Christmas Hampers From Harvey Nichols

There is nothing nicer at Christmas than to receive the gift of a hamper and no one does Christmas hampers as well as Harvey Nichols. The iconic London store which has other branches around the UK including Bristol, Manchester and Edinburgh, is the byword in luxury fashion, beauty, food and lifestyle. 

Here are some of my favourite hampers to spoil your loved ones, or to treat yourself this holiday season.

The Ultimate Christmas Indulgence

Bring Your Own Bar hamper £1000 

For those that really want to splash the cash, and throw a big party, the ultimate Bring Your Own Bar hamper is that perfect way to indulge. With a selection of wines and spirits including Champagne, Chablis, Pinot Noir, Cognac, Whiskey and Vermouth there is something for everyone who likes a tipple. To top it all off, a cocktail shaker and martini glasses are included and a cocktail making masterclass in your nearest Harvey Nichols store.

Get This Party Started

Party Starter set £200

The Harvey Nichols Party Starter set is described as the failsafe way to start a party. Basically keep your friends happy with a selection of tasty snacks from mixed olives with peppers and chilli to goats cheese savouries and then indulge them with a selection of welcome drinks. Once everyone has relaxed then bring out the party games - the Little Book Of Drinking Games is also included. All presented in a wicker hamper.

Cocktails For Two
Champagne and Chambord £50 

If you want a little soiree with your partner, maybe you've managed to drop your little ones off at a babysitter and you are having a romantic night in, why not order this Champagne and Chambord hamper for yourself. Chambord has a rich raspberry flavour and combined with the delectable Brut Champagne it makes a fantastic Kir Imperial. 

Get Your Beauty Sleep
Beauty Sleep hamper £150

Now if you have a relative that has problems getting off to sleep, they may be a new mum or an older relative, for example, then this beauty sleep hamper will have them in the 'land of nod' in no time. Including chamomile flower tea, a Silkskin pillowcase, and Sleep Plus Hair Elixir as well as other goodies, this makes a great gift presented in a picnic hamper.

Now Harvey Nichols can spot a blogger that likes a little indulgence, so they contacted me and kindly offered me the opportunity to try their Champagne and Chambord hamper box above.

The Champagne and Chambord arrived quickly presented in a box with a lovely card. It's those little touches that make Harvey Nichols truly special.

Champagne needs little introduction and most people know that sparkling wine has to come from the Champagne region of France for it to be called Champagne, but do you know about Chambord? 

Chambord is a luxurious French raspberry liqueur, black in colour, with intense raspberry and vanilla flavours. Delicious added to Champagne, it makes a fabulous Kir Imperial, the sister drink to the Kir Royal which is made with Creme De Cassis, a blackcurrant liqueur.

To make a Kir Imperial is super simple, just pour 1 part Chambord into a Champagne flute, then top with 9 parts Champagne and enjoy. The Chambord sweetness and raspberry notes mixed with the Champagne is delicious. Chin Chin!

Tell me do you like giving or receiving hampers? What do you think of these hampers from Harvey Nichols? Have you tried a Kir Imperial?

Your 2016 Christmas Shopping Guide To New York

So it's nearly that time of year again, CHRISTMAS TIME! Hasn't it come around quickly? Now I like my luxuries that is no secret, but I don't like to waste money either.  In fact, I would say I love value for money luxury. This brings me to Christmas shopping and saving money. What is the best way to save money on your Christmas shopping I hear you ask? A trip to New York I answer! Yes, you heard correctly but hear me out on this one...

Firstly November is a great time to get a cheap flight to New York. At this time of year Black Friday deals mixed with the pre-Christmas sales means flights are super cheap. Looking at the Cheap Flights website yesterday I found a flight to NYC for £339 direct with Iberia going on the 6th of December. When you consider the price of an anytime train ticket to Edinburgh from my nearest train station Bridgend, going on the same date, is £367.20 you can see the bargain to be had.

Skating at the Rockefeller centre

Secondly many items are cheaper in the US, specifically US brands, so if you are a fan of Hollister or Vans, or looking to buy Disney or Dreamworks gifts for the kids you can grab a bargain in the US. Even when you add in the sales tax that they charge these items below are still much cheaper. Also, did you know that in New York items of clothing under $110 are zero rated for sales tax?  Not a lot of people know that.

Another thing to think about is the dollar rate.  Now we all know that the dollar rate has fluctuated recently due to Brexit and the US election but it looks like it is on the up again. 

Of course, there is so much more to do in New York other than shopping. From ice skating in Central Park to looking at the amazing window displays on 5th Avenue, to the traditional all year round attractions of the Empire State Building, The Statue Of Liberty and seeing a show on Broadway. There is so much to do in New York in the Winter.

Cheapflights has collaborated with the Post Office Travel Money to create this infographic below, a Christmas shopping guide to New York. So with all the reasons I've given, go and book your flights now... and buy me an Iphone 7 please with all the money you've saved!

po_xmas_shopping_guide_final_150dpi *PR collaboration

What Would You Do If You Won A Million?

What would you do if you won a million pounds? Buy a house, fly around the world, get that supercar you've always dreamt of? Or maybe you would put it away until your retirement, after spoiling your family with some fantastic treats, the latest gadgets and designer clothes of course.

Most of us have thought about what we would do if we won the lottery and many of use have played a form of lottery, hoping it will make our dreams come true. 

Lotto Betting

Well, today I am going to talk about Lottoland. With Lottoland you get the chance to play lotteries from all around the world. You don't buy a ticket with the individual lottery direct, you buy a ticket with Lottoland, but you still play in the same way as the lotteries run. If you win, Lottoland pays you not the lottery company. Once you get your head around that, everything else is relatively simple. 

Signing up is quick and simple. With Lottoland, they have a variety of signing up offers too which include the first bet being free.

Once you've signed up, you will see a variety of lotteries to play such as the Euromillions, the Irish Lottery and Powerball. You may have already heard of or played the Euromillions and the Irish Lottery but did you know Powerball is the US lottery which had a 1 billion jackpot earlier this year?!

You may think - why not buy a ticket from the lottery direct, but having all your choices in one place is very convenient, perfect if you can't get out of the house for any reason to go and physically buy a ticket. They also offer free bets and 'special jackpots' which can be higher than the official operator.

I like the way it is laid out when you go into each individual lottery, it shows you the virtual ticket, the results from last draws, and a help and FAQ section. So if you are not sure what you are doing things are explained in easy to understand English. 

So I decided to have a go and place a bet. The lure of massive jackpots with Powerball meant I decided to try that, also I heard how the Irish Lottery currently offers a 1 in 29 chance of winning so that really appealed to me too. 

The Bet

To pick your numbers you can choose them yourself or do a 'QuickPick' where the website picks them at random for you as I did below.

You then get an email to say you've placed your bet. As you can see there was a £361 million jackpot with the Powerball draw that week. I have to admit I had a little bit of excitement when I placed the bet.

I did the same with the Euromillions and the IrishLotto. Then all I had to do was wait and cross everything.

If you can't remember what you picked, which is especially useful if you change your numbers all the time or play weeks in advance, then you can check on your virtual tickets any time by going to the My Activity section.

Lottoland also has an app so you can bet on the go if you wish. 


There are a few safeguards in place for their customers which can be read about in their 'Player Protection' section. They say they check each new member to ensure that they are 18 years plus, so that's good to know. They also ask you to set a maximum daily limit, I guess this is a reminder to yourself not to go over your limit as you can change this.  I feel this is important as with any type of gambling it is essential to never spend more than you can afford. If you think you can't handle the ease of gambling online I would say don't register.

If you have any issues at any time you can contact them via email or live chat. 

You may want to know did I win? Well my bet on the Irish Lotto and Powerball didn't win me any money, but I have a bet on the Euromillions for a draw on Tuesday, fingers crossed.

Tell me, what would you do if you won a million pounds? Do you play any form of lottery?

*PR collaboration

Tips for Taking Jewellery on Vacation

When you own beautiful jewellery it’s understandable that you want to show it off to the world. Going on vacation is a chance to unwind and relax, and naturally, both activities involve dressing up and enjoying nights out with your loved ones. Since most outfits are not complete without some jewellery and accessories, it makes sense to pack some of your best pieces when you go on vacation. Here is a quick guide to help you and your jewellery stay safe at all times.

Check Your Insurance

Before you go anywhere with your sapphire earrings or diamond engagement ring (click here for more information on rings), speak to your insurance company to make sure your jewellery is covered if you go on vacation. The last thing you need is to discover it isn’t covered if anything untoward happens. If you decide to travel abroad, it is also wise to check your travel insurance policy for the same reason.

Document Your Jewellery

To assist in the event of an insurance claim, take photos of each piece of jewellery before you leave the house. Social media posts are useful, but it is better to document each item, along with receipts, and certificates of authenticity, if applicable.

Carry Jewellery In Carry-On Luggage

Never pack expensive items of jewellery in a suitcase to go into the aeroplane’s hold. There is no guarantee you will ever see it again. Luggage can and does go missing with alarming regularity, so instead of taking that risk, pack all of your expensive items, including jewellery, in your carry-on luggage. It’s better to be safe than sorry!

Be Mindful Of Safety In A Hotel

Hotels are, in theory, very safe, but leaving jewellery in a room safe may not be the best place to keep it. It can only take seconds to crack a hotel room safe open, which is not great if yours happens to be full of diamond jewellery. If you take valuable jewellery with you, ask the hotel to store it in the main safe for extra security. There is less chance of it being stolen.

Don’t Flaunt Your Wealth

Kim Kardashian should have taken heed of this last point. No good ever comes of flaunting your wealth in public, especially in areas where the locals are poor. It’s OK to walk around dripping in diamonds if you are walking the red carpet, but if you take a shopping trip in downtown Johannesburg or backstreets in Sao Paolo, it won’t be long before you are mugged. 

Pin for later

Jewellery is always replaceable, but if you can’t bear the thought of losing a priceless heirloom, leave it at home. Home is generally the safest place for jewellery, but be careful not to post about your upcoming vacation on social media, or you may find that you have had unwelcome visitors when you return from your idyllic vacation, rested and sporting a nice suntan.

*Guest post

Win Diamond Earrings With Diamond Dealer Direct

Diamonds are the most precious stones known to man and to receive a gift of diamonds is one of the most beautiful presents a woman can receive. Diamonds are a timeless gift, a great investment and look gorgeous on all skin tones.

The sparkle of a diamond due to the way the stone is cut and shaped is especially alluring, the diamond reflects light that gives the stone a life and a brilliance not seen in other stones.

Diamonds are a traditional gift at Christmas and I think most women would love a gorgeous diamond under their Christmas tree, but of course diamonds are not cheap, and so they shouldn't be. That would make them less precious.

You can win these 18 ct gold earrings with 0.32ct diamonds

To save up for a piece of diamond jewellery can take some time but why not enter this fabulous competition by Diamond Dealer Direct, and you could win a pair of scintillating diamond earrings?

Diamond Dealer Direct are giving away a pair of beautiful diamond earrings in 18 ct gold on their Facebook page. With around 40 little diamonds making up 0.32 carats these dainty earrings would be a brilliant prize.

What's so special about these earrings is the clever detachable halo, which mans you get two different styles in one pair of earrings. What an excellent idea!

To enter pop over to the Diamond Dealer Direct Facebook page and follow the instructions there, like their Facebook page, their giveaway post and tag a friend, it's as simple as that and you could be the recipient of a stunning pair of diamond earrings this Christmas. Don't forget too, someone has to win and it could be you!

For full terms and conditions check out the Diamond Dealer Christmas giveaway on the Diamond Dealer website.

Tell me, do you own piece of diamond jewellery? Will you be entering the competition?

* PR collaboration 

My Cosy Christmas Living Room Inspiration

Christmas is coming and now is the perfect time to spruce up your living room before the festivities start. Here are my ideas for a cosy living room inspiration for the holiday season.

Firstly pick a sofa that will be comfy as well as long lasting.

Infinity three seater sofa £1325 Fishpools

This three seater infinity sofa by Fishpools, has wide arms, deep cushions and is made for comfort. The sofa has that luxury feel and plushness that is just what you need to sink into after a hard day. The frame is made of solid hardwood timber and with a ten-year guarantee, you can see this is a quality item. I've also picked this sofa as I think the light grey colour looks sophisticated and is fairly neutral but if you like the design but not the colour there are 13 other colourways. This also comes as a corner sofa, as well as a two and four seaters with matching chairs.

Secondly, pick some accessories to add some Winter warmth and extra glamour.

Glitter scene cushion £16 Next

I've picked this cushion from Next as it reminds me of skating in Central Park in New York. A wintery scene there is a tiny sparkle on the cushion that twinkles in the light. 

Karina cushion £15 Fishpools

This velvet cushion by Fishpools has a floral embossed design, which is oh so pretty and very 'touchy feely'. Even though it's slightly girly most men won't take offence to it due to the colour.

Large twinkling lights deer canvas £45 Next

This deer canvas wall art from Next adds some subtle lighting to your living room due to the sparkling lights. The beautiful snow scene set in the woods almost transports you to your childhood and the fantasy world of Narnia. 

Albaca floor lamp £59.95 Dunelm

This large circular shade floor light had a curved chrome stem and is made of a natural abaca material. Did you know abaca is a plant related to the banana? Neither did I!

All you need to add to the cosy scene is a warm throw, much-loved friends and family, some mulled wine and a Christmas film - A Wonderful Life, anyone?

The Return Of The Choker

After being abandoned in the late 90s, the choker trend has made a huge comeback in the past year, seen today on every other neck on the catwalk and invading the high street shop by shop.

From plastic to velvet to pearl to diamond, we take a look at the evolution of the choker and some of the beautifully-designed versions available on Barnebys.

From Then To Now

Women of the 1800's - Manet's Painting Olympia, Edgar Degas' Ballerinas, Alexandra Queen Of Denmark

In the 1800s, the choker was the necklace of choice for women from almost every kind of social group. The French painter Manet’s work, Olympia, focusing on a nude female figure with an empowered gaze wearing a ribbon around her neck, has been considered evidence of the choker being a symbol of prostitution. However, a mere ten years after Manet’s controversial painting, the impressionist artist Edgar Degas adorned his rehearsing ballerinas with the similar black chokers.

Further confusing our understanding of the choker’s meaning are the official royal photographs of Alexandra of Denmark, Queen consort to King Edward VII. Most surviving photos of Queen Alexandra show her wearing fantastically elaborate chokers embellished with precious metals and stones, suggesting that this may have been the fashion amongst royalty and aristocracy.

Marilyn Munroe in Gentleman Prefer Blondes, Diamonds Are A Girl's Best Friend and Moon Of Baroda
The Golden Age of Hollywood and the rise of the glamorous starlets in the 50s and 60s saw the return of the choker to the fashion frontline. The chokers of this era took stylistic elements from both the simplistic ribbons and extravagant pieces of the previous century, as demonstrated by the selection worn by Marilyn Monroe in the classic film, Gentlemen Prefer Blondes. In the iconic performance of Diamond’s Are a Girl’s Best Friend, Monroe’s iconic shocking pink dress was paired with an opulent diamond choker, whilst a stunning green and blue cluster of gems adorned her neck elsewhere in the film. The siren was also lent the Moon of Baroda - a 24 carat pear-shaped yellow diamond - for the film’s promotional campaign. 

Kate Moss

Yet another revival swapped the sparkling neckpieces of Hollywood for chunky black velvet and plastic ‘fake-tattoo’ chokers: grunge was in and glamour was out. During her early career, Kate Moss modelled a number of these heavy gothic pieces for John Galliano, evoking the 19th Century French fashion in the paintings of Manet and Degas – with the provocative new addition of the cross.
Kim Kardashian

Today’s chokers combine the trends of some 200 years of jewellery fashion - but, naturally, some new styles have emerged. Kim Kardashian has transformed herself into a walking mannequin for chokers, as she has been spotted wearing a different style at every other appearance. A small collection of diamond-encrusted chokers from the New-York based jeweller, Lorraine Schwartz, have been worn by the reality star and are rumoured to be worth an eye-watering $1 million each. Though it seems not everything in Kim’s jewellery collection is quite so pricey, with the socialite having been seen in a choker fashioned from cut-off denim, as well as a sleek white-and-gold piece.

Where to Buy

Whilst there is an array of material and plastic chokers available on the high-street, unique and elegant styles can be tricky to find.

Online jewellery auctions and dealers, such as those listed on , offer new and vintage chokers for that special occasion or to add a touch of glamour to your everyday outfit. Here are some of my favourites…


(Left) Intricate diamond choker in platinum. Crafted in white gold with swirls of round brilliant diamonds pavé-set in an openwork setting accented by a plethora of bezel-set diamonds and bordered with lines of bezel-set diamonds.

(Right) White gold square patterned choker. Designed as three rows of square-shaped diamond-set links, embellished with circular-cut diamonds, and mounted in white gold. 

(Left) Gold chain necklace in 18 ct. Crafted in high polish yellow gold and designed with three rows of interlocking solid gold links. Adjustable to be worn either at a choker length right on the neck or at a longer standard length.

(Right) Diamond flower collar necklace. Yellow gold Carrera y Carrera collar necklace with diamond-set floral motif and lobster claw closure.


(Left) Diamond and pearl Chantecler Capri choker of openwork and floral design, set with cultured pearls, alternating with col-let-set brilliant-cut diamonds and yellow-gold flowers.

(Right) Yellow and white gold scalloped collar necklace featuring round brilliant diamond embellishments with cultured south sea pearl accents and slide lock closure.

Barnebys is the largest search service for art, antiques and collectables, with around half a million unique items from over 1,600 auction houses and dealers around the world.

What do you think of the fashion for chokers?

*PR collaboration 

A Stay In Central London With City Relay

Recently when attending the World Travel Market in London we needed to stay in central London accommodation that was fairly priced, and this is where City Relay came in. City Relay have a range of London and Paris apartments to rent by the week or the day.

Now London is notoriously expensive for accommodation with the average centrally located hotel being at least £180 a night, with some of the most luxurious going up to £500 a night or more. It's definitely the most expensive city we've been to on our travels for a hotel stay. Hotel rooms in this prime city centre location are also small in general, not great if you have a family. So we were looking with interest to try out a few days in an apartment.

Previous to our visit we were asked to ring an hour before arrival so arrangements for check-in could be sought. This involved a quick phone call and then a text shortly after with our door code. A totally fuss-free, convenient and brilliant way of gaining access to the property.

The lower ground apartment was on Ongar Road, a fairly quiet street just around the corner from Earls Court. First impressions were good, a fairly spacious apartment decorated to a high standard.

Double bedroom 1 with ensuite bathroom

Ensuite bathroom to bedroom 1 with bath

First off there was a double bedroom with ensuite bathroom. Neutral tones make the room clean, fresh and inviting and there was decent wardrobe space.

The bathroom had a bath with an over the bath shower and there were a large sink area and toilet. Everything was in excellent condition, and very clean.

Second bathroom

The second bathroom had a shower, toilet, and sink, and again everything was new looking and had high-quality fixtures and fittings.

Double bedroom 2

The second bedroom was more spacious than the first and had two large wardrobes again, big enough to store plenty of clothes. We were surprised to find complimentary toiletries considering we were in an apartment and thought this was a great addition.

Large open plan lounge with kitchen to the side

In the lounge, there was a corner sofa which converted into a bed, a table and chairs, big enough to seat 4 to 6 and a Samsung flat screen TV. There was also an electronic tablet which had tourist information on, which was very handy if you didn't know the area. What a fantastic idea! To have these recommendations, especially on where to eat in the immediate vicinity was extremely useful.

The kitchen and lounge area was open plan. Everything you needed to cook a meal was provided and the kitchen was well equipped with an oven and hob, microwave, kettle, fridge freezer, dishwasher, and toaster, as well as pots, pans, and everything else you would expect. There was also a washing machine tucked away in a cupboard in the hall.

Complimentary tea, coffee and popcorn

Complimentary tea and coffee were provided as well as a few packets of popcorn, which was a lovely addition and very welcome after a long journey to get there from South Wales.

A small outdoor area was available and this would be great for the Summer months especially. Unfortunately, it rained a lot when we were there so didn't have the chance to use this area, which was a shame.

As this was a lower ground floor apartment, e.g. a basement, we wondered if it would be dark, but a clever use of skylights in the lounge and plentiful lighting through make it relatively light inside. The lighting actually was very good in the rooms and the bathroom had the perfect lighting for applying makeup.

City Relay say on their website that they want to provide you with a 'hotelesque' feel so complimentary toiletries, towels and linens are all supplied to you, which was a lovely touch. Their communication was good during our stay as they emailed us with a welcome email asking us to get in touch if there were any improvements needed. The flat is managed from their 'reception desk' in London and they look after the cleaning, guest communication and the property in general, and I must say they seem to do a good job.

Everything was well kept and spotless, with no dust anywhere. A point of note is that as it is a basement flat there was a stale smell from one of the bathrooms. Not having a window there and ventilation leading to the outside air does not help. This was a shame as the bathroom was exceptionally clean but we did notice it every time we came in. There is also a little street noise if you are in the first bedroom but that is to be expected for it's central London location.

With a night at this apartment from £99, we both thought the price was very good for this spacious accommodation and the fact it sleeps 6. The apartment is located 5 minutes walk from Brompton Tube station and an easy 25 minutes walk from the Natural History Museum and Victoria and Albert Museum.

I recommend you check out the City Relay website if you are looking for a comfortable apartment stay in London next, just choose an apartment away from a basement. Fantastic prices and roomy accommodation make for an excellent city centre stay.

* We were guests of City Relay but all words and opinions are my own

Women's Expedition Jacket Review By Scruffs

Have you heard of Scruffs? Scruffs is a British company that are known for their amazing waterproof coats, sturdy footwear and hardy workwear.  From safety boots and hiker boots to high-tech water and windproof coats, it's the perfect website for those that work outdoors or for outdoor lovers everywhere.

Women's Expedition Jacket from Scruffs £54.95

I've been looking for a super functional, warm and waterproof coat for a while, so when Scruffs offered to send me one to review I was keen to try it on.  

The women's 'Expedition Jacket' in graphite, is packed full of cool features. Firstly it is made of a soft and breathable 3M Thinsulate padding, which means it's thin and light but still cosy and warm. 

The coat is designed in panels that mean flexibility without bulk and the stretch panels under the arms help with ease of movement, great if you love walking or hiking. You certainly won't feel like the Michelin man in this coat as the bulk isn't there!

The inner section zips right up to the top to stop cold and wind getting in and the hood had a detachable faux fur collar - a fashion addition but if you don't like it, it is easy to remove.

I also love the graphite colour of the jacket, this dark grey goes with most things and the teal edging adds a little colour. It's super functional too with two zipped pockets for your hands, a chest pocket and one pocket on the inside of the coat, for when you want to keep things extra secure. If you want to keep some money with you when you are out on your walk pop it in the inside pocket.

If you want a warm cosy jacket for the Winter weather then I can highly recommend this jacket. The Scruffs women's clothes section is small but perfectly formed. They do, however, excel in their hard working menswear, so if you do have a partner or son that work outdoors, or are manual workers, you need to check out the site. They say their clothes make it easy for trades people to look good when grafting hard and I think they are spot on!


Designer Jewellery Without The Designer Price Tag

To quote the immortal words of fashionista Marilyn Monroe, 'diamonds are a girl's best friend' - but what happens when your best friend is out of your league and completely unaffordable? For many of us, the dream of oozing sophistication and dripping with diamonds is just that - a dream - but there are ways to glam up your outfit without shelling out thousands. Here are some of my favourite tips to making jewellery more affordable.

Plated Jewellery

Want gold jewellery but can't afford it? Plated jewellery can be a beautiful, and cheaper alternative to the real thing and is becoming increasingly popular. 

Jewellery plating involves applying a thin layer of a precious metal - usually either silver, gold or platinum - over a base of less-precious metal. The result is a piece of jewellery that has the appearance of solid gold but doesn't carry the high price tag. 

To the naked eye, plated jewellery is almost completely discernible from the real thing, making it a perfect and undetectable alternative to solid gold jewellery. It is also available in a range of colours and designs from bold, statement pieces, to fine, subtle chains. 

Plated jewellery isn't without its disadvantages, though. The quality of plated jewellery is significantly reduced in comparison to real jewellery made with precious metals. Plated jewellery is less able to withstand the wear and tear of everyday life and the chemicals in perfume and water can cause the thin plating of precious metal to flake off. Another disadvantage is that on contact with the skin the plating can also leave a distinctive green hue on the skin.

Handmade Jewellery

Image courtesy of John Kasawa at

What could be more precious than a handmade, sentimental piece of jewellery? Handmade jewellery often features beautiful beads, glass and rope instead of precious metals and gems, but can be just as beautiful - and often more meaningful. 

The great thing about handmade jewellery is that you can design it yourself, reflecting your own personal style and taste. Homemade jewellery kits can be found easily online to get you started and check out the London Jewellery School for courses on how to make jewellery.

Synthetic Diamonds

Heard of cubic zirconia? Of course, you have. Cubic zirconia looks like diamonds but doesn't come with the hefty designer price tag that accompanies real stones. Cubic zirconia is a man-made material that's hard (measuring a respectable 8 on the Mohs hardness scale), flawless and usually colourless - but they are available in a wide variety of colours to mimic sapphires, rubies and emeralds as well as diamonds. To the naked eye, there is very little difference between a diamond and a cubic zirconia and, as such cubic zirconia has been diamonds' biggest rivals since they were first manufactured in the 1900s.

In recent years, though, a new rival has emerged - synthesised moissanite. Moissanite is quickly replacing diamonds as the favoured stone for engagement rings for those on a tight budget, on account of its affordability, clarity, and hardness. Moissanite stones measure an impressive 9.5 on the Mohs hardness scale, a mere 0.5 less than a true diamond. Watch out diamonds!

Jewellery Auctions

If you're still looking for a genuine piece of affordable jewellery, your best bet will probably be to avoid the high-street jewellers and search somewhere a little less mainstream. 

Jewellery auctions are treasure troves, offering tantalising, timeless jewels without the designer price tags. The items on sale are usually second-hand and come complete with their own stories and histories that make them extra special.

So here are some ways of making jewellery more affordable, I hope you enjoy reading!

*PR collaboration 

Hotel Chocolat Christmas Chocolate Giveaway - Ends 09/12

Hotel Chocolat is one of those luxury brands that I adore. The award-winning British company was set up 20 years ago, to produce ethical luxury chocolates with amazing textures and flavours.

They are especially brilliant as they help support cocoa farmers and their communities in Saint Lucia and Ghana, through their Engaged Ethics programme where they pay farmers a fair price directly, without commission going to the middle man and guarantee to buy their whole crop.

The Ultimate Christmas hamper £300

Attention to detail is important to the company, from the co-founder Angus personally testing every single recipe to the presentation of the chocolates in the stores, to the staff that are pleasant, well trained and eager to advise.

Beautiful packaging

Gifts are a delight, everything ordered online is wrapped in tissue paper and beautifully packaged, delivered in a Hotel Chocolat branded bag, complete with card.
Christmas pocket selection £8

This Christmas they have some delicious treats on their website from tree decorations and stocking fillers from £1.95 to the ultimate Christmas hamper at £300. Other Christmas gifts include advent calendars, festive wreaths and children's stocking fillers. I have to say the Christmas crackers I bought before were fabulous as the jokes were actually funny and the chocolate simply delicious. I will be buying these again this year.
Christmas tree star decorations £1.95

Today on my blog you can win the Merry Little Christmas Hamper box below. This set of delicious goodies include Clementine Baby Bombes, 40% Milk Snowflakes, Rocky Road Slab, Comet Does Caramel Slab, Christmas Pocket Selection, Salted Caramel Nano Slab and Fruit & Nut Nano Slab. What a wonderful Christmas treat!
A Merry Little Christmas hamper box £25

While you are here, why don't you check out my other competitions running on my competition page. I have a blogger collaboration to win £250 of Amazon vouchers as well as a chance to win Christmas presents worth over £660! Good Luck.

Terms and Conditions 

My giveaway is open to those 18 + living in the UK only.
Winner picked at random via Rafflecopter
Please allow 28 days for delivery
No automated entries
One entry per person
Giveaway ends midnight on 12/12/2016

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