25 September 2016

Reader Under the Spotlight. - Natasha

Today I would like to introduce you to Natasha

As a longtime reader of this blog I am looking out every day for a new post. They are not only interesting, I also learn a thing or two from all the tips & tricks kindly shared on Philofaxy (not to mention the free diary inserts).

So, time to return something to the blog and participate in the Reader Under the Spotlight series. I am Natasha, I come from the Netherlands, I am 46 years old, married, and mother of a 19 year old son. I am working as a assistant shop-manager in a small chain of shops. In my spare time I am studying Management Science. I like reading, writing, cooking, baking and gardening.

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

It was unavoidable that I would buy an organiser one day! Both my parents did use an organiser, my mother was very fond of her navy blue Succes mini as her diary and to store here address book. My father used all of his working life a Succes junior. Somehow it occurred to me that when you are grow up, you will have an organiser! My first diaries were the usual school diary with pictures of popstars and the like (I heavily decorated my pages, using only 6 fineliners and scissors to make it look more ‘interesting’, no one had ever heard of washi in those days). At 17, so about 1987, I bought my first non-brand organiser. It was a black, faux-leather Personal size one and I felt really grown up with it. It lasted over a decade; I used it daily for about ten years and then passed it on to my husband who used it for another 10 years. Then it fell completly apart. Remarkably: it only costed about €10

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

After having my son I was a couple of years a stay-at-home-mum and in those days a small bound diary was enough. When I started working again, my first purchase was a blue Filofax Pimlico in Pocket size. I used the Pocket size for many years but finally out grown it (although it took me a long time to realise that it was the size what didn’t fit anymore, not the insert/pocket configuration/binder).

The last five years I have settled on the Personal size again and the only swapping is from Compact to Personal and back when needed. Out of the binders I own, my trusty brown Holborn is my favourite.

3. How many Filofax or other brands of organisers do you own?
  • Pocket/Junior size: FF Pimlico Blue, FF Baroque Black, Succes DeLuxe Brown, Succes Excellence Brown (limited edition); 
  • A5: Succes Tokyo Black; 
  • Personal/Standard size: Succes Excellence Light Brown (limited edition), VDS Touch Me Black, FF Holborn Brown, FF Original Pillarbox Red; 
  • Compact size: FF Calypso Black, FF Charleston Purple. 
  • And to make it complete: from Gillio Firenze a Giramondo in Green, a Giramondo XL in Purple and two Giramondos XS, one in Gold and one in Grey. 
  • I also have a FF Clipbook in red.

4. What do you use your organisers for?

I have several organizers in use with all a different function. My main binder is at the moment the Holborn. The Compact Charleston is in use to keep track of my study, the Compact Calypso is used as my travel binder. All of the Giramondo’s are also in use: the Green houses several journals, the XL Purple is for all my study notes, the XS Gold is my wallet and the XS Grey is my journal on the go.

The Clipbook is in use as the house binder, and to track everything financial in our household.

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

In the long run, I found the classic Filofax sections (diary / notes / projects / information / financial / addresses) are actually pretty accurate to stay organised.

My diary section is a cotton cream W1P, which I interleave with cotton cream lined paper. I’m using the W1P+notes format (as found in for example Moleskine diaries) for over ten years, as my number of tasks are way more than appointments.

This diary format is available in the normal FF paper but I like the cotton cream paper better, so this is my solution to have the diary on the paper I like. Because it wasn’t designed this way the diary page and notes page switch from left to right and back but that doesn’t bother me. Another plus: in very busy periods I simply add more lined paper in between the weeks.

The notes section = for notes, the projects section is for all the running things that are not completed, currently: team schedule, study schedule, lists for December: presents to buy (each person has his own list, to keep the number of presents even), menu ideas, list for christmas cards to be send. When something new pops up and can’t be finished in a few hours, I make it a project and give it it’s own coloured paper.

The information section contains the school holidays for 2016-2017, a world map and a A-Z index were completed but still regularly consulted projects are filled.

Behind finance I have two envelops, one for travel and one for personal expenses (from mylifeallinoneplace.com), a cash form and a sheet where I keep track of the grocery expenses.

I keep a full address book on paper, writing the address on a postcard (which I do a lot) is a lot easier when you take the address from paper instead of a phone screen that continually turns in stand bye modus…

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

Although the Holborn, with a ton pockets, is my favourite binder I started to like the simplicity of the Original. I don’t need all those cardslots in particulair, I would leave them out of the design. And the big back pocket on the VDS Touch Me sounded very practical but I barely use it. I can see the benefits, but simply didn’t develop the habit to remeber that I have one to store things. Or worse: to remember that I put it there!

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

Using the A-Z index as a file register made a lot of difference in the way I setup and use my organiser. I have a lot of information that I need to reference regularly and in this way I find it quickly without cluttering up the running, not completed projects.

8. Have you ever attended a Philofaxy meet-up? if not do you intend to one day?

I would love to go to a meet-up, Philofaxy, Gillio or VDS! Gillio and VDS are meet-ups within my reach, however they are usually held on a Saturday, understandable, but for me it is a lot of fuzz to have a day off on Saturday (it is a normal, and perhaps the most important workday in a shop). I still hope that I can make it to a meet-up one day.

9. What was the last movie you watched?

To be honiest: I’m not such a moviewatcher.

10. What was the last book you read?

The Neapolitan Novels from Elena Ferrante. Highly recommended, read them all during my holiday!

Thank you Natasha

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. Hi Natasha,
    Very good post to read. I was like you when my 22 year old son was very young I did not use a full planner. I am also a big fan of the cotton creme paper!

    1. Thank you Michele, writing about my planner journey was a real pleasure! Glad you like it.