Wednesday, 23 December 2015

Easy festive holiday spiced mulled cider

Happy Holidays & Merry Christmas!

This is my only festive post and the final post of 2015.
So what better way to end 2015, than to toast the year passing and a new one beginning?
Here is my super easy, quick and delicious homemade mulled cider recipe. 
You can find most of the ingredients knocking around the kitchen, which is great at this time of year. 
This is greqt to make in advance and store in air tight containers. The flavours intensify and it is one thing off your to do list.


3 litres of cider- you can have 1 litre of dry
2 large cinnamon stick
3 cloves
1/2 a bottle of medium sweet white wine
1 vanilla pod
3 star anise
1 teaspoon of grated nutmeg
50g of sugar- soft sugar (if you don't like sugar don't add or use less)
2 heaped teaspoons of Marsala tea
200 ml dark rum (if you have it, that is fine)
6 cardamom pods
1 level teaspoon of mixed spice
1  bay leaf
3 oranges and one 1 lemon
1 orange and lemon peel
1 chopped apple


Ok so you have all your ingridients. 
Squeeze the juice from 3 oranges and 1 lemon. Then thinly slice zest.
If you have a muslin cloth going spare then place all your dry ingredients in there and tie it off.
If not then chuck your ingredients into a big pot, along with the cider, wine, sugar and scrapped vanilla pod. 
You can sieve all ingridients once finished.
The mixture should be on a LOW heat and allowed to simmer for approximately 30-40 minutes.
If it is a little strong add a a cup of water and add until you are satisfied.

**Tip** You may find the citrus oils very strong if you put them in straight away. 
Either place fruits in hot water for a few seconds then add to the mix.
Or add peel into the mix in the last 10 minutes of simmering.

This is also great with champagne or wine so get creative and mull what ever tipple takes your fancy!

This is an alcoholic drink mixture but is just as delicious with non-alcoholic drinks.
Remember guys, drink safely and my underagers -Apple juice will sustain you!

So that's my incredibly easy, show stopping mulled cider. 
Your family will sing your praises and it shall be great.
 Sit back and lap up the adulation.
Drink it hot, warm or even cold and its amazing!

Thank you so much for your continued support this year.
Have an amazing Christmas and a Happy New Year!
Enjoy your holidays and see you on the other side (very Adele)!

Merry Christmas, Afenhyiapa, Feliz Navidad, Meri Kirihimete, Sung Tan Chuk Ha, Gledileg Jol, 
Bada Din Mubarak Ho... so on and so forth

Stephanie aka Wednesdays Girl

Don't forget to come find me and  

Wednesday, 16 December 2015

Read of the month: Sent From Heaven (Blogger book edition)

Hi Loves,

So I am coming to you with a very special read of the month.
Oghosa of SincerlyOghosa
asked  me and along with other bloggers, if we would review her first E- book,
 Sent from Heaven and being the bookworm that I am obviously I said Yes!
I have been so inconsistent with my book reviews so in the giving spirit of the holiday season. 
Here is my second book review for December and from a blogger who seems to be going from strength to strength no less!

Set in modern day London. We follow Chioma Amara.
A woman cut down in her prime.
Taken from her son, just as their relationship was back on track and her determination to finally right wrongs and help give him the chance to live a fulfilled life.
Chioma seemingly can not catch a break! After becoming pregnant at university and having no other option once she is deserted by her boyfriend. 
Chioma puts her son Sam into care with the promise to come back for him. 
After several turbulent years Chioma and Sam are finally reunited. 
However that is only the beginning of their struggle.

In death, Chioma doesn't catch a break either.
 Despite being in the unearthly realm, Chioma is assigned to hell through no fault of her own. 
Now on the verge of an eternity in purgatory, God steps in to save the day.
 Having spotted Chiomas’ unblemished soul within, a crowd of those more deserving of hell. 
God intervenes and gives Chioma one last chance at life, in order to help her son heal some his wounds and begin his own journey. 
Chioma must return to earth and guide him to happiness, love and acceptance all before Christmas.

Now first off I have to say I am not particularly religious, I don’t often go in for Christmassy “feel good” cheer books or films because I just can’t with all the faux cheer and predictability.
This however keeps Christmas as a  back drop to a wider story but is not all consuming.
Nor do I often go in for the self published religious fiction as I find them to be a bit zealous at times and find the cringe factor to be extraordinarily high.
That isn't to say however that I don’t enjoy books that have underlying religious themes/imagery.
 A Christmas carol, Dan Brown books or even The chronicles of Narnia to name a few. I start with this as by not reading these genres often, it gives me a different view point.

 What I do go for is a book that has something different or striking about it that touches me in some way. Oghosa has managed to find a niche in the booming supernatural fiction arena that I haven’t seen before and works really well with it. This alone makes it interesting and I am very intrigued to see if she expands on this in future.

I am really happy that I agreed to review Sent From Heaven. 
As I said above I might not have gravitated towards it, if I had seen it. In many ways this is a very current book. Although a tried and tested formula (no spoilers) is used. Oghosa manages to make God personable and the idea of heaven and hell not so shrouded in mystery. 
She cleverly worked in very familiar elements to great affect. I do think that certain characters could be fleshed out more and certain points in the book to be expanded upon more but considering this is her first fully self published piece, I think she has done very well.

I actually enjoyed reading this and if you are a person who revels in happy endings, Christmas feels, that quintessential Christmas spirit and possibly that person who has their tree up on the 1st of December this is definitely a book for you.
 Equally if you are a bit more chilled like me, don't really go in for over the top excessive festivities and have an aversion to tinsel. You will enjoy it too. Alternatively this would make a great gift/ stocking filler for a loved one. 
It is incredibly apparent how personal this story is to Oghosa on many levels and that passion is so clearly woven into the storyline.

This is a great book to remind you what life is actually about. 
Finding and cherishing the people and things most important to you.

Check out Oghosa explaining why she wrote this book and why this more than just a story for her. 

Until next time.............

Stephanie aka Wednesdays Girl

Don't forget to come find me and  

*Disclaimer: I did not purchase this book. However my thoughts and my opinions are my own.
You can see my full disclaimer, should you wish.

Wednesday, 9 December 2015

Reads of the month: December 2015

Hi Lovers,
Long time no review but I promise I have been reading!
So these are my new reads of the month.
These are two very different books.
Check them out below.

 by Ruth Rendell (3.5 stars)

Flitting between the modern day and the cusp of WW2. 
A buried tin containing the remnants of two severed hands, is the catalyst that brings a group of friends long since grown up back into each other lives.
Having grown up in a small Essex suburb together, it doesn't take long before old alliances and group hierarchy of what once was are firmly back in place. 
Swept up in a murder investigation, old truths and buried memories are brought to the surface.

Rendell took an interesting route and didn't focus on the actual murderer but the children now well into adulthood.
The plot centers on how an incident that they didn't know had actually happened greatly impacted their lives. 
As the group find each other again regret, lost chances, ageing and opportunities rear their head and some to detrimental effect.

Told from a much older generation struggling to find their place in the modern world was an excellent touch.
I found the use of older people making mistakes, feeling adrift and learning to live a life other than the one set out for them refreshing.
The role of being all knowing and wise is often afforded or foisted on older characters and this certainly isn't the case here. 
I am a pretty fast reader but this is a slow burn so it took some sticking to.
Without giving the plot away I did find fault with the stereotypical scenes and internalised
 misogynistic attributes in a few of the characters.
 This often irritates me in books however one characters end story did go some way in redeeming this.

This is actually the last book Rendell before her death earlier this year.
 So I think it will be very special to a lot of her keen followers.

Kitty Peck and the Child of Ill-Fortune by Kate Griffin (4 stars)

This engrossing historical mystery thriller set in Victorian London, follows fiery and fearless 17 year old Kitty Peck. 
The newly untested heiress of Paradise, the underworld criminal empire formerly run by her grandmother Lady Ginger.
No longer one of the many girls working within her grandmothers music hall.
 Kitty is now the boss and has to fight for the right to win and command all that lies within Paradise. 
Desperate to find and be reunited with her banished brother Joey.
 She embarks on a journey, where her life is placed in danger when she can not refuse a strangers plea for help and the chance to save a child.

Kitty and her friends lives are soon in danger as she unwittingly stumbles through her Grandmothers plans for her and those who have followed her back from Paris in pursuit of this child and bury a secret that could potential bring down the English empire.

This is actually the second book in this series and I didn't feel as though I had missed out on information at all. The first Kitty Peck and the Music Hall Murders is definitely on my list.

I found myself automatically reading kitty's parts in a proper hardcore cockney accent. Although there were cases of othering. 
 I felt a good percentage of the characters were well rounded and described well.
I really enjoyed this book and really felt as though I was immersed and living this adventure with Kitty. 
I found that the author struck the right balance of Kitty being a young woman and suddenly having to don this mantle of responsibility brilliantly.
This follows the traditional penny dreadful style and although a little sketchy in places is  very enjoyable.

Until next time.......
Stephanie aka Wednesdays Girl

Don't forget to come find me and    

Wednesday, 2 December 2015

Winter skin savers/ saviours 2015

Shea butter whip
This is a life saver in the colder months. It just keeps skin looking glowy and smooth. 
Moisture is kept on lock.Which I am thankful for. 
Ashy skin will not prosper here lol!
 This is great all year round really but it really comes into its own when you need extra defence against the very cold and changeable weather, hot baths, heaters being on and general chill your skin experiences.
 Here is my Shea butter whip recipe, that I swear by, your welcome!

Face oil (custom blend)
 People can be a little scared of putting oils on the face but controlling the amount you use 
with a dropper is handy and testing it to see how your skin reacts is always best.
 If your face doesn't like it you can use it on your body. 
For the last 2 years I have been making my own DIY custom oil blends.
I will do a post in future.

This is a great light gel formula that provides much needed moisture.
The hyaluronic element is a great way to promote moisture in the skin.
 A great way to use this is layering it under Shea butter especially 
on areas that maybe be exposed to water and cold more often such as hands.

Coconut oil
 This is just LIFE! Coconut oil has been one of the super stars of 2015 and it really works well for me.
 I am lucky enough to have skin that works well with coconut oil and doesn't suffer any comedogenic issues. This multi-purpose oil is a great one to have on your shelf. 

The Body Shop Hemp hand protector
 This is a long time holy grail product in my family. My mum has used this for donkey years. 
A great handbag essential. It is thick and intensely creamy and nourishing. 
This definitely is a winter defence product.
 It doesn't smell that great but as you can see nearly every last drop has squeezed out as it is that great.
Sale times are great times to stock up for the year!

Alba Botanica mask
 This has been one of my most prized finds of the year!
It is organic, paraben free and all that good stuff.
It is an affordable, long lasting non-abrasive exfoliating mask and has done wonders for my skin.

Madara Claryifying toner*
My skin really took to this toner so well and it has become a really good Autumn/winter toner. 
Another non-abrasive exfoliant, which is keeping my small amount of pores minimised and my PH levels pretty much on point. I am really pleased to have found it.

 I have a weird thing I do where I bite my lips when I am thinking. I am doing it now!
This leads to me occasionally having a dry patch or two which I will nibble on subconsciously.
 Hence a vicious unstoppable and annoying cycle ensues.
 Bites lips, gets dry patch, nibbles on dry skin, rips off skin, apply balm and restart.
 As a result of this, a tube of Lucas' Pawpaw ointment is always in my bag. 
I use lots of lip products interchangeably but this never leaves my bag EVER. 
It really sorts my lips out and is another multi-purpose balm to keep in your SOS box.

Crystal collagen eye masks 
This is an oldie but a goodie for me. 
I don't use them often so always have a supply. 
I buy a pack of 5 from eBay or friends going to china annually and they just give me a bit of a boost. 
My eye shape means that I have epicanthal folds but not wrinkles.
Luckily I don't get eye bags or have extreme discolouration around my eyes.
When  I am tired it's more my actual eyes going red/ blood shot. 
So these are just to make my skin feel good and pamper myself with.

So these are a few of my staple savers/saviours for Autumn/Winter.

What are your must haves?

Stephanie aka Wednesdays Girl

Don't forget to come find me and  

*An item in this post was sent to me. However all views expressed are my own.
 Please see the  Ms. Wednesdays Girl disclaimer in full here.