29 December 2015

#MyCelticXmas at The Celtic Manor

There's something still so decadent and indulgent about afternoon tea. When the urge for freshly baked scones and fingers sandwiches calls (which is more often than my waist line appreciates...) the only place I like to go is The Celtic Manor Resort in Wales.

This festive season The Celtic Manor offeres an Afternoon Tea with a twist and I was lucky enough to have a preview at their annual #MyCelticXmas Blogger Event.





We were served warm Mulled Wine to start with that had been brewing in dainty glass tea pots with crushed Cinnamon sticks and festive spices. Resident Barman Scott explained that the Cinnamon sticks were used to give that classic festive feel, but also add that extra depth and flavour. Our glasses were finished off with a garnish of Orange slices studded with cloves.

To be honest I could quite happily have drunk the whole tea pot...



Once we had finished our Mulled Wine we were offered a selection of loose leaf teas' to accompany our first course. I opted for Chamomile (far left) as I love it's delicate and refreshing flavour.
  

Our first round of savouries came in this gorgeous mini picnic hamper which was too adorable for words! My favourite was the Crab Blini and the dinky Welsh Rarebit on Toast. I'm definitely more of a 'savoury' person so I was in heaven with these.


Next we were served these beautiful plates of finger sandwiches and festive sweet pastries. The Celtic Manor's Head Pastry Chef Karl, also stopped by to introduce us to his latest culinary creations in person before we all tucked in. 



Now afternoon tea wouldn't be complete without Scones, and these Vanilla and Chestnut, and Cranberry beauties didn't disappoint. They were fresh out the oven and beautifully light and moreish served with Homemade Jam and Clotted Cream.


From Carrot Cake, and Pistachio Marzipan Waffle Cones to indulgent White Chocolate Christmas Pudding Truffles, The Celtic Manor's Festive Afternoon Tea has something for everyone this Christmas season.

The Celtic Manor serve their Festive Afternoon Tea in The Olive Tree and Garden Room until the 4th January if you'd like to experience it for yourself.

Please call their Reservations Team for more information 01633 410262 or click here... xoxo

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28 December 2015

A little Oscar update...

Oscar, our West-highland terrier is now just over 4 months old, he's grown so much lately I thought I'd share a few of my favourite pictures of him with you whilst he's still a puppy.
 

 
 
 

 
 
 
 
 
He is still keeping Garrad and I on our toes, but 99.9% of the time he's awesome and the best decision we ever made. He can now sit, lie down, give his paw, is toilet trained and loves a walk.
 
I hope everyone had a fantastic Christmas and is looking forward to the New Year? Please let me know if you'd like to see more Oscar updates in 2016.
 
With love... xoxo
 
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23 December 2015

An evening at the Newbridge on Usk

The Newbridge on Usk is an award-winning five star 'restaurant with rooms', situated in a picturesque location on the banks of the river Usk. It is owned by The Celtic Manor Resort and reflects the same glamour and high standard of the resort but with a homegrown feel. 

Last month India (The Jewel Beauty) and I decided it was about time we treated ourselves to a girl's evening out, and we thought that the Newbridge on Usk would be the ideal spot. 

Upon arrival we were greeted by Ronan, who offered us a seat in the lounge whilst we enjoyed a Vanilla and Passion Fruit Mojito's and drooled over the menu.







For starters I opted for the Smooth Liver Parfait with Port jelly, pear chutney and brioche (£7.95). The brioche was buttery, and crumbly while the parfait was deliciously smooth. The pear chutney broke through with a slight tartness that was perfect. I loved it!



For mains both India and I went for the Roasted 'Twenty-Eight Day Aged' Welsh Beef  with Slow cooked flat rib, celeriac bake, salsify, beetroot and horseradish (£22.50). This was hands down one of the best pieces of beef I've ever eaten. It was cooked medium-rare which is my preference but also how Ronan recommended.



 I had never tried beetroot hot and cooked before, I'd only ever had the pickled variety that everyone seems to have without fail every boxing day with cold meats. I admit, I was a little apprehensive of it to begin with, but it was surprisingly delicate in flavour. I'd definitely try it again with beef.



By the time dessert came around, we were both getting a little full... So, our solution to this was instead of missing out completely, we grab 2 spoons and share one . We went for the Apple and Cinnamon Roll with homemade Maple syrup ice cream (£6.25). 
When I saw this on the menu I was expecting a swiss roll style dessert and was a little surprised when an actual mini apple pie arrived. Nevertheless it was awesome and in hindsight I should have a ordered a whole one to myself... #AllTheFood. The pastry was light and flakey and the apple inside was beautifully sweet with a hint of cinnamon. Plus the maple syrup ice cream was what ice cream dreams are honestly made of.

If you haven't tried the Newbridge on Usk yet, then you really must. It's perfect for a girls evening out, couples date night or a relaxed Sunday lunch with family. The atmosphere is cosy and intimate, with a seasonal menu to die for. Plus the cocktails are not to be missed!

For more information and reservations contact The Celtic Manor on 01633 410262, or visit their website here... xoxo
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03 December 2015

A Few New Things...

This week I picked up a few little bits that I had been on my 'to buy list' for a while. I know I'm very late to the party with some of these, but I thought I'd share them anyway...


I have needed a Beauty Blender (£16.00) in my life for what seems like a million years (...First world problems).
When I saw that I could get 20% off one at Selfridges this Black Friday, I bit the bullet and went for it. I opted for the Classic Pink version as I've heard mixed reviews on the other colours. When it arrived I was shocked at how little it is, but once you run it under the tap to dampen it, it expands to nearly double it's size! I use the flat bottom side to 'bop' my foundation all over my face, and then the pointier end to blend around my nose and eyes. I am 100% converted to this after using foundation brushes for years. I have never been able to get my foundation looking this flawless, so effortlessly before. I'm curious to try the other products in their range now. Any recommendations?

EOS Lip Balm in Sweet Mint (£6.50) is another product that I have waited far too long to get my hands on. I noticed that Boots started stocking these earlier this year making them now much more readily available. The sweet mint scent appealed to me most and I love the fact that they are 95% organic, and 100% natural. They are also paraben and petrolatum free. At £6.50 they are pricier than the average lip balm, but the packaging is adorable and the design is unique I feel they're a must try.

I started out with the intention of buying an eye-cream. At 25 I decided it was time I invested in one. However, I got distracted in the skincare aisle and picked up Olay Anti-Wrinkle Instant Hydration 2in1 Moisturiser (£9.99) instead. This was reduced down to £4.99 and I was drawn to the fact that it claimed to provide a hydrating and smoothing base under my make up. This has a really light, mousse like texture and it quickly absorbes into the skin. I have been really enjoying this and I definitely think it helps out with the longevity of my make up.

Last but not least I picked up Eylure Pro-Lash Dylash in Black (£9.45). I have been struggling to wear my usual mascaras lately as they have been irritating the areas around my eyes. I picked this up so I could give my eyes a bit of a rest and see if that helped with the issue. The only downside is that I hate leaving the house without a bit of mascara and eyeliner. Being told you look tired and ill is not my best look! So, I thought this might provide a interim solution. I'll keep you updated on how this works out.

I hope everyone is having a great week and I'd love you to enter my giveaway if you haven't already... Speak soon xoxo

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30 November 2015

Make Up Revolution New-Trals vs Neutrals Palette: The Review plus *GIVEAWAY* (CLOSED)

Make up Revolution has quickly become one of my favourite make up brands. The quality is outstanding and their affordability blows me away.

My latest acquisition is the New-Trals vs Neutrals (£6.99) eye shadow palette and it provides an autumn twist on the standard neutral palette. The bottom row is full of gorgeous taupe's, pinks and browns, whilst the top row is alive with warm salmon shades, red's and terracotta's.


The eye shadow's are highly pigmented whilst remaining easy to blend. I also love that Make up Revolution have added matte shadows into this palette as well as satin and shimmer ones. It makes this palette hugely versatile and a great Autumn/ Winter travelling companion.

(Top Row)

(Bottom Row)

I own a lot of eye shadow palettes (beauty blogger issues...), but I can honestly say that this is a complete stand-out in my collection and I own no other palettes contain shades even remotely similar to any featured here, I absolutely love it!

To celebrate Lippy In The City reaching 100 Bloglovin followers I am giving away one of these gorgeous palettes to one reader as a thank you for following me on my blogging journey so far.
To think that 100 people regularly read my blog honestly means the world to me and definitely brightens my day, so thank you!

Giveaway Rules
- Please use the below Rafflecopter widget to enter this giveaway.
- To qualify you MUST follow Lippy In The City via Bloglovin, which is the first option on the widget.
- Unfortunately this is a UK giveaway ONLY.
- Giveaway prize will be posted within 7 days of announcing the winner.

click here
The giveaway will be running until Christmas eve 2015 - Good luck, and thank you again! Here's to the next 100 :)

xoxo


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26 November 2015

Current Favourite Skin Care Products

I'll be honest, skin care doesn't excite me quite like make up does. Removing my make up in the evening can feel like a chore. When choosing new products I tend to gravitate towards anything quick, easy, multi purpose and hydrating. My skin type is combination to oily but can feel dehydrated so I love a good scrub and moisturiser.


My skin care routine starts every morning in the shower with Good Things Manuka Honey Creamy Cleanser (£4.99). This is my face wash of choice in the Autumn and its readily available at most drugstores and supermarkets, I grab mine at ASDA. I find this cleanser gentle and moisturising, it almost feels like I'm massaging a luxurious lotion all over. It doesn't foam up like a lot of cleansers, but it still manages to remove any remaining traces of last nights make up with ease.

I use Origins Modern Friction face scrub (£33.00 for 125ml) in conjunction with my cleanser twice a week. I cleanse first, then massage a pea size amount of this all over my face and neck, being careful to avoid the eyes. I have talked about this scrub before and I honestly can't get enough of it. Its gentle, yet effective and I will always have one of these in my skin care collection.

As soon as I'm out of the shower I apply as small amount of Clean and Clear Blackhead Clearing Cleanser (£4.20) to a cotton pad and sweep it all over my face and neck. I use this in place of a regular tonner and I find it so refreshing. It keeps oil at bay throughout the day without drying my skin out. I definitely think this helps if I'm breaking out around 'that time of the month' too.

Nivea soft moisturising lotion (£2.45 for 75ml) is a classic that I come back to time and time again. It's super cheap and a fantastic handbag essential. I love Nivea Crème in the winter months too, but it can be a little heavy as a day cream so I'd recommend keeping this one as a night cream.

In the evening I use Garnier Micellar Cleaning Water (£1.99) to remove all of my make up on about 3 separate cotton pads. If I've had particularly heavy make up on that day I like to second cleanse with my Good Things Manuka Honey Creamy Cleanser. I also repeat my toning step with Clean and Clear Blackhead Clearing Cleanser before finally moisturising.

My skin care is simple, fuss free and it works for me. I'd love to know what skin care products are part of your daily routine?

xoxo
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24 November 2015

'Brows on Fleek'... Or Something Like That

I'm a huge fan of Instagram brows, I really am, but can I achieve them on myself? That would be a no... And that's ok.

What I have discovered though is Lancôme's Sourcils Gel Eyebrow Pot in 03 Taupe. One word - amazing! This little pot of awesome-ness is waterproof and long lasting. It's easy to apply and hard to mess up. You can apply as little or as much as you want and you still won't look like you've been attacked with a Crayola by a 3 year old.


This is available in 6 shades natural looking shades from Blonde to Black. At £19.50 it's a little pricer than it's Anastasia Beverly Hills counter part, but much easier to get a hold of.

I apply it in small strokes through my brows, concentrating on the sparser areas. Because the gel is quite a hard consistency, I like to apply it with a stiff angled brush. This also helps with precision. After I've applied it, I run a clear brow setting gel through my brows and comb them out with a spoolie. 'My brows but better' is the look I like to go for.


I have been using this daily for just over 2 months and you can see how little I've actually had to use. I think it's well worth the money and I wouldn't be without it in my make up bag now.

What brow products can't you live without? xoxo

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22 November 2015

Lately on Instagram #7

I hope everyone has had a fantastic and productive week. I'm enjoying a lush relaxing Sunday with my boyfriend Garrad and puppy Oscar. Here are a few snippets from my last week on Instagram...


Until next week... xoxo
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17 November 2015

What's On My Face: Normal Working Day Edition

Today I needed makeup that would be hard core and stick with me through a long ass day! These lucky few made the cut...


For my base I reached for Collection Lasting Perfection Foundation in 1 Porcelain (£5.99). This foundation is super long wearing on my combination skin and I could still see it a full 12 hours later. Its medium to full coverage and a little goes a long way. I personally like to set this foundation so I used MAC Studio Fix Powder in NW20 (£22.00).

Today's blusher and highlighter were my 'go to's' of the moment. Make Up Revolutions I Want Candy Blush in Blushing (£2.99) and VIVID Baked Highlighter in Peach Lights (£3.00). This combo is just perfect if you're fair skinned like me. I'm loving matte blushers paired with a subtle highlighter currently as I like to tone down the shimmer in the cooler months.

I'm the first to admit that I'm no makeup artist with it comes to my brows. They are honestly not Instagram ready in any way shape or form (Though I desperately wish they were!). My daily aim is to just leave the house with them looking groomed and neat. I love using Lancome Sourcils Gel in 03 Taupe (£19.50) with an angled brush through my brows just to fill in any sparse areas and give slight definition. 03 Taupe is a light to mid brown with neutral undertones. I don't find it too grey or red, it's fab!

Now, I'll be honest, I'm probably the world's biggest mascara lover, I can't leave the house without it... Ever. I reviewed this Dior mascara a few weeks ago and I have been reaching for it on the daily. You can check out my review of it here! If you afford to splurge on a mascara this Christmas, this is the one to go for.

Lastly I went for an old favourite on the lips that I have spoken about numerous times before, L'Oreal Paris Infallible Gloss in Flash Dance 208 (£6.99). This is one of my favourite shades for autumn. It's rich and deep, whilst still being neutral enough to wear for work.

I love my morning ritual of applying makeup before I go to work. For me it sets a standard and makes me feel confident. I know people will say 'You should feel confident without the need for make up' but each to their own. I'm not shy to admit that adding a little lip gloss always made me stand a bit taller going into a meeting :)

xoxo

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14 November 2015

Meat@Celtic: The Review

This week I was fortunate enough through work to attend the preview night of  Meat@Celtic, the taster to The Celtic Manor's seventh restaurant Steak on Six. My friend India (The Jewel Beauty) and I were so excited, we could hardly contain ourselves all week.

We were greeted on arrival by a rather indulgent 'Brecon Bramble' cocktail. The 'Brecon Bramble' is a welsh homage to the original Bramble cocktail created by Dick Bradsell in the 1980's. This includes dry gin, lemon juice, sugar syrup and crème de mûre and blackberries to garnish - My idea of cocktail heaven! 


To start with I went for the Welsh Smoked Salmon cured with Halen Mon Sea Salt and lavabread, smoked with Carmarthen oak. This was carved at our table, and served with mini blinis and a creme fraiche and dill dip. It was delicately flavoured and extremely tasty. I'm a huge smoked salmon fan so this was right up my street.



India opted for the Waldorf Salad that featured apple, celeriac, candied walnuts, créme fraiche and truffle. The presentation was beautiful and it made for a fantastic starter before a heavy meal. I believe the candied walnuts were the stand out item on this dish.


The show stopper of the evening for me was my main course, the Steak on the Tile. 

This featured 20oz of 28 day matured British steaks, cooked medium-rare served on a Terracotta tile with homemade herb butter. This was for two to share, so India and I went halves. This was served with chunky chips and baby carrots.

The steak was cooked perfectly to my liking, but if you prefer your steak a little more well-done you can leave it on the hot tile to sizzle for a little longer.



#Posers... We couldn't resist!


India opted for the chocolate, orange and whisky mousse served with orange sauce and chocolate powder for dessert. This was a chocoholics dessert heaven and tasted incredible, whilst also looking incredibly haute nouvelle. 


I went for the classic Bourbon vanilla creme brulee with shortbread. This arrived at the table flaming which was unexpected but awesome! The creme brulee was light and creamy with a crispy sugar top. It was simple and delicious.

For bookings and information contact The Celtic Manor's  Reservations Team on +44 (0)1633 410262 or check out Steak on Six click here.

I'd love you to take a look at my Instagram and Bloglovin if you fancy staying up to date with my daily musings.

xoxo

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