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Popcorn-rockin’ cupcakes

17 April, 2014 0 comments Leave a comment

by Helen Jenkins, currently living the high life in San Francisco :o)

Give me a dessert any day. Main meals? Yawn. Why stand in front of the cooker for
an hour making something that will be gobbled down in less than 10 minutes. It doesn’t come
naturally to me and I’m just not that good at it. Even my nearly-2 year old doesn’t think much
of mummy’s cooking. This evening, she un-plated her dinner on to the table. Charming.
Cakes on the other hand, I could happily take forever to bake something and it be gobbled down
within 10 seconds I don’t care. Not that I’m any better at it than main meals, mind. But the
difference in enjoyment is phenomenal. I‘ve been quietly excited in my house all week waiting
to get a moment to bake these insanely appealing Caramel Popcorn Cupcakes, which are all
the rage on Pinterest. 

I was slumped over my laptop for far too long looking for the simplest of the Popcorn Cupcake
recipes (I ended up combining two recipes) especially ignoring ones that didn’t call for making
your own caramel. I need to make these things FAST before the nearly-2 year old pulls down
the oven door trying to climb to see (stupid American design), or the 3 year old cries because
I’m not yet giving her the bowl to lick. This time round the 2 year old poured a pint of water all
over the worktop and I managed to create a layer of uncooked cupcake goo everywhere. 
They’re not going to do my husbands diet any good (He just got infatuated with his new
weighing scales gizmo from Withings which apparently lets him ‘quantify himself’ – what?
Anyway, it connects him digitally from the moment he stands on the scales, it reads his
weight & heart rate, counts his steps and tells him if he’s had a good night’s sleep.
The gizmo then publishes it all up to the digital cloud in the sky so he can see it on an app
on his mobile phone, so he can tell me that he’s lost weight. I could tell him that when
I stand next to him on the scales and see his weight, or sleep next to him in bed and hear
him snore. I digress… (I’m just jealous that I’ve not lost as much weight as him in his first week). 
So, back to these heavenly cupcakes. Just try them. They turned out really soft and springy.
The kids gobbled them up in no time. I think I’m going to serve them at my nearly-2 year old’s
second birthday, except I might just make really mini versions though - they’re rather sweet.  
No good for the husband’s obsession with his weighing scales. So tomorrow, I’ll be sending
the remaining cupcakes in to his office for them to get fat on instead. I might just have to keep
one though…. Or two… Aaagh, I can’t give them up!

Caramel Popcorn Cupcake Recipe
Ingredients for the Cupcakes (found these on Best Home Chef, by Melissa Darr) 
125g butter, room temperature
1 tsp vanilla extract
250g brown sugar
2 eggs
1 tbsp golden syrup
150g self-raising flour
1 tsp Baking powder (I added this as I don’t think the ‘Cake Flour’ here has a raising agent in it)
1/2 tsp cinnamon
125ml milk
12 Werther’s Original sweets (Yum, but optional for the centre filling.
I took one taste of the butterscotch frosting and figured I didn’t need any more sweetness).

Ingredients for the Butterscotch Frosting
(found this on Fine Cooking, by Greg Patent)  
60g unsalted butter
90g firmly packed dark brown sugar
60ml heavy cream; more as needed
170g icing sugar
1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract


Preheat oven to 170 degrees. 
Set out muffin papers in muffin tin.
Beat butter, vanilla and brown sugar with mixer until light and fluffy.
Beat in eggs one at a time; beat in golden syrup. 
Fold in sifted dry ingredients and milk.
Fill the cupcake papers half way and make an indent in the mixture. 
Pop one Werthers Original sweet (optional) in the indent and place the rest of the mixture on top. 
Bake for about 25-30mins. 
Set cupcakes aside to cool.
Melt the butter in a heavy saucepan over medium-low heat. 
Add the brown sugar and stir almost constantly with a wooden spoon. 
After 2 to 3 minutes, the sugar will melt and smooth out, and the mixture will begin to
bubble (it’s alright if it still looks separated at this point). 
Once this happens, stir constantly for 2 minutes (less if the sugar smells like it’s burning).
Carefully add the cream and stir constantly for another 2 minutes. 
The mixture will thicken slightly and look smooth and glossy. 
Remove the pan from the heat and let cool for 5 minutes, stirring frequently.
Beat in the confectioners’ sugar and vanilla with the wooden spoon. If the frosting seems
a little dry, beat in more cream, 1/2 tbsp at a time, until it’s thick, smooth, and spreadable.
Swirl on a bit of Butterscotch Frosting and throw a few caramel popcorns on top. 
Et voila! 

Thank you Helen! We'll be trying these beauties over the weekend. xxx

Easter Instagram Giveaway!

07 April, 2014 0 comments Leave a comment


Brighten up your Easter holidays by winning this lovely lot.
All you need to do is:

Repost this photo in Instagram,
Follow @burpboutique and 
Tag #Easterburp

to win!

Prizes include:
Boys&Girls Bright As Day sweater (available in Sizes 1-2 years, 2-3 years & 3-4 years)
Anorak's Super Duper Heroes colouring-in book
and Anna Chambers' Lemon bunny soft toy (or you could go for the blue of orange one if you wish)

You have just over 1 week.
Winner will be picked at random.
Good luck!


Constructive play

04 April, 2014 0 comments Leave a comment

We’re a big fan of making things and using our imaginations at burp! towers.

We love tactile experiences and the joy of seeing something grow piece by piece 

in front of our eyes. It helps us to not only gain a sense of spacial awareness, but 

enables us to tackle creative and engineering challenges simply by connecting one

brightly coloured block to another. Lego is obviously the major player in this arena, 

with offerings for both boys and girls, though in recent years I’ve noticed it being
bit more boy-heavy and the girl ranges a bit too pink for my liking.

In this regard it’s heartening to see the rise of toys like the wonderful GolideBlocks, 

(which we’ve mentioned before on this blog, though which unfortunately are still 

unavailable in the UK) aiming themselves squarely at readdressing this gender

imbalance. Hopefully following in Goldie’s footsteps are three new companies
aim to bring out the “Artist, Architect, Engineer, and Visionary” in our little ones.

First up is Roominate, whose kits enable children to construct their own wired up 

dollhouses. The founders, Alice and Bettina – two engineers out of Caltech, MIT,

and Stanford are on a mission to get more girls interested in engineering. They 

believe that early exposure through toys will inspire the next generation of female

technology innovators.

Strawbees is a Kickstarter project out of Sweden that recently achieved it’s funding

by over 450%! The simple set of plastic pieces allows children to build huge mechanical

objects from standard straws and cardboard, you’ll have a little Buckminster Fuller on 

your hands in no time!

Finally, another successful Kickstarter aiming to bring “gender disruption in construction

toys” is Build & Imagine whose play-sets are composed of beautifully painted wooden

panels, called StoryWalls, and matching wooden dolls. Children can build the StoryWalls

play-sets into any structural design they choose, and they’ll magnetically snap together. 

The illustrations on each wall artfully combine to create scenes that act as a launching

pad for the child’s imagination.

We’re all for using play to help construct our children’s cognitive skills and we’ll be 
to get some of these into our budding builder’s little hands at the nearest opportunity!



36 and a half weeks pregnant....

04 April, 2014 0 comments Leave a comment

Yep, here I am, over 8 months pregnant and not massive I suppose.
In fact it's gone down in size by 6cms!? How is that possible?
I have to go for a scan next week to see what's going on but the baby
is moving around constantly so I'm not freaking out.....I don't mind being
small as I am only small myself! At only 5' I wouldn't want a ginormous belly,
I would be a Weeble. Plus this means it'll be a smaller baby to deal with on the
exit. Ahhhh labour, that glorious thing -  I haven't given it a thought. Evie took
ages (33 hours) and was fairly traumatic so I'm hoping this one will literally just fall
out! Like when 21 year old Jessica Wynter gave birth in her onesie just by getting
out of the car! Yes that is true, check it out here. She didn't even realise! And that's
how it's going to happen with me, ah yes, one cough and out it'll fly, Super Baby.

So being 36 weeks means that I need to get all the baby stuff and start getting
sorted just incase it decides to rear it's head early, and my god, isn't there a lot
of stuff that you have to get? I totally forgot. The romantic joys of buying boob pads,
maternity pads, nipple cream, milk expressers, nappies, nappy bags.
The list is endless! 

I've also been getting suuuuuuuper tired, not everyday but some days just wipe
me out. The merest of things like having a shower and getting dressed and I'm
huffing and puffing like Pete's Dragon, maybe that's been the smog too? 

We are looking forward to meeting this new team member, especially Evie who
loves kissing the bump, it's very sweet. I just hope that carries on once the baby
is actually here! Although I reckon a lot of poking and prodding will be going on.
Names are still slightly elusive and I'm sure we'll be scribbling them down furiously
whilst I'm in labour again. 

Our baby's first outfit will be no less than a Mysterio tshirt, it's always fun to see what
future they're predicted, plus some trousers with feet. These are essential, well I think
so anyway, who wants to faff around with socks that just keep coming off?
And the Noodle Ricestorm will be an ace first, squidgy toy.

Q&A with Emma Parkes-McQueen

25 March, 2014 0 comments Leave a comment

Who are you and what do you do?

Hello I am Emma Parkes-McQueen and I am the founder and designer and phone
answerer at Rockabye-Baby LDN. Me and my small but perfectly formed team create
babies and kids wear with  "fun fashion and attitude" . I try to put a little bit of humour
into those beautiful yet stressful times of being a parent with a small baby in your life.

What makes you laugh?
When my five year old asks for whisky instead of fruity sparking water ( he means
to say champagne but gets it confused with whisky - easily done). 
I have always loved
a double entendre and Morecame and Wise are a pair of genius (geniei??) too. Lots
of things make me laugh actually. My happiest times are when I have a sense of humour -
although I am the first to admit I can often get a bit serious and forget I have a cheeky side. 

Where do you get your daily inspiration?
When I lived in London and Amsterdam - I was constantly bombarded with coolness
and things that would inspire me - plus there are no end of galleries  and museums to
visit for bit of inspiration - now I am out in deepest darkest Hertfordshire I have to say
that I do tend to use the internet and books for inspiration more than I ever did. 
I do have my monthly London soak up where I can just smell in the city and all it offers
and usually come away with lots of idea's - I usually have too many ideas anyway it is
trying to pick the right one that people want to buy - that is the tricky part. 

Where's your favourite place in the whole wide world?
Ohh that's tricky - I am lucky enough o have studied away from home and met my
partner who comes from different town. I have also worked and lived in another country.
So I feel that I have a connection to all of these places . The view from the roof of the
former St Martins building that used to be in Holborn was amazing. The view from
Waterloo bridge on a cold grey day when the landscape splits into a stage set of greys
is pretty spectacular too. 
As for a favourite place it could be snuggled up under the blankets
with my kids around me - as I know it will be short lived - Ohh still too tricky to answer!!!!

As a child, did you like dressing up? 
Not really but I do remember tap dancing in a metal tray on the living room carpet as you
couldn't hear  the tippy tap taps otherwise - I was a bit of a show off - but never had the
real confidence to get up on stage - strange!

Do you go out much without the kids? If so where? (we're not stalking you, honest)  
Love bike rides and generally being outside - doing something that doesn't cost anything
to be there - they are always the best adventures even if it is freezing cold and raining.

What's your favourite film?
Bugsy Malone

What food is evocative of your childhood? 
hot dogs in rolled up slices of white sliced bread. It was a yearly treat and the only meal
we could eat in the living room - every other meal was at the table

Do you have a special talent ?
Too many to mention,  but I can do the splits!

What's next? 
Infinity and beyond  - or maybe to the next stage - I would love to take the business
to the next level without loosing my sanity or  the ability to spend (some) time in the
week with my kids - but we'll see - I have a plan - but life very rarely goes to plan it just
sort of happens and ten years later you look back and go " how on earth did I get here." 

we are proud to introduce....

24 March, 2014 0 comments Leave a comment

I discovered Emma, the designer behind the label, after doing a disastrous baby show last October.
She was also there exhibiting and her clothes are soft, fun, bright and very burp! So out of a bad
situation came a ray of light. And not only do we all love her clothes (Evie especially, which is a
great mark of approval) but she is also a very lovely genuine person.

We will be following this blog post with a Q&A from her but in the mean time please cast your eyes
over the few bits we've selected and there are only a few bits. The shop won't be full of seasonal
clothes this year due to the imminent arrival of burp! baby number 2 :o)



Moving to San Francisco

14 March, 2014 0 comments Leave a comment

Seeing as I'm having a baby in a few weeks time I thought it would be nice to concentrate a little 
more on the blog and have less pressure of the shop. A few friends said they'd love to get involved
too, which is great! Having a group of strong, beautiful women who are dealing with little people and
adding their thoughts to this blog means a lot to me. So I am very proud to introduce you to a wonderful
friend of mine, Helen, who moved to San Francisco last August and left a big hole in my life!! I miss them
dearly but am seriously excited for them too with all the new adventures that they're experiencing, plus
what a great holiday destination for us! James and I spent a month in California before Evie was born
and we had an amazing time travelling around. 
So if you've been thinking about moving abroad this post might help you come to a decision.

Helen, we look forward to hearing about your West Coast adventures with the family.
And thank you so much for taking part in this.

My husband and I moved to San Francisco in the summer of 2013 with our two little tykes in tow.
Zoë is 3.5 and Lola is nearly 2 and they keep me ‘busy’. They also give me the biggest excuse to
lap up this place and get out and explore. So far we’ve settled well, seen some cool places and
are working on our accents. I hope to bring you some insights into living an expat life. 

Moving from rain to rain (finally).

Goodbye England, hello San Francisco and hello new life, figuring out how it all works over here
and how people roll. 

This move has been many years in the making. My husband is a planner. It’s in his DNA. He planned
this relocation years ago, long before we met. It was a loose plan, simply to work in America, but a plan
nonetheless. Exactly 12 months ago, the plan started in earnest. Just 4 months later we got married
(it’s so romantic, marrying for the sake of a visa, isn’t it?) and 3 months after that we were on a plane
to San Francisco, with our two kids, age 3 and 1, in tow.

To anyone who is thinking of relocating to another country, do it. At times it has been hellishly nerve-wracking
and exhausting and I’m sure there’ll be more of that to come, but give it a go, embrace it as much as you can
(while staying as English as you can) and if it does’t work you can always go home. No regrets.

I have learned a lot of important stuff since we arrived. Apparently it’s not cool for pedestrians to wave a nice
little thank you to drivers while crossing the road in California (reaaaally annoys me) but it is cool to join a
mother’s group where they drink wine during afternoon playdates in the park (love!). 

I am, of course, also loving the Californian climate, how could I not? I rarely see a cloud and hang out in the
warm sunshine. I’m not gloating, in fact far from it. I’m watching the wet British weather with bated breath as
we still own a house 200 metres from the River Thames and we're just a couple of miles upstream from Datchet
in Berkshire, one of the villages getting huge coverage in the media for its rising waters. 

In huge contrast, California has been assigned official drought status as we’ve had so little rain. I can count on
one hand the number of days it has rained since we arrived 6 months ago, which is great for my general sanity
while I look after the kids, but the local farmers are incredibly worried for their crops and there’s talk of the price
of food rising by a third. Thankfully we’ve now had a big dump of rain and the hills around us are turning from
brown to green. We donned our full wet-weather gear last weekend and splashed about in the rain and puddles
as only Peppa Pig could. We were the only people outside, it felt great. 

So I’m probably still on my honeymoon period (in more ways than one… as I mentioned above). It certainly helps
that we’ve moved to Marin county, which is quite an affluent area and stunningly beautiful. Sometimes it feels like
I’m on a movie set when I’m surrounded by mums with beautiful straight white teeth, long blond hair, wearing their
sports gear to the playground saying 'Way to go, bud!' to their kids.

Talking about funny Americanisms, I entered a running race recently and my husband was in stitches when 
people were shouting ‘Way to finish!’ when I crossed the line. This phrase seems to have many different endings, 
any which way you choose. Of course, there’s also the well-known words like diaper vs nappy. Or sidewalk vs 
pavement. But really, it’s a completely new language I’m having to learn, as different as French is to English. 
And I need to pepper my sentence with these funny Americanisms just to be understood. However, faucet, garbage 
and trash are words I can’t bring myself to adopt. Faucet (tap to you and me) because it sounds so eighteenth-century, 
and garbage and trash because… well, I just can’t. 

Way to stay English!


we love blogs

12 March, 2014 0 comments Leave a comment

It's been a while since we've posted about a good blog, but here is the
one we're 
currently loving, Life With Munchers

This is a beautifully styled blog which has a bright and airy feel to it and has
fabulous photos to accentuate the great content. I've been tweeting with 
Mummy Muncher for some time now and she's a lovely lady with a great
eye for design. Her posts include her life with little daughter Mini Munch, 
Daddy Muncher and all things that catch her eye. She has even been nominated
in 6 categories for the MADs awards (Mummy & Daddy Blog Awards) which 
is brilliant! Along with her Ordinary Moments she has tips on lots of things
including techy stuff, how to do up do's plus great giveaways (Rockett St George
anyone?) We think you'd be easily pleased reading this blog. It's very up beat
and happy and looks fabulous too, much like the Munchers themselves.

Click here to view the blog


being a mum with ambitions...

02 March, 2014 2 comments Leave a comment

This week has been tough, I won't deny it, I had a total melt down on Friday. The tears

didn't stop flowing. It all started with my 4 year old daughter acting like a teenager when 

we went swimming. She didn't want me anywhere near her and kept saying she wanted 

to be on her own and giving me seriously bad attitude, oh and that she just wanted Dada. 

Usually this doesn't really upset me but I'm now 32 weeks pregnant and hormones are 

getting a bit rife. Things got worse after that when she wouldn't listen to a word I would
and kept running off plus my bump was seriously aching. A little shouting episode
from me 
when she nearly ran into the road and then it was all, 'Daddy, daddy, daddy'
of course. 
It is the way of the child and especially our child!

So what with daughter acting up, I had all the house chores to attend to, you know

cleaning the house - I'm not mental about cleaning but I do like a clean home. I've asked

for help regarding these tedious tasks but they seem to get ignored. (Although husband

has just put up a toilet roll holder I asked him to do 3 years ago! Progress!) Just because 

I have tits I seem to be definitely the one that has to attend to these jobs otherwise they 

wouldn't get done. I pay the bills, try and save us money by changing companies, make 

sure the laundry is done, make sure there is food in the cupboards, that the dinner's 
and that everyone is getting their quota of proper nutrition, remember to take 
my medication
everyday and learn more about my health issues. I do the gardening, 
clean the car, change
light bulbs... you know just normal boring life crap.

Oh and then I have a business. I find the stock, list the stock, design graphics for the site, 

create emails, engage with customers, trawl the internet for humorous things to post on 

Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter and Instagram, try and write exciting, entertaining and thought

provoking blog pieces. I try and find new ways to excite customers and promote sales, gain 

new customers and get more sales, oh and get even more sales as at the end of the day 

have bills to pay and these need covering! I want to earn money from this whilst promoting 

amazing designers and helping to neutralise the whole gender stereotyping. I have 
to pay for, new stock to pay for, I try and find fairs or events I can sell at, I try and understand
marketing, Google Analytics and am constantly thinking of ways 
I can promote and
improve burp
without spending a fortune. I need to expand my email 
database but how do
I do this?
More competitions? More special discounts? The business 
is in a state of rigour
mortis at the
moment which I don't understand. It's stressful, money is 
flowing out and not
enough coming
back in to cover the x's. Oh and I'm expecting a baby at 
the end of April.....

So Friday I lost it. My coping mechanism just snapped and I cried, and cried and cried
 a bit more. Sometimes I think being the man would be easier. Just going to work
earn the main
money, coming home to a clean house, dinner and seeing the child for five
to tuck up in bed.
Eat, watch some crap telly, sleep and repeat. No worries about
anything else. 
No thoughts for the
future, just to be in perpetual now - to me inertia.
That's my issue I'm never 
content with just now. I want to know that things are changing
and improving that
we're starting 
to provide for our older years. I want exotic holidays with
my family, to show my kids different
cultures, to go to festivals, to move house, I have a list
of desires and want an exciting life! 

I started this business a) because I couldn't just be a stay at home mum, no offence to
all SAHM's 
out there, 
you probably have it more sorted than me but I need to use my
brain on other things,
although am currently 
thinking this was all a bad idea! 

b) to create a successful business which people love, to create a community 
of cool parents
 who like similar things to us and to, one day, open a shop/art cafe

c) to be able to give a percentage of our profits to charities
d) and the rest of the money that I earn can
go on our future life, holidays etc.

But the reality is biting. This is hard. Starting a business so it fits around the kids is,
seriously tricky as
it's never ending. If I went off to work for someone else I could
 at 5.30pm and that would be it. With your
own online business it's 24/7, there is
a lot
 of competition and you have to keep yourself fresh to be seen, be constantly active
induce empathy and be wise to your budgets and who you spend your money with.

It's all
a juggling act. Sometimes I just need a little help, but then I did start all of this as

I want a better future for us
so we don't have to worry about every single penny spent. 

So if you're thinking about starting your own business
and you have very young children

or are pregnant just remember that there will be some very tough times ahead. There 
of course be glorious times too. I've met a host of lovely new folk through the social 
platforms, bloggers and wonderful suppliers, but on the other hand I have also met 
horrible suppliers, cliquey bloggers
and money grabbing swindlers. 

For the moment I'm thinking it will be nice for the business to tick over so I can 
on baby number 2
and not have all these other stresses, just be mummy. 

Let's all hope the
Spring brings us all a slice of joy and happiness and I will keep deep breathing.
And to all those other mum's in business, you are amazing.


kids education

25 February, 2014 0 comments Leave a comment

This year Evie will be off to big school, well bigger school than pre-school and
entering our scholastic system which, as James and I are both creatives, seems
a little too angled at creating bankers, scientists and professors. There's absolutely
nothing wrong with these fine avenues of employment but, there are a plethora of
others too. My niece told me her teacher in her secondary school poo-pooed one of
the girl's wishes of becoming a make-up artist the other day as it wouldn't make enough
money!! How short sighted and totally terrible of this teacher! Things like this make me
angry. Teachers are supposed to foster learning in what ever avenue. We're not all the 
same and shouldn't all be squished into the same business format.

James found a great Ted talk yesterday with Sir Ken Robinson, who I'd never come 
across before but totally love now. He talks wonderful sense and is humorous with it.
Can we not bring him back to Blightly and usurp Michael Gove?? I 
would like our 
children to attend one of his 'alternative' schools.

These videos are very interesting and maybe make up reconsider our society as a whole,
or should that be lack of
it when we 
willing just push our kids into this funnel that eventually
narrows down
choices to help 'business'  but ultimately, does it?

Here is Sir Ken in action in 2006.

and then in 2010

 and finally last year in 2013


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