26 January 2014

Reader under the spotlight - Abigail

Hello Philofaxy! I’m Abigail, and I’m a final year music student in the UK. I’m an organisation freak and have been known to alphabetise things as a form of relaxation. I’ve had a Filofax for a year and have been hugely helped in getting everything together with the community on Philofaxy and its Facebook group. So I thought it was time to introduce myself, a year of lurking later…

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

I was introduced to ring binder planners at a young age with the fabulous Horse and Pony Funfax! I’ve always had diaries/planners through school, and when I went to university knew I wanted to carry that on. My first Filofax was a Personal sized Domino in Chocolate, bought last February, which is about to be gifted to a friend to hopefully start her on her Filofax journey!

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

I used school-issue spiral bound planners through high school, in conjunction with a calendar for non-school dates. At the start of university I used day-to-page WHSmith diaries, which were great for appointments and having lots of space but not for getting a general overview of my time.

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

It has to be my Personal sized Aston in Chocolate, which I received in December through a swap with another Philofaxy reader. I was in a Mushroom Aston before that, which the format of was great but the colour just didn’t click with me. The Chocolate is so much more luxurious feeling and I don’t see myself moving out any time soon!

4. How many Filofax organisers do you own?

Currently three: my first, the Personal Chocolate Domino, which is about to go to a friend; the Personal Mushroom Aston; and the Personal Chocolate Aston, which is my life-in-one-diary planner. I had a Personal Aqua Malden which I wanted to love, and did aesthetically, but the floppiness of it just didn’t work for me so I swapped it for my lovely Aston :)

5. What is the oldest Filofax in your collection?

Personal Chocolate Domino.

6. What do you use your Filofax for?

Pretty much everything! As a university student I use it to record appointments, lectures/classes, due dates of assignments, exams etc. My to-do list also goes in there, both weekly and daily. I have a projects section for things like to-read and to-watch lists, a health section for weight/medication/food tracking, finance (oh student loan, how you ruin me…), and addresses. Oddly I don’t have anything work-related in there apart from deadlines - I’ve never got into note-taking or essay-planning in my Filofax, it’s just a planner for me.

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

The fact that you can swap in and out as much as you choose and customise completely to suit you. Because of where I’m at in my degree at the moment it suits me to have about 18 months of week on two pages so I can see which deadlines have happened and how long projects have been going on for. With a Filofax this is easily manageable, and it’s still not too bulky as I have less in the other sections. It gives me a flexibility that I wouldn’t have in any other kind of diary.

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

This is a difficult one because I’ve settled really nicely into the Aston! I’m going to be controversial and say I really like the 25mm rings - anything larger feels too bulky to me. I like my Filofax to feel structured, so not anything as floppy as the Malden. Definitely would have two pen loops, though, and cotton cream inserts with the layout of the white - I want the extra space per day on nicer paper!

9. How do you carry your Filofax?

It stays open on my desk when I’m at home/university, and if I go out it goes in my handbag. If I’m in a situation where it’s not practical to carry it I have my iPhone with me to note down anything crucial and then transfer it back to the Filofax later.

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

I have been gazing adoringly at the Osterleys for a while - they just look gorgeous! The plum is so rich, the brown so smart, and the orange so cheerful…definite love. But certainly not student budget friendly! Maybe as a post-graduation treat...

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

I’ve been really lucky in finding eBay bargains, so my most expensive was the Personal Aqua Malden at only £38! 

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

Don’t be afraid to do what works for you - I spent a long time being intimidated by other people’s setups and thinking mine could never be as good, before realising actually it was doing everything I wanted to!

Can I have two tips? If so, the second…

Flyleaves are your friend. I have one at the front as a dashboard, two or three with post-it notes, and one in between my weekly pages to keep a to-do list, a deadlines list, and anything I need to remember. SO useful to be able to see through it to other things without blocking up the week with notes and stickies!
13. Turning to Philofaxy, what do you like the most?

The community is fantastic - I recently sat in on my first round table Skype chat, which was lovely. I was only listening to the talk and in the text chat room, but everyone was so friendly and bonding over their shared interests.

14. And what do you not like about Philofaxy?

I can’t think of anything! If I’m being hugely pedantic, the use of Capitals For Every Word in post headings bugs me a bit because I’m OCD like that. But honestly I think it’s great!

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

I’m a music student and listen to most of what I have to for work on Spotify or Naxos, so this isn’t necessarily representative of what I listen to most! But apparently my last bought track was an acoustic version of Dream Catch Me by Newton Faulkner.

16.  Mark Darcy or Daniel Cleaver? 

Mark Darcy, obviously! …except…I want Hugh Grant…but I don’t want Daniel Cleaver, only Hugh Grant. On balance I think it has to be Mark Darcy.

Thank you Abigail for agreeing to appear on reader under the spotlight. Now if any of you would also like to be a Reader Under The Spotlight... then please contact philofaxy at gmail dot com


  1. Love the fact you are not intimidated any longer by other people's planner layouts. I am a Music teacher and still use the little music notes paper clip you sent me!! As a Filofaxing musician, one to the other it is obviously a planner case for us both of just B Natural !!!! xx

  2. Nice to meet you! The whole beauty of looseleaf planners is that you can set them up exactly how you want/need them to be. So don't fuss over other people's layouts or the current vogue for giant rings.

  3. Nice to meet you! The music question should be edited to include the most recent song you "starred" on Spotify! That's my favorite listening medium as well!

  4. Nice to meet you! The music question should be edited to include the most recent song you "starred" on Spotify! That's my favorite listening medium as well!

  5. Sounds like you've come up with a system that works for you! That's what it's all about.