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Gossipy Blog Thing

A look back at Birmingham Pride

1st June 2017

This past weekend was Birmingham Pride, and my husband asked me if he could write a guest blog post for me about Pride and what it means to him.  Below were his observations of the weekend.

I’m 42 and have no idea what music kids today listen to – indeed I had no idea who most of the performers on the main stage were. Saturday’s main stage line up I knew two out of 15 acts, and Sunday four out of 13. The DJ I saw on the main stage was a performer – not just filler between acts – this is now a thing apparently!

I hate loud bars where the music is turned up to 11. I want to have a pint and a chat with my friends. Not stand shouting at each other and randomly nodding because it doesn’t matter how hard we try we have no idea what was said. And then when we remember we aren’t telepathic and have a conversation on WhatsApp because it’s easier.

I also hate bars and places that are busy, rammed busy. The kind of busy that when you breath out someone stands in the space in front of you where your chest was a second ago.

There are some bars I like in Birmingham, my favourite gay bars are Eden for music and cabaret, and The Fountain and Wellington for old man boozers – somewhere you can sit down with a pint and packet of pork scratchings.

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30 Posts of Travel – What is your Favourite City?

3rd March 2017

As my first 30 Posts of Travel this must have to be the easiest one to answer.

New York.  I first visited New York on the 28th August 1997 (not that I remember this stuff) at the start of a coast to coast US trip and like everyone always seems to say it was more New York than I ever imaged.   Fire hydrants, yellow school busses, steam coming from the pavements, the Empire State in the distance.  I was ticking off every NYC cliché.

I’ve been to New York since then about 35 times since that first trip.  Sometimes I travel with friends, the other half and quite often by myself and I never get bored of the place.  In the last twenty years I think I’ve ticked off all the tourist sights I have any desire to see, although out of all these I never get bored of walking across the Brooklyn Bridge, along the Highline or looking over the whole city from Top of the Rock.   That is one view that constantly amazes and humbles me.   In New York, as with most cities I’ll visit the real feel of the place is discovered just walking the avenues and streets finding that random little mom and pop restaurant the guide books never tell you about, or seeing a random bit of architecture or street art.  You miss this zooming on the Subway from one tourist tick off to another.

One aspect of the city I will never catch up with is the dining scene which is, in my mind, the best in the World.  From three Michelin star tasting menus to hole in the wall Mom and Pop joints New York has it all and with New Yorkers being an ever fickle bunch there is always somewhere new to try.   Keeping apace with all the new restaurant openings is an impossible task but I try my best aided by some great review sites The Infatuation and TimeOut New York.

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I want to talk about rude cards

20th February 2017

I think it’s something I am reasonably qualified to do, certainly more so than tiling (tried that once, never again) or football.   I also believe it’s a part of the greeting card industry that some people within don’t like to acknowledge and yet rightly or wrongly it’s the one aspect of the industry that often generates the most media attention.  This was very much in evidence towards the end of January when a less than kind post on Mumsnet about some of my ruder Valentine’s cards made it to a selection of national tabloids.

I’m very proud of my place in the industry but I’ll always feel like the naughty young offspring despite my eighteen years or so within it.  There will never be a trade show where I don’t have to explain that “the old dears” actually do have a better sense of humour than the retailer may think.  Or that over half of my collection is perfectly clean but one bit of profanity means it must be on every card.  And then there’s the “I love these but I couldn’t possibly stock them”.   I’ll always provide humour at the edgier end of the spectrum and I’ve always accepted some of the restrictions because of this.  But – and in a moment of epic trumpet blowing  –  I’d like to stress the very important place rude cards have in the marketplace.

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30 Posts of Travel

7th January 2017

If you have followed me on Instagram you may have noticed I like to travel the country and the world.

Over the coming months, I will be completing a 30 Posts of Travel blog series. These are sometimes called “30 Days”, but that implies 30 days in a row which I’m not going to do – trade shows and travels will get in the way of doing that!

Here is a list of the 30 posts that will feature in the series. If you would like to use them on your own Blog please feel free and let me know! I’d love to see what your answers are.

  1. What is your favourite city to visit?
  2. What makes a hotel great / memorable?
  3. What are the best seats in the house when eating or drinking out?
  4. When you travel do you have any rituals or must take items?
  5. Where is your favourite city, and what are three must do things someone visiting for the first time?
  6. What do you dislike / hate most about travelling?
  7. Where do you want to visit that you haven’t been and why?
  8. Tell us your favourite anecdote or funny story from your travels?
  9. Where do you research your travel plans and find places to visit?
  10. If spending three nights in a city what are your must do’s, must see’s etc?
  11. Post three of your favourite pictures from your travels?
  12. Land, sea or air? How do you like to travel?
  13. Give us your three top travel tips?
  14. What’s been the site / museum / gallery / landmark you most treasure the memory of visiting?
  15. Food and drink … does the local restaurant and bar scene interest you? How do you decide where to eat and drink?
  16. Camping, back packing, spa breaks, bare foot luxury, walking in the hills … something else? What’s your ideal get away?
  17. Where is on your bucket list at the moment?
  18. What’s on your iPod when you travel? Share some tracks that remind you of travels, or trips?
  19. Where is the most over-rated city or destination you have been to?
  20. What’s the secret to packing when travelling?
  21. What was your first trip abroad, or if you’ve not been abroad where would you like your first trip to be?
  22. Have you had any travel disasters?
  23. Has anyone inspired your travels? Have you visited somewhere based on someones recommendation, or visited somewhere inspired by someone / tv show / film?
  24. What’s your travel destination guilty pleasure?
  25. Do you have a favourite travel writer / blog / magazine / guidebook?
  26. What’s in your camera bag? Do you take snaps for you, facebook, to show friends a slideshow? What’s your Instagram / Flickr?
  27. What’s been the weirdest / craziest food you’ve eaten or seen?
  28. What are the best apps to have your on phone when travelling?
  29. Do you have a favourite part of the World to visit?
  30. What’s the best thing about travelling? Why do you love to travel and see places?


Secret Santa Gift Ideas Under £10 for Christmas 2016

14th December 2016

Oh no! Secret Santa gift time, again! Bah humbug!

So, it’s that time of year AGAIN – how did 2016 go so quickly, eh? It’s been a bit of an odd year – and if you don’t know what I mean, then where the hell have you been hiding? So we thought we’d do a quick Secret Santa post to help all of you finally get into that Christmas spirit, if you’re not there already?!

Secret Santa presents are a little bit of a prickly subject, and if you’re a bloke and didn’t realise the peril of buying the wrong present for someone, then it’s time you woke up and took some notice.

What’s the problem? Well, how do you get someone in the office something that’s not so expensive that they suddenly think you fancy them, or so cheap looking – even though it did actually cost you more than you wanted to spend – that they are frosty with you for the next month? And there’s the issue – value for money needs to be mixed with something that says ‘Hey, I know he / she really did put some effort into this for me’ while at the same time not being so outwardly showy that people start shipping you together.

So, unless you really do want to ask him or her out, jewellery’s out and electronics are too expensive. It’s at this point you can turn to something humorous but useful. That’s where we have some great ideas for you. Either buy them singly if that’s your budget, or use them as part of a larger present to ‘top things up’ and make a memorable Secret Santa surprise that they’ll remember this time next year. So, here’s a short list of some Secret Santa gift ideas for under £10.

Secret Santa mugs

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Last Posting Dates for Christmas

7th December 2016

AAMNFTIt’s that joyful time of year we get to sit down and write the Christmas Cards. We all love it, the first one you like to write a little message, maybe draw a cute little Rudolph figure. But by the time you get to the 24th card they should consider themselves lucky you even managed to write your name!

I’m writing my own Christmas cards this evening and I remember a story a friend told me. Every year he writes a list of who sends him a card, and then rates the quality of each card. And if the card is too cheap, one of those cards that the paper is so thin it can’t stand up by itself, they get crossed off his Christmas Card list!

And as the doors of the advent calendars open its important to remember to order your cards in time or you may end up with the cheap multipack from the local garage. Here are our recommended dates to get your rude Christmas card orders in.

Last Days for Ordering

Royal Mail has its last days for posting to ensure orders get to their destinations in time for Christmas. Below are the dates we recommend ordering by to ensure we can get it out to you in time for Doctor Who Day.

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And for something completely different..

8th November 2016

Well I believe there’s a big bit of news going on today.  Well whatever it is maybe it’s time for some light relief from the impending apocalypse.  So I present you some VERY cute dog memes from snapchat.  Wouldn’t the World be a better place if there were more dog memes.  I’ll leave it at that.


Christmas is here!

2nd November 2016

dmx-214Not long now until the John Lewis 2016 Christmas advert is on, the first showing of the Coco-Cola Holidays are Coming advert and the shops are full of Christmas gifts, decorations and adverts.

Wait, the shops are already full of Christmas stuff and its only November!? Every year there are complaints about shops being full of Christmas merchandise and signs way too early – people like to keep Christmas special, preserve the magic and build up to December.

And that is very understandable, last night driving into Birmingham I passed a house that already has its Christmas tree and decorations up! At home, nothing remotely festive goes up until 1st December and you have drunk your first Advent Calendar Gin.

Except in the office.

All the website orders are picked and sent out from here and in October we have a bit of a sort out and shift around to make room for the Christmas cards. November and December are our two biggest months on the website with people looking for some rude, funny or offensive Christmas cards to send their co-workers, friends and family.

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Is this the scariest Halloween Costume of all time?

30th October 2016

That’s pretty damn scary.  I’m getting twitchy sweats just posting this.  Hope you’re all having a pretty dam scary Halloween Weekend!

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That’s gotta hurt!

25th October 2016

So last night the wait was finally over.  I got my Walking Dead fix back and boy wasn’t that a grueling and brutal season premiere?

I ain’t gonna give any spoilers away in case you haven’t seen it yet but the recipient of Negan’s bat Lucille was revealed and it didn’t disappoint.  Walking Dead has never held back on the violence which is great for a gore hound like me (I was watching video nasties back when I was ten) but last night’s episode was just about watchable.  Not only for its brutality but for the complete feeling of helplessness Negan has left the group with.  Didn’t think they could outdo Noah in the revolving door but last night they did.

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