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Things I Love Thursday/May in Review

Every Thursday each week (well, I try to make it each week) and the last day of every month I sing praises for what I'm grateful for and reflect on my resolutions from January, respectively. As the last day of this months happens to be a Thursday it's a double dose of happy goodness.

So let's get on it. 

My goal for May was to sit down and work on career related stuff: get this blog sorted out, start the portfolio and start, you know, seriously planning for life after graduation. I just this week finished my contract with my current employer who I've been working for since early 2011. I was emotional but I got some great cupcake and baking goodies as a leaving present. Bu this has really hit home that I am graduating and that I am about to enter the 'real world' and that I really do need to get my ass moving on the whole graduate job hunting thing.

Gifts from my employer: tin, recipe book, card, surface protector, cupcake stand and bag. Don't mind if I do!

What I have Done For Career Planning:

Had one job interview which was unsuccessful though I picked up a few things about what I need to work on and what I could be asked in the future. Such as Pinterest, which explains my sudden May pinning spree and why I've become anal about my Board categories. My followers have now went up by 20+, which is totally due to that new Dips & Condiments board. 

Almost finished my re-design of this place. Admittedly I tried to add a footer today that displayed my instagram photos, my follower count and a disclaimer but I messed up with the background. If any HML/CSS/Blogger ninjas want to step in I would be so so so grateful. I can pay in cake and blog exposure.  

Finished the Principle's Award. Which is a recognition from my university that I did a lot more with my time there than just get a degree, such as start the Cupcake Society, become a member of a dozen other societies and sports teams and even work for the university itself. I had a mock interview for the final part of it Monday with a genuine employer from Enterprise Rent-a-Car (if you want to work for them holla at me and I'll give you some pointers) who was cute in a 30-year-old-but-has-twins kind of way. I got all flustered when he said I smiled a lot in the interview. And I know he had twins because he left his keys on the table and had a good nosey. I'm that creepy. 

Looked for graduate jobs from my favourite Scottish digital marketing agencies. However as my favourites are the créme de créme of Scottish marketing they don't tend to take on fresh-faced n00bs, which I was expecting but I can certainly understand what it is I can work up to. And now to work on finding the graduate jobs in the industry that do exist. 

Ploughed further on with the NUS Skills Award. Another award for having done more than just sit in a classroom throughout university. Admittedly I have mixed political feelings about the National Union of Students but this award may be far more useful than my university's own award because 1) it's standardised across the UK 2) some big employers have already agreed to recognise it and 3) only two Scottish universities are part of the pilot so I might end up one of the few Scottish graduates to possess it. If I finish it in time.

And what I've been grateful for this week:
Botswana looks likely to be added to my African adventure / Being called a "wee star" / Now looking forward to leaving Dundee and getting excited about what my future may bring / Eating vegan  for a large percentage of this week / Getting rid of a spider by myself  / Having an amazing final night out with some course mates & an even greater walk home / Amazing wine / Feeling truly appreciated for the time you put into something / Great presents being picked out for you / Drunkenly analysing The Vampire Diaries / Discovering I can walk in wedges / Feeling okay that it didn't work out with that guy I met two months before graduation because it doesn't fit in with my life plans. ♥

Lots & lots of love

Morag x

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Some Arts Dahling! (Or Morag went to an art show)

As mentioned in Sunday's In This Week post, last Thursday I attended an art show. Art shows, despite a love of clothes and having a working knowledge of CSS since I was 14, aren't my usual hang-out scene. I only even knew about this one because I had some friends who wanted to go along and another friend who had a friend displaying work.

There was definitely some peculiar stuff as well pretentious arts that made me raise my eyebrow more than it biological should be capable of. But there was definetly some amazing art and design with some I would consider purchasing (I didn't get to see the textiles though. Boo!).

Here are some of my favourite artists from the night and pictures of their business cards cause I had to be discreet with my camera on the night.

By far the most imaginative and whimsical art of the night was by Tatiana with her paper shoes and dress up cardboard cut out. This was the one piece of the night where I struggled to leave the room because I was in awe. Whilst my group were leaving I got a thank you directed at me, probably cause she had noticed my excitement over her flip books of children's paper shoes dancing. It's the sort of really whimsical gift that might be perfect for a kid, something a bit different. I certainly would have squealed if my mum had bought me a giant dressing up paper doll in 1997.

Also from her blog I found out her art is described as 'Gendermorphosis & Drag-onomics' which certainly has a feminist edge to it. And there is nothing wrong with that!

I love clothes and jewellery but the few times I've been to an art show I've been met with out-of-this-world jewellery and clothes that belong on a catwalk but not on the high street. Within the jewellery room I came across Leanne Evans who has interesting and artistic pieces which wouldn't get you strange looks in the street. 

Everything had a cage theme and from her website I discovered her inspiration came from poems her sister wrote about her struggled with eating disorders and the emptiness and isolation she felt. Which certainly ain't cheery but does make for a thoughtful as well as beautiful pieces. If I could buy, I would.

Another artist that I considered buying from (and one my friends did!) was Rosie McGregor with her patterned chairs which are right up my interior design street. I can't afford one but instead a picture of her chairs are my Facebook cover photo. 

And is that not the coolest business card? 

An artist who had an amazing but completely unpractical concept for the real world was Mariam Mallalieu. I loved the sculpture that was on display but I'm not exactly sure what I'd do with it if it landed in my living room. I'm not even convinced my living room is big enough. My friend suggested putting a jacuzzi in the middle. It's maybe just meant to be admired and kept in a museum.

I think this is where we discover I am not an artist myself.

Interior and environment design isn't really my forte (proved because I thought this would fall under product design) but Charles Stewarts creation Shelter 77 for Glasgow Disabled Scouts was the most heart warming of the night. I wouldn't say disabled rights are something I'm at the forefront of (that's feminism, LGBT rights and animal rights there!) but having two disabled members to my family means that when someone does have the time to dedicate to this cause I'm awed. I'm not big on the scout and guide movement (was a rainbow and brownie but always felt the boy's clubs had more interesting badges!) but if any young boy, able-bodied or not, wants to join the scouts they shouldn't be prevented. 

Also know who else loved it? The BBC.

Morag x
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How I Looked: Eurovision Goddess

Greece fancy dress: Jokers Masquerade*
Sandals: New Look
Nails: Barry M Mushroom

As you are probably aware Saturday was Eurovision and if you read my blog on the regular you'll be more than aware that Eurovision gets me in an excited tussle! I had decided on Greece as my country ages ago simply so I would have an excuse to munch on far too much feta cheese (only second to Halloumi cheese). Mid-April Jokers Masquerade contacted me asking if I would like a free fancy dress costume and obviously I jumped at the chance to get an awesome outfit and save some pennies! 

As I already knew I wanted to go as Greece I ran through their Greek and Roman Costumes immediately (though I still gave their Viking, Roman, Moulin Rouge and general world costumes selections a look). But coming across this fancy Greek dress costume I was sold. Admittedly £31.99 is a bit more than I would usually pay for a fancy dress costume unless it was a last minute one in the shops on Halloween itself. If it had been my own money I would have settled on another dress which retails at just under £20.

This was however by far one of the best quality fancy dress costumes I have ever worn (and anyone who wears fancy dress often knows that quality isn't always synonymous with fancy dress costumes). I got a load of compliments when I arrived and all night with one of my friends constantly stroking the material! I also swished around my flat wearing it for about 20 minutes when it first arrived! But had to take it off to go to the library! Boo! 

And I'm sorry but I like to keep all my fancy dress costumes as mementoes so I won't be putting it on eBay. Bet you're well gutted. This Greece fancy dress is all mine! 

Morag x

* As with all asterixes in blog land it is confirmation that I did not pay for this. I got the costume for free but have received no money to do this review. I am currently in the process of redesigning my blog and a full disclaimer will be added.
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In This Week

1. My face on Thursday. 2. Working on my graduate CV. 3. New shower scrub. 4. Debating sandal choice in New Look. 5. Eurovision semi-finals. 6. Greek outfit. 7. Ouzo - Greek liquer. 8. Sweet chilli vegetable stir-fry. 9. Belgium Waffle. 10. Peanut stew. 11. Ben & Jerry's. 12. Red Velvet ice-cream. 13. Smoothie from local store. 14. Jacket potato with coleslaw. 15. Fried spaghetti pizza. 16. Orange and coconut French toast. 

This week was a very good week for me. As you'll probably know from my posts this week it was National Vegetarian Week so my diet-choice was getting some recognition. Also there was Eurovision, which is my favourite annual event! Just like last year me and my friends have a Eurovision party where we dressed up and ate "foreign" food (I made a Greek Salad and brought along Ouzo to drink) whilst watching it. Some of us still took it more seriously than others though :p. Have to admit I just lol at Eurovision haters & this year I had just as much fun thwarting them will my amazing Eurovision and EU knowledge. But seriously Europe is a political topic I am quite well versed in & it's better not to mess :P

On Thursday I experienced many elements of my perfect day. I had a very productive day getting on with a new blog template for this place - the current one was my very first Blogger template and it's driving me nuts! Can't stand it, links are weird when you hover on them and it just doesn't reflect what my blog is about. Saying that I am so happy with the way the new one is coming along and should hopefully have it done by the time July hits. Later on that day I went along to an art show hosted by a local art college with all the final year pieces. There was some stuff I was really impressed by including the chairs which are pictured that I was so tempted to buy! There was so many amazing art and design there though also some really pretentious stuff which I just don't consider art (like broken bottles). Then we winded down at a restaurant called Madina Bar & Grill which despite it's name really tickled my vegetarian taste buds - even spotted halfway through that my the vegetable sweet chilli stir-fry could have easily been vegan as well. Though dessert definitely wasn't vegan with the cream and ice-cream. Also summer has completely hit which is great for me as the weather really effects my mood and motivation. 

Also in my own kitchen I attempted a few new dishes this week: fried spaghetti pizza, orange and coconut French toast and peanut stew. All of which were a bit strange when they first entered my mouth however when I went back to them later I thoroughly enjoyed them. Sometimes you just have to let your taste buds adjust before throwing it away!

I finished my last ever university work almost two weeks ago now but because I was a hyperactive dorky student association involved type student (who is also still employed by the university!) I'm still to completely wrap up. Tomorrow I'll have a mock interview as part of my Principle's Award for recognition for doing something above and beyond my degree whilst at university. 

I'm away to a SlutTalk tonight which is a spin-off of the SlutWalk for a bit of feminist ranting. Downside to this weather is that I can't go anywhere with a guy not tooting his horn or saying a lewd remark as if I'm wearing a dress for his benefit rather than I like dresses & would sweat to death if I wore jeans. 

How was your week lovelies? I promise I'll be back to normal next week and not rant on about being meat free ;)

Morag x
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A Vegetarian Lifestyle Beyond Food

Not a vegetarian then? From an art show I was recently.

Vegetarianism to most people mainly mainly means abstaining from meat within a dietary sense. However for many vegetarians this abstinence goes a lot further than what we choose to meet our lips with. When the term "vegetarian lifestyle" gets used it means being a vegetarian in every area of our life from what we wear to what we use in the shower. 

It does depend on your reasons for becoming vegetarian. If you purely just don't like the taste of meat then sitting on a leather couch won't irk you but if like me it's a moral standpoint then better get checking the ingredient list of your favourite shower gel.

Leather. The idea of wearing leather has always irked me. During my meat-eating days I reminded myself that it was a by-product and if I was going to eat bacon I shouldn't throw my hands in the air about being gifted a leather bag. But now I no longer eat the meat leather goods have disapeared from my wardrobe and furniture - if I viewed a flat with a leather couch I'd reconsider. Buy me a leather skirt for my birthday and you'll find it in a charity shop a week later. Serious. 

Animal Testing. I don't know anyone who actually thinks animal testing is right, and thankfully so, however I know very few who will research products before buying and protest with their purse. The people I know who will and do research their mascara choices first are all vegetarian and vegan. I've consciously been buying a lot of my products from Lush since early 2011 because I am comfortable that they fit with my ethical beliefs. Admittedly however it's only now that I am getting round to making sure that foundations and lipsticks were not tested on animals having only avoided brands such as MAC because the information had fallen into my lap. 

Fur. Again, I don't know many people that would actually wear fur. But the fur trade is still active. Just this Thursday I was at the degree show for a local art school and threw up in my mouth at a jewellery student who had used rabbit fur in her final pieces. She wasn't there but I snapshot her business card and have already uploaded it to Facebook and this blog post.

Animals in Sports. You won't catch me at a horse race or bull fighting event any time soon. Also that Jackass show? Fucking disgusting. 

Environment. This isn't a particularly well-researched area of mine and wasn't an initial reason to become vegetarian. However it has been proposed that meat-production adds to carbon emissions and that being veggie is better for the environment. Someone who is veggie might be more likely to recycle and not use a gas-guzzling SUV. But this isn't necessarily true for me, just some. 

Do any of my vegetarian readers do more outside of their diet to promote animal rights or the environment?

Morag x
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Things I Love Thursdays: Being Vegetarian

No, I will not be shutting up about vegetarianism for any day this week (even if this is being posted a day late - with the time stamp edited!). This weeks TILT will be getting the veggie treatment just like all posts this week. Even though yesterday contained a lot of elements of my perfect day I'm going to ramble on about cabbage and other meat-free goodness. 

I'm going to concentrate on my gratefulness for becoming veggie. I'm really grateful that I was eventually able to become a vegetarian. It's been mentioned before but I considered vegetarianism for most of my life and for some reason was not ever able to do so until I hit twenty. Being raised by and living with meat-eating parents is generally cited as a reason. Also I had no role models or anyone to go to for advice. 

Also I was a pussy who couldn't stand up for myself or my beliefs. Something I am still working on to this day. I knew a few people in my teens who thought vegetarianism was "stupid" or that they were just fussy - these people basically believed that meat was there to be eaten and felt everyone should share that personal belief. Though looking back these people were narrow-minded on almost everything - a specific person who comes to mind didn't like someone due to their bisexuality, because it's "not real". These people shouldn't have factored into my delayed decision but they did. 

Also mentioned that I final became veggie after a bad break-up. A break-up where I really needed to "find myself" and remember who I was. The break-up had also given me a big wake-up call that I needed to trust my guts and go with my instinct and hold my ground, because my life skills in that area were proven whilst with that boyfriend/during the split to be downright appalling, along with another unfortunate event that happened around that time. And giving up meat (along with starting my own university society, hosting my own charity event and charity hitch-hiking) was part of that process.

Basically what I'm trying to say is that I am happy and grateful to be vegetarian because it was the start of me holding two fingers up to society, former school peers and also my raised-on-a-farm mum and saying this has always been my personal belief and still is and I am being serious about not eating meat. I'm not going to tell you not eat meat, but don't tell me that I should, when I don't want to. And never really have truthfully. 

I'm also saying this in hope that I can encourage others who are in the same position to follow suit. Not even just about meat - any personal belief you have. Alexandra commented on my previous post this week about what it's like to be vegetarian in a meat eating world and linked it to her outing herself as an atheist (I originally wrote decision to become an atheist - but I don't believe we decide our personal belief, they're just there!). And I can see the link. Anyone who belongs to a minority group or minority belief that harms nobody and is of no concern to others (I also don't see the appeal of having biological children - haters to the left!) will have felt that need to breath gently whilst at the dinner table. I don't believe in Christianity but would never go ripping pages out of my mum's bible so why she can't cook chicken nuggets and onion rings in separate oven dishes is past me. I don't preach to mothers how they should raise their own kids so would appreciate if no one would question my decision to just let my uterus sit there

So stick your personal beliefs and follow them through. Becoming veggie has made me really happy because I'm finally being true to myself. You'll never find true happiness pretending to be someone you're not. And if being veggie/atheist/never popping out offspring is who you are then so be it. 

Morag x

P.S. We're halfway through what appears to be veggie rant week. Not long until I'm back posting photos of what I wore. I'm wearing a new dress as a click Publish!
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Inside the cupboards of a vegetarian

Remember this week is National Vegetarian Week. Which is why I keep posting about being a vegetarian. Every day this week.

Morag x
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What It's Like to be Veggie in a Meat Eating World

I've never had anyone say this to me. Also don't know many people that would eat a koala bear.

Since becoming vegetarian I've had very few snags. I made the transition smoothly and most people have accepted my decision. However something that has caught my stomach in a knot a few times has been the meat-eating majority assuming they know what it's like to be vegetarian or telling me how to feel, as if they know more about living my life than I do.

Not saying my view represent all veggie views as vegetarianism can take many forms. However to have someone who eats meat or a restaurant assuring its guests that it is a vegetarian friendly establishment when you're the one who lives that lifestyle can be down-right patronising. I don't go around telling other minorities in society how to feel about about being gay/vegan/Jewish/homeless so I don't understand why meat eaters feel the need to do this to me. 

Out of the meat-eaters who have assumed they know the ins and out's of vegetarianism there appears to be two extremes - one is that I always have to carry my own lunchbox everywhere I go because no restaurant ever caters for salad munchers or that every food-place ever there's a veggie option with two people informing me that veggie burgers are available in McDonald's (certainly not when I've had a look). The truth lies somewhere in between. 

Most restaurants do have a veggie option. Albeit sometimes by accident. Even if somewhere hasn't intentionally added a vegetarian section to the menu dishes such as macaroni cheese, baked potato and beans and margarita pizza aren't thought of as vegetarian and will feature on most menus by accident.

I will however always double check beforehand. If I struggle to find a menu on a website then it's likely that establishment will not be gaining my custom. Even prior to my no-meat days I'd always want a menu check just to make sure there was something there I'd enjoy eating. RESTAURANTS ARE YOU LISTENING? 

Formal events are the worst. I need a sealed contract guaranteeing there will be a veggie option at proms/weddings/balls/birthdays/fundraisers. As a lot of these events have a set meal it means anyone who doesn't like the chosen dish is left out, which usually includes me. It's a situation of speak up beforehand or sit it out. I wasn't veggie at school but my fifth year prom had one main dish and my six year one had a carvery which only gives meat eaters more than one option. The deal for my Graduation Ball is the main dish is Balmoral Chicken and the staff will check for dietary requirements on the night. I attended a formal event pre-veggie days in the same venue and they asked for dietary requirements as they took out the rest of the food! I imagine that they'll just quickly chuck basil leaves together in the kitchen. Or that I'd have to wait an extra half hour longer. Needless to say I haven't bought a ticket. 

Just because a place offers a veggie option doesn't mean it's veggie friendly. Was it prepared separately? Is it clearly marked as vegetarian? Is it being served on the same plate? Simply offering a veggie dish won't guarantee becoming Vegetarian Society Approved. It is normally really easy to tell if there's a veggie amongst the staff or if it was a carnivore who came up with the vegetarian section of the menu. If you want to up the veggie street cred of your restaurant get a real living vegetarian in to review it. I'm open for commission. 

Supermarket shopping is a doddle. I've been asked where I shop to find everything I need in order to sustain my lifestyle. Answer: most places. I shop between Co-op, Lild's and Tesco Metro. Co-op for my main weekly shop (ethical shopping yo!), Lidl's if I quickly need wine or fruit and veg, and Tesco's if I'm needing soya alternatives. But all in all supermarket shopping and cooking at home is not hard, at all. If you're vegan you'll need to haul your ass over to a health food store to get your cheese or chocolate fix but soya milk, soya spread and vegetables (and pasta! and fruit! and condiments!) are all at my local supermarket and not some secret veggie food haven. Just don't go in the meat isle and you'll be fine! 

People will ask why, but very few people will argue your decision. I've had to hold my ground a few times. But it's been seldom. Everyone who's asked about my decision has been curious rather than judgemental. The most annoying situation was the time I was asked if I was allergic. Which could have been true. 

And I eat bread. Because my grandmother wasn't sure once. 

Morag x

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My Giving Up Meat Story

In light of today being the first day of National Vegetarian Week I felt now might be a good chance to get some of the vegetarian type blog posts I've been mentally writing for months onto a laptop screen. I have posted about vegetarianism before with the most meaty (hah!) having been explaining why it took me twenty years to put aside the chicken. Whilst that post obviously places me as someone who grew up eating meat it doesn't exactly explain how I went veggie only why it took me so long. 

And thus now I write my story. There will be bullet points at the end if you don't quite want the ins and out or hear me bitching about my mum. I'll understand if you jump to the end.

My first serious attempt at vegetarianism happened when I was fourteen. It was to do with animal rights which has always been one of my big issues. However I didn't know any vegetarians, I was very limited in sandwich choices at school lunches and then there was my mum. Yes, my mum was a big blockage - she respects it now however it wasn't until I properly became vegetarian that she realised I was being serious and stopped her attempts to feed me dead pig.   

Then came my second and successful attempt, which started at age twenty at the beginning of 2011. Originally I was trying out the raw diet which has a few variations to it. When it came to testing out the veggie variation something felt really right. I stopped getting that annoying bloated feeling (something I had always had problems with) and my energy levels went sky high. 

But that wasn't quite it. Like anyone who's ever cut anything from their life it wasn't an overnight feat. 

Firstly I ate everything in my fridge/freezer that could still be classified as meat. That was my first test - I was still allowed to eat meat I just wasn't allowed to purchase any more. After that it was gone. However being vegetarian in the comfort of your own meat-free flat was a lot different from being vegetarian out and about in the meat-eating world. So publicly I was still a meat-eater. At the Sports Ball and Business Ball that year I didn't kick up a fuss and accepted the chicken. The only people who knew about the experimentation were my parents (my dad: respectful from the get go, my mum: as stated above was a barrier).

Crab salad wrap from just over a year ago

Though when I say "meat free" I tell a fib. Like a lot of vegetarians the very final meat to turn my back on was seafood. Seafood had been my very favourite meat in the first two decades of my life: tuna, prawns, lobster, was all there. I certainly wasn't short of Omega 3.  And with a lack of substitutes for the ocean variety of meat it wasn't as easy as replacing chicken with Quorn. 

Come almost a year ago now I returned back to my parents for the summer holidays. Being away from university and my main social group allowed me to assess what I really wanted without any outside sources.  And it was to be vegetarian. However it did mean coming home and asserting that I no longer ate meat. As part of my raw diet I had converted to soya milk and my mum happily obliged to make this part of the weekly shop (she even bought soya yoghurts!) however trying to get through to her that I wanted to completely give up meat was difficult. We had some family friends over from New Zealand and during dinner my parents were talking about travelling down under and my dad on my behalf asked what vegetarian options were like there, to which my mum piped up "..but you're not fully vegetarian" in her mother-always-knows-best voice. (Would like to point out that I do have a good relationship with my mum, this is just an example of mothers not always knowing best.) If we hadn't had guests round I would have voiced my thoughts: "Well, I would be if you'd stop fucking feeding me meat". 

However throughout the summer I began to "come out" as a vegetarian (for lack of better term). This was mainly to people who I had just met who would take it at face value and not ask too many questions. Long-standing friends and relatives were still assuming duck was an appropriate dinner choice for me. 

Roll on to September I moved back to Dundee into my own flat. Alone. Yes, this time I was living alone. All food in the kitchen was mine and I was left to experiment to my hearts content. It was a meat-free environment. But then there was still my mum. In her best interests she brought me some canned goods from home with one being tuna. This time around I firmly held my ground and stated that tuna was a dead animal and dead animals have no place in my diet and she was best to take it home. She did and this was the defining moment, I believe, when she finally realised that I was vegetarian, no ifs and not buts, meat was completely gone from my diet. She hasn't tried to serve me meat since though she still tries to cook it in my oven occasionally.

Genuine processed food choice from last September

Hurrah! I had become successfully vegetarian. Now everyone knew and most people had accepted it with very few questions. But was that it all now? With meat now gone from diet I had to work on learning some new recipes. But instead of doing so I bought processed cheese pizzas for the most part and ate plain pasta. Which was hardly the makes of a great diet now is it? Also sometime around here I began cutting out by-products of slaughter. Like Haribo.And I had cravings like no other as my body adjusted to the full switch-over.

That's why in December I made the final step into becoming a bona fide vegetarian. I bought myself a vegetarian recipe book: Vegetarian Nosh for Students which I highly recommend & have by now exhausted almost half the recipes.

So in bullet pointed form:
I tried it out in private first to see if it was for me
Phased it out meat by meat, seafood second last; Haribo last
Had cravings which lead to questions about the loneliness of my womb
Had to hold my ground against my mum
Told everyone else I could no longer go to McDonalds
Moved into my own flat by myself where the kitchen was MINE
Ate far too many cheese pizzas
Gave my mum into trouble for buying me tuna
Bought myself a good veggie cookbook and started eating food more interesting than a cheese pizza

And that there is the simplistic version. ;)

I know I have a few vegetarians within my followers - was this a similar story for you? Also I know some of you are currently working on becoming completely veggie. Does this help at all? As it is National Vegetarian Week I'll be posting some other veggie related posts this week - is there any questions some people would want covered?

Morag x

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In This Week

1. Me at work. 2. Cork stuck in the wine bottle 3. Mexican eggs for breakfast. 4. Study cookie 5. Chives growing in. 6. Started reading again 7. My TV guilty pleasure 8. Final coursework ever. 9. Eurovision costume arrived 10. Bringing my own bag to the shop 11. Blowing bubbles in the bath. 12. Found cards from my very first university talk

This week, as mentioned, was the date of my final coursework deadline ever. I'm over the high now however and it's back to other projects before I leave Dundee. I was a really over-active dorky student type who was "involved" so today saw me back in the library finishing off some "extra-curricular" projects. 

Next week however will see the biggest annual event in my life: Eurovision. I get really excited every year and this one is no different. Eurovision is almost like every interest I have combined: pop culture, really bad pop music, costumes, theatre, international relations, the European Union and if you have a Eurovision party then fancy dress and food! I can't think of anything better. My costume arrived today and I'm really chuffed with it - I'm choosing to go as Greece and I'm praying they get past the semi-final. Though I will admit I'm rooting for Denmark - I just see going as Greece as an excuse to each non-student budget friendly cheese and fresh olives. If I ever went to Greece instead of sight-seeing I would just eat! Lots. 

Other food news (there's always food in these posts!) I finally got around to planting my chives a fortnight ago and now they're growing through! When I eventually get a garden I'd love to get all green-fingered and have my own vegetables patch and greenhouse. Cheaper in the long run and also helps with waste as I'll only pick when I need to. I'd also really love some chickens. If moving back to my parents becomes a long term thing I'm going to try and convince them to grow something more exciting than parsley. I understand that chickens are out the question. 

Also the blowing bubbles in the bath thing? Baths are what help me rewind and blowing bubbles cheer me up so I decided to combine the two! Certainly a pick me up, even if it would raise looks from others.

Also tomorrow is exactly one month until I'll be setting foot on African soil. And tomorrow will mark the one month before I live out one of my life dreams: shark diving!

Hope you've all had a lovely week!

Morag x
morag | mo adore
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How I Looked: Red & Spotty

Dress: H&M
Belt H&M (as part of this dress)
Necklace: Ortak

I'm beginning to win with the DSLR camera. Need to work on my full body shots though.

This dress was purchased on Tuesday on my 'I'm-now-finished-university' spree. And made it's debut in public yesterday for work. It's not normally I'd go into work with red lips and a thought-out outfit but 1) exam stress was over and 2) I had a new dress that needed showing off. Justified reason to put aside the florescent green Dublin hoodie from 2010 that I usually chuck on.

The mood ring that I managed to get a clear close-up of is my go-to ring which is almost always on me. Rara & the pretty vacant showrooms is an independent shop in Dundee which is lovely. Dundee hasn't got the vintage charm of Edinburgh or Glasgow but if you know where to look you can find some goodies. I've always love mood rings and squealed when I seen I could get them in a variety of shapes instead of the usual plain band. 

Morag x 
morag | mo adore
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Sunshine and Liebster Award

In the past week I have received two blog awards - the Sunshine Award from Naomi and the Liebester Award from Louise. The first is about inspiring your readers and the second for blogs you love but don't have a huge following. Thank you ladies and always great to know someone loves your blog!

1. Include the Award’s logo in a post on your blog.
2. Answer 10 questions about yourself.
3. Nominate 10 other bloggers.
4. Link your nominees to the post and comment on their blogs letting them know they have been nominated.
5. Share the love and link the person who nominated you

1. Link to the person who awarded you.
2. Choose 5 blogs with under 200 followers to award.
3. Let them know!

1. My favorite color: I'm going to prissy and "female" and pick turquoise but saying blue is too mainstream.
2. My favorite animal: I absolutely adore animals. And it's really hard for me to pick a favourite. It's quicker for me to say I don't like things that have too many legs or none at all.
3. My favorite number: I've always been drawn to the number seven, though I've never been able to pin-point a reason why.
4. My favorite drink: I love the Breakie Blast that you can get from Fuel Juice Bars. But at £3 a drink I'm hardly buying them on the daily. I would say that my favourite drink that I consume with regularity would be apple juice.
5. Facebook or Twitter: I use them both differently and for different social circles so it's hard to compare but overall I'd say Twitter.
6. My passion : Healthy eating. 
7. Prefer giving or getting presents: Between the two I'd say receiving, but I still put a lot of thought into my own gifts.
8. My favourite pattern: Polka Dots. Or something fruity! 
9. My favorite day of the week: Saturday. Throughout university I counted it as my "free-day".
10. My favorite flower: I know they're a weed but daffodils bring back too many memories :)

As I received a similar award just over a month ago it's hard for me to nominate anyone that wasn't listed back then. Though I would like to put you in the direction of Hayley and Courtney who's blogs I came across just a few days back who are nice new additions to my previous list. So if you were someone I nominated for the Versatile Blogger Award assume I still love your blog and you're welcome to bask in the glory of these two awards as well.  

Happy blogging! 

Morag x

morag | mo adore
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Things I Love Thursdays: Saying Goodbye to Uni

Final university coursework - ever!

If you've been reading every blog post for the last few weeks you'll know that the end of my university life is coming to end. And now it has. Tuesday I  handed it my last piece of coursework ever. EVER. 

There isn't really a single word to describe how I felt. A mixture of emotions was probably the best way to put it. I was relieved that all that stress was over and that I had completed my final coursework which was also at the same time a coursework that was one of my worst to write about topic-wise. 

Looking back at myself four years ago I find it really difficult to recognise the girl I was back then. I came to university still a meat-eater, a natural brunette, non-sporty, shy as hell, someone who wore jeans and trainers each day and had very little to put on a CV. That's all changed and the only consistent things have been my internet obsession, my homemaker tendencies, political beliefs and growing a year older on the exact same date. And it's all been in the best most amazingly, grateful way possible. I'm comfortable in my own skin more so than I have been at any other point of my life and these four years have got me there.

I ran into an ex-flatmate from my first year halls whilst handing it in and it was a sign of what had changed. I spoke about what I wanted to do now which was a lot more certain than it had been when I met her in 2008. Also I was dressed a lot more differently. And had a completely different social circle.  

Obviously I have to decide what to do with myself now. I have until the end of this month, if I want to remain in this flat after July, to find something - but realistically that's not happening. What probably will happen is that I'll go back to my parents in Aberdeenshire in June and have a proper think about what I want and work on some extra projects. I still have a few extra-curricular projects to wrap up before I leave such as fully handing over the Cupcake & Baking Society that I founded back in October and the new website for the Dundee Mental Health Association. And my job which has opened up so many doors for me and helped me find my calling in life.   

University can be an absolute drag: essays and exams certainly suck the fun, but at the same time the past four years have been my best yet. I've done things in these four years that I never thought I would and most people never will do. How many people can say they've hitch-hiked down to Leeds in a tiger onesie for charity? I can. 

It wasn't without it pains. Though I regret nothing, and I've proven that you can go through a lot and still have faith in humanity and a smile on your face. If you read my blog at the mere beginning you would have noticed reflections on becoming completely single for the first time in two years after the break-up of all break-ups. Also there was the time I was burgled. And almost a year prior to this blog's start I had left a long-distance relationship - a relationship that became long distance because my ex-boyfriend's ex-flatmates had bullied him to the point of clinical depression, forcing him to drop out and move home. To an island. With two ferries a day. Also there was the time a friend bailed on the flat we were meant to be moving into without even telling me costing my parents money that it shouldn't have. 

But things happen for a reason. Admittedly the burglary didn't have much of a silver lining - only teaching me the hard way to shut your windows at night. I've become passionate about mental health for obvious reasons and still use the anecdote about my ex to this day. And even if I couldn't give too flips what my other ex is up to these days I can give him the thanks of increasing my social confidence whilst we were together. Even if he drove me nuts during and after the relationship. And if you cut someone from your life once, you'll have to do it twice if you don't keep it permanent the first time round. Harsh times. 

In the next few weeks some posts might pop up about 'what I wished I had known' and all that. But for now I'll say that these four years have been amazing and eye-opening . And that I wouldn't trade them for anything. 

Morag x 
morag | mo adore
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How I Looked: Drive to the Beat

Dress: Primark
Necklace: Gifted from Aunt & Uncle
Nail Polish: Model's Own

I spotted this dress in Primark a week ago and decided to purchase it on my I've-finished-university summer clothes shop for a friend's birthday that night. I was sceptical about it looking okay on me as I tend to avoid tight fitting dresses as the weight I do have always hits my middle. Though in the changing rooms I was more "where have my boobs went?!??!" despite this I loved everything else and decided to take it home and work through the boob issue with the thought that I might have to take it back. I tried on various bras that might end up invisible or look classy enough as part of the outfit.

Then I said feck it and embraced my small boobs. I have a slender frame and I'm usually really proud of it until a piece of clothing sucks my boobs in. This dress did have to use some tit-tape around the breasts and also at the start of the straps as they were inclined to fall off as I found out wondering about the flat  beforehand. Tip: don't fall asleep with tit-tap on, especially if you have long hair!

And for the lulz (and the opportunity to see shoes and jacket) here's some drunk photos:

Morag x
morag | mo adore
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In This Week

With my very last university coursework due this Tuesday, this past week has been a very academic one. So most photos show me eating food at a desk, or walking from my flat to the library or using 'stress relief' bubble bath so I am calm enough to do it all over again the next day. The Midouri was from a particularly stressful day where I just needed to unwind when I got home. Thankfully Midouri is non-hangover type alcohol. 

As always the only hobby that was still giving any attention during coursework week was cooking. This week I experimented with tofu and have to say I am just not really buying it. The dish I made contained honey so it's not exactly like it was being used for vegan purposes! The instructions meant I had to be there for ten minutes holding a book down on the Tofu covered in kitchen paper to absorb the moisture. And even then it still resembled scrambled eggs more than a chicken substitute. Have to give it to you vegans - you sure must be good in a kitchen! 

Also made myself home-made (you might have seen I accidentally said human-made on Twitter) rice pudding which was delish - and was vegan! Once you can cook a lot of veggie dishes you would surprised how many can then be converted in vegan ones. All the rice needed was soya milk instead of cow's milk, which gave it a really sweet taste! But being vegan would require a lot of cooking knowledge! I'm happy to just stick with vegetarianism. 

Also been watching loads of Vampire Diaries this week and I am now completely up-to-date with the current series - the show is full of suspense! I was introduced to the Vampire Diaries ages ago by an ex but we split on bad terms and it's only now I'm feeling okay admitting he introduced me to a good show haha! Can't wait until I work my way through all the old series now.  

Morag x

morag | mo adore
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In My Baking Cupboard: Decorating Drawer

With the all the cupcake pictures and, you know, founding my university's baking society you might guess I'm into baking. But let me tell you, it can be an expensive hobby. I have three cupboards almost completely dedicated to baking supplies: roughly split by decorating drawer, dry ingredients and my might ocassionally require it cupboard. (meaning shredded coconut, zombie cupcake making kit, fondue..). Plus I have other food cupboards that contain food that can be used for baking, like Marmite...

I have always baked for the most part of my life but when I started baking for the public I realised what was suitable for myself in my own home wasn't quite cutting it out there in the competitive world of charity bake sales. Also if one recipe went wrong I'd need to make sure there were enough ingredients in my cupboards so that I had another cake recipe to fall back on. 

And now it is stashed. 

Food colouring
If you want to make cakes with even a hint of aesthetic appeal then food colouring is essential. In my picture you can see two types of food colouring: paste and liquid. Liquid is available in the baking section of any general supermarket (even the Metro ones) but for paste you'll need to get your baking behind to a dedicated baking shop. Both types have their uses: for colouring a cake sponge alá red velvet cupcakes you'll require the liquid type but icing I prefer paste because it does little to harm the consistency of icing (which is a pain to get correct as it is!). My preferred paste is the ones with the colours marked on top - makes it easier whilst you're in a baking rush and your drawer means you view everything from a height.

Cocktail sticks
My tool of use for adding food colouring paste to icing. Just a little bit should go such a long way! And because they're disposable you can't risk using one twice and mixing colours (unless you run out!)

If, like me, your decorating skills aren't going to win you any points then a simple way to dazzle up some simple icing is to sprinkle glitter on top. Several of my cupcakes just have cream icing spread on top with a swish of glitter. Can make some simple cakes so much more eye-catching. Though be careful to actually sprinkle or you could end up with glitter clumps - I recommend using a small sieve. Also anyone want to guess what holiday was around the time I bought these glitters? 

Icing pen 
For intricate details. I only have black as its a standard colour that will go with most shades. I'd only buy more shades if it was needed - which so far it hasn't been. Most of my icing colours are bought on I-need-them basis.

Miniature rolling pin
Not the most exciting part of my decorating drawer - but a must have! If you're wanting to get into cake decorating then this is needed if you intend doing any crafts with rolling icing. 

Cake Cases
Like a lot of glitter and colours I buy the different case designs as I need them. Some can cross over into different themes (Halloween and Marmite cupcakes - both brown! Christmas and Valentine's Day - both metallic red foil!) but I can't say I have 'safe' cases that can be used for all occasions. Also the silicon ones? For practice baking - I only use the paper ones when people will be purchasing them and taking them away. Also there's the teacup and saucer cases that I've yet to use - someone give me an excuse for a tea party?

Also that Rhino? Genuinely lives on my microwave. It's from a Kinder Egg. 

Morag x 

morag | mo adore
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