The Scent of Summer: Body Shop Piñita Colada

two body shop pina colada products laid out on a tropical print cushion

Here where I live the summer this year has been pitiful so far. Pitiful! It's cold, rainy and generally not very summer-like and because I am starved of sunshine, wearing flip-flops and eating outdoors I have decided to fake it this year. There's a few things that help me with this endeavour and one of them is the absolutely incredible new range from the Body Shop - meet Piñita Colada

One of the nicest and most summery things to do, whether you are on holidays or just chilling in your back garden, is having a piña colada (recipe for the actual cocktail on the blog next week). The mix of pineapple and coconut just screams summer sun and the new Piñita Colada range from Body Shop does exactly that. It smells good enough to eat / drink and I am very tempted, but a previous experience with their raspberry body scrub taught me that it definitely does not taste as good as it smells. The range consists of the regular favourite goodies: a shower gel, body butter, scrub and body sorbet.

The scent is super refreshing and makes me feel amazing. After my morning shower & moisturising routine I get the hint of piña colada for the rest of the day and lack of a real summer is that little bit easier to bear.

I think I might stock up on some shower gel and crack open a bottle in winter to deal with those January blues!

Have you tried the range yet? If you haven't get yourself to a shop for a sniff!

Alex Signature

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New In: VOYA Oh So Scented Diffuser

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VOYA Oh So Scented Diffuser

I admit, I have only recently become a  diffuser convert. I am quite picky (aka snobbish) when it comes to home scents as some of them can be quite harsh, chemical and smell nothing like what they are supposed to smell like, with pine scents being the absolute worst! My scented candle collection is therefore on the small side and I am always ecstatic when I manage to find a new home scent I love. This one from VOYA is not a candle but the first ever diffuser to make an appearance in my home.

It was love at first... sniff. It literally smells like a luxurious spa! The notes in it are a blend of lavender with the lighter notes of chamomile with an undertone of luscious rose wood. It is simply divine! It's that relaxing  and serene scent that we all associate with a visit to a luxurious spa for a pamper session.

I love the packaging of it too! VOYA is a brand that specialises in seaweed and the design of the bottle reminds me of the beach - it's evocative of beautiful sea glass and wood washed out on the beach. It would make an absolutely beautiful present and with Mothers Day just around the corner it is definitely one to check out.

The VOYA Oh So Scented Diffuser costs €44 and is available in VOYA salons nationwide and on the VOYA website.

Have you got a favourite home scent?

*this post includes PR samples

Alex Signature

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Winter Pamper: Bodyshop Scrub + Body Cream

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The Body Shop Winter PamperI am a super lazy body care person at the best of times and rarely stick to a routine in that department. I don't know why but for some reason I just can't face moisturising properly after every shower. But now that the days are colder and my skin is a bit drier I have re-kindled my love for body products and recently just can't get enough of these two: The Body Shop African Ximenia Body Scrub & their Japanese Camelia Cream.

The Body Shop Winter Pamper

The African Ximenia Body Scrub is a thick and luscious scrub that smells divine! I use it once or twice a week in the shower and it leaves my skin silky smooth. It comes in a huge tub and little goes a long way there so it looks like it'll last for a good while. It's not the cheapest (€30.50) but definitely one of the nicest body scrubs I have ever used. I also love the luxe packaging of the entire Body Shop Spa of the World range - I'm a sucker for nice packaging!

My other favourite from the Spa of the World range is the Japanese Camelia Cream. I loathe anything that stays sticky on my skin for a long time - there is nothing worse than the feeling of clothes sticking to your body! What I love about the Camelia Cream is a really rich and luscious body moisturiser but most importantly it absorbs fully in seconds! It has a lovely warm floral scent and feels gorgeous on the skin. Again, this product is not the cheapest (€39) but definitely something worth looking at if you want to pamper yourself or treat someone to a beautiful gift.

Have you tried any of the products from this new Body Shop range?

Alex Signature

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DIY Relaxing Lavender Bath Salts

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DIY Relaxing Lavender Bath SaltsDIY Relaxing Lavender Bath SaltsDIY Relaxing Lavender Bath Salts

There is nothing more enjoyable than a long hot bath when you're stressed or had a long day in the office! There is just something super relaxing about the entire ritual and it can only be made better by some beautifully scented bath salts. You can buy them but the home made ones are so much nicer and extremely easy to make! This DIY makes a fabulous inexpensive gift (amazing for when you need something cool in a hurry).

DIY Relaxing Lavender Bath Salts

All you will need is:

1kg Epsom Salts 30-40 drops of lavender oil a handful of dried lavender flowers a jar

I usually keep these ingredients on hand so that I can whip up a batch of this if I need one. All you have to do is fill the jar about half way up with Epsom salts, put in your lavender oil and dried flowers and shake vigorously. Add the rest of the salts and shake again to combine. If your jar is very full you may need to give everything a mix with a spoon.

If lavender is not your thing you can substitute the essential oils for whatever you like - rose would be amazing! And if you are feeling creative try some scent combos such as lemon and rosemary or orange and thyme.

DIY Relaxing Lavender Bath Salts

Voila! You've made some amazingly scented lavender bath salts! If you would like to learn about what else you can make with salts not only in the beauty department but also in the kitchen make sure to check out

JETTE VIRDI'S SALT WORKSHOP The Mart, Rathmines 10.30am | Saturday 15th August

It's a fantastic event where  Jette will be guiding you through the methods of producing salt as well as helping you make different salt creations from scrubs to rubs. The tickets are €35 and you can buy them here. We can't wait & hope to see you there!

 DIY Relaxing Lavender Bath Salts DIY Relaxing Lavender Bath Salts
Alex Signature

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Yogandha: Mood Boosting Aromatherapy

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Yogandha: Mood Boosting Aromatherapy

I am a lover of aromatherapy oils and was so excited to hear that a new Irish brand called Yogandha has just launched their gorgeous body & mood boosting oils range in Harvey Nichols. The woman behind the brand is  the lovely yoga teacher Sinead Duffy who has created her line based on the ancient practice of Gandha (Sanskrit for fragrance) to enhance the mind-body state.

The oils are beautiful quality and feel very luxurious. There are two ranges in the line: Body & Bath Oils (Relax, Soothe, Detox) and Mood Boosting Roller Balls (Salute, Balance, Ground).

After a two day wedding and a few too many glasses of wine I have tried out the Detox bath oil on the weekend and absolutely loved it! The oil is a blend of refreshing lemongrass and cleansing juniper berry which helps to detox the body and enhances lymphatic drainage. My bath smelled amazing and I felt instantly refreshed and less sluggish.

Yogandha: Mood Boosting Aromatherapy

The Mood Boosting Roller Balls are something everyone should carry in their bag! They provide an instant pick-me-up on the go... Invaluable when you are busy and stressed - you can take a few minutes on your commute and to ground and centre yourself. My favourite of the roller balls is Ground, a blend of Sandalwood and Frankincense, perfect for popping onto your wrists before yoga practice or when you find your mind wandering. It really does a great job at centering your mind!

Yogandha: Mood Boosting Aromatherapy

Aromatherapy Oils can unfortunately be quite expensive, especially the good quality ones. The Yogandha range starts at €19.95 which is really good value for money. Yoandha products are available in Harvey Nichols, Avoca and are also launching soon in Lloyds Pharmacies.

There is something for everybody in this range and already know I will not be able to help myself and pick up a couple more of these!

Do you use aromatherapy in your pamper routine?

Alex Signature

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Sore Muscle Therapy: Neals Yard Warming Massage Oil

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Neals Yard Ginger & Juniper Warming  Oil | Pink Elephant BlogI have recently upped my yoga practice and can proudly say, I manage to squeeze in a yoga session at least 4 times a week these days. Unfortunately, more often than not it results in some kind of sore muscles, mostly in my legs and shoulders. I've always reached for the trusted Deep Heat but to be honest, I hate going to sleep smelling of it - not the most attractive smell in the world, let me tell you!  I found the Neals Yard Ginger & Juniper Warming Oil at this year's Irish Beauty Show and have used it regularly ever since.

It contains a mix of essential oils of ginger, juniper, rosemary and sage for healthy circulation, plus muscle relaxing lavender, in a base of skin softening and conditioning sunflower, almond and wheatgerm oils. The ingredients are 100% organic.

It feels absolutely lovely on the skin and the smell is just out of this world - I wish you could smell it through the laptop. It smells warming and soothing... and just heavenly. I love applying it into my shoulders and legs at night, it not only relaxes my tight muscles, but also leaves my skin feeling softened and hydrated.

Neals Yard Ginger & Juniper Warming Oil €14.95 from the Natural Skincare Emporium (also available in Harvey Nichols / Space NK)

I love aromatherapy products. What is your favourite?

A. xx

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Best of Beauty | Beauty Treatment

Cloisters Spa KillarneyToday's post in the Best of Beauty series (a blog challenge created by the lovely Samantha from All The Buzz) is all about my favourite Beauty Treatment. It was easy for me to choose as I am a spa girl through and through. To me there is nothing better than visiting a nice spa, a relaxing body exfoliation or massage and maybe some afternoon tea after...? Bliss!Cloisters Spa Killarney Cloisters Spa Killarney Cloisters Spa Killarney Cloisters Spa Killarney Cloisters Spa Killarney

     Photos from the Cloisters Spa in Killarney.

The spa I go to most often is the one in Druids Glen and my favourite treatment there is the Aroma Stone Therapy Massage and the Lime and Ginger Salt Treatment, which smells amazing and involves loveliness like warm oil, body brushing and other gorgeous things.

I know a spa trip can be expensive and it's (unfortunately) not something I treat myself to very often, but I think it's important to sometimes do something nice just for yourself, completely relax and forget about the world outside.

If you want to read more posts like these from my fellow Irish Beauty Bloggers check out the #BOBBlogchallenge on Twitter. I'm really looking forward to reading all the posts!

What is your favourite beauty treatment?

A. xx

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Candle Bargain: Next Garden Mint And Elderflower Candle

Next Wild Mint & Elderflower CandleThis beauty is hands down my favourite spring candle of all times. If you have read any of my previous candle posts, you will know that this is a big statement - I am incredibly fussy when it comes in scented candles. I love having a nice, light and natural fragrance wafting through my home but don't want it to smell like I just sprayed a load of Febreeze around. Unfortunately, the more natural and less offensive scents are usually the more expensive ones. I love Jo Malone, Dyptique and Neom but it physically pains me to pay €40+ for a something I am going to burn every other day.

I gave this candle a rather anxious sniff in Next Home a few weeks ago, expecting (very snobbishly) a harsh and fake scent. I was so delighted to find that this candle genuinely smells like a fortified mint and elderflower tea. It is a sweet, herbal scent that is refreshing and uplifting at the same time. I normally gravitate towards quite heavy and spicy scents but this candle has taken over lately.

The best thing about this candle is that it costs €8!!!, which is a fraction of what you would have to shell out for Jo Malone and smells just as good! It also comes in a very cute ceramic container that I will definitely be using after the candle is gone.

If you are a fan of scented candles get yourself to Next ASAP and buy one of these. This must be my find of the year! I will be buying more of these and also have my eye (or nose, he he) on another candle from this collection, Basil and Lemongrass, a gorgeous, fresh scent.

Next Garden Mint And Elderflower Candle €8 from Next shops or next.co.uk

What is your favourite spring scented candle? I would love to hear your suggestions...

A. xx

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Best of Beauty | Pamper Products

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Best of Beauty | Pamper Products

This week's Best of Beauty post (a series created by the lovely Samantha from All The Buzz) is one of my favourite categories: Pamper Products. I love my pampering time and think it is really important, girl or boy, to take some time every now and then to relax and be just with yourself. Now, I would normally have a ton of products to show you here but unfortunately I found myself 'bathtubless' in my new house (which should hopefully soon be rectified). There are few things that are as important to me in a house as a nice kitchen and comfy bathtub! Fortunately for me, I manage to still have a nice pamper time with the help of a few products.

First up are my favourite face masks of the moment, so as always from the left...

Elemis Papaya Enzyme Peel Not really a face mask as such but it certainly feels like one to me. The Elemis Papaya Enzyme peel is a gentle and creamy product that you leave on for about 15 min (my skin is quite hardy so I leave it on for a bit longer) and when you rinse it off you are left with a gorgeous, glowing and bright complexion. It is made of natural ingredients such as papaya and pineapple enzymes to lift dead skin cells and smooth out the surface of your skin. It also contains Milk Proteins, Vitamin E and Marine Algae to protect, repair and moisturise the skin. I love this product and have re-purchased it several times, it's gentle, smells nice and it works! (P.S. The product in the my photo is in limited edition packaging, just in case you are looking for it on the counter, it normally comes in a sleek silver tube)

Elemis Papaya Enzyme Peel €37.18 from lookfantastic.com

Avene Soothing Moisture Mask This is my moisturising mask of the moment. It's not a particularly sexy product, it doesn't really smell of anything and looks a bit like a thick moisturiser but it works wonders on stressed and dehydrated skin. I admit, even though I try really hard (I even have an app to remind me), I don't drink enough water and it shows on my skin. Again, you leave it on for about 15 min but because I'm obviously a rebel, I leave it on for a good bit longer. This mask is made with the Avene Spring Water, which is claimed to have soothing and anti-irritating properties. It also contains nourishing and moisturising ingredients (fatty acids) that restore the skins barrier and increase hydration. Your skin is left gorgeous and plump. I love using it after the Elemis Enzyme Peel for a super gorgeous glowing and plump skin!

Avene Soothing Moisture Mask €19 from boots.ie

Superfacialist by Una Brennan Tea Flower Clay Mask My skin is dehydrated but I still have quite oily skin through the centre of my face so I do appreciate a good clay mask. They can do wonders for congested and unbalanced skin. I try to sample a lot of these and have in the past loved the Murad Clay Mask, Glamglow, etc. At the moment I am really hung up on the Tea Flower Clay Mask from Una Brennan. It is affordable but works really well! It contains salicylic acid (willow bark, the wonder ingredient when it comes to cleaning out pores) and Dead Sea Mud to help your skin detox and restore balance. What I love about this mask so much, is that it also contains avocado oil and other mositurising ingredients so it leaves your skin purified but not stripped or tight. I've written a whole post on this mask, so if you want some more details you can find them here.

Superfacialist by Una Brennan Tea Flower Clay Mask €10.99 from boots.ie

Aromatherapy Associates Ultimate Bath & Shower Collection My ultimate pampering products are these little babies: the mini Bath and Shower oils from the Aromatherapy Associates Ultimate Bath & Shower Collection. It upsets me greatly that I can't use these in the bath at home but thankfully they are also great as shower oils. You just rub the oil into your skin and the jump into a hot shower. The Aromatherapy Associates oils are by far my favourites, they smell divine and really help me relax. They are expensive but they last forever, I've had this little collection for over a year a and a half, you only use a tiny bit at a time. My favourites, and the ones that are sadly nearly empty are Relax Deep, De-Stress Muscle and Support Equilibrium. But they are all gorgeous! The Support Breathe one is amazing for when you feel a bit coughey or congested and Support Lavender and Peppermint is amazing for when you need to cool down (great for holidays in a hot country).Best of Beauty | Pamper Products

They are very small so I usually take a couple of these oils with me wherever I go and make the best of hotel bath tubs!

Aromatherapy Associates Ultimate Bath & Shower Collection €53.56 from lookfantastic.com

Best of Beauty | Pamper Products

Scented Candles No pamper evening would be complete without a nice scented candle. I am quite fussy when it comes to candle scents, most of them smell too fake and strong for me. I like a few candles from Yankee Candle but I can't burn them for too long, they become a little too intense for me quite quickly. My favourites at the moment are the This Works Black Spice and Cedar and the Bath and Bodyworks Leaves candles - both not very seasonally appropriate as they smell quite spicy and wintery, but these are scents I generally tend to gravitate to any time of the year.

I usually have my pamper evenings when my husband is out playing football and I am at home alone (well, not alone, with Missy my little Jack Russell girl). I would have a long hot shower, throw on a face mask, do a manicure and then chill out on the couch with a herbal tea or a nice martini, depending on my mood, and watch Netflix or read a magazine. Bliss!

If you would like to read more about pamper products head to Twitter and look up the hashtag #BOBBlogChallenge to check out other Irish Beauty Bloggers posts.

What are your favourite pamper products?

A. xx

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DIY Spa Body Scrub

DIY Coffee Body ScrubI was chatting to my mum a couple of weeks ago, she was telling me about her spa trip & a fantastic body treatment she had while there. She went for this fancy tightening coffee bean body treatment and she enjoyed the body scrub used so much that she asked whether she could buy it at the spa. The therapist (fair play to her!) admitted it was only coffee grounds from the hotel kitchen! She explained that coffee has fantastic skincare properties, it contains powerful anti-oxidants that protect the skin against free radicals,  works as an anti-inflammatory, can reduce cellulite, tighten pores & reduce cellulite. Because of all these benefits, coffee is a common ingredient in skincare & spa products these days - I did my research!DIY Coffee Body Scrub So, ladies (and gents, why not??!) don't waste your coffee grounds, they're too full of goodness to just be chucked into the bin! Here are a few "recipes" for DIY coffee treatments:DIY Coffee Body Scrub

1. The 1 Ingredient Body Scrub For this all you will need is... you guessed it! Used coffee grounds! So brew your coffee (whichever way you like, ehm, just not instant : P), drink it, squeeze excess water out and use the warm coffee grounds to scrub the skin on your body. Make sure you concentrate on cellulite prone areas. Rinse off with warm water.

2. Moisturising Body Scrub Here, same as above, put your warm coffee grounds (around 1 - 2 cups, however much you need) into a bowl and mix in 2-3 tablespoons of olive oil. Massage into the skin & rinse off with warm water.

3. Super Exfoliating Body Scrub For this one mix your Moisturising Body Scrub in a bowl (as above) and add half a cup of sea salt or coarse demarera sugar. If you like you can add a drop of vanilla extract. Massage into the skin & rinse off with warm water.

I think all of the above would also be nice with a pinch of cinnamon or some essential oils added in... especially if you are not a huge fan of the smell of coffee!

The one thing I will say is that it is not the prettiest of body scrubs... actually it possibly is the worst looking one I've tried (brown is not a great colour for body care products) but definitely one of the most effective ones!DIY Coffee Body Scrub

I absolutely love the simplicity of this body scrub and have used it several times since I found out about it (my favourite is the coffee, olive oil & cinnamon combo). Thanks to my husband, who is a coffee junkie, I have a never ending supply!DIY Coffee Body ScrubLet me know if you have tried this & what you thought of it you have!

A. xx

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