Cashmere Wrap & Macadamia Nuts

On Fashion, Travel and Lifestyle.

Category: Miscellaneous

Tied Together.

Perhaps some may say that a white shirt and a tied silk scarf is a boring cliche, but personally I believe it is classic at it’s best. An instant recipe for a timeless elegance that requires little effort leaving some room for interpretation in terms of fabrics, cut, details and pattern. Collection of scarves from Totême is as all of their designs perfection, simple and understated, yet not without a modern twist that makes it interesting rather than plain.

Photos: toteme-nyc.com

LifeStyle Mix. July.

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July was a month when too many things happened too fast, in the process I missed the opportunity to be lazy and a little bit careless, even a short trip to Sopot wasn’t enough to really relax. But I don’t want to complain, because August will bring a major change that I am so looking forward to, a new family member moving in with us in less than three weeks. Can you guess who will that be? I can say that the biggest wish from my B-Day wish list is finally coming true!

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For more captions, visit Instagram profile @cashmerewrap_and_macadamianuts

A Year of Frugal Thinking.

A YEAR OF FRUGAL THINKING

Perhaps you know a sensation when being on a market for a new place, you find a house or an apartment that instantly feels like home, but after an initial euphoria you realise that buying the property means you have to stretch financially, getting a mortgage and putting in all the money you have saved, leaving the balance at zero.

That is where a found myself a year ago, buying the perfect apartment I had envisioned in my dreams and getting myself into a financial rock bottom, getting indebted even beyond the mortgage. The first reaction was “don’t panic”, it will be all right if you live frugally over the next months. And take my word for it, frugality was never my middle name. Even after I became a newly converted minimalist and “qualitist”, I still enjoyed finer things in life that came in the form of travels, books, beauty products, gourmet food, cashmere and merino wool, niche perfumes, Diptyque candles, lifestyle magazines, etc. In my new reality something had to give and I decided to prioritise regaining financial stability by having more than one zero on my savings account rather than spending money on short term gratifications. With best intentions and a much limited budget, I started my year of frugal thinking.

I won’t say it was easy, because it wasn’t really. I was tempted to keep on buying my old time favourites, but I knew this was a short sighted solution and at the end of a month would lead to more stress and even more financial pressure that I didn’t wish for. So I was very strict with myself and thought twice (or more) before I used my card on things that were my wants, not needs. But not to deprive myself of all small joys and occasional gratifications, I engaged in different ways of making it work.

The first big undertaking was selling clothes and accessories on the internet, rather than donating them to charity. It proved to be a great way of getting some extra cash that I could chose to save, put away for holiday fund or use to buy something that I wanted to have. If I decided to buy something with the money, I would start searching on the second hand market first. To my great surprise, there are so many fantastic pieces in great condition that you can buy for a fraction of an original price. It is good for the wallet and the environment alike, you save some cash and reuse a garment that will last for a long time, providing you choose quality and something that was well taken care of. I also started to swap clothes with friends, giving away some of the things I didn’t wear any more and in return getting nice garments that would bring some more variety to my wardrobe. On several occasions I was astonished by how many new pieces still bearing labels my friends were able to produce when going through their closets. The usual comment was “I have no idea why did I buy it, it is totally not my style/size/colour”. As proved, one woman’s mistake can be another’s treasure.

Maintaining beauty routines I was used to proved to be the biggest challenge, because I didn’t want to compromise on the quality, as I knew my face wouldn’t face it very well. I decided not to cut cost on face care, but try to reduce expenses on body care, searching for cheaper yet still reliable replacements to products I was using before. I was attentive to special offers and price reductions in pharmacies, using discount codes shopping online, buying duty free or abroad and for more expensive items (can’t live without my Aesop), asked for them in connection with celebrations and anniversaries.

As a keen reader, I often spend money on books and magazines, but this infatuation with a written word can prove to be a costly hobby, so I would either ask my husband to bring my favourite magazines from London for a fraction of an imported press price (thank you!) or not buy them at all. I made an exception for two magazines I really like, all others I simply stopped buying. When it comes to books, I made a commitment that I will not buy more until I read each and every book that I have in my own library. Even a keen reader has some lectures sitting on bookshelves forever, so now came the time to read them. I am almost done and believe me, they were fantastic, after all I bought them for a reason in the first place.

Socialising and entertaining can pose a challenge when being on a budget, but on the other side, if your friends cannot understand, who else will? On several occasions I made no secret that the money is tight right now and I cannot join for a round of drinks in town, so we took a coffee instead or met at home. More than once the honesty was received with a similar confession, and this is how I found my new favourite Thai food restaurant where the food is amazing and so budget friendly, that even a limited budget can take it once in a while. Other than spending time with friends, I set of for some solo excursions into city areas that I hardly ever went to before. I took some nice long walks and enjoyed coffee breaks, feeling a little bit like a tourist in my own town.

Today, more than a year after we bought the apartment, my budget is in much better condition, the emergency loan was paid off and the saving account shows growing numbers. I love the apartment that we live in and in hindsight am happy with the decision of going beyond limits to buy it, especially that it proved to be a good investment. In the process I learned some important lessons that will resonate with me for a long time.

It is not necessary to keep on spending money and you can control the urge even if something seems to be a great deal and in line with your taste. Not getting a new coat is no tragedy if you already own two (or more). Every saving matters even if alone it seems insignificant, but if you multiply by 10, it is not so trivial any more. Going for quality is really the best way, and quality also comes in second hand forms, not every piece has to be off the shelf and from the shop. Sales and discounts are a great way to buy things and spend less, buy only if you buy what you really need and what you would pay for even if it wasn’t discounted. Finally, being honest about your financial situation with friends and family is no shame, for there are so many ways to spend the time together and being more creative is never a bad idea.

LifeStyle Mix. June.

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I don’t think I have ever posted so few Instagram snaps as I did this June. The reason is quite simple, when life gets busy, I dedicate little time to my virtual presence being too occupied with the day to day reality. A recent project at work keeps me very occupied and outside office hours I try to be offline as much as I can, especially when spending time with people who are important to me. A long awaited visit from a good friend was simply wonderful, with long heart to heart talks and time spent out and about in town. We loved it so much that I have already decided to take a trip in the opposite direction and visit Amsterdam later this summer. I look forward to it and to all other adventures that will happen in the coming weeks.

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For more captions, visit Instagram profile @cashmerewrap_and_macadamianuts

LifeStyle Mix. May.

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Days fly by and a May calendar page is already replaced with June. I cannot say that the weather lived up to expectations, but even despite cold mornings and too many rainy days I was still trying to find that carefree Spring feeling whenever and wherever possible. I am a year older and some experiences wiser. At the moment I am looking forward to June adventures, especially that a dear friend is about to visit very soon, which makes me incredibly happy and very excited. Wish you all a wonderful month!

LifeStyle Mix May_2LifeStyle Mix May_3LifeStyle Mix May_4For more captions, visit Instagram profile @cashmerewrap_and_macadamianuts

On My Birthday Wishlist.

This year I decided to share some of my small and practical, as well as big and rather unattainable birthday wishes. So if I could reach for the stars and consult my internal maximalist, I would buy a British Shorthair cat, book a trip to Tokyo and make an appointment with an Audi car dealer, not necessarily in that order. But if I am to remain with both feet firmly on the ground and true to my minimalistic sense, I would be very happy with restocking some of my favourite beauty products, getting framed prints to hang on my apartment walls and perhaps replacing my somewhat worn out New Balance shoes. But no matter if dreaming big or small, at the end of the day it is all about people and moments to remember, not about things.

Photos: aesop.com; guerlain.com; fregrantica.com; audi.com; desenio.no; shop.garancedore.fr; pinterest.com; newbalance.com

LifeStyle Mix. April.

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The road trip through Tuscany turned out to be as fantastic as expected and became a beautiful memory. Even more so, because after returning to Scandinavia we received a cold reception, namely with snow. On cold mornings my mind still wandered through green Tuscan landscapes and steep narrow streets of sleepy towns. The daydreaming helps, because end of Italian adventure brought sad news and goodbyes. I look forward to May, my favourite month, hoping it will be a happy and sunny one. Have a beautiful Spring!

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For more captions, visit Instagram profile @cashmerewrap_and_macadamianuts

LifeStyle Mix. March.

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March was a month full of contrasts, especially when it came to the weather which served winter and spring almost simultaneously. Light coats and silk shirts still need to show some more patience, but every sunnier and warmer morning brings new hope. As for my days, there were somewhat bitter sweet, with good and bad things happening in March. However, all signs make me believe that April is about to bring something truly extraordinary, a long awaited adventure that is about to begin very soon.

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For more captions, visit Instagram profile @cashmerewrap_and_macadamianuts

The Things We Do For Show…

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The other day I spoke with a friend who happens to live in a posh area. She told me that in her neighbourhood it is frowned upon to carry a shopping bag from a budget grocery store. We had a good laugh, but it got me thinking about the things we do for show.

No other field is more prone to a public show off than fashion. It handbags, logos, belts, labels… Do they really enhance an outfit making it more unique? Will all this ostentation make one seem more interesting, valuable or special? I don’t think so. I would call it a poor man’s luxury – making sure that all can see what one wears, but at a closer look you realise that all those logos and symbols are embellishing only the bottom line models that are meant for aspiring customers. Aspiring customers who are focused on presenting status, often newly acquired, and depths of own pockets, recently expanded. What does this have to do with a real class and style? Very little if nothing at all, but this is what loud and visible brads want us to believe in. The flashier the better. And no wonder, this is what they make most money from, bottom line items available on ground floors of flagship stores, displayed for those who long for logos. There is much to be said about the psychology of this, but let’s leave the subject for now.

The true luxury is discreet, understated and comes without a flashy branding. Think about elegant people with impeccable taste and sense of style that you admire. They will not flash logos and try to make you think about the price of their outfit, on the contrary, you may never guess how expensive it really was. Perhaps if you really knew, it would shock you. What you probably notice is the quality of fabrics, perfect cut or that precious outstanding detail, like a piece of jewellery, wristwatch or a handbag, and even without recognising a brand you will instantly know that this is the true luxury. I am not against logos as such, this would be hypocritical, but I prefer a single and refined mentioning of a brand from a big one that steals the spotlight. Not to mention that nowadays logos are difficult to avoid, especially on leather goods, but the more classic the piece, the more discreet the brand display will be.

Photos: forties-fifties-sixties-love.tumblr.com

LifeStyle Mix. February.

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I wish I could say that spring is in the air, but sadly I cannot. At least not in Oslo, because snow is not yet giving up on us. In Sopot however it was already quite warm, so the last weekend of February, which I spent there, was a pleasant change from the Scandinavian winter. Regardless of the weather, I did my best to spend this month in an active way, going out and enjoying longer days. I am also drawn to the kitchen, with the very best intention of trying new recipes and bringing different flavours to my home. If this trend continues, you may see some of my culinary adventures featured on the blog.

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For more captions, visit Instagram profile @cashmerewrap_and_macadamianuts