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Our Man in Havana




One of the best things about living in Scotland's Central Belt is definitely the vast array of cultural events on offer. However, it should never be underestimated what is still going on in Scotland's less cosmopolitan areas.  I have admittedly been aware of film showings in Pitlochry for some time, however I've kind of always poo-pooed it ignorantly believing it to be akin to some village show I starred in with the Brownies back in my own village upbringing. But alas I was given the opportunity to be proven wrong when I was invited along to sit in the audience of the Pitlochry Festival Theatre's main stage show Our Man in Havana.

Set in Cuba in the 1940's it's a black comedy which follows the life of an MI6 spy who sends intelligence reports back to London which are completely incorrect (but enhance his pay cheque). He's a vacuum cleaner salesman by day and sends pictures of vacuum sketches pretending they are a secret military installation in the mountains, just for example of how much piss he is taking out of his superiors. Originally a book (and also a film) the stage play was played by just four actors to great effect with quick costume changes and voice adjustments, some of which has to be done while the actor was still on stage. Oh and the humour is dorky and passive, which is just the kind of humour I go for.

Plus you'll get see a man dress up as the Queen with a robotic corgi.

Our Man in Havana is currently being shown in the Pitlochry Festival Theatre looking out onto the River Tummel with the Perthshire hills looking down on it. And the building is far a cry from the village hall image I had in mind. Along with a gift shop which stocked independent jewellery.

Afterwords I also took a walk along into Pitlochry itself. The email I received from the theatre described Pitlochry as 'very Instagram' and very Instagram it was. The village I grew up in was almost 100% residential, and certainly didn't have a film theatre. Pitlochry has a main street filled with rows of independent shops (I only seen a Bank of Scotland and a tiny WHSmith for example of how non-commercial it is). I stopped by Drink Monger (which you may recognise from the Edinburgh Royal Mile) to have a nosey at their rums. Within it they also had a beer room, where I found some vegan cider to take up the road with me. Though be warned, even though there's trains running between Glasgow and Pitlochry, they aren't regular. Plan your day well.

Our Man in Havana will be shown regularly until the 14th of November


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The Linkables




If you've always thought The Scottish Greens were full of organic eating urbanites, this member did too until the recent Party Conference.  

HIV is real guys (remember to get tested!). But it took a long time to convince people that it was

As that 'shy kid' in the class who never volunteered answers this article on teaching introverted kids gave me alll he feels


I had my first AirBnB experience recently (and I came back alive!), so it's safe to say people probably won't get murdered with the arrival of Uber in Glasgow

The hotel that inspired The Shining is getting turned into a horror museum

A kiltmaker in Paisley has launched some superhero tartans

If you're wondering who not to vote for next general election, here's the MPs who want to tax tampons

If you'd rather snuggle up with a book than go out trick or treating, here's Lauren's collection of scary books to get you in the Halloween mode


Keeping your surname when you get married? Or maybe creating a new one altogether

Still stuck for Halloween ideas? I very almost went as this Snapchat feature

A very important podcast about....pockets.

Or here's a podcast series on adult reading their teenage diaries out-loud to strangers.  

If you're after some travel inspiration, how about these travel blogger snapchatters

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Sorbet Sundae at JellyBear, Merchant City


sorbet sundae jellybear

If you live in Glasgow - or even somewhere else - you've probably not escaped the hype of JellyBear, a dessert parlour in Merchant City. Now a dessert parlour is hardly something that conjures up an image of vegan havana and I had pretty much dismissed JellyBear the same way I would dismiss most dessert menus. 

But upon a recent rendezvous with Lisa, Charlotte and Hayley it was suggested we head out slightly east to Jelly Bear. My initial reaction was...."uhhhh". Then I hype my Facebook and noticed that three people on my Facebook friends list had liked the page. One being Lis herself, and the other two being vegan pals. So my day was set. I could go to the dessert parlour. 

I knew upon going their that my options would be sorbet. Sorbet is kind of like the time I went to London and ate at a falafel place despite all the other more interesting vegan places I could have ate - we vegans are very accustomed to sorbet (and falafel). But alas this was a slightly interesting sorbet than usual. For one it was a sundae. Three different sorbets scooped into a sundae glass with pistachio nuts and a wafer to boot! The sorbet was also creamy and not some water drizzle like some sorbets are....

So not a vegan Havana. But if your friends want to go there for brunch you know you won't have to sit their with juice. They've also announced their expansion to include 'HealthyBear' which might have some kale or something... 

jellybear picnic area

JellyBear itself is also....cute? It has two floors, the parlour down below and an eating area upstairs. The eating area upstairs consisted of normal chairs and tables like a normal café but also a picnic area with bean bags on the floor. We sat on the beanbags.

You also can't go wrong with somewhere that has "I like being skinny but I like dessert more" written on their walls. 


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What I've Been Watching




As someone who considers watching TV to be a legitimate hobby, it's probably a wonder why I've never done a post like this before. It's maybe because I have so many post ideas come my Saturday lifestyle post that it gets pushed to the backburner, but it's largely because I don't think I'd bring much to the table that other blogs or mainstream press aren't already covering. I mean, who actually doesn't know what Game of Thrones is about by now?

So alas, I'm finally getting around to it. I've binged watched enough TV seasons now that I've built up my blog post with tv shows you've maybe heard of but it's not what everyone is talking about. I've watched Game of Thrones, American Horror Story and Orange is the New Black, but I've left those out as any self-respecting TV junky has already watched them. And I've thrown in a film too. 

The Carrie Diaries
As far as I'm concerned Sex & The City was one of the best television shows that has ever graced our screens. I know people who vividly disagree with that, but they're not very clever people (and definitely wrong). But the films...yeah, the films. So when I opened up The Carrie Diaries - which follows a 16 year Carrie during her high school years in Connecticut - I wasn't holding my breath. But I liked it, though not for the reasons I was meant to. You see SATC didn't follow the books very well, but TCD did. So you see plot flaws and timeline inaccuracies all over the place. Which has been annoying a ton of die-hard SATC fans. But? It's a really good teen show. 

So if you love a witty coming-of-age series, I'd give it a bash. But if you're looking for something to fill your SATC fan girl heart, well, don't hold your breath. 

Scream
The Scream movies were a massive part of my teenage years (even if the first one came out when I was learning the alphabet). And I also loved the second film. The third film. And the fourth. Even if everyone else only thinks the first one was any good. So when the MTV show arrived I added it to the top of my list (and finished the first season in two days). Now, this is an 'updated' and 'modern' version of the films staring millennials so the producers (who I guess probably aren't millennials) got a bit overenthusiastic about incorporating social media into the plot (there's a Gayle Weathers-esque character who instead of being a journalist, is a podcaster). And the articles criticising that portrayal of female characters when the original films were Betchel test friendly are legitimate. However, the TV show stays true to the films roots, provides plenty of nods to the original work, and there's jokes only people who've seen the films will laugh at.

Gotham
By now you can tell I'm a sucker for a TV show that adds to a franchise I'm already a fan of. Batman, unlike a lot of cannons, works well in many different forms as the whole thing lacks any definite timeline. Which is probably a good thing. Gotham concentrates on the story of a young Jim Gordon as he strives to be the the moral code in a corrupt city with a corrupt police department in the aftermath of Mr & Mrs Wayne's deaths. The characters are pretty much a who's who of Gotham heroes and villains, but while they were youthful. So backstories central. Carmine Falcone? Check. Selina Kyle pre Catwoman? Check. Edward Nygma pre-Riddler? Check? Young Bruce Wayne? Check. Alfred who is the same age no matter what version of Batman you're looking at? Check. I'll be honest it's not brilliant, but it's decent and I'll keep going forward with the other series.  

Hollyoaks #20years
Sorry, but not sorry for this. If you follow me on Twitter you'll know I'm a huge fan of the 'oaks however I was a bigger fan back in my teenage days (the same days as the Hunters and the Deans). Thankfully to mark their 20 years birthday they've went and flung some of their most iconic episodes onto the Channel 4 website. Including their very first episode (which is pretty bad, and stars Will Mellor). 

The Goatman Murders
As a teenager I used to watch a shit ton of horror films. Back when I was visiting my parents one summer I decided to try and recreate that and decided to pick the most obscure and random looking horror DVD in ASDA. Took my forever to watch it though. Finally I got round to it and realised it was actually a very low budget horror (despite what the cover suggests). Myself not being a low-budget horror fan decided to invite my friend, who is a fan of low budget horror, round to watch it with me. I sat and visible cringed the entire time whilst he fell about laughing. The DVD now belongs to him. 

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The Linkables



Internet! I've had a busy week (or a lazy week....you decide) and as a result this Linkables is fairly short. I'm having first relatively chilled out weekend in ages before the Halloween/birthday/Chirstmas part season begins. 

Links!

I dye my hair anyway, so it's hard to say whether I'd cover my greys (when I get them...) but here's a photo diary of how different woman feel on the topic

Co-signed: you have the power to ruin someone's day. Don't be a jerk. 

If you're 'tripping the USA soon, here's some funky AirBnB's for less than $50

You might have already seen this lul-worthy video doing the rounds: Irish Men Explain Women's Sex Toys

If you're in Dundee for Halloween times, how about a pug party at BrewDog?

Breaking up with someone is never easy to do, but some psychologists have explained how to do it compassionately


So...I'm not really into rap music. But I am a huge Nelly fan. Even more so when I found out that he sends 2 kids to college every year.



I've never been too bothered doing certain activities alone, and I'm glad the rest of the world is beginning to agree.

Glaswegians (and Edinburgers) Uber is now on our streets,  


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Nippon Kitchen, Glasgow


Nippon Kitchen West George Street

There's occasions when I have a big back log of restaurants and cafés to review. Today is one of those occasions. I'll usually post them in chronological order, but today I'm choosing to prioritise a fabulous restaurant in Glasgow I tried at the weekend that should be on everyone's to-eat list. It's Nippon Kitchen on West George Street. 

Nippon Kitchen had been on my to try list for some time. It's a favourite of the owner of the Vegan Meet Up Group in Glasgow I'm a member of, but I've always been busy every time it's been chosen. However, when I met up for dinner with Hayley and Charlotte on Sunday I jumped at the chance when it was suggested. 

Inside Nippon Kitchen there are dark wood panels on the wall which suggests it was possibly a British pub at one point, whilst the Japanese art on the wall adds oriental charm. Upon receiving our menu, we all had to sit there for a good 20 minutes picking. It's not everyday that a vegan struggles to choose a dish in a non-vegan restaurant. We were a bit quicker to order our drinks though: Hayley and Charlotte when for the ice tea (I'm not a fan, but I was informed that it was on point) whilst I went for an unfamiliar sounding tea (sorry, I can't remember the name and their drinks menu is not available on the website).


Nippon Kitchen sushi

For my mains I was confident I wanted the chili vegetable noodles, however picking my starter took a bit longer. There was options of veg tempura, agedashi tofu, seaweed salad and edamame, however I settled on the vegetable gyoza. Even though I wasn't particularity hungry, I wasn't able to resist the temptation of the sushi menu. The vegetarian part of the sushi menu was only a small percentage however the tempura sweet potato maki mono was not something I've ever come across before so I added it on to my order. 

The food was all round delicious. My stir-fry was on point. It was sweetly spicy and the chillies were sliced thickly so were easy to push to the side if you didn't want one to accidentally end up in your mouth. The gyoza was also special, but admittedly I love gyoza and don't think you can ever go wrong with that. The tempura sushi tasted like regular vegetable sushi, however the tempura added an extra crunch to the texture. My share of the meal (including the tea) came to £18 which is not too shabby. 

Charlotte and Hayley also both went for stir-fries and spoke very positively about both, whilst they shared a chicken gyoza which they stated was of average quality. Perfect place to keep both meat eaters and veggies happy! 

If it's not been obvious at all yet, I highly recommend Nippon Kitchen as somewhere all Glasgow foodies should tick off their list. 

And next week I'll be reviewing either the other two restaurants I tried at the weekend - JellyBear and Antipasti - or my regular monthly trip to Mono this weekend (think I'll be ordering the Pho!). 

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Superdrug False Eyelashes




A few years back false eyelashes used to be a big part of my going out look. They added a bit of pow pow to my small eyes, and threw in a bit of glamour (as well as looking better on camera). My eyelashes of choice were Eyelure, however their parent company have never responded to my emails regarding any of their brands. 

I have dipped my toes into other false eyelash brands since. I tried No7's eyelashes but the glue turned out to be, well, not very gluey (before I realised that No7 are naughty and are a grey area brand). I then tried Urban Decay false eyelashes, but their eyelashes were really....firm, and I couldn't really bend them to my eye shape. This time it was Superdrug turn to see if I could recreate my former look. 

I picked up the most 'natural' looking ones I could, as I've always looked for false eyelashes that look a little fake in real life but could almost be natural in photographs. However even when purchasing these I was concerned that the lashes look quite long. One thing I did like however, was the length of the lashline. I have quite small eyes so I always have to trim false eyelashes anyway, but it's good to know that for any of you with larger eyes these might fit the whole lid! 

The actual length of the lashes themselves were, as when I thought when purchasing, very long and fluttery. Maybe too long and fluttery. In real life they look beyond fake, and in photos they look sort of fake too (I'm wearing them in my second London vlog). They also look quite cheap. Yes, they are cheap but Superdrug has surprised me with the quality of their stuff on several occasions. Unfortunately, the false eyelashes are cheap for a reason. I might continue to wear these in YouTube videos but I doubt I'll wear them in public again. 

The quest for the perfect cruelty-free false eyelashes continue....

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30 hours in London


trafalgar square london bus

Two weeks ago I headed down to London for a blog event with the England Netball Team. Whilst this definitely fell into one-of-the-most-exciting things I've done category of life events, there was way more I wanted to see in London than just some famous sporting stars. 

It took a lot of my friends and co-workers by surprise but despite trips to Africa and beyond, I hadn't actually been to the capital city of my own country since...2000? So, despite only being able to fit in a day and a half of touristy stuff I eagerly planned what else I wanted to see. Because last time I was down with my mum we did educational family things like the Tower of London, London Dungeons, and some Jack the Ripper show which left my child self scared shitless...

And obviously my first port of call in London was to check out the mutiltude of vegan and vegetarian cafés, there were about 20 in Soho alone...

Eating Vegan

cookies and scream camden

I was arriving into London at Liverpool Street Station and had already decided on Hummus Bros, However, I was not prepared for the busyness of lunch hour in City of London (like, I knew London would be busy but I was not mentally prepared for the reality of 12pm in City of London). Between the crowds and actually getting partially lost I really didn't feel like walking too far away. I bought a quick vegan sandwich from Pret and whilst walking to my accommodation, walked by Falafel House a 100% vegetarian take-away. I know what you're thinking...."Morag, you went to London where there's hundreds of vegan food outlets, and you bought falafel which is available everywhere?" but I tell you no lie when I say my brain felt like kehkhekfhfr at this point and I really needed food. I got a falafel salad bowl for £6 which contained stuffed vine leaves, cannellini beans, your usual salad stuff and butternut squash, with chilli sauce on top. I was glad when I finally got to my accommodation and tucked in. 

On the Friday I got up earlier and immediately headed to Camden in search of the award-winning and vegan Cookies and Scream bakery. Camden market was touristy and a bit of maze so it took me about 40 minutes to find Cookies and Scream in the indoor market (you can easily miss the door in) but I was not disappointed. I had a cookie sandwich with cream frosting and a toffee milkshake, both of which live up to their hype (even if the sugar overload left me with a sore stomach). Nearby was also the Cereal Killer Café (where I recognised one of the bearded founders, and that's as exciting my my celebrity spotting was) and whilst I want to pretend I wasn't tempted by a £5 bowl of cereal I so was, and there was also inSpiral on the main street (a vegan restaurant which you may have spotted in a recent Apprentice episode). 

Later on the Friday when I was mooching about Oxford Street, I headed into Vantra Vita which is vegan raw café and restaurant. It was Mildred's Café I was originally going to head to, however my feet were beginning to kill me by this point and I was heading a bit behind my timing. As you can probably tell by my regular rants on juice cleanses and raw food this was a weird choice of place for me, and it has done little to convince me otherwise. The food was so 'healthy' it was tasteless and I paid £12 for everything in this Instagram. Get in the sea. 

Geeky happenings

platform 9 kings cross harry potter

London has no shortages of geek stuff to do, from flagship stores to famous film sets, all depending on your personal fandoms. For me, I had to head to Kings Cross Station with my fellow Harry Potter geeks to get a glimpse of Platform 9 3/4. Unfortunately I was there myself so I didn't get a picture of me heading off to Hogwarts (and the jury is still out on whether I would wear a yellow or blue scarf). Beside it is the official Harry Potter shop, where you can buy a £300 replica of Hogwarts (and other stuff). 

Also on the Harry Potter tour was the Millennium Bridge which is looking might fine after it's Death Eater attack (har har). It's also a really nice piece of architecture....(check out here for all the Harry Potter locations you can see in London).  

I also popped in by Forbidden Planet just off Oxford Street. Was much bigger than any of the Scottish stores with a bigger range, but other than that wasn't anything special (I had just been in the Oxford Street Lush store which was all singing and dancing, so the London FP was a let down by comparison).

I also stopped by Westminster, which is kind of geeky (as seen in Harry Potter) and great for architecture. 

Something...sexy?

blogger in london

From pop culture geekiness, to sex geekiness. As you know I'm feminist sex geek and on purposefully Googled 'feminist sex shops London' and came up with Shhh! in Shoreditch and Coco De Mer in Covent Garden. I firstly headed along to Coco De Mer which is just along from Forbidden Planet and was also founded by Sam Roddick, daughter of Anita which made my cruelty-free heart flutter. Described as an 'upmarket' sex shop, Coco De Mer is where you could imagine Christian Gray shopping for his kinky fun-times 'toys' (read: kinky but in a classy way, I was given the 'you can't afford anything here' look when I walked in). 

Also within the Soho/Covent Garden border was Harmony, which I wasn't looking for but waked by anyway. I'll describe it as an independent Ann Summers: it had fun party gear but downstairs had toys of a slightly kinkier persuasion, with two smaller rooms for look through their adult-films and bdsm collection with a bit of privacy. Out of the three shops here this was the most friendly for individuals who don't identify as heterosexual. 

The very last place I went before my train was Sh! in Shoreditch (in Hoxburn Square, next to Meat Liquor). A woman only sex boutique which I only just had enough time to pop into before my train. Whilst I remain unsure as to what they classify as a woman or female, this was a lovely shop which felt classy but not posh. I was even offered a cup of tea to drink whilst I browsed! I couldn't stick about long but out of the three it's the one that if I was ever back I might pop in by again (and if I was taking a suitcase, I only had hand luggage and sods law would mean the one time I had a vibrator would be the day I'd be victim to a random security search EDIT: Sh! have written a blog post about this). 

Also...I went to Lush. It was fabulous. 

My whole purpose of being on Oxford Street was to check out the famous Lush Oxford Street. Three floors with over 100 products not available anywhere else was too good to pass up. Complete with massive sinks to demonstrate their bath bombs and a play area for the Fun range. It was everything a flagship store should be, and everything my Lush fangirl heart wanted. 

And then I got back to Glasgow at midnight on Friday and crashed. 

And the boring part...the logistics.

telephone box london

I travelled down to Stansted on Ryanair and came up Easy Jet because it gave me more flexibility in times. I got the Stansted Express train into Liverpool Street Station, which runs both ways every 15 minutes. I also booked my first AirBnB experience with a lovely girl called Alice who studied in Glasgow and lives in a beautiful 1905 half-cottage in the Southwalk area which gave me major #housegoals. Because I was travelling alone it was nice to have someone to chat to in the evening plus host and guests have to jump through many loops to prove they're a real person and not a crazy! 

I also took the tube to Camden, which wasn't quite as daunting as I thought it would be. Thanks to the Australian born Londoner who helped me though!

As said this was my first trip to London in over a decade, and I loved every minute of it. Whilst I'll leave the living in London to the certain kind of people who live the big smoke in a different way I don't think this is the last the British capital will be seeing of me. 

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The Linkables


Now that it's autumn, it's the perfect time to cuddle up on the sofa with some Netflix (or the illegal streaming service of your choice). I finished Scream on Monday night, having watched the first season in just three (otherwise very busy) days and cannot wait for the next season in March. I've forcing myself away from Netflix to try and finish my current book (The Handmaiden's Tale) and finish the Batgirl New 52 collection I picked up from Comic Con two weeks ago! I'm away out for dinner tonight with my dad who's in town and I'll be meeting up with some fabulous blogging ladies on Sunday. 

 Anyway, enough about Netflix. Links! 

Veganism & Food

I've said before that I have mixed feelings about animal testing for medical purposes, but it disturbs me that animal tests in the UK are still badly designed

On the topic of animal testing, how about some dissected knitted animals

I gave up meat almost 5 years ago now, but it's been 20 years for Lisa Simpson

Feminism & Equality

"When we say that a man who claims to hate women is hardly a loss because he’s unattractive, we’re saying that unattractive people are worth less than attractive people, and we’re saying that if the man was attractive, we would be more inclined to be sympathetic to his bigotry." How Feminist Can Do More To Fight Toxic Masculinity.

I attended my first Scottish Green Party conference last weekend, and we passed some pretty progressive LGBTI+ policies

Travel 

A new USA holiday destination for me to obsess over: Monhegan Island

For my recent trip to London I used all these travel research tips to find some hidden gems.

Though I wish I had known about Garlic & Shots before I went. 

Plus, some extra packing tips.

Etc. 

I don't think I'll ever make the effort to attend a Con abroad, but I did get a pang of jealousy when I found out the author of The Babsitters Club was sitting on a panel of NY Comic Con

Food and wine pairings you had maybe not thought of. I'm co-signing rose and sushi.

I'd love to deck out my home in geeky fanware, however I'm still house proud and want to live like a classy adult. These 16 classy Harry Potter decorations combine the best of both worlds

For night when you don't want silence, but don't want music either (I personally like crickets).



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Veganism at university and student halls


Preparaing to cook!

"I bet tomorrow a stuck-up vegan will move into our flat who we'll have to taunt with a massive steak". 

This was (roughly) what was said by a guy at a flat party on my first night in halls in 2008. I was not yet vegan or vegetarian, but having always felt funny about eating meat I began to look awkwardly at the floor. Whilst this was an extreme statement (and from further meetings with this guy I can confirm he was just an all round dick) veganism can still be considered strange in a lot of quarters. And when moving into halls you have a lot of hope (and worries) as to what kind of people you'll end up with. 

Like, will your new flatmates be down with your veganism? 

Having not been vegan when I went to university, it wasn't really much of an issue. But one issue I did have when I moved into halls was that my maturity levels were a bit higher and I was certainly more prepped for the real world than most of the girls I ended up with. And one area this maturity really showed itself was in food. I didn't eat one single pot noodle the entire time I was in university and I knew how to cook simple meals. Most of the girls I ended up with could barely put a cheese toastie together and one girl (for real) threw out a bag of defrosted chips because she thought she couldn't refreeze. My very first boyfriend who I met in halls also had no concept of grown up food and was always trying to talk me into ordering takeaways and pizzas. 

However, in the most recent issue of VeganLife Magazine* there was a segment on moving into halls as a vegan. And as you would have it the student who wrote it was nervous about remaining vegan in shared student accommodation. But thankfully his fears turned out to be over-the-top and he ended up getting along well with his non-vegan flatmates. 

New Scarf (& a silly face)
Me, aged 19, posing in the bathroom of my second year halls. 

Though halls can be daunting and I have a tone of tips to offer to get through the year in general, these are my tips on being vegan in halls with advice from the article and my own experience: 

- Learn assertiveness
Veganism is still uncommon and in halls a lot of students might be moving from more areas of the UK and other countries where places like Mono Café don't exist (and may be very unfamiliar with veganism). Or they might just be dicks like the guy mentioned above. But you may need to practice your assertive vegan speech or answer a lot of questions about your lifestyle choice. 

- Shared cooking space
Halls are dirty and unclean. That stereotype holds a lot of truth. Now that I live in more grown up flatshares I feel more comfortable being assertive about cleanliness, but when you're moving into student halls a messy kitchen is part of the deal. Yes, it's disrespectful and rude for someone not to clean the kitchen after they're done with it but when you're living with 18 year freshers you've got to half expect it. 

What you can do however is have your own cooking equipment which you keep in your room. I lived in halls for two years and a lot of people do this, so don't feel awkward about not sharing a pan that belongs to you. And you can always disenfect the kitchen when your flatmates are out (I did this plenty of times).

- Have some quick and easy vegan meals on standby
One of the annoying things about living in halls is that you need to be out the kitchen quickly, as there are multiple people needing to use it. So practice some quick recipes while still at your parents. The author of the article suggests stir-fries, a chickpea curry and stocking up on Linda McCartney ready meals. Even to this day I keep a bag of onion rings in the freezer for days when I can't be bothered faffing. 

- Alcohol and veganism
In halls, and especially in the first few weeks, you'll be expected to socialise by going out for drinks and such. Not many people - including vegans - realise that a lot of alcohol has animal by-products. So if the flat is wanting to do cocktails you may have to (nicely) explain. But a way around this would to be have a good stash of your own alcohol (which you're willing to share) or be the person who offers to go buy what is needed so you can check labels. 

- Join the vegetarian or vegan society (or start one!)
Abertay was a tiny university that lacked quite a few of the student societies which the bigger universities have. Me and my friend did try and start a vegetarian society but given that we were both already trying to run other societies (and I was in fourth year and really should have had my nose in a book) it never took off. Maybe you'll be more lucky, because it'll give you a way to meet other veggies (and maybe future flatmates!). 

- Buy this cookbook
It's my favourite one of all time. You can thank me later.

Did you live in halls as a vegan or vegetarian? What was your experience? 

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Granny Takes a Dip



It feels like forever since I've purchased a bubble bar from Lush. Two weekends ago I decided to cancel my dry spell (har har) and a purchase a bubble bar to take down the stresses that life has been providing me with recently. 

When I entered the Glasgow Buchanan Street store looking for a bath bomb (and henna hair dye) it had actually been a while since I had been in a Lush store, period. I had brand new products to scout through and I had to be strict with myself to only purchase what I came in for. After deliberating amongst the bubble bars and reminding myself to only pick one I settled on the Granny Takes a Bath. You might be previously aware of a bath bomb under the same name, however I've never been a fan of the bombs (bubble bar, always) so this was my first flurry into the scent. 

According to the website, this is a "ginger, pepper and lemon-scented bubble bar". Upon a sniff I'd say the lemon is the most pungent of the scents and has an overall very citrusey smell. The bar itself is huge and could easily do two baths, but I'm greedy and love massive bubbles so I plumped the whole thing in (and got huge bubbles). Upon entering the water it began to give a fun rainbow appeal however when mixed all together the water eventually went grey. However the combination of the citrus scent and the massive bubbles made for one uplifting bubble bath. Definitely one for when you're needing a perk up. 

Have you tried the Granny Takes a Dip bubble bar from Lush?


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Get Back to Netball with Netball England




You know sometimes something happens that makes you feel as if your hard work has paid off? For me that something happened last weekend when I was invited to a London press event to meet *drum roll* the England Netball Team at the St Paul's Grange Hotel. A far cry from a regular Thursday evening. 

I know for a lot of people, the ladies who play for the England Netball Team could walk past them in Tesco and it wouldn't cause any second glances. But if you've been hanging about mo'adore for a while you'll know I'm a big netball fan and I would recognise the England Netball Team in Tesco. I've been invited to London press events a plenty over the years but most of them are ones that wouldn't warrant the plane ticket down. But when the chance to meet some of the England Netball Team at an event for Movelat popped up I was loading up the EasyJet booking website before I had the chance to reply to the e-mail. 

Like a lot of girls I played netball at school. But unlike a lot of girls, I'm one of the few that continued to play in adulthood. In fact, according to research carried out by Movelat 88% of English women played netball at school. I can remember when I hit Primary 6 all the girls in the year were sent a letter home welcoming them to play netball after school on a Wednesday. It was an exciting day for me as I had had already been engrossed by my mum's tales of high school netball and clearly it was exciting for the rest of the year as I think maybe only three or five girls in the year decided to skip it. 

Whilst we have a range of reasons to stop a sport we loved as children and teenagers - from not enough time to moving to another city - one of the most common reasons is an injury of some kind. That's why the England Netball Team chose Movelat as their sponsor for their Get Back to Netball Scheme which encourages women up and down England who enjoyed netball at school to get back into it as adults.  

Obviously, this is England Netball we're talking about so holla to my English readers (and I know there's quite a few of you!) as I tell you a bit more about how you can get back into Netball. Whether you're in Bristol or partying it up in Newcastle, the England Back to Netball Initiative covers the length of the country. England Netball is split up into nine regions each having their own Regional Office: East, East Midlands, London & South East, North East, North West, South, South West, West Midlands and Yorkshire. And if your knowledge of the rules or the different types of netball are bit rusty (and they may well be if you haven't played since school) there's an entire section of the Netball England website dedicated to recapping your beautiful self. You can also search for your nearest Back to Netball event with their handy map

(And whilst this is an England Netball initiative I'll give a quick heads up to the Scottish equivalent scheme Bounce Back to Netball). 

And believe me, I only play netball casually. Despite my passion for the sport and it being the only sport I follow professionally (a guy turned up at the event and people began taking photos with him and I was all "Should I know him?", turns out later it's a Jamaican cricketer) I'm not exactly lining up to play for Scotland. Netball is a great social sport as it involves a team and is a great way to meet new people, so it makes it the perfect sport to play on a casual basis. 

Just remember these tips for avoiding injury from England Netball player Sasha Corbin so you don't have to give it up again: 

1. To stop your muscles from seizing up make sure that you warm up 15 minutes before exercise and cool down 15 minutes after. This can be done via simple drills via the www.movelat.co.uk/get-back-to website
2. If you have weak ligaments, speak to your healthcare professional who may recommend muscle tape or straps to help support your muscles and joints
3. Trust your body. If you feel a part of your body begin to hurt then stop immediately and seek medical advice, if you continue through the pain you could do serious damage
4. Make sure you wear the right footwear and wear it correctly. Make sure your shoelaces are tied properly, if your trainers are too loose it can affect your balance. If you are playing on a smooth or wet surface, ensure your trainers have plenty of grip
5. Try not to exercise when you are feeling tired. Your reactions will be slower and your muscles will have less energy, causing you to over exert yourself and could result in injury

Happy Netball! 



P.S. Thank you to England Netball, Movelat and Pegasus PR for having me, and to the staff at St Grange Paul's in the City of London. And remember to stop by my blog next Saturday to find out what else I got up to in London. 
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The Linkables




Happy Friday everyone! I'm all recovered from my trip to London last weekend and now ready for a weekend of Scottish Green Party conferencing and a pub crawl of the Glasgow rock clubs. Tomorrow I will be publishing my first London related blog post but for now here are some of my favourite links from around the web this week! 

Feminism & Equality

One woman's story on what it's like to live with HIV

I've never liked the SNP much, mainly because they've always tried to be too many things to too many people. This piece on why nationalism is not enough for the SNP is spot on

An often overlooked potential cause of mass-shootings: masculinity

Remember the artcile from Cosmo a while back about the woman who moaned about being pretty? Something sat with me about that amongst the backlash. Why are we so uncomfortable with a woman who knows she's pretty?

Blogging, Marketing & Business


If you're heading to a job interview, here are some body language tricks to keep in mind

I've been lucky to receive blog partnership offers from a wide range of brands. However, I turned down a lot of other offers. Here's Steph's guide on when it's best to politely say 'no thanks'. 

I used to love the idea of becoming a full-time blogger, until I became a part-time blogger and I understood the realities behind it. Here's Zoe London's honest words on being a full-time blogger.  

If any of my crafty friends are attending craft fairs this Christmas period, here's some tips on making the most of it

Relationships & Dating

The urge to Facebook stalk an ex is huuggeeeeee. But some of us are more likely to do it than others

I've been asked a few times why I don't cover the intersection of veganism and sex. I've toyed with this but until then The Lusty Vegan fills this niche.  

I've dated an extrovert...once. And that will probably remain once. But here's some tips for extroverts dating introverts anyway.

Etc. 

If you're pumpkin carving this Halloween, here's a grown up baking challenge to complete with the leftovers

It isn't just your bra size you need to know to get a comfortable fit. Familiarise yourself with the best bra shape for your boobs.

When I was a dancer at university I wish I carried this article about in my pocket: What is Dance Science? 

I used AirBnB for my trip to London, but only after a work colleague told me they had used it and came home in one piece. Here's an interesting look at trust in the digital age

My favourite thing on YouTube: one big long phone call between 57 movie characters.

You know that Pinterest image that informs you that you have the same hours in a day as Beyoncé? Yeah....about that



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Vegan Pizza at Mono, Glasgow


vegan pizza mono glasgow

I'm almost coming up to my three year Glasgow-move anniversary. One of the reasons I was so excited to move to Glasgow upon graduation was the vegan friendliness of the city. But saying this, I've not actually eaten at that many of Glasgow's vegan-only venues...

The reason for this has mainly been that most of my friends and both my parents eat meat. And whilst they want to go somewhere where I won't be left with a mushroom risotto, they want to go somewhere where they can still eat meat. Thankfully for me the Scottish Greens Women's Network have their monthly meeting in Mono, just round the back of the St Enoch Centre and on the edge of the Merchant City area of Glasgow. 

Mono, for a long time, had been the vegan restaurant in Glasgow that I have wanted to try. The menu is larger than the other vegan places in the city and has a much wider selection (even vegan only places are guilty of putting the stereotypical falafel spread...). And even though I've stopped by for various events and such, this is the first time I've popped in for some lunch.  

Before I even got there, I knew I was in the mood for one of their pizzas, and this was before I had even had a chance to check what kind of pizzas were on offer. As mentioned before I've always loved pizza but with a lack of vegan options in most pizza places it has remained one of those 'foods I miss'. So whenever I'm given the chance to eat a vegan pizza, I grab it both hands (and stuff it in my mouth). 

I settled on the garlic mushrooms, capers, spinach and cream cheese pizza because, you know, garlic mushrooms. I very almost ordered the roasted artichoke, sunblushed tomatoes, olives, red onion and fresh basil pizza but because it sounded very similar to the Pizza Express Pianta, and I decided to leave it and try something different. 

The topping was lovely, albeit sharp (I think it was the capers). The garlic mushrooms were as perfect as garlic mushrooms always are. The cream cheese was a tad weird (it was more like a squeezy cheese sauce). The base however, wasn't my cup of tea. It's described as sourdough and my way of describing it would be wholemeal and homemade. I'm all about the Italian crusts over here (never put a deep pie pizza in from of me, pal). 

I liked it and I'm still going to pop back for more of their menu. The Pho sounds good and they have a menu board with extra up each day. And on the day I was in? They had a vegan deep fried pizza! (For all my non-Scottish readers, deep frying random foods really is a thing in Scotland).

Plus they also have Monorail, their very own record shop situated at the back of the café. Well worth a visit whether it's vegan food or indie records you're into. 

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One year of being Green




Last week marked the one year anniversary of the Scottish Independence Referendum. Blogs, newspapers and my Facebook newsfeed were filling up with memories on both side of the debate. Whilst these memories and anecdotes are on point and I have a lot to say myself (you can read my contribution to Charlotte's post here) what I did want to talk about instead is the anniversary of my decision to join a political party.

Like a lot of people who voted yes, in the aftermath of the referendum I felt I had to do something. Like a lot of people, this something was join a political party. However, my decision to join the Scottish Green Party had been final after I heard Zara Kitson talk at a Republic meeting in Glasgow about two weeks before the vote took place (the same talk that convinced me to vote yes).

For the bulk of my life I considered myself a floating voter. For the most part I voted Liberal Democrats but that was also largely because for most of the years I've been legal to vote I lived in a constituency where the SNP and the Lib Dems were the only ones who could legitimately win. I had voted for the Scottish Greens on occasion but usually on the regional list or as part of the council voting system.

But I was sold on the Scottish Green Party on that night with Zara.

Admittedly I was still hesitant to join a party for the same reasons I never joined the Lib Dems. It felt like I was putting myself in a box. Even though I can still vote for another party when I'm alone in my voting booth it can still feel like a badge you have to carry with yourself. And not every member of a political party thinks exactly alike - could I be okay with some stances the Scottish Greens carry that I don't agree with myself? I was worried that me joining might have been a knee jerk reaction to the vote not going my way.

But one year on, despite some of my initial worries, joining a political party has been a great decision. Maybe one of my best decisions. Some of the benefits have been an increased knowledge of how the political system actually works, an increased knowledge of Green Party policies, the feeling that comes with knowing you're playing a part in making a difference, and even the social side of being a member (does give me something to do on a Tuesday night other than watch Holyoaks). And I also get to be a part of the election counts, including the count in Glasgow when the SNP broke the BBC swing-o-meter (Nicola Sturgeon was also there - she actually is tiny).

So far in the party I have just helped every now and then, from leafleting to counting the votes to taking part in some social media planning to attending my very first Women's Network Meeting last weekend. If you're wondering what being a party member entails, it can be different things to different people. The roles can range from official election candidate to admin organiser. Political parties still need several functions just like, for lack of better term, a business organisation. I'm yet to find my feet on where exactly I fit in and where is best to dedicate my time, but that's okay as I'm still enjoying my journey.

Obviously, joining a political party is not for everyone. Not everyone feels that their political beliefs fit nicely into one box. But if you feel yours do than I'd whole heatedly recommend joining to help make change a reality. Or if your beliefs don't fit a box you could join a pressure group. I joined the Vegetarian Society but won't be renewing my membership as I haven't gained much from it and I'm not sure about its place in developing the vegetarian movement. But the Republic movement is gaining pace in Scotland and it might not be long before I put my money in the pot and become a formal member rather than someone who casually goes to meetings.

But whatever you decide, I've personally found it rewarding and worthwhile and will definitely be renewing my membership. 

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The Linkables


Flower

I hope your Friday is going swimmingly. Unless something goes terribly wrong I should be waking up in London this morning, with this scheduled Linkables going live whilst I set out on a day of exploring before my plane back tonight. I'm going to head up to Camden, then across to Soho and Oxford Street before making my way to the train station. Busy busy! 

After a quiet on the blog due to a week of London-planning and new flatmate-ing, here's some links to keep you entertained! 

Sex & Relationships




The 13 best pop songs about female masturbation. Serious stuff....

My love language is words and a well-worded romantic e-mail can set my heart fluttering. Apparently some study show I'm not alone.

Personal & Self-Development

If you've got a few events coming up where there will be new friends to meet here's some tips on upping your first impressions game

I'm co-signing: flaking out is not self-care

I was clutching my pearls slightly while skimming through this, but if you're a fan of the creepy then this Creepy Girl Travel blog might not make you clutch your pearls. 

Etc.

I discovered this week that Carluccio's have a separate vegetarian and vegan menu. Their vegetarian menu is available online

I'm not sure why I find a video of Beyonce dancing to the Thomas the Tank Engine theme tune so alluring, but I do

I've mentioned before that I went to a non-uniformed high school and believe it's the way forward. This American high schooler also went to a school with no-dress code and feels the same way


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