Thursday, 28 November 2013

New Boots for Midge

I've been sent some rather wonderful and warm looking boots to review by Hi-Tec (I say I've been sent them but of course I mean Midge has) Before I let Midge run off to school and mess about putting these boots to the test, I wanted to give you a bit of a first impression post!

I'm going to start by saying I've never seen my daughter so excited by a pair of shoes. But they look very stylish and very comfy. So nice,I kind of wish they were mine and not hers!



So, first impressions? The colour is very nice, I'm pleased to see a zipped back on the boots because Midge struggles to sometimes push her feet into these types of footwear due to the inheritance of 'pasty' feet. Most boots we try on for her she can never get her heel in, let alone her whole foot the poor thing!

I'm not keen on the fur but that's a personal opinion and one Midge certainly doesn't agree with if stroking the boot was anything to go by. The inside of the boots are soft and seem like they will be very snug in this cold weather.

Now we just need to put them to the test and see how well they fair on our cold and wet days out. Look out for our full review soon!

Cupcake Mumma

Monday, 25 November 2013

10 Things to Smile About: November

It's the last Tuesday of November today so it's time for me to look back and list the 10 things that made me smile and feel good this month. I'm linking this post up to Lost On The Cloud's Silver Linings link up so please do share your positives from November too!

1. I discovered an old recipe for some really quick and simple flapjacks They are so good and so quick to make. I love discovering old recipes hidden in the back of less used cook books!


2. It's nearly time to put the Christmas decorations up! I'm really quite excited about this.

3. Although I haven't enjoyed the lack of sleep (I tell myself its not forever) I have been enjoying some rather nice cuddles of late.


4. It's been nice to spend some time with my nieces and nephews now and then. Just the other day Little A and his cousin had a sort of play date. I popped a cute Victorian hat on T's head- she looks so sweet.


5. Midge lost her 2 front teeth! The tooth fairy will be visiting very shortly after writing this post I think. It also means I get to sing a very cute Christmas song to Midge this year (which she'll hate me for eventually!)

6. I've had lots of happy mail from my pen pals recently and that always keeps a smile on my face.

7. We had an early birthday tea for my Dad as he's working on his actual birthday this week. It's always nice getting the family together but will be better when my sister comes home from university real soon.


8. Hubby won £100 on a scratch card! That was just pure luck but it made our day. He bought some Christmas gifts for the children and got mine out the way early too. Such a relief for him I think.

9. We all saw the Christmas lights get switched on in town. Titan the robot was there, he was pretty cool (what 5ft nothing me could see of him!) Little A liked him from afar but as soon as Daddy got near the front of the crowd he wasn't so keen! Midge hated him full stop. We met up with my sister in law and her little ones and grabbed a taxi back to our house where the children played for a couple of hours. It was quite relaxing actually.


10. I've bought all my Christmas presents, made a bunch of cards and yesterday night I sat down and wrote them all out. I've run out of handmade ones so the rest will have to be bought ones!

I hope you've all had a lovely month with more highs than lows. 
Cupcake Mumma

Sunday, 24 November 2013

My Week That was Instagrammed #13


This week:

Little A and I stayed home with Daddy to snuggle down and watch some television before Little A's auntie and baby cousin came over to have some fun. Us adults chatted and had a laugh while the little ones played and occasionally did sweet things like hug and hold each other.

I baked some lovely free from flapjacks which were gone in seconds. They are so easy to make!

We felt a little Christmassy on Thursday so lit a candle which reminds me of candy canes! I bought some of those come to think of it! I may have also popped up a little 'Noel' sign on my fire place!

We watched the light switch on in town on Saturday. It was very crowded and I didn't see much. We met up with Jays sister in law and all the children which was nice and all caught a taxi back to our place. Titan the robot was turning on the lights this year and Jay got this pretty good photo of him.

I made a big mistake and nodded off for 5 minutes. Little A proceeded to draw on my face without me feeling a thing! To add insult to injury they stood and laughed at me as I wiped it off my face in the shower- toerags!!

I ordered a beautiful new broach from a lovely lady on Etsy. It's a real acorn stem with a felted acorn sitting inside the cup. I've pinned it to my handbag and love it very much.

Finally, I caught Little A stealing a big bar of chocolate from the cabinet. He's sitting down enjoying his loot in front of Sponge Bob ruddy Square Pants!!

Hope you had a great week and have an even better one this week.

Cupcake Mumma

Saturday, 23 November 2013

A Monster Ate My Mum

I was recently sent a book to review by the lovely Jen Faulkner who you can find here. The book I was sent is written by Post Natal Depression sufferer Jen, looking at Post Natal Depression from a child's point of view.

20131104-095314.jpg

As you may know if you are a regular reader of my blog or have recently read this post, I suffered PND after my first daughter 5 years ago. I suffered PND for nearly 3 years before coming out the other side. It's only now I can see how long I really did go on suffering and I can see how tainted PND has made my memory of my daughters earlier years.

I wish I had this book when my daughter was younger. Even though she would've lacked understanding, I think it would've helped me enormously. For a parent struggling with depression it can be tough, there's no denying that. Getting dressed can be hard enough, let alone actually having fun, going to the park and doing messy play, what ever they want to do you just want to curl up in a ball in your bed. At least that's what I wanted to do.

This fantastic book can help in allowing children to see, in a way that is more suitable and relevant to their age, that you are still you, you're just a little lost at the moment. Most importantly, this books helps to teach children that it isn't their fault. This is so important and something I know I missed when I was suffering.

Here is an extract from the book:


Excuse me but have you eaten my mum?
I want her back I want some fun.
I want to see her smile, my mum.
Is she in your big round tum?”
“No she’s not here I just ate her smile.
I’ll give it back after a while.
I’m sorry I was hungry you see.
I don’t know where your mum could be.”

As for us personally? Midge found some of the illustrations scary at first. Once I read the story properly and once she had time to study the illustrations herself, she became more into the book. She asked lots of questions and it gave me the opportunity to explain to her that when I'm 'down in the dumps' and I snap and shout, I really don't mean it. It isn't her fault. She seemed a lot happier with this explanation than my usual, snappy 'I'm tired, just play with your brother.' Thankfully, those days are few and far between.

This book can, in my own personal experience, put off a child like my daughter (a little sensitive, monsters are a thing she associates with fear) so I found flicking through it first, laughing a little at some of the pictures, then reading the story before talking about the story really helped. She's a bit of a softie my Midge, I'm sure she's not alone!

I'd like to thank Jen for writing this hugely important book and I'd also like to thank Helen Braid, the illustrator, who has done a wonderful job.

You can buy A Monster Ate My Mum by clicking this Link
OR purchase a version for your mobile/tablet for just 99p here

Cupcake Mumma

Thursday, 21 November 2013

Super Simple FreeFrom Flapjack!



I love flapjack. It's the one thing I can whip up super quick without too much fuss, mess and everything else. Sure I can make up a batch of cupcakes pretty quick but flapjacks are even quicker and satisfy a sweet craving every time.

The recipe I use is really easy. It's one I've had in a notepad for a long time so I don't actually know where its come from. I remember first baking some flapjacks when I was about 11 with my Mum and I hadn't baked them since finding this recipe and remembering how easy they are! These lovely sweet treats are both Wheat, Gluten and Dairy free. Enjoy!

Ingredients:

225g Gluten free porridge oats
50g dairy free margarine (I used Vitilite)
75g caster sugar
3tbsp Golden Syrup

Method

Add the butter, syrup and a sugar to a pan allowing it to melt
Once melted, add the free from oats
Mix well before adding to a baking try and spreading
Bake for approx 25 mins (but do check it!) on 160 degrees
Once baked, leave to cool and slice.
Enjoy your easy Free from Flapjack!

Cupcake Mumma

Wednesday, 20 November 2013

Rainbow Fun!

Just before half term Midge had a very special delivery from Rainbow Belle. Rainbow Belle is a colourful little fairy that lives in Bellvue with her Magic Belle friends.

Midge and myself have spent many times together in their magical world and every month she receives a surprise pack from one of her fairy friends through the Flutterbud Club. It really makes her month.


We were sent a great, big package full of colour and sparkle from Rainbow Belle. Little A and Midge set to work on their projects:


After a lot of sticking and colouring they had both created a rainbow each which have been placed above my desk:

A pretty rainbow by Midge and A

Midge and I made the lovely wooden bunting together with some decorating help from A of course! I threaded rainbow coloured ribbon through the flags and we hung above Midges bed in her newly decorated bedroom.


Thank you to Magic Belles who supplied us with all our gorgeous craft goodies to make our bunting and rainbows.

CupcakeMumma

Monday, 18 November 2013

My Week That was Instagrammed #12


This week involved:

1) Lots of lovely letters from my pen friends. This letter was filled with cute bunny note slips and stamps were stuck to the paper- I love stamps.

2) Doing some jobs around the house. All that's needed in the lounge are some curtains- I'm freezing! My Mum is making them for us as a joint Christmas present so I'll have to freeze for a bit longer. I moved the whole room around and it feels more 'homely'. Next is the dining room which is my nightmare!

3) I went to town with Little A and Jay so he could do his Christmas shopping (very early for him but he had a lucky win on a scratchcard) We bought a Christmas cookie and a marshmallow ice cream for Little A before doing our weekly food shop.

4) I had some tired snuggles with Little A again this week.

5) Children In Need came around quickly again and this years school theme was 'dress as a hero.' Midge decided to dress as a Police officer so that's what we did. She looks so grown up!

6) I baked gluten free soda bread yum!

7) My Dad bought me this candle recently. I love it because it's all Christmassy. I took it out of its packaging and have displayed it on my fire place- it looks lovely!

There's my week! I hope you all had a lovely week too.

Cupcake Mumma

Sunday, 17 November 2013

The Pain of Post Natal Depression

Last week I was saddened to hear of at least three suicides committed by sufferers of Post Natal Depression (PND) This has prompted me to write openly, to anyone suffering from PND right now. To acknowledge that pain, that sadness, that confusion and fear that is being felt.

I want you to know that you are not alone. There are so many people that do care. Whether they are family or friends or perhaps complete strangers, there is someone out there who will listen. Who will understand. Who will want to help you.


First of all you must know that what ever negativity you believe to be the truth right now it is a lie. You are a good parent. You deserve to have your children. You are worth so much, are a very valid part to this world, to this life. You are tired. Perhaps feeling so drained, even ill. The nights feel like they last forever, especially when your child cries a lot and perhaps you don't know how to settle them or you're struggling to feed them.

Acknowledging that something isn't quite right is your first step. That's sometimes the toughest step to take. I thought if I admitted how much I hated myself, how I wanted to run away and leave my family, how I wanted to sometimes not even be 'here' anymore, then someone would take my child away. I thought I'd be judged for not feeling an instant bond with my baby, for not being able to keep my baby on my breast or for not liking my baby. Loved? Yes.

Liked? No. 

I did not like my own child and you know what? It's not unusual. Your head is so preoccupied, you're so drained, you have visitors, you have appointments to make- promises to keep. On top of that you're trying to feed your child (even my bottle fed baby put up a fight!) There's the crying: your crying, your child's crying, the worrying, the hormones - it's just too much sometimes.

There is an end and it's not the end you sometimes dream of in those darkest moments. As hard as it may seem to believe there is someone who cares. Friends in real life, friends on the end of the phone, family members, doctors, midwives, health visitors, Sure Start volunteers, *online and telephone support.

Getting medical help is often a first step and if you're suffering I hope you find the strength to make this step. You can be placed onto a waiting list and get support from councilors/therapists. Antidepressants can help to balance hormones and this is what I received. After my second birth I had Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) to help with low mood and anxiety. I'd really recommend this.

Having some time to yourself  is easier said than done but it does help. Getting out of the house and not isolating yourself is truly terrifying sometimes and a hard step to take but again, if you can either alone (helps to clear your mind) or with someone else for company it is well worth it. Bonding with your baby/child is important too. I found this very difficult but eventually it became easier.

Please be kind to yourself. Please don't hide behind smiles and I'm okays. Please don't make any rash and impulsive decisions. That probably sounds ridiculous but well, it's not too late to fight. Even when you're so tired and fighting seems like the last thing you want to do, please don't give up. One day, like me and hundreds of other parents who once felt so weak and worthless, you'll be glad you fought.

X

If you are someone who is trying to support someone or thinks someone you know may be suffering from PND, please talk to them. Offer them help, support, a listening ear. Most of all be understanding and patient. There are plenty of places where you can read up on information about PND. Like any depression, support and time to heal is needed. Sensitivity and patience is needed, even though at times it will feel incredibly tough.

Cupcake Mumma

* Helpful Links:*

This link will take you to Mothers For mothers, a PND support group. Here you will find names and contact details for many other organisations.

For help and support with a baby who excessively cries or seems to cry no matter what you do. This can be very difficult to deal with and this link will take you to the home page of Cry-Sis.

Home Start offers help and support to parents no matter what you are going through, including PND. Volunteers can be sent to your house on a weekly basis to keep you company, have a chat, help you other many other things to make life easier.

This link will take you to Mumsnet's page explaining all the signs and symptoms of PND and offers various details of places you can get help and support. You can also use this parenting site, as well as others, to connect with those going through similar experiences in their online community forums.

Scavenger Hunt Sunday #1


Pattern

On a walk home from the school run.

Sunglasses

From the archives (sorry guys it's too cold here for sunglasses!)

Round

My nieces last Love Heart..Aww she gave it to me!

Looking In

A neighbours garden. I love their old gate.

Crunchy

I love these yummy chocolates (wish i could still eat them!

Friday, 15 November 2013

Gluten Free Soda Bread


I got my recipe for this gluten free soda bread from here, the Doves Farm website which is packed full of useful free from recipes I can't wait to try. I didn't need to substitute anything for this recipe which is why I won't be publishing it on my blog. I did use some gluten free oats I had in the cupboard to roll my dough on before placing in the oven (this added something extra to my loaf) and also this is a white bread, the recipe I have linked to is a brown bread- but that's all!

I found this really easy to make, really quick to make too which is handy. Unfortunately, due to both children deciding to play up at the same time, my loaf was left in the oven a bit too much longer than necessary and was a bit harder than I would've liked! All in all, the method works, the ingredients work and I had a nice supper of a couple of slices smothered in dairy free butter. Yum!

I'm linking this up with Jenny and Helen for our Great Bloggers bake Off. For this recipe, Tesco very kindly sent me some gluten free strong white bread flour. Very handy- thanks Tesco!

Wednesday, 13 November 2013

A Year in Gifts October



It came to me pretty early on in October who my recipient would be for my year in gifts project that month. After reading a few tweets and settling down to read to some very moving blog posts, I really wanted to extend a loving thought (okay perhaps a bit more than just a thought) to DragonflyPoppy who blogs here.

If you read Elizabeth's blog, you will know that recently her Mum was diagnosed with cancer and that even more recently she underwent an operation . It's not my story to tell so I won't. Instead, I'd love for you see her blog and read for yourselves.

This month, I wanted to send a gift to not only Elizabeth but also to her Mum. My Aunt has been through Breast Cancer and come out the other side a healthier and stronger woman. Armed with my limited knowledge and some research, I carefully picked out items I thought Elizabeth's Mum would appreciate if not now, then in the near future.


I then selected items for Elizabeth herself which was slightly easier given the blog reading and online conversations we've had. I stumbled upon this card (thanks to Elizabeth for the photos!) and knew it would complete my gift perfectly.


There is just two months left now of my Year in Gifts Project. I've noticed good things come to me and have felt I have made many people feel happy, cared for, real, possibly all three. Even if that only lasted a few moments it was worth it to me.

A lot of people don't understand why I chose this project. I get asked, "why do you spend money on strangers?" "What do you get out of it?"
 These people have come through hard times, are going through hard times or simply need reminding that there are people out there rooting for them-so please don't give up. I can remember each and every person I sent a gift to and the reason why I sent a gift to them.

I do this project because I care. Because I care about friends, family. I care about total strangers (although to me, these bloggers are friends not strangers) I don't want anything back but on several occasions I have and it's brightened my day. That's paying it forward, keeping the circle of kindness going. Bringing light to a sometimes dark world.

That's why I've done this project and is why I'm looking forward to my new project in 2014

Cupcake Mumma

Monday, 11 November 2013

Family Weekend

This weekend went so fast. We looked after my sister-in-laws children from Saturday morning until the afternoon so she could finally have her op to help her fully recover from breaking her leg. It was hectic of course, after all there is four of them and two of my own! Thankfully, because we now have a larger house we aren't all really cramped and they can all spread out.

The original plan was to have a duvet day due to the lack of sleep I've been banging on about. We got lucky on Friday night and had a fairly undisturbed sleep so that really helped. Besides, these kids did not want to do duvet day!

I had prepared some water beads the night before and they all loved this activity. I joined in with them so never took a photo, I'm fascinated by water beads! They ended up absolutely everywhere and they discovered squishing them with their toes was oh so much fun! Thankfully my nephews helped with the cleaning (the girls were noticeably missed hmm!)

Having a break from being 'Officer Zac'

I left the girls crafting while I took the boys and my youngest niece shopping. We fetched some paint for the girls and they were allowed a toy each too. Chocolate buttons were also on the menu. When we got home, the boys and Midge slipped into police gear and got role playing, while Little A had a nap. I had snuggles with my niece while my other niece went crazy with glitter paint. I have a lot of pictures 'drying' in my kitchen right now-they're still wet!

Eventually I relaxed with the girls on the sofa. Here's G giving me her gorgeous grin:


And here's my beautiful baby niece chilling on the bean bag:


They ate me out of house and home but who cares? They pay me back in so many lovely ways *insert big, cheesy grin*

On Sunday we spent some time with my Dad as an early birthday surprise. As usual it was ace seeing my parents and great to see my brother before he leaves for Holland next week. My dad turns 52 this month so I baked him this rather nice banana chocolate chip cake with chocolate fudge icing:


I've had a wonderful weekend but I wish it wouldn't go so fast! I've got nothing planned for this week so we'll see what happens!

CupcakeMumma

My Week That Was Instagrammed 11!


This week has been a mixed bag. I've been so tired I could barely keep my eyes open on occasions but then we had an unexpected nights sleep which did so much to lift my spirits. I really am useless on little to no sleep! 

1. On Saturday we had all our nieces and nephews over (4 in total) plus my two as my sister in law was having a quick operation in the local hospital. We spent most of the day together and what was meant to be a duvet day soon turned into a painting, shopping, crafting, police role playing, wrestling day! Luckily on Friday we had a decent kip so I had a lot more energy than I have had!

2. I won some wellies on a bidding site for an auction to raise funds for The Lullaby Trust in memory of Matilda Mae. My wellies were worth every penny and signed by Angelica Bell (Hubby used to fancy the pants off her when he was younger!)

3. Little A enjoyed hanging out with his baby cousin. I got out the plastic buggies and he started to push her around which was ever so funny to watch.

4. We said goodbye to our very much loved second hamster Maisy. In the picture above we were having snuggles, she was alive but very sick. I'm still really sad about her passing because we hadn't had her for long.

5. My cousin sent a parcel over from Thailand months ago and I finally got it back from the old house. She had written me a letter, a postcard, packed in a small elephant incense holder and sent the children some hand crafted pencils, as well as a few gifts for other members of the family. 

6. Finally, Midge has gone up again in her reading which pleases me so, so much. She's struggling a little because the words are obviously a little more challenging but we're making such good progress. Her teachers are really pleased with her reading but say she struggles a lot with maths, so that's my next port of call!

Hope you had a lovely week too!

Cupcake Mumma

Saturday, 9 November 2013

Banana and mixed spiced cupcakes

As part of my bloggers bake off challenge with Helen and Jenny, I was recently sent some mixed spices from Steenbergs to help create a wonderfully smelling and tasting bake. I am not the hugest fan of mixed spices and I will admit to doing two batches after having a reaction to the spices on my first attempt! I made a plain batch for myself and a mixed spice batch for anyone who wanted them. Both taste very nice indeed and I am actually a bit gutted to not be able to eat the spiced banana cupcakes.


Whether you'll be using just banana or the mixed spice as well, I hope you enjoy this recipe.

You will need:
110g Doves Farm self raising flour
100g Light Brown sugar
110g dairy free butter or vegetable margerine
2 eggs
Tsp Baking powder
Tsp Vanilla essence
1tblsp golden syrup
2 mashed bananas (best when slightly over ripe)
1/2 tsp of Steenbergs mixed spice (less really is more with this wonderfully flavoured mix)

Method

Cream the butter and sugar together until smooth

Add both eggs one after the other and mix well

Add the flour, baking powder and mix together until you have a nice smooth batter

Next, add the syrup, spice mix, vanilla essence and the soft mashed banana

Mix all the ingredients together before scooping into cake cases and baking at 180 for 15-20 minutes (my oven is slower than most but this is a standard time for cupcakes)

Once the cakes are cooked, pop onto cooling racks. These cakes taste delicious slightly warm so don't feel the need to wait for them to go cold to enjoy (as if you needed me to tell you that)

I hope you enjoy!

CupcakeMumma

Friday, 8 November 2013

Toddlers Don't 'Do' Sleep

Oh how silly of me to think otherwise! This week and a half just gone has seen me just functioning. Just being. It's a horrible feeling. I've had some lovely days don't get me wrong. I've spent quality time with my Dad on two occasions and I enjoy his being here. I've had Little A climb into my bed in the morning for his nap whilst I was having a lay in and that is lovely (because he's actually sleeping for a start!)

Otherwise I haven't taken much enjoyment in anything else. I don't particularly want to go out and I've had to force myself on the the occasions I had to go out for the school run and I felt particularly anxious. I can only assume this is down to the tiredness making it more difficult than usual for me to keep things in check and keep calm. I just want to get my child and go which is why Jay has been doing most of the school runs this week as one child is fine but 4 is too much for me this week when it's cold and drizzly and when together they walk so slow. I usually take this opportunity to really talk to them all (after all, I am mother to one and auntie to three of them) so I like to hear about their days, particularly my eldest nephew who has this love of books I had at his age. I'm so proud of him and it's nice to see him clutching a book every time I pick him up. He loves telling me about the story. I'm just too tired to concentrate on anything. Perhaps too selfish at the moment too. Tiredness really does make you feel low doesn't it?

I don't know why my toddler won't sleep. I've thought of bad dreams to night terrors to waking up and just not wanting to stay in bed so he head bangs and tantrums which is so loud I can't leave him because of the neighbours. I shouldn't care but I do, a screaming toddler at 1 am is not a pleasant sound and I'd hate to think we're making someone else's sleep a misery too. I asked my neighbour today if he can hear him and he seemed awkward before admitting that yes, he can but he's been there too. But because A isn't teething he doesn't understand what all the noise is about. Me and you both. Me and you both. It doesn't matter that he's nice about it, it doesn't make me feel better because i know now that he can hear him at midnight, at 1am, at 4am and so on!

So, do I just carry on what I'm doing? Taking him to my bed still crying in the early hours then sleeping before waking around 4am to get up? I lose my days because I put him back to bed and go back myself! It won't last forever but I don't know how to get to back to sleeping well without him crying and screaming which is horrendous. There is no control crying with A it's just constant and me going in and out makes him worse when he realises I'm not picking him up.

I just want my enthusiasm for blogging, baking, letter writing and people to come back. I want to be a better wife and a decent mother to my daughter who probably feels I don't want to do much with her when this isn't the case. How do you cope with tiredness and children with poor sleep? Any advice to share?

Cupcake Mumma

Wednesday, 6 November 2013

My week That was Intsagrammed 10!


Last week was half term for many families and ours was no exception! Here's a round up of what we got up to:

There was birthday fun! I turned 24 last Tuesday and had such a wonderful present and family filled day. I got loads of cards too which made me so happy. We had birthday pancakes which is sort of a tradition here now!

I baked some awesome pasties for myself and Little A to eat at dinner. They were vegetable and sundried tomato pasties. I've just posted up the recipe here.

The prize I won with the lovely Bex arrived: a balloon Dracula! Just in time for Halloween which was very quiet with only one trick or treater! We also a got a little balloon Baboon too but he didn't last long once Little A got hold of him!

We had a very relaxing day last week where we stayed in our pjaramas and watched films. At one point we had the music channel on and both little ones were just going crazy so that's my crazy little A up there pulling some funky moves!

Of course, there was lots of snuggles too. I hope you all had a good week and are getting back intot he school routine painlessly.

CupcakeMumma

Vegetable and Sundried Tomato Pasty


Where I live, the Pasty is something very important. Now I can't remember the last time I actually ate a traditional Cornish pasty because it's been some time thanks to my stomach! I've spent so long trying to get my gluten free pastry right and finally I have found what I am happy with.

I'm going to share my recipe with you (which should make you a couple of pasties) as part of my baking journey with Jenny and Helen but you may like to change a few things to make it work for you. The one ingredient you must not leave out in my experience, is the egg!


First you'll need a selection of vegetables. I chose:
Potatoes, thinly sliced and chopped
Mushrooms, chopped
Onion, finely diced
Salt and pepper to season
Optional: 1 jar of Sun dried tomatoes of which I used about 4 large tomatoes. You could use anything that takes your fancy plus more/different vegetables.

For the pastry:
200g plain gluten free flour
100g stork* margarine
Pinch of salt
1 egg
Cold water (just have this in a jug and add as you need to get your pastry to the right consistency)

Pre heat oven to 200

If you have chopped your ingredients up nice and small you won't need to cook before placing in the pastry. If you prefer, cook your potatoes and slice or mash before popping on your pastry.



  • Put the flour and butter into a large bowl.
  • Use your hands to mix the butter into the flour until it resembles breadcrumbs.
  • Add the egg and mix in (using hands or a spoon if you like) then stir in the water and quickly bring the pastry together until it's a sticky dough (This pastry tends to absorb more water than 'normal' pastry so add a few more drops of water if necessary)
  • I like to lightly dust some cling film and roll out my pastry using this method to avoid it sticking to my work surface and then breaking
  • Once rolled, transfer your pastry to your chosen flat tin. Make a 'guideline' to separate the top half of your pasty from the bottom. You can now add your filling to the bottom half before gently folding the top half over to cover your filling
  • Crimp (or 'press down if you're anything like me!) and make 2 small slits/holes in the top of the pastry before brushing with egg yolk. Bake the pasties until they are a lovely golden colour and by inserting a knife gently through the pastry to see if the vegetables are cooked through.

I hope you have some joy with this gluten free pastry. It can take a little patience and a lot of practice but you should see some (and taste some!) good results. *I'd like to thank Stork for providing me with a pack of their very tasty vegetable margarine which seems to have made all the difference to my pastry baking.

Cupcake Mumma

Monday, 4 November 2013

10 Things to Smile About: October

I'm not sure if it was me looking forward to my birthday and decorating for Halloween or just the way things go but October has really flown by. Here's what I've been smiling about this month:

1. My birthday:
It was such a lovely day full of thoughtful gifts and wonderful family.



2. Sleepovers:
My niece came to stay with Midge for the night in the half term which was good fun. They're always really well behaved, eat popcorn and chill out with me on the sofa before going to bed much later than they would normally.

3. Halloween Party:
This was another wonderful family gathering just like last October. We had so much fun eating tasty food, playing some party games and getting out the face paints!



4. Farm Trips.
I helped out the teachers and parents on an autumn trip to the farm with Midge and the rest of her class. I had a great time on the farm and the children really enjoyed themselves too.



5. Lots of Baking:

Thanks to the Great British bake off I joined in with lots of other bloggers to bake something scrummy every single week. There's more to come from us baking bloggers so do look out!



6. Family Walks:
We have managed to escape a few times from the house. We haven't ever gone far because it has been so horrible on many occasions. I got some nice photos on our walks.


7. Spending time with my Mum and Dad.
I've spent some time with my parents this month. Just a few hours with mum several times really. We caught up on the Bake Off and chatted to my sister too. My dad slept over on my birthday which was nice. We caught up on life in general and his new(ish) job more than anything.

8. I've finally finished my room!
This is a huge reason to smile because it has been on my 'to do' list for ages.

9.Christmas gifts have been bought!
I'm very pleased I can focus on all the little things I have planned now rather than worrying about buying for everyone. Every year there's always an extra person to buy for! I can make my Christmas cards now too which I have wanted to do for so long.

10. Finally, I'm happy to of just had such a pleasant October and I hope November can be just as good. 

Friday, 1 November 2013

Accompanying Year 1 to Trevaskis Farm

Last Friday I put myself forward as a parent helper on the schools trip to a local farm. Despite living here nearly 12 years I have never been to Trevasiks Farm but I can't wait to go back again because it was so much fun. If it was that good for the children when most crops are out of season then I can't wait to see what it's like in the spring and summer.

We started off our trip by having a talk from two farm employees who showed the children a small selection of vegetables. I was really impressed by the children on their veggie knowledge and even when they had to hazard a guess (I did several times: Gourds anyone?) they weren't really silly guesses (some children think potatoes are tomatoes for example) so I was really proud to be a part of the school on this trip!

The classes split up and first up for our group was a guided tour of the farm. We started by keeping the children from going too nuts with the mud and helping those who had fallen victim to a few puddles thanks to their rather deceptive depth! Once that was over we started with the chickens and ducks:


Then we moved on to the poly tunnels holding grapes, strawberries, apples, aubergines,peppers, potatoes and so much more:



Then we explored the apple orchard which got a massive thumbs up from the children:
  


We saw some sheep, pigs and their piglets and a beautiful pony:


Once we returned it was our turn to line up and wash our hands thoroughly before having a tour of the farm shop and fish counter. The farms' fish monger did a great job showing the children a selection of fish and explaining whereabouts they lived in the sea. He also showed off a lot of sharp teeth and funny eyes (the fishes of course) The children couldn't get enough of it and were disappointed that the talk didn't go on to the butchers section!


We left the farm after having a snack, arriving back at school just in time for lunch. I headed in the opposite direction however, to grab a hot chocolate and a biscuit in the comfort of my own home! I had such a fantastic day with year 1 and all the staff and other helpers who were there too. What a great way to end Autumn term!

CupcakeMumma