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The Linkables


Source: the talented Lauren

Welcome to a leap year special of the Linkables, which is just going to be like any other Linkables aside from the every-four-years-date. February has been a great month for me: I spent a few days in Amsterdam with Hayley, had a Galentine's Brunch with Girl Geek Brunch Glasgow and bought Bruce Spingsteen tickets for June. Needless to say March is a month where I'll have to save rather than spend. 


Anyway, enough about my bank balance (or lack of it) links! 

Veganism & Food

Meat-flavoured snacks that are accidentally vegan. Nom nom.

I usually use nutritional yeast as a parmesan substitute, but Sarah's review of Good Karma Vegan Parmesan has me intrigued.

Something for the Scottish cooked breakfast: a tattie scone recipe.

Make your friends think you're a wine aficionado with this cheat guide.

Travel

If you need more proof that AirBnB has more fun accommodation possibilities than a hotel website, the news that the American Horror Story mansion is available for rent should do it.

Portland has always been on my travel bucket list and the news that a vegan supermarket will be opening soon has just bumped it up.

And on the note of travel: I recently took my first holiday in almost four years. I didn't travel for four years, not because I'm boring or don't live life to the full but because I didn't earn enough. Stop pretending everyone can travel - it's a privilege, not a right.

Love, Sex & Relationships

I do things myself quite a lot - I'm not going to miss out on something just because I can't find a buddy - but I wish people would drop the stigma of doing things alone

Currently dealing with requited love? It's never easy, but here's how to deal with it in a compassionate and respectful (even feminist) way

Preach: getting married is not an accomplishment.

Stuck for something to do with your spiritual other-half? Here's 22 tarot-inspired date ideas

Word: what to really look for in a friendship or life partner.

But on the topic of relationship advice: it's sometimes just luck

A reminder that an abusive relationship can happen to the smartest and funniest woman you know.

Etc. 

The oatmeal is pretty much the best thing the internet has ever had. This dog comic on how daft the creatures are is probably one of the best.

Some interesting, some lol: rare events happening in 2016

Looking for some new graphic novels to read? Here's 14 that all women should read

I've always been good with money and understand why savings are important, but being made redundant last year really hit it home. I've actually stashed quite a bit of my redundancy pay as emergency money or, in other words, a fuck-off fund

As an introvert who still likes going out I understand the daily struggles of an extroverted introvert

My last link is actually a bit of a personal plug: I've been writing comic reviews for The Big Glasgow Comic Page since December and my author page is now building up. I mainly concentrate on comics aimed at teenagers and a female audience (as if you didn't see that coming). This is what I've written so far


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A Hungover Vegan


vegan hangover - vbites pasties

We've all been there. 

Sore head, grumbly stomach and perhaps a bit of spew in the toilet. Yep, we're talking hangovers. Conventional hangover wisdom would encourage you to grab a bacon sandwich or order something from your local pizza place. However, as with all conventional wisdom, this advice isn't one-size-fits-all and for us vegans, a meat-filled fry-up isn't going to help our bodies get to the point where they can semi-function for the rest of the day. 

So what's a vegan to do? 

It took me a while to get around this issue, and it was one of my final hurdles in completing the full vegan transition. Today I'm going to share some of what I've learnt along the way and what I like to munch on when I've had one too many the night before. 

Meat-Free Chicken and Mushroom Pasties
Picture this: me on New Years Day with a stinking hangover standing on Queen Street on the way home from an after-party with a sombre look on my face as I realised Holland & Barrett was shut and me staring at its door wasn't going to change that. The struggle that day was real as I realised my favourite hangover food, the Vbites Mushroom & Chicken pasties, wouldn't be joining me for my hungover Kardashians binge in bed. 

Orange Juice
From the first day I ever knew what a hangover felt like (which was obviously from legal drinking age onwards *looks shifty*), it was orange juice I began reaching for. A big gush of vitamins in one go and enough flavour to perk me up. A saviour in my pre-vegan days, and still a saviour now. 

Sainsbury's tomato and basil soup
Stay with me here. I would have never imagined I'd want soup to cure a hangover, as I don't even like soup all that much. It was on the aforementioned New Year's Day that I instead headed into the open Sainsbury's and had the sudden craving to buy one of their soup pots. It makes sense when you think about it though: sharp flavour, healthy and will go down easier than solid food. 

Some fruit
Apples, tangerines, healthy stuff. Get it down ya.

My special vegan sandwich
Depending on whether or not I happen to have bread, vegan bacon, avocado and tattie scones in my kitchen, I'll sometimes throw them together in a mega-hangover sandwich. 

A vegan fry-up
Still on my (rather long) list of blog posts to write is what I include in my vegan fry-up. The short version of that blog post is: fake bacon, hash browns, baked beans, toast (with Marmite), veggie sausages and, if I've pre-prepared them, my own home-made fruit puddings. A vegan version of a hangover classic. If you're not intolerant to soya like me you can even make some tofu scramble to mimic scrambled eggs. 

Do you have any other vegan foods you swear by when you have a hangover? Let me know in the comments. 


P.S. Some posts you might also be interested in: Being vegan at the bar and Tropical Coconut Smoothie Cocktail
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Reflecting on Redundancy




Blurry photo of me looking pensive. 

[Edit] To clarify, I was made redundant in October and I was offered full-time work again in December. This is me reflecting on my time out of work now that I am back in it. Sorry for that confusion but thank you for the well-wishes for the job search. [/Edit]

1. Getting a part-time job as a waitress or shop assistant whilst studying will give you skills to fall back on in the future. Not only did waitressing and bar work give me extra money whilst studying, when I got made redundant it provided me with the experience to get a bar job while I looked for a full-time position. 

2. Redundancy gives you more time to look for a job, take your time on applications and take up activities which could help boost your CV. Upon redundancy I did some volunteering at POSH Agency writing SEO content, finally sat down to do my Google AdWords and Analytics exams, and took up a bar job. And the result? I began receiving a higher rate of call-backs compared to when I was still in work. 

3. It's always a good idea to have savings. My previous job had been a graduate pay cheque so my savings more like £200 rather than £2,000, but it did give me some leeway. Keep some money back guys!

4. If you know the job you're currently in isn't right for you and that your position is kind of pointless, get out as soon you can. Or get out before management notices that you don't really have a lot to be getting on with (I was made redundant because I wasn't really needed - and never really had been - and was a bad fit - again it always had been a bad fit - not because the company was struggling).

5. If you're supporting a friend or family member through redundancy, my advice is to check in with them emotionally and provide practical support. Practical support can come in the form of helping them look for a job, proof-reading applications and - if you have experience of recruitment - offer advice on performing well in interviews. 

6. I am so grateful that I come from a family who earns a decent amount. I got a bar job out of choice, as my mum had agreed to make sure my rent would always get paid. Not everyone can be that lucky. 

7. Redundancy can sometimes be the kick in the bum you need to do something different. While I don't have some inspirational story that redundancy inspired me to fulfil a life-long dream of opening my own vegan bistro, or launching my own comic. What it did encourage me to do was get that weekend bar job I had been meaning to do since I moved to Glasgow (because I do genuinely enjoy bar work and as a way to meet people).

8. Promising yourself a big present with your redundancy money is great motivation for getting a new job as quickly as possible (like the trip to Amsterdam I'm currently on). Saying that however....

9. I do want to clear up something about my job hunt. I had been looking for a while as I had hated my previous job, and upon redundancy a few people (untactfully said) "This is probably the kick up the bum you need". OH HOLD THE PHONE NOW! Even before my redundancy I have been working my butt off trying to secure a new job that I wouldn't moan to my friends about. What redundancy did was it just gave me more hours in the day to look and do things to enhance my CV.

10. I realised just how lucky I am to have such a supportive group of people around me. I had friends send me links to suitable job adverts and friends who looked over applications for me. You're help didn't go unnoticed and I'm so grateful to have you in life. I hope I can give you the same help one day.

BONUS POINT ELEVEN. I hated my last job, and even though redundancy was scary I was bloody glad to close the door on that chapter of my life. Having a job you despise (especially a full time one) really takes a hammer to your happiness levels. I'm feeling a lot more alive now that the place I spend 40 hours a week doesn't make me want to gauge my eyes out.

For the first time in a long time I'm actually happy, and that's the biggest silver lining I could have gotten from this. Everything worked out for the better and I hope that if you're facing redundancy it does for you too. 

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Lush Tangled Hot Hair Oil


lush tangled hair oil

Hot hair oil is one of those products I've purchased only occasionally. I had read back in my teenage years that they were better for us people with oily hair, rather than a rich conditioning hair mask, but I just never grew to them. Last Christmas I received the standard present of a Lush gift voucher and while perusing the store I used it as an excuse to purchase something I maybe wouldn't feel as comfortable spending my own money on: the Lush Tangled Hair Oil

The products itself is purchased as a solid block attached to an end of stick, which you're meant to melt with hot water (which is trickier than it sounds). The primary ingredients are rosewood and ylang ylang, though olive oil, jojoba oil, and rosewood oil all make an appearance. This combination of ingredients create a nice natural and gentle smell which, if you have been reading my blog for a while, you will know makes a product right up my street.

Preparation & Application

lush hair oil instructions

In order to prep the product for the hair, you fill a bowl (or an empty Lush pot) with a tiny bit of hot water and start to stir the block in. This should dissolve the block into a oily treatment. Honestly, this is slightly easier said than done. The instructions say 5 minutes but I was definitely there for maybe 15 minutes and even when I was finished it hadn't dissolved as smoothly as the professional videos on the Lush website. Maybe it was me; perhaps I need to go through the staff training but it certainly didn't look that appealing. Application wise it went through my hair smoothly and didn't drip ridiculous amounts while I was waiting for the treatment to work. 

Rinsing out the product was another area where I ran into a bit of a road block. I found that it took forever to rinse out and I kept finding little oily patches of it in my hair later. Once I blow-dried my hair, my tresses had that horrible and tacky 'full of product' feel to them, a feeling I actually hate (I use very few styling products because if it). I even looked in the mirror at work and spotted white clumps of the product where my parting is! 

The Results

To balance out some of the negative points I've mentioned about this product, I'll finish off by saying that the results were gorgeous. After finally getting all the residue out, my hair was in noticeably beautiful condition for about a week and a half. I'm not too sure if I'll re-purchase however as, even though the results were perfect, I just feel the faff I had with the application isn't quite worth it and I'm sure better has to be out there (and being a Lushie it takes a lot for me to say I wouldn't buy something from their range again). 

Round-Up

Pros: Fantastic results, nice gentle smell
Cons: Application took forever, leaves residue
Ingredients: Cetearyl Alcohol & Sodium Lauryl Sulfate, Extra Virgin Olive Oil, Cationic Guar Gum, Sodium Bicarbonate, Organic Jojoba Oil, Citric Acid, Perfume, Orange Flower Absolute, Rosewood Oil, Ylang Ylang Oil, Benzyl Benzoate, Benzyl Alcohol, Amyl Cinnamal, Benzyl Salicylate, Eugenol, Farnesol, Geraniol. Isoeugenol, Limonene and Linalool


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A Vegan Valentine's




Love or hate it, Valentine's exists. I'll personally be flying out to Amsterdam on the 14th of February with my girl Hayley for a bit of palentines gallivanting. But, sssht, between you and me I'm actually a sucker for Valentine's Day and 'doesn't roll his eyes at cute teddies and refuses to go out for dinner' is pretty much high up there on my list of ideal-man-traits. 

But...a lot of stereotypical romantic stuff isn't by-default vegan. Chocolates with milk, alcohol with honey, candles with beeswax and...condoms with casein. I've not actually been in a relationship since going vegan (so my last few Valentine's have all been a bit dull) but clearly I've been daydreaming about a Valentine's spent with a hot vegan male as this list evidently shows (handy as it can be used as a gift guide, or something to plan a date at home with). 

1. Vegan wine
It's no secret that I'm a rum girl, but it's not a particularly romantic tipple and is usually vegan anyway. Vegan wine is a bit harder to come by and it will show a bit more effort if you buy in a high-end bottle with no animal by-products. Waitrose, Co-op, Marks & Spencer's and Sainsbury's have a good selection of veggie wines, however for something higher end check out the vegan section of Majestic Wine or have a look through Barnivore

2. Chocolates from Hotel Chocolate
I've mentioned before that I'm a savoury girl so 1) I'd marry a guy who brought a packet of crisps to our first date and 2) I'm therefore rubbish at recommending chocolates. But the vegan options in Hotel Chocolate look higher-end and come in nicer boxes than other brands on offer. So I'm going with that. 

3. Soya candles
Obviously a romantic evening isn't complete without some clichéd candles. Pacifica, Harper's Candles and BeeFayre all sell vegan candles. 

Regular condoms contain the animal protein casein, but being vegan is no excuse to not take your sexual health seriously. Also, if you're in need of some lube, YesYesYes has a water-based vegan option, and the Superdrug own brand is vegan suitable (I do spoil you guys, even in an overshare kind of way).

5. Eden perfumes
These were a recent addition to my perfume collection, and they are high-end and grown-up. Spritz some over yourself if you're going on a hot date.

6. A cup of tea
I know tea isn't seen as a typically romantic (or vegan) thing, but I like tea so it's staying in. I found this sweetheart tea on Etsy and Bluebird Tea Co. have a section of their website dedicated to romantic brews.  

7. Lush vegan Valentine's products
Roll up, roll up, it's the blogger cliche but their products are godly and perfect to lather up in the tub together. You can pick up what would work best for you and your sweet, but don't be this girl. Har har.

8. A meal out
If you're looking to take you sweetheart out for a meal, and you live in Glasgow, I'd recommend 13th Note or Red Onion for some Valentine's Day nosh. Okay, I've never actually been to these places on that particular date but they've always been my venue of choice when I'm looking for a formal sit-down kind of meal.

9. A cute vegan themed card
You can remind them that they are the nutritional yeast to your macaroni cheese, or your favourite herbivore. Or you can get a boring one from Clinton's.

10. Have a romantic break to a vegan B&B
While 100% vegan B&Bs still aren't a common occurrence, we are lucky that the UK has a few of them. There's Loaf B&B just south of the border, Fox Hall in Cumbria. and Bay Tree Vegan Hotel right in the south of England. There's also VegVisits which is essentially AirBnB for vegans.

11. A personalised pot of Marmite
I was hesitant to include this as, while Marmite is vegan within itself, it is owned by Unilever - who are pretty much as un-vegan as you can get (I buy the Tesco own-brand). But it's cute, so do what you like.





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