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

Monday, 27 February 2017

Blue Badge Company: Roald Dahl, Fantastic Mr Fox Permit Holder


The Blue Badge Company parking permits are compact, stylish and easy to use, have a Hologram Safe feature, are in compliance with Department of Transport guidelines. The sleeves are easy to get into, wipe able, protect the permit and the free timer clock is diallable without being removed.  I have written about them in a previous blog post but as I have bought this one for my mum for Mother Day, I thought I would feature them again.I purchased this one for £9.49 plus £2.49 postage.  Normally the permit holders are £18 from the Company itself, but some are actually cheaper on Amazon. You collect loyalty points when purchasing from the Blue Badge Company.

I do like it, the graphics are cute, but my mr fox appears to have done a runner as I only have his legs on this permit, maybe he saw the traffic enforcement attendant coming!

I purchased this item myself and all views are my own.
Available from:
Blue Badge Company

Friday, 24 February 2017

March Birthstones: Aquamarine & Bloodstone

Aquamarine is one of the birthstones for March.  Mainly mined in Brazil, it is also found in Pakistan, Zambia and Madagascar. Its is the symbol for and represents youth, health and hope.  The stone is supposed to bring happiness and self expression to the wearer.  The colour of the stone varies from pale to deep blue and it is often compared to the colour of the sea (don't think they mean the North Sea though!).  The name comes from the Latin "aqua" meaning water and "marine" meaning sea.  


Bloodstone is the second birthstone for March.  It is a dark green stone with flecks of dark red   iron oxide.  It is found primarily in Brazil, Australia and India.  Today it is regarded as lucky charm     or amulet for athletes and it is associated with boosting mental clarity or overall energy and  increasing creativity.

Thursday, 23 February 2017

Swarovski: Disney's Belle and the Enchanted Rose

 This week Swarovski unveiled their sparkling interpretation of Beauty and the Beast - Belle and the Enchanted Rose. Released to coincide/ celebrate the release of the live action film Beauty and the Beast starring Emma Watson, this collection is the sparkliest (as one would expect as it is Swarovski) and includes a hair pin, ball point pens, jewellery and ornaments.

The jewellery is Atelier Swarovski so is the higher end, more expensive range. All the jewellery is hand set with Swarovski crystals. The hair pin is the most affordable at £45 and is the shape of a rose set with red and green crystals. More expensive items include a Victorian style choker with a hand set crystal rose (£349), pendant, clip on earrings and a ring. They are all premised around a rose rather than Belle and the Beast so aimed more at the adult market as they don't scream Disney when you see them. They are understated and elegant whilst staying true to the rose in the film.

The Crystalline Lady Ball Point Pens (£25 each or £46 for the pair) would make a great gift for any Disney/Belle fan.  The yellow pen has a picture of Belle embossed on it and has 540 yellow (to match her dress) crystals in it. The other has a picture of the Rose and is filled with red crystals.

The most affordable ornament is the Enchanted Rose (£109).  Measuring 9 x 6.2 x 6.2 cm, the rose is made out of 230 red and green crystals and housed in a glass bell jar.  Belle Limited Edition 2017 is made out of clear and yellow crystal and 450 clear and yellow crystals (£349).  Measuring 13 x 11.3 x 9.5 cm she is the perfect princess.  The Beauty and the Beast - Enchanted Rose Limited Edition 2017  (£1,595,00) is a rose made out 400 crystals and the bell jar is  replica of the one featuring in he 2017 movie.  There are only 350 pieces, individually numbered, worldwide and it comes in a premium blue box with letter of authenticity.
The most glittering and eye-catching item out of all the pieces is the limited edition Beauty and the Beast 2017.  Made out of 57,355 hand set crystals it features the main two characters - Beauty and the Beast.  There are only 250 pieces, individually numbered, worldwide and it comes in a blue suitcase with  letter of authenticity. The dimensions are 22 x 24 x  17 cm.

Available from: http://www.swarovski.com/Mob_GB/en/search?search_query_keyword=BATB

Mallzee: Under £100 Wish List


Fashion Week February 2017 snuck under the fashion and beauty radar this year, so being fashionably late (as usual) this is a post about what I would have worn if I had been invited.  Maybe next year there will be a seat in the FROW just for me!  This post is in association with Mallzee, putting together an outfit that could be worn at Fashion Week for under £100,  but first, a bit about the App itself.

Established in 2012 by Cally Russell,  Mallzee is an online shopping experience that is a portal to a variety of fashion and accessory stores which include Boohoo, Zara, Monsoon, All Saints and French Connection.  Available as a free App for both Apple and Android devices you shop directly from the App, swiping left or right or click on the cross or heart to make your selection. . 

The app is easy to navigate allowing you to search by colour, item, price, size, brand or item name. You can track purchases, adjust your sizing profile so you see only the sizes you want to see when selecting categories and compete only one check out even if you have made purchases from lots of shops.  You can sign up to be notified if an item you like has been reduced in price, 

You earn credit with every referral that that makes a purchase - you get £5 credit and they get £5 off their first purchase over £5.   My code is JOANG139.

Shopping Apps like Mallzee are great for people who do not like going out, have a disability that prevents them going out or just if you have not got time to trawl around shops.  There is a whole virtual online shopping centre at your finger tips and you can browse with a drink in your hand whilst sitting comfortably on your settee in your pjs.


I enjoyed the Mallzee shopping experience whilst selecting my wishlist, it really is the Tinder of the online fashion world and just as with the dating App I really should be more choosy when making my selection as I had to whittle down a huge list.  I went for a lavender, grey and black palette as I thought the lavender would warm up the grey and black.  All the items I chose could be taken into Spring/ Summer and I especially like the Victoriana style jumper from River Island as it can be worn with so many different outfits.

Happy Shopping!!

Tuesday, 21 February 2017

The Blue Badge Company: Cat Print Permit Holder


When I first got my blue badge I kept it in this blue leather embossed case. It is functional, practical and easy to keep clean but as someone who is relatively young and likes fun, quirky and sparkly prints and clothes it is boring. I was given this cat print holder for Christnas. Made by the Blue Badge Company, the material is cloth and there are two compartments, one for the badge which you put in sideways so it doesn't fall out and another compartment for the timer. The timer slides in from the top so you can spin it round to the correct time without having to faff around taking it in and out. 

The Blue Badge Company products are handmade in the UK and do not only include blue badge permit holders but also hot water bottle covers, walking stick bags, wheat warmers and cosmetic bags. There are are range of collections and prints which include William Morris, Emma Bridgewater and the best of all Roald Dahl. There is very rarely any disability related items that can be aimed at children, even though my mum now wants the Fantastic Mr Fox permit cover for Mothers Day!

There are lots of prints which include cat, elephant, Scottie and spotty. There are also more grown upish plain leather and material permit holders as well. The great unique selling point about the Blue Badge Company is that they have turned something that is boring, and looking at my original holder which was the only style you could get for years made you different with the disabled sign on the front and made the product fun, quirky and normalised.  Several people have stopped to look/ admire the print when I have been putting my permit out and wanted to know where to get one - never happened with my original holder. 

The Blue Badge Company has made a functional, disability oriented item into a fashionable accessory and I can't wait to see what designs they bring out in the future! 

I was given my blue badge holder for Christmas by a family friend.

Available from:
bluebadge company.co.uk

Sunday, 12 February 2017

SpellboundBoutique: Illustrated Magpie Pendant

I purchased this pendant last year from SpellboundBoutique on Etsy. It is called illustrated magpie silver coloured large metal pendant with glass cabochon (£12 plus £3 p&p).  The chain and pendant are silver toned. The pendant is quite substantial measuring 6cm by 4cm. The cabochon is a hand drawn magpie by Suzanne Washington, the owner of SpellbounBoutique. The back of the pendant is smooth with a swirly engraving so it doesn't matter if the pendant was to flip over without you noticing.   The chain is quite long - 50 cm so it hangs just around the bust line. 

It came in a little black gift box and was securely paced in a Jiffy bag, so if you were buying as a present you could just pop a bow on or tie a ribbon around it and it would be good to go. 

Sadly Suzanne does not have any items in her Etsy shop at the moment but she does have a digital art shop at Daisy Trail. I love my magpie  pendant because he looks so real and she has caught the wicked glint in his eye and the blue/black glossiness of  his feathers. 

illustrated magpie silver toned large metal pendant with glass cabochon.
Available from: https://www.etsy.com/transaction/1137078657

Website: http://www.suzyspellbound.com/

Z for Accessorize Zodiac Pendant

Z for Accessorize have brought out a Zodiac range of pendants that are gold plated and studded with cubic zirconia (12.99). The gold appears brushed matte or shiny, depending upon the light. The design feature I like most about this range (apart from the price) is the fact that it doesn't matter which side is on show as both are equally pretty and eyecatching. 

The pendant is well thought out with a design on both sides and is reasonably priced considering zodiac jewellery is here to stay for 2017. As with all Z jewellery the necklace has a built in extender, the little Z tag and comes on a swing tag. It is tactile and one of my friends who is partially sighted enjoyed the feel of the pendant as she could imagine what the Capricorn star constellation would look like once she had felt it.  The chain is easy to fasten as the jump rings are quite large and the clasp is sturdy and easy to grip.  This range hasn't appeared online yet (I got mine instore in Accessorize Piccadilly Train Station Manchester. It's a shame that matching earrings, ear crawlers, rings etc haven't been brought out but generally it appears the Z for Accessorize range doesn't stand out any more as an upmarket, higher end Accessorize range. Online it's section has merged with the sterling silver range and there is very little semi prescious stone jewellery available, which was what made it stand out, as it looked expensive and lux but at an affordable price point. 

I purchased this item instore and the Zodiac pendants are available at Accesorize stores that stock Z for Accessorize jewellery.

Mills & Boon Insider + First Review: Kommandant's Girl

 I first became aware of Mills & Boon when I read them to my grandma when she was in hospital in the early 1990s. I then forgot about them until I was a student whilst working at my local bookshop. A pair of elderly ladies wandered over, made their selection and told me in all seriousness that I should get a cat, chocolate, rocking chair and a few of these books (brandishing their selection at me) and I would be set for life! (They were right). I didn't take much notice until I became chronically ill and was looking for some light reading which I could dip in and out of. My first thoughts were how many series M&B now publish - 16 including Blaze, Nocturnal and Modern, equalling 120 books per month.. 

The tone and style of the books have also changed since I read them to my gran in the early 1990s. The heroines aren't as wimpish, there isn't the same skirting around the sex scenes, they are now more explicit, but the end result is still the same - hero and heroine get together.

First Review: Kommandant's Girl by Pam Jenoff.

Kommandant's Girl was first published on 1st March 2007 by Mira and was nominated for a quill award. It was published as an e-book by Mills and Boon in 2011.

Emma  Gershmann is the heroine, an eighteen year old Orthodox Jew who works as a librarian at Krakow University.  She meets Jacob Bau, a physics student, who is from a wealthy secular family and is passionate about politics   They date/court and quickly get married. Three weeks later the Nazis invade Poland.

Immediately Jews were made to take part in forced labour and in November 1939 they were forced to wear yellow armbands, the synagogues in Krakow were shut down and items of value handed over to the Nazis.  The Krakow Ghetto was established in 1941 with fifteen thousand displaced Jews crammed  into an  area that had been home to three thousand.

Young leftists, including Jacob Bau, organised resistance in the ghetto, published an underground newsletter and organised the bombing of the Cyganeria Cafe, a Nazi officer meeting  place.

Bau disappeared soon after the establishment of the ghetto and Marta (the main character in The Diplomat's Wife, the next book in the series) becomes Emma's close friend, introducing her to like minded young activists who oppose the Nazi regime.

Bau has Emma smuggled out of the ghetto and taken to stay with his Catholic Aunt, Krysla Smok, in a small village just outside Krakow.  Emma is given a new name, Anna Lipowski and a new identity, as an orphan from Gdansk.

Krysla is a queen of Polish society and feels that Emma/Anna will be safer hiding in plain sight.  She introduces her to both high ranking Nazi officers and Polish sympathisers.  This is when Anna meets the handsome and  charismatic Kommandant Georg Richwalder, second in command to the Nazi-General of Poland, Hans Frank.  Anna realises she should hate him but instead she is drawn to him. Georg asks Anna to work for him as a special assistant at Nazi headquarters.  The Polish Underground resistance encourage her to take the job so she can pass on information to them.  The relationship between Anna and Georg becomes more involved as the book progresses.

Anna gets pregnant, Krysla tells her not to tell Georg. he finds out and wants her to go with him to Austria. Anna flees back to the ghetto to see her dying father who gives her her marriage certificate and rings.  Georg finds her as she leaves the ghetto and the items fall from her pocket.  The truth is revealed. Georg is betrayed.  He threatens to kill her but Marta shoots him dead.  Anna goes back to Krysla's but she has been killed by the Gestapo.  Anna leaves with Lucasz to find Bau who has been hiding not far from Krakow.

The Kommandant's Girl reveals what Jewish life was like in Krawkow before and during the Holocaust.  Emma/Anna grows as a person as the story progresses, revealing what her life was like as she struggled in the ghetto and then fighting her attraction to Georg, whilst at the same tme spying for the underground resistance.  Georg, Kommandant Richwalder, does not come across as the archetypal shadowy Nazi, but a person with feelings, who can be hurt.  He is presented as someone who thinks he is a cultured gentleman who enjoys classics,art and culture.  He rules from Wawel (a castle) which is away from the actual killing. He is a complex character who has the potential to kill thousands of Jews with the swipe of his pen but ironically and unknowingly enters into a relationship with a Jewess (and maybe falls in love with her).

Thursday, 9 February 2017

#Stylish and Fun #Medical #Bracelets

There is a fine line to be drawn between the chunky, obvious, designed to be seen medical bracelets and ones that are more discreet, elegant and fun. Obviously in an emergency you want your medical bracelet to beef by medical personnel but for the rest of your life, well me anyway, want to try and forget or make the bracelet as unobtrusive as possible. I have uploaded a selection I bought from Amazon UK.  The thin bracelet is sterling silver whilst the teddy necklace and friendship bracelet are stainless steel. They are all engraveable and the medical bracelet insignia is clearly identifiable. The sterling silver bracelet is 5" with a 1"extender. The engraveable plate is 8mm x 18.5mm and the chain has a lobster clasp. The bracelet is £17.72 plus £3.99 p&p.  The teddy necklace chain is 14", tithe bear is 9x7x2 cm, so can fit a lot of detail on it and costs £18.71 plus £1.60 p&p. The friendship style bracelet is £12.99 with Amazon Prime and costs £12.99. This bracelet is a macrame nylon adjustable bracelet  and is aimed at the teen market. The bracelet is adjustable from 7.5" to 10.5". There were also lots of funky children's Velcro bracelets and some chunky gold bracelets but for the moment I am happy with these. 

I purchased these items myself and the views expressed in this post are my own.
Teddy kids necklace: https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/aw/d/B00LFSLQYA/ref=mp_s_a_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1484510699&sr=8-1&pi=AC_SX236_SY340_QL65&keywords=teddy+medical+bracelet&dpPl=1&dpID=41YdjepzwDL&ref=plSrch
Sterling silver bracelet: https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B00CA5RAXS/ref=oh_aui_search_detailpage?ie=UTF8&psc=1

Friendship bracelet: https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B00NA4YWTS/ref=oh_aui_search_detailpage?ie=UTF8&psc=1#featureBulletsAndDetailBullets_secondary_view_div_1484511569003

#Medical bracelets

Medical ID  bracelets save lives.  They inform other people who need to know what is wrong with you  when you are incapacitated.  The traditional ID bracelets are very chunky and visible.  They are engravable with the aliment, gender and name.  There is a variety of designs and sizes listed on the order sheet and more designs are available online. Prices range from £24.99-79.99.  

The one I saw is available at Boots and the website is:  www.Med-ID.com

Sunday, 5 February 2017

Beauty & The Beast: Until The Last Petal Falls

 To commemorate the launch of Beauty and the Beast the live action movie starring Emma Watson, DisneyCouture have brought out a new selection of Beauty and the Beast themed jewellery featuring Cogsworth, Lumiere, Belle and Chip. The jewellery is quite reasonable priced starting at £25 for a pair of stud earrings. The finishes are either gold plated or sterling silver. There is also a junior range of necklaces which are mini versions, with shorter length chains.

I have got several pieces of DisneyCouture jewellery and they are all very intricate, well thought out pieces which have been worn a lot but still look as good as new. The enamelling  on them is detailed, they are not twee and stay true to the design aesthetic of the film. The Beauty and the Beast pieces look no different. If you scroll into to Cogsworth's face, for example, his facial expression is very detailed, not just a silly empty smile, he actually looks like the character in the film. 

I am still on the fence about watching the new film because I loved the cartoon so much. I think I am more excited about the new jewellery pieces coming out instead!

Available from: http://www.disneycouture.co.uk (I have permission to use the photographs) .

Wednesday, 1 February 2017

2017: The Year of Zodiac Jewellery

Astrology, zodiac signs and tarot imagery all feature heavily in the spring/summer fashion house collections. From Dior to Accessorize zodiac jewellery is here to stay for 2017.  If you want to give a nod to the star studded trend  there are a variety of price points: Z for  Accessorize has a gold plated cubic zircon studded zodiac pendant for £12.99 and I have already blogged about constellation ear crawlers.  Astley Clarke do zodiac pendants for £60 whilst Annoushka's offering is £550.