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gift giving as a new couple with wishwant.co.uk...

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If you follow me on instagram then you may have seen that I've recently been posting QUITE A LOT of happy couple photos. Photos where I actually make up one half of the happy couple! I've quietly mentioned this once or twice on here, but, if you missed it, I now have an incredibly handsome boyfriend (#smug).

We've been together a couple of months now, and the other weekend was the young man's birthday. I'm not all that used to being in a relationship, so this was a bit of a stress for me, but I expect the first birthday for any new couple is a relatively confusing thing.

What do you buy them? Do you go for something generic? Do you just take them out for a meal? If you buy something thoughtful is that TOO much? And how much money should you spend?

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Then wishwant, a new gift giving service and website got in touch asking me for some user feedback on their website and what I thought of the concept.

The best way I can think to explain the site, is that it lets you create a personal catalogue of gifts for someone to choose from. You select the amount you want to spend, and are presented with a range of gifts that match this price. From these gifts you pick between 4 and 12 which are made up into a catalogue, which you can personalise with their name and a special message. It's like a gift card, but instead of for a whole shop, it is for a very specifically curated shelf in a shop.

You can then get the catalogue printed out and sent either to yourself so you can give it to them in person, or directly to their address. They can then choose which gift they like best, and using the unique code given in the catalogue, they go online and redeem their present.

I was intrigued by the idea of this, particularly for people who are difficult to buy for, but when you dont want to just give them a gift card. I thought testing it out on the new boy would be ideal, and wishwant very kindly gave me £15 to spend with them.

I went online and looked at everything that was available for £15 and must admit I was very tempted to use the £15 to buy myself a Rob Brydon notebook or a new piece of jewellery, but I stuck to my guns and filtered the results to show gifts for men.

I have to admit, I wasn't blown away by the collection as a whole, but from a gift giving website, I guess for £15 you can't expect much more than the generic collection of smellies, and actually there were one or two things that I really liked. I thought the table top ping pong set was particularly nice, there were some good books I could imagine putting in a collection for say my Dad or Uncle, and there was a really good range of food stuffs, like hot chocolate and coffee selections. I also looked through the choices that weren't categorised as 'mens' and found some nice notebooks to add to my catalogue and some unusual things like an air purifying spray.

On first glance I felt that the value for money was really varied. Personally I wouldn't spend £15 on some of those gifts, but I guess that is the point of creating a catalogue, so that the person you're buying for can decide what they want. Plus it doesn't tell them how much you've spent so it really comes down to which gift they like best, and I really like that about the service.

I also had a look at some of the brands they were selling and you can tell that they have really looked for high end, unusual brands to include on their site, so while I might not personally spend x amount on something, I knew that whichever gift my young man chose, he'd be getting something really quality.

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When the catalogue arrived I thought the packaging was particularly nice. Especially the message 'I thought you might like this' that appeared when you opened it. You could choose from another of cover pictures and add in your name and a personal greeting too, again which I thought was really nice. Online you could also put a note with each gift as to why you chose this, something that for me really made the service stand out, as I always worry with a gift card or anything that falls into the more generic gift category, it looks a little bit like you haven't put any thought into this. Unfortunately though, my reasons didn't print out into the booklet, I'm not sure if that was a website glitch or not though.

Luckily I was sat with the young man when he went through the catalogue as we ate the special birthday breakfast I'd put together so I could explain to him my reasons for the selection he had.

Overall I really like the idea of the wishwant service. As a new couple it was nice to be able to give the young man a small but thought out gift to go along with the day I had planned out for him (long breakfast, followed by afternoon tea at Cloud 23, the Hilton in Manchester). I'm not sure I would use this as somebodies main gift, and personally, while I think this is much nicer than a gift card, for anybody I'm really close to I'd still rather buy them a specific gift for a special occasion. Something I did think was that the site would be perfect if you wanted to surprise some one who lived far away with no real reason for giving them a gift other than to say 'I'm thinking of you' or to cheer them up when they are having a bad day - especially for a girlfriend, as as I mentioned before there are some really lovely things on there.

I think the website needs a little bit of work, but that is why they got in touch with me in the first place, to find and iron out those glitches, and as the service is still pretty new I imagine the gift choices will expand, and I'll be keeping an eye out on the brands they pick and the products they have on offer.

My young man went for the table top tennis set in the end, as I suspected he would! I'm looking forward to it arriving, although I'm not so much looking forward to seeing his competitive side come out for the first time!

I'd also like to say a big thank you to Tetiana and wishwant for giving me the gift voucher for free so I could try out their site. They didn't even ask me to write out a blog post for them, so you can be sure all opinions are my own, and I thought it was a really lovely for a company to ask for genuine feedback just through email, rather than specifically being asked to feature them on here! PR companies take note!

Let me know if you have a look on the wishwant site, there's a great video on the homepage that explains how the service works much better than I have. What do you think? Is this the type of thing you would use? And have you ever been flumuxed by the whole new relationship/birthday thing before?

Live life & think about sending a gift out of the blue x

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