Wednesday, 31 August 2011

Stationery kleptomania!

Today we have a guest post from Angela who has the blog Paper Love Story. Angela is a twenty year old who flits between the city of London and the countryside of the East Midlands in the UK. She blogs about fashion, stationery, things relating to paper and life in general.

As a university student or even, a student in general, pens and the like are a necessity. In fact, because I've got this fact into my head, I can't seem to stop buying stationery! However, most of my pens are in London so I can only show you a limited sample... well, I say limited but I'm not so sure my mum agrees as she comments on my vast collection whenever she lays eyes on it. Anyway, here is the collection in various improved pen pots:

As you can see, I use random things as pen pots. The only genuine pen pot is the one in the bottom left which originally held a set of eighteen Muji coloured gel ink pens. You'll notice that there are pegs - useful for when you've opened that bag of sweets or crisps and don't want to finish it in one sitting.

Let's take a closer look at a few of these pens.

Top left - the bog standard black Sharpie. This was given to me in my first year at university for use in labs. I use them to write on test tubes.

Top right - the pen at the top is a red Uniball rollerball and I use it for writing up lecture notes and extra reading. The red is used to underline important words or to write important words down. The bottom three pens are highlighters I got at a careers' fair last year. I'm not sure I was actually allowed to have three but my excuse is that I'm a student - anything free goes (to a certain extent anyway)!

Bottom left - These are a selection of my blue pens (not all of them, mind you!). From top to bottom: Parker fountain pen, blue Uniball rollerball, Pentel 0.7mm Energel liquid gel ink, a free blue rollerball from Allen and Overy, a Zebra fineliner and a blue Muji 0.5mm gel pen.

Bottom right - From top to bottom: Zebra black fineliner, Papermate biro, a pen I got for free from CHP Consulting at a careers' fair last year, a free black ink pen from Lovells law firm from a careers' fair and a Uniball eye pen.

The few free pens I've shown are from careers' fairs. From my last two years' at uni, I've learnt to have no shame when it comes to fairs. The freebies are there for the taking and if I don't take them, someone else will! And when it comes to stationery, it's better that I have it than someone else who may not appreciate it as much as me ;)

Next is a picture of another freebie I got from a fair last year from the Nature stall. These are sticky notes. I also got loads from Deustche Bank and BCG. 

And finally, when it comes to writing notes, I'm a bit of a neat freak. And sometimes, when you're not concentrating, you can make a slip of a mistake; thus ruining the neatness. As a result, one of these may come in handy:

All in all, various fairs at university are heaven for stationery lovers. If you, like me, have no shame and go to every stall in order to get the freebies (and the all important careers information too, of course), then you can end up going home with several bags full of free and some, very decent stationery too. I once went home with five bags full of freebies including free mugs, glasses, pens, highlighters, sticky notes, notepads and rulers. Also, to be fair, not all pens that you get are bad and here's the proof! The pens displayed are ones from earlier on in the post and the colours are from the free highlighters. I've not included any other free biros I've got as I usually find them a bit lacklustre (apart from the CHP Consulting one, clearly).

That's it from me. I hope you've enjoyed this post from me about how university has actually gotten me some very, very nice (and free!) pens. But take it from me - the best stalls to go for are usually the law society or the finance society ones!

Friday, 26 August 2011

Personal or Pocket (part 2)

I know. I’ve already blogged about this here and already said I’m not changing. And… I am looking forward to the equinox when I will be swapping pink for turquoise in the baroques as my everyday filofax.


Curiosity killed the cat and all that and I think I have seen a format that might work. None of the currently available pockets do it for me – I either don’t like the way the cards are held or I don’t like the zipped bit, or… or… or…

Anyway, whilst doing my trawl of eBay (yes… why do I do that? I have no need for any more filofaxes!) I saw a pocket Cavendish on sale, which seemed to tick most of the boxes (except it’s black, not blue or green… but hey).

Internal layout:
LHS: four credit card slots and a full height pocket behind
RHS: full height pocket (for stuffing receipts into)
Between outer leather and inner leather: pocket running around the full external width of the filofax
Back cover (external): a zipped pocket

Now, the one I am bidding on didn’t have any of that description (except to say there was a zipper pocket on the back) or any pictures to show the layout, but there was another one also on sale (with a silly starting price), and it did! So, I had a good old look at that and have now placed a bid on the one with a sensible starting price.

I’m still pretty unconvinced I will be able to downsize to it, but I’m curious. Worst comes to the worst, I can always just sell it!

I won it! Less than £12 including P+P. I’ll post about it once it arrives.

Wednesday, 24 August 2011

Where does your paper come from?

I am delighted to introduce the first guest post on Paper, Pens and Ink! It's Millie from over at Planet Millie, who is part of the Philofaxy All Stars Blogging Team.

This year is the International Year of Forests.  What does that mean for the paper that you use every day?

Paper is most commonly manufactured from trees (although there is a small market for papers made from animal dung, fruits and other items).  Many people automatically assume that this is very bad for the environment.  Images pop into mind of vast swathes of rainforest chopped down by large corporations who care nothing for either the ecosystems or the livelihoods they're destroying.  The reality is very different.

11% of the timber produced throughout the world at present is used to make paper (the FAO monitor forestry across the world, on behalf of the UN).  Whilst a percentage of timber for paper production is likely coming from illegal sources, the biggest threat to rainforests is land clearance and felling for wood-fuel.

If your paper was manufactured in Western Europe using Western European materials you can be fairly certain that it was made sustainably due to EU and state legislation, but internationally there are several different accreditation schemes for paper.

The most popular certificate for timber products is the FSC scheme: any timber product carrying this logo is guaranteed to have been produced ethically and sustainably.  This is a worldwide scheme, so you can find these products internationally.  Each certificate has a number so that you can follow the production of your item, thus ensuring accountability at each step of the process (this is called the Chain of Custody).  Other certificates include PEFC certificates and World Land Trust certificates (these certificates are interesting because they promise carbon "balanced" paper!).

Some companies do not openly publicise their certification, but a quick look through their small print will show that they are signed up to codes of practice (examples here include Clairefontaine, who get their timber from PEFC certified woods and Moleskine, who are FSC-certified.  Neither company publishes their accreditation logo on their notebooks).

Whilst it's not always necessary to use paper made from virgin fibre (i.e. paper that has no recycled content), anyone doing so should not feel guilty.  If there was not a market for paper products, the timber industry would be considerably smaller than it currently is (11% smaller!).  There would be no demand to manage these woods sustainably and many would likely be felled to make way for new developments.  Whilst it seems counter-intuitive, the demand for timber-based products ensures that many woods are kept as working woods, and where products carry certification you can rest easy that you are supporting the environment.  Wood-based products are usually good for the environment - sustainably-managed forests absorb carbon dioxide, support an ecosystem, can be used to manage flooding and wind damage, clean the air of pollutants and give us something pretty to enjoy!

Personally, I see the use of paper in the 21st century as very much in keeping with the International Year of Forests.  I use certified notebooks and I'm happy knowing that I'm supporting sustainable forestry whilst meeting my own needs.  I try not to waste paper and always recycle it when I'm finished, and so as a consumer I carry on the cycle of sustainable paper production. The trees are happy and I am happy, and you should be happy too!

Friday, 19 August 2011

Personal or Pocket?

It seems as if there is a revolution going on with people moving en masse to pocket filofaxes! Will I follow?

Well, there was a revolution in people getting Maldens and I haven’t followed that (so far). The current revolution seems to feature quite a lot of pocket Maldens too…

Now, whilst the idea of downsizing does somewhat appeal, I also know that I had a tough enough job convincing myself I could get along with a personal size! Although I do have several filofaxes, I only have one that I carry around with me and that has diary, to-do, lists, addresses, cards, coins, stamps etc all in there. I would want to be able to carry all of that in a pocket.

All in all, I think I will stick with my personal. I may revisit that decision over time but right now I’m staying put.

Why??? (I hear some of you holler)

Well, a number of reasons.
1.            I’ve already invested a not inconsiderable amount on personal filofaxes and inserts.
2.            It would have to be the perfect interior format to make me shift and none of the current pocket-sized filofaxes do it for me. You see, I want to be able to carry a reasonable number of credit cards/other cards around with me and there doesn’t seem to be a decent way to do this in the pocket filofaxes. You can put 2 or 3 or 4 cards in the cover (without doubling up the cards) but that would leave me with another 6 (to 8) to carry. I also want to carry coins and the zipped bit being right next to the card slots (as it is in the Malden and others) might be tricky. So, I would like the zip pocket and the card slots on different covers. Ah.. but.. I hear you say… the Finchley has that. Yes, but the Finchley looks like it would only hold 2 cards on the LH cover (with two weird pockets next to them… what are they for???), still leaving me with 8 to put into card holders that only hold 2 cards each. And… I don’t like the zipped pocket in mesh. And it’s too ‘puffy’ for everyday.
3.            Will I fit everything in? My current format is working really well for me and I would want to replicate that in any pocket I downsized to, but my personal feels a bit full at the moment and the pockets have smaller ring sizes. Now, the good folks over at Philofaxy have been assuring me that in fact, the pocket is a tardis and there would be no problem, but I’m not convinced. Quite.
4.            There are fewer alternative inserts for the pocket. There are some lovely ones over at the Succes site but it’s not quite enough to convert me.

I almost (almost) bought a pocket Portland on eBay and had I been a tad more convinced about being able to fit everything in, including all my cards, I might have bid a bit more. Why the Portland? Well, it will take 4 credit cards in one side and has a leather zipped pocket in the other cover (and in my personal Portland, that pocket is gusseted!). If the one I was bidding on had been either blue or green I would possibly have kept going, but it wasn’t, so I didn’t!

So, not being too demanding or anything… I would want a pocket that held at least 4 cards in one cover, had inserts for cards that could hold 4 without them overlapping, had a zipped pocket on the other cover from the card slots, had a vertical pocket behind the card slots for carrying notes and a ring size that would hold all the stuff I wanted to put in it! In addition it would have to have soft leather, be in dark blue or green (preferably) and there would be a sudden explosion in other companies producing inserts for the pocket.

Not asking for much, am I?? :-)

If anyone has any other types of pocket filofax that would fit (other than the Portland) please let me know!!

Monday, 15 August 2011

Keeping fit with Filofax

I was thinking the other day about how to use my filofax(es) to keep fit. Now, there is of course the weightlifting aspect to some filofaxes and just carrying them around could be helping to burn off a few more calories each day! I posted the other day about how fat filofaxes could be.

But, possibly more importantly, there’s also the organisation aspect.

Currently, I use mine in three ways – there’s the scheduling of exercise (which I do as part of my weekly time/task management); there’s a graph of my weight week by week, and then there’s a log of what exercise I’m doing. The log I’m using came with the City Dweller pack in my Gourmet filofax. It logs:
Date, exercise, location, start, finish, calories, duration (and then a series of boxes in 5 minute increments up to an hour).

Now, lovely as this is, it doesn’t really work for me. And also, do people really log that they have done 5 minutes of exercise??? Really???

So, I have had a go at producing my own sheets for logging my running. It’s a work in progress as I have never logged my running in my filofax before so I am trying to work out exactly what I want to record. So far, my list is:
Date, time, from, to, distance, time, pace, calories, music (as a symbol), weather, injury.

I don’t need to record what the exercise is (as I’m only logging running). The ‘from’ is almost always ‘my house’ although I will also be running at lunchtime at work. Distance, time and pace should be relatively obvious (I record pace in minutes per mile and have specific distance/pace goals I want to achieve by the end of 2011), as should calories. I realise there is redundancy there (if I know from and to and time, then distance and pace easily follow) but I like to be able to scan down the columns and compare. I put the time of day I ran in too, as I am trying to spot when my ‘optimum’ time is.

I record music (did I listen to anything and if so, what) just out of interest. I always feel that I run better listening to some particular tunes, but I don’t actually have the evidence to show that!

I record the weather because I run the fastest when it is overcast and fairly cool and the slowest when it is hot. If my pace is suddenly slower (or faster!), I can see whether it was particularly hot when I ran.

Does anyone else use their filofax for this kind of thing? And if so, how?