Our Top 10 Budget Friendly Summer Activities

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

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

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

3) Beach Fun.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Cupcake Mumma

*This post was inspired by Provident's Schools out for summer campaign. Links in this post are not paid links just recommendations of places we love to visit as a family!

Tackling my Social Anxiety and Blushing

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Cupcake Mumma

Reasons to be Cheerful: Goodbyes and Quality Time

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

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

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

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

What have you been cheerful about this week?

Cupcake Mumma

Reasons to be Cheerful

Seal Life Sanctuary: Gweek!

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

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

Mum and Dad in front of the Helford River

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

Beautiful views

Seal standing up waiting for his fishy lunch

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

In the underground spying on the penguins

Lots of Humboldt Penguins

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

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

Artwork by Midge and Little A

Midge and Little A at the Mister Maker station

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

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

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

I adore seal pup eyes!

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

Cupcake Mumma

May at the Cupcakes

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

What About Me?

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

On the Blog

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

Cupcake Mumma

Freebies and Wins ~ April & May

It's time to look back on April and May's prizes and freebies! I love collecting my freebies and I enjoy entering competitions like a lot of people. I didn't do much comping in April so I only have 1 prize to write about but May has picked up a little.

Freebies in April

I printed off a coupon to get some free Arla Lactofree milk which the children really liked. I couldn't try it as I can't have any dairy at all but I was told by the rest of the family it's a very nice brand of milk. I had a collagen food supplement sample which tasted so, so disgusting I can't even talk about it but I really liked the bottle with the nice branding!

Coffee scrub anyone? I'm not a fan of coffee but I think this is really nice, it has lots of good reviews too. I got a cream sample for massaging into joints so I thought I'd pass it on to Mum who has bad knees. I got a freebie from Nescafe and like a lot of people I was hoping for a mug but was sent a set of sticky notes instead. They're pretty cool, I'll probably split them with my Dad as he appreciates a good sticky note as well as my pen pals.

There's this lovely woman who knocks every week for me, she's a Johovas witness and I enjoy talking to her, she knows my faith and I respect hers so we just sort of chat about random things, then the leaflets which I find interesting anyway and then off she goes. She brought round this lovely plant in April, she kept it especially for me when she saw me tidying my garden recently.

April's Prizes

Only one prize to shout about from April but I thought it was a great one. I entered a Twitter photo comp over 5 days and won one of the days with a funky welly photo which scored me a £50 online spend at LoveTheSales.com. I chose a cute onesie, a new sports bra and a new Weird Fish hoody which is pretty big for me but I've made it my 'super comfy' hoody for when I feel really cold, really tired or just a bit 'meh.' 

May's Freebies

Using Buzz Feed has been a slow start for me but I had the chance to review this pot noodle. Mr B said it was very tasty and I thought it smelled pretty good so I guess that's a winner. We don't by Pot Noodles because I don't think they're good for you and are too pricey but Mr B has been known to buy the cheaper brands of similar products. We got our Family and Friends railcard through from a newspaper. Luckily it was all online so I didn't have to buy the awful paper! Lastly, some seeds to attract bees to my garden.

I received a make your own jewellery set and this is to make a bracelet. I used to make earrings so luckily have all the jewellery making tools although if you don't, it doesn't appear to matter with this easy to make piece. 

I got some sparkly earrings too in May. I haven't had earrings in a long, long time so fancied paying the post and packaging without paying for the earrings. Not a straight forward freebie, and it could have been cheaper too but I'm happy.

I also got a really nice Lancome moisturiser, It's completely different from other moisturisers, for a start it's not a cream and it's so fresh, love it. 

May's Prizes

May has been good for comping, I've just been a bit more on the ball. I am waiting on 2 items to arrive. I got an instant BBQ through Twitter which was great (SO funny. I thought I'd won an actual BBQ, or at least a resuable one but the postman brought me the little box and I saw 'instant BBQ' written on it; I had such a giggle. All those people thinking they've won a BBQ every week and they have, but it won't be what they're expecting!) We had a lovely afternoon together on that instant BBQ so I am really not disappointed!

I've won a big bouncy ball (like an exercise ball but not an exercise ball) which we'll have some fun with, a LaLaLoopsy toy, not sure which one it is, one of their new toys I suspect but I haven't heard much as of yet. I also won a lovely cushion cover which I'm told should arrive soon. I chose an elephant cover so I can wrap it up as a birthday gift for someone special. 

What freebies and wins have you got to show off this month? 

Cupcake Mumma

10 Reasons to Smile ~ May

May was quite a nice month. I got a photo through on the school app of my Little A looking all pleased with himself. I'm so happy to say that A is now officially blending 3 letter words and I'm so proud of him. Now he's started he feels more confident, I can just tell. Apparently his teacher showed all the reception staff then went around to the heads office plus various other parts of the school to share her pride of my boys progress, she's awesome!

Very proud Little Man in his phonics class

Midge has been riding her bike to school most days in May and I've been quite surprised by her confidence. She has been waiting ages for a helmet so when I finally bought one she was desperate to ride her bike to school and she's been loving it everyday.

I've had some Comping wins which I'm pleased about, I'm hoping 2 outstanding prizes turn up this month,fingers crossed! I won a huge ball from Wicked Vision which the children find hilarious to use on the trampoline and an instant BBQ which gave us our first spontaneous BBQ of the year.

We've had some lovely weather in May, there were more wet and miserable days than gorgeous basking-in-the-sun days but when the sun came out it really shone and that's been lovely. The house is warm, Midge is in shorts,my flowers are growing and bees and birds are visiting my garden again. Lovely!

I love pink flowers

Mr B has officially left his bacon factory job of 5 years and has a new job starting this week caring and supporting young adults with learning disabilities. He'll be really good at this job and I love that he has a sense of direction now too.

We enjoyed a wonderful 2 and a half hour walk which included country roads, horses, pretty houses, fields of growing corn and blooming trees, plus streams and a happy family.

Stroking horses

We visited the Seal sanctuary in Gweek which I haven't been to since I was little and didn't even live in Cornwall! It was wonderful to return and see how much it's changed. Pops and Grandma treated us to our first half term adventure and we had a great time.

A looking at fish close up

Mr B picked me up a new bike in May and I love it! I'm really nervous on the roads so want to avoid any main ones but otherwise I really enjoy cycling. The day I got it we all went on a family bike ride to a local pub where Mr B treated us to squash and crisps before collecting his well deserved trophies from football.

Mr B with his football trophies

Happy mail always makes me smile and I have had a few really lovely letters and packages land on my doormat in May. I'm really behind yet again on my snail mail but luckily I have a great group of snail mail friends who get that life gets in the way or that you just don't always feel like writing!

Pinterest is a strange thing to be happy about but I've filled my recipe folder with some great looking recipes that I've printed off, it's inspired healthy recipe ideas and given me workout routines too. I'm planning a 60th birthday party next year and it's proving very handy for inspiration.

Cupcake Mumma

Reasons to be Cheerful