Going Coconutty!

Ever since last summer, and receiving Sugar Baby’s Aloe Sailor body cream in a pass the parcel in Ibiza (click to read more!), I have been obsessed with coconut and pina colada scented body products.

The scent takes me right back to summer holidays and also Las Vegas, where our first visit took us to The Mirage and their Pina Colada scented lobby fountain.

So going into the warmer part of the year has brought an awful lot of coconut scented products to the shelves, and luckily for me I’ve been able to pick up a few bits. Here are my current favourites!

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Of course I have to talk about the aforementioned Aloe Sailor. I’m right at the bottom of the tube, and every time I’m near a TK Maxx I hunt the shelves to see if they’re stocking it. Sugar Baby are an Australian brand and don’t ship internationally. I have yet to find this in the store again, but they did stock the Sugar Baby self-tan range this year, so I am still holding hope! I’ve actually seen a Pacifica body cream that looks like it might work instead, but again this product seems only to be available in the US so I’m going to try to hunt it out in September when I’m there.

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Next is a product I actually picked up in TK Maxx when I was searching for Aloe Sailor. Textured Waves from By Nature is a natural surf spray with coconut scent (they also to a lemon version!). This is a New Zealand brand and to avoid disappointment, I actually picked up two bottles of this. At £4.99 each it didn’t break the bank! I’ve actually run out of my beloved Bumble and Bumble Surf Spray and wanted to see whether this would work instead because I can’t afford to shell out £24 each time I go through a bottle. I’ve been impressed with this. It doesn’t have quite the same volume and hold on my poker straight, fine hair, but it gives a darn good effort. The coconut scent is lovely, and lasts a couple of days. It doesn’t dry my hair out, and the hold is adequate. My hair is matte and somewhat thicker using this. It works better on semi-dry hair, whereas the Bumble and Bumble equivalent works well on towel dried but wet hair. I prefer to put product on straight from towel drying, and have found Textured Waves is weighed down by very wet hair a little more. But I’m still happy with the result and love how it doesn’t build up in the hair.

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On my trip to New York over Christmas I picked up a set of tiny vials of fragrance mist from Victoria’s Secret. I love their scents and thought this would be a great introduction to their fragrance mists. The one I found myself using the most, and have now finished but can’t bring myself to throw away, was Coconut Passion. This smell is heavenly. It’s so good. Light but coconutty enough with a hint of something sweet. I must pick up a full size and a body cream in Florida in September. They do sell this here, but I think it’s a bit more expensive.

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I recently spoke about Treacle Moon in a favourites blog, and their fabulous shower gels. I’m still working my way through the honey tub I bought, but I also picked up a travel sized Coconut Island as I’m travelling a lot in the next few months. I’m yet to use this, but it smells amazing!

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The last product I want to talk about is from Barry M. They’ve just released these lip oils at £4.99 each. I managed to pick mine up during a buy one get one half price offer, which I think might still be on. They look like lip glosses and come in lip gloss packaging but once applied feel a whole lot lighter. I have really dry lips and am constantly applying lip balm but find I don’t have to apply so regularly with this one. The one I want to talk about today is Coco Loco but they also have Berry Good. Coco Loco is made with coconut oil and is really hydrating. It smells coconutty and looks like water on the lips. Yum! It’s not sticky and even though my hair can attach itself to my face when I’m wearing this, it doesn’t leave a gunky mess!

If all this wasn’t enough, I’ve recently found out that The Body Shop have just launched a Pina Colada scented range of body products. So guess which store I’ll be heading to after pay day?

Have you tried something coconut or pina colada scented, recently, that you’d recommend? I’d love to hear about it!

This Week I Have Been Mostly…

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You might have noticed no blogs last week. I decided it’s nice sometimes not to blog J So I took a little break. You could still find me on both my twitter accounts (@groggits and @Shutterbug_Blog) but I decided that as I was feeling tired, run down and had a relentless headache turned migraine, I would give myself a break.

Apart from feeling totally exhausted and run down this week, I’ve done a little cooking with some fresh ingredients. Last weekend I made a lentil salad for my work lunches, which involved roasting cherry tomatoes, red onions and a whole garlic. I’d never roasted garlic before but was pleased with the results. It all looked pretty and tasted good, but I’m not sure it was worth the effort in the end.

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Towards the end of the week I made myself a nice scramble using leftovers.

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We’ve been beginning to pick up bits and pieces for our Florida holiday in September, and I purchased this Yankees cap to wear whilst we walk the parks. I’m not great in the heat and relentless sun, being a true brit we’re rarely subjected to it. This cap is perfect and light in colour so hopefully will keep me cool. I’ll just have to deal with hat hair for a while!

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We’ve been visited a couple of times recently, by a fox, who likes to hang out in our garden. Totally relaxed and dozing, he likes to sun himself on our lawn. The birds don’t seem threatened by him at all, and as a result neither are we. He can share our garden with us!

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And this weekend, I have been mostly listening to the new Ariana Grande album Dangerous Woman. It’s really great and I might go as far as to say it’s her best yet. My favourites at the moment are…. actually I can’t choose one. They’re pretty much all good! Though I was surprised Focus on Me didn’t appear, and can only be found on the Japanese version of the album, which I obviously don’t have….

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What have you been up to? Have you heard Ariana’s new album? What did you think?

Summer in the City

Last weekend the UK appeared to skip straight from Winter, right into Summer. The weather was so glorious that we couldn’t believe just a week before we’d been wrapped up tight and watching snow flurries through the window.

So what better way to enjoy the glorious sunshine, than to head to London for a mooch and some food. I love London in the Summer. Everything’s so pretty and shiny.

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We headed straight to lunch when we arrived and to Shoreditch, where I wanted to visit a place called Pump. Built on an old petrol station forecourt, Pump is a little al fresco world food court. We’d arrived at about half 12 and most of the places hadn’t started serving food yet, which was a little surprising. We’d seen some photos of what the place had to offer on instagram so we both headed to Nosteagia.

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I grabbed some teriyaki chicken with rice and a strawberry green bubble tea. The tea was so refreshing and the food was yummy! Gary wasn’t in the mood for a big meal at the time, so just went for desert!

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This bubble waffle was filled with strawberries and chocolate sauce. The waffle was so light and crisp and the filling was fresh and sweet.

We then headed over to Boxpark, and Gary came across Voodoo Rays, and amazing pizzeria selling pizza by the slice. He went for a slice of cheese and tomato. I wished I hadn’t already eaten because the bite of Gary’s pizza I tasted was amazing. He said it was the best pizza he’d eaten in this country! They even had a vegan pizza.

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It was a really funky little place and we HAVE to go back so I can have some of my very own!

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The rest of our day was wonderful, just wandering around London. I was just telling Gary about how I might wake up the following morning and go for a run, early, before I started my day. I am only just getting back into running since my injury last year and so it’s still a hard job to get me to actually go out. I was telling him how I actually probably wouldn’t go out, and that I was feeling too lazy…. and that second I spotted this graffiti on the wall…

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It was, quite literally, a sign. Incidentally, we took this photo opposite a homeless man who was singing into a large traffic cone, the same mermaid-like phrase of song over and over again. And after about 10 minutes just got up and walked away, leaving the cone behind. I love London!

It was such a good day – it felt like we were on holiday! And guess what? The next morning:

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At half 8 (and 18c already) I went for a run! It was tough, and it was hot, but I’m so glad I did it! Sometimes listening to graffiti pays off!

 

Music You Don’t Know, For the Warmer Months

As the weather picks up, my taste in music changes. I don’t know whether other people experience the same change. I have specific albums I can’t listen to unless it’s sunny… maybe that’s strange? (And apparently, today I’m writing in rhyme)

Strange or not, here are a few albums I have been or will be listening to more as the weather brightens and the temperature soars:

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Static and Silence by The Sundays

This album screams of hot summer nights to me. Totally 90s, light and wonderful. I love this album so much I sometimes can’t bring myself to listen to it. Does that make any sense? It’s my favourite of all The Sundays’ albums and none of their others quite seemed to hit the same mark. It’s perfect from start to end.

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Pocketknife by Mr Little Jeans

I first listened to this album a couple of years ago, on the train from Bletchley to Euston on the way to cheer on at the London Marathon. Ever since it’s had that kind of bright motivation in my mind, and a few of the songs even featured in my running playlist when I was heavily training for my half marathon. The music is electronic pop with song-writer skill and enough twinkly notes to keep you interested. She never tours in the UK but I’m hoping she might one day… though I kind of like the feeling that, at least in this country, she’s my little secret.

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Eveningland by Hem

This New York based, folk-type band, dominated my summers for a few years around 12/13 years ago. Their music isn’t taxing, and could be described as perfect for the balmy/lazy summer’s day we all hope to experience. It evokes thoughts of dry dusty grass and hoping for cool breezes. That being said, this music is nowhere near thoughtless or empty. Full of deep and thought-provoking lyrics, you end this album with a calm, satisfied yet emotion-pregnant sigh.

Lastly, an album that you *will* know

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Days Are Gone by Haim

I don’t need to describe this album to you, because you know all about it, I’m sure. But I really love it – the whole thing. And it reminds me of when I accidentally saw them play at The Bowl in Milton Keynes when I accidentally went to see Kings of Leon there. And they were all kinds of awesome. They’re releasing a new album this summer apparently, and I can’t wait to hear it!

What do you like to fill your ears with as the weather gets warmer? Are you a fan of any of the above? I’d love to know!

 

Learning About Myself

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At the tender age of 32 and a half, I feel like I’m just starting to understand myself. They say you can’t be loved until you love yourself. I think that’s true in part, but who truly loves themselves at the age in which they’re finding love?

As I head towards 33 I’ve been reflecting on the things I’ve learned about myself up until now.

I’ve learned that I can’t stand the sight of my own blood without literally passing out, and that I have ZERO control over it. I know it’s going to happen, I can rationalise with myself all I like, but it’ll still end badly. And there’s very little I can do to stop it once it starts. Yay for my brain!

I’ve learned that it’s okay to live with anxiety, and the worst thing to do is be anxious over your anxiety. Living with GAD isn’t great. Very few people understand it and so I don’t tell many people about it unless I feel safe in their space or unless it necessary. I’m learning that it comes and it goes, and that no matter how other people feel about it (and even though the opinion of others sometimes makes it harder to get through) my feelings come first in those situations.

I’ve learned that I have a lactose intolerance, and my love affair with cheese was ill-fated. I’ve also learned that people are intolerance intolerant and just think I’m being picky or fussy when it comes to dealing with it. I’m learning to simply tolerate those intolerant of my intolerance😀

I’ve learned that I can read people rather well, and that if I take my time and consider all the parts of a story I can usually put myself in another person’s shoes and work out the motive behind their actions. Or at least create a multitude of different scenarios to explain why someone might behave in a certain way. I find it very interesting. As an uber over-analytical person it’s nice to put this obsessiveness to practical use. I’ve found it’s enabling me to give other people factual advice on their problems. Being on the outside of a situation, along with this kind of perspective is very interesting. I sometimes start speaking and by the end of the thought have discovered a solution I didn’t even know was possible, through reasoning. None of that probably made any sense, but there you go – welcome to my brain!

I’ve learned how to let my friends in. I never used to hold onto friends too tight, simply because I assumed I wasn’t worth their time. I didn’t see my value in their life, mainly because I didn’t see my value full-stop. But during the process of helping my friends see their value in MY life, I was able to see the other side. And now I have a heap of close and amazingly wonderful friends, who I couldn’t live without.

I’ve learned that you can be in a long-term relationship and not get bored of the other person. I didn’t think it was possible, when I first started seeing Gary, that you could be in a long-term relationship and still keep interested in the same person. But 14 years down the line and things are better than ever. We still have fun. Still talk in depth about anything and everything and still adore each other.

I’ve learned I’m a massive bitch, and that I should be a bit kinder when it comes to first and quick impressions. I default to dislike of things out of the norm or different than me. But to be different, individual or confident takes a brave person, and who am I to judge? It’s not so much what I say or how I act, but more how I think, and that’s what I’m working on. I want to be a pleasant person, kind and nice. I think I am all these things, but let myself down sometimes and this is what I’m working on.

I’ve learned so much, and so much more than these few things over the years. I really enjoy working on myself, and making this Erin the best Erin I can be. I’m looking forward to how much I change and learn about myself over the next 10 years. Life is darn exciting!

April Favourites!

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This month I have been really enjoying fresh scents, springy colours and good entertainment. As with the weather changing (in parts for the worst!), I like to ‘change the air’ in all aspects of my life, meaning I like to seek new experiences and explore perspective.

So here goes with my April Favourites!

You might have seen my latest ‘First Impressions’ blog about NYX Cosmetics. If you haven’t see it, please pop over and have a read. Two of the products I picked up have made it into this month’s favourites.

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Firstly, the NYX HD Blush in Pink the Town (£5.50), which I’m really enjoying using. It’s lovely to build up and gives a nice matte flush to my cheeks. I’ve used it practically every day since I bought it and haven’t made even a small dent in the pan. Love it!

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Second is the NYX Control Freak eyebrow gel (£5.50). I’m still finding it much better than the Urban Decay equivalent I had been using. It’s starting to go a little cloudy in the tube, and I guess that’s just because it’s been open for a while. But the UD one did the same, and it doesn’t affect how it looks once applied. And at that price, it’s no match – I’ll be repurchasing this when it’s done.

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Next is an item I got in my GlossyBox and a few months ago. This is the Luxie Large Angled Face Brush 504 (£10.42) I love getting tools in my subscription box, as long as they’re good quality. I was in the market for a new blusher brush so this came at the perfect time. The bristles are perfect because they mean you don’t get too much on the brush (I’m heavy handed with blusher and I wish I wasn’t!) The angle is great for getting colour into the contours of my cheeks. And it’s really comfortable to use. I wouldn’t even mind if I received another one of these, they’re that great.

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I bought the Bare Minerals Perfecting Veil (£22.00 Light to Medium) a while back. I wanted something to set my under eyes without being too matte. When I used this for the first few times I was really disappointed. It was too matte, too powdery, smelled funny under my nose and just made me look old. Back in the drawer it went. Then at the start of last month, as the Spring weather started to emerge, I decided I needed something on my t-zone. So I pulled this out again – this time using A LOT less product. And I LOVE IT. I literally tap my large powder brush on the pan, once lightly, and then dust all over the necessary areas on my face with that one tap of powder.

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You can barely see any powder on my face which is great because I really dislike the matte look. My oily areas stay matte ALL DAY. If I pat my nose with my finger at the end of the day I can see some oil transfer, however I don’t look at all oily. I look just as I did when I put my makeup on – natural. I’m so impressed with this powder, and interested to see how it fares as the weather gets warmer. I have started using the little sponge disc puff which comes with it (stored underneath the powder in the compact) occasionally to set my under eyes. Pressing a small amount straight after application of my concealer under my eyes, and around my nose does help keep my makeup in place, and only creases a teeny bit if I use too much. I also find it handles Touche Éclat spot-highlighting on top very well.

Next I want to talk about Body Fantasies. This American brand have just launched in the UK and have brought 4 fragrances with them. Aimed at the teen and pre-teen probably, I was lured to them by the fact that they seemed similar to the Victoria’s Secret body sprays at a fraction of the price. These retail for £3.99 each but Superdrug often have them ‘better than half price’ which is when I picked them up. They’re 94ml each but state they have over 500 sprays in them.

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I picked up Pink Vanilla Kiss Fantasy, Twilight Mist and Japanese Cherry Blossom. They also do a grapefruit scent, which wasn’t really for me. I didn’t expect to like Pink Vanilla Kiss, expecting it to be way to sweet and girly for me. But I really loved it – think a mix of Hollister and Victoria’s Secret and you get a sense of the heady sugary scent, but it’s not too over powering. There’s a vanilla floral note to it that just screams summer. It’s definitely my favourite. Twilight Mist (named really well) is more of a floral musk. Definitely an evening scent – fresh and again summery. Japanese Cherry Blossom is a little bit ‘old lady’ but in a nice way. It’s the most floral of the bunch, but it’s clean and fresh and a little sweet. If you’re in Superdrug and you see them, give them a sniff. For the price they’re awesome and I’ll definitely be repurchasing them. Because they’re so reasonably priced I’m not afraid to use them liberally and every day – unlike perfumes that you don’t want to use up! I like how the scent lingers all day, and I get little whiffs of them as I go about my day. I know they have a much larger range in the US so I’m excited to see what they come out with next, here. I’m strenuously hoping for some kind of coconut or pina colada scent!

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Lastly for beauty, I’ve been trying out the Body Shop Oils of Life Sleeping Cream (£28.00) I was offered a free sample of this cream with my last GlossyBox. This lightweight night cream looks like a cream and feels like a gel. It goes on smoothly and smells really nice. It sinks into the skin fairly fast and then stays a teeny bit tacky. When I wake up in the morning my skin feels amazing – soft, matte, almost powder smooth but so so light. I had been using this every night but now I can see the bottom of my sample pot I’m only using it once or twice a week. At £28 a jar I really can’t justify buying the full size, and to be honest I can’t really see a massive need for this. It does make my skin feel wonderful but I’m not sure it’s adding anything to my beauty routine. Still, I’m adoring it whilst I have it!

Gary and I found we had run out of full TV series to watch, as a lot of our shows have ended. Having Netflix now we decided to give House of Cards a go. And I’m so glad we did. Kevin Spacey is an awesome actor, and the show is written so well. Set in Washington DC and based around the world of The White House, it’s right up our street. We’re on the 3rd season so far, and really enjoying it.

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And lastly, as an avid This American Life listener, a recent episode featured Chris Gethard’s Beautiful/Anonymous podcast. At an hour long each episode, an anonymous person can call in and speak to Chris for the full hour about anything they want. Chris isn’t allowed to hang up on the caller at any point, and the only way the show can end is if the caller hangs up or if the time runs out. It’s been really interesting listening to these, and I’ve just got to the end of the back-log so I’m now waiting on new episodes. Some of them have been moving, some funny, and some down-right weird. But I love listening. If you enjoy This American Life, check out Beautiful/Anonymous – you might just like it.

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I love listening to this kind of thing in the car when I’m driving, and I’m considering getting Audible – do any of you guys have an Audible subscription? If you do, what do you think? Worth the cost? I’d love to know what you think!

So that’s April – what have you been loving this month?

Blood and Blogging

My week so far has been fairly uneventful. Though it is only Tuesday so what else can be expected?

I say uneventful but I did almost pass out yesterday after bending my thumbnail back half way down the nail bed, and after seeing the blood I lost consciousness for a few seconds and then could hear nothing but ringing in my ears for about a minute. So that was fun. But my nail didn’t break so I guess I have OPI Nail Envy to thank for that.

It’s annoying how I manage to cope with pain and stuff but as soon as I see blood that’s it, I’m gone. And it’s not even like seeing someone else’s blood does the same thing, or talking about blood, or seeing it on the TV – I only have that reaction when it’s my blood…. And thinking about it now I’m fine, and I know how odd it is. I can’t rationalise it. One minute I’m fine…. Until I’m not.

G and I have been feeling rather under the weather, him more so, but we’re both feeling incredibly run down. The weather isn’t helping. We’re being offered a smidgen of spring, and before we know it we’re watching snow falling outside. I’ve picked up some lovely new summer tops for my trip in September but I’d rather like to start wearing them soon, please.

Next weekend is a Bank Holiday, so a 3-day break, and we’ve got some stuff planned which is nice. I’m hoping the sun shines and it brings some of my happy back.

I’ve been really enjoying reading more blogs and seeing what other people are writing. As much as I love to read all about makeup and fashion, it’s great to see there’s still some intelligent and substantial blog writing happening. Sure it doesn’t bring in as many ‘likes’ or follows as the latest palette review, but I appreciate it. And I’m not suggesting that beauty isn’t an intelligent subject, but you know what I mean.

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I was listening to This American Life in the car on the drive home today, and they were talking about memories. The journalist hosting that particular part of the podcast was talking about how people she was afraid to forget parts of her life so much that she kept boxes upon boxes of memories so that’s she could look back and reminisce – she’d even lugged them to no less than 12 apartments over 10 years. That describes me perfectly (the memory part not the 12 apartment part). I’m so afraid of having an awesome time and forgetting it over the years – it’s petrifying.  I think that’s why I blog. It’s like a living journal – the living part being you guys, my readers. I love knowing you’re out there and that you like reading what I’ve written. My blog was started just for me, to memorialise parts of my life, but years on I now love how it’s an outlet to interact with like-minded people.

Over the years I’ve focussed on books, then fitness, running, food and now beauty. And a lot of you have come along for the ride. It’s nice to have you here!

So the rest of my week will be full of sweaters and chilly evenings wishing the heating wasn’t on. But if the forecast is to be believed things might be picking up by the end of next week. Until then I’ll keep my scarves out and curse the snow flurries. It’s April, Man. Give us a break!

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