Holidays abroad on a budget

When it comes to finding a family holiday abroad, many families are put off by the cost. But they really shouldn’t be, there are many ways to head off on holiday abroad without breaking the bank. We are already planning our holiday abroad for next summer. This year with my Hubby’s work schedule we haven’t been able to get on a plane yet. Although there is still a few months left, so you never know!

Having a family holiday abroad on a budget is possible, in the months leading up to your holiday make a few cut backs. Don’t have that take away on a Friday night, cook something, swap out fizzy drinks for squash or water, change the supermarket you shop in. There are so many different things you can do to save some extra money to put towards your holiday. We also put money aside each month throughout the year, some months it’s very little others its a bit more, it is what we use to form the budget for our holidays. Why not wait until last minute to book a holiday and only use what you have saved up. It will mean you are not tempted to book something that is not possible for you to pay for easily.

Stick to Europe for holidays abroad on a budget

When looking for your holiday abroad, looking within Europe is a great place to start. There are so many locations to choose from. Spain, Greek Islands, Balearic Islands, the Canaries, places perfect for families, couples and people who want to have fun. You can check prices at Holiday Gems to see just how affordable a holiday abroad really would be for your family.

When traveling with little ones, sometimes it’s easier to keep to a 4 hour or less flight. I found when we headed to Crete last year that the just under 4 hours was enough for the kids and us. We were able to play enough games and watch a film, which kept them happy and all of the people around us.

Take items with you

If you are not going on a all inclusive holiday, when why not pack lots of snacks for the children. My littlest one eats snacks all of the time, so it really does increase our budgets having to add in snacks for her all of the time. I try to be organised and take items with me, things that wont melt and wont go off. Just make sure you check what items you are able to take to that country, some do not allow you to take any food items with you, others allow you to take a lot of different items.

When we went to Crete I just knew the kids would want fancy inflatables for the pools, but I also knew that they would be expensive on holiday. So I bought them at home and took them out with us. It meant the kids were happy and we didn’t spend lots of our spending money on inflatables.

Going abroad with you family doesn’t have to be an expense, it can be very affordable. Set your budget, choose the perfect location, make sure they offer items for the children, go all inclusive if its within the budget as it will save you paying for food and drinks while you are there. All inclusive means the children can eat as much ice-cream as they would like, while you enjoy a cocktail or two and you don’t have to worry. Often you will find these hotels offer kids clubs and entertainment, so you get some time to relax and enjoy the holiday.

Have you got any tips for travelling abroad on a budget?

 

*This is a collaborative post. As always thoughts and opinions are my own.*

The essentials of choosing an engagement ring

Looking for a guide to the ideal engagement ring choice? Even if you know your future spouse inside and out, you might still be worried that you’re going to present them with a ring that isn’t quite what they had in mind. To make sure your proposal is flawless, read about finding the perfect engagement ring, including stone, band, colour, and design. 

Stone options, which is best? 

Are modern clothes and interior design choices the styles that your partner loves? Keep this in mind, as it will influence your ring choice.

When it comes to the stone, colour is important. Some people love colour, while others might enjoy the luxurious purity of a clear diamond. For example, if your future wife or husband keeps on talking about sapphire rings, go for a sapphire cluster ring. Although many think traditions should be adhered to when it comes to weddings, there’s no reason not to go for a bold colour or quirky design, if that is what your partner likes. The only thing to bear in mind is that some stones are softer than others, so will need some extra care. Diamonds, however, are the most hardwearing gemstones, with a hardness of 10 on the Mohs scale!

Are diamonds the best option?

Diamond rings are immortalised in film and literature, have you considered this choice? An engagement ring is going to be worn daily, and a diamond solitaire ring is a perfect, durable accessory that also complements any outfit! Needless to say, a diamond ring won’t go out of fashion.

The band can make or break the ring 

The shade of the band will also make a big difference in how well the engagement ring you choose is received. White gold and platinum seem to be the most popular options, with platinum having the added advantage of being more hardwearing. Have a look at your partner’s jewellery box, do they have more yellow gold jewellery or more white gold pieces?

Selecting the best diamond

Diamond choosing is no easy feat. However, we’ve broken the lesson down into four important chunks to help you learn what you need to bear in mind when diamond shopping…

Clarity

How clear and shiny is the diamond? This is its clarity rating. A diamond’s clarity is determined by the size, number and location of ‘damages’ (called ‘natural inclusions’ in the industry) when viewed under 10x magnification. The range varies from an IF, internally flawless indicating no inclusions at all, to SII3, which will be an included stone. Any stone higher than an SI2 (slightly included) will show a good brilliance and the inclusions will not be seen with a naked eye.

Colour

Did you know about the variety of colour you can choose from for your diamond? Despite the choice, the most popular diamonds are white, with a colourless stone being the highest grade. Diamonds are graded from a D colour (colourless) to a Z (light yellow). Generally, anything higher than an I colour can be considered a very high colour grade with a nice white hue.

Cut of the diamond

Asscher:

This square cut diamond has become very popular since the year 2000. Featuring a high crown and large facets, the Asscher cut diamond is renowned for its level of shine and sparkle.

Modern brilliant round:

Could this be the most popular style? Some think so. A solitaire, modern brilliant round ring does not necessarily have to be a single stone, it can be embellished on the shoulders or can be arranged around the main gemstone in a halo-like design.

Old European round:

Looking similar to the modern brilliant round design, the old European round diamond will not be as “neat and polished” as a modern one, but it will have a distinctive, classic and antique design that many people adore. Does your partner adore antique silverware and similar old-fashioned items? They may love this design, then. AS well as a beautiful aesthetic, such gemstones represent better value for money.

Transitional modern brilliant round:

The ideal unison of vintage and modern. Transitional modern brilliant round cut diamonds were typically cut during the 1930s and 1960s, and these stones are often very similar to modern brilliant round cut designs.

Princess:

Either square or rectangle, this cut must have pointed corners, regardless of shape. Overall, the princess diamond is considered the most popular non-round diamond cut.

Emerald:

If you opt for an emerald cut diamond, you get a stone with tapered corners which is also square or oblong in shape. The pavilion (underside) of a princess cut diamond has a faceted cut, which helps create an elegant appeal that many soon-to-be spouses love.

Carat:

Weight is also important when it comes to selecting an engagement ring. If the carat weight of a diamond goes up, so does its rarity, which will be reflected in the price. The bigger the diamond, the more the cost.

Still unsure? Here are some extra tips

It’s not easy to pick the perfect engagement ring, there’s a lot of pressure, but it should be enjoyable. Why not take a friend or family member who knows your partner to help? And remember: follow your instincts, you won’t go wrong.

Diamonds really are a girls best friend, with Roseanna Croft Jewellery

Diamonds really are a girls best friend, but imagine having a bespoke piece of jewellery designed just for you. That is exactly what I have have been doing with the extremely talented Roseanna Croft from Roseanna Croft Jewellery.

Roseanna Croft Jewellery

A couple of months ago, I went to their Bakewell Studio for the Champagne Design Experience. During the design experience, I enjoyed a couple of glasses of Champagne, and a lovely afternoon tea. We discussed my likes, dislikes and my dream item of jewellery. It honestly was a wonderful experience, something I will never forget and I will (and have) recommend to everyone.

After my Champagne Design Experience, Roseanna sent me the designs. It then took me a couple of weeks of thinking about which one I loved the most, it was really difficult as I loved them both. Once I made the decision, I then had to try and patiently wait. It was not easy.

When I booked my appointment to go back to the studio to collect my ring, Roseanna asked me if I would like to see her set some of the stones within the ring. Of course I wanted to do this, when would I ever get this chance again, to watch a fabulous Goldsmith at work.

I arrived at the studio, to be greeted by the lovely Roseanna. We spoke about the exciting things happening for Roseanna Croft Jewellery, they will be offering design experiences in London. It means that people all over the country will be able to easily access Roseanna and her team, either at her Bakewell studio or in London. Although I think Roseanna Croft Jewellery will start to pop up all over the Country in the near future.

Setting precious stones

Roseanna showed me my ring, although unfinished I was instantly in love with it. The beautiful centre diamond and the shoulders each set with 5 little diamonds. Roseanna then showed me the rubies and opals she had specially sourced for my ring. Four little rubies and two little opals, all so pretty. I couldn’t wait to see then seated within my ring.

I was so privileged to see the process of setting the stones, cutting away tiny pieces of the gold to make sure each stone had just the right amount of space for it to sit in. It really surprised me how at ease Roseanna was with all the different little tools she was using, and how it just flowed so naturally. As though her tools were part of her, picking different ones up without looking, just knowing where each one was on her work bench. It really was amazing to watch.

After the stones had their perfect little seats, Roseanna began to file the gold down, polishing, re-checking, polishing making sure everything was perfect. Explaining every step of the way what she was doing and why. I really walked away thinking I would love to be a Goldsmith, not that I have the talent for it.

Roseanna showed me the polishing process, it was amazing to see the shine given to the white gold, when used on the polishing wheel.

My beautiful finished ring

After checking and re-checking, Roseanna placed my ring into a lovely grey box, popped it into a gift bag and then presented to me. WOW!!! Roseanna also produces a story card for each items she designs along with a valuation that you are able to use for insurance proposes if required.

I am honestly in love with my new ring. It is just like the design we spoke about, it is perfect for me. I know it’s a bit different but that is what I love about it. Not everyone will like it but I love it and that is all that matters.

Isn’t is just beautiful?

I have shown everyone and spoken about how wonderful the whole experience has been working on this with Roseanna and her team. From the first time I stepped into her studio, I knew I would love whatever Roseanna designed for me. Her knowledge and understanding not only of the gold and the precious stones she works with, but of me. My likes and dislikes, any questions I had were answered, even when I contacted her about the ring before she made it, not an issue. I never felt that anything was to much for her. Which to me is priceless. When you are designing something that you will wear forever or has so much meaning to you, you want to know that the person you are trusting with it will surpass your dreams and expectations. That is exactly what Roseanna Croft and her team did for me.

I cannot thank Roseanna enough for making this timeless piece for me, that tells my story of the love for my children and something that will stay with me forever.