Fall in Love with Fall ♥

Did I mention that Fall is my favourite season? Yesterday was the first official day of autumn so it seems like a good time to celebrate some of the reasons why I love this time of year.

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{Never mind Sonia Rykiel, I am the Queen of Knitwear and I can’t wait to dig out those sweaters (old and new) hiding in the wardrobe and team them with my jeans, ankle boots and a long cosy scarf. Comfort dressing at its best!}

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{I’m also looking forward to going for long walks, marveling at nature’s shifting colours and breathing in the crisp autumn air.}

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{Autumn is the time to eat toffee apples, apple pie, apple crumble – in fact, pretty much apple anything.}

Hot chocolate

{Ideally with a cup of steaming hot chocolate with a generous dollop of whipped cream on top…}

Mulled Wine

{…Or a warming glass of mulled wine…}

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{…In front of a roaring log fire…}

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{…Wearing a pair of cosy sheepskin slippers}

Pumpkin

{Let’s not forget Halloween..}

Fireworks

{…and, of course, Bonfire Night and amazing fireworks displays.}

And then, when autumn and all of its wonders start to draw to a close, the countdown to Christmas begins in earnest.

Happy Autumn to you all ♥

 

 

Five on Friday

Rush, rush, rush – that is how I would sum up this week. In between working, trying to sort out childcare, cooking, cleaning and making at least a half-hearted attempt at spending some quality time together, it’s been a struggle keeping up with the blog. Most of my time seems to have been spent refereeing various arguments that have erupted between the children. Half term + rain is definitely not a good combination, resulting in bored kids mooching around the house moaning that there is nothing to do whenever you switch the Xbox/iPads off. Throw in a few late nights – the boys are addicted to Britain’s Got Talent at the moment and have been staying up later than usual to watch the semi finals every night this week – and it’s hardly surprising that tempers have been fraying left right and centre the past few days. But we have had some good times too, catching up with friends, watching movies and playing board games at home. Yesterday and today I had to work so the boys went to football camp while my parents looked after Clemmie. It certainly did the trick as far as bedtime was concerned – Casper was so tired he asked to go to bed at 6.30pm yesterday!

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{We went on our annual family trip to Ikea last weekend. It was relatively painless as we got there half an hour after the store opened so managed to beat most of the crowds. As you may recall it is not everyone’s favourite destination…}

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{It seems ages ago now but last Monday was a Bank Holiday here in the UK. It was grey and drizzly so we went to nearby Hampton Court Palace where the kids took part in a digital fact finding mission around the palace. The boys were really happy as they got to use an iPad but hopefully they learned a few things!}

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{The burger chain Five Guys opened a restaurant near us a few months ago and the boys have been desperate to go so this week we finally relented. It was more expensive than McDonalds but the food was miles better. Clean plates all around}

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{I made another batch of my vanilla granola this week. Really enjoying it with fresh berries and Greek yoghurt at the moment.}

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{I also bought a couple of books, both on recommendations from other bloggers. I was going to save them for the summer holidays but I don’t know if I can wait that long.}

Happy Friday to you all! What are you up to this weekend? We have friends coming for dinner tomorrow night so I have an apple pie baking in the oven, which we will have for pudding. Apart from that, we are just hoping for some sunny weather so we can get outside in the garden.  X

Recipe: Apple Crumble Pie with Salt Flakes

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With Easter’s chocolate egg overload just behind us, I’m sure the last thing on anyone’s mind is more sweet treats. But I couldn’t resist sharing the recipe for this apple pie which I made for pudding when my parents came over for lunch last week. Trust me, it’s definitely one to file away for a rainy day: along with cottage pie and grilled cheese, apple pie/crumble must be one of the ultimate comfort foods. And don’t be alarmed by the salt flakes specified in the recipe – they provide a beautiful contrast to the sweet crumble topping and tart apple. And the secret to getting a really yummy caramelized topping? Drizzle some golden syrup over the pie before it goes in the oven.

Apple Crumble Pie with Salt Flakes

Filling:

approx 800 g apples
1 tsp cinnamon
2 tsp sugar
1 pinch salt flakes

Crumble topping:

125 g cold butter
140 g plain flour
25 g rolled oats
125 g caster sugar
1 1/2 tsp salt flakes

Golden syrup

Method:

Pre-heat the oven to 225°C and grease a pie dish (approx 28cm in diameter). Crumble topping: cut the butter into pieces. Pinch together butter, flour and oats to form a crumbly mixture. Add the sugar and salt flakes. Peel, core and cut the apples into thin slices before mixing with the cinnamon, sugar and salt. Put the apple slices in the bottom of the prepared pie dish and sprinkle the crumble mixture over the top. Drizzle some golden syrup over for a tasty toffee-like finish. Bake in the middle of the oven for 20-25 minutes. Let it cool slightly and serve with whipped cream, custard or ice cream.

NB: As my husband can’t eat gluten, I made this crumble with gluten free flour and oats. It worked really well.

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Recipe – Apple Cake

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Autumn means apples are in abundance and, whether they’re from your own tree or from the greengrocer, it’s the perfect time to make apple pie and apple cake. This recipe is by children’s cookery writer Annabel Karmel but, as my husband can’t eat wheat, I substituted the flour for a gluten free alternative. Apart from how simple it is to prepare, the beauty of this truly delicious cake is that it will stay moist for at least a week, because it is made with sunflower oil rather than butter.

Ingredients:

5 Granny Smith (or other) apples

1 1/2 tbsp ground cinnamon

2 tbsp freshly squeezed orange juice

450g (15oz) granulated sugar

375g (12oz) plain flour

1/2 tsp salt

3 tsp baking powder

4 eggs

1/2 tsp almond essence

2 tsp vanilla essence

250ml (8fl oz) sunflower oil

icing sugar for dusting

Method:

  • Preheat the oven to 180C/350F
  • Peel and slice the apples thinly and place in a bowl. Toss with the cinnamon, orange juice and 100g (3 1/2 oz) of the sugar.
  • Ina separate bowl mix together all the dry ingredients (flour, salt, baking powder and the remaining sugar). Add the eggs one at a time, then add the almond and vanilla essences along with the oil.
  • Grease a deep ring tin or other decorative moulded cake tin, such as a Cathedral mould. Pour in a third of the batter, then half the sliced apple mixture, then a third more of the batter, followed by the rest of the apple mixture. Finish with the remaining third of the batter.
  • Bake in the preheated oven for about 1 1/2 hours or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean. When mostly cool remove from the pan and cool further.
  • To serve, dust the top of the cake with sieved icing sugar.

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10 Reasons to Fall in ♥ with Fall

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Going for long walks and breathing in the crisp air and kicking up the colourful leaves

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Cups of hot chocolate topped with whipped cream and mini marshmallows

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Homemade apple pie

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Roaring log fires

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Halloween

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Bonfire night

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Sheepskin slippers to keep your feet nice and toasty (these are from The White Company)

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Spicy mulled wine

Makeup

Dark berry shades for lips and nails. The Nars sheer lipstick in Vendanges is my go-to lip colour for both day and night while Chanel’s Rouge Noir nail polish is a modern classic.

Scarf & Mittens

Wrapping up warm in a cosy scarf and woolly mittens. (Scarf from Ester Elenora and mittens from H&M)

All pictures and more can be found on my Pinterest board Fall Inspiration