03 September 2018

A Guide to Hosting an Unforgettable Hen Party, courtesy of i heart wines | *COMPETITION*


A hen party is a rite of passage for every bride-to-be, one last carefree and mischievous celebration with the girls before saying, ‘I do’! However, the humble hen do has come a long way since hot pink L plates, polyester veils and plastic tiaras. In fact, research shows that in the UK we now spend an astronomical £507 per hen party, as celebrations have become more extravagant than ever.

Sound familiar?! Not to worry, with wedding season just around the corner, the experts at i heart Wines have created the ultimate DIY hen party guide to ensure you give the bride-to-be a night to remember – without breaking the bank!


 Shake Things Up

Forget hitting the tiles for a cocktail class, bring the party to you by hosting your very own at-home mixology masterclass. Not only is it just as fun to create your own tipples at home, it’s also a great way to break the ice and get the party started.

If you’re not sure where to start, take inspiration from this delicious range of cocktails from i heart Wines!

Yes Way Rose Cocktail
Ingredients:
- 120ml i Heart Rose
- 120ml lemonade
- 8ml lavender syrup
- Fresh lemon slice
- Basil (to garnish)

Method:
- Fill a large Collins glass with ice
- Pour in the cold lemonade followed by the lavender syrup
- Once settled, fill the remainder of the glass with i Heart Rose
- Serve with a slice of lemon and garnish with a sprig of basil


Hugo Cocktail
Ingredients:
- 1 part elderflower concentrate
- 3 parts i Heart Prosecco
- 1 lime, squeezed
- Ice cubes
- Fresh mint

Method:
- Add the ice cubes, mint, and squeeze of fresh lime to a jug
- Gently muddle the mint to release the flavours
- Add 1 part elderflower concentrate followed by 3 parts i Heart Prosecco, enjoy!



Host a Sophisticated Sparkling Afternoon Tea

For brides with a sweet tooth, an indulgent afternoon tea is the perfect surprise. Bake like Mary Berry and plan a picnic in the garden, complete with delectable cakes, sumptuous scones and a selection of savoury treats and sandwiches, served alongside a refreshing glass of bubbles!

Better yet, introduce some competition and challenge the hens to get their hands dirty with an at-home Bake-Off competition. At the end of the hard work, kick back and relax with a bottle or two of i heart Prosecco, a light sparkling wine bursting with classic acacia flower aromas and delicate apple and peach flavours.



Go for Glamourous Glamping

If your party is of a more adventurous nature, whisk them away for an authentic countryside camping experience, sleeping under the stars and exploring the great outdoors. Get the vino out while you build the tents, fire up the barbeque and make the ultimate sweet treat - s’mores! To add a decadent, boozy twist to your mini marshmallow delights, enhance the melted chocolate with 2 tablespoons of red wine, such as the i heart Pinot Noir. This will add sweet plummy flavours and a kick of spice to the popular chocolate dessert.

If this sounds a little like hard work or canvas brings you out in hives, rent a cottage for your hen party crew and stock the fridge with lots of prosecco. Play games in the garden or take a walk into the nearest village to enjoy a cosy pub lunch.




Host an ‘Un-brie-lievable’ Wine Tasting

Just like the bride and groom to be (we hope), wine and cheese are a match made in heaven. If budget allows, invite a sommelier to host a wine and cheese tasting. If not, do your own research and impress your fromage-loving hens with your extensive knowledge of grapes and cheese.

As a handy starting point, i heart Wines offers a selection of straight-talking, great tasting wines from all over the world, complete with food recommendations to match. For instance, top off a cheeseboard with the i heart Shiraz- its juicy black fruit flavours and hint of spice make it the perfect match for soft cheeses such as brie or camembert.





Create an Oasis of Tranquillity

Ensure the future Mrs feels fabulous ahead of the big day by transforming your home into an oasis of tranquillity and getting the girls together for the ultimate at-home pamper session.

To enjoy a taste of the Champneys without the hefty price tag, book a mobile spa service to come to your home so you can enjoy a relaxing and peaceful day, complete with bubbles and blow dries, facials and pedicures.

For a true touch of zen, pop some calming music on in the background, light a few candles and enjoy a crisp glass of i heart Sauvignon Blanc, a dry white wine with refreshing fresh cut grass aromas and zesty lemon flavours.


To start your own hen party celebrations in style I'm giving away a selection of i heart Wines wines to one of my lucky readers!

To enter simply follow myself on Twitter, and i Heart Wines on Instagram.

Giveaway Terms and Conditions
- All entries MUST be aged 18 or over at the time of the giveaway to enter.
- Please use the Rafflecopter widget to enter this giveaway.
- To qualify you MUST follow myself, @LippyInTheCity on Twitter and @iheartwines on Instagram.
- I will select a winner at random who will receive a selection of i heart Wines wine.
- Unfortunately this is a UK giveaway ONLY.
- The giveaway closes at midnight on Sunday 9th September 2018.
- Giveaway winners will be contacted within 48 hours of the competition ending.


a Rafflecopter giveaway


Good luck! xoxo

Thank you so much to the fabulous people at Speed for giving me the opportunity to experience i Heart Wines. The sample bottles I received were complimentary and for review purposesall opinions are my own. 
Please drink responsibly. 
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13 May 2018

Date Night Favourites | Lippy In The City

Garrad and I love a date night. We’re currently in the process of saving up for our wedding but we still make time for a date night at least once a month, whether that be grabbing a quick pizza and a cider, or a full-on Michelin star experience, we feel it’s important that we spend quality time together when we can. I love getting dressed up if we’re going out somewhere special, so today I thought I’d share with you some of the makeup products that I reach for if I’m putting on the glitz...

I like to start with a good foundation when I'm going out-out. My skin isn’t the greatest atmo, and if I can fake the ‘flawless’ I’m all for it. My current go-to foundation is the EX1 Invisiwear Liquid Foundation in shade 1. Like the name suggests, this is their lightest shade but it’s still a smidge too dark for me so I wear this when I’ve applied a bit of St Tropez. The foundation has a buildable to full coverage finish and it won't leave your skin looking cakey, it’s absolutely gorgeous!



Blusher and highlighter are another of my go-to makeup products and these miniature ones from Becca are the dream. Granted, they’re expensive, hence why I have the baby versions, but the pigmentation and blend-ability is second to none. I have the Mineral blusher in shade Flowerchild and the Shimmering Skin Perfector Highlighter in Moonstone.

False lashes are a firm favourite of mine and are great for adding that extra touch of glamour on a date night. If you’re a regular around these parts you’ll know that as much as I love falsies, I’m not the best at applying them... (practice makes perfect eh).

I've recently discovered a brand called ESQIDO. They reached out to me and for the last few weeks I've been testing a pair of their mink lashes in the style Starlet, as well as their ESQIDO eyelash glue. The Starlet lashes have been designed to provide volume at a shorter length, making them perfect for people with smaller eye shapes like myself. The ends are winged out to give a beautiful lifted effect to your eyes, plus the lashes are mounted on a soft cotton band making them comfortable to wear, yet durable enough to reuse multiple times - It's safe to say, I'm addicted!

ESQIDO lashes are handcrafted from the softest and finest naturally shed mink hairs and I can literally apply these quicker than I can apply mascara, within a few minutes I don't even notice I'm wearing them anymore.



Whilst initially browsing the ESQIDO website, there were so many gorgeous lashes to choose from, I didn't know where to begin. If your unsure like me on which lash shapes suit you best, ESQIDO offer a fantastic Lash Guide that you can work through to discover your perfect pair of false eyelashes in no time at all. 

After wearing the Starlet lashes numerous times I can safely say they're one of the best pairs of false eyelashes I have ever tried, I'll definitely be purchasing another pair for my wedding. The ESQIDO eyelash glue that I received is also out of this world good, I promise you your lashes won't budge all day! It's been specially formulated to be latex-free so it's perfect for sensitive eyes too.

Have you tried any of my date night favourites before? Which products do you reach for when your going out-out? xoxo


A massive thank you to the team at ESQIDO for giving me the opportunity to experience these amazing Starlet Mink Lashes. The samples I received were complimentary and for review purposes, all opinions as always, are my own.

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08 April 2018

Ready to feel the heat? | Lippy In The City


I love eye shadow palettes (let me just put that out there), I really do… But, as much as I love eye shadows, there’s only so many taupe-y brown shades a girl can have before you end up with a million duplicates.

The Urban Decay Naked Heat Palette however, is a whole new ball game! When I initially saw it, I have to admit, I wasn’t sold on all the warm, burnt orange hues. A few YouTube tutorials later however and I knew I had to have this palette in my life. As I'm currently on a spending ban, I was fortunate enough to receive this gorgeous palette as a gift from my Mum.




Let me start off by saying the packaging is absolutely stunning, never mind the eye shadows (lol). The palette feels study and well put together, something that would withhold potentially being bashed around whilst travelling. It also contains a large mirror which is always a bonus and a double ended eye shadow brush. I like to use the brushes that come with palettes as the quality of them has increased dramatically over the last few years and this brush is no exception. You could easily use this brush on its own if you were in a squeeze and needed to do your eye make quickly.

The Urban Decay Naked Heat Palette contains 12 eye shadows, 7 matte, and 5 shimmer shades, and they all compliment each other beautifully. I have to admit, there a few shades in the palette that I’m never going to touch, ‘He Devil – a burnt matte red’ for one. It’s just too bright, and too orange to work on my skin tone. I have, however been reaching for ‘Chaser – a light nude matte’, and ‘Sauced – soft terracotta matte’ for my transition shades, with ‘Lumbre – a gorgeous copper shimmer with gold pearl’ on the lid and ‘Ashes – deep reddish brown matte’ in the outer corner. This combination is so beautiful and the warm colours make my eyes look super green, I love it!





I've been most impressed by the eye shadow formulas, the matte shadows in particular. Matte shadows have a tendency to be overly chalky and difficult to blend which often ends up with them looking patchy. These eye shadows on the other hand blend like a dream! I couldn't believe how quickly I blended out an eye look, this will definitely be my eye shadow palette of choice going forward when I'm in a hurry.

Have you tried the Urban Decay Naked Heat Palette yet? xoxo
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05 April 2018

Getting to the bottom of it... My IBS Story | Lippy In The City


This is going to be a completely different blog post to my usual beauty and lifestyle related ramblings (pre-warning). Today, I'm going to talk about IBS, or Irritable Bowel Syndrome to give it it's full horrible name. When I look back, I'd say I've been suffering with IBS since I was around 14, that's half my lifetime! It comes and goes with varying degrees of severity but has been significantly worse for me during the last 16 months.

This recent episode started when I came back from Cuba in January 2016 where I'd had the most amazing holiday with my boyfriend, but during the holiday and the weeks that followed I could tell there was something seriously up with my gut. I was ranging from not going to the bathroom for two weeks, to having to go multiple times a day. This was made significantly worse by the crippling pain that I was experiencing in the process. The pains in my stomach and lower abdomen were like nothing I had ever experienced before, I remember being in work in tears as I was in the bathroom praying that the pain would subside as I felt like I physically couldn't move, it was a really scary experience. As the pains in my stomach wears off, I'm left with a dull ache down my thighs and lower back which isn't too pleasant either.

As well as the pains, desperate urge to dash to the loo, and stomach gurgles, I bloat. LIKE. NO. OTHER. I can frequently resemble the look of a women 84 months pregnant. Many of my clothes don't fit when I'm having a bad day and I feel like a sausage that has been filled too much, almost like I'm ready to bust at the seems. Elasticated waistbands have quickly become my bff's.

One day I decided that enough was enough, I couldn't continue to live this way (if you can call it living). I was passing up opportunities and saying no to things quite simply through the fear of needing the loo. I dread to think of all the things I've turned down over the years because of my IBS. After a particularly bad morning in work I got an emergency appointment at my local Drs who did in fact confirm that I was suffering with a bad bout of IBS (no shit Sherlock...) I have both IBS - D (D for the diarrhoea version) and IBS - C (C for the constipation version). People can have either one of the other, or be unfortunate like me and swing between the two. IBS doesn't currently have an 'official' cure, I manage mine as best as I can but it can be made worse by certain foods, stress and your environment, you have to learn over time what your personal triggers are. I was prescribed Alverine Citrate by my GP which has been an absolute god-send. Alverine Citrate is an anti-spasmodic medication that helps stop the spasms in your gut that cause me the crippling pain. I take these twice a day as the pain in my stomach is by far my worst symptom.
(There are many different IBS medications available, your GP will prescribe which is best for you and your symptoms).

Over the last few months I have researched numerous natural remedies to try and ease my symptoms too. I've found that heat works particularly well for me, on bad days I sit with a mini hot water bottle up my jumper (I'm sure my colleagues must think I'm crazy) but if it works, it works. Hot showers and baths are also firm favourites of mine, I find the hot water on my stomach and back so soothing. I've come to realise that caffeine aggravates my stomach too so I tend to stick to peppermint tea whenever possible, but some days you just have to accept though that nothing is going to help and riding it out is your only option. Those days are the worst.

I've also started experimenting with a low FODMAP diet. Two weeks in and I can honestly say I've never felt better, I haven't bloated once! If you'd like more info on what a low FODMAP diet entails please let me know in the comments and I can pop a blog post together outline it's principles and how it works.

DISCLAIMER: My apologies if this post has offended any of my regular readers. I have been so inspired by the wonderful Jo Coates after reading her IBS story, I had to share mine too. As many as 1 in 5 people in the UK suffer with IBS, yet unfortunately it still carries a massive stigma. It would be amazing if we could get people talking so we could start addressing the issues surrounding this debilitating condition and finally bring these barriers down... xoxo

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05 March 2018

My Top 5 Study Tips | Lippy In The City


I can’t believe I’m half way through the second year of my degree already, time literally flies when you’re having fun! I study part-time with the Open University (whilst working full-time) and I’m working towards a BA Honours in Law. I’d always wanted to go to uni, but for one reason or another its never been the right time. So one day I decided to bite the bullet and go for it, in my head I thought ‘if I don’t do it now I never will, and it was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made.

As I’m now well and truly into the swing of juggling my studies with work, as well as life in general I’d thought I’d share my top 5 tips on how to keep everything up in the air…

1. DON’T STUDY WHEN YOU’RE TIRED
This may seem like an obvious one, but I wanted to mention it as I’ve had many a night where I’ve sat up in my study trying to push through to meet a deadline but the information just isn’t going in. Personally, I work better in the morning, so for me if I’m up against it I’m much better off calling it quits and having an early night and getting up early to finish whatever I’m working on. This might work in reverse for you, you might be a night-owl where you retain information better in the evening, as opposed to the morning. I’ve found it’s best to work out which time of the day works best for you and your brain. That way you’ll be less tired and more productive. Win win!


2. TAKE STUDY BREAKS
I love spending a day at the weekend studying, especially when my fiance is at work, that way I know it’s not eating in to our time together. I like to get up early, get all ready and treat it like a proper work day, that way I get myself into a studying mindset. But sometimes having a whole study day ahead of you can seem daunting, so I like to make a plan of action for the day and schedule in regular study breaks. There’s only so much your brain can take in before you become tired and easily distracted. I like to work for an hour and a half then have a fifteen-minute break. I ideally like to step away from laptop for a bit to give my eyes a rest, I’ll make a snack and a cup of tea, or pop some laundry in. Sometimes I like to watch a few YouTube videos just so I’m not actually concentrating on anything for a bit. After fifteen minutes I get back into it again feeling refreshed and ready to tackle another session.

3. PLAN YOUR WEEK
We all have weeks where we know we have assignments that need to be handed in, but we’ve planned to go out with friends that we haven’t seen in for-evvverr, as well as stay on at work to catch up on the new quarter (as well as planning a wedding and maintain a blog…). These weeks can feel non-stop and be really tough. When I have a week like this coming up I like to plan my whole week out, some days down to the hour so that I know I can fit it all in. By drilling down to the hour you’ll be surprised at how much time you actually have in your week and where you can utilise your free time and get the studying in. For me, it’s usually the weekends or early in the morning. If you got up an hour earlier before work every day during the week you’ll have done an extra five hours of studying by the time the weekend rolls around. That time could make all the difference and even be what takes you from a pass to a distinction.


4. DON’T LEAVE EVERYTHING UNTIL THE LAST MINUTE
Again, this might seem like an obvious one but leaving your assignments to the last minute is
disastrous. You'll be stressed, you know your work won't be your best and you could lose vital marks towards your degree. Over the past two years I've learnt exactly how long I need to prep and write out my assignments. By settling down to them when I know I have the time to do them properly amounts to a much less stressful experience. I have a little routine in place, and so far it hasn't let me down.
(FYI... I need one weekend, and three evenings after work to get my assignments done currently).

5. DO IT BECAUSE YOU LOVE IT
Lastly, make sure that all this hard work is going to be worth it. Only do it because you love it, and because you know it's going to get you one step closer to your dreams. I'm doing it because I've always wanted to be degree educated, to better myself and to prove to myself  (as well as a few others) that I can do it, and I can do it damn well! Whatever your motivation to study is, do it because your going to feel so proud standing up in your gown and mortarboards receiving your degree and all the blood, sweat and tears will have been worth it!

I really hope you've found these study tips helpful, I'd love to know what yours are in the comments below... xoxo

Images courtesy of unsplash.com

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25 February 2018

Eyelashes on Fleek with Peaches and Cream | Competition *CLOSED*



I love false lashes, I feel like they pull your whole makeup look together and really add that extra touch of glamour. I am however, a bit of a newbie when it comes to false eyelashes as I'm usually rubbish at applying them, until I discovered the Peaches and Cream lashes. These lashes are game changers, and I'm totally addicted!

I received two pairs of Peaches and Cream lashes to review from the amazing team at falseeyelashes.co.uk. They stock over 1,500 different styles of lashes from over 40 different brands, so if you're a lash newbie like me, or a falsie connoisseur, there's a brand for you!


I went for style numbers 09 and 17 from Peaches and Cream. Style number 09 is a gorgeously soft, fluttery lash that would be perfect for adding a touch of glamour to any day or night look. These wispy eyelashes are perfect for adding subtle length and texture to your natural lashes. If you're new to the whole false lash game, these would be a fantastic introduction. Peaches and Cream Style 9 are made from a blend of high quality human hair and synthetic fibres, they have a retail price of £4.50.



Style number 17 is very similar to style number 09 but with an added hit of drama! These fuller falsies are ideal for adding length, texture and volume to your look making these lashes perfect for an evening out. These lashes are made using high quality human hair for a professional finish and have a retail price of £6.50 which is amazing for the quality!

I trimmed both sets of lashes to fit the shape of my eye before applying them. The Peaches and Cream lashes don't come with lash glue, but this can be picked up separately at falselashes.co.uk. These false eyelashes went on like a dream for me, I only needing to tuck both corners in once I'd applied them and I was good to go. The lashes felt comfortable and light to wear, and I even forgot I was wearing them within a few minutes.

These Peaches and Cream lashes are so good, I wanted to give you the opportunity to experience them for yourself! One lucky Lippy In The City reader will win two pairs of Peaches and Cream false eyelashes in style number 09 and 17. All you have to do to enter is click on the widget below and follow the steps, the competition closes at midnight on Sunday 18th March - Good luck! xoxo

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Giveaway Terms and Conditions
- Please use the Rafflecopter widget to enter this giveaway.
- To qualify you MUST follow @LippyInTheCity and @welovelashes on Twitter.
- I will select an individual winner at random who will receive 2 pairs of  Peaches and Cream false eyelashes.
- Unfortunately this is a UK giveaway ONLY.
- The giveaway closes at midnight on Sunday 18th March.
- The competition winner will be contacted within 48 hours of the competition ending.

A massive thank you to the team at falseeyelashes.co.uk for giving me the opportunity to experience these amazing Peaches and Cream lashes. The samples I received were complimentary and for review purposes, all opinions as always, are my own.

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17 February 2018

#shareasmile with TePe | Lippy In The City (AD)


Have you ever experienced that awkward moment when someone knows what you've had for lunch without even telling them? (Don’t worry, we’ve all been there). Trapped food in your teeth can be embarrassing, but thanks to the new TePe EasyPick, the latest innovation from the oral healthcare experts at TePe, these moments are about to become a thing of the past.

I've teamed up with Tepe to #shareasmile for today's Random Acts of Kindness Day! TePe is a Swedish family-owned company who have been designing, developing and manufacturing oral hygiene products since 1965. TePe celebrated its 50th anniversary in 2015 and is currently the number one brand in the UK for interdental brushes, plus they're recommended by 94% of dental hygienists across the UK!



The TePe EasyPick is an interdental pick that is gentle on the gums and has a non-slip grip, so whether you’ve just finished your lunch al desko, are enjoying a dinner date or are off to a job interview, TePe EasyPick can discreetly and easily remove any trapped food whilst also cleaning between the teeth, they have quickly become one of my handbag essentials. Developed with the dental profession, TePe EasyPick’s tapered head also helps to clean the hidden 40% of the tooth that tooth brushing alone misses. Just finish with a swipe of your favourite lipstick or lip balm and you're good to go!

TePe EasyPick has an RRP of £4 and is available to buy from Boots and Sainsbury’s. Find out more at tepe-easypick.com.

I'd love to know what you've been up to this Random Acts of Kindness Day?? xoxo


A massive thank you to TePe for sponsoring this post. The samples I received were complimentary and for review purposes, all opinions as always, are my own.
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