Monday, 24 April 2017

My Favourite Acts of Kindness and Christian Aid's Big Brekkie 2017

Scrambled egg on toast next to the Big Brekkie logo
Christian Aid Big Brekkie 2017

Any long term readers of Cupcake Mumma will know I'm a huge fan of random acts of kindness, no, any kindness! I firmly believe you put good out into the world and you get that back; in some way, shape, or form, even if it's that warm and wonderful feeling of doing good, it lasts for me throughout the whole day.

I'm helping Christian Aid promote their Big Brekkie 2017 Appeal which takes place between the 14th-20th May 2017. I've not been to one or hosted one before but they sound fab! Sharing together, talking, eating good food and being happy sounds perfect to me! Here's a short video for you to take a peek at and see what it's all about:

"Sharing a meal can bring us together and help break down the barriers between us and this Christian Aid Week, it can do so much more than that. By inviting your friends, family and colleagues to a Big Brekkie fundraising breakfast, you can show love for people living in poverty and suffering injustice around the world. Help fight injustice with a Big Brekkie
Jesus' passion for justice inspired the first Christian Aid Week collectors to come together to raise money for refugees in 1957. Now you can be part of this incredible story of the church in action.

Host your very own Big Brekkie and follow in the footsteps of thousands of Christians who have made a huge impact over the last 60 years."

I wanted to also share some of my favourite acts of kindness which if you feel inspired to do any I would love to see so please do tag me on social media! 

My Favourite Random Acts of Kindness

  • Pay for someone else's parking ticket. I'm not sure you can do it now with the new digital pay and display meters but if you can, pass your ticket on if you still have a fair amount of time left on it
  • Donating to food banks is a great activity to do as a family
  • During special holidays such as Easter and Christmas many supermarkets and even banks have large donation boxes for children's hospices etc I like to add a toy at Christmas and some eggs for Easter
  • Leave books in random places with a kind note. I read some books on anxiety when I had a bad patch. When I returned one of the books I left a note inside with words of comfort and encouragement on which I know I would've loved 
  • Write a letter to someone to tell them how much they mean to you, why they are simply wonderful, especially if you know someone who is having a tough ride right now
  • Plant trees and/or flowers. Be kind to the world too! Pick up litter where you see it (as long as it's not filthy or sharp- be careful!)
  • Call up a friend or family member. Maybe Skype someone you've not seen in a long time for a catch up. When I hear from long distance friends I feel so good.

Before I separated from my husband I also liked to do random acts of kindness for him too, so if you fancy doing any of these with your partner then I hope they love it and you both get happiness from the activities. 

  • Cook you partner their favourite meal
  • Leave notes before you leave for work, or draw something onto the mirror whilst they take a hot shower
  • Run them a nice bath or a hot shower to help them unwind from a hard day 
  • Watch a movie together
  • Plan some time out together in the near future so you both have something to look forward to. Even if it's a walk and a picnic, whatever you're into.
I hope you're inspired to spread some kindness and even host a Big Brekkie to raise some money for Christian Aid and the wonderful work thet do around the world.

Cupcake Mumma

Friday, 14 April 2017

Fuzzikins Craft Dozy Dogs ~ Review

Fuzzikins Craft sent us a lovely set of little Dozy Dogs puppies to decorate! They are so cute! In the box you get 3 different sized puppies to decorate with different coloured pens and fabric to put their little beds together. There is even a cape, eye masks and stickers for your little pups!

Both the children loved decorating their dozy dogs. I made the beds because they were a little fiddly. I'm sure Midge could've made them with some more patience, especially as there are several lollipop sticks to aid the making process but never mind! We all coloured a puppy in and every one is super unique as you can see!

 Midges, Little A's and Mummy's Dozy Dogs

All tucked up in bed

Both the children gave the play set a thumbs up. Midge said it gets a 9/10 because all the dogs should've had capes, which I agree with. My only criticism is that the ink went all over our hands (you'll need some warm water and soap to get this off) as proudly shown by Midge below:

Check out the Fuzzikins Craft Facebook page!

Cupcake Mumma and The Mini Cupcakes

Thursday, 13 April 2017

I Miss....

I know my ex hasn't departed this world forever, that we will co parent and remain friends as close as is possible for both us and the children. I am grateful for this. But a huge part of my world has been taken away, things have shifted in a huge way and a piece of me has been broken. Now my best friend, the person who knows me better than anyone in this whole world and who I could trust with anything has gone. He has broken my heart, I could never talk to him or trust him like I once could because he isn't my constant anymore; maybe on paper he is my husband but in all other sense he is not. 

I am finding positives to single life, I have to. There are things I miss. Part of me misses the soaking wet shower mat every time he had a shower. 

His snoring. Which sounds weird I know.

The big cuddly hugs

Playing with his beard

Telling someone I loved them. Now it's 'take care' whenever we end a phone call

Hearing about his day

Talking to another adult

Knowing I was safe.

One day someone else will have his gentle hugs, his ridiculously loud snores. I hope that one day I get to tell someone I love them, to not feel so alone. Sometimes it doesn't matter how many friends you have around you you feel like the loneliest person in the whole world. 

Monday, 10 April 2017

Qwerkity Chocolate Teapot ~ Review

I'd never heard of Qwerkity before but I'm so glad they got in touch to ask if we'd like to review this fabulous gluten free chocolate teapot! How unique is this? So much cooler than a boring old Easter egg. This teapot makes you a couple of hot chocolates, then a delicious dipping fondue for your strawberries and marshmallows AND you can smash it and enjoy the dark chocolate for days after!

This chocolate teapot is gluten free. Although the ingredients do not list milk there is a 'may contain' for it. Because I am not allergic to milk I actually did get to enjoy the fun with the Mini Cupcakes. The teapot does contain soya though. 

Ingredients: Dark Chocolate, Cocoa mass, sugar, cocoa butter, emulsifier (soya lecithin E322), vanilla essence, Shellac E904 Dark chocolate contains minimum 58% cocoa solids.
Gluten free. Contains soya. May contain traces of milk and nuts.

I made some hot chocolate for myself and was really surprised that it worked so well. Then we dipped strawberries into the delicious chocolate sauce before breaking it up. We still have some sat in our fridge! We all gave the chocolate teapot a huge 10/10 because we'd never seen anything like it before. It worked wonderfully, it's totally unique and if you want to surprise your loved ones with a rather different Easter gift this year the chocolate teapot has been put on sale for £14.99 (RRP £23.99) You can find the direct link at the top of the post. 

Enjoy and Happy Easter!

Cupcake Mumma and The Mini Cupcakes

Sunday, 9 April 2017

A Guest Post by Elle May ~ Life with Hypermesis Gravidarum

Today I'm bringing you a guest post by the lovely Elle May who blogs at Garden of Eden. This post is a sensitive but important subject about Hypermesis Gravidarum, a potentially life threatening illness suffered by a small percentage of women in pregnancy. As someone who suffered what I would deem 'awful sickness' (but not HG) throughout both my pregnancies, I am both pleased and honored to help Elle share her story and raise awareness of this widely misunderstood condition. 


I've always been one of those girls who wanted to be a mum. When I was a little girl I had lots of dolls who were my babies and I was so excited to grow up and become a mummy. I grew up around a lot of babies because my family is so big so as I got older I had a broody feeling. My pregnancies didn't turn out to be what I thought they were, they were torture, to say the least, it sounds so dramatic but it's the truth. The reason I feel this way about my pregnancies is because I suffer from a condition called Hyperemesis Gravidarum (HG) in pregnancy. Not a lot of people understand what it is and most of the time they will say it's just normal pregnancy sickness. There is nothing normal about HG; the reason it's different to morning sickness is because it can last all day every day for months on end, it normally ends around 14 weeks in pregnant women but women who have it most severe have it all the way through their pregnancy. Can you imagine being sick all day every day that it gets so bad that the inside of your stomach lining and your throat tear so you end up throwing up blood? Women who have HG usually have to be admitted to hospital for fluids and sickness medication to help get the sickness under control, it can be hard to get fluids in us so quickly as our veins tend to disappear because we are so dehydrated and it's not very fun being poked with a cannula in different places of your body.

May 15th is Hyperemesis Gravidarum Awareness Day and I want to talk about the reality of what a lot of HG women end up doing, something I would have never thought I would do but I had to do it. My pregnancy sickness started at the 6 week mark, I was sick one morning just a little bit then the next day the sickness elevated to the point where I couldn't even keep down a single drop of water. When my partner woke up the next morning he sat down next to me in the bathroom and hugged me and that's all I really needed, he wasn't aware of how bad sickness could get for me but I had warned him before so he had some kind of idea. Over the next few weeks, I couldn't move from my bed, I couldn't even pee because there was nothing in my body to pee out. I tried my best to eat something or drink something but as soon as I put it in my mouth I would just throw up.

Pregnancy was the loneliest time in my life. I was in a bad place mentally and emotionally and I could only escape through sleeping. I had people telling me that I needed to get out of bed and move about because it will make me feel better. Unfortunately, I couldn't do that, the HG mixed with my chronic illness made the pregnancy even worse for me and my body started to go into shut down mode. I was getting more and more ill, so it was then I decided I had to terminate the pregnancy, I couldn't carry on anymore. I wanted this tiny life but it was poisoning me, I saw no other way out, none of the medication was working for me and I couldn't pull myself out of the dark place I was in. I had to have an emergency doctors appointment to see my GP for him to rush a termination through for me, it felt like months whilst I was waiting for the day of my termination to come; it sounds horrible but I breathed a sigh of relief when the day finally came, after it was all over I started to fall into another dark place, this time I had an overwhelming amount of guilt. I felt like I was an evil and selfish person for getting a termination. I still have days where I sit and cry but I try to do it so no one can hear or see me, it's thanks to the reassurance from my family and friends I'm able to deal with my feelings towards it a lot more easily.

I recently found out there is a charity that could have helped me, I had no idea about it and nor did my GP. I'm not saying I wouldn't have had the termination if I knew about them but I would have got help for my sickness sooner as I knew I suffered from this sickness to start off with. The thing is I tried to see someone for the pregnancy and I kept getting told that I can't see anyone until I'm 9 weeks along which I found really unfair considering they knew my history with my previous pregnancy, they should have seen me earlier so I could have been put on sickness tablets to help control the HG. Luckily The Pregnancy sickness support charity are there to help, I contacted them to ask where my nearest walk-in clinic is for fluids and sickness medicine, it turned out its literally 10 minutes away from me which left me very conflicted as I could have got help much earlier on than I was able to, but I don't want to keep dwelling on that fact, I want to turn it into a positive and to let other women who suffer from HG know that there is help out there. My one wish is for HG to be taken seriously and for there to be more help in place, whether that is leaflets being given out so women know what charities can help them or more walk-in clinics being available for HG mums to go to. If you're suffering from Hypermesis Gravidarum and in the UK you can get in contact with The Pregnancy Sickness Support Charity. If you're not in the UK there is another charity called HelpHer

You're not alone.

Friday, 7 April 2017

Now There's Only Three

I never thought I'd be single again. I never thought I'd have to be a single parent. I don't think anyone does. I haven't just lost my husband, who doesn't love me anymore, I've lost my best friend. We met when we were 16 and quickly went from friends to boyfriend and girlfriend. We got married only 4 years ago, which is deeply sad and shameful for me. Marriage was so important and special to me but when one side stops talking and stops being honest with you you can't fix anything. Now we're at the point where I am incredibly in love and suffering so much pain and he feels nothing for me.

In time I'm sure we will be good friends. The children are going to be okay because we will make sure they are. I will now be a single mum to my little babies and really not much will change there. As the working parent, their dad wasn't around much and as the stay at home parent I obviously took on the responsibilities of the home and children, it's when I'm poorly that things get scary but I know we just have to get on with it!

I know life throws you curve balls but this is a bloody big one. Everyday at the moment is just constant pain. I'm not writing for sympathy I'm writing because it helps. Because this is my blog and as such I always wanted to be honest and wanted to document our journey as a family. Now there's only 3 of us and in time we'll be happy and stronger again.

I do wish I could fast forward the next few months, not that I know how long it'll take to stop feeling this way. Empty, scared, sad, upset, low, anxious, angry, desperate, just a bloody rollercoaster. Thank you to all those who have been there for me. I'm all ears for advice, support etc please leave a comment if you think of anything that could help in this time. Thank you xx

Cupcake Mumma

Thursday, 6 April 2017

The Story Corner Story Cards and Colouring Pages - Review

We love books, we love stories and we love using our imagination. Midge is gradually moving onto bigger and more difficult books preferring to delve into the writers own world of fun characters and their adventures. Little A is improving every term with this reading and I try to encourage him wherever I can. As A is only 6 he's still really into imaginative play and he loves the visual aspect to stories. At school, stories are shown on projectors. He tries to tell stories by their illustrations before reading the words and we've just started using The Story Corner's story cards. We've got 2 sets of these cards both wonderfully illustrated and packaged safely in attractive boxes for safe keeping. Midge used one set and found it all quite fun. I sent this set to year 1 which is the year Little A is in. His teacher thought they were great and would come in really useful.

Little A found it a little harder to get the idea but as I made up names and told my story he soon joined in. He used the space story cards to tell the story of a girl called Dora who went to space with her bunny friend to eat sandwiches and zap aliens who tried to steal her!

We also had some great fun colouring in one of two big nursery rhyme posters from The Story Corner. I actually had a huge amount of fun with this activity. We haven't finished our fairy tale poster yet but I will show you our nursery rhymes one below. We had great fun trying to figure all the rhymes, then singing them over and over again. Little A really tried hard to stay in the lines and I was pleased he was taking so much care with it because that shows how much he's grown up! He's normally one to just scribble and walk off but because his sister and I were involved and visibly enjoying ourselves he was up for the fun too! We were all really pleased with how these came out.

I had a look at The Story Corners website and have recommend them to my children's school. I volunteer in reception and the class teacher thinks the story cards are fabulous! We were sat one day with some children and I told her how we had been discussing space a lot when she said about making a space themed corner! I said I'd bring in some cards to show her and since then I've shown the children the cards who really like them! Initially they struggled to grasp the concept but with a little modelling they had fun making up similar space themed stories as my Little A did at home.

I think both activities are really fun ideas for home especially for chill out time. I also thought home school parents would enjoy the cards. I really love the story stones which yet again look wonderful with delicate illustrations. The Story Corner kindly sent me some story cards and colouring sheets for this review and I've loved discovering both mine and the children's imagination and creativity all over again.

Cupcake Mumma

Thursday, 23 March 2017

Where the Wild Cherries Grow ~ Book Review

Today I bring you a beautiful novel written by Laura Madeleine.

The Blurb:

It is 1919 and the end of the war has not brought peace for Emeline Vane. Lost in grief, she is suddenly alone at the heart of a depleted family. She can no longer cope. And as everything seems to be slipping beyond her control, in a moment of desperation, she boards a train and runs away.Fifty years later, a young solicitor on his first case finds Emeline’s diary. What Bill Perch finds in the tattered pages of neat script goes against everything he has been told. He begins to trace an anguished story of love and betrayal that will send him on a journey to discover the truth.

I closed my eyes as I tried to pick apart every flavour, because nothing had ever tasted so good before. It was love and it could not be hidden. 

What really happened to Emeline all those years ago?

My Thoughts

Where the Cherries Grow is a wonderfully heart warming book from start to finish. We go through 3 parts and flip between 1919 where we read about Emeline and 1969 to read about Bill who is tasked with tracking down Emeline as part of his job as a solicitor.

We are taken through beautiful scenery, delicious dishes, sorrow, love, betrayal, loss and so much more. I think it's impossible to read to this book and not be emerged deeply into Emeline's surroundings and not get hooked on Bills' journey to find the long lost Emeline. Will he find her after all these years?

An absolute must read for 2017. Today is the ebook launch of Where the Wild Cherries Grow and you can download that on Amazon. If you are a paperback fan then you'll have to wait a little longer for publishing on 15th June 2017 but I promise you, it is more than worth the wait.

Follow the blog tour!

Cupcake Mumma

Tuesday, 21 March 2017

I'M WRECKED, THIS IS MY JOURNAL ~ An Alternative Baby Record Book Review

Hello all, I've got a great book for you all today. Have a peek at this alternative baby record book by Shannon Cullen which I was kindly sent to review by Michael O'Mara Books, thanks guys!

About the book:

Entertaining, honest and occasionally messy, I’m Wrecked, This Is My Journal is packed full of lists, quotations, doodles and more. Ideal for all frazzled new parents, this is the perfect companion for all those odd thoughts, bizarre expectations and the real-life experiences of being a parent during the roller-coaster first year with your baby. Whether you’re looking for gin in the word search or playing parenting bingo, this frank, witty book will raise a smile as you embark on the extraordinary – and often chaotic – journey into parenthood.

What Did I Think?

If you're a fan of Wreck This Journal then this book will be right up your street. You'll also enjoy it if you enjoy doodling, colouring and have a sense of humor! You honestly don't need to be a new parent either! Obviously it helps with some bits of the book but mostly it's humorous record keeping of being a parent to your little...erm cherubs! I have a 9 and 6 year old and have had GREAT fun looking through the book and have filled in most of it already!

My take on a welcome to parenting card!
A taster of what you'll find in the book from Amazon

I'm Wrecked, This Is My Journal is now available to buy from Amazon priced currently at £6.99, a fantastic book to buy for new parents or keep for yourself. I personally think I could fill mine and pass it on so a friend or relative knows what they're in for! Move over Gina Ford, here's how it really goes down!

Cupcake Mumma

Thursday, 16 March 2017

My Mothers Day Wishlist!

In this house we love spoiling each other throughout the year. The only day we don't celebrate in some way really is Valentine's Day. I like it but Mr B isn't a fan so we meet each other half way! What we do celebrate is Mothers and Father's Day.

My children always make something lovingly at school which I adore and I always get 2 lovely cards and a gift from each of them which makes me feel very special. They love giving gifts so below I've written some of the items I'd love to open on Mother's Day (that's 26th March guys!)

  • A small packet of Booja Booja chocolates. Expensive but delicious, I'd go for the Hazelnut Crunch flavour please! If not for Mothers Day then keep them on the list for Easter!
  • A new pair of jeggings. Mine cost less than a tenner and I am in need of some! Only one store in my town sells the comfiest jeggings and I fit a 14 in their store (every other store makes me feel like an elephant!)
  • I could happily settle for a new book please. I love to read Philippa Gregory and there is plenty of room on my bookshelf for more of her work!
  • I'd love another superdry hoody. I know that's pricey but you can get a bargain online and I'd love another one, I wear my blue one loads so it would be good to change around!
  • Bright flowers! I love flowers but rarely buy them for myself, so a lovely bunch of flowers would do nicely.

If I'm lucky I may well get something off of my little wishlist but of course, waking up in the morning having breakfast with my 2 precious little ones and seeing what they made me at school is really all I need...So Mr B can spoil me instead haha!!

Cupcake Mumma

Thursday, 9 March 2017

Day 2 of The 7 Day Self Care Challenge - Removing the Mask

Sometimes when I walk around town, or do the school run and I say "Hey you alright," "Mornin'", and people smile, wave or reply with a "Great thanks!" I wonder if they really are okay?
I know that sometimes I smile and chit chat when inside I cannot wait to go home and curl up under some covers and hibernate. How many people feel the same? How many people are struggling inside but have a wonderfully made up, well practised face?

Day 2 of the 7 day Self Care Challenge is all about removing masks. I think we could all be a little more sympathetic to each other you know? We all have tough times and so many of us could help each other out if we were more honest. The other day a friend was obviously struggling, she couldn't keep that mask on much longer. Finally I learnt that several friends were finding things tough and as a friend, I can now do whatever I can to make them happier, to offer comfort and support or whatever they need. A simple donation of mushrooms and carrots that were weighing down my bag made a difference to one lady who couldn't buy any fresh vegetables for another week.

We all seem very well versed in mask wearing but let's remember, masks slip.

Today's reflection questions:

1) Are you wearing a mask for the sake of others or for self-preservation? If so, what is it?

I think on days I feel low, especially very low, I most certainly do wear a mask. It's so much easier to pretend you're okay instead of being honest and admitting you just don't feel great, easier than having to admit you feel really sad and you have no idea why.
Some days I wear a very real mask. My sister found some wonderful foundation for me to use to help lessen my pink cheeks which easily become red cheeks thanks to my excessive blushing! I don't wear it every day because I feel that I'm letting it win, and by 'it' I mean the thoughts of being ugly,a fool, weird etc I've fought too hard to try to accept myself for who I am and what my body does so I'm very conscious of not relying on this make up all the time to hide myself.

2) This week, identify one struggle. Maybe it’s a past hurt, bad theology that damaged your view of God, or something else. Name it.

Anxiety is my one struggle. It seriously grips me.

3) This entire journal is about learning to take off the mask. How will you be kind to yourself as you consider changing your life?

I will tell myself more often that I deserve to be happy and to love myself. To accept we all have bad days, some more than most and it's okay to be honest. If I don't want to be honest with others at least I will be honest with myself and treat myself with kindness.

Cupcake Mumma

Edit* I'm now on day 5 of the challenge and I feel like I'm doing really well. You'll notice these days missing from the blog and in all honestly as part of my own Self Care I'm keeping these days to myself and writing privately. Xx

Tuesday, 7 March 2017

7 Days of Self Care Challenge

I came across Steve Austins blog via twitter and found the Self Care Challenge on his blog (click here to read Steves blog Grace Is Messy)I've blogged about self care and why it's so important before. It's really important to me and I feel strongly that it should be more important to others too.
I'm really looking forward to starting this challenge. I signed up a day ago and had the first email today. First of all, I want to share what I did today to care for myself.

1) I spent one on one time with my husband. Good for both of us of course but also very good for me, I'm incredibly happy when it's just us having lunch together. Today marks 10 years for us as a couple which is wonderful!

2) I had a lovely hot shower which I do like to do every day after dinner to help me relax for the evening

3) I had a hot drink with friends which turned into spending all morning with them talking, laughing, catching up, getting out the house and so on.

Next are my reflections for the day which came through in the email this morning:

Self-Care Reflections:

1. What is one thing you could quit today to give yourself some space to breathe?

To push away negative thoughts and replace them with positive ones. I understand that all I really want from life is to be happy, to have a healthy and happy family and to have enough money to live comfortably with some extra to take the children away for proper family holidays, something we can't currently do. I have realised that things I thought I really wanted to do are absolutely not for me so I have dropped one venture and one I will continue on but only because I want to get joy from it, not because I want to make it my career one day. Being on the other side is a real eye opener!
I often feel like I am a square peg and I'm trying to fit into everyone else's ideals, but these ideals are small and round, I will never fit that.

2. What activities feed your soul? Write them out.

Making cards
Writing to pen pals
Long hot showers
Sitting in coffee shops with or without friends, a book or paper to hand
Being in nature

3. Do you begin and end your day with self-care? If not, what is one concrete step you can take toward that goal?

No not really. I find it hard to get up because I'm so tired and the children are my priority. This will be my change for this week and of course the change as I move forward. I will eat a decent breakfast to nourish me for the morning and then focus on the children. I will turn my screens off earlier so I do not find it so hard to switch off at bedtime and thus I will hopefully find waking up easier.

If you'd like to take part in this challenge then please do use the links above to check out Steve's blog and sign up. I'm really looking forward to getting back in touch with myself and looking after me again.

Cupcake Mumma

Monday, 6 March 2017

Creating Sand Art with KidsBeeHappy

Last month Maddi who sells fab Sand Art kits from KidsBeeHappy on her Facebook page sent Little A a sand art kit. We have used these before and had such a lot of fun we both jumped at the chance to have another go. When he opened the packet he was so pleased to see a fun snake to colour in with the different colours of sand; needless to say, when we did eventually get around to doing this craft he didn't waste any time!

He let his sister Midge and I help him too, we all had fun choosing which part of the snake would be what colour. They even came up with the idea of pouring the sand out together and mixing it up using the small yellow tool that came with the pack. This resulted in some lovely colours blending together, they were rather pleased with themselves!

I'd highly recommend this craft. It's simple, easy and as long as you have a spot to tap off the excess sand it isn't really a messy activity plus anyone can do it! Fun for all ages! I've been told to buy some in the very near future, I think we'll be choosing one each!

Sand Art packs priced from £4.00 including VAT

Sunday, 5 March 2017

February at The Cupcakes!

At the start of February our little pooch Peppa went in for an operation to remove some lumps on her stomach. Everything went well and the lumps were nothing to be worried about. The only thing that wasn't so healthy was the old bank balance! I've been visiting my Gran and Aunt every week for a while now, one week I went at the weekend with Midge and A to visit their Great Aunt and Uncle. It was a lovely day, we all caught up and ate some picky foods.

My Uncle passed away last month and it was tough for many of us. I traveled to Portsmouth with  Mum and Dad. We met my sister there and stayed with our grandparents for the night. Although sad, the ceremony was lovely. On the way home Dad treated us to a breakfast at a Little Chef which I haven't had in many years!

Peppa all better//Little A with his Great Uncle//Card I made for my grandparents//Uncle M's rose//My cousins boyfriend holding the beautiful flowers at the end of the funeral//Breakfast at Little Chef//Costa in the afternoon!

Little A turned six! We celebrated by going to Paradise Park a few days before. They spent 2 hours in the play area and then we enjoyed looking at the animals and riding on the little train. I loved the owls, I think I must have missed them when I last visited. I was sad we didn't see the red pandas but they don't come out too much, I think they have young. Such a beautiful day was had and you can read all about it by clicking the link at the bottom of this post.

We also visited Grandma and Pop's house on A's birthday to unwrap gifts and have a big family roast.

Flamingos and owls at Paradise Park//Penguins sunbathing//A on the tractor//Midge and I//A on the train//Mr B and Midge recreating an old image

 Baby A//Blowing out his candles//Opening gifts//A cut his own cake with hilarious results!//Big smiles from Little Man//Birthday cake//Kindle book The House of Screaming Skulls//Book review all wrapped up so pretty

 I got to bake a fair bit in February, pancakes featured heavily too! I spent a lot more time reading books and since signing up to a book reviewing site I've had to learn to embrace Kindle reading! I've really enjoyed reading more, I hope I can keep it up through March.

I hope you all had a lovely February. Do check out my posts from February which are all linked below! Here's to March and some Spring weather I hope!!

Cupcake Mumma

Thursday, 2 March 2017

Using Bidvine to Help Locate Local Businuess

This year we are all super excited to be heading back to Cambridge in June to see family and have a good old party. I'm also excited to be seeing a good friend. I've been planning everything: how to get there, mentally making a list of all the clothes I should pack, wondering how much spending money I may need (not a lot), planning where to sleep and of course, the most important, the food. I forgot one thing however...I have a dog!!

I completely forgot that I need to organise some proper care for my lovely pooch Peppa and she's a special dog who needs a special place. Normally she would stay with a family member but this year that's not possible (they now have a very little dog and my dog isn't friends with little dogs!) I was pleased to receive an email from Bidvine, a company that allows you to search for exactly what you need using your postcode and sends out your request to their registered users who then get in contact with you using Bidvine offering their services.

I've not heard of Bidvine before so I thought I'd give it a whirl. I typed in 'Pet Boarding' and my postcode into the search bar. I then had to answer a few questions to help determine exactly what I needed. For example, how long my dog would need boarding, any special requirements, date of stay to and from and you can search for people to come to you or select a mileage you are happy to travel in order to drop off and collect your pet. 

This process is really easy and super quick. Your request gets submitted and if there are any people who are available and suitable they are made aware of your request and can submit their business to you which you can choose to accept or not. Sounds really simple!

Hopefully Peppa will be happy whilst we are away although I'm sure we'll miss each other lots. We have plenty of time to visit the kennels and make sure we are happy with them. 

Cupcake Mumma

Tuesday, 28 February 2017

Enjoy Gluten & Dairy Free Pancakes AND Vegan Pancakes on Pancake Day!

When you're new to eating free from foods, regardless of which ones you have to avoid, the holiday season and special occasions become a bit of a depressing thought. You think you can't possibly eat an Easter egg or enjoy a fat slice of Christmas cake and pancakes!? How do I enjoy them on a free from diet! Well you absolutely can!

Below I have written up a couple of recipes. One recipe is for gluten and dairy free pancakes and the other recipe is for gluten free and vegan pancakes so if you are also egg free there will be no missing out on Shrove Tuesday for you either!

*please note that if you are allergic to soya then you can substitute this for any other milk such as almond, rice or coconut. *

If cooking really isn't your thing but you still want to enjoy some free from action, I recommend a packet of small pancakes from Tesco which I sometimes buy for a snack. Or if you're in a rush, pick up a ready to mix packet. *Both these contain eggs and soya.*

Cupcake Mumma

Saturday, 25 February 2017

One Little Mistake by Emma Curtis: Book Review

The Blurb


Vicky Seagrave is blessed: three beautiful children, a successful, doting husband, great friends and a job she loves. She should be perfectly happy.
When she makes a split-second decision that risks everything she holds dear, there's only person she trusts enough to turn to.
But Vicky is about to learn that one mistake is all it takes; that if you're careless with those you love, you don't deserve to keep them . . .

My Thoughts
Not my usual book to pick up but always up for a challenge I opened up my review copy of One Little Mistake

Slow to start I wondered if this story would be another girly housewives terrible affair gone wrong with something a bit edgy thrown in. I was wrong. Gladly wrong. By chapter 6/7, so not that far in, I wanted to find out where this book was going. It was obvious to me at least one character was linked to the beginning and continuing chapters throughout the book where you visit their past. A pretty dark and troubled past. Throughout the book I was kept guessing until Curtis allows you to click every piece together leading you to that rare 'I can not and will not put this book down until I see how it ends' moment.

I found myself constantly between feelings for the main characters Amber, Tom and Vicky. I was frustrated, irritated and even felt sympathy for each one. The one character you expect not much from is Maggie, Vicky's mother. She has an interesting past, especially where men are concerned; but her story is so much more and what starts as a minor character you pay little attention to, slowly becomes a more interesting and important character.

Overall, One Little Mistake is one good book I'd recommend. If you're into more gritty psychological novels this could be a little tame but I'd still give it a go. For me it was just perfect. Don't get me wrong, there's plenty of twists and turns, there's manipulation, there's blood and heart in your mouth moments but it's not too over the top (I can't read crime novels for example, there's too much detailed violence for my liking) Emma Curtis does a wonderful job with each character, I still don't know how I feel about main character Amber but I think I feel more towards her than one would expect and dislike Maggie more than I thought I would which is a total reverse on how I started the book.

Read One little mistake (which you can purchase as an e-book from Amazon here and as paperback from 15th June 2017) and let me know what you think. One things for sure, I'm pretty paranoid about the things my best friend knows about me now!

Cupcake Mumma

About The Author
Emma Curtis was born in Brighton and brought up in London. Her fascination with the darker side of domestic life inspired her to write One Little Mistake, her first psychological suspense. She has two children and lives in Richmond with her husband.

Find her on Twitter: @emmacurtisbooks

With thanks to Rosie Margesson for providing a copy of One Little Mistake for this review. Make sure you check out the rest of the book tour!

Thursday, 23 February 2017

Little Man ~ Now You're Six

Sometimes it feels like only yesterday when I think about the day you were born. How you were brought to the surface of the water, my own hands gently guiding you to air. My little boy.

Newborn baby A
Newborn Baby A

You've grown so much in this last year my Little Man. Your speech has just come from no where (actually it's taken the school and your lovely speech therapist a while but you've done so well) I find you as feisty and stubborn as ever. Sometimes I wonder if there's something else to you. I can't quite explain it but sometimes, Little Man you persist where many give up. You question things over and over, I am always afraid to upset you. You remember things that hurt you, upset you or made you sad long after they've happened and we have the same conversations over and over again. You are oblivious to how annoying this can be! I don't know if that's what every other boy does. I know how different we all are.

I enjoy your energy and your curiosity. Your love of animals and babies is wonderful and you make so many people laugh. At school the teachers fall for you, you have nice friends but you let others get away with far too much; all because you are afraid of getting told off (which you hate.)

Tractor boy on the farm
On the red tractor at Paradise Park

Now you're six, little man. I can't lie, I'm glad you're a little older because now we can talk to each other. Now I understand you, what you want, need and feel and there was a long time when you were distressed, sad and very angry and I was lost, stressed and frustrated but now mostly that is gone. You frustrate me in many ways but still I wouldn't trade it for the early days.

Right now, you are getting into football, you are a Mums boy very much. You love penguins and Lego, The Avengers are your favourite toys. You enjoy books but love your tablet with all its silly games. It's difficult to get you off that thing sometimes! You are a kind boy, but very much a little lad too with a wicked sense of humor. Your Dads' humor I would say. Oh and you hate bedtime...It's 9.45pm, you are wide awake messing about, asking questions, up and down the stairs getting a yogurt, a drink, complaining about school, playing with your toy and demanding kisses and hugs..This is you, at six.

I love you my Little A.
Mummy xx

Saturday, 18 February 2017

Recent Reads

I'm really into my books again this year and I wanted to share with you all my most recent reads! The first book I read was The Taming of the Queen by Philippa Gregory and it was such a good read. Jocelyn from The Reading Residence (pen pal and friend) recommended it a long time ago and I finally managed to get a copy for Christmas. I adore my Tudor history novels and really loved reading this one based on Katherine Parr's marriage and life with Henry VIII. She would be the last wife of a sick, dying yet still terrifyingly quick tempered King who nobody dare cross. You sense a real danger for Katherine and almost can't believe she made it where all others didn't. King Henry must have been a very difficult man when he was young and fit but when he was ill, lame and massively overweight he couldn't do anything and I have a new interest in reading more about Katherine. She comes across not only in this novel, but also in the history I've read up her like a truly grand woman. There was so much more to her than just being King Henry VIII's sixth and last wife.

The Second book I read was my review copy of One Little Mistake by Emma Collins which has now been released. I initially wasn't sure about the book because I thought it might be a bit of a chick lit read with some drama chucked in; I know it's a psychological thriller but in all honesty it's been so long since I read one I forgot what to expect! I couldn't put it down by chapter 6/7 because I got hooked on the story line and by the end all my initial feelings for characters were completely changed. I felt it was a really good read and I would recommend it to a fellow bookworm to try. Look out for my post which goes live on February 25th.

I read The Princess Diarist by Carrie Fisher (mostly because I'm nosey and I enjoy these books based on people's real lives.) I was sad when she died but not because of Star Wars but because of how open she was about mental health issues and because she was a great writer and most importantly because as a woman, she was strong, powerful and took no shit. She took a lot of shit as a young actress though but seemed to go with it! It's fascinating to read behind the scenes of Star Wars and the thoughts of a young actress but I didn't like her actual diary pages. Some felt irrelevant (but obviously weren't to her) others just made me cringe as if I was re reading my 14 year old self in my own diary (which got tossed in the bin years ago!) I did enjoy the book though but I won't need to re read it ever again.

Finally, I read The Girl On The Train. There can be no better testimony than this: I opened the book at 9.00pm and I couldn't stop reading. I finished the book at 2.00am the following morning!! It was really bloody good. I watched the film a few days later and I liked that too however I (unsurprisingly) preferred the book. I'm going to send a copy to my sister when I get hold of one because I feel she'd like it. I think most people have read this book but if you haven't you must!

Cupcake Mumma


Friday, 17 February 2017

Paradise Park Cornwall ~ Birthday Treat Part 1!

Hi Cupcakes!

Yesterday we commenced phase 1 of Little A's birthday (which is in 2 days time...6 eek!) We decided to go to a place we have been many a time and is a favourite attraction of ours in Cornwall: Paradise Park!

We have celebrated at least 4 birthdays here in different years, the children just don't seem to tire of it! I actually really love visiting too. We were going by A's plan this time as he is much older than the last time we visited as a family and it was his treat after all. He wanted to play in the Jungle Barn before doing anything else. Normally we make a big thing of doing things in such an order but do you know what? Why do we!? The children must have spent 2 hours in the Jungle Barn then were more than happy to go and look at the animals. They enjoyed it more because they did things their way and I am going to take this approach again in the future!

Midge went around following the fairy and pirate treasure hunt and she enjoyed it. I'm usually the one doing it as we go around because they're more interested in rushing around to get to the play area! Here are some photos I took of just a selection of the parks beautiful birds:

Flamingos Paradise Park
Flamingos. Their colour is simply beautiful

Owls paradise park
Northern White Faced Owls So fluffy and cute but they'll nip ya!

Macaw Paradise Park
Buffon's Macaw. He was so, so beautiful

Red Squirrel Paradise Park
Red Squirrel 

We looked at all the different birds, the owls were a big hit this year even with me. We saw the red pandas who were hiding away ignoring people (I don't blame them) and then we went to the farm area where we hung out on the play equipment, stroked a giant rabbit and said hello to the sheep.

A on the Tractor!

Oh yes...We found some dinosaurs again!

After lunch which was a nice little picnic from home and a few treats from the shop, we hopped aboard the little train that runs round part of the park. It takes you around twice and only cost us £1 each. I got a few nice snaps as we went around:

We had such a lovely day. Midge said she loved the whole park and couldn't possibly pick a favourite part. Little A loved the Jungle Barn, the train and posing with the dinosaurs and I loved chilling out with my children, taking photos of some truly wonderful birds and seeing a flamingo egg! Mr B was feeling rotten but didn't let that spoil his fun either. He enjoyed the train that took us around and watching the Mini Cupcakes run around the Jungle Barn.

Right now I'm preparing an Iron Man themed party so be sure to come back and find out how much fun preparing and hosting a party for 10 children was!

Cupcake Mumma