Myths about engagement rings


These myths have been doing the rounds for years, and generally have been accepted as true for a very long time. But if you look at each one individually, you will realise that they are faintly ridiculous. If you are in the market for receiving an engagement ring, show the person who is going to present you with one this article. It may just save the day (especially myth number one).

The first myth concerns the element of surprise. In the movies it is often the case that the guy turns up with an engagement ring out of the blue and the woman swoons, and falls into his arms. It’s the stuff of dreams and it is all because the lady was surprised. But this is a bit of  a myth. Ask any girl and she will say that the one thing she doesn’t want her man to do is surprise her with an engagement ring. It makes a lot more sense to be able to contribute to the whole process and choose one with your partner. Trust us, if anyone suggests that a surprise would have been better, they really don’t know what they are talking about.

The second myth we are going to look at is the idea that a man needs to save up for 3 months worth of salary in order to buy the ring. Sometimes it’s 2 months. It doesn’t matter. The end result is that engagement rings in Houston are quite affordable actually, and as long as you get a ring that has some meaning behind it, you can’t really go wrong. You’re looking for a ring that has emotion and timing attached to it as well as a price tag. It doesn’t need to cost £10,000 for that to happen, surely?

Another myth concerns size. Believe it or not, a ring doesn’t have to be huge for it to have an impact on the lady. There are so many variations on engagement rings in the area of cut and clarity, as well as colour, that size doesn’t really come into it. By all means, have a larger ring, but just remember that a ring has a lot more to it than the size of it. Most women would happily have any size of ring as long as it has enough emotional weight behind it. So size isn’t really a big deal.

Finally, round diamonds have long been seen as the classic shape that women like. While this may be true for many women, a round shape for a ring can often be more expensive simply because of the work that has gone into it. It needs a lot more work to maintain a quality colour for example. If you want to try and look at other shapes, you may be pleasantly surprised. And the round shape is certainly not the be all and end all.

So there are some common myths about engagement rings. Take them into account, and it should help the purchase go more smoothly.

Taking a business trip to the Middle East

Arabic people having a business meeting

As the Middle East is rapidly becoming one of the most important business hubs in the world, more and more people visit the region as part of their work. It is a good idea to make sure that you are well prepared for your stay.

Where to stay

There are plenty of hotels in the region, and thanks to the growing popularity of the area, more are being built all the time. Dubai is home to the Jumeirah Emirates Towers, which is ideally placed for both the international financial centre and the convention centre. Chains such as Hilton have hotels throughout the region. Short-stay apartments might also be an option for the business traveller who needs to stay for more than a night or two. A number of successful businessmen have made a name for themselves in property in the area, and the news that Fahad al-Rajaan resigns from his role at a bank means that he has been able to focus on his property business. Renting one of these properties during a business trip could be a great alternative to a standard hotel.

Local travel tips

There are some public transport options such as buses, but in some areas of the Middle East these may be hit and miss, so taxis or car hire could be the best option for you. Remember that in some parts of the region women are not allowed to drive.

Cultural tips

Those who get to do business in Dubai will be pleased to hear that most business is conducted in English. However, this is not true of all the countries in the Middle East so you need to check in advance and arrange for an interpreter if needed. Business in the Middle East is rarely separated from a person’s personal life and networking is something that is very important. Building contacts is essential as this allows for rules to be bent a little when you need something to be done.

Unfortunately, parts of the region are still behind the times when it comes to gender equality, but more women are rising through the ranks of businesses in the Middle East. If you are male and are introduced to a woman at work then only shake hands if they offer to do so. Prolonged eye contact is also frowned upon.

Make the most of your free time

The Middle East is a fascinating region and there are plenty of attractions for you to visit. Dubai in particular is filled with cultural and tourist attractions such as the Burj Khalifa, the tallest building in the world. Enjoy the views from the observation level on floor 124! The Middle East is also filled with great souks so you can pick up authentic souvenirs to take home

The Middle East used to be seen as a remote part of the world that was unwelcoming, but these days nothing could be further from the truth. Companies from all over the world have set up a base in the region because it makes good economic sense. The region has plenty to offer the business world, so why not take advantage of it?

5 Alternative Types of Getaway You Should Try

Conventional holidays are fine, but why not try some of the other options out there? Here are 5 alternative types of getaway for you to consider.

  1. Historical Holidays

There are lots of destinations that are packed full of history for you to explore. This is something you can do in almost any country. Most cities and historical locations operate guided tours to fill you in on the facts you need to know. But you don’t have to take a guided tour if you’re more of an independent spirit. One of the most popular historical holiday destinations is Machu Picchu, the ancient Aztec ruins up in the Andes Mountains in Peru.

  1. Walking Holidays

If you like to keep active and see some of the most beautiful natural sights in the world, why not take a walking holiday? It’s a great type of alternative holiday for people who hate the idea of sitting on a sun lounger by the pool. You have to be prepared for what you’re going to face though. It’s not a good idea to go for this type of holiday without doing your research first. You’ll have to buy a new pair of hiking boots and a big rucksack to keep all your water, food and maps in as well.


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  1. Winter Experience Holidays

Winter holidays are all about wrapping up warm and exploring the beautiful landscapes that are found in the North of the world during winter. Many winter holidays take place in places like Sweden, Finland and Norway. But I’d also recommend trying out Canada during the winter too. If you have a family and want to get away for Christmas, dog sledding in the Lapland snow is a lot of fun. Lapland has plenty of Christmas-themed activities and fun to keep the kids in your family entertained too.

  1. Eco Holidays

Eco holidays are all about getting an authentic experience away from the modern tourist trappings. You can explore different sustainable ways of living. Some people go and live with tribes and indigenous peoples in different parts of the world. It’s certainly not for people who like to relax in luxury when they’re on holiday, but it’s a great experience to have. Other eco holidays involve helping endangered species and building habitats. For example, you can go to Borneo and work with orangutans.

  1. Safari Holidays

There are lots of variations on the classic safari holiday. That’s something that not a lot of people realise. You can go for the authentic option where you camp and live rough in the landscape. Or you can stay in a luxury hotel with all the modern conveniences you could ask for. But the main attraction is, of course, the animals. There’s nothing quite like seeing elephants, giraffes and lions up close and personal. Seeing them in their natural habitat is completely different from seeing them in a zoo, believe me!

These alternatives are all great fun. At least one of them is sure to fit your wants and needs, so give them a try.

Three Reasons Why Italy Should Be The Destination For Your Next Vacation

You might already be in the process of planning your trip for next year. But if you take my advice you will stop right now and instead book for the end of this summer. The holiday season is starting to die down now, and that means a lot of places are wide open to visit. Booking a plane ticket last minute can be incredibly cheap and you can find great deals on accommodation. Particularly, if you wait for everyone else to go back to work. Their loss is your gain so once you have finished reading this post, start finding how cheap a luxury holiday can be! But before you do, find out why that luxury holiday should be a trip to Italy.

  • Venice


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People say Venice is overrated, and I think I know their secret. They’ve obviously never been, or they have incredibly poor taste. It must be one of the two because visiting Venice is something everyone should do at least once in their lifetime. In fact, many people who go to Venice once find it becomes a trip they then take regularly, and there is a reason for that. There is no city quite like it anywhere else in the world. It is like exploring a group of Islands stuck together and the only way to explore it is to take to the water. Hire a gondola and get a first-hand account of one of the life’s most romantic experiences. Lie back with your partner and watch a truly stunning city float past your eye line. Once you have explored the canals, step off and look for one of the cities hidden restaurants for a delicious lunch.

  2) The Beaches

It might be a cliche to go to the beaches on holiday. After all, you may have a beach not far from where you live, but I guarantee you, it’s nothing like the ones on offer in Italy. The country has what can only be described as desert paradises. They are picturesque little islands with breathtaking stretches of sand and oceans. The crystal clear waters are heaven to swim in and my personal favourite is on the coast of the Island, Linosa. But don’t take my word for it. Go there yourself and find the perfect spot to get a tan and explore the open water.

 3) Now This Is Five Star Accommodation

I don’t know about you, but I’m not very fond of staying in a hotel on holiday. I like the freedom that staying in private accommodation provides. You can book longer trips because you feel more comfortable, it’s like staying away in a home away from home. For those of you who agree and love staying in private villas, you will be happy to know Italy is packed full of luxury accommodation. If you visit right now, you’ll find they’ve got price slashing offers on some of their best properties. If you’re thinking about a last minute holiday this year, this could be the perfect choice. With private tennis courts, Olympic swimming pools and incredible views you won’t want to miss this chance.

I hope I have convinced you Italy is the place to be. I certainly plan on going back, perhaps next year.


The Supernatural Beauty of The Giant’s Causeway


The Giant’s Causeway in Northern Ireland is as intriguing as it is legendary and is amicably considered by the Irish as the 8th Wonder of the World. This fact cannot be disputed as the exquisitely beautiful rock formations are jam-packed with Irish folklore and mythology. Strangers to the area are easily swallowed by the sense of mystery and magic and cannot help being filled with the anticipation of a globetrotting adventurer when entering the mystical realm.

Situated on the rugged Northeast coast on the tip of the Antrim plateau, the unusual causeway is made up of thousands of interlinking basalt columns that have sprung up from the ocean and then systematically made their way down into the chilly blue ocean. The sheer scale of this wonderful sight has conquered many hearts and re-affirmed old beliefs in Irish myths, legends and superstition.

One of the more famous versions on how the rocks were crafted is the tale of the legendary Irish giant Finn McCool. Finn wanted easier access to his Scottish sweetheart across the water and built the entire causeway himself. This sounds viable as even today you will find males going to extraordinary lengths to win over their maiden.

Other interesting tales and folklore of Gaelic mythology include Finn McCool fighting and defeating Scottish giants on the causeway through either brutal strength or sheer wit. Lovers of folklore will be enthralled by the tales that have derived from the site. The ambience also heavily influences the general mood of the listeners.

At the end of the day one has to contend with the scientific facts that the rocks were formed thousands of years ago through heavy volcanic activity. The specific hexagonal shapes were determined by the rapid cooling effect on the lava once it squeezed through existing openings. Weathering and erosion are the other major influences on the distinct rock formation; particularly the circular tops which the locals affectionately call ‘giant eyes’.

The site has been declared a National Nature Reserve and has been listed as a World Heritage site; the only one in Northern Ireland. It is also officially one of the most significant Natural Wonders of the United Kingdom. It first drew considerable attention way back in the mid eighteenth century when watercolour paintings of the causeway won a major art competition.

Significant tourist attraction only started in the 1960’s after the National Trust made visits more viable. Visitors can easily stroll for about half a mile on the tops of the closely compacted columns. The slope down to the sea is gentle enough in some areas even for the elderly. This allows anyone to explore and soak in the wonderful surrounds and the expedition is also highly recommended as an ideal family outing. It is now the most visited place in Ireland and frequented by tourists from around the planet. A coastal sightseeing tour to the Giant’s Causeway is available from Allen’s Tours and is by far the most informative from Belfast.

Besides the breath taking display of the rock formations there are other truly amazing features and interesting historical facts about this incredible site. A hydro-electric tram was first built and used between Portrush and the causeway as early as 1883. This is a first for Europe and definitely an impressive feat at the time.

Another factor that makes this area absolutely fascinating is the natural fauna and flora. Botanists and plant lovers will find themselves in heaven when exploring the columns as the diversity of wildlife will not disappoint. Scots Lovage, Oysterplant and Devil’s Bit Scabios are but a few of the flora growing in the harsh conditions.

The sought after and very rare species such as the Vernal Squill and Frog Orchid could be a bit harder to find but is worth the effort. Bird varieties such as Oystercatchers, Wheatear and Guillemots frequent the area during the warmer summer season. Sea animals, butterflies and other insects are also abound during this time.

In 1986, when the causeway was declared a National Heritage Site by Unesco, a modern Visitor’s Centre was erected to keep in line with the new status and as a public information bureau. After a fire gutted the centre in the year 2000, another one was built in 2012. Needless to say that the new establishment has all the modern facilities and technicalities plus a superb design that will make any visitor feel right at home.

Gap Year Planning Advice From A Travel Lover

As you will know if you read my blog on a regular basis, I am a born traveller. Eventually, I hope to travel all over the world. Three of the places that I am dying to see are Venice, New York and South East Asia – they all sound seriously amazing.

As someone who loves to travel, I am a real believer in the power of gap year travel. Whether that’s a gap year before university, after university or instead of university, I am all for it. I honestly think that travelling and seeing the world is so important, especially for young adults.

If you are considering taking a gap year, I would say to go for it. However, the one thing that I would say is to ensure that you plan your gap year properly, to make sure that it is the experience that you want it to be.


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To help you plan an amazing gap year, I thought I would put together some of my top gap year planning tips, below:

Get your money organised

When it comes to planning a gap year, money is one of the most important things. When you are travelling without your parents, you need to make sure that you have enough money to survive on throughout your trip.

Work out how much money you could have by the time you leave for your gap year – this could be through work or via your savings. Once you get an idea of how much you could potentially have for your gap year, you can then start working out what type of trip to take.

Create a travel plan

Once you have got your money organised, you can then start planning your trip. Planning your trip is the most exciting part, as this is when you should start thinking about all the places that you want to visit.

At this point, your head will probably be filled with all sorts of ideas and possibilities of places to visit and things to do. Don’t worry, this is completely normal. After a few days of thinking things through, you should start to get an idea of the places that you want to visit most.

Narrow down your ideas

Once you have decided where it is that you want to visit, you can then start thinking about creating a schedule for your trip. The best way to do this is geographically, for instance, if you want to visit Spain and Italy, it makes sense to go to Spain first and then travel to Italy.

While you could go it alone, you could also consider getting some friends together and turning your gap year into a group trip. If you aren’t a fan of solo travel, it’s a good idea to travel as part of a group. This can either be with friends or as part of a gap year project, both are great options. However, if you want to meet new people, taking part in a gap year project is a great idea.

If you are interested in the idea of taking part in a gap year project, do some research to get an idea of all the best companies to go with. One of the gap year companies that offers amazing trips is The Leap – they have projects in 12 countries, across four continents.

Book your ticket

Once you have decided where you want to go and what type of trip you want to take, the next step is to buy your plane ticket. There are various options when it comes to choosing the perfect plane ticket for gap year travel, so make sure that you book the best one.

If you need a little bit of help with booking your ticket, get in touch with your local travel agent. They should be able to help you choose the perfect ticket for your trip.

Going on a gap year can be an amazing experience, just make sure that you plan everything properly. When it comes to travelling, planning is crucial.

Making Business Travel Enjoyable Is Possible

Once again you are planning another business trip, and most probably aren’t feeling very happy about it. Yes, you might be jetting off into the sun, but it isn’t like you can take your friends or family with you, like on a regular vacation.

Business travel can not only be dull and boring, it can also be lonely at times. Whether you are heading off for a four-day trip or a four-week trip, the chances are that you aren’t looking forward to it.


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However, business travel doesn’t have to be something you dread. There are plenty of ways you can make traveling for work more enjoyable. Intrigued? Yes – then make sure to read this post.

To find out how you can make business travel more enjoyable, keep reading, below:

Choose your accommodation carefully

If you are only going away for a night or two, it makes sense to stay in a hotel. However, if your business trip is longer than a week, then it might be a good idea to look at alternate accommodation options.

Hotel rooms are often small and cramped and aren’t the nicest places to spend a long time in. That’s why, many people on longer business trips choose to stay in corporate apartment rentals instead. They have more room – you get a whole apartment, not just a room, and they can work out cheaper than a hotel room.

You might not think it, but you will feel much happier on your next business trip if you have a whole apartment. Instead of having to spend all your time cramped up in a tiny hotel room.

Stay active

While you are away on business, don’t let yourself fall into a routine on lazing around. When you finish work for the day, don’t just relax at your hotel or apartment, go to the gym, go for a run – do what you would do at home.

You might not think it, but you will feel much better if you stay active while you are away. If you fall into a routine of laziness, you will end up gaining weight and feeling down, which you don’t want to happen.

Eat in and out

Don’t eat out every night, mix things up a bit. If you opt to stay in an apartment rental, you should have a kitchen, so you can make yourself food. While it’s nice to eat out and meet new people sometimes, it’s also nice to eat in and chill out.


If you are on a business trip with your employees or co-workers, take time to socialize with them. You might not be keen on the idea, but you’ll feel much better about being away from home if you have people to talk to and spend time with.

If you don’t have any co-worker or employees to socialize with, look out for other people who are traveling alone. You might not want to approach someone that you don’t know, but they’ll probably be just as pleased of the company as you are.

Being away from home for work is never enjoyable, but you can make it easier for yourself. Simply follow the tips in this guide, and your next business trip should be more enjoyable.


Mind-Blowing Strategies for the Best Holiday Ever

Because we don’t get to holiday that often it’s important to make it count when we do. And the best way to do this is to make the vacation as enjoyable as possible. We all know that holidays can be stressful. So here are some strategies that will help make things a little easier for you.


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Decide on Your Package

The first thing you’ll need to decide is the sort of holiday you want to have. You might wish to go for a stripped back number. Or you may consider a package holiday. All inclusive holidays have proven extremely popular in recent years. So you might consider one of these. Think about the sort of break that would most appeal to you. Also, consider what will fit into your budget too. This is a big decision, and may well affect the enjoyment of your holiday.

Pack Sensibly

All of us dread the idea and process of packing. It’s the one thing we could do without in the holiday build-up. But packing is a necessity, so you need to make sure you do it. The goal then is to make the packing as stress-free as possible. You can do this through organisation and having a clear packing system. If you give yourself plenty of time in advance, it will make it much less stressful as well.

Do Your Own Thing

The worst thing when you go abroad is having to endure organised fun. The problem with organised fun is that it isn’t fun. You’re marching to the beat of someone else’s drum. So instead you need to think about what you want to do. Maybe you want to go sightseeing. Or you might visit to get tickets for the national rodeo finals! Whatever you want to do, go do it! Of course, there’s no reason you can’t do the same things others are doing. But make sure you go on your own rather than with a tour guide. You’ll get a better experience this way. Or, if you want a tour guide try to go for a local one rather than one from the resort.

Document the Holiday

If you want a special experience, you should document the holiday. Take a camera and plenty of film with you. Make sure you have room on your phone or digital camera. Take pictures to capture wonderful holiday moments. You can even set up a scrapbook when you get back home. Documenting experiences is important and not enough people do it. You can look back on special times with special people.

Make Sure You Budget

It’s important that you budget correctly for your holiday. Setting the right budget is essential for optimum enjoyment. You’ve got to have a sensible but decent budget for your vacation. Make sure you have enough that you can have a great holiday. But you need to be able to make ends meet as well. And don’t forget you’re going to need to budget for spending money as well.

Going on holiday is glorious and enjoyable. It’s something we look forward to all year. But for a lot of people holidays are also full of stress and chaos. And this is often because they haven’t planned properly in advance. Make sure you make your holiday the smoothest and most enjoyable trip ever.