Listening to Christmas music. Too early, too schmearly. 

Drinking as many Christmas drinks as I can. (See above). 

Exploring Haworth and falling in love with Yorkshire all over again. 

Knitting baby blankets and squeeing over all the new arrivals in my life. 

Running 10k – a lot more slowly than last year. 

Working my little socks off. This has been an intense few weeks. 

Giving myself a break – I can’t do it all! 

Chatting long into the night at Sarah and Ste’s house, after a delicious home-cooked pie. There’s nothing better. 

Buying all the knitwear and intensive moisturiser – winter is here! 

Planning an early 2016 getaway to the middle of the woods.

Nodding along to Elizabeth Gilbert’s Big Magic. It might be just the kickstart I need for 2016.  

Learning Spanish with Duolingo. I’m 1% fluent! This could take a while… 

Eating all the cheese at the Cheese Cafe in Leeds. Yep, you heard me right. 

Shouting to be heard at a family gathering. I wouldn’t have it any other way. 

Toasting the amazing work my brother’s girlfriend, Jess, is doing on The Worldwide Tribe. 

How about you? 


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Weekend Link Love


[Photo by Sebastian Unrau]

Phew! You might have been able to tell from the radio silence on this here blog that it’s been a pretty hectic couple of weeks for me. The pre-Christmas rush always takes me by surprise, and this year it’s been intense. I am working on trying to enjoy rather than just endure this season, but it’s not always easy when it’s pouring with rain outside and you don’t have time to catch your breath. Of course, there’s nothing really to complain about – everyone is busy, all the time. Have you ever asked someone how they are, and had them reply that everything is chilled and they actually wished they had more to do? Chance would be a fine thing. I like writing these little wrap-ups because they remind me that I’ve actually got a lot of lovely things in my life right now – when you’re in the mire of working hard, it can be hard to appreciate them. This weekend has consisted of some much-needed downtime and TV catch-up. Have you guys been watching Master of None? I am newly obsessed with Asis Anzari. What an incredible, funny, thoughtful show. It just proves that you can have a social conscience and still be damn hilarious – you really must watch it. Last weekend we headed down south for my Uncle Giles’ 50th birthday party, which meant everyone talking loudly over each other, trying to squish into my grandparents little living room despite all being full grown adults now (or about two-thirds of a full grown adult in my case). I feel very lucky to come from such a big, wonderful family, and to get to be friends with my siblings as well as just family. We had dinner with my brother and his girlfriend, Jess, at a lovely country pub with a proper fire, and didn’t stop talking all night. I need to make more time for my family, for sure. They’re pretty ace. How have you guys been? Any stories for me? 

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Maple Roasted Squash with Yoghurt & Pomegranate

Maple Roasted Squash with Yoghurt and Pomegranate // Amy Elizabeth

As I mentioned earlier this week, we did a lot of brunching whilst we were in the States. The best place we visited was Iron Gate in DC, which I urge you to visit if you are ever in that fine city. On arrival, we were led through a quaint little courtyard and into a cosy back room, complete with roaring fire and presented with the brunch menu of dreams. I mean, seriously, just look at it. It was almost impossible to choose between so many incredible-sounding dishes, but I eventually settled on burrata with salsa verde and garlic ciabatta, crispy yeast doughnuts with orange blossom syrup, and the maple roasted squash. All of the dishes were fantastic, but that maple roasted squash stayed on my mind and, what with it being squash season, I decided to try and take a whack at it myself. This is an unusual breakfast dish, and could be served for lunch or dinner too, but it somehow just works. Whilst eating it at our breakfast table before work doesn’t quite compare to eating it whilst sipping mimosas on honeymoon, it’s definitely enough to bring a smile to my face early in the morning. Although, when I made it this time around, I managed to get pomegranate juice on my shirt and had to change, making me late for work with the most middle class excuse ever – be warned! 

Maple Roasted Squash with Yoghurt and Pomegranate // Amy Elizabeth

Maple Roasted Squash with Yoghurt and Pomegranate // Amy Elizabeth

Maple Roasted Squash with Yoghurt and Pomegranate
Serves 2
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  1. neck of a butternut squash, peeled and cut into wedges
  2. 10g butter
  3. 1&1/2 tbsp. maple syrup
  4. salt & pepper
  5. Greek yoghurt
  6. pomegranate seeds
  7. pea shoots (optional)
  8. olive oil
  1. Preheat the oven to 180C. Place a roasting tray into the oven to heat up, with the butter inside.
  2. Once the butter has melted, remove from the oven place the butternut squash wedges into the tray. Toss with the melted butter, maple syrup and seasoning.
  3. Roast for 30 minutes, turning halfway through.
  4. Remove from the oven when the squash is soft and starting to caramelise on the edges. Leave to cool.
  5. To serve, spread 2-3 spoons of Greek yoghurt on a plate. Place the squash on top of the yoghurt and sprinkle with pomegranate seeds. Garnish with pea shoots, if using, and drizzle with a little olive oil.
Amy Elizabeth


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How to Knit a Simple Men’s Scarf

simple mens scarf

Last year I went on a mission to knit snoods for my nearest and dearest lady friends. It was an intense couple of months of knitting, but I’m pretty sure everyone was pleased with their snoods by the end of it! Paul, however, was a bit put out that I hadn’t knitting anything up for him and, with the weather turning chilly, demanded (nicely, he would hasten to add) that I make him a scarf, too. I searched the Internet high and low for more ‘masculine’ looking scarves – there are so many patterns for cute, feminine scarves or scarves for kids but not so many that would work for Paul. I eventually stumbled across this pattern for a ‘Boyfriend Scarf‘, which seemed simple enough. I used claret-coloured wool, but they had some other great colours – I like the greens and the mustard-y colour, too. It took less than a week of knitting in front of the TV in the evenings to finish off, so this was a great little project before I embark on yet another baby blanket! 

Scarves are a really great project if you’re a beginner knitter, or even an advanced knitter who just wants to relax in front of the television. There’s very little to worry about with this scarf – not a whole lot of counting stitches or rows. As long as you can cast on, do a knit stitch and a purl stitch, and cast off, you’ll be fine. If you can’t? I’ve linked to some good tutorials to get you started – it really is easier than it looks! The large needles and large wool will also help you along. I wasn’t particularly precise for this scarf, I just knitted until I’d used up two balls of wool, which was long enough for Paul.

Good luck! 

mens scarf tutorial

You’ll need: 

  • 10mm knitting needles
  • 2 balls of Lion Brand Wool Ease (or similar super chunky wool) 
  • Scissors 
  • Large sewing needle 

1. Cast on 20 stitches. 

2. Knit two rows. 

3. Knit two, purl two along the next two rows, finishing on a purl stitch. 

4. Repeat steps 2 and 3 until you have finished the first ball of wool. 

5. Add the second ball of wool and continue as before. Stop when you have a metre or so left of yarn. 

5. Cast off

6. Weave in the ends of your yarn using the sewing needle and trim any excess wool. 

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Brunch at Seven Arts, Chapel Allerton

seven arts

We really got into the brunch game when we were in the States. They are on another level over there, I promise. I can only hope for brunches so decadent in Leeds in the near future. That said, brunch options in Leeds have definitely gotten better over the last year or so, as more and more people get on board with this glorious meal. It was with great interest that I learnt that Seven Arts in Chapel Allerton, a mere five minute stroll from my house, have started up a brunch menu on Saturdays and Sundays which runs until 3pm. That is the best time for brunch – it’s far more socially acceptable to get lightly buzzed after midday, and the best brunches have an alcohol accompaniment. 

brunch at seven arts

Seven is one of my favourite bars in Chapel Allerton (and in Leeds). It’s just got a really friendly vibe and, since it’s a non-profit that’s putting on some great arts events in the area, you can feel very smug after a couple of pints there. As a non-profit, their food and drink is very reasonably priced and the brunch is no exception – a plate of huevos rancheros with chorizo will set you back just £7, whilst a bacon sandwich is just £4. Everything is cooked fresh and the quality of the food is excellent, especially for the price. Although my huevos rancheros didn’t include all the traditional trappings of the dish, it had a great blend of flavours and a guacamole that even this avocado-avoider was shovelling onto her fork. Plus, perfectly dippy eggs. Is there anything better? 

hot chocolate

Of course, with the wind and rain lashing at the windows, a hot chocolate was definitely in order, too – just look at those mini marshmallows! It was the perfect Saturday morning activity (despite what I said about brunch being best in the early afternoon, we had a busy day ahead!) and we’ll definitely be back! 


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White Chocolate, Pine Nut & Cranberry Cookies

White Chocolate, Pine Nut and Cranberry Cookies

There’s nothing more satisfying than a really good cookie. They’re so simple to make, you can stuff them full of your favourite flavours and they have that melt-in-the-mouth, butter-aftertaste thing going on. In less than half an hour (20 minutes, if you’re fast) you can have a warm cookie in your hand, ready to be devoured. Slightly crunchy around the edges, soft and chewy in the middle, they really are one of life’s greatest joy. 

I don’t want to boast, but a colleague described these cookies today as ‘the best they had ever had’, which is high praise indeed. I’ll let the cookies take all the praise though, because they do all the work – this recipe doesn’t require much skill on the part of the baker. Creamy chunks of white chocolate, subtle nuttiness from the pine nuts and a little burst of sour sweetness from the dried cranberries. These are a pre-festive delight and a perfect Sunday morning bake. 

White Chocolate, Pine Nut and Cranberry Cookies

White Chocolate, Pine Nut & Cranberry Cookies
Yields 12
Write a review
  1. 150g unsalted butter, softened
  2. 150g golden caster sugar
  3. 220g self-raising flour
  4. 2 tbsp milk
  5. 100g pine nuts, roughly chopped
  6. 150g white chocolate, roughly chopped
  7. 50g dried cranberries
  1. Preheat the oven to 190C and line two baking trays with greaseproof paper.
  2. In a medium-sized mixing bowl, cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy.
  3. Sift in the flour and pour in the milk, before mixing together into a stiff dough.
  4. Fold in the chocolate, nuts and cranberries until evenly distributed.
  5. Take a spoonful of cookie dough and roll into a ball. Place on the baking tray and gently squash with your fingers until the dough is about 1cm thick. Repeat with the rest of the dough until you've used it all up.
  6. Bake for 12-14 minutes until lightly golden brown. Allow to cool for 5 minutes on the tray before placing on a cooling rack.
  1. You can substitute the dried cranberries for other fun fruits, like dried blueberries or cherries. Roughly chop them if they're a bit large - cranberries are relatively small so won't need chopping.
Adapted from Waitrose
Adapted from Waitrose
Amy Elizabeth
White Chocolate, Pine Nut and Cranberry Cookies

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8 More British Food Blogs to Follow

uk food bloggers

After I shared my 8 British Food Bloggers to Follow last month, I stumbled across/thought of so many more that I wanted to share with you. It’s so exciting to see so many UK bloggers creating such beautiful photos and recipes – I’m taking a lot of inspiration from these wonderful blogs and I hope you will, too! 

Domestic Gothess

Oh gosh, this blog has such beautiful photos. I love how evocative Hannah’s images are – they seem to capture the dish perfectly and always make me want to rush out and make the recipe straight away. You’ll find a mix of different recipes on this blog, but it’s the sweet treats that will make you stop in your tracks. She’s got a lovely recipe index to explore, so I suggest you get stuck in! 

Patisserie Makes Perfect

Now, patisserie is something I usually stay away from in the kitchen (although in a bakery it’s a different story altogether…). I’m not one for finickety things – I haven’t got the skill or patience, but Angela’s blog makes me want to give it a try. There’s some seriously delicious stuff to be found on this blog – check out these Salted Caramel Praline Macarons for starters – and the fact that Angela is a mostly self-taught cook makes me think that maybe it wouldn’t be such a disaster if I gave it a go… 

Figs & Pigs

This blog is a new discovery of mine, but Rebecca and Jamie have already got me drooling over their delicious creations. Because it’s new to me, I assumed that it was new to the Internet as well, but their recipe listings suggest otherwise, with lots of good-looking things to try out. Discovering Figs & Pigs is a lesson to me to keep my eyes open! 

The Bearded Bakery

Michael is more than holding his own as a man in a rather female-dominated list (and blogging niche – where the food blogging boys at?). As well as sharing his tasty-looking bakes, he shares tales of his travels around the UK and beyond and a regular playlist to help you discover some new tunes. An all round gem of a blog! 

Amuse Your Bouche

I can’t resist a good pun, and this blog is no exception. Becca sums up her blog as ‘simple vegetarian recipes’, which is exactly what you’ll find here. This blog feels very inviting and cosy, and the recipes might even tempt my carnivore husband to risk going meat-less every now and again. Could I ask for more? 


Written by Sarah, this is more of a lifestyle blog with a foodie bent but it’s definitely one to keep on your radar for a bit of yumminess every now and again. Sarah cooks up the kind of food you’d love to come home to every night, as well as some more slimming-friendly recipes that don’t feel depressing (there’s cheese!). Just lovely. 

Wilde Orchard

Debs is a trained chef who has worked in Michelen starred restaurants and it really shows – her food looks absolutely beautiful! As well as being complete food porn, you’re bound to learn something from this blog as there are some great little how-tos. I was completely won over by her latest recipe, Roasted Pumpkin Ravioli, and I’m eager to see more from this gorgeous blog! 

London Bakes

I can’t get enough of the sweet stuff, and there’s certainly a lot to be found on Kathryn’s blog. The sidebar promises ‘sweet and lovely’, and that’s what you’ll find on London Bakes. A lot of the recipes are gluten-free, but without a lot of the faff that you often see with gluten-free foods – so this blog is a great place to start if that’s something that’s important to you, or if you fancy trying out something a bit different. 

Who are your favourite UK food blogs?

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A Trip to Haworth

Haworth, Yorkshire // Amy Elizabeth

When it comes to books, I’m usually a modern girl. However, there are definitely some notable exceptions to that rule and there are some pieces of classic literature that I would happily wax lyrical over for hours on end. There’s something so romantic about the classics; they’ve stood the test of time and spoken to so many people. More proof that we’re all the same really, whether we’re Victorian girls traipsing over the moors or Millennials instagramming our coffees. Love is love, and tragedy is tragedy. There’s something particularly romantic about the work of the Brontes; precocious sisters who wrote some of the best novels of all time, all three with tragic destinies and brilliant brains. Their real life is as fascinating and inspiring as their work, which is why I was so excited to visit the Yorkshire village of Haworth this weekend, once home and now homage to this literary family.  

Haworth, Yorkshire // Amy Elizabeth

Haworth, Yorkshire // Amy Elizabeth

The thing about Yorkshire is that it will steal your hear and never, ever let it go. I am already head over heels for this wonderful place, but Haworth is Yorkshire showing off its best side. Rolling hills, stunning scenery, pretty cottages, cobbled streets and good, old-fashioned pubs. You can even take a steam train to get there. Basically, Haworth is a total babe. 

haworth 5

Haworth, Yorkshire // Amy Elizabeth

As soon as we arrived, we were confronted by a Victorian-style apothecary, an old-fashioned sweet shop and a shop selling flat caps. It couldn’t be more Yorkshire if it tried, and was almost like stepping back in time. We started off by wandering up to the Bronte Parsonage Museum, once home to the Bronte family. The rest of the group weren’t nearly so fussed, so after a quick turn around the museum shop, where you can pick up the most beautiful copies of Bronte novels, as well as some Bron-Tea (!), we returned to the village for a wander around. Everything in Haworth is steeped in Bronte history, from the jam stall we passed selling ‘Jane Eyre’s Strongly-Principled Strawberry Jam’ to the school where the Brontes once taught. For a literature nerd like me, it was total heaven. 

Haworth, Yorkshire // Amy Elizabeth

Haworth, Yorkshire // Amy Elizabeth

Haworth, Yorkshire // Amy Elizabeth

Our original plan was to walk up to ‘Top Withens’, generally thought to be the inspiration for Heathcliff’s home in the moors. I was totally up for immersing myself in the bleak countryside and getting a real taste for the Brontes life. However, the weather had other ideas, and not wanting to get totally soaked, we instead wandered around the village, picking up some pastries and pear drops and popping into every book shop we could see. If you’re after a dreamy day trip, then Haworth really is the place for it – I’m still buzzing about it days later and I can’t wait to go back and get up on those moors! 

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Weekend Link Love


[Photo by Death to Stock Photo]

Hey friends, how’s it going? I’m actually writing this on Friday night whilst mainlining Minstrels. It’s been a long week, hasn’t it? I’ve got a fun weekend ahead of me, with a trip to Haworth and dinner at the house of our dear friends Sarah and Ste tomorrow. Hence sitting here and trying to type this out early. It’s good to try and get ahead of yourself sometimes. I’m getting distracted though, because Paul is scruffling the cat at the other end of the sofa and she is making the most adorable squished face of happiness. I’m so glad that she’s our cat, even if she does maintain a mild level of hated for me. She was so skittish and nervous when we first got her, and it makes me sad to think that she hasn’t been living this life of feline luxury forever. 

This week has mostly been me trying to keep my head above water. I’m sure I’m not the only one who feels like that right now. There have been moments of joy, though. Aren’t there always? We had some lovely drinks at Further North on Monday night with our new friends Heather and Jeff. A little wine and a lot of good conversation in a cosy bar is the perfect way to start the week. I also made Cinder Toffee with my Guides on Wednesday, which was lots of fun, and I perfected a meatball recipe. All in all, a pretty successful week, as you can tell. What have you been up to? 

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Book Club

book club november

So, I started a book club. A real one, not a virtual one. Or rather, one was started by someone else and then hosted by me – meaning I had to banish Paul and Ellie into their bedrooms for the evening. There was plentiful cheese and wine, as there should be at all good gatherings, and a lot of chatter – not all, or even much, about the book itself. It was nice to talk about books in real life though, even if only briefly. I’ve read so many this year </notsohumblebrag> and I’ve wanted to talk about almost all of them – it feels like a waste if you can’t share your excitement or disappointment or crazy theories about a book. I needed more book chat in my life. 

Carrie by Stephen King 

I’d never read Stephen King before I picked up Carrie – more by accident than design. I can see why he is so beloved – this is truly an astonishing debut novel and belies an incredible talent. Is it bad, though, that my favourite part about this book was the Foreword? I wish I had read it afterwards, not before – although I’m not sure it would have made much difference. This book is so ingrained in pop culture that I knew the story before I even started, which I think took away from the scariness. I imagine reading this with no pre-knowledge would be super spooky, but I didn’t find myself as creeped out as I’d hoped. However, the premise behind the book, revealed in the foreword, was fascinating and gave me a lot of pause for thought. If you’ve not read it before, Carrie is definitely worth picking up – but maybe try the movie if you’re looking to get spooked! 

Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte 

This was our book club book, and I think it was a resounding disappointment to all. That’s not to say that this is a poorly written or even an uninteresting book – it is in fact relatively gripping and written beautifully. But, Wuthering Heights is sold as one of the best love stories of all time, but it is in fact a story of violence, revenge and abuse – with a tiny bit of an unhealthy, kind of loving relationship thrown in. There’s something really distressing about this book, and that its legacy is of the love between Heathcliff and Cathy (so much love, that she marries someone else and Heathcliff spends the rest of his life torturing her relatives…). I loved the character of Ellen Dean, whose perspective the story is told from – I thought that was a really clever way of relaying the story and she was almost the only good character in the novel. The descriptions of the Yorkshire Moors made me excited to visit Haworth next weekend (Bronte County!) but I was left with a bit of a sinking feeling at the end of the book. If you’re after some good Bronte with a more positive love story – both Jane Eyre and Villette by Charlotte Bronte will probably fill that gap much better for you! 

Home is Burning by Dan Marshall* 

Don’t read this book if you’re in a fragile state, as you will find yourself weeping uncontrollably. You’ll also find yourself chuckling at the incredibly dark, incredibly crude humour of this book. This is a true story of self-proclaimed ‘rich asshole’ Dan, who is forced to move back home from a sparkling life in LA to help care for his two terminally ill parents. It shouldn’t be funny, but at moments you will be, quite literally, lol-ing. It’s also incredibly poignant and heart-wrenching, as well as being frustrating. All of which, I think, you’re supposed to feel. Whilst his mother is suffering with cancer, she has been beating it for years (she’s basically a hero, I loved her) but his Dad’s condition, Lou Gehrig’s disease, is much more pressing and this book basically charts his decline and eventual death (no spoilers, it’s mentioned in the first few pages). His Dad sounds like he was an incredible man, and it’s frustrating to watch as his family falls apart around him in an effort to care for him – you want to shake them, or march in there yourself and give the whole house a really good clean. It’s a testament to the book’s honesty that Dan is so honest about his own shortcomings, and his journey to grow up whilst something so awful is happening – although I would defy anyone else to cope much better in such circumstances. I’m not sure you can call it a happy ending, all things considered, but I did find this book very satisfying and I’ve been thinking about it ever since. 

The Bronte Plot by Katherine Reay* 

This book felt very cosy, and definitely appropriate for this time of year. The main character, Lucy, loves reading and, in particular, the Brontes. As her life starts to fall apart and her past misdemeanours catch up with her, she is transported to England with an older friend, Helen, who confides in her about her own secret past. Together they go on a journey to discover more about their own histories, in a hope to be able to move forward. There were parts of this book that I found a little frustrating – the dialogue was unrealistic and all the characters seemed to be able to pinpoint their exact emotional state and impart it to others in beautifully constructed sentences, and, conveniently, they were all wealthy enough to not have to worry about jetting off the England and wandering around the moors with a week’s notice (or less). The love story between Lucy and James had promise at first, but I didn’t particularly find myself rooting for them – they both didn’t feel like fully formed characters to me, so it was hard to believe in a happy ending for them. That said, I do think that sometimes you have to take a book for what it is, and this was an enjoyable story with wonderful literary references that I particularly enjoyed (especially since they visit Haworth, where I am heading tomorrow!). The secondary characters were wonderful – I adored Sid from the get-go, and I kind of wish we’d been able to find out what happened to Bette and to Dillon, because they were just so lovely – which only added to the cosy feeling. A little lacking in emotional depth and nuance, perhaps, but that’s just what you need sometimes. 

*I received copies of this book for review purposes. 


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