> The Beesley Buzz: March 2017

Eleven


March 2017 was the month that D turned 11. As well as my usual wondering of where did all those years go, I find myself wondering where the time goes to each day. 

This little blog was supposed to capture the kids milestones and even getting up a birthday pic of D has taken me ages to get around to doing. Time just rushes by every day and by the time the jobs are done for the day, school runs, clubs, activities, hospital appointments etc are done for the day, I just collapse into bed and can't face logging on to write a blogpost. 

So this is a speedy one written up before dashing off on the school run today....

D you are now 11. That seems such a big number and yet when I look at you some days you seem so young - so innocent not having seen the horrors that this world is capable of. 

Other times I look at you and see how grown up you are. I see such wisdom already. Knowing you are growing into the most wonderful young man. You already show such a caring attitude towards others - sensing intuitively when things aren't right. Wanting to offer help and put things right. 



You love to read a lot lately. Harry Potter books are your favourite. You've pinched one of my ornate chopsticks to use as a wand. You and Miss T walk around the house casting spells. She now adores Harry Potter rather than Star Wars which was a favourite of hers for so long. You even received a special letter from Hogwarts recently! 

You set a good example to us all - of how to be a good friend. Of how to spend time on what matters most. Of how to put things into perspective. Of how to help when help is most needed. 

You make my day when you notice when the vacuuming has been done, when you appreciate the food that has been cooked, when you say thank you and show that you care. 

In September you will be off to secondary school. Your primary school education wasn't the most conventional as it included our years of homeschooling. Wonderful years that I hope have given you happy memories for life. But for the past 3 years you've settled beautifully into a school setting. Making friends, doing so well, you are the kind of kid everyone loves to know and have as a friend. 

Happy Birthday!






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More clean cake baking: No-bake Goji bars

After an overindulgence of cake for D's birthday recently, I decided to make a batch of Henrietta Inman's Goji berry cereal bars so that we'd all have healthy treats to snack on this week.

They're brilliant because they are refined-sugar free and this is actually a no-bake recipe so quite easy to do.

The recipe is in her Clean Cakes book which I adore and seem to be making my way through cooking every single recipe. But I also found it online here.

I made a couple of little swaps like using more puffed quinoa as I didn't have brown rice puffs and using a combination of almond butter and peanut butter as I didn't have cashew nut butter at home at the moment.

They turned out quite soft and crumbly even after being put in the fridge - but that made them all the more moreish. Surely it is only right to keep nibbling away at any bits that keep crumbling off, right?

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Thank Goodness for Dolmio to get us through the week!

Although I wasn't speedy enough to be one of the lucky bloggers getting a Dolmio delivery, I always keep a jar of Dolmio in the cupboard for those mid-week meals that need to be quick and easy and still get that all important nutritional goodness into the kids.

The kids are so busy after school with music lessons, youth club, boys brigade and other activities that it really can be a rush at dinner time. So I was keen to come up with something mega speedy that could be rustled up in minutes and that tasted really good too.

So #ThankGoodness for Dolmio. I threw in some other storecupboard (and freezer ingredients) and hey presto - speedy, tasty and nutritious dinner.

If you've not picked up a jar of Dolmio recently, I'd really recommend taking a look at the great infographic on their website. How brilliant that a whopping 10 tomatoes goes into every 500g jar!


Dolmio & Frankfurter Simple Speedy Spaghetti

Here's what you'll need to make our super-easy supper with Dolmio:

1 x 500g jar Dolmio original
Wholewheat spaghetti
1 pack good quality frankfurters
frozen red onion (equivalent to 1 red onion)
frozen sweetcorn (1 handful)
frozen peas (1 handful)
a little rapeseed oil for frying
fresh basil and / or salad to serve if desired

Method:
1. Cook the spaghetti according to pack instructions
2. Fry the red onion in a little rapeseed oil. Chop the frankfurters into slices and add until browned.
3. Add the frozen peas and sweetcorn, followed by the jar of Dolmio.
4. Simmer for a few minutes.
5. Serve the spaghetti and the Dolmio and frankfurter sauce on top or stir it all together as you prefer.
6. Serve with basil or salad as you wish.

SO simple. SO speedy and tastes SO super!



And here's the bonus...A second speedy meal the following day.

Leftover Spaghetti Nests

With the leftovers, simply lightly greased either a muffin pan or silicone cupcake cases, place little nests of the spaghetti and Dolmio mixture into them, Top with a little crumbled cheddar and pop in the oven at 180C for approximately 15-20 minutes.

You end up with cute little spaghetti nests that the kids will just adore!


We hope you enjoyed our super simple recipe packed with goodness that makes us say #ThankGoodness for #Dolmio


This post is an entry for the #Dolmio #ThankGoodness Challenge, sponsored by Dolmio. Find out more here www.dolmio.co.uk/thankgoodness
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A mother's uniform

From the cryptic title you may be expecting a deep thought-provoking post about how mothers clothe themselves with love and care and always put their children first. Well we do often do that but this post is more literal than that.

Becoming a mum meant I had a wardrobe shift. Where once I had rails of work suits, blouses and dresses, I now have piles of T-shirts, jeans and tracksuits.

Because let's face it, there's nothing as easy and comfortable to wear day in day out as a T-shirt when you're running around after kids. So it's very much become my uniform as a mum. It's only on special occasions that you'll find me wearing anything other than a T-shirt and jeans.

But like many, I'm often guilty of grabbing the cheapest clothing I can find, often at the supermarket for convenience, without thinking of the real cost to other people and to the environment when clothes aren't ethically made.

So when I first came across Cup of Tee, I absolutely fell in love with their concept. An ethically made, recycled T-shirt, hand-finished right here in the UK. They're printed with eco-friendly ink.

They come rolled up in a re-usable tea cup which is BPA free.

Their designs are quirky and cool and the T-shirts are mega-comfortable.

They make a great gift arriving in a cup like that. So much fun and certainly a gift that goes on giving as they say. The person on the receiving end is bound to smile and think of you everytime they wear their T-shirt and / or use their cup for a cuppa.

Now another mother dilemma I've had lately is where to shop for clothes for ever-growing J. He seems to have outgrown the kids ranges in stores. Even when we find clothing in a big enough child size for him, the actual designs can be quite childish.

So we're gradually starting to buy him clothing from Men's ranges in the smallest sizes which seems to be working better than squeezing him into children's clothing ranges.

J was sent a men's small size Cup of Tee T-shirt with the "Work With Courage"Stag design.


 He loves it!!!


In fact, he loves it so much he agreed to pose for photos for the first time in months!


And we love them too for their recycled and ethical credentials.

The Cup of Tee T-shirt I was sent was a Medium Ladies one in Vintage green that I love!

Super soft and comfy. The fit was good (despite me piling the pounds back on since my backpain has flared up again).




So if you're looking for a new T-shirt for yourself, or to give a gift with a difference, then I would highly recommend CupofTee.com

You can also find them on facebook and twitter.

So although I've resigned myself to having to wear a mother's uniform of T-shirt and jeans most the time, at least I can wear a stylish, comfy, ethically made one thanks to Cup of Tee.



Disclosure: With huge thanks to Cup of Tee for sending us these lovely T-shirts for the purposes of review. All opinions are, as always, our own. 








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Three-tiered surprise on the inside chocolate cake

It is blogposts like this that demonstrate just what a rubbish blogger and baker I am. Because when I'm experimenting in the kitchen, I rarely keep track of exactly what I'm doing and so end up clueless about the exact quantities of the ingredients I've used. A big no-no when it comes to the 'science' that is baking.

Anyhow when I made this triple-layered cake that thankfully turned out well, I did want to keep a note of the bits I could remember as a learning point for next time.

First I made a basic vanilla cake batter using:
4 eggs
240g self-raising flour
200g caster sugar
240g stork

Once those ingredients were combined, I took 200g of the batter and added in a handful of freeze-dried strawberries. This batter was then poured into my little heart-shaped cake tin (greased and lined) and baked in the oven at 180C for just over 30 minutes.

Then I divided the remaining batter in two.

Into one half I added some random amount of cocoa powder. I could probably have added more as it didn't become too dark coloured. But I was wary of the mixture drying out too much. I added a small splash of milk to keep the consistency and stop it becoming too dry with the cocoa powder.

I greased and lined a circular cake tin and dolloped the vanilla batter and chocolate batter in. Using a lollipop stick I swirled the two around to make a marble effect.

This needed around 30 minutes in the oven at 180C.

For the bottom layer of cake, I mixed together:
180g sugar
100ml rapeseed oil
140g self-raising flour,
1 egg,
40g cocoa powder
vanilla
175 ml milk

This chocolatey batter was poured into a greased and lined square cake tin and popped into the oven at 190C for about 30 minutes.

When all three cakes had cooled, I could start decorating. Each cake got a crumb coat of whipped double cream first. 


I looked up a mirror glaze recipe which stated 175ml double cream, 70g sugar, 20g cocoa powder, 1 and a half leaves gelatin and 75ml water but when I made this up following the instructions it remained very 'watery' and was really running off the cake. 

So an extra leaf and a half of gelatin was added to it, followed by some melted dark chocolate. 

Once cool, this was thick enough that it seemed to work. Not quite as mega-shiny as some mirror-glazes but I was happy enough with it.

I used it for the bottom layer, adding a few chocolate curls around the base.

I also used it for the middle layer. White chocolate was then drizzled across the middle cake.

Finally for the top layer, I didn't even attempt a white chocolate mirror glaze so instead just made a white chocolate ganache with unknown quantities of double cream and white chocolate and poured it over. This was finished off with some freeze-dried strawberries sprinkled around the sides.




So each layer ended up looking different on the outside as well as being different on the inside. Together they had the wow factor as my kids were impressed with it. 

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Leek, Chicken and Bacon family pie made with British Leeks

We LOVE leeks in our family. They are just so versatile and taste delicious in so many meals. Some of our regular dishes are croquettas made with leeks as the starring ingredient, a citrussy leek side dish, and a cheesy leek bake. 

But the big favourite that ALL the family adores is a pie made with leeks as the number one ingredient. Especially as a warming home-made pie is perfect during the winter season which is British Leek season. 


So here's our recipe for Leek, Chicken and Bacon pie:

Ingredients:
2 large leeks
2 cloves garlic
4 rashers of bacon
2 chicken breasts
2 eggs
275g butter
400ml chicken stock
350ml milk
400g plain flour
seasoning

Method:

1. Simmer the chicken in the chicken stock for 10 minutes. Cover with a lid whilst simmering. Then remove from the hob and leave to cool.
2. Wash and finely slice the leeks. Gently soften in 25g of the butter in a large pan on the hob then add the garlic.

3. Add 50g butter to the same pan, once melted add 50g plain flour.
4. Pour in the milk, then add 200ml of chicken stock. Then leave to thicken on a low heat, stirring occasionally.
5. Chop the bacon into small pieces and add to the pan. Then chop the chicken breasts and add to the pan.
6. Leave to cool while you make the pastry.

7. Make the pastry dough by mixing together 200g butter, 350g plain flour, 1 egg and 1 tbsp of water. I use a food processor to make it really quick but you can mix by hand if you prefer.
8. Take 250g of the dough and set aside for the pie lid.
9. Roll out the rest, line your pie dish and trim any excess from the edges.
10. Ensuring that your pie filling is now cool (you don't want a soggy bottom!), fill the pastry with the delicious leeky filling.
11. Roll out and place the pie lid pastry on top making a small hole for steam to escape. Crimp the edges with a fork then brush with egg as a glaze.
12. Place in a preheated oven at 200C for 40 minutes until golden brown.




British Leeks are in season right now and you can find out more about them here.
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Groovy Mums at Kate on Thin Ice is back!

I was so pleased to see Kate's Groovy mums linky back. In the past, thinking about each weeks prompt and letting my thoughts go where they lead me has proved kind of therapeutic. Just unpacking things enough to take a look and then decide whether to deal with or put away back in the box for another time.

Each time I sit down to write my groovy mums post - I never know quite where my words and thoughts will lead me and sometimes it is enough to ponder without coming to any conclusions as such.

This weeks theme is about the Fairground. Seemingly innocent enough. Or is it.

I think of a Fairground in two ways - one is a candy floss filled place of fun, family, laughter. I visualise it in my mind in pastel colours expanding from the candy floss pink colour. I imagine soft lights like one might imagine surrounding a mirror and just a sense of childlike fun.

The other is a sinister themed fun fair. I see vivid red, yellow and gold colours. Chipped and peeling paint off eerie looking carousel horses. Music playing that goes beyond fun and verges on annoying. Those smilers from Doctor Who springing up when least expected. Rides that are beyond scary designed to make you feel sick with fear.

So depending on which route I take, this post could go in any direction.

Here's Kate's prompt in a bit more detail to help me:

It is an exciting place but the only issue is that you only have a limited time to enjoy it and nobody is going to tell you exactly how long. Which rides will you choose? What gambles will you take? Will you overcome your fears to take on the really scary stuff? Will you stop for some food and if so, what type of food and drink will you choose? You might be lucky and win a huge cuddly toy but what I do know is that you should prepare for some ups and downs.

You could of course choose not to go into the fairground entrance but where would the fun be in that?

1. It is an exciting place but the only issue is that you only have a limited time to enjoy it and nobody is going to tell you exactly how long. 

I often ponder whether we humans really do ever get this. I know that I don't like to dwell on the idea that we are not going to be here forever and if we start to think about it too much, then I guess fear could get the better of us. But sometimes I do stop and question myself about whether the life I am living day to day reflects the uncertainty that is life.

Often the answer is no. On the one hand I do try to cram in as much as possible into life to avoid having regrets, on the other hand, that leaves me with less time to just 'be' and enjoy each moment as I rush from one thing to the next.

2. Which rides will you choose? What gambles will you take? Will you overcome your fears to take on the really scary stuff?
When I am at an actual fairground (or more likely to be a theme park visit these days), I actually avoid any rides that I know I will find terrifying. It is not because of fear but more a choice I make by showing I don't have anything to prove so why would I want to go on a ride that I don't enjoy.

I know in life, there is definitely a place for feeling the fear and doing it anyway as they say. So I have found myself being aware of situations that I may want to say no to just to take the easy way out and then challenge myself to go for it to overcome my fears. But for me, the fairground isn't the place for doing that.

3. Will you stop for some food and if so, what type of food and drink will you choose?
I guess food can represent all kinds of nourishment and I know that I've fallen into negative habits again this year when it comes to food. Last year things felt so easy - I kicked the sugar habit and really enjoyed looking forward to nourishing nutritious meals.

This year, 2 months of poor health with arthritis flare ups, sciatica and becoming housebound for part of that time, left me in a low mood. The pain caused (and still continues to cause) fatigue like I had never experienced before. That left me feeling even more useless. This cycle has led to me eating junk food and convenience food and not looking after myself properly. I know this needs to change and I know I need to start afresh with the knowledge that I have done it before and so I will do it again.

In terms of spiritual nourishment, I have never gone back to Church properly in the past few years and stubbornly refused to read my bible - when deep down I know that for things to change, this is something I need to make the decision to do and make time for it.

4. You might be lucky and win a huge cuddly toy but what I do know is that you should prepare for some ups and downs.

As the saying goes, the only certainty is uncertainty so I guess it is about enjoying the ups, appreciating them even more because of having had the down moments too. And knowing through the difficult times that there is still something to learn from the experience.

I love the mention of the huge cuddly toy. It reminds me of how so often in life we can desperately want something, almost believing that if only we could have that one thing it would make us happy. And just like that big cuddly toy, even if we were to win it, once we have it we wonder whether it was really worth it. Spending all those pounds on lots of goes at the fair, on a game where the odds are manipulated to be against you. Only to win a toy which from a distance looks amazing but up close, you notice the dirt marks of it hanging there on that stall for months, the low quality feel to it, and how impractical to have to get it home and then find somewhere to put it. Suddenly you realise the thing you thought you wanted so much, and you thought would bring you happiness isn't all that you thought it would be.

I know there are times when I've told myself, 'once this happens...' 'If only I had...' 'when I get...' and the reality is that even if and when those things happen, they may not prove to be all I hoped they would be and so I'm learning it is far better to be content with the 'now' - whatever that looks like with all it's messiness and uncertainty.

5. You could of course choose not to go into the fairground entrance but where would the fun be in that? 

I touched on this before with deciding which rides to go on. I think sometimes it is just as important to be able to walk away from something or say no when something doesn't quite feel right. A friend of mine once told me to trust my gut instinct as it is rarely wrong. It can be so tempting to say yes to things thinking they are wonderful opportunities and sometimes so much can come out of saying yes to something new and different instead of saying no out of fear.

But learning to say no is important and difficult - Something I still struggle with often.

I suppose it is about discerning which of those two scenarios of fairground you are being invited to enter - the innocent childlike candyfloss and fun fairground or the sinister smiler-filled 'something is not quite right' fairground.

Linking up with Kate On Thin Ice's Groovy Mums:

Kate on thin ice

One last thing...Kate challenged us this week to ask for help and to treat ourselves. I texted a friend to arrange to meet up - not so much for help but the last time we met it was in a busy noisy place with the kids around so I wanted her to know that I missed chatting with her properly and I know it will help me to meet up and chat with her. Secondly I treated myself to a morning of baking - Something I haven't found much time for lately and have struggled to do with my back pain. So I set aside a big chunk of time without worrying about anything else but to enjoy baking at my own pace and I thoroughly enjoyed it. 
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The Easter Tag - Christian Bloggers UK


The lovely Mich from Mummy from the Heart has tagged me in the Christian Bloggers UK Easter tag. I haven't joined in with any tags for anything over recent years as I tend to add them to my 'to-do' list and then never actually get around to it. So today I knew I had to seize the moment and just do it, otherwise before I know it Easter time will have passed us by and it will be too late.

There are 10 questions as part of the Easter Tag but I feel I need to start with a little explanation first...Apart from the odd passing mention, my faith doesn't really feature in this blog. Why? Because around the time we began this blog, I also suffered from post-natal depression. Having never had any kind of depression before but having grown up with a mother who battled with it for as long as I remember, this came as a shock because I had vowed to myself never to put my own kids through the stuff I went through as a kid.

And yet there I was with these feelings washing over me and feeling powerless to do anything about them. It was the first time in my life that I actually realised that my dear mum didn't actually have any control over her illness and that it was her illness that controlled her.

Before that point I was one of those ignorant people who thought that it was possible to choose to be depressed or not depressed and that you could just 'snap out of it' if you wanted to. So in many ways I am grateful to have experienced it for myself to understand what it is like.

I never wrote about it in any depth - again perhaps just a passing mention - because my blog became my 'happy' place where I could ignore the parts of my life I didn't want to think about and focus on the things I did want to look back on and remember. I'm not saying this was the right thing to do, but just the way I coped with things at the time.

During that time of PND, I realised that I felt like I was robbed of my faith. Being a Christian had gone from being a major part of who I was to barely being there at all. I felt like my faith was there but only just hanging by a thread whereas once it had been a strong rope made up of loads of threads bound tightly together.

This led to guilt. Perhaps my faith wasn't ever as strong as I thought it was? Perhaps it was because I had stopped going to churc? Was I even a real Christian anymore? How come other people's faith became stronger in times of trial and mine virtually disappeared?

Although the post-natal depression has gone, my faith has never fully returned to the same level it was at. I don't feel I belong in any church because church seems to be a place for either people who already believe and consider themselves to be Christians and most are welcoming of non-believers who want to know more. But someone with a faith that is barely there? I'm not sure how that fits.

So I've had to change the way I think about it - rather than try and see it as levels of faith or 'strong' or 'weak' faith - I've just asked myself the question - do I still believe? Do I believe and trust God? Do I believe and trust in Jesus? And the answer to that is yes and so that DOES make me a Christian.

So with the above context, these 10 straightforward questions don't feel so straightforward to answer...but I will try.

1. How are you celebrating Lent this year?

I suppose Lent is usually associated with giving something up. A friend of mine pointed out that actually in place of giving something up it could be used to do an act of kindness towards someone each day throughout lent. I have to admit that I really liked the idea rather than a token giving up of a favourite food or activity.

2. What does Lent mean for you?

For me, I see Lent as a time for reflection and taking time to think about things that we perhaps don't stop to think about at other times of year.

3. What things have you given up for Lent in the past, and did you succeed or fail?


Richard gave up coffee many years ago and that actually lasted beyond lent so was a great habit to break as he was rather addicted to coffee before then. Having enjoyed the use of a coffee machine when staying in Wales last summer, he is now once again drinking coffee so although successful at the time, we're back to square one in terms of coffee drinking.

One year I remember reading a really thought-provoking book about Lent where you read a page a day and it gave inspiration for things to try / reflect upon / change - I cannot remember what it was called but had a pale yellowish cover (I think!) and was all the rage at the time it was published (around 10 years ago I'm guessing).

That was a really good way of taking time out and reflecting over the period of lent along with actionable things to be doing. I think I will need to search in the loft to see if I can find it again.

4. Have you ever taken part in an Easter bonnet competition? ( If so post the picture for us all!)


Not personally but J did one when he was at primary school and WON - it was a really cool Moshi Monsters themed one. (Sadly can't find a photo of it to hand)

5. What is your favourite pancake topping?

I used to love classic lemon juice and sugar but since cutting down on refined sugar last year I find that too sweet. Raisins and lemon juice work really well to still get my fix of lemon juice! Alternatively I love loads of berries and chocolate spread.

6. How do you celebrate Easter Day?


Easter day has become a bit of a family tradition - It is Sunday roast at Granny and Grandad's followed by the annual easter egg hunt set up by grandad. We've got some photos from a couple of years ago here. This has been a tradition that has been going for a very long time - the first one I remember was with a very poorly J who was just under two years old, the year that D was born in 2006.

As the kids have been doing really well with cutting down on sweets and chocolate, I'm hoping that perhaps we can persuade granny and grandad this year to hide pictures to find and exchange for a single nice egg each instead of coming home with bucketfuls of chocolate eggs.

7. What is your favourite Easter food?


I do enjoy hot cross buns toasted with butter but have to limit how many I eat otherwise would happily eat a whole pack by myself.

8. What would you encourage others to think about during Easter time?

Easter is a particularly special time for me and is actually more important than Christmas. I was first baptised on Easter day and it was only when I had made the decision to follow Jesus that I actually saw Easter very differently to how I had before that point.

9. What activities do you take part in during Holy Week?


We used to go to the town-wide Good Friday service but nowadays just try to spend time together as a family.

One thing that does always come to mind during this week, is Tony Campolo's talk about 'It's Friday but Sunday's coming' - We first heard him speak about it at Detling many years ago but it's probably available online somewhere. I love that man and could listen to him speak forever!

10. Who else would you like to nominate to take part in the Easter Tag?


I'd love to nominate three lovely bloggers who I consider to be my blogging friends...Siobhan at Everyone Else is Normal whose writing is funny, poignant and intelligent, the musically gifted Anita Tatlow who I am in awe of with her singing and musical talents and love the trusting faith-filled life that she and her husband live, and the passionate about the place she lives, Lizzie from Lizzie Somerset who I actually wished I lived closer to as I feel we would be great friends if we ever got to meet up! 


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When your child doesn't get their first choice of secondary school

Our Harry Potter adoring son decided he wanted to go to Hogwarts for secondary school. So we dutifully sent off the application forms and waited. Today the secondary school places have been announced...
Full text below the images










Delivered by owl post





Dear Daniel,

Thank you for your most interesting application to join us at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. We have reviewed your application and firmly believe that you would indeed make a most excellent wizard. You clearly already have the skills and the maturity to succeed greatly at this establishment.

However, things over recent years have changed considerably. The world is facing challenges and threats that it has never seen before. The battle between darkness and light is keener and more difficult than ever. In the past, this battle has raged mainly in the wizarding world, and the muggles knew little of the fight. Sadly that has changed. The muggle world is now under threat as the forces of darkness attempt to bring division and hatred between people. The worlds resources are running out, happiness and joy are seeping from the earth as though dementors stalked the planet, and people are beginning to become scared of the future. What the world needs now, more than ever before, are good men and women. Strong leaders. People who can and will make a positive difference. 

The world needs great artists, musicians and writers – people who can create joy and happiness in the darkest moments and enable others to see and hear and read of places where the light still shines, to bring them hope in troubled times.

The world needs engineers, mathematicians and scientists – to find ways to power and fuel the needs of the people without running out the resources of the earth.

The world needs leaders, politicians and powerful people – to show that hope is the only way, and to enable people to live alongside one another without hatred and fear.

The world needs chefs, cooks and bakers – to provide new cooking skills to inspire people, bring them joy and lift their souls.

The world needs many people to work together to make the planet a better place.

You, Daniel, would certainly make a most excellent wizard. However, we believe that you are too valuable to be constrained to the wizarding world. We believe that you can be one of those most important people who can bring light into the darkness. You do not need to attend this most ancient of institutions – Hogwarts – to become the man you are destined to be. You merely need to look inside of yourself, to always choose life and hope and joy, and to do all you can to be the person you were created to become. There is nothing that we can teach you that you do not already know about the wizarding world, and so we have arranged that you attend a school local to you. You will be near to your friends and continue to live with your family. There you can continue to be a person of peace and give life to the people around you.

Never forget, Daniel, that you are destined for great things. Men and women have gone before you, preparing the way ahead of you. So you can be great. You will be known for your courage, your joy, your hope. For you are a bringer of hope. You are a true friend. A loyal companion. Someone others turn to when they need help.

Always look to the light, Daniel, and never stray from the path set before you. I cannot promise that there will not be battles – but I can be sure that you will overcome them. As Professor Dumbledore once said, 
        Happiness can be found in the darkest of times, 
        if one only remembers to turn on the light. 

With very best wishes for your outstanding future.
M McGonagall
Professor Minerva McGonagall

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