08 September 2013

Reader Under the Spotlight - Mella

Hi guys! I’m Mella, a 29 year old single mom living in Antwerp, Belgium. My son Warre will be 6 in September. I work full-time as a product manager and trainer for FM GROUP Benelux, a cosmetics company. I am a certified beautician, make-up artist and nail stylist and have my own beauty salon at home. I also do some freelance work as a copywriter, trainer and all round internet geek. I have been addicted to paper, planners, stationery and Filofaxes for the last 15 years. You can read my blog, check out my YouTube channel or follow my Instagram feed.

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

I got my first ever Filofax in 1997, first year in high school, as a birthday present from my mom. I wrote a little blog post about it. It was a yellow ‘Active’ in pocket size and it started a very big addiction for me! It seemed like a magical solution, even at age 13. I wish I’d thought of decorating it but I don’t think washi tape existed back then.

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

I have used several cheap, ‘fashion’ binders, even covered in fluffy cloth in tiger print! Mostly throughout my highschool years. I bought my second ‘real’ Filofax after graduating from university: an A5 Classic in brown. After that one came my personal & A5 Domino, and a brown leather Cross in A5. And then… came Gillio.

Since discovering the Gillio brand here in Belgium, the Youtube video I made and all of the Gillio-madness that followed, I can truly say my life has changed, and so has theirs: from small Belgian business to worldwide fame: I’m so glad the world has discovered their beautiful products! I am in love with their ranges, quality and craftsmanship. It’s a wonderful combination of high quality products and a small family business filled with wonderful people who are very sensitive to their customers’ needs and wishes.

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

I now use both Filofax and Gillio binders, with my A5 glossy Gillio Green Amica as my all-time favourite. It’s just stunning. I love it more everyday.

In the Filofax range, I love my Personal Baroque most.

4. How many Filofax organisers do you own

  • A4 (!) Gillio Amica for everything work-related
  • A5 Gillio Amica in green as my stay-at-home binder, life planner, external memory & command center
  • Pocket Gillio Mia Cara in gold as my wallet
  • Personal Filofax Baroque in black as my private & on-the-go binder, planner and tracker
  • Personal Filofax Domino in bright pink for my home business income tracking 
  • A5 Filofax Adelphi in Red as my home business planner 
  • Mini Filofax Classic in cherry red for my medical stuff
  • A4 ‘home-made’ Fauxfax for the courses I teach at the FM Academy
  • A5 Filofax Domino in red for storage
  • 2 Personal faux-faxes from the thrift shop as storage
  • A5 Cross binder in brown, not in use
  • Personal Filofax Domino in deep purple, not in use
  • Personal Filofax Classic in beige, not in use
  • Personal Filofax Winchester in pink, on the way from Rebecca!

And some more binders from the sale in the box waiting to be sold!

5. What is the oldest Filofax in your collection?

I think my Winchester will be the ‘oldest’, although it still has to join my Filo-family. I’ve had the A5 Domino the longest. Sadly I got rid of my ‘first’ binders, not knowing they were the start of a great hobby & addiction!

6. What do you use your Filofax for?

What do I NOT use them for, would give you a shorter answer! I use Filofaxes/planners for everything. I’ll elaborate on my ‘main’ 2 planners.

My green A5 Gillio literally holds my life: schedule, future planning, goals, projects, finances, work planning, course materials, addresses and phone numbers, my co-parenting schedule, records of RAK’s and swaps received and sent, my bucket list, quotes, lyrics I like, travel plans and itineraries, tickets and boarding cards…

My personal Baroque is my satellite, on-the-go planner, which holds most of my personal stuff. Schedule and planning, financial info, Filofax/Gillio related stuff (YouTube, meet-ups, Paypal, etc), logins & passwords, my home-based businesses, and everything regarding my son.

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

Everyone answers: versatility, making it ‘your own’, adjusting it to your own needs and desires. That is of course true for me, as well but if I am honest…

I think what I like most, is the worldwide community of friends behind this shared passion. Although we are all of different age, race, religion, country, language and beliefs, we find a place to share our thought, desires, hopes, passion and creativity without judgement and with an open mind for inspiration. We encourage (and enable…!) eachother, support through tough times and cheer for happy moments, whether they are FF-related or not. We get to know people we would otherwise never meet. We exchange gifts, send letters, cards and RAKs and just share, throughout timezones, countries and continents. I’m truly grateful to be a part of this loving community!

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

It would be a magical filofax that could shift size, shape and colour by pressing one button!
No, seriously: that’s the hardest question here. I guess it would be a gorgeous, deep pink. It would have my home-based company’s logo on the front (www.labote.be) and it would have many, many, many credit card pockets in front (much like my York!). It would have the possibility to adapt the colour of the spine and the closure by adding a patch of different coloured leather to it (maybe something with really thin Velcro?) so the binder became two-toned, and interchangeable.

It would have inserts made just for me (weeks beginning on Friday, as my son is with me one week and then a week with my ex, and we ‘switch’ on Fridays) with enough room for washi and stickers without loosing writing space. There would be two or three pen loops that could hold different pen sizes…

And huge PINK rings!

A girl can dream, can’t she?

9. How do you carry your Filofax?

In my handbag/purse (personal) or my work laptop-roll-on (a5). If I go out to dinner and carry a small purse, I still have my pocket Gillio wallet with me, but will have at least one of my ‘real’ planners in my car. I absolutely cannot leave home without it!

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

I’m still in love with the Adelphi, somewhere in my future there might be a personal one… But I’m waiting for the Gillio Meetup in Antwerp to buy a personal sized Gillio – just can’t decide on what colour!

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

That have to be Gillios! My A4 retailes for €483, and there was also my personal sized Gillio Compagna in Croco Grey: €278. It’s now gone to a better home after my YouTube Giveaway! I’d do it again in a split second: the Gillio planners are worth every cent.

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

Stop trying to think it needs to be ‘right’. It needs to WORK. Who cares if it looks messy or childish or too colourful or too plain of everybody is going washi-crazy and you aren’t. You are using the planner, it needs to work for you. I sometimes think peer planner pressure is getting the best of us! And remember, when you are in total planner fail: inspiration is everywhere. YouTube has helped!

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

The printables! I love customizing and designing my own stuff, and I’m quite tech-savvy, but not as much as you guys are! So it’s wonderful to be able to print out what I need without having to spend tons of money on ‘real’ inserts. I can just print out a couple of pages and decide whether it works for me or not.

14. And what do you not like about Philofaxy?

The fact you all live so far away! The fact that planetickets are so expensive! I’d love to travel around the world and meet all of you guys and girls in person. Now wouldn’t that be something to blog about.

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

I think that it was the soundtrack of Amélie, one of my favourite movies of all times. And perfect driving music!

16.  Mark Darcy or Daniel Cleaver? 

Daniel Cleaver, I guess… Not really fond of either of them. Can we make this a SaTC question instead? Mr Big!!

Thank you Mella, I am looking forward to meeting you in Antwerp in November.  And if any one else would like to take part in this feature then please email us: philofaxy at gmail dot com


  1. Great Spotlight! And I'm so with you on Mr. Big. Was feeling a bit under the weather one day and watched an 18 hour marathon...6 episodes which repeated three times! Absofrickinlutely. ;-)

  2. Great spotlight, love me some Mella! :)


  3. Great post Mella! And Yes on Mr. Big!

  4. Love it Mella! Mr Big for sure ♥

  5. Any planner spottings in "Sex and the City"? Surely Miranda or Charlotte would have had a FranklinCovey at one point or another.

  6. Really enjoyed your post - Lovely all over Mella and organiser crazy as the rest of us :-) - I'm still waiting for the orange Gillio compagna in personal size due to come in by 18th of October...

  7. My partner used a yellow Active when he was younger - it's still lying around the house, actually. I hadn't thought about that one in ages!