This time last year, Beau and I spent five weeks in England. It was glorious; a trip peppered with a thousand beautiful memories… (apart from catching man flu on the plane)! Fast forward one year…and we are now on the cusp of moving there indefinitely. The feelings are a mixed bag but mainly lots of excitement to start a new chapter in our lives, one filled with adventure (and frequent trips to Space NK).
It’s a bit strange making this announcement as I think most of you already know that on a beautiful June afternoon under the Drakensberg mountains, Beau got down on one knee and asked me to marry him! It was THE most perfect proposal! Sometimes when I think about, it still feels surreal, like a warm fuzzy dream. There was a resounding YES that echoed through the mountains and a beautiful ring… I wanted to share with you some of my tips if you are thinking about designing your own engagement ring or a special piece of jewelry and in particular what I learned from my experience.
I had been following a jewelry designer in Pretoria for some time on Instagram (recommended by my trusty Kirstini) and I became quite smitten with all their beautiful and detailed designs. It became clear to me that I wanted Lorean Britz to do us this honour and after emailing him, well he said yes! I wasn’t sure of the exact ring I wanted but I did have a couple guidelines to start with. I knew I wanted an antique looking setting and a rose-cut diamond, something my Grandmother would have worn. I felt that the shape, dimensions, and cut of the stone were most important.
What can I say about Lorean? He and his wife are an awesome team and I was always quite taken with the gorgeous detail on his designs. Not only is he incredibly talented but you get the sense that he is super passionate about what he does. He would take the time to walk me through each part of the process and made sure we were always on the same page before proceeding, it was actually enjoyable and I didn’t feel stressed at any point; which I had expected to with such an undertaking. He sourced the stones from India and once we had decided on the placement and the band, I took a step back and handed everything over to Beau. We decided that an element of surprise would make things a bit more special and so although I had an idea of what the ring would look like, I didn’t see the finished piece until my man was on bended knee. It quite literally made me gasp when I saw it! It is a magnificent ring with the most beautiful and unusual diamond. I catch myself staring at it all the time and can’t believe I am the lucky girl who gets to wear it, and of course marry the man of my dreams… 🙂
Thinking about having an engagement ring or special piece of jewelry made? Some tips for you:
1 | Chat to your partner first
I wanted us both to be involved in the process and we chatted a LOT about going this route first and weighed up all the options. It made it a special and exciting process and I am glad we decided to do what we wanted rather than stick to ‘the norm’. I know Beau would have picked a beautiful ring but the pressure would have been a lot, I don’t wear a lot of jewelry and tend to be quite fussy. Given that an engagement ring can be costly, it felt better to know we were getting something that suited and something we were going to love. (Don’t forget to agree on a budget too, ladies who are totally unreasonable about how much these things should cost are missing the point – don’t be like those ladies).
2| Find a Jeweler whose work you love
… who is credible and professional. I followed Lorean on Instagram for a while and I loved the style and designs of all their pieces, infact I got my ideas from previous work they did. Obviously, you should do your due diligence on credibility and ethics but it is good to also make sure their designs suit your style and you get the feeling that you would be singing from the same hymn sheet.
3| Pick the stones first
This wasn’t obvious to me at first. Your stones are the main attraction and probably the most expensive part. It is a good idea to do some research and familiarise yourself with different styles and cuts. Also, there are some exquisite rings out there using stones other than diamonds so definitely keep that in mind. For me, I’m a diamonds are forever kinda gal!
4 | Try rings on
You are going to be wearing your ring for a long time, it’s important to check some styles out and see what they look like on you. I thought a lot about the style I wanted but at one point was getting flustered because there were sooo many pretty shiny rings but I could only pick one! Try not to over think it and go with your instincts, trust me once yours is complete, you will forget about all the others.
5| Plan ahead and Don’t panic
Okay, that was actually two points but they go hand in hand…Getting engaged is such a beautiful and exciting time, you want to enjoy it and for the right reasons. If you do your research, pick a designer you love and look for enough inspiration to give you a good base point then you are off to the right start. Then I would suggest being intimate with the process but allow some ‘give’ along the way, also being open to suggestions. You definitely don’t want to rush through any steps on this, take time at each stage.
At the end of the day, it really comes down to you as a couple and your personal preferences. Designing a ring and getting engaged was the fun part, we now are set with the task of planning a wedding….eeeeeep!
But first… here’s a smushy kissy picture…
Have a fabulous weekend Lovelies!
I generally like things to be tidy, to have a place and be put away. It’s not always the case and clutter often infiltrates. Rooms get cluttered and I go about trying to tidy up, somehow the circle continues… I wasn’t a very tidy child, I was lucky, I got to play outside… a lot, usually barefoot. My bedroom was often a mess, not a couple dolls lying around kinda mess but rather utter chaos. I think the expression “It looked like a bomb has gone off in here” originates from my childhood bedroom! More often than not, there was a fort being built in the center of it, made out of every sheet and blanket in the house. It was so bad that I remember my sister offering to tidy it for me on a few occasions (the sister who kept her magazines in chronological order). She would come in and totally make over my room, it was awesome, I found toys I forgot I had, it looked like it was out of a decor mag and it would last a couple days… till I was back to making forts again.
Taking stock of my wardrobe, I have a lot of stuff and it’s time to start decluttering.
Armed with Marie Kondo’s “The life-changing magic of tidying” I set off… Her method has a name – it’s called the ‘Konmari Method’ and her book is not just about how to put your stuff away but about how her method can actually transform your life. So the gist of it is two parts; firstly, you need to put your hands on everything you own and ask yourself “Does this spark joy”? Second, once you have the items you love left, you then find a place for them where they are visible and easy to grab and put back. This is the cornerstone of it all and once achieved – the vicious “tidy circle” will cease and you will have achieved housekeeping Japanese Goddess status!
Lessons I learned:
- Tidy by Category – not by room:
I started with my clothes which according to Marie is where you should start, followed by books, papers, miscellaneous and memorabilia – the hardest one and I totally get why, being the sentimental mug I am – I am going to need an intervention when I get to photos and old letters!
- Discard first:
Put ALL your clothes into one big pile. Leave no stone washed pair of jeans unturned and lying in the laundry basket. EVERYTHING of the clothing category needs to be in the pile and then you go through it one by one. This is apparently why you may have the tidy rebound effect and after a few days, things become cluttered again. How to decide what stays? Hold each item in your hand and ask yourself if it sparks joy? Listen to how your body reacts to the item (apparently it does). If not then thank it and put on the discard pile.
- Storage – (Clothes have feelings too you know):
Marie presents this idea that your clothes are miserable being crumpled and squished into a cupboard and that they would be happier stored correctly and best folded. She also talks about how we don’t treat our socks and tights with enough respect. You should NEVER ball up your socks cause they can’t rest properly! This all seemed terribly “foo foo” but looking at my clothing pile, it was odd how suddenly all my clothes looked exhausted and forlorn! In a nutshell, folding clothes is a far better space saver than hanging them and with the right fold and storage, you will be enlightened. She also recommends old shoeboxes as drawer dividers.
- The Fold
Folding your clothes and storing them vertically makes them easier to see and more difficult to make messy. Can be applied to everything from shirts to socks… yep – a real space saver.
So does her method work? Yes, I believe it does; if done properly following her instruction. Is it life changing? Definitely! Depending on your situation it can be – there is something liberating about it. I remember seeing this one episode of Oprah about hoarders and this one lady had such a problem with stuff she couldn’t open doors to most rooms, it was severe and shocking. Suffice to say she had some rather acute phycological issues and pain she was holding on to and what was even more alarming was the breathing problem she had, due to mold that she couldn’t see from all the stuff piled up everywhere, it was literally making her sick. When they cleared it, all her health problems disappeared and she was able to move past a lot of the trauma she had been through.
The point is, that I think we all have too much stuff, waaay too much stuff. Stuff we don’t need, things we hang on to that we should let go of. I am working towards a far more minimalist lifestyle only surrounding myself with things that bring me joy and the things that usually bring us joy are the people in our lives and the experiences we engage in…not stuff! Skydiving anyone?
The next category on Marie’s list is book’s… and I think I may just dismiss everything I just said and flat out disagree with Marie’s method – because ALL the books always have a place, anytime, anywhere!
Happy folding Lovelies!
What’s up Doc?
You know you’re living in the country when a neighboring friend visits for an afternoon wine and brings you a ginormous bag of carrots! Here you go, she says…get juicing!
I love making fresh juice and carrots are a staple but given that it is chilly here in the Midlands and I’m in need of warmth, I decided to try a soup. I’ve made carrot soup once before but made it spicy with lots of coriander. Today, I came across ginger in my store’s cupboard and some red lentils…
…and the result? Well, Mr. Carrot; say hello to Miss. Ginger. They turned out to be a great match those two – the earthy-ness of the carrots and the zingy freshness of ginger.
Now it’s back to juicing and trying not to think too much about the story my Mom told me about a guy who juiced himself a lot of carrots, so much so that he started to go a bit orange in complexion…talk about a carrot top!
Happy cooking Lovelies!
Carrot & Ginger Soup with Red Lentils
Knob of BUTTER or COCONUT OIL
Thumb sized piece of GINGER
6 Medium CARROTS
Half cup of RED LENTILS
3 cups of VEGGIE STOCK
A great ATTITUDE
Sweat the onion and ginger in a pot for a couple minutes, add the carrots and fry for another minute, stirring as not to burn. Add the red lentils and the stock, simmer for about 30 mins. Check on a couple times as the lentils can thicken the soup a bit.
Cool slightly, then blitz in a blender or use a hand blender.
*Don’t worry about what size to cut your carrots and onions, as you are going to blitz them in the end.
*If it is too thick, you can add a bit more stock or a splash of cream.