Marie Louise McConville: Practical presents? No thanks, I'm not that old just yet

A car battery for my birthday? Am I really at the `practical gifts' point of my life?
Marie Louise McConville

This growing up business is difficult, isn't it?

I mean, one minute we're free as a bird, no-one to answer to, holidaying in Ibiza at a moment's notice and enjoying lie-ins, the next, we are in bad form because there was a spit of rain and now the laundry can't be put out to dry.

I don't know about anyone else but I'm not a fan of this growing up lark.

Suddenly our lives become all about shopping around to get the best price on washing capsules and the idea of anything spontaneous brings on severe anxiety.

I remember I used to be cool - or so I thought - and our conversations in the office were about new clubs, new drinks and new men.

This week, in work, a colleague and I spent almost half an hour talking about breakdown cover - and not the type that requires a trip to the Priory.

Nope, she was shopping around for breakdown cover for her car, for flat tyres and dead batteries and the like, and we were both disgusted that this is where our money now goes.

Ok, so she found a deal for around £7 a month but still, why do we have to pay for such boring things?

Yes, yes, I know it's practical but I hate practical.

I remember birthdays used to be all about fun and excitement and opening the surprise gift to find a mini-break or something sparkly.

This year, Darren bought me a car battery.

Yes, it was because mine had died and yes, it was because I really, really needed one but come on, for my birthday?

Then when my car had to get checked for MoT, as a "wee treat", he paid for the mechanic to check the oil, just to be nice.

Come on, check the oil?

I hate getting practical. I hate having to pay tax on my wages. I hate having to pay road tax and I hate having to buy travel insurance - just in case.

I don't want to spend my money on wooden pegs, because the plastic ones don't hold the clothes firmly enough and I don't want any bloody funeral cover just yet so clear off.

I'm not interested in triple-glazing or multi-packs of toilet rolls.

I want fun and surprises and spontaneity - every now and again - but I fear those things have now passed me by.

Of course, the other way of looking at it is that I should be grateful that I am getting the chance to grow older, I know so many aren't as lucky. I just don't want it to be boring.

The thing is, I still want to use my money to pay for romantic mini-breaks and Taylor Swift albums and patchy spray tans - not yoghurts that lower my cholesterol and chin waxes - is that so bad?


Valentine's Day is finally here and if you didn't get a card fear not, it could be worse - someone could have given you a sausage.

Bizarrely, the M&S `Love Sausage' - a truffle-infused pork sausage - sold out in minutes last year and this year, a smaller twin-pack was introduced too.

I don't know about you but I'd be turned if someone gave this to me as a Valentine gift.

Even looking at it disgusts me.

You can keep your `Love Sausage' M&S, I'm very particular about my meat - especially on Valentine's Day.



Spring is almost upon us so how about celebrating the new season with some luxury?

Buella Life, an online third-party distribution platform, which sources best-in-class luxury and wellness brands, is expanding with a new home and beauty range this year.

Ahead of the launch of the full range, Buella have produced a limited edition candle series.

Each candle has been hand-made and poured entirely from 100 per cent recycled candle wax which has been melted down, cleaned and scented.

Fragrances have been sourced from a 200-year-old French perfumery and are available in two distinctive scents - Ginger & Lime and Bitter Orange & Yiang Yiang.

Other brands currently being promoted by Buella Life include Lusso Tan, Blossom Hill Farm, Lumity, Pankhurst London, Peccavi Wines and The Recycled Candle Co.

Further details on the full range of of cruelty free, environmentally friendly, luxury products can be found at

I have six luxury Buella candles to give away.

If you fancy winning a candle, simply email your name, address and telephone number – along with the answer to the question below – to

Closing date for entries is 12 noon on Tuesday, February 18, 2020

(Q) Buella Life luxury candles are available in which two distinctive scents?

Normal Irish News Rules Apply


The winners of the Lusso Tan competition are Melissa Mitchell, from Belfast, Frances Dobbin, from Portglenone, and Eilis O'Neill, from Belfast.

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