> The Beesley Buzz: 2019

Healthier flapjacks

I love to attempt making healthier versions of my favourite foods. Just over a week ago I got a phonecall at midday from Miss T's school...she'd had a bad fall and injured her ankle quite badly.

When I went to collect her from school during her lunch break she was worried about missing out on dessert...which was flapjacks that day.

We took her piece of flapjack home for her to eat at grandads house that afternoon but it made me realise that I never knew how much she loved flapjack.

I decided to make my own but with a few healthy twists...taking out the refined sugars and replacing butter with coconut oil and rapeseed oil.

Ingredients:

100g coconut oil
400g oats
95g rapeseed oil
80g dessicated coconut
150g raisins, sultanas or dried mixed fruit
100g honey
86g Apple puree

Method:

1) grease and line a baking tray (I used size 27cm x 23cm) and preheat the oven to 180c.
2) In a pan melt together the coconut oil, rapeseed oil, honey and Apple puree. Then add in the oats, dried fruit and dessicated coconut.
3) Mix really well and then press into the baking tray.
4) Bake for 25 minutes at 180c.

When I made this I forgot to add the honey and Apple puree into the oil mixture so I had to add it in after but it still worked out ok.

It made quite a crumbly flapjack so next time I think I'd experiment with more Apple puree, or coconut oil and perhaps without the dessicated coconut because not everyone likes coconut as much as I do.




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Christmas 2018

How are we already in February!!! I was determined to get Christmas 2018 written up before January was out but somehow that didn't happen. Better late than never I suppose! 

As someone who usually hugely dislikes Christmas, I actually enjoyed it this year. Probably because we kept things very low key. Having missed booking a Christmas online grocery slot, I didn't even have to do any Christmas food shopping in advance of Christmas. We just made do with the regular food we had and I'd bought a small turkey crown ages ago to pop in the freezer. My own nutloaf was already cooked and sliced and frozen too all ready for Christmas day.
In the run up to Christmas, Miss T had loved opening the gorgeous little fabric bags on her Evie Michelle advent calendar with a pretty bow in each pocket.


These beautiful bows really were the highlight of our advent in the run up to Christmas! Thank you so much Evie Michelle!!!

D read us the story of "Santa Goes on Strike" - you can read our review here and I can see this becoming an annual tradition to read this book each year.
One of the things I do enjoy about Christmas is making our own family traditions. For example, the kids know that no-one is allowed downstairs on Christmas morning until we've opened stockings upstairs first. So they all pile into our bedroom and open their stockings on Christmas morning. It gives me a few minutes longer in bed too so that's a bonus.

Most years we try to remember to take a family photo of us all. It is quite possibly the only day of the year that we manage to get a photo with us all in it!


We do a bit of present opening in the morning and then more after lunch to spread it out throughout the day.

Daddy cooked amazing yorkshire puds this year...



I like to attempt a homemade dessert when there are no guests to worry about. (Things always go wrong when I try to cook for guests!)

This year Real Handful provided us with the ingredients and recipe for the perfect Christmas dessert. We love what these guys do, their snacking philosophy and you can sense the passion of the family behind these fab snacks. And kindness too - I remember them sending me some get well snacks whilst I was recovering from my hip replacement surgery - How kind is that! 
We actually decided to make two of these desserts - one to share and a mini version too. They are Chocolate dessert bombs made with pannetone, icecream, real handful blood orange burst and chocolate drizzled over them.
Miss T was overwhelmed with some of her Christmas presents - this made us all cry when we saw her cry with happiness.



And then it was all over for another year.
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Guestposting at Britmums

I'm thrilled to have been asked to write another guestpost for Britmums, this time about our decision to home education two of our children.

You can read the guest post here


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Banana and blueberry breakfast muffins (gluten-free, no added sugar)

It seems I've REALLY been into banana muffins lately. We've made some with and without sugar recently but I wanted to go one step further and see how they would turn out with gluten-free flour and using coconut oil in place of butter. 

I'm so pleased with how they turned out - they're quick enough to make for breakfast and healthy enough to eat for brekkie too!
 Ingredients:

1 mashed banana
2 tbsp almond milk
1 egg
40g melted coconut oil
140g free from fairy plain flour
1.5 tsp baking powder
0.5 tsp bicarbonate of soda
80g sultanas
55g fresh blueberries (optional)


Method:
1. Preheat oven to 180c. Line a 6 hole muffin tin with muffin cases.

2. In a large bowl mash the banana with a fork, mix in the almond milk and add the egg.

3. Add the flour, baking powder and bicarbonate of soda into the same bowl along with the melted coconut oil.

4. Finally mix in the sultanas and blueberries.  The blueberries are optional - I had a few that needed using up.

5. Spoon into the muffin cases and bake for around 25 minutes at 180c (or until a skewer comes out clean).



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Banana muffins recipe (No added sugar)

When D came home from school with banana muffins he had made in food tech that tasted amazing, I knew I wanted to make some more but wondered if they would work as well without any added sugar.
So I added an extra banana to the recipe, increased the amount of sultanas and took out the sugar and I think they've turned out well.

Ingredients: (to make 12)

280g self-raising flour
150g raisins
4-6 tbsp milk or water
80g butter (melted)
2 eggs
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
3 ripe bananas

I mashed the bananas in my Kenwood chef mixer using the K-beater attachment, then added the egg, and milk. I actually forgot to melt the butter first but just beat it well but I think melted butter should work better ideally.

Next I weighed out the dry ingredients and then added them to the wet ingredients and gave it a short mix to get them all mixed together.

Divide into muffin cases and bake in a pre-heated oven at 180C for around 15 - 18 minutes until a skewer comes out clean.

The original recipe including the sugar is as follows:
280g self-raising flour
100g caster sugar
4-6 tbsp milk or water
80g melted butter
2 eggs
80g sultanas
2 ripe bananas

Follow the same method of combining wet ingredients together, then dry ingredients together, then mixing the two together.
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Day 5 - Summer Holidays 2018 - National Space Centre - Leicester

Day 5 was the last day of our summer break and it was the day we were heading home. We had noticed that en-route home there was a space centre in Leicester. Little did I realise that we'd spend the whole day there and love it SO much.
It was a little further off the motorway than we thought but it was well worth the detour. The tickets can be upgraded (for no extra charge) to become annual tickets and I would love to have the chance to visit again before our year is out.

I've always had a bit of a fascination with space but hadn't realised just how much I was into it until this visit. Richard had bought me a telescope a few years ago but apart from the odd bit of stargazing I hadn't really done anything else particularly 'space' related in my life. 

I found this place to be totally awesome. In every place I looked I came across the most fascinating facts about space - I was mesmerised.

The tickets include a 3D show in the planetarium and that was incredible too - we did find it a mixture of annoying and funny to have a toddler behind us asking "what's that?" with every new thing that came on screen - but I reminded my kids that they too were that age once and that they too can still be pretty annoying at times.    

J has had a fascination with the book and film, The Martian, recently and so it was fabulous to see the space suit that Matt Damon wore in the film.
There was just so much to see and do that even after spending the entire day there I still felt I had more to see that I hadn't had time to fully enjoy.

The gas show was really educational and fun for the kids to watch.





I would thoroughly recommend this place to all! It certainly was my highlight of our few days away.

Then it was home through buckets of rain on the motorway with my head filled with wonderful space facts.

Previous blogposts:
Day 4 - Alton Towers
Day 2 - Blue John Cavern
Day 1 - Arriving in Staffordshire
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Day 4 - Alton towers - Summer Holidays 2018

Whilst it may seem like I have missed out Day 3 of our break, I didn't actually take any decent photos to share. It was actually a stressful day with issues with J in the morning and D in the afternoon. We visited Cannock Chase country park which was a lovely place to visit but it was ASD issues galore that spoilt the day.

Onto Day 4. Now if there was ever a time in my life that I felt totally stupid, this was it. We had made the decision to have our summer break in Staffordshire, not far from Alton towers on the basis that I had won several tickets for Alton Towers as part of the Pepperami promotion. Staying up late and waking up in the early hours to enter the codes had proved fruitful. 

It had almost become too obvious as we have even told everyone that we were heading up to the Peak District because of these Alton Towers tickets and we needed to use them before the end of the season. We live too far to make a day of it so we ended up focusing our whole summer holiday around these tickets.

So naturally I assumed that Richard had packed the tickets because it was such an obvious thing to pack (he is normally in charge of things like tickets and passports) and he had assumed that I had packed the tickets because I had won them (as I'm normally in charge of making sure I have anything related to prize wins). On the evening of Day 2 (well technically in the middle of the night) I suddenly had a sickening feeling in my stomach as it dawned on me that I hadn't packed the tickets for Alton Towers and that I hadn't seen or heard Richard mention them either. I awoke him to ask him as we had planned to make Day 3 our Alton Towers day. 

We spent a good few hours awake in the night trying to figure out what to do. It was unlikely that we could turn up to Alton Towers and tell them what happened - why would they let us in without tickets. Would we get another opportunity to visit this part of the country before the expiry date on the tickets? Unlikely. Could we get a courier to bring the tickets to us from home? Expensive. 

In the end it was good old Royal Mail to the rescue, along with some fantastic help from granny and grandad who retrieved the tickets from our house and sent them 1st Class guaranteed by 9am delivery next day which meant they arrived in time for us to visit Alton Towers on Day 4 of our break rather than Day 3 but at least it meant we could go! 

We waited by the windows watching for the Royal Mail van - we didn't want to miss signing for the delivery after all that had happened.  













Me and Miss T had a fabulous time in Cbeebies land in particular. She loved Justin's house and I loved the Charlie and Lola part. The rides were just right for us and not too scary.

The boys headed to some of the bigger and scarier rides.

We decided to have a late lunch / early evening meal at the Rollercoaster restaurant. Now be warned, we had planned ahead and on the website it had said no bookings at lunchtime and that lunch continued until 5pm. When we turned up they said lunch ended a lot earlier and that reservations were needed in the evening. As we had screenshots of their website details and had made our plans for the day according to this, they did find us a space for our meal in the end. I wasn't too impressed with the veggie options so only had a starter myself. It is definitely more about the experience of the food arriving to the table on the rollercoaster tracks than the actual food itself which wasn't anything too special.



So that was day 4 but little did I know that the best was still to come in Day 5's adventures! 

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