So Smythson are running a competition where writers can describe the one item they would love to find in their Smythson stocking this Christmas, and then a winner will get a monogrammed Smythson handbag or wallet. And while I could quite easily say I would luuurve, loave, luff* the ridiculously chic Grosvenor bag, or a lifetime's supply of stiff, smart, richly embossed writing paper, if I'm going to be totally truthful, the thing I would treasure most is their fanciest pocket diary.
Because, dear reader, for years and years every Christmas I have requested and received a Smythson pocket diary. Like Mary Poppins they are practically perfect in every way, from the flexible yet durable cross-grain lambskin cover, to the thin but astonishingly sturdy Featherweight paper - that iconic invention which has travelled with explorers and novelists across the globe and stood up to the fiercest conditions and the inkiest of pens.
When I am at my most minimal my handbag contains the Smythson diary, my wallet, keys, phone and lipstick (Poppy King Lipstick Queen in Brat Pack if you were wondering.) And of these items the most precious is undoubtably the diary. This is because I have a terrible memory - both long term and short term (I know, such a skill for a journalist). I can't remember what I wore or ate for dinner on Monday, nor can I remember what year I graduated from university.
So each diary is my lifeline. They tell me where I'm meant to be next Tuesday, and where I went on holiday three years ago. They're not like a proper write-your-feelings-down diary (who has time for that?) but a shorthand version - I can read between the lines and know from the scribbles and scrawls what was happening in my life at that time.
My 2013 diary counted down 38 weeks of pregnancy (the baby was impatient and arrived two weeks before her pencilled-in due date.) Oh did I mention that I always write everything in pencil, then carefully rub it out and ink it in after it's happened? Even my own wedding - well I hate using Tippex and you never know...
So come December 25th I will be eagerly searching beneath the Christmas tree to spy that familiar little pale blue box, tied with a navy grosgrain ribbon, containing a fresh new year with potential in every tissue-thin page.
Now I told you mine, so please tell me yours - which Smythson item would make yours a very merry Christmas?
*gratuitous Annie Hall quote