Trust GXT 1863 mechanical keyboard review for typing, not gaming: Cheap and great value

I’ve just bought what has to be the best value mechanical keyboard available in the UK right now, the Trust GXT 1863 Thax Mechanical gaming keyboard. Thanks to a pretty exceptional deal on Amazon it’s going for just £23 including delivery (if you have Prime), and if you can get it for the same price I would recommend it as a way to test out the concept of a “mechanical” keyboard.

I’ve bought it to type on, not play games. I commonly find that the best, more ergonomic and practical peripherals tend to be labelled “gaming” devices these days. I use a Dell “gaming” monitor, a Logitech G-Pro “gaming” mouse, and now I have a “gaming” keyboard. In my day job as a journalist I don’t play many games, but I find they are all extremely effective for standard office work like word processing, editing videos, or working in a content management system.

What is a mechanical keyboard?

Mechanical keyboards are what keyboards always used to be: sturdy plastic keys that “travel” or move up and down when you press them, usually making a clicky sound to some degree. Most keyboards you get on laptops and even on desktops are what are called “butterfly” keyboards which “travel” much shorter distances, and are much mushier when you press them because of this and the softer plastic they sit on.

Typing like on the Trust GXT 1863 Thax?

You can very easily find nerds on YouTube testing the sound of different keyboards, and this one is no different. Here’s what the Trust GXT 1863 sounds like (I’ve embedded the video at the exact time where they test the keys):

Nice, right? A bit like a more plasticy version of a typewriter. The extra sound does take a bit of time to get used to, and I wouldn’t take it into a library to use, but in practice it creates a nice bit of clickety-clakety white noise which helps you get into the flow of typing.

Mechanical vs Butterfly keyboards

The biggest difference when typing compared to butterfly keyboards is not the sound. In fact, if you’re coming from something like an Apple Keyboard you’ll find the biggest change is the fact that it sits higher, and that the keys are much closer together. That makes touch typing much easier, and so far I’m finding my typing to be much more accurate.

Other features

This particular keyboard has fixed backlights which are multicoloured like the rainbox, one of the few downsides of the “gaming” peripheral phenomenon – subtle it is not. It also has some functions like shortcuts for a calculator, back and skip in music, volume, and opening a Window, but none of that is particularly exciting or useful.

Do I recommend the Trust GXT 1863 Thax keyboard?

Yes, if you can pick one up for less than £25 then go ahead and order it. Typically mechanical keyboards are listed for sale at much higher prices. Even RTings list of the best mechanical keyboards lists the best budget one at around £100. Before you jump in, buy one of these instead and see if you like it.

UK shopping delivery apps Getir, Gorillas, Dija reviewed – with discount codes

If you live in London, you might have noticed the rapid introduction of shopping delivery apps with strange names like Getir, Gorillas and Dija. These are companies that are backed with hundreds of millions of dollars venture capital money, and to rapidly gain market share they are offering incredibly generous discounts.

So far I’ve tried Getir, Gorillas and Dija, and they work exceptionally well. Within 10 minutes I’ve received a fortnight’s supply of oat milk, chocolate, bread, and milk. With the discounts, it also costs less than what I’d pay at my local Sainsbury’s. It all feels a bit dotcom boom circa year 2000, and the discount codes are unlikely to last for long, but while they’re around it’s worth taking advantage of them. Thanks Michael Moritz!

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Getir discount codes

No code required: Add £11 to your order, and tap “Select promotion” for £10 off.

Gorillas discount codes

CQ201470: Get £10 discount on your first order, minimum £20 order

HEY60: £15 off your first four orders, for new users only. Minimum spend £20 per order, and must be applied each time.

Dija (powered by Gopuff) discount codes

WELCOME10: 10% off your first order if you are a new customer

Gopuff (previously Fancy) discount codes

WELCOME50: 50% off your first order.

Zapp discount codes

1YY7: Get £10 off your first order, minimum order £20.

GETZAPP: £10 off. Available in west London

ZAPPTEN: £10 off. Available in west London

Tweet me at @coneee and I’ll add more codes if you’ve got them!

A quick review of Getir

Getir is the first of the fast delivery apps I tried, which is probably because the blue and yellow branding and the all-electric delivery bikes are everywhere where I live in Hackney. The app is bright and cheerful, and your first order will only cost you £5 with the first delivery discounts. The prices aren’t cheap, but they are competitive with my local Sainsbury’s, and the process of signing up is quick and straightforward. I went for a batch of Tony’s Chocoloney, some oat milk and chewing gem. The delivery person arrived in about 10 minutes with a smile, and the food already in his hand in a reusable blue and yellow bag.

A quick review of Dija

The experience of signing up to Diji is just as easy as Getir, but I had to search online for a discount code. It wasn’t included in the app, unlike Getir. This time I went for more oat milk, regular semi-skimmed milk, a dozen eggs, some tomatoes and sourdough bread. The delivery person arrived in less than 10 minutes after I placed the order, and the food was in brown plastic bags with a hand written message.

A quick review of Gorillas

My order of £50 worth of groceries from Gorillas was discounted by £25 and arrived in 4 minutes. Some of the things were out of stock – mostly salad items – but everything else was there, and you can’t argue with a delivery time that’s quicker than it would have taken for me to get dressed and get to the shop. The ice bag that I ordered was still dry.

Maybe it was because I made a larger order, but Gorillas added in a free box of tea. Their messaging is also a bit more guerilla, with “Welcome to the jungle” written on the bags, and a personal note with the tea bags.

All three services are practically identical in their services – they were all exceptionally quick, got everything right, and the costs for the first deliveries were heavily subsidised. How long will that last?

El Salvador makes Bitcoin legal tender, while Her Majesty’s Treasury says it’s never experimented with Dogecoin

Yes, I know the Queen doesn’t actually run the Treasury.
Image credit (and deep apologies to): Joel Rouse (Ministry of Defence)

Last week, El Salvador’s congress voted to make Bitcoin “legal tender”. As ever, the Financial Times’ Jamie Powell and Jemima Kelly have the best analysis of what’s actually happening.

Her Majesty’s Treasury, on the other hand, is having none of all this cryptocurrency malarky (for the moment). And why would it? The UK government is not seeking $1 billion in funding from the IMF, and our chancellor already has a good social media game without having to indulge in laser eye memes, thankyouverymuch – unlike El Salvador’s meme-thirsty president.

How do I know? Because HM Treasury told me. I sent them a freedom of information request and they wrote back to tell me that it has never bought or held any dogecoin in the UK Government official reserves. Here it is in black and white, thanks to What Do They Know.

HM Treasury can disclose that it has not bought or held any digital assets, including Bitcoin, Ethereum, Dogecoin or any other type of cryptocurrency, in the UK Government official reserves. Similarly, HM Treasury has made no attempt to mine cryptocurrency or purchased equipment to do so. The gross official reserves, held in the Exchange Equalisation Account, are comprised of foreign currency assets (cash, bonds and notes), gold assets and net positions of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) Special Drawing Rights (SDR).

HM Treasury

I made the “official reserves” bit italic because it’s technically not what I asked them. I asked whether the department as a whole has ever dabbled in Doge, not whether the UK Government’s official reserves held official cryptocurrency assets. The reserves are still limited to gold, foreign currency and IMF special drawing rights (a basket of foreign currencies which provides liquidity to IMF member countries).

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I find it a bit hard to believe that not one of the 1,200 civil servants who work at HM Treasury have given Coinbase a go. Or, more realistically, tried to figure out how a digital wallet works through its work with the Financial Action Task Force which it helped to introduce the first “internationally agreed standards for regulating assets and currencies including cryptocurrencies and digital currencies.” (Page 31 in HM Treasury’s most recent accounts.) But then again, our FOI laws leave a lot to be desired. If you’re a civil servant reading this and you know the exact phrasing I should use to get the information officers to tell me the government’s Coinbase address, hit me up.

Meanwhile, the idea of a stable, digital “Britcoin” backed by the Bank of England looks increasingly more likely.

Bernard Bergemar was almost a Googlewhack before this Financial Times article

Update: Alexi Mostrous at Tortoise has managed to track down “Bernd Bergmair” after a search that spanned “China, and Austria, Hong Kong and New York” but that apparently ended somewhere in London. The full story will be online in a podcast on Tortoise on Monday.

One of the fun paradoxes of early internet culture was the concept of the “Googlewhack“: a google search query that returns only a single result. Until today, Bernard Bergemar, the largest owner and biggest beneficiary of MindGeek, the company which owns the world’s most trafficked adult website, would almost qualify.

An astonishing investigation by Financial Times reporter Patricia Nilsson reveals that MindGeek’s ultimate owner is someone who barely exists on the internet. At the time of writing, he only exists in two court filings from the early 2010s, and in the Financial Times article published today.

Read the full story of MindGeek’s secretive owner at the Financial Times. You won’t be disappointed.

The best tools for your loud, overheating Mac laptop while you’re working from home

Image credit: Apple

If you ever feel like your Mac laptop is about to take off because its fan is blowing so loudly, (a common and popular meme on TikTok) then these are the best-working-from-home lockdown tools for you.

  1. Turbo Boost Switcher – this utility allows you to turn off “Turbo Boost”, which is a function of Intel-based Macs. Turbo Boost lets your laptop “boost” the processor’s speed temporarily, which usually leads to a similar boost in the speed of your computer’s fans. Doing this will slow down your computer, but if you’re not doing anything too intensive then it shouldn’t matter.
  2. Macs Fan Control – does what it says on the tin. The free version allows you to change the automatic fan settings to something that might better suit you and your workload. You can even set them to full blast if you want to keep your laptop cooler than it might normally be.
  3. Buy a new M1 Mac – the MacBook Air model doesn’t even have a fan, so there’s no risk of any noise whatsoever.

If meditation and mindfulness can make you more depressed, what does that mean for Calm?

Don Draper, meditating to maximise his KPIs. Image credit: AMC

Meditation, mindfulness and the marketing industry which has driven their recent trendiness are hopefully about to get the backlash they deserve. My New Scientist colleague Clare Wilson reports on the first systematic review of the evidence about the practice, which finds that for a minority of people meditation and mindfulness can worsen depression and anxiety, or even provoke panic attacks, psychosis and thoughts of suicide.

The study does not deny that many people do benefit from these practices, some of whom are probably reading this, but it does allow a bit of space for more forceful criticism of the mostly invented world of “wellness”, and the marketing of mindfulness and meditation as the solution to all your problems. And the marketing messages are where the issues lie. If you want to overpay for an an app with prepackaged MP3s of celebrities whispering, that’s up to you. But don’t pretend it will reduce your stress, make your life better or solve any of your problems.

A few years ago I embarked on a body transformation, a rite of passage for most people who have worked at a men’s magazine. One of the things my fitness instructor recommended was trying mindfulness app Calm, which I found was close to a Black Mirror experience, a bit like voluntarily locking yourself in a room with a Tim Ferris wannabe in control of a surround sound PA system telling you to breathe in mysterious patterns, knowing that their net worth has probably increased by a London house-deposit sized proportion by the end of your 30 minute session. But maybe that’s just me.

Using Calm immediately increased my anxiety and I immediately stopped using it, which is fine because no-one is forcing me to use it, but it’s still very hard to escape the app and the pervasive marketing message of wellness. American Express even thought it wise to grant card members a premium subscription for a year, perhaps the best example of corporate wellness box ticking I’ve seen during this crazy year.

I don’t think it’s a coincidence that one of the most famous recent examples of meditation in popular culture is in the final episode of Mad Men, where the sum result of Don Draper’s meditation retreat is an idea for a new Coca Cola advertisement.

Life changing doesn’t necessarily mean positively life changing. Image credit: Calm

Although I do get some satisfaction imagining aspiring Silicon Valley entrepreneurs using their Calm sessions to try and channel their mind into discovering new organisational efficiencies (think: Amelie counting orgasms in Paris, but maler, pastier and with KPIs instead of cumming), they and we deserve better diagnoses and treatment for our modern day ails and ennui. And we certainly need to detach mental health from work efficiencies, and put it lower down the priority list for solving people’s problems.

One of the most disturbing elements of Clare’s newsletter about her story is that schools and the NHS are now recommending mindfulness, in some cases to schoolchildren with the intention of boosting their resilience against bullying. Should the NHS and schools really be recommending meditation if in some cases it is making people feel worse?

My form of meditation is practicing my trombone, looking up if I hear a distinctive aeroplane’s engine (and then looking it up on Flightradar24) and writing lightly researched polemics on my blog about how much the meditation industry annoys me. I couldn’t do any of this if I didn’t have a comfortable home, a good job and a healthy “fuck off fund.” Those are prerequisites for good mental health, and anything that doesn’t consider that first and foremost is arguably damaging.

Hopefully this study will be the beginning of the end of the marketing trend which suggest that closing your eyes and breathing a little deeper can have impact whatsoever on systemic problems. Even though we now have the evidence that meditation can make your mental situation worse, I can’t imagine that ever making its way into Calm’s marketing rules. 

The glamorous* things keeping me sane now that home is work and work is home

Two sprays of Byredo cedar scent which takes me on a dreamy night out with my fiancee, even though I’ve only been to a bar once in five months. With each push of the metal cap I imagine a 20p piece jangling into a piggy bank, the price of each expensive squirt.

The smell of suncream applied in the morning, even when it’s cloudy outside. It never fails in fooling my brain that I’m at the beach. My only worry is that I might overpower the sun and sand association and permanently replace it with a memory of my bathroom, circa 2020 coronavirus pandemic.

Updating my savings spreadsheet. Opening all the tabs and totting up the changes in the stock market or the miserly interest is a very soothing ritual for me. Some nights I go to sleep thinking of my financial cushion. If you’re looking for mental peace, you don’t need meditation: you need a “fuck off” fund.

Doing the meter reading. You mean I have to go outside to do a task? Shall I get dressed up?

Rearranging my book shelves and rotating the books on my bedside table is so important. Want to escape the dishes? Better pick up some Cixin Liu and visit outer space. Frustrated with pandemic politics? Pick up Dark Money and get angry. I’ve been reading at a rate of knots ince I started putting the books that actually interest me within my eye line. Next up, Hilary Mantel’s Wolf Hall, which is soon to graduate from propping up the fan to my reading list.

As a fair skinned man, tanning is not top of the list of my abilities. Nevertheless, I’ve managed to develop a healthy cyclist’s tan with a very noticeable threshold on my legs from pasty to almost healthy looking. Maintaining it with regular rides is what counts for fun in 2020.

Apparently the key to keeping house plants alive is spending your entire life at home. All they need is water, sunlight and the occasional chat.

*actually utterly unglamorous, but you wouldn’t have clicked that.

Freetrade makes it easier to lose your money on the stock market

gordon gekko and bud fox holding a phone with freetrade

Gordon Gecko. The Wolf of Wall Street. Christian Bale’s portrayal of Michael Burry in the Big Short. These characters embody the public idea of ruthless finance types who will use every trick in the book – including cheating pensioners out of their money – to make their own millions.

To that roster of characters I’d like to add me, Conrad Quilty-Harper, blogger, digital editor and the proud owner of £636.36 worth of stocks, commodities and bonds. I’m not going to make millions with my tiny pot of money, but to own those shares at least I didn’t have to move to Wall Street, don a double-breasted suit or set up an ISDA Master Agreement*: I simply downloaded an app on my phone.

Yours truly and my £199.28 Freetrade stock portfolio, back in December 2018.

This is a review of, a new app, based in London, which allows its users to access a selection of shares available to buy in the UK and abroad. With a few touches and a thumb press, you can buy and sell shares, and have a very good reason to reinstall the iOS Stocks app.

Of course it’s always been relatively easy to buy shares if you really wanted to. MoneySavingExpert has a brilliant list of some affordable options. The difference with Freetrade is that, as the name suggests, it’s free to trade.

When the app launched, free trades used to be limited to 4PM every day, and you had to pay £1 per trade if you want to do it “instantly.” They’ve since made instant trading free. That compares remarkably favourably with existing competitors like AJ Bell (from £1.50 a trade), Interactive Investor (£7.99), X-O (£5.95) and Hargreaves Lansdown (£5.95, but you have to make more than 20 trades in one month). Some of these more established companies have reduced their prices since Freetrade launched, but that also might be to do with commission-free trading options from Revolut and eToro, and low fee options trading apps like BUX and Degiro.

What none of those more expensive or complicated options offer is a process as seamless as Freetrade. If you have online banking already, to gain access it’s only slightly more complicated than signing up for Netflix. Put in your details, your National Insurance number, transfer some money to a bank account, and within a few days you’re able to buy shares.

I’ll use this animated gif to show you how many touches it takes to sell my £13 worth of Vodafone shares.

Not many.

The app still isn’t perfect, nearly two years since its launch. It does a lot of those annoying fintech things like not put an axis on its charts (WHY?!) and uses language that developers think are cute but actually make you question whether you should give them your money at all (e.g. BT’s listing in the app is described as “slow internet”). On the other hand, when I encountered a bug they fixed it within a day and sent me a chat message within the app.

I signed up to Freetrade simply to play around with the app, but as the app has developed and the company continues to add new shares (the roadmap is quite comprehensive) it has started to replace my other investment platforms. I’ve even invested in the app itself via one of its Crowdcube funding rounds.

One final thing: Freetrade made me realise how poor most of the news and information is there about the stock market for retail investors. You can use the iOS Stocks app, for instance, but that often has no recent news about relevant companies. A better source is the FT’s Markets section, but again their coverage isn’t universal. Surely there’s an opportunity there…

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More information about Freetrade and investing apps in the UK

Can I use Robinhood in the UK?

Not at the moment. Robinhood, a similar app which launched in the US in 2013 and also offers “commission-free” trading, has “indefinitely postponed” its UK launch. The company announced in August that it had regulatory approval to operate as a broker in the UK and it planned to allow UK customers to buy and sell shares from 2020.

What is Freetrade app?

Freetrade is a stock and shares investment smartphone app which allows you to trade for free. The company is still an early stage start-up, and has raised money several times using crowdfunding platform CrowdCube. More than 200,000 people have accounts with Freetrade, and it’s been operating for nearly two years.

How can I trade for free?

It’s possible to trade “for free” using Freetrade, a mobile app which lets you invest in a limited selection of stocks, shares and exchange traded funds (ETFs).

How can I get Freetrade?

Sign up to Freetrade with my referral code link and if you’re a new customer and put at least £1 into your account, you’ll get a free share. Here’s some more information about the offer.

Further reading if you’re interested in finance

• Reddit’s UKPersonalFinance is fascinating if you’re interested in money

You really should be reading more about pensions 

• Better Have My Money is a very entertaining newsletter by a newbie investor

(This blog was originally published in December 2018. *A plot point in The Big Short.)

Rise of the Murdoch Dynasty is the best Succession TV show alternative to tide you over until season 3

Some alternative TV shows to tide you over until Succession season 3 begins.

The Rise of the Murdoch Dynasty watch it on BBC iPlayer now

If Succession‘s writers made a documentary, The Rise of the Murdoch Dynasty is what you’d get. It covers the rise of Rupert Murdoch’s media empire, the brief years in the wilderness after the phone hacking scandal, and his comeback after Donald Trump’s election and Brexit. It shows how much of Rupert Murdoch’s life was guided by his father Keith Murdoch, and how his childrens’ fates are dictated by his. There are so many direct parallels in the business and Logan Roy’s: after Murdoch’s fall on his yacht during negotiations with Disney, the company claimed he was merely “working from home”; there’s the new wife who drives a wedge between the father and his children; and, there’s his dismissive and opportunistic attitude to politics, prime ministers and presidents. It’s full of imagery that appears in Murdoch Dynasty, too, including Super 8 footage of Rupert and his children in the pool in the 1980s, black Mercedes in the Scottish countryside and helicopter pads in lower Manhattan. As for the real life succession, the three part series ends with a drone shot of Lachlan Murdoch’s palace in Beverly Hills. But that’s not the end of the story.

Veepwatch Veep now on NowTV

Succession’s creator Jesse Armstrong worked with Veep’s Armando Iannucci on Peep Show, The Thick of It and the first season of Veep, a cynical and knowing workplace comedy about the barely functioning and mostly irrelevant office of the vice president and the awful but loveable people who wield its power.

The Loudest Voicewatch The Loudest Voice now on NowTV

The Loudest Voice is emphatically not a comedy. Russell Crowe plays the monstrous Roger Ailes, founder of Fox News and executive producer of Donald Trump’s political career, tracking his and his network’s steady rise to the top of cable news in the US. The slow burning style of this seven part series (with the exception of the dramatic second episode) makes it incredibly satisfying to see him being brought down by the brave and wily Gretchen Carlson, played by Naomi Watts. There are many crossovers with Succession including several scenes shot in the same locations, and not least the epilogue dedicated to his successor Bill Shine. Where is he now? Working for Donald Trump’s 2020 presidential campaign, of course.

Storyville: The PM, the Playboy and the Wolf of Wall Streetcurrently unavailable on BBC iPlayer, but someone has uploaded it to YouTube

A real life Wolf of Wall Street story which won’t end until its fugitive protagonist fixer Jho Low is brought to justice, this documentary shows how dogged journalism and brave activists exposed corruption at the heart of the Malaysian government, and how Western finance and Hollywood bent over backwards to get its cut of the dirty money. The most compelling moments include the Blackberry messages as Jho Low procured an “18 carrot [sic] pink heart diamond” for the wife of former Malaysian prime minister Najib Razak, and the intrepid Alex Ritman of Hollywood Reporter confronting Robert De Niro about his son’s Raphael’s role in selling $55 million worth of real estate for Jho Low.

Channel 4 Dispatches: The Prince and The Paedophilewatch on Channel 4 now

This investigative documentary offers shocking new details about the alleged close relationship between convicted paedophile Jeffrey Epstein and the Queen’s favourite son Prince Andrew. Epstein’s connections to powerful figures from the worlds of science, technology and politics are troubling but not unsurprising: a ticket to the world of unimaginable luxury, wealth and privilege is available to anyone who can pay the price. No legal checks, due diligence or even common sense appear to be required to get an entry to this club of billionaires, media moguls and tech innovators. If you’re careful, you can also see the Queen’s press team reacting to this documentary by placing soft touch stories about the Queen’s cameo at the Olympics and seeding doubts about the veracity of the photograph of Prince Andrew with Virginia Roberts Giuffre and the snap of him with Jeffrey Epstein in New York in December 2010 (which originally featured in the now defunct News of the World).

Succession Season One – hurry, you can rewatch Succession’s first season on Now TV

Worth it just to relive the moment Tom met Cousin Greg.

More Succession alternatives

The Insider – Michael Mann’s gripping drama about Big Tobacco and the investigative journalist who gets a whistleblower to speak out, which pivots midway into a gritty and tense depiction of corporate pressure in American television news. Watch The Insider now on YouTube

Arrested Development – Was there really any money in the banana stand? Watch Arrested Development on Netflix (but skip the last season whatever you do)

The Big Short – Succession executive producer Adam McKay’s Oscar-winning punchy but shallow explanation of the roots of the financial crisis and its short selling traders. Watch The Big Short now on Netflix

Moneyland: The Inside Story of the Crooks and Kleptocrats Who Rule the World – the title says it all. Oliver Bullough’s book about how the ultra rich stay that way. Buy it now on Amazon.

Further reading

35 interesting things I learned in 2019

13 of my favourite history TikToks

What makes a great magazine cover?

What to write in a blank Valentine’s Day card at 5AM on Valentine’s Day

You’re in bad company.

It’s 5AM on Valentine’s Day, and you’ve got a problem. Your partner is soundly asleep, oblivious to the fact that you have yet to write a message in the Valentine’s Day card that they are very shortly to receive.

First, the good news: you physically have a card in your possession, thanks in part to the train station M&S and a last minute reminder from Lynn at the office (what a lifesaver!). You’ve also managed to wake up early and get to another room without alerting your significant other, like some kind of romantic ninja who hates to plan ahead.

But what now? What do you actually *write* in your Valentine’s Day card? That question has brought you here, to a blog post written by a journalist who noticed that lots of people search “What to write in Valentine’s Day card” at 5AM on Valentine’s day. Writing a letter to your lover, your partner or your significant other is simple with this helpful guide…

Step one: Don’t panic

Just imagine how the people who forgot to buy a card are feeling.

Step two: What to write in Valentine’s Day card

First off, this kind of grammar really won’t fly. If you’re going to write anything this morning, you have to write. in. complete. sentences. And definitely don’t start with a joke about how the first thing you did this morning was Google, “What to write in Valentine’s Day card.” This isn’t a best man’s speech.

Step three: Think

I know this is difficult without coffee – and you have a seriously pressing deadline – but thinking is key to writing a successful Valentine’s day card.

Close your eyes and think about your partner. What do you like about them? How do they make you feel on a good day? Make a list of these fond feelings on your phone or on the back of an envelope (you do have a pen, right?).

(Note: If at this stage nothing comes to mind, maybe writing a card isn’t the most pressing problem in your relationship.)

Step four: Do your research

Look around you. Are there any pictures of the two of you together? Do you remember anything about that moment, or from that day in the sun? Read some of your early Whatsapp messages from your honeymoon phase. Think about what things you have coming up together that you might be looking forward to. Anything specific is good.

Step five: Write a draft and read it back

Since it’s very early and you’re probably tired, writing a draft is key. You’ve only got one chance.

For the beginning and end of the card, you can borrow some simple and well established formats. Start your letter with “Dear [Insert partner’s name or nickname here],”. End your letter by saying you love them. Leave them kisses if you like.

That leaves the middle bit, where you should form a few sentences that combine some of those positive thoughts and feelings with a reminder of a past moment where you felt in love, and maybe a mention of an upcoming engagement where you will be together. A helpful technique in all form of writing is to say what you want to write in your head, and then write that down. If you love them, say how much you love them.

Then: write that all of that into a draft. Read the draft to yourself. Change anything that doesn’t sound like something you might say.

Key thing to get right: the spelling of your partner’s name.

Step six: Write on your card

This bit’s easy. Take a pen (ideally black, definitely not a biro, and no, a pencil is not acceptable) into your hand and carefully write your final draft in your best handwriting. A smudge or a small correction is fine.

You’ve got this.

Step seven: Make your partner a cup of tea, bring them the card and while looking them in the eye say the words “Happy Valentine’s day”

See you next year!

With all my love,

Your friendly SEO expert blogger,