Vegan Winter Festival to be held In Glasgow this weekend

The Glasgow Vegan Winter Festival will be bringing 50 stalls of Vegan food and products to Glasgow Trade Halls this weekend.

The festival, hosted by VegfestUK, will be hosting cookery demos, world food caterers and inspirational talks from 10:30am until 4:30pm on the 23rd and 24th of November.

Entry is £3 per day, although VIP tickets are also on offer for £15 if you pre-book, which includes a goody bag of products, samples, and discounts. All ages are welcome to the event as they will also be running children’s activities throughout the day with under 16s getting free entry.

Vegfest has been hosting events across the UK for two decades. Since its fruition in Bristol in 2003, and with the rise of popularity of people choosing to live a more compassionate lifestyle, they have hosted over 40 events in cities such as Glasgow and London.

Image by Jill Wellington from Pixabay

They have also helped inspire other events, with most major cities hosting their own vegan festivals throughout the year, including a vegan camp out in Nottingham over the summer.

Whether you are vegan or keen to learn more, The Glasgow Vegan Winter Festival is a perfect day out for all. They will be showcasing the very best vegan foods and products including clothing, skincare, and jewellery from independent companies plus an array of entertainment and activities planned throughout both days.

Not only will the festival be promoting the vegan lifestyle and compassion for animals, it will also be taking a close look at the health and environmental aspects. In addition, the festival aims to reduce food waste and will be providing hot and cold meals to the homeless at the end of the event.


Do you love to eat meat but want to avoid adverse health effects and impact on the environment? Why not try our recipe for MEAT-FREE chicken fajitas! Follow the instructions down below or give our video a watch!


Serves 4+

You will need:

1 bag of Quorn Chicken Nuggets
1 onion, finely sliced
3 peppers, sliced

For the marinade:

1 tsp of paprika
1 tsp of coriander
1 tsp of cumin
Pinch of salt
Pinch of pepper

1 medium garlic clove, finely chopped
2 tbsp olive oil

½ lime, juiced

To serve

8 medium tortillas
1 bag of spinach
1 tub of guacamole
1 tub of sour cream

To cook:

1. Once preheated, place the Quorn chicken in the oven and cook for 15 minutes.
2. Chop 3 peppers and one large onion.
3. Crush or finely chop 1 clove of garlic.
4. Add the garlic and 2 tbsp of olive oil and mix.
5. Fry the peppers and the onion on medium heat until brown.
6. Add the seasoning mix and stir continuously.
7. Add the ‘chicken’ and stir until coated.
8. Place a handful of spinach in the middle of a large tortilla.
9. Spoon on the ‘chicken’, peppers and onion.
10. Add guacamole or sour cream if you wish.
11. Fold the tortilla and enjoy!


Credit: Aditya Birla Capital Ltd

As Christmas time looms and office parties and mince pies become part of our routines, our health dips a little.

Despite the impending present costs, keeping healthy – mentally and physically is still important.

Here are some tips for keeping in shape for a little cost.


In our winter look book it’s all about layering; keeping warm and looking cool. Check it out below.


The weather is taking a turn and the time has come to update your wardrobe for the new season. Here’s a breakdown of what you need to do to perfect that winter look.


Its getting to that point where one jumper just won’t cut it. Try to find combinations where you can wear more than one warm layer.


A winter wardrobe is built around a good coat. Try to find that coat that can be dressed up during the week and dressed down at the weekend. The right accessories can take a coat from office appropriate to party ready.


Don’t be afraid t get creative and try to find new combinations to give the same old clothes a new leash of life. There might be some neglected pieces in your wardrobe that end up back in the regular rotation when you find a new way to wear them.

Will Instagram’s ban on self-harm images be enough to protect vulnerable users?

Earlier this week, Instagram announced that they were extending the ban of self-harm content to drawing and cartoons.

This follows their pledge in February to remove all graphic self-harm images from the website. This pledge was on the back of Instagram reviewing how safe they have kept their site for the community of vulnerable users.

Only a month before, the suicide of 14-year-old Molly Russell came to light. After Molly took her own life in 2017, her parents found she had viewed self-harm and suicide related content on her Instagram account. This could suggest her death was potentially influenced by viewing this content.

View this post on Instagram

Has Molly’s story changed social media? Find out tonight at 10pm on BBC news and online

A post shared by Molly Rose Foundation (@mollyrosefoundation) on

Poor mental health among young people is incredibly high. In a survey conducted by National Statistics UK in 2018, suicide in young males aged between 10-24 years old had risen to 9 deaths per 100,000 males in 2018. Moreover 3.3 young females per 100,000 lost their lives in 2018.

Also, according to, 20% of adolescents may experience a mental health problem in any given year. In further statistics, 50% of mental health problems are established by age 14; with 75% established by age 24.

In July 2019 it was recorded that, 37.2% of Instagram users were aged 13-24 years old. This means there is a large community of Instagram users can be considered vulnerable and at risk.


Molly has not been the only person potentially influenced by self-harm content on Instagram. In January this year, 16-year-old Libby spoke to the BBC about being ‘hooked’ on ‘viewing’ and ‘posting’ self-harm content on Instagram when she was 12-years-old. She recalled sharing “pictures of her fresh cuts” to an audience of 8,000 followers.

Her dad Ian recalled comments underneath Libby’s posts saying: “You shouldn’t have done it this way, you should have done it like that. Don’t do it here, do it there because there’s more blood.”

It is frightening to think that other Instagram users, who are potentially in a vulnerable position themselves, were encouraging Libby to self-harm and put herself at risk.

What’s more frightening is that when the family attempted to report the posts, Instagram responded that the pictures did not breach the community standards.

“The standard reply of such content not infringing the platforms’ community guidelines is still too often received when complaints are made.”

Ian Russell, the father of Molly, founded the ‘Molly Rose Foundation’ after her death. The foundation’s aim is suicide prevention with a focus on young people under the age of 25. They seek to help those suffering from mental illness by giving advice and connecting them with help.

Ian Russell believes a short-term solution is for social media websites to put more focus in reviewing reported content: “I think it is vital for platforms to respond more effectively to their customers’ requests to remove any harmful content found as the standard reply of such content not infringing the platforms’ community guidelines is still too often received when complaints are made.”

Nine months on, Adam Mosseri, head of Instagram, announced how they will implement the removal of harmful drawings and memes: “We will no longer allow fictional depictions of self-harm or suicide on Instagram, such as drawings or memes or content from films or comics that use graphic imagery.”

“Accounts sharing this type of content will also not be recommended in search or in our discovery surfaces, like ‘Explore’.

However, from searching the Facebook owned app this week, it is clear there is still self-harm related content all over Instagram When searching the #selfharm tag and filtering the search to ‘accounts’ a number of accounts with triggering content pops up.

Whilst the pledge is a step in the right direction, Ian Russell is sceptical whether Instagram will follow through: “I think this is an important step forward and sets a lead that other platforms, who up until now have remained almost silent on this issue, to follow. However, it is very hard, from outside the tech corporations, to judge just how committed to the removal of harmful content Instagram really is.”

The biggest step Instagram has taken so far, is hiding posts that are categorized under the ‘#suicide’ tag. When you search the Instagram tag, it appears there are 8.4 million posts, but the results are concealed and instead, a ‘Get Support’ option appears.

This directs you to Instagram’s ‘Can We Help’ section of the website that gives you the opportunity to talk to someone or access information that other people have found supportive.

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Instagram claims that they have removed 834,000 pieces of content between April and June, with 77% being unreported by users. However, there are 95 million photos and videos shared on Instagram per day. Therefore, over the three-month period, Instagram only discovered an average of just over 9000 posts with dangerous content per day. This leaves room for millions of self-harm content being undiscovered by Instagram.


 The only way that Instagram can find the dangerous content is through the posts being reported or the images being tagged with suicide related terms. Therefore, it is likely a lot of harmful content is being missed.

Ian Russell feels that Instagram’s current algorithm will not allow much improvement in protecting vulnerable users: “It is likely that sizeable improvements will only be made if the platforms’ algorithms are adapted to provide better protection and stop the dangerous spread of harmful content, it would be more beneficial if any development in this area is freely shared to ensure as widespread benefit as possible.”

 The risk to the wider body of users, including those who are vulnerable, should be balanced against any benefit this content may bring to other communities.”

Instagram says it will not remove all content relating to suicide due to some being recovery stories which can be a form of support for some users. However, what might count as support to some, might trigger other vulnerable users.

Whilst Ian Russell thinks all users should be considered, he feels that vulnerable users should have the focus to ensure they are protected: “The risk to the wider body of users, including those who are vulnerable, should be balanced against any benefit this content may bring to other communities.”

Ian Russell believes a synergy between tech companies, academics and charities will be the best solution to helping vulnerable users: “I think the tech companies should more openly work together with academics and charities in this field, to ensure as much as possible is being done and it is co-ordinated across the whole industry.”

With Instagram making a conscious effort to protect vulnerable users, there is hope that other social media platforms will follow in form and create a safe community for young people at risk.

Read more from lifestyle here: 

The scariest thing about Halloween is the waste!

Scottish islands among the happiest places to live in the UK

The scariest thing about Halloween is the waste!

The amount of plastic and pumpkin waste set to be produced this year is forming a very dark cloud over the Halloween festivities.

Environmental groups are warning people not to buy Halloween costumes this year and instead, make their own. This is due to the amount of plastic wasted produced every year.

There is also an alarming amount of pumpkin waste set to be recorded as around 10 million are grown each year, 95% of which end up carved into ghoulish faces. Of these 10 million, more than 8 million, the equivalent of 18,000 tonnes of edible flesh, will be discarded.

An estimated 2,000 tonnes of plastic waste is also projected this year, the equivalent of 83 million plastic bottles, as most Halloween costumes are made from Polyester, an oil-based plastic.

An investigation launched by HubBub, an environmental group that create fun and playful new ways to reduce waste and help save money, looked further into Halloween than most people to give advice on how we can enjoy the time of year, as well as help save the environment.

As a result, they have encouraged people to stay clear of buying new costumes and instead either make their own, or re-use ones from previous years, sparking a debate amongst shop owners and retailers. As for pumpkin waste, they have encouraged to keep leftover flesh to cook with in meals such as soup and pumpkin pie.

On the Hubbub website, there is a guide to eating, storingand disposing of pumpkins in a bid to reduce the amount of waste this year, with the majority of households throwing out the finished product, whereas there is a lot to be done with the leftovers.

I spoke to local costume shop worker, Zak Riding, from ‘Aha Ha Ha’ in the Grassmarket, about how the plea to boycott Halloween costumes will effect local Edinburgh shops and whether it will solve the waste problem:

“Anything that goes in the news generally effects small businesses over big ones. We’re usually the hardest hit as it’s easier to combat the smaller problems, over the bigger ones.”

“We tend to attract people who have a high income, as opposed to families with four kids, so it doesn’t affect these people as much – it hits the poorest the hardest.”

Most small local businesses rely on this time of year to make a profit as Zak says “Halloween is the thing that keeps us going.”

When asked about the materials used to make their costumes, Zak admitted most are made from Polyester as there’s no getting around the problem, “our costumes are 95% polyester, but most of the time people buy one a year, the same as parents buying kids a new school uniform every year which is also made from polyester.”

“Once the bigger problems such as renewable energy and reusable cups are solved then maybe replacing the polyester in our costumes with cotton can be looked at – I don’t think boycotting Halloween costumes is the way forward.”

Zak also said that none of the left-over costumes in his shop are thrown away, “We keep everything for next year and recycle what we can, such as the plastic and cardboard packaging.”

This begs the question; what will you be doing with your leftover costume and pumpkin waste this year? check out our article from last week with exciting pumpkin recipes!

Here are some ideas for what to do with your pumpkin waste:

Read more from lifestyle here:

Scottish islands among the happiest places to live in the UK

Will Instagram’s ban on self-harm images be enough to protect vulnerable users?


Scottish islands among the happiest places to live in the UK

Scottish Island Inforgraphic

Infographic by: Laura McCulloch

Despite suffering severe weather and being cut off from the mainland, Scottish islands have been reported as the happiest places to live in the UK, according to new data released by the Office for National Statistics.

The annual ‘personal well-being in the UK’ report asks people to rank their happiness, anxiety and life satisfaction of where they live.

The highest rated areas included the Western Isles, Orkney Islands and Shetland Islands. These locations all reported consistently high ratings of personal well-being since March 2012.

Shetland recorded particularly high levels of happiness over the past seven years.

Twenty Year old, Jacob Eunson explains why Shetland will always be his home:

“The scenery here is fantastic and the people are extremely nice. Unless something was to drastically change, Shetland will always be my home,” said Jacob.

He explained that safety and community were key reasons as to why he finds contentment on this remote island.

“It’s such a safe place, I never have to worry about where I’m going. We don’t experience knife crime or issues that are faced in the cities, so it’s nice not having to watch my back.”

“Shetland also has a strong connection between the younger and older generations. Since it’s an Isle we all depend on each other. Young people get involved to help keep the community and economy going,” added Jacob.


Views of Shetland

518 miles South West from Shetland sits the untouched corner of the inner Hebrides. The Isle of Jura is where Amy Dunnachie grew up, before moving to the mainland to study silversmithing at Glasgow School of Art. After graduating, Amy said goodbye to her life in the city and returned to the coastline she calls home.

“I always knew I wanted to come back to Jura at some point. The community spirit here is phenomenal. People are very passionate and proud to be living here and I for one am proud to say it is where I belong”.

isle of jura

The Isle of Jura is a close community

Currently working as a community development and youth development officer, Amy works between the Isle of Isla and Isle of Jura. Her work has allowed her to appreciate the importance of community on an island where only 200 permanent residents live.

8.2% of Jura’s population is made up of 16 – 29 year olds. According to Amy the peaceful, friendly atmosphere is preventing the younger generation from moving elsewhere.

“One of the best things about living on an island with a small community is that you are friends with everyone no matter what their age; I have friends aged from 16 – 94. A lot of people here have a great sense of humour and our thriving social calendar helps connect everyone on the Island.”

To read more on the 2019 UK well-being report follow the link below:

If visiting Shetland or the Isle of Jura is on your bucket list, follow the links below for more information:

Read more lifestyle here:

The scariest thing about Halloween is the waste!

Will Instagram’s ban on self-harm images be enough to protect vulnerable users?

What will YOU go as for Halloween?!

Halloween is fast approaching and with only one week to go, it is time to predict what the most popular costumes will be this spooky season!

With some ghoulish returns and some ghastly new faces, here are what I think will be the top 15 costume ideas of 2019.


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Seasonal pumpkin recipes to save waste this Halloween

halloween_leaves_plants_pumpkin-1166734Pumpkin season is just round the corner and what better way to get in the Halloween spirit than trying out our top pumpkin inspired recipes.

Carving pumpkins into lanterns is a tradition that stemmed from Ireland. Originally turnips and potatoes were used but when Irish immigrants arrived in America and discovered pumpkins, the ritual was formed

Last year in a Guardian survey, research found that approximately 8 million pumpkins were binned after Halloween in the UK. This was the equivalent of enough pumpkin pie to feed the whole nation.

Follow these seasonal recipes below, to ensure you make the best of your pumpkin leftovers this Halloween.


1 cup sugar
4 teaspoons cornstarch
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
1 can (15 ounces) solid-pack pumpkin
1 cup whole milk
1 unbaked pastry shell (9 inches)
Whipped cream in a can, optional

In a small bowl, combine the sugar, cornstarch, salt and cinnamon. In a large bowl, combine the eggs, pumpkin and sugar mixture. Gradually stir in milk. Pour into pastry shell.
Bake at 400° for 10 minutes. Reduce heat to 350°; bake 45-50 minutes longer or until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool on a wire rack. Top with whipped cream if desired. Refrigerate leftovers.


Info graphic by Laura McCulloch


One of the best ways to ensure no leftover pumpkin goes to waste this Halloween, is to cook up a hearty bowl of soup.

Follow Jamie Oliver’s Autumn recipe to create ‘glorious roasted pumpkin soup’.

• 1.5kg edible pumpkin
• Olive oil
• 1 teaspoon dried chilli
• 1 tablespoon coriander seeds
• 1 large onion
• 3 cloves garlic
• 1 carrot
• 1 stick of celery
• 1 litre hot vegetable stock

1.Preheat the oven to 170°C/340°F. Half the pumpkin and remove the seeds (you can keep these for roasting), then chop into wedges. Place the pumpkin on two large baking trays and drizzle over a little olive oil. In a pestle and mortar, grind the chilli and coriander seeds with a pinch of salt until finely ground. Sprinkle the spices over the pumpkin with some black pepper. Roast the pumpkin for 1 hour, or until soft and slightly caramelised at the edges.

2.Meanwhile, roughly chop the onion, garlic, carrot and celery. Heat a lug of olive oil over a medium heat in a large saucepan then add the vegetables and cook for 15 minutes, or until soft and sweet but not coloured.




An alternative to handing out bags of sweets and chocolates this 31st is mini pumpkin cupcakes. According to BBC Good Food, these are simple to make and a hit with young children.

60ml/2fl oz vegetable oil, plus extra for greasing
180g/6½oz self-raising flour
130g/4½oz wholemeal flour
1 tsp baking powder
½ tsp bicarbonate of soda
pinch salt
3 fresh rosemary sprigs, finely chopped
2 free-range eggs, lightly beaten
100ml/4fl oz plain yoghurt
275ml/10fl oz milk
1 tbsp honey
240g/8½oz cooked pumpkin, cut into ½cm/¼in cubes
handful pumpkin seeds

1.Preheat the oven to 200C/400F/Gas 6. Oil a 12-hole muffin tin and line with 12 squares of baking paper. Push the squares down into each hole so that the paper sticks up.

2.Sift the flours, baking powder, and bicarbonate of soda into a large bowl. Stir in the salt and rosemary. (Reserve any wholegrain left in the sieve.)
Meanwhile in another bowl, mix the eggs, yoghurt, milk, honey and vegetable oil until well combined.

3.Pour the wet ingredients into the dry and fold the ingredients together, but be careful not to over-work the mixture. Stir in most of the pumpkin, reserving a little for the top of the muffins. Spoon the mixture into the muffin ca1377700265_bf21568ee7ses.
Sprinkle the reserved wholegrain, pumpkin and the pumpkin seeds over the muffins. Bake in the centre of the oven for 20–25 minutes, or until the muffins are well risen and a skewer inserted in the centre comes out clean.




Edinburgh Gin announce new Bramble & Honey flavour this week.

Following their two summer releases Rhubarb & Ginger, and Lemon & Jasmine, the capitals’ favourite Edinburgh Gin announce a new Bramble & Honey flavour just in time for autumn.

The leader of the flavoured gin category released their own taste profiles for the new arrival.

Repeatedly reported to be best paired with a classic premium tonic, the full strength flavour is 40% ABV per (70cl) bottle and comes in at £28 in their online store.

“With enticing notes of dark berry and crisp juniper on the nose, followed by full, fruity berry and floral honey on the palate, this gin is luxuriously smooth.”

iNews commented in a headline that “the world has Edinburgh to thank for the modern gin and tonic”, referring to Leith’s personal history with importing and producing Gin, which dates back to the 1700s, later becoming a leading distilling centre for imports by 1893.

By sending imports to England, the traditional London Dry style gin was born, and in the UK, a rise in sales made records in 2018 with 73 million bottles of the spirit purchased last year.

To this day, the port of Leith still uses traditional copper stills to promote the fullest flavour, and were the first to have a Knowledge Transfer Partnership with Edinburgh’s Heriot-Watt University, offering their labs for analysis and giving a further look into their own production methods for those in Brewing and Distilling courses in the capital to honour the first dedicated University programme of its type, with two of their own Distillery Manager and other staff coming from the specialist degree.

Offering distillery tours at both of these locations here from £10, Edinburgh Gin continue to fight for their title as the future of gin.


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