> The Beesley Buzz

Strawberry cookies?

We set out to make strawberry cookies, but ended up with something that was a cross between a cookie and a rock cake. Tasted biscuity-cookie-like enough but looked more like a rock cake. Either way, it tasted good.


Ingredients:

150g chopped fresh strawberries 
100g caster sugar
250g plain flour 
50g milk chocolate (chopped into chunks)
Half a tsp baking powder
Pinch salt
110g butter
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla extract

Method:
1. Preheat oven to 180c. Grease and line a baking tray.
2. Cream together the butter, sugar, vanilla and egg (I used my stand mixer, scraping around the sides as needed).
3. In a separate bowl mix together the flour, baking powder and salt.
4. Pour the bowl of flour into the creamed butter and fold together until combined.
5. Add the chopped strawberries and chocolate chunks and fold until incorporated. 
6. Roll into balls and place on the baking tray. You could probably press down to flatten them slightly. I didn't as I wasn't sure how much they would spread when cooking. 
7. Bake for 15-20 minutes until beginning to turn a golden colour.

Remove from oven and leave to cool. 


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July 2020 unboxing video

So here we are at the end of another month. This year is truly flying by despite the awfulness of COVID-19. 

I've decided to take a break from doing an unboxing video in August. My heart wasn't really in it for the second part of July and it began to feel like a chore. I hate seeing myself on camera - I always look so miserable and I STILL don't know where to look to be looking at the camera properly! And far too many ermming and uhmmings for my liking. So I'm always cringing when I watch it back. 

I love watching other people's unboxings so hopefully will be back to doing another video again in future but there is a lot of "stuff" going on at home at the moment that is using up my emotional energy. My insomnia has crept back into my life and so on. 

Forgot to mention on the video that the Bird and Wild coffee was via Women Talking on Instagram. The others I think I have mentioned properly where the wins are from. It's been interesting to see that being back on Facebook this year after a long break, that I have managed to pick up a few wins along the way despite many many more people entering comps on Facebook compared to when I was previously properly on there several years back. 

Those Facebook scams are getting truly annoying though! Seems to happen to every single comp these days where the scammers with a clone account say "You won - visit my profile". I report and block them each time they appear but it is frustrating that Facebook doesn't find a way of stopping them. 

The interview / article I mention in the video was published by a local paper, The Kent Messenger and Kent Online here. I was really pleased with it because the journalist spent a long time (about an hour and a half) chatting with me on the phone - and I love talking about comping even more that comping itself! So that was a great morning. She then wrote a really balanced piece reflecting our interview. 

It then went rather crazy once the piece was published with multiple news agencies getting in touch out of the blue - and I didn't like that at all. Many didn't like taking no for an answer and kept contacting me for several days. In the end I gave permission to the original journalist to pass on to their sister company and from there it appeared all over the place like The Mirror and The Daily Star

As a natural introvert - I don't like all this attention but on the other hand I'm conscious that the driving force behind writing my two comping books was to raise awareness of and funds for Juvenile Arthritis Research and so I knew it would help with that. I was also blown away by the number of people who got in touch with me after reading the article to say how much it resonated with them with what the articles described as "the darker side" of comping. It is another reason for sharing my comping story so that others won't feel so alone if they do experience a similar situation. 


Anyway, here's July's unboxing. Since filming I had the Soltan parcel arrive and also another sun protection mist from Bioderma so we should be sorted for all this sunshine we are having this week! 

Hope everyone is staying safe and keeping well. 


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My Squeebles family by Trinity

I woke up this morning to the cutest thing and have asked Miss T if I can share on the blog which she was happy for me to do. 

We are all BIG fans of the Squeebles apps from Key Stage Fun - a range of maths related and spelling apps for children. The kids have as much fun as they would if they were playing a game and I have the satisfaction of knowing the huge educational benefits of these apps.

When J was younger they enabled him to get super good at his times tables that we would know all the times tables right up to the fifteen times table totally off by heart - it was truly incredible! 

The cute in-app characters are called Squeebles and Miss T decided to create our whole family as Squeebles. I love every single one of these that she has created:  

Daniel as a Squeeble is called Danny Boy 5:
  • Favourite food is chocolate
  • Favourite hobby is cuddling cats
  • Interesting fact: Danny Boy 5 gets on really well with other cats.


Trinity as a Squeeble is called Trinity the Greatest 2000:
  • Favourite food is chocolate cake
  • Favourite hobby is being a giraffe
  • Interesting fact: Trinity the Greatest 2000 is part giraffe.


Mummy as a Squeeble is called Mummy:
  • Favourite food is lasagne
  • Favourite hobby is comping
  • Interesting fact: Mummy once won a trip to the World's best restaurant. 


Daddy as a Squeeble is called Daddy:
  • Favourite food is chocolate
  • Favourite hobby is cuddling Trinity the Greatest 2000
  • Interesting fact: Daddy is a scientist.

Joshua as a Squeeble is called JCB:
  • Favourite food is Pepperoni Pizza
  • Favourite hobby is Crossy Road (obvs!)
  • Interesting fact: JCB broke the world record on Crossy Road and never stops eating. 

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4 month isolation milestone

Today marks our 4 month isolation milestone. 4 months without proper contact with the outside world. 4 months without having gone into any kind of shop or building other than our own home. 

Many things day to day are the same as in our 3 month isolation update  but in the past couple of weeks, I've just felt more fed up. Not fed-up of being isolated as in truth, there is not too much that I feel I miss as such. As an introvert, I can keep myself busy at home and feel sufficiently connected with friends via messages and zoom calls at the moment. But just fed-up that the covid situation is dragging on when things could/should have improved more by this point. I have a feeling we are heading into a time of divide again where some people won't feel comfortable with the easing of lockdown and returning to "normality" whilst others are desperately wanting or needing to get out and about again. So I hope that we will all be able to respect each others opinions and decisions during this time as everyone is navigating new territory. 

I certainly don't miss grocery shopping which always felt like a chore. During this time we've actually managed to work out the precise amount of milk, bread and essentials that we need from one week to the next so all those little in-between trips to the local shop we used to do won't be necessary in future either. 

We are disinfecting the grocery deliveries when they arrive so that is a "new" chore that we didn't have in pre-covid times and that can take well over an hour each time to do. We are also re-thinking hygiene all around the house ready for when we may have visitors in future - so shoes are strictly to be removed in the porch only. This is something we tend to do ourselves but it is harder to insist for others to do. We've been super strict with not even taking 1 step beyond the porch whilst wearing shoes. 

I've ordered new handtowels so that we have plenty for washing even more regularly than we do at the moment. I am thinking of doing a 1-use and wash small towel system in our downstairs loo, I used to do this when I was childminding and it helped with good hygiene. 

We have hand sanitiser by the front door so once we put our shoes on we can use that to clean our hands when leaving the house, and we all wash our hands thoroughly when we get back indoors. 

The other thing I haven't missed at all is catching all the normal illnesses - all the little coughs, colds, tummy bugs etc. and avoiding nits. It's something I remember being a big plus point of when we homeschooled previously. Although hayfever seems to have been bad at times this year in our family, it has been brilliant not to have caught any illnesses because of not coming into contact with anyone else. 

So this past month we've had the one year anniversary of Miss T's tooth trauma, Father's day, J's 16th birthday, and plenty more baking and crafting adventures. 

I know a lot of people may be using this time for armchair travelling planning places to visit in future or just seeing wonderful places at the click of the button on the internet. We've found ourselves so thankful for this little blog where we've kept so many of our travel memories  so we've been using our previous blogposts to reminisce.  

Going out mainly in the evening continues to be our norm and J has been running regularly again with D joining in for some walks. 


The photos have ended up in a rather random order, but we also have the new section of patio more or less finished (needs a bit of cleaning up and then made to look nice with garden furniture and accessories).

And our raspberries have remained fruitful meaning that we've had to find even more ways of using them so we made another batch of our raspberry and chocolate muffins (using white chocolate this time). We've also added them to scones using this recipe with raspberries added in place of sultanas. And of course raspberries are great in smoothies too like the unicorn smoothie we made.

I've included photos of our chocolate dipped strawberries too as they remind me of happier times from last summer. After one of Miss T's hospital appointments in London we headed to Harrods as I had a voucher to use. A Harrod's voucher doesn't stretch very far but we thought it would be a fun experience for Miss T. It was rather too busy for our liking but Miss T chose a cuddly toy and then in the chocolate department she had her heart set on a cone of chocolate dipped strawberries.

However much I tried to convince her that £10 for 5 strawberries really wasn't worth it, she really really wanted them. We got the strawberries and enjoyed every mouthful. At the time I still hadn't felt it was worth the price tag but it's funny how perceptions change over time.

Now I look back so fondly at that memory and it makes me smile.

So recreating our own chocolate dipped strawberries brought back the memories from that day - but at a fraction of the cost.















At the start of all this back in March when we began our isolation, I honestly thought that by June and July time we would all be emerging slowly and cautiously into a covid-free country. Sadly that is not the case. I hope that by the next milestone update, that the situation will be more positive. In the meantime, we continue to take one day at a time and remain truly grateful to all those amazing keyworkers getting us through these difficult times.
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Unicorn smoothie



I've wanted to have a go at making a layered smoothie for a while. I have a vague recollections of managing to make two tone ones a few years back by making sure one layer was a lot thicker than the other. Avocado smoothie as the bottom layer and peach smoothie on top. Vanilla oats smoothie on the bottom and berry on top etc.

So being at home, this was the perfect opportunity to try a smoothie with more layers.

After a spot of googling, it turns out that it is best to freeze between layers to ensure they don't mix together.

So I started with a base of banana smoothie blending together a banana and milk. I saved this across 4 smaller containers.

Taking one of the containers, I tipped it back into my blender and added blueberries.  This gave us the purple layer at the bottom of the smoothie.

This was poured into a glass and popped into the freezer. A quick rinse of the blender and then I added the next portion of banana smoothie along with a handful of strawberries and blend.

I poured it into the glass once the purple layer was sufficiently set to stop the layers from bleeding together. Then repeated with raspberries (This didn't give a huge colour variation so you could try cherries instead?) And the final layer was our final portion of banana smoothie.

The horn and ears were made of greaseproof paper and edible marker pen although as it didn't touch the smoothie any clean paper and a felt pen should be ok. A squirt of aerosol cream and a sprinkle of edible glitter gives the final magical touch.

We made another batch of our raspberry and chocolate muffins (this time using white chocolate) and this was the perfect drink to accompany them.

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June 2020 unboxing

So after a few trials and tribulations I finally managed to rescue my June unboxing video from my ancient iPad (which itself was a prize win from many years ago). Anyway, here it is!

I've had a strange month emotionally again - I blame the COVID situation! At times, I've really enjoyed this hobby and at other times I've felt the negative feelings creeping in and feeling like the balance of enjoying it and NEEDING it to get through the day is shifting.

But that's what we've been doing, getting through each day, one day at a time.

I've had times when I really didn't want to do an unboxing video at all but I know I really enjoy watching other peoples so ended up doing one after all. The video is a combination of both video and some still photos. I felt lucky with Father's day comps this year winning some random draws including some fab clothes for Richard and some T-shirts for my little nephew.

We've been busy with a garden re-vamp so I'll be on the lookout for anything garden related over coming months - especially garden furniture but also accessories and plants or garden centre type vouchers. I'd love to be tagged in any you see and if you have anything specific you want to be tagged in, let me know and I'll tag in return! My handles are:
@Rebeccabeesley on Instagram and
@TheBeesleyBuzz on Twitter.

Hope that July is a good month for you all!



Links to the books I mention are as follows (all proceeds go to Juvenile Arthritis Research charity):


               


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