Saturday, 31 January 2015

Turtle Bay Launch Party, Walthamstow

A note from Joelle... 

♫ ♪ 'No Woman, No Cry' - Bob Marley ♫ ♪

After a I went down to the launch of an exciting new restaurant opening on behalf of the FBL team. 
To be honest after a long train journey and stepping out into the bitterly cold city, we weren't really in the party mood.
But little did we know, we were about to stumble into the coolest joint in town. Located at The Scene, Walthamstow, Turtle Bay is a sparkly new restaurant that celebrates modern Caribbean cuisine.
Turtle Bay Walthamstow
I had never heard of Turtle Bay, however my sister (and companion for the evening) knew all about it, as there is a branch in her University city.
Turtle Bay Walthamstow
Turtle Bay Walthamstow
The flavoursome cocktails were flowing, the staff were upbeat and friendly - often dancing as they served the guests. 
Turtle Bay Walthamstow
This House Rum Punch is the DREAM! One of the best cocktails I have ever had. And that's saying something!
Turtle Bay Walthamstow
Turtle Bay Walthamstow
The place just had this vibrant, relaxed energy, which is what the island of Jamaica is renowned for.
Turtle Bay Walthamstow
We snuck into the big white tent outside the venue to watch some pretty awesome Caribbean bands play a live set. Everyone (including the band!), of all genders, races and ages were dancing and enjoying the music.
It's soooo hard not to "Dad Dance" and sway to the Reggae beats!
Turtle Bay Walthamstow
 Now onto the food. All I can say is 'WOW'. Honestly I could not believe how good the samples were.
From the sweet potato fries and crispy fresh calamari to the BEST jerk chicken I've ever eaten. It was so tender that it just fell off the bone and the spice blend was seriously on point. 
I remember getting a bit emotional over that piece of chicken, good Lord!
Turtle Bay Walthamstow
Guests swarmed around the food, keen to sample whatever was creating the wonderful aroma! These are the delicious sweet potato fries.
Turtle Bay Walthamstow Turtle Bay Walthamstow
With the main man himself, near the bar upstairs.
Turtle Bay Walthamstow
My restaurant reviews would not be complete without a sneak peek at the loos, right? I really believe that they are just as important as the restaurant itself...
Moving on.... how pretty are the Jamaican flag tiles and steel bowls? 
Turtle Bay Walthamstow
I really recommend taking the trip down to Walthamstow Central to try Turtle Bay. Your spirit will be lifted, you stomach satisfied and your vibes will be made that little bit more Caribbean! :)
Turtle Bay Walthamstow
There are also branches in Nottingham, Leicester, Milton Keynes, Southampton and Bristol. But don't worry (about a thing...), because the brand is looking to create another 20 restaurants over the next  couple of years!
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Thursday, 29 January 2015

Thursday Thoughts: Confessions Of A Reluctant Adult

A note from Joelle... 

♫ ♪'Believe' - Cher ♫ ♪

I am a changed woman.
Since I entered my 20s, I really appreciate strong, mouldy French cheese boards with grapes after a meal (instead of cake). AND I actually look at the label on a wine bottle instead of just the price tag. Ooo, I'm fancy now.
*searches for the emojis of the sassy girl and a wedge of cheese*
Hold on, THERE'S NO CHEESE EMOJI? 
I'm not sure I want to be in a world without a cheese emoji.
Forget everything I just wrote - I'm not ready to be a real adult.
But alas, the countdown has begun, and I can't alter it!
On the 27th February 2015, I will turn 21 and I can already feel 'the change'.
I can only describe it as going through psychological puberty... perhaps not the best comparison, but yeah! 
This new number will open doors (literally, casino doors) to me that I have always been barred from. 
I will officially be able to call myself a 'twenty-something', although that term makes me feel like I'm heading towards a Bridget Jones-esque life.
And most importantly, the things I do/write/eat/drink/say all matters now and that's freaky, but exciting!

I'm pretty excited and scared about my new leap into the real adult world and I think that's how I should be feeling. 
I may not have a plan to get to where I want to be when I leave the 20s right now, but all I know is that life's gonna go from 0 to 100 really quick, and I'm fastening my seatbelt for the bumpy ride!
Oh gosh, making up these dumb metaphors that's another thing I keep doing...
#JoellesGoingMad

I leave you with this...
'The Reluctant Adult Haiku' by Joelle Owusu
"I am growing old
For fuck's sake, I can't stop it
The adventure starts!"

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Monday, 19 January 2015

The Thomson Scene Launch Party

A note from Joelle... 
Last week, I was invited down to Callooh Callay in Shoreditch, London for the launch of The Thomson Scene. In October I flew to Palma on the Thomson Dreamliner with the incredible Thomson Airways team, so catching up with a few of them was great!
Bloggers, journos, celebs and photographers got together to celebrate the start of something pretty exciting!
The Thomson Scene is all about chilled and vibrant all-inclusive holidays for 18-35 year olds. An there is so much choice! With destinations across three continents, there's something for everyone.
The Thomson Scene Launch Party
My sister and I with Oliver Proudlock - the coolest guy ever!
The Thomson Scene Launch Party
The party was hosted by some pretty familiar faces: Proudlock, Lucy, Binky and Tiff from Made In Chelsea, alongside Jameela Jamil on the decks. Former MIC star Millie Mackintosh also came along!

Each cast member represented a holiday destination in a different room of the club:
Oliver - Thailand
Lucy - Ibiza
Binky - Mexico

We hung out the more in the Thailand room so we could stalk Proudlock use the photobooth and try the Thai green curry! They were seriously delicious. The MIC stars were so friendly and the atmosphere was electric!
The Thomson Scene Launch Party
The Thomson Scene Launch Party
The Thomson Scene Launch Party
source
Oliver's scene was voted the most popular in the end and a lucky girl won a holiday to Thailand (I wasn't jealous at all.)
The Thomson Scene Launch Party
If you want to find out why I cropped the image like this, check out my Outtakes page! (oh, the shame!).
The Thomson Scene Launch Party
 We sampled the all the cocktails on offer. My favourite was this Mexican  tequila and rhubarb-based cocktail called El Rivington Swizzle.
The Thomson Scene Launch Party
I don't know what I was doing with this skull. I saw Binky posing with it, so just followed suit. #TooManyCocktails
My sister and her friends have already started booking their Summer getaway and I'm in the process of choosing a destination too! For me, it's between Malta, Bali and the Dominican Republic so we'll have to see! 

The Thomson Scene is the place you need to check out if you're looking for chilled days an lively nights. Check out the Thomson Scene website and Twitter  for all the info PLUS an amazing January booking offer!
Many thanks to the wonderful Thomson crew for having me and my sister down! We had a blast!
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Friday, 16 January 2015

Spring Tavern, Ewell

A note from Joelle... 

♫ ♪ 'Life Looks Better In Spring' - Jon Lilygreen & The Islanders ♫ ♪

Surrey is full of amazing taverns and gastro pubs that serve up good quality meals. They are so popular in fact, that it's really, really hard to book a table. And The Spring Tavern in Ewell is no exception!
My elder sister turned 22 this week and the whole family had a delightful Sunday luncheon at the Spring Tavern.
Spring Tavern, Ewell
Cheers!
Spring Tavern, Ewell
The tavern has a lovely light interior with quirky decor and a good use of natural lighting. Check out the wine glass chandelier!
The Sunday menu is diverse and everything sounds delicious from the description. So delicious in fact, that by the time the waitress came round to take our main meal order, I had whittled my choices down to three...
The Birthday Girl went for the venison steak with sweet potato, malted poached pear, tenderstem broccoli, blackberry & elderflower jelly. I didn't think the combo was the most inviting, but she loved it.
My two other sisters went for a whopping great, big cheeseburger and fries. Extra points for the cool slate dish.
My mother went all fancy and ordered the slow-cooked pork belly with seared scallops, sticky ginger beer glaze, crackling, black pudding, mashed potato, green beans, Bramley apple & vanilla purée. Wow.
Someone told me that I had to order the beer battered cod with twice-cooked chips if I ever went to the Spring Tavern. It didn't take me long to devour the whole thing. The batter was perfectly crisp and not too oily and the chips were lovely.
Spring Tavern, Ewell
My father went for a traditional roast with all the trimmings (and a huge Yorkshire Pudding! - I took care of that...). 
Spring Tavern, Ewell
The general atmosphere is lovely and relaxed and the friendly staff really make the experience great. That's what keeps customers coming back time-and-time again!
Spring Tavern, Ewell
Spring Tavern
1 London Road, Ewell, Epsom, Surrey KT17 2AY
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Thursday, 15 January 2015

Thursday Thoughts: Welcome To The New Age

A note from Joelle... 

♫ ♪ 'The Call' - Regina Spektor ♫ ♪

febgirl blog thought post
I took this picture as I yawned and dreaded the busy day ahead. But then I was the sun bursting through the clouds, illuminating the raindrops and dust haze from my window. It was so pretty and made me think about a lot of things...
It's the start of a new year (new year, new me and all that shizz...) so today, I bring you a post about the little changes I am going to try and do to make 2015 the best year everrrrr!
As I sit here listening to an eclectic mix of Imagine Dragons, Regina Spektor and George Ezra, a line stuck out in 'Radioactive': "welcome to the new age".
This year, I enter a new, peaceful age where I'm letting go of stress and taking my blog in a new direction.
Last year was all about saying "YES!" to the opportunities that came my way, and boy, was that an incredible experience. I went on my first press trip, met some incredible writers and wrote some posts that I am so proud of (even if I have to re-edit them due to typos!).

What's surprised me already this year, is that I'm no longer afraid. I'm not afraid of anyone, rejection, making small mistakes! I once took things so seriously, that I never really stopped and realised that nothing has to be that "deep".
The "fuck it" feeling is like no other and I know that being fearless in every aspect of my life will propel me to new heights. And I'm going to take you with me! Every step of the way, where I challenge myself this year, I'll document the highs and lows on this blog. Your support means a great deal to me. I know it's cringe and I say that a lot, but it's true! :)

Let it go - I have taken a leaf out of Queen Elsa's book and am dropping old feuds, apologising and forgiving anyone and everything who's hurt me in the pats. I've changed and that means my attitude have changed too. 

Get my shit together - No seriously! I need to find the perfect balance between my science and artsy mind this year, as I can't let either of them slip away into the thought abyss. 

Say "no"- I know this sounds weird as you just read that last year was all about saying "yes". But what I mean is that I'm not going to let people walk over me this year. It happened a lot in the past, where I was too polite and too afraid of hurting feelings to decline things. But this is a new year and if I'm not up to something for a genuine reason, I'm going to stand up for myself (finally!).

Live in the moment - It's common for bloggers to carry around a camera and document their entire life every single second and I was one of them. But my friend hinted to me that I need to living in the moment more and just appreciate what and who's around me.

We are full of wonder! 
Here's to a fabulous 2015! This year I'm going to put my money where my mouth is and go get my dreams! Are you with me?
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Wednesday, 14 January 2015

How I Went Caffeine-Free!

A note from Joelle... 

♫ ♪ 'LISTEN TO THE MAN' - GEORGE EZRA ♫ ♪

How I Went Caffeine-Free!

As I have been caffiene-free for just over a year now, I thought it's time to share my journey with you guys.
Let me start at the beginning...
Since the age of 13 up until 19, I had been tea-obsessed. Looking back on it, I guess you could say it was an addiction, as I physically could not function without my 8 cups of Earl Grey tea... every day. I had the occasional carbonated drink like Coca Cola, but was never one for energy drinks such as Lucozade or Red Bull. I guess only having to cut back on tea and Coca Cola made things a bit easier (coffee addicts tend to struggle more with going caffeine-free).

How did I stop my addiction?
I quit, cold turkey, which was the best way for me. Otherwise, I would have carried on making stupid excuses and not getting anywhere with improving my health. So one morning, I threw out all my teabags and coffee jars. But then I realised I was having friends over and bought some more to offer them! But I placed them on the high cupboard that I struggle to reach, so that I was not tempted!
I won't lie to you, I got really moody and grumpy the first few days. My body was so used to 8 cups of tea a day, so it got confused when it got 8 glasses of water instead.
I found myself deprived and desperate for a cheeky Earl Grey or latte, but I stayed strong and thought about how better off I'd be if I carried on with my water/herbal teas.

I was already a fan of jasmine teas from my trip to China a few years back, but still wasn't convinced that I could embrace it as a substitute.
Furthermore, lots of people said to me "why stop drinking teas/coffees when you can just have decaf?" But little do they know that a craaay amount of solvents go into decaf drinks, some of which are toxic. So there's no way they are entering my body!
Plus the whole point of going caffeine-free was to put less harsh chemicals in my body, so that I feel energised instead of sluggish.

So what have I been drinking?
I am a huge fan of herbal and fruit teas, especially the flavours Twinings bring out (ginger and lemon is my current favourite). I can't lie though, I had to really train myself to like the taste without honey or sweeteners. It's definitely true than fruit teas smell better than they taste. But these days, I sit back, sip away and actually enjoy it.

Another fave is warm water and lemon. You might think that's so bland and tasteless, but I dare you to Google 'Health benefits of drinking water and lemon'. Your mind will be blown! 


So, have I seen any physical changes, you may be asking? YES! Firstly, the dark, baggy circles under my eyes are practically non-existent. They really used to get me down during my teen years, but now my skin is repairing itself!
I'm also more energised in the morning, which means I'm more productive and my general attitude is better.
Oh and another big thing... It's helped me finally lose 1 full stone (with a lot of gym sessions as well)! Swapping energy drinks for herbal teas and lemon water has really helped and I'm really happy about that!

So yes, it's still really hard walking into Starbucks, smelling all those amazing spiced lattes and festive drinks and ordering jasmine tea, but I know what I'm doing is good for me in the long-run!
Have you ever tried going caffeine-free? What are your thoughts on this?
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Monday, 12 January 2015

Best Dressed At The Golden Globes

A note from Joelle... 
Last night saw the win of my favourite actor, Eddie Redmayne for his portrayal of Stephen Hawking (YAY!). And there was some awesome fashion too! Being a total celeb culture nerd, I stayed up until 1.30am to catch all the live red carpet action.
Shimmering sequins and bright yellows were the main trends. But the overall trend was bright, block colours.
Here are my faves: pics from E Online 
 Viola Davis in Donna Karan Atelier  - if you haven't seen her in the new show How To Get Away With Murder, you NEED to!
I love that Lorde's not afraid to rock a crop top and trousers at a formal event
Embedded image permalink
Emma Stone followed suit in Lanvin trousers
Jennifer Lopez in Zuhair Murad - she got a bit of flack for her cleavage and looking a bit diva-ish, but I think she nailed a look that not many people can pull off!
Amal Clooney in Dior - dem gloves tho
Ellie Kemper in Naeem Khan - My favourite look of the night!
Jessica Chastain in Versace

Emily Blunt in Michael Kors
Gina Rodriguez in Badgley Mischka - She won!
Who was your best dressed guest? Let me know!
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