Peppa Pig's Big Splash!

by Jada, September 26, 2014
With Christmas just around the corner, it's time to start looking into booking our annual Christmas pantomime trip. Each year I take Spud to the theatre to watch a child related show which is normally Christmas themed of some sort, even if the characters just have a Christmas tree!

As many of you know, I love my nephews, all five of them equally, I just spend more time with Paula's two children - Baby Boo and Little Big Man both of whom are Autistic (Little Big Man has his diagnoses, whilst Baby Boo is currently going through the process of being diagnosed as we speak). I don't only help my sister out whenever I can, but I also ask to have the boys, they're Spud's closest cousins, and although they squabble they get along really well most of the time.

I've done lots with Little Big Man and Spud this year, including trips to the fun-fair, cinema and town, however I've not done as much as I'd like to of done with Baby Boo. Baby Boo is a big Peppa Pig fan so I'm so pleased that right before the Christmas rush (and because I'm not sure I could watch two children's theatre shows in one month) Peppa Pig's Big Splash is touring around the UK this upcoming October.

The Show:
The nursery roof is leaking and Peppa and her friends need to fix it - quick! As they set up a fete to raise the money for the repairs, they'll need your help to make sure everything goes smoothly. Join Peppa, George, Mummy and Daddy Pig, as well as Danny Dog, Pedro Pony, Suzy Sheep as they have fun putting up bunting, running stalls and organising a great day out. There's also a Champion Puddle Jumping competition judged by Mr Potato where everyone gets wet and Peppa needs to find her Golden Boots!

The Venues:
Woking -- 1st - 2nd October.
Bristol -- 7th-8th October.
Southampton -- 10th-11th October.
Bournemouth -- 15th-16th October.
Clacton-On-Sea -- 18th-19th October.
Nottingham -- 25th-26th October.

The Accommodation:

Sometimes, we have to travel a little way or a big way from home to get to see one of these excellent shows, therefore, I suggest maybe sorting out a hotel for the night. If you're visiting Woking ((which is the closest to me, but not close enough to travel there and home all in one day!) there's the Holiday Inn Farnborough, and if you visit the Southampton venue, you're quite spoilt for choice really with Holiday Inn Southampton, Holiday Inn Eastleigh and Holiday Inn Fareham just a stones throw (not literally) away. 

The Price:

Ticket prices vary depending on the venue you wish to visit, tickets start at as little as just £13.50 with discounts available for families.

The Final Result:

A few pounds lighter, or maybe a bit more, however you're small children will have a fantastic time interacting and singing along with Peppa and the rest of the cast! You're child/children will most probably not stop talking about it for a few days after, will wish to go again and will also say you're the best person ever! Here's me hoping Baby Boo says I'm his favourite auntie!

Have you been to a recent Peppa Pig show? I'd love to hear any tips you have ahead of the big auntie and nephew day!

Until next time,
Jada x
Sometimes decorating your child’s room can be real headache. Juggling practicality, creativity and outright fun is a difficult task, and one that many parents find difficult. Although having your child’s input into the decorating process can be enlightening, the fun, open ended and wonderful minds that we love and adore can often throw forth some rather impractical ideas, especially if you’ve only got a small budget. To help out the process of decorating, here are some fun, interesting ideas you can employ in your next diddy DIY project!

Image Credit: - Flickr

When it comes to furniture, it’s not difficult to balance the fun with the practical. Lots of children love bunk beds; having a high up point of view is something children usually lack, so perhaps this is why bunk beds, allowing kids to sleep and hang out in more vertical surroundings, are high up on kids’ lists when it comes to decorating. With these, you can either go for the traditional wooden, flat pack bunk beds, easy and often cheap, especially from online bed specialists; or go all out, crafting a bespoke bunk bed that is built into the room itself. Both former and latter have the potential to allow you to inject style into the room, whilst keeping your child very happy indeed!

Image Credit: Phil Manker - Flickr
Having ‘centerpieces’ within your children’s rooms that can act as modes of play, or as general furnishings, can also make rooms fun and sensible. Take the above image, where a climbing ladder, affixed to heavy duty fixtures running across the ceiling, brings physical fun, plus a style and colour scheme that works great with the surrounding room and décor. If you want to encourage your child to read, or they already have the reading bug, a suspended hanging chair can be a great bedroom addition, both modern and allowing for educational development.

Image Credit: Clarkston SCAMP - Flickr

Decorating the walls of your child’s room is an aspect of design where practicality really needs to shine through; they’re not going to be that young forever, and as such gaudy, incredibly child friendly colours and designs will come back to haunt you when you have to redecorate for your teenager in the future. In the above image, vibrancy and fun is created using bedspreads, furnishings and posters, leaving the modern and rather subdued tan walls acting as more of a canvas for continual, piecemeal change that need not signal a huge redecoration in the future. Whites, tans, greys and pastels will all work great for your child’s room.

Dressing Cheryl Cole

by Jada, September 25, 2014
It's no secret I'm a fan of reality television, if you're a friend or family member, you know how much I love Joey Essex from the Only Way Is Essex, and you'll know I'm a fan of X Factor along with both Big Brother and Celebrity big brother!

X Factor is the UK's biggest singing talent show, talented, and not so talented folk audition for the show in front of the four judges Simon Cowell, Cheryl Fernandez-Versini (formally Cheryl Cole from the girl band Girls Aloud), Melanie Brown (aka Mel B from the girl band Spice Girls) and Louis Walsh. If the applicants get through to the next round, they're called back to audition again, this time in front of thousands of watchers in the audience, and the four judges yet again.

So far, I've not took a dis-liking to any of the four celebrity judges this year, I never use to be a huge fan of Simon and I suppose I'm still not, but he knows his business after being in the music industry for so long, again this applies with Louis. I love Cheryl, her behaviour, her smile, her personality, her look, her style and her voice but I'm not so sure on Mel B! I think I'll always have a soft spot for Dannii (Minogue) and Sharon (Osbourne), however I've not seen enough of Mel to make a final decision!

After taking a quiz on the Radio Times website to see what X Factor judge you are, I was pleased when my results showed up as Cheryl! I do feel like I can relate to what Cheryl has been through with personal and intimate relationships, I know the pain she dealt with after it came to light about her ex husband Ashley Cole.

With the new season fashion trends entering every clothing retailer within the last week, I thought I would design an outfit for Cheryl on a high street budget. In the past, Cheryl's kept it no secret that she loves the high street stores, and why shouldn't she? Some of the high street collections are fabulous, so much so, you only dream of having the money in the bank to buy them all!

Cheryl is very lucky to suit every colour, I however, personally think she really does stand out that extra mile in red! So I've made the main feature in this collage a red jumpsuit, with a tiny belt for added detail, along with a killer pair of heels, but Cheryl walks in them like they're flats, a cute clutch bag and a matching necklace and bracelet!

Jumpsuit: Newlook
Heel Boots: Schuh
Black Clutch Bag: Debenhams
Accessories: Dorothy Perkins

Total Cost: £151.49!!!

 The total cost to us, may seem infuriating, however, Cheryl is a celebrity who has the cash to splash out. A designer item would cost around ten times as much as the total price for just a decent bag, that's not including the jewellery, shoes and outfit!

I've made a special little bet this year on who I'll think the winning mentor will be, and I have gone with Cheryl even though I don't know her category yet! Cheryl's been that person auditioning on stage, she knows the struggle of getting through each stage of the show, that's surely a bit of extra help for the contestants!

Have you took the quiz to find out what judge you would be? Have you got any good feelings about the winning mentor this year? Or maybe even the winner of the show?

Jada x

Call The Papers, I've Just Swore!

by Jada, September 23, 2014
Sometimes, I want to get lost in the screen, I love to write, I love to read.

Sometimes, just sometimes, I want my emotions to really run free, like really, no barriers, no stops.

There's always something stopping me.

I worry of getting judged because of my age, is it good for a mother to swear at any age when she is not around her children? Most probably not, that's what the prestige, high on their horses folk will say as they sip on their Prosecco for lunch. However, it's more than likely more acceptable for a mother of my age to swear at life if her children are babies.

Sometimes, we do need a rant. Children rant don't they? They have them ferocious burst of naughtiness quite a few times in their young year's, we call them tantrums don't we? Can we not have tantrums? It's okay for the lady from the television advert to do it, but she's just copying her son, throwing herself on the floor and screaming, just like her son - who can't get his own way.

Why's it half acceptable for a child to have a tantrum, a outburst and a cry? Why can't anyone above a certain age do the same and have an outburst? Not a full on child like tantrum, no need to pull our hair out, hold our breaths, scratch our faces and scream until we have the whole world looking, and is there really any need to throw ourselves on the floor to dirty our hour old clean clothes?

Can't we just say to the world we need five minutes, can't we just go and cry? Can't we let our emotions run wild in the ways we best deal with them? Not really, not comfortable at least. If I wan't to rant about the horrid child who's picked on Spud for the last few years, then I will - only it comes at judgement.

Oh don't be so silly Jade, it's childlike!!!

Oh really?

See, I wasn't brought up like that, if we done wrong to another child, or anyone of any age, then we would be told off and made to apologies, we'd also lose privileges and so we knew not to do it again! When I say done wrong to another child, it was always bickering between us siblings, hiding one another's favoutite toy or movie, knowing it would annoy them, but not thinking of the consequences of loosing our favourite toy or movie for the day - of course until it happened, then we would do it again. That's childlike isn't it? Annoying one another, winding each other up and playing pranks.

Making a child scared and upset to go to school is not childlike!

My Spud would never hurt a spider, literally! He's not a fan of them, but he won't kill or even hurt them in any way, he's such a softie. I'm not complaining, if he was vicious, horrid and wild, I'm pretty sure I'd want a good child, and I'm blessed because I have one.

There is just one thing that I would change about Spud if I could, and that's a characteristic. I want him to stand up for himself, stand up against these bullies. If he lets alcoholic low life parents children bully him now, and not say a word in self defense, how is he going to cope with the adult bullies in the world when he's an adult?

It's easy to say ignore them, but when they're hurting you, you shouldn't ignore them - because you're ignoring your own feelings.

I'm not afraid to name and shame, I'm lucky I come from a large family, and sibling fights both physical and verbal was a near every day occurrence - it's childlike isn't it. I can give as good as I get, and I know how to stand up for myself.

I'm opinionated and not coward enough to not say it. I won't follow the other sheep and wear the latest coat in fashion. I'll wear that multi-coloured dreamcoat if it suit's me, and when I say suit, I don't mean my appearance I mean my mood.

I really don't understand how people could be proud of their rotten children? How good do you feel knowing you've done such a shit job your child is the most evilest brat every other child hates? Do you get a kick out of getting called into the school every time I report your spawn of satin? Do you know you're a monster yourself, for allowing this shit to happen?

Do you know how angry you make me, when my child comes out of school at least once a week telling me yet another detailed event of an occurrence between him and your evil child at school? I send my son to school for his education, I think that's important - unlike you.

I'm very proud of the family I come from. Apart from my 12 year old sister, we all work and it's only been me who's had the longest stint on benefits. We're hard working and we don't expect the state to pay for the finer thing's in life. I pay for your child's free school meals and most probably his school uniform too.

I pay for your cigarettes and I pay for your clothes - which reminds me, do you not think your child bullies because maybe children make fun of him? They usually say a bully is getting bullied. You dress your child in ankle swingers, the dirties and greasiest of tops. He has longer hair then the Victorian homes curtains and to say you could fry a egg on his head, well....

That's an understatement.

I really want to insult you, not assault - insult, unlike your brat who think's its okay to continuously terrorise my boy. I'd love to do it every day, and if I could get away with it, I'd love to throw my hands around the way your child does to mine.

They say two wrong's don't make a right, but you can't let the world and it's chewed up gum spit on you.

You've clearly not tried talking to your son, like you promised too, well over a year ago! You've most probably encouraged it with the smirk you try to throw over every now and again.

I think you need to look around and notice that no one talks to you, which is a shame. You come to the school late, quite a few of us started speaking to you, not on a very personal level, just the usual playground routine chat - you know the chat you didn't know existed until your child started school?

Which reminds me, I must find out if the Romans made a script of that... Ohh wasn't it cold last night, did you see that fat alley cat chasing that owl, how was your chicken and stew. The weather forecast didn't mention any rain (do you now realise we live in England already!?), and the shape and colour of them potatoes are normal, unlike you otherwise suggested, they're rudolph potatoes, and no - they've not been imported on the back of an illegal immigrant filled lorry.

I don't actually think it's life shitting on us any more, it's humans, fellow beings of our sort. Dangerous and vindictive. Callous, cold and hungry.

A wise man once told me, there are two types of people in this world;

1 - You get eaten.
2. You eat them.

I know who I am. 

How To Be The Best Maid of Honour Ever

by Jada, September 23, 2014
Being picked as a Maid of Honour for a friend, is, well an honour! But, get ready, it is a demanding role that requires you to put someone else first on a massive scale. It can be hugely rewarding if you get it right – so I’ve put together a few tips on how to make sure you are the best Maid of Honour ever!

1.      Putting the Bride First

Putting the bride first is the chief role of the Maid of Honour. One common faux pas is getting yourself dressed on the day, before the bride is ready. Often as the Maid of Honour you’re ready to get dressed before the bride, but you must make sure the bride is ready before you even touch your dress!

The same applies throughout the rest of the wedding planning, and of course the day itself. Your number one priority is making sure that the bride is happy, and that her needs are being taken care of.

2.      Organising the Hen Night

There’s a lot of pressure on the hen night, but it doesn't have to all be on you – get the other bridesmaids involved, and even the brides mother to ensure that everyone is happy with the plans.

Consider a yoga retreat or a spa getaway – somewhere where you can relax and be pampered in the day, but have a good time at night if you feel up to it! A yoga retreat will help with the stress around the wedding, and leave everyone feeling much healthier and more relaxed for the run in to the big day!

Most of all though, make sure what you plan is what the bride would want to do, and make sure she has a great day.

3.      Helping With the Planning

As the Maid of Honour you’ll be expected to be involved with planning all sorts of bits of the wedding itself.

It’s best to get clued up on some of aspects you might be giving an opinion on in advance. Look knowledgeable by suggesting entertainment for the day like Oliver B, a music agency like Essence, and a photographer from a site like Find a Wedding Photographer.

It’s important to look like you’ve done your research so that you can make sensible suggestions that make sense with the wedding plans being put in place.

4.      Gifts For The Bride

The whole build up and day is about the bride, but you should still be looking for extra ways to make her feel special. Perhaps get her a bouquet delivered by Floric to say thanks for being given the privilege of being Maid of Honour for her big day?

Or maybe you want to go that extra mile, and pay for her bridal makeup and/or her bridal hair? A gift I'm sure she'll really appreciate to cut down on the final cost!

Also, think of something you can give the bride on the morning of the wedding that she can treasure and keep in her memory box. Something personalised, or something that is personal to your relationship would be the most emotional, and therefore best gift you could give.

Good luck being Maid of Honour – it can be stressful, but it’ll all be worth it in the end!

What Is FGM And Why Does It Need To Stop?

by Jada, September 23, 2014
Although female genital mutilation (FGM) has been in the news before there is a renewed effort to bring about an end to what can only be described as a violation of human rights.

FGM goes by other names such as female circumcision or female genital cutting. Whichever term is used it refers to the same basic process: the removal of external parts of the female genitals for non-medical reasons.

In general FGM is carried out on young girls between infancy and the onset of puberty. It is usually a traditional practice that is deeply ingrained in a culture, and this means that bringing about an end to it is a difficult task. But it must be tackled head on, because the scale of the problem is shocking. Worldwide it’s estimated that 125 million girls and women have undergone FGM. And although the majority of cases are found in Africa it is a problem in many other countries, including the UK where 20,000 girls are at risk every year.

There are four types of FGM. They are predominantly performed by a woman who typically has no medical training. They will use instruments such as knives, scissors and razors to make the cuts in a non-clinical setting without anaesthetics or any antiseptic procedures.

This involves removing either all or a portion of the clitoris.

As well as removing the clitoris this also involves cutting away the inner labia. The outer labia may or may not be removed.

This narrows the vaginal opening by cutting away the clitoris, labia majora and minora and sewing up the vagina. A small opening is left to allow the passing of menstrual blood. In the event of sexual intercourse the stitches need to be removed then reapplied.

     Other Forms Of FGM.
This category includes a variety of other procedures which damage the genitals. These range from pricking with needles to scraping with blades and even burning or the application of substances which damage the area.
FGM causes physical and psychological trauma, some of which can be life threatening. These include:

Because FGM is usually carried out with unsterilised equipment infections after the procedure are common. These can range from tetanus to HIV. Girls who have been subjected to it also have higher incidence of recurrent infections of the uterus, vagina and bladder throughout their lives.

Risk Of Infertility.
Due to the damage of the genitals, menstrual blood and other secretions can often stagnate inside the body which can lead to inflammation of the pelvis. This can damage the womb, leading to infertility.

Dangers During Pregnancy And Child Birth.
Victims of FGM have double the chance of dying during childbirth. The rates of stillborn babies are also much higher.

Damaged Mental Wellbeing.
FGM is an extremely traumatic experience usually carried out against a girl’s will. Many suffer from flashbacks and relive the trauma, and incidence of depression, anxiety and personality disorders are higher in girls and women who have undergone FGM.

In the UK and other countries FGM is illegal, but in countries where it is most prevalent there are often no laws against it and it continues to be a cultural norm I the groups that practise it. However within these countries there is a growing awareness that FGM is both damaging and wrong.

You can help end FGM by joining the campaigns to end it within a generation. It’s  global problem and it requires a global solution.

Visit Plan UK to find out what you can do to help stop FGM.

Gift Ideas for a New Baby Girl

by Jada, September 17, 2014
If someone you love is expecting a lovely baby girl, we’ve come up with some great ideas of gifts you can buy for her (or mum) to welcome her into the world and to show her just how much she’s loved already. There’s something for all budgets and tastes too, to prove you don’t have to spend a fortune to put a smile on mum’s face.

Image Credit: Shutterstock. 

An expanding bangle
Getting a new baby girl obsessed with jewellery early on is a great idea, and the best way to do this is to buy her a baby bangle that expands and grows as she does! We love this one as you can get it engraved which adds a really lovely personal touch to an already lovely gift idea.

A knitted baby blanket
Baby blankets always come in really useful and if you want a really special gift, you could opt for a really luxurious, frivolous one that mum and dad are unlikely to buy for themselves. John Lewis does some for all budgets and for both genders as well as some neutral ones too which is handy if you don’t know the sex of the baby yet. You could even look into options that allow you to get them personalised with their name embroidered on which is a nice idea.
A fancy dress outfit
One of the best parts of having a little girl is of course being able to dress her up in adorable outfits! Start off mum’s obsession by purchasing a really sweet or funny little fancy dress outfit that she’ll love to put baby in. There are loads of great options around, and I especially love the pink elephant ones that will look ridiculously cute on the new arrival.

Image Credit: Shutterstock. 
A special teddy bear
You definitely can’t go wrong with a lovely first teddy bear, and there are so many options out there nowadays that this doesn’t have to be just your standard newborn gift. Some stores like Build a Bear even allow you to print out birth certificates for the bears and dress them up which is really sweet and will make that first teddy bear that bit more special, too.

Useful (but cute!) girly accessories
You can’t really go wrong with Cath Kidston stuff when it comes to finding something pretty and girly, and they even have useful things that mum will really appreciate (as well as fall head over heels in love with). We love the bib and teddy bear sets, but there are lots of other things available to take a look at, too.

...Or how about something for mum?
You can get flowers for new baby girl and gift sets with bottles of bubbly in them and a teddy online which makes a lovely gift that mum will love and will show her how much she’s appreciated too. Some luxurious toiletries to help her get some much-needed pamper time is a nice idea too, for when she gets a rare five minutes to herself!

Until next time,
Jada x

My Very Own Toy Story!

by Jada, September 15, 2014
When you first become a parent, you don't think of the thousands of toys, figures and DVD's that are going to over take your home in just a few years time. You don't think about the TV programs your miss out on, so your child can watch the episode of Horrid Henry - of which you've both seen at least 12 times. You don't think about putting your child to bed in their favourite character pajamas to be scared only a few minutes later by one of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.

I know there was only one thing I really focused on at first, and that was doing the best for my boy as I possibly could, I tried finding the best 'routines' - not really routines as I don't like them, but more things that worked well for the both of us. I concentrated on capturing as many moments as I could, because friends and family all warned me at how quickly babies grow. One day they're babbling, one day they're arguing back with you!

In time, your child accumulates an impressive chest of toys, you start stocking up on them stackable toy storage units and soon start to realise you need a mansion just for your child's items. Gone are the days of going shopping child-free and treating yourself to a coffee, you feel so bad for being child-free enjoying yourself so much, you end up leaving with something for them anyway!

I don't like picking the toys up, although I have to - well, I help as Spud has got a lot better with his toy mess and I don't like the scary looking toys or them annoying ones that won't stop going off by themselves! There is one thing I do love though and that's having flashbacks of myself being a child and the countless hours I lost playing in my own little world.

Image Source: Hasbro
My favourite childhood toy by far has to be my Furby, my Furby was pink with a white chest, I can't remember her name, but I do remember I loved her, and would try to get off of school just so I could stay and play with her. It broke my little child sized heart when she died, and it broke my heart when she died altogether and refused to go back on - even with brand new high branded batteries.

My Furby would come everywhere with me, for sleepovers at my grandparents and to my fathers boat (before I lived with him on that very same boat), we'd have picnics and car rides, sofa days and garden days. I didn't understand half the functions she had, but I knew it was important to feed her, let her sleep, play with her and most importantly love her.

I soon grew older and one by one, just like the toys in Andy's toy box, I slowly stopped playing with them all. In was make up, posters of boy bands on my wall, handbags and accessories whilst out went the multiple toy boxes full of toys.

In the last few years, we've seen the Furby re-released, in a much more advanced state, compatible with smart phones and taking care of baby ones too, I'm not sure about today's Furby, I've not took a bond to Spud's newer one, which surprised me because I was so excited when he received it, as mentioned in  previous paragraph, I couldn't understand half the functions of my Furby many years ago, let alone these new ones that pair up with the iPhones!

I suppose you could say I'm old 'skool', I always prefer the originals, like Grease and Grease 2, why did they even try to make a Grease 2 with so many different actors? If you keep things the same, but maybe change the scenery surrounding such, then I think that works better. Add accessories and different play sets, introduce new characters, but don't forget the originals!

Let's take Thomas the Tank Engine for example, the theme tune has changed on the program, but that's about it I believe? Thomas still has that same colour blue that we all recognise, the same number he's always had and that same smiley face. Thomas still has his friends Percy, James, and Edward, but he also has some new ones!

Coincidently talking about trains, this weeks Toy Story with John Lewis is all about trains! Each week John Lewis is featuring a different retro toy from all era's of childhoods, previously featured retro classic toys have been the Fisher-Price Chatter Telephone, the Rubix cube and the teddy bear, all of which are still around these days!

What's your favourite retro toy from your childhood? I'd love to jump back to the 90s with any other 90s kids out there!

Until next time,
Jada :)

This is a sponsored post which has been written in association with John Lewis Insurance.
If you've ever met me, or if you know me, you'll see I'm on the plumper side of life. I've tried diet after diet and I've tried to cut out the 'bad' things, but I must have the worlds biggest sweet tooth, to date, the longest a 'diet' has lasted for me has been three days, then I went to a desert parlour and caved in. I think I could of ate the whole display stand, glass included, my weakness is cakes, brownies and did I mention cakes?

I'm not a professional baker, far from it, I'm someone who doesn't really enjoy cooking, but someone who loves baking - mainly because I get to taste the delicious creations at the end. I'm fortunate that my mum has always been a keen baker, she's been a cook at many schools and I loved being her little taste tester on weekends when I was younger when she would come up with new recipes!

I loved watching mum bake, even now when I look back I'm sure she had some magic power hidden up her sleeve, no measuring spoons, jugs or scales, mum weighed nothing out and got everything just perfect. Two of my favourite bakes from my mum has to be her gypsy tart and gooey triple chocolate brownies.

I've tried making the brownies, I've tried making the gypsy tart, I've not tried once and given up, I've tried maybe a few hundred times (maybe a slight exaggeration) and they never go right, just like the apple crumble and Tiramisu I've tried making more then once! There is however one thing I can get right, and that's cake including cupcakes - the simple, but delicious and moist sponge type! 

I'm just a mum, like my mum, who likes baking. I bake with Spud and I bake alone, I love following recipes found online, passed down from my mum and sticking anything and everything together that suits my fancy to create one of my 'masterpieces'. Apart from friends and family who've tasted my cakes, asked me to make cakes for them and who's witnessed my many Facebook cake statuses, I've never shown any of my creations to my blog readers - until now.

To celebrate National Cupcake Week (15-21 September 2014) Betta Living have a fantastic competition running for bloggers to be in with the chance of winning an impressive £750 worth of vouchers and a equally impressive runner up prize of £250 vouchers! To get involved in the #bettabakeoff, please visit the Betta Living website where you will find the full terms and conditions!

In short, competition entrant's have to write a post containing photo's of their cupcakes along with the recipe. Please be kind when reading on further, I've never shown my baking skills off to anyone outside my friend and family circle, it's already taken me three days to write and re-write this post and still now I'm really nervous about the feedback!

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My Oreo Cupcake Creation

Every November, me, my sister Paula and my brother Paul go on a adults day out to Swindon to purchase Christmas presents. Last year browsing the local market, I come across a cake stall, and me being me naturally bypassed all the other stool sellers and headed straight to the lady with the elf hat selling cake! I purchased a Oreo cake for myself, and a gingerbread man one for Spud.

To be honest, although the sponge was moist, I'm not sure what the baker used for the colouring but the taste of the sponge wasn't quite nice. Wanting to make something similar using Oreo (it's my favourite biscuit), but without the same sponge, I got practising until I finally come up with something I'm not afraid to let friends and family taste!

Recipe: Using only good quality ingredients! 

For the sponge:
8oz butter
8oz caster sugar
4 medium eggs
8oz self raising flour
2.5ml vanilla essence

For the butter cream:
6oz butter
12oz icing sugar
2.5ml vanilla essence
A dash of milk.

Special ingredient:
Oreo biscuits - mini or regular size - quantity depends on how many cakes you want to bake, and you'll also need some for the butter cream topping. 

Method for the sponge.

Preheat over to 180 degrees. Using cupcake cakes, add two Oreo's into each case.

Beat the butter, then add the caster sugar, beat them two together then add the vanilla essence.

Add one egg at a time beating in between each one, sift the flour into the mixture and continue to beat the mix together.

Add a equal amount of cake mix into each cupcake case fully covering the Oreo's.

Bake for around 14-18 minutes until golden brown. You may want to press down on the sponge to see if it bounces back - if it does, it's cooked! You can also use a clean knife, insert it into the middle of the cake and if it comes out dry, the cakes are cooked.

Method for the butter cream.

Beat the butter, then gradually add sifted icing sugar, continue to beat and add the vanilla essence. Beat the mix until its starting to look pale, then add the dash of milk.

Using a sealed sandwhich bag, or something similar, place a regular sized Oreo biscuit, or two mini Oreo biscuits into the back and seal making sure there is no air. Bash the sandwich bag with a rolling pin until the Oreo/Oreo's are all crushed.

Add the crushed Oreo's into the mixture and leave in the fridge until firm. Once the mixture is firm, beat it once more and either add it to your icing bag and swirl onto the cupcakes, or do what I do when I've got no one to impress, or I'm just being lazy and use a spoon to add a equal amount onto each cooled cupcake.

Then finally...

Enjoy your cupcake! If anyone does follow my recipe, I would love to see some pictures of your designs!

Ohh and don't forget to at least lick the spoon from any left over butter cream :)

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I still have lots of practising to do with my icing, I need to have a whole day of watching cake decorating tutorials on YouTube, but for now, when you stick the cakes on a fancy cake stand (courtesy of a review) add some wrapping paper in the background, they do look quite presentable I think. They taste amazing, and I'm not just saying that because I made them, but after changing the ingredients a few times and having a mess around, I believe these are just perfect.

Considering only two years ago for the Queens Jubilee I cooked this batch up below, I do think I've got MUCH better with my icing skills! I've not paid for courses, I'm not a professional, I don't bake every day, or even every week, I do try things a few times before I admit defeat and I do self teach myself thanks to the thousands of tutorials around on the net for free.

Apologies - this photo was taken on my old BlackBerry phone, and as you can see the picture quality isn't that great!
The Oreo idea kind of come around the same way as I made the batch above, friends and family have asked me so many times how I do it, and I tell them, but they don't always get it right, it reminds me of my mum and me! I don't have magic powers and neither does my mum, it's just practise and with that practise does make perfect!

Everyone's amazed at how I get a little bit of vanilla sponge at the bottom, then a big chunk of chocolate sponge in the middle, and again more vanilla at the top!
The secret? Fill your cupcake case as usual preferably with vanilla/white sponge but leave room for around a quarter (1/4) of a different coloured sponge. Using two teaspoons, use one to cup the different coloured/flavoured sponge, in my case chocolate, and using the other spoon, drop the sponge into the middle of the case.

Using a knife, push the newly added bit of sponge mix as far down as you can and watch the original sponge cover on top. Bake as usual, let them cool and decorate. Make sure your cake eating guest bite slowly, so they can 'see' the magic inside!

I hope you've liked my cupcake creation for the #bettabakeoff competition with Betta Living. Do check out the website if you would like to enter yourself! I wish every single entrant, myself included the very best of luck!

Until next time,
Jada x