I can trace a timeline of my travels by the souvenirs I brought back, moving from random trinkets to carved wooden animals, statues and knick knacks through to accessories, jewellery. And now mugs.
Along the way, I’ve worked out it’s wise to pick mementoes carefully – two canvases bought on honeymoon in Brazil are proudly displayed while a traditional metal lamp from Egypt has been waiting 15 years to be used.
Also sunshine can make random beads and local clothing seem like a great idea… but apart from scarves and a few rings, they won’t get worn at home. And unless you have a mansion, there’s only room for a small wooden menagerie.
Which is why my last few trips have found me buying mugs.
For starters, I know I’ll actually use them post-trip and on a cold, rainy, busy, grumpy day, it’s lovely to look at the bright colours of one I picked up after bobsledding in Jamaica, the stylish monochrome mug from my last pre-baby trip, or the version reminding me of the Alhambra’s intricate decoration.
So when Photobox asked if I’d be interested in reviewing their products, rather than a photo album or wall canvas, I set about creating my own St Lucia souvenir.
It’s one of the easiest sites I’ve used – styles including those with a coloured interior (albeit mostly out of stock at the moment), temperature sensitive versions or one which can be personalised 200 ways.
I chose the standard collage option with 10 photo boxes, although there are designs with coloured sections, black backgrounds and a variety of differently sized photo slots.
Then add your images. Unlike some sites which ask you to download software or seem to have a fiendishly annoying process to upload, it’s fabulously simple.
Then save or order – currently £6 (down from £9.49), plus p&p – and the dishwasher and microwave-safe finished product arrived in days.
And while the colours are a little more muted than the originals, it looks fantastic. As it’s making me smile before my tan’s faded, I love the thought that years from now, whenever I have my coffee, I’ll be reminded of the trip.
Disclosure: Compiled in association with Photobox*
Image copyright MummyTravels/Cathy Winston