My kinda game

It used to be a quite common occurrence that my friends and I would meet up to have games nights. Those nights had become a little more scarce lately due to family commitments & people moving far far, far far away (yes Kenny & Aly, that’s you. And as for you Rich, London?! It might as well be the other side of the moon ;p). However, when I was given the opportunity recently to review a new card-based game, I was more than willing to try and re-kindle this dying habit. Randomise sounded like my kinda game – it’s creative, fun and fast paced.

Randomise Game Box & Cards

When this game arrived at my house, I was happy to see it’s a properly portable game – about double the size of a pack of cards. I loved the illustrations on the box, and the brief description on the back gave me a good idea of what was to be expected. Feeling positive, I scheduled in our games night! Games night No1 did not go to plan – if you haven’t seen people for a while, you tend to do a lot of talking… So games night No2 was booked in. With much more success 😀

There were 5 of us this particular night. Not the optimum figure for playing this game, even numbers would be best for fairness, but hey, you do what you do with the cards you’re dealt. We decided to have girls v boys. 3 girls, 2 boys. I stayed sober because I was driving, the others were in various states of inebriation. Believe me, this game is JUST as funny if you’re sober. My cheeks hurt from laughing so much.

Randomise cards with a cup of tea

My peppermint tea in shot there – see, totally sober!

So! How does it work? It’s basically like a mix between Pictionary and Charades. The ‘randomness’ is introduced by the things you end up being given to draw, describe or act. There are A, B and C cards. You pick one from each pile. Each card has an ‘easy’ and a ‘difficult’ section. You can choose whether to take an easy turn, or a difficult turn (more points rewarded for correct guess). In each of these sections, are listed three words. Card A will have words that describe you (ie happy, frightened, silly). Card B will have words that tell you what you are (ie giraffe, fish, astronaut). Card C will have words that tell you what you are doing (ie playing the saxaphone, digging a hole, making a fire). The opposing team picks three random numbers from one to three, and you are left with what you have to act. draw or describe. So you could end up with a frightened fish making a fire… yeah…

I won’t go into the rules and points system, I’ll just say that it’s all REALLY straight forward and we were playing straight away with no problems. We decided to play the game in every way possible and all took a turn at describing (definitely the easiest thing to do, but least funny), drawing (second easiest), and acting (hardest but also the funniest!). I would highly recommend you do the same, it’s loads funnier when you get over yourselves and act silly. We spent about 1.5 hours playing this game. We used a marker board to draw on but all you need in addition to the game is pens and paper, and someones phone to use as a timer.

Sanem with our marker board

Randomise tall giraffe riding a surfboard drawing

I think this one was “Tall giraffe riding a surfboard”

Randomise crazy rabbit going a jigsaw puzzle

I believe this one was “crazy rabbit doing a jigsaw puzzle”. At this point, me having got it in record time, me and Sarah were accused of some sort of paranormal communication…

I’m afraid I don’t have any videos of our appalling acting skills! What a shame! You’ll just have to give it a go yourselves 😀 I’ve got to say, I’ve not been paid or bribed in any way to give this a good review. I was simply provided with the game for the purposes of reviewing and all these views are my own. Lucky for them, I totally give it 5 stars, it will no doubt become a much loved & re-played (there are loads of ways to change it up) game of ours and I’m really happy I was given the opportunity to play it! You can grab your own Randomise game for just £9.99 on Amazon! Perfect for trips, games nights, lunchtimes at the office, dinner parties and kids sleepovers (age 8+).

Pure Yacon Syrup Review

Following up from my last blog post about a new venture, I applied for and got accepted for my first ‘assignment’ – a review of Quality Encapsulations Pure Yacon Syrup. I applied for this assignment because as a natural sweetener I thought it fitted in with my attempts to live as healthily as possible (no processed food, always cooking from scratch, buying organic, getting a good balance – we’ll ignore the fact I still can’t quite shake off chocolate, but I’m working on it!) and I would be able to make/bake something with it to share with my readers, fitting into the handmade theme of my blog… well, homemade is still handmade right?!

So, a few weeks ago now I received my 8fl oz (236ml) bottle  of 100% pure yacon syrup. Curious, I wanted to try it straight away. I poured a spoon full (the recommended amount is 3 teaspoons a day) and had a sniff – the smell is quite bitter, and it’s dark brown in colour. Taste wise it has a chocolatey kinda taste, although not as sweet as one might expect, and overall is quite palatable. I could definitely manage 3 teaspoons a day anyway 🙂

Picture of bottle of the product

I had never even heard of it prior to this assignment so I did a bit of research – seems like it has been getting quite the name for itself as an aid to weight loss. Not one for fad diets or ‘quick fixes’ I was skeptical, and it wasn’t something I wished to try, but I was interested in it’s uses for diabetics; my Dad, brother and Auntie all have diabetes so I was interested to see what use it could be to them.  For me, the hardest thing to give up would be chocolate, and I reckon the only way I could do it is if I had something else to eat in its place when I fancied something sweet or a snack. In the past I’ve made raw energy balls and they go down a treat with both myself and Mr Loop, so I thought I would give Yacon syrup a go in those.

I gathered together some ingredients I usually put in raw energy balls – dates, raisins, various nuts and seeds, coconut oil, dessicated coconut, cacao powder, and honey.

Energy ball raw ingredients

My raw ingredients prior to blending

My raw ingredients prior to blending

Energy-Ball-Raw-Ingredients-Blended

My raw ingredients mixed with the hand blender. We’ll ignore the fact I blew my hand blender up doing this, threw it out the kitchen door cos it was ‘smokin’! Totally my fault, didn’t use the right attachment, dates are damn sticky. So please – if you do this, use a food processor, not a hand blender.

I thought I might be able to substitute the honey with yacon syrup, but once my mixture was made up (above pic) I soon realised that in order to get it all to stick together I would have to use the ENTIRE bottle of Yacon syrup… and at $26.99 (roughly £16) a bottle, even though I had been given this for the purposes of the review, I couldn’t bring myself to put £16 worth of syrup into one batch of energy balls, so I did use some honey.  The mixture of thick gloopy Yacon syrup and honey made for really hard work mixing it all together, but it was SUPER sticky so the balls came together REALLY well, even if I did end up with hands that felt like they had been dipped in super strength glue haha!

Raw energy balls

Finished off with a dusting of dessicated coconut, looking fabulous and ready to eat! Nom nom nom :D

Finished off with a dusting of dessicated coconut, looking fabulous and ready to eat! Nom nom nom 😀

The verdict? Well, the Yacon Syrup certainly made for the perfect accompaniment to the other ingredients in my raw energy balls. With that and the cacao powder they make a great healthy substitute to chocolate, and they may have the added benefit of helping you lose weight (although I can’t say much on that as I’m steadily losing weight each week since having Baby Loop so not really the time for me to be able to comment). BUT, (sorry, there’s a but!), it’s expensive; having used half the bottle it would make this batch of energy balls cost over £15, and that’s just not sustainable. Especially if you’re not buying it specifically for weightloss, or if you intend to use it as a permanent substitute for sugar in your diet. I’m also not entirely sure how you would use it as a substitute in baking; I did originally intend yo bake a cake with it but I couldn’t work out how I would convert a recipe that called for sugar into a recipe that would work with syrup instead – it just wouldn’t have the right consistency, and if you still need to use sugar to keep the consistency then surely that defeats the object?

In summary – it works great in energy balls, it tastes good, it potentially is a solution for people who want to kick start losing weight, and it is a potential substitute for sugar for diabetics if they can find ways to use it (in their tea or coffee perhaps?!). But it depends what cost you would out on your health; having 3 teaspoons of this a day would mean the bottle would last just a day or two over two weeks, so that’s £16 every two weeks until you achieve your goal, or wean yourself off the need for sweet things. Personally I couldn’t afford that, but I know there will be people who think it is worth every penny if it helps them lose weight that is dangerously affecting their health, or manage their blood sugar levels to keep diabetes in check when giving up sweet things cold turkey is SO hard!

I was given a bottle of the syrup for the purposes of the review, but all opinions are my own 🙂

 

2010 in review

The stats helper monkeys at WordPress.com mulled over how this blog did in 2010, and here’s a high level summary of its overall blog health:

Healthy blog!

The Blog-Health-o-Meter™ reads Wow.

Crunchy numbers

Featured image

A Boeing 747-400 passenger jet can hold 416 passengers. This blog was viewed about 1,500 times in 2010. That’s about 4 full 747s.

 

In 2010, there were 46 new posts, growing the total archive of this blog to 63 posts. There were 34 pictures uploaded, taking up a total of 5mb. That’s about 3 pictures per month.

The busiest day of the year was September 10th with 62 views. The most popular post that day was Folksy Friday – Autumn Approaches.

Where did they come from?

The top referring sites in 2010 were stumbleupon.com, forums.folksy.com, facebook.com, twitter.com, and linziloop.blogspot.com.

Some visitors came searching, mostly for cloud shelf, moustache, sugar skull, dias de los muertos, and bag geek.

Attractions in 2010

These are the posts and pages that got the most views in 2010.

1

Folksy Friday – Autumn Approaches September 2010
6 comments

2

Handmade in Liverpool October 2010

3

Right Said Thread – Handmade and vintage market November 2010

4

Folksy Friday – Cloud 9 October 2010
7 comments

5

Folksy Friday – A Little Class to go with that Moustache? October 2010
4 comments

So i would just like to say a BIG thank you to all readers of my blog, old and new, wish you all the best for 2011 and hope you all come back for some more of what i have in store for you this year! Thanks again! Love to you all 😀

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