Introducing… Readers Gonna Read

blog

Hey pals! As you may or may not know, I’ve been working on a new book blog behind the scenes – and I wanted to show it off to you! Don’t worry, this blog isn’t going anywhere, I just wanted a place where I can share all my bookish thoughts & reviews without bothering those who aren’t interested. Eagle-eyed viewers may remember me taking on a ‘100 books in 2015’ challenge last year and, not to exaggerate, it changed my life. Now reading is a major part of my day and I’m constantly thinking and talking about books, so Readers Gonna Read is just an extension of that. I really hope you’ll follow along as I’m bursting with book-loving ideas and want to share all the very best reads I’ve found with you all. Happy Reading! 

Visit Readers Gonna Read

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An Open Letter to My Blog

open letter to my blog

[Photo by Green Chameleon]

Hey Boo

It’s me. I think it’s time that we talked. Because what we’ve got going on? It’s not working for me. And I don’t think it’s working for you, either. You deserve more from me. I know that I can be hot and cold – some weeks, it’s like we’re barely apart, and others, it’s like you don’t exist. But I’ll be honest, I think you expect too much from me sometimes. It’s unhealthy, this cycle of obsession, neglect and guilt. That much I know for sure.

But you know what else I know for sure? I am a blogger. It’s just who I am. I have been blogging for around ten years – longer than I have done almost anything else other than eat, sleep, and read. Blogging is my first love, and is so much a part of my personality that I think I would be a blogger even if I didn’t have a blog.

Things have changed in that time. What was once a nerdy hobby that none of my friends understood, now blogging is a glossy career that my friends still don’t understand. Scribbled musings have given way to staged photoshoots and content creators. I started blogging before I started tweeting, Instagramming or even oversharing on Facebook (although I like to think I’m not too guilty of that one). Now? Social media is an extension of blogging, an obligatory if enjoyable extra. I’m not saying that any of this is a bad thing – I don’t like the lamenting for the ‘good old days’ without an acknowledgement of the ‘good new days’. But things are different, now.

Let’s be real – we’re never going to be professionals, you and I. That’s just not the way we work. I like the buzz of an office, the security of a regular paycheck, and the company of colleagues. Not to mention that, despite my many years in the trenches, I don’t think I have what it takes. So I want this to be fun, for both of us. I’ve got a lot going on IRL. There’s a lot of competition for my time, and I often feel a lot of anxiety about how I spend it. If I’m blogging and spending time with you, I worry that I’m missing out. And if I’m doing something else and spending time with others, I feel guilty about not taking care of you. You are selfless – you wait for me to return – but sometimes I threaten not to and that seems unfair to you. Sometimes I like the idea of a life without you – whole weekends without posts to write, emails to return, photos to take. Can you imagine such a thing? And yet, when you left me briefly earlier this year (thanks to my own technical incompetence) I sobbed as if a relative had died. I have poured myself into this space, it is a record of my life and a testament to my achievements and I couldn’t live without you.

So let’s change things up. Let’s make friends again. No schedule. No pressure. More posts that I can look back on in years to come and sigh and giggle at the memories. Less blogging for blogging’s own sake. More writing and enjoying and recording. Shall we?

You’re still my number one. Always and forever.

Lots of love

Amy

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4 Newsletters You Need In Your Inbox

newsletter

[Photo by Olu Eletu]

Maybe I’m a little bit biased since I started my own newsletter to share my favourite links, recipes, shows & books with you on a weekly basis, but I really think that 2016 is the year of the newsletter. It feels a little strange, maybe, to go back to email as a medium for sharing after everything we’ve gone through on the Internet, but I’m really excited about where newsletters are going. It’s time to get in on the action – here’s a few of my current favourites: 

Lenny Letter

Wherever Lena goes, we shall follow, right? Lenny Letter is like a little online magazine filled with smart, insightful journalism delivered straight to your inbox. Some of my favourite online writers have been featured, and they’ve covered everything from interviews with female senators and trans models to personal pieces about learning to swim and experiencing endometriosis. Given that Lena Dunham is at the helm, you can expect a thoughtful, feminist leaning to all of the pieces but other than that, you never know what stories might make their way to you. It’s a joy to pause in your work day and read a little bit of this newsletter.  

Girl Lost in the City 

Emma Gannon knows what’s up when it comes to the online world. She’s a journalist and writer (her first book, a memoir about living your life online is out this year) and her newsletter is stuffed full of links to the best stuff you need to be reading from across the Internet. With a focus on awesome women, feminism, blogging & life as a millennial, there’s so much to discover in just one of her newsletters – it’ll keep you busy for hours. She also shares book recommendations and an inspirational quote to set you on your way for the week. You’re gonna want to get in on this. 

The Ann Friedman Weekly 

Ann Friedman is one of my favourite writers on the Internet. Her podcast with bestie Aminatou Sow, Call Your Girlfriend, is a total must-listen, trust me. It will change your life, in the best way. In her newsletter, she shares her favourite reads of the week – they tend to be feminist, political and/or economic in focus but in a way that’s approachable and easy to read, which still being smart and thought-provoking. As well as some stuff that’s just for fun, obviously. If you want to stay clued up about the world, this is a great place to start. 

The Dolly Mail 

This is a new newsletter that’s already being talked about all over the Internet. Sent by Dolly Alderton, the Sunday Times Style dating columnist, expect stories and articles, features from other funny people around the Internet, some shopping recommendations and a recipe to top it all off. This is a delightful newsletter – this week’s story about learning to be tough had me nodding in recognition and laughing out loud at my desk – and the different sections mean you can dip in and out depending on how you want to be distracted at that moment. Just lovely. 

Which newsletters are you loving right now?

Other newsletters I subscribe to and love: Those Who Wander / Lemon & Raspberry / Eat Me with Jessica Valenti / Buzzfeed Books & Buzzfeed Longform / XO Sarah / The Friday Wishlist / That’s What She Said: Works and Words

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8 UK Food Bloggers You Should Also Be Following

uk bloggers

I’ve already shared with you 8 British food bloggers you should be following, as well as 8 more of them a couple of weeks later. I continue to discover even more wonderful food bloggers based here in the UK, and it seems a shame to keep them to myself. So, if you’re looking for more foodie inspiration on the regular then these lovelies should be your first stop. 

Candids by Jo 

Whilst Jo describes this as a lifestyle blog, there’s a strong foodie bent so I think she won’t mind appearing on this list. Originally a Bostonian, Jo crossed the pond for love and now resides in London, with frequent travels around the world. You really should be following this blog for the stunning food photography more than anything else – it’s truly a beautiful blog (and her Instagram is also worth a follow). 

Sprunting

Written by the delightful Catherine, Sprunting is a blog that celebrates the little things in life and has lots of lovely recipes that I’m always bookmarking for later. You may have spotted her on Humble Pie earlier in the year, too. This is definitely a happy-making blog to follow! 

Little Paper Swans

I love the style of this blog. The photos are simple and bright, and always bring a smile to my face. Written by Cathryn, you’ll be treated to simple, delicious recipes on this blog as well as a few little updates on her sweet new baby, Edith. 

Cous Cous Bang

Male food bloggers are rather thin on the ground as far as I can see. Guys who love food, where you at? Luckily Thom is representing and he won Guild of Food Writers Blog of the Year for his sterling efforts. I love the punchy style of his photography and the no-holds barred reviews. People of Leeds, you’ll be particularly interested in his cheat sheets for where to eat in the city

Emily’s Recipes & Reviews 

Emily is the queen of macarons. She has so many wonderful recipes for them on her blog, as well as a beautiful illustrated guide to help the slightly daunted (me) master these sweet little confections. That alone is worth following along for, but that’s not all this blog is about. As suggested by the title, you’ll also find lots of other recipes on this blog as well as reviews for places to eat and drink, mostly centred around the Midlands. A lovely blog, for sure.

A Life of Geekery

If you’re after a little bit of education with your food blog, then this is the one for you. Vicki, self-described geek, adds so many little interesting tidbits into her posts alongside pretty photos and mouth-watering recipes. She’s also doing up her kitchen at the moment, and I’m excited to see the final product! 

Sophie Loves Food

Sophie calls herself a blogger, baker and burger enthusiast – which I think gives you a little taste of her blog. I’m also always a fan of fellow alliteration enthusiasts! This blog is full of sweet bakes – I recently made this pumpkin bundt cake with cream cheese frosting and it was excellent! 

Victoria Sponge Pease Pudding

Yet more baking goodness from a wonderfully named blog! This is a stylish blog with some wonderful recipes for you to discover if you have sweet tooth, including these rosemary brown butter dark chocolate cookies with sea salt. I don’t think I need to say any more, do I? 

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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? 

Essbeevee

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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8 British Food Bloggers You Should Be Following

british food bloggers

For a long time the food bloggers I followed tended to hail from across the pond. There are some really fantastic American food bloggers, and they are so easy to stumble across on the Internet. However, over the past couple of months I’ve made an effort to seek out more UK-based food bloggers and, let me tell you, there are some truly awesome ones. Not everyone on this list is British by birth, but, as far as I know, they’re residing here for the foreseeable future. All hail British food bloggers!

Top with Cinnamon 

Izy is a bit of a superstar in the food blogging world, with her first cookbook ‘Top With Cinnamon’ storming across the Internet (and rightly so). Chances are you’ve already heard of her, but if not then make it your mission today to go and read some of her archives. Her photography and styling is so beautiful it makes my heart hurt, and every recipe I’ve tried of hers has been totally delicious. Her Instagram is a sight to behold. So yeah, I’m a fan.

Supergolden Bakes

Can we all just take a moment to admire the photography on this blog? It is truly gorgeous. I love the variety of recipes on this blog – everything Lucy posts I want to go out immediately and make! The cocktails, in particular, are stunning. I wish I’d discovered this blog earlier, as I’m sure I’ve missed out on plenty in the archives, which are extensive. A total winner! 

The Little Library Café

I love this blog. I wish I had thought of it first, although I’m sure I couldn’t have done it so beautifully. Kate cooks the food from her favourite books, combining literature and food in a simple and oh-so-sweet way. Her photography is beautifully minimalist, which makes the whole thing that bit more wonderful. I want to climb headfirst into this blog and nest there throughout the winter. I narrowly missed out on going to Kate’s Harry Potter pop up dinner in London a couple of months back (yep, food from the Harry Potter books. With tables named after Hogwarts houses) so now I just need to somehow persuade her to bring that gloriousness to Leeds… 

Rachel Phipps

I think Rachel’s was the first food blog I ever followed and it’s still one that I click over to time and again, whether to read new posts or look up recipe ideas. Rachel combines accessible recipes that make you want to get into the kitchen with reviews of restaurants across London and Kent. I trust her recommendations for anything foodie, and her foodie travels in Los Angeles over the past couple of years have inspired me to plan a trip there next year! 

Cate in the Kitchen 

I’ve really been enjoying Cate’s #bakeoffbakealong posts, which is what caught my eye and turned me on to this blog in the first place. In between sharing her baking adventures, Cate also posts mostly-vegetarian recipes, many of which I’ve bookmarked for making at a later date. An all-round yummy blog! 

Flora Shedden 

You’ll probably recognise Flora from this year’s stellar Great British Bake Off line up, but did you know that she has a blog, too? With simple photography and food styling, and perfect flavour combinations, this blog is genuinely a delight. I’m not sure how I didn’t stumble across it before! Am I jealous? Only a little bit… 

The Little Loaf

If you’re looking for a nostalgic baking blog which will have you running straight for the kitchen, apron in hand, then this blog is definitely the one for you. Kate’s baking feels old-fashioned in the very best sort of way, comforting and familiar with a touch of something new every now and again to keep you excited. As an added bonus, her cookbook is one of the most beautiful I have ever cooked from and I want to bake everything in it. 

Whip Until Fluffy

Lil hasn’t blogged for a while, but I live in hope that she will revive her blog and provide us with some more of her gorgeous recipes, which simultaneously manage to be down-to-earth and exciting at the same time. Her blog is one of my all-time favourites, and I love her writing. I have made her Goats Cheese and Chorizo Scones many times, and they always get an excellent reception. I know you’ve got a lot going on right now Lil, so no pressure 😉 

I’m sure there are plenty of amazing blogs that I have missed off my list, so please do share your favourites in the comments below so I can discover even more British food blogs! 

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Great British Blogger Bake Off Announcement

So, without further ado – my Great British Blogger Bake off comes to a close. There were significantly less innuendos than the real deal, but lots of delicious bakes!

I was totally obsessing over Danielle’s Rosemary & Balsamic Strawberry Scones, which sound right up my street and I am definitely giving them a go! Char’s inspired me to look at other stand mixers other than my beloved KitchenAid – and her coffee/chocolate combo is drool-worthy. You all know how I love a brownie and I love a Raspberry & White Chocolate Cheesecake Brownie even more. Paul’s Pear & Ginger Upside Down Cake looks sophisticated and grown-up as well as yummy.

But the star baker is… Peaches & Green! Whilst usually I love me some gluten, Laura’s Banana Coconut Cream Pie with Macadamia Nut Crust looks totally delicious and her post is laugh-out-loud funny. So congratulations Laura!

banana pie

Happy Baking everyone 🙂 

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Great British Blogger Bake Off

Dark & Stormy Brownies - Rum and Ginger Brownies // Amy Elizabeth

Ready, set, bake! 

If you caught last week’s post then you’ll know that I’m having a friendly little competition to celebrate the new series of the Great British Bake Off! I hope you’ve all been busy sifting, folding and icing because here it is!

To be in the running to win a Great British Bake Off cookbook of your choice, just add your link at the bottom of this post. All the information and rules can be found here, although mostly it’s just that there are no rules! You can add whatever you like to the mix, and it doesn’t matter whether you’re a pro or a newbie baker. It’s all jolly good fun. The link-up will be open until midnight on Friday to give you a little bit extra time and I’ll be announcing the winner on Monday!

It would be great if you checked out your fellow contestants work and spread the baking love. If you want to tweet then I’ll be using the hashtag #GBBBO so I can keep track of everyone and make sure that I get to drool at all of your delicious bakes! Good luck!

UPDATE: I’ve now extended the entry deadline to midnight on Sunday and I’ll be announcing the winner on Tuesday! Happy Baking!

[inlinkz_linkup id=433877 mode=1]

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Great British Blogger Bake Off

strawberries

(Photos by Victor Hanacek)

I can’t be the only one that has full blown Great British Bake Off fever? It’s just over a week until it’s back on our telly boxes in all its innuendo-laden glory. So, in honour of this glorious televisual event, I’d like to organise a little Great British Blogger Bake Off. Or a big Great British Blogger Bake Off, depending on how many of you want to break out your pinnies.

Want to be involved? Here’s what you need to do:

  • Whip up your very own Show-stopping Signature Bake.
  • Post a blog post between Wednesday 6th & Friday 8th August
  • Come back here and post your link on my #GBBBO (careful with the number of Bs!) blogpost so I can perv at all the baked goods.
  • Check out the competitions and leave nice comments. Drool a little.
  • Scoff your creation.
  • Watch your email carefully to find out if you’ve won!

croissants

I will judge your lovely cakes over the weekend and select one to win the Great British Bake Off cookbook of your choosing! (I have How to Bake: The Perfect Victoria Sponge and other Baking Secrets, and I would recommend it!). Plus, you’ll win the glory of being a Star Baker and get to boast to all your friends, which is the real prize in my eyes.

Whilst I love the Internet, it does have one major downfall in that I will not be able to taste the cakes. So the judging criteria will be as follows:

  • Creativity/Originality
  • Presentation
  • Clear Instructions for Recreating Your Masterpiece

As in all things, the judge’s decision is final (although I can be bribed with brownies…) and, I’ll admit, kind of subjective. I can be swayed as equally by pretty pictures as pretty prose. There are no rules for what you have to bake – it can be sweet or savoury, biscuits or bread. Just watch those soggy bottoms…

If you have any questions, drop me a line at hello@amyliz.co.uk or on Twitter @amy__liz and we’ll talk baking!

Ready, set, bake! 

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Sticky9 Instagram Magnet Giveaway

sticky9 1

The houses of my parents and my grandparents are filled with photos – of kids, grandkids, friends, holidays, big events and small. Despite taking more photos than ever, my house is severely lacking in said photos – the documentation of life that lifts a house into a home. Although my phone and my hard-drive are absolutely bursting at the seams with photos, there are very few on my walls and shelves. I want to make a concerted effort to turn more of these into tangible things – albums, frames and prints. I love looking through the boxes of photos in my parents and grandparents’ houses and I want my children to be able to do the same.

sticky9 2

So it was fortuitous that Sticky9 got in touch and asked me whether I would like to turn some of my Instagram photos into magnets. These little magnets are so fun – and it takes no time at all to order them. You just plug in your Instagram account, select the photos you want (that’s the hard part!) and off you go! Mine arrived within a couple of days and were up on the fridge in a flash.

sticky9 3

When you live in rental accommodation, it can be hard to personalise the place. We’re very lucky that our landlord is super nice – we can paint and hang pictures to our heart’s content as long as it’s all put back in place when we leave. The carpets are a point of contention (so brown, so gross) but otherwise we can do what we like. If you’re not so lucky, a few fun fridge magnets can make your place a little more homely – and these are great. A pack of 9 magnets costs just £9.99 – but you can get your hands on one for free by entering the giveaway below!

sticky9 4

Good luck! 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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