Fountain Pens · Planning · Stationery

Filofax – one (plus) week in

Well, here’s what I would have written and posted last Friday if a broadband issue hadn’t offered me the chance to spend my weekend doing analogue-only things instead.

I’m now one week (plus) into using my A5 Filofax Original as both my planner and journal/notebook, which seems like the ideal time to do a proper first impressions post. I’m also going to throw in a bit of a “currently inked pens” update because, spurred on by the evil that is social media, I have gone relatively mad filling pens.

I love reading and watching all the planner set-up posts during December and early January and then following up to find out which ones stick and which ones fall by the wayside. It is all very well setting up a new system and being clear on your intentions, but until you start using it you just don’t know how well you are going to like it. For me, moving into a single 6-ring binder for both my diary/planner and my journal/notebook was always going to be a gamble, although as gambles go it’s on a par with betting a ha’penny on the outcome of a game of cribbage! Let’s be honest, if this set-up doesn’t work out I’m not going to see it as a failure at all; that being said, though, my first impression is really positive.

First, let’s touch on the easy bit: the diary/planner half of the system. It hasn’t taken me long to realise that I was more than ready to return to the horizontal week-to-view layout and at A5 size it seems to be working very well for me. There’s enough space to list my occasional appointments and headline tasks with room to spare for a little bit of decor. The notes area at the foot of the right-hand page is a bit too cramped for the quotes I like to add, but I’ve got some ideas for that to try out over the coming weeks. The paper quality is spot-on, top marks to Stamford Notebook Company. I am thoroughly enjoying the combination of this paper and my Namisu Orion fountain pen filled with the Graf von Faber-Castell Cobalt Blue ink but, as I’ve mentioned previously, it does require me to keep a sheet of blotting paper to hand so I don’t get smudges when I flip the pages. A quick blot has very quickly become second nature to me. The only change I’ve made from my initial set-up has been to add a bookmark. This is the front of a pack of tea from Whittard of Chelsea’s Christmas 2020 collection, trimmed and punched to fit. I adored their packaging designs for the festive season and I think the rich colours co-ordinate well with the fuchsia cover of my Filofax.

I had been intending to use the 1971 UK Singles Chart as a source for my little quote each week, but instead I’m just taking a snippet from whatever I’ve been reading or listening to. My analogue weekend had me catching up with Bruce Springsteen and “Born to Run”, although I also listened to Neil Diamond (I’d forgotten that I got my hands on the original “Hot August Night” album again at some point last year) and the marvellous “Sounds of the Suburbs” compilation of punk classics.

Moving on to the journal and notes pages, the real bugbear that most people encounter with ringed binder systems reared its head: it’s awkward to write on the pages when your hand needs to be where the rings are. My solution to this has always been to turn the binder by 180 degrees so that the page I’m writing on is always on the right-hand side – as a right-handed writer this works perfectly for me. It means that the back of every page is upside-down, but that isn’t a problem to me. This is only an issue on note and journal pages, as I can work around the rings to jot a quick word or two in the diary.

At the moment I have filled my notebook section with William Hannah paper, having trimmed off the disc-punched edge and punched holes to suit the Filofax. The Stamford Notebook Company paper is fantastic, but the William Hannah paper is sublime and, much as I think I’m going to like being in the Filofax, my William Hannah notebook does try to lure me every so often with a quiet, sweet song as it sits on the shelf, like a shy bird waiting for the sun to rise and strike its glorious plumage.

All in all, though, I have found my first full week back in the Filofax to be a pleasantly positive experience and having everything in one book seems natural and sensible.

To keep my mind off all the notebooks that I’m not using, I’ve run riot with the pens instead. I’m mainly sticking to the one pen and ink combination for the diary pages, which means it’s open season in the notebook section. My currently inked selection is roughly:

I’ve also inked up the Lamy LX with Diamine Majestic Purple, a combination that makes me particularly happy. As it stands, the selection is a little heavy on the blues and I think I may soon add another splash of brightness in the form of a pink or orange ink. I don’t tend to write full pages using the brighest colours, reserving them for emphasis, but I’m feeling the urge to write a full journal page or two in red just for the fun of it.

Heading into the new week, I feel happy with my set-up and ready to really get a move on with January.