The Juan and Only Mexican for Me

Okay so let’s get this straight. I effin’ love Mexican food. Partly because it’s all carbs and cheese and spices and more cheese and allll the avo and sour cream I could dream of, and partly because of the plethora of puns that come hand in hand with Mexican chat.

So today I’m gonna taco ’bout some rad Mexican food I scoffed last week. See what I did there? Dw, I’ll stop now.

So last week Jess and I went to the Gold Coast, and somewhere between acting out all the scenes from the Inbetweener’s movie we managed to squeeze in a dinner at Beach Burrito Co. in Coolangatta.

Coolangatta by the way is well worth a visit. When people think of Gold Coast they think of Surfer’s Paradise. Take it from me. It ain’t paradise. Paradise to any self respecting female is chilling on a hammock in Bora Bora while staff fan you with palm tree leaves while sipping mojitos. Surfer’s Paradise is basically the Southern Hemisphere’s answer to Magaluf. Coolangatta is way more up my rapidly aging twenty-something’s alley. Plenty of pensioners, not a nightclub in sight, and a dessert bar IN THE APARTMENT BUILDING. Yup, Max Brenner. You dawg.

Anyway Beach Burrito. With an insane view of the clear blue ocean, the European style white decking and Corona laden interior, it was the ideal place to refuel after a mental day basically having Wet ‘n’ Wild to ourselves (and me nearly peeing my pants after having to be launched backwards down a vertical drop in a shared dinghy with Jess on one of the slides).

Jess had bribed me with the Mexican feast to get me on every ride he could at Wet ‘n’ Wild to relive his childhood (while I almost burst a tonsil screaming at every twist and turn), so I’d already earmarked the chorizo and halloumi plate for starter.

Beach Burrito Co Chorizo and Halloumi Plate
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While not what I expected, it was delicious. It was sort of like an open wrap. I even ate some of the corn which was inconveniently hidden in every crevice of the halloumi goodness – and for those who know how much I hate corn, this is a milestone. FYI I really hate corn. The cheese was as springy and salty and omg so good – as I’d want halloumi to be, so I was happy.

For main we had burritos. Big, foil wrapped, juicy, can’t fit my chops round it burritos. There are few words. I couldn’t get a decent Instagram worthy snap of it unfortunately, though if I’m honest I only gave it a few trys before I sunk my orthodontically offensive gnashers into the mighty diameter of my Tofu and Bean babe. I had tofu because I’ve sort of given up some meat because I don’t really know why but yeah. Lol yes I know, I had chorizo for starter, but whether or not meat causes cancer, soz life but chorizo is where I draw the line.

I washed this down with a larger, cos, ya know, when in Rome and all that. Aside from the burps that followed my lad style pint was a delight (might I add, Jess had a lemonade, so I did fully embrace the butch beer drinker image). I woulda had a Corona but frankly I find it weird when I sip it and the lemon touches my lip so yeah, went for the Cooly beer on tap (Cooly being the irritating abbreviation of Coolangatta).

All in all, a top place for a Mexican chow down. The tacos looked incred as well and I kinda wish I’d had a few of those instead as they were little tapas-y ones, but… next time! The nachos and loaded fries were all too tempting, but they’ll need to go on the wishlist, too. Even my appetite couldn’t stretch *crys*. I hear there’s one in Fitzroy so yeah, you’ll find me there (this time, taking better pictures!).

Beach Burrito Company
Image via http://www.beachburritocompany.com

Adios amigos

Coco x

The BEST Mascara I’ve Ever Had – Topshop DOE EYED LASHES

Hi all. Big news in the world of Coco. I recently gave up my eyelash extensions. *cry* After eighteen months of waking up and not applying any eye makeup, of having random strangers ask me how I got my lashes so perfect, of managing to avoid the dead eyes look on a hangover, I had to accept the harsh reality that it was also eighteen months of bleeding my bank account dry over a simple beauty non necessity. Something had to give, and sadly, it was the lashes. I let them all fall out, and began my hunt for a mascara to fill the void. My faith in mascaras is generally pretty low, but it seems after eighteen months away, things have actually improved!

I have always really liked Topshop’s makeup range, and find it is actually miles ahead of some premium brands in the beauty aisle, considering its a brand extension of a fashion retailer, and the prices are pretty reasonable. I had their original mascara, back in the day, but since then they’ve released a few. I really feel like I’ve missed some serious developments in my time away in lash land! I went for the DOE Eyed Lashes mascara, purely based on my usual investigation of how appealing the brushes look in the testers. It was £10, so a real bargain, and its really fantastic. I’m so glad that the first one I tried was perfect, and really works with my lashes. I always find that my lashes really struggle to stay curled up and voluminous all day. They can look great as I leave the house, but two hours later they’re flat and straight, and it looks like I’m barely wearing any at all. But two coats of this mascara holds me for several hours. Sometimes I touch up in the afternoon, but its not always necessary. It doesn’t smudge, but still comes off with wipes really easily. Overall, a 10/10 from me! I would definitely recommend it!

Here’s some photos of how well it worked for me. Give it a try for yourself!

First thing in the morning after two coats:

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At the end of a busy day:

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Reviewed: Newtons Restaurant and Bar, Clapham

Hi all. I hope the week has started well for you all. Today its time for another review, this time of a great restaurant I went to recently. Anyone familiar with the Clapham area, might have heard of Abbeville Road. Ive been down there a few times and every time vowed to try the range of enticing independent restaurants, but never got around to it until now. Me and boyfriend have developed a slightly above average love of sharing platters and deli boards recently – it all kicked off after a visit to a vineyard in Australia where we indulged in Sauvignon Blanc and hummus, bread, olives and deli meats, and it has kind of spiralled out of control since then! Anyway, this in mind, we stopped at a restaurant called Newtons, and spotted a charcuterie board on the menu. Gleefully, we mentally booked ourselves in for Friday night as the weather was set to be scorching (and scorching it was. 31 degrees to be precise!) and they had an adorable outside seating area, which looked perfect to watch the world go by and the sun set.

We made a reservation online, through their very smart looking website. I really appreciate a good website, particularly for independent restaurants. I often find that small business often scrimp on the website and don’t see it as hugely important if they’re not a huge chain following endless brand standards, but it really makes a difference. The way we live now involves seeing something that interests us, and instead of finding out more in person, what do we do? We google it. I saw Newtons and it looked great. Did I go inside and book a table? No, I googled it to see more. A bad website can put you off somewhere instantly. Anyway, the website was really cool. So that was an irrelevant rant really wasn’t it. Sorry.

Their booking system is hosted by Open Table, and by booking through them we got 20% off our food bill, which was great. What’s more, when we arrived, we were told it was happy hour and all cocktails were 2 for 1. Pretty good for a Friday afternoon. That was all the encouragement we needed to get straight onto the mojitos, and thus we did! The staff were really welcoming, and having requested a table outside, we were seated straight away. We informed our waitress that we would start with some starters and potentially have mains afterwards, as we weren’t sure how hungry we were, and she was fine with that. We started with the charcuterie board and the bruschetta, which were both really really good. The board had a great and plentiful selection of meats, pitted olives, salad and artisan breads (though the bread lover in me would have liked a tiny bit more bread to go with the quantity of meats). The bruschetta was amazing as well. Laden with buffalo mozzarella and balsamic glaze, it was warm and delicious. I could have eaten 20 of them! Having concluded we were both still hungry, but not hungry enough for a full main, we shared the supreme of chicken, which was stuffed with mozzarella and pesto, and served with potatoes. We also ordered some chunky chips on the side as they looked so good on the table next to us! It was really good food, reasonably priced, and a really good selection. I could easily go back there again and have something different every time. There is a lot of seafood that sounds delicious, but I’m allergic, although I expect it would be very popular among fish lovers. Check out their menus here.

All in all, it was a great visit, and I would definitely recommend it for a special occasion or just a weekend treat. Thank you, Newtons!

They do use Twitter, though they haven’t tweeted for a while, but you can follow them at @newtonsclapham, and catch them on Facebook here.

Here’s some pics I took of the visit and our food! Enjoy, and make sure you pay them a visit soon!

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VINYLUX – saving the world one nail polish at a time

Okay, so, this is my second attempt at reviewing VINYLUX for you all. I wrote out a beaaaaautiful post yesterday, pictures sorted, links sorted, THE LOT. And what happens?! OH YEAH, wordpress deleted the whole thing. Cheers then! This is the thing with all this fancy technology. Its fabulous when its working, but the second it doesn’t – yes, I admit it – I throw my toys out the metaphorical pram and have a good old paddy. Hence why its taken my 24 hours to flush away the frustration and actually type the whole thing again.

So…here we go!

Last Thursday I purchased VINYLUX nail polish. For those who haven’t heard about it yet, its basically like Shellac, but without the lamp, as it hardens itself when exposed to natural daylight. You can also remove it with normal nail polish remover, without having to take a tedious trip back to the salon to have your nail beds hacked at with various scraping tools.

You buy the top coat, and then you can use that with any of the colours. Each bottle is priced at around £10, generally, and they’re all 15ml. I picked up a pinky colour called Gotcha #116, and I found it really lovely.

APPLICATION

You apply two coats of the colour (no base coat required), and then one coat of the top coat, and leave to dry. I found it dried pretty quickly, and didn’t smudge or gloop about at all.

DURABILITY

I have taken a picture of my nails on each day after I applied the polish, so you can see how well it held up under pressure. It endured a drive to London and back (95 miles from the South Coast), two pretty hard nights out (and the accompanying ‘getting ready’ process), countless tube and bus rides, a trek around Westfield, and the packing and unpacking of my suitcase. So, all in all, a pretty busy few days for a home mani to endure.

I was dubious about the product as I was wondering whether it was too good to be true, but I have to say I actually couldn’t be more impressed. Despite claiming to last 7 days, I only wore it for four, because my job doesn’t allow me to wear nail colour, so it had to come off, but it was still in such good shape by the end of day four I have no doubt that it would live up to its 7 day claim. If not more!

You will see a little chipping on my right index finger by day 3, but to be honest, my nail had broken a bit itself, so I’m giving the polish the benefit of the doubt.

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day three

day three chip

day four

REMOVAL

I was a bit worried because I had to remove the polish 10 minutes before my shift started, and I realized I hadn’t actually checked that normal remover would take it off! My beautician had told me it did, but the leaflet that came with it said it is best removed with CND’s own remover, so I started to panic! Luckily, my trusty beautician, Becky, was absolutely right. It came off really easily and didn’t stain my nails (even though no base coat is used!).

Overall, I was really really happy with this product. I would definitely recommend it to all fellow nail addicts (Emily, if you’re reading…I mean you!). It has revolutionized nail painting for me! If I was made of money I would replace all my colours I have already with VINYLUX ones, but sadly, with a collection of 100+ bottles, I can’t do that!

Check out all the colours available here. My next purchases, I think, will be Tropix and Azure Wish.

If you have any thoughts on VINYLUX, let me know about it!

I hope everyone made it through Monday!

All my love

Coco xxx

Reviewed: Nivea Express Hydration Primer

I’ve tried a few primers since the phenomenon broke out, and haven’t yet settled on one that I like. Some I have found look great under makeup and have great staying power, but really don’t feel good on my skin and just make me feel like i’m clogging it up (yes you GOSH primer), so when I saw that Nivea had brought one out, I thought why not give it a go. Now, I’m not usually one for high street skin care, but I do find that Nivea are quite plain and simple with their products, and they do do exactly what it says on the tin. (FYI, the new in shower body moisturiser is fabulous – a real time saver!) I picked up the primer for £3.30 in Tesco (its usually £4.00, but there was some sort of discount). I have used it twice and am so far impressed. It feels really refreshing when applied to cleansed skin, and makes a nice base to apply makeup. Two people said my skin was looking really healthy while I was wearing it too, which is a bonus!

I do think, also, that people sometimes expect primers to work miracles. You can’t simply apply a primer and then expect your £5 foundation to stay on all day and night. You do need to keep up the good work and treat your skin to a decent foundation. I applied the primer, followed by Chanel Perfection Lumiere liquid foundation, and dusted NARS bronzer in Irrisestiblement across my cheek bones with my Real Techniques brush. Working as a waitress I really do put my products to the test, particularly with regards to staying power, and the primer held my makeup on really well all day and evening, so I am really impressed. It felt lightweight and I didn’t feel like I was degreasing my oven when I cleansed before bed. I wouldn’t say its the absolute best on the market, but for £4, its a great little pot to have on hand.

Have you tried it? What did you think? Let me know!

Coco xx

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August Glossy Box

So, following on from my recent post on Glossy Box, its time to unpack another box. The theme this month was high flyers, and each product was from a different country. Here’s what I received this month….

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EMITE EYELASH CURLER – Sweden

This retails at £20, so I was thrilled to see it had been packed into the baby pink and black box this month. Unfortunately I wear permanent lash extensions, so I wont actually use it (until I have weened myself off the addiction to having my lashes done every month), but I might pass it on to a friend to get a full review. Top lash curling tip – gently heat the curler using your hair dryer before you use it. The heat fixes the curl in place all day!

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URBAN VEDA DAILY RADIANCE FACE WASH – India

Urban Veda is a brand new skincare range, and focuses on living a natural and balanced holistic lifestyle. The range is designed to naturally combat pollution, protecting skin from environmental damages (excellent for city dwellers like myself). . I haven’t yet tried it as I am often sceptical about interferring with my strict Elemis regime, but I am going to give it a go tonight. Its a bargain to buy the full size products too – the washes are from £7.99, toners from £8.99 and and day and night creams from £12.99. If you’re looking for a new skin care thats a bit more premium than what you’ll find in Boots, but you don’t want to break the bank, give this a go. Start off with a three step, cleanse, tone and moisturise, and then try the polishes, scrubs and lotions. That’s always my approach to trying new skincare. The four categories are Purifying – this detoxes and reduces excess sebum; Radiance – this hydrates and boosts dull and tired skin; Relieving – this restores and rejuvenates skin using clarifying flower waters; and Soothing – this is an uplifting and fortifying range to balance skin.

Psssst – Entering code GlossyB gets you 20% off until 1st December 2013!

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TRESEMME KERATIN SMOOTH CONCENTRATED TREATMENT SHOT – America

I absolutely LOVE the hair revolution that is Keratin. It makes my hair feel so smooth and shiny, and this concentrated shot is brilliant for a quick fix. You can pick these up for £1.49 in most high street cosmetics stores or supermarkets – great to pack for holiday or before a night out.

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JELLY PONG PONG EYE LINER – United Kingdom

I am a bit bemused by this product. As much as I love a chunky eye liner, especially when it retails at £10.50, but it claims it is a shadow as well as a liner. So there I am, looking for some sort of double-ended function to what looks like a reincarnation of the Benefit Bad Gal crayon, but no. There isnt one. I just thinks it can be, and I quote, “a perfectly blended shadow”. Well, how, I do not know. But as its a brilliant eyeliner I will let it off, but please don’t go thinking this is a 2-in-1, because I really don’t think it is. Granted, I did get the black one – perhaps other colours are better, but I would not use this for an eyeshadow unless it was halloween! The other products by this brand look really cool, too, so check them out here.

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OCEANE MAKEUP REMOVER PEN – Brazil

I feel a bit smug to have one of these pens to be honest. They aren’t even available in the UK yet! It does exactly what it says on the tin. It removes makeup in a handy, compact pen. Think back to your school days when those ink erasers came out, and you would spend your days erasing half of your friend’s work, or just drawing phallic objects across their excersize book, so it would form a perfect, and obviously hilarious, shape of something when the teacher comes to mark the work. Yeah, its just like that, but, for your face. Its perfect for those mascara faux pas when you sneeze or blink and print onto your crease, or you get caught in the rain and/or an emotional moment leaving your eyeliner streaming down your cheeks. Another fab handbag essential from GlossyBox. Highly recommended…when it hits the UK, that is!

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Im now off in hunt of afternoon cake before work. Naughty.

Have a good evening, all.

C

Birch Box vs Glossy Box

Okay, so some of you will have read my previous rave review of the monthly beauty delivery box, Birch Box. If you didn’t, select it from recent posts on the left hand panel, or its archived under beauty and reviews 😉

Anyway, yes, I raved about it. But I have since found myself in a conundrum. Which is better? Birch Box, or Glossy Box. For those of you who are new to the monthly delivery phenomenon, both boxes are £10 per month and send you four or five beauty minis every month straight to your door. After one month of Birch Box, I switched to Glossy Box to give both a try, and let you guys all know which I think is best.

So, lets first unpack this month’s Glossy Box. Now I must just say quickly, while trying to rummage around to find the items from the recent box, I have to tell you that all five of them have already taken pride of place in my handbag, on my dresser, or in the bathroom, which is certainly a sign of how good they are, without wishing to accidentally release a spoiler alert.

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PRODUCT 1. Alterna Haircare Bamboo Style Boho Waves Tousled Texture Mist £25ml

This product is really nice on your hair. It creates waves while still making your hair feel soft and smooth, unlike some of the salt sprays around at the moment. I will however admit that my review of these types of products can be a little biased, as my hair is naturally wavy, so please don’t take my word that this will transform poker straight into beach babe. The product size is really good though. A 25ml bottle is a really generous sample, especially when the full size is 125ml at £23.00.

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PRODUCT 2. Inecto Pure Coconut Dry Shampoo

Step aside Batiste. Its here. You have met your match! While everyones fave dry shampoo brand has been busy monopolising the festival/camping/travel haircare market for quite some time, Inecto have been waiting in the wings with this saviour. The generous full sized bottle included in the box is the perfect size to travel with too, and it smells gorgeous. It doesn’t give you that horrible sticky feeling the day after that some dry shampoos do, and it doesn’t give you that greyish tinge at the roots either. I cannot rave enough about this one. Will definitely be purchasing in the future, and its only £2.49!

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PRODUCT 3. Ciate Nail Paint in Speed Dial

I couldn’t believe my eyes when I saw the signature little black bow peeping through the layers of tissue paper. I hadn’t tried Ciate before (mainly because at £13.00 a bottle its quite pricey), so I couldn’t wait. The colour is actually great, despite my initial surprise at the orange shade, and it looks super cute on my dresser. Great bonus when one product alone is worth more than the entire box!

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PRODUCT 4. Anotomicals Spray Mist for Me Facial Spritz

Now, this one I was dubious about. Its a facial spritz that cools down your face in the heat, and reduces redness and puffiness around your tired eyes. I first thought, “oh well fantastic. As if my moist sweaty face wasn’t enough of an escape route for my makeup, this will just send it on its way, leaving me washed out and smudged”. Well, no! It didnt seem to interfere with my makeup (providing you spray it far enough from your face), and is an instant cool down. Its great for when you’re rushing about and getting all hot and bothered! Also full sized included, and costs £6.00.

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PRODUCT 5. Cooola Mineral Face SPF

This bad boy cropped up in Birch Box too, so looks like their promo team have been working hard. Again, my least fave of the selection purely because its a bit boring, but still fab to have in your bag to prevent a red burnt nose that Rudolph would be proud of.

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So…THE VERDICT.

I think the sizes and brands are better in Glossybox, but Birch Box does have some more unique items that I might not have found before.

Overall, for me, Glossy Box wins, and I’ll be sticking with that! Anybody else torn? Let me know your thoughts!

Have a good week.

All my love.

Coco xx

Fat Hair!

Do you have flat, lifeless hair that just seems to fall the same way no matter what you do??? Well, I can’t say this is exactly applicable to me – my hair does have a fair bit of volume (thank god) as its naturally wavy, but after 6+ years of straightening, colouring, blow drying, dip dying, and now highlights, what was previously big, thick hair, has become much more limp and weightless. I think all the different hair styles and colours I’ve had have all contributed to my loss of thickness, but I am pretty certain it was my brief love affair with weaved hair extensions that broke the metaphorical camel’s back. Three rows of Shepherd’s Bush’s finest weaves and my hair has never been the same since, and FYI, I would NOT recommend it. The first few nights it feels like your head is on a bed of nails, and then its constant paranoia that they’re growing out (because if you let them grow out too far they knot and have to be cut), itching, and nothing but aggro when washing it (it feels so heavy when its wet, you feel like you’re wearing a full fur coat on your head). Not to mention that you can’t give your scalp a good scrub when you’re washing it, you have to wash the hair hanging down, so as not to knot it.

Anyway, recently I picked up a product called ‘Fat Hair’, which is sold exclusively in Superdrug (as far as I know). I was sceptical, as I’m usually quite specific with my hair products. Pantene and L’oreal, no thank you. I do believe you get what you pay for, so usually splash a bit more on more expensive ones, either direct from the salon, or more expensive shop brands like Tony and Guy or Lee Stafford. Aussie Mega ones are also generally quite good too, which is what I was using before Fat Hair.
A bottle of the shampoo cost just under £6, so its a pretty good bargain, and you can pick up some 2 for £7 deals sometimes too (only downside is the lack of boots advantage points, as its exclusive to Superdrug). Unfortunately they were out of the conditioner, so I went for the volume mousse instead, which you apply to wet hair after shampooing. That was also around £6. From what I have read the shampoo and conditioner work by enhancing the diameter of your hair strands, and the mousses and styling sprays work on making the hair look fuller, so I would recommend getting the shampoo and conditioner as well as any other products, as I think they actually thicken the hair, whereas the other bits just make the hair look fuller.
I have done two hair washes with both the shampoo and the mousse now – I substituted the conditioner with whats left of my Aussie Volume conditioner, for now, and to be honest I’m quite impressed. At first I thought it hadn’t worked, but as I was separating my hair to dry it, it looked much more bouncy and bigger, and it stayed like that the next day too, which is something my usual hair can’t sustain for more than a day or two. I have trained my hair to only need washing twice a week, so I usually resort to using product on the third and fourth days to keep it looking fuller, but with the Fat Hair range, it stays volumised for much longer! When I get my mitts on the conditioner, I am hoping it’l be even better, and I think it will get more effective over time when the hair strands start to thicken.
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Have a beautiful weekend!
C
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