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Monday, 30 March 2015

Banana & Nutella Muffins

A note from Joelle... 
Banana & Nutella Muffins
There are some combinations of food that just fit together in a heavenly culinary marriage. Nutella and Banana is one of them.
So what is a girl to do when she finds herself with half a jar of Nutella (I was meant to give it up from Lent, but...) and two very, very ripe bananas?
I can't keep them away from each other, that's just cruel!
I just had to make my banana & Nutella muffins.

For 12 muffins, here's what you'll need:
2 very ripe bananas - the darker and spottier, the better.
250g Plain flour, sieved (you can use self raising. If so, you don't been much baking powder and salt)
 100g Unsalted butter, melted
A pinch of salt
1 tsp Baking powder
Dash of cinnamon
 120g White caster sugar (I don't add too much sugar because the ripe bananas and the Nutella are sweet enough)
2 large eggs, beaten
3 heaped tbsp Nutella (you may want to let it sit out at room temp. before using. Or you can put it in the microwave for 10 seconds.)
1 tsp vanilla extract (try to avoid essence)
Banana & Nutella Muffins
Method:
Combine all the dry ingredients (flour, sugar, salt, cinnamon, baking powder) in a bowl.
In a separate mixing bowl, mash up the bananas. I recommend using a fork and not something as powerful as a blender because you want a good banana texture. If it's too smooth, the flavour disappears and also it turns into more of a banana bread.
Then add all the other wet ingredients (beaten eggs, melted butter, vanilla) to the banana.
Next, pour the wet mixture into the dry mixture and fold until it's a fully combined batter.
Don't be tempted to add milk at this stage, it's meant to be thick and ugly-looking.
Grab a spoon or icecream scoop and fill each muffin case. Remember to leave about 1cm.
Then get your nutella and drop a teaspoon amount into the middle of each case.
With a sharp knife or toothpick, swirl the nutella through the batter, but not too much as we don't want the whole muffin to turn brown.
The bake in the oven for 20 minutes.
Leave to cool for ten mins and then dig in! They taste really good whilst warm or cold.
Banana & Nutella Muffins
I wish you could smell these right now! I don't even like bananas that much, but these are unreal!
Happy baking!
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Friday, 27 March 2015

The 'Deen Scene: My 21st Birthday Ball!

A note from Joelle... 
I can't stand celebrating my birthday. I find it so weird having a day where all eyes are on me. No joke, it's my worst nightmare.
The Ball started off as a party for my flat mate's 22nd (she's also a February Girl! In fact, both my flatmates are!)
But then, like always I was roped into a joint birthday, even though I've never organised a party, yet alone a BALL in my life! Ahhhhhhhh!
So let's start at the beginning: 27t Feb 2015. I turned 21 at around 10.30am and headed off to the airport to pick up Hannah, who had flown in from London (coolest thing EVER!).
 So I got ready feeling super happy that it was my birthday!
And then I remembered that it was probably going to be one of the longest days of my life...
My family sent me some flowers, chocolates, cards and balloons the day before, which was a lovely surprise (I never expect anything!).

The Hotel
Dede and I were hosting the Ball in the Thistle, so it made sense to book a room to get ready and sleep in afterwards, instead of having to lug everything back home.
When we got there, were were told that we had been upgraded to a King room! N'awww, so nice of them! They must've known it was my big day!

The Ball
After a nice manicure and too many glasses of pink Champagne, it was time to head downstairs and check the final arrangements, such as seating plans, menus and lighting. Everything was under control and the Thistle event staff were so efficient!
We then checked the DJ equipment, blew up some balloons and then headed off upstairs to finally get ready.
I was incredibly nervous leading up to 8pm. Things were going far too smoothly and in the back of my mind I thought something bad was going to happen last minute.
We have two rounds of guests coming: around 50 for the three-course meal and then some just for the party (we're still broke students after all!)
When everyone started arriving D and I were so, so happy. Our friends scrub up well! 
I wore this gold dress, rented from Girl Meets Dress. 
It wasn't my first choice, or my second... or third, but I didn't really have a choice in the matter after so many cock ups with deliveries of my original dress.
I'm just incredibly grateful that this one arrived just in time! Plus, I felt great in it, so I'm glad I chose to rent!
Before...
And after!
Just look at how stunning Dede is!!
 With all the places set, bow ties on, waiters ready and mood lighting set, it's was showtime!


All our guests were treated to a glass of Champagne on arrival (ooooh, fancy).
Then we sat down to a lovely meal consisting of lamb with roast veg, roasted pepper and tomato soup and some sweets from our candy table.
Me being me, I had to have a dress-change after dinner! #Diva
This dress is from Little Mistress and you can find it HERE.
RED VELVET!!!!
image by J. Pugsley
Just one more look
It went so smoothly and I couldn't have wished for a better day! Everyone looked stunning and I'm glad they had a good night.
Looking back at the photos, you can see my levels of drunkenness increase with every flash of a camera. Oh brilliant!
When you go out of your comfort zone and just go for it, it's a really great feeling!
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Tuesday, 24 March 2015

Getting My Sh*t Together

A note from Joelle... 
Getting My Shit Together
You know those times where nothing is going right and you have an invisible rain cloud over your head?
Yeah that was me for most of this month. I was a total mess!
I'm not really sure what caused it, but I was a total mess: average grades, chipped nail polish (*sobs*) and no drive to do anything productive.

That's why I took an impromptu break from blogging this month. It just didn't matter as much as sorting my life out!
Here, I realised that I'd been neglecting a lot of people,
Ch-ch-changes...
It's not such a scary thing once you make the decision to start bettering yourself.
I have decided to just live in the moment more and not take pictures of everyone/live my life through a screen. It's so unhealthy!
I don't need to take a picture to prove that my life is interesting and neither do you.
Put that phone down every so often and see things through your natural lense. 
The natural filter is the best filter.
I am so glad I did!
Gone are the feelings of failure and fatigue. I'm fresh and all fired up! (I didn't plan that alliteration, promise!)
To be honest, I wasn't scared about stopping this blog for a while. It's not like anyone really cares that much. And what's the point to posting shitty posts just to keep views up?
Nah, that's not me.
Anyway, thanks for sticking around! I have a lot of things coming up in the next few weeks, both in Aberdeen and Landan Taaaaaan. 
Yep, I'M COMING HOME for Easter and I couldn't be happier!
It's time for a change of scene.
Speak to you soon! :)
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Saturday, 7 March 2015

A Tablet For Life With Three Mobile

A note from Joelle... 

♫♪ 'Drawing Board' - George Ezra ♫♪

My tablet is only a wee little thing, and it's been hell trying to find accessories like a cover, case or stand to fit it.
Because of this, I let it gather dust for almost a year in my drawer and I just relied on my laptop, even though it's really bulky and quite heavy to carry around everywhere.
But everything changed when I was kindly gifted this Universal Bluetooth Keyboard*  for 7"-8" tablets from Three Mobile.
Boy, it's amazing. 
It looks like a little leather journal, but what's inside is pretty cool.

To be honest, I like trying new gadgets and stuff, but I did think the idea of a wireless bluetooth keyboard was a bit pointless. There's a keyboard on the tablet screen when you need it. That's kind of the point of a tablet - everything is on a single screen.

But I was wrong...
So how does it work? Well you use the grips to secure your tablet into the leather case and then switch the keyboard on using the button. You then pair it via bluetooth and you're good to go.

 - A stand to keep your tablet upright
  - Micro USB port for charging
 - The keyboard is paired with the device via bluetooth, so there's no annoying software you need to download!
- The keyboard is attached by magnets, so it's detachable when you don't need it
 - Padded case for tablet protection
 - The keyboard doesn't make too much noise when tapping away (this is a big benefit when in a super-quiet library)
 - The keyboard connects with IOS, Windows and Android tablets
 - No more scratches on my tablet screen! Because I use the glass screen less, it's less streaky and will probably have a longer lasting life now.
So has it been helpful? Umm, YES! I've been pretty organised (for once) with this little baby. I takes my tablet and portable keyboard out and about and it's super light and small enough to fit in my satchel.
I didn't use document software like Word of my tablet before, because there wasn't really a point. But now, I do and it's made my life so much easier because I can do work on my tablet and transfer it to my laptop at a later date.
I get emails done at super-speed and make less mistakes on my work because I'm not using the annoying touchscreen keyboard.
Have a look at the variety of Three tablets!
I'd like to take this opportunity to publicly apologise to my tablet: Please forgive me. I will never forsake you ever again! My tablet is for life!
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