This Pepper and Cute 2021 diary (£19.95) is a diary, organiser, planner and journal. With extra pages for TV, book and music lists, motivational illustrations, a zip-lock keepsake pocket, pretty post-it notes and stickers it’s a fun combination!
There are four different covers so I chose this one as it seems rather apt for someone living with disabilities and chronic illness like myself. I’m just that much of a diamond!
The lettering is rose gold, violet, sparkly rose gold or rainbow sparkly depending on how you tilt it. How clever is that!
Some of the Serious Bits
Some of the Fun Bits
My only complaint is that, even though this diary comes with several sheets per theme, you can’t buy extra refills so you have to be selective/frugal with how you use some parts of it.
This would make such a lovely, thoughtful present for someone. I’ve not been as excited to start a diary since my Smash Hits Magazine one which I got for ‘Crimbo’ as a teen in the 90’s, hehee!
Abi at Callybo Creations creates cute key rings and bracelets, with uplifting and loving messages. Just the thing that someone might really appreciate right now. All profits are donated to Mind UK the charity which supports mental health.
Here are two I got sent for review and then later purchased/donated because most of us need a helping hand with our mental health at some point in our lives so it’s a vital charity to support. I gave the key ring to my Dad and the bracelet to my Bloke, both of whom thought it was a lovely surprise.
The second book I treated myself to for Christmas is Pocket Dolly Wisdom by Hardy Grant Books (£5.24), a little hardback book full of quotes from the simultaneously fabulous, yet down-to-earth Dolly Parton.
Full of Dolly’s opinions on fashion, her career, love, her hair, life, men, and her womanly assets!
Me and my Dad ended up reading out our fave quotes to each other and it started some interesting conversations about life, self worth, style and also gave us a good laugh, so please don’t think that Dolly is just for middle aged Mums!
As I once apparently said as a kid “I want to be like Dolly Parton when I grow up.”
I couldn’t think of a more convenient way to have flowers delivered than to get them posted through the letter box. No embarrassing scenario of my flowers being carted down the street to neighbours if I didn’t answer the door in time or if I wasn’t available (awake) when they arrived.
It was my Dads 75th birthday so I went onto the Bloom and Wild site and ordered him some Poinsettia’s in a contemporary zinc planter. They’d be a treat for his birthday and because they were planted in moss, they would last all through December, very festive!
A few problems ensued
a) The website explained that the flowers may arrive a day late (depending on the type of postage selected) so I ordered them for Tuesday as my Dad’s birthday wasn’t until Friday. By Wednesday 5.30pm they still hadn’t arrived.
b) I phoned up customer service and spoke to a really lovely bloke. He was surprised I hadn’t got an email to track the delivery. He was surprised that they HAD in fact been delivered but I didn’t have a card/email saying where the hell they were. He looked on the notes and apparently they’d just been left in the garden on Tuesday morning! He gave me a refund and apologised profusely, saying he’d send me some more. How lovely is that?
c) I ventured out into the little garden the next day and they were on full view, not hidden in the foliage where most packages are discreetly left (although they can be a real pain the back and very fatiguing to find). Apparently Gorton scally’s are only interested in stealing clothing or food deliveries, statues and bikes from gardens, so they were actually still there. The fact that they were perishable and should be left with neighbours and a card posted to me (as stated on the label above) seemed to be lost on the delivery person. As for the condition of the box, well…..
d) I opened them up and they were the wrong flowers anyway!
Eventually on the Friday the Poinsettias arrived (they were out of stock on Thursday so it had to be arranged on Dads actual birthday) and they were gorgeous. I’m glad each plant came with a care card as I would have overwatered them otherwise. They also arrived with a medium sized card with the design and message I’d chose, which was a nice touch. The font really was small though so I had to read it out to him.
Dad thought that they were both really pretty and liked the fact that they would last longer than cut flowers. He also liked how compact they were as he could put them on the little windowsill and brighten up the kitchen in the small terraced house.
Wild and Bloom’s Letter Box Flowers option is brilliant when it works and fairly shit when it doesn’t, although they have the best over-the-phone customer service I’ve ever come across. You can also get full sized cut flowers which I got for someone as an apology for something and it worked!
I’m one of those people that loves to be surrounded by nice things. No item is just a note pad or a coaster or a cup, everything I own has been chosen for it’s function but also it’s form. Old English Company is a brand that excels in the design of these types of items, quirky, yet relatable, pretty but practical. Here are my top picks.
This coaster captures my early morning thoughts exactly and sits on my blokes bed side table as a not so subtle hint! I really like that the daily planner has a to-do list on one side and a dairy/journal page on the other. I wish all diaries and planners had space for you to fill in your own dates like this one does as I think it looks awful when you miss a day or two in the pre-planned ones.
As I don’t drink much tea and didn’t grow up in a household where the kettle was always on, I often forget to ask people if they want a brew. So now this coaster can do it for me.
I was surprised to see that Old English Company also do enamel pin badges and greetings cards as well stationary and homeware. I treated myself to three badges; A cute pumpkin one for halloween as I love pretty seasonal accessories, ‘First coffee, then the world’ and a ‘Coffee first’ pin as I clearly have more coat lapels available than I do cups of coffee. I chose an Xmas card for my Dad (I like to plan ahead) and a birthday card for the Bloke.
A wise person once said ‘Why have plain stuff about the place, when you can have pretty stuff instead.’ Okay, that person was me ^_^
Kula Gallery, located on Oak street in the Northern Quarter is a wonderful amalgamation of gallery and craft shop. They sell wall art, contemporary hand made jewellery, unusual mugs, mini terrariums, arm warmers and coasters.
Several months ago Me and the bloke had walked past Kula on the way to get the bus home and noticed the mugs in the window but were in a hurry. So with Christmas coming up when I asked the bloke what he wanted he asked for ‘one of those mugs, we saw ages ago’.
Luckily he remembered where the shop was and they still had a lot for sale. We bought three in the end, two for the Bloke and this one (£15) for myself. RagPots is a pottery studio established by Richard Gales in 2016, located in Reddish.
It fools the eye into thinking it’s almost iridescent with the use of light and shade and layering of glazes. I wish I had the skill to capture it better.
Kula, 7 Oak Street, Manchester, M4 5JD Tel: 07933311740
This is perfect for when you need a light to read by but don’t want to disturb anyone else near by. Erganomic and stylish, it simply clips onto the back of your book, the goose neck bends over your page and you turn the light on by pressing the grey square.
As you can see the light is quite bright but there isn’t any light pollution around the book and it didn’t strain my rather light-sensitive eyes at all.
I bought the Light Block from Waterstones for around £6.00 and was pleased to see that it comes with 3 X AG3 (LR41) batteries which are easy to replace. This light really has got me into reading again!