Sunday, 31 May 2015

200! And May Wrap-Up and June TBR

This is officially the 200th post on this blog! I just wanted to take this moment to say a big thank you to everyone who reads and shares these posts. I really do this just for fun and it means so much to me to see my very modest view count notch up with each month. As this started off as a book blog, it's only fitting that the 200th post is a reading wrap up and to be read list!

I actually only read three out of the six books I thought I was going to read this month, but because I was abroad for a week I read a whole load more on my Kindle! I obtained all the Kindle book covers from their Goodreads page.

The first book I finished was Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adiche. I'd been reading this on and off since February so it was great to finally finish it! I really enjoyed this book and can 't wait to read more of Adiche's work!

I then picked up The Hour Glass Factory by Lucy Ribchester. This book looked so much fun, but sadly it was a bit of a disappointment for me. I couldn't tell where this book sat in terms of genre - either YA or contemporary - and because of that the book had a very confused tone. I think this was partly because it was set in the 1900s so was trying to use language suitable to the time - this sounded a bit cliched and clunky compared to the beautiful simplicity of Adiche's writing. I really enjoyed the injection of history into this book, I just think some of the events were a tad too far fetched for my liking.

I finished this book the night before I left for Lyon! I knew I had lots of time waiting around in airports and on trains, so, rather than carrying around a load of clunky books, I picked up a few on my Kindle!


The first of these was Stardust by Neil Gaiman. I loved the film from this book, so I was hoping for lots of good things. Whilst the book is very good - I'd really recommend it for 9-12 year olds - I actually preferred the film! Some of my favourite moments from the film weren't in the book, and it lacked some of the wit that the film had. Nevertheless I enjoyed reading it.


I then started on The Tiny Wife by Andrew Kaufman. This book was really short and I sped through it. It was lots of fun to read, although in places I felt like I was missing the moral message of the book. 


As my plane landed I made a start on The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks by E. Lockhart. I adored this book, and you can find my review here. It's definitely my favourite book of the year so far!


On the flight back home I read The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao by Junot Diaz on recommendation from a friend. In comparison to E. Lockhart's writing, Diaz is very slow paced and methodical which meant it was difficult for me to become absorbed by it. The more grizzly aspects of the plot where a little off putting for me too, although I loved the cultural references, even if I didn't understand them - they really gave the novel life. This book reminded me a lot of The Autograph Man  by Zadie Smith, which was my least favourite of her novels. All this being said, once I was settled into the voice of the narrator I actually became quite absorbed by the novel.


The last book I read was Black Box by Jennifer Egan. My housemate loves this book and I can see why - it's very mysterious and quite dark. For me it felt a little forced, however, and had I not know it was meant to be composed in tweets I wouldn't have got that from the writing.

I've also made a start on The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August by Claire North. However, after reading most of those books in such quick succession my mind was a little drained! I'm currently half way through.

So, in total, I read seven books and started on an eighth, which I'm very happy with. I'm also clawing my way back onto target for my 50 books this year, and am currently six books behind schedule.

For next month I'm going to roll over my the remaining books I didn't get around to:

The Shock of the Fall by Nathan Filer
S by J.J Abrams and Doug Dorst
The Watcher in the Shadows by Carlos Ruiz Zafron

Once I've finished those I'm going to have a browse of my local bookshops and libraries and pick up some treats! I really want to read How To Be Both by Ali Smith, so hopefully I can find that, and also The Narrow Road To The Deep North by Richard Flanagan. I'm going to Amsterdam for a week this month too, so I might re-read a couple of books on my Kindle - since reading Frankie Landau-Banks I've been dying to re-read We Were Liars. I also want to re-read The Hundred Year Old Man by Jonas Jonasson.

Have you read any of these books? Tweet me your thoughts @VickiMaitland or tag me in an Instagram @vickimaitland. Leave a comment below and let me know what you're planning on reading this month!

Friday, 29 May 2015

Empties #2

Over the past few months I've been tossing all of my used-up products into a box under my bed and pretty much forgetting about them. The other day I have having a little sort out and I stumbled across said box and was very surprised about how full it was!

I really like reading other people's empties posts as you get really honest reviews, so I thought I'd share mine with you today!

A lot of these products are conditioners - shout out to all the dry haired curlies out there - but I'll start off with the skin care products I've used up. These are literally in the order I picked them out of the box in, so sorry if I jump around at all!

 Olay Essentials Complete Care SPF15 Daily Fluid for normal/oily skin. I have loved this product ever since I first got into skin care (about 16 or so) and up until now it has been the only moisturiser I have ever used. I love how light weight it is - it soaks in so quickly and doesn't leave my skin feeling greasy. Sadly this product isn't cruelty free, so there will be no more repurchases for me!

Superdrug Dead Sea Mud Mask. I've spoken about my enjoyment of this in another post, and I've actually already re-purchased this product. I think they may have slightly changed the ingredients between purachses, though, as now when I use it my skin has a very small allergic reaction (it is hot and red for a while after removing the product). However, I've not let this stop me as I still love the effect of this product. I have quite oily skin and as the mask dries you can really see it pulling all the junk from your pores.

Superdrug Tea Tree Deep Cleansing Nose Strips. As I've said before, I suffer from blackheads as a result of not really washing my face throughout puberty. Like the mud mask, I love that you can really see the grime get pulled out of your skin when you use this. Sometimes the stick on the strips is a bit hit and miss (and if it doesn't stick straightway then the strip is useless), although I think that's probably down to my poor application rather than the product itself. I only ever buy these on offer as you only get five in a pack and they're £4 a pop - which I think is a bit of a rip off (if you'll pardon the pun).

B. Nourished Night Serum. I'd never tried a night serum before so when I saw this on offer I thought I'd pick it up. I love it, it applies really nicely and soaks in pretty quickly so you don't have to worry about getting greasy moisturiser over your pillow! You only need two pumps to cover your face. I've already re-purchased this (on offer, again) as I found my daily moisturiser was too heavy on my skin at night.

Marks and Spencer Limited Edition Foundation in the shade Nude. I'm actually not in love with this foundation - it takes quite a lot of blending to get it looking natural and it's perhaps slightly too yellow for my skin tone. That being said I very rarely wear foundation - only ever on nights out - and it provides pretty good coverage which is what I want. As you can see, I even chopped the top of the tube off to get the last bits of product out! I've already re-purchased this as it's cheap and does the job, but when I have more of a disposable income I'm going to look for a higher quality foundation.

B. Refined Exfoliating Cleanser. I love this product and have gone through loads of these since I first discovered it. I've currently got one on the go but I've trying to switch up my skin care a bit so I'm mix and matching with some other products. This is still the best of the bunch as an all rounder, though! It's very milky in its consistency and the exfoliating beads are really small, which means it is very delicate.

Original Source Mint and Tea Tree Shower Gel. This is my all time favourite shower gel, and it's vegan too! I love the tingling minty sensation - it's perfect to wake you up first thing! There's some mixed information about whether or not they are cruelty free, though, and since Superdrugs own brand is just as nice I'm not going to re-purchase this product.

Herbal Essences Bee Strong Shampoo. I was a huge Herbal Essences fan before I went cruelty free. This product (and the matching conditioner) is really nice and moisturising - I think it's my favourite of all the Herbal Essences collection. However, I think they may have changed the ingredients as this shampoo has left me with a nasty dry patch on my scalp which 6 months down the line I just can't shift. I even went to the doctors to get it checked out - apparently I wasn't the only one to have this problem with Herbal Essences. Needless to say, I won't be re-purchasing this product.

Dr Organic Virgin Coconut Oil Conditioner. I  got this on a half price offer and I LOVED this conditioner. It was so nourishing to my hair and felt great! Sadly the price tag on this bottle means it was out of my price range to re-purchase, but as soon as I've got some spare cash I'm going to get this again.

Co-operative Coconut and Honey Fragranced Conditioner. I could really tell the difference between this £1 bottle and Dr Organic's £6 conditioner. I had to use a lot more product each time and still didn't get the same results. However, for a cheap conditioner it was pretty good quality for money, and when I'm strapped for cash I'll probably re-purchase this.

Wella Shockwaves Curls and Waves Mousse. This is my cruelty free Achilles heel. This was the first product which saved my hair from being a frizzy mess and I'm very tentative to try something else. If you've tried out a cruelty free mousse that's worked please let me know! I would fee so much more comfortable knowing I was investing in a good product!

Any suggestions for cruelty free products I should try? I'm currently on the look out for a good, affordable, undereye concealer! Tweet me @VickiMaitland, leave a comment below, or tag me in a pic of you using your cruelty free products on Instagram @vickimaitland!

Tuesday, 26 May 2015

On The Big Weekend

When it was first announced that Radio One's Big Weekend was not only going to be in my home city but actually on my university campus I was so excited it was unreal. My city is relatively small, so to have a big event like that is really special. The morning the tickets were released I spent over an hour on my laptop, but to no avail. Excitement changed to sadness. Half an hour later, and I was back on the excitement train again - one of my very kind friends had a spare Sunday ticket and was offering it to me!

This Sunday felt like the most perfect end to a degree anyone could ask for. Taylor Swift stood on stage saying 'Hello Norwich' was the culmination of three years worth of hard work. I actually welled up when I caught a peek of her through the crowd. Not only that, but I was stood with my two beautiful housemates (and another of our lovely friends) who have been there for me the past two years we've lived together and are the best friends a girl could ask for!

There aren't words to describe how the day felt as a whole, so I'm just going to share a few highlights with you.

1) Olly Murs. I loved him when he was on X-Factor and always thought he'd be amazing live, and he really didn't disappoint! He was every bit the cheeky chappy I thought he'd be, and he did an incredible funk medley.

2) At the front for Rita Ora. The stage was at the bottom of a hill and we got to get to eye level with Rita! I'm not a huge fan, but it was pretty incredible to be able to say that I've seen her.

3) Catfish and the Bottlemen. I hadn't heard of this band before and was surprised when I recognised most of their songs. I officially have a crush on their lead singer - his baby blue's had such long lashes on them, and I'm a sucker for pretty eyes.

4) George Ezra has one of the most lovely voices. His set was more of a mid-afternoon chill than a prelude to Taylor Swift, but it was wonderful all the same.

5) TAYLOR SWIFT. I've loved Taylor since her first album and she put on the most incredible show. Her set felt slightly shorter than it should have been, but that could just have been because I was loving it so much! She is amazing live and it was a really special experience.

6) Foo's to finish. I'm not a massive Foo Fighter's fan but Dave Grohl is great at talking to a crowd. His repeated dedication of songs to Taylor Swift was hilarious, and there was a moment when he called the band to go silent and the whole audience sung the riff/bridge (I don't know the technical term) of his song.

So, despite the rain, I had an incredible day. I am so grateful to my friends for giving me a ticket, so happy I got to spend the day with people I love, and so in awe that this was all happening on my doorstep.

Sorry I forgot to post on Friday - I completely lost track of the days of the week. As per usual, there will be a bonus Sunday post at some point in the future to make up for it.

Tuesday, 19 May 2015

#reviewsdaytuesday: The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks by E. Lockhart

Last year E. Lockhart's book We Were Liars took book bloggers everywhere by storm. Although she actually wrote Frankie Landau-Banks before that, it was re-released after the staggering success of We Were Liars. We Were Liars was easily one of my favourite books of 2014, and I think Frankie Landau-Banks is topping my favourites for 2015 already.

I read this book on Kindle so this picture is sourced from the GoodReads page.
Set in Alabaster (a privileged boarding school in America), this is the story of a girl, her boyfriend, her boyfriend's best friend, and an old boys club in need of a shake up.

Frankie is a very compelling character. She is the epitome of a strong teenage female character, as far as I'm concerned at least. Yes, she loves the attention of the boys, but her life doesn't revolve around it (it's almost a sub-plot). Yes, she's flawed in the way she treats her female friends and other women in the novel, but she either recognises when she's being problematic or it's pointed out to her and she listens. And, ultimately, she has grown up with a father who wanted her to be a boy, and her every action is an attempt to say 'So what I'm a girl, girls can do everything that boys can and better'.

The word 'feminist' is thrown around a lot in this book, and E. Lockhart doesn't use the 'f' word shyly. She has written about girls finding themselves and recognising their own worth as being equal to the worth of men in a system that tells them otherwise - essentially a feminist realisation. I think this is a feminist book, and that's not something that should put you off from reading it but rather draw you in.

This book doesn't have the huge plot twist that We Were Liars delivers so well, but it is utterly engaging for a completely different reason. I was gripped, and although my reading of the book was interrupted by a four day holiday I couldn't stop thinking about it.

I really recommend The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks (and We Were Liars if you haven't read it yet). I think E. Lockhart has just become an instant purchase for me.

Have you read either of her books? What did you think? Tweet me @VickiMaitland or leave a comment below. Any book recommendations? Tag me in your Instagram (@vickimaitland).

The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks is published by Hot Key Books.

Friday, 15 May 2015

The Happy Skin Tag

As you're reading this I'm just waking up to my final day in France! I've spent the past four days there visiting one of my closest friends, so there might be some kind of travel related post up on Tuesday. In the mean time, here's a quick little tag! Tanya Burr did this tag a few weeks ago and I thought it looked fun so I'm giving it a go.

1) How would you best describe your skin?

A little on the oily side, prone to blackheads but not to breakouts. I also have over reproductive skin cells on my cheeks, upper arms and occasionally on my thighs, which means I get little red bumps on my skin unless I scrub scrub scrub!

2) What are your main skincare concerns?

My T-zone is my main problem area for shine, so I try and counteract that whenever possible. Obviously I also have to watch out for the skin on my cheeks etc too.

3) What's the weirdest natural ingredient you've ever used in your skincare routine?

I wouldn't say this is part of my routine, but I tried out cinnamon and honey as an exfoliator the other day. It worked really well, and I've never heard of using cinnamon before!

4) How do you define happiness?

This is a bit of a loaded question after my Art of Emotion module this semester. For me, happiness is being comfortable in who you are, where you are, and who you're with.

5) Describe your skincare routine in five words.

Easy, exfoliating, speedy, cleansing, daily.

6) Top skincare tip.

Clean your face morning and night. Even if it's only with a warm, damp, flannel, it really makes a huge difference.

7) What makes you laugh every day?

My friends. They are always hilarious.

8) What steals your skin's natural radiance?

Lack of sleep/poor diet for sure. I really notice it if I have a couple of nights out!!

9) What are your top tips for healthy glowing skin?

Exfoliate in the evenings, especially in summer as it really makes a tan look even more beautiful. Keep hydrated and, most importantly, eat well!

10) What's your skin care 101?

Similar to the above but - keep hydrated, eat well, and get a good eight hours of kip a night! find a nice face mask that you can pamper yourself with once or twice a week, too, as it makes a real difference!

11) What is your happy place?

I love being surrounded by fields and nature, and anywhere my friends and family are!

I'm tagging anyone and everyone! If you do take part, tweet me a link to your post @VickiMaitland, tag me in your Instagrams (@vickimaitland) or leave a comment below!

Tuesday, 12 May 2015

Thoughts on the Election #GE2015

As a 21 year old, this was the first year I was allowed to vote in the UK general election. Like many, I entered the polling station with hope and optimism. And like many, I ended the day with disappointment, disillusioned by the whole process.
A photo posted by Vicki Maitland (@vickimaitland) on

Needless to say, I wasn't one of the 11 million or so who voted for the Conservative party. I was one of the 18.9 million who voted for an alternative party.

This is where my disillusionment comes from. Not the fact that the party I voted for didn't get in, but the fact that a party got in with only 36% of the electorate supporting them. That's 64% of people who voted against them. The Conservatives received 34,000 votes per MP. The Liberal Democrats received 301,000 votes per MP. The Greens received 1,000,000 votes, yet only got one MP. To me, that seems wrong.*

I'm not going to lie. I'm afraid of how this country will turn out being run by a Conservative government for the next five years. It will doubtless mean more cuts to the poor, the young and the vulnerable: benefit cuts, cuts to health services, cuts to education, a rise in tuition fees. At the same time, it will provide tax breaks for the richest. It will re-instate fox hunting. It will repeal the Human Rights Act. It will campaign to have us leave the EU.

But I'm more afraid to see that my voice hasn't been heard in this election. In UK politics we have scarce opportunities to see that happen and the general election is the biggest opportunity for the general public to be listened to. There have already been protests outside Downing Street, protests the mainstream media have either ignored or else only shown one side of (such as a WW2 monument being graffitied or the fact that five police officers were injured).

The next five years are going to bring about a lot of change. It's a shame that this change will reflect the views of a minority, rather than giving equal representation to the views of the electorate.

* As bit bit of background, the UK is run on a constituency based election. The country is split up into 650 areas of differing sizes but (in theory) equal population (so there are a lot more constituencies in London than there are in Scotland because the population density is so much greater in London). Each constituency then votes for the political party they want to see represent their constituency, which means that not all political parties field candidates in all constituencies. Because of this, a party can become elected with less than half of the population voting for them - for example:

If party A received 40% of the vote, but parties B, C and D received 35%, 15% and 10% respectively then party A gets elected, despite 60% of voters voting against them. If we pretend that there are 100 people in a constituency, this could mean that party A only needed 40 votes to get an MP.

If you spread this across the country with a similar vote break down (say, out of ten 100 person constituencies, 55 seats went to party A, 20 seats to B, 15 seats to C and 5 seats to D) then parties B, C and D needed a lot more votes to get fewer MPs.

The government only needs 326 seats to have a majority - which means that provided all MPs from the party in power vote for a law then it will be passed. The Conservatives currently have 331 seats, which is a majority albeit not a strong one, so if six MPs vote against party line then laws can be blocked, but that's a big if, and relies on opposition parties also voting against policies.

In short - we need electoral reform. 'First Past The Post' is an outdated system that was formed when there were only two political parties (the Tories and the Whigs). We now have a multi-party system, and the way we elect our politicians should reflect that.

Got opinions? Tweet me @VickiMaitland or leave a comment below.

Friday, 8 May 2015

Spring Everyday Make-up Look

In spring I really like to strip back my make-up. As much as I love deep autumnal colours, something about spring makes me want to go barefaced into the world, with rosy cheeks, clean eyes, and neutral lips.

I've been wearing this look for the past couple of weeks and I love how neutral it is. It's the kind of make-up which would compliment any skin tone, and it looks really fresh and natural. It's almost no-make-up make-up.

 First things first, moisturise. I bought this B. Ready cream when I finally used up the last of my Olay Daily Fluid. I'm not in love with it as feels a little heavy on my skin, but it soaks in pretty well and definitely leaves me feeling hydrated.

 I've been using this B. Rescued Engergising Balm after I picked it up on a whim. I wouldn't say I've noticed a huge difference in my skin, but it is a pretty good daily primer.

 This is the Collection Long Lasting Concealer in the shade 02 Medium/Light. I use it under my eyes, on my lids, and around my nose. It is pretty much my exact skin tone, so it doesn't lighten anything up but it does a great job of neutralising redness. I've said it before, but I can't find any evidence which says if Collection is a cruelty free brand or not.

 I set everything with this e.l.f Pressed Powder in Buff. This is technically my summer shade, but it was so beautiful in April that I tanned!

 I have been loving this e.l.f Cream Blush in Flirty. It gives a beautiful pink glow!

 I sometimes like to add a little bronzer, so the middle shade in Barry M Flawless Chisel Cheeks Contour Kit if perfect for me.

 This is TopShops Smokey Eye pallette in Golden Aurora. It was a winter favourite for me and I've brought it back for the spring. I apply the top champagne pink shade all over my lid, in the inner corners of my eyes, and under my brow bone, then I add a little contour with the satin taupe shade.

 I'm still trying to decide how I feel about this M&S Limited Collection All-in-One Mascara. I love the length it gives me, but sometimes it gets really clumpy and the wear isn't great - it's almost a little gritty when it dries.
I use the middle shade when filling my brows.
 For everyday I don't bother to fill my brows (it looks too heavy with this make-up look), so I just use the brow gel to set and shape my brows.

I've managed to lose this in the day between taking the photos and writing this!

 I layer two colours on my lip - e.l.f Jumbo Lip Gloss Stick in Sangria Starters and Barry M Cor Balmy in Rosie Lea. Because these are both balmy products they don't last very long, so I carry them around with me to top up throughout the day.

 Here's the finished look!

Tag me on Instagram in your everyday spring make-up look, or tweet me a picture (both @VickiMaitland)!

Tuesday, 5 May 2015


** Before I start this post I just want to remind all of my UK readers that the general election is being held on Thursday. Please, please vote. If you're not sure on who to vote for this is a really good site which separates policies from parties. This is an excellent series by Jazza giving reasons to vote for each of the major political parties. This is his wrap up video, which I urge you to watch even if you don't have the time to watch any of the others **

Term has officially ended for me, which means I finally get to read purely for pleasure. Because neither of the modules I took this year had books to read I have painfully behind on my 50 books goal, so I'm hoping to get back on track over the next couple of months. According to GoodReads I'm currently 9 books behind schedule, so this is going to be a pretty ambitious TBR in order to begin to get me back on track.

Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adiche - I'm actually 300 pages into this already, having started it in February. I'm loving it so far and can't wait to get stuck back in.

This is a story about a woman who moves from Nigeria to America and back again. It's really rather good!

S by J.J Abrams and Doug Dorst - Another book that I'm part of the way through. This book is seriously incredible, but it's such a time consuming read considering it's two stories simultaneously.

Story A is about a man who wakes up and doesn't know where he is and is written by a fictional author. Story B is the annotations of two people researching Story A. It contains loads of little pieces of paper and notes scribbled on napkins - it's really cool!

The Shock of the Fall by Nathan Filer - I've heard mixed reviews about this, but it sounds really interesting so I'm hoping I'll enjoy it!

'I'll tell you what happened because it's a good way to introduce my brother... in a couple of pages he'll be dead, and he was never the same after that'

The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August by Claire North -  This book sounds so intriguing so I can't wait to get stuck in!

'As Harry nears the end of his eleventh life, a little girl appears at his bedside. "I nearly missed you, Doctor August," she says. "I need to send a message."'

Stardust by Neil Gaiman - I got this book free on kindle not long back, and I love the film, so I'm hoping for good things! I've got a mixed relationship with Mr Gaiman, but I've got my fingers crossed. This is also the only book I don't have a picture of because my Kindle was out of charge when I took the photos. Stardust is about a town called Wall and one mans search for a fallen star.

The Hourglass Factory by Lucy Ribchester - I saw Carrie Hope Fletcher pick up this book, and she's got pretty good taste. It sounds like it's going to be a fun read.

Set during the suffragette period (1900's), a circus performer dissappears during a performance and a reporter attempts to find out what happened.

The Watcher in the Shadows by Carlos Ruiz Zafon - I'm pretty sure this is a 'middle grade' book, so I might use this as a trump card if I decide to take part in any read-a-thons this month.

I can't even really tell what this will be about from the blurb, but it appears to be about a girl and a boy during a summer where the girl's mother works for a mysterious toy maker.

There you have it! 4/6 of the books were gifts from my sister and not necessarily things I would have picked up from the shelf, but I trust her taste so I'm really looking forward to reading them. I think she's looking forward to me reading them too so I can pass them on to her! If you're wondering, my nails are painted with the decidedly not cruelty free Rimmel Lasting Finish polish in 200 Orange Your Life (let me know if there's a cruelty free dupe out there because I love the vibrancy of this colour!)

What are you reading this month? Tweet me @VickiMaitland, leave a comment below, or tag me on Instagram in a pic of your TBR pile (@vickimaitland). You can also friend me on GoodReads to keep up with my reading progress!

Sunday, 3 May 2015

Bonus Post: Libraries and Why They Matter (RE: Ariel Bissett and Leena Normington)

I'm writing this post as a response to two videos which have been posted in the past few days. The first was posted by Ariel Bissett, who, in short, said she got out a library card, really valued libraries, but never used them. The second was a response not only to that video but also to the comments in that video, and was posted by Leena Normington. Leena argued that, among other things, libraries aren't the best way to distribute knowledge anymore - they are an antiquated system and we need to find a better one in today's metropolitan society. If you've got 20 minutes, I urge you to watch both of these videos before continuing with this post.

I fall somewhere between these two view points. I love libraries, I don't use public libraries very often (the university library is a different story), and I also agree that the current library system is in need of amendment.

I disagree with Leena that libraries are completely out of date, mostly because of my childhood and teenage years. Whilst I come from a relatively well off background, between the ages of six and fourteen I would take out about six books every fortnight. Needless to say, my parents wouldn't have been able to justify spending £84 (ish) a month on brand new books that I would only read once. Libraries are incredibly valuable in that regard, and my childhood would have been so much worse off without them. My local library is also very well used by the elderly people in the surrounding villages - people who can't get out and about in the the city to buy books, people who require large print books which are very difficult to find outside of a library environment, and people who don't use the internet so can't order books online. Libraries are vital for these people.

Where I do agree with Leena is that for the vast majority of us (those with a disposable income, aged eighteen to sixty-five) libraries are not functioning to the best of their ability. People don't have the time to wander around the shelves, pick out a book, and then remember to return it three weeks later. The solution? E-Libraries. Providing a service much like LoveFilm, people would pay a certain amount each month to have a certain number of books posted to them, with a return envelope to send them back when they were finished. I'm sure there could also be options for downloadable content which would expire after a certain period of time unless renewed.

This isn't a perfect option, and is certainly a lot less idyllic than those that Leena proposed (and that I support). But it's one that I believe would function in today's society.

In short, much like Ariel, I love libraries and I'm very sad to think that they are closing. On the other hand, they do need re-evaluating so they can function to the best if their ability.

What do you think about libraries? Do you use them? Can you think of a better solution? Join the conversation by tweeting me @VickiMaitland, or leaving a comment below. You can also tag me in your Instagram pics (@vickimaitland).

Friday, 1 May 2015

April Favourites!

I haven't done one of these before, mostly because I hardly ever try new products so my favourites is just 'stuff that I own'. This month, however, I've been trying to mix up the things I've been using/wearing and I've really noticed myself thinking 'wow, I really love this', so I thought I'd share them with you all.


Lush Jason and the Argon Oil Shampoo Bar - I got this as a Christmas present and I just love it. It smells amazing (if you like floral scents; it's very warm and rosey) and worked wonders on my hair. Sadly I used the last of it up the other day, but luckily I have the Jumping Juniper bar to replace it!

You can find it here.

Collection Nude Pallette - I've used this eyeshadow pallette almost everyday since I got it. I'm still not 100% on Collections cruelty free status (I can't find anything that explicitly says they are not cruelty free, but equally I can't find anything that says their parent company are...) but I'm giing them the benefit of the doubt until I am told otherwise!

e.l.f Jumbo Lipgloss Stick in Sangria Starters - Out of the three lip gloss sticks I got this is definitely my favourite. It looks like a light coverage lipstick on and really gives that 'your lips but better' effect - especially as it suits my skin tone perfectly!

I did a mini-review when I hauled this product.


River Island Boots - I'd been looking for a pair of black Chelsea boots all winter, so when I saw these in River Island I had to grab them. They are super comfortable and dress up any outfit - I love to wear them with my 'Mum' jeans.

These are literally my Mum's jeans from the 90's (pre-me!)

Miss Selfridge Mini Skirt - I got this skirt in the sale at Miss Selfridge. I love that it looks a bit like 70's curtains and the gold poppers make this for me!

I posted this OOTD on Instagram with the caption 'I feel like a librarian'.

Diamond Cut Chain - I got this (and matching bracelet from the off-cut) for my birthday and I love it. It's really hard to find a diamond cut chain nowadays (it's very 80's) and I was so chuffed when I opened the box to see that Mum and Dad had found it!

I also love this Topshop top, but I couldn't include everything!


Wheat and Oat Bran Porridge (with figs, prunes and almond butter) - I am a huge porridge fan, but this is my current favourite way to eat it. Almond butter might actually be the most delicious thing on the planet.

Dried figs and prunes aren't that expensive and really spice up porridge.
I use 2 figs and 4-6 prunes (depending how I feel).

Hotel Chocolat - Okay, so I really don't have the budget for this chocolate, but luckily my lovely neighbours bought me a box for my birthday! I never realised this but Hotel Chocolat are basically the Lush of the chocolate world - they are very ethical and support their famers, as well as being a British based company (despite the French name!) Plus, their chocolates are divine!!

Chipotle - I had my first ever Chipotle Burrito this month. It was a very special moment.


Cheese of the Month: Halloumi - What a cheese. Great for BBQ's, grilled on salads, fried with chorizo, it's just excellent.


Forest - The premise of this app is you set a certain amount of time that you want to focus (eutehr in social situation, studying, working) and you grow a tree. If you move off the app in that time your tree dies. Once your tree has grown, you get points (to buy more interesting trees, the more time you spend focused the more points you get) and you have the option to write a little summary of what you did in the time. At the end of the day you can see you forest! This app is really clever and definitely made me stay focused on my work. I don't like spending money on apps, but for me it was worth the 79p!

Quest - This is part to-do list, part game. You enter your to-do's as normal, and a little monster appears next to them. When you complete a job you kill the monster and gain xp. Every time you level up you get new equipment to wear. It's way more fun than a regular to-do list and definitely keeps me motivated - plus it's free!


KleverCase - I saw these phone cases whilst browsing through tumblr and I fell in love instantly. I hopped over to Etsy and grabbed one. I'm so impressed with it - it feels exactly like a cloth-bound book and the metal corners make me feel like my phone is going to be really safe. It was also delived within a week of me ordering it - which is great for Etsy! I couldn't take my phone out of my case to take a photo (it's really secure). If you click on the link above you'll be able to see all the cases they offer - I've gone for the Pride and Prejudice one as it's my favourite classic.

Tulips - I bought one of my very lovely friends a bunch for her birthday and it reminded me how much I love having fresh flowers around. They're expensive for something that doesn't really last very long, but I thought I'd treat myself to a bunch since I'm in my final week of uni!

Cactus - I've named him Clarence and he's sat next to my tea-caddy of tea-lights on my desk. He's a little lonely though, I need to get him a friend.

What have you been loving this month? Tweet me @VickiMaitland, leave a comment below, or tag me in your Instagram pics (@vickimaitland).

Tuesday's post will be a TBR! Today I officially finish my degree, which means I get to read for pleasure again!