The Pink Spritz

In Collaboration with Crock-Pot 


One of the best things about our new house is the bar cart. A little copper cart in the corner, stocked with our favourite booze for making cocktails. Our friends have kindly gifted us some little bits and pieces, from match cocktail shakers to all the fancy bar tools you need to mix up a little something of an evening. Which is a good thing, because we’re staying in a whole lot more because this new house needs paying for (… especially now damp is starting to come through the walls…). 


So, when Crock-Pot asked me to shake up a little spritz appropriate for a night in, I luckily had almost everything I needed on hand. The best thing about a spritz cocktail is that it always feels a little bit fancy (it’s all those bubbles) and you can adjust them so easily; this recipe makes two but if you like yours a bit stronger, keep all the gin mix to yourself and just top it off with the bubbles. Or swap out the elderflower cordial for elderflower liqueur. 


You don’t have to use pink bubbles for this cocktail, but it’s just a bit more fun when things are pink, isn’t it? Especially for a night in with a little bit of pampering involved. Maybe a face mask. Maybe a home pedicure. Maybe just a giant bar of chocolate and a whole lot of Gilmore Girls. You do you, and let the spritz do its thing. I used a dry-ish Rose Brut but anything sparkly and pink will work. 


Pink Spritz
Serves 2
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  1. 1 shot gin
  2. 1 shot freshly squeeze lemon juice
  3. 1 shot elderflower cordial
  4. Sparkling Rosé
  5. Ice
  1. Shake the gin, lemon juice and elderflower over ice.
  2. Strain into two champagne flutes and top off with the Sparkling Rosé.
Amy Elizabeth

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The Very Best Way to Make an Apple Pie


Like every other pumpkin-spice-loving basic bitch on the Internet, I have fully embraced the concept of ‘hygge’ this season. This Danish concept of ‘cosiness’ is having a big impact on how much I can embrace the darker days and colder temperatures of autumn.  There is no literal translation for ‘hygge’ in English, but it amounts to living simply and seasonally, finding ways to enjoy the chilly winter days rather than just endure them, and encouraging community rather than isolation. There are copious amounts of candles and hot chocolate involved, and plenty of blankets, but more than that, it’s about spending your time meaningfully, getting outdoors when you can, and spending quality time with your nearest & dearest in a low-key and switched-off sort of way. 


And so it came to pass that we spent an afternoon making an apple pie in the very best way possible. In the morning, I prepped the pastry so it would be ready, using my trust Four and Twenty Blackbirds cookbook (seriously, this recipe has never failed me and makes the most perfect crust for your pies). With the pastry chilling in the fridge, we pulled on our walking boots and our snuggly scarves and headed over to Lotherton Hall for Apple Day! 


Because, of course, picking the apples fresh from the tree and squirrelling them home to bake your pie is the pinnacle of pie-making perfection. Armed with a couple of apple-picking contraptions, a leaflet full of apple information, and a whole lot of enthusiasm, we plundered the orchard for the very best cooking apples. It was no mean feat, let me tell you! The birds and the bugs had had their pick of the apples (not to mention the toddlers who were far more skilled at this apple picking business than us!) but we walked away with a haul of 26 apples ready for baking. 


With cheeks rosy pink from all that fresh air (we’re all office workers, we’re not used to such things…), hair slightly damp from the rather abrupt rain shower and arms full of apples, we headed back to the house for the next stage of the operation. One of my favourite parts of hygge is sharing the cooking; entertaining becomes more a communal activity than a fancy dinner party. And many hands make light work – especially when it comes to pie baking. So everyone played a part; from peeling and cutting the apples to mixing them up with spices & bitters, to rolling the pastry and pouring over the caramel and assembling the lattice on top. It was truly a group effort, and it tasted all the sweeter when we divvied it up and poured over copious amounts of cream. Truly, the best way to make (and eat) an apple pie is with friends.


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Weekend Link Love


[Photo by Brooke Lark]

Hey there! Hope you are having a wonderful weekend, as always. I have spent the weekend relaxing at the spa like the luxury bitch that I am, and I came home to a tidy house with fresh sheet on the bed – so basically I’m living the dream. It’s been a busy week – but isn’t it always? I’m full of the joys of autumn today – the trees along our street are a plethora of beautiful colours, I’ve just eaten a leftover pumpkin muffin and I have my snuggliest pyjamas on. If every day could be a little like today, I would be a very happy woman. 

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[Photo by Luca Upper]

Melted cheese, in all its forms. Really, really cold white wine. Perfectly ripe raspberries. Hot buttered toast. Hot buttered crumpets. Really, anything that’s hot and buttered. A pile of mussels cooked in white wine with salty chips to dip in the sauce. Preferably to be eaten close to the sea. Crispy roast potatoes. A really fudgy brownie. The crack when you tap your spoon on top of a perfectly cooked creme caramel.

The true, gurgly laughter of young children. The true, raucous laughter of adults. 

Tiny baby socks and tiny baby toes. Giant puppy paws and giant puppy licks. 

Bubble baths on a cosy winter night. Showers after a long summer day.  

An unopened book. The smell of new books. The smell of old books. A finished book that stays with you for a long time. A book passed to a friend because you know they’ll love it. The text message they send you when they’re at the cliffhanger and know you’re the only one who will understand their pain. Buying books as gifts. Receiving books as gifts. Discussing books for hours on end. Bookshops. 

Cheesy 90s and 00s pop music on the radio at work.

The moment you first turn on the heating in autumn. The moment when you turn the heating off for good in summer. 

A bed made with freshly laundered sheets; ones that have been dried on the line so they smell a bit like softener and a bit like fresh air. 

Those nights with friends that you know you’ll remember forever. Those moments with family when you realise that you have the very best family, no matter that everyone else says the same. When friends become family, and you make plans for your lives together as if you were all just one giant married couple. 

Baking a pie. Baking brownies. Decorating a cake. 

When bus drivers wave to each other as they pass each other on the road. 

When you get to the bus stop at exactly the right time so you don’t have to wait but you don’t miss the bus. 

An Old Fashioned that is orange-y enough to take out the sting of the bourbon, but not completely. A cold gin & tonic on a warm summer’s day, but only when shared with friends. The bitterness of an Aperol Spritz and the sweetness of a glass of Pimm’s. The fruit you fish out of your glass of Pimm’s when you think no one is looking. Spaghetti aglio olio. Fish & chips by the beach, with liberal amounts of vinegar. Really good pizza. Really dirty pizza. 

Realising you really live somewhere when you can’t go to the shops without spotting someone that you know. 

Getting proper post. Writing letters. Sending cards. 

Writing in a brand new notebook using my best pen and my best handwriting. 

Roof gardens. Roof gardens with a view. Roof gardens with a view over Manhattan, in particular. Briggate on a Friday night. Roundhay Park when the sun is shining (especially when there are lots of dog-walkers about). The Mustard Pot on a summer afternoon or a winter’s evening. Chapel Allerton on Saturday morning. Leeds Town Hall lit up at night. Spotting the Candle House from the train and knowing you are so close to home. The ‘nearly home’ bridge on the way to my grandparents’ house. My aunt’s kitchen. My best friend’s childhood bedroom.  Yorkshire villages. Yorkshire countryside. 

Spotting a woman who is dressed outlandishly but so well you can’t help but grin and wish for some of her pizazz. 

People who are passionate about a really niche subject that I have no interest in. 

Twitter, when it’s at its very best. 

Fluffy peonies. Roses that actually smell like roses. Very bright daffodils. 

A really good sunset. 

Inspired by The Dolly Mail

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Weekend Link Love


[Photo by Luca Bravo]

What a beautiful day it is today! I hope it is similarly sunny where you are, and that you are able to make the most of all this autumn-ness. After I type this up, I’m heading to Lotherton Hall with some friends to go apple picking, before coming home and cooking up a giant roast dinner. It’s my first time trying to roast beef properly, so wish me luck! I’ve also prepped some pastry ready for us to make an apple pie with the literal fruits of our labour, so excuse me whilst we all don our flannel shirts and step into a glorious autumn catalogue scene. It’s been a busy couple of weeks for me, but something about the autumn just makes me happier than ever. Maybe it’s the crunch of leaves underfoot or being able to wear snuggly jumpers or maybe it’s just that things are going really well right now. I know that is rather sickening to read, and I apologise. I think it’s just that the sun shining in through the window really puts me in a good mood and it’s hard not to share that. I hope you all have a wonderful Sunday! 

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Autumn Bucket List


This season, I am all about creating traditions. Now that we’re settled into our home, it’s time to start making memories here and I’d love to do start setting up some things we can look forward to every year. The summer is a loosey-goosey sort of time when anything can happen, but autumn and winter feels like a good time to have traditions. For all my joy at the crispness in the air and the crunch of leaves underfoot, there is the misery of endlessly rainy days and dark mornings to content with, so a little bit of excitement is only ever going to be a good thing. 

Read a Scary Book 

This one is more for me, but with Halloween on the horizon and plenty of time to snuggle under blankets and read by lamplight, a scary book or two is definitely called for. Last year I dipped my two into two of Stephen King’s classics; Carrie, which I didn’t find all that scary, The Shining, which I very much did. I’m thinking of reading HEX which came out earlier this year, but I’d love any other recommendations. The two scariest books I’ve read in recent times are I Remember You by Yrsa Sigurðardóttir and Bird Box by Josh Malerman – both incredibly creepy! 

Bake a Pumpkin Pie

I meant to do this last year but ran out of time, so I still have some canned pumpkin in my cupboard ready for a pumpkin pie adventure. I made a sweet potato pie last year, which I really liked but my colleagues couldn’t get on board with (I think more for the concept than the taste!) so I’m excited to try this instead and see what they think! 

Host Friendsgiving

The first of many, hopefully! We’ve already got the invites in the post and we’ll be hosting 20 of our nearest and dearest friends for a Friendsgiving feast on 19th November. I’m eschewing the traditional turkey roast for piles of pulled pork and plenty of mac ‘n’ cheese, but I’ll be serving up pie for dessert and decorating with mini pumpkins so I think it still counts. We consider our friends in Leeds to be very much a part of our family, but at Christmas we don’t often get to celebrate with them all because of everyone’s work and family commitments so I’m hoping this can stand in as our festive celebration and a chance to eat, drink and be merry! 

Finish a Blanket

I’ve abandoned my knitting over the summer, but I need to pick it up again ASAP. I have three friends with babies very much on the way so I need to finish at least one blanket during the autumn if I want to keep giving them to little ones of my acquaintance! Knitting is a cosy autumnal activity, so it’s not really a hardship – I’m imagining holing myself up in front of Gilmore Girls and knitting the afternoon away! 

Go on a Spa Trip

I’m cheating a little bit with this one, as it’s been booked for months but I’ve never actually been on a spa trip so I think it still counts as a bucket list item! A group of us are heading to Thorpe Park in Leeds for a weekend of spa fun in mid-October, and I’m very much looking forward to an excuse to laze around doing nothing with some lovely ladies. I wouldn’t be mad if this became a yearly tradition! 

Watch the Fireworks

We didn’t go and see any fireworks this year, so I’d like to catch a display this year. Bonfire Night is definitely one of the highlights of the autumn, and we’ve got a friend coming to stay that weekend for the Abbey Dash so I’m hoping it can be something of a group affair at a local display, followed by sparklers in the garden, plenty of chilli & jacket potatoes and maybe some mulled wine if we’re feeling festive. 

Go Apple Picking 

Another one I’m slightly cheating on, as we’re off this weekend but I can’t not include it! In the spirit of hygge, I’m trying to plan more outdoorsy things and apple picking is so delightfully seasonal. Wrapping up in scarves and hats, filling our pockets with apples before coming home to a roast dinner and baking those same apples into a pie? Can you think of a more glorious way to spend a Sunday? Because I certainly can’t. I’m also hoping to visit a pumpkin patch at some point, but we’re rapidly running out of weekends before Halloween! 

What’s on your autumn bucket list? 

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October Goals


[Photo by Freddy Castro]

So, October. How did this happen? I think we might blink and it will be Christmas. I hope we don’t, because I am so not prepared, but I wouldn’t be surprised if I woke up and 2016 was drawing to a close. It’s a cliche, but it really does feel like time speeds up the older I get. Which is scary, because life also gets so much more awesome with every passing year and I want to hold onto it. I am pretty proud that I managed to keep up with my Couch to 10k programme in September, especially since things were so busy, but I failed pretty miserably at my other two goals. I did get a nice photo of me and Paul all dressed up for a wedding, though, which is a rare occurrence. I’m usually far too busy having fun to pose at weddings. So this month, I want to…

Keep Up with Couch to 10K

With the Abbey Dash coming up fast, I don’t want to lose momentum with this one. I’m really pleased with the progress I’ve made – I can now run for 15 minutes straight (!) and, dare I say it, I’m actually enjoying exercising for once so it would be a shame to lose that. It’s my aim to be able to run the whole way round the Abbey Dash, which I managed two years ago but failed spectacularly at last year – even if I am the slowest person by miles, that would feel like a big achievement.

Plan my NaNoWriMo Book 

Every year I think about doing NaNoWriMo (for those not in the know, it’s where you commit to writing 50,000 words of a novel in November – 1,667 words per day, or thereabouts) but always chicken out. I talk big about being able to write a book, but I’m not actually convinced that I really can. But this year I am going to do it – even if I end up with 50,000 words of total crap that I never want to look at again. And that means I need to do a little advance planning. I am better with a plan and I don’t want any excuse to procrastinate when it actually comes to November. 

Finish my Reading Challenge 

As I type this, I’ve read 92 books out of the 101 I planned to read this year. It may be more by the time I come to publish this, which means I’m almost at the end. I’m not going to stop reading in November & December but things are likely to be pretty busy so it would be cool to get the ‘challenge’ part out of the way so any reading I do at the end of the year is just an added bonus! 

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Toasting marshmallows on our new fire pit.

Cooking more pulled pork than was strictly necessary… 

Dancing my socks off (or, rather, my shoes off!) at a friends’ wedding.

Losing yet another bake off at work (!)

Loving the crispness in the air now that autumn has arrived.

Spending time with my mad-hatter family and feeling lucky.

Getting good use out of our new dining table. 

Drinking whisky. 

Trying to be brave and do more driving. 

Running the most I have all year, and maybe even enjoying it… 

Lusting after big scarves and suede jackets and ankle boots. 

Sending my sister off to University (and trying not to cry). 

Feeling pleased as punch that two people thought it was *me* moving into halls. 

Being taken down a peg when everyone else laughed at the idea! 

Experimenting with silver shampoo, and kind of liking the ‘grey’ look. 

Lighting candles and getting into the ‘hygge’ spirit. 

Celebrating big milestones for some of my favourite people. 

Pinning all the wedding dresses – bridesmaid duties are now in full force! 

Trying to find some down time in a very busy month. 

How about you? 

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My Symmetry Breakfast


If you hang around on Instagram much, you’ve probably seen the excellent Symmetry Breakfast account. Run by Michael Zee, who makes breakfasts for his partner Mark, @symmetrybreakfast is full of beautiful photos of two perfectly plated breakfasts side by side, with inspiration collected from around the world. That was about as much as I knew, when I picked up the Symmetry Breakfast cookbook a few weeks back; it had been on my wish list and was reduced on Amazon (I know, I know, Amazon is the devil) so I decided to treat myself and see if I could find some new brunch dishes to cook up in my new kitchen. Side note: how long will I refer to my kitchen as my new kitchen? I guess we’ll have to wait and see. 


With big glossy photos, stuffed full of interesting recipes for breakfasts from around the world, this is a beautiful cookbook. But it is also so much more than that. It’s a love letter, to Mark (the dedication in the front will make you cry), and also to food itself. Food is so much more than calories and nutrients, or even than flavours and textures and colours. It is nourishment for the body and soul, and this book will help you see breakfast in a whole new light. Not just as the most boring meal (for me) in the day, but as an opportunity for joy and connection. 


Michael woke up at 5am so that he could cook for Mark; the mornings were the only time they could spend together due to their other commitments, so he not only made these beautiful breakfasts for Instagram, but also for his partner. Food cooked with love is the greatest joy of all, and I do think you can tell the difference. This book, more than anything, was a reminder that any mealtime can be a chance to show that love to someone, and that it’s worth taking a bit of effort and care over. My symmetry breakfast is definitely not symmetrical (!) but it does, hopefully, embody some of the spirit of this book. I’m inspired to take the time over meals which feel like maybe they don’t matter in the grand scheme of things, because if it’s worth doing, it’s worth doing right. 

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Pomegranate & Walnut Chicken Stew


I’m sure I’m not the only basic bitch around here who is a big fan of autumn. After a rather disappointing summer, it is a joy to be experiencing a season who knows its stuff, isn’t it? The crispness in the air in the mornings. The crunchy leaves under foot. This is the very best time of year, for me. The sun is still shining more often than not, but it’s still perfectly acceptable to turn your attention to comfort food. Because, of course, the joy of the changing seasons is so much in the change in menu, is it not? Roast dinners with plenty of gravy, freshly baked apple pies, stews and big hunks of crusty bread. The food of autumn is like wrapping yourself in a snuggly blanket. I have some old favourites that I always like to bring out at this time of year – sausage and bean casserole, my fail safe chicken curry and these pork, apple & cheddar meatballs – but it’s always nice to try something a little bit different. 


I made this pomegranate & walnut chicken stew for a dinner party of sorts, served up alongside some other middle Eastern inspired dishes, but I actually think it’s a pretty good weeknight meal. It’s warming and cosy, but with the bright crunch of the pomegranate seeds doesn’t feel too wintery. Plus, it reheats pretty well in the microwave (sans pomegranate seeds) if you want to take the leftovers in for lunch the next day. The combination of toasted walnuts and sweet pomegranate molasses is enough to brighten even the rainiest of days, and you can easily double (or triple) if you’re feeding a big group. Serve with rice or fresh flatbreads, and maybe some honey roasted carrots if you’re after some more vegetables in you life. 

Pomegranate & Walnut Chicken Stew
Serves 3
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  1. 300g walnut halves
  2. 1 onion, finely chopped
  3. 4 chicken breasts, cubed
  4. 400ml chicken stock
  5. 50ml pomegranate molasses
  6. 2 tbsp. honey
  7. 1/2 tsp. turmeric
  8. pinch of cinnamon & nutmeg
  9. salt & pepper to taste
  10. pomegranate seeds & chopped parsley, to serve (optional)
  1. Toast the walnut halves in a frying pan over a medium heat. Allow to cool and then blend in a food processor until you have a fine meal.
  2. In a large saucepan or casserole dish, fry the onions and chicken until the onions have softened and the chicken has started to brown.
  3. Add the chicken stock and bring to the boil.
  4. Stir in the pomegranate molasses, honey, turmeric, cinnamon and nutmeg followed by the ground walnuts. Season to taste.
  5. Reduce heat and simmer for 15-25 minutes until the sauce has thickened and the chicken is cooked through.
  6. Serve with basmati rice or flatbreads (or both!), and scatter the pomegranate seeds & parsley on top.
Adapted from Minimalist Baker
Adapted from Minimalist Baker
Amy Elizabeth


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