25 August 2013

Reader Under the Spotlight - Christine

My name is Christine and I live with my husband and our two children in Switzerland. I am a teacher and one of my passions is stationary of all sorts, especially planners. I used no-name bound planners throughout school before turning to Filofax for good.

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

While I am originally from Switzerland, my husband and I lived for 5 years in England. We lived near London and on one shopping trip to the British capital, I discovered the Filofax flagship store in Conduit Street and was hooked. I then returned home with a catalogue to save for my first purchase and to take a final decision.

When I had to go back to London, I was excited to buy my first Filofax product. It was the model Ranger in Personal size. Unfortunately, I can't remember how much I paid for it, but I think it was quite expensive. The Ranger is a rather male looking binder that only came in brown and only in Personal and Pocket size. It had sort of a gusseted pocket with two compartments which was covered by a flap. This pocket was on the outside of the binder and I used it as a wallet.

That was really handy as one didn't have to open the snap closure to access your money or cards. The Ranger was made of faux-leather, but was very nice to touch. It had a strap closure which not only was used to close the binder securely, but also held documents in the outer pocket on the back of the binder in place. The inside of the binder looked like this: On the left hand side, there were 6 card slots and a small mesh pocket. On the right side, there was a big mesh pocket that could carry a notepad. It also fitted my passport perfectly. Also on the right was a non-elasticised pen loop which was quite big as it could hold my 4 colour BIC pen. The Ranger also had the wallet pocket at the back that I used for storing paper money. It had six silver rings.

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

During the years I have used a lot of different no-name brands, but I didn't buy any expensive planners. I mainly bought bound planners before discovering Filofax. Nowadays, I sometimes look at loose-leaf binders of other brands such as Success or Gillio, but I have never bought any planner from another brand as Filofax. Yes, I am a loyal Filofax user and a happy customer as I never have had any problems with any purchase.

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

I recently sold a Pocket Malden in purple and a purple Malden Zip in Pocket size as I really am a one planner girl. My main and only planner is the red Finsbury in Pocket size which I liked for several years. When my old red Finsbury in Pocket size broke, I went out to buy exactly the same model in the same size as I absolutely love everything about that planner.

To be on the safe side, I even bought a second piece of the exact same model that sits now on my book shelf just in case my current binder breaks again (which I hope will not happen for a couple of years!).

4. How many Filofax organisers do you own?

As for today, I try to control my purchases and own only my two Finsburys.

5. What is the oldest Filofax in your collection?

The Ranger was bought in 2004 and loved and used until it literally fell apart. I then purchased the same model, but in Pocket size. But I soon realised that it was too small for my purpose (wallet and planner) and sold it. Since approximately 2009 I am hooked with the Finsbury.

From time to time, I did some experimentation with other Filofax models, for example a purple Finchley in Pocket size or a Pocket Holborn in Wine, but I always come back to the ONE, my trusty and beloved Pocket Finsbury in red. Soon it was very clear for me that the Personal size was too heavy for me to carry everywhere. As I also wanted to use the binder as a wallet it had to have the wallet pocket at the back and a zipped pocket for the coins.

6. What do you use your Filofax for?

I use my Filofax for everything, expect for addresses which I store in a little Moleskin address book that I take sometimes with me. On other occasions it stays at home as I really don't have to have all addresses with me. I use my Finsbury as a wallet, and as a planner. I don't have any dividers, as I tend to think that they only take valuable space for nothing.

In the credit card slots on the left hand side I store a credit card and two shop fidelity cards. In the mesh pocket below there are my ID card, my driving licence and my health insurance card. In the pocket behind the credit cards I store train tickets. The zippered pocket at the back is for coins and the wallet pocket over the back of the binder for paper money.

Now for the content of the rings: In the front there are two plastic envelops that open at the top and that contain some photos of my family. Then there are two pages with personal data and important information in an emergency (who to call and medical conditions, but also phone numbers of insurances for car and household). Then follow again two top opening plastic envelopes that contain some inspirational quotes that I've written on special paper from Japan showing a cherry blossom. On the next pages are my goals, my current weight (as I try to lose some) and my to dos. Then there's the calendar. I use the French day per page as it features lines wide enough to actually write on them. The black ruler indicates today's page. The old pages are taken out and thrown away as I am not a nostalgic person and don't keep them.

Afterwards, there are again two plastic envelopes that hold more cards (for example for entrance to an indoor swimming pool) and shopping vouchers. Then there are blank papers in white and different colours (some made by myself as I own a Filofax hole punch for Pocket, I have to say it is not very efficient and kind of hard to use, but it does the job) for notes. Everything that doesn't fit on the daily pages does get written down here. Sometimes I scribble down something I see on the go, to copy later on the page of the specific date. At the end, there is a plastic envelope with a zip for storing anything tiny or precious. It's empty at the moment. This envelope is quite old as its zipper isn't made of plastic as the new ones are. In the pen loop I keep a red biro from Caran d'Ache which matches the colour of the Finsbury.

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

I like its portability. Although I have quite a lot of stuff in my Pocket Finsbury, it is still light and compact in size. As I mentioned before, I take out the used pages and throw them away, so I make sure the Filofax only contains what I really want in it. You can't do that with a bound planner, can you?

And of course, I like that you can customise your Filofax. Although I own some washi tape, stickers and nice colourful pens (as one has to as a real stationary addict), I rarely decorate my pages. I like them to be clean and functional, not necessarily nice. They will be thrown away anyway. But I like to have the possibility to have exactly the planner format that suits me best and be able to change it mid-year if I fancy to do so. My Filofax has to please me, otherwise it will not get used much.

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

Definitely two elasticised pen loops and the free choice of calendar style when buying a new Filofax. And of course a Filofax in a deep turquoise colour, my favourite colour at the moment.

9. How do you carry your Filofax?

I am never too far from my Filofax, as I tend to feel lost without it. It lays open on my desk beside me when I am writing or using the computer. Outside the house, it always is securely stored in my backpack. At night, I don't put it on my bedside table, but I always know where my Filofax is.

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

To be honest, I don't like any of the new models. I see why the Original appeals to many people, but I am not tempted at all. But if Filofax would reintroduce the Ranger, I would certainly find a reason to purchase one...or two...

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

I certainly spent the biggest amount of money on the Ranger in Personal size which I bought full price at the Conduit Street Store in London in 2004. However, I can't remember how much I paid. Maybe that's for the best...

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

When, after a couple of years of extensive use, the pen loop on my first red Finsbury broke, I was very sad as the binder was still in rather good condition. I contacted a local shoe maker/leather manufacturer and they stitched the pen loop in no time for little money. The planner was as before and I was so happy. So my tip is: Instead of throwing away damaged Filofaxes, search for craftsmen who might repair them for low cost.

My second tip would be to use plastic envelopes with a top opening as dividers as they provide extra storage space.

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

I like that there are other people like me obsessed with planners as my family doesn't understand. I simply relax by reading the texts on Philofaxy and by watching the many photos and videos.

14. And what do you not like about Philofaxy?

Not much, but I am not too happy about the recent development that there are more and more discussions taking place on Facebook or Twitter as I don't use them and don't intend to use them.

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

It must be "Titanium" by David Guetta. The next download will probably be music by Amy MacDonald.

16.  Mark Darcy or Daniel Cleaver? 

I didn't like neither of them...

Thank you Christine for an excellent interview. And if you would like to be part of this feature then please contact philofaxy at gmail dot com


  1. Another person in Switzerland who reads Philofaxy - yay!!! Pleased to 'meet' you Christine. :-)

    1. Thanks for your comment, LJ. I always read your blog and love it, but never commented...

  2. Moi aussi je suis en Suisse, nous voilà en tout cas 3. On sait jamais, on pourrai se rencontrer peut-être une fois??? Heureuse de faire votre connaissance Christine.

    1. Merci bien pour votre commentaire, Chrisbleu. Oui, ça serait bien d'organiser un rencontre Filofax en Suisse, même si je crains que je ne pourrais apporter que mon Finsbury puisque je ne possède que ce modèle... Mais il y a peut-etre d'autres personnes intéressées qui habite en Suisse. Venez-vous de la partie francophone? Moi, je suis près de Zürich. Comment vouliez-vous qu'on continue avec cette idée?

  3. As a fellow pocket user I really enjoyed this interview. I'm also glad to see that I'm not the only one who buys an identical spare "just in case". My binder of choice is the pocket Kendal, and I now own three of them!

    1. Thank you very much for your kind comment, Prakash Sharma. For me, pocket is the ideal size as it is big enough to have good writing space and the planner holds a reasonable amount of stuff, but it still fits in a medium sized or even a small bag. That means that I always have something to write down important things on the go and I can take it with me everywhere I go.

  4. Thanks to Steve and Philofaxy for having me as Reader Under The Spotlight. I really enjoyed taking part in this feature.
    I have been reading Philofaxy for 2 years now, but have never commented. I think this may change in the future...