Tuesday, 22 October 2019

The Asylum Tour and other Horror Fiction by Deborah A Stansil. (Sent for review).

Halloween is coming, so what better time to review some horror fiction... Deborah A Stansil is a UK blogger and independently published horror writer. I'm a long time fan of the genre and she has sent me 3 of her books to take a look at.

Deborah's books are fairly easy to read Adult Fiction which is also suitable for Young Adult and teenage readers who like a bit of darkness and a drop of gore.  The novels I've been sent for review are The Asylum Tour, The Joker and The Mirror...

Book covers The Asylum Tour The Mirror and The Joker Horror Fiction by Deborah A Stansil

The Asylum Tour focuses on two women. Jeannie, a young reporter covering the launch of an Asylum Tour, and Sarah, one of the invited guests. While Sarah and the other invited guests don't seem to have any connection, Jeannie is linked to the asylum via her Grandmother, a member of staff who died there during an horrific breakout by some of the most severe criminal patients.

The Asylum Tour promises to be a terrifying theme park style attraction, set in a real ex-asylum building. It's terrifying all right, something just isn't right about it. The owner has done everything he can to keep himself anonymous, and the 10 specially invited guests for the first tour are a random bunch of horror fans, who all resemble people who died during the breakout and ensuing massacre back in 1953.

The tour seems brilliant, with the real life spooky setting and an augmented reality host. It doesn't take long though before it begins to really unsettle the guests. Not invited on the tour and unable to enter the building, all reporter Jeannie can do is stand outside and wait, and hope that everyone makes it out alive...

The Great Tour Family Board Game Review Age 8+ Sent by Tactic

The Great Tour: European Cities really caught my eye instantly. Packaged in a beautiful box with 1950's style illustration, this is a gorgeous game with wooden playing pieces and a real feel of something special. Suitable for 3-6 players aged 8+, we've been sent a copy for review by Tactic.

The Great Tour Family Board Game box cover with motorhomes and holidaymakers

Inside the box contents are just as impressive, with a large game board, rules, several sets of cards and press out tokens, as well as small wooden coaches and buses.

The Great Tour Family Board Game contents what's in the box

Monday, 21 October 2019

Disney Edition Colour Brain Game Review (age 8+) Sent by Big Potato

Our latest game review for Big Potato Games is Colour Brain - Disney Edition. Suitable for 2-12 players aged 8+, this is a question and answer game where every answer is a colour.

Just like most Big Potato Games, there are no tricky rules to learn and virtually no set up or tidy away time needed, so it's really user-friendly and ideal for parties or family gatherings.

Disney Edition Colour Brain Game box shot with Disney figures dancing and text

Inside the box is everything you need: The Rules, Pencil, Scorepad, 8 Card Steal Cards, 44 Colour Cards and 5 packs of 50 double-sided Question & Answer Cards. There's very little plastic waste and you can play instantly.

Friday, 18 October 2019

Frozen Unicorns Family and Party Game Review (age 6+) Sent by Gamely Games

Gamely Games create family card games which can be played by anyone and are certain to bring a smile to everyone's face. They've sent us their brand new game Frozen Unicorns for review and it really is a lot of fun, and very user-friendly. Suitable for a whopping 3-30 players aged 6+, you can easily adapt how long you play and how difficult the game is for all players, or just some.

Frozen Unicorns Family and Party Game box cover showing dancing illustrated unicorns

As with other Gamely Games, everything is contained in a neat, sturdy little box just twice the size of a pack of playing cards, and there's barely any plastic waste. It can be shipped through the regular post in a little cardboard box that fits through the letterbox, and is easily taken with you when you go on holiday or visiting.

Frozen Unicorns Family Party Game box contents cards and instructions

Thursday, 17 October 2019

Story Chest Family Board Game Review (Age 7+) Sent by Tactic

Story Chest is the first of my game reviews for Tactic and it is one of the most beautiful games I've ever been sent for review. A game for 2-7 players aged around 7, where you spot details on cards and create a short verbal story about them - and guess which details your opponents will have chosen. Each of the 100 story cards is full of amazing artwork that couldn't fail to inspire anyone.

Story Chest Family Board Game collage of photos showing box and game elements

Easy to learn, you can play almost instantly and no age group or ability gets an advantage... it's a truly level playing field, so it's perfect for families to play together.

Wednesday, 16 October 2019

Chill Factorᵉ Snowboarding Taster Session Review (Guest Visit).

On Saturday evening we were guests of Chill Factorᵉ indoor ski slope just off the M60 by the intu Trafford Centre to review their Snowboarding Taster Sessions. This is a 50 minute session which is ideal for anyone aged 8+ who hasn't been on a snowboard before (children under 10 need a responsible adult with them).

We really love visiting Chill Factorᵉ and have worked with them many times now. Although we have tried most of their activities before, Snowboarding is completely new to all of us. I'm still not able to go on the snow after my operation, but my partner and our 9 and 11 year old boys were really excited about learning something new - especially when it's as cool as Snowboarding!

Chill Factorᵉ Entrance with legend ski board eat climb play shop watch

We arrived in good time. There is always plenty of free parking, but it's always wise to leave a good half hour to collect tickets, get kitted out and changed. There are ticket collection machines for those who have pre-booked, then over to collect clothing.

Tuesday, 15 October 2019

#TBCSmiles... 62 Months

This month saw World Mental Health Day, and this year the theme was Suicide Prevention. Obviously this is something I feel very strongly about, and support, but it made it quite a heavy day to get through.

I wrote a post called Life Goes On for World Suicide Prevention Day in September and I wasn't up for writing another so soon. If you've ever written from the depths of your soul, you'll find it's cathartic, but utterly exhausting. It makes everything clearer when you get all the words out of your head. It puts everything into the right order and stops it swirling so much, but you need a break afterwards to recover. Just like counselling really.

One of the points I saw repeatedly on World Mental Health Day (and know from experience) is that people in the UK simply don't have the early access to care that can make all the difference. If you have a mental health problem, even with a referral to your doctor, you can wait many months to be seen by a professional. Even in crisis you can expect to wait weeks. Individuals carry on suffering or deteriorating until their appointment, and their recovery time will become longer with every week they wait to start treatment. It is inevitably too late for some.

NHS spending on mental health is approximately 1/10th of it's entire £129b budget. Your mental health affects everything else, including how physically well you are, how quickly you recover from illness and how often you are off work or school. It would be good to see this percentage rise, although the NHS as it stands isn't in a position to lose any money anywhere else...

Young Minds have a petition to ask the Government to act more quickly on young people's mental health - please sign it. More children are needing the services and waiting times are going up. For children the wait is even worse because it represents a much larger period of their life. To realise you might have to wait 1/10th of your entire life for help is unfathomable, and clearly dangerous.

Suicide is the biggest killer of our children, it takes more victims than Cancer. We need to make huge changes to society for a permanent improvement, but right now we need to get people the help as soon as they need it.

We can still smile, and we can all pass on our smiles and brighten someone's day. I defy you not to grin when you look at this month's selection of #TBCSmiles. We've had lots of big, bold beams this month - every single one gorgeous. Thank you to everyone who shares their smiles over on Instagram - they make my month and I know they bring joy to others.

TBCSmiles October 2019 62 months Your smiles

Anyone is welcome to join in, you don't need a fancy camera or a million followers, just tag any photo with a smile! We pick out 9 of the biggest for the collage. This month's selection were shared by the following Instagrammers:

Jessa67 / TheMumDiaries / NotMyYearOff

We had our own smiles too here, mainly courtesy of reviews for Hatching Dragons, Bunch O Balloons and Chill Factore Snowboard Taster Sessions - and an 11th birthday!

TBCSmiles October 2019 62 months my smiles

Monday, 14 October 2019

Hatching Dragons Toothless - How to Train Your Dragon Toy Review (age 5+) Sent by Spinmaster

Spinmaster's Hatching Dragon arrives as a gorgeous interactive egg and pretty soon hatches into Toothless, from How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World. We've been sent him to review and he's been a definite hit. Cute, but no too cute...

Hatching Dragons Toothless - How to Train Your Dragon Toy Review (age 5+) Sent by Spinmaster

The packaging does include some single use plastic, but is mainly card and more minimal than I found with toys even this time last year.

Hatching Toothless  How to Train Your Dragon The Hidden World

Tough Phone Case and Personalised Bluetooth Speaker Review. Sent by My Personalised Case

My Personalised Case make phone cases for a huge range of phones, including the new iPhones, and they can be customised to include your own images and text. They also sell other cases and personalised Bluetooth Speakers and Powerbanks, at very reasonable prices. They have sent me a Tough Phone Case and Personalised Bluetooth Speaker for review.

Personalised Tough Phone Case and Personalised Bluetooth Speaker plus company logo

The website is very simple to use and within a couple of minutes I'd uploaded my chosen image. Be careful which image you choose - annoyingly mine didn't work as a full cover photo because the camera obscures my children's faces! Thankfully there are several layouts to choose from.

Personalised Cases REview choosing layout and photo size

You can also add text and other effects including stickers and filters. It's easy to undo your last move and very quick.

Friday, 11 October 2019

Inside The New Søstrene Grene Manchester Store

Last night I was invited along to be among the very first people to check out the brand new Søstrene Grene store in Manchester city centre. I was also allowed to bring home a bag of goodies to show you the kind of products they offer...

Sostrene grene Manchester Store Launch collage of scenes from inside and close ups of products

Søstrene Grene sell all kinds of homewares, including gifts, cookware and specialist ingredients, craft materials, children's toys, Christmas decorations, prints and frames, cushions and a whole load more to make your home comfortable and attractive.

Sostrene grene shelving in store with teas coffees kitchenwares and preserves

The layout is very European, spacious and enticing. Immediately you are met with teas, coffees and preserves, and other foods. They even have loose tea by the bag - my OH was ecstatic with his Ginger and Rhubarb. There are lots of quirky, artisan or unusual foods which are very tempting to try.