Sunday, 30 June 2013

Guest Spot: Lizzie ~ Troll Date with friends post-script - A retailer's perspective

As we approach the end of the month I was quietly reflecting back on the mad weekend that penned a whole series of "Troll Date with friends" blog posts aided and abetted by Pauline, aka Guest Blogger and Troll Date Organiser Extraordinaire!  It seems hard to believe that it was only 4 weeks ago I became the proud (but slightly apprehensive) owner of a bangle and collected the first of my Summer Stones Kit.

Roll that forward 4 weeks and I've now got 2 bangles and a whole host of Summer Stones that I've still not managed to blog about yet (due mainly to having difficulties getting good photos of those pesky amethysts)! Not to mention the various ooaks, accessories, small and beautifuls, critters, artisan beads and another amethyst that have crossed my path in that time.

My thoughts turned to our lovely retailers and how it must be for them, so I decided to ask one of them what it's like getting ready for bead hungry collectors to descend on your store!

Photo courtesy of

Lizzie, the lovely Manager at Beaverbrooks explains...

"When Pauline told me she had organised a special Troll "meet up" I wondered what I could do to make it extra special for the lovely Trollies coming?

I contacted my Head Office to ask if I could get my hands on a selection of uniques and they said "Yes".  I was expecting a handful but to my delight they told me they had organised for 34 special beads to arrive!

My next task was to ask our Troll Rep if she could let us have any goodies, which she duly supplied in the form of Troll sweeties and bookmarks.  Gosh how was I going to keep all this secret from my lovely Troll buddies...

Mars asked if we would be getting the new release of beads for the meet up as by pure coincidence the Troll Date had been organised on the same day... special request actioned!

The uniques arrived in the shop and what beauties.  I immediately knew which one Mars would bag and had a good idea which ones Pauline would love.  Having seen Alison's beautiful combinations online,  I guessed she would love some of the oranges.

My biggest challenge now was to ensure that none would disappear onto my colleagues bracelets!!  So into the safe they went with a big "DO NOT TOUCH" sign on them.  Two days before the actual meet up 3 sets of the Summer Stones arrived... Wow!

The day of the Troll meet up finally arrived, wine chilling in the fridge all ready.

It's always a pleasure to see Pauline, Mars and Emma but I finally had the opportunity to meet the lovely Alison.


Wine in hands I presented the first tray, the uniques, and they did not disappoint (phew), Mars went straight for "her" bead and before I knew it the stock was somewhat depleted.

Next the Summer Stones, Mars fell well and truly off the bead wagon diving straight in with a new bangle to put them on!

Then out came Pauline's "special box" of reserved beads with some gorgeous Royal Oranges and a Red Bordeaux Leather bracelet for Alison.

Bead in bags, gloves for sparkling their treasures and wine topped up we proceeded to have a catch up for the rest of the day.

Love my beads and the friends they bring.


Photos by Mars and Shane

Friday, 28 June 2013

Double or Quits

So I've been really enjoying wearing my new Trollbeads bangle.

Bangle by itself with 3 small & beautiful beads

Bangle with a twisted leather combination and Summer Stones

Bangle and bracelet set featuring Rocky Beach Kit, Redbalifrog (RBF) beads and a variety of "stones"

If you follow Curling Stones on Twitter or Facebook then you may have noticed the sneak preview of the full bracelet and bangle set I made earlier this week...  I previewed the following surprise on there too.

Double Stacked Bangles!!

So having gone from no bangle, because it makes me feel sick to still feel slightly sick but with a bangle to yay double stacked bangles!!  So what happened?  Another tax refund?  Surprise present? Mugged a fellow trollie?

No, it was a case of right place, right time again.

Having previously returned a gorgeously deep purple faceted amethyst (fab colour but one too many inclusions) and having sold an artisan safety chain - my PayPal account was looking quite healthy, so coupled with an XS Aurora Bangle Set with the Aurora bead missing and it was bargains all round!  A few days ago I said that the only thing stopping me from buying a 2nd bangle was the price... obstacle overcome!

So how am I coping with the double trouble of putting two on and off?  Well I've struck extra lucky with this one, it's definitely an XS as it's the same size as my first, but with one slight twist...

The back of both my bangles, see the difference?

The second XS bangle has a slightly larger opening!

So my on and off dilemma on this one really isn't a dilemma, those extra couple of millimeters really make a big difference.

I'm so pleased to have found a second bangle at such a great price, and even more delighted to have one with a slightly bigger opening.  

So for anyone afflicted similarly, I guess bangles really are worth trying on/comparing in person.  I have no idea whether this is typical or a one off, but if anyone else has experience of "same size but different opening" I'd be really interested in your comments.

Sunday, 23 June 2013

Silvers on Sunday ~ Pearl Zodiac Birthstone Star (and what happened to my haggis)

Last weekend I was all set to enjoy a Sunday afternoon at home when we randomly popped out for a goodbye drink with our near neighbour who was in the process of moving house.

After a few drinks I decided that this was a good time to attempt to cook the haggis from our Troll Date and as haggis takes rather a long time to cook, I used the time to catch up on some blog reading - if you want to see what I like to read take a look at my new Blogroll, it's at the bottom right hand side of my page.  You can click on any of the links to open that particular blog, most recently updated blogs appear towards the top of the list thanks to a nifty gadget I discovered on Blogger!

Whilst I was catching up with some of my favourite blogs last Sunday I discovered this post just published by Endangered Trolls alerting me to the fact that Perlen had some retired trollbeads zodiac stars in stock, including the pearl star!

The zodiac stars are a bit of an obsession of mine, I adore this set of silvers with semi-precious stones, and although I have two full sets I recently decided that I wanted 4 of the pearl stars and 4 of the garnet stars to complete my collection.

So with this in mind I put in an order for my fourth pearl star, alerted all my trollbead friends to this opportunity and still had time to choose the Redbalifrog Silvers for my beach themed bracelet - all before the haggis had had time to cook.  So glad we didn't opt for a quicker meal last Sunday :D

Four pearl stars sitting on a bangle - full of possibilities!

Silvers on Sunday ~ Redbalifrog

I've been a fan of Redbalifrog from afar for many months.  I was first introduced to the brand by seeing gorgeous silver beads on my friends' Trollbead bracelets, getting really excited, asking "What's that?" and the answer was nearly *always* Redbalifrog!

Redbalifrog Sea Horse and Nautilus Shell with Sea Urchin in the background (next to the stopper)

Oddly enough by a strange quirk of fate I've just had an almost identical conversation about the Sea Horse as I was writing this blog, I hope this means by blogging Redbalifrog on a predominantly Trollbead based blog there may be a few more fans by the end!

Redbalifrog are based in Australia and have this to say on their website...
"All our beads and jewellery are original pieces... 
They are carved in wax by Yande, who after years in the jewellery trade as a sculptor achieves the most amazing detail.  A single design can take days to complete and is then hand-cast and finished in solid 925 silver. 
You will be happy to know that your purchase from *redbalifrog* helps to financially support a number of extremely grateful and wonderful families in Ubud, Bali. 
We are thrilled that our designs are now being enjoyed by so many people all over the world..."
So let's take a closer look at those beads on my bracelet.

L-R side view: Nautilus Shell, Sea Horse, Sea Urchin

Other side of the beads, the detailing is superb

"Front" view of beads

"Back" view of beads

What I can't convey easily with photos is just how much silver is in these beads, the weight was very, very noticeable when they arrived, for 3 beads that all cost less than a Price 1 silver Trollbead per bead, the weight and size were surprising.  What I noticed next as I took them out of the Redbalifrog bag was that the detailing was even better in reality, hopefully that is something you can see in the photos above.

Overall I've been even happier with my first Redbalifrog beads than I thought I could possibly be, and I thought I was going to be pretty pleased to start with!  These three certainly won't be my only beads from Redbalifrog, as not only am I still lusting after that Dragon lock ever since Victoria blogged about it over on Endangered Trolls, but I've already picked out a few more choice beads ready for my next Tax refund splurge...

You can buy Redbalifrog directly from their website, or from Perlen by following this link.

Saturday, 22 June 2013

Whatever the Weather

Whether the weather be fine,
Or whether the weather be not,
Whether the weather be cold, 
Or whether the weather be hot,
We'll weather the weather,
Whatever the weather,
Whether we like it or not!

In the UK this week the weather has been all over the place in the figurative sense, I've baked in the car, been awash in the car, gone out in a mac with an umbrella and been looked at very oddly when I've returned much later on to a hot balmy summer's eve...

Apart from being British, and my natural inclination to discuss the weather, what is the point of this intro?  Well it makes planning blog photos very difficult indeed!  I want to show you my Summer Stones in much more detail, especially as I've had my final delivery this week *excited squeak* but as I blog on the fly, well photographically at least, it's made it a bit difficult.

So to tease you... a bangle combo from earlier this week!

Summer Stones Bangle: African Amethysts with Lucky Knot Trollbeads

Tuesday, 18 June 2013

Trollbeads Bangle for the Medically* Challenged

The new(ish) Trollbeads Bangle was introduced back in early November 2012, as part of the Christmas Collection, so you may be wondering why it's taken me so long to get around to talking about it?

I loved the look right from the start, a plain solid silver bangle, designed to be worn with a few beads that are kept on by stoppers.  It comes in 4 sizes, XS, S, M, L but buyer beware, it is definitely a try before you buy as a lot of people have been surprised to find they needed an XS bangle!

Image courtesy of

So what's stopped me?

Well first of all it was the price, £90 for the bangle on it's own, without stoppers.

This has been offset by some of the promotions from Trollbeads and retailers alike, firstly the buy a bangle get 2 free stoppers and more recently with the much coveted Aurora glass bead that's only officially available as a bangle set for £125.  Either way it's still a significant investment.  So, er, it was still the price that was putting me off.  I also really wanted an Aurora bead but I wasn't prepared to buy a bangle set just to get one.

Back in March I tried on a friend's S bangle, and here I realised why I was never going to get a bangle, I'm quite sensitive about my wrists and putting the bangle on and off made me want to both vomit and faint at the same time, even blogging about it I'm making sure I'm semi-prone on the sofa! (Not that I blog standing up or anything but you get my point)

So what on earth possessed me to finally buy one, an XS bangle, at our recent Troll Date?

Full Troll Meet Haul - stones, ooaks and finally a bangle!

I'm still not 100% sure, probably because I really wanted one, maybe it was the generous discount Beaverbrooks gave us on the day, possibly because I managed to try on Alison's without fainting or vomiting... I still felt rather uncomfortable, but mainly I think I finally went for it because they look SO good, which is a great motivator for wanting to try and get past my phobic aversion to putting it on and taking it off again (it's absolutely fine whilst on).

I didn't want my new bangle to just become an overpriced bead display stand for my blog photos - so how should I overcome my fear and more importantly my phobic reaction?

I wore my bangle out on the Friday night of the troll meet, with one bead and my stacked pink combo for Alison, it wasn't pleasant putting it on... luckily when it came to taking it off I was so tired (and full of cocktails) plus I was already in bed!

Friday's bangle - last day of May!

Therein a desensitisation plan was born, for those of you who've never had the misfortune to suffer from these types of reactions, I salute you, for those of you who have/do, you may understand my wish to overcome this, or you may just think I'm slightly crazy in that if it makes me feel that bad why bother in the first place?

As I said before I really like the bangle, and seeing so many on our Troll Date in person just strengthened my resolve to give it a proper go.  So my plan was simple, I'd try wearing it every day, and to help with the feelings it evoked I'd put it on and take it off in bed, therefore if I felt wobbly I would already be in a comfortable place!

I loved Saturday's combination, I wore it nestled in a twisted leather design with my new Summer Stones to show off to the girls on our night out.

Saturday's bangle, hello June!

I had a bit of a set back on the Sunday, so decided to give it a miss and try again on Monday!

Monday's trial went okay, bit of a problem getting it off *shudder* but no problems wearing it at work whilst typing all day!  I was really pleased as I've had the ooak above with it's lovely metallic buds for a while but it's not made it onto a bracelet, however the bangle is perfect for wearing single beads to show them off.

Tuesday I had to try the bangle with the Aurora bead I had kindly been sold by a friend who had two and only wanted one.

The Aurora bead was the original reason I was tempted to try the bangle, however it was quite ironic that I bought the two separately on the same weekend!

It was a really sunny day on the Tuesday, I took this whilst I was sat in the garden after work, the Aurora bead is lovely regardless but incredibly pretty in the sunshine!

So what to wear tomorrow?  I decided to try the bangle with 3 beads as I'd been wearing it with just one bead but I was feeling a bit braver about adding more.

This went well, and I've been getting a lot of good use out of my new ooak (unique) and time to use some of the new Summer Stones on here, 2 of my Rhyolites!

During the evening I tweeted a picture along with my snack for the evening, popcorn actually makes quite a good background... and my bangle was toasty warm when I put it back on!

After mastering 3 beads I decided to go for 5!  For Thursday I just added some ambers to my existing combination, I was out walking the dog and it was sunny again so I took a photo - this photo makes me laugh as the shadow shows you exactly the weird things I do when taking photos!

So Friday... end of the week, what to wear?  How about LOTS of Summer Stones!

Friday's bracelet - Canadian Jade triple with Zebra Jasper and Dalmatian Jasper

So I'd managed a week with the bangle bar one day, I'd tried 1, 3 and 5 bead combos and I'd not passed out or thrown up, so far so good.  Wearing 5 beads certainly makes the bangle a lot fuller, and harder to pull apart when taking off and putting on, not that you can move it much as it's solid silver - but it is possible to make it a little easier as it will move apart very slightly.

In experimenting with ways to wear my bangle I'd also tried different ways to put it on and off, the least worst way for me is to put it on above my wrist, via the inside of my wrist sideways on, about an inch above the wrist bone, and then slide it into place whilst twisting the opening to the back and then down to sit on my wrist under the wrist bone.  I can categorically say that my experiment in trying to put it on under the wrist bone was a disaster, I almost ended up with a bangle pierced hand... well I had to try everything!

After a week of solid wearing it was definitely getting a bit easier.  So to celebrate the previous 7 days/ways of wearing my bangle, Day 8 saw me with a no.7 cake!

Tasty!  What also happened on Day 8 was I received some new discounted beads , and not just the ones I was wearing that day from the Troll Date!

Finally I have a peacock and wasted no time the following day to showcase this on my bangle - Day 9!

So on Monday I decided to wear all 3 of my new new beads and let the train take the strain!

My cream galaxy, teal tiger and peacock beads from the Small and Beautiful beads

Tuesday's bangle was back to some of the Summer Stones and the ooak (unique) that matched so well!

Wednesday saw more Summer Stones, Canadian Jade again and a new stone, Agate Dendritic! I liked this so much I wore it Thursday too!

Friday and I wanted a change from the stones and new beads, back to some old favourites, 3 Organic Bubbles!

Saturday I came home to find a little parcel waiting for me, my new Luccicare bead, a magnificent fishy... guess what went straight on my bangle and is still there today?!

My current incarnation of my bangle with my Luccicare fishy as the focal point

And so my 2 week challenge comes to an end, after 2 weeks I'm now much more comfortable putting the bangle on and off, if I'm honest it still makes me a little green at times but it really has been worth putting the work in, so much so that over the last 2 weeks I've really had to struggle hard to not buy a 2nd bangle with another Aurora bead.  This is still probably the best deal if you want the bangle and the Aurora!

The only reason I'm holding off is cash right now, it's still an expensive investment and I have been spending my 3rd tax refund ever since my Troll Date (my first two refunds have been spent on sensible household items, bah!), but I do need to keep some money back for a little special something I have planned for myself in July, but more about that nearer the time...

*phobically challenged is probably the more correct terminology, as I don't have anything physically wrong with my wrists - it's just not such a catchy title!

Thursday, 13 June 2013

Good things come in 3's - Small and Beautiful Collection (with a discount!)

This is not the first time I've blogged about (my) Small and Beautiful Collection and the subsequent beads I've been able to pick up, a Mid blue galaxy, cream galaxy and the Big and Beautiful navy galaxy... that's a lot of galaxies!

I still had another 3 left on my wish list from the original release, a peacock, a teal tiger and a pink ridged/ruffle bead.

Imagine my surprise when I was able to buy 2 of these and another cream galaxy, easily, in the UK, no bead party/knockouts, just a straight purchase, fantastic customer service and a discount!

L-R: Small & Beautifuls: Cream Galaxy,
Teal Tiger, Peacock Bead
Now during their adventures in York, the group of intrepid trollies had stumbled across Fillans whilst searching for Asquiths... if you've not caught  up with the Troll Date with friends series this month it's worth a look!

Chatty trollies that they are, they soon engaged in a detailed conversation about trollbeads as well as how hard it can be to buy uniques easily in the UK, clearly listening the lovely folk at Fillans decided to put their uniques online for everyone!

Amazingly for me, when I popped onto their website to have a nosy, I couldn't believe my luck when I saw these 3 beauties for sale, despite not meaning to buy anything I couldn't resist, I've been after a peacock bead for a while, and now was definitely my chance to acquire one!

Small & Beautiful peacock bead by itself on a bangle

What was even better was Fillans had given us a discount, a whacking 20%, which they have now kindly made available to you dear reader!

Should you wish to purchase any trollbeads from Fillans, just pop along to their website, choose your beads and enter the code Troll20 in the box and voila!

Oh and did I mention the free postage in the UK and £3.50 worldwide shipping?

Whilst I initially put all 3 on the bangle to take a photo...
I liked this combination so much I wore it out the following day

I'm still grinning like a Cheshire Cat having been able to buy these 3!  So from the original release, it's just my final hunt for a pink ridged/ruffle bead.

I'm still looking for the pink version of this small and beautiful bead - known by trollies as a ridged/ruffle bead

I do like the look of a few of the newer designs that seem to be coming through as part of this collection of uniques, so who knows what will come next?

Do let me know if you catch your dream bead from Fillans, one of our group caught a fishie!

Sunday, 9 June 2013

Troll Date with friends: The end of a great weekend ~ Sunday

So a new day dawned, a few hours sleep had been snatched and Pauline picks up the story once more...

"Sunday and the final day of our "mini meet"... we just decided to have a bead play and take some photos of our lovely purchases from the weekend, Mars was on instant messenger so we took a few for the blog as she was already planning out the week's posts!

Alison made the loveliest pink combo that I was almost tempted to steal had she not put it on her wrist immediately."

When I asked Alison for a photo of the bracelet that Pauline talks about, I actually got 2 photos!  On the left is how she made the combo on the day, the photo on the right is the final version as she swapped out Unity for Hugging Heart to match the hearts on the sides and changed the Plain Lock for her Chess Lock.  Both are lovely combos and I think the rejigged version is just perfect!

Whilst Pauline and Alison were busy creating with their new beads, I asked if I could have a close up shot of the combo Alison had worn out the night before on her Aurora Bangle with her Birthday beads, expecting a fairly standard shot I had forgotten it would be Pauline taking the photo...

Pauline's stunning photos were the reason after all for me asking her to write her first guest post for Curling Stones back in August 2012 so I should have known they'd be special!

Pauline continues "All too soon we had to make our way to the train station... with a final stop off at Beaverbrooks where Alison purchased just one more unique!"

Well when Pauline said that, I had to know what extras had been bought!  Alison kindly sent me the photo of her full haul from the weekend...

The new unique is the yellow one that's sitting dead centre in the group shot, but what a haul!

My sharp eyes also spotted a prism in there, I was sure neither Pauline nor I had blogged about that one... I asked Alison about the mystery prism... and of course for another photo!  It turns out there is another member of our group, who is also prone to generosity and this had been bought during one of the meets for Alison as a lovely surprise!

It's really unusual so I asked Alison about it, she said "It looked quite pink in the shop and we wondered if it was a retired red pink prism but it is definitely purple not pink.  It's really very lovely and now extra special because Shane bought it for me as a gift"

I did mention what a great group of trollies this lot are didn't I?

Pauline finishes our tale... "Waiting for the train, we had a chat about the weekend, and Alison's last words to me were "Can't wait for the next one!"  And what happened next?  Husband managed to fix the blender, read the recipe correctly and made a perfect Pina Colada!!!!"

So, from me, thank you to all of our group, the company was great!  A very big thank you to Pauline for not only organising the weekend and hosting the Cocktail night, but also for taking the time out to write and take photos for Curling Stones this week.

Last, but definitely not least,  thanks to our wonderful retailers for looking after everyone so well this weekend, especially Beaverbrooks in Hull who really pulled out all the stops (and the beads) for us!

Saturday, 8 June 2013

Troll Date with friends - Just a quiet meal... yeah right!

So whilst the trio of trollies went off to thrill the Jewellers in York and (eventually) see the sights... I was lounging on the sofa, planning out blog shots and sending photos off to those folk I knew wanted to see more of the Summer Stones Kit!

I was also having a sneaky play with my new beads...

Black Leather bracelet with: Top Row - Rhyolite, Canadian Jade, Rhyolite.
Bottom Row - Canadian Jade, Rhyolite, Canadian Jade (yep it really is!)

Of course I had to go for a twisted leather bracelet with my new black leather, I had an inkling of what I was wearing out later that night so I had a half plan... which I turned into a full plan with the bangle...

I love the bangle with 1 unique showcased in the middle of a leather twisted combination - it's my new look!

So the important things of the day done with my jewellery for the night chosen, photos taken, time to go meet the girls!

I arrived at the restaurant and the first things to be sorted out were drinks and checking out each others new combos, I really like this group of trollies!  Before we got down to the equally serious business of choosing food, I took a quick wrist shot.

We were down by a couple of people for the meal due to unforeseen circumstances, so for those I didn't get a proper chance to meet or say hi/bye to, I hope to catch you next time!

All I can say about the food was it was amazing, really, really stunning!  Pauline was very taken with my Tuna Steak so I have a sneaking suspicion that I know what she'll be ordering next time she eats there!

As our table was reserved for the night and it was bigger than we needed due to being down in numbers we settled in for the night.  Indeed we were the last ones out as they were locking up!

Not ones to call it an early night we retired to a nearby bar and Alison managed to spot another Elephant, she's definitely a Ninja Elephant Spotter!

Once again there was much troll talk, as you'd expect, and many other subjects under the sun as we moved on to another bar (I think we were going to get a "crawl" in there somewhere) but although we had fun dancing it was a bit squished so we moved on again to somewhere that was still lively but with a bit more space!

And finally the night had to end somewhere... I bid my goodnights, big hugs and a promise to keep in touch.  For me the weekend was over and as I made my way home I reflected on what a truly superb weekend it had been.

It wasn't quite the end of Pauline and Alison's weekend... those girls have stamina!  I will tell you all about that, but maybe tomorrow... come back soon!