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

Sunday, 29 January 2017

February Birthstone: Amethyst

 Amethyst is the birthstone for February.  Amethyst is a quartz that spans the purple spectrum with hues ranging from darkest purple to pale lilac.  Ancient Greeks and Romans believed this stone would protect the wearer from drunkenness and  promote a balanced mind.  In the middle ages amethyst was associated with royalty.  Amethyst was also worn by the clergy as the stone represented a deity for Christ. Now amethyst is associated with peace, stability and courage.

Saturday, 28 January 2017

Assisted Travel: Virgin Trains

As someone who cannot walk very far, my life would be even more restricted if disability assistance be it blue badges, ramps, lifts and lots of seating areas did not exist. I recently went to London travelling on Virgin Trains but would not have been able to do so without their excellent assisted travel policy/ provision. 


Virgin Trains state that their  "overall Disabled People’s Protection Policy that helps us meet the needs of customers who are disabled or whose mobility is impaired. Our trains are for everyone and we’ll do everything we can to make each journey relaxing and enjoyable" They manage 17 stations and have customer services and booking offices at   London Euston, Birmingham New Street, Manchester Piccadilly and Glasgow Central as well as customer service teams at Milton Keynes Central and Liverpool Lime Street to help you and answer any questions

Virgin JourneyCare allows the traveller to arrange assistance, reserve seats and wheelchair spaces, and provide detailed rail information.  Virgin use Voyager and Pendolino trains which comply with accessibility standards.

I booked my assistance online - I have put the link down below - or if there is less than 24 hours before you travel there is a help/textphone number (in the link). They then email you confirmation and a detailed list of your travel information and booked requirements. I booked the buggy but there are other options/ help available.

I was met at the train station taxis rank Manchester Piccadilly station by a customer service assistant and  a buggy which took me to the first class lounge (I would recommend this lounge as it is comfortable, there are drinks and snacks and is stress free at rush hour when the main station is packed!). The buggy then came to pick me up to take me to my seat on the train. He helped me to my seat on the train and ensured I was comfortable before he left me.

I was picked up at Euston by the buggy. It came on time and took me straight to the taxis rank. He flagged me a taxis - so I jumped the queue which was great.

Coming back I went to Euston customer services. I only had to wait 5 minutes to be taken to my seat on the train. Again at Manchester Piccadilly and taken to the car park where my lift was waiting.

Without this service I would not be able use the train service and it is clear that Virgin Trains have taken time and effort planning it all out, ensuring that there is accessibility for all. 

Virgin Assisted Travel: https://www.virgintrains.co.uk/experience/assisted-travel
Book JourneyCare: https://www.virgintrains.co.uk/experience/assisted-travel/journeycare
Making rail accessible: https://www.virgintrains.co.uk/~/media/vt/files/pdf/making%20rail%20accessible/making%20rail%20accessible.ashx?la=en&hash=B37A18F4E313D850F91943C378010F73A478F94D

Friday, 20 January 2017

Beauty and the Beast Chamilia Bracelet

Disney are re-releasing the animated classic Beauty and the Beast on the 17 March 2017 as a live action retelling of the cartoon classic. Starring Emma Watson (Belle) Dan Stevens (Beast) and Luke Evans (Gaston) the film will update the older version with new songs and a new more feminist slant.
Chamilia have brought out several charms in conjunction with Disney to celebrate this remake. Mrs Potts, Chip, Lumiere and the rose are all there.

The price ranges from £35 for Chip to £45 for Mrs Potts. They are all made out of sterling silver with enamel and Swarovski accents. They are currently on sale at H Samuels, so grab a bargain - I love Mrs Potts and her lavender hat!

Chamilia's website: http://uk.chamilia.com/Collections/Disney-s81004.html


Wednesday, 18 January 2017

Azuni Athena Narrow Sculptural Cuff

Ashley Marshall established Azuni in 1996 - one of my favourite pieces is from one of his first collections. His designs incorporate different cultures and designs whilst maintaining his ethical and fair trade stance. 

The Azuni Athena sculptural cuff (narrow version) is inspired by ancient treasures and is both functional and fantastic. It is eye catching and unusual but is also comfortable and doesn't catch or snag on coats or jumpers. As I can mould it to my wrist as it is open backed and flexible I am not continually checking that it is still there. It is quite light to wear. 

I have difficulty fastening bracelets due to spatial issues and lack of grip on my hands. This bracelet is easy to put on as I just slide it on my wrist than adjust it to the size I want by moulding it to my wrist. 

I ordered mine from Amazon UK, it came wrapped in purple tissue paper and has its own little soft drawstring pouch to protect it.  I did email Azuni directly with several questions which they answered promptly and were really helpful in their replies. 


The cuff is finished in 24k Matt gold and the semi prescious cabochon stones are amethyst, peridot and garnet. The cuff's width is 45mm and as it has an open back can be adjusted to most wrist sizes - my wrist is 5" and it fits just fine.  

Available from: 

Amazon UK (£55):

Thursday, 12 January 2017

Sass and Belle Woodland Animal Tree: A Review

I purchased my Sass and Belle woodland jewellery tree via eBay UK for £13.99 including delivery. It measures 25cm x 30cm x 12cm and is mad of iron. It is quite substantial and the creatures are cute without being twee. There are several holes in the leaves to fasten earrings through and there are loops to hook bracelets and shorter length necklaces through. Items can be also draped over the tree. It is quite hard to knock over as the bottom where the fox sits are three pronges which can be moved soslightly so the tree can balance. 

It came in a huge box and had been packed in securely to ensure it wasn't damaged. I think this is my favourite jewellery holder. It has been well thought out by its designers. It doesn't need putting together, is sturdy and doesn't fall over and jewellery doesn't fall off once put on the tree.

I purchased my jewellery tree from here: http://m.ebay.co.uk/itm/Woodland-Animals-Jewellery-Holder-Tree-Metal-Display-Stand-by-Sass-Belle-/252477541036?nav=WATCHING_ACTIVE

Chip Beaded Healing Gemstone Bracelets

I purchased these chip beaded semi precious healing bracelets from TheUniqueGemLady via Etsy UK. They cost £4 each and I could select what size I wanted, which for me was great as most bracelets are one size fits all, but if your wrists are only 5" they don't! I chose moonstone, Rose Quartz, labradorite and a chakra bracelet for this order as they are my favourite stones. 

They look quite delicate and are strung are elastic so are easy to get on and off, so that is a bonus as it cheers me up to put on some jewellery when I am not feeling that great. They look great on there own or stacked together and she has lots more in her shop if to want to keep adding to your collection. 

The customer service was great, she emailed me back within a few hours to confirm my order and I had my bracelets within 3 days. I think these bracelets are reasonable in price, look great and the customer service is excellent. 

I purchased these items myself and they are available from here: https://www.etsy.com/uk/shop/TheUniqueGemLady

Friday, 6 January 2017

January Birthstone: Garnet

January (my) birthstone is garnet. Garnet comes in a rainbow of colours, including orange (mandarin), green (tsavorite) and blue but the most well known is the deep red stone - pyrope garnet which represents friendship and trust. Garnet represents peace, prosperity, good health, happiness, good health and wealth.  Garnet is a great stone to start the year, representing prosperity, peace and good will.

Garnet is derived from 'gernet' which means deep red. Gernet was taken from the Latin 'granatum' which means seed as the red garnet resembles the deep red sees of a pomegranate. Garnets are mined in Greece, Russia, Sri Lanka, India, the Czech Republic, Wyoming, Madagascar and Tanzania. Garnet is a durable stone measuring 6.5 to 7.5 on the Mohs scale.

Sunday, 1 January 2017

Minimal Rose Gold Bar Stud Earrings

I bought these rose gold bar stud earrings for £6 (normally £8) from clutchandclasp via Etsy. They also come in silver. They are made from rose gold plate metal and alloy. They measure 12mm and are quite light so are comfortable to wear and don't pull your ear. I found them quite easy to put in my ear and position. I like bar earrings to follow my ear lobe but you could also have them point down so they dangle.

The customer service was great and even though I ordered just before Christmas I got my earrings within 3 days. They came in a cute little red felt bag so would make a great gift as there would be no need to wrap, just stick a bow on and you would be good to go! The prices of all her items are very reasonable and there are lots of lovely and unusual pieces in her Etsy shop. I would recommend and wouldn't hesitate to shop there again.

I bought the earrings myself and the views expressed in the blog post are my own.