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Saying Goodbye to 2011

Oh 2011, what a year you have been ♥. Maybe I could be as polite to say you have been my best year yet. Filled with some excellent adventures, personal developments and lots of professional opportunities and events. You were certainly a scorcher!

I'm not going to lie that the year previous to you, 2010, hadn't been so kind. 2010 could easily have been my worst year yet to date (in fact, it was). I won't steal any limelight from you by giving 2010 anymore attention, but thank you for giving me something to smile about after all that suckiness. 

I entered 2011 still mending a broken heart. Not one to sit around and mop for too long however I decided that after some time at home with some family I would return to Dundee with a new perspective. I made a bunch of resolutions and some shake-ups to my morning routine - the majority of which I kept to throughout the year.

And those resolutions and determination definitely paid off. 2011 was the year that I finally made some important decisions and lifestyle choices! From finally working out what I wanted to do with my life, to becoming a vegetarian to finally living by myself and even starting this blog after having floated between "maybe-starting-my-own-blog-to-ohmygawwillanyonereadit?" for a good few years.

A collection of outfit photos form this year - style and photo taking abilities changed!

Physically I rang in the bell with Gillian in our local pub before heading out on an adventure into our village playing on swings and taking a walk round our old primary school. I returned to Dundee the next day ready to head out for a "post-Near Years eve" party armed with a load of natural new beauty products I had received for Christmas. Then I started university again where I got knuckled down with the newly formed Business Society and into the charity event I was planning for my university's RAG organisation. And also classes, and the first semester was filled with some classes I actually enjoyed - such as my own mini-dissertation where I got to pick the topic. 

Early in this year was also when I secured the job that I have to this day. From what started as a part job where I thought I would just be updating Facebook and Twitter has turned in a fury of freelance projects and a career choice which makes graduating in 2012 really exciting! I feel truly valued in this job and I understand my roles purpose and this was one of the aspects of this year that I am very grateful for <3 How many students get part-time work which is relevant to their career choices? Not many...

A cake I made for the Valentine's Charity Bakesale - I swear it was meant to say cute!

Enter February and we had Valentine's Day. My first single Valentine' Day since my school days (2011 was the first year since 2007 that I entered single and left single) which I had to admit I was nervous for. But the day came and went without a tantrum. I helped with a charity bakesale and spent the evening watching Anchorman with people who, despite not having been a big part of life pre-2011, became big features for the rest of the year.

Me looking AMAZING! after 24+ hours getting trips for free to Leeds!

The intercept between February and March was also the weekend I took part in the weirdest and possibly bravest things I've ever done. A charity hitchhike!! An event where you have to blag your way from your starting point to wherever you can, being sponsored for charity. Furthest point wins. My team made it from Dundee to Leeds, which was the fourth longest distance and the third shortest, so sweetly in the middle. My team raised £175 for the charities chosen that year and it was a strong test of character, physical endurance and team work! 

One week after this I came down with a really bad bout of tonsillitis. This led me home to my parents home to be looked after. This came as a big wake-up call that I needed to slow down. After a week and half of bed rest, loads of garlic, hot soup, water and baths I came back to Dundee still feeling a bit shaky. 

Unfortunately I couldn't stay at home longer because of an event I had been planning since late November. It was in aid of Fairybox and theme of the night was reliving your own childhood memories from fancy dress to musical statues. However due to low energy levels and not feeling completely well-supported in the venture it only raised £14. I moved onto the next thing. 

After a full recovery I got ready to start throwing myself into the Dance Team's 2011 show which took part in April. This year we had a proper stage and even a professional stage manager! With the theme being Sins vs Virtues (I represented Envy) we had each dance representing a sin or virtue. The dances this year also ranged more than previous years with Irish, tap and Bollywood being added into the mix. 

And somewhere in all that preparation I celebrated St Paddy's for the first time ever...and had one of the best nights out I've had this year.

That's years Eurovision costume! I was Russia! 

Roll on May I was within the throws of coursework deadlines, with me receiving an A for my practice dissertation module. But not without a bit of gallivanting! I attended a Eurovision party where I dressed up as a Russian and brought along some Russian pancakes and vodka. This may not sounds like much but Eurovision, for me, is one of the best annual events there is! Cheesy music and the option for fancy dress? Yes please!

Outside Edinburgh castle!

I also took a trip down to Edinburgh for some fun with Gillian. Through the four day trip we acted like proper tourists visiting all the shops and I also had one of the best nights out this year during that four days. 

Not long after this it was time to return home to my parents for the summer and take up my summer job waitressing yet again (not a highlight of my year I assure you!) but not after enrolling in a TEFL course! However I decided teaching English as a foreign language wasn't really for me so I don't plan to do much with that qualification. But crossing out options get you closer to your actual dream!

After parking for the very first time!

Not long after being home I was thrust into the world of learning to drive. Scary and liberating at the same time. Learning to drive was a big box ticked off in my world of becoming independent.

Me presenting for Team Wibble at Social Innovation Camp 2011

Also within the summer I took part in Social Innovation Camp 2011 in Edinburgh alongside the team Wibble. Wibble is an app (not currently released) that helps volunteers track their progress. We didn't win but being thrown into that world gave me some much needed experience in project management and producing something within a short deadline - something that a career in business marketing will be sure offer me!  

Late August I attended Dare Protoplay. It's a game design competition so feel free to pass over this paragraph in a usually girly blog ;) I had a friend partaking this year and went along to see what she had created. I also seen some great talent that day. This weekend was when I also moved into my new flat. A flat that I get to share with absolutely no-one - a decision I should have made a year ago. I've also even towards the end of the year inspired someone else to make the same decision.  

My best purchase was also made near this time of year. My first ever smartphone: the HTC EVO 3D. I had wanted to own a smartphone for so long but because I didn't have a steady income until this year so the purchase had to be put off. Due to this year being so good professionally I was able to purchase one. And I went high end! The 3D is a bit of a gimmick but when you hold the phone properly game play can be so amazing!

Fast forward to the start of September I sat my driving test and passed first time. After a quick celebration I drove myself to the train station that night (!) and got a train to Dundee. The next morning (first thing!) I was in training for returning to my job as a Student Ambassador (a job I thoroughly encourage anyone to take up - if a similar one exists in your uni do it! One of the best decisions I made back in 2010). 

Back in time for Freshers Week where I was re-acquainted with my old crowd. 2011 was definitely the year I stopped pretending to be some big party girl. So I just had some casuals playing pool (an activity that became quite common towards the end of the year).

I also attended another geeky event round this time: Software Freedom Day. For anyone that's not in the know this is a global event to promote and educate the world on open-course software. Again, I explain: it's free (yay!) and the source code is available so others can add to the programmes! I had been aware of open-course software for years but this was the year I made more effort to make my own PC more open sourced than Windows. 

Meeting Saskia The Style Fairy

Not long after returning to Dundee I was off again. This time to Glasgow to attend one days worth of events at Social Media Week 2011. I could only attend the Monday due to academic commitments but boy did I pack a lot into that day!  I attended Blog Off!! where I met Saskia The Style Fairy, a blog I had read for some time. And then also attended Fashion Blogging 101 where I also spotted some familiar faces - and discovered some new ones! 

Then came the start of the academic year and societies were in full swing. I took up my new post as Head of Social Media within the Business Society. It was the during Freshers Fayre (an event where all teams and societies have a table to try and attract new members) that the Vice-President approached me about the possibility of a cupcake society which would raise money for charity.

Roll on a month later I became the President and founder of the Abertay Cupcake and Baking Society. And in the last few months of 2011 we had three bake sales where everything got sold for various charities. It's a lot of hard work, I'll tell you, but also great to know you're making a change somewhere.

Me as Katy Perry ala California Girls on my 21st. 

Welcome in November. The month of my 21st Birthday. I had been planning a Katy Perry themed night since about...April? Gillian came up from Edinburgh for it and many other people showed. It wasn't a high key event, quite low-key to be honest. But most of who turned up made an effort with their costume. <3

The night of my official birthday however turned out to be a magical treat! What was planned to be a casual few drinks turned out to be watching a woman shave her head for charity, a pub quiz and an impromptu trip to the 24 hour Tesco for the midnight launch of Skyrim (and a Waldorf salad). That randomness is personally my best idea of fun!

Next week I attended an event alongside the Business Society that was hosted by Business Gateway. The highlight of this was watching and meeting Apprentice Runner-up Jim Eastwood aka Jedi Jim! That was definitely a great way to wrap up November!

Then came December which was a more serious month with loads of coursework and someone I knew passing away. However I still got my first go at Pub Golf! And visited a bar I had never spotted in Dundee called the Snow Bar (seasonal, as the name suggests) which was easily one of the most beautifully decorating bars I had ever seen.

Also within December (hey it can't all be coursework) was the Scottish Blogger Meet! That day I met some of the nicest sweetest people I ever have. And it was great to know some people I can talk to about blogging! It's not quite mainstream thing yet!

And the not so good?
As much as I like to be positive I don't want to sound as if everything has been plain sailing. I'm not going to list everything bad that happened but at least add some realism to the mix and not stand here and pretend everything was glorious.

Early October I got burgled. An incident you always think happens to other people until happens to yourself. An event that will soon see me giving away a bag to charity as the memories stand to be too painful to look at it. Remember to close your windows, kids. One of the few nights I had left mine open was the one night someone with questionable morals walked by.

And as mentioned briefly above, someone I knew passed away in December. It wasn't anyone I had the pleasure of knowing too long but someone who didn't deserve to be taken too soon. Twenty-one may be too young a age to die, but death doesn't always work like that. I won't put out details because as far as I'm aware he wasn't into blogging or documenting your life via the internet and I always respect that. Sleep tight - you should have made it to 2012 as well. Live each day like it's your last, cause you never know, it might well be. 

Thank to everyone who has made the good parts of this year brilliant! 
Looking back at these photos the biggest change appears to have been my hair length! You even spot my photo skills getting better as the photos near the end match the width! But I know that wasn't the only change. So many great things happened to me this year and I am eternally grateful for every opportunity. <3

Morag x

morag | mo adore
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The Start of the 2011 Clear Out

I'm a big believer in new starts and self-improvement so it's no big surprise that I'm a fan of fresh starts and resolutions. In fact, I usually keep my resolutions. 

But I'm not blogging today about my resolutions (still putting finishing touches on those!) but because this past week I have been working on my "New Years Eve clean out". 

I'm not going to bore you with paragraphs about finding something that belonged to my ex-boyfriend in my cupboard, but more about what I actually mean by New Years Eve clean out, what it is I actually clean out and why I do it (and why you maybe should too). 

I usually did a clear out most summers between academic years (because that always marked a new year for me back when I was fifteen) but it was only last year that I did a proper New Years Eve cleanout. And let me tell you: it was liberating! Whilst sometimes we hold onto to things or just forget to check what is in that drawer getting rid of the old is a great why to let in the new. 

What I generally tend to do:

Clean out my room
Tip out all drawers. Either keep, put away in my memories box, put in the loft, or completely throw out. Because I'll be up with my parents in Aberdeen during Hogmany I'll only get to do this to my childhood bedroom which has it's benefits as it means I can get rid of anything that might have piled up whilst I've been gone. I gave my own flat in Dundee a big clear out before I went on Christmas holiday so should be returning to a nice clean flat. However the week between deadlines and going back to classes I intend to look through all my property and decide what I can do without. 

Get rid of anything that carries a bad memory
Just as you might throw out romantic tokens after a bad break-up if something less than ideal has happened to you in 2011 take time to consider if keeping certain items might be holding you back. As I was clearing my own flat before I came up the road I kept seeing the bag that my possessions were taken from during the burglary. I thought I might re-wear bag again eventually but it's now been two months and I'm nowhere closer to not getting a stab in my upper-chest when I see it. When I return to Dundee I'll be putting it into a charity shop in hope that something good can come from something so bad. 

Or if you can't quite bring yourself to throw anything out fashion yourself a "memory box". I've had one since I was thirteen (there about) where I keep memories that whilst they're not exactly my fondest of times I still hold dear to my heart. Teenage diaries that show how far I've come and funeral programmes from those passed away too soon are what can be found in mine. 

Are you friends with this person anymore? No? Then why do you follow them?
Knowing who to delete off your Facebook can be hard. Will you eventually have to re-kindle the friendship for professional reasons? Or maybe you don't want them to get the impression that you hate them. Because you actually don't. There will always be people that will stay on your friends list because they have to. On mine, there are coursemates, workmates and other people I still know in some vicinity. And they will still there for a while under the setting that stops their updates from coming up on my newsfeed. :p

And something I didn't do this year but will this time is unlike a lot of pages that I have no interest in buying anything from. As a Facebook marketer, I understand the thrill of having someone like your page but I'd rather have people who were genuinely interested liking it than forcing it on people who have no interest.  If you don't care about deals on fruit smoothies then unlike the Innocent page, again if you don't drink fizzy drinks, unlike Coca Cola. Also, have you left university? Then why are you still following the library page?

Other online haunts
Last year I deleted my MySpace, Digg, Bebo, Plurk and Livejournal account. Whilst I do have fond memories connected with these sites putting in that much energy to make sure that no outdated information exists about me out there was time-consuming and at times draining. No one uses these sites anymore and the only time I look at Myspace is to LOL at those I know who never updated their profiles! Who's to say no one is doing the same to me?

Because everything is looking quite clean there's not much to do aside from make sure everyone I follow on Twitter is still active and that I only follow blogs that still interest me (and make sure that all blogs I like are followed in one way or another- recently spotted that I forgot a few old favourites because I switched blog subscription services).  

Also, consider re-writing your blurbs to make sure it truly represents you and the way in which you use that account.

Clean out make-up
Anything out of date or completely lost it's texture is gone. Or if still in good condition but not my thing I give it along to a friend who might want it. 

Kitchen cupboards
You'd be surprised at what can sit old and smelly at the back of a cupboard. Before coming up to my parents I did a bit of reorganising of my cupboards. As I said with arranging my bedroom because if I can't see what I own then how are am I going to remember I own it? The same goes for cooking. I found multiple jars of ginger and cinnamon, all bought because I didn't realise I already owned it. Keeping everything tidy and in view saves you money ;)

My Filofax
I had a quick flick through my Filofax today for some inspiration. My Filofax still has a similar layout to what it had back in mid 2010 with a few bits and bobs changed here and there (obv since my ex's name is shown in those photographs :P). I'm planning to sit down with it in the next view days and give it a proper overhaul. If you own a diary consider giving it a shake up. Remove old to-do lists. And consider a new way of using it in the new year. 

Do you also do a clean out? Or do you just hold onto everything?

Morag x

morag | mo adore
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Boxing Day Sales 2011

Just a snap of some of the goodies I picked up in the Boxing Day sales today. Didn't get that much because I am getting quite close to purchasing my first DLSR camera and will be heading to South Africa/Zambia for holiday in June this year, so needing so save some pennies! Did look at a few clothes in New Look (especially some jumpers with sparkly thread sewn through) but couldn't find that many in my size and the one jumper that was a size 10 managed to look like a bag on me! 

A few things I bought today are going to be helping me with some of my New Years Resolutions which will be talked about in the next few days :D I've not made an huge ones cause I'm very content with where I am in life right now and have no major insecurities so all resolutions will just be slight touch ups! But looking forward to pursuing them as last year I stuck to many of my resolutions and 2011 ended up being my best year to date. 

Did you get anything nice in the sale as well?

Morag x
morag | mo adore
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Review: Lush Gingerbread Tin

The Gingerbread House Tin was given to me for my birthday back in November. Last night I used up the last of the goodies within so am ready to make my review! Lush is absolutely one of my favourite brands and buying me something from there for a birthday is always a good idea! ;)

Within it are four goodies: two bubble bars and two bath ballistics. I had never tried any of their bubble bars yet so was quite excited (I had actually had my eye on the gingerbread house - how did my friends know?) plus they had tow bath ballistics, and I am going to start the review by saying that I have never been overly impressed with bath ballistics. Just get that out the way first...

Firstly we have Candy Mountain Bubble Bar which was probably my favourite product within the box. Lush itself describe smell as "lovely vanilla and candy floss" which is very accurate in my opinion. The description did however make it seem as the bubbles would be pink. They're not. The water itself turned pink but the bubbles were just the regular white. Which I should have expected but I can get a bit giddy when pink is mentioned and envisioned myself relaxing in a cloud of pinkness! 

I used the entire mountain within one bath and had to say I felt that regular bubble bath such as my favourite Radox usually gives me much bigger bubbles. The bubbles themselves were softer and more luxurious feeling than Radox though. If you're thinking about purchasing this product it would depend on which you prefer: soft bubbles than are on the small side or  big bubbles that aren't as delicate on your skin. I personally prefer being engulfed in bubbles so I won't be trying any more bubble bars (unless I read a review for another one that says "omg these bubbles go up to the roof!").

The second product here is the Cinders Bath Bomb There also another bath ballistic within the box, So white, but I forgot to take a picture. Bath bombs and bath ballistics may be different things but these products felt very similar whilst using them. Unfortunetly the two products like this within this box did very little to change my opinion on things that fizz around your bath. I just can't really see the point in them.  I keep thinking they would be better suited to kids who are amused by things that travel around the bath (the same as they might laugh at a rubber duck). But me, not really.

The final product we have here is the Gingerbread House Bubble Bar which was the first product to catch my eye though is reviewed last. Norm. Like the Candy Mountain bubble bar the description mentions mountains of foam which wasn't true in my opinion. I didn't quite follow the intructions on the packet when using this one (first time using bubble bar and all that!) but I did when I opened the Candy Mountain and whilst it produced some more bubbles that the Gingerbread House not quite as much as traditional bubble bath.

To show you something:

When using the Gingerbread House I remembered to photograph the bubbles before I got in the bath. This personally is not enough bubbles for me (I also wear a facemask in the bath - how lux of me!). You can't quite see it in this picture but the water is orange whilst the bubbles are white - a similar effect with the Candy mountain bar, expect that was pink.

Would I buy this again? Probably not. The Candy mountain at a push, but the others no. I do adore lush products but aside from the bath melts their bath products have never wowed me. Something I thought was really good was the smell and in fact I left the water sitting there a while after my bath just so the smell would travel through the bathroom (a plus about living alone!). The water was definitely softer than traditional bubble bath as well but for me Radox still wins as a bath product because, personally, I like to have bubbles above my head (and not have coloured water!).

Have you tried this? Already bought it for someone? Is it on your Christmas list? Want to tell me off for dissing ballistics?

Morag x
morag | mo adore
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Scottish Blogger Meet

I've already seen blog posts about yesterday's Scottish Blogger meet from GillianCharleneClaire and Rani so I won't re-write what has already been written and just post a few of my own photos. 

I love attending blogging and networking events! If you're ever invited, go! What is the worst that could happen? Not that much :p I loved sitting down and discussing blogging and tweeting as well as fashion. My real life friends who are also into tweeting and blogging are all games people who don't understand why I'd blog about what I wear and those who are into fashion don't get blogging. So it was nice to sit down with some people who like clothes but who are also into geeky stuff. There's no way my friends would toast "to blogging" when taking shots!  

(A topic of blogging that came up regularly was: do you your IRL friend's know about your blog?)

Lots of love and "to blogging"

Morag x

morag | mo adore
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Planning my first vegetarian Christmas

As some of you may know I started my transition to vegetarianism early on this year, and touched my last piece of meat somewhere circa August. One of the few problems I have faced is the decision of what to eat on Christmas day.

I am the first vegetarian in my family (to my knowledge - with one half of my family coming from a farming background it isn't exactly a common occurance) so how to work this diet into my Christmas day meal (which is shared with my parents and grandmother - possibly one or two other relatives) is proving difficult. I have agreed with my mum that I will prepare what I want to take some pressure off her in the kitchen (a very small kitchen btw - how will this work?). Starters and dessert is easy as it's usually some kind of soup and I'm in charge of dessert most years so that's my area completely! But main course?

I still want something Christmassy, so a bowl of mac and cheese is out of the question. And whilst everything that gets put around the Turkey or Chicken is usually veggie I still want a center piece for myself.

Here are a few of the ideas I have already:

This Vegetable Cobbler from the Good Food Channel sounds quite simple but would make a good centre piece. I would have to adapt the recipe slightly as leeks = bad in my books. I think this would also be something that would go down quite well with the meat-eaters at the table as it still looks quite filling. 

Again another adaptation is needed on the basis of leeks being minging. but I'm a fan of crumble and cheese is an area I consider myself highly specialised in. 

So far this may be a winner. Most of the longer-term vegetarians I know say this is usually their center-piece. Whilst the pre-made packets of nut roast make me want to down 2 litres of water to try and re-quench myself I've been assured that when you make them yourself properly they can be quite a tasty affair. 

If you're vegetarian as well what do you usually eat on the 25th of December? Or even if you're a meat eater know of any good recipes?

Morag x
morag | mo adore
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How I Looked: Tashes and Tartan

Jumper: Primark 
Skirt: Primark 
Necklace: Claire's Accessories 
Nails: Barry M 
Tights: H&M

This outfit was put together (and bought for! - way for annual events that fall on pay day!) for the joint celebration of St Andrew's Day and the very last day of Movember! My Student's union put on a "Tashes and Tartan" event where we had a ceilidh (event with traditional Scottish dancing - we're pretty much all forced to learn it at school) and then at midnight we had a "shave off" where all the boys of Movember had their tashes taken off. Needless to say their were a few relieved girlfriends in the room!

I found the skirt in Primark that very day. Tartan isn't really in right now so there wasn't much selection going about. I did spot a tartan dress in Primark but the high neck just meant it wasn't for me. The necklace was found in Claire's Accessories and while there was a good selection there I was disappointed to see a lack of moustache jewellery in general. I think making moustache jewellery for the ladies with proceeds going to Movember would be a good way to get more money (and awareness!) for a good cause. 

Hope you had a good Movember! (And St Andy's day if you're Scottish)

Morag x
morag | mo adore
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