Friday, 31 January 2014

The Great British Budget Challenge: Are You in?

Join the Great British Budget Challenge

Lots of people are jumping on board the budgeting ship for February and as I love to save those pennies I'm tagging along too. In fact, I've just become a panel member with The Great British Budget, a campaign to get Britain budgeting effectively to save money for the future (or those things we'd really like sooner rather than..well never!)

The campaign, from Yourwealth.co.uk, hopes to see as many people as possible grab hold of their finances and give them a good look over. I know one area I could make savings in would be my weekly food shop as I'm just totally lazy, so this will be my focus for February's budget challenge. By signing up you'll get emails with hints and tips to help you save money and budget better in many areas. You'll also be able to view the Money Hub where, among other things, you'll be able to get help with setting up a sensible budget for the month.


You can also join in with the February photo challenge on Twitter which is just a bit of fun (that could win you £50 in love2shop vouchers!) Do join in and follow the lovely folks @yourwealthuk on Twitter too. Dont forget to use #GreatBritishBudget when tweeting!

So, who else is up for some budgeting this February? What would you like to save up for? Let me know what you'd like to achieve whilst doing this challenge!


Cupcake Mumma

Love the Little Things #4

Ah it's Friday again and time for me to share the little things I've loved over the past week.

Read


I tried reading that crime novel I wrote about last week but do you know what? I see enough violence on television in the news or in the papers, why read imaginary violence too? I just couldn't read it so picked up a real paperback this week; Dairy of a Hapless Househusband. It's light and easy to read and Hopefully I'll finish it by next week. I also read Psychology Magazine. Why did no one recommend this sooner! It's ace!

Watched
This week I watched Coach Trip which I love! It's so funny how bitchy they get with each other but I love the activities they get to do too. I also watched the new Outnumbered on catch up which was okay. Seeing the three children now grown up made even me feel old! I plan to catch up on the Channel 4 show My Tattoo Hell with Katie Piper. It'll be good I reckon!

Wore


It's been very, very cold this week. Thursday night was the coldest so far and saw me wearing a shirt, hubby's jumper, 2 pj bottoms and my slippers in bed. I was underneath a duvet, quilt and throw as well! Attic rooms are not my favourite thing right now ! I'm going to put plastic sheeting over my skylight tonight!!

Heard
This week I've heard lots of screaming and crying from my Little A. We're still dealing with Night Terrors and sleep disturbance. I've been doing a lot of research into this and tonight I start a new 'technique' to see if things can improve. Hopefully the next 7 days will give me some hope!

Made
This week I made mini dragon heads and Chinese lanturns to celebrate Chinese New Year. I did the basic drawing and cutting stuff and let the little ones stick and colour. Well, I coloured A's dragon, he wasn't that interested! I also made some chocolates for a review, check them out!

Apologies for the bad photo!

Less crafty is this Just Giving page I made to raise funds for Julian House. I'm sleeping out for 1 night in a park to raise money for those who sleep out every night in much worse places. Do share if you can, thank you!



And Lastly
It's Saturday tomorrow so I get a lay in! I'm hoping to bake fairy cakes later on and watch a movie with the children. Hubby is out tomorrow night but fingers crossed I get my fish and chip dinner! On Sunday we're actually visiting a friends house for a family roast. Im not sure if people do this anymore so I'm looking forward to it!

Cupcake Mumma


butwhymummywhy

Thursday, 30 January 2014

Hobbycraft Chocolate Moulds Perfect for Valentines!*

Now I know how a lot of people feel about Valentines Day but sadly I'm not one of them. I love the big heart balloons and making a meal for Hubby complete with anything else I can find in store!

Something I really wanted to try this year was making my own chocolates. As if it were meant to be, an email dropped into my inbox from HobbyCraft to review this great little chocolate making set with the little ones.


The set includes:
1 plastic mould with assorted heart shapes
3 large chocolate coins 2 milk chocolate and 1 white
1 Plastic piping bag
1 pack of hearts *these contain peanut oil*
Set of Instructions

We donned our aprons and got out a bowl suitable for microwave use. This was just to speed things up and as a responsible adult supervising, I felt it was fine. It's worth noting though that we melted a small amount of the white chocolate in the piping bag provided. I was surprised to see that you could just pop the bag with the chocolate into some warm water and allow it to melt. As this set is aimed at age 7+ this does allow more independence which is great. I however, have a 6 and 2 year old so I was opting for the quickest approach!

Midge broke up the chocolate and we watched for the timer to go on the microwave. We heated the chocolate bit by bit so as to not burn it and ruin the activity!


After melting the chocolate we began filling our moulds. I took over using the piping bag because Midge found it difficult to not overfill the bottom of the mould. She did however use a spoon to fill the mould up to the top and this was very easy to do, if a little messy! We had more chocolate than we would've done if we used the bag because you always get some stuck to the sides of the bag, same as icing a cake really, except when it's chocolate I hate wasting any amount!

After licking out the bowls (yes that is necessary!) I popped the mould set to one side whilst I did some washing up. After 15/20 minutes the chocolate was set! I didn't even need the fridge! Obviously popping it into the fridge you will wait even less time, I just got side tracked. Here's our two toned chocolates in their setting process:

Chocolate art?
Here they are ready to eat!


Everyone said the chocolate tasted great (no surprises there) and they looked great (they will be so good for my valentines idea!)
It was a great activity to share with Midge and an older child can be left to do most of the activity alone which is obviously fantastic.

It's worth noting that I didn't have any problems cleaning the moulds which are reusable.
Midge wants to try colouring the white chocolates next time which should be interesting!

*Hobbycraft sent us 1 chocolate making set free of charge for the purpose of this review. Thank you Hobbycraft!

Cupcake Mumma

Monday, 27 January 2014

Happy Monday From Little A!


If that doesn't brighten your Monday then I don't know what will *big smile*

Cupcake Mumma 

#spreadalittlehappiness

Sunday, 26 January 2014

Midge, Now You're Six

Six years ago I held you in my arms, this tiny 6lb 6oz baby cuddled into my tired, sore but bursting with love body.You were beautiful then and my goodness you are even more so now. You're all girly and love pop music, painting your nails and wearing hair clips. You still like to go for walks, jump in muddy puddles and play outside in general but you're a pink loving Hello Kitty fan inside and out!

For your sixth birthday you had to go to school but you opened all your gifts before you left and wore your new coat which looks so cosy!We picked you up with all your cousins and you ran out with 2 badges and a huge grin on your face, always a lovely sight but even more so on your birthday. Nanny picked us up and we went to the Big M with Daddy, Little A, your cousins, Aunts and Granddad. Everyone had a great evening.




Then G came for her long promised sleep over and you both watched DVDs, falling asleep on the sofa bed in the front room. The covers had popcorn and chocolate bread all over them, I'm not sure how you slept but you did!

At 10.30 the next day we took a bus to Heartlands where you both got a pampering! You had your finger nails and toes painted and you both had a face paint each too. Such a nice morning.




We ended the day with 2 more of your friends coming over and celebrating with you for the afternoon. Daddy and I laid out lots of nibbles, a balloon and we played some party games too. All in all it was a lovely day!


I hope you had a lovely day Midge. My ever growing, ever learning but still forever, my baby girl.

Love Mummy xxxx



Saturday, 25 January 2014

Siblings {January}

I've seen lots of bloggers join in this link up so I hopped on over to Dear Beautiful Boy's blog where I've decided to also record the lovely moments, no matter how quick they are, especially by camera, because they really so special to capture and look back on.

A few weeks back I took Midge and A to watch Daddy play football. He has a lot if away games but this time he was at home and just up the road from us. It was cold but dry so we seized the moment and spent all day watching him play.

The children sat together at first watching the players run up and down the pitch. They hadn't been to a match for some time so were unsure about the noise and excitement and all the children who were also mucking about. I love this photo because it's as if they are sticking together, keeping close in their moment of uncertainty and taking in the environment.


It wasn't long however before they began playing around with footballs, twigs and big sticks building a 'den for dogs' and all matter of other wonderful imaginary games.


I have more opportunity than I realise to capture them together. I can't wait to see what I can put together for February and actually link it up this time!

dear beautiful

Cupcake Mumma

Love The Little Things #3

butwhymummywhy
I'm so gutted I missed last weeks link up I was just too late! So this is my week 3 and I'm all different to everyone else. As usual! Anyway, onto all the lovely little things that have gone on in my life this week.

Read
I've just finished reading The Memoirs of Fanny Hill which was a really good read once I got used to the old English it was written in. I really enjoyed dipping in and out of it (if you'll excuse the pun!) it's a bit sad, a bit surprising and also ends on a happy note which I like. I've now downloaded a crime book which is new for me and I'll let you know how I get on! Book 2/30 done!

Watched
Silent witness has been on my television again this week and I can't get enough. I love Emilia Fox (anyone else have that girl crush thing going on?) I've caught up with Splash as it's harmless television really and of course Eastenders. Goes without saying in my house I'm afraid!

Wore
I finally painted my nails after giving them a break. They're now a lovely pastel pink which I'll sparkle up for the weekend ahead.

Heard
I found a keane album on iTunes the other night, their first one and it took me straight back. Just back to those days of laying on my bed as a teen with nothing to do but enjoy my music. There's no happy or sad memories, just a relaxed feeling which is quite nice.

Made
I haven't made anything this week at all so allow me to show you my makes from last week. Midges birthday cake from Saturday and her birthday card from her actual birthday on Friday:




Oh, I did make some chocolate using moulds which I popped on hubby's birthday cake today. My mum made the cake though! (And I butchered it for the record because my oven went nuts)


And lastly
I am facing a huge fear tonight and meeting lots of new people at my husband's birthday party. He plays for a football team and we're all meeting at a club. If you don't follow me you won't know why this is so big for me. I have crippling social anxiety in these situations but I'm unusually excited!
I'm also off to a hotel on Sunday with The Hubster and I can't wait!! Have a great weekend everyone!

Cupcake Mumma

Thursday, 23 January 2014

NappyKind Boutique Leggings Review!

I've been waiting ages to show off these gorgeous leggings I was sent by NappyKind Boutique recently. I've never reviewed clothing before so getting the photos together has been a new thing for me, I just hope they do the product justice!

The leggings are a size 24-36 months and fit Little A perfectly. He's never worn anything like this before but he looks so cute in them! Here's the adorable design (there is a wide selection of very cute designs to choose from) that drew me to these leggings in particular:


Here are the leggings for my niece which I couldn't resist picking out because they are so pretty and suit her down to a T.



The quality is easy to see with these leggings, they really are gorgeous. Little A's leggings have been through the wash a good number of times already, they have not stretched or shrunk and have remained perfectly comfortable for him to wear. So comfortable in fact, these are not only used to keep him extra warm when we go out but he also wears them to bed. They double up brilliantly for pj bottoms!


As I mentioned above, we have been regularly using the leggings to go under trousers when we are outside so as to keep him extra toasty. The leggings are almost like tights and are therefore incredibly warm.

I have found on both little ones the leggings are easy to get on and off (sometimes trousers etc can get caught on the nappy or get stuck on little A's bum!) they wash well, dry well, are soft and cause no irritation. They are made to sit around a nappy so you don't have this nappy outline like you would with your normal leggings, you can't really see the nappy because the leggings are thick and made to sit around the outline anyway.

Both Little A and my Niece appear to really like and be comfortable in their new leggings. I already have more bookmarked for their birthdays and highly recommend these and the NappyKind Boutique website to anyone.

Cupcake Mumma

*I was sent 2 pairs of leggings at a discounted price for the purpose of this review*

Friday, 17 January 2014

Guilt is to Motherhood what Grapes are to wine: The Prompt #1

This quote, from Fay Weldon doesn't sit well with me at all. The quote itself is fairly and unfortunately true for most mothers. We all have something we want to do that we feel we just can't or shouldn't because what if our children need us? What if I was doing something for me and something happened whilst I was not with my child? Oh! I'd feel like such a failure!
I'm sure we can all think of many things we have said or thought and even put off because of that lingering presence inside of us. That guilt of ours.

I've read that quote over and over again. It has played on my mind during the school run if truth be told getting more and more on my nerves. Why? Here's why: grapes. Grapes are the essential ingredient needed to make wine. If you do not have grapes then you do not have wine (or decent wine and that other stuff just won't do. You know, that pretend stuff- I can't drink my hard days child rearing away with that stuff!)

Guilt though. Guilt is not essential to motherhood is it. Guilt is not necessary or needed. 
Love, kindness, sympathy, empathy, presence,honesty and so much more are the ingredients that are essential to motherhood are they not?

You want a hot bath? Have one. A night away with your other half while the children are with their grandparents? Have one. Eating the children's last chocolate bar? Eat it! Better your teeth then theirs right?

Guilt is for those who've done wrong. And if all you've done is eat their sweets, return to work or enjoy a night out then well, I think you can say goodbye to guilt.

Cupcake Mumma

mumturnedmom

Thursday, 16 January 2014

Gluten & Dairy Free Yorkshire Puddings


If you are a coeliac like me or just avoid gluten because you feel better for it, you'll be all too aware of the things you miss out on. Those gorgeous tasting doughnuts, that beautiful fresh bread and those yummy Yorkshire puddings....


Well, now you can cross one of those off of your list because after reading cafe Bebe I was pointed in the direction of a gluten free Yorkshire pudding. I did in fact give this a go and thought the results were pretty good. However, my Yorkshire pudding didn't stay puffy and big for long and were more chewy than I'd have liked. So off I went to see if I could make my own Yorkshire puddings inspired by the recipe at Glutenfree4kids
You will need:
140ml soya milk (unsweetened)
3 medium eggs
60g Cornflour
60g Doves Farm self raising gluten free flour
Pinch of salt
Oil for your tins
I used a muffin tin and pre-heated my oven to 215 degrees. I placed a generous amount of oil into my tins and placed them in the oven to preheat

Method:
  1. Into a bowl, put both your cornflour and self raising flour mixing together just slightly

  2. Add 3 eggs, beaten, plus your soya milk and salt to flavour. (I recommend a good pinch because when I put a little in my first batch of puddings they tasted a bit eggy!)

  3. Mix all your ingredients together with a whisk (I used a good old fashioned hand whisk) try and get the mixture slightly thick but don't work it too hard, you need to get a bit of air into it too. It IS supposed to be fairly runny!

  4. Pour your mix into your now heated muffin tin and place in the oven for 20-25 minutes.

  5. Remove from the oven and allow to cool before removing from the tin. Mine can sometimes get a bit stuck so a pallet knife works wonders!

Hope you enjoy your gluten free Yorkshire Puddings!

Cupcake Mumma

Wednesday, 15 January 2014

My Week That was Instagrammed #3

I said I wasn't going to join in this week with my week that was but I've decided I kind of miss it now it's not up here! We all hand a pants week last week with work problems, feeling unwell and my anxiety reaching quite a horrible point at the weekend that I considered writing it off completely. Now I look back we did have a few good bits thrown in there.


We went puddle jumping with Midge and Little As cousin T. They both loved splashing, we all loved the fresh air the trees and the horses too.

Jason took midge and A out on Saturday morning and I could hear my name bring called from outside. They had all gone jumping in muddy puddles in the ally behind our house and I could see them from our skylight waving and having fun.

I read an excellent book called The Girl Who Came Home, a novel based on the Titanic. I'm on my second book of 2014 now and hoping to reach 30 or more by the end of the year!

On Saturday afternoon we watched Jason play football. The little ones watched for a while before playing with a bunch of fallen twigs and tress. They built dens and stuck twigs in the mud. Good old fashion fun! I hit to watch the team play and whoop butt which is unused for me as it's usually more stressful!

It's not all doom and gloom now is it?

Cupcake Mumma

Tuesday, 14 January 2014

Lost Groove. If Found Please Return To...

I remember when I lost myself. Or my 'groove' or whatever it is I'm missing, I think it was after I left the countryside with my 3 year old daughter and my soon to be husband. I was pregnant with little A at the time and the need to live near town was becoming essential, so we looked. We searched high and low to find someone who would house us and we did.

With heads filled with excitement we visited the flat we were to move into. It wasn't fantastic but it was a flat. Besides, it almost felt like we didn't have a choice. We needed to live near town, we needed Jay to find work so we took the house. Pretty much straight away we discovered we had a very unfriendly neighbour above us. He made life hell with his parties and loud music, chucking bottles and cigarettes out the window. This is when my anxiety hit the highest point it has ever reached and has not left me since, in some shape or form.

The memories those nights brought back made me feel ill. The noise was unbearable. I had dreams or maybe visions of things I'm not proud of. We only lasted a month or so in the place before moving on to a new house (unknowingly) behind a bloody nightclub! The stress continued long after I had my son until we fought for closure of the club.

That's where I lost myself. I found myself now and again but ultimately I have never been the same partner, parent or person since we left my comforting surroundings and freedom. We are in a lovely house now since moving again and there is some fresh air and green fields to indulge myself and more than anything everything is just better.

How do I find myself again? I have this idea in my head of this person I want to be and it isn't unrealistic or un-achievable . I just feel stuck. A prisoner locked inside social anxiety. Desperate to break out but just so afraid. There isn't any more talking to be done. It's time for grabbing life by the balls before I peg it. Before I'm an old lady full of regrets and sadness. That's how it feels anyway.

I want to have some friends in 2014 and I want to learn to do new things while I can and while I don't have to fork out loads of cash to do it (here's looking at you college) but first, baby steps. I'm thinking I need to look into a toddler group, I need my faith right now so if I can, if I can really build the courage, this Sunday I will go back to my Church. I will also be picking a fellow bloggers brains on yoga too and see what can be done to get me on the right track: To get my Groove back!

groovinggrabbadge

Cupcake Mumma

Monday, 13 January 2014

A Small bit of Countryside Fun

Last Thursday we unexpectedly had our youngest niece stay for the day so we decided to get up to something a bit more fun than just watching toy story and playing with the ever growing toys in the dining room.

We pulled on our wellies (mine complete with several holes!) and headed to the nearest patch of countryside I can get to on foot, just down the road and away from traffic. Here there a 3 or 4 fields, it isn't quiet because you can hear the busy road straight in front of you and the builders are putting up houses across the way but it's off the usual route, no cars can get in your way and well, it's the closest I'm going to get to the countryside for a long time.

We started jumping in some rather small puddles, looking up at the birds and pylons.


Then we came across some friendly (but shy) horses who allowed me to take a quick photo and I even got to give one a stroke which I haven't done in ages! So sad!



We climbed up a rather muddy hill to get to a small patch of 'forest' it's a small area shaded by trees, left to itself to grow its plants and what not and relatively free from rubbish. This is where the bridge and busy overhead road is though so we didn't stay long! We all took a slip down the slope on the way back down!

We decided to take one of the alley ways as a little change to the short and boring road way home (it's literally 5 minutes) here we found the big puddles!



It was so good to get fresh air and have fun together. We'll take Midge at the weekend because she misses out due to school. Have you been puddle jumping lately? Goodness knows there's been enough rain to get those boots on and jump in!

Cupcake Mumma

Sunday, 12 January 2014

Love The Little Things #2

I really enjoyed linking up with but why mummy why last week for love the little things so have decided to continue this week! It's been a slow and boring week this week but these link ups always force you to find something positive.

Read


The Girl Who Came Home: A Novel of the Titanic

I was reading the new Bridget Jones book but I just could not for the life of me get into it which always annoys me. I've gone back to my usual type of book and am enjoying being almost finished with The Girl Who Came Home, a lovely novel about a group of Irish women who board the Titanic in the hopes of joining their relatives and friends in America. This story is told from the past, using different characters who played different roles on board the ship, dairy entries from a surviving Irish passenger and the future by her grand daughter who is a college student hopeful of becoming a journalist and delves deep into her grandmothers sad past to tell the story she never could tell anyone else and also allows her to move forward in her own young life after the death of her father. Really recommend!

Watched
I have been watching Silent Witness this week and loving it! Toy Story 1 and 3 have been on my television screen a lot this week and I'm not sick of it at all. I get to snuggle with my boy and even Midge has got back into it. Little A thinks he's Buzz Lightyear and has even sent his own Buzz into the beyond (naturally I wasn't pleased about this until it was pointed out Buzz was now 'Mrs Nezbitt'!)





















Wore
This week I've been living in my slippers and care bear pyjama bottoms which are so comfy. I haven't been feeling great. I have donned my wellies for some puddle jumping with A and my niece though, I'm not totally lazy!

Heard
I don't really listen to music so you'll probably never see you tube clips here. I've heard lots of newborn baby cries this week! I haven't even been near babies! Two people I know have had their babies and plenty are due around now, it's a baby boom for sure! I can hear their little cries around the supermarkets and have been picking up my tin of beans whilst simultaneously clutching my screaming womb!!

Made
I made these two cards for the people who had their babies this week. Such a lovely time, nothing makes me happier.





















And lastly
My hubby spoilt me whilst out shopping this week with two bunches of tulips and two packs of digestive biscuits. I treated myself to some sparkly gold nail polish from the pound store which has lasted all week *high 5 pound shop!*

Cupcake Mumma

butwhymummywhy

Scavenger Hunt Sunday #2


Happens Everyday


Everyday I get out and about in some shape or form. Sometimes I prefer to snuggle indoors but most often, be it an appointment, a sneaky shopping trip or more than likely the school. The feet above are mine and my eldest nieces. Yes, those are slippers! She cracks me up!

Upside Down


Natural


On a recent walk with my younger niece, hubby and Little A we stopped by a field to say hello to some horses. This horse was a little unsure of my tiny friends so I took a photo of her hiding behind the bush. I love horses and when I think of natural I can't think of anything more natural than the beauty of the countryside and its creatures which often reside there.

Man Made


Two cards I myself made for two people who have given birth to their new babies. A first for one and a third for another!

Looking Down


Little A trapped me under a vegetable rack..I'm not sure how I took this photo but I managed it somehow!

Cupcake Mumma

Scavenger Hunt Sunday