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© 2015 mo'adore | Content and design by Morag Lee | Powered by Blogger.

Who I'm currently supporting on Patreon



I'm a big believer that creatives should get paid for their work. Unfortunately, it's a well-known reality that creatives need to hustle (especially full-time creatives). As a social justice activist, I love to support creators whose work is designed to move society forward. But these creatives have the shortest end of the stick as the Powers That Be would prefer to silence them (hence why creative careers are less profitable than corporate ones).

This is where Patreon comes in. It's a platform where you can pledge a particular amount of money per month to your favourite creators and provide them with a paycheck (and some financial stability!) for their projects. It also allows them to create content that is for their readers/viewers/listeners, rather than magazine or television execs who might try and censor them. In return, creators also provide perks and rewards for people who pledge certain amounts of money.

I currently support five people on Patreon. This might change as time goes on (I've actually pulled support for someone before) but, at this moment in time, I am happy to continue supporting these creators.

Rowan Ellis



I've been watching Rowan's videos on YouTube for years and always find myself nodding my head in agreement. I also love that she is UK-based because so many big-name activists are American and their content isn't always relevant to me.

So when I found out she had a Patreon I had to support her. I chose her $10 a month Recommendation Station package, which includes private blog posts, scripts of her YouTube videos, upcoming video schedule, the chance to vote on future topics, monthly recommendations (books, recipes etc), and a monthly book giveaway (which I won last year and the books she chose for me were on-point!).

Riley J.Dennis



Riley J. Dennis is an amazing activist. Not only do they create amazingly informative content, but they're funny to boot too! Riley is a queer, trans, nonbinary, polyamorous lesbian, and it's important to support activists who are oppressed in multiple ways, as they usually have the hardest time making money in the real world. I opted for their $5 Wonderful Human package, which gets me access to all private Patreon posts.

Marina Watanabe



Admittedly I'm a fan of Marina more for her personality. While her work is great, it's not as in-depth as I'd prefer - but she's a great choice for people looking for an introduction to social justice. Plus she's bi-racial and bi-sexual so has first-hand experience of two forms of oppression. I chose her $5 a month pledge, which provides me with access to longer videos and personal vlogs.

Dead Meat



James A Janisse is the only creator I support who doesn't specialise in social justice issues. Instead, he runs a YouTube Channel about horror movies. His channel has a variety of playlists, but it's his Kill Count that I'm always checking in on (where he "tallies up the kills in all our favourite horror movies"). James, however, is very socially and politically progressive so calls out sexist and racist bullshit during his commentary, and he has refused to produce videos on horror films produced by problematic individuals. I can get behind that.

Melissa A. Fabello



I first discovered Melissa's old YouTube channel four years ago and was blown away by her content. She has a knack for breaking down academic and complex ideas into bite-size pieces written in layman's terms. Thanks to her I've developed a higher understanding of the world around me, protected myself from societal brainwashing, and been able to verbalise experiences that previously irked me but I couldn't explain why.

Most of her work centres around body image activism and beauty culture, but she also touches upon media literacy and human sexuality (she holds a PhD in this field). I currently support her for $2 a month, which allows me access to her private Patreon posts. Though I have considered her $5 tier, which would allow me access to her book reviews.

Who are your favourite creators on Patreon? 

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How to speak to a girl on Tinder, by a girl on Tinder




Once upon a time, essential life skills were limited to cooking a Sunday roast, washing your bedsheets, addressing an envelope, paying bills, and changing the oil in your car.

But in 2019 speaking to strangers on apps and social media is just as essential a life skills as unclogging your plug hole (hahaha I said the word hole in a blog post about dating hahaha I'm so mature).

And that includes Tinder (plus other dating apps).

If you don't know how to Tinder then you're probably going to get left behind in the dating game. Or just not have a dating game, at all. Or not get laid, ever.

But judging by some of the messages I receive on Tinder (and other dating apps) it's clear that many of us still haven't mastered the art of Tinder. My phone really appreciates being slammed down on my bed in frustration.

But all life skills can be improved on. Just like learning to read and write as a child, learning how to wow people on Tinder is a skill that can be honed.

Maybe.

I'm writing a guide anyway.

So here we go. My guide to not being a weirdo on Tinder.


Don't swipe right on every girl


Storytime: I briefly dated someone from Tinder who swiped right on my photos alone and only read my bio when it was time to craft an opening message. It was absolutely lovely to find this out - and to know that he would have left swiped had he read I was vegan!

FFS.

Also, take dealbreakers seriously. I have that I don't want children on all my dating profiles. But that doesn't stop people who want kids (or already have them!) from trying their luck anyway. Dealbreakers are dealbreakers; it doesn't matter how amazing someone is otherwise.

Personally, I've found Tinder much less stressful and headache-inducing since I became fussy about who I swipe right on. If I was at a party I wouldn't start flirting with everyone in the room; I'd only start making eyes if they stood out to me. I now behave exactly the same way on Tinder. It's been a breath of fresh air not trying to force conversation with twenty different people.


Use her bio as a starting point


I'm not offended by "Hey, how are you?" as an opening line. I'm a socially awkward turtle and not always the best at an opening line myself. A bad opening line does not mean that someone isn't life partner material. 

But the conversation will become meaningful more quickly if you use their bio as a starting point. "Hey, I notice you also like Celtic. Me too! Did you see the game last Saturday?" is a simple opener that gets the conversation moving but doesn't require you to be a witty comedian.

Google any words in their bio that you're not familiar with


I know I come across as an unassuming straight girl in real life, but my Tinder is pretty queer-centric. I use terms like "unicorn", "no terfs please", and "poly-friendly". I also include my pronouns. I'm all for educating people, but when you've had to explain that unicorns are not always characters in children's books to 30 different guys, it gets tiresome. Just Google anything you don't understand and stop expecting people to perform emotional labour. 

No unsolicited dick pics


Unfortunately, this still needs to be said.

Ask questions


A simple way to move a conversation along is to ask questions. Ask her about the hobbies mentioned in her profile, what she did that weekend, or if she loves her job (if her job is listed; some people don't want to reveal where they work, which is fair enough).

And provide lengthy answers


Nothing makes me give up on a conversation quicker than feeling like I'm pulling teeth. If you're asked "How was your weekend?" don't reply with "boring". Even if you did spend all weekend in the house you probably didn't spend it staring at a wall. A better reply would be "Oh, I had a quiet admin weekend where I got all caught up on stuff, and I also made good progress on the book I'm currently reading."

But don't turn it into an interview

Questions are fine to get the conversation going, but if the conversation doesn't naturally start flowing into flirty banter then it might be that there's no real connection. A quick tip is to make your questions lighthearted: such as asking about their dog and favourite tv show, rather than their job and house. 

Compliment them


But on something other than their looks. My favourite opening message to receive is someone telling me why they swiped right. It makes me feel like I stood out (even if they are saying it to every other girl). 


Know what you're looking for


Not everyone Tinder is looking for the same thing. Some people are looking for The One while others are here for "a fun time, not a long time". Have an idea about what you want and make sure that is communicated. If you're looking for a serious relationship have a bit of an idea of what your ideal partner might be like. Just saves anyone from wasting time.


Have patience


I have a life outside of Tinder, but judging by some of the messages I receive you'd think about 30% of Glasgow's male population don't have jobs to go to. They also seem to be sex-ready every night and are lying in bed naked with a hard-on waiting for a girl to accept their hook-up request. Do these people not have a Netflix show to binge? 

Look, it might take a few days for a girl to respond. Her social calendar might be genuinely busy and it may take a while to pencil in that initial date. They might be settled down for the night and not able to call an Uber at short notice to hunt down a stranger's flat on the other side of town at 3am. Don't let your impatience get in the way of what could be an eventual relationship/fling/hook-up. 

If they're not straight, don't highlight it


I have no problem with someone I am actively dating asking about my sexual orientation. It is natural to wonder what my preference is, my coming out story, or whether I would consider a threesome. But when a guy asks about it while chatting on the app, I immediately feel like I'm being fetishised or they might only be speaking to me because of my sexual orientation (because that has happened). 

Don't ask for alternative contact details 


Men seem to hand out their mobile number like Haribo, but online dating (or just dating) is still scary for women. You'll find many of us won't hand out our personal contact information or social media profiles until we've sussed someone out. I've always been cautious about it, but after coming off OkCupid two years ago due to harassment (where the guy didn't have any extra contact details, blessedly) I refuse to communicate outside of dating apps until I'm actively dating that person. 

Be yourself


We're ego-centric creatures at heart and it can be tempting to Tinder in a way that focuses on your number of matches rather than quality. But not everyone fancies adventurous traveller types, who watch Always Sunny in Philadelphia, and have three dogs. Some people want a chilled out introvert who likes comics and watches Netflix all day. Don't hide who you really are because the right person will swipe right on you because you're you.

And.....remember to ask yourself the golden question:


How will this look in a screenshot on Twitter?

Happy swiping!


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The 10 best Eurovision songs ever, according to me


If you don't immediately recognise the dress, it will make sense when you find out my favourite Eurovision act. 


If I were to list my favourite yearly events, Eurovision would come second (the first would be Halloween). And I dgaf what anyone thinks of that. Years ago, I once even wrote a blog on why I love Eurovision so much. It's great and I will not hear a word against it.

With it being this Saturday and everything, I thought I'd mark the occasion with a list of my favourite Eurovision songs ever. Because I am the sort of person who thinks about these things. And if you thought that I thought about this for the sole purpose of this blog, you would be mistaken. I've long kept a mental list of my favourite Eurovision songs that I can recite when needed. This is just me putting it on paper. I might print it off later and laminate it.

In no order, until my favourite - which is at the end.

Lordi



Poor little Finland: until 2006 it had never won the Eurovision Song Contest and it doesn't even make the final half the time. But Hardrock Hallelujah was a stomper of a tune. I also went to see Lordi in 2015 when they were on tour in Glasgow because I am that cool.


Jedward



I'm not apologising for this. They've been in it twice, and I prefer Waterline to the other song. It's happy and reminds me of falling in love. That's nice.

Lena



Germany's song from 2011, which won them the title. This song was so good that my Eurovision-hating dad actually picked up the phone to vote for it. It's the only time he's ever voted.

Softengine



Apparently, when Finland do make the final I really like it.

Ruth Lorenzo




Everyone loved this one too. It's a power ballad.

Hanna Pakarinen



This was Finland's entry the year after Lordi won them the crown. It didn't do nearly as well. But it's still gothy because you can trust Finland to bring the goth. I voted for it.

The Ark



Also in 2007 was The Ark from Sweden with a bit of glam goth rock. The next day I downloaded it to the family computer from Limewire (probably with some viruses too) and it's still on my iPod to this day (it's a nano, and I still use it).

Precious



The first ever Eurovision I remember watching was in 1999, where the UK's entry was the girl band Precious. It's a happy pop song about saying I Love You for the first time. And one of their members is a pre-Atomic Kitten Jenny Frost, so what's not to love?

Selma



Alas, however, we cannot vote for our own country. So during the 1999 Eurovision, my mum let me break my voting virginity and I chose Iceland. Here is Selma with All Out of Luck (she came second, but Sweden won).

And my forever favourite Eurovision song...


Gina G



I have a slightly weird fangirl love for the one hit wonder that was Gina G. So much so, that I dressed up as her for Eurovision one year when we had to dress up as past Eurovision acts. The dress is the one in the picture at the start, and I intend on getting married in it.

She came second to Ireland and I believe she was robbed. I will die on this hill.



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My earliest fandoms and pop culture obsessions




I've been pop-culture obsessed as far back as I can remember. As much as society, teachers, and parents tried to present tv watching as The Lazy Child's hobby there was no keeping me from new films or spending my pocket money on every magazine ever.

When I say tv watching and magazine reading, I'm not referring to the typical adolescent behaviour that most people aged 12-16 exhibit; I devoured the pop culture that surrounded me. While I wouldn't identify as a geek until my early 20s it's safe to say that I already was.  

Saying that, I didn't grow up in a pop culture obsessed house. My parents aren't particularly big television watchers so we never had Sky with my mum even stating that if we were multi-millionaires she still wouldn't sign up for anything other than Freeview (though my parent's do now have Netflix...which only my dad uses). So there were some late 90s and 00s fandoms that I didn't have access to. 

But like every teenager ever, I found a way around everything.

I also have a crazy good memory.

As you'll find out. 

The Babysitters Club

I wasn't a massive bookworm as a child and even as an adult I gravitate towards non-fiction, but my earliest fandom ever was The Babysitters Club. I remember randomly picking up Claudia and the Great Mystery as my library book and it ended up being love at first page.

After speed-reading that first book, I would pick out another book in the series until I had read everything that was on offer in the school library (which I think was a measly six books; I grew up in a village so, naturally, our school library wasn't all that brag-worthy). Then whenever we had those school jumble sales it was copies of The Babysitters Club that I would scout out.

As an adult I have even purchased a few of the books to help fill in the gaps. The Babysitters Club has become a book series that I appreciate more as an adult. The characters are diverse, each with their own personalities and quirks. Plus, they weren't all white and there was a boy babysitter too. I also first heard about diabetes from The Babysitters Club and several diabetics around my age have confessed that Stacey was a character who helped them through their diagnosis

Hollyoaks

I want to pretend I'm joking here, but I'm not: I was full-on obsessed with Hollyoaks as an early teenager and would consider it a major fandom of my adolescent years. Every weeknight at 6:30pm I would purposefully sit down to watch it, and would even tell my friends they weren't allowed to come in for me until 7pm! I don't watch it these days as all my favourite characters have left, including the only real celebrity/fictional crush I've ever had: Craig Dean aka Guy Burnett! 

Scream

I've blogged about my love for the Scream franchise before, including the new television show (they can re-boot the premise as many times as they want and I'll still be its numero uno fan). I explicitly remember flicking through the channels one night in my mid-teens and Courtney Cox appeared on screen pacing through the college corridors. Thankfully I don't mind spoilers, including watching things in the wrong order, so starting on Scream 2 didn't prevent me from falling in love with its clever genre-bending horror-comedy storyline. 

Friends

I think everyone was obsessed with Friends - but did you spend New Year's Eve inside by yourself watching a programme on its effect on western culture? No? Step aside. 

Buffy the Vampire Slayer

I was in two minds about including this. I do indeed love Buffy and believe it is one of the greatest television shows ever made (did you catch my 20th-anniversary blog?). However, my lack of access to digital channels did mean that my viewing was patchy, and I didn't watch it episode-to-episode until my early twenties. Either way, I will never tire of dissecting Buffy. 

Veronica Mars

We all remember our first attempt at illegal online streaming, and this was mine. I caught the first season of Veronica Mars on E4 then.....nothing. So sneaking around online it was. But in all seriousness, this show was smart, had a sassy female lead (with a funky name) and a brilliant soundtrack. What's not to love? 

The Powerpuff Girls

I told a white lie earlier; we actually did have ITV Digital for one year when my dad managed to blag a year's free subscription. Much to my parent's dismay, I glued myself to the Cartoon Network with The Powerpuff Girls being my programme of choice. I was a tomboy for a bit and fancied myself as a bit of a Buttercup even though I could barely throw a punch. I ended up with the nickname Mojojojo (naturally) for the last bit of primary school (I've never quite forgiven my childhood best friend for that one). 

Bliss Magazine

Do magazines count as a fandom? Because I bought them religiously and even marked the release of the upcoming issue in my diary. Girl Talk was my natural introduction to magazines, before a brief fling with Shout during the summer between primary and high school, then finally settling on the monthly Bliss and weekly Sneak as my magazine subscriptions of choice.

I know neither could be described as 'geeky' per se, but when you're growing up in a non-geeky household and your friends also don't fit the geek mould, that was the best pop culture literature I had access to. Saying that, teenage magazines were amazing and I still firmly believe they were largely a good thing. 

Harry Potter 


I actually didn't get into Harry Potter until my late teens...and I started by watching 5th film in 2007 because why the hell not? The final two films were the only ones where I had read the book beforehand. 

Can you remember your earliest fandoms?

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How the fuck do we fight systematic oppression?




Unless you've been living under a rock (or don't have a Twitter timeline primarily made up of vegans) there's been a debate internet argument about whether it's people's individual ethical choices that are destroying the planet, or if its big evil capitalism with its filthy oil companies

It pretty much started with a study that claimed that we can save the world by giving up meat. But at the roughly same time, The Guardian posted a really good article pointing out that making people feel as though it's up to them as individuals to save the planet is actually very neo-liberal and stinks of capitalist rhetoric. Naturally, Twitter erupted. And it's still erupting because I started this post months ago and only just finished it.

Personally, I think both sides have a point. I do believe that people who are in a position to make ethical lifestyle-choices (read: mostly middle-class people) should do so. But I also believe that veganism (or recycling, or using a MoonCup, or growing your own vegetables) is not going to magically stop the planet from going up in flames when we still have oil companies drilling into the ocean floor and nuclear weapons in the Clyde.

Honestly, I think the reason so many of us focus on our own ethical living - even though, individually, we probably only make a 0.000004% difference to the earth's temperature - is because it's easier. It's more straightforward to buy a compost bin and start taking public transport than it is to dismantle a global system that has fucked us over for hundreds of years. Almost all inequality is society is caused by systematic oppression, with the destruction of the planet is no different.

I doubt any of the world's oppressive systems will be dismantled within my lifetime. Not fully, anyway. I don't know exactly how we go about it, but over the past few months I've been thinking how I can switch my activism from making positive individual choices, to actually causing a dent in the messed-up global system. Here are my ideas (which might not even work, but it's worth a try).

1. Educate yourself

Systematic oppression can only be dismantled if we can see it and understand how it works. Educating yourself on that alone takes time and conscious effort. And it's not fun. It means opening yourself up to the ways in which you've been part of the problem and actively unlearning behaviours that you didn't know where harmful.

To top it off, many of the resources that helped me re-shift my world view weren't even free (they were mostly books) however Every Feminism was a big part of my growth and is always the first place I point people in the direction of.

And remember, learning is never done. You never graduate from social justice school; it's a lifelong commitment.


2. Vote for a radical party


I'm aware that our voting system is part of the problem. We need to abolish First Past the Post, hold more referendums, have more transparency, increase the amount of unbiased media, and hand more powers back to local communities. But you should still vote and choose your vote wisely.

In the Westminster elections I vote for my second favourite party (Scottish National Party who, you know, aren't exactly radical and do have a few small-c conservatives in their ranks but they're better than most parties) rather than the party I am actually a member of (Scottish Green Party, who do believe in radical change) because, well, I'd rather keep the Tories out. And, yeah, that sucks.

But other elections with fairer voting systems do exist. Remember to always vote in your council, European and devolved parliament elections. These are a great opportunities to help get smaller but radical parties into a place of influence and power (and then work their way up: look at the SNP for inspiration).

3. Campaign for radical parties

The SNP are proof that with good campaigning and organisation you can beat First Past the Post at its own game. Even within my lifetime I witnessed Scottish independence go from a mere whisper to a loud roar, with the SNP emerging as a political powerhouse. I myself once said I would never vote for Scottish Independence even if you held a gun to my head, to someone who started walking down the street wearing a Yes badge.

One of the main reasons for this change in political discourse was because the SNP and mainstream Yes movement were organised to fuck and didn't piss about at the back of the class. The SNP are pros at knocking on people's doors, phoning people on the day of elections reminding them to vote, and using social media to their advantage. Learn from them, even if you don't vote for them.

In the 2015 UK Elections I was actively involved in campaigning for the Scottish Green Party and was at the electoral count in Glasgow. We stood a few candidates in Glasgow, but were primarily focused on our Glasgow North candidate. You know who got the most votes and actually got their 5% deposit back? Our Glasgow North candidate. Campaigning works.

If you want change, it's not enough to simply vote for a radical party and pat yourself on the back. You need to tell other people why they should vote radical too.

4. Support independent media

There is no such thing as unbias media. No, not even the BBC. In the run-up to the Scottish Independence Referendum Nick Robinson pulled off a little stunt where he claimed on BBC News that Alex Salmond (who I realise is problematic af right now, but this is one of the most ridiculous examples of BBC bias I have to hand) didn't answer a question - but then a video of him answering the question in full was shared by an international journalist. 

The big players in the world of UK journalism help keep the oppressive system in place (most of them work for Rupert Murdoch, or people who look like Rupert Murdoch). So if you want more variation in media voices, help independent media reach a wider audience. If you have the money to donate to some of your favourite independent content creators - please do so. If you don't have the money (and don't feel ashamed about that, because that's the system's fault) instead share some of their best content on your social media feeds.

And while we're on the topic of newspapers: stop treating media or journalism as Mickey Mouse degrees. Claiming that journalism is the kind of 'soft' job we could all do is why we're partially in this mess in the first place. If you wouldn't let someone with an accountancy degree loose on your teeth, stop allowing people who degree in chemistry loose with a newspaper column.

5. Pay creatives

Similar to the point above, but I just want to reinforce the idea that creatives should always 100% without-a-shadow-of-doubt be paid. Art isn't a lesser than a job in STEM. Plus the system fears creatives because artists/musicians/filmmakers/comedians/writers have the power to influence society's views more than many other professions. The art industry is generally a left-wing place. The powers don't like that.

And people should be paid a fair, period. No matter their job.

6. Let the people who face oppression lead the conversation

If you're close to the default member of society (male, white, heterosexual, middle-class, university-educated, able-bodied, neuro-typical, cisgendered, etc) then there's a high chance you've never felt real oppression. And that's okay: no one is asking you to apologise for your privilege or saying that's you've always had it easy.

But what you do have to do if you're in a privileged position is know when to stfu and hand the microphone over to the people who have lived experience of oppression. I'm not just talking about straight, white, men here either. White feminists who think they are a personified textbook on race issues: I'm looking at you.

I myself am a middle-class, white woman and I've been guilty of sprouting white classist feminist bile. I've been called out, and I've had to learn to hand the microphone over myself. That's why the activist content I create centres around women's rights and bisexual experiences. Because that's the only two forms of oppression I have real experience of. I show my allyship to other causes by sharing content created by people who actually fucking know how it feels to be oppressed in ways that I am not. I also donate money to issues that don't personally affect me.


7. Think outside of your own experiences

This is a mishmash of point one and six. But if you're activism centres around your own problems, then you're not going to change the world.

8. Stop volunteering for your CV

Stop with that white saviour bullshit (and I say that as someone who once did that white saviour bullshit).

If you really cared, you'd do something about the system. If you're bragging about that time you built a school in India to a potential employer then you need to go have a word with yourself. That's you benefiting from others poverty. Ick. (Again, I'm saying this as someone who once did this).


9. Think about why you make your decisions

Feminism should be about women making choices to suit them blahblahabalhagaa.

As true as that is, we don't make our choices within a bubble. We're all been subjected to societal conditioning (some more than others) and that can really make us think that we want things that we don't. Be honest with yourself: is there a big shiny thing that society tells you should want, but you feel iffy about it. Listen to that. Sit down with yourself and think about what you want (but don't go against the grain just to make a point, you do you boo).

Fuck, it was only last week I shared a long post about questioning the way I see romantic attraction. I'm still figuring shit out. But when something feels right, you feel it right in the gut.

10. Be a good person, always

I've met several Twitter activists who are jerks in their day-to-day life. I'm a firm believer that being a good, kind-hearted person who treats people with respect is a radical act. And that includes treating yourself with respect.

This can be messy. It means confronting your negative personality traits. And that can be a painful journey. But take it from someone who has gone deep into that journey: it feels incredible when you know you're better than the person you were last year and you're causing less harm in the world.

Knock out some self-help books, or even see a therapist who specialises n social justice.


11. Make ethical lifestyle choices

I might sit firmly in the "the system is the root of environmental destruction" camp, but that doesn't mean I don't believe in the power of ethical consumerism. Even though I've turned a lot of my activism towards deactivating the system, I'm still just as much of a self-righteous ethical-shopper as I've always been. I don't eat meat, I don't use slurs, I recycle, use re-usable sanitary products, buy second-hand clothes, heat my flat with green energy, and don't use animal-tested cosmetics

Not everyone can logistically and financially make ethical lifestyle choices but if you can make more ethical choices in your life, start today.

And tell your friends to, too. As one person can't save the world.

The system might hold us in place, but we also hold it up with our own actions. Stop holding it up.

So, I ask you: how do you combat systematic oppression? Because using a Mooncup alone probably isn't going to save the world. 


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April Linkables



So, we're finally saying goodbye to winter and hello to spring - and I am so grateful. I'm such a summer babe and can't wait for warm summer nights, alfresco dining, and beer gardens. Bring it on. As for my life since my last Linkables: I visited Lisbon for two days, got ridiculously drunk at a hen party, and I am on the lookout for a new flatmate (which is incredibly stressful).

Anyway, links!

Food & Drink


Did you know that traditional Scottish potato scones can be easily made vegan

Interesting: ‘White People Food’ Is Creating An Unattainable Picture Of Health

Sex & Dating


Platonic love is underrated, and I'm ecstatic to see a rom-com focus on the platonic love between women






Pop Culture


Last August I fell into the world of improv comedy, which now takes up a lot of my social life. I recently found this article from 2008 on it's increasing popularity in Scotland





Look, I loved Heath Ledger as Patrick Verona in 10 Things I Hate About You but now, as an adult, I realise that the character is bit trash. This article agrees. 

Have you seen Taylor Swift's new music video? I have. And I agree with this article on where the singer goes from here. 

Blogging & Social Media



Later is one of my favourite social media tools and their blog is top-notch too

Etc.



It's spring so I'll be making another attempt at a balcony garden, and this will come in handy.


Tell me what you've been reading this month!  


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Relationship anarchy, polyamory, aromantic or single at heart? Exploring my romantic attraction





Relationship anarchy. 

I loathe the way it sounds.

It sounds like a term some ~*feminist~* bro came up with as an excuse to fuck women around under the guise of it "being casual" (even if you're casual, you still have to communicate and treat people with respect).

But as much as I hate the connotations of the term, discovering it was one of those moments where my feelings made sense. I finally had a way to describe how I had always felt about relationships, but couldn't verbalise.

Because here's the thing: I've always known that the way I view romantic relationships and experience romantic attraction wasn't the way everyone else did or the way I was told I should.

In fact, my confusion over my romantic attraction has resulted in more soul searching than my sexual orientation ever did. I grew up in a time when LGBTQ+ rights were gaining ground and I always had a word to describe how I felt. I may not have openly called myself bisexual until my mid-20s but I knew when I was 14. And I knew because I had a word to describe it.

But I couldn't package the way I felt about romantic attraction in one succinct term.

Questioning my romantic attraction


Over the years I came across terms that got close to the heart of it but didn't quite hit the spot.

There was aromantic. If you created an axis with aromantic at one end and, uh, very-romantic(?) at the other I'd probably still fall closer towards aromantic. But it didn't feel right as I do experience romantic attraction, albeit rarely. I've been in love, and I know it is an incredible feeling.

(Edit: the day after writing this I stumbled upon the term grey-romantic which, uh, also explains how I feel. But that's another blog post in itself). 

Then there was Single at Heart. A term that was coined by the fabulous Bella DePaulo, which applies to people who prefer to remain single. As much as I don't hate being single I wouldn't say I'm opposed to the idea of a serious romantic partner who I Do The Big Life Thing with.

Then I tried polyamory on for size. I was in a casual relationship a year ago where we both actively dated other people. And I've been a casual/secondary partner to people who have a serious partner already. But later in 2018, I would develop a big crush on someone (see, I'm not aromatic) that would stand to remind me that when I do develop romantic feelings for someone I get swept up in that person. Romantically I am monogamous, even if I can be sexually promiscuous. And because I experience romantic attraction so rarely it's difficult to find one person to date, never mind two.

And then I found the term I was searching for, and that term was relationship anarchy.

Relationship anarchy questions the idea that love is a limited resource that can only be real if restricted to a couple. You have capacity to love more than one person, and one relationship and the love felt for that person does not diminish love felt for another. Don’t rank and compare people and relationships — cherish the individual and your connection to them. One person in your life does not need to be named primary for the relationship to be real. Each relationship is independent, and a relationship between autonomous individuals.

-  Andie Nordgren, 2012 (you can read the whole thing here)

My romantic history


For my whole life (we're talking childhood here) I've always questioned the way society packages up romantic relationships and how we prioritise them over platonic relationships. The same goes for "blood is thicker than water". I prioritise the people who prioritise me, whether that is family, friends, or a lover. I don't believe that someone is entitled to more of me because we are romantically involved or share similar DNA.

Society generally tells us that if we want to be romantically involved with someone we need to follow a blueprint: become Facebook official, agree to monogamy, meet the parents, live together, become financially intertwined, get engaged, then married, and have children. While we're becoming more open to the idea of people living as partners (instead of married) and not having children - if you tell someone that you're not planning to live with someone you're romantically involved with they'll probably question how real your relationship is.

It's worth saying: the only people who need to be happy with a romantic or sexual set-up are the people involved. As long as people are communicating their needs and listening to everyone else's feelings, then let people live their lives. That means respecting polyamorous relationships, romantic partners who choose not to live together, longterm long-distance relationships, and couples who choose not get married.

Some of you might remember my blog on casual relationships from last year. I've had two casual relationships (and two serious relationships, if anyone is caring) and, even though I regret not one thing about either of those relationships and would do it all again, people roll their eyes or outright assume I was taken advantage of or was "wasting my time".

Because the thing is: being single has never bothered me. I only ever crave a relationship when I'm actively crushing on someone. When I'm not craving a specific person I don't crave a relationship. And I develop crushes very rarely. At the end of 2018 and the beginning of 2019 I did have a big crush on someone, but that ship has now sailed. Prior to that crush, it had been four years since I actively liked someone. I went four years without being romantically interested in someone. If you've ever wondered why I'm long term single, it's pretty much because I rarely get butterflies.

I'm told a lot that I'm fussy, and if I don't relax my standards I'll end up never meeting anyone. While these comments are well-intentioned, what the asker doesn't get is: I would rather be single than settle.

When it comes to pop culture, I love seeing queer characters on tv (but only when they are well represented because let's be honest many shows have gotten it shockingly wrong). But more so than queer characters, I love seeing single characters. Especially happy single characters. But we rarely see them.

Think about it.

Samantha Jones is an obvious one (true fact: my Tinder once said "I like to think I'm a Samantha, but I'm probably a Miranda aka moody ginger") and she's fabulous. I fist pumped when she stayed single.

Eh....Joey Tribbiani?

Elsa from Frozen?

Then when I am in a relationship, I'm an independent partner who has hobbies, a career, and close friends outside the relationship. Whenever I've been in a relationship (or even just dated) someone who prefers to create an emphasis on the relationship I get frustrated. For me, if my romantic partner wants to be at the top of the pyramid then they better earn it because they won't get there automatically. I'm lucky enough to have several very close friends who I share incredible platonic and emotional intimacy with, and can't imagine myself losing that because I've met a romantic partner.

And that goes for being in a position where I can "easily" leave. I'm not opposed to living with someone, but I'm one of those types who would have a shared pot for joint expenses (with the higher earner putting more in) but would still have my own separate bank account. And friends. And hobbies. Yes, this makes it easier to leave. Because I believe that people should be free to leave a relationship at any time. No one should stay in a relationship that doesn't suit them. And while this can sound like a commitment phobia, I think it proves my commitment. We all know people who have stayed in a relationship because it is easy, or they are used to it. Maybe they are the lower earner and would have to downgrade their lifestyle. Or they are scared to take a leap of faith. Being a partner who has independence and autonomy proves that I (and them) am staying because I want to stay.

If you want your partner to "prove" their commitment to you through an action that would make it difficult for them to leave, then you might want to have a word with yourself.

And I've always been funny about the idea that we expect our romantic partner to fulfil every need we have. Or couples who all of a sudden develop a passionate interest in the other's hobbies? I've never really had a "best" friend because I find the whole idea of expecting one person to be my only source of emotional support and social entertainment a bit weird. And I'd get drained pretty quickly if someone expected that from me.

I'm very introverted, y'all.

As a result, I've always been funny about marriage. I would never be opposed to it if I was nesting with a romantic partner who really wanted it, but my ideal relationship wouldn't involve it. I firmly believe that people should be allowed to leave a romantic relationship that doesn't fit them anymore. This goes against the whole point of marriage since it is promising to never grow or change as a person to the point where you outgrow the relationship. Sometimes you outgrow people, and that shouldn't be vilified.

Oh, and marriage places familial and romantic love on a pedestal. Fuck that. I'm starting the campaign for legalising marriage to platonic life partners.

But ultimately, for me, relationship anarchy means really thinking about what you want from your relationships (of any kind) and trusting your gut. Even if that is the cookie-cutter life that society tells us we should want. There's nothing wrong with wanting that. But what is important is sitting with yourself and really thinking about it.

Romantic vs Familial vs Platonic


But it's not just the way we package romantic relationships that has always confused me. It's also the way we automatically place romantic (and familial) relationships higher than that of platonic friendships. I don't know about you, but I have platonic partners that I love to the point where I could burst. They might not give me butterflies or make my heart beat faster, but I look at them and cannot wait to see what our future holds.

I know it's a bit of generational thing, as my parents definitely see family and romantic relationships as "more than" friendships. About two months ago my mum hurt my feelings when she proclaimed that she's always imagined me getting married in an intimate, family-only wedding. Now, don't get me wrong. I have a good relationship with my cousins, but I wouldn't consider myself close to them. So to have my mum think that they should be at one of the biggest days of my life, but some of the most important people in my life who show up for me every day shouldn't be, really kicked me where it hurts.

I also don't get why I'm not allowed to have a plus one at a wedding because I lack a partner. I'm attending a wedding reception very soon where I don't know many people and I'm not allowed to bring anyone, but I know I would be if I was romantically partnered.

And then there's the lack of alignment between my romantic and sexual attraction. I know a lot of people who really can't separate sex from love. Without getting TMI on you, I'm very capable of separating the two and can have emotionless sex. Some people are shocked at my ability to do so, even people who also have casual sex (some friends have said they have casual sex out of physical desire but emotionally they need to be careful - I don't have to be careful, it's second nature to me).

As a society, we're talking a lot more about sexual attraction and gender identity - which is incredible! But we still don't talk much about romantic attraction and how that differs from person to person. Someone who is queer is still assumed to want marriage. And we even acknowledge that asexuals might still crave emotional intimacy and a romantic connection. But only queer, polyam, and radical circles seem to acknowledge (in my experience) that romantic attraction can be a fluid concept as well.

Different kinds of attraction

When people ask me what gender I'm more attracted to I don't really know how to answer. It depends on what form of attraction you're referring to. For a while, I thought I might be a heteroromantic bisexual, but now I realise I am biromantic (but with crushes being few and far between).

The different forms of attraction, that I know of:

  • Aesthetic
  • Platonic
  • Sexual
  • Romantic
  • Emotional
  • Physical/Sensual Attraction

For example, I tend to only be platonically attracted to women. I rarely look at a guy and think "is this my new best friend?". If you're a straight person who has ever looked at someone of the same sex and thought "wow they are beautiful" but have no desire to fuck someone of the same sex then that is probably aesthetic attraction. If you have a sexual partner who you are also romantic with, then you probably also have a sensual attraction to them that you demonstrate through post-sex cuddling. But if you have a fuck-buddy, you probably have a sexual attraction but if you get up and leave then there's no sensual attraction. And if you've got someone in your life who you talk about deep shit with, then that's an emotional attraction.

If I was to whip out the Kinsey Scale for each form of attraction the scales would look different from each other. I don't really have an overarching preference.

Learning about the different kinds of attraction has also helped me navigate the world of dating. For example, I now know that my casual relationships were probably a mix of sexual, emotional, and sensual attraction - but no romantic attraction. And when I meet someone that I feel drawn to I know that it's not always romantic. I can read my own emotions better now that I know how attraction works.

The future of relationships


Society is changing, including its attitude towards relationships. There are new terms to describe sexual attraction (and old terms now entering the mainstream consciousness) and we're beginning to embrace the idea of gender as more fluid than originally assumed. We're also beginning to agree that it's okay to walk away from a toxic family member, and that family members have to earn their place in your life just like a platonic and romantic partner. Polyamory is also gaining coverage in mainstream publications.

And the way we structure relationships is going to keep changing.

I'm an only child and I've always believed that I place so much importance on non-familial relationships because, well, I don't really have a big family to latch onto. Only children are increasing in numbers so there will be more of us who have to prioritise platonic and romantic relationships.

And the same goes for people who don't want children. I'm one of them. Hey, I come from a small family (only 5 cousins!) so rampant reproduction clearly isn't in my genetics. As child-free people get older we have to prioritise platonic relationships, including becoming auties (or uncles) to our platonic partner's kids.

Then marriage. I don't need to tell you that people are getting married later in life and that divorce rates are going up. Marriage was once upon a time (not that long ago tbh) a necessity. Nursing homes didn't exist and women couldn't work. If a woman wanted financial security, she needed to marry. People marrying for love is actually a modern concept. And we're living longer: no longer is marriage a promise for the next twenty years, it's a promise for fifty!

Because we're beginning to embrace diversity and individuality, it is becoming harder to find a life partner. You have to find someone who is a gender you are attracted to, and they are attracted to your gender. Then ask if they want kids. Is marriage important to them? Do they want monogamy or polyamory? Do they want an open relationship? Are your sex drives compatible? Plus you have to be emotionally and sensually compatible. And have hobbies in common?

There's a lot more to think about now than there was just 10 years ago.

And while it is frustrating, I don't think it's a bad thing. If you're heterosexual, monogamous, want marriage and kids, prioritise a romantic partner, have an average sex drive, and want a romantic relationship where you are financially intertwined, then you maybe have never thought about these preferences. While the ideas I've talked about are beginning to slip into the mainstream (there's a really good article on the GQ website about relationship anarchy) it's still assumed that everyone wants the same thing (lol, we don't). Despite being very open about my sexual orientation, I get mistaken for being heterosexual all the time. And it's assumed I want a relationship and must be actively looking.

As far as I'm concerned, true liberation comes when we not only accept that not everyone wants the same thing from their romantic and sexual relationships, but we stop assuming it too. That means that when you date you don't assume you're on the same page as everyone on Tinder (the mainstream types are really bad for doing this). It's 2019, people shouldn't have to 'come out' anymore.

Part of me was scared to write this as I might come off as 'just haven't met the right person' or that the whole post might be a muddled mind dump. I was also concerned it might put potential suitors off as they might assume I'm a bit wacky or incapable of love (even if there is a 90% chance I won't feel the same way, at least romantically). Even though I don't have a romantic crush right now, I know one might emerge again at one point (you know, in another four years).

But what's the saying? The right person will love you because you are you.

Whether that love is platonic, romantic or familial.

Now go forth and love people in a way that feels right for you.
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morag | mo adore
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I went to Lisbon and ate some vegan food




It feels as though Lisbon is the place to be seen right now. And with good reason: it's pretty, it's warm, it has tasty Mediterranean food, and it's cheaper than most other European cities.

Tbh, though, it wasn't actually on my list. A long-distance bff who I don't see very often was attending a conference and asked if I wanted to join her (not at the conference itself mind, she's studying for a PhD in neuroscience....and I couldn't even pass a first-year high school physics test #humanitiesuntilidie). Obviously, I said yes. It's still a holiday and it beats going to Manchester (where she lives) any day.

I liked Lisbon a lot more than I thought I would. Admittedly it's not the fast-paced city break full of famous sights that I usually opt for. It's much more relaxed and two full days did me just fine for some casual wandering.

I also ate some vegan food, obviously, because this is me and food is my love. I work in the travel industry and spend a lot of my days writing travel guides. One of the first guides I ever penned was a food guide to Portugal. Admittedly I couldn't eat a lot of what I was writing about, but one or few things did stand out to me and I couldn't wait to get stuck in.

So, without further ado, this is the vegan food I ate in Lisbon.

Giallo Gelados

Gelato bars are everywhere in Lisbon, and this is just the first of two that made the list. The branding and storefront is a cutesy yellow, so between that and the vegan sign, I knew I had to have a look. I opted for a cone with three different flavours: guava + cinnamon, wild berry, and lemon + mint ice cream.

Restaurante Esperança

My favourite Lisbon was Lisbon at night, especially alfresco dining in the warm Mediterranean climate. On our first night, we found this Italian restaurant, Esperança, which offers vegan cheese on its pizzas (saying that, I still opted for a Marinara). While I've never visited Italy (boo!) and can't comment on what "real" Neopolitan pizza tastes like - this was definitely the nicest pizza I've ever had. The base was skinny-mini thin and the topping was spot on!

Pop Ceréal Café 

Yes, classy Lisbon is home to a hipster cereal bar. So obviously I had to check it out. I don't know how many cereal brands this place was home to, but it was a lot. And you can pick your milk (I went for almond). The decor was also very Instagram worthy.

daTerra Bairro Alto

For dinner on our second night, we visited a vegetarian buffet near our apartment that we had walked past a few times. I have mixed feelings on this one. I loved that it was a buffet and that the food was filled with Mediterranean goodness. But it was a bit...simple. Don't get me wrong, simple can be good. But it's not somewhere I'd head if I was looking for something special. Though the glass of Duoro white wine I had was lovely! And the veganised version of pastéis de nata!

Sorbettino


Told you that sorbet would make another appearance! There's not much you can say when it comes to reviewing sorbet (I mean, it's sorbet) but I'd commit a crime for some of that pistachio again. 

If you've been to Lisbon and ate some vegan food, let me know!
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morag | mo adore
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