> The Beesley Buzz

Ruby Redfort - Feel The Fear: Book review and competition info!

To say we are Ruby Redfort fans is an understatement. A huge understatement. Ruby Redfort would come very high up on our list of all time favourite characters. She is one cool kid. But not just any ordinary kid. This thirteen year old is an undercover code-breaking secret agent.

Highly intelligent, very likeable, and mega cool, Ruby Redfort appeals to both boys and girls. Despite the main character, Ruby, being female, the book covers and storyline are anything but girly girly and so J has tremendously enjoyed reading the previous three Ruby Redfort books. We even reviewed one of the previous books, Ruby Redfort: Catch Your Death, on the blog here

Ruby Redfort books also represent great value for money. J usually gets through a new book in a day or two, but thankfully the Ruby Redfort books keep him busy a bit longer. This one is 57 chapters long. We are currently on Chapter 6. 

So this won't be a full review of the book, but we are so excited by this new book that we couldn't wait any longer to tell you about it. There's a fabulous Feel The Fear Trailer here to whet your appetite and we can tell you that from the first 6 chapters we've read already, Ruby Redfort fans will not be disappointed. We've already seen Ruby dice with death once again, she's been called in for a telling off by Spectrum boss LB and we're just starting to get a few clues about what the big puzzle to solve is in this story. It's really gripping stuff and we find ourselves itching to read more.

There are a few mentions of her previous adventures, so those who have read the previous books and in particular the last one, 'Catch your death', will appreciate the links to the past stories. Having said that, each book works perfectly as a stand alone story too so if you haven't read the other books yet, it will all still make sense... (but if you haven't read them yet, you really should because they are brilliant!)

We are also really excited to see an awesome creative competition. We love our creative comps and this one is on the kids list of things to do over the Christmas hols. You need to download the tee shirt template, design your own Ruby Redfort T-shirt, then upload your design.

You can find all the details for the competition here.

You could win a £50 ASOS voucher and see your design printed in the next Ruby Redfort book along with a signed copy of Feel the Fear.

I love this competition and I know the kids will want to enter this. Do make sure you read the T&C's though as it's only one entry per household rather than per person so my kids will have to decide whose entry we will be uploading.

You can find out more about Ruby Redfort on The Ruby Redfort Facebook page and I know you're bursting to know where you can buy your own copy of this awesome book so here's the link if you want to buy your own copy and see just how cool this girl is.

Or as Ruby might say, 'what are you waiting for bozo?' 


Miss T at 32 months

Just a very quick Miss T update this month. I should have really made it Christmas themed as she is REALLY looking forward to Christmas - She tried to convince us it's Christmas everyday at the moment saying 'it's Christmas now!'

This month she's started saying 'thank' instead of 'thank you'. She's been saying 'thank you' for ages but must have heard us saying thanks but she says it without the 'S' at the end so it ends up being 'thank'.
She seems to have discovered that she enjoys playing with the train track and does rather like Thomas. We kept this train track from when the boys were younger and she enjoys playing with it a lot. She also gets very excited about wearing her Thomas pyjamas (another hand-me-down from her big brothers).

We've had to start to keep an eye on the snacks she's eating a lot more closely and I've had to hide the crisps and mini cheddars. She had found the cupboard where they were kept and would regularly ask to have a pack for a snack. Now she's moved onto having a whole apple for a snack (she asks for the 'whole packet' meaning the whole apple rather than sliced).

She has REALLY got into watching The Moshi Movie. Admittedly it is a great film for moshi fans but even J who is totally moshi obsessed has been known to get fed up with it when Miss T puts on the DVD for the 5th time each day!

She has a couple of Christmas parties coming up this week so it will be interesting to see how she finds them. Last year and the year before she wasn't old enough to really understand and appreciate Christmas fully so this year will be a really special year.

This was her update from last Christmas and I don't seem to have done one the year before as she was quite young then.

Book review: The Liar's Chair, by Rebecca Whitney

Reviewed by Richard Beesley.

To all outward appearances, Rachel Teller is in a happy, loving marriage with a devoted and successful husband, David. But the big house, fast cars, and expanding and profitable business mask the truth of an unhappy, loveless relationship based on control and abuse.

We learn within the first two sentences that Rachel is having an affair. She is clearly not happy with her home life, but is too afraid to make a change. Within the first few pages we witness Rachel knocking down and killing a man who was walking along a country road. She hides the body, but confides in David. He then destroys the evidence, and insists that they have to carry on as before, as though nothing had happened.

Using flashbacks to her childhood and recollections of her early marriage with David, we gradually understand the horrors Rachel has endured over the years. We start to see what may have caused what slowly becomes a slide into depression and mania. Wracked with guilt, Rachel is determined to try to make amends for what she has done, but David continually stops her. Her drunken indiscretions become more apparent, and the wrath of her husband more dangerous.

As I read this compelling book, I kept longing for Rachel to make a wiser choice, to change her course. But with the years of abuse, neglect and control over her, she seems destined to follow the same path. With a depression and self-loathing hanging over her, her options appear limited, and she is drawn back to a place of hurt, pain and destruction.

This debut novel by Rebecca Whitney is set in and around Brighton, and brilliantly tells the life of its main characters with a glimmer of hope just out of reach.

This is a great book and will keep you hoping and rooting for Rachel right to the end.

The Liar's Chair, by Rebecca Whitney is published by Pan Macmillan and available to order from their website.

Disclosure: Pan Macmillan sent me this book to keep for the purposes of review. All opinions are our own.

Our Perfect Family Holiday: Summer Sun and Family Fun

We've been waiting for this moment for a while now...We've been reading the Mark Warner Blog, and drooling over both the Sun and Ski destinations on their website. And right now Mark Warner are on the search for their 2015 Blogger Ambassadors. And that is the moment we have been waiting for...We love blogging and we value the ambassador relationships we have with brands. Having a longer term relationship with brands we are passionate about has been one of the most fulfilling aspects of blogging.

So we'll start with a little about our blog and our family... and then go on to tell you about our perfect family holiday and then you'll be just as excited as we are about just how perfect a match Mark Warner holidays are for our family and our blog.

There's mum, dad and three kids: 10 year old J, 8 year old D and 2 and a half year old Miss T. One of the things we really pride ourselves on is that our little space on the internet, this blog, is truly a family effort. Dad writes plenty of reviews and the kids often like to have a say. They love to write some of their own reviews and they are really happy in front of the camera getting involved in our fun family projects or creating video reviews.

We always love to inject some fun and personality into our blog posts - so videos will often feature as well as fun photos, kids drawings and even things like poems and creative writing.

Now to tell you about our perfect family holiday...It's been tough deciding whether Sun or Ski would be most perfect. We've not been to a ski location since our trip to Whistler before the children came along. There is something so inherently perfect about the winter scenery at a Winter Ski destination that it's hard not to choose it as the ultimate perfect holiday. Especially at this time of year, when we are all dreaming of, and wishing for, snow.

Having our own little foodie in the family, The Brilliant Chef, who has had the most incredible year with his cooking and foodie adventures from visiting Noma last winter, to having afternoon tea with Mary Berry a couple of months ago and then winning Kent Cooks just a few weeks ago , he gets excited when he reads articles like this blog post on the Mark Warner blog highlighting the incredible food available at a ski resort. That tempted us to pick a ski destination as our perfect holiday but in the end we let all 3 the kids have their say and for our kids the combination of sun, sand, swimming and kids activities was unbeatable.

They have happy memories of beach holidays and spending time in the sea having fun...

and building sandcastles...You'll see from our videos in a moment just how important sandcastles are to Miss T.

But sometimes its a struggle to find the Sun in the UK.
D is soaked through from a rainy day on the beach!
We also love to be active and have adventures and Mark Warner holidays offer not just relaxation and the chance to unwind but also the opportunity to try out new activities and create family adventures of our own.

So that's why the Summer Sun Mark Warner destinations are soooo perfect.

We've put together a little video highlighting what makes a perfect family holiday for us...

So we might not be able to agree on whether we'd go with the #MarkWarnerMum or #MarkWarnerDad hashtag but we agree we would definitely do our very best throughout the year in working closely with Mark Warner and giving input from our whole family.

In fact, judging by Miss T's enthusiasm (we had about 20 minutes of video footage of just her which we had to cut from the video - she was talking about swimming, the beach, ball pools, her new swimsuit and building sandcastles and how she wants to fly there on an airplane), she'd happily review the holiday by herself!

Something that is very important to her is going on holiday with family. Because daddy spends so many hours at work and he works very hard, a family holiday is something we all really look forward to and Miss T wanted to be sure that Daddy wouldn't be left behind...(Warning - there is a very funny and cute part in this video when I ask her if she wants to go on a Mark Warner holiday - just listen to her answer!)

So we believe that Mark Warner holidays offer the perfect combination of excitement, adventure, relaxation, and family time and we feel that our blog is a great fit with the Mark Warner brand. We've deliberately kept ourselves free of other holiday ambassador roles this year as we have been waiting...just as a child awaits Christmas with such anticipation and excitement knowing it will be magical and perfect when it arrives, we've been waiting for this opportunity and we hope that Mark Warner will make our wish come true and choose us as one of their blogger ambassadors in 2015.

Having family fun at Christmas... but will Mark Warner make our Christmas wish come true?
This is our entry to become a Mark Warner Ambassador in 2015. You can find out more here.


Pokémon Alpha Sapphire for Nintendo 3DS and 2DS review

The kids have been so lucky lately with so many Nintendo games to review. Since our special Nintendo Day in October, they have reviewed Sonic Boom: Shattered Crystal featuring everyone's favourite blue hedgehog, Disney Magical World with some of my favourite classic Disney Characters, and they were desperate to get their own copy of Kirby Triple Deluxe so we bought that for them as an early Christmas present (well it was more of a 'well done' present) and they even wrote up a review of that.

The latest game they've been asked to review as Nintendo Family bloggers is Pokemon Alpha Sapphire for 3DS and 2DS.

When it comes to kids toys and games, I'm usually pretty clued up and really get into it as much as the kids do. For example, I'm pretty good with knowing all the moshling names - well for a grown-up anyway.

But I must confess that the one thing I struggle to understand is Pokemon. This is where D gets really frustrated with me as he digs out his Pokemon annual and tries to explain to me for the umpteenth time which Pokemon evolves into something else and gives me the fact profiles about each one. And I still don't understand!

But when it came to reviewing the Pokemon Alpha Sapphire game, what I do understand is that both J and D have been mesmerised by it and squabble to take turns playing it as they both love it so much.

It keeps them totally engaged and entertained for ages (making it great for long car journeys for example).

As I remain clueless about Pokemon, it is over to 10 year old J to tell you a bit more about the game:

Pokémon Alpha Sapphire is awesome!

You have your own character and you get a Pokémon at the start. Then you have to battle Pokémon and get poke balls. You use the poke balls to capture Pokémon and use them to battle. You adventure around different towns.

Each town has a Pokémon centre (to rest your Pokémon) and a shop where you can buy potions, poke balls and much more...

I would give it 10 out of 10.

As J is less 'into' Pokemon than D, then what he has said about the game here really is praise indeed and means that as a game it must be pretty good in its own right (ie not just because it is Pokemon themed).

You can find out more about the game here . Both the Pokemon Alpha Sapphire and it's counterpart, Pokemon Omega Ruby are also available as 2DS and 3DS console packages. These would make an absolutely super gift for Nintendo fans and Pokemon fans. The kids received a Nintendo 2DS console for Christmas last year and it has been really well loved and well used. They were lucky enough to receive a second one from Nintendo earlier in the year for review purposes so that they now have one each. We'd highly recommend them as a fantastic handheld console at a price that offers great value.


Disney Magical World Review

A couple of months ago we had a very special day out at a Nintendo Blogger event and got to find out about all sorts of fabulous new Nintendo games. We've since been fortunate enough to try some of those out as Nintendo Family Bloggers (as well as buying a Kirby game as a special treat for the boys too).

One of the games we've recently tried out is Disney Magical World for Nintendo 3DS (like all 3DS games it's also compatible with 2DS - hurrah!)

Whilst both J and D have enjoyed playing it, they said that it would probably appeal more to children slightly younger than them (so perhaps aged around 6-8). Here they give a brief overview of the game and despite what they thought about the age group, they would still rate it 8 out of 10.

Over to J:

  • On Disney magical world you create a character that looks like you.
  • Then you go around the island helping out Mickey Mouse and his friends.
  • You can unlock different places by collecting stickers.
  • I think this game would appeal more to someone a bit younger than me.
  • I would give it 8 out of 10
It's definitely worth watching the trailer here to get a really good feel for the game, I loved seeing so many of what I consider to be the 'classic' Disney characters; Micky and Minnie, Pluto, Donald Duck - it really felt like a blast from the past reminding me of all my childhood favourites, yet with a contemporary game using mii-style creation. 

Thank you Nintendo for the opportunity to review this game.