After a chilled out week I was getting a little cabin crazy so I managed to persuade my kids that we needed to go out. Oh no! But what would they do without their screens, their Ds’, laptops, PS4.  Maybe they could take the Ds’ for use in the car on the journey, it was a compromise I was willing to make for a little freedom from these four walls.

Baddesley Clinton

Just a few miles away was a place I’d been longing to visit, Baddesley Clinton.


Baddesley Clinton, front courtyard of 15th Century house.

This is the forecourt, isn’t it just delightful. Built in the 16th Century the house has a lot of history. Mostly to do with the hiding of catholic priests in underground tunnels, which are still there. But also it was home to some extraordinary women with some amazing talents and interesting views. I will write more about our visit later, even the kids were glad we left the house and screens behind in the end.

Of course they were thrilled when we first got there as the house is surrounded by a moat!

front of house with a bridge over a moat

Of  course there were plenty of ducks around too, as well as sheep roaming free in the grounds.

The house was really interesting to visit, there was so much to see. The kids did a little trail around the house where they had to find a number of hidden things which they really enjoyed. I couldn’t go upstairs but I was given a virtual tour by iPad (don’t tell the kids!) It looked really interesting and the kids loved it, which is quite surprising because, if I’m honest, they don’t really like being dragged around old buildings.

Telling the Time

Just one more photo for this post. In the middle of the walled garden, instead of swings, which Boo was disappointed about, there was a Sundial. It was almost right, we just need to move the sun a little. This was taken at 3pm. I’d say it was telling us it was 2.30pm




Sunday Snap


We love playing games and I love it when I get a new one to review. The Pretender is a new game from Gamely, we reviewed  another Gamely game back in April, you can see what we thought of Randomise.

The Pretender comes in a box, just a little bigger than a box of playing cards. It is indeed a card game, but it’s so much more. Here’s a brief description.

The Pretender is a hilarious social deduction game of mini-charades, bluffing and suspicion that will make you laugh and get you thinking creatively. Each round, every player has the same identity except for the Pretender.  The aim of the game for the other players is to discover who the Pretender is, while the Pretender must fake their way through the game, escaping detection and trying to work out what on earth everyone else is miming!

In The Box

Quite simply you get a number of cards and a small instruction sheet. Each card has two categories and you get six of each. Each category has 10 entries to choose from. However, one of the cards does not have any entries, it just says Pretender 10 times instead.

The cards are all you need to play the game, well, along with your imagination.


How To Play

The rules are pretty simple and the game can be played by most ages. However, it depends on the players how cleverly you play the game.

The game is for four to six players and if you have less than six you will need to take away the excess cards, but make sure the pretender card is still there. Then the cards are shuffled and randomly passed to each player. One of the two categories is chosen before play and then whoever is chosen to go first will pick an entry from that category.

The pretender will not know what has been chosen, apart from the category, so they will be playing blind.

Each player in turn then mimes the chosen entry and the Pretender has to try and guess what it is for their turn. Or just wing it. When everyone has had their turn they players then choose who they believe the Pretender to be by pointing to them.

If they guess right the Pretender has one last chance to turn it around by correctly guessing what the entry was.


The category chosen is sea creatures, and the entry chosen octopus. Each player has to mime octopus and the Pretender has to guess that they are miming octopus and mime it themselves. Of course this becomes very difficult if the Pretender is going first. Their only hope then is to pick any sea creature to mime and get away with it.

The players are faced with the dilemma, do they mime it really good so that they don’t get chosen as the Pretender, but risk the Pretender guessing it easily. Or, do they mime it obscurely so that the Pretender doesn’t get it, but risk being pointed out as the Pretender.


The winner of the game is either the Pretender, who doesn’t get spotted, or knows the correct entry. Or the other players for guessing the Pretender correctly and the Pretender not knowing what the entry is.


It’s a simple game that is not so simple. The rules are easily picked up but the skill lies in how well you play it.

The recommended age is 12 years but we played with an 8 year old. He found it quite difficult at first, especially when he got the Pretender card, he gave the game away immediately by exclaiming ‘my card says nothing but pretender.’ He did actually get the hang of it though after a couple of rounds.

We love that this is a compact game which can be taken anywhere and it easy to pick up and start playing. You can also choose how long you play for. It takes around 15 minutes for one turn, and you can have as many, or as few, turns as you like. We find that it’s only fair that we all get a turn at choosing the item from the category.

How to Get Your Hands on a Pack

You can buy The Pretender on Amazon.

This is an affiliate link.

The pretender is from Gamely Games and you can find out about this and their other games by checking out their Twitter,  Instagram  and Facebook 

Other fun games from Gamely include Randomise and Soundiculous

Disclosure: We were sent this game for the purpose of this review, all thoughts and opinions are our own. This post contains an affiliate link to Amazon. This will not affect the cost to you if you choose to buy anything.


Last week I left you feeling tired. But this week I’m Chilling.

A Trip to the GP

I had a trip to the GP because of a few issues I’ve been having with my health. I now have to go for blood tests and an ECG. I’m okay, but it’s probably best I’m taking things easy.

I don’t have my tests until next week, I’m pretty sure that nothing will show up, I’ve had them done before. I’m just a bit weird that’s all.


Last Friday was Boo’s 11th birthday and she had a lovely day. Her friend came around for a party tea and they played in the garden. She decorated her own birthday cake and we lit the candles and sang Happy Birthday.

Then later I introduced her to The Greatest Showman, which she loved. I knew she would, she loves singing and dancing.

Next week it is the Little Man’s birthday. I’ve not made any plans yet. I do have his presents but he also has some money to spend so we’ll be taking a trip to Smyths Toy Store. I’ve saved a little back from Boo’s birthday so she can buy something too, and lucky Star will get some of her birthday money early. I guess it’s only fair as we will be on holiday when it’s her birthday!

A Chilled Out Weekend

On Saturday, I was still tired and unwell and Graham was out for the day as he was off to a charity gig in memory of his friend Robin who died suddenly earlier this year. I was originally going with him, but it was a bit far and he had a lot to do to help with setting up and running people around. It would have been a very long day for me and the kids and we probably would not have made it. So we stayed home. But it wasn’t so bad.

We watched Jumanji 2, which was brilliant. I actually thought it was better than the first film but I love Robin Williams so I won’t say that out loud.

Sunday was another chilled out day. Boo has discovered, thanks to her big brother, My Ordinary Life. A Japanese anime. It’s totally bonkers, and subtitled, but Boo loves it and is already up to episode 8.


So my word of the week this week is Chilling. We have a lot of things happening in the next few weeks, another Birthday, a Christening and a holiday, so this has been my chance to sit back and relax.

And while I’m feeling chilled, I’ve also been feeling a little chilly. The change in the weather was welcome, and the cool breeze a truer breath of fresh air was never felt.

EDIT: I wrote this a bit earlier in the week and the weather has changed again, Summer has resumed.

relaxing with a book and a cuppa

Debs Random Writings
The Reading Residence

I’ve tried to explain matched betting to so many people but it’s not simple. I have given it a lot of thought and decided to break it down as simply as possible so that you can understand the basics.

It’s Not Gambling

Okay, maybe it is gambling because you are putting a bet on at a bookmakers, but the method of matched betting means that you are covering all odds so that you cannot lose. With gambling you can win or lose, with matched betting you can only win. (Unless you make a mistake!)

What is Matched Betting?

When you got to a bookies and play a bet you are gambling that your choice will win. With matched betting, after placing a bet you will also place a lay bet at an exchange. This bet will be for your choice not to win. So the bets cancel each other out. This means you neither win or lose, but if your original bet is a free bet then you can only win.

Let me give you a little example. You get a free bet from a bookmaker and place it on a horse called Tiny Tim to win a race at 2.30pm at Haydock. Then you go to an exchange and place a lay bet that Tiny Tim will not win. You are not placing a bet that any other horse will win, just that Tiny Tim will not win. This way you will guarantee a win whether Tiny Tim wins or not. And because your original bet was a free bet you will profit.

Placing two bets in this way means you will get a definite profit, but not necessarily a huge profit, certainly not as much as if you only placed a bet that your horse will win and it does. Making a profit on every bet works out a lot more profitable than winning an odd bet here and there.

The exchange is where you place your lay bet and they require a liability payment. This is sometimes quite high and the odds offered are often quite different too. You need to use find bets that have very similar odds and remember the higher the bet the higher the liability.

Why Does it Have to be a free bet?

To profit from matched betting you need to place one of the bets with a free bet. Otherwise the two bets will just cancel each other out, you could even make a small loss.

Bookmakers are often offering free bets, mostly as a sign up offer. Generally you sign up and place a bet then get a free bet. You will have to pay for the first bet, but if you match it you will either end up with not losing any money or losing just a small amount. But then you get your free bet.

For example: Sign up with £10, place your bet and match it, depending on the odds lets say you make a small loss of  25 pence. Then you get your £10 free bet, match it and then because you have not paid for your first bet you get a guaranteed profit of around £8.25, minus the 25p from the first bet that’s £8 profit!

After signing up you may also get offered free bets from the bookmakers. I have a couple that offer a free bet every week. Then some might offer you free bets for special events like the World Cup or Ascot.

What are the Down Points of Matched Betting?

Brace yourself, there are a few.

You will need to join a lot of bookmakers, especially in the beginning. There is nothing really wrong with this but it doesn’t look good on your bank statement. You may even get a call from your bank as you will look like you are gambling a lot.

You will need a pot of money to begin with. I started small with around £50. The bigger pot you have the more money you can make. I have to admit though, even though my pot is now around £600 I still feel wary of placing big bets.

The exchanges are expensive. When you place a bet you have to pay a liability. This depends on the odds.

for example if the odds are around 2.5 and you are placing a £10 bet at the bookmakers, it will cost you around £6, but if the odds are 8.9 you will pay around £64 for a £10 bet. You do get all of this money back but you will need it to make the bets.

You can make mistakes. Especially when you start out, it’s difficult to grasp at first and mistakes can be costly.

All your family and friends will think you are a gambler.

What’s the Easiest Way to Match Bet?

I would not advise anyone to match bet by themselves, you need to join a matched betting site. I suggest Profit Accumulator, but if you do sign up please use me as a referral with code 121967, thank you.  You can do this for free to start and see how you get along. After your first few bets and you’ve seen how much profit you can make you will be willing to pay for membership.

A Matched betting site will give you a list of all the betting sites you can join and get a free bet.

It will also give you all the tools you need to make your bets.

You will also get advice and help from others who match bet.

A site will give you step by step instructions on how to sign up to a betting site and how to complete the offer. You will use the Oddsmatching feature to find the closest match between bets and a calculator to determine how much to bet and what you need to pay on the exchange. It also calculates your profit.

Both the oddsmatching feature and calculator are easy to use but you will have full instructions and videos to watch on how to use them.

Everything you do, especially in the early days, you will find guides to follow for each step.

Why I love Matched Betting

It’s a simple, tax free way of creating an extra income. Depending on how much you want to put into it and how much time you have free, you can make anything from a small regular income to a large bonus.

This is a screen shot of my profit since March this year. You can see the figure at the top, £799.72


This is what I’ve earned in just five months. It could have been more but I do play it carefully and don’t place big bets. I’m about half way through the current offers that are selected to get you free bets, and that’s just for Sport. Once you have finished sports you can progress on to Casino. But there are also reload offers and these are which I am enjoying at the moment. It feels more comfortable working with the same sites to do my betting and I take advantage of their weekly offers.

My aim is to earn £2000 to put towards a new wheelchair. It’s always good to have a goal.

Do let me know if you do matched betting, or if you are willing to give it a try.


Mix It Up Linky


Birthday Cake


I used to love baking and decorating cakes, but now it looks like Boo has taken over my job. She was determined to do the decoration for her own cake so I let her.

First she made the fondant rabbit. I asked her if she wanted help and even gave her a step by step guide, but she preferred to do everything herself.

I baked and iced the cake but left everything else to her. The only thing I had to help her with was the grass, I showed her my clever little trick with a sieve. I wanted to pipe her name on as I know this can be tricky, but she wasn’t having any of it, I think she did a good job.

The Birthday

Boo turned 11 on Friday and we didn’t have a party. To make the day special we invited her best friend to tea and let Boo help with the shopping. They ended up with Fake KFC drummers and chicken strips, pizza, mini sausage rolls and mini cheese and onion rolls. For afterwards there was macarons, party ring biscuits, mini angel cakes and, of course, birthday cake.

We lit her candles on the cake and her friend carried it in to her while we all sang Happy Birthday to her.

They then played in the garden in the sunshine before it was time for her friend to go home.

I didn’t make a video of Boo decorating her cake, but here’s one we did last year of her decorating a Valentines cake. She definitely has a talent.




Sunday Snap