Reader assistance: The perfect present for the man in your life

posted on: Friday, 19 June 2015

I had an email last month from a reader asking for advice on what to buy for the man in her life. She wanted something sophisticated and romantic, but something that would also stand the test of time. She said she fully expected I’d recommend something like a staple item from Ralph Lauren. While a classic cashmere sweater in a shawl collar style from Ralph Lauren is a gift I recommend every woman gift her man, I actually had a completely different suggestion and I asked AM (reader initials) if she would mind me sharing the advice with the rest of you as well. Prepare yourselves, it’s a bit cheesy. But, it’s also one of my favourite gift ideas of all time…

About four years ago now, I bought a journal from Aspinal of London. It was a red croc embossed leather journal with a beautiful golden ribbon page marker. The leather had a beautiful new car smell and the fresh casing cracked as I opened the pages to write my first of many love letters to the man in my life at the time. I had bought the book as an anniversary present. At that stage in our lives we were travelling around the world and never seemed to be in the same country together for very long at any given time. I so desperately wanted to bring back the romance of letter writing and the beauty of penning the page. This seemed like a step in the right direction.

So here was the basic idea behind the whole book. Each time one of us went away from London, instead of sending emails back and forth, the one at home would write in the book. It could be anything – how we missed each other, random moments of insanity or a complete venting exercise. The important thing was to create something that could be touched, flipped through and kept for all eternity.

The book becomes a road map of your relationship – a beautiful memento of a wrinkle in time. It can be more than just writing. You can fill it with pictures, random sketches, ticket stubs – anything that’s relevant to you that you want to share. While my relationship ended before the book could be filled, it still brings me great joy looking back and thinking of the amazing years of my life spent with a great friend.

While some might say this is cheesy as hell, I'll freely admit you may be right. It's not for every Tom, Dick or Harry out there. But, it is a way to bring a touch of old school romance to a modern world obsessed with digital interaction. And there I'll end the lecture.