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From London to Berwick: Culture shock? Oh, yes!

From stationery to toast tweezers: useful items to inspire your present lists

One of my nieces has issued a pre-birthday/Christmas present list since she was tiny. It seems a bit audacious – don’t you wait until your lovely Aunty phones to ask what you’d like? In reality it’s genius: she receives the fluffy ear muffs of her choice and the brand of shampoo she favours. Successful present lists manage to combine, I think, elements of quirkiness with a wide price range – oh, and plenty of time for purchases to be made. For me, usefulness is also important. In an attempt to be useful here’s a few items to inspire your Christmas lists and shopping. Most items found here in Berwick…shopping locally is tops on so many levels.

Under £5

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  • “Have I taken my pills today?” The pill chest is the solution. One week pill chest, 0.69p/7 day pill reminder, 0.79p (Home Bargains, Marygate). I’m sure you can find more extravagant options. The Husband may still forget his pills but at least he knows which day he’s forgotten them.
  • Jumbo Velcro rollers – I’ve found my inner Hilda Ogden! Great to bond with your children (check for headlice first!) in hilarious hair salon sessions. I found a pack of four in Home Bargains, 0.99p.
  • Parchment baking sheets – I love them. Easy to clean and eco-friendly. Use heavier duty ones for lining oven bottoms, ordinary weight for roasting and baking trays. The Green Shop, Bridge Street has a £3.29 one – treat someone to a pair of cosy bamboo socks while you’re there.
  • Toast tweezers. When you spot your child attacking the toaster with a fork, you’ll realise how essential these are. Mine are gorgeous bamboo ones from Cookcraft Kitchen Shop, Bridge Street, £3.50.
  • I would happily spend days stroking and sniffing new stationery. My current favourite notepad is a Pukka with in-built dividers and little pockets for tickets and things. I bought it at Grieves on Church Street, £3.99. Sorry about the sniffing and stroking, Mr Grieves.

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£5 – £20

  • Not useful as such, but fun. Ginormous balloons made of really thick stuff – inflated they look like huge globe lamps. (Danish Design, Marygate, £9.00). I like their range of mobiles too – a cool addition to any room (from £12).
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A mighty balloon!

  • Precious about tea? The Blomus Teastick (£18, Jones & Jones, Bridge Street) is the answer. Beautiful German design, it measures and infuses a perfect cuppa for one. They have some very pretty elephant tea caddies (£10.95) too.
  • An odour rub stone (Cookcraft, £9.50) removes oniony smells from fingers. Although a good buff of your hands on a stainless steel sink also does the job.
  • Slicing, dicing, squeezing and twirling vegetables (a range of mandolin/spiral cutters available in Cookcraft, £10-£40) is a great way of getting children hands-on (choose wisely or it’ll be hands-off) in the kitchen – creating carrot or courgette spaghetti for salads or noodle soup, for example.
  • Tweezers and 10x magnifying mirrors – What’s that? For make-up, of course. *Whisper*: essential for those of us with failing eyesight and sprouting chins. Whichever type you choose (I favour slant-ended Tweezermans) keep the plastic bit on the end and replace after each use to maintain grippiness.

Over £20

  1. MicroPedi by Emjoi – I got mine from Argos for £24.99. The briefest daily use and it’s goodbye hard skin, hello gorgeous feet. Soletastic.
  2. AfterShokz Sportz3 open ear stereo headphones (£49.96) – perfect for sporty peeps if, like me, you hate having stuff in your ears. Safer too as you can still hear the world as you rush by.
  3. SleepPhones Wireless Ultra-Comfortable Bluetooth Headband Headphones (£59.95) – I sent these direct to London Daughter who’s suffering with noisy neighbours. She raves about them (not the neighbours – they’re the ravers).
  4. The strimmer (mine’s a Black & Decker). My birthday gift from the husband – romantic devil. Perfect for bits the mower won’t reach, weedy patios, cobbles and neat lawn edges. Get a shoulder strap – half an hour’s strimming is equivalent to rebuilding Hadrian’s Wall.
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Hello beautiful feet – soletastic: the Micro Pedi

Here’s to happy present-list-writing and shopping.

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