Why playtime can also be good for grown-ups

We all know that an important part of childhood is play, and we encourage our children to get involved in imaginative games almost before they can talk. But many of us tend to believe that games aren’t so important for adults. Instead playing is viewed as something superfluous, an activity that takes up valuable time when we could be doing something ‘useful’.

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by  stigeredoo 

This might be true if you sat and played on the Xbox all day long, neglecting your work and forgetting about keeping the house in order and putting meals on the table. But a little bit of playtime can be good for adults. Not only does it give you a break from the daily grind, but some games can also help stimulate your mental agility, we all remember those ‘Brain’ games for the DS right? If you are anything like me you have to have something on the go in the evenings even if the telly is still going in the back round. For me, I love to crochet and knit, something that I can do maybe while I loosely watch a film or programme I have recorded. Lately I have seen a lot of people online trying out the adult colouring craze that is going around ( I admit I do have one myself which I use when I am listening to my audio books before bed). I know some people love the word games that you can get on your phone, my son loves the logo one he has on there or even bingo either as a board game, a phone app or online. All these things just help a little to keep our brains active and give us a little escapism from the hum drum of daily life.

Obviously now though a lot of games are available online as most people have their phones in use wherever they are, most homes have tablets or laptops especially if you have kids you may even have several of these around the place ( I know we have!). Of course, now we all have mobile internet and broadband at home, the gaming options we have open to us are endless. But if you’re interested in a game that is fun and amusing, while also giving your brain a boost, try one of these:

Bingo has been hailed as a game that encourages mental stimulation for some years. Research has shown that regular bingo players scored more highly in mental agility exercises than their non-bingo playing counterparts. Apparently it’s something to do with the time constraint in a game of bingo that makes it a more of a brain-boosting game than backgammon, for example. Today, many of us play bingo online at sites like bgo, Comfy Bingo or Tidy Bingo, where the focus is more on relaxation and socialising than having a mental workout. That’s because when you play online bingo games at bgo.com, for example, there’s an auto-daub function which means the software marks matching numbers for the player, rather than them having to keep track of the calls themselves. However, if you want that brain workout when you play online, you can opt to mark your cards manually.

Word-based games are another category of game that are good for your grey matter. There are so many online word games available today, and you don’t need anyone to play with. Many of the gaming apps that are similar to the game of Scrabble find you opponents online or you can play against the software. Every time you play a word game, you’re gaining new words in your vocabulary and testing yourself to find the best scoring word. And the great thing is that you don’t have to set aside an hour or more to play. Most of the games like WordFeud will notify you when it’s your turn. A game can go on for days, but only require your attention for a few minutes at a time.

Even action-shooter games have been shown to offer some benefits to their players. Although they’re often dismissed as being a waste of time, they require hand-eye coordination and accuracy, which can translate to other aspects of life. In an Iowa University study, a group of surgeons were observed during their work and those who played action video games on a regular basis were shown to be more accurate and quicker in surgery than their non-playing counterparts.

Aside from the specific benefits that different games can bring, there’s always the overall benefit of playing a game. It gives you a chance to de-stress and put your worries and problems to one side, while you focus on something different. That’s something that has to be good for everyone every once in a while.

For me I love to keep my mind active, I do spend a lot of time at home and therefore it would be easy to fall into a trap of just sitting watching telly, however I do like to ‘achieve’ each day be it a lovely home cooked dinner, a finished crochet or machine sewn item or some blogging in my case!

What do you like to do to keep your mind active?

Wool thief strikes again!

So I thought that maybe she would have grown out of the ‘wool stealing’ phase when she grew from a kitten to a cat. WRONG!

I am an avid knitter and crocheter and generally have wool all over the place. My older cat who is over five has never, even as a kitten, paid much interest in my wool stash. She would get up beside me an be fascinated by the needles working and the strand of wool moving but that was it. My youngest cat who is now around two is a total wool addict ( like me) and wool stalker and has been since she entered our house!

I have a granny square style blanket on the go that I am making out of all my wool scraps, and I keep all the wool and the squares in a carry box and I now cover it with a towel to help stop her temptation…………………………………………………this however is all in vain.

Quite often I will come in from somewhere and see imediately that she has taken 2 or 3 balls all the way upstairs ( 2 flights) and the wool strands are all up the stairs and landing as proof. This week however, she really upped her game and my husband thought it was so funny he left it for me to see…………

She started here! This is the box, the towel is on the floor and she has helped herself....

She started here! This is the box, the towel is on the floor and she has helped herself….

But that wasn’t all Oh no, she had a field day with the rest………

She went for it big time and decided to mix them all together so I would have a lovely puzzle to work out!

She went for it big time and decided to mix them all together so I would have a lovely puzzle to work out!

They had all been intertwined amongst each other and took ages to unravel and then roll up again, she even had the audacity to try and attack the wool strands as I was winding them up.

This is exactly what she ended up taking from the box………..

8 granny squares and 15 balls of wool in total had been taken for a walk and suitably killed in action!

8 granny squares and 15 balls of wool in total had been taken for a walk and suitably killed in action!

Then she has the cheek to sit here, in her spot, looking the picture of innocence!

Here she is looking like butter wouldn't melt in her favourite sleeping spot ......

Here she is looking like butter wouldn’t melt in her favourite sleeping spot ……

Joining in with EcoGitesLenault  #AnimalTales

My baby turns 15!

It feels like time is just spiralling out of control, there’s no brakes, no way of slowing it down to appreciate what is going on.

This week saw my youngest turn 15, now one of the oldest in his class. To be honest he’s like 15 going on 50 but that’s another story, however, his age now hits hard as he is my youngest, my baby so to speak. It seems like only last week we brought him home from the hospital and felt we had all the time in the world to appreciate him.

So what happens? We blink and they are teenagers, to old to be babied and not old enough to be an adult, yet they are like mini adults with their own personalities and strong views. I am now officially the smallest person in the house with the 2 boys towering over me, making me feel small and old!

Birthdays can make you nostalgic, look back with rose tinted glasses and feel as though you didn’t make the most of the time when they were young. Of course this is never true. They were hard work as babies, they took all of our time, we were up during the nights, nursed them when they were ill, praised every stage of their development and enjoyed all the different stages they have been through.

My baby can now look down on me and pat me on the head. He can make me laugh and cry, he can frustrate the life out of me ( everyday), make me proud, embarrass me and show his loving side ( which we don’t always get to see). He knows how to make me the perfect cup of coffee, knows how to get his way, knows how to argue his case but can be very caring when he knows I am ill and will still accompany to the cinema- although I am sure those days will soon come to an end. He is growing up fast biting on the tails of his 17 year old brother and embraces independence at every stage.

I can only try and treasure the time we have now before his life takes him in the direction he wants to go, be that staying close to us or venturing further away on his on journey.

Happy Birthday to the baby of the family and thanks for making me feel proud ……………………….but OLD!!


My dressmaking journey begins.

Today I started a 12 week course in dressmaking. This is something I have been wanted to do for ages since getting hooked on the Great British Sewing Bee. I started my sewing journey earlier this year with a basic 6 week course learning to use a sewing machine, basic hems etc and even went on to make some cushion covers and a tote bag!

I thoroughly enjoyed this course after years of being almost frightened of sewing after horrible memories from secondary school ( bet I’m not alone there!). I was desperate to get a close enough proper dressmaking course as I want to get patterns and make things for myself. I daily see people’s makes on IG and am very jealous and even bought the Dottie Frock pattern as most people said it was suitable for beginners. It probably is but I excitedly opened the pattern and then had instant confusion and folded everything back into the package! Sad but true. So I am hoping this course I started today will sort out any confusion I have that puts me off trying things.

The #dottiefrock

The #dottiefrock

Today we had our introduction class, leaned how to take proper measurements and decided individually what we wanted to make. After the tutor made it clear that you will really only get the skills that your pattern requires ( although we will get to see others use other skills on their garments) I decided that I would chuck myself in at the deep end and get as many skills as possible- so I decided on a fitted style shirt, with long sleeves, cuffs, a proper collar, buttons and chest pockets!  NO LAUGHING PLEASE

I am going for the one on the right although so just have to find some suitable fabric

I am going for the one on the right although so just have to find some suitable fabric

This could be a huge gamble on my part as it may just put me off for life, but somehow I don’t think so. My reasoning is that then I have the skills for most garments right? It will include using interfacing for the collar, learning buttonholes, adjusting darts etc so hopefully then attempting my Dottie frock later on will be easy peasy…………..

So this week will mainly be fuelled by online pattern searching and in shop fabric shopping…………c’mon what’s not to like?

Who doesn’t love an Afternoon Tea?

I recently had the pleasure of reviewing the afternoon tea that is available at the Tudor Park Marriott Country Club near Bearsted.

To be perfectly honest I did have a pre conception of what a Marriott hotel would offer as there is one local to me in Bexleyheath, which seems business orientated and built for that purpose in that particular are. However, at the Tudor Park I couldn’t have been more pleasantly surprised. The entrance alone did not look like a standard hotel front and was very welcoming.


This particular hotel and country club has a comforting feel to it even though the reception is open, spacious, minimalist and bright. It has several different bar areas, a swimming pool, a spa, a golf shop ( with golf professionals on hand for lessons) and an 18 hole golf course. Amazingly, you do feel like you are deep in the countryside even though in reality you are literally just off the M20.

This is the Mezzanine Bar which is one of the areas you can have your afternoon tea

This is the Mezzanine Bar which is one of the areas you can have your afternoon tea

You can also eat here in the courtyard are overlooking the wildlife pond if the weather is nice

You can also eat here in the courtyard are overlooking the wildlife pond if the weather is nice

this was the view from our table in the Zest Bar overlooking the golf course

this was the view from our table in the Zest Bar overlooking the golf course

We had our afternoon tea in the Zest bar overlooking the golf course and the beautiful wildlife pond.We were very lucky with the weather as it was a beautiful sunny day and we sat at the window with the door open enjoying the sunshine and the breeze while we scoffed.

The food itself was beautiful with smoked salmon, cooked ham or cucumber and cream cheese finger sandwiches, home made scones with clotted cream and preserves, and a great selection of fabulous bite sized cakes. It is very reasonably priced from £15 per person which I think you will agree is very competitive. They also offer several specially themed ones throughout the year, for example, a strawberry one in the summer and a chocolate one later in the year. They also pride themselves on using and promoting local produce, so in strawberry season they would use local producers, local jams, they have used local apple produce when in season for the restaurant and functions. There is amazing fruit, veg, meats and cheeses all available locally in Kent so I do think it’s a great way for the hotel to put something back to the area.

We never felt rushed throughout the tea, where approached a couple of times to check if everything was OK and also if we needed more tea ( where they replenished the tea and the cups just in case you were changing the flavour of your tea), but we didn’t feel as though we were being ‘watched’ if you like- it was a very relaxing area to enjoy an afternoon tea.

One word.....LUSH!

One word…..LUSH!

We tried our best but we just couldn’t finish the little cakes that were on offer ( although we gave it a good go!) so our leftovers where wrapped up to take home which was great as our teens got to scoff the rest after their dinner.

The cakes ranged from brownies , mini cheesecakes,  banoffee pies to a mini trifle, so if you are watching your calories this is definitely not for you. However, as most people do not eat these every day then it truly is a treat to splash out an treat yourself.

It was well presented in the tradition ‘afternoon tea’ manner on a 3 tiered tray with teas separately. I think it would have been nice for something to ‘set’ the table off from all the others when having this, for example, a nice checked or vintage floral style tablecloth and napkins which I believe the staff are in talks with management about this and I think it certainly would add that certain something to the whole experience. Apart from that I found it difficult to find fault at all.


A few things that I think are bonuses from a client point of view is the excellent free WIFI available all around the premises. There is a ‘Guest’ option with gives free 24 hr use without a log in which as a blogger is something we all appreciate. Also, most of you will know I use a walking stick most days and therefore I was very quick to spot the wheelchair lift inside the reception, something that was blended into the surroundings but clearly visible  for those of use who don’t want to have to ask all the time. I also noticed another inside the Mezzanine Bar which could allow easy access to the upper level of the bar.

The hotels restaurant is also in keeping with the comforting decor and is listed in the Kent’s Food and Drink’s magazine for official guides to eating out in Kent.

The restaurant/grill

The restaurant/grill

The Hotel is hosting a Murder Mystery Gala Dinner on Friday 25th September, with a drink on arrival, a 3 course meal with tea and coffee for £38 and obviously then you have the option to stay over and enjoy either golf or the spa!

For more details visit the website

DISCLAIMER: I was offered the afternoon free of charge for review purposes only all my views are based on how I found my particular visit.