My Top 5 Things To Do In Malaysia

Malaysia, in South East Asia, is a beautiful melting pot of cultures, religions, and cuisines. With some of the most amazing scenery in the world, including some stunning beaches, incredible rainforests and bustling cities, it has something for everyone and is a country well worth visiting that many people would love to visit. This is my post about top things to do in Malaysia. 

1. Get a great view from the Petronas Twin Towers in Kuala Lumpur

Kuala Lumpur, the capital of Malaysia has a population of  1.73 million. Packed with historic monuments, massive shopping malls, steel skyscrapers and bustling street markets, its a vibrant, colourful, multi-cultural community. Talking of street markets, for an authentic street food experience visit Jalan Alor where hawkers fire up their woks and taste char kuey teow, grilled chicken wings, satay, chilli crabs, Assam laksa and more.

Whilst here visit the Petronas Towers, the tallest twin towers in the world to see Kuala Lumpur from above. The main attraction is the skywalk that connects the towers together as well as the wonderful view. Shopping lovers will enjoy visiting the Suria KLCC at the base of the towers, a 140,000 m2 luxury retail centre, whilst the park surrounding the area has jogging and walking paths, a children's playground, wading pools and a fountain with light show. 

2. Soak up the colonial influence in Malacca

Malacca or Melaka is a Malaysian state on the Malay Peninsula's southwest coast. The capital, Malacca City, has a colonial past seen in its preserved town centre, the site of 16th-century, Portuguese St. Paul’s Church. Easy to get around on foot, it has many places that make it unique.

Jonker Street or Jonker Walk as it's otherwise known is a popular street in the Chinatown district of Malacca with a busy nighttime weekend market. Flanked on both sides by historic 17th-century houses it has a mix of shops selling antiques, handicrafts and souvenirs as well as many restaurants. Other attractions in Malacca include A'Famosa Fort, built in the 16th century, one of the oldest surviving European architectural remains in Asia, as well as the Malacca Butterfly and Reptile Sanctuary. 

3. Sip tea whilst watching it being picked in the Cameron Highlands

Malaysia's largest hillside resort, Cameron Highland's has the perfect weather for cultivating a variety of produce, Tea, flowers, cacti, vegetables and strawberries are all successfully grown in the cooler hillside area, a complete contrast from the hustle and bustle of Kuala Lumpur.

The tea plantations allow you to learn about the history of tea, witness tea being picked and buy tea, as well as sit and try a variety of tea in a tea house overlooking the lush green landscape. Other highlights include hiking and nature watching through forests and the Mossy Forest boardwalk as well as visiting Sam Poh Tong, a Chinese Buddist temple with golden warrior statues.

4. Go wreck diving, snorkelling in the crystal clear water or relax on powder sand beaches 

Malaysia has some wonderful clear waters and soft sand beaches. Tioman Island is hailed as one of the world's best beach getaways whilst at the Perhentian Islands, the beaches are totally unspoilt and the water perfect to learn scuba diving. In fact, the snorkelling and scuba diving is excellent in Malaysia.

At Redang Island, you can go diving in World War II historic shipwreck sites and in a black coral garden. In Tunku Abdul Rahman Marine Park, Sabah, the park’s relatively shallow waters are filled with an abundance of corals and aquatic species – perfect for snorkelling and diving for beginners. Whilst Jacques Cousteau declared Sipadan, Sabah to be an “untouched piece of art”, and it is well known to be one of the most beautiful diving spots in the world.

5. Visit the Kabili-Sepilok Forest Reserve and see the Sepilok Orangutan Rehabilitation Centre

The Kabili-Sepilok Nature Reserve is home to an interesting and diverse array of wildlife and vegetation.  There are several nature trails that lead through the forest, taking you from tropical highland forest to lowland mangrove swamps. The reserve is also home to the world-famous Sepilok Orangutan Rehabilitation Centre, where you get to see this endearing species up close and learn more about them.

The S
epilok Orangutan Rehabilitation Centre was founded in 1964 to rehabilitate orphan orangutans, and the facility provides medical care for orphaned and confiscated orangutans as well as dozens of other wildlife species. Sepilok is considered by the Wildlife Department to be a useful educational tool with which to educate both the locals and visitors alike, but they are adamant that the education must not interfere with the rehabilitation process. Other things to do in the area include the Labuk Bay Proboscis Monkey Sanctuary and the Rainforest Discovery Centre where you can learn more about the rainforest and its conservation efforts.

Pin for later

I hope you enjoyed my top 5 things to do in Malaysia. I have only touched on my top things to do as it's a country of vibrancy, nature, amazing sites and once in a lifetime experiences. If you want to visit Malaysia check out this easy way to find AirAsia flights and for some of the cheapest flights online try Traveloka.  
Also check out Kelly's post on what you need to pack for your next trip to Malaysia.

Tell me, would you like to visit Malaysia? Have you been to South East Asia?

*PR collaboration 

Antwerp - The City Of Diamonds - Part 2

Antwerp in Belgium is a foodie delight and is known for its chocolate, waffles, fries and beer but there is more to Antwerp than food, however delicious it is. Think architecture, think art, think museums, think shopping and think... diamonds.

To celebrate Antwerp being the ‘diamond capital; since 1447' I was recently invited to visit the city by Visit Antwerp and report back to my readers on all the interesting things happening in this vibrant city.

My stay for the two days was Hotel Franq, a newly opened modern boutique hotel a short walk from the main shopping area. The hotel was very chic and beautiful inside and makes a great base for a stay.

Day 1 in Antwerp included a visit to the Mas Museum where I visited the Dazzling Desire exhibition, a new exhibition about diamonds and their links to our emotions. To see some beautiful historic pieces of jewellery, such as a diamond-encrusted pair of boots, was a real eye-opener and certainly worth a visit. That evening we ate the RAS Restaurant overlooking the waterfront, where I dined on shrimp linguine and Belgium beer!

Day 2 started with a scrumptious continental breakfast at Hotel Franq, with locally sourced ingredients and then our group of bloggers and journalists met in the lobby, before being taken to our first stop - Jewellery Van der Veken.

Jewellery Van der Veken is a high-ended jeweller in the heart of the diamond district. Being the first company to be awarded the “Antwerp’s Most Brilliant’ quality label, has really put this jeweller on the map. To be awarded this label a jeweller has to meet 30 strict quality requirements such as ethics, sustainability and service and can only obtain this mark after an independent audit.

The family-run jeweller was founded in 1952 by Joseph Van der Veken and today it is run by Joseph’s son and grandson, Stephen and Christian.

What is special about this jeweller is that it is one of the few artisan jewellery makers left, where everything is ‘hand-forged’. This process means that the jeweller can get a finer finish whilst making the jewellery stronger and in Van der Veken jewellers they are proud of the fact that all the jewellery gets a lifetime warranty due to the superb craftsmanship.

It’s certainly the place to go when you want something special for yourself or a loved one. I could only guess at the price of the beautiful pieces of jewellery we saw, including an amazing diamond brooch and a gorgeous tennis bracelet. Van der Veken jewellers, however, do have a number of items that start under 1000 Euros that do not scrimp on quality and design, so a unique piece of handmade jewellery is within many people's reach.

Next, we visited the site of the new Diva museum, due to open next spring in the centre of Antwerp and spoke to the enthusiastic director Jeroen Martens. This museum, dedicated to diamonds will have many interactive elements and the aim is to provide an immersive and theatrical experience. Modern technology such as touchscreens will be used and special activities for children, such as sorting diamonds will make it fun for younger ones.

As well as finding out about diamonds from their source deep in the ground to the process of cutting and polishing and the finished article, it will also talk about the roll Antwerp plays until this day in the world of diamonds (more of that later).

Less positive aspects of diamond dealing will also be addressed, such as blood diamonds as well as how this has been addressed today with The Kimberly Process - a guarantee that diamonds have not been sourced in an area of conflict. A visit to a 'strong room' where you will see how diamond theft is being dealt sounds interesting. At the end of the museum, you will get a chance to buy your very own diamond. That is one gift shop I will not be exiting quickly I can assure you!

An exhibit at Diva

The DIVA museum certainly sounds exciting, and I for one will be delighted to return to Antwerp just to see this new museum when it opens next May.

So time for lunch next, and a short walk brings us to the Mercado food hall. Here you can choose from a choice of 13 different food stands, from waffles to felafel, to Asian food. As well as having felafels I had the most amazing ‘bubble’ waffle. A light as a feather waffle with cream and syrup which was a decadent snack. Of course, I had to have it as Belgium is known for its waffles and it was totally scrumptious!

Our last stop of the day was to the Antwerp World Diamond Centre.

Here are some of the facts I learnt about diamonds here:-

A diamond is a chunk of coal that is made good under pressure.
Russia is the biggest producer of diamonds.
84% of rough diamonds are traded in Antwerp.
50% of polished diamonds are traded in Antwerp.
220 million dollars of diamonds passed through the Antwerp diamond office every day.
Diamonds provide 6600 direct jobs and over 26,000 indirect jobs in Antwerp and the surrounding area.

copyright Jan Crab

Why is Antwerp so important for the diamond trade?

Antwerp is important as 570 years of expertise and heritage are in the Antwerp area and there are more than 1700 diamond companies and manufacturers here.

The Antwerp World Diamond Centre has stringent controls on diamonds including monitoring the import and export of diamonds and running the Kimberley process scheme. This scheme implemented over 10 years ago has helped control conflict diamonds to less than 0.2% of all diamonds worldwide, from 15%. When diamonds are found to be used in armed conflict all participants are suspended from trade.

I really enjoyed my stay in Antwerp. This underrated city has much to offer and is a must-visit for fashion and diamond lovers everywhere.

If you want to read more about my trip to Antwerp, check out my posts Antwerp - the city of diamonds - part 1 and Hotel Franq, a luxury boutique hotel review, Antwerp.

If you want to know what else to do in Antwerp, visit the Visit Antwerp website. Many thanks to Visit Antwerp for inviting me on this press trip. I will be back!

The Benefits Of Underfloor Heating

If you are looking at installing a new heating system or buying a house with underfloor heating it is useful to know the pros and cons of this heating system vs radiator heating. 

What is underfloor heating?

Underfloor heating is simply a way of heating a building under the floor. It's a system that is 'as old as the hills', after all the Greeks and Romans used a form of underfloor heating. Today with modern underfloor heating systems, warm water circulates under the flooring through plastic pipes.

To have an efficient underfloor heating system you need an efficient and modern boiler and a condensing combi boiler is the best choice if you have underfloor heating.

The benefits of underfloor heating

One of the main benefits is that is it aesthetically pleasing as the heating system is hidden away, no ugly pipes and radiators to contend with.  Even with modern slimline radiators, which aren't as much of an eyesore as the big bulky radiators, you can still notice them in a room.

Underfloor heating distributes heat evenly, rather than in one place, as the piping underneath the floor is laid in loops. It can also be  'doubled up' where you want more heating, such as by patio doors, and left where you don't need it, such as by cupboards. 

An underfloor heating system runs at a lower temperature for longer so it is a cost-effective form of heating, and it is super efficient as you can control it hour by hour if necessary. Some smart thermostats can control underfloor heating by half a degree! Thinking of your heating system in zones allows you to control the heating throughout the day where you need it the most.

If you are prone to allergies an underfloor heating system is a good choice, as a hard floor is the best floor for conductivity. A hard floor is easier to keep clean than a carpet, with no dust mites or hair and dirt that can become ingrained in a carpet. 

Are there any downsides to underfloor heating?

There are two main downsides to underfloor heating - responsiveness and cost.

Underfloor heating takes time to heat a room from cold and takes longer to cool a room down than using radiators. This is when a smart thermostat is useful in conjunction with underfloor heating, to keep a room at a constant maintenance temperature, and then it will heat quickly when needed.

The cost of installing underfloor heating can be from under £300 for a small room, so there is a significant initial outlay, however over time savings can be made on your heating costs due to the efficient nature of this heating system.  You may also need to budget for a contractor to fit the system if you are not doing it yourself.

To read more about the benefits of underfloor heating vs radiator heating check out this guide by Underfloor Heating Trade Supplies.

*PR collaboration

Bread And Tulips Restaurant Review New York

Bread and Tulips is a classy Italian restaurant on Park Avenue South in New York. Recently we were invited to review the food on our trip to the Big Apple.

On arrival, Mr W and I were greeted warmly and shown to our table.  For a Wednesday night in October the restaurant was surprisingly full and had a great buzz about it. Locals mixed with a tourist or two, filled the restaurant and created a great atmosphere.

The decor in the restaurant was understated in muted tones of browns and beige, and each table had a candle and a beautiful tulip in a vase.

Cocktails were inventive. I chose an Evening Vesper - Lillet Blanc, St Germain, vodka and orange zest and Mr W chose the Solerno Sidecar - rye whiskey, Solerno, blood orange, citrus and bitters.  Both cocktails had great zesty flavours and were simply delicious.

After the cocktails came a bowl of bread, chunky, rustic and salty. Good quality olive oil, extra virgin I think and sea salt flakes in a tiny bowl added extra flavour.

After browsing the menu, we decided to share the roast artichokes for an appetizer, and then for the main course I decided to go for the roast farm chicken, with green beans and a vegetable ragu and Mr W decided to go for the Casarecce bolognese which was made with veal. The waitress advised that the chicken may take a little longer than normal to come as they slow roast it.  No shortcuts here, just freshly cooked food which I was pleased about!

So onto the first course. The artichokes were well fried, crispy and light and a side of garlic aioli added extra flavour. The artichokes on their own weren't strongly flavoured so the accompaniment of the aioli was a great idea.

After a short wait, the main courses arrived. The chicken was excellent. The skin was browned well, crispy and well seasoned and the meat underneath was succulent and tender. The green beans were perfectly cooked and al dente. Set on a tomato vegetable ragu, this was a tasty dish and wasn't swimming in a pool of oil you often get in an Italian restaurant. It was a fabulously light dish too, filling but without the carbs, you would normally get from potatoes, rice or pasta.

Mr W enjoyed his veal bolognese which was a sensible portion in size. He is not a fan of red meat normally but the veal wasn't strongly flavoured and added a lightness to the bolognese sauce. A few months ago we visited Milan and Mr W thought this veal bolognese was as good as anything he had in Italy then. The Grana Padano cheese sprinkled on top added a boost of flavour.

After a short pause, I ordered dessert - Tiramisu. Now Tiramisu is a classic Italian dessert, normally layers of coffee-soaked liqueur sponge with whipped cream and cocoa powder - filling and quite indulgent. The Tiramisu at Bread and Tulips had a slightly more modern take on the traditional dish. A layer of cream was set on a very light sponge base, with a dusting of cocoa powder topping the dessert off. Orange candied peel added a touch of zest that lifted the dessert to another level. Yummy and light this dish was a nice end to a meal and not too heavy either.

I chatted to staff between meals and they were very friendly. The emphasis in Bread and Tulips is on rustic Italian cooking within a cosy elegant setting. All the pasta is handmade in the kitchen and they take great pride in their ingredients.  Wines are almost all Italian and feature many small organic producers. I love this ethos, buying from small organic producers mean you get unique wines that are that little bit different and you are supporting small businesses too. 

This is obviously a well-loved neighbourhood restaurant which is frequented by locals - always a good sign. Bread and Tulips is the place to go with friends and family, to share stories, and great food.  It's a place to go on a work night and on a weekend. It's the place to go if you are a tourist to New York and want a fantastic well-prepared meal that isn't too pricey. It's the type of Italian restaurant that you will enjoy and the type of Italian restaurant you can't wait to go back to. 

We enjoyed our food and the atmosphere at Bread and Tulips. We liked it. A lot. Highly recommended.

Bread and Tulips
Rustic Italian Kitchen and Bar
365 Park Avenue South
New York
Tel: 2125329100

Surviving Christmas With the Menopause, By Dr Rosy Fazzi

The menopause can be a difficult time and is often thought of as ‘the last taboo’. In fact, the menopause is something that up to 50% of UK women are too embarrassed to talk about at all, even with their GPs. Being not sure what will trigger symptoms and how to cope can be embarrassing and upsetting, so knowledge is important when you start to experience the progression through the menopause.

For example, we all know that Christmas is one of the most stressful times of the year, but did you know that for menopausal women, it is also one of the biggest trigger times for symptoms of the menopause - in particular, the hot flush?

When perimenopausal or menopausal women are exposed to increased levels of stress, drastic changes in temperature or large amounts of alcohol or coffee they typically experience a higher frequency of hot flushes. The stress of Christmas shopping, meal planning and sticking to a hectic pre-Christmas social calendar, as well as coping with the day itself, can be hugely demanding.

Stress is actually one of the major factors in triggering hot flushes; the release of adrenaline into the bloodstream causes your heart to race and blood flow to increase, leading to a subsequent increase in temperature. A hot flush is your body’s response to cool the body down, but a hot flush can be overwhelming in its intensity and leave you sweating and even shivery afterwards, as your body attempts to bring your temperature back to a normal level.

Alongside stress, the extremes of temperature that come with dashing in and out of shops, or in and out of the kitchen on Christmas Day itself, contribute to kickstarting a hot flush. And while we’re all so busy, you might not think that there’s any harm in consuming an extra cup of coffee to give you an energy boost or indulging in some wine with friends in the run-up to December 25, but caffeine and alcohol are both hot flush triggers too.

But you needn’t think that your entire social schedule, shopping routine and gift list has to go out of the window this Christmas; in fact, I firmly believe that making small lifestyle changes this Christmas may help to reduce stress levels and keep those hot flushes at bay.

My five top tips for surviving a menopausal Christmas:

Wear temperature-control undergarments

This is such a simple change to make, yet it can really make a big difference. There are some fantastic menopause-specific undergarment ranges on the market, using temperature-control fabrics to regulate body heat, reduce the awful shivers post-flush, and wick away moisture to avoid embarrassing sweaty situations too. These garments are designed for wearing underneath your clothing during the day, so you can still wear your regular clothes and get all dressed up for the festive season, but be confident that you can remain in control underneath.

Layer up your clothing

Layering is the ideal solution for helping to regulate your temperature when you’re out and about. Layer a temperature-control tank top with a t-shirt and a cardigan, rather than wearing one bulky jumper, to help you better manage your body’s response to changes in temperature. Choose cosy items that are quick and easy to pull on and off, depending on how hot or cold you feel.

Swap your coffee for a matcha tea

The caffeine in your regular teas and coffees stimulates the central nervous system, accelerating the heart rate, the blood pressure and the body temperature – all of which can bring on a hot flush. But just plain hot water can induce an episode, so I recommend trying something cooler to start your day. A bottle of cool iced matcha tea a good choice, as it’s cool and refreshing, with very low levels of slow-release caffeine, and an incredible level of antioxidants that help to keep the body healthy – especially important in winter when germs are rife! If you want something similar to coffee try a matcha latte instead.

Reduce your alcohol intake

Christmas time is full of Christmas parties so it can be tricky to avoid alcohol at this time but if you find a glass of wine brings you out in a flush, look to find an alternative. There are plenty of non-alcoholic options around such as delicious mocktails or soft drinks like Elderflower presse. Why not make a delicious drink with pomegranate juice? As well as being rich in vitamins C, A and E, it also contains folic acid too.

Limit exposure to extremes in temperature

Rather than rush around doing your Christmas shopping outdoors try and do it online. This will help avoid extremes of temperature that can bring on hot flushes. If you do find yourself getting hot and flustered whilst out and about, try a cooling face mist with rosewater to soothe and refresh the skin, and help you to cool down.

The Diary Of A Jewellery Lover's Top Suggestions to Help You Through the Menopause this Festive Season:

Wear Become temperature control underwear ( For a discount of 10% off your entire order enter THEDIARY10, at checkout valid until the 15th of January 2018.
Try OMGTea Iced Matcha tea (
Sip a pomegranate ‘gin’ mocktail, made with Pom Juice and Seedlip non-alcoholic spirits
Try doing your Christmas shopping online, to help you find gifts without the stress!
Spritz your skin with Aster & Bay’s Rosewater Mist to cool down and refresh.

This has been a guest post by Dr Rosy Fazzi. 

Dr Rosy Fazzi, MBChB, MRCGP, is the head of the Women’s Health department at Dr Nestor’s Medical Cosmetic Centre in Edinburgh ( She is a specialist in women’s health issues and is passionate about treatment for the management of intimate female problems at various stages of life. 

Dr Rosy understands the mental and physical impact on women that can result from menopause and childbirth; she is enthusiastic about empowering women, with options to restore their sense of intimate wellbeing and general health. Dr Rosy offers bio-identical hormone replacement therapy, which is an alternative to traditional HRT and can help to ease the symptoms of the menopause. 
You can book an appointment with Dr Rosy by visiting

Find out more about Become by visiting

*Guest post

Kitchen Tech to Get Your Hands on in 2018

How many kitchen gadgets do you currently own? A quick sweep of the room in your mind’s eye will probably reveal at least a fridge and an oven, and perhaps a microwave too. However, many of us shell out for other pieces of equipment, including juicers, blenders, smoothie makers and more. But the question is, what’s worth the hype? What pieces of kitchen tech should you be getting your hands on in 2018? Well, here’s a quick overview of some of the types of appliance you’ll see on the market…

A steam oven

Steam ovens are more commonplace in professional kitchens, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t consider installing one in your home, particularly if you’re passionate about eating healthily and retaining lots of flavour. Steam ovens cook food much more quickly than conventional ovens, and because of the way it works, it tends to lock more nutrients and minerals into your food than a standard oven can. Don’t worry about not knowing how to use it, either: many come with pre-programmed temperatures and timings for various recipes, so you can just pop it on and leave it.

Should you get one?

Yes – if you have space and the money, and are a very keen cook. They’re easy to clean (the fact they operate on steam makes them the closest thing to a self-cleaning oven), and they produce perfect vegetables and fish.

A sizeable fridge

If you always feel that there never seems to be enough space in your fridge, or that it doesn’t seem as well-designed as it could be, 2018 is the time to upgrade yours. From classic single fridge styles (perfect for smaller families) to practical and stylish French-door models (ideal for bigger families or keen cooks), you’ll have the space you need for your culinary creations if you get round to upgrading your fridge. Be sure to carefully measure the space you have before you order anything, and look for award-winning models or those with good reviews.

Should you get one?

Without a doubt. Provided you can afford to buy a larger fridge, there’s nothing better than actually having the space you need for various bits and bobs. A larger model will mean you can store your food properly (i.e. raw meat away from cooked meat), which will mean it’s safer for you to consume and will potentially last longer too. 

A touch screen induction hob

Induction hobs are remarkably faster to heat up (and more responsive) than their predecessors or electric hobs, and they’re also the safest option if you have pets and small children in your household. The touchscreen controls make temperature control intuitive - simply drag your finger along a temperature gauge to adjust the heat as you’re cooking – and it’s easy to clean without any fiddly controls getting in the way. 

Should you get one?

Yes, if you’re happy to cook on something other than gas. Induction hobs are more responsive than electric hobs and because they only generate heat when an induction-ready pan is placed on a zone, they’re energy efficient too. But if you love an open flame? Stick to gas.

A remote-controlled oven

These ovens are equipped with Bluetooth so that your phone can sync to it, and the beauty of it is that you can pre-heat the oven when you’re on the way home from work so that dinner is served as soon as possible.

Should you get one?

If you’re re-fitting your kitchen, it’s a good a time as any to upgrade to a Bluetooth controlled oven. But unless you feel strongly about being able to control your oven from afar, we’d skip it for now.

A remote-controlled slow cooker

Slow cookers aren’t new, but the remote control aspect is. In the same way, a remotely controlled oven works, a remotely controlled slow cooker allows you turn the slow cooker on and off or adjust the temperature directly from your smartphone. You can also monitor how the meal is cooking too, or let others know when it’s ready: perfect if you have teenagers home before you or a partner who’s a little less confident in the kitchen.

Should you get one?

If you don’t currently own a slow-cooker but are confident you’re going to get lots of use out of it, there’s no harm in buying a remotely controlled slow cooker if you can afford one.

A robot pancake maker

Ok – this one is certainly a luxury item and far from a kitchen essential, but it’s good fun. This food printer draws a customisable pancake: an impressive feat that’s bound to impress your kids, the neighbour’s kids and everyone lucky enough to be in your home at breakfast time. All you have to do is enter the design you want, pour the pancake batter into the bottle and watch it create an Instagram-worthy breakfast… just wait and see who asks to come for breakfast at your house!

Should you get one?

Well… if it makes you happy and you have the money! Are they any kitchen gadgets you want?

*Guest post

Congratulations Meghan Markle and Prince Harry

If you have lived under a stone over the last couple of weeks you may not know that Prince Harry and Meghan Markel have got engaged! The official announcement was on November 27th from Prince Charles with a photocall moments later at the Sunken Gardens in Kensington Palace, a favourite location of Princess Diana. 

Embed from Getty Images

The bespoke ring designed by Prince Harry and made by Cleave and Company featured a yellow gold band and three beautiful diamonds. The centre stone of the ring was from Botswana whilst the other two diamonds are from Princess Diana's personal collection.

Prince Harry obviously thought about the ring carefully and designed it with Meghan in mind. It was made of yellow gold as that is Meghan's favourite precious metal. Botswana holds a special place in his heart as he has visited many times and camped out with Meghan 'under the stars together' on a visit to the country, so this was the obvious place to source the large centre stone diamond for the ring.

Harry explained that he used two of Diana's diamonds as 'It's so important to me to know that she's a part of this with us'

Former Crown jeweller David Thomas, who worked on designing the ring, said that it was the “biggest and hardest secret” he‘d ever had to keep in his life. He said he’d been bombarded by the press and asked tons of questions, including how much the ring had cost, but, “Jewellers are like doctors: we never discuss our patients!”. The engagement ring reportedly is worth over £200,000, but in reality, with Princess Diana's diamonds added to the ring, it is priceless.

Embed from Getty Images

It seems also that Meghan has been accepted by the most important members of the Royal Family, the corgis! 'The corgis took to her straight away,' Harry said, to which Meghan replied, "Just laying on my feet during tea, it was very sweet!

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle will marry at St George's Chapel Windsor on the 19th of May 2018 and the Royal Family will pay for the wedding. 

It seems like they have a match made in heaven, Harry and Meghan both appear to care greatly about people. Meghan is a UN ambassador whilst Harry supports numerous charities such as those in Africa as well as creating The Invictus Games to help support wounded, injured and sick servicemen and women. Apparently, Harry loves her caring nature, which he first found out about when he heard she had shelter dogs.  

The Royal Family is reported to cost the British taxpayer £4.50 per person per year, whilst bringing in £1.766 billion to the UK economy

I personally feel that when there is so much gloom and doom in the world, good news like this needs to be celebrated! What do you think of the royal engagement? Do you like her engagement ring?

*PR collaboration

Give The Gift Of Historic Newspapers For A Special Birthday

For a special birthday, it can be really difficult to know what to get. One unique gift that is fascinating to receive is a newspaper from the day you were born. So recently I decided to order one for my husband from Historic Newspapers.

Historic Newspapers have a variety of original newspaper gifts, from newspaper books, sports books, and This Is Your Life books to nostalgic gifts such as Peter Rabbit and Famous Five books. 

For my husband's 50th birthday I decided to get him a newspaper from the actual day he was born. When you order you can choose from a range of papers available at the time, from The Times to The Sun, the Daily Mirror to the Evening Standard, as well as regional papers.  You can then choose a presentation option, such as a gift box, a luxury keepsake case, a frame or add wine or spirits. A personalised certificate can also be included to make that gift extra special. 

So within a few days, the gift arrived. I chose the luxury keepsake box and thought it made the gift look extra smart, in a black box with gold embossed writing.

Inside the box, I was pleasantly surprised to find more than the newspaper I ordered. As well as an original Daily Mirror wrapped up carefully in tissue, there was an also a copy of the Daily Mirror on the day of Dunkirk, in 1940 where Germany advanced into France, trapping Allied troops on the beaches of Dunkirk.  as well as a copy of The Times that was 100 years old. Also included was a presentation certificate of authenticity.

The original Daily Mirror was in excellent condition and wrapped carefully in tissue. It was really interesting to read too. 

I forgot how much cigarette advertising there used to be as well. Almost every other page had cigarette adverts illustrating how times have changed. We were obviously not as forward thinking and open-minded as we are now and women's equality, well that was virtually non-existent! As in the words of one advert, "Bill working late today....When he gets home at 8 instead of 6.30, sit him down to a good warming bowl of Heinz' vegetable soup". Where do I start on this advert! Then again the problem pages looked like something out of, well, 1967. "I feel my husband doesn't woo me, as a lady I would like to be wooed".  This did make me chuckle.

The copy of a newspaper from 1940 made sobering reading. One article on the front page was about 254 people dying in a Paris air raid as well as another about the last men to go from Dunkirk. In fact, the newspaper was all about the current war at the time - WWII. It makes you realise that even though we are at attack from terrorism today, at least we are not involved in a world war and essentially how lucky we are. 

As you can see the coverage of Dunkirk was very prominent in the newspaper from 1940.

The copy of The Times from a hundred years ago had very different news stories to The Mirror from 1967 and was presented in broadsheet format. The text was small, so small it was difficult to read and there were no photos at all, making it not visually appealing. The first few paragraphs are notices of births and marriages, then what appears to be random notices. One example stated, " The Boys Home, Regents Park Road. The master begs to acknowledge very thankfully a large present of apples and pears sent anonymously".  Stories range from a woman "annoying her husband in his business" to "Sicilians are asking for bread". Sections such as Jobs Wanted are advertised in very simple terms, from wet nurse to porter. Very different to our newspapers of today but fascinating all the less.

My husband really seemed to enjoy reading the newspapers and I was very happy with the whole package, the presentation box, the certificate of authenticity, the copies of the 1940 newspaper and the newspaper from 100 years ago as well as the original Daily Mirror from the year he was born.

Prices for a birthday newspaper start at £29.99 and the luxury keepsake box with a newspaper from 100 years ago is an extra £35.

If you want an original and unique gift for a special birthday, whether you are buying for someone who is into history, current affairs or just a curious personality then a gift of a newspaper from the day they were born makes a lovely gift.

*I was gifted this item for an honest review