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
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!

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!
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.
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!

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,
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! :)

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!

Thursday, 5 March 2015

My #Shelfie For World Book Day

A note from Joelle... 

♫♪ 'Down and Dusky Blonde' - Emily Browning ♫♪

GONE by Michael Grant - The first in the action series, and boy, is it intense! Imagine a world where people above the age of 15 have all disappeared. Young kids now rule the streets... and it's bloody chaos!
I really love the plot and the main characters are written really well.
Geology For Dummies - I'm a 3rd Year Geology student who still finds this book really helpful!
Only Ever Yours by Louise O'Neill - The best book I've read in about 5 years. Seriously, it's such an interesting story about a world where women (or 'eves') are created, programmed and then chosen to be companions (wives), concubines (mistresses) or chastities (spinster teachers) for men. Some of the content is really shocking, but in a good way, as it makes you think about why you think it's shocking.
I really can't rave about this book enough!!!!!!!!!!
Lobsters by Lucy Ivison and Tom Ellen - As I only got this book as a birthday gift (I sent round a birthday book wishlist, lol), I'm only on page 80, but it's great so far. It's about two friends, who have just finished their A Levels, so are looking to tackle the next big 'obstacle' in their way, losing their virginity. It's a really sweet, funny and awkward book so far and kind of feels nostalgic in a way.
I Heart... by Lindsey Kelk - Ahh yes, the famous series that every girl will read on holiday at least once in her life. The four that I've read have great plots and I can't wait to get my hands on the others. I read them a bit out of sync, but I got the jist of it in the end!
Another book I read a while ago, that isn't on this list is 'The Night Circus' by Erin Mortensen. Holy mackerel, it's a great read and I'm sure you've seen load of bloggers raving about it over the past three years. Honestly, buy, borrow, steal a copy, because it's one of those reads that you won't be forgetting in a hurry. If you like to vividly imagine scenes, characters and their world around you, then this is the book for you. It's like you can see their world in front of you. Truly amazing stuff.
There's been a buzz about it being turned into a film, and if that's true, I'll be the first in  line.
- - - - - - - - - - 
There is a strong Young Adult/Chick-Lit theme to my current shelf of books and there's a reason behind it.
As a child, I was only really allowed to read 'Classic' novels like Lorna Doone, Treasure Island, The Chronicles of Narnia and every book Charles Dickens and Roald Dahl book ever written.
Whilst I enjoyed some of them, I longed to read books that weren't always about a physical adventure, with a male lead.
I wanted to read about little girls in their own crazy world, doing things that mattered to them.
Enter my childhood literary heroine, Jacqueline Wilson.
Everything about her was amazing, in my eyes. From her books, to her amazing costume jewellery (which is still my main source of jewellery inspiration), she was the one writer who understood what I liked in a book. Some were fluffy and sweet, like 'Sleepover' and others had more hard-hitting tales like 'Dustbin Baby' and the 'Girls In Love' series (the TV series was also a favourite!).
I read every single one of her book (up until 'Candyfloss', I think.) and I didn't see anything wrong with that. Her words, along with Nick Sharratt's illustrations brought my revived my love for reading and I used to buy a book and finish it within just a few hours.
Sure, my parents and teachers were getting concerned because Wilson's books were practically the only books I read. But they were the only books that really struck a chord with me. There were only so many books about a poor boy with no family who ends up saving the word/living with mystical creatures I could take at that age.
Although I'm too old for Jacqueline Wilson's target age group, I can never thank her enough for showing me that I don't just have to read the longest, oldest books in order to feel something. It will always be about the words, not the cover.

As a teen, I moved onto action/thrillers/crime and spy novels. Something about that really excited me, because all the main teen characters, like Alex Rider and James from C.H.E.R.U.B were incredibly flawed. But they still managed to get shit done and save the day, which was incredible.
These books were partly what inspired me to write my first novel, S.H.A.D.E.S, as it's got those action/thriller vibes. But my protagonist is female and her issues really affect how she deals with certain obstacles thrown at her. I can't wait for you all to read it soon (if you want).
So happy World Book Day! It really is worth celebrating.
Are there any books you are loving right now? I'm always keen to find some new ones! :)

Thursday Thoughts: A Brand New Start, When You're Falling Apart

A note from Joelle... 

♫ ♪ 'Carry On' - fun. ♫ ♪

I'm a firm believer in taking breaks to recharge when life isn't going the way I planned.
I turn off my phone, abandon all social medias and just think more, oh and read. I read a lot.

It doesn't mean giving up and crawling under the duvet for a week, but instead taking time out to be alone to really talk to myself (and God) about what's bugging me. I talk/pray/cry/eat something/laugh/listen, repeat until I finally get an answer!
It might not be the answer I was looking for or wanted, but my issues almost always seem to melt away when I apply my new outlook on the situation.

My friends hear me use the phrase: 'It's not that deep' a lot and I know they are totally miffed by my London slang. 
It basically means, the current situation will pass and it's not that serious! Sure, it can't be applied to everything, but it can make me feel better in a lot of cases.

For example, a few weeks ago, I really struggled with a bit of coursework. I've never submitted in work late in my entire time at uni and for some reason, not getting it in on time really hurt. It was like I'd failed the whole course.
It seems silly looking back on it because 'it wasn't that deep'. But in those moments of despair when you think you're not in control of your own life, even the tiniest things seem like they can destroy you.

When you feel like you're falling apart, you needn't wallow in self-pity or lock yourself away from others. Instead, just apply the art of making a brand new start. 
Look back at your situation, not with guilt/anger/anxiety, but with a fresh, new outlook
And if you still want to try again, go for it!
That's what I tend to do and I feel myself emotionally and mentally stronger than before!
You either win, or you learn! No losers here!

Nate, the lead singer of Fun. penned the lyric: "If you're lost and alone, or you're sinking like a stone: carry on. May your past be the sound of your feet upon the ground and carry on."
It may not sound like much, but that is some real poetry about perseverance and getting back up, right there!

The truth is: I can either have a shit life, or a really great life. It's that simple. Of course thing won't always go my way -  mais, C'est la vie!
Even if you're thoughts aren't bright yet, brighten up your surroundings with fresh flowers, scented candles, your favourite, books/mags, etc. until your brain catches up.
Because it's probably not that deep.
As long as I've got a heart that beats, eyes that see, a brain that thinks and a mouth that speaks, I'll be okay.


Wednesday, 4 March 2015

Daydream Believer

A note from Joelle... 

♫♪ 'Daydream Believer' - The Monkees ♫♪

Whoa, it's been a while since my last outfit post, right? I would apologise, but I wont. There was no way I was going to stand in the petrifyingly cold Aberdeen whirl of ice, horizontal rain and wind just to take some lame-ass blog photo. Nope.
But the weather has picked up and I'm back! 
FebruaryGirl London Retro
FebruaryGirl London Retro
FebruaryGirl London Retro
Glasses* - London Retro (Presley Rich Havana). I used to be more of a rounded glasses kinda girl (I don't often wear my reading glasses on my blog), but these curved cat-eye frames are beautiful. I've had so many compliments, it's been quite overwhelming and I feel more confident about wearing my specs out-and-about now.
FebruaryGirl London Retro
Earrings - H&M I don't usually wear earrings, but when Hannah pointed them out, I had to have them! I love how beautifully simple they are.
Gold and White (or is it black and blue??) bangle - H&M What's funny is that the girl at the checkout counter saw the earring and this bracelet and said "wow!". She also said she'd try and buy them after her shift! hahaaa
Jumper - H&M I really needed a slouchy jumper for this weird weather, so I'm glad I picked this crimson oversized jumper up for just under a tenner.
Pumps - H&M ... so if you haven't guessed already, I went on a little HM spree this week!
Trousers - New Look I was really to-and-froing about whether to buy these or not. Are they too busy? Too elaborate for Spring? Nahhhh. The next day, I went day to New Look to find a top for Hannah and I wound up standing next to the rack of these trousers whilst wearing them. So I was basically a life-mannequin! A girl did notice and compliment me, so it was a good buy after all!
Necklace - Topshop
FebruaryGirl London Retro
FebruaryGirl London Retro
FebruaryGirl London Retro
 I call this necklace the 'Circle of Life' because it contains all the major African animals on it. My bestie, Hannah got it for me for my birthday, and she was spot on - I love creative jewellery like this!


Monday, 2 March 2015

The 'Deen Scene: I'M IN A MAGAZINE!

A note from Joelle... 
Just a quick one! I hope you're well and had a good weekend.
Basically, a really cool thing happened yesterday and I just had to let you know.
I am in this month's edition of Aberdeen I-on Mag. It's a big Scottish Lifestyle magazine and is just super cool. 
I was asked to do an interview about my style and then we shot some images for the feature on my uni's ancient camps.  
I'm still not used to this side of blogging, so please don't think I'm bragging. It's just very overwhelming and exciting seeing something you have dreamed about coming to life.
Many thanks to Susie Cormack-Bruce (the Editor) and Susie Lowe (the Photographer) for considering me for the review. I can't thank you both enough!
Aberdonians, you can pick up your free copies in selected shops and cafes in town.
If you'd like to read the article, please check out the I-on Aberdeen site HERE.


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