1 October 2017

Getting Cosy....

"My obsession for cosy knits..."

Autumn.  Falling leaves, crisp air and longer nights.  It's a time to get cosy and cuddle up in big chunky knits with mugs of hot chocolate and your favourite tv programme snuggled up under a big blanket.  I love this time of year but then again I'm one of those people that's always ready for the change of season and I'm sure in a few months time I'll be hankering for Summer again!

Anyway, I digress, let's get to the point here shall we?! 

Is it possible to fall in love with a jumper because I think I have!

My obsession for cosy knits has been fuelled recently by Shein's gorgeous and extremely affordable online selection and every day I find myself adding several more items to my already over-subscribed wishlist!!!  I recently got this gorgeous pale grey one and I can't tell you how comforting it is to wear, I feel like I'm wrapped in a blanket! 

So ok, the price point at Shein is thrifty so you know you're not going to be getting cashmere and wool here. let's just get that straight!  That said, the items are well made and are going to be a lot easier to stick in the wash than your £150 cashmere jumper!!! 

"...love the boxy, relaxed fit of this jumper...."

I particularly love the boxy, relaxed fit of this jumper and it pairs perfectly with jeans for these cooler Autumn months and then when the weather gets colder again would look great under a coat. 

Shein Cosy Wishlist

Ok, so I'm going to share with you what's next on my Shein wishlist....here's a sneak peak at what you'll probably see gracing my Instagram pages soon! 

For those of you in doubt about ordering from this website because it's coming from overseas....fear not.  It takes about 4-6 days to arrive and I've ordered several items now with not a customs charge in sight. So no need to worry. 

 Let me know if you decide to get anything and as always, thank you for reading! xx 


10 September 2017

You Are The Gin To My Tonic....

Gin O'Clock

How many times have you heard this saying in the last couple of years? Gin & Tonic seems to have rocketed in popularity recently and it's proving to be a bit of a 'thing', but are you really making the most of your gin and tonic??! 

I've been drinking this 'classic' for years (showing my age now!!!) and whilst my friends were all ordering bottles of WKD Blue in bars and clubs I was ordering a Gordon's and Slimline tonic with a slice of lemon in an effort to cut calories. Sad but true...but this was my first introduction to this predominately Juniper flavoured spirit!

Gin has come a long way since and although some folk still drink what we shall now to refer to as a 'basic' G&T (at the risk of sounding like an pretentious snob here! haha) there are so many more wonderful ways to enjoy gin!

When I was invited to the 'Gin Masterclass' at The Chapel 1877 in Cardiff  it took me all of about 3 seconds to confirm my attendance!

"Let's also not forget how Instagram-friendly a well made gin and tonic actually is..."

Although I do enjoy a Tanqueray or a Hendricks, that's about as far as my gin knowledge goes and I was genuinely excited to find out about a lot more about the different gins available and ways of serving them.  Let's also not forget how Instagram-friendly a well made gin and tonic actually is so tips for recreating my own at home was also another reason to attend! haha! 

After learning a little about the history of gin and also the reason why it was originally (and still is) served with tonic we then set about trying 6 different gins with several different flavours of tonic and adding our own selection of fruit and herb garnishes to enhance the existing flavours of each gin. 

Garnishes included (and you can try these at home!) raspberries, strawberries, blueberries, sage, rosemary, thyme, mint, coriander, ginger and then the more popular lemon and lime. 

"Learning how to compliment the notes of the different gins with garnishes was really interesting"

I'm not going to lie, I don't think I've had this much fun since arts and crafts at school!!! Learning how to compliment the notes of the the different gins with garnishes was really interesting and I created some sensational combinations! 

'There is no right or wrong way to enjoy Gin, everyone has different tastes after all....'

I thoroughly enjoyed this whole experience, it really opened my eyes to the way a good old 'G&T' can be enjoyed to be something far more tasty and personal. 

It's encouraged me to move away from my usual gin choice and to experiment with different gins and also to not be afraid to ask the bartender for different types of garnishes to enhance my drink.  

There is no right or wrong way to enjoy Gin, everyone has different tastes after all so get experimenting (and let me know if you try any great new gins or garnish combinations!) One of my favourites was the Nordes Atlantic Galician Gin (photographed above) 

If you're wanting to try some different types of gin I'd recommend visiting The Chapel  in Cardiff who will happily suggest a gin to try and recommend some great garnishes to go with your gin. 

Twitter @Chapel1877bar
Instagram @Chapel1877bar
Facebook: Chapel 1877 Bar & Restaurant
Website: HERE 

Chin Chin! 


2 September 2017

A Change in Seasons - A Must-Have Item For Your Wardrobe

"September is my favourite time of year...."

September is my favourite time of year, not only because it's my Birthday month but also because I just love this change of Season.

Don't get me wrong, I do love the Summer....the warm nights, summer dressing, a crisp glass of Prosecco at dusk with friends.... but sometimes I feel it can leave us all feeling a little bit 'lazy' and perhaps not as productive as we are the rest of the year and I welcome everything going back to the 'norm' in September!  In fact, I was one of those sad people who actually used to get excited about going back to school! (who didn't love getting a new pencil case and bag!! ha!)

"I love switching up my wardrobe and make up accordingly..."

The weather in September in the UK is still fairly warm but a little more crisp and I love switching up my wardrobe and make up accordingly! This year I'm going to be channelling a lot of cosy knits, dresses coupled with a warm coat, skirts and sheepskin will feature highly.....and of course ankle boots....the 1st of September arrived and I popped on my tan Isobel Marant Dicker boots in celebration!

The Denim Jacket

One thing I knew I wanted to get as part of my transitional wardrobe was a great denim jacket.

Something I could sling over a vest, t-shirt, sweater or hoodie for the colder Autumn nights but equally something that would look good with a thick chunky winter knit underneath and a scarf.

"Denim jackets are so versatile...."

Denim jackets are so versatile and after a lot of hunting for that 'perfect' hue of blue I came across this little and very inexpensive gem on the site 'Shein'.  It's the perfect length, not too long and also a relaxed fit so you can fit thick items of clothing under it.  I did order the 'medium' though because I wanted mine to be roomy.

Ordering from 'Shein'

I did a couple of 'Shein' orders over the Summer and many of you asked me if I had any problems with shipping and customs.  I did 4 orders and experienced zero problems at all.  I had no customs fees to pay and my packages arrived in around 4-7 days.  I was very very pleased with everything I ordered and I love the fact that on the site a lot of people review the clothing and post pictures so you can see what everything looks like on before you commit to buying.  I have my eye on a lot of the chunky knits now.

If you're keen on this jacket (and ladies, it's just £22!!!!) then I've popped a link for you below here to go and grab one! (but I guarantee you won't just stop at this jacket!!)

"This was a great purchase..."

This was a great purchase and one I know I'll get a lot of use out of.  It's also a fraction of the price of some of the more expensive jackets I was lusting after and if I'm 100% honest I think it's a lot better quality!  I even tempted a bit of double denim to photograph it! Very unlike me indeed!

What do you have on your list for your Autumn / Winter purchases?  I'm currently compiling my list at the moment and I need some ideas!

And let me know if you pick anything up from SHEIN - including THIS jacket!

As always thank you for reading.

Lis xxx


24 August 2017

The Perfect Afternoon Tea & What to Wear

"There are few hours in life more agreeable than the hour dedicated to the ceremony known as afternoon tea" 

Henry James 'The Portrait of a Lady'

Afternoon Tea has become a popular trend over the last few years with many different eating establishments offering their own take on the quintessentially British 'Afternoon Tea' that traditionally includes a selection of sandwiches, cakes and scones served with a broad range of different teas.  

I have to say I'm a huge fan of this ritual and it's hardly surprising that I'm also an even bigger fan now that some establishments are offering Champagne or Prosecco afternoon tea options! 

Summer Berry Afternoon Tea

I was recently lucky enough to be invited to try the Summer Berry Afternoon Tea at the Celtic Manor Resort situated in the Olive Tree Restaurant.  A beautiful, light and airy room that overlooks the grounds and is the perfect setting. 

The Summer Berry Afternoon Tea is a special themed selection of savouries, sandwiches, cakes, pastries and scones for the Summer.....but more about that in a moment! 

If you've not visited the Celtic Manor Resort then I can highly recommend it if you're planning on visiting Wales (and if you live in Wales then make this somewhere you try very soon!)  The hotel boasts multiple restaurants, a golf course, luxury rooms, health club and spa and is set in the beautiful Welsh countryside. 

It's a nostalgic setting for me because it was where I had my first job, age 17 as a waitress so will always bring back fond memories! 

My Mum and I chose the 'Sparkling Summer Afternoon Tea' which includes a glass of Prosecco in addition to your tea selection.  Predictably I chose 'Earl Grey', my tea of choice if I'm going fancy and straying away from my 'Twinnings Everyday Tea'! 

"Members of staff were extremely attentive..."

Members of staff were extremely attentive and helpful when we got to our table, helping to assist with tea choices and ensuring we had everything we needed throughout the afternoon.  

Shortly after a few sips of our Prosecco the Savoury and Sandwich Selection arrived and well.... I think the photos really speak for themselves! 

Everything tasted as though a lot of time and effort had gone into making it, including the finger sandwiches and this is what I like when it comes to a good afternoon tea, nobody wants something that looks as though it is thrown together.

My favourite were the goats cheese and pesto mousse with pickled shallots and the mini brioche bridge roll with egg mayonnaise and cress, although everything was exquisite!

Bring on the berries!...

After a short rest we then made a start on the hand made, 'berry themed' cakes and pastries....

 Afternoon Tea Tip.... 

As you can imagine, by this point I was getting rather full and there was still more to eat! Instead of filling up on all the cakes and pastries I'd recommend saving some so that you can fit in your scones, clotted cream and jam! At the end of the afternoon tea service one of the staff will offer to box up any of the cakes you don't eat so that you can take them home and enjoy them later!

And would you look at these yummy scones that I almost didn't finish!

If you're interesting in trying this spectacular Summer Berry Afternoon Tea, Celtic Manor Resort are doing a special offer if you book ONLINE to receive a complimentary glass of Prosecco.  It's £21.50 per person Monday to Friday and £29.50 on Saturday and Sunday.   The perfect Summer celebration or a chance to catch up with friends in a beautiful setting.  There is also free parking on site (up to 3 hours...plenty of time to stuff your face!) and for those of you with little ones they also do a children's menu.

Book online here

Walk it off...

After Afternoon Tea my Mum and I had a quick stroll around the Celtic Manor grounds to walk off some of that food!

I always feel like Afternoon Tea is a bit of a special occasion and therefore requires something a little bit 'more' in the wardrobe department, but not too much....nobody wants to look OTT whilst eating and another thing that must be considered when selecting what to wear is how much you're going to eat....tight fitting clothes are not really an option!

So in this case I chose to wear this light and airy Closet London dress.  It's dressy with out being over the top, but having said that, if you popped on a pair of heels with it you could make this look a lot more 'evening' appropriate.  It's a great versatile dress!

Outfit Details

Sunglasses - Celine 'Audrey' in Tortoiseshell 
Dress - Closet London
Bag - Mulberry (small Bayswater) 
Shoes - Valentino Rockstud Ballerinas in Red
Watch - Rolex

As always, thank you for reading and do let me know if you decide to pay a visit to the Celtic Manor!

Lis xxx 


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!


© Elisabeth Rilatt

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