Christmas Preparations

We always put our Christmas decorations up on the 1st of December in the O'Hara household; the perfect start to the Advent period. Even though (almost) all my children are grown up we still keep the magic for the grandchildren.  I even let them decorate the lounge last year - it looked like someone had taken a box of decorations and thrown it in the direction of the tree but they were so proud of it.

This year I've been looking for some alternative decorations and ways to get in the mood for Christmas along with money-saving tips and bargains.  This post will be regularly updated between now and Christmas so watch out for update announcements on Twitter and Facebook.


John Lewis knitted snowmanFirst out of the decoration box is my John Lewis snowman that I knitted a couple of years ago. A lot of time and love and swearing went into making this and he sits proudly on the shelf next to all the home/school-made decorations that are stored away lovingly each year.  I was hoping that they were going to release a knitted penguin kit this year but I can't find one...

tissue paper pom poms, thinly spread, tutorial
I LOVE LOVE LOVE this tissue paper pom pom tutorial from my friend, Chris over at Thinly Spread (part of her Countdown to Christmas series). I used to make these with my nana with two or more different colours of paper. This weekend, I'm going to sit down with my own grandchildren and make some for here and their own house.

Hanging Lantern Company, decorations
I've been constructing these cute little paper trees and houses from The Hanging Lantern company. They are laser-cut and come "flat packed" for you to construct yourself (a bit fiddly but I have fat fingers) and they are really effective. I'm going to buy some LED (flameless) tealights to put inside them for maximum effect!

Isle of Skye Candle Company, scented candle, cinnamon
What's your favourite Christmas smell?  Mine has to be pine needles (even though we never have a real tree) and cinnamon. To get in the mood a little early, I've been burning this candle from the Isle Of Sky Candle Company and it smells DELISH! 

Wrap.Me,  personalised wrapping paper
Now, this next item was a bit of a surprise. I received a sample piece of wrapping paper created from my own Instagram pictures. This was sent by as an example of what can be created but it would be wonderful to use for a very special Christmas present or even a Christening or wedding.

Santa's Grotto,  Blackpool Pleasure Beach and Arena
We always love a trip to visit Santa - after all, how else are we going to talk him into putting us on the "Good" list ready for his visit on Christmas Eve? Blackpool Pleasure Beach have a fabulous Santa's Grotto where your little ones can have a chat with Father Christmas, meet some costume characters, grab a warm drink and go ice skating. You also receive a Diamond Pass for the Pleasure Beach next year.  Check the website for opening days and times but it's worth £10 if you're local or visiting the area to do some Christmas shopping.

And finally (for now) the widget at the end of this post from My Voucher Codes is a Christmas Price Toy Monitor which features the top toys this Christmas with information about where you can buy them at the best prices so I thought that would be useful!


Don't forget to watch out on Twitter or Facebook for more updates to this post and let me know what you do that's slightly different to prepare for Christmas. 


[GIVEAWAY] We're Having A Ball with Sun Bingo

Sun Bingo - Having A Ball

Recently I have been sharing updates from Sun Bingo's very unique online show - Having A Ball - which is hosted by Brian Dowling, Rustie Lee and Jean Martyn. This week I am running an exclusive giveaway for you here with a prize that cannot be bought in the shops.  I also have some celebrity interviews to share with you that I will be publishing over on my Facebook page.

Win an EXCLUSIVE Sun Bingo onesie and mug

I have ten Sun Bingo prize packages which consist of a Sun Bingo onesie and a Sun Bingo mug. These items are exclusive to Sun Bingo and cannot be obtained anywhere else. To enter this giveaway please follow the instructions in the Rafflecopter widget below (if you cannot see the widget please click through to the web version of this blog post). To enter you must answer the question inside the Rafflecopter widget. There are additional entries available which include social sharing. If you are a new visitor here for the giveaway, it would be great if you could stick around. There are some subscription options in the sidebar.  And finally, GOOD LUCK!

TERMS AND CONDITIONS * This giveaway will begin at 12:00 on 25th November 2014 and will close at 23:59 on 7th November 2014 * This giveaway is open to any of my readers aged 18 or above who reside in the UK. * There is no cash alternative to the giveaway * There is one compulsory entry which asks the entrant to comment on this blog..  You can gain additional entries using the options in the Rafflecopter widget * There are ten (10) prizes in total * The prizes have been provided by SUN BINGO *  The prize winners will be asked to provide their email address so that the prize can be delivered to them electronically * Entries will only be accepted as instructed and any entrant that does not complete the qualifying requirements will be disqualified * The winners will be chosen by using a random number generator built into the Rafflecopter widget and will be contacted direct on the email address provided within five (5) days of the draw. 

Sun Bingo - Having A Ball

Please see my disclosure policy for further details.

Good Memories

If you spend any time on Facebook at all you have probably seen the most recent 'tag' which asks you to share five of your 'good memory' photographs.  These are all fairly recent photographs (and isn't it hard to narrow it down to just five?) but they make me howl laughing when I see them because of the stories behind them.


Five Bloggers And A Dwarf

After attending my first ever blogger conference, a few of us convened in the hotel lobby with some smuggled pre-purchased drinks, evaluating the day's events and catching up with each other. Our mini-party was spectacularly gate-crashed by this vertically-challenged, extremely inebriated dude who took a bit of a shine to Amanda.

Five Bloggers And A Dwarf

Social Networking Ruined My Life

My favourite ever t-shirt worn at the aforementioned blogger conference.  Iconic or ironic? It also features heavily in this little mishap...

Image © Tara Cain, t-shirt, chesticles,

Dog 1, Grandchild 0.

This stool resides in our lounge. When the dog was a puppy he used to curl up on it and more or less claimed it as his own. What he hadn't realised is that my eldest granddaughter had also done the same.  One Sunday afternoon, Amie sat on the stool, the dog attempted to sit next to her but she refused to move so he climbed on her knee and claimed his spot.  

a dog sitting on a child

Private Shortarse

This proud moment was just after my son's passing out parade at Prince William of Gloucester Barracks, Grantham. I forget how tall he is until I see this photgraph of us together where I look like I'm stood in a hole. I'm a pretty average 5'6" and he's 6'8".  

Passing Out Parade

No Words Required

The final picture is one I took at Madame Tussaud's in Blackpool in 2011. I'd asked the three men in my life to line up against this wall to emulate the 'Usual Suspects' promotional image. Whilst I was getting the camera ready they all grabbed a caption and held it up just before I hit the shutter.  I could hardly stop shaking through laughing because each of the signs was a perfect description of each of them (and still is). 

The Usual Suspects, Tussauds, Blackpool

What's your favourite memory photograph.  
Share it with me in the comments or tweet it to me.



It's no secret that I'm a huge fan of music and dance. If I ever became famous (or, more likely, infamous), I'd be begging my agent to get me a stint on Strictly Come Dancing. I'd even be OK with being paired with Anton du Beke!

I saw Tara share this video on Facebook recently and it supports a theory I have which suggests that any choreography changes its context if danced to music from a different genre.  Someone has taken an enormous amount of time to showcase this by stitching these dance scenes from various movies together and it needs to be enjoyed.   

It's a proper 'feel good' clip so... LET'S DAAAAAAAAAAANCE!!

And just in case you were wondering, here are the films featured in the clip: A Knights Tale, Airplane, American Pie, Austin Powers, Billy Elliot, Blue Skies, Clerks 2, Coyote Ugly, Dirty Dancing, Fame, Fame 2009, Flashdance, Footloose, Get Smart, Grease, Happy Feet, High Fidelity, High School Musical, Honey, Mamma Mia, Mary Poppins, Mask of Zorro, Moonwalker, Moulin Rouge, Perfect, Phantom of the Opera, Pulp Fiction, Rocky Horror Picture Show, Saturday Night Fever, Save the Last Dance, Seven Brides for Seven Brothers, Singing in the Rain, Step Up, Step Up 2, Strictly Ballroom, True Lies, West Side Story, White Nights, Wild Hogs.

P.S. If you like this then you'll LOVE 'What Can We Learn From Dance Scenes In Movies?' that I wrote not too long ago.


The Definitive Music-Related Gift Guide

Sorry, I know it's still November but I've got to start preparing for Christmas soon and I need some off-the-wall stocking fillers and unusual presents. Music Room contacted me to see if I fancied using their gift finder app to discover some music-related presents.  So, after getting a little bit nostalgic for my piano lesson days with their 'Dozen A Day' practice books, I found some ace presents for my grandchildren and the rest of the family. 

For the grandchildren

music gifts for children

There is method in the madness here. I would love my granddaughters to be musical so here's a perfect starter kit.  Their mum can play the keyboard [1] (which rolls up for easy storage - genius) whilst they accompany her with their percussion instruments [2 and 3] (the castanets [6] are a bonus item because I remember my own Nana buying me a set once). I've chosen the Frozen songbook [5] for the four-year old and the One Direction songbook [4] for the six-year old (both obsessed in their own way).

Stocking Fillers

music-related stocking fillers

Again, a reason for everything.  Chopsticks [7] for my husband (just because), the teapot and cup [8 and 10] for my daughter (because she's going to need a brew after creating a band with her children) and headphones [9] for both my sons.

And me?   

black ukulele

I'm getting a ukulele [11], obviously!  I've even found some pop song books for 'beginners' so my whole family are in for a right treat at the O'Hara Boxing Day party... *ahem*.  I've also got a bit lost in the stationery section of the website so if anyone wants to send in a search party... 

Find the MusicRoom gift finder app here :

This is a featured post in conjunction with MusicRoom. Please see my disclosure policy for more details.


Seven Ways To Make A Decision

to-do list, decision making, This year has been one of many changes. Each one of those changes has involved making a decision that would forge a new path. Some of those decisions were easy to make, others were extremely scary.  In my old job I would have a specific process which would help me make (business) decisions but in my normal life I have many processes which I can adapt to certain situations. 

Seven Ways To Make A Decision

1.  Have A Deadline

For me, this is important for everything. If there is no end point then you can faff around forever trying to work out which is the decision to make.  

2.  Make A To-Do List

I talk endlessly about my BOAT (Book Of All Things). Using a variation of the bullet journal method I write everything down in list format, code it, take notes, brain-dump and then tick everything off when it is done (SO satisfying!). This works perfectly in conjunction with my Filofax too. 

3.  Data + Information = Knowledge

Combining facts (data) and additional information (and also using beliefs and expectations) I can build a map inside my head that helps me to evaluate an end outcome, i.e. if I do x then y will happen.

4.  Horoscopes or Tarot

Many people believe their destiny is written in the stars or the cards. They take great comfort in knowing that the movement of the planets is mapping out their future. It's the same with Tarot; the turn of a card can help someone take that step into the unknown.  


This method was my favourite when working in a traditional office setting (albeit sometimes it was time consuming).  Mapping out the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats of a situation on paper shows me how easy/difficult a task will be to complete. 

6. Gut Instinct

We need to trust our instincts. If something feels 'right' then it probably is. We are feeding off previous experiences and existing knowledge when we feel this gut instinct so immediately know whether it's the right or wrong thing to do.  

7. Phone A Friend

Playing out a scenario with a friend and having their input helps me see a situation in a different light. They may also have had to do something similar so can tell me how it worked out for them.

What do you do to make a decision?  Let me know your secret! 

This post was written in conjunction with TheCircle. For more details please see my disclosure policy.

[REVIEW] Trunki SnooziHedz

A few weeks ago, my daughter took her two girls on their first holiday abroad to Lanzarote. The four hour plane journey was the perfect opportunity to test out the Trunki SnooziHedz - a travel pillow and blanket. They already have a PaddlePak each and are big fans of the Trunki products. 

The SnooziHedz blanket is stored inside the pillow until required and then the pillow inflates (in the same way armbands do) when required.  The pillow and blanket can be clipped together with the unique Trunki grip to stop the blanket from sliding away. The blanket also has a pocket on the front which is big enough to tuck up a favourite cuddly toy for a nap too.

trunki, snoozihedz

As you can see, my granddaughters loved their SnooziHedz (they had Felix the Fox and Dudley the Dino) and they made the ideal travel companion for this journey.  They now use the blankets and pillows as snuggle blankets when watching films and they always bring them with them in the car if we are going on a long journey (most recently to Blackpool Illuminations).

The SnooziHedz come in a wide range of colours and characters, with matching accessories such as car seatbelt covers and neck pillows. Find out more on the official Trunki website.


Random Information About Me That You Don't Really Need To Know

Q and A Tag
I love random little "tags" that occasionally pop up in the blogging world or on YouTube. This time Kate tagged me for a mini-Q&A session so I decided to vlog it rather than type it all out.  Have a watch of it here.

I've tagged Kate (again), Sian, Channon and YOU!  You have to answer my questions so here they are:
  1. Have you ever won a trophy? 
  2. If you won a large sum of money on the National Lottery this weekend, how long would you wait until you told people? 
  3. Where would you like to retire to? 
  4. What or who inspires you? 
  5. Is the glass half-empty or half-full? 
Feel free to blog or vlog it - whatever you feel more comfortable with. Let me know when you've finished then I can come and have a watch or a read.

Duo Boots #BootTribe Competition

fashion styling for A/W 2014

I love the opportunity to pull an outfit together. It probably stems from the days of my childhood when Nana brought round my Bunty magazine each week and the first thing I did was turn to the back page to see what pose and paper clothes were with the cut-out doll. The Polyvore website is definitely the grown-up version of those times and I spend an enormous amount of time on there trying seeing what different outfits look like with accessories and boots or shoes. 

I've styled this outfit around the boots in the picture as part of my entry into a competition that Duo Boots are running. I'm definitely an ankle boot person for this A/W season and I'm in love with browns, navys and purple/aubergine. 

What do you think? Would you wear it?

| 1.  Laverne Anke Boot in Tan from Duo Boots  |  2.  Molly Bracken brown jumper dress |  3. Tommy Hilfiger NIKITA blazer in purple |  4.  Tommy Hilfiger Bracelet (gold) |  5.  Purple tights |  6.  Mac Lipstick in Rebel  |  7.  Even & Odd handbag  |


What A 15-Year Old Wants For Christmas

Over the weekend I posted a rather irate Facebook status bemoaning the bombardment of Christmas advertising when we were only just into November. On the other hand I have been trying to get my 15-year old son to write something that resembles a list of Christmas presents much in the same way he did when he was 10.  When you read the list it's a stark reminder of how much your youngest child is growing up fast.

So far, he wants:
  1. A mountain bike because his best mate lives in the next town so he spends a huge amount of time cadging lifts or using a bike that's a little bit too small for him now he's 6'2".
  2. An iPad (there's a good selection online at Tesco Direct) so that he doesn't have to borrow his Dad's iPad or my tablet all the time.
  3. An iTunes voucher for some music or games downloads.
  4. XBox games.  I think he's hankering after the new Call of Duty game and Fifa 15.
  5. Microsoft points to purchase "maps" or "players" on the aforementioned X-Box games (I'm oblivious to all of this).
  6. Skinny jeans and other items of clothes that make all the 15 year old boys look like clones of each other.
  7. A parka coat.
  8. Two pairs of football boots (grass and astro turf) now that he has been chosen for the school football team.

christmas present suggestions

I always thought that as he got older we might get a bit of a lie-in on Christmas morning but, no, he's just as excited on The Big Day now as he was when he was younger so we've always deferred from giving money because that never feels like an actual present, does it? For us, part of the Christmas experience is about the unwrapping and the surprises. Of course he'll get the usual smellies, socks and undies (it's a O'Hara family tradition) but I'm currently on the look out for a surprise 'wow' present that he won't be expecting at all, so if you have any ideas let me know! 

This post was written for Tesco. For more information please see my disclosure policy.

Grease In Five Minutes (or 25 Pictures)

Grease is one of my all-time favourite films. I know it back to front and I'm word perfect in all the songs (I always wanted to be Rizzo).  But, just in case you've never seen it - or haven't seen it for ages - here's the story of Grease in pictures.


Danny and Sandy meet during the school holidays. They fall in love with each other but realise that it's destined to be a holiday romance as Sandy has to return to Australia.  Danny tells her, "It's not the end, it's just the beginning."

grease, gif, sandy and danny,

Term starts again and Danny resumes his position as cock of the school and leader of the T-Birds gang...

grease, gif, danny,

...whose girlfriends are The Pink Ladies - the coolest girls in the school.

grease, gif, pink ladies,

Sandy doesn't go back to Australia after all and, by coincidence, enrols in the the same school as Danny as a foreign exchange student (but neither of them know yet).  Sandy pals up with Frenchy, one of the Pink Ladies. At lunch time, she tells everyone about her holiday romance at exactly the same time Danny tells the T-Birds about his holiday romance.

grease, gif, summer loving,

 Sandy lets slip that her holiday romance was called "Danny Zucko" so whilst Sandy is enlisted into the school cheerleading team The Pink Ladies work out how to reunite Danny and Sandy at the next prep rally.

Danny and Sandy are shocked and overjoyed to see each other but Danny needs to protect his cool image so brushes off the excitement.  Sandy is rather upset and runs off in tears.

grease, gif, t-birds,

grease, gif, sandy and the pink ladies

In at attempt to cheer Sandy up, Frenchy organises a sleep-over at her house with the rest of the Pink Ladies. They introduce Sandy to ear-piercing and wine-drinking which doesn't go too well. Frenchy tells the rest of the Pink Ladies that she is dropping out of high school to attend a beauty course, then Rizzo makes fun of Sandy through the medium of song. 

grease, gif, pink ladies,

The T-Birds arrive at Frenchy's house so Rizzo has a flirt with Kenickie and they drive off together.  During a making-out session in the back of the car a condom breaks. Then they are interrupted by the leader of a rival 'gang' - the Scorpions - who damages Kenickie's car.

grease, gif, rizzo,

Meanwhile, Marty (from The Pink Ladies) advises Sandy to "get over" Danny and offers her one of her many male penpals. Sandy decides to nip outside in her nightie and sing a song whilst looking into an empty paddling pool instead.

grease, gif, sandy

The T-Birds decide to give Kenickie's car a bit of a make-over and fantasize about what it would look like.  Danny convinces the other T-Birds that it could be a "major piece of machinery".

grease, gif, greased lightening,

Danny later bumps into Sandy at the local cafe where he attempts to make amends but she is now on a date with one of the football jocks.  In a true feminist move, Danny decides to try and change to become the sort of man that Sandy wants to be with. He joins the basketball team and the wrestling team...

grease, gif, sandy and danny,

...all with disastrous results but find that he is pretty good at running. He sees Sandy watching from the bleachers and attempts to impress her. After a bit of a tumble, Sandy runs to make sure Danny is OK, the jock is dismissed and Sandy and Danny are reconciled.

grease, gif, sandy and danny

Danny and Sandy attempt a date where they can be alone so choose the cafe where most of Rydell High seems to hang out (!). Rizzo and Kenickie have an almighty row and everyone leaves...

grease, gif, rizzo and kenickie,

...apart from Frenchy who admits to one of the staff at the cafe that she's been having problems at beauty school by revealing pink hair that she's been hiding under a scarf. Frenchy then dreams about a guardian angel who tells her what she needs to do with her life.

grease, gif, frenchy

The Rydell High school dance is chosen to be filmed for a live TV show. Rizzo has paired up with the leader of the Scorpions so Kenickie pairs up with the rival gang leader's ex-girlfriend, Cha-Cha, who just happens to have also dated Danny in the past. Marty flirts with the TV star.  

grease, gif, school dance,

Danny and Sandy are amazing in the televised dance-off but Sandy gets taken away from Danny and Cha-Cha jumps in her place.  Sandy storms out and Danny and Cha-Cha end up winning the dance-off. 

grease, gif, school dance,

Keen to make amends (yet again), Danny arranges to take Sandy to a drive-in movie where he gives her his ring. Sandy accepts this as an apology and realises that Danny respects her. 

grease, gif, drive in movie, danny and sandy

During the movie, Danny attempts to cop a feel and trys to kiss Sandy.  She screams, gets out of the car, throws his ring back at him and leaves the drive-in leaving Danny to sing a song to express his true feeling of loss.

grease, gif, sandy and danny, drive in

In the meantime, Rizzo has been naughty with two boys and has earned herself a bit of a reputation. She thinks she may be pregnant but is unsure who the father could be.

grease, gif, rizzo

Finally the car has been finished and a race has been organised between Kenickie and the leader of the Scorpions.  Kenickie asks Danny to be his 'second' and we see a bit of a bromance then a switch to 'play it cool'. 

grease, gif, danny and kenickie, bromance

Kenickie ends up not being able to drive the car so Danny takes over and races in Kenickie's place. Danny wins, obviously. Sandy is watching from afar and decides that she really does want to be with Danny so needs a bit of a make-over to become 'his sort of girl' She asks Frenchy to help out.

grease, gif, car race,

It's the last day of school and there's a carnival in the school grounds. Danny is wearing a letterman's sweater because of his (never since mentioned again) involvement with the athletics team. It's all part of his own make-over to become the type of boy that Sandy wants to be with.

grease, gif, school carnival, danny, t-birds

Sandy arrives at the carnival wearing skintight black trousers, an off-the-shoulder top, a black leather jacket and red peep-toe high heeled shoes. She's had her hair and make-up done and she's smoking (in both senses of the term)!

grease, gif, school carnival, sandy

Danny finds Sandy extremely attractive, whips his cardigan off, falls at her feet, dribbles a bit and then dances off into the Fun House with her.

grease, gif, danny and sandy

Rizzo finds out that she isn't pregnant so her and Kenickie make up (and make out) with each other. The whole gang is back together again and it's a happy ending.

grease, gif, ramalamadingdong, the end


References : Tumblr | Giphy | IMDb


Serenata Hampers [REVIEW]

Serenata Hampers
When Serenata Hampers offered me one of their products to try, I dived straight into the Port and Cheese selection which included a bottle of Taylors Port and a selection of luxury cheeses, crackers and chutney. The photo I shared on Instagram got plenty of jealous oooh's and aah's.

The reason I was keen to try their hamper range out is because it seemed to be the perfect fix for my Dad, who is the most difficult person to buy for at Christmas or his birthday but this will be the solution I was looking for and all at reasonable prices.

Serenata Hampers offer a wide choice of products including chocolate hampers, wine hampers, teatime treat hampers, Christmas hampers and newborn baby hampers.  All this is alongside a similar service for flowers and plants.

What I was really impress by was the delivery options. You can order by 10pm (or 8pm for flowers/plants) and have the hamper delivered to the door the very next day for free. If you prefer a timed delivery there are additional paid options for this. As you can see from my picture the hamper is extremely well packaged but also well presented which I feel is important.

Win a £35 voucher for Serenata Hampers [now closed]

I have two vouchers (worth £35 each) to offer as prizes from the very lovely people at Serenata Hampers. To enter this giveaway please follow the instructions in the Rafflecopter widget below (if you cannot see the widget please click through to the web version of this blog post). To enter you must comment on this blog post, answering the question provided. There are additional entries available which include social sharing. If you are a new visitor here for the giveaway, it would be great if you could stick around. There are some subscription options in the sidebar.  And finally, GOOD LUCK!

TERMS AND CONDITIONS * This giveaway will begin at 12:00 on 7th November 2014 and will close at 23:59 on 20th November 2014 * This giveaway is open to any of my readers aged 18 or above who reside in the UK. * There is no cash alternative to the giveaway * There is one compulsory entry which asks the entrant to comment on this blog..  You can gain additional entries using the options in the Rafflecopter widget * There are two (2) prizes in total * The prizes have been provided by Serenata Hampers *  The prize winners will be asked to provide their email address so that the prize can be delivered to them electronically * Entries will only be accepted as instructed and any entrant that does not complete the qualifying requirements will be disqualified * The winners will be chosen by using a random number generator built into the Rafflecopter widget and will be contacted direct on the email address provided within five (5) days of the draw. 

Serenata HampersSerenata Hampers

Please see my disclosure policy for further details.

Affordable Fountain Pens

I believe its important to write with a good pen because of many factors but mainly because I find it improves your handwriting and shows individuality. Even with my love of all things digital I'm finding that handwriting (along with spelling and grammar) is becoming a lost art. So, this month for my collaboration with Bureau Direct, I chose to compare two fountain pens from the affordable end of their range, especially as the first Friday in November is Fountain Pen Day.

fountain pens, bureau direct, lamy, platignum,

The two fountain pens I chose to test are the Lamy Safari (in white) and the Platignum Studio (in lime). I filmed a short video which compares the two pens side by side and also a writing test.

As I mention in the video, I am enjoying both pens equally which really surprises me. I thought I would prefer one over the other, especially as the Lamy came so highly recommended. It's also worth noting that the "bleed through" I mention on the video is because I tested the inks in a moleskine notebook. Other notebook paper (for example, a Leuchtturm or a Rhodia) would hold the ink better. 

The Lamy currently retails at £13.95 (RRP £15.50) and the Platignum Studio is priced at £12.95 and at these prices I think they make very affordable, long lasting gifts for family or friends. The packaging for the Lamy is very "stationery shop" but it does come with a soft plastic protective case (in grey) and the Platignum, as you saw, could be wrapped and gifted in its own box.

What is your favourite pen to use? Are you a fountain pen user or love a good old biro? Let me know in the comments. And remember that if you want me to test something before you buy it, let me know and I'll arrange it.  

Finally, have you signed up to the Bureau Direct newsletter yet? It's delivered each Wednesday and an exclusive 10% discount code is shared on the first Wednesday of each month (if you miss any newsletters, you can find them here). There is also a new customer discount code on the Bureau Direct website.

BREAKING NEWS:  Dominic from Bureau Direct has shared a little-known top tip with me.  Did you know that Lamy T10 cartridges have a secret chamber in the end? If you run out of ink, give the cartridge a sharp tap on the table and it should release this extra ink.

Because this is a blogger/brand relationship, here's a link to my disclosure policy

mini cube pad, crown mill, bureau direct, Oohh, I almost forgot... I spotted this really cute mini cube pad from Crown Mill for little "Don't Forget" type notes-to-self. I've broken it up into even more mini note-pads and dotted them around the house (there is one in my kitchen, one on my little side table in my lounge, one by my bed, a couple on my desk, and one in my bag).
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