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!

Wednesday, 13 July 2016

Race for Life 2016 ~ In Loving Memory of Anne

I was going to write this post soon after I finished the race on Sunday, 10th July but I never got around to it. I wanted to do the Race for Life this year as I didn't participate the year before. What spurred me on was learning a friends mum, an extremely close friend's mum, was undergoing treatment for the third time for cancer. As the time drew nearer it wasn't long before we all knew that she just wasn't going to win this round. I wanted her to know that I cared, that I loved her family like it was my own, so together myself and my own Mum made sure we raised funds and completed our race for life. Anne was on my mind the days leading up to the event and whilst tied to one of my mum's legs, hobbling around with an aching muscle and bruised ankle, it was Anne and my friend that kept me going. 

Below are some photos I took of this race event which was in Truro like it is every year. There were nearly 900 people taking part and many, many supporters cheering us all on. This post, much like my race, is dedicated to Anne, Mother of an extremely close and wonderful friend not just to me but to many. A lady who I know did a lot of good and leaves behind a wonderful man and many grandchildren but who led a full life and fought to the end. May you rest peacefully Anne and enjoy the view from upstairs 

 My back sign

 Everybody getting ready for the warm up. So many people there again this year.

 Dad presenting mum with her medal after the race.

 Mum and I before the start of the race

 If you'd like to sponsor us for taking part this year and help us reach the £200 we're so very close to, you can do so below, A huge thank you to all those who have sponsored us both before and after the event. Also a huge thank you to the lovely ladies who sent happy mail to Anne. I know it meant a lot to her and it also meant a lot to her family too. Thank you x

Thursday, 7 July 2016

June at The Cupcakes

I really thought June was going to be a turn around month weather wise, lots of sun and trips out to enjoy it at the weekend but mostly its been rubbish and muggy, I've not known what to wear and have found it really frustrating at times! We did get some sun and took advantage of that on the school runs well, the children did! I spent several days in the month going through more dental stuff like root canals and fillings which may or may not all be this space as they say! 

Little A had another ENT appointment and I'm pleased to say he's got some hearing back in one of his ears! This means I have rescheduled his appointment to check his ears again to 3 months time and then we will decide what to do if things haven't improved. We had a little baby hot chocolate before heading to the hospital because we had some time to spare. I took a trip over to see my Aunt in Penzance after her dog had passed away which wasn't much fun obviously but it was lovely to see her and spend time with her even on a gloomy day. 

Chilled out Roo//Root canal time//Penzance//Sticky plant fight!//Costa dates//Dog cuddles// LalaLoopsy prize and a happy Midge

A few days after I visited my aunt I went back with my Mum to gather at hers and head to the local woodlands where we laid her little dog Poppy to rest. She had a lovely headstone, all the dogs made it easier by eating grass, barking, nearly falling into the grave and sleeping in a pushchair! Dogs should be at all funerals that I'm sure of!

I got through some books in June after having a dry spell and met up with some school parents on several occasions to have a Costa and an natter, I won 2 competitions in June but I was happy because my prizes were a new doll for Midge which she loves and 2 packets of huge marshmallows! We celebrated their arrival with s'mores which are a must try if you haven't yet!

Babychino with Roo before the doctors// Snoozing dog// Poppy's headstone// Pretty flowers on a wet day// Caitlin Moran book which I enjoyed// Winning huge marshmallows// S'more making// Roos 'please don't put me to bed' face...

Yummy pudding//Morning me time//Catching the gales from the sunlight//Shopping with Mr B// Midge's gorgeous new pink unicorn jumper// Mr B in Costa// Girl time!// Newly painted nails

During the end of June Mr B had some time off so he treated me to a lovely breakfast after we dropped the children off then a Costa after some shopping. I finally bought Midge the unicorn jumper we had both been after for ages hoping it would go on sale for a cheaper price and it did! It's beautiful. We had a picky tea for his weekend off and Midge and I have had some bonding girl time painting nails and talking about school, friends and all sorts of other things.

Junes Blog Posts!

10 Reasons to Smile May
Freebies and Wins April and May
* May at the Cupcakes
* Seal Life Sanctuary Gweek: Half Term Fun!
* Reasons to be Cheerful: Goodbyes and Quality Time
* Tackling my Social Anxiety
* Top 10 Budget Friendly Summer Activities 

Monday, 27 June 2016

Our Top 10 Budget Friendly Summer Activities

With the summer holidays only just around the corner (I know!) I've been panicking slightly and wondering what to do with my little ones this year. Last year was such a good holiday I think we'll struggle to make it even better but I'm willing to give it a go! Here are 10 budget friendly summer activities the children and I have come up with for this year...

1) Farm Days.
Everyone will have a local farm that opens their gates to plenty of visitors during the year. It's usually free to enter the farm days and the children love petting the animals and spotting some new arrivals. We personally enjoy Trevaskis Farm which is always a great day out for all the children. The only thing that will cost you money is the fruit picking (which will depend on how much you pick) and if you decide to eat in the cafe or purchase from the local shop which has lots of tasty, organic items. I personally take a picnic for us all to enjoy to stay budget friendly!

 2) Picnics!
Speaking of picnics, how many of us still venture out for this simple yet wonderful treat? We have done picnics whilst out to make the trip cheaper, picnics in the garden and even when the weather lets us down, picnics on the front room floor! A lot of fun and so simple.

3) Beach Fun.

The beaches are free and we should all make the most of them! Sandwiches full of sand, flip flips full of sand, seaweed throwing and paddling make a really fun, typically British day out. Sometimes we buy fish and chips but usually we bring our own food with us. Beach art is good fun as is good old sandcastle building! Here are the top 10 beaches to visit in Cornwall: Our favourites are Marazion and Church Cove near Helston.

4) Scavenger Hunts.
A wonderfully free and fun idea is scavenger hunting. You can create your own list or hunt on Pinterest for a free printable. You all head out with your sheets of paper and tick off (or collect) the items you're looking for. You could visit a woods and look for specific leaves, twigs and woodland animals or you could look for different signs in the town, colours of cars or different shops. The possibilities are endless and the children really enjoy doing this.

5) A trip to a Museum.
 The Royal Cornwall Museum is host to a lot of Cornwall's fascinating heritage as well as being host to Egyptian, Greek and many other historical time periods. There is a lot for children to do with plenty of activity areas including: puzzles, dress up, colouring and taking a closer look at some of natures smallest wildlife. Entry is free for children and for adults entry is £5, brilliant when that is an annual pass. You can find your local museums with a quick online search which are usually free entry, donation or a similar charge to the above. 

6) Arts and Crafts Day
Having a day or even half a day of arts and craft is incredibly fun and a wonderful family activity. You could all think of a subject to focus on or you could all let your inner artist flow! We like to blow paint, dip our feet in paint and step onto a big piece of paper outside, chalk the garden path or front steps with pictures and messages plus making things out of our recycling. Crafting can be really budget friendly if you have bits hanging around at home, but popping to your local Poundland or 99p Store is a great way to save money on paints, giant chalk and paper.

7) Go Camping
Camping doesn't have to be expensive. We haven't actually ever been to a camping site to camp! We clear the back garden, pop up our 4 man tent, fill it with sleeping bags (and duvets, teddies, pillows and so on...) and have a great time! We've even camped in an awful downpour, but  didn't even consider running for the house, we just embraced the camping spirit! Camping can be as pricey as you want it or need it to be but for us, it's a really fun and budget friendly way of spending a day or more in summer. If you don't fancy the outdoors, you could even bring the bedding downstairs and enjoy an indoor family camp out on the floors and sofas!

8) Get on your Bikes
We've finally all got bikes and are really enjoying some family bike rides. So get those helmets on and enjoy your local community! We've cycled out of the town and found some wonderful back roads with fields and horses so it almost feels like I'm home again.

9) Pebble Painting
I love pebble painting but haven't done it for years. This year the children and I are going to find some pebbles and decorate them however we want. We want to keep some to decorate our garden with but also paint some happy pictures or words of kindness and leave them on walls, steps etc for people to find.

10) Visit Budget Friendly Attractions
As above, in Cornwall you can visit the museums for fairly cheap, local farms such as Trevaskis Farm and Roskillys which are great places to go for walks and to see plenty of animals. You only spend money if you choose to. We love the Seal Life Sanctuary in Gweek but make sure as with most attractions you book online because it's always cheaper, that goes for anywhere in the country! Check your local newspapers and check your children's book bags, twice we've had vouchers which entitle the children to free entry or cheap entry to Seal Life, Legoland and some other attractions. If you Google 'cheap/free attractions' and your county you'll be pleased to see plenty to do I'm sure of it! Another great place to visit if you're holidaying on Cornwall is Cornish Camels; free entry and lots of fun! 

I'd love to know if anyone else has any plans for the summer holidays? It's only a few weeks away here and although excited, we still a large chunk of the calendar to fill! 

Cupcake Mumma

*Links in this post are not paid links just recommendations of places we love to visit as a family!

Friday, 24 June 2016

Tackling my Social Anxiety and Blushing

The best way to tackle the kind of fear I have is, I believe, to go right in and keep doing the same thing until eventually it all feels easier and better and I can go "what was I worried about?" *insert nervous chuckle*

In reality I just don't feel I can do it. That's partly my brain saying you can't do that, I won't do that, that's not a good idea, oh no you won't cope with that and partly this weird, truly odd feeling like I'm being physically restrained and I cannot physically 'do' the things I want to do (like go out with a group, or getting a job or volunteering!) I WANT to do those things. "So do them!" People say. Let me do something here:

You are standing on a spot. In front of you is a box. It's as big as you want it to be, it's big enough for you to go in. If you're afraid of small spaces you're already getting the drift but if not please continue... In this box is your biggest fear, (if you don't have one, you can read on for general understanding) your fear is in this box and I'm telling you to go in it. Go on, it's easy..right?

Now just because I'm scared of talking in front of people, of being in most social situations, of interviews and so on and it sounds totally bonkers doesn't mean it's daft and easy to deal with. I mean, if I was so inclined I'd say your fear of little spiders/sheep/foods/frogs and what not was bonkers but I'm an understanding person (who is petrified of cows, let's not forget that) so no judgments from me.

I digress, my big fear is something I wish to shake off, to lose, to deal with and come to terms with. I already understand anxiety but I need more which is why I have self referred myself to outlook southwest where I will wait to see another cognitive behaviour therapist. I had my telephone assessment yesterday instead of waiting for the end of July to come around before I could meet someone in person. The assessment was...hard I guess. The lady was lovely, I wasn't too nervous and because I wasn't face to face I think I was a bit more honest. My anxiety was marked as low, which is understandable given I'm not anxious unless facing my fear. My avoidance score was high and my depression score was moderate. I have been referred for CBT and will hear soon when this will start. She also mentioned something else to address my other feelings, after all it's all very deep rooted this blushing business and I agree, maybe I do need extra help in order to accept myself.

No one can help me until I help myself so this is the start. This is where we start chipping at the wall of Social Anxiety Disorder and Excessive Blushing until that bastard wall collapses!

I know my readers are rooting for me and I know a lot of you have been or are still going through similar. Some of you I am inspired by and others provide me great comfort. Onward and upwards Cupcakes!

Cupcake Mumma

Thursday, 23 June 2016

Reasons to be Cheerful: Goodbyes and Quality Time

I'm going to start with something that probably doesn't sound particularly cheerful. I went with my Aunt and Mum to say goodbye to her little Jack Russel Terrior Poppy. She's been with us all for 18 years and I have some wonderful memories of her as do a lot of our family. The reason im including it this week is because saying goodbye to her was a lovely day. Despite the rain we took the dogs to the Woodland where both people and animals are buried, words were said and we all had a toast in her honor. My Aunt never had children; she has felt content with so many nieces (and a few nephews!) but her dogs have always been a huge part of her life, so much so I call them her 'fur babies.' We said goodbye to one of her little fur babies in a wonderful way.

Mr B has had his supervision week at work and has settled in really well. He's now meds trained, unsupervised and fitting in well. Another bonus is he's happier and was even more so on when his redundancy came through!

I've had some quality time with both my Little Ones recently. Midge had a day off a week ago because of her ear infection so we had cake in a cafe together and a hot drink then a few days later A had his hearing test, so before we went to the hospital we had the same treat and it was lovely for me to get that time with my little ones on separate occasions. I've also had a breakfast out with Mr B on his day off before collecting A for his dental trip. 

I think we would agree it's been a pretty tough couple of weeks news wise. The weather has been miserable (although nice today at last!) and I have been missing Mr B as I adjust to his longer hours and random nights he stays over night at his sisters which is easier for work on a Sunday. It just shows that even in the hard times, in the dark times, we can find happiness if we look hard enough.

What have you been cheerful about this week?

Cupcake Mumma

Reasons to be Cheerful

Wednesday, 15 June 2016

Seal Life Sanctuary: Gweek!

Before the half term a few weeks ago, Little A came home with 2 tickets in his school bag which we could use to get money off at The Seal Life Sanctuary in Gweek. Because it's a bit out of the way it would normally cost a fortune to get to the sanctuary let alone go in and have a good time. In the half term however it turned out Pops and Grandma had some time off and took us all to the sanctuary for a lovely family day: Yey!

I haven't been to The Seal Sanctuary since I was a young girl and used to holiday in Cornwall before we moved here when I was 10. I'm so pleased I took Midge and A during half term because we had a wonderful time. We had amazing weather and as it was the first day of the half term (and a Monday!) the Sanctuary wasn't really busy so everyone could see the seals and penguins without being pushed and shoved!

Mum and Dad in front of the Helford River

The first thing we did was to walk the short walk to the start of the sanctuary instead of taking the make shift bus they have (it looked fun though, we just wanted to see the view walking) as you go up you pass the hospital where poorly seals are kept. We did go in but there were no poorly seals (good news! we said) we had a wonderful view of The Helford River which was a perfect photo opportunity for all of us. We then went down to the rehabilitation pools to see the seals before heading to the larger pools.

Beautiful views

Seal standing up waiting for his fishy lunch

We got to see the seals playing and then being fed, we then had a lovely picnic on some seats with the same beautiful views before seeing some rather large and shy sea lions. Occasionally they poked their heads out but mostly they stayed hidden in the cool water; I remember wishing that I had a pool to slip in to myself! After the seal lions we headed over to see the Humboldt penguins (who blush by the way!) before checking out the rock pools where you can look close up at the fish and learn more about star fish (there are some ace facts that we all enjoyed learning about)

In the underground spying on the penguins

Lots of Humboldt Penguins

A, Pop and Grandma looking close up at fish and starfish

After we checked out our fishy friends the children played for 15 minutes in the park. The play park is very basic consisting of a wonderfully built pirates ship which has slides, ropes and various other bits and bobs attached to it. There are more picnic tables here and loads of bins so no one has the job of carrying the rucksack with the rubbish in! Behind the play area is a wide area of grass which stretches back up to the top of the sanctuary and there are some ponies behind the fences all happily grazing. We didn't visit the farm animals, we chose to walk down to the otter enclosure and had a walk around the woodland area before returning to do some sea life based crafts.

Artwork by Midge and Little A

Midge and Little A at the Mister Maker station

You used to be able to see this little place, now it's pretty overgrown but makes a lovely photo

Before we left we had a walk back to say goodbye to all the lovely seals and sea lions. By the time we were going they were all sunning themselves, yawning, stretching, looking so relaxed and cute I love the below photos in particular. It was such a lovely day. The staff were friendly and knowledgeable, there were so many places to eat your lunch and a nice cafe selling food and drink (and ice cream of course) there's also a shop and a bus stop so you don't have to walk back to the exit. We decided to walk back again to get a last glimpse of the scenery and find the loo (make sure you use the loo! There isn't one after the seal medical center so unless your toddler feels like holding it in up a hill I'd recommend using the loo before enjoying the fun!)

This Sea Lion reminded me of my dog when she's be lazy and stretching!

I adore seal pup eyes!

If you fancy checking out The Seal Sanctuary while on holiday this year (or even if you're a local!) then their website is really good, plus if you book online you'll get cheaper tickets which is something most attractions do these days; don't forget that!

Cupcake Mumma

Tuesday, 14 June 2016

May at the Cupcakes

May has left us and we are now in beautiful June! Here's what we got up to in May:

May wasn't an overall busy month, which was nice, A's appointments have gone down considerably and there hasn't been too much on at school. I've been eating healthier foods and we've made good use of the few nice days we got in May, it was a bit of a washout wasn't it? One walk took us 2 1/2 hours and was just beautiful. I was transported back to living in the countryside again. We saw a stream which the dog enjoyed a paddle in, horses which I practically jumped in with (they were so friendly and cuddly!) we fed them some grass and took it in turns to stand on the wall to stroke them properly. We walked on winding country roads and through fields, such a wonderful way to spend the day. Poor A was shattered but his moaning didn't spoil things either, we just took it in turns to piggy back!

Working out// Breakfast with my boy// Cuddly dog// Horses// A with the horses// Peppa having a splash

The second week of May saw us getting outside and doing our garden. The grass needs cutting again already but for a week or so it looked lovely! We have some plans for the garden now it's just getting hold of things we see that will make good planters and having the pennies to complete other projects. Everyone helped in the garden, the dog had fun running about and A and I had a good time hunting bugs. My baking bug returned too over May baking cakes, cupcakes and some gluten free bread rolls which weren't bad.

A's drawing for his teacher// Bug hunting// Gardening progress// Dog playing// Smoothie// Bread rolls// Happy mail outgoing// Tiny snail on a wet flower// Happy Roo

The last half term before the summer holidays made its way around pretty quick but luckily I had some plans up my sleeve. We had a lovely bike ride thanks to Mr B buying me a lovely pre-loved bike. We went to a local pub to collect his football trophies and have some refreshments which was very nice. I baked some jam tarts and some cupcakes with the children, we ate outdoors and went to spend some time with Grandma and Pops.

We visited The Seal Life Sanctuary in Gweek which I will write a proper blog post about because I haven't been there for years and we all had a great day out there. There were sea lions and seal pups as well some some farm animals, a mini park, rock pool, penguins and a crafting area. 

Mr B with his trophies// Homemade jam tarts// Mum and Dad// Seal pups// Little A enjoying the seals// Penguin// A getting fish close ups

Cute Otters// Crafting together// Finished jelly fish artwork// Watching the Otters// Some happy mail for me!

What About Me?

I have been trying very hard over May to up my exercise and eat a bit more sensibly. It's come to my attention that my recent gain has been most likely due to eating meat again and quite a bit of it so when doing my meal plans I make sure I'm having less meat and that there's more variety. So far any pounds I've lost I've put back on again so I need to try harder. I've been quiet on the blogging front whilst writing letters, reading and helping Mr B with his final days of his old job and supporting him with his first few days at his new job (which is going well). I've rediscovered milkshakes and can't get enough of adding strawberry milkshake to my soya milk at least once a day now it's a bit warm for my usual hot chocolate! 

On the Blog

Although a quiet month, here are my posts from May:

Cupcake Mumma