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

Thursday, 31 August 2017

Book Review: Claiming His One Night Baby by Michelle Smart

Claiming His One Night Baby by Michelle Smart is the second in the Bound to a Billionaire trilogy., which are about the Pellegrini family.  Natasha Pellegrini, Pieta's widow, has sex with Matteo Manaserro, Pieta's cousin and becomes pregnant.  She has been hiding Pieta's secrets for 7 years whilst Matteo resents her for choosing his cousin over him 7 years ago.  They have to overcome all these issues and Pieta's lies before the Pellegrini family will accept them as a couple and they can have a happy ending. 

 I received my copy from NetGalley and Mills and Boon via #Mills and Boon Insiders, but this does not influence my opinions as all opinions are my own.

Wednesday, 30 August 2017

Paul & Joe Limited Edition Pressed Face Powder, Secret D'or & Face Powder Case


It is no secret to those who know me that after my  jewellery  collecting obsession comes Paul & Joe Beaute. I wore a blue cat print shirt with matching lipstick case to my PhD graduation over 10 years ag and have collected their makeup priatily for the packaging ever since then.

Paul & Joe Beaute was established in 2002 by Sophie Mechaly following on from the success of her fashion line - Paul & Joe (there is now also Paul & Joe Sister). The beauty range often mirrors the quirky prints that can be seen in her fashion designs and the designs are always feminine, fashionable, quirky and fun.

Launching on September 01 2017 the limited edition face powder is £26 and the sparrow compact £10.  The pressed face powder is almost like a gemstone. The golden, glimmering champagne pearls are in colour correcting tones.  The powder brightens the skin, adding luminosity rather than a glitter ball shine, evening out pores and even out the skin tone, making your skin look flawless. The powder does have the traditional P&J Beaute floral scent but it is not overpowering and soon fades away. 

The limited edition compact case is £10, has a cute little sparrow wearing a bobble hat on the top and is sturdy.  It is plastic (I dropped mine on the floor and it was fine) and the mirror is quite magnifying.  The case fits any Paul and Joe pressed powder. 

I purchased mine from Amazon UK but they will also be available from ASOS and Beauty Bay.

Sensse Go! Mini Sonic Facial Cleansing Brush & Exfoliator & #WIN

I got the Sensse Go! Mini Sonic Facial Cleansing Brush & Exfoliator (£39.99) free to review from review directory.   I got it from Amazon UK and it came within 3 days.  The mini cleansing brush comes nicely packaged in a white and rose gold embossed box, so would make a nice present.  The box contains a brush. 2 brush attachment, the white one is for cleansing, the blue exfoliating and a usb charging cable.  

The brush is small so it is great for travelling and fits nicely in  my small hand.  The speed of the brush is controlled by a button that is pressed  to make it go faster or slower as required. It has two speeds and it is waterproof, so can be used in the shower.  There is a red charging light that comes on when the device is being charged.  Once charged the brush will do 180 uses.  The brush comes with a 2 year no quibble guarantee.  

As I have a fused neck I cannot bend it and so have difficulty bringing water up to my face. I also have difficulty washing my face and neck due to dexterity and spatial awareness issues.   This brush makes washing my face, neck and decollete much easier and a less tiring process.  The brush helps me reach the top of my face and around my neck, or if I am having a bad day the process of someone else washing my face is speeded up.    I cannot dip my face closer to the water to rine off doap, face masks etc but once the cleansing brush is damp I can just move that around my face to remove my cleanser etc.

I wouldn't say this brush has revolutionised my cleansing routine.  I have  noticed, however, that although I  got a few, painful, spots at first, these have now gone and my skin looks brighter and clearer.  The brush has made my cleansing routine less tiring and less time consuming which for me is always great as I am continually looking for products and devices which will make my life easier.  

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Tuesday, 29 August 2017

Korres Red Vine Year Round Hair Protection Spray

Korres Natural Products was established in 1996 by Georgios Korres, a Pharmacist from the Greek island Naxos. He bases his products on homeopathy and natural ingredients and creates safe, effective and affordable natural skincare products.  

Korres Red Vine Year All The Year Round Hair Protection Spray (150 ml/ £10 from Amazon UK including p&p for those with Prime membership) protects hair from UVA photo oxidation.  The spray also nourishes and hydrates the hair, acting as a leave in conditioner, leaves hair smelling summery and is for all hair types.  It does not contain mineral oil, silicones, parabens, animal by products and has not been tested on animals and is suitable for use by vegetarians and vegans.  It does contain traces of wheat/nuts.  See photo for all the formula facts.  I use this all the year round and it leaves my waist length hair soft whereas before I started using it my hair was like straw due to illness and long term medication.  

Clarins Double Serum: Revamped, Now Even Better For Your Skin

 I was lucky enough to win a bottle of the new, improved Clarins Double Serum by the Stylist Beauty Council,  but the opinion expressed in this blog post is my own.  50 ml is £75.

Clarins Double Serum has been revamped, the mineral oil has been taken out and the more potent version of turmeric, tumerone, so the serum now includes 21 potent age-control extracts which target visible signs of ageing.   It firms and visibly reduces the look of fine lines and wrinkles, improves radiance, evens out skin tone  and reduces the appearance of pores.  

Double serum uses an innovate dual technology combining powerful plant extracts to ensure they work in harmony with your skin.  The dial dispenser ensures you get a made to measure amount, required tor your skin type or climate,  by turning the dial on the top of the bottle  to dispense the right amount and pressing the pump.  Once the serum is dispensed, mix in the palm of your hand and pat on your skin.

My skin is already looking clearer, brighter and my pores appear less obvious. My forehead wrinkles are not as noticeable and my crows feet and area around my eyes look younger and less crepey. I will repurchase as I can see a definite improvement to my skin and I enjoy using this serum. 

It is quite runny so a little goes a long way and the smell is really relaxing.  The serum is suitable for all skin types,even those with sensitive skin, all ethnicities and all ages.

Available Here: Clarins Website

Daisy London x Ellie Goulding Limited Edition Charity Bracelets

Daisy Jewellery and Ellie Goulding have collaborated to create limited edition charity bracelets in aid of World Wildlife Fund.  The bracelets aim to raise funds for and awareness of WWF.  The bracelets are geometric polar bears as the WWF is trying to raise awareness that polar bears are under threat as their sea ice habitat is destroyed by climate change.  Currently there are estimated to be between 22-31,000 in the wild but as they are forced to spend longer on the shore depending on their body fat for survival as they can spend less time on their natural sea ice habitat.  It is estimated that by 2050 1/3 of polar bears will have disappeared.  

The bracelets range from £45 -£75 in price.  They are made of either sterling silver and 18ct gold plate.  The friendship bracelets are £45 for the starling silver red cord bracelet and £59 for the 18ct gold plate black cord bracelet. The polar bear measures 20mm.  Friendship bracelets are easy to adapt to a wide range of bracelet sizes, you just pull the bead and adjust to fit.  The silver polar bear bracelet is £59 and the 18ct gold plate bracelet £75.  The bracelet is 160mm and the bear 20mm.  The bracelet has a built in extender chain.

I have the gold polar bear bracelet and love it.  I can wear it all the time as it lies flat against my wrist and fits nicely so I am not worries that I will catch it on anything.  The geometric polar bear is so cute and doesn't look gimmicky or cartoonish.  The only thing I would change is the id disc which has the identifying D on onside and ED on the other. I would have preferred some mention or acknowledgement of the WWF as that is why the bracelet has been made.

I purchased my bracelet from the Daisy London website. The site is easy to navigate and my bracelet came within 3 days.  It came securely packaged, with a little Daisy London bag.   The bracelet was in a little Daisy London embossed pouch and box.  There was also a leaflet enclosed explaining the idea and intent of the bracelet.  

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

Friday, 25 August 2017

Sticks & Stones: Parrots, Rain forests & More!

The Tropicana Parrot Derby Fashion Cane is a bright, fun walking stick, combining a brightly coloured jungle with parrots peeking out! The stick is adjustable from 77cm - 100 cm and as it is not a foldable stick it would be easier to shorten it further. 

I already showcased the Oasis/ ZSL in a previous post - the parrot stick would look great combined with these items or with a foliage/ jungle print dress/ trousers etc for a fierce fun look. The accessories I have included further down would add a further animal/ jungle dimension to the overall look.

If you wanted a more muted take which would allow the stick to be the focal point, matte forest green or other dark hues such a burgundy (which is a key winter colour) would look great together.  This combination would combine the bright flamboyance of the stick with a more understated background.

These accessories continue the parrot/ jungle theme,  with their prices ranging from £5 at Claire's Accessories for the parrot feathery necklace to £132 for the Hummingbird Alex Monroe pendant. The two Lao top cases are in the Sass and Belle sale and there are other items in the same print, making the whole outfit fun and fashionable!!!!

Available from:

Bamboo Parrots and Butterflies Walking Stick Stand (£36)
Sass & Belle laptop covers £7.50 and £10 (sale), £4 each for bird keyrings
Alex Monroe Hummingbird Necklace £132
John Greed Origami Parrot Necklace £10
John Greed Safari Ellie Necklace (£29.95)
Stick and Cane Shop: Tropicana Extendable Derby Cane (£35.95)

Thursday, 24 August 2017

Wet Brush Pro Flex Dry: A Review

The Wet Brush Pro Flex Dry brush is flexible to ensure maximum detangling, has a vented brush and has heat resistant Intelliflex bristles.  I do not need to use it to blow dry as I use a hot brush dryer but I do find it fantastic for brushing hair masques and conditioner through my wet hair in the shower. I also find it useful for gently brushing out huge knots rather than having top rip the ball out I just apply some hair oil - normally bio agave - and then brush through.   

I purchased this item myself.
Available from: Amazon UK

Tuesday, 22 August 2017

Jane Asher's Kitchen at Poundland Ceramic Bird Storage Jars

These cute ceramic bird storage glass jars are part of the Jane Asher's Kitchen at Poundland range. They cost £1 each and are available in yellow, blue and pink. They have very secure stoppers as they are primarily designed for use as food containers but I use them to store my Paul & joe Beaute lipstick cases and smaller makeup and various jewellery items including my converters and jewellery fasteners. They look great on my dressing table and I have seen them used for a variety of other storage uses including sewing, jewellery findings and shells. They are a great find for just £1 each and are available in certain Poundland stores and, of course, via eBay resellers!

I purchased these items myself.

Sunday, 20 August 2017

Z for Accessorize: Ariel Semi Precious Bracelet

This Ariel bracelet is part of the Z for Accessorize range which is available from Accessorize either in-store or online.  It is £15 and comprises of 3 green semi precious stones set on a pretty gold plated double chain.  It has a built in extender, fastens with a lobster clasp and has the distinctive Z disc next to the clasp.  It is delicate and chic and will look great both with summer and autumnal colour schemes.  

Available from:  Accessorize

Rhino Force Charity Bracelet

Made by The Bead Coalition, the rhino force bracelet is a charity bracelet which enables 50% of the profit to be donated to rhino conservation and raising awareness about the plight of the rhinos. All the information about  donations/ financial statements can be found on The Bead Coalition's website. The bracelet itself is made from white, red and black beads. These are separated by coconut bead.  The black and white beads represent the rhinos and the red beads symbolises their plight.  The coconut bead represents the colour and toughness of the rhino's hide.  The is also a silver tone charm which has Africa on one side and a rhino head silhouette on the other. I purchased this item myself via Ebay UK and it cost £8.56 and £4.67 postage from Africa.  The bracelet is a great way to support a worthwhile cause.  It is eye catching and a great talking point.

I purchased the item myself
Available from Ebay
Bead Coalition Website

Saturday, 19 August 2017

Babyliss Smooth Dry Hot Air Styler

I purchased the Babyliss Smooth Dry Hot Air Styler when it was QVC's TSV for £24.99.  This brush dries and styles at the same time.  It is comparable to the Revlon Perfectionist 2 in 1 Dryer which I have already reviewed.  It is slightly smaller than the Revlon one and I find  the switch is easier to use with hands that are sometimes stiff.  

The Babyliss has two heat settings and a cool setting, comes with 2 detangling combs and has a removable filter.  The Smooth \Dry Hot Air Styler paddle brush has a mixture of silicon bristles and straightening fins which help straighten hair whilst ionic conditioners boost shine and reduce the dreaded frizz.  The paddle brush allows you to add volume to your hair whilst drying and also smooth fizz and tame fly away strands leaving hair looking straight and glossy.

Available from:

Sunday, 13 August 2017

#win £50 Amazon Beauty Box & £30 Voucher of Your Choice

Win this box of makeup/ skin care items and a £30 voucher of your choice. Open internationally.  Opens 15 Aug 2017 closes 30 Aug 30 2017.  Just fill out the rafflecopter requirements. Good luck

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Saturday, 12 August 2017

Book Review: Amanda Prowse, The Art of Hiding

The Art of Hiding by Amanda Prowse is published by Lake Union Publishing and is published on the 22 August 2017.  Nina is the main character of the book and the book charts the course of husband dying, finding his company is bankrupt and so she has to start over with a tween and teenager in tow.  This riches to rags story shows that rich is not always best.  Her two boys, Declan and Connor are 2 self absorbed individuals when they have all the material goods they want and attend a private school - Kings Norton College but grow and improve as individuals when all they have known is ripped from them by the bailiffs and they have to move to a small flat and attend a poor comprehensive.  
Nina's support, when her world comes crashing down, is not from the Kings Norton College mums as they drop her but from her sister who works in a pub and the mums whose boys are on the local rugby team.  She has to rediscover and redefine her life and seems excited that she is going to go back to college and retrain to be a nurse.
This book is all about the characters being redefined, adapting and growing as people as circumstances change.  This book is relate-able as it shows that some relationships become weaker,  none existent, or stronger in the face of such adversarial conditions.  

I was sent this book from Netgalley in return for my honest opinion.  The fact I got it for free does not affect my review. 

Thursday, 10 August 2017

Classic Canes/ National Gallery Whistlejacket Derby Walking Cane

Classic Canes have produced several walking sticks under licence from the National Gallery.  They are Whistlejacket by George Stubbs, Sunflowers by Vincent van Gogh and a Still Life of Flowers in a Wan-Li Vase by Bosschaert. They are available as a folding derby stick, derby cane, petite folding derby stick and petite derby cane.  The folding derby stick has 4 pieces and is adjustable between 82cm to 92 cm, the petite version is adjustable from 77cm to 85cm. The cane is adjustable from 77cm to 100cm and the petite 67cm to 90 cm so suitable for a wide range of heights. The canes are £42 and folding walking sticks £46.

I purchased the Whistlejacket derby cane via the National Gallery.  It came carefully package in a tube - i imagine that it is quite difficult to pack up a walking cane to send through the post!  The cane looks like a piece of art.  The horses are strategically placed around the cane and almost look real. The stick is light and comfortable to use, although I would like it if it came with a wrist strap.

Available from:
Whistlejacket Derby Walking Stick
Whistlejacket Petite Folding Walking Stick

Primark Beauty and the Beast Chip Cross Body Bag & Purse

The Chip purse and cross body bag were available for about a second in Primark.  It is an official Disney product. I got mine via Ebay and the pair were £18 including postae. There are still some available on Ebay and the price seems to be slowly gong down.

The cross body bag is cute. It has Chip on one side and is a contrasting pink on the other.  It has a pinky/gold glittery bottom and a iridescent gold nose/handle. The zip goes along the back of the bag rather than the top so it can be difficult to fit things in it.  The strap is quite short as it is meant to be a child's bag and it is not adjustable in length.  The bag measures 12x19cm and the strap 39cm.

The chip  purse, like the bag has Chip on one side and is a contrasting pink on the other.  He has a glittery pink base, a gold iridescent handle and a gold zip at the top. He is fully lined.   He measures 9x11cm

Oasis & ZSL Collaboration

For the first time in its 191 year history, London Zoological Society have collaborated with Oasis  to creating a capsule clothing collection "The Wildest Dream".  ZSL hopes the collaboration will raise awareness for the need for world wide scientific research ad conservation work  with endangered species.  The prints are based upon animals based at London and Whipsnade Zoos and feature tigers, snakes, butterflies, zebra etc,  The clothing includes skater dresses, skirts, dresses, scarves,  t shirts, clutch bags, trainers and sweaters.

The ZSL tiger trainers (£26) feature tigers and butterflies and are are cute, comfortable and look equally smart when paired with either a maxi dress or with jeans.  They run true to size and feel light to wear, they are not clumpy trainers.They tie with a ribbon which I am going to put a stitch through as I cannot bend down or tie bows. 

The Indiana Print Tee   (£22) is a soft tunic style t shirt, machine washable, is made from 100% viscose, with small slits up the side.   It has tigers, butterflies, sloths, parrots  and snakes against a dark, foliage background.  The print is on both the back and front of the top with a black mesh section on the shoulders.  

The Indiana Skater Dress (45), also available in long, features the same unusual print as the Indiana Print Tee.  It is made of viscose (is machine washable)  so  hangs nicely and can stretch whilst look slimming.  The zip draws you in at the waist.  It has cross back detailing with a fastening at the top and a zip around the waist.  As I cannot get my arms that far around my back I do find it difficult to fasten by myself.  .  

The ZSL Tie Front Tee  (£34) features an ant, parrot, cheetah and has a tie waist on the front.  This is hand wash only, which is disappointing, and looks great with khaki trousers or cargo pants.  There is a cut out ladder design on the back.  

Please note I am wearing a size 8, but as I am 4ft 9" not 5ft 10" the tops look different on me compared to the model on the Oasis website!

The collection is available in Oasis online and in-store and key pieces are also available online and in store at the Whipsnade and London Zoo.

Tuesday, 8 August 2017

Falke Sensitive Berlin Women's Socks

Socks, might seem a slightly boring blog post topic, but if like me, your legs swell up, you become obsessed with finding a comfortable pair of socks.  This is were Falke Sensitive Women's Socks come in.  Yes they are expensive - ranging from £7-15 depending upon where you purchase them, but they are comfortable and due to the sensitive, non elastic top, do not constrict your leg if it swells during the day.  
They have anatomic left and right fitting, pressure free, non constricting comfort tops  and handlinked toes so the seem is flat and doesn't rub your them.  They are cotton on the inside and merino wool on the outside of the sock.   The come in two sizes, 2.5-5 and 5.5- 8 and there is a variety of colours. I get mine either insore at House of Fraser Manchester or Amazon UK. 

Monday, 7 August 2017

Poweradd Pilot X7 External Power Battery Bank

Spending a lot of time in waiting rooms and hospital wards I depend upon my phone/kindle/internet access to amuse and distract me but they always run out at the most inopportune moment!   I purchased the Poweradd Pilot X7 20,000 mAh as it (£18.99 including delivery with Prime) has good reviews.   This external power battery bank is suitable for most brands of tablets and phones including Samsung and Apple.  It charges my Apple Ipod ITouch 7 times before it needs recharging itself.  It has dual USB output ports so can charge two devices at the same time.  

I have 3 external power batteries, I can then rotate them when needed. If I am in hospital I will have on in use and someone will bring me a newly charged one so I can swap when it runs out.  They remove the inconvenience of batteries running out when I am just at a good bit in my book or in the middle of playing a game. I just plug my device in to the charger and I can continue.  

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

Saturday, 5 August 2017

Decleor 30 spf Hair and Body Oil

Although Summer appears to have been and gone in the North West of the UK, SPF is still important, especially if you are someone who burns easily as you don't go out very often and your skin is not used to any sun exposure at all. Just because the sun isn't visible doesn't mean you cannot get skin damage. Decleor Aroma Sun Expert Summer Oil with spf30 (£27) can be used on the body and hair.  Containing no mineral oil, it does contain both UVA and UVB filters, protecting skin from sun damage, premature skin ageing and skin cancer.  Suitable for all skin types, it is water resistant and needs to be reapplied every 2 hours or after swimming..  It also contains manoi oil which smells gorgeous and leaves the hair and body moisturised and nourished.
The need for hair SPF is often ignored.  Slather the body and face with high SPF leaving hair to be dried out by the sun, leaving it dry, brittle, stripping pigment from hair and washing colour out whilst burning your scalp!  Decleor hair and body oil solves the problem of carrying two bottles around as it can be used on both and it is in a spray so easy to use. 

I purchased this item myself, it is available from the Decleor Website and the internet web shops that are official stockists of the brand.   

Tuesday, 1 August 2017

Botanics Relaxing Lavender Body, Space and Sleep Spray

As someone who has difficulty sleeping due to constant neuropathic pain and M.E. my saviour comes in a spray. Available from Boots for £5.49 (and often on 3 for 2), the Boots Botanics Relaxing Lavender Body, Space And Pillow Spray is a relaxing 3 in 1 Spray that can be used to spray the calming scent of lavender.  I find that this is a cheaper, purse friendly version of other, more expensive sleep sprays.  At £5.49 it can, and is, especially when hot, sprayed liberally on beds to freshen them up and around the room.  This isn't, by any means, a miracle cure for insomnia or sleeplessness due to constant pain, but I do find it helps to relax me and I am then more likely to drift of to sleep. 

I also spray my cat's bed with it as he is prone to panic attacks and the smell calms him down! He does love the smell of the spray, it doesn't smell artificial and as a lavender aficionado who spends all summer either waiting for the lavender in his garden to smell,   then the rest of the summer sat under it, smelling it, he knows his stuff!

Available from: Boots

Z for Accessorize Carina Stars Ring

The Z for Accessorize Carina Stars gold plated ring looks like a mini crystal ball surrounded by 2 cubic zircon stars.  The focal point of the ring is the moonstone which is eye catching and cut so you can see flashes of  iridescent blues and white,   I don't particularity like the stars and cubic zircon on either side of the ring, but I can look past that as otherwise the ring is a great statement piece.

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

Available from: