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hi, I am a 41 year old who loves jewellery and all things sparkly.My Instagram account is @sparkling_magpie

Sunday, 18 March 2018

New Sass & Belle Blog Props


A new season means new colourways, new blog props and new ways of presenting blog and Instagram photos. As I use this's blog primarily as an outlet to relive my boredom and only upload when I feel well enough to do so I restricted myself to purchasing only 2 new items to use in my Spring/Summer photos and they are both from Sass & Belle.

The cat's whiskers trinket dish is £6 and measures 9.8x10cm.  It features a little sleepy cat's face which looks adorable but not overpowering and doesn't dominate any blog photos, instead it adds cuteness to the overall photo. I use the trinket dish to display jewellery, prop up makeup and use it as part of my back drop clutter in flat lays.

The artificial succulent plant in a glass planter is £7 and measures 7.5x7cm.  The contrast of the different colours (green and different shades of brown stones) and textures (stones, plant and glass) means that it is great for using as both a flat lay prop draping jewellery artfully across it and as part of a backdrop.  

Available here:
Cat's whiskers trinket dish (£6)

Sass & Belle Aiko Panda Kawaii Friends Night Light

The Sass & Belle Aiko Panda Kawaii Friends Night Light is £13 and it is adorable.  I purchased mine via ASOS but it is available from all Sass & Belle stockists and their own website.  The panda head measures 18.8x15x8cm and it needs 3x LR44 batteries to work (it comes with these already fitted).  It has an automatic shut off after 15 minutes which is great in case you go to sleep with it left on. The only difficulty I have with it is that as someone who has problems with their hands I find the on/off button hard to use as it is tiny! Other than that it is useful as it can keep me company at night when I keep waking up every few hours! There are lots of matching items in the panda range and they are all reasonable priced. 

I purchased the item myself and the views expressed in this blog are my own. 
Available: here

Saturday, 17 March 2018

Children in Crisis Pippa Small Lapis Lazuli Bracelet

Pippa Small and her team at the Turquoise Mountain Foundation based in Afghanistan have designed and made an exclusive bracelet which is sold by and in aid of Children in Crisis which is a charity which aims to improve the lives of children who have the misfortune to live in areas of conflict through education. The charity sells the exclusive bracelets and keeps the profits to help fund initiatives etc.  I have written about the Turquoise Montain Foundation in a previous blog post.

  The bracelets are designed and hand made  by Pippa and her team of artisan jewellers who trained and now work at the Turquoise Mountain Foundation in Afghanistan. The bracelets are available on EBay and prices rage from £50 (bidding) to £70 (buy it now) plus £3.82 P&P.   The chain is Sterling Silver washed with gold.  The chain measures 7" and is adjustable (6-7" with a 1" extender).   The chain itself  is very unusual and closes with an S clasp. The chain is easy to un/fasten and lies flat against the wrist.  The lapis lazuli stone is hand cut, measures 1x1/2"  and fits comfortably against the wrist bone. The bracelet came in a little gold material bag, and was packed securely in a Jiffy bag.  The bracelet made by artisans using locally sourced stones, materials, traditions and influences creates a piece of jewellery which is unique, timeless and retains a  special place in my jewellery collection because of the history and story behind it from Pippa Small and the Turquoise Mountain Foundation and also because it suppports a much needed charity.

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

The bracelet is available here

Josie Maran Cosmetics' Bear Naked Wipes

Josie Marian Cosmetics' Bear Naked facial Wipes  can be purchased from either Sephora or her own website and cost £9 or $12 for 30 wipes (mini or regular size). They are a gentle, natural make up wipe, infused with chamomile, aloe vera, cucumber and vitamin E. they are fragrance free and do not contain parabens and petrochemicals.  The wipes are soft and bio degradable. A portion of each sale is donated to Natural Resources Defense Council's Polar Bear SOS Initiative.

They are expensive but they do work.  They cleanse all my makeup and skin impurities away, leaving my skin soft and refreshed.  They smell very gently of grapefruit which I find very relaxing.  I love taking these on holiday so I can clean and refresh my face after a long flight!

I purchased these wipes myself.  They are available from Sephora (UK customers/ worldwide) Josie Maran Cosmetics' website (US customers).

Wednesday, 14 March 2018

It Cosmetics: Your Skin But Better CC Cream, Original v Illumination Version

It Cosmetics has just brought the Your Skin But Better CC+ Illumination Cream with SPF 50+ To the UK.  They launched their original version, the Your Skin But Better CC+ Cream with SPF 50+ several years ago and I thought it would be interesting and illuminating to do a comparison of the two light versions.

The original Your Skin But Better CC+ Cream costs £30 for 32ml and is packaged in a squeezy tube with a pump to dispense the product. It is available in 7 shades.  It is full coverage.  It leaves a natural finish to the skin.    It is a colour correcting full coverage Cream which offers SPF 50+ UVA/UVB Broad Spectrum Suncream.  It also contains an Anti Ageing Hydrating Serum which is infused with hydrolysed collagen, peptides, niacin, hylaronic acid, peptides, antioxidants and vitamins A,B, C and E.  As it is very full coverage it helps conceal dark spots.  It reduces the look of pores, fine lines and wrinkles. It is hydrating and acts as a brightening colour corrector.  It doesn't contain either parabens or phthalates.

I found that it applied more evenly and that I got more coverage when I applied the cream using a brush rather than a sponge.  It doesn't make my skin look cakey but flawless - I don't need to use concealer when wearing this cream.  It feels very light to wear and has a fresh lemony scent.  It doesn't break me out and even though I have very oily skin it lasts all day without cracking or creasing around my nose or eye area. I don't need to wear a moisturiser under the cream as I find it is moisturising enough on its own. I like that it has a physical spf as chemical spf breaks me out.    The downside, for me, is that as it is so full coverage that I cannot go out wearing just the cream as my features are completely erased.  I need to apply blusher etc or I look odd (and have been told so).

   The Your Skin But Better CC+ Illumination Cream SPF 50+ costs £30 for 32ml. It is packaged in a squeezy tube with a pump dispenser. There are 7 shades. It is full coverage.  Leaves a radiant, luminous, dewy, glowy fininsh and sheen to the skin.  It is full coverage, colour correcting, has anti ageing benefits, contains UVA/UVB sunscreen protection and illuminators (Drops of Light technology).  The cream diffuses the look of fine lines and wrinkles and minimises the look of pores.  The cream leaves a sheen rather than a cast of glitter to the skin.  It doesn't crack or crease. It doesn't contain parabens or phthalates.

I find that the Illumination version of the CC+ cream smells exactly the same as the original as is the texture and feel of the cream as it is applied. Again I found it applied best when using a brush rather than a sponge.  I bought the light version of both creams and this one does appear darker when I squeeze it out of the tube and does need more blending than the original to get the colour to look like my skin.   I didn't find it glittery or sparkly as some reviewers have found, it just left my skin looking natural , healthy and luminous as opposed to the natural finish of the original version. My fine lines and wrinkles appeared diminished as did my pores.  As I have very oily skin I did find that it didn't last as long as the original version.  It didn't crack or crease it just faded away.  I could wear this version without having to apply blusher etc to make me look defined, I could see my natural cheek colour through the finish for example.

Overall I liked both versions. They are great for travel as they have travel friendly packaging. Both versions have pros and cons and I hope that this post helps you decide which one to go for.

I purchased both these items from QVC UK and the opinions expressed in this blog are my own.
It Cosmetics are available at Selfridges, QVC UK and the IT Cosmetics UK website.

Monday, 12 March 2018

Review: Primark Disney Marie (Aristocats) Cosmetics Bag

I love the Disney Aristocrats cartoon and have several ornaments and Christmas decorations that I have collected over the years.  Until the Disney/Primark range came out there was very little adult themed Aritocrat merchandise available,  now there are trinket dishes, tshirts, bedding etc. The cosmetic bags are part of Primark's official Disney range and cost £6 for both the large pink bag and the slightly smaller sparkly silver pouch.  

The large pink bag has the Marie graphic and a front slip pocket on the front and the back is plain pink. The zip has a pink heart attached so it is very easy to grip and zip.  It measures 30x 19cm and is made from a faux squishy leather.  It opens quite wide and has a wide bottom so can hold a lot of cosmetics, toiletries etc.  

The second, silvery glittery bag measures 25x15cm.  It doesn't open as wide as the pink bag so doesn't hold as much cosmetics wise. It would make a great document holder to hold passports and other holiday documentation as it is so eye catching and sparkly that it is easily spotted when you are searching frantically through bags at check in. 

This set of cosmetics bags would suit a cat/Disney/Aristocrats fan of any age and it is a great price!

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

Wednesday, 7 March 2018

Book Review: Dreaming of... Brazil (M&B)

Dreaming of... Brazil is a 3 in 1 romance novel published by Mills and Boon.   Susan Stephens "At the Brazillian's Command", Maya Blake "Married for the Prince's Convenience" and  Olivia Gates "From Enemy's Daughter  To Expectant  Bride" are the authors and their novels that are included in this book.

At the Brazilian's command is set in Scotland and Rio. Tiago Santos has been told by his grandfather in his last will and testament that he needs to find a wife and have a child ASAP or Tiago will lose control of the ranch he has built up to a board of trustees. After that bombshell Tiago flies to Scotland to his best friend's Chico, wedding.  He rescues Danny Cameron from Carlos Pintos who was attempting to assault her.  Tiago regards her as perfect marital material.  He will invest in her horse training business in return for marriage and an heir.   There will be no false promises of a happily ever after.  As the marriage date grows closer Danny want more than a loveless marriage. She wants the real thing.

Married for the Prince's Convenience: Jasmine Nichols resorts to the theft of the Santo-Valderra Trade Treaty from Crown Prince (of Santos) Reyes Vincente Navarre in order to prevent her stepfather, Stephen Nichols, from being exposed for embezzlement.  Just before she stole the treaty they had a wild night of passion. The theft threatens  Santo's financial security. She is now pregnant which catapultes her to the top of prospective brides for Reyes.  They are destined to enter a loveless marriage until Reyes discovers Jasmine's secrets.

From Enemy's Daughter to Expectant Bride is part of the Billionaires of Black Castle series.  Rafael Salazar returned to Rio to destroy the man he thought had ruined his childhood, family and family business - Teobaldo Ferreira.  Rafael meets his daughter - Eliana. He wants her, even when he realises eb her father is.  Eliana realised she is expecting his baby and they decide to get married.  Days before the wedding she overhears Rafael and other members of Black Castle discussing his potential revenge he has planned in order to destroy her father.  Will the marriage go ahead?

I always enjoy these 3 in 1 novels.  They are normally cheaper than if you bought each book individually and they can sometimes introduce you to an author that you would normally give a hard pass.  I enjoyed all three books and felt they all fitted together.  All three authors are Mills and Boon heavy weight authors and I always enjoy their work and these were no exception.

I received this book via Netgalley and Mills and Boon in exchange for an honest review,  I am a #MillsandBooninsider #netgalley #Dreamingof...Brazil
Available from:
Amazon UK
Mills & Boon