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The Linkables




Apparently Eastenders will be getting a hipster make-over.

Important: how to have swag.

Do you have an oppositional conversation style?


I've always been annoyed at Blogger's lack of SEO features, but here's a handy guide to getting the most out of them.

I'm a fan of saying something interesting or say nothing at all (holla introverts of the world) but alas small talk is something I've been actively working on the past few months.

Why patriachary fears the scissors: for women, short hair is a political statement is one of the most interesting and witty feminist pieces I've read so far, and I agree with every word (even though my hair is fast approaching my waist). 

Heat mapping the human body during certain emotions.

Website URL ending in .scot could be available this year.

I've been spending a lot of time researching - and getting annoyed by - the planned centralisation of the Police Scotland this week, and this Scotsman article describes how I've felt about Aberdeen for quite some time: Aberdeen treated as 'forgotton city' by government

There's Facebook pages going about for both the Save Aberdeen Service Centre, and Save Aberdeen Police Control Room. Someone I've known since the age of two (!!!) is set to loose their job if the latter goes ahead, hence why I am being a bit ancy about it.

School uniform does not improve results. I attended a non-uniformed high school which introduced a dress code a year after I left but has held the same place in the league tables ever since.

If you're an iPhone owner (and are always clicking that Instagram button) then this e-course on iPhone photography might well be for you. 

Dundee dwellers: help restore the Howff  (that's the overgrown graveyard in the city centre)

I may not be an 'international playgirl' but I am still someone who's moved about a bit and Gala's post resonated with me.

I'm still slightly pissed they killed off Hayley in Corrie but let's remember the character's importance in social history.
"Hayley Cropper’s death has shown that Corrie can help us understand moral problems far better than any politician"

Morag x




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The Linkables


I have no idea if this is scientifically accurate but lolz anyway.

New Edinburgh foodie blog on the go: The fizz and pheasant

Surely you've heard of UKIPweather

A pet LinkedIn hate of mine is when people who barely know you send the generic invitation:
Let's Stamp Out the Generic LinkedIn Invitation. No lie, I'll probably accept anyway because it's a networking site to meet other professionals, but it would make me view the person in a better light/remind me who they are.

An undercover shopper reports on the beauty brands easily available in Shanghai and it breaks my heart to know Bourjois were selling in China under the radar.

For anyone working in PR or thinking of entering it here are some essential skills.

For anyone wishing to work in design here is an explanation on what all those job titles mean

We've probably all heard of the TV show Benefits Street, and how much it helps the government's plan to cut the safety net for people who need it. Who Benefits is a site that showcases the vast variety of people who have required benefits (myself included).

American bloggers: you have the same first amendment protection as journalists.

I wasn't a fan of a Body Shop shampoo I tried but Hayley's review on the hair butter is making me think I shouldn't discount the range.

5 ways to be a better listener

Snopp Dogg is really getting into this nail art trend

Here is a really in-depth tutorial on lighting in photographs. 

A friend of a friend (and someone who also frequents my choice of venue in Dundee) has started a YouTube channel on losing weight - the healthy way. Heather of The Walking Fed already has two videos and a Facebook page already full of realistic and sensible tips.

Speaking of Dundee, I'm visiting next Friday for the first time since September (?!?!?) and it'll be for an event dedicated to my favourite genre of music!

Cute photographs alert.

An IRL friend has taken up blogging again after almost a year away.

Tesco has produced a recipe section for vegans.

The BBC was another mainstream name that gave veganism some attention this week, but they made it sounds like a hipsterish trend.

Marketers/anyone who runs a Facebook page: they've changed the algorithm (and it's not good).

But speaking of Facebook marketing: for the love of pete use a page and not a profile

Morag x
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My first few purchases from Pixi Beauty




I had been meaning to try Pixi Beauty for a while. I had read good things about their products, never had any reason to doubt their cruelty-free status and knew their packaging would look great in my make-up bag. But it took me until two months ago to make the jump, and that jump was only encouraged by most of my make-up running out. And because it was running low I stuck my purchase to 'essentials' (mascara is an essential Iwillhaveyouknow).

Pixi Lash Line Ink
This was my original motivation for making a Pixi purchase, after hearing Lily Melrose singing praises about it It is incredibly easy to apply with a thin nub making it really difficult to apply too much and really easy to 'draw' the shape you want on your lash line. It's really good for people like me who suit only a thin line of winged eyeliner  (I love the thick heavy winged eyeliner on other people, but it looks ridic on my small eyes). However the staying power was less than I was expecting which caused a lot of pouting as I had really loved this product up until then! I'll probably finish this product but not re-purchase when it runs out.

Pixi Big Lash Mascara
I'll admit straight up that I didn't like this at all. Aside from colouring my eyelashes back it did very little else. In fact, I might have well as not been wearing mascara.

Pixi Waterproof Eyemaker Remover
Whilst this was bought on a bit of an ahh-and mhhmm whim it has ended up on my highly recommended list. I don't wear a heavy amount of make-up day-to-day (primer, foundation concealer, mascara and eyebrows) but this has become the pefect way to sweep it off my face. It's water based and didn't sting my eyes in the slightest. It's not the best for heavy make-up though, meaning I had to use a lot of if for my night time face (lipstick, contouring, eyeliner, eyeshadow etc).

Have you tried anything from the Pixi line? What did you think?



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The Linkables




Generation Z are well into their teens now and us marketers need to educating ourselves on them!

If you reckon you over use certain words then run your blog post through Wordchecker to double check.

If any of my american readers are in Minniosta are love accesoories how this accessorization workshop?

And any American readers in California (and there are a few of you1) who are looking a PR internship could consider this one in Oakland. I'll just sit and gawk at their beuatiful site from my UK chair.

If you're looking for some new veggie cookbooks (like I almost always are) then here's some more to check out.

Explaining rape culture to a man.

This week I became aware of a website that concentrated on soya allergies.

I love toast and Sans Fransisco is one of my favorite places on earth but I still think this is weird.

Someone buy me one of these pillows.

I love me a good cocktail but some places really do the same thing all the time with their menu's.

Kasabian tackle horsemeat scandal in their next album. Or they mention it, whatever.

Reckon you're good enough for the fifth seas of the Great British Bake Off?

Morag x
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Who owns who in the beauty industry?




This past weekend I made a decision regarding my cruelty-free brand list and some parent companies. Whilst I refrained from accusing certain brands based on their parent company's dodgy ethics I decided the time had come to accept something that was looking more and more true.

I decided to expand my definitely tests list to include brands that are owned by Uniliver, Procter & Gamble and Coty, because I've never found any information to the contrary that they allow their brands independence over their own testing methods.

I do still buy from cruelty-free brands (such as Body Shop and Nars) which are owned by naughty companies as it still sends a message and I'm sensitive to the financial or operational reasons behind company takeovers. I do however think it's important for cruelty-free beauty users or anyone planning to become one to know their parent companies (one concern I do have about these brands is how long they might remain cruelty-free for - will they eventually enter the Chinese market?).

Whilst researching this guide I discovered I had a few of my brands under the wrong company on my list and I apologise for that. I also discovered several new brands I was not yet aware of which will give me some fun weekend research to do (banging Saturday night I'm planning).

Also: list true of time of posting. And all parent companies listed here have had dodgy information surround them but it is only the three I mentioned earlier that I completely write off the brands owned by them.

Avon
Liz Earl, mark.

Boots
Botanics, Natural Collection, No 7, Seventeen and Soltan.

Clorox
Burt's Bees and a whole range of American cleaning products I've never heard of.

Coty
Adidias, Calvin Klein, Chloe, Davidoff, Guess, Joop!, Mark Jacobs, Miss Sporty, N.Y.C, O.P.I, Philosophy, Playboy, Rimmel, Sally Hensen and many a celebrity perfumes.

Estee Lauder
American Beauty, Aramis, Aveda, Bobbi Brown, Bumble & Bumble, Clinique, Darphin, Donna Karan, Flirt!, Goodskin Labs, Grassroots Research Labs, Kiton, Jo Malone, Lab Series Skincare for Men, MAC, Origins, Tommy Hilfiger, La Mer, Michael Kors, Ojon, Smashbox and Tom Ford.

L Brands
Bath & Body Works, Henri Bendel, La Senza, PINK, and Victoria's Secret. 

L'Oreal
Biotherm, The Body Shop, Cacheral, Clarisonic, Diesel, Essie, Garnier, Giorgio Armani, Kiehls, Lancome, Matrix, Maybelline, Mizani, Pureology, Redken, Shu umera, Urban Decay, Viktor Rolf and YSL.

Procter & Gamble
Aussie, Boss, Christina Aguilera perfumes, Dolce & Gabana, Gilette, Head & Shoulders, Lacoste Fragrance, MaxFactor, Nice 'n' Easy, Olay, Oral-B, Pantene, Shockwaves, Stella MacArtney perfumes, Wash & Go and Wella.

Shiseido
Ag +, Anessa, Aqua Label, Auprese, Auslese, bareMinerals, Beauté Prestige International, clé de peau BEAUTÉ, d’icila, ettusais, The Ginza, Haku, Integrate, Ipsa, Ma Cherie, Nars, Pure & Mild, Qiora, Sea Breeze, Senka, Serge Lutens, Super Mild, Tsubaki, Uno and Za.

Unilever
Dove, Impulse, Lynx, Radox, Simple, St Ives, Sure, Timotei, Tresemme, Vaseline and V05.

Morag x


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The Linkables


You see how ridiculous this is? Can we please stop doing it to women. please and thank you. 


101 resolutions you can actually keep.

If one of your resolutions was to make more ethical fashion choices, this might be of interest.

Seven cool things Dundee gave the world.

YES! Seven reasons you should stop bitching about people on benefits

Perfect: 555 words on hate-blogging and bullying

As someone who has moved around a lot I can relate to Rosie's post on the difficulties of long-distance friendships.

My new favourite cruelty-free YouTuber: ilymorgannn

I know men in suits are supposed to be hot but I've always thought it's only hot if done properly so here is a guide with 57 points on buying/wearing a suit (or three, because is the suit you'd wear to a job interview the same style you'd wear to a wedding? ithinknot).

If you're this dad then you are cool.

And I'll leave you with some marketing advice I have always held highly: be yourself, because we hire people we like.


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Cup Cafe Aberdeen: 50+ tea flavours & Wonderland themed bathrooms



If you know me well then you'll realise from the title that this little tea room in Aberdeen is completely up my street. I can't say I'm particularly knowledgeable on the tea rooms (or anywhere) in Aberdeen these days but I had spotted this place reviewed on Christy's blog and just knew I had to go during my trip to Aberdeen during my Christmas break.

In my office (and even in parts of my family) I'm regarded as a 'tea and coffee hater' - which is not true. I'm just really stuck up about these things. For me my tea needs to be fancy and herbal and my coffee needs to be a latte with a shot of something (usually coconut). So when I laid my eyes on the 50+ options of tea my heart beat a little bit more. I ordered the coconut mango colado because coconut is one of my favourite things ever, though some other caught my eye such as the white ginger pear. 

As you can see the tea came in a super-cute set-up with a small tea pot and large cup (on a square saucer) placed on a oval wooden tray. I really love little efforts like this and the cafe was still priced in the purse-friendly region, given how much these little pieces must added to their costs. The iced tea I seen other drinking was also presented beautifully with a teapot on top of a glass filled with ice. 
 
The menu was quite big for a cafe with sandwiches and baked delights but I was super cold from the Aberdonian rain so went for their soup of the day which I believe was a tomato, coconut and chilli affair.  

I didn't manage to get many pictures of the place since it was really busy that day but trust me the place was a mix of Cath Kidson, Paperchase and a rustic vintage shop. I did however take some photos in their bathrooms where people couldn't scratch their heads at what I was doing. The bathrooms were Alice in Wonderland themed (encase you were wondering why I was taking photos of the b0gs). Just look! 




Personally I reckon the bathroom is reason enough too pay it a visit. But even if you don't like Alice & Co there's still the tea, lovely decor, soup, baked stuff and a big sandwhich menu (plenty veggie options). It also describes itself as a 'tea salon' which is cute as hell. 


Morag x

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Lush Veganse: Good everyday conditoner for normal hair




Another day another Lush product. And another hair care review. I've mentioned before that I am not a huge conditioner person as my hair a lot of the time doesn't really need it but as winter came in this year my hair ended up frazzled with the cold and the Lush Squeaky Green solid shampoo ended drying out my hair. So it was time to get my dry ends sorted, pronto and I decided on the Lush Veganese.

I'll give my straight up opinion now. This is a thin conditioner and due to its consistency it wasn't the saviour I needed to reverse the damage done to my hair. I ended up leaving it aside in order to try some products that were more intensive in order to get my hair back to health and returned to it later on once my hair was back in check.

I do like this as an every day conditioner for my oily roots/normal-dry ends but it didn't help me whilst my hair required treatment. If you're looking for an everyday cruelty-free (and vegan) conditioner and you have normal hair then this is a good product. However if your hair is really dry or damaged from recent bleaching or bad weather I'd recommend something stronger.

Have you tried the Lush Veganese conditioner?

Morag x
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Cup Cafe Aberdeen: 30+ teas and Wonderland themed bathrooms



If you know me well then you'll realise from the title that this little tea room in Aberdeen is completely up my street. I can't say I'm particularly knowledgeable on the tea rooms (or anywhere) in Aberdeen these days but I had spotted this place reviewed on Christy's blog and just knew I had to go during my trip to Aberdeen during my Christmas break.

In my office (and even in parts of my family) I'm regarded as a 'tea and coffee hater' - which is not true. I'm just really stuck up about these things. For me my tea needs to be fancy and herbal and my coffee needs to be a latte with a shot of something (usually coconut). So when I laid my eyes on the 50+ options of tea my heart beat a little bit more. I ordered the coconut mango colado because coconut is one of my favourite things ever, though some other caught my eye such as the white ginger pear. 

As you can see the tea came in a super-cute set-up with a small tea pot and large cup (on a square saucer) placed on a oval wooden tray. I really love little efforts like this and the cafe was still priced in the purse-friendly region, given how much these little pieces must added to their costs. The iced tea I seen other drinking was also presented beautifully with a teapot on top of a glass filled with ice. 
 
The menu was quite big for a cafe with sandwiches and baked delights but I was super cold from the Aberdonian rain so went for their soup of the day which I believe was a tomato, coconut and chilli affair.  

I didn't manage to get many pictures of the place since it was really busy that day but trust me the place was a mix of Cath Kidson, Paperchase and a rustic vintage shop. I did however take some photos in their bathrooms where people couldn't scratch their heads at what I was doing. The bathrooms were Alice in Wonderland themed (encase you were wondering why I was taking photos of the b0gs). Just look! 



Personally I reckon the bathroom is reason enough too pay it a visit. But even if you don't like Alice & Co there's still the tea, lovely decor, soup, baked stuff and a big sandwhich menu (plenty veggie options). It also describes itself as a 'tea salon' which is cute as hell. 


Morag x

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The Linkables




Is 2014 the year that vegan goes mainstream?

Morbid, but kind of lovely - considered turning yourself into a tree after your death? 

Apparently there's a glow in the dark sidewalk in Cambridge.

Street harassment turned into art.

If I ever make my way back to Florida I'll be heading to the mermaid theatre.

If you like a bit of art therapy, then maybe artastherapy might be of interest?

American Horror Story tarot cards

I don't even think this would be remotely debatable: Mark Hoppus would be a much cooler dad than Pete Wentz.

Disney Bound is one hell of a tumblr blog.

So, a guy on Reddit with two penises did an Ask Me Anything.



Morag
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Tips for going cruelty-free in 2014




Yesterday I posted my blog on my own goals for this year. But I've been aware from the blogosphere/Twitter that quite a few people are considering going cruelty-free this year, which you'll guess I reckon is fantastic news! When people discover I am a 'cruelty-free' beauty user I'm usually met with a 'that's awesome/good for you' along with a 'I would love to but it sounds like a challenge'.

Well, it is a challenge. But it isn't hard as you might imagine. It's not an overnight process and it took me close to a year before I felt as though I had really 'achieved' it. But for anyone else thinking of going bunny friendly this year here are some pieces of advice.

Do your own research/don't blindly take recommendations
There is a lot of information out there on which brands test and which don't. The only way to put your mind at rest is to do your own research. As much as I like to tout myself as an expert I would always encourage everyone to compile their own 'safe' company list as even I might have it wrong. There are very few cruelty-free beauty blogs who have a safe list I completely agree with, as my own research uncovered a different angle.

Make up your own mind
How do you feel about parent companies? What about companies who almost entered China but backed out? How strict do you wish your safe list to be? Will you only buy from Leaping Bunny approved companies? What do you do when you're gifted a tested product at Christmas? Do you need it in writing, or are you happy to take a disclaimer off a website? Many people in the cruelty-free community differ in their approach but what is important is you drawing your own line and sticking by it.

Finish what you have
You could do a blog sale but many people will just finish what they have and never re-purchase. I refrain from blog sales because I feel as though I'm promoting a testing company by allowing someone else their product (this is the same for Christmas presents).

Select a testing company you don't really buy from to start the boycott
The easiest way to start a full on boycott across the cosmetics industry is to take it company at a time. And if you want an easy start, start with a company you don't really buy from anyway and vow to never purchase something from their range in the future. From there you can build up and find it in you to boycott a long term favourite.

Another way to do this is to go by product type i.e. start with lip products and vow to never buy a tested lipstick from that day onwards but still allow yourself leeway on other types of beauty products until you feel ready to tackle something else.

Take a cruelty-free company you love and purchase all the stuff
If you discover one of you favourite companies is cruelty-free then let yourself have a splurge and fully indulge in their range. This is the exact reason I own far too many Lush products because they were this company for me. After you discover more about who tests and who doesn't you can start to experiment more.

Emerge yourself in cruelty-free blogs
I left this until last to go beside my point about not blindly taking other bloggers recommendations, but moving into the community can help with finding smaller cruelty-free brands, providing a starting point for independent research, and finding someone to hold you accountable.

Going cruelty-free is rewarding for animals everywhere but is also amazing for your conscience. You may feel as though you're discovering beauty products for the first time again as you might need to replace a long term product and take a chance on what works. But it's one of the best decision I have ever made and I wish lots of luck to everyone filtering their make-up collection this year.

And this year, I've challenged myself to cleaning up my household products. Not the most riveting thing to me blogging about but I might let you know how I get on.

Morag
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