> The Beesley Buzz: May 2016

The Pursuit of Happiness - Britmums Book Club book review

The pursuit of happiness: and why it's making us anxious by Ruth Whippman was the latest Britmums book club read. Overall it was a fascinating, enjoyable and at times funny book. Probably not the most diplomatic way to do this but I had just a few niggles and negatives so I will get those out the way straight away so that I can go on to focus on the many positives of the book. So bear with me as there was lots about it that I did like. 

What I didn't like...

The book seems to have taken me forever to read as there wasn't enough page turning content. It was great for dipping in and out of but nothing so pressing or engaging to keep me coming back to read more. 

I found myself confused about how seriously to take this book. There is no doubt in my mind that a lot of research has gone into it. Many studies and publications have been reviewed to feed into it. There are some serious issues discussed in the book including mental health, depression and suicide. And yet there is humour and jokes scattered throughout and I personally struggled with this. I would have preferred the tone to be either humorous throughout or serious throughout. Having bits of both left me confused. 

I felt a lot of repetition - from very early on, I could sense where the conclusion was going to lead and the same themes kept coming up. Whilst that must be what the author found as she researched this topic, it felt rather repetitive to me as the reader. 

Final negative... I didn't like the cover. Again I found it confused. Was this a serious book or a funny book? I think I would have preferred a smarter, more sophisticated looking book cover. 

Now onto the many things I did enjoy about this book. It is absolutely not a "self-help" style book and indeed a large chunk of the book is devoted to questioning the self-help industry and the role it plays in the pursuit of happiness. 

There is much interesting and hugely fascinating research mentioned in the book, some eye-opening statistics as well as the authors own experiences, including both planned case study style observations and natural observations about her life and experiences.

I enjoyed the cultural comparisons that were bound to occur when a British journalist moves to America and tries to settle into a new way of life there.

The case study of Zappos, an American company adopting 'fun' at the heart of all it does as their (highly manipulated) choice of organisational culture reminded me of all the business case studies that I used to read back in my university days. It also revealed a darker side that can be uncovered when happiness becomes such a priority over and above the actual wellbeing of employees. A similar story played out in some of the other cases that Whippman looks at with high rates of depression going hand in hand with high rates of happiness as people feel forced to hide their true feelings when they are feeling low and aren't able to express the full range of natural human emotions. 

I LOVED the chapter on social media and how that is impacting people's lives and personally I would have loved to see more on this topic. I think there is a whole study just waiting to be done on the social media phenomenon and I would even throw blogging into the mix as I have my own theories as to why these things have taken off in the way they have done. 

Then, towards the end of the book, on page 251 we come across a few short sentences that for me hold a huge story within them which went totally unexplored..."Then I realise. The product isn't happiness. It's hope." 

That is a key gem in this whole book and it feels a missed opportunity to have explored and re-explored 'happiness' throughout the book, then to come across this potentially huge piece of the happiness jigsaw and just carry on without giving it further regard. 

If you are looking for a book that will make you think, laugh, ponder, reflect, and then laugh a bit more, this is a good read. 

You can see what others thought of this book on Britmums Bookclub here. 

Disclosure: I was sent a copy of this book for the purpose of review. All opinions are my own. 

Snoopy & Charlie Brown: The Peanuts Movie - Review for Mumsnet

We have been lucky enough to be sent a download code for watching Snoopy & Charlie Brown: The Peanuts Movie on Digital HD via Mumsnet Blogger Network. D watched the movie ahead of half-term and here's his Q & A style review.

Review by D, aged 10.

Can you tell us what the film was about?
It's about a boy called Charlie Brown and his friends. And of course his dog, Snoopy. Charlie Brown always gets things wrong and makes mistakes.

Snoopy is really funny. He finds a typewriter in the bin and starts using it to write stories.

What is the main plot of the movie (don't give away any spoilers please!)?
When a new girl starts in Charlie Brown's class, he does his best to impress her but he's worried that he's going to mess up in front of her.

How does Snoopy help him and get involved?
Snoopy is really the comedy part of the film. He writes a story on his typewriter that is actually based on what is happening in the film with Charlie Brown and the new girl in class.

Tell us about Charlie Brown's friends?
Well, they are a unique group of friends because they each have something special about them. For example, Linus always has his special cuddle blanket with him.  Lucy is always trying to prove Charlie Brown wrong. Peppermint Patty is good at ice hockey. Pig Pen is a boy who is always messy and covered in dirt!

Are they funny?
Yeah - some of them.  

Who was your favourite character and why?
Snoopy because he is just the funniest!

What did you think of the movie overall?
It was funny and quite romantic.

Who do you think would enjoy it?
Anyone who like the Peanuts books and all Snoopy and Charlie Brown fans. I think children and grown-ups would enjoy it.

What was your favourite bit of the movie?
When Snoopy tried to get into school but wasn't allowed. That was quite funny.

Anything else you want to tell us about it?
I enjoyed it. :-)


You can see what others thought of the movie and a trailer for it here. 

Disclosure: I am a member of the Mumsnet Bloggers Panel, a group of parent bloggers who have
volunteered to review products, services, events and brands for Mumsnet. I have not paid
for the product. I have editorial control and retain full editorial integrity. All opinions are our own. 


Yo-kai are hiding all around us: Review of Yo-kai Watch for Nintendo 3DS

Yo-kai Watch is the fantastic new game for the Nintendo 3DS, fresh from Japan where it is already a huge hit and is set to do the same here. Yo-kai are mysterious and full of special powers. Invisible to the naked eye, they hide all around us. But if something goes wrong in our everyday life, it is probably a Yo-kai behind it! 

Getting hungry? That would be Hungramps. Forgetful? That's down to Wazzat. But their powers are also useful - Blazion is a Yo-kai that gives people competitive bursts of energy.

Your Yo-kai Watch is what enables you to see the many Yo-kai around you, befriend them and harness their powers.

Here's our resident gamer, 11-year old J, with his thoughts on this exciting new game:

On Yo-kai Watch, you have to collect Yo-kai and defeat all the bad Yo-kai.

Whisper helps you, and as you advance through the game you befriend more Yo-kai to help out. There are also strong boss Yo-kai that you have to defeat. The first Yo-kai that you befriend are a Cadin and a Buhu. Shortly afterwards you meet Jibanyan, a cat who wants to be reunited with a picture of her previous owner.

My yo-kai that I use to battle are nicknamed : Jeff, Catupine, Dave, Machoman, Skippy, and Meemaw. Catupine and Machoman were created by fusion. To use fusion you go to the temple and talk to Mr Zen. I combined Jibanyan and Coughkoff to make Catupine and I combined Dulluma and Mochismo to make Machoman. Catupine and Machoman aren't their real names; I just called them that.

The bosses are really cool and scary. The first boss is a three-headed Yo-kai. The second boss is a giant pig with two old men in towels doing a weird dance in the background. The third boss is a pirate Yo-kai with a ship. The fourth boss is a giant Yo-kai that looks like a clown. Your Yo-kai level up a lot when you defeat a boss Yo-kai.

Yo-kai Watch is a really fun game and I give it twelve out of ten!

With over 200 Yo-kai and hundreds of quests, there are hours of fun with this game. The battles are in real-time so you need to pay attention, choose your team well, think on your feet and support your Yo-kai to defeat your opponents.

Through the game you can explore the huge town of Springdale, with its shops, parks, bustling city streets and serene forests. Choose to either help out the local community with their problems in order to solve mysteries in the main story, or take on one of hundreds of side quests that are available in the game.

Yo-kai Watch, rated PEGI 7, is available now. Find out more, and get a free demo, from the Nintendo website.

As Nintendo Family Bloggers we were provided with a download code for this game. All opinions are our own. Non-watermarked images are courtesy of Nintendo. 


What a Marvel-lous day! (and Competition info)

The actors that play Black Widow, Captain America and Spiderman in Marvel Universe Live
We had an amazing weekend in London last weekend with our Madame Tussauds visit where we enjoyed the Angry Birds exhibit, the Marvel 4D show and the Star Wars display. We ended the weekend on a real high with more Marvel excitement as we had been invited to find out more about Marvel Universe LIVE at a special event at the Disney store on Oxford Street.

*Competition Info*
Before I go onto tell you about just how AMAZING the Marvel Universe LIVE show sounds, I want to tell you about an awesome competition that Disney are running to win the Ultimate Marvel Family Experience. For every Marvel product purchased in store or online until 4th June 2016, you can be in with the chance to win this VIP experience...It includes VIP tickets to the UK Marvel Universe LIVE tour, travel and accommodation, and a Marvel Universe Live goody bag. Sounds great, doesn't it. You can find out more on the Disney Store competition page (terms and conditions apply).

Disney store has a brilliant range of Marvel products - to go through them in detail would need another entire blogpost (which we may well do because the kids are loving their Marvel toys and I'd love to tell you about them), but in the meantime you can see some of the items here.

Disney Store also have loads of weekend activity planned to celebrate the release of Captain America: Civil War. You can join in the fun at Disney stores across the UK and Ireland on Saturday and Sundays from 3 - 3.30pm until 4th June and everyday during May half-term (28th May - 4th June 2016). You get to pick whose side you are on; Captain America on his quest to remain independent to defend humanity or Iron Man who wants to support the government in their mission to protect the people. With a quest to complete, puzzle pieces to find and Avengers battle moves to learn - this really does sound like a fun activity.

Anyway, back to our Marvel-lous day...

We got to meet three of the actors who play the roles of Captain America, Black Widow and Spiderman in the Marvel Universe LIVE show. To call it a 'show' sounds a little lame as it is so much more than that.

Having seen the trailer it looks phenomenal...there is a story behind it and yet there is so much more with motorbike stunts, martial arts action, acrobatics, pyrotechnics, and packed with Superheroes taking on Marvel's most sinister villains! It sounds totally unique, epic, amazing, incredible and awesome.

Here's the trailer if you want to see for yourself:

We felt so privileged to meet these performers and hear a little about what goes on behind the scenes of such a huge and technically advanced show.

It was interesting to hear that a fully equipped gym travels on tour with them as staying fit and in peak condition is vital for managing to do all the stunts that they need to do in the show.

I loved the inspirational advice they gave to the kids too about staying healthy, eating well and following your dreams. 'Spiderman' told us to always remain childlike in our hearts.
A spot of superhero training going on here
The kids also got to do a spot of Superhero training to build up their strength, and Spiderman demonstrated his skills with a backflip.

Marvel Universe LIVE! begins in the UK on Wednesday 7th September 2016 in Nottingham before visiting the O2 in London, then going onto Birmingham, Glasgow, Sheffield and Manchester. The complete list of tour dates can be found on the website.

You can also follow Marvel Universe Live on facebook at www.facebook.com/MarvelOnTour, on twitter @MarvelOnTour and on Instagram @MarvelOnTour

A final word on that competition...As someone who adores competitions, over the years I've found that purchase necessary type competitions like this one, tend to be lower-entry than general competitions that anyone can enter without purchase. In addition, there are 14 prizes to be won which is brilliant. Good Luck! Remember to keep hold of that receipt as proof of purchase too!

A massive thank you to Marvel and Disney for inviting us to this special event and for the fabulous goody bags.


Wax lyrical about the new Angry Birds exhibit at Madame Tussauds

After giving a glimpse into our exciting weekend in London, I wanted to go into more detail about just how amazing we found Madame Tussauds to be. (Warning: This is a photo-heavy post - I just had so many things I wanted to include!)

We had been invited to see the new Angry Birds exhibit on it's opening day last Saturday timed to coincide with the upcoming launch of the Angry Birds movie this Friday. Having not been to Madame Tussauds since I was a kid, I was really quite excited to see how things had changed.

Back in those days, I remember it being much like a boring museum and I didn't really feel it was engaging in any way. I have a feeling that you couldn't even get up close to the wax exhibits as they were roped off and had to be viewed from a distance.

My how things have changed. The excitement began before we had even set foot inside. I saw Miss T shyly waving to someone. My immediate thought was "Who on earth is she waving to? We don't know anyone in London." Then I looked up and saw a picture of C-3PO. She has recently become a massive Star Wars fan and it was C-3PO that she had spotted.

Once inside, we got to see the new interactive Angry Birds exhibit. Unlike the other wax exhibits, this one has a digital backdrop showing clips from the movie that you can actually interact with.

Our favourite parts were making music by running up and down and popping balloons.

Just like the other waxworks, you can get right up close to the stars of the Angry Birds Movie, 'Red', 'Chuck' and a huge sized 'Bomb'.

I did wonder whether it would be obvious to people that it was an interactive display rather than just movie clips playing in the background, but later on when we went past it again, I overheard a member of staff explaining all about it to visitors.

It was great getting to see this amazing digital first for Madame Tussauds on it's opening day. It is going to be at Madame Tussauds: London until July, before touring Madame Tussauds attractions worldwide.

Alex Lambeek, Chief Commercial Officer at Rovio Entertainment, commented: “It’s wonderful to be part of an exciting first for Madame Tussauds, which very much reflects Rovio’s mission to bridge the digital and physical worlds and bring the Angry Birds to life in new and stimulating ways. The experience is very playful, very colourful and a lot of fun. Guests get transported into key moments from the movie as the animation plays out around them, and Red, Chuck and Bomb have obviously achieved film star status now, with their own Madame Tussauds figures.”

Another way that Rovio are bridging the digital and physical worlds is their exciting new game Angry Birds Action! By scanning special 'bird codes' located out in the real world, augmented-reality minigames can be unlocked within Angry Birds Action! You can find out more here.

With the Tussauds exhibit, the new movie and the new app with the BirdCodes initiative - this really is an exciting time for Angry Birds!

Whilst we were there we couldn't pass up the opportunity to see the other exhibits on display. We were truly wowed.

It would have taken far to long to take photos of/with all the waxworks but we made the effort to do so with some of our favourites. Here are some of our highlights...

For my late mum who adored Tom Cruise and Michael Jackson...

Princess Diana was also a huge favourite of hers but even all these years later, Princess Di's waxwork was still being mobbed by fans, we didn't mange to get close enough for a pic as a squabble was taking place between others getting photos with her.

For Richard, seeing Arnie as Terminator was a blast from the past as we grew up in the era of the original Terminator film.

For me, well being a blogger, I couldn't bypass the opportunity of sitting in Zoella and Alfie's bedroom for a photo.

I also snapped a pic of the Queen as I think she is just amazing to be going strong at 90 and remaining so committed to her duties as Queen.
There was so much that the children could relate to as well. We loved seeing the great scientists, artists and historic royals. What a fun way to learn more about history.

The current sportspeople and athletes.

They recognised Morgan Freeman as they have seen him in the film Evan Almighty playing 'God'.

One Direction, who I am guessing would have at one time proved the most popular exhibit, were looking rather lonely so we joined them for a photo.

There was plenty for Miss T to see too.

There was an awesome Marvel area and a 4D Marvel movie which was amazing.

And then, the grand finale...I know that our task that day was to focus on the Angry Birds exhibit but having a 4 year old mega Star Wars fan in the family, it was the Star Wars section that really made Miss T's day.


She did not stop smiling throughout the Star Wars section. We could tell it really meant so much to her. After all this is the girl who, when asked what she wants to be when she grows up, answers "I want to be Luke Skywalker".

She watches Star Wars movies literally every day and when she drops an item says 'don't worry, I'll use the force to pick it up'.

The Angry Birds exhibit is great. We'd recommend visiting to see it whilst it is in London. But whilst you're there, there is so much more to enjoy too.

Thank you Madame Tussauds and Rovio for inviting us to the opening day of the Angry Birds exhibit. We went on to see a preview screening of the Angry Birds movie the next day which tied in so well with our visit and then had a special Marvel event to attend which again was perfect timing following our visit to the Marvel section of Madame Tussauds.