> The Beesley Buzz

Feeling All-Bran New: My Real Mum Story

I've been doing the 5 day challenge with the fantastic flavours of All-Bran: Golden Crunch, Chocolate Wheats, and Red Berry Crunch and I hope that this post just oozes the energy and enthusiasm I am feeling right now.
I had no idea just how much the digestive system was linked to our wellbeing and the feelgood hormone Serotonin. Here's what All-Bran have to say:
Did you know that 90 to 95 per cent of the ‘happy’ hormone serotonin is made in the gut? A study* of 1,000 UK women found 52 per cent experience digestive complaints, such as bloating or gas, at least once a week. Eating fibre everyday is a simple remedy for happy tums.

I want to fast-forward to just how happy I am feeling right now, but that wouldn't be the full story so just a teeny bit of background before I reveal the 'All-Bran new' me! After all, real mums are honest and sometimes the whole story needs to be told for things to start to make sense.
Last year I found myself in the grip of Post-natal depression. Having never suffered from depression before, and having made the decision a long time ago that I never would (my mum had a long history of depression and I knew I never wanted to end up like that), it came as a real shock and something that I struggled to understand.

What I realise now is that depression is not something that you can just 'snap out of' or decide not to have because a lot of it can be caused by underlying factors, one of which is said to be reduced levels of serotonin. Looking back I believe that is what happened to me. I had days when I felt sluggish, I was tired all the time and I didn't want to go out or meet up with friends. The kids would often find me in tears and that would lead to extra guilt about how my depression was affecting them.

So this really is good news to find that helping to keep my gut happy, can help me feel happy and full of energy too. I regularly suffer from bloating. Sometimes my belly gets so bloated that my waistline size increases by nearly 2 dress sizes.

Since starting the All-Bran 5 day challenge (and continuing it beyond the 5 days as it has worked so well for me), I have noticed a definite reduction in bloating. I am enjoying the variety of flavours, choosing a different one each morning. And the Chocolate Wheats are so yummy that they make a great alternative to a chocolately snack when I'm feeling peckish later in the day.
So now it's time to reveal the All-Bran New Me - Here's what I've been up to with my new found energy and love of life - finally feeling like a real mum and being there for my kids and enjoying having fun with them. Something that was all too lacking last year.

I put together a little video which hopefully explains it all far better than I could in words - enjoy!

My lesson I learnt through all this, is that it is really so important for us mums (and dads) to take care of ourselves to help us be real mums to our children instead of just a shadow of who we are, which is what I felt like in the midst of depression. Sometimes taking a small step in the right direction can make a big difference.
One final point to make which I'm not quite sure is a positive or negative is that the kids seem to LOVE All-Bran too. On the plus side, it's great that they enjoy it and it means that instead of having to have an endless supply of cereal boxes to please each child we can now all stick to All-Bran. But on the negative side, I have to share my All-Bran.

This post is an entry for the Real Mums of All-Bran Linky Challenge, sponsored by Kelloggs. Find out more about the 5 day challenge here

I didn't apply in time to get the free boxes of All-Bran as part of this challenge but bought my own and have been buying it ever since!

*Source for all research findings included in this document: Kellogg’s All-Bran Save Our Stomachs European Research Study (2014) conducted by Edelman Berland. 

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