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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. 

morag | mo adore
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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.
morag | mo adore
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My 10 year singleversary

I'm not entirely sure what photo to use for this post, so here's me dressed as Katy Perry on my 21st birthday. 

10 years ago I was dumped.

At the time, the reactions were the usual “you’re great, you’ll meet someone in no time”. Then the days, the months and the years started creeping in where I had some intense flings and fun frolics but The One never came along. Not only did I not meet someone quickly as everyone promised, I didn’t meet someone at all.  

Society loves romantic love and tries to make us feel like shit if we don’t have it. Older relatives regularly like to ask why I don’t have a boyfriend (I’m bisexual but not explicitly out to my family) and growing up my parents spoke about my future as though marriage would definitely be a part of it. 

Certainly proved them wrong.

I’m very pro-single. Always have been, but it would take me years to really untangle myself from the idea that I needed a relationship to be happy. Thankfully I have (mostly) worked through that but I would be lying if I said reaching the 10 year anniversary of my last formal relationship ending wasn’t bringing some feelings and forgotten memories to the surface.

I entered my first relationship just before I turned 18 and entered the second one not long after that one ended. There was no breathing period between them, largely because the reason my first relationship finally ended was that I had developed a crush on the person I’d go onto to have my second relationship with. I’m mentioning the reason behind the split because I’ll return to it later.

Both relationships were unhealthy. As much as I’d like to say they were both questionable suitors (because, uh, they were) I can’t pretend that I also wasn’t part of the unhealthy dynamic. After my second relationship broke down, I realised that I needed to focus on myself (which kicked started my passion for self-development that you see today).

I also made a promise to myself: I would, from this day onwards, stay single until something very right came along. It was also on this day that I decided I definitely didn’t want children and there would now be no wiggle room on the issue (my second relationship partially broke down over kids, I’ll also return to this later). I also had a serious think about what I really wanted in a partner and would stick to my guns.

I kept all three promises despite pressure to be in a relationship from society, co-workers and older family members. I’m someone who learned the hard way that it’s better to be single than to be in a relationship with the wrong person.

I was really unsure as to whether to publish this post. In it I celebrate the life I’ve built for myself in the past 10 years and I’ve included some advice for new singletons who are still learning to love the solo life. In other parts, however, I admit that I do sometimes wonder if there is something inherently unlovable about me. I also briefly mention what caused my two past relationships to break down, which isn’t that flattering a story for either me or my ex-partners. But ultimately, the most annoying thing about being long term single (for me anyway) is other people’s opinions and the way we’re portrayed as either spiteful Disney villains or sex-crazed Samantha Jones types. I’d like to shake that up a bit with my own story, which tbh is actually rather boring.

So let’s dive in.

Leaning into single life

I’m not going to pretend that loving single life always came easy. I used to wonder if every new person I met could be ‘the one’, I’d pick social activities that could lead me to someone, I’d keep an open space in my life for someone to easily slot into, I’d see single life as something I needed to be cured of.

It took myself a long time to just be and I wish I had done so sooner. If you’re single, don’t see your singleness as something to be fixed. Live your life as a single person. You might be on the market for just a year - or it might be a decade. Stop losing precious time because you’re spending nights out looking for a charming face at the bar rather than making memories with your friends.

There’s nothing wrong with looking for a relationship. I’m still on the dating apps and my friends know what I’m looking for, so they can keep an eye out too. Just don’t let it consume you or stop you living in the now. If you want to live a happy life as a single person, you need to strap yourself in properly.

Self-identity and beating to my own drum

I had a weak self-identity growing up, and that’s partially what led me into two relationships with people who weren’t suitable at all. Since my last break-up, I have crafted my own self-identity that I feel so much more at home in: I stopped eating meat, moved to Glasgow, switched to a career that wasn’t relevant to my degree, became a bonafide city girl, began dressing differently, came out of the closet, and figured out exactly what hobbies I was passionate about and which hobbies were just the ones I had inherited from the people around me. A lot has changed since then.

People can make decisions like these while in a relationship. I know some beautiful couples who don’t act like they own the other person. They grow and change together as people but they also grow and change individually. They have something very beautiful.

I, however, stand by my decision to develop my own self-identity without another person there to influence me. Having self-identity issues meant that it was very easy for me to lose my sense of self in a relationship and to just take on the persona I thought I was meant to have as a girlfriend. It’s hard to find The One when you don’t even know who you are. Even platonically, I only began to meet people who understood me in a deeper way when I began to really come into myself. 

My identity as a bisexual grey-romantic 

The biggest level of self-exploration I did was finally working out my sexual and romantic orientation. I knew I was bisexual as a teenager but it took me a long time to say it out loud. When I finally did it felt like a part of me was clicking into place and it helped clear up a lot of my commitment issues.

Sexual orientation is not the same as romantic orientation, though. Romantically I fall onto the aromantic spectrum, identifying specifically as grey-romantic. As far back as I can remember, my romantic crushes have been few and far between. At high school, even with raging hormones, I had only one romantic crush the entire time. Not because this person was amazing and the rest were rotten apples - it was just the way I’ve always been wired.

During my 10 years of single life, I began to notice how little I experienced romantic attraction and decided to own it. Then two years ago I stumbled upon the aromantic spectrum and discovered there was a word (and a community) for how I felt.

When people nag me about my single life or see it as a problem to be fixed, it’s inherently aphobic. Aromantics (including grey-romantics and demi-romantics) are valid as hell and our identities should be respected.

Learning how love should work the hard way

Here’s the thing about my aromanticism: I faked romantic love for years. I would pretend to have crushes on people when I didn’t and would try and force myself to have romantic feelings for someone who I was sexually attracted to. It never worked, but I would try nonetheless.

What didn’t help was society pressuring me into romantic relationships, and that’s partially how I ended up in a romantic relationship with someone for 18 months who I didn’t have romantic feelings for. This is a common side effect of aphobia and usually, these relationships are with problematic individuals who are seeking vulnerable people. My first boyfriend treated me very badly and people’s mouths hang open when I share the details. If you want girls to not be treated badly, don’t pressurise them to be in relationships.

My first relationship finally ended when I began to have a crush on (and, yes, flirting with) the person who would become my second partner - one of the five people in my entire life who I have been romantically attracted to. Am I proud of this? No, obviously. I don’t regret it though since my second partner did get me out of a relationship where I was begging for a basic level of respect. If this chapter of my life hadn’t happened, I’d maybe still be with someone who was constantly trying to control me and that's a scary thought.

The drama wasn’t over though. Partner Number 2 had flirted with me knowing I was in a relationship, completely unaware of how badly I was being treated. He wasn’t trying to save me, since he had no idea. Nineteen-year-old me didn’t see the red flag for what it was. We’d begin to fall apart within months and within the final two-month stretch we’d be having regular fights because a female friend of his was shamelessly flirting with him in front of me. After he broke up with me, he’d be in a relationship with her within the week.

The whole thing was a shit show. We can’t change the past though. I’ve learnt my lesson and I intentionally decided to stay single after the break-up to work through everything. I’m grateful now that both relationships broke down, even if on very dramatic terms. It would serve as a reminder that being in a relationship doesn’t guarantee happiness and the wrong partner can bring you nothing but pain.

Why didn’t you just leave?

People who’ve survived unhealthy (or even abusive) relationships are asked this question a lot. I’m no exception. The reason I didn’t leave was because of the toxic messages surrounding love that I had been fed since birth: we need a partner to be happy, if you’re single too long there’s something wrong with you, it’s a box you need to tick, if a relationship ends it was because you didn’t work hard enough to save it.

Like a lot of people my own age, I was never told what a healthy relationship looks like. We never received Healthy Relationships 101 in Personal and Social Education. I didn’t know that someone phoning you multiple times while at work (outside of an emergency) and then getting angry about you not answering wasn’t normal behaviour. No one told me that you need to want the same things (or are willing to make some sacrifices) and you can’t make yourself fit boxes that you just don’t fit. I was told that relationships should be hard, but no one ever told me that fighting every week because your partner gets pissy at you having a life outside of the relationship isn’t the same as working through the tough times.

I didn’t grow up knowing that it was better to be single than settle. If I had been told that, things might have worked out differently.

This is why I’m so big on banging the drum for single people and making sure more and more people know that it’s better to be by yourself than with someone who doesn’t love, respect, or trust you. 

Mental health and the wrong person taking its toll

After my first two relationships ended, it became obvious that my attitude to relationships wasn’t quite where it needed to be. Since then I’ve read dozens of self-help books on romantic love and believe I’ve come out the other side. The fact that I now have much healthier friendships is a testament to this.

I’m not going to publicly hash out the details of what exactly made these relationships unhealthy. One thing I am going to say is that 10 years ago my mental health was the worst it’s ever been, where I became difficult to be around (someone else’s words). It’s hard to know exactly what was the source: maybe it was two unhealthy relationships back to back, a friendship ending on very bad terms, the housing problems I was facing at the time, or emotional issues I hadn’t yet dealt with. Probably all of these things combined. What definitely did happen though was that the worst of it calmed down soon after my second relationship ended. I still had difficult emotions to deal with and I lost a lot of weight, but I was no longer behaving in a way that would cause concern.

When I first became single I, rightfully, took a break from dating. I stand by this decision. I knew I wasn’t in the right place mentally to enter a relationship. You don’t need to be perfect to be loved and I still have habits that would wind someone up the wall, but you need to be capable of having a healthy relationship. In recent years my reason for being single has simply been that I’ve never found anyone, but once upon a time it was a choice I made because I wasn’t quite in the right place.

Admitting publicly that you’ve had mental health issues affect a relationship (even if I’m not revealing details) isn’t easy. The discussion around mental health, gaslighting and toxic relationships has come a long way since 2010, and it’s helped me make my peace with that period of my life. I still remember the day where I came across the article that would help me make sense of everything. I can’t find it now, but it was a list of what an unhealthy relationship looked like...and confirmed to me that my exes weren’t great people and the negative feelings I was experiencing were valid and not that uncommon. 

Seven years of being single by choice

There’s a myth going around that everyone who is single is actively looking for a partner. For seven years I chose single life. When my last relationship broke down I wanted to be by myself. Partially to work out some stuff but also because I wanted to make decisions about my future without considering a second person. Up until my move to Glasgow, which would take place almost exactly two years later, even the most amazing person in the world wouldn’t have been considered. I wanted to be single more.

Once I moved to Glasgow I didn’t have this reasoning anymore and could have changed my tune. I did, sort of. I certainly became less resistant to meeting someone but I wasn’t exactly going out of my way to find someone either. During my 23rd year on the planet I’d develop a pretty big crush on someone...that I did nothing about. There was still something about being in a formal romantic relationship that didn’t sit with me.

Then three years ago I’d work it out. If you’ve been hanging about with me a while, you’ll know that three years ago (because everything big that’s ever happened to me took place in October) I’d come out of the closet as bisexual and end some unhealthy friendships. After that, the idea of a romantic relationship was something I felt more comfortable with. 

Pick me and pitching yourself

You’ve probably gathered at this point that I and my first partner sort of just picked each other then forced it to work. We weren’t in love and constantly made attempts to change the other person. Shockingly enough this didn’t work out and I wouldn’t recommend it.

My second relationship had way less of this, but an element was still there. We had chemistry and that amazing New Relationship Energy, but our lack of long-term compatibility was obvious from the start. We were delaying the inevitable.

When my second relationship was on the way out, my now-ex did try and reassure me that other people found me attractive. I understand the sentiment behind it but he still worded it as if someone would choose me like I was some kind of Pokemon.

I left the Pick Me attitude behind when I started dating again. Unfortunately, I was soon to discover that a lot of people don’t understand how genuine compatibility works. When I flip through Tinder, most bios sound like sales pitches rather than a genuine snapshot into that person. I’ve heard on multiple occasions that men will swipe right on almost everyone just to increase their chances of matching. And don’t get me started on people who use pictures of other people’s dogs on their profile.

When people nag me about being single, they make it sound like finding a partner is like achieving other life goals where there is more of a step by step process. Finding a partner isn’t the same as getting good grades, saving up to buy a house, or trying for a baby. There are always environmental factors at play no matter our goals, but with finding love you have a much bigger hurdle: you’re dealing with autonomous people. These autonomous people might just not feel the same way, they might not be looking for a relationship, you might want something different long term, or they might be in love with you but just not ready to meet you where you need to be met.

Six months after my last relationship ended, I had a fling with someone who organically slid into that spot. We had known each other a while, but not well. We just slowly got to know each other through a university project, really hit it off, and mutually began to like each other at a similar pace without any prodding from the other person. This never developed beyond a fling, but I’m still friends with the person to this day and I believe that we managed to shift back to a platonic relationship because the romantic element had grown from the right place. It was lovely to experience something that was so natural, even if it was brief. 

Dating in a generation of freedom & child-free by choice

Even just a few decades ago, people weren’t living their truths. LGBTQ+ people weren’t out (and many still aren’t). Polyamory wasn’t accepted as much as it is now (depending on the circles you work in). Women used to need men financially and would get into relationships for financial security. Having children was very much the norm, but now it’s a lifestyle choice. There are a lot more deal breakers to consider in modern dating than there were in our parents’ generation.

As someone who doesn’t want children, my dating pool is limited. It’s hard to find someone to have a serious romantic relationship with when I am both grey-romantic and child-free by choice. Both my ex-partners have at least one child each (maybe more by now) and my second relationship partially broke down over children. It wasn’t ~the thing~ that caused him to officially end it with me, but it had been causing tensions in the relationship and made me increasingly irritable. He knew he wanted kids one day and we could barely walk past a group of children without him cooing. Less than a year after we broke up he would become a dad.

My first partner was open to having children and, to an extent, so was I. It was a bridge we would cross when we reached it. We broke up long before that bridge needed to be crossed. Then I entered a relationship with someone who really wanted children and I was under pressure to have a proper think about how I really felt. In the aftermath of that breakup I made my choice for good.

People like to argue that I might change my mind. Maybe I will but that will be my decision and my decision alone. There is time yet, but I am 30 in three weeks and my decision has never shifted. I know from past experience that a relationship cannot work if you can’t agree on whether you’ll have children or not. Having children is an emotive issue and it’s not the same as disagreeing about what suburb to live in. The thought of having kids made me increasingly nervous and ultimately affected the overall health of the relationship. You can’t agree to disagree.

Some people really want children and feel a deep longing for their own offspring. As much as you can’t make someone want kids, you also can’t make someone not want them. Even though I don’t speak to my exes, I hope that their kids bring them the joy they’ve always dreamed of.

As a side note: not wanting children might be why single life doesn’t bother me as much as it might for others in the same age bracket as me. 


Coming out as bisexual was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made and had an incredible effect on my mental health. There has, however, been a downside to coming out: there are a lot of straight and gay people alike who won’t date bisexuals. While there are rumours that bisexuals are greedy and have a wider pool to pick from, the opposite has been true for me.

Since I came out three years ago, I have briefly dated three people. All three people have been bisexual. This wasn’t on purpose on my part, but I’m not calling it a sheer coincidence either given biphobia that exists from both straight and gay people.

Miss Independent

I’m an independent person by my nature and if I had a pound for every time someone equated this with my singleness I’d at least be able to buy a three-course dinner.

Independent people still fall in love. My independent nature didn’t stop my two shit-show relationships from happening. I was still vulnerable to them. I know some incredibly capable independent women who are loved up. The presence of a romantic partner in their life does not mean they lack independence anymore than my lack of a partner makes me more independent.

It’s not that deep. 

Challenging the status quo 

When people find out how long I’ve been single, their immediate reaction is cock their head to the side, look quizzically at me and state “but…you’re nice…how is a lovely girl like you still on the market?”

First things first: this reaction is annoying. Quit it.

Secondly, I know why people do it. We’re fed the message from birth that marriage and kids are the be-all and end all to happiness. If people are single past a certain age, there must be something wrong with them. Then they meet me. Someone who has been single a long time, largely through choice, and proves that single people can be happy and fulfilled.

If you’re someone who reacts to my long-term singleness with intrusive questions or drawing up a plan to fix it, ask yourself why. I know it feels like an innocent question and maybe I’m reading too much into it, but it feels like a layered question. What are you really saying when you care too much about someone else's love life?

I refuse to be friends with people who don’t hold similar politics to myself. That includes their attitude towards single people. All my loved-up friends actively encourage me to keep my standards high, understand aromanticism and don’t roll their eyes when I tell them I don’t want kids. It would be a dealbreaker if they tried to force me into a lifestyle that I didn’t want.

I know some people might roll their eyes at single life challenging the status quo. The world is built for partnered people though, from travel products to plus-ones at weddings. It’s also more expensive to be single. I’m reminded regularly that I’m single in a world that doesn’t want me to be.

Flings, casual relationships, and non-monogamy

Over the last ten years, I’ve begun to question the “relationship elevator” and the black and white rules that surround relationships. You should always live together. You should be monogamous. You should have sex three times a week. These days I support doing what feels right for you, communicating with the person you’re dating, and agreeing to terms that are right for your situation.

Since the break-down of my last formal relationship, I’ve not been living a life starved of sexual and romantic intimacy, I’ve had casual relationships, hook-ups and flings. These situations were still meaningful and beautiful (sometimes ugly) even if they were with someone I decided wasn’t a life partner (and communicated that to them).

Platonic love affairs

Society likes to tell us that our romantic partner should be the centre of our lives and that single people who don’t have this are lonely trolls who think of our cutlery as friends. I bought into this narrative for years, until I noticed that many of my social and emotional needs can be met by platonic relationships.

A plus one, a travel buddy, someone to call in an emergency, someone to check in on you when you’ve gone quiet, someone to read over job applications, spoiling someone on their birthday, helping you make big life decisions and to hear the words “I love you and you are special”. These things don’t have to be a romantic partner, just someone you love and trust.

I still have romantic and sexual needs that my friends can’t meet, so, yes, I still ideally want a lovely stranger to come along and sweep me off my feet (or at least a passionate fling). But needs that aren’t inherently romantic or sexual? Gots my people.

Other people’s opinions

If you want to support single people, one of the barest minimum things you can do is not ask us why we’ve been single so long or act shocked. Treat long-term singleness as something normal.

Sometimes people stay long-term single for traumatic reasons. It’s also just not your business why someone is single. My pet hate is people who barely know me trying to set me up with someone without permission (learn some boundaries).

My reasons are less dramatic and I don’t mind sharing. It’s a combination of wanting to take a breather from relationships when I first became single, moving to a new city and barely knowing anyone, not experiencing romantic attraction all that often, and being confused about my sexuality until I was 27. It’s only been the last three years where I’ve actually craved a committed romantic relationship.

Sometimes it’s embarrassing admitting how long it’s been and I shave a few years off. There was a large part of me tempted to not publish this blog, since only people who’ve known me a decade actually know how long it’s been.

You might remember that I went on a dating show last year (it’s called Hot Property, Season 2 Episode 6) and there was a title card stating that I had been single for two years. I lied. Two years before filming I had been in a low-key casual relationship that lasted 18 months and decided to count it from that. As much as I might claim to beat the drum for single people, when it came to advertising my long-term single status on national television I couldn’t face it. 

Caring about my ex’s opinions

As a society, we like to speak about “winning” break-ups. You can safely say I didn’t win either of my break-ups. The last I knew, both of my exes were partnered (one married) and had one child each. However, I don’t want children and the last I knew neither of my exes even lived on the same landmass as me. Let’s throw away the idea that breakups are to be won or that we should pretend our life is better than it is when our exes are around.

I love my child-free life in Glasgow, which probably would have never happened had neither relationship crashed. A lot of things I love about my modern-day life may never have happened if I was still with them. I’m doing my life and they are doing theirs.

I’m not in contact with my official exes and any online snooping on my part has been few and far between. Even when I still had to attend the same (small) university as one of them (albeit it a different course) I managed to stay in relative ignorance about their life. I’d be really surprised if either of them keeps tabs on me. I’m not going to pretend that there’s a part of me that wonders if they do ever look me up (it’s not exactly hard to do) and if they maybe snigger at the fact that I never did meet anyone new. 

The one who didn’t get away

I could be married if I desperately wanted to be.

I could have stayed with my first boyfriend, I could have begged my second to stay, I could have given someone I didn’t fancy more of a chance, I could have asked someone I was casually dating to be a formal partner, or I could have agreed to have a kid I didn’t want to have.

Obviously, I didn’t do any of these things because that would have been ridiculous.

Over the last 10 years, there hasn’t been someone who got away or someone I look back on with a glitch of regret. If I had gotten married, it would have been to settle, rather than for love. Where would have been the fun in that? 

“Being single a long time is a red flag”

There’s an episode in Friends where Ross makes Phoebe cry by pointing out that she has never been in a long-term relationship. Then Ross makes up a fake story about an ex-partner so the man she’s dating (Mike, who’ll she’ll eventually marry) doesn’t think any less of her.

I’ve heard it in real life too: if you’ve been single a long time you need to be avoided because a decent catch wouldn’t be single long-term. Let’s just sit with this for a while.

If you have this attitude, what are you actually afraid of? Horrible people get into and stay in relationships all the time. If the person you’ve just started dating seems amazing and has been single a long time, they probably are amazing but just never had that special spark with someone. They might just be waiting for someone really great….and that person might be you if you don’t run a mile!

My promise was to never settle, not to stay single

When you’ve been single for as long as I have people sort of give up on you. Several family members have long stopped asking me questions and whenever I stick up for single life on Twitter someone usually comes into my mentions trying to defend relationships. There is a point where people just think you're being single on purpose (which, for some people, maybe the case).

I’ve never said at any point in my life that romantic relationships are not worth pursuing. I’ve also never said that I would never want one again. You can find happiness in a single life while still acknowledging that your ideal life would involve a romantic partner. Stop thinking in absolutes.

The fear of forever alone

When my first relationship was falling apart and I was issuing the final warning, my now ex-partner said “no one else will ever put up with you”. It’s a cruel thing to say to someone, yes. What really strikes me about it now is that we live in a culture that is so focused on romantic love that the fear of never meeting someone else can be used as a form of control.

I’m definitely of the opinion that the fear of forever alone and the pressure we put on people to be in a relationship keeps people in unhealthy and abusive relationships. Ex-partner Number 1, if you're reading this: no one else ever did put up with me (aside from ex-partner Number 2) but I’d take a lifetime of forever alone than ever put myself back in a relationship with someone who thinks it's acceptable to speak to me like that.

I don’t fear forever alone anymore. After 10 years you begin to embrace that maybe this is your forever. I don’t have a crystal ball that lays out my future for me. If I meet someone, fall in love but then 10 years down the line decide that relationship is no longer what I want, I like to think that I’d leave without much hesitation. I’m first-hand proof that long-term single people can be happy and fulfilled and I hope forever that I remember this years down the line if I ever again find myself in a relationship that has run past its expiry date. 

Sometimes things fall apart so better things can fall together

If someone had told me right after my second relationship ended that I would be single in 10 years time I would have probably curled up in a ball and cried for two years. The idea at that point in time that I wouldn’t have a shiny new partner to show off at some point in the future was a somewhat unbearable thought.

But better things were in store for me. Those better things were not a new partner who would sweep me off my feet. It came in the form of a new city that I love, a new career direction, new friendships that I may not have stumbled upon otherwise, a flat right in the city centre, and discovering who I really was.

Moving on doesn’t mean moving on with someone else. It means leaving what was in the past and looking towards the future. If your future involves a beautiful and healthy lifelong love affair, then I’m happy for you boo. But if that love affair ends up being with yourself and your own life, then I’m happy for you too boo.

Don’t you ever hate being single?

These days I want a relationship and I do have my nights where I wonder if it will ever happen. I also have my nights where I wonder what I’m doing wrong and get worried I have some massive blind spot that is obvious to everyone but me. When lockdown started one of my initial thoughts was the effect it would have on my dating life and the realisation that if lockdown went on until October I would definitely cross over the 10 year mark.

Back in the summer, I was feeling restless about the 10 year mark. Being inside your house a lot while on furlough allows your brain to start churning around thoughts that would normally be a blip on the radar. Negative memories from my previous relationships surfaced and I began ranting about my exes to my friends who never knew them. I also began obsessively swiping on Tinder even though it’s hard to catch someone’s attention and convince them you’re worth a chance in the middle of a pandemic.

Honestly, most of the time I’m good though. Any negative feelings towards single life happen when I’m processing a rejection or experience a false start (or I’m stuck inside my house). And despite my negative feelings in the summer, when I was finalising this post last night I felt just fine at the idea of passing over the 10 year mark. As for loneliness, don’t know her. I have an amazing group of friends who make sure that the emotion we call loneliness isn’t something I experience all too often. 

If you’re newly single

I don’t give newly single people the “you’ll meet someone else soon enough” talk. It would feel hypocritical coming out of my mouth. If you’re newly single, reading this ramble on my 10 year single anniversary might even bring you fear.

What I do say is that there’s a life out there waiting for you. The best way to move on from a broken relationship isn’t to get drunk, post passive-aggressive Facebook statuses, burn sage, or “get under someone else”. It's 1) give yourself space to grieve and 2) start planning your new life for one instead of focusing on finding a new partner. Not to sound cheesy, but this your new chapter and it’s time to get the pages turning.

At the time of my last break-up, Yes and Yes had just become my favourite blog and Sarah’s guide to getting over a break-up, to this day, is my favourite ever article on the subject. It really helped me back then and I hope it helps you too. 

If you’re loved-up and want to support single people

I’ve ranted enough about not trying to fix single people or asking intrusive questions. Let’s move on from that.

Here are a few more examples of how you can support single people:
  • If you have a business does it accommodate single people (for example, a B&B)?
  • Don’t make us attend weddings ourselves. If you’re happy for someone to bring their boyfriend of three months who you don’t know, single people shouldn’t be expected to turn up themselves either (especially if it’s just the evening reception).
  • Raise your kids to know that being single is a legitimate life choice and a relationship should be about love, not ticking a box. 

No regrets

Normally my single anniversary passes me by without any notice. 10 years was harder to ignore. My last break-up happened just before my 20th birthday and with my 30th very much in sight, it’s been difficult to ignore that my 20s hasn’t involved a big love affair.

I would do it all again though.

The last decade of my life has been filled with a cross-country move, platonic love affairs, a career change, creative projects, and fun flings. If I had the opportunity to go back and change this, I wouldn’t take it. I still found my happily ever after, even if it didn’t look the way I had originally planned.

I don’t know what the next decade of my life has in store for me. Will a big love affair be part of it? Who knows. Maybe I’ll publish this blog and be loved up within months (if this pandemic eases up) or maybe I’ll see in my 40th birthday as a single woman. Either way, I’m looking forward to it.

To 10 years of choosing the right path for me, not settling for the wrong person, and being the love of own own life x
morag | mo adore
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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? 

morag | mo adore
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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
morag | mo adore
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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
morag | mo adore
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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
morag | mo adore
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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.
morag | mo adore
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