23 August 2009

Sex and the City Planner

That's not me in the video. It's a review from another user published on a YouTube channel that Filofax Ltd has opened. —Inky

My City Dweller Lifestyle Pack arrived from Filofax UK about a month after I ordered it. What made it worth the wait -- it's different from any Filofax product I've ever seen! Like all Filofax products, it's thorough, high-quality, and well-thought-out, but that's where the similarities end. I'll go through what's in the pack one at a time.

* 6 blank tabs (white)
* 1 clear plastic pocket, top opening
* 1 Personal Information page (double-sided), and 2 more for family information.

Here's where the departure begins. These pages are English-only, and instead of black text and lines on white, these have light gray blocks to write in, labeled with tiny type in slightly darker gray. I like the idea of writing on blocks rather than between lines. I don't have to stay between the lines! On the downside, you need young eyes to read the tiny gray-on-gray type.

Which brings me to the next departure: This pack is targeted to a very specific customer, as you'll see as I go through the rest of the pages -- one who's female, young, looking for Mr. Right, and in possession of ample amounts of spending money and free time. I'm reminded of Carrie on the TV show Sex and the City. In London, they used to be called Sloane Rangers.

Here are the rest of the pages, all of which are double-sided unless specified otherwise.

* Party Time (3). Room for guest list, budget, menu, drinks, and so on.
* Home Sweet Home (1). Gas, Electric, Window Cleaner information, and so on.
* Pet Information (1).
* Sports and Clubs (2). Because we all have a personal trainer or two and belong to sports teams, don't we?
* Budget Sheet (4). Here's where you can compare what you planned to spend on each category with what you actually spent.
* SOS (1). Medical and other emergency info. It's printed with England's emergency number, 999. In the U.S., it's 911.
* Travel Itinerary (4). Flight, Visa, Hotel, and Travel Agent info.
* Dilemmas (4). A 2-column worksheet for comparing the pros and cons of situations. Let's see, would that be whether to go to an art gallery opening or get a mani-pedi?
* Birthdays and Anniversaries (2 sets). I love this one! Each month gets a half-page to help you remember all the important dates in the lives of the people in your life.
* Expenses (4). With this kind of lifestyle, you'll probably have more expenses than this.
* www (3). When you hear about a website that you want to visit the next time you're at a computer, now you have a place to write it down.
* It's a chore (4). A chart for dividing tasks among roommates or family members. We used to call these "caper charts" in the Girl Scouts.
* Shopping list (8). Like the classic Filofax shopping lists, these are divided into Meat/fish, Canned, Fruit/veg, Clothes, and so on.
* Addresses (10). Mobile and email in addition to the basics. Reserve a tab for these, because the Lifestyle Pack contains no A-Z tabs.
* To Do (5).
* Blank and ruled notepaper (5 of each). Nice blocks for a subject and page number at the top.
* Commuter games (5 assorted). In case your BlackBerry or iPod breaks down on the train, you won't die of boredom. Variations on "Battleship," Naughts and Crosses (Tic Tac Toe), Squares (which I forget how to play), and Tea Time (a word game which I believe to be what we Yanks call Hangman -- you have to guess the opponent's word letter-by-letter before a drawing of a tea kettle is completed).
* Top Takeaways (2). Who has time to cook when you're playing Naughts and Crosses?
* Outfit Planner (3). These pages have a drawing of a mannequin to draw clothes upon. I used to do this all the time...when I was 9. These pages also have a place to record the dates of your beauty treatments.
* Personal M.O.T. (2). Not sure what the letters stand for, except that the first one is probably "Medical." It's a medical appointment and medication record, with places to record weight and body measurements, and sleep patterns on the flip side.
[Edit: Steve tells me that M.O.T. is an annual automobile inspection in England. So these pages are like an M.O.T. for the body!]
* Fitness Plan (2). Exercise, location, time, and calories burned. Very useful, except you get enough for 4 workouts!

Here's the piece de resistance: the Little Black Book. Ingeniously, this is enclosed in a piece of heavier paper, twice as wide as the Personal paper, folded back on itself, so that the organizer's rings keep it closed and private! It even has "Shhhh" printed on the front. Inside, you get to record a prospect's name and age and whether he's "Friend," "Fling," or "Marriage Material," as well as rate him on a scale of 1-10 stars. (No wonder you have to keep it hidden.)

From here on, the traditional Filofax begins. There's an 18-month calendar (July 2009 - Dec 2010), Notable Dates, Religious Festivals, International Information, World and Time, and so on.

Then there's the 18-month diary: week on 2 pages, with the week on one page and spaces for tasks and notes on the other. Some of the blocks are labeled live, play, and work. I'm interested in seeing what it's like to use this format.

I've added some scans to the Philofaxy set, but they're not very clear. You can tell from the scans how faint the type is.


  1. I am waiting for delivery of my Personal size City Dweller pack. I studied its contents in detail on the Filofax site (3D viewer link on this page http://www.filofax.co.uk/lifestyle/lifestyle.asp?fId=1) and remain unconvinced that it will completely suit my needs. It's interesting enough for me to want to give it a try. Time will tell though.

    I am particularly interested in the three-section calendar pages, split into work, live, play columns. It's a neat mechanism to address the work-life balance that supposedly challenges all city dwellers.

    I will remove, amongst others, the Little Black Book and Outfit Planner sections entirely. I do not fall into the Carrie Bradshaw demographic.

    As Nan noted, the pages have a different design to the traditional Filofax stationery. I wonder how this will all look when older stationery is inevitably mixed in with the new look lifestyle pages. (No sign of replacement lifestyle pack stationery on the Filofax web site yet.) What happens when you run out of Outfit Planner pages? :)

    It is an interesting departure from Filofax's traditional approach that sells individual components of a planner's paperwork to augment the basic stationery set you get when buying a new planner. Clearly their market research indicates growth potential in the SITC (or SITC wannabe) demographic, and the City Dweller lifestyle pack is a direct response to this. I wish them well, but also wish they had offered a pick-and-choose option among these pages so that I did not have to purchase sections that will be immediately removed. How much do you think I could sell the Outfit Planner and Little Black Book sections for on eBay?? :)

    (This is my first post. I've been a lurker for some time and thought I should make a contribution for a change. Great blog. Thanks.)

  2. Hi Marcus
    I enquired with Filofax back in July about buying individual pages for the 'lifestyle' packs.

    Their response is in this post:

    Otherwise, I suspect it wouldn't be too difficult to create your own, a bit fiddly for Personal size, but not impossible....


  3. There's also a review on this site as well:



  4. I'm still waiting for my personal size Family Pack from the UK. I got this year's A5 Family pack from the US, but wanted to try the Personal size (which, so far, is not available in the US). I'll be sure to let you all know when it arrives!

  5. I am extremely disappointed to report that my envelope from Filofax UK arrived today. Opened and empty. This is the third time over a period of about 2 years of ordering from Filofax UK that my envelope has arrived opened and empty. I emailed Filofax UK to report the problem. I told them I realize that they have no control over what happens to my order once it has been shipped, but I just wanted to let them know that this has been an ongoing problem for me.

    Grrrr! Now somebody else out there is enjoying my Family Organizer pack!!! >:(

  6. I don't think they seal the envelopes well enough, even mine here in UK arrived opened, but luckily with the contents intact.. but a couple of wrong items which they exchanged without question or cost to me.

  7. The previous two times, the envelopes had been cut open (jagged edges and all). This time, it had been carefully opened and taped closed. I am still waiting for a reply from Filofax UK. Of course there is no way to tell where it was opened. Maybe UK mail isn't as secure as US mail? Maybe they were opened at Customs? Who knows. It definitely puts me off ordering from Filo UK again.

  8. I am pleased to report that Filofax UK has replied to my email and will ship the replacement products right away. That was actually a very prompt reply, since I emailed them at the end of their business day yesterday and they replied at the beginning of their business day today. I thanked them for their excellent customer service.

    I hope my replacement products arrive intact!!!

  9. I recently emailed Filofax asking them about the availability of the Lifestyle pack diary after the one in the pack runs out, I was told the diaries will be available to purchase separately and will run from Jan to December. Hope this helps.

  10. Looking for this old city dweller pack. If anyone got a spare old pack (even just the "special" pages) to sell please, contact me.
    Looking also for the filofax mirror and for the meal planner pages from the family pack.

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