Wednesday, 28 June 2017

The Vegan Burd ~ Delicious Vegan Chocolates

I have to share this with you all. I came across a post online a while ago and checked out Adele's Etsy store to view her selection of chocolates. The Vegan Burd has really made a hit with these chocolates which have been so popular my delivery was put back by a few weeks! Adele kept in constant contact using Etsy messaging which comes directly to my e-mail and even refunded a percentage of my original bill. 

There are a range of these yummy chocolates but the ones I chose were Snackurz:




So deliciously peanutty! The chocolate was just the right thickness, the filling was pure peanut heaven even the bits in (who wants smooth peanut butter? Seriously...) It was melt in the mouth delicious and I wish I had bought 2!

I then tried Rollaz:

I was slightly disappointed with the Rollaz. I thought the inside of the chocolates would have a bit more caramel but it was quite thick with the raw ingredients. I think I would've preferred a sweeter filling. Having said that, I know people who have loved this vegan take on Rolos! I personally would purchase another Snackurz or my favourite one below...



Ahh my favourite! The Yer BoundTae. One word: LUSH. The chocolate is the same thickness as the other bars of the same shape and size. The inside is so, so good. It's not all squashed and squeezed together but has delicious bits of desiccated coconut which just falls in to your mouth (and a little on your lap but who's judging?)  This would be my number one.



Adele is currently catching up on orders so you'll notice her Etsy isn't stocked up at the moment. However, keep up to date with her on her Facebook page The Vegan Burd and on Twitter @veganburd

*I bought these products using my own money and have not been asked to review any of the products featured within this post.

Monday, 26 June 2017

The Cupcakes Go to Cambridge ~ Beyond The Ice House 2017


Every 2 years we venture up to Cambridge to visit family and listen to local music at Beyond The Ice House on my Aunt and Uncles land. We meet up with cousins from Cambridge and Portsmouth plus Grandparents, several aunts and uncles and a lot of friends of the family including a real friendly bunch from Mount Dora, America, who were camped out in the meadow we were in.

The Mount Dora Crew

The ice house is an invite only event my Aunt and Uncle run every couple of years. There are drinks, live music, loads of food based on the bring and share theme plus laughter, games and plenty of people to chat to. The main aim of this event is not just about having a good time but raising money for Camfed, a charity that works to educate girls and support young women in rural communities in Africa. My Uncle worked in Zambia years ago and saw first hand the lack of education for girls. Ever since then Beyond The Ice House has raised money for the charity. The total I've just seen for this year is £6550.15 which is AMAZING

The Holiday

As usual we had ourselves a little caravan, it was difficult to be here given this was our first holiday as a single parent family. The kids took a day to adjust too. By Saturday we were all much happier. We had bacon in the field in the morning, then went in to Cambridge (that was a near disaster, thankfully my friend rescued me!) we managed to catch up a bit whilst the children played but didn't spend nearly enough time together so have decided to do a girls day out somewhere in the near future!

When we got back it was pool time which is probably the highlight for all the children. Mr K met us at the house too which was so wonderful. We all got to chill out together with the children getting to know him a little before going back to swimming. We listened to some local bands and some American groups (including those folks from Mount Dora who got people in the spirit!)


Here are some photos from the holiday:
With thanks to my sister 






 I asked the children what their favourite bits of the holiday were:

Midge: "My very favourite part of the holiday was having loads of fun in the swimming pool, especially when I swam on my own! I loved seeing all my cousins so much"

Little A: " I liked the swimming pool and eating 'macon' (bacon) in the morning."

A successful event and a successful first solo parenting holiday for me!

Cupcake Mumma

Saturday, 24 June 2017

My Sunday Photo ~ Orange


This beautiful orange flower is from one of the school flower beds. I think after helping Mr K raise awareness of FSH Muscular Dystrophy this week, it's the perfect photo to end the week on (orange is the colour of MD charities)

Photalife

Cupcake Mumma

Thursday, 22 June 2017

Recently Read ~ Watership Down



I remember watching some Watership Down when I was  child. I was pretty traumatised to be honest. The animation was scary, the fight scenes were gory and it's safe to say I was far too delicate to be watching something like that given I was surrounded by rabbits, fish, guinea pigs, ducks, horses, cats and dogs. I didn't really want to see all of that on the television. I was never given a copy nor had the book read to me and never thought about it until a month ago when a copy turned up in the post from my boyfriend who adores the book.

The book was nothing like I imagined. It's certainly not a children's book which is what many people said to me. In fact, it's nothing like the animation at all. Of course it's detailed and your imagination doesn't need much encouragement to imagine the well detailed scenes throughout the chapters but as I read the book I didn't see big shaggy bunnies with red eyes, I felt a connection to the characters and pictured actual rabbits making their way across dangerous lands, fighting, helping each other and so much more.

I massively identified with Pipkin. So loyal and kind and quiet but a bright bunny who has plenty to say when asked. I feel like that's me. I loved the change in the characters from the start to the finish. I love how you could easily give these characters different names and a human form and you'd be reading the same book. It teaches us so much about society, about loyalty, faith, death, will power, courage.

Have you read the book? A lot of people have told me they haven't because of the animation but the book is amazingly well written and you can't put it down, there's so much action, you're on edge more and more as the novel goes on.

Who knew bunnies could make you feel so strongly about, well, anything! They're so not silly little fluffy things I know that much now!

Monday, 19 June 2017

Raising Awareness for World FSHD Day with Orange Sliced Smiles




Tomorrow is World FSHD Day. FSHD (Facioscapulohumeral muscular dystrophy) is a chronic and progressive illness I had never heard of until Martyn from Inside Martyns Thoughts started blogging about it over the years. Now FSHD is a part of my life because quite wonderfully, Martyn is now a part of mine.
When I first met Martyn I didn't notice anything different about him. He was sat in his car and then I realised his car had been specially adapted so he didn't have to use his feet to accelerate or break. When we arrived at our hotel Martyn got out of his car, he walked around and I saw how he had to stand, move, sit and I got an insight into how disability un-friendly the outside world can be - slopes, lose stones, pebbles - nightmare!

I wasn't shocked by Martyns' disability; it doesn't bother me. Do I need to adjust to some things? Of course! We both know that's to be expected but it's not a problem. One thing I do know is that FSHD is a cruel and progressive illness and it's hard to watch someone you care about very much be in constant pain, stared at and limited. I haven't seen the full extent of FSHD but I know I will. Please have a read of Martyn's posts about his Muscular Dystrophy:


Here are some facts about FSHD:

  • Between 2,000-2,500 people in the UK have FSHD. Several generations of a family are often affected by the condition.  It can be diagnosed at any age and can vary widely between individuals, even within the same family. One-third of those with the condition are unaware of the symptoms right into old age.
  • The earlier the muscle weakness appears, the more severe it is likely to become. Between 10-20 percent of people with the condition eventually require a wheelchair. It affects the muscles of the eyes and mouth, including the ability to smile.
  • FSHD is caused by a genetic mutation which causes a toxic protein to be produced in the muscle, killing the muscle cells. There is currently no treatment available targeting the underlying genetic causes of FSH. Muscular Dystrophy UK is funding research investigating the mechanisms leading to FSHD.

To help raise awareness I'm joining in with The FSH Society's #WorldFSHDDAY and sharing some orange slice smiles! Orange is the Muscular Dystrophy colour and Martyn and I would LOVE to see your sliced orange smiles on all social media platforms. Please don't forget to use the tag #WorldFSHDDay so we can find and share your fantastic photos too and thank you for your support. Don't forget to get friends and family involved too!



If you wish to read more on FSHD, get help for a loved one or donate, then please check out the links below:


Donating pages

Thank you so much for your support!

Saturday, 17 June 2017

My Sunday Photo - From Above


This photo is one my Mum took from the air during a day trip out. She's heading off to Italy in September so I guess she figured that hopping in a little plane would get her used to things again! I love the colour of the sky, the clouds and hoe much countryside Cornwall still has despite all the new developments.

Photalife

Friday, 16 June 2017

Time for Myself

On Thursday I ventured out with 2 of my close friends to Truro for time on my own, well time on my own with good company!


I'm not hugely fond of places with lots of people but equally I can cope and I always love coming to see the Cathedral. I usually go in whenever I'm visiting but I didn't on this occasion. I still made my friends wait while I took photos of bunting and the beautiful building.


We visited Pennyworths Sweet Shop which is next to the Cathedral and full of goodies. I didn't purchase anything because I only had my card on me but next time I know I can take the little ones there and bring some pennies with me! We went to collect a parcel and I picked up some awesome pink headphones.

Pennyworths Traditional Sweetshop

We stopped at a place called Vanilla where we had a bite to eat. I enjoyed a strawberry and raspberry with cracked black pepper drink which was nice but not really my thing so next time I'll try something else. I had a huge Cornish smoked mackerel salad which was really, really delicious and very good. There isn't much option for free from eaters but I was happy with this. After paying the bill we headed home.

Cornish mackerel salad

franklin scottish drink

I ended up picking Little A up from the train station and we headed home to chill out together. He's really come a long way with his reading and I really love it when he gets excited about stories at bedtime.


So I've taken some time out, just a short space of time which was nice. This weekend I'm off to see family and my boyfriend which is really exciting and has been something to look forward to for ages. I'm hoping I come back with a clearer mind, a lighter soul, some positivity and a bit of healing.

Cupcake Mumma

Saturday, 10 June 2017

My Sunday Photo ~ Polling Day


Polling day came and as usual the Mini Cupcakes wanted to join me. The only time I could do it was before school so off we went! They watched what I did, asked questions and Midge popped my folded paper in the ballot box. I loved their enthusiasm and feel I'm creating 2 little ones who will be real voters when it's their time!

Photalife

Thursday, 8 June 2017

The Simple Woman's Daybook ~ June

For Today


Looking out my window

I can see the rain slowly falling, the sun trying to come out a little, I have all my recycling and rubbish ready to go out and it's all very dump and a bit yuck out there! I also have a lot of knocked over things from the wind about my yard!

I am thinking

About lots of things. About the man I miss, about my holiday next week which will be my first one as a single parent. It'll be wonderful though because we are surrounded by family. I think lots of things all of the time, I couldn't possibly list it all!

I am thankful

For my families safety and that of my friends, myself and the people I love. For good health, good friends, for my faith and sillier things like free from toffee ice cream, snail mail and the fact I'll have Friday to myself (including the night!)

One of my favorite things

I bought myself Tulips last month and they are beautiful. This month I've gone for yellow carnations. I love flowers.

I am creating

I've been continuing to work on the scrap book I'm putting together for my pen pal in America. My one came last week and it's great to read about Colorado!

I am wearing

I'm getting ready for the school run so I'm wearing my big hoody, black jeans, walking trainers and some big, fluffy socks. I cannot believe I will also be adding a coat and woolly hat to this when I leave, it's supposed to be June!

I am reading
 (read) /watching (watched) / listening to

I am currently reading Watership Down which I am loving, listening to an audio book of Harry Potter and The Philosophers Stone and watching The Great British Menu which I've recorded. I know I don't need to give all of those but why not?

I am hoping

I'm really hoping right now that my IBS stops playing up. I've taken more tablets for it than usual and I can't think of anything food related it could be *sigh*

I am learning

I'm learning how to cope with anxiety by attending weekly counselling and I'm learning to talk more but it's not easy.

In my kitchen

This weeks meal plan looked like this:
Mon- pizza night (always!)
Tues- spaghetti with vegetables in sauce/ cheesy pasta
Weds- jacket potatoes
Thursday- risotto
Friday- fish and chips (homemade)
Saturday- soup
Sunday- Roast

I've bought salted caramel extract and found caramel sauce in my local supermarket so I'm looking forward to baking and experimenting.

In the school room

A has been doing well at school, here are some snaps of his dazzling work book:



In my garden

My strawberry plants have flowered, my cucumber plant is growing and so are my tomato plants. I even have my blackberry plant showing signs of fruit! Oh and snail holes grr...

Post Script

I'd like to share my Facebook page which needs some love:
https://www.facebook.com/cupcakemumma/

I also want to share this Etsy store by Elle May. I love her work especially the beautiful whale print.

Shared Quote

"Distance means nothing when someone means everything"
unknown

A moment from my day


Closing Notes

I've had such a nice day with my Gran and my Aunt. We had a lovely lunch and some pudding before I headed back on the train in time for the school run. The sun has poked its head out every now and then but mostly its been a wellington boots day! 

Fancy joining in the Simple Woman's Daybook? Click the badge at the top of this post to find out more.

Cupcake Mumma

Sunday, 4 June 2017

My Sunday Photo ~ Happy Birthday!


My wonderful Grandma celebrated her birthday on the 2nd June. We had pineapple cake, watched game shows, had macaroni cheese and just a lovely day in general.

Photalife

Sunday, 28 May 2017

My Sunday Photo ~ Sports Day Star

Although not the official school sports day, Little A was chosen to participate in the sports event called The Trevictus Games. This sports event held at our school is mainly for children with minor to severe learning disabilities not just in our school but also from other local Cornish schools. It shows how inclusive sports can be no matter your physical or mental health. Little A had a wonderful day and I feel that this shot of him jumping into the sand pit was my favourite.


Photalife


Friday, 26 May 2017

Now We're Three ~ A Letter to my Children

My beautiful children,

I could write this and pop it into a box or find some place safe but you know me, it'll end up lost under all sorts of other bits. So I'm writing it here, where all our other memories are and all my other thoughts are for you to one day read and look back on.

I'm sorry things didn't go the way we planned. I loved your Daddy very much, and for a long time he loved me too. But for a few months we drifted, then life, money and work got into the way and we lost ourselves. Sadly we drifted apart and one day Daddy left. For a long time we worked well but we are so very, very different and as we grew older we noticed this more and more. Daddy leaving was a shock, I never thought it would happen to me, to us. There's a lesson there my little ones, none of us are invincible to anything in this life.

I will never forgot your faces on the morning we told you Daddy didn't love Mummy anymore. Especially yours Midge, I know it hurt you a lot my sensitive, beautiful little girl. You both have come so far in just a few months and you must know I am incredibly proud of you. 
As a new family of 3 it's been tough at times hey?! Mummy has dropped a few balls but you know why? It's because I'm not perfect. It's because I was hurt and upset and I had to stay strong, face things that scared the hell out of me but I'd do those things again and again and again and I'd try not to drop those balls but sometimes juggling is hard! You'll understand one day.

I'm not going to say I hope you're happy because I know you are. You have both carried on doing well as usual in school, we've had lost teeth, more gym badges, new clubs, residential school trips, days out, and we totally conquered our first Easter holiday as a single parent family *yey!*

Yesterday you met your Dads' new girl-friend for the first time. You seem to like her, I'm glad she's nice and I hope in time you'll have some fun together. Just remember, she's going to be cool, nice and fun and I'm Mumma. I have to be all those things but I also have to tell you off and run our house, sort all your things and keep you in check and I won't always be as cool as her. I want you to know that you never have to hide anything from me, that I'm always here and I love you so very much. If there's anyone in this world that wants to help you, be there for you and love you in a way no other person can it's me. I am always here for you my babies and I know I won't always be fun, I won't be able to drive you to days out or holidays but I can and will always try to do and give you my best.

I'm happy for your Daddy. I don't always feel friendly or happy but one day you'll understand this. I'm also happy too. In a couple of months you'll meet someone who is special to Mummy and I hope you like him as much as Mummy does. Your Daddy will feel the same as me and he will always be there for you. You have so many people looking out for you. So many people who love you guys and I hope you never forget that.

I love you, I am proud of you and I thank you for being the two most amazing children I have ever known. How lucky I am that you call me 'Mumma.'


Cupcake Mumma

Thursday, 25 May 2017

Smug Pets Poo Bag Review


This is Peppa:


    Peppa is a pampered pooch. She's a bit of a princess, a bit stubborn and a little sulky. She's also a smug pet and she's very proud to be showing off her new collection of dog poo bags to my readers today.

Smug pets have a variety of pet products for you to purchase from their website and we were selected to review a large box of 20 rolls (300!) poo bags.
No one likes this job but it's part and parcel of owning your own furry four legged poop machine friend.

Smug Pets 300 Biodegradable Dog Waste Bags Plus Clip On Dispenser-SmugPets

Did you know

  • There are over 8 million dogs in the UK (rspca)
  • UK dogs produce 1000 tonnes of waste every day. (keepbritintidy.org, 2002; estimate based on 6.5 million dogs.)
  • 95% of the British public are worried about the amount of dog waste in public places. (local government association, UK) 2013

Now, I'm not going to tell you that these bags have solved my poo picking aversion, it'll always be a disgusting job but they do have a lot of plus points.

They smell REALLY good. Smug pets have heavily scented these waste bags and I am very grateful. They really do mask that awful smell not only when picking up after your pooch but they also help when you're stuck with the bag until the elusive poo bin turns up (I swear there's not enough!?) so instead of me walking around smelling of crap I actually have a much nicer smell following me around!

The bags are oxo biodegradable. Big bonus for me and anyone concerned about our environment (which you kinda should be) these bags will take as little as 18 months to dissolve compared to the cheaper bags and carrier bags often used as a replacement.

SmugPets 300 Premium Biodegradable Dog Waste Bags-SmugPets

They are thick! Ever picked up a dog turd and questioned if you are in fact even using a bag? I know I have which is why this is my biggest point. Thin bags are horrible, I'm not going to have any unfortunate incidents with these bags or feel like I'm using my bare hands which, let's be honest, is more than a little disgusting.

The set of bags I was sent for review also came with a handy poo bag dispenser that clips onto my jeans if I'm going for a long walk or nipping out and also to other items such as my handbag so it doesn't get lost or even to my dogs lead. At first I found it a bit fiddly, sometimes the roll got twisted but now I'm used to it I can pull a bag out and pull it off whilst using my other hand to keep the rest of the roll in place.


So if you are a poo picking dodger because:

It stinks
Bags are too thin
All bags are bad
You've 'got no pockets'
It smells when I'm carrying it
You have no excuses (you didn't in the first place as far as I'm concerned but you know...)

Check out Smug Pets on twitter and visit their website for more products including this set of 30 poo bag rolls currently retailing at a sale price of £13.99 (normally £19.99) with bag dispenser for your smug pet. Peppa likes them and so do her friends Milly and Sam so what are you waiting for?




Cupcake Mumma

Monday, 22 May 2017

Mixed Feelings about Job Seeking

I've been on job seekers now for just over a month. Currently I'm actually on a break after seeing the doctor. It's only a 1 month break and I still have to attend weekly appointments to see how I'm getting on and soon I'll be back to actively looking for work.
I have huge mixed feelings about going back to work. It's not nerves or a thousand butterflies fluttering inside of my stomach anxiety I'm experiencing; it's full on terrified panic.

Confession time. I have never had a job. I had my daughter at 18, my son at 21 and always been supported by my now ex husband. It worked well for us and we managed without problems for me to be a stay at home mum. Now he's left I had little choice but to sign on and I really hate it.

I don't mind working. I know it'll be so good for me and I'll change as a person in so many ways. I know it'll give me purpose and pride and stop me being bored or wasting away my day. I've still been looking online at jobs even though I'm signed off, I just end up doubting myself and then having panic attacks when I go to sign those application forms. I have managed to submit some though, not that I've heard anything back.

The thing I really struggle with big time isn't the job searching, or the stigma of being on benefits, or being a single mum. I do struggle to find jobs that don't require flexibility around nights and weekends as I don't have the child care for that and according to my workings out online I won't have the money for that either.
The thing I struggle with the most is the job centre. Everything about the job centre sucks.

The security guards that don't smile at anyone other than their colleagues. They make you feel like they're waiting to pounce on you because you're going to kick off at any second. I get that some people do from shear frustration but most people don't.

The whole atmosphere is depressing as hell. It's like there's a room full of Dementors lying in wait to suck your soul and any happiness you have out of you upon entry. I bloody hate it. There's nothing remotely inspiring about the wall to wall notice boards, the miserable faces, the stupid red sofas and sea of computers. It's depressing as hell.

I haven't met a single member of staff I like. I confided to the lady who was signing me up in tears. I explained I wasn't feeling well, I was terrified and panicky and very worried. She didn't care at all. No empathy there whatsoever. I tried to keep quiet and stay strong and just sign on but I couldn't. I was given a tissue and told I was just stressed, it was probably due to my counselling appointment coming through. No it wasn't. I left that afternoon, newly signed on, feeling incredibly low and ignored with tears in my eyes but desperately holding on to my dignity. I had the strongest urge to just throw myself off a bridge. Three days later I saw my GP who signed me off.

So I hate it. I hate being on job seekers. I feel pushed and ignored by the people who work there yet I feel it's so crap it spurs you on to want to leave, find employment and never return to that place ever again. That can only be a good thing. It's terrifying though and I really hope I can push through all of my social anxiety, meet the right person who is willing to give me a chance and leave this part of my journey behind for good.

Cupcake Mumma

Sunday, 21 May 2017

My Sunday Photo ~ Beautiful Tulips



My favourite flowers are Gerberas, Tulips and pink Roses. These have really made smile this week. My week has ended so much better than it started and every time I look at these flowers they make me smile. I can't wait until they open.

Cupcake Mumma

Photalife

Saturday, 13 May 2017

Enjoying Coeliac Awareness Week with Tesco Free From Foods

This week is coeliac awareness week. ( See here for more info on coeliac disease) I've not been able to eat gluten for about 13 years. At first it was a huge struggle, supermarkets were only just bringing out 'free from' products and the quality wasn't fantastic. If you've been a reader for a while you'll also know I'm intolerant to dairy and wheat. These days the free from ranges are so, so much better. One superstore that has really improved their range not just in general but with their very own range is Tesco's Superstore. Look at my local Tesco:




  The frozen section has improved the most in my opinion. There's a lot more gluten free options than dairy and gluten free but I'm really impressed with pizzas, garlic bread, breads and nuggets which my children love.


I was sent a gift card to pick up some gluten free items from my local Tesco store. The garlic bread has only been available for a few months, I can't tell you how great it is to be able to buy some!  The bread cooks quickly and well and tastes really garlicky, just like your regular non gluten garlic bread. It's also milk and wheat free.

Before we found out I couldn't tolerate the foods that were causing my stomach problems, I had never got around to trying some really good food items. One food I never managed to taste was scampi (shock! I know) I was browsing the frozen section, not getting too excited in case there was milk in them, when I saw they didn't: Hooray!! I had scampi for the first time in my life this week and It. Is. So. Good. I had mine with some veg and chips and it did not disappoint. I do find them a bit sickly if I eat more than 4/5 but other than that they hit the spot. Midge thought they were ace so I will buy some normal ones for her next time.



Before our separation, my partner used to make us a weekly free from battered fish which was delicious. I keep meaning to practice but until I get around to it I've found these crispy breaded Pollock fillets that are a brilliant replacement. They are quick and easy, we all enjoy them and I love the crispy bread crumb coating.


These lemon slices are one of my favourite treats to pick up. The center of the cakes is lemony and creamy, the sponge is firm and the topping is lemon sugar which is delicious. The children loved these too!


As you can see I have finally found loads of tasty treats and essentials I can now eat! The range of food available in Tesco's is really good to see and I am always pleased to see new items being added, especially to the frozen section because that has been some what overlooked for a rather long time!

Do you eat free from foods? Are you a coelic who has been struggling to find tasty replacements for your cupboards? I hope this post has shown you just a selection of yummy goodies available to you. If you don't find something in your store you can always speak to customer services who in my experience have been really good ant trying to get products in that are normally more commonly found in my larger Tesco store. Check out the Free From Range by Tesco online!

Cupcake Mumma