All posts filed under: Curiosity Section

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 …

Stop Self-Indulging, It Really Isn’t Making You Happier

Every time I read another article in a women’s magazine about the healing powers of shopping and spa weekends, I cringe. Not because I strongly disagree, but because I think they are promoting a fundamentally wrong assumption that we should enjoy spending money on ourselves, and the more, the better. Before I explain how I’ve come to this conclusion, let me go back a bit. Up until very recently, most of our daily activities were shared. People were working without computers, requiring cooperation and dialogue; shopping was a special occasion, when families gathered for a day at the market; and holiday preparations involved an entire neighbourhood. The new culture of the 21st century celebrates career-focused individuals, praised for achieving everything on their own. We create our social media identities and fill them with selfies at work after midnight, exercising at the gym (we need great bodies to go with our blossoming careers), and then with our latest designer purchases (hashtagged #selftreat and #metime). As a Londoner working in the City, the financial district, I am …

Marrakesh: the city where you can find green lipsticks and befriend a pet turtle

Marrakesh is one of those unique southern cities that combine a complete lack of order with such inspiring serenity, that it may just take you forever to figure it out. After spending five days there, I can honestly say – I’ve barely scratched the surface of its cultural richness. In this post, I’ll attempt to remove some of the illusions you may have about the city and replace them with my own personal discoveries. Many people associate Marrakesh with cheap shopping. The famous souks in Northern Medina cater for tourists, and shop owners are more than happy to sell you inexpensive leather accessories, jewellery, national garments and spices. However, don’t expect anything “artisanal” – pretty much every stall sells similar things (my guess is that somewhere outside Medina there is a large warehouse, distributing “touristy” souvenirs to local sellers), so if you really like a particular item, it’s worth shopping around and bargaining hard (you can easily knock off 50% or more, as sellers deliberately set initial prices higher). I am terrible at haggling, so …

How I learnt not to “oversell” my content in headlines

What do you think happens, when your clever boyfriend gets tired of listening to you whining about your blog posts not being shared enough? Hah…*drumroll*… He sends you to a masterclass titled “How to Create Viral Content”! Joking aside, it turned out to be an extremely useful (and entertaining)  evening, where we got a chance to speak to a man whose job is to make things go viral – Luke Lewis, Editor of BuzzFeed UK. For those not familiar with BuzzFeed (yep, I included a link, if you fancy checking it out!), it’s a unique media platform that is famous for snappy news comments, funny GIFs and silly quizzes that are specifically designed to be shareable. With over 150 million unique visitors every month (70% coming from social media websites), they are truly in a class of their own. Here’s my attempt to summarise a 3-hour long seminar into a few digestible action points. Think before you re-post your content on social media WordPress now offers a few tools to make it easier for us …

Joining Lily Cole on her mission to establish ‘thank you’ as “real” currency

January is the perfect time to start new projects related to well-being and happiness. Therefore, yesterday was the perfect day for me to discover Impossible – a new social network, created by the talented model/actress/entrepreneur Lily Cole, which is set to challenge all selfie-obsessed websites. Impossible focuses on a rather hard (yep, I’m thinking impossible, but I’m really reluctant to use the same word twice in one sentence) task of creating a community of helpful people. So, what is it about? In short, you set up a page and list all things you are good at: in my case these are gifts (obvious!), marketing and all things London. My profile then can be matched with a person who is looking for help, i.e. can’t choose a gift, needs a marketing strategy for a start-up or is visiting London this weekend. The main bit, however, is the charitable element of it: you can earn ‘thank yous’ (I guess it’s a hybrid of a Facebook ‘Like’ and gaming points) that are supposed to raise your self-esteem and …

Unexpected Amsterdam: Gourmet Food, Quirky Shops and Unique Gifts

What comes to mind when you start planning a trip to Amsterdam? My guesses are the Red Lights District and coffee shops  – after all, you can’t go to Amsterdam and come back without any stories, right? Definitely add the Van Gogh museum to the list – it will change your perception about him completely (for example, Vincent was actually very sociable, had a lot of friends and loved Japanese art…just a few random facts to get you interested!). If, like me, you are not afraid to explore the city and find its true spirit, read on! First of all, Amsterdam is very small, so everything in the city centre is reachable within 20 minutes. Buses and bikes are available for a small fee, if you need to take a longer journey. As this blog is primarily about gifts, let me show you what to bring back from Amsterdam, if you are planning to go there soon. Ignore the big shopping streets around the Central Station. What you really need is the shopping district called …

Gifting Resolutions For 2015: Let’s Share!

We are approaching 2015, meaning it’s time for our annual New Year resolutions. I’m not a big fan of the typically masochistic ones, like hitting the gym 4 times a week (however good your intentions are, how long will you last!?), but I think setting positive aspirations, like finding love or travelling with friends more, are a good way to start a year. With this in mind, I have created a short and rather uncomplicated list of easy and pleasant things. In a recent book that I’ve read titled “Happy Money: The New Science of Smarter Spending”, the authors argue that gifting and other similar occasions, when we spend money on others and share experiences, have a much more positive effect on our happiness and well-being than, say, buying a new handbag for ourselves. So, here is my take on 2015 resolutions: Listen to my loved ones Gifting inspiration often comes from conversations – you have to be curious about the people around you to come up with great surprises. Your partner loves cooking, but …