All posts tagged: inspiration

Becoming a gift card convert… Well, almost!

Gift cards… We all buy them often enough to justify their existence, but I have to admit, it rarely feels like you’ve done a good job: a baby shower in the office, a birthday party of a distant cousin, or when the closest shopping centre closes in ten minutes and you just “have to get something”. Convenient – absolutely,  satisfying – not quite. I doubt I could put it any better than my favourite “freakonomists” Dubner and Levitt: “For the giver, a gift card could hardly be easier. But most economists would argue that if a gift card is so transparently good for the giver, it is necessarily bad for the recipient: the fact that it can be bought so easily signals to the recipient that the giver didn’t put much effort into the gift.” In short: something that screams “lazy” will always be perceived as having less value. However, thinking about it again, I’ve pinpointed where this dissatisfaction lies and, in the process, discovered how gift cards can regain their value again. It’s simple, really …

Origami bow: Having fun with gift wrapping

Most people dread gift wrapping. I get it – it’s much more fun selecting a gift than figuring out how to wrap it.  Took me a while to make my first decently-looking bow out of a silky ribbon that’s just not meant to stay in place (use two knots, not one), or to cut wrapping paper straight (there’s still no magic solution there!). But, it can be fun! If you have a bit of time (and if you like YouTube tutorials) – read on. This was my first attempt to create an origami paper bow. For that, I found some double sided wrapping paper (from Waterstones on Piccadilly, sadly they don’t sell it online) in funky summery colours, bright green and raspberry pink. You can happily use standard one-sided paper too, but having both sides gives you a bit more wiggle room to be creative. I didn’t take pictures of my progress (I was concentrating too hard on the task itself), but here’s the video that shows it perfectly step by step. For the extra …

My favourite beauty stocking filler

This little invention under £5 is my top 2015 beauty discovery. Every year there’s this one beauty stocking filler that becomes a hit (last year I got three Beauty Blenders for Christmas!). I think this year it’s going to be Invisibobble. These little transparent spirals may not look like something useful or sturdy, but the difference they’ve made to my hair routine is unbelievable. My beauty-savvy colleague told me that I’ve been breaking my hair with conventional elastic hair bands. These little spiral bands apply even pressure to minimise breakage and are surprisingly good at holding my heavy straight hair in a pony tail even during exercise. Ideal for those hair days when you just want it up, I’ve just bought ten of these in different colours to give to my girlfriends as little add-on Christmas gifts, and I cannot wait to hear their thoughts about it. If you’re even thinking whether you need it or not, it’s currently £3.75 with free delivery on Amazon, so I’d say simply buy it and see how you get on. …

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 …

Don’t Try To Change People Through Gifts

Oh, it’s the downside of almost any relationship—people always want to change each other. Gifts, unfortunately, are one of the many ways we communicate our ignorance to accept our loved ones for who they really are. The trending one at the moment is “darling, I think you should lose some weight” (yes, yes, it’s to all of you who got a gym membership for your husband/boyfriend’s birthday). At best, they were grateful you didn’t give them another aftershave, and at worst they started to secretly hate you. Make sure you always recognise the difference between your needs and the needs of the person you are choosing the gift for. For example, I thought my boyfriend needed a better wristwatch (that’s my way of saying “honey, I don’t like your watch”). What happened next defined why my gift didn’t turn into a disaster. I used his existing watch as the starting point. He must have liked that watch for something! I researched the brands I trusted and liked, and found the watch that fit the profile. …