Food: Vegan Avocado Noodles

Spinach Noodles

 

I do love me some avocado, I feel like they get a bit of a bad rap to be honest, promoted as being high in fat, when what the media fails to mention is while it is high in fat, it’s high in good fat, mono- and poly- unsaturated fats, fats that are good for you, which will help keep you and your heart healthy. I am all about keeping my ticker healthy, so as you can imagine I am a big fan over here!

So when I saw a recipe on Pinterest which was all Avocado and Noodle based (noodles are another big love of mine) you can imagine I marched the Mr straight out to Sainsbury’s to pick up the ingredients. This was a vegan recipe, but being a meateater myself I felt like there would be something missing with just an avocado sauce and noodles, so we picked up some quorn style chicken pieces to add.

Vegan Avocado Noodles

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Cook Time: 10 minutes

Total Time: 15 minutes

Serving Size: 1

Ingredients

  • Avocado
  • Soba Noodles
  • Quorn Chicken
  • Garlic
  • Lemon
  • Olive oil

Instructions

  1. Boil your Soba Noodles.
  2. While the noodles are boiling chop up the garlic.
  3. Juice half the lemon.
  4. Add a tsp of olive oil.
  5. Blend together.
  6. Add half the avocado and blend.
  7. Drain noodles and add avocado mix.
  8. Mix & Eat.
  9. (*For the quorn if using it, cube and fry in 1 cal spray and add to noodles & avocado mix)
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Such a simple yet tasty recipe, brilliant without the quorn for vegans, with quorn for vegetarians and for meat eaters you could even add chicken. 1 simple recipe which will work great, vegan or not.

The Changes!

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I’ve been making mutterings about changes I wanted to make on here for a while – I felt my blog was too samey, I felt that what I wrote wasn’t good enough, what I photographed wasn’t sharp enough, and my content just wasn’t right. Part of it I know is me being silly, I can always find something I want to improve on and I don’t necessarily think thats a bad thing – striving to always be better is something I like to think is part of my personality. Like I said before, I didn’t expect these changes to be massive, instead little ones which would bubble under the surface.

Visually I am really happy with the blog, I love the layout, the colours and how I set things out. I have a few sidebar things I want to change as I am not really happy with that, but I can fiddle with that at some point to get it how I want it.

Content-wise I think I am going to have a little shake-up. Nothing too drastically different but I am going to move away completely from anything beauty & fashion related (I may however put things in from time to time). I gave up blogging about Beauty and Fashion solely about 3 years ago, and the more I try to do something fashion or beauty related the less I feel any passion for it whatsoever, which is pretty much the reason I gave up on it before as the sole theme of my blog. There are so many fantastic ladies out there whose beauty & fashion blogs are just bloody awesome (and I think I might even do a post soon about my top blogs) who have got the genre more than enough covered. It’s just not my thing anymore, and I hope you guys understand that (truth be told there has been relatively little on here beauty or fashion related for a long time). My hearts not in it, so I must follow my heart!

This move away from beauty and fashion I don’t expect to be a massive change. I will still continue to blog my food & recipes (when I actually get time to make some) as its something I am passionate about. I will also continue with the odd travel bits that I do. I want to work more on pieces relating to studying, being a uni student, doing a Masters/Post graduate education as well as introducing some writing about History. History is my subject, what I am doing my MA in and its a massive part of who I am, but something that I largely have kept off my blog. I know it won’t be for everyone but I hope you’ll support me in my passion for my subject and if it doesn’t interest you then you can just skip right on over it. Blogging, and being a blogger is another area I want to develop. My posts about blogging and social media have been a real hit this year, and I think no matter whether you’re a new blogger or completely old school there is always something to learn. Throughout the summer I have been blogging and tweeting about Healthy Selves (#HealthySelves) - trying to get fitter and healthier. Its definitely something that will be appearing more on my blog over the coming months, updates, healthy recipes and my fitness, as well as some reviews I have coming up too. I also want to do some more posts about crafts, running the craft fair, craft classes and other such related stuff, as thats another part of my life that I haven’t really been sharing too much and think it might be useful and worthwhile for any other crafty people out there. There will also be lots of randomness as usual, life, home decor, the occasional rant, and probably lots of more randomness. As I grow, so does my blog, and I hope that you’ll come along for this journey with me!

Flakey Friends-be-gone

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There is nothing that annoys me more than flakey friends, and flakey best friends are even worse.

I had a flakey best friend (note the ‘had’) and today I am going to have a rant…if you don’t like rants you might want to skip over this one and move on to the next post!

I had known said friend for many years, many many many years, friends throughout school and university, and kept in touch on and off throughout our early twenties too. It was a few summers ago when we met up again, hit it off and started hanging out a bit more and soon enough we were meeting up 1-2 times a week for a gossip and a drink. Time moved on and although our lives changed we still hung out when we could and made time for each other. One day she met a boy she liked, and came out with the statement “If we get together me and you won’t be able to hang out on the weekends”. Oh.

Now I am not stupid life definitely changes when you have another person to consider like a boyfriend and of course she would want to spend time with him, who wouldn’t? But announcing it seemed a bit odd to me. Anyway, I nodded, agreed and secretly thought about how bizarre it was that she was already planning on ditching me before she had even been on a date with this guy, hell there wasn’t even a planned first date to speak of.

A date happened, and then another date and then another and soon enough they were an item. I went out with them to meet him, we all got on well and had a great day. Then that was it, my calls were unanswered, my texts were never replied to. Being ever the optimist I kept going, kept texting, and occasionally I would get a reply, usually finding out when I was free. She had a horrendous habit of texting me about 5pm saying “are you free tonight?” when it was a bit late in the day, or I already had plans. I would respond saying I had plans or already said I would be home for dinner or whatever, and say “but I am free any day next week”. No response. This went on for months, my text logs are filled with her asking when I am free, me replying and her never getting back to me.

In the meantime I met someone and she met him, they got on well, although she did try to undermine me in front of everyone at the time. This was before I started my MA, I walked through the door of her house and the questions started (from her and some other friends) “Why do you want to do your MA” – nobody seemingly could be supportive. What really annoyed me that night was how at a meeting 2 weeks previous she had said to me about how if I was going to do my MA my part time job would be perfect (at the time I was debating whether to look for full time work) but she planted the seed, I thought about it, talked it over with my family and I ended up deciding that she had made a good point, it would be great to work part time while I did my MA. That night in front of everyone she stated “I can’t believe you are still working there…its only part time”. Oh. But you suggested it m’dear and while I don’t do what others tell me you made a good and valid point, that I thought over and decided it was a good idea.

Life trucked on, she continued largely to ignore my texts or never respond when I gave her dates I was free.

I gave up, after messaging her on her birthday I didn’t bother again. Why waste my time, spending over a year being ignored on the most part.

Just before Christmas 2013 she messaged me on Facebook “Hi, how are you? It’s been so long! What have you been up to?” I responded, we chatted and I decided to give her a second chance. Everyone messes up at some point, so I arranged with her about meeting up the following week. Meeting up was great, we had so much to catch up on, lots of information and gossip to share and it was like the six months since we last saw each other hadn’t happened. I found out she had split up from the guy, maybe that’s why she text me. She had a date with another guy looming and she ended up hitting it off and he became the new boyfriend.

Then after Christmas it happened again. No response to messages. This time I gave up relatively quickly. On my birthday I got a “we should meet up message” I responded with when I was free (as I went away shortly after my birthday) and never heard anything and I didn’t bother since. A few weeks ago I decided to text again. No response.

I’ve given up, what use is a friend who can’t even be bothered to reply to you. I’d ask her what the problem is if I could get her to reply. I have plenty of great friends, a fantastic boyfriend and an awesome family, I don’t need people who don’t need me.

Be off with you flakey friend – you’re not needed here.

Deciding on a dissertation topic – again!

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It’s looming ever closer – the end of part one of my essay and the beginning of my dissertation. 15,000 words on whatever subject I chose (within reason). I’ve loved many of the topics I have come across throughout the course of my studies but alas nothing is sticking out brightly to me, so I am panicking that I won’t be able to think of something to spend the next year of my life knee deep in. I keep grasping at straws and asking those around me for help – as if they are going to provide me with a challenging topic up to MA standards (no offence real life peeps). It’s infuriating!

For my BA I sort of knew what path I wanted to take – I loved studying WW1, WW2 and the interwar years, and as my studies progressed I became really interested in the effects of WW2 from a German perspective. Throw in some interest in things from a women’s perspective and soon enough a dissertation subject was born: The effects of Nazism on Women 1939-45. Boom!

A lot of this study has been local history based, and I’ve loved studying topics such as Borsay’s Urban Renaissance, Religion throughout the British Isles, and pouring over trade directories of towns across Hertfordshire. I don’t really have to have anything set in stone yet – but it would be nice to know where I am heading sooner rather than later. So the first bit of work (an outline on what I plan to do) doesn’t seem to scary and impossible as it does right now. I guess I just need to really do some thinking, and work out what I am passionate about (I really want to try and step away from my usual favourites and do something different but equally as inspiring).

How did you decide on your thesis topic? Was it easy or did you take a great deal of time before you had decided?

Bon Voyage! Making the decision & booking your cruise

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Making the decision to book your cruise is not one to take lightly, unless you are experienced in cruising. This series is mostly aimed at the new cruiser, what to expect, what to pack, what to plan for etc etc…however I am sure some of the hints and tips I provide along the way will be helpful to even the most seasoned cruiser.

The first topic I am going to be covering is going back to basics, right to the beginning (that’s as a good a place as any to start right?) and guide you through booking your very first cruise.

  • Do your research: This sort of goes without saying. If you’ve never been on a cruise before scour the internet for real reviews of what it’s like going on a cruise. Is it a way of life which will appeal to you? Are you good on the water? Take into account everything you want from a holiday and see if cruising is really for you. (Note: I love cruising, the reason being threefold – it’s a glamorous way to travel, as soon as you step onboard you are fully catered for. You also have the choice on how to create your holiday, you can make it as action packed or as low key as you like. Also, it’s a great way so see places you might not see otherwise).

 

  • Read reviews of different cruise liners: Its important you get your holiday exactly right, so read through the different cruise liners and what they offer you, also read online reviews, see what people love and hate about different cruise liners. Once you’ve got all the information you’ll be better informed to make your choice.

 

  • Check your finances: This is pretty important, but no different from a normal holiday. People always view cruises as something expensive to do, but I beg to differ. You are travelling in luxury, fully inclusive which I think for the price is pretty great value for money. There are extras (excursions, often your alcohol and gifts you might buy from the gift shop) so make sure you factor this into your budget.

 

  • Browse flight prices: If you need to take a flight to get to your port make sure you check flight prices. There is no point in scoring a great deal on a cruise if its going to cost the earth getting there. I find its best to book your cruise and flights at the same time, its one less worry off of your mind and you don’t have to worry about flight prices increasing in the mean time.

 

  • Check what Visa’s are required from your country: Make sure you know if you need any visas for your cruise travel and apply for them in plenty of time. Make sure you take all documentation with you on the ship to make you cruise experience as trouble-free as possible.

 

  • Find out about immunisations: You might be travelling to an area that you’ll need immunisations for. It’s always worth being fully vaccinated before you go, so check with your local healthcare provider. In the UK some GPs will charge for travel immunisations, so find out the cost of these and factor it in to your budget.

 

Once you’ve evaluated all these points, worked out your budget and found the cruise you want to do then all that is left is to book it. It might seem like a lot of money to lay out all at once, but trust me, once you’re onboard you’ll know that it was worth every penny.

 

Are you thinking of booking a cruise? Or maybe you already have and are looking forward to the day you set sail? Leave me a comment below with your comments or questions and I’ll be back next month talking all about excursions!

Changes to Love Amybecca – and where have I been?

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Hey Guys, you might have noticed that I had a bit of a break from the blog, there were a number of reasons why: I’ve just gone back to work after a period of sickness linked to chronic daily migraines (not fun!), my nan has been in hospital for around 6 weeks, I’ve been trying to focus on some uni work, and in general trying to keep up with the day to day things. It’s not been easy to find time for everything, and the poor old blog has had to suffer.

Also I found myself a little disillusioned with blogging – I still don’t know really what I want to do with Love Amybecca, I just feel like I need a change, maybe it’ll be subtle changes that you won’t even notice – I am still working on that, so watch this space.

My blogging still might be a bit haphazard for a while, my nan is hopefully due home this week, but I expect life to be a little disrupted for a while, as well as having a busy time at work. Thank you to for all your kind words on twitter – you’re all bloomin’ awesome!

Food: Vegetarian Spicy Sausage Pasta

SpicySausage

 

This weeks food post is another Vegetarian recipe which I made for the Mr. This one is called ‘Spicy Sausage Pasta’ and although I left the Jalapenos out I decided to keep with the name! I can’t for the lift of me remember where I got this recipe from and I did adapt it quite a bit, but sorry whoever’s recipe this is!

I noticed a lot of the recipe didn’t really work out right, I needed to add extra ingredients throughout, whether it be more water or add in tomato puree. Also the amount of pasta they suggested would have been WAY too much, thankfully while weighing I thought it all looked a bit too much so went on with just over half of what was suggested. This was originally a recipe to made with meat sausages (and chicken stock) so I adapted it to suit vegetarian’s. The Mr loved it, and I did too.

Food: Vegetarian Spicy Sausage Pasta

Serving Size: 2

Ingredients

  • 4 Quorn Sausages, sliced
  • Olive Oil
  • Half a red onion
  • 1 tin of sliced/chopped tomatoes
  • Vegetable stock (made up as per instructions)
  • 140-150g of dry pasta
  • Salt & Pepper to taste
  • 40g grated cheese
  • 150g Spinach

Instructions

  1. Heat olive oil in a large saucepan.
  2. Add sliced quorn sausages and cook until browned.
  3. Drain off any excess fat.
  4. Add the onion and cook until it has softened.
  5. Add the tomato and made up vegetable stock.
  6. Add uncooked pasta, and make sure fully submerged in liquid. Cover and bring to the boil.
  7. Once at boiling point, reduce heat and simmer for 10-15 minutes until the pasta is cooked.
  8. If liquid diminishes too much in this time, add more boiling water.
  9. Stir in Spinach.
  10. Maintain heat so that liquid will continue to simmer and thicken.
  11. Season with salt and pepper.
  12. Serve and sprinkle cheese on top.
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If you want to make this spicer you can add finely chopped Jalapenos peppers, or even a spice of your choice. I decided to leave the jalapenos out as I am not a huge fan of the spice (although I am sure my Mr would have loved it) and instead just add some mixed herbs into the mix while the pasta was cooking.

Let me know if you try this recipe in the comments below, I would love to hear from you.

Amy Writes: Why have we become so disillusioned with Blogging?

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Maybe there is something in the water at the moment, but 3 of my favourite bloggers have announced recently that they are not feeling the love when it comes to blogging and are packing it in for good. Others have said how they are feeling like they need breaks or fancy a change. All is not well with blogging and I have to agree. I’ve been around a bit (pardon the expression) and blogging has always been very much a hobby to me. I’ve blogged for 8 years in total and don’t by any means know it all, however I have been around long enough to see some massive changes within blogging and I find myself disillusioned at the moment too.

It’s always difficult when the real world takes over, and although normally I have a great blog/life balance sometimes life upsets it and I don’t feel I can keep going with the same pace as I do when everything is normal. Recently I’ve needed to be around much more for my family, deal with some things that are going on and blogging has definitely taken a back seat (as it should), but I’ve also noticed this unrest isn’t just me and my busy life, it’s afoot quietly throughout the blogging community.

I’ve always believed that there is room for everyone, everyone is different and everyone’s blog is an extension of who they are and by that very notion that is what makes them unique and I still believe that is the case. Back when I started blogging PR work was scarce, you had to seriously be a big blogger to even hope to work with brands and it wasn’t something that even entered you mind. I still remember being accepted for my first affiliate programme and being sent my first free Sigma brush for having a certain amount of Subscribers – it was incredible. Although I didn’t consider myself a big blogger back when I ran my beauty blog I was bringing in decent numbers and I worked very occasionally with a brand – because that is how it used to be. Over the years this has changed and working with brands seems to be more and more common, and I myself have worked with many brands and built up some great relationships, but I don’t take up everything I am offered, in fact I probably take up 10% if that of what drops into my inbox. Every day my inbox is littered with emails from PR’s about working with their brand, most I politely decline. I am not averse to working with PRs and brands don’t get me wrong, it certainly has its place in what blogging now is, but it’s certainly not the be all and end all. I decline a lot of opportunities because I don’t have the physical time to work to someone else’s schedule when it’s not for my work (I work both part time and freelance so my time is pretty tight as it is – not to mention being an MA Student too) and I’ll be damned if someone is going to hassle me constantly because they think I owe them the world because they sent me a free £2.99 lipstick or a £5 pair of tights. Truth be told PR has ruined blogging for me – from some of the ethics people don’t have which ruins the name of the enormous amount of decent bloggers out there, to the sell-your-soul atmosphere that many PRs have created. For many of us blogging is more than a hobby, and while it’s not my full time job I put an incredible amount of time and energy into it and it has done brilliant things in shaping my freelance career and for that I will be eternally grateful. PR’s take advantage of bloggers, expecting bloggers to help promote their brand for free and with little or no benefit to the blogger. You wouldn’t go to work for a free pair of tights or for someone to retweet how good you are at your job so why is it ok in the blogging world? Bloggers spend hours upon hours preparing their posts, their photos and then promoting their work via social media – we all say it’s a hobby but we put everything we have into it. I guess what I am really saying is I am fed up with the ways in which some PRs (cos lets face it I’ve worked with some brilliant ones – it’s the ones who don’t make it onto the blog which this rant is really about) take bloggers for granted.

I don’t feel that after all these years I am entirely happy with how blogging is and I want to distance myself from this persona blogging is getting about being all about the freebies or that bloggers are happy to work their butts off for free (or for a retweet). But saying that blogging is in my soul (you certainly don’t blog for 8 years without having a major love for it). I’ve felt this way before of course, and it’s just something that I am sure will pass.

It’s got me thinking however about the way in which Love Amybecca is structured. I don’t know what I actually want to change but I feel something needs to change, I’ll still be popping up content over the coming weeks, but maybe a little less than usual while I think about the direction I want Love Amybecca to go in, but I do know that I want to ensure I continue to blog for me, do what I love and express what I love, without having to worry. So stay tuned, there might be changes afoot, but I hope you come along with me for the ride!

#BodyUNashamed – Stamping out Negativity

Penny from Lillies & Love tweeted a few days ago about how she was fed up with the negativity around women’s body image, both in the media and also by people who leave nasty comments on photos, blog posts etc. In order to wipe out this negativity, and shift the cosmic balance a little, everyone has been paired up with a blogger with the aim of seeing ourselves in a better light and encouraging others to see their best bits too. The negativity around women’s body image is damaging and what stems from the media overspills into our online communities, with people thinking it is ok to comment negatively on blogs and other forms of social media.

First, Penny paired us up with another blogger, and I was paired up with the gorgeous Kellie from Big Fashionista, and we are to write about 3 things which we find beautiful about them:

  1. Kellie has beautiful, colourful hair, something I have always wanted but never quite done.
  2. She has a beautiful, genuine smile which lights up her whole face.
  3. Also, she has lovely eyes which light up when she smiles.

I have only just discovered Kellie’s blog through this project and I love it and from reading her blog posts twitter I can already see what a great, fun personality she has!

Next we are encouraged to come up with three things we love about ourselves

  1. My hair: I have lovely silky hair, which hardly ever gets greasy quickly. It’s naturally curly (loose curls) but also blowdry’s straight easily, which means I really have the best of both worlds without much hassle.
  2. My Eyes: They are a really beautiful green colour and really stand out, especially against my dark hair.
  3. My figure: Yes there are wobbly bits and bits I don’t like too much, but overall I am pretty pleased with my figure. I’ve always been slim and slim without effort too. I feel in proportion from my chest down to my hips, and I like what I see when I look in the mirror – and I think for many people that is half the battle.

All we need to do now is get word out – negativity body image is a difficult thing, to hate what you see when you look in the mirror. If you see someone who needs cheering up, leave them a lovely comment and let’s celebrate the things which make us different. Everyone is beautiful and every now and then we all need a little help to be reminded of this. Let’s help each other feel better about ourselves and stamp out the negativity for good.

Food: Pizza Quinoa Casserole

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As you probably know by now we’re big fans of cooking, food and anything tasty. Although I am not vegetarian, my other half is and has shown me that there are so many great dishes that don’t include meat (although I don’t think I could ever be a vegetarian – I enjoy bacon sandwiches too much!).

If you love pizza but aren’t keen on its questionable nutritional value (ie, it’s not that good for you!), then why not bake a dish which has all the flavour of pizza but is much better for you.Today’s recipe is Quinoa Pizza Casserole. This quick and easy recipe is great in protein and tastes just like pizza, and baked for long enough will even be as crispy as pizza too.

Food: Pizza Quinoa Casserole

Ingredients

  • 80g uncooked quinoa cooked in water
  • 1 6oz can tomato paste
  • 3-4 large cloves garlic, finely minced, grated or pressed
  • ½ small onion, finely chopped
  • 2 tbsp water
  • 2 tbsp good quality extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • 1 tsp mixed herbs
  • ¼ tsp sugar
  • ¾ – 1 tsp sea salt
  • Dash black pepper
  • Mozzerella for topping

Instructions

  1. Rinse quinoa, add to water and cook on a high heat.
  2. Bring to a boil and simmer for 15 minutes until all the liquid is absorbed, the quinoa is tender and completely cooked.
  3. Remove from the heat and leave covered in the pot for 5 minutes while assembling other ingredients.
  4. Preheat oven to 200 degrees. Grease 4 ramekins or a larger casserole dish.
  5. Combine the tomato paste with the garlic and onion, water and olive oil.
  6. Mix well.
  7. Add all the seasonings.
  8. Mix well again before adding the quinoa.
  9. Divide evenly among the dishes for baking, sprinkle with cheese if desired and place in the oven.
  10. Bake 30-35 minutes until the cheese is golden and bubbly or until the quinoa on top is golden and crispy.
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