Thursday, 18 September 2014

Happy Birthday CupcakeMumma!

Yes! CupcakeMumma is 3 years old! The only thing I've ever stuck to is child rearing (and lets face it, I don't have a huge choice there wink wink) so I am thrilled to still be here 3 years later and enjoying blogging.

As a thank you, I've put together a little gift for my faithful readers. Just leave comment on my blog, perhaps tell me what you like, if you'd like to see something in particular on here or your favourite post?

Here's what I've put together:

Retro sweets (which have been placed into a more attractive tin), mini marshmallows, mini notebook, woodland embellishments, cherry keyring, pencil case and an iron on clothes transfer. It's not much but it's a thank you.

Here's to another year!

Cupcake Mumma x

Wednesday, 17 September 2014

A Letter to my Younger Self

Dear Hannah

You don't really watch doctor who right now (you should) but let's just say you've managed to hop aboard a cool time travelling box with a handsome man to deliver this letter to your 17 year old self. You're currently pregnant, 1st or 2nd trimester, that wasn't clever but dont worry it'll all be fine. Your daughter won't sleep much so you should cram that in rather than watching trashy tv until late. Make sure you talk more and be honest with those around you. You're going to be exhausted, sore. Start speaking up for yourself. You'll never be one for confrontation or giving your opinion but you do start to say 'no' more often in the future, I'd suggest you go for it now. A room full of people will want to visit you when your baby girl isn't even 24 hours old. Please say no, or make sure someone says no, please!!

Save your money. You don't particularly waste it but you do have plenty of moments of spending a bit too much. Trust me you'll need the pennies, there's a few spanners in your future works. You'll get through it but it would be easier without borrowing money. I can't tell you more than that. If I do you won't end up in the lovely place you are now.

Things will be tough for a few years but you're not alone. Communicate with your future husband (yes you do get married, and yes it is in 2012 like he always said so stop badgering him and wasting your time, having arguments etc, you are so lucky to have him) Don't do that college course you're thinking about, it'll be seriously bad for you, not doing it doesn't change your future it'll just make your anxiety worse. Don't worry, you'll break your anxiety to a certain degree, I'm still working on the rest, we dogreat things!

A few other pointers: Stay in the birthing pool, don't destroy your diaries and notebooks because you will wish you had them still. You love to write, you have loads of pen friends; it's your favourite hobby! So is keeping memories and you'll often wish you had kept more than one silly year 7 Winnie the Pooh calendar dairy! Finally, very soon you'll be totally banished to the free from aisle in the supermarket. Don't carry on eating and making yourself feel like a fat sick thing, I happily condone the spending of some of those saved pennies on chocolates you love, cereals that actually stop tasting like cardboard (you better believe it!) and oh yes, pretty soon you'll be able to get cakes, biggish cakes that you can scoff all to yourself (you do, you're pregnant, no one judges you. Well may be a bit) so I'd suggest a stock up of those.

All my love
Hannah (you) xxxxx

Ps Don't eat quite so much after the babies, don't buy a bed from pound stretcher, don't dither about blogging because it's the making of you in many ways and lastly, don't lose yourself. I'm struggling to find a bit of the old you, the you you're soon to be in a few years. Fun, crafty, really happy. Hold on to that for me. Oh, and don't get a dog, your Dads right..

Cupcake Mumma

This post was written in partnership with Legal & General as part of their 'what would you say to your younger self' campaign.

Monday, 15 September 2014

A Pocket Money Cookery Review & Giveaway with OoberkidsRepublic

Recently I was asked to try out and review a couple of recipes from Ooberkids' Pocket Money Cookery. OoberkidsRepublic is an online community for primary aged children that helps them with homework and gives them educational ideas for activities both on and away from the computer screen! It's definitely a site Midge was interested in and I think we shall consider signing up to look at it more closely.

First, we looked through the recipes and loved the names CeCi (the author) had given her creations. All of the recipes in Pocket Money Cookery are from CeCi's childhood and I always think it's lovely to include childhood recipes in cookery books. There's not one or two recipes from her childhood but the whole book is full of them! All of the titles in the book made us wonder what the story was behind them so it's great that we could find this out with CeCi's 'Curiosity Corner,' where she explains either about the name given to her dish or about a part of the recipe itself.

Pocket Money Cookery also features Childhood Nutrition Therapist Jessica Scott, who explains after every recipe the benefits of each dish in a child friendly way which I think is great because older children can easily read this simple information and the fun facts about the food they're cooking with and going to eat!

All of the recipes in this cookery book are easy to follow with clear, simple, step by step instructions. An older child (definitely 10+) would need very little adult assistance and with children slightly younger who are able to read I think they would still only need a little adult input and perhaps some prep help.

This book isn't really aimed at my 3 year old and he wasn't particularly interested but my six year old, Midge, was a lot more enthusiastic about making some of the dishes. The two dishes we chose were:

Winter Mud Dessert
Mozzarella on a Scooter

Winter Mud Dessert was so straight forward and easy to make. I changed the recipe a little because none of us like ginger and I used tinned fruit instead of fresh (end of the shopping week and tinned is cheaper!) The dessert was delicious, we all enjoyed it.

Mozzarella on a Scooter was again really easy to cook. I haven't used Mozzarella in my cooking much unless making a super cheesy pasta or a pizza for Hubby. Including egg, brown bread (we used gluten free white bread) and melted mozzarella, this was a refreshing and quick lunch. Everyone loved it, I couldn't eat it because I can't eat milk products (I did try the eggy bread though!)

I recently received the actual book for a giveaway on my blog (see below) It was great to look through both the e-book and the actual book. There are 10 recipes all together in the Pocket Money Cookery book and my only criticism (but I have to make it because it's important to me and I can't leave it out) is that there are about 2 or 3 photographs of the finished dishes in the book that have been taken really well. The rest of the images let down fantastic sounding dishes which you know will taste great but are put off cooking because of the photos (Midge definitely was) I would honestly prefer to see these dishes being photographed in a good light to really show how appetizing the dishes are.

Having said that, I loved the idea behind the book, I love the recipes and their creative names. I really like how the book encourages hygiene, is super easy to follow and the inclusion of food facts and child friendly nutritional explanation is just brilliant.

You can purchase your Pocket Money Cookery book here for £7.00. Ooberkids have generously given me a copy of Pocket Money Cookery to give away right here on the blog! So follow the Rafflecopter instructions carefully and good luck!
(UK only.)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Cupcake Mumma

Sunday, 14 September 2014

Join a Halloween Gift Swap!

I absolutely adore Halloween it's so very close to Christmas on my love of seasonal celebrations. It's probably my favourite to be honest. The pumpkin carving, the fact it's in autumn, 2 days after my birthday. The spider fairy lights, cotton cobwebs, cute Halloween outfits and little Halloween parties.

To share the Halloween spirit I want to host a Halloween gift swap! I've already posted on Instagram so give me a follow and sign up there or leave me a comment below. I'd love people to sign up and will post updates on Instagram and twitter, share your swaps and i'd love for you to blog them too!

This swap doesn't have to include anything hand made but if you'd like to make something spooky to go with your Halloween gifts that's absolutely fine! This swap will be a direct swap, so you'll know your partner and be able to keep in touch.

This swap is uk only and items should be swapped before 31st October. I'll leave sign ups open until 20th September. Get excited for Halloween and join in!

Cupcake Mumma

Wednesday, 10 September 2014

Updates from the Cupcake House

It's been a while since I actually sat down and thought about what I was going to write on Cupcake Mumma. Last week I had a bit of a moan but we were all ready for the school routine to start again and so far I've been proven right. I've not been around much here. I've been adding to my stationery collection, catching up with my best friend, writing letters and taking part in swaps. A lot of this I do want to blog about too and I will do..I see no rush.

So, the summer holidays have been a huge blogging mojo killer. I'm still not really there, I need a laptop that's what I need. My current system for sending and editing photos is long and irritating. Not a good mix for blogging! I'm hoping something will turn up soon *looks at parents with puppy dog eyes long before birthday* surly 25 is a milestone no!?

So that's a little bit of absence explained. What's been happening with The Cupcakes? Like most of the country we are now back at school. Midge has settled in wonderfully and loves year 2. Her teachers seem friendly and easy to talk to which is important at all times but even more for me as Midge can be a bit shy and I worry about her. Her class have been to the woods and Rainbows had started again! To celebrate 100 years of Brownies, she's off for a day of activities with Rainbows, Brownies and some Girl Guides on today! How fun!

My Little A missed his sister madly on Monday but come Tuesday afternoon it was his turn to start his new class too! I've spent the whole summer holidays going from relaxed to a total anxious mess about Little A starting nursery and it's all been down to how he reacts to other children and his slow speech development. Let's face it, no one wants their child to be looked at as the one to avoid because they don't share or they tantrum and appear spoilt (when in fact it's because he can't talk to me like a fair number of children his own age can so tantrums are his way of expressing emotions etc) There was nothing to worry about! He was dry all day (still potty training!) he was well behaved and had a great day. I left in tears that morning but dropping him off the rest of the week was easy (even if I do feel like I've forgotten something as I walk around alone!)

We're all going along as usual here and getting back into the swing of things. Blog wise, I've put together a few bits to giveaway as it is my blogs 3rd birthday on September 19th! I want to blog about my brand new subscription box, my latest craft swaps, share some paper love, show off our vegetable growing efforts and there's a recipe or two to treat you with too! Plus a pocket money cooking book review and more!

I look forward to writing properly again, thanks for not abandoning me !

Cupcake Mumma

Thursday, 4 September 2014

Crafty Creatives Brings you: #Paperhaul!

I'm so excited to be writing about this brand new monthly subscription box from the lovely people at Crafty Creatives. Crafty Creatives are now branching out to possibly my favourite thing of all time (after cake I should add) yep: stationery!

#Paperhaul is going to be a monthly subscription box packed up beautifully with all your stationery wants. Think cards, washi tape, stickers, postcards and even more. I'm going to be signing up to receive the boxes, which are at a limited number, as soon as I can. Each month you'll pay just £10 plus P&P for your box which is going to be a great deal knowing what I do about the company and how they source truly great items for their customers. I feel very lucky to be a part of their blogging network and will be receiving my box at a discounted price.

So, Keep your eyes peeled right here for updates on #Paperhaul and follow them on twitter @paperhaul so you don't miss out. If you're anything like me you'll probably weep if you don't get your hands on a box of Stationery goodness!

I look forward to seeing lots of posts, pictures and tweets from fellow letter writing lovers in the very near future.

Cupcake Mumma

Monday, 1 September 2014

The Final Week

Yes at last it has come. I'm not even sorry that I'm not one those mothers crying about new school years or deeply sad that summer has ended and now it's time to go back. I've had a long summer here and the word holiday is not a word I would choose to add to summer either. Of course it hasn't been all bad. We went to a beautiful wedding and saw a lot of lovely family. We've had friends stay and ventured to an animal park which was wonderful fun! We've done soft play twice and had cheeky trips to a certain famous food chain.

In between most of that we've had potty training not going according to plan. We've had a lot of sleepless nights and have spent a lot of time with our three year old in with me and my poor husband going where ever he can be comfortable.

For about 3 weeks I was stuck in an absolutely rotten place mentally. I cancelled appointments because of my anxiety, I didn't want to leave the house but did manage one day at the park and several belated trips to the post office (sorry pen friends) I've been tired and worn down by a lot of fighting between the children. Some boredom, some poor communication with A, some purpose tormenting from midge and just some utter crap!

I've had a better holiday than most I've no doubt about that at all. I wouldn't change the holiday either, it's very important for children now more than ever to have these precious six weeks.

I never noticed the long holidays in primary school because I was left to my own devices or holidaying in Cornwall with family before we moved here. I hated the summer holidays as a teen because it was long and boring, because I was someone who loved the books and homework and missed the structure and routine from school. It seems even as a mother of two I still can't stand the long summer. As they get older i'll just be more aware of their friends' fabulous holidays and our lack of ability to provide such wonderful fun. That's a long way in the future that one. Hopefully next year things will be better in lots of ways!

Cupcake Mumma

Friday, 15 August 2014

Destinations that are Top of my List: BEDAOutmumbered

I have a few places I really want to visit and they are of course listed in my bucket list too. First of all I really want to visit the Harry Potter Studios. It's very possible this will happen for me this October as a birthday treat with my Mum who is also a lover of Harry Potter and my daughter who may or may not be interested in the geeking out that's sure to happen.

The London Eye is another place I want to visit despite my slight fear of heights. I've climbed Snowdon, I'm pretty confident I can do most things now to be honest! It would just be so amazing to see that fantastic view. I'd like to do a whole bunch of things just hubby and I.

There are several castles I want to visit because of my Tudor interests:
St.Mawes and Pendennis
Hatfield Castle (Elizabeth 1st)
Hever Castle (Anne Bolyn's childhood home) there will be many more though, England is home to some amazing castles.

I want to visit the Titanic Museum because it just fascinates me and I want to go to Buckingham palace even just to have my photo taken at the gates, I don't care! I love our royal family.

Finally I want to return to my childhood home to see how things have changed. I want to see Westonburt, where I grew up and Tetbury, the town I lived closest to and also the town I went to school in. Hopefully a certain friend will be able to help with this one next year!

Wednesday, 13 August 2014

Notebook Review from Viking

Recently, Viking contacted me about reviewing one of their notebooks from their very wide variety on offer on line. As you should know by now I'm a huge stationery fan and never turn down a notebook (or letter writing kits, or stickers, or pens or...okay I'm a total stationery geek) so I was only too pleased to have a browse online and see if anything jumped out at me.

I really wanted to go for a different look. Viking has a great variety of notebooks on offer from hardbacks, to firm but flexible notebooks, to lined and not lined, coloured or themed they have it all. I wanted to break away from my usual pink and pretty type notebook and finally, after a fair while, I found one that I really liked:

I'm not a coffee drinker at all but it does remind me of my love for sitting in a coffee shop with my favourite hot chocolate and orange syrup.

The notebook arrived in great time and is of a really good quality. The covers are firm but flexible, as it's a A5 size it fits just nicely into my handbag which is important for me and my coffee shop stops! It's lined which is always top of my list and the design is really just lovely.

Inside the notebook you have a long piece of ribbon to mark your place, so handy and another thing I always look for when purchasing a new notebook. You also have a place at the front of the book to write down your details incase you leave it behind in said coffee shop as I have done before...

So, if you haven't checked out Viking before then I really do recommend them for their great customer service, speedy delivery, wide choice of notebooks and other stationery and of course, the quality of their product.

Cupcake Mumma

Let's Talk About Depression

I've woken up this morning feeling slightly cross. I'm in agony with my back, my children are screaming and then I log on to the internet and read about the press and their usual spiteful, uneducated, dangerous and disrespectful reporting into the death of Robin Williams. So I want to write about depression. I want to tell you how depression makes me feel. I want to educate those who can not get their heads around why someone would feel so worthless, so pathetic, so utterly alone and helpless that they'd want to leave their life behind no matter how 'amazing,' and how 'perfect,' it appeared to be.

Depression, something that I've suffered from since my early teenage years, without knowing, without labelling myself with it, is a disease. Like any physical illness depression spreads through the mind, the body until life feels impossible. Depression:

Makes me think my husband has had enough of me and will leave me any day when in reality he is standing there with me.

Makes me think my children hate me. That being away from them is the best chance they have. Away from my quick temper, my selfishness, my uselessness.

It makes me question every single thing I've ever done. To the point your mind won't stop, it won't go quiet. You can't sleep.

It makes you tired. So bloody tired.

It makes you angry. You hate the world and sometimes everyone that exists no matter who they are and you don't even know why.

It tells you you're alone. Convinces you of the shame of seeking help. Tells you your children would be taken away from you if you're seen as 'mental.'

It's selfish. There are no other thoughts other than 'Me.' That is why depression is so hard to work with. That's why it's so bloody hard to stand by someone suffering because you want to pick them up, shake them, give them the massive list of all that's good in their lives but depression doesn't care.

Depression is dark. It is lonely, distant, spaced out, it is the black hole of your mind.

My honest opinion of depression and the stigma surrounding it? I don't believe it will ever end. No one, unless you're very special, very keen to learn and help, can truly understand depression unless they've been there themselves. Sometimes helping someone through it is enough if you are open to understanding, to helping, to researching, to reaching out. Mostly though, depression is understood by those who have lived through it. Who are emerging from the other side.

Please understand that there is no logic to depression. Money, cars, career, marriage, healthy children, big families, wonderful homes, too class friends, education, gorgeous appearances, houses full to the brim of everything you could want, no particuly bad life experiences. It doesn't make you immune from depression. Nothing can and nothing will.

Please, if you're reading this and treading through the darkness, if you're wondering what is out there for you, wondering if this is your calling card to leave, please please seek help.

Any of these:

Sure Start Centres
Almost any health care professional


It doesn't matter who you are, where you've come from, what you've been through. Whether your young or old, black or white, male or female. It doesn't matter your sexual orientation, or if you're poor, rich, in the middle. You matter. You are a wonderful person who deserves to tread through the darkness and emerge from the other side. It's not easy. It's not fun. But it is possible. Good luck.

Cupcake Mumma