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Tuesday, 19 July 2016

RECIPE: Stuffed Sweet Potato Pockets

A note from Joelle... 

♫♪'With A Little Help From My Friends' - Mumford & Sons Glastonbury 2013 version ♫♪

The people who know me know that I'm not the biggest fan of sweet potato. I can't tell you the number of times I've refused a handful of sweet potato fries,  but I just think it has an odd flavour and a weird texture. It's kind of like a yam, which I equally abhor.

So then why am I bringing you a sweet potato recipe, you may be asking?
Well, I've finally created a recipe that makes them soooooooooo delicious! I thought of it with white potatoes to begin with, but as we had sweets in the house, I thought I'd see if it worked.
Turns out that it's a lovely veggie dish that is perfect for all seasons!

Serves 4:
2 tbsp olive oil
2 large sweet potatoes
Creme fraiche or natural yoghurt
1 spring onion
Pinch of salt and pepper 
Feta cheese
Herbs (dry or fresh - I used a mixture)


Method:

Prick the potatoes with a fork and rub all over with salt and olive oil
Place on a bit of foil/baking paper and bake for 20 mins at 200 degrees Celsius
Once darker on the outside, but softer in the middle, reduce heat to 180 degrees
Take out the potatoes and allow to cool for 10 mins
Carefully (it's super hot!!!) slice down the middle of each potato to get 2 halves
Scoop out most of the flesh and leave the skins on the baking tray
In a bowl, mix the potato flesh with all the all the other ingredients*
Scoop up the mixture and place back into the sweet potato shells 
Get a fork and score the top, as you would a shepherd's pie 
bake for another 20 mins or until the peaks are golden brown
I like mine almost charred, so it's extra crispy!

If you prefer a crunchy top, just blitz stale bread, olive oil, garlic and parsley and then sprinkle on the top :)

Serve with a fresh salad and white wine and you've got a perfect, healthy summer dish!

*Lovely additional ingredients: cheese, olives, courgette, mushrooms, red onion, pepper, finely-chopped garlic
Vegans, do not fret! Just used tofu or vegan cheese in the mix and coconut "yoghurt" instead of creme fraiche and you're good to go!
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Sunday, 17 July 2016

The 'Deen Scene:10 Things University Taught Me

A note from Joelle... 

♫♪'Where Are You Now?' - Honor Society ♫♪

After 4 wonderful years of this series, this is my final "'Deen Scene" blog post.
I have had this post gathering dust in my drafts folder for three months now. I was going to post it straight after my final exam (which turned out to be the best exam I've ever sat!), but then I chose to post it a month later after graduation - but I forgot. Now, a month after graduation, and a few revisions later... here it is!

For those who are new to my blog, I studied BSc Petroleum Geology at the University of Aberdeen for four years. I really loved the course, even though, at times I found it so exhausting and frustrating. 
I've been wanting to be a Geologist since the age of seven (I know), but even though I got on to Masters programmes and internships, I have decided to take a break and reconsider my career options.

1) You can change your degree course - Not feeling the degree you applied for? Act fast, because you've got about 2 weeks after lectures commence to have a word with your advisor if you are having doubts. Lots of people who were originally geographers switched to Geology and vice-versa, but it's down to YOU to seek advice and paperwork. Don't suffer in silence!

2) It's okay to feel a bit down about uni in general - what's not okay is bottling it up and self-imploding. It may look like everyone is having the best time in the first few months, but most people really are in the same boat. It's a HUGE change of life, as you've just moved into a new place, with new people and a new course, but wallowing away in your room and constantly calling home instead of mingling with other Freshers isn't the way to go.

3) Money management is tough, but rewarding - ...if you get it right through budgeting. I'm not joking, when you do your first uni shop and realise the true cost of cheese and loo roll, it will blow your mind. Also, when you leave halls and get a proper flat, you'll have to manage paying for bills (gas, electric, internet, phone, TV licence.). So staying on top of your finances is a plus. 
Got time? Get a job nearby.
Got too many clothes? Put them in blin liners and sell them to £1-1kg charity people. Pssst, 1 full bin liner = 10kg, so you could make a lot and do good at the same time.

4) Friends come and go - I learned this the hard way over the years, but I've finally learned to not take it too personally. Boy was this hard, so hard in fact that I wrote quite a damning blog post about it that pretty much everyone on my course read and talked about. The truth is, some the people you met on nights out or during Fresher's week will slowly fade away and that's okay because you'll meet others who you click with even more. The key is just to be open-minded and don't gravitate towards the people who you think will boost your graded or you social status - those "friendships" are doomed.

5) Joining societies is so worth it - I wasn't even going to go to the Fresher's and Sports Fayre before I was dragged along by a pal. But I'm glad I went and put my name down for loads of things (e.g. concert band, uni paper, ACS, Geog Soc). I tried to avoid ACS like the plague because I didn't feel African enough to be a part of it. But after a lovely girl called Amanda invited me to their karaoke social and stayed in touch, I realised that all my ignorance about it was ridiculous. Little did I know, I would be manning the ACS stall the very next year, gathering over 100 new names to our society!
Employers also like well-rounded people who actually bothered to do interesting stuff along with getting good grades, so even if it's for a few months, joining a society is a good idea.

6) There is help if you need it  - but this isn't school, you need to actively search and ask for help. This can be anything from financial, mental health and social issues. 

7) You are no better/worse than anyone else - Some people come to uni with a huge chip on their shoulder, or are very arrogant. Some turn up their noses at former state-school kids and others judge other's regional accents. It's all bullshit, but it's how some people deal with controlling their surroundings.
But here's the thing: you all ended up on the same course, in the same uni, so you're all the same regardless of where you came from or what grades you got.

7) Student cards are f*cking gold dust - USE IT!!!! You might think only getting £2.50 off of a jacket is crap, but these things really do add up. Always keep it in your wallet and ask the cashiers if they accept it. You can even get money off of phones, cinema tickets, theatre trips, food and much more. You'll miss it when it's gone!

8) Keeping physically active is vital - Long story short: I gained 2 stone in First Year because I lived opposite a chip shop and the uni's Sports Village was a tiring 10 minute walk away. The weight gain affected my confidence, my mental health and also my studies. I start to comfort eat to ease the pain of homesickness and the tricky courses I was taking and it turned into a vicious cycle.
And to make things worse, my degree required me to go on about 2/3 residential field trips per year. This included about 10 hours of fieldwork, climbing up hills, cliffs, slanted beaches in heavy gear. Carrying all that extra weight took it's toll mainly in Second Year, and that's when I realised I needed to get a student membership and start spinning. 
2 and a half years, later and I am still spinning and am fitter than I have ever been! My grades went up because I wasn't tired and sluggish and I found a new love for my body.

9) You'll learn to be more independent - It's amazing. As I was 800 miles north of my hometown, I had no choice but to be independent - I was thrown into the deep end head-first. First off was all the solo plane rides. After that fear was conquered (I've flown solo about 50 times now), it's onto shopping, cooking and doing all your washing for yourself. These, obviously, are important life skills that we all need to learn if we are to be fully functioning adults in this world.
My one piece of advice would be NOT to stay at home if you're going to uni. Yeah, I know it's not possible for everyone, but if you can, do! 
It's not the same if you stay with your parents, because you are less likely to experience new-found independence and the joys that come with it.

10) You'll get through it and move on to better things - Mate, I really did not enjoy my third and first term of Fourth year, but I saw the bigger picture: a science degree from a good uni, that will lead to a good job. There were nights in the library where I couldn't see the end. I wanted to quit and catch the next flight home, but I chose to get through it and not run away from my issues.
I still can't believe I graduated and did it as a person who is no longer socially anxious, chronically shy, emotionally unstable or afraid of the future or failure.

I changed for the better, got through it and so will you. You'll be just fine, kid.

I have written loads on uni life and you can find out more brutal honesty in the link below:
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Wednesday, 13 July 2016

10 Podcasts You Should Be Listening To

A note from Joelle... 

♫♪'So Young' - The Corrs ♫♪

Standard radio bores me. So much so, that I stopped listening to it all together about four years ago because the music was repetitive and the chat was just not my vibe anymore. I wanted to hear what young people had to say about young people, NOT what Generation X thought of young people.
iphone, headphones, and apple image
source
I wanted to know about other Millennial's experiences with growing up, relationships and paving careers in this super-difficult world and I wanted to hear their stories, not matter grow grim and raw.
I then discovered an app, Acast that allowed me to find many podcasts from all over the world that gave me what I wanted and 

This is not sponsored in any way, I just really like this app and these podcasts!

CTRL ALT DELETE with Emma Gannon

This is the brilliant podcast that inspired her to write her debut memoir of the same name. However, in her podcasts, it is Emma asking the questions, as she chats to people who inspire her and have something rather special about them.
It's just 40 minutes of good, good vibes all-round.
My favourite episode is her chat with actress and activist, Rowan Blanchard.
Have a listen to all her shows HERE.

So BASICALLY with Tyra and Lydia 

My mates from school: Lydia and Tyra have created this wonderful new platform that discusses everything from politics to music and pop culture once a month.
Listen to the first show HERE.

Melanin Millennials

I can't even lie to you guys, I was THRILLED to finally find women my age, with my accent and with a dark skin tone like mine hosting a show.
Imrie and Satia discuss everything from  racial politics to pop culture. They have hilarious and informative guest who make you laugh out loud with their anecdotes.
Listen to the show HERE.

My Big Idea with ASOS

Those people at ASOS never miss a trick, do they? I discovered their podcast series whilst watching them promote it on Snapchat. Every week, the ASOS crew interview young creatives who took a chance on their big idea and made it into a business.

My favourite episode is the one where they chatted to Radio 1 personality, Clara Amfo.  
Check out all the shows HERE.

Filler with Harry Hitchens and Matt Shore
Filler
This is a podcast I found just last week and it has got me hooked. Each episode features Matt and Harry interviewing a creative who is paving the way in their chosen craft. Photographers, architects, filmmakers, vloggers, you name it, they've all got stories and tips to share.
Episodes become available every Sunday and you can hear them HERE.

Call Your Girlfriend with Ann Friedman and Aminatou Sow

Doing a podcast show with your best friend sounds like so much fun and Call Your Girlfriend is just that. The lovely ladies talk about whatever they want: breakups, bodies and voting, to pop culture and books. These women are incredible smart and honest and when you listen, you feel like you can fit into their girl gang.
Grab a glass of whatever you fancy and tune into their intersting world!
Listen to all the shows (there are LOADS) HERE.

Another Round with Heben Nigatu and Tracy Clayton

This show is hilarious and informative and I'm so happy it exists. The girls cover everything from race to pop culture in a really funny way (often with a bit of alcohol).It is actually one of the most popular podcasts around along with Lena Dunham's show and Call Your Girlfriend.
Their conversations are so relatable and I love that no topic is off limits.
Catch up with all the episodes HERE.

Et Cetera With Est 

I can't remember how I found this show, but I am so glad I did. I love how long the episodes are (usually just over an hour), which means I can listen on a long commute or just before I doze off to bed.
The Host and guests on this show talk so much truth along with their really funny opinions on current affairs and pop culture.
Listen to the show HERE.

Nerdette with Tricia Bobeda and Greta Johnsen

Into science, technology, films and literature? Nerdette is for you! The episodes are jam-packed with insightful interviews with people all basically every industry and they are not boring at all. I did think it would be 100% numbers and nasal voices before I gave them a listen, but they really are great interviews!
Check out the show HERE.

Popaganda by Bitch Media
Last, but in no means least is this gem of a show: Propaganda.
This is an unashamedly feminist show, with hosts and guests to talk about race, politics, pop culture and sexuality in an incredibly refreshing way.
Their episodes come out every Thursday and you can catch up HERE.

Got any more podcasts that you love? Let me know below!
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Thursday, 7 July 2016

Thursday Thoughts: WHAT LOSING MY PHONE TAUGHT ME

A note from Joelle... 

Today, I jumped okay, sauntered off a 10 hour-long train ride from London to Aberdeen. In my dreary state, I grabbed a chai tea and then headed for the taxi rank outside the station.
I was tired, but got chatting with the lovely taxi driver who dropped me off home. But me, being stupid and disoriented, left my phone on the back seat of his taxi and only realised it about 20 minutes after he left.
Long story short, I ran back to the station, got the police and other cabbies involved to try and track him down... It was just a new phone, but I was borderline hysterical!

Here are a few things I learnt from this:

I tend to think the worst of people - Maybe it's the Londoner in me, but I thought that was it, my brand new phone was gone and someone had already sold it to some weirdo in a pawn shop in the space of 30 minutes. In my head, I blamed the cabbie for not checking his back seat and running after me, when that's not even his job.

I put too much information on my phone - I think we are all guilty of this, but I have only just realised how much stuff I put on there. Once the phone is unlocked, it's so easy for anyone to find out who I am, where I'm from and access my files/pictures and accounts, which is scary.

I depend too much on technology - when I walked back to the station, all upset and angry at the world, I realised that I didn't even know the time or quickest way to get there. I couldn't even remember my friend's and mum's number to call them via payphone to let them know what happened. 

I still crave material things - I was sad that someone else would be using my fancy new phone, enjoying my new light-up case and using my new earphones. I treated technology as if I couldn't live without it, which is really worrying.


This post is super random, but I just wanted to share my thoughts, because this experience has changed me in a way. I'm not going to rely on technology anymore and place it above everything else - it's insane to do that, even for a tech-savvy person like me.

... oh, and my phone? Well the lovely cabbie realised straight away and waited outside my flat for about an hour. I ran out so fast, that we missed each other, but he still waited, hoping I'd come back and see him. With the help of the other cabbies calling and comforting me, they contacted him and drove back to hand back my phone.
What a God-send. 

What I've learnt from this is that most people are so good at heart and will try to do the right thing.
And me? I need to learn to put material things and technology way below my list of things that are important to me.

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