Sunday, 30 August 2015

Bunny Friendly Beauty Tag

I know a lot of us cruelty free beauty bloggers like to talk about our decision to go cruelty free, so I thought I'd create this tag to have all the cruelty free info in one place. Yay! (I'll put a the list of questions at the bottom so it's easy to copy and paste because who's got time to go through each question individually copying and pasting?) Use the #bfb tag to share your responses!

1) How long have you been on your cruelty free journey?

I made the decision to go cruelty free around this time last year, but it was around October that I started making a concerted effort to change my purchasing habits. Christmas was the big break through for me, when I received Lush products and began to change my skin and hair care as well as just my make-up.

2) What made you decide to go cruelty free?

Watching videos from Lex, Sanne, Marion, Rosianna, and Margaret. These ladies speak so eloquently about going cruelty free, and watching their content has made the whole process a lot easier.

3) What has been the hardest product to find a cruelty free dupe for?

My hair mousse. I still haven't found a good replacement and I'm still using my Shockwaves one.

4) What's the best cruelty free dupe you've found?

The B. Stunning Vibrant Eye Shimmer's were great, colour packed dupes for my Estee Lauder eye shadow pallet.

5) What product or brand do you wish was cruelty free?

I'm going to cheat a little and say L'Oreal,because they own so many other companies.

6) What's your holy grail cruelty free brand?

As much as I love Lush, Superdrug's own brand has a huge range of skincare and make-up and hair products - all of which are available on a low budget.

7) Name one cruelty free brand others might not have heard of?

UR Cheeky, which is owned by Cowshead, do some great cruelty free products. I love their make-up fixing spray.

8) Are you a vegan? If so, for how long and have you had any struggles? If not, why not?

I'm currently neither vegetarian or vegan, although I was vegetarian at university. Whilst living at home, I can't ask my parents to buy in alternative products, and since I'm saving money to move out etc I can't afford to buy my own each week. Once I move out and run my own diet I'm definitely going to become vegetarian, and I'll cut out as many dairy products as I can.

9) What's your favourite local vegan friendly venue?

I live near Norwich, and there are loads of independent bars and restaurants. Both Frank's Bar and The Bicycle Shop always have loads of vegetarian and vegan options.

10) You have 30 seconds to convert someone to a cruelty free lifestyle - what would you say to them?

Why should an animal suffer for you to primp and preen yourself? Is eyeliner more important than the life of a rabbit? Cute lipstick more important than a mouse? The life of another living thing is not more important than your beauty regime.

I'm tagging the lovely Gemima and Sarah to take part - I'd love to hear your cruelty free stories ladies!

1) How long have you been on your cruelty free journey?
2) What made you decide to go cruelty free?
3) What has been the hardest product to find a cruelty free dupe for?
4) What's the best cruelty free dupe you've found?
5) What product or brand do you wish was cruelty free?
6) What's your holy grail cruelty free brand?
7) Name one cruelty free brand might not have heard of?
8) Are you a vegan? If so, for how long and have you had any struggles? If not, why not?
9) What's your favourite local vegan friendly venue?
10) You have 30 seconds to convert someone to a cruelty free lifestyle - what would you say to them?

Tuesday, 25 August 2015

Rules of the Road (Bike)

If you're reading this post then it's official. I have survived the 42 miles of the Tour de Broads! Now that I've taken part in not one but two sportives, I think this gives me enough authority to talk about it - right?

A photo posted by Vicki Maitland (@vickimaitland) on

Pre-Sportive Prep.

1) Get the miles in. No matter how long you've been cycling for it's always a good idea to test out the distance before you ride. You don't necessarily have to do the whole whack (before the Tour de Broads the furthest I'd ridden was 33 miles), but the more miles you can get in your legs the better prepared you'll be.

2) Practice the simple things - signalling, getting your feet in and out of your pedals (particularly if you have cleats), cornering, drinking/eating on the go. The last one is particularly important - most sportives will have a drinking stop (depending on the length of the ride) but it's a good idea to keep energy and fluids up whilst you ride.

3) Ship shape! Make sure you check over your bike and gear the day before you ride. You wouldn't want to come unstuck by a flat tyre, rusty chain or dodgy cycle shorts five miles into your ride.

On The Day.

1) Arrive early. I think this goes for everything, but depending on how big the event is you need to allow time to unhook your bike from your bike rack, or re-attach that wheel if you've got something a little fancy.

2) Keep hydrated. Electrolyte drinks will give you a sugar kick as well as hydrating you. Apparently you're meant to drink 500ml for every hour in the saddle (depending on your pace and how much you sweat).

3) Know your pace. Don't get caught up in the excitement of the day and set of too fast. You'll pay for it later! On one of my training rides I set off at 15 mph, only to struggle in agony barely grinding 10 mph for the final few miles. Remember, it isn't a race!!

A photo posted by Vicki Maitland (@vickimaitland) on

4) Be considerate. One thing I've noticed confident riders with low handle bars do is drop their hand off the bar if they are coming up to a potential hazard in the road. This no only lets the rider behind them know they are about to change course slightly, but also gives them advanced warning of the pot hole/ man hole cover/ road kill a couple of meters up the road. Shouting 'clear!' at junctions as you cross to let the riders behind you know the way is safe, and shouting 'on your right' before you pass a rider are also things that help everyone stay safe on the road.

5) Obey the highway code. Even though there may be a lot of you on the road, unless you're in a really big event chances are you'll still be sharing it with cars. This means you'll need to signal clearly and promptly, and have an awareness of vehicles which might be a little intimidated trying to pass a large number of cyclists.

6) Take advantage of better riders. If you're struggling, try to follow the back wheel of a fellow cyclist. Not only do they act as a carrot for you to stick to, but you'll be doing less than half the work as they act as your wind break.

7) Have fun. Sportives are really friendly environments full of like minded individuals. You might get a few competitive teams, but for the most part you're among small groups of friends who want a fun day out. Most people will be up for a chat as you cycle along - unless they're going uphill!

That's all! Next week you should see a combination of August Book Haul/Wrap-up/September TBR, so stayed tuned!

Tuesday, 18 August 2015

Cruelty Free Comparisons: Conditioner

This is the start of a brand new series on the blog in which I compare budget cruelty free products with their pricier equivalents to see if they really are worth the price tag. Since hair care was one of the things I struggled most with when converting to a cruelty free beauty collection, I thought I'd compare some of the different conditioners I've tried out.

They are as follows:

The Budget Products

Co-Op's Coconut and Honey Fragranced Conditioner

Sainsbury's Coconut Conditioner

Both of these products retail around £1 per bottle (300ml and 500ml respectively).

The Pricey Products

Dr Organic Virgin Coconut Oil Conditioner

Avalon Organics Strengthening Peppermint Conditioner

Both of these products retail at £5.99 per 275ml bottle.

As you can see, there is a huge difference between the price and the quantity (particularly in the case of Sainsbury's product where you get almost double for a sixth of the price). However, although both of the budget conditioners did the job, and after using them my hair felt soft, I had use a lot more product to get the end result.

Both of the budget conditioners felt very watered down. They were a lot more fluid than I am used to in what is ostensibly a cream product. I had to use a full palm full to massage through the lower half of my hair in order to feel like any of the product had soaked in. On the other hand, I barely have to use any of the higher end products before my hair felt moisturised (particularly in the case of the Dr Organic product, although admittedly it is more suited to moisturising than the Avalon). The budget conditions lasted be around two weeks each - the high end products nearer a month (despite being almost half the size).

Another thing that really swung me in favour of splashing out was the smell of the products. I hate a fake coconut smell. It reminds me of getting into a too-hot car as a child and feeling instantly travel sick. Not something you want first thing in the morning! That being said, the smell doesn't really linger, so it's only really an issue in the shower.

The smell of the higher end products is divine - particularly the peppermint shampoo (you know I'm a sucker for a minty smell!). The Dr Organic conditioner smelled very similar to a bounty bar, and the Avalon conditioner really reminds of me of Lush's Root's hair mask. Neither of these smells linger much either, but it's a lot more pleasant in the shower!

Another big thing is that both the high end products actually list the ingredients mentioned on the front of the bottle. As far as I can tell, neither of the budget products actually contain coconut or honey! Peppermint oil and coconut oil are both listed ingredients on their respective higher end bottles.

Finally, the effect on my hair. For me, the Dr Organic product wins hands down. My hair felt soft and shiny after using this product. The Avalon conditioner is good, and if it were on offer I'd probably buy it over paying full price for Dr Organic - otherwise I think I'm sold! The two budget conditioners were much of a muchness. They work well in the short term, but I wouldn't want to use them for months on end if I could avoid it!

There you have it! Pricey Products win out this time!

My next Cruelty Free Comparison will be pitting two mascara's against each other - M&S All-In-One Mascara vs Too Faced Better Than Sex - so you can look forward to that in September!

Have you tried any of the products mentioned in today's post? What did you think of them? Tweet me @VickiMaitland or leave a comment below! Want to show off your favourite cruelty free conditioner? Tag me in your Instagram pics!

Tuesday, 11 August 2015

#reviewsdaytuesday: I'll Give You The Sun by Jandy Nelson

I read this as part of the most recent booktubeathon and I absolutely loved it.

A photo posted by Vicki Maitland (@vickimaitland) on

It is told from two different time frames: Noah's from when he is aged 13-14 and his twin Jude, when she is 16. It leaves you to figure out what has happened in the interim. The story is saturated with imagery - it's a very visceral assault on the senses - and this is largely to do with the focus on art. Both Noah and Jude are very artistically minded, and the visual and textural elements of the story turn it into something very special. It also made it a little hard to get into, but as soon as I clicked with the voices of Noah and Jude I fell in love and couldn't put it down.

It's hard to pin point what this story is about. It's as much about love, lust and sexuality as it is about tragedy, family and art. All these things string together to create a beautiful story. Although the connection between the twins is a driving force of the story, the connections they form with others make up the forefront of the drama. The way they both talk about the boys they fall in love with broke my heart and put it back together again.

The time fracture in the story (caused by the death of a much loved family member) is what creates the intrigue in the story, without which the narrative would feel perhaps a little over the top. The love/lust emotions are so heightened that without the equally heightened pain/distress it would be a very uncomfortable, false read.

I have mixed feelings about the ending, as I personally prefer an open ended piece. That being said, I would have felt disappointed had the loose ends of the story not been tied. I wonder if there could have been a way to leave the story a little less packaged, whilst still hinting at solidity of the ending.

Overall, I loved this book. I couldn't put it down once I got started, which hasn't happened in a while!