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© 2015 mo'adore | Content and design by Morag Lee | Powered by Blogger.

Other favourites from 2014

In Sunday's post I had originally planned to write up a list of my favourite cruelty-free products of this year but it ended up being a reflection on what cruelty-free blogging had become over the past twelve months. I did however make a YouTube video for anyone interested in my favourite beauty brands of the year. However this post isn't going slip that far away from it's original idea where I round-up my other favourites from 2014 in the world of blogs, tv, fashion, food and music.

Fashion wise, I've been making a more conscious effort to buy from independent designers however my graduate budget does mean that I buy only independent if I really adore it and know I couldn't find similar on the high street. My favourite fashion purchases were my cat bag in this outfit photo (which made it's way round blog land) and my dinosaur dress in this post which was the highest quality piece I've bought off Etsy. Then there was also my Marvel skirt (seen above and in this post). I also really liked the Eco-Chic Boutique in Merchant City but I visited recently and it's had a re-brand (and really doesn't feel like the same shop).

Musically I've been to more gigs this year than all previous years combined. I don't have the time to list them all and then put them in some kind of order but if you're a fan (even a semi one) of any of these bands you really should get yourself a long to one of their shows: Limp Bizkit, Jurassic 5, Arliss Nancy, Backstreet Boys, Fall Out Boy and Red City Radio. Remember to check out my music tag for quick gig reviews and my monthly playlists. I also said earlier that I wouldn't be doing a December playlist, but I have put together a 2014 one on Spotify (contains the bands above as well as some Eurovision because why no?).

As with every year that passes I was ate as much food as I could. The stand out new food find for me in 2014 was definitely Foodstory Café in my home city of Aberdeen and the only place I know of in the Granite City which marks out its vegan offerings. And whilst I don't get to eat out in Aberdeen very often every place I did this year is worth a recommendation and makes the 2014 cut. The place my parents took me to in the Aberdeenshire countryside for my birthday, Tiger Lily, was a great little place worth the trip to Oldmeldrum. As was Cup Cafe on Little Belmont Street and Terrior Deli in Cults (mainly for the shop part, the sit-in menu is small), Back in Glasgow Akbar's where I went with my friends for my 24th is definitely worth a shout. I also got to check out the West End version of one of my Glasgow favourites, Bar Soba, and it was still as perfect as the city centre version. And whilst I wouldn't rate the restaurant on a whole highly the best naans I've had this year were at Masala Twist on Byres Road.

Notice how long the food paragraph is compared to the others? And mucho apologies to Dundee as none of the places I ate in your fine city made the cut - better luck next year!

I made a resolution to watch more television this year which I know might sound like a unproductive goal but you can read my resolution post to understand my reasoning. I started the new year still working my way through the Buffy and Angel because even though I knew the bulk of the story there were episodes and storylines I had missed. I also revisited Sex and the City and Sabrina the Teenage Witch for similar reasons. Whereas some currently still-on-air shows I started watching were Orange is the New Black (which I'm up-to-date on) and American Horror Story (which I'm still playing a bit of catch-up on). All these shows were/are fantastic and I'd recommend any one of them and they've all made the cut this year.

And obviously I couldn't round-up 2014 without mentioning which blogs I've been loving this year. For this I'm going to give a shout-out to my friend Charlotte of Colours and Carousels who's blog has went from strength to strength this year and I'm so unbelievably proud of her! I became 'IRL' friends with Charlotte back in 2013 but even if we weren't friends and I was some random reader who she never spoke to I'd still come back post after post. You may also know that London-based blogger Zoe made the decision this year to discontinue her beauty blog The London Lipgloss and launch a new lifestyle blog Zoe London, which has now become one of my daily reads. I'm as always, still a massive fan of A Rosie Outlook which is a natural-sounding personal blog by a girl with her feet firmly on the ground. Some brand new finds for me this year have been Last Year's Girl, Wardrobe Conversations and Pretty Confused. And as always Sugar Puff Fish and Logical Harmony are still the top reads for cruelty-free, natural and indie beauty.

And as for YouTube (2014 was the year of YouTube, let's be real) out of all the vloggers reaching one million subscribers I can't think of anyone who deserves it more than Laci Green.

Because feminism has made great gains these past two years there are now several non-patronising online women's magazines - combining fashion, beauty, sex and topics stereotypically covered by women's magazines but with a whole bunch of sassy thrown in. The Indie Chicks, Hello Giggles and Bustle were where I went to get my fix without being patronised. And non-mainstream news sources that I regularly found myself clicking on were Wings Over Scotland, A Thousand Flowers and National Collective.

And my favourite Facebook pages? Well that's Far Left Buffy and Patronising BT Lady for sure!

Let me know your favourites from 2014!

Morag x
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Cruelty-free, veganism and blogging in 2014

When I originally started drafting this post I was planning to do a round up of my favourite products of this year (as I did last year and the year before that) with a little bit of a blurb on what a good year it had been for the cruelty-free community. But as I wrote down my ideas, I realised my thoughts on this topic were more substantial than what would fit neatly into two paragraphs.

I went cruelty-free two years ago, and it's a lifestyle choice that now feels natural. This year I got more involved in researching beauty brands first hand and also began switching over my cleaning products. However 2014 was also the year I officially went vegan - no longer 'plant-based' or 'transitioning vegan'. Vegan. It was also a fantastic year for my blog - I ended 2013 not really feeling mo'adore and was frustrated as it wasn't the kind of blog I would read myself. I entered 2014 with a new layout and a new content plan, and I'm now pleased to say I am closing 2014 with no predominant changes needed/planned for 2015.

However it is the intersection between these topics that has made 2014 a game changer. When I went cruelty-free in 2012, there were plenty of American blogs on the topic but across here on the British Isles I only knew of Karris and Louise (the latter of which had only just started blogging herself). Going cruelty-free gave my blog a much required niche, but back then the small handful of us were hanging out amongst the mainstream beauty bloggers. This year I really feel as if cruelty-free bloggers have come out of the water and stood on our own feet, bunched together and formed our own niche that differs from #bbloggers with our own trends, our own unwritten rules and our own hangouts (I'm going to shamelessly plug the @CFbloggerschat I help run). 

And as for veganism, well, even people who aren't vegan will know that 2014 was the year veganism went mainstream. There are now mainstream chain restaurants marking out their vegan dishes, beauty companies are now providing lists of their vegan-friendly products and there were more vegan brands popping up in the health shops I frequent (Dundee also got a new health store, Heart Space Whole Foods). Personally, I was only able to make the switch because of the new brands popping up to cater to our growing market. When I first attempted veganism back in 2012 it didn't take me long to discover I had a soya intolerance, which set everything back a few steps. Now there are more vegan but also soya-free brands easily available for me to pick up and replace the final few dairy foods that were still included in my diet (we're talking cheese here). 

For the last few days I've read quite a few blog posts on how 2014 was a game changer for blogging in general. And by gosh it was. YouTubers now publishing books and becoming legitimate celebrities. The way blogging has shifted into editorial pieces with great photography and edgy content rather than teenagers just spilling their thoughts out (for better or worse, I still prefer a natural sounding blog). Blogging also played a huge part in the Scottish Independence Referendum and I wouldn't have voted yes had blogs such as Wings Over ScotlandNational Collective  (which is maybe more a magazine, but I'm going with blog) and even the one-off posts written by my blogging friends who usually don't talk politics didn't provide an alternative voice to the pish in the mainstream media. But for me personally the excitement has been the way in which cruelty-free blogging has become a thing. And how veganism and vegan blogging is now a thing. And that's one of the most exciting things about 2014 for me. 

Morag x

P.S. I did actually however filmed a YouTube video on my favourite cruelty-free brands from 2014 if you just want to know about products. 
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The Linkables

My pal Charlotte included me in her 2014 blog round-up - you should go check out the other blogs (and in fill in her reader survey).

During Higher English, I wrote a 'persuasive essay' arguing for homosexuality to be included in PSE and sex education. Almost a decade on, it doesn't look like we've moved on at all.

A history on NUS and free education isn't as lovely as I thought it was (look out for mention of new Labour leader Jim Murphy).

For burger lovers near Glasgow, James vs Burger is the blog for you (and he also takes on veggie burgers too).

If you're into the outdoors and looking for blogs on the topic check out the blogs shortlisted for Tresspass Blog Awards.

Scented jewellery is a thing.

7 deadly sins every marketer needs to stop committing.

12 words even smart people get wrong

Some things just don't work out: 10 excellent reasons to break up with your significant other.

Christmas is now over but there's always a reason to make your own acrylic gift tags.

Again, a bit late but how to decorate without looking like the huge nerd you really are.

I would like to add this modern farm-house in New York state to my (non-existent) real estate portfolio.

Still in the Christmas theme but feeding my USA obsession: stories of Christmas trees from Oregon.

I'm on a graduate income and still find it impossible to 'save money' unless I was to become a hermit, and here's an article on the reality of saving money if you earn very little to begin with.

Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie support their kid wearing suits.

The 14 most important YouTubers of 2014.

Top 10 vegan restaurants of 2014 (UK-wide but with one cheeky international mention!).

Tumblr has been making posters for the scenario where Voldemort won.

Why a Playboy Bunny backs the No More Page 3 campaign. (It's not about the content, it's about context which is what NMP3 is trying to get across).

And the best Buzzfeed article this year: why 2014 was the year of the vagina.

Morag x
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Ideas for a veggie Christmas

We're now into the week of Christmas and whilst there's been many a gift guide posted (on my own blog and others) I would like to think we're all sorted there. However, an area some people might not yet be sorted in will be food. Whilst my meat-eating parents eat the same thing each year I switch it up every year and deciding what I'm going to be cooking on Christmas Day is my favourite thing to plan in the winter months.

Whilst most years I spend a lot of time Googling this year I quickly settled on this Festive Layered Loaf from the Vegetarian Society website. The VegSoc website is full of creative ideas and the first year I was vegetarian it was my first port of call and I ended up making their Not Just a Nut Roast and the year after that I went for their Festive Pillow (which was a bit messy). Last year I made this Glazed Lentil, Walnut and Apple Loaf from Oh She Glows, which was on the sweet side and not particularly to my taste if I'm honest (but was still edible).

A dish I have considered in the past and was a serious contender this year again was this Quinoa Stuffed Cabbage, but it just doesn't seem fancy enough for a main and I didn't really feel like making a main and a some side (maybe one year I'll build up to that).

As far back as October, Pinterest was already filling up with ideas and whilst I was pinning Halloween ideas I was also pinning some sneaky ideas onto my Christmas and Winter board. Whilst most of what I did pin were cocktails and craft ideas some Christmas dinner mains which did make their way onto my board was this Pumpkin Seed Cranberry Cheese Roast with Thyme, Mary Berry's nut roast (though I dislike aubergines so this recipe was never going to get used), this vegetarian Wellington from the BBC website as well as this nut and spinach roast.

Whilst I've never actually paid much attention to Jamie Oliver, I was sent this Buzzfeed article on how to put together his vegan menu (you know veganism has went mainstream when Jamie Oliver is writing about it!). I however don't think his ideas are ground breaking and I've seen far nicer things on the internet by other vegans. However his vegan gravy recipe is worth pointing out as it's something that would be great to make if there's meat eaters and vegetarians and vegans all at the same table. My parents always just put on a vegetarian soup for starters and then we have separate mains before sharing a veggie dessert.

Have you decided on your Christmas day menu yet? Anything I've mentioned appeal to you? 

Morag x

P.S. I blog about this topic every year so remember to check out my 2011 post, my 2012 post and my 2013 post.
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Superdrug Ultra Brights hair colour

superdrug ultra brights outrageous orange

I'm eternally jealous of people with bright hair - especially those of the orange and red persuasion. Part of me really yearns for my former emo-days when my entire locks were bright red. Alas, I am now an adult with a corporate office-job and turning up with hair that resembles a sunset wouldn't be that amusing.

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Christmas Dinner at Lamora Kitchen, West End

lamore glasgow ghnocchi

Just last week I mentioned how difficult it can be to navigate the festive period as a veggie/vegan type. When going out for Christmas dinner with a vegan meet-up group I can be comfortable I'll get something but when your employer announces their choice for this year's meal I can only cross your fingers.

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The Linkables

How to use Instagram for retail, restaurant and even B2B marketing.

The cutest illustrations in Etsy land can be found in this shop.

Whilst browsing on Etsy I discovered that successful designer Gillian Kyle still has an active Etsy shop (her stuff is also sold in Paperchase!) and my favourite craft business blog Create & Thrive explains why running an Etsy store alongside your main website makes business sense (even if you're earning full-time from it).

An independent Scottish jewellery designer I've fallen in love with this week is Orkney based Alison Moore. And her website and banding is making my marketing heart flutter.

On the topic of gushing over branding, I related to almost all of these, ha! 37 telltale signs you're a true marketer.

An urban gardening subscription box (with beautiful branding, yes I'm talking branding again).

I used to be a perfectionist, and it's not all that fun. I've re-trained my brain over the years (though it still simmers) and here's a great post if think you're setting far too high standards for yourself.

Dundee beats Oxbridge to be named best university for life science research.

Also in Dundee: how some of its streets got their names (I used to live on the corner of Seagate, Arklay Street and Hilltown...but my address was technically the intersecting street).

I recently installed Glimmer onto my phone to gently wake me up on the early winter mornings, and I'm liking it so far. Here are some more Android alarm apps that do more than just loudly ring if you have problems rolling out of bed.

We all read Bustle, right? Here's an article I really liked this week about vaginal orgasms.

We all read Everyday Feminism too? Here's a great piece on 'Feminist Men' who, well, really aren't and what it takes to be a real feminist ally.

Cynthia Nixon on being bisexual but being in a gay relationship.

I actually loved 2000's fashion and want it to make a come back....but I still laughed.

Sarah has a post up on the new food labelling guidelines which have come into law this week.

On that note, the Guardian ran an article on why restaurants should embrace free-from diners.

Oft. How to have the race talk with a child.

If you've still got someone to buy about Christy's gift guide for fitness lovers?

And from Wardribe Conversations...a gift guide for men full of small independent brands.

I shared a similar gift guide by my pal Charlotte a few Linkables ago, but here's another gift guide for cat ladies.

And for American about Gala Darling's gift guide? It includes ideas for what to get a witchy friend...

Christmas nail art ideas.

Amanda Genther rounds up her favourite planners for 2015.

How to get calcium without dairy.

9 tips to look good in every photo.

Things you do in the bathroom that you might not know are unhygienic.

I wasn't a 'serious' cheerleader but I still laughed at some of these signs you used to be a cheerleader.

Morag x
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My first wee read of Vegan Life magazine

veganlife magazine issue 1

As a blogger and a member of Gen Y, it maybe comes as not much of a surprise that I'm not much of a magazine buyer. Whilst I loved a bit (read: I bought every issue) of Sneak and Bliss in my early teens (and Shout in my tweens) when I discovered the world of blogging during my mid-teens this love affair of printed media fell to the side as I realised I could obtain the same information for free online (and save up some space in my bedroom).

There's still a few magazines I do purchase now and then or have a casual flick through in the shop (Country Living and various Android magazines are particular favourites) but I haven't been a dedicated reader of any particular magazine for years. However when the news that a vegan lifestyle magazine would be hitting the shelves in the UK during September, my curiosity was piqued although I remained unconvinced that it would include anything that vegan blogs couldn't or wouldn't cover.

However, after the second issue hit the shelves in November the lovely people at VeganLife got in contact to ask if I wanted a free digital subscription*. My response was obviously "aye, I'll take that". And guys and girls, I've taken my negative words about the printed media back. This magazine is gooooood.

What caught my eye whilst reading through the first two issues and brought a smile to my face was the wide variety of topics that would appeal across the vegan spectrum. Whilst vegan stereotypes exist (and like a lot of stereotypes will continue to exist) anyone who is part of the vegan community knows that a wide variety of individuals adopt veganism. Whilst scribbling down the names of new vegan businesses to check out (this might be the only magazine where I pay attention to adverts) I was spotting how many walks of vegan life this magazine would appeal to. For myself there was vegan fashion and beauty (you know I like to consider vegan/cruelty-free beauty my Trivial Pursuit topic, but even I was exclaiming "didnae know that"), however there were also topics that didn't appeal to me such as juice cleanses and campaigns by PETA which I just moved on past.

Towards the end of both issues this respect towards differing lifestyle choices was directly discussed in a feature called Talking Point which selects a topic which can divide the vegan community and invites two vegans to defend their side of the debate. In issue one the topic was "Is it acceptable to eat the eggs of rescued battery hens?" and then issue two of the magazine was asking if vegans should feed their pets meat or switch their pooches and kittens onto a plant-based diet too. Personally, I wouldn't eat eggs no matter how well the hen was cared for because, well, it's a chicken's period and eggs just gross me. However I would never question anyone else's vegan street cred if they chose to eat the eggs of hens they knew were raised in good conditions (which could even be their own backyard...I actually like chickens and would like some but for pets...yeah, I'm weird). 

However, the second topic is one I do hold a stronger opinion on. I live without animal produce because I can live without it...there is no health or nutritional reason for me to consume it. A large percentage of humans can live without dairy or meat (I say percentage as I don't want to speak for people who struggle with the switch due to health problems). However, some non-human animals are built to eat meat. I'm not a vet or zoologist but I believe cats and dogs eat meat by their nature (just like rabbits eat plants by their nature). If I had a pet who preferred the plant food and developed no health problems due to it I'd roll with it. But if any potential future dog of mine (I'm consistently dog broody) really wanted the meaty food I'd provide it, though I'd still shop for it with some ethics in mind (organic, straight from the butcher etc). I wouldn't want to impose this decision on an animal who has different instincts to me and doesn't sit around pondering ethical lifestyle choices and questioning the world like myself and many humans do (the same would go for the children I don't want...I wouldn't make the final decision for them and if they really wanted to eat meat I'd let them but I wouldn't buy or prepare it for them). 

There are dozens of voices within the vegan community, and some very heated topics up for debate of which there are more than just these two. Issue two of the magazine also ran an article by Rebecca Bourne on her experiences with the 'vegan police' a term which will be familiar to anyone in the vegan community. VeganLife Magazine, despite it's infancy, is a 60-odd page magazine that packs a fair punch. If you don't quite want to debate vegan ethical choices and just get the 'eff on with living your vegan life the way you live it then there's travelling as a vegan, a day in a life of a vegan within different UK cities (Oxford and Birmingham have been covered so far), nutrition, animal testing for cancer drugs, a breakdown of various type of plant milk, how to throw a vegan cheese and wine party, vegan tattooing, vegan parenting, recipes, foraging, eco-friendly yoga pants...I'm sure you get the jist.

No matter what 'kind' of vegan you consider yourself to be you should find yourself something within these pages and I hope this is a magazine that can appeal to the whole community despite the varying opinions and choices we have made (and occasionally argue about).  

Have you picked up the Vegan Life magazine? What kind of content do you think should be covered in a vegan magazine? 

Morag x

P.S. This post was written as PR for VeganLife magazine and I have received a digital subscription of the magazine for free. 
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The Aromatree Company Repair foot cream

aromatree repair foot cream

Once upon a long time ago, footcare was an area of beauty I spent a possibly abnormal amount of time focusing on. When I was about 14 I read an interview in what was probably Sneak Magazine with the Blazin' Squad (yep) and one of them stated that he was attracted to girls with nice feet because it meant 'she took care of the rest of her'. Whilst this advice now contradicts my feminist beliefs and I wouldn't want the next generation of girls taking said advice on, it stuck with me. In my late teens/early twenties I had a more practical reason to take care of my feet as I have gave them a good hammering through dance and cheer practice but then still required them to look presentable for various stage outfits which involved showing my bare feet.

But then it faltered and my feet now look a bit of a state (and I now spend most of my time in smart but heeled work shoes) but now I'm getting back into swimming which involved being near enough naked in public. So when The Aromatree Company got in contact asking if I fancied selecting a pot of their foot cream to try, I immediately selected the Repair Foot Cream* to get my feet smooth once again.

And I love this product. I can be very picky about my foot creams and they need to be thick in order to moisturise the thick skin on the soles of human feet. So far since being cruelty-free the only creams I've rated highly for the feet have been The Body Shop body butters and The Daily Smooth by Soap and Glory, however both their CF statuses have come in question (not enough to remove them from my list but enough to act with caution). This foot cream is thick but still light and airy (it has a mouse-like texture) and also has a refreshing feel on my feet. I also think it smells like almonds, even though it's actually patchoul, benzion, geranium and myrrh (but I like almonds). And it's non-greasy, which is what you want in a product you in use in your pre-work morning beauty routine.

Aromatree is a small independent company from Surrey and won an award in the Natural Health Beauty Award 2013 in the foot cream category. Their ingredients are listed on both the packaging and website. They also vocally state they do not test on animals and also answered the extra questions I sent them by e-mail. Aromatree has also been featured on natural beauty blog Sugarpuffish on several occasions, (as mentioned earlier, they do now include their ingredients on their website).

Have you ever tried anything from this small brand? What's your favourite foot cream? 

Morag x
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A big-ass gift-guide with all the ideas

Some Gillian Kyle at last year's Country Living Fair

We all have that person who is a pain to buy a Christmas present for. If you have one I feel your anguish, as I have two of them. Despite all the gift guides every year in blogland my method every year is to shop and shop and shop online and offline until something just stands out to me. However if you still haven't found that perfect gift for that picky person then here's my big-ass gift-guide full of all the ideas. It includes stuff I've received in the past, stuff I'd like to receive, stuff I've actually bought people in the past and some stuff I have no idea who would actually want to receive it.

Nine days to go guys...

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Vegan Christmas dinner at Red Onion

Grilled field mushroom bruschetta with onion marmalade

Christmas time and Christmas food - as you might have guessed - isn't every vegetarian's dream holiday. Turkey and other various birds plus gravy aren't my dietary staples and restaurants usually add on a typical veggie dish to their festive menu such as a mushroom risotto (tah, but I've eaten loads of those) or completely exclude anything not meat-based. Red Onion - as I've blogged about before - offer a vegan three course menu alongside their various other menus so the Glasgow veggie meet-up group I am a member of chose it for our festive shindig.

The first time I visited back in the spring I spoke quite highly of my experience and was looking forward to eating there again. Their vegan menu had also expanded to now include meat and cheese substitutes so there was a now good selection of creative dishes (no mushroom risottos). However this time I was left a tad disappointed as I didn't think it lived up to much on this occasion

Vegetable tagine with apricots, almonds and bejewelled cous cous

The food was delicious and the dishes were creative and not the usual vegan creations. However, as I mentioned in my Instagram post, I felt like I had room for more which is not what you want after a three course meal you paid £16 for. The restaurant wasn't exceedingly busy and I do appreciate that there was a big table of us however the former waitress in me who is usually sympathetic towards kitchen and waiting staff, did feel put out. The portions really were too small (and I remember them being bigger last time).

Winter berries and custard crumble.

I've been here twice now, and both times have left with different opinions. From listening to other people I'm aware that Red Onion on the whole gets quite mixed feedback (even though they state they are award-winning on their website). There's also a woman in the meet-up group who refuses to go to Red Onion as the one time she went she was informed something was gluten-free but when she got home her body was behaving as if she had gluten in her system.

Have you ever been to Red Onion? Are there any restaurants you've been to twice and held a different opinion each time? 

Morag x
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The Linkables

That image was taken from this article on intersectionality in the environmentalism movement.

I was introduced to So What Band is Your Boyfriend In? this week and it has now exceeded it's crowdfunding target. But you should still give it some love.

If you're always looking for new independent designers then read the comments on this post for many suggestions (from across the globe).

What's the difference between a relationship that builds a life for two people versus a relationship where two people build one life together?

If you think foreplay is something you do five minutes before the main act, then you might want to learn about all-day foreplay. (Essentially you're always sexy and affectionate with each other, even when you're not 'at it').

When feminists play Cards Against Humanity.

In light of the UK's possible new p0rn laws, protesters are planning a giant 'face-sitting' event outside Parliament.

Last week I mentioned a solar panel vibrator, this week I'm linking you to a wind up one. (NSFW)

I like my jewellery bright and bold but the contemporary pieces by Jenny Parker still caught my eye.

I love Not on the High Street and the gift-guides Eilidh has been putting together using their brands.

Lis pit together a stellar gift guide for...herself. Good on ya!

On that note, The Greedy Book is a cute way to provide your family and friends with your own wishlist.

It's on my apartment to-do list to get a plant for the bathroom, and it'll probably be one of these.

I also reckon my balcony could be doing with some solar powered fairy lights.

Some advice on telling a new partner about a past abortion.

Laci Green wrote about becoming an activist (and a sex educator and a blogger).

I've never lived with a partner but I have been dumped in one of my former bedrooms and couldn't unsee the spot where he told me he was ending it. I one day innocently re-arranged slightly because my landlord wanted to re-paint and it was such a break-though in my progress. I now wholeheartedly recommend decoration therapy (especially if, unlike me, you actually did live with them).

I spotted another vegan friendly café whilst walking around Glasgow recently.

Men's lifestyle boutique The Brotique are looking for indie designers to stock in their shop!

And if you fancy getting tipsy this Crimbo, here's a Santa hat drinking game that is lol.

Morag x
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More from the Lush Christmas range

lush christmas so white drummers drumming

Another pay day has passed since my last Lush Christmas Lush post, and that obviously means I had to stop by for some more. Not much more, as this is the season for giving afterall and not buying expensive bath products for myself. The Lush Christmas range is huuugggggeee and I knew I couldn't make it through the entire range, but here's a quicky review on two more products I picked up.

I had the flat to myself last weekend and that always means the deliberation of which bubble bar to buy in for some me time. As you all know, I'm about the softer scents of which there was no shortage of this Christmas. I spent a few minutes sniffing them (no exaggeration) before settling on Drummers Drumming, for no other reason that the physical design made me laugh. Along with my bath playlist (it's primarily Taylor Swift) and Arran Aromatic candle* I got in the tub for one of the most luxurious soaks of my life. I used the whole thing and my bath was literally overflowing. I just laid back and pretended I was in some kind of advert for a spa or something.

Second up was yet another shower gel to add to the floor of my shower because who doesn't need seven shower gels to pick from each morning? (I kind of wish I was lying about the seven shower gels, but I'm not). The apple scent of So White is very apparent, which is lovely but in all honesty it is a shower gel that doesn't get picked up that often. It's not very zingy which doesn't make it much use for early morning stars but I wouldn't say it smells like luxury so again I'm not likely to use it before a night out. I honestly think it has a summery smell to it (do apples make anyone think of Christmas?) so maybe it's one I'll put to the side right now and then pick it up again once March rolls in.

Have you managed to try the entire Lush Christmas range, or like me have you kept to only a few products?

Morag x
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A collection of gift guides by other bloggers

Guys, I had plans to do several gift guides and other Chritsmassy posts this year. I made a sterling effort last year (in my humble opinion) but life and stuff has cropped up this year. I posted a cruelty-free and independent beauty products guide last week and still have another gift-guide coming but don't hold onto your's practical and last minute ideas. Thankfully the blogging community has been actively inspiring each other with Crimbo ideas, and there's no shortage of gift-guides floating about. Here are some of my favourites!

If you have a bookworm to buy for check out the Tattooed Teadlady's book gift guide.

There's plenty of nice gifts I spotted for my own mum in Lianne's gift guide for mums.  

We all know I love indie and hand made, and this will be just the first of many giftguides which promote indie businesses. 

For any Secret Santa needs: gifts for under £10

Lis of Last Year's Girl was asked by Wow24/7 to put together a list of alternative albums to give to a music loving friend. 

If you've got anyone with dietary needs on your to-buy list then Sarah put together this Free From gift guide.

She also put together a natural and organic gift guide with beauty products and candles.

Charlotte has put together some hilarious personality-based gift guides for boss ass bloggers, netflix fans, crazy-cat ladies and bookish babes.

If you're a bit of a Grinch then Sheri has a gift-guide of top local talent and a guide for guys, which avoids anything spectacularly Chirstmassy.

Amber put together a massive gift-guide of green beauty products.

Holiday gift guide for him.

Tips on shopping small this Christmas from Wardrobe Conversations.

Morag x
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Making my own Christmas cards

christmas card crafting scottish blogger

One of the benefits to having a small family is that my Christmas shopping list is not nearly as insane as some other people I know. Every year the only people I always buy for are my parents and my Grandmother (despite this I still haven't completed this year's shopping). Since this gives me a bit more free time I decide to make an extra special effort with these people and make them their own personalised cards.

This Christmas marks the third year I've been making Christmas cards so it's not a very lengthy tradition. It started when a then co-worker who is a really big Christmas person said he loved handmade touches. He had previously showed me a picture of how he had creatively decorated his window that year in time for festivities and I re-created it on a card. I also didn't want the other member of our team to be left out so I crafted him up one too. Turns out I enjoyed it and made my family cards too. And thus a tradition was born.

Said co-worker has moved on since then so this year its my mum, dad, grandmother and BFF who are receiving a Morag-made card, and I spent most of last night putting them together. I still have a few finishing touches to add and I'm only showing a quick glance in the photo above of my Gran's card as the chance of her reading my blog are the same as her chances of actually getting home internet. My parents occasionally stop by and my BFF 'reads every post' (hello!) so I'll need to keep pictures of their's privately tucked away until Christmas Day.

I'm by no means a professional crafter and these are purely for the personal touch. Therefore, I don't have that much of a tutorial. My general advice would be to just have fun with it. Practice drawing on spare sheets of paper first. Have an idea of what you'll do before you shop. I shop in the two art stores on Glasgow's Queen Street (including the new Cass Art). Have a look on Etsy for inspiration but remember to never directly copy. A pack that contains a glue pen and loose glitter is the best. UHU is better than Prit Stick. Remember what kind of card that person would want to receive, rather than what you would want to give them. I also bought a 'make your own stamps' kit this year and it was harder than I thought but I got my desired result (in the end).

And remember to find a sensible place in your home and put down newspapers like you do in primary school. Because my bedsheets and carpet now have fake snow and glitter on them.

Do you ever make your own cards, Christmas or otherwise?

Morag x

P.S. You catch a glance of previous cards in this post and this post.
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Folk Café in Dundee

folk cafe wrap and tea

I know it seems like a cliché but every time I go to check out a new restaurant in Dundee I seem to be hungover. This time was no different. My insides still felt a bit sensitive so I fancied something a bit lighter, café style. I had heard good things about Folk Café (previously Parlour Café) including that it has a good veggie selection and whilst it doesn't mark out any food as vegan, the foodie grapevine had informed me that I would wouldn't be left hungry.

I had the falafel, hummus, salad, pickles and tahini dressing in flat bread. This was my first time having tahini dressing and it was by far my favourite part of the wrap. I found this recipe online if you're unsure as to what it is. There was no physical tea menu however the waitress rattled off a big list of available teas so I knew I was in my kind of place. I just wish I could remember what kind of tea I had...

folk cafe menu

The place itself was very cute, and had decor that was clearly thought through. Unfortunately the place is small and on a Saturday afternoon was very busy so I couldn't get a picture of the whole place without potentially annoying someone. Me and Alan got the last available table and we were so close to the next table we might have well been sitting with them. Maybe a Saturday afternoon wasn't the best time to go, maybe if I'm through during a weekday...

Folk Café also do event catering and from the looks of their Facebook page they have been doing well. So if you need some food for your event in Dundee I'd give them a look.

Morag x

P.S. If it's good enough for Paul Hollywood, it's good enough for you.
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The Linkables

Evanna Lynch in a 2008 fashion shoot. I choose this photo cause the colours remind me of Ravenclaw...

Alice included me in her Friday Favourites post last week. Go say hi and check out her other picks.

If you're struggling on what to get the men in your life for Christmas, check out this gift guide by Nadia.

And Sheri has put together a gift guide for the Grinch in your life.

Far Left Buffy is the best Facebook Page in forever. But you need to be a Buffy fan to get it. And a lefty.

These solar system tree decorations are all your Christmas tree requirs this year.

The November checklist for gardeners.

I agree: abusive student relationships are capable of flying under the radar.

It's blunt but I agree and there's a study to back it: It's not your children holding your career back. It's your husband. (Though I do not agree with 'marrying down', ever).

A teacher's letter to parents who ask about THAT kid.

Some blogging advice on working with PRs, from the viewpoint of a PR girl

When I was a student also partaking in 300 extra-curricular activities I had a boderline reliance on my Filofax. It's since fallen apart but as my life gets busier alongside my full-time job (the background running of my blog needs structure) I'm thinking of reinvesting. Here's Gala Darling's guide to how to she organises hers.

Molly Crabapple's 14 rules for creative success in the internet age.

If you're a vegan living in the South West region of England you should be following @Dorset_Vegan

And something else for my vegan English readers (but this time in the North West) places for vegans and vegetarians to eat in Manchester.

For fun: what your zodiac sign says about your social media habits.

Drama can be addicting and we can't always tell we're causing it or inviting it but if you think you might be here's a guide to lessening the amount of it in your life.

8 inexpensive but amazing countries to live in for a year.

Some women get an abortion for health reasons. Or because they already have three kids. Or because they're young. But someone women get an abortion just because they don't want a baby. And it's as legitimate a reason as any.

If you have someone in your life who just won't stop farting, gift them this at Christmas so they'll at least smell like roses instead.

What it feels like to be diagnosed with HIV. The article touches on it, but please get tested. I know for a fact I'm HIV-negative, do you know your status?

How online harassment was turned in art.

25 benefits of gaming while male.

Keeping with the social problems in geek culture theme with this piece on racism and fat-shaming in the cosplaying community.

The piece above also links to an article on racism when choosing cosplay costumes. I don't cosplay but love to dress up at Halloween and one costume I've been meaning to do for years is Rogue from X-Men, even though my favourite character is actually Storm. (I also don't like doing female-versions of male characters).

Annnnnd, a solar powered vibrator. (NSFW, obviously).

Morag x
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Christmas gift sets by small cruelty-free brands

Check out the Scottish Fine Soaps Company Facebook page for the 12 gifts of Christmas campaign.
I know every blogger and their pug loves a Lush gift set. Or an Liz Earl gift set. Or a Urban Decay eyeshadow palette. However Christmas is the perfect time to support an independent brand and small beauty companies based in the UK are much more likely to be cruelty-free than the big players.

So get the moolah out, gift your beauty loving friends an ethical product and help a small-business owner keep doing what they love. And maybe sneak in something for yourself...

The Scottish Fine Soaps Company

When a co-worker from India was travelling back for some family time he asked for my recommendations on UK-based beauty products for his beauty-loving relatives. Along with the usual cruelty-free high street favourites I recommended The Scottish Fine Soaps Company to him. And the result? His relatives demanded that he brings more of their products back with him next time.

I myself even got introduced to this brand when my uncle gifted me their Au Lait Pamper Kit a few years back.


A lovely brand I recently fell in love with when I got sent their body butter and beauty balm. The owner offers three gift sets of this natural and gentle skincare range. Sarah of SugarPuffFish recommends it for eczema sufferers.

Conscious Skincare

I'm yet to try this Welsh skincare brand, however it has long been on my to-try list. So that's a bit of a hint that I'd like one of their gift sets under my tree...


This is not a brand I've personally tried but they were recommended to me when I sent the tweet out about this post. They do a range of organic beauty products which you can order together to create a custom hamper.

Bulldog Skincare

A brand for the men now, and a brand that I have personally purchased gifts from for the men in my life. They are certified both by Cruelty-Free International and The Vegetarian Society, and their website states that their products are suitable for vegans.


I reviewed the hand cream and lip balm a few months ago and gave it a bit of a so-so review. However my opinion does appear to be the minority so maybe it's worth giving the extensive range of gift sets from this Jersey based company a look in.

White Rabbit Skincare

This is a small local company based out of Kilmarnock (a town not far south of Glasgow) that me and many other #cfbloggers rave about. Whilst the owner isn't doing giftsets per se she does do customisable travel sets and party favours if you fancy getting something from this Scottish, cruelty-free and vegan brand.

Morag x

P.S. Remember to check out my gift guides from previous years: gifts for the well-groomed cruelty-free male, stocking fillers for gingers and red heads, gift guide for a Scottish fashionista, stocking fillers for kitschy gardeners and stocking fillers for a foodie who loves a drink.
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