The important message behind #1DayWithoutUs: why we’re better together

If someone asked you today, ‘Where are you from?’, what would your answer be? There’s a chance that you will have left the country you grew up in and have made yourself a new home in a different district or completely different country altogether. If you’ve moved to another country, is that now your home? Do you identify with the people you now live amongst? If so, to answer that you’re from the country you identified with growing up might no longer apply.

Today we celebrate the UN World Day of Social Justice, but it’s also a day that calls for a united front in a social movement, a national day of action, represented by the hashtag #1DayWithoutUs. This is why it should be important to all of us. Continue reading “The important message behind #1DayWithoutUs: why we’re better together”

Veganuary: why I decided to be vegan for the month of January

Happy new year, everyone! How quickly 2017 has creeped up on us and now we’re 4 days into the new year!

Instead of making new year’s resolutions, this year I decided to follow one simple quote:

Start as you mean to go on.

I’ve always loved animals and switching to veganism was something that’s always hovered on my mind. I even went along to Vegan Festival in Edinburgh during the summer last year (see here) to get an idea of what my options were and it was definitely something I’d been keen to do.

This month, while everyone decides to give up something to make a change in the month of January, I’ve pledged to go vegan for the month with Veganuary. Continue reading “Veganuary: why I decided to be vegan for the month of January”

Purition: vegan wholefood protein shake review

Everything we choose to do in life is a choice: the food we put in our bodies, the exercise routine we follow, the path we choose to walk. I’ve realised that choosing a fitness lifestyle also means paying attention to what I’m also putting into it. I made it a New Year’s resolution to eat better and healthier, but the protein shakes I make after each class was not something I had given much thought to. Continue reading “Purition: vegan wholefood protein shake review”

Exploring Chiang Mai, Part 3: pachyderm rescue and rehabilitation at Elephant Nature Park

If you were offered the choice of visiting a wildlife encounter tourist attraction for a ridiculously cheap price or one which costs more, which would you choose? The only catch is the cheaper option involves animal cruelty and abuse.

This might be a shocking revelation, but all too true in many parts of the world. In all aspects of life, we can make the ethical choice and choosing a tourist attraction that rescues and rehabilitates abused animals was mine. Here is my story visiting the Elephant Nature Park in Chiang Mai. Continue reading “Exploring Chiang Mai, Part 3: pachyderm rescue and rehabilitation at Elephant Nature Park”

Exploring Chiang Mai, Part 2: Talking Buddhism, great food and life at David’s Kitchen At 909

When on holiday, you want to eat like the locals, but when a restaurant is highly recommended (like voted #1 on TripAdvisor and won Thailand Tatler’s Best Restaurant awards in 2015 and 2016 highly recommended), you know you’ve got to try it when you’re there. David’s Kitchen in Chiang Mai might be a bit off the beaten track (it’s 10 minutes from the city centre), but you’ll soon see why it’s worth the trip in a tuk tuk (like a motorised rickshaw). The restaurant is fully booked every night (except Sundays which is their only day off) and it’s not hard to see why. Continue reading “Exploring Chiang Mai, Part 2: Talking Buddhism, great food and life at David’s Kitchen At 909”

My Unfiltered Life: what it’s like living with depression

See Me Scotland, an alliance of five mental health organisations, has been working hard to end mental health stigma. The campaigns #MyUnfilteredLife and #PowerofOkay seeks to encourage people to speak about their experiences and show that what we see on social media isn’t all fields of flowers and sparkles. It’s not socially polite to talk about your personal issues when someone asks ‘how was your day?’, but we want to change that.

As part of the #MyUnfilteredLife campaign, I shared a photo of my room to show just how imperfect I really am.

Continue reading My Unfiltered Life: what it’s like living with depression”

Celebrating diversity in women: supporting the Underneath We Are Women campaign

Society norms have shaped our ideals of how women and men should look to be seen as ‘attractive’. If we don’t look like thin, shapely female celebrities (or sculpted, muscular male celebrities with ripped abs), how can we possibly hope to attract a member of the opposite sex when our physical appearance is the first thing people notice about us?

Women feel great pressure to look our best in a bikini, be strong and independent in a society where inequality is a constant battle we fight on a daily basis. When I recently read an article (see here) that empowers women to embrace their bodies (shape, scars and all) through the Underneath We Are Women project.

Continue reading “Celebrating diversity in women: supporting the Underneath We Are Women campaign”

An EdFringe-worthy introduction: Gillian Cosgriff explains, This Is Why We Can’t Have Nice Things 

If you ever come to visit, there are two things about Edinburgh you really need to experience: the first is the Edinburgh Festival Fringe which normally runs from the first to the last weekends of August; and the second is Edinburgh Hogmanay. The first shows of the Fringe kicked off last week (4th August) and all visitors and residents alike are on the hunt for the best of this year’s festival for ready to be amazed, to laugh and be entertained. It can be a bit of a minefield trying to find the right shows to watch with each venue issuing their own programmes and free Fringe acts publishing separate booklets. It all comes down to spending time poring through programmes and picking the ones with interesting titles or descriptions…or recommendations from those who have already been to such shows.

I’m still navigating my way around the programmes to decide on shows to attend, so when award-winning musical comedian Gillian Cosgriff invited me along to her show This Is Why We Can’t Have Nice Things about procrastination, drinking, voicemail, humiliation, and one very ugly bag, I was intrigued and went along to the show to find out more about this ugly abg.

Continue reading “An EdFringe-worthy introduction: Gillian Cosgriff explains, This Is Why We Can’t Have Nice Things 

Living Parallel Lives: how to make a difference with The Princes Trust

Almost all of us will have been fortunate growing up. We had family to support us through difficult times, give us the financial support we needed to get through school and further education, provide shelter and meet our basic needs. Have you ever thought how different our lives would be if we didn’t have those basic needs met? If we, as a young person or adult, had to find other ways to make ends meet, to support ourselves? Some of you might have already, or still are, experiencing this: homelessness, mental health issues, abuse.

It’s not an easy life, but with over 40 years under their belt, The Princes Trust have a strong message to spread. The charity wants raise awareness on hardship people go through and that they’re here to support them with their latest campaign, Parallel Lives.

Continue reading “Living Parallel Lives: how to make a difference with The Princes Trust”

Learning basic day to night makeup techniques with GlamCandy

I have met and worked with the team at GlamCandy on several occasions – one of their makeup artists even did my wedding make up! (see here, here and here) – and they have been nothing but warm, friendly and highly skilled professionals in the make up scene.

The school, which offers various hair and makeup courses (see here) recently set up shop on William Street. Jen (of blog Tartan Brunette) and I were invited along to their new premises to attend a makeup masterclass demonstration with several other ladies.

Continue reading “Learning basic day to night makeup techniques with GlamCandy”