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The last Linkables of 2017

Well guys, here we are again. Another year gone and I'm still sharing links. I took a little bit of a backseat from blogging this year, because pushing myself to post three times a week and maintain a cruelty-free brand list was proving too much (especially for someone who has always said they don't want to blog full time). But I've still been online: reading blog posts, watching videos and learning/laughing my way through the internet. This is some of the best things I've found.

Politics and Feminism

50 Healthy Resolutions that Aren't Losing Weight

My favourite thing on the internet this past month has definitely been the #WokeCharlotte meme.

What kinds of New Year fitness resolutions to feminists make? 

Self-Diagnosing Mental Illness Isn't Perfect - But Here's Why It Can Be Necessary

No, Female Trans Athletes Do not Have an Unfair Advantage.

12 Men Reveal The Mental Health Struggles Behind Their 'Manly' Photos To Smash Stereotypes

Why the voting age should be lowered to 16

Sex & Relationships

40 important milestone you can have in your life without getting married.

Sorry Romantics, But Love Is a Choice

What it's like to get an STI in an exclusive relationship

How Disney Princesses would be different if they had mothers

15 people who have felt suicidal on the questions they wish they had been asked.

When I'm dating someone new, I will make judgements about them when I see their living space: turns out I'm not the only woman who does.

Imagine meeting someone, only to discover they weren't on any social media? Here's a funny video from the Independent.

Pop Culture & Geek

The top 10 video games of 2017.

LOL: hilarious Pornhub comments we are glad exist

If you're having a dull day: here's A.J. McLean's daughter jamming to NSYNC.

I still wouldn't consider Eminem woke, but his new direction is something.

Here's a brutally honest twist to the Babysitter Club covers, featuring Claudia.

Keep handy for next Christmas: How to win all the major board games families play at Christmas

Blogging and Marketing

17 things you should do to every blog post before and after publishing

The 5 most important skills a digital marketer needs in 2018

The social media trends that will take over in 2018


I love this: the world needs more unflattering photos.

The opposite of FOMO: The Joy of Missing Out

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Why you should give the Arrowverse a chance (all 300+ episodes)

You know all those super hot television shows that everyone was watching in 2017?

Stranger Things, Peaky Blinders, Riverdale, Orange is the New Black, Broadchurch, The Crown, GLOW, The Good Place, Dear White People, Silicon Valley, Mindhunter, The Handmaid's Tale, Twin Peaks....

...I've not see any of them*.

Because, since May, I've been knee-deep in the Arrowverse with the goal of completing all 300+ episodes by the time 2017 was out (which I managed). For anyone unfamiliar with the Arrowverse, it's a fictional universe comprised of the DC superhero shoes Arrow, Flash, Supergirl and DC's Legends of Tomorrow. So there's a lot of episodes, characters, and story lines to get your head around. It's the biggest tv-binge I've ever completed and I thankfully enjoyed it when I reached the end of the most recent episode. I regret nothing.

Here's why you should give it a try too, even if it will take you the best part of a year to complete.

Lesser known comic heroes take the stage

I was originally inspired to start watching Arrow when I found out that Black Canary - one of my favourites - would be brought to life. While Black Canary isn't that unknown to comic fans, she's not exactly going to be popping up in the DC Cinematic Universe anytime soon, is she?

Other lesser-known characters that have been brought to life in the Arrowverse include Livewire, Captain Cold, Lena Luthor, Atom/Ray Palmer, Deathstroke, Damien Darhk, Vandal Savage, Vixen, Hawkgirl, Hawkboy, Kid Flash, Heatwave, Killer Frost, Vibe, Nyssa Al Ghul, Constantine, Firestorm, and Martian Manhunter all make an appearance.

You'll spot Easter eggs that reference the big-name superheroes
The Flash’s Welcome to Earth-2

The film studios have been protective about some of DC's big-gun superheroes so we're not going to see Batman or Wonder Woman in the Arroverse. But keep your eyes peeled and you'll catch the references. The most obvious was the back of Harley Quinn's head, but keep your ear's open for a conversation about Oracle and eyes wide for billboards with Ferris Air plastered across them.

A racially diverse cast

While the main characters - Supergirl, Arrow, and Flash - are all white (and that's not a good thing, main characters should be diverse too!), the wider cast is one of the most diverse I've seen. And they don't shy away from commentating on race either.

DC's Legends of Tomorrow is the most prominent example. Several members of the team are non-white, and when they go back in time to periods when racial tensions were far higher than they are now, it's not brushed under the carpet. One African American member of the team was so distraught by the treatment of the slaves that he frees them knowing it will blow up their current mission. And when they travel back to the 1950s, an older white male member of the team was reminiscing at what good a decade it was - only to be shut down by two members of the team who weren't white or straight.

And sorry racists, they changed Iris West's race for the show.

Women in STEM

Women are very rarely portrayed as scientific or tech geniuses in pop culture - not in the Arrowverse though. There's Felicity Smoak aka Overwatch: a hacker extraordinaire who is the eyes and ears at home base when Team Arrow run out on their nightly missions.

And there's Caitlin Snow. She's honestly a bit over-the-top and is some doctor/bio-engineer/chemist/hacker wonder women. But this is fiction and she's brilliant.

And LGBT+ characters

While it is frustrating that the writers haven't made Sara Lance utter the word bisexual, polysexual or pansexual - they don't use the word heterosexual or straight either. She consistently has relationships and casual flings with both men and women as the show progresses and her sexuality isn't treated as confusion or a stepping stone. But the word would still be nice....

Then over on Supergirl, we have a later-in-life coming out story. I won't say what character is it, but just that it is handled well.

A couple break up over wanting children/not wanting children

(I wasn't going to choose a gif that involved the couple due to spoilers, so here's one with Kara Danvers and Supergirl looking sheepish). 

It's still rare in pop culture to see characters actively choosing not to have children. So it's no wonder that so many regular real-life people don't understand that some people make the choice not to have them.

It's refreshing to see a fictional couple realise that it doesn't matter how long you're with someone or how compatible you are otherwise - a partnership where someone wants children and someone doesn't can't have a long-term future. It makes this child-free lady fist pump.

(Monica and Richard Burke from Friends, and then Robyn from How I Met Your Mother are the only two examples I can think of).

The acting

While there are a few bad eggs here and there, the acting is second to none. Whether it's Tom Cavanagh playing multiple versions of Harrison Wells from different earths, or Grant Gustin playing a future version of The Flash, these actors know how to immerse themselves into a role. 

You'll end up with a new fictional crush

It's Stephen Amell (Oliver Queen aka Arrow) everyone seems to be crushing over with his chiselled jawline and six-pack. But I've developed a little (okay, big) crush on Grant Gustin (Barry Allen aka Flash) because cute nerds with choppy hair cuts who wear Converse will always be my type. Plus, a male friend of mine totally has it for Felicity Smoak.

It's gives us DC fans something to watch

That's Thea Queen - ain't she cute? 

I'm a DC girl through and through. However, even I know that the DC Cinematic Universe leaves a lot to be desired. All we have right now are the TV shows (and the animated series, which I've not seen, but heard amazing things about) until the film executives sort themselves out.


Let me know if you'v watched the Arrowverse. What was your favourite bit?

* I did make an exception for 13 Reasons Why and Game of Thrones most recent season.

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Herbivore Kitchen, Edinburgh

It's Christmas Eve and by now you've probably all had your festive nights out with friends and co-workers.

So I apologise that this review is a week too late...

But I still need to write about the vegetarian Christmas Menu at Herbivore Kitchen in Edinburgh because it was just that good. Even if the ship has sailed on the festive dinner menu, I still highly recommend heading there for food at another time of year (I know I will be).

Honestly, it's been a while since I headed through to Edinburgh for some vegan food. So I'm not as up-to-date as I could be on where to eat in the capital. Thankfully the lovely Charlene was on the ball and went out of her way to organise a meet-up for some of the vegans she regularly speaks to online. 

And she made an excellent choice on venue as the food was delicious. It was a 3-course menu of £25 with three choices for each course. The menu also marks out what is vegetarian, vegan, wheat-free and contains nuts.

For starters I chose the Roast Butternut Round, Sweet Potato Gnocchi, and Sage Cashew Cream. This was by far my favourite part of the night. This was the first time that I have eaten gnocchi made from something that wasn't wheat, and I realise I've been missing out. But I've never made a secret of my love for butternut squash and cashew cream - which was the perfect accompaniment.

For starters, I choose the Sgaia Bacon Nut Roast with Fondant Potato, Baby Carrots, and Red Wine Jus. I'm not entirely sure why I chose this as I'm not a fan of typical Christmas food (including nut roast) and wish I had went for the Crisp Polenta, Stuffed Portobello Mushroom and Black Peppercorn Sauce (we ordered in advance). I did enjoy it, but it was probably my least favourite course, and the portion size did feel small for a main course.

Then for dessert I opted for the Arctic Roll. I'm not normally a dessert person but this was the course where I had to spend a bit of time pondering. The other choices were between a Chocolate Pudding Baked Cheesecake, and Sticky Toffee Ginger & Cinnamon Pudding. Even when the desserts were served, my mouth was watering at the other options. But the Arctic Roll was delightful; with vegan cake circling vegan ice-cream with a chocolate orange flavour.

Herbivore Kitchen is now closed for the Christmas holidays and will re-open on the 29th of December. While the Christmas menu is no more I can definitely see myself returning in the new year to try something from their regular menu (the Lemon Lentil Daal, Roasted Butternut Squash, Coriander Tofu, Spring Onions and Pickled Mooli sounds amazing!).

Herbivore Kitchen

Were you lucky enough to try the Herbivore Kitchen Christmas menu? Let me know what you think. 

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10 reasons why dating apps are not the death of romance (or society)

It's probably not surprising that, as a single woman in the 21st Century who owns a smartphone and enjoys social media, that I have dabbled in the world of dating apps.

And by dabbled, I actually mean that I have sixteen dating apps downloaded onto my phone (some are definitely better than others: Tinder, OkCupid, Badoo and Her are my favourites, but JigTalk, CLiKD, and Double should probably get deleted).

In case it wasn't clear: I like dating apps. Enough that I'm the mug who downloads all the silly quirky ones that only have five people signed up. But most single people I know are also on them - the stigma is shredding and it's now almost weirder to be single and not on Tinder, than it is to be on it.

But dating apps still have their haters.

They're not safe.
You'll receive unsolicited dick pics.
Everyone's profile picture is heavily filtered and posed.
You'll get catfished.
It's shallow.
It's lazy.
They're unromantic.
You might miss Your Person because they were born a year before your chosen age range.

If you're single and don't want to be on a dating app, that's your prerogative. But it's a prerogative that I don't agree with and I think you're wrong.

Here's why.

1. It widens your dating pool
There are so many potential dates or partners on these apps that you wouldn't meet otherwise. If you want to exhaust yourself bar-hopping every weekend and RSVPing yes to every social event ever in order to meet someone in real life, be my guest. You do you. But I'll be tucked up in bed, swiping.

(Tinder is also cheaper than going to a bar).

2. Some of us don't like bars, or public places...
It's extrovert bias to say that we should all head to a bar to meet potential matches. I don't really enjoy bars and I'm sure as hell not going to start hanging out in one every Friday night just in case a potential suitor shows up (and even when I did go to nightclubs, it proved to be the worst way to meet someone serious). I'm introverted and most of my hobbies don't involve leaving the house. Dating apps allow me to get on with a life that fulfils me but still have the opportunity to meet romantic and sexual partners.

3. It's actually less shallow
I can see where people are coming from when they say dating apps are shallow: you're deciding (with very limited information) whether to go on a date with an effective stranger.

But think about it. When a cute stranger catches your eye at the bar and you decide to go over - what exactly are you basing your decision on? What do you actually know about this person? You can see that they're cute, but that's it...

Before you swipe right or send a message on a dating app, you'll likely know the person's name, age, sexuality, job title, star sign, religion and whether they already have children or not. Some apps even show your compatibility rating. This is a lot more information than that cutie at the bar - so which is more shallow?

4. Some of us are chasing unicorns
If you're heterosexual, monogamous, able-bodied, sexually vanilla, want children, want marriage, aren't divorced, aren't vegan, don't already have children, and have mainstream political, or spiritual, beliefs then you probably don't understand how damn hard dating can get for those of who don't fit that description.

Those of us who do fall outside of these dating norms probably all know the pain of meeting someone new, feeling the butterflies, then afterwards discovering that there's a massive deal breaker that means the relationship just can't work. 

For those of us whose taste in partners is slightly niche, dating apps helps us find our unicorn(s). OkCupid (which is incredibly detailed) allows users to search based on sexuality, education, children (or lack of), religion, smoking, drinking, drug use, body type, race, monogamous/non-monogamous, and diet. It might not sound romantic, but I've had to end it early on with so many guys because I don't want children (and they do) that it's nice to go in there knowing from the start that it won't be a problem.

5. Casual sex with a stranger is far less awkward...
I generally prefer not to comment on what other consenting adults get up to, but why do people have casual sex with co-workers/a good friend/their best friend's brother?

I believe casual sex is better with someone who is separate from other areas of your life. Like, really. And honestly sex with a cute stranger from a dating app is better than drunken sex with a random at a bar.

6. You could end up dead in a ditch no matter how you meet someone
Okay here is some truth about dating apps: creepy guys can get even creepier when they can hide behind a keyboard (or phone, whatever). There are fake profiles, and I've swiped right on a hottie only to get suspicious that they weren't real. I even once came off OkCupid for a few months due to harassment.

But if you think creeps only exist on dating apps, you've clearly not been paying attention. Any woman who has ever stepped outside her house has received cat calls, had her ass grabbed, maybe her boobs, or struggled to politely decline a guy at a bar who just cannot take the hint. Creepy behaviour is not unique to dating apps.

Ya'll just gotta kiss lot of virtual frogs, yo.

7. It's easier for shy people
Think about that cute stranger in the bar from earlier. How many of us are genuinely comfortable initiating a conversation with a hot someone who we don't know?

Hiding behind a screen helps ease the nerves. If they don't reply it's much less embarrassing or awkward than a public dismissal. Plus you can read their profile and find some common ground to open up on. On swiping apps like Tinder, you even have the reassurance that the attraction is mutual before sending the first message.

8. Catfishing can happen IRL too
Touch wood, but I've never fallen for a fake profile. They're usually pretty easy to suss out (supermodel photos, a naughty bio, no connected social media accounts etc) and while I've evidently not found love on a dating app, I'm yet to have an awful date.

IRL, however, I haven't been as lucky. Guys who I've met in a more traditional setting have managed to pull the wool over my eyes. I've dated a guy in my final stretch of university who turned out to have a girlfriend back home. I knew a guy for two years and only found out his sexual consent skills were shaky once we started dating. Most recently, I was introduced to a guy on my birthday by a mutual friend who thought we'd be a great match - we spoke for about three weeks (and met up once) then he ghosted me...

Moral of my bad dating stories: meeting IRL is no guarantee that someone is being honest with you.

9. Do you honestly care that much about your "how we met" story? 
Tinder is not exactly a great story to tell the grandchildren; but how many couples have an interesting "how we met" story? My parents met at work (oh the romance).

Let's be real: very few couples are childhood sweethearts who stood the test of time or holiday romances who moved across the country to be together. You've been watching too many romcoms, mate.

10. Dating apps work
I know multiple couples who met each other online and are incredibly happy. Online dating works and is a completely legitimate way to meet someone.

As I said in point 8 I'm yet to have a truly awful experience with dating apps. Last year I was casually dating a guy I met off Tinder. We did eventually end things, but he was one of the nicest guys I've ever dated and I don't look back on our time together with any regret. Even more, we've stayed friends. He even bought me a break-up pizza!

If the knowledge that these apps actually work is not proof that they are worth your time, then I don't know what is.

If you're a fan of dating apps, let me know your favourite thing about them. If you're still not convinced, let me know what's stopping you. 

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Christmas gifts for foodies who like it hot and spicy

Food (and life) is always better with some spice. If someone in your life agrees, treat them to one of these spicy gifts this Christmas.

1. This mug for drinking their morning spicy espresso from

2. A wall print so they can proudly display their hot-sauce love affair

3. Or maybe this print will be more to their taste

4. A subscription to The Spicery (a subscription box for spices)

5. A towel to wipe up all that hot sauce after cooking

6. Because you're never too young to appreciate some sriracha sauce

7. A book to feed their brain with essential chilli knowledge 

8. The perfect Christmas Day party game...

9. A grow your own chilli sauce gift set

10. Then some chocolate and chilli vodka to wash it down

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November Linkables

It's doubtful anyone pays this much attention to my sidebar: but November is the month when my bio age goes up a digit. That's right, I am now 27 and a card-carrying member of the late-twenties brigade. I'm not much of a clubber these days, but I made an exception and tagged onto the back of an old university friend's birthday. I ended up having a good night, which included Solid Rock, Cathouse and even a flat after party. It was fun but I ended up sleeping solidly the weekend after...

Anyway, enough of my party animal antics (or lack of), time for links...

Sex & Relationships

I once dated a guy who - in hindsight, and by own judgement - was probably demisexual. I didn't understand him at all and we were wildly unsuited, but this list helped me understand where his attitude towards sex was coming from and why he behaved they way he did.

I'm introverted as hell, but I don't hate people. I just despise small talk and meaningless conversation (like the weather).

I've primarily dated guys who are the same height as me (I even have a preference for it) and this is why you should consider it too.

I've always joked that, if I was to live with a partner, I'd want my own separate wing. Apparently living apart but together, is becoming more of a thing.

YES: Healthy and happy polyamory in mainstream media.

Related: I'm polyamorous, and Facebook doesn't think my sexuality exists

These boyfriend beauty fails are hilarious.

Are you super single? *puts up hand*

Self-development & life

9 things your house needs to be a happy place.

There's science to why we love the music of our teenage years.

A reminder that you are worthy of effort.
“I would cook, if I had someone to cook for…” is a phrase I hear more often than you would guess.  Puzzled, I find myself wanting to shout, “What about you?” Aren’t you someone? You deserve delicious home cooked meals with or without a date! I found this discovery fascinating when I first moved to the city. I couldn’t fathom the idea of resigning myself to a life of takeout until the day someone came along to fill the seat next to me, thus saving me from a life devoid of home-cooked meals.

9 pieces of common life advice that you shouldn't listen to. 

Feminism & Equality

Co-signed: Dear Average Dudes: No, Conventionally Attractive Men Don’t Get a Pass When It Comes to Harassment or Assault

32 gifts for a book-loving feminist.

Why do women get all attractive if they don't want to be harassed? Glad you asked
" feel confident, to earn social capital in a culture that prizes physical beauty, to turn on their partners, to land dates with people they find mutually attractive — physically or otherwise.....It’s not a contradiction to want all those things and not want a superior to masturbate in front of you."


16 of the best new board games to get stuck into this Christmas

Which zodiac sign is the rarest? 

Potential Christmas recipe: Chestnut, squash and sweet potato loaf.

Scream is one of my favourite horrors films in general partially because the opening scene was such a game changer when it first came out. 

On the topic of horror films, Dead Meat is my newest favourite YouTube channel (I even support it on Patreon).

6 Instagram hacks you haven't heard before. 

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How to support colleagues and employees with dietary issues

Some of you may have caught my Twitter rant a while ago about office cake culture (I originally wrote this blog back then). If you don't have any dietary restrictions you might be rolling your eyes right now. But think: how many times has a colleague walked around the office and placed a slice of cake on everyone's desk or someone has brought in exactly the right amount of donuts for every person? Or booked the Christmas night out and not asked if anyone has dietary restrictions? 

If you don't have a diet that is restricted, these things have probably went over your head. But in every single office I have ever worked (yes, every god damn one) I've either been made to feel awkward when I received birthday cake I couldn't eat, sat hungry in business conferences or been asked by a manager why I wasn't more enthusiastic about the office version of the Great British Bake Off.

It's not just as simple as speaking up and plainly stating why you won't eat cake (or whatever food people are dishing up). I prefer to keep my veganism (and all other political and moral opinions) out the office. It's not just veganism though. The list of reasons why someone might omit certain foods is endless: religion, diabetes, IBS, eating disorder recovery, allergies, celiac disease, high cholesterol, kidney disease, gout, and heart disease are just a few. Some of these reasons are understandably not something someone would like to discuss in the office, and shouldn't be forced to.

So that's why I've compiled a list of thing you can do to 1) consider that some people do have a restricted diet and 2) to do so in a way that respects their privacy and doesn't force them to have a conversation they'd rather not have with their colleagues. 

1. Take a head count before you pop out for donuts
Or cupcakes. Or bacon rolls. Don't come into the office and get butthurt when you realise you spent excess money because you put the "Ass Out of You and Me" into assume.

If you want to buy your colleagues a mid-day snack, make sure they actually want it. 

2. No means no
If someone politely declines food don't say "are you sure?", "oh, are you being good?" or - the worst - "well, I'm cutting you a slice anyway". Be polite and move onto the next person. 

No means no in literally every situation on the planet. No is a good word. 

3. Don't buy a birthday cake unless you know what you're doing
That birthday cake I mentioned earlier? It was my 26th birthday and my colleagues had bought me a cake that was labelled as vegetarian. They told me they weren't 100% sure I could eat it but they had seen me eat cake before so assumed it was okay (they had in fact seen me eat vegan cake). I ended up giving the cake to the guy I was seeing at the time, and I have no idea if he even ate it.  

I appreciate that they did try, but I would have preferred to get a non-food related gift with the money they collected. I think most other people with dietary restrictions would as well. Only buy someone a cake if you are certain you can get it right. 

4. Ask for dietary requirements when booking team dinners
The Christmas dinner in my first graduate job was originally going to be at a seafood restaurant. I decided I'd let other people have fun and I'd sit it out...until I found out the owners considered it mandatory to attend (that's another wtf all in itself). I then sheepishly said that I didn't eat meat. Thankfully they changed it because no one wanted to go to a seafood restaurant anyway. But if you thought that was the end of the drama, it wasn't. I had to repeat myself every goddamn year. 

Before booking anything, e-mail round asking if anyone has any dietary requirements or preferences. If someone does, goddamn respect it. I also live in Glasgow, where there are plenty of restaurants that cater to both meat-eaters and vegans, so there are no excuses. 

5. Realise that allergies can actually be deadly
There's a persistent rumour that an allergic reaction involves nothing more than a bad stomach and that a day in bed will fix it.

*head desk*

Allergies can be lethal. If someone in your team has a severe allergy that means it might potentially be life threatening. Actually understand that, and understand it some more. Allergies can kill.

I don't have an allergy, so can't give much more insight. But don't be that person who eats peanut butter sandwiches at their desk when they know the person right beside them is deathly allergic.  

6. Consider social events that don't centre around food
Why does it have to be a team dinner? There are some dietary restrictions that prevent people from ever going near a restaurant. If someone in your team falls into this category be a star and think of something that doesn't involve food. Paintballing? Football trip? Marathon? Day at the fun fayre? Seaside day trip? Picnic? Pub Quiz? Roller skating disco?

7. Don't assume an employee is disengaged if they don't partake
Sometimes a dietary requirement does prevent someone from partaking in work events, whether it's a conference, social event or trip away. Myself and others with dietary requirements do worry that we might get passed up for promotions or horizontal development because we're assumed to be disengaged. When in reality it's our dietary requirements not being respected (either by the company or wider society).

8. Don't pry
I prefer not to talk about my reasons for being vegan in an office. I would just rather everyone left it as "Morag is vegan and doesn't eat cheese". I don't want to end up in an argument with someone about the ethics of the dairy industry, or explain how I get my protein.

Usually these conversations involve me responding with three word answers and squirming in my chair. I'm clearly uncomfortable discussing this. Please use some emotional intelligence and recognise my desire to change the subject.

If someone always turns down cake, it's not your business why.

If you're someone with dietary issues, what's something you wish your colleagues understood? 
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Make-up for small and close-together eyes

We all have that feature we dislike and try to cover-up or balance out with make-up. 

For me, one of these features is my close together and small eyes (which are slightly deep set to boot). Now, I know we shouldn't get hung up on these things and make-up should be fun and creative, but when you have something you're a bit insecure about make-up can create the illusion of smaller, bigger or more sculpted features (and it's cheaper than going under the knife!).

It took me years to work out how to create the illusion that my eyes are bigger and wider-set than they naturally are (the Avril Lavigne smokey eye I kept trying as a teenager really wasn't a good look) but these days I reckon I have it on point. 

Obviously, not all of these tips will work for everyone. Heck I don't even make use of all these tips myself. Even if you do have small eyes you might have another feature that these tips will clash with so play around and find out what works with your overall face. 

Conceal like a pro

I've always been big on the under-eye concealer because I have hereditary dark under-eye circles. Said circles also create the illusion that my already close-together eyes are wayyyy closer than they are naturally. Whether you have dark circles, or small eyes, spending a bit of extra time round the eye area with some concealer can create a more open look.

And by some concealer, I mean three (I told you my concealer game was strong and, oh yeah, remember a good eyehsadow primer before you start). My first concealer is a colour-correcting product - I personally prefer yellow to start off (my favourite is Barry M) but you might find peach or green works better for you. Then I go in with a thick concealer, such as Illamasqua (non-vegan but is good if you're just CF) or Hourglass. Then, I finished it off with some light-reflecting concealer (my favourite is the bargain Barry M liquid concealer). You can also finish is off with some setting power if you're going somewhere nice.

A note on a dark circles: a bad night's sleep makes mine worse, so get plenty of downtime. 

Retire the dark smokey eye

A wise person once said that you shouldn't blindly follow trends, and instead work out what suits you. That's exactly why you'll never see me wearing a smokey eye (despite my attempts to pull it off in the noughties). If you really want to wear a smokey, opt for a lighter grey shadow. 

Your eyelashes deserve some attention

Mascara is a considered a must by beauty lovers. For anyone with close together eyes they can help widen the peepers. Remember to concentrate on the outer corners and don't focus too much on the inner corners. Consider investing in a pair of heated eyelash curlers as well. Set them off with false eyelashes at night time, but don't buy the extra volume falsies - it's the lengthening once you want in your stash.

Consider a cat flick

I love liquid eyeliner and I really don't feel "made up" unless I have a cat flick drawn on. Just like the smokey eye, concentrate on the outer corners to help draw attention away from your small gap.

Step away from that waterline

Avril Lavigne was my fashion icon circa 2003 and I even dyed my hair to match hers in the My Happy Ending video.  I pulled that off, but something I couldn't pull off? Her eye-make up - especially lining my waterline with black liner. A cat flick looks great on small eyes, but anything on the bottom lash line just boxes them up.  

You're not Cara Delevingne

Thick eyebrows are in right now, and while I know a few small-eyed babes who can pull them off, generally speaking they're better left to those with naturally wide set peepers. Eyebrows and eyes should be well balanced. There's some debate as to where an eyebrow should start, and I'm in the camp that eyebrows should be plucked to be in line with the start of your eye - but if you have close together eyes plucking just a tiny little bit more will help create the illusion of wider set eyes.

I fill mine in gently to the point where they look almost natural. And I darken them after the natural arch. I use the HD Brow Powder (I've owned this pre-cruelty-free, and they never responded to my email) and darken the outer corners with Barry M It's a Brow Thing.

Lips, lips, lips

This tip might not work for everyone but I always wear a solid lip colour. It's a win-win for me as I quite like my lips, I suit most colours, and it pulls attention away from my eyes. Try a bold colour and see if it works for you. 

And some tricks that don't involve make-up 

Make-up isn't the only tool in the arsenal to create that wide awake look - you can also use your hair and jewellery. When it comes to hair my two main tips are: if your eyes are close set don't opt for a middle parting, and consider keeping your hair off your face. The first option is obviously to not drag the attention to the middle of your face, but the second is because it allows there to be more skin showing on the outside of your eyes, helping balance the small gap between the eyes. There's a lot of ways to get creative with your hair here: wear a simply ponytail, a topnot or get fancy with a headscarf.

As for jewellery: an eye-catching pair of earrings can transform many a facial feature. They can help balance out a close together eyes as well as a big nose and can feminise harsher features. If you're a fan of facial piercings, certain locations can balance out your face. Anything along the nose will drag attention to the small gap, but a lip piercing can pull attention away. Eyebrow piercing are not very trendy these days, but if they ever come back into fashion they'll help drag attention to the outer corners of the eyes.

Further Reading: 
Close-Set Eyes: The Makeup Tricks To Master If You Have Them
8 Eye Makeup Tips For Close Set Eyes
Beginner Eye Makeup For Close Set Eye
Fake It Until You Make It: Making Close Set Eyes Look Wider

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Vegan options on Glasgow Deliveroo

For a long time I was totally anti-takeaways, for two reasons:-

1. They're damn expensive. You can get a weekly shop for the same price as a Pizza Hut meal deal. 
2. You rarely see a V sign beside any of the options. 

Then in the past year I found Deliveroo, which cancels out both these aversions. If you're new to the party (or this century) Deliveroo is a sort of AirBnb or Uber for local restaurants where said restaurants sign up but the Deliveroo branded drivers/bikeriders/motorcyclists are the ones who actually deliver the orders. Glasgow is known for it's eclectic dining scene so it's no surprise that the options on Glasgow's Deliveroo are awesome and have plenty of vegan options. 

Granted I would still rather go out to eat and there's has been controversy over how well paid the Deliveroo drivers actually are. But for nights where I have a friend visiting and they're too tired after their journey, or I'm cuddled up on an indoor date, Deliveroo is what I opt for. And the delivery charge is not that much (it might differ if you live further away from the city centre) so you're not paying much more than you would if you were heading out. 

Here is the selection of vegan delicacies on Glasgow Deliveroo (might depend on your address). 

Pizza Express

Pizza Express might be one of the earliest restaurants to offer a vegan pizza, but whenever I've ordered from them on Deliveroo the spinach always arrives soggy. I actually avoid it.  

Pizza Punks

I love Pizza Punks, and I enjoy creating new pizza options with their mix-and-match menu.

Bar Soba

I only ever order from the Merchant City branch though. The Mitchell Lane establishment delivered me chicken and weren't even that apologetic. 

ASK Italian

I tried their vegan pizza for the first time very recently, and I liked it. they also have a full vegan menu.


Also has a dedicated vegan menu on the app.


Their sieten burger is one of my favourite vegan burgers in Glasgow.

Prep Fitness Kitchen

So they mark their restaurant as vegan-friendly but leave you to guess what is actually vegan. There's a Power Bean Burger than looks promising (though I've never ordered it).

Handmade Burger Co

One of my favourite places for a vegan burger as there is six options!

Di Maggio's

I love their Lucca vegan pizza!


Who doesn't love some Wagamama? Their Deliveroo portion sizes are also really generous.

Taco Mazama

I love Taco Mazama generally. But I'm not paying the delivery free for a burrito.

The Squid and The Whale @ Nice N Easy

Same goes for this place. 

Do you love Deliveroo in Glasgow? Have I missed any vegan-friendly places?

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My basic vegan curry recipe

In the lunch canteen at my work I'm regularly complimented on my home-cooked meals. But honestly? Most of my packed lunches sound fancier than they are and are pretty easy to make. I also have the same five recipes on rotation.

One of these meals is my basic vegan curry recipe. When I say basic I really mean basic. Most Indian chefs would probably scoff at the idea of this being a curry and there's no way you'd find something so basic in a restaurant. But it's quick and easy to make, completely vegan and makes you look more competent in a kitchen then you actually are. Win-win.

200ml coconut milk (I used powdered coconut milk)
2 teaspoons curry paste of your choice (I tend to use tikka masala)
half an onion, chopped,
one clove garlic, chopped
one vegetable stock cube
vegetables of your choice (I go for pepper, pea pods and mushrooms)
oil to fry

1. Heat oil in sauce pan
2. Fry the onions and garlic until softened
3. Add the vegetables of your choice, and heat through for about five minutes
4. Prepare your coconut milk powder (mix with water) and combine with the curry paste
5. Add the milk mixture to pan and add the stock cube
6. Bring to the boil
7. Ensure everything has been thoroughly heated through and that the stock cube has dissolved
8. Serve with rice.

Voila! One very basic vegan curry that will impress your co-workers.

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BEAUTY REVIEW: Outback Organics

Outback Organics is a brand that only recently came onto my radar. They're a Somerset-based beauty company that manufactures all their products with an Aussie twist and their mantra is effective, ethical and affordable. Definitely sounds like something that is up my street.

A skincare brand through and through, their product list includes body oils, face cream, deodorant, waxes, wet wipes and cleansers. Most of their products centre around tea-tree, and all their ingredients are plant-based. Recently they sent me their Little Wonders From Down Under bag that contains miniatures of their favourite products.

I'll be the first to admit that I've had a long on-off relationship with tea tree. I first gave it a try when I was 14 (because teenage magazines were raving about it) and it worked...for a while. It's the kind of ingredient that my skin gets used to, and I have to stop. Then I can go back to it later. If anything, it works best for me when I use it sparingly - worth mentioning before I dive into this review.

I'll start with my favourite product, which is the Face and Body Scrub. Typically speaking, scrubs irritate my face so I only used it on my body. The exfoliators in this are very gentle and the texture is creamy with some bumps. Like most botanical products, it didn't foam. It was very moisturising and I really liked using it on my arms and across my chest. but it it's not strong enough to work on rougher skin like feet.

For my face however I started using Skinwash. This left my skin feeling a great balance between washed but not irritated. There were no exfoliators in it, which is probably why. Like all their products, this contained tee tree that does lead to one problem: you can't use it near your eye area. One of the most important tick-boxes for me personally with face wash is being able to remove my eye make-up with it. I have cleansers in my cupboard so gentle I can wash between my lashes and my eyes remain unharmed. I couldn't do this with the Skinwash, which is really disappointing but a reality of tea tree.

Outback Organics also make products for calming the skin post-wax or shave. In my little bag I was given the Bush Balm and the Ingrown Hair oil. The Bush Balm might sound rude, but you can use it on any area of your body to calm the skin after shaving. I really liked this and - in line with the product's name - it worked best on my bikini line which gets hella' irritated post hair removal.

As for the Ingrown Hair Oil, I am going to have to get back to you about that product. I don't get ingrown hairs very often, but when I do I'll make sure I use this product and let you know.


Face and Body Scrub: Aqua/Water/Eau, Glycerin, Hydrogeneated Jojoba Oil, Stearic Acid, Glyceryl Stearate, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Dimethicons, Ethylexyl Stearate, Phenoxyethanol, Sodium Hydroxymethylglycinate, Parfum (Fragrance), Carbomar, Allantoin, Tocopheryl Acetatw, Cucumis Sativus (cucumber) Fruit Extract, Citronellol, Gerantol, Linalool, Limonene. 

Skin Wash: Aqua/Water/Eau, Disdium Laureth Sulfosuccinate, Cocamldopropyl Betaine, PEG-120, Methyl Glucose Trioleate, Sodium Babassuamphoacetate, Sodium Chloride, Melalauca Alternifolia (Tea Tree) Leaf Oil, Sodium Benzoate, Propanediol, Glycerin, Potassium Sorbate, Menthol, Mentha Piperitta (peppermint) oil, Menthone, Tasmannia, Lanceolata (mountain pepper) Fruit/Leaf Extract, Citric Acid. 

Bush Balm: Aqua, Glycerin, Glyceryl Stearate, Macademia Ternifolia Seed Oil, Polycrytamide, Allantoin, Butyrospermum Parki (Shea Nut) Butter, Caprylic/Capric Triglycende, Cetearyl Alcohol, C13-14, Isoparaffin, Laureth-7, Inulin Lauryl Carbarnate, Dicaprylyl Carbonate, Aloa Barbadensis Leaf Extract, Sodium Hyaluronate, Dipropylene Glycol, Boswellia Serrata Gum, Cucumis Satvis Fruit Extract, DMDM Hydanton, Backhousia Anisata, Disodium EDTA, Tocopheryl Acetata, Panthanol. 

Ingrown Hair Serum: Aqua/Water/Eau, Dicaprylyl Carbonate, Ceteareth-12, Steareth-2, Allantoin, Betaine Salicylate, Stearyl Alcohol, Aloe Barbadenis (Aloe Vera) Leaf Juice, Ceteareth-20, Caprylyl Glycol, Phenoxyethanol, Sodium Benzoate, Ethylthexylglycerin, Cupressus Sempervirens (Cypress) Oil, Propylene Glycol, Glycerin, Potassium Sorbate, Distearyl Ether, Fusanus Spicatus (Australian Sandalwood) Wood Oil, Backhousia Anisata (Aniseed Myrtle) Leaf Extract, Hydrolyzed Opuntia Ficus-Indica Flower Extract, Ananas Sativus (pineapple) Fruit Extract, Carica Papaya (papaya) Fruit Extract, Citric Acid. 

I was sent this as a PR sample. All views are my own. 

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October Linkables

Happy Halloween! I hope you're having a great day whether you are out trick or treating like a big child, or partying with your friends in fancy dress. I had my Halloween celebrations on Friday in Manchester and paid homage to my favourite horror franchise with my Casey Becker costume. This post is actually being scheduled in advance so I'll just assume I had a good time on my weekend trip to Manchester. I'll let you know about everything soon enough though.

This month has been otherwise quiet, aside from the Scottish Greens conference (which I blogged about). The winter is setting in and I'm using that as a massive excuse to be a homebody, especially since I'm on annual leave this week. Not that I've ever needed an excuse, but the summer sun does make me wish I wasn't so introverted.

But enough about Halloween and the chilly weather - on with links!

Marketing, Blogging & Career

I regularly create Facebook Ads and Instagram Ads for the same campaign in my professional life, and I always tailor them to the platform. This article from Zeal Marketing perfectly explains why you should too.

58 Tools To Become a Social Media Marketing Hero. There were a few on here I hadn't heard of.

If you're a freelancer, have you ever tried working from the gym?

I have some experience on the interviewer side of the table, and I totally agree with these interview tips from a HR Specialist.

The evolution of women in stock photos. Ha!

I need to tape this to my eyelids: you'd be a better communicator if you weren't so afraid of embarrassing yourself.

Geek & Pop Culture

It might be a little late to read these before Halloween, but psychological horrors are for anytime of year.

You should read these books too

Veganism & Food

Again, a little late for Halloween but these rainbow candy apples are so cute

Social Justice & Politics

This is an American example but as a Scottish person who lives in SNP/Labour Glasgow but grew up in Conservative/SNP Aberdeenshire, I totally get the concept of voting or moving.  


I'm one of those weirdos who loves surgery videos, and "How to fix a curved spine" is no exception.

When friends fade away because you've changed or family members question your life choices, think of it as an authenticity tax

If someone you know if going through a rough time - remember to reach out them because you might be the only one who does

Have a lovely November babes! 
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I'd rather have no Batgirl film that one directed by Joss Whedon

There, I said it.

It's not like I haven't hinted at my feelings already. But I'm saying it officially: I'm no longer excited about the upcoming Batgirl film. Even back when it was first announced I didn't hide my confusion over the choice of director and an uneasiness on whether Batgirl was mainstream enough for the film to be a success. But as time has went on I've become less and less ecstatic about it.

A lot of this is to do with Joss Whedon. Those of us who like to geek out to film analysis, and have followed his work for a long time, already knew he was problematic. While the general public considered him feminist because he creates female characters who were powerful in a physical fight, those with a critical eye weren't blind to the lack of racial diversity in his work, the bi-erasure of Willow Rosenberg, creepy comments regarding Amber Benson's body, and spitting out the dummy over Charisma Carpenter's pregnancy.

But in August his cover was blown. His ex-wife spoke out about their marriage and how he wasn't quite the perfect little nice guy he had made himself out to be. I wasn't exactly surprised, but to have the confirmation from Kai Cole did make me even more disappointed that he was given the top job behind a female-lead superhero film.

Not just any female-lead superhero film, but Batgirl. She's my personal favourite and she's widely hailed as one of the most feminist characters in the DC Universe. Not only is she full of girl power, but she also has LGBTQ+ acquaintances and physical disability is part of her backstory. This is a film that requires the direction of someone who is sensitive to social justice issues. So, eh, not Joss Whedon then.

While Joss Whedon has incorporated social justice issues into his work, he has missed the mark on many occasions. This is what happens when someone (even the most well-intentioned ally) tries to speak on behalf of disadvantaged groups that they don't belong to.

One of the most obvious examples - to me anyway, my polysexual brain was startled straight (lol) away - is Willow Rosenberg's sexuality. Joss admitted that he had toyed with the idea of a Scooby coming out long before this storyline manifested. In fact, it wasn't until this scene that it was decided that it would be Willow and Tara.

They went on to become one of mainstream television's earliest same-sex couples, and I have no doubt Joss meant well by this. But those of us who fall under the polysexual umbrella didn't turn a blind eye to Willow identifying as gay. Did we imagine her infatuation with Xander? Or her healthy and loving relationship with Oz? Joss, this character has already had established romances with male characters - I think you need to do a bit more research on human sexuality, especially the bit about bisexuality being very real and valid.

Oh and then he killed Tara, aka the Bury Your Gays television trope.

Even when they break-up Willow speaks as though her love for Oz was real. 

If Joss had carried out a focus group with LGBTQ+ fans of the show or hired an LGBT+ writer, these two things could have been avoided. This is why it's important to have diversity amongst directors and producers, not just cast members. And why allies should never think of themselves as saviours or possessing the same level of understanding as someone who lives the reality of that disadvantaged group. 

This is why I want a woman at the helm of Batgirl. Even better, one with personal experience of LGBTQ+ issues and physical disability. Failing that, a female director who will do her research and seek opinions of these groups who do fit into these disadvantaged groups.

And, yes, I know it was Joss Whedon's idea to make a Batgirl film

In late August - in what looked like a PR stunt from the Whedon camp - it was reported that a standalone Batgirl film was not on Warner Bros radar until Joss pitched it. This does make sense given Batgirl's lack of mainstream clout. Why would Warner Bros consider a Batgirl film when they're already busy producing and promoting films involving Wonder Woman, Aquaman, Harley Quinn, Joker, Gothan City Sirens and Batman himself? Even though I love her, I can see why it wasn't on their radar (though I was hoping she would pop up within these films to help build her profile). 

If this news was meant to make me glad Joss Whedon pitched the idea, you can wipe that smile off your face. It doesn't mean I should roll over and not complain about him getting the job, even if he was literally the only option. I wasn't even getting my hopes up for a Batgirl film, and I'm sure as hell could have waited longer.

There's also been a lot of talk that he won't use a famous actress, which further ignites my worry that this might be a financial flop. You could definitely argue that Aquaman isn't big guns enough to have his own film. But Jason Mamoa has star power and he'll have the Justice League films to help build up the character's fan base.

It problematic as fuck that we have to even think strategically about female-fronted superhero films. Superman vs Batman might have been a pile of balls and Jared Leto's Joker might have been cringeworthy - but these characters aren't going to be pulled. Even that George Cloony Batman film didn't kill the franchise. There will always be room for male superheroes, even when they produce flops.

But female superhero films? Wonder Woman was successful. Largely thanks to known actors, loyalty to the source material and great behind-the-scenes work. But the creative industries work in a capitalist system, and ultimately film execs decide what to produce based on balance sheets. And that is why it's important that every single female fronted superhero movie does well financially, because the studios will only produce more if they make them money.

I mean, you remember Catwoman in the mid-00s? What on earth was that movie? It's no wonder the industry waited a decade to produce another female-fronted superhero film.

Oh, and then there's that leaked Wonder Woman script

Joss Whedon really wants to produce a female-led superhero movie, because Batgirl isn't the first film he has pitched. Several years ago Joss wrote a Wonder script that never got made. And thank heavens it didn't. The script opens with the focus on Steve Trevor landing on Themyscira, and stumbling upon the beautiful Diana. From the outset Wonder Woman is taking a backseat in her own goddam movie as it we see her through the eyes of Steve Trevor. In the version that did get made (spoilers if you haven't seen it) the film starts with Wonder Women's backstory and then we're later introduced to Steve Trevor. 

And the way he talks about other women in the cast isn't great either: 

Thank you for reminding us that middle-aged women can still be beautiful and "in their prime". I thought they were all ugly. 

And he decided to write the script while masturbating, evidently: 

If Joss Whedon had been given the go-ahead, the film would have likely ended up being wanking material for 14-year-old boys. Rather than the strong and inspirational story for girls we ended up getting. No prizes for guessing which version I prefer. 

Throughout the script Joss focused a lot on her love interest, Steve Trevor, more so than was probably necessary. The eventual 2017 film did feature him and they did kiss (because even Wonder Woman can't resist the puppy eyes of Chris Pine) - but their love story was not the focus of the film. The producers struck a nice balance between Steve being part of her life, but building her character to be more than just her romantic interests. Buffy might have been physically strong as hell, but a lot of her storylines still focused around her romantic life. 

Will I go see the film? Probably. Batgirl is still the leader of my superhero Dream Team and I'm not going to pretend I'm not curious. But there's a large part of me hoping that Warner Brothers decide it's better off in the hands of someone other than Joss Whedon, or work the character up a bit more in another superhero film. 

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