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

YOU TRUSTED YOUR BEST FRIEND . . . YOU SHOULDN'T HAVE.

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

RachelSwirl

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

Tuesday, 14 February 2017

I Don't Know Me

I often wonder who I am. If this is it or if there's something more.

If I'll always be scared by silly things.

Will I always care what people think? Does that get less with age? In which case, hurry up 30...

I have no idea what I'm doing.
No plans.
No goals.
No real aims..

Maybe a few..I know I want to be happy. I mean I am happy but I could be happier..

I kind of want freedom. To float through life.

Then I don't. I want to be like others. I want to work under someone else, have the safety of someone above telling me what to do. Somebody paying my wage and I come and go everyday as and when I have to.

Other days I'm glad I don't have that right now. Sometimes it's hard and too much for my head.

I'm still trapped a little.

By social anxiety.
By the fear of blushing.
By anxiety full stop. Any kind.

I keep telling myself I could be other things. But I can't really. I don't have that ambition. That drive or motivation.

I feel like I let my kids down. I always tell them to 'be themselves.'

Although to be fair, I'm not sure who myself is.

I can't be this can I? Scared. Irrational. Anxious. Disorganised. Sad. Snappy. Constantly overthinking. Trapped.

I know I have good and so with that I suppose you need the bad too?
I am kind. I am loyal to those who I befriend. I am an introvert but I also open up and enjoy socialising with a small handful of friends.

God I can hear 'get over yourself' already and I know whose voice it is. (It isn't mine)

Although I do tell myself to be quiet, to be kind to myself and to be thankful.

Who am I? Who are you? Really.
Truly.

How do you begin to even find out?

Making a Rented House a Home..


I've always lived in rented accommodation. I grew up in a house that didn't belong to us, I moved when I was 10 to a house that wasn't ours and the only way to get my own place and move out of my parents house as a young mum with a partner was to rent a flat across the road. We have lived in 3 other houses since and now we live where we are currently; another rented house but for the first time we are living under a few new -to- us rules...

We are not allowed to redecorate (unless it's magnolia zzzzzz) It's no surprise we have this rule. I suppose if it were me renting out a house I wouldn't want anyone painting it either. We are not allowed to put any photos up (by making new holes) without first checking with the landlords the exact place we wish to hang a photo. Common sense tells me that they'd want to make sure we weren't putting holes in any wires but what a pain to have to always fire off an email to the agent who then have to fire one off to the landlord and then we all wait for replies..it's not worth the hassle.

So one thing I did (and I was lucky here) was to fill one wall which was previously filled with photos with my own without causing any problems. I have a lovely photo wall now and it was by looking very carefully for any small holes left by nails and there were still a few hooks left around the house which came in handy!

Putting your touch on a rented home feels hard when you cant re decorate but I've used cushions, throws, lovely duvet sets and a few ornaments to show our personalities. I use lovely little clip boards to rotate the children's artwork to avoid tucking everything away or sticking them up on the walls.

Outside is a bit harder. We moved in October so I haven't planted my flowers yet although I did pop my daffodil bulbs in a while ago. We don't have a garden, instead we have a yard. The bikes and toys are stored away to save room and we have a make shift washing line but that's all. The flowers will grow in trays and I plan to try and grow some fruit and vegetables in bags and trays. Because the yard catches a lovely bit of sun I'm wondering if a table and chairs, a picnic table or a rattan corner sofa will fit in. Whichever one fits in would be a nice addition to a small yard and could be put into another space when we move again in future (which we will due to number of bedrooms!)

I still find it hard to live in rented houses but I accept that owning our home will probably not happen, we simply don't have the income to put aside a decent amount. Of course we're still young, never say never and all that but it's unlikely. There are pros to renting for me; like when expensive things go bust but it's not your responsibly to replace them! Then the downside is you might not have a landlord or agent who is so quick to sort problems out! Thankfully that's not us. Our problem has been our landlords electrician rather than the actual landlord!

So there's a few things we do or plan to do to try and make our rented house feel more like our home for however long we're staying. Do you rent? Do you plan on saving for a home? Is there anything you do to make your rented house feel more like home?


Monday, 13 February 2017

10 good things January

January wasn't all doom and gloom even if it did feel that way a lot of the time! Here are 10 good things from our January.

Midge's birthday
She had a lovely day with cake at home and school, lots of gifts including a pug onesie, nail and bath bits plus books and money so she was very happy. The phone rang lots of times and there was very little room left for all her cards!


Midge's sleepover
The girls sleepover went so much better than I thought. They were all well behaved overall, they all got on for the most part and they didn't find me embarrassing by joining in with dancing and nail painting!

Both back to school okay
It sounds like a strange one but I always find relief when school starts okay after a break. Midge is never a problem, she went straight back in with no problems but sometimes the break in routine upsets A. He was fine going back and over time he's become more independent in the mornings which is fab.

Started volunteering
I now volunteer 2 mornings a week at school and am really enjoying it. I get to work in reception on Monday doing phonics and hearing some readers then Friday I change the books and hear readers again but I also float around a bit listening to their stories and playing their games.

Caught up with some family
I've had some nice weekly visits with my Gran and aunt, a long FaceTime with my sister and I had 2 good phone calls with my aunt and my grandparents in Portsmouth. Despite the sad circumstances of us getting together, catching up and seeing each other is special as we all live so far away.

Lots of happy mail!

Got the dog sorted
Peppa is all booked in for an operation to remove some lumps on her tummy. I'm grateful for good family and pretty decent vets. There was a hiccough but overall things are okay and this month she'll be lump free.


Spending time with my nieces


Plymouth Aquarium and pantomime
I had such a good time with year 1 on their school trip. They were shattered by the time we arrived back to school but every single one loved all the activities and so did the adults!

Telling Uncle M I loved him
My favourite moment was telling my late uncle I loved him and saying goodbye knowing it would be our last goodbye. I will treasure that memory and pray to never forget.

Cupcake Mumma

Sunday, 12 February 2017

Family-Money-Me ~ February



FAMILY:

Celebrate Little A's birthday 

Celebrate pancake day

Have a nice Valentines day


MONEY:

Budget for February

Look into interest free cards

Set up a separate account for the dog (instead of using a useless pet plan/insurance company!)

Complete month 2 of savings jar

ME:

Get everything in place for next months big birthday bash

Plenty of self care

Get some regular exercise

Get some letters written and posted


January was a long month wasn't it? I sorted a good budget, celebrated both Mr B's and Midge's birthday with great success but failed to lose any weight (in fact, I put a lot more on!) I managed 4 books in January so I hope I can continue to read more this month. Both of the children's school trips are now paid. Little A has already had his trip to Plymouth Aquarium and Midge's isn't until May but now I don't have to worry about it. Finally, I completed my savings jar for the first month and paid £30 more towards my little woods account.

Goodluck with any family, money and me goals you may have set this month!

Cupcake Mumma

Monday, 6 February 2017

January at The Cupcakes

I can't be the only one who felt January was never going to end? It was such a long month! I started the month by planning Midges birthday party. She wanted a sleepover so we sourced some invites from the internet and wrote those out. There wasn't much to do until the day of the sleepover. 
I got to go on my first trip of the year with year 1 which included Little A. We set off just after school started for Plymouth and had a good journey. First we visited Plymouth Aquarium which was a huge success as predicted. We then went to the pantomime to see Snow White (featuring Duncan James!) and we all had a Pizza Hut dinner (well I didn't, I left my purse on the bus but I was glad because I hate eating in front of people!) I had loads of lovely happy mail in January and read some good books. I also treated myself to new shoes and slippers!

Lots of new year happy mail//Invites//Shattered Little A//Jelly fish//Crabs//Reading//Sending out happy mail//New unicorn slippers!//New shoes!

Then things took a turn. We got the news my uncle wasn't well, then we got the news he was really unwell and then we got the news he was dying. It was quick and it wasn't easy. I said goodbye on the phone and sent him photos of the children. It's been a very emotional month. I printed some photos off of him and bought a special candle which really helped me.
I had a few days of self care, long hot showers, reading my new books, walking and napping in the day. That took me to Midges birthday with her chocolate covered cake and lovely gifts from everyone. Then we had the very busy but wonderful sleepover!

New mail from a new pen pal//Uncle M's photo ad candle//Uncle M in hospital// New book//Bath time fun//Chocolate birthday cake//Birthday girl!// Party time!//My nieces and I

I've kept up my weekly visits to see my Grandma and Aunt which I started before Christmas. Penzance has been looking lovely recently, even in the stormy weather I've enjoyed being there. Sadly my Aunts dog passed at the end of January, I was just glad to be there to support her. We had a small lunch and some vegan cake I had brought along with me in between talking about happy memories.

I discovered binoculars in my Grans glove compartment!//Ticket to Penzance//Little A not sleeping..//Midge the gymnast//They bridge has gone in town and it looked weird but lovely!

Midge has been doing well at gymnastics and our new sleeping arrangements are working out better for all of us. I also started my volunteering at school which has been going well.

January's posts
RachelSwirl

Thursday, 2 February 2017

Giving Ourselves Something to Look Forward To: Valentines Day


We don't usually celebrate Valentines Day but January has been so rubbish that I'm trying to plan things to look forward to to keep up our positive outlook. When we first started going out, Mr B and I used to always exchange gifts on Valentines Day as a lot of new and young mushy couples do. The years went on and then we got married and somewhere along the line valentines day disappeared (along with random flowers, spontaneous dinners and cute little notes that we used to leave around the house) I think that just fades because we found different ways to show we love and appreciate each other.

My husband isn't a valentines lover. He is with the majority of people who think it's an utter money maker and total rubbish but he will join in with these things if he thinks they mean something to me; which on this occasion, it does! I so need to look forward to things and I think if you want to cook a nice dinner, buy or make a card and tell your other half for the millionth time that you love them then so what? Who cares? I had a survey land in my inbox about what women want for valentines day and I took it out of curiosity to see what the results would be. So many people think it's a load of rubbish but there are a lot like me who think it's kind of sweet and harmless; if you want to do it then do it. I bet there are a few people who go proper over the top with it much like some do with Christmas! That wouldn't be my thing at all but each to their own!

So this valentines, I'm going to plan a meal to cook and myself and Mr B can sit down together and enjoy it, probably with a Cider for him and a hot chocolate for pudding for me! I'm not going to buy balloons and decorations, I simply want to make a gesture and enjoy a lovely evening together.


Will you be celebrating valentines day this year? Did you take the survey by Rattan Direct? I'd love to know who is a fan of valentines and who thinks it's a giant waste of time!

Cupcake Mumma

Wednesday, 1 February 2017

Midges Birthday Sleepover!

Midge in her new onesie

I can't believe my girl is now 9..NINE!? It's crazy how fast these birthdays come around. Her actual birthday was really quite quiet because she had school. Going to school on your birthday used to be a real bore but now they get a birthday certificate and a cupcake in assembly and the birthday boy or girl can bring in cake to share at home time, so needless to say, Midge wasn't too disappointed about it being a school day.

We had birthday pancakes before school and let her open all her cards and gifts before getting her uniform on. We bought her a pug onesie, lots of nail polish related gifts, boxes of Malteasers (her favourite chocolate) and a few other bits. It was odd not having anyone home when I knew there was a birthday but I got all her bits sorted for dinner and tidied up.

Mr B and I collected the children from school. Midge had a surprise visit from her cousins and we celebrated with a chip shop dinner (last minute change of plan!) and Malteaser covered chocolate birthday cake. It's the first birthday cake I've ever made that I couldn't eat!

birthday cake, chocolate
Chocolate covered chocolate cake as requested

The cousins stayed until way too late and we all went to bed way earlier than we would usually but we'd all had such a good day and as the next day was another school day we all needed some kip!

I'm glad Midge had another great birthday. At the weekend we celebrated a second time with her 2 friends and 2 cousins. Mr B and A went to stay with his sister so it was just us girls. We had a junk dinner, cupcakes, a nail painting session, pillow fighting, we watched 2 movies with lots of popcorn before collapsing into bed gone midnight. I shared my bed with my 4 year old niece who was first to drop off, then the girls slowly went one by one until at 1am everyone was asleep and I could finally shut my eyes!

We had such a lovely evening (I still won't be rushing to host any more sleepovers though!) There were some tears, some bickering, black nail varnish spilled on the floor, bedrooms were trashed, popcorn was everywhere, screaming was most definitely done and I must have been shattered still by Sunday but it was all good! I'm still finding friends belongings down the side of the beds and under things, honestly, girls must pack for a week!

Nieces!

Midges birthday summed up in one word by Midge: Awesome!!

Cupcake Mumma

RachelSwirl