All posts filed under: Curiosity Section

Vanity Fair on Gifts: Uninspiring but Caroline Issa might have just saved it…

I always look forward to my December delivery of Vanity Fair magazine, as it comes with a chunky supplement titled Vanity Fair on Gifts. Now, don’t get me wrong, most of the stuff featured is totally out of reach, but articles tend to be inspirational (rather than preachy) and the photography is first-class. Well, not this year. I planned an article on it, since it’s a lovely tradition of mine (see last year’s verdict here), but I’m struggling to write anything positive. It feels very “tired” with predictable edit of Valentino shoes and Sisley skincare, plus pages of advertorials on GHD hair straighteners that look really out of place. But what topped it off for me was a very bizarre article on gifting experiences, with highlights including… and I’m not kidding.. a session with a “spiritual counsellor” at Hotel Café Royal for £360 (a 2-hour consultation) or… *drumroll*…the naming rights to a species of micro orchids, costing up to £20,000. I guess a botanist would know what a “micro orchid” is, but frankly, I didn’t even bother …

How to much should I spend on gifts?

Christmas is a budgeting nightmare. To help us figure out how much to spend and on who, even MS Excel offers a ‘Holiday Gifts’ template. But ultimately it’s up to us to decide, and it’s a bloody hard task. There is no gifting etiquette which would clearly establish how much you should spend on a gift for someone. Our society has come up with all sorts of precise instructions for various social interactions, leaving gifting completely out of the equation. Gifting for me is as much a creative process, as it is a pragmatic calculation of your current resources, so it’s really important to know what you can afford. A favourite designer of mine, Artemy Lebedev, argues that his best creative ideas never come out from the “outside the box” thinking. Instead, having clear boundaries and goals can help you streamline your thinking. It allows you to focus on the problem at hand – so you are essentially “inside the box”. In the context of gifting, think of “the box” as your pot of money, …

COMPETITION (UK only): Win a Christmas party beauty kit

  UPDATE: The winner is Emily Hearts. In association with Ravishing Roses. Hurrah! It’s Christmas party time, and I can’t think of a better way to celebrate the beginning of the festive season than by giving one of my female readers a beauty gift! If you are anything like me, getting ready for a Christmas party is a long process of dress/shoe browsing weeks in advance, but on the actual day I have about 20 minutes to get ready (we’re all busy ladies, right?). So to make it a bit easier for you, Ana and I have prepared a little emergency beauty kit that will help you sparkle at that special evening event. The top colours for this Christmas are metallics (think golden and silvery tones) and black, so we’ve used this palette to guide our choices. What’s in the bag?  My all-time favourite and an absolute beauty cult classic – compact tangle teezer in gold. I have a full-size one in pink, but I have to admit this one is way prettier. Fits into a …

Amazing gifts for One Direction fans (and haters)… Take your pick!

Remember pictures of crying girls all over Facebook when One Direction announced their split? I think the official term used was “temporary break”, but we all know too well that those poor lads hated each other too much. Well, this also means that collectibles will become extra valuable, it may even be the last Christmas you’ll be able to give your daughter, niece or girlfriend (depending on your age!) a One Direction present. So, this is where I come in – your little gift fairy 🙂 Here’s my Top 5. An official 1D hat & scarf set The first website I looked at was of course the official 1D store. I found it quite amusing how most items looked like they belonged to a rock band (plenty of black!), whereas their target audience are teenage girls. But hey, I found this adorable set, so not all bleak. The best part – a photo of a teenage male model in these – why!?? Can’t imagine many guys keen to wear something like this in public, let …

On why Winnie-the-Pooh is my ultimate life guru

Here comes Day Two of my “3 Days, 3 Quotes Challenge”, and I have to admit, so far it has given me much more pleasure than anticipated, so whoever came up with the idea – well done and thank you 🙂 Today’s quote is about accepting the truth about gifts – the size doesn’t matter, it’s the intent that counts. Winnie-the-Pooh  is undoubtedly an unorthodox choice for quoting material. But seriously, rereading our childhood favourites can uncover new layers in well-known stories. I’m looking forward to having children and rediscovering the treasures of de Saint-Exupéry, Andersen and Milne. Somehow their contribution to literature is limited to children’s books, but I would argue that their interpretations of friendship, sadness and choice have such raw honestly and clarity that make the works of Dostoyevsky seem clumsy and long-winded. Anyhow, don’t let me go off-topic here…Where was I? Ah, small gifts! Well, that’s really simple – pick the last gift you’ve received from someone that made you smile (like, smile-smile, the kind of smile that you can’t wipe off …

3 Day Quote Challenge: Really, why do we give gifts? :)

The lovely Jeannie from Ultimate Librophile blog has nominated me to come up with three “inspirational” quotes, as part of the  “3 Days, 3 Quotes Challenge”. Thank you Jeannie – Here’s my Day One. As my blog’s sole purpose is “Making Gifts Better”, I’m going to attempt to outsource cool gift-related quotes and have a little discussion with myself about it. Sounds like a plan? 🙂 The full quote is quite lengthy, but try saying it with Sheldon’s voiceover in your head (it helps): “You bought me a present? Why would you do such a thing? I know you think you’re being generous, but the foundation of gift giving is reciprocity. You haven’t given me a gift, you’ve given me an obligation. The essence of the custom is that I now have to go out and purchase for you a gift of commensurate value and representing the same perceived level of friendship as that represented by the gift you’ve given me. Ah, it’s no wonder suicide rates skyrocket this time of year. Oh, I brought …

A rant about the importance of “wrongly timed” gifts

A friend came to me for a piece of gifting advice the other day. “It’s my girlfriend’s birthday coming up,” he said, “and I’ve written this beautiful song about her, but I really think it’s too much, more of a Valentine’s material, so how about I get some flowers and take her to a picnic?” I almost yelled at him angrily “Yeah, sure, if you sing that song there – otherwise it’s boring!”, but I saw such genuine confusion in his eyes that I realised a much bigger societal issue was hiding behind it. How many times have you thought “That’s it!” about a gift for your loved ones and then took a step back and started doubting yourself with “This is too much, he/she will think I’m showing off/guilty of something/overdoing it”? I have, many times, until one day I finally got the point why gifts exist in the first place – to convey an emotion – a perfect moment in time when all your thoughts are concentrating on one person, and all you …