Wednesday, March 7, 2012

It's the little things

I recently asked myself the question ‘Am I depressed or do depressing things keep happening to me?’  I sat and thought about this for about a month before I actually uttered it out loud – and in that month I started mentally listing all the things that depressed me, which in itself was depressing, a double-bummer.

So inspired by a Bob Crampon article, I decided to list the stuff I like – a piece of positive thinking therapy if you will.
Bees, watching them, hearing them, clinging on to the quasi-Buddhist belief that I may come back as one.
Beating my daughters mates achievement scores on the Xbox (sorry Lucy, currently beating you by 130 on Skyrim, ha ha).
A new shaped pasta – grain pasta is this month’s fad.
Smoking, even though I haven’t in 5 years.
The postman holding an Amazon box.
Finding one of my special blue writing pens in the kids bedroom…with the lid still on.
Growing basil on my kitchen window.  My new bird feeder.
My latest phenomenon of waking up with a song I haven’t heard in years, stuck in my head (this was also on my depressed list as a sign of a possible brain tumour).
Smoked paprika, juniper berries, flaked rock salt, bread, frying Szechuan peppers for the pepper mill and adding Vermouth to pasta sauces.
Coltrane when I’m sad.
Coltrane when I’m happy.
Remembering something the wife forgot.  The year’s first daffodil.  The pennies that our house is full of.
The smell of a new bottle of washing up liquid and finding an awesome new recipe in a cookbook.
Having a garage for the first time in my life and filling it with man stuff.
The rest of the family considering the said garage as off-limits in deference to my masculinity.
Budleigh Salterton.
Cold pillows and warm towels.
Hearing the kids laugh every time I wake up and let one rip.  Letting one rip in general.
Looking back at a now clean room.  New taste buds.  Adidas trainers (black) ((always)).
Moleskine notebooks, stationary and new batteries.
Vinyl records on display.  Double glazing and thick walls. 
Saturday mornings spent watching a kids movie, followed by Saturday Kitchen, whilst still in my PJ’s.
Taking my shoes and socks off.  Big wine glasses, half full.
Ice cubes, vodka, limes and Russchian.
The first pint of a Saturday lunchtime.
BOGOF deals on something I actually need.
My harmonica not judging me for my awful attempts at learning to play it.
Wry smiles, a curious raised eyebrow and a barely suppressed laugh.
Lem Motlow, Gary Larson and Nelson Mandela.
Pointless websites and downloading new fonts.
Locks on toilet doors, autographs and autumn.
Trivial amounts of trivia.
Miso paste, thumb rings and a fresh razor blade (not together).
Planet Dork and their parachuting metal mice.
Wild expectations but never mine.  Crap magic by young children.
Red and White, fiddling with corks and Wild Wood.
Beeping strangers and then waving madly.  Finding short cuts.  Singing in the car…alone. 
Doing keepy ups and kicking footballs.
QT in HD with JD.
Being able to forward through adverts.
Writing this list.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Not on the High Street

When you name your kids Storm, Kaede and Nate you are often hard pushed to find anything with their names on in the High Street shops.  It’s not something you consider when you are playing the naming game, why would you, but it can be a proper pain in the butt later on down the line.  So when asked me to pick and review one of their products, my answer was an obvious “Yes”.  It’s a site my wife had often used for personalised door signs, piggy banks and the like.

Before I went onto the site I had to decide who was going to be the lucky recipient of whatever I picked.  Storm has just celebrated her 18th so she was off the list.  Kaede has just turned 7 so ditto her.  Nate is 5 in a few weeks but the Mrs has been über-organised and had already got all his pressies.  It is Mothers day soon but I always get my Mum daffodils (as a bump they named me dilly, I don’t know, it was the 70’s?) and the kids insist on picking their own presses so Mum’s were also off the list.

So that leaves little old me, it’s not my birthday for months so I decided that I deserved the free treat.

I went onto the site and went straight to the ‘for him’ section and to say I was spoilt for choice would be an understatement.  The site has the tag line ‘one basket, hundreds of unique shops’ and they’re not kidding. 
I saw a Skyline Wall Art sticker, a print of the London skyline that would fit perfectly on the big blank wall we have in one of the rooms, but then I realised that would only prompt the Mrs into demanding that I redecorate first, so I clicked away.

Next was a cashmere football scarf that comes in your teams colours (obviously).  Supporting footy in style was sounding good until I remembered that Kaede was becoming quite the footy fan and had taken to nicking my current scarf and wearing it to school.  It wouldn’t last a day in her grubby paws, so again I clicked away.
I then saw a personalised ‘…likes’ poster print, the idea being that you name 10 things you like and it would be turned into a ‘Goonerjamie likes…’ blah blah blah.  I started to list my ten things.  When I had finished four of them were alcoholic beverages, three were ex-Arsenal players, one was Arsenal, one was unmentionable and one was a Hollywood actress.  I decided that my list may not go down too well with the Mrs, so I carried on a clicking.

I then happened upon a silver scroll bracelet.  Three solid silver scrolls, threaded onto double leather black cords.  The scrolls could then be personalised with two initials, with a heart in-between for the romantic at heart, or with three initials for everyone else i.e. me.  I quite like a funky looking bracelet so I had found my gift.  I decided to get it personalised with the kids initials S, K and N and that was me set.  Ironically, before I placed the order I googled the letters SKN to make sure it wasn’t some sort of dubious acronym.  It turns out that it’s internet slang for ‘OK, cool, whatever’ which pretty must describes the kids anyway (in no particular order kids, in case they’re reading).
Five days later my bracelet turned up in a muslin drawstring sack, complete with care instructions.  Every bracelet is handmade and mine had a real rustic look and feel to it.  Like myself, it looked classic and understated and I’ve been happily wearing it ever since.

The love heart silver scrolled bracelet costs £49 and for a unique personalised item, that is exclusive to the site, feels like quite good value for money.
Thanks to Harriet French from for inviting me to do the review and I must point out that this is a sponsored post and I did not pay for the bracelet that I ordered.  I must also point out that if they think they are getting it back, they’ve got another thing coming bwahahaha.