Did You Know Filofancy Is On Instagram?

So excited to celebrate Filofancy's first humble milestone on Instagram... We've finally got to 100 Followers!

It's true, Filofancy has been on Instagram for ages... but the account had been left sad and neglected for some time. I decided to change that. 

Recently I have been taking a more consistent and thoughtful approach to posting content on Instagram and engaging with other accounts, and it looks like it is paying off. It was very satisfying to see the number "100" appear at the top of my Instagram account this weekend.

To celebrate reaching my first 100 followers, I thought I would share a blog post showing some of my recent Instagrams posts, hoping to entice you to head over to Instagram and follow me too.

I am very much enjoying the houseplants theme that is emerging in my new planner. I absolutely love plants... perhaps even as much as I love planners. So it makes sense to merge the two and helps to make me feel more at home in my new planner, which I am still getting used to.

I am trying to think of a section that I can add to my planner that is dedicated to my houseplants. If you have any ideas let me know in the comments!

My pets (especially my cat Figpig) like to photobomb my planner pics. Often I don't notice that there is an animal limb or nose in the photo until I come to edit them, so I am learning to integrate my pets into the content instead of reshooting. 

Above you can see my naughty cat's paws. He was told off for walking all over my planner whilst I was trying to photograph it, and he clearly resorted to ruining my pic with his paws. But it actually turned out quite cute so I didn't crop them out.

I am attempting to develop a bit of Instagram aesthetic by utilising attractive props that have nothing to do with planning whatsoever. Then later I attempt to link it in to make it sound like including the prop was totally intentional. 

The shot at the top of this blog post of my planners stacked on a dish, for example, is very cute, but also quite random. So I clumsily attempted to connect the concept of a "platter of planners" to the fact that it was posted on Sunday when I should have been enjoying a Sunday roast or platter of chicken, but of course, being a crazy planner girl, I am enjoying a platter of planners (geddit?) 

I guess there is a reason that I have not been hired in any creative marketing kind of role. My ideas are a bit far-fetched.

I hope you head over to enjoy a daily dose of planner pics from me. I will be posting all sorts, from decorated planners to functional inserts, so you can get plenty of ideas for your own planner. I'm am even trying to get my head around Instagram Stories, Reels, and TV... Who knew social media was so complicated? 

Let me know in the comments what you like to see on your favourite Instagram accounts so that I can create more content that you will love.

I am also interested to know what your favourite planner content platforms are? Are you into the good old fashioned blog content? Do you enjoy watching planner flips and set-up videos on Youtube? Do you need a daily dose of #plannerlove on Instagram? Are you a "Facebook Groups" kinda person? Or are you super trendy (and young) and it's all about TikTok? 

At the moment Filofancy is purely a blog and Instagram account, with a very dormant Youtube account! 

Thanks for reading and commenting... feel free to share this post if you enjoyed it x

If you are thinking of purchasing any Filofax products and you have enjoyed reading my blog, click here to be taken to the Filofax website, and I will receive a lovely bit of revenue (at no extra cost to you) on any purchases that you make. Your support is always appreciated! 

Thank you, Zara M. | Filofancy, Life On Paper

Images & Illustrations by Zara M.

Rings Vs. Strings - Can't Choose Between A Filofax And A Traveler's Notebook?


Do you end up feeling frustrated because you can't seem to decide between a Filofax style ring binder, a Traveler's Notebook style cover, or a single bound notebook for your everyday planning system? Keep reading to find out how I aim to enjoy the best of both worlds in my new setup.

If you have followed my blog over the years you may already know that I have a love-hate relationship with Filofax ring planners. I have a fatal fascination for the ring planner system, but I have never been able to feel at home in one. 

Then I discovered the Midori Traveler's Notebook, all the way back when it was still called a "Midori", and I realised that I had discovered "planner peace". I happily settled into the lush leather notebook cover for all of my planning and journaling needs.

But every now and then I find myself tempted by new Filofax colours and designs, the allure of the coveted highly organised and attractive tabbed system, and the freedom to add and remove pages without making the planner look like a scrapbook.

I have always swiftly ended up moving straight back into my trusted Midori after a detour back into the ring planner realm. But here I find myself once more, with a brand new Filofax, many good intentions, and fear in my heart that I have yet again spent a fortune on a beautiful planner that I am never going to use.

I have decided to try something out though, in order for me to be able to enjoy the best of both worlds. Before we get into exactly what I am doing, why, and how, let's take a look at the pros and cons of the Filofax Vs. the Traveler's Notebook Vs. a single bound notebook.

The Appeal Of A Bound Notebook

I have always found comfort in a bound notebook style diary or planner because of the straightforward chronological and permanent nature of using a bound notebook. 

This probably stems from my Uni days when I used a simple black Moleskine Diary with the week on one page and a blank side on the other. 

The great thing about Moleskine I found was that it was smart, easy to fit in my bag amongst a tonne of other Uni stuff, and it did the job I needed it to do, which was to record assignments and deadlines, and provide plenty of space for doodling when I was bored during lectures!

I think there is also a kind of satisfaction that can be gained from working one's way through a bound notebook from start to finish throughout the year, whether it is in the form of a predated daily, weekly or monthly diary, or a more free-flowing bullet-journal-style planner.

The Charm Of A Traveler's Notebook

When I first acquired a Midori Traveler's Notebook it spoke to "the writer" in me because of its romantic old leather journal vibe. I fell in love with the leather cover and the fact that it was totally okay to get it scuffed up and worn in. It felt like a very personal belonging of mine that was going to grow with me as I used it, and for this reason, it was extremely easy to get attached to.

The fact that I could add as many notebooks as I needed meant that I could keep my planner and journal separate, but also keep them together in the same leather cover so that they felt like one. The notebook refill that I used as my main planner mimicked the design of the Moleskine that I was used to, and there was still space for other inserts I wanted to try out, like a sketchbook. It was, in my opinion, perfect.

The thing I have enjoyed most about journaling and planning in my Traveler's Notebook over the years is that I feel like I can be myself in it. I can be messy because I am not concerned about it looking perfect. I can express my creativity and allow it to gradually acquire a "lived-in" look and feel. Plus all of my notebook refills are the same size which has made storing them much easier and aesthetically pleasing. 

Each time I move into a new notebook refill, it gives me the opportunity to put a fresh spin on my setup with a new cover design too, which is fun and makes it feel like I have a brand new journal. Here are some of my old journal notebooks.

The Allure Of A Ring Planner

I feel like a ring planner is always going to look and feel more professional somehow than a Traveler's Notebook. When you take a Filofax out of your bag as opposed to a leather journal, it just looks like you mean business, even if your Filofax is bright pink with fluffy charms. I think it has something to do with it essentially being a binder. Binders are filing systems, and filing systems reflect organisation and order, with everything in its place and easy to reference.

I'm not a naturally orderly person, I am very creative, visual, and a bit scatter-brained. I tend to flow organically and make up my own order amidst the beautiful chaos. This has meant that whenever I have moved into a Filofax I have felt intimidated by the tabbed dividers. After using a Filofax for a little while I have ended up only using one or two sections for fear that I will lose or forget where I have put my information if I dare to file it away into the relevant section. This has led to a lack of connection and a general feeling of being a "lodger" in the Filofax, only taking up a small amount of space inside of it. 

I also have an obsession with getting each page to look perfect, whether I am creating a table, a list, or even just freeflow writing, I feel like it must be beautifully presented and coherent, like a school project. This makes the Filofax feel very unnatural for me to use because I tend to prefer to scribble and sketch and tape things in. For some reason, in a bound notebook, I am not concerned with things looking orderly, and I don't take a considered approach to my planning at all.

Here is an example of what a page in my planner looks like when I use my Traveler's Notebook. It is a kind of freeflow bullet-journal-esque method that may randomly change on the next page to something more structured or less structured depending on how I am feeling that day.

Why It Is Time For Me To Try Out A Filofax Again

The problem I have found with the system I have naturally developed is that because I have essentially merged my journal and my planner together I have also unintentionally merged the two, once separate, activities together. 

My planner has become less and less like a planner where I create goals, break them down into tasks, and plan ahead, and it has become more like a journal where I record things I have done afterwards, and reflect on life as I go. 

Sadly, as a result, I am actually using my journal less because it feels repetitive to reflect upon things in a long-form journal manner when I have already brain-dumped using mini-reflections and journal snippets amidst the pages of my planner.

So I have two options. Either I do away with the main journal and just keep a micro-journal incorporated into my weekly and monthly planner spreads, or I make a conscious effort to separate the two by introducing a separate planner and using it more efficiently.

I have decided to do the latter because I feel that proper journaling is important as a therapeutic tool for self-reflection, sorting and working through my thoughts and feelings, and maintaining good mental health. I also feel that proper planning is necessary because it gives us the opportunity to break down what we want to achieve and create a clear plan of action so that we can more effectively record our progress in different areas of our lives.

I struggle a lot in life with feeling a bit lost, disorganised and unsure of what I have achieved, so I think that addressing my journal and planner confusion may help me to create more clarity where I need it. 

So here are the products that I intend to use;

My Midori Traveler's Notebook leather cover with a single notebook insert to use as a journal (I have mercilessly ripped a Moleskine cahier down to size) will be used to write down all of my personal thoughts, talk about things I have been doing, explore feelings, and record memories. I can be as creative as I want, which means being able to fully express myself with artwork, stamps and stickers, doodles, sticking things to pages etc. but equally not feel pressured to do anything more than just write down whatever I need to get out of my head.

My new Original Filofax (charcoal personal size) from The Centennial Collection will strictly be used for breaking down goals, planning ahead, recording dates, tracking personal and professional progress, keeping tabs on my health, storing useful information, and generally everything you would expect to find in a personal planner when it is being used effectively.

Being a creative person I know that I will only respond to and enjoy using my planner if I find it attractive so there will be plenty of decorative keepsakes to give it that journal-vibe, but these are basically included in order to help me feel connected to the Filofax, and I may pair it down if I find it too distracting.

Here is a sneak peek inside my Filofax and TN. I've got a pretty Autumn theme which helps to make them both feel like they are connected even though they are separate and have different functions.

At some point, I want to record a video flip through and do a blog write-up of my full setup, but I will wait until I am more settled into my new system. In the meantime, if you are interested in seeing more of the inside of my Filofax and TN you can follow me on Instagram @filofancy where I'll be sharing snapshots of everyday usage.

I'm using the Centennial Keyring that Filofax sent me to hold all of my planner charms. Last Christmas my sister went crazy a bought me a whole box full of the cutest little planner charms. Far too many for me to use all at once, but swapping the charms is a nice way to refresh the feeling of my planner when I fancy a change. I've gone for some plant leaves and this little dragonfly because they look really vibrant and pretty against the dark charcoal leather and the gold matches the gold details on the Filofax.

The Centennial Collection by Filofax is a limited edition collection, so if you would like to own one of these planners to celebrate the 100 Year Anniversary of Filofax head over to the website now to see what is remaining!

So tell me, have you found planner peace? What is your favourite system for planning? Do you like to journal separately or incorporate your reflections into your daily planner? I'd love to hear about your thoughts and methods, so please take the time to leave a comment under the blog post.

What To Read Next...

Have you checked out the contents page in my blog menu? I have lots more interesting content for you to browse through, so why not take a look after you have left your comment? Here is a direct link to the contents page!

Thanks for reading and commenting... feel free to share this post if you enjoyed it x

If you are thinking of purchasing any Filofax products and you have enjoyed reading my blog, click here to be taken to the Filofax website, and I will receive a lovely bit of revenue (at no extra cost to you) on any purchases that you make. Your support is always appreciated! 

Thank you, Zara M. | Filofancy, Life On Paper

Images & Illustrations by Zara M.

A Review Of The Original Personal Organiser In Charcoal | Filofax Centennial Collection

I'm so glad I don't work in retail anymore. You know how there is always that one customer who is appalled by everything, rants and raves, insists on speaking with a manager, but ends up leaving all smiles and full of praise after being sucked up to and given a gift bag full of consolation goodies for the so-called trauma the store has put them through? Well, I feel like that customer might have been me this week...

A Lovely Experience With Filofax UK Online Customer Services

I would just like to say that Filofax offers an awesome online customer service experience here in the UK, I can't criticise it in any way. 

The lady dealing with my complaints has been extremely professional and efficient, despite my initial email being charged with perhaps a little more emotion than was necessary - I don't take disappointment well, and I did feel a bit like a child who had received her toys from Santa without batteries. Essentially I was resentful that I'd have to send my birthday present back.

The customer service lady offered me suitable solutions though, kept me updated every step of the way, and within two days I had my replacement Filofax and a 20% discount refunded to my Paypal account for the inconvenience of having to return the faulty one. 

I have also been assured that a matching charcoal keyring from the Centennial Collection is on its way to me as further compensation, which I appreciated. Small gestures can be surprisingly effective in helping to heal wounded expectations and repair the brand-customer relationship. So thank you very much for that experience to the lady from Filofax.

Disappointed By A Faulty Centennial Filofax

Having commended Filofax for its customer service doesn't change the fact that I had to contact them in the first place though. 

If you have read my previous blog post you will know that I shared my initial impressions of The Centennial Collection, which were quite critical. I was confused by the design choices made for The Centennial Collection, and I felt that as a celebration of Filofax's 100 Year Anniversary, the collection fell short of my personal expectations. So as you can imagine, it was all the more disappointing when I purchased the limited edition Filofax for my birthday, it arrived, and I had to send it straight back because it was faulty.

I was nervous as soon as the parcel came to my door because of the choice of packaging. The sad-looking "padded" brown envelope (it was a little flat) had come unstuck and was open at one end. Inside the envelope, the corner of the black outer box had been crushed slightly due to the lack of padding. Luckily this hadn't affected the hard presentation box inside, and the Filofax itself was still well protected. 

I think that the choice of packaging was flippant, especially for an expensive limited edition product, and I certainly wouldn't have been happy if the presentation box had arrived damaged, even if only a little, because I intend to keep and use the presentation box. Who doesn't love a decent box? (The replacement Filofax was sent in a proper brown cardboard box packaging with much more protection, so that was good).

Needless to say, my fears were not over. My Filofax, edition #454 was indeed faulty. I couldn't believe it. And what's worse was that the main feature, that had attracted me to begin with, and led to my purchase of the Filofax, was the very thing that was faulty. Can you guess what it was? Yes, the beautiful gold rings, every single one of them, had gaps! I could stick my fingernail through the gaps. 

I felt pretty let down. I knew, obviously, that I would readily be issued a replacement if I contacted the customer service team, but that wasn't the point. This was my birthday present, it was a limited edition Filofax, and its main feature is the gold rings. How could this have happened? Am I naive to think that there is a dedicated team at Filofax that conducts quality checks before popping the finished product into the box? Or is it all machines, robots, and conveyor belts these days?

To top it off there was a further fault. I noticed that the strap was attached to the back of the Filofax at a slight angle. This meant that when I closed the Filofax it seemed to me like the top was closed a bit tighter than the bottom, resulting in some flaring of the cover and a sense of the planner being uneven when closed. 

I did take a picture, but I'm not 100% convinced that I wasn't being totally paranoid or crazy. After seeing the glaring gaps in the rings I may have inspected the rest of the Filofax to within an inch of its life. Maybe I wouldn't have noticed the wonky strap if it hadn't have been for the faulty rings.

Despite all of the drama, I am now very happy though. Well, I am happy as I can be after my week of Filofax ranting. I should be careful, I'll get a name for myself as Filofancy The Furious! Is it bad that I was annoyed when my replacement Filofax arrived without the complimentary keyring? It's not like I am particularly excited by the keyring. I didn't purchase one after all. But after being offered the free gift, I jolly well want it now. Free gifts do funny things to people. Be patient Zara, It's coming.

I have the replacement Filofax in my possession and it appears to be in perfect condition. So now I can get on with my review...

My Updated Thoughts On The Centennial Filofax

As promised, now that I have held the Filofax in my hands, thoroughly inspected it from all angles, posed with it in the mirror, and introduced it to my other Filofaxes, here are my updated thoughts on the Centennial Filofax...

Putting my thoughts about the collection as a whole and its significance (or lack of) as a celebration of Filofax's 100 Year Anniversary aside, I do actually rather like it. I mean, it doesn't rock my world, but I do like it. I'm glad I chose the charcoal, personal-sized option. The colour is very smart, and the bigger rings make it feel more substantial, yet strangely compact at the same time. If anyone can explain that contradiction to me I'd be grateful, it's a bit weird, but it is what it is. It is very pleasing to hold in the hand, and it lays completely flat on the table when opened up.

I was initially concerned that the "golden" stitching would make the Filofax look garish, or that the contrast of gold thread against the darker charcoal leather would cause any unevenness in the stitching to be more noticeable. I can honestly say that I don't have a problem with the stitching at all. The stitching isn't perfect, but it doesn't bother me as much as thought it might. The colour is completely inoffensive. In fact, I don't even know if I'd describe it as "gold". It's a golden-yellow shade that I find complements the charcoal well. I was also worried that the charcoal might be either too dark or too blue, but it is a lovely shade of grey that I think sets off the gold popper on the strap beautifully. I feel like it's kind of an unusual shade of grey actually. It has a dusky vibe to it that I like a lot.

This isn't a Filofax that I look at and think WOW, I love it so much, I could never part with it. I think it would have to be made of a particularly lovely leather for me to fall head over heels in love. It will be interested to see how it ages. The Charcoal Original definitely suits my current mood and style though, which is why I think I was attracted to it at this moment in time. I'm glad I have it. I like the fact that its simplicity means that I have the choice to glam it up with accessories if I'm feeling special, or keep things cool and neutral, letting the charcoal and gold accents speak for themselves. 

I think that this is the kind of planner that serves as a bit of a blank canvas for you to put your own spin on it. I have had a strong feeling that it's going to work well with the colours and themes I'm into at the moment. In my flat I have a very large window with grey curtains and many hanging plants, I find the combination of grey and green to be very calming. So I am looking forward to filling the Filofax up with elements of nature. The gold rings are really going to help bring it all together. I am excited to show you what I have come up with. Let me know if you would like to see a video.

Pros And Cons Of The Centennial Filofax

I do have one or two criticisms now that I have seen and handled the Filofax in person. Despite the bigger rings, the strap on the personal size is the same length as the personal-sized Originals with smaller rings. I guess this means that even though there is more capacity for inserts with the 30mm rings, the more you put into this Filofax the tighter it is going to be to close because the strap length may not be long enough to accommodate it. This will especially be the case if the pen loop is used. I don't know to what extent this is going to be a problem for me, or whether it is a problem at all until I have been using the Filofax for a while.

The other criticism I have is that the elastic pen loop on the personal-sized Centennial is actually quite a bit wider than on the normal Original. You can see from the picture below that it is 5mm wider, which makes it jut out from the side of the planner a bit, and because the stitching of the pen loop hasn't moved along, the wider pen loop will be looser and won't be suitable for slimmer pens without clips as they will slip out too easily. Although you might be able to squeeze two slimmer pens or pencils into the loop instead, but I imagine that is going to start causing problems when closeing the organiser.

The reason it has been designed this way is to accommodate for the wider rings pushing the paper inserts further out towards the edge of the Filofax, making less space for a pen to fit when the Filofax is closed. I think they should have moved the stitching along though so that the size of the pen loop stayed the same. The benefit of having a smaller elastic pen loop is that it can hold slim pens or pencils, and also stretch for thicker pens.

I have purchased The matching Centennial Pen. It fits and stays put in the loop due to the fact that it has a tight clip that grips onto the elastic. I guess we will just have to be more mindful of what kind of pen we want to live in the Filofax if any.

The main functional pro that I could think of about the Centennial Filofax is that it comes with minimal planner inserts, which are such an improvement, in my opinion. I have always hated the blue font on the Filofax inserts. The minimal inserts are really lovely and simple, like a blank canvas. Alas, it doesn't start until 2022, so I have to wait 4 months before I can use them. In case you haven't already noticed, I'm not a very patient person. I do prefer to design and draw out my own insert layouts though, so I may not even end up using the 2022 minimal diary.

I also quite like the fact that they have provided some plain white card dividers that can be easily customised or left plain. They are great to use as a template too, for anyone who wants to make their own dividers. I have a feeling that the tabs, despite being nice and slim, may get in the way of a pen if the pen loop is used, and because these dividers are cardboard, despite them being fairly sturdy, the tabs are likely to get bent or damaged. It will be interesting to see how long they hold up.

The ruler matches my Filofax because I have the charcoal planner. I think it is the same colour ruler for all three coloured Filofaxes. There is a very soft and flexible clear top-loading envelope, and of course, the jot pad at the back. The pen is a black rollerball pen. It writes very smoothly and doesn't bleed through the Filofax economy pack of paper, which is great because that is what I like to use in my Filofax. It's a nice weight. I only bought the pen because I wanted to celebrate my birthday with a matching gift set, otherwise, I wouldn't have bothered as I don't find it that attractive in itself. It's nice to have it though, as it is engraved on the gold pen hook with Filofax 100 Years, and it does look smart in the matching Filofax.

Oh yes, and I almost forgot about the free tote. It's quite a small bag but very well made. Some cloth totes are flimsy but this one is made of a thick canvas material that holds its shape well. The straps are fairly short but they fit over the shoulder nicely. I am finding that because it is black it picks up pet hairs easily. I'm not sure if I will use it outside often, but I am sure I will find a use for it inside the home, maybe in my wardrobe to keep my socks together.

*Update - I have now also received the Charoal Mini Filofax Keyring. Its rather cute, and I am actually really enjoying having the full set of matching Filofax, pen, and keyring! It's a fun novelty item that I wouldn't have normally bought for myself, so I am pleased to be given the opportunity to own one, with it being a free gift from Filofax for having to return the other organiser.

Would I Recommend The Centennial Collection?

I think that if you like the look of this collection then go for it, treat yourself. You already know what to expect from The Originals and it's not every day that Filofax releases a planner with gold rings. The Centennial Collection is not going to appeal to everyone of course, but I think that a lot of people are going to enjoy it because it was, in Filofax's words, "designed with today's users in mind". 

I just hope that other people don't have to experience the disappointment of having to return a faulty planner, because, for a limited edition, I just don't think that's acceptable. I would have liked to know what will happen to my poor #454 but I wasn't given any further information. There are only 750 of these being made so what happens to a limited edition when it is faulty? Does it get repaired and resold? Will it be saved until all the excitement is over and then resold at a discounted price? I now own #701 and the fate of #454 will remain unknown. 

I don't really have anything else to say about The Centennial Filofax, so I am going to wrap this post up. I will be back soon to show you how I have set my goodies up. In the meantime, let me know your thoughts on The Centennial Collection in the comments. Did you purchase something from the collection for yourself? If not, what would you have preferred to see in the collection? Has anyone else had any problems with their limited edition Filofax? Has anyone received a unique number?

Thanks for reading and commenting... feel free to share this post if you enjoyed it x

If you are thinking of purchasing any Filofax products and you have enjoyed reading my blog, click here to be taken to the Filofax website, and I will receive a lovely bit of revenue (at no extra cost to you) on any purchases that you make. Your support is always appreciated! 

Thank you, Zara M. | Filofancy, Life On Paper
Images & Illustrations by Zara M.

Happy 100 Year Anniversary Filofax!

Filofax's 100 Year Anniversary... I can't believe that Filofax is a century-old!

I have indeed placed an order for a personal-sized Filofax from the new Centennial Collection in the colour charcoal, along with the matching pen. I couldn't resist. But... and I feel a bit bad for saying this, is it just me, or was anyone else a little underwhelmed by The Centennial Collection? 

I love Filofax, and the collection itself is very pretty... but to mark 100 years? I couldn't help but feel a bit confused at how Filofax has chosen to commemorate the brand's 100 Year Anniversary. For such a significant milestone, I'm afraid to say, The Centennial Collection fell short of my expectations.

I'll tell you why, despite my criticisms, I decided to purchase the Filofax, but I want to focus primarily, in this post, on my thoughts about the collection as a whole. These are of course just my own thoughts, feelings and ideas, and I'd love to hear yours in the comments section below. Maybe for you, it was love at first sight? 

So let's have a closer look at it, shall we?

Filofax's Centennial Collection In A Nutshell

Essentially the Centennial Collection consists of The Original Filofax design in three new colours, with gold trimmings, matching pens, matching mini Filofax keyrings, a set of minimalist inserts, and stickers.

Filofax has played it safe by sticking to a simple and muted colour palette with the two pastel shades of "powder blue" and "blush", offering the "Charcoal" as a darker option, although still a soft and neutral one.

The design is exactly the same as The Original aside from the fact that it has been glammed up with gold stitching, a gold snap fastener, and slightly wider gold rings in the personal and A5 sizes.

My First Impressions Of The Centennial Collection By Filofax

When I first saw The Centennial Collection by Filofax my initial thought was -  Oh, not another "Original". 

The Filofax Originals are very beautiful, and the wide variety of colours are enticing, but I have always had mixed feelings about the structural design of the inside covers. I have never been able to get my head or heart around the inner elastic strap (although many people seem to like this), the position of the pen hoop, or the backless side-inserted card slots. I have also never been a fan of the jot pad that Filofax tucks away at the back of the Originals, particularly because they don't seem to offer refills on the website, which I find very strange. 

Many years ago I bought matching patent Fuchsia Original Filofaxes in both personal-size and A5. I was enamoured by the fantastic colour and fun shiny leather, but sadly I ended up reselling both of them in the end. I published two videos on the Filofancy Youtube channel at the time of purchasing, many years ago now, in which I ranted about the inside design, and then followed up with some of the solutions to my rants after feeling bad about whinging for a whole video! You can watch the first one here, and the second one here. They're a bit embarrassing. I then posted a hopeful setup video here before giving up completely and selling it on Ebay. I had to be true to myself in the end, and at the time The Original Filofax in patent fuchsia just wasn't for me.

I have managed to resist purchasing the "Original" again since then, despite the release of many attractive colours. So to see that Filofax has essentially recycled the design once more, with a few aesthetic upgrades, to be frank, was disappointing. I think this was more the case because I had expected something really special and unique to commemorate the Filofax 100 Year Anniversary. 100 years is a big deal, right?

Saying all of this, every time I look at pictures of The Centennial Collection, I warm to it more and more. I can't help but wonder though, if this is just because I have been brainwashed into thinking that anything in a muted or pastel colour, or with a minimalist feminine design is on-trend, highly desirable, and representative of the young, successful female I long to be? Filofax certainly knows their main customer, and I feel that perhaps The Centennial Collection has been designed solely with "her" in mind. Indeed, when introducing the collection on their social media platforms the announcement states; 

"The wait is over! Celebrate our 100-year anniversary with the Filofax Centennial Collection, a limited-edition capsule designed to pay homage to our rich brand history with today's users in mind."⠀

The fact that Filofax chose The Original as a representation of 100 years of both tradition and innovative design left me considering the direction we might see the brand continue to evolve in over the next decade. I am concerned that the brand's original customer is being marginalised with the majority of their marketing now being directed towards the younger and more "stylish" or fashionable female consumer, as is clear to see when browsing through the website.

Why I Found Filofax's Centennial Collection Disappointing

I can't help but wonder if Filofax must have excess "Original" blanks that they need to keep putting a new spin on in order to shift the overstock. This was my feeling when they seemed to randomly come out with the new "Planner Queen" editions, which I felt were unnecessary, and The Centennial Collection feels no different.

To be fair, the colour palette of The Centennial Collection is pretty, minimal and coherent. I do like it. There is nothing overtly offensive about it unless you are anti-pastel/anti-gold. The gold rings, popper, and stitching save the planners from being considered entirely too bland for a celebratory collection. For an occasion as significant as the 100th Anniversary, I just wish that there was more to it.

I thought that more attention could have been paid to the presentation/packaging and accessories to set the collection apart from the rest of the Originals, although the representatives of the brand didn't think so when they wrote this in one of their Instagram posts;

"We can't get enough of the Centennial Collection! Its packaging is as irresistible as the collection itself (...) Every organiser from the Filofax Centennial Collection has been carefully designed and it will arrive at your doorstep inside a deluxe black box with gold details."⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀

The packaging of the planners consists of a plainly designed black box with barely-there gold-foil dots printed over it and the brand name and the "100 Years" logo printed in an understated manner in the centre of the box cover. Inside there is white paper, again printed in an understated manner with the gold dots, brand name, and the "100 Years" logo, and it is sealed over the planner with a gold circular sticker that says "Celebrating 100 Years". 

The presentation as a whole is simple, smart, and classy in an understated way. Alas, in context with the 100 Years Anniversary I am sad to say that for me it was unremarkable. For Filofax's 75th Anniversary they released a Special Edition boxed ‘Grace Scurr’ Filofax. The presentation box was made of wood, I believe with a blue velvet interior, and the planner was presented opened up fully and held in with a blue ribbon. 

In my opinion, something similar for the 100 Year Anniversary would have been a collector's piece to treasure. But instead, Filofax has decided not to market their Centennial Collection towards their collectors. Instead of designing a beautiful keepsake box, they are instead offering a free cloth tote when you make your purchase on the Filofax website. This struck me as a bit random, although, upon reflection, I suppose you could say it's a planet-friendly option, who doesn't love a cute reusable cloth tote? 

Are Other People Disappointed In Filofax's Centennial Collection?

Obviously, there are going to be loads of positive reviews and people who have fallen head over heels in love with the Centennial Collection, because it has indeed been designed to please the majority of today's modern consumers in the planner community. 

Alas, I feel like Filofax have really offered nothing new for collectors, or people who appreciate the history and tradition of the brand, to appreciate in this limited edition collection. Everything that is included in the collection feels like recycled ideas and gimmicks, from the design and vibe of the planner itself to the pens, stickers and keyrings. I feel that there should be at least something special and unique that stands out and makes the collection feel more like a limited edition and a proper celebration of 100 years of Filofax, and I am not the only one who thinks this.

I have been observing some of the responses to The Centennial Collection online, and it is clear that there are people who feel that Filofax has excluded its loyal older followers (in terms of time and not necessarily age), and many of its male customers, by creating a Centennial Collection that appeals to the "current customer", who may less likely be a customer who nurtures an appreciation or even awareness of the brand's history. 

This is such a shame as it is the loyal, older, traditional users and collectors who are genuinely interested in celebrating Filofax's 100 Year Anniversary, and not just interested in buying into the current trend. I am worried that this choice could signify the demise of the brand's historical and sentimental importance. Has Filofax become just another high street, disposable-fashion chameleon brand? What are your thoughts on this? Have you felt excluded from the party? Has it affected how you feel about your own loyalty to the brand moving forward?

There has also been some concern about the quality of the planners, with people noticing inconsistencies in the stitching from photographs and questioning whether the choice of thread is causing the problem. I am looking forward to receiving my Filofax so that I can tell you what I think. If anybody else has purchased a Filofax from the collection and has already received it, please let us know in the comments what you think about the quality of the stitching and gold thread!

Why I Decided To Purchase a Filofax From The Centennial Collection

I am feeling nervous about having spent more than £100 on a Filofax and matching pen, considering that I am not in love with them yet. Normally I wouldn't have even considered purchasing a Filofax that I hadn't been drooling over for weeks online. 

I am concerned that the interior structural design is going to bother me again. They haven't redesigned the interior layout after all, so I am curious to see if I have changed my mind about it. I am worried that I won't like the gold stitching and that the contrast of the gold against the dark charcoal leather may emphasise any inconsistencies and make the stitching appear uneven. It has also crossed my mind that Filofax may not have taken into consideration that the wider rings may need a long strap to fasten the planner together comfortably when it is full. I won't know until I see it in person.

Despite my fears, there were a few things that influenced me to throw caution to the wind and part with my money...

Firstly, it's the 100th Anniversary of Filofax! That fact has definitely given me rose-coloured glasses and I have found myself swimming in a pool of sentimentality. I think I just kind of wanted to be involved. I have always had a soft spot for the Filofax brand, even though I have struggled over the years to find "planner peace", and I have gone through many short-lived phases of being actively involved with the online Filofax and planner community. Sure I could just do a write-up on my blog to mark the occasion, but I wanted a little bit more; a collector's item to put on my shelf, even if I don't end up using it as my everyday planner, and even if it doesn't really live up to my expectations of a stunning collector's item.

The second factor to influence me is a big one... in a few weeks time, it will be my birthday! I have been on the lookout for something special to treat myself to, and the thought of having a brand new limited edition matching Filofax and pen pushed me towards the edge. I will be turning 38, and I'm not thrilled about it, so I guess you could say that my weakness got the better of me. It's all about the guilty pleasures these days. I am heading in the direction of my forties... have I basically been the victim of an expert marketing strategy that has sold me a product that will make me feel like the person I want to be... that young, successful female? Oh, dear.

But I'll be honest, the deciding factor for me going ahead and purchasing a Filofax that I'm not one hundred per cent sure I'm going to even like, was that Filofax states they offer "zero-hassle returns". So if I am not excited enough by the planner when it is in my hands, or any of my doubts have not been resolved, I can very easily return my order and receive a full refund. I definitely wouldn't have made the purchase otherwise, it would be far too expensive a  mistake. If I do end up returning it, I might consider swapping it for something else. 

Things I Do Like About The Centennial Collection

I have talked a lot about my reservations about The Centennial Collection, and my thoughts about this collection as a marker of 100 years have been quite critical, which I am feeling a bit guilty about that, because I like to be an advocate of the brand. But this is my personal blog and I also like to be honest. I do like the collection itself, as I have already expressed, and most of my complaints are related to it not living up to my expectations as a collection designed for Filofax's 100 Year Anniversary. 

I hope to be pleased with my Filofax and the matching pen when I get them. Sometimes you don't know whether you are truly going to like something until it is in front of you, right? I don't know if you remember the time, many years ago now when I was strolling around Paperchase and I stumbled upon a gem of a Filofax planner - The Chocolate Aston. Here is an extract from the blog post to jog your memory (or you can read the full post via the link above);
"I picked up this ordinary looking Aston Filofax and was immediately taken aback. It felt... right. Suddenly the rich dark chocolate colour was just so... me (...) It fitted into my palm so comfortably that I had to have a private moment with the Aston right then and there, whilst standing in the middle of Paperchase, with the Security Guard overlooking suspiciously, as my eyes rolled back and my fingers fondled the merchandise."

I don't know whether I am going to fall in love with a Filofax until I meet it face to face. True love often catches me off-guard. I am hoping that my experience of the Centennial Filofax will be a positive one once I have held it in my hands.

I quite liked all of the colour options, and I was tempted to go for one of the other colours, but I have been burned before by the temptation to "go girly" when I bought my first Filofax Original in patent Fuchsia. It was a stunning pink and I loved it to bits, but it never felt like me. I need things to be simple and not too distracting when it comes to my planner, otherwise, I end up spending hours trying to "style" the thing so that it feels right, rather than actually using it. I tend to be attracted to all things grey. There is something neutral, cool, and calming about different shades of grey. I just hope that this shade of grey isn't too blue.

I was also tempted to go for the pocket-size planner as I haven't had one for many years. The only pocket-size I have ever owned was my Pocket Guildford - here is a small extract from my very early post about it;

"I was fifteen. A girl in my class had one, she was a girl I respected and I wanted to be respected too. So I purchased my first planner... A Pocket Guildford Filofax."

I like to design and draw out my own inserts though and I use the economy packets of plain white paper that Filofax makes for the personal size, so I decided against the pocket and I went for the personal size instead. If I were to have a pocket planner I'd probably want to use it as a wallet so it would need to have more card slots, a zipped section for coins, and a long back pocket for notes, which my old Guildford had. It was the perfect wallet Filofax, why did I sell it? Has anyone else desperately wished they hadn't sold old Filofaxes? I had a beautiful wine coloured Holborn zipped personal Filofax that you just can't find now, I check Ebay all the time.

The thing I probably like most about the Centennial planners is the gold rings. If they didn't have gold rings I think I'd have gone for a plain matt black Original Filofax instead. Actually, if I decide to return my Centennial that will be one of the Filofaxes I consider swapping it for. I know it seems boring, but I love black. It's classic. The black Original has black stitching too, which I think I might prefer. I'll have to see the gold stitching in person to be sure.

Until my birthday present arrives though, we'll just have to wait and see. In the meantime, to round up this post, I have come up with some improvements I think could have been made to the Centennial Collection to help it stand out from the rest of the Originals and be more of a special edition! Obviously I am no product designer and my ideas are just humble ideas that appeal to me personally. So keep reading, let me know what you think, and if you have any suggestions of your own, share them in the comments at the end of the post.


5 Ideas To Make The Centennial Collection More Unique

  • Pattern Debossed Leather - I think that a patch or single panel of leather, probably on the corner or inside of the planner, that has been debossed with some kind of pattern, could have helped to elevate the design and make this edition of The Original feel more like a statement collection, marking the occasion with an extra bit of indulgence.
  • A Protective Cloth Pouch - A simple, but thoughtfully designed pouch or dust bag might have been appreciated by anyone who, like me, had considered purchasing one of the pale colours, but instead decided to settle for the darker one for fear of the leather being more easily marked. I know it comes with the free cloth tote, but a fitted pouch would have served this purpose well.
  • An Enamelled Pin Badge Or Planner Charm - Instead of offering more keyrings, a different kind of keepsake would have been more exciting. Pin badges are fun and it would have been the perfect opportunity to design something cute that people could wear or even pin to their free cloth tote to acknowledge the Filofax 100 Year Anniversary. Planner charms have also been really popular for some time now. I don't think we really needed another mini Filofax keyring, did we? They don't sell post-it refills for them either.
  • Inside Covers Redesign - It wouldn't have had to be a radical difference, but I think it would have been more interesting to see one or two alterations in the structural layout design of the inside covers, just enough to make us feel like we aren't simply purchasing another "Original". Personally, I'd prefer top-loading card slots, more than just two, and with backing inside so that I can use the pockets to store things other than cards without them disappearing into the large pocket behind. 
  • Unique Collector's Presentation Keepsake Box - I am the sort of person that will keep and reuse a beautiful presentation box, and I love it when products I buy come with really beautiful packaging, especially when it is to mark a special occasion or edition. I also think that a decent presentation box is essential in conveying the significance of a product such as an anniversary edition. It also makes the shopping experience all the more enjoyable and memorable. 

Well, that's all from me for now. If after I receive my charcoal Centennial Filofax I decide to keep it I will be back with some updates and you can find out if any of my opinions have changed. I might even shoot a little video showing my setup, so let me know if you'd like to see that. I haven't done a video in a really long time and I'm much more nervous and self-conscious about being on camera now that I am older, but it might be fun to do.

Thanks for reading and commenting... feel free to share this post if you enjoyed it x

If you are thinking of purchasing any Filofax products and you have enjoyed reading my blog, you can click on any of the images in this post to be taken straight to the Filofax website, and I will receive a lovely bit of revenue (at no extra cost to you) on any purchases that you make. Your support is always appreciated! 

Thank you, Zara M. | Filofancy, Life On Paper
Product images courtesy of the Filofax website, and illustrated by Zara M.

How To Make Handmade Stickers At Home


Watercolour Butterfly Stickers - for your journal or planner

Handmade Sketchy Watercolour Stickers

Have you ever found yourself searching online for the perfect stickers but not been able to find quite what you are looking for? 

I'm an arty person, I love to draw and paint, and what I really wanted to find were some beautiful sketchy watercolour stickers to brighten up my Midori Traveller's Notebook journal and Filofax planner.

I couldn't find anything that spoke to me and so I decided to make my own!

Alas, I don't have a printer or a cutting machine, which are basic requirements for sticker making and extremely expensive, but I wasn't going to let that stop me. 

So I googled ways to make homemade stickers without the use of technology and I came up with an ingenious method, which I am going to share with you below.

Face Planner Stickers - for journaling or mood tracking

How To Make Your Own Planner Stickers Without A Printer 

Firstly you have to design your stickers. 

Not everyone is an artist though so keep it simple, and if you really do suck when it comes to drawing or painting, just flip through a magazine, you are sure to find some fun designs to cut out for your stickers!

I experimented with some watercolour paintings of butterflies and nature-themed doodles, some sketchy crow drawings, handwritten quotes, inspirational words, and some fun expressive face characters so that I can show what mood I'm in.

Crow Journal Stickers - for scrapbooks and junk journals

Homemade Sticker Supplies (No Printer Or Cutting Machine) 

Next, you will want to make sure you have the following supplies to make your stickers:

  • Baking Paper
  • Clear Packing Tape (I went for extra wide)
  • Scissors

Yep, that's it! Keep reading, because this is where the real magic begins...

Watercolour Humming Bird Stickers - journal, planner, junk journal, scrapbook

Method | Making Journal Stickers At Home

Step 1: Lay your baking paper out on a flat, hard surface, like a table (obviously)

Step 2: Cover it in tape, sticky side down

Step 3: Cut your sticker designs out and lay them face-up on top

Step 4: Use tape over the top of your designs to stick them down

Step 5: Smooth out any air bubbles

Step 6: Carefully cut around each design leaving a border so that your sticker doesn't fall apart

Step 7: Now you have beautiful homemade stickers with a peelable backing (the baking paper!)

Planner Stickers for Mood Tracker

I was so impressed with the outcome that I ended up making far too many. I won't have to buy any stickers for a long time now!

A Few Tips:

  • If you use thin paper your stickers will be more flexible and less likely to unstick if your pages bend
  • If you use thicker paper (like cartridge paper) your stickers will feel and look more premium
  • Less textured paper will look better underneath the clear tape
  • Make sure you use high-quality tape so that it is nice and sticky
  • Only use your own designs if you intend to sell your stickers like me
  • Don't expect to make any profit - the time it takes to design, make and cut them all out will depress you if you have to do it over and over and over again. Unless you are crazy like me. If you want to start a sticker business I'd suggest getting a printer and cutting machine and design your stickers digitally
  • Get your kids involved! This makes the perfect rainy day project :)

P.S. If you have kids you might be interested in my other blog post where I share an inspiring flip through of a fun little planner I put together for my 12-year-old niece...  

So there you have it. 

I have had SO much fun making my own stickers. I hope that you have fun too!

Thanks for reading and commenting... feel free to share this post if you enjoyed it x

Do I Like The Filofax Garden Collection?


Filofax The Garden Collection

It has to be said, I really am a "Crazy Plant Lady". I live in a one-room studio flat in London and I have more than 50 houseplants. No exaggeration. In fact, the two things I am looking forward to most are the end of lockdown and the growing season, so that I can go to my favourite garden centres and buy more plants. 

Actually, my plant obsession is far worse than my Filofax obsession. I know, it's blasphemous to say that on here. What am I doing running a planner blog? I should be writing about monstera deliciosas, fertilizer, and terracotta vs. plastic pots.

You can imagine my delight when I first laid my eyes on The Garden Collection by Filofax. I WANT! ...was my first instinct, which I suspect was the brand's main aim when designing this attractive collection. I resisted the indulgence though, because I have learned over the years that I am a one-planner girl, and despite trying a few out, pretty planners aren't really my thing. 

However... that doesn't mean I don't want to gush about this new collection, because it is gorgeous. I have lots to say about it, so keep reading.

Filofax Garden Planners With Inverted Designs!

Filofax Garden Collection Planners

I really like the fact that Filofax is offering two versions of this planner with almost inverted designs. I can see that many planner people today love variety, and it is common to swap in and out of planners to suit the mood or season like we do with clothes!

I don't do this myself (with clothes or planners) because I'm boring and I get sentimental about the planner and system that works best for me. The customers of today though don't seem to be precious about sticking to a single identity, and Filofax has been cashing in on this fact for a while now. They come out with a variety of fun designs sporadically that are not only seasonal but also very affordable, making it even easier for planner addicts to satisfy their addictions and grow their collections. Hats off to Filofax!

I think that the inverted designs that Filofax has gone for in this collection are great. My favourite is the dark green one because it feels more "planty" to me and the pink interior is a pretty contrast. The alternative design has a lovely spring feel to it, which I think will appeal to lots of you as the weather continues to get milder and the sun begins to shine. Which is your favourite and why? Tell me in the comments below!

Filofax Are Now Doing More Themed Accessories!

Filofax Garden Collection Accessories

This might be the thing I like most about the new collections that Filofax is bringing out at the moment. In fact, I am surprised that Filofax hasn't latched onto this sooner... Stickers, washi tape, sticky notes, matching pens, cute dividers, and stencils... and the zipped pen case is spot on! This is what the planner world today is really about - It is what's inside of our planners and how we use them that counts the most. You guys want functional planner supplies that are as attractive as your actual planner. Am I right? 

I remember a time when the online planner community made a shift from being just functional to also being decorative and a means of self-expression and creativity. Suddenly I was seeing decorated planner spreads, featuring heavily with stickers and washi tape. I have noticed that the trend is edging towards minimalist and more coordinated designs now. The collections that Filofax are coming out with appeal to our need to be more organised in a visual way due to the chaotic nature of our lives, whilst still enjoying some creativity and self-expression.

We have had to embrace a new way of doing and thinking about things due to all of the restrictions of pandemic life. There has been a stronger focus on the home with new work-from-home set-ups, online businesses and homeschooling during lockdowns. For many of us having a planner system that we want to use makes us feel positive and less overwhelmed as we can see what needs to be done without too much distraction. All of this is becoming more and more important.

My Conclusion

I hope that Filofax continue to build on their accessories and planning supplies. You can see how much the brand's identity is changing with many of their new products becoming more and more accessible to people due to the variety of designs and products, not to mention the lower prices. Filofax seems to be maintaining the quality of their products too which is great.

It has been nice to see them targeting a much younger audience, particularly those still in education, with the notebook ranges and customizable clipbooks. I just hope that those of us who prefer a more traditional and classic look and approach to planning, and especially men who enjoy using planners, don't get left behind. The look and feel of the Filofax website these days are certainly leaning far more towards the younger and feminine side, that's for sure.

Will I be treating myself to anything from The Garden Collection? Well, I might be tempted to make a few naughty purchases when I get some money through, I'm pretty broke at the moment. The garden-themed zipped pen case insert was what I was most attracted to. The washi tapes and pen are cute too. Filofax, if you are reading this, feel free to get in touch to send freebies for reviewing - I use an A5 Filofax planner!

And the last word for my readers - Don't forget to comment below if you enjoyed reading this, and share your own impressions of The Garden Collection and similar collections that have followed. Would you like to read a post on those? Let me know what your ideas are on what my next post should be about!

Filofax Garden Collection Shop Now

If you are thinking of purchasing any Filofax products and you have enjoyed reading my blog, you can click on any of the images in this post to be taken straight to the Filofax website, and I will receive a lovely bit of revenue (at no extra cost to you) on any purchases that you make. Your support is always appreciated! Thank you, Zara M. | Filofancy, Life On Paper

Product images courtesy of Filofax.

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