A blog for fashion, beauty, hair, cosmetics and lifestyle

22 Apr 2018

My engagement ring - why I chose a moissanite

I promised in my last blog post about our engagement, that I'd write a post about the ring I chose and why I chose Moissanite as the stone. As I alluded to before, I did a lot of research for this ring so thought I'd share the shortened version for anyone else thinking of choosing moissanite. 

What is moissanite? 
Moissanite is a crystal mineral of silicon carbide and was discovered by a chemist called Henri Moissan in 1893. He discovered it in a meteor and incorrectly thought it was diamond! In the late 1990s, Charles and Colvard started using moissanites in the jewellery market. 

The main benefits of moissanites are:
  • Lower price (apparently diamond prices are artificially inflated)
  • Less exploitative mining techniques (no blood diamonds)
  • Better for the environment
  • In terms of hardness it's 9.5 on the Mohs scale (with diamonds being 10 and rubies/sapphire's at 9)
  • No flaws or inclusions
  • Slightly more sparkly than diamonds and sometimes the sparkles are rainbow-coloured
Me sparkling it in the bright kitchen light

Sparkling my moissanite (below) with my Mum's 1.25 carat diamond (above) in direct sunlight. You might notice the sparkles in a diamond are white, but the ones from a moissanite can be rainbow colours and white.

My interest in moissanite started about a year ago - I love Reddit and frequently stalk the JustEngaged subreddit. I noticed a lot of chat about a new-ish stone called moissanite, however at the time, most moissanites were quite "warm" (apparently a nice term for yellow) and the whiter ones didn't come in many interesting cuts. However more recently the Redditors seemed to agree things were improving. When Sam and I discussed rings, I started looking into moissanites and through this googling, I discovered that the best ones on the market were Charles and Colvard Forever One moissanites which were nearly colourless, didn't have the "warm" hues anymore and had started being produced in fancy cuts like pears and ovals. Plus you also get a lifetime guarantee on their moissanites, just in case I chipped it or something, although this shouldn't be possible. 

The next challenge was finding a Charles and Colvard Forever One moissanite in the UK. They are an American brand and it was actually really hard to find a legitimate looking seller in the UK. The places listed as stockists on the C&C website either didn't have pear shapes, or they only sold wholesale, or just looked dodgy! I finally found Lily Arkwright who stocked pear shapes and could make bespoke rings and got in contact with them. 

They talked me through the creation process, asking me to choose a stone size and metal. They have this stone size comparison chart which I printed and cut out to try on different stone sizes. I sent photos to my family and best friends and settled on a 9x6mm stone for my size K1/2 finger (the equivalent to a 1.5 carat diamond - diamonds are measured by their weight but moissanites are measured by their size). I also really enjoyed chatting through the process at each stage with Sam - he's full of good advice and helpful opinions and he said he was surprised he had more of an opinion than he thought he would!

I told them I wanted the Isabella ring in 18k gold but with a pear-shaped stone. They really quickly sent me some mocked up drawings and created me a custom listing which I could send to Sam for him to buy. The Celine ring is very similar, but I wanted one that got thinner on the band as it went into the stone, which I think is called knife edge. The normal Oval Isabella with a 1.5 carat equivalent stone was £1,155.00 which is much cheaper than £9,409.00 on Samantha James for the diamond version. 

Overall, I absolutely love my ring! I love the sparkles, shape, size, the meaning behind it, everything! I would really recommend moissanite to anyone looking for an alternative to diamonds but who likes a clear stone. I'd also really recommend Lily Arkwright for their fantastic communication and customer services. I know of a few people who own moissanites who like to pass them off as diamonds, and I'm sure that's completely possible. However I'm really proud it's not a diamond and am open to talking about what my extra-sparkly stone is. Sam and I had a few conversations about how it felt to not be buying a diamond, and we noticed there was almost an unspoken pressure to get a diamond because it's "the best", and it took us a while to challenge that and feel comfortable choosing a diamond alternative. However I'm really pleased with our choice. 

Finally, some thoughts around the difficulties with fancy cuts - I always knew I wanted a pear shape, but on lots of forums, people were complaining of "bow-ties". This is essentially where the light going into the stone is blocked by our head when we look at the stone. In badly cut pear and oval shaped diamonds, this can cause the appearance of a black bow-tie shape in the middle of the diamond. It was really hard for me to look at moissanites and see how they do for bow-ties so I had to take a chance, but was reassured that Lily Arkwright do free returns. I'm pleased to show you that they are very well cut and I haven't noticed any bow-tie in mine, just a tiny circle that you'd see in any round diamond/moissanite. 

15 Apr 2018

Review: L'Oreal Tattoo Signature eyeliner

As I'm sure you'll have noticed, I love eyeliner and I've tried many different types over the years. My biggest problem with eyeliner is I have greasy skin, so if I do a wing or flick, it's often melted away by the end of the day. I thought I'd give L'Oreal Tattoo Signature eyeliner a go

The eyeliner, which is a felt-tip style, promises 24 hours of lasting power and highly pigmented colour. This is something I can't refuse - the eyeliner lasted really well throughout the day with some fading, but not smudging. However I have a big issue with this eyeliner because it's a nightmare to apply!

If you're some sort of genius who can apply eyeliner with one swipe, you might be ok, however I found applying this eyeliner to be a nightmare! Every time I tried to add colour, neaten the line or go over any area again it cracked, flaked and came off! The pen was also only inky enough to put colour down on the first swipe, so the wing which I put on near the end was really patchy and faded.

So overall the conclusion of this very short review is this eyeliner is rubbish, don't waste your £6.99 on it. If anyone has any recommendations for super-staying eyeliners for oily skin types, please let me know!

8 Apr 2018

Our engagement story!

If you follow me on instagram, you'll know that last Friday Sam and I got engaged! So exciting! I know I am obsessed with engagement stories and blog posts so I thought I'd share mine.

The background - 
Sam and I have been together for about 5 1/2 years. We met at work about 6 years ago and for me it was love at first sight (have you seen his face?!). I was told a new member of staff wanted to talk to me and I was totally not in the mood to talk to anyone that day. I agreed to meet them anyway and Sam walked in to the room! I can't remember the conversation but can remember my feelings - it was very overwhelming! At the time, I was in the middle of a messy break up, so when he asked me out 3 times over the next 6 months I kept saying no! Although secretly I was totally smitten and couldn't wait to see him at work each week. 

In the September, we were working really closely together as he'd just got the same job as me, and I was giving him a 2 week induction. On the drive back from a late meeting one night he said "I'm hungry, are you?" and I said yes, so he swung into a GBK for dinner. That week we had our first official date at a Mexican restaurant called Coriander in Bournemouth (he later found out I hate the herb Coriander!). 

We now live together in Portsmouth, and as I keep banging on about, we're buying a house together in Bournemouth. We have our little dog Teddy and our old lady cat Button and have so much fun together. 

The engagement - 
On New Year's Eve we were doing our usual weekend routine, Sam was in the bath and I was sat in the bathroom chatting to him - he gets no peace. We were talking about what we wanted to do in 2018 and I thought I'd cheekily say I'd like to get engaged! We'd had a 6 month ban on me talking about weddings/engagements and I'd done a great job so thought I'd take my chance. To my shock, Sam said ok! He told me to choose my ring and let him know! 

I spent the next month doing lots of ring research, which I'll come back to in another blog post. I then sent him the link and tried to patiently wait! A few weeks later when we were staying at his Mum's, I woke up from a lie in and wondered downstairs. She grabbed me and shouted "congratulations!!!" and in my sleepy state I said "thanks... what for?". She said Sam had told her he was going to propose! A couple of months later and he did it...

This story follows on from my last blog post about a date night outfit, turns out that was my engagement night! We went out for dinner at Koh Thai in Southsea and I had those drinks. We then went to a pub on the way home for a pink wine! We walked to and from the restaurant so when we got back I was soaking wet from the rain. We put on our PJs and agreed to have a little nightcap before bed. I went downstairs and poured out two proseccos from the open bottle and walked back into the lounge. Sam came downstairs, got on one knee and said "Loz, will you marry me?". I squealed, grabbed the ring and jumped at him for a legs round the waist monkey hug. I don't think I even said yes! 

This was my tipsy, over-excited face straight after! 

On the Saturday we were seeing my parents, brother and his girlfriend and my Aunty and Uncle so I saved the news for 24 hours before telling anyone. It was really lovely to have that time together with our special news. We did all the normal Saturday things but as an engaged couple, the dog walk, going to McDonalds, cleaning the house! Going out for the dog was a good opportunity to take a lovely photo of the ring - it's so sparkly and distracting! I'll share more on the ring and specs in another post. It's away at the moment being resized - it fit but was half a size too small! 

On Sunday we told our friends and did the usual Facebook announcement. I hadn't realised but it was April Fools Day so I did have a few texts asking if it was true! Everyone has been so lovely and happy for us, it's been really exciting. Mum and Dad got us beautiful flowers and a balloon. 

We've also had lots of cards from family and friends, some gorgeous spring flowers and an amazing cushion to commemorate the date (Thanks B!)

So now begins the exciting and daunting opportunity to plan a wedding! Sam and I have been talking about what's important to us, such as a big party, casual and easy-going, bright colours, Spring time and lots of photos of everyone enjoying themselves (as my friends all know I'm a huge fan of photography and I'm always the annoying one with the camera at parties. It'll feel strange to leave that up to someone else!) We'd also like to be near the sea/beach as we've both grown up on the beach in Dorset over our summer holidays. We're really lucky we have lots of friends who recently got married so we have lots of inspiration and advice at hand if we want it. We also have supportive families to offer advice. We're spending the next couple of weeks exploring potential wedding venues and once we've found one or two we like, we'll probably take parents to have a look and get their input. 

If there are any Dorset brides, or anyone planning weddings, please let me know your top tips, great resources and recommendations
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