Tuesday, 19 May 2015

History’s Most Romantic Engagement Ring Styles



What’s in a ring? An engagement ring, for being such a small piece of jewellery, can hold an awful lot of meaning! Today’s rings come in a wide range of styles, cuts, and settings, whether you prefer a classic solitaire or a vintage Art Deco style. Whether you’re planning a wedding or are just looking for some unique fashion ideas, these retro styles can be inspiring. The range of styles that you see today is the culmination of thousands of years of engagement ring history. To get an idea of just how far back this tradition goes, take a look at this handy infographic from jewellery retailers Vashi. Here are a few of the most romantic styles seen throughout the ages.


Roman Key Rings 
There’s evidence that engagement rings were given in ancient Rome, dating back to the third century. The traditional engagement ring during this time often appeared as a key, composed out of materials like iron or brass. The key shape was meant to symbolize a woman unlocking a new life for herself, stepping forward into the future with her husband. Sometimes the keys corresponded to jewellery boxes with other hidden goodies inside. 

Posie Rings
If you read Shakespeare’s plays, you’ll note references to engagement and wedding rings during the 1600s and 1700s. One particularly romantic style from this time period was the posie ring, composed of silver or gold with a line of poetry or secret message engraved inside of the band. 


Victorian Style
One of the most romantic eras was the Victorian era in England, when Queen Victoria’s love for her husband Albert was notable. Fashions reflected this prominent romance story, and Victorian engagement rings were often whimsical, elaborate, and filled with symbolism. You’ll see flowers, hearts, bows, and other shapes that have come back into fashion now. Diamonds became increasingly popular during this time period as well. 

Claddagh Rings 
In the 18th century, Irish lovers gave one another “Claddagh” rings featuring two hands holding a heart bearing a crown. The couple’s initials were traditionally engraved within the ring as well, for a rustic, sweet, and simple style. 

Asscher Cut Diamonds
As diamonds became the standard thanks to companies like Tiffany, they were cut in an increasingly wide range of styles and shapes. Designed in 1902, the Asscher cut is a perfect example of the era’s elegant designs. This vintage style is still extremely popular today, with its high crown and deep pavilion. It’s a cool, geometric cut that really showcases the diamond nicely and can be set off with coloured gemstones. 

Art Deco 
Do you love a clean, modern style? Look no further than the Art Deco era from the 1920s and 30s for more geometric cuts and artistic variations on the wedding ring. Platinum and white gold were favoured during this time period, and many of these rings still look quite modern today. 

These are just a few highlights from the evolution of engagement ring style over the years. Whether your personal style leans towards the flowery or the futuristic, there are romantic rings out there to suit every personality!

Wednesday, 13 May 2015

Coping With An Absent Father



When I was a teenager my dad stopped being in my life. I look back now and I know that it was for the best, but it took me up until I was in my thirties to realise that, in fact it was only when I lost my mother that it suddenly dawned on me my dad was a bloody useless father. He was ok until he and mum divorced when I was eleven. I adored him. 

Me and my three younger brothers visited him when he could be bothered to turn up, but most of the time he left us waiting at our living room window, and my little brothers would cry and wait for him all day. He was probably drunk somewhere, hungover from the night before. Mum would try hard to distract us and would pile us into the car to visit our cousins or  to spend the day at the beach. I didn't understand why he didn't want to see us. Still I adored him.

This went on for years, and how my Mum never lost it with him I'll never know. She still carried on coping with the weekly disappointment on our faces, wiping away the tears and even driving around to look for him. He never paid her a penny in child support, and still I adored him.

By the time I reached my teenage years I had started to play up. Not the usual teenage rebellion, I was bloody angry, but at the time I didn't actually know why. I blamed my Mum because she was a strict parent. I got drunk, hung around with boys she didn't like, got into fights, got arrested. I kicked, I screamed. I hated her. My darling mum who didn't know what the hell to do with me and my dad continued to ignore me. Still I adored him.

I then met my now Husband, and his love conquered all. I felt so loved by him, so treasured. My mum became my best friend as she guided me in the right direction. I settled down, got married and had my own family. So did my dad. He went on to raise someone else's daughter with a woman who has no time for her husband's children. It took me years to understand. It hurt that she hated us so much and that dad would sit back and take it. Still I adored him.

I raised my family without a Grandfather in their lives. Unfortunately my husbands father is just as useless as mine. I would feel sad for my kids that they were missing out on a Granddad, but remembered that neither one would be a good influence on their lives anyway. Still I adored him.

Then my mum died. My whole world just crashed around me. I was thirty six but I still needed my Mum. How was I going to go on without her. I was lost. I rung my dad, hoping for some comfort, for some love, but instead he said "Bloody hell Em, I'm at work". I hung up feeling bad for ruining his day. I felt bad! Wtf! Suddenly I no longer adored him. I saw him for what he really is. A self centered man who does not care for anyone but himself. 

I decided on that day that I would never contact him him again. If he wanted me in his life he can come find me. My mum raised his children with no help from him. Financially she struggled to pay the mortgage while he sat in his lovely home, surrounded by expensive soft furnishings, hobbies, holidays to places like Australia and he even owned a boat. I had never realised how selfish he actually was up until I began to analyse the relationship I had with my Mum. And I felt sad for her. Mum never once slagged him off, she never complained about him. She would simply roll her eyes and get on with it. I adore her for that.

Now I'm in my forties, I forgive him. I had to before my resentment towards him ate me up. I just let it go. I accepted him for who he is and Thank god that I chose to marry someone completely opposite to him. My dad's absence did really affect me, especially my self esteem and I find it particularly difficult to cope with rejection, but it has also made me a stronger person and it has taught me to treasure those people who treat me right and to walk away from the one's who don't. 



Do you have a good relationship with your Dad? If you don't how have you dealt with it?

Monday, 11 May 2015

Homemade Treatments for Frizzy Hair




Nothing is more annoying than having frizzy hair when you long for smooth and glossy. For some people, it's frizzy when they wake up in the morning. For others, the slightest rise in humidity in the air will make their hair frizz. Whenever it happens, it's hard to keep frizzy hair looking sleek and tidy.

However, help is at hand. Try out a few of these traditional homemade hair treatments to fight the frizz - I promise, your hair will thank you!

Pumpkin and Honey
Pumpkins are packed with health-giving nutrients and should be included in your diet. But if you have more than you need, it's a fabulous ingredient for a hair treatment. Mix cooked pumpkin puree with a spoonful of honey and then pack the resulting paste onto your hair. Wrap it in cling film or a towel and leave it on for approximately 20 minutes. Pumpkin is rich in antioxidant vitamins and this treatment will leave hair soft and shiny.

Sugar Water
This is a great frizz flattener! Mix a spoonful of sugar into a cup of warm water and then apply a little of it to your hair using the palms of your hands. When it dries, your hair may feel a little stiff and crunchy! Basically, this acts as a homemade hairspray and will hold your hair to prevent frizziness.

Apple Cider Vinegar
This is a tried and tested hair treatment that women have been using for years and years. Apple cider vinegar is wonderful for making your hair smoother and shinier. Use it as a rinse after shampooing - add a spoonful to a cup of warm water and comb it through your hair. Let it sit for a while and then rinse it out. If you hate the smell of vinegar, adding a drop or two of an essential oil can help.


Avocado
Avocado is so rich in good fats that it's earned a reputation as a super food. But these fats can also be used to nourish dry frizzy hair. Make a mask of mashed avocado with a couple of drops of rosemary or peppermint oil added and apply it to your hair for half an hour after washing. When you rinse it away, you'll be left with lovely soft, shiny hair.

Aspirin
Sometimes a build-up of product in your hair can leave it dull and lifeless - but would you belief that something as small and simple as an aspirin could offer the solution? Just crush one up and add it into your shampoo. Aspirin contains salicylic acid, which will clear product residue from your hair, to leave it shiny and manageable. 

Coconut Oil
Beautifully rich and full of short chain fatty acids, coconut oil is excellent for conditioning dry hair. Simply warm a spoonful up in the microwave and then apply it sparingly to the driest areas of your hair - usually the ends. Leave it on for as long as you like, even overnight, and then shampoo it off for super-conditioned hair.




About Author:
NiceHair is a hair loss prevention specialist website featuring tips, tricks and advice on hair loss prevention, interviews, healthy eating, delicious recipes as well as beauty tips, product reviews and lists some of the shampoos for hair loss. For more information please visit nicehair.org and get in touch. 


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Falling Into His Love


A string of reckless nights lead me to his bed 
holding a tray of hot coffee and cigarettes 
inside a glistening golden box zapped by dusty sunlight 
streaming through a grubby open window. 
The stranger I have known my entire life 
confidently climbs in beside me
feeding me promises that are insanely inviting
me in to love him under speckles of summer shade
and crisp white cotton sheets.
To lay in his arms I am finally home where I belong 
nestled inside his powerful torso I am soothed
by the unbridled passion of the rhythm of his  heart. 
A connection I can not deny, a yearning I refuse to resist
his magic pulling me in deeper and deeper
as I helplessly and hopelessly fall into his love. 

Friday, 8 May 2015

Can You Repair Your Marriage?



When we got back together seven years ago after a twelve month separation, most people rolled their eyes. It is funny how so many people are really disappointed to see you try again and believe that once separated there is absolutely no going back. 'People' can be very negative and convincing, insisting that far too much water has passed under your bridge for you to ever be happy together again. What a crock of s***e I say! 

As a strong believer in constantly moving forward with your life and rarely looking back unless it is to smile over old memories, I can honestly tell you that you can sometimes step back in order to move forward again. Absolutely! Of course, I'm not including any abusive relationship here, get out of those and stay out! I mean the type of relationship where you were once a good team and madly in love. Something happened like an affair, a fight or plain old boredom set in and you feel like it is time to move on. Personally for me, it was a whole mixture of things.


When we first met as teenagers we were both very different, he was quiet, a bit unsociable and wanted nothing more than to settle down with a comfy pair of slippers and to read the paper in front of a cosy fire. I was the opposite. Wild, bold and wanting to party. I did settle down and I thrived on motherhood, we became a good team and were rarely apart. 'People' often interfered and told us that our relationship wasn't healthy because we spent way too much time together. That always baffled me because it felt like the most natural thing in the world to be together all the time, but those negative comments start to sow small seeds and before you know it, you start to believe those voices and resentments begin to creep in through any tiny crack they can find. 

Those tiny cracks then become huge massive potholes and all sorts of rubbish then manages to find it's way in, leaving you feeling like the only way to fix it is to abandon ship. Sometimes a break is needed. A step back to repair the damage and to figure out the issues at the root of the problem can be a great marriage healer. Your break up was painful and the anger was raw, but those feelings do start to fade as you begin to start working on building a new friendship with your spouse. The break up can be a fresh line in the sand, as you work on forgiveness both sides then become smooth, clean and fresh. Resentments begin to disappear and you start to like each other again, even falling in love all over again. 

For me, I realised that I missed being married. I missed the companionship, the familiarity, the little things he used to do for me, the way he loved me, adored me. All those things that I had started to resent, I started to miss. I realised that I'm not so perfect and that I needed to work on a few things, it wasn't all him. Thankfully, we had suddenly found ourselves on the same page.


The route to repairing your marriage takes effort from both sides, Old hurts can not be mentioned again and constantly reminding yourself that you are now in a new relationship helps with the recovery process. Recognise that changes need to be made on both sides, never just one. Ask each other what you need to be happy then work on making those things happen for your partner. It is not easy, but it is so worth it if both are willing to try. 

Thursday, 7 May 2015

My Studio Girl - Sew Your Own Kit Review


Yesterday I talked about my passion for fashion and how I love to up-cycle old clothes. It all started as a child when I would practise for hours on my fashion plates and I also started sewing by making little clothes for my Sindy dolls. I can't remember 'sew your own' kits being available back then, I just had to learn by watching my nan and getting on with it. I would have loved proper sewing kits like the ones 'My Studio Girl' put together.


The kits are really cute and the instructions are easy to follow. My Granddaughter is nine and I did need to guide her a little, although she could clearly understand the instructions. In the kit you get a soft doll, ready cut clothing, 2 x sewing needles and all the thread that you need. Even if you are not a sewer yourself you will be able to easily make these little dolls. They are so cute and I think a great way to introduce your child to sewing. My Granddaughter loved it and she tells me that her and her friends would love to receive these kits as gifts. I think they would make great stocking fillers or to put in your rainy day craft box, and fabulous if you have a child who is eager to learn how to sew. A fun introduction.


Does your little one like sewing or have they expressed an interest?


Kits include: Onesie Doll, Rescue Pets, My Precious Pals, 3D Magic Dough, Alien Slime Jumpers and Wind-up Walking Zombies. Age 8+. Prices range from £4.99 - £12.99. Available from all good toy stockists.




*We were sent a 'My Studio Girl' kit free of charge for the purpose of this review. Our opinions are completely our own and unbiased.

Wednesday, 6 May 2015

Thrifty Fashion - My 40+ Style

As a woman in my mid forties my fashion sense has changed a little over the years. What I actually mean is, I've toned it down a bit. I know that surprises some of you as you see me blowing you cheeky kisses, covered in tattoos with bright coloured hair, but honestly my fashion sense is tame compared to what it used to be. I'm still an avid follower of fashion, I just tend to like fashion that is a little more 'out there' than most women my age. I love a good old fashioned retro look and my favourite style is definitely is rock chic with studs and biker jackets. I guess with all my ink I have to dress to compliment them. To afford fashion on a tight budget my favourite shops tend to be the charity shop for my vintage items, New Look (especially their sales), Simply Be, Yours Clothing for everyday essentials, Joules for a lovely treat and pay monthly catalogues that help spread the cost of things like winter coats or holiday gear. 


I rarely hold back and see fashion as a way to express myself. Bright colours and bold prints really float my boat, anything even mildly wacky always catches my eye. Fashion has always been a passion of mine, from a child I'd watch my Nan Grace sitting at her sewing machine and I would dream of one day becoming a fashion designer and make my own clothes. I would spend hours on my fashion plates in the 1970's (Do you remember those?). They taught me how to put together different outfits and I would get such a thrill from putting something new together. As I got older and my drawing improved I started keeping a fashion design journal, where I would practise my art. And that is exactly how I looked at fashion, as art. I still do. 


I appreciate the design and work that goes into lots of items of clothing. Unfortunately I never did fulfil my dream of becoming a designer as my Mum refused to allow me to take art as an option at school, mainly because she had the very old fashioned attitude that art would get me nowhere in life (back in the 80's mums were a bit like that). I don't blame her for it, she only had my best interests at heart, besides I've had opportunities since and not acted upon them so it's my own fault. These days I indulge my fashion passion by being a little creative. I up-cycle lots of items by maybe adding a few studs or putting in a stitch here & there and I even make a few items too to keep things fresh. There is always something in the wardrobe that can be transformed.






What do you do to style your fashion? 
Do you like to up-cycle old clothes, like I do?





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