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How to buy gifts for your partner

We all love giving and receiving gifts, especially when they are from/to our partners. But if you dread it when their birthdays come around because you've no idea what to get them then these few tips and ideas will help you along and you'll soon be checking the calendar, willing their birthdays closer.

* Listen to them. A few months before birthdays most people have an idea of what they want, a lot of people would rather not say though. It's no fun having to tell your partner what you want, they should know. Pick up on any hints or tips they may drop and write them down so you don't forget.

* Forget the usual flowers and chocolates, everyone knows you pick these up when you either can't be bothered to shop or when you haven't a clue what they'd want.

* Think about the person. What do they enjoy? What would they love to do or own? For instance if they love going to the theatre and enjoy music see if there is a musical coming to your local theatre and buy them the best seats in the house.

* If you are shopping for a woman never buy the following; pots and pans, kitchen or cleaning items, lady shavers, make-up etc. You're only asking for trouble!

* If she has a favourite scent, try looking for others in the range such as bath oil, body moisturiser etc.

* If you are unsure of a ladies clothes size, don't buy clothes. Many partners buy the clothes they would like to see their loved ones in rather than thinking about the person's style. Also if you mistakenly buy a size too big you'll never hear the end of it.

* Why not buy tickets to somewhere they have always wanted to go. If your husband has always wanted to race around a racing circuit, enquire about the price and whisk him off for a birthday treat he'll never forget.

* Try wrapping the gift yourself. Even if you're useless at wrapping, don't hand it to the shop assistant and ask her to do it, it shows thoughtfulness that you¡¦ve bothered to try yourself.

* If you really can't think of anything, try this idea: write out as many IOU's as his/her age with certain messages on and place in the envelope with the birthday card i.e. IOU dinner tonight or IOU a foot massage. Your partner will them redeem them at will.