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

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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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WIN $500, $250 or $150 in PAYPAL CASH or Giftcard with {Enjoy the view}

 How would you spend $500, $250 or $150?

Hey everyone & welcome back to another blog post on Love Amybecca. Today I have a fab giveaway for you thanks to Kim at {Enjoy the View} to celebrate her 2nd Blogiversary! I love Kim’s blog and I urge you to check it out – but first read below and find out how you could win $500, $250 or $150 in either Paypal cash or a gift card!

Don’t forget to leave me a comment – good luck everyone!


I’m so excited to be able to bring you this $900 Giveaway

in honor of {enjoy the view}’s 2nd blogiversary!

There will be THREE lucky winners!! 

So you have an even better chance of winning!!

 

I wouldn’t have been able to offer you this giveaway without the help of these very special bloggers!

Meet my fabulous co-hosts! All you have to do is click on a picture and you will be magically transported to that blog – and it opens in a new window, so you won’t lose your place here.


Image Map

And I also have some wonderful sponsors! Again, you can just click on a name to be magically transported to that blog in a new page.


Image Map

Here are a few details about the giveaway:

  • Giveaway is open worldwide. Void where prohibited.
  • There will be three winners chosen.
  • The grand prize is $500, 2nd prize is $250, and 3rd prize is $150.
  • Winners have a choice of receiving their prize as Paypal cash (requires a valid Paypal account), or a gift card to Amazon, Target, Home Depot, or Lowes.
  • In order to choose Paypal cash as a prize, the winner must have a valid Paypal account. Winner will also be responsible for any fees associated with accepting Paypal cash.
  • Gift cards will be issued via email.
  • Winners must respond via email within 72 hours of notification in order to claim prizes. If no response is received within that time, a new winner(s) will be chosen.
  • Please be sure to read the complete terms & conditions on the Rafflecopter form.
  • If you have any questions, please email Kim at enjoytheviewblog at gmail dot com before entering the giveaway.

And now to the part you’ve been waiting for – the GIVEAWAY!

Good luck!!

What will you do with the money if you win?

Miss Sporty: Light Energy Foundation

I am constantly striving, for you, the readers and subscribers of this blog, to find you the best products, for every price range. I am a firm believer in ‘you get what you pay for’ but also I know this isn’t always true, which I’ve been finding with some of the cheaper end nail varnishes being as good, if not better, as some of the high end stuff. I like to find the best of things, and I don’t mind who makes them, as long as they work for me.
With this in mind, I though I would try out a slightly cheaper foundation, as I was aware my foundation recs up until now had been slightly on the expensive side. So I took myself to superdrug and found Miss Sport Light Energy Foundation.
It claims to work well on normal – dry skin. I am lucky, my skin is normal, so I picked it up, paid the few pounds and headed home.
This foundation claims to have 3 skin actions:
  1. Light reflecting pearls to help complexion look luminous and natural
  2. Vitamin A, C & E helps smooth and moisturise skin all day long
  3. Blend of minerals to help maximise energizing effect.
The first time I used it, I wasn’t entirely convinced, mainly due to when I applied it the smell was…different. I couldn’t quite put my finger on it, but I think I told my best friend it had a very faint odour of egg. Not a great start.
The first time I wore it (the egg smelling time!) it was ok, nothing special, but it gave me light coverage and that is all I wanted.
As you know, I always use primer before I apply foundation. I found from the second time that when I applied the foundation on top of my primer it went a bit ‘crumby’, as in, there were bits of foundation sitting like crumbs on my face, that I literally had to brush off. Not the look I was going for.
Give it its due, it is good on Normal skin, and it isn’t oily, and it does moisturise. But it doesn’t really give the best coverage. Nor does it stay on all day.
I won’t use this foundation again, but then again, I am fussy. However, it is probably a great foundation for teenagers who don’t have much money and don’t need a lot of coverage, and it also helps to moisturise young skin.
So for us over 18…you’ve more than likely got the money to go out and buy something a little better and you’ll get a much more coverage, which us oldies most definitely need. If you’re under 18 maybe give this one a try if you have a few pounds to waste.

“This is Me” – Document from the Alzheimer’s Society

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I want to highlight a brilliant document that you may or may not be aware of from the Alzheimer’s Society, and if you have a relative with dementia I thoroughly recommend you get them to fill one in (or do it for them) just in case it is ever needed.

The “This is me” document outlines everything about the person who has dementia, from the person who knows them best to their habits and all about their life so far. This document helps to support someone with dementia in an unfamiliar place, whether this be respite care, hospital or a care home, or even for carers who come into the home to read. It highlights likes, dislikes, preferences and interests and helps hospital staff understand a little more about the person they are caring for who probably can’t tell them themselves.

Nan was recently admitted to hospital, and while waiting to go I quickly printed out the document and found a photo, and while in A&E will filled it out, letting her know what we were writing – and she did look at us funny while we read it out, nodding at each thing we wrote – which I guess means we got it right! In the first hospital she was in we left it on the side, and while the hospital itself wasn’t great for nan in the respect that they didn’t really know how to care for someone with dementia, having the “This is me” booklet with her helped (I hope!) and many of the nurses commented that they had read it. Once she was transferred the hospital offered copies of “This is me” out in the waiting room, so we knew these people would understand how to care for her. Her “This is me” booklet was attached to the front of her folder and the staff took notice of the things we had written.

For us the most important thing while Nan is in hospital is that she doesn’t lose the skills she has because once they are gone they are gone forever. Nan likes to take her time while eating and we didn’t want people to think that meant she wasn’t interested in eating – she loves her food she just needs to be given time to eat it and loves lashings of tomato sauce on it too – so you can imagine how happy we were, after she transferred and we visited, to find a handful of tomato sauce sachets on her bedside table – these people knew what they were doing!

For someone living with dementia something like a simple hospital admission can cause great distress, but with the “This is me” document you can ensure that the staff there to care for your loved one can understand their needs when they can’t voice it for themselves or you aren’t there to fight their corner. I would recommend this document every time, and if you or a loved one is living with dementia I urge you to fill out one of these today, just in case you ever need one.

If you want more information about the “This is me” document, visit the Alzheimer’s Society Website, and order your copy today.

Bon Voyage! Monthly cruise series ahoy!

Hello me matey’s (too corny?)!

You might remember that earlier in the year I did my cruise series all about my cruise to the Caribbean two years ago, and I am going to use this blog post to get you up to date on my cruise, with a quick refresher and links to my cruise series.

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I’ve just booked myself onto my second cruise, which you might have seen in this post, a cruise around the western Caribbean, departing from Fort Lauderdale and stopping at Half Moon Cay, Cayman Islands, Cozumel & Key West. To say I am excited is an understatement. We leave England on the 11th February for Florida for a few days and will be staying in Fort Lauderdale before boarding our cruise ship on the 15th, just in time to celebrate my 30th birthday on the 16th, which I am lucky enough to celebrate in style on the private island of Half Moon Cay – if you’ve ever been you’ll understand that it’s just about the best place in the whole world to celebrate, so I am incredibly excited.

To catch up with my previous cruise series, click on the links below:

Florida before & after

All Aboard

Grand Turk, Turks & Caicos Islands

San Juan, Puerto Rico

St Thomas, USVI

Half Moon Cay, Bahamas

Over the coming months I will blogging monthly about cruises – simple hints and tips to help you prepare for your cruise, whether you’re a first timer or a seasoned pro. So stay tuned for my first post coming in August, and don’t forget to check out my post on what to do on your days at sea, which I posted as part of a my Caribbean Cruising series.

Have any questions? Leave them in the comments section on any of my cruise series posts – or send them to me via twitter (@loveamybecca) with the hashtag #bonvoyageloveamybecca and I will do a question and answer post at some point soon!

 

Food: Vegetarian breakfast on the run

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If you need a quick pick-me-up before heading out of the door, today I have a great recipe for a veggie breakfast on the run, and it won’t take you more than five minutes to put together either.

All you need is a plain bagel (or even an onion bagel would be brilliant for this), an egg and some Quorn vegetarian bacon style slices.

  • Just fry up your egg (making sure it’s cooked but leaving a very runny yolk.
  • Grill or dry fry your bacon style slices.
  • Toast your bagel.
  • Put your bacon and egg into the bagel and add sauce if required.

And Voila! A great, yummy, filling breakfast for vegetarians on the run…just be careful of the runny egg!

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