24 December 2017

The Best Make-up Products of 2017 | Lippy In The City

It’s got to be said, 2017 was a good makeup year for me. I found products that worked really well for me and my skin type, as well as products that I could apply in record quick time that would last me all day.  Put your last minute present wrapping to one side, grab a cuppa (or mulled wine) and settle in as this is gonna be a long one, here’s my round up of the best makeup products of 2017…

Let’s start with the basics, we all love a good primer and I admit, I do find that my foundation lasts longer when I use one. The primer that I’ve reached for the most this last year has been the Maybelline Baby Skin Pore Eraser Primer. I honestly love this stuff and it applies like a dream! It’s reasonably priced too at around £7.99 for a tube and it has become a makeup bag staple for me over the last 12 months.

Foundation is a must for me, I will even forgo concealer and primer if I need to when I’m in a rush, but foundation I can’t skip. Revlon Color Stay Foundation in the Combi/Oily formula has been a firm favourite of mine for years, but I fell back in love with it this winter when I was going through a particularly bad period with my skin. This foundation blends out so beautifully, albeit you have to work with it quickly as it dries down fast, but it easily lasts me my whole working day without breaking down or looking patchy. I wear shade 110 Ivory (because I’m as pale as a milk bottle) but it matches my skin gorgeously. I’m seriously tempted to use this as my foundation for my wedding next year.

Like I said, I can take or leave concealer on days when I’m in a rush. When I do use it though I love the Urban Decay Naked Skin Concealer (not pictured). I’ve just run out of my last tube and I’m using the Revlon Colorstay Concealer in Fair 10 in the meantime which is also great if you're looking for a drugstore alternative. The Naked Skin Concealer is brilliant under the eyes as I find it doesn’t crease and it works really well as an eyeshadow primer too if your looking for dual purpose products.

I have to admit, I’m not a ‘baking’ kind of girl, either in the kitchen, or on my face, it just doesn’t work for me or my skin. I like a quick dusting of powder to just set down my foundation and concealer. The past year I've been loving this Vichy Dermablend Setting Powder. Don't be put off by the bright white shade, I promise it doesn't transfer on to the skin that colour, instead it has a gorgeous matt, translucent finish. My makeup never looks cakey when I'm wearing this, and a little goes a long way.

Blush and Bronzer
I lovvvveee my blush and bronzer, like I really love it! This was such a hard category for me pick out one specific product as I switch my blush and bronzer up all the time, but if I had to choose just one of each I’d go for the Yves Saint Laurent Sahariennes Bronzing Stones in shade 01, and the ELF Baked Blush in Passion Pink. These two products are at opposite ends of the price spectrum but I love them equally. If you haven’t tried either of these two, I highly recommend that you do!

Now 2017 was definitely the year of the highlighter. I’ve never seen so much glow on my Instagram feed! I love highlighter as much as the next girl, but I like to keep mine on the subtler side. My highlighter of choice is by Makeup Revolution and is in the shade Peach Lights. This is super affordable and gorgeously pretty. It’s perfect for the party season.

Mascara and Eyeliner
Now I’m not going to include an eyeshadow category in my rundown as eyeshadows are complete user preference. I love anything from Urban Decay or MAC as you just can’t beat the quality. Mascaras on the other hand, I’m hands down a drugstore girl through and through. I have been obsessed with Bourjous 1 Second Mascara this year and I have repurchased it many times. It just gives my lashes so much volume and length in record quick time. My favourite eyeliner of all time is the L'Oréal Paris Super Liner Eyeliner (not pictured). I have bought countless bottles of this too and it remains a firm favourite of mine. It’s super easy to apply, even if liquid eyeliner isn’t your thing and it won’t smudge or budge all day.

Eyebrows (on fleek)
The eyebrow fixation has lasted through into 2017 and I have to admit, I feel so much more put together when my eyebrows are looking good (sad, I know). Two products that I reach for on a daily basis to keep my brows in check are Lancome Sourcils Gel (Brow Pomade) in shade 03 Taupe and Natural Collection Clear Mascara. I apply the Lancome Sourcils Gel with an angled brush, then finish by running the Natural Collection Clear Mascara through them to set them in place. My brows take me about 5 mins max to do and I feel like it really pulls my makeup look together.

Last but by no means least is my favourite category, lips! I love my lipsticks and lip glosses and I was ashamed to admit I found no less than 12 (yes 12!) different lip products in my handbag when I last sorted it out. I like to apply my lips product of choice at home before I leave in the morning, then pop it in my bag so I can top it up as the day goes on. Needless to say no one needs 12 lip products in their bag but a few of my favourites include the Maybelline Liquid Ink in shade 15 Lover, this is the most gorgeous ‘your lips but better’ shade and believe me when I say this does not budge for hours! I also really love the NYX Butter Glosses as they are so moisturising and luxurious feeling on the lips, I especially love the shade Crème Brulee.

So there you have it, my round up of the best makeup products of 2017. I really hope you enjoyed it. I’d love to know if you’ve tried any of these and if any of them made their way into your favourites this year?

I hope everyone has a fantastic Christmas and Santa brings you everything you wished for, speak soon - A xoxo

20 December 2017

The Thermal Spa Experience at Bluestone National Park Resort | Lippy In The City

Last week, I got the opportunity as a blogger to stay at Bluestone National Park Resort in Pembrokshire on a mid-week break. With Christmas just around the corner, it was perfect time to grab a quick getaway with my Mum and Auntie to relax and unwind before all the festivities started. If you’d like to know more about our stay, click here to read my resort review.  

I was so excited about staying at Bluestone for the first time that as soon as received my booking confirmation, I immediately booked all 3 of us into their infamous Well Spa to experience the 2hr Thermal Spa Experience (£35 per person).

Located within their Luxurious Thermal Suite, this truly decadent experience encourages you to spend time in six unique pods, each with its own therapeutic benefit designed to focus re-balancing the mind, body and soul. If pampering is what you’re after, then this experience is for you! You will honesty leave feeling like you're floating on air.

The Well Spa was located about a 10-minute walk from our lodge by the lake, and on arrival we were shown through to the changing rooms where we could find towels and robes. The changing rooms, like the rest of Bluestone, were spotlessly clean and had the most gorgeous fixtures and fittings (I’m a sucker for interiors). The showers offered aromatherapy shower gel, shampoo and conditioner, as well as hairdryers and straighteners on the vanity tables for you to finish off with. We were all thoroughly impressed with the facilities and commented that it was one of the best spas we’d ever been to, and this was before our thermal experience had even begun…

Once we were in our robes we headed upstairs to the Thermal Suite. We were greeted by a giant wall plaque explaining the benefits of the six different pods, as well as recommendations for how long to stay in each pod for to get the desired benefits. As this was our first time, we decided to have a go in each pod to work out which ones we liked best, then go back and spend longer in others if we preferred.

Out of all the pods, my favourites were the Marine Steam Room, with marine extracts in the air to invigorate the senses helping to cleanse and detoxify the body. This pod is great for sweating out any colds and winter germs. I also really enjoyed the Herbal Steam Room (can you tell I enjoy a steam room?). The Herbal Steam Room is great for sweating out any sinus problems as the orange essence will help to clear the airways and relax the muscles.

I loved the Sanctuary Relaxation Area too which they recommend you go into either first, last or both. I fell asleep for a good half an hour in here and it was pure bliss. The room was a ‘quiet zone’ so talking was off limits and it was decorated in the most gorgeous deep, dark purple that was soft on the eyes. The beds were angled so that you could sleep in the most relaxing position whilst snuggly blankets and pillows were on hand if you fancied wrapping up. There were also 2 swinging cocoon pods that you could cwtch up in. I’d never seen these before but the slow swinging motion felt super relaxing.

Due to the rather chilly temperatures outside, I didn’t venture out to the hydrotherapy pool, but my Mum and Auntie did and they said it was fab! The hydrotherapy pool uses the temperature and pressure of the water for therapeutic benefits to leave you feeling rejuvenated, invigorated and relaxed.

I did however try the Ice Room which was such a laugh. We tried this after we’d been in the Herbal Steam room which I’m sure made the experience worse as we were already nice and toasty warm.
The Ice room is great for toning and has stimulating effects on the body. We were recommended to rub the ice in circular motions over our body to increase circulation and reduction in cellulite. This was definitely a shock to the system but it left you feeling so refreshed it was kind of addictive.

After all of this pampering and relaxation we were in need of a coffee and mince pie which were complimentary in the Spa Café. 

If you’re a fan of spa’s but not necessarily treatments then you’ll love Bluestone's Thermal Spa Experience as it's completely non-invasive and you can work around the pods at your own pace. I will definitely be booking this experience again on my next trip to Bluestone and fingers crossed I’ll make it out to the Hydrotherapy pool this time… xoxo 

Thank you so much to Bluestone National Park Resort for giving me the opportunity to experience Bluestone for myself. My accommodation was complimentary and for review purposes, all opinions as always, are my own.

17 December 2017

A Pre-Christmas Getaway at Bluestone National Park Resort | Lippy In The City

Set within 500 acres of Pembrokeshire woodland, Britain’s only Coastal National Park, Bluestone is the perfect spot to get away with friends and family this festive season.

When I got offered the chance to experience Bluestone for myself, I jumped at the opportunity to take some much-needed time out to recharge my batteries and unwind. I invited my Mum and Auntie to come along with me as I thought a girly break away was just what we all needed.

The drive to Bluestone from Cardiff takes around an hour and forty five minutes, but with clear skies and snow-free roads the drive flew by, and we were arriving before we knew it! As you can’t check in until 4:30pm and we arrived around 2 we decided to park up and walk into Bluestone Village for a nose around and to get our bearings.

Our first stop was Tŷ Coffi, Bluestone’s resident coffee house, it’s just the cutest and a bloggers paradise! With so many hot drinks, pastries, sandwiches and ice creams to choose from I eventually settled for one of their Winter Warmers which was a very indulgent hot chocolate topped with whipped cream, caramel sauce and crumbled hazelnuts, it was heavenly...

As we were staying in December, we were delighted to find Bluestone had well and truly gotten into the festive spirit, there were Christmas trees and fairy lights everywhere, it looked beautiful.

After we’d finished our drinks we took the rather long walk back up to the long stay car park. Bluestone is a car free zone, except during specific check in and check out times which is great as it means you can walk around freely without the worry of any traffic. Keep an eye out though for the ultra-whizzy golf buggies that you can hire for the duration of your stay though, they’re everywhere!

Bluestone operates a 'Drive Thru' style check in process which was quick and efficient. You follow the one-way system on your personal map to your lodge and can leave your car for up to 3 hours on site whilst you unpack, you must then take it back up to the long stay car park until you check out.

We were staying in a Caldey Lodge that sleeps up to 4 people. Our lodge was number 34, Bartholomew Rise which is located around the Lake, and about a 10-minute walk from the village. These semi-detached single-floor lodges are perfect for couples or smaller families. They feature a double bedroom, twin bedroom, open plan kitchen, lounge, and dining room as well as a wet room. The lodges come complete with bedding, towels and as many kitchen utensils as you could possible need! Our lodge was spotlessly clean, warm and welcoming when we arrived, it was just perfect.

After getting unpacked we headed back out to the village and popped into The Knights Tafarn for a cheeky glass of rose in front of their roaring log fire, we could have happily stayed there all night to be honest! The Knights Tafarn holds quiz nights throughout the week too if you’re feeling competitive.

On our first night we decided to leave the washing up to someone else and we booked into the Farmhouse Grill. The menu was made up of a variety of farmhouse specials, steaks and burgers. I had grilled chicken with garlic mash and seasonal vegetables, it was the perfect comfort food for a winters evening. A massive thank you to Carol who served us at the Grill, she was bubbly, friendly and a fantastic host who made us feel extremely welcome, she really made our evening. 

The next day we woke up really early as we had a date with the Bluestone Well Spa... (blog post coming soon)

The morning sunrise showed us the most gorgeous pinks and oranges and it was a joy to watch the colours change as we sat and ate breakfast in our lodge. If it had been warmer we would have sat outside as our road was so peaceful, but with temperatures touching freezing, we thought better of it!

On our second night we decided to try out the Oak Tree restaurant which, like the Farmhouse Grill is also located in Bluestone Village. Because the weather was so bad we were going to order from their take-away menu (genius idea), but once we arrived, it was so welcoming we decided to ask for a table and eat in. Again, the staff were absolutely fabulous and they truly made our evening. I went for one of their hand-stretched stone baked pizzas with Peppers, Olives, Aubergines, Onions and Pesto. I can honestly say it was the best pizza I’ve ever had! 

My Mum went for the same but had a gluten-free base as she’s Coeliac. We were so impressed with the gluten-free options available at Bluestone, everyone really made an effort to offer as many options as possible, my Mum was loving it.

If you book your luxury Bluestone escape between the 6th November and 7th January you will be greeted by the glittering festive extravaganza that is Christmasland. If you have children, they will relish at the Christmas activities on offer from visiting Santa in his grotto, to making your own chocolate lodge, it’s truly magical!

Sadly, we had to check out on our third day, but our stay had been out of this world. All the staff that we met during our trip were super friendly and helpful. Bluestone itself was spotless clean and the facilities were second to none. We’ll definitely be back in the New Year… xoxo

Thank you so much to Bluestone National Park Resort for giving me the opportunity to experience Bluestone for myself. My accommodation was complimentary and for review purposes, all opinions as always, are my own.

10 December 2017

How to get a big, bouncy blow dry... The easy way | Lippy In The City

A few months ago I reviewed the amazing Revlon Pro Collection™ Salon One-Step Dryer and Styler which kick started my love affair with air-stylers. Since that review I've had my hair cut quite short and the Salon Styler hasn't been able to get into my roots to give me volume quite like it used too. Well, let me introduce you to the latest member of the air styling family... The Revlon® Salon One-Step Hair Dryer and Volumizer.

''The Revlon® Salon One-Step Hair Dryer and Volumizer is a two-in-one styling tool that combines the power of a dryer and volume of a styler to deliver effortlessly beautiful full-bodied, frizz-free volume and brilliant shine.''

I love styling my hair so that I get lots of volume and bounce in it, unfortunately I have very thick hair that hates to hold the height. The combination of the nylon and boar bristles in this styler grip your hair effortlessly to lift your hair from the roots to lock in volume whilst styling to create long-lasting salon results at home (perfect for the Christmas Party season...).

I start styling my hair by parting it into three sections going horizontally up my head. I then take the styler on the highest heat setting (this is just my personal preference, but it also has a cooler setting as well as a cold shot to really lock your style in place), putting the oval brush horizontally under my hair, then curving it outwards as I bring it through my hair. This method gives me lots of volume, and leaves my hair straight yet bouncy. The air styler has been ergonomically designed too so that it's easy to hold and lightweight whilst styling your hair.

''The Revlon® Salon One-Step Hair Dryer and Volumizer unique oval brush design produces frizz-free volume at the roots and beautiful body throughout each strand of the hair. The shape features gently curved sides for smoothing hair with slight volume, while the round edges create gorgeous volume and curled ends in just one step. Infused with IONIC TECHNOLOGY™ and a ceramic coating, hair is left conditioned, smooth and shiny.''

The One-Step Hair Dryer and Volumizer has been designed to distribute air quickly and evenly throughout your hair to cut your styling time in half. Faster drying and styling time also reduces heat exposure that minimises hair damage because you're forgoing the use of traditional hair dryers, curling tongs and straighteners.

I have been using this styler after every wash since I received it and it's hands-down the best product I've ever received, after just one use I was in love! I can achieve a salon worthy blow-dry in under 10 minutes in the comfort of my own home, what's not to love? xoxo

Thank you so much to the fabulous Phoebe at Speed Communications for giving me the opportunity to experience the The Revlon® Salon One-Step Hair Dryer and Volumizers. The sample I received was complimentary and for review purposes, all opinions as always, are my own.
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