Thursday, 25 August 2016

Gluten & Dairy Free Jaffa Cake ~ Great Bloggers Bake Off 2016

Hello Cupcakes! The Great British Bake Off is finally back! Which also means the very many GBBO obsessed bloggers, including myself, are back to try and bake along with this years contestants and share our bakes with the ever lovely Jenny who is hosting her bakes and the bloggers link up at her blog Mummy Mishaps, so do check it out!

This week we had drizzle cake, Jaffa cakes and mirror cakes. As my title suggests I really wanted to try Jaffa cakes but I wanted to make a biiiiig Jaffa cake, not little ones that my children would inhale in 3 seconds flat. So, I've decided to make a large Jaffa type cake. It's a bit wonky, it's a little thinner than I wanted but it is delicious!

Throughout this bake-along I am attempting all bakes gluten, wheat and dairy free. Fingers crossed, last year was tough so this year will be tougher!

* I'm afraid when it comes to baking I am very much a 'throw it together' type of baker. I will try my best with recipes and measurements or provide a link to a recipe I've followed (sort of!)*

Jaffa Cake Sponge
Using 3 small sandwich tins (from Poundland) I baked my 3 layers using:

6oz Vitilite dairy free spread 
6oz caster sugar
3 eggs
6oz Doves Farm self raising flour
1/2 tsp Gluten free baking powder
A splash of orange flavouring

All the ingredients are in the order I used them. Mix them well but don't over mix. Ensure there is no flour sitting at the bottom of the bowl which it likes to do. Then pop the mix into your tins which should be greased and lined to avoid any cake based disasters and cook in the oven for 15-20 mins at 180 or until your knife comes out clean when you gently insert it into the middle of the sponge.

Orange Syrup

100ml Squeezed Orange juice (sieve out the bits)
3oz caster sugar

Using a small pan, heat the juice and sugar until the sugar has dissolved. Brush the syrup over your cake layers while the cake is still warm.

Sandwich your cakes together using a delicious marmalade. I used a Tesco marmalade with no peel and spread it on really thick. I then assembled my layers together. When the cake is completely cool you are ready for the chocolate!

Chocolate Topping

Dairy free chocolate. I used 6/7 packets of Tesco's free from chocolate buttons
100ml soya milk
3tbsp Golden Syrup
2oz Vitilite dairy free spread

Put the chocolate into a bowl. In a small pan, heat the soya milk and golden syrup until the mix boils. Pour over the dairy free chocolate and leave to stand. Stir the chocolate gently until it is all melted. Stir in the Vitilite until it melts and leave to cool and thicken slightly. Some people pour the chocolate over, some people use a spoon to add it to the cake. I did a bit of both!

Mummy Mishaps

Wednesday, 24 August 2016

Back to School with Hartley's Jelly Pots!

The children and I were really excited to open our post from Hartley's when it arrived last week. We're taking part in their 'Back to School' campaign which is really exciting because we love, love, love jelly! Normally we buy the jelly in cubes and make a big bowl of it to share but I've never thought about putting in the children's lunchbox which is such a shame because they'd really enjoy it! There are six flavours to choose from in Hartley's jelly pot range; our favourite is raspberry but you can have strawberry, orange, tropical, apple and blackcurrant. In our box we got some strawberry jelly pots to try out plus a lunchbox and stickers for Little A to have (Midge already has a new lunchbox.)

The children gave the strawberry pots a big thumbs up (well they did have 3 in a row!) and I really liked them too, though I still prefer raspberry. I'd buy a different flavour to try next time or perhaps lots of different flavours so the children got a different pot for each day they went to school.

Here's what Midge had to say about the jelly pots:

"They were awesome and delicious! I love how they taste and strawberry is my favourite flavour. It'd be brilliant to take them to school because it would be different, usually we have the same things all the time, I'd love to see a jelly pot in my lunch box!"

I've bought Hartley jam's and jelly's for a very long time and have never been disappointed in any of their products. I love that their jelly pots have no added sugar (and that for me they are only a 10 calorie snack!) We tested the lunchbox out today and I can confirm unlike Little A's old lunchbox, the jelly fits so he's also happy with that!

Have you tried Hartley's jelly pots? Let us know what you think of them too!

Thursday, 18 August 2016

Suffering from Trauma after Bullying

That sounds extreme doesn't it? I never thought anyone could be bullied and suffer 'trauma' either some time after or, as is the case with me, years after. See, I've been seeing a wonderful therapist who is going through CBT with me, teaching me about my social anxiety, my fear of blushing and slowly taking apart the reasons why I've struggled so much over the years with these problems.

Today was a tough session. For the first time ever I sat there and spoke about what happened in school when i was a teenager. What happened in the corridors, in the classroom, on the school bus. It hurt. It really, bloody hurt. I said I had these memories, that I can remember everything and almost every time these bullies said something, who they were and where we were, what I wore and what I was doing at the time. Normally nothing to be fair, just paying attention and minding my own business, trying to get a damn education.

So through the digging and the asking of questions my therapist looked up at me. He doesn't agree these are memories. They are so much more than that. I used the word 'flashbacks' and that's when he said this isn't just bad memories, this is trauma. 

When I think of trauma I think of women who have awful births, of people who have fought wars, killed people, seen awful things in dangerous countries, of people who have come close to death in a terrible accident. Not a 26 year old woman with a good life who is a bit socially anxious and has a past, like so many people, of being bullied. 

But then I thought about it. Of course it's bloody traumatic. You're 14 years old and you're scared of going to school because you're going to be humiliated (another key word we pulled out today that has so much meaning going forward) I would spend drama lessons, English lessons, french presentations anything I felt threatened by really. locked in a girls toilet cubicles. I would pray to be invisible, or for one of the boys to get sick. I just wanted to study. I just wanted to have a laugh. I just wanted to be left alone.

Those bullies had a massive impact on my teenage years. I hated myself, I really, really did and what I live with now is the mind of a scared, anxious 14 year old girl, traumatised by being humiliated in front of classes of 29 other children, on a bus where there are no exits until you or them get off. It still sounds a bit lame to say I was 'traumatised by bullying' but how many young people have taken their lives because of bullying? How truly awful does it feel to be bullied? Bloody awful I can tell you. Some people change themselves, some people don't let the bad guys win, they keep moving forward and they don't hide away. Some people are like me, they hide and they run and they avoid. They relive those moments despite them being so, so long ago they are more than memories and they continue to make you feel bad, weak, scared, anxious and worthless. To not bother trying because why would I want to humiliate myself!?

Something I came up with today was a little chant to say to myself when I struggle to walk pass teens, when I get nervous in the street, at appointments and hopefully when I meet up with people for coffee, meetings and in the future, work:

You are 26 not 14.

I am 26 and not 14. I am a woman, a wife and a mother to two young children. I have conquered fears like spiders, literally climbed a mountain, travelled trains on my own, met people I've never met before and now call friends. I'm sure as hell going to kick the shit out of this too. It won't be easy, reliving moments of intense humiliation and self hate is horrible but I will find a way to deal with it all. I will have a life, it's been too long.

I am 26 not 14. 
I am 26 not 14.

Monday, 15 August 2016

Day Trip #3 The Man Engine in Cornwall

The Man Engine is an amazing tribute to Cornwall's mining history and I loved that I got to take the children along to see this amazing 10ft plus man engine because I really thought of him as a real work of art not just a tribute or something to go down in history for it's height and meaning, I thought it was wonderfully made.

The Man Engine came to our local town after visiting quite a few towns before ours, it was actually nice to have something like this come to us rather than missing out because I couldn't afford the travel (usually the case) 

Loaded on the lorry before being bought out to show off

We waited in the crowd for about half an hour before the choir sung Camborne Hill and other songs and there was a brief talk about why The Man Engine was built, plus a moments silence for those miners who lost their lives all those years ago. He then slowly rose up, overlooking us all. We didn't see a great view of him at first but after 15 minutes people started to leave so we walked around town to get him front facing and it was amazing!

Overlooking Camborne

The children were mesmerised by him and I was really impressed by him too. He was able to move his arms up and down, his head side to side and accepted a giant Cornish Pasty from the towns Mayor which was pretty cool. As more people left we got closer and closer until eventually we saw him slowly coming down which was cool because we could see his face and helmet and all the smaller features you miss when you're further away,

The Man Engine being collected to go onto his next town

Midge and A posing, they loved The Man Engine!

After we saw him being loaded back onto the large lorry we browsed some shops and got some lunch from one of the local bakeries. Midge wanted a sausage roll and Little A really wanted a proper pasty like 'the big robot had' so that he got (and the last one much to the grown men in the queues disappointment!!)

Midge enjoying her sausage rolls

Little A extremely pleased at getting the last pasty!

I then treated us all to a hot chocolate. We got to sit for a bit and chat about what we had seen and I got to explain a bit more about why people had built The Man Engine. I'm sure it went in one ear and out the other but at the time it was nice to discuss! We went home shortly after to relax and look through the leaflets we had picked up. I'm putting one in the book I'm making for my American pen pal, hopefully she'll think it's pretty impressive too.

Friday, 12 August 2016

Summer Day Trip #2 Plymouth

This trip was planned for a long time but Mr B and I thought leaving it as a summer holiday treat might be a really nice day out. We caught an early ish train straight to Plymouth which wasn't much fun because it was fully booked up and was a hunt the spare seat game for a while! We all got to Plymouth in a good mood and set off to explore the town, sticking to our plan of sports shops, primark, lunch and a little browse around.

I took Midge to look around a shop and met Mr B and A in a sports shop where I picked up some new colourful trainers for Midge and Mr B got some football bits, A picked up some much wanted goalie gloves and new wellies. Primark was on everyone's list and Mr B treated us all to some new clothes which were well needed! We had to go on the carousel first, naturally..

 A on the round about ride

 Blowing the paper off the straw in Mcdonalds

Midge used her spending money on this cute owl

Afterwards we went for some lunch picking the Big M for the little ones, they were happy with that choice! Midge changed into her new outfit just before we headed home (now that was a long journey, mostly in between carriages and on the floor!) we got home safely though. Going through our new stuff waited until the next day, we had a snacky dinner then all went to camp in our bedroom.

Dressed in some new gear after a good day shopping!

 Mr B and A having a funny moment

So yet another outing enjoyed by us all We don't go to Plymouth often because it's obviously not a cheap day out but every once in a while it's good fun to go as a family or sometimes just Mr B and I. Actually, we're heading back in November just Mr B and I after I won some hotel tickets so that's something to really look forward to!

Cupcake Mumma

Tuesday, 9 August 2016

Reasons to Smile ~ June and July

I'm combining the months once again *shakes fist at laptop stealing children* I like a nice big cheerful post though so I guess it's not so bad. It may be a little long but i'll be keeping the writing to a minimum! I hope you've all had a good couple of months despite the weather and can also pick out some good things from June and July. 


We had Sports day which A got into more than I thought he would. Both tried really hard and I thought the school made it the best sports day in a long time! I got a new bike in June for an absolute bargain and couldn't be happier! I've been on some family bike rides and have been out once on my own. Mr B and I enjoyed some quality time having a breakfast, shopping and going to Costa.

I had some lovely girl time with Midge chatting and doing some nail painting and earlier in the month we took A to his ENT appointment which went really well but I have a feeling he'll be getting an appointment soon for some grommets! Midge won a prize which she was over the moon with and I won some money betting on the footie! Finally in June, I booked a CBT appointment and I have that this month plus I got to catch up with my brother on his birthday, it was nice to hear from him,


July has been a good month actually. I got some new glasses after an eye test at the end of June, they're much nicer and I feel happier in them. We were all happy with the end of school, despite the crying Midge was okay after a while and ready for the long break. Part of the saying goodbye was giving teacher gifts which I made this year and was really happy with. I'm also really pleased that both children have wonderful teachers for next year- phew!

Also in July I took part in the Race for Life with my Mum and we raised just under £200 which we are so pleased with. Doing it 3 legged wasn't the best idea but we were the only ones doing it and were proud to do it all the way. I won a hotel stay in a twitter competition and we started the summer holidays with a great day out at the cinema and a big sleepover with the cousins. Speaking of cousins, I saw one of my cousins, Steph, at my parents house which was great because it has been a very long time! I'm hoping that the whole family can come together next year for a big family birthday party.

I hope everyone has had a good couple of months and that you're all enjoying the summer holidays! It's been a bit hit and miss with some bad weather and bickering but we have had some really nice days where we've had some good fun!

Cupcake Mumma

Saturday, 30 July 2016

Day Trip #1 The Regal Cinema Redruth

On Wednesday I took the children on the first trip of our summer holidays. I'll start by saying now it cost a heck of a lot more than I ever intended! The night before, I checked out the cinema film listings, nothing really caught my eye. Midge had already seen the new pet movie, I can't bring myself to watch the BFG (I know it's had rave reviews and I'm sure it's a wonderful film but I so love the book and the original that I'm firmly in the old camp with this one!) I saw they were showing Angry Birds as the bargain movie so we chose that one. All the seats were £1.99 but I was charged for 4 seats which I was refunded at the end. I purchased the small popcorn but didn't have my glasses on so couldn't see how much this was going to cost but each one must've been over £2 because my total (minus the refund) was around £14...not as ouch as a regular film but still ouch for my budget.

Me, A and Midge

Both the children were really well behaved. It was A's first time going to a cinema and it was in my mind that he may get overwhelmed but he was really happy watching the film snuggled into me. The film must've been about half hour late due to technical issues but eventually we got there and the film was really funny. I'm glad we watched it and hope there's another one coming out in the future!

Happy A in the cinema

After the cinema, the children wanted something to eat so we picked something up from the bakery: A cupcake for Midge and a pasty for A. I saw a little toy shop where midge picked up a lovely hair clip pack and A bought a minecraft box. I'm annoyed that I paid £3.99 for the box and it was ME that lost his toy on the train on the way home! If it was him I'd have said 'tough luck' but it was all my fault so we headed to the supermarket on our way home to get Mr B some pop and buy a replacement toy for A. Luckily he chose a £1.50 car this time!

Midge with a cupcake, A with a pasty on the train.

We all had a lovely day together. Midge and A saw their friends on the train so they had a 5 minute natter. A loves train travel so it was always going to be a thumbs up from him! We all enjoyed the movie and I'm pleased our cinema does a bargain offer like that now and then. I'm just a little peeved that I spent so much on the first outing!

What have you been up to this week?

Cupcake Mumma

Saturday, 23 July 2016

Last Day of School 2016

A cake I made for the reception class to say goodbye

I have real mixed emotions about my children finishing their school year. I'm finding with A I'm really excited about his next step in education and I've had some wonderful support from his teachers and other staff in regards to his transition. His teacher next year is known by us and him as she taught him in nursery and we had a great parent teacher relationship then and still get on really well now. I don't believe he'll struggle to settle in any less than most of the children in his class and in fact, most children going from a play based learning environment in reception to a year 1 class where it's more structured, involving guided reading and a morning of English then Maths, phew! It's going to be tough for almost all of the children so I'm not worried about A as much as I was a few months ago before we had his meetings.

It's Midge that is giving the me the most anxiety. Last night I couldn't sleep so stayed on the sofa for a bit thinking and it just hit me that she's going into year 4..year 4!? That means she has only a couple of years left of primary and I feel so, so nervous for her. She's so quiet and sensitive and has had a few issues at school with the other girls. It's fair to say that my own experiences of school and seeing my girl almost following in my footsteps in regards to wanting to be friends with everyone and be kind, not wanting to upset anyone and being pretty shy brings back a heck of a lot for me and whilst I am not showing my insecruteris or anxieties in front of her, I'm really struggling to get over the fact that she's getting older and it's like, where the heck has all this time gone?

Anyway, they were both really excited yesterday. Midge has a post on her own blog about her last day. She left sobbing, A left hyper as anything, no idea what they fed them at their party! A had a small graduation ceremony which was lovely if a little long winded, he received an award for his phonics and hard work. Midge came home with her certificate yesterday which was for 'always being a fabulous friend.' I couldn't be happier! They both looked so grown up in their non uniform and trotting into school with their teacher gifts. A left school with a lovely goody bag from his teachers which I thought was a lovely touch.

 Last day of school photo!

A's goody bag

So now it's time for the summer holidays and I am looking forward to them. I'm not sure I can compete with last year but i'll give it a good go! I'll be posting up my summer bucket list soon as we all have ideas we want to share and put some adventures on our calendar!

I hope all your little (and big!) ones had a lovely final week of term and weren't too sad to say goodbye to their friends and teachers (and some cases schools!) Have a lovely summer holiday and do share with me any fun plans and outings you have!

Cupcake Mumma

Monday, 18 July 2016

Freebies, Bargains and Wins ~ June

June came and went and I didn't have much freebie or bargain success. To be fair, I've been putting money I have spare in my savings and ISA for any tooth or pet related emergencies in the (hopefully not near) future so bargains haven't really been my thing lately (in other words they have, but I've had to be really good and ignore them!) I entered 3 competitions and my prizes arrived last month. Midge was over the moon with her LaLaLoopsy doll set and I was over the moon with my massive American marshmallows from a twitter win! I finally received my pillow cover prize, I had to choose a new one in the end but it is a pretty design. 

My favourite bargains last month were a big bottle of J2O from Poundland, a beautiful jumper for Midge which I had been eyeing for what seems like forever to be moved to a sale rail and 3 for the price of 2 nail polishes from Superdrug. Below you can see my lovely blue nails and Midge's pink nails. We had some nice girl time trying out our new polishes. 

I'm pretty sure there were some freebies in June but I just can't remember what they were. I do apply for a fair few but it's always whether they will get here in time for the posts and on this occasion, June hasn't been a good month for getting them here! I've had a few this month so for July this space won't be so empty!

Have you had a freebies, prizes or bargains you'd like to share?

Cupcake Mumma

Thursday, 14 July 2016

Sports Day 2016

It's nearly the end of the school year before we pack up for 6 weeks then run around like crazy buying new uniform and getting all emotional at our 'babies' going up yet another year and naturally it's time schools like to pack in as much as possible into the final 2 or 3 weeks! We've just had our sports days, one going ahead as planned and one pushed back due to the rather unpredictable July weather! 

Midges sports day was first up. The field was all set up for the whole of the upper school (year 3 upwards) with loads of different activities some being traditional (track, sprint, long jump) and a rather odd slow bike race (yeah I'm hoping they ditch that next year!) The school tried a new thing this year in keeping with the Olympics, all children would have a great time and take part then from every year group the top 3 from each race would be invited back to a finals later in the day. This was quite nice actually because Midge tried her best but knowing she isn't very sporty she didn't expect to win anything. She did get a 4th in the sprint and did well in the sack race and would've done better if she didn't keep losing her shoes on the track event bless her! She didn't go through to the finals but she was happy with that and enjoyed cheering all her peers on in the afternoon with her fellow class mates. 

Roo's sports day was the following week on what started out a rather wet day. Come 12.30pm though the sun shone (rather cruelly it didn't seem all that hot so I carried on the day with no sun cream, low and behold I was feeling quite unwell and resembled a tomato come 5pm!) Roo enjoyed his day, he didn't fully understand all the races so took the lead from his friends leaving him behind so half way round I got to sit with him and explain to him one to one what he was supposed to do which helped a lot! He had fun throwing bean bags into hoops, was deeply embarrassed by falling over in the sack race, had evidently inherited my fab egg and spoon race skills and came 3rd in the obstacle race so he got his sticker, yey!

All the children got a medal at the end of their sports day which I thought was a lovely touch.

I loved the difference in the sports days but did remember wishing that the school put more effort into younger children's day as they did the older childrens'. The teachers were all wonderful though and it was nice to be close to our children as they went around and did the events like my parents could when I was younger. 

Have you had sports day yet? Do you have competitive children? Roo is definitely going to get more competitive but I think Midge will be pretty laid back about future sports days too!