> The Beesley Buzz

First time mums say Gran gives the best advice (i)

It seems like only yesterday that we brought this tiny bundle home from hospital and rapidly found ourselves feeling clueless when it came to looking after him. I remember the first bath at home being such a daunting prospect that we phoned granny to come round to do it! So we could really relate to the research from Nurofen for Children which found that 'first time mums say Gran gives the best advice (i)'

There's no doubt about it, things change when a baby comes along. I went from being someone who knew what I was doing, confident at work and at home to someone who felt thoroughly overwhelmed with the huge responsibility that looking after a new baby brings.

The Nurofen for Children research showed that 'the areas new mums are most confused by when it comes to looking after their little one are sleep (43%), feeding (35%) and health (33%),(ii) and more than one in five (23%) say that health is one of the hardest areas to make decisions on.(i)'

Furthermore '52% say they felt a need to make a new group of friends who could relate to their parenting experiences' (ii)

Reading this rung so true! J was never a good sleeper and I struggled to feed him in the early days. We continue to have to make those judgement calls when it comes to health too - even though we now have 3 children, health still remains a tricky area to make decisions on.

Whilst we relied heavily on our new group of friends (our amazing antenatal group who stuck together from pregnancy right through to our children's first day at school), it was often in the middle of the night that the health worries would creep up and that's when as a parent you really do have to learn to have the confidence to trust your instincts.

For teething pain, fever and cold and flu symptoms we became familiar with those orange oral syringes in the Nurofen for Children packs. Nurofen for Children actually have a new product out specifically for Cold, Pain and Fever. And of course, the Nurofen for Children that we are now so familiar with is still available in orange and strawberry flavour and also available as handy sachets.

But if we ever feel worried about our child and have that gut-feeling that there's something more to it, we will call either our GP or 111 for help and advice.

As parents there are always going to be things that we worry about - I look back at the bathtime incident and laugh at myself and yet at the time it was something I really lacked confidence in. The same went for the weaning process, the sleep routine and the list goes on. But as time goes on, parenting confidence grows and there are people around to turn to when you do need that extra bit of help or advice whether it be your antenatal friends, the GP or health visitor or of course, Gran!
I am a member of the Mumsnet Bloggers Network Research Panel, a group of parent bloggers who have volunteered to blog about a specified subject or review products, services, events and brands for Mumsnet. I have editorial control and retain full editorial integrity. I have been entered into a prize draw to win a £100 voucher as a token of thanks for this post. Find out more about Mumsnet Bloggers here. And to see the other posts about this topic, see the linky here

Please note that this post is not intended to contain any medical advice. Always contact your own doctor or health professional if you have any concerns about your child's health. 

(i) Survey of 2,000 parents with a baby under 6 years old, commissioned by Nurofen for Children (May 2014)
(ii) Survey of 2,000 mums by One Poll, commissioned by Nurofen for Children (October 2013)

Adding to the gaming wishlist!

There's no denying how incredibly lucky my kids are when it comes to gaming. Both the boys (and Daddy also) are HUGE gaming fans and love nothing better than to play on their gadgets and consoles for hours on end.

Given the chance I think they'd all skip their meals, sleeptime and bathtimes to fit in more gaming time if they could.

When we took a peek at some of our favourite games for Christmas, it made me realise just how lucky the kids have been to have already got to try out many of the games that are set to be favourites this Christmas. Since we wrote that post, they've also had Chibi-Robo: Zip Lash! for the Nintendo 3DS to review and we are currently putting Mario Tennis Ultra Smash and Animal Crossing: Amiibo Festival (both for the Nintendo Wii U) to the test with reviews to follow soon!

So because of just how fortunate they have been this year with all the new games they have already received, I've asked the boys to pick just one more game each that they would add to their wish list. And here are their choices:

For some reason unbeknown to me, D loves watching Adventure Time. Whenever I've caught any of it on TV, it seems full of odd characters and an even stranger storyline but D just can't get enough of it!

So his choice was Adventure Time: Finn & Jake Investigations (it's available for Nintendo Wii-U, Nintendo 3DS and also for Playstation 4 and Xbox one).

We haven't actually played this game but this is what it's all about:

Based on the popular television series from Cartoon Network, Adventure Time: Finn & Jake Investigations see the dynamic duo explore the Land of Ooo, as they try to solve the tickertype mysteries, tackle puzzles and beat enemies as Finn and Jake work together as professional detectives. With five cases to unravel, each of which is a separate story, players can interact with dozens of Adventure Time favourites including Ice King, Magic Man and more and meet the colourful inhabitants of Ooo, as they step in to their own episode of Adventure Time. (Adventure Time: Finn & Jake Investigations – PEGI 7, RRP starts at £19.99)

J enjoyed watching the Kung Fu Panda movies, so this was his choice:

Kung-Fu Panda: Showdown of Legendary Legends is due for release soon and will be available for Nintendo Wii U, Nintendo 3DS as well as Xbox one and Playstation 4.

Again this isn't one we've played yet, but here's what we know about this game:

Set in the Kung Fu Panda universe, Kung Fu Panda: Showdown of Legendary Legends is an action-packed brawler that sees players battle alongside all their favourite Kung Fu characters, in the quest to win both honour and glory! Fight it out alongside Tai Lung, Po, Tigress and more much-loved Kung Fu Panda characters, as up to four friends can compete in the Showdown of Legendary Legends. With 25 popular heroes and villians playable, 12 exciting locations - including moving and danger levels and single player and multiplayer modes available, fans of the Kung Fu Panda franchise won’t be disappointed this Christmas.  (Kung Fu Panda: Showdown of Legendary Legends – PEGI 7, RRP starts at £19.99)
There's no disclosure to write for this post as these are the games my kids chose from a selection that we were given information about - no payment has been received for this post and there was no obligation to write it. The information in italics has been provided to us so as always please check prices etc yourself at time of purchase.


The Perfect Personalised Stocking from Pink Lining!

A pretty pink parcel,
What could it be?
A beautiful stocking,
Just for me!

A classic design,
and generously sized,
And best of all...
My name! It's Personalised!

What's this in the pocket,
Let us take a peek...
A cute Christmas robin,
playing hide and seek.

Thank you Pink Lining, 
I couldn't wish for more,
Now I have a stocking to be filled,
With Christmas gifts galore!

This stunning Christmas stocking is available from Pink Lining. Priced at just £10 (without personalisation). You can add a personalised name (up to 11 characters) for £4.99 extra. All prices correct to the best of our knowledge. Please check yourself for current price at time of ordering. 

Pink Lining also offer personalisation on some of their other products in the Pink Lining Child range. They also have lots of other amazing Christmas gift ideas: 


Chibi-Robo! Zip Lash for Nintendo 3DS

Chibi-Robo! Zip Lash is the fantastic new platform game for the Nintendo 3DS. You play as Chibi-Robo, a cute little robot, as he tries to save the world.

Mischievous aliens have been stealing the world's resources, and it is up to Chibi-Robo to try to stop them. At only 10cm tall, he seems an unlikely hero but, armed with his Chibi-Plug and the skills to use it, he is more than capable.
His two skills are the Whip Lash and the Zip Lash. In the first, he uses his Chibi-Plug as a whip to defeat enemies, a grappling hook to reach higher levels or a lasso to grab items. Once you gain the Zip Lash skill, though, you and Chibi-Robo can do so much more! Breaking bigger blocks, using the Chibi-Plug as a long-range zip wire, or defeating many enemies in a row at once, it really is a great addition to your armoury.
This is a great game, loads of fun, and simple controls. With the Zip Lash power able to ricochet, you have to think about where you want to go and how you might get there. As with all the great Nintendo games, the first few levels are nice and simple so you can get used to the controls, and get progressively harder as you go. With over 35 levels spread across different continents, this will keep you entertained for hours.
J, our resident gamer, has really got stuck in and proudly announced he has beaten the final boss this evening. There's still more to do to complete it, though - bonuses to unlock and an extra world - so he's still looking forward to playing it for many more hours.

J says:
On Chibi-Robo! Zip Lash you are a robot called Chibi-Robo and you have to try to stop the aliens. You use your whip lash by pressing the X button and you press and hold the Y button to use a zip lash. You have to kill enemies and complete the levels. The final boss is awesome!!! You can buy an amiibo that can unlock a secret world. I want an amiibo for Christmas. I give it 10 out of 10!!!

Chibi-Robo! Zip Lash is out now on Nintendo 3DS. Thank you Nintendo for sending us such a great game!


A fine dining sandwich? Is it possible? - It is with #ProperPickle!

The new Proper Pickle range from English Provender is exactly what it says on the jar - a truly proper pickle - crunchy, full of flavour and packs the perfect punch in a sandwich.

The new range of Proper Pickles consists of 4 fabulous pickles: Proper Pickle Finely Chopped, Proper Pickle Chunky, Proper Pickle Pickled Onion and Proper Pickle Beetroot. All very tasty, all add a tang to a dish and they're ideal for making the perfect sandwich too!

A sandwich is often a rushed 5 minute lunch grabbed between meetings without much thought going into it. Well I decided that a Proper Pickle deserves a proper sandwich. One with plenty of thought that's gone into it, made completely from scratch (yes - including the bread!) and worthy of enclosing the most proper of pickles.

Presented with the finesse of the finest fine dining restaurant, this sandwich truly is worthy of a Proper Pickle.

It looks and tastes amazing and it actually doesn't take too long to make either - just a little bit longer than a 'grab and go' boring sandwich. Truly worth those few extra minutes to make the bread and prepare the filling.

Now we all know that the most classic of pickle sandwiches is the famous cheese and pickle - so without further ado here is my fine dining version of that famous classic cheese and pickle sandwich...

Cumin spiced Roti bread, Paneer and Proper Pickle Sandwich

The Finely Chopped Proper Pickle was the inspiration for my sandwich. It led me to think about whether a sandwich could be considered a fine dining experience given the right ingredients and presentation.

The indian cooking cheese, Paneer, is used as my cheese in this sandwich (it is widely available from most supermarkets these days) and the home-made miniature roti breads provide the perfect bread backdrop to showcase the very best of what pickles have to offer...The Proper Pickle.

This recipe makes enough for 2-3 people. Adjust quantities as required.

Ingredients for the roti bread:
115g Plain Flour (plus a little extra for dusting)
1 tsp cumin seeds
1 tsp curry powder
A quarter tsp table salt
1 tsp groundnut oil
A little melted ghee
62ml warm water

Ingredients for the Sandwich:
100g Paneer - dry fried for a minute on each side
1 leaf of red cabbage
A small sprig of fresh coriander
A few baby spinach leaves
English Provender Proper Pickle Finely Chopped
English Provender Proper Pickle Beetroot

The Prep stage - making the roti bread, cooking the miniature roti, dry frying the Paneer, dry frying the red cabbage
1. Make the cumin spiced roti bread by mixing together the flour and dry ingredients. Mix together the warm water and oil. Then pour the water into the dry ingredients and mix to form a dough. Knead for a couple of minutes until smooth.
2. Split the dough into 4 and roll each out. Brush with a little melted ghee, fold in half, brush with ghee again and fold in half again. Roll again to flatten it. Using a circle or square cutter, cut the dough then place in a dry frying pan on the hob for a minute or so on each side. Remove from pan.
3. Slice the Paneer into lengths and dry fry for a minute on each side until browned. Remove from heat and cut into small cubes.
4. Roll the cabbage leaf tightly removing any parts that are too hard to roll. Then slice as finely as you can. Place these in a dry frying pan and dry fry for a couple of minutes until they are slightly charred. Remove from heat.
5. Wash the coriander. Chop a few of the leaves. Keep those flavourful stalks and cut them into small pieces too - they are perfect as a garnish!
6. Now you are ready to assemble your fine dining sandwich as follows:
The assembly stage - roti, Proper Pickle, Baby spinach, Paneer, awaiting the top layer of roti bread to complete the sandwich

  • Spoon a little Proper Pickle Finely Chopped onto one of your mini roti breads, place a fresh baby spinach leaf on top, then add the diced Paneer.
  • Sprinkle a little chopped coriander on top of the Paneer and pop the second roti bread on top. 
  • Add a little of the charred red cabbage on the very top. Repeat to make 2 or 3 of these per person.  
  • Serve on a plate using the chopped coriander stalks as a garnish. For the perfect finishing touch, dot 3 pieces of Proper Pickle Beetroot around the plate too. 

And there you have it. It is possible to turn the humble sandwich into a fine dining experience with the right ingredients - and the right pickle in particular! 

This post is an entry into the #ProperPickle Challenge with The English Provender Co and Foodies100. Find out more here


Chocolate Biscuit Reindeer Edible Christmas Cards

These cute reindeer are so easy to make - I just made a batch of them for the preschool Christmas fete. Then I thought about how great they would be added to a Christmas card to make a unique edible gift!

The recipe for the chocolate biscuit is a brilliant one from The Biscuiteers Book of Iced Biscuits recipe book and can also be found online here. The online recipe states 350g plain flour but we used 275g as per the version of this recipe that is found in the book.

I used a Tom & Jerry cutter to get the shape but you can always make your own template using baking paper. Draw the shape you want then use it to cut around the dough as a guide.

The decorations were added using Icing made up using the powdered egg white version of the Royal Icing recipe found here. I made a much smaller quanity. The great thing about this design is that I only needed to make up one colour to use alongside white. I just added red sugarflair colouring to half the icing to make it red.

I used squeezy bottles to pipe the icing on. The black dots in the eyes were done using a cocktail stick dipped into black food colouring paste and dotted onto the white part of the eye.

A simple design but I think they look really festive in the run up to Christmas!