After 20 years in marketing, you tend to view all aspects of branding with a healthy suspicion and garner weird looks in your local Disney store as you mutter under your breath (oh-ho, OF COURSE the Frozen DVD won't be released until the Easter Holidays, subtle Disney, very subtle).
We ran our wedding list via John Lewis Online which was great. It basically worked by me pulling up a picture of something entirely random (e.g. a statue of a heron for the garden), placing the PC in front the husband whilst he was under the influence of Top Gear, and waiting for him to nod so he could return to watching Star In A Reasonably Priced Car (reasonably priced, my a**e - my first car was a beat up Morris Minor bought for £60 - now THAT's reasonably priced - although it was the 80's).
Now I am on my own as far as decision making goes and am completely in a tail spin as my 50th approaches at the end of May. So far I have considered a day trip on the Orient Express, an emerald ring (my birthstone) and a HUGE party at Monte Carlo Casino where we all dress up as our favourite Bond character.
Admittedly, I might have had a drink when I came up with the last one. But I can't commit to anything. I'd love a Louis Vuitton Alma handbag but the cost of one would probably involve conversion to Catholicism and weekly confession to the end of my days.
Oh yes. I'm talking guilt here. That's the thing when you have kids. I know they're only 6 and 4 and they might not want to go, but University tuition fees are not exactly small these days. Plus you tend to look at your own parents and their comparatively modest lifestyle and do a rapid reassessment of your values.
The truth is (and watching Sports Relief this week has made the point nicely) many of us have so much. And the more we have, the less pleasure it seems to give us. We don't really want anything, much less NEED it.
Actually I find the biggest pleasure in buying most things is the thrill of my card whizzing through the till point - the gloss seems to wear off when you get home. This is particularly true of 90% of children's toys.
Once out of the packaging and devoid of point of sale / merchandising paraphenalia, you're frequently left with a battery hungry piece of plastic which cracks when dropped and ends up at the back of the toy cupboard in a few days.
No. I'm going to have to come up with something creative for my 50th............ and quick!