Musings of a self-confessed beauty addict from the heart of London!

Wednesday, 30 March 2011

Coconut, vanilla and cream....

... how can that possibly be wrong?

And more importantly, what am I banging on about? Well, I'm about to make Mr P's number one favourite cake for his birthday this weekend. It's a so-titled "Italian Coconut Cream Cake" and if Heaven had a taste then this would be it. It is sublime!

I've always had a thing for coconut. Ever since I was a small child anything that tasted or smelled of coconut would send my brain into rapture. I remember the little Raffaello sweets (like Ferrero Rocher but made with white chocolate and coconut) being the ultimate holy grail of .....well.... everything. I could have eaten two boxes easily in one sitting. This coconut obsession obviously extended to anything smelling remotely of coconut. Like shampoo. With my little stash of pocket money I used to go down to Boots and buy the coconut shampoo which came as part of their Natural Collection. This was in the early nineties (really showing my age now..... how daring!) and the Natural Collection had just launched. Thing funny thing is that it really wasn't natural at all, they would simply bung in a fragrance of a fruit or flower and stick a label on the bottle with a picture of said fruit or flower.

However I was sold on the purity of the coconut shampoo, until one disastrous day, as I sat in the bath pondering the bottle, I decided that it must taste as good as it smelt, and I poured a blob into the palm of my hand and licked it off. Cue much choking and spluttering and a harsh realisation that I had been tricked, and that it was more than likely that a coconut had never in fact seen the inside of that bottle.

Dark times.

After that episode I switched to bath products that didn't promise I could eat them. I was always a  hungry teenager, and so it was safer that I switched to Vidal Sassoon or Cream Silk rather than anything with coconut or passionfruit in the description.

Fast forward a few years and upon entering university I had discovered the joys of The Body Shop and, more precisely, their Vanilla collection. You see, my taste had 'matured' somewhat from wanting to smell like coconuts to wanting to smell like custard. I was a girl obsessed. I owned every product from the Vanilla range and smothered myself in it all everytime I had a shower. I loved the way I smelled. Edible! I guess I was still hungry.....

I remember one day I went for one of my lectures and instead of sitting where I would have normally sat I took the desk behind. Someone had scratched into the desk: "Pandora smells gorgeous"
I was flattered to bits. Someone (it was a guy but I don't remember who) had obviously been intoxicated by the Vanilla..... confirming to me that if I wanted to feel attractive then I was going the right way about it. I mean, someone had actually defaced college property to declare to the world that I was...... um, deliciously fragrant!

I was thinking the other day that it had been a long time since I'd sniffed The Body Shop's Vanilla perfume. The novelty wore off after two years of smelling like cake. My mum couldn't understand I wanted to smell like desserts all the time. She has always been eternally chic using ONLY Chanel No5. I've never known her to wear anything else and I doubt she even ever went through a 'smelling like cake' phase. Anyway I'm sure that a few years ago The Body Shop relaunched their Vanilla range so I'm making a mental note to pop by and check it out, maybe pick up a body cream for old time's sake.

Until then I'll have to content myself with the smell of the coconut - vanilla cake in the oven, but at least it won't disappoint me when I try to eat it ;)

Bear or coconut..... :)


  1. Noooo this is the first time I've read this post but I can completely understand!!!I think I'm still in the 'I going to taste the shampoo' period (I'm 21 though) and it doesn't seem to come to an end!
    I'm obsessed with tea, rose, vanilla, hazelnut, cocoa, strawberry scents (the best I've found is from winnie pooh rangeee!!!!; children at the supermarket always look at me like 'what the hell are you doing?are you smelling OUR shampoo?ahahaha...
    and cakes, I love preparing them!!
    I've always wanted to own what I call 'dolceria' which is a bakery I guess?fresh cakes, biscuits, chocolates, teas!it pretty common I know but here we don't have one!!I swear!! I think I would eat everything :)
    I'd love a lingerie shop as well...corsets, stockings...I live at 100 km from milan (piedmont region) but in my area you hardly find these items :(
    I'm not buying from local shops or italy anymore!

  2. Iris, honey, if you open your dolceria and lingerie shop then I will be your first visitor. Mr P is from Lombardia, provincia di Varese, so not too far from you :)

    If you like preparing cakes, you must try this recipe I found online for Coconut Cream cake (the one I talk about in this post), but I advise you to halve the amount of sugar for the frosting!

  3. Oooh this is nice!!
    Varese is even closer for us!
    to be honest I am quite sure Milan is full of shops like this (where you can also sit and chill out) but if you come to provinvia di vercelli(where I study and live) well, you end up sitting on the sofa with hot chocolate and a movie every evening (especially saturday of course :D) or to the pub where they just have guinnes beer!
    I read you live in Brussels now right?;)
    are you from London?I'd love to visit it!

  4. Yes, I live in Brussels but I go back to London (where I'm from) regularly. You should definitely go to London when you can.... I'm sure you'd fall in love with it!


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