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Sunday, 13 November 2016

Festive Party Heels Wishlist

A note from Joelle... 
It's been ages since I've scoured the Internet, looking for affordable, on-trend things, so here it goes!
The festive season is coming around and I'm usually all about the dresses and tend to just wear the same, boring pair of black heels. They look nice, but I can't walk in them for longer than an hour, so what's the point?

I think it's time to find party shoes that are not only B-E-A-utiful, but also affordable and comfortable!
So I've spotted new wave of low-heel sandals that most high street brands have copied off the SS17 runways. Theses have been given a festive tweak with embellishment, embroidery and interesting textures. I'm all for it! Here are my favourites:
Festive Party Sandals Heels


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Sunday, 6 November 2016

Podcasts You Should Be Listening To (Part II)

A note from Joelle... 
autumn, earphones, and iphone image
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Internet/media/tech culture is rapidly changing and I'm finding it so exciting. I barely tune into traditional shows on the radio or TV anymore. And even YouTube is getting a bit dry.
Maybe it's my inner 80-year-old coming out again, but my eyes need a break from all the screens I look at every day.
This is where podcasts come in. They have taken over my life as forms of entertainment and it's really refreshing because they are all so diverse... and free!
Like I said in my last podcast blog post, there's something for everyone and all you need to do is check the charts on Acast, Apple iTunes, or Soundcloud.

1. My Dad Wrote a Porno - Imagine your dad wrote and published an erotic novel... That's the reality for Jamie Morton, host of this extremely popular show.
In each episode, Jamie reads a chapter of 'Belinda Blinked', the amateur erotic novel his actual father actually wrote, with commentary from his friends, James and Alice. 
It's the number 1 UK podcast at the moment is over 2 million views and it's absolutely hilarious! 
Image result for my dad Wrote a Porno
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2. Backlisted - Last year, Unbound publisher, John Mitchison started a fortnightly book podcast with author, Andy Miller. Every episode, the team discuss an old book that most people don't know or have forgotten about. It's great because we get to (re)discover great books and bring them back to life, in a way. I recommend this show to book-lovers everywhere, as the genres are diverse and the chats  are as entertaining as they are informative.
Backlisted Podcast
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3. Lunar Poetry - Ever since I took up poetry last year as a way of dealing with depression, I found that the poetry scene is not the underground, cloak 'n' dagger scene I thought it was. It's modern, vibrant and inclusive and South London mag, Lunar Poetry is a great example of that. Their magazine (and twitter) is packed with poetry written by people from all walks of life and their podcasts interview poets from all over the world.
4. 3 Shots of Tequila - Everyone's favourite Instagram meme pundit, Marvin Abbey has his own podcast show and it's genius! With two mates,  he discusses sex, relationships, mental health, youth culture, etc. and it's refreshing to hear the voices of three Black British men. I am used to listening to podcasts with a female audience in mind, so hearing the male perspective on these topics has been quite eye-opening. Not forgetting to mention that the show is fucking hilarious!
5. Grammar Girl - Call me lame, but I think grammar is really important. These short episodes discuss words, spelling, grammar and sentence structure in a non-patronising way. As a writer and someone who works in the book publishing industry, I find these tips really helpful because it's so easy to forget the English rules we learned in school.
6. Get It On - This show is hosted by author and TV personality, Dawn O'Porter, who interviews her celebrity friends about their clothes and style habits. You may roll your eyes at this kind of show, but it's not as shallow as you might think. The episodes really delve into the psychology of style/fashion and each conversation is so different and personal. Dawn is a natural show host.
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7. Time Crisis - My future husband, Ezra Koenig (lead singer of Vampire Weekend) hosts this radio talk show with celebrity guests and his music friends. Hearing professional musicians talk so passionately about current, classic and obscure music is really interesting because they always have secrets  and background info that we missed, as mere mortals.
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8. Hey, It's OK - This is GLAMOUR Magazine UK's podcast, hosted by Editor-in-Chief, Jo Elvin. She invites celebrities and her staff to talk openly about everything from fashion and lifestyle to mental heath and feminism.
I've been a loyal reader of the magazine since my mid-teens and after meeting and interviewing Jo in 2012, I realised that it was more than just  a fashion mag. They have a clear vision to empower every kind of woman in whatever they want to do with their lives.
SO I was thrilled when they turned their 'Hey, It's OK' feature into a podcast, featuring conversations with inspiring women from all walks of life and professions.
I'm a new listener and have been loving
This podcast is 30 minutes of inspiration and refreshing bliss, even if the topic is uncomfortable.
Image result for hey it's ok glamour podcast
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Are you loving any podcasts at the moment? Let me know below!
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Sunday, 30 October 2016

Otherness.: I PUBLISHED MY DIARY

A note from Joelle... 
♫♪Happy Ending - Mika♫♪
otherness
noun
  1. the quality or fact of being different.
Otherness Joelle Owusu

A lot of you guys have noticed that I haven't blogged much this year. And some have even emailed, but  mainly tweeted asking if I am alright and if I'm leaving the blogosphere. The answer to those questions are... no, I'm not leaving and yes - I'm alright, now.

Basically, I've already touched on this topic, but at the start of the year, I was really, really unwell. So unwell, that I found it hard to leave my bed, let alone write 5 blog posts a week!
Buuuuut, during this time I kept a poetic diary. The reason I'm bringing that up is because I published it.
I chose to let the world read my thoughts because writing this was really therapeutic and was play a big part of my recovery. So much so, that I was curious if anyone else going through serious mental health problems would benefit from reading it. 
My poems are split into 5 chapters: denial, delusion, despair, defiance and dignity. These are the stages I went through before I found a new love for myself and embraced my 'otherness'.
That sounds insane, right? I mean, would you publish your deepest thoughts that were meant only for your eyes?
I think the really odd thing is that I wasn't even a poetry fan. I studied the classics at school, but that was it. It was only when I was about to publish that I discovered the likes of April Green, Madisen Khun, Nayyirah Waheed, Ysra Daley-Ward, Rupi Kaur, Lang Leav, Alison Malee and Nikita Gill through Instagram. I class these women as contemporary confessional poets/micropoets and really hope you check them out.
Although I had already written my book by the time I found them, they are all a huge inspiration, because they are fearless and unapologetic through their writing.

So, yes, it's really scary and  nerve-wracking to know that friends , family and total strangers are reading my brutally honest (an often uncomfortable) thoughts from early this year, but I am so glad I didn't back out.
Otherness Joelle Owusu
I would like to say a big THANK YOU to everyone who has supported the book so far. It really means a lot!
Click HERE if you want to buy my book. Oh, and please leave a wee review if you want!
Please let me know what you think! It's not all doom-and-gloom, I promise :).

This book isn't just for me - it's for everyone.
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Wednesday, 12 October 2016

Heinz Seriously Good Spoonfuls Event

A note from Joelle... 
Heinz Seriously Good Spoonfuls

Heinz, wonderful Heinz. We all know it and any of their varieties can be found in pretty much any British household. One of their latest ventures is Seriously Good mayonnaise, which is thicker and creamier than the others on offer.
Heinz hosted a competition where bloggers were tasked with creating a recipe (that could fit on a spoon) and I was invited down to taste the shortlisted recipes and see who won the competition.
There were black forest brownies, coconut crispy prawns, salmon parcels and even banana bread recipes, all made with Seriously Good mayo as an ingredient!
Heinz Seriously Good Spoonfuls
As you can see, my pictures came out incredibly blue due to the cool lighting in the studio space.
Heinz Seriously Good Spoonfuls


I can't even begin to explain how delicious and professional all the finished dishes were. My favourite had to be this one:

Extreme Salted Caramel and Petzel Brownie (bySmokey Joe BBQ)

Ingredients
For Salted Caramel + Pretzel Brownie
200g dark chocolate,70% cocoa solids, chopped into small pieces
100g self-raising flour
50g cocoa powder
200g caster sugar
100g light muscovado sugar
11/2tsp vanilla extract
3tbs salted caramel extract
3tbsp full fat milk
2eggs
100g mayonnaise (I used Heinz Seriously Good Mayonnaise)
Salted caramel (to drizzle over and decorate)
White chocolate (to drizzle over and decorate)
Pretzels (as many as you fancy to decorate)

Cookie Dough Base:
100g butter, softened
100g brown sugar, softened
1tbsp golden syrup
150g self raising flour
1/2tsp vanilla extract (optional)

Method
Make the brownie:
Heat oven to 170C/fan150C/gas4. Pour enough water into a small pan to one third fill it. Bring the water to a boil. Put the chopped chocolate into a large bowl that will fit snugly over the pan without touching the water, make sure you check the size and no one wants to cry over spilt chocolate! Sit the pan over the water and leave the chocolate to melt slowly for a few mins, stirring occasionally until it has melted evenly, make sure nothing sticks to the bottom. Remove the bowl from the pan, and then let the chocolate cool slightly.
Meanwhile, lightly grease and base – line (add greaseproof paper) a 19cm square cake tin that is 5cm deep. In a separate bowl combine the flour and cocoa. Using a wooden spoon, stir both the sugars into the cooled chocolate with the salted caramel extract, vanilla and milk. Stir in 1tbsp warm water. Break and beat in the eggs, one at a time making sure combined after each egg,  then stir in the mayonnaise just until smooth and glossy. Sift over the flour and cocoa mix, then gently fold in with a spatula without over mixing. Set aside to make your cookie dough base.

Cookie Dough Base:
Mix together the sugar and butter using a wooden spoon. Stir in the golden syrup.
Once creamy and smooth add the flour to the mixture. You want the consistency to be smooth but pliable, you need to be able to form the dough into ball without it being overly sticky. You may need to add a little more flour, but not too much.
When the dough is the right consistency you will need to add this to the prepared tin. Add dollops of the mixture to the tin, then smooth over so flat, ensure mixture reaches the corners. You want to fill the bottom of the tin without being top deep (any cookie dough leftover you can use to make cookies, just chuck in some chocolate chips and bake at 160 fan assisted for 10-12mins:)).
Pour the brownie mixture directly over your cookie dough base, then gently and evenly spread it into the corners. Bake for 30mins. When a skewer is inserted into the middle, it should come out with just a few moist crumbs sticking to it, you want it to have a little wobble to it. If cooked too long, the mix will dry out; not long enough and it can sink. Leave in the tin until completely cold, I normally leave it overnight in the fridge. Turn out onto a board, peel off the lining paper and decorate.
Melt the white chocolate in the same way you melt the dark chocolate. Once melted, drizzle over your brownie. Add some pretzels to deviate then drizzle over salted caramel and then add even more pretzels!!  
Cut into squares and serve with vanilla ice-cream! Perfection on a plate! By using Seriously Good Mayonnaise it gives the brownies a different dimension. It brings together the combo of salt  and sweet perfectly!

Amazing, right? I would never have guessed it had mayo in it, but it not had been as smooth and rich without it! What do you think? Would you consider adding mayo to more of your homecooked recipies?
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