Wednesday, 31 August 2016

WIN! House of Party Party Pack!

The lovely people at houseofparty.co.uk have offered readers of this here blog a fab competition to win a party pack for up to 32 people! If you're planning a birthday party for your little ones, for your big ones or even for yourself, why not enter the Rafflecopter form below and have a go at winning your choice of party pack.

Here are some of my favourites: The Shopkins theme would be number 1 theme for Midge at the moment:


Or perhaps you still have a huge Frozen fan, Finding Dory lover or a Tinkerbell fan?




Enter below and best of luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tuesday, 30 August 2016

July at The Cupcake House

July went quickly here for us. It started with a lovely trip out with the school where they had arranged a Tesco trip for their farm to fork initiative. It was a good trip out with reception, I really enjoyed it. The trip wasn't the best I've been on but it was important for the children to learn about our food produce and I was surprised how many little ones knew so much about the different fruits and veg on offer; nice one guys! 
I picked up my new glasses, one pair is nicer than the other pair but shh, don't tell Mr B, he bought them both! The black pair are my favourite and I wear them the most although still not nearly enough..oops. I re designed my blog but as you can see that didn't last very long! I love pink I really do but it felt like a good time to go back to a nice simple look that stands out a bit better. I hope you all agree?

I had a few Costa trips both alone, with friends and with my Midge on a day after school where we had to do different school pick ups for the disco night. So annoying going to and fro so I though a hot chocolate was the best idea and it's half way to school so much easier. I caught up on my snail mail (although now I'm very behind again!) and got to watch my Mini Cupcakes at their Sports Day which they both did really well at again this year.  

Roo on the bus to Tesco, My new glasses, Blog design (now old!), Snail mail, Midge at Costa, A refreshing drink at sports day, Roo at sports day, Posing with his medal, Midge and Roo looking out to sea

We had a lovely family day out in the middle of July meeting up with my parents and cousin who I hadn't seen in a long time. We walked around Porthleven taking lots of photos. It was a misty day but it was nice to walk around. Back at Mum's house Little A helped prepare a picnic tea which was lovely. My Aunt and Gran joined us so it was a real family affair. 
I did the Race for Life with my Mum bringing my Dad and the Mini Cupcakes along for moral support. We did the race 3 legged (the only ones mad enough!) and raised just under £200 which we were so, so pleased with! 

Little A at the cannons, Porthleven town hall, Roo preparing lunch, Lunch ready for devouring, Me and my medal at race for life, Mum and I at the race, Peppa looking guilty, Mr B eating pasty and being circled by a seagull! Mr B and the Mini Cupcakes

The last bit of July went really fast. It was a whirl of making and giving teacher gifts, helping in the classroom, baking and buying cakes for class parties and finding whatever was required for the different themed days that the school was doing to make the end of term as enjoyable as possible. Mr B and I got some quality time before the holidays kicked off and Little A got a brand new football kit courtesy of Daddy. He looks so cute don't you think?! 

Family photo!, Teacher gifts, Mr B and I having some us time, Roo in his new football gear, Me and Roo having a nap, Roo at his leaving ceremony, Both children on their last day, Cake I baked for Roo's class to say goodbye and thank you


Cupcake Mumma

Friday, 26 August 2016

Day Trip #4 Marazion Beach with The Family!

I am fresh from the beach (actually I'm fresh from the shower after washing all the sand out of my hair and lagging my legs in after sun) but I have had such a brilliant day I couldn't wait to write about it. The Mini Cupcakes are chilling out in the front room after a long day of fun so I thought I'd grab a couple of spare moments to record this memory.

We piled in the car with Mum and Pop this morning and headed to Marazion to meet my sister and her boyfriend. After parking up we headed to the shop for 2 much needed ice creams from Jordan's cafe and then headed to the beach to set up our beach camp for the day.

St. Michael's Mount

I didn't bring any swim gear with me such is my anxiety about swimming in the sea but when I saw it this morning, all calm with a few waves and glimmering in the sun I knew I had to go in. The leggings came off and the over sized t-shirt my Mum brought with her went on and we both waded in. I took the plunge and it was so, so good to be in that water after years of not going in. I've been so cautious about the sea and lately there have been so many tragic accidents it makes you a little nervous but I definitely learnt not to hold myself back so much with my fears. I actually said as I swam it felt good for my soul and I stick by that, I feel amazing this evening!

Midge off to the sea

Pop enjoying the view

We had a lovely picnic, enjoying Mums chocolate cake and my Jaffa cake that I made yesterday. We had yogurts and sandwiches, the usual stuff before buying some postcards and sweets then heading back into the sea to paddle with Midge and Little A. They both made a friend at the beach actually so for an hour they were digging holes and making castles while I got to lay down and relax. That's what I like about them getting older! 

A digging holes 

We stayed for hours, didn't even realise it was nearly 5pm! It was just so nice to relax, not worry about anything and everyone had a really enjoyable day.

Thursday, 25 August 2016

Gluten & Dairy Free Jaffa Cake ~ Great Bloggers Bake Off 2016


Hello Cupcakes! The Great British Bake Off is finally back! Which also means the very many GBBO obsessed bloggers, including myself, are back to try and bake along with this years contestants and share our bakes with the ever lovely Jenny who is hosting her bakes and the bloggers link up at her blog Mummy Mishaps, so do check it out!

This week we had drizzle cake, Jaffa cakes and mirror cakes. As my title suggests I really wanted to try Jaffa cakes but I wanted to make a biiiiig Jaffa cake, not little ones that my children would inhale in 3 seconds flat. So, I've decided to make a large Jaffa type cake. It's a bit wonky, it's a little thinner than I wanted but it is delicious!

Throughout this bake-along I am attempting all bakes gluten, wheat and dairy free. Fingers crossed, last year was tough so this year will be tougher!

* I'm afraid when it comes to baking I am very much a 'throw it together' type of baker. I will try my best with recipes and measurements or provide a link to a recipe I've followed (sort of!)*

Jaffa Cake Sponge
Using 3 small sandwich tins (from Poundland) I baked my 3 layers using:

6oz Vitilite dairy free spread 
6oz caster sugar
3 eggs
6oz Doves Farm self raising flour
1/2 tsp Gluten free baking powder
A splash of orange flavouring

All the ingredients are in the order I used them. Mix them well but don't over mix. Ensure there is no flour sitting at the bottom of the bowl which it likes to do. Then pop the mix into your tins which should be greased and lined to avoid any cake based disasters and cook in the oven for 15-20 mins at 180 or until your knife comes out clean when you gently insert it into the middle of the sponge.


Orange Syrup

100ml Squeezed Orange juice (sieve out the bits)
3oz caster sugar

Using a small pan, heat the juice and sugar until the sugar has dissolved. Brush the syrup over your cake layers while the cake is still warm.

Sandwich your cakes together using a delicious marmalade. I used a Tesco marmalade with no peel and spread it on really thick. I then assembled my layers together. When the cake is completely cool you are ready for the chocolate!

Chocolate Topping

Dairy free chocolate. I used 6/7 packets of Tesco's free from chocolate buttons
100ml soya milk
3tbsp Golden Syrup
2oz Vitilite dairy free spread

Put the chocolate into a bowl. In a small pan, heat the soya milk and golden syrup until the mix boils. Pour over the dairy free chocolate and leave to stand. Stir the chocolate gently until it is all melted. Stir in the Vitilite until it melts and leave to cool and thicken slightly. Some people pour the chocolate over, some people use a spoon to add it to the cake. I did a bit of both!






Wednesday, 24 August 2016

Back to School with Hartley's Jelly Pots!


The children and I were really excited to open our post from Hartley's when it arrived last week. We're taking part in their 'Back to School' campaign which is really exciting because we love, love, love jelly! Normally we buy the jelly in cubes and make a big bowl of it to share but I've never thought about putting in the children's lunchbox which is such a shame because they'd really enjoy it! There are six flavours to choose from in Hartley's jelly pot range; our favourite is raspberry but you can have strawberry, orange, tropical, apple and blackcurrant. In our box we got some strawberry jelly pots to try out plus a lunchbox and stickers for Little A to have (Midge already has a new lunchbox.)


The children gave the strawberry pots a big thumbs up (well they did have 3 in a row!) and I really liked them too, though I still prefer raspberry. I'd buy a different flavour to try next time or perhaps lots of different flavours so the children got a different pot for each day they went to school.


Here's what Midge had to say about the jelly pots:

"They were awesome and delicious! I love how they taste and strawberry is my favourite flavour. It'd be brilliant to take them to school because it would be different, usually we have the same things all the time, I'd love to see a jelly pot in my lunch box!"

I've bought Hartley jam's and jelly's for a very long time and have never been disappointed in any of their products. I love that their jelly pots have no added sugar (and that for me they are only a 10 calorie snack!) We tested the lunchbox out today and I can confirm unlike Little A's old lunchbox, the jelly fits so he's also happy with that!

Have you tried Hartley's jelly pots? Let us know what you think of them too!

Thursday, 18 August 2016

Suffering from Trauma after Bullying

That sounds extreme doesn't it? I never thought anyone could be bullied and suffer 'trauma' either some time after or, as is the case with me, years after. See, I've been seeing a wonderful therapist who is going through CBT with me, teaching me about my social anxiety, my fear of blushing and slowly taking apart the reasons why I've struggled so much over the years with these problems.

Today was a tough session. For the first time ever I sat there and spoke about what happened in school when i was a teenager. What happened in the corridors, in the classroom, on the school bus. It hurt. It really, bloody hurt. I said I had these memories, that I can remember everything and almost every time these bullies said something, who they were and where we were, what I wore and what I was doing at the time. Normally nothing to be fair, just paying attention and minding my own business, trying to get a damn education.

So through the digging and the asking of questions my therapist looked up at me. He doesn't agree these are memories. They are so much more than that. I used the word 'flashbacks' and that's when he said this isn't just bad memories, this is trauma. 

When I think of trauma I think of women who have awful births, of people who have fought wars, killed people, seen awful things in dangerous countries, of people who have come close to death in a terrible accident. Not a 26 year old woman with a good life who is a bit socially anxious and has a past, like so many people, of being bullied. 

But then I thought about it. Of course it's bloody traumatic. You're 14 years old and you're scared of going to school because you're going to be humiliated (another key word we pulled out today that has so much meaning going forward) I would spend drama lessons, English lessons, french presentations anything I felt threatened by really. locked in a girls toilet cubicles. I would pray to be invisible, or for one of the boys to get sick. I just wanted to study. I just wanted to have a laugh. I just wanted to be left alone.

Those bullies had a massive impact on my teenage years. I hated myself, I really, really did and what I live with now is the mind of a scared, anxious 14 year old girl, traumatised by being humiliated in front of classes of 29 other children, on a bus where there are no exits until you or them get off. It still sounds a bit lame to say I was 'traumatised by bullying' but how many young people have taken their lives because of bullying? How truly awful does it feel to be bullied? Bloody awful I can tell you. Some people change themselves, some people don't let the bad guys win, they keep moving forward and they don't hide away. Some people are like me, they hide and they run and they avoid. They relive those moments despite them being so, so long ago they are more than memories and they continue to make you feel bad, weak, scared, anxious and worthless. To not bother trying because why would I want to humiliate myself!?

Something I came up with today was a little chant to say to myself when I struggle to walk pass teens, when I get nervous in the street, at appointments and hopefully when I meet up with people for coffee, meetings and in the future, work:

You are 26 not 14.

I am 26 and not 14. I am a woman, a wife and a mother to two young children. I have conquered fears like spiders, literally climbed a mountain, travelled trains on my own, met people I've never met before and now call friends. I'm sure as hell going to kick the shit out of this too. It won't be easy, reliving moments of intense humiliation and self hate is horrible but I will find a way to deal with it all. I will have a life, it's been too long.

I am 26 not 14. 
I am 26 not 14.

Monday, 15 August 2016

Day Trip #3 The Man Engine in Cornwall

The Man Engine is an amazing tribute to Cornwall's mining history and I loved that I got to take the children along to see this amazing 10ft plus man engine because I really thought of him as a real work of art not just a tribute or something to go down in history for it's height and meaning, I thought it was wonderfully made.

The Man Engine came to our local town after visiting quite a few towns before ours, it was actually nice to have something like this come to us rather than missing out because I couldn't afford the travel (usually the case) 

Loaded on the lorry before being bought out to show off

We waited in the crowd for about half an hour before the choir sung Camborne Hill and other songs and there was a brief talk about why The Man Engine was built, plus a moments silence for those miners who lost their lives all those years ago. He then slowly rose up, overlooking us all. We didn't see a great view of him at first but after 15 minutes people started to leave so we walked around town to get him front facing and it was amazing!

Overlooking Camborne

The children were mesmerised by him and I was really impressed by him too. He was able to move his arms up and down, his head side to side and accepted a giant Cornish Pasty from the towns Mayor which was pretty cool. As more people left we got closer and closer until eventually we saw him slowly coming down which was cool because we could see his face and helmet and all the smaller features you miss when you're further away,

The Man Engine being collected to go onto his next town


Midge and A posing, they loved The Man Engine!

After we saw him being loaded back onto the large lorry we browsed some shops and got some lunch from one of the local bakeries. Midge wanted a sausage roll and Little A really wanted a proper pasty like 'the big robot had' so that he got (and the last one much to the grown men in the queues disappointment!!)


Midge enjoying her sausage rolls

Little A extremely pleased at getting the last pasty!

I then treated us all to a hot chocolate. We got to sit for a bit and chat about what we had seen and I got to explain a bit more about why people had built The Man Engine. I'm sure it went in one ear and out the other but at the time it was nice to discuss! We went home shortly after to relax and look through the leaflets we had picked up. I'm putting one in the book I'm making for my American pen pal, hopefully she'll think it's pretty impressive too.

Friday, 12 August 2016

Summer Day Trip #2 Plymouth

This trip was planned for a long time but Mr B and I thought leaving it as a summer holiday treat might be a really nice day out. We caught an early ish train straight to Plymouth which wasn't much fun because it was fully booked up and was a hunt the spare seat game for a while! We all got to Plymouth in a good mood and set off to explore the town, sticking to our plan of sports shops, primark, lunch and a little browse around.


I took Midge to look around a shop and met Mr B and A in a sports shop where I picked up some new colourful trainers for Midge and Mr B got some football bits, A picked up some much wanted goalie gloves and new wellies. Primark was on everyone's list and Mr B treated us all to some new clothes which were well needed! We had to go on the carousel first, naturally..

 A on the round about ride

 Blowing the paper off the straw in Mcdonalds

Midge used her spending money on this cute owl

Afterwards we went for some lunch picking the Big M for the little ones, they were happy with that choice! Midge changed into her new outfit just before we headed home (now that was a long journey, mostly in between carriages and on the floor!) we got home safely though. Going through our new stuff waited until the next day, we had a snacky dinner then all went to camp in our bedroom.

Dressed in some new gear after a good day shopping!

 Mr B and A having a funny moment

So yet another outing enjoyed by us all We don't go to Plymouth often because it's obviously not a cheap day out but every once in a while it's good fun to go as a family or sometimes just Mr B and I. Actually, we're heading back in November just Mr B and I after I won some hotel tickets so that's something to really look forward to!

Cupcake Mumma

Tuesday, 9 August 2016

Reasons to Smile ~ June and July

I'm combining the months once again *shakes fist at laptop stealing children* I like a nice big cheerful post though so I guess it's not so bad. It may be a little long but i'll be keeping the writing to a minimum! I hope you've all had a good couple of months despite the weather and can also pick out some good things from June and July. 

JUNE


We had Sports day which A got into more than I thought he would. Both tried really hard and I thought the school made it the best sports day in a long time! I got a new bike in June for an absolute bargain and couldn't be happier! I've been on some family bike rides and have been out once on my own. Mr B and I enjoyed some quality time having a breakfast, shopping and going to Costa.


I had some lovely girl time with Midge chatting and doing some nail painting and earlier in the month we took A to his ENT appointment which went really well but I have a feeling he'll be getting an appointment soon for some grommets! Midge won a prize which she was over the moon with and I won some money betting on the footie! Finally in June, I booked a CBT appointment and I have that this month plus I got to catch up with my brother on his birthday, it was nice to hear from him,


JULY


July has been a good month actually. I got some new glasses after an eye test at the end of June, they're much nicer and I feel happier in them. We were all happy with the end of school, despite the crying Midge was okay after a while and ready for the long break. Part of the saying goodbye was giving teacher gifts which I made this year and was really happy with. I'm also really pleased that both children have wonderful teachers for next year- phew!


Also in July I took part in the Race for Life with my Mum and we raised just under £200 which we are so pleased with. Doing it 3 legged wasn't the best idea but we were the only ones doing it and were proud to do it all the way. I won a hotel stay in a twitter competition and we started the summer holidays with a great day out at the cinema and a big sleepover with the cousins. Speaking of cousins, I saw one of my cousins, Steph, at my parents house which was great because it has been a very long time! I'm hoping that the whole family can come together next year for a big family birthday party.




I hope everyone has had a good couple of months and that you're all enjoying the summer holidays! It's been a bit hit and miss with some bad weather and bickering but we have had some really nice days where we've had some good fun!

Cupcake Mumma