The initial marketing campaign to make men’s engagement rings more popular failed in the 1940’s. In recent years however, more men than ever before have been showing off their groom-to-be status with a ring. Men’s engagement rings, also known as mangagement rings, could be the next big thing in the world of jewellery – but are they really here to stay? To investigate this new trend and find out whether mengagement rings will break into the mainstream jewellery market, we’ve teamed up with diamond rings retailer Angelic Diamonds.

Times are changing

Did you know that in the 1940’s and 50’s men did not even wear a wedding ring? It’s thought that the rise of men’s wedding rings began during World War II, with men choosing to wear a ring as a reminder of their wives and children back at home. Men’s engagement rings were first seen in 2011, when a number of celebrities began to show their support. Wearing any ring at all comes down to personal choice however, for example, Prince Phillip and Prince William never wear their wedding rings at all.

The rise of the male engagement ring can also be linked to same-sex marriages. In 2013, same-sex marriage was finally legalised in the UK, with the first gay wedding taking place one year later, in 2014. A number of jewellery retailers responded by releasing their own ranges of men’s engagement rings, which also appealed to women wanting to buy a ring for their partners.

Google data reflects this new trend too; by the end of 2014, search volumes for ‘male engagement rings’ had reached a total of 54,000. This figure had more than doubled by the end of 2017, at 12,100 searches. The number of searches for this term hit an all-time high in February of 2016, around leap day. It is traditional for women to propose to their partners on leap day and this was reflected in the searches, which reached a total of 22,000.

How men and women are reacting to the trend

Men’s wedding rings are common these days, however, male engagement rings are still quite rare. Male celebrities have been welcoming change however; in 2010, Michael Bublé was spotted wearing an engagement ring after getting engaged to his fiancé. Bublé explained to journalists that in Argentina, where his fiancé is from, male engagement rings are customary. Additionally, Johnny Depp was spotted wearing a ring in 2014, after becoming engaged to Amber Heard.

This trend has also been embraced by female celebrities – Jennifer Hudson famously proposed to her fiancé with a diamond ring just a few months after he proposed to her. For some men however, the thought of wearing an engagement ring is still rather strange. Research shows that a rising trend for men’s engagement watches emerged around the same time as the engagement ring trend. H.Q Milton, a vintage watch retailer recently revealed that they had noticed an uptake in engagement watch sales. Similarly, the co-founder of Christopher Ward the luxury watch retailer noted that customers were now buying watches with engraved personal messages for their fiancés. Evidently, more women than ever before are wishing to treat their loved ones with an engagement gift of their own.

Men's Engagement Rings

Many feminists have also praised the idea of mengagement rings, with some claiming that by wearing a ring, women signify their taken status to the world – men on the other hand have always been free to go without a ring, as though they are still single.

For other however, male engagement rings are a simple symbol of their appreciation for their partners. So, is this trend here to stay in 2018? It is clear that jewellery wearing habits have undergone a huge transformation over the past few years, but only time will tell if this trend will truly stick around in the long term. It is thought that the jewellery industry could gravitate towards engagement watches if men’s rings do not take off. Whatever the outcome however, it’s always good to see couples showing their appreciation for each other with a symbol of their affections.






This month I’ve been involved in quite a number of social gatherings, two of which I had the pleasure of influencing. One was an amazing BBQ I hosted in the gorgeous sun last week and the second being a far more emotional occurrence, the passing of a close friend’s mother. I helped organise the ceremony and provided the most of catering. But, if there is one thing I’ve learned, regardless of the occasion, however joyful or tearful it is, the drinks and nibbles always bring people together. So, we gotta do it right! Side note, I managed to source an amazing funeral director at the last minute through LocalFuneral.

Anyway, so, it’s the concept of the “apéritif dinatoire” or “apéro dinatoire” as the cool kids call it. Drinks & Nibbles party, Cocktails & Hors d’oeuvres, Drinks & Buffet, etc, call it what you want, you’ve probably taken part in this one as well. It’s basically an extended Apéritif, fuller and longer, that replaces a formal, sit-down dinner with so many little nibbles that they form a full meal. And booze, of course.


Less formal, less constraining in terms of prep, and more convivial than a classic meal, the Drinks & Nibbles night is bound to be a winner for most occasions. Want to give it a shot for your next party with your friends? Here are some of our tips and tricks for organising your Apéro dinatoire.

Tip no 1: Organise your time well

The formula of the Drinks & Nibbles party is certainly cooler and more relaxed than a classic dinner. However, you do not want to take the preparation lightly if you wish to avoid a few setbacks and disappointments. So, remember to organise your schedule so that everything goes for the best. Anticipate what culinary preparations require a certain cooking time, how much time you need to arrange your verrines and other presentations, the chronology of different catering elements, etc… For more serenity, don’t hesitate to delegate some tasks such as welcoming guests, keeping an eye on the oven, etc…


Tip no 2: Choose the right nibbles and the right presentation

Did you think organising an Apéro dinatoire was going to save you from the dinner-style headache of choosing the right ingredients and recipes? Think again dear friend. Drinks & Nibbles means loads of nibbles and prep. You can of course choose to prepare everything yourself in advance (just remember tip no 1 and plan your time well!). But you can also opt for readymade formulas. Good thing is, they are often already presented in an elegant and refined fashion. Head to M&S for tasty nibbles made with good ingredients or Cook for the frozen option if you want to plan well in advance.


Presentation is not to be neglected. Remember than carefully arrange verrines or platters can take some time and patience, and you will need to account for that! Arrange all your nibbles on one table if possible, and remember: the volume is bigger than that of a regular pre-dinner event, so offer side plates and forks or spoons. The real stuff is always nicer (you could have a variety of different small vintage plates for colour and so that every guest can recognise his or hers!) but if you are running short try and get some quality plastic crockery, or melanine picnic ware which is more solid and cheaper than china.


Tip no 3: Diversify drinks!

For an Apéro dinatoire, your guests will spend a lot of time on nibbles. But they need hydration too! And here, the more guests you have, the more variation you could have in tastes and requirements. Rather than impose one drink on everyone, widen the scope of offers: champagne, rum, whisky, fruity cocktails, etc. Don’t forget the people who don’t drink alcohol, and have different offers here too (cucumber water, juice, soda…). Calculate your stocks well to make sure the party doesn’t get dry!

Tip no 4: Create a vibe, add some ambiance!

One of the great things about a Drinks & Nibbles party is that your guests don’t have to sit on their fixed chairs and talk with their table neighbours. Dim the lights, choose a playlist of the latest tunes or timeless classics, decorate your reception area nicely (fairy lights, candles, flowers…) and be the first to put some spirit into the party. More on the shy side? Find your most outgoing buddy and entrust him or her with the mission!

Hosting A Perfect Drinks And Nibbles Party

Carpe diem is Latin phrase which encourages to seize the day. I love the concept but all too often find myself living in the past particularly the Eighties or stressing about what the future may hold not only for myself but my children, my country and latterly the environment.

Yet as many of us have just been reminded, we only ever have the present so what a shame if we do not live fully in that minute ensuring each one is also a moment. Moments are important as they consist of making magical memories that are great at the time and also sustain us (and those we eventually leave behind) in challenging times.

So I am taking on the #BestBootForward challenges set by the lovely Chloe as best I can today.

How can I seize the day?

I am so much better at this than I was but there is more work to do. I could be braver and if I was on limited time I would be. Of course, the truth is we are all on increasingly limited time so it is time to buck our ideas up.

What should I do to enrich my life?

I should spend more time outdoors connecting with nature particularly as it is right on my doorstep. I have got sucked into too much daytime television. It used to comfort me in my depressive days but now it is just a habit that I should break. I don’t really know why I find it so hard to do so. Do I really want my legacy to be “she was a world authority on Come Dine With Me, This Morning and a Place in the Sun”?

Blogging can also be something that enslaves so I need to ensure it is in its rightful place and not taking my life over. There will only ever be one top blogger and it is unlikely to be me. Good enough blogging will do! Memory-making with my children is more important!

I would like a more romantic life but I guess that is at least partly in my control. Perhaps we are always more than we think we can be and even if we aren’t it could be heaps of fun finding out.

I feel like I should end with a bold statement such as “Tonight Matthew, I will put on that red lipstick I bought ages ago, invest in that playsuit and tell ….”.

After all, realistically what is the worst that could happen if I do just that?




If you are bullied in the workplace, it can make your whole life a nightmare. We spend so much time at work. If someone is getting at you at work, the stress spills over into family life too. So when it has got to a point where you dread going to work every day, what can you do to move forwards positively? This might involve speaking out or pursuing legal rights perhaps with the help of someone like Prosperity Law or via an advice agency.

Acknowledge you are being bullied

Being bullied can eat away  at your self-esteem. Your bully may make fun of you for being over-sensitive. Whilst it is fine for a boss to highlight any poor performance or wrongdoing on your part, it is not OK to belittle you or to pile on pressure. Bullying can sometimes be identified by its repetitive nature and it can be done to you in so many ways and face-to-face, over the telephone and in written communications via text and email.

Examples of bullying behaviours

  • Rudeness
  • Insults
  • Gossip
  • Ignoring
  • Excluding
  • Victimising
  • Giving degrading, demeaning or pointless tasks
  • Threats
  • Sexual abuse
  • Blocking access to training or promotion

Feelings on being bullied

Being bullied can lead to various negatives in your life. These might include:

  • Lack of motivation
  • Anxiety
  • Sleep problems
  • Loss of confidence
  • Stress
  • Depression

There are no excuses for bullying and the bully is often in a powerful position but it is important to stand up to them.

What to do if you are being  bullied

Initially you could try speaking to the person who you feel is bullying you. Sometimes and only sometimes, the person does not realise their behaviour is out of order. Sometimes just telling someone how you feel can help a relationship work better. I say this because I once was amazed to see one boss and I get through a troublesome time once we started to understand each other that bit better. You could ask a colleague to be with you when you confront the other person. If this does not work, you can talk to your line manager or the Human Resources Department.

Taking legal action

You could put in a grievance about the situation. All too often though, grievances end up with you being on a disciplinary charge. This is when you would be well advised to contact ACAS (Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service) for support. which comes free of charge.

Sometimes bullies go as far as sacking you in which case you will need employment law advice about unfair dismissal. In other situations, you may find the situation so intolerable that you choose to leave yourself and then you can look into claiming constructive unfair dismissal.

In conclusion, always know that bullying in any environment is unacceptable. It always defines the bully rather than yourself. Do not suffer in silence and respect yourself enough to reach out for support. That is a sign of strength.

Bullied In The Workplace














Lucy At Home UK parenting blogger

The PPI deadline is getting closer every day. The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has set 29th August 2019 as the official date. But, what does this even mean? Why is this relevant?

As you are likely aware by now, PPI (Payment Protection Insurance) was widely mis-sold to customers during the 1990s and early 2000s. Mis-selling tactics included telling customers the insurance was compulsory with products such as credit cards, loans and mortgages.

For over a decade, customers have been making claims to their bank or lender for mis-sold PPI and receiving a refund. To date, the banks have paid over £30 billion back to consumers.

For years, the banks have been setting aside money to refund customers, but a deadline has now been put in place. The aim of the deadline is to encourage people to make a claim, rather than put it off. The FCA wants to draw a line under the mis-selling scandal and allow businesses and consumers to finally move on.

If you think you might have been mis-sold PPI, or if you’re not sure, you must contact the bank before 29th August 2019.

How to Make a PPI Claim

Making a PPI claim is a simple, but potentially lengthy, process. The most important thing is to start now, because a claim can take a number of months and the banks will likely get busier as we near the deadline.

There are three main components of a PPI claim:

  1.  Find old paperwork with evidence of mis-sold PPI

This can be the most challenging part for many people. If you can find your old financial paperwork with PPI listed then you have a case. At this point, you can contact a claims company to make a claim on your behalf or contact the bank yourself. If you can’t find any evidence or old paperwork, you can contact the relevant bank or lender to enquire. Alternatively, a PPI claims company will be able to check any old accounts for you.

  1. Make a claim to the bank

When contacting the bank, you will need to present the evidence of PPI (found on your paperwork) and explain how it was mis-sold to you. Do you remember being told it was compulsory or that it would increase your credit score?  You can now also complain about the level of commission on your PPI — we’ll look at this in a moment. There are a number of ways that the insurance was mis-sold to consumers.

  1. The outcome: receive a refund or send the case to the Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS)

The bank should provide a response to your claim within eight weeks of acknowledging your complaint. However, if you have more than one case, or if it’s a particularly old account, it can take longer. When you receive your refund, you’ll be sent a breakdown of how much you will get back and how the payment will be made.

If your claim is rejected, but you believe that you have a strong case, you can refer your case to the Financial Ombudsman. Its role is to independently deal with rejected claims. However, the backlog of claims at the FOS is huge and it can take up to two years for a resolution.

What Is Plevin?

When researching PPI, you might have come across the term Plevin. Plevin refers to a PPI case made by Mrs Susan Plevin. Her precedent-setting PPI case changed the landscape for claims, meaning that thousands more people can make a case to their bank.

The Plevin ruling is all about the commission. Did your bank disclose to you how much commission was on the PPI sale? More than likely, the answer is no. Even if you knowingly bought PPI, for example, because you wanted it, you can still make a claim based on the commission if the following two conditions are met:

  1. The amount of commission was not disclosed to you during the sale
  2. The commission amount was over 50%.

During the case of Mrs Plevin, it was revealed that 71% of her PPI sale was a commission. This staggering amount means that people in similar situations can make a successful claim. At the height of the mis-selling scandal, it was common for banks to make 67% commission on the sale, meaning it’s likely you will have a case.

Even if your PPI claim is rejected, you can claim a second time based on the commission amount. However, if your first claim was successful, you won’t be able to make a Plevin claim.

Using a PPI Claims Company

PPI claims companies often attract negative press. From endless cold-calls to companies that have scammed people out of money without doing any work, it’s unsurprising that the industry has developed a poor reputation. But, for some, using a claims company isn’t always a bad option.

While you are able to contact the bank yourself and get your PPI refund, if you have no idea where to start with old financial products, or know you won’t get around to it before the August 2019 deadline, enlisting an honest claims company is the best solution.

Always find a no win, no fee claims company and check the amount they charge on successful claims. Thanks to a new government rule, PPI claims companies can no longer charge more than 20% + VAT (24% inclusive), but many companies charge less than this while still offering an excellent service.

Don’t delay starting your PPI claim. The PPI deadline will soon arrive and you don’t want to miss your opportunity to receive a refund.

The Clock Is Ticking - How To Make A PPI Claim Before It Is Too Late