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Vegan Food Diary #1

When I tell people I'm vegan one of the most common responses is "What do you actually eat?" (just behind "What exactly is a vegan again?"). The question can come from vegetarians wanting to make the switch to the politely curious and then there's arseholes who say it whilst screwing up their face.

I already Instagram far too many of my meals (I'm one of those foodies...) but to go along with all that snapping I've decided to start a 'vegan food diary' series. I'm not entirely sure how I'm going to go about this, but I'm thinking I'm going to pick random weeks and write up an honest list of what I ate on the internet to show to people who ask the aforementioned question.

So below is actually what I ate last week starting Monday through to late last night. Please note that I got paid on the Friday so the first five days are my 'making use of what I have food I have' and aren't all that riveting then on the weekend you see it peak with a meal out and some sushi. For future diaries I'll try and mix it up with different financial situations and do ones when I'm at my parents' house in Aberdeenshire (this week contains a weekend in Dundee). I also do most of my eating during the day and when I cook after work most of it becomes the next day's lunch, with a small portion of it being eaten than night (so I've not mentioned what my dinner is on the weekdays).

Anyway, this is (hopefully) everything I ate from Monday 22nd of September until Sunday 28th of September 2014.


Beans and toast with olive spread. A bowl of porridge made with almond milk. Glass of water.

(Repeated every day this week, and I'm not repeating it all the way down the post)

Bagel I baked at the weekend. A wrap with spinach, tomatoes, cucumber, spring onions and Nando's medium hot sauce. Bulgar wheat salad (bulgar wheat, spinach, tomatoes, cucumber, spring onions). Fanta Fruit Twist. Packet of crisps.


Mushroom and rosemary risotto. Packet of crisps. Bottle of Oasis. BLT wrap using spinach and fake bacon. Packed of crisps.


Sweet and Sour with chickpeas as the 'substitute' plus rice. Same wrap as Tuesday but without the 'B'. Prawn cocktail crisps and a bottle of Oasis Summer Fruits.


Gnocchi with green beans, almonds, garlic, mushroom, sliced onions and cashews with sugar and white wine as the marinade.


Mango stir-fty (wheat noodles, spring onions, garlic, peppers and mango) with a peanut sauce (coconut milk, peanut butter and tomato puree) along with some crisps and a bottle of (you guessed it) Oasis.

Was through in Dundee so grabbed an Indian vegetarian selection from the city centre Tesco Metro outside the bus station and scoffed it down at my friend's house. Also grabbed a bottle of wine and cider (cider was definitely veggie and I never ended up drinking it, I had to take a guess on the wine).

Drank Morgans and Coke when out that night,


Toast. (I was hungover and we were going out for lunch soon, I would never recommend only eating toast for breakfast)

Me and my friend stopped by Pheonix in Dundee where I had a veggie burger (naturally, I'll be dedicating a blog post to this). Also a glass of orange juice.

This stir-fry which I Instragrammed made by my friend who has said he'll send me the sauces he used. It was lovely :)

Drank Morgans and coke and a few bottles of Blue VS at a gig and our brief trip to a nightclub.


Left overs from the Indian selection bought on Friday night. Also toast.

Grabbed a falafel and houmous wrap from Tesco on my way to Dundee bus station. And grabbed a pot of tomato and basil soup from the Sainsbury's outside Buchanan Bus Station to eat when I go into my flat.

Home made sushi (hummus, tomato, spring onion and cucumber). Some of this will be my lunch today along with a small stir-fry I made last night.

And that's what I ate last week, sans the odd snack.

Morag x

P.s. when I say 'crisps' I probably mean either Haggis & Black Pepper by Mackie's (marked out as vegan) or Prawn Cocktail.

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The Linkables

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Pacifica Solar Mineral Palette

Pacifica Solar Mineral Palette Pacifica solar palette colours Pacifica solar palette

Two weeks ago I was raving about the Pacifica perfumes which I absolutely love (even more that I now know I can sniff them down at Wholefoods rather than rely on website descriptions). Whilst on my Wholefoods shopping trip (watch my haul video here) I picked up some other bits and bobs from their range and today I'm going to review the Solar Mineral Palette (the rest will be done in one post but as this is a palette I felt it needed a more in depth review).

As you can see from the pictures it is a natural and muted palette (though all shades have a gentle shimmer) - the only exception being the Mermaid Aqua eye-shadow which is the middle colour in the bottom row. I mentioned in my perfume review that Pacifica is quite a 'summery' brand and the make-up I've been trying definitely has me thinking this is consistent across the brand.

All the other eyeshadows can be used together to create a natural looking smokey eye. For me personally I have been using Glow over my whole eyelid and Treasure within the crease for my day/work look. However I switch up Glow for either Neptune or Coral on a night out. I've said before that I don't think I suit a dark eye so I haven't been getting too much use out of Sandalwood and will be reserving it for any fancy dress occasions along with Mermaid Aqua.

Another shade I have been using a lot is the Gold Dust highlighter which is at the top left of the palette. This shade is perfect for my skin tone and I've been using it on my brow bone regardless of whether or not its day or night or whatever else is going on with my make-up. The other two pink highlighters I do occasionally use on my cheek bones for some extra shimmer depending on my mood.

As for the two blush/bronzers I don't reach for them too often as they are a bit too dark for my pale skin. On the packaging Flushed looks pink but it's very much a mauve pink/brown shade in real life and doesn't suit me. Bronzed is a typical bronzer shade and is the only matte colour in the palette but isn't up my street. I have used them and they give me quite a 'tawny' look which really isn't my look but it might be yours! If you are pale like me then The Body Shop does a very good bronzer aimed at pale skinned beauts.

On the whole I found the colours to be quite pigmented and I act with caution when applying the eyeshadow and only add a little bit to my brush at any one time and slowly build it up. I don't however find the staying power to be particularly amazing and would very much recommend using an eyelid primer (Too Faced is my favourite) and some kind of setting product (I recommend Urban Decay).

I do like this palette but I wouldn't sing praises about it. For me Urban Decay still do some of the best palettes around so unless you're a really big palette fanatic I might advice you to act on the cautious side.

Have you tried any of the Pacifica make-up? 

Morag x
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Best Arbonne Products

Favourite Arbonne products

As some of you may know I used to be Arbonne Consultant, which I'm not anymore but I still use some of their products on a regular basis. They are a Leaping Bunny company and certified by the Vegan Society (the American one anyway) however they are also an expensive brand but whilst I was a consultant I got a whopping 35% discount so I managed to make my way quite far through the range (I don't buy much from them now as without the discount they very fall into the 'treating myself' category).

Even though I stopped being a consultant there are a few products that I still love and would seriously consider re-purchasing. I'm no longer a consultant so can now give my un-bias opinion (which will include another post in the future of products I just can't recommend - there are a few!).

Make-up Primer
I've said it before but this is the best primer I've ever tried. Not much you can really say about a primer but it the one I'd recommend over any other one I've tried.

It's a Long Story Mascara
Arbonne already had two mascaras before this one but they weren't all that. It's a Long Story is one of my favourite mascara out there but there are similar quality ones for slightly cheaper.

SeaSource Detoxifying Rescue Wash
I feel so clean after using this. Squeaky clean. I have not much else to say on the matter.

Perfecting Foundation in Fair
This is of a usual standard for foundations in this price range but this shade is the best match I've ever had for my skintone.

Awaken Bath and Shower Gel
I have a range of shower gels that I like to mix up for different moods. This is the one I use when I haven't had as much snoozy time as I would have liked as it perks me up a wee bitty.

Unwind Bath Salts
The Unwind range is the opposite to the Awaken range mentioned above, and when I use these bath salts I find I go into a complete slumber afterwards. They also smell absolutely gorgeous!

RE9 eye cream
This is from the very popular anti-ageing RE9 collection - shockingly enough I don't use anti-ageing products (I did use the whole range for a bit but it made my already oily skin feel greasy!). But I still use the eye cream day and night and see a genuine brightness in my eye area compared to when I don't use it.

Pure Vibrance Hair Revitalizing Masque
Finding a vegan hair masque isn't the easiest thing in the world. But this one does a stellar job of softening my hair and also smells gorgeous!

Essentials Omega 3 Plus
So....not a make-up product. Whilst these are too expensive (even when I had the discount) for me to buy for everyday use I still felt loads better whilst using them. I'm only a supporter of using supplements if you really can't seem to get that particular nutrient naturally and Omega 3 is one I've always struggled with (even before my veggie days before anyone tells me to go eat some fish!).

Have you ever tried any of these products? Or do you have any other favourites from the Arbonne range?

Morag x
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The Linkables

Wow! Archbishop of Centerbury admits doubts about existence of God.

Dundee's Ickle Film Festival started yesterday.

30 photos of untouched butts to remind you of what they look like. (NSFW, clearly)

25 famous women on not having children.

For intersectionality geeks: the intersection between Native Americans and veganism

And in the natural and mineral dog shampoo market we have Scruffy Chops.

Kids being visibly unimpressed by Obama.

Animals who are voting yes in the Scottish Referendum.

I link something from Everyday Feminism every week and I've read plenty of great stuff since my last non-IndyRef Linkables but is too much to list so just go subscribe to the site anyway.

Here's an ethical shopping list from my new favourite blog, Kerry's Nerdy Habitat.

Remember that adoption is best for animals.

Cats with cabbage leaves on their heads.

Amanda Palmer responds to the Daily Mail (not in anyway shape or form safe for work)

Christy has created her map of things to do in Aberdeen.

See me Scotland has created a mental health playlist on Spotify.

Flower of Scotland in British Sign Language.

10 ways to turn your apartment into a cozy fall cabin.

Check out Modern Blitz Girl for some feminist and funky jewellery. She also runs an awesome blog.

Another awesome blog I've found: The Laughing Medusa (tagline 'adventures for urban pixies' - I'll read that)

It's currently Scottish Jewellery Week.

Some ethical footwear: Wills

Look Human has some great t-shirts and cushions, many with feminist undertones.

Seth Green talks about the phone hacking scandel.

Pictures from the national beard and moustache club.

Another great Etsy shop (but for cups) is The Little Vinylsaur.

Container crops to sow in September.

My latest YouTube Channel find is littlecoffeebreak.

And another Etsy find (but this one is British, not like the other two): Aubergine Fox.

I knew about Crafsty but didn't realise they had a gardening section.

A guide to tax and blogging for those of you wanting to earn money through it.

Shockingly enough, fat shaming doesn't encourage weight loss.

Related: let's talk about talking about fat.

Some awesome street art for you to perve over.

A recipe for vegan Bounty bars!

Classic movie changed to not be sexist.

And finallllyyyy, a book on making your cat an internet celebrity.

Morag x
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Glasgow Wedding Collective

Glasgow wedding collective

glasgow wedding collective wedding dresses

Glasgow wedding collective food

Glasgow wedding collective cupcakes

glasgow wedding collective by gone photo booth

glasgow wedding collective be eventful cocktails

glasgow wedding collective bygone photobooth

glasgow wedding collective bloggers

glasgiw wedding collective photobooth

gkasgow wedding collective lianne

A wedding event is perhaps quite a peculiar place to see me, mainly cause I'm not much of a marriage person. If I was to ever tie the knot with someone I'd prefer to do it in a registry office with minimal fuss (or even elopement!). However, I do still love other people's weddings and especially modern ones with quirky personal twists! Offbeat bride is one of my must-read blogs. And that's exactly what Glasgow Wedding Collective aims to do - show the alternative wedding styles out there for anyone who isn't quite feeling what presented in the traditional wedding magazines. And we all know how much I love to support an indie businesses.

For me personally the business that stood out and want to alert any brides who might be reading to is By Gone Photobooth. If you managed to guess from the photos above this is a photobooth company who provide guests with fun props and then print off instant photos for them to take home. Me and some other bloggers were all over it and if someone had one at a wedding I'd never be out of it (except maybe to go to the bar!).

glasgow weddding collective

glasgow wedding collective bee waits

glasgow wedding collective fashion

glasgow wedding collective foreveryoursbetty

glasgow wedding collective honeypop kisses

Also on the night four Glasgow-based fashion bloggers were asked to put together their own quirky wedding look using the brands present. All the looks were beautiful and stepped away from the traditional wedding look but I think my favourite look was by Lucy from Florals and Corals (second picture) because it was extremely elegant but the knit gave it a more modern look. Though Sheri from Forever Yours Betty (third look) was a close second as she rightly said "I'm all for not wearing white on your wedding day" which I give a massive internet high five to! And Claire of Bee Waits For No One (first picture) and Amanda of Honey Pop Kisses (final picture) also put together fantastic looks which aren't your regular wedding go-to.

If you are planning a wedding soon or know someone who is and you know they want something a bit fresher than I'd recommend they have a look through Glasgow Wedding Collective. I had a nosey through their directory (even though I am not planning a wedding) and some of the stuff was gorgeous and really lovely, and almost makes me want to get married in a fancy way rather than running off somewhere! (It would probably involve a ring by Katie Lees, and be held in Roulette Retreat and catering by Lazy Sunday)

Morag x

P.S. All photos from the event are now up on my blog's Facebook page
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The vegan case for Scottish independence

Some Linkables ago (quite a few actually) I shared a link to the Vegans for Independence Facebook page. I noted that it wasn't a very active thing and that fact doesn't seem to have shifted. However there were one or two discussions over whether or not an independent Scotland would be a more vegan-friendly Scotland.

Veganism - despite animal welfare being one of my 'main causes' -  hadn't exactly entered my thought process whilst pondering whether to cast a yes or no vote. However this page did get me thinking about the some of the other issues surrounding the referendum and any points in the White Paper which could be of importance to the vegan community. Animal welfare hasn't been central to the debate and I can't find anything written in the White Paper directly regarding how animal welfare might change. In fairness, despite its many failings and fuck-ups, Westminster doesn't have that crappy a stance of animal welfare (ignoring the badger cull) and many animal laws are controlled by the European Union (of which I believe we will continue to be a member of).

What is going to be included are issues that can affect many different groups of society, not just vegans so there are issues covered here which might of interest to non-vegans. I'm not on a mission to suggest that Scotland should be a 100% vegan country nor am I going to start a 'Ban the Brie' campaign should we vote yes and I have more important issues to hound Alex Salmond on during the negotiations.

But anyway...

Fairer society/redistribution of wealth

Veganism is still a middle-class privilege and something that is still not accessible to a lot of people. Income, location, still living at home and access to information can impose barriers to people who want to live a vegan life but don't have the same privilege as others. I am on a decent income, live in one of the vegan friendliest cities in UK, had the income to move out my meat-eating parents house and can afford the internet and books about veganism. For people on Job Seekers living with parents it's not quite the same story and I know vegetarians who would make the jump if their circumstances were different.

One of the major arguments of a yes vote is that Holyrood has been more supportive of working-class individuals and the redistribution of wealth than Westminster. If Scotland has the ability to increase the amount of these progressive policies in order to create a fairer society then it could result in an increase in vegan individuals.

Consumer rights

Whatever happens we will need a new Food Standards Agency and Consumer Watchdog - where there should hopefully be a national discussion. Last I checked, the Food Standards Agency didn't have an official definition (just guidelines) of a vegetarian, let alone a vegan, despite the veggie community being united on the definition. The term 'natural' isn't regulated either and neither is the term 'cruelty-free' on toiletries. With enough pressure we can make sure these terms - along with other terms - become regulated and aren't something just thrown around by marketers.

This will be tightly aligned with pressure on the government during the early years of independence, and also the whole fairer voting system thing where if we don't like the way the government is treating consumer rights we have a higher chance of being able to vote them out.

Supporting small and independent business

In all three cities I've lived in, independent health stores have been better for providing to the vegan market than Holland & Barratt and Wholefoods. When it comes to beauty and hygiene products it's the smaller brands that seem to be recognising this growing market. The SNP do touch upon giving smaller businesses a bigger chance in the White Paper and the pro-yes Scottish Green Party are big supporters of small business. In contrast the big parties at Westminster are getting more closely tied to big business and were thinking of bringing in Universal Credit for self-employed people (something the SNP have said in Chapter 4 of the White Paper that they intend to halt).

I have also personally seen gaps in the market for vegan products, but my brief stint as an Arbonne Consultant for which I was registered as self-employed with HRMC has put me off going it alone again. We can't guarantee what kind of model the Scottish Government comes out with, but there's a much bigger chance of a national conversation which can include making our own version of HRMC which actually knows how to do it's job!

(Again, national conversation and fairer voting system tie in here)

Renewable energy

A mainstream argument for independence is the potential for renewable energy up in Scotland and a promise to utilise it. Not that there's a direct correlation between veganism and increased wind power but there is a lot of overlap between environmentalist and vegans with quite a few us identifying as both (and the environmental arguments for a vegan or vegetarian diets increasing). 

We have vegan politicians 

I haven't actually looked into how many of the nutters down in Westminster are vegan (can't quite imagine the coalition which pushed through a badger cull containing many vegans - maybe there's a rogue Labour backbencher somewhere). But I have known for some time that Labour MSP Cathy Jamieson is a vegan and also the Scottish Green Party's nominee for MEP in the latest European Elections Maggie Chapman is vegan. There may still be more. 

A more progressive and accepting society

This may be an emotional plea and some blind hope, but it has been flipped around that Scotland is a tolerant nation and if independent we could become even more so. I don't want to force people to be vegan however I would like mainstream society to accept my personal lifestyle choice rather than have people screwing up their faces at me when they find out my diet is plant based.

Though my argument for this points extends into if we become a country well-known for being vegan friendly we could attract the vegan tourists (such as Vegan Backpacker) ready to spend their moolah (remember what I was saying about middle-class privileged? That also translates to disposable income). 


The vote is this week, and I'm getting nervous and excited for it all at once. I'm not going to tell you how to vote as, despite baking a yes vote, I'm a big believer in democracy and will accept the outcome. But I beg you to do a well-educated vote! My last two Linkables posts (here and here) have been #IndyRef themed and you can read my post on why I shifted from a no vote to a yes vote and also read some other reasons I am choosing to vote yes. If you're still unsure there is plenty of stuff out there to do some more reading, watching and listening within the next four days. I intend to tweet plenty of links over the next few days if you want to follow me

Stay classy Scotland, whether vegan or not, or independent or part of the union. 

Morag x
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Usha's Indian Vegetarian, Byres Road

I'm not really sure what I want to say about this place. I love Indian cuisine and spend far too much time in restaurants of that persuasion. and I love that there is another vegetarian restaurant opened up in Glasgow which also marks out the vegan dishes.

But I'm not sure how I felt about this place. The burger (vada pav on the menu) I had for starters was absolutely delicious but I'm not overall convinced of how authentically Indian it is (it is from the street food section, and Indian street food isn't something I have much experience of). But the naan and the curry I had were of a normal and average quality. It has been noted by quite a few veggies I know that Indian restaurants generally have a good veggie offering so its not as though we need to go to a vegetarian-only one to enjoy this genre of cuisine (I'd spend all my wages in one go if a veggie-only Mexican or burger joint opened up).

This place has had a bad rep for poor customer service, and I can see why. The girl who served us was lovely and was clearly trying her best (there were over ten of us) but there were a few cock-ups. The guy was helped take the food to us wasn't very helpful describing which dish was which and wouldn't help us decipher who's was who (which led to a vegan taking a bite of something with paneer cheese in it) and there's a 'chilli scale' to help you decide how hot you want something, but I stated level 1 (because I'm a whimp) but ended up with something spicy but someone who ask for level 4 said he could barely taste it. They also had a weird thing about giving out lots of plates to go along with the dishes the food came on - the idea is tapas but some of us didn't need to the extra plates cause we ordered one thing....

(I'm a former waitress and I'm usually very understanding if a place cocks up slightly as I know it's a much more stressful job than most people realise but I feel in this situation it was worth commenting on)

Again, there's not much I can say that I didn't say at the start. I want to say it was brilliant as the opening of this place shows that vegetarianism and veganism is on the rise, but I just can't. It's not terrible and it was very modestly priced. But, meh, go along and make up your mind!

Morag x

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The Linkables #IndyRef part 2

Last Friday I dedicated my weekly Linkables series to the referendum. There is so much to read on the topic (I know there's so much more out there to read before Thursday and it's making me nervous!) that I've done another special this Friday. I've also written two blog posts on the matter: my first one being my general story of why I went from a no to a yes, and then another post explaining some other reasons as to why I became a yes voter.

Firstly, let's look at what's going on at Westminster...

And remember to read what is essentially the UK Government's version of the White Paper.

Someone at work brought in Time Magazine cause they knew I'd want to read the feature on the referendum (such a thoughtful person). *Unionist/biased towards no*

Paul Spiker blogs about social policy has touched upon the referendum debate  - it's fair to both sides and I have absolutely no idea which way he is voting.

I'll be in Dundee but there's one final Glasgow takeover this weekend

Apparently the French Greens say yes to independence.

One of the best things I've read this week: 5 reasons the yes campaign is winning.

A somewhat balanced (okay, still yes-leaning) view of the issues surrounding independence which totally speaks my language.

I was brought up in the Orange Order but I'm voting yes.

I've seen someone comment on Facebook (I'm not friends with the person who posted the original status so wasn't able to comment) that Business for Scotland does not include 'real' businesses. I work for a company owned by a very active member of BfS and I can assure you it's a real business with healthy financial accounts and plenty of big name clients. Here is our website.

A guest post on the Engender blog from a female former MSP on why she is voting yes

Another guest post on Engender from a female former MP on why she is voting no  (credit where it's due: this does raise some good points!)

I don't really agree with it (I didn't even realise it was written by Gordon Brown until I got to the end) but in order to keep things fair and balanced.

What was said in PMQ about devo-max when the Prime Minister wasn't there

A reminder that the Scottish Greens are very supportive of small businesses.

Here's a Nobel Prize winning economist saying that the refusal to allow a currency union is a bluff.

And here he is talking about how central banks are over-rated (does the term central bank sound familiar in this debate?)

EU citizens must vote yes to independence.

Related: EU Citizens for an Independent Scotland.

Indy Scotland cannot be thrown out of EU says leading international authority

A story of how someone went from a no to a yes vote (it involved that advert).

Everyone I know in Dundee is Yes and here is an article exploring Yes City. It also talks a lot about class.

I disagree with a lot in this but again in favour of a balanced debate: Britain is Great!

A piece written in English from a German website.

Scotland better placed to defuse its share of UK pensions time-bomb.

It's the Prime Minister of Spain that is quite outspoken about stopping an independent Scotland getting into the EU. Please be aware that an area of Spain is holding an independence referendum in November, so he clearly has an agenda for preventing Scotland becoming independent.

The Institute of Charted Accountants (Scotland) issued a paper on some practicalities of independence and pensions.

Denmark (and Iceland) would certainly welcome an independent Scotland into the EU.

Not that I think you should spend much time watching UKIP videos but here's a video of Nigel Farage rattling on in Brussels about an in-out referendum. Look out for the SNP MEP who takes him on, and gets a slightly better response..

French TV news depicts an independent Scotland as being richer than France & Germany.

Whilst the mainstream media are running stories on world leaders begging us to stay, The Solidarity with Scotland Facebook page shows regular people cheering independence on!

Alex Salmond discussing Scottish independence on Question Time in 1992!

Can these two ladies present the news in an independent Scotland?

Loch Yes Monster is the best Twitter account I've come across in a while.

Some offbeat Yes Facebook pages: Gingers for Yes, Midges for Scottish Independence, Dugs for Yes, Lady AlbaWheelie Bins for Yes, Patronising BT Lady, Panda's for Yes, Jedi for Independent Scotland, Forces of Darkness for Yes, Cats for Yes, and Goths for Scottish Independence.

Want to know what stupidly rich Scots think of the referendum? I didn't even finish reading this...

There's been reports that Standard Life will pull out of Scotland in the event of a yes vote, but please read their official statement and see that this isn't quite what they said.

The same goes for RBS (it is their registered address that will move, not the operations)

Here's another post on RBS.

Alex Salmond smacks down a BCC reporter on the banking issue

Also compare how this press event was presented on the BBC compared to what actually happened.

There was also some discussion in the 90's that devolution could mean banks move down south. They didn't.

Something similar.

Some mainstream news on Common Weal.

Something to consider regarding privitisation of the NHS, the chairman of BUPA backs a no vote.

The CEO of Whetherspoon's reckons we'll do just fine.

I met Jeane Freeman at an Engender event and she knows her stuff. Here's her smacking down Andrew Neil on NHS and TTIP.

Here's more on TTIP.

The BBC also reported on TTIP but buried it slightly.

Tesco have poo-pooed claims that prices will rise if there was a yes-vote.

ASDA have stated that supermarket prices could fall in an independent Scotland

Iceland CEO has said it would be 'business as usual' if we vote yes next week.

I mentioned my friend Charlotte last week and how we will probably end up voting different ways, but we might actually vote the same way in the end.

Lisa of Last Year Girl wrote her own piece on why she's backing a yes vote.

Also her yes-voting English husband's open letter to England. (I loved this).

Related: meet the English people voting for independence

The American Slate magazine says we should go for it.

I've seen a few yes-supporters sharing this: On grief and independence.

A pretty clever video.

And finally, a heartwarming piece on what we should all do on the 19th no matter which way the vote goes.

Morag x
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Updates to my cruelty-free brand list

Love Soap

This brand has a website statement than encompasses many ethical themes such as organic ingredients, recyclable packaging and free-from products. They do mention that they don't test on animals however it wasn't a big long statement including issues like China and ingredients. They e-mailed me back quickly however the ingredients question remain un-answered but they did confirm that they only sell directly in the UK and any customers in other countries have to get it shipped. Due to their UK base and the use of natural ingredients I do doubt they have tested ingredients and believe it was an honest mistake to not answer the question. They also confirmed that all their products are vegan suitable.

Added to: cruelty-free (though I understand if others still question them)


Balmology is another UK company which prides itself on natural ingredients. The owner got back to my e-mail quickly and went into depth. She only has stockists within the UK and any overseas customers have to get products shipped. She's currently applying for Soil Association Certification and looking into Leaping Bunny, however this is a small company so everything is moving slowly. Unfortunately most of her products contain beeswax but she has told me that the The Beauty Oil is vegan suitable.

Added to: cruelty-free

Green People

I, and some other cruelty-free bloggers, have assumed Green People are a cf brand due to their Vegan Society accreditation for some time. I only recently got in contact to check and they got back to me with a comprehensive e-mail which included a cut-off date and confirmation that they do not sell in China. All products are vegan par their accreditation.

Added to: cruelty-free and vegan suitable.

White Rabbit

If you're part of the CFBloggersChat you'll be aware of this brand as the owner regularly takes part. Even though I was already convinced it was cruelty-free brand I sent her an e-mail like all brands and she got back to me with a very convincing response. She does use beeswax but I was informed that she is experimenting with plant-based wax with the aim of making it a vegan brand.

Added to: cruelty-free

Dash Skincare

This is a brand that touts natural ingredients but doesn't mention animal testing on their website, which is red-flag. They have also not replied to my e-mail.

Added to: no statement.

Pour Le Monde

This is an American perfume brand which uses natural ingredients but also doesn't have a public animal testing policy. I did e-mail and, as I am used to in these situations, I didn't receive a response.

Added to: no statement

Soap and Glory

There's been discussion about Soap and Glory amongst the cruelty-free community about a change in statement. I can't quite see where this change of wording is (from now on I think I'll snap shot brands website statements for reference) and even though I haven't contacted them myself, Aimee got a good response which she published on her blog.

Remaining on: cruelty-free


I've listed Topshop as a grey area for ages and even though their website statement now reads a bit more clearly, I'm still hesitant to list them as CF as they've given out different statements in the past (read the comments on this post). Do what feels best for yourself - and I won't piss on anyone who uses their products - but I'm personally still avoiding.

Remaining on: ambiguous statement

Have you ever researched these brands? Have something different to add? Let me know!

Morag x

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Some of my other reasons for #VoteYES

Last week I wrote a very lengthy post on why I had been brought round to vote yes in the upcoming Scottish referendum, despite having originally been a no. The words in that post came from my heart but I mentioned that even before Zara's talk my Unionist beliefs had been slipping. This post is going to be exploring some of the other reasons why I'm voting yes and this post will be coming from my head, rather than my heart.

For me personally, I've considered myself British and Scottish my whole life so I've never supported independence in its principle and the emotional arguments were never going to win me round. However since the start of the year more and more has been written on the subject and as I did my reading I was discovering logical reasons as why to voting yes would be the best choice.

  • Scotland and Holyrood have shown themselves to be more progressive than Westminster in many areas (public NHS, free higher education) and if we were to become independent we would be allowed the possibility to become even more progressive.
  • All the parties that support independence - SNP, Scottish Greens and Scottish Socialist Party - have more progressive policies that involve public services and a safety net for society's vulnerable. The parties that are Unionist - Labour, Tories, Liberal Democrats - have not had such a good record on such matters (despite what two of these parties traditionally stood for).
  • We have a more democratic voting system to elect MSP than MPs. Since the creation of the Scottish Parliament we have moved from a LibDem-Labour coalition to an SNP majority. The last time there was a Prime Minister who wasn't Labour or Conservative? 1937. Though you could argue it was 1922...
  • And this voting system means we don't necessarily need to have the SNP as our government post-independence.
  • Also, imagine a country where the chances of the Tories ever be elected is minimal. Imagine...
  • I'm not an economist or accountant and the discussion around the Barnett formula hurts my head, but it has been reported that it is possible it will be re-jigged and if Scotland gets a smaller share we're going to have to cut costs somewhere (could be the NHS, free education, or anything else).
  • If we're independent we'll be allowed to devise our own tax system - we can't say what kind of tax system we'll have (will depend on who the elected party is) but combine it with Scotland's generally progressive left-leaning attitude we can assume it will be fairer (such as council tax devised on income) and spent more fairly.  
  • We've been told Westminster won't allow us to use the pound but they allow Gibralter and Jersey to use it. Ireland used a currency linked to the pound after independence and New Zealand used the British Pound until 1937. Again, not an economist but it's unfair to say we can't use the pound but allow these countries to.
  • We've been told we will have to pay to use the BBC, but the last I checked we pay for it as part of the UK. And to say we won't be allowed it? Well, one look at the Republic of Ireland TV guide and the Swiss TV Guide makes it obvious, yet again, that they are allowing other countries to use British services but saying we won't be able to.
  • As for putting up a border, why do Westminster say they'll put up an English-Scottish border but there isn't a UK border between Northern Ireland and Republic of Ireland? (Can't imagine passport checks going down too well in Scotland or England).
  • If devo plus was on the ballot I'd take it and I still prefer the sound of it. However, it was Westminster that kept that option off the ballot paper! (Why should we believe they'll offer it in the event of a no vote?)
  • The rise of UKIP and the rowdiness of the Tory backbenchers are making an in-out referendum on the EU more and more possible. I have no solid answer as to whether Scotland will get back into the EU (and when) but there's no guaranteeing rUK will remain in the EU either. (And Cameron might not get to renegotiate Britain's current relationship)
  • On the topic of the EU, the mainstream media has only been reporting on the viewpoints of people who say we won't get back in but some non-mainstream media has different things to say. (Essentially different people say different things)
  • Scotland going independent could (and probably will) be the biggest kick up the backside Westminster will ever receive. There are English people who support a yes vote for this very reason. Independence will give campaigners for change in rUK a new argument to run on: "Scotland were so sick of you they would rather take the risks of independence if it meant they didn't have to live one more day under your rule" - but possibly more eloquently. Not to mention it could strengthen Plaid Cymru in Wales (Sinn Fein in Northern Ireland has officially remained neutral on Scottish independence).
I'm voting yes because Westminster looks like it's just going to get worse whilst the majority of independence voters are painting a picture of a country I'd like to live in. As I said earlier, I consider myself British and it is going to be a heavy heart that I vote to leave (and I doubt I'll celebrate either outcome) as I really want to believe that the UK can get out this mess. Honestly, if the vote went no this time I'd live with it and if the UK government gave themselves a long hard look and fixed the issues that caused Scottish independence to gain popularity, I'd probably forget about the 18th of September and focus on some other issue. And if a referendum on the issue came round again within my lifetime I'd sit down with all the facts again and make my decision with a new clean slate (and it might well be a no). 

But right now, weighing up everything that's going on on Westminster and a political landscape which is different in Scotland, I'm going with yes. 

Morag x
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My balcony garden 5 months on

urban balcony garden

thyme urban balcony garden

coriander urban balcony garden

basil urban balcony garden

Pictures in order: 1. Overview. 2. Thyme close-up. 3. Coriander close-up. 4. Basil close-up. 

It's been three months since I posted an update on my balcony garden. Not long after that post I planted 'stage 2' where I added coriander, thyme and basil whilst deciding to finally chuck the rocket which was getting tangled up within itself.

By the time I started this stage I had gotten into the habit of watering the herbs each day so these all grew through reasonably quickly and I was able to make use of them without waiting too long. You might spot from my pictures that the basil isn't looking particularly healthy! This is because I forgot to water them for close to a week and the basil took the hardest hit, but I can assure you that at one point I had a massive bush of basil and was unsure whether the container I had was big enough (I just can't find photographic evidence of this green-fingered goddess-ary!). The thyme didn't look overly thankful at that point either however I was able to save them by picking up a routine for watering them again (thyme limps when not watered but then jumps back up when given water). The coriander was very similar to the rosemary from stage one as it took a bit longer to come through, there's not much of it so can grow in a small container, but is quite a sturdy little herb and difficult to kill.

I don't plan to plant any more herbs before the end of the year - instead I am going to concentrate on working out what I'm meant to do with these herbs over the winter period, and also maybe put some money into buying more containers for next spring. I hope to move onto vegetables next year but I want to do more research on which are easier (I'm imagining lettuce, spinach and anything mainly made up of leaves but I might be wrong) and will require me to buy bigger containers (I'm thinking of going for brackets to hook over my balcony railing).

Morag x

P.S. I don't blog much about my balcony garden however I do post quite a few photos of its progress on my Instagram.
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If I could do university again...

With a few of my younger friends (and even friends more within my age range) about to head off to university, I thought it would be a good time to write a post that had been floating about my head for a while, to go along with my decorating a dorm room post and my money matters post I did a while ago. It's been over two years since I graduated and whilst I'm definitely not a regrets person, there's a few things that I would do differently if I could do it all again.

And I'm going to share my wisdom with you all, naturally.

Look at all universities/courses available
In hindsight, seventeen was a young age to move out and I was scared to move too far from home even though my parents had agreed to financially support me if I moved anywhere within Scotland. I love Dundee and it's where I feel most at home, even to this day. However being scared to study anywhere further south wasn't a good reason to not read the prospects from somewhere such as Strathclyde.

Be very very very sure its what you want to study (and know what you want to do with it)
I studied International Management and I still can't really explain why. I only decided upon a business course when I crashed Higher Business Management in sixth year. My opinion now is by 'really sure' you've wanted to study this, or something similar, from around about the time of your Standard Grades. Nothing wrong with taking a year out to work or do a course at college which has slightly less commitment or even do more Highers at college. And there's nothing wrong with not getting a degree at all! Zoe London wrote a great post about this.

I personally don't regret going to university, however in hindsight I should have studied marketing to begin with (and ignored that silly guidance teacher) and taken into consideration league tables and reputation of the university (I'm very passionate about sending kids to state schools and not battling to get into certain ones, but universities are independent and can set their own modules and there can be a big difference between a good university and a bad university etc).

International Management was a very 'open' degree with quite a few career possibilities from it and you'd be surprised how transferable some degrees are (my flatmate is a speech therapist and I was amazed at how many other careers were possible with her degree!). So if you do the wrong degree it might not necessarily be the worst thing, and if you continue to do extra-curricular stuff its possible to build yourself other options alongside your job.

First year is the year to join every society (fourth year isn't)
Maybe it's because my confidence was higher when I was 21 compared to 17, but at my first fresher's fayre I signed up for dance and netball, then left. By the time fourth year came round I was heavily involved in the student body and founded my own society, helped run another, was a member of a sports team and was a class rep. It should have been in reverse. Join everything in first year, then tone it down as you progress and find out where you really belong.

Second year is the best time to start a society (or become the President of one)
After being heavily involved for a year, you now have enough knowledge of the student body to work it. But you're not piled under with coursework quite yet. Not in fourth year like I did....

Fourth year is the time to be in the library
I didn't slack off but I never went above and beyond the average levels of studying that was required. Because I was spending my time running societies and doing freelance work and other stuff that had nothing to do with my degree (kind of says how little my heart was in it) I ended up with a 2:2 which could have been a 2:1 if I had just achieved one more B grade...

Met more people
My first year halls had 144 students living in them, and I think I can name about 20 of them. There were personal reasons during first year as to why I didn't attend every party going, and as my confidence grew entering third year (and I wasn't *cough* part of a *cough* unhealthy relationship *cough*) I did make up for time but I still wonder...

Stayed in contact better
Since leaving university I've kept in contact quite well with my close friends from university. However, I speak to very very few people I went to school with and a lot of it is because I didn't truthfully make the effort. I truthfully didn't like that many people at my school but as I've gotten older I realised most people I didn't like back then have grown into sensible human beings as they've matured themselves (and as I've matured myself as well!).

Worked during the summer between school and first year
The summer between first and second year my parents marched me up to the local golf club to ask if they had any waitressing jobs going, which turned out to not be such a scary experience as I had anticipated. I could have had a lot more money if I had just bit the bullet earlier...

I said at the start, I wouldn't change my past and for me things kind of worked out in the end anyway. However these are little nuggets of though for anyone starting university this year or the next!

Morag x
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The Linkables #IndyRef special

It's long and truthfully a bit boring but for-love-of-Pete read the White Paper.

The same goes for the draft Constitution.

I'm not a fan of either of the two main campaign groups but Yes Scotland and Better Together have loads of information on their websites.

Remember that the SNP aren't the only party in favour of a yes vote, the Scottish Green Party also support it.

As do the Scottish Socialist Party.

There's also Indies for Indy made up of two MSP's who don't belong to any party!

And some traditional Labour voters support independence, and well as people who tend to vote Liberal Democrat.

Also Wealthy Nation is a group of people on the right of the political spectrum who support independence.

Reminder: It was the UK government that decided to not have the devo max option on the ballot.

Here's something in the Herald which says the same thing.

And again from Socialist Worker.

As far as mainstream media goes The Guardian independence section has been the most fair (not perfect, but better than the others).

Arguments that should die from the Scottish independence debate (both sides)

Five Million Questions is a resource I found this week launched by the University of Dundee.

LGBT Yes release their 'rainbow paper' in support of a yes vote.

This is LGBT Together's statement (can't find a paper per se)

My friend Charlotte has been doing her own series on Scottish independence on her blog (she has told me she may have one more post coming) and even though it looks as though we might vote different ways she was one of two people I felt comfortable discussing the topic with.

I've shared this before but it's still one of my favourites: Scotland isn't different, it's Britain that is bizarre.

Bright Green is a progressive political blog/magazine that has a section on Scotland.

I've not had time to really look through it but for any English people living in Scotland: English Scots for Yes.

In a similar vein: Wales for Yes and Irish for Yes.

Also a Facebook page for EU residents living in Scotland who are pro-Indy.

This Guardian article was posted around about the time I was losing grip of my Unionist beliefs and it still cites the reasons better than I could.

One of the reasons I've been tempted to vote yes is because I feel like Better Together/Westminster are bullying us to stay, this blog post compares their behaviour to that an abusive relationship.

The Scottish LinkedIn, KILTR, has been running events and various other types of discussions and the site is full to the brim of food for thought.

A perfect response to the Better Together advert.

A unionist blog where I can understand where they're coming from.

Though here is something regarding central banks and EU member states.

Sweary but funny: the fucking referendum.

A former NATO commander has said that an iScotland's future in NATO would be questionable but then a former UK NATO ambassador has said it shouldn't be affected and that she is voting yes.

Stock market analysts back Salmond on oil.

An American podcast of the referendum is incredibly informative.

This is pretty much the text version of the link above.

One of the industry magazines I get at work had a segment on Scotland Decides relating to the utility industry, I've uploaded the PDF so other people can get it for free.

Scottish Energy News also have an independence section which has been fairly balanced.

Women for Independence doesn't have much information/analysis but has stories from women about why they are voting yes.

I'm yet to read it but The Wee Blue Book is the guide from Wings Over Scotland. (I can't pick a favourite post from this blog and instead I'll recommend that you should go right through the archives yourself).

I've also not had the chance to read Blossom by Lesley Riddoch but have heard pro-yes people speak highly of it.

A big demographic trend in voting habits has been class.

From earlier this year: The Financial Times stating that there's no financial reason Scotland couldn't go it alone.

I've not been overally impressed with what National Collective has written but this piece about the difference between Britishness and the British State hit a cord.

I disagree with the term 'England' being used (I use the term Westminster) but here is a letter from a Finnish national who has spent time in Scotland.

It's a paid event but Lawyers4Yes are having a panel debate on Tuesday in Edinburgh.

If you live in the Wrexham area there will be a talk about Scottish independence from a Welsh perspective.

There's a London for Yes event tomorrow.

There's now a Yesbar in Glasgow and they are having a DJ's for Yes event on Sunday.

I can't agree with the rhetoric 'if Scotland had been an independent nation' cause we don't know, but I loved the part about proving Scotland does pay it's way!

Someone's story about why they are voting yes.

Won't get English TV or BBC in an independent Scotland? Here's the Republic of Ireland TV guide. Looks, is that Emmerdale?

I can't speak German but I think I'm on the Swiss TV guide website and I'm sure I can the BBC logo. It's definitely a foreign website with the BBC logo on it regardless.

Other places use the pound too.

Strong words in a Japanese website about Scottish independence.

The Green Party leader in England and Wales explains why a yes vote would be good for the rest of the UK.

Tracking the independence voting by postcode (the distribution doesn't surprise me in the slightest).

If you're looking for a Yes Group near you: Yes Glasgow, Yes - Glasgow Cathcart, Yes Aberdeenshire, Yes Dundee, Yes Aberdeen, Yes Orkney, Yes Shetland, Yes Shettleston, Yes Perth & Kinross, Yes Edinburgh, Yes Edinburgh West, Yes Edinburgh Central, Yes Borders, Yes Dumfries & Galloway, Yes Clarkston, Yes Fintry, Yes Kirkaldy, Yes East RenfrewshireYes North East Fife, Yes Dunfermline and West Fife, Yes Lesmahagow, Yes Islay, Yes Highlands & Islands, Yes North AyrshireYes Moray, Yes Inverclyde, Yes Giffnock, Yes Inverurie, Yes Midlothian, Yes Livingston and probably many many more.

And the Better Together groups: Better Together Shetland, Better Together Orkney, Better Together Aberdeen, Better Together Dundee, Better Together Dumfries & Galloway, Better Together Dunbartonshire, Better Together East Ayrshire, Better Together East Lothian, Better Together Moray, Better Together Inverness, Better Together GlasgowBetter Together Perth, Better Together Lanarkshire, Better Together Scottish Borders, Better Together Dumfries & Galloway, Better Together Livingston, Better Together Lewis & Harris, Better Together Inverclyde and probably many more.

And for closing, the independence debate told through arty posters.


Some non #IndyRef links that will go out of date if they don't get shared now:

The Glasgow School of Art Graduate Showcase is starting tomorrow.

Some words on not looking at naked pictures of Jennifer Lawrence.

Some more words on not looking at naked pictures of Jennifer Lawrence.

Morag x

P.S. This is biased towards the Yes vote but I urge everyone no matter what their guts say to do plenty of research and go in there on Thursday and cast an educated vote. I know people on both sides who can't seem to get basic facts straight (like the estimated date of independence, or that the Green Party support yes). It's a complex issue with plenty of reading to do and I urge you find more links than just the ones above (and send them my way too!)

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Pacifica Perfume

pacifica perfume uk cruelty free blog

pacifica perfume Mediterranean fig

pacifica hawaiian ruby guava

pacifica perfume review island vanilla

If you follow me on some kind of social media account you'll have maybe predicted this glowing review. Pacifica is an American brand I had heard of through the likes of Tashina of Logical Harmony and had been curious since it's 100% vegan and contained a perfume range which is a very difficult product to get cruelty-free let alone vegan.

I had however passed it off as a brand that I would have to purchase when my parents wanted to lovingly treat me to a trip to the States (or pay ridiculous amounts in shipping) however on my first trip to Wholefoods in Glasgow I discovered that in fact some of the Pacifica is available here in the UK.

It's not the whole range that is available however I was able to try out most of their perfumes, some make-up and I also found some make-up remover wipes. (Note: the products are not all lumped together in one stand - perfume is with general perfume and I randomly found the face wipes whilst looking for body wash). I picked up a wide range of stuff but even after having tried the products I'm still the most excited by the perfumes!

I currently own five of their perfumes (I can see this number increasing) and picked them up in a variety of sprays, roll-ons and solid perfume tubs. In general, the perfumes are 'summer scents' and the type of thing that might be a nice cheaper perfume to pick up for a holiday. The scent I've been wearing the most has been French Lilac which is a gentle floral scent - which all my favourite perfumes are! I've also been wearing a lot of Island Vanilla which is the gentlest of all the scents I own with a very delicate vanilla smell and is one I have been putting on for work as it ins't too over-powering for the office. Those are both in roll-on form and the final one in that kind of packaging is Mediterranean Fig whose smell reminds me of being in Majorca but I can't quite explain why. I really like it and I think it's the perfect summer scent but I don't think it would be appropriate for winter or work. The solid perfume I picked up is a slightly peculiar scent Waikiki Pikake which uses jasmine and sandalwood and smells like a cross-over between a fruity scent and a musky scent but is still very delicate. Finally I also have the Hawaiian Ruby Guava which I bought as a spray and is a very fruity scent and maybe isn't for everyone. Like the Mediterrenean Fig I do like it however I would be picky as to when I wear it - and would reserve it for holidays and summer BBQs.

In terms of longevity I put my perfume on at 8am and I would say 11am is when I usually realise I need to reapply. The roll-ons have been my favourite type as they're easy to slip into my hand bag but sprays are good for spritzing onto clothes (I'm not a big fan of solid perfumes in general). They're also all less than £20 with the roll-ons being the cheapest clocking in at £12.

I own a few other Pacifica products which I hope to review within the coming weeks but the perfumes have been the highlight so far. My review and the general branding of the company has suggested that everything is quite summery - the name Pacifica conjures up images of the Pacific Ocean and its islands whilst a few product names make reference to Hawaii. If you're away somewhere hot over the Autumn (or further down the line) I'd say picking up a Pacifica perfume for that climate would be perfect!

Morag x
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