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

17 July 2016

My first (proper) sewing project


Do you ever have those moments where you're really proud of yourself? (I hope you do 'cause you're awesome). For me, my first (proper) sewing projct was one of those moments. Not that long ago (okay, a long time ago because my first proper sewing project took a few weekends to finish) I attended the 70th birthday party of Remnant Kings at their flagship store in Glasgow. If you've never been to their store on Argyle Street above House of Fraser, it has walls of fabrics from cute children's print to classic faux furs and classy tartans. Also in store are sewing patterns, threads and knitting/crocheting materials. There's also a sewing room where they host classes for people not overtly confident with a thread and needle. 

Now, if you've known me a while, you will know I have a love-hate relationship with sewing. That love being the creative part of me who loves getting lost in a project and creating something no one else has. The hate side of me filling up with rage about how damn fiddly sewing can get and why can't I just by-pass the learning stage and immediately become a professional dress-maker who never has to wear a store-bought dress again. So shockingly enough, I didn't go there expecting  to buy anything. 

However, that was before I bumped into Sinead of Wee and Twee. Being a sewing blogger she was actually there to buy stuff (and not just mingle and drink prosecco). So she, erm, managed to talk me into giving sewing another bash. A proper bash. Not just the time I made a stuffed bird at a blogging event or my own Togepi for a Misty cosplay (and a related note: omg, Pokemon Go amiright?!?!!?). 

This all happened because she caught me eyeing up the Tilly & Buttons sewing patterns. If you've ever looked at a sewing pattern and thought the woman in the picture looks like the photos you've seen of your mum in the 70s, you're not alone. That's how I look at most sewing patterns. Tilly & Buttons caught my eye because they design patterns that look like they were designed this side of the millennium (and cute-as-a-button branding). That's when Sinead stepped in - and convinced me to try the cute Fifi boudoir set reminding me "if you muck it up a bit, it's only pyjamas and you could still wear them 'cause no one will see them". 

Well, aside from the entire internet. 

She then helped me pick out everything I would need to create the pyjamas I was inevitably going to blog about regardless of how they turned out. There was of course the super-gorgeous and super-pink penguin fabric (from the kids section, no less) and on top of that matching thread (pink and navy in my case), some dark navy material for the straps, elastic for the waist and a small ribbon for a final touche. Thankfully, this information is on the packet so even you don't have a Sinead to help you you should work it out.



Once I was home I would like to say I eagerly dusted off my (second-hand from my mum) sewing machine and got to work like Cinderella. Instead I waited a few days, and there was lots of faffing. Like re-learning how to thread a sewing machine. Wrapped thread round a bobbin. Watching YouTube videos to try and convince myself I knew what I was doing. After all that faffing I was able to start. and by start I mean wash the fabric (I didn't know this: but you should wash fabric before you start sewing so you don't make a pretty dress which then shrinks in its first wash). Then waiting for it dry overnight (and ironing it)

After preparing the fabric, I was able to cut out the pattern. I did so, and decided that was enough work for one day.

Next Weekend I started sewing. 

Very tentatively and timidly. Honestly, it's hard to remember which part I started with but I think it was the shorts, because they required less steps. In terms of  difficulty this was probably not the best pattern to start out with. There were folds, thin seems to iron down, elasticated waists and French seams. The instructions were helpful - helpful being the strongest word I can muster up. When you're a beginner - in pretty much anything - you appreciate intricate steps. However, the instructions were numbered paragraphs, which made them a tad intimidating (and easy to lose your place). It left me having to think about my next step, YouTubing things and sometimes just hoping for the best. Tilly & The Buttons actually have a beginners pack - which this design wasn't included in. Figures.

I was a size five on the pattern, and I'm a size 10-12 in the UK. The pattern sizes have only a few millimetres between them so I imagine anyone who is smaller than a size UK 8 and anyone bigger than a size UK 14 wouldn't fit this pattern. With size 14 being the UK average this seems like a bit of bad business move - just some feedback for pattern designers.

I spilt the project across a few weekends and was honestly high-5ing myself when I completed my Fifi pyjamas. The seams are messy and there is lose thread hanging everywhere, but as Sinead said I'm not wearing pyjamas in public (but I will post photos in the public domain). I could never sell them for an amount that would cover the cost of making them, but for a first attempt at making a proper piece of clothing I'm really pleased with myself.


Will I sew again?  

My next sewing project is already in the works. My mum replaced her old sewing machine (my current one) with a fancy ass expensive one and we're going to work on something when I visit my parents in Aberdeenshire. I've spent some time sifting through the 70s style patterns to find something a 20-something like me would genuinely wear in the street: this dress with cross-over straps has caught my eye, this lacy top, this Arielle skirt from Tilly & Buttons have been catching my eye, or I might try a bash at some underwear with the guide my mum has in some of her sewing patterns.

If my descriptions of how the sewing went aren't clear (for the experienced craft bloggers - how do you 'review' a sewing pattern?) I created a YouTube video to help illustrate my ramblings. Linking back to my opening sentence, this is something I'm also really proud of. I've dabbled in vlogging a few times but had never really sat down to 'learn how to YouTube properly'. This is the first video I really put in effort into and I'm really proud of the outcome. Not going to give Zoella a run for her money but it's not bad for an early attempt (though the quality dropped after I uploaded it, grr). 


Learn more about Remnant Kings: 


Learn more about Tilly & Buttons: 




To be clear: I attended the Remnant Kings event as a blogger and did receive a goody back with some sewing equipment (like pins and a tape measure). I bought the sewing pattern and fabric myself with my own money,with the discount available that night.

9 July 2016

Product Review: Jamberry Nail Wraps



I spent most of high school with a face bare from make-up (aside from a brief emo phase, which my traditional parents did reign in ever so slightly). My nails, however, were a different story. I started wearing nail polish as soon as I hit high school, and my mum  had provided nail polish allowance on weekends and summer holidays before that. A French Manicure was my nail of choice when I was in secondary one, something that is a little creepy looking back on it - a 12 year old with nails that belong an a fully grown American woman. As I entered my mid-teens and discovered MySpace, I began to embrace the dark brown nails (I would have went for black, but that was something my mum did decide to reign in and I was too lazy to get a job so I could exclaim "but it's my own money!"). Then at university I branched out into a wider array of colours, such as green for jolly St Patrick's Day. I also gave nail art a very bad attempt somewhere along the lines. 

However, until recently I had never tried nail wraps. Not out of sheer avoidance, but just because I had never gotten around to it. I know; I'm a pretty awful beauty blogger because I haven't single-handedly hunted out the best vegan nail wraps this world has to offer. Though one of the best things about beauty blogging is that sometimes the products come to me (I might be a working woman with a salary these days, but I'm still lazy). Recently Jamberry Consultant Vikki Cameron got int contact asking if I'd like to try anything from her store. That nail-art loving teenager who still exists inside of me was very happy to oblige. 

About Jamberry Nail Wraps

Jamberry Nails were founded by three awesome sisters and #girlbosses who wanted to create a cheaper do-it-at-home alternative to visiting a salon. That was in 2010 and now they're selling in the UK, Canada, New Zealand, Australia and the USA through their network of independent consultants. 

The company seells 300+designs that are vegan and free of Dibutyl Phthalate, Toluene, Formaldehyde, Formaldehyde Resin, and Camphor. When I sat down to pick I was sat there a while. I eventually settled on Peaches and Cream  - my decision helped by the Instagram carousel showing what the wraps look like on real-life fingers. 


The application

Needless to say I was ecstatic when they arrived. The design was just as cute in real life as they were on the Instagram posts. But I was still unsure how I would get on with the application. For this, you match your nail with the correct size, cut it at roughly the correct length, heat it up (with a blow dryer, for example), press onto the nail, file down any overflowing edges and set it with more heat. It was fiddly to start off with, and sometimes the heat of the hair dryer was a bit much for my hands, but as the photo at the start of the post proves the end result could have been a lot worse. Judging by some of the fantastic Instagrams of other girls wearing nail wraps I choose to believe that they are something you perfect over time and don't need to be a professional manicurist to apply them. 

How long did they last?

The wraps were applied a week and a half ago and only one nail has completely come off. All my other digits still have their nail wraps firmly bonded on. Albeit they have started fraying at the edges but altogether the nail wraps have lasted longer than most coats of nailpolish. 

Would I use Jamberry nail wraps again? I can definitely imagine it. Not as an every day thing, but I certainly would consider them again for a special occasion where my nails required just a little bit extra attention. 


3 July 2016

The Linkables

Source

I know it's cliche to say, but holy moly we're halfway through the year! I hope everything has been going swimmingly for you and that 2016 is shaping up to be everything you wanted it to be. I'm currently sitting in my bed, planning to have a lazy Sunday after nipping through to Edinburgh on Friday for some 10-pin bowling with my university friends. Right after I hit publish I'm going to carry on working my way through Season 6 of Game of Thrones and this afternoon I'm planning to work on some more blog posts (that sewing pattern I Instagrammed from the Remnant Kings event? I finished it yesterday and can't wait to share the final piece!).

Geek & Pop Culture

Maisie William is my spirit animal.

I'm in my mid-20s and have already been told that I'm "too old to fangirl". I hope I'm still fangirling in my 30s.

I have to admit - and don't hit me - Haley Quinn is far down my list of favourite female superhereos. But I still loved this lookback at the development of the character.

I've never been to Chicago, but if I ever do I'm heading to the Saved by the Bell diner.

I love incorporating my fandoms into my outfits: and here's some super-cute ideas on how to do so.

A bookworm living in the north of England? Here are some of the best indie bookshops to check out


Home & Garden

A super cute craft project: donut pillow


Wellbeing & Self-Improvement

Feeling emotionally exhausted? 40 ways to rejuvenate yourself right now


Ever written a break-up letter to an ex? Embarrassingly, I have (I was a teenager). If you struggle to let go of personal belongings, maybe you need to write your soon to be ex-stuff a break-up letter too?

Ever been upset over the end of a non-relationship? Me too. This writer too.

I've discovered a soothing new ASMRtist this month: Karuna Satori.

Sex & Relationships

Ever changed your mind about having sex with someone when you found out they didn't look as good naked? This guy has been on the receiving end. (Just to state, you ARE allowed to change your mind about having sex with someone - every time - but this is a must-read). 

On a dating app? Here's how to spruce up your profile.


Does the idea of casual sex not appeal to you at all? You're not the only one and that is completely okay (and completely feminist in a sex-positive way!). 

Creepy messages on dating apps aren't 'right', but here's a pretty strong argument for why they happen.  

ETC.

I'm fascinated by the Kardashians and even if you're not, you can't deny this is a well-written piece

I always had a 'summer' growing up, largely to privilege and having one parent that was stay-at-home. It only occurred to me as an adult that some families can't afford a summer

If you voted Remain (like I've very clearly stated I did) there's some lessons we can learn from the Brexit vote in order to move forward. 

Looking to start your own business or join a MLM company? Go girl! But don't discredit the 9-5 in the process


28 June 2016

Why (and how) Bloggers Should Use Facebook



Whenever I take part in Twitter chats about blog promotion, a common question that comes up is "how do I use Facebook to promote my blog?". 

And one of the most common replies is "don't bother with Facebook". Then I squirm in my chair. Me and my blog owe a lot to Facebook. I can very strongly argue that I'd be on the radars of a lot less people if I hadn't set up the mo'adore Facebook page

You see, the thing that Facebook can offer that not many other platforms can? It's the chance to get on the radars of people who aren't bloggers. Think about it. Who in your network uses Pinterest, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat and Tumblr during an average day? Probably other bloggers or marketers or people who just love social media. 

Who uses Facebook? Pretty much everybody, even if they're not a social media nerd. I mean, I bet some of you have grandmothers who are on Facebook? So unless your grandmother is a blogging pensioner (and fist pump if she is) it just goes to show that Facebook has a wider reach than more niche social media platforms.  

But how to use it? Well, Facebook is a bit of a tricky one, and Zuckerberg doesn't always make it easy for businesses (or bloggers). It took me a while to establish my Facebook strategy but now I'm a full-believer that the Book of Face can  help your blog reach a wider audience. Ready? Here's some of the techniques that have worked for me. 

Give it a mention on your personal profile
The preference to keep blog life and real life separate is still a concern for many bloggers (boy, do I still feel it myself from time to time). I don't promote every single post I've written onto my personal Facebook page because that would annoy people and I'd get deleted. But just a quick mention, or invite a few Facebook friends to like your page if you know they'd love the topic. If you're serious about blogging, remember to list it as a job - I got a few extra likes after doing this (I'd been blogging for three years at this point and some friends still didn't know, you learn something new). 

Advertise your page or boost your posts
When small business owners complain about 'needing to pay' to use Facebook, I cringe. Facebook Advertising is a fuckload more cost effective than advertising in any magazine, or even on another blogger's sidebar (and you can choose keywords so your advert is highly targeted). I, out of curiosity, decided to try a bit of Facebook Advertising one day. I didn't have a clue what I was doing and effectively just pressed some buttons and hoped for the best. The result? £12 got me 60 something new likes. Even better? Some of those likes turned in active followers. 

(If you're serious about your blog you're going to have to spend money investing in things like advertising. Or a camera. Or sound equipment.)  

Learn how algorithms work
You probably know by now that not everyone who likes your page will see your posts. Facebook algorithms learn what users want to see and dresses up their newsfeed accordingly. I, for example, see a lot of posts relating to veganism, feminism, Glasgow and....results of studies on human sexuality. YE GET THE PICTURE? So whenever I share a post on my page? I always use a keyword to help push the post through to followers who would enjoy my content. 

For example, instead of saying "Check out the latest recipe on my blog" go for something that indicates to Facebook what your post is about "Today's recipe is a vegan chickpea soup perfect for keeping warm during the winter". 

Join Facebook Blogger Groups
Aside from pages, another way to promote your posts in to join Facebook groups set up for bloggers to share links. Okay, this move will only get you on the radar of other bloggers so maybe doesn't apply to the main theme of the post, but it did help grow my blog reach. Some of my favourite groups are Scottish Bloggers, Glasgow Bloggers, Vegan & Vegetarian Bloggers plus my own groups Dundee Bloggers and #cfbloggers.

Word of caution: check the rules of any group before sharing your newest post. There is one blogging group on Facebook I have received a warning from because I jumped the gun. And act with caution when sharing your link into a group that might be on the topic of your blog about but isn't a blogging group (like Dundee Vegans for example - people go to these groups to chat not have someone's blog spammed at them).

Working with PRs
Again, if you're wanting to turn your blog into a for-profit business, you'll need to start looking for brand partnerships. Many PR professionals use Facebook groups to find suitable bloggers for upcoming projects so being a member is a must. Join groups such as UK Blogger Opportunities and reply to suitable opportunities (focus on the word suitable - you don't want to land yourself a reputation as a blagger rather than blogger). I've also had PRs and small businesses contact me through my FB page and some brands require you to have a minimum number of Facebook Likes before they'll even consider working with you.

Have you used Facebook to grow your blog? What are your favourite strategies?