Monday 27 February 2017

Perfect Pancake Recipes for Shrove Tuesday

I was never a massive fan of Pancake Tuesday as a child (my mum wasn't great at making them!) and as I grew up and left home, I took the lazy option of using premade batter and they never tasted great. We tried out some fab recipes courtesy of Bright Horizons Nursery in Cowley Oxford in the hope that we could finally make pancakes that taste good! We also received some fab dinosaur cutters - perfect for making pancakes fun for little ones!

Firstly, we made Banana and Maple Syrup pancakes which I was pretty excited about as they were fluffy, American style ones (I'd never made this style before). They only take five minutes to prep and ten minutes to cook.

For pancake:
  • 125g plain flour
  • 85g wholemeal flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 2 tbsp caster sugar
  • 335ml buttermilk
To serve:
  • 2 small, ripe bananas, finely chopped
  • maple syrup
  • Mix plain flour, wholemeal flour, salt, baking powder and sugar into a large bowl. Stir in buttermilk and bananas until the mixture is moistened.
  • Then heat a lightly oiled frying pan over a medium to high heat. Pour or scoop a little of the batter into the pan, using approximately 60ml per pancake. Brown on both sides and serve hot.
  • To serve: Chop leftover banana over the top of stacked pancakes and drizzle maple syrup over the pancakes and topping.

These were absolutely amazing! I love maple syrup and bananas are my favourite fruit but I strangely have never had them together. The fluffy consistency of the pancakes were perfect and I will definitely be making these again in future.

Next up, vegan blueberry pancakes! I don't think I've ever tried a vegan dish before in my life so I was looking forward to see what I thought of the taste. These ones have a prep time of 20 minutes and a five minute cooking time.

For pancake: 
  • 126g of plain flour
  • 2 tbsps of sugar
  • 1 1/2 tsp of baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp of cinnamon
  • 300ml of Blue Diamond Almond milk (any flavour)
  • 1 tbsp of coconut oil
  • 1 banana 
  • 300g fresh/frozen blueberries
To serve:
  • extra for toppings
  • pure maple or agave syrup
  • In a large mixing bowl, sift together the flour, sugar, baking powder and cinnamon.
  • In another bowl, mix together almond milk, coconut oil and mashed banana.
  • Make a well in the middle of the dry ingredients in the large mixing bowl and pour in the wet ingredients from the other bowl, then stir to combine mixture. Then mix the blueberries into the mix.
  • For smaller pancakes, heat a griddle or skillet on a medium heat then drop to a medium-low heat to cook the pancakes for 4-5 minutes on each side.
  • For larger pancakes pour 170g onto the griddle or skillet. Once the bottom side has cooked for 2-3 minutes, flip the pancake and cook this side for 4-5 minutes until golden brown. Flip again and cook the other side for an additional 1-2 minutes.
  • To serve: top with more blueberries!
I don't mind blueberries in muffins or cakes but I'm not really a fan of them alone so I didn't actually top mine with leftover ones, but I did add them to my mixture. I thought I wouldn't like the addition of almond milk but it, combined with the flavours of the blueberry, cinnamon and coconut oil, was really delicious!

Next, we tried some Cherry Pancakes with Vanilla Ice Cream. I was anxious to be trying thin pancakes again as mine usually always stick to the pan and I can never time it right. I've also never had pancakes with ice cream before. These ones have a five minute prep time and ten minute cook time.

For pancake:
  • 250ml milk
  • 120g flour
  • 1 medium egg
  • 1 tsp caster sugar
  • vegetable oil for frying
  • 4 scoops of good quality vanilla ice cream
For the sauce:
  • 200g pitted cherries
  • 150g sugar
  • 1 tsp cornflour


  • Whisk the flour, egg and teaspoon of sugar together with one-third of the milk until smooth. Whisk in the remaining milk and strain if necessary.
  • Heat a medium-sized, non-stick frying pan with a little vegetable oil, and then pour in a little pancake mix. Ensure you tilt the pan immediately so that the mixture spreads evenly. Turn after one minute with a spatula or palette knife. Continue this method for the rest of the mix. If you are making lots, stack them up between greaseproof paper and reheat before serving.
  • To make the sauce: put the sugar in a saucepan with 100ml water, bring to the boil, mix the cornflour in a little water and stir into the sauce. Simmer for a minute then remove from the heat, leave to cool then add the cherries.
  • To serve: warm the pancakes and place a ball of vanilla ice cream just off centre with a few of the cherries and fold the pancakes in half, then half again, into a triangle. Spoon the rest of the cherries and sauce over.
Again, I'm not a cherry fan but I was willing to give these a go. I had to give it a few tries as I wasn't quick enough with spreading the batter in the pan but when I got the hang of it, I loved the mixture of a hot pancake with cool ice cream. The cherry sauce was a bit too rich for my taste though.  

Finally, we are finishing with my favourite; Lemon and Sugar Pancakes. These have a 30 minute prep time and ten minute cook time.

For pancake:
  • 110g of plain flour, sifted
  • Pinch of salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 200ml milk mixed with 75ml water
  • 50g butter
To serve:
  • caster sugar
  • lemon juice
  • lemon wedges
  • Sift the flour and salt into a large mixing bowl with a sieve. Then make a well in the centre of the flour and break the eggs into it. Then begin whisking the eggs.
  • Next, gradually add small quantities of the milk and water mixture, still whisking. When all of the liquid has been added, use a rubber spatula to scrape any bits of flour from around the edge into the centre, then whisk once more until the batter is smooth, with a thin consistency.
  • Now melt the 50g butter in a pan. Spoon 2 tbsp of it into the batter and whisk it in, then pour the rest into a bowl and use it to lubricate the full area of the pan. 
  • Get the pan really hot and then turn the heat down to medium. Add 2 tbsp of the mixture to the pan. As soon as the batter hits the hot pan, tip it around from side to side to get the base evenly coated with batter. The pancakes should only take half a minute or so to cook; you can lift the edge with a palette knife to see if the underside is cooked. Flip the pancake over to cook the other side for only a few seconds then simply slide it out of the pan onto a plate.
  • To serve: sprinkle each pancake with freshly squeezed lemon juice and caster sugar. Serve sprinkled with a little more sugar and lemon juice and extra wedges of lemon.

Amazing. That is the only way I can describe these - the children loved them too! I have to admit that I used bottled lemon juice rather than fresh but they were delicious all the same. The perfect pancake and perfect topping.

Will you be trying any of these out for Shrove Tuesday? Let me know!

(This post is in collaboration with Bright Horizons. We received the dinosaur cutters and payment towards the cost of ingredients in return for this post.)

Sunday 26 February 2017

Look in my Letterbox #80

Wow, it's been a long time since I've written a Look in my Letterbox post - the beginning of December, in fact! I did have a period where I wasn't receiving much post so I thought my LIML posts would be a bit boring but now I am back and ready to write these posts weekly again. Here's what I received this week!

Tote bag
 I won this from Willoughby Book Club on Instagram. It was pretty low entry and all you had to do was leave a comment with your favourite opening line from a book. I chose my favourite book; Choke by Chuck Palahniuk - "If you're going to read this, don't bother."
Kenwood Blend-Xtract
 I won this on Twitter from a local company (Musgrave Marketplace). I had been wanting an appliance like this for a while so I was over the moon to have won. We have already tried out a few smoothie recipes.
 Elegant Touch had a few giveaways running on Instagram last week where you had to answer questions about their products, in your opinion. I was chosen as one of the winners and had to give over my address and my BFF's address (I sent my sister's!) and we both received these goodies!
 Nestlé are currently running a giveaway on promotional Kitkats. Inside the wrapper is a code and when you input it on their website, you can win a Kitkat with a personalised wrapper! I chose a collage style photo of Chris and the kids and had it sent to him.

 I won this in a Facebook giveaway on the Leapfrog page by answering what animal was my child's favourite. The kids love it already. 
We will be potty training E soon and we received these super cute organic pants from Zoocchini to try out.
Dinosaur cutters
 Tomorrow I will be publishing a pancake post in time for Pancake Tuesday using these cute cutters!
iPod cable
 Very exciting, I know! Chris found my old iPod in our house this week. I haven't used it in forever so it had died and I realised that I didn't have a charger and was dying to see what gems were on it. Some of them are pretty embarrassing!
CBeebies magazine
We had the latest issue sent through (I have a subscription) and of course the kids snatched it before I had a chance to snap a photograph!
Smear test letter 
 I turn 25 soon so I was expecting this letter! I have since booked in for my very first smear test. I am super nervous but strangely looking forward to getting it done and making sure that everything is okay. 

Did you receive anything nice this week?
Monday 20 February 2017

What I Won - January 2017

Wow, I am super late with this post. I usually schedule them for the first of the month so over two weeks late! I actually took an impromptu break from the blog to recharge and I feel like it did me the world of good. 

January was a bit of a rubbish month for wins if I'm honest. I did so many advent competitions in December that by the time January came, I was feeling a bit fed up with entering which resulted in less wins. Here's what I did win:

1) My Carry Potty (RRP £24.99) from Cheeky Rascals
These potties are fab! We actually own the Ladybird version which we used when C was potty training so E is so happy to have her own Bee version. I won this in an advent giveaway on Facebook.

2) aden + anais blanket (RRP £24.00) from Chic Geek Diary
I love aden + anais. We owned a few of their items when E was little and she still loves cuddling up in a blanket now so I was chuffed to win this for her.

3) We Are Tea goodies (RRP £29.99) from wearetea
I won this on Instagram. All you had to do was follow wearetea, like the post and tag a friend - easy! They run quite a few giveaways so keep an eye on their feed.

4) BMO plush (RRP £12.00) from NowTV
I was so happy to win this on NowTV's Facebook page. C is a massive fan of Adventure Time - look at his little face!

5) Lingerie set (RRP £35.00) from Babes About Town
Babes About Town did 12 Days of Christmas giveaways and I was lucky enough to win this one! I very rarely treat myself to lingerie so this is lovely!

6) Kenwood Blend X-tract (RRP £31.99) from Musgrave Marketplace
This was a local giveaway on Twitter. It was relatively low entry and such a great prize. Can't wait to receive it!

7) Personalised hanger (RRP £5.00) from francescas.workshop
I won this cute little hanger on Instagram. I have the perfect dress to hang on it.

8) Alphapup (RRP £16.99) from LeapFrog
LeapFrog are always running giveaways on Facebook and Twitter and this time (on their Facebook page) they had ten winners for this prize. E will love it!

9) Case of Poshcorn (RRP £38.16) from Poshcorn
Poshcorn did a massive giveaway on National Popcorn Day and gave away a massive 50 cases of popcorn. I was lucky enough to be a winner!

10) Stick to Stigu planner (RRP £16.90) from Pushing The Moon

I was really chuffed to win this blog comp. I am so unorganised so I'm hoping it will help.

Kicking off 2017, I won 10 prizes worth £235.82!
Did you win anything nice last month?
Friday 17 February 2017

Miffy Merchandise - Snowglobe

I have always been a massive fan of Miffy ever since I was a little girl and I have since introduced her to my own children who love her just as much. They fell in love with the books then discovered Miffy's Adventures Big & Small on Tiny Pop.

E was so excited to receive a cute little Miffy snowglobe in the post last week. It is super tiny but perfect for her little hands. Really, I wouldn't recommend a two year old plays with it but she knows that she has to be careful with it and only shakes it gently to see the snowflakes fall around the little Miffy figure inside the glass. I love snowglobes myself and actually keep a zombie Halloween one in my kitchen all year round so she knew what it did straight away.

The detailing is amazing for such a small item and E loves pointing out all the stars, teddy and Miffy herself. She's claimed it as a decoration in her bedroom already.

Miffy toys have actually been released at selected Debenhams stores so you will be able to pick up your own character figurines and miniature talking toys on the high street. The sensory Miffy can also be found there which I definitely recommend. E has one and absolutely loves it!

For more information on which stores you can find Miffy in, check out the Miffy blog

To keep up with all things Miffy, you can follow them on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

(We received a Miffy snowglobe for the purpose of this post. All thoughts and opinions are my own.)