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The Linkables




Quote of the week: “The best way not to be creepy online is to treat every female on the Internet like she’s your sister … unless you’re into incest, then you should just stay off the Web altogether,” From how not to creep people out on social media.

Many other travelly types think this is odd but somewhere I'd really like to visit is Portland, and Gala's trip is giving me the wanderlust.

Speaking of travel, I'm pretty terrible at packing but Rosie seems to have done an amazing job at her Paris packing.

All true travelers know this but here is how to not look a tourist on holiday. Major love for the Magaluf comment!

Paula went veggie for a week and being she's a blogger she wrote a post on it.

Flaky people make my head hurt and Alex has provided advice on how to handle flaky friends.

I'm so not a chick flick girl so loved Jayne's film choice for an alternative girls' night in.

If, unlike me, you get the whole Easter weekend off and, also unlike me, live in London then check out JJ's guide on what to do!

The Big Blog Exchange is about bloggers exchanging lives with other bloggers. And you can vote for me to be one of the selected bloggers here.


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Soap & Glory Bubble Time Gift Set



Just like every other beauty blogger and their aunt I received a lot of Soap & Glory in my Christmas stocking. The Bubble Time gift set was however a late one as my mum spotted it in the sale on her way down to Glasgow. 

This set isn't listed on the Soap & Glory website so I will assume it was discontinued after the festive period, however I chose to keep the products review together as I have pretty similar thing to say about both the Smoothie Body Milk and Rich & Foamous Body Wash. Both have the 'almonds, oats and sugar' scent that quite a few of the other products in the S&G range have. 

Which is the first thing I'll discuss! The smell! I really liked the smell when I opened the bottles and had a whiff however after using them and passing the smell onto my skin I wasn't as much of a fan. I really like the smell of rolled oat cookies (which is what it reminded me of) however I personally don't want to smell like a cookie myself. You know? I have known other beauty bloggers who have raved about the smell but I just can't. It's a great smell for food but not for me.

And now I got that general statement out the way, let's move onto the individual products.

I love a good foamy shower gel - it's pretty much a running theme in my favouriote shower gels. However my caption probably hints that I think the name Rich & Foamous is a bit far-fetched. It does foam but no more than your average shower gel, and I was pouting in my shower slightly as I thought I was going to get an out-of-control foam. 

And back to the smell (I really am an old woman tonight) with the shower gel it doesn't hover on the skin. Your shower will smell like a post-baking kitchen but the scent won't linger on the skin. I do however always feel really refreshed when I use this, and despite my annoyances with the smell it is the one I find myself reaching for most regularly. 

The Smoothie Star Body Milk is a product I had my eye on for a while as I thought the idea of a body milk sounded so luxurious, and let me tell you it was! It always comes out the bottle feeling really cold and the lotion is really smooth. It is very thin however so I still use a dedicate foot & hand cream on my feet which may mean if you have dry skin this may not work for you (my skin seems to have a lot of natural moisture). 

But the smell (I am a fuss-spot when it comes to scents!) this time does linger on the skin. Not all day but definitely for a while. So if like me you don't want to smell like a cookie then you might also want to avoid. 

Overall I did like the The Smoothie Star Body Milk and Rich & Foamous Body Wash - they made my skin soft and definitely had a refreshing feel to them. However, despite everyone else's love for the scent, it just wasn't my cup of tea. If that kind of scent sounds up your street then go-ahead - they are two really good products! For me personally I will continue to use them  for long as I have them but will not look to repurchase as I am such a little scent snob! 

And as for the clock - it's a clock, tells the time. Review over. 

Morag
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Lunch at Fratelli Starti


Fratelli Starti

Last Saturday my friend was through in Glasgow and we arranged a wee catch-up over lunch. I'm not overly familiar with the Glaswegian city centre lunch scene but my flatmate had recommended Cup, however there was a queue at the door so we headed across Fratelli Starti, an Italian looking place just diagonally across. 

When we first walked in my friend said "this looks quirky" and it certainly did have a vintage Italian look to it, with loads of well thought-out clutter decorating the sides. We were placed in the second room where there were only two other tables occupied.

I'm fairly regular at Italian restaurants so for me there wasn't anything particularly new or exciting, however the menu was rather large and there was no dilemma for me as a vegetarian (Italian restaurants rarely cause that though). My friend eats meat and she was there for ages though! Certainly a lot to choose from, even if it was a fairly typical mid-budget Italian restaurant menu. 

Something I will give this place a 5 star rating for is its customer service. The staff were professionally polite, came over at just the correct time, food was made quickly and even though the person who brought our food was different from the person who took our order, he knew which place to put it down at. As a former waitress I know how difficult it is get these little details right and keep a smiling face when on your feet so I really appreciate a restaurant who will go to this lengths. We also got complimentary olives at our table. 

Overall I'd say it was a typical Italian restaurant good for a lunch at about £7-£12 for a main course. The price I paid felt correct for the food and service I received. I wouldn't say this was a special occasion place though - can't say I'd be blown away if someone took me here for a first date. But for a good lunch catch-up with a friend I thought it was just the place!

Morag
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The Linkables




I've been ultra busy this week so haven't had as much time to gather any links. But here are a few anyway.

I mentioned in my why I am a feminist post that I had an ex who highly believed I should take his last name. This post retaliates all the common arguments as to why women should.

Whilst I am not the utmost grammar Nazi, I disagree that these 10 spelling mistakes are easy to make. To put it bluntly, unless English isn't your first language or you have a learning difficulty, you should understand there, their and they're.

I'm certainly not going to stop buying loads of make-up and clothes but I'd like to make sure I at least do it ethically so Louise's review of Love The Planet Washing Cleansing Pads made me smile!

If you didn't know Will & Grace is being aired on E4 again. I've been watching for the first time ever and I am hooked. Literally howling at so many scenes!

Finally, this is more of a marketing link but if you like fun and fiesty females then you may also lobe The Middle Finger Project.


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Arbonne Make-Up Primer



I've been aware for so long that primer should be an essential part of a make-up routine. However I have never had amazing luck with them. I really liked That Gal by Benefit but whilst it brightened my skin I don't think it made my make-up last any longer and then Benefit entered China anyway. I also tried an Avon primer and hated it (like most Avon products). I also review the MeMeMe Seventh Heaven Facebase in the summer which was alright but I stand by my word that it was probably more suited to dry skin. 

So when I was given the Arbonne make-up primer to try recently I was slightly cynical. But oh boy was I proved wrong. This added a thin matte layer to skin after application which does feel dry and reminded me slightly of the Avon primer. But after my foundation was applied on top (which right now is No7) you would have never realised there was anything between that and skin (unlike the Avon primer). The No7 beautiful Matte foundation I'm using right now doesn't have the awesomest staying power ever (especially since I tend to touch my face an lot). However this also helped my foundation not budge throughout my working day. I'd still reapply for a night out as let's be honest my make-up will still rub off a bit. But I was extremely happy with this product after trying so many duff primers. 

Completely recommended!

Morag

N.B. I was give this primer to try free of charge. It wasn't for blog purposes but because I have been approached about becoming an Independence Consultant for Arbonne and I thought it was still important to state this. My opinion is still the same. 
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Is Topshop make-up cruelty free?




When it comes to living the cruelty-free lifestyle one of the hardest parts is knowing who tests and who doesn't. Occasionally it's easy (they sell in China) but sometimes it is hard (they have a parent company) and it makes me pout.

I have for some time on my brand list kept a list of brands who I just can't work out. This list could also be called 'I believe they do but can't find the absolute proof'. And I generally just leave it at that.

However I want to throw the issue of TopShop make-up out there. The reason is because I keep seeing them reviewed on cruelty-free beauty blogs and it has began to bug me. I've never blindly taken the findings of other cruelty-free bloggers without looking into it myself - not since discovering Benefit sold in China the day after purchasing their They're Real mascara. So I don't want to take this blogger approved stance as the final word (sorry!).

*clears throat and presents findings*

The TopShop website has a ship to China option, though it is possible to work around animal-testing if it's a finished product but this is still China we're talking about. I also can't tell if make-up can be shipped to China or if it is certain products only. It has been reported that Topshop is set to open a store in Hong Kong but Hong Kong has a different political system though what their animal testing stance is remains unknown to me. However even if HK doesn't upkeep this ridiculous law is this store opening the beginning of a big Topshop expansion across China? I also can't find in the news reports if this flag-ship store will contain make-up or just clothes.

You see where I'm getting confused?

The reason I am posting this is to get a real discussion on Topshop and China on the go and finally answer this question. The presence of Topshop cosmetics on cruelty-free beauty blogs indicates that maybe I have missed something. It might be something big that I was stupid not to spot or it might be something so small only someone who has a PhD in the topic would know.

I also keep reading rave reviews and really want to know if it's safe to join the blogger hype.

Go!

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The Linkables


Next edition to my flat me thinks. Via this Etsy store. 

First off, my long-term Twitter friend Amanda has launched her own cruelty-free beauty blog called The Bunny Beautiful! Head on over y'all!

It's now habit to prepare lunch for the next day at work and I think this spinach hummus wrap will get added to the menu at some point.

I usually whip out my DLSR without a second though but if you wish to take more care then here are some tips on photographing food in public.

Lynne was recently asked to trial an app and found some great Glasgow gems in the process.

I'm yet to find the perfect colour corrector but this review of Stila's attempt has me intrigued.

Beautiful homewares alert!

You know when you hear a great song but never worked out who it was and it bugs you? I had that but then thankfully blog world came to my rescue and informed me of who wrote this beautiful music!


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Things I Love Thursday: European Living!




A sreenshot of the first slide for my mini-dissertation presentation in third year. 
Got myself an A - and enjoyed doing it *shifts eyes* 
(Obviously didn't spot my spelling mistake!)

This week the EU ban on animal testing came into force. When it was announced I wrote about my favourite points about being a cruelty-free individual. However in light of the ban coming into place I've decided to run through my other fav things about living on this continent (despite occasionally having the desire to move down under or significantly further west). 

I have a geeky interest in the EU. Okay, if I lived in Canada I might study the North American Free Trade Agreement, but I live in an EU state and being a former International Management student I have my impressive bank of knowledge ready to take on anyone who argues with me. 

I can travel to a wealth of foreign places minus a visa. I have been to most of Western Europe and my family aren't even spankingly rich. Because we don't need visas to travel in and out of most of Europe it means travelling is a hella of a lot cheaper for us Europeans than, say, New Zealanders (talk about back of beyond!).

We're freaking liberal. It's very possible that Australisia beats us to it, but let's not study that. I am very proud that we have set the world a standard on banning animal testing but I also really love how liberal we are generally. I do realise that Eastern Europe still has its conservative pockets but because of a shared government economically we have shared policies, most of which are forward-thinking.

We're slap bang in the middle of the map. Something I didn't like about growing up in Aberdeen was that it was the second most northern city of the UK. And I said earlier that I think New Zealand is the back of beyond. So yeah I have a weird thing about thinking cities that are far away from other cities are isolated, despite hundred of people. GMT+0 runs straight through Europe and helps me feel, well, not in the middle of nowhere. 

Eurovision. You know how some people plan Christmas presents in September? Well I begin planning my annual Eurovision party in February. I already know which country I want to be. ;) 

Morag x
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The Body Shop Camomile Eye Make-up Remover



I'll admit here and now that I am not a big fan of The Body Shop. There have been several of their products that I have stopped using before finishing because they really were that bad. However, unlike make-up, cruelty-free toiletries aren't the easiest to come by so when I need to replace shampoo/soap/deodorant and don't have time to research/order online I'll usually head to my nearest Body Shop.

I hadn't used make-up remover in ages but I had began using a mascara that was pretty hard to budge with just water (I'm not naming it because I picked it up thinking it was cruelty-free when it wasn't - no free advertising here!) so I needed something stronger. 


For the purpose of review - this is what I consider a blob 

Like a lot of Body Shop products I will say this was okay. I would usually need to use three blobs of the stuff to get rid of my daily make-up (maybe five if I was in my full going out face) but would still wake up with some more smudged mascara along my lash line. So would use one more blob in the morning before doing that days make-up. 

However I do have a pretty negative thing to say about this which didn't bother me much but might bother you! It says soothing camomile however I found this could make the skin around my eyes feel stingy. I don't have particularly sensitive skin so this means two things 1) the stingyness went away quickly and didn't leave any redness/puffiness but it also means 2) if it managed to make my skin sting a small bit than that really is quite worrying. If you do have sensitive skin than I would advice you to stray well clear. 

My overall opinions is...meh! I like it enough that I will continue to endure a bit of a prickly feeling on my skin  and finish the bottle I have however after finishing it I plan to hunt out another cruelty-free make-up remover that doesn't sting at all and properly removes my make-up. But I wouldn't recommend it for anyone with sensitive skin. At all. 

Morag

N.B. The Body Shop is cruelty-free but is owned by L'Oreal, who are not.
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Why I am a feminist: a memoir!




In light of yesterday being International Women's Day I've decided to break away from fashion, beauty and my normal ramblings to bring forward one of my political view points: feminism. I don't tend to talk about my political leanings on my blog (okay, so I'm blatantly into animal rights) but if you follow me on Twitter you'll be more than aware that I am feminist. 

Woo! yay! Feminism! Didn't that die out a while ago? Don't women get equal pay? Yawwwwnnnnn...

Today I am going to share with you a few experiences I've had that let me to believe that genders are not equal and become the feminist I am today. Go get a cuppa - it's a long one. 

I had a stay at home dad and a working mother
Judging by some of the reactions I've received I might as well have said my parents raped me in a broom cupboard and let the family dog shit on me. Even recently it was 'questioned' why my mum has a bigger car than my dad! Have we really not moved on enough as a society that a wife can't have a bigger car than her husband? Or god forbid a man can't raise a child? Or a daughter doesn't need to go alone to an after-school dance class because 'only mums are allowed'?

I don't want children
Again the reactions. From people who 'know better'. Those who have kids and just cannot understand that it is not for everyone. All women want children? I don't. I don't even like children to the point where I feel uncomfortable around them. Yes, I am a 'baby hater'. Let a women decide for herself what to do with her own womb, and guys, stop telling me about how well you treat your niece to get in my knickers - not all women like/want them. 

One of my exes insisted I use his surname and the Mrs title (if we were to marry)
Did you choke on your coffee at that one? I really hope you did, though it's still quite common for the expectation that a woman will take her man's name, so maybe you didn't. If you want to take your husband's name you can though I'm not sure why anyone would want a name that implies they belong to someone else. But if a women wants to keep her name then it should be end of story. It's her name! I was told I needed to take his name and would need to drop the 'Ms' prefix I began using long before meeting him if we were to marry. But apparently if I received a Doctorate it would solve the problem as I was allowed to be a Dr. (I really do wish I was making this up)

I know what it is like to have a guy be possessive and act like they own you
And this guy didn't even date me. This was a guy who developed unrequited crush on me and decided that meant that no other man should be let near me ever. Que starting rumours we're together, giving evil eyes to every guy I have actually dated, going in huff when a guy at a bar successfully wins my attention and standing next to me in photos, leaning his head into me then cropping it to use as his profile picture. Imagining how possessive this guy could get if someone did agree to be his girlfriend? 

Jealous boyfriends are rampant (also known as emotional abuse)
I know girls who aren't allowed out in short skirts. I know girls who don't accept friend's requests from males their boyfriend isn't familiar with. I have known someone who had a male colleague drop her off down the road so her husband wouldn't think they were having an affair. Does your batshitcrazy partner do this to you? You can call it jealousy all you want but anything that makes you feel you have to alter your behaviour to please a man is emotional abuse. And you deserve better. This goes for guys too - if you're girlfriend/boyfriend does any of the above GET OUT!

Apparently men who have no style can insist women should
I couldn't give two shits if someone is well-groomed or scruffy. But apparently a lot of scruffy men think all women should be well groomed. I'm thinking of some men I know as I write this. 

Crossing the road to avoid wolf-whistling 
Wolf-whistling is one thing, but when I alter my path to try and avoid it then that's another thing. Why should I feel the need to cross a street when I see some drunk males because I know what is about to fucking happen? I shouldn't, that's what. But I do, because it makes me feel safer. Reality of the UK in 2013.  

I'm a slut
Whilst I am not going to divulge how many notches there are on my bedpost I will say that I have been single since late 2010 and that is quite some time to go without any f******. Who a man or woman choose to share their genitalia with is no one else's business but their own and their shouldn't be any stud or slut double standard. And the best part? I've been told several time I "don't look like a slut".

My favourite club in Dundee is my favourite because I feel safe in it
Okay so it also plays obscure guitar based music and has cheap entry. But unlike Liquid, Fat Sams, Dundee Union or Underground I've never had a creepy encounter with a guy. I've had encounters with guys but if it's a no they understand and they grasp that offering to buy me a drink works better than groping me. If you want a grope free night out (and £4 entry!) then head to Kage! 

Morag
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The Linkables



The newest edition to my fancy dress bucket list (which does really exist)

Today is International Women's Day and Sara has a great memoir of why it is still essential! As a side note I am planning to write my own reflection tomorrow on life events that have led me to become a feminist.

To-make: homemade cleaning recipes.

Lou took up running at the weekend - welcome to the club!

I link A Beautiful Mess all the time and I'm adding their cucumber margarita recipe to the bunch!

Sometimes we really need to say sorry to our bodies.

I have spoken about how I regret finishing my degree but I certainly don't think business degrees are a waste of time. It just wasn't right for me.

If you love strawberry patterned things Jess has the round-up for you!

I love Leanne's story on living with an underbite. I hope your operation goes well!

I am terrible at deciding which beauty products to take on a trip but Victoria has given me some inspiration.

Hopefully Vicki's pizza dough recipe will be 'the one' for me.

Hope you have a lovely weekend!

Morag
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Lush Big Solid Conditioner


I mentioned some time ago that I was experimenting with solid shampoos and conditioners so that if I ever found myself jaunting off to Africa again I would be prepared with a non-leaking shampoo for my rucksack that was still good for my hair. 

I picked up the Lush Big Solid Shampoo when I was in Lush spending my birthday voucher. I was drawn to this one because of the name (my biggest hair gripe is that it is flat) and because it smelt of coconut. The only other solid conditioner I've experimented with has been the Jungle conditioner, so my opinion is more comparison of the two. 

I did however much prefer the Big conditioner. Something I found weird about the Jungle conditioner was that it wouldn't cream up in my hands and was almost like a very thin vial of liquid. Big did however froth up like your regular non-solid conditioner. Okay it was a bit thinner but it still just felt a lot more like conditioner than I had expected. 

As for the effects on my hair I was also impressed. My hair was left soft and lively. Not saying this was the best post-shower hair I've ever had but it was certainly impressive compared to my previous experience of solid conditioners. 

The only negative thing I had to say was how quickly disappeared. I was foolish and didn't keep it in a tin or Tupperware box so my experience of it disintegrating with two weeks might not be true for the smarter amongst us. But the Jungle conditioner did do me about a month and it was kept loosely in a shower as well as carted about Scotland with me as I made my big move. 

Overall, this isn't going to become my everyday go-to conditioner however when it comes to finding the perfect travel conditioner this may well be it as I was impressed enough with it not to have tried any more since. Now I just have hunt out a good solid shampoo in time for my next exotic adventure. 

Morag
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The Linkables



Truthfully, I regularly feel like this about my Things I Love Thursdays series: honesty and openess in an online world

I can't say I'm a whiskey girl and honey is a non-vegan good I've successfully given up but whiskey lemonade with honey sounds like the perfect summer drink. 

Danielle's memo on what home is, is absolutely lovely. 

If you have a friend expecting here is some good Mother's Day gifts for mums-to-be

Charlie agrees with me that MeMeMe Facebase is a very underrated primer

NOM NOM NOM! Five layered cookie cakes

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