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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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