Shopping: Shoptalk

SOME COMPANIES know exactly how to market themselves to best advantage and Loud and Clear is just one of those. Not only is the catalogue full of bright and funky presents, it even comes with a sheet of dazzling yellow and white stickers to fill up your diary with reminders of not-to-be-forgotten occasions ("hen night", "dinner", "football", "hot date" and, of course, "drinks").

Even better, each of the little stickers comes with the Loud and Clear phone number written across the bottom, just in case you should need a little gift for that special occasion. Neat idea, eh?

The gifts in question are just as much fun - swirly lollipops, flamboyant silken flowers, neon-coloured toy guns and single slices of icing-topped cake, to name just a few. All are sent vacuum-packed in plastic with the appropriate, quirky gift tag attached.

The idea is that the gift doubles up as the greeting, so you select the item you want to send (from pounds 4.95 for a pair of bright red lips or a slice of lightly grilled toast [whatever greeting that says], to pounds 9.95 for the fluffy "mini-nubile" cushion) and then choose the tag to match (remembering to specify your message), before calling 0171-247 4232 to make your order by credit card.