Wednesday, 7 October 2015


A note from Joelle... 

♫♪'New Soul' - Yael Naim ♫♪

When people think of the "F" word, it's usually "fuck" or even "feminism". Fair enough.
But in my opinion, there's one other "F" word that trumps all the others.
I'm going to let you into a little secret here... there's only one thing that has ever really scared me. 
I could face clowns, dentists and maths exams, but this? Naaaah, forget it.
No joke, this word once crippled me with fear. 
So much so, that I stopped doing things I loved and taking part in my favourite activities. 
For a time, it stopped me from being aspirational and optimistic. It stopped me from trying, yet alone trying my best.
I can't even define it, but I consciously gave it the power to almost wreck me.
What even is it?
Not getting what I want? Not achieving a certain grade? Not being where I thought I'd be in life? Being rejected? Being humiliated?
It's different for different people.
The "F" Word
This year, I failed at a lot of things. Personally, creatively and academically, I straight-out flatlined.
For a while, it really got me down, because obviously, I felt like shit. I came to achieve something and didn't follow through.
But guess what? It was the best thing that has ever happened to me...

Rejection and failure was the reality check that I needed. 
As a former overachiever and perfectionist, I managed to just cruise through life, doing things my way. It made me somewhat complacent and made me work a little less harder than I should have. Furthermore, it made me lose sight of my real dreams. Wanting to go everything well was too vague, but I thought I could do it. Hahahahahahahahaaaaaaaaaa. Ha.
"You pass failure on the way to success."

For me, failure takes me one step further to success. That's one step closer to someone really believing in me and what I'm about.

Understand what went wrong > pick yourself up > start again.

Failure has made me re-evaluate a lot of things and make some changes. I used to be so afraid of change, but how else are we meant to grow? 

What would this world be if Thomas Edison gave up on trying to make a light bulb? Blogging by candlelight would get annoying after a day, right?
It took him over 1000 attempts. ONE THOOOOOOUSAND!
He failed a ridiculous amount of times, but he knew he was one step closer to making a working prototype and changing the world forever.
And anyway, did he really fail? Or did he just find 1000 ways how not to make a lightbulb? #ThoughtOfTheDay.

What would this world be if J.K. Rowling accepted defeat after multiple failures before and during writing the first Harry Potter book?
She was a depressed, suicidal, single mother living in dire poverty, getting by on benefits during her early writing days.
Even after completing the first book and getting an agent, it was rejected by TWELVE publishers. Can you believe that? And if things weren't peak enough, she was then told to get a day job because she probably wouldn't make any money writing children's books.
I don't need to explain how she ended up, we all know what an icon she is now!

For me, failure isn't the important thing. Yeah, it sucks, but  what's important is what you do after you've failed. Will you stay angry, bitter and upset? Or will you get up, make changes and try again?

What's the plan?

1. Set smaller clearer goals - my goals were too hazy and confusing. I knew I wanted to achieve a lot of things, but ended up being a jack of all trades, master of none. My dreams will never get smaller, they will get clearer!

2. Ask for more help - I've always been one to hide my work when a teacher/higher authority comes around, and that didn't help anyone. These days, I'm constantly emailing and turning up at their office door (not in a weird stalker way, promise) in order for them to check my progress and give me advice. Asking for help doesn't mean you're stupid or weak. It shows humility and a keenness to grow.

3. Reward myself - One of my issues was productivity. Social media and Netflix were the key culprits, but now I have a system. I have to complete three things from my list before I can take my phone off silent and go on social media. I allow myself 1 hour of TV/Youtube only after I have completed half of my work.
It sounds bizarre, but I've taught myself discipline and self-control.

4. Talk to the Lord - The most important one for me and I try to do it as much as I can. For me, it's not healthy to bottle up everything and be a closed book.

My main goal now is to actually listen to what He says and obey it. Most of the time, it's not what I want to hear, but it always seems to work out! Casting all my worries unto Him and resting knowing that He's got my back is honestly the best feeling in the world.

5. Fearless mindset - I was not brought into this Earth to be fearful and not aim for success, and neither were you. Stepping out of your comfort zone and taking a risk shows a great deal of strength and determination. It shouldn't be feared as much as it is. What good comes from staying in your comfort zone?
With a fearless mindset and a positive attitude, I've been able to do things I never ever thought I could. 
Failure is actually another notch on the ladder to success!

So the next time you and I fail at something big or small, we should remember that you are actually moving forward! It won't feel like it at the time, but you are.
We should be our own cheerleaders, championing ourselves and filling our minds with support and positivity. 
We owe it to ourselves.

Monday, 5 October 2015

RECIPE: Caramelised Banana Bread

A note from Joelle... 

♫♪'Mad About The Boy' - Ava Leigh ♫♪

So we are deep into autumn and it's time to whip up some comfort food! 
I made this bread/cake on a whim last week when I was sick and tired of spending money in the library cafe. 
I thought about how much money I would save if I made my own version of the really good toffee banana muffins they sell, so set myself a challenge...
I had to make a banana bread, which was not only delicious, but also healthier than the one I usually buy.
So I reached into my fruit basket, pulled out two overripe bananas (that I was planning to throw away!) and got to work.
It's safe to say, it turned out pretty well and some of my uni friends really liked it!
Because it turned out so well, here's my original recipe:
Even though it's a cake because it has not yeast or bread flour, I call it a bread because it's baked in a wee loaf tin! 

You will need:
2 ripe bananas
140g Plain flour
140g Caster Sugar
1 tsp Baking powder
2 medium eggs
1 cap Vanilla extract
140g Unsalted butter
Splash of milk

Preheat the oven to 180C/Gas 4
Mush up one banana with a fork
Whisk the eggs and sugar together
Add the melted butter and vanilla extract and stir well
Sieve in the flour and baking powder and fold until a batter is formed
Add a splash of milk, cinnamon and a pinch of nutmeg
Pour into a greased loaf tin
Chop up the other banana into thin disks and line them on top of the batter
Sprinkle with a little bit of sugar and bake for 25 minutes or until the batter is not sticking to a skewer
Because of the cinnamon turning the batter brown, it's hard to tell if the loaf is done or not
Allow to cool in the tin for 10 minutes before serving

Next time, I going to experiment by rolling a whole banana in brown sugar and then placing it in the centre of the batter. Hopefully it will caramelise and hold its shape, creating a cool toffee-ish banana core. We'll see!

Sunday, 4 October 2015

The 'Deen Scene: Ardoe House Hotel - Part 2

A note from Joelle... 

♫♪'Victory' - Cry Of The Celts ♫♪

Welcome to part 2 of my Ardoe House Hotel adventure. Have a look at Part 1 if you haven't already!
This post is all about the scrumptious food Claire and I got to eat in the Hotel restaurant.
The Dining experience in Ardoe House is rather special, as you can choose from two menus: the luxurious Blair's menu or the 

I think I'll let the pictures do the talking in this post. Enjoy!
When we got to our hotel room, this lovely selection of treats was waiting for us on the table. How sweet! D'geddit?
The slate slab was a nice touch too. No word of a lie: these chocs were devoured within seconds!
Monkfish & Squid with Pork Belly, Sprout Shells, Red Wine Jus and (what I believe to be)  a Squid Ink gel base
It was one of the best dishes I have eaten in years.
Claire went for this Roe Deer, Loin, Shoulder, Beetroot and Blackberry main.
She loves deer and she loved this dish!
For pudding, Claire went for this lovely-looking Yoghurt Panna Cotta, with Heritage Apples, Red Currants and Gingerbread
smiles all round
I went for the (humongous) Macerated Cherry Souffle and Sorbet
[insert multiple heart-eyed emojis here]
It didn't really taste like a pate, more like blended pulled pork. But it was still really delicious, with generous portions!
Pork & Ale Sausages, Arran Mustard Mash and Pale Ale Jus
As you can see, the portions are large and they are not stingy with the sausages!
Claire chose the Hake with Smoked Mussels and Girolles Fricassee 
Chocolate & Praline Cheesecake with Toffee Cream
Sticky Toffee Pudding & Muscovado Ice Cream
Absolute heaven. 
Breakfast each morning had a slightly different set up. You could either order from the breakfast menu or get a cooked breakfast from the buffet. 
As big foodies, we chose both... #NoShame.
Eggs Royale with smoked salmon - ooooooooh yeah

Not much can beat a Full Scottish Breakfast!
They also have veggie options, fresh fruit, cheeses and cereals, so there's something for everyone

What I loved the most about the food on the menu is that it say precisely where the produce came from - all farmed in the Scotland. They take great pride in using Scottish produce and every dish was cooked to perfection.

The staff were all so kind, on-the-ball and took the time to explain what the menu consisted of as soon as we sat down. Their knowledge was so impressive and went a long way!

But hey! Don't just take my word for it, have a look at Laura from Liparazzi's post about her staycation at Ardoe House!

The 'Deen Scene: Ardoe House Hotel - Part 1

A note from Joelle... 

♫♪ 'What If I'm Right?' - Sandi Thom ♫♪

As someone who was born and bred in the South East of England, I never thought I'd ever consider the North East of Scotland to be an incredible, vibrant place to be. But, when I moved here 4 years ago, I started 'The 'Deen Scene' to show everyone how amazing Aberdeen is! 
The newest entry to the 'Deen Scene' series is Ardoe House Hotel.
I came here for the first time last Spring when I attended my uni's Geology Ball. However, I never got to appreciate the true beauty of the place until now!
My flatmate, Claire and I were invited by Ardoe House Hotel And Spa to spend a weekend
Claire and I had both handed in large chunks of our dissertations just days before we set off, so this felt like a great time to chill out and unwind.

The Hotel

The 4 * hotel itself is a stunning 19th Century granite (sorry, I'm a Geologist) mansion surrounded by 30 acres of plush plush greenery. It's about 20 minutes outside of Aberdeen City, which means city escapes to Ardoe are so easy!

The Spa

On our final day, we headed to the gym to get a workout done. This lasted precisely 46 minutes.
Moving swiftly on, we got the chance to use the swimming pool, sauna, jacuzzi and pool-side loungers while we waited for our spa appointments. Just chilling out for a few hours was a great experience, but nothing prepared me for my first ever hot stone massage!
It was incredible! 

Many thanks so Ros, the masseuse who gave me a lovely hot stone massage and talked me through the procedure and aftercare. 
Robes on point

This trip has made me appreciate how beautiful Aberdeen is and that it's not just the city that's buzzing, but the countryside too.
Staycations only a few miles out of your city can be just a lovely as traveling abroad. In fact, they can be much less stressful and can still make your pals green with envy!
If you're in the UK, I really recommend coming up to Ardoe House Hotel for a few days of excellent food, friendly staff and joy all round!
If you're not from the UK, everything above still applies!
In all honesty, this is the place to go for a few days of total zen.

We encountered people from all walks of life, young and mature enjoying everything Ardoe House had to offer, and that's a pretty rare thing to find these days!

I wanted this post to be balanced - full of positives and a list of things that could have made the hotel experience better. But in all honesty, I can't think of many drawbacks! 
The only thing I'd advise you to do is book your spa treatments days in advance. It's a very popular part of the hotel and gets booked up really quickly!

I hope you enjoyed this post. Part 2 is coming up shortly. The food needs it's own special post, trust me!

Have you ever had a staycation or a spa break? Where did you go and what was it like?


©   . All rights reserved.
Blogger Designs by pipdig