> The Beesley Buzz

Miss T at nearly 2 and a half (29 months)

I'm combining up Miss T's monthly update for 29 months (I can't believe she will be 2 and a half next month!) along with a quick Kids in the Kitchen.

I've not had much motivation for cooking this week but that hasn't stopped the kids. I came downstairs yesterday to find D and Miss T with aprons on and ingredients out having decided that they were going to bake a cake....

...and a blue cake at that!

They used this microwave cake recipe which is brilliant for kids as there's no oven involved (but remember things still get extremely hot in the microwave) and it's really quick. Just 4 minutes cooking time and the cake is ready.

The only difference to the recipe was that they added some blue food colouring.

I was so proud of them as they worked together and insisted on doing it without any grown up help at all. The only thing I did was get the mixer set up ready when they were struggling to cream the margarine and sugar together by hand.

As for the rest of Miss T's update this month...

D painted this 'TARDIS' which he and Miss T love to play in

  • She's developed a bit of a Dr Who obsession after our visit to the Dr Who experience when we visited Cardiff on our recent road trip. Haven't published our Cardiff day yet so that is still to come on the blog. 
  • She insists that we call her Dr Who and J is a Dalek and mummy is Amy Pond. I know kids often have pretend names at this age. J used to think he was Peter Rabbit for a long while and insisted we called little brother D, 'cottontail'. But I think a Dr Who obsession at aged 2 is unusual. Particularly as she has never watched Dr Who herself. 
  • When asked if she would like X or Y (e.g. would you like a piece of cake or a piece of chocolate) she responds 'both' and reaches out with both hands and takes a piece of each. 
  • She still loves cooking and is sometimes a little over zealous sifting the flour...
  • H and P (hoppy and patch), her favourite cuddly toys, have to have granola for breakfast everyday and she won't eat her breakfast until they are sat with (an empty packet) of granola. 
  • At bedtime, Daddy will whistle each night to catch our attention to go to say goodnight to Miss T. She has taken to copying that whistle with an 'eh eh ehh' sound. Hard to explain - will have to try to catch a video clip of it in future.
  • She is hilarious at the self-checkout at Sainsbury's. When the check-out asks 'Have you swiped your Nectar card?' She replies out loud 'No'. 
  • She gets sent her own products to review now...She's our little toyologist for Toys R Us this year (review to follow soon!)
  • On 1st September when we were in Bray on our road trip, we heard her count 1-10 for the first time ever. We were stunned as we hadn't taught her that and she's not yet started pre-school. 
  • And the day before she turned 29 months, on 10th September we heard her get upset at Daddy and mutter 'hate you daddy' under her breath. Again rather stunned because she's much more likely to be telling us that she loves us. I think I can guess that she may well have picked the 'hate you' up from when her two brothers storm off in a rage! 
But she is still utterly delightful and adorable and cute. Here she is 'sleeping' in the 'TARDIS'.

Linking up Miss T and D's 'blue cake' with Kids in the Kitchen...

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The Chocolate Boutique (Day 1) continued of our #52sleeps road trip

Continued from part 1 here, this is my diary-style write up of our 52 sleeps road trip....

Where were we? Oh yes, dinner. We were hoping to try out a nearby tapas bar called Lolita's but it didn't open until 7pm (which is usually the kids bedtime), so we headed off to nearby Italian restaurant Amalfi's. It had some great reviews on trip advisor and we found it to be a nice place, with a friendly family run atmosphere and great, genuine, Italian food. 

Although we didn't stay for dessert (because we had a generous portion of chocolate awaiting us in our hotel bedrooms remember), we had eaten starter and mains. There was a big choice encompassing pasta, pizza, meat dishes and fish dishes as well as a whole host of specials. 

I had lemon chicken and capers which came with a side dish of vegetables, Richard had duck with back pepper sauce and mash, also with a side portion of vegetables. J had a huge pizza and D had a tagliatelle dish. 

Definitely worth booking ahead for Amalfi's though. We were lucky to get a table as we went as soon as they opened for the evening, but by the time we left, they were totally full. 

Despite a light rain shower, we did make it back to the beach in the evening. 

Bournemouth is beautiful. We had been before but that was many years ago pre-children. There are sandy beaches for miles, plenty to do to keep busy, but also quieter spots if that's what you prefer. 

Off to Cornwall tomorrow! Having had some lovely stays in Cornwall in the past which you can read about here and here, it will be interesting to see how the LateRooms.com stays will measure up. 

Quick note about breakfast at the chocolate boutique: as well as full english fry up, a chocolate pancake was also on the menu! And chocolate buttons to eat too! 

The bed proved to be just perfect for my back. A rare thing to find a bed as suitable as my own bed so I'm really pleased about that.

This was written up on 19th / 20th August 2014. 

Sweet Dreams at The Chocolate Boutique and Beautiful Bournemouth Beach (Day 1 of our #52sleeps roadtrip)

Earlier in the year my very clever husband won the LateRooms.com 52 sleeps competition and we enjoyed a fabulous road trip where we got to stay at 9 of these amazing places. You can find out more about our road trip and see Richard's winning video here. I wrote up a series of blogposts during our roadtrip which we are publishing upon our return. So this one and the one's to follow were written up diary style at the time...

One of the photos in our original video was based on The Chocolate Boutique (remember the photo of Richard falling asleep in a box of chocolates with chocolate smeared all over his face!), well today we arrived at the real Chocolate Boutique. I'm actually writing this up sitting on a firm and comfortable bed (anyone reading my GOPO / arthritis blogposts will know just how important that is to me!), in a stunning room, decorated in colours of chocolate brown and raspberry.

We have two rooms between us all and a well stocked tea tray was just what we needed upon arrival for tea and hot chocolate. As well as the tea tray, we have found a really special treat in our rooms - chocolate! 

The Chocolate Boutique run weekly chocolate making workshops usually at weekends and this is definitely somewhere for me and Richard to come back to once the kids have grown up and left home!

Although not particularly designed with children in mind (it is the perfect place for friends or couples to visit), we managed perfectly well with the double room and twin room. Miss T is old enough to just about manage a shower rather than a baby bath and we brought along her Koodi pop-up travel cot which is great for fitting into pretty much any space as it is so compact and folds up really small too.

We've already popped down to the beach (not far from the hotel at all), and are looking forward to dinner nearby. The hotel itself doesn't have a restaurant for meals other than breakfast but there are plenty of places to eat nearby. There is a hotel bar which does some exceedingly tempting sounding 'choctails' (chocolate cocktails).

Although there's free wifi here, I'm planning on writing up posts whenever I get the chance 'diary style' but then publish them once we're home so I get a chance to sort through and upload photos. Gifts from the pirates wrote up their Center Parcs posts like that when we met them at Center Parcs last year as part of our remit of being Center Parcs bloggers in 2013 and it was a fantastic way of remembering those memories.

So dinner next, then perhaps an evening visit to the beach if there's time.
Eating chocolate!

Spotted in the mirror eating more chocolate! 

Standing at the foot of my bed eating...you guessed it...chocolate!
Day 1 of our road trip was written up on Tuesday 19th August 2014

You were a seed, who turned into a flower, who made me.

British Gas are trying to find out all about bloggers' nostalgic and retro items we have in our homes and the story behind them. You can find out more here and see their infographic about the history of home heating here.

My retro item which brings back tons of nostalgic memories is my mum's little red glass vase. It has one of those bases with small bubbles blown into the glass.

I've kept just a few of her items that were special to me because they reminded me of her. With her Iranian background I have kept some Iranian photo frames, wooden boxes and trinkets. But those things have been packed away in the loft.

The one item I keep out is this vase - Totally non-iranian, just kind of from the sixties or seventies I guess.

Yes it reminds me a bit about my mum as she loved flowers and this vase only fits pretty much a single stem in it. She would often pick a few random flowers from the garden to go in it. Sometimes a just a daisy or some forget-me-nots. Nothing special - but because they would be put in that little vase, they would become special.

I think the reason it is so special to me and the reason I cannot part with it is not so much that it reminds me of mum, but it kind of represents my own childhood and my special memories with my mum. If I had more time, I would dig out photo after photo where that vase is in the background (or mum would make me hold the vase with a garden flower in because she liked photos to have flowers in as well as the person being photographed).

That vase was always there. It was a constant in our lives. That vase was never packed away or thrown out and so I've never been able to throw it out either even though it is actually impractical as it holds so little and out of place as it doesn't match anything else. Yet it is special.

I had totally forgotten about this next thing - but thinking about flowers, it has just popped into my mind. My mum did used to say something a bit mean to be when I was being 'difficult' and whilst we were away recently I found myself saying the same thing to my son. About how when you have a baby it is like you are planting a seed and you hope that seed will grow to bloom like a beautiful flower. You nuture it, water it and look after it, and you want that seed to be a flower and not a weed when it grows. When my mum was at the end of her tether with me she used to say I'd grown up to be like a weed because she was (quite rightly) trying to make a point about my behaviour.

Anyway I found myself rather cross and at the end of my tether with D whilst we were away and I told him the same story and explained that's what my mum had said to me. I told him in the hope that he would realise that his behaviour was a bit 'weedish' and grotty and improve.

When we got home, he spent ages with scissors, glue and sticky tape then gave me this.

It reads "You were a seed, who turned into a flower, who made me." The springy out bit reads "I love you".

It was so beautiful and heartfelt. It just made me cry. We've gone on to have a lot of 1:1 time together as I think he misses out on that because of his big brother's needs and his little sister being at a demanding age. Perhaps one day he will look at that vase with nostalgia and think of me and our special memories together.

This is my entry into the British Gas History of Home blogger competition. I am entering via The Black Pearl Blog


Our Epic Road Trip

During the summer holidays we embarked on something that was particularly adventurous for us....A road trip with 3 kids in tow. That might not sound like a big deal but when you have kids that don't travel well for various reasons, then it really is a big undertaking.

Earlier in the year my very clever husband won the LateRooms.com 52 sleeps competition where you had to send in a photo or video of yourself asleep to celebrate the release of their brilliant ebook called 52 Sleeps. The ebook features 52 of the most special and unique places to stay in the UK - one for every week of the year. The prize was to win a night at each of these places.

Richard put together a video of him having (not quite) 52 Sleeps in various poses designed to reflect some of the cool and quirky names of the places featured in the 52 sleeps ebook. The ebook features places with interesting names like The Chocolate Boutique, Crazy Bear, Wizards Thatch, and The Joker Boat.

Here is Richard's video which won:

When we looked into the detail, it wasn't practical for us to stay in all 52 of the places and with 3 kids in tow, not all of the places are suitable for families. However Laterooms.com have been brilliant at making the arrangements and allowing us the flexibility and practicality to travel as a family so that we were able to embark on an epic road trip travelling as far as St Ives in Cornwall, into Wales, and up to Liverpool and Leeds staying in a total of 9 different places over the course of 13 nights.

We had an awesome time and visited places that we would never have thought of going to if it wasn't for Laterooms.com.

We have not been asked to share our experience but as it was our main holiday for this year and the longest we've been away from home in over a decade, we made diary-style notes on our travels and took hundreds of photos so we are going to be capturing some of those memories on our blog.

Here's a summary video to give a little taste of what's to come on the blog in the coming weeks as I get the chance to sort out our photos and upload them.


Pink Shelled Again! This time with Super Mario Bros 2 Door hangers

You might remember that with our Nintendo challenges a couple of months ago, we invented the concept of being 'pink shelled' after realising that the term 'blue shelled' could be related to everyday things that go wrong (see this post here for an explanation of the Blue Shell Blues).

Being 'Pink Shelled' became our way of saying that something good has happened unexpectedly and as Nintendo bloggers we have certainly been pink shelled with some lovely surprises recently.

Here are some of our Nintendo 'pink shelled' moments:

We received these Nintendo cookies unexpectedly as a treat.

Yum Yum!

Then we received a fabulous craft box to keep us busy during the summer....

And then another surprise box, this time containing a kit to make our own New Super Mario Bros 2 inspired door hangers.

It arrived on the last day of the school holidays so it was perfect timing to beat that end of summer boredom.

I'm really pleased with how the door hangers turned out. The kids worked really hard on them. Miss T needed a bit of a helping hand but enjoyed using the glitter glue.

D was the only one brave enough to trace the Mario and Luigi characters to use on his door hanger. He did really well.

Thank you Nintendo for giving us so many Pink Shelled moments this summer!