Mummy Time Out

On Monday I had some much needed Mummy time out. I was invited to the Sienna Spa at the Radisson Edwardian Hotel in Manchester for a spa day.

Leaving C and LissyLou with their Auntie and Uncle for the day was tough but I was so excited I didn’t mind and I knew they would be in very safe hands with my Brother in Law and Sister In Law.

Once I arrived at the Radisson Edwardian Hotel I was shown the way to Sienna Spa which is in the Basement of the Hotel. I was a bit unsure as which way to go but a member of staff popped out to  welcome me and show me where everything was. I took a seat in the reception room overlooking the pool to complete my information form and choose what I would like for lunch, before being shown to the changing rooms. I slipped on the provided robe and slippers and went back to the reception room to enjoy a glass of juice before my treatment, and enjoyed a quick peek at the mix of magazines before Sarah came to take me to the treatment room.

The room was small, but smelt lovely and had relaxing music playing. I settled myself on the treatment bed and Sarah came back to prepare for my facial. After examining my skin Sarah decided which comfortzone products to use and dimmed the lights ready for the facial. It was by far the best facial I have ever had, the comfortzone products smelt delicious and Sarah was very good. The facial also incorporated a hand and arm massage that was very relaxing and I felt myself gently drifting away with my thoughts. Once the hour was over Sarah encouraged me to get up slowly, drink a glass of water and relax and offered me tips on how to get the best overall benefit from my treatment. She gave me a card which showed which comfortzone products she had used and the prices should I have wanted to buy them to take home. There was no pressure to buy though. My skin felt amazing, very hydrated and super soft, I would highly recommend the comfortzone products.

Next I went through to the pool area to enjoy a quick swim. The pool is lit with blue LEDS which gives it a relaxing vibe and coupled with the jacuzzi, steam room and sauna it was very relaxing. I loved the changing coloured lights in the sauna roof but would have preferred the jacuzzi to be a bit warmer but having the place pretty much to myself certainly wasn’t a bad thing!

I went back to the reception room for lunch and as I sat down I was wondering how I was supposed to eat from the low coffee tables. I needn’t have worried. Exactly at 12pm (the time I had requested) my lunch was delivered by a smart waiter on a rolling trolley. He proceeded to lift the edge of trolley up turning it into a table, complete with my lunch under a silver cloche. The lunch was delicious, Plaice fillets with salsa verde and crushed potatoes. A large portion, succulent fish and tasty potatoes with fresh bread rolls. It was very tasty, I could happily have chosen any of the lunch options as they all sounded good and with choices from salad to beef burger there was something for all tastes.

As part of your spa experience you can also use the well equipped fitness suite, I didn’t! I don’t go on a relaxing spa day to pound the treadmills but each to their own!

After lunch I went to get changed and was impressed by the hair dryers (with choice of nozzles!) and the straighteners. Clearly realising that unless you leave looking good you won’t feel good! I was impressed. I also liked the complimentary shower gel, shampoo and body lotion. All of which smelled divine and left my skin and hair smelling and feeling great.

I left feeling relaxed and happy and wondering when I can go back!

Visit the Sienna Spa, you won’t be disappointed but I highly recommend going early in the week to take advantage of the quieter times, come the weekend it is very busy (we have stayed before and found the pool area to be too busy to enjoy).

Sienna Spa picked up my spa day tab in exchange for my honest thoughts


WIN A copy of Annabel’s Kitchen on DVD

Win a copy of Annabel’s Kitchen on DVD!!!!

Three lucky winners will win their very own copy of Annabel’s Kitchen on DVD


To read my review of Annabel’s Kitchen click here 

To win your copy of Annabel’s Kitchen on DVD (released on the 12th September 2011, RRP £19.99) then all you have to do is leave a comment below telling me why you would like to win! Simple

Open to UK residents, aged 18 or over, entries close at midnight on the 12th September 2011



ThePrizeFinder – UK Competitions

Cheesy Chicken Dippers

C has been asking me for chicken and peas since 8am this morning so I decided to make my Cheesy Chicken Dippers for lunch

I came up with this recipe recently and its become a firm favourite as its easy for me and tasty for him!!

What you need:

200g chicken breast

2 slices white bread

1 egg

20g plain flour

30g cheese

– Preheat your oven to 180C/Gas Mark 4

– Put the flour into a shallow bowl, whisk the egg and put that into a separate bowl.

– Whizz up the bread to make fine breadcrumbs (or grate them if you don’t have a food processor) and pour onto a plate

– Grate the cheese finely and mix into the breadcrumbs

– Slice the chicken into fingers

– Dip the chicken fingers into the flour, then the egg then the breadcrumb mix until well coated, place the dippers on a baking tray and cook for about 15 minutes until they are golden brown and sizzling.

Serve with veggies, chips or wedges (or pretty much any side dish going!) and ketchup or mayonnaise for dipping!

I love them because I know exactly what is in them and as they are oven cooked they are healthy and tasty! Especially good for when they have friends round for tea

High Tea Shape Matching Set Review

We received a High Tea Shape Matching Set to review for John Crane Ltd.

Charming two tiered cake stand

Numbered bases encourage counting to 15

Helps develop matching, counting and spatial awareness

What we thought: We decided that you can’t test a product like the High Tea Shape Matching Set without having High Tea! So we invited my mum and my nephew, M, around for tea and cakes and a proper testing session!

Bring on the cakes!! We had croissants and my easy apple cake, yum yum yum!

I’m disappointed to say that my cakes look no where near as delicious as the High Tea cakes! Maybe next time I will get some fancy cupcakes or similar!

But I digress….

The High Tea Shape Matching Set is VERY pink, it is pretty and girlie and sweet. Made from wood, it is durable and nice to play with. It is good quality and well made, the attention to details was fabulous and the cakes do honestly look good enough to eat

The boys did comment that it was pink but it didn’t stop them playing with it anyway. Daddy however was a little perturbed by the pinkness and felt it was a girls toy.

The boys both played with the High Tea Shape Matching Set and although they were interested in doing the shape sorter activity they were both much more interested to play shop keepers and ask what cakes people wanted.

M, chose cakes with strawberries for Granny! As the boys get older they will also be able to play by matching the numbers on the bases of the cakes with those in the spaces on the cake stand, M, probably could have a go at this now but he was too distracted by the prospect of playing shops!

LissyLou was VERY interested in the High Tea Shape Matching Set, she will love playing with this as she gets a bit older. The cakes are actually a lovely size for little hands and as long as you are supervising them closely I was happy for her to play with them.

C made a little video for you to show you how the High Tea Shape Matching Set works (I helped!) and you can see how quickly we get the set from boxed to ready to play (about 1.5mins even with an interfering toddler!)

The High Tea Shape Matching Set is available from all good toy stores including Dillon’s ToyBox and it retails at £23.95. Not bad considering the quality of the item, this is one toy that will last for years!

You can find out more about John Crane toys by looking at any of the following:

twitter @johncraneblog

Why not try it yourself, a tea party and the High Tea Shape Matching Set!

A cake called Herman

This recipe come with thanks to my mother in law for introducing me to a cake called Herman. To be honest its an age old German Friendship Cake, its delicious, not unlike the Easy Apple Cake I made not long ago but this cake is much more complicated.

WARNING – this cake is not for the faint hearted, it needs LOVE, time and most of all amazing patience and it requires some almighty dedication. It goes a little something like this…………………….

You begin with the STARTER – the idea is to share this starter mix with 3 friends who all in turn make their own cake, hence the Friendship cake

Herman Sour Dough Starter for Cakes Recipes

250g flour
2 cups milk
200g sugar
1/3 cup warm water
2 Tbsp or 2 packets active dry yeast

Day 1: Sprinkle 1 Tbsp of the sugar over the warm water. Sprinkle yeast over this and let stand in warm place to double in size. (approx. 10 min.)

Mix milk, remaining sugar, flour and yeast mixture in a large plastic or glass container, (metal objects will HURT Herman) Stir, using only a wooden spoon or paddle. Cover loosely or place plate over top of container so Herman can breathe.

Herman doubles, even triples at times of vigorous rising.

Place Herman in a warm place.

The next day……

Day 2. Put him in a big bowl (At least 4pt capacity). Cover Herman loosely so he can breathe. A tea towel or loose lid is ideal.

Days 3 &4 : Stir Herman 2-3 times a day with a wooden spoon (do not use metal, and which you can leave in the bowl)

Day 5: Herman is hungry. Give him the following:-
200mls milk
200g self-raising flour
250g sugar

Days 6,7,8 &9: Stir Herman 2-3 times a day.

Day 10: Herman is hungry again. Give him the same ingredients you gave him on Day 5. Stir well then divide him into 5 equal parts. Give 4 baby Hermans away with a copy of this information. (or keep one back for yourself to grow and redistribute to other friends) Keep the 5th portion to bake.

Day 10: Herman is absolutely starving. He needs a holiday. He likes to go to a hot resort. The oven is his favourite. Pre-heat oven to 170ºC (150ºC fan-assisted oven) and grease a cake tin generously. Prepare him for his holiday using  the following:-

150g self-raising flour,
100g finely chopped nuts/raisins,
200mls oil,
half teaspoon of baking powder,
2 teaspoons cinnamon,
3 eggs, 2 grated apples,
Bake in loaf tin or 9” x 9“ cake tin

To Make Glaze: Combine 100g sifted confectioners’ sugar, 2 tablespoons melted margarine, 2 tablespoons milk. Use immediately to glaze Herman

Give it a go, just to say you’ve done it! Start a craze……………..