mo'adore: cruelty-free beauty ∙ vegan food ∙ glasgow/dundee lifestyle: June 2014

27 June 2014

The Linkables



The Guardian website now has a vegan section.

How many languages do developers need to learn?

If you're in Dundee tonight without any plans may I suggest the night my friend DJ's at?

Games of Thrones recreated by pugs because, well, why not?

Still on the important topic of pugs, here are some pugs looking smug.

And on the topic of Games of Thrones (kind of) here is the Queen looking unimpressed at things (including GoT)

Animals photo bombing (including a pug)

I knew Japan had cat café but apparently they also have goat cafés.

Cruelty-free Cottage writes about the clean-up cruelty pledge.

A list of some cruelty-free beauty blogs.

10 horrifying Japanese urban legends.

The 10 cities in the world with the highest murder rates (I've been to one of them)

I always love Jessica Valenti but this piece on what constitutes being a slut is brilliant (anecdote: someone called me a slut - technically hussy - at age fourteen because of the way I walked)

40 of the most powerful social issue adds.

Uncle Roys is a (almost) vegan online shop I found recently.

Whilst looking for Nelly videos on Youtube (yes) I came across this one of his surprise appearance at a Taylor Swift concert in his hometown of St Louis.

Colorful Liquid Splashes Captured at 1/3500th of a Second Look Like Floating Sculptures

10 vegetables you can make burgers with.

5 things you shouldn't say to women who don't want kids.

A guide to female fashion photographers.

If you're wanting to understand the different accents of the UK, this video accurately portrays of 17 of them.

Tashina of Logical Harmony is doing her first brand collaboration.

I've only just started to get into podcasts (late to the party, I know) but here is a big list of ones aimed at creatives and bloggers to keep me busy.

I'm a nosey so-and-so who loves reading about people's morning routines and I have no idea why I didn't come up with this blog idea first.

How to strike up conversation with anyone.

I don't check Google Analytics nearly as much as I should, but here's a guide for those of who you do.

If you say "I'm so OCD" because you use different colours of coat hangers for work and casual clothes then this is taking the piss out of you.

Yes: when a day job is the dream job.

A writer's response to being asked by the Huffington Post to write for free.

Finally, get your iPhone to realise you don't mean 'ducking'.

Morag x


25 June 2014

In the pool with Robbie Renwick and Strathmore Water













Professional photos: Jeff Holmes.
Sexy ootd: Adidas

I don't mention it much on my blog but if you've read every post ever and follow me on Twitter or Instagram then you'll be aware that I'm more into sports that anyone would initially presume and that I'm all over this Commonwealth Games stuff that's about to hit Glasgow. So when Commonwealth sponsor Strathmore Water got in contact to invite me along for a training session with Commonwealth swimmer, Robbie Renwick, as part of their Do More campaign my (somewhat) athletic backside was all over it.

I was nervous as I haven't been in a pool in about, say, three years (and even had to rush out to buy a new swimming costume). However - along with netball and dance - swimming was once one of my main sports that I partook in at some point in my life so I just hoped that I still knew how not to drown and stuff.

But when we met Robbie and he explained more about the Do More Campaign we were rest-assured that we would only be doing swimming techniques that we were comfortable with and could add to our own swim sessions. The goal of the Do More Campaign isn't to turn people into Commonwealth athletes but to simple get people in Scotland moving and make it a bigger part of our culture to participate in sports (more on that later!).

We had an hour in the pool with Robbie where we did some basic freestyling (his own stroke of choice), some breaststroke, and worked on some drills where we did breast stroke arms and freestyle kicks. We also did some team relays which my team lost and we were punished with some of the dreaded butterfly stroke. He also taught us some techniques such as looking at the black lines on the bottom of the pool (to stay straight and stay streamlined by keeping your head down), to keeping a strong core and also how to turn at the end of the each lane and kick off again from the wall (which myself and Stephen were magnificent at and don't let anyone else tell you otherwise).

After our swim (and a girly chat in the changing room) we were invited up to the press room for a wee natter with Strathmore Water and Robbie. We had a chat about the culture of sport in Scotland and how it can be difficult to get into sport here as it's not built into the education curriculum and only people who come from families who can pay for sports coaching have the chance to find a sport they really enjoy. I went to what was an average run-of-the-mill state school where the P.E. teachers thought a run about playing rounders was an acceptable lesson plan (there were sports teams however only kids who were already familiar and good at the sport were invited onto them which, again, were the kids who came from backgrounds where the coaching could be paid for). In contrast one of the other bloggers, Daft Mamma, told us about her upbringing in Canada and how sports are very ingrained into their culture and is very much built into the education system. And the chat also headed onto how some people in Scotland can't swim which could even be a life saving skill at one point (even I personally know people who can't swim).

We also had a chat about Robbie's nutrition - which is obviously that of a professional athlete but it can't hurt for us normal people to know about it. He's still a believer in having cakes and treats as long as they are in moderation and are part of a wider healthy lifestyle, and provided a titbit that Nandos and Wagamama are both good for healthy meals when eating out. His diet is on the high-carb side, and he does eat more protein than average because of all his training (and he can spend about £120 a week on food!).

And as for his training to be fit enough at Commonwealth level? Two and half hours swim session practising his techniques, then a one and a half hours in the gym three times a week to do some strength training. Then he meets up with his physio and massage therapists to make sure there aren't any undetected injuries - and then he also has a sports psychologist to help him with his mindset.

We also had a conversation about hair removal - because you know he's a swimmer and stuff. And he prefers shaving and isn't a fan of waxing! But he did reiterate that shaving streamlines swimmer and can give them that very important millisecond lead!


I'd like to give a a big thank you to Strathmore for inviting me along to this - it was certainly the most interesting opportunity I've had from blogging (my Facebook notifications were going crazy when I cross-posted this Instagram photo of me and Robbie). And thanks to Robbie for taking time out of his training. I'm really excited about the Commonwealth and this event definitely help get me in the mood (and made up for me having to say no to my offer to perform in the closing ceremony because rehearsals clashed with my tickets...true story). Also thank you for the goody bag with Strathmore branded sports stuff which should come in handy for netball (and maybe swimming).

Morag x

22 June 2014

5 blogs I've been reading for years

Over the years that I've been emerged in the blogging community my RSS reader has had many a blog added to them, but also has had many a blog go missing, deleted or just not quite fitting my taste any more. 'Cause we are talking about ten years here. 

Below I've rounded-up five blogs that have stood the test of time for me. Some of them are extremely well-known; some not-so-much. Whilst I don't read some of them as obsessively as I once did, I've never given up on them and still check by with some regularity to see what they've been saying. 

Gala Darling

Gala Darling probably needs little introduction. Originally I followed because I was seventeen and though she 'was totally cool' with her pink hair and overall colourful dress sense. However she ended up becoming a huge inspiration in terms of my life outlook in my late teens and early twenties and even had me flicking through her archives looking for advice when I went through a bad break-up in late 2010. I still have her Love & Sequins podcast on my iPod to this day.

TwentyFour Carat

I can remember reading this blog by a 20-something Canadian back before I went to university. Even though it has developed into a fitness blog - now called IFuckingLoveFitness - from what was originally a personal/lifestyle blog I still dip into it now and then to see what Katy has been up to (which included a recent trip to UK shores!).

Feministing

This hasn't always necessarily been my favourite feminist read however it is the one that has stood the test of time whilst other feminist blogs merged, shut their metaphorical doors or altered their direction. (The F Word became my favourite read at some point during university, mainly because of it's UK focus).

Logical Harmony

Now considered one of the most influential cruelty-free beauty and lifestyle bloggers in the world (and I don't even think I'm exaggerating) I can remember obsessively reading Tashina's blog before either us became conscious consumers (she used to run a link round up each week of companies offering samples and I'd hurry to order any available in the UK). I halted reading at some point during university and when I made my cruelty-free switch in 2012 I accidentally stumbled upon her blog again.

YesandYes

Sarah's blog hasn't been on my RSS feed as long as some of the others on my list however I remember the evening (in my second year of university when I was 19) I discovered her blog (because that's how much I instantly fell in love) and flicking through her archives to find more! And like Gala Darling her posts became a great source of inspiration for me as I began to navigate adulthood and what ended up being a difficult few final weeks of my teenage years.

Morag x

20 June 2014

The Linkables


I laughed far too hard when this came up on my FB newsfeed. 

We all know about subscription boxes by now (yes?) but this is probably the best one created for foodies (who live in America)

I'm a hayfever sufferer and I'm slightly cynical about using nutrition but it's worth a read.

This week the cruelty-free NYX Cosmetics got bought over by the not-so-cruelty-fee L'Oreal.

A small travel guide to Inverness.

The top digital agencies in the UK.

I've been keeping pretty hush hush on Scottish independence but there is an issue I have with the draft constitution that I'll put out there.

And, Vegans for Independence is a thing (not a very active thing, but a thing)

And in other political news: Labour pledges to provide everyone with their own owl.

Engraved rolling pins for fancy baking.

There's nothing wrong with a complimenting a woman on her appearance, but you should remember to compliment aspects of her personality and achievements too.

Related: beauty is overrated.

New on the sports RSS Feed: a blog dedicated to women's football.

The subway of New York was pretty gritty back in the day.

33 powerful animal ad campaigns that tell the uncomfortable truth

Cats in cosplay costumes. You're welcome.

YSF Magazine (it stands for Young, Free and Self-Employed) has some great digital marketing advice (even for us smaller bloggers) .

Next weekend I'll be in Dundee to get down to some socially conscious hip-hop beats played by my good pal (you should come)

I'll also be using the weekend to stop by Killer Kouture, a new alternative clothing store opening in Dundee on the Saturday.

More Dundee news, the 2014 Dare to be Digital teams have been selected.

Ask a Homo is a video series by Slate designed as a safe place for straight people to ask gay people (respectful) questions.

And in Aberdeen, there's Code the City.

I loved the Nelly and Kelly song when it first came out, and even I didn't spot this blunder in the music video.

What to serve up at a vegan picnic.

A blog where offspring talk about their dads being in bands = a thing!

I'm not even American, and even I already understood everything in this post (so when will other people?)

Want to see Sir-Mix-A-Lot duet with a symphony for some Baby Got back? Of course you do!

Finally, bears pondering life.

Morag x

19 June 2014

Punjaban Curry Sauces (and Supernature rapeseed oil)

punjaban curry sauces

punjaban butter chicken sauce

A few weeks ago you'll remember I received a press pass for the Ideal Home Show Scotland then I wrote a blog post prattling on about what I got in a goody bag and what I picked up with my own money. Amongst the stuff I spent my own moolah on was two jars of the Punjaban curry sauces (Butter Chicken and Keema curry to be exact).

The stall was heaving with people and I was originally going to only buy one jar but the guy said I'd be the first customer to do so, therefore he struck me a deal for two jars for £6 in order to keep his goal. Whilst one of the jars has an animal in the title, the stall drew me in with their signs saying all sauces were vegan. The recipes on the back mention meat for creating the curry however you can add whatever you feel like to these things (I go for mushrooms, onions, peppers and some kind of beans normally) - showing a company can cater to vegans without alienating the meat-eating majority ;) As the labels show they are also gluten and nut free however I'll let foodies who belong to those segments decide for themselves if this brand ticks their boxes.

As far as the two sauces themselves go my preferred option was the Butter Chicken. Whilst they both say medium on the jars, I'd say only the Butter Chicken is what I'd expect of a mild curry sauce. Whilst eating the Keema Curry I found myself stopping and gulping water every five minutes. Whilst my tolerance for spicy foods has went up in the past year, I'm still a korma girl at heart and can't imagine purchasing anything from this range marked 'hot'.

Also thrown into the picture is the Supernature garlic rapeseed oil which I also bought at the Ideal Home Show and used to stir-fry my vegetables. It's nice, and lovely, and full of garlic. And I've been using it to fry a lot of stuff recently. Very tempted to order in some of their other flavours.

Morag x

16 June 2014

Removing make-up with B.Cosmetics

b cosmetics make up remover

I know B.Cosmetics is a brand I haven't previously been that nice about. Whilst it's great to have a cruelty-free and 100% vegan beauty brand so readily available on the British high street, I've never felt able to sing praises in terms of the quality of their products. However, despite my reviews on some stuff from their make-up collection I am really happy to confirm that they have some products that are excellent for removing make-up.

First up we have the Micellar Water, which has been raved about in cruelty-free circles and is tipped as a dupe for the much coveted Bioderm water (I've never looked into whether Bioderm is cruelty-free or not). It's water based so leaves no 'oily' feel on my face and the formula doesn't sting my eyes. I would still say the Pixi make-up remover is my favourite of all time however for a cheap product available in Superdrug this B.Cosmetics one is a great alternative (and vegan, I've okay'd Pixi as cruelty-free but not sure of vegan credentials as of yet).

Second up we have the make-up remover wipes, which are my favourite face wipes ever. I know you're not meant to use face wipes so rest assured I don't use these daily and do a proper cleanse of my face at night to remove all my foundation. However when I'm heading across to Dundee for a night out they are great just to throw in my bag without taking up much room (if I took my proper evening skincare routine with me it would take up quite a bit of my bag!) and for taking off my make-up either that night or 'morning after' when I'm a bit worse for wear. A feature of these I really like is the plastic flap as most face wipes come with some flimsy flap that is difficult to reseal (and can come apart and be lost!) letting the wipes dry up.

There's still a few other pieces in the B. range which relate to removing make-up which I'll no doubt pick up at some point - however right now I am very happy with these two products being a major part of my evening beauty regime.

Have you tried these two products? Any products from the B.Cosmetics range you think I should try?

Morag x

13 June 2014

The Linkables


I actually like football, but still....all the lolz. 

The Little British Company is a shop I found recently for cute knick knacks.

I did a guest this week for Aimee Belle on resources for going cruelty-free.

The Scottish netball team have announced their Commonwealth team line-up.

A linguist on the story of gendered pronouns.

Geek Girls Guide is one of my new favourite websites (even if it isn't really that geeky)

My New Roots is another new favourite.

If you've ever struggled with perfectionism.

10 creative uses for wallpaper.

Product names that didn't translate very well.

If you're committed to a vegan, fair trade and organic lifestyle then all areas of your life will be affected (see: French Letter condoms)

I already knew this but it's worth pointing out the difference between red carpet make-up and everyday make-up.

Useless information: the 100 most edited articles on Wikipedia.

31 things the Olsen twins taught us about life (it was there birthday this week dontyouknow?)

The best of Buzzfeed this week: the hottest bearded men of the world cup.

I'm not a gamer but have many friends who are and this wasn't surprising to me and is probably the reason I tend to be friends with gamers (and have dated several).

How to use Instagram to market your restaurant.

This week the cider brand Rekorderlig admitted they use gelatin in their brewing process despite reassuring vegan customers they were suitable.

We clearly still have a long way to go until people can use the correct pronouns when it comes to transgendered individuals.

Watch Weezer's drummer catch a Frisbee without missing a beat.

And finally, guinea pig to become father to 400 after breaking into female enclosure.

Morag x

12 June 2014

Aberdeen: Terroir Deli in Cults

terroir deli cults aberdeen

Whilst I'm off work, and in Aberdeen, I usually like to take some time to explore the shops and the city centre during the week whilst the streets a bit quieter. After a trip into town for some new work clothes my mum picked me up and decided to drive me out to an area of Aberdeen I'm not as familiar with for a bit an explore.

We headed out into the Cults area of Aberdeen which sticks out to the west of the city and is generally considered the 'posher' end of town in hunt of a few independent shops. After raking through dresses in the Chest and Heart Foundation shop and an independent shop I can't remember the name of where I decided I couldn't justify an £80 price tag for what could have been the most beautiful jacket I've ever seen (f you can justify that then this nameless shop is along Great Western Road) me and mum stopped for a bit to eat and a latte in a small café in the same area called Terroir Deli.

terroir Deli cults aberdeen hummus platter

It's a cute and tiny café which sells the generic stuff a café would - there was no soya milk option so I had myself a regular coffee with a shot of caramel syrup whilst my mum went for a latte, and we shared the hummus platter. I didn't take a note of what was on the plate whilst there - but from the photo I can see some toast, some kind of fancy melba bread, olives, artichokes, salad and sun dried tomatoes (there's also also glass bottles of water on all tables).

terroir deli cults tea

jams in terroir deli cults aberdeen

Despite the simplicity of what was on offer on the counter, the real selling point of this place was that it doubles up as a food shop. And by food shop I mean it sells just about every kind of tea. And jam. And it sells crackers in a variety of flavours. Oh and snails. Yes, snails. Naturally I didn't buy a packet but if you're living in Aberdeen and are just having one big snail craving - this is apparently where you need to head.

And there's cute bathrooms:

bathroom terroir cults aberdeen

hot water terroir deli cults aberdeen

onions bathroom cults aberdeen terroir deli

Which called for a selfie:

terroir deli bathrooms mirror

I wouldn't head along to Cults just for a cup of coffee or a hummus platter. But of you live in (or are randomly visiting) the Cults/Garthdee/Bieldside/Mannofield area of Aberdeen (maybe you attend RGU?) I'd stop by for a wee coffee and a platter after looking at over-priced jackets on the same street.

Or you could head out there after returning from holiday in France.

Morag x

11 June 2014

Updates to my cruelty-free brand list



I'll admit that I don't keep on top of my cruelty-free list as much as I could, however I've been pushing myself a bit recently and had the week off work last week so made use of this time to fire off some e-mails (you might have also noticed I created a vegan beauty list and a vegan food brands list but both lists are in their infancy so I'll touch on them in the future). 

However, as my list is getting pretty long and I sometimes struggle to keep a track of what e-mails I've sent and received and what's been added and when (I really need to create a spreadsheet) so decided that every now and then I'll do a post to let you guys interested in cruelty-free know of new additions.

American Crew

American Crew is a high end male grooming range which is available in high end retailers (seen them plopping about Look Fanatastic when I was making an order recently) and is also used in salons (I learnt of them when I was researching a Dundee barber which seems to be all the talk right now). Unfortunately they have no public statement and haven't replied to my direct e-mail (which I sent three weeks ago now).

Added to: no statement

Beautisol

I'm not aware of this company being available in the UK so I decided not to dig too deep and didn't directly e-mail but the statement on their website certainly doesn't feel strong enough for me to endorse them. I know they are rated as CF (and vegan) on other blogs, but meh, wasn't feeling their statement personally.

Added to: ambiguous statement

Becca

I had heard from a friend they were cruelty-free and having seen them on Logical Harmony's list I had very high hopes. However, after I was unable to find a statement on their website I e-mailed them regarding their animal testing policy and if they carried any vegan products, to which I haven't received a response.

Added to: no statement

Milani

I actually hadn't heard of this brand until Logical Harmony's post on the mix up of their policies between different members of their customer service team. Like most cruelty-free users I'm writing them off until a clearer message begins to emerge.

Added to: companies with ambiguous statements

Urban Fudge

I am happy to report - in what is a fairly depressing list - that Urban Fudge replied to my e-mailed with a very detailed and reassuring statement. I had noticed 'against animal testing' on their products in stores however they lacked a website statement (on what, in fairness, is a fairly basic website) but they replied to my direct e-mail within two days. On the flip side, however, they didn't handle the vegan question as well and mumbled something about 'using plant derivatives where possible' which makes me believe they might have vegan products but if they do it isn't on purpose (and they wouldn't be able to tell which ones).

Added to: cruelty-free

Zelens

If you're experienced in cruelty-free you'll know that a company which touts itself as natural and eco-friendly can still have questionable animal welfare policies. When I was reading about sustainability on their website but couldn't find anything to do with animal testing alarm bells were immediately going off. Shockingly enough, my e-mail hasn't been replied to.

Added to: no statement

Have you ever researched any of these companies yourself? Have any other information?

Morag x


10 June 2014

Southside of Glasgow, rape culture and #YesAllWomen



We've all known for a while that I identify as a feminist. But what you might not know is that I live on the southside of Glasgow, and consider myself a proud southsider. I may have not grown up here - or anywhere near Glasgow - but I feel a strong connection to the southside and even if I move to a different flat I'd still very like to keep my feet firmly on this side of the Clyde. So when the news came up on TV that one of the one two many rapes in Glasgow within the past fortnight happened within the near-by area of Govanhill my jaw dropped and it punched me more than these things usually would. But when I was alerted to the These Streets Were Made For Walking event that took place last night I was also filled with a strange pride at where I've chosen to call home, as this wasn't just a feminist issue but also a community one. 

I don't think there's much about my feminist beliefs that I haven't already spoken about personally or shared via an article in my Linkables posts by someone who could say it more eloquently than myself. But this walk was about a particularly huge feminist issue than some people just aren't quite getting: rape is wrong. Women are not sex puppets for men. Women can decide for themselves who they want to sleep with. When a women wears a cute dress it's probably because she thinks the dress is cute, not because she wants your 'compliments' in the form of a degrading whistle. Women can sleep with zero partners within a lifetime or 300, and both are a-okay. Because a women who has had a high amount of sexual partners should never be labelled a slut, and is still entitled to rebuff the advances of any man she doesn't want t sleep with (regardless of the offers she has accepted). Women are not defined by how intact their hymens are because virginity is a bullshit myth with no medical definition. If a women is slurring and struggling to stand up straight after a night at the bar, it means she is too drunk to make the decision about sleeping with someone and should be left alone.

Because women should be able to walk the streets alone at night. In the dark. In a short skirt. Drunk. And not be raped. 

Because it's the year 2014 and we still need to say all this. And us 'fucking killjoy feminists' won't shut up until all these issues can be shelved firmly in the history books. 

I've never been raped. But with the increase of rapes and one of them happening within a half hour distance of my flat, well, you never know. However I know how it feels to be groped in a club. To be wolf-whistled in the street. To jump into a cluster of houses on my way home at night in order to lose the guy who had been waving at me when I turned round to look some hundred yards behind me. To have the drinks on the table spiked when I was not long 18 because me & my friends had the audacity to ignore some guys and then be told to leave the bar - as well as the guys - when we complained. To actually hear guys discussing my outfit right behind me as I got cash out a cash machine (it was this outfit, and they didn't approve). To be told I'm a good looking girl but I don't dress in a way that is attractive to men. Because I know it's easier to pretend one of my male friends is actually my boyfriend in order to rid myself of a suitor at the bar, but also get nagged at after because they only possible reason a male friend would do this is because he fancies me and I'm a bitch for friendzoning him. Or because I know what it's like to have a creep fancy me and not leave me alone (maybe never raped me, but did tell people he was with me and also stormed out a room when another guy started flirting with me). All these incidents mean there are men in this world who don't fully comprehend what consent means.

And as the #YesAllWomen hashtag shows, I'm not alone in these experiences. Rape is the extreme end of the scale but women live in a rape culture everyday where too many men don't fucking understand what consent, or just not being a fucking creep, means. Elliot Rodgers was also the extreme end of the scale but the idea that women owe men sex and are wrong if they 'withhold it' isn't unique to his fucked up male-privileged brain - it's all over the fucking place and women live in a society that perpetuates that idea every single fucking day. 

As Laci Green said "it's not all men, IT'S JUST ONE TOO FUCKING MANY!" (Some of the men in my life are tremendous allies to the feminist movement and that is the reason I fucking love them, however they would never use the #NotAllMen hashtag because they realise it's just making it all about men again, and this is about women and they let women lead this conversation). 

And this is why the walk was so important. It's 2014 kids. And this ends now. Feminism has went mainstream and with good reason. Women are sick of everything I listed above. And despite the anger around these issues (you should see the speed my fingers are typing at) the walk was peaceful despite a crowd that would put football matches to shame. There were women, men, children and dogs. There were different subcultures and different socio-economic classes. There were different races and religions. All to say the same thing - rape is wrong and we shouldn't walk these streets in fear. 

Because rape is wrong. And rape culture is wrong. (Wrong!)

And the walk was a step in the right direction, and I'm proud to have been part of it and how well it did. And it gave me hope that those of us who want rape culture to end can do it. And proud that it shows what the southside is made of. 

Morag x

8 June 2014

Gigs // Seen Live Recently






Backstreet Boys at The Hydro in Glasgow

It's been a while since my last Gig Audit post. This isn't because I haven't been to any gigs recently - I've been to plenty - but because I'm never sure what exactly to say when I write up review of live acts. Do I talk about their set order? Or what they wore? Or their props? I'm never too sure.

However, music and specifically going to see live music is a big part of life and I want that to be reflected on my blog however because of the vast amount of posts I want to write it gets put to the back burner. However I've decided to wait for a few gigs to pass then write a big round-up of thoughts on whether they are worth it or not. Starting with the period from March to now.

Backstreet Boys / All Saints

I was thinking of giving this its own full post because it was just that fucking good. I'm both a massive BSB and All Saints fan (it's difficult to say which act I was more excited for) and I was giddy at work all that day waiting for 7pm. They did not disappointed and are definitely two acts I wholeheartedly recommend seeing live if you're a fan. I managed to get quite good tickets and could clearly see the boys and don't think I had ever been more starstruck in my life.

Red City Radio / Perdition

A lesser known band from America that you may not have heard of (or might, if you checked out my March playlist). Held in Audio which is in the Tunnels near Central Station - the place smelt like a fucking tunnel - they were everything I wanted them to be with brilliant amounts of energy and I was extremely impress by their support act Perdition and fired up Spotify when I got in home in order to hear more.

Katy Perry / Icona Pop 

And yes, here we go. Everyone I knew was either going or was jealous that I was going. I was skint at the time tickets went on sale so had to grab the cheapest back-of-the-Hydro tickets (which were still more expensive than my near-the-front BSB tickets) but Katy does put on an extravagant show so I could still see plenty of what was going on (we're talking six foot high dresses and hanging from a diamond here). But I don't know, I'm a big Katy fan and was really excited but, I don't know, I actually can't say she's a live act you must see before you die. Meh.

Brand New

I think I tweeted a few things afterwords and my opinion similarly reflects Lily's. I'm not a huge Brand New fan and only grabbed a ticket after seeing a friend advertising her boyfriend's spare ticket on Twitter and thought 'might as well'. This was one of these gigs where almost everyone I knew turned up and it did seem to divide opinions - some people said it was the best gig they'd been to whilst others shared my annoyance over Jude Law and The Semester Abroad being left out of the set list.

This was however my first tie in the Barrowland which is definitely the best gig venue I've been to in Glasgow.

Were you at any of these gigs? What did you think of them? 

Morag x

7 June 2014

Cruelty-free cleaning: ASDA Eco-Friendly range

Asda eco-friendly cleaning products

I mentioned early this year in my cruelty-free post that I wanted to make the transition into using only cruelty-free cleaning materials. And obviously my decision to review the products I'm trying will be the most riveting thing on your RSS feed, however these things are important to me and my ethics (and I imagine the ethics of a lot of my readers). However this isn't something I've researched in any particular depth so my knowledge is rusty and I extremely recommend anyone interested in switching over does their own research (and I'd welcome any resources anyone has on the issue!).

First up is some stuff from the ASDA brand, a lot of which I have been using for ages. Even though I've moved out it's still my mum who typically buys my cleaning stuff because despite being 23 I still take my laundry straight out the dryer just so I don't have to iron. My mum doesn't buy the eco range at home but she just knows how super-hip her daughter is and buys the eco-friendly range for her.

Washing Up Liquid
There's not much to say about washing up liquid if I'm honest. It works, it foams, this one smells of very little, it lasts for ages, and it keeps my dishes clean. I'd happily re-purchase this again and again.

Double Concentrated Liquid Wash
Another product I've been using a while however a big draw back is that I feel as though I have to use more of this than I would some other brands in order to get my clothes to a level of freshness I'm happy with. Even though I'm usually happiest with stuff that doesn't smell of much, I like myself a sweetly scented liquid for my clothes so I'll be hunting something a different product out in future. But I will happily finish this and the second bottle I have of the stuff until it finishes.

Toilet Cleaner
The kind of product that I leave in my toilet over night. My toilet seems clean - I'm not sure how exactly I'm meant to measure the effectiveness of a toilet cleaner if I'm honest.

Multi-Surface Cleaner
Saving the best for last. Except not. I really don't recommend this product and I have actually stopped using it in both my bathroom and kitchen and retracted to using something else I still had lying about. I found I had to scrub much harder with this than I would with all other surface cleaners I've used in the past - and I also found grime building up quickly again, which makes me wonder if it really was getting right through the grime in the first place...

Would buy again: washing up liquid and toilet cleaner.

Wouldn't buy again: liquid wash and multi-surface cleaner.

Have you went cruelty-free with your cleaning materials? Are there any products you think I should be trying? 

Morag x


6 June 2014

The Linkables



For any Glasgow dwellers (especially Southsiders) there will a peaceful march on Monday in response to the the recent sexual assaults in the area.

If you're thinking of complimenting someone on apparent weight loss I wholeheartly agree that it might best to think twice.

Grant Nicholas, the front man of the impossibly perfect Feeder, has launched a solo career.

Best satire of the week: Daily Mail to become top-shelf newspaper to keep children from extremism.

A lesson on how Comic Sans came to be.

Go see Obvious Child in the theatres, American friends (or not, if you're pro-life).

The Scottish Netball team got through to the World Cup next year in Sydney!!!

And the English team - who get through automatically 'cause of their high ranking - have picked their team for the Commonwealth Games.

(You should however, hear my ranting on how the lack of mainstream coverage on how well some UK female teams are doing is proof that feminism is still required).

5 ways Weight Watches screwed up my relationship with food.

Natural deodorant isn't something I've ever rated highly but this cream deodorant sounds interesting.

I only know of the Meatpacking District in New York as the place Samantha Jones relocates to but a photographer dug up some old photos of its very unglamorous roots.

From my days working in a career centre I can tell you that these are a bit on the American side (having your photo on your CV isn't common in the UK) but if you do work in a creative field you might pick up some ideas for these CV templates.

I was directed to this blog because of one article (this one) but Creative Bloq is a great resource for any web or graphic design needs.

How much it apparently costs to hire famous musicians.

Comparing the vocal range/highest notes/lowest notes of different singers.

Finally, a Buzzfeed article of women from the 80's in London asking if you are one of these women or know who they are.

Morag x

2 June 2014

My balcony garden two months on

balcony garden glasgow

Growing my own food is something I've always wanted to do as I think it comes with the natural territory of considering myself a bit of a 'foodie'. Growing up my parents did have a curiosity about it however they did decide it was a lot of effort and wasn't a pastime they could dedicate much time to with work commitments, raising me, looking after a dog and keeping the house in order (and other hobbies) so my pestering that 'so and so's parents have a greenhouse - why don't we?' didn't go down very well. (Fun fact: since both retiring from full-time work they now are growing all sorts of small vegetables). (Also fun fact: my mum grew up on a farm so comes packaged with the kind of knowledge needed).

I have experimented with windowsill plants over the years - cress as a child and then some chives on my windowsill while I had my own flat in Dundee. But not having a garden did mean couldn't ever get particularly adventurous. However, when I moved to Glasgow I managed to tick a long-term goal off my life list when I secured a flat with a balcony and whilst I can't exactly fit a greenhouse on it I can certainly get a bit creative.

Balcony gardening and 'urban farming' have become (slightly hipster) buzzwords recently and there are growing amounts of resources such as books easily available in Waterstones and articles on the internet regarding the topic. However I got a bit lost in it all so I decided to arm myself with my mums knowledge and a 'I'll learn it all the hard way' approach.

balcony garden rocket

And within the last two months I have already learnt a few things the hard way, which I'm going to put into a handy wee guide for anyone interested in balcony gardening/urban farming themselves:

Gardening is an expensive hobby - Growing your own food might mean you cut down on grocery shopping but buying everything that is required to start (pots, hand shovel, compost seeds, watering can) can really add up. Remember how I wanted to start a balcony garden in 2013? This is the reason I didn't start it until 2014.
Think about the size of pot you'll need - rocket growing isn't quite working out mainly because the pot I used for it is cheap and small and the stems are getting tangled up amongst themselves
Rocket tastes better from the garden - Despite the fact that my attempt at rocket manufacturing is becoming a big fat fail, it did taste better than the Tesco stuff.
Chives are easy - I've grown them before and didn't mess it up back then or this time around. Great beginner herb.
Rosemary takes bloody forever - You see that plant that's just poking through the compost? That's my rosemary. I knew it wasn't a fast growing plant but I didn't expect it to be this stubborn.
It takes attention and a lot of care - even for these three plants I did have to water them everyday or every second day depending on the weather but with all hobbies if you're heart is truly in it the harder parts won't bother you.

balcony garden herbs seeds

Where I bought my stuff:
Compost - Dobbies Garden Centre
Pots - Tiger on Sauchiehall Street
Mini-fork: Burgon & Ball brand at Dobbies
Seeds: Dobbies

Next steps?
I plan to buy some bigger cases with brackets so I can hook them over my railings in order re-attempt rocket and also move onto some other plants. It's still likely to be green and leafy for a while with some considerations being spinach and watercress (but an eventually goal is mushrooms). I'm also planning to buy more small pots to grow more herbs in such as mint, basil, lemongrass and whatever else takes my fancy.

Have you ever grown your food? Are you considering it? 

Morag x