29 December 2013

Reader Under The Spotlight - Sarah Pings

Hi, I'm Sarah Pings and I'm a 50 something UK Filofaxer. I teach Business Studies, English, and Information Technology to International  GCSE students (14-16 yrs old) in Brighton on the South Coast of England.  My pre-teaching background is in Advertising, Film Production and second time around as academic researcher in Linguistics and Neuroscience.  If I could live in another place and time I would have been a cryptographer at Bletchley Park during WW2.  Yeah, I'm a bit of a nerdy mix. I also Quilt.

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

My first Filofax was back in the 80s when I worked in Advertising (clich├ęd or what?!)  I think it was a navy blue Winchester.  I remember it being absolutely stuffed to the gills … In those days we had so many production companies that produced their info on Filofax inserts, you could carry around a virtual wikipedia …  There was never a problem with strap length ...just sayin' ...

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

I was a big fan of Lefax organisers (I worked in Covent Garden, London back in the day)  I spent many a lunch or after-work hour in their shop.  They had a fabulous array of colours and styles – including magnetic clasps and such like *swooning at memory, can almost taste the Pina Coladas …

3. Out of the organisers you own which is your current favourite (Style and Size)?
It’s no secret that I’m an A5 girl and I really am the biggest fan of the Chameleon and regret not buying one in Aqua when I could have afforded it.  I love the leather, I love the pattern and I love the colours.  I just wish it were available in every colour … Why? Well, the suppleness of the leather and the internal layout for one, and the fact that its texture is delicate.  I’m not a big fan of croc or wrinkle or shine.  My mother always told me that patent was only suitable for  weddings.  I know it’s not true but I still hear her voice.

4. How many Filofax organisers do you own?
I have 11 …. Lmao!
  • 1 Deskfax (olde worlde address book and random writings), 
  • 7 A5s – Finsbury: Turquoise (Household), Emerald Green (medical); Domino: Black (recipes), Snake (work swap out); Chameleon: Raspberry (diary/dreams), Black (finance), Spring Green (work/life); 
  • 1 Personal: Spring Green Chameleon (interwebs/contacts), 
  • 1 Pocket: Spring Green Chameleon (wallet) and 
  • 1 Mini Raspberry Chameleon (to be sold) *eek!

5. What is the oldest Filofax in your collection?

My 1989 Deskfax.  It smells of old mouldy damp leather and I take it out of my desk approximately every 6 months with the full intention of using it again, only to shove it back in the drawer … that baby is heavy, man … Hard to believe I used to lug it around EVERYWHERE!

6. What do you use your Filofax for?

Writing.  Life.  Work.  Play.  Song.  Excuse for washi tape.

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

Ability to tailor to my solipsistic idiosyncratic needs.

8. If you could design your own Filofax what would it feature?
No pen loops.  Why bother?  Use the rings.  Very few pockets other than full length vertical.

9. How do you carry your Filofax?

With pride … and a prescription for my osteoporosis bone-building drugs.

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

I was soooo looking forward to the A5 Aqua Malden, but in the end, in the flesh, it was a bit *meh for me on account of being so greeeeeeen … I’m a big fan of the Finchley and the Finsbury, but it’s more about the colour and simple texture for me … I want vivid brights not all this conservative brown blue stuff that I see.  At this time I have no desire to buy another Filofax other than an A5 Aqua Chameleon for swap out …

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

I hate to admit it, but this summer I spent 100 Euros on my A5 Spring Green Chameleon. It was worth every penny and my head has not been turned by any other brand/model/size/colour since.  I have enough A5s in my collection to afford myself a swap out once in a while, but since he came into my life I have been monogafilomous. I am the only person on the planet (it seems) to have no desire for a Gillio.

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

Use it!.  It’s not about the outside, it’s about what you put inside.  Make it work for you, then you can have any bloomin’ cover on the planet and IT WILL STILL WORK FOR YOU.

It’s easy to get caught up in the acquisition phase.  In the end you either have a heap of empty planners on your shelf or a heap of used, loved planners with a system that works for you.  Use the experience of others like Ray from mylifeallinoneplace.blogspot.com – edit, remodel, experiment.  Print your own inserts.  Play.  Life is all about the Ludic. Ooh, that was less tip and more rant, sorry!

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

The wonderful wealth of information from people like Steve and Ray; the added nutty bonus of all the experience of its [mad] clientele … coupled with the sobering discovery that one person’s hate [for me, the Siena and Adelphi] is another person’s passion.  Tolerance of differences.

14. And what do you not like about Philofaxy?

Errrr …. Still thinking …. Ummm …

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

Janelle Monae the ArchAndroid  - she’s James Brown and Michael Jackson in a funky girly soul body thang.

16.  Mark Darcy or Daniel Cleaver?

Really?  Neither.  Give me Harpo Marx.

Thank you Sarah, I'm sure I'm not the only one to enjoy watching your videos!  And if you would like to be featured on Reader Under The Spotlight, do please contact me at philofaxy at gmail dot com  no need to be invited, just put yourself forward.  Thank you. 


  1. Another brilliant RUTS. Glad to meet you, Sarah! This was a very amusing read indeed. Very true; get the setup right and you can work it in any binder.

  2. Now that I'm using an A5 Filofax I might also require a prescription from an osteoporosis for bone-building drugs.

  3. Great to meet you, Sarah! You have knocked it out of the park with your fantastic interview! One of the best I've seen in this series--literate, honest and funny!
    (Love the last several answers--I agree on the Bridget Jones references, and Ms Morae is amazing!)

  4. Sorry--that name should be: Monae

  5. You, lady, are a big bucket of fun!

  6. Feeling a bit tempted to buy a bright yellow A5 after reading this.

  7. Loved reading this and love your videos even more!

  8. Hi Sarah.....fantastic post! Thanks so much. Used to love the Lefax shop in Covent Garden, and I was working in the City back in the 80s....happy days. you're so right about the importance of using the system.....FF binders make very expensive doorstops, but much better value planner/organisers.....

  9. Very funny and entertaining!