Wednesday, 31 December 2014

What To Wear To A Job Interview

With a new year comes new resolutions. Many people like to make a fresh start, whether they are thinking of a healthier way of living, starting a new hobby or interest or considering changing jobs and applying for a new one. 

If you do start applying for jobs, through a UK job search, and you get an interview, it's always a good idea to refresh interview techniques and revisit what to wear to an interview.

In my experience it is always best to dress as smartly as possible. Unless you are applying for a job in the artistic job sector, dress conservatively. I am sure you already know this but this is not the time to wear your Monsters Of Rock, Hello Kitty or Dr Who t-shirt however much you love it! As pointed out below there maybe other jobs such as nannying that you may feel out of place wearing a suit at interview, showing that you can sit on the floor and play with the children in a more casual outfit may be better. However If in doubt I would always say smarter is better than casual.

Clothes do not have to be expensive but it is good idea to invest in a classic suit if you can afford it. Dark colours such as black or navy often work best. Your clothes shouldn't be the focus of the attention, instead your personality and experience should shine though.



Edie Navy Pinstripe Skirt Suit, sale price - £100 T M Lewin


Personally I feel comfort is important as well. I would wear flat or mid heel shoes but not trainers or high heels, although if you are comfortable with high heels go for it. A trouser or skirt suit looks like you mean business and a smart dress and jacket would also be appropriate and would work well. 

For a man a dark suit is always smart. Shirts can be white, pin striped or plain colours, personally I would avoid bright colours and unusual designs.

Attention to detail is also incredibly important. Make sure your shoes are clean, clothes wrinkle free, shirts ironed and hair well groomed.




Perry Navy Blue Mohair Suit, sale price - £109 TM Lewin

Two companies I particularly like for interview wear are T M Lewin and Marks and Spencer.  Both companies produce good quality smart work clothes for a reasonable price.



Colour Block Shift Dress With Belt  - £49.50 Marks and Spencer

You can personalise your outfit by your choice of jewellery, gold or silver studs, or small drop earrings, a simple bracelet or classic watch adds that touch of class to any outfit. A leather bag also add style as well as functionality and a small bag or medium tote would be the perfect finishing touch.

Leather Stab Stitched Bag from Marks and Spencer - £79

If you wear the right clothes it can really help boost your confidence at interview, so choose well and you could go far.

If you have any teenagers in your household or recent graduates they may find this guide useful, and if you are applying for a job yourself in the near future then good luck and I wish you all the best.
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Tuesday, 30 December 2014

Degustabox December

This month's Degustabox was an eclectic mix of foodstuffs, with most being new to the market. At only £12.99 per box, it always guarantees value for money and some surprises every month. A subscription makes a great gift for those that love their food, or a little treat for yourself.

This is what I received this month. 





Barbecue Popchips £1.79

I have tried popchips before and was pleased to see these in the box. The barbecue flavour popchips packs a great flavour punch. The are very moorish and the best part is they are baked not fried. This makes them healthier than crisps. Each portion is under 100 calories too!

Pukka Green Tea £2.39

Whilst not a fan of herbal teas myself, I gave these to my Mother-in-Law to try. She enjoyed the lemon flavour and with dandelion roots as well this healthy tea can be used to help detox.

Bahlsen Biscuits £3.58

Bahlsen have been around for a while, and I am already a fan. So often the chocolate on chocolate biscuits doesn't taste nice and is of poor quality, well the chocolate on these biscuits are totally delicious. I would recommend these biscuits to everyone!

Eisburg Alcohol Free Wine £3.49

Personally I am not a fan of alcohol free wine I must admit as the flavour is not to my taste. I prefer a soft drink or water as a substitute to wine. However I can see the place for this in the drinks market, and I think it is an excellent idea to have some of this in the fridge if you are entertaining over the Christmas period. It takes the temptation away from drinking and driving and that can only be a good thing.

Gloworm Drinks £1.50 each

These cans can be drunk on their own or as used as a mixer with an alcoholic drink. Sugar free, my husband tried them before jogging and found them refreshing.

Kent's Kitchen Meal Kit £2.50

Each meal kit contains 3 pots which you simply add to ingredients to create an authentic and tasty quality meal. A great idea to have in the cupboard to add a boost to your normal ingredients.

Frylight Infuse Chilli £2.00

This chilli infused oil is in a dispenser so you can add a very light spray to your pan before cooking. Great to keep in your cupboard, and easy to use, you can impart a chilli heat without having to go through the messy business of preparing and cutting up chillies.

The Chia Co Oats and Seeds £1.70

These sachets are filled with chia seeds which give you omega 3, fibre, protein as well as being packed with vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. Add water to make a porridge which is smooth and creamy.

Bonne Maman Marmalade £2.30

Now I love the strawberry conserve Bonne Maman make so it was with interest that I tried the marmalade. Not too sharp but still with a piquant taste this marmalade goes well with toast. Or do a Paddington Bear and make a marmalade sandwich to keep under your hat for later :)





If you would like to subscribe a Degustabox subscription costs £12.99 per month, inclusive of delivery. The value of the items is usually a lot higher. If you would like a discount of £3 enter code MT2ID into checkout when registering.

You can find Degustabox here:-








Tell me what do you think of the food this month?
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Monday, 22 December 2014

I'm Dreaming Of A Boux Avenue Christmas

What ingredients would make my ideal Christmas? Have you ever seen the film The Holiday? Well one day I would loved to be swept away for a romantic break in a beautiful cottage in the country. The cottage would be so cosy and warm yet would have a fine dusting of snow outside. 




It would look like the cottage you would see on a chocolate box in days gone by. The cupboards and fridge would be full of delicious food and wine and in the middle of the lounge there would be a big Christmas tree all sparkly and decorated with tinsel and lights. In the shimmer of the lights I can see parcels, all wrapped up in glitzy paper. My husband passes me a present with a glint in his eye. Excitedly I unwrap the present, and gasp as I see a beautiful satin bra... from Boux Avenue.



You may be a mum and a wife but Boux Avenue always makes you feel like a women.  Have a look at the Boux Avenue Christmas video for some gift ideas for yourself, and I hope you enjoy my poem too.



Raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens,
Bright jewelled underwear and lacy sheer knickers,
Chemises and negligee's, make my heart sing,
These are a few of my favourite things.
Nightshirts and Pjs and warm cosy loungewear,
Great shapewear that holds in and black balconette bras,
Super soft boy shorts, brazilians and thongs,
These are a few of my Boux Avenue things.
Customer service, 
That is helpful,
And bra fitting too,
I simply remember my favourite things,
I'm dreaming of Christ-mas with Boux.



Tell me have you ever shopped in Boux Avenue? Did you know that besides sexy underwear they also sell shape wear, swimwear, loungewear and nightwear too?

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Slumberdown Winterwarm Electric Underblanket Review

A guest post by Lucy from The Parent Game Blog. Lucy writes about all aspects of life affecting parents, particularly those with older children and teens and loves finding ways to make life easier and more fun! 


I had never owned an electric blanket before, so I was very keen to try this one out - the Slumberdown Winterwarm Electric Underblanket.




I live in an ‘eco-home’, which is made of about 80% insulation, so it doesn’t really get cold. However it is very airless, particularly in the winter, when the heating is on, so I like to have a window open at night, even when it’s really cold. Sadly, the ratio of fresh air versus cold feet eventually tips too far the wrong way and I have to choose between suffocating and freezing, so I really felt this could be the answer to my problems.

On inspection, the blanket looks very well made, with heavy stitching and quality material. It has ties to anchor it to the bed, with good instructions on how to fit them, although it's not especially difficult. I would suggest you have an extra pair of hands for this part though! I was surprised at how thin it is. I had imagined it would be something you would be very aware of when lying on it, but not at all. It is impossibly thin, considering the amount of heat it manages to pump out and it is virtually undetectable under a standard fitted sheet.

The heat is incredible and very simple to control, with a good-size, solid controller, that features three heat settings.


1, which is very gentle, and ideal if you want to leave it on overnight, 
2, which I would describe as ‘just right’, not hot, but warm enough that you are comfortably aware of it after a very short time, and 
3, which is REALLY warm.




Now, you wouldn’t necessarily think there was much call for an extra-warm setting on an electric under blanket. After all, you are under a duvet and probably have central heating as well. However, I quickly discovered an amazing advantage to this feature. I suffer from herniated discs in my lower spine, which causes me considerable pain and discomfort. I was pleasantly surprised to find that, on its highest, this product works as a gigantic heat pad, providing wonderfully relieving heat for more efficiently than a traditional heat pad could, because you can lie completely flat, and the heat isn’t concentrated anywhere, so you don’t have to decide where you most need it, you can just relax and enjoy the experience! So, for me, this product is incredible value, because it provides lovely, relaxing, comfortable heat that I can control, with the added advantage of helping ease my back pain, with its extra-warm setting. Bonus!

The Slumberdown website offers great advice on lots of aspects of sleep and also provides information about product stockists.

You can also find them on Facebook and Twitter where they provide news of exciting products, as well as information and competitions.

Pop over and give them a like or follow to ensure you don't miss anything!
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Friday, 19 December 2014

Hot Diamonds Special Offers From Net Voucher Codes

When I owned my own jewellers we stocked a number of jewellery brands. One that always stood out for me was Hot Diamonds. Hot Diamonds is a jewellery company whose unique selling point is jewellery in sterling silver with diamond. What I particularly liked about Hot Diamonds were the designs, the affordability and the quality.




Emozioni bracelets

Designs

Hot Diamonds always keep up-to-date with the jewellery trends and designs. They were one of the first recognised brand names to produce charm bracelets and their charms are still going strong today. With classic charms such as the lucky 21 horseshoe, stars and snowflakes to modern designs like the LOL charm, flip flops, and cocktails you know they will have a charm for every girl, for every occasion and every experience. 

Snowflake charm

They were also one of the first brands to feature yellow gold and rose gold mixed with silver, something that you now see in many jewellery lines. In fact the LA times picked up on this in an article in August this year, at least three years before Hot Diamonds featured it in their jewellery.

Rose gold and silver Emozioni bracelet
Affordability

Hot Diamonds jewellery is very affordable - charms start from £25, earrings start from £30 and necklaces start at not much more. For jewellery in quality sterling silver with the addition of diamonds then these I feel are great prices. Of course the diamonds aren't big one carat stones but they subtly add sparkle to each piece of jewellery.


Hot Diamonds Heart Necklace

Quality

Hot Diamonds jewellery is made to last. The chains are fairly sturdy, the clasps are excellent and the charms do not fall apart unlike some competitors.  Most if not all of the chains are rhodium plated to keep their shine. Rhodium plating is what usually happens to white gold to keep the white look and the shine. It also helps prevent tarnishing, which is a common problem with silver.




Hot Diamond Locket Necklace

There are so many gorgeous Hot Diamonds designs on their website, why don't you have a look? Also at the moment they are offering free next day delivery for Christmas. This is a limited offer so be quick if you want to grab this too.

If you like the jewellery designs check out the exclusive 35% discount on everything at Hot Diamonds from Net Voucher Codes just click on the links to take you to their site - but be quick as the offer ends on the 21st December 2014.


* a collaborative post

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Thursday, 18 December 2014

Do You Talk To Your Teenager About Drinking?

Survey data aims to show that parent’s attitudes towards underage drinking do not meet reality

Recent polling data shows us that the number of young people trying alcohol before they reach the age of 15 is on the decline. However, this is in contrast to the belief of parents that the opposite is true.







This survey has shown that although parents believe the majority of 11 – 15 year olds have experimented with alcohol, in fact only 39% have.

I know my son doesn't want to drink and he's nearly 18.

Announced on AB InBev’s Global Be(er) Responsible Day, an initiative to promote the importance of responsible drinking, the results showed that many of those polled wrongly believe that more young teens drink today than have done over the past five years.

As of 2013, AB InBev UK has been working alongside the Alcohol Education Trust to ensure that open dialogues between parents and children on the subject of responsible drinking can take place.

The director of the AET, Helena Conibear, believes there to be a huge divide between what parents think is normal drinking behaviour for young teens and what is actually normal behaviour for this age group.

Following the polling, Conibear stressed the importance of the AET’s education projects with parents to help make conversations about responsible drinking a norm.

Is access to better education in schools something you would be interested in as a parent or do you think this is something to be discussed at home?

* a guest post
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Diamond Gifts From Laing's Of Glasgow

Top 3 Diamond gifts 

There aren't many ladies who wouldn't appreciate the classic statement of elegance and sophistication that comes with a stunning piece of diamond jewellery.  

You can pretty much guarantee that even the woman who has everything will be bowled over on Christmas morning by the sparkling contents of a small and beautifully wrapped box under the tree.

Diamonds are a stunning gift for any occasion, but they are really special as a gift for a loved one at Christmas. They come in a range of multi-faceted shapes and sizes, and when they catch the light, the icy sparkle and colourful display is a beauty to behold.

Laings’ diamond earrings for women can be chosen in a number of styles and with prices to suit every budget, there really is something here for everyone. Listed below are our top three picks for this Christmas:

1. These gorgeous 18 carat yellow gold round brilliant cut diamond earrings are a classic example. They are 0.10ct diamond weight and mirror set for added beauty.

While they are pretty and elegant, giving the wearer an air of effortless sophistication, something almost as pleasing as their beauty is the price of these particular earrings – only £180 for the pair.

Laings has a large election of fashionable, brilliant-cut diamond earrings in single stone and fancy shape varieties, with both diamond drop and stud earrings available this Christmas. The beautiful yellow, rose or white gold diamond earrings make a lovely gift and, whether they’re worn for a special occasion, or to wow friends and family, you can guarantee the wearer will look truly amazing in diamonds at Christmas.

And that's just what they do. Whoever you are, whatever your taste and whatever you wear, diamonds will never look anything but stunning because they're effortlessly elegant, as demonstrated in our number 2…

2. These beautiful round brilliant diamond earrings are perfect if you like your diamonds simple, exquisite and minimalist in style, for example. 
Lovingly set in 18ct white gold with 0.30ct diamond weight and promise to look beautiful on their wearer. The white gold setting is especially fitting for Christmas time because it gives a traditional and stylish look to your jewellery.

Sometimes when we think of diamonds, we might imagine that they come with a marriage proposal. But they are not only striking as an engagement ring or set of earrings. If you're looking for something that really makes a statement, a diamond pendant could be a perfect gift for a loved one. 

Many people have seen the film Titanic and may have been struck by the beautiful and iconic image of Kate Winslet with the stunning blue sapphire Heart of the Ocean pendant resting on her beautiful d├ęcolletage while she was painted by her artist beau. Diamond jewellery is a classically elegant way to make this sort of statement, because in themselves these pieces (like number 3 in this list) are works of art. 

3. This beautiful 18ct white gold chain featuring a diamond mirror set pendant is a delightful, tasteful and stunning piece of jewellery. 


The diamond weight is 0.15ct and the mirror set reflects the light perfectly to create the illusion of a larger centre diamond. It's the traditional, understated elegance of this pendant that makes it so attractive. The chain is approximately 16 inches in length and beautifully compliments the icy brilliance of the diamond that it accompanies.

Whether it's a simple and stylish pair of earrings, a pendant, or even an exquisite diamond ring, anyone lucky enough to receive a piece of diamond jewellery will be guaranteed to feel like a million dollars when they're wearing it.

And, if you want to wow your other half this Christmas, diamonds are definitely the way to go, because they simply take your breath away. A set of eye-catching diamonds in white gold for instance, will compliment a beautiful dress or stylish outfit, making any occasion even more magical. 

So, when Santa brings diamonds down the chimney, they're guaranteed to delight anyone who receives them this festive season because there's nothing better than a Christmas filled with sparkle and style, especially from Laings.

* A guest post by Laings
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Vera and John - Entertainment For When You're Bored

How often have you thought, I'm bored? Maybe you are sick of Eastenders being so depressing on TV, or you suddenly realise that the only reason you like The X Factor is because of the oddbods in the heats, and now it's the semi-finals and it's gone downhill fast.....

Or maybe you life revolves around taking the kids to school, cooking, cleaning, ferrying them to after school clubs, more cooking, washing and then more cleaning and you feel you have no time for yourself any more. 

Sometimes you just want to do something different.



Vera & John is a new entertainment brand whose ethos stands for fun and excitement. Huge in Sweden they have now come to the UK. Offering a gaming environment that will particularly appeal to women. It's bright, lively, and most importantly fun. You will never get bored here.



The first film in Vera&John's #breakingbored series that reveals the funny games we play when we're a bit bored.

From table games like blackjack, roulette and poker, to jackpot games, slots, and instants, there is a large choice of skill based and random based games.  

When I was in Las Vegas I really enjoyed playing Blackjack. I won a couple of games, I lost a couple and in the end I was just about even. There seemed to be a real skill involved in knowing when to play, when to take a hit and when to stand. I also had a go at roulette. My husband seemed to enjoy this and got quite excited when he won a few games!

Of course it's always important to only spend what you can afford and be aware of responsible gaming. Vera and John seem to take this seriously too, you can only sign up if you are 18 plus and they can also help you set spending limits. 




So back to beating the boredom. If you want to try out this site new to the UK, Vera and John have some great offers for sign ups to their website. These include:

100% deposit bonus + £5 free trial + 30 free spins on the Boomanji slot machine game.

They have more than 700 games including themed games based on Game of Thrones, Star Trek and even Monopoly. I can't imagine you will ever be bored if you sign up.

Tell me what do you do when you are bored (keep it clean!)? Have you ever played bingo, or maybe you have tried your hand in a Casino?

*a sponsored post 

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Wednesday, 17 December 2014

Your Rights To Flexible Working

As a parent many of you have to juggle work and family life. 

It can be a fine balance between having to put food on the table and physically caring for your family. You may be lucky to have friends and family to help out. You maybe able to afford to pay for childcare.  Either way you may feel the odd twang of guilt that you can't be there for your children all the time as bills have to be paid. 



Earlier this year the UK Government published new legislation giving all employees the right to request flexible working. Your employer is required to say yes or no to your request and if they cannot say yes, they have a legal obligation to provide you with a valid reason why.



From job sharing to working from home, flexitime to part-time and staggered hours to phased retirement the ways you can now work, will make a more flexible and yet more productive workforce, in my opinion.

If you are not sure about this think of these scenarios:-

Your child is sick and you have no one to care for them
In the past you may have rung in sick yourself or taking an annual leave day. Now you maybe able to work from home on that day instead.

You get stuck in traffic every day having to get in for work at 9am
Flexitime may mean you can miss peak travel times but still put the hours in every day.

You have a school concert, parent's evening or meeting with your child's teacher 
These are especially difficult to organise if you work afternoons on a regular basis. Perhaps taking flexitime, or compressed hours will help in this situation.

You find you are doing a full-time job in part-time hours
Job sharing allows you to share the role and the backlog of work maybe less when you return to work after your days off.

You share the care of looking after one or more parents.
Phased retirement or working from home can help in this situation.



Source Go To Meeting Blo

As you can see from the infographic above, in a study by the Chess Media group, 81% of US companies and organisations offer flexible working practices. 

In these companies and organisations over 85% of employees were more productive, whilst just over three quarters reported more job satisfaction. Happiness levels increased greatly as did reduced work stress. 

It also benefited the organisations too as unscheduled absences and staff turnover were significantly down.

Of course there maybe instances where flexible working is not possible. Well now there are employer guidelines in place on how to handle a flexible working request. If the request is declined there must be a sound business reason why.

For more information go to the Go To Meeting Blog.

* A collaborative post with Go To Meeting
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Tuesday, 16 December 2014

I'm A Lucky Person

I have a roof over my head, a family that love me and food in my cupboards. Some people don't.

Most of us moan about our lot - now and again anyway.  We want a better car, more holidays, bigger house, but when it comes down to the things that really matter, the majority of us are lucky.

Christmas is a time to count your blessings.






I'm not a religious person, but a few years ago, when I was going through hard times, I was overwhelmed by the caring nature of the Christian playgroup my son attended. I sent him there as it was a good playgroup and close to where I lived at the time. That Christmas an unexpected thing happened. I heard a knocking on my door and found a delivery, a lovely Christmas hamper.

You don't have to be religious to care for others, you just have to care. So when you are buying your Christmas shopping in your local supermarket, why don't you see if they have a basket for presents for disadvantaged children, and pop a present in. If you are in your local town, don't walk past the Big Issue seller as you mostly do, stop, have a chat and buy one. Or ask them if they would like a coffee from the local coffee shop and buy one for them. If you know a local elderly person who lives alone, stop in and ask if they need help with any shopping or just a bit of company. You could even club together with a couple of friends and make a small hamper for them.




If you have relatives that are difficult to buy for and don't really need anything, you could consider buying a gift in their name to help others.

The Children's Society let's you buy a gift for a child living in poverty from just £7, or an outing for a child or a Christmas party.

Unicef's Inspired Gifts, let you buy polio vaccines for children in undeveloped countries, or nutritious food for a malnourished child amongst other things.

Centerpoint lets you buy a Christmas dinner for a homeless young person from £5, a jumper to keep them warm or a starter kit for those disadvantaged teenagers who want to go to University.

The RNLI allow's you to buy a donation towards supporting the volunteers such as fuelling a lifeboat, buying essential gloves or equipment for the boats.




At Christmas when we have so much, just stop for one second and give to others. It can be the giving of your money or your time, and I guarantee you will feel warm and fuzzy inside :)

Have a warm, safe and well fed Christmas. 
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Monday, 15 December 2014

Have A Sparkly Beaverbrooks Christmas

Beaverbrooks, the family run jewellers has some sparkly, pretty and downright beautiful gifts for Christmas this year.

They have special limited edition gift boxes with some gorgeous jewellery on their site and at a bargain price too. The set I was offered to review below had a sparkly rose necklace, stretchy sliver bracelet and glamourous drop earrings.






What I loved first about opening the box is that it was carefully packaged - full of tissue and sparkly stars to add a WOW touch. All the jewellery was also placed in little black velvet pouches within the box. But enough about the packaging lets get onto the jewellery ...



Cubic Zirconia Flower Pendant £80 when bought individually

For me the stand out piece was the rose flower pendant. The cubic zirconia encrusted pendant is certainly a feminine and pretty item that would add that glamour to a Christmas party dress.  The chain is gorgeous too, a quite substantial curb chain that sets off the pendant beautifully.


Silver Sparkle Cut Loop Drop Earrings £45 when bought individually

The sparkle cut loop earrings I thought were incredible value for money as well as being a pretty edition to any party girls wardrobe. They catch the light as you move and shimmer beautifully.



Sterling Silver Cubic Zirconia Bead Bracelet £50 when bought individually

Whilst slightly more understated the bracelet included is stretchy, cute and the bead adds a touch of sparkle. I think this piece is slightly more versatile, you could wear this item both night and day.

For what your pay, this gift box is a snip and for just under £100 you get lovely silver jewellery that is superb value for money.


It's all in the presentation - gift box full of tissue and sparkly stars in the packaging.

Everyone of the gift boxes are limited to only 100, so I can't guarantee you will get these exact items above on offer but have a look as they have some beautiful bargains. The offers are on their homepage and while you are there why don't you check out the amazing brands they sell such as Omega, Gucci and personal favourites of mine, Michael Kors and Thomas Sabo?

You can follow Beaverbrooks on Facebook, and Twitter here, which is a great way to keep up-to-date with new items, offers and sales.

Tell me do you like the jewellery above? Have you ever shopped at Beaverbrooks? Did you know about the amazing brands they sell?
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Friday, 12 December 2014

Art Deco Glamour from Ungar and Ungar Jewellery

I love the Art Deco period, the era of the Great Gatsby, Parisian style, ornate decorative motifs, symmetrical patterns and geometric detailing.

So when I find a jeweller that makes jewellery in this style, I just know their pieces will be unique and beautiful.



1920s girl credit Luliboo Flickr cc license

A feeling of beauty, femininity and a time gone by, is the essence of Ungar and Ungar jewellery. A husband and wife team design the stunning fine jewellery and a team of artisan jewellery makers hand craft each precious piece. Time, and effort go into each design, the choosing of each stone, picked for perfection and the making of each piece.

I think the jewellery here is the star so I will talk no more just show you my favourites from their recent collections.


The Kaleidoscope ring £2950

This unusual ring is studded with beautiful vibrant stones of all colours. A real stand out piece, you can bet no one you know will have anything like this precious ring. I love the asymmetrical nature of the ring, the fine edge detailing and the jewel colours. A ring to be worn when you want to be noticed.



White and yellow gold earrings £1950, necklace £1390

This white gold necklace and earring set, made with yellow gold detailing, sparkles in the light and will make you look a million dollars. I can imagine this being worn on the red carpet by a film star at an awards ceremony. The contrast in the colour of the precious metals, is something you do not see very often.
Sapphire and diamond ring with jewelled shoulders £3300

This sapphire ring set in white gold, has a vivid blue colour to the round centre stone. The ornate diamond clad setting with brilliant cut, and baguette diamonds, makes the detailed shank the perfect foil for the vibrant stone. In days gone by I can imagine this ring being the sort to be worn at a grand event, perhaps a party in high society.




White gold and diamond leaf necklace £3570, earrings £5600

This white gold and diamond necklace and earring set, in a leaf design are both incredibly pretty. The earrings move and sway as you walk, catching the light. To be worn with your best cocktail dress, the highest cute heels and the classiest bag, this jewellery ensures you will turn heads in the crowd.

If you want classic glamour and old world style combined with expert craftsmanship then look for Ungar and Ungar jewellery at your local independent jeweller.

Tell me, what item do you love the most? Do you love the Art Deco era as much as me?

* a sponsored post, all words and opinions are my own
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Wednesday, 10 December 2014

Quirky London

A guest post by Sarah from Family Travel Timeswhich is all about holidays and days out, with her two children, aged 12 and 9. www.familytraveltimes.co.uk

I love London – it’s where I grew up, and now where I live with my own family. We really enjoy exploring what London has to offer, from the obvious (the museums, the South Bank, the Houses of Parliament) to the countless hidden gems. London has so much to offer, but sometimes it’s fun to try out something less obvious. Here is our list of five quirky things to do in the capital.

Crack the codes at ClueQuest



Probably our favourite London based activity of the past year
 this involves being locked in a room for an hour and then spending that time trying to solve clues and find codes to get out. We were baffled for some of the time, and needed the verbal clues which are helpfully given to you when the powers-that-be spot you are struggling, but we also managed to work some out ourselves, which was heartwarming. I spent much of the time just laughing at how useless I was at being Sherlock Holmes, but enjoyed it immensely, despite not wanting to see a padlock again for a long, long time. Great fun for any age.


Visit the deer at Richmond Park 
https://www.royalparks.org.uk/parks/richmond-park

Don’t make the mistake of thinking that London is just a bustling city. If you head out to Richmond you can see herds of deer, fly a kite or bicycle your way around the largest of the capital's eight Royal Parks, This is the biggest enclosed space in London, and is a European Special Area of Conservation. It’s also a beautiful way to experience the countryside, while still being in the capital.

Try liquid nitrogen Ice-cream 

http://www.familytraveltimes.co.uk/blog/liquidnitrogenicecream/



Camden is the opposite side of London to Richmond (you need to head north rather than south) and absolutely a different experience. It’s full of trendy shops, unusual restaurants and market stalls, and perfect for just mooching about. It also offers the most unusual way of making ice-cream.

Basically the shop is like a chemistry laboratory, taking the basic liquid for the ice-creams and sorbets and adding liquid nitrogen to freeze it quickly. Clouds of steam billow everywhere as the liquid is churned to an ice cream consistency with a mixer in seconds. A great place to visit – and the ice-cream tastes delicious too!




Freak out at the Old Operating Theatre and Herb Garrett 
https://www.thegarret.org.uk/

Located right near the Shard, London Bridge and Borough Market (where you can go and get a snack afte
rwards), this is a lovely and unusual museum, hidden in the roof of a church. It contains the country’s only surviving Victorian operating theatre and gives you a terrific insight into those scary days before anaesthetics existed. Try to visit when there is a talk on as they are particularly good, giving you all the gruesome details of what used to happen here.
The building also contains some fascinating old medical implements and an array of herbs which used to be used to treat ailments. The only problem is that it is not easily accessible and must be reached via a small spiral staircase.

Be a part of history at the Ceremony of the Keys at The Tower of London
http://www.hrp.org.uk/TowerOfLondon/WhatsOn/theceremonyofthekeys

This is a 700 year old tradition that takes place every night, with the public invited, but only if you apply in advance. It involves the formal locking of all the doors to this beautiful castle (which may not contain a monarch, but still houses the Crown Jewels) and you are allowed to accompany the Chief Yeoman Warder as he does this. Around 40-50 visitors are admitted each night at 9.30pm and at 9.52, the Chief Yeoman Warder appears, holding a lantern and the Queen’s Keys. This is a special thing to witness, a real part of history, even if it’s all over by about 5 past 10!

You can apply online for dates from January 2015, and although most of Jan is full, there are lots of dates available for the rest of the year. Tickets are free, although there is a £1 admin charge.

Hope you enjoy what London has to offer!

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Tuesday, 9 December 2014

Save Energy, Save Money, Save Water

Christmas is an expensive time of year.  Before you know it, with the presents, extra food, wine, and all the festive extras, many of us end up spending on our credit cards and resort to paying it off well into the following New Year and beyond.

It's at times like this, every little helps, and it's often useful to start looking at your outgoings to see where you can save some money.




save money with some simple tips

In our household we have looked at simple things like turning off lights when we leave a room, using energy efficient light bulbs, putting on an extra layer of clothing on instead of putting the heating on, and changing energy suppliers. One area we haven't really looked at though, is saving energy by saving water.

Did you know that less than 0.5% of the World's total water is freshwater? It's a precious resource we shouldn't waste.

There are lots of water saving tips on the Happier Homes website that can help reduce waste, saving energy and also your money in the process. 

Do you use a dishwasher? Did you know that you could use 11 times less water by using a dishwasher than washing up by hand? I was surprised at this - I guess the key is, only put the dishwasher on when it's full, scrape the dishes of food and don't rinse them with water, and use an energy efficient cycle. Dishes washed in the dishwasher are also more hygienic and cleaner too.



fill up the dishwasher to save water

What about baths and showers? It's a well known fact that a shower uses less water than a bath. Adjusting the temperature of your water can save money too. I have a combi boiler and turning down the thermostat a degree or two means less energy is used in heating the water, and most people wouldn't feel the difference when taking a shower or bath. And while we are here, let's discuss that B word... bath. 

It's a well know fact that if you have a shower instead of a bath you can save a water, short showers are the key and if a family of 4 replaced a shower by a bath once a week it can save £25 over the course of a year. As I said earlier, every little helps.


taking a shower saves energy and money

Other easy ways to save water include:- 

Turning off running taps when you are brushing your teeth.
Using a water butt to catch rainwater to water your garden.
Making sure dishwashers and washing machines are full before you use them.
Replacing washers on dripping taps promptly.
Replacing inefficient shower heads with an energy efficient type.


turn off the tap don't leave it running unnecessarily

This water saving calculator can help you examine how much water you use and gives helpful tips on saving water too. By using these tips your family can be more energy efficient, saving precious resources and saving you money too.

Tell me, do you think about saving energy in your household? How do you save water in your family? A controversial one here, but would you ever share bath water?

* a sponsored post

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