25.4.17

National Board Games Week with Pork Farms

Did you know 8th-14th May 2017 is National Board Games Week?


We've always been quite fond of board games in our house, and while the internet distracts us a fair bit, we still find time for a few hours of Monopoly, or a quick game of draughts, or even chess (which I taught DD when she was quite small) a few times a month, and we play lots during holidays.

When Pork Farms asked if I'd like to try out a new Hasbro board game I was surprised how many games we already had, from Frustration (which DD has always loved) through Jenga (is that a board game?) to Thud, the Discworld board game.

Hasbro Trivial Pursuit 2000s edition

It was quite a surprise to realise we didn't have Trivial Pursuit! As DD was born in 1999 the Trivial Pursuit 2000s Edition seemed perfect for us! It contains questions from 2000 until now, and they are good questions too, easy enough that we can answer a few but hard enough that we get some wrong too!

border terrier looking at trivial pursuit

 Am I remembering the rules incorrectly though?, this version gives us a wedge just for passing a point on the board...seems to speed up the game, but loses a bit of the pursuit aspect. Any way we've been having super fun, answering questions on Cats, Festivals and Celebrity Couples among other subjects!

trivial pursuit cards

This year National Board Games Championships are being run by Pork Farms, in association with the Micropub Association and with games supplied by Hasbro. Pork Farms are celebrating all things British and what is more British than one of the nation’s favourite pastimes, good old-fashioned board games?

Heats took place across Britain last month and winners will be competing in the semi-finals and grand finale in London during Pork Farms’ National Board Games Week, May 8th to 14th, for the chance to be crowned King or Queen of board games.

If you'd like to get involved with a family games night (and who wouldn't it's proper old fashioned fun for all the family) you can! and up until May 14th 2017  if you have a games evening, using whichever games you like, and share photos with Pork Farms on social media you have the chance to win a stack of board games and a year’s supply of pork pies!! (Are the Trivial Pursuit wedges actually pork pie pieces?)

You simply need to sign up on Pork Farms’ website and you’ll be emailed a family pack right away with all the details. And printables etc. So you can have a really fun evening.

So grab some dice, grab pizza, pork pies, and beer and get sharing those photos, especially the ones where anyone is sulking because they are losing, because those are my favourites! You could even make your own winners cup or medals.

pizza cut to resemble trivial pursuit wedges

Disclosure : I was sent the Trivial Pursuit 2000s Edition to try out, and was asked to share the info about Pork Farms National Board Games Week.

19.4.17

Social Media and Security

A friend of mine had a social media account hacked. She doesn't know how, but some one logged onto Twitter as her and posted things pretending to be her.

It's a common thing to happen, someone uses technology or a simple guess to access a social media account, a website, an email account and runs amok, free to 'be someone else'.
Hackers range from bored Internet geeks signing you up to dating sites for fun (has happened to me!) or posting porn on your Facebook page, to vast botnets (a network of computers running code that can bombard servers and crash them)  used to bring down companies, and everything in between.

But it doesn't really matter WHY someone hacks you, you just need to think about HOW they hack you, and do all you can to prevent it. Anyone can be a target. If you use the Internet for anything at all then chances are you have log ons and passwords. You probably read all the information about security and think "oh it's just my email, a password doesn't need to be complicated" but if that email is the one that a password reset link for your bank would be sent to... And if you are a blogger reading this, you are your own brand! All of your social media apps and online presence represents you, and should be kept secure.

So here are some security/password rules for your online life. Can you check off all of them? Have I missed any?


  • A password should not be a dictionary word. A computer can trawl through all of the words in all of the dictionaries in the world in seconds.
  • A password should be long, the longer a password is the longer it takes to hack.
  • A password should not have any connection to you. Lots of hacking is via tech but don't make hacking easier by using combinations of dogs names, phone numbers and birth dates.
  • Your password should be different for every site. Yes it's a pain but if you get hacked you only have one password to worry about, not every site you access.
  • If there is an offer of 2 step verification (where you are texted a code as well as having to have a password, or you have a token with a changing code) for a site use it! If you have to not only know a password but also have a thing in your possession to confirm access, it makes hacking into your account much harder. Google, Twitter and Facebook all offer two step verification.
  • Use a password manager - yes there is a risk of 'all your eggs in one basket' but it's no greater risk than a weak password and it's a much better bet than lots of weak passwords, or repeated passwords. A password manager uses bank quality encryption to keep your passwords safe. It will generate strong random passwords for you. I use LastPass - it has a two step verification option as well.
  • Be careful who you allow to access your apps etc. Logging on via Twitter or Google for speed is fine if you are sure the site is secure, but check regularly who has ongoing access. On Google you can be inadvertently sharing location, calendar etc.
  • Do a regular check up on sites like Google, Twitter, Facebook and remove app permissions you don't recognise or haven't used in a while. You can always add them back later if you need to - lot's of 'games' on social media sites are just hidden data miners after your information.
  • Some sites (Facebook is one) will send you an email telling you the location of each log in to your account so you can keep a check on what's going on.
  • Double check every email that claims you need to log on to confirm anything! Don't use the links in the email - go to the site via a method you trust instead and log in that way - it's far too easy to copy the url code and make a fake site to harvest passwords.
  • Consider using a disposable email for sites you will only use once and you are not confident with.
Loads of great security advice over at Naked Security Blog. Worth signing up to their email too to stay one jump ahead of the bad guys.

12.4.17

Wordy Wednesday with Alice May

Today on the blog I'd like to welcome Alice May. She has written a book that went straight on to my GoodReads 'To Read' pile , and when you see the synopsis I think you'll understand why!

‘Accidental Damage – Tales from the house that sat down!’ by Alice May


Accidental Damage’ is the tale of a family of six (mum, dad and four kids) who suddenly find themselves homeless after their old cottage falls down completely out of the blue one day. With nowhere to go they are forced to move into a tent in the garden. The tent is supposed to be a temporary solution but then they find out that their house insurance policy doesn’t cover them and the tent becomes a more permanent fixture.

Told retrospectively from the mother’s point of view, ‘Accidental Damage’ is packed with both humorous anecdotes and brutally honest emotional reactions to what it is like to live in your garden whilst working out how you are going to rebuild your home.

It is a tale of family love and loyalty, proving that if you pull together as a team and look after each other you can survive anything.
accidental damage book cover

Living in a tent! Yes dear reader a story I can get to grips with. I can't wait to read and discover if the family/tent relationship is love or hate, and will the family find out more about themselves than they expected? After all, living in a tent can give you lots of time to think about things in its limited confines.

And so we must interrogate our author Alice May...grab a camping chair and a marshmallow on a stick and we shall begin

Who would be at your dream dinner party?
I would love to hold a dinner party for Katie Fforde, Trisha Ashley, Anne McCaffrey, J.K. Rowling, H. T. King and Kate Fenton. All are authors whose books have kept me going through the years and I would enjoy cooking up a feast for them to say thank you!

What's the best advice you have ever received?
‘Never ever give up!’ My parents have been instrumental in encouraging me to pick myself up and dust myself off after every setback in life. They are right. Anything is possible, you just sometimes have to believe in yourself, grow a thick skin and get on with it.

What's the worst advice you have ever received?
“Do a French A-level. You’ll be really good at it!” Hmmmm – I passed, but only just!!!

Who is your hero or heroine?
Soppiness alert! My Beloved Husband is my hero. Just because! awww!

Where are you happiest?
I am happiest walking along the beach, whatever the weather, listening to the waves and just ‘being’.

A post shared by tattooed_mummy (@tatmummy) on

Who would you like to star in the film of your life?
Victoria Wood. She was such a talented lady. I have thoroughly enjoyed all her work, especially her poignant portrayal of Ella Last in ‘Housewife 49’.

Describe your best ever holiday.
Surfing (I really mean body boarding but I like to pretend I can surf) in Cornwall with my husband and kids. A whole day on the beach followed by chips and a pint of cold lager (lemonade for the kids of course) in the evening is my idea of heaven. Maybe I will take a learn-to-surf course one of these days.

If you could be invisible for a day, what would you do?
If I could be invisible for a day I would probably sleep if, I am being completely honest. As a busy working mother, I spend my life running from one spinning plate / disaster issue to another. If I was invisible no one would see me just relaxing. Could I be deaf to all the people grumbling that I am not doing what I am supposed to be doing too, please? Ooh nice choice...

If I joined you on your perfect day, what would we be doing?
My perfect day would involve sunshine and good coffee. Probably cake as well! I don’t have terribly high maintenance needs.

Alice May Auhtor of accidental damage

What do you think is the best thing about social media?
The best thing about social media is connecting people with similar interests and the opportunity to share knowledge. I totally agree!

And the worst...?!
The worst thing is how much of the day can slip away if you are not careful to limit the time you spend on social media. (Also true, due to recent Twitter changes I'm on there less than before and have rediscovered reading!) As an author you need to be really firm with yourself or you find that all available writing time is used up scrolling through Facebook or Twitter and not finishing that next chapter you need to write.

Big thanks to Alice for some fun answers (I'm now thinking about beaches, chips and snoozing as well as tents) Follow Alice (but try not to distract her) on Twitter and Facebook and check out her book Here

This post is part of the Accidental Damage Blog Tour find out more: