About Me

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hi, I am a 40+ year old who loves jewellery and all things sparkly. I also enjoy trying out and reviewing new makeup products, finding stylish walking sticks, reading and writing book reviews. I will review anything from bird tables/ hedgehog houses to the latest fashion! My Instagram account is @sparkling_magpie

Saturday, 18 June 2022

Review: Honest 2 Nature Insect Eco Suet Pellets

Unipet, the makers of my wild birds’ beloved berry pellets, have created a new eco brand and version of he insect pellets and block. Their new brand is Honest 2 Nature and their first products are the Insect Eco Suet Pellets and Blocks with compostable packaging. The pellets are available in three sizes - 1kg (£5.99), 12.55kg (£29.99) and 25.1kg (£53.99). The suet cake/blocks are available as single blocks or in a pack of 10 (£14.50). I was gifted two packs of the pellets for my garden birds to test. 

Unipet have invested 2 years and £750,000 building a new plant and technology to create this new eco range. which is completely plastic free and sustainable. The packaging is compostable and was tested for 18 months to ensure it is OPRL approved and suitable for composting/ recycling. 

The pellets themselves are made from non beef suet. The beef suet has been replaced with pure insect fat and insect protein. The new insect eco pellets contain wheat flour, fats, oils, wheat starch, and dried insects. 98% of the ingredients are sourced from within the U.K. and the insect element is provided by Protix in the Netherlands. This reduces the carbon footprint of the product. 

My wild birds have eaten 87 boxes of the berry recipe Suet To Go pellets over the last few years and have turned their beaks up at any other pellet. When I put the insect eco pellets out in their seed feeders and mesh tray one of the blackbirds was the first to come and check it out. He was happy to tuck in as were a few of the younger starlings. I noticed that although they ate the pellets they didn’t go down as quickly as the berry recipe pellets. 

The pellets didn’t have the same bright colour and smell to initially attract the birds. I also think my wild birds have got used to the taste of the berry version and have the bird equivalent of a human’s sweet tooth, in their case a sweet beak. The younger birds tucked in straight way it was the older ones who still wanted the berry pellets. When I mixed the two and they could eat both together they tucked in. The eco pellets did feel slightly tougher to the touch and I noticed that when I left both pellets out overnight in the ground feeder trays in the rain the eco version maintained its shape and was edible whilst the berry version went slightly sticky and mushy and had to be thrown away. 

I love the ethos of the new company. Unipet already create high quality suet products and their next step has been to improve sustainability and look at how their product impacts the environment. By removing the plastic packaging and their carbon imprint they have taken innovative steps with these new products and although my birds with their sweet beaks still prefer the berry pellets they will now be mixed in with the eco pellets so my little garden family can do their bit for the environment. 

 Update: I purchased a 12.55kg bag of Eco pellets from garden wildlife direct as the two male blackbirds seem to prefer them. The sparrows, female blackbirds, blue tits and robins still gravitate towards the berry recipe but will eat the eco ones if mixed together with the eco insect. 

I was gifted the eco insect pellets by Unipet but this did not affect my review. 

Review: Suet To Go Wild Bird Suet Pellets Berry Recipe

 I set up my first bird feeder station in June 2018. Sine then I have purchased 87 x 12.75kg Suet To Go Wild Bird Pellets in Berry Recipe. When I first started off I had 4 straggly starlings that visited. I now have 2 blackbird and blue tit families, 4 families of robins, lots of house sparrows and 1 gold finch family. My starlings have expanded from 4 to over 30. As I am disabled and spend a lot of time in bed I get lots of enjoyment watching them enjoy their food and grow into healthy adults from my window.

 I moved on to buying the Suet To Go Berry recipe after purchasing a cheaper version via Amazon which I found to be dry and crumbly, so there was lots of waste as the birds wouldn’t eat it. The Suet To Go version is more expensive but it doesn’t melt in the sun or crumble. It is high in energy - all the birds that visit are healthy and full of life. The pellets are easy to handle I just use a scoop and pour into a feeder or on to their feeding tray. I certainly have noticed an increase in the amount and variety of birds in my garden since I started using the pellets. The pellets contain human grade ingredients - beef suet, wheat, starch, peanuts, additives are berry flavour and red colouring. The pellets are a very bright pinky red which definitely catches the bird’s attention. The pellets also have a berryish sweet scent. They are a great nutritious complimentary food for wild birds all the year round. 

 The birds are also given peanuts and sunflower hearts as well as the pellets but the pellets are always the first to go! I always have a back up box so I don’t run out especially in Winter and Spring when food isn’t as plentiful. I put the pellets in a ground feeder mesh tray which is on a picnic table as the blackbirds and dove pigeons prefer this and heavy seed feeders that are hung from the station. I did try using suet pellet feeder but they turned their beaks up at that and wouldn’t use them. They always have access to fresh water and a bird bath. Spring/ Summer is a great time to start using a bird feeder station as the fledglings are being cared for by their parents so they bring their babies to the feeders and show them what to do and then they are looking for new homes, so a freshly stocked feeder is bound to attract some young birds. 

I purchased the item myself and the views expressed are my own. 

Saturday, 28 May 2022

Book Review: The Devil’s Whispers by Lucas Hault

I very rarely read/ review gothic horror novels but I was intrigued by this book - The Devil’s Whispers. Written by Lucas Hault and published by TCK publishing.

the novel is set in a creepy Welsh castle. The main character, Gerald Woodward is a British (English) solicitor who is brought to said castle to write the last will and testament of  Lord Ferdinand Elvin Mathers who is dying. When Woodward is not with him he is locked in his room in the castle with the butler, Jared, at his service. Helena, Lord Mathers’ daughter, is greatly concerned for her father but she also has a striking resemblance to the woman Woodward sees as he travels to the castle. Despite being taken ill whilst at the castle Woodward discovers how eerie and scary the place can be. He is supposed to be locked in his room but manages to find a way out to explore the labyrinth of corridors and dungeons. Lack of sleep leads to terrifying nightmares that said his strength. He is further concerned to see Mathers at death’s door one day and full of health the next. The answer to this, as Woodwards discovers, is to be found in the dungeons. 

Raelyn Atherton, Woodward’s fiancĂ©e, has remained in London. She has her own terrifying storyline to tell of children disappearing and animals being mutilated which is interlinked with her fiancĂ©. I found it interesting that although this is a historical gothic horror novel there aren’t any swooning heroines. Raelyn is a physician who does not want a male escort to assist her. 

Father Malcom Issac Simpson is not only a Christian but a supernatural investigator who assists Woodward in his increasingly complicated games as he tries to draw out Xana, a supernatural individual who presents herself as a beautiful young woman in order to draw her prey into her net.

The premise, devices and ideas behind the storyline are intriguing and add a new dimension to catch the readers’ attention. I enjoyed that the storyline was based around journal entries and letters between the main characters.  There are several narrators whose voices add to the growing sense of horror and fear as the storyline progresses. This device, however, could also a double edged sword because if the reader loses concentration it is possible to forget who is narrating that particular journal entry. The pacing of the book needed some work. The first few chapters dragged as Woodward is taken to the castle. I know the author has to set the scene but this, I feel, could have been achieved much more succinctly and would then evoked and created the atmosphere needed for a successful gothic horror novel much more quickly and realistically. Once I got through the first few chapters the pace sped up and the storyline grabbed my attention. The fear of Woodward trapped in the castle seemed so much more palpable and realistic. One small pedantic issue - Woodward would be an English lawyer not British. 

I enjoyed parts of this novel. It isn’t perfect for the reasons outlined above. I would like to read more of Hault’s work in the future to see how his writing style develops as the ideas are there and whilst they capture the readers’ attention the execution could be refined.  

I was #gifted this novel by TCK Publishing but this has not influenced the views expressed in this review. 

TCK Publishing 

Monday, 23 May 2022

Book Review: Out of her League by Natalie Anderson

Natalie Anderson had just published the first of her four part mini series, Millionaires and Makeovers. Out of her League is a contemporary romance which starts with a fake date and a one night stand which then blossoms in to much more. Bella Cotton is her familiy’s let down. She wants to be a respected actor but at the moment she is a child’s party fairy/pirate and also a baristas. Own Hughes has the perfect life as a multi millionaire tech entrepreneur. They meet at her sister’s wedding. She sees herself as the dumpy one whilst he just wants to make her laugh. They have a fake date and a one night stand and Owen leaves. 

He can’t contact her as she has given him the wrong number. He meets her again in Wellington at a grocery store and helps her out when her car breaks down and flat catches fire. Slowly a relationship develops. She is the first person who hasn’t been interested in his money but will he be able to overcome his antipathy to HEA and give Bella what she wants?

I enjoyed this novel. Both characters are relatable and they work well together. Bella and Owen have issues they have to address before they can build a relationship together and it is interesting to see their characters develop as the storyline progresses. 

I was gifted this book by BookFunnel and Natalie Anderson but this does not effect the views in my blog post, 

Wednesday, 18 May 2022

Beak & Claws: Chanel Rouge Allure Velvet Lipstick in La Raffinee (34)


I have used up several of these  Chanel Rouge Allure Velvet Lipsticks in La Raffinee 34 and it is my favourite go to matte lipstick. The Chanel Rouge Allure Lipsticks retail for £31 and there are 14 dazzling and luminous matte shades to choose from.

The Rouge Allure Lipsticks give a luminous matte lip colour which is non-drying and comfortable on the lips. The colour payoff is a soft velvet matte finish.  A combination of ultra thin pearlescent  particles  and soft focus microspheres creates the luminousi matte, second skin like finish. A combination of silicone beads and jojoba oil moisturises and smoothes the lips.

I found the lipstick very comfortable to wear and easy to appply. No dryness or patchiness. One swipe gave me a vibrant lip colour that looked natural. The lipstick felt weightless to wear and left my lips looking and feeling velvety and soft. The combination of mattness with luminosity makes the lipstick look more natural and makes it a great alternative to satin lipsticks as this formulation is between the two finishes. 

The lipstick case itself is very luxurious.  The case is black lacquer with gold accents. One click of the base of case releases the lipstick which then can be twisted up and applies. The iconic immediately identifiable CC lettering is embossed on the gold base of the lipstick. 

I purchased this item myself and it is available at all Chanel stockists. All views expressed in this blog are my own.

Wednesday, 27 April 2022

Review: Debbie Sykes Animal Art Sea Glass Picture

 I was lucky enough to win a beautiful piece of sea glass art from Debbie Sykes Animal Art  in the same competition I won my sea glass pendant. Debbie Sykes is also an Etsy seller and she specialises in sea glass art using Cornish sea glass that has been found on local beaches and animal portraits. Each piece is unique and beautifully made. She can also be followed on Instagram

I  won the Blue Lace picture. It is very whimsical and the tiny pieces of stone appear to gleam and sway in the sun bringing the flowers to life. The frame can be either hung or free standing. The whole aesthetic of the piece is minimalistic but with that little bit extra. I love it but am not sure where to put it as it deserves a beautiful setting - which my house lacks! My picture came beautifully wrapped  with a little hedgehog charm attached. This is now an extra add on if you purchase an item but I would recommend it as then you don’t have to wrap the item yourself and the wrapping itself is gorgeous and can be reused. 

I will purchase from this store in the future. There are some beautiful handmade sea glass hedgehog cards (£4.95) that are calling my name and my blue lace picture is perfection. 

I won this item in a competition but this did not affect the views expressed in my blog 

#WIN Rolling Waves Cornwall Sterling Silver Cornish Sea Glass Pendant

This month’s competition prize is a Rolling Waves Cornwall Sea Glass Sterling Silver Pendant. The stone is piece of Cornish sea glass in a lemon ish colour and the sterling silver necklace length is 18”. The item is handmade. 

Enter here>>> a Rafflecopter giveaway

Competition Rules:

Competition is open worldwide;

Entrants must fulfil the mandatory Rafflecopter opinion - follow this blog. 

Competition closes on 01 June 11.59pm GMT 2022;

I purchased this item myself so any questions  please email me.