Tuesday, 23 February 2016

Award Season Cruelty Free Make-Up

This is going to be a slightly different make-up look post. Firstly, the make-up isn't on my face, it's on my sister's. Secondly, I don't have any product photos - so you're only going to see pictures of her face. This make-up look was born from me playing around with some new products, but I really liked the end result, so here goes!

I let my sister do her base as normal, and then I let loose. The main reason I started this look was to play around with the B. Contour Kit. This kit features a creamy highlighter and a powder contour. My sister is the palest of the pale, and the light shade was pretty perfect for her. However, the contour colour is a little warm - it's more of a bronzer style contour than a typical contour but it did the job. Both my sister and me were slightly confused by the placement of the pale cream and the dark powder - it would be so easy for the powder to stick to the cream and ruin it. That said, the highlighter is very glowy and natural. All in all, it's an okay kit, but I prefer the Barry M offering.

Staying with the 'face' element of the look, I also tried out a B. Glowing Shimmer Block in Just Peachy. It's one of those blush kits that has lots of colours running through it, and they blend to this gorgeous rosey glow. This looked stunning on her pale skin and gave a delicate warmth.

Moving on to the showcase - the eyes. I framed the eyes using the GOSH brow gel in shade 003. This is actually the shade I've been using on my brows recently, but because my sister has such dark hair she can get away with a darker brow then her natural.

On the lids, I began with a base of B. Vibrant Shimmer in Golden Sand. I love this colour and I think it looks stunning on her lids. In the inner corner I went in with B. Vibrant Shimmer in Moonshine. This really brightened up her eyes. On the outer edge of her eye I went to town with a black shadow from the elf Brights pallet. My sister wanted a very bold look and I definitely achieved that! I even brought a little of the black down under her eyes too (sticking to the outer corner) to give a really bold smokey look.

Her waterline is lined with a White Kajal eyeliner from The Body Shop and her lashes are coated in Showgirl from Barry M.

Finally, as this look could handle a bit of lip we went for the B. Rose Quartz.

I'm pretty happy with how this look turned out, especially considering I was just winging it and hand't tried out half the products before! Looking back, I think I could have gone darker on the bows and contour, and perhaps a little paler on the lips, but I love how deep the eyes look! If you were to try this look I'd probably recommend setting the lids with gold and silver shadow but the only ones we had to hand weren't cruelty free so I've chosen not to include them in this post.

Tuesday, 16 February 2016

Cruelty Free Winter Empties 2016

Since Winter is slowly coming to a close (okay, there is over a month of official winter left but a girl can dream) I thought I would clear out the bag of empty products I've accumulated over the past few months and share them with you! For the products where I know, I've indicated if they are vegan or not - a couple I forgot to make note of/don't expressly say on the packaging.

Superdrug Whitening Tape - Okay, I'll admit it. I have a flossing problem. I never really used to floss, but towards the end of last year I started experiencing sensitive teeth and found that flossing really helped. Also, after seeing how much gunk can come out of my teeth even after I've brushed them (it's disgusting) I've vowed to make it a part of my daily routine. I floss every evening, and my mouth just doesn't feel clean if I don't do it now! I really like this whitening tape, and I legitimately think it does make my teeth whiter (although that could just be because my teeth are cleaner). (Vegan)

Superdrug Spearmint and Sea Salt Shower Gel - This shower gel has a huge FOR MEN emblazoned across it because heaven forbid a woman wants to smell of anything other than flowers but I bought it because I couldn't find Superdrug's Mint Shower Gel and this was the closest alternative. I really liked the smell of this shower gel, although I prefer a full mint as I think it smells cleaner. The gendering of shower products continues to baffle me, though, and I'm fairly annoyed that Superdrug felt the need to proclaim that this product was for men, as it is literally the same product as the regular shower gel. (Vegan - I think)

Avalon Organics Strengthening Spearmint Conditioner - I reviewed this product in my Cruelty Free Comparisons series, and this is the second bottle of this that I've bought. The price tag is the only off-putting thing about this conditioner, as I love the smell and the way it makes my hair feel.

Dr Organic Argon Oil Conditioner - I picked this up when Holland and Barrett had an amazing Dr Organic offer on, and I was pretty pleased with it. I still think I prefer the coconut oil version, but I wouldn't hesitate to buy this one again. It left my hair feeling soft and the smell was unoffensive and fairly neutral.

Cranberry Festive Face Mask from Lush - This was the first lush fresh face mask that I'd tried and I have to say I loved it! I asked for it for Christmas because I didn't think I could warrant spending over £6 on a face mask, but now that I've used it I would definitely repurchase - in fact I can't wait till next Christmas when Lush bring this face mask out again. My skin felt so smooth after using it, and the fact that it was cold from the fridge was so soothing. This face mask smelt heavenly - like cranberries and roses - and because you get so much in a pot I was using it every day for a week to use it up before it's use by date. Next time I fancy a bit of a pamper, I'm definitely going to invest in a fresh face mask again! (Vegan - I think)

Roots Hair Mask by Lush - I feel like I've babbled on about Roots enough recently, so I'll just link to my hair routine post for my review! (Contains honey)

R & B Leave in Conditioner by Lush - Same goes for this product, check out my hair routine post! (Vegan)

Superdrug Nail Strengthening Hand and Nail Cream - I have very dry skin around my nails (a result of me biting at my skin - disgusting I know but it's a self perpetuating cycle that I'm trying my hardest to stop). I was also experiencing a lot of nail breakages before I bought this product. It sits by my bed and I massage it into my finger tips/nails every night before bed. I apply a nice thick layer and let it soak in slowly over night - t does wonders and I've already re-purchased it! It doesn't soak in super quickly, and a little goes a long way, so it's not great as a cream to apply throughout the day (although I do have a travel sized version to stop me from biting my skin in the office), but for what I use it for it works wonders. (Vegan)

Superdrug Tea Tree Cleanser and Toner - I liked this product and used it after my coconut oil cleanse to make sure I didn't have a layer of oil on my face before bed! It smells of a mix of tea tree and peppermint (so I was always going to love it) and left my skin feeling tingly after I used it - which I really enjoyed. I haven't repurchased this yet as I'm trying to get through a micellar water, but it'll be on my radar when I'm in need. (Vegan)

Superdrug Tea Tree Cream Exfoliator - I use this product every morning in the shower. Like the cleanser, it smells of tea tree and peppermint, so I find it really wakes me up in the morning! It also has walnut shell particles to exfoliate, which I believe are better for the environment than microbeads. I've already repurchased this.(Vegan)

e.l.f Pressed Powder - These are the shades Sand and Buff (my winter and summer shades respectively). I actually used up Buff a while ago so I'm not sure why it's only just made its way into my favourites, and I used up Sand at the beginning of the season. I'm almost through another Sand, but it broke up soon after it arrived so I haven't repurchased. This is a great pressed powder for the price tag, but it's not spectacular by any means!

There you have it! I've obviously kept the three lush pots (when you return five in store you get a free face mask) but my empties bag is looking a lot, well, emptier now! Have you used any of these products? Let me know what you think of them!

Tuesday, 9 February 2016

Cruelty Free Hair Routine

I had my first professional hair cut in over three years a couple of weeks ago, and since then I've tried really hard to take care of my hair to keep the ends looking nice and the roots feeling healthy. However, if there is a choice between sleep and hair I normally choose sleep, so this routine is really manageable everyday and means I don't have to get up pre-seven am before work. Plus, my hair routine is now entirely cruelty free, which I am over the moon about!

First things first, depending on whether its a weekend or a weekday dictates which product I start off with. If it's a weekend, I use Lush Roots Hair Mask. I absolutely love this hair mask, and it is perfect for fine and thin hair like mine. I don't think it stimulates growth like it says it does, but it does leave my hair feeling soft and clean - and it smells of pepermint which I adore. I apply it to my scalp before I get in the shower by creating lots of partings in my hair, and then I spend around 15-20 minutes massaging it in. I sometimes will put this on before a run, so I can rinse it out when I get back in. I usually don't even bother using shampoo after, so I just rinse, condition, and carry on!

If it's a weekday, however, I simply do not have time to spend 20 minutes letting a hair mask sink in! I use Lush Rehab shampoo. I got it after trying a few samples when Lush were out of my favourite Jumping Juniper shampoo bar and I haven't looked back! This pot has lasted my a good two months so far, and as you can see I'm only just half way through. It lathers really easily, and smells divine (mint and rosemary, two of my absolute favourite smells). Most importantly, it leaves my hair feeling super clean all day.

Next up, conditioner! From my Cruelty Free Comparisons series, you'll know that conditioner is a big part of my life and this Dr Organics one is one of my favourites. You might remember my small Dr Organics haul from the start of blogmas - this was one of the two conditioners I bought! I would say I roughly get through one of these conditioners every month. I brush this through my hair in the shower and leave it to soak in for as long as possible before I rinse it out.

Out of the shower, I towel dry and lightly brush my hair. I then get a healthy dollop (about the size of a penny) of Lush R&B on my fingers and rub it through my hair - concentrating on the ends and lengths and mostly avoiding the roots and scalp. Although this product smells... interesting... it does a fantastic job of keeping my hair super soft. The last pot I had of this size (100g) lasted me from April to December, but I doubt this pot will last as long now that I use it every day religiously.

Finally, last but not least, I scrunch my hair with a palmful of Umberto Giannini Curl Friends Mousse. This is the first cruelty free mousse that I've actually really liked - in fact I prefer it to my old non-cf Shockwaves mousse! Apart from the price tag (£5.50) there's nothing bad I can say about this product. I stand with my head upside down and scrunch this all over. When I flip back upright I part my hair roughly so it's not all in front of my face and leave it be!

There you have it! My cruelty-free, no nonsense, hair routine!

Tuesday, 2 February 2016

January Wrap-Up

We haven't had one of these for a while, have we?

This year I want to make monthly wrap-ups more of a feature on this blog. I really enjoy watching favourites, wrap-ups, and monthly review videos on YouTube, so I thought I'd have a crack at it on this blog too. My wrap-up's used to be purely book based and, whilst I'm still going to use this space to talk about the books I've loved, I'm going to start integrating other aspects, they might very well change each month, to remind me of where I was at throughout the year.


I'm trying to do the 50 books challenge again this year - after my very unsuccessful attempt last year. I've deleted Goodreads because I never really used it properly, so instead I'm tracking my books in my bullet journal (there will be a post about my journal at some point in the near(ish) future once I'm settled into it).

I've read four books (almost) this month - two fiction and two non-fiction.

Thanks to my sister for being the disembodied arm holding these books.

1) 1984 - George Orwell. This is a book that's been on my 'to read' pile for donkey's years now, and I actually bought it for my Dad for his birthday a couple of years ago. For those who don't know, this is basically the original dystopian. I really enjoyed this book - its a really easy read for a modern classic, and if you enjoyed things like 'The Hunger Games' and 'The Maze Runner' this is a good leap into the adult fiction version of dystopian novels.

I love the cover of this book; there are so many great 1984 covers out there!

2) Bad Feminist, Essays - Roxane Gay. I started reading this book way back in the middle of 2015, but at one point or another I put it down and never picked it back up again. I have somewhat mixed feelings about this collection of essays, but it was certainly an interesting perspective. Gay is a black American woman who has been sexually assaulted in her past, so her view of the world (and the way the world views her) is completely different from my own. In places I felt like the essays could have done with another edit just to tighten them up a bit, and some of them I felt could have been cut altogether as they repeated points already mentioned, but on the whole I enjoyed reading this book.

3) Purple Hibiscus - Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. I have now officially finished reading all the novels Adichie has published, so you could say that I'm a bit of a fan. Set in Nigeria, this novel is a coming of age about a young girl living in a very strictly Catholic family. Sometimes painful to read, Adichie's writing is vivid and beautiful, and I feel like I'm learning a lot more about Nigerian history and culture from reading her books.

I had to hold this book at an odd angle because the cover reflected the entire window!

4) Inside Team Sky - David Walsh. I'm actually just over 3/4 of the way through this book at the time of writing, but by the time you read this post I should have finished. Following Team Sky cycling team during their 2013 Tour de France, Walsh is the journalist who uncovered Armstrong and is trying to confirm his beliefs that Sky are a clean team. As you know, I'm a big cycling fan, but even for me some of the names go over my head! If you are interested in cycling, though, its a fascinating insight into how the teams operate.


This was the month of Dirty perfume. I picked it up from Lush Oxford Street when I was there over New Years, and I've literally worn it everyday since. It's a really fresh and herbal scent - a minty rosemary, if that makes any sense. I love how clean it smells, and I can see myself continuing to wear it non-stop for the foreseeable future. I might even invest in the smaller size to use on the go!

A photo posted by Vicki Maitland (@vickimaitland) on 


One of my friends Maddie hosts a podcast called 'The Late Night Tea Party', and I've been discovering some excellent music thanks to her, as well as reminding myself of artists I used to listen to whilst studying last year.


This was the month of booking. I booked my first hair cut in a proper salon (and loved the results). I also booked my holiday to South Africa, including all the internal flights and 90% of the accommodation. To say I'm excited is an understatement.

This was also the month that I moved into the marketing office at work. I'm a copy writer for the UK's largest fishing tackle company, and whilst it's certainly not thrilling it's excellent experience.

Finally, this was the month that I stuck to my New Years Resolutions. I've been doing well at running a couple of times a week and keeping my bed made, which is a shamefully big thing for 21 year old me to admit to!

So, as always, stay sunny