Thursday, 10 August 2017

A Third Birthday Summer Party with Party Delights!

We have been having a wonderful time away in Kent with Martyn and his boys which I will talk about a lot more in an upcoming post. We have been having a lot of fun and getting on board with a lot of cool things that happen in the home here. One of our summer activity plans was to hold a summer themed party with lots of yummy food, a BBQ and some awesome party bits from Party Delights including fun drink bottles, tableware, party bags and a pinata! 

Jazzy plates, inflatable animals, gift bags, summer and animal bottles, ice cream tubs, sweet tub, balloons, flamingo food picks and an awesome pinata!

Will helped me to hunt for things to place in the gift bags. He chose some star fish sweets from the tub, some balloons and he thought sweets from the pinata and birthday cake would finish them off perfectly. 

Before we celebrated with the birthday girl Little A and James got out the inflatable dinosaur and flamingo. I blew them up and both boys had a great time galloping around with them, playing games. I really loved the dinosaur! 

Ember from Relentlessly Purple and the gang arrived to celebrate her daughters birthday! It was so, so good to meet one of Mr K's close friends, we had a great time watching the children play (mostly well bar a couple of accidents involving a door and then a blood nose!) Embers' partner got the BBQ going, the children played and ate party food while the adults caught up and also ate party food! Here's some good food pics to make you hungry!

After party food and playing it was pinata time (the one thing all the children really, really wanted to do surprise, surprise!) I played it safe and opted for a pull pinata, I really didn't like the idea of having a lot of children under the age of 10 bashing away at not only the pinata but quite possibly each other, no one minded or even cared as you can see below!

Our summer birthday party may not have been all about getting the paddling pool out in the heat (in fact, we held it on one of the wettest days!) but we all had a wonderful time together.  If you're planning some summer holiday fun we all gave a big thumbs up to Party Delights range of summer goodies 

Happy Summer Holidays!

Cupcake Mumma

Saturday, 5 August 2017

My Sunday Photo ~ Guardian of the Bridge

The blog has been rather quiet this week due to summer holiday fun but I'm quite enjoying the break. I'm looking forward to sharing our holidays so far with you all but My Sunday Photo is great for sharing a snap shot of our week 

We visited Rochester Castle this week and had a lovely time playing about and having a picnic.  We had to cross Rochester Bridge to get to the castle and after just watching The Chronicles Narnia, Little A and Midge decided that it was Aslan the lion on guard protecting us all which I found rather sweet.


Monday, 24 July 2017

Hever Castle

On July 12th, Mr K and I decided as I was staying with him and it's always been on my list of things to see and do that we should pay a visit to Hever castle.

Brief history (because I couldn't help myself!)

I'm a huge Tudor fan and was so, so excited to visit the castle and the gardens. Hever Castle was built in the 13th century and is best known as the place where a young Anne Boleyn grew up until leaving for The Netherlands in 1513 to receive an education at the court of the Archduchess Margaret. Anne returned to Hever in 1522 when her Father requested her return to England to marry her cousin James Butler. The marriage plans were broken up by Cardinal Wolsey and Anne went to the court to serve the current queen; Catherine of Aragon. 

Hever came into The Kings' possession after Thomas Boleyn died and he later gifted the castle to Anne of Cleaves as part of their divorce in 1540. 

After the Tudors, Hever Castle passed through various owners, the first being the Waldegrave family in 1557 and the Meade Waldo family from 1749 to 1903. During this period of ownership, the castle fell into a poor state of repair, it was leased to private tenants and at one point even housed cattle!  In 1903, it was acquired and restored by the American millionaire William Waldorf Astor, who used it as a family home. He added the Italian Garden and in 1983 the Astor family sold the castle.

The Visit

Walking down the driveway to the castle was simply amazing, I felt so excited to see the castle. We followed behind two jousters who rode their horses to the drawbridge (which, by the way, still works!) We all gathered to admire the horses when Henry VIII came out from the castle with his new Queen Consort Anne Boleyn. He declared a celebration so with loud cheers most of the visitors flocked to see the fabulous jousting event while Mr K and I decided to view the caste first. Huge shout out to the 2 members of staff who were absolutely amazing in helping us up and down the steps in the wheelchair. This part isn't accessible to wheelchair users. Due to health and safety, no ramp can be installed. The staff ware fantastic though.

Mr K and I both toured the ground floor together. We saw the Entrance Hall that Anne's father built in c.1506. If you look at the doorway directly opposite the current entrance you will see original Tudor timber. Had to touch that!

The first room was the Inner Hall which would've been the Great Kitchen during the Tudor period. There were many paintings hung and beautiful woodwork to see. The ceiling was beautiful, done in the Elizabethan style and incorporating the Tudor rose emblem. Next was the Drawing Room which would've contained the domestic offices. It became the drawing room in 1905 and many parts of it are Elizabethan inspired. This was my least favourite room. Although it is clearly beautiful and fit to entertain the finest in society there was nothing remotely Tudor about this room and I found that a little disappointing. 

The Great Hall was next and it is so beautiful. The woodwork is truly amazing, the Boleyn coat of arms was made to go over the great fireplace and the whole room had a truly grand feeling about it. 

A wonderful place to eat your dinner!

Henry VIII had his own locks put onto the doors of every place he stayed

We saw The Library which would've been the administrative offices in the Tudor period but became the Library in 1905. The bookcases in this room are copied from ones once owned by Samuel Pepys, the famous diarist.

I ventured up the spiral staircase and visited what is thought to have been Anne Boleyn's bedroom. There was a lovely view of the houses on the other side of the moat but I loved the single red rose I could see from the bedroom.

Mr K had to stay on the ground floor but was given a tablet which gave him access to the floors above with images and guided information enabling him to view the same items as I did going around. I love all the little statues and pictures in Anne's bedroom. A headboard for a bed is also in this room and whilst not Anne's, it is certainly a fantastic piece found near the time of what Anne's bed would've certainly looked like and I still found it quite magical.

Wooden headboard. It is thought Anne would've owned something similar

Original Tudor stained glass

I ventured through the The Book of Hours room where I saw displays of Tudor clothing and the Book of Hours which was famously written in by Anne Boleyn. The words 'The time will come' can be found in French in this book. Another book she wrote in and signed was her second Book of Hours with the sentence, written in English instead of French this time: 'Remember me and when you do pray'. This is also on display here. I briefly looked around The Queens Chamber which included famous paintings of all 6 of King Henry's wives plus a remarkable painting of himself. There was also a Prie Dieu used for payer on display which was rather wonderful.

Women's head wear

I walked around and found The Kings Bedchamber which was beautiful. The wooden panelling dates back to the 16th century but the ceiling is the oldest in the castle dating back to c1462. It is well known that King Henry stayed at Hever Castle several times during his courtship with Anne. It was pretty awesome being in this room.

The Kings Bedchamber

 The Waldegrave room was full of beautiful ornaments and woodwork and included a fascinating little off room called the Oratory which was added to the room in 1584 during the reign of the protestant Queen Elizabeth I to allow Sir Edward to practice his Catholic faith. The Waldegrave family owned Hever from 1557 to 1715. 

Inside the Oratory

Towards the end of the tour upstairs I wandered through The Long Gallery which held the exhibition The Life and Times of Anne Boleyn. The room featured the 3 key events in Anne's life: her as a young girl before she would've left Hever, her sister Mary with Henry VIII (Mary was Henry's mistress before Henry laid eyes on Anne) and Anne staring longingly at her love Henry Percy with whom she would never be with. Finally, Anne reads letters sent to her from the King.

Anne with a photo of Henry Percy, her first love

I explored the gatehouse and then made my way back down to the courtyard. Once out, we had a lovely walk around the gardens. The rose garden was simply beautiful, I wish the weather wasn't so on and off because it was the perfect place for a picnic. We gazed at the views, at the statues and fountains, everything was gorgeous. 

We had an amazing day and I really recommend it for absolutely anyone, especially a Tudor lover like me or a little history buff! 
Have you ever visited Hever? Perhaps if you haven't you should consider a little trip of your own!

Cupcake Mumma

Saturday, 22 July 2017

My Sunday Photo - Farewell Rainbow

It's now the end of term and both children have broken up from school like hundreds of others across the country. Every year we put together a few bits for the children's teachers and helpers.

This year Midge took in pots of jelly beans and cards that she found and liked. Little A chose roses and I made him a card to take in with little finger prints on the front. That wasn't enough for our A however, he put his hand in the whole ink pad and produced this wonderful rainbow hand print inside, I love it.


Friday, 21 July 2017

I've Nothing to Wear! Special Occasion Outfit Stress Sorted ~

The Mini Cupcakes have broken up from school and we are all looking forward to the summer holidays. Last year we did lots of different things like watching The Man Engine come to town, a trip to Plymouth and the local cinema. This year our summer holiday seems to be very family orientated which is lovely. We are seeing Mr K and soon after we go camping near my sister so we can see Aunty Issy and her partner. First up though is a rather special occasion: a family wedding! 

We're all travelling up to camp for several nights and watch our cousin marry her partner. It's going to be such a wonderful day! Midge has had her dress and shoes picked out for ages (which won't surprise anyone!) She's gone for something really cool, not your usual wedding outfit but I'm okay with it. She is of course, ever the determined girl, to wear her little heeled shoes...bare in mind this is an outdoor wedding at a sustainability center so that should be interesting!

Little A doesn't do the whole shirt or suit thing so he'll be donning a pair of school trousers that I don't mind getting dirty outside and he has a couple of tops to chose from and I don't think anyone will stop him from wearing his Marvel shoes! Luckily my cousin and her girlfriend are pretty relaxed and happy for everyone to wear what they like...

Lucky really because after having very little success I've threatened to go in my pyjamas! I have really struggled to find something that suits me and doesn't cost an arm and a leg! I've put on weight so I'm not feeling confident either. I've tried all my local stores but *sigh* I left simply feeling a bit rubbish about myself and annoyed at the lack of choice. I did buy some nice pumps to go with whatever I did find, they're nice but I'm well aware you're supposed to chose the outfit first!

I remembered a while ago I went onto LoveTheSales website and found some great sale deals on hoodies and trainers from Superdry and Sketchers that I would never be able to afford normally so I thought I'd check them out as my last shot!

I don't normally check out dresses but I know one style I love and that suits me is the skater dress style but I've always found it really hard to find them. LoveTheSales has a section for all the styles including this- win! So, I've narrowed it down to these:

 Club Plus Skater Dress With Ruffle Shoulders - Navy

I'm now in a 14-16 and I find the models in these sections much easier to relate to. This dress is from Asos through LoveTheSales' website and is lovely

 Lace Effect Skater Dress

I love this dress from Izabel, who would've thought I could afford to buy a dress from there?!

 MARSHALL Summer dress ecru

This one is from Derhy via Zalando, the pricier one of the three but a beautiful dress for a wedding party and one I can wear throughout summer too (getting my monies worth!) 

So as usual the children are all sorted and it's just good ol' Mum who is left wondering what on earth to wear! At least now I have some options!

Do you have any special occasions to go to this summer and are you as ready as I am? 

Cupcake Mumma

*via love the sales*

Tuesday, 18 July 2017

Ask No Questions ~ Book Tour and Review

The Blurb

Some secrets were meant to stay hidden… Trust no-one.

After an operation goes badly wrong, undercover specialist Detective Caelan Small leaves the Metropolitan Police for good. Or so she thinks. Then the criminal responsible is seen back in the UK.
Soon Caelan is drawn into a dangerous investigation. But when the main lead is suddenly murdered, all bets are off. Nothing is as it seems. Everyone is a suspect - even close colleagues.
Someone in the Met is involved and Caelan is being told to Ask No Questions.

That isn't an option: Caelan needs answers… whatever the cost.

My Thoughts

Detective Caelan Small, having quit her job after her last assigned operation ended in tragic loss, vowed never to go back to her job as an undercover detective. It's when a previous colleague is sent to retrieve her that she finds a new chance to get questions answered, to right wrongs and get justice (or revenge?)

Unsurprisingly, Caelan was my favourite character in Lisa's new book. I love her fight, her strong mind, her intelligence and how she tells it like it is. You get a real sense of the main characters in this book. Caelan has this tough outer shell but suffers flash backs that make you see how her business is unfinished and she's still reeling from past events. Ewen is another character I took to instantly. He's the slightly nervous but capable new undercover partner to Caelan.

As I've previously mentioned, psychological thrillers haven't been something I've picked up until recently but I really do enjoy them. Ask No Questions is mostly fast paced, with a few slow chapters here and there, nothing that throws your reading off though. I found it really difficult to put this book down, such a gripping, interesting and easy read.

I've never read Lisa's books before but I'll certainly be checking out more and I really hope Caelan and hopefully Ewan make another appearance in the future. 

Meet the Author

Lisa Hartley lives with her partner, son, two dogs and several cats. She graduated with a BA (Hons) in English Studies, then had a variety of jobs but kept writing in her spare time. In addition to this new series with Canelo she is also working on the next DS Catherine Bishop novel.

This is a book blog tour! Check out what other bloggers thought about Ask No Questions.

If you buy this kindle book from Amazon today, it's currently only 99p!

Cupcake Mumma

Wednesday, 12 July 2017

Geekfest 3:0 at Heartlands Cornwall

On July 1st myself, the mini cupcakes and Mr K headed to Heartlands for Geekfest 3.0, the third Geekfest to be held at Heartlands in Cornwall. This event celebrates everything geeky from Star Wars, Doctor Who, comics, merchandise, gaming, cosplay and so much more.

Next year I'm definitely going to go in cosplay because it looked so much fun and so natural. Little A dressed up as Captain America and Midge went with a Harlequin theme she put together herself. Sadly her bought outfit didn't fit her properly but ever the creative she tried her best with what she could find!

Captain America

Midge excited for Geekfest!

We explored the play area first which both the children loved and gave Mr K and I the chance to look at the map of all the events.

Burning rubber!

We saw some fantastic prosthetic  work from Gorton Studios. The characters below are all from Doctor Who, you will probably recognise them if you're a fan! We got to see some evil spirit make up being done by Morgan Kimber which was amazing. 
Little A loved the Ood and Midge loved the Madme Vestra mask.

Madam Vestra

Morgan Kimber from Gorton Studios doing an evil spirit make over

 We then went on to the Nerf area where Mr k, Midge and I watched A run wild with a Nerf gun for about 20 minutes diving behind hide outs and shooting random people with foam bullets. After this we walked to the main courtyard which had some large army vehicles  and a replica DeLorean time machine car from Back to the Future. Little A found a Creeper from Minecraft, a game he enjoys playing on his tablet.

Little A ready to do Nerf battle

Little A and a Creeper!

I bumped into an Edea cosplay which totally made my day. I adored Final Fantasy VIII as a kid and loved all the characters, Edea was a favourite sorceress of mine but I also loved Ultimacia and Adel but I'm thinking that as a cosplay wouldn't be easy to do!

The fabulous Edea from Final Fantasy VIII

There was plenty of Star Wars cosplay with Stormtroopers keeping things on check and a huge Chewbacca posing for photos with fellow geeks (much to Mr K's delight!)

Mr K with Chewbacca and a Stormtrooper

We ventured over to the tent which held some stalls but sadly it was this part that was a bit of a let down for me; the reason being that Mr K, who was using his wheelchair could only get around half the stalls (and with great difficulty given everyone was moving in a clockwise motion) so there were several stalls he missed out on not to mention in order to take the children to the face paints and comic stall I had to leave him alone near the entrance!

Other than that, there were some fabulous stalls. We bought key rings from Jimagination Creations, next time I'll be buying a Harry Potter bookmark which looked fantastic (photo below is from the facebook page where you can also purchase items!) We checked out Superhero Stash where I picked up badges (Captain America of course.) but they sold mugs, key rings, canvas prints and Funko Pops too. The children got some glitter tattoos while I browsed through the comics and graphic novels from Truro based comic store Bazbo Comics. I picked up 2 Wonder Woman comics and 2 Captain America ones for Mr K. I'm thinking of framing mine, I love the art work on the old comics. I want to go back and get some more plus there were plenty which my brother would like. 

One of my awesome Wonder Woman comic books

Harry Potter bookmark on my wishlist!

Before we left we had another quick wander around, saw some more cosplay and Midge took Little A to pose with the Stormtroopers. We all had an ace day!

Little A and Midge getting their photo taken by a Stormtrooper! Lucky little man got to wear his helmet!

Thanks Geekfest, we'll see you next year!
Cupcake Mumma