Lenco USB Direct Recording Turntable review. Or, that’s Christmas sorted then


As a child of the eighties, my musical background lies in vinyl.
And that vinyl now sits in a cupboard, gathering dust and quietly whispering to me to stop ignoring it and pandering to the ‘modern’ outrage that is downloads.

Now I have a teenager of my own, the majority of the music I listen to is his music. It comes via a radio station I feel way too old to listen to or understand and various downloads sites I daren’t ask about.

But my heart lies in vinyl. Those days of saving up my pocket money to go into town, to the big HMV and buy the latest chart single. 12 inch if I’d saved up enough.
My first album was Human League’s Dare and I felt SO COOL coming home with that in my plastic bag.

I have my old record player still, which I treated with kid gloves and gave The Look to anyone who dared mistreat the needle. But it too is now gathering dust because, to be honest, it’s such a faff to set up with the whole pre-amplifier thing.

Then I had an email asking if I’d like to try this Lenco USB turntable. Would I like to bring my vinyl back to life, they were asking? Hell YES I would.
And here is said record player straight out of the box.


It literally requires you to plug it into any speakers (we’ve plugged ours into the TV surround speakers so it’s right there front and centre in the living room, ready for a Christmas par-tay).

It looks the absolute business, has all the features of my ‘old’ record player – eject button, 33/45 RPM button, lever to lift the arm, auto return, centre replacement disc for vinyl without a centre to fit. I absolutely love it.



Since receiving it, I’ve embarrassed the kids by playing Duran Duran full blast and dancing a la Baptist Church Disco circa 1985.
I’ve done the ‘oh my lordy, do you remember THIS one?’ as I rifle through my alphabetically-ordered collection, to anyone who will listen. Finally, finally my vinyl collection is getting a new lease of life.


The technical bit

The Lenco L-85 comes in a choice of 6 colours and costs £119.99.
Direct MP3 encoding means you can record your vinyl collection to a digital format via the USB and the built-in pre-amplifier means you simply connect to any speakers, plug in and go.
Many, many thanks to Lenco for sending me this; it’s an absolutely perfect early Christmas present.

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Stocking fillers for an 11 year old girl

Yesterday I wrote about stocking fillers for teenage boys and the hair-pulling nightmare that is pleasing a hormonal son.

Today it’s a slightly easier pre-teen girl I’m shopping for.
To be honest, my daughter’s idea of heaven is one giant Christmas stocking instead of any one big item. She loves ‘stuff’!
So here are a few ideas if you’re hunting too.

Stocking fillers for an 11 year old girl


  1. Make up bag
    Mia uses make up bags for everything from pencil cases to an ‘essentials’ pouch to take on sleepovers. I love this alphabet make up bag from Next – you have to be quick though as the popular letters sell out. I’ve also seen something similar in Matalan.
  2. Key ring
    Girls opt for everything from pompoms to glittery hearts and favourite band members on their keyring. But  you can’t beat a Lego Key Ring with the hidden message that’s your girl is totally ‘wonderful’.
  3. Book
    The Wreck This Journal might seem like a strange choice for a book lover, but let me tell you, they are awesome. If you have a creative girl who likes to try ‘out there’ arts and crafts this is a must.
  4. Unicorn shower cap
    Just because.
  5. Christmas tree ornament
    Every year Santa brings my kids a tree ornament which means our Christmas tree is filled with memories. It does get harder to pick something suitable as they get older but it’s totally worth it. This tree ornament from Marks & Spencer is perfect for my dog-mad girl.
  6. Beanie hat
    Apparently they’re a thing at the moment. Who knew? Primark is your goto shop!
  7. Bath bomb
    Much like the traditional satsuma in the bottom of your stocking, a bath bomb has become our modern equivalent! This Body Shop bath fizzes brings a touch of Berry Bliss apparently.
  8. Slipper socks
    My kids just won’t wear slippers, but as we have wooden and tiled floors throughout downstairs in the house I hate to see them either in bare feet at this time of year, or cleaning the floor with their white school socks. Mouse slipper socks are the way to go.
  9. Sleep mask
    Because every girl needs to feel like a glamorous diva.
  10. Hottie
    She may be elbowing the teenage years but one 11 year old still has one foot in the little girl camp. She’s had one of these for years (you pop it in the microwave to heat up the wheat beads inside and use as a hot water bottle) and always turns to it for comfort. Buying her next Hottie from Top Shop make it seem just that little bit more grown up and cool!
  11. Lip balm
    For kissing mum and dad and thanking them for selling Santa about all the awesome presents he needs to buy for her stocking. Maybeline Baby Lips gets a big thumbs up from me.


Posted in Christmas, Lists | 1 Comment

Stocking fillers for teenage boys

When your children are little you can think of a million and one things to put in their Christmas stocking. As they get older it gets more and more difficult. Until one day you find that buying stocking fillers for teenage boys is Mission Impossible and you have ALL the stress. Or is that just me?

The trouble is with most stocking filler suggestions is that they are ‘fun’ or some naff item that they will laugh at on Christmas day and never ever look at again.
So I went on a stocking hunt so you don’t have to!

Here are some ideas for stocking fillers for teenage boys.


  1. Face wash
    I’ve found two excellent products for sorting out that problem teenage skin. Liz Earle Men’s Face & Body Wash is great for every day use and Biore Charcoal Pore Minimiser is just the ticket for those ‘sweated for two days and didn’t wash and now regretting it’ days.
  2. Key ring
    You never ever grow out of Lego. Fact. I love this Lego The Flash keyring so much it might not make it to his stocking . . .
  3. Books
    The trouble with the teenage years is that they’re so busy reading everything on Facebook they rarely have time for proper books any more, which makes me very sad. However this Tim Peake picture-led book of images from outer space might just be the book to bridge that gap!
  4. Toy
    I don’t care how old they are, boys like toys. My husband is in his 40s and I swear if you put Lego in his Christmas present pile he would be a happy bunny.
    This Moonball isn’t just a bouncy ball, it’s a ball with “gravity defying bounce”. I can hear the ornaments being broken from here.
  5. Cereal bowl
    My teenager probably eats his own body weight in cereal so it’s only fitting he gets his own personal bowl. Depending on their taste there are plenty to choose from but I love this Harry Potter house captain bowl.
  6. Tree decoration
    It’s a tradition in our house that every year Santa brings a decoration for each of the children to hand on the tree. Finding a suitable one for a teenage boy is very very tough. But I love this silver-dipped antler tree decoration from Marks & Spencer. It’s perfect.
  7. Bed socks
    I am fed up of having to try to wash the soles of white socks that my boy wears around the house as slippers. “GET. THEM. OFF” I yell to no avail. I think he hears “they make excellent slipper replacements don’t they?” Obviously they have to be cool though; these Fat Face bed socks fit the bill.
  8. Funky gum shield case
    For sport boys. And mums who are grossed out every time they fish around in a tracksuit trouser pocket and come upon a wet, icky gum shield.
  9. Something personalised
    If your boy has a hobby I love the idea of buying something personalised. These personalised drumsticks are perfect.
  10. Shower gel/deodorant
    Because teenage boys smell, so better their room reeks of Lynx or something similar than two-day old boy sweat. Trust me on this.
  11. Anything with facts in
    Boys turn into men and the love of facts starts young! So any book relating to their hobby/passion with cold, hard facts in will get those teenage heads back into the pages of a book again. For us it’s going to be the World Rugby Records. 

I hope these help!
Many thanks to Rachel Lucas, Tattooed Mummy, Seismic Shed and Michelle over on Twitter for their input on this when I was bemoaning the fact that I didn’t know what to put in my teenager’s stocking last night!

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