27 April 2014

Reader Under the Spotlight - Jacqueline

Hello, my name is Jacqueline. I am a married Mum of one and owner of the world’s stupidest dog.  I work full time in the UK Civil Service and, when I get time to myself, I  like to crochet, cross stitch and knit, with the occasional foray into felt work.  I am also a Plannerholic.  I have enjoyed a good planner since my school days, however having to be frugal with pocket money meant that they mostly took the form of timetables glued into exercise books.  I discovered the world of beautiful leather-bound planners in 1986 and have never looked back!  My digital-by-default work colleagues think I have ‘issues’, but here I am among fellow plannerholics, so I now bare my soul to you in the sure knowledge that you will all understand ...

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

My first Filofax ‘proper’ was a personal Hampshire in brown leather, bought in 1999. My Husband actually spotted it in ‘Macro’ (a trade warehouse for non-UK readers) and I snapped it up together with an A5 Kent, in black, for him. It stayed on my desk in work where I used it every day, it travelled with me as I moved from job to job and I only stopped using it in November 2013, when I scaled up to an A5 Filo.

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

My very first planner was a pocket-sized Regent Microfile in tan leather, which I received as a gift in 1986 and so started my all too frequent trips to the stationers to stock up on inserts! I used it daily and it was only usurped when I bought the Hampshire.  At this point thirteen years have passed and I am only two planners in! Since then I have added a couple more to my collection, being content to remain (mostly) with the Filofax brand.  I feel quite the opposite about inserts though and will happily use any brand that fits.  At the moment I enjoy using Paperchase to-do lists and notepaper, the quality is good and I like the splash of colour on the outside edges.  Having discovered the beautiful Gillio’s and Van der Spek range via Philofaxy, I am very tempted to jump ship.

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

I am still very much attached to the Hampshire, which I adore for its’ rich colour and pocket layout plus the size makes it big enough to hold lots of things but still be very portable.  But the A5 is working well for me and has become my new favourite for work.  There are plenty of pockets for all the bits and bobs I collect throughout the working week and the size makes it easier to write in. I have quite large handwriting and the personal size can be quite prohibitive in this respect.

4. How many Filofax organisers do you own?

I have six: a pocket Microfile, a personal Domino, personal Identity, personal Hampshire, A5 Finsbury and finally an out-of-character purchase for me - a Paperchase ‘Budgerigaga’, which is pink and covered with budgies. HOWEVER ... I am awaiting the arrival of my 7th planner, a personal Microfile which was an impulse Ebay purchase. Oh dear!

5. What is the oldest Filofax in your collection?

The Hampshire is the oldest Filofax in all senses of the question. While I do like some of the newer planners I really do love the vintage ones, although they weren’t considered to be so, at the time of purchase.

6. What do you use your Filofax for?

The pocket Microfile is my ‘go everywhere’ planner. It’s small and light enough to throw in my bag and I use it to jot down things that occur to me that I want to follow up later.  It is also useful to have a small diary on hand to record future appointments. My personal Domino, in violet, is my holiday planner.  I like to research the places we visit and collect information on local attractions, markets, good places to eat and I have separate sections for local maps and travel details.  It comes with me on holiday and, owing to the elastic band, I can throw in the many leaflets I collect while out and about and I know I won’t lose any, or have them littering the bottom of my bag. I have to say that I really disliked the colour of the elastic band, until I read on Philofaxy how someone had coloured theirs with a Sharpie.  So I did that and it looks a LOT better in black.  My personal Identity, in black, is my household planner which contains my cleaning schedules and reminders for jobs round the house.  If this sounds like a ‘Fly Lady control journal’ to you, you’re almost right!  Her whole system wasn’t a perfect fit for me, so I adapted it to suit.  My A5 Finsbury, in black, is my work planner and it doesn’t move from my desk.  I use it daily and while I am very flexible on inserts, I absolutely couldn’t do without the ‘week to view with notes’ diary layout – it’s the only one that really works for me.  My personal Hampshire is a ‘satellite’ to the Finsbury. I use it at meetings and conferences and transfer the useful information and scheduled appointments to the Finsbury when I get back to my desk. The Paperchase Budgerigaga is my garden planner that holds scheduled tasks, planting notes etc. I have absolutely no idea what I am going to use the personal Micro for! Suggestions please?

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

Flexibility and portability.  I have always disliked bound diaries as you are limited by what someone else thinks you need to have.  My first actions when I buy any planner, is to throw away the information on European clothes sizing and weights and measures etc. I simply don’t need them!  So I like that my Filo is totally customised to my needs.  The A5 aside, they are small enough to fit in most bags and unlike electronic devices, are not reliant on battery life and/or wifi connections for me to be able to make notes and schedule appointments on the hoof.

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

I would like to combine the stylings from the Domino with good quality leather.  Dark brown on the outside, light tan on the inside with a wide striped elastic band, 30mm gold rings and an elastic pen loop.  I sometimes use ‘fat’ pens owing to my arthritic hands and the fixed loops don’t accommodate them well.

9. How do you carry your Filofax?

The Micro is carried in whatever bag I happen to be using and I’m not precious about it at all.  I’ve done this since 1986 and apart from a small tear in one of the card slots (my own carelessness in trying to wedge two cards in one slot), and some wear and tear on the pen loop, it is in excellent condition.  The Identity and the Budgerigaga live on my kitchen dresser and the Domino stays on the bedroom bookshelf between holidays, but it gets carted around in my tote bag when I’m on my travels.  Both the Finsbury and Hampshire remain in work, the Finsbury on my desk and I just carry the Hampshire.  I have finally stopped getting strange looks when I arrive at meetings with my old-school Filo. I guess they are used to me by now!

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

I considered a Malden for a very long time, visiting the display at Lewis’ on several occasions to examine them.  I love its layout and the detail on the closure, however I finally realised that I prefer a stiffer cover.  I also discounted the Baroque for the same reason – far too squashy for me! I do like the Osterley range however and I think I will push the boat out and treat myself on my next birthday (a ‘significant number’ celebration!).

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

I have been very lucky so far, or thrifty depending on how you look at it, because one was a gift, one was from a trade warehouse and so considerably cheaper than retail, three were bought in mid-year sales and two were Ebay bargains.   The A5 Finsbury turns out to be my  most expensive purchase at just £20.

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

I don’t know if this counts as a ‘hack’ but since I relocated my diary pages to the back of my Filo I have found it far easier to enter information on them as the rings don’t get in the way when writing on the left hand side.   I also have the clear flimsy plastic flyleaf over the weekly diary page and use it for temporary post-it note reminders.

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

There is always something interesting to read about Filo use or history. I like to understand how other people use their planners although the ones adorned with washi tape, stickers and all the colours of the rainbow are totally alien to me.  The ‘web finds’ posts are brilliant for discovering interesting blogs and I have found several that I go back to on a regular basis.

14. And what do you not like about Philofaxy?

I wasn’t over fond of the old background colour, but that has been changed now so it’s all good.

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

My last single download was ‘I Just Can’t Rely on You’ by Paloma Faith.  My last album download was ‘Disco Defenders’ by Alcazar. I am an unashamed lover of the disco genre and I discovered this Swedish group as a result of random clicking on You Tube.  It makes tedious gym sessions go with more of a swing.

16.  Mark Darcy or Daniel Cleaver? 

Mark Darcy – he bought Bridget a new leather journal; he obviously ‘gets it’!

Thank you Jacqueline for your contribution. 

If you would like to be put under our spotlight, then please contact philofaxy at gmail dot com  


  1. Hi Jacqueline, and thank you for sharing this.

    Commiserations re the dog - we are Human Slaves to the world's fattest, laziest, stupidest cats (and also the most demanding)! You are not alone.........

    1. Remember, dogs have owners.... cats have staff !

    2. .....and we are definitely staff!

  2. I love the fact that you used the same Filofax for 14 years!!! :D

  3. Hi Jacqueline, lovely to 'meet' you :)
    We have one cat & I agree that we are staff. I was asking mine to get down from somewhere the other day (something she definitely understands) & whilst it was an interesting proposition, she decided to decline the proposal!

  4. Thanks for sharing, and I love that you have a collection that is entirely in use.