Filofax, Planners & Traveler's Notebook Lovers - Welcome Back!

Heidi Ott Doll, Happy, on an Aqua Chameleon A5 Filofax. Filofancy Blog by Zara M.

Why I left the online "Planner Addict" Community... and why I came back!

The good old days...

There was a time when my obsession with Filofaxes and Traveler's Notebooks was fuelled by Youtube unboxing videos, Pinterest image bingeing. and of course the deliciously bad influence of all my fellow Facebook group nutters posting pics of the planners and notebooks that I desperately wanted, talking about their insane relationships with 'organisational systems'... it was bliss. I had found a cult of people just like me, and I was happy :)

A downward spiral...

But then something changed. The groups became less interesting to me the bigger they grew. They felt less personal somehow, and people began to post things I didn't really want to see.

In the Filofax groups there was a lot of pink happening, and washi tape. I felt like everyone's planner was beginning to look rather similar.

I also didn't like the new designs that Filofax were bringing out. They just didn't seem very authentic to me, with their pretty patterns, their bold or pastel colours, their fabrics and plastic-looking covers.

To be frank, I was sick of seeing them everywhere, and I was sick of seeing people's weekly spreads, all colour coordinated and perfect (is that really how planning is? Is that really what life looks like? My planner very rarely looks like this, and if it does it's because I have gone back and decorated everything, which is something I had never even thought of doing before.

Even darker times...

I was even more disillusioned when the Traveler's Notebooks groups on Facebook seemed to take a similar direction.

When Ray Blake first started to make his Raydori's I was admittedly excited. It was cool to see one of the original crew doing something he enjoyed, making his own versions of a product I love. I think it is a great inspiration to see a person's creative journey, and of course I was thrilled when he made me a Raydori for my 30th birthday! It was blue and it had my name embossed on the front, I still use it. I also liked that Ray has made a name for himself and was hand-manufacturing a great product.

But then other TN-makers started to pop up out of the woodwork, making their own versions in all the colours of the rainbow, and in a variety of different materials. It was fun at first, but I soon realised that I wasn't feeling good about all of this so called development. What was once a cool and original brand, a product with a purpose and a sense of identity, was being transformed into a rainbow coloured glitter fest full of washi tape and cutesy nonsense, that anyone and everyone was selling in their Etsy shops. 

Filofancy | My Midori Traveler's Notebook, Journaling bliss with a nice cup of tea!
I like Classic, Sophisticated Simplicity... and a nice cup of tea!

Rock Bottom...

Perhaps what upset me the most was that not only did I feel increasingly disconnected with these online communities, I was feeling more and more disconnected with my planners, my journals, and even with myself. I didn't belong in this rat race. I tried to fit in, but in the end I felt lost and incomplete. I couldn't figure out how to connect with my own planners and Notebooks, and the platforms I had always gone to for inspiration or reassurance, weren't really there anymore. So I silently bid everyone goodbye and disappeared.


It has been a few years now, and I am always quite fascinated to see how my blog has survived, despite my absence. It still gets a healthy number of views each day, even though I haven't added content or linked to posts in simply ages.

I had a right giggle when I watched the handful of Youtube videos I created back in the day. I realised how much I have grown up. I now have to wear specs to work on my laptop, and I have a halo of grey! But more importantly, I feel that I have grown into myself. I have my own sense of identity. I like myself. I am confident and secure in who I am, what I think, and what I want. I am even, more consistent with the way I use my planners & journals these days - In fact I have come to realise something important...


It's not about what planner you have, or even the way you use it, these things are not important or worth planner meltdowns or expensive shopping sprees. 

It is about YOU and your life.

Do you feel that the material items you own reflect who you are? Do they make you feel good and are they tools which empower you to do great things and make the most of your life? Or are you just working hard and then spending lots of money on things you don't need in order to fill a hole? Think about it.

New Beginnings...

I want to recreate my platform. Filofancy has grown up, and it is time to celebrate and share how I have come to use planners, journals, notebooks etc. to explore and express myself, reflect on my life, and plan for what I want to achieve next.

I hope that I can use my creativity to inspire you to find yourself, to help you organise your own thoughts and ideas, and live your life to the full.

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  1. Welcome back!
    I can definitely identify with much of what you have expressed in this post. I've never been one for decorating my organiser & am not into pink. I've recently sold all my Filofaxes, except one & have no plans to buy any more. Whilst I do feel sometimes quite different from quite a bit of the online community for these reasons, I've realised that it's better because we are all different.

    So, just to say that it's not just you... have you read Kent from Oz's post? :)

    1. Hi Anita :) Thank you for comment. My Filofaxes and Midori Traveler's Notebooks have been battling against each other for my attention since the beginning, but I finally come to terms with the fact that while I love the idea of a ringed organiser, I am bound-book girl at heart, and I feel much more of a connection with the Midori brand. It's a relief not to be switching in and out anymore :D What madness. I love my midori, and I have a very slim black filofax (an old one) with the tiniest rings, that I use with my Midori, just for keeping records of Print orders and financial info. (So that means I'm still allowed to involve myself in the Filofax group pages :) Hehe.) I sold most of mine too... aaaages ago. Sometimes I regret it, but I didn't need them all, it was just confusing. Thank you for the link I will have a read xx

  2. I am so with you. I followed the same path you did and have recently come back to some of the forums. It is interesting how many other people have done this also, like Kent. I guess OneBookJuly is one way of getting it back to the basics.


    1. Yes, I read Kent's post that was linked to above by Anita, and he expresses it very well :) A good read! OneBookJuly is a great idea. I think by keeping everything to one or two books/planners, you're able to form a much deeper connection with your content, and essentially with your own thoughts and planning processes. (Sometimes I sleep with my Midori like it's a teddy bear of comfort blanket, and I know that sounds a little weird! The leather is just so wonderfully tactile, and I like it to be nearby because I feel it contains a lot of... well "me" :) Hehe.)

  3. Oh. This. The 'takeover' of the 'scene' by the scrapbooking community sent me mad for a very long time. I lost interest, too, and it was because of the plethora of decorating. I use my planners to plan. When I watch planner videos/read planner blogs, I want to learn about how others are PLANNING, not how they are whacking stickers down to make pastel-filled pages. I usually keep quiet about this, because it sounds snobby. I look forward to your future posts.

    1. Ha ha :D Yes exactly - Nail on the head - It was definitely the takeover of the scrapbook community that drove me away! It was all a bit mesmerising at first... then ever so slightly contagious (I even started looking into digital scrapbooking!)... but then, THEN, I realised I was in a weird sort of wonderland, and wasn't really sure how I got there... I was chasing after my white rabbit (planner peace) but there was just no way, because I was surrounded by mad hatters :D I don't think we are snobby though, we just wanted and expected one thing... but we were getting something else. It's very reassuring to know there are many of us who feel the same though. I do feel that the admins of the Facebook groups I used to follow have done an amazing job in controlling the content and separating us all to keep everyone happy :)

    2. Julia-I was going to post a comment, but decided to just reply to yours because I would have written the same message. I've been using a planner since the early 90s and I found myself in the same spot-looking at too many posts that were scrapbooking planner posts, buying some Washi tape, and stickers only to cause myself to become confused and lose sight of the purpose of even having a planner. I also want to see ideas on how others use their planners and practical products. I started looking for planner sites when there was the initial switch to technology (Palm Pilot, anyone?) because while I liked some features of technology and planning, I still wanted my paper planner! To each his own-I'm not criticizing those who follow the Washi tape/sticker/pink craze, but I can't flip open a planner decorated with pink and gold Washi tape in a meeting and expect to be taken seriously. Sooooo glad you are back, Zara!

    3. Hi Lyn :) Bit of a late response to your comment, better late than never though. I nearly disappeared again after my little comeback, thanks for your welcome. xx I never had a palm pilot, I think I wanted one, but I was too young and probably didn't have money of my own when they were a thing, I vaguely remember ogling them in the Argos catalogue or something like that :) I agree with you, I can't personally imagine opening up a planner plastered with prettiness (also no offence to people who can) but I have been know to press flowers now and then in between pages - Although I pressed a wild garlic flower recently and my journal was a bit whiffy, it had to go.

  4. These are some of the same thoughts that I have been having. I'm an aspiring (and not always very succsessfull) minimalist, and all the hype about buying all the time make me a little crancky.

    But, I do love the part of the community that is about support, creativity and getting interesting glimpses into other peoples lives, so I'm not leaving quite yet ;)

    1. Hi :) Thanks for your comment! I think online communities are, overall, a very positive thing. And just coming back now after a few years really of not being engaged I can see differences. The admin in main Filofax group I follow have been amazing in taking control of the content and making sure that the group remains useful, inspiring and balanced, which is great to see. The Midori Traveler's Notebook group I follow has also toned down with a lot of the things I disliked about it before. So yes, I'm happy to be back, and getting a feel for everything again. xx

  5. I appreciate all the ways in which each person expresses themselves because somehow that sticker, pink bow or expensive planner brings them joy. I cringe at shaming those who are different from what is preceived as the "organic righteous" way to plan. For me, as long as I can keep appointments and pen my blessings every day I'm pleased. My home office is pink, my hand bag is pink and one of my planners is pink, My halo is grey and I wear specs and smile at the diversity in planning.

    1. Haha :) I'm speaking to the original "Pink Lady" - I hope you don't think I was attempting to shame anyone though, I honestly didn't mean to, and I think that most people have understood what I was trying to express in the post. I totally agree with you in that creativity in itself and in all it's forms should be celebrated, and of course there is nothing wrong with any colour. An interesting point that has been made a few times in response to my blog now, is that at some point a few years back two very different communities sort of collided online. Two communities with very different purposes, and this essentially explains the inner conflict I, and many others experienced - The planning community with 'utility' as a purpose, and the scrapbooking community with decoration at the forefront.

      To be honest, in this post I am just expressing a personal journey, and one that seems to resonate with a lot of people because they have experienced something similar. Essentially I am wanting to explore how we use our different forms of self expression and organisation in order to better our lives, and just invite people to think about this too, because it's interesting :) xx

    2. Well said. I enjoyed your blog and understand where your coming from. I'm a planner and so far have never scrap booked, but if I come across anything Belle and Boo it's going into my personal brown ostrich by Van der Spek :-)

    3. Well said and it is very interesting, I'm always seeking ways to get better control of my time. I've never done scrap booking but if I run across a belle and boo sticker it's going in. I don't go anywhere without my planner, it's even on my night stand at night. What's that all about :-)

    4. On your night stand? Mine gets into bed with me ;) xx

  6. It's good to see you back :-) Here's to new beginnings!

    1. Hi :D And thanks :) New beginnings indeed xx


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