Narcissists VS Feminists: The war on the #nomakeupselfie

Cancer is not a gender specific disease, we know this, and yet women have jumped on the no make-up selfie bandwagon by the bus load to unite ‘some’ of the sisterhood to take off their makeup, take a selfie, donate money to charity, do a good deed, take themselves a little less seriously and put themselves out there. What the hell is the problem?

Has it or has it not raised millions of pounds in a matter of days and sparked debate and widespread articles in The Independent, the Guardian, The Telegraph, BBC News and beyond? Has it not also now sparked the Cock On a Sock campaign with hopefully equal success?

I’ll be the first to put my hand up and say that despite having a circle of fabulous girl friends, I’m most often found scratching my head to figure out the sexes. Somewhere along the road to womanhood the clouds parted and revealed the shockingly resilient sisterhood. Now, I have always been the one shouting from the rooftops that marriage symbolises nothing to me and hell will have frozen over the day I give up my surname (she says, engaged). Where am I going with this?

Well, damn it, I suppose I’m admitting I’m a modern feminist (or at least that’s what the growing concensus is), whatever that means, and I’ll be damned if I’ll be judged by a bit of female solidarity about a genderless issue. I’ve read article after tweet after status after comment from women at large that seem to want medals because they never ever wear make-up, while suggesting us imposter women who do wear makeup daily are somehow masking our vanity with narcissistic philanthropy.

This cancer awareness campaign did what it said on the tin. It communicated awareness despite suggestions that membership to the sisterhood for all female selfie participants has now expired, presumably along with our self-worth, self-respect, street cred and intelligence? A common opinion among the polarised high-horsed critic it would seem. That said, I’m not intentionally fighting fire with fire here, but I’m struggling to find a problem with the social good this untraceable campaign has achieved. And if you bring my intelligence or vanity in to this s$&t-stirring argument once more, so help me.

A selfie gesture won’t cure cancer, nor does it communicate the how-to of copping a feel of one’s balls or boobs, or tell us of the 200+ cancers in existence. Tell me something new please and end the belligerent assault on social media and women at large. If I’m not mistaken, it was never a cancer type specific campaign. If you asked men to moon the web and give £3 for testicular or prostate cancer, or just cancer in general, I’m pretty damn sure that thousands would, and are now starting to do. You may as well ask what red noses or comedy has to do with aids or people in need!

This campaign is highlighting far more than cancer awareness, it’s highlighting humanity in all its pejorative and pigeonhole glory, and the opinion-led backlash does far more damage than a harmless community led selfie ever could. It feeds the monster of intellectual hierarchy and gives the Katie Hopkins of this world a loaded and poisonous soapbox to shout from.

The media backlash (predominantly female led) suggests that the #nomakeupselfie explosion is damaging to women’s mental health, self-confidence, and is not courageous or brave. Give us some bloody credit! There’s no denying that the campaign could do with a little refining and direction, but would it have been as successful? Has it or has it not been a staggering success all flaws included? How is it that we have come to a point where we critisise successful communications campaigns for the greater good along with ourselves?

Ask me to take a picture of my bare arse and I’ll show you my version of bravery, but bravery is not something to be measured in comparison to life threatening illnesses. This selfie campaign doesn’t seem to have been born out of narcissitic bravery. It’s just a brilliantly effective social campaign that found flight and is harnessing the power of social media for the greater good. I hope to see far more bold and viral social campaigns from now on. So let people get on with their balls, boobs and selfie posts. All cancer research will benefit. That much I’m certain of.

Share your bare mugs and jugs near and far and donate the £3 to your local or national cancer charity or hospice, or text BEAT to 70099 to donate £3 to Cancer Research UK.

by Sam Jordan






If like me you spent the week before last cocooned in a hedonistic musical bubble at Glastonbury, you might have spent LAST week as one of the following:

a) Tucked up on a couch in your sweats watching movies, re-bonding with your pissed off abandoned cats, and enjoying that extra day you booked off work to ‘regroup’.


b) Tucked up somewhere else in your sweats or whatever doesn’t smell of wee, reading Glasto reviews, catching up on celebrities at Glasto pics or  reading the Q Glastonbury Review cover to cover while asking yourself why the hell you can’t recall it all, or what ever happens on a bloody Thursday?


c) Still unpacking your rucksack, sniffing for that absent clean smell, while putting on your fourth load of washing and pulling dried mud and wax from absolutely everything you own (curse you beautiful candle flares).


d) You might be working… Sorry. Book an extra day off next year yeah?

Whichever one you were, I’ll bet you’ve spent it reliving the hell out of your week and refreshing your Facebook news feed every 5 minutes to see which one of your Facebook posse/newly added Glasto friends have uploaded another suntanned snap of your burnt happy little drunk faces in a nod to how bloody fantastic the week was!!

Let me confirm for you in case you missed the biggest digital music extravaganza the BBC has ever seen that it was indeed a SPECTACULAR week both in music, frolics, and foooooood!  Sadly I couldn’t get to all corners of the festival, but with the food part always at the top of my list I give you my top 5 veggie grub vendors at this years Glastonbury Festival. Caution: Some names escape me.

1. Hidden away in the Green Futures area  near the Low Impact Building was an almost secret and nameless (because I can’t remember) little gem serving the only food that is grown directly on site at Glastonbury. For a steal of £5 we were able to grab a (real) plate of  delectable Moroccan tagine served with a vegan ‘slaw’ and orange & shoot salad. INCREDIBLE!!!! For afters, we simply continued eating their open fire pakoras until we burst!


Open FIre Pakoras
Open Fire Pakoras

2. Fat Belly’s Puppet Café: Hands down the most scrumptious peanut and potato curry I have ever tasted. It was SO good that they could not keep that stuff in the pot!! But when people are willing to wait up to 30 minutes for a helping you know that shit is gooood!!! Amazingly run, amazing options for  carnivores, vegetarians and vegans galore.

Worth it's weight in fat bellies!
Worth it’s weight in fat bellies!

3. Dirty Burger Bar: Nestled between Glade Pizza (who severely disappointed!!!! I mean, who doesn’t give you a pizza WITHOUT cheese because its too difficult???) and Arcadia, was the delectable Dirty Burger Bar. Run by a big catering company (but you’d never tell) I can’t speak for the venison burgers or any other meat they were offering, but they slapped together the most lip smacking veggie burger I’ve probably ever had. An explosion of spices, lentils and goodness knows what else, mixed with top notch big ass buns and crunchy lip smacking pickles had us shouting and secretly returning in the wee hours for more! I checked in with some sausage lovers and they assured me that the meat was also damn tasty! Again, credits to the staff of this place. A tightly but fun run ship!

Dirty Burger Bar

4. (I want to say) Munch Falafels: However, it is possible that it’s not called this at all. Whoops. Festival cider at your service. Either way, located between a sea of chippies, crap burgers, noodle and curry vans is the best damn falafel wrap your pie hole has ever tasted. I had serious qualms about the prices at £6.50 a wrap, but I practically went to another realm through the eating process. Probably because by day 3 I was in serious need of Popeye spinach! The freshest  and crunchiest ingredients The Other Stage has ever seen.

Screen Shot 2013-07-09 at 09.39.17

5. Badger Action Café: Stop The Cull Campaign Heroes (Veggies Catering Campaign) at this friendly and informative café and campaign space also happen to serve a damn tasty vegan burger that will have you chowing down AY. SAP and ordering a vegan brownie for desert. Great cause, great people, great vegan grub!!!


That’s all for now folks. Of course there were tons more food options but these were some of the best!

Toodle Pip!!



Wiggle Kicking Salad

What’s in a month ay? Who’s counting since the last post anyway? Not I!!! Spiralling upwards and onwards with the next post, I give you my little nugget of recipe gold to kick off National Vegetarian Week 2013 that will have you foaming at the mouth. This recipe is sure to have even the most fiddly and hardened meat eater mmming and ahhing at your culinary prowess.

I give you the ‘Wiggle Kicking Salad’*…

* Renamed from the original recipe (see below) due to it’s alteration and the taste bud explosion that happened when I ate it 😉

Wiggle Kicking Salad
Wiggle Kicking Salad

In my search for vegan concoctions that don’t have me showing off a face like a wet week (old Irish saying that probably makes no sense seeing as London has been nothing but a wet year so far), I have recently been indulging in recipes from Gwyneth Paltrow and Julia Turshen’s cookbook ‘It’s All Good’, and let me tell you right now… HELL YES… It lives up to it’s name!! I’ll be writing a review of the book soon when I’ve tried more recipes, but so far so good! The reason I’m sharing this one in particular, is because it’s sure to have meat eaters asking for more (probably after they’ve asked where the meat is). 😉

The original recipe is called ‘Roasted Cauliflower + Chickpeas with Mustard + Parsley’ (p. 173), and while I’m more than sure that it tastes spectacular just as the recipe suggests, I did my usual ‘I never follow a recipe’ dance in the kitchen and it turned out pretty damn amazing. So, I urge you to make this salad with a pinch of whatever you fancy, because the flavours work for themselves, and with pretty much anything you can add to it. Here’s my whatever was in the fridge and cupboard version:


1 tin of chickpeas

1/4 head of cauliflower (do add more… This is all I had in my fridge)

10 heads of baby corn

1 medium sized onion

4 baby potatoes

Lots of baby spinach to bed my salad on

2 tablespoons of wholegrain mustard

1 tablespoon of red wine vinegar

50/60 mls of olive oil

coarse ground black pepper

rock salt


Wash your chickpeas and haphazardly chop your veg (or not)…

Par-boil your potatoes for about 5 minutes before roasting to make them extra crispy and all the more edible.

Put all your veg into a roasting tin, and glug some olive oil over them for roasting. Add a pinch of salt and put into a preheated oven at 200C for approximately 25/30 minutes.

While your veg is roasting, whisk your mustard, red wine vinegar, olive oil, generous sprinkling of black pepper and a pinch of salt together.

Mustard Dressing Goodness
Mustard Dressing Goodness

Do the taste test on your mustard dressing… By this I mean, go by your own taste buds and not by mine. Where I’d happily eat black pepper for breakfast, you might prefer to gag! So, add your ingredients sparingly and build up towards what you can handle or prefer.

Put your wet ingredients into a large bowl, and when your veg is ready and nicely toasted and roasted, add them immediately to the dressing bowl, coating the veg entirely with mustardy goodness!

Serve on a bed of spinach, serve warm, and enjoy!


Let National Vegetarian Week commence!!!


Ode to Friday:

“She peeled her sleep encrusted eyes open, observed the bland grey sky, eavesdropped on the rain as it dressed down the rooftops, haphazardly opened up her e-mail and noticed an advertised position on Guardian Jobs for the role of ‘Resentment Officer’. Her inner Grinch quietly giggled with glee… “Ahhhh, finally, a role made for me”.

But, as she guzzled the last of her morning tea from a cup the size of her head, she harrumphed at the normality of this role that she had blearyly mis-read- ‘Position: Representative Officer’. So, she went back to bed, covered her head and refused to get up ever again. Happy 3rd last day of the week before Monday.”

That other Friday Feeling.
That other Friday Feeling.


Theoretically, this doesn’t really fit the category of ‘VEGAN SURPRISE’, but it surprised the HELL out of me!! So much so, that I’ve had friends and family calling for the recipe seeing as I wouldn’t shut the hell up about it!

Bad Ass Shepherdless Pie
Bad Ass Shepherdless Pie

I came across this recipe  last week on Sweet Sugar Bean for a Lentil & Kale Shepherd’s Pie with Roasted Garlic Potatoes, and although it looked heavenly, and I could almost smell it just by looking at it, it sadly wasn’t vegan. So, I quickly went to work swapping out dairy bits & pieces for vegan versions in the hopes I’d still get smacked in the tastebuds by awesome. Did I WHAT!!! (Irish statement of intent, meaning I KILLED IT!!!!!) Oh the irony 😉

Bad Ass Shepherdless Pie Part Deux

The original recipe Á la Reneé called for kale, cream, butter, cheese, honey and worcestershire/worcester sauce… all my favourites, and all delectable in their own right. Instead, I substituted some of these goodies for some dairy free sunflower butter, and Alpro Soya SIngle Alternative to Cream to recreate that creamy mash texture. For convenience  reasons (translation = on a permanent budget) I’ve left out a few ingredients like cheeses, honey and worcestershire/worcester sauce, but you can swap these for cheddar alternatives, maple syrup and a vegan version of worcestershire sauce. I used Cholula’s chilli and garlic hot sauce for a bit of added sweetness, and I also swapped the kale for spinach as that’s what I had to work with, and it worked a bloody treat. As the recipe says “No kale?  Use any other green or sub in mushrooms or carrots or go without – it will still be awesome”.

The Humble Spud

All I can say is that this recipe knocked my socks off, even my tailored bastardised vegan version. I have to admit, I never follow a recipe to the letter because I prefer to make everything my own, so I sniff, pinch and poke around measurements and let my mouth do the taste test along the way. That said, I definitely used the Sweet Sugar Bean recipe as guide in shining armour, but I altered it to my own taste seeing as I was freeing bastardising it from dairy 😉 I really and truly didn’t want to lose any of the taste or that warm, comfort feeling, and I have to say I literally killed this recipe in the best way possible! Just saying! OH, and might I just say… The roasted garlic mashed into the potato topping is one of the most heavenly things I’ve ever tasted in a mashed potato… It almost didn’t make it to the topping! An accolade of the highest order from an Irish gal. I’ll be spreading word on Irish shores ASAP!

Roasted Garlic

RESULT: Only an acronym can do this any justice… O. M. F. G.

Once again, here’s the original recipe on Sweet Sugar Bean – CLICK HERE – follow your gut, nostrils and taste buds and create your own masterpiece!

Toodle pip


Taa daa