How to Choose the Best Engagement Ring without Breaking the Bank

Engagement rings are one of those things that have to be done right. However, price for many men can be a real issue when the time comes around to making that life changing decision. I came across some really useful info over at the wedding and engagement-ring specialist website – – the advice of which I think a lot of my male readers would be interested in!

What I found most interesting is the How To guides they have, in which they provide tips on how to buy great engagement rings without breaking the bank. Here’re the main tips you need to bear in mind, if you’re one of those thousands of men looking to take the dive!

“Under Size” Stones

The carat is the standard unit of weight for a diamond. One carat equals 0.2 grams and there are carat “magic weights” which once reached, signify a price increase. Those “magic weights” are:

·       ¾ ct
·       1 ct
·       1.5 cts and
·       2 cts.

“Under size” stones weigh just below a “magic weight”. These stones don’t look smaller than magic weight stones, but they can cost 30% cheaper than the price of the nearest magic weight stone. For instance, if you wished to buy a one carat stone, you could instead buy a 0.95 carat diamond. It’d cost you a fraction of the price but you wouldn’t notice the visual difference.

Diamond carat weights – size guide

White Gold vs. Platinum

Yellow gold is now making a comeback thanks to vintage fashion trends in jewellery, however white metals are still often the first choice given our modern day fashions.

So if you’re going down the white-metal route, what are your options?

The answer may well be white gold. Platinum is a much more resistant metal, however it doesn’t look considerably different from white gold. In addition, if your bride-to-be wears a ring on the finger next to the one with the engagement ring and the ring she already wears isn’t made of platinum, a platinum engagement ring could potentially scratch it. Therefore white gold may well be the better option and also a less costlier one too.

Choosing the Right Clarity

The clarity of a diamond refers to the imperfections and inclusions of a stone, both internally and externally. These can be little air bubbles or elements that can get trapped inside the diamond. In most cases, inclusions can only be seen using a 10x magnifying glass.

The clarity of a diamond can make a great difference to the price of the stone. The clarity grades are:

Once the diamond has been set in a ring, few people will study the stone with a magnifying glass. In addition, depending on where the blemish is located, the setting could cover it. Flawless diamonds are extremely rare and consequently their price is much higher, therefore diamonds with a few inclusions (SI1 or SI2) might be the right option if you’re on a budget and not looking for a massively large stone.

Colour Ranges

The colour grade refers to how colourless or ‘white’ diamonds are. Here are a few images showing what the colour grades look like:

The less colour or ‘whiter’ a diamond is, the rarer and more expensive it is. Only experts would be able to tell the difference in colour between diamonds grading from D to G if they compare them next to each other. Because of this, it’s recommended to buy diamonds graded G or H, if you’re looking to get the most diamond for your money! I hope you've enjoyed this engagement post and that it helps you in the future!

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Infecting yourself with your Idol's Illness? (Antiviral: Film Review)

I've decided to write a review on this movie for two reasons - the first is that I really enjoyed it and thought it had a unique and thought-provoking plot and therefore wanted to naturally share it with you all, the second reason was that it doesn't achieve particularly high ratings and I wanted to rectify that.

So the plot of Antiviral (2012) is that in a dystopian future celebrities are so idolised that even their illnesses and diseases have become highly valued, drug-like commodities. The inspiration for the plot came to the director/writer Brandon Cronenburg (son of David Cronenburg (A Dangerous Method (2011), A History of Violence (2005)) when he had caught a viral infection once. He said that:
"I was delirious and was obsessing over the physicality of illness, the fact that there was something in my body and in my cells that had come from someone else's body, and I started to think there was a weird intimacy to that connection. And afterwards I tried to think of a character who would see a disease that way and I thought: a celebrity-obsessed fan. Celebrity culture is completely bodily obsessed - who has the most cellulite, who has fungus feet? Celebrity culture completely fetishizes the body and so I thought the film should also fetishize the body - in a very grotesque way." (1) 

Not only do I think the topic is of importance but I also think that it was very artfully created. The aesthetic theme throughout most of the movie is a minimalistic and clean white environment. The main character Syd March (played by Caleb Landry Jones) follows this theme of minimalism with his often very pale features and contrasting freckles. His character is of a salesperson for one of the companies selling the illnesses/diseases to desiring customers. The story turns sour when he himself is infected with a virus which turns out to be highly life threatening. The end is excellent and well worth the wait.

If you like movies such as Pi (1998), 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968), Moon (2009), The Island (2005), Memento (2000) then I think there's a good chance that you'll like Antiviral. It does require you to have some imagination and to get lost in it rather than picking it apart. What is captivating about it is that celebrity idolising is happening right now and at times reaching dangerous levels of severity. You only need to look on a TV guide to see 'the celebrity impact' have young kids with anorexia, bulimia, some even go so far as to have plastic surgery to look exactly like their idols (2). If that is happening then the idea of infecting yourself with the exact flu that say, Beyonce or Hugh Jackman had doesn't appear so far-fetched. I believe the question that the movie is essentially asking is 'how far will celebrity fans go?' and at the same time, holding a mirror up to our own society's behavior regarding celebrities and highlighting our ridiculousness.

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The Color Run Manchester 2014

As you might know, a little while ago Rachael and I started fundraising for Save the Children by running the Color Run's 5K in Manchester. We'd ran it last year and were really excited to run it again as it's such an amazing event! For those who haven't heard of it, it's an event that's hosted internationally and in a variety of locations in the UK, where coloured power is thrown at you at each kilometer! I think what makes it so great though is how many people, of all different ages come along to run it...that's why I think it has such a great atmosphere!

Before we get to the pictures, I just wanted to say a big thank-you to LV= for inviting us to the event (if you like the Color Run and are looking for other fun runs, they've produced a useful list here!)

Both Rachael and I don't run very often so at times the running was a bit of a challenge! You're free to go at your own pace though, so there was no pressure getting in the way of all the fun. Above you can see the first gate and the pink cloud!
The Etihad Stadium - where the run was hosted - looked fantastic in all the sun!
Now for the second wave!
The yellow gate. The amount of powder seemed to get more extreme as we went along!
The orange gate was the last and there was SO much powder it was amazing.
In terms of fashion, I carefully chose some socks that matched the Color Run t-shirt. What do you think?
That's the Color Run - I hope that this has made you consider attending, it really is a great day out for all the family and it's just a bit different! They have events throughout the year - if you check their website you can find the nearest one to you. Our donations page is still open, so if you can spare some change you could help really change some children's lives!

Till next time :)

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