About Tina Mansfield

Here are my most recent posts

King Pong – Review

King Pong is one of the latest games from Drumond Park. Suitable for 2-4 players ages 8+ RRP £24.99. 

The box contains everything you need to set up the King Pong game including 4 sets of 5 coloured balls and the base pyramid with trays. Set up is fairly straightforward, and you will need some space and a waist height table to enjoy playing King Pong. This is defiantly not a sitting down game!

 

I love the simplicity of the rules for King Pong meaning that once you have set up the game it is ready to go. choose how many players and which coloured ball you want to start with. Portions of the cube can be blocked off for 2 or 3 players. Using only one hand the idea is to bounce the balls through holes in the cube walls and into the other players trays.

Game play may be simple and this added to the fun and giggles. King Pong is a game I can see adults getting competitive over and kids just loving. It turns our that Dad Dragon was a bit to good for me, and the boy. The winner is the one to get rid of all their balls from the tray before the other players. We found a typical game lasted less than five minutes. The game is fast and furious and something that you need some space for as there were balls everywhere!

I am sure King Pong will be a great success over Christmas like previous Drumond Park games and I have one to give away to one of my readers. If you would like the chance to win King Pong to play with your family enter with my Gleam app below:

King Pong

King Pong is available now from toy shops online and from Amazon via my affiliate link below.

Disclaimer, we were asked to review this game and have not received payment for this review.

 

Terms & Conditions:
The giveaway is open to the UK only
It is mandatory to leave a comment in the post comment section answering the question specified. Other tasks completed will gain additional entries. The winner will be checked to make sure they have both left a comment and completed the task for the winning entry.
Winner will be drawn randomly after the competition closes at 23:59 on Sunday 22nd October 2017
The winner will be sent an  e-mail to the e-mail address left at time of entry. The winner will need to reply to the e-mail within 7 days of the notification. Every effort will be made to contact the winner, but if no response is made within the 7 days a new winner will be chosen.
The prize details are stated at the top of the giveaway, and may be subject to change if they become unavailable.
The prize will be posted by the promoter, unfortunately I cannot be held responsible or replace missing parcels. Please contact me if there is a problem.
Please allow 28 days from notification for your prize to be sent out.
This competition is listed at: Win competitions at ThePrizeFinder.com and SuperLucky

Colt Express – Review

Colt Express is a Bandit Train game for 2-6 players aged 10+ RRP £27.99. This game is an award-winning board/card game with a bit of a difference.

We first reviewed Colt Express from Esdevium in November 2015. It is still a family favourite and one we have enjoyed revisiting now that we have a Monday night free to play games as a family. Play is fast and exciting and the boy is enjoying punching and shooting us off the train as much as he did before. Have a look and see what you think of this game which would make a great Christmas gift.

The box contains, 6 playing pieces and 6 sets of action cards. Marshal, Locomotive, 6 cartridges, 13 bullet cards, 17 story cards, 18 purses, 6 jewels, 2 strong boxes. Also assembly instructions game rules and 6 player profiles.

colt express

Colt Express sounded just the sort of game that my family would enjoy so I was interested to see what they would think to this different style of board game. The box looks fairly traditional but once you open it you will find that unlike other games it has no board. Instead you have to build the Colt Express train which will act as the playing platform for your pieces. There are 6 carriages, the Locomotive, as well as money, jems and even a few scene setting cacti. When you first set up this game it is worth noting that it will take some time and care freeing the pieces, to build the train cars. We found that if you tried to rush this process there was some damage to the playing pieces. The card is of very good quality, but it was almost impossible to avoid a few tears in the pieces. Assembly instructions are included and this took about half and hour to complete.

colt express board game - Copy

Once you have built the Colt Express Train it is worth having a good read through of the game rules. We decided to have a play through to get a feel for how the game worked and did find that the rules are quite complex. Once you have played a few times the rules become clearer and we found after two games we had worked out where we were going wrong. The basic idea of the game is to move your bandit playing piece around the carriages of the train using action cards, collecting as much money as you can. There is extra bounty to be earn’t for being sharpest shooter, and robbing the Marshal.

colt express game

You start the game buy choosing your bandit, each has a special power that comes into play when you get into the second part the “stealin’ phase” of the game. You set out the locomotive with the marshal and one of the strong boxes. You then need to add a carriage for each player. Each player has a set of 10 action cards, six bullet cards and a purse of $250 to start. Shuffle the 7 round cards and choose 4 to start your story as well as one end story card. Set up the train with the number of loot tokens indicated on each of the carriage floors. Choose a starting player and this person puts their bandit in the last carriage. Even numbered players go in the next carriage along, and odd numbers in the back. Now you are all set to start the first phase, the Schemin’.

colt express bandit game - Copy

Colt Express game play has two phases, Schemin’ and Stealin’ In phase one  you take it turn to lay action cards following the descriptions on the round cards. This is quite tricky to work out the first few times you play. There are additional rules, and this is the part where you have to concentrate on where you opponents end up!  Once all the cards are placed it is time for player one to read through the story in the “Stealin” phase. This is the fun part, as if you have “Schemed” correctly then you will be collecting the loot. Get it wrong and there is plenty of shooting into thin air! There are added events on some of the story cards meaning you need to think about where your bandit ends up at the end of a story too. At the end of the 5 parts to the story the Bandit with the most Loot, including shooting bonuses is declared the winner. In our case this was most often the boy, but I have managed to win back one game.

This is only a brief explanation of the game rules as there are additional play rules for experts, 2 player games and games with more players. Once we had mastered the basic play Colt Express has been a great way to spend a wet cold evening. It is a game that the boy feels he has no disadvantage with his age, with both an element of luck and mastery needed. The added special abilities of the bandits mean you tend to find a favourite player and stick to them. We had fun banning dad from his favourite player Ghost, or playing with players we hadn’t tried before. Colt Express is best played in a group of 3 or more and I can imagine is great fun in a bigger group, the age recommendation is about right as you need to have a good understanding of the complex rules and cause and effect each action card has on a player. There have been plenty of laughs as well with Colt Express as sometimes you have no option but to shoot or punch nothing, or even better being shot by the marshal and not ending up on the part of the train you thought. We even managed to persuade Granny to give it a try, and despite not really understanding fully what was happening, she said she could see it was good fun and something a bit different.

We have reviewed this game as part of the Bloggers Board Game Club #BoardGameClub

Colt Express is already winning awards, and we agree it is a great fun family game. Esdevium distribute this game in the uk, and you can find out more by visiting their Facebook and twitter pages. Colt Express is available to buy now from Waterstones, or Amazon. Have a look at my Amazon affiliate link below

 

Codenames – Review for Bloggers Board Game Club

Codenames is a game for 2 – 8 players aged 14+ RRP £16.99 and is the first game to be sent to us as part of the Bloggers Board Game Club.

As a family we like to spend time playing card and board games. It is the perfect way to reconnect as a family and learn and have fun at the same time. The Bloggers Board Game Club picked Codenames as our first family game. We started playing it when the boy finished for the summer and it has already become a favourite.

Codenames can be played as a party game but is ideally suited to playing with four people. Codenames is a secret agent word game, and although the instructions seemed lengthy at first it is simple and quick to play. As a family of 3 we discovered that we can play in a couple of different ways. With roles as Operatives and spymasters being changed over as we discovered who was best at the clues.

Codenames gameplay starts with the word cards being shuffled and laid out in a grid 5 x 5. A codename card is picked at random telling you which team will start as well as the location of the spy’s, bystanders and assassin. The object of the game is for the spymaster to give a one word clue to the location of their coloured spy’s without the operative finding their opponents spy’s or the assassin. Covering up each word card as it is guessed correctly until you find all your spy’s or the assassin who makes an instant looser. The gameplay is that simple and the rule book gives you examples of guesses and how to best use your clues. There are some firm rules, but you can play to your own rules too.

We loved playing Codenames and discovered that Dad Dragon found it much more difficult to think of the word clues. The boy had a great way of coming up with some alternative ways of thinking and ended up winner on more than one occasion. Codenames can be played in a short time so will be ideal as an addition to our train game list, although it does need some space to lay out the cards. Sometimes the simplest of games are the ones that are the most fun and we have enjoyed playing Codenames.

It has been a great way of looking at words and expanding vocabulary and connections of words. I would recommend Codenames to family’s that like a competitive game as well as those that don’t as you can play with just two players against an invisible opponent. I think you could also played codenames with younger children as the boy is only 12 and loved working out the word clues.

Codenames is available now from online retailers like Amazon, as well as your local store.

Disclaimer: we have been sent this game as part of the Bloggers Board Game Club with Esdevium Games and have not been paid for this review. #BoardGameClub

 

#TearsIntoSmiles with Elastoplast

The #TearsIntoSmiles campaign has challenged me to turn those tear filled moments into a happy ones.

I don’t think there is a household in the country that doesn’t have a selection of plasters. We have long been fond of the ones with fancy pictures, as somehow they seem to make things just a little bit better. I used to have to stock up in the USA on these fun additions to the medicine cabinet, with favourites like the lion king and winnie the pooh. Now there are lots to choose from and the Star wars ones are an instant hit.

When the boy has an accident I used to take on the strategy from his nursery which was to treat the wound with magic liquid (water) and then a big hug and a plaster. The boy was always ready to show off his Piglet or Eeyore. The boy loves to be outside, and his favourite at the moment is water pistol battles with his dad or friends. Bumps cuts and bruises are part of childhood and turning the #TearsIntoSmiles is a great way to make things better. I love the video from Elastoplast turning real tears into these miniature paintings.

Making sure that you get out and about in the fresh air is the best way for kids to learn about their surroundings and their limitations. The boy has had his fair share of bumps and scrapes. With a love of Fencing we now carry a first aid kit with us to every event. This kit will always contain a few plasters as well as cool packs and cream for bumps and bruises. I still use magic water, and you cant beat a big hug to make everything feel a little bit better.

This post is an entry for the BritMums #TearsintoSmiles Challenge, sponsored by Elastoplast.

 

Getting Dressed Up with JD Williams – review

With the long weekends, come the spring and summer weddings. I had a wedding of some good friends to look forward to. With nothing to wear, JD Williams came to my rescue. I live in Jeans and tunic tops and was not sure where to start. JD Williams have a great selection of dresses with items from occasion wear to everyday.

I was very hopeful that I would find something suitable for a spring wedding. I started with a few searches in the JD Williams online store and found I could narrow down my search by colour, size, style and even occasion. I had wanted a mid length flare dress and had a shortlist of about three. One stood out and despite it being a label I was not familiar with, it kept drawing my attention. JD Williams did have brands I had heard of, and plenty of choice.

The Nightingales dress that I ordered was perfect, and I chose to add the matching shawl as you never know with British weather. I love the cotton content, and the fit was very good. JD Williams also have a large range of shoes, and many come in extra width sizes. The first pair that I chose were too big. It seems that maybe my feet are shrinking. The second pair fitted like a glove and I have been very impressed with the fit, and style. I chose flats as there is so much standing to be done at a wedding, not to mention the dancing.

I love my Nightingales dress from JD Williams, and am looking forward to taking it on holiday later this month. I think the fit is superb, and great quality for the price. The shoes have been much admired and despite not breaking them in before my friends big day there was no rubbing. I can honestly say that I have been very impressed by my first online dress shopping experience. If I’m lucky enough to be invited to more weddings I know where I will be looking first.

Disclaimer I was sent these items in return for an honest review, the words are my own and have not been altered

 

Jamie Raven Card Magic – Review

Jamie Raven Card Magic is one of four magic sets available online from Paul Lamond RRP £10.95 suitable for ages 8+.

Ok, so it is confession time as we didn’t know who Jamie Raven was, but the boy has always loved magic sets. We were excited to see what the Jamie Rave Card Magic box contained . The box includes a two packs of cards, a mystery box with spare cards and a secret membership card which gives you access online to the tricks.

The boy was a little puzzled that the Jamie Raven card magic set doesn’t contain any instructions, but once you have accessed the internet and been emailed the link it all became clear. ( My email went to spam so check there if you don’t get an instant reply)

Jamie Raven is the self-proclaimed runner-up, or “First placed Human” from Britain’s got talent series 2015. His website is easy to navigate, and once the boy had learnt the first trick he was keen to learn some more. Each trick video is easy to follow as Jamie performs the trick for you to watch, followed by a step by stem explanation of how it works and finally some tips on performance.

The boy learnt 4 very simple but amazingly effective tricks which he was then able to perform confidently on Bingo granny. He certainly had us all thinking and I loved the mind reading trick as I had no idea how it was don’t until the boy showed me. We decided you could do variations of each trick and could see how you could make them your own with a few simple additions!

We all had great fun learning Jamie Raven Card Magic tricks. The boy liked the easy to learn from videos and Jamies presentation style means I think anyone could easily master these tricks.

Visit Jamie Ravens website for more information on the trick sets available, or purchase your set from my affiliate link below.


Disclaimer we were sent this set in exchange for review, the words remain our own and have not been altered.

Admiral Young Driver – Review

Admiral Young Driver program is a safe way to teach children aged as young as 5 to control a car and start the enjoyment of driving. The boy was a little nervous to try out the Admiral Young drivers programme. He needn’t have been as he had a great time.

The boy want’s to be a policeman when he is older and learning to drive will be a big part of the job if he does eventually choose this as a career. I have always wanted thought its good to learn things early so driving lessons was on my list of things to get the boy to try. We booked a 1/2 hour lesson with the Admiral young drivers at Southampton WestQuay car park.

The boy was worried he might drive over the edge of the car park. The booking in lady quickly put his mind at rest, as apparently this is a question she is asked often! There are some height restrictions for the drivers and they should be over 10 and a minimum of 1.42m tall. The boy was soon seated in the car and there are proper cushions to bring the seat height up to the correct height. I was allowed to join in as a passenger for the lesson, while dad stood at a safe distance and took pictures.

The top-level of the WestQuay car park was set out with junctions and obstacles and with other Admiral young drivers there is plenty to be aware of while learning to drive. The boy was put at ease by his instructor Barry, and within 5 minutes they had completed the pre drive checks and we were moving.

Each new Admiral young driver is given a diary which is completed after each lesson. This is a great record of what you learned as well as being something to record the steps and progress. As a first lesson the boy learnt to make pre drive checks of mirrors, seat and starting the vehicle. He then went on to control the vehicle and completed junctions and a slalom.

I was very impressed by the teaching, and the instructor moved the lesson on at the speed that each student needs. The boy was clearly in control and loving every minute. There was time to ask lots of questions and the instructor had lots of knowledge of the Skoda citigo that we were driving.

The half hour Admiral young drivers lesson was a good length for a first lesson as the boy said his legs felt a little wobbly after all the clutch control. The boy has also asked when he can have his next lesson, as he enjoyed it far more than he thought he would and I think maybe a few lessons a year at his age certainly wouldn’t hurt.

Visit the Admiral Young Driver website for all the different options from lessons to Birthday parties and even the chance to drive a Bentley.

Disclaimer we were asked to try out the young driver programme in return for a review, the words remain ours and have not been altered.

 

Dig In – Giveaway

 

Dig In is our favourite Drumond Park game that we have reviewed over the last few years, and is set to be a great family game for generations to come. Dig in is available for RRP £19.99, and is suitable for ages 8+.

Dig In has been a big hit in the dragon house, not only for its fast competitive game play. It’s easy to learn rules mean that it has proved to be a great family and friends game as well as one the adults enjoy. With 128 colourful characters to find, gameplay is as simple as find and match against the clock.

This is what Drumond Park have to say about Dig in:

You’ll find Dig In! intense and totally engrossing.  Each player is living-in-the-moment, fixated at finding their pieces.  So for those 15 seconds the rest of the world is shut out – and nothing else matters.  It’s a mesmerizing formula, ensuring hours of stimulating fun for the players, who’re desperate to be the first to fill their card!

Leave Dig In! lying around the house and we guarantee it won’t be long before the white bowl and its colourful contents prove to be irresistible to people passing by.  Those smooth and tactile model pieces are just waiting to be played with, touched, swirled around and delved into… Drumond Park’s research has shown that it’s almost impossible to walk past without having a sneaky, satisfying rummage in that bowl, or even a quick 15 second session with the timer on, all on your own!

And adults who’re looking for grown-up, after dinner party fun will be surprised to find this game totally engrossing and amazing in its deceptive and addictive simplicity – and keep coming back for more! One thing’s for certain… Dig In! is set to be a winner with everyone – family and friends alike!

 

So here is your chance to get your hands on Dig in, I have one to giveaway to one lucky family. Simply comment and complete the gleam app below.

Dig In 2017

Disclaimer Drumond park asked us to choose our favourite game from 2016 to giveaway, all words remain our own and have not been altered.

Terms & Conditions:

The giveaway is open to the UK only

  • It is mandatory to leave a comment in the post comment section answering the question specified. Other tasks completed will gain additional entries. The winner will be checked to make sure they have both left a comment and completed the task for the winning entry.
  • Winner will be drawn randomly after the competition closes at 23:59 on Sunday 23rd April 2017
  • The winner will be sent an  e-mail to the e-mail address left at time of entry. The winner will need to reply to the e-mail within 7 days of the notification. Every effort will be made to contact the winner, but if no response is made within the 7 days a new winner will be chosen.
  • The prize details are stated at the top of the giveaway, and may be subject to change if they become unavailable.
  • The prize will be posted by the promoter, unfortunately I cannot be held responsible or replace missing parcels. Please contact me if there is a problem.
  • Please allow 28 days from notification for your prize to be sent out.
  • This competition is listed at: Win competitions at ThePrizeFinder.com and SuperLucky
SuperLucky Blog Giveaway Linky

LoopDeLoom – Review

LoopDeLoom is a fun spinning weaving loom, that is not only simple but fast! LoopDeLoom from Map toys is available online for RRP £24.99, and is suitable for ages 8+.

The LoopDeLoom box contains the loom base with 15 pegs, a ball of multi coloured yarn and instructions. The basic set up for the LoopDeLoom is very simple the pegs are fitted in alternate directions, so that when the lever is moved from left to right the pegs turn. The instructions guide you on how to do this, and there are also online videos.

Once you have decided on the size of the piece you want to weave and cut the yarn to length then you clip the warp threads into the pegs. To weave you simply take your weft tread and hold it taught across the top of the pegs pulling it down between the center of the pegs. Rotate the lever and repeat.

LoopDeLoom weaving is really that simple! In the instructions it tells you not to pull the weft (weaving) threat too tight, and I found if you do it causes the end pegs to start to touch and will make your weaving shrink. If you forget to turn the lever the thread will simply slide out. So you can’t really go wrong.

Once you have a reasonable amount of weaving you can move it down the pegs and this will tighten the wool. This was very satisfying as you watched the weaving grow, and I found you get very quick after only a few goes. If the pegs get to full you simply slide out a peg from the weaving. Making sure that you place it back into the base of the loom the correct way around.

To finish the piece you can knot the ends or sew them depending on what you plan to make. Knotting my piece was simple with a neat fringed edge that looked pretty. LoopDeLoom was great fun and perfect for a child that has a little patience as the results grow quickly. The enclosed multi coloured wool is also pretty and is a great first make.

For more ideas on what you can create with LoopDeLoom visit the website and video tutorials.

Disclaimer we were sent this loom in return for a review.

Bath’s Top Rated Indian Cuisine: A Review 

While the winter blues have us all begging for a bit of spice in our lives, I’ve investigated Bath’s top Indian restaurants that are sure to add pizzazz back to our palettes.

The Rajpoot

If you are looking for an award-winning meal, all fingers point to The Rajpoot. A favourite of many, this restaurant caters to Indian food gurus and the “extra mild spice, please” beginners. The Rajpoot offers a romantic but functional environment that can fit a work event or date night. If you are aching for a fine-dining, fully ethnic Indian food experience, the Rajpoot has what you are longing for.

Bombay Lounge

For friendly service, great décor and a comforting meal, the Bombay Lounge has you covered.  This place has an extensive menu that can please both vegan and carnivore, with loads of customisable options to meet your needs. If the coziness of your home has you wanting to lounge in pyjamas for the evening, have no fear: Bombay Lounge is featured on Hungry House, a takeaway app that allows you to browse through menus and have your cravings delivered to your doorstep.  Bombay Lounge is also budget friendly and definitely does not compromise on quality.

The Boojon Tandoori

Named one of England’s best curry places, Bath’s The Boojon Tandoori is a local hotspot. Although traditional curry is winning the title at this location, the menu option ranges from poppadum’s to pilau rice to vegetable Jalfrezi. The Boojon Tandoori boasts quality and quantity without forfeiting your newly established budget for 2017: most dishes are in the £5-£9 range.

Bengal Brasserie

Meat lovers, you will love Bengal Brasserie off of Milsom Street. Locally known for the most succulent chicken and lean lamb, this restaurant has a beautiful interior and top-notch staff.  For vegetarians, do not fret: Bengal Brasserie also offers a generous meat-free menu to please everybody at the table.  If you are in a hurry, takeaway options are available here (and at a 10% discount on weekends!)

The Eastern Eye

For a glamorous dine-in experience, I recommend The Eastern Eye. With beautifully decorated murals on every wall and domed ceilings, you will quickly be transported out of Bath and into another world. Voted restaurant of the year for the Southwest Region, The Eastern Eye has an extensive and detailed website that promotes its many features and offers a history lesson on the beautiful building. The menu is user-friendly and offers a variety of options included a lovely buffet. For those seeking the full Indian food experience, The Eastern Eye is where you want to be.

Disclaimer this is a collaborative post.