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Member Name: Holland1
Advantages: Quick delivery, range of gifts to suit all budgets, delivery free if order over £30
It was my sister-in-law-to be's 30th birthday earlier this month, and as she had recently moved down south my fiancé and I were trying to think of a good present which wasn't too tricky or delicate to post that wouldn't cost the earth (his family aren't big on going overboard with presents) but that she would really appreciate. That's where I come in as my 'role' as the woman in the relationship apparently means that I automatically know what to get everyone for presents, even if they're not from my side of the family....
I remembered having a conversation with her a little while ago and she said she would love to have a portrait session with her, her husband, and their daughter. Bearing in mind she is about to give birth to their second child, I thought this would be a nice gift to capture a photo of the family all together, while the baby was still young. I did a bit of shopping round but found a lot of the portrait gift experiences were either too expensive, the studios were not close enough to where they live, or they had to be used within a strict time limit (some of them expired within two months so I didn't think she'd appreciate having to do it so soon after giving birth!).
My google search directed me to gettingpersonal.co.uk, which has lots of good gift ideas that are a bit different and can be personalised. They had a family portrait gift experience for £39.99, which could be personalised with your message then sent directly to the recipient. The details of the studios was a bit vague, it just stated they were 'nationwide'. I emailed them to find out which ones were in the vicinity of my sister-in-law-to-be (to be referred to as SIL2B from now on!), and the following day they replied and gave me about three which were closest to her postcode. This seemed fine so I went on to buy the gift experience, adding our birthday message and keeping my fingers crossed it arrived on time.
Delivery was free (as we'd spent over the threshold) and it claimed to despatch within 24 hours. This was good news because as usual, despite several reminders to my other half, the gift hunting had been left till last minute and delegated to me, so I only ordered it the weekend before her birthday. Not being sure if they dispatched at the weekend I was fully expecting the gift to arrive late, but on her birthday (the Tuesday) we had a text from SIL2B saying she'd received her gift and she loved it. Cue lots of brownie points for me from my other half "You're so good at choosing presents for people" he creeped, "I should be, I've had enough practise" was my not at all sarcastic response!
The portrait experience was excellent value compared to others I'd seen. It included 20 minutes of photography using props etc, and also one print. I suspect when they redeem this gift they'll be cursing us as they'll probably end up spending a fortune on more prints, but it's the thought that counts! It's valid for up to 9 months which is ideal because she's due to give birth this month so she can have a bit of recovery time before posing in front of the camera.
The website itself isn't the best laid out to use to be honest, I find it quite crowded and 'busy'. It categorises gifts into occasions (birthday, weddings, etc), recipient (him, her, family members), personalised gifts (calendars, mugs etc), other gifts (bit vague), Christmas gifts (sub-categorised into person or budget) and they also do personalised cards. Once you find your way round it gets a lot easier but at first there just seems to be pictures and writing everywhere. Gifts start from as little as £3, but obviously can get quite high in certain categories such as jewellery. There is something to suit all budgets though and even the cheap things don't look tacky as they have a personal touch.
There are some gorgeous unique gifts on here, and I've already got my eye on a couple of things for my wedding next year to say thank you to my bridesmaid and mum. This website is a very good place to start searching for a special gift that doesn't cost the earth. The prices are very reasonable so you can get a wow-factor gift without going over your budget.
Each gift you click on has it's own reviews (like on amazon) from people who've bought it. This is useful although anyone in the know would of course try dooyoo first! There are also articles giving advice on good ideas on gifts for particular occasions, which can be helpful if you've no idea what you want and nothing on the site catches your eye.
Delivery is free if you spend over £30, but otherwise it'll only cost £2.99 which doesn't add too much onto the cost of your item. In my experience they are very speedy with delivery, and reading through the reviews on their website I think this is the case generally.
Overall, this is an excellent website and is one I will be visiting more often in future when I am looking for gifts.
Summary: Get this in your website favourite list ready for Christmas!