Wednesday, 31 December 2014

The Best Of 2014

A note from Joelle... 
Hello there! This is my 2014 round-up post about some cool things that have happened this year.
If you're interested in my 2012 and 2013 posts, click HERE  and HERE.
I started the New Year by thinking about the direction I wanted my blog to go it. I wasn't so keen on wishlist posts anymore and wanted to do more thought pieces about prominent blogging topics. 
My Bloggers At Fashion Week post was quite well-received and I was surprised at how many other people thought similar things to me.
It's a post I was really proud of.

This month was only 28 days long, but boy, did a lot happen! 
Firstly, FebruaryGirl turned THREE!
A few weeks later, I took a trip down to london for Fashion Week. I usually go alone, but this time around I actually have a full-on FILM CREW following me around for the day. We filmed a 'Follow Me Round' kind of thing for a blogging TV series, which was really cool. The crew then came to my house where I was interviewed.
I tried my hand at LFW Street Style Photography, which was the single-most nerve-wracking thing I have ever done. But I managed to build up the confidence to ask people to pose for me, so it was worth it!.
At the end of month, I turn the grand old age of 20! I kept it very low-key and took a night trip to the beach to see teh Northern Lights with my flatmates.

My 'Blogger or Blagger' caused a bit of a stir, but I wanted to create a genuine discussion about blogger culture and whether some were in it for the wrong reasons.
This led onto another post I called , 'What Happened To Girl Power?' about what it means to women in 2014. I loved reading everyone's views on the post!
Attending my first Univerity Ball was a pretty cool moment for myself and the ACS committee. We even won an away for 'Best Event'. I spend a ridic amount of money on that dress, but I think I actually looked pretty decent for once!

I didn't blog much this month because I was on a uni fieldtrip with no decent wifi. My class went to the Isle of Arran and the scenery was like something out of Lord Of The Rings! You can see some pictures HERE.

This month, I actually took the whole month off blogging, even though it didn't look like it because I had so many posts scheduled to be uploaded.
I was really stressed out with exams and knew it was the right thing to do. However, I managed to turn something that annoyed me about studying into a full-on rant post: 'The Library Struggle', which highlighted everything I can't stand about my uni's library. I am very proud of that pie chart I made for this post!

Early this month, I packed up my things and moved from Scotland back home to London. But I was only here for a day, as I the jetted off to Bordeaux to see my sister! My Mum also graduated with a PhD and became a Doctor, which was the coolest thing ever - so proud!
This was the month where I truly let do and started no caring about being a bit of a goofball on my blog. I wrote 'My Blogging Fails', which highlighted a lot of my fails as a blogger. I wanted to show that no blogger has a 'perfect life', and that we are all the just same in the end!

July was a really chilled month, where I didn't really do much because of the intensive fitness regime I was on. But I did get the opportunity to attend a cool event, 'Battersea Power Station Party. We were one of the last people to get up-close-and-personal with the iconic building before they started demolishing it.

I finally lost weight and toned up my body all over! WOOHOO! I finally felt more confident in my body and it was a fab feeling.
The two posts that stood out this month were my 'The Tulisa Scandal' and 'Blogger Outtakes' posts. One was super-serious and the other... not so much! 


I entered my third year of Uni and got so stressed over my field trip to the Isle of Skye and other uni-related things.
I had taken some time off blogging over the summer. But I came back with a punch and created 'How To Pose Like A Blogger', which was a continuation of my 'How To Be A Legit Blogger' post.

I wrote another post called 'Get Ready With Me (Honest Version)', where I took the mick out of myself and those slightly ridiculous 'Get Ready With Me' videos on YouTube! What do you think of the post?

With coursework taking over my entire life, my posts were flagging a bit, but I decided to only blog after all my uni work was done and handed it. #Disipline!
With that said, I did take a week off to spend time with friends back in London and tried a really cool bar that was also a crazy golf course. It's called 'Swingers' and I really recommend it.

I took a 'Day Trip To Palma  with Thomson', which was such an amazing experience! I even got to meet one of my favourite bloggers, Daisy and spend the day exploring the city with her.


I dropped another one of my random posts on you all in the name of the #PRRequest Christmas Appeal. And it was so funny reading your reactions (I was totally joking in that post - promise!)

I do like to show my serious side every now-and-then with a thought post called 'Are Bloggers Being Exploited?'. It seemed to strike a chord with a lot you you, which I thought was fab. Even though not everyone agreed, it was good to get the ball rolling about this controversial subject.

The month of Christmas finally came around and I could not be happier to be taking a loooooooong break from Uni.

Against The Grain was a post about how and why I changed my writing style. It was really well-received, so THANK YOU! 

I have been supporting the No More Page 3 campaign for a year now and chose to write a post about why I was a supported: Why Boobs Aren't News. I like writing these kinds of articles, because they allow my readers to 

My sister and I were invited to the The London Chocolate Festival. As you can tell from the picture below, I had a good time!

Maaaaaaaaaaaaan, it's been an incredible year. Thank you so much for sticking with me through the hecticness of it all! Your support really means a lot to me!
Happy holidays, everyone! 2015 is going to be AMAZING! 
Go any plans for NYE? I'll be chilling at a friend's house. Staying in is the new going out, right? ;)

Sunday, 28 December 2014

The 'Deen Scene: Bottle Cap Brewery

A note from Joelle... 

♫ ♪ 'Let's Dance To Joy Division' - The Wombats ♫ ♪

*iPhone picture quality alert!

Coconut beer, anyone?

I don't like ale. And I grew out of playing board games, when I realised they were... well, boring. 
So with that in mind, it's interesting that I'm writing about this amazing new bar in Aberdeen, which specialises in ales and boardgames, right?
E and I about to get stuck into Jenga. (we ended up chatting for so long, we didn't even play it!)

So, there I was walking in, not expecting very much. But my friend hyped this place up to me so much, that I went with an open mind... and I am glad that I did.
The vibe is so chilled, even I was convinced that
I was introduced to this new bar by a course mate, who had been raving about it for weeks. But with this new bar just a stone’s throw away from Six Degrees North and Brewdog, what’s so different about Bottle Cap?
Well some of the beers are brewed in their own brewery on the top floor of the premises. Also, the unique beers and ales in Bottle Cap are changed every week, so it is a great place to experience new flavours.
For me, it’s just a nice change of scenery with a relaxed vibe, friendly staff and a choice of board games to play while you sample unique beers/ cocktails. The walls also double as blackboards and you are free to create your own works of art as you relax.

Their Sunday night pub quiz is ace too! You just turn up with some mates, pay a few pounds for a pizza and have fun! My team came second to last.......

Not bad pricings either, which makes it a winner with students.

If you're in town, make sure to check it out!

10 Littlejohn Street, Aberdeen, AB10 1FF


Saturday, 27 December 2014

New Year's Eve Dresses Under £30!

A note from Joelle... 

♫ ♪ 'What Are You Doing New Year's Eve?' - Zooey Deschanel and Joseph Gordon-Levitt ♫ ♪

Now that Christmas is over for another year, it's time to think about NYE and what you're going to wear!  Whether you're into sparkles, bold prints or plain dresses - I have you covered! All these amazing dresses are under £30, so just click on the numbers below to check them out and get party ready!
New Year's Eve Dresses
1 2 3 4 5
New Year's Eve Dresses
6 7 8 9
New Year's Eve Dresses
New Year's Eve Dresses
I hope you like this selection! Happy shopping and an even happier time on New Year's Eve!

Thursday, 25 December 2014

Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas!

A note from Joelle... 

♫ ♪ 'Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas' ♫ ♪

Embedded image permalink

Hi guys, 
I just wanted to say:
I hope you're enjoying your day so far and are enjoying the glorious sunshine! 
Eat lots, drink lots and be merry!

Speak soon!

Tuesday, 23 December 2014

Season's Eatings: Gingerbread Trees

A note from Joelle... 

♫ ♪ 'Mary's Boy Child' - Boney M ♫ ♪

Sorry I haven't blogged much this much. It's been quite a manic month. But next year, I'll be "on it" - I promise!
Anyway, today I bring you another festive recipe that is so easy and delicious! You can whip this out to impress your Christmas guests!
Gingerbread recipe
  • You will need:
  • 350g/12oz plain white flour 
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 2 tsp ground ginger
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 125g/4½oz unsalted butter
  • 175g/6oz light soft brown sugar
  • 1 large free-range egg
  • 3 tbsp golden syrup
  • Icing and sprinkles (to decorate)

1. Rub the butter into the flour until it resembles breadcrumbs (or use a food processor). Then add the baking powder and sugar
2. Beat the egg, syrup and vanilla extract (wet ingredients) together and then add to the crumbs.
3. When fully combined, tip the dough out, knead it for 3 mins and then wrap with cling film
4. Leave it to rest in the fridge for 30 mins
5. Preheat the oven to 180 C/Gas Mark 4/ 350F 
4. Line a baking tray with baking paper or light grease
7. Dust a clean surface with flour and roll out dough to a finger-width thickness. Then using your favourite cutters, cut out any shape you like.
8. Place onto the tray, leaving spaces between then and brush with milk (optional) or an egg for extra shine.
9. Bake for 10 mins or until golden and then leave them on a tray to cool for at least 5 minutes
10. When fully cool and firm, whip out your icing and sprinkle and get creative!
Gingerbread recipe
As you can see, I am very proud of my creations! It was my first time making gingerbread!
Season's Eatings!

Tuesday, 16 December 2014

The London Chocolate Festival

A note from Joelle... 

♫ ♪ 'Chocolate' - The 1975 ♫ ♪

The London Chocolate Festival 2014

 Even though I don't necessarily have a sweet tooth, I practically jumped at the chance when I was invited down the London leg of the Chocolate Festival! Why? Well, there's something everyone finds comforting about chocolate. It's not just for girls going through heartbreak, it's different for everyone and we all have our favourite types and favourite ways to eat and drink it!
The London Chocolate Festival 2014
I rocked up to the Business Design Centre near Angel with my little sister,Kelly to join in with the chocolatey festivities.
The London Chocolate Festival 2014
 Even on the last day of the event, the place was packed from the start - with groups also buying tickets on the day.
With a brochure thrust into my hand, Kelly and I both knew where we wanted to go first - MACARONS!
Everyone in my family loves them. In fact, we are all pretty mad about macarons! We have a book with recipes and a macaron-maker, but I'm far too scared to try and make them myself after my sister's failed attempt!
The London Chocolate Festival 2014
To cut a long story short...... we bought 11 each! Pistachio, salted caramel (the best!), vanilla (the second best!), passion fruit and raspberry
The London Chocolate Festival 2014
We were very happy with our new treasures, as you can see!
The London Chocolate Festival 2014
I'm quite fussy when it comes to macarons (can I sound anymore Surrey?), but Macarons By Babette did me proud!
The London Chocolate Festival 2014
You have to take the longest, slowest bites with macarcons so that they last just that extra bit longer.
 And there were tonnes of quirky gifts to, like this chocolate turntable. Perfect for anyone's hipster friend! 
The London Chocolate Festival 2014
The most delicious vodka ever. Toffee flavoured vodka sounds really sickly and sweet, but it's really something else. As a real vodka-lover, it gets 8/10 from me!
The London Chocolate Festival 2014
The were talks every hour from Chocolate Masters who spoke more in depth about flavours, quality, locations and production - with samples too!
The London Chocolate Festival 2014
Cookie dough bar!!! Yes, yes, YES!!
The London Chocolate Festival 2014
The London Chocolate Festival 2014
The London Chocolate Festival 2014
Meringues the size of my head with crushed macarons mixed into it = heaven!
The London Chocolate Festival 2014
A £1 coin dropped into a tarte citron I was going to by (making totes un-instagrammable!), so the guy gave me 50p off!
The London Chocolate Festival 2014
It was clearly our lucky day!
 Next up was Nude Coconuts, a company dishing up chilled, fresh coconuts and natural skincare products
The London Chocolate Festival 2014
The London Chocolate Festival 2014
The London Chocolate Festival 2014
After we slurped up all the refreshing water, we went back to have our coconuts cut in half so we could taste the jelly!
The London Chocolate Festival 2014

The pink flesh means it's a younger coconut, as it will eventually turn white. There's no real difference in flavour
The London Chocolate Festival 2014

Kelly's face says it all - it was delicious! (and also packed with nutrients)
The London Chocolate Festival 2014
We roamed around for another few hours, sampling drinks, bites and getting pampered at the cocoa spa! Someone has to do it, right?;)
The London Chocolate Festival 2014
Thanks so much to my pals at LivingSocial for inviting me down! We learnt so much and are true chocoholics now!

*outake: "errrrrrmahgerd, that macaron is so good!"
Have you ever been to anything like this? 

Friday, 12 December 2014

Season's Eatings:Joelle's #JollyJelly Festive Trifle

A note from Joelle... 
Hi guys!
The folks at Hartley's sent me some of their new Black Cherry jelly and challenged me to make a festive trifle!
I had never actually made a trifle before today, but you know me, I love a challenge! So here's what I made...
#JollyJelly Festive Trifle Challenge
You will need:
 - Hartley's Black Cherry Jelly - wonderfully festive and tastes amazing in a trifle (and on it's own... I might have made some vodka jellies with it as well!)
 - Custard
 - Trifle Sponges
 - Gingersnap biscuits (optional)
 - Fresh Raspberries 
 - Hartley's Jam (strawberry or raspberry)
 - Glace Cherries
 - Grated Dark chocolate - chocolate and cherries go so well together!

 - Read the packet instructions to make the jelly
 - For the Syrup: 300g fresh raspberries (save a few for decoration!) and add half a pot of Hartley's Jam into a saucepan
- Cook on a medium heat for 5-10 mins before removing from the heat and leaving on the side to cool right down
 - For the custard: I used instant custard powder, nutmeg, semi-skimmed milk, 2 tbsp caster sugar and vanilla extract.
 - Whisk all the ingredients up in a saucepan until a smooth paste and then whack up the heat and continue to stir and add more milk when it gets thick
 - when smooth and a good thickness, leave to cool, but carry on stirring so it doesn't get that weird skin on the top`
#JollyJelly Festive Trifle Challenge
At the base: blitzed gingersnap biscuit crumbs and trifle sponges (ripped up)
Raspberry syrup
Glace cherries
Hartley's Black Cherry Jelly
Whipped Cream (I didn't use it this time around, but it's good)
Grated dark chocolate/fruit on the top
#JollyJelly Festive Trifle Challenge
Check out the Hartley's Facebook for more #JollyJelly ideas!


Thursday, 11 December 2014

Christmas Wishlist

A note from Joelle... 
So many people ask me what I want for Christmas and I always give them the same vague answer and shrug my shoulders. For me, I just like receive what they think I'd like, as it's the thought that counts at the end of the day.
But whilst I've been online shopping for other people's presents, I have found some lovely things that might make it a wee bit easier for my family/friends! It's incredibly random!
Book (hardback)
Sex & The City Poster (don't judge!)

Thursday Thoughts: Why Boobs Aren't News

A note from Joelle... 

♫ ♪ 'Step On' - Happy Mondays ♫ ♪

Breasts/boobs/tits/jugs, we've all seen and heard of their existence. We know that they come in all shapes, colours and sizes and we all know that their natural, biological use is for newborn babies, providing them with essential nutrients. They are human udders, basically.

So why, in a 'family magazine' like The Sun are topless young women spread across Page 3 with their boobs hanging out.... in 2014? And WHY is it stocked at eye-level for under 18s? I, like many men and women have huge problems with this.

Here are a few reasons why Page 3 has to go:

1. We are not in the 1970s anymore - sleaziness of all sorts ran free in this decade and we know that all too well this decade as people are finally being held accountable, some 40 years later. During this decade of greed and sleaze, Page 3 became a 'thing'. Putting large images of topless teenagers (that's right, 16s and 17-year-olds were used until 2003), in a newspaper that prided itself as being 'for all the family', young and old is pretty scary. 
Rupert Murdoch and other publishing magnates need to realise what decade and century we are currently in. Gone are the days where clearly sexist content can just be brushed under the carpet.

2. Body image - Page 3 models really do influence both young boys and girls, even though no one will admit it due to embarrassment. That's normal. But here's what isn't normal: Some boys think that fake breasts, airbrushed, tanned skin and a tiny waist are what make a girl desirable and lust after that idea of 'perfect'. They assume breasts are nothing more than sexual parts for them to ogle at and then as a result, find it uncomfortable when seeing mothers feeding their babies in public (cough, cough, Farage).
And young girls? Over 70% develop body insecurities early on in life (even before puberty). Young girls don't even get a chance to develop a healthy body image, a positive attitude towards their bodies and their equal worth as a human being with soft porn in newspapers being so easily accessible for them to come across (even if it is by accident).
It may not be totally obvious, but when children come across Page 3 (and they do see it), it turns the naked body from something of beauty and nature into a simple, sexual thing. Then begins the cycle of body comparison, jealousy and low self-esteem. 
I am not saying that Page 3 is the sole cause of this, but it's a cause that could easily be removed to break this cycle.
It's an issue that a lot of males find hard to believe exists because if did not happen (as much) to them growing up.

3. 'Consumer Choice' - Everyone's favourite geezer, David Cameron chose not to support the ban on Page 3, stating that it is a 'consumer choice'. But it wasn't a choice, was it, Dave? Where was the market research in 1970, asking if the people of Britain wanted topless teenagers posing suggestively in their family newspaper? No one asked for it. But, back in 1069, Rupert Murdoch and his team at The Sun  needed to up circulation (it was very unpopular back then), so added some bare breasts to get people "talking" again.
And seeing as Cameron is backing more regulations for online pornography, so that children are protected, why is he ignoring the more blatant form of soft porn?
Something very shady is going on...

I know there are a lot of people who say "it's not sexist. The Page 3 models choose to get their boobs out and they are in control."
I was one of those people who thought this a while ago. I guess a part of feminism is owning and being in control of ones body, right?
 But that isn't what's happened here. It's a cycle where some women have been told to look/act a certain way in order to either get employment or get noticed. But is it other women telling them to embrace their figures and reach for their dreams? No. It's people who cash into low self-esteems and they are the real people in control, not the woman buying into all of this stuff.
It's a very sneaky psychological trap that a lot of women in this model industry find themselves in without realising. They are not in control of anything.
And of course it's sexist! If it wasn't where are the topless men? It seems that having women without clothes on is perfectly fine, because it pleases men, but The Sun wouldn't dream of using male topless models. Because then the page would be sleazy or even 'so gay' as one man I was talking to about this subject put it.
You may also think; "There are more important things to worry about than a little page in a newspaper", but again, think of the bigger picture. Women in the UK have a serious body image issue - yes every single one of us females. 
It's a pandemic that very few people want to admit to and it spreads from one generation to the next. 
And if we can eliminate one of the causes, perhaps the future generation won't have to go through what we've been through. Maybe they can have peace of mind that when they grow up, their achievements and talents will speak louder than the size of their breasts or the shape of their arse.

With nearly a quarter of a million signatures on their petition, it's time to stand up and make a change. As women in 2014, it's time to stop letting The Sun and other publications getting away with exploiting women and treating them like sex objects.
The No More Page 3 campaign does not oppose glamour modelling at all. However, the sight of bare breasts in a magazine that prides itself on being 'for all the family' is pretty horrific. 

You can sign the petition HERE.

The Sun is has been putting out the same message for almost 50 years: it doesn't matter what a woman achieves in life, her main a role is to get her top off and sexually please men. Where's the evidence of this? Look back to 2012, men and women from Team GB achieved so many medals, but the largest images of women in The Sun were those of topless women.
We are making steps in the right direction though, as Paul Clarkson, editor of The Irish Sun stopped using topless models and they are now all clothed as of August 2013. However, just a few months before this, The new British Sun Editor, David Dinsmore was reported to have said that he wouldn't be replacing topless models with clothed ones because "it's a good way of selling newspapers" *trying not to vomit on my keyboard*.
If you like to look at soft porn mags, that's fine, each to their own. No More Page 3 does not object to topless modeling at all.
But the place for that is not in The Sun or any other tabloid that can be purchased by impressionable children. 

Soft porn should be in a soft porn magazine on the top of a shelf for only adults to buy and read.
We, as a generation and society have moved on from The Sleazy Seventies. And it's time The Sun did the same.


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