Monday, 22 May 2017

Mixed Feelings about Job Seeking

I've been on job seekers now for just over a month. Currently I'm actually on a break after seeing the doctor. It's only a 1 month break and I still have to attend weekly appointments to see how I'm getting on and soon I'll be back to actively looking for work.
I have huge mixed feelings about going back to work. It's not nerves or a thousand butterflies fluttering inside of my stomach anxiety I'm experiencing; it's full on terrified panic.

Confession time. I have never had a job. I had my daughter at 18, my son at 21 and always been supported by my now ex husband. It worked well for us and we managed without problems for me to be a stay at home mum. Now he's left I had little choice but to sign on and I really hate it.

I don't mind working. I know it'll be so good for me and I'll change as a person in so many ways. I know it'll give me purpose and pride and stop me being bored or wasting away my day. I've still been looking online at jobs even though I'm signed off, I just end up doubting myself and then having panic attacks when I go to sign those application forms. I have managed to submit some though, not that I've heard anything back.

The thing I really struggle with big time isn't the job searching, or the stigma of being on benefits, or being a single mum. I do struggle to find jobs that don't require flexibility around nights and weekends as I don't have the child care for that and according to my workings out online I won't have the money for that either.
The thing I struggle with the most is the job centre. Everything about the job centre sucks.

The security guards that don't smile at anyone other than their colleagues. They make you feel like they're waiting to pounce on you because you're going to kick off at any second. I get that some people do from shear frustration but most people don't.

The whole atmosphere is depressing as hell. It's like there's a room full of Dementors lying in wait to suck your soul and any happiness you have out of you upon entry. I bloody hate it. There's nothing remotely inspiring about the wall to wall notice boards, the miserable faces, the stupid red sofas and sea of computers. It's depressing as hell.

I haven't met a single member of staff I like. I confided to the lady who was signing me up in tears. I explained I wasn't feeling well, I was terrified and panicky and very worried. She didn't care at all. No empathy there whatsoever. I tried to keep quiet and stay strong and just sign on but I couldn't. I was given a tissue and told I was just stressed, it was probably due to my counselling appointment coming through. No it wasn't. I left that afternoon, newly signed on, feeling incredibly low and ignored with tears in my eyes but desperately holding on to my dignity. I had the strongest urge to just throw myself off a bridge. Three days later I saw my GP who signed me off.

So I hate it. I hate being on job seekers. I feel pushed and ignored by the people who work there yet I feel it's so crap it spurs you on to want to leave, find employment and never return to that place ever again. That can only be a good thing. It's terrifying though and I really hope I can push through all of my social anxiety, meet the right person who is willing to give me a chance and leave this part of my journey behind for good.

Cupcake Mumma

Sunday, 21 May 2017

My Sunday Photo ~ Beautiful Tulips



My favourite flowers are Gerberas, Tulips and pink Roses. These have really made smile this week. My week has ended so much better than it started and every time I look at these flowers they make me smile. I can't wait until they open.

Cupcake Mumma

Photalife

Saturday, 13 May 2017

Enjoying Coeliac Awareness Week with Tesco Free From Foods

This week is coeliac awareness week. ( See here for more info on coeliac disease) I've not been able to eat gluten for about 13 years. At first it was a huge struggle, supermarkets were only just bringing out 'free from' products and the quality wasn't fantastic. If you've been a reader for a while you'll also know I'm intolerant to dairy and wheat. These days the free from ranges are so, so much better. One superstore that has really improved their range not just in general but with their very own range is Tesco's Superstore. Look at my local Tesco:




  The frozen section has improved the most in my opinion. There's a lot more gluten free options than dairy and gluten free but I'm really impressed with pizzas, garlic bread, breads and nuggets which my children love.


I was sent a gift card to pick up some gluten free items from my local Tesco store. The garlic bread has only been available for a few months, I can't tell you how great it is to be able to buy some!  The bread cooks quickly and well and tastes really garlicky, just like your regular non gluten garlic bread. It's also milk and wheat free.

Before we found out I couldn't tolerate the foods that were causing my stomach problems, I had never got around to trying some really good food items. One food I never managed to taste was scampi (shock! I know) I was browsing the frozen section, not getting too excited in case there was milk in them, when I saw they didn't: Hooray!! I had scampi for the first time in my life this week and It. Is. So. Good. I had mine with some veg and chips and it did not disappoint. I do find them a bit sickly if I eat more than 4/5 but other than that they hit the spot. Midge thought they were ace so I will buy some normal ones for her next time.



Before our separation, my partner used to make us a weekly free from battered fish which was delicious. I keep meaning to practice but until I get around to it I've found these crispy breaded Pollock fillets that are a brilliant replacement. They are quick and easy, we all enjoy them and I love the crispy bread crumb coating.


These lemon slices are one of my favourite treats to pick up. The center of the cakes is lemony and creamy, the sponge is firm and the topping is lemon sugar which is delicious. The children loved these too!


As you can see I have finally found loads of tasty treats and essentials I can now eat! The range of food available in Tesco's is really good to see and I am always pleased to see new items being added, especially to the frozen section because that has been some what overlooked for a rather long time!

Do you eat free from foods? Are you a coelic who has been struggling to find tasty replacements for your cupboards? I hope this post has shown you just a selection of yummy goodies available to you. If you don't find something in your store you can always speak to customer services who in my experience have been really good ant trying to get products in that are normally more commonly found in my larger Tesco store. Check out the Free From Range by Tesco online!

Cupcake Mumma 

Monday, 8 May 2017

Mental Health Awareness Week: We are Talking. You're Just not Listening

This week marks Mental Health Awareness Week. Of course I love to share these weeks with everyone; there are some amazingly strong and inspirational people out there. There are also some people really struggling out there who stumble across posts and tweets and feel a little less alone. My issue isn't with the week. It's not with people sharing stories or asking people how they are or looking after themselves. It's that the people who are in 'power' aren't listening.


I've struggled with my mental health since I was a teenager. I suffered social anxiety, generalised anxiety, depression and after I had my daughter I suffered from post natal depression. At my most recent health care appointment we traced back where everything started and also came to the conclusion that I may even have been experiencing post traumatic stress from being bullied. 

Mental heath care in this country is quite frankly appalling. It's a postcode lottery for most people. I am one of the lucky ones but why on earth should I even be saying that? In fact, I've been in a dark place and I've been waiting for 2 months to see a counsellor, I will be waiting a further 2 months before I can start some more cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT). In some counties that 2 month wait is a dream, try 6 months waiting when you feel seriously unwell. Or more.

There are some amazing mental health charities who are picking up a lot of broken people and they are doing this with limited funds. They are always raising awareness and trying to get the message across that it's okay to speak out. That it's okay to feel like your mind is lost, that you want to run away, to disappear, to even die but you need to find help to help make sense of why you feel this way and find the right help to prevent you from getting worse or coming to any ham. I don't see how these charities can continue supporting all the hundreds of people but they are doing just that right now.

Our government and political parties are promising to help the NHS, are promising more nurses, more health workers, more support for those with mental health conditions but there is no evidence. There are not enough safe places. There are not enough beds. There are not enough carers, nurses, not enough money. It's all well and good telling us all to open up, share and be aware and PLEASE DO. We DO need to talk about mental health and we DO need to shout more about it and get people to listen, to understand, to not judge, ridicule or stigmatise and that is still so easily done and still a huge problem. We also need ACTION we need those things I mentioned above and people all over the internet are saying those very same words today.

The promises are in writing but they are the same ones made months ago. The same ones made before. Yet people are still ending their own lives because they feel they have run out of options. Still people are attended by paramedics who don't know what they can do to help but there is no mental health response to come out and help that person. Still there are huge waiting lists for counsellors and psychiatric help and still there are people having to travel miles (sometimes as far as 400 miles from their home) to be treated in a unit. That's a long way and very far from family and friends, even more so if you are a young person.

Before I end, here are some mental health statistics for you to have a quick read over. They are from a few years ago, but I don't think things have changed that much. If possible, the statistics are probably higher in 2017. (source MentalHealth.org.uk) 

Suicide
  • In 2013, 6,188 suicides were recorded in the UK. Of these, 75% were male and 25% were female.
  • Between 2003 and 2013, 18,220 people with mental health problems took their own life in the UK.
  • Suicide is the most common cause of death for men aged 20-49 years in England and Wales.
  • One person in fifteen had made a suicide attempt at some point in their life.
Anxiety
  • In 2013, there were 8.2 million cases of anxiety in the UK.
  • In England women are almost twice as likely to be diagnosed with anxiety disorders as men.
  • The one-week prevalence of generalised anxiety in England is 6.6%

Adolescents and Children
  • 20% of adolescents may experience a mental health problem in any given year.
  • 50% of mental health problems are established by age 14 and 75% by age 24.
  • 10% of children and young people (aged 5-16 years) have a clinically diagnosable mental problem, yet 70% of children and adolescents who experience mental health problems have not had appropriate interventions at a sufficiently early age.
That is just a very small snippet of what this country faces. That doesn't include half the other mental disorders that affect people day in and day out. Also, we should remember that this is just the UK. Mental illness isn't just something affecting us, it's affecting people: men, women and children all over the world.

Here are some links for you to check out. thanks for reading.






Sunday, 7 May 2017

My Sunday Photo ~ Back from London


Midge had a wonderful London trip with her school friends but she was very much missed by A and I. I took this adorable photo at half eleven at night, he couldn't sleep for excitement. It's now my absolute favourite photo.

Photalife

Monday, 1 May 2017

April at The Cupcakes...

Finally it's the 1st of May. April wasn't awful but it wasn't exactly my idea of a good month either. It's taken me every ounce of strength, some wonderful friends and my children to get me through April and I'm keen to look ahead and put April behind me and keep moving forward.

As I said however, April wasn't all bad so here are a few things we got up to:
  • Costa with the Mini Cupcakes
  • Beach cleaning at Porthleven with the little ones, my Mum and Dad
  • Beach fun in Porthleven. Paddling, sand art, running, picnics, sunbathing and photo taking!
  • Dad helped with the beach cleaning!
  • Little A spending time with his Dad at the park doing football practice
  • On a bad day we went trampolining in town with friends, it was tough but the children had a lovely day out with their school friends and I had some distraction



  • We spent Easter at my parents and had plenty of eggs, a roast dinner and  chilled weekend
  • I read some books this month which was nice
  • I did some crafting and put together my postcard frame, I like to swap my postcards around
  • I went to Tehidy Woods twice. Once with my aunt for dog walking, which Peppa loved and once with the school for an all day trip
  • We saw lots of animals, had an outdoors story, walked in mud and saved a few wanderers!
  • I volunteered at school reading, doing phonics, handwriting and just generally being helpful. I'm gutted I have to step down soon thanks to the lovely job centre but I intend on sticking to it for as long as I can, I'm gaining more confidence every time I go in
  • The pooch and I chilled out on my down days, I got a lovely photo of her smiling in her sleep
  • My sister sent me a brand new toaster which is one of the best things I've ever had (I'm serious!)
  • We celebrated Trevithick Day on Saturday 29th April and it was such a great day with the Mini Cupcakes, Mum and Dad. I took plenty of photos and will be doing a separate post so do look out for that!




So that was our April. The children enjoyed our little day trips, they've been doing school stuff and enjoying their outside school clubs too. They're pretty happy and that makes me really happy, I'm doing something right anyway!
May should be a nice month. I have to job search, and visit the dentist and doctors for all my reviews and I start some counselling which I really do need. I also plan on having more Costa mornings with my friends, reading more, Midge is off to London on Wednesday, A starts his football club next week and we have half term at the end of May too!

Hope you've all had a good April, here's to May.

Cupcake Mumma x

Monday, 24 April 2017

My Favourite Acts of Kindness and Christian Aid's Big Brekkie 2017

Scrambled egg on toast next to the Big Brekkie logo
Christian Aid Big Brekkie 2017

Any long term readers of Cupcake Mumma will know I'm a huge fan of random acts of kindness, no, any kindness! I firmly believe you put good out into the world and you get that back; in some way, shape, or form, even if it's that warm and wonderful feeling of doing good, it lasts for me throughout the whole day.

I'm helping Christian Aid promote their Big Brekkie 2017 Appeal which takes place between the 14th-20th May 2017. I've not been to one or hosted one before but they sound fab! Sharing together, talking, eating good food and being happy sounds perfect to me! Here's a short video for you to take a peek at and see what it's all about:



"Sharing a meal can bring us together and help break down the barriers between us and this Christian Aid Week, it can do so much more than that. By inviting your friends, family and colleagues to a Big Brekkie fundraising breakfast, you can show love for people living in poverty and suffering injustice around the world. Help fight injustice with a Big Brekkie


Jesus' passion for justice inspired the first Christian Aid Week collectors to come together to raise money for refugees in 1957. Now you can be part of this incredible story of the church in action.


Host your very own Big Brekkie and follow in the footsteps of thousands of Christians who have made a huge impact over the last 60 years."

***

I wanted to also share some of my favourite acts of kindness which if you feel inspired to do any I would love to see so please do tag me on social media! 


My Favourite Random Acts of Kindness

  • Pay for someone else's parking ticket. I'm not sure you can do it now with the new digital pay and display meters but if you can, pass your ticket on if you still have a fair amount of time left on it
  • Donating to food banks is a great activity to do as a family
  • During special holidays such as Easter and Christmas many supermarkets and even banks have large donation boxes for children's hospices etc I like to add a toy at Christmas and some eggs for Easter
  • Leave books in random places with a kind note. I read some books on anxiety when I had a bad patch. When I returned one of the books I left a note inside with words of comfort and encouragement on which I know I would've loved 
  • Write a letter to someone to tell them how much they mean to you, why they are simply wonderful, especially if you know someone who is having a tough ride right now
  • Plant trees and/or flowers. Be kind to the world too! Pick up litter where you see it (as long as it's not filthy or sharp- be careful!)
  • Call up a friend or family member. Maybe Skype someone you've not seen in a long time for a catch up. When I hear from long distance friends I feel so good.


Before I separated from my husband I also liked to do random acts of kindness for him too, so if you fancy doing any of these with your partner then I hope they love it and you both get happiness from the activities. 


  • Cook you partner their favourite meal
  • Leave notes before you leave for work, or draw something onto the mirror whilst they take a hot shower
  • Run them a nice bath or a hot shower to help them unwind from a hard day 
  • Watch a movie together
  • Plan some time out together in the near future so you both have something to look forward to. Even if it's a walk and a picnic, whatever you're into.
I hope you're inspired to spread some kindness and even host a Big Brekkie to raise some money for Christian Aid and the wonderful work thet do around the world.

Cupcake Mumma


Friday, 14 April 2017

Fuzzikins Craft Dozy Dogs ~ Review

Fuzzikins Craft sent us a lovely set of little Dozy Dogs puppies to decorate! They are so cute! In the box you get 3 different sized puppies to decorate with different coloured pens and fabric to put their little beds together. There is even a cape, eye masks and stickers for your little pups!


Both the children loved decorating their dozy dogs. I made the beds because they were a little fiddly. I'm sure Midge could've made them with some more patience, especially as there are several lollipop sticks to aid the making process but never mind! We all coloured a puppy in and every one is super unique as you can see!

 Midges, Little A's and Mummy's Dozy Dogs

All tucked up in bed

Both the children gave the play set a thumbs up. Midge said it gets a 9/10 because all the dogs should've had capes, which I agree with. My only criticism is that the ink went all over our hands (you'll need some warm water and soap to get this off) as proudly shown by Midge below:


Check out the Fuzzikins Craft Facebook page!

Cupcake Mumma and The Mini Cupcakes