Selfies + a giveaway of sorts

You may have or may not have know that I gave up selfies for lent. It was a joke, obviously. I certainly don't take selfies everyday for the hell of it, but being a blogger of the fashion/beauty variety taking pictures of myself is a central point of my life. My blog during lent had no outfit photos, my Facebook profile picture was an Instagram I took in a mirror just before lent where my phone covered part of my face, I had to take pictures of my choice of lipstick rather than take a picture of my face whilst using it and has to badger my friends more than usual to do my outfit photos.

And it did end up being surprisingly annoying not being able to take selfies.

Situations when I found myself going 'oh fuck you lent':
  • Wearing my new batman pyjamas
  • Every new outfit this month
  • My first time wearing orange lipstick
  • How excited my face was when seeing the Backstreet Boys
  • The RSPCA #makeovertheworld campaign 
  • The cancer awareness selfie (which I probably wouldn't have done, and no one tagged me anyway)
Selfies are weird, let's be real here. Taking a picture of yourself (or several, and choosing the nicest one) and uploading it to the internet is a bit bizarre, if you really think about it. But self-portraits go back centuries, and I have photos of myself as a kid taking pictures in the mirror, well before Tom came along with the MySpace. And some people think it's odder to take a picture of your lunch, which is the Instagram cliché I'm most guilty of (and as I typed that sentence I realised what a more challenging lent might have been).

I know some of the main criticisms of selfies: it's gratification for how we look and can encourage bad body image when we forget about filters and that the person probably practised their pose. I'll be one to admit that when I upload a new Facebook profile picture notifications of people liking it can feel like a drug. Even though I have gotten my knickers in a twist that a new profile picture can gain 20-odd likes but a status about an important issue would be lucky if it receives five.

But then you can argue that the abundance of regular people taking photos of themselves exposes society to what real people look like. One of things I've always loved about fashion and beauty blogging is that anyone can start one. Other roles in the fashion industry require a modelling agency to deem someone pretty enough but all you need to become a fashion blogger is a camera, an internet connection and an interest in fashion. Some of my favourite bloggers are ones who don't look dissimilar to myself - and no matter someone's personal appearance they will already be represented in the blogging community (plus-size, sub-cultures, over-30, unconventionally pretty, short, tall, physical disability, short hair, can't walk in heels - it's out there).

Something I had been trying to do with the selfies I took coming up to lent was to take photos that looked a lot more like me. And not me after ten attempts at the perfect pose, sucked in cheekbones, full make-up and 3 different filters. These pictures might have not received as many likes as the ones I spend ten minutes trying to get right, but at least I'm being a bit more honest about my genetics. That, and I don't want to be the person that I normally laugh at on Facebook who's profile picture looks nothing like their more candid photos (or in real life).

But alas, despite lent and this blog post I did manage to accidentally take a selfie without thinking (technically two but they were right beside each other). Whoever spots it (it's of my face not my feet or my Batman top) and is first to tweet me (no other entry will be counted) with a link to where on the internet it is gets a ModelsOwn nail polish of their choosing (as long as it's £5). If you don't wear nail polish or have an extra Y chromosome then we'll work something out to the same value as a fiver.

Ooooo, nail polish!

Morag x

Wonder Woohoo bubble bar from Lush

Lush Wonder Woohoo

The Wonder Woohoo bubble bar is aptly named due the shape that is meant to resemble Wonder Woman's headpiece (see triangle with a star). It is one of the more expensive bubble bars within the Lush range but on the day I went in I was after something a bit decadent and the magpie within me was drawn to this sparkly gem. 

As far as bubbles go I found this to give a very average amount of bubbles - I wasn't drowning in froth (I have no self-restraint and always throw the whole bubble bar in) but there was still plenty of froth floating along the surface for the duration of my soak. The scent was subtle and the ingredients were super moisturising however it did make my bath super slippery so maybe stay clear of this is you're wanting a super-relaxing bit of downtime or a romantic soak with your lover (I think it might be fun for kids). The bubbles were white but the bath water turned a lovely shade of gold and had small subtle pieces of sparkle floating throughout the water (not just on the surface). This naturally did make this a bubble bar that I had to cancel out some of my relaxation by wiping down my bath. But it was totally worth it. 

Morag x

Vegan coconut and raspberry brownies

vegan raspberry and coconut brownies

rasperry and coconut brownies hartleys

coconut vegan brownies with raspberries

raspeberry and coconut brownies vegan ingredients

I baked these vegan coconut and raspberry brownies a week ago and judging by the amount of likes/hearts/favourites they got on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram and reckon it's high time I shared the recipe. Two weeks ago I just got the urge to bake for no reason (does anyone else get that?) and I knew it had to be a brownie, so I turned to my Brownie board on Pinterest. I was drawn to these Raspberry Coconut magic bars but I didn't have any biscuits for the base so decided to improvise the recipe. 

For the brownie I used to my default recipe which is a veganised version of the recipe from Pasta to Pancake: the Ultimate Student Cookbook. I've gotten pretty good over this past year at veganising various cake recipes so this was actually quite the doddle. And then I added the coconut and raspberry over it. 

225g butter substitute
275g vegan chocolate (I used some dark, some milk)
4 medium eggs (or 4 teaspoons equivalent egg replacer)
275g brown sugar (originally recipe uses muscovado sugar)
200g plain flour
1/2 teaspoon baking power
Bag of dessicated coconut
100g icing sugar (and some water)
The Groovy Food company agave nectar
raspberry jam

1. Preheat the oven to 180C/350F/Gas Mark 4
2. Melt the chocolate and butter in a saucepan until they make a smooth mixture. Set aside to cool for a few minutes
3. Prepare the egg replacer and then mix in the brown sugar
4. Add the chocolate mixture and stir well until combined
5. Gently add the flour (remember to sieve!) and baking powder and ensure it is evenly mixed
6. Line a tin with baking paper and pour the mixture in and spread about evenly with a spatula
7. Cook for roughly 25 minutes (time will depend on oven - just keep an eye on it and if something pointy is stabbed in and comes out clean it's ready)
8. Create a small amount of water icing with the icing sugar and water and add in the coconut (I can't remember my measurements - just go by personal taste)
9. Spread over the now - hopefully - cooled brownies. 
10. Squeeze some agave sugar over the coconut - to taste
11. Baked for about ten minutes (just enough to crisp the coconut a bit)
12. Take out the oven, wait to cool a bit, spread over jam. 
13. Cut up into squares and consume about two days worth of calories in one sitting (or take into your work).

P.S. I don't actually recommend eating these all in one sitting - they are very rich. I did however start eating them in bed and ended up falling asleep with the plate in the pillow beside me. #whoneedsmen

Morag x

The Linkables

I know this is debatable - but just to be on the safe side? 

Something new on the subscription box market: My Geek Box

Some people still don't realise how common vibrators are.

What's the best record store in the UK?

There's a Jurassic Park themed Taiwanese restaurant in Los Angeles.

A study on the beard trend (because beards really are a great question of life)

I hadn't heard of half these films but here's a list of the scariest bunnies in pop culture

19 creamy and delicious vegan pasta recipes (that avocado one is so my dinner this weekend)

If you're given grief for being child-free from someone who is vehemently anti-tattoo then this is for you to print off and hand over to that person.

Florida is my favourite American state (okay, I've only been to four and they were all over a decade ago) but there's so much more to it than theme parks.

An American digital agency released the results of their blogger survey - and I agree with every single word.

Jen has a few words about growing up online.

Instagram nail art accounts you need to follow.

Morag x

Lush Buffy Body Butter

This week I finally finished watching Buffy the Vampire Slayer. I had always been a fan but had never seen all the episodes and made it my goal over a year ago to go through all seven seasons whilst also watching Angel, as needed, in between (always set your goals high, kids). And last week I was in Lush for the first time in ages - after months of forcing myself to try other bands and such - and just felt strongly compelled to buy the Buffy Body Butter. I didn't really care about the smell, what it did or how much it was, I just knew I wanted to buy it. Because of its name.

(I've also seen it be called Buffy the Backside Slayer on American sites hahahahaha)

The product itself is a solid body butter which is used in the shower. It also has very small exfoliators that I didn't realise were there until I started using it. The main ingredients are lavender oil, cocoa butter and shea butter so it super moisturising but also has a chocolatey smell to it. It had a very similar effect to baby oil whilst in the shower in the way that the water would almost sit on my skin (or the same affect when running water over an oily pan) and my skin almost had a layer of protection over it. My skin is super soft after using this but unfortunately that somewhat chocolatey smell put me off as I'm more a light floral gal and whilst one of the best things about using a Lush product is the after-smell in the bathroom I just can't quite say this ticks that box for me.

Pros: skin really really soft, shares a name with one the greatest tv shows ever known

Cons: makes my shower smell of chocolate.

Willow was my fav anyway.

Morag x

Vegan Fete @ The Flying Duck

Saturday afternoon I took a small stroll up to The Flying Duck on Renfield Street for their Vegan Fete. I had seen posters for this the few times I have been in The Flying Duck but hadn't looked into it until Karris advertised her attendance through her Vegan Kind Facebook Page.

I've been The Flying Duck a few times, but mainly to the club at night which meat-eating friends are more inclined to attend (and you get free toast at the end of the night). I hadn't really had much chance to try their food or attend any events. I already knew The Vegan Kind would be there but I also got to sample some treats from Missy's Vegan Cupcakes, an Easter egg from Considerit Chocolates and some sushi created by The Flying Duck itself. And I stopped by the Vegan Society for Glasgow and Edinburgh and was educated a bit more on what commonly found brands are vegan (even those that aren't intentionally so) and also picked up some leaflets for their restaurant trips.

I also decided to grab a quick bite to eat in the café itself - the restaurant does have a 'okay to eat here yourself vibe'. The menu is definitely on the 'bar food' side (not somewhere to take someone if you're looking for a slap-up meal somewhere) but is all cheaply priced especially given that it's a niché place. Though they do use quite a few substitutes rather than foods that are naturally vegan - annoying if you're trying to navigate veganism with a soya intolerance.

Me and Karris were having a chat about veganism and how great it is that it's gaining mainstream acceptance just like vegetarianism, and how the past year alone has been a great year for vegans. I also loved how many different types of people were there, and how many of them didn't fit a hipster or hippie stereotype.

The Vegan Fete was a one day thing but apparently the last few have went well and they're looking to increase the regularity of them. Keep an eye on The Flying Duck Facebook page in order to hear about forthcoming dates.