30 August 2015

Reader Under The Spotlight - Grace

A big thank you to Grace for agreeing to go under our spotlight. 

My name is Grace, I’m 25 and I’m from a seaside town in Kent (UK). I live both there and in Nottingham where I attend University. I’m a “mature” student (on paper only!) and graduated from the University of Nottingham this July; I am about to start my Masters at the same place. My studies centre on early medieval (c. 500 – 1100AD) history, language, and literature, but I like history and books from all time periods. I also work part-time. Outside of my planner and stationery obsession I devote the majority of my time to my studies, but I also dabble in crafts, mostly card making, and a little bit of cooking and baking; oh, and I have an unhealthy obsession with the works of JRR Tolkien. I am an animal lover, particularly of my black, fluffy cat called Conan, and I fully intend to one day be a crazy cat lady.

Q1 – When did you buy your first organise and what was it?

My first organiser was a kids’ fun-fax style planner when I was very young. I filled it with very important things such an inventory of my toys and plans of Saturday – plait My Little Pony’s mane, Sunday – rearrange Barbie house furniture – clearly planning has always been part of me. The first Filofax I purchased myself was a Personal Lavender Metropol in 2011 when I was studying to get into University.

Q2 – What other brands have you used or considered using?

I like the gold rings in Kikki K planners and I think the Kate Spade are beautiful. The majority of the ones I like are discontinued models though.

Q3 – Out of the organisers you own which is your current favourite (style and size)?

It’s a tough question as I love my Kingfisher Blue Metropol – I love the colour and because it’s discontinued I ended up in a furious bidding war on eBay for it. But for functionality I’d have to say my compact Pennybridge. It has all the features of a wallet, which I needed, but the added rings so I can use it as a planner too. The outside pocket also fits my iPhone 6 in perfectly so if I’m just popping out to the shop or for a coffee all I need to take is that.

Q4 – How many Filofax or other brands of organisers do you own?

I have five different Metropols – two personals, in Kingfisher Blue and in Lavender, an A5 in Red, a Mini in Chocolate Brown, and a zipped A4 in Red – technically the A4 is a Folio but it has full sized rings in it – it’s just the name ‘Folio’ seems to half the price! I also have a Compact Pennybridge (the wallet) in Purple, an A5 Domino Patent in Turquoise, and a Clipbook in Petrol Blue.

Q5 – What is the oldest organiser in your collection?

Unless I ever find that kids’ fun fax (it may possibly be in my parents’ attic collecting dust) then that would be the Lavender Metropol, the poor thing is pretty battered so it’s officially retired to shelf life now.

Q6 – What do you use your organisers for?

Absolutely everything! From the obvious day to day planning to things like tracking my food, health, books read, finances, assignments… etc.

Q7 – How many sections do you have in your organiser and what is each section used for?

I have four (!) planners on the go, plus a Clipbook.

The Personal Metropol is my day-to-day planner and has five sections: it has a WO2P diary, a general to-do list, a food log, reading lists, and a ‘misc’ section for notes/brain dump type things.

The Pennybridge is a wallet and finance tracker. So there’s a WO2P where I write down everything I spend, then also sections for shopping lists, online orders, and wishlists.

The A5 Metropol is my household planner; it has four sections and some sub-sections. The first section has things like tenancy info, cleaning schedule, passwords and logins (in code), and direct debits. The second has contacts and addresses with a pen-pal sub-section, the third is for crafts and stationery with inserts like cards I need to make and an inventory of my favourite/frequently used stationery and craft items and where they were purchased so I can replace them easily. Fourth is a health/wellbeing/fitness section, which, among other things, includes monthly pages so I can track some health issues and see on which days I may have had symptoms or problems.

The A5 Domino is my University planner. The first section has my timetables and a year to view so I can quickly see my deadline dates; the second has WO2P diary that I designed myself to plan out my studying schedule; the third section is again my own inserts that are for planning projects, essays, and other assignments; the fourth has information sheets about the modules I take, and the last section is for me to keep track of the books I take out of the library.

Lastly, I use my Clipbook for taking notes when I’m on campus.

Q8 – What was the feature about Filofax you like the most?

Adaptability and flexibility! And also the range of colours and styles to choose from. I love how I can have one planner full of mostly reference things with all sorts stuffed into the pockets and another, such as the Clipbook, that is dedicated to just note taking as its design is perfect for that.

Q9 – If you could design your own Filofax what would it feature?

I love my Compact Pennybridge as a wallet, as it has all you need for that – card slots, a generous zip pouch for coins, inner and outer pockets and a zip close to keep everything safe… the only problem is the teeny compact rings. So I’d take that planner and widen it to have full sized personal rings and combine my wallet planner with my day-to-day planner. I’d have it available in aqua (like the Lockwood) and black colours with a gold zip and purple with a silver zip – yes I have thought about this too much!

Q10 – How do you carry your Filofax?

The Pennybridge, Personal Metropol, and the Clipbook travel in my handbag – I have a large handbag that also carries an 11.6” laptop, pencil case, and a host of other things. The A5s stay at home on my desk.

Q11 – Which Filofax in the current range do you like the most? Are you going to buy it?

Well, the one I liked the most was the A5 Patent Domino in Turquoise… and I did buy it!

Q12 – What is the most you have ever spent on a Filofax or other brand of organiser? Which model?

I’m one for the cheaper models, so the most was about £40 for the A4 folio – which is the only one of my planners to have never been used, typical!

Q13 – What is your favourite Filofax tip or hack?

Philofaxy dated diary inserts! I have at least one type in every single one of my Filofaxes, for various purposes.

Q14 –Turning to Philofaxy, what do you like the most?

I love that there’s a community of planner and stationery nuts out there – so I particularly love reading the Readers Under the Spotlight, Experienced Users, and Web-Finds. I often get comments from friends, family, and even strangers such as “Hey! The 1980s called, they want their Filofax back!”, or “Why in the hell would you use a Filofax when you have an iPhone?!”, and I often point them in the direction of Philofaxy to say, well, at least I’m not the only one, there’s an army of us!

Q15 – and what do you not like about Philofaxy?

There’s nothing about Philofaxy itself, but when it comes to the online planner community the term ‘planner peace’ annoys me, but there was a guest post about that very recently that covered the term very nicely. I just think having a perfect system is great, but as for ‘planner peace’, then life changes constantly, and that’s the reason why Filofaxes are adaptable to change.

Q16 – What was the last music track you downloaded or bought?

Not a track but an album – One Man Army by Ensiferum (a Finnish Folk Metal band)

Q17 – Have you ever attended a Philofaxy meet up? If not do you intend to one day?

I have not – maybe one day, but I can be quite a shy little sausage when it comes to meeting new people.

Q18 – what was the last movie you watched?

I recently finished reading Evelyn Waugh’s Brideshead Revisited, so I watched the 2008 movie adaptation as I wanted to see how someone else interpreted the novel.

Q19 – What was the last book you read?

As above – Brideshead Revisited. But I usually have two or three books (or more) on the go at any one time, some for work/study and some for pleasure. Currently I’m reading a book on Old English grammar (study!), the posthumously published work of Tolkien that just came out, The Story of Kullervo (pleasure), and Studs Terkel’s The Good War: An Oral History of WWII (bit of both?): this is why I need an entire section to track my reading!

Thank you Grace and all the best with your Masters.

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. Nice to meet you, Grace!
    I really enjoyed reading your post; it's always a joy to read a well-crafted "Q & A" in Philofaxy!

    Good luck with your Masters!

  2. Great post! I love a good Q&A. Thank you for sharing.

  3. Totally agree on your Pennybridge revisions. I'd purchase a few to take care of when they discontinue them! lol

  4. Hi Grace, lovely post! As a native New Yorker with a Yorkshire man, I always get a kick out of driving up north from Heathrow and passing Nottingham! If I lived around by you, I would definitely love doing the same type of masters as you. I liked your description of your compact Pennybridge as a wallet. I am about to receive a mini Van Der Spek and plan to use as a wallet! Best of luck with your Masters!