Tuesday, 26 January 2016

On Guilt - An Explaination

Towards the end of 2015 I noticed a trend in my mood I really wasn't enjoying. I felt, pretty consistently, guilty.

I'm not going to go into all the reasons, but in short:

I wasn't reading as much as I wanted.
I wasn't writing as much as I wanted.
I was spending far too much time on my phone, predominantly playing Sim city, and far too little time doing things I actually value.
This blog wasn't going the way I wanted it to - posts were routinely going up late or not all all.

All this culminated in my stopping Blogmas - three posts short of a complete set - and hiding from the internet for a little while. I had always intended to take a hiatus in January, but I had intended to announce it, rather than simply vanishing.

Guilt is something we all experience from time to time, and it's usually a good motivator - to apologise or to change. What made me realise that my guilt was turning very negative was my bullet journal.

For those who don't know, a bullet journal is a kind of diary/journal, where you record things about your life as well as highlighting tasks that you want to complete. It's a great tool for accomplishing goals, but many days I wasn't writing down any goals. The days I did, I rarely completed them.

I attributed this to the fact that I now have a full time job - despite the fact that a full time job is considerabley less time consuming and stressful than a full time degree (at least for me). True, I'm sat in an office writing about fishing tackle (of all things) for 7 1/2 hours a day, but I'm damned lucky that I'm home by four most days, the job is incredibly low pressure, and is giving me valuable copy writing experience.

I know it's a huge cliche, but 2016 is bringing with it the possibility for a lot of changes. It'll be the first full years that I'll have spent outside of the structure of education, which I'm sure will come with it's own challenges in and of itself. I'm also living back at home, which after two years of independence is harder than you might think. As someone who has a good relationship with their family, it's certainly been harder than I thought it would be.

I want 2016 to be, largely, guilt free. With that in mind, I'm forcing myself to pick up better and more productive habits with long term goals, These include: standing better, not biting my nails, running regularly, and actually reading at least 50 books!

It also includes better, more consistent, more professional posts on this blog. Starting here, you can expect a lot of the old features with shiny new faces, as well as some new stuff tossed into the mix. Who knows, we might even get back to two posts a week!

I'll see you next week, but till then, stay sunny.


Tuesday, 19 January 2016

Best Of: 15 of 2015

I'm back! Sorry for the hiatus - it was planned but it wasn't executed quite how I had intended. I'll explain all next week, but I thought I'd put this post up before the year grew too old.

Here's my top 15 of 2015.


TopShop Smokey Eye Palette - Golden Aurora
Lush R&B Hair Moisturiser
Barry M LipLiner - 9 Russet
Too Faced Mascara - Better Than Sex
Collection Eyebrow Kit

I got the TopShop Pallette for Christmas 2014 and I've worn it every season since. The mix of colours means its pretty versatile, even if the dark colours are too dark for an all-over lid look. Looks I've used it in can be seen here and here.

R&B was something I'd picked up in April, and one small pot lasted me till Christmas. I've already got a new pot. It is the best thing for dry hair, in my opinion, even if the smell is a little funny.

Barry M products have really impressed me all year, but none more than their lip liners. This one, Russet, is my particular favourite as it's really adaptable under different colours of lipstick.

I had a mixed reaction to the Better Than Sex mascara at first, but now I can't imagine my make-up look complete without it.

Collection are the only brand in this list with a somewhat dubious cruelty free policy. Both this eyebrow kit and their concealer have stayed in my make-up kit all year, however, so at least one of them deserved a place in my favourites.


How To Be Both - Ali Smith
Americanah - Chimamanda Ngozi Adiche
The Book Theif - Markus Zusak
The Direputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks - E. Lockhart
The Age of Earthquakes - Coupland, Basar, Obrist

I loved Smith's There But For The, and I picked up How To Be Both when it was on offer in Waterstones. It's a very intelligent book, as all of Smith's are, and I'd really recommend it.

Americanah was a bit of a revelation for me, as I'd never read anything with African leads outside of school, and certainly nothing by an African author. This had been something I was looking to change, and I made good moves to change it in 2015. Looking forward I want to continue to diversify my reading.

I got The Book Thief Christmas 2014. When I read it I sobbed and sobbed. No book since has had that visceral reaction in me, so it had to go in my favourites.

The Disreputable History is a book I own on Kindle, but it's one that I've recommended over and over again ever since I read it. I read it on busses, trains, and a plane as I made my way to Lyon and it captivated me throughout.

I've lent The Age of Earthquakes to Katie, so I don't have a picture, but you can read my review here. This book was one of the first truly non-fiction books I read last year, and to read more non-fiction is one of my reading goals for 2016.


Filler Podcast - Harry Hitchens and Matt Shore
No Such Thing As A Fish - QI Elves
How Big, How Blue, How Beautiful - Florence and the Machine
Darling Magazine

Filler is a creative industries podcast hosted by Harry Hitchens and Matt Shore. It's so intelligent and inspirational, and as a young creative myself I love listening to how my sucessful peers got to where they are today.

No Such Thing As A Fish is a podcast by the QI elves. Four of the QI researchers meet to share their favourite facts from the last week, and not only is it interesting but it frequently has me giggling my socks off.

This necklace was a gift from my parents for my 21st. It's diamond cut gold - a cut that was popular in the 70's but less so now. I wanted it because my Mum has a similar one, that she got for her 21st too, and I like that it's a tradition to be passed down.

How Big, How Blue, How Beautiful as an album is beautiful, and the title track is my favourite from the whole. Florence always creates poetry rather than lyrics, and I love how she just goes for a note. The album contains so much emotion, it's stunning.

Darling was something I became aware of to the end of last year, but because of the price of shipping I was really wary of ordering it. I'm so glad I took the plunge, and strongly recommend it to anyone looking to read a magazine that truly celebrates the art of being a woman. None of their images are doctored in any way, and the magazine is divinely edited.

It was really lovely to reflect over some of the things I loved over the year. I could add in so much more, including all of the National Theatre Live cinematic productions I've seen, all of the plays and musicals I've gone to, and plenty of other artists (including Lorde, Haim and Paolo Nutini).

What were some of your favourite things from the last year? I'm still on Twitter and Instagram - @VickiMaitland everywhere. I'm no longer doing Goodreads as I found it a pretty ineffectual way of tracking my reading personally, but you can follow what I'm reading by following me on my other social media, as I tend to write about the stuff I'm loving.

Next week I'll go into more depth about my haitus, but for now, stay sunny.