Tuesday, 23 June 2015

Moving Out Haitus

As you may know, I'm currently moving out of my uni house and back into my parents home. This means that everything is everywhere, and I haven't really got my life in order - hence why this blog post is so late. To make my life a little easier, I'm going to take a hiatus till I'm back home and back on track. I've got a few very special posts planned and I want to do them justice, including an Amsterdam diary/hostel chat, my experience at the Harry Potter Studio Tour, a book un-haul, and a (self)motivational well-being pledge. 

If you're worried you'll miss me while I'm away, I'll still be all over Instagram and Twitter  (@vickimaitland on both). If you're looking for great blogs to read, here are a couple of my favourites:

Katie has just started posting on Tuesdays as well as her regular Bread-nes-day and Sunday posts.

Student lifestyle hilarity from Jon.

Cruelty Free lifestyle from Gemima, Sarah, and Kelly.

Scrummy Food from Kerry-Ann.

See you on the other side (next Tuesday/Friday depending how hectic unpacking is!)

Friday, 19 June 2015

Fifteen Favourite Feelings Tag

Ever since Hank Green posted this video a few weeks ago I've  been struck with it. It's such a simple idea, but when I sat down to think about what to write I was surprised about how difficult I found it! Thinking of things you're happy about or are grateful for can be hard enough, but thinking about fifteen favourite feelings, sensations, and emotions is even more tricky. So, after a lot of thought, here are mine. They may not be universal, but they are special to me.

1) When you know you are about to share your first kiss with someone. I don't mean when you're about to have your first ever kiss, but rather when you're at your door at the end of a date and you look at the other person and both of you just know you're about to kiss. It's a very special connection to share. 

2) A sip of cool fresh water on a hot day. Somehow water tastes so much sweeter when the weather is warm and your mouth is dry. 

3) The moment just after the big drop on a rollercoaster, when you've lost the swooping feeling and are riding on a mix of adrenaline and relief.

4) The Christmas feeling - when you're warm and a little bit tipsy and are surrounded by family members opening presents, as well as a little left o Dr childhood excitement.

5) The stinging in your nose you get just before you're about to cry at axiom of book.

6) Waking up to bright sunshine.

7) The moments after you've finished a run, and your lungs are burning and your legs are weak, but you did it. Similarly, finishing something difficult.

8) Being told you're good at something that you love to do and feeling a little ball of self-pride build up inside you.

9) The smell of freshly harvested wheat that signals a hot summer day.

10) Laughing with friends over something silly until your ribs hurt and tears are running from your face.

11) The moment as you take the first bite of a delicious food and the flavour is developing in your mouth. 

12) Being hugged by my mum - it cures everything and if done when emotional will almost always induce tears.

13) A feeling I can no longer experience, when my cat would curl up on my lap as I read and purr till his whole body shuddered.

14) The moment when you realise just how much time has passed when you've been absorbed in a really good book. 

15) Seeing good friends for the first time in months and slipping right back in.

Now I can't stop smiling! Have a think about some of your favourite feelings and if you'd like, leave one in a comment, a tweet, or tag me in an Instagram pic - I'm @vickimaitland everywhere!

I'm tagging everyone to have a go at this, but I'd really like to read a response from my wifey - Katiekinsduncan.wordpress.com

Tuesday, 16 June 2015

What's In My Cruelty Free Travel Make-Up Bag?

As you're reading this post I'm away in Amsterdam! I thought I'd share with you what I've taken with me in my make-up bag. I've split the products into three sections: Liquids, Other and 'Things I forgot to photograph sorry'. I'm only taking a carry on bag, so I'm not allowed more than 100ml per product, and they all have to fit into a 20cm x 20cm bag.

1) Barry M Light Reflecting Photo Finish Concealer in shade 3. This is a brand new product, and I've only tried it out a couple of times. It doesn't give great coverage but it really does illuminate the under eye area, which is what I use it for. Plus, it doesn't splurge everywhere like the Collection Lasting Perfection Concealer does (in fact, you'll see some of my other products are pretty messy from the last time I went travelling and took the Collection concealer!).

2) M&S Limited Collection All-In-One Mascara in black. My opinion on this mascara changes use to use, but it's the only one I own so I'm bringing it with me!

3) elf Liquid Eyeliner in black. This isn't an essential product for me as generally I've been going eyeliner free for the past couple of months. However since I'm in Amsterdam for the best part of a week I thought I'd bring it along to change up my look a bit!

4) elf Lip Gloss Stick in Sangria Starters. My favourite of all the lip gloss sticks I got and it can double up as a bit of a cheek tint too!

5) Collection Clear Eyebrow Gel. Although this product isn't so clear anymore, it does a good job of tidying up my brows.

6) Superdrug Anti-Bacterial Gel. I always carry some of this around with me when I'm abroad.

7) Solait SPF 30 Anti-Aging Face Fluid. I've been searching for ages for a cruelty free suncream designed for the face and this product is perfect! I don't bother using moisturiser when I use suncream as I find I get just too greasy, so this product doubles up nicely. This product claims to be mattifying, which I struggle to believe, but otherwise it's protected my face from burning so far!

8) Solait SPF 30 Moisturising Sun Lotion. This does what it says on the tin, and it's 100ml, so it's perfect.

9) Tea Tree Exfoliating Scrub. This mini facial scrub works a treat (I use the regular sized one every other day or so).

10) Lush R&B Leave In Conditioner. I've decanted some of this product into a small tub to take with me, and I use it in lieu of mousse. It's a bit too heavy for everyday wear but for one week it won't do my hair any harm!

Now onto the 'Others'.

11) TopShop Smokey Eye Pallette in Golden Aurora. This pallette has a lovely mix of shades, from pale pink to black, so I can pretty much do anything I want to do with it (so long as I'm not trying to be too fancy!).

12) elf Pressed Powder in Buff. This keeps some of the summer shine at bay, as well as evening out my skin tone a little,

13) Lush Aromaco Deodorant. This solid deo is perfect for travelling as it doesn't count as a liquid!

I always forget something when I go away, and today I have forgotten to take pictures of some of the other bits I'm bringing with me, so I'll just go through them quickly.

14) Lush Jumping Juniper Shampoo Bar. Like the deodorant, this solid product doesn't take up liquid space.

15) Lush Big Conditioner. As above. I've just got a sample to take with me.

16) Lush Dirty Toothy Tabs. Once again, using a solid product in lieu of the liquid.

17) Superdrug Vitamin E Eye Make-up Remover Cream. This is a liquid, and is exactly 100ml. It'll be a bit of squeeze to fit all the liquids in the bag, but I've go my fingers crossed! If not, I'll decant a little into a pot like the R&B!

What things do you bring with you on holiday? Tag me in an Instagram snap, tweet me (@vickimaitland for both) or leave a comment below!

Friday, 12 June 2015

Loosing Rhythmn

You may have noticed that over the last month my posts have become more sporadic - not only have I missed posts but, on a less noticeable level, they have been appearing later in the day. This is something that really bothers me, as I'm very proud of what this blog has become over the last 11 months and I'd really like it to continue on its upward streak. It also bothers me because you guys, my very lovely readers, have been noticing my slip ups and asking me where my next post is. That isn't really fair on you, and I don't expect you to keep my diary for me.

I've been trying to think why my blog has become so irregular, and I think I've pinned it down to a couple of reasons.

1) I don't have to procrastinate any more. Blogging was one of the best forms of procrastination for me at uni because it was a productive creative outlet. Now I don't have anything to procrastinate from, so have turned to procrastinating from blogging, which isn't very good.

2) I've been busy enjoying my last few weeks of being a student. All my friends from uni are going home soon and I'm going to miss them terribly, so I've been trying to fit in as much as possible, which means that...

3) I'm missing my rhythms. I always say that every person and place has a set of rhythms, and lately mine have been out of wack. I was so used to getting up at 7:30 every morning, being in the library by 9am (okay, maybe more like 8:30 and 10am, but I'm going on my good days!). As soon as the work load dropped off I began going out later and waking up later too. A couple of days I even slept in till gone midday, which is unheard of for me!

I'm going to try and get back in order. Next week I'm away in Amsterdam, then I've only got one more week in my student house before I move back home. Going home will force me into a different routine as my house is up and busy by 7:30am (and I have an east facing window), which I'm really looking forward to.

Until then, I'm going to try and get a good nights kip, write up and schedule next weeks blog posts so you don't miss out while I'm away, and get my life back on track.

With that in mind, Tuesdays post will be the travel make-up bag post, and Friday's will be the 15 favourite feelings.

I'll see you on the other side of Amsterdam!

Tuesday, 9 June 2015

Undergrowth Launch

Today's blog post is going to be a little bit of promo, so I'm sorry if that sort of thing bothers you. Feel free to click away - try reading this blog (if you enjoy pearls of wisdom), or this one (for student lifestyle hilarity). They're both very good.

Tonight I'm attending, and reading at, the anthology launch for Undergrowth, the second edition of UEA's Undergraduate Anthology. If you're someone who's interested in creative writing and discovering new, up-and-coming writers, then you're in for a treat. UEA's creative writing MA is world famous, and their undergraduates reflect that.

I've been lucky enough to study alongside some of the fantastic writers featured in the anthology, and it means so much that my work is listed next to theirs. I've had a wonderful time at UEA. I've seen my writing develop into something more sophisticated and with it's own voice. But my writing wouldn't have changed unless I was surrounded by the exceptional talent that is UEA's creative writing undergraduate programme.

If you're in the Norwich area, please feel free to come along to the anthology launch. It's being held at the Norwich Arts Centre at 7pm and entry is free.

If you're interested in buying a copy, you can order one here, or they're available on Amazon shortly after the launch.

That's enough gushing from me. Friday's blog post will be the fifteen favourite feelings tag, and next Tuesday will be my cruelty free travel make-up bag.

Friday, 5 June 2015

Books at Uni

The other day I packed up all of my books that I'd brought to university into one big suitcase. Ages ago my sister requested I write a post about the books that I'd brought to uni, so I thought this was the perfect opportunity to do just that.

As a literature student it was unthinkable for me to not bring any books along to uni. With that in mind I decided take a few favourites with me for some light reading in my down time (namely The Fault In Our Stars by John Green and NW by Zadie Smith - both of which I adore). I also brought a few theory books I thought might be useful, Stephen Fry's The Ode Less Traveled, and Writing Down The Bones by Natalie Goldberg.

In hindsight, although I've flicked through the theory books and read sections of the other two, I needn't have brought anything along with me. Unsurprisingly, as a literature student I was a touch busy reading books required for my course!

I'm still glad I brought some books from home with me, though. It made my room feel a little more homely in the first few weeks of term, and it was always comforting to see familiar books - like old friends.

What books did you take with you to uni? Did you ever have a chance to read them? Or, like mine, did they just smile from your shelf gathering dust? Tweet me @VickiMaitland, tag me in an instagram pic of your favourite books, or leave a comment below!

Tuesday, 2 June 2015

On Caitlyn Jenner

The big news at the moment is that Bruce Jenner has officially changed her name (and therefore pronouns) to Caitlyn Jenner. This follows her interview about a month ago in which she had kept her birth name and pronouns, but stated her intent to transition.

Support for her has largely been very positive (and she even broke the record on twitter to reach one million followers in less than four hours). That's not to say that there hasn't been a lot of transphobia too, as well as a lot of plain ignorance too (I'm looking at you, Drake Bell). 

As a cis white woman I can't possibly understand how much Caitlyn must have been through in her 65 years of life. Having to hide your true identity for whatever reason must be a terrible thing. To feel like a lie every time someone calls you 'he', or every time someone uses your name, is unimaginable for those of us lucky enough to identify with the gender we were assigned at birth.

The sheer amount of (largely positive) media coverage Caitlyn is getting will hopefully result in better education about transmen and transwomen and the struggles they got through. People's ignorance will diminish. It'll take time, for sure, and some people won't change, but it will diminish. 

I don't really know what I'm trying to say with this post other than this: I support Caitlyn Jenner, and I will support anyone else who doesn't identify with the pronouns they were assigned with at birth. If I ever misgender you, please call me out on it. It will have been an error and I want to work on that. 

If you're reading this and are confused by what I mean when I say transman or transwoman, what I means when I say 'assigned with at birth', or what I mean when I say cis, feel free to comment below or tweet me, and I'll be more than happy to educate (in private if that is what you would prefer).

And finally, here are a couple of articles about Caitlyn Jenner: