21 August 2011

Reader Under The Spotlight - Jane

It is a pleasure to introduce you to Jane, a very pleasant and kind lady from Southern England. 

It is such an honour and great fun to be the reader under the spotlight this week. My name is Jane and I post as Butanben. It’s an odd blog post name, so let me explain. Although I have been brought up in England, my family are Scottish.

The Scots call a traditional small countryside home a Butt and Ben. Traditionally the home has two rooms, a butt, the kitchen end and a ben, the sleeping and living area. So, when I move into a small house, as opposed to a flat, I have often thought that Butanben, my shortened version, could be its name.  A cosy wee Butt and Ben home.

I adore Philofaxy and my Filofaxes and spend hours of my spare time designing my own pages. I love playing the piano, reading and being creative with digital scrapbooking. Workwise, I have been a teacher of general subjects, to pupils aged from 5-11 and Head of Music Departments, totally loving my career to date. Due to school merger, I am looking for work; so, if anyone hears of a teaching or related vacancy, do let me know…… (cough,cough, hope that  Steve allows a small job hunt plug there!!) 

Hope you enjoy reading and sharing my Filofax spotlight. It somehow feels like that old TV show Through the Keyhole. So……. “Who would own a Filofax like this? Join me as we go into the spotlight!”

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

I bought my first Filofax a couple of years into my first teaching job, so in the late 1980s. It was a brown personal leather Filofax. A plain and simple dark chocolate colour. I cannot recall the name type I am afraid, but I loved and used it for years.

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

I once tried a spiral bound Collins diary, because it looked similar to a Filofax, with a spiral bound insert. Handily it was an academic year planner too; but as my diaries get such heavy usage, the pages fell off the spirals after a short while and kept having to be re hooked back on. So, it was back to my trusty Filofax and WH Smith academic year inserts. This time a red Domino personal.

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

My favourite Filofax is my mini baby pink zipped Finsbury. I bought it at a bargain price of £18 in TK Maxx last Christmas, and it travels just everywhere with me in my handbag. It is a bit like the mini Tardis and holds a week on two pages diary, an address book, some lilac notepaper and my favourite photo of my dad, as well as my Filofax registration code page, in case of loss. The pockets front and back are lovely, and hold stamps, a jot pad, two passport photos of my gorgeous God- Daughter and her sister, both adorable (not that I am biased!!), two small arrow book markers, a home made medical info card, made free on www.Big Huge Labs.com  and highlighter tab strips. A lot to hold for such a little and useful mini. My red pocket Adelphi comes a close second, as it is plain luxurious.

4. How many Filofax organisers do you own?

I blush to say that I now own 8 Filofaxes of different sizes, plus a zipped one for storage. Gasps in horror!!! However, each bar one has been bought at a huge bargain knock down price, and each is fully used.

5. What do you use your Filofax for?

I use my Filofaxes in so many ways:
a) My black A5 Finsbury is my day to day Filofax which contains everything: diary, information, lists, contacts, 2 Clip Art CDs, a zipped wallet with postcards and address labels, motivational cards, Filofax diary stickers, stamps and jot pads. I hook my Frixion pens and a highlighter pencil into the loops. I use blue for diary and pink for social events, and the highlighter to cross off my next actions completed in my weekly GTD overview. My jot pads are used as my “little tickler” reminders clipped in the diary, for vital appointments to arrange ahead for that week.
b) A raspberry pink A5 Finsbury for my GTD stuff and as my GTD folder.
c) My handbag sized mini zipped baby pink Finsbury, synched weekly with my A5 black.
d) An aqua A5 Finsbury for my longer term vision and goals folder; really my me folder and relaxation folder too. This contains: magazine articles, vision boards, meditation websites, holiday ideas, etc. It is my happiness, hobbies and fun Filofax rolled into one. Ideas to follow through can then transfer into my GTD Filofax, to become a concrete project.
e) My A5 Cuban ink, my writing/ writing and editing Filofax.
f) My new pocket Urban, a bargain £8. Yet to be used, but bought for financial notes, including any dates worked, for taxation and planning. Trying to be fabulously frugal here and start to watch my weekly budgets. Zipped pocket useful for weekly receipts and coupons.
g) A pink and mint pocket Mode I use as a notebook. Just holds notepaper and probably the least used of my Filofaxes. At work, it may well become my on the go/classroom assessment notebook, and will get more use.
h) My gorgeous red pocket Adelphi for my reflections on the day, and dream work book. This Filofax lives on my bedside table. I do seem to dream a lot and have decided to write them down to look back at. Recently I have had several repetitive dreams about sunflowers of all things.

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

I love the flexibility of a Filofax, the sheer variety of planners, the fact that you can organise it your own way, and be so creative in designing your own pages and content. Bliss!

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

My perfect Filofax would have gold rings, 30mm in size A5 and contain cream coloured stationery, which has the feel of vellum. It would be hard wearing, stain proof, and ooze luxury and quality. Ideally I would be utterly spoilt for choice over the variety of diary and tabbed page inserts too, to choose from. I would love to see more buckles, as on the Deco, but maybe interchangeable ones, so that a Filofax can be personalised through a buckle feature. An A5 Crimson Malden would be just marvellous, or and mini zipped Finsbury prototype made in Crimson Malden leather. Sigh!!

8. How do you carry your Filofax?

The small mini travels everywhere with me in my handbag. The A5 stays at home, but when I am working will travel to meetings and will probably live in my huge school pannier basket. I do so love the French basket markets! I have a gorgeous little red A5 felt bag to protect my Filofaxes from wear and tear and coffee spills!!

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

I love the Decos and the Maldens. I can’t see myself buying either, as I really have all the Filofaxes I need. But if an A5 Crimson were introduced I’d be sorely tempted to snap one up! It wouldn’t take much “enabling” at all! The Deco pocket Filofax looks utterly luxurious, and adorable, but I am not sure that a cream interior would stay cream for very long given the amount of use I give to my Filofaxes!!

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

The most I have spent is £70 on my raspberry A5 Finsbury, for my birthday, using my  birthday money from my aunties and family. A lovely gift.

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

I love everything, but perhaps look forward to the web finds slot the most. It’s a great read, and as good as any weekly magazine. I usually sit down to read it after my housework chores, with a cup of tea and a slice of cake, and that is a real weekly treat. I love the community spirit on Philofaxy, the people, the sharing of ideas, and the fact that others are as daft as a brush about Filofaxes, stationery and all round creativity as I am.

12. And what do you not like about Philofaxy?

Dislike…… hummmm……… still thinking…………..nope………. you’ve got me on that one……..I’ll have to phone a friend, or ask the Philofaxy audience or something.

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

Not advertising or endorsing here, but I personally use the We7 site a lot to listen to albums and new tracks. I love jazz, “classical” and opera. The last track I downloaded was just yesterday; Celine Dion singing The First Time Ever I saw Your Face. A lovely smooth jazz version.

Thank you Jane for a very detailed response to all our questions. I'm sure we will all wish you luck in your job search. 


  1. nice to "meet" you, Jane! I am intrigued by your comment that you design and make your own sheets for your Filo. What do you use to design them (word processor or??).

  2. Hi Jane,

    Thanks for your interview. Like Terri, I'm sure there are lots of us who would like to see more of the sheets you design.

  3. Very nice to learn so many details about you, Jane! And I love that each if hour Filofaxes has it's own special purpose!

  4. Great Interview Jane. Nice to find out a bit more about you.

  5. Hi Jane, lovely to find out more about you :)

  6. Hi Jane, lovely to read your post. My Filofax's grew to a 'collection' status with thanks to TK Maxx (and Ebay of course). Amazing what wonderful finds you come across in TK Maxx. I once picked up a mini zip Finsbury in TK Maxx and sadly put it down again, wish I hadn't.

    Do you still use your A5 Graphic?

  7. nice to meet you - i love your name and its origin. and a mini - isn't it wierd going from a mini to a5 all the time? i'd like to try a mini but not sure how i'd integrate it with my system

  8. Oh Steve, thanks for your lovely intro, and for posting this.I really enjoyed sharing with everybody.I just use a word processor, often in Word, to make my home made pages, and I use Clip Art to jolly up my monthly calendar pages I designed... took me a day or so to do... - made so that I can see my calendar at a glance for the month ahead.Have done 2012's already. I also use a site called vertex42 to download charts, DIY planner, productive flourishing, Microsoft charts from their site and Get Buttoned Up's shopping lists.There is plenty to use and adapt and print off with your own pages, as opposed to bought Filofax pages. Only problem is, that the ink on homemade pages will smudge if rubbed out...... so I sometimes have to do a re-print!!!

  9. Lovely to hear about your Filofax's Jane. I too run an A5 for everyday use but have a 'backup' mini Jade finchley in my handbag.

  10. Thanks for sharing. Wonderful read. Any chance of some pictures of your mini to share with us?!

    Good luck with the job hunt...

  11. @Saffy. I had a couple of Graphics. My red zipped A5 is now used for storage of spares. The other Graphics, a black and a brown, which I had pre Finsburys, wore very badly on the upper part of the spine, and the leather started to peel away,so I decided to replace them. I was not very impressed, and hope that the Finsburys wear for longer. I would have been cross if I had paid the utter full price for the Graphics.... bought at a knock down price fortunately..... and now replaced.

  12. Hi Jane,

    thank you very much for the great interview! It was great to read about all your different Filofaxes and their special usage.

    I am very interested in your self-made inserts. Will you bring them to the meet-up?

    I'm really looking forward to seeing you there!

    All wish you all the best and keep my fingers crossed on the job issue!!!


  13. I see mention of a meet up! Where and when is the next London / South one?

  14. @Tommes. Thanks for your lovely comments. I too would love to say Hi again at the meet up in September,and show you my homemade bits and bobs;but whether I can come depends on whether I get a job!! Hope you noticed that your highlighter pencils got a special mention-- they're just great!!!

  15. Jane this is a great interview. I really hope you can come in September. I am keeping my fingers crossed for you.

  16. @caribbean princess. I would dearly love to come in September to have such a great time again. However, as I don't know about jobs yet,for the autumn term, I won't know until nearer the time. Having to be fabulously frugal here I am afraid!!!

  17. @cp- PS- Glad you enjoyed the interview. I just love your blogs, so that is a tremendous compliment for me. Thank you. xxxx

  18. thank you for sharing - great interview! : )


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