> The Beesley Buzz: July 2014

A long overdue Wot So Funee in Wetsuits!

This time of year I have found myself reminiscing a lot about last summer before the summer holidays started. Because the boys were both being homeschooled at the time, it just gave us time to do so many fabulous things.

Once of the best things was getting a few days away in Cornwall last July (yes - a whole year ago - last July - this post really is rather overdue!) We had the most glorious weather and just had an awesome time at Sands Resort and Spa in Cornwall. You can see a little video here that we put together of our holiday snaps.

The weather was so great that we just spent the whole time either in the outdoor pool or at the beach. As Sands hire wetsuits for free, we took the opportunity of using them for our visit to the beach.

After spending a good 45 minutes or so getting the kids kitted out in their wetsuits followed by lots of heaving and squeezing and shoving and pulling to get ourselves squished into our wetsuits, D looks at us up and down and simply states: "You look slim." Then silence.

I'm still not quite sure what he meant by it as I certainly didn't feel or look slim having had to squeeze so tightly into the wetsuit - but I just sense it was his relief that we finally managed to get the wetsuits on.

Linking up to Actually Mummy's Wot So Funee as it was Helen's post about their lovely time at Sands that reminded me to write this one up!


Kids in the kitchen - Panko chicken nuggets

Once again Miss T has been busy in the kitchen, helping both mum and dad with the cooking ready to link up with Kids in the Kitchen. In my usual haphazard way of cooking to use up ingedients that need using up, I had a pack of diced chicken and a pack of panko breadcrumbs I had bought out of curiousity so we put them together to make Panko Chicken Nuggets.

After a quick reminder to make sure Miss T remembered not to eat the raw chicken and not to put her hands near her mouth whilst handling raw chicken (after the sausagemeat incident a few weeks ago!) we were ready to start.

So not really a proper recipe today as it is just a case of taking the chicken pieces, dipping in plain flour, then into a beaten egg (mix in a little milk to make the egg stretch further) and then toss into the panko breadcrumbs to coat.

They were then fried in rapeseed oil to start the cooking process, then finished off in the oven at 180C for 15-20 minutes until thoroughly cooked through.

Panko breadcrumbs are a japanese style breadcrumb that is lighter and fluffier so can end up tasting crispier. They turned out really well and are a much healthier option than processed chicken nuggets.

With the rest of the chicken, she helped daddy make a chicken and bacon pasta bake. This little girl just can't get enough of cooking!

Have you entered our current giveaway yet. Details here.
Linking up with Kids in the Kitchen:

blogbadge photo badge_zpsf0b88074.jpg

First time felafel recipe

I've always loved felafels. Mum had some Lebanese friends when we were growing up and they made some awesome ones. But I'd never made them before.

I decided to have a go at making my own on the basis that I had some fresh parsley and lemons that needed using up and I had some tinned chickpeas and cannellini beans sitting in the cupboard. So as seems to have become my customary way of trying new recipes I just tried to put together things I had at home and see how it turned out.

1 tin of chickpeas (400g tin with a drained weight of 240g)
1 tin of cannellini beans (400g tin with a drained weight of 240g)
Half a large pack of fresh flat leaf parsley (ie around 50g)
3-4 cloves of garlic
Juice of 2 lemons
Rapeseed oil for frying
Around half a teaspoon of each of the following: ground coriander,ground ginger, black pepper, ground cinnamon, ground cumin, garlic granules.

1. Drain the chickpeas and cannellini beans and rinse in fresh water, then drain.
2. Blitz together the chickpeas and beans in a food processor (I used the chopper attachment of my hand blender and made sure I didn't in small batches so that it didn't overload it). Transfer to a large bowl.
3. Chop the parsley, first removing any large stalks. Again I used the chopper to do this but you could cut with a knife or scissors. Add to the chickpeas and cannellini beans. Finely chop the garlic and add this in too.
4. Squeeze in the lemon juice, then add the spices and seasoning. 
5. Mix well. Then chill the mixture for 30 minutes. 
6. Shape into small balls or patties and fry in rapeseed oil, turning over until golden brown on both sides.

Serve with a side salad and flatbreads.

My felafels turned out a bit soggy. I'm wondering whether there was too much lemon juice perhaps? Or maybe it was because I didn't chill the mixture like I was supposed to. 

I still liked the taste though. I just had to handle them carefully so that they didn't fall apart. Other than the oil for frying them, I reckon they're pretty healthy too.

Sorry the photos don't make them look too appetizing - but they work well with a colourful salad or wrapped in baby gem lettuce leaves for a healthy lunch. 

A few of our favourite Emily Gravett Books

You may well remember from our recent review of Bear and Hare Go Fishing, and our Wonderlands post from a couple of years ago, that we adore Emily Gravett books.

Just the other day we picked up one we hadn't read before from the library, it was Little Mouse's Big Book of Beasts. And just like all of Emily Gravett's other books, it was fantastic. We loved how Little Mouse had torn, drawn, ripped and tied all the 'beasts' to make them less scary.
Miss T finds it funny to see that Little Mouse has covered the lions claws with mittens, taped up his mouth and ripped out his roar. 
These books are so cleverly made with real folds, flaps and holes. It reminded me of how we heard from Emily Gravett at the Wonderlands festival about how she actually had to put paper in their pet cage (hamster or mouse I think?) to get it to look right with nibbles and droppings on it!!!

It also reminded me that one of the lovely children's books that PanMacmillan sent us a while back was Again! by Emily Gravett. This is another one which has real holes in it - this time created by a little dragon's fiery breath - to add to the enjoyment.

Miss T enjoyed hearing about a little dragon who just couldn't get enough of his favourite story, asking for it again and again until...

...he ended up in such a rage that he burnt a hole in the book!

Disclosure: PanMacmillan kindly sent us a copy of Again! by Emily Gravett. All opinions are our own.


Me and my arthritis: GOPO Rosehip trial at 8 weeks

I've now been taking GOPO rosehip supplement for around 8 weeks now. My 4 week update can be found here and my initial post about starting the trial here. As before, I've kept a diary going to record how things are going and how much pain and stiffness I've had in my hip and lower back which are the main areas that are affected by arthritis.

After my last update where I'd had 4 really good weeks on the whole, these last few weeks have had a few more bad days with back stiffness in particular. These have been more short lived than previously (i.e. before taking GOPO) and less severe in intensity. We've had some wet weather and hot, humid days over the past few weeks and so that could well be a contributing factor to explain why there have been a few more bad days recently.

I usually live in trainers as I haven't succeeded in finding any other shoes that provide as much cushioning as trainers. Yet due to the heat over recent weeks, I have been wearing sandals on occasion. Whilst I know I cannot walk in sandals, even wearing them for short periods of time can be enough to trigger back pain the following day, and that seems to have happened on a few occasions. 

There have also been some particularly good days. I have managed to get to a couple of sessions at the hydrotherapy pool and have noticed that has helped on those days and for the following couple of days. I've even been well enough to do the vaccuuming which is a big plus as my back pain often prevents me from doing this.  

The good days also mean that I can get out and about more easily and do more with the kids. 

In terms of the GOPO trial, I still have a further 4 weeks of the trial to go which I will be completing. In addition, I have ordered 3 further packs of GOPO to keep me going for at least the rest of the year as I believe that even with the bad days, things are better than they were without the GOPO. 

I will be writing a further update at 10 weeks and then at the end of the 12 week trial so stayed tuned for those.
Have you entered our current giveaway yet. Details here.
Disclosure: I have been sent a 12 week supply of GOPO capsules to trial and then describe how I get on. 


GIVEAWAY and Review: The Luck Uglies

Set in the bleak grim village of Drowning, The Luck Uglies follows the adventure that Riley O'Chanter (Rye) has when their village comes under threat from some hideous creatures that go by the name of Bog Noblins. 

Rye is a girl who lives with her mum Abby and her younger sister Lottie who is 2. Shady is their pet cat and we get to meet some of Rye's close friends too in the form of Quinn and Folly. 

Aimed at children aged 9 and above, I decided to read this with J, aged 10, because the book looked and sounded like it would be quite 'dark'. As it turned out it was a real page turner packed with adventure and it would have been suitable for J to have read on his own. 

The village of Drowning certainly does feel like a dull and dreary place filled with a pretty superstitious bunch of people. And the Bog Noblins really are hideous terrifying creatures. Yet despite this, the author still manages to make us feel that it is a village that is worth saving and manages to even eek out a hint of sympathy from the reader towards the hideous Bog Noblin creature. 

J and I really liked reading this together and we particularly enjoyed reading about 2 year old Lottie's antics. Being close in age to 11 year old Rye, and having an amusing little 2 year old sister of his own, J could really relate to some of Lottie's actions, words and funny phrases as we could imagine Miss T doing and saying these things. 

With the strap line 'Sometimes only the bad guys can save you', The Luck Uglies reminds us not to be too quick to judge or to believe all that others tell us as we begin to unravel some of the mysteries of the past and of the notorious gang of outlaws known as The Luck Uglies. 

For teens and tweens, this is definitely a book I'd recommend. Packed with action and adventure and a twist in the tale towards the end that took me by surprise. Despite looking like a book that might be dark and scary, it was actually a great read which neither of us found overly frightening at all. 

Here's a chance for one person to win a copy of their own thanks to the lovely people at Harper Collins. Just fill in the rafflecopter form below. Entries are checked and verified and incomplete entries will be disqualified. So please make sure you do follow, tweet, etc if you say you have on the form.

The Luck Uglies is published by Harper Collins and is available to buy here
Disclosure: We were sent a copy of Luck Uglies for the purposes of review and Harper Collins will be providing the copy for the giveaway.

This giveaway has been listed at Superlucky and Win competitions at ThePrizeFinder.com

Making our own naan bread

Inspired by seeing Raisie Bay's naan bread featured in kids in the kitchen a few weeks ago, I decided that it would be great to try to make our own naan bread.

By coincidence, I had come across another naan bread recipe in the May issue of delicious magazine at around the same time, so I'd left the mag open on that page since then as a reminder to myself. 

Well we decided that today was the day. I'd mentioned it to Miss T earlier in the day so when she said 'make bread', I knew it was time to get started. 

Because Naan bread is relatively flat, I had no idea that we'd need to allow 'rising' time, so Miss T helped at the start but then it was her nap time so I did the rest after that.

The full recipe from delicious mag can be found online here and Raisie Bay's recipe for naan can be found here. We largely stuck to the delicious mag recipe because I had a paper copy so it was easier to follow than leaving the iPad on whilst cooking.

I didn't have any white stoneground flour, so I used 400g of strong white flour and topped it up with 100g of stoneground whole meal flour. I also didn't bother to brush the naans with butter once cooked, nor scattered with any salt or seeds. 

Miss T helped to measure and mix together the 100g full fat live yoghurt, 160ml milk, the half teaspoon each of salt and sugar and half a teaspoon of yeast dissolved in 75 ml tepid water. The milk and yogurt should ideally be at room temperature. 

We also measured the flour together and she helped make a well in the flour to add 2 tablespoons of rapeseed oil. Then she poured in the yogurt/milk/yeast/water mixture into the flour and did her favourite job - 'mix'.

The dough needs a minute of kneading, then to be covered and left for 10 minutes before kneading again for a minute or so. 

Miss T loved the kneading stage and really got into pushing, poking and whacking the dough. 

It gets covered again and put in a warm place, this time for 1-2 hours. 

The recipe then suggests diving the dough into 4-6 balls. We managed to get 12 out of the dough as I made each smaller so it would roll thinner and cook more quickly as I didn't have a lidded frying pan that the recipe requires. 

Rather than use just fingers I used a rolling pin to get the dough quite thin. Then using fingertips added rapeseed oil to both sides of each naan. Each one cooks in a matter of minutes in a dry pan on the hob. 

Turn over when one side is cooked to cook the other side. This part is really similar to the flatbreads that we like to make. If you ever need a speedier alternative to naans, the flatbreads are mega simple and quick to make but just like warm naans are extremely morish and will be eaten in one go! 

I loved the softness of the naans and the elasticity of the dough. And yes they did all get eaten by the whole family in one sitting!

Linking up with Kids in the Kitchen:

blogbadge photo badge_zpsf0b88074.jpg

I Love You Right Up To The Moon - And Back

From Guess How Much I Love You by Sam McBratney, Illustrated by Anita Jeram  #HeinzPastaQuotes
It's so hard to explain to our little ones just how much we love them, but 'Guess How Much I Love You' begins to give an idea with its endearing story of Big Nutbrown Hare and Little Nutbrown Hare trying to out do each other by telling the other just how much they love they have for them.

We have our own Little Nutbrown Hare here in the form of Miss T along with Daddy who has taken on the role of Big Nutbrown Hare.
From Guess How Much I Love You by Sam McBratney, Illustrated by Anita Jeram  #HeinzPastaQuotes

And we were pleasantly surprised to find that Heinz Alphabetti contains 1 of your 5 a day with 'a whole tomato squeezed into every portion'. So you can have lots of fun making names, words and quotes with the yummy alphabetti pasta as well as it being another way of showing your little ones just how much you love them by getting 1 of their 5 a day into their meals!
Heinz Alphabetti has a whole tomato squeezed into every portion
From Guess How Much I Love You by Sam McBratney, Illustrated by Anita Jeram  #HeinzPastaQuotes

“This blog post is an entry into the Tots100/Heinz competition to support Children’s Book Week”. You can find more details here

We have tweeted and instagrammed a photo and this is the tweet reference: https://twitter.com/TheBeesleyBuzz/status/487353339475406848
And here is the Instagram reference: http://instagram.com/p/qSWJbSN9JQ/


Sultana scones and a successful Saturday

Last week was a little stressful. J had a few wobbly days. Having had 7 perfect months at his new school (7 months!!! where did that time go!) he had a couple of wobbly days at school too. Nothing major, just struggling to focus on one occassion and struggling to listen well on another occasion. So pretty minor given all his previous difficulties when he was younger at school. But still a wobble.

Friday evening stress levels grew higher still. 'I don't want to go'. 'I'm not going'. 'I'm staying home'. He was worried about Saturday. There was a taster day at one of the secondary schools that we had been considering for him. Saturday morning was much the same. Even though I had phoned them and talked him step by step through what was going to happen and what the timetable was. He still didn't want to go.

Daddy agreed that if necessary he would stay on site and be with J to support him as much as he needed it.

Then after a short while Daddy came home after dropping J off. Much to my amazement he stayed. We kept our telephones close at hand waiting for the phonecall to come. It never did.

At pick up time, J emerged with a bagful of scones he had made and a big smile on his face. He had really enjoyed the day.

As well as doing Art, and Science, he had made scones including some shaped like dinosaurs. Can you spot T-rex and Stegasaurus here:

They sent home a copy of the recipe so he made another batch at home soon after. Here's the recipe (slightly amended as we used more dried fruit and a little more milk). I love the fact it is a real Step-by-step method so that J could work pretty independently in the kitchen.

Ingredients: (makes 8-10 scones)
200g self-raising flour
75g margarine or butter cubed
50g caster sugar
1 egg, beaten
50 ml milk
70g dried fruit (eg sultanas)

Step by Step Method:
1. Pre-heat the oven to 220C and grease a baking tray (we used fry light spray).
2. Measure out your ingredients.
3. Sieve flour into a large mixing bowl and add the sugar.
4. Rub the butter into the flour mixture until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs.
5. Add the dried fruit.
6. Crack an egg into a glass and check for any shell. Beat the egg with a fork and stir in the milk.
7. Gradually add the egg and milk mixture into the flour. Keep a little of the milk and egg mixture to one side. Mix slowly to form a dough.
8. Turn the dough into a lightly floured surface and knead very gently to bring it together into a ball of dough.
9. Roll the dough no thinner than 2cm thickness using a rolling pin.
10. Cut out circles (or other shapes - J made a dinosaur one using a dinosaur cutter) and place onto the baking tray.
11. Glaze the scones with leftover egg and milk.
12. Cook for 8-10 minutes until golden brown.
13. Allow to cool on a cooling rack.

Linking up with Small Steps Amazing Acheivements which is being hosted over at Autism Mumma this week whilst Ethan's mum takes a rest in preparation for the new baby!

Ethans Escapades

And if you haven't read our guest post over on Autism Mumma it can be found here. (In fact, all the wonderful guest posts that Jeanette pulled together over Autism month are worth a read!)

Also linking up with Raisie Bay's Kids in the Kitchen of course - Which I think everyone on the planet should link up with because it is great for reminding us to let the kids get involved in the kitchen and it has really inspired us so much with our cooking.
blogbadge photo badge_zpsf0b88074.jpg


Draw with me - Space! July 2014

King of Space by D
Here we are for this month's Draw with Me linky which can be found over at This mummy loves. The theme is another fabulous one - Space!

Miss T got busy drawing this picture and I've labelled some of the planets on there for her.

She only used colouring pencils and so the picture has come out quite faintly so not too clear to see on here - apologies. I've also had a big 'mummy fail' moment because I was going to scan in her original picture so it would show more clearly but I have managed to lose it! Although I'm feeling relieved that I took this photo of her with her drawing so we at least have something to show you.

The boys have both been exhausted and although they are still loving being back at school, they are finding this last stretch of term tiring. D has been moaning that the school day is too long - Which I have to say I agree with!

So when they said they were too tired to draw a space picture, I knew I had to respect their wishes. But I remembered that they had done some pictures of space in the past using pastels and watercolours and even used salt onto the wet watercolours to make different effects. So I have dug out those pictures to reminisce...

J using water colour and salt effects to create Space pictures
J's finished space picture with additional felt pen drawings cut out and stuck onto the watercolour painting

D's space picture using oil pastels

D experimenting with oil pastels and paints 
Linking up with Draw with me...
This Mummy Loves...

Outfit of the day: Daddy's adventure day out

Advetnures with Daddy
The Watch Hut and the MAD Blog Awards have challenged bloggers to come up with an outfit of the day. As this is very much a family blog where Daddy gets involved too, we decided it was Daddy's turn to choose an outfit, so here he is to tell you about it:

I have gone for an outfit that would be perfect for a family adventure day out.

J and D both love adventures - out and about, in the woods, running across fields. Anything outdoors and using lots of energy. And Miss T is starting to enjoy the same - whether it is running around the garden with her brothers or walking in the countryside carrying Hoppy and Patch and holding my hand.

With the heat of summer coming, the outfit has to be cool and lightweight, as well as durable and stylish! So here's what I have chosen:
  1. These sturdy Salomons boots from Blacks are perfect for hiking outdoors, but lightweight enough to be worn all day whilst adventuring with the kids. The boys will tell you that my current pair of boots are starting to fall about from being worn so often, so having a decent pair that lasts is a must!
  2. These fantastic Levi's chinos from John Lewis are ideal. Lightweight and strong, they look just the part. And, being cotton, they will clean easily from any incriminating dirt from the adventure!
  3. Who knows more about adventures than Bear Grylls himself? This aptly named Bear Adventure shirt from Craghoppers has been designed with style, comfort and practical fun in mind. Rugged and tough, and made from sun-protective fabric to allow all-day fun with the family. Lots of pockets, too, to help carry the kit you need for the adventure (or the rice cakes for Miss T!)
  4. These Ralph Lauren sunglasses look great and have the added advantage of being foldable across the middle. So they look fantastic when the suns out, and can be safely tucked away if we suffer from a typical British summer!
  5. I'd love to have a decent watch again like this Fossil from The Watch Hut. As well as looking great and keeping time, it has a tachymeter and chronograph function to help time and keep track of the kids as they dash about. Waterproof, too, in case the adventures get a bit wild.
  6. Just in case the summer weather does take a turn for the worst, this Boss jacket from John Lewis not only looks amazing, but will keep me adventuring whatever the weather.

This is my entry for the Outfit of the Day competition run by The Watch Hut hosted over at The MAD Blog Awards