Monday, 28 March 2016

Spring Clean Printing with Epson ET-2500

A note from Joelle... 
Springtime is a weird time for me. On one hand I'm buying tulips, lighting scented candles and spending time replacing my grey/black winter wardrobe with more colour.
But as it's my final semester at uni, I'm super busy and bogged down with tonnes of work. 
Epson were kind enough to send me their fancy new eco printer to try and I was interested to see if it would make my uni and writing life (I write novels and poetry) a tad bit easier.
You may think it's odd that I'm doing a whole blog post about a printer, but this thing has really saved my bacon (and pennies!) over the past few months.

Let me explain...
During my four years at uni, I've spent so much money on printer credit and have never actually had a printer in any of my flats. This meant running to the library before a deadline, having to wait in line for about ten minutes and then always having some kind of technical error. It's been really stressful!
Epson ET-500 eco printer.
 The Epson EcoTank (*) is something I've never seen before. Instead of faffing around with pricey ink cartridges that you have to refill every month, this printer has a much more time and cost-efficient system. You pour your coloured ink into the designated tank and you're good to go! I've been using this printer non-stop, and the ink is nowhere near empty. 
I read that this ink will not need to be refilled for TWO YEARS.
What kind of awesomeness is this?
Epson ET-500 eco printer.
 Wanna know something else that's pretty nifty? No only can you print wirelessly, you can also print wirelessly from your mobile or tablet when you connect to the printers strong wifi connection.
Epson ET-500 eco printer.
After a really (thankGod, because I had been dreading it), the print was good to go in under 30 mins - no errors, no annoying beeping sounds, just smooth eco printing.
Epson ET-500 eco printer.
If you are a student, who spends so much money on uni/college printer credit and is sick and tired of having to go on campus to print, I really recommend investing in an Epson ET-2500 EcoTank printer. It can save you up to 70% in printing costs!
Epson ET-500 eco printer.
Right now, I'm working on my debut poetry pamphlet, and printing off those dreaded past papers for my last ever uni exam. Deadlines are looming, but I'm feeling less stressed out now that I don't have to worry about wasting time with uni printers!

Wish me luck guys!
How is your Spring going so far? :)

Twist 'n' Shout

A note from Joelle... 

♫♪ 'Twist and Shout' - The Beatles ♫♪

Yoohoo! Me again.
This is just a little outfit post and update.
Brogues - Clarks

Scarf - Primark
Turtleneck - Matalan

Firstly, if you've read my friendship post and have commented, texted, tweeted, emailed, snapped or dmed me about it, then thank you! Your support and opinion means a lot to me. Because it was such a recent issue, I wasn't going to post it, but I realised that I'm not afraid of anything or anyone and this it could really help people in similar situations. So thank you for encouraging me to click "publish".

Basically, I'm going a bit nuts with all this uni work and to make things worse, I have broken my iPhone, laptop and completely destroyed my Samsung NX1000 camera.
It's funny that I've taken it all over the world - on slippery coasts, up volcanoes and mountain and then it smashes on my bedroom carpet........
What the actual fuck?

With that all said, I have a lot to be thankful for!
The sun is finally shining and I'm not wasting all my money on Dominos Winter Survival deals every week.
I am also adding the finishing touches to my first ever poetry chapbook, which is pretty exciting. I cannot wait to share it  with you, if poetry's your thing. Even if it's not, you might still like it!
Queen of the 'Carlton Dance'

I really don't know what I'm so happy about, I'm up to my (imaginary) balls in uni coursework and am contemplating dropping out three months before graduation to become a rapper's hype-man.

Anyway, there's a wee update on my life right now.
If you'd like to see more of my nonsense, follow me on snapchat: Joelle.Owusu!

Saturday, 26 March 2016

Easter Delights with Yankee Candle

A note from Joelle... 

♫♪'Looks Better in Spring' - Jon Lilygreen & the Islanders ♫♪

If you've been a reader of this blog for a while, you'll know that I am obsessed with scented candles.
All through my teenage years, I didn't get the hype and thought they were nothing special and then BAM... fast forward to the age of 20 and I have over 50 wax sticks in a box by my window.

But right now, it's all about Yankee Candle's new 3 Wax Melt Egg gift set that has come out just in time for the start of Spring.
Wax candle melts inside the egg:
Summer Scoop - really clean and fresh aroma
Jelly Bean (my personal favourite) - nice and sweet, but not sickly
Cappuccino Truffle - rich and smooth scent that makes you feel nice and cosy

And they are all under £1.50 if you buy them individually, say whaaaaat!?

This was my first time using a wax melt warmer pot and it's actually pretty cool. 
You place the melt on top, light a tealight underneath and watch as it quickly melts into a puddle of goodness. The aromas last for ages and it's so lovely watching it melt away on its own little stove.
You've done well, Yankee, you've done well.

I hope you have a wonderful Easter break!

Tuesday, 22 March 2016

The 'Deen Scene: Cocktail Masterclass at Revolution Bar

A note from Joelle... 

♫♪'Shake It' - Metro Station ♫♪

Hi guys! I hope you are all well. Spring has finally sprung and I'm so happy to finally shake off the winter blues.
Last weekend, I was lucky enough to be invited down to Revolution Bar on Aberdeen's Belmont Street for a cocktail masterclass and a taster of their new Spring menu.
Now, if you're a student, you'll know Revolution Bar (aka Vodka Revs) all too well. I'm actually in my local one quite a lot, sipping on Rum Bongo pitchers and 

Sadly I managed to smash my camera into a million pieces a few weeks ago, so have to rely on iphone picture quality until I get a new one (which will be in the Summer!), so apologies for the blurriness.
I have borrowed some photos from 
Image by Iga Berry

Iga and Katherine picking their cocktails
 Barman Connor sharing his impressive cocktail knowledge
 Anastasia with her Starbuck frappe-style cocktail
Chantel adding the finishing touches to her cocktail

A perfect Rum Bongo consists of:
 37.5ml Bacardi Superior rum
25ml Teichenné Coconut schnapps
12.5ml grenadine
12.5ml passion fruit purée
Pineapple juice to top
Ice cubes
image by Amey
Julia giving a cocktail shake a go
Amey's delicious-looking cherry woo woo
 Denise with her berry mocktail


It was lovely to catch up with old faces and chat with bloggers I had not got the chance to meet yet. The community is really thriving up here in the Granite City and it's fab! 

Revolution Bar offers lots of cocktail masterclasses like this and not only are the drink lovely, it's the friendly and helpful bar staff that really make it special.

Join me in a few days for part II, where It'll be all about the exciting new Spring lunch menu on newly refurbished Revolution terrace. You'll be as surprised as I was at what's on offer!


Sunday, 20 March 2016

SHAKE IT OFF| Finding Freedom after Fraudulent Friendships

A note from Joelle... 

♫♪'Shake It Off' - Taylor Swift ♫♪

I wasn't going to upload this post until I read this amazing post about friendship breakups. It hit home so much, that I was compelled to share with you guys what's been going on with me.
There comes a time when you outgrow certain friends and vice versa.
It's super hard to walk away, but it's really brave and like I've found, it can turn out to be the best thing you can do...
The past five or six months have been incredibly tough for me. Along with final year uni stress, I've had major health issues too, which have made life that extra bit harder.
It's times like those when you need good friends around to support you, call you and try to make you feel better, when you feel like poop and start to withdraw.
But unfortunately for me, when things got tough, some of those friends were nowhere to be seen.
Instead of concern and compassion, I was ignored to the point where the awkwardness was too much. So, to save my sanity, I decided to cut them off completely.

To be totally honest with you, I was incredibly hurt because if it was the other way around, I would have been there for them, making sure they were okay. That's not even the role of a best friend, but that of a decent person.

A part of me tried to hold on for as long as I could in order to find out what the hell was wrong, but then I decided that I couldn't be dealing with that kind of stress on top of everything else I was going through.

Instead of genuine texts to find out how I was, I received weird, calculated texts - a icebreaker psychological test to see if I was still in their good books. A light-hearted reply = yes, no response = the friendship was dead. I chose the latter because I'm not a fake-ass, fraudulent friend.

In a non-romantic way, I was heart-broken. Heart broken because after all the hilarious times and strong bonds formed, the support and kindness was just ripped from beneath me - out of nowhere. The bonds just fizzled out when I became unwell.
For the weeks that followed, I was lost in friendship limbo and utterly miserable. 
Who are my real friends? Should I try to reach out one last time and find out what's going on? Should I just leave it? Why aren't I good enough anymore? These were the questions that flooded my brain every day for about two months - pretty unhealthy, right?

The thing that saddens me most is that I started to doubt myself and withdraw. I didn't want to go to class, because I wouldn't know if I was welcome to sit with the usual friends. But I didn't want it to look like something was wrong, so I often just bit the bullet and sat there in a silent, psychological prison
I could tell from some of their faces, voices and body language that I was no longer welcome.
I felt like even though I was struggling, I was the one who had let the friendship die and I was the one who didn't make the effort.
And when I did sit with them, they would not talk to me for the full 2-3 hour lecture, turning their backs to me (I'm quite observant when it comes to body language), and then have the NERVE at the end of class to say "hey".
So was I invisible for those few hours, or nah?

It was at that point when I realised that I'd outgrown those particular people. I was no longer compatible with their ideals and behaviour. I realised that this friendship had been completely one-sided, not fake, asuch, but it had no real substance anymore.

So, what did I do?
I can't believe I'm quoting Taylor Swift, but it fits so well...I decided to SHAKE IT OFF!
I shook them off completely and fought back with forgiveness.
I shook off their cowardice and chose to keep calm and collected.
I shook off the bitchy rumours I was hearing and killed them with kindness instead.

Guys, let me tell you something,
Shaking it off and no longer caring has been the most liberating thing I have ever done.
I sit with whoever, I talk to whoever and it's something I've missed doing that! Some people even mentioned that I was unapproachable before, but now I'm hanging around different circles, it's much easier to chill with me. 

I honestly had no idea it was like that until I was told upfront.

A lot of the people we keep closest to us dont always have our best interests in mind. Yet we keep dragging the friendship along due to comfort - we don't know anything else and sometimes don't want to make new friends again because it feels like starting from scratch.
Not belonging to a group or (dare I say it...) a clique doesn't mean you don't belong. 

I can't lie to you, I did think long and hard about maybe airing some of their secrets and personal stuff/gossiping about them as a way of 'payback'. After all, I felt humiliated, so why shouldn't they feel it too?
But then I decided that if I did that, what kind of person would that make me?
What would give me the right to be preaching about bad friendships when I would be just as bad or even worse?
Me shaking them off doesn't mean they are off the hook and that I'm "weak".
I choose to remain loyal even when perhaps, it's not deserved.
Because I know it's the right thing to do and I know that the Lord was teaching me a lesson here.
I had to reach rock-bottom before I realised that He is the rock at the bottom. He brings blessing in the most miraculous ways, and this was one of them.

I know some of the people I'm referring to in this post read my blog and will think this post defamatory, but I don't give a shit. 

You should know by now that I write about everything - good or bad in my life. I'm trying to be an open book both online and offline, and it's hard to take then that's your problem.  
You can make of this what you will, but I'll never hate you or even dislike you, because I'm beyond and above all of that.
This is super important to me and I am done putting your feelings above my own *flicks weave*.
With that said, you need to look at your dodgy personalities and make some serious changes, because you're bad friends and it's better you read it on here privately than have people leave you out in the cold in adult life.
For your own sakes, leave your shit at undergrad stage and choose to go forward as better people. People will like you more and gravitate towards your warmth, I promise.

Now for the rest of us, we need to look at the people we surround ourselves with and ask:

Do they have my best interests at heart?
When all we talk about is gossip and mutual dislikes of other people, is that really a friendship?
When good things happen to me, are they cheering me on and genuinely excited for me?
Can we both/all take part in something without it becoming a competition?
When they bitch to me about other people in the friendship group and mask it as 'concern', are we really being good friend, or frauds?
When I go through a tough time and they hesitate to support me, is that really a healthy friendship?
Do they encourage and motivate me?
Do they inspire me?
Do your friends actually know me, understand/appreciate me?

If you answered "no" to any of those questions, I really recommend taking a step back and really thinking out whether these people are good pals. Don't waste your time and awesomeness on shitty people, please, I'm begging you!

The quality of friendship is more important than the quantity and at 22 years of age, I really should have realised that before now. Because it got to a point where I prefered to be alone than spend another second in the company of false friends - harsh, but true.
It's been a hard couple of months, but that's life, and most of the time, we have no control over it.
All I know is that no one can make you feel inferior without your consent.
So when you shake them off and remove that consent, their power is gone. It's at that moment when despite feeling like you've lost, you've won... and boy, is the prize worth the pain.


Wednesday, 16 March 2016

Here Comes The Sun x Millets

A note from Joelle... 

♫♪ 'Here Comes the Sun' - The Beatles ♫♪

The weather up here has been... interesting, to say the least.
One minute, I'm reaching for my sunglasses because it's too bright and the next day, I'm fighting the snow with my broken umbrella. WEATHER: MAKE YOUR MIND UP, LOVE!

Nonetheless, I'm out and about every morning, trying to get my shit together and this has resulted in me wearing active gear all day-long.
That's right, folks! I've become "that guy" who comes to uni in gym gear and heavy rucksacks and sometimes... walking boots. Bloody hell, I'm really fitting the Geology student stereotype, aren't I?
If you know me well, you'll know that I overdress for any and every occasion - "casual wear" and outdoor gear wasn't really something I got into until I started going to Geology/Geography field trips (e.g. I had to wear waterproof trousers and walking boots every day for over 50 days last summer!)
Millets Berghaus Colisto 3-in-1 jacket *

This new coat from Millets has really helped me out over the past few months. Not only is it black, so it goes with pretty much everything, it's also got a built in (detachable) fleece. So I don't have to wear loads 
Even though there's a fleece inside, the jacket is as light as a feather, so when it gets warmer in the daytime, I have just roll it up and pop it in my bag.
You can't do that with many outdoor jackets, I can tell you that!

If you live somewhere chilly or are outdoors quite a lot, then this jacket is for you.
Better yet, check out Millets to see all their outdoor gear! There's bound to be something you like.

Tuesday, 15 March 2016

Noodle Time - #WagamamaRAMEN

A note from Joelle... 

♫♪'wait your turn' - m.o. ♫♪


I really like noodles, especially noodle soup.
We we were younger, my mother used to whip up chicken noodle soup and I'd go for second and even THIRD helpings when I could.
After spending some time in China, I finally learnt how to use chopsticks! So gone are the days where I had to sheepishly ask for a knife and fork... I got this!

Wagamama have been perfecting the art of the Ramen dish for over 20 years now, and as a noodle fan, I went along to try some out with some vouchers. 

Chicken Ramen 
(Noodles in a chicken soup topped with grilled chicken breast and seasonal greens.)
This was my first proper ramen dish and it was really nice. The portion sizes are very generous and the chicken slices and chunky and well-cooked. In such a popular and busy restaurant, it's easy to expect the portions and presentation to be dingy and a bit sloppy, but they really did deliver.
What I also like is that there's lots of flavour, however, you can customise the dish with soy sauce, chili oil/powder to suit your personal taste on the table.

Wagamama Ramen 
(grilled chicken, BBQ pork, prawns, chikuwa and mussels in a miso, ginger and chicken noodle soup. Topped with half a tea-stained egg, menma and spring onions.)

   My favourite by far!
 Just look at it - there's just so much going on and it all really works.
I was actually a bit sad when I finished it, even using a silver spoon so slurp up the last bit of soup!
It's really filling, but you don't get that awkward bloating afterwards, which is a plus. Also, you'd think that with so many ingredients, ramen would be unhealthy... but no! You can check the calorie content and check out the nutrition of each dish online. You'll be as surprised as I was!

Pork Ramen 
(BBQ pork in a miso, ginger and chicken noodle broth. Topped with seasonal greens, wakame and a tea-stained egg.) 
How they managed to keep the pork pieces in the soup crispy, I'll never know!
I forgot to ask for mine without fresh coriander (aka the devil's herb) because I can't stand it. But guess what? I ate every last bit of it! The lovely flavours of the soup had somehow disguised the foul taste of coriander and it was only when I looked down at my empty bowl when I realised I had eaten it all. 
I think Wagamama has cured my life-long phobia of coriander!

If you're a bit ramen fan or have never tried it before, I really recommend you try the ramen menu next time to head to Wagamama. There's a flavour combination that will definitely tickle your taste buds (even vegetarians!).

Pssssssst! They also do delivery in selected areas (available in Aberdeen!). Yipee!
Click the links below!

THEATRE: COCK by Mike Bartlett

A note from Joelle... 
This show is not about chickens.

I love spontaneous theatre trips. I do it all the time in London - picking a fringe show that sounds interesting (if i'm in the area) and then heading down there to soak up the often intense performance and the intimate atmosphere.

From the name of the show, you'd think the play would be a hard-hitting, avant-garde piece, full of rawness and extremes. Yes, it's thought-provoking and intense, but it boils down to a classic love-triangle.

John is in a longterm relationship with M, an older man, with whom he shares a nice flat with.
Within the first 30 seconds of the show, you can hear, see and feel the tension between the couple, as M uses belittling and patronising language at John, causing the audience to immediately feel sorry for him.
Perhaps that's why when John admits he's been sleeping around, it's not met with sighs or any kind of shock from the audience - we are automatically on his side for the first quarter of the performance.
But as it progresses and the situation growing more hilariously complex, there's a dramatic change.
John falls in love with a woman, W, which (obviously) complicates things. Everyone (including himself) though he was a gay man in a committed relationship. John is clearly struggling with his identity.
What's interesting is that he is the only named character in the play, which I guess is ironic as he is the only one without a proper identity. John is indecisive and flimsy compared to the other three characters who constantly talk at him and try to convince him to sort himself out.

From looking around the audience, I noticed that COCK's content affected us all in different ways. My friend and I sat attentively, often giving each other the side-eye when something super-relatable came up. 
The two elderly ladies beside us roared, screamed and hollered at practically every joke and sexual phrase, as if they had been transported back to a strict all-girls school. It was weird to see them react that way, but somewhat refreshing.
The students behind us were equally as loud and entertained by the comedic dialogue.
The most interesting thing was the elderly gentleman in front of us who was clearly uncomfortable with the gay relationship. So much so, that he tried to shield his wife's eyes when the two male characters hugged and attempted to kiss. 
At first, I was annoyed because who the fuck chooses to sit front row and behaves like that? Did he really think the show would be about chickens, or something? Would he have acted the same way if it was a straight couple or even two women? I was fully of questions.
It goes to show that different generation behave in a different way when it comes to talking/performing homosexual relationships. But I think things are moving forward if my generation is anything to go by.

Whether you think John made the right decision or not by choosing to stay with M, no one can deny that the ending is very powerful. In a way, he finds himself back to square one, which is kind of what his partner wanted - normality. But it's clear he's not the same John any more.

Love is not as simple as just liking men or just being into women. It can be a lot more fluid, and less gender-biased as the character, John finds.
It's not just heterosexual relationships that face rocky situations and I feel that lots of people forget that or are blissfully ignorant.

COCK proves that you don't need props, fancy costumes or a big stage budget to create a powerful stage drama. The minimalist setting allowed the audience to actually listen to the dialogue without distractions. However, I would have liked more fluid movement between the characters and scene changes, but overall, the play did what it set out to do: challenge our perceptions of what sexual identity is all about, if it is about anything at all. 



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