2 July 2017

Taking Time Out with St David's Hotel & Spa Cardiff

"St David's Hotel & Spa is always one of the places I recommend to people..."

Although I'm not from Cardiff, I've lived here for a long period of time now and often get asked by people who are visiting Cardiff where they should stay and the best places to go.

St David's Hotel & Spa is always one of the places I recommend to people.  It's based in Cardiff Bay and is a short ride from the city centre (about five minutes in a taxi).  Cardiff Bay is a lovely spot, very easy on the eye and lots on offer in terms of places to eat and things to do (it's also where my office is so I'm biased....obviously! haha)

"....it's easy to forget to take time out for yourself when you're busy."

Now even with all of these amazing places on my doorstep it's easy to forget to take time out for yourself when you're busy.  Would you believe that after 17 years of living in Cardiff I've never even been to the Marine Spa at the St David's Hotel?

So.... a few weeks ago when they invited me in for a treatment I literally jumped at the chance! I'd been in London the previous day on meetings so it was exactly what I needed.

"The moment you step into the Marine Spa you feel relaxed and at ease."

The moment you step into the Marine Spa you feel relaxed and at ease.  Rachel was introduced to me as my therapist for the afternoon and then went through my treatment with me and what she was going to do.   I'd opted for the Decleor Grapefruit and Pepper Body Wrap and the Decleor Aurabsolu Facial and couldn't wait!

The little treatment room was so wonderfully tranquil and smelt divine.  Rachel was so lovely and really made me feel at ease.  One thing a lot of people say to me that puts them off having a facial is that feel a but intimidated by it.  The staff at the Marine Spa are so friendly and courteous though, you needn't be worried.

Decleor Grapefruit and Pepper Body Wrap

The first part of my treatment was the body wrap.  Having never had one of these I was intrigued! The wrap is supposed to slim (decrease bloating and water retention), detoxify, stimulate circulation, improve cellulite and also be an uplifting experience.

This part of the treatment lasted about an hour and begins with some deep exfoliation all over the body concentrating on the thighs, bum and stomach area using the 1000 Grain Exfoliator.   Slim Cream Contouring was then applied all over my body and I was wrapped up in a sheet for ten minutes. After the ten minutes I had a quick shower and then she applied Satin Body Oil all over me. It was the most amazing experience and afterwards I genuinely did notice the difference in my skin.  Not only did it feel soft but it looked smoother and a lot more firm.  I wasn't expecting to enjoy this experience quite as much as I did and I would definitely have another one of these wraps in the future!

Decleor Aurabsolu Facial 

My skin was quite dull the day I visited the Marine Spa and because of this Rachel chose the Decleor Aurabsolu treatment for me because it's supposed to revive tired skin and be hydrating, brightening and revitalising.

Now I haven't had lots of facial's in the past and those I've had I've enjoyed but oh my goodness....this facial was the ultimate in facials!!!!  Let's just say I was so relaxed I fell asleep numerous times! (pretty sure I woke myself up snoring too! oh dear, poor Rachel!)

"...the ultimate in facials!..."

The facial incorporated several steps and lasted about an hour, it left me feeling unbelievably chilled out and my skin looked incredible, with a glow I haven't seen for quite some time! (without the aid of highlighter!)

The Aurabsolu sheet mask was a highlight and felt so soothing on my face, plus it smelt of Jasmine, one of my favourite scents.

Before I left I picked up a couple of the Decleor products to take home with me, the Satin Softening Dry Oil that I've been using on my body daily after showering and it leaves a gorgeous sheen on the body and also the Aromessence Neroli Amara, a hydrating oil serum that I've been popping on under my moisturiser in the morning to up my hydration and it smells ah-mazing!!!! I'd forgotten just how much I absolutely adore Decleor products.

"...like I was floating on air..."

Sadly the experience had to end and I left the Marine Spa feeling like I was floating on air, so much so that I sat in my car for ten minutes before driving off because I felt too relaxed to drive! (note to self - next time arrange for someone to pick me up!!)

It was such a enjoyable and stress-relieving experience and I'd recommend it to anyone who is looking to take some time out for themselves and wanting a bit of a pick-me-up! Or if you happen to be staying in Cardiff perhaps try out the hotel and book yourself in for a spa day too?  Links for both are below





30 June 2017

Why I'm Adoring Bio-Extracts Home Skincare Lab

If you're a regular stalker of my Instagram you'll have noticed me mention a couple of weeks ago that I've been trialling the Bio-Extracts Home Skincare Lab system to test it's effectivity.

Now, when you mention Vegan face creams to most people the general consensus is that they are not going to be as effective as their non-vegan counterparts.  Um....think again! But more about that in a bit.

"Mums know best...."

Do you ever find yourself doing something because your Mum has always done it that way? I know I do and this is the story behind how Bio-Extracts came to be!

Marina, the founder of Nubo cosmetics would educate her daughter, Irina, about cosmetics whilst she was studying a biosciences degree at the University College London.

The family had a definite love for nature and as a result would often go on trips to faraway places to experience very different cultures.  One trip saw them fascinated with a tribe who used natural sources to create treatments and medicinal treatments.

They used this inspiration to research into plant based skincare from a very scientific perspective, using highly purified ingredients to create something that is very effective.

"...changes from day to day.."

What they also realised is that when it comes to skincare, one size cannot fit all, not only due to skin type but also due to the fact that our skin, as a living tissue, changes from day to day.

They created Bio-Extracts home skincare lab for the person who cares about their skin, nature and animals but doesn't want to compromise on performance and likes the idea of 'custom skincare' well.....that's me!

The 'Sciencey' Bit....

So what is this 'sorcery' I hear you all ask?! 

Bio-Extracts uses cutting edge science in all of it's products meaning you get something that is going to deliver maximum results.  

The system is made up of a Bio-Extracts Lamellar System Cream appropriate for your skin type mixed with one of the nine Bio-Extracts Boosts. 

The Lamellar System uses natural 'liquid crystals' formulated to imitate the structure of our own skin and is included in all the Bio-Extracts moisturisers.  On application they 'lock in' hydration and act as a 'second skin' leaving it instantly refreshed and rehydrated. 

"...imitate the structure of our own skin..."

I chose the 'Normal' Bio-Extracts Moisturiser which is suitable for both day and night and is ultra mild.  It contains Argan Oil and is non-greasy with rapid absorption.  The other moisturiser types are Light and Rich each tailored for different skin types. 

The Bio-Extracts Boosters are super-charged serums that deliver active plant derived molecules at exceptionally high concentrations.  The high-tech delivery system ensures it penetrates deep into the skin's layers. (It's phospholipids-based for the techy among you!) 

It's also worth knowing that the products are all vegan, not tested on animals, paraben free, non GMO, natural and British made! 

My experience... 

Ok, so I've been using the system now for two weeks and I've gotta say it, I'm extremely impressed. 

Our skin is ever changing and some days I'll look in the mirror and think 'my face look's so dry and haggard' or some days my skin will look congested and spotty.   Our skin has different needs so a system that allows you to tailor your moisturiser is such a great idea. 

As I mentioned previously, I chose the 'Normal' Bio-Extracts Moisturiser for my skin type and chose the following boosters to mix with it. 

  • Clean to Clear
  • Pore Minimising
  • Firming
  • Anti-Wrinkle
Each morning and night I take a look at my skin in the mirror and decide which boost to mix with the moisturiser.  I have to admit, I find this little ritual rather satisfying and a lot of fun, so much so I actually look forward to my skincare routine a whole lot more! 

This unique line of personal skincare takes a very clean approach and the same approach applies to the packaging.  Both the jar and the syringes are airless meaning they are very hygienic to use. 

I pump a little of the moisturiser from the jar and mix it with the serum on the back of my hand then apply it to my face (it says to do it on the lid of the jar but I prefer doing it this way!) 

The first thing I noticed was the smell, it's so wonderfully fresh and clean smelling and lingers on the face afterwards.  It also seems to have a cooling effect.  I don't know how they do it but it leaves the skin so beautifully hydrated but without that awful 'oiliness' that you sometimes get with a rich cream.  

True to their word, the hydrating skin boosters do exactly what they say they do too! I could not believe my skin the following morning after using the pore minimising one. Such a difference! 

I never thought this kind of effectiveness was possible from a Vegan moisturiser and an organic face serum!

Suitably impressed. 

Try it for yourself... 

Ok so price point wise this isn't the cheapest skincare out there, however, it is by no means the most expensive.  I'd say it's 'mid range' price point.  The pot of cream is £27.00 but will go a long way due to the controlled way it's distributed and the boosters are £19.50 each.  

You can check out the products and work out which ones will be best for you on their website HERE and it will help you to distinguish which creams and boosters are going to be right for you. 

I love the story behind the brand and the fact that it's taken natural, organic skincare to a high-tech level.  I'd recommend you having a look and checking them out if you struggle to find skincare to suit your ever-changing skin type! 

*Disclaimer - this is a sponsored post and the products were gifted to me.  I have genuinely tried these products and have really enjoyed using them so my views are all honest. 


28 June 2017

Polo at The Manor - What I Got Up To!

"Choosing what to wear....."

You'll know (unless you've been hiding under a rather large rock for the past couple of weeks!) that recently I was lucky enough to be invited to the Celtic Manor's annual event, 'Polo at the Manor'.

Having never been to this event before I was really excited to go and of course, part and parcel of the whole experience was choosing what to wear and getting ready for the event!

Knowing that it was going to be a really hot and humid day and that I'd be walking around a fair bit, I wanted something that was going to be comfortable and that I could sit down in easily.  Now as much as I love forking out for beautiful handbags and shoes, when it comes to dresses I prefer something cheap and cheerful so that I can wear it once and buy something else for the next event without the guilt factor!

I chose a gorgeous floral number from Missguided (all links at the bottom of this post in case you're interested!) and teamed it with my Sophie Hulme Bag and Valentino Rockstud heels (surprisingly comfortable - although I did stick my flats in my bag!) and of course my beloved Celine sunglasses, because hello....are you even at the Polo without a pair of sunglasses?!!

"....sink a few glasses of Prosecco in the sun!"

It was a beautiful sunny day and we arrived fairly early.  It didn't take us long to find a great seat and sink a few glasses of Prosecco in the sun! Bliss!

People watching is a must at this event, I loved seeing what everyone was wearing and everyone (both men and women!) had made such a great effort!

"Dogs & Bubbles!"

Polo aside (and I did try and understand the rules, I really did!) there was also lots of additional entertainment and places to buy snacks to keep you going throughout the day.

We opted for 'Dog & Bubbles' for our lunch.....of course! (and shamefully that is my hot dog smothered in tomato ketchup and mayonnaise.....sorry not sorry!)

"Elemis were on hand...."

Naturally, there were lots of photos being taken throughout the day and Elemis were on hand to keep everyone looking gorgeous and photo-ready all day long! Check out the Elemis bus!

16th June 2018.....

As I mentioned previously, this is an event that's held every year at the Celtic Manor Resort, in fact the date has already been set for next year (16th June 2018!) To see what's on offer and book your place check out the details HERE.  It's something a little bit different to do for the Summer and was such a lot of fun, I really really enjoyed myself and can highly recommend going!



24 June 2017

The Real Me...

"I am someone who has many different sides to them..."

It's very easy to judge someone based on what you see on the outside isn't it? I know for a fact that many people think I'm this bag and shoe loving snob who lives for the champagne lifestyle....and do you know what? Yes, I do enjoy working hard to be able to live this kind of life and am I going to say I don't enjoy it? absolutely not! Why should you be made to feel guilty for enjoying things that you've worked hard for? (even though society seems to think you should these days!) It's nice to be able afford the handbag that you could only dream of in your early twenties and to know that you got to this point in your life through sheer determination.

What I am saying though, is that it isn't really what makes me tick inside.  Sure, a new pair of shoes is great but it's short lived satisfaction as far as I'm concerned.  It doesn't light a fire inside or give you a long lasting memory to treasure and surely this is what life is all about?

"...satisfaction from the simplest things in life"

I am someone who has many different sides to them and I'm a bit of chameleon, so to speak!  But, if I'm being one hundred percent honest with myself the real me gets satisfaction from the simplest things in life. A mug of hot chocolate before bed and my favourite tv programme under a cosy blanket,  a visit to see my Mum and Dad, music (I could talk to you for hours about how music has helped me though some of the toughest times and every song from every era will always bring back memories -good and bad!) driving at night and of course, being close to the ocean.

"The sea makes me feel at peace...."

The sea makes me feel at peace, I can forget about everything while I listen to the waves crashing and the wind runs through my hair and blows away any worries or cares.  It's my therapy.

The 'different sides to me' is also very reflective in the way I dress.  My mantra is to dress appropriately for the occasion and of course I love getting dolled up just as much as the next female! Who doesn't enjoy putting on a dress and feeling good?!

However, at the heart of me is a surfer chick I mostly left behind in my late teens (I went through a phase at one point of only liking the boys at school who surfed!!!)  My school bag was always a surf brand and I used to cover my exercise books with pictures of the sea and surfers!

Behind the Instagram posts, this surfer chick still exists and what many of you probably don't know is that I actually feel my best when I'm wearing minimal makeup, a vest and hoodie, cut off shorts or ripped jeans and either my converse, flip flops or Ugg's! (not ashamed! I love Ugg boots!!!) I feel comfortable, I feel at ease and I feel happy.

"The importance of being true to yourself...."

As I get older I've embraced the importance of being true to yourself and as a result I've started to let this part of me trickle into my day to day wardrobe.  I care less now if people are going to like what I'm wearing, it really doesn't matter.

The sharp eyed of you will have noticed my love of cut off denim shorts make an appearance into my every day wardrobe and Monica Vinader do some slightly more 'grown up' friendship style bracelets that are smart enough to wear with other outfits.   Over the past couple of years I've definitely been reducing the amount of makeup I wear and I feel more in tune with myself as a result.  I feel more like me.

I'll leave you with this thought.....

Be more like you

Shop the post... 

Vest top - Animal - get it HERE

Denim Shorts - GAP 

Trainers - Converse - get them HERE

Bracelets - Monica Vinader - get them HERE

Hoodie - Animal - get them HERE

White Shorts - Animal - get them HERE

Sunglasses - Ray Ban 

Beach Bag - Zara - last season

*Disclaimer - this post contains items gifted to me by Animal


16 June 2017

The Perfect Solution to Holiday Packing with Mintd Box

"It's that time of year again...."

It's that time of year again, we're all jetting off to faraway places in search of some rest, relaxation and a break from our every day lives!

Part of the enjoyment in going away is the process of preparing to go away and of course this includes various clothing purchases (that you probably don't need but seem necessary!) and making sure you have dinky little versions of your favourite toiletries!

Then of course there's the in flight bag,  a very integral part of the packing process!

"Mintd Box have put together a fantastic selection of Premium Travel Beauty Essentials...."

Mintd Box have put together a fantastic selection of premium travel beauty essentials this month, perfect for taking away on holiday with you.

The box contains over £142 worth of items all of which have been chosen to be great to take away with you on holiday and I've been testing them all over the last couple of weeks!

Cleanse by Lauren Napier - 5 Cleansing Wipes (Full Size worth £8.00 from www.netaporter.com)

I don't very often use cleansing wipes at home, but for travelling, particularly when I want to remove my make up on a long haul flight they are absolutely essential.  These remove make up like a dream and smell lovely, perfect for popping in your hand luggage!

Stephie Ann - Anemone Silk Eye Mask (£23 from www.stephieanndesign.com)

As soon as I received this I immediately threw away my very sad and sorry looking Emirates eye mask.  I sometimes try and sleep on the plane but find it very difficult if the cabin is still even dimly lit so an eye mask is a must. 

It smells of lavender and feels so soft and luxurious, I've actually been using this at home too to help me sleep!

Miller Harris - Lumiere Doree Hand Cream (£18.00 from www.johnlewis.com)

Anyone else watch the skin on their hands shrivel up on a flight?! It's crazy how much the aeroplane cabin robs your skin of moisture.  Therefore, I always carry hand cream on a flight and this is such a gorgeous smelling one from Miller Harris.  It sinks in quickly and doesn't leave your skin feeling greasy at all.

Aurelia Skincare - Miracle Cleanser With Cloth (Super Deluxe Size £14 from www.aureliaskincare.com)

When I go away I hate carting a full size cleanser with me, you only end up using a tiny bit and usually they are packaged in quite large heavy tubes or bottles.  A mini version is a most welcome addition to my travel bag!

This is a beautiful cleanser (and so it should be, the full size version is £62!) and leaves your skin hydrated, clean and bright and I would actually consider purchasing the full size version!

Rosalena - Goodness & Tonic Face Mist (£27.00 from www.rosalena.co.uk)

I love the little play on words here (gin and tonic,  goodness and tonic, get it?!) and this is a gorgeous smelling, reviving, hydrating face mist.   The other great thing about it is the fact it's multipurpose and can be used as a toner, primer, refresher and re-energiser. 

Face mists are also great for cooling down by the pool or on the beach and I wouldn't be without one on holiday!

Bliss Triple Oxygen - Ultimate Protection UV Moisturiser (£35.00 from www.lookfantastic.com)

You've heard me banging on about including an SPF / UV moisturiser in your daytime skincare regime and here's another great one to try.  This is light, soothing and an absolute necessity if going away.  I've also started to use this at home and it's a great base for makeup and doesn't leave a white 'cast' on the face like some SPF's can.

Smith & Cult - B-Line Eye Pen in Black (£21 from www.netaporter.com)

This is a brand I have a lot of time for! I love their nail polish, the mascara I tried from a past Mintd Box was also exceptional and this eyeliner does not budge for love or money! Therefore it's perfect for hot, sweaty nights on holiday!

The nib is very very fine, resulting in easy-peasy application.  I love this!

So those of you who are perhaps not familiar with Mintd Box they are a relatively new beauty subscription box with a but of a difference to the usual 'same old same old' beauty boxes .  They off only  premium brand products stocked in high-end retailers such as Net-a-porter, Harvey Nichols and Space NK and the products are predominately full size so you're getting a great deal

The best part about the Mintd Box is the money saving to be made.  For example, this month's box is worth £142  and you can get it for just £65 (with additional 10% off if you use the code WELCOME17) It ships to the UK, W. Europe, North America and Australia too!


17 May 2017

Day to Night with Harrods X Tom Ford Beauty

"I love to be able to match my makeup and 'look' to what I'm doing...."

When it comes to beauty and fashion, I love to be able to match my makeup and 'look' to what I'm doing....if I'm at work, it's polished and business-appropriate....for the weekends, when I'm chilling out in a hoodie and ripped jeans it's a pared-back, natural make up with beach-waves in my hair..... but for a night out with the girls, we're talking all-out glam and sophistication!

I enjoy being able to create different looks, but me...being me, I am forever in a rush to get ready (I'm the world's worst procrastinator!) so products that are quick to use and can be layered to create different looks are my absolute favourite. 

My love affair with Tom Ford Beauty began many years ago with a lipstick purchase....I remember it well... 'Spanish Pink" and it's still one of my favourites to date.  

"As a luxury brand they always seem to get it right..."

As a luxury beauty brand they always seem to get it right.  The eyeshadow quads are buttery smooth and blend effortlessly.  Their fragrance range is phenomenal for both women and men and don't even get me started on those Lips and Boys mini lipsticks - I can't leave a Tom Ford stand without one these days...my current addiction being 'Addison'

It's so easy to make a natural and minimal 'day' look into something seriously sexy and sultry for the evening without having to spend hours and hours in front of the mirror! 


Cream and Powder Eye Colour in 'Peach'

For sunny days I've really enjoyed using the 'Cream and Powder Eye Colour' in 'Peach'.  It's perfect to  blend quickly onto your eyelid with your finger tips to create such a pretty and effortless colour wash in seconds.  

"....it lasts and lasts!"

The shade would suit all eye colours, it's highly pigmented and the best part is that it lasts and lasts! I paired it with a bronzy skin and highlight, a slick of mascara and a coral-toned lipstick.  It's the perfect 'take away on holiday with you' product.  With a quick spritz of 'Soleil Blanc' (Summer in a bottle!) and you're ready!

You can browse the full range of TOM FORD Eye Make-up on Harrods Online 


"...something more glamoruous..."

So as the sun goes down and you're getting ready to go out for the evening it's time to switch this day-time look up for something more glamorous.....

I started with adding the glitter powder shadow from the top of the 'Cream and Powder Eye Colour' and then smoking out the eye using a darker shadow and lots of bronzy eyeliner, making sure it was smudged out for a sultry and sexy look.  In addition to this I added more mascara and contoured my face and added a slightly darker lipstick and a gloss.  Simple!.....and took me less than ten minutes! 

Next....I turned those tousled beach waves into a straight, sleek style and put on a little black dress and some killer heels!

"...the perfect evening scent"

As a final touch I doused myself in Tom Ford 'Black Orchid' which in my opinion is the perfect evening scent.  It's seductive, intoxicating and creamy and has top notes that include black truffle, blackcurrant and citrus.  Middle notes incorporating orchid, gardenia and jasmine and finally dark chocolate, vanilla and sandalwood base notes.   I defy anyone not to love this!  

Some of my favourite scents are from Tom Ford and this is no exception!  Browse the full range of TOM FORD fragrance at Harrods Online. 

I have ordered many a beauty product from Harrods Online over the past few years (being based in Cardiff unfortunately I don't always have easy access to some of my favourite brands sadly!) but have always received impeccable service from Harrods.  The whole process of ordering online is simple  and your products arrive quickly and beautifully packaged and I can't recommend them enough. 

Do you have your eye on anything from Tom Ford Beauty? Let me know if you pick something up! 

As always, thank you for reading x

* Disclaimer - this post contains some products that were gifted to me by Harrods and Tom Ford Beauty, all views however are my own and I was not paid for this post. 

© Elisabeth Rilatt

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