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My first #BiVisibilityDay out the closet - a reflection on 10 years of denial and hiding



Today is Bisexual Visibility Day. A day where bisexuals (and other non-monosexual identities) gather together to shout loudly and proudly about their sexual orientation. Remind people that we exist. That it wasn't a phase. That we're #stillbisexual even if we're in a monogamous relationship. That we're just as queer as the L and the G part of the acronym.

However, 2018 is the first year I'll be celebrating. Because at this point last year I was still doing what I had been doing for many years prior: fondly looking over at the proudly out bisexuals who were sharing their experiences on Twitter while I still sat in my closet.

But little did I know, that 12 months ago I was just under a month from the day that I would be ready to come out. Somewhere in October 2017 I had the moment in my kitchen where my brain finally snapped and I decided that I was done hiding. That night I went back up to my room, opened my dating apps, and switched them all over to say bisexual (and have kept them that way ever since).

I still wasn't 'properly' out until a few months later when I would start dating a girl. I didn't want to do a big coming out - I wanted to do it in a way that felt natural, the way we would all come out in an ideal world, where we mention it in passing. I can count on the one hand the amount of people I made a point of officially telling. A month after that night I ranted on this very blog about why Joss Whedon shouldn't direct Batgirl - using his past biphobia in Buffy as a reason - and mentioned my sexual orientation in passing. It was the first time I publicly stated it, and it was casual af.

To make it clear: I have nothing against people coming out in a flamboyant manner. We're all different and have to make the choice that is right for ourselves. The problem lies with a society that puts non-heteros in a position where they have to think about how to come out in the fucking first place. I long for the day when we don't have to come out, when heterosexuality is no longer seen as the default.

My decision wasn't a snap one though, it had been a long time coming. I had known I wasn't hetero since the middle of high school, when a particular girl two years above me stood out. I can even remember the day I first encountered the word bisexual (it was in the pages of Sugar Magazine back in the very early 00s). The first place I was ever out was online, on a few message boards. I even occasionally switched the sexual orientation box on MySpace to say bisexual - but would change it back quickly after - just to see how it felt. I didn't even fill out my orientation on Facebook. I just left it blank (so, technically, I never lied about my sexuality).

Like almost everyone, I decided I would come out after school - but I chickened out. The reason why was biphobia and a lack of self-confidence. I knew about biphobia and the negative stereotypes that surrounded bisexuals - but I wasn't aware of how prevalent it was. It was prevalent in people I knew. One of my first university friends said "bisexuals are just greedy" and uni flatmate said "I think bisexuals are just straight girls looking for attention, or lesbians in denial".

But I did come out to one person within the year I left school: my first boyfriend. His reaction didn't help. Instead of responding with supportive phrases like "I'm glad you told me", "I'm here for you", "bisexuality is valid" or "do you want help coming out to other people?". I got met with gleaming wide-eyes as he put on a provocative voice and whispered "oooh, Morag likes girls - that's hot". He didn't register that I just came out to him, and instead put his penis at the centre of the conversation.

We even went long distance for a while, and spoke about an open relationship - but he only wanted me sleeping with girls. Clearly he didn't feel threatened by the odd lesbian fling. Men? Nah. Too much of a threat to the relationship. There was no way in hell I'd actually leave him for a women because, remember, bisexual women really just want men at the end of the day amiright? And when we eventually broke up he used male pronouns to describe potential future partners. The idea that I could fall in love and choose a woman as a life partner didn't occur to him.

Over the years that followed I came out to a few of the men of my past. Every single time it was the same. I was a sexually adventurous straight girl who might give them a threesome. Not a bisexual woman capable of deep romantic love for someone of the same sex.

And between all these shitty comments, I began to believe them. Maybe it was just a fantasy I needed to get out my system. Maybe I was just a slut. Maybe I'm not capable of loving a woman. At that point I'd never been romantically involved with a woman. But now I know that the reason I hadn't experienced an all-consuming crush on a woman was because I had never given it a chance.

Then within the past two years I began to accept it within myself again, just as I had once done as a teenager. Bisexuality was hitting the headlines. Cara Delevigne was a big turning point for me (and if you happen to be reading this Cara: call me, I fancy you to death). As was the bisexual character Sara Lance in the Arrowverse. And when Ingrid Nilson came out as gay, I realised that it wasn't too late and there's nothing wrong with coming out in your late 20s (which was a fear that had began to rise in me as the years ticked on). Plus, the book Ethical Slut (which is amazing and should be read by everyone) reminded me that all forms of bisexuality are valid and it's not always 50/50.

But my final breakthrough came in October 2017, in my kitchen. I had recently made the decision to clean up my friends group. The reason for this had nothing to do my sexuality and was a whole other separate reason. But as I flipped through the names of the people who I did want to keep in my life I realised that I had nothing to fear anymore. I knew 100% in my heart that these people would still love me, would not fetish me, would not roll their eyes, and would not ask if I was sure.

Prior to that clear-up, I wasn't friends with brash homophones. But there were guys who would perve over girls kissing in night clubs. Girls who treated gay men like shopping toys, rather than people. Or gay people who vowed to never date a bisexual. Or straights who would say "oh, a ladies man already" at a three-year-old boy who does nothing more than smile at a girl. No one was a far-right bigot who wanted to deny LGBT+ people basic human rights, but were lefties who discriminate in lesser ways (and are still part of the problem).

It is scary to be yourself in a world that is telling you not to be. But coming out taught me that it's less scary to do so when the people you love have your back. To the people I didn't clear out last October - and to those who have joined my life since then - I am eternally grateful for your open-mindedness, commitment to social justice, and having the emotional intelligence to know how to respond when someone comes out to you (especially when that person spent over a decade in the closet). I could never put my gratitude into words.

If you are either a guy I dated in the past who I came out to, or someone who got cleared out last October - I don't mean any of these words with hate. I know you're also part of a toxic heteronormative social dialogue, and not one of you ever meant to make me feel unsafe coming out or deny my true sexual orientation to myself. I know you support LGBT+ rights, but were never given the tools to do it properly. Treat this as a learning curve to do better. We could all be doing better, myself included.

So Happy Bisexual Visibility Day - and to one year of being out! Let's paint the town pink, purple and blue.

All my love,
Morag x

P.S. If you are still in the closet, take your time. Your confusion is valid. If someone had told me a year ago that I would be out by the end of 2017 and dating a girl by spring, I would have laughed. It took me a decade to get there, but I got there. You can too.
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Edinburgh Fringe Reviews, with five days left of the Fringe




You could probably argue that the first rule of writing reviews of live performances would probably be to write said review on opening night, or quickly after.

Evidently I didn't read the rule book (or didn't care enough to check).

I make a point of visiting the Edinburgh Fringe every year, but I never tend to make it a priority. And this year I only made it along on Sunday, just one whole week before the whole thing closes its doors for another year. So if you're Fringed out, this is probably a little late - but if you live in or around Edinburgh and have a few hours to kill this week, here are mini-reviews of everything I went to see (which I'm writing in chronological order, but this list also happens to end with my favourite).

Pricks
When I first seen this show's title, I thought "yes, a show that slags off penises". It was - somewhat unfortunately - not about that, but instead a personal memoir about living with Type 1 Diabetes. It's a solo show performed by Jade Byrne, but incorporates sound recordings from Jade's family and other diabetics who she interviewed for the performance.

Out of all the shows I seen, this one made me feel the most emotion. It made me laugh when she responded to silly questions ("can I catch it?"). Educated me when she explained how treatment has moved on over time. Gave me a sore throat as her mum's voice echoed round the room, worrying about who was going to look after Jade when her mum couldn't. Made me uncomfortable as she asked us to put on our blurry glasses as she attempted to illustrate what it felt like to go into hypo. Clenched my fist when she recounted a story when a barmaid refused to serve her Redbull during a hypo, believing her to be a regular drunk.

How to Drink Wine Like a Wanker
I've always liked wine but have never been able to describe what flavours I like beyond "pinot grigio". Since most wine tours and articles come across as full on upperclass twaddle, so I've never really looked into it.

So a Fringe show that educates me on wine, but simultaneously acknowledges the wanker attitude of most wine journalists and copywriters? Sign me up.

Hosted by Anna Thomas, a native to South Australia who decided to pack up her corporate career and become a wine tour guide, talks us through six of her favourite wines and shares titbits of her life (content warning: she talks about her miscarriage; and financial warning: it costs extra to taste the wine). She confirms (what I've always known, to be honest) that most wine labels are marketing guff, and there's not a single wine that can honestly claim to have undertones of seven different berries. But out of everything she mentioned, my favorite was this: "the best wine in the world isn't the one that some wanky wine journalist tells you should like, it's the one that matches your palette and helps you unwind after a long week".

Plus it turns out Roussanne is the wine I never knew I needed in my life (it's savoury and nutty).

Sidewalk Smut
While exploring Edinburgh and the various Fringe hubs during my five hour break between shows, me and my friend came across a stall adventuring personalised erotica. As a sexology nerd I could not say no to whatever the hell this was.

Turns out, the women was a friendly, funny and feminist-friendly sex therapist and former sex phoneline operator named Cameryn Moore. Aside from her Fringe Show that rips apart society's shitty attitude to sex and re-builds it, she also offers a service called Sidewalk Smut where she interviews curious pedestrians about their sexual preferences, sends them away for about 15 minutes so she can crank out a personalised one-page piece of erotica on her typewriter.

And you can bet your ass I ordered one. While I'm not exactly going to scan and share it on the internet for everyone to see, from a short interview Cameryn managed to pin point exactly what I like in bed and I absolutely adore my short story. I'm keeping it forever.

Politics for Bitches
Potentially one of the most talked about shows at the Fringe, I'm not sure Politics for Bitches needs an introduction or even a review - but here is one anyway:

Fucking awesome.

Especially if you're a frustrated millennial. If you're a 60 year old Tory, you'll probably walk out.

So what do you recommend?
Sidewalk Smut and Politics for Bitches are my top choices - but the other two are definitely solid options (but probably appeal to a more niche audience).

Since the Fringe has already been on for three weeks, I suppose a good closing question is to ask what have your favourite shows been? 
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My favourite Glasgow restaurants for vegan and omni friends


(This is Nippon Kitchen)

One of the most common questions I get asked is: where in Glasgow can meat-eaters and vegan friends dine together?

Once upon a time this was a difficult question to answer, and I even struggled to pick places for my own group of friends. These days Glasgow offers a generous selection of vegan menus within its eclectic dining scene - and I have a pre-prepared list for lunch and dinner dates.

This list is by no means exhaustive (vegan menus are so common in Glasgow now that I can't even keep up) and I've decided to limit it to my five favourite restaurants - in no particular order.

Nippon Kitchen





If you were to ask me to choose a favourite restaurant from Glasgow's generous dining scene, it would be Nippon Kitchen. I first discovered Nippon Kitchen back in 2015 and have returned on many occasions since, singing it's praises every time. It's a Japanese place that has always been accommodating for vegans but about a year ago they launched a standalone vegan menu. It's not the cheapest of options, so I usually reserve it for when my parents are down or I'm looking for a nice date venue - but I couldn't rate it higher if I tried.

Pizza Punks



I'm yet to meet anyone who doesn't love Pizza Punks. For £10 you can build your own pizza from dozens of toppings (including veggie haggis, mac and cheese, and Irn Bru Pulled Pork), or you can order one of their pre-made options. There's also a vegan chocolate brownie freakshake.

Rose & Grants


If it's brunch you're looking for, then I recommend this place. Not only do they serve a tasty vegan breakfast - they also have lots of vegan goodies behind the counter (like cakes and Vegan Burd Chocolate bars). They even at one point sold limited addition Irn Bru ice-cream!

Tickled Trout




This is a very recent discovery of mine, which I recently reviewed for Vegan Connections. You'll find it on the outskirts of Milngavie - and it is well worth the car drive. The vegan menu is a very recent addition, but contains tasty and creative dishes such as tomato tart and panna cotta. They also have a generous drinks selection behind the bar (plus, it's next to a Dobbies Gardene Centre and that's never a bad thing).

Bread Meats Bread



With a word like meat in the title, you wouldn't think for a second that this place was vegetarian-friendly, let alone vegan. But words can deceive. Bread Meats Bread on St Vincent Street (where all the burger restaurants are) actually sells my all time favourite vegan burger. They also sell vegan poutine!


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July Linkables




So, uh, hi again. Remember me and my Linkables series? If you're new around these parts, Linkables is where I round up the best the internet has to offer. It used to be weekly, then it became monthly - and then it became whenever I could actually find the time (even though I do love putting them together, and I've been told people love them).

I would say I've had lots of exciting things going on in my life, but that would be a lie. I've just become a cliched adult who has a job to go to, a flat to run, and personal relationships to nourish. I've also been taking more time to myself and introverting self-care time has become a standard part of my life (at last).

But enough about me and my standard life. Links!

If you read one thing from this list, make it this article on how the mainstream chat on mental health is far too cutesy and really does fuck all for people with severe mental health problems.

Shan BOODY is a new (to me) sex and relationship YouTuber. Her work is sex-positive, inclusive, modern and covers topics not always covered by other sexperts. My favourite videos are Women Who Love Casual Sex, Working in Porn with Erica Lust, and The Importance of Sexual Intent





I've written before on men caring too much about their fandoms, and I found this great piece that explores a similar theme: The Problem With Not Caring About Pop Culture



I loved Daria as a teenager (much to my parents' dismay) and as an adult I know why I was drawn to her.



My Instagram Stories game is something I'm trying to improve in both my work and personal life, so this article is just as much for myself as it is for you

“People will come to you with their problems and imply that you’re the only one who can solve them. This is almost never true.” TRUTH!

What have you been reading this month? 




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What exactly is a casual relationship? Common questions answered.




Back in February I shared my experience on getting comfortable with long-term singlehood.

But I told a little white lie. Sort of. I mentioned that I hadn't been in an official relationship in seven years. Which is completely true. What I didn't mention is that I have been in what you would consider (or what I like to call) two casual relationships, both roughly lasting 18 months. Not only that...but I've been in a new casual relationship since March.

For the most part, when I have a casual relationship it tends not to be public knowledge. But when someone has found out I get a barrage of questions (and confused looks). Questions that I am going to answer today. Maybe you'll decide that a casual relationship is something you would like to explore. Or maybe you'll decide it sounds like the worse thing ever for you personally, but you'll go forward with a more open mind towards people who have chosen this style of dating.

So what exactly is a casual relationship? 

In a nutshell, it's somewhere between friends with benefits and a serious committed relationship.

Where exactly the line between casual relationship and serious relationship lies is up to the people involved. For me personally, I still go on cute dates, have sex, get to know the person really well, maybe even buy them a birthday present. What I don't do is introduce them to my parents, or take them to the office party, have much evidence of it on social media or - this is the important bit - plan a real future them.

Have a think, chat it out with the person you're seeing and decide what a casual relationship should look like for you.

Aren't you afraid that you'll miss out on someone real if you're messing around with someone casual for too long? 

First off, it's 2018 and we shouldn't be assuming that everyone's end game is marriage.

Secondly, this is the reason why I have limited record of my casual relationships on social media - so prospective partners don't mistake me as spoken for.

Thirdly, I identify as polyamorous and wouldn't consider a serious relationship unless the conversation of ethical non-monogamy was on the table (but more on that later).

Do you end a casual relationship after a certain amount of time or just let it run on? 

I personally let it run on for as long as both parties are happy for it to. Other people might choose to put a time limit on it from day one. It's everyone's own choice.

Aren't you just delaying an inevitable break-up? 

Since I identify as poly and I'm not overly fussed about finding myself a life partner, my current casual relationship might carry on for the rest of my life. Most people are surprised to hear that my previous two relationships lasted 18 months - but both my exes were not fussed about finding a serious relationship (though they didn't identify as poly).

But if you are someone who ultimately wants a serious monogamous relationship, you will need to accept that you'll be delaying an inevitable break-up. But if you're respectful and honest with your partner - and no one is in love - the break-up should be swift.

Do you break-up with a casual partner the same way a serious partner?

100%. My second casual relationship even bought me a break-up pizza.

Would you date or have sex with other people? 

While it is up to the individuals involved it's generally my advice that expecting commitment and monogamy from someone you're not serious with is possessive.

In both my previous casual relationships, I didn't actually sleep with anyone else but was still swiping through Tinder and went on one or two dates (that didn't lead anywhere). Both these previous relationships were slightly unhealthy in the sense that I felt a little bad about dating other people - and I recognise now that I should have had a serious conversation with them and potentially ended it if we weren't on the same page. Thankfully, in my current relationship we communicate about the other people we're seeing and get excited for each other.

Remember: if you are sleeping with multiple people it's really important to practise safe sex.

What would you do if you met someone serious?

As I mentioned earlier, I would never enter a relationship that would only ever be exclusively two people. My current casual partner feels the same way and we have already had the conversation where we've agreed that (assuming circumstances don't change) that if either of us did meet a life partner, we would continue to date and would become secondary partners.

Are you sure that you're not just a commitment-phobe? 

I had/have my reasons for not being official with any of my casual partners, and those reasons still stand. Being with them in a serious capacity didn't feel right and I don't regret letting them "get away".

Do you want a serious relationship or do you prefer casual relationships?

Sometimes I respond to this question with "none of your business" BUT if you're really interested...

...I'm not opposed to having a life partner however it's not something I actively look for. My first casual relationship was actually the least healthy relationship I've ever been in - I was aggressively set up with the person, they weren't honest for three months about only wanting something light, and I learnt more about what I didn't want more than what I did want. My second casual relationship had a few issues, but not nearly as many as the first and I was happy during the 18 months I was with them. My current casual relationship is the healthiest relationship I've been in, with a mature adult who wants the same thing as me and knows how to communicate their needs (and listen to mine).

As long as you listen to your gut, communicate with your partner, and don't string anyone along a casual relationship can be just as a fulfilling as a serious one.

If you're not hurting anyone, then you're not doing anything wrong.

P.S. I'm happy to answer any (respectful) questions! 
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Vegan menu at Vapiano, Glasgow



If there's a cuisine that boasts plenty of accidentally vegan food, it's Italian. While there's pepperoni pizza and meaty lasagnes, there's also arrabiata, pizza marinara, bruschetta and marinated olives (to name a few). So when I heard that Vapiano had added some vegan options to their menu I was slightly cynical about how exciting it would be.

If you're unfamiliar with Vapiano, it works a little differently from other restaurants. When I walked in I was greeted by a perky staff member in a pseudo-reception area who gave me my card and explained the self-service style of the place. Essentially you find a table, decide what you want from the menu and head up to the kitchen and they'll freshly prepare the dish right in front of you. Waiters came round the tables and took drinks orders. As you go, you swipe your card on a machine, which tallies everything up and you pay on the way out. It does make splitting the bill between friends a lot easier though I almost dropped my card a few times.



I did have a nosy at the menu before I visited, and it was your usual Italian-chain fare. The vegan options on the menu were:

  • Aglio e Olio
  • Arrabbiata 
  • Funghi Bolognese
  • Insalata Mista Piccola
  • Bruschetta
  • Lemon or Raspberry Sorbet 

I opted for the Funghi Bolognese, as it was the only thing that was a little different. It was also not until after I ordered that I noticed a vegan lasagne advertised in the restaurant itself (but not on the actual menu). I would have totally opted for this, as vegan lasagne is not something that is regularly available. Also...no vegan pizza despite the big pizza menu.



While you can probably sense my slight lack of disappoint at the creativity of the dishes, I was not let down by the quality. The Funghi Bolognese was flavoursome and the pasta was al dente. The chefs also have fresh herbs growing in the kitchen (there was also herb plants on the tables, but I can imagine children pouring Fanta in the soil). And while the sorbet I had for dessert was pre-packaged, it was creamy (instead of icy, which far too many sorbets are).

The drinks menu was impressive, though. There was a good selection of cocktails on the cheap, as well as a two page long wine list. If anything, I'd go back for the drinks alone.

While Vapiano certainly hadn't pushed out the boat in terms of imagination, it's not a bad effort. Would I recommend that the vegans of Glasgow rush out to try the menu? Not by any means, but it's great that another option exists of vegans trying to dine with non-vegan pals.

Have you been to Vapiano yet? What did you think of the vegan menu? 
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Dear Vegan Nice Guys, I'll date a meat eater if I damn well please




We all probably know about the Nice Guy.

He's the sort of guy who is normally a pleasant person. Until a girl he fancies goes home with a dominant alpha male and he starts ranting about "girls only dating jerks" and "nice guys finish last" and "these girls ignore guys like me and then cry when the jerks they do date cheat on them". 

You know the type.

But if you're actively involved in the vegetarian/vegan community you'll have probably met this archetypes half-brother: the vegan nice guy.

The Vegan Nice Guy is the guy who believes that because he's woke on the realities of the meat industry, that vegan woman should fall at his feet. When they don't - or, god forbid, decide to date a meat eater because of female sexual agency - the hissy fit ensues.

This is where you imagine me falling off my chair from severe eye roll.

Here's just an example if what I've seen in the past:

Post after post and meme after meme saying "you're not a true vegan if you date a meat-eater". 

There was one disheartening story from a vegan male about a Tinder date with a meat-eater, where the girl mocked him. He was respectful about her but in the comments came "dude, the ratio of female to male vegans is high, you could just have your pick of vegan girls". 


There was once (many moons ago) a meme shared that said something along the lines of "Girls say there's no vegan men, but here we are". 

Plus, my personal favourite: "a vegan dating a meat-eater is like a feminist dating a misogynist". 

Oh, and this Reddit.

This is where you imagine me screaming into the void.

So Vegan Nice Guys (and people of all genders who support them) let's break it down!

Your dating priorities might not be the same as everyone elses

I have a small checklist of requirements that categorically need to be checked off before I enter a relationship. It's the big things: also doesn't want children/doesn't want any more if they are already a parent, also open to the idea of non-monogamy, stable job (or legitimate reason not to), politically/socially progressive and has their shit together. Then I have my strong preferences: doesn't smoke, geek, is also a city person, and won't roll-eye at my boyband obsession.

As far as my preferences go, vegan is a preference but not a strong one. Since going vegetarian I have only dated meat-eaters and very rarely has it been an issue. While most of my preferences listed above are built around things that did become issues in past relationships.

But that's the thing about dating preferences - they are personal. I don't force my preferences on other people. So I use as hell don't like it when others push their preferences on me.

Even if vegan is a preference, it won't be there only preference

If a vegan categorically won't date someone who eats meat that is their choice. However, it won't be the only thing they look for in a partner. So cut out the crap that vegan men should automatically get vegan girls for no other reason.

We all have gaps in our ethics

I do try and live as ethical a lifestyle as I can, but I have blind spots. I still buy my work clothes from Primark, I still prefer paper books to e-books, and I'm guilty of only focusing on social justice issues that effect me.

It's important to me that a serious romantic partner (more on that definition later!) tries to make the world a better place. But I'm not going to get uppity if their priorities are different to mine and if they have blind spots - as I'd want the same respect in return.

Not everyone is vegan for the same reasons

I went vegan for the animals - with the reduction of greenhouse gases being an added benefit. But my reasons weren't everyone's reasons - and these vegan women might be vegan for a reason that differs from yours.

There's a difference between a life partner and someone I might have a fling with

The non-negotiables and preferences I mentioned earlier are only applicable for serious relationships. If I'm just looking for a fun fling, the only real requirement is chemistry. I've had flings in the past where I don't think me being vegan even came up...

Not all women are into men

Just a reminder, y'all.
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Men, we need to talk about feminine beauty regimes (because most of you need an education)



One of the earliest discrepancies being men and women I noticed was beauty standards.

I touched upon this a little bit in my post about pop culture and the negative lessons about love that it taught me. In films we see nerds with braces and acne chasing after the picture-perfect head cheerleader. Then bitching that these beautiful chicks only fancy good-looking jocks. Can't imagine why an athletic good-looking female would prefer an athletic good-looking guy...

This movie trope plays into real life too. At school and in my adult life I've witnessed men who don't take much interest in their appearance expect any woman they date to look like a supermodel.

But that's not where it stops. We also have to put up with men complaining when women wear too much make-up. Moaning that make-up "lies", and raise their voice in anger when they realise how different a woman can look without it (because they were somehow led to believe that women are born with red glossy lips?).

Women are told to find a balance between having everything concealed but not to cake it on. That make-up is a necessity but don't take more than 10 minutes applying it. They want a natural beauty, while not realise how rare natural beauties are.

I know why these perceptions persist. The women in the media are (almost) always groomed to perfection, while men aren't always. We see a wider variety of men in the public eye: for every David Beckham, we also have a goofy comedian like James Cordon. This creates a disorientation as to how women in real life look and what constitutes as natural. The men I'm writing about might genuinely not have a clue just how much effort Hollywood starlets put into their appearance.

So men - especially those who find themselves attracted to feminine women* - let's get an education. Because some of you certainly need it.

1. You do not get to simultaneously be attracted to feminine women while mocking their beauty cabinet
A few years ago I was dating someone who I had already known me for a few years. He knew I liked lipstick, owned a beauty blog and took longer to get ready than him. But when he seen my bedroom for the first time and witnessed the floor-to-ceiling beauty cupboard? He scoffed at it and whenever I couldn't afford something snapped at me "well if you didn't spend so much money on beauty products".

I was around 23 at this point and not as well-versed in feminism as I am now. If that was to happen to me today, I'd probably tell him that if he wants to continue enjoying my soft skin that he compliments so damn often, he better not roll his eyes and my body scrub and moisturiser collection.

2. Beauty products cost a lot
A man who likes feminine women but has never lived with one, probably doesn't know how much all these products cost. A few years ago I wrote a "how much does my face cost?" post, and it came to £92.90 (you can read the post here).

Just as you shouldn't scoff at the amount of products a feminine woman owns, you shouldn't scoff at the number at the checkout till. Especially if you are attracted to women who take care of their appearance.

3. And yes, it takes a lot of time 
I get up about an hour and a half before work, which isn't too strange - but I don't wear much make-up to work.

If I am going on a night out though, I start getting ready with three hours to spare. Three hours? Well between the shower, hair removal, eyebrow taming, blow-drying, hair straightening, make-up applying, nail painting and dressing - yeah three hours adds up.

That's not to mention taking time out to dye my hair once a month.

4. Even the natural look takes a lot of work
I'm not a massive make-up wearer, but I love skin and hair care. This throws guys off. They see my barely-there face and assume they've met their unicorn: a girl who doesn't cover her face in slap because she has naturally clear skin and eyebrows that grow in a perfect arch.

HAHAHAHAHAHAHA.

My hair colour isn't natural. I rotate between four different shampoos to get the best results. I use hair mouse daily. I use a face mask weekly. I use hair oil over night (when I know I'll be washing my hair in the morning). I get my hair trimmed on the regular. I wax my eyebrows. I shave my underarms, legs and forearms. I use an exfoliate and moisturiser on a daily basis. I also cleanse, tone and moisturise on a twice daily basis. I have a separate moisturiser for my face, hands, feet and general body. I use eye cream. And night treatment.

My natural look still involves a lot of product and time.

5. YouTube tutorials are educational
I love YouTube tutorials. Long gone are the days trying to recreate a look from a magazine without really understanding what the writer means ("the brush goes where?"). With video tutorials I can literally sit and watch another girl do her make-up to learn exactly how she got her catflick so perfect.

If you're a dude who's reading this and thinking "I'd like to learn more about what goes into a female beauty regime" then YouTube tutorials can help you too. Like a certain make-up style on a girl? You can find out how long - and how much product - it took.

6. Don't expect even the highest maintenance woman to be well-groomed at all times
I like taking care of my appearance, but I've also got a lot more going on in my life. So sometimes it slides. Sometimes I won't shave my legs. Sometimes my nails are chipped. Sometimes I leave my hair for an extra day.

If you're going to pursue a relationship with a well-groomed women, you can't expect her to look perfect all the goddam time. I've dated men (usually those who have never had a serious girlfriend) who have made comments about body hair when it has grown back in. Did you not realise women grew hair on their legs? Did you think I was naturally smooth? Or did you think I never give my skin a break from a razor?

If you can't handle me at my lazy unshaven Sunday worst, you don't deserve me at my waxed and preened Friday night best (or something like that...).

7. Even a thorough male grooming regime doesn't come close
I have dated guys right across the spectrum of male beauty regimes. From teenage boyfriends who had questionable hygiene and bad facial hair, to a guy that used an exfoliate with gold in it. I've pretty much seen the whole thing.

But even a man who puts in a lot of time and effort to his beauty regime still puts in less effort than a feminine woman. Nail polish, blow drying long hair, full body hair removal, and make-up are all elements of a female beauty regime that a man typically won't engage in.

Honestly speaking, well-groomed men do seem to understand this and they deserve credit. A well-groomed man has never mocked my beauty cabinet or complained when I did leave my legs a day longer than I'd like. Or have a I just been lucky?

8. Don't fancy women who wear make-up? STFU 
On the other side of the coin you have men who proudly claim that they don't fancy women who wear make-up - and even actively discourage women from using it.

I know that some of these men mean well. They want to free women of oppressive beauty standards (and pat themselves on the back like the male saviour that they are). We don't make our choices within a vacuum and feminine women - myself included - do need to unpack why we spend so much effort and money to look 'better'.

But when you do this you are still effectively policing a woman's body. You're telling women that they should dress in a way that please you personally. We all have a type, yes, but only jackasses push they're type on others.

9. Ask yourself why you like feminine girls
If you're a guy who puts little effort into his own appearance and is exclusively attracted to well-groomed women you should probably unpack why that is. Do you know extremely little about female beauty regimes? Can you not tell the difference between a women who has a basic beauty regime and a women who spends £100 a week? Have you never lived with a woman who owns more than two hair products? Or do you (consciously or subconsciously) still think that women should put more effort into their appearance than men?

I know well-groomed women who are attracted to the manly scruffy look, so by all means I'm not saying you should change your type. But for each of these women, I've known five scruffy men who've thrown a bitch fit when a feminine woman doesn't fancy them. So just go have a word with yourself.

10. Finally, don't assume women wear make-up for male attention
Just because a woman is dressed to the nines and perfectly coiffed doesn't mean that she is looking for male attention. Make-up is also about self-expression. How someone dresses and styles themselves gives off non-verbal queues to the world about what kind of person they are. A perfectly pressed suit and fresh make-up implies powerful business woman. A sundress implies girly. Dark lipstick and teal hair implies alternative.

Or maybe they like how red lipstick makes them feel. Or they just like having soft skin. She might already be a monogamous relationship. Or maybe it's women they want to attract.

Women aren't as obsessed with bagging a guy as you would be led to believe.



In the grand scheme of equality and feminist issues, this issue might seem trivial. But I believe that micro-aggressions add up. And this kind of thinking contributes to bad body image when men don't fucking understand that women don't look perfectly coiffed naturally. As a teenager it hurt me too, when I didn't understand why I didn't look like the women in the media as I was yet to understand that these women have make-up artists, hairdressers and fitness instructors on hand.

And men, I'm not even trying to mock you with this. Admittedly the men who need to read this probably aren't going to - but a (feminine) girl can try, can't she?

Feminine make-up wearers - what do you which straight dudes understood about make-up? 
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100 Questions



Ever wanted to know the name of my best friend or whether I prefer savoury or sweet foods? Well, now's your chance. Thanks to Gail for tagging me. 

Q1: What’s your name?

Morag Margaret Lee

Q2: Any nicknames or aliases?

I do get called Mo but it's a nickname rather than a shortened version of my full name, if that makes sense.

Q3: Your gender?

Woman

Q4: Your star sign?

Scorpio (and proud)

Q5: How old are you?


27

Q6: Your relationship status?

Bordering on spinster...

Q7: Any children?


Nope
Q8: Any pets?

Nope (might consider a pet one day)

Q9: Any tattoos or piercings?

I have my lobes, forward helix, helix, and rook pierced. I used to have my tragus and belly button but they didn't quite work out. I don't have any tattoos but I've had several ideas over the years and someone just needs to pin me down...

Q10: What do you like about yourself?
My resilience and morals.

Q11: What do you dislike about yourself?

I'm unassertive and put my head in the sand instead of dealing with issues straight on.

Q12: Righty or lefty?

Righty for my pen, lefty for my politics. 

LASTS

Q13: The last thing you drank?

Almond Milk

Q14: The last thing you ate?

Tomato and basil soup

Q15: Your last phone call?

Gail.

Q16: Your last text message?

02, I hate texting.

Q17: Your last email?

My bank statement from Nationwide.

Q18: The last song you listened to?

Britney Spears - Overprotected.

Q19: The last book you read?

Inferior by Angela Saini

Q20: The last time you cried?

I'm not much of a crier and I really can't remember.

Q21: The last blog you read?

Gail's newest blog that she wrote in French.

Q22: The last person you spoke to?

In person was Gail, but I'm chatting to my friend Rachele as I type.

Q23: The last place you visited?

I was in Firewater last night for the first time.

Q24: Your last holiday abroad?

Berlin last year.

HAVE YOU EVER?

Q25: Have you ever gotten back with an ex?

No

Q26: Have you ever been cheated on?

So, maybe. When I was 19 I was getting on to my then boyfriend about a girl who clearly liked him, and he wouldn't push her away. Even when he broke up with me he said "you don't trust me". They became a couple within days. I have no idea if I was physically cheated on though.

Q27: Have you ever cheated on someone?

No.

Q28: Have you ever lost someone special to you?

Yes.

Q29: Have you ever been so drunk you threw up?

Yes

Q30: Have you ever fallen out of love with someone?

Yes

Q31: Have you ever met someone who changed you?

Yes

Q32: Have you ever been in a situation where you found out who your real friends are?

Yes

Q33: Have you ever kissed someone you probably shouldn’t have?

No, not really. I've regretted kissing people but I've never kissed someone who I morally shouldn't have.

Q34: Have you ever found out people were talking about you behind your back?

Haven't we all?

Q35: Have you ever broken someone’s heart?
Yes

Q36: Have you ever kissed a stranger?

Yes

Q37: Have you ever had your own heart-broken?

Yes

Q38: Have you ever had sex on the first date?
Yes

Q39: Have you ever been arrested?


No

Q40: Have you ever been attracted to someone who isn’t the gender you usually find attractive?
No

Q41: Have you ever done something you regret?


I try not to regret anything, but yes I do regret some decisions.

Q42: Have you ever had a threesome?

No.

Q43: Have you ever embarrassed yourself in public?
Yeah, not for a long time now though.

Q44: Have you ever misjudged someone?

Tbh, I have really good intuition for reading people very quickly and my assumptions usually end up being correct.

YOUR BELIEFS AND OPINIONS

Q45: Do you believe in God?
No.

Q46: Do you believe in yourself?

Most of the time, but I have my down days like everyone else.

Q47: Do you believe in Santa Claus?

Not since I was 7....

Q48: Do you believe in ghosts?
No.

Q49: Do you believe in aliens?

Yes, because we can't be the only ones out there BUT not in the creepy green spaceship way.

Q50: Do you believe in miracles?

No.

Q51: Do you believe in the power of positive thinking?

Yes, but I also believe it has its limits.

Q52: Do you believe in love at first sight?

I do.

Q53: Can money make you happy?

Only because we live in a capitalist society.

Q54: Would you describe yourself as a feminist?

Have you met me/or read my blog? Of course!

Q55: Are you pro-life or pro-choice?

Pro-choice.

Q56: Do you have strong political beliefs?

Yes. I am a member for the Scottish Green Party.

Q57: Do you have strong religious beliefs?

No, I'm pretty apathetic.

Q58: What do you think the most important thing you can give a child is?

Freedom to choose their own path/respect them as an individual.

RIGHT NOW


Q59: Are you eating anything right now?
No.

Q60: Are you drinking anything right now?

No.

Q61: What are you listening to right now?

Nothing, I hate listening to music while I'm trying to write.

Q62: What are you thinking about right now?

If there's anything productive I need to do today.

Q63: What are you waiting for right now?

Nothing.

Q64: What are you most excited about right now?

I'm hungover so not much haha.

Q65:  What’s your pet hate right now?

Too many to mention...

Q66: What’s your favourite thing right now?

Cuddly pyjamas

Q67: If you weren’t answering these questions, what would you be doing right now?

Chilling.

FIRSTS

Q68: Your first best friend?

I'd say two girls on my street called Charlotte and Ashleigh.

Q69: Your first kiss?

A boy named Christopher when we were 4 and lived up the street hahahaha. (my next kiss would be a stranger at a party when I was 15 lol)

Q70: Your first celebrity crush?

The only celebrity crush I've ever had as a teenager was....Buy Burnett aka Craig Dean in Hollyaoks lol.

Q71: Your first holiday?

Lake District, but I don't remember it.

Q72: Your first pet?

Maggie who was a German Shepard/Collie mix. My parents already had her when I was born and she lived right up until I was almost 13.

Q73: Your first regret?

God knows.

Q74: Your first job?

Waitress at a local golf club.

Q75: Your first childhood memory?

My 4th birthday party was probably my first vivid memory. Nothing particularly exciting happened but I can remember bits and bobs.

WHICH WOULD YOU CHOOSE?

Q76: Love or money?

Love.

Q77: Twitter or Facebook?

I use them for different purposes but if I had to choose, Facebook.

Q78: Hook up or relationship?

I'm not opposed to a hookup and as a long-term single lady I've had my fair share of them. But I'd ultimately say relationship.

Q:79: Dogs or cats?

Dogs, deffo.

Q80: Coffee or tea?

Tea.

Q81: Beer or wine?

I'd say wine, but I typically drink spirits.

Q82: Sweet or savoury?


Savoury, I never ate many sweets.

Q83: Introvert or extrovert?
Introvert, fo sho.

Q84: Vampires or werewolves?

Vampires. Werewolves are weird and ugly.

Q85: Seaside or countryside?


Seaside. I would love to live in a city that sits on a beach (but neither Aberdeen and Dundee did it for me).

Q86: Summer or winter?


Summer. Cold gives me the boke.

Q87: Books or movies?

I go through stages and right now I'm in a book stage.

Q88: Horror or comedy?

Had a passion for horror since I was a teenager.

A FEW RANDOM QUESTIONS TO FINISH ON

Q89: Do you wish you could change your past?

Parts of it, but I usually just try and learn from it.

Q90: What’s your dream job?

Professional sociologist.

Q91: What’s your guilty pleasure?


I don't believe in guilty pleasures. Be proud of what you like.

Q92: What are you afraid of?

Spiders, snakes, crabs, lizards...the usual icky stuff.

Q93: What was the first thing you wanted to be when you grew up?
Palaeontologist!

Q94: If you could have any super power, what would it be?
Flight. Which is not very imaginative but I have recurring dreams where I can fly.

Q95: If you could change anything about your life what would it be?

There's not I would change right now tbh.

Q96: Would you want immortality?

No. My gran died over a year ago and she lived until 96. Watching her grow to that age and reach a point where she actually wanted to bow out put me off living for ages.

Q97: If you could interview anyone alive or dead who would you choose?
Christina Aguileria.

Q98: Would you say you are happy?
Mostly.

Q99: What one piece of advice would you give to yourself at age eighteen?

Don't rush adulthood and don't treat growing up as a checklist.

Q100: Where would you like to be in five years’ time?

I'll be 32 (eeek). In my own flat with a mortgage is my only permanent goal. Other than that I'll see where life takes me.
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How to Maximize your Fitness Goals through Diet: The Vegan Guide to Protein Alternatives



No, I've not suddenly become a fitness blogger. This is a guest post by the amazing Emily from Borders and Burpees, a vegan travel and fitness blog. While I do know my way around nutritional labels, I don't require any extra protein than your average person - but I know maintaining high protein levels is a source of frustration for active types going vegan. So I brought in someone who knows what they're talking about. Take it away Emily....

When I first turned vegan, I found a lot of backlash in the fitness community. I couldn’t believe that people dedicated to keeping fit could be unsupportive of something that is so healthy!? Lifting weights and bodybuilding has always been built on the backbone of getting an enormous amount of protein, with chicken, fish and beef being the main sources – as well as milky protein shakes and cottage cheese. Through trial and error, as well as soaking up as much online resources as I possible could, I found the best alternative protein sources. Here’s my top tips on the best vegan protein sources and where to find them in Glasgow!

Tofu

A staple in any vegan’s diet, tofu has long been accepted as a great protein source and alternative to meat. What makes it so good is its versatility – you can make scrambled tofu for breakfast, tofu burgers for lunch and crispy Chinese tofu for dinner, all tasting completely different.

The Tofoo Company is the brand of tofu I go for, it’s well priced at £2 a block and comes in naked/ smoked. Making it perfect for marinating or putting straight in a dish, easy! You can pick it up at Waitrose, who has a good tofu selection with a few other brands stocked as well.

Tofu has less calories than meat, but every 100g only has around a quarter of the protein. Therefore, it’s good to combine tofu with rich grains such as quinoa or lentils to get a good protein kick! 

Nut Butter

Peanut butter is a fitness diet staple. Especially for those who are looking to pack some extra calories into their diet to gain muscle. Gone are the days when you only had smooth and crunchy to choose from, with whole ranges of different flavours and nuts on offer, you really are spoiled for choice! My favourite is the Pip & Nut range, which I first came across in London at a friend’s apartment. Flavours include Honey Roasted Cashew, Peanut and Maple and Coconut Almond Butter. 

The range is a little pricier that your usual nut butter and you do go through it faster due to it being so delicious, but the premium is worth it for the quality. For those who are vegan for ethical reasons, you will be glad to know there is “absolutely no palm oil” in the product, which means it’s good for the environment as well.

Wholefoods used to be where I got my Pip & Nut fix, but with the Giffnock branch closing I was fearful of a lifetime purchasing it online. Luck for us, Sainsbury’s and Holland and Barrett now stock the range.

Seitan

Another great option for vegans is seitan, seitan bacon strips are becoming especially popular and served in lots of vegan restaurants like The Flying Duck. The substitute has around 20 grams of protein per 3 ounce portion, which is comparable to lean meat.

Unfortunately, seitan is a bit harder to source than the rest of the options on this list, with smaller health food stores being the most likely option to stock them. Roots and Fruits in the West End has a small range, but your best chance of getting some quality Seitan is to source it online. 

Mycoprotein

So, this one some find a little controversial. A lot of people go vegan to avoid processed food and Mycoprotein is about as processed as you can get! However, Quorn are expanding their growing vegan range to meet the new demand for plant based diets, so it’s a substitute definitely worth considering. If you’re looking for an easy to cook alternative in the form of burgers, sausages and fish fingers then this is a good option.

Quorn is commonplace in all major supermarkets, with larger stores having a better range – the best selection can be found at Waitrose, Sainsburys and larger Tesco stores.

I found changing gym was a big help in my fitness goals, I was previously a member of a few of the 24-hour leading chains and ethics didn’t seem high on their priority list. Now I go to Village Gym, where I’ve spoken to a few other vegetarians and vegans during classes. The bonus here is the on-site Starbucks where I can get a soya latte after!

If you are transitioning to a vegan lifestyle, I think it’s all about finding what works for you. Perhaps there are some changes that you will need to adapt, but you will feel positive and confident once you are through that initial adjustment phase - knowing you are doing something to help animals, the environment and yourself!

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GIVEAWAY: 12-month subscription to Holistic Scotland Magazine



Veganism, eco-friendly living, cruelty-free beauty and personal wellness have all seen a massive increase over the last few years. So it's no surprise that the amount of resources available for newbies and experts alike has increased as more people gravitate towards these lifestyles.

Another new resource that is due to launch soon is Holistic Scotland Magazine. Each issue will be 82-pages long and will focus on natural health and beauty, but will also cover lifestyle topics like travel, free-from nutrition, wildlife and conservation, ethical business, energy-saving, sustainability, fitness, complementary therapies and the great outdoors. And as the name suggests: there will be a focus on Scotland, which is great given how many resources have an American or London-slant.

The first issue is due to land in April, and I've received a heads up to what will be in it. Celebrity presenter, author and nutritionist Amanda Hamilton will be gracing the cover and talking about gut health (not glamorous but essential). The importation topic of navigating allergies will also be covered - including the difference between an allergy and intolerance! Cooking with cocao and the benefits of intermittent fasting will also be within its pages.

On top of that, you will also have the chance to win a course of reflexology in South West Scotland, as well as a Miraclesuit from Figleaves, which can help to flatten bloated tummies.

Then after that, Issue 2 will be a glamping special and Issue 3 will be a vegan special (I, for one, cannot wait for this issue).

You will be able to find copies in selected spas, retreats, therapists and holistic retailers (as well as Scotland's main airports: Edinburgh, Glasgow and Aberdeen). Alternatively you can subscribe and have it delivered directly to your door throughout the year for £29.

OR...you can enter my giveaway below to win a 12-month subscription to Holistic Scotland Magazine delivered directly to your door (and the occasional free gift to boot!).

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Terms and Conditions

  • This giveaway is open to UK entrants only
  • One winner will be chosen at random via the Rafflecopter widget
  • Entry is via the Rafflecopter widget above and the winner will receive a 12-month subscription to Holistic Scotland Magazine
  • Entrants under 18 must seek parental permission before entering
  • No purchase necessary
  • I will pass your details onto Holistic Scotland Magazine, and they will be in charge of sending it
  • Once drawn, the winner will be contacted via the email provided and have 7 days to respond
  • All entries will be moderated and duplicate, false or incomplete entries will be deleted
  • The giveaway will run until the 21st of March 2018

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What's In My Shower #2




I don't know about you but I am fascinated by what people keep in their cupboards. Weekly food shop vlog? Love it. How make-up fiends store their lipsticks? Give it to me. Bookcase tour? My favourite!

And the same goes for shower tours.

I posted a shower tour way back in 2015, where I prattled on for ages about my love for fine-smelling soap. That was two years ago, and the odd cruelty-free-but-not-vegan product still hadn't yet been finished. But these days my shower products are 100% animal friendly, so it's about time we re-visited.

And yeah, I know my shower could do with a clean...this is a realistic vegan blog okay?

Superdrug Citrus Anti-Dandruff shampoo
This might not be the most exciting product in my shower, but this shampoo has been my daily go to for a year now (and I don't see that changing). While I do like to mix up my shampoos depending on what my hair needs that day, this is the one I always use as my 'first' wash before mixing it up for my second.

Superdrug Trichology Revitalising Scalp Shampoo 
If my hair is looking greasy and requires a deep cleanse, I reach for this as my second wash. It really works through the oil and removes any flakiness (but to be honest dandruff has never been a concern for me). If I'm heading on a night out or somewhere else special, this tends to be my shampoo of choice.

Noughty Rise & Shine
If my hair is looking relatively normal and just needs a gentle wash, this is the shampoo I reach for. It smells of rosemary and mint which might not be everyone's cup of tea, but I personally think it's lovely and refreshing. It's meant for dry hair (which my locks definitely aren't!) but because my first wash is done with the Citrus shampoo it's a nice way to keep my balanced.

Superdrug Argan Hair Therapy Pre-Shampoo Hair Treatment
I've only ever tried one other pre-shampoo treatment and it was the Philip Kingsley mask (which is cruelty-free, but not vegan). My review is the same for both of them: they give your hair more vitality for one wash, but there's no long lasting benefits to using them. So I use this when I'm away on a night out (or some other event where I want my hair looking bouncy).

Superdrug Hair Therapy Weightless Conditioner
I have mixed feeling on this one. For a start, the conditioner isn't than thin so "weightless" is a little misleading. But it does nourish my hair. While the Superdrug Extracts that you also see in the photo is my 'main' conditioner, I reach for this if my hair is looking frazzled and needs some TLC.

Superdrug Hair Therapy Deep Cleansing Shampoo
I bought this just a week ago and I'm not that keen on it. The texture is very thick, making it difficult to get out the bottle and spread through my hair. It's also more moisturising than it is deep cleansing. Honestly, out of three Superdrug Argan Oil products I own the only one I plan to re-purchase is the pre-shampoo treatment.



Superdrug Pink Fizz Body Wash
I love a sweet smelling shower gel - and this is my favourite if I'm looking to smell girly.

Original Source Sweet Apple and Vanilla
This is another shower gel that I reach for when I'm looking for a light but sweet scent.

Superdrug Almond and Avocado Shower Gel
This doesn't actually smell like much. I probably won't repurchase but it's soap and does it's job.

Outback Organics Face and Body Scrub
I reviewed this back in November, and you can read my post here. My opinion has remained the same: it is nice but I doubt I'll re-purchase.

Lush Herbalism Cleanser
This is my favourite cleanser of all time and I have been re-purchasing it since 2011! I have a shelf in my beauty cupboard (another blog entirely) that is dedicated to skincare where I keep my selection of "evening skincare" but this is my go-to cleanser in the morning.

Green People Foaming Face Cleanser*
I was sent this for review very recently and, as with all foaming cleansers, I found this worked really well on my back. I discovered years ago that foam cleansers don't work that well on my face - if you also have a spotty back give a foam cleanser a try!

What is currently in your shower? 

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"How are you still happy being single after all this time?"




That's the question I regularly get when someone finds out just how long I've been single.

For those of you who have been reading my blog for a long time (or even from the start) you'll notice that I've never mentioned a relationship. If you subscribed a bit more recently and don't know when I started my blog, well, it was January 2011 - so you can do the maths.

While it does feels weird to acknowledge that it has been seven years since I've had an official relationship, it's not something I think about much or am particularly concerned about. The only time I ever mention it is when someone asks me about it (or, eh, when I decide to write about it openly on the internet).

The people who ask me the most about it aren't even family members (I used to get those invasive old-fashioned questions, but I think my family have got to the point where they expect cats instead of children) or rude strangers - it's actually girls who are newly single or women who can't get comfortable in solitude.

And I get it. I might be nonchalant about it now, but it took me years to get honestly comfortable with singlehood - especially the prospect that I might single forever. When my last official relationship ended I found myself lost in a sea of internet advice about learning to live as a single person, while convincing myself that being by myself was temporary. It maybe took three years for me to finally settle in and not wonder if every new guy I met would be my next boyfriend.

But when I did get comfortable I discovered something wonderful. When I lost the fear of dying alone I felt powerful. I now no longer date guys I don't really fancy just so I can have something. I shape the life I want. And I'm comfortable in my own company, and lead a great life. Only a really terrific guy who I was madly in love with would realistically stand a chance.

While I can't give you advice on how to find love, I can give you advice on not being too sad if you haven't found it. So if you're still not okay with being sans-partner here's my guide on how to be single and not give a damn.


1. Shape your life
The number one benefit of not having a partner is being free to carve out your own life. Want to relocate? Go ahead. Thinking of buying a flat in a loud city centre? There's not a second person moaning about the noise. Fancy altering your appearance in a noticeable way? You don't need to fear that your partner won't find you attractive anymore.

Think about how your ideal life looks (even if that ideal life involves a partner) and begin looking at a way to shape that. I think there's a proverb somewhere that you're more likely to attract like-minded people if you live your most authentic life...



2. Be honest with yourself about why you are single
Time to get blunt: some people are single because....well, no one with standards would want them. Can you confidently say that you are single (either short term or long term) because the right person never came along? Or is there a deeper rooted issue? There's no shame in the latter, but it something to think and deal with head on if there is.



3. Don't stop dating
I've not been sitting around for seven years like a nun. As you might have predicted by my fascination with dating apps, I still have an active romantic and sexual life. It's very personal and I know some people really aren't into hook-ups and, if that's you, I am not suggesting you get yourself into situations that you're uncomfortable with. But it's certainly not hurt me...



4. Build a great social and friends' circle
I'd argue that platonic relationships are just as important as romantic ones, single or married. But when you don't have a life partner you'll find yourself very lonely if you don't have strong ride 'til you die friendships.



5....but don't be friends with people who judge your singlehood
I still receive patronising comments from strangers and elderly family members, but I don't put up with them from friends. Being woke and modern are essential qualities I look for in friends, which includes not assuming single people are automatically unhappier than those that are taken. You don't need people in your life who make you feel shitty about your life choices or things you can't control.



6. Remember that it's better to be single than settle
This statement is a little cliche but anyone who has ever been in a relationship that was unhappy, unhealthy, unfulfilling, toxic or abusive will tell you that it holds truth. I've wasted time in dead-end relationships (or held out for the idea of a relationship with someone for too long) so I know first hand that it's better to have nights with no one to snuggle than to put up with the wrong person.

If you've never had the misfortune of being in a shitty relationship, you might lose your sense of realism on this one. But surely you know a couple who are just so wrong together and should call it quits? They are your muse.



7. Invest in something and create your safety net
Time for some boring and very unromantic chat. I am on track to buy my own flat before I turn 30, which is obviously exciting. While I could have saved up money quicker if I had a partner, I also think of this as my silver lining. My current flatmate is a lawyer and explained to me that if I buy a property prior to marriage, it is mine and a partner cannot take it from me in the event of a messy divorce. I've known people who have split up with long-term partners in their 30s and are forced back into flatshares and I'm so grateful I'm not in their situation - and never will be.



8. Moving on doesn't have to mean moving on with someone else
When someone you care about goes through a break-up or divorce, it's tempting to say "here, here you'll find someone new". And while your heart is in the right place, it's problematic in the long-run because it reinforces the societal brainwashing that being single is a bad thing, and should only be temporary.

I can assure you that I stopped mourning the end of my last official relationship many years ago, despite never having found a 'replacement' for my ex-boyfriend. Moving on simply means that you've closed that door, and are building a new life.



9. Don't keep tabs on your exes
I've dated many men over my time, and I think only three of them are still on my Facebook (I even have a few blocked on social media). A friendship with an ex is possible but unless you have children together, there's no obligation to keep each other in your lives. I do have an active friendship with a guy I met on Tinder two years ago (and ended up casually with for almost a year) but we ended on very good terms, the split was somewhat mutual and he's not an ass-hat. But most importantly: I wouldn't be jealous if I seen him with someone else.

As much as you can tell yourself that it's not a competition to see "who moves on first" (see point above) it's very hard to not feel a little blue when you spot your ex with someone new, especially if things didn't end well. Find somewhere new to drink, stay away from their end of town for while, stay off their social media profiles and leave them where they belong: in the past.



10. Date yourself and take care of yourself
I always shave my legs, moisturise my body and paint my toenails - even though no one else sees me naked on the regular. And you know why? Because I still have to see me naked and I deserve to look good for me. 

Dating yourself can invovle so many things. From keeping your house clean at all times, even when you live alone. Or buying yourself flowers. Or having a solo bubble bath with music, candles and wine. Or even going to the theatre yourself.



11. But be honest with yourself if you want a relationship

While being single has worked out for me, it's not necessarily for everyone. I've always been very independent, I don't want children and I'm introverted. But some people are highly monogamous, love the company of others and consider having children to be one of their big life goals. If you're the latter, be honest with yourself and make the effort to find The One (without settling). There's no shame in preferring a relationship - just make sure that it's the right relationship.

Later that day I got to thinking about relationships. There are those that open you up to something new and exotic, those that are old and familiar, those that bring up lots of questions, those that bring you somewhere unexpected, those that bring you far from where you started, and those that bring you back. But the most exciting, challenging and significant relationship of all is the one you have with yourself. And if you can find someone to love the you you love, well, that's just fabulous.
A bit of musing from Carrie Bradshaw will always make you feel better.


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morag | mo adore
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