Tuesday, 28 February 2012

Filofax's new range 2012

There have been many posts on Philofaxy over the last couple of months announcing and discussing the new Filofax range for 2012. Some of these new filofaxes are starting to trickle onto the filofax UK website, and these are the ones I have noticed in the last week:

Breast Cancer Campaign, Personal Organisers
Breast Cancer Campaign personal-sized filofax, of course in pink! The difference this year is that it is personal-size, not pocket size, which is the size the BCC filofax used to be.

Swift, Personal Organisers
The Swift, replacement for the former Songbird organisers and other patterned canvas filofaxes.

The Apex range in more colours, and also in A5 size.

Domino, Personal Organisers
The Domino range in more colours, including a deep pink and violet I quite like. The A5 also comes in more colours, which is good!

As you can see, these are the cheaper binders, Filofax is holding back the more expensive new ones such as the purple Malden and the orange Osterley to release later. I'm waiting for the purple Malden so I can get it for my birthday!! :D

Monday, 27 February 2012

How to avoid internet distractions and procrastinations

I get terribly distracted from what I'm supposed to be doing- I say that I have the attention span of a gnat! So having the internet available nearly all the time is my downfall. Facebook, twitter, online tv channels... they're either on all the time, or I go back to them every 5 minutes while I'm supposed to be working.
I said this on twitter once and someone referred me to a piece of software called Freedom, the different variations of which are usable for both Mac and PC. It blocks all internet access for a certain period of time that you choose. There's a free trial that you can download, where you can try it out 3 times to see if you like it. After the free trial, the software costs $10 for unlimited use.
Then I found another piece of software called Cold Turkey. I think it was designed as social network-blocking software, but you can choose which websites to block or not to block, and you can add more websites than they suggest- I added BBC iplayer, ITV player etc, philofaxy of course!!! (I get so easily distracted on there!!), flikr etc, as well as the ubiquitous twitter, facebook, ebay etc. I love how it is so customisable- instead of blocking the internet completely like Freedom does, it blocks only what you tell it to, so you will still have access to your email, search engines, online dictionaries etc! Perfect. You choose the time it blocks your internet access for, so you could have it for as little or as long as you like. And the best thing? It's FREEEEEEEE!!! There's a pay-for option, which is only $2, but I don't see much difference between the pay and non-pay options.
I've downloaded Cold Turkey and I'm going to use it to stop me getting distracted over the next few months finishing my MA, and I will continue to use it through my PhD! :D

Saturday, 25 February 2012

A5 Domino Filofax video!!

I just made a video about my A5 Ultra Violet Domino! I set it up today because my label maker arrived, and I'm quite excited about it because I attached a notebook to it and hacked it with post-its and customised labels!

I also made my today ruler all pretty!!


Wednesday, 22 February 2012

A Holborn Zip Dilemma...

Filoaddicts, I need your help...

3 weeks ago I bought a personal Holborn Zip filofax in wine. It's beautiful!!

BUT... it has a major problem

 Gap in the top rings
Gap in the bottom rings

(My finger isn't pushing them apart, actually it isn't touching them, it's just there because it was hard for my camera to focus otherwise).

Normally, I wouldn't be bothered about gaps in the rings if they weren't getting worse. Some gaps are bad because the paper snags on them as you move pages across the rings. This isn't happening on mine, but I do think the problem will get worse. Normally, gaps in a ring mechanism don't get worse, unless you pull at them or drop your filofax. I always open the ring mechanism properly using the buttons at the top and bottom of the mechanism, and I've never dropped it, so I know it's not my fault, and it shouldn't get worse for these reasons. Instead, the problem started, and will get worse, because of the way the filofax is constructed.
I have heard a few examples of the ring mechanism of the Holborn Zipped range having this problem. In fact, this filofax range was pulled by Filofax because of some problem with it- I can only think it was the ring mechanism's issues. After using mine for a couple of weeks, I think the problem is the way the ring mechanism is attached to the binder itself. When I first got mine, I felt that the leather was so supple the filofax would start to lay flat within a couple of days. I trained it a couple of times using paperweights, but I noticed when I did this that the rings slightly opened. I can only think this is because of the way the ring mechanism is attached to the leather, so that when the leather is pushed down and stretched, it pulls the rings open. In the few weeks that I have used it, it hasn't got flatter at all (naturally, as I've stopped training it)- I think this is because the ring mechanism is pulling the leather so that the binder doesn't lay flat.
Every time I open the rings (once per week, to put in new diary pages), I notice that the rings open more and are misaligned worse than normal- they ease up a bit after a couple of days of use, but this is a continual problem when I open the rings- they get misaligned, ease up (but don't close fully), then get misaligned again.
So I think this problem will continue. I love the binder in itself- I love it being zipped because it protects my papers from the rain etc, and I love the pocket layout. But I don't want the ring problem to get worse!!
So I have the option to return it to the seller. I have 28 days to return it, and today (Wednesday 22nd Feb 2012) is day 21, so I only have a couple of days to make up my mind before I have to send it off so it can actually arrive by day 28 (next Wednesday, 29th Feb). Also, I have to take into consideration the fact that the Royal Mail doesn't move any post on Sundays...

So what do you guys think? Should I just put up with the rings, or send it back to the seller and get a refund/exchange? I've put a poll up for you to vote, it closes on Sunday night so I have time to send it off on Monday morning if I decide to do so.
For reasons which I don't have time to explain (homework awaits!!), I don't want a replacement, just a straight-forward refund, so the question is just: Should I return my faulty Holborn Zip. Yes means return it, No means keep it. There's no 'Exchange it' option!! ;b
Thanks for your help!!

Monday, 20 February 2012

A good filofax idea from Alice Temperley??

Filofax has recently partnered with the British fashion designer Alice Temperley to produce 2 limited edition (and very expensive!!) filofaxes, aimed at London Fashion Week, but I think generally as a fashion accessory this summer too. They are SO ridiculously expensive ( £375-£399!!!!), and are designed to be fashion accessories- lace or pony :( skin, rather than a lasting, hard wearing organisational tool- that I WON'T be buying one!!!
But the lacy one, called 'The Affair', intrigues me. It's a strange format- it takes personal-sized filofax paper on personal-sized rings, but the size of the whole binder is actually around A5 I think, because it takes an A5 notebook, like the Flex- you can see more in this video:

I wonder if you could make a filofax of this format yourself, without spending £400? It is possible in theory- take an A5 Filofax with an appropriate slot for a notepad, and put personal-sized filo pages in it. But would it work in reality- would it look or feel silly to have only personal pages in an A5 filofax?

What do you guys think? Have any of you tried this?

Saturday, 11 February 2012

The perfect A5 filofax notepad

I use my A5 ochre Malden and my A5 imperial purple Domino as my university filofaxes, for planning my dissertation and my essays. I have tried many different types of A5 paper in these filos, and finally I have found the perfect type!

I refuse to pay ridiculous money for Filofax-brand  paper; I use the lined paper that has already come with my filos, but I don't want to have to buy any more when I use all this up. So I have tried to find cheaper alternatives. I made my own paper using generic A4 paper cut in half, or my favourite, quadrille A4 paper cut in half- but I find that the paper quality of normal printer paper isn't very good, and my plastic Filofax hole punch tears the paper because of this.
Then I tried to use notepads or notebooks that were already in A5 size, where I could just tear the perforated paper off and punch it. The trouble is, when notebooks and notepads say the paper is A5 size, it often actually means the total size of the notebook is A5, but when you tear it away from the bound part of the notebook/pad, the individual sheet is actually smaller than A5, which means it sits badly in your filo. I tried this with the top-bound Rhodia No. 16 (unfortunately I couldn't get my hands on a No. 17 pad- maybe this would be a better size?) and the side-bound Pukka Pad A5 spiral notepad- so the height of the top-bound Rhodia is too short, and the width of the side-bound Pukka Pad is too narrow :( Although they both have lovely quality paper!! And I liked the Rhodia because it could fit into the notepad slot in the back of my filofax!

Then I found the Staples A5 Eco-Friendly pads. These are made of recycled paper, but are of surprisingly good quality! Previous recycled paper I have used has been of bad quality, where wet ink runs straight through the paper! But this paper holds my fountain pen ink excellently, no bleed-through, no show-through!!
 It's cheap- 2 pads for £1.69!! The pads themselves fit perfectly into the Filofax notepad slot, and best of all, the individual sheets of paper, when torn off from the pad, are exactly A5 size! 

I have just bought 2 more 2-pad sets, but I love this paper so much I think I will run through them quite quickly, but I don't mind because they are so cheap, I can easily buy some more!

Saturday, 4 February 2012

Fountain pen ink on Day Timer paper in my Filofax

This is a quick post for Joshua, who commented on Twitter about how poorly Day Timer pages take fountain pen ink with his medium-nibbed Lamy. Rori suggested that he try a finer nib, and I have medium, fine and extra fine nibs on my Lamys, and Day Timer pages, so I thought I would conduct an experiment!

When I tried to write with my beloved fountain pens in my new Day Timer diary at the start of this year, I also noticed the terrible bleed-through on the pages. This surprised me because in other ways the Day Timer paper seems generally better than other paper I have used in my Filofax. Even my Registrars' ink, which doesn't even bleed through on thin paper, bleeds through Day Timer!
So here's the test I did with my different nibs and different inks.

It doesn't look too bad on this side, and you can only see the minor feathering if you look closely. But on the other side of the page...

Really bad bleed through, which makes the other side of the page practically unusable!!

That's why I use biros in my agenda... I would love to use my fountain pens, but the paper just can't handle it! Filofax paper repels the ink, and Day Timer paper just sucks it in too much! I haven't tried other wet inks such as my V5s, but I might soon, although I'm quite happy with my 4-colour pens at the moment!

Wednesday, 1 February 2012

A new priority in Filofaxes...

There are lots of factors which need thinking about when you are going to choose a Filofax- practical things like size, layout of the pockets, weight and bulk, and aesthetic things like colour and overall appearance. I haven't much had to choose between these things because I guess I have never identified a specific need with Filofaxes, except for my daily Filofaxes have to be personal-sized and my work Filos have to be A5. The only filo I have decided upon purely on practical need is my Cuban Zipped, as I bought it at a time when it was raining a lot, and I didn't want to have to keep taking my backpack off to protect my filo and papers inside from the rain. Also, the 30mm rings come in very handy!!

But today, I realised something. A few weeks ago another Filofax addict and I exchanged 2 filos, my pocket Crimson Malden for her personal Imperial Purple Finchley. And Mrs Finchley is just gorgeous...

but easily scratched! Today I was holding my Finchley to my chest when I was carrying quite a lot of stuff, and her delicate cover rubbed up against the rough metal zip of my jacket and got scratched! It's not too noticeable, but I know it's there, and it really annoys me! So I have realised a new priority in my choice of Filofaxes: ruggedness.

Now, I don't abuse my filofaxes- I am very good to them. I try to be careful with them when I pick them up because sometimes my nails are sharp; I never put them down where they could get damaged or wet or stained etc; I carry them in my hand because I know they will get damaged inside my bag. But however careful I am with them, they are bound to get scratched one day. I REALLY don't want that to stop me loving them or using them... but I want them to stay in good condition.
Out of my filofaxes, I have a few that are easily scratched:
Ochre Maldens in personal and A5
Finchleys in teal and imperial purple
I LOVE these filofaxes, especially my ochre Maldens. The A5 stays at home, and if I need to take the contents to uni, I put it inside my red Domino A5. But my favourite out of all my filofaxes is my personal ochre Malden. Unfortunately, this one is very easy to accidentally scratch.
I have very fast-growing, strong nails. I can cut them one day, then 2 weeks later they are almost an inch long from end to end! Seriously! So when I was last using my ochre Malden, I had long nails and even though I was really careful, I kept scratching it when I picked it up. Fortunately, it's quite easy to rub the scratches out. I find it's easier on the ochre Malden than on the Kendal, which you are supposed to be able to rub out using the natural oils in the leather, but I can always see silvery marks left behind on the Kendal.

Anyway, I don't want to have to stop using my beautiful filofaxes! Especially my lovely ochre Malden!! I suppose I could just use these ones at home, but I want to use them outside too! What would be the perfect solution is if I could buy a bag with a pocket that would both keep my filofaxes protected, and easily accessible, but that will take some hunting!
I have some filofaxes which are a bit tougher, which I think would be quite difficult to scratch (although I wouldn't put it past my nails!!):
Cuban zipped
Amazonas in personal and A5
Dominos in personal and A5
Maldens in crimson and vintage pink

Yes, surprisingly, the different colour Maldens hold up much better than the ochre Malden (although, overall, I prefer the ochre!). I think this is because the leather on the ochre Malden is much thinner compared to the other colours- crimson, vintage pink, grey and I think black (although I haven't seen that one in person), because these colours are dyed with a substance which kind of paints the leather with the colour, leaving a thick protective layer over the leather, whereas the ochre is a more natural colour, so has been treated with colour rather than painted. But the painted leather is much tougher than the ochre.
Then my other filofaxes in the last list are also tough, especially the amazona and the cuban zipped. It was a relief at Christmas when I received my Amazona to be able to move into a tough binder after using my ochre Malden so tentatively for a few weeks, scared to scratch it. And today I deliberately moved back into my cuban zipped because I know the leather is as tough as nails as opposed to my Finchley. These filofaxes both feel like they have that painted layer coating the leather, as with the Malden, but even tougher! I'm not scared about getting these scratched through normal wear-and-tear, although I wouldn't put it past them if my keys get anywhere near them! My Moleskine notebook's cover is completely ruined because of them!

So should I spend the rest of my time in my tougher filofaxes, and leave the more delicate ones on the shelf? That seems harsh, especially as I think the delicate ones are some of the prettiest. Another problem is the fact that these tougher filofaxes, the amazona and cuban (not the Maldens, those are always well-behaved!) have such tough leather that they don't easily lay flat- a factor which is also important for me!
And what about choosing filofaxes in the future? I don't think it's a problem for the purple Malden, which I'm hoping to get for my birthday, as I'm sure this one will have the painted coating like the crimson, grey, vintage pink etc Maldens. But I'm also looking at buying a Holborn zipped filo, which if the leather is anything like the Holborn I have felt in John Lewis, I think this might be easily scratched too...

Oh, dilemmas!!