21 April 2013

Reader Under the Spotlight - Zoe

Today I would like to introduce you to Zoe from 'Zoe at Home' blog

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

Well actually, I made my own planner! I got an A5 folder and some page protectors, dividers and note paper in that size and put it all together myself. I made a custom cover for it with some pretty patterned paper and some photos of my family. Then I bought some A5 weekly and monthly refills and it became a sort of ‘home management binder’. It was great to be able to keep my bills and paperwork in the same place. And it was easy to make my own custom pages on the computer and just set my printer to print A5 size. It was cute and very much me, in a DIY kind of a way.

In some ways it was better than a Filofax because I could fit all my pens, sticky notes and even a pair of scissors in a ziplock pocket in the front and it stayed open flat from the very beginning (am I allowed to say that on Philofaxy?!).

I discovered Philofaxy because I was looking for a way to make my own diary inserts after failing miserably at making my own on the computer! I carried this rather bulky DIY planner around with me for a long time until one day I was in a department store and I saw the pink Domino A5. It looked so elegant and neat compared to my homemade version, so I took the plunge! I turned the DIY folder into a place to keep all my blogging notes, as A5 is a handy portable size.

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

Previous to ‘going Filo’ I’d always carried a Collins Debden slimline diary in my handbag. It was the perfect size to carry and I really liked its ‘landscape’ format. But after learning about GTD, I really wanted to have a bigger planner where I could make more notes. I still use their A5 calendar refills as they are compatible with Filofax.

In fact, as soon as I bought my Domino I ripped out the inserts and dividers and sourced different ones (from kikki.K and Collins Debden). I’ve never liked the Filofax diary format! The multiple languages are such a waste of space. But the binder itself is great quality and a lovely shade of pink.

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

I love using my Domino, and I’m going to stick with it. I’m very much in the ‘one life- one Filofax’ camp. However, I did get very tempted by a style called Hearts, which came in pink and also in purple and yellow. But it was available in Personal size only, and I dreaded the idea of changing to another size, even though that would be easier to carry around.

4. How many Filofax organisers do you own?

Only two. I also bought a Metropol Slim that I tried to use as a wallet. I went through an ‘Envelope System’ phase, and I had 5 clear pockets for different categories of cash. I also put my Collins Debden slimline planner in there. Unfortunately, it was too difficult to get the money out of the ziplock pockets so I abandoned it. I really like the idea of using a Filofax as a wallet, but I’ve never seen anything that would work for me.

5. What is the oldest Filofax in your collection?

That Metropol. Maybe one day I might start using it again as a budget planner. But I don’t think I could use the Personal size: I like having lots of space to write.

6. What do you use your Filofax for?

I keep all my budget records in there and I also use it as an editorial calendar for my blog. I’m trying to use it for more things these days, as a study planner, menu planner, and as a record of my children’s milestones.

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

I really like the way you can customise it completely and make it your own. I like all the white space in the A5 format: I find that helps my visual memory. And I also like that there is a great online community of users that have taken the product and made it their own. There are actually lots of people out there with the same obsessions as me!

Most of all, I like that I can open my Filofax and instantly feel more in control of my life. Being at home with children, each day begins to feel quite nebulous. But using a planner gives my life more structure and order.

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

I wish my Domino had a bigger window in which I could put pictures of my family. And all the card slots seem redundant to me: I never use them. Those little calendars on each page and the small sections for Saturday and Sunday irritate me! And I’m left-handed, so it would be great if you could buy a ‘leftie’ version.

9. How do you carry your Filofax?

This is a bit of an issue for me! I love carrying a small handbag, and when I first bought the A5 I had to buy a bigger bag too. But once I put the Filo in, nothing else would fit. Then I started leaving my Filofax at home and that was no good either! So now I carry my little handbag and a bigger tote bag with all my things in it. I can put the smaller bag inside if I need to consolidate everything.

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

Actually, I try not to look at the Filofax online shop as I don’t want to be tempted!

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

Well I thought AU$100 was a lot the Domino, compared to the $5 my little slimline diary cost me.

12. What’s your favourite Filofax tip or hack?

I bought a punch from the Japanese site Rakuten, for half the price of the Filofax brand A5 punch. It’s great quality, and it’s adjustable so it can punch most paper sizes. They still send me emails in Japanese, which I can’t understand!

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

Through Web Finds I have discovered some great blogs. And the discussions on the site about punches helped me to decide not to waste money on the Filofax punch and look for an alternative.

14. And what do you not like about Philofaxy?

Not much really, it’s a great site and a great community. I like the fact that you raise money for charity. My husband says my Filofax dramas are ‘first world problems’ and that’s very true.

15. What was the last music track you downloaded or bought?

The last thing I downloaded was some dialogues in French because I’m studying the language at the moment.

16.  Mark Darcy or Daniel Cleaver?

It’s got to be Mr. Darcy! I went through a Jane Austen bookish phase when I was at university. But if I ever met a Mr. Darcy, I’d probably think: ‘grumpy,’ rather than ‘dark and brooding’!

Thank you Zoe for your great contribution, it is nice to get to know you better. And as always if you would like to take part in this feature then please contact philofaxy at gmail dot com


  1. Hi Zoe - I was interested to read this post and your blog - you have some great, but simple ideas! I was wondering if you would be prepared to share the tempalte for the annual bill planner on your blog - it seems such a brilliant idea! If you are, please let me know on ali@alisonreeves.co.uk

  2. Sure, I can do that! Actually I've been thinking about making a GTD printable as well and offering it as a free PDF for download on my blog. It would be an A4 document, so you would have to set your printer to print it at A5 size.

  3. Bye the way - I couldn't find any way of getting in touch with you on your website - have you thought about setting up something like a gmail account you could use - even if you only check it once a week or something?

  4. I've been meaning to do that, but I was worried about getting too much spam. It might take me a while to get the printables up on my blog, but I will email you the file directly.

  5. The Bill Planner is available for download! Just go to the Free PDFs section of my blog. Enjoy! Zoe