Wednesday, 26 February 2020

COVID-19 Coronavirus, Updates from 24-26 Feb

Current total cases 81270, lives lost 2771. (Outside Chinese mainland 3206/56).

New UK figures for testing and results are published at 2pm each day. So far 7,132 people have been tested in the UK, of which 7,119 were confirmed negative and 13 positive (including 4 positives from Diamond Princess) - 8 people have recovered.

Several countries have discovered their first casualty in the last few days - confirmed cases are now in 42 different countries and Diamond Princess (which has it's own category).

Borders are closing by the day and many countries will no longer accept visitors from China, Hong Kong, Iran, South Korea, Japan, Italy and other nations. If you are determined to travel - CHECK FIRST - and best of luck getting back as planned

WHO advice protect yourself from getting sick Wash your hands

Monday, 24 February 2020

Takenoko Family Game Review (Age 8+) Sent by Asmodee Board Game Club

The latest game we've been sent to review by Asmodee for the Blogger Board Game Club is Takenoko, a competitive game for 2 to 4 players aged around 8+. Our younger boys are 10 and 11 and very experienced gamers, and we played 4 player with them.

The aim of the game is to grow bamboo and feed the pandas. You have to care for the bamboo at different stages of growth, develop irrigation and maintain supply. You're a farmer and an ecologist!

Takenoko Family Game Review box front

Inside the box you have absolutely tons of parts: Rules, 28 Hex Tiles, 90 Plastic Bamboo Sections, 20 Wooden Irrigation Channels, 55 Cards, 4 Individual Player Boards, 8 Wooden Action Tokens, 1 Weather Die, 1 Panda Figurine, 1 Gardener Figurine

Takenoko family game box contents need 5 minutes to press out tokens before play

It's a good sturdy box and the contents are almost entirely wooden or card - with a big plastic insert. It is good for keeping everything safe during storage, but it'll be nice to see it replaced with card.

COVID-19 Coronavirus, Updates from the last 5 days...

A lot has happened regarding COVID-19 over the previous few days, and I'll endeavour to update my Facebook page every couple of days with updates, but here is a round up of developments since last Thursday:

If this is all news to you and you know nothing, then I have a plain English COVID-19 Coronavirus information page here.


Current total cases 79684, lives lost 2625. (Chinese mainland 77345/2592).

New UK figures for testing and results are published at 2pm each day. So far 6,536 people have been tested in the UK, of which 6,527 were confirmed negative and 9 positive. There are also 4 positives from Diamond Princess who have yet to receive further test results from UK testing - 5 people are in hospital and 8 recovered.

Several countries have discovered their first casualty over the weekend - confirmed cases are now in 34 different countries and Diamond Princess (which has it's own category).

Borders are closing everywhere - many countries will no longer accept visitors from China, Hong Kong, Iran, South Korea, Japan and other nations. Austria has stopped trains from Italy. If you are determined to travel - CHECK FIRST - and best of luck getting back as planned.

Luxury Cruise News:

Sadly the loss of life from the Diamond Princess is now at 3 souls.
Before disembarking was allowed to commence 634 passengers were confirmed with COVID19, with 27 seriously iĺl. 328 were asymptomatic.
Another 57 cases were diagnosed on board this weekend, even though most passengers have left the ship, and the total is now officially 691. Among the new cases are 55 crew members and 2 passengers. Incredibly importantly out of the new cases both passengers and 50 of the crew members are currently asymptomatic. A reminder that you really cannot contain what you cannot find.
Meanwhile...

4 UK and Irish passengers in Wigan have already tested positive, as have many other ex-passengers around the globe, including 7 Australia, 2 Israel, 16+ US. (Just maybe the CDC might have had an idea when they said to leave them where they were...).

Tuesday, 18 February 2020

Spring New Release Children's Books For Reading Together (sent by Matador)

I try and promote self-published books when I can. and here are 3 children's books for younger readers which I've been sent to look at by Matador Publishing.

Joey, Wyatt And Kamryn and Fat Cat And The Chocolate Sandwich are all suitable for reading together and for newer independent readers to practise reading with support.

Matador Press books to read together Fat Cat, Joey and Wyatt and Kamryn

Joey by Dana Lynn Coles guernsey plane story book review cover photo

Joey is a plane who lives in a hangar on the island of Guernsey with two other planes, Dash and Dornie. He is an old plane and news comes he's no longer able to fly and is going to be decommissioned. For Joey this means a move to a children's play barn, where he is strung from the roof.

Saturday, 15 February 2020

February #TBCSmiles ... 66 Months

The weather is a bit grim, outside it's cold, windy and it's wet. People have had their homes and gardens flooded already, we're having another storm and everyone is exhausted because really we should be hibernating. It's definitely time for some smiles!

This month has been stressful and hard work for a lot of people. I'm sorry if you are one of them. If you live in an area where there is chance of flooding, we did a paid post a few years ago which tells you exactly what you should do when you have a flood warning and how to prepare - and what to teach the kids so that they can help too. Fingers crossed none of you need it.

If you are worried about what's happening in China and how it's affecting the rest of the world, I've also done a post about COVID-19 Coronavirus. I've been following it for the last 6 weeks and there really is no need to panic. We will all get it, or we won't, and the vast majority of us will be able to cope with it just fine. Worrying will have absolutely no effect on that outcome. Make sure you have paracetamol and a thermometer in the medicine cupboard if you want to be proactive. I'm updating the post regularly as new information emerges.

Double Cake Day. the cake is full of sugar stars

We also had our double cake day this month, which would have been Elspeth's 22nd birthday. This year a very sweet star-filled sponge, and a banana and walnut loaf to tone down the sweetness. I think she'd approve...

Despite the weather and everything else, you made some awesome smiles this month! Thank you so much to everyone who has shared theirs by using the hashtag #TBCSmiles on Instagram. Anyone can join in, just tag your smiles!

This month we have a lot of smiles that really show how much fun it is to relax and just be yourself...

Wednesday, 12 February 2020

Charlie Palmer Says by Beverly Bowry (Young Fiction 9+) Sent for review.

Today's book review is Charlie Palmer Says, which has been sent to me by Matador Self-Publishing for review. Suitable for young readers aged around 9+, this is a book about 10 year old Nathan and his ghost... And it's a great little story that I really enjoyed!

There's a little peril, and one of the characters is a ghost who was murdered, but it's all sensitively done and not what you'd refer to as 'sad' particularly.

Charlie Palmer Says by Beverly Bowry Young Fiction Review

When young Nathan takes his metal detector out into the garden, he discovers it causes a ghost to become visible. The ghost is called Charlie and claims he was murdered by a neighbour a few years ago, and that Nathan is now in danger too.

Nathan's parents go away for a weekend and leave grown up big sister Thea in charge, along with her boyfriend Rob. They not only have to look after Nathan, but his step-sister Hattie too. I like all of these characters a lot. They aren't stereotyped, they're pretty normal, pretty cool, and all get along really well. It creates an atmosphere you kind of wish you could join in with.

Tuesday, 11 February 2020

Foods To Help Your Body Fight Flu....

We all know that what you put into your mouth has a massive effect on your health. That can include your immune system, and your strength to fight any bugs that come your way. December to March is flu season in the UK, and obviously we are currently unaware whether COVID-19 (Coronavirus) will become a widespread issue in our area of the world.

Flu is nasty, it can make you really ill and it can take a long time to recover, as we found out when we all caught real flu last Winter. It was 4 months before we were all back to full health.

Foods to fight colds and flu boost immunity

While no food is actually magic and even eating a perfect diet won't guarantee you'll stay healthy, having a boost never goes amiss.

Don't 'feed a cold, starve a fever'. You need some fuel in your body to fight, and heating up is a way your body fights intruders. Eat small amounts of easily digestible foods, such as runny soup or broth. Fever is actually helpful to a point, but any patient with fever of 93.4C (103F) needs to be referred to a doctor.

1. Water. It's not a food, but clear, clean water is necessary to prevent dehydration and you will not get better without it. If your patient is struggling to drink or keep anything down, try to sip 2oz an hour, every hour, until the situation improves. Ice cubes or ice lollies can be a great way to keep someone hydrated when they are hot and struggling to drink.

2. Garlic. People have known garlic has benefits since before your Gran's Grandmother was born. It gives a great immune system boost, although it will NOT prevent you becoming ill or cure any illness by itself, including the 2019 Coronavirus.

3. Mushrooms are an amazing anti-viral immune-system booster. They contain B vitamins as well as the antioxidant Selenium and Beta-Glucan (see Oats). They actively help your body fight flu. Try light mushroom soup if you are struggling to eat.

Monday, 10 February 2020

Abominable Family Movie Review and 2 x Blu-ray Giveaway (Sent by Universal)

DreamWorks Animation and Pearl Studio’s co-production Abominable is an action-packed heartwarming adventure for the whole family, with a really impressive 95% audience score on Rotten Tomatoes. Released in time for the half term on Digital 3rd February and on 4K Ultra HD, Blu-ray and DVD 10th February from Universal Pictures Home Entertainment.

Abominable blu-ray movie case pack shot

Abominable is brought to us by the team who created How To Train Your Dragon, and has a great voice cast, including Chloe Benne, Sarah Paulson, Eddie Izzard, Tenzing Norgay Trainor, Albert Tsai, Tsai Chin and Joe Izzo as Everest.

Abominable Activity Sheet Colouring

Disgruntled teenager Yi is struggling with life a little after losing her Father. She lives with her Mother and Grandmother, and takes on lots of different odd-jobs to save up to try and take a trip that her Dad had planned to take with her. One day while hiding in her den on the roof, she discovers a Yeti, who has escaped from a science lab.

The Yeti is friendly and cute, and just wants to go home. He's also a bit magic and has some tricks up his sleeve involving plants. Along with her friends Jin and Peng, Yi embarks on an epic journey to return her Yeti, Everest, to his mountain home and his family - with the scientists and money men in hot pursuit...

Friday, 7 February 2020

Children's Mental Health Week 2020 - Find Your Brave.

Children's Mental Health Week runs from 3-9 February, and this year's theme is 'Find Your Brave'. It's a really positive theme and one that really like. I know just how brave my kids have had to be over the last 7 years, and it's made me far more aware of all of the children who have to be brave. Everyday.

Children's Mental Health Week 2020 - Find Your Brave.

Since 2013 we've been through what realistically can be called some sort of hell. I've had 2 major surgeries, my partner had Meningitis and he's also been rushed to hospital 3 times for other serious conditions. We lost a child to suicide and another sibling then spent 2 years in hospital seriously ill. All the while, our children have had to keep going.

How on Earth they all manage to be so brave is completely beyond me, and I'm incredibly proud of them all.

You can’t be brave if you’ve only had wonderful things happen to you Mary Tyler Moore

Thursday, 6 February 2020

What's It Really Like In China Right Now...

I've been following the 2019 nCoV Coronavirus outbreak since the beginning of January, and from the outset it was obvious it had potential to become really big, and for lies, misinformation and panic to spread around the world.


Is what we see on social media or in the news the truth? I have already written a post which explains the basics about the 2019 nCoV Coronavirus and puts straight a few of the crazy myths going around on social media about the disease, but what is it actually like to live in China at the moment?

I've been speaking to someone who returned to the UK from eastern mainland China a few days ago, to find out what their experience has been...

( This was a surprise interview with about 5 minutes notice and I made up most of my questions on the fly, so there are a couple that could definitely have been worded better... )

Me: Hiya, and welcome back to the UK.
T: Thanks

Me: Was it scary, did you feel like you were in the middle of a disaster, or did you feel it was controlled and everything would be fine?
T: Umm, it was hard. Where I live was super, super quiet and most things were closed. We weren't massively concerned about getting unwell, there were really too few people, however we were concerned about freedom of movement being limited (which has now happened).