November at The Cupcakes

Half way through December and I just remembered I haven't posted about our goings on in November. Not that it was incredibly interesting! I spent the first 2 weeks with tonsillitis and then what I suspect was maybe a tummy upset or maybe it was just the tonsillitis having one last shot at me! Once I got over my various illnesses (haha) I set about posting off invites to my Aunts party before I forgot (despite it being 3 months away..) and hung out with the children a fair bit as it would turn out.

  • Little A finally got his long awaited Star of the Day award from his teacher
  • The town started decorating for Christmas and they popped Santa out on his bench which Little A and I couldn't resist seeing
  • I had some lovely happy mail over November. One favourite was the invite to my cousin's wedding next July
  • I visited my Aunt and Gran a couple of times
  • Had a fright with Little A at the doctors when he said he had pains in his side (nothing was wrong in the end)
  • I treated myself to some new pink wellies

Poorly me living off milkshake//Party invites//My star of the day!//Me and Santa// Roo and Santa//Wedding invite//train to Penzance//Non poorly Roo at the doctors//New pink wellies

  • Midge and I spent some time together which included making big, wonderful hot chocolates
  • Pops turned another year older. We had a lovely day and came back quite late from his house after roast and board games which included a very dodgy Scrabble
  • I treated the children to a Wetherspoons dinner (and I wonder why I have no money!?)
  • We walked around town after dinner the same night to admire the lights. The church had put on a lovely display
  • Both little ones wrote their letters to Santa this month

Midge with a monster hot chocolate// Pop on his birthday//Scrabble//Meal out with the little ones//A eating his pudding//Church lights//Letters to Santa

  • I made a great start on stocking fillers from Poundland
  • Enjoyed several Costa's with my friends as well as with my Mum where we tried out the Christmas cakes they're selling
  • We decorated the house and it looks very cosy now with the decorations and the trees all up
  • I made up a small gift bag for my Aunt and took with me on one of my visits. She loved the surprise
  • We got our Christmas jumpers out! This year they were given to us because we didn't have the money to buy new ones which was very kind
  • I baked my first vegan cake and it was lovely
  • We watched the official light switch on in town all together and Mr B bought some chips for us all to share. It was very cold but there was a nice atmosphere and we loved the tree the best. 

A Poundland pile//Costa and cake//Warm fire//Gifts for Fiona//Gifts for me//Midge in her jumper//Vegan chocolate cake//Siblings//Midge by the town tree

Such a good month despite the illness. I felt so rotten and it felt like it would last forever I'm just glad I got better in time for the things we spent time doing together. Here's to December!

Cupcake Mumma

Plymouth with Mr B!

In October (I know, so long ago now!) Mr B and I went off on a little trip to Plymouth as a belated birthday gift to myself. I had won some tickets in a Twitter competition to stay in a Jury's Inn of my choice. We were placed in a gorgeous room! It had free sparkling and still water plus Plymouth Gin, which neither of us liked buy hey it was there and was a lovely touch! Mr B got ridiculously excited by free toothbrushes and shower hats while I got straight onto the largest bed I have ever seen:

 Bargain first class tickets and something I can tick off the Bucket List!

Biggest bed I've ever seen

It was so big and seriously comfortable. Honestly, we had the BEST sleep in such a long time on that bed! We also had some romantic time taking a bath together for example...and getting wedged in the bath together. I thought it would be a call to the fire brigade at one point but proving we are a great team we got our asses out of that tub in time for dinner and a walk around Plymouth.

We walked around Plymouth doing some window shopping and popped into some of our favourite stores. We walked around the memorial and looked out at the view before seeing the lighthouse. I've never been up to these places before and it really is beautiful. I found myself getting really emotional at the memorial. 


 Beautiful view including Plymouth's Lido

 Plymouth Lighthouse

We found a nice little chip shop to have dinner at before heading back to the hotel. It was so nice to get away for an evening. The children missed us just as much as we missed them but were happy with their Grandma and Pop looking after them for the night. We had a lush breakfast before heading home. We took a later train because there was an accident on the way which Mr B helped with but we got home to our babies eventually who although were happy to see us were more interested in what gifts we brought back! 

Chippy tea
Cupcake Mumma

December Goals

I think I did most of my November goals and although I'm a little behind I have set up some goals for December which hopefully I'll get to complete. It's such a busy month isn't it? And although we know Christmas is no surprise, the speed at which it has once again come has left me with a few things that need doing in the final days leading up to the big day itself! 

December Goals


  • See my aunt and Gran before Boxing Day
  • Do something with just Midge
  • Enjoy a lovely family Christmas!


  • Try out the finance app my sister goes on about
  • Pay off and towards both school trips
  • Do a meal plan


  • To enjoy Christmas with my family
  • Enjoy some baking
  • Send out ALL my Christmas cards this year
  • Do some extra acts of kindness at what can be a difficult time of year for some
  • Be up to date with my letter writing

Cupcake Mumma

Having some fun and getting festive with JD Williams

I'm so excited it's now officially December! My tree finally went up yesterday and we have decorated the mantle piece nicely too. To help me get into the Christmas spirit, JD Williams sent me some lovely items to review, one in particular I absolutely adore. It's a very large throw, wonderfully festive and comes with 2 pillowcases too. I really wanted to make my front room feel more cosy so I decided to keep the pillowcases back and use the throw on our biggest sofa which is old and tired.

It's gorgeous! Everyone who has come into the house has loved the throw, from the design to the feel, it's made my old sofa feel so much more comfy to sit on! It's so big it wouldn't have actually fitted my bed because our bed is quite small. It's perfect for this chilly weather if you want to wrap yourself up and save the heating costs!

Next is making my room a bit more festive. I don't know about anyone else but my Christmas decorations tend to stay downstairs and mainly in the front room so upstairs doesn't look very exciting. You can solve that problem by making your bed look Christmassy! There was quite a variety of bedding to choose from on the website from traditionally festive to rather funny duvet sets. We went with this one:

It looks so nice on our bed and brings a bit of festive cheer to upstairs. It makes me want to bring some tinsel up actually!

Finally, something a little different. Although Christmas is the main thing on everyones' mind right now, Little A had no intention of going festive when he chose his new duvet cover for the recently purchased bunk bed. The duvet set Little A chose just proves what a variety of sets there are to purchase for different ages and themes. I give you...super cool giraffes:

I think it's fair to say we are all pleased with our JD Williams items. I love how my front room feels so different and it's all because of festive bed spreads and some bedding sets! Do have a browse for yourself, you can follow the links included in this post. Have fun!

Cupcake Mumma

Reasons to be Cheerful

I started this post and few days ago and I must admit I struggled to find things to be happy about. Probably why you shouldn't blog in the midst of tonsillitis. I have made a recovery now and I do indeed have things to be cheerful about. I'm happy that Little A finally got his star of the day on Tuesday! He's waited so long and his teacher said he had an ace day so it was definitely his time. He was over the moon and we were really proud.

Midge went for her second gymnastics session on Monday. It was meant to be a taster session but she's already decided it's for her so she went in in a new leotard and got put in for a badge which she got! Well done my Midgey!

Oh yes, I have to be cheerful about this one. I finally, finally got a call from school and I can volunteer! They've asked if I can help out with forest school 2 days a week and I jumped at the chance. It'll be more fun than listening to the children read and I love being outside, plus it's year 1 which is perfect for me. They were inundated with offers so I'm happy to get what I was offered and actually I think it'll do me more good being outside than in.

Beautiful view of St. Micheal's Mount

I got to see my Aunt this week which was lovely, I just wish it was for a little longer. I had a browse around town then thought I'd surprise my Aunt and Gran by appearing at her house. Unfortunately no one was in! I did get hold of my Aunt and we had a nice chat over some mushrooms on toast.

Cupcake Mumma

R2BC at Mummy from the Heart

November Goals

Another month, another monthly goals post. I enjoyed looking back every now and then at my October post to see how I was getting on. Lets see...

To lose weight (no number just to have lost weight) - I lost a few pounds, 4lbs and okay, most people lose 2-3 a week but I am on a lifestyle change, breaking bad habits etc so I'm still pleased :) 
To enjoy our night away at the end of October in a hotel but to not waste any money-  We had such a great time together. The room was lovely, Plymouth was wonderful to spend time in and we really didn't waste any money at all.
Sort out change of address and the energy suppliers- Dull!  Very dull but very simple to sort, wish Mr B would change his too though!
To have caught up on my snail mail- I believe I have caught up! I have a new pile now though!.
To celebrate my birthday- My birthday was spent in Costa, with family, seeing a friend, having some lovely gifts, lots of cards and lovely cake made by mum. I also had a lovely tea cooked for me by Mr B.

To sort my finances again- Well they are sorted but looking a bit sad this time of year!

For the children to have at least 4 Christmas presents each put back- They are done! I have bought 7 each including their main gifts of Amazon Fire tablets which I spent all year saving for with Park Vouchers
To have paid £20 towards Midges London trip and something towards Little A's Plymouth trip- Paid but soon it will be installment time again!

Decorate the house for Halloween- We decorated the front room which looked awesome!

Go trick or treating, carve pumpkins as a family and have fun- We really did have a fun half term and a pretty frugal one too. We carved a pumpkin (well A and I did) which we called Pumpkin Joey this year, we went trick or treating and also enjoyed dishing some sweets out too. 
To have moved in properly- A part from photos which we need to hang upstairs, we are all moved in

November Goals:

Lose weight again (and again no figure here)
Find bras that fit!
Complete Christmas shopping
Be up to date with snail mail

Pay November installments of school trips
Switch from pay 6 monthly to meter for gas and electric (we avoid debt this way)
Start new Park account for next Christmas early for once (this way I can afford more vouchers for next year)

Celebrate my Dads birthday
Do some frugal activities with the children
Have a date night with Mr B
Spend some girl time with Midge
Finish the family photo wall
Visit my Aunt and Gran at least twice this month

Some good goals for this month and a couple I have already completed as I'm late posting! What are you goals for November?
Cupcake Mumma

October at The Cupcakes

We've left October, my favourite month. We spent the first week of October moving into our new place which we are now settled into. I've unpacked and moved things about so it all feels much better now. We had BT over to sort the phone and internet which was a success and came at a good time with needing to sort some things out online. My parents bought the children a new bed which they love. We asked for a bunk bed because the room was going to be too cramped with 2 beds in there. Dad found a triple bunk bed which is awesome and we're all really pleased with it!

Mum and Midge having a hot chocolate//Midge and cousin Georgia having a play date//New bunk bed!//Morning brew needed//Day off school so climbing trees//Heading to Penzance to see my Aunt and Gran//Free From fish//A and I at the park playing football//Mr B got his name in the paper again

I had one too many Costa trips at the start of the month but it's hard to say no to new friends. I'm just loving having good mates, people to talk to and having a good giggle in the mornings. The pooch and I walk everyday and I've been relatively good at sticking to healthy eating (although can absolutely do better, a few too many hot chocolates and a good few chippy teas have been had during the move..)

The children have been doing good at school but mostly they've been counting down to Christmas and Halloween! They've both had poorly days with Midge having a bad head and getting croup which took a bit longer to clear up. We've all had colds (Mr B spread it around!) but have all plodded along. has been doing really well with his homework and also now goes into school by himself which is a big step for all the children. Half term sort of came around very quickly but before the children got some time off I managed to catch up on my happy mail and sort out lots of house bits plus get their Christmas presents which have been successfully hidden!

Over half term we took the opportunity to do free things now we're feeling the pinch a bit more. Don't get me wrong, we're better off than a lot of people but throughout the year we have some good months and some harder months like many and just before Christmas plus a house move draining the small savings I did have hasn't made things any easier. We've had some nice walks together (well nice might be pushing it considering it has been raining!) on the Monday the weather was gorgeous so the washing was put on the clothes horse, the dog was walked and then we headed to the park for the afternoon bumping into several friends which was nice.

Midge's first cake in the new house//Autumn trees//Half term leafy dog walks//A getting a Costa whilst waiting for Midge to finish her club//Both children have a children up in the local Boots//A in the park//My birthday potato!//Birthday Costa!

Little A had his first ever friend for dinner experience! He had 2 friends over (they're twins) one took to Midge and stayed with her and A played with his other friend. There was role play games, Lego, colouring in and some Lego Jarassic Park for me sit through while they talked in a little circle on the front room floor! We've had some film and TV days, Midge and I baked a rather lush chocolate cake and we've seen both Grandma and Pops on different days. There has been lots of Minecraft and You Tube in this house too this half term!

I turned 27 last month! I had a great day. My friend visited and treated me to lunch, we went to the park and had a Costa which my Mum also came to. Mum baked me a lovely cake with the help of my little ones. The next day Mr B and I headed to Plymouth for a night where we had a lovely hotel stay, walked around Plymouth, saw the lighthouse and then the memorial which was really emotional to walk around. A chippy tea was exactly what we needed before heading back to enjoy the bath and comfy bed at the hotel.

My birthday cake//Midge and A with their Costa//Mr B and I on the train to Plymouth//Penguin getting ready for his hot chocolate//Plymouth Memorial//Plymouth Lighthouse//The Lido//Yummy chip tea

The Memorial at Plymouth//Happy Halloween//Me testing the super sized bed//Penguin came with us to keep A happy//Bought the Big Issue//New notebook//Pretty Christmas trees going up 

October was a really good month for all of us I think. How was yours?

Cupcake Mumma

Milkshake! Fabulous Friends DVD Giveaway!

I have a little giveaway today for all my readers. Below is a Gleam form which you can use to easily enter my Milkshake! Fabulous Friends DVD which features loads of your childrens' favourite characters and is released Monday 7th November!

Featuring in this new collection are:

Peppa Pig – In ‘The New Car’, Peppa's family car breaks down. While it is being mended, they borrow a shiny new one from Grandad Dog's garage.

Thomas & Friends – In ‘The Thomas Way’, Harold the Helicopter breaks down, so Thomas and Duck take him to Sodor Search and Rescue for repair. Thomas wants to show them the sights but Duck isn’t keen. They need to learn to work together.

Pip Ahoy! – In ‘ Alan Loses His Bounce’, Alan starts the day full of music and bounce, until Norman the Snail tells him that bouncing is silly. Pip and Alba organise a surprise to cheer him up and get his bounce back.

Ben & Holly’s Little Kingdom – In ‘Books’, Queen Thistle reads the children a story which inspires a question. They can't find the answer in the magic books in the castle, so go to the Wise Old Elf in the Great Elf Library.

Fireman Sam – In ‘Jupiter on the Loose’, the Pontypandy Pioneers visit the fire station, and Norman ends up accidentally driving Jupiter through Pontypandy. Sam races to the rescue!

Lily’s Driftwood Bay – In ‘Stop That Pudding’, Lily puts her newly discovered set of measuring spoons to good use when Nonna takes a tumble and needs a rest, leaving Salty to step in and cook an important pudding.

Bananas In Pyjamas – In ‘Power Cut’, Morgan accidentally causes mayhem in Cuddlestown when he plugs in too many lights and speakers in preparation for Camembert's birthday party.

Little Princess – In ‘I Want My Treehouse’ Little Princess builds a treehouse, then discovers Algie and Maid are also building one in the tree next door! Soon they are in competition to see who can build the best one.

Bob the Builder – In ‘Lofty Lets Loose’, Bob and his team are building a new giraffe enclosure at the zoo, but Lofty's excitement about meeting his favourite animal gets the better of him.

Wanda and the Alien – In ‘Starfish’, Wanda and friends help a hermit crab to find his starfish friend who was swept out to sea, aided by a giant whale and some important fish.

Toot the Tiny Tugboat – In ‘Toot's Funny Side’, Toot arranges a funny No Talent Show to help Paula the Trawler overcome her embarrassment when she makes a mistake.

Toby’s Travelling Circus – In ‘Ribbons and Strings’, Toby is inspired to create a ribbon-and-strings act in the show after witnessing the havoc caused by Momo and Freddo earlier with a yo-yo.

Wissper – In ‘The Slow Slow Loris’ Sonia the slow loris asks Wissper to help her speed up as the chattering monkeys keep taking all the best fruit first.  Wissper decides to  enlist the help of Monty the meercat.

Paw PatrolIn ‘Pup Pup Boogie’, Ryder, Chase and Rubble use their dance moves to help repair the tracks before the next train arrives.

Best of luck!

Milkshake! Fabulous Friends DVD Giveaway

Cupcake Mumma

Giveaway ends on 20th November 2016 11:59pm. UK entries only please. Prize will be sent out to the winner (not by Cupcake Mumma) The winner will need to supply their email address so I can confirm the winner with the pr company. The winner has 28 days to claim their prize before another winner will be chosen. Good luck to you all!

Reasons to be Cheerful- End of October Joy

Better late than never, here are my reasons to be cheerful for this week.

Last weekend Mr B and I had a wonderful break in Plymouth. I won a stay at The Jury Inn back in August I think and booked to stay the weekend after my birthday so I could be with the children and not compromise Mr B's football (reluctantly I might add) We had such a nice evening on Sunday simply spending time together walking around Plymouth. I love these breaks. No matter how short it is it feels so nice to be with each other. We have decided next year the children can come with us because they'd love the hotel.

I had a wonderful meeting with a homeless man in Plymouth and in all honesty I haven't forgotten about him since. It all started when he asked if I could buy a Big Issue from him. All I had on me was £2 but he said that was fine, all he wanted was to buy a sandwich anyway. Mr B and I went for our walk and got some chips and we ended up back where we started. As Mr B went into the shop and bought a drink I ended up talking him again. I gave him my chips; they were a huge portion, more than I could manage and we spoke about how he got there, about The Big Issue, where he sleeps, what help he had tried, he was a lovely man. We parted on a smile and a tight hug. I wanted to go back to him in the morning but we got held up when an elderly man collapsed in front of us in the town center. After we sat with him it was time to catch the train home. I felt bad but since then I have decided that my purpose was not to be with the homeless gentleman that day but to be there for the older gentleman who would've had a much nastier fall had we not seen him and been there first. 
One thing is for sure, I will be buying The Big Issue more often when I have the change and I will continue to remember my encounter. 

Finally, the children had a lovely Halloween and I had a lovely end to my favourite month. My birthday was great, I had a visit from my friend, our half term was good and didn't cost me a fortune either and we are all settled in the new home.

What are your reasons to be cheerful? Link up by clicking the badge below!

R2BC at Mummy from the Heart

Reasons to be Cheerful

October has overall been a good month and this week has been a good week. I have a few reasons to be cheerful this week the first being yesterday. I turned 27 and had a wonderful day. I saw a friend who treated me to lunch and a Costa plus brought along balloons and her little ones gave me some lovely cards. I saw family who popped in and my Mum came over who made a wonderful chocolate cake for me and which the children decorated beautifully. I've had some lovely gifts and surprise mail, I'll blog about my birthday properly next week but I had such a nice day it is most definitely a reason to smile!

Morning birthday Costa!

We've had a really good half even though we haven't done much. At the beginning of half term I felt awful for not being able to treat the kids to any days out because our purse strings are simply pulled too tight. I know you don't need day trips or holidays to make a good half term but sometimes it gets you down. We've taken pleasure in the simple things like enjoying friends, going to the park, playing football, seeing family and Midge even slept over her Aunties house with all her cousins which is a huge step for her, I was very proud. We've had movie day at home, celebrated my birthday, bought toys from the pound shop and taken pleasure in each others company.

Mr B is finally getting a holiday from work; he is off until next Friday and I'm looking forward to spending some time with him. Although we have the back to school routine, he'll enjoy getting to see the children properly and I'm sure he has some plans of his own!

I hope you've all had some reasons to be cheerful this week too.

Cupcake Mumma

Survey! What Do Parents Do To Unwind Around the Home?

Parenting and unwinding in the same sentence? Sometimes it feels impossible but there's always an opportunity! Grabbing a coffee and some catch up TV during the morning nap, reading a book a little later into the night after everyone has nodded off. Even popping out for a short walk or putting the headphones on for a little while can all help. Rattan Direct are running a survey to find out how parents unwind at home. If you'd like to take part, below is a link to the survey which breaks down into 3 parts:

1) What do parents do to unwind at home
2) How are you going to celebrate Christmas this year ( << first mention of the C word yippee!)
3) Has Brexit actually affected your spending habits around the home and garden?

For me, unwinding is about taking the opportunity to do whatever I want to do and usually whatever I most feel like doing at the time. Sometimes it's my blogging, sometimes I like to catch up with my pen friends and write lots of lovely things. Sometimes I like to go hunting around the charity shops for bargains or take a simple walk either alone or with someone else. Mostly my unwinding comes in the form of a newspaper and a hot chocolate in my local Costa (surprise surprise).

As for Christmas, Mum and I have big plans this year. I love Christmas. I plan to decorate early as always and go shopping for stocking fillers in the local shops. On Christmas Eve Mr B is working but he'll be home for Father Christmas duty and footprint making. On Christmas Day we're heading to my Mum and Dads for a big family Christmas which we haven't done in years. It's going to be really special and we're looking forward to it so much. It also means I won't need to do a Christmas food shop this year!

Ah and Brexit. Has it stopped my spending around the home and garden? Well, something has but I'm not so sure it's down to Brexit. I've never been a big spender on the home and garden but then I have truly never had the money to buy a lot of things, most of our items come second hand or through a catalogue site. 

It's quite an interesting survey and I'm looking forward to seeing the results when they are all revealed!

Cupcake Mumma

*This is a collaborative post with Rattan Direct*

Tight Belts and Half Term..Plus some Budget Friendly Ideas

Yep, another half term has slowly crept upon us. I do love spending the time with my children, love that they get a break from all that homework and that we can enjoy some lay ins and lazy days. I like to get out every day with my 2, even if it's just walking the dog like it was today but I do wish we could do so much more sometimes.

I've been reading through the booklets that have come home from school in the book bags and some blogs online about what to do this half term in your area and it's had a real effect on me. Money is super tight these days; like it is for a lot of us. I don't have enough to save for every half term as well as pay all my bills and get Christmas sorted (no matter how budget friendly I'm being this year!) It's just not there.

It isn't that all of these places are stupidly overpriced (some are though..) but even a reasonable cost soon turns far too much for us when you have to add up everyone else plus travel. So, I've decided to write this post for all those who are struggling with the pennies this half term and can only afford super cheap or free activities to do and places to go. These places are in Cornwall but if you have some free time to do some Google searching, I'm sure you will find something too.

Free Activities for Halloween:

Library time:
Head down to your local library and find some Halloween themed books. Find books on witches and wizards, children's books or slightly older books like famous Harry Potter and have a little read together in your own little circle. Some local libraries hold half term events or activities too.

Pumpkin Carving
With many supermarkets selling a pumpkin for £1, this is a fun and cheap activity for the family. Using a pen to draw a spooky face on your pumpkin then a kitchen knife for the carving and (if you're like me) your bare hands for the 'gutting' you'll have a spooky pumpkin for you all to enjoy. Why not light it up or place false tea lights from Poundland in it, switch off the lights and admire your veggie friend!?

Film Night
You could grab some popcorn from your local pound store or make your own with kernels from Tesco for £1.90 and sit together to watch a film. We've so far watched Minions and Rio this half term but to get into the Halloween spirit Hocus Pocus is on my watch list! You don't even need popcorn, just a duvet and someone to snuggle with.

Visit a Woods
Totally free of charge in most places unless you want to buy food from a woodland cafe or you're joining a specific event/activity there is no need to spend the pennies. Enjoy the leaves under foot, walk your dog, spot some wildlife and have fun!

Have a craft day making autumnal pictures, leaf rubbing, collecting fallen leaves and conkers. Play around with paints to make an autumn themed picture or make a collage out of the leaves you've collected.

Places to Go in Cornwall:

Paradise Park are holding a disco again this year in their Jungle Barn. As it has a separate entrance I'm sure you'd enter there and pay to attend the party at the reception of the play barn. For under 3's the party is free, over 3's are £5 and adults are £3.99 Enjoy a disco, fancy dress, prizes and pumpkin soup!

If you can get to Bodmin on the 29th and 30th October there is Bodmin and Wenford railway which has a half price event on; so adults will be £6.50, Seniors £6.00 and children FREE! I really love trains and have yet to experience this day out but I think if you can afford it, it would be fun! Trains are running from Bodmin General Station at 10.50, 12.10, 13.35, 14.45 and 15.50.

I've found a Godolphin Cross village trail to hunt for pumpkins. You hunt for pumpkins around the village on 29th October starting at the Chapel from 6pm. Pick up a map for £1 and enjoy the fun! There will be refreshments available all evening too!

If you're in Newquay on October 29th there's a family friendly event from 1.30pm! Children of Newquay are invited to join the free Zombie Crawl; a fun Halloween event dressing up all gory and walking the parade full of Halloween spirit!

Those are a few ideas I've managed to find. For some people (like myself) these ideas may not be manageable for various reasons but I still hope you can do the at-home and out and about activities that we will be doing. 

If you know of any free activities or places with free or cheap admission or want to add an at-home half term idea then please do leave me a comment below!

September at The Cupcake House

It seems strange that we've sped through another month and September feels so very long ago! I really can't remember it very well. It didn't start off great with the notice being given on our house but after some real searching, council help and a couple of weeks we got a new house in place.
Apart from the stress of properties and council appointments I need photos to remind me what we got up to! Here goes...

Before we knew it, it was back to school time which meant early alarms and saying goodbye to our lazy mornings! We had a yummy Costa a few days before we had to get back to our routine but the first day soon came around. Now I have a year 1 and a year 4, how can that be? My little ones posed in their uniform together and separately for our yearly back to school photo session in the dining room before we headed off. They have so far had a really good first term back.

Stress and the broken clothes horse//Costa date//Setting school alarms//Midge on her first day//Siblings together//Little Man posing//A little peak into our new place//Browsing the supermarket magazine//Pooch checking out the dull day view

There have been plenty of things going on at school to keep us busy and I kept myself busy too with lots of packing and freecycling. The children enjoyed Roald Dahl day where I sent them in with their own dream jars I made myself. They also made some at school but mine were definitely better haha! I visited the pet shop, not to buy any animals don't worry, I just like looking at the hamsters and we met a cool parrot who even said 'see you later' to us as we left! The weather really took a turn for the worse in September, a lot of our roads became flooded, some businesses are still closed because they've had to totally refit their shops. The Kinetic sand we received from my sister as part of our Wicked Uncle review was the perfect distraction from the rain and cold so we all spent hours on the floor of the dining room playing about.

Cookie munchies//Dream jars for school//Cute parrot in the pet shop//Dull weather and plenty of rain on the school pick up!//Chocolate,sand and a nail varnish pillow from Wicked Uncle// Kinetic sand// Lots of playing about with our new sand//I got fed up of plucking so bought facial razors. Rubbish name but at least I can get rid of hair much quicker!

I have spent a lot of time with some new friends I've made from Little A's class. It's so nice to chill out after the school run at Costa every now and then before heading home to housework and other jobs. I've tested Mustela's skincare range out on my families sensitive skin and we had fun trying our the different creams and using the bath milk! Little was really keen which was surprising given he usually hates creams! Oh yes, the new £5 notes came out. I was quite excited to get one actually although I'm not so keen on them and the novelty has worn off now!
As September drew to a close we had boxes surrounding us and were all sleeping in one room so we could clear the attic room and store boxes from upstairs in Little A's room (no big deal considering he was mostly in with me anyway!) We got our moving in date at the end of September so I started changing addresses and doing all the boring stuff early which has paid off!  

Hot chocolate and me time//New skincare products to try//The new £5 note//Lovely photo of Roo and I//Looking out at the miserable weather//Some fab stickers I found in The Card Factory//Meeting up with friends and their dog for a nice peppermint tea//A lovely random act of kindness in happy mail form from a lovely lady

Soon it'll be time for me to catch up on our October! It's going so fast this year but this is my favourite time with Halloween, my birthday and of course, Christmas! 

Cupcake Mumma

October Goals

I got this idea from Angela at Adventures in Websterland because it really seems to help her focus on the areas she most needs to focus on each month. It's great seeing what people's goals are each month no matter how big or small. Here are my goals for October:

To loose weight (no number just to have lost weight)
To enjoy our night away at the end of October in a hotel but to not waste any money
Sort out change of address and the energy suppliers- dull!
To have caught up on my snail mail
To celebrate my birthday

To sort my finances again
For the children to have at least 4 Christmas presents each put back
To have paid £20 towards Midges London trip and something towards Little A's Plymouth trip

Decorate the house for Halloween
Go trick or treating, carve pumpkins as a family and have fun
To have moved in properly

What are your goals this month?

Cupcake Mumma

Review: Skincare for the Whole Family with Mustela

Mustela have sent me some products to test out on the Mini Cupcakes and as I have sensitive skin I have also been trying them out too. I wasn't expecting 3 large products to turn up but I'm pleased because they have so far been lovely to use on all our skin which means we will be using it every day and it'll last a lot longer than a small pot or tube of cream and those bath bubbles we usually pick up with goodness knows what in it but it has Spiderman or Elsa on so it must be good and fun to use...Mustela are committed to using natural ingredients in as many of their products as they can and each product is absolutely made:

- Without alcohol.
- Without essential oils.
- Without parabens.
- Without phenoxyethanol.
- Without phthalates.
- Without plant extracts derived from genetically modified plants (GMO).
- Without aluminum chlorohydrate.
- Without ingredients derived from animal products - except hive products (honey, beeswax, etc.) -, purified lanolin-based products or milk-based products.
- Without terpenes (camphor, menthol or eucalyptus).
- Without triclosan.

Skin Diagnosis. What skincare product is best for your family?

We still have a small selection of those bubble baths and shower gels because well, the kids are right; they are cool and as nice as the bath milk is, it doesn't give the big bubbles a good squeeze of bubble bath does (especially my gorgeous chocolate orange bubble soak mmm) The bath milk is perfect for regular baths though and we use the novelty products on a weekend as they don't bother the children's skin either. 

The emollient cream has been amazing for Midge. She gets quite dry skin which she seems to have inherited from her Dad. A little goes a long way with this cream and because it isn't thick and doesn't have a strong or noticeable smell, Little A has even decided to start using it. For those who don't know, Little A has sensory processing difficulties and one of the things he struggles with is having showers, using gels, creams and anything else (only coconut oil has been allowed anywhere near him which is great because it is so good for your skin, he likes it because he smells like a Bounty bar!!) We have been using the emollient cream on A, actually I should say he has been using the cream because he applies it to his face and arms all by himself and quite willingly too. I was a bit worried about the children putting it on their faces but they don't seem to have had any problems and as this product is aimed at very young children and babies I am pleased to see on my twos delicate skin the cream has caused no problems.

Finally we tried the cleansing cream, well I tried it, the children were happy with the emollient cream and milky bath oil so I have been using this in the morning and at night on my face (again, I was concerned I may come up with some blotches because that usually happens with any cream I apply to my face as it's the most sensitive area) but I have had no problems at all. As part of my new healthy eating regime I have noticed my skin clearing up and needing a little extra help so using this cream has been a much better option than the harsher creams on sale in beauty stores I'd previously used or considered. 

I was sent these products for the purpose of this review and have found them to be of great use to my family or to myself and therefore would recommend them to others wanting a product for those with sensitive skin and especially the milky bath oil for those who have very young children and those concerned about the ingredients in supermarket bubble baths. I've looked online and found the Mustela range to be of good value for money given their size on Escentual but you can have a look at their list of online stores here. Alternatively, you can see if your nearest city has any local stores (sadly for us online is the only option which is a shame!) I haven't come across the range in any Superdrug or Boots stores unfortunately. I would like to purchase this multi-sensory bath foam for Little A, I think it would go down a treat! Mustela also do skincare products for expectant Mums too, so it's well worth a look! 

Mustela Natural Ingredients

The Last Night at Number 47...

One month ago we got given our notice to leave the house I'm now spending my last night in. The children are finally sound asleep, I've just said goodnight to Mr B and had my last ever shower in the house I've actually grown to love and even call home despite its obvious short falls and need for care I can't quite give it.

Little A was 2 years old when we arrived here, Midge was 5. That makes it feel even longer. I remember first seeing this place and being unsure because I always get anxious when moving, usually I'm paranoid about our future neighbours. We've become close to our neighbour who is sad to see us go which is nice considering I'd thought he'd be pleased to not hear my fish wife voice and the kids screaming and stamping! Apparently he's as gutted as us which is nice really.

There are things I won't miss; like the open planned downstairs which I've never been a fan of in any house, the wallpapers and old carpet on the stairs but that's very little. I'll miss the amazing view from the attic window, the noise of the rain as I relax in my bed. I'll miss the children having their own space and the big back garden.

Everything happened so fast with leaving this place. It's only now I spend my last night here reflecting on my home that I realise how much it meant to me. We had kind landlords, good neighbours, plenty of room, we could decorate and do whatever we liked and never had an inspection.

The new house is okay. I know it can't possibly feel like home until everything is inside and sorted but it doesn't feel the same this time. Sure I can picture myself happy in the kitchen and enjoying some peace in my bedroom. I'm sure the children will actually share perfectly well all in all and hopefully we can make it warm and cosy. It's the asking permission for every little thing, taking photos of a wall you want to hang a photo of your children on so the landlord can okay it first and the 3 monthly inspections that stop me feeling any homely feeling towards this new place. These things have to be done but I've never experienced them before and it feels like a huge deal to me, a private person, to have someone look around the home every 3 months to make sure you're being good...

This is all just ramblings. We will be happy and we will be okay. Inspections are normal and over and done with in minutes if you're being good tenants and there's no problems to report. I know all this, I guess I'm just a little sad tonight.

Here Little A had his first big boy bed. Midge had her room decorated the way she's always wanted it and I'll never forget the look on her face. We've had some fab birthday parties. We'd put Santa footprints all over the laminate because it was easier to clean and the children loved it. We brought Peppa to live with us here and my 2 lovely hamsters are buried in the back garden. Midge used her money to buy a big trampoline which has seen a lot of fun but sadly has to be left behind. I've locked myself out on a number of occasions and had some fun trying to get back in over the gate covered in brambles and by sticking my arm through a cat flap to unlock the back door! We've lost first teeth, had many a wonderful BBQ out the back. We've had sensory break throughs, great games of hide and seek and so much more. They are the memories of Number 47 and now we must embrace and enjoy the new house...our new home for as long as we are lucky to call it that.

Cupcake Mumma

A Slimmer Me: Something has Clicked!

I have been waiting for this day for so long. Many times I have forced myself to exercise, to be good with food and all the rest but because I was forcing myself it never lasted. The amazing body change photos on Instagram and the tighter jeans just didn't seem to make me want to get up and stick to any routine, I gave up time and time again. 

It felt hopeless...

Until I visited my GP last week and got a metaphorical slap in the face. See, I thought I was suffering with constant bloating. I felt awful and looked horrible; I had been for months. Eventually I decided to get myself checked out, thought it might be my IBS and maybe I could be recommended something to soothe my troubled tummy that I hadn't already tried. Well, ladies and gentlemen I do not have a bloated tum, it's a rather soft and erm cuddly tum I suppose which means that yes, that's right, I'm overweight. I'm 3 stone heavier than I should ideally be and the way I view myself is as 'looking like I'm 4 months pregnant but not actually up the spout at all no thank you very much..' It's a perception and not a fact.

Yep, I'm overweight and would appear to be carrying this weight mostly around my middle, I think this is a dangerous place to carry excess fat. And it is fat, I'm not saying I am fat but I am stating the obvious here. I am unhealthy and I need to change.

Did it happen that day? Did it heck! I buried myself in dairy milk chocolate, gave myself tummy cramps and felt rubbish. Then the next day I picked up. I didn't think about my food too much, I bought extra fruit in the store during the food shop and carried on my day. I liked loads of awesome food photos on Instagram and made collages for myself which are saved on my phone and in the evening I bought some clothes off of Very, including these ace workout leggings:

I feel good. Despite the stressful situation that is mostly being on my own with Mr B working a lot this week, parenting, school running, housework-ing, packing, being a mum, friend and wife I have had amazing food days so far.

My breakfasts are breakfasts I can't wait to make, I'm so looking forward to getting into my new kitchen and baking vegan treats (I'm not vegan I just want to try out cakes with some new ingredients) and I have an exercise routine in place for when the house is unpacked and I have space to do it. In the meantime I have school walks, dog walks and swimming so I'm not sat on my backside all of the time!

I had to record this moment here because it feels like a milestone, like I've turned a corner with my relationship with food and how I feel about myself. I hope anyone else struggling can relate to how hard it is to get going and I wish you luck on your journey to a healthier you; whether that's losing weight, gaining weight or making a lifestyle change which is pretty much what I feel I'm aiming for.

Cupcake Mumma

The Shogun's Queen ~ Book Review

What's it About?

It's Japan and the year is 1853. Growing up among the samurai of the Satsuma Clan, in Japan's deep south, the fiery, beautiful and headstrong Okatsu has - like all the clan's women - been encouraged to be bold, taught to wield the halberd, and to ride a horse.

But when she is just seventeen, four black ships appear. Bristling with cannon and manned by strangers who to the Japanese eyes are barbarians, their appearance threatens Japan’s very existence. And turns Okatsu’s world upside down. 
Chosen by her feudal lord, she has been given a very special role to play. Given a new name - Princess Atsu - and a new destiny, she is the only one who can save the realm. Her journey takes her to Edo Castle, a place so secret that it cannot be marked on any map. There, sequestered in the Women’s Palace - home to three thousand women, and where only one man may enter: the shogun - she seems doomed to live out her days. But beneath the palace's immaculate facade, there are whispers of murders and ghosts. It is here that Atsu must complete her mission and discover one last secret - the secret of the man whose fate is irrevocably linked to hers: the shogun himself . . .

Sounds good doesn't it? I can tell you it is, in fact, a very good book and absolutely worth a read. I often read books that I can't put down, especially historical novels because they're my favourites but it isn't often that as I read I can picture the scene in my head perfectly. From scenery to characters and even their clothing, Lesley helps paint a perfect picture in this beautiful yet dangerous novel.

I have never before read any Lesley Downer books but I will definitely be looking at reading more. I usually read books based in the Tudor era and therefore Japanese history has never been on my radar. Since reading this book I have been online and the history is incredible, it's little wonder my brother is so into Japan and knows a fair amount about it. Lesley doesn't just research and write but she has lived in Japan, she knows Japan and her books are well based and looked into which is really important to me.

Overall this book is a real 10/10 for me and I shall be passing it on to my brother to see what he thinks as well as recommending it to my book worm friends!

I was kindly supplied with a copy of The Shogun's Queen to read for the purposes of this review. I really enjoyed delving into Atsu's world while my own is so chaotic at the moment! The Shogun's Queen will be released on November 3rd 2016 and will make a fab present for Christmas for any historical novel fans!

Cupcake Mumma

Reasons to be Cheerful

It's been a little while since I wrote a post about being cheerful. The last few weeks have been pretty stressful and there has been plenty of moments where I felt so drained and done with everything. Things still popped out at me though. Lots of small things like the children having good days at school and the leaves changing colour (I love Autumn) and discovering groups online I could follow to give me healthy eating ideas which weren't dull and boring! There have been some big moments to be cheerful though..

1) We have a house! A week today we move and we're all looking forward to it! The children will be in school which will be really handy and we have plenty of offers of help which is so nice. This place is small and cosy which I hope will be better for us. The children will be sharing a room again which A is really pleased about, Midge is okay with the arrangement too. We will have a bath and a shower so I no longer have to have fights with A who hates the feel of the shower on his skin. I really hope here we can make some real family changes and be a happier and stronger family again and that I can be a happier Hannah!

2) Although getting A to do his homework is still very much a bang your head on the wall event, I am really pleased we have stuck to our routine of home, get changed and do homework as tea cooks. We use Lego to help with counting, and he has surprised me with his determination to write the red words he has to learn. He doesn't know any of them but just copying them down without a meltdown is a big success! 

3) I treated myself last night to some new clothes. I don't have the funds outright so made a Very account and bought a selection of clothes in the sale which I can pay off with no trouble at all. I'm really strict with myself when it comes to budgets. I got myself some work out leggings which are awesome and will boost me to do some exercise, even if it is just some yoga and dog walking. I also bought myself some new jeans (size 16 boo!) but I've been squeezing into size 14's for too long, I may be trying to lose weight but I must accept my size for what it is currently while I continue my journey. I also bought myself a poncho which may or may not suit me but I've always wanted and if worse comes to worse I can just wear it around the house to be comfy and warm!

4) A surprise random act of kindness. It's always lovely to open happy mail but when you don't expect something it's really wonderful!

Those are some reasons I'm smiling today, do you have any reasons you'd like to share? Please comment below or drop me a comment on my Facebook or Twitter