> The Beesley Buzz: December 2019

OUT NOW: The Happy Comper Journal

I've just realised that despite mentioning it on my social channels, I never officially announced the publication of my second book The Happy Comper Journal on here. It's technically a journal rather than a reading book and you can find more details about it here (scroll down to below the section on my first book Overcoming the Odds).

Front and Back cover image of The Happy Comper Journal

As crazy as it sounds, I've not yet seen a final copy of this 'in the flesh' as it were because my own Amazon order got lost and I'm awaiting for it to be sent again.

However thankfully, there haven't been any problems with anyone else's orders so they've been arriving promptly and have been incredibly well received - I've been receiving messages every day saying how brilliant and useful it is. To be honest, I've just been blown away by the support.

With all proceeds going to charity (after the rather hefty cut that Amazon take), in the first week or so since publication it has sold enough copies to have raised over £200 for Juvenile Arthritis Research (JAR). To a small charity like JAR that is going to make a huge difference to the lives of children with Juvenile Arthritis. So a massive thank you to everyone who has bought a copy and told others about it too.

I owe a big thank you to the wonderful Neill Johnstone who blogs over at Gary Wasabi's Golden Luck Muscle who very kindly helped look over the journal for editing purposes and pointed out all the typos and so on which I'm prone to making these days despite having been spelling champ in my school days. I'm also showcasing his fab festive photo of The Happy Comper Journal which he shared on instagram until such time as my own copy arrives to take a photograph of.

I also owe a big thank you to the amazing Di Coke who blogs about competitions at Superlucky. Not only has she been THE biggest inspiration to me over the years but has been so supportive of my own little contribution to the comping world with my books. If you are new to this hobby then I always tell people that Di's blog and Lucky Learners facebook group is absolutely the best place to start.

I'm so proud of the cover - It was designed by talented artist and designer Jael Umerah-Makelemi (you can see some of her artwork here). I actually WON the cover being designed in a competition which is particularly brilliant given that it is a journal about comping.

You can read a bit more on how and why I got into this hobby on this post over at Britmums and
I've just set up a small friendly facebook group, called The Happy Compers for anyone who wants to chat about comping - you can request to join regardless of whether you have a copy of the journal. It's something new to me and totally out of my comfort zone but then again so was writing a journal! So here's to getting out of our comfort zones a bit more in 2020.


December 2019 comping unboxing video

After last month's comping unboxing video and blogpost I wasn't sure if I would do another one because a) I don't like being on camera and b) I don't like being on camera!

But it is weirdly satisfying to do, so here is our December unboxing with a few caveats...

My wonderful son edited the clips together for me because I don't know how to. So he ended up including videos where I had unboxed some of the supplements I take for my back pain. Oh well, may end up being useful to someone.

He's also taken the liberty of adding odd snippets in and as the video took over 3 hours to render I couldn't face asking him to change any of it.

However quickly we try to unbox stuff, it seems unboxing videos are destined to be long videos. I normally don't have the patience to watch anything over 3 or 4 minutes so if we carry on our unboxings then I'm going to try to condense them as much as possible.

The other caveat is that this doesn't include everything for December as I've had a few things from Advent / Christmas competitions that haven't yet arrived and also something nice that may be given as a gift in future so don't want spoilers in the video. How do unboxing folk deal with those dilemmas?

And my kids tell me my unboxings are boring. But here it is anyhow!

Oh and the prize that was destined for Miss T for Christmas has actually been hidden away for her birthday as she had plenty of other things for Christmas so sssh!!!

Mexico Memories - round up post - Riu Santa Fe with Tui, Los Cabos, Mexico November 2019

We had such an amazing week in Mexico in November and one of the things I like to do is have a summary blogpost which has links to all the others in one place so that I can find it all easily again!

Post 1 - Arriving in Los Cabos 

Post 2 - Our first full day at Riu Santa Fe

Post 3 - Another day at the pool and Tennis

Post 4 - A rainy day in Los Cabos

Post 5 - The quiet pool, the beach pool, Sunset and Michael Jackson

Post 6 - Our last full day in Los Cabos

Post 7 - Travelling home from Los Cabos


Mexico - Travelling home from Los Cabos - Post 7

Thursday 14th November was our last day at Riu Santa Fe in Los Cabos, Mexico with Tui. We knew that the coach was due around 1pm to take us to the airport so we enjoyed a final breakfast, a final swim, checked out of our hotel room and then grabbed a quick lunch before it was time to leave.

We felt genuinely sad leaving this place as it had been amazing.

The flight home was just THE BEST. We were once again on a Boeing 787 Dreamliner but this time it was far from packed full! As a lot of people were staying on for two weeks in Los Cabos and this was the first flight back, it was incredibly empty which meant we were lucky enough to be able to spread out, stretch out and SLEEP!!!

The Tui aircrew were once again fantastic.

We are so grateful to Tui and all the Tui staff and all the hotel staff at Riu Santa Fe for truly making this a holiday of a lifetime. We have so many memories to treasure forever - but I do also very much hope that we will return to Mexico one day.

Something strange and wonderful happened for about 2 weeks after our return. Having suffered from chronic pain most my life since having Juvenile arthritis at the age of 10, it has been particularly bad for the last 7 years with chronic back pain that is constantly there and then has really bad flare-ups, then improves a little but never goes away completely. Well for about a couple of weeks after returning from Mexico the daily back pain improved significantly. I can only attribute it to the Mexican sunshine doing me a world of good as I haven't managed to work out what else it could be. Sadly the positive effect on my back only lasted that short while but I truly long to return to get some relief from the pain again.

On the way back to the airport...Some familiar brands that seem to be everywhere in the world...

And in case anyone is wondering why there are far fewer photos of J these days on our blog and social media...it's because this is the usual response we get when we point a camera at him! 


Mexico - Our last full day in Los Cabos - Post 6

Wednesday 13th November 

As I look back over the notes I made at the time, it turns out that I literally only made the briefest notes as follows for this day:

  • Breakfast 
  • Beach pool
  • Lunch
  • Near/quiet pool
  • Waterslides
  • Tennis 
  • Pool
  • Showers
  • Dinner 
  • Bed
  • White themed pool party - tempting as childcare provided for age 4 plus! 
I must have had more faith in relying on my memory but I struggle to add any detail to this. So I'm going to add a few more photos from our time here instead...

We didn't go to the White Themed Pool Party but I remember it being tempting just to be able to tick it off the list of things we've done in our lifetimes as there was childcare available to enable everyone to attend if they wish to.


Mexico - The quiet pool, the beach pool, Sunset and Michael Jackson - Post 5

Tuesday 12th November

Thankfully the sun shone today after yesterday's wet weather.  It was the usual breakfast at Torote, then a swim in the 'quieter' pool as it has become known to us.

At 11am we had our departure meeting with our fabulous Tui reps Isobel and Sue in preparation for Thursday when our time in this wonderful hotel and stunning corner of the world comes to an end. The hotel management were there too keen to get feedback from this first cohort from the UK. 

None of us had anything negative to say. We've been made to feel incredibly welcome, there's something for everyone in terms of entertainment and food and the staff are truly amazing! 

I'm honestly lost for words to describe just how many people do so much to make this place as wonderful as it is and always with a smile on their faces...There are far too many behind the scenes roles to cover but from first thing in the morning to last thing at night (and possibly even through the night) we have seen grounds people keeping the grass and trees tidy, the outdoor pathways being mopped to keep them clean,  pool cleaners scrubbing inside the pool as well as the edges of the pool and collecting leaves and bugs in their nets and checking the pool chemical levels are correct. There are the towel hut staff,  the room cleaners, bar staff, entertainers, fitness instructors, toilet cleaners, restaurant staff, cooks and chefs, lifeguards, security guards and many many more people involved to make things run as smoothly as they do and I'm in total awe of them.  

We snapped this pic from the tennis courts where it felt like a teeny glimpse of "behind the scenes" - These are just a few members of staff waiting for a coach home. If you can imagine this extrapolated many times over to get an idea of the number of staff involved in this place. It's truly humbling that so many people work so hard to keep this place running as well as it does.   

Even the reps from other travel companies have always been friendly towards us when we've walked past them. 

We then headed to the pool by the beach for a while before lunch. 

Thankfully my scraped skin on my thumbs had stopped oozing overnight so didn't cause me too many problems today. I still feel silly about how that was caused by scrubbing the laundry and perhaps may teach me to take a proper break when on holiday in future rather than insist on doing certain chores!

After lunch it was over to the waterslides for a bit and then back to the quiet pool again where the kids seemed happy to play for ages. 

We tried to head towards the beach in time to catch sunset and only really caught the end of it. Hopefully tomorrow we will remember to get there a bit earlier. Thankfully those massive cruise ships had moved on today so we could admire the stunning view again.

After dinner we were keen to catch the Michael Jackson tribute show. My late mum was a massive Michael Jackson fan and so I grew up admiring him also. We were all really enjoying it until J decided it was all too much for him to cope with and once again our lives became ruled by autism. I don't want to re-live the awfulness of the evening again but suffice to say that we never get a break from autism, not even on holiday.

Today was also the first day I stopped commenting on the number of cacti there are here in Mexico.  From the moment we arrived, I was amazed at seeing cacti growing roadside on the way from airport to hotel and then all around the hotel grounds. Every few minutes I would go "Wow look at that cactus". I suppose it is because of the tiny succulents we grow as houseplants in the UK of only 2 or 3 cm tall being what we are used to seeing, and here in contrast they are 2 to 3 metres tall. 


Mexico - A rainy day in Los Cabos - Post 4

Monday 11th November

Woke up to very atmospheric skies this morning. It felt cooler than it has been with the overcast skies. It was a welcome relief after the heat and sunshine of the past few days.

Whilst having breakfast it began to rain. And it continued to do so for the rest of the day. 

We were excited to see a massive cruise ship sail by. Then another.  By the end of the day there were 3 there and had anchored there for the day.  Excitement turned to annoyance as the stunning natural features of this place were obscured from sight by these massive ships. They are due to move on this evening though (I know, I know, totally first world problems!!!) 

After breakfast, We ventured onto the beach for the first time. I could then clearly see why so many of the beaches round here are not "swimmable". The waves coming in were so unpredictable and churned the sand so much. The currents are dangerous and the beach quite steep. Even the sand was more 'sinky'. With every step our feet would go deep into the sand. 

After that we headed back to the kids favourite pool and despite the rain, the 3 of them went for a swim. I stayed as dry as possible and read my book. Thankfully there was no need for continuous top ups of sunlotion today. 

The result of spending too much time on Instagram these days....Some silly fun photos...

And not to forget the obligatory "hot dog legs" holiday photo...

Then it was lunch, followed by hanging out in the sports bar where those nachos and cheese sauce tempted me again. What is in that stuff??? It certainly looks highly processed and not like anything I would ever buy but it seems to hold this power over me where I cannot resist the stuff!

We played Dobble and read our books whilst the rain continued. By dinner time, We hadn't really burnt off enough calories to justify dinner time but still ate well nonetheless. 

There was a far smaller audience for tonight's entertainment compared to last night's Vegas show. We haven't really watched any of it properly as Miss T is so tired after dinner. 

Bedtime now. I'm hoping my body will rest and heal well overnight after stupidly hurting my thumbs. After successfully washing a few items of clothing by hand yesterday (it dried mega quick and scrubbed up well), I decided to do the same today. I know there is no reason I have to do it as we all brought enough clothes to see us through the week.  But somehow I like to feel that I've got a head start on things if I can wash a few pairs of socks before heading home.

Well I must have scrubbed them so thoroughly that I've managed to scrub the skin off both my thumbs. And it hurts! It hurts way more than you would imagine a tiny injury to  hurt. It stings every time I wash my hands and I'm dreading going in the pool again in case they sting in there too. How silly of me to have hurt myself like that!

I'm also starting to think about the flight home now we are past the halfway mark and only have a couple of days left here. 

Although I was fine on the way here, the bad flight I had before still plays on my mind. 

Night night.