24 July 2011

Reader Under The Spotlight - Alison

Alison works full time from home on her business ‘Write to Win’. She has been a member of the Philofaxy community for some time now and has just recently started her own business blog.

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

I didn’t actually buy my first Filofax – I had it given to me. My eldest brother used to be a ‘fly around the world’ executive and used to get lots of free airmiles and goodies from British Airways. They had some personal sized Filofaxes commissioned and he got two over a period of time – one of which he gave to me. I remember it was a real status symbol – it was a lovely grained supple Navy Blue leather (when everything else came in black only!) with ‘British Airways’ embossed on the front. Not only did it make me feel very glamorous and trendy, but I reached my zenith regarding personal time management – I’ve never been so organised before or since! I think this had something to do with the exclusivity of it!

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

Having got the Filofax under my belt – I was a real convert to ‘time management’ systems. My ultimate goal was to go on one of the new TMI courses – but only the highest levels of management were sent. Feeling slightly miffed about this, I bought their system myself (without the course) and figured it out and used it for some time. I never got the buzz from this that I got from that first Filofax though! However I did love the TMI inserts and I really do feel that Filofax lets us down a bit with insert design and paper quality – especially for the A5 size.

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

Well, normally I like my accessories in bright colours. However I recently bought an A5 Amazona in Black and totally fell in love. I bought it as a work Filofax and am to be seen subtly stroking it when I think no-one is looking! I also have a bit of a thing for pens (I prefer a fountain pen but the current inserts make this impossible) so I use a very nice Mont Blanc Meisterst├╝ck ball point that I have had for some years. It writes beautifully and looks amazing in the pen loop of this black Amazona.

4. How many Filofax organisers do you own?

I’m not sure I wish to be called to account in public on this – but here goes! A4 Classic Red, A5 Black Amazona, A5 Red Amazona (recently bought cheap and undergoing loving restoration), A5 Aqua Finsbury, A5 Vintage Rose Finchley, A5 Bronze Snake Domino, Personal Ivory Deco (soon to be sold), Personal Pearl Panama (also soon to be sold), Slimline Personal Scarlet Adelphi, Pocket Special Edition, Pocket Almond Amazona. Gosh – this is scary I didn’t realise I had so many! I am a bit of a cheapskate so have bought them all either in sales or on Ebay.

5. What do you use your Filofax for?

A5 Black Amazona – this is my work FF. It has a day per page diary and will be used to track work, goals, projects and so on. I work in my own business from home so decided to keep work separate (at least for the time being!).

A5 Aqua Finsbury – I’m planning to use this for my personal life and development, hobbies and projects.

A5 Vintage Rose Finchley – this is my household FF. I have my food shopping lists, menu planning, Xmas cards/present planning, Flylady ideas, recipes and so on.

Pocket Special Edition – this is my handbag diary which goes everywhere with me and has all my appointments in. I like that I can scan the pages and see weeks and months at a glance.

I’m not sure about the others just now – the personal sized ones will be on sale just as soon as I can get some decent pictures taken.

6. What was the feature about Filofax you like most?

There are two things I like – one is the range of binders so something for everyone – I just need to remember that I don’t need one of every style they bring out! The second thing I like is the versatility – I like to write, I like to see things on a page and I like to customise. Its biggest bonus has to be that it can be all things to all people due to its design.

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

Fantasy: one that is a deskfax size, takes standard size paper and folds down into a mini size when travelling! Oh and a reasonably priced A5 hole punch!

Reality: No bulky pockets on the outside (this feature actually annoys me about the Special Edition and the Deco – a waste of space for me). I like sumptuous leather inside and out, and would prefer the larger ring sizes on all the leather binders as well.

Inserts: A much wider range for the A5 - as in the personal. Much better paper quality that will take a fountain pen. A customisable option so you can have the diary designed to your spec then printed – a bit like this planner that Laurie reviewed. Coloured rulers for the A5 instead of boring black. A wider range of index tabs for the A5. More coloured inserts.

8. How do you carry your Filofax?

Usually in my hand or briefcase.

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

I am in love with the Plum Osterley at the moment. The website doesn’t give an internal view so I’m not sure if I would love the inside as much. It looks like it has a brass button on the closure, so hopefully the hardware inside is gold coloured – yummy my favourite! I can’t possibly buy it because 1) I have too many binders 2) I can’t afford it and 3) my husband would divorce me!!! I’ll have to wait for the lottery win!

10. What is the most you have ever spent on a Filofax? Which model?

Probably the A4 Classic which was around £95 when I bought it. All the others I have had good deals on.

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

I love the community and the fact that when I am having a rotten day, I can have a quick chat with some like minded souls! I love the weekly roundups of other blogs (I have to settle down with a nice cuppa when those appear!), Tuesdays and Fridays for chatter and the very informative articles our illustrious leaders post! I really look forward to checking the blog every day. I’m hoping to get to a meet up one day!

12. And what do you not like about Philofaxy?

As someone said before this must be a trick question. The only thing to moan about is that there is not more than one post a day and not more chat – just because I have an insatiable desire for all things FF! I could chatter away all day! I suppose I should take up twitter or facebook for more chat, but it’s not really me!

13. What was the last music album CD you bought or downloaded?

I can’t remember and I would probably be too embarrassed to say! My most recent singles downloads were probably ‘The Rose’ by Francoise Hardy and ‘Hallelujah’ by k.d. lang. I’m a big fan of Queen, Enya, Gary Moore, Elton John, Amy Winehouse (not everything!), Bette Midler and Adele – and I also love show music, opera and classical. It all depends on my mood. So you see I am easily pleased!

Thank you Alison for going under the spotlight... for once I recognise you music choices !!! and yes you should join us on Twitter, it's where all the chat is...


  1. Great interview Alison :-) Like you I wish there were more chitter chatter but alas I have a day job! lol.

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  3. Hi Alison - I'm new to Philofaxy and haven't posted before but noticed you are also from Wolves! Small world!! :o)

  4. Hi Alison
    Loved your post. Great to see so many readers under the spotlight now. So glad that you are a sales bargains Filofaxer like me!!

  5. Alison, Tali... Midlands Philofaxy meet up in the making may be....


  6. Thanks everyone - I wasn't sure when the 'interview' would be posted so had a surprise when I logged on and saw my ugly mug!!!

    @Tali - nice to see someone local - I'm looking forward to hearing all about your filofax experience!
    @Butanben - I get ribbed about being a cheapskate sometimes! The truth of the matter is that I couldn't afford to buy some of the filofax binders unless I bought second hand!
    @CB - girl after my own heart! I have to switch off this site when I am working. However there does seem to be a lot of chatter on here recently which I can only welcome!

  7. @Steve - a Midland meetup would be brilliant! Only trouble is I can't think of anywhere with a good filofax collection for us to browse! Possibly in Birmingham??

  8. Loved reading your piece. I am also a Midlands girl... wish there was a Filofax store in Brum....

    Really wanting to get to grips with my A5 for this academic year as I know it is going to be a busy one. Would also love more variety of inserts...

  9. newbie Filofax reader here, would also be interested in a Midlands meet-up too.

  10. great reading about you alison! i like the chitter chatter as well but can't really get into twitter as much. the yahoo groups thing might be a great side for the philofaxy - i always appreciate reading your questions as i think a lot of us struggle with the same things

  11. Great post Alison, we do indeed have very similar tastes in more than just Filofaxes.

  12. Hi Alison,

    thank you for this interview, and congratulations for all the bargains!

    I can't say it often enough: if you have the chance for a meet up, go for it! No matter how many people you are or if there's a store around - just do it. You will all have so much fun, and there's is no need for shopping (well, sort of).

    I dearly remember our meet up in March, and I can definitely say that is has been one of the greatest day in my life!

    Kind regards, Thomas

  13. Hi Alison! I just saw that the red A5 Amazona is on sale online and since you own several, I was wondering: Do they lie flat? How "stiff" are they? (more like a Malden or more like a Domino?) I'd love to get one while they're on sale...

  14. Hi Alison - great interview! It's always nice to learn more about the readers.