All posts tagged: London

Valentine’s Gift Ideas: When passion becomes a dance…

Hello, my dear readers! I always encourage to celebrate all kinds of love as often as we can possibly fit into our busy schedules, but there is one day a year when romance fully takes over. Yes, you guessed it – Valentine’s! Over the years, I’ve gone through the Valentine’s classics and how to elevate them (see my post on flowers and chocolates here),  suggested unexpected romantic dinner solutions (here) and even offered some fashion advice for men’s underwear gifts (yep, I really have). This year, I’ve gone for something quite unusual. I’m gifting a skill that can only be mastered as a couple – tango. Anyone who has ever experienced tango, either as a dancer or as a lucky observer, will tell you that it’s not about skill, complexity of steps or experience. It’s about the connection between two people sharing a powerful, almost primal emotion. The teacher I know has given me further interesting insight into tango that makes it even more relevant to modern day relationships: the 80/20 rule. 80% of your focus in a tango …

Easy summer gifts: Holiday beauty

Holidays!!! If you don’t get excited by the prospect of spending some quality time on the beach (or whatever it is that you love doing during breaks!), you must be either a workaholic, or already living on an idyllic island somewhere in the Caribbean 🙂 I like giving holiday-inspired gifts. It’s a great theme to follow for all sorts of occasions, from birthdays to ‘thank you’ presents and even weddings (I once made a beauty hamper for a bride before the honeymoon…let’s just say she was very grateful, as with all of the wedding prep, she didn’t have time to pack properly). This one was a “Hi, haven’t seen you for ages!” type of gift, as one of my dearest friends has been working abroad for a while. She is shortly going for a well-deserved week off somewhere in Spain, so I’ve given her a few things to make holiday grooming a bit more fun. As you may know, I’m a huge fan of Tangle Teezer, and I’ve been supplying everyone with them (voluntary and …

Beautiful baby gifts: Chloe dress

You’ll see more and more of these posts from now on – my close friends have started having babies 🙂 It’s a very strange feeling: you still remember sharing your first alcohol together and talking about boys, and all of a sudden (or fast-forward 10 years…where does the time go?) they are mums! But hey, some of you will find these articles useful, so I’ll carry on sharing my baby gift tips until you start leaving comments like “Please, stop” (don’t do it, please!). I think this little dress from Chloe is simply stunning – not too girly, very tasteful and a little bit British thanks to the collaboration with Liberty of London. For those not familiar with Liberty, it’s a department store that’s synonymous with beautiful patterns and fabrics. Each season they collaborate with a designer to produce a special collection, this summer it’s Uniqlo. Check it out. The Chloe dress is from Yoox (unfortunately it’s now sold out, sorry),  an online shop that specialises in designer clothing and accessories from past collections. This means you …

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 …

V&A Museum Shop: Treats for your jewellery box

I have a peculiar relationship with my jewellery boxes. There is a small leather box on my bedside table for things I wear daily, like diamond studs and a few pendants. But then I own a “secret” (and rather large!) brightly-coloured wooden box, hidden in my wardrobe, dedicated to different pieces I purchased during my travels or while out and about in London. I open it from time to time to simply relive those happy moments. And despite not wearing these “secret” jewels very often, I like looking at them and knowing they belong to me 🙂 My girlfriends also have similar hidden treasure boxes, so I’m not alone – I remember spending entire evenings dressing up together and sharing stories about our possessions during our teenage years (well, back then those were mostly plastic bracelets and an occasional silver necklace from grandparents). The one place I come back over and over again to get inspired and buy something new for my collection and as gifts for my girls is Victoria & Albert Museum. Known …

How I got my gift wrapped by Jane Means

Last week Paperchase organised a gifting event at their flagship store in London – free Valentine’s Day gift wrapping by Jane Means. In case you don’t know, she’s one of the most prominent trend setters in the gifting world, and has wrapped presents for the Royal family and countless celebrities. Her journey in gifting began 20 years ago, designing cards and wedding stationery. Fast-forward two decades of hard work,  and she now manages her own line of wrapping accessories (think luxurious ribbons, tissue paper and boxes), regularly presents on television, travels around the world for masterclasses and has even written a book titled “Giftwrapped”. Here are a few things I learnt from her that day: 1. Get a decent pair of scissors Cutting paper and especially silk ribbons is an unrewarding experience if you don’t own a decent pair of scissors. Now that I wrap my gifts more regularly – and most importantly share it with you – I think it’s time for an upgrade. Jane recommended these Scotch titanium scissors which apparently are up …

Valentine’s gift ideas: Classics with a twist

I will probably surprise you here a bit – I don’t actually mind Valentine’s. Yes, it’s overly commercial (like every other holiday), a bit pretentious and sometimes awkward, as brilliantly summarised by Debrett’s. But hey, it’s there, and it’s big, so avoiding it all together seems as much of a statement as embracing it, and I’m always an advocate of embracing everything that makes people happier. With us girls, it’s such simple things as flowers and chocolates (which we’d take any day, if given the opportunity!) that have the power to make us feel wonderful. What I am going to advocate here is to approach this celebration with a small dose of creativity – it’s silly to deny that something can beat flowers and sweets. What you can do, however, is to go for gifts beyond red roses and chocolate truffles. Flowers I like roses. I really do. But red roses won’t impress your woman (unless it’s a 1,000 of them, but that’s more of a shock, really). Instead, go for trendy ombré roses, like …

Avoid: The most obscure gifts out there

I try to keep my blog a source of joy and inspiration, encouraging people to embrace gifting in all its shapes and forms, from budget presents under a fiver to high-end designer items. But I just have to share the other side of gifting with you – the greedy merchants from gift shops who want to flog horrendous stuff. My local shopping centre has just rented an empty spot to a store called Petals: For Gift Lovers – promising, right? I walked straight in, curious and a bit excited to see what’s inside. This truly was the first time I saw so much tacky stuff together in one space! Just take a look at these 🙂 Duo of drinking glasses: one for beer and one for wine. I suppose it’s meant to be a Valentine’s gift. Even as a prank this is seriously cringeworthy. Take the cheapest glasses you can find, put a rude sticker on top (don’t bother to make it straight) and voilà – ready to be sold to someone with obvious humour issues. “Grumpy old …

“Tiny drone, giant power”? Agreed!

The description of this fun toy on the Red5 website is quite a statement – “TINY DRONE. GIANT POWER.”. For something costing under £30, that’s a lot attitude. But hey, it’s actually true, you can take my word for it. During one of my latest gift hunts, I was seriously lacking inspiration (it happens to me ever so often) – “What do I get a 9-year old boy?!”. You see, I’m completely detached from their world of mobile games and swimming lessons, so I really struggle to relate. One good place that seems to always work for me is Selfridges on Oxford Street in London. There’s always something happening: new brands to discover, fancy sweets to taste and promising face creams to sample. Resisting the temptation of their beauty hall, I headed straight downstairs to the Red5 stall, which claims to be “the ultimate gadget shop” (they really aren’t modest, are they!). Packed with quirky stuff, from Minion toys to army watches, there are tons of ideas for everyone who loves technology. I almost got these …

How to choose a gift for stationery lovers

Maybe my view is slightly skewed (I work with a lot of creative people) but the world is full of stationery lovers. How do you know when someone is obsessed with stationery? Here are some definite signs: They collect every free pen at events, and then debate with you on its durability and quality of ink They have a secret stash of notepads, many unopened or with just a few pages written in them (just before the next “perfect” notepad arrives) They prefer handwritten diaries and planners over smartphone reminders And they subscribe to  Moleskine and Smythson sales alerts  🙂 (Please note: This description is full of love towards all my stationery-loving friends, so don’t take any offence if you score 4 out of 4!) Anyway, I’m off topic again… Once you know you’re indeed dealing with a stationery fan, there are a few fairly simple rules you can follow to “delight and surprise”. For example, try to go for trendy patterns versus plain colours (unless it’s a very expensive leather organiser). Stationery fashion rarely …