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January Playlist


January Playlist - Scottish lifestyle blog

Hits Me Like a Rock - CSS
Latch - Disclosure ft Sam Smith
Seven Wonders - Fleetwood Mac
The Wire - Haim
Don't Go - Hothouse Flowers
You Held the World in Your Arms - Idlewild
Time - Jungle
To Have and To Have Not - Lars Fredericksen and the Bastards
Don't Make Me Go - Off With Their Heads
Floorboards - Real Friends
Cat Fancy - Tacocat
Flowers - Sweet Female Attitude
Moaning Lisa Smile - Wolf Alice

Open on Spotify


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The Linkables




I'm still playing Ingress and Pinterest has some great Ingress themed stuff.

A female cosplayer takes on the issue of 'Cosplay is not Consent'.

Speaking of cosplay, I'm hoping to do so for the first time later this year and just set up my profile on Cosplay Island.

And I've been doing research on famous cosplayers...obviously That Vegan Cosplayer is my favourite so far.

15 SEO myths to forget in 2015.

Another blog to add to my small list of feminist-friendly fitness blogs: Fit is a Feminist Issue.

Men should never grope women, even gay men.

32 bisexual women who are in relationships with men talk about bi-erasure.

I've always been in awe of Betty's hair...and she's sharing her secrets (you know that thing about how hair can change you? That's what red hair dye does to me).

I'm not going to lie that my main reason for wanting to visit Vegas is the Britney residency.

I'm not all that much a fan of beards...but coloured beards I definetly am a fan of!

Somehow I missed the news last year that in the same week of June The American Medical Association decided that transgendered people should be able switch the sex on their birth certificate (without surgery) and that cheerleading is most definitely a sport! (I've got a big cheesy on my grin as I add this link!)

On the topic of cheer there's an article that caused a bit of a stir which illustrates a point I've been making for years (as a former cheerleader - albeit amateur) cheerleading itself is not an issue, the way it is portrayed in the media is.

If you're relationship is getting a bit 'samey' how about creating a date jar?

I don't play Magic the Gathering but a friend informed me that they've introduced a trans character

10 incredibly weird apps you can download.

Hayley's blog is now three years old and this is what she's learned.

Charlotte talks us through her experience of learning to drive.

Charlotte also offers TV show recommendations. (just go follow her in general).

I've known for ages that default Blogger title formats weren't SEO friendly and I finally got round to doing something about it this week. (Here's another format and here's another).

A hilarious article from News Thump (that I almost fell for): Eastenders to become first 'horror soap'.

A brilliant - but still serious - letter on the Onion from a mum who won't vaccinate her children.

9 things you never noticed about the American Horror Story pilot episode.

I actually loved 00's fashion.

I work in the utility sector and voted yes but thought the energy sector would be hard to split up, but Scotland might get more powers on that matter. (A paywall might come up)

Reasons we still need feminism. (trigger warning for stalking)

More reasons we still need feminism (because remember ladies if a man doesn't respect you it's something you're doing not because, you know, he's an arsehole).

A Kickstarter game that I would so support but doesn't ship to the UK. (American readers...).

An amazing geek themed Etsy shop I found recently (but, again, American).

I don't read Problogger all that much (the advice seems quite Ameircan-centric) but I liked this post on blogging and privacy (written by a mummy blogger with a famous husband!).

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Pacifica Indian Coconut Nectar gift set


Pacifica Indian Coconut Nectar gift set

Pacifica is a brand that has been making their way onto my blog quite a few times in the past year. So when I found the Pacifica Indian Coconut Nectar gift set under my tree this Christmas I was certainly a happy girl. 


As I've said before, I've been loving their perfumes so to receive another one - this time the Indian Coconut Nectar roll on - definitely made my sense of smell happy. Like all their perfumes it's a light and summery scent which reminds me of being on holiday. I can smell the coconut at first sniff but its's slightly sweeter than most coconut fragrances. I never mentioned this before but owning another Pacifica perfume has confirmed a slightly negative point - the packaging of their roll-ons isn't build equally with some perfumes 'rolling' easier than others. I now have four and two of them roll really easily but the other two need to be shaken a little bit (annoying when you're trying to get out the door for work!).

However, I discovered a new favourite product form this gift set and that is the Colour Quench Lip Tint. I had already tried the Coconut Kiss Lip Butter which I didn't like so was sceptical, however I was gladly proved wrong. This is highly moisturising and also gives off a very gentle colour - one that is perfect for work as it makes me look a bit brighter and 'made up' but in a way that is still appropriate for the office. I also wear lip primer undernearth which helps the colour stick a bit more (being a balm it does mean that the colour doesn't last too long on its own).

Finally there is the body butter which I would say is of an average quality. It's good for the body but for dry patches such as the feet and elbows I still prefer something stronger (or an actual foot cream). The smell is the same as the other two products above - coconutty but very sweet with an under tone of a gentle spice (the bottle says it's a blend of coconut and vanilla). The smell however is very concentrated and definetly remains on the skin so be aware you might end up smelling like a dessert!

Pacifica is a brand that has been on my radar for ages because of American blogs but has only began creeping up in UK shops. The person who gifted me this got it from Ethical Supermarket whereas I've seen their stuff available in Wholefoods Giffnock and Tesco in the Bridge of Don store in Aberdeen. And I've just spotted you can get them on Feel Unique.

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Cruelty-free cleaning // EcoEgg Laundry Egg


Ecoegg Laundry egg

There comes a time in every 20-something life when they realise they have become their parents.

For me this moment came when I decided to write this blog post raving about a product which is not lipstick or a new skirt, but laundry detergent.


Even better I bought this product whilst with my mum and she is waiting to know my opinion on it (you're definitely an adult when your parents see you as an equal in a discussion regarding domesticity advice).

Eco egg wash clever

All jokes aside, the EcoEgg is best detergent I have used since I've moved out of my parents house (2008...wow) and specifically the best I've tried since starting to experiment with cruelty-free cleaning products (which I have been doing, even though I've only blogged once about it). As you can see it's not a run of the mill laundry power but is instead an 'egg' of white miniature cleaning balls (they look a bit like what is inside a bean bag) which you place on top of your clothes. I have the Soft Cotton fragrance and it leaves a really lovely smell on my clothes that can still be smelt when wearing them (I like the smell of 'clean' things...like a bathroom that has just been bleached). Because I'm extra-clean I also use liquid in the 'drawer' of my washing machine but I tend to rotate different brands (I have a blog post coming up with which brands these are - all five of them).

I started using this in late December and have used it for every weekly clothes wash since. Whether it will last me 54 washes remains to be seen but it's certainly not going to run out any time soon! It was a bit pricey and refills are £7.49 so its not the cheapest on the market but it is certainly high quality. When I run out I'll decide if it's worth the price tag (and part of that will depend on how long it does last me in the end).

My mum is going to be so proud!
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The Linkables




Here's a Google shopping result for t-shirts with that slogan on it. 

The reason why electric cars are becoming more common is a lot to do with the quality of them and the declining price.

A ranking of countries based on how common having a female boss is within their borders (the progressive western country that is the UK is at 41 - embarassing!) 

Please tell me you've already seen this? If Hermoine was the main character in Harry Potter.

Nixie Pixel talks through her favourite Android apps (from two years ago)

Check out who has been shortlisted for the Sexual Health Awareness Awards.

The conversation we really need to be having about female ejaculation. (NSFW)

On the topic of women's health, periods can get heavy and can get in the way of many things (and is still not taken seriously as a health issue).

Here's a pre-made blog planner on Amazon.

A great ASMR YouTuber I found this week is Heather Feather.

I don't share much writing from my work blog however I thought this recent one on consumers having more influence than the government in making utility companies behave themselves was worth a share. 

We've all read the self-development guides that travel makes you more well-rounded, but does it really?

Remember to vaccinate your kids

19 really important lessons I leant from my ex (also one of the best relationship advice posts I've read)

A introduction to people who identify as non-binary (in the Daily Record - well this is progress!)

If you're looking for a cruelty-free make-up artist then my girl Hailey has now set up her website.

If you're a dude (probably not, I only know of one guy who reads my blog and he's a close friend) or lean towards home decor that don't look like Pinterest here's a quick blog post on how to decorate a room in a mature and stylish but masculine way.

Perfectly timed photos from the streets of China.

There's a vegetarian shoe shop in Brighton!

And for something political - if you're into animal welfare (which would be most of my readers) then you should be aware what the tories have been up to.

A reminder that Labour aren't really all that different to the Tories.

On the subject of Labour this made me laugh because it's the same 'vote Labour to keep the Tories out' drivel (the comments are good).

Annnnd, some notes on the Green Surge.

If you're Scottish and looking for a fashion internship then this might be of interest.

An Etsy shop with song lyrics prints.

A beauty treatment I'm not sure I can get behind (NSFW)

It's been on my to-do list to read the Babysitter Club books which I missed (i.e. they weren't my primary school's library) but in the mean time here's some storylines which were actually ridiculous.

There's a Fox Village (!) in China.

If you'd rather play a game or marathon watch a TV show than do any form of exercise, maybe these fandom inspired workouts will do the trick. (Here's the Buffy one)

Some advice on finding a new job when you already work a full-time one.

I've thinking of (probably definitely) doing cosplay this year for the first time and this Cosplay Class on YouTube has been helpful (or just for general fancy dress purposes).


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New Year's Eve at The Dyce Tandoori


dyce tandoori aberdeen

Remember I said on new years day that one of my goals was too chill out this year? I like to think this post is a reflection that I am doing just that. Twenty-one days into 2015 I am writing about my very final restaurant experience of 2014 (and I still have another Edinburgh restaurant to blog about from the year that was) and not getting all Type-A on myself by insisting that it needs to be up within a week because then my blog wouldn't be organised and punctual. Justttt chilling.

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Faith in Nature 40th Anniversary Shower Gels


faith in nature shower gels cruelty-free

I've always loved water and as a result I always look forward to my daily shower (and my weekly swim, and the odd bath) and I like to make an effort to make it something. Obviously at 7am I'm still half asleep and sometimes I'd rather be in bed but a simple way I make it a luxurious experience is to have a selection of shower gels to choose from that morning depending on my mood.



So whilst showers gels aren't everyone's idea of a thoughtful Christmas present, I was ecstatic to find the Faith in Nature Limited Edition Mini's under my tree. For the next few days at my parents' house I tried a new one each day and shunned the shower gels I had brought up with me. 



I always find it very difficult to pick a favourite shower gel as I like to have a lot so I can pick a new one each morning (or afternoon on a Sunday) but in this collection there was a clear winner: Pineapple & Lime. The other shower gels were still nice but were very conventional scents and I already had something in my shower that smelt similar. The Pineapple and Lime shower gel reminded me of lime jelly, which won't be everyone cup of tea but I find it perfect for mornings when I need a zingy scent (and also want to amuse myself). 

The other scents have been kept in the cupboard and due to their size will become my travelling shower gels. They are all nice scents but don't differ too much from what I already own. Aloe Vera & Ylang Ylang was the softest scent, with Seaweed & Citrus being a little bit zingier but less so than I expected, then Raspberry and Cranberry was the fruitiest and the Coconut was a stereotypical coconut smell (which I love, but already own a lot of).

The quality of the shower gels were average. I got the average amount of foam as I would from any other shower gel but the scent was quite concentrated and was well above average. This was actually my first time trying any Faith in Nature products and even though I wouldn't rave about these being the best shower gels I've ever tried I am still planning to try more from their range (I've heard good things about their shampoos). 

Have you ever tried anything from the Faith in Nature range? 

 
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From veganuary to veganism, when I made the permanent switch


veganuary vegan life magazine

A year ago I gave veganuary a bash. It was a new campaign at the time and I actually started it a few days late but as I hadn't eaten much cheese yet that year I decided to that I could pretend I started it on the first. In fact, cheese was the only non-dairy food still in my diet, aside from by-products or non-obvious non-vegan products.

I wasn't strict, and even though I completed it (and wrote a long blog post I've consider retracting as it's oddly emotional) it was likely various packet of crisps I was eating were letting some kind of non-vegan ingredient into my life. And I didn't consider myself a vegan for some time yet. 

I can't remember when my 'veganversary' would have been - but I'm looking at April. For me the switch came from being held accountable. And this came from friends who despite being meat-eaters 'got it' and encouraged it and also from joining a local vegan food meet-up. I joined the meet-up for reasons more linked to having an excuse to eat out but also to meet new people. But for me it was the clicking point as I was in amongst other vegans - I wasn't even given 'tips' per se but being part of a vegan community was what helped push me over to full time veganism and not someone who gave it a bash in January. 

(Though finding Violife Cheese was definitely a help as my cheese addiction got kicked to the kerb). 

Veganuary is running again this year and even though there's only half of January left I'd still encourage anyone who is considering veganism to give it a wee bash. VeganLife magazine* (which I've blogged about before as an excellent resource) has ran a feature on Veganuary reminding us if we have friends who have considered veganism (or for readers who are in the transition period) that the Veganuary website has went from strength to strength, and is great resource. 

Amongst Issue 3 of VeganLife magazine there are - as always - lots of helpful articles on making the full switch to veganism. One article that caught my eye was aimed at vegans on helping friends and acquaintances who are considering making the switch. It reminded us that the transition is different for everyone and what worked for you might not work for them. It also reminded us that vegans get a rep for being 'pushy' and it does nothing to encourage veganism and is counter-productive (I agree!). It took me two years to transition which to some vegans sounds barmy, but these are vegans who probably didn't discover they had soya intolerance when they started experimenting with tofu...

And they have an article about weaning yourself off dairy cheese, which continues on the advice of one step at a time and not to expect this lifestyle change to happen overnight.

Are you trying Veganuary? Or have you tried it in the past? Are you given veganism a bash this year?


P.S. I am receiving a VeganLife Magazine subscription for free. All words and views my own
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The Linkables


I'm a former waitress and I still encourage everyone to tip (unless the service was rubbish, then don't tip) and Americans this is a handy *tip* to improve your tip. 

Whenever you've felt like an outsider, remember that a lot of insiders feel like outsiders

If you're still a student and struggling remember every year, many, many stupid people graduate from college. If they can do it, so can you. (This is basically a studying advice post but has links and advice I would have never thought about, including a new favourite app of mine Coffitivity). 

Glasgow is getting a roller rink

Sinead shows us the first dress she's sewn this year

I go in and out of gaming and it takes a lot for a game to hold my attention - but my friend was playing Ingress and (after mocking him for a bit) I'm now altering my walk to work to find more portals (but I joined the Enlightened side just to be different and annoying). 


As much as I love blogging, reading, cooking, swimming et al I'm also a big fan of taking time out to partake in nothing.  

I'm yet to watch Pitch Perfect but this is pretty solid dating advice



Hipster Spinster has a small but fabulous range of homewares

The CF Bloggers Chat are trying to organise meet-ups in the UK, if you're interested tweet us with your location (Glasgow is already looking likely - and there's possibly a Lush store getting involved). 


Morag x
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Recently Read


thomas harris stephen dubnet steven levitt cat boyd jenny morrison

Since I fit the stereotype of a bookworm - introverted, fond of accurate spelling, a writer/blogger, have close friends who love to read -  people regularly assume it's a hobby I partake in, but I actually don't read all that often. In fact, according to my GoodReads account, I only read four books during 2014.


I made a goal back in 2013 that I would read the books that have been on Amazon wishlist since forever (and in some cases 'forever' means 2007). 2013 and 2014 weren't years when I sat down with many books but so far in 2015 I've already read two books and I'm firmly making my way through a third. No bad. But before get to those books (which will be fun to review, one of them is about a girl who can't orgasm...) let's have a little look at the books I did flick through in 2014. 

Scottish Independence: A Feminist Response
First off, we have a book that wasn't on my to-read list but given it was about the Scottish referendum it made sense to push it to the top of the list and get it read before the 18th of September. I am a bit wary of reviewing this as every review I've read so far has been glowing and I feel as though I'm going to cast myself out of the internet when I say I didn't like it (even though I voted yes and consider myself a feminist). The reason pretty much boils down to: it wasn't well backed up, which is something I consider essential when writing a book designed to persuade people (remember persuasive essays in English?). About two chapters in I spotted that the authors weren't referencing their sources at all (e.g. "95 percent of women" but with no source or "a study found that" without naming the study). I even flicked to the back to see if there was a bibliography - nope. A lot of the ideas and concepts in the book were new to me and good sources would have 1) helped convince me of their argument and 2) allowed me to go perform further research (and become more convinced!). I wasn't expecting the Harvard Reference System...just a quick "a study in 1985 by John smith" (instead of 'a study') would have sufficed. (I was only a mild yes at the time of reading and this book didn't help budge me towards the strong yes I eventually became). 

Superfreakonomics
Second up, we have the prequel to Freakonomics: a book I ordered off Amazon during my first year university along with other books I thought would help me wrap my head around economics. Turns out it wasn't about inflation or currency conversation but instead discusses how abortion lowered the crime rate in NYC, rather than Rudy Giuliani (who was mayor at the time) with numerical data to back it up (because that's what economists do). It didn't help with my course but it was bloody funny. In Superfreakonomics there was a chapter dedicated to how high-class hookers operate including pricing and how much of a share the pimps took (which I found fascinating). There however was also a chapter on science (mainly environmental) but science hurts my brain and I was quite glad to leave that chapter behind. Depends on the chapter really, but if you're a sociology nerd then I'd pick this up. 

Hannibal and Hannibal Rising
Finally, we have Hannibal and Hannibal Rising, which I'm knocking together cause they're part of the same series. I love the films and Hannibal Lector is my favourite film villain, but I didn't like the other two books in the series and these two were no different (yep, the film was better...same goes for you Green Mile). I had read Red Dragon and Silence of the Lambs before so knew I was in for a long read, but I wanted them off my list. The books are big and this is because the author adds in every single detail about everything: Clarice's curtains, so the shape of women's breasts, to how Barney walks and it's not needed. And about women's breasts - there's a scene where Barney takes a shower and he just gets in, washes, gets out. Then Margot gets in and we have a full description of how the water drips off her body...it's a common theme in the book that the female characters are physically describe in detail (including sexual appeal) but we only know the hair colour of most male characters. /feminist rant. 

How many books did you read in 2014? It was no doubt more than me!  

Morag x
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Cruelty-free products from Sainsbury's


sainsbury's phil smith cruelty free

In high end stores such as House of Frasers or Debenham so many brands are in China or owned by a company who is. Then on the high street Boots is questionable and Superdrug is great, but does have a testing parent company. However a very overlooked location to go looking for cruelty-free products in the UK is our supermarkets. Morrison's, Co-op and Sainsbury's all carry the Cruelty Free International accreditation; the latter of which I recently bought some toiletries from whilst I was down in East Kilbride (for a bit of trampoline bopping - they have a massive Sainsbury's beside it).


It's not that exciting: it's mouthwash, toothpaste and antiperspirant. However one of the most common questions I get is where to purchase cruelty-free toiletries (and it was the final kind of product I switched myself). I've been using Superdrug for about a year now but I have also used (and reviewed) some Marks & Spencer anti-perspirants. I'd say that Superdrug is my favourite place to pick up cruelty-free essentials, partially because I have a Superdrug much closer to me. But the Superdrug toothpaste is just much mintier and fresher in my mouth than the Sainsbury's tube and the deodrant has a zingier scent to it. But if you want to avoid Sperdrug's parent company then the Sainsbury's toiletries come recommended. 

I was also lucky enough to be sent some products from the Phil Smith* range, which are exclusively available in Sainsbury's. Out of the four products I was sent two of them have made it into my day-to-day routine: these are the Transforming Argan Oil and the Frizz Smoothing Serum. Like all oils I own I prefer to use them at night and I've found this one is quite thick thus is good for nights where my hair is particularly frazzled. The second product, the serum, I like to use in the mornings before blow-drying my hair. I gave up on straighteners years ago as I think they make my hair look flat but this serum helped straighten out my hair but not remove any volume and the result looked a lot more natural than when using straighteners.

I also received the SOS Rescue Hot Iron Mist and the Glam Shine Gloss Finishing Spray but haven't got as much use out of them. As mentioned I don't straighten my hair much so the hot iron mist was naturally not going to get used. I did however use it whilst blow drying when my hair was still slightly damp and my hair was a bit softer and I really liked the smell (reminded me of being in a hairdressers). The finishing spray on the other hand also has a nice smell to it and I did use it before work just to make myself feel more 'finished' but my hair didn't look all that different.

Have you tried any Sainsbury's beauty range, or any alternative options from other supermarkets?


Morag x 
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4 years.


bloggiversary scottish lifestyle blogger

Birthdays are always a special time. I always hold a party for mine even if I grudge any increase to my age. I'm bigger on buying presents for birthdays rather than Christmas, with me and my friends buying each other for the first but rarely for the latter. Growing up I always tried to make my parents do something for my childhood dog's birthday (even if we didn't know her actual date of birth...I chose the 10th of September regardless) but they refused, reminding me she was a dog and didn't understand.


My parents are going to find it even more perplexing when they realise that - at age 24 - I was yesterday toasting (with a mug of jasmine tea) to my blog's fourth birthday. Yep, it's has now been four year's since I wrote my very first post (which I have now edited to remove from the internet my 20-year-old-recently-single winging). And it blows my mind that next year I will be toasting to half a decade (if my blog was my child I'd be looking into primary schools). 

Maybe you need to be a blogger to understand why blog birthdays and the bloggiversary are important to us strange creatures. But my blog birthday is always important to me and I mark it each year. Discovering the online world and social media was when I discovered 'that' hobby. The hobby that I'm wildly passionate about and one that became a big part of what defines me. I still have other hobbies (quite a lot actually) but blogging is the one that if you were to ask me about it at a dinner party you'd struggle to get me to stop talking. 

Blogging isn't the only hobby that the internet has blessed me with. Without blogging and the internet I wouldn't have been introduced to so many of the others hobbies I now love, or even ones I enjoy in a passive way. I wouldn't have went cruelty-free if I hadn't stumbled upon Louise's blog and I definitely wouldn't have went vegan (the very topics my blog has now become recognised for). I wouldn't have came to identify with the word feminist at age 16 and would have probably only discovered the word once it became mainstream, despite my life long beliefs on society. I also wouldn't have voted yes in the Scottish referendum if blogs hadn't been providing an alternative voice to the mainstream media. 

Something occurred to this past week about hobbies: growing up we tend to only develop the hobbies that our parents hand down to us. Or what our best friend from school happens to be into. We also have to hope our parents approve and are willing to financially support these hobbies. But with the internet the world is ours to discover and all we need is a bit if curiosity and a YouTube tutorial. 

We tend to typically only know the people we went to school with, or university or who lived down the street as a kid. The internet opens this up and some of the most fabulous, sexy and intelligent people I have ever known I met through the internet or blogging. Some I have now met and consider good friends, some I am actively chatting to about meeting 'IRL' and others live maybe a bit too far away for us to meet up (but I certainly wouldn't say no to them popping up to Scotland for a cuppa). 

And think about all those free PR products I didn't have to pay for. LOL. Joking (sort of).  

Just like all my blog birthday posts this ended up being long and soppy. And it will continue to be long and soppy every year as long as blogging remains my passion and enriches my life in ways I couldn't have ever imagined when I sat down at my desk four years ago (whilst still at university, living in a flat on Commercial Street in Dundee...my life has certainly changed but blogging has remained a constant).

From the bottom of my blogging heart...

Morag x

P.S. Speaking of meeting bloggers in real life, some of the babes that take part in #cfbloggers fancy doing cruelty-free meet-ups. Give the @CFbloggerschat a tweet if you fancy getting invovled.

P.S.S. Yes, I bought my blog a birthday card (a bit easier than baking it a cake...that it can't eat). 
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The Linkables


Credit: OhHay!

Today - yes, today - Shelter in Morningside is selling Prada

This week on Buzzfeed there was an picture-list on Oddly Satisfying Disney Moments. It is an average list but I could remember, even as a young kid, as finding these specific scenes oddly satisfying (but could never explain why). In the comments it was brought up that if you did you probably had ASRM.

Which lead onto a massive Google...

Some of the best description of ASRM I've found has been from Steven Novella (recommended by a skeptic friend with the words "If he thinks it exists then it's legit") and the best YouTube channel I've found roleplaying common triggers is Olivia's Kissper ASMR. (I realise half you will think this is bonkers).

Also on Buzzfeed we had a look at what Victoria Beckham wore in the mid-2000's (I can remember a lot of these outfits). 

My pal Lis has put together a guide on what the new EU VAT laws mean for UK-based indie musicians (her 'grown-up job' is writing for a law magazine). 

I shared the brilliant feminist/body image activist Melissa A Fabello's YouTube channel last year. But she didn't update much after I found it. Looks like she's started up again.

What happened in Paris this week was atrocious, but Islamaphobia is also atrocious. This article and this article remind us of a few things. (the last cartoon in the second one made my stomach turn)

I found a blog that also runs a series called Linkables (and it's a blog that explores the Midwestern states so, duh, it's my thing). 

Over on the West Side in Seattle there's a new law against throwing food in the wast bin

There's a show in America called Tiny House Hunters

The story of the real Lolita. (Comes with trigger warnings)

India elects it's first transgendered mayor

This is how you do a dog obituary. 

In defence of age-gap relationships.

Climate change news: 80% of fossil fuels need to stay in the ground (a quick Google shows loads and loads of science/environmental news sites sharing this).


The 'militarization of fitness' - such as bootcamps - isn't a good thing

Pictures of really famous people before they (well, most of them) were famous at their prom

Netflix plans to clamp down on users' attempts to dodge its regional restrictions



P.S. Today is my 4th blogging anniversary, soppy post due tomorrow. 
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Introducing my food, drink and indie shopping map of Scotland





A little blog trend I've spotted over the past year has been bloggers creating maps of their favourite places to eat, drink and shop (or anything else) in their chosen city. One of the questions I frequently get asked is where I like to eat in some of the places I know well, especially by other vegetarians/vegans. So I thought as a new 'feature' for 2015 I would created my own map where I visually round-up all my reviews (plus a few other cheeky mentions).


My own map includes food, shops and bars, but it is mainly a food map (as if you couldn't have predicted that?). And because I'm not really sure which Scottish city I would consider 'home' and have lived in three different places during this blog's existence I've not kept my recommendations contained to one city. Primarily it will be Dundee and Glasgow as this is where I split most of my time but I've thrown in the reviews I've done for places in Edinburgh and Aberdeen, and even one or two rural places.

The map is now live on my new map page which includes some guidance on how to use it, and I've also added a little graphic to my sidebar which links to the page. This has taken me a long time to put together and I'd appreciate any feedback (especially pointing out spelling mistakes!) and any general thoughts on it. I'd also appreciate if you could forward this on to any people who know who live in these places. Or even let me know what places I should consider adding on next!

Morag x
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Make 2015 the year you start a blog



My outfit round-up from my first year of blogging. 

This week will mark my four year blogging anniversary. Having a blog has enriched my life in so many ways from the amazing people I've met and finally discovering a hobby that I was passionate about.

Whilst I do not consider myself an authority on the subject and there is lots of blogging advice going around, I have quite a few non-blogging friends who I know would like to make the start so I thought I'd get a small post up to help absolute beginners get going in 2015. I'm not going to discuss anything too technical, more just some pointers if you're just starting out.


When it comes to picking a blogging platform, I would go with what your niche uses. I personally prefer Wordpress but I use Blogger because it helps my 'target audience' sign in to leave comments easily as this is the platform they also primarily blog on. Generally speaking beauty, fashion and lifestyle blogs in the UK use Blogger but a lot of American blogs use Wordpress no matter the topic.

You'll obviously want to start reading all the advice on the topic, but remember to take a lot of blogging advice with a pinch of salt (including this post!). It's a bit snarky, but blogging has become a topic a lot of people seem to offer advice on regardless of their genuine expertise on the subject. So, yes, read as much advice as you can but don't take all of it as gospel. Different niches of blogging have different unwritten rules so, if you can, head advice from people who've been successful blogging in your chosen niche. Also be aware that blogs written in different countries will have different vibes from your own (just likes countries have different cultures in general) so try and take advice from bloggers located geographically close to you.

If you're hoping to build a successful blog, you'll need a strategy. However, I can't offer you advice on what would be a good strategy for your own blog as different bloggers find different strategies work best for them. I'm a professional marketer as well and it's an unfortunate truth that you can't know if something will be a great strategy until you try it - but remember you still need to make an educated guess on which strategies you should try! In the beginning just play around (camera angles, indoor photos, outdoor photos, pinterest, twitter) and keep an eye out for what works, then roll with that!

One strategy you'll eventually need to plan out is how to brand yourself. I know the idea of 'personal branding' sounds yucky or corporate to some people but if you want to become a recognised blogger you'll need to develop a brand. Some of the biggest blogs are big not because they know more on the topic but because the person has that 'quality' or a 'magnetic personality' - they've branded themselves! However, in the beginning just go with the flow and let your brand naturally develop. When I started I didn't have a brand or a topic - I just blogged! Somewhere down the line I went vegetarian and cruelty-free (later vegan) and found a topic people wanted to listen to me on. Once I realised that I started 'polishing' my brand and tightening it.

I touched upon it above, but I'd advise not picking too small a niche when you start out. I still technically fall under the 'lifestyle' category but I'm primarily recognised for cruelty-free beauty and that's the topic I blog most about. If you really want to start a niche blog, go for it! Because even though I champion developing a niche naturally, let it be known that even if you change your mind somewhere down the line, it's never too late to re-brand. Gala Darling, Nubby Twiglet and Zoe London are all bloggers who've went through (well thought-out) re-brands even after they became popular.

You'll also need to start promoting at some point. I can't tell you how to do this as, again, what works for me might not work for you. But what I do want to talk about is privacy and the real life/blog line. Now that blogging is a mainstream hobby us bloggers aren't as weird anymore. But many of us still like to keep a firm line between our personal lives and our blog lives, the same way people like to keep lines between, say, their professional life and their family life. Personally, I have my blog listed as a job on my Facebook, but I very rarely share posts on my personal profile and instead invite the friends who I think would be interested to my blog's page and don't bombard the rest of my friends list! Some bloggers do share their posts within their personal network but in my experience it's more common for bloggers to keep a line. So don't feel you need to let everyone know in the start - it can be a secret project! I had been a blogger for almost two years before it became a widely known fact amongst my real-life network!

An important part of blogging is also the blogging community. Get involved in Twitter chats, attend some meet-ups, comment on other blogs, join some Facebook groups.You might just meet your next BFF! (you should definitely be active on twitter though!)

And my final point will be on PR, freebies and making money. I won't go into detail here as this shouldn't be on the mind of a new blogger. Freebies are a great perk of blogging but please don't make it your soul reason for starting! I was blogging for over a year before I got my first freebie and then blogging for about three before I accepted a paid opportunity. There's nothing wrong with wanting to be a professional blogger (if that's what you want, go for it!) but realise - like a lot of creative career paths - it will take a lot of work. Please be realistic and understand that you're not going to be sent Prada handbags after one post! And don't bombard brands because 1) they usually use external PR firms and 2) it's the PR who comes to the blogger. All the brands I've worked with came to me (most of the time via an external PR company) and I've never pitched a brand in my blog's life, and I know quite a few people who consider it bad practice for bloggers to approach brands.

But above all have fun with it! If you really enjoy it, the above shouldn't matter too much. I know I haven't given much solid advice but that is because - as I said before - what works for one person might not work for another. Go with the flow, be patient and - if you really do want a successful blog - keep going :)

What advice would you give to a blogger just starting out?

Morag x

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The Linkables




I've bought myself a Filofax and I've been staying up late on Pinterest to ogle some organisation pr0n. This Pinterest board has caught my fancy. (I first bought a Filofax in 2010 and the same thing happened back then).

I'm been wasting time making my way through this Slayage: The International Journal of Buffy Studies.

Out of all the 2014 re-cap posts, this one from National Collective is my favourite.

Why not try Veganuary this January?

What if we didn't sexually shame our daughters?

If you're thinking on getting organised in 2015, here's round up of some popular planners.

I love Cate's fandom resolutions for 2015.

Headline news in Coventry: someone stealing a vibrator from Ann Summers.

15 things Back to the Future told us we'd have by 2015.

A collection of #FeministNewYearResolutions.

There's been a lot of woopla about a black man possibly playing James Bond. For those of you unconvinced its a good idea here are 9 reasons why it would be! (And to remind the people saying JB should always be Scottish - only one actor has been Scottish and for people saying he should always be British - two non-British actors have played him.)

The best vegetables to grow indoors.

Everything Etsy should be on the RSS Feed of Etsy shop owners and Etsy shoppers.

Why skinny-shaming isn't the same as fat-shaming.

A run-down of the Scottish punk scene in 2014.

An extra talks about the time 10 Things I Hate About you was filmed at her school.

An interview with Chris Rock on racism, Obama and class systems.

Some advice on creating a gallery wall in your own home.

15 reasons Scotland should be on your bucket list.

If your New Years Resolution is to create your own zine, then here's a quick tutorial.

I've always wanted a lake (dreaming big here) and if it had a ballroom underneath that would a cheery on top.

Treating your lover the same way you would treat your alter.

On the silencing of trans women of colour.

Is living in separate houses the best thing for you and your partner?

Do you remember that time Smith from SATC was in a UK Areos advert?

And, Halloween impressions with Kevin Spacey.

Morag x
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2015, personal wellness and my Filofax.




Anyone who knows me and has read my blog for any reasonable amount of time, will know that I love resolutions and goals (and that I'm fairly good at keeping them!). But anyone who read yesterday's post will also know that because I have now have more adult responsibilities (compared to when I first started blogging) I'm planning to reign it in so I can also relax and enjoy life a bit more.


I am however still making a few. I'm still carrying over my goals from 2013 and 2014 which got lost amongst the whole 'working-a-9-5-job thing'. And I do however have a few other plans and hopes for 2015, however my 'main' goals will primarily be about wellness and I've listed them below.

Organisation
One of the main frustrations at my to-list in 2014 was that I didn't actually have a physical to-do list. Back in university my secret weapon to staying on top of everything was my Filofax. I ditched it when I entered full-time time work because 1) it was looking tatty and 2) when I first started working full-time I had no energy for anything else in the evenings; my life was literally working and resting. I've purchased myself a new lilac Filofax for 2015 and with a good bit of organisation we'll see how much I can fit in (and not freak out because I've forgotten I need to pre-schedule Linkables two days earlier that week).

Prioritise
This massively fits in with the goal above but I'm going to go ahead and give it its own title. As with most years I have a lot of goals but this year I'm planning to rank them. As much as I would love to be a prolific blogger and vlogger, bake every weekend, have a fabulous balcony garden, go on weekend trips, be an active member of The Scottish Greens, get my professional blog to a point I could share with you guys, run @CFBloggersChat, go to every gig going, eat out loads, be up-to-date on all the TV shows, read more than four books in one year, swim every weekend and play netball in between that, become fluent in another language and achieve some professional qualifications...whilst still holding down a full-time job (and doing other adult things...like hoovering) there's only so many hours in the day (and money in my bank account). I need to decide what means the most to me and deserves attention and what needs to become 'side-goals'.

Make time for myself and personal wellness
I was really into personal wellness in 2011 when I began my blog. Admittedly it was because 2010 had been a shitty year for me and I needed to look after myself, both physically and emotionally. These days my life is far from shitty but that doesn't mean I shouldn't be taking time out for me. I'm introverted by my nature which means scheduling in 'me' time in just as important as reminding myself to meet that friend for brunch!

Within this I'm also including physical health because in 2014 - whilst I am not overweight by any means - I found myself two dress sizes bigger than I was two years ago and unable to fit into a lot of my clothes. I don't want to drop back to a size 10 (that would involve making the time for cheerleading) but I do want to fit into most of my size 12 wardrobe again. Don't worry - this will be done healthily and I won't start blogging about juice cleanses or other faddy diets!

Go easy on myself
Being a goal-orientated person has its downfalls (despite what society would tell you) and that's usually beating yourself up if you don't achieve what you want, when you want. For me personally, I've always had problems carrying on with a goal I've long outgrown just because I feel as though I would be 'quitting'. I've carried on with projects longer than I should, dated people longer than I should and completed a degree I didn't really want because I didn't understand the difference between giving up and recognising that my priorities and goals are allowed to change. For the last two years I haven't completed all my resolutions and I probably won't complete all my goals this year either, and I need to learn to be okay with that. As long as I know I've tried my hardest and I've been looking after myself (cause I hadn't been this year) then that's all that matters.

As mentioned I still have a few plans for this year but whether I prioritise them or not remains to be seen. I don't have any major plans for mo'adore as I'm happy with the way things are going (aside from improving the background organisation!). I'll be posting a small Linkables tomorrow and then I'll be heading back down to Glasgow on Saturday but at some point after that I will be launching a new 'feature' (I know using that word makes me sound like a twat!) and then will be celebrating my blog's fourth birthday!

I'll see you soon, I love you!

Morag x
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