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

28 May 2016

Top 5: Ideal Home Show 2016 stalls to visit

While saying this might make me sound 45 rather than 25, the Ideal Home Show is one of my favourite yearly events. I've made it along for the last two years and I have a brilliant relationship with their PR team so I'm always able to get a press pass and ahead along to a few blogger exclusive talks beforehand. I always love trying products in person that I've been eyeing up online, finding new design talent and picking out extravagant purchases for that big house with the big garden that I plan to own (one day). This event almost always runs over the bank holiday weekend so there's plenty of time to head along if you're not working. But for now, here are my top 5 picks from the stalls that are the current show happening at the SECC right now (with a wee look in my goody bag and what I decided to purchase). 

Most of the designers you'll find at the Ideal Home Show are established brands - or at least newer brands created by experienced talent. But you'll always find the odd graduate showcase among the crowd and this time that was Kelly MacKay who graduated from Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art and Design last year. While I love some commercialised art as much as the next blogger, what made Kelly's designs stand out was how unique they were sitting next to a lot of the brands that were designing great stuff - but nothing you couldn't find in your local Primark home section. If you're homewear style is country cottage chic, check out her stuff for a lovely new addition to your scatter cushion collection.

While I was up in the press room I was flicking through the official showguide and came across what is called a pizza maker. If you know me, you know I love pizza so this was a moment where I was like a magpie looking in on a glitzy necklace. The actual stall had signs up stating that all their pizza bases contained milk so I wasn't able to taste test but the pizza bases were thin and Michelle who I was wondering around with confirmed that the slice she had was delicious. My family of kitchen gadgetry might be getting a new addition soon. 

If there's any rich suitors eyeing me up, let it be known that it's not fancy diamonds I want but a giant wood-fired oven in the backgarden. The cheapest model is priced at £1,200 so this is perhaps a bit of a pipe dream (as I'll also need a garden to put it in). But if I had triple the salary (and a garden, or a penthouse) I'd definitely be outside making pizza (all about the pizza). 

Something else to put on my very-far-into-the-future purchase list is something from the Pooch Pantry because, you know, I'll need a dog first (or I could eat one of their many dog treats myself, but that might get me some weird looks, and make me ill). On their stall you'll find beer for dogs and popcorn for dogs, as well as the standard doggie treats such as biscuits and sausages. Go on, spoil that pooch. 

Everytime I've been to the Ideal Home Show there's always been something vegan. The Punjabi sauces that I purchased at my first show two years ago  were there again and I noticed that the Daffy Gin stall had a sign up declaring their spirit collection is vegan suitable - however, my top vegan find of the event is Raven Chocolate. They're an Aberdeenshire maker of artisan chocolate that is dairy-free. As you might know I'm not much of a chocolate person and love savoury junk when I'm wanting to treat myself (which is why two of the recommendations in this blog post have been pizza related) so I personally didn't buy myself anything, however if you're a vegan chocolate lover you should definitely pop along and get yourself a bar. 

So what did you buy? 

So I didn't actually buy much the aforementioned products, mainly because I lack a dog, an opulent bank balance, a back garden and a sweet tooth. So I bought - hold onto your seats guys - cloudy apple juice and a rum infusion. The Cloudy Apple juice was from the Cloudy Apple stall who grow their own apples in Worcestershire and the rum infusion was from Island Slice. I also bought lunch from the The Jingle Bus: an Indian streetfood truck you can rent for events. 

Aside from what I bought I was also gifted a very generous goody bag from the press team. You can see a small hint of what was in it above, but my favourite items are the French's Crunchy Onions (which have been my snack while writing this blog post), the Darcy's diffuser and wax melt and Yushoi snapea rice sticks

As always I had a great time at the Ideal Home Show. If you're still to head along it will be open tomorrow and bank holiday Monday at the SECC. Have fun and let me know your top picks! 

23 May 2016

How to support a loved one with a phobia

Another post where I was unsure of what image to use: so here's one of me looking pensive from three years ago. 

Last week was Mental Health Awareness Week in the UK. Throughout the blogosphere and on social media I seen educational articles, people sharing their stories and plenty of supportive chat. In fact, over the last few years I have seen a lot more people come forward with their experiences of mental health and much more awareness around issues such as eating disorders, depression, anxiety, and post-traumatic stress disorder. 

However, it does upset me the lack of conversation surrounding the mental health issue that follows me around in my day-to-day life, and that's phobias. Since about the age of 10 I have had what you would classify as a phobia - I had an intense dislike of my now-phobia since early childhood but a bad experience in late primary school propelled it into phobia-territory. 

You might not have even been aware that I have a phobia. I've been embarrassed by it for over a decade and I've become accustomed to society not being supportive. But with more and more people speaking openly about their experiences with mental health, I'm finding myself becoming more open and confidence about sharing my story. Society won't change and we won't get closer to removing the stigma of mental ill health if we don't share our experiences. 

I might write more about phobias in the future, however to start off with I'm going to share with you today what you can personally do to help a loved one who lives with a phobia. 

Understand the difference between a fear and a phobia

When I tell people I have a phobia I regularly word it as "an actual phobia". The reason for this is that phobia is a ridiculously miss-used word and I need to make sure people take it seriously. I shouldn't have to do that, society should learn to get the words fear and phobia the correct way round. A phobia is a mental health condition that causes panic attacks, fainting, avoidance of situations, or even a level of panic that makes sufferers scared to leave their home. A fear doesn't cause any of that.

I think anyone who has ever been around me when I've come into contact with my phobia knows I don't have some run-of-the-mill fear. Just saying.

Don't laugh at their phobia

You can perhaps call me 'lucky' that my phobia is one of the common ones. And by lucky I mean that people won't laugh at it. But you can have a phobia of absolutely anything - and the more obscure the more embarrassing it can get. Don't ever laugh, no matter how mad it might sound.

Have a chat with them

For some phobia sufferers it might be difficult to open up, however I've personally always been really touched by friends who make the effort to understand exactly how mine personal manifests itself. Things to ask include how severe it is, what triggers it, any avoidance strategies and how they react when they come into contact. If you want to approach the subject a good opening line "I want to be fully supportive of your phobia, and would like to chat so I know what I can do to help avoid contact and also be prepared for what to do when you possibly do come into contact".

Avoid situations where they could come into contact with their phobia

Don't suggest that film you know has their trigger or remember to hide an ornament away if they're staying for that weekend. It's not going to effect your life too much if you have to double check your house for triggers but for them, it's the difference between a panic attack or not having a panic attack.

Don't question any avoidance strategies they take to protect themselves 

I avoid situations that probably do look bizarre to a non-phobia sufferer. But most individuals who have a phobia will have a list of places or types of situations they'll avoid to protect themselves and avoid contact. Most of my avoidance strategies were developed because of a previous experience that led to contact, so I know there's a chance of contact happening again. Also, if they want you to proof read a book, magazine, recommend a film, or quickly walk round a shop to okay it for them, then do so.

(As an aside: I turned off images in my browser while researching for this post - that's one of my avoidance strategies)

Know what to do if they do come into contact

For me, contact with my phobia usually results in running out of the situation and sobbing. I can also feel uncomfortable returning to the room where it happened for some time after. But other phobia-sufferers might have a different reaction - from full-scale panic attacks to fainting. If you know how they react in advance and have had a chat about what you can do if contact happens, then you'll be in a better position to offer support.

Don't tell them to 'face their fears'

For starters, a phobia is not a fear (though it is similar). For seconds, phobias usually require the help of a trained professional for them to be overcome. That's partially what makes them different from fears - they can't be faced in the same way. If your loved one does decide to go through treatment, be there for them but let the trained professional do their job. The only time you should intervene is if your loved ones phobia is so severe it needs treated and they're refusing.

(Another aside: I did try and face my phobia by forcing myself to look at images - it made it worse). 

Use trigger warnings online

There's a lot of phobias out there and you can't possibly add trigger warnings to everything you post online. However, you can add a trigger warning for all common phobias. If you look up trigger warnings, it's recommended that they are used for common phobias however in practice I rarely see this being done (even by people who do use trigger warnings otherwise). Common phobias to be careful for include snakes, needles, vomit, spiders, sharks, and blood. Think twice about using these images without some kind of warning. 

Take their phobia seriously and believe them

Phobia is a miss-used word and it can hard to know if someone have a genuine phobia that can cause a panic attack or if they just have a bit of a fear. I myself have not been entirely convinced of some individuals claim to have a phobia, but I don't question it. If someone has a phobia, believe them, take it seriously and avoid putting them in contact with the object or situation that can trigger them. 

P.S. You might have noted that I don't name my phobia in this post. The reason for this is because I've had several assholes over the years who think it's 'funny' to shove pictures in my face (or even the actual object). This is one of the reasons I struggle with speaking openly about my phobia in case someone was to pull that off (as many have done in the past) and will not be identifying it any time soon. Avoidance strategies and such. 

22 May 2016

Top 5: dishes to order at Stereo

As a foodie I always love trying new restaurants. The downside to this is I sometimes end up going to a restaurant only once and trying just the one dish. There's very few places in Glasgow I've actually been to enough times that I've sampled a large portion of the menu.

One of the exceptions to this rule is the vegan cafe Stereo located in the centre of Glasgow down Renfield Lane. Being only 5 minutes from my work has meant that since my start date in December I've had many a lunch break spent here.

So many lunch breaks that I've now finished the menu. Okay, I've never had the tapas because I'm there myself on my lunch break. But I've eaten everything else on the menu and I've decided it's time I put together a top 5 of my favourite dishes to order from Sereo (at least from the main menu, they put on daily specials - some of which are delicious and have included deep friend tofu and vegan black pudding salad). I'll be honest though Stereo is somewhere you go for a quick lunch - the food is good, but simple. If you're looking to wine and dine someone or impress your new boyfriend's parents I'd maybe recommend somewhere else. But a catch-up with your friend? Aye, go on then. 

1. A sandwich

Let's start off with the humble sandwich because I don't know about you but I love a sandwich, though I struggle to find good vegan options. Enter Stereo. They have four sandwiches on the menu: hummus, falafel, sausage and TLT (that's tempeh, lettuce and tomato) and I can't pick a favourite 'cause they're all SO GOOD. You can order one by itself, or with soup or chips. I usually opt for chips because I'm a #junkfoodvegan. 

2. Sanmuchan

This is what I ordered the very first time I went to Stereo and boy, was it a good choice. The menu says it's a Turkish pizza wrap and I'm not entirely sure that's actually a thing but I'm also not sure I care. Stuffed with vegan haggis it's the most filling item on the menu - perfect if you're really hungry! 

3. Mezze

I feel a bit unoriginal listing the mezze here as it contains a lot of the foods vegans regularly get 'stuck with' while eating out. But I love me some Mediterranean food so I've never complained and lapped up this dish. Olives? Love it. Falafel? Gimme. Hummus? Nom nom nom.

4. Burger

I'm actually on a little bit of a mission to try every vegan burger in Glasgow (for the purposes of a blog post, obviously). I've got a few more to tick off my list but the Stereo burger might just sneak itself in there. I know some people disagree, but mushroom burgers are my favourite of the traditional vegan burger options so this is right up my street (even if it's not up the street of other people). It also comes with some of the best chunky chips I've ever tried. 

5. Gnocchi

Do you want to know something about my culinary preferences that proves just how delicious the gnocchi is? I don't usually like gnocchi (it's the texture that I've always found funny). You can order it with two sauces: sausage and tomato or artichoke. Both are fantastic and I recommend them whole-heartedly. 

P.S. I'm insanely behind on my restaurant reviews (Bread Meats Bread, 13th Note, Paesano, Novapizza, Zizzis) but follow me on Instagram to keep up with everything in real time (and not three months later). 

18 May 2016

Summer Plans and to-dos

I can't be bothered taking photos, so here's an Instagram from 2012. 

It's that time of year where the sun starts shining and you can wear clothes that show off a bit more skin.

Well, maybe you can if you're not living in Glasgow. Where it was sunny (with a bit of warmth) last week but has now returned to it's usual state of at-least-its-warmer-than-January summer. I love you Glasgow, but boy do I wish you packed a bit more heat.

Since Scotland seems to have officially welcomed in summer (ha!) it's maybe time to discuss what I'm up to in these (lightly) warmer months. I mean, every blogger and their dog is writing about their summer plans right now and it saves me having to come up with an original blog post idea (or finalise the twenty something drafts). Plus, I probably have the most exciting summer since I stopped being a student planned

Travel Plans
I've not mentioned this publicly yet and very few people actually know: but I'm off on my first overseas trip with work. At the end of May I'll be heading out on my very first cruise and I could not be more excited about it. I'll be heading to Amsterdam on the Celebrity Silhouette, and it looks so good. For anyone going "but haven't you just been to Amsterdam" that was exactly my reaction when I was asked about the trip. But I was informed I'd only have an hour in the city and the educational trip would be about experiencing the ship. I was cynical but the deal-sealer came when I found the ship would be one of the Celebrity fleet, as I had been eyeing up these ships for myself anyway.

Outside of cruising I also have a few UK trips that I still need to organise. Obviously I need to visit my parents in Aberdeenshire, which I aiming for in late July/early August. I've not had a proper week at home since last summer due to work and I'm looking forward to putting my feet up in the countryside. I've also learned of a new vegan-friendly café, a health food store and a vegan-friendly beauty parlour in the city itself that I can't wait to pop in by. Me and Louise have been speaking about me visiting her in Manchester since she moved but we're talking about it a lot more seriously now, so hopefully this summer is when we'll finally organise something. One of my best friends also just accepted a Masters offer at Sheffield so I have a reason now to visit an English city I've never been to before (though my first visit will more likely be into Autumn).

I'm attending my very first birthday party of the summer tomorrow night. After that it's time to get excited about the 21st of Charlotte in July. Can't wait to see one of my youngest friends hit the big adult number of 2-1 (you'll be my age soon enough, Charlotte).

So far this year I've only seen Alien Ant Farm in January and Vanessa Carlton just this past month. But I already have two more lined up for June. Firstly there's Bruce Springsteen which will be my very first Hampden (and stadium) concert. I have to admit I'm not what you would consider to be a massssivvvveeeee fan of 'The Boss' but I'm excited to see a living legend play (and I've heard he puts on a mighty good show from Lis). Secondly there's my Nelly concert. I know, I don't look like a Nelly fan and you'd probably expect me to be a bigger Springsteen fan. Alas, Nelly is one of my all-time favourites. Yes. Ride Wit Me is my party tune, Dilemma is a classic, and Just a Dream came out right after a difficult break-up and helped me during that gut-retching time. Nelly is my homeboy.

Geek stuff
As we all know - well everyone who is a geek, at least - summer marks the start of con season. Glasgow Comic Con is early July while I have to wait until September for the massive MCM Scotland Comic Con. But I have a geek every wayyyyy more exciting coming up. It's still ages away - and I still can't believe it's happening - but in August I'll be at the Glasgow Film & Comic Con where I've already booked my ticket to meet James Masters who played Spike in Buffy the Vampire Slayer. I'm still convinced it's a massive scam despite his official Facebook page sayings it's legit. I hope I'm not jinxing anything.

I can't wait to attend these events with the Glasgow chapter of the Girl Geek Brunch. I was also at a girls night at Forbidden Planet two weeks ago (no smelly boys allowed) that I'm hoping will become a more regular thing. 

P.S. If you're looking for stuff to do, check out my events page. I update it semi-regularly-ish.