> The Beesley Buzz: May 2013

No worries!

Meet Biff. He's my worry-eater toy from The Toadstool. His species is a 'Sorgenfresser' from the German words 'Sorgen' meaning 'worry' and 'Fresser' meaning 'eater',
hence Sorgenfresser = WorryEater.

Worry-Eater 'Instructions'
His tag had some lovely instructions but they were written only in German, French and Italian. But luckily mum figured out from the French what it said (She's not sure if it is exactly right but it was enough to make sense):

Hi! I'm your little worry-eater Biff. Is all not well? Does nobody like you? Do you hurt somewhere? No problem!
Draw me a picture or write down what is on your heart and put the piece of paper in my mouth. Close the zip and you will see that after all from now on things will be better.

So then I realised exactly why he was called a worry-eater and I knew what his zippy mouth was for. So I renamed him Zippy and sometimes I call him Wishy because I can write down my wishes to put in his zipper too.

As soon as I got him he became one of my favourite cuddly toys. The trouble is that someone else also seems to love him a lot!

He even comes to bed with me each night along with my special blue bear and blue bunny.

Mum says it is always good to tell someone if we have any worries so as well as writing my worries down, I know that I can talk to my mum or dad about it too.

Thank you, The Toadstool, for my Sorgenfresser worry-eating doll!

Love Daniel xxx

Disclaimer: The Toadstool sent Daniel this toy as a thank you for helping with jokes along with Joshua. The views given here are our own. Find out more here (The Toadstool Joker Joshua), here (Pocket money spending at The Toadstool) and here (New Arrivals).


The Tooth Fairy Should be Sacked!

5.14am. I was awoken to a little boy standing at my bedside in tears crying out "She didn't come. The tooth-fairy didn't come!"

We all know that tooth fairies are busy little creatures. Perhaps not quite as busy as Santa on Christmas Eve but they still have a fair few houses to visit each night. Add into the equation those frail wings that can't fly if the weather is too windy or rainy and you can understand that there may be the chance that the tooth fairy may get delayed and have to visit the next night.

But ours is very naughty! We have already let her off the hook once for forgetting...oops, I mean getting stuck in bad weather,... but twice is unforgiveable. We have decided that she should most definitely be sacked.

Ours is also rather stingy and gives a mere 50 pence for each tooth (it used to be less but there was a bit of negotiation a few teeth ago and 50 pence was the agreed amount. Luckily she had left an extra few coins in mummy's purse recently so a bleary eyed mum retrieved some coins, gave them to J who was still crying inconsolably and once he had the money he didn't seem to mind so much that his tooth hadn't been taken and that she had not even offered a note of apology this time as she had last time.

I think we may well have to put a recruitment ad out soon to hire a new tooth fairy because I think ours has had her last warning now!

Linking up to Actually Mummy's Wot so Funee and Mummy from the Heart's R2BC (hope it's ok to link to two linkies as I've not done that before). The reason this tooth coming out is good news is that it has been a rotting problem tooth for a long time for J and he did need to finally go to the emergency dentist late at night to get it out (it may well have been the trauma and tiredness of that which contributed to the tooth fairy forgetting to come!) But at least it is sorted out now.

Reasons to be Cheerful at Mummy from the Heart

Wot So Funee?

You're in Luck - My top tip for saving money!

For the past year or so, we have been following Larger Family Life and love hearing all about their adventures. We have been so encouraged by their experience of home-educating that it has on many occasions given us the confidence and boost we needed to carry on. We love hearing about their lovely family and we enjoyed seeing them featured as one of the families on 16 Kids and Counting earlier in the year. It was so exciting as it almost felt like we got to 'meet' the family behind the website that we had been enjoying reading for so long.

As well as blogging about family life, life with a larger family and home-educating, they always seem to have some fabulous tips about budgeting and saving money. As a result of the popularity of these budgeting posts, they have recently launched a new website, www.pinching-pennies.com where lots of top tips can be found on how to save money, spend wisely and get your budget to stretch that bit further.

To celebrate the launch of Pinching-Pennies, they have invited bloggers to write a post about money with their top tips on budgeting or saving money for example (with a chance to win an amazon voucher).

Whilst I could write about how we encourage the kids to save money, or how we make do and mend with certain items of clothing, or how we shop around for the best bargains or buy certain items in bulk to save time and money, I have decided to write about the topic that has become a bit of a hobby for me and has saved us by far the most over the past year or so.

It is how we received a years supply of baby wipes when Trinity was just a few weeks old...

It is how I got my dream changing bag for the first time in my life (which I would never have treated myself to)...

And that iPad in the photo - we got that too (as well as another iPad for my son and 2 iPad mini's which made great gifts!). Again, an iPad is something that would normally be something that we would not splash out on ourselves.

It is how my 8 year old son got a new bed that he desperately needed (as well as a trip to LEGOLAND and had his story published!!!) ...

and how my baby girl got a brand new stroller to ride around in...

It is how my shopping bill last week went from over £200 to less than £40...

It is how we had two lovely breaks away last year in Bluestone and then in Cornwall...

and how we have a holiday abroad due this year (but haven't yet decided exactly where)...

and the total cost of all this has been £0!

In case you thought that was a typo, that does indeed say ZERO. All of that did not cost us a single penny. Time and effort, yes, but no actual cost.

All of these were competition wins. A lot of them were creative competitions where the chances of winning seem to be higher simply because a bit of effort is required so fewer people enter. But with a bit of thought and effort put into a photo entry, a caption competition, a tie-breaker, a video entry, or a story competition and you can have some great results!

When I had to give up work to home-school the boys because of J's difficulties at school, I felt really bad that I was no longer able to contribute to the family income. That's when I gradually found that the more competitions I entered and the more effort I put in, the more I was able to contribute to the family by winning little treats and items that we needed. Thereby proving to be a real help to the family budget.

It is not just me either, the kids love to get involved too. Whenever we find a colouring competition, a poetry competition or a story competition for children, then we will spend some of our home-school time making a project out of it and then the kids will work on an entry combining the knowledge they have learnt about the topic.

For example, the story writing competition that J won, was the culmination of many months of work looking at writing from different view points, using adjectives, using alliteration, metaphors and similies and finding alternatives to the word 'said'. He then took himself up to his bedroom with a clipboard and paper one afternoon and came back downstairs having written an amazing story!

We enter a combination of both creative comps and random draw competitions and one of the iPad mini's, the stroller and the baby wipes were just random draw competitions. Lots of blogs host competitions (including Larger Family Life) and that can be a great place to start.

Like anything in life, it is important to keep a balance and not become too caught up in it (I learnt the hard way after spending far too many hours entering competitions every night last year that it was taking its toll on me and my family), and remember to enjoy it! Also don't be disheartened if you don't seem to have much luck to start with. One of my friends desperately tried to win something, anything, with no success but then after 6 months, her very first ever win was an iPad mini.

One of my favourite types of competition to enter is actually a blogger competition like this very post that I am writing, because even if I don't win, I get the satisfaction of writing a blog post and always enjoy taking part.

You can follow Pinching-Pennies on Twitter here, and Pinching-Pennies is on facebook here.

Lunchbox Creations with Walkers Hoops and Crosses!

This photo is my entry into the Tots100 #HoopsandCrosses Competition.

Tots100 #HoopsandCrosses competition entry photo

And here's my own little pirate who can't wait to get stuck into his lunchbox. He loves Walker's Hoops and Crosses and he loves dressing up as a pirate so this was the perfect lunch for him!


Joshua Jokes - The Robot Edition!

As you may remember, Joshua was asked by toy company, The Toadstool, to be their 'master joker' and find some of his favourite jokes to match up with their toys.

When Niki at The Toadstool asked him to find some good robot jokes, he searched high and low and there seemed to be very few out there. So we set to work ourselves and this is what we have come up with...hope you like them!

Have you heard about the robot who got really cross?
He went nuts!

What is a robots favourite food?

What is a robots favourite snack?

Who did the robot share his secrets with?
His most-rusted friend!

What do you call a robot who is white and very cold?
A snow-bot

What do you call the robot who loved canoeing?
A Row-bot

What do you call the robot who loved yo-yo’s?
A Yo-bot

What do you call a radioactive robot?
A glow-bot

What was the robot’s favourite nursery rhyme?
Ro, Ro, Ro, your bot gently down the stream

What do you call a robot who loves gardening?
A Grow-bot

What do you call a fast Olympic robot?
A Mo-bot!
To see some of Joshua's other favourite jokes click here.

Perfect Picnics with Center Parcs - May blogger challenge

A family picnic we've been challenged to make,
Let's plan our menu of things to take,

Keep some things simple, like this homebaked bread,
That will taste good with all kinds of spread!

Now for something special, that tastes really nice,
Our own-invented idea for these scotch-egg dice!

My children love a picnic with a teddy bear theme,
So let's add bear cookies and teddy bear cheese.

Let's pick a location. What's the venue to be?
Our local park, village green or even the beach?
These are perfect picnic places that we like a lot,
But today we've found a closer-to-home picnic spot.

Out into the garden, a floor of grass green,
Picnic basket bulging, guests are all keen.

The basket is opened and little eyes light up,
Soon empty tummies will be filled-up.

With bellies full, we lie in the sun,
Looking at sky, whilst planning more fun.

Picnics are about food and family-fun too,
So here are some other picnic-time things we do...

Flying kites on a windy breeze,
Spotting bugs and climbing trees,
Sometimes a simple garden game,
Like boules or quoits or even croquet.

We hope we've given you some picnic ideas for inspiration,
For next time you're at your fave picnic location.

flying kites

spotting bugs
climbing trees

garden games

This is our entry into the Center Parcs "Perfect Picnic" blogger challenge for May with Tots100. You can see our previous Center Parcs family challenges here (Nov), here (Dec), here (Jan), here (Feb), here (Mar) and here (April).


Turkey Fajtikkas! Fajitas with a turkey tikka twist

Turkey Fajtikkas! Fajitas with a turkey tikka twist.
Summer is (supposed to be) here! Well today the sun was shining so we took the opportunity to get a bit experimental and cook up a quick healthy summery dish with a turkey twist for a spot of alfresco dining.

Now if I told you that swapping chicken for turkey when making fajitas would be a healthy and budget friendly option, I'm sure you would agree but we wanted to try something a bit more exciting than just a simple swap.

We are all big fans of indian food in this family - even the kids love their curries. But indian food often gets a bad press for being seemingly unhealthy and we more often relate to eating a nice warming curry through the winter months. So we wanted to create a recipe that uses turkey, but also has an indian twist to it that is ideal as a summer recipe. On top of that we were aiming to prepare and cook it in less than 30 minutes.

Meet....the Turkey Fajtikka! A fajita-style meal using turkey pieces marinated in tikka paste.

Ingredients (makes at least 8 'fajtikkas'):
540g fresh turkey breast - diced (you can use turkey thigh fillets instead if you want an even lower cost option that tastes just as great).
1 onion - sliced
half a green pepper - sliced
around half a jar (approx 140g) of tikka massala paste
8 soft tortillas
A selection of chutneys and / or pickles such as lime pickle, mango chutney, brinjal pickle etc
Home-made mint-raita (greek yogurt, grated cucumber, chopped fresh mint, sliced radish and a handful of salted peanuts)
home-made quick salsa (finely chopped spring onions, red onion, tomato and a little fresh coriander).
Fresh coriander to garnish

1. Simply mix the tikka paste into the diced turkey, along with the sliced onion and sliced green pepper. Leave to marinade for a few minutes whilst you prepare the other parts of the dish. Here's a top tip - if you or your children prefer the tikka to be milder, then just add a few spoonfuls of plain greek yogurt to the marinade and / or use less tikka paste. The really great thing about this recipe is that you can tweak it to your tastebuds.

Marinade turkey in tikka paste.
You can also add yogurt for a milder version.

2. Put together the most amazing mint raita (cue name-drop...) which Anjali Pathak of Patak's fame introduced us to by mixing plain yogurt with grated cucumber, sliced radish, chopped fresh mint and a handful of salted peanuts. (If very young children or anyone with a nut allergy is going to be eating this meal then omit the peanuts for obvious reasons!)
Home-made mint raita.
3. Put together a quick home-made salsa-style topping by simply finely chopping a spring onion, half a red onion and a couple of tomatoes and mixing together with a little chopped fresh coriander.
Home-made quick salsa-style topping.
4. By now, your turkey should have had a few minutes to marinate in the tikka paste. Now simply fry it in a saucepan until cooked through. This should take around 5-10 minutes.

5. Now for the fun part. Get friends and family together around the table and get stuck into filling your fajtikka wraps.


Whereas in an ordinary fajita you may use creme fraiche, salsa and guacamole on your tortilla, with the fajtikka, you can use your selection of chutneys, pickles and of course the freshly made raita. Top with the turkey tikka you have cooked, and a spoonful of your home-made simple salsa, a couple of pieces of coriander, fold and fill your mouth with it!

Indian-inspired fillings for your Turkey fajtikka.
To cater for everybody's tastes, you could also have a selection of the more traditional fajita ingredients (grated cheese, guacamole, sour cream, lettuce, salsa etc.) as these combine well with the tikka flavours too.
Or you can use traditional Mexican-style fillings.
You can serve these with a simple side salad of lettuce and red and yellow peppers look really summery and taste so sweet and fresh too.

The thing we really love about fajitas, and now fajtikkas too, is that they are a perfect meal for having fun and sharing for all the family as everyone loves getting involved in putting their own fajita / fajtikka together and folding it up. It is great if you have any fussy eaters as they can simply leave out any parts of the filling that they don't like and all those fresh summery colours make it a beautiful meal to look at too!

This meal takes about 15 minutes preparation time and 10 minutes actual cooking time. If you have longer and are planning a barbeque why not put the marinated turkey tikka pieces onto skewers and barbeque them to cook them. Then complete the rest of the recipe in exactly the same way as described.

Now all we need is more summery weather for some alfresco dining.

This post is an entry for BritMums’ Summer Turkey Recipe Challenge, which is sponsored by Lean On Turkey. If you have a quick and tasty turkey recipe, why don't you pop over to BritMums and join in!


Inspect A Gadget with Moneysupermarket.com - Currys essentials Portable DVD Player Review

Child's play: Simple enough for a child to use
When Moneysupermarket.com got in touch to see if we would like to review a 'gadget' that people often take on holiday with them we jumped at the chance.

The idea was to see if these gadgets live up to their more expensive counterparts or whether these lower cost versions which make less of a dent on the budget just aren't as good.

We were able to pick a low-cost gadget that retails for around £50 from the choice of an MP3 player, a mini-camcorder, a tablet, an e-reader or a portable DVD player.  We chose to review the Curry's Essentials 7" Portable DVD player.

We picked the Portable DVD player because it is an item that we have thought of purchasing several times before but in the past, the price of these was higher, retailing at around £100-£150 and the high cost had put us off.

We had a short holiday break planned (which we have now just arrived home from) and we knew the car journey would be an ideal opportunity to put the Portable DVD player to the test!

It arrived with everything you need to use it including a built-in rechargeable battery with mains charger, and in-car charger (perfect for those longer journeys) and even a remote control! (although we didn't need to use the remote).

There was also an instruction booklet but it was so straightforward and intuitive to use that we didn't even need to look at the instructions. The day it arrived, I just charged the device, handed it to 8 year old J and off he went to try it out. I think the toughest part was deciding which DVD to watch.

It kept the kids entertained at home...
I was pleasantly surprised that the novelty of being able to take the DVD player up to his room meant that I got two hours peace as him and his brother stayed upstairs and watched Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Rodrick Rules.

I was expecting the battery power to run out at this point, but then 7 year old D came down to choose a second video to watch and I was left in peace again whilst they enjoyed Happy Feet Two.

At this point, I have to admit that I was very impressed with the Portable DVD player and this was BEFORE we had even set out on our holiday!

After a few more days of counting down "how many sleeps before our holiday", we set off. The car journey was not particularly long but I was still looking forward to a peaceful journey as the boys had chosen their DVD and were all set to watch it en route.

But then..."I feel sick" J calls out from the back seat. So the DVD player was promptly turned off and they just tried to relax and get a bit of fresh air in through the window for the rest of the journey. So that bit didn't quite go to plan. But all was not lost as you will see...

When we arrived at our holiday accommodation - a 3 bedroom static caravan - we soon realised just how hard it would be to get the boys to stay quiet so that 13 month old T could sleep. They settled well that evening (as thankfully they each had their own room - albeit very tiny). The next morning I heard J wake. It was 4.57am. This is not unusual for him as with his ASD he has always found sleep a struggle.

I feared that he would then make enough noise to wake T up but to my surprise, me and T managed to stay asleep for another couple of hours. What had led to this miracle? J (and subsequently D when he woke up) had chosen a DVD and were sitting quietly watching it on the Portable DVD player.

...and in our holiday accommodation.
As the accommodation didn't provide a DVD player, it was so handy to have been able to take along our own. Light, compact, doesn't need extra batteries. Perfect!

The only one negative that I could find with the Portable DVD player was that the volume didn't go up very high so it did sound a little quiet at times. However, from a mummy's point of view wanting some peace and quiet this actually was more of a positive (you can use headphones with it too if you wish to).

When at home the boys usually tend to choose the computer or games consoles to entertain themselves with. But the portable DVD player proved to be a huge hit on holiday as an alternative for keeping them occupied.

I can see this being really useful to us over the next few years as T gets to an age (somewhere around 2 or 3 years old I am guessing) where she will have sufficient attention span and ability to watch a suitable DVD whilst on a long journey whilst her brothers play on their DS consoles. That way she won't feel left out as she will have her own gadget too.

Overall a big thumbs up from us for this product!

Disclosure: We were given £50 by moneysupermarket.com for the purpose of purchasing a gadget to review. All opinions are our own honest opinions. For more information on insuring your holiday gadgets and possessions see moneysupermarket.com's travel insurance information


Mischief and Cuteness - T at 13 months

Here is what T has been doing since she turned 13 months old. Lots of very cute things and a few mischievous things...
  • Dropping things deliberately and saying "uh-oh"
  • Saying "woof" to anything that resembles an animal
  • Making a sound like 'ther-yar' (There you are) and passing toys and food to us.
  • Loves playing peekaboo (or 'a-bu' as she calls it)
  • Flicks the corners of the pages of books or catalogues or telephone directories and loves looking at the effect this has as the pages flick rapidly.
  • Shredding tissue - She's quite an expert at this.
  • Sometimes does 'polishing' the floor first with any tissues she finds before shredding them.
  • Within the past week or so has started to stand unaided for a few seconds and gradually built up to around 30 seconds or a minute. We have seen her take 1 step on two occasions too!
  • She is so proud of being able to stand up alone that she gives herself a round of applause when she does it.
  • High pitched ba-bye or night-night along with cute wave from the wrist.
  • Picks up any object looking like a phone and says "hi-ya".
  • Loves bathtime and splashes lots in the bath!
  • Is starting to be able to point to her nose when we say the word 'nose'.

Boux Avenue Review

When the lovely people at Savoo got in touch to see if I would like to review some items from Boux Avenue, I responded with an excited YES! My underwear and nightwear wardrobe consisted of a mish-mash of my old maternity items that I hadn't got around to clearing out and some very old nightwear going back many years. So I was very much in need of something new.

A few days later a gorgeous gift box arrived containing my voucher. Boux Avenue gift wrap all orders in a Boux Avenue box containing beautiful lace print tissue paper and scented rose petals - simply gorgeous! From that moment I knew I was in for a treat.

Boux Avenue pride themselves on this signature gift wrapping service and it is fantastic that this is offered free of charge on all purchases. It helps make the whole experience feel so much more special whether you are treating yourself or buying a gift for someone. For anyone worrying about the eco-impact of additional packaging, Boux Avenue do offer the option of just having the outer delivery box. However, in our household any beautiful packaging always gets re-used in some way whether for wrapping other treats in or to use in crafts - I knew that nothing would to go to waste, so I could relax and enjoy the pretty packaging.

I had imagined being able to purchase a new bra and knickers set with the gift voucher but I was amazed to see just how far my voucher stretched. I opted for non-wired bras (as I still breast-feed twice a day so I didn't want to risk wired-bras interfering with that) and these were very reasonably priced. I chose this microfibre non-wired bra, which as well as being very soft and flexible is also very supportive. The other bra I picked out was the Corrine Lace-trim moulded bra  which is a really pretty style as well as being comfortable.

And it didn't stop there, I was also able to pick out some new pyjama trousers which I needed. Both pairs that I liked the most were on offer price so I was able to get both as well as a pair of mega-comfy Trudie Yoga pants. I chose the Shipwrecked gingham pyjama pants and the Shipwrecked lollies pyjama pants.

Shipwrecked gingham pyjama pants from Boux Avenue
The pyjama trousers were 100% cotton and had a roll-up feature where you could turn-up the legs if you wish to into a three-quarter length style. They also had an elasticated waist and an additional drawstring around the waist too.

and with legs buttoned-up for three-quarter length style

All items felt accurately sized to me. The trouser legs did seem a little on the long side but with the roll-up feature on the pyjamas this wasn't a problem.

Shipwrecked lollies pyjama pants from Boux Avenue
I have been wearing the yoga pants virtually non-stop since they arrived. They are just so comfy and have a lovely fold-down waistband which actually looks really flattering.

When placing my order online, I did have a few technical difficulties where the website just wasn't playing ball, but a quick phonecall to Boux Avenue's Freephone customer service number and they simply took the details and placed the order over the telephone for me. Leaving me very impressed with the high standard of customer service.

And if you pop over to Savoo's facebook page right now, they have a fantastic competition with a £250 voucher for Boux Avenue to be won. Just imagine all the lovely items you would be able to buy with that!
Disclosure: I was given a £50 gift card to spend on any items I wished online at Boux Avenue. The opinions given in this review are my own honest opinions.

New arrivals...

Look what arrived today!

And here's what was inside...

J and D had been given a £30 budget from The Toadstool to choose a toy as a thank you for helping out with the jokes on The Toadstool's facebook page. They are really keen to do a review post on their lovely new toys so keep an eye out for that soon!