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Update to my cruelty-free brands list




It's been a while since I've posted an update to my cruelty-free brands list. It's not that I haven't been sending e-mails as normal, it's more that the tumbleweed that appears after sending my e-mail has been slightly more depressing as of late . I've always wanted to keep my blog fairly upbeat and I'd much rather provide you guys a list of brands you can buy from rather than a big list of no-go brands.

So I left this one in my drafts for a bit until I pulled together of a list of fun brands for you to purchase from. Below I have five cruelty-free brands for you to spend your money on (and 10 that you probably shouldn't).

Cruelty-Free:
Josie Maran
PHB Beauty
Dr Bronner
Tata Harper
Delilah Cosmetics

Grey Area: 
Fairypants Cosmetics
Gabriel Cosmetics 
Iconic Cosmetics
Just Pure Minerals
Kimono
Wild About Beauty 
Refresh Skincare
PHB Beauty
Chantecaille
Nudestix

As usual a lot of brands end up on my grey area list because I received no reply, but Just Pure Minerals did reply with a very odd-response and I'll leave everyone to decide how they feel about it: 

"Just Pure Minerals does not test on animals, and out ingredient suppliers also do not test on animals.  We are not owned by any other company.  We don't have any customers in mainland China, although I can't say that's because we've refused based on our affectionate feelings for animals. We just haven't had any customers from China yet. If we took a stance on this, it would go 100% unnoticed by anyone in mainland China. ;-)

I actually looked into Leaping Bunny and started the process- I need to put that back on my to-do list to finish it up. Thanks for the reminder!"

Do you have any further information on the brands I've mentioned? Are they're any brands you want me to add to my list? 

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Cats in the Necropolis


cat skirt glasgow necropolis

It's the age old question: cats or dogs? Truthfully I am more of a dog person. I grew up with a dog who was there from my first day at home right through until just before my 13th birthday. And it's on my bucket list to become a dog mum again. Butttttt, like most of the internet I agree that cats make funnier memes and fashion accessories. Like a cat bag, or a skirt covered in cat faces...

The cat skirt was from the store Rad Rocket on Etsy, which sells a range of dresses and skirts with bold patterns. Honestly, when I first seen it I actually thought it was kinda ugly but I also really really wanted to buy it. It ended up hanging out on my wishlist for months and then on my latest payday it made the cut for things my wardrobe definitely needed. It's an American shop and shipping can be a major factor in deciding to get lovely products shipped from abroad but because the skirt was already such good value (coming out at £10 when converted) I was more than happy to pay those pesky shipping costs. 

glasgow necropolis

Because the skirt is eye-catching and bold I kept the rest of my outfit uncharacteristically monochrome. The rest of my outfit are staples I've collected over the years from high store favourites, but the Vans are the classics that go with almost everything. And much better than smart shoes for a day where you know you'll be showing your mum around Glasgow. 

These photos were taken in the Glasgow Necropolis, which is possibly one of the weirdest places to find myself taking outfit photos. It has never even been on my to-go lists since I moved here! My mum however was visiting last weekend and it was somewhere she wanted to check out so I happily had a bit of a trip out to the east side of the city.

Whilst graveyards aren't quite my thing (it probably comes as no surprise to anyone that my request is a natural burial) I did find colourful sites which have been well maintained. Such as this one with a fabulous pink gate:

Glasgow necropolis pink gate

And this blue circular design:

Glasgow necropolis blue gate

What's your opinion in the cats versus dogs debate? Have you ever stopped by the Glasgow Necropolis, for outfit photos or otherwise?  

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The Linkables



To make up for my very brief 'hi, here's some links, bye' intro last Friday I suppose I should do a bit of a catch-up! My mum was through in Glasgow last week to catch her flight to Zambia where she'll be volunteering (again) until October. We went out for lunch and also paid to a visit to the Necropolis in the east of the city, whilst I also stepped into Glasgow Airport for the first time since I was 13 (and then headed back to Glasgow on the bus, while my mum jetted off...). Saturday I met up with Amanda from 365 Vegans for some lunch in The 78 and then headed into Kelvingrove Park to film my submission for her project. And then, Sunday I met up with my friend who was back in Glasgow from her job teaching English in China and we popped up to Botanical Gardens for a walk and some tea. And then I was busy this week with Scottish Greens meetings and watching Charlotte talk at a Glasgow Digital Meet-Up.

Needless to say this weekend I'll be sleeping.

Feminism & Equality


If your parents live separately, chances are you live with your mum. Here's a beautiful and poignant piece from a single mum who decided the best thing for her daughter was for her to live with her father.

This needs a strong trigger warning for rape, sexual assult and asshole boyfriends. But if you can stomach it, it's a powerful piece on how sometimes it's easier to 'put up with it' rather than say fuck off.

Yay! Costa Rica is shutting down zoos and freeing every animal in captivity.

YES! YES! YES!  There's a difference between compromise in a relationship and emotional abusive.

Not everyone with red hair looks the same.

Blogging & Marketing

My new favourite blog discovery: Beauty by the Geeks

It's never occurred to me to set up a blog as a duo, but Helen & Kimberley run one of my favourite I-always-stop-by-manually-to-check-for-new-posts blogs and they have some advice for anyone wanting to blog as a double.

Something I need to print out and pin to my wall: I didn't blog for a week and no one died.

 Blog maintenance I should go home and do: what bloggers should have in their e-mail signature.

One of my favourite bloggers got married recently and it looked so perfect.

Relationships, Love & Friendship

If you've been on a few dates with someone you don't know very well - while it's still hiffy - you can get away with ghosting. In any other circumstance end it properly like a mature and respectful human being.

A graphical analysis (sort of) between the correlation between the effort made on someone's birthday and how much you value their friendship.

Big weddings can be beautiful, but maybe best left to the extroverts. So, what if the introvert in you just wants a quiet do?

Moving onto a more sombre life event called funerals. If you're planning one (or just letting loved ones know your wishes) here's some non-religious and slightly geeky readings which may be worth considering.

Scotland & Travel

Lauren took a trip the DJAD Master's Degree show to spot some upcoming talent.

If you fancy a Scottish road trip, there's a new road which loops right round the upper Highlands.

Etc

Ha! The asshole self-rating exam!

Joey Fatone (he was one of the NSync members who wasn't Justin Timberlake, fyi) has a message for One Direction.

This week in mourning: Yvonne Craig, Batgirl on 60's TV series, died at 78..


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Bukhara at the Lorna Hotel


vegetable tawa bukhara

You know when you've wanted to try a restaurant for ages and you finally get around to it? That's what happened with today's review. When I first moved to Glasgow (almost three years ago!) I had to stay in a hotel in the West End (thanks Smiths Hotel!) for the first two weeks and each day passed an Indian restaurant called the Bukhara that had such a stylish vibe. 

As briefly mentioned in last week's Linkables my mum was in town for her flight to Africa. My mum is a big itson fan and is always finding deals to eat out on when she's through visiting. By chance she stumbled across a deal for the Bukhara for the weekend she was through (to fly off to Africa, lucky git!). 

The moment we stepped inside, it appeared that it was just as contemporary and stylish as it looked from the outside. I briefly felt as if me and my mum weren't posh enough to be there but then the down-to-earth staff made me feel right at home. 

pickled vegetables bukhara

Like a lot of Itson deals there was a special menu (but we could still order sides and starters off the main menu). Whilst there was only seven options in total, two were vegetarian. Whilst one contained paneer, the other was also completely plant-based: the Vegetable Tawa. A Tawa was a curry I had never tried before, but I was very impressed and would rate it as one of the best I've tried. We also had a bowl of rice as part of the deal, and also ordered extra chapattis and some pickled vegetables. Whilst the pickled vegetables were wayyyy more my mum's taste than mine (picked anything is an acquired taste, no?) the chapattis were pretty much mine to gobble up!

fruit sorbet bukhara

Now you may also noticed something...no starter? Morag you're a savoury girl through and through. Where's a veggie samosa? Well, this was one of the few dessert menus which offered a vegan dessert. Okay, so it was sorbet. But it was beautiful mango and grapefruit sorbet which still had pieces of the original fruit through it. Perfect!

Have you ever been to the Bukahara at the Lorne Hotel? 

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Lippy Girl in Son of a Brick


lippygirl son of a brick 2

Whilst I'm defiantly more of a hair care and skin care kinda gal, when it comes to make-up it's a certainly a new lipstick that gets me more pumped than anything else (a new nail varnish shade comes a close second). The most recent addition to my expanding collection is by 100% vegan lip stick brand Lippy Girl in the colour Son of a Brick*.  

What immediately caught my eye about this collection (aside from being 100% vegan) is the wide colour selection, and colours that are a bit different to the norm. There's no blue shades of the like, but they have shades of pink and red which aren't the 'default' colour (if you get what I mean?). I settled on Son of a Brick after Googling swatches and decided that my collection needed a new orange. 

So far I only own one orange lipstick and that is Gosh in Flirty Orange (seen in this outfit post). And good jolly it's ORANGE and not something I'd pop on unless I'm heading on a night out. Son of a Brick is a much more wearable orange, and has a rusty tone to it. If you're quite new to orange lipstick and not sure if it will suit you it's a much better starter shade. Or if you just prefer your lipstick colours to be of a more subtler persuasion but don't want to miss out on the orange trend.

Below is a picture of me wearing along with my daily make-up (ignore the tired would-rather-be-in-bed face - this was 8:30pm last night).


lippy girl son of a brick 1

Quality wise Lippy Girl is a moisturising lipstick. which does mean it requires a few coats to get a full on colour, and the it doesn't last as long as a matte lipstick would. If I apply it at 8am before work I tend to find it stays on until 10am and then it's time to reapply. Which isn't bad but you need to remember to pop it in your handbag. But if you have dry lips I recommend this as it is super soft. 

Ingredients: Ricinus Communis (Castor), SeedOil, Simmondsia Chinensis (Jojoba) Seed Oil, Butyrospermum Parkii (Shea Butter) Fruit Copernicia (Carnauba) Wax, EuphorbiaCerifera (Candelilla) Wax, Citrus Aurantium Dulcis (orange) Peel Oil, Tocopherol. 

I'd recommend this: if you prefer softening softening, you're after a wearable orange. 

I wouldn't recommend this: if you like a long lasting matter lipstick. 


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Recently Read


well-known book reviews

We probably all have those blog posts we like writing but they keep getting put on the back burner in favour of time-sensitive blog posts, or posts where we're working with brands. For me, my book reviews (along with 'what I ate this week' and Etsy wishlists) fall into this category. Reading is a hobby I have a mixed feeling with - I always have a book on the go but it takes a lot for me to get lost in a book and I can spend a month on the same book. This year I've been buzzing my way through my book wishlist (remember in 2013 one of my goals were to get through the books I favourited on Amazon five years ago?) and I now have many book reviews in the pipeline. 

But this is only my third recently read of the year (the first one is here, and the second one is here). I've read wayyyyy more books than I've reviewed but I do like to roughly split them by genre. This post however doesn't have much of a genre outside all of these books being fiction (rarity in itself, most of my books are non-fiction learning type books about feminism or sex) and very well known fiction at that. 

Maybe you've dipped into these well-known books or maybe they're still on your list. 

Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov
One of the classics. And like most classics I can't say it's going on own personal list of bests. It was extremely well-written, albeit at times in a high-brow I need an English Literature (and French) degree to understand this. But I did love some of the turn of phrases. But....the content. It's a controversial book for a reason though it wasn't 'as bad' as I imagined, mainly cause it lacked graphic detail. It's told from a first person perspective which meant you have to put up with the bizarre thought process of Humbert Humbert but never know how Lolita feels about her experiences (and the author has been accused of using this technique to silence the victims voice). He's also an unreliable narrator which I only found out reading other reviews which would explain why I was confused for quite a bit of the book....

Claudia and the Phantom Phone Calls by Ann.M.Martin
From a high-brown classic, to something that might be on your niece's bookshelf. I loved the Babysitter's Club series as a teenager but with over 100 books ever published (including specials and mysteries) my school library didn't stock all of them. I've made it a goal this year to fill in the gaps and get the series read. The first book I ordered was the second book ever published Claudia and the Phantom Phone Calls, because Claudia was totally my favourite when I fan-girled as a child. 

Re-reading as an adult I notice things I didn't back in late primary school that just subconsciously went in. The writing style is simple - it is for 11 year-olds - but the character development is brilliant especially considering how many characters the series managed to pack in (Game of Thrones could learn something on managing lots of characters!). As a child I learned about a lot of important issues from these books (I hadn't heard of diabetes until Stacey's character was introduced) but as an adult the social justice warrior in me sees the variation in the character's family backgrounds, the inclusion of non-white characters and a male babysitter. Sure, there are some questionable storylines but on the whole I still think this the perfect series to get your pe-teen daughter/niece/child's friend for their brithday.

I also think Dawn is my favourite character as an adult though, she's a health food loving Californian...

Batman: Year One by Frank Miller and David Mazzuchelli
Graphic novels are a form of literature that can be up for debate as to whether they actually count as a form of literature. I'm very much in the camp that they do (and here's an academic paper which covers most of my feelings). Though graphic novels weren't something I got into until the turn of this year, I've always loved the Batman TV shows and films and decided it was high time I got familiar with the source material. Since then I've fallen in love with graphic novels and comics but for today I'm concentrating on the first graphic novel I purchased Batman: Year One, 

Deciding which Batman graphic novel to start with was something I sat around Googling but Year One was the one that kept getting recommended as the first to get your paws on. It's the source material that Batman Begins was roughly based on and follows Bruce Wayne as he begins his journey into vigilantism and his reasons behind doing so. It's darkish and it's always worth reminding parents/people not into comics that despite the Batman kids TV show the original comics aren't suitable for young eyes and shouldn't be gifted until mid-late teens. 

Personally, I prefer some of the later comics and graphic novels that I found but my main reason is my favourite characters of the Batman universe (mainly Batgirl who I've developed fan-girl love for) appear later on. But if your favourite characters were Bruce himself, Alfred, Selina Kyle or Jim Gordon then Year One is a perfect graphic novel to pick up. 

There's also plenty more to come on my blog from the Babysitter's Club and the Batman series however I'm planning to do a big round-up of them somewhere down the line and keep my more regular recently reads for my other books (you know, feminist sex books). Whilst my book reviews posts aren't even close to regular you can add me on Goodreads to keep up in real-time and also if you add me on Snapchat (username: moadore) one of my most common snaps are passages from books I'm currently reading. 

Have you read any of these well-known books before? Any other fiction books you recommend for someone who doesn't read a lot of fiction?

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The Linkables


Today is going to be a quick one. My mum is through to catch her flight to Zambia. I'm meeting her for lunch and then helping get to the airport. 

These are the links I've rounded up this week.

Feminism & Equality

I was a well-travelled kid, but I've done very little of it as an adult, mainly due to money. But that's okay, because people who don't travel can still live fulfilling lives.

Why trigger warnings are polite and common decency

A YouGov poll recently found that an increasing amount of young people see sexual orientation on a scale and not a this or that dichotomy. So it's the perfect time to talk about bi-erasure

Sex work and prostitution is a difficult topic to debate and I've not fully made up my mind on where I stand. But I've in my heart - morally - I don't have an issue (realistically might be a different matter). Here's is someone who supports Amnesty International's recent report.  


Macy Gray penned a song...to her vibrator

Loving Yourself, Health & Self-Development


Health is a lot more than numbers on a scale. Here's three things the scales don't tell you

Brought a tear to my eye: I'm a Previvour.

Etc. 

Discussing the important things in life: Celebrities I have long believed are enchanted dogs in human forms.


Cookie Dough Ice Cream was one of the hardest things to give up when I went vegan but Ben & Jerry's is making a dairy-free ice-cream!  

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Henderson's of Edinbrugh


Henderson's of Edinburgh

Remember that time when I used to spend a lot of time in Edinburgh? When I nipped across for the Vegan Festival a week ago it certainly felt weird to be back. You might remember back in May I wrote a bit of an ode to Dundee on the weekend that my final university friend would also be leaving the city. Annnnd, I've not actually been back since. But most of the people I met during my time at university actually hailed from Scotland's capital and have moved back, which has made for the perfect excuse to pay a visit. 

When I met up with my friend for a wonder round the Vegan Festival (which we stupidly arrived at after the rush and many stalls had run out of their delicious vegan cheeses) it was only natural we stopped by one of Scotland's best known vegetarian restaurants. For someone who considers themselves a bit of a connoisseur on everything vegan in Scotland its a bit embarrassing to say I hadn't stopped by Henderson's of Edinburgh before. 

Henderson's in located centrally and is a short walk from Waverley Rail Station. It's split into three sections - a deli, a bistro and a restaurant. I had only previously been aware of the sit-down restaurant but me and my friend sat down to eat in the bustling bistro (we didn't actually spot the restaurant as it was round the back). 

Wyld Wood perry Edinburgh

The bistro is similar to a canteen where you go up with your tray and pick up your hot dish, a dessert, some juice or some coffee (or some alcohol, like I did, because obviously).  Being the big foodie that I am I didn't stop at one thing but instead nabbed myself a Spanish casserole and a fruit compote. And a bottle of perry, because why not? 

Unfortunately, my eyes were a bigger than my stomach and the place was sweltering that day (not their fault, I did choose to visit during the Fringe when the city is full of tourists and everywhere is crammed full of people) and a hot dish maybe wasn't the best choice. Though I did enjoy my food, being a bistro it wasn't a la carte but it's was definitely a decent place to get a quick bite to eat. Next time I visit I must remember to head along the sidestreet to try the restaurant. 

I did however also pop in by the deli. Because I was stuffed from the bistro I didn't buy anything but did have a nosey and spotted the ready-made up sandwiches. I love sandwiches and being able to easily pick one up in Tesco is something I've missed since my vegan transition. So if I'm ever in Edinburgh and need a sandwich I know where I can nip to. ♥

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Treacle Moon Vanilla & Coconut Body Scrubs


Treacle Moon review

As we all know by now one of my favourite beauty products is a good shower gel. I've been trying to cut back on buying them and spending money on beauty products that people can actually see and make a bigger difference to my physical appearance (like lipstick, or hair dye).  But when two body scrubs from Treacle Moon were in my goody bag from the #ScotBlogMeet I couldn't exactly say no to a new addition? 

Treacle Moon were a brand that I had previously heard of but hadn't researched. Whilst I'm still conducting my own research into their cf stance their packaging does state they are cruelty-free and use vegan formulas. Hopefully this will stand true.  

I was a little sceptical when I received these as the packaging and branding does suggest 'something you'd buy that teenage niece/cousin for Christmas'. However I found the scrub itself to have a very smooth, thick and luxurious texture. It doesn't foam and instead remains like a cream when using it. The scrub particles are very gentle so is ideal for anyone with normal skin, but might not be enough for someone who suffer from very flaky or dry skin. 

However one thing that did put me off was the scents. They weren't horrible by any means but they did smell a bit...artificial. I love coconut scented products and this was just very sickly sweet. The vanilla one was my favourite as it was a bit most subtle but I'm not normally drawn to vanilla scents so I'm not sure how this would compare. The scent really reminded me of something I would have used when I was a teenager and I would recommend it for your teenage neice but not sure if I'd recommend it for my - mostly - twenty something readers. 

Vanilla Ingredients: Aqua, Hydrated silica, hydrogenated jojoba oil, paraffinum liquidum (mineral oil), petroltum, cetearyl alcohol, glyceryl stearate SE, stearic acid, phenoxyethanol, parfum, acrylates /C10-30 alkyl acrylate, crosspolymer, potassiu, sorbate, sodium benzoate, sodiu hydroxide, limonene, CI 77499 (iron oxide), CI 19140 (yellow 5), CI 14700 (Red 4). 

Coconut Ingredients: Aqua, Hydrated silica, Paraffinum liquidum, Petrolatum, Cetearyl alcohol, Glyceryl stearate S, Stearic acid, Benzyl alcohol, Parfum (Fragrance), Acrylates /C10-30 alkyl acrylate crosspolymer, Hydrogenated jojoba oil, Ethylhexlglycerin, Sodium hydrxide, Tocopherol, Coumarin, CI 77499 (Iron Oxides). 
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An intro guide to relaxing with ASMR


ASMR video

Ever since I was young I've been conscious of a tingling sensation in the back of head and neck, usually when someone was paying me personal attention. Even levels of personal attention other people wouldn't be comfortable with. I was one of those odd-balls who liked going to the dentist (for check-ups, I didn't enjoy getting almost all my baby teeth yanked out) and I've always enjoyed having my hair played with or my back drawn on. 

Earlier this year Buzzfeed posted a list of Oddly Satisfying Disney Moments. I could remember even as a young kid some of these scenes making me feel as though something clicked inside of me. Scrolling through the comments section I discovered a term that would explain this sensation I had experienced since childhood (which I had tried Googling many times using terms such 'hair on back of neck explaining things'): it was known as ASMR. 

What is ASMR?

If you're a fan of my Linkables series you'll have been introduced to some ASMR videos and articles before, But for anyone new on the premises ASMR stand for Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response. It's a mouthful and doesn't exactly roll off the tongue but it's what the internet community chose to call this (it's not a scientific term, to date only one paper has been published to find out what is actually happening). 

It's when someone experiences a tingling sensation in the back of their head or neck (or arms, or back) that is brought on by a particular trigger. Common triggers include personal attention (which I experience) such as going to the hairdresser or getting an eye exam; watching someone perform an intricate task such as folding towels; whispering; tapping or mouth sounds. But the list can be quite exhaustive. 

Using it to relax

Prior to discovering the online community I had no idea I was capable of triggering this feeling myself. When I stumbled upon the online community I discovered thousands of YouTube videos acting out popular triggers that I could watch in my own bedroom. Some popular ASMR artists have hundreds and thousands of followers on YouTube. 

Personally, I love an ASMR video to send me to sleep which appears to be a common way to use them. Even when I don't get a lovely tingle feeling off a video I might still find it oddling relaxing. And it will still have me falling asleep at my laptop (these are the only content creators on YouTube who would be flattered if you told them their video made you fall asleep). 

UKASMR

My favourite ASMR Artists and resources

My favourite ASMR content creator on YouTube is almzad. For me I've found that a good video is sometimes more about the person rather than the chosen scenario but her bra fitting roleplay video is the most triggering video I've ever watched to date. Other favourites include Olivia Kissper - who was the first channel I ever discovered - along with TheUKASMR (pictured), GentleWhispering, Cosmic Tingles ASMR, albinWhisperland and Cutebunny992

However - as you might be aware - YouTube algorithms favour already popular channels in their search results which makes it difficult to find something new and fresh. Which is annoying for my ASMR as I find that I can only get tingles off a video the first time I watch a video. However ASMR Hub is a fantastic resource for finding new videos. 

I also regularly share some of my favourite videos in my weekly Linkables posts. So remember to stop by every Friday. 

Does it work on everyone?

Sometimes when I'm watching videos of someone pretending to give the viewer a shoulder massage, I do wonder what I'm doing with my life (there's still folks out there who think cat videos are weird, I wonder what they think of this...). But as barmy as this hobby/way of relaxing seems to people who don't experience it, it does help me fall asleep.

But it doesn't work on everybody. Many who experience ASMR have anecdotes from childhood about experiencing tingles (my earliest memory was having the girl next to me explain a maths problem in a soft voice). So even after finishing this blog post you still can't relate to what I'm talking about you probably don't experience it.

But if these descriptions and sensations resonate with you, you might experience ASMR and it's worth a look at some videos to discover your triggers are. 



P.S. Some posts you might have missed How I do so much and don't go insane and Wellness and staying on top of it all.  
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The Linkables












What have you guys been up to this week? I started a new job, which is actually still with the same company but I'm moving into the client services department so I've been stretching myself (mentally and physically) in all directions this week. At the weekend I also popped over to Edinburgh to visit the Vegan Festival (which was so busy and we got there after a few brands had sold out of stock!) and I also paid my first visit to Henderson's, one of Scotland's best known vegetarian restaurants. This weekend I'm taking it easy, which I definitely think it what the doctor ordered!

Blogging, Social Media and Career Building

When people talk about Pinterest being a fantastic way to grow your blog, I end up going home and sulking because it's just never worked for me. Here's a 4,000 word article which includes ideas I've never thought about. 


And whilst on the topic of Instagram, the top 5 cats of Instagram

People say make money doing what you love, but it can be a tough pill to swallow admitting that you're good enough at what you love to go full time.

Ever made a great pal through the internet or think its plain weird? Betty says its great.

Feminism & Equality

My dad carries a disabled parking badge, but his disability is invisible. Thankfully I've never witness this


I know many people who are excited for Straight Outta Compton, but I'm going to be the killjoy who reminds people about Dre Dre's history of violence against women.

Why Society Needs to Stop Telling Women They Don't 'Need' Make-up

If you're getting engaged and want some bling for that finger that isn't a clichéd diamond, how about one of these alternatives?

Etc.

Ha. Everything I'm afraid will happen when I ask someone out for coffee.

If you're planning an American road trip soon but have no idea what route to take, how about recreating a trip from American Literature

And whilst you're in American anyway, put these booze-selling bookstores on your to-visit list





P.S. I'm yet to be fancy and add it to my sidebar, but I've recently created a directory of all products I've reviewed and an events calender
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Tropical Coconut Smoothie Cocktail


aplro malibu smoothies

Let's be honest, the weather Scotland has been having this summer hasn't exactly made any of us reach for the smoothie maker. It's a bit wet, cold and my balcony has seen a lack of action. 

But sometimes you really just want a cocktail (which you choose to drink inside). Alpro recently sent me over a carton of their new Coconut Almond drink which I've already used to create a Banana and Coconut Cake smoothie, but later on I began to get the urge to create something of the alcoholic persuasion. 

But it's probably still a recipe you'll need to tuck away until next summer. 

Ingredients: 
Selection of tropical fruit medley (I picked one up from Co-op)
one sliced banana
200ml Alpro Coconut Almond Milk*
25ml of Malibu rum 

Blend together for a a fruit smoothie with just something a tiny bit extra. 

What's your favourite way to mix alcohol into your smoothies? 


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Beautiful Movements Cosmetics


Beautiful Movements cosmetics

If you've been a reader since the start you'll be aware that I used to be a dancer. Admittedly I use that term quite lightly: I was in the university dance team and whilst I did take part in competitions I stuck mainly to the performance side of things, and began to step aside as the team got bigger and some serious talent began to move into the ranks. 

But no matter how long you've been reading, you'll probably be quite unaware that I used to be a massive fan of - wait for it - The Pussycat Dolls. And by fan I mean I could name the members who weren't Nicole Sherwhatsherface. In fact during my dancing years my inspiration was Kimberley Wyatt, (who was regularly described in YouTube comments as 'the hot blonde one') and I'd always intently watch out for her in music videos totally ignoring the one everyone else could name...

So when it was announced that Ms Wyatt had teamed up to be the face a cruelty-free make-up company which was also based out of my home city of Aberdeeen, those fan girl feels creeped up all over me. But my list of brands to try is abnormally lengthy, so I never quite got around to purchasing anything but thankfully Beautiful Movements and Cruelty-free International sent me over a few things to try anyway! 

The first product in the collection is their Prime & Create Mixing Medium*. When I first received this I began using it as if it was a regular primer, erm no. This is actually something you mix in with your mineral foundation powder to create something a bit thicker and matt (because mineral make-up is typically not what you purchase when you want full coverage) and can be used to create liquid eyeliner out of eyeshadow. As a primer, it didn't work at all well (maybe cause it wasn't meant to?) but as a product which allows someone to create liquid foundation out of mineral powder it went down a storm. 

Another product I received was the Mineral Finishing Powder in Dewy Perfection*. The only other finishing powder I have used has been from Arbonne, which is annoyingly slightly too dark for me. The Dewy Perfection was the perfect shade for my face and blended right in. In terms of quality I would say it was...good. The Arbonne one was deifnetly of higher quality, but it is twice the price. 

The final product I received was the Beautiful Lips Lipgloss in Jewel. The swatches on the website make this look a lot more pink than it is in real life. When I tried this one what came out was the perfect day/work shade for me. It doesn't differ that far from my natural lip colour but having a slick of this one them makes me a look a lot more polished and done up. However, as with most lip glosses the stay power isn't all that long, so remember to pop in your handbag!

I'd recommend this for you if: you love mineral make-up but wish you could have it in liquid form (and are also a Kimberley Wyatt fangirl). 

I wouldn't recommend this for you if: you want something very pigmented. 

Lipgloss ingredients:Natural Wax Jelly, Oleic/linoleic/linolenic polyglycerides Sucrose acetate isobutyrate, Simmondsia chinensis (jojoba) seed oil, Ricinus communis (castor) seed oil, Mica, CI77891, Medium chain triglcerides, Berry fruits flavour fla 12996, Ci77742, Tocopheryl acetate, Silica, CI77491, CI77007, Tin oxide, May Contain CI77742, 77491, 77492. 

Prime and Create Mixing Medium Ingredients: Cyclopentasiloxane, Dimethicone/Vinyl, Dimethicone Crosspolymer, Yclomethicone and Aloe, Barbadenss Leaf Extract, Caprylyl, Silica, Isocetech 10. 

Mineral Finishing Powder Ingredients: Mica, CI77019, zinc oxide, may contain CI77007, CI77491, CI77499. 
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"You can't get a job with that degree!" Advice and musings on open ended degrees




"What are you going to do with a degree in that?"

As someone who chose International Management as their degree, I was used to people making unsolicited comments about it's lack of direction or lack of obvious career paths. And I'm sure graduates of History, Geography, Theology, Scandinavian Studies, Linguistics or any of the humanities are probably used to defending their degree choice.

I went on to work in Marketing/Sales Support and don't consider myself to be a dead-end failure despite my slightly non-conventional degree choice. Three years on from graduating with an International Management degree how have my feelings changed towards a degree that's non-specific or do I feel the same way I did when I chose it at seventeen?

My back story
If you've been reading my blog for a while you'll remember I didn't have a clue what I wanted to do and it did worry me that my degree was quite, broad. You may also remember that - almost by chance - I got a part-time job in social media in the university for the career centre. A job I loved, which led me into marketing, despite my degree not being in marketing (and to clarify, my degree contained very little marketing despite still being a business degree).

I then spent my third/fourth year of university building up work experience to counteract that my degree wasn't in marketing. I ran the social media accounts for the Business Society, started the Cupcake Society, became a class rep, started my blog and pretty much did so many things that wasn't having my nose in a book (which conventional wisdom would have you believe is where my nose should have been).

I ended up graduating with a 2:2, which is a classification many people wouldn't be happy with and I actually kept off my CV. But when I decided to throw myself behind my practical work experience projects rather than my academic work I knew it was the risk I was taking. It's not a risk I would recommend generally but for myself it's a risk that paid off and I am happy with my decision and don't regret my choice.

I am still a little bit unsure about what exactly it is I want to do, but I have come to accept that it doesn't make me a failure or that I should pressure myself into something just to feel accomplished. I am proactively brainstorming various options but I'm not going to talk about that right now. I just want to have a natter and offer any advice to those of you thinking about going to university and are debating between doing a degree that seemingly has no job options or a degree that has one clear job option at the end of it.

And sorry if "open-ended degree" isn't the correct blanket term, I just don't know if there is one?

To start off with...humanities or any other open ended degrees are not silly and there are jobs for geography graduates
A conversation I've had a few times goes like this:
"How come you never did Sociology at university?"
"None of the jobs related to it appealed to me"
"Ah yes, the job market is a bit slim for that degree"

Ahem. Sociology is a fantastic degree to have with an array of possible career paths, such as social worker, academic, journalist or even a marketer (what I eventually ended up in anyway). Whilst I did seriously consider Sociology as an option ('cause, yeah, I am a passionate social justice warrior type) my reason for turning it down was because none of the potential career paths appealed to me, not because there were no career paths.

So I went and studied another degree instead. Still a flimsy Bachelor of Arts degree which, like Sociology, had several career possibilities rather than one obvious career path but, unlike sociology, some of these options appealed to me.

Enhance your CV elsewhere and work the transferable skills
I've rammed this point home before, and I'll ram it home again. A lot of people have degrees these days; it's no longer the select few. So you'll need a bit more on you CV upon graduation than just "got a degree". The students of my graduating class that went on to find professional jobs quickly were the dorks who were running societies alongside their degrees. So guys, it's important.

How much academia versus real-life experience you'll require will determine a lot on what you study. Some degrees (say, medicine) have a high focus on academic achievement, and extra-curricular activities might not help all that much in the job hunt. However, for some degrees (such as fashion management) not carrying out work-experience alongside your degree is a professional deathwish (you'll need to decide for yourself where on the spectrum your degree falls).

If you graduate with an open-ended degree, you will end up against applicants who studied the specific degree for that job. Which, yeah, is a disadvantage. But if you developed your transferable skills at university through volunteering, societies, sports teams, part-time work experience, internships, running a blog and doing a few extra qualifications here and there, you can blow them out the park with skills your competition might not have (and proof that you're serious about professional development).

And we all know someone who has a glittering career in something that they fell into by accident. You never know what a hobby or a part-time job could grow into...

You might need to re-study but only briefly...
Whilst my degree in International Management wasn't wholly unrelated to marketing (as it was at least a business degree), I still found myself needing to invest time/effort/money in gaining some marketing qualifications to make my CV a bit more relevant. I didn't have to return to college to study for HND in PR, but I sat down with the Hubspot Inbound Qualification and random ones I found on Groupon. It wasn't fun, but it helped - a lot.

It's doubtful you'll have to go back and do a second degree. Everyone I've known who already had a degree has either been allowed onto a Master's programme or only did a few smaller qualifications. No one had to go back into Year 1 and complete a brand new Bachelors Degree.


Some specific degrees are more transferable than you'd think
One of the draw backs to studying a very specific degree is, well, if you change your mind.

But don't fret if this is you, because some degrees are a lot more transferable than you'd think - you may have to be willing to do a few extra qualifications to realign your professional goals but it's doable. My friend studied Mental Health and Counselling at university, decided it wasn't for her a year after graduation but had enough qualifications to get onto a Human Resource Management masters programme and now works in HR for a mental health charity (so her first degree didn't go to waste either!). I have another friend who studied one of Abertay's games programming courses but now works as a regular software developer.  My previous flatmate had a Speech Therapy degree and while she went on to become successful in that field, I was surprised when she told me how many other careers were open to her.

So if you're on the other side of the coin and are worried that your degree choice is a bit close-ended and you're doubting if it's what you really want to do, rest assured it's not necessarily the end of the road.

My closing advice
There are people people out there who believe your degree and job must align. This is despite plenty of people who are living proof that this isn't true, myself included. Life would have been simpler if I had studied Marketing from the start as I had seriously considered doing so anyway. But I didn't, and went with something that looked interesting (which it was) though admittedly I hadn't thought it through properly, and my only advice to my younger self would be to listen to that voice that was telling me to ignore society and take a year out to really explore my options.

Choosing your degree is one of those big adult choices and you'll have pressure flying from all angles just to pick something already. Try and ignore these pressures and have a inner chat with yourself about what you really want. Whether you decide to study something specific or something slightly more unusual, the only point that matters is that you can articulate why you're studying this subject and what you want to get out of it. As long as you've thought about this and where this degree might take you then go for it!

Whether you sign up for a Dentistry degree or a History of Art degree (or even no degree at all) remember: you do you!

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The Linkables


Homecoming

As mentioned last Friday, Sunday was the day of the #ScotBlogMeet which was hosted by the lovely Charlotte and it went amazingly and I am so proud of her. It was a great day and I had the chance to catch up with so many blogger pals. Also excitingly this weeks the wheels have been started on a potential trip next year down to the south of England to meet - for the first time - some of my English and Welsh blogger babes. 


This weekend I'll be heading to the Vegan Festival in Edinburgh, anyone else heading through? 

(Also this week: dorking about how all my links this week fit neatly into their own categories). 

Life & Style

For the shopping list: swimsuits with sleeves

I'm not quite at the age where I'm being invited to weddings left right and centre, but if you are don't feel financially obliged to attend them all

Good for entertaining: how to pair ice-cream with wine.

Don't let the love fade in summer: 10 summer date ideas for your and your cutie.

So the sun's been a bit shy this year, but here's some cruelty-free sun protection anyway.

Tea lovers: hot water turns stressful teabags into calm ones.

Feminism & Equality

I'm always behind on films because I hate sitting in cinemas but as a feminist I should consider popping along to the opening weekend of films with female leads.  

I'm a former waitress and the question of can you be a feminist and a waitress never really occurred to me.

I'm still a little bit behind on Orange is the New Black but here's an article that explores women - especially incarcerated women - and religion.

The best sex article I've read in ages: talking about people who aren't getting laid
"I want to go to the future where people can have lots of sex if they want to, lots of sexual partners, where they can go through a drought and not worry about being a loser, where they can be asexual and not worry about being soulless."

Places, Out & About

I can't quite say Detroit has ever been on my to-visit list but then again Brooklyn wasn't on it until recently

Sarah Jessica Parker is selling her Manhattan Townhouse. It's predictably lovely

Dundee now has a dedicated wine bar and another restaurant in the city will be hosting an American style silent reading party.

If you're in London but truthfully a bit of a country bumpkin, you should consider heading to these secret gardens.

Calm, Serenity and Personal Development


My latest favourite ASMR video: crinkly ear massage



P.S. Some of my own posts you might have missed: Wellness and staying on top of it all and the anti-diet: motivation for a healthy lifestyle
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Vegan Menu at Las Iguanas


Las Iguanas glasgow bahia moqueca
My vegan Bahia Moqueca

Back in 2013, I paid my first ever visit to Las Iguanas in Aberdeen. For some reason I believed this to be an independent restaurant. I'm not really sure why as it was big and also in the middle of a shopping centre. Buuutttt, I had a beautiful meal and sat by myself and gobbled down three courses myself (it was that good - I usually only order one meal when I dine alone). 

This however was back when I was vegetarian. Since then I have went vegan and Las Iguanas became one of the increasing number of UK chains to develop a vegan (and gluten free) menu. This weekend all the bloggers were through in Glasgow for the #ScotBlogMeet, and afterwards I popped out for dinner with Hayley and Mimmie and decided it would be the perfect excuse to try the updated menu at Las Iguanas. 

We popped in to the West Nile Street branch and was greeted with exactly the same decor as Aberdeen (does anyone else love when chains are consistent?). Upon asking for a table they immediately asked if we needed the vegan or gluten free menu (which always makes me feel less awkward) and were shown to our table. 

red strawberry las iguanas
Strawberry Red cocktail 

Firstly, we obviously had to get our cocktails in (from the extensive menu may I add!). I can't remember what Hayley or Mimmie chose but the drink I chose was one of the best cocktails I've ever had - the Strawberry Red. 

Second  up we had the choice of picking out the food. Everything on the vegetarian and vegan menu is vegetarian and has the vegan dishes marked out (and has a separate symbol to indicate if something be easily adapted to vegan). I was drawn to the Mango and Pecan Salad, but as I began seeing the food come out the kitchen to the other tables I got hungrier at the site of it and went for the slightly chunkier Bahia Moqueca (pictured first). 

las iguanas chilli con varne
Mimmie's vegetarian Chilli Con Verduras

The Bahia Moqueca is a South American coconut curry consisting of  squash, palm hearts, spinach, peppers, garlic& fresh tomatoes, with spring onion and garlic rice. It was on the mild side but was still delicious (but large - I really hate leaving leftovers!). Go try it! 

Mimmie (who is also a vegetarian) went for the Chili Corn Veduras, which I was assured was lovely. Whilst I also managed to try a bit of the totopos Hayley ordered as her side which I should pit on my list to order next time. 

Have you ever tried the vegan menu at Las Iguanas? 

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Khadi Pure Henna Red Hair Colour


Khadi red hair dye

I've been dying my hair auburn for three years now. Despite this I have tried maybe only three brands of hair - that is Lush, Superdrug and Henné Color. Recently, natural henna hair dye brand Khadi* got in contact with me asking me if I wanted to try one of their colours. Jumping at the chance to try a new brand (I still haven't found a brand I love) I was immediately smitten with this brand. 

Khadi Natural is a henna hair dye range which contains no chemical additives, preservative or dyes. Inside the box the henna henna dye which is already in powder form, a plastic shower cap, plastic gloves and the very detailed instructions. Upon receiving the box the inclusion of the plastic shower cap and gloves gave the brand their first up-vote from me as they're the first henna brand I've come across to do so. 

As mentioned the instructions were very detailed, resulting in much better application. This is the first time I've been instructed to apply the henna onto wet hair and I found that the paste moved around my hair much easier, resulting in a more even coverage. The instructions also mention what kind of temperature of water you should be using at different stages.





L: Before, R: After

As with all henna, the minimum time the dye needs to be on is half an hour, and can be left on until two hours later depending on how bright you want the colour to be. I personally left mine on for an hour and a half, which resulted in a very natural auburn shade. As you can see from the photos, my hair doesn't look that different - this dye just simply helped me re-do my roots and create a natural looking auburn shade. The before picture has a bit more ginger in it due to the Superdrug hair dye from last year still being present (it's what gives my hair a slight ombre look) and the dye helped darken that out. My hair is naturally medium brown so if you're blonde it might come out darker. The final colour was very similar to the colour I get when I use the Lush Henna Dye (the Henné Color was the brightest). 

I may have not tried that many brands, but Khadi has been my favourite thus far. The end result was a natural shade of auburn which is obviously fake and the box came with everything I needed to do a at end hair pamper night. I would recommend this if your natural hair colour is medium brown and you could like a natural auburn shade. 

Ingredients: Lawsonia Inermis (Henna)

I would recommend this for you if: you want a natural look or are new to henna hair dye and feel more confident with a brand that comes with detailed instructions. 

I wouldn't recommend this for you if: you want a very bright red (maybe if you're blonde is might be bright, but my results were auburn). 
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Netball, a World Cup and Women's Sport




We've all got our 'on-the-sideline' hobbies. The hobbies we enjoy but are not our wildly passionate interests or the ones we dedicate 70% of our time to. For me personally, sports probably fall into that category. I've always had a sport or some form of exercise on my hobby rota but I wouldn't consider myself a fitness fanatic. I was still pretty terrible at P.E. (and yes, I was occasionally picked that humiliating last) and during my tenure on the dance team I was into the end of year performances but kept my distance from the competitions. 

You may have picked up on it but one of the sports that does stay on my rota is netball. I don't keep a close eye on the netball at all times of year and I honestly couldn't tell you which the best team in Scotland is. However, whenever there's a big international event I'm there with my Scotland flag, such as the last Commonwealth Games in 2014. But next week marks the start of the biggest event in netball Calender: the Netball World Cup 2015. 

So....I realise it doesn't quite have the same euphoria as the Football World Cup, Wimbledon or even the Ashes. But it's the world cup that is always marked out on my calender. Unfortunately it's in Australia (but 2019 will be in Liverpool, holllaaaaaa!) and I couldn't quite get the funds to fly that far around the world. But, still, I'm excited. 

Netball can however get a bit of flack. It's still seen as a 'girls' sport which belongs at primary school, despite the fact that strong, athletic and powerful women make a living from it (but not quite a Wayne Rooney living...we're still working on that inequality). Meninists say it's sexist because there's no men's leagues ignoring the fact that men dominate almost all major sports and then get pissy when women have the cheek to have a sport that is primarily played by women

Then it gets flack from some feminist circles. Because it's easy, graceful and was created as a women's' dainty alternative to basketball. Say...what? The last part is true. But we're talking about the Victorian era here. If, in 2015, someone was to decide that a sport was too masculine for the pretty females and created a dumbed down version of it, I'd be out there with my placard too. But in the Victorian era creating a sport for women was a progressive move. *steps down from soap box*

And it's not dainty. No sport is. Generally the idea, no?

And then there's the rules. And yes, there are a lot of rules. Which is what puts people off. Here's my little guide to how many rules there are, the jist of netball is:
  • There's seven players in each team, and each has a specific role to play
  • Only two of these players are allowed to shoot (even though a sport such as football has strikers, a goal keeper could still run down to the other end and score - none of that fooling around in netball)
  • You can't run or dribble with the ball - you're only allowed to pivot on your landing foot
  • Each player also only has certain area of the court they can play in
  • You also have to pass the ball on within three seconds
  • No physical contact is allowed
  • The ball also has to pass through each third of the court (in other words, the goalkeeper can't throw the ball straight down to the goal shooter, the centres and the wing attacks need to be in the process somewhere)
So...rules. But, from where I'm standing, tennis, cricket and snooker all appear to be rule infested too and they don't get as much poo-pooing as netball. *steps down from soapbox - oh wait, that happened earlier. Pretend I stepped on it again*

Despite my apathetic nature to sports, women's sports remain one of my biggest feminist issues, and I want to see a day when it's called Men's Football and Women's Football not Football and Women's Football. A day when sports such as gymnastics and cheerleading which are traditionally female aren't written of dainty and have a higher rate of male participation. Or, a day when events such as the Netball World Cup receive just as much mainstream attention as all the other cups.



The Women's Football World cup broke much ground. The England team came home having made better progress than the men's team have since the 90's, but the minisists critics still wrote it off because women's football isn't as tough (or even just bluntly saying that women who play football aren't hot so all women must just automatically not play football, ever). 

England, Scotland and Wales all made the cut to take part, and are excellent sides which my English, Scottish and Welsh readers should get behind. Scotland has made leaps and bounds in the past year and I couldn't be prouder of them. Their first match will be up against England (because, obviously) which I don't expect to win because England is one of the best nations netball has ever known. But I'll still be up late to watch it when it's on at 2pm Aussie time (who's getting up early to have a Twitter party like it's the referendum again?). 

If you want to keep up-to-date with the Netball World Cup you can follow any of my silly Tweets. But it's probably better to follow the official Netball World Cup Twitter or like the Facebook page. Sky Sports are also showing coverage and will be streaming the England versus Scotland live and free on their website

*finally gets off soapbox and puts it back in the cupboard*

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