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Create Your Own Completely Bespoke, One-of-a-Kind Engagement & Wedding Rings with Durham Rose

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Finding your dream engagement or wedding ring can be tricky, particularly if you want something a bit different to the designs you see at the big high street jewellers. You might have thought designing your own rings was completely out of reach, but I’m here today to tell you that it’s definitely not the case when you use Durham Rose!

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These London based jewellers (previously known as Hot Pink Jewellers) actually appeared on Dragon’s Den with their ingenious concept in 2013, and although they didn’t get investment, they used is as a springboard to launch their business.

The newly named Durham Rose work completely differently to any other jeweller I’ve come across because they don’t have a showroom and they don’t hold any stock (meaning they keep their overheads lower – savings which they pass onto their customers!) They work exclusively and directly with their clients to create them one-of-a-kind engagement and wedding rings.

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While most of their clients use their service to design an engagement ring, Durham Rose are also the perfect company for you to look at if you’ve already found an engagement ring you love, but are struggling to find a wedding band that works with it.

Maybe you’ve gone for a really unique engagement ring, but when its come to finding a wedding band that works with it, you’re stuck. Durham Rose can help you create a band that follows the contours of any engagement ring to ensure the perfect fit. They can also match setting work, profiles widths and metal finish so they look like a matching pair.

In some cases they may even take a 360 degree scan of your engagement ring to enable them to import the design into their engineering software and model the wedding ring around it.

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Honeymoon Travel Guide: A Surprise Trip to Vienna!

When you decide to book a holiday, what’s the first thing you do? You probably figure out if you want to go lie on a beach, explore a new city or throw yourselves wholeheartedly into some kind of action/ adventure sports trip. Next, you might want to know how the weather is at the time of year you plan to travel. Then you’ll probably look up what the local food is like, research the must-sees and investigate all the popular sites to decide if they sound like something you’d enjoy…

But what if I told you you could go on a holiday that you knew nothing about until two hours before take off!? Well, that’s exactly what Gareth and I did last weekend!

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Surprisetrips.co.uk is a new concept from the people behind Expedia.co.uk. How it works is you tell them your preferred departure airport, send them a short list of places you don’t want to visit (maybe you’ve already been there or you just don’t fancy it) and they book you a completely surprise European holiday!

They currently offer 77 weekend destinations in Europe and the service is open to all UK, IE, CA, AUS, NZ and US passport holders (all flights depart from the UK or Ireland). All flights are at convenient times (we flew out at 9am and back at 8pm) and are under 3 and a half hours.

When I heard about the concept I was excited, if not a little bit nervous. I’m not an over-planner when it comes to travelling, but I do like to do a little basic research so I know what to expect of a new place. Not least of all, I like to know beforehand how I’m going to get to my hotel from the airport!

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The anticipation of where we might end up was definitely one of the best parts of this whole experience and everyone I told about it was like “Wow that’s so cool, I’d love to do that!” Once you book, Surprise Trips emails you a link which tells you which airport and terminal to go to and what time you need to arrive. Then, a couple of days before the trip they email you again with a weather report from your destination so you have some idea of what to pack. Ours told us it was going to be 26-30°C so we were kind of expecting that we might end up on a beach somewhere… But as you can see, that couldn’t have been further from what happened!

Now I’m no YouTuber, but I thought it might be fun to make a little travel video so you can see what we got up to. Enjoy!

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Saying Thank You with Links of London

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Saying thank you is so important. Especially to those people who have worked tirelessly behind the scenes of your wedding, helping you prepare for the special day. Giving flowers is nice, but why not consider something more long-lasting? It would be really lovely to thank you mum, for example, with a necklace she can wear forever, or your dad with some engraved cufflinks.

When you’re in the throws of wedding planning it can be difficult to think past that one day, but today I’d like to encourage you to remember to show your appreciation for those people that have really helped you.

“The roots of all goodness lie in the soil of appreciation for goodness.” – Dalai Lama

I personally think jewellery is a really nice idea. It doesn’t have to cost a fortune and it’s something they can keep and wear forever. My sister got married this past weekend and she gave all of us bridesmaids handmade silver earrings. It was such a special moment because she’d made them especially for us. We all put them on immediately (I actually haven’t taken mine off since!)

If you’re not in the position to make your own silver jewellery then Links of London have some amazingly beautiful, yet affordable, options that would be suitable for anyone you needed to thank. The Diamond Essentials Sterling Silver Pave Star necklace is one of my favourites. What could be a better gift for someone that’s been a complete star throughout your wedding planning?!

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Bloody Mary Metal Launch a Bespoke Wedding Service!

bloody mary metal bespoke wedding service

This is not a drill! My favourites, Bloody Mary Metal, known far and wide for their awesome letter stamped silver rings and quirky designs, are launching a bespoke wedding ring service on August 1st!!

They have been creating beautiful engagement and wedding appropriate rings for almost four years from their Cornish base, but this brand new service (launching on its own micro-site) will give you way more choice when it comes to finding those most special of rings.

They say, “Complete with a tongue-in-cheek, yet informative ‘guide’ to choosing the perfect ring, our Bespoke Wedding Service brings a new level of maturity to our youthful brand, whilst remaining unique and fiercely independent. The site is easy to navigate, endearing and free spirited, with just a touch of the now-infamous BMM cheeky sarcasm!”

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“We have poured years worth of crafting engagement and wedding rings into creating a jaw-dropping wedding collection. So if ‘fully bespoke’ doesn’t float your boat, there are plenty of gorgeous, ready made, show-stoppers to choose from, in yellow, rose and white gold, as well as silver.

In true Bloody Mary Metal style, the collection shuns the stereotypical idea of engagement rings – so don’t expect just the classic white diamonds here! Blush Morganites and Peach Sapphires sit amongst Mystic Topaz and Black Diamonds in this magical, magpie’s dream of a collection. Not forgetting wedding bands too. We have created a variety of wedding rings, from classic, easy to wear bands, through to fully bespoke, shaped rings to fit around specific engagement rings.”

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How to Put Together a Gift List That Really Rocks

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Palm tree dinnerware

When it comes to choosing things for your wedding gift list, I think adding your own personality to the proceedings is the way to go. I mean, sure, you could order a silver kettle and a set of white dinner plates, but why not have a little fun with it?

When The Wedding Shop got in touch to ask if I’d like to curate some of my favourite items from their website, I jumped at the chance to do some fantasy shopping. Hum, I feel like I might need the pink palm tree dinnerware in my life for real though.

The Wedding Shop is the UK’s original multi-retailer gift list company. Their team of in-house buyers travel internationally throughout the year to curate a unique collection of thousands of products from more than 350 leading and boutique brands including Wedgwood, Yves Delorme, Kate Spade, The White Company, Ralph Lauren, Dualit, Le Creuset, Kitchen Aid, Garden Trading, Cornishware, Missoni Home and many more.

For high-value items such as furniture and electrical appliances there is now the option to split the cost into affordable contributions for guests. You can also add an unlimited number of independently stocked products to their list without any additional charges.

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Copper pineapples

If you’re starting to put together your own wedding gift registry, here are my top tips:

Start early

It is completely acceptable to start compiling your gift list as soon as you get engaged. Some people will might want to buy you an engagement gift, or they might just be super keen to order your wedding present right away.

Upgrade your old stuff

With most couples living together before they get engaged, you might think you don’t really need a lot of new stuff for your home. However just because the duvet set you bought from Primark is still perfectly functional, doesn’t mean you can’t try and get something way better!

When we got engaged we were able to register for a Dyson vacuum, Vera Wang plates and 1000 thread count Egyptian cotton bedding. At the time we never would have spent our own limited fund on such indulgences, but receiving them as wedding gifts from generous relatives was so amazing!

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What Starting To Exercise Has Taught Me About My Mental Health

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Denial and terror, what a joyful combination… but they’re things I’ve been dealing with for a very long time. Oh my goodness, what’s been going on? You might ask. Has something really bad and difficult happened? Are you trying to do something no-one else has done? Is it something completely revolutionary and new?

Well actually, no.

For the past 32 years I’ve been completely petrified of any form of exercise.

As a teenager I passionately resisted physical exercise as much as possible. I was always the girl in PE with a note from home, opting to do extra maths lessons (which I also hated!) instead. But ANYTHING would be better than having to run around a field or, horror of horror, do team sports. I’m not sure if it stemmed from being badly bullied or if I was just lazy, but ever since then I’ve had a complete mental block on breaking out in a sweat.

Over the past few years I’ve been in pretty bad shape. I was drinking way too regularly and for the most part, hardly leaving the house unless it was to go to the supermarket (working from home is awesome, but it does have a nasty habit of turning you into a hermit). I started to think that maybe, maaaaybe, I should start doing some exercise… but I was scared of EVERYTHING to do with it.

I was scared of trying, scared of failing, scared that people would judge me, scared that other people in the gym would think I looked stupid, scared that I wouldn’t know how to use the equipment, worried I’d look fat in workout gear… The list just went on and on.

People have been telling me for YEARS that exercise will make me feel better, but I kept pushing it away. “Yeah maybe it works for you”, I’d think, “But getting all sweaty and out of breath sounds like hell to me”. It was easier to self-medicate my moods with things like alcohol and shopping…

But then one day back in March something strange happened. I was feeling sluggish, depressed, and like I’d just spent too much time in front of my computer. Gareth was in the next room getting ready to go to the gym so I called through (I was too embarrassed to even look him in the eye) and I tentatively said, “Erm, hey, I think I might want to come to the gym with you today.” That’s the even sillier thing, Gareth has been a dedicated gym bunny for 5+ years. He loves it and he looks GREAT, yet still I was so anxious about even telling him I wanted to give it a try.

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