> The Beesley Buzz: May 2020

May 2020 unboxing

Our unboxing video is very short this month as I decided to keep it to photos rather than proper video footage and then try using the trailer format on iMovie to see how it turned out. Well I managed to create my shortest ever unboxing video - just 1 minute long and still managed to fit in this months prizes.

It took minutes to create and seconds to upload compared to literally hours that doing a proper full video used to take. So this might be the way forward for a while. I did miss explaining the background to each prize though. So we'll see what happens going forward.

To be honest, this month I couldn't really face being on camera as it's been a month of feeling a bit fed up at times. Still glad to be staying safe at home but I found myself wondering whether and when there will be a true normality again.

Stay safe!


Sourdough cookies (yes cookies!)

So it was my sourdough starter's 3rd birthday earlier this week. 18th May to be precise. I know it's really sad to be able to remember your sourdough's birthday more easily than your kids birthdays!!! 
Anyhow we felt it was worthy of celebrating so I asked the kids what should we make as we'd made Sourdough Scones recently, and then Sourdough Chelsea buns and then iced buns using the same recipe as the Chelsea buns. D responded straight away with "sourdough cookies" - Sourdough cookies - erm, was that even possible??? I turned to the internet to find out and came across a recipe from Edd Kimber

I thought that was rather apt that the first recipe that popped up was by Edd Kimber as when D was really into baking, he was a big fan of Edd Kimber and even got the chance to bake with him once back in 2015

So using Edd's recipe as a guide but changing some of the ingredients, quantities and ratios we ended up with a hybrid cookie-cake. The texture and taste of a cookie on the outside but with a slightly cakey middle! If you want it more cookie like then I suspect more sugar in relation to flour would make it so. 

55g salted butter
100g plain flour
50g self-raising flour
1 tsp baking powder
100g caster sugar
1 egg
60g sourdough starter
vanilla extract
50g dark chocolate chopped

This makes 13 cookies

This cookie dough needs a long rest time in the fridge - so bear that in mind before you start!

1. Melt the butter in a pan on a medium heat whilst it bubbles off some water content. Edd Kimber's post explains the science of why this is necessary. Take care not to burn the butter. Take off the heat and leave to cool.
2.  Mix together the sugar, egg, vanilla, and sourdough starter. Then add the melted butter once it is cool.
3. Then add the flours and baking powder and mix until well combined.
4. Finally add the chopped chocolate pieces and mix until just mixed in.
5. Wrap the dough in cling film and refrigerate overnight.

The next morning, pre-heat the oven to 180C, roll into balls and place onto baking paper on a baking tray and bake for around 15 minutes until browned.

Remove from the oven, place on a wire rack and leave to cool.

We also made them a second time with a few more tweaks (50g plain flour and 100g self-raising, 65g sourdough starter and adding some chocolate extract too) but they tasted more or less the same as the first batch!


Arthritis since the age of 10: My advice to help joint pain. #AD

Back in 2014, I was asked to take part in a 12 week trial of taking GOPO rosehip supplements and to monitor whether I found them helpful for easing the pain I regularly felt in my joints.

Since the age of 10 I have suffered from joint pain as a result of Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis (JIA) or as it was known as in those days Juvenile Chronic Arthritis (JCA). Although it was my left hip that was most affected by the arthritis, as a result of years and years of limping and compensating for the pain in my hip, my backpain worsened.

After Miss T was born, I was finding that my backpain was unbearable. Having relied on pain relief medication (with limited success) for so long in the past, these days I hate the idea of having to take pain killers on a long-term basis. So I was more than happy to give GOPO a try.

But as I did so, I wanted to remain as objective as possible. I have tried ALL sorts of different medications, supplements and therapies over the years in an attempt to get relief from the pain so I had no reason to believe this would be any different. I kept a daily pain diary during those 12 weeks along with monitoring the various reasons that my pain level could have varied e.g. affected by the weather, had I overdone things, wearing different shoes - all these things and more can impact my back pain.

My verdict after the 12 weeks was that GOPO does work for me. It did notably improve my back pain. That was 6 years ago. Now 6 years later, many things have changed. I ended up having a hip replacement at the beginning of 2018 because the damage that had happened to my left hip all those years ago at the age of 10 was beyond repairing any other way.

I stopped taking the GOPO in the run up to the operation as they advised me to come off all medication prior to surgery. And I found myself in excrutiating pain without the GOPO. Another sign that it had really been working for me. After the surgery, I took the standard prescribed pain relief to get over the operation and then gradually weaned myself off it.

I didn't immediately re-start the GOPO because I wanted to see if the hip replacement surgery had resolved my back pain. Sadly it hadn't. So I began taking GOPO again and once again found that it made my backpain far more bearable.

I've stayed in touch with GOPO throughout all these years and am always impressed by the science that backs up their product. They also seem to genuinely care about ALL the ways that joint health can be improved rather than just saying that their product is the solution.

In the latest infographic I've received from them, it shows that looking after your joints involves movement, ensuring you are not overweight as well as using a supplement like GOPO with clinically proven results. All important advice that I myself would agree with.

Whilst this infographic is about osteoarthritis and JIA is very different to this, the joint damage that I was left with as a result of having JIA was very much in line with osteoarthritis joint damage. In those days there were no disease modifying drugs and so the joint inflammation wasn't controlled well enough by regular pain medication and my hip joint and subsequently spine became damaged with osteoarthritic damage.

One of the real positives that came out of my relationship with GOPO was a sense of regaining some control over the pain and over my situation. For so many years I had lived with, and accepted, the pain as being something I had no power over. The fact that I saw improvement by taking GOPO rosehip supplement encouraged me to look at other ways I could help to improve my pain rather than accepting it as a fact of my life.

I will no doubt continue to have good days and bad days when it comes to my back pain, but I'm doing my best to try to ensure that the good days outweigh the bad days and GOPO is my not-so-secret weapon when it comes to doing so.

The real testimony is that 6 years on from that initial trial I still take it daily and swear by it!

GOPO is available online here and from other good retailers.

Disclosure: I received GOPO rosehip supplement as a gifted product. All opinions remain my own honest opinions and I retain full editorial control of this blogpost.


2 month isolation milestone

We thought it was time for another update as 4th May marked our 2 month milestone in isolation as we began our self-isolation earlier than the official "stay home" lockdown on 23rd March. Since our 5 week self-isolation update, we've celebrated another birthday in isolation. Miss T turned 8 in April and she didn't let the current situation spoil things for her. She simply announced that she's going to have two birthdays this year and have a party once the COVID-19 situation is over. 

Her birthday usually falls in the Easter holidays and this time it was very close to Easter too so we had a whole weekend of celerations with an Easter egg hunt in the garden the next day. Our usual tradition is to go to Granny and Grandad's house for the egg hunt each year but for obvious reasons that wasn't an option. They were with us in spirit though and had even organised the eggs for the children to find by dropping them round on our doorstep previously.

Miss T continues to enjoy plenty of arts and crafts - often choosing "art" or D&T lessons for homeschooling rather than, say, Maths or English.

You may remember that J became the world record holder for Crossy Road last month with a score of 2506. Well, by the end of the month on 30th April 2020 he had continued to improve and beat his own world record with a new high score of 3303! Wow! His determination, dedication and commitment is impressive.
Although Richard is busy working on the COVID-19 Rheumatology research study, we have tried to make time for board games together as a family. Perhaps Monopoly wasn't the best choice though as it went on for hours!!!
Our cat, Star, continues to be our emotional support when days feel tough. He's just so in tune with our emotions and we all adore him so much.
And some days definitely feel more emotional than others. I seem to manage 2 weeks of positivity at a time before I have a weekend of overwhelm. Last weekend was the low weekend and so I couldn't even bring myself to write this 2 month milestone post until today rather than on 4th May.
When the days are difficult - we found that cake helps! (Baking has always been the thing I do whenever I'm feeling low).
And my sourdough starter has really come into its own. As well as enabling me to bake bread daily without the need for shop-bought yeast between grocery deliveries which are sometimes more than 2 weeks apart, I've also been able to make sourdough scones, sourdough chelsea buns and sourdough iced buns (the iced buns are the exact same dough recipe as the chelsea buns but shaped into fingers). I've also used sourdough for pizza dough and garlic bread. The possibilities are incredible!
Den building and reading have proved popular...
And we've just gradually begun to go outdoors a little bit again but deliberately finding the quietest times to keep the risks as low as possible for Miss T.

I hope the world will be in a better place by the time I write our next update because sadly here in the UK things have got far worse in the past month. So from 4th April to 4th May this is what has happened - it is hard to comprehend and so sad. As someone said to me recently just imagine what a different situation we would be in if everyone had isolated from 4th March as we did when there had not yet been a single death in the UK.

4th April 2020  41,903 confirmed cases
4th April 2020  4,313 deaths

4th May 190,584 confirmed cases
4th May 28,734 deaths

7th May 206,715 confirmed cases
7th May 30,615 deaths

Let's hope wiser decisions are made from here on.