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

Friday, 20 July 2018

2 x Amethyst & Dragon Vein Agate Gemstone Hair Bobbles

Sometimes when I am in a lot of pain I want to feel pretty, but don't want to put the effort into putting makeup on or getting dressed up. I find putting some hair accessories in my hair is quick and easy (for someone else to do for me) to do. I found this set of 2 hair bobbles on Etsy UK and they are made and sold by GracefulbyCharley. She makes reasonably priced hair clips and bobbles. My amethyst and dragon vein agate bobbles cost £4.50 for the pair plus £1 P&P. 

The stones are not mixed - the dark purple bobble is amethyst the other dragon vein agate. As I have skinny 5" wrists I can also wear the bobbles as bracelets.  The bobble elastic feels quite strong and doesn't feel as if it will snap as it is twined around my hair.  The bobbles are a reasonably priced, unusual hair accessory. I have already purchased 2 more sets in rose quartz and blue sapphire to match with other outfits.

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

Saturday, 14 July 2018

Book Review: Total Control by Jackie Ashenden

Total Control is written by Jackie Ashenden and is the second book in the 11th Hour series.  Kellan Blake is a helicopter pilot who is discharged from the army for insubordination. Surprisingly he then signs up to the elite private 11th Hour Squad. His first mission is to infiltrate his own family to find out if his father, a high ranking military veteran, is actually part of a gun running plot, Kellan persuades Sabrina, another member of the Squad to pose as his fiancĂ©e for the duration of the investigation.  Sabrina is a tech analyst and her life is put on the line as they are drawn into their investigations. Will Kellan rescue her in time and realise that he does love her?

Total Control combines suspense, romance and family drama into one novel. Kellan does come across as manipulative, using everything he can, including sex, to get Sabrina to do what he wants.  As the daughter of the hired help Sabrina has never been deemed suitable as a possible partner for Kellan and I feel more could have been made about this in the book. I enjoyed the book and will read the rest of the series.

received this book via Netgalley and Kensington  in exchange for an honest review

Friday, 13 July 2018

Review: Charlotte Olympia Kitty Havaianas

As someone who always as intense neuropathic pain in my feet and cannot bear to wear footwear that rubs, I m always searching for that elusive instantly comfortable, no need to break in shoe.  No matter what the season I get sucked in and buy a pair of something that as soon as I put them on make me feel as though my feet have been ripped to shreds. 

I saw the Charlotte Olympia Kitty Havaianas in an email and almost dismissed them as generally I find flip flops painful to wear due to the toe post rubbing and pushing my toes apart. I do, however, love the Charlotte Olympia  Kitty flats (though I can't afford a pair and they don't go down to a small  enough size to fit me!) so I decided to buy a pair of the Kitty Havaianas.

As I only have size 2UK feet I could buy the youth version (£45, the adult version is £85 and Bruce was also available as well as Kitty).  Shipping was £6 but I got a huge cotton reusable bag with the Charlotte Olympia cobweb on it (so now everyone will think I am a regular CO shopper and I will have to up my style game when I use it) and a box which I can reuse for bits and bobs.

The Havaianas themselves are very comfortable and fit my wide feet perfectly.  They are black and gold with a rubber thong that sits comfortably between my toes without rubbing them. The pain in my feet did not increase when I was wearing them. They have a kitty face and a cobweb accessory.  Havaianas and a tiny CO  cobweb are embossed on the strap.

I will be living in these Havaianas this summer and hopefully a few more to come. I found the whole process of buying and tracking my item very easy and would buy from them again.

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

Available here

Book Review: How to Keep a Secret by Sarah Morgan

How to Keep a Secret is written by Sarah Morgan and published by HQ.  Sarah Morgan is a prolific romance writer, nominated 4 times for the prestigious RITA Award and winning it twice.  This book is a departure from the traditional romance genre, instead this book focuses upon how and why her character keeps secrets from each other and what happens when they are found out..

How to Keep a Secret tells the story of three generations of Stewart women, all of whom have their own secrest to keep and hide.  The storyline is narrated by the four main characters: Nancy, Laura, Henna and Mackenzie.   They have all, for various reasons, moved back to Martha's Vineyard  Nancy, the matriarch grandmother knows she has not been the greatest mother to Lauren and Jenna, aloof and remained distant emotionally from them, more interested in her work as an artist than a mother, but can she ever tell the reason why she wasn't an A+ mum? Lauren and Jenna have their own secret to hide and made a pact years ago never to divulge it. Jenna feel that Lauren has always been the "golden child" and is concerned she will never have a baby, issues that add to already fractured relationships.   Lauren's daughter, Mackenzie, also has her own secret to keep whilst holding her mum at arms length in order  to hide her pain.

All their secrets come to ahead one summer as all the women are thrown together and their secrets start to unravel.

This book is well written and cohesive in structure, the stories naturally blend together and doesn't appear forced. A departure from Sarah's focus on romance, How to Keep a Secret is a book about family dynamics: emotions and relatives getting to know each other again, character flaws, fractured relationships being fixed as  individuals reconnect after secrets are exposed.

received this book via Netgalley and HQ in exchange for an honest review

Thursday, 12 July 2018

Book Review: Summer at 23 The Strand by Linda Mitchelmore

Summer at 23 The Strand is written by Linda Mitchelmore and published by HQ Digital. Promoted as a feel good holiday read it tells the several linked stories starting with Martha's escape to the seaside for the summer.

Martha is an actress and her split with her boyfriend has just hit the headlines. She walks off her movie set and escapes to Elberry Cove to hide from the press and to recover in private.  She stays in chalet 23 The Strand, a beach chalet in the sands where she she can begin to regroup and put her life back together.  Will Hugh, grieving for his deceased brother, help her d code which way to go?  When she finally leaves she leaves behind a special gift for the next visitor to find which in turn creates a tradition of gift leaving/ giving for all the residents of chalet 23!

Other linked stories include Cally, who has to tell her husband something important, but is unable to find the courage do so until she addresses her fears and problems herself.

Each short story is set within the 2 week stay at the chalet so it is easy to dip in and out of the book rather than just read it cover to cover. I don't really enjoy short stories, linked or not, but it is well written and the characters do catch the reader's attention and imagination as they struggle with the angst or problem that has brought them to Elberry Cove.

received this book via Netgalley and HQ Digital in exchange for an honest review.

Wednesday, 11 July 2018

Book Review: My Mamma Mia Summer by Annie Robertson

My Mamna Mia Summer is written by Annie Robertson and published by Orion Publishing Group.  It is a feel good, lighthearted summertime read.  Laurel, who hasn't taken a risk in her whole life consults her Abba albums and her favourite film of all time - Mamma Mia and suddenly takes a chance and books a holiday in Greece, Skopelos to be exact at the charmingly run down Villa Athena. She always planned to go with her beloved   Gran, Marnie, with her as she was also an avid Mamma Mia fan, so she goes in her memory.   Befriending the Villa's eccentric owner Laurel visits Greece's famous sites. Will she be the same staid, risk averse individual when she returns to London or as she feels more at home in Greece will she stay there?

I enjoyed Mamma Mia and the scenery etc so I felt that the descriptive scenes were well done, I can imagine I had seen them in real life or was right beside Laurel taking in the sights.  There are copious references to Mamma Mia, but even if you haven't seen the film, or seen it and hated it, it still makes a great easy, happy, carefree beach (if only) read.

received this book via Netgalley and Orion Publishing Group in exchange for an honest review.

 Available from: 
Amazon UK

Monday, 9 July 2018

#win Pippa Small Jewellery White Agate Square Stud Earrings

These earrings retail for £80 and they are made by the ethical Jeweller, Pippa Small. I have, and have reviewed, the jade ones and I wear them all the time.  I also bought white agate ones to use as this month's giveaway.  They are gold vermeil stud earrings for pierced ears and the stone is white agate.  They are packaged in a little silk bag.  

Enter here:    a Rafflecopter giveaway

The competition is open internationally. 
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Opens 10 July 2018, end date 13 Aug 2018 12AM  GMT.