Saturday, November 16, 2013

This blog will no longer be updated

Hey guys, just a quick note to say thanks to everyone who's followed or read my blog, which I've kept from 2006-2013. It's been a fun journey having that blog-shaped space to fill. 

You can now find me on or any of the following music/culture sites below. I'm also @miss_scribbler on Twitter

Stay in touch and hopefully see you online somewhere! 

The Amy Riley Blogger blog began on 28 February 2006, launched with a photo of me and an oversized bunny.
DS suggested that I looked like I was being taken hostage by the man-sized bunny. I was not. I was trying to have a VERY IMPORTANT phone call and he was making sure I didn't fall over. It was all well-timed.
I wrote 3 posts about blogging, being unemployed for the first time in my adult career and various creative projects I had on the go.
It's the first time I've ever signed on in my life and I'm a little worried about getting rejected, if only because that's all that's been happening since I've been going on job interviews. 
This blog wasn't my first blog - my first was (2000-2004), which I put together from scratch via HTML. Wish I'd thought a bit more about the domain name as it bore me a lot of strange spam.

Looking at my early posts, it's great having the chance to reflect on my former self and laugh. (with myself and at myself). To observe how much your blogging style has changed over the years. My early blogs were all stream-of-consciousness drama-ridden tales of my every day life.

The blog was my diary, in effect. It was my place to exercise my writing skills, play with form and language, and just keep people up to date on what I was doing. The blog charted all of my art and writing projects, tracked my social life and failed relationships in perhaps too much detail, and allowed my brain to spill out in the public domain, which may or may not have been a good thing at the time.

My most popular post was about costume options for an 80s theme work Christmas party, with something like over 4000 hits!

Once in 2007 I even got political and did my own round up of local elections in Brighton (why?)

  • North Portslade sees yet another year of Bob Carden. Party blowers anyone?
  • Patcham, Rottingdean & Withdean -- another Conservative blowout.

Sometimes I published writing written by other people, such as the lovely Huraki Murakami story "On Seeing the 100% Perfect Girl One Beautiful April Morning" and this extract from a friend's story.

"Went for lunch in the Harvesters with Ken. Half way through the meal I considered suicide. Ken had Nachos, they looked much nicer than what I had ordered, isnt that always the way? There should be some sort of system where before you have to choose, they bring you out miniature versions of the meals to try. Decided to put off suicide till Id come back and tried the Nachos."

Most important, the blog was my friend. So, on that note, I'm going to keep the blog up and let enjoy its retirement in style. 

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Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Detox recipes: yoghurt & pear with roasted hazelnuts

I've been doing a 30 day detox since 6 January. It's the same one I did last February, but this time I'm sticking to the rules a lot better (at all). As this version is not so restrictive, I can create a lot more exciting recipes. Last time, I couldn't have legumes, nuts or anything from the nightshade family (tomatoes, potatoes, peppers, etc). It was kind of a nightmare trying to only eat meat, veg and fruit!

This time, there's lots of baking with various gluten free breads and baking powder, healthy snacks like corn cakes (like rice cakes) and butternut squash dip, and of course all-you-can-eat decadent dinners, with fresh meat, poultry and seafood cooked in tons of butter and olive oil and full range of rices, exotic vegetables and fruits.

The deserts, which are totally permissible, tend to be prosaic during the weekdays when you've used up all your creative energies doing a shop after work. Fruit and yoghurt, plus variations on a theme.  On day 15 of the detox, I hit the desert jackpot in one of the best combos I've encountered yet.

This is a totally simple yet luscious recipe for weekday indulgence. I have this for desert and a day time snack. You'll want to pick a soft pear type over the hard crunchy variety, so that the flesh melts into the yoghurt. If you're confused about which yoghurt to buy, look at the one that says it contains probiotic or has live active cultures.

If you can be bothered, make double the amount, put half back in the yoghurt tub, then take it to work the next day. That's what I've been doing for the past 3 days and it's like you've treated yourself royally.

Detox recipes: yoghurt & pear with roasted hazelnuts (for 2)
2 pear, conference or any kind of variety
Handful of hazelnuts, chopped in quarters and roasted
Live yoghurt, 250 ml (half a tub)
Ground cinnamon, 1 teaspoon
Desiccated coconut, 1 tablespoon

Chop up the hazelnuts if you haven't already. Switch the grill on to high and roast the nuts for about 2-3 minutes; just make sure to keep an eye that they don't burn as they brown pretty quickly.

Halve, then quarter the pears, slice the seeds and core out and then chop the pear slices into small chunks. Place in bowls.

Scoop up 3-4 big spoonfuls of the yoghurt on top of the pears, sprinkle the hazelnuts, cinnamon and coconut on top.

Mix it up to spread the cinnamon and coconut thoroughly into the yoghurt.


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Sunday, September 09, 2012

The woolly umbrella group is knitting a map of Brighton & Hove.

Balls of pale pastel coloured wools, to represent the earth, dense rows of houses and field, sit waiting in wicker baskets. Women of all ages knit silently, meditative.

The organiser, Sue Craig, says she has no no idea how long it will take to complete the project. The bayeaux tapestry comes to mind.

Sarah Lewis has stopped to learn how to knit. Video of her first time to follow!

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Saturday, September 08, 2012

Nomadic sound system boast a scary display of their marching band soundsystem. Each piece plays a different part of a marching band.

They're doing a performance (I'm in it) at 8pm outside Brighton Dome and matching around the streets.

Here's my mate Evil Ben standing next to the bass drum.

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Brighton mini maker faire -part 1

First stop, Bristol hack space who showed me how to tweet on a really old computer called twitbeeb (i thought it was a typewriter!). It was great to watch peoples reaction to the 30 year old computer- a middle aged man and a young man both shared the eureka moment over the same model.

I also learned about a printer that makes paper cut outs. And realised that I knew the guy demonstrating from about 10 years ago!

The Corn Exchange is heaving. Amazing.

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Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Bike ride from Brighton to Ditchling Beacon, Plumpton & Lewes

So this was my third big bike ride as part of my training for Brighton to Paris, which I'm doing to raise funds for Brighton-based charity AudioActive. 

We started out on the Lewes Road at the fantastically named Vogue Gyratory then cycled up through Hollingbury (killer), up to Five Ways and onwards up Ditchling Road to the top where the golf course is (also killer). 

We then cycled over the A27 towards Ditchling Beacon, the biggest nemesis I have yet to encounter IN MY LIFE. My cycle ride wasn't helped by the fact that I was hungover (I wasn't alone), wearing inappropriate clothing and in terms of cycling, fairly unfit (apart from running marathons but that doesn't count). 

Needless to say, this expedition to a Sussex high point did not feel like a high point to me (at the time); however, now that I've put in so much work into a 3/4 hour ride, I am feeling a lot more fit for purpose when facing minor hills around Brighton - that is, apart from my main street home, Elm Grove, which I struggle to even get a third of the way up.

However, I was saved greatly by Lucozade, Skittles, Airwaves, water, a borrowed scarf, a stop off at a fab pub with great local Sussex fare (I tried the deep fried pigs ears !?), beautiful lush scenery and good company. 

The cycle from Lewes to Brighton wasn't as flat or as smooth as I'd expected, but after everything, it wasn't the worst uphill journey I'd faced that day. I have to say, the real killer for me was actually the terrifying, death defying journey down Ditchling Beacon. It was like being strapped into a horrific rollercoaster that stuck to no health and safety. While my group went freefall down the steepest incline known to man, I was trying to brake at every curve, to no avail. 

So on that note, here are a few pics from our bike ride. Unfortunately, no brilliant scenic shots, mainly due to me nearly having an asthma attack everytime we paused for water, but as I've been dubbed the Group Photographer for the trip, you can expect a continued photo blog right through our Sussex training, to the start of our epic ride and right at the end, when we arrive in Paris. And then again, when we have to cycle from Newhaven to Brighton. 

All and any donations warmly welcome to help me reach my £300 target:

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Thursday, April 12, 2012

Cycling Brighton to Paris for local charity Audioactive

Many of you saw me get into the whole marathon thing last year, with a half in Brighton and a full one in Berlin, both for charity. Well this year, I'm shaking things up a bit and I'm throwing myself into a new challenge: a massive cycle ride from Brighton to Paris with a group of 5 other people. 

Once again, I'm embarking on this slightly mad adventure to raise funds for Audioactive registered charity (1123891), a Brighton-based children and young people's charity that transforms young lives through contemporary music production, urban arts and performance, and of which I'm a Trustee.

 My fundraising goal is £300. I thank you in advance for any support you can give towards my mission. To contribute, you can donate at my Charities Trust page: 

We will be setting off from Brighton on our bikes en masse on Friday 4 May, cycling to Newhaven, where we will take the ferry to Dieppe. From there, we will cycle to our first b&b in France. 

 We will then cycle all day Saturday and all day Sunday until we end up in Paris, stopping of course along the way for the night - and lunch I hope! We will then take a train back to the UK on Monday 7 May. Unless I decide to stay in Paris a few days longer - tempting! 

I got my bike (picture above) at the end of March and have since been on two 3-hour rides along the sea front, to Peacehaven and to Shoreham. This Sunday will see a monster of a ride, a 30-mile ride around Sussex. Slightly nervous as this area is so hilly. But I know I have 22 more days to really focus on training and get as fit as I can. 

 Since deciding to agree to this independently-organised group bike trip, I've learned that the London to Paris route is a well travelled one - last night I heard about the British Legion ride, which is one of three major events when Paris stops traffic in Champs Elysee and cyclists are escorted through the Arc de Triomphe (the other two events being for the French president and for Tour de France). 

 I'll be reporting on my travels with further blog posts and photos shortly. I will also put further information about our Dieppe to Paris route, which was found on the internet.

 This Sunday is also Brighton Marathon so I'm planning to go down to support the runners, I'm sure secretly wishing I was amongst them. However, there are a few people I will be cheering along and hope that the runners enjoy it as much as I did last September.

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Friday, March 09, 2012

What can I make with coconut oil?

When you're looking for recipes that are not part of a more mainstream diet, such as the BBC Food, Delia or Jamie Oliver type of fare, you quickly begin to feel like you're exploring a strange and foreign land. Websites that look they've been built before Web 2.0 and forums whose entries date from 2005.

I feel like I've entered some weird food cult, a society for people with odd and unusual cooking habits: vegans, fruitarians, raw diet, Atkins, Weight Watchers, detoxers, healthy eaters and fussy people. Have I become a freak like them, I wonder?

Curried coconut chicken fingers. Photo from Free Coconut Recipes - Tabitha

One of my finds is curried coconut chicken fingers. I've been dying to find recipes that are similar to the ones that I used to make when I 'ate normally' and this is a near replica (in appearance although probably not taste) of my favourite Southern foods, breaded chicken tenders, which I used to make along with corn on the cob, mashed potatoes and buttered garlicky sauteed greens of some variety. I love breadcrumbs and deep frying and batters. I know I could just pick up some gluten free flour, but the detox level 3 says not to have rice or legumes, which is a bit of a constraint when it comes to substitution. So this is perfect.

Chocolate coconut kale chips. No, not just pieces of lettuce. Photo from Averie Cooks

Another variation of kale chips: chocolate coconut kale chips. Haven't had kale in my last two veg boxes so must remember to phone and ask to get it included.

My best online find so far is Youtube celebrity, raw food guru Dan aka Life Regenerator, whose raw food smoothie demonstration includes hilarious asides, commentary and anecdotes including the one about his mate, Dave the raw food trucker and how they like to hang out, drink wheatgrass, drive around to all the raw food restaurants and talk to girls who recognise them from Youtube, followed by a quasi sales pitch for raw food living.

In the 2009 video, Dan says he'll never stop making videos, which makes me want to check out his profile and see if he's still making videos, whether he's stayed true to his promise (he has, he's posted a video one day ago). He advises that we should 'become addicted to growth', which I think is good advice for anyone.

Last but not least, I found a treasure trove of recipes from a rather dated online forum, Low Carb Friends. Coconut mayonaise, coconut treats, virgin coconut oil coleslaw and creamy vinaigrette (made with coconut) all caught my eye. I'll be attempting those when I've gotten over this cold, which sees me spending the day in bed and wondering when the pain in my head will subside. A question: can too much detox see you catching colds?

The one thing I've noticed a lot when visiting these healthy eating blogs was how much product placement was slipped into the pages. Spotting instances of product references, which I always associate as being an American habit, is as exciting (?) as playing product placement bingo when watching American Hollywood films from the 80s. Do they really think no one will notice?

To be continued.

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