19 April 2015

Reader Under The Spotlight - Carol

Today I would like to introduce you to Carol

Hello, I’m Carol and I live in the North East of England, UK. I’ve always lived here apart from the beginning of my teens when my parents emigrated the family to New Zealand – and back again four years later, sadly.

I’m an administrator/receptionist in local government working with children and families. When my job changed about 1½ years ago I came back to using a planner after a hiatus of several years. A work diary was no longer versatile enough.

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

It was around 1988 when I bought my first organiser, a Winchester with 7/8” rings in burgundy.

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

I have some unbranded ones including a personal black vinyl, an A5 which was quite cheap but is sturdy and works well, an old unbranded red hand-made personal binder from Italy with a portrait of Galileo embossed on the front.

A personal from Next which looks and feels like a Portland with an internal layout exactly like a Kensington.

I’ve thought of a Gillio or Van de Spek but they’d have to wait, maybe forever.

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

Oh that’s so difficult. I’ll have to settle on two, probably because I use them the most. Personal Saffiano which I use every weekday at work. Pocket Malden which I currently use as my everyday when I’m not at work.

4. How many Filofax or other brands of organisers do you own?

22! I’m shocked, I hadn’t really counted until now!

  • Personal – burgundy Winchester, tan bridle Buckingham, brown Buckingham, blue Tejus, black Portland, black slim vinyl, tan Sherwood, teal Line Burst, aqua Saffiano, zipped wine Holborn. Black unbranded vinyl, red unbranded leather. Black (leather I think) from Next.
  • A5 – black vinyl unbranded, aqua Malden.
  • Pocket - yellow Piazza, aqua Malden, ochre Malden, green Windsor.
  • Mini - ochre Malden.
  • Deskfax - black Professional and an A4 black zipped Metropol.

As well as organisers I have aqua Malden iphone and ereader holders.

5. What is the oldest organiser in your collection?

I think it’s my Winchester. It doesn’t have the ‘f’ on the spine or on the rings. I’d actually ordered a green Gloucester but received the Winchester in burgundy instead. When I phoned to explain I was told there had been a mix up in their ordering and they didn’t have a gloucester in any colour to send me. Would I care to keep the (more expensive) winchester instead at no extra cost? I said yes especially as I’d (regrettably) asked to have my initials embossed on and didn’t want to wait weeks for a replacement.

6. What do you use your organisers for?

I have lots of uses! My everyday is non-work diary, address book and to-do/shopping list. I use a personal for work, I really need to be organised there.
I use others for:

  • Home information – financial, insurance, appliances, gas/electricity, water, telephone etc.
  • Hobbies - family history, stained glass hobby work, local history, ancient monuments & buildings, astronomy, countryside walking and wildlife. I did a basic computer technician course by Cisco at my local college and keep my handwritten notes in the unbranded A5.
  • Health/fitness. I was given a Filofax binder from the 2012 Olympics. I need to brush up on it though. I’m on adding info like doctor and dentist, prescriptions, appointments and outcomes to remind me. I have some vintage health info sheets to put in it – e-additives and calorie counter/diet sheets from Slimming World/Filofax.
  • I’ve made a resolution to make more time for my inner and spiritual self. I have the 2015 Canterbury churchbook & desk diary in which I make occasional notes/thoughts/inspiration. Also Gwydion’s Moon diary with dates & festivals of many religions and countries. This is A5 size which was easily punched.
  • I’m on making an astronomy almanac. Moon phases, eclipses, comets and meteor showers. I can get information from the internet (and I do) but I’d like a paper version I can quickly refer to. I recently found pages of constellations & descriptions to adapt to personal organiser size.

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

That they’re portable little ring binders (not so much A5 and up) in rather nice covers, many with handy pockets and slots for cards and papers. Diary, notepaper, anything we like can go in them. It was my ‘epiphany’ moment when I first saw one and spotted the rings.

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

A supple top grain leather with either ring protectors or leather strips down either side of the rings. One inch gold-tone removable rings. Full width back pocket, pockets as in a personal Holborn on a secretarial pocket inside front, gusseted zip pocket back or front. Optional matching zipped pouch to go on the rings. In fern or bottle green, or tan.

9. How do you carry your Filofax?

Most of mine normally stay at home. Those I carry about go in my handbag or backpack.

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

Holborn: I like the layout and all the pockets and the leather is so nice. I already have a zipped wine personal. I just wish it had changeable rings, not the riveted ones.

11. What is the most you have ever spent on a Filofax or other brand of organiser? Which model?

The most I’ve spent was £76 for my A5 aqua Malden.

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

I don’t have my own yet but I have two favourites:
Making dividers and Today rulers with pockets.
Tips from Steve on fixing misaligned rings, which have helped so many people.

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

The sense of community, all the more so for folk being located all over the world. And some of us managing to meet up! The shared enthusiasm and wonderful ideas.

14. And what do you not like about Philofaxy?

You jest!

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

I last bought and downloaded the Awesome Mix vol 1 album from Guardians of the Galaxy.

16. Have you ever attended a Philofaxy meetup? if not do you intend to one day?

Not yet but I would like to someday. They look like so much fun.

17. What was the last movie you watched?

Em … I went with a pal to see Shaun the Sheep: The Movie. Made by the folk who did ‘The Chicken Run’ and Wallace & Gromit. Two middle-aged women and no children with us. We weren’t the only ones and we didn’t care - plenty of laugh-out-loud moments which is what was needed!

18. What was the last book you read?

The Crystal Singer by Anne McCaffrey. A re-read as it’s an old favourite. I’ve always loved science-fiction.

19. George Clooney or Brad Pitt?

Neither. Gary Oldman with a side order of Tom Hiddleston, please and thank you.

Thank you Carol, you certainly have a great collection of organisers.

As you know we are always looking for new people to appear in our 'Reader Under Spotlight feature, you don't have to be 'well known' or a long term user to be considered to appear in this 'spot'.

So please contact Steve philofaxy at gmail dot com today. Thank you.


  1. Interesting tale of how you got your oldest organiser Carol.I guess the Gloucster had been fully discontinued by then. You can't go far wrong with a Winchester, but they could at least have honoured your colour choice!

    1. Thanks gmax. I would have preferred green but I'm sure I remember thinking "they're not having it back!" having finally gotten my mitts on one. :)

  2. Lovely to meet you, Carol! Which part of New Zealand did you live in?

    1. Hi Cruz, I lived in Rotorua in the North Island. :)

    2. Well how about that? That's where I live!

    3. I think I once saw you post with your mobile and it said you were near Rotorua. Can't remember if I said anything or not - it was ages ago. A teacher there once asked me if I was a Geordie (from part of NE England) as I pronounced vowels the same way as with Maori.

  3. Hello Carol, and thanks for your interesting post. I particularly like your reference to the astronomy almanac, and the Gwydion's Moon Diary, so if you would like to expand on those and how you adapt the information to fit into your Filofax, that would be great. As a matter of interest, as you are in the North East, are you a Toon supporter? Then again, maybe you don't like football? Cheers

    1. Hi Steve, I could be considered a Toon supporter though I've never been to a match. I'm not a real footie fan though I sometimes watch some on tv.
      I currently keep the moon diary in my A5 malden but I think it's own A5 is on the cards. I'm slowly compiling and putting together a diary with astronomic info in, I'm aiming towards a free download for 2016. I've just thought about putting in entries for birthdays of prominent astronomers/scientists.