mo'adore: cruelty-free beauty ∙ vegan food ∙ glasgow/dundee lifestyle

1 May 2016

The Linkables

A proper catch-up is probably in order before I start this post. Since my last Linkables I have changed flatmates and left my bar job, which are two major changes in my life. Both are for the better and even though I'm going to miss my bar job, I was exhausted and couldn't keep up the night shifts on top of my 'main' job. Everything is going well in my main job and it's time I concentrated fully on it. It also means I have a bit more time to focus on my blog and reviews for the Big Glasgow Comic Page, as both had been getting a bit neglected. 

Big changes, but hopefully two very positive changes. I also had planned to put this months links into groups as I usually do, but most of them are pop culture based this month. Nerds unite! 

Remember that time The Shimmy Club had two-way mirrors between the bathrooms? There's going to be a play based on at The Fringe

Christy wrote the perfect blog post as to why she's giving up clean eating.   

Seen the latest Suicide Squad trailers? I'm sure you've noticed just how much screen time Harley Quinn is getting (it's a lot more than her fellow female superheroes). 

The amazing Gemima wrote a really heartfelt piece on her struggles with anxiety and depression, and how it's effected her blog. 

Another fantastic human, Dani, filmed a vlog about her autism

A Tinder for female friendships? I wouldn't say no. 

Helen has a fantastic outfit (as usual) but also a few even for Dundee based babes

Remember I used to live in Dundee and after I moved took regular trips back? Lauren took her first trip through and has positive things to say (and even ate at one of my favourite places). 

A bar cart is something I'm beginning to think my flat needs, so naturally I loved Kate's video on hers

Bar Soba is one of my favourite places in Glasgow, and I'm not the only blogger who agrees

I'm getting a bit bored of my hair, and rose gold is a look I'm seriously considering

If you're in Edinburgh or Glasgow you might just see some production crews filming for Trainspotting

I've worked with quite a few brands now and like to feel I have it down, but even Amber's blog taught me quite a lot

Pick your house plants by how much air they filter. This is according NASA, don't you know

Who is Game of Thrones main character? Maths has the answer

If you can, you know, afford high-end fashion: Armani have went fur-free

Like me, Cat is pretty new to reading comics and I agree with her attitude to them

I can write for days, but ask me to speak all day? Get out of here. When Communication Isn't Your Forte

Did you fall for any of these April Fools jokes from brands

I've only ever used AiBnB once, but I agree with these 15 tips for being a great Couchsurfing guest (I actually have a spare room where friends stay a lot, and these are great tips for even staying at a friends house). 

I've not long finished watching Jessica Jones and reckon it's one of the best TV shows I've watched in a long time. Here's 12 great things about it

I didn't quite get into Once Upon a Time but feel I should give it another chance now they've introduced their first LGBT couple

30 April 2016

A reminder why I always e-mail companies about animal testing (and don't just read their FAQs)

emailing companies animal testing

A question that pops up a lot regarding my cruelty-free brands list is why I insist on e-mail brands who have a really good public statement on their website. 

It's definitely a good question and I can understand why people would wonder. Today I'm going to go into why I'll always fire off a quick e-mail even if a brands FAQ page does have a good response to the question "Do you test your products on animals?". 

The short answer is, statements can be cleverly worded, might be out of date or miss something important out. I've felt for a long time that relying on statements on websites alone (or a quick tweet) isn't a strong enough reason to trust a brand. Quite recently I got reminded exactly why I always send an e-mail and why website statements alone cannot be trusted. 

In the past month I sent off a batch of e-mails to companies regarding their testing methods. Two of the companies in this batch had really good statements on their website and I was excited at the prospect of being able to buy their products. When I got their responses I had no choice however but to put one of them on my grey area list, and one of them on my testing list.

The first one is Oribe. I couldn't find a statement on their website but as some products are marked out as vegan it made me feel as though I might have been on to a winner. To get clarification, I sent off an e-mail and all questions were answered well aside from when I enquired about China. When I asked if they had no plans to sell in China until laws changed, the response was "As of now we do not have plans to sell in China". Not quite satisfied, but willing to accept that it was maybe just badly worded, I asked whether this was due to animal testing or because they just by chance weren't yet selling in China. The response was still "This is not a country we are not looking to sell into right now". I can't endorse a brand as cruelty-free if they can't confirm that they won't sell in China until laws change. They ended up on my grey-area list despite advertising some products as vegan. 

Second up on my list is OGX, a brand easily available in Superdrug. Let's compare the statement on their website with the one they sent me (emphasis mine). 

Website: No, OGX® products are NOT tested on animals. OGX® does not initiate animal tests on either finished products or ingredients whether directly or indirectly. All ingredients used are carefully monitored. All suppliers are requested to confirm that their materials have not been tested on animals. Ingredients which do not have this data supplied for them are not used in any products. OGX® is against the suffering endured by animals when ingredients and products are tested. We support suppliers and organizations that are developing alternative methods of testing without using animals.

E-mail: Thank you for contacting us! We understand and share your concern regarding the ethical treatment of animals.  We have a deep respect for animal welfare. Vogue International does not itself conduct or request others to perform animal testing in order to substantiate the safety or efficacy of any of our products or raw ingredients.  Given that there are countries that require animal testing by law, we do our best to respect governing law and regulations set by that governing body while encouraging alternative methods and helping to bring about change from within. We are pursuing opportunities to influence others on alternative methods and work towards our long term goal of the elimination of animal testing worldwide.  We understand that you may not agree with our decision and we respect your right to choose the best products for you.

There's a fancy way of saying they sell in China there. 

Both examples show that a thorough website statement isn't always what it seems. Neither company mentioned China on their website, and when asked about it in an e-mail they either admitted to it in a roundabout way or just wouldn't clarify their reasons for not selling in China right now.

I do appreciate that not everyone has the time to e-mail companies. Heck, there's other forms of ethical shopping out there where I rely on other people doing the research (fashion, mainly). This is why I try my hardest to be as stringent as possible with my research so that my list is safe enough for other people to confidently refer to when shopping. Obviously I can never be 100% sure so it is taken at your own risk however I do always e-mail companies myself and don't just rely on website statements. Hopefully this blog post has explained why that is important.  

So if you ever see a brand with a website statement on my grey-area list (or even my testing list) the reason could very possibly be similar to above. 

28 April 2016

Green Party policies that having nothing to do with recycling (or riding a bike)

Leafleting during the UK elections. 

The Scottish Green party are a bunch of vegan middle-class hippies whose policies are all about recycling. 

If you thought the above was true, well, you're forgiven. The Scottish Green Party does has an image problem in that it's all middle class hippies who are all about the ethics but have no diversity within their party ranks. It's why we sometimes get called "Tories on bikes".

But with the upcoming Scottish elections I thought it was maybe time I got the soapbox out again. The Scottish Green Party have policies covering everything from defence, to education, to animal rights and trade unions, and I do want voters to go to the polls knowing what they're voting for.

So, as promised I've rounded up several policies the Scottish Green Party have which are nothing to do with recycling (or riding a bike, or eating organic tofu). 

1. The decriminalisation of sex work, but still taking measures to ensure it's consensual
If you know me and know my feminist issues you'll know that where a political party stands on the issue of sex work is an important one. The stance of the Scottish Green party is that sex work -such as brothels and pornography - should be legalised and de-stigmatised, and what goes on between consenting adults is no one else's business. However, policies are still included to recognise that some individuals are coerced into sex work and preventative measures will need to be in place.  

2. Free lifelong education
Some of us are lucky that we can easily fund a Masters degree or PhD. Some of us are lucky enough that we worked out what we wanted to do while at school and never changed our mind before retirement. But most people aren't. If you want to do a Masters or a PhD the Greens believe you should be entitled to do it for free. The Greens also believe that career changes shouldn't be restricted to people who can afford to re-train. 

3. Introduce detailed national food labelling
From the Green policy document: "The SGP will legislate to ensure that all foodstuffs are clearly labelled so as to indicate the manner and place of production, estimated food miles and to any subsequent processes to which they have been subjected. We will also introduce a statutory scheme to introduce labelling for suitability for the following, and other, dietary requirements: vegetarian, vegan, Kosher, Halal,gluten and nut free. The national standard labelling system will also guarantee minimum standards of animal welfare for all sold products produced in Scotland."

Y'all know I can get behind that!

4. Support the right to join a trade union
Because it's much easier to stand up to your boss when there's a group of you in a union, rather when it's just yourself trying not to let your bottom lip tremble. Joking aside, trade unions are in place for a reason and it's to make sure employers don't take advantage of employees who are scared they will be fired if they have the audacity to leave work on time. 

5. Support the UN but also call for reforms
I'll put my hand-up in the air and admit that the UN isn't my political strong-point (yes, I know my degree is in International Management so I should know more than I do, but shht). So if the UN is a strong point for yourself you should make yourself familiar with this policy. 

6. Devolving more power to local communities
If having lived in three different cities within the same country has taught me anything, it's that one policy doesn't work across all communities. What works for people in the central belt and what works for people in the islands differs strongly. And I'm sick to the death of the central belt getting loads of investment while my home city gets forgotten about. Handing over responsibility for more policies to the people who live in the damn area is something this Aberdonian who lives/works in Glasgow but has a degree from a Dundee university feels strongly about.

7. Prevention is better than cure when it comes to health
The Greens strongly oppose any privatisation to the NHS. But the Greens also believe in preventative measures to improve the nations health as a whole from free sporting facilities, to community food projects to mental health support groups.

8. Addressing the causes of crime
Prison is essential for keeping dangerous people off the street. But there are many people who turn to crime due to poverty, mental health problems or lack of good role models. That is something the Greens believe needs dealt with. They also believe that CCTV surveillance has gotten out of hand, and does not fix the underlying roots of criminal behaviour.

9. Radical democracy
Power goes to people's heads, which is why there needs to be more 'checks and balances' in the Scottish Parliament. A fairer voting system, fixed term parliaments and regulation of party funding are three ideas that the Greens put forward in their policy document.

10. Scrapping Trident
Because we're peace loving hippies. 

25 April 2016

RECIPE: Soy & Broccoli Soup

I don't know if it's perhaps a 'getting older' thing, but I appear to like cuddling up with a bowl of soup more than I used to. For most of my life I considered it not a real meal and I can remember refusing to eat it at the dinner table (when I was like, four not last week or anything).

This particular soup is one I make often (sometimes I overdo the sesame seeds, sometimes - but rarely - I sprinkle them on just right) and was actually an accidental recipe. I was making my favourite soy sauce recipe and discovered that broccoli soaked in soy sauce is actually to die for.

Try it below and watch broccoli become your new staple vegetable.

1 chopped garlic clove
Half an onion, chopped
5-7 broccoli florets
one vegetable stock cube
300ml boiling water
1 tablespoon soy sauce
Salt and pepper, to taste
Mixed herbs, to taste
Sprinkle of black sesame seeds

1. In a saucepan, fry the onions and garlic in oil until soft
2. Dissolve the stock cube in the boiling water, and pour into the sauce pan
3. Add soy sauce and broccoli to pan and bring to boil. Cook until softened
4. With a hand blender, blend until smooth. Add salt and pepper to taste
5. Once transferred to serving bowl, sprinkle* on black sesame seeds (do this right before serving as these seeds sink ever so slightly).

* Try not to do what I did and cover the soup in a blanket of sesame seeds (so much that it looks like a kiwi fruit), and be too impatient/busy to make another batch exclusively for a blog photo. This is why I'm not a cook by trade.