Spiced Applesauce with Brown Sugar Pancakes

This weekend is the official start of Autumn. The Autumn equinox. Where the day is exactly as long as the night. And soon the nights will be much longer. Nights curled up in cosy slippers, wrapped in knitted cardigans and snuggled under a soft blanket.

What more could you need on nights like that than an easy but delicious seasonal treat? Actually, why wait until the night? These are just as delicious scoffed at breakfast too!

Ingredients:

Pancakes

4 heaped tbsp self raising flour

2 level tsp brown sugar

1 egg

1/2 pint milk

Butter for frying

Spiced Apple Sauce

2 eating apples chopped into 1cm chunks (peeled or not, depending on your preference)

1/4 cup water

1/4 cup brown sugar

1/2 tsp cinnamon

1/4 tsp ginger

  • Stir the flour and sugar together in a large bowl
  • Pour in some of the milk (you made not need it all so as slowly!) until the batter is very thick and doesn’t fall off the spoon easily
  • Beat in the egg
  • Add in a little more milk until the batter is a little thinner. Still thick, but more pourable than before. As I said, oh may not need all of the 1/2 pint so add it a bit at a time
  • In a hot frying pan, melt a tsp of butter until bubbling and fry tablespoons of batter, 3 or 4 pancakes will usually fit at the same time but depending on the size of your pan of course
  • Once the little puddles of batter start bubbling on the top they’re ready to flip. Should take 1-2 mins on the fest side and a minute once flipped
  • Pile them onto a plate lined with a piece of kitchen roll

  • To make the applesauce put the chopped apples and water into a saucepan and bring to a boil
  • Turn the heat down and let it simmer gently until the apples have softened
  • Stir in the brown sugar and let it come back to a simmer
  • Sprinkle over the cinnamon and ginger and stir to evenly distribute
  • Let simmer until the juice has begun to thicken and the apples are really soft
  • The sauce is now ready. You can use a potato masher or even pop it in a blender to make it a smoother sauce, but I like to leave mine a little chunkier

This recipe can be easily doubled or even tripled, but these measurements as they are should serve 2 adults and 2 small children as a snack…..depending on how hungry the kids are, they may just demolish the lot if you’re not quick enough to grab some!

What autumnal recipes are you looking forward to this season? Let me know if you try these!

Mrs H xxx

Beauty Studio at Superdrug

*Superdrug provided a treatment of my choice at the Beauty Studio in exchange for a review of the services. All comments and opinions are strictly my own*

Did you know that superdrug does beauty treatments?? I didn’t! Not until they asked me to go and review a treatment at the Beauty Studio in my local Superdrug store.

The idea is absolutely brilliant. No appointments are needed and they offer a range of treatments from hair removal to nails. Some even offer hairdressing appointments!

Now I’m sure we’ve all heard a lot about self care lately, especially as a parent. And if beauty is your idea of self care, it’s not always easy to do. If you’re anything like me you’ll unexpectedly find yourself with the time to go get your nails done, but won’t be able to because there’s no appointments. That’s the best thing about the Beauty Studio, you can just walk right in whenever you’re free. If all the beauticians are with clients you can just wait until a space becomes available.

I visited the Beauty Studio, Superdrug, in St David’s 2 in Cardiff. They didn’t allow any photos to be taken, I was asked not to and to delete the one I did take, so I took this photo from the website. The studio in the Cardiff store is in the centre of the shop, and there’s a huge range of cosmetics and perfume to browse if you have the time.

I haven’t had my eyebrows done for quite a while, and shallow or not I always feel better about myself if my eyebrows and nails are done. I usually get them waxed and tinted, but took the opportunity to try threading for the first time. I guess everyone is different, but threading is not for me! The finish is not as neat as I’m used to, and holy moly it hurt! I much prefer waxing, one quick pull and it’s done! Although I will say the redness and puffiness calmed a lot quicker than it usually does when waxing.

A sneaky before shot

I wasn’t 100% pleased with my eyebrows. They were not terrible by a long shot, but just not as good as I would have liked. The shape was fine, but the tint wasn’t quite right. It was slightly over my eyebrows shape but not dark enough, so looked a bit like I’d smudged eyebrow pencil on them.

After – not terrible, just not how I like them

Also, I think the only downside from the drop in appointments is that the beautician wasn’t so keen to talk or take the time with me. As I said, I not had my brows threaded before so didn’t understand what she meant when she asked me to “hold” (she meant gently. Pull the skin either side of my brows, but I had no clue) and it was a bit rushed. When I said that I would have liked the tint a bit darker I was advised that there wouldn’t be time to re do them and I would need to wait until they next needed tinting.

Would I go back? Actually, yes, I probably would. Perhaps I wouldn’t bother with the tint and just stick to my Maybelline tattoo brow, but for £8 and no need to book, I’d get my eyebrows waxed there. Don’t underestimate how little free time parents get, drop in treatments are definitely a great thing! And like I said, they do have a range of other treatments, including eyelash extensions, so if you were getting ready for a date night, or prepping for a holiday, or even just to treat yourself, you could pop in and get your nails, brows and eyelashes sorted, as well as picking up any make up must haves you need too.

Mrs H xxx

BLOG BOOK TOUR – Day of the Dead by Don Simkovich & Lon Casler Bixby

Today I’m joining in with my first ever blog book tour, and hopefully not my last. I was sent a digital copy of this book in order to join in with the book tour, the blurb and author descriptions were provided for me to include, but the review is my own.

My favourite book genres are crime thrillers, so I was pleased to be offered this book as my first blog tour. There’s always a joke from Mr H when I’m reading as to how many people have been killed as a direct correlation to whetherI’m enjoying the book. I see it as a direct opposite to my usually lovely personality, and a complete escape from my reality….at least I hope so haha!!

The blurb:

DOUBLE-CROSS, REVENGE, AND MURDER.  IT’S JUST ANOTHER HALLOWEEN IN LA.

UNTIL DETECTIVE TOM STONE TAKES ACTION.

Multiple murders with one grisly connection have Detectives Tom Stone and Jake Sharpe pursuing every lead.  Their main suspect, Anthony Angelino, fresh out of prison, dreams of building a new empire, but his past quickly catches up to him.  Once again he is on the run from the police and the drug cartel that tried to ruin him.

The head of the cartel, Frank DeVito, tails Stone hoping the Detective’s investigation will flush out Angelino.  Then he can exact his revenge and claim what he says Angelino has stolen – a large shipment of pure cocaine.

Angelino’s girlfriend, Sara, pleads for him to escape the deadly lifestyle.  As the body count rises, Stone confronts the challenges in his relationship with Alisha Davidson, Angelino’s defense attorney.

Halloween dramatically twists into Day of the Dead celebrations as cocaine’s promised riches weave a tale of bloody betrayal, shattered friendships and loves both lost – and won.

About the Authors:

Lon Casler Bixby

Lon is a published author in various genres: Fiction, Poetry, Humor, Photography, and Comic Books. He is also a professional award-winning photographer whose work has been featured in a wide variety of magazines, art & coffee table books, and has also been displayed in Art Galleries throughout the world.

Lon lives out of his photography studio in Burbank, California where he shares his living space with his wonderful, albeit spoiled, Silver Lab named Silver.

Don Simkovich

Don returned to his love for writing fiction after years of writing and narrating a radio spot series, marketing copy, and handling the pressures of a wild and crazy family life.

Frequent calls to the local Sheriff’s office, plus the intensity of handling teen alcoholism and teen pregnancy pressed stories from his mind like Earth’s weighty layers turn shale into harvestable fuel.

Well, you get the picture.

Don has fine-tuned his craft writing romance to crime fiction and the recent Tom Stone detective stories.

He lives at the base of the San Gabriel Mountains with his family, two dogs, and anyone else who happens to drop by and live for a spell.

The review:

So, what did I think?

It took me a little while to get into the book and get used to all the characters, but I actually think that was more to do with me trying to start the book at the beginning of the holiday, traveling and being interrupted by the kids.

Once I’d gotten into the first few chapters I was hooked, and I’ve taken every opportunity this holiday to read it, and was done in less than a week.

I became really invested in the characters journeys, the good and the bad. Normally I’d prefer a bit more of a whodunnit, but the way the story unfolded meant that although you could see hw the story may pan out, you were still left guessing about who and how everyone interlinked throughout the book. Lots of little twists and turns mean things never get dull.

There was suitable blood shed for me though the descriptions weren’t all too gruesome if that’s not your thing. There was plenty left to the imagination, in a great way.

I was told before I read the book that this was the third in the Tom Stone series, but I’d actually forgotten when I read the book, so I can say for sure that this works as a stand alone story. I have downloaded the first two books onto my kindle because I’d like to read about the build up to what happens in this book, but The Day of the Dead is certainly easy to read on its own.

Friday Favourites – My 5 Holiday Essentials

*this post contains items that I have been sent or previously sent to review. I will clearly state which items these are. All opinions and thoughts are my own*

Over the last 4 years (so not ok with saying I have a 4 year old *sobs*) we’ve got to use a lot of different travel products and I’m starting to know what we really need and what we can do without taking up suitcase space.

Recently we went on what’s becoming our annual family holiday to Portugal and we’re very lucky to be looking forward to a couple of staycations, camping trips and a holiday to France later this year. Packing space isn’t going to be excessive for any of these trips so these 5 products really are my must haves.

Babymule changing bag – I was sent this to review just before B was born and it’s still an essential these days, possibly even more so with two young children!

It’s the perfect bag to use for carry on luggage and for day trips. The different compartments and accessories mean I can pack plenty for everyone and access it all. The separate bag, I use for nappies and wipes, is perfect for a quick dash to the loos or to pass to someone else taking them to get changed without having to take the entire bag or pull everything out in the search for stuff.

Diono buggy buddy – there’s a fair few different brands of these organisers, but this is the one we use and love since G was tiny.

It always hangs at the right angle whenever the pushchair handles are adjusted, and it’s got a great amount of space to be able to hold some essentials. It’s also got two cup holders for yours or the kids’ drinks.

Nom Nom snack pouches – we’ve previously reviewed both the purée pouches and snack pouches and have been brand reps for them too, and I still can’t fault them. Snacks are an essential part of keeping everyone happy on holiday (and at home!) and these are a brilliant way to pack an easy to grab selection. And when they’re pressed closed they really are super strong, which means snacks aren’t exploding all over the place.

Nuby Flip It Beakers – there’s lots of cups and beakers we’ve tried and use in the house, but I’ve found these to be my favourite when traveling.

They’re suitable to be used by both kids, less arguments about who’s is who’s, and the straw can be closed easily to keep it cleaner. And it doesn’t leak much when launched across a restaurant *facepalm*.

Snoozeshade – we were recently sent the Snoozeshade plus deluxe to review, but we’ve been using the original for years and it’s just brilliant. It’s fantastic to have the reassurance that the children are able to have some safe space out of the sun and a darkened place to nap on the go.

The deluxe plus (not surprisingly) is even better than the original. The double front panels are perfect for nosey children (oh hi B!) to be able to see out but have some cover and sun protection even when not asleep, so there’s no need to take the whole shade off which is what we used to have to do. Now the shade can stay on, great for days out in the sun, and just close up the panels for an on the go nap.

It’s also great for light rain showers, so when packing space is limited I can get away without packing a rain cover.

There’s definitely a lot more that I like to pack for trips and holidays, but these are the 5 items that I really REALLY don’t like to be without. In fact on our recent trip to Portugal we didn’t take a Snoozeshade with us, and I genuinely missed having it every day we went out. I will not be making that mistake again!

What are your holiday essentials that you cannot be without?

Mrs H xxx

Summer Is Here! – Squid Disk Review

*we were sent the Squid Disk in exchange for an honest review.  All thoughts and opinions are honest and my own

I think it’s finally safe to say summer is here! The weather has been just lovely the last few weeks, long may it continue!

And as it is summer we have officially opened the Herniman House pool (aka hot tub – happy birthday Mr H!) and the whole family is thoroughly enjoying it. The kids get to spend the day splashing and playing and we get to set the iPad up for some relaxing box set bingeing once the kids are fast asleep.

We were sent a Squid Disk pool toy to review and it’s given the kids lots of fun!

You submerge the Squid Disk into the water, then throw it through the air and it sprays water everywhere. You can imagine the laughter at soaking mum and dad with the bright green squishy squid!

The water sprays out at 360* so do be aware if your washing line is nearby haha!

Honestly, I didn’t think much of it when I first opened it up, but actually it’s provided hours of fun, so I’m really pleasantly surprised.

I don’t think we’ve been able to have the full effect as yet as our garden is fairly little, but G is really excited to take it on holiday with us to use in the big swimming pools, and I’m sure his cousins will enjoy playing catch with it too. Actually I’m pretty sure the grown-ups will enjoy getting in on the fun as well. It’s a great toy to help coordination for all ages as the bright colours are easy to spot, and there’s been lots of giggles as the water sprays everyone.

It’s really lightweight and squishy too so it’s an easy toy to pack for day trips and holidays without taking up much space or weighing too much.

The Squid Disk is not aimed at younger children but B has been enjoying playing with it too, just sat with a washing up bowl of water, dunking it in and squeezing it out again which is great for his motor skills. He’s also more tolerant of water splashing in his face, something he’s become a little bit nervous of lately, when it’s from the Squid Disk. He finds it funny rather than having the water wobbles about it.

Mrs H xxx