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, 31 March 2017

British Museum: Egyptian Cat Pendant

This is a novelty cat pendant for children available from the British Museum (£2.99).  The cat is based upon the famous Gayer-Anderson Egyptian sculpture in the British Museum.  This sculpture is most probably an interpretation of the cat-goddess Bastest.  

The necklace and pendant are made out of gold plated pewter.  The chain measures 16",  the pendant 1.3cm x 0.3cm.  It comes attached to an informative little card that explains what the necklace represents and is attractively packaged.  This pendant is very good value, it would make a great bring home gift from someone visiting the museum.  It is within most children's pocket money price range, isn't gimmicky and would provide  great reminder of an interesting day out at the museum.

Available from: British Museum

Tuesday, 28 March 2017

British Museum: William Morris Heart Necklace

I bought this necklace from the British Museum for £14.99. It is also available on their website.  The heart necklace is printed with a bird and floral pattern inspired by the 19 Century artist William Morris.  This artwork is part of the famous strawberry thief range which Liberty use as a print for a variety of items.

The chain is silver plated and 18" in length.  The heart itself measures 3cm x 2cm.  It came in a little black gift box and well wrapped in a jiffy bag.  It is an elegant little pendant that would look great with a white t-shirt and jeans or a smart suit.  I found the clasp quite fiddly to fasten as it is smaller than a lobster clap but once it was fastened it felt secure. the British Museum have some really lovely jewellery items which are reasonable in price so they are a well worth a browse.

Available from: British Museum

Monday, 27 March 2017

British Museum: Afghanistan LapisLazuli Earrings

Made from Lapis Lazuli and sterling silver, these stud earrings were designed by Pippa Small as part of a Turquoise Mountain collection.  Turquoise Mountain was established in 2006 on the behest of the Prince of Wales and President of Afghanistan.  Turquoise Mountain's initiative is to revive interest in Afghan traditional crafts and regenerate Murad Khane, a historic area of Kabul.

The Turquoise Mountain initiative has revived the area, establishing a primary school, health clinic, restoring historic buildings, installing utilities for residents.  Turquoise Mountain also established a vocational institute: The Turquoise Mountain Institute for Afghan Arts and Architecture which will teach traditional Afghan arts and crafts to future generations of Afghans.  

I purchased these earrings from the British Museum (£60).  They are handmade in Afghanistan by Turquoise Mountain artisans.  The lapis lazuli stones are locally sourced and measure 1.2cm x 1.2cm.
They came nearly packed on a Jiffy bag and a gift box embossed with The British Museum. As the stones are set in a claw setting they do not sit flat against the ear but due to the setting are set forward so if like me you have long hair they can get caught or knocked as I push my hair back. They are eyecatching due to their design, even though they are only studs and have an unusual setting.

Available from:
British Museum
Turquoise Mountain Foundation
Pippa Small

Saturday, 25 March 2017

Astley Clarke Jewellery: Sample Sale 31st March 2017

Everyone who is subscribed to Astley Clarke email will have had an email this morning that there is a SAMPLE sale with 40% to 70% off on 31st March 2017, 7.30 am to 7.00 pm at: 
Astley Clarke Boutique6 Junction Mews
W2 1PN

The nearest tube station is Edgware Road. So jealous, and really wish I could attend. I hope everyone who goes gets some gorgeous jewellery. This is my Astley Clarke collection, which could do with a clean! 

The Mills and Boon Modern Girl's Guide To Turning into Your Mother by Ada Adverse: A Review


The Mills and Boon Modern Girl's Guide To Turning into Your Mother by Ada Adverse would make a great coffee table book and belated Mother's Day gift.  It costs £2.99 on Kindle or £4 for the hardback edition.  The 5th book in the Modern Guides series, this book is a great A-Z of motherhood with twists of feminism, irony and humour! 

Preview can be found here.

Full of tongue in cheek observations about parenthood each piece of advice has a nostalgic 1940s image, piece of advice and then a humorous observation!  Readable in about an hour it is an nice quick easy read that would go down well with a glass of wine!

I am a #millsandbooninsider so I got this book for free. This does not effect my review.  

Mills and Boon Social Media:

Friday, 24 March 2017

Light Up Walking Sticks

1. This walking stick has a FM radio, emergency alarm, flash light and is rechargeable via usb. The stick is adjustable and can be collapsed so it fits in hand luggage.  It is a busy walking stick with lots of functions. The buttons appear to be placed in an odd position as that is where most people would grip the walking stick handle.

2. This is an extendable stick, is lightweight and has an led light.  Looking at the comments, even in the shortest position this stick would only be suitable for people who are 5ft3" and over.  As it is adjustable I imagine that it would be difficult to alter.  Other than that it looks great, with a strong led light and comfortable handle. 

3. This stick is not collapsible. It is 36" standard length. It is designed so that the user can see anything blocking or impeding their progress such as a kerb.  As the light is so big it would also make the user visible to others if they are outside at night.  The downside is that it is not adjustable.

A light up walking stick is great idea as is the emergency light.  If you are not average size, however, they are not much use as they are not easily adaptable.  It would be great if one of the walking stick/cane companies would bring out a small led torch that could be attached to a walking stick, then it would not matter f the stick was adaptable or not.

Available from Amazon:

Wednesday, 22 March 2017

The Library of Fragrance: Lemon Meringue & Gingerbread, Do They Smell Good Enough To Eat?

 The Library of Fragrance products are made by Demeter Fragrance Library, Inc, which is a New York company.  Established in 1996 Demeter aimed to make fragrances that captured everyday smells: the first three fragrances to be launched where Dirt, Grass and Tomato.  They now make over 300 fragrances with 101 of these being available to the UK market.  

All the fragrances are £15 but they do have special offers if you sign up to their newsletter.  The bottles are very minimalist and the packaging is functional,  

I love gourmand scents, especially ones that remind me of my favourite deserts! Lemon Meringue has a distinct lemony, zest and vanilla sweet smell without being overpowering.  It smells of both the crunchy meringue topping and the lemon centre without being artificial or smelling too sweet. It has a gentle fragrance which is just right for Spring/Summer.


I also own Gingerbread which I wore mostly around Christmas time and now every time I smell it, it reminds me of the Christmas Markets and freshly baked gingerbread. This fragrance doesn't smell cheap, sickly or artificial but really does smell as though you could eat it as it smells of warm gingerbread, spices and vanilla. This is more of a Autumn/Winter fragrance whereas Lemon Meringue is lighter and more summery.

Other delicious sounding fragrances include Chocolate Covered Cherries, Cinnamon Bun and Chocolate Chip Cookie.
The fragrances are available from their own website and Boots online. Selected fragrances are also available in certain Boots stores.

** WIN I will be running a competition to win a bottle of lemon meringue starting 2 April 2017 so come back then ******
Available from:
The Library of Fragrance

Saturday, 18 March 2017

#MillsandBoonInsider: The Italian's One Night Baby by Lynne Graham

Lynne Graham is a prolific M&B/romance author, her first book for Harlequin was published in 1987. The Italian's One-Night Baby is the second in the trilogy: Brides for the Taking.  The trilogy is premised upon two sisters searching for information about their mother who has recently died.  They have each been left a ring  and a letter with a name presumably naming their father.  They have also found out they have a half sister who they are also searching for (third book).

In this book Dr Ellie Dixon has come to Italy to search for her father.   One of the names she has been given by her mother is Beppe Sorrentina. She also re encounters Rio Benedetti, who is Beppe's godson. They first met in the first book and cannot stand each other.  Rio, through misinformation thinks that Ellie is a gold digger and after having his trust abused in the past remains cynical about all women.  She was going to go to bed with him in the first book, but when there were already twins waiting there for him.  

They still manage to be attracted to each other and fall into bed together. Consquently she is pregnant.  Not wanting to upset his godfather once he finds out Ellie is Beppe's daughter he decides they should get married.  Beppe has a heart attack and ends up being cared for by Rio's ex (Franca), the woman who abused his trust.  Ellie is convinced he regrets marrying her and leaves him. He rushes after her and convinced her otherwise.

I enjoyed this book. There was self depreciating humour from both the main characters. If anything the book was too busy. There were two storylines which could have easily filled two books, the first being Rio and Ellie getting together, the second being Franca. I look forward to reading the final book in this trilogy.

The Italian's One Night Baby is released on 1 April 2017.

Professional Reader
I am a #millsandbooninsider so I got this book free of charge. This doesn't affect the opinions expressed in this blog post.
Available from:

Thursday, 16 March 2017

#AlexMonroexDisney #BeautyandtheBeast

Alex Monroe's collaboration with Disney was released earlier this week to celebrate the release of the live action movie Beauty and the Beast.  The pieces are enchanting and resemble the pieces in the film, rather than the cartoon version.  The jewellery is made from either sterling silver or 22ct gold plate and the prices range from £128 to £225.  The item look very tactile and some, such as Mrs Potts are 3D which is great if your sight is impaired as you can feel/see what Mrs Potts looks like.  These pieces of jewellery, just like the story are timeless and elegant and any Disney would love to have some in their collection.

Available from:
Alex Monroe Website

Accessorize Sterling Silver Labradorite Pendant

This pendant is from Accessorize and their Sterling Silver range. It is currently in the sale for £13.60, down from £17. The chain and pendant measure 23cm and the labradorite stone is quite small and delicate is 1cm.   The necklace is an extendable chain with a lobster fastener which can be extended from 19 to 22cm.    The necklace comes on a swing tag. I ordered it online and it came packaged in a little plastic bag, bubble wrap and an Accesorize branded box as outer packaging, so it was certainly securely packaged! P&P was a £2 flat rate as I spent under the minimum needed for free postage (£35). I also collected my reward points as Monsoon/Accessorize have a reward card scheme. Even though I am slightly disappointed with Z for Accessorize S/S designs, due to the lack of semi precious stones (which made the designs stand out) I think this piece made up for it and I shall enjoy admiring/ wearing it.

Available from:

Thursday, 9 March 2017

Rutilated Quartz Gold Ring

I purchased this rutilated Quartz ring from the handmadejewelsstore via Etsy UK. It cost £32.62. The stone is black rutile and measures 10mm. The band of the ring is 1mm. I chose the gold over sterling silver option as I thought it brought out the black strands of the stone and contrasted well with the clearness of the stone. The ring is very comfortable to wear as the band is thin. It does stand away from the finger slightly but even as someone who is forever rubbing my eyes and risks scratching my glasses it still fits close enough to my finger for this not to happen. 
I have purchased from this store before - I bought some tourmaline ear crawlers (and some opal ones that are waiting to be reciewed). The jewellery is very well made and the stones are unusual. The customer service is great. It normally takes around 2 weeks for my items to arrive in the UK.

The ring can be found here: Here

Tuesday, 7 March 2017

Primark #BeautyandtheBeast Chip Purse/ Trinket Box #win

  Last week Primark released a Chip purse/ trinket/ jewellery box to celebrate the release of the live action film Beauty and the Beast. He is adorable and measuring 10(h)x9 (top)x7(base) mm is very roomy to hold lots of coins and jewellery. Primark sold them for £4 but they quickly sold out. I got mine for £11.99 via EBay, which for me was great as I don't have a Primark nearby, so factoring in parking, petrol and hot chocolate plus they might not have any left I was happy to pay this.

Primark may be getting a restock in May.
To win your very own Chip you must be
Following my blog and comment below

Extra entries
Retweet "Ive entered to win #Chip from #BeautyandtheBeast"
Find my IG post hereand comment "Ive entered to win #Chip" IG @sparkling_magpie if link doesn't work.

Closing date 02/ April 2017 11.59 GMT . Open internationally.

Monday, 6 March 2017

Buckley London Jewellery Revamped & Restyled


Buckley London Jewellery was established in 1989 by Adrian Buckley.  I remember this brand being stocked in a now defunct local department store. It always seemed overly blingy rather than sparkly, the presentation boxes were always stacked up/ flung on a table and the packaging was rather dark and 1980s (this was the late 1990s/early 2000s.

Wandering through Debenhams, Market Street, Manchester, a few weeks ago my eye was caught by a sparkling ring display.  Buckley have had a makeover. The packaging is crisp and eyecatching, the ring display features sparkling faux diamonds anchoring each ring and the jewellery is well made and wearable, no longer a throwback to Dynasty or Dallas.

The jewellery is designed in th UK and made out of various metals including 18k gold plate, rhodium and silver.  The stones are swarovski and cubic zirconia. The prices are comparable to other costume jewellery designs - the ring I put at the top is £29.99.  There is currently a 70% off sale  on their website.

Available from:

Friday, 3 March 2017

Disney: Beauty and the Beast Jewellery

I purchased my official Disney Beauty and the Beast jewellery pieces from EMP, an online "Geek" store established in 1986 that stocks a wide variety of alternative clothing and merchandise including: Disney, Marvel, Gaming and band merchandise.  The items I bought ranged from £7.99 - £16.99 and arrived within  3 days of me ordering them.  As with the other jewellery collections brought out to celebrate the release of the live action film, the red rose features heavily in the collection.  They are not gimmicky or twee  and would suit eiher a child or adult Disney enthusiast.

These are the most reasonably priced official Beauty and the Beast pieces of jewellery.  All pieces are silver or gold toned and nickel free.  The length of the mirror necklace is between 61cm-71cm and the mirror pendant is 2 x 4cm.


The rose jar earrings are made of nickel free metal and plastic, have fish hook fasteners and are gold toned. They measure 8.9x6.4x1.4 cm.  The rose wrap bracelet is a little enamel rose, polyurethane and metal, measuring 85cm

The tree necklace is very similar to being sold at the Disney Store for £19.99, the only difference is the packaging.  It is made out of gold tone metal and is nickel free.  The necklace measures 46com and the pendant has 9 glass stones, measuring 12.7x7.9cm.

I have not shown pictures of the watches, choker and ring.  These can be viewed at EMP.  There are two watches, one is chunky with a stained glass image of Beauty and the Beast (in Prince form), £32.99 and a charm bracelet watch with several charms: rose. rose in the dome, Mrs Potts and watch itself (£32.99).  There is a scarf watch for £29.99.  There is a ring which fits all sizes (£7.99) with a secrest message "true beauty is found within" , a bead charm bracelet (£12.99) which consists of two bead bracelets.  The black one has a  rose charm, the red has the mirror. The choker is made out of the same material as the wrap bracelet and has a rose charm hanging from it (£7.99).

W.                   in

To win this bundle worth £40.97
follow this blog using either bloglovin or email here

for extra entries follow me on IG here

and retweet: I've entered to win a #Beauty and the Beast bundle of jewellery enter here:http://sparklingmagpie.blogspot.co.uk/2017/03/disney-beauty-and-beast-jewellery-win.html

Comment with which entries you have completed. closing 20 March 2017, open internationally. Good luck!!!

Available from:

Rose Wrap Bracelet (£16.99)
Mirror Necklace (£12.99)
Roses and Teacups (£12.99)
Tree (£11.99)
Rose Jar (£11.99)