Wednesday, 27 July 2011

First look at Filofax 'One Day on a Page' 2012 dairy

I just bought my new 2012 diary refill for my Filofax. I'm going to be using the DPP again because I love the large space it gives you and the appointments spaces, which allows me to see my day chronologically. This year I bought my DPP diary from WH Smith's own brand, because I was in WH Smith and it was cheaper than Filofax's own brand. But for next year I thought I would have a change.

WH Smith DPP 2011 refill
Filofax DPP 2012 refill
The reason I bought Filofax's own brand was because I liked the layout of it when I saw it on other peoples' pictures- there is a line break through each line on the page, which gives the illusion that there are two separate sections on the page, the section to write your appointments on the left and a section to write other things on the right. This is good for me as I have just started putting my to-dos on the right side on each DPP (I'll detail this in my forthcoming post about my daily Filo); because the WH Smith DPP don't have this gap, I have to draw a line down the page, which kind of clutters it, but the way the Filofax brand pages have it is a lot more subtle and it means you can either divide the page up as you need or write across the whole width of the page.
Comparing the other features of the 2 versions, at the moment I don't know which I prefer. The WH Smith version has time written every line, e.g. 8, 8:30; while the Filofax version has the hour and a colon e.g. 8: and no time written on the half-hour lines. The Filofax version has slightly smoother paper than the WH Smith, but to be honest I thought it would be as smooth as the WO2P regular diary refill I got with my Malden. It isn't that smooth, but I'm not that bothered, but it would have been nice. I just like stroking smooth paper ;D
The colour of the paper on the Filofax refill is slightly more creamy-yellow than the WH Smith, which is more obviously white. I don't think it's cotton cream, but it's not white-white and it's much nicer than the whiter refills and looks gorgeous in my ochre Malden where I'm storing it at the moment.

I think overall I prefer the layout of the Filofax refills- it's less cluttered on the page than the WH Smith refills, so there is more space at the top for me to write things because it doesn't have the days gone/days remaining at the top of the page like WH Smith does. Also, I prefer the font, I think it looks nicer than the WH Smith version! At the bottom of the page there are 2 blank lines, which I guess are supposed to be the notes section but it doesn't have the word 'Notes' written there like the WH Smith one does, which is a bonus because I might use these for 9 and 10pm, ('Notes' gets in the way when I try to do that in the WH Smith). I also prefer the month layout at the bottom, it's better than the way WH Smith do it in a long line across the page.

When I write it all down like this it makes me see that I think I'll prefer the Filofax inserts! But time will tell! I wish I got to use it now, I can't wait to get some appointments for 2012 to write in!!

Monday, 25 July 2011

My new Filofax!!

I just got my Antique Rose A5 Malden!!!

I decided to buy this as a graduation present for myself, after a little enabling :) I bought it from the Filofax website through the philofaxy link for the Cancer Charity Donation 2011 :), a brilliant idea as Steve, Laurie and Nan are donating the commission they earn from the Filofax website link on their website to a cancer charity. If you are going to buy anything from the Filofax website, PLEASE do it through the link on Philofaxy, it's for a great cause!! I figure the percentage of money earned for charity through this is around 8% because the Malden was £100 and the total had gone up by around £8 after I bought it :) It's worth every penny for a good cause!!

I ordered it on Thursday at around 7pm, so after everyone in Filofax HQ had gone home. I figured, they will send it off on Friday, it will be in transit on Saturday, stationary on Sunday- no post on Sundays :( - and then should arrive on Monday morning! When the postman arrived this morning with a package I got all excited, but it wasn't my filofax!! I was annoyed, but thought it would come tomorrow! But it arrived this afternoon through a courier service! I didn't know Filofax had sent it like this, but I'm really glad they had because now I've got my hands on it and I don't have to wait until tomorrow morning to get it and until after work to open it! Another tick in Filofax's box!!

At first I just wanted to look at it and take it in, and get my first impressions of it. I have the crimson and ochre in other sizes, but I've never seen the A5 in person (I think I was too overwhelmed in the filofax shop to spot it!) and I wanted to see what that was like and whether I actually liked the pink colour or not. I prefer hot pinks, but I think this colour is subtle enough to be quite lovely.
It's very difficult to get the camera to take a picture showing the realistic colour. My advice is go to the filofax shop and see it for yourself!!

As soon as I opened it (once I had decided I was going to keep it, not return it!), I started pulling the inserts apart. "You're mad!!" you might say! But I have a reason.
A few weeks ago, my friend told me she wanted a filofax! Woohoo, I have started my plan of world-wide filofax conversion!! She had already been on the filofax website and decided she loved the aqua Finsbury... which has now stopped being made!! So I'm going to send her my A5 aqua Finsbury- I'm not really using it, and she would use it so much more than me! It cost me only £20 (RRP £75) and I owe her £18, so it's OK. And I really don't need ANOTHER filofax now I've got my new one!
So I started pulling out all the fresh inserts from my new filofax, rather than putting all the battered ones I had taken out. I put in all the standard refills, but I will tell her how to customise it herself :) I also put in a little note to her in the front, and a picture of me and her and our other housemate at graduation last week in the ID card slot :)

My new A5 is going to be for the more fun things, hobbies etc. I'll write a post on the set-up soon :)

Friday, 22 July 2011

The Perpetual Student BA Hons. :D


I just graduated!!! On Wednesday, we all got dressed up in our robes and mortar boards and walked across the stage and became official graduates!!

The gown was uncomfortable and the hat is the silliest thing I've ever seen! But it was really fun!
I was worried I would fall up the stairs onto the stage or trip over, but I didn't! Unfortunately my dad couldn't come because he had to stay home to look after my brother who has tonsillitis :(

It's a momentous occasion, I am the first person in my dad's family ever to go to university, and now I can't believe I've actually graduated! The last 3 years has gone so quickly!
It was great seeing my friends again, who I haven't seen in 6 weeks, and some of whom I won't be seeing again :( I hope they'll come back and visit! It's strange, because I've moved house so many times, it's usually me who's leaving, but this time I'm staying for MA and they're leaving! But it's the natural progression of their lives and I wish them the best in their futures :)

For anyone who is currently a student or is about to start a course, enjoy every minute of it! It goes by SO fast and you are always busy with assignments and exams, so make sure you make the most of it!
If anyone has any questions about university and studenthood, send me a message, my email is on my profile :)

Saturday, 16 July 2011

Filofax for students


This Tuesday, Katie asked a question on Philofaxy's Free For All Tuesday asking if anybody was using their filofax to get organised for university, and for any tips.
TPS to the rescue!!

This is an excellent question because this is just the sort of job Filofaxes are designed for! I think the advantages of using filofaxes for this function might be overlooked slightly on the internet, because blogs dedicated to filofaxes are written by (ahhem cough cough) slightly more mature people ;b And I mean that in the nicest possible way, they are people with real lives, jobs, families etc!!
This blog post is about being organised at university. If anyone wants me to write a post on using your filofax to get you organised for PLANNING to go to university in the future, or just how to prepare for uni generally (not necessarily with a filofax) please ask in the comments!
Now I am going to discuss how you could use your Filofax for organising your life while at university!

First up, the diary.
For people who have already used their filofax for a while, or even another kind of diary, they may already have a diary format that works for them and know how to use it properly for their lives. However, being a student (in comparison to being at school, or on your gap year etc) introduces a LOT more that needs writing into your diary on a daily basis. So read on, you may learn something new or get some new ideas, even if you don't change your actual diary that much.
Which type of diary you use is completely up to you. However, I think a version that gives you ample room is essential. You will probably need to write quite a lot into your diary on certain days. (Some of these things are applicable to non-students too).
For example:

  • Appointments- lectures etc; meetings and appointments; shifts if you work a job; social appointments etc
  • Whole day things- deadlines, goals for that day (for example, "[today I will] FINISH ESSAY"; birthdays, anniversaries etc
  • Recorded things- journal entries; log-book; recording the weather etc; food eaten and amount of water drunk (I tend to get de-hydrated); money spent (esp. good if you're on a budget) etc
  • To-dos
  • Notes on above things- e.g. clarification on to-dos; information on location of lectures, homework due for them etc
(I've probably forgotten some things, but they will come to you gradually as the need arises when you are actually at uni, and you can add them to your diary then).
As you can see, this list is quite long. And when you have a couple of entries of each on a page, even a page-per-day diary, it can get quite hectic on the page, especially if all this is written in 1 colour! A really good way to deal with this is colour-coding (e.g. Jordan). Assign a colour ink to a specific thing in your diary, so that you know at a glance what you are looking at/for. A really good type of pen for this is the 4-colour pen, I like Bic 4 colour-pens, as they have the normal black-blue-green-red and the lovely fashion colours, pink-purple-light blue-light green. These type of pens are really handy because sometimes when you need to colour-code you don't have access to your pencil-case. However, these are very thick pens and don't fit in many of the pen holders in filofaxes as they tend to be slim, but soon I'll do a post on alternative ways to fix your pen inside your filofax.
So, with all this to write in your diary, you may need quite a large space to write in your diary. I prefer the day-per-page format, which nearly always has enough space for my day's writing. I love the appointments view on this, as I need to be able to see my day in chronological order and the gaps in between appointments to see how long I can spend in the library. If I need any more space for notes, I write them on a post-it and stick in on the page, or for a long list I write it on a piece of notepaper. However, some people prefer to see their whole week at a glance (WO2P)- this has less space to write stuff, though.

I also have month on 2 pages diary. I use this for deadlines etc. I put DL for a deadline, EX for an exam etc. This is especially important to know how many days you have got before a deadline or exam, how many days you have left to research, write or revise because day-per-page and WO2P obscure this. This has really helped me to get organised in my uni work.

This part is completely up to the individual. You may want a separate section, with dividers, for each part, or just a few sheets together for each not in a separate section. I have only used filofax since March, and I am still working out my system. You may already have a system of your own, but these are just a few things to think about when going to university.
- Finances
You could write down your student loan instalment dates (and then you could write them into your diary), customer number/username and password for the Student Loans Company, also phone numbers if you ever need to call them. Make lists of direct debits/standing orders- rent, bills etc. Your budget (a good idea to stick to as a poor student!), and your income/outgoings on the filofax finance pages. On a piece of notepaper, make a list of IOUs: who owes you how much, when, and for what. Of course, DON'T write down your credit/debit card pin in your filofax, just in case it falls into the wrong hands!
- Addresses
Obviously, family, friends etc, just in case your phone stops working. For emergencies, put an emergency contact/next of kin down, where it would be easy to find. A good idea is to note down the phone numbers, email addresses and office room numbers of your lecturers or the secretaries in your department just in case you ever need to phone/email/write them a letter. This might be a good idea too for any experts in your field you happen to know- I am slowly getting a list of Egyptologists' phone numbers! 
- Assignments
This might be one of the most important sections of your filofax. You could dedicate a single piece of notepaper just to write down the title of the essay you have to write and the deadline; or you could have many sheets of paper, with notes such as books to look up, issues to investigate, maybe even notes from your research. However, I find that this really fills up your filofax; writing your lecture notes and research notes in an A5 filofax might work, but it would be a bit of a tight squeeze in a personal-sized filo or smaller. In my opinion, a normal notebook or folder would be better.
Also, sections like shopping lists, general notes section, maybe a separate to-do list, etc

I may have forgotten some things, but this is the basic stuff you will need for using your filofax to organise yourself. Each course and individual differs, so you could find things you need to add when you actually get to uni. Just use this as the framework for your filofax, and let the rest evolve naturally! 
If you have any other ideas, feel free to add them in the comments!!
Hope this helps! x

Wednesday, 13 July 2011

Diary hack :)


This might be useful to you if you have unused diaries from the past which you want to use, rather than waste.
Not many people know this, but there is a pattern to the cycle of dates. What this means, is that on a pattern of 6 and 11 years, the dates of a specific year repeat (except for leap years). So, for example, all the dates from 2001 match the dates of 2007 and 2018 too!
See the table below for illustration of this. I've done from 2000 to 2020. (I've left out 2000, 2004, 2008, 2010, 2012, 2016 and 2020 because either they have no repeat in the 20 years I have done, or no repeat at all).





So, if you have an old diary, you may be able to use it again! for example, a diary from 2001 or 2007 you haven't used, you can use it again in 2018!
I'm doing this with a filofax mini 2009 diary refill I got in a filofax I bought used from ebay, I will use it in 2015! All I did was tipex out the year!
Unfortunately this doesn't work for 2012 because it is a leap year, but in 2013 you could use a diary from 2002!

Hope this helps!

Tuesday, 12 July 2011

Is there anything worse?

Is there anything worse than a blank piece of paper?

It just sits there staring at you, so empty and waiting for you to write something intelligent on it... 

Empty notebooks are like this too. I would love to invest in a load of Moleskines from Amazon as they are so cheap; I love those pictures of piles of brand new Moleskines on flikr. But if I bought some, they would sit there in a pile on my desk, looking at me. If I have trouble putting something intelligent on a single piece of cheap paper, I find it really hard to start writing in an expensive notebook!! I have loads of empty notebooks in my room that need a purpose. Not just me scribbling in them, but a proper purpose. I have started things in notebooks before- novels etc, but never finished them, so I have to chop those pages out in order to be able to reuse the notebook and it looks very ugly. So, I resist temptation to buy a load of pretty notebooks without having a designated purpose for them already.

OK, so maybe I am blowing it out of proportion. But it has kind of turned into a little phobia for me. The piece of paper itself isn't a problem- if I do something wrong on that I can screw it up and start again! -------------------------------->
It's the fact that I've GOT to write something intelligent!! And the blank paper symbolises this!!
Most importantly, essays. I sit down at my desk, put some paper in front on me, pick up a pen, and then... The damned paper just stares at me. It sends me a silent message in a mocking voice, saying "You have to write an excellent essay on me!!" and this haunts me! My super-ego suddenly says "Ooh, it would be great to watch TV right now!" And my ego usually agrees. Bad ego! Half an hour later, that piece of paper is still blank!

So how can I fix this? I found out something while I was sitting in an exam at the end of May... just write SOMETHING, even if it's not the thing you are supposed to write! Your name, the date, the title. Suddenly, Mr Paper isn't so blank any more!! You have achieved the momentous act of writing something!! Even though it's not that fateful essay you are supposed to be writing, you have done something, you are 0.01% finished!! I don't know if it is the act of putting pen to paper, or writing out the title etc of the work you are supposed to be doing, or the fact that you have turned your brain on, but it works! Suddenly, my writer's block in my exam stopped and I was able to start writing!!
If writing the title doesn't work, write down some keywords, bullet points or a spider diagram! Don't think about it like work... just sit back and start writing! Don't try to force things out of your brain, just let the words flow from your head down your arm and through the pen onto the paper! All of a sudden you have done some great work and you will feel a sense of accomplishment, and the paper will be your b*tch, not you its!

Saturday, 9 July 2011

Cheating on my filofaxes...

Oh dear, now I feel guilty! I have recently been thinking about Moleskine notebooks and I do feel like I'm betraying my filos!

Here's my train of thought:
When I first invested in my initial filofax(es) I intended to use it/them as an everything book. Notebook, diary, journal, reference book, lists, quick notes for uni etc etc. But now I realise I can't use them for all this. My realisation of the limitations of my filofaxes (not the limitations of the filofaxes themselves, as they can pretty much do whatever you ask of them, but the limitations of my own way of using them) has led me to realise that I need to develop a new way of dealing with things my filofaxes can't. After thinking about it, here's how I put my life to paper.
I hope you can follow my logic here:
My filofaxes are for PLANNING
A4 folders or my laptop are for UNIVERSITY WRITING
Moleskine pocket notebook(s) for everyday NOTE-TAKING.

Daily planner: personal-sized Malden (switching between Crimson and Ochre as I fancy). Diary, to-dos, reference sheets (e.g. my mum's working rota), also a finance section, which I need to improve. I also have a 'Home' section, but this needs changing, I'm not sure how. The diary, to-dos and reference sheets are fine, I think this is what my daily filofax is brilliant for. It works for me. The finance section hopefully will stay in here too! I PLAN my today and my future.
BUT the problem area is the notes section. I just can't use it properly. I think my filofax is too nice for my scribbly notes. During the majority of the day, I am walking around, on my way to or from uni or around campus. During my rush around campus, I can't just stop to lean on something to write my notes, I'm writing and walking at the same time, which leads to messy handwriting. And I don't want to plague my beautiful filos, or the expensive filofax notepaper, with my scruffy writing.
SO I need a notebook!! One that is portable, that I don't mind getting scruffy and scribbling in. Like a catch-all place for everything. Even things that do need to go into my daily filofax, but I can't write in right now because I'm not sitting down or my filo's in my bag etc. For this I would like a pocket Moleskine notebook.

Dissertation/Module planner: my A5 Finsburies. For PLANNING my Dissertation or modules- writing down assignment titles, deadlines, books I've used etc, and then planning what I have to do next and when I am going to do it.
They don't (or won't seeing as how I haven't set up my module planner yet) have a section for note-taking. Different reason than above, this is because if I used an A5 filo to put notes in, e.g. lecture notes, notes from books/articles I've read, extensive ideas for assignments or my dissertation/draft paragraphs= UNIVERSITY WRITING it would be too much for even the 30mm rings of the Finsbury!! I would need waaaay more space than these could provide!
So, these notes etc will go either into an A4 folder, or on my computer. I WON'T be putting them into a Moleskine because they are so damned expensive! I would need about 20 of them for my dissertation! Even if I had that kind of money I couldn't justify that!

I'm also thinking about writing something called an Egyptology-bible. I'll tell you about that when I've thought about it more. This will be in a large lined Moleskine.
Moleskines are generally very expensive. However, they are considerably cheaper on Amazon, which is where I think I'll be getting them from, although this does involve a wait for them to be delivered :(

As you can see, I intend to use Moleskines in conjunction with my filofaxes, I won't be rejecting my filos, and they won't be made redundant. I promise I still love my filos!! When September/October comes I'll be using my filos more than ever! I hope the Moleskines will help improve their workability; I'll be doing a post on how I'm going to be using them together soon. And when I'm happy with my daily filofax set-up (which keeps changing every week, hence why I haven't posted about it yet) I'll write a post detailing that :)

Have a lovely weekend!

London Baby!! part 2

Here's part 2 of my London adventure!!

After I had dragged myself away from the sale section, I happily made my way over to the main wall, where all the new and current filofaxes are! They are all so beautifully positioned on the shelves, in size order and so pretty! On the left-hand side of the shelves are the cheaper, non-leather varieties. I didn't spend much time looking at these.
    Instead, I immediately went for the Osterley! It's a gorgeous filo! I love the plum colour, the pattern on the leather, and how professional and stylish it looks! I found the leather better than the Amazona, but I still didn't like it as much as the buttery leather of the Malden! Being a big fan of the personal size, I picked up the two that looked like personal sizes. I had forgotten the Osterley was available in the Compact size, and when I saw it I really liked it! It would look brilliant with a whole year of day-per-page diary in it, so professional! There is a noticeable difference between the compact and the personal sizes, not only in the thickness of the filofax because of the smaller rings, but the filofax itself is also narrower (see the differences on the filofax website). It would fit very well inside a brief-case! Personally, I didn't like the inside pockets much, but then I am a fan of zipped compartments rather than card sections, but that's just me! I think the design is great, and would suit a range of people- business people, anyone who likes to look well-dressed and wants accessories to match, or anyone really! I would be VERY happy to receive one! I think it's a gorgeous piece of leather!!
    When I dragged myself away from the gorgeous Osterley, my eye immediately found the vintage pink Malden, which I had wanted to look at for ages! I am a huge fan of pink, and LOVE LOVE LOVE the Malden- I have 3 of them (2 personal and 1 pocket)!! I had wanted to see the vintage pink Malden in person since some of the people who went on the Philofaxy London trip described the colour as looking like Pepto Bismol! I had a look at it near the window to try to see the natural colour, and although I don't think it looks like Pepto Bismol, it's not one of the various shades of pink I like. I am quite glad I didn't like it, because a few months ago I was wondering how to justify buying ANOTHER personal-sized Malden, and I really don't think I need to buy another one! I am very happy with my crimson and ochre-coloured ones!
    Speaking of the ochre Malden, I was interested in seeing another one. I had my ochre Malden with me that day, as it is my daily filofax at the moment. I had read that other people had complained about the leather, as it is a bit different than the leather of the black and crimson Maldens (I'll talk more about this when I do my review of my Maldens), and I had also read that because of the nature of the leather, the colour and wear pattern on every ochre Malden is slightly different. I compared my ochre to the one on the shelf, and I think mine is nicer- the colour is more natural-looking, and slightly more worn and antiqued looking (a good thing!)! Mine came from America, I don't know if that made a difference!
    I looked at a few more filofaxes, I can't remember them all now! It was a very busy and stressful day, so I can't remember a lot of the minute details. I wish I had made a list of the ones I looked at in the shop, but I was just so in awe that I couldn't take my eyes off the filofaxes! I think the shop is so brilliant that there is definitely too much to look at in one trip! I wish I had been in London for more than one day! I wish there was a filofax shop in other places- I don't know why they have 2 filofax shops in 1 city! Maybe they should build one in another city, for example Birmingham! That is quite close to a number of other cities and is easier for some people to get to than London. Being in Liverpool for most of the year, I would definitely make an effort to get to Birmingham a few times a year just to go to the filofax shop!
    Now that I think back at it, I can think of a few filofaxes I wish I had looked at more, or looked at at all, as I can't remember if I even saw a few of the newer models! But I'm very glad I got the opportunity to go to a filofax shop and see a lot of the filos I had been longing to see!!

Wednesday, 6 July 2011

London Baby!! part 1

Wow, I never knew "tomorrow" would turn into "5 days", sorry!! I've had a bit of a stressful week waiting for my degree results, I'll tell you about them soon once I've received a letter I'm waiting for!

So last Thursday I went to London to help my brother move out of his uni Halls of Residence. I left him to finish packing and went off for my mini adventure in London! By the time I had left his room it was 1:30 so I didn't have much time, we had to meet back up again around 4 to eat dinner, finish packing and get a taxi to the train station!
Of course I used my filofax to help me plan my day in London! I wrote down all my train times, then wrote down the addresses for the two filofax shops and also the British Museum. I used maps online to work out which order I would go to the different places, and a free tube map picked up from one of the Underground stations to plan which tubes to take! Unfortunately I don't have a tube map that clips into my filofax permanently, but the little free foldable one worked fine for one day! I wrote on a nice piece of filofax pink notepaper all of the tube stations I had to go to and even colour-coded the Lines I needed to take, e.g. Piccadilly dark blue etc! I had some fun! But then I got annoyed and stressed because after all my planning, when I looked at the map of London my mum gave me, I realised it was too complicated! The journey I had planned was too long and I wasn't doing things in the right order! So my filo behaved admirably, while it was my own brain which failed! So I just used my brain on the day to work out where to go and how!

First off, I went to the Filofax Centre in Mayfair! It was off the lovely Oxford Street, but being so time-constricted, I managed to resist going into any of the shops! I was quite proud of myself! I followed my map towards Conduit Street...

Every filofax fan will know what this means!!

I anxiously looked out for the Filofax sign, and got very excited when I finally saw it!
I walked into the shop and knew I had to control myself! There was so much to see, and I kind of felt like it was all going to run away if I didn't look at it quickly enough! It was amazing seeing a whole wall full of filofaxes; I have only seen small stands in WH Smith and Staples etc before! I immediately saw a few I wanted to have a good look at, but first I somehow managed to take an overview of the whole shop. I went to the back and saw the Flex stand and the sale item, and decided to start off here!
I looked through the sale items first, and there are some really lovely filofaxes there! I don't know why they are discontinuing them! Some I had only read about, some I only seen pictures of, and some I very much would have liked to buy!! In particular, I would have liked to have bought the Teal Finchley mini and the Spring green Chameleon personal! But unfortunately fortunately I am taking part in Caribbean Princess' No Shopping Detox, plus my mother would have killed me!! I also got a look at a couple of filos I had always wanted a good look at in person, in particular the red Amazona personal. I have liked the look of this from the pictures I've seen and Imy's video. I came close to buying one online a couple of times! But now I'm really glad I didn't go ahead and buy it without seeing it in person. When I held it in my hands, I didn't like the feel of the 'crocodile-print' leather- it felt kind of plasticky to me! I've heard other people call it luxurious, but it didn't feel like that to me!
I had a quick look at the Flex and now I realise that I definitely don't need it, it's just a glorified notebook holder! Yes, it may be useful and flexible, but I don't NEED it! I'm glad I can save a lot of money by putting that one out of my head!

That's all for today, I'll write the second half of this tomorrow (I promise!) because otherwise this post is going to turn into an essay!
I'll leave you with a photograph of the Filofax shop I took from the door (I wasn't allowed to take pictures inside).

Have a lovely Wednesday everyone!!