Vanilla Crush

A Beauty, Lifestyle and Travel blog.

The Perfect Travel Accessories from Aspinal of London

19/05/2016


The Aspinal of London Travel Collection is the best way to travel in style. Hand crafted from the finest Italian leather and lined in a beautiful cream suede, this travel collection comprises of a classic travel wallet, a passport cover and two luggage labels (one large and one small). All are of the highest quality and very durable, meaning they will last for many many years.

Previously when traveling I would keep all my important documents in a clear plastic wallet that was rather quite ugly to be honest. Instead, the Aspinal Travel Wallet is not only stylish but also very practical.  It features one large gusseted compartment for currency, four tabbed sections for safe storage of all your documents, a zipped compartment for coins and an open pocket for boarding passes. The passport section can just about fit a passport with a cover, however it is a bit of a squeeze.

The passport cover comes embossed with PASSPORT on the front and has reinforced corners to ensure it holds up well through travels. Inside it has a pocket, which is great for your boarding pass if you are in a rush and it is finished with a grosgrain ribbon marker which I use to find my photo page much quicker.


Lastly, the luggage tags come in two sizes, one for hand luggage and one for hold luggage. I have never really used luggage tags before, however now I will not go without. It really stands out against my black suitcase making it very easy to spot on the carousel. They both come with a gold foil Aspinal signature address card, with flaps to cover your personal information.

This would make a great gift as not only is there the option to customise the collection with your initials, making them that little bit more special, they also come beautifully packed in a gift box, wrapped with a ribbon. 

The Deluxe Travel Set comes in at £165, and is available in 14 different colours. Purchased separately these would cost you £205 - a total saving of £40.

The Giorgio Armani Si Perfume Range

17/05/2016

GIORGIO ARMANI SI PERFUME

There is something very special about perfume. In just one spray you can be transported back to a period or event in your life, evoking some very happy (or sad) memories. It this reason that I will happily invest a bit more into perfume. The Si range from Giorgio Armani was first released in 2013 as a tribute to modern femininity. There are three versions of the scent ranging from light and delicate to intense and sexy. These high end perfumes cost more than your average perfume, but produce the most beautiful long wearing scents. The luxurious bottles are classic and elegant, and will stand out from the rest on your dressing table.

The lightest fragrance of them all is the Eau de Toilette*. This is your every day scent, with notes of pear, freesia and amber wood, and a musky vanilla base. It is much more subtle than the other two, with the perfect balance of fruity and floral scents. I wear this scent the most our of the three as it is very soft and feminine. The Eau de Parfum* is more of an evening perfume due to its heavier scent. When first sprayed it is warm yet woody, then it softens to a floral yet sweet scent. It has notes of mandarin, rose and jasmin with a base of patchouli and vanilla. Lastly, the strongest of them all is Eau de Parfum Intense*. This is the darker, more sultry scent that is very intense when first applied. I much prefer this scent once it has settled down, otherwise it can be a little over powering.

Definitely try all three before you buy as they although they have the same underlying scent, there are subtle differences. Prices range from £54 to £72 for 50ml but can also be purchased in 30ml or 100ml. 

What is your favourite high end perfume?

Book Review | How Not to Travel the World by Lauren Juliff

15/05/2016


When I'm not travelling, I love to travel vicariously through others, so its no surprise that I can spend hours and hours getting lost in travel blogs. When I learnt that one of my favourite travel bloggers was releasing a book, I couldn't wait to get my hands on it. How Not to Travel the World is written by travel blogger Lauren Juliff from Never Ending Footsteps. As the title suggests, this book is all about the adventures of a disaster prone backpacker. After suffering from anxiety for much of her life, Lauren decided to leave her safety net, England, and travel the world solo. She had never tried eggs, never tried rice and had never been on a bus, yet 5 years later she is still travelling, and has now accomplished all three and much much more!

The book begins on day one of her travels and continues for more than a year. Many of the stories are hilarious, whilst others are scary. You will read about how she got scammed in Shanghai and how she had to travel for six hours with a dead body, but she also tells the tale of how she met her boyfriend through travelling. Lauren takes you through her adventures as if you are there with her, making it very hard to put the book down.

This book is more than a travel book, it is a story about growing as an individual and gaining the courage to do things you are afraid of. Lauren is very relatable and super inspiring. Through this book she shows that although you sometimes may fall, you will always pick yourself up and be a stronger person because of it. Just a warning, despite the mishaps this book will make you want to travel the world.

Do check out Lauren's blog, it's far from your typical travel blog and is a great read.

Should we be using Aluminium in our deodorant?

12/05/2016


Last month Soft & Gentle released the UK's first 0% aluminium anti-perspirant deodorant and this got me thinking what is so bad about aluminium? After some thorough research I learnt some interesting facts. Aluminium is used to form a temporary plug in the sweat ducts, hence why it is used in deodorant. This doesn't sound too bad. However, some research suggests that aluminium that is applied near the breast can be absorbed into the skin and cause estrogen like effects. This can promote the growth of cancer cells, and therefore contribute to the development of breast cancer. That doesn't sound so good right? Having said that, there is no conclusive evidence linking aluminium and breast cancer and so there is no real concern. This does however make me consider using a more natural based deodorant.

The aluminium free deodorant from Soft & Gentle* uses plant based ingredients for natural protection. It is free from allergens, parabens and alcohol and rather than aluminium, horsetail is used to tighten underarm pores and sage is used to help soften the skin and neutralise body odour. They work exactly the same as your typical deodorant but with the natural goodness. There are three scents available,  which are all very lightweight and fresh, for just £2.99 for 150ml from Superdrug.

What do you think of natural deodorants?

Current Spring Favourites

10/05/2016


I use a purple shampoo once a week to get rid of any brassy tones and to help brighten my hair. I have tried a multitude of different shampoos, some cheap and some expensive, yet I always go back to the cheapest of them all; the Touch of Silver Brightening Shampoo*.  This does exactly what it does on the tin for just £3.19, my hair is more vibrant and fresh in just one wash. I really do believe there is no need to invest in a more expensive purple shampoo. I do however recommend that you use a deep conditioner with this shampoo as it is a little drying.

I have also been loving this Yankee Candle in Vanilla Lime (£10.99). The combination of rich vanilla, sweet cane sugar and zesty lime smells good enough to eat. It is not sickly sweet, but very fresh and fills the room with the most beautiful aroma. I also much prefer this style of glass to the typical Yankee Candle glass, and although it is smaller the throw is just as good. Another favourite is the new long wear range from China Glaze called EverGlaze. I have fallen in love with the colour We Be Jammin'*, a purple grey that is perfect all year round. This gel like polish does not need to be set with a UV light, but is as long lasting and as durable. The formulation is not the best, it can be quite hard to apply a thin layer, however the colour makes up for it. These are exclusive to Sally Beauty for just £8.99.

I had a bit of an impsule purchase in the Charlotte Tilbury store in Covent Garden and bought the Magic Foundation for £29.50. The service was fabulous, they couldn't do enough to help and I would definitely head back for more help. The foundation really is magic, it is perfect for my normal/dry skin and provides a flawless full coverage. It feels very moisturising on my skin and lasts all day. There is a colour for all skin tones so do check it out if you are after a new foundation.

Lastly, I have been using the Sanctuary Spa Wonder Body* a lot recently. Now that the weather has improved my legs are on show more now despite not seeing the sun for a while. This is essentially a tinted moisturiser for your body, giving you a very slight colour with a nice glow. It has sheer pigments and blurring skin particles that improve the look of your skin, giving you more confidence. It also contains grape seed and abyssinian oil which are rich in vitamin E and a good source of hydration.

What are you loving at the moment?

Summer Travel Plans

08/05/2016


It is officially less than one month till I start my summer travels and I cannot tell you how excited I am. Firstly we are off to Athens. We are only there for for 24 hours, so we won't get to experience much of the city, however top of the list is to visit the Acropolis and to explore as much as we can. We have yet to book our hotel so if you have any recommendations or blog posts on Athens then please do share. 


Then we move onto Santorini for the rest of the week. This beautiful caldera is infamous for its blue and white buildings, its stunning sunsets and amazing food. It has been quite a few years now since I have been to a Greek island, the last being Crete in 2007. When I was younger we used to visit Greece a lot as a family, so it will bring back a lot of childhood memories. I have always wanted to go to Santorini and experience the beautiful little towns, but most of all, I am looking forward to some sun and simply relaxing.


Once I get back from Santorini I am then off to Budapest with my mother. Every year we go on a mother daughter holiday, and last year we went to Prague and fell in love with the city. We then decided that we wanted to travel more of Eastern Europe, and chose Budapest. With its world famous baths, beautiful churches and stunning architecture, its no wonder why more and more people are visiting Budapest.


Lastly, but not yet confirmed, is Indonesia at the end of summer. I have booked the time off work but we have not booked flights or accomodation yet. The main reason for choosing Indonesia is that we want to learn how to dive and have been recommended going to the Gili islands. I have never been diving before so I am a little nervous, but having read into it some more I am actually quite excited. We are then hoping to travel around the islands, relax and explore the beauty that Indonesia is.

What are your summer travel plans?

Blogger Events | Caudalie & Mii

24/04/2016


On Tuesday I attended the launch of the new Caudalie hydrating moisturisers and the limited edition grape water. The Vinosource range is powered by the grape, a rich source of hydration that contains soothing elements such as potassium and calcium. There are 4 moisturisers in the collection, one for each skin type. The Moisturising Sorbet is a gel like cream, perfect for sensitive skin, whereas the Moisturising Mattifying fluid helps to reduce excess sebum and is great for combination skin. The Moisture Recovery Cream is a light weight cream for dry skin and the Intense Moisture Rescue cream is a richer cream for very dry skin.

I am a big fan of Caudalie and so I look forward to trying these out - especially with my skin being so dehydrated at the moment. The moisturisers come in at £23 for 40ml and the grape water is £6 for 7ml. They are available now from Caudalie Boutiques and the Caudalie website.





Then on Wednesday I popped along to the Wonderful World of Mii event, a brand created by the founder of the infamous Jessica nail range. I hadn't heard of the brand before and so I was intrigued to learn more. Upon arrival I had my brows done using the statement brow kit in fair and was very impressed by the finish. My brows were much fuller, yet still very natural which is just how I like it. I then sampled the makeup. The products that stood out the most to me were the forever eye colour crayons, the mineral foundation and the conceal & contour duo. The eye crayons remind me of the By Terry Ombre Blackstar but without the price tag (£17) - it will be interesting to see if they last as long. 

They also have a tanning range called Kissed by Mii, which includes ingredients such as coral seaweed, green algae and coastal flowers. These help to replenish your skins natural minerals, helping to develop a beautiful tan. I was most intrigued by the seriously smoothing exfoliating wipes (£4.95) which help to create a smooth base for your tan. Prices are reasonable, with most products being below £20. Mii is available in selected spas, salons and online at Gerrard International. To see your closest stockist, click here.

Let me know if you like this kind of post as I decided to try something a little different!
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