotten from Philofaxy?

So, today we'll have a double theme!

Happy Friday everyone! :)

69 comments:

  1. After speaking with Angela @paperlovestory, I thought I'd leave an open offer to visit Kikki.K for international Filofans who don't want to pay the extortionate shipping. Just cost + postage via PayPal (or direct deposit to my bank account). Their medium planner inserts fit Personal size Filofaxes (not sure about the large or small sizes, maybe check the specs?), plus their sticky notes are often pretty cute. I will be visiting the Canberra store on the weekend of 22 Sept. Feel free to email me (winicooke[at]gmail.com) or Tweet me (@winic_pgm).

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  2. I am using my pocket Malden for clinical notes. I have a weekly calender and just notes pages. So far, I only have the acronyms for certain assessments. I plan to try to minimize a few charts and power points to fit into it. If I print 6 power point slides to a regular printer page, they cut to size very well.

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    1. Also using an A5 for classroom/lab notes. Again basic calender and dividers for subjects.

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  4. Just wanted to say Hi,I've just found your site and have been reading it just about non stop for 3 days.
    As a result I've now dug out a Tanners of London Agenda which was a present to my wife (from me) and is about 20 years old,cleaned it up and polished it and its now like brand new but nicely patena'd
    (if that is a word).
    It's almost identical to the brown croc Mulberry Agenda but with the added advantage that it takes Filofax Pocket inserts,my wife has been despatched to WH Smith to stock me up on inserts.
    For normal work use I am still using a 20 year old leather Time Business System which I think was called "Chairman" again is such high quality it is still in perfect condition.
    I've long since given up on their Yearly Update pack because of the price and now use an A5 Day per Page and To Do Filofax system.
    Love the site,keep up the great work.
    Best regards,
    Chris P (Mr.)

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    1. Great to meet you Chris, and welcome to the site. I'm on-and-off still using my old Time Manager International system, and it still works perfectly - I've re-engineered it slightly for the GTD-based structure I'm more recently adopted. recall Time/System and TMI were among the 'big players' of the 1980s personal productivity 'movement'. still get the annual update pack (or at least the dated refills), and it's no more expensive than, say, buying the Filofax 'Professional' A5 inserts.

      I hope you find stimulating discussion and food for thought here....

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    2. David, I was curious to see what the annual update looked like. The only link I can find is IPPS )http://www.ipps.co.uk/update/index.html). Is this the same product that you are talking about? How do you find it compared to the FIlofax TM pack?

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    3. No, that's not it. You can find all the TMI refills at http://www.timemanager.com/timemanager/uk/webmenu.nsf/framesets/Shopping - enjoy!

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  5. Hi Philofaxers,
    Not exactly science based, but medical.. I use my Filofax to keep track of my sugar counts for diabetes. Somehow, writing it down keeps me on the straight and narrow diet wise too. My best Philofaxy advice has been to try different diary formats... never thought of it before visiting this site, always went with the ones in the planner and was never quite at ease with the layout.... although it seems all so obvious now. Other best advice has been to get creative, personalise and accessorize your Filofax... have fun in being creative. Hence I made my own mini labels, following on from the magnificent Gail Wheatley's post... and I am just adoring them.

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    1. Yes, exactly. The idea that other calendar layouts were available- it didn't click when I first used filofax. It was a heavy little dickens with week on two pages in pocket size, and I tried alternatives like Moleskines after a few years to get a lighter weight. Earlier this year, when I moved to week per page in the pocket Malden, it all came together. A ray of light may have split the clouds. It just feels so RIGHT. Now I can't imagine what I did without it.

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  6. I'm contemplating a post for my own blog to be called "In praise of 'plugging away'" (or maybe 'chipping away' I don't know). I can and will publish this myself, but it might be fun to trade it for a reciprocal guest post under the All Stars banner......anyone interested? Stick a comment on here (to stop others coming after you) and then drop me an email davidpopely (at) googlemail (dot) com

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    1. Hi David, I will be joining in the All Stars tour but haven't done anything yet. I'd be honoured if you'd like to have it on my blog? I'll email shortly as well :)

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    2. hi Anita

      By all means email and we'll sort something out.......

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  7. I've just finished re-reading the interview with the execrable Ms Bloomer of Slam PR which you can find, if you haven't already, at http://www.featuresexec.com/bulletin/interview_article.php?id=16422

    I *could* (easily) write a line by line critique and rebuttal of her half-baked ideas about where Filofax should be going, but honestly, what would be the point? So instead I wanted to place on record here how proud and pleased I am to be associated with such a great bunch of people who take their use of Filofax (and organisation generally) seriously, who aren't afraid to 'talk fashion' when it's justified, but who never fail to inspire, amuse and inform me, every time I visit.

    Thanks everyone........it's because of you lot that I'm still a Filofax user at all.....don't ever change!

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    1. Based on my recent critics on the Facebook Filofax page (Cheryl and myself complained about the abundance of fashion posts by Filofax) they invited us to elaborate on our wishes by direct message. I couldn't resist the temptation (as has Cheryl btw) to point out that it might be wise if they'd read Philofaxy every once in a while. Nothing I said can have been new to them. I believe we have been complaining about paper quality and lack of diary choice for 2 or 3 years now? Doesn't seem to make much difference, does it ...?

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    2. No difference at all.....do you have any evidence that they actually either read or understood your criticisms?

      One thing that *did* occur to me (in my own indecision) is that this is a *really* good reason for going over to A5 - when (not if) Filofax disappear, those of us who have the facility to print and punch our own refills willbe able to get continuity. Call it Filofax Survivalism....

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    3. Celebrity seeding... Oh dear. I see now that the problems at filofax are entirely the fault of these Slam PRICE airhead. Sell the product on function AND style, not as a fashion accessory.

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    4. Well according to whatever 'focus group' they've employed, I'm a Filofax user because I 'like to make notes'. I think that says it all...

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    5. Euw yuck - I have just re-read now and realised which article this was. I can´t think of a worse representative to try to market Filofax or get it into a state to satisfy its customers properly. Clearly it is nothing to do with customer loyalty...

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    6. To me, I read it as this: Filofax needs to survive in a world more reliant on the electronic medium for organizational needs. SLAM is a company whose task is to help increase the value of their clients, and by extension the shareholders of their clients. What I think both are missing (in my biased opinion), either by ignorance or neglect, is the vast wealth of VOC (voice of customers) that reside in this blog.

      Often times, I wished that I had access to a similar group of diverse customer wishes, hates, hacks and views for the stuff that I help make and sell.

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    7. I agree with what Shortie has said. Filofax may not be listening to the requests and suggestions of its current customers as much as we would like, but the truth of the matter is that if they do not market themselves in a way that will SELL, there will be no Filofax.

      While I am not crazy about the designs or the prices, I think it was smart for them to work with Temperley. It may not have been the right thing to do to its current clientele, but it was smart. Before I am beheaded, let me explain…..everything written about FF since this collaboration began has and continues to be the most positive advertising and attention FF has received in the last 5 to 10 years. Prior to Temperley, nearly everything written or reported was negative….the end of the paper planner is near, why anyone would still use a Filofax since the creation of the iPhone, etc….you get the point. Whether we like it or not, the fashion industry has a HUGE influence on everything we use, even down to what we use to organize our lives such as a FF or an iPhone cover. And while they are pushing the new designs as fashion accessories, at least the name is out there is a positive light and people are buying them once again. This is vital if anyone wants FF to survive and in the end, I think that is what we all want. Hope I did not offend anyone…just my opinion! :-)

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    8. Me again...I also wanted to add that there could be a plus side to those who buy a FF as a fashion accessory. There may be a good chance that when these buyers actually see "fashionable" people such as Temperley or Anna Wintour actually USING their FF's, they will begin to wonder how they could use their own.

      And while I absolutely do not like saying this....there have always been people who buy FF's simply because someone else had one or they like the look it, and they never used it. So, in a matter of speaking, FF has always been an accessory to many buyers.....ohhhh, I did not enjoy typing that!!! LOL

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  8. I'm considering writing about that post, have been since I read it. I've waffled about it...



    Tracy

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    1. Go for it Tracey and don't spare the horses...

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    2. Maybe we should write an open letter to her, and post it on all our individual blogs?.....

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    3. I'll knock something out over the weekend

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    4. Open letter to Helena Bloomer of Slam PR is ready in draft. If you would like to see this, drop me an email davidpopely (at) googlemail (dot) com and I'll send it to you. After we refine the draft based on any comments back, I would suggest that we all post to our blogs on the same day next week.

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    5. Excellent letter David. If that doesn't get through to them, then truly nothing will.

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    6. I suspect nothing will, but at least we will have made our point together.

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    7. And if we all post, maybe it will get picked up by an enterprising Journo looking for inspiration. Its tragic, how the fashion angle has taken over the entire strategic direction of the company. Grace would be turning in her grave if she saw what her beloved company had become. I'll email you for a copy. Thanks.

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    8. Although I agree with you all, I can 't help but feel that Slam PR is not the guilty party here! They are merely the agency selected by Letts Filofax to re-invigorate an ailing brand. They are being paid handsomely to be radical! Letts Filofax are so convinced by the Slam PR fashion route that it now totally dominates Filofax thinking. It's the MD/ CEO of Letts Filofax who needs to realise how misguided this approach has become and why it threatens to alienate its' previously loyal customer base.

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    9. Tim, I fully agree. That's why I intend to send a copy of the letter to Filofax (who will ignore it in the usual way), to Slam PR (who will probably dismiss me/us as nutters) and to the website which published the original interview.

      Of *course* Letts Filofax are to blame - and in the end the demise of their business will be their own fault, not anyone else's, Slam PR included. However, it *s* Slam PR and Ms Bloomer who have concluded that we are a people who 'like to write notes' and are (effectively) fashion-obsessed. I object to both of those accusations, and I don't intend to stand by and do nothing about it.

      I see there's a pro-Slam lobby starting up on here as well, and don't intend to engage in the debate (this is a nice community and I'm not here to argue with people). However, I know what I personally think about Ms Bloomer and her PR cohorts, and it ain't pretty......

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    10. Sorry Tim, should have added that I've got my TMI system back into circulation, because they show less signs of immediate demise than do Filofax now. Also, and as I said somewhere else on here, when Filofax finally fall victim to their own managerial incompetence and the uninformed idiocy that comprises Slam PR, I think A5 will offer a much better chance of continuity than will Personal, so I'm also thinking about that one!

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    11. TMI with GTD - an excellent partnership!

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    12. I'm finding them to be rreally well suited to oen another...the Key Areas section of the TMI binder lends itself really well to the various GTD lists (with a few left over) and the fact that it has separate areas for Info and Don't Forget (which I can use to pull out a daily list from the Next Actions if i want to) makes it really well suited. Also, I *really* like the fact that I can get daily, weekly and monthly diaries side by side.....at the moment its a result!

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  9. After weighing my A5 Filofax a while back, and finding it clocked it at a pretty obese 2.2Kg, I moved back to personal. And while I have loved the lightness, I am close to admitting I am spending too much time trimming A$ printouts to fit, and will probably reluctantly go back to A5 for work. I have never ran two filos at the same time, but I mat try, using the personal for.....personal, and the A5 for work. I miss the ease with which I could download templates from Philofaxy Files, and type in my own info and print, and with one simple slice of the guillotine.....voila. In recognition of this impending switch, I obviously needed an A5, as I sold my last one, after giving my A5 Cuban Zip to my sister. As I am adamant that I won:t buy another new Filofax due to my perpetual disappointment with quality, I picked up just what I wanted on Ebay. A vintage A5 Bridle in Tan. Beautiful leather and a quality that their new binders just cannot match. Its the one featured on Crazy Suburban Mom:s last list. I swapped a few emails with the lady selling it and strangely, felt really bad. It was a present, bought for her after she really wanted it, but decided to sell it as she needed the money. Odd how we can feel bad about something like that, but I did and I still do. While she knows it has gone to a loving and filofax-friendly home, I still feel sad that she is without something she still liked. Has anybody else been in a similar position?

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    1. It's not quite the same thing but I was with my DF in a music shop in his old home town and he saw a Fender Jaguar that belonged to someone he knew for sale. The person had to sell it as he was getting divorced from his wife who was really taking him to the cleaners. So DF has bought it, and left a message with the shop owner (who he has known for years), that if the guy wants it back that he can have it back for what we paid for it. It is so sad when someone has to sell something that they really love because of things that are beyond their control :o(

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    2. Thats a really nice gesture, and I hope the person gets it back, once they get sorted. This lady used it for her Masters degree, which probably means it has more sentimental value too.

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  10. Hi everyone, I'm looking for a bit of advice re: the two page per day layout in the Personal size. Do Saturday and Sunday have as much space as weekdays, or are they smaller, like in a lot of the other layouts? I tend to be busier on weekends, so I'm wondering whether to just print my own pages rather than squish everything in on one of the official sheets.

    Thanks!

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    1. The 2ppd weekend layout is actually the same as the dpp. So Saturday and Sunday have a full page but only one page. They face each other and have the same layout as the regular dpp. I hope that helps but if not, I have 2ppd insets from last year I can photograph for you.

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    2. Ugh, just realised I misspoke. I meant the 2 days per page, not the other way around. Teach me to post without proofreading...

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    3. The two day per page have the same amount of space for weekends as weekdays, one-half page. At the end of the week is a half page for notes. If you use the links here to visit Imysworld and read her post for 11 September, the third picture shows this.

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  11. Here's a random question. Why is Filofax referred to in the plural form? I read "Filofax do" instead of "Filofax does" and "when Filofax disappear" instead of "when Filofax disappears". Is this a UK thing? Is this how the company refers to itself? Themselves? Do you also refer to companies like Nike as plural? When Nike disappear sounds even weirder.

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    1. Jen, you are right, a business should always be referred to as a single entity. However sometimes people are talking about their actual filofax or filofaxes in which case it can vary. I also suspect that because this is a very relaxed forum we don't worry too much about each others grammar :-)

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    2. Jen, when referring to the plural of the binders, not the company, I prefer Filofaxii. It's more elegant, even though I made it up.

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    3. Hi Jen, it is a UK thing. I hear that often with company names, sports teams etc.

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    4. This is an example of the differences between UK and US grammar. In the US, collective nouns generally take a singular verb, but in the UK they will often take a plural verb. US: The team is on a winning streak. UK: The team are on a winning streak. Both make sense, it's just a usage difference. On a side note, I enjoy seeing the language choices of the various users on this blog. I've learned a few new things.

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    5. Those differences, on top of all other difficulties help make the live of perpetual English students, as myself, quite hard. I have to admit that it's also a lot of fun (if you enjoy learning languages, that's it), though. You can never say you already speak the language and can stop studying. Oh, well, the fun goes on... :-)

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    6. I always tell my students that if you want to emphasise the entity then use a singular verb (Sweden plays France tonight) but if you want to emphasize the members of the entity then use a plural verb (my family are coming for drinks this evening). 'Parliament are voting against this motion next week' and 'Parliament is voting against the motion next week' can be used (in the hands of an articulate politician) to denote unity or dissension among the ranks.

      I generally write about English and English grammar on my blog at (thisbugslife.com) so a search will find if I have written about it, or just email me a question at any time and I will be happy to help!

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  12. I think there are a few good reasons not to use a Filofax (or any other binder) but notebooks as lab books. Some of them you already stated, i.e. portability and long term storability (that's not an English word, is it? :-)

    A lab book needs to be an accurate log (diary?) of what happens in the lab each day, what experiments you performed, under what exact conditions, using what samples, and, of course, an accurate record of the results you got (often with pictures, printouts of results given by a machine, etc.)

    The books normally stays in the lab and needs to be clear and accessible to other people as well. In fact, if a researcher stopped working on the experiments and another one would take over, they should be able to fully understand what the previous person did exactly as to replicate it and get the exact same result.

    Normally they don't belong to the person who uses them, but to the lab they work for, and therefore, often everybody in the lab uses the same kind of book, which kind of make sense, doesn't it?

    Kind regards,

    Ángel (aka NeonLicht.myopenid.com, who's spent a fair amount of hours working on Genetics labs.)

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    1. well in addition to that you in theory wouldnt want removable pages --- again because you want a detailed record of what went on in the lab exp etc. so the filo idea may not work so well -- having rings and all...

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    2. Yup. Notebooks and all that data belong to the lab and anyone in the lab had open access to them.

      The three binders I used in grad school was to contain the many thousand pieces of film that resulted from western blotting. I kept all of the details in a separate notebook. But yeah, had to keep on top of thing to avoid any cross referencing challenges.

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  14. staples.co.uk has an incredible deal on the Filofax London 2012 binders. I've contacted them and asked them if they would sell internationally, and they said they wouldn't.

    Does anybody know of any other way to get them for a similar price, please? Or does anybody know of a service in the UK where I could get the filofax posted to so that they would then post it to me that doesn't cost an arm and a leg?

    Thank you!

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    1. Hi NeonLicht - I checked their website and although the London Olympic 2012 FF are listed at £3.99, when I clicked on them to order, a message popped up that they were out of stock.

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    2. Oh, really? Too bad. Well, not that I could have it anyway... Thanks for looking and letting me know.

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  15. No query or answer to any queries from me - but happy 200th FFAF everyone :o)

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  16. Any suggestions for how to use a Filofax as a wedding planner?

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    1. The Crazy Life of J has a post from May about using her filofax as a wedding planner. There's a link to her blog in the Links section. Her setup looks pretty comprehensive.

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  17. Chiming in as I am a science type. I used a three ring binder for alot of my data when I was in grad school, coupled with bound notebook. Nowadays, I work for a big biotech company and it is all bound and numbered notebooks, signed and countersigned all in the name of patent protection. So never did used one for science.

    But recently upsized to an A5 Domino in red from a Classic Personal. Love the space. Toss up about which I prefer, the unstructured but tons of real estate week per two pages or Steve and Ray's TM with 5 lines. Love the larger size as I deal with deliverables for 4 projects, preschool/after care scheduleing for the little one, and the many domestic to-dos/projects tasked by the (domestic) Program Manager.

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  18. A 50/50 Filofax-related question. Where do you fountain pen aficionados buy blotting paper? Just started using a fountain pen again, and nobody even seems to know what blotting paper is in every shop I ask. Eventually found some in a Mont Blanc shop. Its about the height of Filo personal size, and less than half as wide. Punched it and it now sits in my Filofax, looking regal, grand and expensive. Its all of those things. I could have bought a new binder for what I paid for a pack of ten sheets. Anyone know any UK suppliers? or suppliers elsewhere that post international? Thanks

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    1. I buy mine from Websters Pen Shop in Cardiff (but they have a nationwide chain of shops). Excellent, knowledgeable, obliging staff who are enthusiastic about all things pen- and stationery-related. Recommended. I buy very large sheets.....

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    2. Thanks David. My memories of blotting paper are of big sheets of pink stuff in primary school. I remember it looked like Chinese handmade paper, you could see fibres in it. The Mont Blanc stuff is nothing like that, is much thicker, a beautiful cream colour, and requires a second mortgage. Look forward to checking out your recommendation.

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    3. I think mine's probably more akin to your childhood memory, maybe I should check yours out!

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    4. Paul - I'm pretty sure I got some from an online store www.thewritingdesk.co.uk Also I'm sure I got some from either ebay or staples or some similar online store - mine were A4, so once cut down into smaller sizes go a long way. I don;t remember paying a great deal for it!

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    5. I buy my blotting paper from WH Smiths in Bournemouth!!

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    6. Thanks All. Next trip back to UK, I:ll try the perennial WH Smith. Lovely as the Mont Blanc paper is, I don:t think I could afford to use my fountain pen if I have to use Mont Blanc paper exclusively> If they don:t have it, I can order online before I fly back.

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  19. I just noticed the chameleons went up in price on the US site! They were on 50% sale last week & are 30% now. hmmm. ;P

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