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Friday, 27 February 2015

21

A note from Joelle... 

♫♪'7/11' - Beyonce ♫♪

So today is my 21st birthday! Twenty One years. 

Thank you, Lord Jesus! I know He watches over me and I know for sure that I wouldn't be the woman I am today if it wasn't for Him.
This morning in Aberdeen, the sun is shining bright and there isn't a cloud in the sky. Every year it either rains or snows on my birthday, so I'm taking this as a good omen!

So what am I doing today? Well, right now, I'm off to the airport to pick up my friend Hannah who is flying in from London. I'll then continue the tradition of buying my local broadsheet newspaper on my milestone birthday. My parents still the the newspaper published on the day I was born and I have one from my 1st, 10th and 18th birthday!
I'll then pick up my friend Heather and then head to a hotel because....
I'M HAVING A BIRTHDAY BALL TONIGHT! *insert emoji of girl in red dress*
It's insane for a student (who doesn't even like having birthday parties) to be holding such an elaborate event, but meh! I'm going for it!!!!!
But more about that later next week!

It's amazing, but I do kind of feel different. I'm more at peace with myself and am more determined than ever to chase my dreams. But first I had to do a bit of bridge-building before I could move forward.
Yesterday, I got back in touch with my best friend from primary and secondary school. I was nervous as it has been years of no contact and I didn't even know if she had the same number. But she replied and it was like we were talking as if we'd never been apart! We will be meeting up during the holidays and I can't wait!

As a teenager, I had all these amazing plans/goals/ideas, but fear of failure/rejection/looking like an idiot stopped me from really going for it. Not any more. I'm not scared of anything or anyone now. 
Watch this space. It's about to get real. You with me?

Tuesday, 24 February 2015

I Went Technology-Free For 48 Hours...

A note from Joelle... 

♫ ♪ 'Gives You Hell' - All American Rejects ♫ ♪

Touchscreen, swipey gadgety things are taking over our lives. They were created to enhance our social skills, but there's an argument stating that over time, they have helped to make us more anti-social. Us folks in the Western World depend so much on technology, so I wanted to see if I could go without it for two days in January. Totally cold, dry turkey...
I Went Technology-Free For 48 Hours...
I can't lie -  a part of me was really up for this fresh, exciting, hippie challenge.
Before the experiment, I expected an earth-shatteringly surreal experience. I imagined myself connecting with my true inner self and finding my special 'zen' place. What I really got was two days of looking at a ceiling, not even knowing what day it was.
The fantasies I had in my mind of wearing a skimpy day dress, skipping barefoot through a field (holding a kite of course) and riding a vintage bike ran away with me and I was just about ready to throw my electricals out of the nearest window.
But then I remembered that I live in Northern Scotland and its winter, so none of those things were remotely possible. Not to mention I had no chance of reaching my friends without calling, texting or facebook messaging them. Fucks sake. 
If you read my "24 Hours Without My iPhone" post last year, you'd know that it didn’t start or end very well at all. I turned into such a weird person who suddenly didn't know anything and it was horrible. I felt lost and alone, and that was just within 24 hours!
Fast-forward a few months and I’m back to prove to myself that I can actually survive without a phone, laptop, tablet,  pager (lol), etc. Yeah, I know, I'm a bloody lunatic.

So "what did you get up to over the two days?” I hear you ask.
How the FUCK am I supposed to remember what I did? Honestly, how rude of you to even ask me that. Ugggh. 

I didn't have my phone to take pictures or a laptop to exaggerate how great a time I was having all on my own. And at that moment, I realised the ancient, sacred verse was true: "If you didn't Instagram it, did it even happen?" - Unknown Proverb
My selfie stick was of no use to me and my camera gathered dust on my desk. They all looked so sad, staring at me, craving attention that I just could not give to them. They had a right to be mad. I, their loyal owner and companion had abandoned them and chose "fresh air" instead. WTF was I thinking? I am an awful human being.

Is this what life was really like for our parents/people over 40 back in the day? What did they do with themselves? Actually, it was the 70s we all know what was going on...(too soon?)

No, but seriously, I read - I read a lot. Books, magazine, uni textbooks (just kidding, I wasn't that desperate), the lot. And it was dull. Dull dull dull. There are only so many paper cuts I can endure and words sliding off the pages and whacking me in the head. Nah, never again.
As I lost track of time completely (I really need to get one of those watch things), I found myself tidying up my flat a lot, seeing as I had so much free time on my hands.
I also went on a walk (alone as I couldn't call anyone to join me) and performed some weird karaoke with myself, as I seem to have every single musical show tune stored under the 'WTF Is Joelle Doing With Her Life?' archive in my mind. 
I don't like this version of Joelle. 
Back to the drawing board. 
And by that, I mean iPhone. I shall never forsake it for as long as... it lives.

Monday, 23 February 2015

Best Dressed At The Oscars 2015

A note from Joelle... 
Good morning! I hope you have a great weekend.
While we were all asleep around 2am last night, the Academy Awards kicked off. And my bae, Eddie Redmayne won Best Actor! It would have been great to see Felicity Jones take home Best Actress, but is wasn't meant to be this time.
This is the first time in years that I have been truly blown away by dresses at the Academy Awards. Lots of celebs want to stand out, but choose dodgy colours/patterns to do so, but this year was different.
Basically everyone looked awesome! Here are my favourites:
Emma Stone
Anna Kendrick in Thakoon
Lupita Nyong'o in Calvin Klein
Margot Robbie in Saint Laurent 
Rosamund Pike in Givenchy
JLo in Elie Saab
Reese Witherspoon in Tom Ford
Jessica Chastain
Disney star Zendaya Coleman in Vivienne Westwood

Who was your best dressed? Let me know below! :)

Sunday, 22 February 2015

Deliciously Different Student Food Swap

A note from Joelle... 

♫♪'No One' - Alicia Keys ♫♪

Deliciously Different Exante Student
Being a student, living away from home without proper discipline when it comes to food is pretty hard. And even though I'm three years into my degree, I'm still annoyed that I haven't struck up the best relationship with my studies and healthy food. 
Sure, I eat lots of fruit and veg, but I feel like I'm not getting enough of the right amount of nutrients needed to fully boost my brain power and efficiency at uni.
Deliciously Different Exante Student
I tend to be one of those people who instantly diss supplement meals/health powders before I looking into them. But how can I knock something without trying it for myself? 
So I gave the Exante Deliciously Different program a go when they kindly sent me a pack to try! Although the package reads "diet", it's not just about weight loss, but also proper nutrition. It's about getting the right amount you need in order to see good changes in your body. 
After a bit of research, I found out from a paper by a researcher at Aberdeen Uni (represent!) that nearly 40% of people 18-25 in the UK are malnourished. Not a good stat at all! Especially as most undergrad and postgrad students fall into this age bracket.
Deliciously Different Exante Student
My pack consisted of a mixture of shakes, savoury meals, puddings and drinks:
Toffee Caramel milkshake - This was by far my favourite drink. It sort of tasted like the butterscotch Angel Delight pudding I used to have as a child (but without the harmful additives).
Deliciously Different Exante Student
Very Vanilla Shake & Go - I've been on the go in the early morning, batting uni assignments and didn't want to slip up. So this shake was really handy. I just unscrewed the cap, filled the bottle with 200ml of cold water  and shook it like made until the power formed a thick milkshake. The vanilla flavour was tolerable, not delicious but okay.
Deliciously Different Exante Student
Raspberry Crush Drink - I took me a while to get into this drink. I'm a raspberry-lover, but I don't really like it as a flavour on its own, especially in a drink.
Beef Casserole - This was my favourite hot meal by far. Well seasoned and a good portion, which kept me full in the library for six hours.
Moussaka - I struggles with this. But I think that's because I don't like moussaka. A part of me was so tempted to get rid and make a stir fry, but I stuck with it and washed it down with the lovely vanilla shake.
Indian-Style Daal Pot (with rice and lentils) - I really liked this, but i'm not sure why, as I'm not a fan of lentils or Indian cuisine as a whole. But it was a good portion and kept me full for hours.
Black Bean Pot - Oooh, this was yummy. I barely eat beans, but I wolfed this down! 
Apple Crumble and Custard - this looked like hideous, creamy sludge when I prepared it... By it tasted divine! How does that work? I really wasn't expecting that. But it had just the right amount of sweetness and tartness. Plus the little chunks of apple added a lovely texture.

The verdict:
I can't stand being proved wrong, but the truth is, I really enjoyed my week with Exante.  Two big thumbs up from me!
Not only am I more energised and can get through 3 hour lectures without reaching for a bar of chocolate, I've lost an inch from my hips and and inch from my lower waist. I wasn't even planning on losing weight, but it just happened and people have noticed!
This is definitely not down to just Exante alone, but it must have played a part. I do pilates for and hour in the morning and yoga for just under 45 mins (Yoga By Adrienne on YouTube is amazing!). On every Exante sachet, they recommend at least 20 mins of exercise a day, which is cool because most health brands don't bother with fitness advice.
Furthermore, I'm a sucker for good, neat packaging/sachets, and the design of these are wonderful. They tell you everything you need to know on the front, with extra info on the back - nice, simple and not confusing.

Thanks so much to Exante and The Hut Group for hooking me up! This experience has taught me a lot about not judging something before giving it a go!
If you are sceptical, but still want to give it a go, you can check out the individual foods HERE. They are currently doing 40% for a limited time!
Have you ever tried alternative meal plans before? What do you think of them? Let me know below!

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