All posts tagged: tips

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 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, …

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 …

Treat your friends to some (affordable) French wine

Another post about Paris…Oh, I can write many of them, so I am imposing a self-limit of two per trip. Deal? Anyway, this is a useful one, as there is nothing more important to the French than their diverse wines. Remember my post about gift budgeting (if not, see here)? I used a bottle of wine as the starting point for calculating a budget for any gift. Now it’s time to show you where to get a bottle worth giving to your best friend(s) at a special celebration. French wines have a very solid reputation, therefore there is always a premium in any stores outside France…and I’m not even mentioning how much they can cost in decent restaurants! Luckily, if you are travelling to France, you will always find local wine shops which would stock the most exquisite bottles at very affordable price points. Here is my “catch” from the recent trip: Both are French (obviously), rarely exported (don’t be afraid to ask which wines are not sold widely, as these are generally the ones …