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Esty Wishlist: Gàidhlig Goodies

If you follow me on Twitter then you'll have noticed that my, uh, brand has changed slightly this year. Apparently, the ups and downs of learning Gàidhlig are now the delightful mini-thoughts I treat my followers to. 

It was only in March, after witnessing a few people I follow using Gàidhlig as their default language, that I began to realise how silly it was that I couldn't speak the other official language of the country I live in (especially a language that hovers close to extinction). I was only ever planning to teach myself tourist-centric phrases, but eight months on I'm full steam ahead and aiming to become fluent. Anyone who says learning Gàidhlig is pointless will love the day when I start refusing to speak English (I've also been brushing up on my Doric, just to really piss off the Beurla speakers). 

Naturally, I've found myself searching Etsy for cute Gàidhlig trinkets to bring the language into my home. Here's just a small selection of my favourites!

Colzie Mug

Cute mugs are a must-have for winter in my opinion and this colzie mug looks would be a great addition to any mug collection. I might personally skip it because it makes direct reference to highland life and I'm, uh, not from the Highlands (or should I say Gàidhealtachd?) but it's a cute gift for your Highland friend! 

Pure Dead Brilliant Badges

The lovely Càra is a friend of mine and was also a recent guest on my podcast, The B Agenda. Like me, Càra is learning Gàidhlig and, unlike me, she has been turning some of Duolingo's best phrases into cute badges! Tha Niseag ag òl uisge-beatha is my favourite.

Mamaidh Tree Decoration

This is a super cute decoration to buy for the family tree but it's also subtle enough to have up in the house all year round. Bookmark it for Mother's Day. 

Christmas Tree Decorations

On the theme of tree decorations, here is a set of five white and gold tree decorations with Gàidhlig words on them. Definitely very Christmassy. 

Taigh ùr card

Moving away from the Christmas theme here's a cute card for someone who is moving into a new home. 

Gaol Card

Another cute card, but this time one that is perfect for a new arrival! 

Alba mo ghràidh sticker

Finally, I have the Gàidhlig stickers from KenspeckleArt. There are several to choose from (and they are all fabulous!) but this Alba mo ghràidh stick is my favourite. 

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30 Things I've Learned in 30 Years

Today, I’m saying hello to my thirties. 

I can’t say I feel particularly different today or woke up with a new mature outlook on life, but I’m not going to pretend that I didn’t spend yesterday sitting wide-eyed and muttering “holy fuck I’m 30 tomorrow”.

Turning 30 never scared me, or, more accurately, it hasn’t scared me in recent years. My 20-year-old self was certainly aghast at the idea that I’d ever turn 30. I remember having a conversation with someone when I was 19 where I said: “I can’t imagine my life beyond 30, what do you do with your life when you know you don’t want children?”.

I don’t know exactly what I’m planning to do with the next decade of my life, but I’m no longer looking towards my 30s as if it’s a big black hole. I still feel relatively young in the grand scheme of things, even if I still don’t really understand TikTok.

Back when I was 21, I wrote a blog post called 21 Things I’ve Learned in 21 Years and then another similar one when I was 25. I stand by most of the advice in both of these posts (even if my writing skills have improved since then). Both of these posts were inspired by the ever-incredible Sarah Von Bargen, who penned her own 31 Things I’ve Learned in 31 Years post over a decade ago. She’s one of my favourite bloggers of all time and I’m now almost the same age as she was when I started reading her blog (seriously, read her blog, it’s life-changing stuff and a lot of her advice-column style posts have helped shape the person I am today).

So, naturally, I’m writing another one to mark my 30th birthday because that’s how I roll.

1. Sometimes, things just aren’t meant to be.

That person wasn’t right for you. Friends grow in different and incompatible directions. You failed that course because your brain isn’t naturally inclined towards that topic. You didn’t get the job because they felt someone else just had the right (not more!) experience. You fell madly in love and then three years later discover that it wasn’t forever.

Maybe you did do everything you could: completed all the recommended reading, carried out your fair share of the cleaning, wore the perfect interview outfit and it still didn’t work out. This happens and it’s not a reflection of your own talents, personality, merit, or qualifications.

2. But always give things your best shot

While it’s true that some things are just not meant to be, it’s also true that sometimes you didn’t give things your best shot. Always work hard enough that you can walk away knowing that it just wasn’t meant to be.

Most of the regrets that follow me around to this day are situations where I know I could have tried harder, but didn’t. In contrast, I have always made my peace with failed projects, bad grades, and break-ups where I knew there was nothing else I could have done.

3. Skinny isn’t always healthy

At 20-years-old I was the skinniest I’ve ever been and was approached romantically and sexually on the regular. At 20-years-old I was also very stressed, in a bad place, and didn’t eat very much. I also fell ill with a big case of tonsillitis which left me bed-bound for two weeks. Healthwise, I was actually at my lowest.

Fast forward to today, and I’m probably the biggest I’ve ever been (even though I’m still relatively skinny in the grand scheme of things) but I’m also at my healthiest. I eat when I’m hungry and swim regularly - and haven’t had tonsillitis in years.

4. My longest-running friendships were the ones I never saw coming

Have you ever met someone and immediately thought “I want to be this person’s friend!?”. I have! Alas, these friendships very rarely worked out long term. All my closest friendships are with people who were pretty unassuming at first glance and the connection deepened naturally and gradually over time.

5. There’s a difference between giving up and walking away from something you’ve outgrown

“Finish what you started” is actually pretty shit advice. Yes, you should always work hard and keep going even through the tough bits if it will help you reach a larger goal. But don’t confuse this with staying in a relationship/finishing a degree/maintaining a blog that is weighing you down and doesn’t contribute to a longer-term dream.

6. A degree is a lot of time and money if you don’t need it

Since graduating from university over 8 years ago, about 10% of my degree has been useful. I work in a field where rising to the top without a degree is not unheard of. I could still be in the same place today without my degree (and minus the debt). So much of what I know about marketing and communications has been learned from on-the-job training, mentorship, online courses, books, and industry magazines.

The government will pay your tuition fees in Scotland (we still have loans for living costs, which is where my debt lies) but the universities are still private institutions that exist to make money. Therefore they’ll run courses that they know fine well won’t make someone more employable in the real world.

If you need a degree to pursue your chosen career path then I wish you all the luck in the world. I’d however advise any school leavers who don’t know what they want to do long term to stay away from further education and only return if you require a specific qualification. You also never know: you might end up finding something vocational that you love and never have to pay back a single penny of student debt.

(For any wannabe marketers: the most straightforward route to a job is a marketing degree from a respected university but it’s not the only way).

7. If you’re at university, do more than just get your degree

While I might not use my degree all that much, the extracurriculars I took part in while at university have contributed towards my success in the real world. When I started attending graduate interviews for marketing roles with an International Management degree, they didn’t ask much about my degree because, well, it wasn’t very relevant. But they did always want to know more about the Cupcake & Baking Society, which I founded. I also blagged myself a fairly professional part-time job in my university’s Careers Centre, which was also relevant and a great talking point in interviews.

Everyone I went to university with who became successful in the real world did a lot more at university than just getting stuck into academia. If you are going to university I would 100% recommend getting involved in some way: whether it’s a sports team, class representative, working part-time in the university, or running for the Student Executive.

8. Treat yourself the way you would if you were dating someone

I first came across the concept of dating yourself in my early 20s and it’s one of the best self-care principles I’ve ever engaged in. I keep my room tidy even if no one else will be inside my bedroom. I shave my body often and always wear nice underwear (except when on my period). I also have one tattoo that no one is ever going to see unless they see me near naked. And I make myself beautiful dinners that are usually associated with entertaining. I deserve to feel good, even when I’m by myself.

9. Opportunities to have sex while single can be, uh, rather spontaneous

I’ve heard people mutter that when you’re single you don’t need to shave your legs or keep your bedroom tidy. In my experience this is bullshit. When you’re in a monogamous relationship you sort of know when you might be getting laid (partner away on a work trip? No sex for you! Partner ill? Probably not.).

When you’re single (and open to casual sex), however, you don’t always know when the next opportunity for sex will occur. I’ve certainly woken up not expecting to get laid that day but somehow did (sometimes without much effort on my part).

If you’re single, open to casual sex and that sex will likely involve penetration, keep a condom on you at all times.

10. Stay on good terms, unless they were an asshole

When I was young and petty, I would fully remove people from my life just because we hadn’t spoken in a while. This led to some regret and awkward moments when I visited my hometown. I then sheepishly re-added some people on Facebook. These days, I only go no-contact with people who have caused harm to myself or others.

My childhood best friend has taken a very different life path from myself, but we still tag each other in fun 90s memes. Someone who I had a fling with at uni is still my friend to this day, even if we didn’t speak for a few years while we let the dust settle. It’s lovely to still have these connections years into the future even if the relationship itself had to shift a little bit to allow it. I’m grateful I never ended things with these two people.

11. The scariest self-development is the most worthwhile

Decorating your room, drinking enough water, engaging in meaningful movement, developing your personal style, signing up for a night class, and going or a walk in the morning are all great things to do in pursuit of mental, physical and emotional health.

However, I owe most of my modern-day happiness to the scary self-care: confronting myself about times where I’d been the screw-up, coming out as bisexual, and telling some people to get the fuck out of my life. The little things helped me get closer to the day where I’d have the courage to tackle the big stuff, for sure, but for me to really feel myself shift into place I’d have to take a deep breath and do the shit that was scaring me. That’s where happiness was waiting for me.

12. Platonic relationships can be just as fulfilling as romantic and familial relationships

As someone who lives far away from their birth family and hasn’t been in an official romantic relationship for a decade, my friends have become my main source of social and emotional support. And they’ve done a bloody good job of it.

When you really think about it, a lot of the roles we assign to family members or romantic partners can be fulfilled by platonic friendships: living together, financial support, a plus one to a wedding, baring your soul, daily communication, an emergency contact, visiting you in hospital, and a travel buddy. None of these roles inherently require the relationship to be romantic, but we are socialised to think that they should be.

13. People aren’t mindreaders

Is your partner not quite hitting the spot in bed? Is your bestie overstepping your boundaries? Is your flatmate’s music a bit too loud? Was your interns work not quite up to scratch? You can frown about these things and bitch to your friends, but if you want to solve the problem you need to speak to the person.

If you speak to them and they still don’t sexually satisfy you/respect your boundaries/turn the music down then you are free to begin questioning whether this person is right for you (or your business).

14. There is an art to giving constructive criticism

Giving feedback (especially negative) is fucking hard and I wouldn’t claim to be great at it. However, I have improved over the years and have a few tips:
  • feedback should be given with the aim of improving the situation
  • use a friendly (potentially firm) tone
  • give specifics
  • do it to their face
  • if it’s feedback on a professional piece of work, back in up with experience, data, and previous campaigns (“I don’t like it” is not feedback)
15. Don’t ever beg for the bare minimum

You may occasionally need to have difficult conversations with people in your life about their behaviour. This is normal, don’t panic about it. But if you have to ask somebody for something extremely bare minimum, you might need to think whether you want this person in your life. If they can’t get the bare minimum right sweetie then they aren’t going to get the big stuff right.

Bare minimum behaviour includes basic kindness and respect, not invading your privacy, not cheating on your spouse, not lying outside of white lies, letting you know where you stand, not gossiping, respecting your time, saying please and thank you, not mocking your hobbies, allowing you to be your honest self, not controlling you, respecting personal boundaries, and physical safety. You should never have to ask for these things.

I used to think I was being unreasonable when I would get angry at people for small things. Now I realise that if someone can’t reach a bar that’s lying on the floor I have even more of a right to be annoyed. If you’re not asking for a lot then it’s even more of a joke.

16. You can’t be an expert on everything

No fully grown adult has enough hours in the week to become an expert on 10 different topics (even on furlough I didn’t have that kind of time). At most, there will be three topics you can become proficient in, one of them being your profession.

From a career standpoint, I’ve learnt that it’s best to have a specialism within your field, but have two other areas that you can fall back on. My specialism is copywriting and website maintenance, but I’m also skilled enough in social media and SEO that I can bring the skills to the table if need be. I have little Google Ads, graphic design and PR experience - and I don’t apologise for it.

17. Know when it’s better to ask for help or pay someone else to do something

I used to be stubbornly independent and would attempt to do everything myself. I was an independent and capable woman who didn’t need no help! As a result, I ended up with some disjointed blog layouts, dodgy haircuts, and once mildly electrocuted myself!

This is also applicable to your professional life. If you’re a freelancer, know when to outsource different tasks and don’t attempt to be a Jack of All Trades. If you work in an office, know the different strengths and weaknesses in your team and recognise when someone else should take on a particular project.

18. Know your weaknesses

Everyone has weaknesses and there’s no shame in admitting them. As I’ve grown older, I’ve learned that people will respect you more if you just say that you’re not that good at driving/cooking/talking to strangers/maths rather than faking it.

In my professional life, I have sat in on interviews where the candidate’s response to “what are your weaknesses?” is “I just work a bit too hard, you know?”. Just be honest that you’re not good at presentations or excel calculations. You’re actually more likely to get the job because maybe your weaknesses aren’t that big a deal to them or something they can put you on a training programme for.

19. Older men who date much younger women are usually immature af (or really shallow)

When I was in my mid-twenties I dated two guys who were older than me by a decade. Obviously, at the time I thought it was because I was super mature and a boy my own age couldn’t offer me what I needed.


Now that I’ve just turned the same age that one of them was when he met me, I can confidently say that both of them were emotionally immature. Neither would get anywhere near me now and I now understand why they were hanging about with people who were much younger (older people wouldn't tolerate them).  

20. Embrace the boring

I’ve always been an introvert, but for years I tried to convince myself and people around me that I was a fun and outgoing person. I’m not, and I’m now okay with that. I like to spend my days reading non-fiction books, fucking about online, and baking - and nobody can stop me!

I’ve learned over the years that healthy relationships should be calm, and sometimes a little boring. It’s not normal to have drama every second day. I had some pretty dramatic platonic and romantic relationships in my late teens and early 20s, which feel nauseating in hindsight.

21. The secret to finding real friends is being yourself

I have a relatively high number of ex-friends. Some of that has been caused by moving to a new city (twice!) and biphobia/queerphobia - but a lot of it was caused by my very weak self-identity and hiding who I really was.

When I began to really embrace the real me, for the first time in my life I felt popular and loved. The wrong people dropped off my radar pretty easily, but the right people began flocking to me in a way that they hadn’t before.

Turns out, some really great people love the real me.

22. Finding yourself can take a long time

I spent years trying to discover who I really was and learning who you are is not that simple. Cultural conditioning, expectations from your parents, oppression, and toxic friendships/relationships can really hamper with your ability to know exactly who you are and what you want.

I was 20 when I first really realised that I didn’t have a clue who I really was or what I wanted. Then I went on a massive journey of self-discovery. There was no strategy really: I began reading self-development blogs, experimented with hobbies, switched up the way I looked, and put myself out there socially. Then piece by piece things began to fall into place. In hindsight, the process might have been quicker if I had paid a therapist or life coach for guidance - either way though, I got there.

23. There’s nothing wrong with not coming out

I might be an out and proud bisexual now, but I only came out three years ago (despite having known when I was 13). Coming out is my proudest achievement and massively improved my mental health.

It would have been great if I could have come out sooner, but I don’t regret waiting until I did. It wasn’t entirely safe for me to come out until I was almost 27. Just before I came out I ended some friendships. Within those friendships were people who had negative opinions of bisexuals and/or fetishised us. The friendships in question ended for other reasons but the night I refused to go to a birthday party was the same night I changed my dating apps to reflect who I was really interested in.

24. Don’t make excuses for creepy men

[content warning for sexual assault]

If you’ve read a lot of what I’ve published in the last few years, you might have gathered that three years ago I ended a longterm friendship because that person was convicted of sexual assault (and still denied it). I also had to end friendships with people who stood by that person.

When people ask if this news was shocking, the answer is logically no. Yes, it took me a few days to pull myself together after finding out (I hadn’t even known there was a court case), but the red flags had been there all along. The person in question had crossed the lines of personal boundaries many times before, one of his friends had personally harassed me, and just weeks before the conviction I witnessed them grab someone’s face and force a kiss on them.

It’s weird to write this on the internet as a proud feminist: but I let small creepy behaviours slide over the years. Then it turned out a lot worse was going on behind closed doors. These days I give very little chance to people who engage in creepy behaviours, regardless of how big and small they are.

25. Start saving money

I hate that we live within a capitalist system where not everyone earns enough to even create savings (sound on Universal Basic Income!). But if you’re capable of creating savings, then do so. It’s an amazing comfort to know that you can handle periods of unemployment, a flatmate moving out or even own a house one day.

26. It’s more important how your life is IRL than how it looks on social media

I love to share my life on social media, but I like to think that I share a mix of the good and bad, and I definitely don’t portray my life as more amazing than it actually is.

I used to though. The root cause of doing this was, uh, wishing my life was better than it was. Instead of dealing with the parts of my life that I was unhappy with I’d just make it look like I was happy on social media. As I became genuinely more content with life my social media began to present a realistic snapshot of my life.

My younger self isn’t alone in this. I’ve seen couples splitting up when they were gushing about each other two days earlier on Instagram and I’ve weirdly had people digitally present themselves as a good friend but when cameras were turned off they very rarely showed up in a meaningful way. In contrast, I have friends who rarely talk about me on their social media, but behind the scenes they are pulling their weight in ways that are just spectacular.

27. If you can’t adapt and grow then you’re going to get left behind

I’m someone who has been committed to growing since I was 20, and I vow to never stop growing. I’ve proven myself to not be a static person. Some people never change and in my experience, people who are resistant to change get left behind. Whether that’s in friendships, academia, the workplace, or in romantic relationships.

All my longest-running friendships are with people who know how to adapt and grow in ways that we maybe weren’t expecting when we first met. This is a crucial part of why these friendships worked out while others didn’t.

28. The best revenge is genuinely moving on

Your ex-partner can tell if you’re throwing yourself over a new person to make them jealous. That ex-boss has probably forgotten that you exist. The teacher who was mean to you in primary school might not even be alive by now.

People can be horrible. We’ve all been hurt by callous people. But whenever you do something in life to “show them” or post something petty on social media in hopes that they’ll see it, you’re only admitting that you’ve not really moved on (and that might please the person who hurt you). Just focus on your own healing and journey.

29. Life doesn’t end at 25

I remember having a conversation at uni where me and my then friends were thinking about going to a festival because apparently if we didn’t do it while we were at university then we would be too old.

Now that I’m 30 this just seems laughable. While I still haven’t been to a festival ever it’s because of ticket prices and the fact that I don’t like camping, rather than feeling too old.

You have plenty of time to tick everything off of your list. Turns out that my major achievements in my 20s would be figuring out a lot of emotional shit and building myself a solid foundation to jump from. Hopefully, my 30s will be the decade where I start ticking boxes and moving up in the world - and I’m not embarrassed that I’m running behind society’s schedule.

30. It can* get better, but only when you choose it

I spent most of my teenage years unhappy with a side helping of low self-esteem. Just before I turned 20 I would have both a romantic relationship and friendship break down on very bad terms, with two people who came with a bunch of red flags that I should have seen. This was my wake-up call, and I made a conscious decision to improve my life.

My motivation was the belief that things could get better. And they did get better, in a big way. For three years now I’ve been happy in a way that I would never have predicted. Things aren’t perfect, but I feel a calmness in me that I never felt when I was younger. This didn’t magically happen and no white knight came along to save me. It was my own doing and I’m really proud of myself.

For any young babes who are struggling to find their feet in this world, stick in there. You got this.

Love to everyone, whether you've passed the 30 mark or not x 

*I want to acknowledge that things don’t always get better, as there are people facing tougher circumstances than I was.
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Review: Love Watercress [Gifted]

As far as vegetables and herbs go watercress hasn't really ever been on my radar. I grew it on my parents' kitchen windowsill as a kid (didn't we all?) but I can't say I've given it much thought over the years (I'm foodie, so I think of food a lot - more than most people would). 

Apparently, though, watercress is extremely healthy for you. According to Love Watercress, the benefits of eating watercress include: 
  • Helps stop and slows skin ageing
  • Helps Lower Blood Pressure
  • Helps fight Breast and Colon cancer
  • Improves Eye health
Love Watercress is a website set up by The Watercress Company who grow and sell watercress from their farm in Dorset. Their customers include restaurants, caterers, individuals and the NHS. Recently they got in contact to offer me a few bunches on them and try out the recipes on their website. Here's how I got on. 

Red Onion Tart with Watercress Pesto

I love a simple tart recipe, where the tart is just puff pastry with ingredients on top. Looks a lot more impressive than it actually is. This red onion tart was just as lovely as any others I've tried, and the pesto was my favourite use of the watercress. 

Black bean & watercress burgers

This was the most labour intensive recipe out of the three I chose, still very lovely though. You don't really taste the watercress as much with this one; it was the spice from the chillis that my taste buds were picking up on!

Pasta primavera

This was the only recipe I wasn't as keen on - only because the overall flavour was just a little bit too sharp for my liking. Between the fennel, the lemon and the parsley it was maybe just a tiny bit too much for me.  

Watercress Jacket sweet potatoes

This was such a beautiful combination of flavours. There were chickpeas roasted in paprika, tahini and soya yoghurt in the sauce and watercress sprinkled amongst it. 

Having cress delivered to your door is a really great idea if you have a lot of mouths to feed. Admittedly as a single person, I had to really rush to get through it all without waste. You're also given instructions on how to store it so that it can last as long as possible. You can have a look on their website for where you can order your own bunches from. 

What's your favourite recipe to use cress in? 

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June Linkables

I think we can all say that 2020 has been a failure of a year. There was Brexit (remember that?), a pandemic, a civil rights movement, Australian bush fires, and just last night there was a tornado going around my home of Aberdeenshire! I'm past the point of being surprised by anything anymore. As a distraction, here are some of my favourite internet links!

First off: I released a new episode of my podcast, The B Agenda. This one is on Online Dating! 

American friends: 5 popular companies funding Trump's campaign.

Bookmarked for when we can travel around Scotland again: vegan-friendly places in Argyll.

The police forced have regularly oppressed the LGBTQ+ community. 30 Infamous Police Raids of Gay Bars and Bathhouses

I visited Berlin a few years ago and the city doesn't hide its dark past. The UK (and Scotland) does ignore its dark past and it's about time we stopped it. 

Related: Glasgow Celebrates a Slaver Once a Year (yep, it's the Orange March).

What it's like to exercise while black. 

How Glaswegians can support the Black Lives Movement.

A large part of being an ally is knowing when to be quiet. This article sums it up nicely.

I've just finished Season 3 of 13 Reasons Why and Ani was SO ANNOYING! (spoilers). 13 Reasons Why Needed To Invest In Its Black Girls — But It Didn't Need Ani

If you spotted the vegan German Chocolate Cake I baked at the weekend and fancy trying it yourself, here is the recipe. 

I had a Twitter rant recently about Nessie being the only Loch Monster anyone ever knows about (including Scottish people!). Here's a wee guide from the BBC if you don't know anything about Nessie's cousins!  One of them is a fellow Mòrag!

Related: Have scientists finally killed off the Loch Ness Monster?

Melissa A. Fabello is my favourite online writer and she just hit it out of the park again with this article on the friendzone. 

My sex drive has dropped during the lockdown - and I'm not alone! 

Social skills were something I had to work hard at over the years and I am worried that while in lockdown I might have lost them, so it's worth a re-cap on how to improve social skills.

A few weeks ago I found myself researching how the Brexit campaign used social media to win the referendum. It's very interesting!

I hope you're all keeping safe, and I'll see when we're allowed to mingle again.

Love Morag x
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Mini-reviews from my latest Lush haul

Like a lot of people, I've been finding myself in need of extra self-care during the lockdown. For me personally, this has partially shown up as ordering in some extra Lush goodies to help me feel a little bit more glamorous while stuck inside and bring some extra aromatherapy into my life.

I've been seeing a lot of people on Twitter saying that they've been struggling with their body image while inside - and I get you! Being stuck inside has led my brain to nitpick at everything I don't like about my flat, my life, and my body! My Lush order did help a little bit with this as I've been maintaining a stricter skincare regime while in lockdown than I did before - and my skin is thanking me for it.

I did however like some products more than others and have rounded up my thoughts below.

Caca Rouge Henna Hair Dye

If you've been following me for a while, you'll know that this is my all-time favourite hair dye. I started using it in 2011 and even though I've occasionally strayed, I always come back to it. The auburn tones it adds to my hair are very realistic and you aren't left with harsh root lines.

I have a story over on my Instagram of how I use it.

Cup O'Coffee Face Mask

My favourite Lush facemask of all time is Cupcake, but it was out of stock so I decided to give this one a shot instead. As a warning, it really smells like coffee but my skin was incredibly soft when I washed it off. If you can stomach the smell of strong coffee, then this facemask comes recommended by me.

Jade Roller Cleansing Balm

Not going to lie, I was sceptical about using a solid cleansing bar as opposed to my usual favourite Herbalism (which was out of stock). While this was weirder to apply (I was rubbing a solid cleanser across my face after all) my skin has been looking a lot better since. Was it because of the facemask, or the cleanser, or a mixture of both? I don't know, but I do have clearer skin now.

Sea Vegetable Soap

I love this soap! Generally speaking, soap isn't the easiest thing to review because, you know, it's soap. But I love its beach-side smell and how well it lathered. I definitely see myself repurchasing this.

Magic Crystals Shower Scrub

If you're looking for a shower scrub with a smell so strong that it will definitely wake you up, then look no further than this. It is minty and tingles on the skin. I'm not usually a fan of minty scents but I'd love to buy this again simply because I become so alert after I've used it.

Argan Dragon Shower Oil

This is the only product that I don't really rate. In fact, I've used very little of it since I bought it. It smells a little artificial, it doesn't leave my skin softer than it was before, and you have to rub to get the purple off of your skin. Meh. I don't see myself ever repurchasing this.


All in all, I really loved my latest Lush haul. The shower oil was a bit of a dud, but the Sea Vegetable Soap and Magic Crystals shower scrubs are likely to be repurchased. And the Caca Rouge Hair Dye is as lovely as ever.

Hope you're all okay xx
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April Linkables

Well, the last few weeks have been a ride. I've been on furlough and in between managing existential fear and struggling to sleep, I've been throwing myself behind creative projects, baking, learning French on Duolingo, and making my way through everything on Netflix. I've also apparently been reading a lot of articles online! Here's a round-up of the best things I've read recently.

First off, did you know that I've started a podcast? It's called The B Agenda and it's just a bunch of bisexuals talking about any topic beginning with B. You can listen to our first episode, Bisexuals on Blink 182, here.

You might have noticed the drama on Twitter over the 'Karen' meme. Here's a great overview of the meme and why it is definitely not a slur. 

Co-signed: If You Don't Want Kids, You Don't Need to Want a Career Instead.

As an LGBTQ+ person, I can assure you that sapiosexual is not an orientation.

Have you noticed that the countries that are successfully fighting coronavirus are lead by women?

5 Virtual Tours That Allow You To Visit The Scariest Places On Earth

Important: Please Don't Be Guilted Into Being More Productive During The Coronavirus

I recently low-key updated my pronouns to she/they, and this is just a reminder that Gender Variations have been around for years. 

I pay attention to Scandanavian politics a bit more than the average person as they've already implemented a lot of the progressive policies that I campaign for. Here's how Helsinki has eradicated homelessness. 

Solidarity to men who have been victim to sexual coercion. Here's a quick look on Psychology Today on how men react to being sexually coerced. 

Tips on isolation from an astronaut who spent a year in space!

If I was to meet a partner, I'd only agree to live with them if we could afford a flat with multiple rooms. Here's an article about couples who don't sleep in the same bed.

I've not watched Love is Blind because I think it would annoy me. If you do watch it, here's a guide to the psychology behind the show.

Personally, I don't do friends with benefits. It really isn't for me. But if you are curious here's a guide to getting it right. 

I've been using a lot of my downtime to research Instagram tips. Here's a Later blog on improving your Instagram Stories game that had a lot of advice I'd never thought of. 

You don't need me to tell you that blogs are not nearly as popular as they once were. If you run a corporate blog, here are the top three reasons why people might still be reading.

Over on Youtube I really rated this video on the Scots language.

And this unaired Buffy Pilot from 1996 which doesn't include Alyson Hannigan?!?!

I hope you're all staying safe and staying inside. Much love to everyone x
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25+ things I've been doing during lockdown to keep myself occupied, healthy and entertained

First off, I hope everyone is coping as best as they can in these trying times. This post is only an overview of what I've been doing and I have zero expectations placed on other people. This is meant as potential inspiration only. 

As an introvert, nerd, only child and hayfever sufferer, being inside all the time didn't sound particularly daunting.

But then I was forced inside for weeks, alongside having to give up my extroverted hobbies (I miss restaurants) and not be able to see my friends. 

Then two weeks ago my flatmate came down with several symptoms and we had to stay inside for two weeks (tomorrow is my release date) and rely on other people for food. This has been challenging and that's when the severity of the pandemic really began to hit me. I'm okay at being inside because I did a lot of that anyway, but not even being able to nip to the shops did rock me and forced me to step up my self-care routine.

There is no correct way to handle this situation. In the grand schemed of things, I've coped fairly well. And a lot of that is tied up in privilege. Everyone needs to do what is right for them, and this list I've compiled is just what has worked for me and could be of use to other people. Leave me a quick note with what you've been up to to see if it can inspire anyone else!

Self-Care & Comfort

I'm starting here because self-care is important - especially during a pandemic. Two weeks in I began to struggle to sleep - but with a few tweaks, I managed to start falling asleep again. Here's what I've been doing to keep myself emotionally healthy.

Open all the windows

As soon as I'm dressed I open my bedroom and living windows and let all that fresh air breeze in! If you're living in a flat, remember to stick your head out occasionally and feel the fresh air and sunshine on your face!

Keeping some structure to my day

I'm not jumping out of bed at 7am ready to start 'work' at 9am. But by midday, I'm usually dressed, showered and working on my laptop. Because I'm furloughed I have zero actual work to do but I'm choosing to concentrate on my creative projects during the same hours that I'd usually be at work. Then leaving my evenings and weekends free for things that are strictly just hobbies. This has also helped me stay quiet while my flatmate works from home.

Only using my bedroom for sleeping

After one week in lockdown I began to have trouble sleeping. I'm thankfully out of that funk now and the one best thing I did to combat it was using my bedroom only for sleeping and changing.

My flatmate is working from home while I'm on furlough, so we did need to come to a few agreements. As we speak right now she's working with headphones on at the kitchen table and I'm typing this on the sofa. We're also repainting the spare room and once that's done I can lounge about in there too.

Not wearing a full outfit, but not wearing pyjamas either

It's perfectly acceptable to put on a full outfit to stay in your own house (my parents are doing it!) and it's also acceptable to lounge around in your pyjamas. I personally have been opting for something in the middle. My day outfits now consist of leggings, baggy t-shirts (those weird t-shirts I accumulated while at university are now coming in very handy!), and socks.

Putting a bit of effort into my beauty routine

I'm not sitting at home with a full face of make-up on (unless I'm filming) but I've not thrown my beauty routine out of the window either. I'm still showering daily, washing my hair every two days, facemask once a week, plucking my eyebrows, and moisturising my body. I also apply a tiny bit of winged eyeliner every day.

Creating an at-home spa

I put in an order on Lush a few days ago and I can't wait for it to arrive. I've ordered some body oils and shower bombs to help create a calming environment in my bathroom. If you're out shopping for food, Holland & Barratt usually have some vegan spa-esque products you can pick up.


I know people laugh at me for ironing my bedsheets, but hear me out. Two weeks okay I filled my iron with water mixed with lavender Zoflora, and it was the first night in over a week where I slept smoothly. I also found a lavender sleep balm in my cupboards that you rub into your temples before bedtime. My mum has also had some luck with a lavender pillow spray she found in her cupboard.

Tidying up my space

I don't know about you, but staying inside has made me notice every mark on the wall and narrow in on the ornaments I don't really like. So I've done some work to improve my space. I've painted the skirting boards so they're now sparkling white and I had a mini clear out* of both my bedroom and the spare room. I've also been eyeing up some candles online, but I've not decided on which ones to buy yet.

*the only things that have been chucked are things that were broken, I've filled a bag with stuff to take to a charity shop once this is over.


It didn't take long for me to start getting hungry. Estimating how much food to buy when I'm relying 100% on homecooked meals wasn't easy. To be honest, I'm still not great at this. But one thing that has helped has been buying more snack food! Next time you're shopping treat yourself to some snacks to munch on during the day. Oreos, Doritos Chilli Heatwave, and Bourbon Biscuits are all vegan!

I've stayed sober, sort of

When lockdown started I began drinking wine on the daily, which is not my usual behaviour. I stopped after a week and have been spending the last two weeks stone-cold sober. Everyone's relationship to alcohol is different, and if someone wants a wee bevvy to get them through, that is fine by me. Personally, I've preferred to stick to my usual routine of barely touching the stuff, despite initially falling off the wagon.

Standing on my balcony

I have a balcony, which is on the small side. It's not big enough for lounging on but I do make sure I take some time to stand outside for about ten minutes every day. If you are lucky enough to own a garden, remember to get outside for a few minutes every day.

Accepting my weight gain

There's been a lot of fatphobia online recently, with excessive jokes about gaining weight in lockdown. I've gained weight since lockdown started and I'm planning to do fuck all about it.

I know the feelings that can be triggered by gaining weight might be difficult for some. If you want to do fitness classes in your living room to prevent it, then you do you. But know that there is nothing wrong with gaining weight, especially in the middle of a pandemic.


I am a big fan of ASMR and have been watching more than usual during the lockdown. I wrote a blog post a few years ago about my favourite ASMRtists.

Not spending too much time outside

Wooahhhh there! Are you suggesting we don't go for our daily walks? Sort of. Even before I was forced into 14 days of isolation, I was still only really leaving the house to buy some food every few days. My mum (who is a psychiatric nurse) suggested that not witnessing the outside world first hand was probably why I was so calm. Ignorance is sometimes bliss.

Not watching the news

I don't watch the daily updates. I just trust that Twitter will tell me if there's something I definitely need to know.

Hobbies & entertainment

I'm pretty introverted so I already had several inside hobbies prior to lockdown, and I've been taking my extra time to indulge in them. Here they are.


Everyone knows that I love a book, and I've been using my downtime to get through my reading pile. Unfortunately, finances have permitted that I can't afford more books than usual (boo!).

Films & TV

I already had Netflix and NowTV subscriptions before lockdown, but I've now added a cheeky Disney+ subscription into the mix too! Oft!


Despite starting my own podcast in February, I don't actually listen to that many podcasts. They just don't hold my attention unless they are really good. Two podcasts that I have been listening to during lockdown are Diminishing Returns (a film podcast) and Angry Scotland (politics).


I used to love baking (I even founded my old university's Cupcake & Baking society back in the day!) and I've spent my Saturday's exploring my old hobby. So far I've made a Red Velvet Cake (which turned out very badly), Focaccia (which turned out okay) and some Tiramisu (which turned out amazingly well!). I'm working my way through Sweet Vegan  and Taste.Baking (I can't find the second one online, aside from eBay)

Growing my own food

Every year I try (usually unsuccessfully) and grow food on my balcony. When lockdown started I got to work on this year's attempt: with rocket, raspberries, lettuce, cress and tomatoes. Top tip: rocket grows really well and is a great place to start!

Mini-home improvements

I've touched on it slightly already, but I've been making some changes to my flat. Mainly repainting my bedroom, spare room, and hallway. These rooms were in need of a freshen up and it has been so satisfying painting over the dark marks.


I first downloaded Duolingo in 2012 (!!) and spent most of my unemployed life between graduating university and moving to Glasgow on that app. Since then, I'd dip into it occasionally but in the large scheme of things, maintaining my high school French wasn't big on my agenda. Since lockdown started I've been really getting into it. I had also previously downloaded Italian, Swahili, German, Greek and Valyrian - but lol fuck learning five languages from scratch during the lockdown.

Creative projects & career-related stuff

I want to make something clear: if you aren't up for being productive right now, that's okay. This is a pandemic, not a productivity contest. If you want to wrap yourself in a burrito blanket and stay there for the next three weeks, you do you.

Personally though, throwing myself into my projects has been keeping my brain occupied and helping alleviate any job security worries (I work in an industry that has been badly impacted and I want to make sure that I'm all set if I need to job hunt). If like me you're a social media-y creative type, then here's a little insight into what I've been working on.

I finished my online writing course

Back in December, I signed up for Melissa A Fabello's Breaking into Freelance Writing course. It's very comprehensive and it takes a bit of time to finish. I highly recommended the course if you want to learn more about building an online writing career.

Developing my podcast

Back in February, I launched my very first podcast, The B Agenda. Admittedly I flung myself into the project with limited research, but this week I took some time to sketch out a longterm plan. I've also planned out my next episode, me and my guest just need to decide when we're recording. P.S. The B Agenda is now on Tumblr.

Planning a few website re-designs

I (because I love a project) have two websites that I would like to re-design and two others that I would like to create from scratch! One of them is mo'adore itself, as I've been unhappy with it for a while and want it to be *more* than just a blog, with more space to advertise my other projects. At this moment in time, I've only begun planning and researching each project, but hopefully, it'll be completed soon!

Gave my Instagram a makeover

Over on my Instagram, I've been doing a bit of work. I've made story templates for people to fill in, bought some new presets to edit my photos with, made new story covers and researched new hashtags. I've also been making my way through the blog to see if there are any tips I've missed!

Life Admin

How boring! But to be fair, most millennials have a ton of life admin. I've been using the lockdown to check things off my list. And by things, I mean upgrading my phone and clearing out my e-mails.

Most importantly though, look after yourself

Everything I've listed above works for me. It might not work for you. We all have different needs, emotionally, spiritually, sexually and socially. How you get through this pandemic will be personal and never let anyone tell you that you're handling it wrong. You do you boo, and I'll see you on the other side.
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Veganuary Weekend at Achray House Hotel, Perthshire

Veganism has grown so much in the past few years and the Veganuary campaign (where people pledge to go vegan for one month) has been one of the major drivers behind the movement. For better or worse, some of the world's biggest food retailers announce new vegan products every January (this year we've had the vegan KFC burger, the steak bake from Greggs, and the meatball sub from Subway) making veganism more accessible than ever before.

But it's not just the big chains in the cities that cater to veganism. For many years veganism has been easier if you live in a city, especially a major one. That, however, is changing as well.

Achray House Hotel on the banks of Loch Earn is one rurally-based establishment looking to make veganism more accessible for people who prefer the mountains and country roads to bustling city streets. The owners, Laura and Panu, kindly invited me to visit free of charge for their Veganuary weekend - and I fell in love with the food, the hotel itself, and the surrounding areas.

If you're not familiar with Perthshire, it's in Central Scotland and covers a massive amount of ground (2528 sq. miles to be exact). It's part of the Highlands geographical area and is home to beautiful mountains, glens, and lochs - it is very much the Scotland you see on postcards.

Achray House Hotel is located in the southern parts of Perthshire and is not far from the tourist-favourite of Stirling. As mentioned already it overlooks Loch Earn, but it also looks out onto Ben Vorlich! The wider village is called St Fillans, which is home to a handful of houses and businesses (but most people go to the nearby Comrie for day-to-day stuff). If you're looking for a calming escape amongst nature then you won't get much better than this. 

The owners operate a pick-up service if you don't own a car. They need three days notice and can meet you anywhere within 7 miles (Panu picked me up at Stirling Railway Station). If you have a car, the hotel is just over an hour from Glasgow or Edinburgh. 

The Hotel

The hotel itself is a charming white building with a restaurant, bar, front lounge and an outdoor patio. One of my favourite moments was eating my breakfast while watching the sunrise behind Ben Vorlich and over Loch Earn! 

I was staying in the Economy Room which has a double bed, en-suite, Sky TV, an ironing board, iron, a small tea and coffee station, and an Alexa! What makes it an Economy Room is that I didn't get a view of Loch Earn (which I was perfectly okay with as I could just wander through to the bar). The room would normally cost £86 per night Sunday to Thursday and then £96 per night for Friday to Saturday (for single occupancy). 

One of my favourite features of the hotel were the two dog-friendly rooms. These two rooms are downstairs and have an extra door that allows you to take your dog straight outside for a walk without having to walk through the hotel!

The owners also have their own dog, whose company I very much enjoyed on the hill walk. 


I'm a massive foodie so for me the main draw of any trip will be the chance to try some new food. One thing that made this Veganuary Weekend special was that their new chef (who will officially join them in mid-February) made his way there on Saturday night to host a special five-course vegan tasting menu. The vegan menu consisted of: 
  • Konbu and miso broth, pickled mushrooms, paysanne vegetables
  • Sweet potato falafel, apricot puree
  • Salt baked butternut squash, toasted pine nut and spinach strudel, kale pesto and crispy kale
  • Raspberry Eaton Mess
  • Pineapple and coconut arancini
The salt-baked butternut squash was one of the best vegan dishes I've ever eaten (and the two girls I met while on this trip agreed). The restaurant definitely leans towards fine-dining and is geared towards people who want high-quality cuisine. The 3-course tasting menu was £29 and the 5-course tasting menu was £35. 

The chef came out to speak to us all after dinner and told us that he'll be taking on the restaurant side of the business (allowing the owners to concentrate on the hotel side). There were two dining rooms and they have plans to turn one of them into a formal restaurant and the other into casual dining. The restaurant is also open to people not staying at the hotel, so if you live nearby or would prefer to stay in one of Perthshire's other hotels, then you can still pop by to sample some of the delicious food. 

On Friday night I chose something off of their regular menu. I went for carrot pancakes, tagine, and chocolate mousse. Two courses were £29 and three courses were £35. They also have a breakfast bar and a hot food menu. I'm a breakfast gal so I helped myself to a bowl of cereal and freshly squeezed orange juice - and then treated myself to a cooked vegan breakfast because I'm worth it! 


My favourite wine of the night
My drinks (along with the yoga class, more on that in a second) was the only part of the weekend I paid for, so I decided to treat myself a bit. I had orange juice on Friday night with my dinner (living life on the edge) and the waitress came back with freshly squeezed orange juice!

The owners of Achray House Hotel kindly marked out their vegan-friendly wines. The waitress also allowed me to sample the wines before I purchased. I was also allowed to have a glass from a wine that was officially sold by the bottle because it was already opened. One of the owners, Panu, was very knowledgable on wine, which is very helpful for people like me who are a bit wine-snobby. 

If wine is not your tipple of choice, their bar is well stocked with spirits (many of them made in Scotland). I'm a rum girl at heart, so I tried the rum from Aberdeen-based Brewery, Fierce Spirits. Officially it is coffee and vanilla-infused, but I personally think it had a caramel taste (still lovely though!). 

I can't remember the price of each drink, but my drinks bill was £19 when I left (one rum, one orange juice, and two glasses of wine).  


As part of their Veganuary weekend, there was the option to take part in a yoga class and an escorted hill walk. The yoga class was hosted by Pamela from Buddha Bodies, a local yoga class that takes place just next door. Pamela specialises in Hatha Yoga, which was absolutely fine for me despite having not touched yoga for seven years (I used to be a dancer so did yoga as part of my training). I'm still a swimmer and that came in handy for the balance poses!  

Now, hillwalking. I know this is very un-Scottish of me but I don't hill walk...ever. I haven't climbed a hill since I was probably 19. I wasn't originally going to sign-up until I happened to be in the foyer at the same time as two girls who were going on it, who talked me into it. 

It was okay in the end, as we did stick to a gentle incline with a well-marked out path. The views of Loch Earn made it worth it. Then we went on an off-path adventure where my trainers became covered in mud (the mud washed off though, but take proper hillwalking shoes). For any keen hillwalkers, there are about 50 Munros (mountains over 1000m) within an hour’s drive of St Fillans.  

Who would you say Loch Earn House Hotel is for? 

Anyone looking for a vegan-friendly, high-end hotel amongst calming Scottish scenery. Especially if they require somewhere dog-friendly. 

You can visit the Achray House Hotel website here. I've also added a Story Highlight to my Instagram so that you can re-visit my stay at the hotel. 

P.S. Full disclosure: the owners paid for my food, transport from Stirling and accommodation in return for promotion. I paid for my drinks and yoga class. This is not a paid promotion. 

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