Codenames Review - Board Game Club


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We love board games. From Carcassonne to Ticket to Ride and Game of Life our collection of board games is always growing. We like to spend time as a family, sitting around our dining table, playing our board game of choice. Our latest favourite is Colt Express, a game that involves a Marshall, robbing trains, and stealing from others. The boys love it!

Recently I was contacted about joining the Board Game Club, a group that loves board games too. It is a chance to be sent board games and review them, giving honest feedback. Well, you can imagine our excitement. Of course it's something I'm interested in!

Our first game to review is Codenames.

  • Two rival spymasters know the secret identities of 25 special agents. Their teammates know the agents only by their CODENAMES.

  • Your mission, should you choose to accept, is to make contact with all of your agents before the opposing team. Spymasters will give one-word clues that can point to multiple spies on the grid. Your job is to correctly guess the names of all your agents while avoiding those that belong to the enemy. 

  • But watch out - a deadly assassin lies in wait!Who will be victorious in this award-winning game of word association, deduction and team play?

  • Codenames: win or lose, it's fun to figure out the clues!

Codenames is available for £16.99, and is suitable for 2-8 players aged 14+.

So, as a family of four we had to split into teams that were relatively equal. The Hubby teamed up with LP (8yrs old) and I teamed up with BP (12yrs old). One person from each team had to sit on opposite sides of the table. So The Hubby and BP were on one side and me and LP were on the other. This is because one person from each team is the Spymaster; the person who has to give the clues.

To start with you have to lay out the codenames cards in a 5x5 grid. The Spymaster then gets to see a card that shows them where their spies are, they can then come up with one-word clues associated with the codenames of the spies. This is something both boys struggled with. The layout of the card that shows where their spies were was difficult for them to understand and it took a lot of repeating to explain. For LP I had to point them out (while trying to keep things secret) and show him which bits on the card related to the grid on the table. After a while he got it, but I think he's a little young for the game. 

The codenames are laid out in a grid and you have to guess where your spies are.

The game itself only takes 15 minutes or so to play, so we ended up having a few rounds. The difficulty we found was trying to think of a word that relates to more than one codename, even the Hubby and I struggled with that one. This is probably down to the cards that were drawn, if there was a better selection in the grid it might've been easier. There are lots of cards to choose from and I'm sure we'll get another chance to try it out. 

Despite the difficulties with the one-word clues and the placement of spies the boys enjoyed the game. They found it more entertaining than the Hubby and I, this could be because thinking of one-word clues that relates to just one spy is hard enough for them. For the Hubby and I it wasn't that much fun, thinking of one-word clues that relates to one spy is no fun and we wanted to think of something that related to more but that was not possible most of the time. Like I said, this is probably because of the cards selected.

LP enjoyed working out where the spies were...

My conclusion is that the game would be more fun played with older kids (older teens?) or other adults. Having a good vocabulary will definitely help with this too, knowing how words relate to one another and being able to give great clues are important. 

You place your coloured spy card on top of the codename when it's been guessed correctly.

Given that the Hubby and I were playing with our boys I think we did the easier version of the game and this made it less fun for us. On the other hand the boys loved it. Even after a few rounds they wanted to play again and they want to play amongst themselves.

The game is over when someone has found all of their spies.

As a family game Codenames is okay but would be better for families with older children, think 15 and over. More people, older people, might help to make it more fun. 

It was fun trying out this game and I'm sure the boys will pull it out to play again soon.

I was sent Codenames free of charge for the purpose of review. All opinions are my own. 

My summer wardrobe


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Summer is always a tough season when you're overweight, you want to rock the cute dresses but don't have the confidence. You want to wear shorts but think you'll look ridiculous. This is just how I'm feeling at the moment. I want to look good this summer but being overweight makes me a lot more self-self-consious.

Picking out new clothes is always a difficult choice but when the lovely people at JD Williams got in touch asking me to review a few of their items I couldn't wait. On choosing three items and receiving them I did my first ever vlog!

Maxi-dresses are a wonderful thing for summer when you're feeling like me. They can look great, but they cover up all the bits you don't like, providing you choose the right style. This gorgeous summery maxi-dress from JD Williams is just the right style for me.

The weather just took a turn for the worse when the photo was taken. At the waist, where it is tied, you can lift the dress up so the top half hangs over the bow. I didn't realise how pink the dress was when I ordered it, or how sparkly it was. In the sun it sparkles lots when wearing. Due to the pink colour I managed to have a pretty awesome matching day. The dress matched my Apple Watch, which is rose gold, my rose gold heart bracelet (from home of juniper) and my Carvela backpack (which is also pink). It was easy to wear, light and airy. I did think it would be slightly see through, when I held it up in the light I could see through it, but when wearing it was okay. I also thought the material would be scratchy but again when wearing it was okay. The material was light and didn't irritate at all. You can get this dress for £32 and there's also a gold version!

Summer sandals have always been a bit of an issue with me too, it's so difficult to find comfortable and stylish sandals. The sandals above, from JD Williams, are flat with elasticated straps. Elasticated straps can be really good, they can also be really terrible. In this case they're excellent.  They don't pull or pinch my skin, even when my feet swell in the heat. The sole is strong and sturdy so as to not feel stones through the sole when walking (which can happen with other sandals) but it is flexible enough for them to mould to your feet when walking. These sandals were comfortable and I'd be happy to walk around in them all day.

I like to keep my tops loose fitting and floaty if I can. This shirt is just that, however the material is a lot heavier than I expected. It's not one I'd particularly recommend for a really hot day but if it's a bit blowy or overcast then this shirt would be great. It goes well with a pair of blue jeans and I love the overcoat bit, it sways when you're walking. This top is available for £31 and in sizes 16 - 30.

I wore the dress and the sandals on a day out with the family. I wore the dress all day and was comfortable throughout. The sandals didn't hurt my feet despite walking around on a relatively warm day. I like this combination so much I'm wearing them when I go to London on Thursday and I'll be taking them to Venice too.

Add to these three pieces my favourite jeans and a couple of t-shirts and I think I'm set for the summer.

What are your favourite fashion items this summer season?

I was sent the stated items free of charge for the purpose of review. All opinions are my own. 

The storm rages on - Flash Fiction


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Spending even a little time with creative writing makes me feel wonderful. I am truly me when I'm creating and as much as I love blogging, this is where my heart lies. This piece of fiction is re-written from a shorter piece I wrote back in September 2014 entitled The Storm Rages On.

The Storm Rages On

  • The front door slammed shut and the walls shook. My heart jumped into my throat.

  • He was home.

  • I stood at the kitchen sink, my hands soaked in suds as I washed the dirty pans. My back was facing the kitchen door but I heard his heavy boots hit the marble floor tiles and knew he was looking at me. I smiled, putting my mask in place, and turned my head to look at him.

  • Even over my shoulder I could see something was wrong. His eyes burned, his face was red. As I fought back the tears, my heart pounding in my chest, I pulled my hands from the water, grabbed a towel to dry my hands and turned to face him.

  • "You didn't clean the drive..." he said.

  • Shit.

  • He glared at me for a second more before spinning on his heels and storming into the lounge. I heard the drawer open. I heard the metal clasp bang against the wood of the draw as he pulled the leather belt from its home. My stomach flipped. The lump in my throat hardened. My hands trembled.

  • The snap of the leather hitting his waiting open hand made me jump. I darted up the stairs, being sure to keep my steps light. I pushed on our bedroom door at the top of the stairs and closed it behind me. It clicked loudly and I froze. I held my breath. I listened for his heavy boots on the stairs.
  • Nothing.

  • "Andrea!" his voice boomed from the lounge.

  • My heart hammered in my chest as I scanned our bedroom for somewhere to hide. My eyes fell on the small wardrobe tucked away in the corner of the room. At five feet 3 inches tall, and with a petite figure, I could easily squeeze myself into the back of the wardrobe. He wouldn't look in there, I hoped.  I pulled the doors open and climbed inside. Shuffling myself as far into the corner as I could I buried myself in clothes and shoes. I wrapped my arms around my knees, closed my eyes, and prayed he wouldn't find me.

  • "Andrea!" he yelled.

  • His heavy footsteps stomped from the lounge to the kitchen. He walked through the kitchen, his feet slamming against the tiles, and opened the back door. A second later the door slammed shut and the footsteps came back into the house.

  • "What is this crap Andrea?! Where are you?!"

  • It sounded like he was at the bottom of the stairs.

  • A moment of silence and he ran upstairs; his footsteps like thunder inside the house. The bedroom door burst open. I held my breath.

  • Please don't let him find me. Not again.

  • He walked into the room. Through the small gap between the wardrobe doors I watched as he pulled a bag from under the bed and slammed it onto the bed. He opened his drawers and threw clothes into the bag, zipped it up, threw it over his shoulder, and hurried out of the bedroom.

  • The bedroom door closed behind him but I couldn't bring myself to check. My heartbeat thumped in my ears.

  • I listened as he went downstairs. The front door opened then slammed shut, shaking the walls again.

  • All was quiet.
  • No footsteps. No yelling. No shuffling.

  • I stayed in the wardrobe a while longer, in the quiet of the house he would hear me crawling out. After a few minutes, once I was sure he'd gone, I pushed open the wardrobe doors and got up. I stepped into the bedroom to see he'd thrown clothes around the bedroom in his hurry to pack a bag. I sighed but left the bedroom as it was.

  • Taking hold of the bedroom door handle I pressed down slowly, still trying to be quiet. The door opened without any noise and light flooded into the room. I still heard nothing and decided he must've left.

  • I walked down the stairs, my heart still racing but my tension eased, and rounded the banister, heading for the lounge.

  • As I walked through the lounge door I spotted it; his bag, in the middle of the floor.

  • I looked up.

  • "Hello Andrea." He smirked, still holding the belt in his hand.

Let me know what you think. Would you like to see more fiction?

Post Comment Love 21st - 23rd July


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Post Comment Love is here and Stephanie and I cannot wait to read your awesome posts. Link up, read, comment, and share posts you find. We'll be sure to do the same for you!

It's been a better week this week, despite the terrible weather. At the moment it's raining again but I don't really mind it. The only downside is still having to do the school runs in the rain. I've been working hard this week to get things done before the boys finish school on Tuesday. I've got plenty done but it never feels enough, do you know what I mean?

I have been able to keep track of what I'm doing, and what I want to do, by using my planner though. I'm actually writing things down and sticking to a timetable, which seems to be working well at the moment. But as always it's almost the holidays and it's bound to go wrong over the holidays! I'm not going to sweat it though, that's what the holidays are for. 

The boys are definitely ready for the break, I think they're excited about all the things we have planned. Venice, London, York, are just a few places we'll be visiting. I'm sure that by the time the boys are back at school (6th September) we'll all be wiped out and ready for school to start!

Do you have any trips planned for the holidays?

Blogger Showcase Emma from Our Fairytale Adventure

Who are you?

I'm Emma, I write the parenting blog 'Our Fairytale Adventure' which is about life with my partner Mr. C and our two boys Bear and Monkey. We are a really close family and love to travel, so have decided to travel as much as we can over the next 18 months before my eldest Bear starts school.

How did you discover blogs / blogging / why did you start blogging.

I've always been passionate about writing, love to read and I guess as a millennial I've grown up in the digital age, so I've always been aware of blogging as an industry. I studied journalism at university, so when I became a stay at home mum and started feeling a bit lost, I went back to writing and created a blog.

What do you find most challenging

Blogging is a very competitive industry, so in order to keep propelling the blog forward there are a lot of different things to consider from follower growth, creative content, SEO, networking and sometimes it can be difficult to do all aspects of blogging well.

Are you blogging for fun or do you have goals?

I blog for fun and it is primarily a hobby. That said as it grows, I do work with more and more brands. I'm hoping I can get my blog to a place where it supports some of our travel plans over the next 18 months.

Have you ever attended a blogging conference and if you have what did you think?

I have attended a couple, I went to one in London last year which was quite honestly awful. It was cliquey, I wasn't given a schedule so didn't know what sessions were on, the ones I attended were 90% useless and the brands weren't particularly relevant either. It was a complete waste of a lot of money. That said I attended a smaller event in Manchester shortly afterwards, absolutely loved it and booked tickets again for this year. I think it's a trial an error process when it comes to blogging conferences.

What are your three best posts:

That's a difficult one...

'It's 3am mummy' is one very close to my heart and is about how my children see my through the night wake up calls -

'Miscarriage and rainbow babies. My children. My loves. My joys. My rainbows' is a really emotional one for me because it talks about how much my children mean to me and talks about miscarriages I had before I had my children -

'Create a sensory garden' is a post I really like because I think it is the starting point for when I started to address the topic of conservation with my children. I want them to be proactive in their efforts to save our planet and think this is a really important foundation block for them to develop a healthy attitude towards nature -

Describe yourself in three words:

Fiery, compassionate and kind

Are you a tea and biscuits or a coffee and cake kind of person?

Can I go with tea and cake? I'm more that sort of person!

What is your idea of a perfect night out?

To be honest I love different experiences and think there is great adventure in trying new things, so I don't think I could say what a 'perfect night out' would be.

Your perfect night in?

This one is easy! An autumn night, with a fire lit in the fireplace, blankets, hot chocolate and my family all snuggled together watching a film.

What would your best friend, other half, mum or kids say is you best quality?

At a guess, that I'm a really caring person. You'd have to ask them though!

Connect with Emma here:


Thank you for answering our questions Emma and feel free to grab our 'featured' badge and display it ever-so-proudly!

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Getting weight loss back on track


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I've been through this before, many times, but losing weight is so tough! I've been wanting to lose weight again for a long time but now that the restrictions on my exercise are gone I can get back to trying. It is time to get back on track with my weight loss.

I'm the heaviest I've been in a long time and we're heading to Orlando again next year which means I have a little more than a year to lose LOTS of weight. The last time I tried to lose weight I was walking every morning with a friend and that helped me lose weight. In fact it was fairly easy to lose the weight once my body got used to the fact that I was walking every day.

So I am walking again. I started last week, getting up at 6am every day so that I can get in 30 minutes of walking before I have to get the kids up for school. It'll be more difficult to keep this up during the summer holidays but I'm going to keep at it. 

The walking helps in two ways, one is the obvious one = the weight loss. If I walk 1 mile in a morning then it's 1 mile more than I do at other times. Do that every day and that's 5 miles per week. I know that doesn't sound like much for someone that walks less than half a mile per day it's huge. I'm hoping that as my body heals properly I'll be able to do more than 1 mile in 30 minutes. Maybe I'll even start running at some point, but I'm leaving that for later. The second way walking helps is with my health. 

  • I think self-discipline is something, it's like a muscle. The more you exercise it, the stronger it gets.

Daniel Goldstein

Health has been a big issue with me recently and having a cervical cancer diagnosis was quite a scare.  It made me realise that I really do need to take care of myself, I mean, it was cancer! Fair enough, it's all gone and it was a fairly easy procedure to have to go through but at the end of the day I had cancer and I need to look after my body. I only have the one after all.

As well as the walking I'm reducing my portion sizes. I've been doing it sneakily over the last few days and I'm trying to be strict with myself about my food. It's not always easy, especially when pizza is on offer, but I'm trying and I think those first steps are important. 

This morning when I weighed myself (which I do every day) I was 13 stones 11.9lbs and to be honest  that feels pretty rubbish. The last time we went to Orlando I was 10 stones so I've put on nearly 4 stones and that is not good. I'm hoping that the combination of walking and eating less will help me lose weight. 

I want it to happen fast, but I know that's not possible or healthy. All I'm doing now is starting every day with a good thought and trying. Today I managed my 30 minutes and drank a large glass of water before my morning coffee. It felt good. 

  • Take care of your body. It's the only place you have to live. 

Jim Rohn 

I guess my reason for writing this post is that despite me gaining a whole load of weight and feeling like it's impossible to get back to where I was I can still do this. I've done it before. And now I realise how important health is it's time to take care of myself.

What steps do you take to stay healthy?

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