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 

Monday, 8 May 2017

Mental Health Awareness Week: We are Talking. You're Just not Listening

This week marks Mental Health Awareness Week. Of course I love to share these weeks with everyone; there are some amazingly strong and inspirational people out there. There are also some people really struggling out there who stumble across posts and tweets and feel a little less alone. My issue isn't with the week. It's not with people sharing stories or asking people how they are or looking after themselves. It's that the people who are in 'power' aren't listening.


I've struggled with my mental health since I was a teenager. I suffered social anxiety, generalised anxiety, depression and after I had my daughter I suffered from post natal depression. At my most recent health care appointment we traced back where everything started and also came to the conclusion that I may even have been experiencing post traumatic stress from being bullied. 

Mental heath care in this country is quite frankly appalling. It's a postcode lottery for most people. I am one of the lucky ones but why on earth should I even be saying that? In fact, I've been in a dark place and I've been waiting for 2 months to see a counsellor, I will be waiting a further 2 months before I can start some more cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT). In some counties that 2 month wait is a dream, try 6 months waiting when you feel seriously unwell. Or more.

There are some amazing mental health charities who are picking up a lot of broken people and they are doing this with limited funds. They are always raising awareness and trying to get the message across that it's okay to speak out. That it's okay to feel like your mind is lost, that you want to run away, to disappear, to even die but you need to find help to help make sense of why you feel this way and find the right help to prevent you from getting worse or coming to any ham. I don't see how these charities can continue supporting all the hundreds of people but they are doing just that right now.

Our government and political parties are promising to help the NHS, are promising more nurses, more health workers, more support for those with mental health conditions but there is no evidence. There are not enough safe places. There are not enough beds. There are not enough carers, nurses, not enough money. It's all well and good telling us all to open up, share and be aware and PLEASE DO. We DO need to talk about mental health and we DO need to shout more about it and get people to listen, to understand, to not judge, ridicule or stigmatise and that is still so easily done and still a huge problem. We also need ACTION we need those things I mentioned above and people all over the internet are saying those very same words today.

The promises are in writing but they are the same ones made months ago. The same ones made before. Yet people are still ending their own lives because they feel they have run out of options. Still people are attended by paramedics who don't know what they can do to help but there is no mental health response to come out and help that person. Still there are huge waiting lists for counsellors and psychiatric help and still there are people having to travel miles (sometimes as far as 400 miles from their home) to be treated in a unit. That's a long way and very far from family and friends, even more so if you are a young person.

Before I end, here are some mental health statistics for you to have a quick read over. They are from a few years ago, but I don't think things have changed that much. If possible, the statistics are probably higher in 2017. (source MentalHealth.org.uk) 

Suicide
  • In 2013, 6,188 suicides were recorded in the UK. Of these, 75% were male and 25% were female.
  • Between 2003 and 2013, 18,220 people with mental health problems took their own life in the UK.
  • Suicide is the most common cause of death for men aged 20-49 years in England and Wales.
  • One person in fifteen had made a suicide attempt at some point in their life.
Anxiety
  • In 2013, there were 8.2 million cases of anxiety in the UK.
  • In England women are almost twice as likely to be diagnosed with anxiety disorders as men.
  • The one-week prevalence of generalised anxiety in England is 6.6%

Adolescents and Children
  • 20% of adolescents may experience a mental health problem in any given year.
  • 50% of mental health problems are established by age 14 and 75% by age 24.
  • 10% of children and young people (aged 5-16 years) have a clinically diagnosable mental problem, yet 70% of children and adolescents who experience mental health problems have not had appropriate interventions at a sufficiently early age.
That is just a very small snippet of what this country faces. That doesn't include half the other mental disorders that affect people day in and day out. Also, we should remember that this is just the UK. Mental illness isn't just something affecting us, it's affecting people: men, women and children all over the world.

Here are some links for you to check out. thanks for reading.






Sunday, 7 May 2017

My Sunday Photo ~ Back from London


Midge had a wonderful London trip with her school friends but she was very much missed by A and I. I took this adorable photo at half eleven at night, he couldn't sleep for excitement. It's now my absolute favourite photo.

Photalife

Monday, 1 May 2017

April at The Cupcakes...

Finally it's the 1st of May. April wasn't awful but it wasn't exactly my idea of a good month either. It's taken me every ounce of strength, some wonderful friends and my children to get me through April and I'm keen to look ahead and put April behind me and keep moving forward.

As I said however, April wasn't all bad so here are a few things we got up to:
  • Costa with the Mini Cupcakes
  • Beach cleaning at Porthleven with the little ones, my Mum and Dad
  • Beach fun in Porthleven. Paddling, sand art, running, picnics, sunbathing and photo taking!
  • Dad helped with the beach cleaning!
  • Little A spending time with his Dad at the park doing football practice
  • On a bad day we went trampolining in town with friends, it was tough but the children had a lovely day out with their school friends and I had some distraction


  • We spent Easter at my parents and had plenty of eggs, a roast dinner and  chilled weekend
  • I read some books this month which was nice
  • I did some crafting and put together my postcard frame, I like to swap my postcards around
  • I went to Tehidy Woods twice. Once with my aunt for dog walking, which Peppa loved and once with the school for an all day trip
  • We saw lots of animals, had an outdoors story, walked in mud and saved a few wanderers!
  • I volunteered at school reading, doing phonics, handwriting and just generally being helpful. I'm gutted I have to step down soon thanks to the lovely job centre but I intend on sticking to it for as long as I can, I'm gaining more confidence every time I go in
  • The pooch and I chilled out on my down days, I got a lovely photo of her smiling in her sleep
  • My sister sent me a brand new toaster which is one of the best things I've ever had (I'm serious!)
  • We celebrated Trevithick Day on Saturday 29th April and it was such a great day with the Mini Cupcakes, Mum and Dad. I took plenty of photos and will be doing a separate post so do look out for that!





So that was our April. The children enjoyed our little day trips, they've been doing school stuff and enjoying their outside school clubs too. They're pretty happy and that makes me really happy, I'm doing something right anyway!
May should be a nice month. I have to job search, and visit the dentist and doctors for all my reviews and I start some counselling which I really do need. I also plan on having more Costa mornings with my friends, reading more, Midge is off to London on Wednesday, A starts his football club next week and we have half term at the end of May too!

Hope you've all had a good April, here's to May.

Cupcake Mumma x