Dobble: The Fast and Hilarious Card Game

Monday, 24 July 2017


As you may know, (I may have mentioned it just a few times), I love a good board game! I have a collection of both old and new games that doesn't fit in the cupboard anymore!


So when I was asked to become a member of the new Board Game Bloggers Club, I jumped at the chance!


The first game that we've been playing is DobbleDobble is a consists of 55 cards, with 8 symbols per card. You have to match symbols from your card to the ones available. It sounds a bit like snap, but there's a twist! There is only one identical symbol in common between each card and each symbol might be a different size and in a different place!



There are 5 different games to be played, but our favourite was The Towering Inferno!




You have to be the fastest to spot a matching symbol, shout it out and add it to your pile. As you can imagine, the house has been full of shouting!


It must be said that playing Dobble can result in  un-sportsman-like conduct! A lot of the time, we found our hands around the card, ready to pounce if we found our symbol!




You must also be warned that there could be a lot of cheating! There was a lot of "that four leafed thing" and "the gold thing over there" before the card was taken. Anyone who knows me would have placed bets on me saying these things, but nope. It was Mikey!


We have had a really great time playing Dobble! It is recommended for ages 6 and over, but I have to admit, I can easily see this being a game that a lot of adults would want to play too!

Mikey has already been trying to teach Dorothy to play, but it isn't as fast paced as he would like, but she's definitely got the hang of the shouting!






Apart from the fun of actually playing the game, I have to say that I also love that it comes in a compact tin, as it means that whenever we go away, it can easily come with us :)


Dobble is available for £12.99 and is suitable for up to 8 players. It really is a frantically funny family game!



Disclaimer: I was sent Dobble in return for my honest opinion. As always, all opinions are my own.


Keep Calm and Carry On Linking Sunday


Angels and Cookies: Free From Cookie Dough

Wednesday, 19 July 2017





Last weekend, my sister, Kirsty and I went down to London to visit The Allergy and Free From Show. As you are all aware, my family is a free from one, but my sister's family eats normally, so it was interesting to see what she'd think of the free from food available.


Although I am a free from blogger, I was visiting more as a parent of a free from child. I wanted to see what was available that would also be safe for Mikey.


There was so much to see and to be honest, it was a bit overwhelming! There were stalls as far as the eye could see!


I wasn't expecting anything, and although I liked the look of some products, there was always an ingredient that could pose a serious danger to Mikey. That was, until I found a little stall from the business Angels and Cookies.






Angels and Cookies have created some free from ready made cookie dough. Now to some it might sound daft, but I gave up baking for the kids because I couldn't find a recipe or solution that would create safe, tasty food and hold together!


I have to admit, I was really intrigued. I spoke to the lovely ladies at the stall and it was like I was finally talking to someone who understood. They knew that baking could be hard if you suffer from multiple allergies and that even a little thing like eating a cookie with a friend can help to make you feel 'normal'.


Angels and Cookies cookie dough is 14 allergen free, including gluten free, wheat free, egg free, dairy free, nut free and is also vegan. It is also made in a gluten free, wheat free and nut free environment, which was music to my ears :)

Kirsty and I tried some samples and we were both hooked! I had to snap some tubs up there and then!









I couldn't wait to make them and surprise Mikey! In fact, neither could Kirsty, as she helped me make them (and "taste test" them) when she came round for a playdate later that week!



Chocolate Fudge



 As soon as Mikey came in from school, we surprised him. He was a little wary to begin with, but after a check (and double check) of the tub, he was over the moon!







He was so pleased that he can eat 'normal' cookies that even those in our family who don't have allergies also love!


Dorothy was also excited, but I think that was because she could eat another cookie!






Eating cookies as a family seemed like a bit of a pipedream to us, but Angels and Cookies have made it a reality. It may sound a bit (okay, maybe a lot) corny, but they really are angels!

We can't wait to make the chocolate chip cookies next!


Angels and Cookies Cookie Dough comes in three flavours; Chocolate Fudge, Chocolate Chip and Ginger Spice. 

The cookie dough is £7.99 for a 350g tub. You can take out just what you need, or in our case, use the whole thing! It can also be refrigerated for a month or frozen for two, which is great if you don't want to use it all in one go.


You can find out more about Angels and Cookies and buy your cookie dough  at www.angelsandcookies.co.uk. They can also be found on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook :)





Keep Calm and Carry On Linking Sunday

A detective story

Friday, 7 July 2017



So this is the first time I've ever done this!

 Mikey has written a detective story in English, which was really good! He loves creative writing and one day wants his stories to be published or read by more people, so I thought what better way for that to happen then by sharing it on the blog!

I hope you like it :)




As I forwarded my notes on various odd cases figured out by my friend Detective Hubert, I find many cases where almost fatal for me; there were a lot of close calls. How my partner figures these cases out is a mystery and this case was no different. It started when we were sharing rooms in France on Rue de Theâter. I was awakened by the shadow of Detective Hubert cloaked in his smoking jacket. As he stood over me, he waited for me to rise. I blinked up at him somewhat surprised and a bit bewildered as I was a late riser.                                                           

“So sorry to have woken you up old friend” he said, “but we have been called. There is a man; Alicio is his name, apparently murdered in his study”.

“Then we must go immediately” I replied, sleepily.

Detective Hubert fully dressed with a Navy coloured suit, travelled by foot with me as his companion. We stood frozen in the study. As Detective Hubert and I examined the room, he found a clue: stabbing wounds in the victim. As he studied the wounds, I interrogated Alicio’s maid, Sofia. She told me there were two men she knew of that Alicio saw yesterday. One was Alicio’s cousin Chauncey who was his heir to his fortune, as he had no children. The other man was Maccabee, Alicio’s business partner. I asked where they lived, but she burst into tears, so I abandoned my attempt to extract more information from Sofia. I then returned to Detective Hubert’s side who was studying the floor. The carpet was damp but there were no signs of how it came to be that way.  I told Detective Hubert my findings and he knew where the suspects were, as he held up a note pad of the victims. We left suddenly to see the first suspect, a man called Chauncey.

Close to Chauncey’s house, we saw him standing there on the path. He had a pale complexion and seemed angry at our arrival.

“Get off my property” shouted Chauncey.

“EXCUSE ME,” replied Detective Hubert, “but I am investigating a murder”.

“Oh, my apologies” said Chauncey, taken aback “are you investigating my cousin, Alicio’s death?”

“Yes,” I replied.  

 “Please come in,” Chauncey said, so both Detective Hubert and I followed Chauncey through is home, Detective Hubert studied the surroundings throughout the time we were there. Chauncey answered all our questions with no real issue, so we decided to move to our next suspect on the list.

  

As we were leaving Chauncey’s house, we encountered a man called Collin walking down a street. He was a man who distributed ice from his cellar. We asked him some questions and the main thing that came from them was that Alicio was not a good man and was determined to shut Collin’s business down. Detective Hubert didn’t seem so sure, but we carried on finding Maccabee, as he might be able to shed some light on what Collin said.

We found Maccabee at the business that he ran with Alicio. He was acting as nothing happened, in a very happy manner. We asked him a few questions about the murder and asked if we could take a look in his house.

He happily replied “Yes, of course. Please go ahead. I had nothing to do with Alicio’s death.”

We investigated Maccabee’s house and found nothing wrong. That was until we got to the kitchen. As we looked through everything, we saw that there was something wrong with the wooden knife block. It was missing a knife. We returned to Maccabee who claimed he didn’t know anything about it.

“I honestly cannot tell you where that knife has gone.” He exclaimed.

“Does anyone else have access to your house? A cleaner, perhaps?” I asked.

“No, no one.” Maccabee answered, worryingly.

“Have you had any visitors lately?”

“No, not for a few days.” Answered Maccabee. “I had a few friends over for dinner and a delivery of ice from Collin two days ago.”

“Collin?” Detective Hubert’s eyebrow raised.

“Um.. yes. ” replied Maccabee. “Is there something wrong?” he asked, looking at both us repeatedly.

Detective Hubert paused for a moment. “Nothing to worry about.  Could you please meet me at Alicio’s house at 4 o clock today?”

“Yes of course, “ said Maccabee, confused.

We made our way out and Detective Hubert instructed me to go and tell the other suspects about the meeting.


At Alicio’s house, the suspects sat in front of Detective Hubert and myself. Detective Hubert said nothing for what seemed like forever. Suddenly he seemed to spring to life. “Alicio was murdered.”

“We know that.” Chauncey replied, rolling his eyes.

“That may be true, but, what you may or may not know is that he was murdered by someone in this room.”

The men suddenly started glancing at other accusingly.

“Let me tell you what we know.” Detective Hubert continued without looking at the men. “There could only be one of you that could have done it. Maccabee…”

Maccabee interrupted, “I did nothing. I swear to you.”

Detective Hubert continued again, “ Maccabee, you ran a business with the victim. You seem to be very happy that you are sole business owner now.”

“But I am not a murderer.” He spluttered.

“When we investigated your house, we found a knife missing from your kitchen.”

“But, but, I don’t know where that went.”

“Do not worry, It is not important.” Detective Hubert waved his hand, dismissing it.

“Not important” shouted Chauncey,” How is a missing knife not important? Alicio was stabbed.”

“Yes, he was, but not by Maccabee.”

“Then who? Are you accusing me?” Chauncey asked angrily.

“Chauncey, you are the sole beneficiary of Alicio’s estate.”

“ I am, but I DID NOT kill him.” Shouted Chauncey.

“You are set to inherit a large deal of money and a very large house.” Said  Detective Hubert, pacing up and down the room, not looking up.

“DO YOU HEAR ME?” shouted Chauncey, getting up from his chair. “I DID NOT KILL HIM.”

Detective Hubert stopped walking and looked up. “Please sit down Chauncey. I am aware that it wasn’t you.”

“Oh.” Chauncey sat down. “Then who was it? Collin?”

“Me? I did nothing.” Collin said gruffly.

“Oh, but you did.”

“Go on then, tell me how.” Collin crossed his arms and looked out of the window.

“I will. Collin you killed Alicio for one reason and one reason only. He was going to shut you down and you couldn’t afford that.”

“You’re wrong.” Collin replied, still looking out of the window.

“Not at all Collin and what’s more, you took Maccabee’s knife.”

“My knife?” Maccabee asked surprisingly.

“Yes, your knife,” Detective Hubert continued.”You took Maccabee’s knife from his kitchen when he delivered ice”

Maccabee interrupted.   “I’m sorry, but you’re wrong there. Collin delivered my ice to the front door.”

“ Ah yes, that is quite possible. However, when your friends came to dinner, Collin snuck to the back door and broke into your kitchen to steal the knife.”

“Why would he do that?” Maccabee asked.

“To frame you.” Detective Hubert confirmed.

“So he was killed with Maccabee’s knife?” I asked.

Detective Hubert continued.  “Oh no. He was killed with ice.”

“ICE?”

Detective Hubert didn’t look up as he began to pace the room again. “Yes, ice. Do you remember when we found that damp patch on the floor of Alicio’s study? It was where Collin here had used a dagger made of pure ice to kill Alicio. He knew that it would melt before anyone would find the body.”

Collin tried to run out of the room.

“Grab him,” Detective Hubert called to me. I ran and tackled Collin to the ground. We had our murderer.


By Mikey, aged 12

Inkrocket: Eco-friendly clothing and a giveaway!

Friday, 30 June 2017




We all have that certain item of clothing that we love more than others, be it a favourite pair of jeans, a great t-shirt, or a sweatshirt. My favourite item is a pair of converse trainers. I used to have a collection of nearly 10 different coloured pairs!

Well, my converse trainers have very strong competition now!



Meet Inkrocket:





Inkrocket are a new eco friendly clothing company, but they are much more than that. They are different.


After a conversation with their five year old daughter, they decided to donate 15% of their ticket sales to amazing charities. They work with TearFund, who do incredible work overseas and Starlight, an inspiring charity which works with terminally ill children. They also work with a small, but amazing charity called Samara's Aid Appeal, a one-woman tour-de-force who collects donations from across the UK, ships them to war torn regions, and then turns the shipping containers into field hospitals.

Like they say on their website,


"Great clothes make the wearer look amazing on the outside.
Our clothes make you feel fantastic on the inside too"



It's true! By buying and wearing their clothes, you're helping some fantastic charities do some terrific work across the globe.


So, when I found out that Dot and I could try their sweatshirts, I was thrilled!

The great experience started from when the sweatshirts arrived in the post. They were lovingly packed, and I was pleasantly surprised to not find them in a polythene bag like most clothes do when you order online.


I also loved the front of the box!







Taking them out of the box, I was immediately surprised at how soft they were!








I've never worn matching or co-ordinated outfits with my daughter before and can honestly say I never thought I would, but I was excited for us to put them on!!













I can honestly say, hand on heart, we love, love, love these sweatshirts! They are super soft, stylish  and comfortable. Dot is always asking if she can wear her 'Disco'!



You can find these co-ordinating sweatshirts and many more on Inkrocket's website, https://www.inkrocket.co.uk/. You can also find Inkrocket on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.




But wait, there's more! The very lovely people at Inkrocket are giving you the chance to win your own co-ordinating sweatshirts! All you have to do is enter via the rafflecopter below. Good luck!





a Rafflecopter giveaway

Prize: 1 x co-ordinating sweatshirts, provided by Inkrocket.
The closing date is 31st July 2017. 
Winner will be notified by email within 7 days of the competition closing. UK only.




Disclaimer: We were given co-ordinating sweatshirts in return for our honest opinion. As always, all opinions are our own.



Keep Calm and Carry On Linking Sunday


The Pramshed

Meeting up with friends: A big milestone

Saturday, 24 June 2017



So today we had a big milestone in Mikey's life; meeting up with friends. At nearly 13, that might not sound all that much, but to Mikey and our family, it's huge.


As you are all aware, Mikey has multiple severe food allergies, which were diagnosed at only 10 months old. Since then, our whole family have been on high alert at anything that poses a danger. It might sound overprotective, but as a toddler and at primary school, it can be hard for little ones and Mikey himself to understand why he can't have a cupcake or share a packet of crisps.


Over the years, we've slowly (and I mean SLOWLY!) eased up slightly as he has become older and more mature. I've written before about how proud I am of his maturity towards his allergies and medicine. Today was no different. I couldn't have been prouder of him.

He was meeting up with an old primary school friend. They went to different secondary schools, but recently got back in touch with each other. I know his friend and remember how lovely his family are (they used to be so good with Mikey and his allergies), so I knew there was no problem there.

So, after making arrangements to 'hang out', I found a dozen questions coming out of my mouth; Where are you going? What are you doing? Do you have your puffer bag? Do you have your Medicalert bracelet?  All of which were answered with a bit of eye roll and a short answer!


And with that, Mikey headed out of the door. With me telling me to ring him if he needs anything and that I'll see him at five o clock, I watched him race down the driveway towards the meeting point with a smile on his face. Suddenly, he ran back, gave me a hug and went back on his way!


He's not long come back in came in, with a beaming smile on his face and asking to go out again tomorrow! He did confess that he was nervous to be going out without anyone watching over him, but he had a blast, which was fantastic to hear.  :)

He used to feel left out when he was younger. He couldn't go to sleepovers or tea around a friends house after school. He couldn't go to parties without me doing a background check(!) on the parents, children and location and then escorting him to said parties and hanging around with the host's mum until it was over.

I want him to feel 'normal' and like every other child his age. I don't want to keep holding him back because I'm scared of what will happen if I let him go.  Today was a major step towards that, for both him and us and I couldn't be happier :)


JakiJellz


Accidental Hipster Mum



Keep Calm and Carry On Linking Sunday


The Pramshed

Activ8rlives: Body Analyser Smart Scales

Tuesday, 20 June 2017



As, you may already know, my husband and I are competing in a weight loss challenge, The Biggest Loser and I love my gadgets (my brothers and sister call me a geek!) , so I'm very excited that I'm lucky enough to try out Activ8rlives new Body Analyser Smart Scales :)








Not only do they tell you how much you weigh, the scales can also show you the percentages of body fat, visceral fat, (the fat that sits around the organs), muscle mass and bone density. The data uploads via Bluetooth to Activ8rlives' free app, so you can track your BMI and body composition.











I can honestly say, the scales have been helping me with weight loss. Usually I write how we've done each week in a notebook. It's easy to write in, but then it's forgotten about until the next weigh in day. With Active8rlives' Body Analyser Smart Scales, I can keep track of exactly how far I've come.






You can also add a target weight, which is brilliant! I've just done that and was happily surprised when I was shown this:



As each week goes by, it tells me what my target weight should be, to keep me on track with my goal. I love this!!


I can honestly say, it is definitely a great addition to our weight loss journey. It is so easy to think that it doesn't matter about what I eat or how little I exercise I do,  until the day or two before weigh in day, but seeing it on a screen really makes me think. I don't want the charts to go back up!!

I've only been using them for a short time, but I will be keeping you all posted on how I get on with them every month. Now I definitely have no excuses!



You can find out more about Activ8rlives and the Body Analyser Smart Scales, (which retail at £49.99), on their website www.activ8rlives.com. You can also find them on Twitter and Facebook :)




Disclaimer: I was sent the Activ8rlives Body Analyser Smart Scales in return for an honest review. As always, all opinions are our own.


Tips for Potty Training

Friday, 16 June 2017




This past week we have started potty training. Those two words can strike fear in the hearts of even the strongest of parents, but it needn't be that way!

These are just a few of my tips and things that have worked for Dorothy and me this past week. Hopefully they can those of you who are embarking on the journey of nappy-less little ones :)


(Drawing courtesy of Mikey!)




Make sure they are ready

I know as a parent, you sometimes want your child to reach the next milestone a little bit earlier than other kids, (I'm definitely guilty of it!), but when it comes to potty training, you really can't rush it. If you are pushing your child before they are really ready, there will be a lot of tears of frustration, from both of you!




Look for the signs


There are a few signs that your toddler will display when they are ready for potty training. You may have seen this on the Huggies Pull Up site:





Don't worry if they don't show all the signs at once, but if they're ready, your little one will show three or four of them.




Potty and toilet seats  


You may not think it makes much difference which potty or toilet seat you buy, but I have found that it does!

I thought that buying a normal potty from the supermarket would be fine, but I was wrong! Dot refused to use it and so I let her choose her own. Within reason of course (!), but I let her choose from a couple I was willing to buy. Including her in the process made things a lot easier.
The same happened with the toilet seat. Although sitting on the toilet can be very daunting and scary to a toddler, having a seat that they're happy to sit on makes the world of difference :)




Pull Ups or pants?


The debate between using pull ups and pants has been going on for a while. I have used both, with mixed results. A couple of weeks before I was starting potty training properly, I switched Dot's nappies to pull ups. I thought that it would help her pulling up and down, but she continued to use them as nappies and it didn't go well.

I then made the choice to buy her pants and go 'cold turkey', apart from at bedtime. Like the potty and toilet seat, I took her shopping with me and she chose her own underwear. Dot was so proud to hand them to the lady at the till herself :)




Dot having pants has been a complete change. She has only had two accidents this entire week and I think quite a bit of her success was her having her own pants that she wanted to keep wearing.

 


Encouragement


It can be so easy to get cross or disappointed when your child has an accident, but don't let yourself. (easier said than done, I know!)

Your little one needs all the encouragement they can get when potty training. It can be scary and difficult when they start out and they desperately want you to proud of them, so praising them even when they had an accident is a key part to them wanting to continue with it.



Have a reward system


You don't have to have a reward system, but I have found that it has really helped Dot. Within a day, she had already grasped that if she did a wee on the potty or toilet, she would earn a sticker. If she had an accident, it didn't matter, we'd try again later.

She was almost desperate to earn a sticker! As the week went on, she was using the potty even for the smallest of tiny wees if it meant that a visit could earn her a choice of smiley faces and ladybirds!

 



Keep to your routine


I know that when you start potty training, you think that it means you can't go out, but it needn't be that way! We have managed to go out and about and carry on as normal. We've not been locked in the house as I wanted to make it as normal a thing as possible for Dot.

If we need to go out, I make sure that Dot has a 'going out wee' before hand (something my mum taught us and I still have to go before I leave the house!) and then go out making sure that I have her bag with spare clothes just in case. (including socks- people always forget socks!!)

We also carry on playing in the house as normal, but making sure that I ask her every so often (half hour or so) as a reminder in case she's engrossed with her toys.



So there you have it! It's only been a week and it's early days, but I'm so proud of Dorothy. She's done amazingly well!

Hopefully, these tips might also help you if you're embarking on potty training soon :)





Brilliant blog posts on HonestMum.com

One Messy Mama


Mudpie Fridays


Accidental Hipster Mum

The Garden Makeover: An Update

Sunday, 11 June 2017




So, here we are....the end!

It is has been over a year, but we are now on the home stretch! The garden is almost complete!

You may have seen my last update, but here are some, (okay, a lot), of pictures of what it looks like now and how far we've come!


So, this is what it looked like to begin with.....






and in the last update, I showed you that Mark created Gabion cage walls for the bottom half of the garden, along with some raised flower beds and borders.





well, over the past few months, Mark and his mum and dad have been working really hard to get the garden finished, and this is now what it looks like....






We now have artificial grass, a hammock (!), and some planting....











I have to say, I felt bad for not really helping. I was in charge of making tea and coffee, but that was about it!

However, I did choose the colours of our new garden furniture. I was even allowed to paint it, which for those of you who don't know me, is a really big deal! (I'm not one to be trusted with a paint brush!)














I also planted up some lavenders into our new pots!


A post shared by Laura (@dotmakes4) on



One of my favourite things though is our new addition....



So there we have it. I'm so proud of Mark. When he first told me his plan, I thought he was mad! To be fair, when it looked like an episode of Time Team during the winter, he thought so too, but it is better than either of us could imagine.


It's taken over a year to get the garden sorted, but it is now a garden that we're using it almost every day. We have already had a few BBQs!


I wonder what the next project will be?!



Keep Calm and Carry On Linking Sunday


JakiJellz


Pink Pear Bear

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