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The Linkables


Source. 

How has everyone's first month of 2016 been? I've been busy, but it has been a very fulfilling and good busy and I'm still buzzing at a lot of the new changes in my life. As mentioned at the start of the year my blog will be becoming a lot more about quality rather than quantity and, as such, Linkables will become a monthly thing. And here it is, the first Linkables of 2016 - I hope you enjoy! 

Geek & Pop Culture

I've always considered myself a DC girl - great storylines, believable characters and awesomely inclusive. Here's a history of LGBT characters from the DC Universe

More graphic novels for my to-read list: 25 graphic novels written by women

Food & Drink

As a bartender I can tell you there's a lot more to serving wine than just pouring. Here's a guide to serving with sophistication

So many recipes are for four people. So I totally bookmarked this Indian meal for one recipe

Equality


A quick article from a sexual health nurse: I've seen enough genitals to know we are all truly unique

Sex & Relationships



Blogging, marketing & social media


For your bookmarks: popular hashtags for each blog type

Even as a small-time blogger I could relate: The sad economics of internet fame

My blog and Instagram gets a bit quieter in the winter, partially because the darker nights mean less natural lighting for blog posts. Here's 5 tips to improve blog photos in winter

Etc. 

Advice I could have done with back in 2007: 5 tips for making the most of university open days

My most recent blog post was defending TV as a legitimate hobby, and in the same vein Olivia has a post on making more time for TV

So...I don't actually believe in Feng Shui, but I've always loved the concept. Here's how to carry out a 10-minute feng shui makeover

Just try and ignore that this is on the MAC website because it's a really good article: America's sweetheart of smut Stoya talks about what beauty means to her. (NSFW)

Late people really wind me up the wrong way. However, this article on what makes some people chronically late has helped me understand why I should be more sympathetic. 

Hahahahahahaha: periods aren't that gross

Sports gear is one of the hardest things to buy ethically, so I always love coming across guides to help me along the way

Have a fabulous February! 

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My Vegan Perfume Collection


Vegn Perfume collection

If there's a type of product that I've found difficult to purchase cruelty-free it has been a good bottle of perfume. With many celebrity perfumes being owned and Procter and Gamble or Unilever, it's not easy to find something too spray myself with the morning.

I have, however, over the three years found a few gems. Not many, but enough that I'm building up a small collection of perfumes that I thought I'd share with you today. Some of these were bought prior to going vegan and are simply just cruelty-free. But as perfume is something that lasts the distance I still have them years on (along with some non-cf perfumes purchase prior to 2012, that I've not included...).

Something for the day

First off we have my Pacifica Perfumes collection. While I don't sing praises about all their products, their perfumes are to die for and I've made it my (somewhat financially irresponsible) mission to purchase them all. I still have all the perfumes mentioned in this post, but now have the addition of the Tahitian Gardenia spray. All the Pacifica Perfumes, as the name suggests, very summery and something you'd pack for a holiday in the sun. However, the Tahitian Gardenia has a slightly more heady scent to it, perfect for people who prefer something a bit more musky. 

Also from Pacifica is their Persian Rose reed diffuser. This is the first reed diffuser I've ever bought (can I officially adult now?) so I'm not sure how it measures up against other brands. I really like the scent - it's rich and exotic - but the only part of my room you can smell it is my dressing table. I remember a previous flatmate had a reed diffuser in her room which you could smell the moment you walked in...

On the cheaper end of the scale - and something I bought on a whim - is the Flutter Perfume second in from the left. This is actually a Superdrug perfume I fond in their gift section and it said vegan so I thought why the hell not? The scent is light, clean and fresh - which is just up my street! It, however, was cheap and is cheap for a reason. The scent stayed on my skin only for about an hour!

Something for night time

Regardless of how much I like summery scents, there's times when I'm in the market for something a bit more sophisticated. I had been aware of Eden Perfumes for a while, a company that re-creates famous scents using natural and vegan formulas. For my first ever purchase I decided to purchase their versions of Nina by Nina Ricci and Daisy by Marc Jacobs. The bottles are 30ml and I know they'll do me for a long time, and will be the option for when I want a sophisticated perfume for night-time. 

Just cruelty-free

Also in the picture are a few scents that are cruelty-free but not strictly vegan. Firstly I have two Soap and Glory body sprays that I've received in gift sets over the years. Out of the scents mentioned, I probably reach for these two the least. They're just a bit too...teenagery for my tastes. Sometimes get spritzed on when I'm heading out for some simple errands. But not very often. 

Finally, I have the scent that I would consider my 'signature scent' for the last few years. It's, a bit embarrassingly, Ravishing by Ann Summers and is no longer available. I bought it years ago at an Ann Summers party during my student days, which is a testament to how long it lasts. It was £30 however the light but sexy scent lasts all day. Whether the pheromones work is something we can leave up to debate, I can't say I've ever done any official experiments! (Though I did have an ex who liked the scent, but whether it was the pheromones or just the smell is still debatable). 


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Veganism on the Finnieston Strip


The vegetable selection outside Roots & Fruits. 

Finnieston is a part of Glasgow that holds a special place in my heart. When I first moved here in 2012 it was the location of my first full-time job and the hotel I briefly stayed in before my flat on the Southside was ready. Being one of the first Glasgow areas I was able to explore, I immediately started looking for some vegan friendly establishments. And boy, have I found some. 

Roots and Fruits
Let's just get the obvious choice out the way first. Roots and Fruits is the health store of choice for the West End vegans and is where I spent many a pay day whilst I worked in the area. Acting as both a shop and a deli, you can purchase some of your store cupboard essentials whilst picking up a sandwich or a pot of vegan split pea curry for your lunch. Oh, and their sandwiches are stuffed full to the brim. 

The 78
And the other obvious choice is second up. Located just off the Finnieston Strip on Kelvinhaugh Street this is a 100% vegetarian café which also doubles up as a bar. I'll admit out of all the vegan places in Glasgow - there are a fair few - this is the one I find myself in least. But I know some vegans who think this is the best one out of the lot so take my previous statement whichever way you want. 

Piece Sandwich Monger
Marketed a gourmet sandwich monger, the sandwiches in Piece don't come cheap but you will struggle to find a tastier bread experience in Glasgow (or further afield). Piece is not strictly vegan, but their falafel sandwich is delightful (but remember to clarify that you don't want mayo!). 

The Kitchen
With pink door frames and a lovely typeface, The Kitchen is a small café which pays attention to the details. And these details also include options for their vegan and gluten-intolerant customers. They have a new vegan filling available for their paninis and each time I've been in there's been a vegan soup available. 

The Hidden Lane Tearoom
Shockingly enough, you'll have to keep a beady eye open for this one. Whilst it's not vegan per sé they do sometimes have a vegan cake on. And lots of tea (which is always a good thing). 

Cailin's Sushi
As a life long sushi lover (okay, since I was 18) I'm always on the look out for places that serve good veggie sushi (we are educated about food enough to known sushi has nothing to do with fish?). Cailin's Sushi has plenty of options for the plant eaters of Glasgow and all comes at a really good price. 

Blow
Did we think this post was only going to be about food? Hell no, 'cause ethics go beyond what goes in our mouths! Finnieston's well known hair salon, Blow, recently ordered in the Manic Panic hair dye range allowing the babes of the West End to add some vegan colour to their locks. 

Where's your favourite place to eat vegan on the Finnieston Strip? Have I missed somewhere fantastic?


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RECIPE: Butternut stuffed pasta shells


Vegan butternut squash pasta

My choice of Christmas dinner this year - the fifth one I've cooked without meat - went down pretty well. It was a butternut squash stuffed with a rice mixture. If you fancy trying it yourself you can find the recipe here.

But this blog posts isn't actually about that. It's about what I did with the leftover butternut squash.

Whilst you all know I love cooking, I usually work out of a recipe book and rarely create my own recipes. But in one of the recipe books I received in my Christmas stocking, I began picking up on new possible favour combinations which set a bit of inspiration off inside of me. Helped by the fact that I was in my parents kitchen - which is a tad fancier than my own one!

Ingredients
For the pasta:
two tablespoons oil
one de-seeded and roughly chopped butternut squash
three garlic cloves, chopped
10 sage fresh sage leaves, finely chopped
Chopped fresh parsley
three teaspoons of soy sauce
bag of large pasta shells

For the pepper sauce:
1 onion, chopped
2 squirts low-cal oil spray
2 roasted red peppers (such as the ones you get in jars)
1 clove garlic, crushed
Small dash of date, maple or agave syrup
½ tin of chopped tomatoes
1 tsp mixed dried herbs
1 tsp soya sauce
100ml/4fl oz vegetable stock
1 tsp balsamic vinegar
Pinch of chilli powder (optional)

(The pepper sauce recipe comes from this recipe here).

1. Heat the oil in a saucepan and add the butternut squash. Cook until it softens and gets a bit crispy. It will also shrink in size.
2. Add the garlic and sage to the pan and cook for 2-3 minutes. Splash in the soy sauce as well. Take off the heat and allow the flavours to blend.
3. Cook the pasta shells according to the instructions. This is also when you can make the pepper sauce using this recipe.
4. Once all three parts are ready, grab a baking dish. Pour the pepper sauce into the dish, and then stuff each pasta shell individually before placing in the dish.
5. Sprinkle the parsley around the pasta and do a final seasoning blast of salt and pepper
6. Heat up in the oven for 15-20 minutes, at at temperature of 180 degrees Celsius.
7. Take out the oven and have a bite (dry white wine goes well with this!).

Let me know if you try this recipe out! 

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